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Dalinar Kholin

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Dalinar Kholin
by User: Exmakina
House Kholin
Siblings Gavilar
Spouse Evi[1], Navani[2]
Children Adolin, Renarin
Relatives Jasnah, Elhokar
Born ca. 1120[3]
Abilities Surgebinder (Tension/Adhesion)
Shardbearer (formerly)
Titles Highprince of Alethkar
Highprince of War
Aliases The Blackthorn
Groups Knights Radiant (Bondsmiths)
Nationality Alethi
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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I'll have us be what we were before, son. A kingdom that can stand through storms, a kingdom that is a light and not a darkness. I will have a truly unified Alethkar, with highprinces who are loyal and just. I'll have more than that. I'm going to refound the Knights Radiant.
— Dalinar to Elhokar[4]

Dalinar Kholin (Alethi pronunciation: [ˈdæ·lɪn·ar koˈlɪn] DA-lin-ar ko-LIN)[5] is an Alethi highprince of Alethkar. He is known as the Blackthorn for his military prowess and is the Highprince of War. He is the younger brother of the late King Gavilar, uncle of King Elhokar Kholin and Jasnah Kholin, and currently married to Brightness Navani Kholin, Gavilar's ex-widow. He has two sons Adolin Kholin and Renarin Kholin. He is a member of the Order of Bondsmiths and is the de facto leader of the reformed Knights Radiant.[6]

Appearance and Personality

Dalinar is an aging but powerfully built man in his fifties, with a warrior's face. He has black hair that is grey in the temples.[7] When he owns Shardplate, he chooses to wear it as an unpainted slate grey color, without any unnecessary decoration or adornment.[7] His former Shardblade is Oathbringer. He rides the Ryshadium horse Gallant.

He is a man defined by duty and is rightfully considered an honorable lighteyes by all, perhaps the only one in Alethkar. He has a sense of fairness that is sometimes taken for weakness by his fellow lighteyed Alethi, but Dalinar proves that he is not to be taken advantage of.

Dalinar considers himself wholly a soldier and general with no talent for back-room politicking.[8] After Gavilar's assassination, Dalinar blames himself[7][9] and since then has worked to protect Alethkar and Gavilar's son Elhokar[10] in hope of earning some kind of redemption.


Early Life and the War to Unify Alethkar (1120 – 1166)


Dalinar was born in about 1120[3], second son to the Kholin princedom in Alethkar. In his youth, Dalinar deeply respected his elder brother Gavilar, and although envious of him at times[11], he follows his brother into a war to unite Alethkar under the Kholin banner.

In his youth, Dalinar had feelings for Navani, but he realized that Gavilar was also interested in her. For Gavilar’s sake, he steps aside. Later, Navani admitted to having an interest in Dalinar during this time, but since Gavilar was the one who chased her, she chose to accept his proposal.

Unifying Alethkar

Young Gavilar and Dalinar by User: Botanicaxu

Dalinar, Gavilar, and their friend, Torol Sadeas, sought to unite the scattered Alethi princedoms and have a true kingdom once more. Each highprince historically ruled over their lands individually, and conflicts between the princedoms were common. This strife between the warring highprinces had lasted for centuries. Gavilar’s vision was to put an end to that.

The Kholins started by conquering their neighbors by force. From the beginning, Dalinar is an unstoppable terror on the battlefield. In some part due to his close connection with the Thrill and Dalinar’s own callous bloodlust, he quickly created a reputation for being able to win any engagement. Dalinar by himself could clear a battlefield of opponents, losing himself in the ease of killing.

In the early days of the unification war, Dalinar hand-picked his own elite force of soldiers, sometimes even selecting enemy combatants and winning them over. One notable encounter of this was when fighting Brightlord Yezriar, an enemy soldier shot Dalinar with massive black arrows. The wounds were very serious, but Dalinar was so impressed at the distance the archer shot from that he chased him down. This archer was Teleb, and Dalinar recruited him on the spot. Those black arrows with which Teleb shot Dalinar mark the incident that gave Dalinar his famous moniker of The Blackthorn.[12]

We looked at this place here, this kingdom, and we realized, ‘Hey, all these people have stuff .’ And we figured … hey, maybe we should have that stuff. So we took it.
—Dalinar's view of the war[13]

Over the next year, Dalinar won his own Shards. His Plate he won in combat that involved kicking a man off of a cliff. The Plate was still new to him when the war took them to Rathalas, otherwise known as the Rift, where Brightlord Tanalan rules. Dalinar knew that Tanalan had a Shardblade, and in the ensuing battle, he went straight to Tanalan to kill him and win the Blade. He defeated Tanalan but Tanalan’s body was taken away by his men before the Shard appears. Dalinar tracked down the place where Tanalan was taken and found Tanalan’s widow, and Tanalan’s young son holding the Shardblade. Dalinar takes the Blade but can’t find it within himself to kill Tanalan’s family. After the battle, Gavilar tells Dalinar that the Blade he won is Oathbringer, the sword that belonged to the legendary Alethi conqueror, Sadees the Sunmaker.[14]

