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FeatherWriter last won the day on May 19 2014

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  1. Hello! I am very much a Renarin fan. I am here for all your Renarin-love related needs. Welcome to the Shard!
  2. My thoughts are that I'm just... tired of the discussion for the most part. I think there is a hang up here in this thread on objective truth, and it's an issue I've seen in other threads on the Shard too. Romance, characters, plots, and enjoyment thereof are so so so so deeply opinionated that trying to argue down to tacks over who's "right" just seems like an exercise in futility. You didn't like the plotline. I did. We can... just accept that those two realities are both true without one of us needing to be right or wrong about it. Just because a plot didn't work for you does not necessarily mean that it's flawed or worthless. Just because it's not the way you would have done it doesn't mean that it's objectively and unquestionably bad. Just because I thought it was great doesn't mean that everyone's going to see it that way. See: The Last Jedi. No spoilers here, but I loved it. Probs one of my fave Star Wars movies of all time. One of my dear friends hated it and thought it was horrible storytelling, a disgusting mockery of a beloved franchise. We both talked about our thoughts and then we continued to be friends and it was fine. I didn't convince her that TLJ was a shining bastion that reworked a familiar narrative that needed refreshing and she didn't convince me that the plot was full of inexcusable holes and worthless storytelling decisions. Same thing here. I'm not going to convince you that Shallan and Adolin are a good pairing and that Oathbringer showed this well. You're not going to convince me that it didn't. That's fine. What works for me might not work for you. I don't love everything Brandon does in his books, but I really loved this. You and many of the other upstanding Sharders in this thread didn't. That's cool. I'm not going to be able to explain to you why the plot worked for me because it didn't work for you. These threads are cool when we get a difference of opinion and people get to say "I didn't read it that way, but it's interesting that you do" or "Oh, I hadn't thought of that angle, that changes my perspective." But when it's all about convincing the other side that you're right and they're wrong, it just gets onerous. At least for me. Maybe other people really like that kind of discussion and they are welcome to it. But I'm good without it. Back in the golden days of WoK-only SA fandom, my closest friends were my shipping rivals. I didn't like Kalarin that much and they didn't like Shallarin. We still had great talks and fun amusing fake rivalries. Now we've both written things for our "former enemy ship" and we're still besties. Heck, at this point, I've probably written more fic for Kalarin than I ever wrote for Shallarin. Life's funny like that. I think Adolin and Shallan are cute and supportive and work well together. I don't need Adolin to say outright, in his POV, how much he loves Shallan for me to be satisfied that he does. He's always been a character that is more externally read than internally. I think the book has adequate representation of Shallan and Adolin not only as a healthy couple but a couple who are truly attracted to one another. I think Shallan and Kaladin were a good example of mistaken physical attraction for romantic, and were an excellent subversion of typical romance narratives. If you disagree, that's fine. But if y'all want to keep saying that because you disagree, it's because Brandon Sanderson is objectively and factually a bad writer who screwed it up and made a huge mistake, then... well I guess that's fine too, but it's not a conversation I'm really interested in pursuing. Weirdly enough, I'm not overly enthused about participating in conversations in which things I like are stated to be "unquestionably bad because it's not an opinion it's the truth and if you can't see that then you should convince me you're correct or concede that I am correct instead." Nah. I got better things to do. Live your life, think your thoughts, ship your ships. I know I'm going to.
  3. I mean, at this point, I'm aware of y'all's views on the matter and I've stated mine in long enough form as well. I'd just be repeating myself if I actually fell back into the Shaladin vs Shadolin debate, so I won't do so. I disagree with the interpretations regarding Shallan's personalities and what it means for Adolin vs what it means for Kaladin. I thought the choosing scene hit all the points it needed to and satisfactorily wrapped up this plot thread for the moment. Y'all didn't think that. That's all there is to it.
  4. Both Kogi and I have written quite a bit of Kalarin, and there's others who have as well. AO3 lists 28 Kalarin fics. A large chunk of them either written to Kogi or gifted to her. (I wasn't kidding about her being the captain.) Personally I'm quite fond of this one of Kogi's, which was written before WoR came out. I'll self-plug my fluffy Kalarin wine tasting fic too while I'm at it. As for Kadolin, there's 29 and yes, several of them are explicit. I'll let you scroll through the tag and filter the ratings yourself on that one. I'm sure there's other fics on tumblr or fanfiction.net, but I usually just stick with AO3 because it's so easy to find things.
  5. What do you mean by "weren't addressed"? Shallan and Adolin have a conversation where Adolin's stunned that she doesn't want Kaladin and Shallan talks about how she was more physically attracted to him but doesn't think he's the right choice for her, and she's choosing Adolin. It's one of my favorite conversations in the book. I see, discussion of her thing for Kaladin, I see Shallan explaining why she loves Adolin, and I see Adolin saying how hard it is for him to step aside, when he thinks that's what she wants even though he loves her, and I see him physically reciprocating her affection in the kiss, wanting to be close after that. I mean, that convo is the deal-sealer for me. Choice made, Shadolin not Shalladin, and I think she picked the healthier of the two options, as well. The one that she matches with better.
