ConceptArt by Inkthinker
|Family||Lirin, Hesina, Tien|
|Titles(s)||Captain of the Honor Guard|
Kaladin is one of the main protagonists in The Way of Kings. An accomplished spear man, he also appears to be a natural leader. He is also referred to by some as Stormblessed, because of the luck he supposedly brings. He is one of two known Windrunners.
Kaladin is the eldest child of Lirin and Hesina. He and his brother Tien were raised in the town of Hearthstone. When Kaladin was younger, he went by a shorter version of his name, Kal. He stated that he did so because he thought that Kaladin sounded too much like a "lighteye's name." He grew up living with his father Lirin, his mother Hesina, and his younger brother Tien. Lirin was the town's surgeon, and Kaladin was studying under him as his apprentice. Once Kaladin turned 16 years of age, his father wanted him to travel to Kharbranth to study to become a real surgeon.
Kaladin had dreams of becoming a soldier and joining the war with the Parshendi on the Shattered Plains. On one occasion, he practiced fighting with a staff and thought that it felt right in his hands. Ultimately, however he decided to become a surgeon. However, when General Amaram came to Hearthstone to recruit new soldiers, Brightlord Roshone required Tien be conscripted into Amaram's forces, attempting to punish Lirin for failing to save his son. In an attempt to protect Tien, Kaladin volunteered against his father's wishes to join the army as well.
Kaladin served first as a regular soldier in Amaram's army. Later, during a bloody battle in Kaladin's first year as a soldier, Tien was killed by a lighteyed officer. This caused Kaladin to work harder to protect the ones he cared about. Subsequently, he learned how to use the spear very well. Within four years, he was promoted to squadleader, and lead a team of 25 soldiers. He made a practice of recruiting barely trained youths such as Cenn from less competent commanders and getting runners to take wounded men off the field, often through bribery, and would treat the wounded himself. With a combination of his own skill with the spear, superior training and care for his men, and unusual tactics, his squad took so few losses that he became known as Kaladin Stormblessed.
During a battle with another Alethi lord, a Shardbearer with Shardplate and a Shardblade arrived and killed most of Kaladin's squad, before going after Amaram. Kaladin was able to kill the Shardbearer by slamming a spear head through his helmet's eye slit, winning the Plate and Blade. He felt sickened at the idea of becoming like one of the Lighteyes and gave them to one of the few survivors of his original squad, Coreb. Amaram asked to see the few remaining survivors of Kaladin's squad in private. After asking why Kaladin did not want the Shardblade and Plate, Amaram ordered the killing of the remaining four squadmembers, taking the Plate and Blade for himself. Amaram spared Kaladin's life, ultimately branding him as a slave instead, because he had saved Amaram's life. Subsequently, Kaladin began to mistrust and hate all lighteyes.
Kaladin was a slave for several months, traveling in the slaving caravan of Tvlakv. He led several unsuccessful escape attempts and was branded with a Shash glyph, meaning "dangerous". The spren later known as Sylphrena appeared to him and began playing pranks and asking questions. He was eventually sold to Highprince Sadeas' army to serve as a bridgeman. As a bridgeman, Kaladin served on Bridge Four, under the watchful eye of Gaz. During his first bridge run, Kaladin was positioned in the front, facing waves of Parshendi arrows. Despite this onslaught and the death of many other bridgemen, Kaladin survived. He expected to die on each of the runs he made, but always returned relatively unharmed.
Kaladin began to become depressed as he felt that he was cursed to lose everyone he had ever cared for. One night, he walked to a chasm to commit suicide, but was talked out of it by Syl. Upon returning to camp, he threatened and bribed Gaz into allowing him to become the bridgeleader for Bridge Four, thus giving him some small measure of command over the rest of the bridgecrew.
At first, the bridgecrew had no interest in following Kaladin's orders, and scoffed at his attempts to improve their abilities. However, after a run in which not only was Kaladin not injured, but also saved the lives of several wounded bridgemen, several crewmen began to respect him. Over the course of several battles in which Kaladin saved lives, as well as defied death numerous times, most of the bridgecrew began listening to his advice. Through Kaladin's training, Bridge Four actually became the safest of the bridgecrews, whereas previously, it had been known as the one least likely to have members survive.
Over time, Kaladin's depression returned, as it seemed as though the world was weighted against him and his crew. During chasm duty, Kaladin's abilities with the spear and staff became apparent as he lost himself performing a kata with enough skill to impress the entire bridgecrew.Kaladin decided to train the rest of the bridgecrew to use spears so that they could plan their way out of slavery.
Kaladin and his bridgecrew were set free by Highprince Dalinar and joined his warcamp as his honor guard, with Kaladin as their captain.
Laral: Laral is Kaladin's childhood friend. As a child, she used to frequently play in the woods with Kaladin and his brother Tien. Kaladin's mother also often encouraged Kaladin to play with Laral, because Laral was a lighteye -- a person of higher rank than Kaladin. Although they were really good friends, they began to drift apart after Laral's father, Brightlord Wistia, died. Laral may have had romantic feelings for Kaladin in her childhood, as she was constantly encouraging Kaladin to join the army to achieve higher rank and turn into a lighteye. Kaladin has also been hinted to have romantic feelings for her as he grew up, remarking that she grew up into quite a beautiful young woman, but unfortunately, when he left the village, Laral was seen engaged to Rillir Roshone.
Kaladin learned knowledge of surgery from an apprenticeship with his father, which was further enhanced by his experience of tending to bridgemen on the battlefield.
He is an extremely skilled spearman, and was thought to be one of the best in Brightlord Amaram's army. Kaladin was naturally talented with the spear but Kaladin claims that after his brother's death, he threw himself into practicing the spear, which is when he perfected his skills.
He is a powerful Surgebinder, his abilities bestowed to him by merit of his bond with Syl, though he as of yet knows little of how to use his surgebinding abilities as he is still in the process of discovering their extent.
Kaladin has a constant desire to help people, no matter how they treat him. He acts with honour and admires those who also act with honour. He has a deep mistrust of lighteyes, due to his treatment from Brightlord Roshone, Brightlord Amaram and Highprince Sadeas. He continues to perservere and attempt to save those around him, even when the odds are stacked against him.
Kaladin has a habit of getting depressed after failure. He has failed quite a few times in his life and has gotten severely depressed, even at one point contemplating suicide, but he has gotten through these depressed moods, largely with the help of Sylphrena.
Many other characters have compaired Kaladin to a lighteyes, even though he has brown eyes, because he is such a good leader. He is a living version of the Alethi Codes of War. This can be seen when he's a bridgeleader, as he insists each man wear his vest at all times during their bridge duty shift (readiness), practiced carrying planks of wood to inspire his men (inspiration), allowed himself to be beaten up by soldiers to avoid further trouble (restraint), insists on running at the front during every last bridge run (leadership), and risks his life and spends resources to take care of the injured bridgemen (honor).
- Lirin - Father; Taught Kaladin his medical skills.
- Hesina - Kaladin's warm-hearted mother.
- Tien - Kaladin's younger brother.
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 10. Stories of Surgeons
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 16. Cocoons
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 1. Stormblessed
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 47. Stormblessings
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 2. Honor is Dead
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 6. Bridge Four
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 11. Droplets
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 27. Chasm Duty
- ↑ The Way of Kings, 49. To Care