A year later, the war had started to slow down and the Kholins were looking for allies. They turned to Rira and Iri. They negotiated with Toh and Evi, a Westerner Brightlord and his sister. During one of their initial meetings, Dalinar impressed them by walking about in a highstorm and stopping an assassin from killing Gavilar in a notably casual manner.[13]

Two years after that, the war was still on going. Dalinar and Evi were betrothed, not yet married. Dalinar led the attack against Highprince Kalanor, intent on winning the Shards that Kalanor held. While in the battle, Dalinar gets so caught up in the Thrill that he didn’t realize he killed Kholin men during the assault. Dalinar killed Kalanor in single combat, winning his Shards, but the Thrill was so strong in him that when Gavilar approached him afterwards, Dalinar went after his own brother with the intent to kill him. Only when Gavilar took off his helm and smiled at him did Dalinar snap out of it. Deeply ashamed of himself, Dalinar gifted Gavilar the Shards he had just won. He swears to himself that he must never be king.[15]

Dalinar and Evi by User: Sheep

Married Life

After five more years, the war had officially ended but the fighting hadn’t. Evi was pregnant with their first child, but their relationship was strained by the non-stop battlefronts. Dalinar’s bloodthirst and Evi’s horror at it strained their relationship. Gavilar received a demand from Rathalas telling Dalinar to return the Blade to their heir. Though Gavilar was upset that Dalinar didn’t deal with the Tanalan heir, Evi was happy to find out that Dalinar had spared the Tanalan boy so many years ago. Dalinar was happy both to have pleased Evi and also at the news of a Rift rebellion, for if they were going to rebel, he would have the opportunity to fight.[16]

But a year later, Dalinar was still safe at home in Kholinar. His restlessness turned to using firemoss and permanently maiming people in tavern fights. At a wrestling match, Dalinar was summoned away with the news that Evi was in labor. He ran to see her, and found her afterwards, with his son already born. Dalinar was so overjoyed when he saw his son the first time that he was overtaken with gloryspren. He named him Adolin, “born unto light”, and spoke a hope for him that he would have his father’s strength, but also his mother’s compassion.[17]

Gavilar was present at Adolin’s birth, but brought Dalinar some bad news. He’d been unable to contain the situation at Rathalas. He’d decided not to send Dalinar to fight there, however, opting to send him instead to fight the Herdazians and Vedens on Alethkar’s border as a gesture of Kholin strength.[17] Dalinar fought on the border against the Herdazians for four years, ensuring the security of Alethkar’s border. Unfortunately, for all that time, Rathalas still refused to submit. Evi brought Adolin and their second son, Renarin to the battlefront. It was the first time Dalinar met Renarin, and he wasn’t pleased to learn the meaningless of Renarin’s chosen name: “Like one who was born unto himself.” Evi reminded Dalinar that he didn’t answer many of her spanreed messages and he could have had input into Renarin’s name if he’d wanted to. It bothered Dalinar that even so long after battle, even while interacting with his family, that the Thrill takes so long to fade.[18]

Dalinar spent more years fighting the Vedens. As Adolin grew into his adolescence, Dalinar was pleased to have his oldest accompany him on the years-long campaign. Dalinar was coaching Adolin on battlefield strategy when Evi arrived with a letter from Gavilar. Dalinar guessed the contents before Evi could even finish the letter: Gavilar was sending him to the Rift. The Rathalas rebels were more entrenched than ever, and Gavilar was out of options. Dalinar, pleased to hear the news, suggested that they might never settle in Kholinar again. Evi was distraught to hear it, and cried at the thought that she might never again have a life free from war and death. Both upset at each other, Dalinar promised Evi at least a year in Kholinar after he put down the rebellion at the Rift.[19]

The Rift

In 1163, Dalinar finally travels to the Rift to smother the rebellion there. His wife, Evi, pleads with him to not fight. Dalinar, grudgingly, agrees to meet with the Rathalas rebels. they offer to ally with him and hint that a highprince may have betrayed the others. Dalinar is told where that highprince is and runs to it. The location is a trap, and only through brute strength is Dalinar able to escape. Enraged and under the influence of the Thrill, Dalinar orders his Soulcasters to drench the Rift in oil and light it afire. As thousands of people die in the fire, Dalinar is informed that Evi had previously gone into the city in order to plead peace. She was locked up as a prisoner of war and had died in the flames. Dalinar is laden with grief and guilt. Sometime after, he seeks the Old Magic, whose curse wipes away all of his memories of her. Now whenever someone says her name, Dalinar only hears the sound of the wind. If he ever encounters the name in any other manner, he is unable to retain it in his mind.[20][21]

Gavilar's Change and the Discovery of the Parshendi

In the years after the reunification of Alethkar, Gavilar begins to lose his thirst for battle. He starts reading a book called The Way of Kings, trying to convince Dalinar and his other highprinces to be peaceful and to follow the Alethi Codes of War. [11] Like the other highprinces, Dalinar resists his brother's ideas, finding them unpalatable and strange – even un-Alethi. To try and change Gavilar's mind, Dalinar convinces him to go an expedition, a hunt for a chasmfiend. He suggests this hoping to remind Gavilar of the good times in their youth, to reawaken his brother's fighting spirit.[22]

