by Ari Ibarra
|Born||c. ? 1120|
|Titles||Queen mother of Alethkar; Queen consort of Alethkar (former)|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
Navani Kholin is a Brightlady of Alethkar on Roshar. She is the widow of Gavilar Kholin and the mother of Jasnah and Elhokar Kholin. She was the sister-in-law to Dalinar Kholin and aunt to Adolin and Renarin Kholin until she was married to Dalinar. She is also a renowned scholar and artifabrian.
- 1 Appearance and Personality
- 2 Attributes and Abilities
- 3 History
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Trivia
- 7 See Also
- 8 Notes
Appearance and Personality
Navani is described as a stately and, in some ways, the picture of a perfect Vorin woman: lush lips, light violet eyes, silvering black hair in perfect braids, curves accentuated by the tight silk havah. She has a warm, feminine voice. Dalinar notes that she prefers perfume with a less floral scent than most Alethi women. Navani often paints her lips red and wears a red dress with rubies in her hair. Like her daughter, she is known as one of the most beautiful women in Alethkar.
As the dowager queen, Navani often challenges Alethi protocol. She is known for her ability to learn everything of significance through gossip, no matter where she travels. She is not overly judgmental, but is not above pointing out the obvious. She is known for her confidence, to the point that she is not afraid to match words with Wit. She believes in being blunt, especially when working with scholars. Despite this, Navani is also known for her discretion. A scholar at heart, she keeps exacting notes and is well organized.
Having lived much of her life as a queen, Navani is a creature of politics. She is deftly able to navigate the Alethi political sphere when she chooses to. However, as she has grown older, Navani has become disillusioned with politics and has begun to chafe at the traditional place for a brightlady. As the dowager queen, she believes that no one cares about her actions and would pass off any extreme actions as eccentricity.
Despite her talent at politics, Navani's true love is found in her scholarly pursuits. It is part of her belief that a brightlady should have a variety of hobbies. She is a renowned scholar, specializing in the development of new fabrials. She pursues her passion with enthusiasm and little to no guile. In addition, she is fond of simple solutions. Navani believes that soul of art is creation. Creation brings order to an blank slate or empty canvas and becomes art. She uses that belief to fuel her scholarly pursuits. She also likes warcamps because they are not messy like cities, and because military men and women valued order and rationality.
Attributes and Abilities
Navani is a renowned artifabrian. She engineers the creation of fabrials that her team of artisan ardents create through fabrial science. She led the research to develop the grandbows. She also had a hand in the construction of a new painrial, and of it, she's particularly proud, though it's only an early model. She thinks it has a lot of potential. Many of her inventions, such as the painrial, are used in the war against the Parshendi, making her incredibly valuable to the Alethi.
The more she understands the secrets of technology and the power of spren locked within the polestones, the closer she grows to finding what she seeks: things she can do to protect her family, like creating Shardplate.
Navani created a platform with fabrial science that defies gravity. Her goal in so doing is to deliver one such to the Shattered Plains to elevate archers above the battlefield for a tactical advantage. Her position is patron to the ardents who make the diagrams and figures and engineer the fabrials.
Navani and her crew of ardents made a breakthrough with Shardblades in realizing that the gemstones in the Blades - used to bond them - might not have originally been part of the weapons. If true, it means the Blades aren't powered by the stones. Rushu had asked why a Shardblade can be summoned and dismissed even if its gemstone has gone dun. If true, artifabrians are back to knowing absolutely nothing about how Shardblades were crafted. It seems the gemstone's purpose is only used in initially bonding the Blade - something the Radiants didn't need to do.
After accepting Shallan, Navani decided to lead the research team studying the quotes Shallan had provided her from Jasnah's research regarding the Oathgate, Knights Radiant, and Urithiru. Navani co-opted Dalinar's scribes and cartographers to locate the Oathgate, leading Dalinar to remark upon it to Shallan. She, in turn, states that she was really just there when Navani changed her mind.
During the Battle of Narak during the Weeping, Navani oversees the deployment of fabrials to allow the Alethi archers to join the battle. Light fabrials are set up to illuminate the battlefield while half-tents are raised to provide shelter from the rain for the archers. To combat the moisture in the air, she authorizes the use of a recently-developed fabrial called an attractor, that was designed to draw water out of the air; Navani was half worried the device would suck the blood out of the archers' bodies.
Once in Urithiru, Navani discovers a fabrial lift. She speaks of counterweights and conjoined gemstones, sounding awed by the technology of the ancients.
Unification of Alethkar and aftermath
Prior to her marriage to Gavilar Kholin, Navani wavered between choosing Gavilar and his younger brother, Dalinar. Ultimately, she chose the future king. With him, she had two children, a daughter, Jasnah and a son, Elhokar.
