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Jasnah Kholin

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Jasnah Kholin
Jasnah.jpg
by User: Exmakina
House Kholin
Parents Gavilar, Navani
Siblings Elhokar
Relatives Dalinar, Adolin, Renarin
Born 1139
Abilities Surgebinder (Transformation/Teleportation)
Shardbearer
Titles Princess of Alethkar
Profession Historian
Groups Knights Radiant (Elsecallers)
Veristitalians
Nationality Alethi
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
It strikes me that religion—in its essence—seeks to take natural events and ascribe supernatural causes to them. I, however, seek to take supernatural events and find the natural meanings behind them. Perhaps that is the final dividing line between science and religion. Opposite sides of a card.
— Jasnah on why she researches Voidbringers[1]

Jasnah Kholin (Alethi pronunciation: [ˈjas·nɐ xoˈlɪn] YASS-nah kho-LIN) is an Alethi princess on Roshar. She is a Surgebinder with access to the Surges of transformation and transportation (similar to the Knights Radiant order of Elsecallers). She is the sister of King Elhokar, daughter of the late King Gavilar and Navani, niece of Highprince Dalinar, and cousin to Adolin and Renarin. She is known widely as a brilliant scholar and for her denunciation of Vorinism.[2] She is a member of the Veristitalians, an order of historians dedicated to reconstructing unbiased and factual accounts of the past in order to better understand the present.[3] She trained Shallan Davar as her ward.[4]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Jasnah is a reserved and statuesque woman. She is widely praised for her beauty, always graceful and dressed immaculately. She is tall and slender with a full chest. She has tan skin and deep black hair that, when unbound, reaches the middle of her back. She has a squarish face and pale violet eyes with an epicanthic fold.[5]

Jasnah is generally a stern and serious person, although she occasionally shows a wry sense of humor.[6] She sometimes acts in a brusque manner, and can be exceptionally rude when someone gets on her bad side.[7] She is determined, confident, and often stubborn.[4] She has a brilliant mind and shows wisdom and care in her studies.[2] She is very passionate about scholarship and wants others to share in her passion as well.[6] She often encourages her ward, Shallan, to come up with answers on her own, rather than simply giving them to her.[8] She considers history to be the most important literary sub art. She is prejudiced against the visual arts, going so far as to call them frivolities, although having Shallan as her ward may have changed her opinions on the subject.[5] She can be extremely tough and ruthless, as she showed when she killed four footpads that attacked her and Shallan. She harbors a deep hatred towards men like them, possibly because of something that has been done to her in the past.[8]

Jasnah is an atheist.[6] This has caused her not an insignificant amount of problems and led to her being ostracized a bit, but she has never compromised in her beliefs for the sake of appearances.[3] While she is confident in her lack of faith in the devotaries, like the true scholar that she is, she also always keeps an open mind to the possibility of being wrong. She is content to keep her beliefs to herself, and doesn't particularly care about converting anyone else.[6]

History[edit]

Early Life (1139—1167)[edit]

Jasnah Kholin was born in 1139 to Gavilar and Navani Kholin. Her brother, Elhokar, was born eight years later in 1147.[9] She became a princess of Alethkar when Gavilar united the highprinces and became the king in 1163.

She wrote Gavilar's account of his first meeting the Parshendi in 1166.[8] She didn't know what to think of the changes in Gavilar around these times,[10] but for the first time in her life she felt connected to her father.[11] She was very interested in the Parshendi and the Shattered Plains, and wanted to study both. She suspected the ruins in the Shattered Plains to be extremely important and something that the scholars had been looking for for a long time.[12]

The Research (1167—1173)[edit]

Parshendi Betrayal[edit]

