Brandon Sanderson

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Brandon Sanderson in 2010

Brandon Sanderson (born December 19, 1975) is an American fantasy author. He has been nominated twice for the John W. Campbell Award. He has also won a Hugo Award and been nominated for two other Hugo Awards, and for a World Fantasy Award.



Elantris (2005)

All page numbers are from the trade paperback tenth anniversary edition published by Tor Books ISBN 978-0-7653-8102-6
  • Hrathen turned to Dial. “The first step in taking control of a nation, Arteth, is the simplest. You find someone to hate.”
    • Chapter 6 (p. 86)
  • You will find that hate can unify people more quickly and more fervently than devotion ever could.
    • Chapter 6 (p. 89)
  • “Eventually I found the best source of information to be the soldiers with guard the city walls.”
    “I’ve heard of them,” Sarene said, looking over her clothing. “They’re supposed to be the most elite fighting group in Arelon.”
    “And they are very quick to tell you so, my lady,” Ashe said. “I doubt many of them would know what to do in a battle, though they seem quite proficient at cards and drinking. They tend to keep their uniforms well pressed, however.”
    • Chapter 14 (p. 186)
  • Men often place pride before reason.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 273)
  • “I do, however, wonder why you preach hatred of the Atlantans when you yourself simply pity them.”
    Hrathen didn’t respond immediately, tapping his gauntleted finger against the stone parapet with a repetitive click. “It’s not so hard, once you accustom yourself to it,” he finally said. “A man can force himself to hate if he wishes, especially if he convinces himself that it is for a higher good.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 286)
  • “I suppose an optimistic comment wouldn’t do much good right now.”
    Galladon smiled slightly. “Definitely not—you optimists just can’t understand that a depressed person doesn’t want you to try and cheer them up. It makes us sick.”
    • Chapter 25 (p. 324)
  • You have to expect a measure of subterfuge in any political engagement.
    • Chapter 26 (p. 331)
  • They needed to work and improve their own lives, not wait for some external miracle.
    • Chapter 37 (p. 402)
  • For the man whose religion claims to spread truth, priest, your lies are strikingly vulgar.
    • Chapter 47 (p. 449)
  • There's always another secret.
    • Kelsier, at various points during the novel
  • [..] overthrowing the Final Empire seems like a good start. Are there any religions on your list that include the slaughter of noblemen as a holy duty?
    • Kelsier, Chapter 10
  • I've always been very confident in my immaturity.
    • Kelsier, Chapter 12
  • That's the funny thing about arriving somewhere, Vin. Once you're there, the only thing you can really do is leave again
    • Kelsier, Chapter 13
  • The Eleventh Metal? Of course it is - I showed it to you remember?
    • Kelsier, Chapter 27
  • "Surprisingly, it was in my mouth," he said, "I always forget to check there."
    • Lightsong the Bold
  • I try to avoid having thoughts. They lead to other thoughts, and—if you're not careful—those lead to actions. Actions make you tired. I have this on rather good authority from someone who once read it in a book.
    • Lightsong the Bold
  • You see the great thing about madness is that it's all in your head.
    • Lightsong the Bold
  • … imaginary things were often the only items of real substance in people's lives.
    • Lightsong the Bold
  • "That could be solved," Siri said, "Perhaps it would help if you refrained from speaking when others are present. I think I should find you quite amiable in those circumstances."
    • Siri
  • The motivations of men. They never make sense. And they always make sense.
    • Denth
  • Every man is a hero in his own story, Princess.
    • Denth
  • "Of course not," she agreed, "You are nothing if not exhaustive in your self-congratulatory made-up logic."
    • Blushweaver
  • "I have a headache"
    "You can't get headaches"
    "So you're fond of telling me."
    • Lightsong the Bold and Llarimar
All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-7653-2635-5, 16th printing
All italics and ellipses (unless otherwise noted) are as in the book. Bold face has been added for emphasis.
  • But expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you help them, the more likely they were to crack.
    • Chapter 3, “City of Bells” (p. 61)
  • “I didn’t say Tvlakv isn’t a bastard. He’s just a likable bastard.” He hesitated, then grimaced. “Those are the worst kind. When you kill them, you end up feeling guilty for it.”
