Shallan Davar

Fan art by sdumagny[1]

Biographical information
Ethnicity Veden
Nationality Jah Kevedian
Gender Female
Born 1154
Status Alive
Abilities Surgebinding (Lightweaver), Shardbearer
Physical Description
Hair Color Auburn-red
Eye Color Light blue
Social Information
Aliases Veil, Radiant, Swiftspren
Title(s) Brightness
Family House Davar, House Kholin
Occupation Ward of Jasnah Kholin,
Ghostblood (affiliated), Knight Radiant
Appears in The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer

Shallan Davar is one of the main protagonists in The Stormlight Archive. Daughter of the recently deceased Brightlord Lin Davar of Jah Keved, Shallan pursued and received scholarly training as the ward of Jasnah Kholin.

She is one of the first Surgebinders to reappear after the Last Desolation more than 4,500 years ago, and by the end of Words of Radiance she has spoken the First Ideal of the Lightweavers and possesses a Shardblade.[1][2]


Shallan ex-m

Fan art by ex-m[2]

Shallan has pale skin lightly dusted with freckles[3] in an era when the tan skin of the Alethi is seen as the mark of true beauty. Her freckles mostly faded as she'd reached young womanhood, but some are still visible, dusting her cheeks and nose.[4] She has light blue eyes and auburn-red hair – a manifestation of her impure family line – which she wears long and straight down her back, with only its natural curl to give it body.[3] She also has a ready smile[5] and blushes easily and often.


When initially met, Shallan is soft spoken and determined, though it doesn't take long for her intelligence to come through. She has a sharp and witty tongue, prone to using it when unsure or unwary, though she feels embarrassed and improper afterwards. Kept under the thumb of her father throughout her youth, her sharp tongue only began to manifest as a sign of rebellion against her father's restrictions. She is colder and more calculating when she is under stress and having to focus on doing something even though what she wants is to curl up into a ball and ride things out. Her quick wit becomes a defining characteristic in her relationships with both Adolin and Kaladin in Words of Radiance.


Shallan Davar and Pattern
Fan art by Keith Magnaye[3]

Despite a childhood of tutors who were also run off by her father, Shallan's natural curiosity and abilities lead her into natural history, which she follows as her Calling. She is constantly excited by small marvels of science, seeking happiness where she can find it after her abusive childhood. She takes pleasure in a job well done in her research, and uses her memories to create very detailed annotations. She hates the feeling of not knowing while also reveling in the excitement of discovery. Her curiosity repeatedly leads her into trouble, but her cleverness generally gets her back out of it.

Shallan is fiercely loyal to her family, to Jasnah, and to her research. However, when it comes to dealing with her emotional survival in the face of adversity, Shallan distracts herself, refusing to think about things that bother her.[6] Even so, she has an independent spirit, knows how to take care of herself, and will never allow herself to again be locked away.[7] Despite such determination, she wonders whether she even has any 'feminine wiles' ... specifically to capture Adolin's attention and, eventually, devotion.[3]


Shallan is the fifth and youngest child - and only daughter - of Brightlord and Brightness Davar. She was quiet and timid, and lived a sheltered life throughout most of her childhood. As a child, she displayed Surgebinding abilities, which led to her mother's attempt to kill her. Her father defended her, and Shallan killed her mother as Brightness Davar attempted to attack her daughter.[8] Shallan's father covered it up, pretending he'd murdered his wife, and the event destroyed his life, driving him to anger and destruction.[9] Because of this, Shallan erected mental blocks to avoid recalling the event. The resulting years saw her as mute and asocial. Though her father grew to be a cruel and angry man, his rages softened before they were ever directed at her.[10] Until, eventually, Shallan had to kill him too.[11][9]

She is largely self-educated; her mother died when she was young, her stepmother (i.e., Malise Gevelmar) was not educated, and her tutors were all driven away by her father's temper.

She spent much of her childhood trying to make her brothers happy and keep their spirits up, and trying to please her father. She eventually killed her father to protect her brothers and their House.

