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Shallan Davar

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Shallan Davar
by User: Exmakina
House Davar
Parents Lin Davar, mother
Siblings Helaran, Balat, Wikim, Jushu
Born 1156[1]
Abilities Surgebinder (Illumination/Transformation)


Aliases Veil
Profession Scholar
Religion Vorinism (Devotary of Purity)[2]
Groups Knights Radiant (Lightweavers)


Nationality Veden
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
I seek the truth. Wherever it may be, whomever may hold it. That's who I am.
— Shallan to Iyatil[3]

Shallan Davar, also known as Veil, is a lighteyed Lightweaver of the Knights Radiant from Jah Keved. Shallan is an emerging scholar whose greatest achievement is the discovery of the legendary city Urithiru. She is also renowned for her extraordinary talent of accurately reproducing even fleeting scenes with photographic accuracy.

Hailing from a mid-level noble house in Jah Keved, Shallan lives a sheltered life on her father's estate until the age of seventeen, when she leaves to seek an apprenticeship under Princess Jasnah Kholin as a scholar. While as an apprentice to Jasnah Kholin, she becomes the causal betrothed of Jasnah's cousin, Prince Adolin Kholin. She also learns of and shares in Jasnah's quest to stop the mysterious and calamitous Voidbringers.

Ever since childhood, Shallan has shared a bond with the Cryptic Pattern, allowing her to manifest Pattern as a Shardblade. Years later, this bond also allows her to access her powers as a Surgebinder. Eventually, during the Battle of Narak, her bond with Pattern allows her to become one of the first two new members of the Knights Radiant in centuries, along with Kaladin. Their public revelation serves as the catalyst for the re-founding of the Knights Radiant.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Shallan is a slim, pale-skinned young woman in her late teens with auburn-red hair that reaches past the middle of her back and blue eyes. There are freckles on her cheeks and nose, although they aren't very noticeable.[4]

As a child, Shallan is considered shy, quiet, and delicate, although she has always had a quick wit, and often utters the first retort that comes to mind.[4]. Her brother Balat considers her incapable of handling herself and the family's affairs, having never lived away from the family estates.[5] Indeed, Shallan is initially naive and inexperienced, with little concept of money; for example, while trying to remain inconspicuous, she overpays for some street food by two hundred fifty times.[6] However, when she leaves the family estates behind, she quickly opens up and gains confidence.

Shallan is bisexual.[7][nb 1]

After arriving at the Shattered Plains and encountering the Ghostbloods, Shallan takes on the identity of Veil. Shallan changes her appearance using Lightweaving to craft a new appearance for Veil. As Veil, Shallan appears as a slightly older darkeyed woman. Although Veil has the same height and build as Shallan, Veil has long, dark hair and an angular face with a scar across the chin.[8]

Veil's personality is daring and bold, being an accomplished con-artist and spy.


Shallan in the Shattered Plains by Michael Whelan

Early life (1156–1173)[edit]


Shallan is born into the Davar household to Lin and her mother in 1156. Shallan is the youngest of five children, with four older brothers: Helaran, Balat, Wikim, and Jushu. The Davar household is a mid-level noble family, with the patriarch Lin holding the fourth dahn, while Shallan herself is of the fifth dahn.[9] The Davar family's estates are in Jah Keved, in Highprince Valam's territory.

As a child, Shallan has a happy life with her parents and four brothers; she recalls when her father rarely becomes angry.

Murder attempt[edit]

By 1167, when Shallan is eleven, she begins bonding to Pattern and manifesting Surgebinding abilities. Her mother and an unknown associate realize what is happening and attempt to kill Shallan. While they have Shallan cornered in a room, Shallan's father bursts in and attempts to save Shallan, but her mother's associate restrains him. Shallan summons Pattern as a Shardblade and, in self-defense, kills both her mother and her associate.[10][11]

Shallan's father protects her by allowing the world to believe that he killed Shallan's mother and her lover. He also takes Pattern and locks him away in his strongbox, although unknown to him, Pattern simply vanished away the instant he closed the door. Meanwhile, Shallan represses the memory of these events, only remembering that she was in the room with her father and two corpses, forgetting that she ever had a Shardblade or that she killed her mother.[10][12][11]

Life after her mother's death[edit]

After her mother's death, Shallan doesn't speak for five months. Instead of drawing as she normally does, all she draws is the scene from the room where her mother and her associate dies. Meanwhile, her father becomes violent and easily-enraged, verbally and physically abusing the members of the household.[12]

Five months later, Helaran informs Shallan and Lin that he must leave as he has issues to attend to. Lin protests and during the confrontation, Helaran summons a Shardblade and threatens Lin with it. Shallan speaks for the first time in months, stopping the violence and asks Helaran to stay. Helaran is unable to stay, but he promises to return and check on Shallan.[12]