  6. Not to mention, the Kadolin was strong with this book. With as much as Adolin and Kaladin are expressing their love for each other, when Adolin starts thinking Shallan wants to choose Kaladin, his response is almost "Well I'm sad but who wouldn't choose Kaladin? Honestly, have you seen Kaladin? Kaladin is the best and also my favorite." Thank Harmony for the Kadolin ship, everyone.
  7. As Kogi is one of the founding captains of the Kalarin ship, I doubt you'll see her hopping over anytime soon.
  8. Ah the curse of the moderator badge. Everything reads like an edict. No one's shutting this topic down or saying that the discussion needs to be stopped. I'm not speaking for Chaos, but my response was meant not as a moderator shutting down discussion, but a beta reader who had insight on the process since that was a point that's been brought up. I've seen several of your responses mention early reviewers not having done enough for Adolin, and as one of them, came to give my perspective on that topic. Just as you're allowed to have this discussion in an appropriate thread, so are those who don't agree with you. Bolding mine, again, to point out the phrases that caught my eye in writing the response. You spoke of beta readers not pointing out where Adolin was lacking in Oathbringer, but many betas were outspoken on Adolin's behalf, specifically requesting that he needed more viewpoints. Adolin wasn't ignored by the beta team and his plot wasn't missed. It was something commented on and improved, just not brought to the level that you would have wanted. You also spoke of wanting to see Brandon's responses to critics and wondering what his thoughts were on the contention, and I felt the Reddit quote did that as well, acknowledging that there was contention over the plot, but stating that he didn't feel it was flawed and was, in fact, very pleased with how it turned out. That's why I added the response I did. Not to shut you down but to answer some of the questions you'd been asking and add more information on topics you were discussing.
  9. I can clear up some of the beta reader front. Mostly because Brandon (and the beta team) have talked publicly about the process of the beta read and what things were influenced. For one, betas were outspoken about wanting more Adolin in the books, just not quite to the level that I think that Maxal would have wanted. To me, Oathbringer had enough plot threads that did big transformative character arcs and brought people to cruxes of conscience and character. No, Adolin wasn't one of them, but Adolin did have the privilege of participating in pretty much every major storyline even if he wasn't the focal point of it. The beta draft had much less Adolin, betas complained that they wanted more scenes specifically from his point of view and Brandon did that. The Galant scene in Part 1 was added wholesale in order to give Adolin an early viewpoint and let us into his head there. Could the Sadeas murder plot have been a major plotline? Sure. Did it absolutely need to be? No, and I think it's fine that it wasn't. Is the book flawed or poorly constructed because that didn't become a major plot? In my opinion, it's not. Brandon picked what he did and didn't want to be a big deal and that one just wasn't picked. Epic fantasy series have problems with overcrowding and too many plots and characters. I think adding an Adolin plot in just because it would have been possible wouldn't have been a wise decision. And I assume Brandon agrees, because he didn't do it. I'll pull this quote from Brandon in the Beta AMA: (bolding is mine) It's not that no betas brought up Adolin or the love triangle. It's certainly not that. We had huge discussions about the love triangle, and I have a feeling that the majority of betas who made it to the end wrote at least a paragraph on their thoughts regarding the development of the characters and the arc as a whole. We didn't all agree. Many betas liked it, many didn't, some liked the idea of taking it in different directions, others thought it was fine as is. I've said before I hated the triangle all the way through WoR and Oathbringer for fear that it was playing out in straight cliches. Seeing the ending made it work for me both in hindsight and because of some of the ways Brandon changed it in Oathbringer after beta comments. (I, for one, really liked the reinforcement of Shallan's separation with two different sides of her being interested in two different people. I thought that broke some of the cliche molds that I had been seeing.) It's fine if the conclusion didn't work for you or if you felt it didn't play out right. But it's not because Oathbringer was a shoddy rush job that didn't get buffed up and edited the way it needed to be. The triangle was always going to be contentious and there will always be fans who wanted something out of a book and didn't get it. (I personally was in a bad place after Words of Radiance because that very thing happened to me there. That's another story though.) But this is the ending that Brandon likes and is proud of. He's pleased with the balance he's hit, even if there's still people who didn't like it. He got a lot of feedback on these parts of the book, probably moreso than anything else in Oathbringer, and he used that feedback to construct the ending that he wanted. I think he nailed it. You don't have to, but you should understand that Brandon's not going to apologize for the way it turned out or try to redact it and "do better in the future." He liked this ending and he's going to stand behind that, even when other people don't agree. P.S. This has nothing to do with A/S/K and this thread, but since it's in the quote I gotta brag a little bit that you know ya girl here had some influence in getting more of Renarin's powers in the book. Wasn't just that it was stuff I wanted to see as a Renarin fan, but it helped Renarin's plot to add the things that got added.
