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Stormlight Archive: The Regency Romance

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance
PART THIRTY FIVE

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

 

 

‘The second barge containing orders seventy-three through seventy-eight arrived and were successfully installed in the Oostbrug mill by the Corps of Engineers,’” Shallan read.  “‘The installation of mechanicals in the refurbished mill include a steam forge and stamping press, hydraulic pump, sawmill, and gristmill.  Estimates of production capacity are based on forecasted stream velocity and discharge – see Appendix Seventeen-Point-Three – and are expected to be within–’” she paused.  “You know, I will just summarise it from here.”

 

“Please do,” said Adolin with a chuckle.  “I am glad you are here, or I would have had to go through all that myself.”

 

“Renarin thinks in such a logical fashion that he expects everyone should be able to see the logic in it too, and understand it straight away,” Shallan said.  “Everyone thinks he is eccentric, but I expect in his mind we are the completely irrational ones.  Nevertheless, what it means is that he is trying to establish the camp in the model of a self-sufficient village, so we don’t bleed gold and ruin the local economies.  Or have margins reliant on the timely arrival of each supply barge.

 

“With the mill and industries, we can train the soldiers during the off-season, to ensure their future livelihoods and produce goods and services to trade for raw goods – food, lumber, fibre – with the surrounding villages.  We don’t observe any guild charter regulations, so farmers will be coming to us to grind their grain and process their lumber, because we will take a smaller cut from the top – we can afford to; our labour is the cheapest when most of it is done by the mill engine.”

 

“We try to earn local goodwill – but we will still commandeer their seed stock?” Adolin inquired, a frown tugging at his mouth. 

 

“It will make the locals dependent on us.  We will be the only merchants in the area with manufactured goods in surplus, and we will happily take Anglethi sovereigns in payment.”  Shallan turned a page in the ledger.  “When the soldiers leave with the Regiment, the villagers will be grateful to take on the work.  This scheme cannot fail – you must trust Renarin on this.”

 

“I trust him, and I trust that it will work.  It just doesn’t feel quite – right.”

 

“What are our alternatives?”

 

Adolin took a moment to silently untangle one particularly difficult knot in her hair – Shallan realised that she hadn’t been as fastidious about maintaining her appearance lately, not when she could only bathe quickly at night in the communal baths, when everyone had settled into their barracks or else risen for the night watch. She was also forced to share a small shaving mirror with the junior officers whose camp cots were separated from hers by a makeshift curtain.

 

“I cannot think of any,” he said finally.  “It is hard to decide what is wrong or right when it comes to war.”

 

“You would end up questioning whether war is wrong or right,” Shallan said, firmly.  “And that doesn’t help at all.  It is better to think in terms of victory and defeat.”

 

“I whole-heartedly prefer victory.”

 

“So would I,” she said.  “On the day the terms of surrender are agreed upon, we should find an Ardent, and get the licence–”

“I have one already.”

 

Shallan shut her eyes.  “Does the chaplain know?”

 

“I left it blank.  No-one knows you are here.”

“Good.”  She breathed a sigh of relief.  The consequences of being found out involved being tossed into the court martial’s cage – she would never meet punishment, not when she had the influence of a Duke and Lieutenant Colonel to soften the blow, or turn it aside altogether.  But she would be dismissed, and stripped of rank, and sent back to Anglekar on the next barge, in disgrace.  She knew that the Ardentry was not to be trusted – not when they had been so easily infiltrated in the past.

 

“Shallan,” Adolin began, sounding hesitant – and concerned.  “If I am severely wounded–” the brush in his hand gave one last pass through hair that was now a smooth fall of silk; he set it aside.  “–Beyond any hope of recovery.  Or if you find yourself – increasing – you must take the licence, and seek the chaplain.  Please, Shallan – promise me this.”

 

Shallan closed the ledger and leaned back, and Adolin pulled her into his lap, and buried his face in her hair, and his arms twined around her and held her warm and close.  When she was like this, in his company, she could shut her eyes, and it was laughably simple to imagine that they were still at Kholinar Court, watching the sunlight slowly wandering across the windows and through the canopy curtains, shifting from the bright yellow-white of noon to the deep oranges and dusky purples of sunset.  But now they were sitting on a folding camp cot in a one-room cottage in the dripping rain, and soon, she would be sleeping alone in her own camp cot.  And in a month or two, she would be attempting to sleep – for the near-constant barrage of artillery and musketry through the entirety of the night could not be conducive to pleasant dreams.

 

“You know that is something I do not want – not like that.”

 

“But I want it, Shallan,” said Adolin softly.  He was not pleading; he did not plead.  But there was longing in him all the same, and it tore at her as she recognised it, and saw it reflected as a tiny and carefully ignored spark in herself.  “I promised once that you could have all the time you needed – to decide.  It is only a piece of paper to you, but to me – it is a regret.  And I do not want to live with regret.”

 

“No-one should die with regret either,” Shallan said, feeling something blurring her vision, until her eyes swum with a liquid haze, as if she were viewing the world through the bottom of a bathtub.  His arms around her tightened, and the breath of his exhalation whispered through the loose strands of hair tucked behind her ear.  “Very well,” she conceded.  “If it comes to that, then I will do it.”

 

“I find it very strange that upon our first introduction, I thought that I had no use for a wife, and you – well, you seemed perfectly eager to secure a husband,” Adolin said.  He shifted her in his arms, and drew her backward until they lay together on the narrow, creaking cot, his chest to her back, and her head tucked under his chin.

 

“You needn’t remind me – I remember it perfectly,” Shallan mumbled into the pillow.  “I – I wasn’t myself then.  Not truly.  I was just … very lonely, without knowing that I was.”

 

“I think I was just as lonely – and I didn’t want to know it.  How things have changed.”  His hand crept over her waist and clasped her hand in his own.  He had large fingers, rough with callous on the palm, and they scraped over the smooth freckled skin on the back of her hand.  “And now I have Shallan, who wears trousers, my Shallan who can prime and fire in twenty seconds.”

 

Shallan laughed, and pressed herself against him.  “The local laundresses and tavern girls say Lieutenant McRavad is the prettiest officer in camp.”

 

“I agree with that – you are the camp’s prettiest officer.”

 

“It used to be you, you know,” she said, with a snort.  “Somehow you became less pretty when word got out that you were affianced.”  Her feet rubbed against his leather boots.  “I don’t think that discourages the greedy ones, though.”

 

“They will just have to be discouraged, then.”  His hand slipped in under the edge of the dressing robe, and stroked against her bare leg.  It swept upwards, rough skin to smooth – and then it stopped.  “Shallan,” said Adolin, unexpectedly hoarse, “you haven’t your smallclothes.”

 

“If I knew you had prepared a bath for me, I would have brought clean things to change into.”  She smiled to herself.  “If it bothers you, I will borrow a pair of yours; I’m sure you won’t mind–”

 

“It’s not necessary,” he said in a low voice.  His hand went to her waist and undid the tasselled tie of the robe, and flung it open.  “I do not mind – not at all.”  For a few seconds he laid his hand flat against her stomach, and then it dipped lower, and then even lower.

 

Shallan closed her eyes, and sighed, and Adolin fluttered kisses at the back of her neck and whispered things to her that made her blush, when she thought she was long past blushing; if she at any point in her life could be named the innocent maiden, she was certain the window of applicability for that particular description had long since been and gone, and she did not miss it, not when she had this wonderful man who could–

 

“Hmmmm,” said Shallan.

 

“I like it better when you say my name,” Adolin murmured, his lips at the shell of her ear.  He nibbled at her earlobe.  “Or better yet, that one time when you said that you l–”

 

“You misheard me,” she grumbled, squirming in his grasp, feeling frustration in the form of an itch that prickled at her skin and drew it as tense as a drumhead.  He held her close, and his hand returned, and she panted and sighed in his embrace, until finally she rested against him, limp and trembling, and her hair stuck to her forehead and her cheeks and lay strewn over his pillow.

 

Men could be trained.  And there were plenty of things to do between this and that, and she found that she liked most of them, and Adolin liked them too, and liked them all the more if she professed herself partial to any one or the other.  It had been unpleasant at first, admittedly, and desperately close to awkwardness – she could not call it humiliating, but she had not thought it enjoyable, and upon that moment realised why many saw it as a tiresome contractual obligation, and acceded to the keeping of kept women, so long as it was managed discretely.

 

It had brought her to tears – not joyous ones – and the next day Adolin could not bear to look her in the eye, and for three days after that, he had been afraid to even touch her, lest he hurt her even more.  She had spoken to Kaladin, who rolled his eyes and told her that her hastiness had a nasty habit of landing her in undignified situations; he had walked away afterwards as if his explanation was at all helpful.  And she had spoken to her maid, who was much more sympathetic about these things, and knowledgeable besides.  To her satisfaction, she had discovered there were many thises that she liked before one proceeded to that – and the more thising one did, the less distressing became that.

 

The rope frame of the camp cot creaked as Adolin rolled away, and she heard him kick off his boots, and the rustle as he divested himself of his waistcoat and neckcloth, then shirt and trousers; he folded them neatly and put them away.  She heard the lid of his travelling chest open and close.  The bed creaked again when he returned, and he fell in beside her, and pulled the blanket over the both of them.  She tore the dressing robe off and it fell to the floor, and then she rolled around and nestled her head against his bare chest.

 

She knew it bothered Adolin, and more so in the beginning, that they had – they were – engaging in activities more suitable for those married rather than those merely engaged.  It was intimacy of the first order, and in this they had become truly intimate; they shared a closeness that was closer than many married couples had with one another, especially within the ranks of nobility: those who had married for the advantage of a smart match when they could not be spared the happiness of a love match.  If he considered a formal arrangement preferable, she did not consider it necessary; the business with Loch Davar had long since been resolved as part of Adolin’s dower settlement.  She held his trust, and his support, and his – his heart.  She had them without a paper saying they were hers – as if a paper could give her these things – and they were more solid, more substantial, than any paper could ever be.

 

They lay under the woollen blanket afterwards, and although it was uncomfortably hot, each was too content in the other’s company to make much of an effort to repair the issue.  Adolin curled an arm around her waist, nuzzling at the back of her neck; his warm breath and inquisitive mouth stirred the strands of her hair that stubbornly clung to her shoulders and his cheek.  It was always pleasant, when she could hear his heart beating, and there was nothing between them to muffle the sound but skin and bone; she could count them to ten, and then ten again, and each time she counted it took a little bit longer, until Adolin said her name in a soft and sleepy voice, and other things that were soft and warm and capable of filling the ragged cratered scars of her marked spirit.  And every time he said such things, they ached a little bit less – because he believed in them, truly, and that granted her the confidence to believe that they were true.

 

Later, one of the lamps dimmed, and flickered out, as the oil reservoir ran dry.  Shallan became aware of the passed time, and she sighed, and reluctantly slid out from beneath Adolin’s arm and his blanket.  She swung her legs off the edge of the camp cot.

 

“Don’t go,” Adolin groaned, pushing himself up to a reclining position.  “I wish you’d stay the night.”

