Diagram (group)

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Diagram (group)
World of Origin Roshar
Universe Cosmere
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The Diagram is the name of a covert group that is devoted to understanding and carrying out the instructions found in the Diagram. The Diagram is led by Taravangian and has members in hiding all over Roshar. The group is ruthless, willing to kill directly, or indirectly, as many as necessary to achieve its goals.


King Taravangian of Kharbranth was once a confidant of King Gavilar of Alethkar, and was aware of the latter's visions warning about the Everstorm and the True Desolation. Wanting to have the capacity to save Roshar from this, Taravangian went to the Nightwatcher to ask for the necessary compassion and acumen. His boon was to have the potential for great compassion and the potential for great acumen, but his curse was to have these attributes change in level every day and to be inversely proportional to each other.[1] This means that there are days when Taravangian has genius level intelligence but is callous, and days when he is highly compassionate but relatively stupid.

One day, Taravangian woke up at a level of intelligence so high that he was able to deduce from current happenings the likely future course of events, and devised a plan to save humanity from the True Desolation. He scribbled these ideas and calculations all over his bedroom walls and furniture. His writings were later copied down into what is now known as the Diagram.[2]

Now far less intelligent than he was on that fateful day, Taravangian needed help in deciphering and interpreting his own writings. He started collecting a group of trusted people to share this task, as well as to implement plans based on these interpretations. This group named themselves the Diagram after the book.


Interpretation of Diagram[edit]

The senior members of the Diagram, including Taravangian himself, spend much of their time interpreting the Diagram and coming up with strategies to implement it. Because much of the original Diagram was written in opaque ways, including codes, diagrams, poetry, and made-up languages, the Diagram must sometimes first be translated into plain speech, sometimes multiple times.[3] Diagram members sometimes disagree as to the course of action prescribed by the Diagram.

Testing the King[edit]

Knowing that his fluctuating intelligence and compassion could hinder his decision-making ability, Taravangian set up a system that will legally restrict some of his own rights depending on the result of a written test that he would take daily. This system is enforced by the King's Testers headed by Dukar, and often assisted by other stormwardens who are also presumably members of the Diagram. Adrotagia and Mrall have also observed the king's testing, as well as his room maid Maben. The results of this test determine which activities Taravangian is allowed to perform for the day, like offering binding commentary on the Diagram, interacting with other people without supervision, changing governmental policy, and passing judgement in trials.[2]

The test consists of an increasingly difficult series of math problems, designed by Taravangian on a day of high intelligence and occasionally expanded upon as needed, with the king's abilities determined by how he performs. His decisions will be restricted for the day if he performs too badly (because he is too unintelligent), but also if he performs too well (because he is too uncompassionate).

Adrotagia has used the data from Taravangian's test scores to show that his intelligence varies according to a statistical normal curve. From her calculations, she believes that another day of brilliance would be unlikely to occur more than once in two thousand years.[2]

Unfortunately, Taravangian has been caught cheating on his own test by claiming to be unable to solve a problem, when he was really able to, in order not to be restricted for performing too well.[4] How this affects Adrotagia's calculations and how the Diagram members plan to handle cheating in the future remains to be seen, but the daily tests apparently continued afterwards.[1]

The Silent Gatherers and the Collection of Death Rattles[edit]

Main article: Death Rattle

One phenomenon predicted by the Diagram was the existence of Death Rattles, prophecies of the future uttered by the dying through the influence of Moelach.

Taravangian instituted a program of collecting these Death Rattles from selected hospital patients (the terminally ill, the lowly, and the forgotten) who are slowly and intentionally bled to death solely for this purpose.[5] Those who participate in this operation are called the Silent Gatherers.[6] Their leader is Joshor, and an ardent named Dova is also important in their research.