During the unification of Alethkar, Navani and Ialai Sadeas huddled together at dinners; conspiring on how to stabilize the kingdom their husbands were trying to conquer.. They were very close friends. Navani and Ialai were responsible for finding Dalinar a wife which would give them political advantage.
During Gavilar’s last days, he had gone strange. As he had grown more and more distracted, Navani herself had worked to keep squabbling lighteyes from sundering the kingdom. It is uncertain how much she knew of Gavilar's plans, but she was aware that he had a small gemstone that glowed with a strange light that was somehow dark, similar to the one that Dalinar trapped Nergaoul in.
War against the Parshendi, who claimed responsibility for the assassination, started in retaliation for it. Much of Alethi society moved to the Shattered Plains to fight them. Initially, she stayed in Kholinar to aid Elhokar's wife, Aesudan, in ruling the kingdom. After some years, she moved to the Shattered Plains realizing that the seat of power had essentially transferred there.
Returning to the Shattered Plains
Navani's return to the Plains from Alethkar is three-fold: she brought word that the Vedens had perfected the half-shards, she wishes her son to be protected, and she needs to speak with Dalinar. She also realized that leaving the Plains had been a political mistake because the warcamps became the true center of their kingdom. While in Kholinar, she determined that that Aesudan was sufficiently endowed with the requisite skills needed to hold the city. (The very argument that had originally convinced Navani to return to Kholinar was that the Alethi absence from their homeland was dangerous.)
Later she confesses to Dalinar that the real reason of her return is the feeling of not having a home. Expected to sit out of important events because her husband is dead. Lounge around, pampered but ignored and making people uncomfortable.
Recording Dalinar's visions
Because Navani is so exacting in her words and thoughts, Dalinar chooses her to record his visions. She scribes expertly, picking out details from him, knowing when to prod him for more. She is business-like and careful. She records his visions without complaint.
Listening to Dalinar's visions, she thinks what he was saying had too much order to be gibberish. She discovers that the phrase that is in the Analectics is one in the same with the "babble". She says it's a line from a song, a chant by the Vanrial, written in the Dawnchant by the Heralds. Navani uses Corvana's Analectics to translate the "babble" from Dalinar's vision with Nohadon.
Navani relates the Myth of Parasaphi and Nadris to Dalinar in effort to afford some insight into the Desolations, with regard to his vision with Nohadon, relevant to the Voidbringers, mankind on Roshar, Damnation, the Heralds, the Tranquiline Halls, and the Knights Radiant.
She had kept the secret and was very reliable, however they eventually decide to publish them. Before doing so, she removed the lines where he mentioned sensitive issues, such as the Almighty’s death. She’d also search for historical references to match his descriptions. Navani liked things neat and quantified. She’d prepared a timeline of all of his visions, trying to piece them into a single narrative.
She believes the visions are a blessing because they prove that Dalinar isn't going mad. After recording several of his visions Dalinar and Navani learn to really trust each other and confess their feelings. Navani is clear that she would not stop for tradition as their union is not forbidden.
Re-uniting the Alethi Princedom
Navani helped Dalinar build their first plan for unification and strength of the crown. They decided to attack on different fronts: economical (changes to the manner of collection and distribution of gemhearts on the Shattered Plains), fear (Adolin would duel to earn Shardblades) and political (Dalinar and Navani would try to persuade the benefits of a unified Alethkar). It is clear she suggested having allies that would unite based on loyalty and not fear.
Later on, with the help of the glyphs and visions, they tried to make peace with the Parshendi by meeting with Eshonai. Navani was part of the failed mission which sent Adolin instead of his father for this task; she was also writing the script for Adolin sending it via spanreed to their scribe Inadara, who accompanied and translated to him.
Regardless of the war and internal Alethi plotting; Navani never stopped her research on fabrials. Among other works, she looked to make warcamps more sustainable (trying to build water pumps), creating possible weapons (moving plates) and even working on history (finding the gemstones on Shardblades are not part of the original piece).
They faced a setback when the publishing of the visions were changed from the way she had written them. The tone was changed to imply mockery; though Navani was furious with the outcome (his image would be strongly damaged), Dalinar took it better saying he would not hide from the truth.
Shortly after that, upon Shallan’s return from the chasm with a very detailed drawing of the Shattered Plains, they all go in search for the Oathgate to Urithiru and to make, what they hoped would be, the final strike towards the Parshendi.
Battle of Narak
On the way to battle, Navani became close to Shallan and her work. Confirming she would not take the project from her, but would participate and get her scholars to work for her as well. Once Navani commits to the research, Shallan reveals to her that Jasnah's Soulcaster was a fake; that her daughter could Soulcast on her own, without any fabrial, and that she'd seen her do it. This means that her daughter was a Knight Radiant.