 

“Husbands and wives don’t sleep in the same room,” said Shallan, digging through Adolin’s basket of folded laundry until she found a clean pair of drawers.  She pulled them on, tied the waist-string, and found her socks, and then her bodice.  “Not if they’re civilised.”

 

“But we’re not husband and wife.”

 

“Then Sergeant Ilamar will suspect we’re illicit lovers.”

 

“Sergeant Ilamar,” muttered Adolin, rolling off the bed; he helped her lace up the hooks on her bodice.  “He will no doubt warn me that you are a trying to influence me – to win your step, or something of the sort.  He means well, I know it, but he can be very stubborn.”

 

“To be fair, I went from being an unknown to your adjutant,” Shallan said, breathing shallowly as Adolin got to the top row of hooks and pulled them in as far as they would go.  “They say Lieutenant Colonel Kholin is partial to redheads.”

 

“Do they?”

 

“Well, only the laundresses do,” Shallan admitted.  She buttoned up her shirt, straightened the starched collar points over her silver chain, and let Adolin tie her neckcloth with the deftness of familiarity.  “I’ve been hinting that the future Duchess Kholinar is a cousin of mine, and so far people can readily believe it if it turns out to be purely nepotism.”

 

She put on her waistcoat, and then tugged on her trousers and her heavy riding boots, and finally gathered her hair into a gentleman’s tail and tied a ribbon around it.  The frock coat in regimental blue went on last.

 

Adolin handed her the courier’s satchel.  “Will I see you again this week?”

 

“Renarin and I are for Ostend – to secure futures contracts for the coming campaign.  We leave in two days,” she said.  “Then we are to meet with your uncle the Graf von Iriale.  Renarin speaks the language – we have hopes to borrow a few thousand men, or at least manage another supply line.”  She slung the satchel over her shoulder.  “You know how it is – the Supply Corps does all the work now, and your Infantry does the work later, and then the Medical Corps has to clean up after.”

 

“Ah, you’ve discovered the old service rivalries.  We’ll make a real soldier of you yet, Lieutenant,” said Adolin, and he smiled, and brought his arms around her in a close embrace, pressing his lips to her forehead.

 

He wore the dressing robe she had earlier discarded, and Shallan had on her Lieutenant’s uniform once more – it was an amusing reversal of their previous state of dress and undress.  And because she was curious, she slipped her hands beneath the edges of the robe and what she found made her giggle.

 

“No smallclothes, Lieutenant Colonel?”

 

“You took mine!”

 

“I did not say that I mind,” she replied, with a smile.

 

Then Adolin bent his head over hers and his mouth sought her mouth with a fierce hunger that had only barely been placated: it knew what it wanted, and now it found itself wanting; it was acquainted with the knowledge that such desires could be infectious, and had potential for reciprocation.  Shallan raked her hands through his yellow-and-black hair; if it had been messy before, it was even messier now, but Adolin didn’t care.  His hands slid down to either side of her hips, and through her trousers she could feel the grip of his fingers.  She knew what he hungered for, for she hungered for the very same thing, and it was sorely tempting.  But she couldn’t stay, and with a disappointed sigh, she pulled away.

 

“Good-night,” she said, and rearranged the drape of her neckcloth.  “Or ‘slaap lekker’, since I really ought to be practising more.”

 

“Good-night, Shallan,” he returned.  “I will see you upon your return, and I shall look forward to it.”  And then he leaned forward and brushed her cheek with a light peck, and said in the softest of whispers: “I love you.”

 

She opened the door, and in gusted sprinkling droplets of rain; they scattered over the rush mat and the floorboards and the wax-polished toes of her riding boots.  She stepped out into the night, and the wind stole away the warmth of her body, but it could not touch the warmth that smouldered within her.  She did not say good-bye, nor did she think it.  It was something she and Adolin didn’t say to one another; they hadn’t spoken of the matter directly, but to her, the words would have been painful to say aloud – it would have been too final a conclusion – and she imagined that the feeling was mutual.

 

Sergeant Ilamar glanced at her with a wary eye when the door closed behind her, and she passed him in his rounds.  He, apparently, could not find any evidence of wrongdoing or ungentlemanly conduct; Shallan had made quite sure that her appearance complied with the strict standards of the Regiment and the Codes of War.  Reluctantly, he brought his fist to his breast to acknowledge her as a superior officer with priority – although she was of a different service than he, Lieutenant McRavad had the post of staff adjutant.  Shallan returned his salute promptly, and descended the water-slicked steps to the path, and then out from the circle of lamplight of the command quarters.

 

It would have been sensible to return to her own barracks – to the room with a shared stove that the junior officers took turns feeding in the middle of the night.  It was an oblong box of a place built by the Corps of Engineers to be temporary and efficient, and in that it was adequate; a designation of “sufficient” was considered high praise to the Engineers, whose tendencies leaned towards asceticism as often as it did for the officers in service of the Supply Corps.

 

She did not return to the barracks.

 

Her feet followed the path automatically, as they had done every grey lamp-lit dawn, until she stood at the door of the Supply Corps office.  She drew the key from her satchel, and stepped inside, and climbed the dim stairwell with only one small flickering night lamp to shed light on the steps ascending to the second storey, until she reached the simple open-plan room furnished with rows of plain but functional wooden desks, amid towering bookcases and ranks of filing cabinets. 

 

Shallan opened her desk drawer and with her clockwork firestarter, lit the chimney lamp; she placed the three ledgers from her satchel on top of the blotter, next to her desk diary.

 

She heard creaking footsteps emanating from the office in the back.

 

The pistol from the bottommost drawer was in her hand within seconds.  She forced a paper-wrapped cartridge down the pistol’s barrel; it was a tight fit with the larger size of lead shot that she used.  Shallan had only one shot and she aimed to make it count, with a man-stopper of a bullet that dispensed with the necessity of carrying an officers’ sidesword – one shot would be enough when it broke bones and punched a hole in a man’s ribs that could accommodate a clenched fist.  Of course, she had only ever done it with the hanging carcass of a hog.  Most soldiers relied on muskets in volley fire to incapacitate an enemy – a pistol was only useful in short range or indoors, for personal protection.  Nevertheless, it was perfectly appropriate now.

 

The office at the end of the room had its own locked door, and contained the more sensitive files pertaining to the Regiment’s financial situation.  It was Renarin’s office, and like most sensible people, the Major would be in his own room at this time of night.  But she was not a sensible person, and neither, it seemed, was this intruder.

 

She stepped carefully around the desks, sliding her feet over the joints in the planked floor that had loosened from continuous traffic in the daytime.  When she reached the end of the room, the yellow illumination of a night lamp glowed from between the gap of door and floor.  She gripped the handle – it was unlocked; it did not look like it had been forced – and then she heaved the door open – and pointed the barrel of the pistol at this guest who for some reason had midnight business with the Supply Corps.

 

“Good evening, Lieutenant,” said Doctor Kaladin, his back presented to the door.  His hands were busy sliding open the narrow rectangular drawers of Renarin’s scroll cabinet.  The scrolls were heavy hand-pressed rag paper or vellum, sealed with ribbons and medallions of wax: it signified that these formal documents were expensive and important.  Most were large contracts with various factors, or notes of ownership for goods that lay in foreign warehouses or had yet to be produced – a tenth of next spring’s wheat production from the local farming communities, or oakum that was still only pine tar somewhere in a Sverickan cellar.

 

Shallan lowered the gun.  “He has signed the requisition, you know.”

 

“He could never say no to you.”

 

“You make it sound like a bad thing.”

 

“Restraint and moderation are good things.  Their deficiency – if it is not a bad thing, it is not far from it,” said Kaladin.  Then he sniffed.  “You smell like his soap.  It would do you good to understand the meaning of moderation, too.”

 

“Some say cleanliness is next to godliness.  And some also say you are deficient in both,” Shallan snapped.  “Why are you here?  If you disagree with orders, this should be the last place to make your complaint.”

 

Kaladin slid the scroll drawers closed, and turned to face her.  “I felt that the orders were in need of a small postscript.”

 

His hand slipped inside his coat and drew out a battered leather document wallet.  He unfolded it on Renarin’s vacant desk and brought out a half sheet, which he placed flat on the desk blotter.  Shallan scanned the first lines and skipped to the circled numbers at the bottom. 

 

“A five-fold increase for imports of citrus syrup,” she muttered, reading, “Ground shell and bone meal … seven hundred spheres sterling.”  She looked up.  “We already order these things, enough for everyone in camp.  This is three years’ worth at once.  These – aren’t for the soldiers, are they?”  Kaladin was silent.  Shallan continued.  “Adolin would have approved this.”  For a moment, she paused, turning over the information in her mind.  “Renarin wouldn’t have noticed.”

 

The Kholins: not only were they capable and competent, but they were honourable – or as honourable as one could be when they lived their lives according to a rulebook written in the times when cannon horses carried armoured knights into battle, and every stately home welcomed troubadours.  They were also, if succinctly described, mentally direct.  They set themselves a goal, and then they would be single-minded in its achievement.   Renarin’s task was ensuring the men under his brother’s command could have dinner every evening, clean socks if they wanted them, and when they faced danger on the battlefield, they would never be in danger of running out of powder or shot.  That was his task; anything else would have been extraneous in his mind. 

 

And that lack of – of warmth, Shallan realised, was the reason that the servants of Kholinar Court did not want the Marquess Kholinshire as their next Duke.  Renarin tried to be warm, when he remembered, or perceived it to be a relevant emotion to display in conversation.  But it did not come naturally, in Adolin’s careless easy manner: he was by nature reserved and any attempt to the otherwise would have seemed false, or else contrived.  Renarin, to his credit, was direct as he was competent – sometimes unsettlingly so – and he was commendably efficient.  But she could not think him empathetic – at least not for the faceless thronging Flemish villagers.  He was not one likely to be generous when sufficient would do.  Once he found the mark with his usual precision, he had little reason to exceed it – and gratitude was not what his tidy and rational mind would consider fair payment.

 

“Ensuring local good-will is just as important as ensuring that there will still be locals a year from now,” said Kaladin.

 

“The spirit of charitability makes its appearance in our all-loving doctor,” Shallan said, taking up the paper.  “Are you finished here?” 

 

Shallan did not wait for an answer.  She spun around on her heel with a brisk air of martial decisiveness, and returned to her own desk.  It was the only desk with a lit lamp; the rest of the office was shrouded in darkness.  The sole square window on the wall was shuttered for the night; there were few windows when the constant damp mildewed papers that weren’t kept locked away with troughs of powdered chalk.  Behind her, she heard drawers shutting, papers rustling, and the sound of metallic clicks from the lock on the door.  She ignored them, and tucked the half sheet addendum into the receipt ledger – the one Adolin had signed off earlier.  The functionaries who processed the orders of payment would accept it as official when she presented the books in the morning.

 

“You should not be so dismissive of the locals, Lieutenant.”  Kaladin’s voice suggested he was being dismissive of her.

 

“I find their language tiresome.”  She slipped her hand into the desk drawer and felt around for her book.  “Chapter Three: on the distinction between het and de’,” she read aloud.  She reached into the drawer once more, and set a bottle of whisky on the desk.  “‘Het fles’, but also ‘de flesje’.  Their language – sometimes I feel like I should understand it, when I see the words written down and can discern their meaning, but when it is spoken, it is – beyond strange.  Do you want some?”