In 1166, Dalinar and Gavilar set out on their expedition. In an unmapped forest south of the Shattered Plains, Dalinar meets a Parshendi patrol. At first disbelieving what he thought were simple parshmen acting individually, in a civilized society, Dalinar quickly accepts that the Parshendi were intelligent and organized, unlike their parshmen cousins. Dalinar brings Gavilar to meet them, and within days the Alethi and Parshendi are communicating well.[22] A year later, the Parshendi sign a formal treaty with Alethkar in the Alethi capitol of Kholinar.

War of Reckoning (1167 – 1173)

Gavilar's Death

Within hours of the treaty signing, the Parshendi send Szeth, the Assassin in White, to assassinate Gavilar. When the Alethi king is assassinated in the middle of the feast, Dalinar is in a drunken stupor, completely unaware and unable to help.[23][9] Gavilar's last words are written beside his body, addressed to Dalinar, saying that he must find the most important words a man can say. Dalinar recognizes the quote from The Way of Kings and begins living up to the teachings from the book, as his brother had done. Dalinar blames himself for Gavilar's death, and undergoes a radical change in personality as he follows the book's teachings.

Dalinar also begins to adhere to the same Alethi Codes of War that Gavilar had tried to convince the others to follow.[9] Had Dalinar been following the first of the Codes, “Readiness”, he would never have been drunk, and therefore would have been sober enough to try and aid his brother against the assassin. After Gavilar's death, Dalinar joins forces with Gavilar's son, King Elhokar, and the other highprinces to pursue the Parshendi to the Shattered Plains under the Vengeance Pact.

The War Against the Parshendi

At first, Dalinar throws himself into the fighting against the Parshendi with abandon, his guilt driving him. But as his grief faded, so did his thirst for battle and war. Dalinar and the Kholin warcamp follow the Codes when no other Alethi highprince would. He studies the words of Nohadon, the author of The Way of Kings, convinced that he must now become an example to Alethkar and lead them towards peace and honor.

At the same time, Dalinar begins having fits during every highstorm. During these fits, Dalinar loses awareness of his surroundings, experiencing visions of the past as though he were living them himself. The visions seem to be from the Almighty,[7] leading Dalinar to believe that God was telling him to unite the Alethi highprinces. In most of these visions, the Knights Radiant are present. This loss of awareness is frightening by itself, but seeing the Radiants as heroes is disturbing to Dalinar and his family. The Kholins keep Dalinar separate from others during highstorms, not willing to let others see him during these fits.

Men begin to speak of Dalinar the same way they'd spoken of Gavilar later in his life, namely that he is becoming weak and feeble despite Dalinar's history as a powerful general. The rumors of his madness during the storms combined with his strange obsession with the teachings of The Way of Kings have lost Dalinar a lot of respect and influence among his peers.

The War Changes

The battle against the Parshendi was the first time Dalinar lost the Thrill.[24] This loss of the Thrill during battle causes Dalinar to question why he is fighting this war, and whether alternative methods of settling the Alethi dispute with the Parshendi would yield better results. The highprinces would view Dalinar's wish for a more peaceful resolution as a further sign of weakness rather than wisdom, so he keeps this to himself.

Dalinar is deeply frustrated by the war at the Shattered Plains, as the highprinces' priorities have changed from seeking vengeance on the Parshendi to competing for gemhearts in order to gain wealth for themselves. Dalinar believes the war on the Parshendi has become nothing but a game to the highprinces and strives to unite them. He wants to be the Highprince of War to realize this.[11] Despite his ambivalent feelings about staying at the Shattered Plains, Dalinar is devoted to Elhokar and the nation of Alethkar above all. Though Dalinar rarely goes on hunts, in 1173 he decides to accompany Elhokar and Sadeas. Elhokar manages to tease Dalinar into a footrace, and for his nephew's sake, Dalinar lets him win.

Dalinar fights a chasmfiend during a hunt

Adolin wonders at this, and Dalinar explains that it is important to lift up Elhokar and support him in even the small ways. Even the little victories will help Elhokar feel more like a king and raising his confidence and reputation would actually make him a better king. Adolin is impressed at this logic, but is quickly appalled when Dalinar then confides his wish for the Alethi to be back in Alethkar. Adolin is shocked and upset at this suggestion, even when Dalinar shares his concern about the state of affairs back in their home since they've been away at war for so long. Adolin was already worried about his father's sanity,[25] but when Dalinar begins to make important decisions based on the visions – like wanting to leave the Shattered Plains – Adolin questions the wisdom in trusting dreams, especially blasphemous ones. Dalinar maintains that the visions were real and grows further determined to unite the Alethi highprinces.

