Shardcast: The Stormlight Love Triangle


This week on Shardcast we will have a nice, leisurely, not at all contentious podcast... Just kidding, we're talking about the Love Triangle in Stormlight Archive with Shallan, Adolin, and Kaladin. We fully expect to have a lot of discord in the comments! Do note that we are talking about our personal opinions and points of view. We do hard to discuss all aspects of the love triangle, but if you disagree, please tell us why below!

We have a bit of a different crew today: Eric (Chaos), Ian (WeiryWriter), Alyx (FeatherWriter), and joining us for the first time is Matt (Comatose), as well as Shannon (Greywatch). 

This week has our longest Shardcast yet, so enjoy (or hate) it. We discuss depression, romance, and more. You'll get all the theorizing and character analysis here on Shardcast. Also, we wage war against Alyx's expensive mic that buzzes when she talks. 10/10! 

 

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About Adolin being a KR, I do think that him being an Edgedancer makes sense, but I think he fits more as a Stoneward. Resolve, strength, dependability, and stubbornness. I think it does fit quite well with Adolin. And looking at it like this, we already have one Edgedancer, and no Stonewards(excluding Taln). Or, he could be that one guy that isn’t a KR, because I do think we need that kind of character.

 

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So, multiple things...

I agree with the majority of the views in the podcast that Adolin is in a much better place, maturity-wise and emotionally, to provide support and understanding for Shallan as she is learning to integrate her multiple personalities in her psyche, for lack of a better way to put it.  The huge red flag for me was in Shadesmar when Kaladin was like "YES! I could create a whole new Me like you, Shallan, and hide away from all my problems!" and Shallan was cringing and thinking inside "umm....sure....it sucks and it's tearing me apart and I need to fix it" and Kaladin is completely oblivious to this. Shallan opens up a bit with both Kaladin and Adolin over the course of the 3 books and they react in completely different ways to that revelation in their relation to Shallan.    

For whoever said, "Why didn't Radiant choose Adolin at the end?" It's because of who Radiant is.  Radiant likes Adolin but agrees to go along with Veil because "there are definite advantages to two Knights Radiant getting together".  If Veil is the approximate id, the transgressive side of Shallan, Radiant is the superego of Shallan, the part that would be more than ready to submerge her feelings for Adolin for a "better pairing" with Kaladin's new status.

As someone who has watched way too many romantic movies on dates, I agree that Shallan/Kaladin is far and away delving into boring cliche Nicholas Sparks territory, from the girl-boy meet-cute to the I-hate-you now I-can't-stop-thinking-about-you to the forced companionship in the chasms and the inevitable soul barings.  While Sanderson does have a string of arranged marriage successes, like you guys said, Dalinar/Evi and Gavilar/Navani definitely show the other side of what happens with not-so-rosy arranged marriages. And if someone is really anti-arranged marriage, Sebarial/Palona is definitely the Sanderson example that worked out really well.

With all that, I don't think Kaladin/Shallan is necessarily done, either.  Until Shallan truly resolves Veil/Shallan/Radiant, Veil (and really, Shallan deep down) is going to crush on Kaladin, no matter how much she stuffs it into a deep dark hole or whether or not she stays faithful to Adolin.  (I could see a Guinevere/Arthur/Lancelot thing developing later down the road.)  And, to pull an example from Dalinar and Navani's marriage to Gavilar, Kaladin can "give up" on Shallan and accept her relationship with Adolin without the attraction going away, either.

The relationship I really was sad over in Oathbringer was not any part of the Triangle; it was Dalinar/Evi.  I feel like present day-Dalinar and Evi would have been an amazing pair, and all of Evi's advice and nurturing for Dalinar turned out to be spot on. It was just the right relationship at the wrong time for Dalinar, and watching it develop to its abrupt end through the flashbacks in Oathbringer killed me.  I forgive you, at the last, was the bittersweet knife twisting.  Without Evi, Dalinar could never have developed into the man that could become Unity, but Evi never gets to see the payoff at the end (unless you're counting her spirit/ghost).