  10. Yeah, I was speaking less to Adolin's motivations and more to the function of it. Adolin lashed out because he felt backed into a corner and saw no other way out. Sadeas was literally gloating about how nothing could stop him and Adolin knew that they'd lose any chance to bring him down with all the chaos of the Everstorm and the move to Urithiru. If there had been a legal way to bring Sadeas to justice, I think Adolin probably wouldn't have ended up feeling backed up into that corner the way he did. So, roundabout the failure of justice is what caused Sadeas' death, even though it wasn't Adolin's direct motivations at the time. And even though fulfilling justice wasn't Adolin's motivation, the killing served that purpose regardless, intent or no.
  11. I'm just going to throw a quick response in here this time, not a line-by-line. I feel at this point I've pretty much talked out my position and I'll just end up repeating myself if I try to keep engaging. A girl can only have so many thoughts on one subject before it runs dry. That said, I'll fess up that I misremembered the Skybreakers WoB and misquoted it. I should have looked up the actual thing but I thought I remembered it well enough off the top of my head. Silly Feather should know that she doesn't know WoBs as well as canon quotes. Embarrassing. Still, Skybreakers aside, I think the Sadeas situation was one where justice was failed by the system and required an outside correction, and Nale can bite me if he disagrees. And the last point is about cliches. Yes, I dislike the Shalladin setup because it reads as very cliched to me, but this isn't just because I have a vendetta against the very concept of cliches and anything that remotely resembles a different story is bad. Rather, I dislike when plots feel contrived or formulaic and especially when they don't bring anything interesting. WoR didn't bring anything interesting to me to that plotline and it brought a whole lot of familiar and recycled points. The chasm scene in particular felt particularly egregious as a setup for sexual tension and bonding. Of course those two would be the two who fall into the chasm of course they would need to cuddle to stay warm and Kaladin gets all "aware of her in more ways of one." The follow up of them distractedly thinking of each other felt like it was just stacking up stock forbidden crush reactions all on top of each other. I mean, it's been a while since I listened to the WoR Splintercast but I'm pretty sure my thought process along the plotline was "huh, Shallan and Kaladin? Did anyone really picture those two getting together?" moving into "uh this bickering and 'oh she's/he's the worst' is definitely turning UST-y" to "oh no... really... they're stranded alone together... I've read this fanfic before..." to "yep, there it is, all that dark heartfelt bonding because of course we gotta have all the cuddling and bonding" to "wow, okay now we're daydreaming about each other and doing this? uuuuuuugh please let this plotline stop happening to me." I mean, we started off with mild confusion and it was only after it just. kept. going. with no interesting end in sight that I transitioned into annoyance and then true dislike towards the end. It was only later while I was thinking about why the storyline bothered me so much that I started realizing how much I felt they weren't good for each other and questioning that if that were the case and they had all these deepset issues, why Brandon would have chosen to shove them into the love interest lock step like he did. And so very strongly. So deeply unsubtle. Like getting whacked over the head with THIS IS SHALLAN AND KALADIN AND THEY ARE DOING A LOVE INTEREST ROMANCE PLOT NOW, THANK YOU. Meanwhile I'm sitting through all of these scenes like. Do Adolin and Shallan feel cliche to me? Not really. She gets excited about meeting him, they both get a little flustered when they meet for the first time, they go on a date and have a silly conversation, and then they kiss at the end because Shallan's been wanting to kiss him for a while. That WoR plotline doesn't read "cliche" to me. It just reads like two people who start dating and like each other. Adolin might be a prince, but his and Shallan's romance definitely isn't fairytale. If anything you could say it's a little too quiet and normal, whereas most romance plots have those big dramatic moments. But in real life, a lot of romances don't have the big dramatic moments. They're just two people who realize they really like each other. Perhaps that's the real contrast here. Kaladin and Shallan get the big romance plots. They fight the chasmfiend together, they huddle for warmth, they bare their souls to each other and have this intense bonding experience. I totally understand why people ship Shallan/Kaladin, 100%. If those scenes felt legitimate and that connection felt real and true to you, then sure of course you'd ship it. They were the ones who got the set up. Shallan and Adolin is just kind of Nice™. It's the cute date, the handsome prince who's a bit goofy rather than the wild and passionate longing for dark broody darkeyes she's not supposed to have. And in the end I think that's probably the point that Sanderson was trying to make, the twist he was hoping to execute. That sometimes the nice guy that you go on a few good dates with can be The One and sometimes the one that you go down the start of the wild and passionate forbidden love turns out to not be the right pick after all. The subversion makes the cliches work because when you get to the end, Brandon says, "In any other story, she would have picked the forbidden passionate one instead of the one she was 'supposed' to be with, but in this story, I'm going to show you why the opposite is going to happen and she ends up with Adolin instead." And in the end, I like that little twist a lot. I'm at the point where I'm not really trying to convince anybody. If you guys really think that there's gonna be way more on the love triangle in the books to come, well, the only thing to do is wait for another book and see what happens. I think it's pretty clearly resolved. But I've been wrong before, so maybe you guys will win out in the end.