A chasmfiend surprises them on top of the plateau, Dalinar saves Elhokar from being killed by it. It is a reminder of Dalinar's strength to their armies, but it doesn't last. After the battle, Elhokar shows Dalinar a cut strap on his saddle and asks him to look into it. Elhokar suspects the work of assassins but Dalinar believes Elhokar to be overly paranoid; he agrees to investigate to allay Elhokar's fears. He takes Adolin to check on the cut strap but the results are inconclusive. Dalinar tells Elhokar that it was unclear and he is overreacting, but Elhokar staunchly believes that someone was trying to kill him.

Dalinar still didn't know what Gavilar meant by his last words, telling him to find the most important words that a man can say.[9]

Dalinar Reaches Out

Dalinar and Sadeas work in tandem to strongarm another highprince, Vamah, into using the king's Soulcasters, ensuring that Vamah must depend on Elhokar's resources to continue in the war. Though Adolin is suspicious of Sadeas, who can be unkind at times, Dalinar knows that Sadeas holds the good of Alethkar as his top priority as much as he does. It is situations like this that Dalinar knows that he can trust Sadeas in his goal of uniting the highprinces. Dalinar continues to try and use other means to try and manipulate the other highprinces to follow Elhokar.

Dalinar promises Renarin that he will give him a set of Shardplate as soon as he has one to spare.

Dalinar in uniform by User: Sheep

He suggests to Elhokar that they withdraw from the Shattered Plains. Like Adolin, Elhokar is horrified at the suggestion and is alarmed at what his uncle is thinking. Dalinar changes tack, stating that they have lingered on the Plains for far too long and that they need a new strategy to defeat the Parshendi. He asks Elhokar to make him the Highprince of War so he might have the power to enforce changes in the other warcamps. Elhokar refuses to give him the title unless Dalinar can prove that it's possible for the highprinces to productively work together.[11]

Adolin tells Dalinar that the girth strap on Elhokar's saddle was cut after all, but it's not clear whether it was an accident or not. They decide that Elhokar is being paranoid but they know they can't rule out his suspicions. Dalinar has had a fit in front of men for the first time, one where he meets pair of Knights Radiant, but refuses to be ashamed. He claims it's good for his men to actually see it for themselves instead of believing rumors. Almost right after this, Elhokar publicly announces that there is a plot on his life, and that based on the evidence of the cut girth strap, he is naming Sadeas to be the Highprince of Information to investigate the assassins. This allows Sadeas as much power as Dalinar would have had as Highprince of War; it is a direct snub by Elhokar for refusing to take the attempt on his life seriously.[26]

Dalinar's first overtures of partnership with some of the other highprinces are rejected. Adolin is upset at what just happened and suspects Sadeas will try something. He argues with Dalinar and tells him that the visions are just nonsense. Dalinar instead goes to listen to a reading of The Way of Kings, and wonders if Adolin is right. The reading is interrupted by a chasmfiend sighting. For once, Dalinar agrees to go chase it, and Adolin succeeds in retrieving the gemheart. Dalinar looks east from their plateau when he sees a Parshendi wearing Shardplate.

Later he finds out that eight of the highprinces have refused to go on a joint assault with him, only leaving Sadeas to partner with. Dalinar is disturbed by his failure in this, and at the changes in himself. He confides his feelings in Navani, who has recently arrived at the Plains, and confesses that he is going to abdicate to Adolin. She disagrees and encourages him to stay the course.[22]

He accepts this. Soon after, another highstorm passes, and he has a vision while Navani attends. In this vision, he meets Nohadon, and wonders why the author of a book promoting a way of peace says that now only the sword is needed. When he comes back to himself, Navani proves his visions to be real when she recognizes what Dalinar has been speaking during the visions is the Dawnchant, a long dead language that Dalinar couldn't have known.[27] Knowing that the visions are real bolsters Dalinar's confidence, and he knows for certain now that his task is true. He must unite the princes and he knows he can trust Sadeas.

Battle of the Tower

Dalinar and Sadeas set out on their joint expedition. They use Sadeas' method of crossing chasms, a point of contention between them because Dalinar thinks they waste too many lives. When they start fighting the Parshendi on a distant plateau, Sadeas pulls his troops and bridges out, leaving Dalinar, Adolin, and the whole Kholin army surrounded by the Parshendi, stranded with no way out. Adolin yells that he had told Dalinar not to trust Sadeas and Dalinar agrees. They are fighting a losing battle, waiting until they die. Dalinar squares off against the Parshendi Shardbearer, but he is losing.

Well, you've shown me something today, Sadeas – shown it to me by the very act of trying to remove me. . . You've shown me that I'm still a threat.
— Dalinar to Sadeas after the Battle of the Tower[8]

Things are looking hopeless for them when a single bridge crew, Bridge Four led by Kaladin, returns and saves them. The bridge offers the army a way off of the plateau and Kaladin is able to fight off enough of the Parshendi enough to allow Dalinar, Adolin, and the remains of the Kholin army to escape.[28][29][30] Dalinar promises Kaladin that he'll free him and his crew from Sadeas.[30] They all return to the warcamp to confront Sadeas.

