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Shardblade

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Shardblade
Shardplate.jpeg
by Ben McSweeney
Abilities Incredibly light and sharp, able to be summoned and dismissed. Able to cut through any inanimate object.
Appearance Six foot long, ornately decorated swords
Magic Surgebinding, spren
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
This page or section contains spoilers for Oathbringer!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.
According to legend, the Shardblades were first carried by the Knights Radiant uncounted ages ago. Gifts of their god, granted to allow them to fight horrors of rock and flame, dozens of feet tall, foes whose eyes burned with hatred. The Voidbringers.
Szeth's thoughts on Shardblades[1]

A Shardblade is a type of Invested weapon found on Roshar that is typically carried by the Knights Radiant[1] and the Heralds of the Almighty.[2] Shardblades likely each contain a Splinter of a Shard's power.[3] Shardblades are usually used with Shardplate, Invested armor that also exists on Roshar,[1] as Shardblades are so large that they are unwieldy on their own.[4] Making use of a Shardblade is referred to as Shardwielding[5] and those who are bound to a Shardblade are referred to as Shardbearers.[3]

Abilities[edit]

General Characteristics[edit]

While there are a few differences between the various types of Shardblades, they all share a few common traits. All are larger than any normal sword, often at or approaching six feet in length,[1] while simultaneously extremely light.[6] All Shardblades that are bound to a specific owner can be summoned[1] and dismissed at will.[7] When summoned they appear in one's hand,[1] coalescing out of mist, water condensing along the length of the Blade.[4] When a Blade is dismissed[8] it also vanishes into mist.[4] They are composed of an unknown metal that is the body of a Shard,[9] the same type as appears on the keyhole of an Oathgate.[10] The tensile strength of Shardblades is very high; while they can bend a small amount, Shardblades appear to be unbreakable.[11]

by: Sheep
Adolin poses with his Shardblade alongside Kaladin

Shardblades can cut through non-living objects, such as wood or stone, as if they are passing through water.[1] However, when swung at a person or other living object, the edge of the Shardblade will fuzz, leaving the physical body unharmed, and cutting the being's soul. If the Blade cuts the core of a person's limb, the person feels a flash of incredible pain and then the limb turns gray and becomes limp and numb.[12] If an internal organ is pierced by a Shardblade, it can may be killed or cease to function.[4] If the Blade strikes the spine or head, the eyes of the person blacken and burn out with a dark smoke rising from them.[1] When a person is killed this way by a Shardblade, death is not instantaneous; it often takes a few moments for the person to be completely dead.[13] Once a person or other living thing has been killed, its remains can be cut like any other inanimate object.[14] This applies to plants as well; it takes two swings of a Shardblade to sever a plant, one to kill the soul and another to cut it. Non-living portions of a living thing, such as hair or nails can be cut with a Shardblade before the creature itself is killed.[4] Parts of a body that have been damaged by a Shardblade are typically referred to as Blade-dead.[15]

Shardblades cannot be blocked by any typical weapons or armor, but they can be halted by a few things. One Shardblade can block another Shardblade,[1] and when the two collide they may produce sparks.[16] Shardplate can also stop a Shardblade, although two blows to a section of Shardplate is typically enough to shatter it.[1] The half-shards of Jah Keved were also designed by more modern artifabrians to be resistant to Shardblades.[17] These are shields with an Augumenter attached,[18] allowing them to withstand two blows from a Shardblade before breaking.[19] The final known way to block a Shardblade is with aluminum,[20] which is a rare material on Roshar as it can only be obtained through Soulcasting.[21] It is worth noting that the aluminum only nullifies the supernatural sharpness of the Blade, so a thin sheet of aluminum foil would be sheared through easily by a Blade.[22]

Healing Shardblade Wounds[edit]

There are only two known ways for a Shardblade wound to be healed. A Radiant who is infused with Stormlight is capable of healing themselves when they are wounded by a Shardblade, but it requires a large amount of Stormlight.[23] When a Radiant heals a Shardblade wound on themselves, they create an entirely new piece of soul to replace the old and graft it on to their Spiritweb, leaving a scar behind.[9] This healing leaves the wounded limb weakened and aching for a time afterwards.[23] It is unknown if there is any time limit on how long the Radiant has to heal himself. This process is seemingly incapable of saving a Radiant from the instantaneous death of a Shardblade wound to head or spine. The Surge of Progression allows for a process known as Regrowth,[24] which is capable of healing Shardblade wounds or even death by Shardblade.[13] It requires near-immediate healing though, and a significant amount of power. Regrowth fabrials can be created, and were put to use by Radiants before the Recreance.[25] A potential third way to heal a Shardblade wound is making use of a fabrial such as this, but it is as of yet uncertain.

Types[edit]

There were three main types of Shardblades used on Roshar during the Era of Solitude. They were the Honorblades, the weapons of the Heralds, the Shardblades of the typical Radiants, and the dead Shardblades of the Radiants who abandoned their oaths at the Recreance.

Honorblades[edit]

Main article: Honorblades

The Honorblades are a variety of Shardblades.[26] They are the ten weapons of the Heralds, given to them by the Shard Honor.[2] They are weapons of power beyond that of the average Shardblades of the Radiants.[27] Each Honorblade is a work of art, flowing and inscribed with glyphs and patterns. The Honorblade of each Herald grants Surgebinding abilities that corresponded with the order of Radiants that its Herald led.[2] The Honorblades, unlike the Shardblades, are not made from a bond with a spren. This means that they can be used indiscriminately, without regard for oaths or anything else. The Heralds abandoned these Blades in an attempt to end the Oathpact,[27] so they can now be used like any other Shardblade,[28] although they do still grant Surgebinding abilities.[2]

The Heralds glow like the sun, wield the Honorblades, and speak with the voices of a thousand trumpets. They could cast down buildings with a command, force the storms to obey, and heal with a touch.
Shallan's thoughts on the Heralds[29]

Seven of the Honorblades are held by the Shin, who have kept them safe for millenia.[30] The Honorblade of Jezrien is held by Kaladin but it is not bonded to him.[2] Talenel's Honorblade has been stolen by persons unknown.[31] The Blade he arrived at Kholinar with was swapped at some point for the Shardblade that was brought with him to the Shattered Plains. The final Honorblade is in the possession of Nale,[32] he went back to retrieve his Blade after abandoning the Oathpact.[33]

The Honorblades are bonded like a typical dead Shardblade, taking ten heartbeats to summon.[1] It is unknown if a gem needs to be added to them in the wake of the Heralds’ betrayal of the Oathpact. Honorblades also change the color of a person's eyes to the color that corresponds with the abilities that particular Honorblade grants.[34] For instance, Jezrien's Honorblade turns its owner's eyes a sapphire blue. However, that only occurs while the Blade is summoned. Once it is dismissed, its holder's eyes are returned to their natural color. Unlike dead Shardblades, Honorblades do not vanish automatically if the Blade is dropped, they must be intentionally dismissed.[28]

Radiant Shardblades[edit]

Radiant Shardblades are granted to people who are on the path to becoming a full Radiant and have sworn a particular oath of the Immortal Words[10] which varies from order to order.[35] At that point, the spren belonging to the Radiant will gain the ability to become a Shardblade unique to that particular Knight Radiant.[10] Prior to a Radiant gaining their Blade, their Nahel spren are forbidden from telling them anything about where they get their Blade, although they are not above dropping hints.[36] As long as the spren is with the Radiant the spren can transform into a Blade instantaneously.[37] The spren becomes mist and coalesces into the Blade when it is desired,[10] and then reappears out of the mist when the Blade is dismissed.[37] If the Radiant is a darkeyes, once they receive their Blade for the first time, their eyes are lightened,[38] although it is unknown if this effect is permanent. Each Radiant's eyes also change to the specific color that corresponds with their order.[39] This effect may not occur or be less noticeable if the person is already lighteyed.[40]

