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Oathbringer Summary & Study Guide Description
Oathbringer Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
The following version of this novel was used in the creation of this study guide: Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer. Tor., 2017. Hardcover.
The novel begins with a Listener named Eshonai who visits the human city of Kholinar to discuss a peace treaty between her people and the humans. She talks to the king, Gavilar Kholin, and learns that he wants to bring back her people’s gods. When she tells the leaders, they have him assassinated as Eshonai weeps for his life.
Years later, Dalinar Kholin attempts to create a coalition to combat a threat known as the Voidbringers, parshmen that were turned during the destructive Everstorm. He recently took over an old city known as Urithiru which has access to portals called Oathgates which allow access to other kingdoms but must be opened from both sides. Furthermore, many of Dalinar’s people have received powers from bonding with spren and are being called the reformed Knights Radiant. Dalinar tries to speak with many different monarchs with little success as they do not trust him because he used to be a warmongering conqueror. But Dalinar desperately wants peace and uses his bond with the spren known as Stormfather to bring one of the Monarchs, Queen Fen, into visions of the past. She and another ally king known as Taravangian agree to join the coalition after weeks of coaxing from Dalinar. However, the other monarchs are still hesitant.
Meanwhile, Kaladin and his spren Syl visit his hometown of Hearthstone to convince his parents to move to Urithiru. They refuse, and Kaladin learns he has a baby brother. Kaladin then starts to return to Urithiru alone, only to find a group of traveling parshmen. He willingly allows himself to get captured and learns that their minds were freed by the Everstorm. However, they did not transform into Voidbringers. He questions whether or not their kingdoms should fight as he realizes the parshmen just want peace. When they reach their new home, Kaladin decides to run. Unbeknownst to him, the parshmen he traveled with are enslaved for harboring a spy, Kaladin.
Back in Urithiru, Shallan explores her new powers as a Lightweaver, capable of creating complex illusions of people and objects that she draws in her sketchbook. She is shocked when her mentor Jasnah returns after being left for dead on a ship in a previous novel. Shallan develops two main personas with her illusions; Veil who interacts with the lower class in the markets of Urithiru and Radiant who practices with her spren sword, Pattern alongside her betrothed Adolin. After the murder of Sadeas, who was unknowingly killed by Adolin, Shallan begins investigating other similar deaths in the marketplace. She eventually learns that there is a dark spren known as Midnight Mother who copies violence performed by humans and is trying to learn more about them. Shallan eventually scares the spren away by connecting with her, revealing a pillar of priceless gemstones that Midnight Mother was hiding.
Meanwhile, Dalinar begins to bring in the Azir emperor into his visions and meets a strange Radiant girl named Lift. He is also confronted by the villain known as Odium who proclaims himself the god of emotions and tells Dalinar that they will meet again. Dalinar then visits Azir personally and learns the Azish language through his powers as a Radiant. He exchanges essays written by the various women in his group to try and convince the Azish people to join his coalition. Eventually, they accept the offer and promise to bring their allies to Urithiru. On the way back, Dalinar collapses as he begins to remember what happened to his wife Evi; memories that he had removed by the Nightwatcher. In the past, Dalinar married Evi for political means but grew to love her over time even though they were fundamentally different. When Dalinar was sent to war to try and bring the highprince to his brother Gavilar's side, Evi frequently asked him to pursue peace without success. Gavilar even admits to Dalinar that he wishes he had the right words to say to finish things diplomatically instead of by force. This is especially important when the son of a man Dalinar killed takes power in a place known as the Rift and rebels against Gavilar.
Then, Kaladin returns to Urithiru, and Dalinar and Elhokar tells him that he will be joining them to try and retake the Alethi capital of Kholinar, as they have not heard any reports. Kaladin agrees and recruits a few members from his Bridge Four battalion to join them. Shallan also convinces Elhokar to let her and her three companions go with them as she believes they will need illusions and subterfuge to retake the capital. The group alongside Adolin leaves Urithiru using Kaladin’s powers of flight and arrive in Kholinar as various refugees from other towns are entering due to Voidbringer assaults. Meanwhile, Kaladin’s former companion Moash joins the Voidbringers after being temporarily enslaved by them, believing that they will be Roshar’s salvation and that humanity does not deserve the land.
As one group arrives in Kholinar, Dalinar begins to remember more of his past just as the coalition is forming. Years prior to the opening of the novel, Dalinar was sent to quell rebellion from Kholinar to the Rift and succeeded in many battles. Evi and his son, Adolin joined them at the camp while she was forced to leave Renarin at home. When they reach the Rift, Evi begs Dalinar to pursue peace and he attempts to do so by meeting Tanalan. However, Tanalan betrays him by pretending that another highprince, Sadeas, had turned against the crown. This causes Dalinar to burn the Rift to the ground, unknowingly killing his wife, Evi, who went to Tanalan to beg for peace. Furious, Dalinar tells the scribes that Evi was assassinated and the destruction of the Rift was retribution for her death. Despite this, Dalinar sinks into a deep depression and drinks heavily to try and remove his guilt. Eventually, he decides to meet with the Nightwatcher to have his memories removed after Gavilar is assassinated.