During the battle itself, Navani fought with fabrials leading her scholars to use them in battle. She helped the Alethi to see during the night as one of her fabrials bathed the battlefield in an extraordinarily even white light. Next she asked for the "Attractors" to clear the rain for the arrows. Water quickly started to pool around the fabrial. It was pulling moisture from the air. Roion’s archers were able to hit the Parshendi and make an immediate difference which was enough to save part of his army.
Once at Urithiru, she continues to transcribe the visions in much more detail now that Dalinar could replay them at will. After Odium manifests on one vision, he decides the next action is unite all of Roshar and asks Navani to help him. He believes that his tenacity and her brilliance together, will convince the other kingdoms to join with them.
She and Dalinar get married through the Stormfather who is happy to encourage any types of oaths.
While working with Dalinar on plans to bring the kingdoms together, she continued to write her memoirs, work on large-scale civic project at Urithiru including sewage, and research/development of several types of fabrials like pain or time- related ones.
The unification of Roshar did not go as they expected. Only Taravangian from Kharbranth answered back with support. Navani was the main political voice talking to each leader.
When Dalinar found out that he could bring people into his visions, Navani, along with Jasnah were the first ones to go in. They arrived at the Aharietiam, the Last Desolation. In the beginning Navani was mostly wondering of the place, how real it looked and even bullied a radiant to show him his fabrial. Later however, when they started to see more about that day, she started asking about the Parshmen and later the Honorblades. The Stormfather finally confided in them the truth about that day and how the Heralds decided not to go back and stop the Desolations, at least for a time. In future visits, she was decided to find the Feverstone Keep and what happened at the Recreance.
Navani led also the research of Urithiru itself and found the patters on the gemstones, which opened the code for understanding recorded phrases of the last Radiants who lived at Urithiru.
Eventually, after playing different strategies like setting leaders/key people into visions, writhing essays, or helping Queen Fen with the wounded and reconstructions; Dalinar and Navani were able to get several of the Kings in Roshar to agree on meeting and fighting together. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, Dalinar was fragile with the return of most of his memories and the fall of Kholinar. Navani had to deal with them with some help from Taravangian.
On the day of the first meeting of monarchs at Urithiru, Navani made each person—no matter how important—carry their own chair. The old Alethi tradition symbolized each chief bringing important wisdom to a gathering. She was able keep her mind clear enough from her worries of Elhokar to analyze the other Kings, their companions and the Highprinces. Ialai Sadeas notably ignored the chair request.
She welcomed everyone and started with an inspirational speech of making history and uniting for a cause. The meeting however went out of control very fast as each kingdom started making requests on territory, trade, half-shards, and war. Navani was able to get them to agree by listening what each Kingdom wanted and giving them tasks that were in line with that. She complimented the Azish´s laws and were given the task to create codes of how kingdoms are to interact and share resources. Thaylen was asked to oversee trade and supplies. The Alethi would help the Emuli at securing the remaining territory, but not more. Then, they moved to guessing where they would be attacked next, they decided it would be Jah Keved and support from other kingdom came. Navani had done it.
When Dalinar was recovering and well enough to join a meeting, he figured out the target would be Thaylen and not Jah Keved. This meeting however, was abruptly ended by Taravangian’s treason, who leaked several of Dalinar’s secrets in a targeted way which caused distrust. They were not able to hold the coalition together.
Battle of Thaylen Field and aftermath
Though the coalition broke, Thaylen accepted the Alethi help to aid on the possible invasion from Odium and his forces. Navani traveled to that city to support the queen.
During the battle itself, she and Queen Fen were attacked by a huge rock monster who destroyed the tower they were in. Navani and Fen were able to go down the surviving steps. From there Navani was able to see that Amaram had switched sides and Dalinar facing the unmade alone.
Navani, Fen and her consort Kmakl were then captured by one of Amaram’s troops who still blamed the Kholins for the killing of Torol Sadeas. As they were going to execute Kmakl, Navani pulled out her painbrial and knocked their enemies down.
They were later joined by Adolin, who gave her the news on Elhokar’s death and provided comfort. Later Jasnah came in to ask her to clear the center of the city and save citizens. They looked after them until Dalinar came back and Navani went to take care of him.
Dalinar gave her the gem that imprisoned Nergaoul and asked her to study it. He also requested her to teach him how to read. Navani not only taught him to read and write, but helped him with his autobiography: Oathbringer, My Glory and My Shame.
”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.
During the Unification of Alethkar, Navani was a good partner to Gavilar. Helping him with the strategy and creating/executing plots that would help their cause.
Ever since those years, Navani already showed passion for spren and fabrial research. Gavilar was not interested though; she’d spoken with such passion and excitement, and Gavilar had ignored her.
They may have been close at one time, but she implied that they grew apart in the time leading up to his death.