The Honorblades are what we are based on, Kaladin. Honor gave these to men, and those men gained powers from them. Spren figured out what He'd done, and we imitated it.
—Syl to Kaladin[2]

The spren still is capable of speaking with their Radiant while in Blade form.[37] In addition to that, the spren need not take the shape of a Blade. They can become a spear, a shield, a knife, an axe, a hammer, or apparently a large variety of weapons. In the past they may have even taken the form of bows, although it is uncertain what was used for a string.[41] A spren may take many forms when it become solid, but it must be metal.[41] Radiant Blades may be lent to others, just like their dead counterparts, and may even change form in order to aid the borrower.[14] When the Radiant who owns the Blade dies, the spren is freed and may bond again with another person one day.[42]

Radiant Shardblades are typically around six feet in length and a handspan in width.[43] They can be edged on one[3] or both sides,[44] and often ornamented with glyphs,[37] as well as patterns along the edges,[10] which may correspond with the essence of that particular Radiant's order. The Blades also glow slightly along its lines with the Polestone color that corresponds to their Radiant's order.[10][14]

Radiant Shardblades are, in a way, more fragile than other Shardblades. A Radiant must remain faithful to their oaths or they risk damaging the Nahel bond with the spren. If their oaths are continually disobeyed, the bond will weaken[45] and then break, killing the spren and trapping them in the form of a dead Shardblade.[2] As Shardblades were originally patterned off of Honorblades, when their spren is killed they revert to the form of a sword, even if their Radiant preferred a different form.[46] It is potentially possible for that same person to reestablish the bond and return the dead Shardblade to its previous state.[37]

Dead Shardblades[edit]

Dead. Then they live again a little when someone summons them, syncing a heartbeat to their essence.
Sylphrena on dead Shardblades[2]
by: Sheep
Adolin walks with his dead Shardblade alongside Kaladin

Dead Shardblades were once owned by members of the Knights Radiant.[2] If a Radiant that has a Shardblade betrays their oaths, their spren is killed and its body is trapped in the shape of the Blade. Dead Shardblades have lost some of the functionality that they once had. The Blades have lost most of their ability to change into different weapons, although the shape of the Blade may change slightly to accomadate its owner after being used for a long time.[47] The dead Shardblades are nearly identical to how they appeared while still wielded by the Radiants, but there are two small differences. Each dead Shardblade has a Polestone attached to its hilt, whereas the the Shardblades wielded by Radiants do not.[48] Dead Shardblades also lack the subtle glow possessed by the Blades of active Radiants.[49] Another difference between the two is that dead Shardblades do not automatically remain summoned when dropped or placed somewhere by their owner.[4] If a Shardbearer does not intentionally command their Blade mentally to remain, the Blade will automatically be dismissed and will have to be summoned all over again.[7]

As the Nahel bond with the original Radiant seems to have been severed, a new bond has to be formed in order for a Blade to be summoned and dismissed. When a new owner touches a Shardblade for the first time, the gemstone on the pommel flashes.[50][44] The person who wishes to bond with the Blade must keep in close quarters to it for five days before the bond is set.[8] At that point they can summon and dismiss it. The spren inside the Blades are not completely dead, just mostly.[2] As they are a little alive, they can sync a heartbeat to their essence. It takes ten heartbeats for a dead spren to be revived and summoned as a Shardblade. Once a person is bonded to a dead Shardblade, their eyes do lighten if they are not already lighteyes.[45] Since the gemstone on the pommel is the basis for the bond between a Blade and its owner, if the gemstone is removed or damaged, its owner will be unable to summon or dismiss the Blade until the gemstone is replaced.[51]

When the holder of a dead Shardblade is killed, the Shardblade appears on the ground next to them. A dead Shardblade may also be given up willingly. This process of breaking the bond requires intense concentration and touching the gemstone of the Blade.[52] When the bond is severed completely, the gemstone on the pommel flashes.[53] A person may be bonded with multiple dead Shardblades but they have to be summoned individually.[54]

It just feels wrong to me. I hate it. I’m glad he got rid of it. Makes him a better man.
—Syl on Dalinar giving up Oathbringer[55]

Dead Shardblades also have one other unique trait. When touched by a Radiant or Radiant-in-training, the Radiant will hear the agonizing screams of the spren inside.[56] If the Radiant touches the Blade of another, the person it is bonded too will also hear screams and be accused of murdering the spren. This experience is terrifying. There is no known way to free the spren trapped within dead Shardblades, they have been so severely damaged that it would require their original knight[57] to repair them in almost all cases.[58] Spren that are capable of forming the Nahel bond will sometimes express dislike and revulsion for anyone wielding a dead Shardblade, no matter the character of the person bound to the Blade.[55] They consider these Blades to be abominations.[3]

Dead Shardblades may be returned to their previous function if their previous Radiant recommits themselves to their abandoned oaths.[37] Their spren can be reawoken and the dead Shardblade returns to its previous functionality. However, once their original Radiant has died, there is no known way to bond with the dead spren, heal their mind, and repair the Blade. It is possible for someone speaking the oaths of the Radiants to heal the spren within the Blade, but it would be very difficult.[59] The spren has had some portion of their consciousness torn away when the Nahel bond was broken and this chunk would have to be replaced to fix the Blade.[60]

History[edit]

Heraldic Epochs[edit]

Main article: Heraldic Epochs

The very first Shardblades were the Honorblades.[2] They were gifted to the ten Heralds by the Almighty, the Shard Honor, to aid in the fight against the Voidbringers and Odium. While these weapons were useful, over time it began clear that the Honorblades were not enough to continually defeat the Voidbringers. Each Desolation the Heralds would return to a populace that had forgotten them, and each time humanity drew closer to annihilation.[61] The spren, seeing how Honor had granted the Heralds these supernatural weapons and abilities, formed Nahel bonds with humans and did the same.[2] The Blades they created together were the very first of the Radiant Shardblades.

We had to be given Shardblades to fight, otherwise we would have had to resist the Voidbringers with clubs.
Kabsal on the origins of Shardblades[62]

These Shardblades were used by the Radiants to fight against the Voidbringers for at least several Desolations.[63] Finally, the Last Desolation, Aharietiam, occurred.[27] The Heralds, broken under the pressure of their torture, abandoned their Honorblades and broke the Oathpact. They told mankind that humanity had won the war finally and left the Radiants to guide mankind themselves. At some point the Shin people obtained these nine remaining Honorblades and took them, guarding them for millennia.[30]

Era of Solitude[edit]

Main article: Era of Solitude

The Radiants continued on, independently of the Heralds for several hundred years at least, until the Day of Recreance, when the Radiants abandoned their Shards for unknown reasons.[49] When the Radiants laid down their Shards at the Recreance, they broke their bonds with their spren by betraying their oaths, killing them and trapping their bodies within the Shardblades they left behind,[2] leaving the spren in a state of eternal agony.[59] Initially, when the Radiants abandoned their Shardblades, the Blades remained fantastically sharp, but could no longer be bound to a person or summoned.[64] This betrayal of the Nahel spren broke their trust with humankind.[65] They refused to bond with men anymore and returned to Shadesmar.[66] At some point during the Era of Solitude, the Herald Nale retrieved his own Honorblade for reasons unknown.[32]

A few decades after the Recreance, a process was discovered to add a gemstone to the pommels of the Shardblades.[48] The Shardblades even shifted form to allow for the gemstones. This returned some of their old function to the dead Blades. They could once again be summoned, but they were not the same. For the next several hundred years following the Recreance, Shardblades were prized among nations of the world both as weapons of war[67] and symbols of power.[68] These Blades were considered to be heirlooms, and their paths and histories are accounted for through the generations.[61] In the years following the Recreance, a book called Arts and Majesty was written, dividing disciplines into masculine and feminine.[69] It claimed that masculine tasks were those done with two hands, while feminine tasks could be done with one.[70] This was an attempt by men to gain exclusive control over Shardblades;[71] an attempt that was almost entirely successful.[25] During this time, Shardblades were also used for some unusual purposes, such as carving the city of Yeddaw out of the ground.[36]