Pattern was present for most of Shallan's childhood. She has few memories of him during that time, but the extent of Pattern's involvement in her childhood is revealed in later flashbacks. Pattern lost his memory when he was locked in Shallan's father's strong box. She only notices him again on the ship she boards to the Shattered Plains with Jasnah Kholin.[12][13]


Welcome to the City of Bells
Fan art by botanicaxu[4]

After her father's death, Shallan sought out Jasnah, sister to King Elhokar and an accomplished scholar. Carrying her family's broken Soulcaster with her, she planned to study under Jasnah as a ward so that she might switch out Jasnah's working Soulcaster for her family's broken one. She hated the idea of stealing from the most prominent woman in the field of scholarship, though she felt compelled to do so to save her family from ruin. Left with no choice, she took passage from Vedenar with Captain Tozbek (one of her father's Thaylen business connections) and his wife, Ashlv, aboard the Wind's Pleasure. After finding that Jasnah had already departed from two previous places where she expected to meet her, she finally caught up with her in Kharbranth. She was escorted to the Palanaeum by Tozbek's crewman, Yalb, where her first application to become Jasnah's ward was rejected. She met Kabsal while waiting to make a second attempt, which was also rejected. Yalb assisted her to make a third, which succeeded.[citation needed]

The Way of KingsEdit


Fan art by Reiyeka[5]

While in Shadesmar in The Way of Kings, Shallan encounters a being with whom she must negotiate in order to Soulcast; entry into the realm is granted by a type of spren that most people cannot see.[14] Shallan can only see them in her drawings, though she can communicate telepathically with them at all times; Elhokar Kholin can see them in mirrors.[15] This spren grants Shallan access to Shadesmar when she speaks a truth to it about herself; the stronger and more secret the truth, the stronger the bond between the spren and the Soulcaster.[16] It is assumed that the being Shallan speaks with in Shadesmar is one of these spren (i.e., Pattern).

Later, Jasnah indicates to her that the more infused spheres one has, the easier it is to manipulate Shadesmar; Shallan was nearly pulled into the sea when she visited there with only one dun sphere.[citation needed]

Words of RadianceEdit

Shallan exm

Fan art by ex-m[6]

Shallan spends much of her time in Words of Radiance finding her self-confidence and her great inner strength and ability is revealed. Conditionally betrothed to Adolin[17] through Jasnah's machinations via spanreed, she embarks upon a journey from Kharbranth to the Shattered Plains, with Jasnah, at her mentor's insistence that they join her uncle, Dalinar, in his warcamp.[17] Jasnah thinks of Shallan as a promise.

"A chrysalis with the potential for grandeur inside."

–Jasnah to Shallan[17]

Aboard the Wind's Pleasure, with Tozbek at the helm, an assassination attempt (orchestrated by the Ghostbloods) is made on Jasnah and, with Shallan's increasing Lightweaving ability, her mentor's dilemma is effectually masked by her ward in illusion. Jasnah's ultimate disappearance while aboard ship leaves Shallan in a position whereby she is forced to fend for herself.[18] With her subsequent destruction of the Wind's Pleasure,[18] Shallan finds herself beached by the santhid she'd previously investigated,[17] with only Pattern beside her and, after alerted to it by him, the trunk of Jasnah's books and notes her mentor had taken aboard ship.[6]


Fan art by anadia-chan [7]

Stranded in the Frostlands, encouraged by Pattern, Shallan discovers even more of her abilities as a Lightweaver. (This is the moment when Pattern iterates, "I am a stick," interpreting her spheres' words,[6], thereby encouraging Brandon's 4/1/14, April Fool's Day post.) Pattern encouraged her to offer truths in effort to transform the stick into fire, but Shallan slipped into Shadesmar and only narrowly escaped it.[6]

Afterward, Tvlakv found her and she appropriated him and his men as her servants, as a noble lady would. She nevertheless felt like one of the ten fools in doing so.[6]

Later, when put into stressful social situations, Shallan creates an illusory, older, more refined version of herself to present. Throughout the novel she compares herself - first, to Jasnah, then to her alter ego, Veil - and finds herself lacking.[19] In truth, however, she is remarkably confident in her approach to dealing with many of the most powerful people in Alethkar. By the end of this novel, she is forced to confront not only her past but also her abilities as a Radiant. This leads her to become confident in herself as Shallan. Throughout Words of Radiance, flashbacks reveal the great compassion and loyalty Shallan had for her brothers and the ways in which she held the Davar family together in the face of their violent father.