    • Chapter 4, “The Shattered Plains” (p. 77)
  • “My circumstances are unusual, Brightness.”
    “Ignorance is hardly unusual, Miss Davar. The longer I live the more I come to realize that it is the natural state of the human mind. There are many who will strive to defend its sanctity and then expect you to be impressed with their efforts.”
    • Chapter 5, “Heretic” (p. 87)
  • Bitterness is repaid more often than kindness. One of his father’s sayings.
    • Chapter 6, “Bridge Four” (p. 98)
  • The body needs many different foods to remain healthy. And the mind needs many different ideas to remain sharp. Wouldn’t you agree?
    • Chapter 8, “Nearer the Flame” (p. 136)
  • “Brightness…I believe you stray into sarcasm.”
    “Funny. I thought I’d run straight into it, screaming at the top of my lungs.”
    • Chapter 8, “Nearer the Flame” (p. 136)
  • They were not demons, they were just men who had too much power and not enough sense.
    • Chapter 10, “Stories of Surgeons” (p. 153)
  • “Who’s put these ideas in your head? Why would you want to learn to hit other boys with a stick?”
    “For honor, father,” Kal said. “Who tells stories about surgeons, for the Heralds’s sake!”
    “The children of the men and women whose lives we save,” Lirin said evenly, meeting Kal’s gaze. “That’s who tell stories of surgeons.”
    • Chapter 10, “Stories of Surgeons” (p. 155)
  • The ardents who passed through town were careful to explain that the Calling of a farmer was a noble one, one of the highest save for the Calling of a soldier. Kal’s father whispered under his breath that he saw far more honor in feeding the kingdom than he did in fighting and dying in useless wars.
    • Chapter 16, “Cocoons” (p. 245)
  • What you said earlier is right; men are unreliable in many things. But if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s their greed.
    • Chapter 17, “A Bloody Red Sunset” (p. 273)
  • Men were not in command of their own religious paths; the priests control the doctrine, and few members of the Church were allowed to know theology. They were taught to follow the priests. Not the Almighty or the Heralds, but the priests.
    • Chapter 18, “Highprince of War” (p. 285)
  • All I can say is this: I know something of what it is to be hunted by the death and destruction of war. I see in your father’s eyes much of what I have felt, but worse. My personal opinion is that the things he sees are more likely a reflection of his past than any mystical experience.
    • Chapter 18, “Highprince of War” (p. 285)
  • But you always find people telling stories about supposedly better days. You watch. A man joins a new team of soldiers, and the first thing he’ll do is talk about how wonderful his old team was. We remember the good times and the bad ones, forgetting that most times are neither good nor bad. They just are.
    • Chapter 21, “Why Men Lie” (p. 315)
  • “The purpose of youth is to experience variety while it is still interesting.” She glanced at Dalinar. “It isn’t until we get older that we should be forced to be boring.”
    • Chapter 22, “Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?” (p. 332)
  • A man’s emotions are what define him, and control is the hallmark of true strength. To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.
    • Chapter 26, “Stillness” (p. 377)
  • “Curious,” she said. “I will do my best to pretend there was sense in that. As an aside, has it ever struck you that most masculine arts deal with destroying, while feminine arts deal with creation?”
    • Chapter 28, “Decision” (p. 418)
  • “Are you going to answer me? Why is it you trust my daughter so much when others almost universally revile her?”
    “I consider their disdain for her to be a recommendation,” he said.
    “She is a heretic.”
    “She refused to join any of the devotaries because she did not believe in their teachings. Rather than compromise for the sake of appearances, she has been honest and has refused to make professions she does not believe. I find that a sign of honor.”
    Navani snorted. “You two are a pair of nails in the same doorframe. Stern, hard, and storming annoying to pull free.”
    • Chapter 28, “Decision” (p. 427)
  • Iriali were very particular about their chastity laws. They were very particular about a lot of things. Of course, that could be said for most peoples—the only difference were the things they were particular about.
    • Interlude I-5, “Axies the Collector” (p. 440)
  • “To be honest, ‘arrogant’ doesn’t feel like quite the right word. It’s not specific enough.”