It is uncertain if or when any new Radiants crafted Shardblades during this time period. It seems unlikely, as the Nahel spren had all retreated to their homeland of Shadesmar.[66] There may have been a few dissident spren, similar to Sylphrena[12] or Ivory[65] but if there were any, they were few and far between. It is likely that any few Radiants arising during this time were killed by Nale, as he had been working for centuries to prevent the return of the Radiants.[72]

Recent Events[edit]

Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.
Tanavast in one of Dalinar's visions[73]
by: Sheep
Szeth holding his Honorblade

The first Radiant confirmed to have created a Shardblade following the Recreance was Shallan Davar, a young Veden girl.[30] She and her spren, a Cryptic known as Pattern, reached the point in their bond where Shallan gained a Shardblade. However, Shallan’s mother, who was possibly connected with the Ghostbloods or Skybreakers, recognized her potential as a Radiant. She attempted to murder Shallan, but was instead murdered by Shallan wielding her Shardblade. This experience was so traumatizing to Shallan that she was unable to recall the exact circumstances of how she gained her Blade for many years, so knowledge of how Shardblades were created remained hidden.

In the year 1168, Szeth-son-Neturo, a Truthless of Shinovar was sent by the Parshendi to kill Gavilar Kholin, king of the kingdom of Alethkar.[1] Wielding the Honorblade of the Herald Jezrien,[2] which he had received from his people,[74] Szeth assassinated many other rulers on the orders of King Taravangian of Kharbranth.[75] The use of this Honorblade destabilized the political structures of most of the influential kingdoms of Roshar, particularly Azir[24] and the nation of Jah Keved, where a succession war occurred.[76]

In the final few days of year 1173, a former slave known as Kaladin Stormblessed, who had bonded a honorspren named Sylphrena,[77] swore the third Ideal of the Windrunners.[10] This allowed Syl the ability to become a Shardblade, returning the knowledge of the origins of Shardblades to mankind. Kaladin used his Shardblade to then kill Szeth, and reclaim Jezrien’s Honorblade.[37] By this same time, Jasnah Kholin had also managed to progress to a point in her bond where her spren, Ivory, could become a Blade.[78] A few days later, in 1174, the Edgedancer Lift swore the third Ideal of her order, allowing her spren Wyndle to take the form of a Shardblade.[79]

Politics[edit]

Any man can win a Shardblade. Slave or free. Lighteyes or dark. It’s the law.
Moash on winning Shardblades[80]

Shardblades were often one of the most tangible expressions of power between various nations.[67] Kingdoms with many Shardblades were often considered to be more politically powerful than the others. Those without Shardblades, especially the smaller kingdoms, lived in fear of those with Shardblades.[67] In the major Vorin kingdoms, Alethkar and Jah Keved, Shardblades are sign of nobility and power. The highprinces of these nations and oftentimes their children or favored highlords typically have a Blade or two. With perhaps twenty or so Blades each, Jah Keved and Alethkar have the most Blades of any kingdom on Roshar.[49] These Blades are passed down family lines,[53] although if a Shardbearer is killed, their Blade goes to their killer.[80]

This weapon is worth fortunes. Cities, palaces, kingdoms.
Torol Sadeas on Shardblades[81]

Even within the Vorin kingdoms themselves, those with Shardblades were usually seen as more powerful. Highprinces of Alethkar and Jah Keved jostle with one another for position and influence,[82] and Shardblades are just another tool and indication of power and authority.[8] Duels for Shards can be used to embarrass political enemies as well as to weaken their military strength. For instance, Highprince Dalinar Kholin had his son duel Shardbearers that supported Torol Sadeas politically,[83] in order to disarm and shame them.[8] As most Blades are won by those who already have their own Shards, not all Blades are kept by the person that wins them. Oftentimes they are bestowed upon an heir or relative,[6] a worthy warrior,[3] a loyal officer,[6][44] or even sometimes promised to an ally.[84] It is worth noting though that even if a person is said to own a Shardblade, their it is considered treasonous to sell the Blade or defect to another kingdom.[44]

Outside of Vorin Roshar, other regions usually have far fewer Blades and they deal with them quite differently. The Thaylens have only five Blades, which they keep in the hands of their Royal Guards.[68] The Herdazians have but a single Blade, which is kept in the royal line, passed from each king to his heir. In the Makabaki regions, the Prime Aqasix of Azir controls the Imperial Shardblades which he rents to the smaller kingdoms.[36] The Selay have several Blades of their own as well.[68] Even the listeners have their own Shardblades,[85] although their numbers have dwindled down to a single Blade[86] as the Alethi gradually kill the listener Shardbearers in the War of Reckoning and took their Blades for themselves.[6]Smaller and weaker nations such as Kharbranth, however, have no Shardblades, leaving it to the mercy of the kingdoms with Shardblades.[87] The island people of the Reshi Sea do not have any Blades either,[88] which leaves them at a disadvantage to the Alethi during border conflicts.[49] The Unkalaki of the Horneater Peaks do not have any Shardblades, but the first man to gain a Blade would be able to unite the Peaks as king.[68]

A less common use for Shardblades was in assassination. Shardbearer assassins were by no means commonplace, but the Weeper[89] and Szeth-son-Vallano used Shardblades in assassinations.[1] A potential strategy made use of by Shardbearer assassins is to give the Blade to a woman.[90] Centuries after the last female Radiants, Shardblades are rarely carried by women, so no one would expect to have to defend against, for instance, a washerwoman wielding a Shardblade. Other Shardbearer assassins, such as the Weeper, remove the burned out eyes of their victims, to hide the fact that they make use of a Shardblade.[89]

Culture[edit]

While Shardblades were certainly renowned for their use in combat, that is not to say that they did not have any impact on culture. Rather, they were one of the most important drivers of Rosharan culture, most noticeably in the Vorin nations. They have influenced theology, mythology, society, and even introduced the sport of dueling into Alethkar and Jah Keved, two of the most powerful kingdoms on the face of Roshar.

Fabrial Science[edit]

One of the primary goals of artifabrians and their research is the reproduction of Shardblade and its complement, Shardplate.[91] The kingdom that gained the ability to manufacture Shardblades and Shardplate would quickly become the most powerful in the entire world.[1] It is commonly said that artifabrians are only a few years away from managing to recreate Shardblades, but this has never proven true.[17] In fact, no artifabrian has ever come close to duplicating the effects of a Shardblade. For many years, artifabrians have believed that the supernatural qualities of a Shardblade are due to the gemstone in their hilts, which they believed to be a fabrial.[48] In 1173, artifabrians discovered that the gemstones were not originally a part of the Blade and are only important in allowing for the Blade to be summoned and dismissed. The most important Shardblade-related fabrial development are the half-shards of Jah Keved, which were a groundbreaking development in combating the Blades.[17]

Theology & Mythology[edit]

by: Greg Call
The Herald Nalan'Elin, holding his Honorblade
We have strength and power granted by the Almighty. It's a great responsibility, and it's our duty to use it for the protection of our men.
Adolin Kholin on being a Shardbearer[92]