She attended the feast that was held in the Kholinar Palace after the treaty with the Parshendi was signed in 1167. While walking to a meeting with an assassin named Liss with the intention of having Elhokar's wife, Aesudan, killed, she noticed her shadow behaving oddly which discomfited her. She walked past Highprince Sadeas and a Shin servant in white clothing, and subsequently came across her father and Meridas Amaram having a quiet conference. Once Amaram left, Jasnah asked Gavilar what he commanded Amaram, but Gavilar deflected the question and hastily left Jasnah, leading her to wonder if he knew about her plans regarding Aesudan. Walking onwards, Jasnah's shadow again acted oddly, and this time, formed into a man-shaped oily blackness with an unsheathed sword. In panic, Jasnah went into Shadesmar for the first time, and there the shadowy figure sheathed its sword in satisfaction, and Jasnah fell into the sea of glass beads. Before being drowned, she managed to find the glass bead corresponding to the Kholinar Palace, and using that as her guide, willed herself to rise to the surface. She stood upon a platform made of glass beads locked together. From the beads, she formed the corridor she stood in in the Physical Realm, and when the shadowy figure stepped onto her platform with its sword drawn, she formed a statue of Talenelat'Elin. She confronted the figure, and it saluted her by raising two fingers to its head and bowing. After this, Jasnah returned to where she was in the Physical Realm, to find the spheres lining the walls of the hallway without Stormlight.[12]

She managed to compose herself, and hurried to her appointment with Liss. Once there, she decided not to go through with assassinating Aesudan, and instead ordered Liss to take a job as one of Aesudan's maids, and watch her only. Once the meeting was concluded, Jasnah asked about the servant Liss wanted to show off, but Liss answered that she had sold Shin servant to a slaver weeks ago for being too good a servant. Hearing that the servant was Shin, Jasnah recalled the servant in white clothing she'd seen earlier, and decided to check into him.[12]

While getting back to the party, the music coming from above stopped, leading Jasnah to wonder if the party was over. She ran into two ambassadors from the west, and was made uncomfortable by the one with a silver birthmark on his cheek. Abruptly, screams replaced where the beat of drums had sounded, and Jasnah immediately ran toward them, fearing for her family's safety. The sounds led to her father's chambers, and the way was littered with corpses with burned eyes and the walls marked by Shardblade cuts. She eventually reached a balcony and saw her father in his Shardplate, called to him and made him hesitate. The balcony broke beneath Gavilar, and Jasnah saw the servant she'd seen before fall down with her father. The Shin man somehow changed direction in the air, and fell onto the wall, completely ignoring gravity. While crying to herself, Jasnah was approached by three Parshendi, Klade, Gangnah and Varnali. They took responsibility for the assassination, and told Jasnah they were sorry for her loss but that Gavilar was about to do something very dangerous and had to be stopped. Sadeas stumbled in, saw what happened, and ran toward Gavilar's corpse with his guards.[12] They found a note to Dalinar near Gavilar's corpse, saying that Dalinar must find the most important words a man could say, that she discovered was a quote from The Way of Kings by Nohadon.[10]

Hours later, they discovered that the assassination and the surrender of the three covered the escape of the rest of the Parshendi in the palace. Dalinar sent a hundred cavalry after them, but they were killed to the last man and horse. The three Parshendi didn't say anything more, and were all hanged. Jasnah interrogated the surviving King's guards and Liss about the Assassin in White, but got almost nothing. Next, she started looking through the books to explain what she had seen that night.[12]

Travels[edit]

After the death of her father, she started drawing parallels between the Parshendi and the Voidbringers.[13] Eventually, she discovered her Surgebinding abilities, and started carrying a fake Soulcaster fabrial to disguise she was a Surgebinder.[1] At some point, she made her way to the warcamps in the Shattered Plains, but eventually her studies took her elsewhere.[14] She left behind her books, and asked Dalinar that they be cared for.[15]

In 1172, she received a letter from Shallan Davar, asking for wardship. She replied Shallan to meet her in Dumadari in two weeks time, though she didn't really expect her to make it. She spent the next six months traveling from town to town, leaving notes for Shallan when she left so the young woman could follow her. She eventually reached Kharbranth in 1173.[2]

A New Ward[edit]