When Sadeas refuses to sell the bridgemen to Dalinar, Dalinar offers his Shardblade, Oathbringer, in payment instead. Sadeas accepts.[8] Dalinar appoints Kaladin as the captain of all the bridgemen who will be trained as soldiers to replenish the Kholin army.[31] Bridge Four is appointed as the honor guard for Dalinar and his family. Dalinar also gives Kaladin his cloak, to mark him as a Kholin soldier and even part of his family.[31] Dalinar also gives his son Renarin his Shardplate.[8] By relinquishing both of his Shards, Dalinar keeps his promises to Kaladin and Renarin, proving himself an honorable man.

Dalinar realizes that the assassination attempt on Elhokar was a fabrication and he confronts his nephew. The king admits cutting his own girth strap, but he maintains that he had nothing to do with the weakened gemstones in his Shardplate.[8] Dalinar emphasizes his loyalty to his nephew by attacking and then not killing Elhokar, stating his love for him and his desire to protect him. Dalinar unequivocally orders Elhokar to name him the Highprince of War and Elhokar agrees to do it. Dalinar also informs Elhokar that he is now in a relationship with Navani, Elhokar's mother, and that he should get used to it.

In the next highstorm, Dalinar experiences another vision in which he realizes that the Almighty, who had spoken to him in his visions has all this time been unable to hear what Dalinar was saying.[32] Dalinar realizes that he had misinterpreted the visions and that the Almighty had not been calling him to specifically unite Alethkar or specifically to trust Sadeas. The Almighty's words in the visions were a recording and not a conversation with him. The Almighty said to Dalinar that he, God, was dead and that Odium had killed him.[32]

Refounding of the Knights Radiant (1173 - )

The Start

Dalinar and Navani in a highstorm by User: Sheep

Dalinar plans, in his capacity as Highprince of War, to unify Alethkar and refound the Knights Radiant.[33] Navani has begun staying with him while he has his visions so she can record them and translate what Dalinar says. After such a vision, Dalinar goes to bed, and when he awakes the next morning, he finds glyphs scratched onto his wall: Sixty-two days. Death follows.

Kaladin, as Dalinar's bodyguard, is embarrassed that someone managed to sneak into Dalinar's room and write such a threatening message. Dalinar doesn't blame Kaladin in the least, and in fact makes note that he trusts Kaladin significantly.[33] He sends Kaladin away, assuring him that this message is a small matter. Navani wonders why Dalinar seems to know what it means, and Dalinar responds that it simply means he has very little time. Dalinar doesn't tell anyone that he suspects he'd somehow written those glyphs himself without knowing it.[34]

Dalinar brings together a small group composed of Navani, Elhokar, Adolin, Renarin, Kaladin, and his top general, Khal and Khal's wife, Teshav. Dalinar had just released a proclamation stating that all gemhearts won in battle now belong to the king and the wealth will be apportioned at the Crown's discretion. This proclamation was made in order to re-focus the highprinces' attention on the war and not on gaining wealth. Dalinar did this also knowing that it would enrage the highprinces and possibly set them against him. He nonetheless deemed the proclamation a necessary action. He wants the highprinces angry, to remind them of why they came to the Shattered Plains in the first place.[4]

The next thing he announces is that he intends to disarm the highprinces (making them more malleable) by having Adolin begin dueling. He had previously forbidden Adolin from dueling, as it goes against the Codes for an officer to duel during wartime, but this time Adolin would be duelling for others' Shardblades and Shardplates.

Lastly, when prompted on his endgame, Dalinar states his intention to refound the Radiants. He isn't sure why exactly he needs to refound the Radiants, but he knows he only has about sixty days to do it.

In this meeting, though not everyone agrees with him, Dalinar commands the respect of the room. Kaladin notes that he is acting like a king even when Elhokar is present.[4]

Dalinar Tries Again

The first highprince Dalinar approaches is Aladar. He approaches Aladar in person while Adolin leads the Kholin troops into battle to help Aladar's army. Aladar is unhappy with him, citing that Dalinar's proclamation hurt him, but Dalinar has none of it. He threatens Aladar with reminding him what happened to another highprince, Highprince Yenev, when Yenev refused to accept the unification of Alethkar. Dalinar offers advice on the battlefield below where they're talking, and though his advice wins Aladar the battle, Aladar still refuses to side with him.[34]

After another highstorm and vision from the Almighty, Kaladin speaks to Dalinar. He tells Dalinar about what happened to him in Amaram's army, namely that he had won a Shardblade in battle, but Amaram had stolen it from him and sold Kaladin into slavery. As Amaram is an old friend of Dalinar's, and now staying at the Shattered Plains, Dalinar doesn't quite believe Kaladin. He asks for proof, citing his experience of Amaram's character as honorable.[35]

Almost right after, someone tries to assassinate Elhokar. Dalinar and Kaladin discuss it, namely that the attempt was extremely clumsy and was done by someone with a Shardblade. Dalinar re-states his trust in Kaladin, and warns him that there will be more assassination attempts, and something worse – the Everstorm.[36]