Shallan eventually reveals that her mother tried to murder her when her Lightweaving abilities surfaced. Her father defended her.[8] As the result of both her parents' actions in this, Shallan created strong mental blocks to avoid recalling anything about her mother's gruesome death. Further, while stranded in a chasm together, Shallan reveals to Kaladin that she ended her father's reign of terror by poisoning him. She later had to strangle him with her own necklace, which he had given her, when the poison didn't work.[11]


Shallan first encounters Tyn, who is affiliated with the Ghostbloods, while trudging through the Frostlands toward the Shattered Plains.[20] During a spanreed conversation between Tyn and her superior, Shallan discovers that it was Tyn who sent assassins after Jasnah, at her superior's direction. Between them, a fight ensues and Shallan winds up killing Tyn with her Shardblade.[21]

Later, once arrived within the warcamps, Shallan hopes to infiltrate the Ghostbloods, due to both her father's and Brother Kabsal's involvement within it. As Veil, she gains a meeting with Mraize, who sets her to the task (supposedly, through her mistress, Tyn, who is indisposed) of breaking into Amaram's manor to investigate therein and learn his hidden secrets.[19]

With her Lightweaving, Shallan can now prepare multiple disguises ahead of time, switching between them as needed. Her sequence of disguises and misdirection achieves her goal of accessing Amaram's secret room. She works quickly to commit everything in Memory, and then pull off another masquerade to cover her tracks and keep anyone from getting suspicious. Exiting the manor, she slips back into her messenger disguise and is in the right place for Amaram to find her. She delivers her message about "her mistress" (i.e., herself sans disguise) wanting to document Amaram’s Plate and Blade, then discovers that his Blade is the one once held by her brother, Helaran. Due to Amaram's blithe description of the "assassin" and his own "counterattack" which killed the young man, Shallan learns that her brother is truly dead.[22]

Shallan (as Veil) meets with members of the Ghostbloods in the Unclaimed Hills to deliver her drawings of Amaram's secret room. She has carefully chosen which bits of information are revealed in the drawings, but inadvertently reveals that she can draw very accurately from memory. While Mraize is impressed with the drawings, he realizes that Shallan killed Tyn and is working on her own. She is commended for this but realizes as she's dismissed that in his parting words, Mraize has given the others tacit permission to try to kill her. She creates an Illusion in which to hide and sends Pattern to use her voice to tell the carriage driver to return to the warcamp. When her Illusion dissipates, she begins the long walk back to the warcamp while practicing accents with Pattern. Their practice is disrupted by the discovery of her carriage burned, her coachman and his parshmen murdered. She continues her walk more somberly, pondering how she could have handled this so no one died.[23]

Much later, Shallan learns that Mraize has discovered her true identity. She is informed that he holds her brothers as leverage for her continued participation within the Ghostbloods. Nevertheless, rather than blackmail her, Mraize chooses to gift her with her family, indicating that he has mentioned her debt so that it finds purchase within her mind.[24]



Shallan is named Swiftspren by a random beggar in who's lap she drops a package of food. He says that she robs from the rich and that nobody can stop her; that she's a spren.[25]

She's cultivated this reputation in effort to get the Cult of Moments to recognize her and invite her to join them, specifically so she can get to the Oathgate in Kholinar. She's also enhanced this reputation by sending Ishnah and Vathah out into the city, wearing illusions to look like Veil, giving away food.[25]

She feels that it is the individual touch, the light in the eyes of the needy people in the city to whom she gives food, stolen from the wealthy, that really excites her.[25]

Knights RadiantEdit

As a Lightweaver, Shalan must speak the Immortal Words of the Knights Radiant, which are a set of rules by which Radiants live. The First Ideal, identical for all orders of Radiants, is used as their motto. Each of the Radiant orders then had an additional number of Ideals that were unique to each order. For the Lightweavers, these Ideals are as follows:

The First Ideal - Also known as the Ideal of Radiance.

"Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination."[26]

Lightweavers make no oaths beyond the first ... . You must speak truths.

–Pattern to Shallan[1]



Endpapers for Words of Radiance
Painting by Michael Whelan[27]

Her Calling is Natural History, though she finds most texts on the subject lacking in at least literary merit, quality of illustration, or scientific accuracy, and she is a member of the Devotary of Purity, which her father chose for her.[28] Despite this, she is fascinated with the living world, and sketches impressive drawings of people, places, events and more in her sketchbook through the use of 'Memories' - perfect recollections of things she has seen, which are involuntarily forgotten after being drawn.

Shallan has the ability to use Pattern as a Shardblade, however due to supressing the memory of her mother's death, Shallan uses this ability sparingly. It was only when faced with the functioning Oathgate at Stormseat/Narak that Shallan realizes that her Shardblade was, in fact, Pattern - a living spren - and that it would be required to open the Gate.[2] It is not known if Pattern is capable of transforming into different Shards, though Shallan is aware of the ability to use Pattern as a Shardblade and has done so before.[13]

Shallan is capable of soulcasting without the need of a fabrial, though her instruction on the ability ceased with Jasnah's 'death'.[18] She has postponed developing her soulcasting abilities in favor of her other Surge: Illumination. Through the use of Stormlight, she can create illusions of things she has recently sketched. These illusions mist over and revert to Stormlight when she or someone tries to touch them, but otherwise function as perfect replicas of her sketches.[3] As her abilities grow, she learns to attach these illusions to Pattern. She uses this, in particular, to disguise herself as someone else by virtue of a sketch she has made from a Memory. In the appendix, Ars Arcanum, it is revealed that sound is also part of the Surge, Illumination, though Shallan has yet to discover how to implement sound as part of her illusions. Discovered in Words of Radiance, she begins experimenting with her Illumination skills while infiltrating the Ghostbloods and searching for Urithiru.

She can sketch a series of 'faces' in the morning that she can use for an image in the afternoon. If she waits longer than a day, however, the image is blurred and sometimes looks melted.[22]

The process of creation left a picture in her mind that eventually wore thin.[22]

Jasnah mentions that she has remarkable skill and King Taravangian describes her drawing ability as a blessing of the Almighty.[29]

Drawing ProcessEdit

When Shallan collects a Memory of a person, she snips free a bud of their soul, cultivates it, and grows it on a page.[30]

Charcoal for sinew, paper pulp for bone, ink for blood, the paper's texture for skin.[30]

She falls into a rhythm, a cadence, the falling of her pencil like the sound of breathing from those she depicts.[30]

A blank page was nothing but potential, pointless until it was used.[30]

The less Shallan is in the now and the more she is in the then when drawing, the better her sketches are.[30]



In Kharbranth, she meets the ardent, who shows an interest in her. Eventually, he even suggests leaving the Ardentia to be with Shallan. Shallan was flattered by his attention and grew closer to him. However, Kabsal died after accidentally poisoning himself (and Shallan) without having the antidote, which Jasnah had removed by soulcasting her portion of that which was eaten by all three of them. Shallan seemed to think that Kabsal genuinely cared for her near the end, even though Jasnah says he was just a man that used her to get close enough to Jasnah, so that he could kill her.


Shallan vs Jasnah

Shallan developed a loose friendship with Jasnah. Despite that she was planning to steal Jasnah's fabrial, Shallan was reluctant to do so, yet eventually did. Jasnah had begun to trust and care for Shallan, but once Shallan revealed that she had stolen from her, Jasnah was deeply hurt and upset. Jasnah had believed Shallan was one of the only people she thought she could trust. Fortunately for Shallan, their relationship was soon repaired as Shallan proved her soulcasting abilities to Jasnah and assured her of her true desire to learn and study. Shallan had to promise Jasnah that she would no longer lie to her. With the revelation of Shallan's ability (and Jasnah's need to find the Oathgate), Jasnah realized the importance of their need to be with her uncle, Dalinar, her mother, Navani, and her brother, King Elhokar on the Shattered Plains. Before embarking upon their journey, a message from Navani revealed that she and Jasnah had discussed arranging a marriage between Shallan and Adolin.[17]