She found out King Taravangian's granddaughter was trapped in one of the palace rooms after an highstorm caused a boulder to fall down from the walls, blocking the way in. Taravangian asked for Jasnah's help, to free his granddaughter by Soulcasting the stone. Jasnah accepted to help, in return for free admittance to the Palanaeum. Shallan Davar, a prospective ward, caught up with her at this point and Jasnah evaluated Shallan's knowledge. Once they reached the boulder that had trapped the king's granddaughter, Jasnah Soulcast the stone into smoke, causing the newly formed smoke to explode because of the difference in density of rock and smoke. After this, she informed Shallan that she wasn't good enough to become her ward. Jasnah left Shallan behind and went to the Palanaeum.[5] After she collected the books she wanted, she returned to the alcove she'd reserved, and found Shallan there. She was angry to be defied, and told Shallan, not in a kind way, to leave her alone. Shallan, in her embarrassment and disappointment, forgot the spheres she had used for illumination inside the alcove. Jasnah asked her to return and apologized her for her rudeness. She found out that Shallan was self-taught and found it remarkable, promising if she filled the gaps in her knowledge, she would accept her as her ward. A few hours later, the servants informed her that Shallan was back and that she had her own alcove, intent on studying while in Kharbranth and applying for wardship again. Jasnah decided that if she could not get rid of Shallan, she might as well make use of her and accepted her as her ward.[4]

She spent the next two months studying and teaching Shallan, in particular having her study the events around the death of King Gavilar, to some frustration from Shallan.[6] During this time, she talked with her uncle, Dalinar, over spanreed about her studies, though she didn't mention specifics because they weren't speaking in person. Dalinar asked her to come back to the Shattered Plains, saying her presence was sorely missed, to which Jasnah replied she would eventually be back. Jasnah asked Dalinar to describe the events of the expedition where he and Gavilar first discovered the Parshendi. She also had Shallan draw a copy of a picture that was said to belong to a Voidbringer for them. Dalinar and Adolin said that the picture was of a chasmfiend, made slightly more menacing than it really was. Jasnah replied that she didn't think the picture really belong to a Voidbringer, but that the artist simply chose to draw the most intimidating she could think of.[3] Taravangian joined them for lunch one day, where he and Jasnah talked about religion and Jasnah's lack of belief in one. Taravangian asked her about the Soulcaster, but Jasnah refused to answer. He also asked Shallan to make a drawing of him. Shallan happily accepted, but later crumpled it and refused to show it to them, claiming she made a mistake. Jasnah remarked that Shallan never made mistakes while drawing.[6]

Few days later, she found Shallan and Ardent Kabsal in their alcove while he was showing Shallan the cymatic patterns for the four cities of Kholinar, Vedenar, Thaylen and Akinah as a proof of the Almighty's existence. Jasnah didn't show surprise by his demonstration, and asked if he could show the cymatic pattern for Urithiru as well, to which Kabsal answered Urithiru was a fable. She was rude to him, and even insulted him and the ardentia in general. Once Kabsal left, she told Shallan that he wasn't really interested in her, and was only getting close to Shallan, in order to turn her against Jasnah, and get her to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster.[7]

Eventually, she started trusting Shallan enough to use her as a bathing attendant. After one of their talks about King Gavilar and the Parshendi, Jasnah remarked that Shallan looked anxious and decided to shift her training from history to philosophy, which she claimed was a more hands-on field of study. She took Shallan, in the middle of the night, to a roadway that she knew to be hunted by footpads, showing her wealth. Soon, four men came and attacked the two women. Jasnah, using Soulcasting, killed the men and left the corpse of one as crystal in the middle of the roadway. Shallan was horrified to see her kill the men, especially with the Soulcaster which Shallan considered holy. Jasnah told Shallan to research and consider the morality of the killing.[8] When Shallan reported her findings to her two weeks later, although Jasnah thought Shallan was wrong, she acknowledged that Shallan had put rational thought behind her opinion. She claimed the lesson was instructive and gave Shallan rest of the day off. Shortly after Shallan rejoined Jasnah, saying what she wanted to do with her free time was study.[16]