A year later, around 1168, Shallan speaks normally again, although the Davar family is deteriorating. Helaran visits sporadically and briefly, bringing Shallan drawing materials and avoiding their father. Her father is still in a constant state of anger; her brother Balat is increasingly destructive, setting fire in the servants' building; and Jushu settles into a state of despair, choosing to get drunk and gamble away his money and jewels.[13]

Around 1169, their father throws a feast for the Tavinar family, a nearby lighteyed family. During the feast, while Lin is announcing that he is to be married to Malise Gevelmar, he is interrupted by Redin, the bastard son of Highprince Valam. Under orders from Valam, Redin has come to investigate the rumors of Shallan's mother's death, but Redin doesn't have enough evidence to proceed against Lin for murder and is forced to leave.[14]

Half a year later, the entire Davar family is at the Middlefest Fair. During the fair, Shallan attempts to bring happiness to her brothers, setting up Balat on a date with Eylita Tavinar, giving Wikim complicated highstorm equations to work on, and preparing a list of duels to show Jushu. It is during this festival that Shallan first meets Hoid, who is conversing with her father as he bears a message from Helaran. Hoid is shocked at discovering Shallan, realizing that she is a Surgebinder. Hoid seeks out Shallan afterwards and questions her about her powers. Shallan deflects the questions and Hoid tells Shallan a story about finding happiness even in the most adverse conditions. Hoid leaves after confirming that Shallan has not yet mastered her powers.[15]

Shallan finally took action when Lin seemed bent on killing her brother Balat. She gave him poisoned wine and then strangled him with a necklace he had given her. It is only after his demise that Shallan and her brothers could attempt to come together as a family once more, banding together to cover up the truth of his death while also working to save the House from the many debts their father accrued.

Jasnah Kholin's ward (1173)[edit]

Shallan spent several months chasing Jasnah across many cities, hoping to become her ward in order to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster. She finally caught up to Jasnah in Kharbranth, and attempted to convince her to take Shallan as her ward, failing twice and finally succeeding on the third attempt.[16] Shallan is eventually able to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster[17] only to discover that it is a fake. Shallan also discovered her own Soulcasting abilities after this theft.[18]

During her studies with Jasnah, Shallan developed a friendship with the ardent Kabsal who accidentally poisoned both Shallan and himself during an attempt to assassinate Jasnah for the Ghostbloods.[19] Shallan realized that her father also might have been a member of the same organization.[20] After this realization and the revelation that the Parshendi and Parshmen were Voidbringers, she and Jasnah set off for the Shattered Plains to attain more information. [21] [22]

The Shattered Plains (1173)[edit]

Jasnah and Shallan have taken passage on the Wind's Pleasure, traveling to the Shattered Plains. Several days into the journey, Shallan spies a santhid - an elusive and ancient dweller of the ocean - moving alongside the ship. She wants to observe the santhid underwater in order to sketch it, but is dissuaded from the dangerous task by Captain Tozbek. Jasnah soon joins her, and detecting her ward's innattention to her reading, explains the nature of Shadesmar and spren to her. Shallan mentions the patterns of lines she has been noticing, and Jasnah details the measures she has taken to help House Davar: sending money to Shallan's brothers, communicating with her mother about the broken Soulcaster, and setting up a causal betrothal with Adolin Kholin. Finally, Jasnah gives Shallan words of advice on power and how even its illusion can be enough to create authority. Taking these words to heart, Shallan commands the captain to help her go overboard in order to observe the santhid. [22]

One night on the journey, their ship is attacked and Shallan sees Jasnah stabbed in the chest. She smells smoke in the cabin. Using lightweaving she creates an indistinct human form, which the attacking men chase. She then entered Jasnah's cabin and observed a large amount of blood on the floor, but no body. She assumes the men removed Jasnah's corpse. She hears sounds above and Pattern tells her that the ship's crew are being executed. Out of desperation Shallan attempts to soulcast the hull of the ship. With a huge amount of stormlight and the help of pattern she reached into shadesmar and soulcasted the Wind's Pleasure into water to escape.[23]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]


Because of her Nahel bond with spren Pattern, Shallan possesses the ability to Surgebind. She has access to the surgebindings: Illumniation and Transformation. As with all Surgebinders, she has superhuman speed, strength and healing when she holds Stormlight. She has demonstrated her ability to Soulcast multiple times, though her other abilities remain yet to be seen. She is in the process of becoming a Knight Radiant.


The Surge of Transformation allows Shallan to use Soulcasting. She has discovered that she can soulcast without the need of a fabrial by visiting Shadesmar and changing a goblet into blood. She has also learned that the soulcaster she had been determined to steal is a nonfunctional fake, and that Jasnah can also soulcast without one. She used this ability to sink Wind's Pleasure by turning the ship into water during the assassination attempt.