According to Vorin doctrine, the Shardblades were gifts from the Almighty, used to fight the Voidbringers, who were said to have skin of stone.[1] As humanity was barely making spears, and their metalworking was incredibly basic, they needed the aid of their god to drive the Voidbringers from Roshar and the Tranquiline Halls and back into Damnation.[93] While the Radiants were initially a force for good,[93] it is said that over time they became corrupt[94] and eventually betrayed mankind in some way, possibly helping the other side.[95] Thereafter they were known as the Lost Radiants, and some began to say that their powers had been a curse[65] or merely fanciful tales.[8] The Honorblades have been elevated to a place of legend,[25] considered to be mythological treasures.[67] In Vorinism, it is not believed that being killed by a Shardblade destroys the soul, likely due to their connection to the Radiants.[96]

Stories of heroes wielding Shardblades were pervasive among the peoples of Roshar, particularly the Vorin darkeyed.[88] Young children play at having Shardblades, and dream of growing up to join the army and win one for themselves. Young lighteyed children often have wooden toy swords, carved to look like Shardblades.[52] Some young men carry fine daggers carved in the likeness of Shardblades.[97] In rural towns, the tales of Lanacin the Surefooted, Evod Markmaker, and Raninor of the Fields, legendary and revered darkeyes who won Shardblades,[98] inspired men to go off to war in hopes of winning a Shardblade, and thus riches and fame for themselves and their loved ones.[88] However, a darkeyes winning a Shardblade is so incredibly uncommon that it has not happened in over a lifetime.[45]

Society[edit]

Even though the Radiants are a distant memory of the past of Roshar, their influence still permeates Vorin society.[2] Indeed, it is the memory of the Radiants, whose eyes were lightened upon bonding their Blade, that led to the stratification of Vorin society into castes based on eye color. Even some titles may be passed with Shards; for instance in Thanadal's princedom, the owner of a certain set of Shards is typically given the title of Royal Defender.[99]

The cardinal rule of Shardblades is that any person who kills a Shardbearer is entitled to the Shards that person possess, regardless of their social status.[80] Any person in Vorin society that gains a Shardblade is instantly raised to the level of a fourth dahn lighteyes if they were not already at that rank or higher.[44] This grants that person the title of highlord, as well as lands of their own and incomes from those lands. Upon being raised, they may make their own noble house or ask permission to join another house. Anyone that bonds a Shardblade instantly becomes one of the most influential people in the kingdom, and their presence is expected at all social events of note.[48] They are so important that they become, to some extent, above the law.[100] For more series crimes, Shardbearers are either pardoned or executed, as it is impossible to imprison a Shardbearer against their will. This is true whether the Shardbearer is lighteyed or dark, but far more lighteyes become Shardbearers than darkeyes.[44]

When someone bonds a Shardblade, most commonly they maintain that bond up until the point of their death or it is lost in a duel or some other way.[49] The only circumstance that a person would willingly give up their Blade is when they become to weak or ill to be able to use it themselves, and even then it is uncommon and done with reluctance. In Vorin kingdoms, upon a Shardbearer's natural death, a Blade is most commonly passed on down their family line.[53] Most Shardblades have a detailed history and drawings done of them, which is tracked down through the generations by scholars as they are passed from father to son or change hands in combat.[61] Oftentimes they also are given a name, such as Firestorm or Sunraiser, although some Shardbearers prefer not to name their Blades.[53]

Greatshell Hunts[edit]

by: Evan Monteiro
Dalinar, wielding Oathbringer, fights a chasmfiend

Shardblades are often used in greatshell hunts, enormous Vorin sporting events.[101] Typically the Shardblades are used in the very final stages of the hunt, after the beast has been wounded by volleys of arrows and shots from a grandbow. In the case of the chasmfiends of the Shattered Plains, the Shardblades are used on the beasts's legs.[4] Shardbearers ride around beneath the greatshell, cutting through one leg at a time until the remaining legs cannot support the chasmfiend's weight and it collapses. The creature is then killed with the Blades and its gemheart is harvested. Some consider the Blades to be so effective that the greatshell hunts are unsportsmanlike.[101] It is unknown what role Shardblades play in other greatshell hunts.

Dueling[edit]

Fighting with Shardblades, though, that could be like a dance. The large weapons took a great deal of skill to swing properly, and Plate was resilient, so

exchanges were generally drawn out. The fights were filled with grand motions, wide sweeps. There was a fluidity to fighting with a Shardblade. A grace.

— Dalinar's thoughts on Shardblade duels[99]

The Vorin kingdoms of eastern Roshar have a proud tradition of dueling, particularly with Shardblades. A duel between Shardbearers was not just a contest of skill, but an art form all its own.[99] Lighteyes and darkeyes alike gathered in arenas, to view not only a simple battle, but a grand spectacle. While there were rules and regulations as to what was permitted and forbidden during a duel, oftentimes certain actions were forbidden by traditions stronger than law.[53] Duels are supposed to be fought slowly and gracefully, both opponents testing one another before dueling in earnest. Duelists nearly always make use of traditional dueling styles, such as Windstance or Smokestance. Duels that are instead fought quickly with fast, brutal blows are nontraditional and unpopular with both highjudges and audiences, if not technically forbidden. While Shardblades typically do not need to be swung at full strength in combat, it is useful during a duel with someone also wielding another Shardblade.[99] Some duels are fought without a Shardblade, but even many of those are fought without a shield evoking the classical ideal of a duel with Shardblades.[102]

I am highprince here, Dalinar. In this arena, my word is the only law, granted me by the authority of the king.
—Highjudge Istow[15]
Duels are moderated by a highjudge, who has absolute authority over what occurs during a duel within the arena.[15] Both duelists agree to terms in front of the highjudge before a duel. Duels are usually fought until a specific number of sections of Plate are Shattered. The typical number of Plates duelists fight for is one, but higher stakes duels can go for more two or three, but this can prove dangerous. [99] Some try to jam their Blade in gaps between the sections of Plate, hoping to break them.[103] This is a dangerous move though, and risks seriously wounding an opponent. A duel can also go until surrender, which allows a man to keep fighting until he feels he is bested or is rendered incapable of further fighting.[15] If a highjudge feels a duel has gone too far, she can end the duel herself. Duelists can also agree to a paired duel, in which one man fights two or a disadvantaged duel wherein the disadvantaged side need only have fewer duelists than the other side. Specific language when challenging another person to a duel is crucial as other duelists will use any flaws in the wording of the challenge to skew the duel to their own advantage.

Duels can be fought for a variety of reasons. One is for sport, fighting to duels to practice and display skill.[99] Someone dueling can choose to compete to become the dueling champion of the kingdom. This is determined by statistical dueling rankings,[99] which prevent just any Shardbearer from challenging one ranked far higher.[104] Typically, a dueling champion will only agree to fight someone close to him in the rankings. Working ones way to the top of the rankings can typically take a year or two. Another reasons someone can challenge another to a duel is in recompense for an insult or some sort of wrongdoing.[105] This usually only applies to people of a similar rank, a subordinate is typically not permitted to challenge his superior to a duel. Duels can also be fought wagering Plate, Blades or both.[53] These duels are uncommon and usually something of a spectacle. This is one of the few ways that Shards change hands outside of actual combat. Duels to the death are very rare, although accidental death or serious injury are not unheard of in duels. One of the few ways that a duel to the death is permitted is permitted by the Right of Challenge, which is sometimes granted by a boon from the king.[105] The Alethi Codes of War forbid dueling in times of war, to avoid injuring officers, although few modern Alethi keep to the codes.[101]

by: Isaac Stewart
Scroll showing a variety of Shardblade stances

Training Shardbearers[edit]

A Shardbearer is typically trained in a specific way among the Alethi. Lighteyed boys of appropriate rank around the age of ten are chosen by an ardent swordmaster for training.[3] These boys typically already have at least some training with the sword. The swordmasters train in training grounds run by the ardentia. The swordmaster's job is teaches them the ten Shardblade Stances, which are used in both dueling and regular combat.[98] They train with Blades in two ways. If the trainee has no Blade of his own, they can make use of wooden practice swords that approximate the balance and weight of a real Blade. They may also borrow one of the King's Blades.[3] Either way, when training with real Blades a guard is used to blunt the cutting edge.[43] The origin of these guards is unknown, but they are believed to come from long ago. The guards are made of metal and conform to the edge of any Blade. The guards themselves are useless and fragile on their own, but they are perfect for training. A swordmaster also coaches their student on how to control the Blade with their mind, commanding it to remain in place so it can be loaned to others.[106]