 

She unstoppered the bottle, took a small sip, and winced.  It was whisky infused with ridgebark – and it made studying late at night tolerable, when she was off-duty and had licence to indulge – when there was no-one to quote the Codes of War at her – and when wine, her drink of choice, was nowhere to be had.  Kaladin took the bottle, and tipped it back for a mouthful.  He did not grimace at the taste of ridgebark, and pushed the bottle back over the desk to her

 

Het.  De.  Het.  De.  Het is feest,” she said.  “Een eenmansfeest – is het ergste soort feest.”  Then she took another sip. 

 

“You find it so tiresome, but here you are with ridgebark and a book,” Kaladin remarked.

 

“Many of us find ourselves doing things that need doing, whether or not we like it.”

 

“Indeed.  I find it commendable to see you so studious.”  He paused, and his voice was more careful.  “It may prove useful.”

 

“Of course it will be – why else would I bother?”  She hesitated, as his dark brows drew together in thought.  “You think a friendly relationship with the locals will prove valuable.”

 

“Yes,” he said, and seated himself on the desk opposite her, within her little circle of lamplight.  “If this war goes badly, they may be of help to us.”

 

“Ever the optimist, Doctor.”

 

“Foresight can be remarkably useful sometimes.  No, if the Regiment – breaks – and we must make an escape, the best course of action from here is to go overland to Vlissingen, and seek a ship for Kharbranth.”

 

“Kharbranth, of all places?”

 

“The Channel blockade makes things difficult.  It is better – and safer – to be Duchess-in-exile in neutral Kharbranth, until there is a negotiation for truce.”

 

Shallan stretched out a hand; Kaladin quickly slid the bottle out of reach.  “And what of my Duke?  I don’t want to be Duchess, let alone in exile, in Kharbranth!”

 

“Shallan,” said Kaladin, “if the war goes badly for us here, it will go badly for Anglekar, and any son of yours will be fifth in the succession, after Renarin.”

 

“I don’t want to be regent-in-exile either,” Shallan said bitterly, flipping through pages in her book with no real interest.  “I only want my family.”

 

“Then go back to Scotland.”  Kaladin’s voice was sharp.  “Stop playing with Adolin.  Marry him or don’t marry him – I do not care – just decide if you want him, or go back to your own family.”

 

Shallan closed her eyes.  “My family is here.”

 

“Then make it official.”

 

“I – I can’t.  Not now.  Not yet.”

 

“So you don’t–”

 

“The day his heart stops beating is the day mine is torn through.”

 

He was silent.  Then he spoke, slowly, carefully.  “All wounds heal with time.  Even those wounds.”

 

“You have said in the past that I could find my peace, and I did.  I found it, and I found forgiveness, and strength,” said Shallan.  “To be wounded like that, when I have known how it feels to be whole – I would seek mercy.”

 

Kaladin’s lips flattened in disapproval.  “If that is meant to be a joke, I do not find it amusing.  Nor would I support you in such an endeavour.”

 

“No.  I did not think you would.”  Shallan’s fingers idly folded over a corner of her textbook page.  “I have a plan.  Adolin, I know,” she said, “has an impulsive streak that would not allow him to abandon his men, even for a lost cause.  I imagine he would rather go out facing the guns and cannons of the field than quietly surrender or submit to the guillotine.   Heroic, no doubt, but I still find it objectionable.”

 

“I expect someone has told you about his stubbornness in Ireland.”

 

“He would not be here if not for you.”  Shallan bit her lip, feeling pride stick to her throat.  “He – we both of us – owe you a great debt and it is not something easily repaid.”

“I do not ask for payment,” Kaladin replied, folding his arms.

 

“That is why I dare to ask a favour,” said Shallan.  Pieces were falling into place.  Where they didn’t fit precisely, she took a sharp knife and trimmed them so they did.  “If we are on the verge of a defeat – and if he tries to do something like that again, he must be stopped.  With ether, if necessary.  I can calculate his progressionals – if you administer the rag.  Then I will find us passage in Vlissingen, and we will go to Kharbranth.  Together.”

 

“We would betray his trust, and he would betray the Codes, and the men he commands,” Kaladin pointed out.  “And the King of Kharbranth does not recognise the sovereignty of foreign titles.” 
 

“It is better than the alternative.  He might be angry – but when we take choice away from him, the responsibility falls to us – to me.  And I do not care,” said Shallan.  “I am selfish, and I do not care about that either.”  Her hand went to her throat, and she felt the silk of the blue neckcloth that Adolin had tied for her.  “Wealth speaks a language anyone can understand.  And I wear wealth around my neck.  Silver or aluminium – neither taste anything like food.”

 

Kaladin rubbed a weary hand over his eyes.  “That is as absurd a plan as I have ever heard.”

 

“You don’t have to help.”

 

“I didn’t say it was a bad one.”

 

“Oh,” said Shallan.  “If it pleases you, we will likely all end up middle class together.”

 

She suddenly remembered the word that had been spoken to her in the servants’ hall, months ago.  One of the watchwords of the revolution was – egalité

 

“It would not displease me.”

 

“Nor I,” she said, and smiled.  “I would not mind so much if the man I married made me plain Mrs Kholin.”

 

“No-one could think Mrs Kholin plain, especially not Mr Kholin,” Kaladin said.  “We prepare for all eventualities, but it may not ever come to pass.  For now – for always – we live in hope.  And we toast victory.”

 

“To victory,” Shallan said, and when she took up the whisky bottle, Kaladin didn’t stop her.  She took a healthy swig, and held it out to him, and he drank too, and the bitter aftertaste of ridgebark tasted less bitter after every swallow.

 

“To Kharbranth,” he said.

 

When the whisky touched her lips and numbed them, she felt it buzzing on her tongue and dripping warm down her throat to join the warmth smouldering inside her.  When she said the words Together in Kharbranth aloud, she liked the sound of them, more than the sound of Duchess Kholinar – which was rather a mouthful, when she considered it.  Together in Kharbranth.  They were three words she didn’t mind saying, or thinking about – they were words, and they were also feelings and sounds and tastes and memories. 

 

How life took such twists and turns that the destination she sought a year ago would be the same destination she might find herself seeking a year from now.  But the journey was different – the journey was always different – and this time though it might appear a full circle, re-treading the steps that had been taken in the past, something had changed.  She had changed.  And she was glad of it, and it felt good to know it – to know that she was no longer alone.

 

Victory.

 

The taste of it was bittersweet. 

 

If – when – she became the Duchess Kholinar, it would only be to accept her place as an equal to the Duke Kholinar.  She did not want elevation for the sake of it – or to fulfil someone else’s Grand Purpose; she did not want to be a great lady, or the leading light of Society.  She only wanted Adolin.

 

Adolin would willingly give her whatever she wanted, and whatever he had he willingly shared with her, the material and immaterial alike – out of the depth of the affection he felt for her.  And she, out of the depth of affection that was returned, could accept what he gave – things he gave to no-one else, things that could never be given back.  She had them, and she kept them and carried them with her, and she did not mind having them; they were not a burden – they were a delight, and not the cage that she had long feared and unconsciously dreaded.   She decided that she could share his title, and his name, and she could wear a Duchess’s coronet like she wore the chain about her neck – it was only as heavy as one thought it was.  It was only perception, after all.

 

And if he called her Mrs Kholin, when they were together, and alone, no-one had to hear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Shallan as the Duchess - after wearing pants and being a man, she realises that being a high ranking woman means having way less freedom, even if it is the fancy life.  She is afraid that it will be a golden cage, imposed by Society rather than her husband.  Shallan from Chapter 1 wanted the marriage and didn't care about anything else - and now she is fine with having everything but the marriage.  If she marries Adolin and he dies, she gets stuck in a cage with no fellow cage-dweller to make it bearable - that is what frightens her.  Compare to Navani, who is considered an old has-been after her husband dies and her daughter-in-law becomes the true alpha queen bee of Society.

Oakum - historically used for waterproofing boat hulls.  It is made from boiling pine sap, which was for a long time a major Scandinavian export.  In this AU, "Sverickan" means "Swedish" and the IRL Swedish word for their country is "Sverige".

"Cleanliness and godliness" - IRL Francis Bacon quote from the 1600's, in the context of high-mortality plagues.

"Citrus, shell, bone meal" - Vitamin C, calcium, and protein dietary supplements.  Historically, the British Navy used lime juice to prevent scurvy, which was a problem before there were good preservation methods for food other than salting, pickling, or smoking.

On Renarin - contrary to the beliefs of combat officers, Renarin is not useless.  He is pretty pragmatic, and focused, and when he gets into his role he can be scarily effective like Blackthorn Dalinar.  When he wants things done, he will do it, and ramifications come later - like when he jumps into the arena and has a seizure.  He is good at preparing but not really good at improvising.  If Renarin is the brains of the operation, Adolin is the heart.  The Edgedancers' Oath "I will remember those who have been forgotten" is not really Renarin's thing.

On Kaladin - he doesn't care about privacy and personal space.  When he was a bodyguard in canon-SA, he was always poking around people's stuff (Adolin's fashion folio) and eavesdropping, and speaking in other people's conversations (the menagerie date).  But he tries to be a good guy and wants to protect innocent civvies, even if no character in this story can be morally squeaky clean.  Bonus info – the scars on his hands are from shrapnel, and the palm scars are from school whippings.  He also has a tattoo of the service patch of “Cannon Crew Four” of the Sadeas Regiment.  If he ever got a shirtless scene, I would have done an accompanying illustration.

"Kharbranth" - parallel to Napoleon's exile in Elba.  High nobles who stay and get caught by the enemy become political prisoners or puppets, or get the guillotine.  Obvious book-ending here, if you can't tell.
On being middle class – Shallan is beginning to unconsciously share the ideals of the Organisation.  It’s open ended whether she will look for Mraize in Waterloo.  It is also a nod to the end of WoR where Shallan and Adolin’s rank difference stop mattering when she is revealed as a Radiant.

 

I tried to handle Shallan and Adolin’s relationship in a mature, tasteful, and realistic way.  They are still messed up characters in various stages of healing and trust, and stuff around them is going to get worse before it can get better, but the characters themselves have progressed to a level that they might be able to work through it if they work together.  And if this isn’t a happily ever after story, they can be happy enough for now.

 

 

 

THE END

FOR REALS

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 36

 

 

 

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When people on the internet believe things, and from what you have seen of them, show no inclination of changing their beliefs even if you try to debate with them, and include facts and citations, there’s nothing you can do.  If you are the type of person who gets upset when people like that don’t listen to you, I am the type of person who laughs and moves on because trying to have a discussion with those types is like having a discussion with a wall.  You are only going to waste your own time!  You can ask yourself the right questions, and think whatever things you want, but I personally don’t think I should tell people what questions they should be asking.  I will only answer the question properly if I am actively asked – that way I know the person is honestly curious about my opinion, even if they don’t end up agreeing in the end.  So things on the internet rarely bother me, but then again most of the time I am only a lurker and form my own opinions silently.

