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Gavilar Kholin

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Gavilar Kholin
King Gavilar.jpg
by Grant M. Hansen
House Kholin
Spouse Navani
Children Elhokar, Jasnah
Parents Dalinar's father
Siblings Dalinar
Relatives Adolin, Renarin
Ancestors Sadees
Descendants Gavinor
Born ?[citation needed]
Died Tanat ? 1167[1][2][3]
Abilities Shardbearer
Titles King of Alethkar
Groups Sons of Honor
Nationality Alethi
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

We live without honor, for your gods once brought ours. Without them, we have no power. This world is trapped, Eshonai! Stuck in a dull, lifeless state of transition. Unite them. I need a threat. Only danger will unite them.

— Gavilar to Eshonai about bringing back the Parshendi's old gods[3]

Gavilar Kholin (Alethi pronunciation: [ˈga·vɪ·ˌlar koˈlɪn] GAH-vi-lar ko-LIN)[4] was the King of Alethkar, a nation on Roshar, who was assassinated by Szeth under the orders of the Parshendi. He was the brother of Dalinar Kholin and married to Navani Kholin, with whom he had two children, Elhokar and Jasnah.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

My husband was an excellent king -- an inspiring leader, an unparalleled duelist, and a genius of battlefield tactics. But he didn't have a single scholarly finger on his left hand. He never showed an interest in the accounting of highstorms, was bored by talk of science, and ignored fabrials unless they had an obvious use in battle. He was a man built after the classical masculine ideal.

— Extract from Navani on her book.[5]

Gavilar is an ambitious man who is obsessed with the rise of House Kholin and overshadowing the Sunmaker and his legacy.[6] He wants to lead a sustainable kingdom and doesn't overlook responsibility. He is very knowledgeable of history; he has theories on why Sunmaker’s kingdom did not stand as well as knowledge on the history of some blades including Oathbringer that would eventually be Dalinar's.[6] He is known for his political skill for making alliances[7] and is more inclined on tricking the enemy to turn against each other;[6] however he is doesn’t feel guilty if his strategy included village pillaging or brutal killing[8] as his best friend and trusted adviser Torol Sadeas would push for.[9]

Gavilar looks regal with his beard combed, glowing gemstones on the fingers and a uniform of newer styles.[7] He has strong features, a square chin, a black beard with a hint of white, and pale green eyes.[1] He has a set of bright blue Shardplate,[6] which he often lends to others in favor of wearing a modern suit, and wears a black iron circlet as crown.[10]


Early Life[edit]

Gavilar and Dalinar were born into a provincial branch of the Kholin family. His father was absent from his life and spent his time dueling. After their father suffered a permanent head injury in a duel, Gavilar took over a paternal role for his younger brother Dalinar, teaching him things like how to shave.[11] Gavilar was only fourth dahn, and not considered a serious contender for highprince. He conquered the Kholin princedom, killing some of his relatives and taking the title of highprince for himself.[12] From the start, Gavilar was supported by his brother. Dalinar would often introduce Gavilar to people he felt Gavilar should know. This led to some confusion when Gavilar was introduced by his brother Dalinar to Navani. Dalinar introduced them because he wished to court Navani himself, but Gavilar believed Dalinar intended him to court Navani with the introduction.[13]

Unification of Alethkar[edit]

Dalinar Kholin remembers the beginning of the war as he and Gavilar wanting "stuff" that others had and fighting to get the "stuff". Though Gavilar never refuted that beginning; by the battle on Rathalas, he was looking to build a Kingdom and wanted it to mean something.[7] This seems to be connected to the birth of his first child Jasnah.[6]

Gavilar, Sadeas and Dalinar led the war. Gavilar claimed the throne and his main role was making alliances; Torol Sadeas dealt with problems and Dalinar won battles.[7] It is implied that the war was won after several years of a very bloody war.

Gavilar was more inclined for a strategy that would turn each High Prince against each other. However, Sadeas pulled him towards brutality.[6] He does not seem to be concerned if his troops participated on village robbery and pillaging.[8] The last battle was against High Prince Kalandor who was pushed into battle by pillaging of their villages and killing all peacemakers.[8]

It was at the end of the war when Gavilar started talking of the Alethi Codes of War. It is implied that he started having Honor's visions given by the Stormfather.[7]

Ruling Alethkar[edit]

After winning the war, Gavilar took the throne as King of Alethkar. Quoting Sadeas, "He is exactly what we need" "Hard enough to lead a war; soft enough to be beloved during peace. He has foresight and wisdom".[14]

