Feb 21 2014 10:00am

When We Last Left Our Heroes: The Way of Kings in Ten Minutes

Words of Radiance comes out in two weeks, and although many fans who have been following along with our Way of Kings reread may feel prepared, there are others who may desire a quick refresher on that first massive volume before tackling the second.

Welcome to The Way of Kings in ten minutes, a brief refresher on where things stood at the end of The Way of Kings. Follow along to find out where every character ended the book! Obviously, this post will spoil you senseless.


Over the course of the book, Kaladin trained Bridge Four from a loose collection of beaten-down slaves into a tight-knit unit. In order to help them escape from Highprince Sadeas’s army, where they were only valued as human bait for the parshendi armies, he brought out their humanity, trained them with weapons, and smuggled money and weapons out of the deep chasms of the Shattered Plains. Kaladin’s outspoken devotion to his men got him strung up during a highstorm and earned him the ongoing wrath of multiple superiors, from the gruff sergeant Gaz to the petty lighteyes Hashal, but he turned every ounce of his medical knowledge to keep as many bridgemen alive as possible.

Notable bridgemen include:

  • Teft: A former soldier who was raised by a cult that worshipped the ancient orders of the Knights Radiant.
  • Moash: The last bridgeman to accept Kaladin’s authority. Although taciturn and surly, he became a staunch defender of Kaladin’s ideas, and something close to a friend.
  • Rock: A Horneater, raised in the Horneater Peaks near Jah Keved, Rock refuses to fight, as it is unfitting for a third son. Instead he cooks hearty meals for the men of Bridge Four. Rock is gifted with the ability to see the mystical spirits called spren.
  • Sigzil: An Azish man who was apprenticed to Hoid as a Worldsinger before falling into slavery. Worldsingers travel Roshar, spreading information about different nations to promote mutual understanding.
  • Lopen: A one-armed Herdazian who joined Bridge Four intentionally, despite it having a reputation as a death trap. Lopen has a seemingly endless supply of cousins.
  • Shen: A Parshman slave who was assigned to Bridge Four by Hashal. Kaladin struggles to convince the other bridgemen to accept Shen, who reminds them of the Parshendi. Shen never seems to speak.

After the highstorm, and as his powers continued to grow, Kaladin grudgingly accepted that his bond with Sylphrena, an honorspren masquerading as a windspren, was changing him. He began trying to understand his ability to inhale stormlight, and the possibility that his powers connected him to the Knights Radiant.

At the battle of the Tower, Kaladin protected his men by drawing Parshendi fire while wearing Parshendi-carapace armor. When Sadeas betrayed Dalinar, Kaladin and Bridge Four had a perfect opportunity to escape. Instead, he rushed into battle to save the Kholin armies, and in so doing so discovered the Second Ideal of the Knights Radiant: “I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”


Dalinar Kholin

The visions that came to Dalinar during highstorms almost convinced him to abdicate his highprincedom to his son Adolin. He struggled with the possibility that he might be going mad, as rumors spread throughout the warcamps. In the end, however, he decided to trust himself, and to work in good faith to unite the bickering Highprinces, starting with his former friend Sadeas. The newly-minted Highprince of Information had been investigating an apparent assassination attempt on the life of Dalinar’s nephew, king Elhokar Kholin, and Dalinar feared that Sadeas would implicate him. Instead, he was exonerated, and he and Sadeas began making concerted assaults on plateaus in order to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible.

However, when they assaulted the Tower, Sadeas betrayed Dalinar, leaving him surrounded by multiple Parshendi armies. Worn down by waves of footsoldiers, and facing the Parshendi Shardbearer, it seemed like the end. Kaladin intervened, though, having fought a path clear for Adolin to rally the armies to a safe retreat. He fought back Eshonai, and saved Dalinar’s life.

Dalinar returned to the warcamps, where he interrupted Sadeas’s staged grieving with a confrontation. He ended a conversation that seems like it could have erupted into civil war by trading his Shardblade to Sadeas for his entire population of bridgemen. He set all of them free, but offered Kaladin and Bridge Four the command of his personal guards, figuring that he would need people he could trust with his life for what was coming next. He gave his Shardplate to Renarin, his sickly second son, in the hope that the strength-enhancing armor could offset his blood illness and let him train to be a soldier at last.

Dalinar then forced his nephew to admit that he had staged his own assassination attempt, and to name him Highprince of War, while dropping on him the knowledge bomb that Dalinar had decided to accept the advances of Navani, Elhokar’s mother.