The Assassin in White

Szeth comes after Dalinar on the night of another highstorm. Dalinar, Adolin, and Kaladin go to fight him. Szeth handles them with ease. Dalinar shouts that he will never let Szeth take Elhokar's life, but Szeth says he is here to kill Dalinar. Szeth swings his Blade down and Dalinar catches it in his hands, a maneuver known as the lastclap, giving Kaladin enough time to tackle Szeth out of the palace.[37]

At a meeting with the other highprinces, Dalinar offers a place to Shallan Davar, the young woman who is in a causal betrothal arrangement with his son, Adolin. She refuses, explaining that she already has a place in Highprince Sebarial's warcamp. Dalinar and the other princes discuss the Assassin, but Dalinar dismisses their arguments, stating that the Assassin is essentially unstoppable. Therefore the best course of action is to try and stop the reason for the war. Since the Parshendi were the ones who hired Szeth last time, Dalinar suggests going to the Parshendi to discuss terms of peace. Adolin had been receiving requests from the Parshendi in that regard already. Dalinar announces his plan to meet the Parshendi and either agree on peace or defeat them.[38]

Preparing for the Storm

Though Dalinar doesn't want to send Adolin to meet the Parshendi, Adolin argues that Dalinar is the most important man around. Dalinar cannot be risked.[39] Adolin meets the Parshendi Shardbearer, Eshonai, and pretends to be Dalinar. He communicates with Dalinar from a distance via spanreed so that his answers sound like his father. Eshonai makes clear that the Parshendi will not deal for peace, and will make an assault on the Alethi later. Though this means Dalinar has a lot of work to do to get an army together that can face the Parshendi, his conscience is now clear. He tells Adolin to win more dueling matches, to gather as many Shards as possible before this battle with the Parshendi.[39]

As part of his preparations, Dalinar publicly announces that he is refounding the Knights Radiant and places Brightlord Amaram at their head.[40]

That night, Adolin is to fight a duel against multiple opponents to try and win more Shards. At the arena, there are four combatants for Adolin to fight instead of the implied two. Dalinar is close to going in to back Adolin up, but he has no Plate or Blade to use. Renarin jumps into the fight armed with only a Blade and no Plate. Dalinar shouts at the crowd, asking someone to help his sons, but no one answers, including Amaram. Kaladin walks in and joins the fight to help Adolin and Renarin.[41]

With Kaladin's help, the fight is won. The king offers Adolin a boon, but Kaladin takes the opportunity to challenge Amaram. Elhokar demands Kaladin's life for the insult, but Dalinar defends him, stating that if Elhokar executes Kaladin, then he'll have made an enemy of Dalinar. Afterwards, Dalinar reprimands Kaladin, and orders him to accept the time in prison Elhokar compromised on. He blames Kaladin for losing them their chance to move against Sadeas, but thanks him for saving his sons' lives. [42]

Dalinar visits Kaladin in prison, letting him know Elhokar will release him soon. He explains some of Elhokar's actions, including that of exiling Brightlord Roshone - not aware that Roshone is responsible for the death of Kaladin's brother, Tien. Dalinar tells Kaladin that though his feelings are not misplaced, the only way he's going to change things is by being a leader beyond reproach.[43]

The Expedition Sets Off

With only days to go before the Everstorm comes as predicted by the glyphs on his walls, Dalinar is trying to gather as many allies as possible for the excursion into the Plains. He goes to speak with some highprinces at a party, but at the party he finds someone has been spreading around papers which are accounts of his visions, with the purpose of humiliating and discrediting him. They are Navani's words of the accounts but twisted to mock him. Navani is upset that her own words are being used to hurt Dalinar, but Dalinar takes it in stride. He stands up on a table and declares that what the sheets say is true, more or less. He tells everyone there that his visions will vindicate him, and he is eager to speak with everyone present about it. He spends the rest of the party speaking with interested parties, ignoring outright mockery but engaging the crowds trying to get support for the battle with the Parshendi.[44]

Afterwards he speaks with Wit. Wit tells him that he is a tyrant, though he doesn't denounce Dalinar for it. Dalinar laments this, explaining that even a benevolent tyrant isn't what Roshar needs right now. When he and Gavilar tried to unify Alethkar years ago, they did it with force, and Dalinar is realizing now that they didn't succeed – they only showed the other highprinces that strength was the right of rule.[44]

The expedition gets started. Dalinar visits an injured Kaladin, previously missing down in the chasms of the Shattered Plains. During their conversation, Dalinar thinks he sees something about Kaladin, and he wonders if Kaladin is the one he's been waiting for. Kaladin denies it.[45] Dalinar takes Amaram to meet Kaladin. He asks Amaram if the stories Kaladin had told are true, and Amaram denies it. Dalinar then demands that Amaram apologize to Kaladin, going so far as to hold a Shardblade to Amaram's throat.[46]

As it turns out, Dalinar had devised a test to see if Amaram was who Kaladin claimed he was. Dalinar knew Amaram had lied to him. He's forced to let Amaram go, even though he and Kaladin know he's a murderer. They plan on retrieving Amaram later.