While discussing King Gavilar's interest in the Parshendi with Shallan, Jasnah revealed that a fresh perspective could be helpful, and that she felt Shallan could discover something she had missed. The topic eventually led to Urithiru and the Voidbringers. Shallan suggested that Urithiru, which Jasnah claimed was the center of the Silver Kingdoms, could be in the Shattered Plains, but Jasnah was certain that it wasn't there. She eventually ended their talk, and told Shallan to go back to her studies. Shallan left the alcove, saying she needed Tifandor's biography of Gavilar. Shallan returned two hours later with Kabsal, of whom Shallan wanted to sketch a drawing. Jasnah was annoyed by the distraction, but left the other two to themselves. After sketching for a bit, Shallan became very agitated, saying she made a mistake, and left the alcove for her room. Jasnah, concerned for her ward, followed her, and found Shallan on the ground, bleeding from a cut on her wrist, after an apparent suicide attempt. She immediately called for help, and Shallan was taken to one of Taravangian's hospitals.[11]

Theft of Soulcaster[edit]

Jasnah spent the next two days outside Shallan's hospital room. Once she was allowed inside the room, she apologized to Shallan, although she didn't prove to be very proficient at apologizing which Shallan attributed to Jasnah's ineptitude at making mistakes. Becoming serious again, Jasnah claimed she may have done the world a disservice and stolen from it one of the great scholars of the rising generation by overworking Shallan. She gave her an empty book, and called it The Book of Endless Pages, and cautioned her to seek out the Devotary of Sincerity of whom the book was the guide. Kabsal joined them, and as usually, Jasnah was cool and rude to him. He let it slip that Shallan was returning to her home and Jasnah, while initially suprised, agreed that it was the best for her. Kabsal revealed the strawberry jam and the bread she brought for Shallan. After being insisted by Shallan, Jasnah decided to eat some of it as well, but as her habit while accepting food from someone, she Soulcast the jam and the bread to purify them of any poisons. She was unsuccessful with the jam and the result was a rotten mush that was uneatable. Kabsal ate the jam anyway and get Shallan to eat as well, though when she refused he tried to run out but collapsed before reaching the door. The same happened with Shallan a few seconds later. When Jasnah told her that she had to Soulcast her blood to get the poison out, Shallan revealed Jasnah's fake Soulcaster fabrial, apparently having stolen it. Jasnah healed her and Shallan fell unconscious.[17]

She was furious and hurt at the apparent betrayal from her ward. She initially thought that Shallan had stolen the Soulcaster for one of the devotaries. When Shallan woke up, Jasnah confronted her. Shallan told her, rather defiantly, that she'd stolen it for herself, that her father was dead and House Davar was bankrupt, and that she had become Jasnah's ward to steal the Soulcaster in the first place. Jasnah told her that Shallan would be leaving for home the next day on a ship she'd arranged and Kabsal was dead. She told her that the bread he'd been bringing Shallan was poisoned with backbreaker powder and the jam contained the antidote, that he'd been using Shallan to assassinate Jasnah the whole time. She left the room, leaving Shallan behind in tears.[18]

Despite what she was told, Shallan came to Jasnah's alcove and claimed that the Soulcaster Jasnah wore was a fake and she could Soulcast without a fabrial. Jasnah initially tried to deny this, but she was shocked to see Shallan reveal a depiction of Shadesmar. Shallan told Jasnah that she'd stolen the Soulcaster fabrial on the night when Jasnah killed the four footpads and that she could Surgebind as well. When Jasnah didn't believe her, Shallan entered, with a dim sphere, Shadesmar to prove her claim. Jasnah followed her, and brought her back, admonishing her for being an idiot in trying to enter Shadesmar with only a dim sphere. Shallan asked Jasnah to teach her and that she wanted to be a part of Jasnah's studies. Jasnah was reluctant at first, but eventually accepted her, with the promise that she would never lie to Jasnah or steal from anyone ever again.[19] She went on to telling Shallan about Surgebinding, Knights Radiant and her theory about the Parshendi and the Voidbringers. When Shallan told her that she saw cryptics, Jasnah said there were two orders of the Knights Radiants with the ability to Soulcast, and that the two women belonged to different orders. Jasnah showed Shallan her notes regarding the Voidbringers,[1] and Shallan came to the conclusion the Parshendi were Voidbringers like Jasnah. Jasnah was pleased to convince at least one person. She said that they needed more information but had exhausted all that Kharbranth had to offer, and that they would leave for the Shattered Plains the next day. She said there were others after this information, and that the Ghostbloods were one of them. She showed Shallan the symbol of the Ghostbloods that she had found tattooed on Kabsal. Shallan was horrified to recognize the symbol, and said that her father might have had been a member of this group.[13] Jasnah hired Captain Tozbek and the Wind's Pleasure to take her and Shallan to the Shattered Plains, and so the two women left Kharbranth.[20]