Navani and Dalinar were friends before he introduced her to Gavilar. At that point it seems they were both interested in her. Navani chose Gavilar over Dalinar because she found Dalinar to be frightening.
When Navani returns to the Shattered Plains from Kholinar, she frequently speaks with Dalinar, and later becomes romantically involved with him, which is unusual, because in the eyes of Alethi society, she is now considered to be Dalinar's sister. Part of what Navani finds intriguing about him is that he's begun to be the person the others all claim to be. She now finds Dalinar's intensity, which frightened her when they both were younger, to be fascinating because he's now wrapped it in armor.
When she learns of his "death" at the Battle of the Tower, upon receipt of the news of Sadeas's betrayal, Navani endeavors to paint a prayer in glyph format upon the stones of the Plains. She creates a wish out of despair, a plea out of anguish: Thath: Justice.
After he came back, he decided not to keep the relationship a secret, and they became a couple; not only personally but as leaders of the war and kingdom. She had a way with him, translating scholarship into battle tactics, that helped them understand each other. She also made sure he did not hate the other Alethi princes, but to see them as his people. Their wedding ceremony was carried out by the Stormfather.
He believes he loves her the most for being open and genuine in a society that prided itself on secrets. She’d been breaking taboos, and hearts, since their youth.
Dalinar confided in Navani all he remembered of her visit to the Nightwatcher, she was very supportive. When he started to get his memories back she researched the Old Magic to try to understand why it was happening; but in more than three hundred cases all effects lasted till death.
After the battle of Thaylen, he requests Navani to teach him how to read and write. She does and also helps him with the writing of his autobiography.
Jasnah believes her mother to have a tendency toward the overwhelming. She does not let her mother 'mother' her. Navani knows it. She would try to get close to her daughter, and there was a coldness, like even being near her mother reminded Jasnah that she had once been a child. She wonders what happened to her little girl, so full of questions.
Navani knows Jasnah better that anyone else, but wishes she had some sense to go with her intelligence. She believes that Jasnah never did have the decency to be wrong an appropriate amount of the time.
When she thought Jasnah was dead, Navani considers it to be her first time mourning, implying there difficulties between her and Gavilar before his assassination. Her journals tell of just how deeply Navani felt the loss of her daughter. That also affected Navani's relationship with Shallan, who she first sent away.
Once Jasnah returned to Urithiru, they start working closely both in research and politics. Jasnah would lecture her mother sometimes, but she is still respectful enough to apologize to Navani afterwards.
Navani loves her son, but doesn't consider him a capable king; she calls him her "poor distracted, oblivious boy". She acknowledges that he is seen as weak, and intends to see him protected despite himself, if necessary. In spite of Elhokar's feeling towards Dalinar, he gives them his blessing for the wedding and a sincere hug as he knows it will make his mother happy
To Shallan, Navani looks like a version of Jasnah twenty years older; still pretty, though with a motherly air. After learning of her daughter's death from Shallan, Navani refuses to see her, or have anything to do with her. She even accused her of dooming her when she burned the ship with her "unconscious".
Their relationship changed dramatically after she survived the fall to the chasms. Upon her return, Navani became motherly and protective of her. She became one of her own.
Navani admits to Shallan that she's been ignoring things, things that she should not, because they bring her pain. Shallan apologizes to her, but Navani insists that Shallan has nothing to apologize for. Navani finds Shallan's organization of her notes on Jasnah's findings interesting. Navani acknowledges to Shallan that she thinks like an artist, that she can see it in the way Shallan put her notes together.
She burned prayers for him when dueling and made fun of his superstitious rituals before the duel. She also persuaded Adolin to at least consider an engagement with Shallan. Though she was cold to Shallan after Shallan brought news of Jasnah's death, Navani never stopped supporting the relationship between Adolin and Shallan.
At first, Adolin was not very happy with the relationship between his father and Navani, mostly because it would place his father in an inconvenient position when it came to enforcing the codes. He later becomes supportive of the wedding, shown by his whooping and the joyspren he trailed as he ran.
”You two are a pair of nails in the same doorframe. Stern, hard, and storming annoying to pull free.—Navani to Dalinar on him and Jasnah
”You loathe their excess, and you are close to applying that emotion to them as well. They live the lives they have known, the lives that society has taught them are proper. You won’t change them with contempt. You aren’t Wit; it isn’t your job to scorn them. Your job is to enfold them, encourage them. Lead them, Dalinar.—Navani to Dalinar on the Highprinces of Alethkar
”Order from chaos. Find the structure here and start building upon it.—Navani to herself when trying to get the members of the coalition to agree.
- Navani is an orthodox theist. She’s a traditionalist, who wants the old religion to really work, who is trying to reconcile this.
- She is a few months older than Dalinar.
- The Way of Kings chapter 22 #
- Word of Peter - 17th Shard post
— Arcanum - 2014-01-25#
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