It’s been almost two years since Words of Radiance lashed itself onto our hearts, and as Brandon has put several projects to rest, his increasing time on Stormlight Book 3, currently titled Oathbringer, has Sanderfans everywhere shaking with anticipation.
Oathbringer is still very much in-process, and a release date is unknown, but that hasn’t stopped Sanderson from reading first drafts of chapters, or releasing rough snippets online! So just how much has been revealed so far from the third book in the Stormlight Archive series?
Spoilers ahead, of course.
Some of the below info is gleaned from how Words of Radiance ends, but others are informed from the early selections of Oathbringer that Brandon has released, either directly online or through readings at events. If you’re interested in keeping track of Oathbringer revelations, try joining up with online Sanderson hotspots 17th Shard, the Stormlight subreddit, and The Coppermind. If you know of any more, from readings, signings, or other currently undocumented events, feel free to add your information in the comments.
By the end of Words of Radiance, our resident Windrunner finally begins to understand the full extent of his abilities, and what his purpose is here on Roshar. After reaffirming his bond with Syl and embracing his role as a Radiant, Kaladin now possesses a higher level ability, as well as his own Shardblade in the form of Syl. With the Everstorm—the enormous magical storm that sweeps the globe in the opposite direction of regular highstorms—now unleashed by the Parshendi, Kaladin’s thoughts turn to his parents and the Parshendi he has been battling in the series thus far. He’s now in a race against the Everstorm, to prevent it from killing his parents, and to prevent it from infecting more parshmen with the hate-inducing stormspren that it carries.
What We Can Expect: Kaladin is the world’s first fully-fledged Windrunner that we know of, and the first Radiant to travel outside of the small cadre at Urithuru. He’s headed to the heart of Alethi civilization and he doesn’t give a damn about hiding who and what he is. His presence in the rigid, structured, warmongering Alethkar can only serve to upset the status quo. Plus, he’ll need to face his parents for the first time since he lost his brother Tien in the war. Kaladin has his work cut out for him.
Lightweaver and liar extraordinaire, Shallan’s journey throughout Words of Radiance is all about coming to accepting the fallacies that have propped up her life. Having deduced where the ancient city of Urithuru was, and having infiltrated the Ghostbloods, an organization dedicated to finding the secrets of Roshar, you’d think Shallan would be happy to rest, but alas, there’s no such thing as “rest” on Roshar. Especially not after becoming betrothed to the swaggering soldier, Adolin.
What We Can Expect: Shallan is pretty deep within the Ghostbloods’ organization now, and her thirst for knowledge is going to make her a pretty useful asset in a city of burgeoning Radiants. She’s already shown what she’s willing to sacrifice to learn more, and unfortunately, if the Ghostbloods offer her a good deal, she may end up becoming a double agent. Her deepening relationship with Adolin, her bond with Dalinar and Navani, and her growing talents as a Lightweaver all indicate that Shallan’s loyalties are going to be tested to their limits in the next book.
In Words of Radiance, Adolin dedicated himself to defending his father, and helping him convince the other squabbling Highprinces of the true threat on the Shattered Plains. He gained some much-needed depth through his noble and deadly Shardblade battles–and his growing love for Shallan–as well as his grudging respect and friendship for Kaladin. Then he put a knife through the eye of his father’s greatest enemy, Sadeas.
What We Can Expect: Fallout, and big time. There’s no way Adolin doesn’t get caught for the murder of Sadeas, and where he goes from here is going to be interesting. He didn’t seem apologetic and something tells me he’s not planning on begging for forgiveness. Will he be exiled? Will he be rewarded? Sanderson has vaguely mentioned the class of Radiant that Adolin’s blade used to belong to, and there have been hints that Adolin may soon join their ranks. How does the cold-blooded murder of a commander affect that?
Plagued by memory loss, visions of the past, and ominous words from the sky, Dalinar seems as if he’s been slowly going insane over the course of the series thus far. After embracing his mission–one originally meant for his brother, King Galivar—Dalinar came clean with the Alethi people of the Shattered Plains, and led them in a successful mission against the corrupted Parshendi. Now, housed in the ancient city of Urithuru and bonded to the Stormfather, Dalinar is the first Bondsmith in centuries, and must lead his new Radiants and people against the forces trying to plunge Roshar into chaos.
What We Can Expect: Newly bonded to a splinter of the Almighty/Honor, Dalinar is going to have his hands full reigning in the Stormfather, and figuring out his new duties as a Bondsmith. Not only will he have to bring the Radiants together, he’ll need to keep his people in the city from falling apart, especially after he usurped control of them from his nephew Elhokar. Dalinar will need to balance this all while encouraging his youngest son, Renarin, into learning how to control his own Radiant abilities, and while managing the fallout of the actions of his oldest son, Adolin.