Return to the Shattered Plains (1173—)[edit]

During their days sailing, Shallan occasionally asked Jasnah about the Ghostbloods, but she claimed to know very little of them beyond the fact that they wanted her research, and were willing to kill for it. Jasnah contacted Navani via spanreed to ask whether Shallan's Soulcaster could be fixed. She also requested Navani arrange a betrothal between Adolin and Shallan. Navani answered positively to both. She also arranged a relatively small amount of money to be sent to the Davar family. It was on the ship that she explained the nature of Shadesmar and the spren to Shallan at length, showing a good understanding of the Realmatic Theory. She claimed that meeting was not an accident, that the spren had guided Shallan to her, and that the old ways were returning because spren sensed an impending danger and were trying to preserve themselves. Jasnah also explained about the perception of power.

Jasnah was seemingly murdered by either the Ghostbloods or mercenaries working for Tyn on board after being stabbed through the heart. However she was able to escape to Shadesmar using the Surge of Transportation where she was able to heal using Stormlight.[21] She re-appears following the summoning of the Everstorm to Wit. She threatens him with a Shardblade, presumably her spren Ivory. She has gained knowledge through her journey through Shadesmar, most notably about the original Knights Radiant.[22]

http://www.tor.com/2014/08/06/stormlight-archive-scene-after-words-of-radiance/

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Surgebinding[edit]

Jasnah has a Nahel bond with the spren Ivory which gives her the ability to Surgebind.[23] She has access to the Surges of transformation and transportation.[1] As with all Surgebinders, she has superhuman speed, strength and healing when she holds Stormlight. She has demonstrated her ability to Soulcast multiple times, though her other abilities remain yet to be seen. She is in the process of becoming a Knight Radiant from the Order of Elsecallers.

Transformation

The Surge of Transformation allows Jasnah to use Soulcasting. Jasnah can use Soulcasting in various ways with great precision, ranging from burning letters into a page,[7] to transforming boulders into smoke,[5] and purifying Shallan's blood from a poison called backbreaker powder.[18] She also used Soulcasting as a very deadly weapon when she and Shallan were attacked by four footpads in Kharbranth and she Soulcast their assailants into fire, crystal and smoke.[8] She has expressed that she is not very capable of Soulcasting organics and she was, indeed, unable to successfully Soulcast the strawberry jam that Kabsal brought to Shallan's hospital room.[17] Though to be fair, she had never tasted strawberry in her life before, which, without a doubt, contributed to her failure.[1]

She has also shown the ability to Soulcast multiple targets at distance. In this method of Soulcasting, bolts of Stormlight can be seen traveling towards the intended target. When Jasnah used this ability to transform two men into smoke, it caused the smokestone she used to shatter, indicating that this method may use more Stormlight than regular Soulcasting.[8] This ability may be a specialized version of Soulcasting or a distinct ability resulting from manipulating a combination of the Surges of transformation and transportation.

Jasnah pretends to use a fake Soulcaster fabrial to disguise her Surgebinding abilities from the public.[19]

Scholarship[edit]

Jasnah is one of the leading scholars of her time. She is widely known for her brilliance. Despite her young age, many feel she would have obtained the cap of a master scholar, if it weren't for her vocal denunciation of religion.[2] Her focus and area of expertise is history. As a Veristitalian, she looks to create a factual and unbiased account of the past events that she feels are misrepresented, in order to better understand the present.[11]

While researching, Jasnah prefers to collect various passages related to her subject from various sources in a single annotated, and cited notebook. Once she fills the notebook, she evaluates each item for reliability and usefulness, then copies them into different, more specific notebooks.[16]

