Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

The basics

Title: Words of Radiance


Series: The Stormlight Archive #2

- The Way of Kings (2010)
- Words of Radiance (2014)
- Oathbringer (2017)
- Rhythm of War (2020)

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Goodreads Summary:

Return to a planet swept by apocalyptic storms, a world tipping into war as aristocratic families move to control the shard blades and shard plates, ancient artifacts from a past civilisation that can win wars.

As the world tips into a war for control of the mythical artifacts of power made from Shard, characters are swept up into new dangers which will threaten their integrity and their lives.

Read a full summary of Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson below. If you can’t remember what happened in Words of Radiance and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what happened in Words of Radiance?

  • Prologue: Jasnah is transported to Shadesmar after her shadow starts behaving weirdly. After a brief encounter with a mysterious figure, she goes back to her own Realm. She hears screams and sees Szeth and Gavilar fall from the building. Some Parshendi apologise to Jasnah and confess that they hired Szeth because Gavilar was about to do something dangerous.
  • Shallan is sketching when Pattern manifests before her. Shallan is surprised. But she soon spots a sea creature and decides to start sketching that, which distracts her.
  • Jasnah tells Shallan she has been betrothed to Adolin.
  • Kaladin talks with his men about Sadeas and Amaram.
  • Kaladin plans to recruit more bridgemen and train them up. He’s going to promote some of Bridge Four to lieutenants.
  • Some of Bridge Four get a Bridge Four glyph tattooed on their foreheads. Kaladin is a bit left out because the ink won’t stay.
  • Shallan starts studying Pattern. Jasnah tells her its her Spren, and explains the Knights Radiant and Soulcasting.
  • Dalinar is still having visions. He sees a female Knight who is talking to herself.
  • The highprinces are told that all gemhearts will now belong to the king. Not a good way to win people over…
  • Dalinar tells Kal that he wants to reunite the Radiants and that Adolin will be dueling a bunch of highprinces to win their Shardplates and blades.
  • Ialai, Sadeas’s wife, tells him that she has planted more spies in Dalinar’s camp.
  • Jasnah tells Shallan that she thinks the parshmen are Voidbringers and that she’s concerned they’ll rebel in the future. She gives Shallan a book called Words of Radiance.
  • Jasnah is killed on the ship and thrown overboard. Pattern helps Shallan escape the sinking ship.
  • Dalinar and Aladar argue about uniting the kingdom.
  • Syl tells Kaladin she’s been seeing red spren around. She tells Kaladin to support Danlinar and to be honourable.
  • Six years ago: Shallan stands over her dead mother.
  • Shallan wakes up on a rock just off shore. She can’t see any survivors once she reaches the beach.
  • She comes across a group of slavers and pretends to be Jasnah so they will help her reach the Shattered Plains.
  • Kaladin plays about with his Storm powers to see what he can do. Sigzil takes notes.
  • Kal sees Dalinar buddying up with Amaram.
  • Eshonai and her fellow Parshendi return home after battle. She wants to speak with Dalinar but isn’t able to head over there with her injured leg. She speaks with her sister, Venli, about the plateau run and her plan to speak to Dalinar.
  • Venli announces that she has discovered Stormform, which may cause the gods to return. They think it’s worth it though so the Parshendi don’t get destroyed.
  • Ym comes across a spren that says “He Comes”. A young boy shows up and Ym cleans his feet and fits some shoes. Ym is then killed by a man who accuses him of murdering someone in he past. The man kills Ym using a Shardblade.
  • Rysn and Vstim are heading to the Reshi isles for trading. Rysn speaks to a Reshi trader called Talik on behalf of Vstim, who is sick. Rysn is then able to speak with the king, Ral-na, but not to trade because they don’t trust her yet.
  • Rysn speaks with the greatshell…. or at least she tries to and then she falls and breaks her legs. She is to stay on the island while she heals.
  • Eshonai is still wondering whether to use the Stormform, as she’s worried about the gods. She sees some Parshendi who are using the Dullform and they tell her it’s so the Alethi don’t kill them.
  • Adolin wonders what has happened to Jasnah, and Navani says she’s probably just changing her plans or something.
  • Adolin duels Salinor and wins his Shardblade. Adolin gives the Blade to Renarin.
  • Bluth tells the group of slavers that there’s a caravan of army deserters nearby and they hurry to leave.
  • Moash and Kal plan to get revenge on Amaram. Kal tells Syl he’s disappointed in Dalinar, and Syl tells Kal to explain the situation to Dalinar himself.
  • Syl doesn’t like Adolin or Renarin, possibly because they carry Blades.
  • Shallan does lots of sketching.
  • Adolin and Kaladin duel <3