In the present day, Dalinar struggles to overcome his guilt but eventually manages to do so and move forward with the coalition. He realizes that the Voidbringers are going to attack Thaylen City as it has been nearly destroyed by the Everstorm and rallies the coalition to defend it. Unfortunately, he is betrayed by Taravangian who reveals that Elhokar planned to make Dalinar highking of Urithiru. Furthermore, Dalinar has had visions of Odium, including one where Odium said that Dalinar would destroy Roshar. It is also revealed that the previous Knights Radiants known as the Heralds gave up their oaths to fight the Desolation because they learned that humanity was actually the invaders on Roshar, not the Voidbringers. The coalition breaks apart, but Dalinar remains with Queen Fen to try and defend her city.
In Kholinar, the group gathers lots of information on the palace and a mysterious cult who believes that spren are coming to destroy the world. Shallan begins to develop a personality disorder as she struggles to see herself in her personas, including Veil, whom she uses to rob the wealthy and feed the poor. This becomes even worse when she learns that those she gave food to were being bullied by a gang in the city and gets one of her information brokers, a young boy, killed. A man named Wit comforts Shallan, telling her that the world is a dark place but that she does not have to accept that she deserved anything she was subject to. However, Shallan continues to struggle with her multiple personalities, especially when she infiltrates the cult and begins hearing another voice in her head.
Meanwhile, Kaladin joins the Wall Guard and meets the leader, a woman named Azure. She tells Kaladin that they are attempting to dispel the Voidbringers, but he learns that they are having a difficult time. He eventually recruits them to help King Elhokar retake the palace from his wife who has potentially turned evil because of another Unmade. The group invades the palace to try and open the Oathgate to Urithiru. However, the parshmen and Voidbringers invade the city and Kaladin freezes when he sees his former parshmen friends fighting his new Wall Guard brigade. Both sides are slaughtered and Moash kills King Elhokar. Kaladin, Adolin, Azure, and Shallan flee through the Oathgate even though Shallan is warned by another Unmade that it is a trap. They end up in Shadesmar, the Cognitive Realm of the spren, and are forced to traverse through it in an attempt to get back to the Physical Realm. They eventually find a ship that takes them toward Thaylen City and split up with Azure to travel through a forest. Unfortunately, they find Fused and Voidspren waiting. Shallan creates illusions as Kaladin distracts the Fused, but Adolin is seriously injured by one of the Fused waiting at the Oathgate. Shallan is unable to open it, as two massive spren say she will need a Perpendicularity for humans to pass through as they are bound by honor to keep it closed.
As the parshmen arrive on the shores of Thaylen City, Odium meets with Dalinar after turning Amaram’s army against the city with the souls of the dead. Odium tells Dalinar that he can blame Odium for all the atrocities that Dalinar committed over his life. Odium shows Dalinar the destruction of the Rift and tells Dalinar to hand over his guilt. When he thinks he has succeeded, it is revealed that Amaram has been with Odium for some time and that Odium wants Dalinar to lead the armies against Thaylen City. Dalinar, however, refuses to give up his pain and manages to unite all three worlds - the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual- to open Honor’s Perpendicularity. This frees Kaladin and the others from Shadesmar in time to fight the armies in Thaylen City. Odium flees, leaving the army to attack Thaylen City alone. Dalinar assigns various tasks to the Knights Radiants and enters the red mist which is a personification of the Thrill.
While he combats it, Kaladin fights Amaram which is slowly turning into a monster due to a gemstone he ingested that was given to him by Odium. Adolin rushes to help his brother reach the Oathgate. Shallan summons thousands of illusions to distract the bloodthirsty army. Jasnah reaches Navani and Fen and helps to refortify their defenses. Lift and Szeth, who devoted himself to Dalinar’s cause instead of the Voidbringers, manage to steal back the ruby that the fused took from Thaylen’s vault, and Renarin helps defeat a monstrous thunderclast that nearly destroys the Oathgate. With help from a new Knights Radiant, Teft, Renrarin gets the Oathgate open, and soldiers from Urithiru arrive. Dalinar encases the Thrill in the ruby and Amaram is defeated by Kaladin with help from one of his Bridge Four crew, Rock. The battle ends as the Fused and Parshmen retreat.
Back in Kholinar, Moash is asked by the Fused and Odium to kill a Herald. He does and later receives the Herald’s Honorblade and a new Fused name, Vyre. In Urithiru, Taravangian meets with Odium who agrees to spare Tarvangian’s people in exchange for the king’s help. The king agrees to the deal, believing that humanity is doomed.
Meanwhile, Kaladin finds two of his crew who escaped Kholinar with Elhokar’s son. Dalinar decides that Adolin will be king, but Adolin reveals that he killed Sadeas and says he will only take the role of highprince. Instead, they choose Jasnah as their next queen. Shallan and Adolin get married and Dalinar begins writing his memoir titled Oathbringer: My Glory and My Shame. The book ends with Wit escaping Kholinar through a wall.
This section contains 1,980 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)