    “And what would be the right word, then?”
    “I don’t know. ‘Errorgant,’ perhaps.”
    Jasnah raised a skeptical eyebrow.
    “It means to be twice as certain as someone who is merely arrogant,” Shallan said, “while possessing only one-tenth the requisite facts.”
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 459)
  • “The Assuredness Movement?” Shallan asked, holding up one of her books. “I guess I could get behind that.”
    “Yes. Much easier to stab it in the back from that position.”
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 459)
  • Proof that one can be both intelligent and accept the intelligence of those who disagree with you? Why, I should think it would undermine the scholarly world in its entirety.
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 460)
  • I have found that youths like you have a relative lack of appreciation for the distant past.
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 460)
  • Never apologize for being clever, Shallan. It sets a bad precedent.
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 460)
  • Hence the purpose of education. To be young is about action. To be a scholar is about informed action.
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 462)
  • “Then you’ll forgive an old man’s curiosity?”
    “I always forgive curiosity, Your Majesty,” Jasnah said. “It strikes me as one of the most genuine of emotions.”
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 464)
  • “I just don’t see how anything could be outside God’s decrees.” The king shook his head, bemused. “Brightness Jasnah, I don’t mean to argue but isn’t the very definition of the Almighty that all things exist because of him?”
    “If you add one and one, that makes two, does it not?”
    “Well, yes.”
    “No God needs to declare it so for it to be true, Jasnah said. “So, could we not say that mathematics exists outside the Almighty, independent of him?”
    “Well,” Jasnah said, “I simply claim that morality and human will are independent of him too.”
    “If you say that,” the king said, chuckling, “then you’ve removed all purpose for the Almighty’s existence!”
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (pp. 466-467)
  • “I do think that you ignored, or at least minimized, one vital part of the discussion.”
    “Which is?”
    Shallan tapped at her breast. “Our hearts, Brightness. I believe because I feel something, a closeness to the Almighty, a peace that comes when I live my faith.”
    “The mind is capable of projecting expected emotional responses.”
    “But didn’t you yourself argue that the way we act—the way we feel about right and wrong—was a defining attribute of our humanity? You used our innate morality to prove your point. So how can you discard my feelings?”
    “Discard them? No. Regard them with skepticism? Perhaps. Your feelings, Shallan--however powerful—are your own. Not mine. And what I feel is that spending my life trying to earn the favor of an unseen, unknown, and unknowable being who watches me from the sky is an exercise in sheer futility.”
    • Chapter 29, “Errorgance” (p. 470)
  • I shouldn’t be so hard on our neighbors. They’re petty, yes, but it’s the pettiness of the ignorant. I’m not disgusted by them. I’m disgusted by the one who manipulates them.
    • Chapter 31, “Beneath the Skin” (p. 482)
  • “She’s rarely vocal about her beliefs unless provoked.”
    “She’s ashamed, then.”
    “I doubt that. Merely considerate.”
    • Chapter 33, “Cymatics” (p. 507)
  • “I never said that!”
    “Yes, but I pretended you did. Which is virtually the same thing.”
    • Chapter 33, “Cymatics” (p. 507)
  • “I was thinking philosophy,” Jasnah said.
    Shallan blinked. “Philosophy? What good is that?” Isn’t it the art of saying nothing with as many words as possible?
    “Philosophy is an important field of study,” Jasnah said sternly. “Particularly if you’re going to be involved in court politics. The nature of morality must be considered, and preferably before one is exposed to situations where a moral decision is required.”
    • Chapter 36, “The Lesson” (pp. 528-529)
  • “When we are young,” Jasnah said, “we want simple answers. There is no greater indication of youth, perhaps, than the desire for everything to be as it should. As it has ever been.”
    Shallan frowned, still watching the men by the tavern over her shoulder.
    “The older we grow,” Jasnah said, “the more we question. We begin to ask why. And yet, we still want the answers to be simple. We assume that the people around us—adults, leaders—will have those answers. Whatever they give often satisfies us.”
    “I was never satisfied,” Shallan said softly. “I wanted more.”
    “You were mature,” Jasnah said. “What you describe happens to most of us, as we age. Indeed, it seems to me that aging, wisdom, and wondering are synonymous. The older we grow, the more likely we are to reject the simple answers. Unless someone gets in our way and demands they be accepted regardless.” Jasnah’s eyes narrowed. “You wonder why I reject the devotaries.”
    “I do.”
    “Most of them seek to stop the questions.”
    • Chapter 36, “The Lesson” (pp. 531-532)
  • My father is a man of passion and virtue. Just never at the same time.
    • Chapter 42, “Beggars and Barmaids” (p. 596)
  • “You intrigue me, Shallan Davar.”
    She found her heart thumping. Oddly, a panic rose within her at the same time. “I shouldn’t be intriguing.”
    “Why not?”
    “Logic puzzles are intriguing. Mathematical computations can be intriguing. Political maneuvers are intriguing. But women…they should be nothing short of baffling.”
    “And what if I think I’m beginning to understand you?”
    “Then I’m at a severe disadvantage,” she said. “As I don’t understand myself.”
    • Chapter 42, “Beggars and Barmaids” (p. 596)
  • Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.
    • Chapter 43, “The Wretch” (p. 607)
  • Death comes, they whispered. Death comes to all. But life comes first. Cherish it.
    Death is the destination. But the journey, that is life. That is what matters.
    • Chapter 43, “The Wretch” (p. 610)
  • “I’m a Veristitalian,” Jasnah said. “We search for answers in the past, reconstructing what truly happened. To many, writing a history is not about truth, but about presenting the most flattering picture of themselves and their motives. My sisters and I choose projects that we feel were misunderstood or misrepresented, and in studying them hope to better understand the present.”
    • Chapter 45, “Shadesmar” (p. 630)
  • “I thought you were a believer.”
    “I am. But just because I honor the Almighty doesn’t mean I’m going to accept any explanation, Kabsal. It might be religion, but it still has to make sense.”
    • Chapter 45, “Shadesmar” (p. 635)
  • “That’s horrible,” Kaladin said.
    “I doubt many would disagree. But I mention these horrors for a purpose. You see, it has been my experience that no matter where you go, you will find some who abuse their power.” He shrugged. “Eye color is not so odd a method, compared to many others I have seen. If you were to overthrow the lighteyes and place yourselves in power, Moash, I doubt that the world would be a very different place. The abuses would still happen. Simply to other people.”
    • Chapter 46, “Child of Tanavast” (p. 652)
  • He couldn’t give in to assuming he was cursed, or had bad luck, or whatever it was. Superstition never got a man anywhere. But he had to admit, the pattern was disturbing. If he acted as he always had before, how could he expect different results? He had to try something new. Change, somehow. This was going to take more thought.
    • Chapter 46, “Child of Tanavast” (p. 662)
  • That man’s so incompetent he might as well be fighting for the other side.
    • Chapter 47, “Stormblessings” (p. 667)
  • Embarrassment was worth escaping suspicion.
    • Chapter 48, “Strawberry” (p. 676)
  • “You search for truth,” Jasnah said, “but you also hold to your faith. There is much to admire in that. Seek out the Devotary of Sincerity. They are one of the very smallest of the devotaries, but this book is their guide.”
    “One with blank pages?”
    “Indeed. They worship the Almighty, but are guided by the belief that there are always more answers to be found. The book cannot be filled, as there is always something to learn. This devotary is a place where one is never penalized for questions, even those challenging Vorinism’s own tenets.”
    • Chapter 48, “Strawberry” (p. 681)
  • “I hadn’t thought to find ardents who were willing to question their own beliefs.”
    Jasnah raised an eyebrow. “You will find wise men in any religion, Shallan, and good men in every nation. Those who truly seek wisdom are those who will acknowledge the virtue in their adversaries and who will learn from those who disabuse them of error. All others—heretic, Vorin, Ysperist, or Maakian—are equally close-minded.”
    • Chapter 48, “Strawberry” (p. 681)
  • Let the Vorin believe as they wish—the wise among them will find goodness and solace in their faith; the fools would be fools no matter what they believed.