In a final vision, Dalinar learned that the voice that had been speaking to him was the voice of Honor, who he had called the Almighty. It hadn’t, however, been addressing him directly when it implied that he should trust Sadeas. The messages were left for whoever was in the best position to unite the nations of Roshar against the Everstorm. And Honor was dead, slain by Odium.


Shallan Davar

After spending months as Jasnah Kholin’s ward in Kharbranth, the City of Bells, Shallan finally found an opportunity to steal her Soulcaster. This magical fabrial device, which has the power to transform substances into other substances, had been the center of her scheme to save her indebted family and prevent its ruin in the aftermath of her father’s death. The stress of her plan to rob the woman whose tutoring she had come to cherish so much was augmented by repeatedly seeing mysterious, symbolheaded figures appear in her sketches. When they began to speak to her she inadvertently Soulcast a goblet into blood, in the process travelling to the dangerous Shadesmar. She covered up what she’d done by wounding herself, and the suspicion that she was suicidial gave her the opportunity to safely leave Jasnah’s wardship and return home.

Before she could leave, however, she and Jasnah were approached by Kabsal. This young ardent had been flirting with Shallan for months, and had recently offered to leave the ardentia to be with her. Kabsal was actually a member of a secret society called the Ghostbloods, and on their behalf he attempted to assassinate Jasnah. However, Jasnah Soulcast the antidote, and Shallan was afflicted instead. In order to save her own life, Shallan had to reveal that she had stolen the Soulcaster.

Jasnah arranged to have Shallan sent home in disgrace. However, Shallan realized what Jasnah must have done, and confronted her. She asserts that both she and Jasnah can Soulcast without a Soulcaster, and begs to be admitted into whatever dangerous scholarship Jasnah is undertaking. Jasnah reluctantly relents, and reveals to Shallan that her research leads her to believe that the Parshmen are Voidbringers in waiting.



The Assassin in White, after having killed king Gavilar of Alethkar, was passed from master to master. Exiled from his homeland of Shinovar, he was bound to an oathstone and forced to do the bidding of whomever held it. He wallowed in guilt and self-hatred. Eventually, his oathstone was passed to king Taravangian of Kharbranth. This apparently kindly, philanthropic king turned out to be a powerful and dangerous force in Roshar. He revealed that his hospitals were a front for a massive research project, which slowly killed terminal patients in order to collect the mysterious words they sometimes cried out in death. He gave Szeth a long list of rulers across Roshar, ordering him to kill them visibly, using his Shardblade and Surgebinding abilities. At the end of that list was the name Dalinar Kholin.


Words of Radiance comes out March 4th.

Carl Engle-Laird is the editorial assistant at, where he acquires and edits original fiction. His soul belongs to the Stormlight Archive. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Rich Bennett
1. Neuralnet
Great idea to post this quick refresh.... can't wait to get the new book
Rich Bennett
2. Neuralnet
sorry for the double post... not sure how that happened
Cory S.
3. Hungry_For_Hands
Gaz's name is bolded.... Confirmed appearance in WoR!!

On a more serious note, good recap. This sentence had me a little confused though. "When they began to speak to her she inadvertently Soulcast a Shadesmar." Sounds like this should maybe be "When they began to speak to her she inadvertently visited Shadesmar and soulcasted a pitcher into blood"
Deana Whitney
4. Braid_Tug
You know, I think the list of Bridge 4 members is good even for the re-readers. The names can start to blend after a bit.

@3, HFH: I flagged your comment, then saw they already fixed it! :-)
So to the Mods, sorry!
John Lobello
5. johntocaelpiano
Woo hoo! February can't end soon enough. Though I have several deadlines... ouch... maybe it can...
Eric Wyatt
6. SunDriedRainbow
Was Eshonai's name revealed in Way of Kings? This seems like an unnecessary spoiler for Words of Radiance.
Carl Engle-Laird
9. CarlEngle-Laird
@6, Ah, you're right. I've known that name for long enough that I forgot that it wasn't revealed in the Way of Kings. I'll clip it out.
10. Spera
I feel like it's going to be important to remember Moash is planning to kill someone.
Jennifer B
11. JennB
Her name was revealed as a chapter title, but not in the actual text.
Eric Wyatt
12. SunDriedRainbow
@9 Thanks for the quick response! I mean, I *personally* am a "spoil all the things I need my FIX" but I know other people aren't.
Kellen Periwinkle
13. Mithrandir42
I don't know if we need to necessarily consider Eshonai's name to be a spoiler, as 11 says it was the title of the chapter in which she appeared, and Brandon has referred to her as such on several occasions. She also is mentioned by name in the Words of Radiance blurb.
Deana Whitney
14. Braid_Tug
Re: Eshonai's name.
Yet another example of why chapter titles matter more in these books than normal.
Nadine L.
15. travyl
Call me one of the 10 fools, but I find it ominous, that Carl chose to do the summary in exactly ten minutes ;)
16. Cnote
Was it actually revealed that Kabsal was a member of the Ghostbloods? I thought that was just speculation.
Jeremy Guebert
17. jeremyguebert
@16 - Well, they did find the Ghostblood's secret-guild-symbol tatoo on one of his hands after he died, so it's pretty solid. An off-chance that he's a former member and couldn't get the tatoo removed, but I would consider that unlikely.