 

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new ship idea ,  kaladin and ialai :P

#highprince_stormbleshed

 

Edited by manukos
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Good discussion. I particularly enjoyed hearing some new voices: welcome to Matt and Shannon! Your input was great.

Regarding the triangle as a whole, I felt that it was made more palatable because it was not there for its own sake. Yes, the relationships are important, but in my view the primary narrative purpose of the triangle was to highlight Shallan's fracturing psyche and to provide her personas the opportunity to conflict with each other. Since I LOVED Shallan's mental journey, having the triangle work in support of that made it a useful tool rather than a set of occasionally cringey interactions.

I wanted to mention one major point in Adolin's favor. You brought up Shallan's aversion to being protected (which is kind of Kaladin's whole purpose in life, so there's another reason their pairing wouldn't go well). She has lived a very circumscribed life and is just now experiencing independence.  She reacts badly to the renewed constraints of her wardship, and she seeks in each of her personas to avoid any hint of impotence. She needs to be capable. 

That's why Adolin's confession about Sadeas is so perfect. Shallan opens up a little about her insecurities, and rather than telling her what to do or how to fix it, he responds by saying, "Yeah, I know what it's like to lie to everybody. I have no idea how to deal with it. When you figure it out, please help me." That trust in her ability, the assumption that she'll figure it out before he does, and the invitation for her to be a strength to someone else is exactly the validation and empowerment that she is able to accept.

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Good discussion!

I feel Kaladin and Shallan have a more primal, basic attraction in that Shallan reminds Kaladin of his mother. His mother is very witty and throws his words back at him. 

Kaladin reminds Shallan of her father: dark and brooding, but Kaladin is able to contain his anger which Shallan admires. 

That said they are both such a mess psychologically at this point they would be a disaster. 

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Sorry Guys, I had to turn you off this week. Just. So. Wrong. I disagreed with almost everything you said. I couldn't listen. 

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3 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

Sorry Guys, I had to turn you off this week. Just. So. Wrong. I disagreed with almost everything you said. I couldn't listen. 

I'm curious as to why you think that. I do think we analyzed things in depth and gave things a fair shake.

I thought my comments on depression were pretty relevant, for one. 

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Extesian

Posted (edited)

I found that way more interesting than i thought! Turns out that even for someone uninterested in the romance, there can be some great character analysis when the triangle is discussed in a calm, mature, non-circular way. You guys made the least appealing aspect of SA worth listening to. Something I am unable to read about on the forums due to the aggression. So thank you.

and yeah more matt please

Edited by Extesian
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7 hours ago, Chaos said:

I'm curious as to why you think that. I do think we analyzed things in depth and gave things a fair shake.

I thought my comments on depression were pretty relevant, for one. 

I think I dropped off before that. I just disagreed and with no one arguing my point of view I decided to move on. I was more dramatic in the first post than I actually felt. It was three people on one side, and the other two leaning that way. 

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29 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

I think I dropped off before that. I just disagreed and with no one arguing my point of view I decided to move on. I was more dramatic in the first post than I actually felt. It was three people on one side, and the other two leaning that way. 

I understand. These were our opinions and I know we can't please everyone but if you listen on we go in depth on all sides of the triangle.

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1 hour ago, thejopen27 said:

I think I dropped off before that. I just disagreed and with no one arguing my point of view I decided to move on. I was more dramatic in the first post than I actually felt. It was three people on one side, and the other two leaning that way. 

I would definitely suggest going further if you stopped when they all said their opinions. I completely understand why that would make you not want to listen, but I thought they did a good job of calmly analyzing the situation. They couldn't be completely unbiased, obviously, but the definitely tried to look at it from both sides. I thought they had some really good insight. I found @Chaos's insight to Kaladin particularly interesting to listen to. 