King's Blades[edit]

One of the strongest traditions in Alethkar is the loaning of the King's Blade.[107] In Alethkar, both the king's Blade and his Plate are available to be used in a duel by those who have the favor of the king and are without Shards of their own. Borrowing the Blade does cost a hefty amount of spheres, but it is not uncommon. Oftentimes kings dislike or are uncomfortable with this tradition, but they still follow the tradition. Kings will also make their Blades available for trainee Shardbearers to practice wielding an actual Blade.[3] This tradition is one of the reasons the Alethi have the best trained Shardbearers on Roshar. Whenever a Shardbearer is killed or dies, there is always someone prepared to bond their Blade and use it right away. On some occasions, a king will even allow their Blade to be used in actual combat, but it is uncertain how commonly this occurs.[108] If a king has multiple Blades, he will sometimes bestow one of the King's Blades on someone who he thinks is deserving of a Blade of their own.[3] Before the monarchy was restored in Alethkar, the highprinces carried on the tradition of the King's Blade by lending their own Blades.[99]

Battle Tactics[edit]

Shardblades are such an effective tool on the battlefield that they have inspired their own tactical and countertactical uses. Combat in a battle against a vast number of regular soldiers differs significantly from a duel, and so the tactics that a Shardbearer makes use of are also quite different as well. Shardblades are typically most effective when they are used by a person that is also wearing Shardplate, as the Blades are so large that they are unwieldy without Plate.[4] The tactics discussed below typically assume the person wielding the Shardblade is also wearing Shardplate. These tactics also typically apply to dead Shardblades, as those who use them do not have inherent access to Surgebinding. It is worth noting however, that dueling knowledge may also come into play on the field of battle, if a Shardbearer faces an enemy Shardbearer.

Shardblade Tactics[edit]

A Shardbearer wasn't just a force of destruction; he was a force of morale and inspiration. The men fought more vigorously as they saw their brightlord felling foe after foe. Shardbearers changed battles.
— Dalinar's thoughts on Shardbearers[109]

The first tactical decision made using Shards is often deciding where to deploy them. As Shardblades are as rare as they are effective, generals and tacticians must decide where they are most useful. Shardbearers typically only fight in the most important battles.[88] For instance, no Shardbearers were necessary when the Alethi fought the Reshi in the wastescum skirmishes,[88] but every single Shardbearer has been deployed to the Shattered Plains for the War of Reckoning.[49] While sending as many Shardblades to a conflict as possible may seem a simple solution, it may leave an army exposed elsewhere or leave its homeland defenseless.[6] Another consideration is the fact that sending Shardbearers to a battle may serve as a deterrent to one's enemies, but it may also escalate the conflict and provoke one's enemies to send their own Shardbearers into battle.[49]

Shardbearers often lead formations themselves, cutting a hole in enemy ranks with their overwhelming force.[16] This creates a gap that well-trained men can exploit, which can allow for an army to overcome superior numbers. The usefulness of this tactic is twofold. Few regular men can put up an effective resistance against a Shardbearer, allowing them to lead a spectacularly effective charge, and also this tactic puts the Shardbearers at the front of the regular soldiers, often giving them a boost in morale as well.[109] Shardbearers will also sometimes be used in defensive fights to bolster the gaps in their own lines, moving quickly between weak places to give soldiers a chance to recover and return to their formation.[64] When a Shardbearer has Plate and Blade, they can also easily cut their way behind enemy lines, where they can wreak havoc with impunity and cause confusion that their own soldiers can then exploit.[110] Unlike fighting in a duel, the most effective way to combat large groups of soldiers is to maintain momentum and keep the Shardblade in constant motion, always cutting.[109] Practiced Shardbearers will use their control over their bond with their Shardblade to make use of it unexpectedly. They may throw their Shardblades in a more ranged attack than they are used to and then dismiss it once the damage is done so that they can summon it back to their hands.[106] Another uncommon tactic is unexpectedly dismissing the Blade, which can surprise an enemy who is preparing to dodge the Blade or parry it.[19] This works particularly well when the Shardbearer is wearing Plate.

by: Sheep
Adolin prepares for a fight in the dueling pit

Due to their awesome power, Shardbearers fighting together often have to be careful that they do not inadvertently hurt one another or their own men.[109] Fighting in tandem with Shards is a skill all its own, keeping close enough to support one another but just far enough away to avoid interfering in the other's fight.[64] While the skill is uncommonly practiced, two Shardbearers supporting one another in combat can achieve incredible success.[11] Many times a Shardbearer will wade into enemy lines, bolstered by an honor guard fighting a few steps behind them.[109] The honor guard does not spend time defending the Shardbearer directly, but rather stays nearby to support the Shardbearer, so if his Plate is severely damaged or he is seriously injured, the Shardbearer can retreat to safety and not risk their life or their Shards.[85] Bolder Shardbearers will leave this honor guard behind and will attack enemies alone, either on foot or horseback.[111] Such a move is a tactical risk, as an isolated Shardbearer is at his must vulnerable and the loss of a Shardbearer in combat may prove disastrous for their own forces.[109]

As Shards are often passed down family lines,[53] many times it ends up in the hands of someone that prefers not to be involved directly in combat. Aged warriors, those who lack a talent for fighting, or those who prefer to lead tactically from the rear[7] may not desire to engage directly in combat themselves, but also do not want to deprive their army of a Shardblade.[49] Shardbearers can will their Blade to remain and still remain fully bonded to the Blade.[7] This has lead to the practice of highprinces and other lighteyes lending their Blades to skilled officers. This tactic relies on a great deal of trust on both sides though. As the owner of the Blade has the ability to recall the Blade at any moment, the person fighting with it must trust that the owner will not dismiss the Blade, leaving them unarmed. For their part, the owner of the Blade must trust that the person wielding it will not interfere with the gem on the Blade or allow it to be damaged, which would prevent the true owner from being able to summon it until it is replaced with a new gemstone.[51]

The Shardblade is such a powerful weapon that its versatility is often only limited by the creativity of its bearer. For instance, Adolin Kholin used his Shardblade stuck into the side of a plateau as a platform to stand on while clearing a space for him to stand on top of the plateau.[11] In another instance, Dalinar cuts section of rock away, allowing it to fall on his opponents below him.[16] He also will cut the stone underneath the feet of his opponents to make them lose their footing. An experienced Shardbearer can find a multitude of ways to use a Blade to his advantage in battle beyond the tactics in which they are typically trained.

Countering Shardblades[edit]

The most effective way of countering a Shardblade is to send another Shardbearer against them.[84] By leveling the playing field in this way, the overwhelming power of a Shardblade is negated and victory is left to the most skilled of the fighters.[112] However, when going up against a full Shardbearer, a person with both Blade and Plate, a Blade is often not enough to ensure victory.[84] This is why most Shards are won by people who are already full Shardbearers.