 

I judge how good a book is by how likely I am to re-read it.  I liked Mistborn – I read the original trilogy in an eBook omnibus, and normally I switch between 3 different series/books depending on my mood, but I read Mistborn all the way through over a week.  However, it had twist endings, and relatively simple characters, and once I finished I didn’t see any need to go back to it.  It has been a couple years since then and still I have felt no urge to go back – so I agree, it’s entertaining, but a little popcorn-y and a lot of the impact is in the twists and the Sanderson ending.  SA is better in this regard, since I finished the chapters with the Tower and still felt enough interest in the world to start again later on.  It’s a sign that Brandon has improved his writing skills, which is a good thing.  I wouldn’t mind meeting him when he tours in a year from now.  I made a four-foot long fantasy sword that I plan on re-purposing as a Shardblade.  I know Shardblades are six feet long, but that is taller than me and you will have trouble getting it through the door. 

 

 

Character development tends to suffer in a multiple POV type of story – you not only have to balance all the characters, but you have to move their character development forwards at the same time, while also keeping track of the outside narrative and setting features.  SA was never supposed to be an “exploration of the psyche” type of story that you find in literary fiction or literary fantasy, which mostly focuses on the struggles of one main character.  There are few fantasy stories that do it well, and usually they have something like 2-4 main characters and tell it over a minimum of three books.  Robin Hobb is a good example of character development, and Liveship Traders, which I felt was the best example within her extended universe had something like 4 main characters and an ensemble supporting cast, which had equal share of the screentime all through the trilogy.  Brandon’s “1 flashback per book” format means that the characters are not equal – we are likely not to find out much about Szeth and Eshonai until they get their books, and then they will drop off the radar afterwards.  The flashbacks are supposed to flesh out the characters’ rationalisations and choices during their focus book.  I know you are the one who gets so upset that Adolin will never get one, but if you viewed his character (before the Sadeas thing), he doesn’t come off as a mysterious type of guy, and obviously he was never broken, so if Brandon ever thought about writing an Adolin flashback sequence, there must have come a point where he thought “What am I going to do to fill ~10 chapters/50k words worth of backstory where each is a turning moment in his life?”.  Because that’s a whole lot of writing, something like 100 pages on a word processor, and Adolin isn’t traumatised (before the events of WoR Part 5), so whatever could be said about his past would be nothing more than fluffy fanservice than something that takes his character somewhere in the development journey, or explains something important about his characterisation.  Sure, you could get a chapter of hanging out with his brother and mum, or eating chicken before his duel with Tinalar (? -_- Can’t remember his name?), or bonding Sureblood, but it adds nothing that we don’t already know.  There are no twists!!!  IMHO, it’s better suited as a novella/supplementary reading off the main narrative if Brandon ever bothers, or multi-chapter fanfiction if anyone gets around to writing it.  And the way you have analysed Adolin back and forth, I doubt anything in there will surprise you.  Because I cannot see him getting some secret messed up childhood backstory reveal like Captain Kennit from the Liveship Trilogy.

 

I know you like discussing and dissecting the Dalinar-Adolin relationship, but I personally see the reason why Adolin wants Dalinar around, and is protective of him is for his own reasons and deficiencies rather than wanting his father’s love and approval.  Adolin’s main problem is a lack of self-awareness of his own insecurities.  While he has Dalinar, he doesn’t have to be in charge, and he doesn’t have to face failure and defeat knowing that all of the responsibility falls to him.  Dalinar’s presence is like the security blanket that protects him from himself, so while his father calls the shots and gives him orders and tells him to do things to keep him busy (like going around giving the ultimatums to the highprinces while the Chasm thing was happening to Kaladin and Shallan) he doesn’t have to think about the uncomfortable questions like why he has no friends and no girlfriend.  I personally think Adolin knows his father loves him and approves him, when Dalinar calls him a good man, and a better man than he is, and as an adult, doesn’t need to be told.  This is Roshar, not Earth, and there are huge culture differences.  Where people here and now would think it is acceptable and necessary for adult children to get pats on the back and squishy talks from adult parents, I don’t think it works  the same way in Roshar, where posturing and masculinity and looking tough is an important thing in social interactions.  It is probably shameful for an adult man/warrior to get defended by his dad in public, as if he can’t hold his own – that is why Adolin does honour duels when he couldn’t duel for ranking, and Renarin gets protected because he can’t call Sadeas out in a fight, and no one in their society sees him as an adult and a man, even though he is past 16.  You are projecting modern Earth sensibilities and social customs onto a society that doesn’t necessarily work the same way!  Dalinar and Adolin don’t call out Elhokar in public for being a dumb chull after he does certain things in WoR, even though he definitely deserved it, probably for the same reason – reputation to the Alethi is a game of manipulating perception, and it would harm Elhokar’s standing if he was contradicted publicly.  It’s a social concept that is missing in modern Earth, but the Romans (another macho, warlike society) had it in the form of dignitas and auctoritas.  It’s like reading a historical novel about gladiators and complaining how the characters don’t have a problem with slavery.  You can’t overlay modern thinking like that – it’s like going back in time to the Black Plague era and telling people to wash their hands because germs.  They didn’t have microscopes, let alone the scientific method.

 

So if you think there is a problem with Dalinar not showing affection to Adolin, and going harder on him than he is on everyone else, perhaps there’s a good reason for it.  It could be a compliment (most readers would see it that way) that he thinks his son is that competent to be trusted with so much responsibility, and the affection he shows to Renarin is at the same re-affirming that he thinks his younger son is a weak little boy.  And that is why Adolin doesn’t seem to notice a problem, or thinks its normal – his relationship with his father is normal for highprinces and their heirs, whereas Renarin’s is the type that Alethi society sees as “ruining” or “spoiling” a boy and turning him soft.  Adolin, even though he is really insecure and nervous and stunted in his emotional development, in his POVs still views himself as an adult and a man.  I am very curious to see how Renarin sees himself the same way.  It does not seem like Alethi culture (just like most feudal cultures) has any phase between child and adult, like Earth society has with teenagerhood/adolescence.  As a side note, Relis’s dad sent him back to Alethkar in a wagon for losing a fight.  If Adolin had been crippled, or lost his Shards in a forfeit, I doubt Dalinar would have done the same to him.  Dalinar would not have felt embarrassment at the second-hand loss of reputation, because his son matters more.

 

IMHO, speculations only happen if there is room for speculation, in series that are either unfinished, or are so loose-ended or vague in world-building that readers finish the book and still have questions about what happened.  There are many series with developed universes that I enjoyed, and I think are worth re-reading, and I don’t speculate or theorise about when I have finished them.  But I can still feel the itch to create fanart, if the imagery or characterisation was so vivid that I can still remember the details when the book is closed and returned to the shelf.  The work left a strong impression on me, but if all character endings are tied up satisfyingly, there is no need to speculate.  I don’t know if it’s just me though – I will have to ask other fanartists what their thought process in creating fanart is like, since it’s different for everyone.

 

I hope you enjoy those books.  They both straddle the line of YA and adult fantasy, but I think the stories are mature enough that you can enjoy Sabriel if you are a fantasy fan who likes magic systems and a slow-burner romance, and Eagle of the Ninth for someone who likes historical fiction and beautiful writing – its style is something that I consciously drew on when writing for myself.

 

I think the trope that you might like is “Brought Down to Normal” if you like characters in places of privilege losing it all after being hit by the trauma stick (or something similar).  It is like the under-dog rising up type of plots that you get tired of, but the under-dog was once top-dog at one point.  I checked the Tvtropes literature list but it’s not too impressive, though.

 

Oh but I am guilty of being a wall, at times: nobody can truly be receptive to all conversation and some individuals need to ponder on things for a longer time period in order to re-assess their opinions. I am the kind of person which gets entangled within her own emotions which makes me yearn for validation. It is a rather complex behavioral system  :ph34r: This being said, in book related discussion, I do believe it is interesting to have people ask themselves questions because such is the purpose of... discussions. To challenge one's opinion with others, but it can get tedious and frustrating.

 

I judge how good a book is to my personal enjoyment in speculating about it: if it fuels my internal story making then it ranks higher on my personal list. Mistborn was not one of those books for me: it was a pleasant read, it had a few great twists, but it didn't offer me a reading experience as strong as SA. Some parts of the book were weaker and I wasn't mind-blown after reading while when I initially read SA, I felt I was being part of something bigger, grant and each time I picked up my book I thought to myself how great of a book it was. Mistborn greatest strength was falling at being predictable when you expected it to be, but characterization isn't strong in this series. This is true of later books as well. It is OK, not all books need to be strong on characterization (though it is a growing sentient, modern book are demanded to involve more on characters), but readers who prefer it will tend to prefer other books. 

 

Nice looking Shardblade  B) Nobody is going to notice if it isn't 6 foot. Besides, there is such things as short Shardblades, so yours could be one of those  B)

 

Oddly enough, I tend to prefer multi-POV story mostly because I know authors will not choose my favorite character as their main protagonist. Reading a multi-POV gives me the hope I will enjoy at least one of those... This being said, I like single POV stories, but it takes a really, really good character. Fantasy tends to be unimaginative with its main protagonist, so it is risky, from my point of view.

 

Characters are unequal in SA which doesn't bother me... what has been bothering me is the fact the author has decided those getting what feels to me as a "preferential treatment" are relatively minor one... I love the flashbacks because they help built up the characters: they don't need to hide a trauma or an impossible event to be interesting, they simply need to emphasis where a given character behavioral pattern comes from. For me, they are invaluable character building tools and character who do not get them are likely to feel incomplete or so is my current perception. I may be wrong about it, but this is how I feel about it, right now. I also wouldn't complain so much about it, if not having flashback wasn't a quasi-guarantee his development will be stump. I agree Adolin's present time is probably more interesting, though a few notable events in his past are of interest (duel where he won his Blade, Zahel, his mother, his sick brother, his father). My problem is will Adolin get enough page time to truly explore his character? He would need to have as many chapters as a flashback character, main narrative plus flashbacks to make it work, but Adolin only has a reduced number of POV. I may have analyzed the character back and forth, I certainly didn't get everything right. This is impossible.

 

I agree with most of what you said about Dalinar/Adolin, except there is a side of Adolin which wants to please, wants to loved and yes even if he is a grown man, he still wants it. It isn't so much he wants a tap on the back, but his father has been putting a lot of pressure on him and Adolin has taken it to an extreme. Adolin doesn't know his father, the man and this is a discussion I believe needs to happen. Call it squishy if you want, but for me to state Rosharian men do not need heart felt discussions with their parents because their culture promotes the idea strong men do not cry is the same as stating men from the 50s never needed to talk and show emotions because such was the culture back in the day. Nothing could have been more wrong. Adolin and Dalinar are human beings, they have emotions and no matter what cultural environment they evolve in, they both have things to say to each other and those things won't flow down easily for both of them. It may not be culturally encouraged, but what happens behind closed doors do not need to be publicly known.

 

One of the main problem I see is Adolin doesn't seem to make the distinction between his father, his Highprince and his superior. All is muddled up which opens the door wide to his extreme behavior where duty gets mixed up with love. As for Dalinar, he doesn't make the difference between the soldier and the son which makes him treat Adolin harsher than he would normally have. A lot of projection happens here which created a situation where Adolin is not allowed mistakes nor leeway while everyone else is, from times to times. Many readers indeed do see Dalinar's behavior as a compliment, but they also tend to be the readers who have failed to notice how stressed out Adolin is. They don't see a problem because they don't see the problem with Adolin's behavior all through both books. I do not blame them as since the focus never is on Adolin, it is easy to miss all of it, but the words are right there, in the books. Dalinar behaves dramatically differently with basically anyone else, for instance Kaladin. Kaladin is how Dalinar should have treated Adolin: a firm hand coated with fatherly love, but Adolin never gets the later, he never gets leeway, he never gets away with anything and no, this isn't a sign of trust, but a sign of rigidity and a blindness to what it creates on the son: increased stress and pressure.

 

On his side, Adolin doesn't see a problem because Adolin never really needed support, so he can't have acknowledge it was refused to him. I see a train wreck in the relationship which could have been avoided had Dalinar dealt with things differently. It has nothing to do with how Adolin views himself, it has everything to do with the fact, of all characters, he is the most attached to his parental figures, he is the one who clings to them. It doesn't prevent him from being a grown man and from seeing himself as such, but it does explain, in part, why he is still unmarried, why he can't form lasting relationships with people and why he still needs his father to be around to call the shots. It doesn't matter if Roshar acknowledges teenage years and young adult years: they happen anyway, they don't need a label to be real. Adolin is in the early adult years, the years where you start being forced to live on your own, where you don't have to simply think about who you are, you have to be. It doesn't matter if it should have happened to him years ago according to his culture, it is happening to him now. To move pass this phase, Adolin will need to resolve things with his father and yes it may need to be squishy. I do not know why emotions in men are so badly viewed or only certain emotions can be conveyed... For me the setting does not matter, emotions have always happened and they will always happen no matter what culture dictates. Once they flow out, they flow out and yes men have cried prior to modern days even if it wasn't encouraged.

 

This is what I read in the character and his relationship with his father. Now I do not mean to imply either Dalinar nor Adolin need to cry, I was using the term in a metaphorical sense in order to describe a scene where both would finally open up in an emotional way.

 

One of the reasons I love Brandon is the fact he prefers open-ended stories. His love of foreshadowing also makes speculation fun to do because you know you have a chance at guessing right. It isn't fun, for instance, to speculate on GoT as the story is too unpredictable. Foreshadowing may not pay off and anyone could die. It makes theory making boring.

 

I have all books in hand now. I booked a reservation for all three and they all got here at the same time  <_< I started up with BoM since I have just finished SoS. After that I'll try Eagle to break the pace from fantasy and Sabriel last. I'll see if I like them.

 

I am not sure Brought down to Normal is quite it, it seems to mostly take powered characters who looses their powers, like Kal in the chasm, but this scene didn't work for me.

 

How far are you in the story progress?  26k words is not too bad if you’ve set up the direction of the narrative and sold the characters in a believable way that fits the setting and fits canon, if your goal was to be as close to canon as possible, rather than diverging through an alternate ending or slightly different AU.

 

Because you mentioned it, I went back to find some really stupid stories I wrote a long, long time.  And I have decided that you write better than a 13-14 year old in terms of writing style, but compared to a native English speaker of that age, I think their understanding of English grammar would be better.  Have you ever read the French translated versions of SA and compared it to the English edition?

 

You can read the first Pullman book (“The Golden Compass” in the US, in UK/AUS it was published as “Northern Lights”) as a standalone with beautiful worldbuilding just fine.  When I first read the books, I didn’t understand the religious references, just like I didn’t pick up the political/religious overtones in Ender’s Game – I just enjoyed the story for what it was, without looking further.  If you are the type of person who likes picking out influences in consumed media, it would bother you, but if you just want to read a good story, it is very good.  When I first read about Sylphrena and the Nahel Bond in SA, I was reminded of Pullman’s trilogy – they have the “magical bond partner” too, but it is not an outside, self-aware moral watcher like a bonded spren.

I used to think beautiful writing = boring when I was a teenager, because I wanted action and snappy dialogue.  But I tried slow-burner literature stories and now I like them a lot. 

 

I have made it to chapter 12, but I wasn't sure how to proceed from then and onward. I fear I do not have the writing talent to put in words the story I have in my head. I would need to undergo real-time studies in order to improve my prose: without a teacher I have no idea where most of my mistakes are or why it has to be written differently. 

 

I try to avoid translation as some of the terms they use are strange or funny sounding. My understanding of English grammar is non-existent. I write as I speak and I put up sentences based on what I believe sound right. English is simpler than French, but many words sound the same to me, so I keep mixing them up.

 

I have heard mixed reviews about the Golden Compass so I have always been reluctant to try it. The political/religious endgame didn't bother me in Ender's Game, but I have no desire to pursue beyond this one book. What happens next just doesn't appeal to me.

 

As a teenager, I read mostly LoTR, Stephen King and Ann Rice. YA didn't exist back then, so all stories were slow burners with plenty of words. I fear the YA trend has created expectations with regards to pacing and action into stories as if people couldn't appreciate longer work anymore. Mind, if the pace goes slow, something else need to happen. For instance, in SoS, the pace was up to a minimum for most of the book. I found it problematic because all I got in return was detective work from Marasi which wasn't a story arc I enjoyed. Nothing against Marasi, but murder and mystery just isn't a writing style I enjoy reading. To each our own, so instead of giving me pace, Brandon gave me something I dislike... bad combination.

 

 

In the story, Adolin hasn’t had any chances to pick the bad choice, and since he has found some level of self-awareness, any bad choices he makes are likely to be for what he has thought about and considers the “greater good” rather than a hot-headed moment of impulse.  He still has the potential to dirty his hands with dark choices, but he has a support system and people who he can trust, unlike the post-WoR Adolin, so it would have to take a similar situation and being alone to do the same thing.  In the AU, he and Dalinar weren’t betrayed by Sadeas – they lost half their army in an ambush, and no other army helped them retreat because they assumed it was throwing good money after bad.  But I feel like bringing the story to an end on a high note is more satisfying, especially for something that is supposed to be a standalone – a happy for now ending.  Ambiguously happy endings (where the good stuff is balanced out by sad things) are better for stories planned out as a series because closure.

 

17 and 23 are perfectly possible in the real world – yes, it would be kinda questionable if they met at a party or through a dating app, but Adolin and Shallan’s relationship was set up by members of his family, who thought that both people had something worth bringing to a relationship.  And if Adolin wouldn’t date a high school girl, Shallan isn’t the type of person who would tell him until their second date and she had him hooked.  Her father being dead and needing money is something Shallan tells Dalinar openly when they first meet, but she doesn’t tell Adolin – is it because he already knows, because Dalinar told him, or because his family wants their relationship to work?  Or is any girl who dates Adolin expecting that money comes as part of the bargain so it’s not worth mentioning?   I personally think an age gap like that can work in the modern world, as long as the maturity level is around the same, and SA Shallan has acted with the independence and self-sufficiency of an adult, even if she doesn’t have the depth of experience that other people would have.  People with that age difference can get along with each other, and date, but as for long-term prospects like marriage, who knows.  No one can even tell if marriages between people of the same age will last either.

 

Also, if you have listened to the Oathbringer chapter, I think Dalinar is 24-ish when he meets Shshshsh at age 18/19, so the age difference between Adolin and Shallan in-canon is socially acceptable.   If Dalinar courted her for 3 years, and she died 10 years before the events of WoK, then she must have died at age 35.  Gee, that’s depressing.  And because Rosharans don’t get sick easily like Earth people, you have to wonder what happened, since women don’t get involved in dangerous activities like going into battle or hunting whitespines.

 

The Kholins are pretty much nouveau riche in your AU?  I would have thought they were old money – glyphpairs and family crests don’t come from nowhere!  Then again, in a Canadian setting, I don’t know if you can even have old money in a new world country, so I guess you can make it work. 

 

In my personal opinion, Adolin has emotional control issues, just like most extroverted feelers such as himself and he is highly susceptible to stress and anxiety. He fears being afraid, he anticipates worst-cases scenarios and he refuses himself the right to make mistakes. These are very personal issues Adolin would need to deal with, no matter the setting. He may not have had the opportunity to make a drastic mistake such as in the book, but eventually, he would need to learn how to deal with his emotive side. His incapacity to see mistakes as a possibility combined to a sensitivity to stress/anxiety has to be addressed as it will only get worst as the end game increases. Sooner or later, he will hit his wall and while it may not be as dramatic as book Adolin, he needs to meet it. If not now, then later, but anxiety doesn't resolve itself simply because you are in a good place, it remains there and as soon as a hardship occurs it bounces back. Worst, the least exposure you have to it, the worst it gets once the spiraling starts. So for me, Adolin lacks this side as these aren't things which simply disappears. It remains there and even when you think you have it under control, it pops back. This being said, in the scope of a story where he isn't a MC, there was no need to further explore it.

 

I personally would not like it if my 17 years old daughter were to date a 23 years old, not to mention I think it is illegal in Quebec. There is a maximum age difference to respect when it comes to minor. I think it is about 2 years for kids under 16 and 4 years for those in between 16 and 18. Adolin could be accused of pedophilia and yes it happens. Some 17 years old kid got accused of such for having a relationship with a 13 years old girl. The fact the parents agreed to it didn't matter: it is illegal in Quebec. So for me 17-23 is too big of an age difference, at their age. If they were 25-30, then it would be fine. The age gap perhaps works into SA, but it has bothered me as it wouldn't be an acceptable one in real life. I wish Brandon has made Adolin a few years younger or Shallan a few years older. 

 

Does Adolin know about her money problem? We can assume he does, but we do not see her telling him. It has been bothering me, the fact he hasn't told him anything about herself. Anything. Not even the basic: she didn't have to go into the details, but she could have shared a few details. 

 

I agree the age difference is acceptable within canon, but the fact canon thinks it acceptable does not make me more inclined to agree to it. I wish it had been made smaller. Shallan is too much of a little girl, she isn't ready for marriage while Adolin is. I see much problems with the relationship as it stands.

 

Shshshsh dying young is sad. I had given thoughts as to how she may have passed away. Initially, I thought she may have died in childbirth. Roshar isn't modern enough in terms of medicare to significantly lower the number of women dying in childbirth. Issues such as preeclampsia, premature birth, diabetes, thyroid, badly positioned baby, delivery issues would still impair pregnant women as those life are being saved by modern technology which Roshar does not possess. It seemed plausible. However, the flashback also told us Shshshshsh and her brother are fugitives running away from pursuers for having stolen a Shardplate: Adolin's Shardplate. It have thus though she may have simply been assassinated... Think about it. Toe stroke an alliance to protect himself and his sister, willing to pay with his stole Plate, though he must have outmaneuver someone in order to give it to his unborn nephew as opposed to a random worthy soldier. Where is Toe now? Not only he does not appear in the story, nobody mentions him... I am left to think he either was killed or he ran away furthermore, trying to steer the pursuers away from his sister. It now seems plausible Shshshsh was killed for having stole the Plate, but she, somehow, managed to hid it away from them to recover. Shallan remarks how Adolin's Plate history has been kept up to date by his mother, except we now know it was stolen... Did she invent it all in order to protect her son's heirloom? Are there people still looking for it?