Shallan Adolin bota

Adolin is first introduced to Shallan by Jasnah, who asks if a betrothal would be accepted if one was laid down between the two young people. Shallan was ecstatic, because she knew she would then be able to pay off the debt collectors that were tormenting her family. Yet, after Jasnah's sudden 'death',[17] the reasoning behind the betrothal crumbles. Until Adolin laid eyes on her fiery red hair, of course. After Shallan delivered the news of Jasnah's death, she went on to talk about the betrothal to Dalinar. He consented, based on Jasnah's opinion and Adolin's stark interest. As Words of Radiance progresses, Shallan and Adolin like each other more and more. But, after the chasm incident,[31] her feelings concerning Adolin become unclear as her eyes wander to Kaladin.[32]

Even so, once in Urithiru, Shallan and Adolin meet on several occasions to enjoy meals together, alone. At one meeting, he insists on instructing her in how to better wield her Shardblade. For such instruction, Shallan creates the illusion/alias, Radiant.[citation needed]


Kal Shal

Kaladin and Shallan
Fan art by botanicaxu[10]

The two start on a bad note when Shallan tricks him at the insistence of Tyn, pretending to be a Horneater princess and demanding his boots, which he grudgingly relinquished to her.[33] This did not go without consequence; he later denied her accusation, being Captain of the re-named Cobalt Guard (i.e., the King's Guard: Bridge Four). Shallan has an uneasy relationship with Kaladin, who is highly suspicious of her and her hostility toward him. Yet, when they both fall into a chasm because of a failed assassination attempt on Dalinar's life,[34] they have lots of time to talk.
Caught in the Chasms

Caught in the Chasms
Fan art by Jacob Sweet[11]

Kaladin had been suspicious and hostile toward her and gave Shallan his two cents. Eventually Kaladin admitted that he wanted the world full of people like Shallan, in that he meant she was unbroken. She then described the nothingness that came with being broken, a feeling so intimate it couldn't be told by someone who had not experienced it. Then as Kaladin described it, she amazingly smiled.[35] They came to an understanding and friendliness by the near end of the incident[36] and Shallan chronicled to Kaladin the times that broke her, words she had never shared with anyone before. Kaladin also told her of his life and the events that crushed him. She has still only ever told Kaladin the details of her past.[31] She held some romantic interest for him while in the mindset of Veil, and a part of her agreed that a union with him would be a good idea, but she eventually realized he wasn't the one she truly loved.[32]


To Shallan, Navani looks like a version of Jasnah twenty years older, still pretty, though with a motherly air.[37]

Adolin shares with Shallan that his aunt Navani can be overbearing sometimes.[38]

Shallan thinks Navani to be so good with her emotions that she can't read just what the woman is thinking.[7]

Shallan admits to Navani that Jasnah's Soulcaster was a fake, that her daughter could Soulcast on her own, without any fabrial, that she saw her do it. She then tells Navani that her daughter was a Knight Radiant.[32]


Shallan's reveals herself to Dalinar as a Knight Radiant by creating an image for him from Stormlight. He is so amazed that tears form in his eyes. He then says that he needs to give her the golden cape, the one that he'd mistakenly given to Amaram. This, she refuses, citing as her reason that if everyone is looking for her illusions, she'll never fool them. (Perhaps not the best choice of words for Dalinar.)[39]

With Shallan's revelation, a great many things make more sense to Dalinar. He understands just why Jasnah took Shallan on as her ward, why Jasnah wanted her marrying Adolin: to bind her to House Kholin.[39]

Realizing just how valuable Shallan is due to her abilities to create illusions and to Soulcast, Dalinar wishes to send her back to the warcamps to protect her. This, she also refuses, citing as her reason that it is her responsibility to find Urithiru.[39]

Dalinar assures Shallan that her secret abilities will remain just so for now, but that they will consult further. He tells her that she gives him true hope that they can change the world together, in the right way.[39]


House Davar

House Davar
Fan art by ex-m[12]

Shallan seems to get along well with most of her family members, though her memories of and references to her deceased father and stepmother are negative. She frequently contacts them via spanreed. Her second brother and current head of the house, refers to her as her father's favorite.