  12. *cracks knuckles* First up @Vissy Admittedly, I've skimmed. In my defense, there's well over a thousand posts here. But from following, it seemed like general gist was Shalladin shippers trying to explain why they don't like Adolin, but starting to lean into it a little too far and drawing the ire of Adolin defenders. Threads like the one below seem to be an offshoot of some of this discussion, and it's a reading of Adolin that I think is exaggerated, both those who are arguing that he's morally depraved and those arguing that he's too perfect. All in all, I probably phrased the introduction on that section badly, it was more I wanted to outline the key points of how I interpret Adolin and let them stand as their own contrast. If someone disagrees with that interpretation, then that's a good contrast to have. If we agree, then that's cool. If I've misinterpreted some of the stances and we're actually all pretty much on the same page, double bonus points. Well, I don't just dislike Shallan and Kaladin for nothing. There's reasons why I didn't like those scenes at the time, because I was afraid they were leading to a conclusion that Shallan and Kaladin were meant to be together and that felt like a disservice to both of them from my point of view. I always want to be upfront about my biases, which is why I said that I've been against Shallan/Kaladin for a while, and then went on to offer reasons why. I don't think that's hypocritical and I didn't write the post to disparage Kaladin/Shallan shippers, but simply to offer my perspective on why I felt the ending was both satisfactory and conclusive. I love when people ship other things, but this just happens to be one that I personally don't like for myself. And I think by the end of Oathbringer, the text has ruled against it. If you want to keep writing Kaladin and Shallan AUs and shipping them and exploring all their potential as a couple, go for it. Death of the author. Forget canon. All that good stuff. As for the arranged marriages "cliche," while I do admit that it's now a solid trend in Brandon's works, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a cliche. It's a trope that Brandon's fond of that he might do well to try avoiding in the future, but a cliche is something systemic within literature as a whole. They're the stories that have been told a million times, a routine that an audience is going to lose interest in if it doesn't bring something new to the table because they've seen it all before and it's predictable. If Kaladin/Shallan wasn't a subversion, it'd have been that for me. But I believe it is a subversion, which makes it new and interesting and a cool new take on an old formula. Brandon falling into literary cliches is something that I would have found much more annoying than Brandon showing some of his own old habits. I think Chaos brought up some good points about Kaladin's depression, but that's one of the hearts of the issue. Kaladin and Shallan are both traumatized in very different ways and they're both dealing with their trauma in different ways. From where I stand, both of them need a partner who can be supportive and who naturally helps them with their issues. Relationships aren't a cure for trauma or mental illness, but a healthy relationship helps strengthen a person rather than causing added stress. I don't think Kaladin and Shallan are ready to be that for each other yet. The scene on the ship is extremely telling. Kaladin feels too much, he remembers his failures and he takes each of them on as his personal responsibility. After the scene in the palace, he almost shuts down and goes catatonic because he can't reconcile seeing two groups of his friends slaughter each other and his closest friend betray him and murder the man that Kaladin was supposed to protect. Kaladin doesn't function well when faced with those things and though he's gotten good at forcing himself through it, it's an immense source of pain for him. He's also got depression and seasonal affective disorder, neither of which Shallan seems ready to help with. Mostly because she's got her own issues, which are on full display through Oathbringer and Words of Radiance so I won't go into the detail there. However, the last thing she needs is someone like Kaladin coming along and telling her how good it is that she's able to repress all of that and that she should keep smiling and laughing and not facing it, just because that's what he wishes he was able to do. We've also got the classism, Shallan's lack of empathy for Kaladin's suffering, Kaladin's pain and past betrayals making him defensively hateful towards lighteyes. Their conversations in the chasms reveal that rather than actually listening to what Kaladin is telling her about the systematic abuse within the nahn and dahn systems, she talks circles around him wittily until Kaladin gets frustrated with her and just gives up. He'll snipe back at her, but at that point he's mad that she's not listening and just keeps taking pot shots at him. Not a great way to work through all of that. Adolin isn't broken the way the other two are, and I think that's why he's good for both of them. He keeps Kaladin talking when Kaladin starts to succumb to despair, and he helps keep Shallan grounded when she's losing track of herself. Not to say that Adolin is perfect and doesn't have his own issues that he needs help with, but overall he's more stable than Kaladin is right now. Nothing wrong with that, but in my opinion, it makes him a better fit. And, as for the cliche set up of their relationship, I can run it through if you like. 1. Premise: main dude character and main girl character plus compulsive heterosexuality means they must be the two who get together, right? 