 

There aren't old money family with glyphair in North America... Every North American rich is a new rich. Basically. It makes sense to me to involve the Kholins into football instead of warring: it allows for similar story arcs.

 

The alternative point of view to “what kind of person spends time taking care of others’ children” is that Dalinar sees Alethkar as his children, and he is their father who has to guide them and discipline them because they don’t know any better.  And when he is the father of everyone, he can’t play favourites, not even with his biological children.  Not when he has to save everyone from the end of the world.  And this whole time, Dalinar has been father figure to Elhokar, who is not his child, but still gets called “son”, and gets the tough love beatdown at the end of WoK while Adolin is left to his own devices.  Who knows, maybe Brandon will pull out his religious cards   :ph34r:  and Dalinar sacrificing his son becomes an allegorical act of tough love and doing what is best for everyone, even if it sucks for Adolin. 

 

I get the impression that you are projecting a lot of modern Earth beliefs and expectations onto Dalinar and Adolin’s relationship – which is why people tend to react strongly when you try to discuss it.  Alethi aren’t prone to being sentimental and gushy, and men, warriors especially, don’t discuss their feelings and if they did, it would look really really OOC, even if it would solve a lot of problems.  Adolin gets awkward asking Kaladin for girl advice, for instance, which is hard for him because it’s pretty much admitting to another guy that he sucks at being a player.  At least it’s a sign that Adolin feels that Kaladin is on mostly equal level relationship with him, that they can discuss a personal thing like that.  With Dalinar, they are not equal – they are commanding officer and subordinate.  Therefore I think your expectations of the destination involving Dalinar having to “prove his love” to Adolin is a bit too much to hope for.  Dalinar is not going to pop the l-word to Adolin - does he even do it for Navani?.  When father and son finally see each other as mutual equals who deserve respect because the respect is earned rather than expected, all that is going to happen is some eye contact and a nod, because that is what Alethi men do.  But to you that would seem “not enough”.

 

I think Dalinar is likely to forgive Adolin for the Sadeas thing, even if the other highprinces don’t.  He won’t agree at first, but he’ll understand it, and even if he has to publicly punish Adolin for it, it doesn’t mean he will enjoy or that he won’t regret it.  Dalinar is a tough-love guy.  And he can forgive Elhokar, or at least stop being angry at him, so he has the potential to do the same for Adolin.  At the risk of making an Adolin-centric speculation in what is supposed to be a Dalinar-focused book, the journey is probably going to be Adolin forgiving himself and developing and internalising his own set of ethics and morality instead of piggybacking on the rules his father shoved down his throat.  And Dalinar accepting that and moving on is part of his own character development.

 

You think Dalinar calling Adolin the better man as a sad thing, and you want Dalinar to show love and affection to his son.  For me, it would be weird if Dalinar started treating Adolin in the same way he treats Renarin, what you call “doting”.  Even if Dalinar sees Adolin as a projection or extension of himself, and who he wished he could be from the start, there’s still a level of openly given respect at his son’s achievements that he doesn’t give to Renarin.  Dalinar doesn’t go around calling Renarin a better man, he doesn’t even think of Renarin as a man.  Sure, Adolin’s achievements are what you interpret as the skills that make him a good tool (the duelling), but within the canon-setting, duelling is his Calling and he gets glory/Tranquiline Hall brownie points for excelling in it – so what you see as using Adolin, in their society, the Alethi see it as rather doing a religious devotion.  And Adolin loves duelling because it is something that he is genuinely confident in his skills, compared to other things like dating girls or fighting magical assassins – so even if he is a tool, he likes being a tool, and he consents to being one.  The characters’ thoughts and motivations are many-layered, and you are fixated one or two reasons, which are perfectly valid, but I don’t think they are whole picture.

 

IMO, the journey is Adolin discovering his independence and how to make it fit with his family obligations rather than Dalinar accepting it and granting his son independence/autonomy.  That would be the most satisfying ending for me, even if you prefer that Dalinar “comes to his senses” and apologises for pressuing his 17 year old son (an adult) to accept an old book that his dead brother read as the framework to his life.  But that kind of ending comes from self-awareness, and in a Dalinar book, Dalinar gets the development, so we shall have to see what happens.  And write fanfics when it doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to.  :ph34r:

 

I would agree to your first paragraph if Dalinar treated all of his "children" in a similar manner, but the fact remains he has favorites: Renarin, Elhokar and Kaladin. Adolin, for being his biological son, should have earn the right to be favored, from times to times, but it doesn't. Again, the behavior wouldn't bother me if Dalinar was not more caring about Kaladin than he is about Adolin. I do think Dalinar will sacrifice Adolin, at some point, but it'll turn out fine in the end. Somehow, but Dalinar's arc has to pass through learning being guiding does not mean being judging. It is very similar to Kaladin: he had to learn he doesn't have the right to decide who gets to be punished as he can't kill to protect unless in a direct confrontation. He doesn't get to pass judgment on those worthy or not of living. Dalinar, I suspect, has a similar arc: if he is to lead them all, he needs to learn how to be inspiring as opposed to judgmental. He also can't turn a blind eye of his people's misgiving simply because he is emotionally invested in them, but alternatively he can't be unforgiving for everyone's mistakes or else he won't have a kingdom to rule anymore. It is a very thin line he walks on, but in the end he has to learn to be a better judge of individual's personality and apply the right recipe to each.

 

I also dislike the idea because men are warriors they don't have feelings: they do. It just happens and Alethkar doesn't strike as this constipated on the matters. Adolin already is a very emotional individual who expresses many outward emotions. He may not talk about them, but they still happen. I personally dislike the idea because this is fantasy, then it has to embrace medieval time idea, especially when we are given inklings this society is quite different. Why because they have swords can't they have feelings as well? In any advent, talking about one's feelings is always difficult, even in our modern day time, so I don't buy the argument Dalinar and Adolin can't have a better relationship because the universe they evolve in isn't our own. I believe I place reasonable expectations on Dalinar as I expect him to treat Adolin is bit fairer which is perfectly within canon as he does it quite well with Kaladin. So it isn't beyond him nor against the Rosharian mentality. He openly dotes on Elhokar and Renarin, he hugs Renarin at the end of WoR: so yes sentimentality does happen on Alethkar. They certainly aren't as physically forward as modern day human, but they aren't above it. The Dalinar and Renarin scene I am referring to is a prime example. So why can't Dalinar behave in a similar manner with Adolin? 

 

My point is Dalinar is not only showing love nor care towards Adolin, he shows no regards with respect to his life and this has been bothering. I also disagree Dalinar sees Adolin's achievements, he sees what he thinks should be: not something Adolin had to work for. I would also point out Dalinar sees Renarin's achievements as well, stating how proud he was of him on several occasions. His behavior with Renarin is perhaps too soft in the sense he allowed him to grow into his adult years without having found a purpose. This is certainly not something I would wish him to do with Adolin, though he probably never had to make an effort with him. Adolin simply wanted to mimic his father, so he did. It was easy. Renarin is more challenging, but Dalinar projects himself too much into his sons to be an effective father. 

 

I disagree Adolin likes being a tool: he has no idea he is a tool. He has no idea his father would sacrifice him to secure an advantage if need be: he loves his father dearly and it probably never crossed his mind his life may be expendable to him. Young Dalinar was perfectly aware he was a tool, he loved being a tool, he enjoyed being a tool, but not Adolin. Yes, he is happy to duel again, but his entire mental process never is about him own pleasure, his glory or his fame: it is all about Dalinar, Dalinar and Dalinar. "Win some Shards for me son." Yes, Adolin is pleased to help, he is eager to help, he loves helping, but I do not think he understands just how little he matters in the whole scheme of things.

 

Simply because it is Dalinar's book doesn't mean all of it will be about Dalinar... Shallan's book was just as much Kaladin's book, so I certainly do not expect the entire story to revolve around Dalinar. There will be more of Adolin and I am keen to see which angle Brandon will choose to explore.  What do you do, in life, when your strengths are your weaknesses and when letting go of your obsession over being perfect rimes with seeing those you love be hurt? 

 

 

Not all fans want the OT3/OT4.  Just the ones who disappointed by the SA canon relationships and want to write their own versions of what they want to see.  I think the vast majority of SA readers are happy with the relationship pairings, or don’t think strongly enough to put time and effort into generating fan-content based on it.  If you search by tags on the Archive of our Own, you will see that there are fewer relationship tags for the canon ship of Shadolin than the very briefly mentioned and mostly one-sided canon ship of Shaladin.  The vocal minority fills in the gaps when they think there are some worth filling – that’s what it is.  And that is why there are so many Kadolin stories, because Brandon is never going to go there, and fan content is the only way fans of that pairing will ever feel satisfied, when Shadolin fans just have to pick up their books and re-read a date scene.

 

I’m not a big fan of such ships, mostly because I have to suspend my disbelief to read them, and have to go in knowing that it is not true to canon-characterisation, or canon setting where I doubt Vorinism would accept things like that.  It would be easier for me to accept it if it was built up over several chapters of development, but no one writes stories that long – they start the Kadolin from chapter one and by that I can tell the story is pretty much pure fanservice.  

 

If I search the tag on Archive of our Own, the majority of my discoveries are either OT3/OT4 or another non-canon based ship. I sincerely do not understand the appeal of some of those ships. It would be better if several writers weren't keen on writing miserable broken weak injured crying Kaladin being taken care of by strong perfect Adolin. That one is baffling... Kaladin does not break, even when he breaks, he doesn't become weak. This is pure fan service, but it is too OOC for me to enjoy it.

 

There aren't a lot of people who dare writing Shallan/Adolin even though it is one of the most popular one. There is one fic who is quite good, in a heart-breaking way. It explores an AU where Zahel does not make it to Roshar and thus does not train Adolin nor Kaladin nor Renarin. None are ready for the 4 on 1 duel. Kaladin gets killed first, then Renarin. Dalinar jumps in the melee and he gets killed as well. Then the beating starts. They let Adolin live, but he is horribly crippled. He does not break though: he keeps on going and he gets his revenge. He marries Shallan as well. It was a short fic, but I thought it was a good one, in a sad way.

 

I agree most of those fics are fan service built up is required, but perhaps those writers didn't know how to bring it forward better. Still I read all fics, so Kadolin aren't bad.: there are 2-3 I rather liked.

 

 

Maybe Dalinar dislikes what Adolin wears because he is too used to seeing Adolin in a uniform?  Over here, schoolkids wear uniforms from first grade to the end of high school, and university is the first time in many young people’s lives that they can choose what clothes to wear every day of the week.  If Adolin went to a private school with a uniform, then Dalinar would be so used to seeing him in the official school blazer, slacks, and tie that anything else would look weird, and somehow wrong.  Schoolkids don’t change out of their uniform as soon as the school bell rings – they hang around the local mall or skate park in uniform, or go home and chill in their uniform so the weekend is only time where it’s okay to be low effort.  And it struck me that the women in the Kholin warcamp aren’t expected to follow any uniform regulations, and Dalinar hasn’t been shown to approve or disapprove of it.  Seems kind of a double standard if Dalinar thinks Adolin dresses sloppy but doesn’t say anything when Navani tries to look seductive.