As the current working title for Stormlight Book 3 suggests, Oathbringer will feature Dalinar as its central character, flashing back to his earlier days before the first book. We’re finally going to see how Dalinar, a wise, powerful, and respected highprince of Alethkar, grew from his initial identity as the bloody brute of Blackthorn. Something tells me it ain’t going to be pretty.
Seen very briefly, Jasnah was believed dead for the entirety of Words of Radiance.
But it’s hard to keep a good Radiant down! At the tail end of the book, Jasnah reappears with a backpack, a bandolier, and a message that’s far too late in coming.
What We Can Expect: Jasnah is not one to miss a party, and her being out of commission for Words of Radiance hopefully means a larger presence for her in Oathbringer. Now sporting a metallic bandolier (oh, where else have we seen metal in the Cosmere, hmm?) it’s obvious she’s been on some adventures. She’s not only going to have knowledge of the Cosmere, but also the politics of the Spren and their own governance in the Cognitive Realm.
In Words of Radiance, Szeth’s sanity started to unravel even further. The countless murders he’d caused were catching up to his fragile psyche, and when facing Kaladin for the first time, he learned that the Radiants were in fact returning, and that the reason he’d been deemed Truthless in his own country wasn’t true. Learning that his entire reason for suffering was a lie, he gave up, and let himself be swallowed by the Everstorm, destined for death.
Except the world wasn’t done with him. Szeth was returned to life by Nalan, the Herald of Justice and Law, and told that despite the horror he had caused, Szeth was still a man of his word and that was admirable. Nalan recruits Szeth into the Skybreakers, a deadly class of Radiants, and the assassin is now set on revenging himself upon those who originally deemed him Truthless. To assist his efforts, Nalan gives Szeth a very special shardblade, one whose blade is black and smokes, and very much wants to destroy evil, thank you.
What We Can Expect: Nalan just brought a psychopath back to life, gave him a sword that’s also essentially insane, pointed him in the direction of his homeland, and said, “Go for it.” Wielding the sword Nightblood, if Warbreaker is any indication, isn’t going to make Szeth anymore stable. He’ll first be headed back to Shinovar where the other Honorblades are being held. These powerful artifacts grant Radiant abilities without Radiant or spren limits, so expect a lot of magic, a lot of mayhem, a lot of Shinovar, and a lot of blood.
This Parshendi explorer and soldier only wanted to save her people from the encroaching Alethi forces, but in her pursuit of peace she found the one thing her people had been running from: Odium. The discovery seems to twist the noble and honorable soldier into a force of darkness and hate, and the last we saw of Eshonai, she had been leading her soldiers against the Alethi, ultimately raising the Everstorm against them. Even though she went over a cliff at the end of Words of Radiance, I doubt it’s the last we’ve seen of her.
What We Can Expect: The Eshonai we know and love is still in there, somewhere beneath the stormspren and Odium’s influence. Most likely she’ll be gathering her people to her and preparing them to invade Alethkar. I’ll be very curious to see if Eshonai can break free of Odium, and what will happen if she does. It is rumored that the fourth Stormlight book will focus on her, so fingers crossed!
Wit a.k.a. Hoid
Meddled all throughout Words of Radiance.
What We Can Expect: More meddling. It’s kind of his thing.
Oh man, let’s see, what do we have here…
- Elhokar is being housed by a Herdazian family, has to take back his throne from his bossy uncle, and deal with his own possible burgeoning Radiant powers.
- The nation of Alethkar is in the throes of civil war, and what better time for a Radiant like Kaladin to come on through?
- The Ghostbloods Mraize and Iyatil have their own agenda, and they’re sure as hell going to pursue it, no matter what.
- About that insane man claiming to be Taln, one of the original Heralds and the only one abandoned in Hell…is he the real thing? Time will tell.
- Amaram stole Taln and smuggled him away to his group, The Sons of Honor, for some strange reason I’m sure we’ll find out. Wait, how many secret societies are on Roshar anyway?
- More than you thought! The Mad King Taravangian, whose intelligence differs day by day thanks to a deal he made with the Nightmother, is in the throes of his plan, The Diagram, which details how the next few years will go, and what maneuvers he must make in order to ensure survival.
- Also, we can’t forget Lift, Moash, our worldhoppers looking for Hoid, Shallan’s family, ardents studying spren, our trader on the Greatshell island, Axies our spren cataloguer, the plague at the Purelake, and more.
There’s a lot to look forward to in Oathbringer, and I can’t wait to see what Sanderson delivers!
Martin Cahill is a contributor for Tor.com, Book Riot, and Strange Horizons. You can find him on Twitter @McflyCahill90. Tweet him about delicious east coast IPAs, ideas on who Rey’s parents are, and your worries about the DC Movie Universe.