The Battle at Stormseat

The expedition sets off, and Dalinar has three supporters: Roion, Sebarial, and Aladar. Dalinar speaks with them, stating his trust in them. The four armies set out just as the Weeping begins.

On the way, Shallan has co-opted the scribes and mapmakers, with Navani's help, for the purpose of finding the lost city of Urithiru. While discussing the Knights Radiant, Shallan suggests that Dalinar's task may not have been to refound the Knights Radiant, but to gather them. She reveals her Lightweaving abilities, and Dalinar cries in awe. Dalinar tries to give her leadership over the Knights Radiant, but she refuses. He tells her that she reminds him of Jasnah, his deceased niece and her mentor. She gives him hope for the future, that he might truly be able to change the world in the right way.[47]

A Parshendi surrenders to the Alethi armies, one named Rlain, previously known as Shen, who had worked in Bridge Four. Rlain had disappeared a while back, but admits now that he was a Parshendi spy. Rlain tells Dalinar that the Parshendi are no more, and have been replaced with their ancient gods. Dalinar promises to help, and asks Rlain to speak to Shallan and give her the directions to the Parshendi city.[48] They march and by the day of the glyph's warnings, arrive near to the Parshendi city and where Shallan thinks the Oathgate is.

On the next day, Dalinar and his soldiers see Parshendi on the plateau next to them, lined up with glowing red eyes. Dalinar tells Shallan to find the way to Urithiru at all costs, as that is their only hope of retreat if things go wrong. He gives Roion, Aladar, and Sebarial their orders, bolstering them as needed. Dalinar's plan changes when Rlain tells him the song the Parshendi are singing must be stopped – they attack immediately. [49]

The battle starts in earnest, and the Parshendi's song begins stirring up a storm. Dalinar hears a voice talking to him, recognizing it as the Almighty's voice. This is the first time he's heard the voice in his waking hours, outside of visions. [49] Dalinar asks him who he is, since the Almighty claims he is dead, but the voice says he is not the Almighty, but something left behind of Him – a sliver of God. This voice, the Stormfather, tells Dalinar he is sorry that Dalinar will die here, and that this is the end of the visions.[50]

Dalinar receives word that Shallan has found the entrance to Urithiru and orders all troops to evacuate there immediately.[51] Before he can follow, Szeth appears. Dalinar tries to convince Szeth to leave, but quickly realizes that Szeth is not in his right mind. They begin fighting, but as before, Szeth is too much for him. Roion tries to help Dalinar, but is quickly killed. Using his powers over gravity, Szeth sends Dalinar shooting up into the sky, ensuring his death by letting him fall from a great height. He is rescued at the last second by Kaladin, who uses his new powers as a Windrunner to lower Dalinar safely back to the ground.[51][52] Dalinar knows now that Kaladin is what he has been looking for all this time.

Dalinar gets everyone to the plateau where the gateway to Urithiru is. Shallan gets the Oathgate to work and teleports everyone on the plateau to Urithiru. There, he goes to the rooftop of the city's tower and tries to speak with the Stormfather again. The Stormfather answers, but doesn't want to help Dalinar at all. The Stormfather was required by the Almighty to share the visions, but the Stormfather is angry at humanity for killing spren in the past. Dalinar doesn't give up and demands a bond with him. The Stormfather grudgingly acquiesces, though has no hope for Dalinar's chances of success at defeating Odium. Dalinar is now a Bondsmith, one who brings men together.[6]

I will unite instead of divide, Stormfather. I will bring men together.
— Dalinar's second Oath as Bondsmith[6]

He goes back to Kaladin, Shallan, and Renarin, the other Radiants that he knows of. He warns them that the Everstorm is coming, and it will change the parshmen into those red-eyed Parshendi they know are Voidbringers. His task now is try and save as many people as possible for when that happens.[6]

Uniting Roshar

Now that he has bonded with the Stormfather, Dalinar can freely revisit the visions to try and learn more about the previous desolations.[53]

He marries Navani through oaths sworn to the Stormfather, thus further angering the ardentia. [2]

After the Everstorm has raged over Roshar, he contacts different monarchs and leaders (like the Emperor of Azir, The Queen of Thaylenah and King Taravangian of Kharbranth and Jah Keved) to form a coalition against the voidbringers, without much success.[54]

Attributes and Abilities

Dalinar's Calling is to be a leader, and his chosen Glory is determination.[11] His devotary is the Order of Talenelat.[55]

House Kholin

Dalinar is the head of the Kholin household. His nephew, Elhokar Kholin, is an exception, as Elhokar is in the royal line and thus above and outside Dalinar's authority. The Kholin family is made up of his sons Adolin and Renarin, his sister-in-law Navani, and his niece Jasnah. As highprince of the Kholin princedom, Dalinar owns all of the land belonging to the Kholin princedom.

