One thing that I'm slightly confused about is who the primary POVs will be for the second set of 5 books in the 10-book series. I've heard a bunch of names being floated around on various online forums--such as Jasnah, Renarin, and Taravangian to name a few--but are any of these confirmed? Any word of Brandon as of yet?
It's possible this will change. But the back five have been planned as Jasnah, Renarin, Lift, Taln, and Ash. Though, once again, this isn't a promise that these people survive. You'll likely see at least one flashback set in the series from a character who has died in a previous book, and then you get to see something they experienced through flashbacks before their death.
I'm having trouble locating Ash. No direct matches on coppermind.net, 17th shard forums or google.
Do you mean Ashir from one of the WoK interludes? Or perhaps someone we haven't met yet (at least by name).
There are a lot of weird things going on with Ash, so what's up with her will be something you'll have to wait on for a long while.
But how about the characters we currently love? Are they all gone in the second half??? This is terrible :-(
No, they will be around. (Well, if they survive.) But the second series will be taking place years later, and their roles may have changed.