2. Hilarious meet-cute gone wrong where they both get off on the wrong foot. She lies to him and humiliates him and it's good fun but, ahaha, it's going to come back to bite her, how quaint! 3. Bickering when they meet up again, which obviously means flirting and sexual tension. Look how much they hate each other... but doesn't that mean they're meant to be?? Opposites attract, right? And he's that forbidden romance option just when she thought she'd found a dream guy. 4. Trapped together in a bad situation and now they are -gasp- forced to learn to work together despite how much they loathe each other. Except... maybe... they're more alike than they thought... maybe there is a... connection that they've both been denying. 5. Bonding through danger and cuddling to keep warm and confessing their deepest darkest secrets to one another in the cold, wet depths of the storm. 6. Return to live as normal, and though they try to pretend that nothing happened, they just can't stop thinking of each other and how attracted they are, of course at the most dramatically amusing times. I mean... I'm sorry but that's just so by the book. And not only is it mind-numbingly rote, there was also all those unhealthy trauma issues that seemed to be getting painted over by this beige romcom nightmare. I swear I can list a dozen romcoms where one or multiple of those plot points happen. I just watched a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode in which the main character got trapped in an elevator with her sexy boss and ended up kissing him, then feeling horribly guilty because she was already engaged to the man of her dreams that she'd chased after for years. The whole meeting could be the start of some plucky chick flick where the snappy and sarcastic intern wittily gets the upperhand on some stranger who gets on her bad side on the subway only to show up to her first day of work and realize he's actually her boss! How embarrassing and funny, right? Sure. Except we've seen it a million times. And if you can't spin it, it's just bad writing. I got worried that there was no spin, but there was. They weren't meant to be together, they never were, and those scenes only pretended to paint in beige, when there was really secret ultraviolet designs beneath all along that came to light when we got to the end. Alright, moving on. Ah, she had though. Shallan gets all aflutter over Kaladin after he rescues her in the chasms, just as he gets all twitterpated over her. It's especially egregious because they do it right after each other too. Ugh, I'm sorry but those two quotes, one chapter after another? After slogging through all of the contrived set up and being sick of this plot, I was rolling my eyes at this point. Shallan even does the thing where she starts distractedly daydreaming about how sexy Kaladin is while she's trying to convince herself that she doesn't think he's sexy, all the while missing what Adolin said. Definitely never seen a character do that before ever. My one solace was that Kaladin and Adolin didn't hate each other, but by the end of WoR this whole love triangle nonsense was just budding and I was terribly worried that there was going to be a stupid rivalry over Shallan between the two of them. Again, I shouldn't doubt Brandon, and he dodged that pot hole. He couldn't break up my boys like that. Shallan's feelings for Kaladin are "whoa that's hot" which... relatable. She shoved that off into Veil because it was inconvenient and she didn't want to deal with it, but at the end of the day, Shallan feels a physical attraction to Kaladin, but not much more. I particularly liked the comment about appreciating a nice piece of art without wanting to pull it off the hook and get intimate with it. Veil certainly didn't seem to be interested in anything resembling commitment with Kaladin, and neither did Shallan. Shallan acknowledges that her feelings toward Kaladin weren't actually romantic when she's reassuring Adolin at the end. And Kaladin admits that he too, was not in love with her, though he was confused about that for a while. That seems to me pretty well wrapped up in a nice plot bow. The one that Adolin claims is the "real" her is the real her. Shallan might believe that the only version of herself that's real is the broken waif who can't even cry anymore, but this too, is a lie that she tells herself. Default Shallan is Shallan. She's how she imagines herself if she hadn't been through trauma, if she hadn't been broken. AKA, that version is what Shallan needs to be working toward to be healthy. She needs to work to become okay with herself to the point where she can be the optimistic, bubbly scholar with a ready quip and a knack for espionage without having to deny the things that she endured. She can accept what happened to her without letting it define and overwhelm her. Veil and Radiant do carry aspects of Shallan but they're also very much an escape. They're who Shallan becomes when she doesn't want to deal with being herself. She isn't actually Veil and she isn't actually Radiant. In a healthy state, I think we'll see Shallan able to shift to those mindsets when she needs to be able to look at a situation in a different way, but not fleeing into them as a mode of escape. Adolin's able to focus on the Shallan that's Shallan, and that's the one he wants to encourage and bring out. I don't think that means he's suppressing other parts of her personality. But he doesn't think it's good for them to control her. (Which, he's right, it's not good.) Okay, on to @Dreamstorm I'll admit, I usually find subversions more interesting than playing a trope straight pretty much 100% of the time. I think I maybe implied something I didn't mean to with the phrase "long-con." I mostly meant it in terms of a long scope, but I think you're right to bring up the "con" aspect of that kind of thing, in that there