  • Five years ago: Shallan overhears guests talking about how her father killed her mother and her lover.
  • Shallan’s brother Helaran gives Shallan charcoal pencils and paper. Helaran accuses their father of being a murderer.
  • Shallan’s caravan comes across a bunch of burned wagons. Shallan talks to Vathah and convinces him and his people to help. Bluth dies during the fight with the bandits.
  • Dalinar speaks to Renarin about his visions.
  • No one wants to duel with Adolin. Sad.
  • Kaladin tells Dalinar about Amaram and how much of a knob he is. Dalinar asks for proof and says he will investigate the claims.
  • Elhokar nearly dies from leaning on some loose railings. Someone had cut them with a Shardblade.
  • Gaz and Red tell Shallan about how they were in the army and then deserted.
  • Moash tells Kaladin not to trust Dalinar.
  • Bridge Four trains on horses for a bit. Adolin teases Kaladin.
  • During a battle, Renarin tries to summon his Shardblade but seems to have a fit instead.
  • Jakamav tells Adolin that Sadeas has been bribing people so they won’t duel with Adolin.
  • Shallan’s caravan comes across Kaladin, who tells them he represents the Alethi king. Shallan takes Kal’s boots for being rude.
  • Amaram and Sadeas buddy up to get rid of Dalinar.
  • Shallan tells Tyn she’s pretending to be Adolin’s betrothed as part of a scam.
  • There’s a highstorm, during which Kaladin tells everyone they have to leave the palace. He thinks someone is coming because the Stormfather tells him so in a vision.
  • Szeth arrives and Dalinar, Adolin, and Kaladin fight him off. Szeth says he’s there to kill Dalinar, not the king. Kaladin throws Szeth out of a window. Szeth flees.
  • Shallan kills Tyn and tells the others that she was an assassin.
  • A red spren hits Eshonai in the chest and she begins to transform.
  • Kaladin asks Zahel if he’ll train him.
  • A madman claiming to be a Herald says that the coming days will be difficult for humanity.
  • Eshonai now has superpowers from the red spren. She tells the others that the Storm Rider will help humans against the Parshendi.
  • Adolin asks Navani about her relationship with his father. Navani tells him not to be stupid.
  • Shallan goes through Tyn’s belongings and finds some useful stuff. She goes to speak to Dalinar.
  • Amaram refuses to leave Sadeas in favour of Dalinar.
  • Shallan tells Dalinar and Navani what happened to Jasnah. She meets Adolin who is very curious about her.
  • Four years ago: Redin comes to investigate Shallan’s mother’s death. Lin claims she was murdered by her lover.
  • Teft trains Bridge Seventeen.
  • Shallan plans to meet the Ghostbloods. The people there are annoyed that Tyn didn’t show up with her.
  • Maize says his next target is Amaram. Shallan accepts this assignment.
  • Teft reckons Shallan is a possible assassin. Kal is sus of her because she’s a lighteyes and we all know how he feels about those.
  • Three and a half years ago: Wit, in disguise, talks to Shallan about spren.
  • Moash takes Kaladin to meet Graves, who wants Elhokar dead. Kaladin doesn’t like this plot and tells Moash not to meet with Graves any more.
  • Adolin and Shallan dine together and it’s cute. She tells him about Jasnah’s theories about parshmen and Voidbringers.
  • Someone writes “32 days” on the wall with glyphs. They seem to have been written by Dalinar during the storm.
  • Eshonai arrives for her meeting with Adolin and Dalinar. It doesn’t go as well as they originally hoped.
  • Eshonai says they killed Gavilar because he wanted to bring back the old gods.
  • Adolin fights Elit and wins.
  • Shallan tells Adolin what she has been up to and about her meetings with the Ghostbloods. Shallan, having looked through Amaram’s things and studied some maps, fills Mraize in on some of the goings on.
  • Adolin takes part in another duel. Sadeas kind of tricks him into fighting four people so Kaladin gets in on the action. Renarin also tries to help, bless him. It’s probably my favourite scene of the entire series so far, as a side note.
  • Kal and Adolin win the duel. Adolin wants to fight Sadeas afterwards and Kal gets ahead of himself and wants to duel Amaram. The crowd is not happy with this and Kal is briefly arrested.
  • Elhokar threatens to execute Kal for slander (and stupidity) but Dalinar refuses. Kal is imprisoned for a bit.
  • Lift enters the Bronze Palace and Nale tries to recapture her. Gawx, the new Prime Aqasix, pardons her and Nale has to release Lift.
  • Szeth is not having a good time.
  • Eshonai wants her old rhythms back because the new ones are rubbish. She speaks to the Parshendi and tries to get them on board with this whole Stormspren thing.
  • Wit visits Kaladin in prison, which is nice. Wit sings a story about Fleet.
  • Shallan is now studying the pattern of the Shattered Plains.
  • One year ago: Shallan’s brother wants to marry someone that their father doesn’t approve of so they’re arguing. Balat calls Lin a murderer so Lin has some puppies killed. Bit of an overreaction to be honest.
