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MonsterMetroid

[OB] Will the real Shallan please stand up

11 posts in this topic

Surprise another Shallan thread! The Fact that we have so much to talk about her means that Brandon must have done something right (or something very wrong ;)  ). But I wanted to talk about her, and not how she reacts to others, or whether she is a great or horrible character.In Oathbringer We got introduced to the fact that Shallan is viewing herself as different people or personalities. This post will seek to analyze them and try to show you who shallan really is.

 

For consistency sake we are going to label the 3 personalities we mainly interact with in oathbringer as Veil, Radiant, and maskShallan. maskShallan refers to the times that shallan is without an illusion or when she is trying to be the Shallan she is known for publicly.

 

Let’s start with who I consider the easiest to analyze, and that is Radiant. Radiant was created as a means to deal with the truth Shallan spoke at the end of WoR, that she is a murderer and used Pattern to kill her mom. Radiant consists of skills that Shallan was uncomfortable with using at the moment, this includes Shardblade fighting, and scholarship. Now some of you may be questioning why I put scholarship in there and I will address that later on (the organization of this is pretty hard to do…). Radiant also embodies Shallans perception of power and authority most of which she perceives from Jasnah and thus Radiant feels like a copy of a copy of Jasnah sometimes. It definitely is a copy but lacks the detail and personality of the original. Radiant has lots of skills and utility of SHallan but her personality I would argue Is not of Shallan but perhaps what Shallan wishes she was sometimes.

 

Now let’s talk maskShallan. This is the one we are at the same time most familiar with and least familiar with because maskShallan’s purpose is one abstract thing, Comfort/Survival. maskShallan contains what Shallan needs to get through her day by day and helps her avoid anything that causes her discomfort/mental anguish. maskShallan was the character we were most familiar with but she has underwent some changes recently as her newest oath has reintroduced a memory she can no longer forget. This means she must make sure she does not think about it. She cannot have time to ponder things she must keep herself busy. Now what does scholarship require? Thinking. This is why she had to push scholarship and analyzing onto Radiant, this is one of the reasons why maskShallan had to run away from the lessons with Jasnah and go to Kolinar, if she has free time then she will have to confront who she is. This is also why when Shallan is at all of the meetings she is constantly drawing rather than taking notes or paying attention. Drawing is one of the things she can do to relax her mind to keep herself busy, she can no longer distract herself with random scholarship like she did in WoR only drawing will work now.

 

Now Veil is complex, not that the others aren’t, but Veil is hard to pin down. We have seen hints of the parts that make up Veil from early in her flashbacks and likely before. Veil is the parts of her that would be not approved of by high society. This includes thieving, verbal jabs, improper jokes and also her painful backstory, maybe even her pain in general As she always says that Veil could deal with it. When you look at it this way you can see that veils tendencies with “the guys” is very similar to the way she acted with her brothers being “witty”. Veil also has Shallans goto method of solving problems, Thieving. When Shallans family was in trouble the solutin she came up with was to steal a soulcaster from Jasnah. Which she succeeded in with flying colors like a natural! She perfectly impersonated wanting to be jasnah ward, because remember this was her goal was to become jasnahs ward. Not to learn and study with Jasnah (But whether Scholarship is natural to Shallan or is something she formed herself to be as a disguise unconsciously to fool jasnah is another topic) she needed to get close to so she could take that soulcaster. Other options never entered serious consideration.

 

Likewise when she was shipwrecked in danger of freezing to death she had to con the slavers into thinking she was worth their resources, that she was very important. Adolin started out as a con as well because she needed the relationship to save her family. So as @PhineasGage @Ailvara discussed in another thread

 

On 12/15/2017 at 9:23 AM, PhineasGage said:

He also doesn't share her love of learning - we see him actively walk away from her when she engages in her own scholarly pursuits for example. I don't think he dislikes her intelligence and curiosity, but he doesn't actually value it particularly - indeed he is pleased that she just doesn't make him feel stupid, despite her being cleverer than him. -PhineasGage

On 12/15/2017 at 10:39 AM, Ailvara said:

That's actually the part of how she crafted a perfect bride for him, isn't it? Not just losing her passion because of general diminishing herself, but possibly subconsciously specifically ripping out a part of her that doesn't go so well with Adolin. Again, he could accept it, but she doesn't give him this chance and when the whole lie falls apart at some point it just can be too much and too late. -Alivara

 

Remember all of this happened or started before Shallan created Veil… or at least the illusion of Veil.