In fighting a Shardbearer, everything became about that Blade. The Blade that nothing could stop, the Blade that didn’t just kill the body— but severed the soul itself.
—Kaladin's thoughts on Shardblades[43]

As swords and arrows are practically useless against a Shardbearer, heavy weapons such as war hammers and axes are often used in an attempt to counter them.[109] The most common tactic is to simply drown a Shardbearer in enemies.[38] Enemy forces attempt to attack from all directions, hoping that the Shardbearer may grow distracted or disoriented.[109] Despite the fact that most regular soldiers are afraid to face a Shardbearer, when they attack in large groups the weight of the army can force even the reluctant forward,[109] and there is always the chance that someone will get in a lucky blow.[38] Shardbearers are vulnerable if they can be separated from the soldiers supporting them, so if an army can separate a Shardbearer from their honor guard and limit their mobility, they have a decent chance of killing him.[85] One tactic to reduce a Shardblade's effectiveness is to get in close to the Shardbearer, taking advantage of the Blade's long, non-lethal hilt.[109][52] As the Shardblades cut through corpses instead of knocking them away like a normal weapon would, Shardbearers often become surrounded in corpses, which can lead to unstable footing and decreased mobility.[109] In extended battle, Shardbearers are rarely the last fighting, their enemy focuses on bringing them down first so that their Blades can be turned on their own men once they have fallen.[64] This means when a Shardbearer is killed, recovering their Blade and Plate are a higher priority than even retrieving the highlord's body.[113]

One common vulnerability a Shardbearer has is their own arrogance. In fact, oftentimes Shardbearers allow their combat skills to dull or never bother becoming terribly skilled in the first place, as they become used to being near-invincible and fantastically stronger than any of their opponents.[19] This can be the undoing of a Shardbearer who faces a more practiced opponent or a Surgebinder. One specific move to counter a Shardblade that makes use of this weakness is called a lastclap.[98] Oftentimes Shardbearers do not swing at their full strength as they typically do not need to do so when fighting in large battles, as they have a Blade that can cut through any material.[99] This means that when they are swinging downward at an enemy with an overhead blow, the person they are swinging at can sometimes catch the Blade between their palms.[12] Some see this as a dumb move, only useful as a last resort, because it relies fully on an enemy's lack of care.[98]

One uncommonly exploited weakness in a Shardblade is the gem at its hilt. If the gemstone on the hilt of a Blade is damaged or removed and the Shardbearer is somehow disarmed, he will be unable to summon the Blade to himself.[51] However, if someone can get close enough to a Shardbearer to disable his Blade in such a way, they are likely close enough to either kill the owner or be killed by him, making this tactic often impractical. Oftentimes, a surprise attack is the quickest way to kill a Shardbearer. If they are not currently on the battlefield, and therefore not in their Plate, a Shardbearer can be attacked before they have a chance to summon their Blade.[52] In close quarters fighting, such as hand-to-hand or with a knife, Shardblades are too long to be useful and are only a liability if summoned, eliminating the advantage of a Blade.

Combat in the Shattered Plains[edit]

Shardblades also are helpful when dealing with the Shattered Plains in particular. When attempting to cross from one plateau to another that is held by an enemy, full Shardbearers will often leap the chasm between the two plateaus and establish a "beachhead" for the men setting bridges behind them.[111] This strategy is often followed by a cavalry attack across the bridge to push back the enemy.[114] Those who fight against the Shardbearers often attempt to push the Shardbearers off the plateau and into the chasm, killing them instantly, so this tactic is incredibly dangerous for unskilled Shardbearers. Shardblades are also useful in harvesting gemhearts rapidly from chasmfiends. A Blade can be used to kill the pupating chasmfiend, cutting through its chrysalis easily. Once dead, a Shardblade can easily be used instead of mallets to break open the chrysalis and remove the gemheart, allowing the Alethi to retreat quickly.[82]

Known Shardbearers[edit]

Radiant Shardblades[edit]

The Shardblades listed here are formed from living spren that have formed a Nahel bond with a human being. Any person that has bonded with a spren but has not yet manifested a Shardblade is not listed here.

Spren Name Radiant Name Order Typical Form Notes References
Ivory Jasnah Kholin Elsecaller Sword Blade is long and thin [78]
Pattern Shallan Davar Lightweaver Sword Initially believed it to be a dead Shardblade - Has several faint lines down its length [14]
Sylphrena Kaladin Stormblessed Windrunner Spear Blade is covered in swirls [10]
Wyndle Lift Edgedancer Pole or fork Has never appeared as a Blade [79][41]
unknown Harkaylain Windrunner Sword Radiant from the Heraldic Epochs [25]

Dead Shardblades[edit]

This list of dead Shardblades is organized by current owner or most recent known owner.

Shardbearer Blade Name Previous Holder Appearance Notes References
Adolin Kholin Mayalaran[115] Tinalar Sinuous cutting edge, crystalline back, former Blade of an Edgedancer Won in a duel in Adolin's youth [53]
Aladar Unknown Unknown Unknown Prefers to lead from rear, often lends Blade to officers [7]
Dalinar Kholin (Unbound) Unknown Talenel - Unbound Wider than average - cleaver-like Unbound at the request of the Stormfather [100]
Elhokar Kholin Sunraiser Kalanor Long, thin - etched with ten fundamental glyphs Elhokar also possesses his father's old Blade, Firestorm. [4]
Eshonai Unknown Unknown Wicked and barbed, flame patterns Lost in chasms of Shattered Plains with Eshonai herself [86]
Gavilar Kholin (Deceased) Firestorm Unknown Edged on both sides, flame patterns Currently in possession of Elhokar as King's Blade, looking for worthy owner[3] [53]
Graves Unknown Unknown Unknown Presumably used to cut through Elhokar's railing in an assassination attempt [113]
Hanavanar (Deceased) Unknown Unknown Unknown Kept Blade a secret, two of his murdered men also had Blades, fate of all three unknown [53]
General Khal Unknown Relis Ruthar Unknown Won by Adolin in his duels [44]
Liss Unknown Unknown Unknown Kept a secret to be used in assassinations [89]
Meridas Amaram Unknown Helaran Davar Thick, curved, one edge in shape of flames or ripples Stolen by Amaram from Kaladin [50]
Moash Unknown Abrobadar Edged on both sides, twisting vine pattern at center, heliodor pommel First darkeyed Shardbearer in generations, won by Adolin in his duels [44]
Renarin Kholin Unknown Salinor Eved Unknown Won by Adolin in his duels [53]
Resi Unknown Unknown Unknown Only full Shardbearer in Thanadals camp, called Royal Defender [99]
Ruthar Unknown Unknown Unknown Only Blade remaining to Ruthar after Adolin's duels [48]
Talanor Unknown Unknown Unknown Only possess a Blade, refused Adolin's duel off [116]
Torol Sadeas (Deaceased) Oathbringer Dalinar Kholin Handspan wide, curvy, hooked tip, edged on one side with wave-like serrations near hilt Currently hidden in Urithiru after Sadeas' murder [117]
Valam (Deceased) Unknown Unknown Unknown Left beside body of the king, current owner unknown [76]

Former Shardbearers[edit]

This is a list of former Shardbearers that have lost their Blade or have died and had their Blade claimed by someone else. The references section refers to the first specific instance this person was mentioned to have a Shardblade or the Shardblade appeared, for specific references for the details provided in this table, see the respective Shardbearer's page.

Shardbearer Blade Name Previous Holder Next Holder Appearance Notes References
Abrobadar Unknown Unknown Moash Edged on both sides, twisting vine pattern at center, heliodor pommel Won by Adolin in his duels and given to Moash [56]
Helaran Unknown Unknown Meridas Amaram Thick, curved, one edge in shape of flames or ripples None [118]
Relis Ruthar Unknown Unknown General Khal Unknown Won by Adolin in his duels and given to Khal [56]
Salinor Eved Unknown Unknown Renarin Kholin Once had a ruby on the pommel, destroyed by Adolin Lost to Adolin Kholin, who granted it to his brother [53]
Tinalar Mayalaran[115] Unknown Adolin Kholin Sinuous cutting edge, crystalline back, former Blade of an Edgedancer Lost a duel to Adolin in his youth [53]

Honorblades[edit]

This table tabulates the original owners of the Honorblades, as well as their abilities, desciption, and current or most recent owner.