During the succesion battle in Jah Keved, Adrotagia reported to Taravangian that the number of Death Rattles was continuing to drop, down to two or less per day.[7] Later in Urithiru, Adrotagia reports that Moelach has settled in the Horneater Peaks. Joshor is on his way there, hoping to reestablish access to the Death Rattles.[8]

Search for Dustbringers[edit]

The Diagram predicted that the Order of Dustbringers would be most likely to ally with the Diagram, though obtaining a Radiant was not guaranteed in the text. Taravangian implemented a program among its lower members to attempt to bond an ashspren. It is unknown what steps this involved. Malata was the first to succeed.[8]

Assassination of Leaders[edit]

The Diagram mentioned the possibility of finding or creating a Shin Truthless who they could use as a weapon.[9] It is unclear whether the Diagram was involved in the events that led to Szeth becoming a Truthless, but one of Taravangian's men (a worldhopper)[10] did eventually obtain possession of the Oathstone and ordered the Shin man who possessed Jezrien's Honorblade to assassinate numerous world leaders.[11]

Obeying the holder of his Oathstone, Szeth killed many of Roshar's royalty and anyone else who stood in his way. The final person he was assigned to assassinate was Dalinar Kholin, uncle to King Elhokar of Alethkar and Highprince of Kholinar.[12] Dalinar had been trying to unite the highprinces of Alethkar, which Taravangian felt was a threat to the Diagram's command that Taravangian should rule all of Roshar.[13]

Szeth found Dalinar in the Alethi warcamps, but the highprince, with the aid of his guard Kaladin Stormblessed, managed to survive the attack. Seeing Kaladin use Stormlight to heal a Shardblade wound caused Szeth to flee.

Takeover of Jah Kaved[edit]

Taravangian had used Szeth to kill the King of Jah Keved and several Veden highprinces, creating a power vacuum and a succession crisis. The surviving Veden highprinces vied for the throne and were killed in a brutal civil war. Taravangian went to Vedenar posing as a benevolent foreign king bringing aid to the war-torn city, as the Diagram instructed him to.[7] Taravangian had created a false genealogy showing he had a legitimate claim to the Jah Keved throne, which would be conveniently discovered by his scribes after a week.

But Highprince Valam found out about this plot and chose to make Taravangian his heir outright. This unpredicted turn of events, along with the fact that the Diagram had predicted 6 factions fighting instead of 7 and Szeth's arrival to announce his fight with Kaladin, made Taravangian worry about the future accuracy of the Diagram.[7]

Graves's Conspiracy[edit]

Graves was an Alethi Shardbearer and a member of the Diagram. According to his interpretation of a part of the Diagram, they needed to ally themselves with Highprince Dalinar Kholin, and that the way to do this was to make Dalinar king of Alethkar by assassinating King Elhokar.[14]

Graves, Moash, Danlan, and Rill[15][16] conspired together and attempted to stage an accident wherein Elhokar would fall to his death from a balcony. This plan failed when the king managed to hold on to part of a railing and was saved by his guards.[17]

Later on, they tried to recruit Kaladin to their side. Kaladin had been investigating the matter and discovered Moash's part in it, and so Graves attempted to convince him that Elhokar was a bad king who deserved to be replaced. Kaladin did not report them to authorities but refused to assist Graves.[16] When the conspirators had another opportunity to assassinate the king, this time through direct physical assault, Kaladin had a change of heart and saved Elhokar from them.[18]

As they fled the Alethi warcamps, Graves wondered whether his interpretation had been wrong, or if he was simply too slow.[14] Fleeing across the Frostlands with Moash, Febrth, and Fia, he was attacked and killed by Fused using Voidlight, though Moash survived.[19]

Second Assassination Attempt on Dalinar[edit]

Even though Graves believed that Dalinar was vital to their cause, he still obeyed the Diagram's orders to keep Kaladin from guarding the highprince[14] so that Szeth, who had been sent once again to assassinate Dalinar, would not realize that Kaladin was a Knight Radiant. Taravangian believed that Szeth would turn on him and the rest of the Diagram if he found out that the Knights Radiant have returned, as this was connected to how Szeth became Truthless.[2]

On the day that Kaladin was saving Elhokar in the warcamps, Szeth arrived in Narak, where Dalinar had been commanding the Alethi armies against stormform listeners who were summoning the Everstorm. Dalinar bravely fought against the assassin, but proved to be no match for him. Several soldiers, Bridge Four members, and even Highprince Roion died trying to protect Dalinar, who was then finally struck with a Lashing that sent him up in the sky.[20]