were readers who believed the setup was legitimate and felt robbed of a payoff they felt was promised and not delivered upon. That said, I'm no stranger to ship heartbreak. Mine was less a con and more of me not having all the facts, but way back when I was invested in the Shallan/Renarin ship before WoR came out. I thought I had a handle on who they both were as people and I was so certain that they could be a good pair for each other. I'd never felt as strongly for a ship before those two. One problem: Shallan's trauma. It's not on display in the first book. Though she talks about her father being bad and we see Nan Balat, there's nothing that really hints at the deeper repression and empathy problems that Shallan deals with in Words of Radiance. Probably because it wasn't necessary to show all of that for Shallan's plotline in WoK and WoK had enough going on with Shallan without introducing all of that. She hides it well and is good at pretending! That's the whole point. But regardless, I was blindsided and devastated that I could have misinterpreted her so badly. When she and Renarin had their first real interaction at the end of WoR I was psyched up for a cute scene of bonding and teamwork and instead I got whatever hot mess that was. It sucked and it hurt and I was really messed up about it for probably a good few months until some friends helped me work through my emotions regarding it. It still aches a little bit, even though I've moved on from that ship now. There'll always be a little bit of nostalgia in it for me, a remembrance of all the good, fond, warm memories I had with it. Okay so I'm actually going to pull a John Green quote about this because he is an author who's been accused of writing characters and plots that are codependent and weak and romanticizing those kinds of relationships, to which he says: I think it's a good point. Yes, we want "strong female characters" but I don't think that means characters who never get support. Adolin helps her in the end, but I don't think that undermines who Shallan is or her own narrative arc. She has many aspects of her life that don't revolve around Adolin or her love life or any part of that. I don't have an issue with her getting support from her love interest at a low point in her life. When you're worn out and don't have energy left, that's when you need someone to help get you on your feet again. You're right that we're on different sides of the debate, but I explained some of why I find them incompatible above. I think that though they did have a connection, it wasn't something that was going to be sustainable through the difficulty in spanning the gap in their unique problems. Though they bond, I have always preferred them as supportive, snarky friends, rather than getting tied up in the tangles of what a romance would be between them. And I'm pleased that they seem to be heading in this direction. And I've specifically saved this point for last, because you're right, it's something that hasn't been talked about enough. It's also important! Adolin's not working through trauma in the way that Shallan and Kaladin are, but a good relationship is reciprocal, which means we need Shallan to be contributing to Adolin. To me, we see this in the way that Shallan bolsters Adolin's insecurities. He confesses the issue that he's been struggling with, the murder, to her, and she's supportive and helps him come to terms with it. We also see Adolin trying to find his place in the new world and struggling with his relative unimportance within it. He was the top of the top all his life, the expert duelist, the one who got all the girls, the Highprince's son, and now he's surrounded by people with superpowers who are fighting the apocalypse and he feels... inadequate. He's sure that Shallan will pick Kaladin because Kaladin has magic flight and does all those dang dramatic hero moments, but Shallan doesn't want superpowers and the dramatic hero moments. She wants Adolin, the kind, goofy, supportive guy that brings her food when he hears she's not feeling well. What Adolin needed was to hear someone say "Yes, you. You're the one I want. You don't need all the bells and whistles. You're enough." And I think Shallan's also good for him because even before everyone starts dealing with the apocalypse, she's not dazzled. She thinks Adolin is very handsome, but she's not intimidated by his status or the fact that he's Alethkar's most eligible bachelor. She cracks jokes with him and treats him like a person. Despite having many "friends," Adolin didn't seem to be great at making really true connections with people. His girlfriends all leave because he doesn't support the relationships well, his supposed best friend says he doesn't want to hang out anymore because the Kholins are "not fashionable" at the moment, and then enters a rigged duel to the potential death against him. Adolin needs someone that he can just cut loose with and be a person. He and Renarin have a great relationship, but he also needs people who aren't his brother. Shallan is good for him because she cracks poop jokes and teases him. She treads the line of not letting him think too much of himself when he's all special and important and also helping lift his spirits when he's worried that he's not enough. Her simple, stark affection for him is really something that keeps him grounded and helps him keep on the right track. And I'm gonna cut myself off there. If someone responded with a point that I missed, I'm sorry, I was trying to hit the big ones. Goodness this a thread and a half, isn't it? I will say over the course of these conversations, I've gone from "yeah, it's cute I guess" on Shallan/Adolin to maybe actually shipping it for real. So thanks for that, guys? I'm starting to really feel the heat here, finally.
