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Ishar

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Ishar
Ishar Endsheet.jpg
by Dan dos Santos
Abilities Cognitive Shadow, Shardbearer (formerly)
Titles Herald of the Almighty, Herald of Luck, Binder of Gods, Patron of the Bondsmiths, Tezim the Great, Herald of Heralds
Aliases Ishi, Tashi, Tezim, Ishu-son-God
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

I… have seen Ishar. He curses me at night, even as he names himself a god. He seeks death. His own. Perhaps that of every man.

Ishar, also known as Ishi'Elin, Tashi, and Tezim, is one of the ten Heralds of the Almighty on Roshar.[2] He's known as the Herald of Luck, and serves as the patron of the Order of Bondsmiths. In the present times, he rules over the country of Tukar under the guise of its god-priest.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

by Isaac Stewart
Ishar's chapter capstone

None are Radiant but him. His fury is ignited by your pitiful claims, and your unlawful capture of his holy city is an act of rebellion, depravity, and wickedness.

— Ishar, writing as Tezim[3]

Ishar's current-day appearance is unknown, though Rosharan artwork typically presents him as looking much older than other Heralds, with a full beard and grey hair.[4][5] Modern Rosharans would consider him to look Shin, suggesting he's pale-skinned and lacks the epicanthic fold common to most people on the planet.[6]

He is known to be incredibly charismatic, capable of swaying the entire nations to follow him, as well as to convince the other Heralds of his opinions and his sanity.[7][1] He also seems to be scholarly, and deeply interested in the inner working of the Oathpact and the mechanics surrounding it.[2]

In the present day Ishar is, like other Heralds, by and large insane. His particular brand of madness seems to reflect his nature as a spiritual leader. He alternately believes himself to be above all other men, and hates who he is and wishes to die.[1][3] The latter does not stop him from presenting himself as the ultimate authority and demanding utter respect as the god-priest of Tukar.[3]

This megalomania and charisma together make for a highly dangerous combination, as even now the other Heralds hold Ishar in particularly high esteem. Nale claims that Ishar has always been the wisest of them all, and Shalash believes that he would know how to cure Taln's madness.[8]

History[edit]

Herald of the Almighty[edit]

Before he was Herald of Luck, they called him Binder of Gods.

Like most of the Heralds, Ishar was born prior to humanity's arrival on Roshar, either before or during the catastrophe that forced the population of Ashyn to flee there.[9] When the relations with the native Rosharan singers broke down and the Fused started to appear, Ishar, along with nine other people, was raised to a Herald by Honor, creating the Oathpact.[10] Ishar's part in the Oathpact appears to have been larger than that of the other Heralds, as he's sometimes called its founder.[1]

The Oathpact demanded that to stop the Desolations, the Heralds had to travel to Braize after each one ended. This led to them being tortured until at least one broke, sending them all -- and a Desolation -- back to Roshar.[10] It was during one of those cycles that Surgebinders began appearing. Ishar was instrumental in transforming this scattered group into the Knights Radiant, although what precisely he used, other than threats of death and destruction upon those who wouldn't obey, is unknown.[11] During that time, he also sought a way to preserve information between the Desolations.[12]

Eventually, however, the Heralds had enough of the constant suffering. After a Desolation where only Taln died in the course of battle, Ishar suggested that one person may be enough to keep the following Desolations at bay. And so, the nine agreed to abandon the Oathpact, leaving Taln to suffer alone for over four and a half thousand years.[13]

Post-Aharietiam[edit]

Tashi doesn't care much for what you do here. In fact, I’d pray that he doesn’t reach your city, as I doubt you’d like the consequences.

Ishar's activities after the Aharietiam are largely unknown. At some point, he met with Nale, and convinced him to hunt down and destroy all nascent Surgebinders, believing that to let the Knights Radiant return would unleash a new Desolation.[15] Also during that time, he insinuated himself into the politics of Tukar, enough so to eventually become its leader, the god-priest, under the assumed identity of Tezim.[1] As Tezim, he waged Eighty's War against Emul.[16]

After the True Desolation began, Dalinar contacted Tukar, hoping for it to join the fledgling alliance. Ishar refused, and instead demanded ownership of Urithiru and fealty from the newly-refounded Knights Radiant. He was, understandably, denied.[3] Shortly after, Nale visited him again, hoping to gain some more understanding as to why the Everstorm still happened, despite his attempts. What they talked about is unknown, but Nale later decided to abandon humanity and side with the singers.[8]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

by Isaac Stewart
Ishar's glyph

Herald of the Almighty[edit]

As a Herald, Ishar is functionally immortal. So long as he remains on Roshar, he does not appear to age; and when he dies, he travels to Braize and can return, though at the cost of triggering a Desolation.[1] He once wielded an Honorblade, which granted him Surgebinding and the powers of the Bondsmiths, namely the Surges of Adhesion and Tension. However, he left it behind at Aharietiam, and it's currently in care of the Shin.[7] As such, it's uncertain how many of his Heraldic powers, other than immortality, he retains in the present, though the numerous wild rumors about Tezim suggest that he may still have some supernatural abilities.[17]