 

The other trait that Veil possesses at this time is child Shallan's desire to rescue others. Shallan in the flashbacks was trying to save her family from themselves by helping them find interests or saving them from debts and so on. Veil in Oathbringer has this…. I don't know when it shifted over to her but it is obviously there during the Kolinar parts as she is giving food to the poor and trying to help the city.




 

I also believe that veil contains some of the True Shallan that we haven’t been introduced to yet and is buried deep in her not wanting to be seen by anybody, EVER! As @SLNC posted in another thread

 

On 12/14/2017 at 3:45 PM, SLNC said:
Quote

Shallan looked into the depths of the swirling void, the dark spinning soul of Re-Shephir, the Midnight Mother. Then, growling, Shallan struck. She didn’t attack like the prim, excitable girl who had been trained by cautious Vorin society. She attacked like the frenzied child who had murdered her mother. The cornered woman who had stabbed Tyn through the chest. She drew upon the part of her that hated the way everyone assumed she was so nice, so sweet. The part of her that hated being described as diverting or clever.

"This isn't personaShallan. personaShallan is the 'prim, excitable girl who had been trained by cautious Vorin society.' ... If this is realShallan, then I would place her closer to Veil... "

 

So who is the real Shallan, The obvious answer is that she is a blend of all 3 of them plus a more scary visceral wild part we don’t know much about. However I do believe as the sleepless wrote

 

Quote

The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief.

 

And at this point I would say Veil contains the most Truth of the three we know.

 

Also thanks to everyone in the Adolin-Shallan-Kaladin thread for the much discussion about this.

Edited by MonsterMetroid
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Good summary of this subject, and I agree with most of what you're saying.

Radiant is obvious: we were in her head when she deliberately created this persona, so we know what she was thinking. It's definitely the stuff that still makes Shallan face her past, specifically her murders. 

There's significant discussion to be had on maskShallan (or fakeShallan, or personaShallan, or whatever you like) and what aspects she has, but I think the basis is Shallan choosing to make herself a desirable Vorin bridge for Adolin. I think we can see the genesis of this when she first meets everyone at the Shattered Plains: she makes a Lightweaving to make herself look good, because all her clothes are trashed. I think this was the first point when we see her deliberately make a mask of herself.

And then there's Veil. There was a post (I think it was @SLNC?) that delved into Veil's genesis and made an argument that it was much older than the others. Specifically, when she confronts Re-Sephir:

Quote

She didn’t attack like the prim, excitable girl who had been trained by cautious Vorin society. She attacked like the frenzied child who had murdered her mother. The cornered woman who had stabbed Tyn through the chest. She drew upon the part of her that hated the way everyone assumed she was so nice, so sweet. The part of her that hated being described as diverting or clever.

So the frenzied child who murdered her mother is the same as the cornered woman who stabbed Tyn through the chest. I'd say it's pretty clear that the "prim, excitable girl" described as "so nice, so sweet" and "diverting or clever" is the maskShallan. Neither is Radiant. I think Veil killed her mother, or the Veil persona got its origin on that night. Veil is the thief, the fighter, the survivalist. But Veil (or this part of Shallan, if it isn't Veil) hates the way maskShallan is thought of and treated.

 

47 minutes ago, MonsterMetroid said:

And at this point I would say Veil contains the most Truth of the three we know.

Yes, I agree, and I think that's because it's the oldest fragment of her personality. I've also assigned that frenzied state to Veil, because it doesn't fit either of the other two. It's possible that was "real" Shallan, but as you said, "real" Shallan would be all three. She would be prim and proper, and witty and diverting, and probably doesn't hate herself for it. But a portion does hate the rest of herself, and that portion is Veil.

Also, I read one of your tags in Pattern's voice.

Edited by Rainier
No Shipping!
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I very much agree. I've been toying with the idea that Shallon or "maskShallon" as you say is something of split personality. This has been brewing in my head, ever since we learned Shallon had Patternblade as a child. The regression, without breaking oaths and killing Pattern, dosnt add up.

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My onlly question is how Manny personalities have we not met yet from Shallan, and/or will they ever become manifest? 

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I think the suggestion at the end of OB is that Shallan will not go backwards and splinter further.

One interesting thing about the real Shallan is from the discussion with Hoid. He shows her two Shallan's, one falling apart and one standing tall, and suggests the standing tall one is the real Shallan.