  13. Boy there's a lot going on in this thread, huh? I've been debating whether or not it's a good idea to step into the boiling waters here, but what the heck, I'll throw my hat in the ring. I'm just going to try to broad strokes some things because I don't want to end up falling into writing a 2,000 word response. I have better things to do with my Sunday afternoon. If I oversimplify your points, please understand that it's not an attack or misrepresentation, just me trying to look at the big picture here. That said, I feel like a lot of the reason that this thread has shifted here is that there's a majority of Kaladin/Shallan shippers who are trying to elucidate why they feel Adolin is the wrong pick for Shallan, but from my perspective, this discussion ended up shifting in an echo chamber sort of way to a characterization of Adolin that I simply don't find tenable. Adolin as a sadist or a sociopath? I'm almost amused that a thread that could accuse him of being too much of a picture-perfect Prince Charming is also saying that he's a barely restrained rage monster who loves killing and seeing his victims suffer. Adolin's an incredibly moral character, from where I stand. He's deeply empathetic and naturally kind. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, but it doesn't always line up with his father's sense of right and wrong, which causes tension between them. His killing of Sadeas was not the first act of a potential serial killer or anything so macabre, it was a frustrated sense of vigilante justice. Sadeas was unquestionably a monster who tried, on multiple occasions, to not only kill Dalinar and Adolin, but also successfully murdered over half of the Kholin soldiers, innocent men who had absolutely nothing to do with the feud. And the Alethi justice system did nothing. Sadeas was untouchable, save for some very weird loopholes in a dueling match with a boon. Sadeas gloated in this and made it clear to Adolin that he wasn't ever going to stop, so... Adolin stopped him. This isn't a misplaced anger or a sign of moral deficiency, this is someone coming face-to-face with their attempted murdered who smiles at them and says "I'm going to try to murder you and everyone you love again and there's nothing you can do to stop me." So Adolin stops him. I don't think it was the wisest course of action, but I think the fallout in Oathbringer (or lack thereof) shows that the characters figured out what Adolin did in that moment: Sadeas needed to be dealt with and in this case, there wasn't an easy or clean way to do it. It's unfortunate that it came to knives in the dark, but well... it kind of needed to. It's not something I would have realized going into Oathbringer, but in hindsight, I don't think Sadeas' murder could have been the big crisis of conscience that some were expecting, because even though Adolin might have had the "am I a cold-blooded killer?" question kicking around, at some point someone would have said "okay yeah bud, you might have killed him, but he didn't really leave you any other choice." Perhaps that's the Skybreaker in me who feels that the legal system failed in Sadeas' case and Adolin killing him was a restoration of justice in this case, but that's just me. Brandon did say that Skybreakers would not find Adolin's actions objectionable, so that makes sense. That said, I don't necessarily think it means that this plot is entirely wrapped up just yet. The focus on Sadeas might be over, but I think we'll see more out of Adolin and struggling with this in the future. Perhaps it'll be a barrier that he has to work through in order to reawaken Maya, that she would be hesitant to respond to someone who did such a thing, as she starts coming back to life. Perhaps Adolin will have another moment of snapping and will attack or kill someone else, perhaps this time someone who isn't as much of an irredeemable monster as Sadeas was and he'll have to confront that. There's still possibilities. I don't think this one's fully resolved. However, what I do think is fully resolved is the love triangle, to drag this thread back on track. I'll admit, I was never a Kaladin/Shallan shipper and I ground my teeth through every one of their scenes in WoR and OB until the end. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I felt those scenes were set up in a very cliche way, and that we were exploring cliche scenes that seemed to paste a straightforward boy-meets-girl progression over a slew of dangerously unhealthy traumatic pasts and incompatibilities. I remember thinking in Words of Radiance that the only way I'd enjoy the Kaladin and Shallan scenes were if they were leading to a subversion. Which, it was, so in hindsight, I like those scenes a lot. In short, I should have trusted Brandon. I was afraid that he was ignoring the deeper issues between Kaladin and Shallan by fitting them into these puzzle-piece perfect relationship scenes. I feared that we were falling into a cookie-cutter plan without considering the true implications of it, and if that was what was happening, I was wholeheartedly against it. Thankfully, Brandon was on the same wavelength as me. Kaladin and Shallan were a subversion and though I was worried that they weren't going in that direction at first, now that I can see that they did, I think it turned out very well. Perhaps Words of Radiance was a bit on-the-nose with the Kaladin and Shallan set up, but in hindsight, the point of those scenes was to take two incompatible characters and run them through the steps of the romantic relationships, so that later, we could see why that setup was doomed to fail. The infamous "storms she smiled anyway" scene reads on the surface as a beautiful character moment (which drove me nuts because it was super unhealthy, right?). And yet, when we revisit that philosophy of Kaladin idolizing Shallan's dangerous coping mechanisms on the ship in Oathbringer, we see that as they tread that path once more, the conversation collapses as Shallan hears Kaladin tell her that he wishes he had what she considers to be her greatest flaw, and we see that Kaladin doesn't understand the true depths of how this has damaged her and how insidious her repression is. He buys the lie, he sees the smiles and the laughter and thinks its genuine. And of course he would. Kaladin wishes he could smile and laugh and thinks anything that allows Shallan to do that is a good thing, when both Shallan and the audience know it is exactly the