Binder of Gods[edit]

Unlike other Heralds, Ishar is sometimes described as having powers even before he became known as a Herald, although whether this means he had them before becoming a Herald is uncertain. His particular powerset was seemingly tied to the cosmere-wide phenomenon of Connection. He is often described as the founder of the Oathpact, and is believed to have been the founder of the Knights Radiant, forcing them to organize and adopt precepts to live by, likely to prevent another Ashyn-like catastrophe.[11][1] Even among the other Heralds, the Radiant's were sometimes known as "Ishar's Knights".[18]

Perhaps due to his abilities, he appears to have been the Heralds' expert on Connection and bonds. He studied Oathpact, and was the one who realized that one Herald was enough to keep it working.[2] He also sought a way to preserve information between the Desolations, and in the present day, convinced Nale to hunt down budding Surgebinders, claiming it is to prevent a new invasion.[12][7]

God-Priest Tezim[edit]

Tezim the Great, last and first man, Herald of Heralds and bearer of the Oathpact. His grandness, immortality, and power be praised.

— Ishar's letter to Dalinar[3]

In the current era, Ishar acts as the leader of Tukar, calling himself the god-priest Tezim. The Tukari are zealously religious, and indeed seem to believe him to be a god.[3] For the past six years, they've been at war with the neighboring Emul over the port city of Sesemalex Dar, in the conflict known as Eighty's War.[16] Ishar's reasons for leading the Tukari on Sesemalex Dar are unclear, though the two countries have always been embroiled in conflict.[19] It's also uncertain for long Ishar's been influencing Tukari politics, though his official rise to power occurred somewhere around the start of Eighty's War.[17]

As Tezim, Ishar refuses to participate in Dalinar's alliance and demands that the Alethi turn Urithiru over to him.[3] Whether he has the power to back up his claim remains to be seen.

Culture[edit]

As one of the Heralds, Ishar is venerated throughout Roshar. In the Vorin tradition, he is known as Ishi'Elin, and associated with number 10 (Ishi), the Essence of Sinew, and the divine attributes of Pious and Guiding.[20] He is often listed alongside Jezrien and Kelek as one of the most important Heralds.[21]

"Ishi be praised" is a common phrase.[22] However, unlike with most Heralds, Ishar's true name remained in use among the Vorins, with places like Ishar's Field, and the curse of "Ishar's soul".[23][24] Names such as Ishal, Ishnah and Ishikk are likely derived from his.

Unlike in the East, where Jezrien is placed as the most important, in the West Ishar is often considered the leader of the Heralds.[14] In Makabaki nations, he's called Tashi, and is titled the God of Gods and the Binder of the World.[25] The people of Tashikk in particular -- which itself may be named after Tashi -- place him as equal, though opposed to Odium, or Nun Raylisi, and believe that as long as they stay in their homeland, Tashi protects them from evil.[17] In Yeddaw, the tenth of the traditional ten pancakes of the Weeping is dedicated to Tashi, and is imagined rather than actually made.[26] Tashi's Light Orphanage is named after him, and "Tashi above" is a commonly-used phrase.[17][27]

Further west, in Shinovar, he's known as Ishu-son-God.[7]

Trivia[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i Oathbringer chapter 64 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_64#
  2. a b c Prelude to the Stormlight Archive Summary: The Stormlight Archive/Prelude#
  3. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 24 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_24#
  4. a b Ishar Endsheet
  5. Ishar capstone
  6. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-20#
  7. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 106 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_106#
  8. a b Oathbringer chapter 121 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_121#
  9. Skyward Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-15#
  10. a b Oathbringer chapter 38 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_38#
  11. a b Words of Radiance chapter 42 epigraph Summary: Words of Radiance/Epigraphs/Chapter_42#
  12. a b Oathbringer chapter 47 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_47#
  13. The Stormlight Archive chapter prelude Summary: The Stormlight Archive/Chapter_prelude#
  14. a b Edgedancer chapter 8 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_8#
  15. Edgedancer chapter 9 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_9#
  16. a b Oathbringer chapter 12 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_12#
  17. a b c d Edgedancer chapter 3 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_3#
  18. Words of Radiance chapter 63 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_63#
  19. Edgedancer chapter 2 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_2#
  20. Oathbringer Ars Arcanum Summary: Oathbringer/Ars Arcanum#
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 52 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_52#
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 23 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_23#
  23. Oathbringer chapter 48 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_48#
  24. a b Words of Radiance chapter 5 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_5#
  25. Edgedancer chapter 13 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_13#
  26. Edgedancer chapter 20 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_20#
  27. Edgedancer chapter 6 Summary: Edgedancer/Chapter_6#
  28. Oathbringer chapter 93 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_93#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 102 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_102#
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