Besides, if you disagree with a point they made, you can come down here and explain your reasoning for why you disagree. Or if you continue to find it too hard to listen to, you can still stop. 

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The heart of the passion around this topic is explained by the position in the plot of these relationships. What does it matter if he gets with she? Which he? Why she? If they get together or not, the plot of the apocalypse doesn't really change.

Therefore, the choice of what happens reveals the biases and desires of the author. What is happening? What is Brandon trying to accomplish in this? It's not really deep love with another main character. Their purpose in the story is to be Radiants, not lovers. It's a Radiant story, not a love story.

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What I learned is just how incorrectly I was pronouncing the characters names. I like Shallan/Adolin and I love the bromance. I like the idea of Kaladin and Shallan becoming friends. She has to get over all the nasty comments she makes to him however. I suspect that is her feelings about him killing Heloran.

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I thought it was a good episode. I do think everyone is very quickly jumping onto the "Shallan has Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder" boat. If she truly had DID/MPD she wouldn't be aware of her other personalities. There are other diagnoses that more accurately fit her. I should probably write a post on this...

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8 minutes ago, Melovespie said:

I thought it was a good episode. I do think everyone is very quickly jumping onto the "Shallan has Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder" boat. If she truly had DID/MPD she wouldn't be aware of her other personalities. There are other diagnoses that more accurately fit her. I should probably write a post on this...

I would be very interested to read such a post, please do.

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5 hours ago, Melovespie said:

I thought it was a good episode. I do think everyone is very quickly jumping onto the "Shallan has Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder" boat. If she truly had DID/MPD she wouldn't be aware of her other personalities. There are other diagnoses that more accurately fit her. I should probably write a post on this...

I have been thinking exactly the same thing! What Shallan has sounds more like an extreme coping mechanism - like a stage actor "getting lost" in a role to deal with things they can't deal with in real life. Everyone does this to some extent, and it's not unhealthy - remember the song "Whenever I Feel Afraid" from The King and I, or the business saying, "Fake it till you make it." Sometimes we act confident, then confidence springs up within us because we've made a space for it. Shallan's behavior is much more extreme, but IMO it's along these lines, not MPD. (I really hope Brandon didn't think he was writing about MPD; he's usually better informed than that about things that are way more obscure ... re: the map of Roshar, cymatics, etc.)

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17 hours ago, Melovespie said:

I thought it was a good episode. I do think everyone is very quickly jumping onto the "Shallan has Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder" boat. If she truly had DID/MPD she wouldn't be aware of her other personalities. There are other diagnoses that more accurately fit her. I should probably write a post on this...

The diagnosis I've seen mentioned the most is OSDD (Other Specified Dissociative Disorder) specifically because one of the subtypes of the disorder is characterized by lack of dissociative amnesia between the alters.  I'm not a psychiatrist/psychologist myself so not qualified to diagnose, but I know a lot of people with a psychology background have weighed in (including some posters who have suffered from this particular subtype of OSDD - I believe it's 300.15(1)(b) in the DSM-V) so I think it would be an interesting discussion (especially if segregated from the love triangle implications of Shallan's personality issues.)

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32 minutes ago, Dreamstorm said:

The diagnosis I've seen mentioned the most is OSDD (Other Specified Dissociative Disorder) specifically because one of the subtypes of the disorder is characterized by lack of dissociative amnesia between the alters.  I'm not a psychiatrist/psychologist myself so not qualified to diagnose, but I know a lot of people with a psychology background have weighed in (including some posters who have suffered from this particular subtype of OSDD - I believe it's 300.15(1)(b) in the DSM-V) so I think it would be an interesting discussion (especially if segregated from the love triangle implications of Shallan's personality issues.)

That makes more sense. Where has that been brought up? Is there a diagnosing Shallan thread somewhere? 

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5 minutes ago, Melovespie said:

That makes more sense. Where has that been brought up? Is there a diagnosing Shallan thread somewhere? 