Also, am I the only one who timed themselves to see how long it would take to read this post? Apparently, I read faster than the average; 4.5 minutes for me.
Julian Augustus
18. Alisonwonderland
If you hadn't decided to set the re-cap limit at 10 minutes you might have included a summary for Jasnah Kholin, who is, in my opinion, at least as important in WoK as Shallan Davar.
Jon _
19. Werechull
Great write-up Carl. I particularly like any reference to Lopen's cousins.

Shallan's first paragraph is a mess:
Karbrant -> Karbranth
fmaily -> family
"Soulcast a glass a goblet..." -> oops

10 more days
John Skotnik
20. ShooneSprings
I can't believe how much of this I had forgotten. Thank you so much!
Noticed a couple possible errors in the text though:

RE: Shallan Davar
* "to rob the women" - should be "woman"
* "Jasnah Soulcast the poison" - Jasnah soulcast the antidote (Strawberry Jam), not the poison
* "arranged to have Shalaln" - should be "Shallan"

RE: Szeth
* "hopsitals" - should be "hospitals"
21. Freelancer
The proofreaders were out in force for this one. Poor Carl. It's the other WoK re-read blogger who needs a copy-edit prior to posting most of the time.

Anyway, nice brief re-cap. Doing a full re-read anyway, just couldn't ignore a Stormlight post.
aggie1 old
22. aggie1
Another thing about Dalinar: When the Parshendi Shardbearer saw his face, he (the Parshendi) said "It is you - I have found you at last," and seemed to back off from fighting. This seems like an important detail, to me, though who knows what it means.
23. douglas_m
"It hadn’t, however, been addressing him directly when it implied that he should trust Sadeas."
This is incorrect. Honor was in fact talking to Dalinar, but Honor's dialog was a pre-recorded message, and it only seemed to imply trust in Sadeas because of a coincidental interaction with Dalinar's dialog. Try this instead:
It hadn't, however, been responding to Dalinar's questions when it seemed to imply he should trust Sadeas.
Alice Arneson
24. Wetlandernw
Heh. Everyone's an editor today.

Amazing job, cramming over 1000 pages into ten minutes. :D
Damon Garner
25. IrishOmalley
Can't wait. I need a good epic to fill the void left by the WoT. :)
Eric McCabe
26. Zizoz
While "Eshonai" was a chapter title in WoK, it's not made clear what it refers to, so I would consider that a (quite minor) spoiler. The mention grates on me because I know it's a spoiler; if I didn't, I suspect I'd just be confused, but that still seems like a reason to avoid the name.
27. PeterPevensie
The fact that Gaz's name is in bold doesn't mean he's still alive. Kabsal's name is in bold and he is definitely dead... Unless resurrection exists on Roshar...
But we'll have to wait until WoR or later to be sure
28. Nathman
Slight error in kalidin section "and in so doing so discovered the Second Ideal of the Knights Radiant: “I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

should be the second ideal of the windrunner order. only the first Ideal is the same, the other ideals depend on the order.
Andre Stenhouse
29. telyni
This is a great summary. "One-armed Herdazian" just sounds like it needs a bar joke. "A one-armed Herdazian walks into a bar...and his cousin greets him with his favorite drink."

But really, why were there so many errors in the writing? It looks like the post wasn't even spell-checked, which should be the minimum of checking done for something published publicly. Really, Tor, this is not very professional, and it's not the only post that's been this way.
Mitchell Swan
30. mcswan
I know I'm a little late to this thread, but can anyone remember the name of the chapter where Kaladin goes through the Highstorm? I'd like to read at least that scene again beofre tomorrow's release.
Robert H. Bedford
33. RobB
Thanks to Carl and for posting this. (Maybe a version of this could be in future printings of WoR?)

I'll be printing a copy to keep while I read Words of Radiance.
34. Rhoda
Thanks very much for this. I sat down to read Words of Radiance and realised I needed a wee refresh on The Way of Kings! This is perfect, helped so much!

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment