Oh boy, it’s time to use my favorite outdated meme again!
The strongest reason (of many reasons) to love the Stormlight Archive series is, without a doubt, its characters. Rarely before has a fantasy series had a cast this diverse, interesting, and memorable. Brandon Sanderson truly did something remarkable by crafting them all. Each and every one is worth of a full analysis. And I assure you, I’ll get to them sooner or later.
But not all characters are created equal. Not even characters all as wonderfully realized as these ones. There are definitely those that stand out more and less than others.
And what better way is there to figure out which is the best and which is the worst than with a tier list! Because that’s all the rage on the internet these days, right?
So here’s mine! Feel free to judge and get angry!
- S tier: Kaladin, Adolin, Dalinar, Wit, the Lopen, Jasnah
- A tier: Taravangian, Teft, Lift, Elhokar, Navani, Rabonial, Syl, Rock, Sadeas
- B tier: Shallan, Renarin, Rlain, Pattern, Amaram, Szeth
- C tier: Zahel, Nightblood, Rysn, Odium, the Stormfather
- D tier: Eshonai, Venli
- Moash tier: take a guess
Now, to clarify: I don’t think any of these characters are bad. The fact that they’re on this tier list at all means that they’re the most memorable and interesting of the cast. This is more of a ‘best’ to ‘least best’. If anyone is missing, that’s because they’re either not memorable enough to me to be put on here or I just didn’t want to take the time to rank them.
There are hundreds of these guys, okay? Give me a break. I barely have the time to explain the ones I put on here!
Starting with S tier: I feel like it’s pretty obvious why most of them are here. Kaladin is my favorite fantasy protagonist of all time, Adolin is so pure and kind that it’s impossible not to like him, Dalinar is one of the most genuinely compelling characters in the history of fiction, and Jasnah is one of the best female characters ever. Wit may not have the same depth as them, but every single scene he’s in, without exception, is an absolute delight to read. Same with The Lopen; it’s impossible not to smile when he’s fucking around, doing his Lopen thing.
A tier is stacked with the characters I wanted to put into S tier, but couldn’t justify doing so to myself. Taravangian is a remarkable antagonist, easily the best in the series, with Sadeas at a close second. Teft and Rock are two of the best supporting characters, and both are central to the two most tear-jerking scenes in Rhythm of War. Elhokar’s arc in Oathbringer is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever read! Lift is just a ton of fun, and she has a nice air of mystery about her that I’m sure will be explained in book five (maybe). Navani is great, especially after her arc in RoW. Speaking of which, Rabonial is easily one of my favorite antagonits; she adds such a layer of depth and emotion to the Fused that was lacking up until now. Syl is my favorite spren of the lost; she is such a great companion to Kaladin, and her arc in RoW is taking her character in very interesting directions.
B tier is where I put the characters I like a lot less. Shallan is a well-written protagonist, but I’ve only ever been able to tolerate her in Oathbringer. Renarin is interesting and mysterious, but by nature he lacks the charisma to really be memorable. Rlain is much the same way, although I’m a huge fan of his relationship with Bridge 4. Pattern is a great companion to Shallan, even if he can be a bit one-note, and the ‘twist’ surrounding him in RoW is my least favorite thing to happen in the whole series. Amaram is a decent antagonist, but he can be a bit boring at times. I would have put Szeth higher, but so much of his character is still wrapped in mystery that I couldn’t bring myself to do it; maybe once we get some answers, he’ll go further up.
C tier is where the characters start getting a bit dull for me. Zahel is a great mentor for Kaladin, not to mention a fun tie in to Warbreaker, but he lacks in screentime. Nightblood is a fun foil for Szeth, and another fun Cosmere addition, but by nature the sword is very one-note. Rysn is fine, but her character hasn’t gone many places yet; maybe she’ll be placed higher once what happened in Dawnshard actually pays off. Odium, for being the primary villain of the series, is pretty uninteresting to me in the personality department. As for the Stormfather, he makes a fine companion to Dalinar, but he isn’t all that interesting in other scenes.
D tier is reserved exclusively for Eshonai and Venli. I don’t think it’s a hot take to say that these two are some of the least interesting characters in the series. I get bored really quickly whenever I hit one of their chapters.
And of course, there’s Moash in the Moash tier. I haven’t seen such hatred for a fictional character since Dolores Umbridge. Nor have I seen such deserved hatred for a fictional character. #FuckMoash.
That brings a wrap to my Stormlight Archive character tier list. Hoo boy, that was a dense one! Feel free to call me a dumbass for putting a character too high or too low on the list. I live for that kind of discourse.
I’m not even going to bother promising not to talk about the series for a while. I know I ain’t gonna keep that promise.