  • Lin Davar - Shallan's abusive father who cheated his way through life and left his family destitute. He was rumored to have killed his wife and her lover, though no official notice was ever taken. Eventually he is revealed to be innocent of their deaths. Lin loved his daughter and considered her an ideal lighteyes young lady. However, that love did not extend to anyone else. He was a frequent drunk who went on violent rampages where he would psychologically or physically torment his sons, beat his house staff, and waste money the family didn't have with lavish parties to 'elevate' his status amongst his peers. After beating his second wife to death, letting his fourth son be taken by unscrupulous debt collectors (essentially loan sharks), and threatening to murder his eldest son (by whom he'd been threatened with his own death), Shallan poisons and strangles him.
  • Helaran - Shallan's eldest brother, currently missing and disinherited by her father. He was a full Shardbearer, killed by Kaladin.[22][31]
  • Balat - Shallan's next older brother, who develops a fascination with death after the passing of their mother, which often manifests itself in his pointless killing of innocent creatures. 
  • Wikim - Shallan's brother who struggles with depression. He eventually admits his struggles to Shallan and gives her his secret stash of poison (blackbane), which she later uses to kill their abusive and homicidal father. 
  • Jushu - Shallan's youngest brother. He is addicted to gambling, a habit that leaves him deeply in debt and his life threatened; Shallan once bargained with debt collectors to save his life. When Jushu's debts became overwhelming, he would steal valuable items from the house and sell them. After the death of his father, he sells off items for the family under the guise of gambling debts (though he no longer gambled), hiding the state of the family's finances.
  • Malise Gevelmar - Shallan's stepmother and her father's second wife. She was left in charge of Shallan's education but failed miserably.
  • Adolin Kholin - Husband
  • Renarin Kholin - Brother-in-law
  • Dalinar Kholin - Father-in-law


By the end of Words of Radiance, Shallan is eighteen years old.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Words of Radiance, 87. The Riddens
  2. 2.0 2.1 Words of Radiance, 86. Patterns Of Light
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Words of Radiance, 47. Feminine Wiles
  4. The Way of Kings, 3. City of Bells
  5. Words of Radiance, 76. The Hidden Blade
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Words of Radiance, 11. An Illusion Of Perception
  7. 7.0 7.1 Words of Radiance, 75. True Glory
  8. 8.0 8.1 Words of Radiance, 10. Red Carpet Once White
  9. 9.0 9.1 Oathbringer, 13. Chaperone
  10. Words of Radiance, 61. Obedience
  11. 11.0 11.1 Words of Radiance, 73. A Thousand Scurrying Creatures
  12. Words of Radiance, 6. Terrible Destruction
  13. 13.0 13.1 Words of Radiance, Inter10.
  14. The Way of Kings, 72. Veristitalian
  15. The Way of Kings, 58. The Journey
  16. The Way of Kings, 70. Sea of Glass
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Words of Radiance, 1. Santhid
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Words of Radiance, 7. Open Flame
  19. 19.0 19.1 Words of Radiance, 43. The Ghostbloods
  20. Words of Radiance, 30. Nature Blushing
  21. Words of Radiance, 34. Blossoms And Cake
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Words of Radiance, 52. Into The Sky
  23. Words of Radiance, 54. Veil's Lesson
  24. Words of Radiance, 88. The Man Who Owned The Winds
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Oathbringer, 74. Swiftspren
  26. The Way of Kings, 59. An Honor
  27. Endpapers
  28. The Way of Kings, 33. Cymatics
  29. The Way of Kings, 29. Errorgance
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 The Way of Kings, 7. Anything Reasonable
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Words of Radiance, 74. Striding The Storm
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Words of Radiance, 77. Trust
  33. Words of Radiance, 28. Boots
  34. Words of Radiance, 69. Nothing
  35. Words of Radiance, 71. Vigil
  36. Words of Radiance, 72. Selfish Reasons
  37. Words of Radiance, 38. The Silent Storm
  38. Words of Radiance, 49. Watching The World Transform
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Words of Radiance, 78. Contradictions