 

I like woollen jumpers and coats because Australian climate means that t-shirts can be worn the whole year round if you really want to.  Woollen jumpers can only be worn for 2 months in the year if you don’t want to die of heatstroke, and they are really comfortable and I love layering.  I have a collection of nice wool things and I look forward to the days where I can wear them.  It’s the southern hemisphere version of people in the north looking forward to the days where they can wear their singlets/muscle shirts/tank tops in the summer. 

 

I cannot imagine Dalinar or Adolin knowing how to cook.  If they live in a big fancy house with a big fancy kitchen, it’s never used by anyone except housekeepers and caterers.  The Kholins live off dinners packed in labelled plastic boxes prepared by a housekeeper that they just have to dump on a plate and microwave, and for Adolin, protein shakes made from raw eggs, oats, whole fat milk, whey, peanut butter, kale and other things that look like puke when blended together and make Kaladin cringe worse than when people eat fried crab chouta in front of him.   Adolin is surprised when he gets to eat food that actually tastes like food, since pre-game food is usually something like boiled chicken with no spicy curry that he loves, served with dry tasteless brown rice, buckwheat, barley, or quinoa.  And no one at the table is reminding him to count his macros or telling him how many grams of protein per serving is in his food.  It must be really shocking to know that some people don’t cook with a scale and individually count almonds one by one when mixing a green smoothie.

 

Adolin and Tien would get along – I think Adolin was destined to be a cool big brother, where Kaladin is the distant leader type guy.  Adolin is the type to bring over his old video game console that he is too busy to use, so he and Tien can play team games while Kaladin thinks he has outgrown such childish things.  But he has insanely good reflexes and would be pretty good the first time he tried, because he is Kaladin. 

 

That makes me wonder what Adolin would think of Shallan’s brothers.  If Helaran (the functional one) is dead/missing in an AU, Balat would be the oldest brother, and he and Adolin are the same age.  Adolin is such a good judge of people – would he be able to pick up something is off, or wrong about Balat?   Adolin wants to be liked and to be seen as likeable by people his own age, so I am insanely curious as to his reaction if/when he gets to meet his future brothers in-law.  He is a family man and family is important to him, but what would he do when he sees evidence of Balat doing crazy things?   Not to mention, what would Shallan’s brothers think of Adolin?  Shallan is the one who brings light to the Davar family, but once she has tasted what the outside world feels like, she won’t want to come back, and maybe they would feel Adolin is responsible for some of that, and be resentful about it.

 

Shallan is such a perv.  :lol:   :ph34r:  :lol:   :ph34r: 

 

There are school uniforms, if you go to private school, but public school doesn't have them. I personally hate uniforms  :o I think they break the kids attempt at differentiating themselves and expressing their creativity, their style and their persona through their clothes by yearning to make them all be the same. I much prefer a dress code to prevent inappropriate clothing then a boring uniform. My husband had a uniform as he went to private school, but he changed as soon as he hit home. Nobody spends the evening in their uniform  :o

 

Women do not have to wear a uniform because they aren't soldiers nor officers. The whole point of the uniform regulation is to have officers be easily identifiable in case of an attack. So it does not apply to women. The problem is Dalinar is taking it a bit too far... His men could have free nights off every few weeks, nights where they can move around in regular clothes and enjoy themselves.

 

I can't wait to wear tank tops.... I feel like I am hibernating waiting for the summer to start.

 

Oh gee neither Dalinar nor Adolin know how to cook: they would probably burn water  :ph34r: And poor Adolin eats disgusting protein shakes while having to count his calories: a sad life  :( AU Adolin has a bit of a sad life: he is very lonely, just like in the book, but modern day makes it worst. Adolin at the Stormblessed tables has wide eyes like a child in front of a Christmas tree: delicious simple humble food and Hesina gave him a second serving without looking twice at his shape. 

 

Nah Adolin does not have an old video game console: video games were forbidden in the Kholin household as they were deemed unproductive. Renarin hacked a few games on his computer, but Adolin lives by the rules. Tien is the one who has a second-hand old video game console and he introduces Adolin to it who is too cool to refuse. Of course, he's terrible at it while Kaladin, who never plays, is excellent.

 

I think Adolin, depending on his mental state when he meets them, would be ridiculously happy to meet Shallan's brothers. Balat, I think, would play the role of the over-protective brother and look at Adolin's engaging smile in a suspicious manner. Jushu would think he is too squeaky-clean (if they ever get married, Jushu tries to corrupt Adolin at this bachelor party  :ph34r:). Wikim would get along just fine with Adolin: he'd remind him of Renarin.

 

 

Blackthorn Dalinar and Elhokar still have their differences though.  They might be selfish or self-centred people who lack self-control and inhibitions, and awareness of the big picture, but Blackthorn Dalinar is willing to work to earn his kingdom/princedom, where Elhokar expects it to be handed it to him.  The Kholin princedom is supposed to be Dalinar’s while Elhokar is the king of Alethkar, but Dalinar gave the responsibilities over to Elhokar, to give him something to do.   Blackthorn Dalinar can prove he is stronger than everyone else if he wanted to, but Elhokar certainly can’t, even if he wishes.  Elhokar is more like a weak and pathetic version of what an Alethi man should be, where the Blackthorn is the shining example of the model Alethi man.  The things they share on the outside is more Elhokar wanting to emulate what an Alethi man should be, rather than trying to copy Dalinar exactly – Elhokar couldn’t have known about the flashbacks, because they happened when he wasn’t born, or was too young to remember. 

 

There’s one paragraph from WoK chapter 18 that I thought was important for how Elhokar seems himself:

 

 

The higher your dahn ranking, the more worthy the Almighty thinks you are, and if you are king, you are supposed to be the most “blessed” out of everyone in the whole country.  It is possible the stupid things Elhokar does is because he thinks he is, or he should be, “invincible”, or at least untouchable.  It sounds silly from our modern eyes, but in history, there were similar concepts like “mandate of heaven” or “divine right of kings”, which we know to be rulers trying to justify/legitimise their dynasties, but in their cultural context, it establishes a rigid social hierarchy where everyone is supposed to know and accept their place, as subservient darkeyes or ruling lighteyes.  We may see Elhokar as a selfish baby, but in his head, he probably believes that he should be special, or competent, and feels betrayed by God that he hasn’t been bestowed with the leadership qualities that Dalinar and Kaladin have.  It doesn’t excuse his behaviour, but that is probably how he rationalises it.

 

It is interesting that Adolin hasn’t shown much on-screen devotion to religious things – the only ardents he hangs out with tend to be training arena teachers rather than the religious ones.  He is either second or third dahn (I don’t think his rank has been confirmed) which means that his innate Glory rating would be among the top 30 people in the whole country, yet he still feels like he should be better, and that he isn’t good enough.  Elhokar is supposedly the highest ranking at first dahn, but he has to get drunk to realise he has room to improve.  Even if he and Elhokar don’t turn out to have anything in common, there’s still interesting dialogue that could happen if they discuss this subject.  Elhokar is a like a cartoonishly inept king, and Adolin is the down-to-earth guy with realistic modern Earth problems compared to everyone who else is worried about the end of the world.  If they got their own chasm scene, maybe they could find similarities and awareness, like Kaladin and Shallan did.  

 

 

Actually Blackthorn Dalinar only cared about owning more stuff: he never warred for the promise of a kingdom nor for any higher motives. He was in it for himself much like Elhokar who's motive is purely personal. 

 

I agree how Elhokar rationalizes his thoughts, but it doesn't make him a more interesting character. He sincerely isn't someone I think needs to be fleshed out tremendously. I fear he doesn't add much to the story as all potential arcs revolving around him seemed a re-mash of arcs we already have with other characters. I personally think falling prey to Odium Elhokar is the most interesting avenue for him.

 

As for Adolin and religion, do not forget his mother was a foreigner. As an Iriali, she likely believed in the One. It may be she talked to her son about it which would have impacted his future belief in Vorinism or it could be Adolin is too pragmatic to be a man of religion. Adolin always thinking he is not good enough has to do with his persona combined to being the son of a real-life hero he worships, but also is demanding. 

 

In a re-play of the chasm scene, I am not sure Adolin and Elhokar are the two characters I'd want to see in it. Maybe there is a way it can work out in a satisfying manner, but right now Elhokar isn't a character I have much interest in.

 

 

That’s a good thing if the soul breaking in future books isn’t as non-stop traumatic as it was for Kaladin and Shallan.  Because Lift is a 13 year old surgebinder, and the others started attracting sprens around 5-6 six years ago when Gavilar died, and I would hate for a 7 year old child to be hit with the trauma stick, even if it is mostly mentally inflicted – though I cannot imagine that a child of that age would have the comprehension and awareness to break.  10-11 year old Shallan is stretching it.  Since Brandon isn’t the most emotive writer when it comes to writing heart-wrenching scenes like he is good at writing cinematic action scenes, I am glad, because a tragic backstory written beautifully about a kid under 10 would make me cry.  Even if she does grow up and turns out to be awesome.

 

Why would it be shameful or embarrassing to carry a dead spren blade?  They are pieces of a God, and they were once someone’s beloved magical friend.  I do not think people would hide them in the closet and be ashamed of owning them.  I think they would still be valuable and priceless heirlooms, and even if they aren’t used in battle, they would still be revered by the families that keep them for the historical and cultural value – and Shards are cultural symbols of power and authority to the highprinces, who use them to manipulate their vassals by lending them around.  You can’t get rid of ingrained cultural beliefs in a decade, not when there is guaranteed to be some resistance.  Maybe Shardblades would stop being trophies and prizes to gamble with at the arena, but Shardplate will still be valuable, and if the Kholins and other “goody-goody” princely houses get rid of their dead blades out of guilt, the less reputable families will snap them up because these things are pretty much indestructible.  (unless you test them against Nightblood but that’s a whole other story.)

 

I would honestly prefer Shardbearers to stick around, because it’s a lovely point of conflict between the “old” and “new”.  And in the end, everyone learns a lesson about working together like a Saturday morning tv cartoon.  ^_^

 

Lift was given Wyndle by the Nightwatcher recently: not all bonds started 6 years ago. I certainly do not think all stories will involve torture or terrible parents trying to kill their children... Dalinar's past does not involve any of those events: his brother was assassinated. Not a fun thing to go through, but not quite the same as murdering your mother at the age of 11 years old. Jasnah and Renarin's former life also seem to be exempt of overly traumatic events, but we have yet to read it. Jasnah's carries much mystery, I agree but Renarin? Is there truly much in there but a small disabled boy who felt he didn't belong? I for one do not believe the boys were involved into their mother's death unless Renarin is a very liar and was able to hide this from Adolin all those years.