Kholin Army

Dalinar is also the head of the Kholin army. Though he is the commander of the whole Kholin army, he often gives leadership over battles and other aspects to his son, Adolin.

Within the Kholin army is the Cobalt Guard, the honor guard of the members of the Kholin house.


Since Dalinar began reading The Way of Kings, he has experienced visions during every highstorm. These visions feel real to him.[56] He experiences these visions as himself, but seems to take on a role of a real person - other people in the visions see him as someone else, not as an outsider. In every vision, Dalinar hears a voice speaking to him, a voice he believes to be the Almighty. This voice speaks cryptically, not answering Dalinar's questions, and commanding him to "unite them". This is probably because the visions function more as pre-recorded experiences than interactable activities.

These visions are disturbing to watch from the outside, and he speaks other languages for their duration. At first, Dalinar and his household thought he was speaking gibberish,[57] but Navani recognizes what he speaks as the Dawnchant. That is a language Dalinar was never taught, and thus couldn't be speaking unless the visions were real.

At the Battle of Narak, the Stormfather told Dalinar he would receive no more visions. [6] Though now that he is bonded to the Stormfather, he can replay past visions at will during Highstorms. He can even bring in other people to share the vision with him, as long as they are inside a Highstorm at the time.


Dalinar has a Nahel bond with the Stormfather, the spren of the Almighty, and the personification of storms and the divine. His Surges are Tension and Adhesion. Adhesion allows the Surgebinder to bind objects together, and Tension grants the Surgebinder power over Soft Axial Connections.

Like all Surgebinders, Dalinar can draw or breathe in Stormlight, which gives him superhuman strength, speed, and healing capabilities. As a Bondsmith, Dalinar is able to unite inanimate objects and Connect to people. Dalinar Connected to an Azish ambassador and was able to then speak and understand Azish.[Citation needed]

Shardwielding (formerly)

Before giving them up, Dalinar possessed a set of Shardplate and a Shardblade named Oathbringer. He is considered extremely skilled at using them.[10]


I have spent too much of my time worrying about what people think, Navani. When I thought my time had arrived, I realized that all my worrying had been wasted. In the end, I was pleased with how I had lived my life.
— Dalinar to Navani about their relationship[8]
So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.
— Dalinar to Kaladin[8]
I have been treating the other highprinces and their lighteyes like adults. An adult can take a principle and adapt it to his needs. But we're not ready for that yet. We're children. And when you're teaching a child, you require him to do what is right until he grows old enough to make his own choices.
— Dalinar to Elhokar[8]


See Also


  1. Oathbringer chapter 16
  2. a b Oathbringer chapter 4
  3. a b /r/Stormlight_Archive - Peter Ahlstrom
    Arcanum - 2017-09-21#
  4. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 5
  5. Brandon saying "Dalinar" at a reading
    — YouTube - 2018-11-25#
  6. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 89
  7. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 12
  8. a b c d e f g h The Way of Kings chapter 69
  9. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 15
  10. a b The Way of Kings chapter 13
  11. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 18
  12. Oathbringer chapter 3
  13. a b Oathbringer chapter 19
  14. Oathbringer chapter 11
  15. Oathbringer chapter 26
  16. Oathbringer chapter 36
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 49
  18. Oathbringer chapter 52
  19. Oathbringer chapter 66
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 42
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 64
  22. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 28
  23. The Way of Kings prologue
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 26
  25. The Way of Kings chapter 24
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 22
  27. The Way of Kings chapter 60
  28. The Way of Kings chapter 66
  29. The Way of Kings chapter 67
  30. a b The Way of Kings chapter 68
  31. a b The Way of Kings chapter 73
  32. a b The Way of Kings chapter 75
  33. a b Words of Radiance chapter 4
  34. a b Words of Radiance chapter 8
  35. Words of Radiance chapter 22
  36. Words of Radiance chapter 23
  37. Words of Radiance chapter 32
  38. Words of Radiance chapter 38
  39. a b Words of Radiance chapter 51
  40. Words of Radiance chapter 55
  41. Words of Radiance chapter 56
  42. Words of Radiance chapter 58
  43. Words of Radiance chapter 62
  44. a b Words of Radiance chapter 67
  45. Words of Radiance chapter 75
  46. Words of Radiance chapter 76
  47. Words of Radiance chapter 78
  48. Words of Radiance chapter 79
  49. a b Words of Radiance chapter 81
  50. Words of Radiance chapter 82
  51. a b Words of Radiance chapter 85
  52. Words of Radiance chapter 86
  53. Oathbringer chapter 1
  54. Oathbringer chapter 12
  55. The Way of Kings chapter 54
  56. The Way of Kings chapter 19
  57. The Way of Kings chapter 52
  58. It's Here
    Brandon's website - 2010-8-31#
  59. Will Hoid be reappearing in Words of Radiance?
    Theoryland - 2013-09-24#
  60. Projects in Depth: The Way of Kings
    Writing Excuses - 2012-06-10#
  61. a b The Way of Kings Prime chapter 1
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