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Alethi Codes of War

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Alethi Codes of War
Alethi Codes of War.jpg
by Greg Call
Related to Alethkar
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

The Alethi Codes of War, sometimes referred to as the War Codes, are a list of guidelines for Alethi soldiers on Roshar to follow in times of war.

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

It is not clear who created or documented the Codes. The Alethi king Gavilar Kholin says that they are from "the old days" when "Alethkar meant something" [1] and Dalinar says that they are a relic of "old Alethkar".[2] However, Alethkar's predecessor, the Silver Kingdom of Alethela,[3] is sometimes referred to as "Alethkar" by modern Alethi,[4] obscuring the provenance of the Codes.

At some point, the Codes fell into disuse, and they have not been followed for centuries.[5] Dalinar's embrace of the Codes seems to be a major step in his journey to become a Knight Radiant,[6] but it is not clear if there were ancient Radiants in Alethkar who followed the Codes prior to the Day of Recreance.

Gavilar's Discovery[edit]

Brother, follow the Codes tonight. There is something strange upon the winds.
—Gavilar's last words to Dalinar[2]

Gavilar somehow rediscovers the Codes towards the end of his rule.[2] He first mentions them to his brother Dalinar at the feast where Evi is introduced.[7] Gavilar was taken by the Codes and reintroduced their use, but his Highprinces, including Sadeas and Dalinar, dismissed them as foolish.[2] Elhokar and others saw Gavilar's emphasis on the Codes as a symptom of a possible decline in his mental health.[8]

Dalinar's Adoption[edit]

Dalinar is drunk when Gavilar is assassinated and he realizes that he may have been able to help if he had been following the Codes, which prohibit alcohol.[2][9] At Gavilar's funeral, Dalinar thinks about the Codes and his failures; he later listens to Jasnah read passages from The Way of Kings, and reaches a turning point in his life.[6] Dalinar and his children begin strictly adhering to the Codes. Dalinar believes that the Codes help him manage the extreme parts of his personality that he cannot otherwise control.[10]

We follow the Codes not because they bring gain, but because we loathe the people we would otherwise become. We stand here on this battlefield alone because of who we are.
—Dalinar, preparing himself and the Cobalt Guard for death at the Battle of the Tower[11]

Dalinar believes that the Alethi leadership is not staying prepared and vigilant during the War of Reckoning.[8] His adherence to the Codes causes friction with the other highprinces, including Sadeas, who tells Dalinar that his honor is going to get him killed.[12] Like Gavilar before him, other Alethi elites (including Elhokar and Adolin) begin to question Dalinar's sanity, with the Codes and his visions among their causes for concern.[8][13]

Adolin is sometimes frustrated by his father's interpretation of the Codes of War, even as Dalinar's resolve to follow them continues to grow.[8] Adolin does not like wearing his Shardplate in low-risk situations and he wishes that he could challenge more people to duels.[5] He eventually realizes that the Codes remind soldiers and society at large that they are at war, and that following them inspires confidence in the military.[14]

Never ask of your men a sacrifice you wouldn’t make yourself. Never make them fight in conditions you would refuse to fight in yourself. Never ask a man to perform an act you wouldn’t soil your own hands doing.
—Dalinar's interpretation of the "Leadership" Code[15]

After Dalinar survives the Battle of the Tower and is made Highprince of War, he decides to enforce the Codes in all of the warcamps on the Shattered Plains.[16] This is met with immediate resistance, but Dalinar plans to increase his authority by having Adolin duel and win Shardblades or Shardplate from other armies if they do not comply with his directive.[17]

The Codes[edit]

Readiness
The officer will be prepared at all times for battle. Never drunken on wine, never without his weapon.
Inspiration
The officer will wear his uniform when in public, to look ready for war and to give strength to his troops.
Restraint
The officer will refrain from needless duels, arguments or squabbles with other officers in camp, to prevent injury to men who may be needed to command.
Leadership
The officer will require no action of his soldiers that he would not be willing to perform himself.
Honor
The officer will not abandon allies on the field, nor will he seek to profit from the loss of his allies.

Notes[edit]

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