I think Shallan believes that if she faces what she has done and who she really is she will fall apart, as she did as a child.

Hoid suggests she is stronger than she thinks, and that she can face it as herself and survive.

The toughness of Veil and the strength of Radiant are present in the real Shallan, she just doesn't know it.

I suspect her next truth will be related to her accepting that what happened to her was not her fault.

(Trigger warning for abuse)

.

.. 

..

..

 

Shallan imagines a life where her parents are together and happy, and believes she is at fault.  This is a common reaction for those who are abused.

Her mother tried to kill her. Her Father was an abusive murderer. They are responsible for their own actions, but Shallan blames herself.

She is happy for Adolin to kill Sadeas to protect his Father, she doesn't give herself the same permission.

Once she accepts this, I think we will start to see the real Shallan.

 

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One thing I also wanted to add was that I think mask!Shallan contains a lot of what the non- Veil parts of her want to be like and I personally think that that's very important.

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6 hours ago, Song said:

I think the suggestion at the end of OB is that Shallan will not go backwards and splinter further.

Oh, definitely. That is also why I think, that Wit would tell her, that "she made a step forward, but still has ways to go."

Quote

kari-no-sugata [PENDING REVIEW]

Would Wit basically approve of what she's done?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

He would give her a "that's a step forward, but you're not there yet."

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8699

12 hours ago, MonsterMetroid said:

And at this point I would say Veil contains the most Truth of the three we know.

Good post. Yes, I'd say so too.

Shallan creates Veil as a persona in WoR and tells Pattern, that she added a part of herself to it. I think, that is what has been buried after her mother's death

11 hours ago, Rainier said:

Veil is the thief, the fighter, the survivalist.

But what I would add to that is, that Veil is also a lot more... vivacious than personaShallan. 

Exactly this. Now what is interesting is, that we have a WoK annotation, that says, that Brandon considers the... passionate part of Shallan, that has been buried as more "her."

Quote
Shallan berates the book merchant

The timid nature is a result of the problems in her past (see book two’s flashbacks). I see the moments of flaring passion as being far more “her.”

Shallan’s father has an infamous temper; it’s buried deep within her as well. If she’d been allowed to grow up more naturally, without the oppressive darkness that her family suffered, she would have turned out as a very different person. Still, the person she could become is buried inside her. [...] (Note: I omitted the stuff that could be considered shippy, because that is not what this thread is about.)

https://brandonsanderson.com/annotation-the-way-of-kings-chapter-8/

All in all, I think, that realShallan will be a combination of all of her current personalities, but... she's repressing Veil at the moment and I think(!) in the endgame Veil will be a lot more character-defining, like we've already had glimpsed of that during WoR. She just regressed again.

Edited by SLNC
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But Veil is a false face, a part of her said. You could always abandon her.
She strangled that part of her, smothered it deep. Veil was too real, too vital, to abandon. Shallan would be easier.

 

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3 hours ago, analyticaposteriori said:
  Quote

But Veil is a false face, a part of her said. You could always abandon her.
She strangled that part of her, smothered it deep. Veil was too real, too vital, to abandon. Shallan would be easier.

Nice add! What chapter is this in?

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1 hour ago, MonsterMetroid said:

Nice add! What chapter is this in?

OB 78

The interesting thing is that these thoughts come up when Veil gets exposed as "Swiftspren" - in that context reversing the line of thinking into "abandoning Shallan" doesn't make any sense so this could probably point towards some deeper resentment Veil feels towards maskShallan.

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On 12/15/2017 at 10:04 PM, FanofAges said:

My onlly question is how Manny personalities have we not met yet from Shallan, and/or will they ever become manifest? 

If you boil all this down, there's just 2 personalities left. The 'real' Shallan and the 'alter ego' Veil. 

Mask Shallan is just someone who refuses to accept her past. It's just 'Radiant Shallan' parts that she refuses to acknowledge. As she seeks and speaks more truths, I think mask will diminish and flourish into Radiant. Once she's comfortable with and true to herself Mask becomes Radiant, who is the real Shallan.

Just like Radiant is who she is, Veil is who she wants to be. An alter ego, to say. Just like everyone of us has fantasies on who we want to be, Veil is Shallan's. This can be driven by need (fooling Jasnah and courting Adoiln) or just want (she like freedom offered by Veil). Veil gives her the escape from who she is a princesses and a Radiant.

Edited by TequilaJack
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