In Words of Radiance, Shallan discovered the ability to project images into life although incorporeal. Due to a lack of practice and experience, she can only create the images after sketching them first. She also discovered she could use Pattern to project sounds when in the image. The range of an image is limited to its proximity to a source of Investiture as the user moves away from an image it will begin to blur and then dissolve when its connection is broken, increased focus on the part of a user can increase the range but not greatly.


Shallan had the ability to deliberately memorize a scene (usually involving blinking) after which she could paint or draw that scene with remarkable accuracy. She had a passion for learning and a great talent for drawing. She was never without her sketchbooks and charcoal, so she might draw whatever caught her interest. Shallan frequently drew and made notes on the world around her, in order to promote her Calling of natural history.[24] Shallan's ability to memorize scenes and reproduce them accurately seems similar to the ability of a Feruchemist to store memories in a coppermind, in that both talents involve the removal of a memory from the mind and its replacement in another medium - in Shallan's case, a sketch rather than a coppermind.



Pattern is Shallan's steadfast companion, and perhaps her only friend since childhood, although she herself does not know this for many years. Shallan and Pattern have shared a bond ever since Shallan was a young child. When Shallan's mother attempts to kill her, Pattern manifests himself as a Shardblade, allowing Shallan to defend herself. However, Shallan represses this memory and doesn't remember this incident or Pattern until years later.

Eventually, Shallan comes to meet Pattern again, who initially is unable to talk and has a weak connection to the physical world. As their bond grows, and as Shallan speaks more Truths to Pattern, Pattern grows in intelligence and his ability to affect the world.

Jasnah Kholin[edit]

Jasnah Kholin is Shallan's tutor. Initially reluctant to take on Shallan as a ward, she eventually gives in after Shallan's persistence. Although Shallan becomes Jasnah's ward initially as a ruse in order to steal Jasnah's soulcaster, Shallan eventually comes to love learning from Jasnah and comes to respects her greatly.

During her time with Jasnah, her Surgebinding abilities manifest. Jasnah, who herself has Surgebinding abilities and is a nascent member of the Knights Radiant, helps Shallan to discover her powers. Recognizing her potential, Jasnah also arranges a causal betrothal for Shallan to her cousin, Adolin Kholin.


Shallan and Kaladin are the first two fully realized Knights Radiant in centuries. Shallan and Kaladin initially have a strained relationship. During their first meeting, Shallan is forced by Tyn to lie to Kaladin, leading to her humiliating Kaladin and taking his new boots. During their later meetings, Shallan believes that she is being treated unfairly by Kaladin, who is holding a grudge against her for events beyond her control. This clash of personalities is reflected in their respective spren, as the Cryptics and honorspren (to which Kaladin's spren Syl belongs) are involved in a complex spren conflict.

Later, when Shallan and Kaladin are both stranded in the chasms of the Shattered Plains, they grow to respect and admire one another. They reveal some of their personal history and secrets to each other, including the fact that Shallan has a Shardblade. Due to this time, they both suspect each other of being a Knight Radiant.

Adolin Kholin[edit]

Adolin Kholin is currently causally betrothed to Shallan. They meet on the Shattered Plains and Shallan is smitten by his looks.


See Also[edit]


  1. Peter Ahlstrom talks about character ages
    17th Shard forums - 25 January 2014
  2. The Way of Kings chapter 33
  3. Words of Radiance chapter 64
  4. a b The Way of Kings chapter 3
  5. The Way of Kings interlude I-2
  6. Words of Radiance chapter 43
  7. This wasn't directly on my mind while writing, but looking back, I think it was in my subconscious.
    — Twitter - 26 September, 2016
  8. Words of Radiance chapter 42
  9. Words of Radiance chapter 52
  10. a b Words of Radiance chapter 10
  11. a b Words of Radiance chapter 88
  12. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 19
  13. Words of Radiance chapter 27
  14. Words of Radiance chapter 39
  15. Words of Radiance chapter 45
  16. The Way of Kings chapter 8
  17. The Way of Kings chapter 36
  18. The Way of Kings chapter 45
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 48
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 74
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 72
  22. a b Words of Radiance chapter 1
  23. Words of Radiance chapter 7
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 5
  25. Changes from early draft
    Theoryland - Sep 13th, 2010
  1. Though there is other, textual evidence for this, it was ambiguous until the referenced tweet, where Brandon explicitly says that while he has written her as bisexual, it was something he had included subconsciously. It may be worth noting that in a followup tweet [1] that mentioned it, he did not take the opportunity to correct any potential misunderstanding about his confirmation that Shallan is bisexual.
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