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The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the first

The Stormlight Archive1.png

book in The Stormlight Archive series.  The novel was published on August 31, 2010 by Tor Books.  The Way of Kings consists of one prelude, one prologue, 75 chapters, an epilogue and 9 interludes.  It was followed by Words of Radiance in 2014.  

In 2011, it won the David Gemmell Legend Award for best novel.  The unabridged audiobook is read by narrator team Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.  

Cover Synopsis

I long for the days before the Last Desolation.

The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.

The world became ours, and we lost it. Nothing, it appears, is more challenging to the souls of men than victory itself.

Or was that victory an illusion all along? Did our enemies realize that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted? Perhaps they saw that the heat and the hammer only make for a better grade of sword. But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away.

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar's mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.

One of them may redeem us.

And one of them will destroy us.


The book is set on Roshar and follows the stories of Kaladin, Dalinar Kholin, and Shallan Davar. There are also several minor characters who receive viewpoints; Szeth, Adolin Kholin, Wit, and Navani Kholin in the main text, and several others in the Interludes.  

Kaladin Stormblessed

Kaladin is the focus character of the novel. At the beginning of his story, he is a squadleader in Amaram's army. His storyline then cuts to his time as a slave. He is sold to Sadeas's warcamp, where he is placed in Bridge Four, and made to run headlong into enemy fire with the rest of his bridgecrew to give the army a way to cross the chasms as well as drawing enemy arrows away from troops. After a period of despair, Kaladin works to improve the life of his bridgecrew. He trains them so that the bridge runs won't tire them out so much, saves the lives of injured bridgemen, and slowly gets them to start caring again, and to see themselves as soldiers. Kaladin also plans to find a way to escape from Sadeas's army.

Kaladin faces the internal struggles of his inability to save those around him and his distrust of any lighteyes, both of which are resolved with the climax of the novel.

As the focus character of The Way of Kings, Kaladin's past is viewed through the use of flashbacks. The flashbacks show his childhood and his surgeon apprenticeship under his father, as well as how he joins the army and why he became a slave.

Dalinar Kholin

Dalinar Kholin's story centers around the politics of the Alethi nobility.

Following his brother Gavilar's assassination, Dalinar took his last words to heart, and began following the Alethi Codes of War and the teachings of The Way of Kings, a book written by Nohadon. He is plagued by visions of the past during every highstorm, and has a strong sense that the war on the Shattered Plains is not what the king needs to be focused on, but rather uniting the Alethi highprinces completely. Following the betrayal by Torol Sadeas, he finally drops politics and embraces the Blackthorn, realizing that he must force the highprinces to unite and finish the war quickly, so they may focus on the Desolation to come.

Shallan Davar

Shallan Davar becomes the ward of the rather infamous scholar Jasnah, in the hopes of stealing her Soulcaster. Her story is a mostly an internal conflict between continuing her wardship, which she loves, and stealing the fabrial to help her family. As her conflict progresses, Shallan begins to draw mysterious spren when she's not paying attention, and she believes she is going mad. Things come to a head when her love interest Kabsal is caught trying to poison Jasnah, and Shallan's theft is revealed. She confronts Jasnah, who can also see the spren and can Soulcast without the use of a fabrial, and she reveals that she is researching the Voidbringers.


Szeth's story is told through the Interludes. A Truthless of Shinovar, he is first introduced when he famously assassinates King Gavilar of Alethkar. Known as the Assassin in White, he goes through several masters before getting orders to assassinate several high-ranking people by a mysterious master. Hating himself, he murders the people on his list until he gets to King Taravangian, who turns out to be the man holding his oathstone.

Magic System

Roshar has several magic systems. Most of these are used by the Knights Radiant orders, with some of these powers including Soulcasting and Surgebinding. Independent of the Radiant orders is the Old Magic.

The Ten Essences have not been elaborated on much in the book, though they have something to do with Soulcasting.

See Also


This page contains some statistical analysis of The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archive.  

For a full series overview see The Stormlight Archive/Statistical analysis, and for other books in the series see Words of Radiance/Statistical analysis and Oathbringer/Statistical analysis.  

The information on this page can be found here.  