opposite. Same with Shallan and Kaladin's "meet cute," the Boots scene, which again, on surface level seems like a hilarious comedy of errors sort of scene. Shallan's doing an outrageous accent, Kaladin's grumbly at having to deal with a stupid lighteyes, it means that they both start off on the wrong foot and will now how a hilarious reason to snipe at each other and have to bond through later in the chasms. Which, again, feels a bit RomCom 101, but also ignores the deeper meaning of a lighteyes playing games with a darkeyes she just met, simply because her rank allows her to do so. Taking the boots of a soldier while he's on a shift, especially on the contrived premise that she's foreign royalty to got offended by misunderstanding him, is a cruel action, but Shallan doesn't consider the implications for Kaladin as she's doing this. She's just having fun playing games with him and thinks that she wants shoes. If we were simply supposed to take the surface meet cute at face value and laugh at how humorous it is, then that's an issue, as we ignore the underlying truths and characterization of both Kaladin and Shallan and what this reveals about both of them as people. And yet, it's not just a surface meet cute. It is meant to be revelatory of their issues and show the problems between them, under the disguise of a normal, run-of-the-mill flirty ship scene. In hindsight, Brandon's set up of Kaladin and Shallan and their relationship arc, ending finally in them both accepting that they aren't right for each other is masterful, especially for an author like Brandon, whose strengths have never fallen in writing romances. That he wrote a great long-con amicably failed romance of two characters who initially seemed like they could work well but eventually revealed that such was not the case was really well done. I even like, again in hindsight, the way he moved Shallan and Kaladin through those almost stock scenes of setting up a potential relationship, but used them to subtly reveal their flaws rather than actually bringing them together. Was there a lot of "evidence" for Shallan and Kaladin as a relationship? Yes, but all of it was two-fold, in that as it openly seemed to be setting them up together, it was actually revealing why they would never end up together all along. Masterfully clever, if you ask me. Now, I haven't really gone into a depth of why I think Shallan and Adolin are good together, but I can hit the high points. Adolin is a great person, and he is especially a great match for Shallan. He is deeply empathetic and is supportive of her. We've seen with Renarin that Adolin doesn't need to fully understand what is happening to be supportive. He may not always know what's going on with Renarin or what Renarin's thinking, but he's still powerfully supportive and positive. I think we'll see this in his relationship with Shallan as well. Does Adolin know, totally, what's happening with Shallan's personas? Probably not. He might not ever fully understand, but as with his brother, he's supportive of her and is ready to help in whatever way he can. Sidenote that this theme of true understanding not being necessary for true love is one that Brandon has touched on before, but I think we'll see it in a greater depth. I'll avoid spoilers, but Vin falls into a similar crux of worrying that the person she loves doesn't understand her and therefore thinks that another person who does understand her better is a better match, yet in the end, that's not the case. I think this is a really mature view of relationships, because, deep down, no one will ever truly 100% understand anyone else, even if you're a perfect match. There will always be aspects of even the healthiest romantic couples in that they don't have a perfect understanding of one another, hence why relationships take work and need open communication to be successful, because this is a difficulty that all people must confront, the deep and incomprehensible uniqueness of all. I think Vin and Elend are going to be a good parallel for Shallan and Adolin. They might be endgame, but even after Vin and Elend entered a true committed relationship, they still had personal difficulties that they had to work through. It didn't mean that they were wrong for one another, but they still had those conflicts as plot points. I think the "love triangle" side of this relationship is done for. Kaladin accepts that he never really loved Shallan. Shallan chooses Adolin and marries him. Everyone is satisfied on that front and the entanglement of that subplot is resolved and concluded. That doesn't mean that Shallan's personal identity issues are solved (far from it) or that Shallan and Adolin won't have relationship conflicts that they'll need to work through as a married couple. Both of those things are almost certainly going to happen. But I don't think those relationship conflicts are going to come from Kaladin. That chapter of this narrative is finished and we're moving on to new things. I'm excited to see what those things are as we move into later books. TL;DR: Adolin's a good person whose killing of Sadeas was justified and therefore could not have sustained a deep crisis of moral character on its own, but may open the path to a further exploration of that side in the future with a different event. Shallan and Kaladin's relationship followed established plotlines for a potential romance, but was written to subvert the end game relationship, and successfully accomplished this goal, giving an interesting and well-crafted conclusion to their romantic storyline. Shallan and Adolin's relationship is endgame, but this doesn't mean that they are no longer going to face relationship conflict that they'll need to work through. It also does not mean that Shallan's own personal conflicts of identity are solved. And, with that, I look back upon myself and, with the folly of man, that I thought this was somehow going to be less than two thousand words. Ha, Feather, thou knowest not thyself. Our grand total for this post is, of course, 2,208. Great job, me. You played yourself.
  14. A new major cosmere book means that my CAH decks are in need of an update! So I present: CARDS AGAINST OATHBRINGER This expansion of 21 black cards and 57 white cards serves as an update to the previous two Cards Against the Cosmere decks (which can be found here and here) and has been stress tested for hilarity and quality to bring you only the very best. Let me know if you've got a favorite!