    • Chapter 48, “Strawberry” (p. 681)
  • Kabsal sighed. “Brightness Jasnah, I realize that you are not fond of me. But I am working very hard to be pleasant. Could you at least pretend to do likewise?”
    • Chapter 48, “Strawberry” (p. 683)
  • “All conflicts are essentially economic in nature…Money is behind every war,” Au-nak continued. “Religion is but an excuse. Or perhaps a justification.”
    • Chapter 54, “Gibletish” (p. 753; ellipsis represents the elision of one short paragraph of description)
  • A layer of skin, a layer of fat, a layer of muscle, a layer of bone. That was what men were.
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 789)
  • Kaladin turned to Moash. “Why do they treat us so, Moash? Because they know they should be better than they are. Because they see discipline in bridgemen, and it embarrasses them. Rather than bettering themselves, they take the easier road of jeering at us.”
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (pp. 792-793)
  • “Why are you here?
    “Why am I here?” the man asked, lowering his flute, leaning back and relaxing. “Why are any of us here? That’s a rather deep question for a first meeting, young bridgeman. I generally prefer introductions before theology. Lunch too, if it can be found. Perhaps a nice nap. Actually, practically anything should come before theology. But especially introductions.”
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 800)
  • “Saying confusing things isn’t the same as being witty.”
    “Ah,” the man said, eyes twinkling. “Already you prove yourself more wise than most who have been my acquaintance lately. What is it to be witty, then?”
    “To say clever things.”
    “And what is cleverness?”
    “I…” Why was he having this conversation? “I guess it’s the ability to say and do the right things at the right time.”
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 801)
  • “Then I guess the story is a lie”
    “I didn’t say that.”
    “No, I said it. Fortunately, it’s the best kind of lie.”
    “And what kind is that?”
    “Why, the kind I tell, of course.”
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 806)
  • The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. Too often, we forget that.
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 806)
  • People see in stories what they’re looking for.
    • Chapter 57, “Wandersail” (p. 807)
  • Dalinar would have said that the outfits looked silly, but sometimes fashion was silly.
    • Chapter 58, “The Journey” (p. 813)
  • If we had to rely on what we knew, kings would only be of use in creating laws regarding the proper heating of tea and cushioning of thrones.
    • Chapter 58, “The Journey” (p. 817)
  • Yes, I could have traveled quickly. But all men have been the same ultimate destination. Whether we find our end in a hallowed sepulcher or a pauper’s ditch, all save the Heralds themselves must dine with the Nightwatcher.
    • Chapter 58, “The Journey” (p. 818)
  • “Men in power always pretend things like virtue, or divine guidance, some kind of mandate to ‘protect’ the rest of us. If we believe that the Almighty put them were they are, it’s easier for us to swallow what they do to us.”
    • Chapter 59, “An Honor” (p. 832)
  • “Stories and legends, Teft,” Kaladin said. “We want to believe that there were better men once. That makes us think it could be that way again. But people don’t change. They are corrupt now. They were corrupt then.”
    • Chapter 59, “An Honor” (p. 832)
  • “We never lack men and women who wish to lead.”
    “True,” Dalinar said, “but we lack ones who are good at it.”
    • Chapter 60, “That Which We Cannot Have” (p. 851)
  • “I haven’t faith in people any longer, old friend,” Nohadon said. “Put two men together, and they will find something to argue about. Gather them into groups, and one group will find reason to oppress or attack another.”
    • Chapter 59, “An Honor” (p. 852)
  • At times, it seems to me that to be human is to want that which we cannot have. For some, this is power. For me, it is peace.
    • Chapter 59, “An Honor” (p. 853)
  • “But you began something today.”
    “I began it?” he asked, amused, elated, confused, worried, and ashamed at the same time.
    “The kiss was yours, Dalinar,” she said idly, pulling open the door and entering his antechamber.
    “You seduced me to it.”
    “What? Seduced?” She glanced back at him. “Dalinar, I’ve never been more open and honest in my life.”
    “I know,” Dalinar said, smiling. “That was the seductive part.”
    • Chapter 61, “Right for Wrong” (p. 864)
  • You know how he was. That force of will, that air of natural entitlement. It always seemed to surprise him when someone denied him or when the world itself didn’t do as he wished. He didn’t force me to defer—it was simply how life was.