Gavilar did prove to be a proficient leader, he made sure the vision was towards a Unified Kingdom, and politics were the main tool for doing so. He wanted to ensure Elhokar would be able to hold it together without need of "putting out fires".[15]

He was not soft, but approached things different, using propaganda,[15] talking to heirs of the highprinces on civic projects, censured Dalinar and Sadeas on losing the Rift,[16] and even the initial approach towards rebels, trying to scare them by fighting on the borders.[10] Some highprinces considered this softness or weakness, but we know he was not soft; some examples are his disappointment on knowing Dalinar had spared the heir of Tanalan[15] or the way he talked of attacking Herdaz or Jah Keved.[10]

It was during this time that he was most committed to the Codes of War. He talked of the Radiants as truly great when Alethkar was looked up to.[10]

Gavilar and the Listeners[edit]

In approximately 1165, Gavilar and Dalinar made an expedition to the south of the Shattered Plains where they discovered the listeners, referred to by the humans as Parshendi. Dalinar, while scouting at a campsite, was the first to meet them. Although the other members of the expedition initially did not believe tales of intelligent parshmen, Eshonai's group came to the camp the next day. At first they couldn't believe parshmen could live on their own, but they found that these parshmen were friendly, curious and learned the Alethi language quite easily. Gavilar's stormwardens began calling them Parshendi. Although Gavilar had never before been scholarly, he grew more and more fascinated by the Parshendi. Despite Dalinar's attempts to return to Alethkar, Gavilar wanted to stay on the Shattered Plains to learn more about the Parshendi.[5] Gavilar's officers thought the Parshendi were savages, but Gavilar thought the Parshendi were "an enclave of memories. A window into the past."[3]

It's unknown why Gavilar made the treaty with the Parshendi. Many people believe it was because he knew the listeners had shardblades, but as a member of the Sons of Honor, Gavilar wished to start a Desolation to return the Heralds. He believed bringing back the Parshendi's old gods would benefit both the Parshendi and the humans, despite Eshonai's insistence that the Parshendi abandoned their gods. Even while witnessing her horror, he believed the Parshendi would be pleased that the Alethi were allies in seeking the return of their old gods.[3]


The night of his assassination, Gavilar was attending a feast celebrating a treaty with the listeners. Before the feast he spoke in the lower palace floor with five people, including Amaram and Taravangian. When he discovered that Eshonai had seen the meeting, he decided to speak to her about his plans. Gavilar wanted to bring back the listener's gods, the Unmade, and start a new Desolation. Despite Eshonai's protests to the contrary, he believed this would benefit everyone including the listeners. He then gave Eshonai a black sphere and asked her to take it to The Five and tell them what he had told her.[3]

At some point after the feast had been going for a while, Gavilar slipped into the hallway to speak privately with Amaram. It is not known what they discussed. His daughter, Jasnah, found them talking. He rebuked her for her contempt for the party and expressed an interested that she and Amaram become closer acquainted. When Amaram left, Gavilar refused to tell Jasnah what they were discussing and went back into the party.[2]

Tell…tell my brother…he must find the most important words a man can say….

—Gavilar's final words[1]

When Gavilar learned that Szeth was in the palace to assassinate him, he put on his shardplate and prepared to act as a bodyguard while Sadeas prepared to act as the fleeing king. Szeth initially fell for it, fighting him and leaving to pursue Sadeas after he temporarily incapacitates Gavilar. When Gavilar does not follow Szeth, however, Szeth realizes the ruse. he returns and continues fighting Gavilar. Gavilar's helm was shattered and his plate was damaged, but he managed to injure Szeth by punching his face. In order to finish the fight, Szeth lured Gavilar onto the balcony and broke it using lashings. A piece of wood gravely injured him by stabbing him in the side where his plate was damaged. As he was dying, Gavilar had a small, strange black sphere that he gave to Szeth and told him not to let some unknown group get it. He wished his brother to know the "most important words a man can say".[1] Szeth then proceeded to write in Alethi those words in Gavilar's blood on a wooden block, which was later deciphered by Jasnah Kholin. Dalinar then took this to mean the words of the Knights Radiant.[1]

At the end of his life, he believed he was being watched.[3] Gavilar expected an attempt on his life, but not by the Parshendi. His suspects included Thaidakar, Restares, and Torol Sadeas, despite being on apparent good terms with Sadeas at the time.[1] The Parshendi ordered his assassination because he was going to bring back the Parshendi's old gods,[3] although he never became aware of this reason.[1]


Gavilar the Majestic, first king of Alethkar in the new Kholin Dynasty, thirty-second highprince of the Kholin princedom, heir of the Sunmaker and blessed of the Almighty. His accomplishments will be lauded by all, and his dominion extends to the hereafter.