Parshendi-Voidbringer Theory
Jasnah believes that the Parshendi are the Voidbringers. The theory heavily relies on metaphorical texts thousands of years old and folk tales. Her most substantial proofs are shadow, ash and flame references in her sources that she believes refer to the red and black skin color of the Parshendi, and the reported sudden appearance of Voidbringers which she thinks similar to how the Parshendi assassinated her father, King Gavilar, apparently out of nowhere.[1] She also believes a Desolation is coming.[13]

Quotes[edit]

Shallan: "I have kept a journal since I was a child, in order to practice my writing skills."
Jasnah: "Congratulations. Should I need someone to write a treatise on their stuffed pony or give an account of an interesting pebble they discovered, I shall send for you."

―Shallan and Jasnah[5]
Ignorance is hardly unusual, Miss Davar. The longer I live, the more I come to realize that it is the natural state of the human mind. There are many who will strive to defend its sanctity and then expect you to be impressed with their efforts.
— Jasnah to Shallan[5]
...a woman's mind is her most precious weapon. It must not be employed clumsily or prematurely. Much like the aforementioned knife to the back, a clever gibe is most effective when it is unanticipated.
— Jasnah to Shallan[6]
Youthful immaturity is one of the cosmere’s great catalysts for change... To be young is about action. To be a scholar is about informed action.
— Jasnah to Shallan[6]
Too many scholars think of research as purely a cerebral pursuit. If we do nothing with the knowledge we gain, then we have wasted our study. Books can store information better than we can—what we do that books cannot is interpret. So if one is not going to draw conclusions, then one might as well just leave the information in the texts.
— Jasnah to Shallan[6]
I always forgive curiosity, Your Majesty. It strikes me as one of the most genuine of emotions.
— Jasnah to Taravangian[6]
A true scholar must not close her mind close on any topic, no matter how certain she may feel. Just because I have not yet found a convincing reason to join one of the devotaries does not mean I never will. Though each time I have a discussion like the one today, my convictions grow firmer.
— Jasnah to Shallan[6]
When we are young, we want simple answers. There is no greater indication of youth, perhaps, than the desire for everything to be as it should. As it has ever been. The older we grow, the more we question. We begin to ask why. And yet, we still want the answers to be simple. We assume that the people around us—adults, leaders—will have those answers. Whatever they give often satisfies us. ... Indeed, it seems to me that aging, wisdom, and wondering are synonymous. The older we grow, the more likely we are to reject the simple answers. Unless someone gets in our way and demands they be accepted regardless.
— Jasnah to Shallan[8]
You will find wise men in any religion, Shallan, and good men in every nation. Those who truly seek wisdom are those who will acknowledge the virtue in their adversaries and who will learn from those who disabuse them of error. All others—heretic, Vorin, Ysperist, or Maakian—are equally closed-minded.
— Jasnah to Shallan[17]
Let the Vorin believe as they wish—the wise among them will find goodness and solace in their faith; the fools would be fools no matter what they believed.
— Jasnah to Shallan[17]

Trivia[edit]

  • Jasnah is the only member of a Vorin royal house who is a professed heretic.[2]
  • Twelve young women asked Jasnah for a wardship during the year 1173 alone.[5] She eventually accepted the last one, Shallan.
  • Jasnah doesn't get along well with Highprince Sadeas's cousin, Lalai.[3]
  • Jasnah has never met Shallan's stepmother, Malise Gevelmar, even though she revealed that she knew Malise had married Shallan's father when she met Shallan in Kharbranth.[24]
  • Jasnah will probably get a flashback book of her own.[25]
  • In The Way of Kings Prime, Jasnah was a viewpoint character with as many chapters as the other characters. Brandon Sanderson decided too many viewpoints was too distracting and cut Jasnah's parts in the final version.[26]
  • Brandon read a lot of atheist message boards and talked with atheists he knew while developing Jasnah.[27]
  • Brandon thinks having Sazed and Jasnah together could lead to some great discussions of philosophy.[28]

See Also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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