Original Herald Current Owner Surges Granted Appearance Notes
Battar Stone Shamans Transformation & Transportation Unknown None
Chanarach Stone Shamans Division & Abrasion Unknown None
Ishar Stone Shamans Tension & Adhesion Unknown None
Jezrien Kaladin Stormblessed (Unbound) Adhesion & Gravitation Short, thin, & double-edged Formerly held by the Stone Shamans, and then Szeth
Kalak Stone Shamans Transportation & Cohesion Unknown None
Nale Nale (Reclaimed) Gravitation & Division Unknown At some point Nale returned to reclaim his Blade.[32]
Pailiah Stone Shamans Progression & Illumination Unknown None
Shalash Stone Shamans Illumination & Transformation Unknown None
Talenel Unknown Cohesion & Tension Possibly spike-like The Blade Taln returns with is not the same one he has later.
Vedel Stone Shamans Abrasion & Progression Unknown None

Cosmere[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

Origin[edit]

Shardblades, like the spren they are made from, can likely be termed Splinters, due to the fact that they are fragments of a Shard.[119] What Shard precisely they are derived from is uncertain. They may be of Honor, Cultivation, or both. This is likely dependent on which Shard gave rise to Surgebinding itself. It seems unlikely to be the system of Cultivation alone. The oaths of the Immortal Words that are sworn point to Honor, but it is impossible to presently rule out Cultivation.

Interactions with other Investitures[edit]

Shardblades also seem to have a unique interaction with the Innate Investiture. When a Shardblade cuts a living being, it seems to sever the Spiritweb of the being it is used on. It is uncertain how a Shardblade would behave if it was used on a post-Reod Elantrian, as they are simultaneously living and dead, so it is possible that it would cut the Elantrian's flesh or merely leave the limb dead, depending on when the Elantrian is struck by the Blade.[120] Shardblades of all types also seem to be bonded directly to a person's Spiritweb. Hemalurgy could be used to steal a Shardblade from someone, although it is unknown how Hemalurgic decay would impact this.[121] As heavily Invested objects,[122] Shardblades would be mostly immune to Allomantic Pushes and Pulls.[123] People from off-world are able to use Shardblades.[124]

Forgery could be used to gain a Shardblade, with some restrictions.[125] The Investiture is not powerful enough to temporarily create a new Shardblade, and if it somehow could it would be terribly inefficient.[126] Instead, if a person had once held a Shardblade and gave it up, a Forger could rewrite their past to make it that they had never given up the Blade, and they would then be able to summon that same Shardblade.[125] This would have the effect of tricking a Blade into believing that it is bound to two people at once and could be summoned by both of them. It is theoretically possible for the seons and skaze of Sel to take the form of a Shardblade, but something would need to pull them more fully into the Physical Realm, like the Nahel bond does for the spren.[127]

While there are only three known ways to heal from a Shardblade wound on Roshar, it seems likely that other magic systems would also allow for that same healing. On Scadrial, goldminds of Feruchemy could be used to heal Shardblade damage.[128] The Divine Breath, the Breath of the Returned of Nalthis, able to heal any typical wound or illness,[129] is also a possible solution for repairing the damage. On Sel, the Aon Ien, used for healing,[130] could potentially heal a Shardblade wound as well.

Relationship to Nightblood[edit]

See also: Nightblood

While most Shardblades originate on Roshar and seem to be ultimately derived from the power of Honor and possibly Cultivation, this is not true of all Shardblades. The technical definition of a Shardblade is a heavily Invested weapon,[131] so Shardblades can be crafted with any manifestation of Investiture from any Shard, although some methods are far more difficult.[126] For instance, the sentient sword Nightblood, created by Vasher and Shashara of Nalthis using Awakening and Investiture derived from the Shard Endowment,[132] is also considered a Shardblade.[133][134] However, it is no ordinary Shardblade. While he cannot be summoned or take other forms like a spren can,[37] he is in fact several orders of magnitude more powerful than the Shardblade of a Radiant.[135] It is unknown, but possible that he is on a similar power level to the Honorblades. It is also unknown what would occur when he is struck against a Shardblade or Honorblade, whether it will be destroyed or damaged in any way. Like the Honorblades, he consumes far more Investiture than a Radiant Shardblade, which does not require any fuel,[2] and typically would feed on Breath[136] or a person's soul.[137] Now that he has arrived on Roshar, it seems that he can also use Stormlight as fuel for his abilities.[138]

Development[edit]

Can I make a situation where these oversized, over-stylized blades are actually practical? Why in the world would you need a weapon like that? And how do you actually use one?
—Brandon Sanderson[139]
Brandon Sanderson's inspiration for Shardblades came out of the books, art, and video games in the fantasy genre during the 80s and 90s. He was a big fan of the Kingdom of Hearts games on the NES, in which there are oversized swords.[139] Impractically large and ornate swords were common in other fantasy art during this time period as well. Brandon began to think about the circumstances in which these swords would be actually be practical and the kinds of enemies that they would be useful in combating. He also began to wonder how he could even make these swords useful, and came to the conclusion that they would have to be summoned. Brandon also felt that lightsabers are the coolest magic sword, but because Star Wars is science fiction, he wanted to come up with a cool magic sword for the fantasy genre.[140]

Over the years, Brandon's concept of the Shardblade has grown and evolved in small ways that sometimes he still struggles to keep straight.[141] For instance, Shardblades originally could be stolen from their owners by knocking the gemstone off of the hilt. Eventually Brandon decided that other methods of stealing a Shardblade were more dramatic, so he altered the way that bond with a Shardblade worked. Even still, he occasionally forgets about this change in the Shardblade bond when drafting new books in the Stormlight Archive.

Trivia[edit]