    • Chapter 64, “A Man of Extremes” (p. 886)
  • “There you go again.”
    “Feeling guilty. Dalinar, you are a wonderful, honorable man—but you really are quite prone to self-indulgence.”
    Guilt? As self-indulgence? “I never considered it that way before.”
    • Chapter 64, “A Man of Extremes” (p. 887)
  • Art was about creation. That was its soul, its essence. Creation and order. You took something disorganized—a splash of ink, an empty page—and you built something from it. Something from nothing. The soul of creation.
    • Chapter 69, “Justice” (p. 948)
  • I have spent too much of my time worrying about what people think, Navani. When I thought my time had arrived, I realized that all my worrying had been wasted. In the end, I was pleased with how I had lived my life.
    • Chapter 69, “Justice” (p. 951)
  • “You don’t know that for certain,” Teft said.
    “You don’t know for certain I don’t know for certain.”
    • Chapter 73, “Trust” (p. 988)
  • That crazy man happened to have blue eyes, which let him get away with all kinds of trouble. Perhaps Wit should have been bemused by the stock these people put in something as simple as eye color, but he had been many places and seen many methods of rule. This didn’t seem any more ridiculous than most others.
    • Epilogue, “Of Most Worth” (p. 998)
  • “And so,” he said, “in the end, what must we determine? Is it the intellect of a genius that we revere? If it were their artistry, the beauty of their mind, would we not laud it regardless of whether we’d seen their product before?
    “But we don’t. Given two works of artistic majesty, otherwise weighted equally, we will give greater acclaim to the one who did it first. It doesn’t matter what you create. It matters what you create before anyone else.
    “So it’s not the beauty itself we admire. It’s not the force of intellect. It’s not invention, aesthetics, or capacity itself. The greatest talent that we think a man can have?” He plucked one final string. “Seems to me that it must be nothing more than novelty.”
    • Epilogue, “Of Most Worth” (p. 1000)
All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-7653-2636-2, first printing
All italics and ellipses are as in the book. Bold face has been added for emphasis.
  • “This is the tiresome part of the feast, where the conversation grows louder but no smarter, and the company drunken.”
    “Many people consider that sort of thing enjoyable.”
    “Many people, unfortunately, are idiots.”
    • Prologue, “To Question” (p. 19)
  • Nearly everything that happened had happened before. The grand lesson of history, and…
    • Prologue, “To Question” (p. 23)
  • Do not make me kick you. I do not like kicking. It hurts my toes.
    • Chapter 2, “Bridge Four” (p. 60)
  • Jasnah hadn’t cared what people thought of her, yet had always kept her appearance immaculate. Not that Jasnah had acted alluringly—never for a moment. In fact, she’d disparaged such behavior in no uncertain terms. Using a fetching face to make men do as you wish is no different from a man using muscle to force a woman to his will, she’d said. Both are base, and both will fail a person as they age.
    No, Jasnah had not approved of seduction as a tool. However, people responded differently to those who looked in control of themselves.
    • Chapter 15, “A Hand with the Tower” (p. 228)
  • His mother would probably lament how little Kaladin care for religious observance. The way Kaladin figured it, the Almighty didn’t show much concern for him, so why care back?
    • Chapter 16, “Swordmaster” (p. 235)
  • “Historians,” Shallan said, “are a bunch of liars.”
    “Mmmmm,” Pattern said, sounding satisfied.
    “That wasn’t a compliment.”
    • Chapter 24, “Tyn” (p. 308)
  • Pattern hummed. “Truth is individual.”
    “What? No it’s not. Truth is…it’s Truth. Reality.”
    • Chapter 24, “Tyn” (p. 308)
  • “Not so crude then, if it almost killed him.”
    “Pardon, Torol, but almost is a big distinction in assassinations.”
    • Chapter 29, “Rule of Blood” (p. 350)
  • It wasn’t a lie. It was a different truth.
    • Chapter 36, “A New Woman” (p. 424)
  • They all ignored the truth stabbing them in the face.
    • Chapter 37, “A Matter of Perspective” (p. 430)
  • “We just need to be more optimistic.”