Mostly in threads either loving or hating Shallan (there's been a few of those as she's very divisive) or in the love triangle thread, but to my knowledge there hasn't been a thread solely focused on her diagnosis.  I think it'd be a good topic on its own though!

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Perhaps a better approach would have been to actually include someone who had, I don't know, a differing viewpoint and take on the triangle than those involved in the making of this cast? Upon listening, my conclusion to what I heard was that there were several people who came into this podcast with an already agreed upon conclusion, and they collectively tried to guess or anticipate what the opposing side's argument would be, and collectively worked to refute an argument none of them actively subscribed to in the first place. If you can't escape your bias when going into a discussion on a topic, the solution isn't to wave your hand and say "well there's nothing we can do about that, so bear with us". The solution is to introduce people with the opposite bias and opinion to the discussion, so that they may argue their own viewpoint. 

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great content and discussion going on here. But I do find the sincerity around your attempt to be "fair and balanced" suspect when you don't have anyone speaking for the opposing viewpoint represented.

Edited by DeployParachute
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5 hours ago, DeployParachute said:

Perhaps a better approach would have been to actually include someone who had, I don't know, a differing viewpoint and take on the triangle than those involved in the making of this cast? Upon listening, my conclusion to what I heard was that there were several people who came into this podcast with an already agreed upon conclusion, and they collectively tried to guess or anticipate what the opposing side's argument would be, and collectively worked to refute an argument none of them actively subscribed to in the first place. If you can't escape your bias when going into a discussion on a topic, the solution isn't to wave your hand and say "well there's nothing we can do about that, so bear with us". The solution is to introduce people with the opposite bias and opinion to the discussion, so that they may argue their own viewpoint. 

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of great content and discussion going on here. But I do find the sincerity around your attempt to be "fair and balanced" suspect when you don't have anyone speaking for the opposing viewpoint represented.

I see your point, for sure. We didn't really have someone to truly represent that side who had sufficient microphone quality and a schedule that allowed. I'd prefer this podcast to exist than infinitely delay it to find the correct person, who would also have a good rapport with us. It certainly would've been easier if one of our staff had that point of view! I do see your point, but there are production considerations. Inviting a random forumgoer might not work well as they may not have the rapport, speaking skills, microphone to be a good guest. 

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3 hours ago, Chaos said:

I see your point, for sure. We didn't really have someone to truly represent that side who had sufficient microphone quality and a schedule that allowed. I'd prefer this podcast to exist than infinitely delay it to find the correct person, who would also have a good rapport with us. It certainly would've been easier if one of our staff had that point of view! I do see your point, but there are production considerations. Inviting a random forumgoer might not work well as they may not have the rapport, speaking skills, microphone to be a good guest. 

Yes. Absolutely, that would be a challenge. You don't want a podcast to devolve into something ugly because you had to seek out someone who you couldn't "vet" appropriately before hand. It's certainly not an easy solution to do in a timely fashion, and I get that. 

At least from my end, your efforts to give the Shalladin arguments a fair shake are appreciated. However regardless of good intentions, arguments made for a viewpoint you don't share will usually fall short (something I always struggled with when required in debate to take such viewpoints counter to my own beliefs). 

Hopefully I'll find some time in the near future to give it another listen, take notes, and come up with points I can concede and others to rebut. 

Otherwise, well produced podcast, thanks for getting it out there, and thanks for putting up with us over in the "thread that won't die" (you know the one :P)

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jamskinner

Posted (edited)

This is not meant to be offensive but do people realize how much they use the word 'like' nowadays?  It gets kind of distracting. 

Edited by jamskinner
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6 hours ago, jamskinner said:

This is not meant to be offensive but do people realize how much they use the word 'like' nowadays?  It gets kind of distracting. 

This has been noted and I've told the relevant people to watch it. I noticed this in post production.

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