  • Dalinar comes to see Kaladin in prison and they talk about Elhokar and Roshone. The conversation doesn’t leave Kal feeling any better, and he decides that Elhokar is terrible and should die.
  • Pattern finds the Ghostbloods’ spy, Iyatil. Together Shallan and Iyatil go to investigate a supposed madman. This guy, Taln, has been going on about the Return of Desolation and Ishar’s knights.
  • Shallan gets admitted to the Ghostbloods.
  • Kaladin is let out of jail. Adolin had himself locked up too, and he is released at the same time. Bros.
  • Adolin tries to give Kal a set of shards, but Kaladin gives them to Moash instead, claiming he doesn’t like shardblades.
  • Kaladin tells Moash he’s with him on the Elhokar Death plan.
  • Dalinar asks Amaram about Taln, and Amaram says he’s still looking into it. Amaram says he doesn’t trust Kaladin to protect Dalinar, which is RUDE.
  • Wit basically tells Dalinar he’s better than Elhokar. Dalinar asks Wit if he’s a Radiant or a Herald and Wit is like lol no.
  • Kal struggles to use his Storm Powers without Syl’s help. Syl isn’t happy with Kal’s decision to get rid of Elhokar, and his conflicting emotions are making her unsteady.
  • Kaladar, Adolin, Shallan, and Bridge Four are going scouting. One of Sadeas’s men sabotages the bridge, and Kal and Shallan fall into the chasm.
  • Dalinar and Adolin are fine though <3
  • Shallan and Kal fight off a chasmfiend. Kal realises Shallan is probably a Radiant. He also learns that her brother was the shardbearer that he killed in battle to save Amaram.
  • Kal gets a talking to by the Stormfather.
  • One year ago: Shallan’s family continue to argue. Malise is dead. Helaran died in battle. Things aren’t going well. Lin attacks Balat. Shallan paralyses Lin and then strangles him. Brutal.
  • Amaram tries to get Dalinar to work with Sadeas but Dalinar is having none of it. It’s a bit late for all that.
  • Kaladin and Shallan walk around for a bit and eventually make it out of the chasms. They narrowly avoid being eaten by a chasmfiend. Shallan has now sketched a map of the chasms.
  • Shallan asks to go on the exhibition with Dalinar and he allows it.
  • Szeth asks to speak to Taravangian and tells him of the Surgebringer that he fought.
  • Aladar is joining Dalinar in his mission for some reason. Dalinar is suspicious of this. He accuses Amaram of deceiving Kaladin. Dalinar and Kal are bros.
  • Sadeas gets upset because Aladar joined up with Dalinar.
  • Szeth appears at the worst time possible.
  • Shallan figures out the pattern of the Plains and thinks she knows where to find Oathgate.
  • Dalinar mentions to Shallan that he thinks he’s meant to unite the Knights. Shallan reveals her ability to him.
  • Parshendi arrive and watch the army. It’s creepy.
  • Rlain surrenders to Dalinar. He admits to being a Pashman spy previously. He’s also one of Bridge Four, so they accept him. He tells Dalinar and co. that their gods have returned.
  • Elhokar confides in Kal and asks him how to be a hero.
  • Kal talks to Zahel and they talk about the Purelake.
  • Kaladin saves Elhokar from Graves’ men. Elhokar is drunk and difficult to move. Moash and Graves appear with Shardplates.
  • Dalinar hears the voice and takes it as a warning. He tells everyone to go to battle.
  • Shallan and Renarin find the Oathgate using her maps. They find a room with lots of images. Shallan tells the armies to come to this specific plateau so they can get everyone through when the Oathgate is working.
  • Stormfather tells Dalinar he’s a child of Honour, which is nice. He tells Dalinar he has to leave him and that Dalinar won’t receive any more visions.
  • Adolin and Eshonai fight. Eshonai falls into a chasm and Adolin bumps into Szeth.
  • Kaladin protects Elhokar and Syl comes back with his Stormlight. Moash and Graves run off, after shouting something about the Diagram.
  • Dalinar and Adolin fight Szeth. Dalinar gets thrown into the air but is able to float back down. Kaladin then arrives holding a Shardblade, having flown across the Plains to help.
  • There’s a fight and it’s pretty epic. Turns out that Szeth may be a Herald, at least he had one of their Honorblades. Kal believes he killed Szeth.
  • Shallan gets the gate open. People start to enter the portal to Urithiru. Adolin and Shallan get reunited. I ship it.
  • Pattern tells Shallan it’s time for her to be a Radiant. She recalls how she killed her mother in self defense.
  • Amaram writes a note to tell Restares that the Voidbringers have returned. Taln is there with him, and is hit with a poison dart meant for Amaram.
  • Szeth awakens. He’s not dead. Nale tells him he’s a Skybreaker and gives him an old Shardblade. The sword speaks to him.
  • Adolin kills Sadeas lmao.
  • Dalinar, Shallan, and Kaladin talk about the Stormfather and all that. Dalinar recites the oath to the Stormfather and officially joins the Knights Radiant. He’s a Bondsmith.
  • Renarin reveals that he’s a Truthwatcher. Cute!
  • Jasnah comes back to life from the Cognitive realm. Wit has been waiting for her. Wit tells her the Knights have been brought back together.

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