    “Being optimistic does not change facts.”
    • Chapter 39, “Heterochromatic” (p. 455)
  • “You really don’t think highly of the others, do you?” Shallan asked.
    “I hate them,” Sebarial said. “But I try to hate everyone. That way, I don’t risk leaving out anyone who is particularly deserving. Anyway, here we are. Don’t expect me to help you out of the carriage.”
    • Chapter 40, “Palona” (p. 460)
  • “If the afterlife really is a big war,” Kaladin said, then I hope I end up in Damnation. At least there I might be able to get a wink or two of sleep.”
    • Chapter 41, “Scars” (p. 475)
  • “I know you do not mean this. Context allows me to infer what you truly mean. In a way, the very phrase is a lie.”
    “It’s not a lie,” Shallan said, “if everyone understands and knows what it means.”
    “Those are some of the best lies.”
    • Chapter 42, “Mere Vapors” (p. 480)
  • That was the problem with sneaking about. If nothing seemed to have gone wrong, you rarely knew if it was because you were safe, or if someone had spotted you and just hadn’t done anything. Yet.
    • Chapter 43, “The Ghostbloods” (p. 497)
  • “I ain’t grouchy,” Teft snapped. “I just have a low threshold for stupidity.”
    • Chapter 44, “One Form of Justice” (p. 501)
  • “Hmmm. Someone has a high opinion of himself. Comes with being royalty, I suppose. Like funny hats and a fondness for beheadings.”
    • Chapter 44, “One Form of Justice” (p. 507)
  • “Where is he?”
    “Doing things he finds very important. I would fault him for it, as I find nothing more frightening than a man trying to do what he has decided is important. Very little in the world has ever gone astray—at least on a grand scale—because a person decided to be frivolous.”
    • Chapter 45, “Middlefest” (p. 526)
  • To be human is to seek beauty.
    • Chapter 45, “Middlefest” (p. 528)
  • “The men are happy.”
    “And you?”
    “Bored. All we do every day is sit around, collect what you pay us, and go drinking.”
    “Most men would consider that an ideal profession.” She smiled at En, then climbed into the coach.
    Vathah shut the door for her, then looked in the window. “Most men are idiots.”
    • Chapter 47, “Feminine Wiles” (p. 552)
  • She’d had so much more time when she was younger. She couldn’t help thinking she’d wasted much of it.
    • Chapter 47, “Feminine Wiles” (p. 554)
  • She let the world consume her. The familiar sound of pencil on paper, the focus of creation. Beauty was out there, all around. To create art was not to capture it, but to participate in it.
    • Chapter 47, “Feminine Wiles” (p. 554)
  • “Storms,” she breathed. “Those are all different kinds of wine?”
    “Yeah,” Adolin said. He leaned toward her, as if conspiratorial. “Honestly, I don’t pay a lot of attention. Renarin knows the difference between them—he’ll drone on if you let him. Me, I order something that sounds important, but I’m really just choosing based on color.”
    • Chapter 49, “Watching the World Transform” (p. 568)
  • Shallan smiled at the wonderful surroundings, the light rainfall, the beautiful plant life. A little dampness was a small price to pay for the melodious sound of sprinkling rain, for fresh clean air and a beautiful sky full of clouds that varied in every shade of grey.
    • Chapter 54, “Veil’s Lesson” (p. 626)
  • Better to be overly cautious than naive.
    • Chapter 54, “Veil’s Lesson” (p. 632)
  • “That was a joke, bridgeboy.”
    “My mistake. I was under the impression that jokes were supposed to be funny.”
    “Only to people with a sense of humor.”
    “Ah, of course,” Kaladin said. “I traded in my sense of humor long ago.”
    “And what did you get for it?”
    “Scars,” Kaladin said softly.
    • Chapter 55, “The Rules of the Game” (pp. 636-637)
  • “I am a soldier, not a musician,” Kaladin said. “Besides, music is for women.”
    “All people are musicians,” Wit countered. “The question is whether or not they share their songs. As for music being feminine, it’s interesting that the woman who wrote that treatise—the one you all practically worship in Alethkar—decided that all of the feminine tasks involve sitting around having fun while all the masculine ones involve finding someone to stick a spear in you. Telling, eh?”