  • In the initial draft of The Way of Kings, Kaladin earned a Shardblade while defending Elhokar from an assassin, and kept it instead of giving it up.[142]
  • Brandon had a character dual wield a pair of Shardblades in the initial draft of The Way of Kings from 2002.[143]
  • There is a miscount in the original draft of Words of Radiance, where Dalinar’s army ends up with one too many Shardblades after Adolin has completed his duels. It was corrected by making Teleb borrow one of the King's Blades.[108]
  • Hoid cannot be injured by a Shardblade,[78] because it damages the soul and Hoid's healing method repairs the soul.[144]
  • There is no theoretical upper limit to the number of dead Shardblades a person can bond, and a person may have multiple living Shardblades, but it would be difficult to obey the oaths of multiple orders at the same time.[145]
  • Dalinar Kholin is unable to summon his Shardblade while he is experiencing one of his visions.[25]
  • Adolin Kholin has a habit of repeatedly summoning and then dismissing his Blade when he is nervous.[146]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The Way of Kings prologue
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Words of Radiance chapter 87
  3. a b c d e f g h i j Words of Radiance chapter 16
  4. a b c d e f g h i The Way of Kings chapter 13
  5. The Way of Kings cover synopsis
  6. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 18
  7. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 8
  8. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 5
  9. a b 2015 Chicago Signing Report
    17th Shard forums - 20 Febuary 2015
  10. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 84
  11. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 26
  12. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 32
  13. a b Edgedancer chapter 8
  14. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 72
  15. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 56
  16. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 68
  17. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 22
  18. The Way of Kings Ars Arcanum
  19. a b c The Way of Kings interlude I-9
  20. ... [A] shardblade would not cut aluminum.
    17th Shard forums - 3 February 2017
  21. Words of Radiance chapter 48
  22. Aluminum would stop Shardblades from magical cutting. But if its too thin like foil, a sword...
    17th Shard forums - 7 February 2017
  23. a b Words of Radiance chapter 33
  24. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-9
  25. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 19
  26. [The reason for it being called a shardblade is because honourblades are shardblades.]
    Theoryland - 30 October 2012
  27. a b c Prelude to the Stormlight Archive
  28. a b You mentioned that human can’t bond Honorblades, but Nalan tells Szeth that his bond with his Honorblade has been broken. Can you clear this up?
    Theoryland - 19 March 2014
  29. Words of Radiance chapter 63
  30. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 88
  31. The Shardblade that Dalinar had at the end of Words of Radiance, was that the Honorblade?
    Theoryland - 17 January 2015
  32. a b c He's using his original Honorblade.
    Theoryland - 29 November 2016
  33. One Herald (other than Taln) kept his honorblade (or, at least, took it back).
    17th Shard forums - 8 December 2013
  34. The Way of Kings interlude I-3
  35. Is there a specific # of Ideals that they have to do before they can get the Shardblade?
    Theoryland - 13 March 2014
  36. a b c Edgedancer chapter 2
  37. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 86
  38. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 85
  39. Will a Surgebinder's eye color change when they Surgebind or have a Blade... Is the color of their eyes corresponding to their Order?
    Theoryland - 22 March 2014
  40. ‘Cause they were already light? So it only affects lightness or darkness in the eyes, not necessarily any other color?
    Theoryland - 20 February 2015
  41. a b c Edgedancer chapter 20
  42. 2014 Chicago Signing
    17th Shard forums - 22 March 2014
  43. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 18
  44. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 66
  45. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 68
  46. Why were all the shardblades swords when they can take on any weapon form they want?
    Theoryland - 11 March 2014
  47. Though a Shardblade, used for a long time, will change shape slightly.
    Theoryland - March 21, 2014
  48. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 67
  49. a b c d e f g h The Way of Kings chapter 52
  50. a b The Way of Kings chapter 51
  51. a b c Peter Ahlstrom reddit response
    — reddit: r/fantasy
  52. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 89
  53. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Words of Radiance chapter 14
  54. If a character bears multiple Shardblades, can they summon them all in the same ten heartbeat span, or does each Shardblade require a separate summoning?
    Theoryland - 28 September 2012
  55. a b The Way of Kings chapter 73
  56. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 57
  57. DC Signing
    17th Shard forums - March 28, 2014
  58. Firefight Tour Salt Lake City
    17th Shard forums - 5 January 2015
  59. a b Is it possible then to reawaken a shard blade if that blade is wielded by someone who speaks the oaths of a Knights Radiant?
    Theoryland - 8 March 2014
  60. So you would basically have to replace the part that was lost to wake them up?
    Theoryland - 8 March 2014
  61. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-7
  62. The Way of Kings chapter 45
  63. Words of Radiance chapter 64
  64. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 67
  65. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 3
  66. a b The Way of Kings chapter 17
  67. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 29
  68. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 23
  69. Words of Radiance chapter 25
  70. [Did I miss the explanation, world building moment or historical gem that explains why women have a safe hand and why they must keep it covered?]
    Theoryland - December 2010
  71. Someone else's question was about the safehand and Brandon gave new information on it.
    Theoryland - 4 March 2014
  72. Arcanum Unbounded - Edgedancer Postscript
  73. The Way of Kings chapter 75
  74. The Way of Kings interlude I-6
  75. The Way of Kings chapter 71
  76. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-14
  77. The Way of Kings chapter 57
  78. a b c Words of Radiance epilogue
  79. a b Edgedancer chapter 19
  80. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 46
  81. The Way of Kings chapter 69
  82. a b The Way of Kings chapter 15
  83. Words of Radiance chapter 51
  84. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 24
  85. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 28
  86. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-11
  87. The Way of Kings chapter 5
  88. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 16
  89. a b c Words of Radiance prologue
  90. Words of Radiance chapter 36
  91. The Way of Kings chapter 60
  92. Words of Radiance chapter 49
  93. a b The Way of Kings chapter 61
  94. The Way of Kings chapter 21
  95. The Way of Kings chapter 43
  96. Brandon Sanderson reddit response - 9 September 2016
    — reddit: r/fantasy
  97. Words of Radiance chapter 39
  98. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 44
  99. a b c d e f g h i j The Way of Kings chapter 58
  100. a b Words of Radiance chapter 76
  101. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 12
  102. Words of Radiance chapter 45
  103. Words of Radiance chapter 52
  104. Words of Radiance chapter 37
  105. a b Words of Radiance chapter 55
  106. a b Words of Radiance chapter 35
  107. Words of Radiance chapter 58
  108. a b Twitter conversation with Peter Ahlstrom
    — Twitter - 2 September 2014
  109. a b c d e f g h i j k The Way of Kings chapter 56
  110. The Way of Kings chapter 65
  111. a b The Way of Kings chapter 26
  112. Words of Radiance chapter 54
  113. a b Words of Radiance chapter 82
  114. The Way of Kings chapter 55
  115. a b Oathbringer chapter 120
  116. Words of Radiance chapter 22
  117. Words of Radiance chapter 69
  118. Words of Radiance chapter 19
  119. Please explain what you will about Shards and Splintering and Slivers.
    Theoryland - 14 October 2013
  120. The trick is the Shardblade's gonna treat them half alive, half dead.
    Theoryland - 6 December 2014
  121. A novel use of Hemalurgy which is not outside the sphere of its powers.
    Theoryland - September 2012
  122. Like a Shardblade is an Invested object
    Theoryland - 4 March 2014
  123. Szeth's Shardblade would be mostly immune to Pushing and Pulling, as it's an Invested object.
    Theoryland - 28 February 2011
  124. Is it possible for a non-native being to use a shard blade?
    Theoryland - September 2012
  125. a b Now rewriting-- yes, that would be a lot easier than just rewriting herself so that she had a Shardblade.
    Theoryland - 5 January 2015
  126. a b Any kind of Investiture to make a Shardblade?
    Theoryland - 17 February 2016
  127. Could a Seon, or a Skaze, could they turn into a, some sort of Shardblade on their own planet?
    Theoryland - 13 March 2014
  128. Does a limb that has been "severed" by a Shardblade have any Hemalurgic bindpoints? If the same limb was then cut off more conventionally, would a Bloodmaker ferring be able to grow it back?
    Theoryland - 15 April 2013
  129. Annotation for Warbreaker 12
  130. Elantris chapter 19
  131. It's going to be a heavily invested magical weapon is kind of how I would define it.
    Theoryland - 25 February 2016
  132. Warbreaker chapter 51
  133. He is a Shardblade that is twisted and is a lot more powerful than normal.
    Theoryland - 6 March 2014
  134. Can you create a shardblade with Breath?
    Theoryland - 17 February 2016
  135. Nightblood is "several orders of magnitude more magical than a shardblade.
    17th Shard forums - 27 April 2011
  136. Warbreaker chapter 56
  137. Does Nightblood rip souls out of bodies, by chance?
    Theoryland - 4 March 2014
  138. Nightblood will drain any Investiture, so yes.
    Theoryland - 22 March 2014
  139. a b Just realized what Shardblades remind me of...
    Theoryland - 3 June 2013
  140. How did you come up with Shardblades?
    Theoryland - 4 September 2014
  141. Brandon Sanderson reddit response - 10 February 2017
    — reddit: r/fantasy
  142. You've said you lifted the Shattered Plains from Dragonsteel, what would Kaladin have been doing if not running bridges and what will happen to Dragonsteel without the Plains?
    Theoryland - 10 January 2011
  143. You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?
    Theoryland - 27 October 2012
  144. What if Hoid got cut by a shardblade?
    Theoryland - 4 March 2014
  145. Is there a limit to how many Shardblades one person can have?
    Theoryland - 22 March 2014
  146. Words of Radiance chapter 50
This page is complete!
This page contains all the knowledge we have on the subject at this time.
Windrunner (talk) 16:28, 15 June 2017 (MST)