Chapter by Chapter Breakdown

Chapter Character Word Count Percentage
Prelude to the Stormlight Archive Kalak 1,290 0.3357%
Prologue: To Kill Szeth-son-son-Vallano 6,128 1.5947%
Part One: Above Silence
Ch1: Stormblessed Cenn 4,510 1.1737%
Ch2: Honor is Dead Kaladin 5,023 1.3072%
Ch3: City of Bells Shallan Davar 5,279 1.3738%
Ch4: The Shattered Plains Kaladin 4,100 1.0670%
Ch5: Heretic Shallan Davar 3,994 1.0394%
Ch6: Bridge Four Kaladin 7,184 1.8695%
Ch7: Anything Reasonable Shallan Davar 6,146 1.5994%
Ch8: Nearer the Flame Shallan Davar 6,887 1.7923%
Ch9: Damnation Kaladin 2,316 0.6027%
Ch10: Stories of Surgeons Kaladin (flashback) 2,290 0.5959%
Ch11: Droplets Kaladin 3,160 0.8223%
Part One Total 50,889 13.2432%
Interlude: Ishikk Ishikk 2,058 0.5356%
Interlude: Nan Balat Balat Davar 1,344 0.3498%
Interlude: The Glory of Ignorance Szeth-son-son-Vallano 2,017 0.5249%
Interludes Total 5,419 1.4102%
Part Two: The Illuminating Storms
Ch12: Unity Adolin Kholin 1,402 0.3649%
Dalinar Kholin 1,692 0.4403%
Adolin Kholin 4,535 1.1802%
Ch13: Ten Heartbeats Dalinar Kholin 2,626 0.6834%
Adolin Kholin 726 0.1889%
Ch14: Payday Kaladin 3,872 1.0076%
Ch15: The Decoy Adolin Kholin 635 0.1653%
Dalinar Kholin 3,493 0.9090%
Adolin Kholin 4,134 1.0758%
Dalinar Kholin 889 0.2314%
Ch16: Cocoons Kaladin (flashback) 5,600 1.4573%
Ch17: A Bloody, Red Sunset Kaladin 6,974 1.8149%
Ch18: Highprince of War Adolin Kholin 1,107 0.2881%
Dalinar Kholin 2,193 0.5707%
Adolin Kholin 1,481 0.3854%
Dalinar Kholin 3,638 0.9467%
Ch19: Starfalls Dalinar Kholin 5,936 1.5448%
Ch20: Scarlet Kaladin (flashback) 748 0.1947%
Ch21: Why Men Lie Kaladin 4,364 1.1357%
Ch22: Eyes, Hands or Spears Dalinar Kholin 5,671 1.4758%
Ch23: Many Uses Kaladin 5,422 1.4110%
Ch24: The Gallery of Maps Dalinar Kholin 2,137 0.5561%
Adolin Kholin 1,336 0.3477%
Ch25: The Butcher Kaladin (flashback) 3,285 0.8549%
Ch26: Stillness Dalinar Kholin 6,587 1.7142%
Ch27: Chasm Duty Kaladin 9,105 2.3695%
Ch28: Decision Adolin Kholin 3,157 0.8216%
Dalinar Kholin 6,403 1.6663%
Part Two Total 99,148 25.8020%
Interlude: Rysn Rysn 2,768 0.7203%
Interlude: Axies the Collector Axies the Collector 2,100 0.5465%
Interlude: A Work of Art Szeth-son-son-Vallano 3,471 0.9033%
Interludes Total 8,339 2.1701%
Part Three: Dying
Ch29: Errorgance Shallan Davar 6,562 1.7077%
Ch30: Darkness Unseen Kaladin 328 0.0854%
Gaz 1,046 0.2722%
Kaladin 1,862 0.4846%
Gaz 401 0.1044%
Ch31: Beneath the Skin Kaladin (flashback) 1,994 0.5189%
Ch32: Side Carry Kaladin 4,813 1.2525%
Ch33: Cymatics Shallan Davar 5,708 1.4854%
Ch34: Stormwall Kaladin 1,981 0.5155%
Ch35: A Light by Which to See Kaladin 1,197 0.3115%
Teft 697 0.1814%
Ch36: The Lesson Shallan Davar 5,441 1.4159%
Ch37: Sides Kaladin (flashback) 5,810 1.5120%
Ch38: Envisager Kaladin 721 0.1876%
Teft 992 0.2582%
Ch39: Burned into Her Shallan Davar 3,770 0.9811%
Ch40: Eyes of Red and Blue Kaladin 5,077 1.3212%
Ch41: Of Alds and Milp Kaladin (flashback) 2,070 0.5387%
Ch42: Beggars and Barmaids Shallan Davar 5,419 1.4102%
Ch43: The Wretch Kaladin 4,544 1.1825%
Ch44: The Weeping Kaladin (flashback) 4,720 1.2283%
Ch45: Shadesmar Shallan Davar 7,799 2.0296%
Ch46: Child of Tanavast Kaladin 7,135 1.8568%
Ch47: Stormblessings Kaladin (flashback) 4,879 1.2697%
Ch48: Strawberry Shallan Davar 3,422 0.8905%
Ch49: To Care Kaladin 3,513 0.9142%
Ch50: Backbreaker Powder Shallan Davar 1,237 0.3219%
Ch51: Sas Nahn Kaladin (flashback) 6,562 1.7077%
Part Three Total 99,700 25.9456%
Interlude: Baxil Baxil 1,267 0.3297%
Interlude: Geranid Geranid 1,446 0.3763%
Interlude: Death Wears White Szeth-son-son-Vallano 2,884 0.7505%
Interludes Total 5,597 1.4565%
Part Four: Storm's Illumination
Ch52: A Highway to the Sun Adolin Kholin 740 0.1926%
Dalinar Kholin 6,235 1.6226%
Ch53: Dunny Kaladin 2,658 0.6917%
Ch54: Gibletish Dalinar Kholin 5,548 1.4438%
Ch55: An Emerald Broam Kaladin 5,801 1.5096%
Ch56: That Storming Book Dalinar Kholin 4,740 1.2335%
Ch57: Wandersail Kaladin 8,868 2.3078%
Ch58: The Journey Adolin Kholin 2,242 0.5835%
Dalinar Kholin 5,121 1.3327%
Ch59: An Honor Kaladin 6,553 1.7053%
Ch60: That Which We Cannot Have Dalinar Kholin 4,129 1.0745%
Ch61: Right for Wrong Dalinar Kholin 3,123 0.8127%
Ch62: Three Glyphs Kaladin 5,108 1.3293%
Ch63: Fear Kaladin 2,111 0.5494%
Ch64: A Man of Extremes Dalinar Kholin 1,728 0.4497%
Kaladin 535 0.1392%
Adolin Kholin 870 0.2264%
Ch65: The Tower Dalinar Kholin 1,072 0.2790%
Kaladin 796 0.2071%
Dalinar Kholin 2,076 0.5403%
Ch66: Codes Kaladin 890 0.2316%
Dalinar Kholin 1,574 0.4096%
Ch67: Words Kaladin 2,126 0.5533%
Dalinar Kholin 780 0.2030%
Kaladin 1,612 0.4195%
Kaladin (flashback) 1,944 0.5059%
Kaladin 669 0.1741%
Teft 146 0.0380%
Ch68: Eshonai Adolin Kholin 269 0.0700%
Teft 417 0.1085%
Dalinar Kholin 1,375 0.3578%
Kaladin 2,501 0.6509%
Dalinar Kholin 377 0.0981%
Kaladin 320 0.0833%
Dalinar Kholin 1,430 0.3721%
Ch69: Justice Navani Kholin 1,669 0.4343%
Dalinar Kholin 2,552 0.6641%
Kaladin 1,072 0.2790%
Dalinar Kholin 2,328 0.6058%
Part Four Total 94,105 24.4896%
Part Five: The Silence Above
Ch70: Sea of Glass Shallan Davar 2,397 0.6238%
Ch71: Recorded in Blood Szeth-son-son-Vallano 2,561 0.6665%
Ch72: Veristitalian Shallan Davar 807 0.2100%
Ch73: Trust Kaladin 3,400 0.8848%
Ch74: Ghostblood Shallan Davar 942 0.2451%
Ch75: In the Top Room Dalinar Kholin 1,948 0.5069%
Part Five Total 12,055 3.1372%
Epilogue: Of Most Worth Wit 1,595 0.4151%

