I've recently finished listening to the audiobook version of 'Words of Radiance' by Brandon Sanderson.

Throughout the book (and the preceding book) each chapter has a quote or snippet from another source at the beginning. In many cases these are sort passages from 'The way of kings', 'Words of radiance' or 'The diagram' which are self-explanatory.

However, on two occasions, the quote was simply a string of numbers (which is bizarre to listen to in audiobook format!).

What do these numbers mean? Are they ever explained?

1 Answer 1


It's a code. Chapter 84's code is deciphered here as:

Hold the secret that broke the Knights Radiant. You may need it to destroy the new orders when they return.

The key in deciphering it is from here and is:

The key is found in Pattern 1 of the Book of the 2nd Rotation, each letter is represented by the number corresponding to the first instance of that letter in Pattern 1, i.e. "h" is 11, "o" is 1, and "l" is 8

The second block (chapter 88) has the following addition

"(This appears to be a sequence of dates, but their relevance is as yet unknown.)"

The dates are, according to this,

the dates of the final 10 highstorms preceding the arrival of the Everstorm.

  • Thanks ! If I'd read the hardcopy book it might have made more sense !
    – Pat Dobson
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:23
  • You're welcome :). It's kind of hard to decipher things like that with audiobooks - and not being able to see the illustrations would have made things a bit more difficult too!
    – Katdragon
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:24
  • There are illustrations ?! Of what ?
    – Pat Dobson
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:29
  • I don't have the book on me but I'm pretty sure there would be illustrations of patterns. Of course I could be completely wrong!
    – Katdragon
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:49
  • Illustrations are of various things, mostly world building related. Shallan's drawings (so animals and plants, plus her observations), a drawing of the shattered plains, overhead views of the major cities (to show the patterns created with sand by Kabsal), Shallan's drawing of the voidbringer she drew via spanreed. As far as I recall, there's no illustrations relating to the ciphers.
    – Kai
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.