Szeth intended Dalinar to fall to his death when the Stormlight ran out, but Kaladin had arrived just in time, flying in haste all the way from the warcamps, to save the highprince. The two of them then fought as the others escaped to Urithiru. Kaladin managed to defeat Szeth, unwittingly handing the Diagram another heavy loss. Szeth was later revived by Nalan, but he no longer considered himself under Taravangian's orders.[21]

Undermining of Dalinar's Leadership[edit]

As the True Desolation brought about by the Everstorm started, Taravangian was the first ruler to join Dalinar's coalition in Urithiru.[22] On a day of very high intelligence, he re-evaluated his interpretations of the Diagram regarding Dalinar and decided that replacing him as the leader of the coalition would be their best course of action. In order to do this, they set out to find secrets that would undermine Dalinar's leadership.[4]

Through espionage and research, they discovered three secrets:

  • That Roshar had originally been inhabited only by the Dawnsingers, who were not humans but parshmen, and that the first Desolation was caused by humans who came from another world. This called into question what the coalition was fighting for, as the parshmen clearly saw humans as the invaders.
  • That King Elhokar had sworn allegiance to Dalinar as highking.[23] The Diagram tried to imply that the Alethi had imperial ambitions, although the king merely wanted a way to save face after having to follow his uncle on so many things.
  • That Dalinar had visions that involved talking to Odium, visions that he hid from the public.[24] Again, they tried to twist a fact into something that would cast Dalinar in a different light. This time, they made it seem like he was fraternizing with the enemy.

They released all three secrets to the public at the same time, causing the coalition to break apart.[25]

Alliance with Odium[edit]

The Diagram predicted that Taravangian will have a confrontation with Odium. While the Battle of Thaylen Field was occurring, Taravangian decided to attract the attention of the god by having Malata open the Veden Oathgate for a singer strike force to enter and attack Urithiru. He also had a Diagram agent steal Jezrien's Honorblade.[26][27]

Soon after, during the passing of the Everstorm and on a day of low intelligence, the predicted confrontation happened. Odium isolated Taravangian from the others and interrogated him. Taravangian then offered to ally the Diagram with Odium in exchange for his promise to save the people of Kharbranth. Odium accepted the offer, and specifically agreed to save anyone born in the city as well as their spouses. Taravangian gave the stolen Honorblade to Odium's forces afterwards.[1]

Disbanding of the Diagram[edit]

A year later, Taravangian distanced himself from Kharbranth and his fellow Diagram members in preparation of being contacted by Odium, who commanded him to have his forces betray Dalinar's on their campaign in Emul. He disbanded the Diagram prior to the betrayal of the coalition of monarchs in Emul.[28] He recommended that middling members who "knew too much" should not be released back into the general population and should instead be sent on long "secret quests" to distant locations.

Notable Members[edit]


  1. a b c Oathbringer chapter 122#
  2. a b c d Words of Radiance interlude I-14#
  3. Words of Radiance chapter 87 epigraph#
  4. a b Oathbringer interlude I-5#
  5. The Way of Kings chapter 71#
  6. The Way of Kings endnote#
  7. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-14#
  8. a b Oathbringer chapter 107#
  9. Words of Radiance chapter 78 epigraph#
  10. a b YouTube Spoiler Stream 4
    Arcanum - 2022-06-16#
  11. a b The Way of Kings interlude I-6#
  12. Words of Radiance chapter 71#
  13. Words of Radiance chapter 80 epigraph#
  14. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 87#
  15. Words of Radiance chapter 44#
  16. a b Words of Radiance chapter 46#
  17. Words of Radiance chapter 23#
  18. Words of Radiance chapter 84#
  19. Oathbringer chapter 43#
  20. Words of Radiance chapter 85#
  21. Words of Radiance chapter 86#
  22. Oathbringer chapter 24#
  23. Oathbringer chapter 12#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 57#
  25. Oathbringer chapter 111#
  26. Oathbringer interlude I-14#
  27. Oathbringer chapter 120#
  28. Rhythm of War interlude I-3#
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