Unique POV Breakdown

Character (17+1) # of POVs (123) % of Total POVs Word Count (384,265) % of Word Count
Kalak 1 0.8130% 1,290 0.3357%
Szeth-son-son-Vallano 5 4.0650% 17,061 4.4399%
Cenn 1 0.8130% 4,510 1.1737%
Kaladin 35 28.4553% 127,042 33.0610%
Kaladin (flashback) 11 8.9431% 39,902 10.3840%
Shallan Davar 15 12.1951% 65,810 17.1262%
Ishikk 1 0.8130% 2,058 0.5356%
Balat Davar 1 0.8130% 1,344 0.3498%
Adolin Kholin 13 10.5691% 22,634 5.8902%
Dalinar Kholin 28 22.7642% 87,401 22.7450%
Rysn 1 0.8130% 2,768 0.7203%
Axies the Collector 1 0.8130% 2,100 0.5465%
Gaz 2 1.6260% 1,447 0.3766%
Teft 4 3.2520% 2,252 0.5861%
Baxil 1 0.8130% 1,267 0.3297%
Geranid 1 0.8130% 1,446 0.3763%
Navani Kholin 1 0.8130% 1,669 0.4343%
Wit 1 0.8130% 1,595 0.4151%


  1.  Announcement post
    — - 2010-06-10#
  2.  Michael Whelan's cover
    — - 2010-03-01#
  3.  Author's official site
    — Brandon's website - N/A#