    • Chapter 55, “The Rules of the Game” (p. 638)
  • “What do you know?”
    “Almost everything. That almost part can be a real kick in the teeth sometimes.”
    “What do you want, then?”
    “What I can’t have.”
    Wit turned to him, eyes solemn. “Same as everyone else.”
    • Chapter 55, “The Rules of the Game” (p. 639)
  • “I know full well how to have a good time.”
    “Is that so?”
    “Yes. It involves being anywhere you aren’t.”
    • Chapter 55, “The Rules of the Game” (p. 640)
  • Adeline placed the glyphward in the brazier, then bowed his head as it burned. A prayer to the Almighty for aid. His combatants for the day would probably be burning their own prayers. How did the Almighty decide whom to help?
    • Chapter 56, “Whitespine Uncaged” (p. 655)
  • The difference between a successful thief and a dead thief is knowing when to escape with your takings.
    • Interlude I-9, “Lift” (p. 687)
  • “Someone has to care,” she said, starting down the hallway. “Too few people care, these days.”
    “You say this while coming in to rob people.”
    “Sure. Ain’t gonna hurt them.”
    “You have an odd sense of morality, mistress.”
    “Don’t be stupid,” she said. “Every sense of morality is odd.”
    • Interlude I-9, “Lift” (p. 692)
  • All stories have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.
    • Chapter 59, “Fleet” (p. 730)
  • “The storm caught him,” Kaladin said.
    “The storm catches everyone, eventually. Does it matter?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Good.” Wit tipped his sword up toward his forehead, as if in respect. “Then you have something to think about.”
    • Chapter 59, “Fleet” (p. 731)
  • To be human was often to be forced to choose between distasteful options.
    • Chapter 68, “Bridges” (p. 801)
  • “When did you get so peppy?” she shouted.
    “Ever since I assumed I was dead, then I suddenly wasn’t.”
    “Then remind me to try to kill you once in a while,” she snapped. “If I succeed, it will make me feel better, and if I fail, it will make you feel better. Everyone wins!”
    • Chapter 72, “Selfish Reasons” (p. 863)
  • To age truly was to suffer the ultimate treason, that of one’s body against oneself.
    • Interlude I-14, “Taravangian” (p. 901)
  • “‘Honor’ is a word applied to the actions of men from the past who have had their lives scrubbed clean by historians.”
    • Chapter 76, “The Hidden Blade” (p. 927)
  • Jasnah had once defined a fool as a person who ignored information because it disagreed with desired results.
    • Chapter 77, “Trust” (p. 937)
  • “I have to protect him,” Kaladin whispered.
    “If I protect …” He coughed. “If I protect…only the people I like, it means that I don’t care about doing what is right.” If he did that, he only cared about what was convenient for himself.
    That wasn’t protecting. That was selfishness.
    • Chapter 84, “The One Who Saves” (p. 1014)
  • I watched you keep your word with perfection. This is a thing lost to most people—it is the only genuine beauty in the world.
    • Chapter 88, “The Man Who Owned the Winds” (p. 1063)
All page numbers are from the hardcover standalone edition published by Tor Books in October 2017, ISBN 978-1-250-16654-8, second printing
  • “That makes no sense.”
    “Of course it makes sense,” Gawx said. “It’s government.”
    • Prologue (p. 27)
  • You couldn’t live your life getting up and seeing the same things every day. You had to keep moving, otherwise people started to know who you were, and then they started to expect things from you. It was one step from there to being gobbled up.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 71)
  • “So now you’re normal.”
    “Course I am,” she said. “It’s everyone else that’s weird.”
    • Chapter 2 (p. 82)
  • “But profiting off people’s emotions?”
    “Pity can be a powerful tool. Anytime you can make someone else feel something, you’ve got power over them.”
    • Chapter 7 (p. 119)
  • “You seem to have found purpose in talkin’ a whole bunch,” Lift said. “Without being helpful to nobody.”
    • Chapter 18 (p. 234)
  • Too few people listened to anything other than their own thoughts.
    • Chapter 19 (p. 250)
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