According to Vorin teachings, lighteyes have been given a holy calling to rule others and are considered the ruling class, while darkeyes are their social inferiors, virtually synonymous with peasantry.
- Dahn - Ranks for the lighteyes ruling class. There are ten ranks of dahn; the lower the dahn, the higher one is ranked. For example, tenth dahn classifies one as being almost as low as a darkeyes.
- Nahn - Ranks for the darkeyes. Darkeyes of the first or second nahn are citizens of very high rank and usually provide an essential function.
- Slaves - Sas nahn is the mark of a slave, branded on their foreheads. Alethi slaves get paid, although according to Kaladin, it's unlikely a slave would actually ever be able to pay off his debt.
There are certain societal rules in place around the hierarchy and the benefits of different ranks:
- 1st Nahn - Worthy even of marrying into a lighteyed family.
- 2nd Nahn - Full citizenship and the right of travel.
Men and their apprentices who served an essential function in towns were afforded special protection, even from lighteyes, including exemption from conscription.
- Ardents - Since anybody can become an ardent, regardless of birth, Ardents are outside of the ranking system. They are technically slaves (although they are certainly not treated as such), but they are allowed to use Shardblades when helping lighteyes train.
- Amaram - 3rd dahn
- Bashin - 1st nahn
- Dalinar Kholin - 1st dahn
- Elhokar Kholin - 1st dahn
- Hoid/Wit - Not ranked, even though his eyes are blue.
- Jakamav - 3rd dahn
- Kaladin - 2nd nahn by birth, sas nahn after being branded a slave, 4th dahn militarily (due to his rank of Captain), and 4th dahn officially after becoming a Shardbearer.
- Kaladin's family - 2nd nahn
- Lin Davar - 4th dahn
- Moash - 4th dahn
- People of Hearthstone - 4th and 5th nahn
- Rind - 10th dahn
- Shallan Davar - 5th dahn, 4th dahn after officially becoming a Shardbearer.
At this point, no one in-story really knows for sure whether or not a darkeyed man will become lighteyed if he bonds a Shardblade, but one thing happens immediately: he becomes fourth dahn. While it doesn’t sound like much on the surface - fourth dahn, out of ten - it ranks an individual above roughly ninety percent of Alethkar ... and the number is actually higher. If only the King, Queen, heir apparent, and the King's immediate family are in the first dahn, and the second is made up of the Highprinces and (presumably) their wives and heirs, that makes a total of at most 33 people in the top two ranks. The third dahn would be made up of the rest of the Highprinces’ children, along with their spouses and children, plus an assortment of other landholders. Maybe a few hundred people? That means Kaladin, Moash and Shallan are now ranked equal to or higher than all but a few hundred people in Alethkar.