—Spoken at Gavilar's holy interment[17]

At Gavilar's holy interment, he was called by the ardent "Gavilar the Majestic" "First King of Alethkar under the new Kholin Dynasty, thirty-second highprince of the Kholin princedom, heir of the Sunmaker and blessed by the Almighty". His body was soulcasted and turned into a sculpture. At the interment, the Alethi highprinces swore the Vengeance Pact and would go on to fight the War of Reckoning to avenge his death.[17]

A number of works about Gavilar's life exist, including "Gavilar's Account"[18], dictated by Gavilar to Jasnah a year before his murder, "King Gavilar Kholin, A Biography"[5] by Navani, and "Matain's account".[5]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]


Gavilar's Shardblade, Firestorm[19], was six feet long with a design along the blade that resembled burning flames that "almost seemed to glow." Gavilar's plate is painted blue with gold bands around the edge of each plate. The helm has three waves of wings which are small and almost horn-like. People who see his plate consider it beautiful. Gavilar's skill in using the blade and plate can be matched by very few people.[1] Gavilar's Shards are now used for training purposes.[20]


Gavilar, on the day that he was slain, told Taravangian that he had seen visions of the Almighty and of a coming storm.[21]


House Kholin[edit]

There is not much information on Gavilar's family dynamics, but there are hints of complex relationships. There is a scene where Navani talked with passion on her spren research and he just ignored her.[15] Dalinar also suggests Gavilar deals with problems with young Jasnah with what he describes as her lunacy.[10] Gavilar felt affection for his brother Dalinar, but he tends to use people around him as tools to further his goals.[22]


Hopefully my accomplishments won’t be as ephemeral as his.

— Gavilar to Toh in reference to the Sunmaker. [7]

During his conquests and reign, Gavilar looked towards the Sunmaker for guidance. Although the Sunmaker is revered by most in Alethkar for creating a united empire, Gavilar has a more negative view of him. Gavilar blames the destruction of the Sunmaker's empire on his greed and inability to be satisfied with what he conquered. Gavilar hopes that he'll be able to create a longer-lasting empire and overshadow the Sunmaker in the minds of the people.[7] Despite his criticisms of the Sunmaker, Gavilar is willing to use his connection to him to his advantage. For example, Gavilar did not wish to wear a crown because the Sunmaker refused to.[10]

Sons of Honor[edit]

Although Gavilar was not in charge of the Sons of Honor, he was an influential member of the group. He was responsible for an expansion in the ranks of members, including bringing in Amaram.[23] He was an important enough member to have access to and knowledge of their plan to return the Voidbringers, including the black spheres.[3] Despite this, Gavilar suspected Restares, leader of the Sons of Honor, of his assassination, indicating that there might have been some conflict or suspicion between the two men.[1]


My people need to be united, and I need an empire that won't simply turn to infighting once I am gone.

— Gavilar to Eshonai about why he wants to bring back the Parshendi's old gods[3]

You wonderful terrible man.

— Gavilar to Dalinar after he kills High Prince Kalandor [8]


  • Before his death, Gavilar was on the path to become a Bondsmith.[24]
  • Gavilar has a habit of sumonning and dismissing his Blade when getting ready for a battle, perhaps as a way to relieve stress.[6] His nephew Adolin does the same with his own Blade.


Preceded by
King of Alethkar
Succeeded by
Elhokar Kholin
  1. a b c d e f g h i The Way of Kings prologue Summary: The Way of Kings/Prologue#
  2. a b Words of Radiance prologue Summary: Words of Radiance/Prologue#
  3. a b c d e f g h i Oathbringer prologue Summary: Oathbringer/Prologue#
  4. Brandon saying “Gavilar” at a reading
    — YouTube - 2018-11-25#
  5. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 45 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_45#
  6. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 11 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_11#
  7. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 19 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_19#
  8. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 26 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_26#
  9. Oathbringer chapter 29 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_29#
  10. a b c d e f Oathbringer chapter 49 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_49#
  11. Oathbringer chapter 107 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_107#
  12. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2017-08-09#
  13. The Way of Kings chapter 64 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_64#
  14. Oathbringer chapter 76 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_76#
  15. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 36 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_36#
  16. Oathbringer chapter 88 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_88#
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 105 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_105#
  18. The Way of Kings chapter 36 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_36#
  19. Words of Radiance interior art gallery
    Brandon's site - N/ACite:
  20. Words of Radiance chapter 16 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_16#
  21. Words of Radiance interlude I-14 Summary: Words of Radiance/Interlude_I-14#
  22. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-27#
  23. Oathbringer chapter 40 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_40#
  24. Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-03#
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