 

It would be shameful because the live-spren all view the dead-Blade as abomination. Syl openly hates all Shardbearers and distrusts them. Now while it is fair to assume not all sprens would react in a similar way, it is also fair to assume several would embrace a similar behavior. Therefore considering how important Syl's reaction is to Kaladin, it is also fair to assume a large chunk of the future Radiants would look upon the dead-Blades disapprovingly. It will give credence to Relis running away screaming about having killed his Blade... Shardbearers are bond to grow wary around their Blade, perhaps not all of them, but several. In the end, as the Radiants become more numerous, respected and at the head of society, the general populace is bond to emulate their behavior, so to speak. For me, it is only a question of time before the former Shards become obsolete. A nice advantage to have, but one you need to hide for fear of being labelled a murderer.

 

I am unsure if the Radiants will ever be able to work with the Shardbearers... Kaladin really hates them, I don't see him fighting side to side with them, on purpose. I am convinced he won't be the only one sharing the sentient. In any case, we'll have to RAFO on that.

 

I think enjoyment from a book comes from your expectations of it.  If you go in blind, or are used to reading a certain type of story, and what you get is completely different, then you will not enjoy it.  People who read “Assassin’s Apprentice” expecting lots of assassinations will get disappointed because there is barely any action – it’s just a slow-burner of a growing up story.  I wasn’t expecting to read what is pretty much a short story anthology in one connected universe that was London, and it annoyed me so that I couldn’t really get into it, even though I finished it to the end.  There are instances where I enjoy that format, but usually it is in the form of supplementary material that goes along with an established series, not something standalone.  You want to get invested in characters, but you can’t, since they are guaranteed to go away after 50 pages.

 

Writers write based on their experiences and their beliefs and their interests, even if they try to put themselves into another character’s shoes.  That is why Brandon’s books tend to have a religious slant in them, even if it isn’t a main theme of the story.  And that is why Brandon’s writing, outside of violent battle scenes, tend to be pretty “clean” in terms of glossing over more mature subjects.  That aspect of it is pretty YA-level, even if the density and complexity of the story is way beyond YA.

 

I personally think Brandon associates a happy relationship to successful character development – once a character has reached the end of their journey, they deserve to get their happy wedding as a reward, even if they die afterwards.  Maybe it’s predictable, but to me it sounds like an “author appeal” quirk of his.  So I would not say that Shallan/Adolin are destined to fail.  Maybe they will go through a rough patch, but since they are major character and major supporting character, they will get development – and either they will get their happy marriage, or they will break up amiably just like the Wax and Marasi relationship which everyone was rooting on from the beginning.  Not everyone has to be in a relationship, and people can get satisfying character development without it. 

 

 

If you pick Assassin's Apprentice thinking it is about assassin, then you have not done a good job at researching the author you are about to read  :P Robin Hobb has her style, just like any author and her style pleases a lot of readers because she focuses heavily on character development even if she goes heavy on the trauma stick. You have to be emotionally prepared to read Robin Hobb which is why I haven't read her latest books yet: I am not in the mood for it.

 

London, I picked up because the paper had an articles on "books to make you travel". The name sounded familiar and I recalled hearing about it a while back, so I decided to try. I had no expectation whatsoever. It really worked out for me, but I had to work for it as the first two chapters weren't the best. It picks up with Julius, imho. The format was different than other format I have read and for this, it got my attention. Instead of focusing on characters, I focused on families. Of course, I had favorites going all the way through, but in the end I thought it was indeed a nice travel. Seeing how the fate of a family changes from one generation to the other was actually quite compelling, but the book is not for everyone. My mother-in-law didn't like it either. I had recommend it because she was enjoying Ken Follett: I thought it offered a similar experience.

 

Brandon once said there was some of him in all of his characters... I think all characters having a theological questioning must have some of Brandon in them, Kaladin takes up after his wife (he talked about it once). Adolin probably has his eager, generous, ready to help side. Brandon has also explained he was not comfortable writing certain scenes so instead of writing it bad, he waited until he would grow more confident. Over all, I think he has progressed a lot as a writer and he will likely keep on progressing. I do not chafe him for not writing more gory or sexual scenes: it isn't what I expect when I pick his books. 

 

Brandon has shown an inclination towards giving happy wedding to his characters though we must point out it isn't always the case. Gavilar/Navani was one unhappy union, for instances and so are Elhokar/Aseduan. This being said, I think he will muddle the cards with Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin. He won't go for the obvious right away even if it is his end game: he all but promised a love triangle recently thought not a traditional one whatever this means.

 

Also, I never rooted for Wax/Marasi: he is 40 years old and she is 18. Too me the age difference makes it practically creepy  :ph34r:

 

 Adolin would jump to conclusions, I agree with that.  That is why I included the scene in the fic where he barges into the room and sees Shallan’s dress on Kaladin’s table.  He assumes the worst possible thing happened, but is quickly proven wrong, and accepts that he is wrong because this relationship is one he wants to work.  In the past, when a girl dumped him, I got the feeling that was it, and Adolin didn’t try to get her back – he only moved on to the next girl, possibly even before he got dumped.  But once he gets into a relationship that he is genuinely invested in, he won’t immediately resort to abandoning ship as is default response.  In SA, Adolin tells Kaladin he “wants to keep this one”, which seems like he likes Shallan more than the other girls, and wants to actively continue their relationship.  I don’t know what it means in the post-Sadeas world, but in an AU where he doesn’t kill Sadeas, the day where the relationship might fail is a day that Adolin never wants to see.

 

I have tried to keep most characters in line with their canon personalities, with small changes where their personality/outlook on life depends on turning points that never happened in the AU.  Shallan is the type to take matters in her own hands if she has to, and there is no other option – she is the one who goes to steal Jasnah’s Soulcaster, instead of her older brothers doing anything.  She also likes costumes – and it’s a throwback to the chapter when she kills an ardent and Adolin gives her his coat to cover the bloodstains.  He says she looks nice in it, which is (hint hint) foreshadowing.  She has transferred Adolin to the list of people she would do crazy things to protect (like her brothers), but at the same time, just like canon-Shallan, she is not above manipulating him to get what she wants, or what she thinks is the greater good.

 

Renarin, too, I think is an interesting character, once he has gotten over his depression over being inadequate and useless.  One of the scenes that made an impression on me, was the one in WoK after the chasmfiend hunt when he said he was pretty much a drain on resources and better off dead.  It made me interpret him as a person who thinks outside the neurotypical box, and puts a value on a human life that normal people don’t want to think about because all human life is sacred.  But numbers people, like insurance actuaries do it on a regular basis, and Renarin is a numbers person.  Lirin said that surgeons make village people uncomfortable because they know what goes on inside their bodies when the skin is peeled away, and I write Renarin as someone who makes people uncomfortable because he can determine their usefulness with a dollar sign.  He also doesn’t follow morality in the same way as other people – in the last chapter, he doesn’t call Kaladin out for flirting with his brother’s girlfriend, and he helps Kaladin drug Shallan so he can ask her some questions before her ether trip.  It’s purposefully morally questionable, and I’m surprised no one reacted with a “what the heck why” type of response.

 

The funny thing in stories with strong female protagonists is that often the male characters end up being only cardboard love interests.  It goes both ways.  The big reveal – one of the best parts in a story, especially if it’s one where the readers knew it the whole time, but the supporting characters/other POVs didn’t.  That delicious, delicious irony.  I would say that when a reveal happens that the reader didn’t know about from the start, it is only good if the plot is set up well so it doesn’t come off as a chull pull, and the story still stands up well enough that you can re-read it and it won’t lose all the impact once the surprise is gone.  The best stories are the ones you immediately re-read to pick up the clues you missed the first time.

 

I don’t know if darkeyed girls can pass as a boy in an Alethi army – it’s going to be pretty tough to do a cross dress as an enlisted soldier who actually has to do work and pull their weight.  It’s easier as an officer (who are lighteyed only) who is supposed to live and eat separately from the enlisted grunts, and can tell people what to do instead of having to carry 40kg on his back and march 20 miles a day, but I don’t know if a regular soldier can do it for long – they will inevitably get caught.  Soldiers change in front of each other, don’t cover their safehands, and probably wash in the highstorm like the bridgemen do.  It gets obvious after a couple of weeks. 

 

 

 

 

slow to reply, sorry.   :(  :ph34r:

 

In the past, Adolin has presumably unconsciously sabotage all his relationship the second they start to get serious. According to Brandon, he is indeed afraid, afraid he won't be good enough, so he runs away instead of facing the music. It is a common quirk on perfectionists: to avoid the task at end for fear of falling. Shallan has completely unsettled his response pattern, so he has a harder time with it, but I do expect his instincts to come back. Think about it: he couldn't make it work with any girl because he feared he wasn't up to the task and now Shallan is a Radiant... He is wondering if he will ever be good enough for her: this time it is harder because he allowed himself to crush for her, but I see him get cold feet quite soon.

 

Also, since Adolin doesn't think he is good enough for anyone, the second he sees the implication something may have happened, he is bond to react very badly. It tackles his weak side: he already thinks no woman will ever love him, so why when he sees what appears as an "adventure" would he accept it isn't as it seems? Unconsciously, his instincts should be screaming out loud.

 

I like Shallan dressing up as an officer to stay with Adolin though I wonder how she plans to maintain, on the long run. Adolin is a soldier and it doesn't look as if he'll ever stop being one which means he will always be in danger of getting wounded or killed. It seems to me as if Shallan does not want to see this day, and I understand, but if she marries him, she has to live with him. Gagging him with ether to drag him out of the front lines is very cheap, imo. Adolin would never forgive her from taking him out of his duty, but I agree it does fit within Shallan's character to take this decision for him. Are you writing another epilogue?

 

I like Renarin as a supply officer: if this task had been performed by men, then surely Renarin would have endorsed this role happily. It makes me wonder, surely not all officers deal with battle in the Kholin army... It seems strange to me, but it may very well be so. I had wondered about the questioning Shallan: it seemed as a cheap ploy to find out if she really likes Adolin or not.

 

The best stories for me are those who are rich enough to allow me to speculate about it. Multi-POV authors will usually try to work out with several gender characters without having one solely being a love-interest, but in single-POV stories, you kinda have one character, so huh. I guess it happens. I have read good female characters and good male characters: as long as I have one character to root for and this character has something resembling to an arc, I'm happy.

 

Yeah well it takes a bit of time to answer. I hope this one sounds cohesive: wrote it in several days.

 

I think enjoyment from a book comes from your expectations of it.  If you go in blind, or are used to reading a certain type of story, and what you get is completely different, then you will not enjoy it.  People who read “Assassin’s Apprentice” expecting lots of assassinations will get disappointed because there is barely any action – it’s just a slow-burner of a growing up story.  I wasn’t expecting to read what is pretty much a short story anthology in one connected universe that was London, and it annoyed me so that I couldn’t really get into it, even though I finished it to the end.  There are instances where I enjoy that format, but usually it is in the form of supplementary material that goes along with an established series, not something standalone.  You want to get invested in characters, but you can’t, since they are guaranteed to go away after 50 pages.

 

Writers write based on their experiences and their beliefs and their interests, even if they try to put themselves into another character’s shoes.  That is why Brandon’s books tend to have a religious slant in them, even if it isn’t a main theme of the story.  And that is why Brandon’s writing, outside of violent battle scenes, tend to be pretty “clean” in terms of glossing over more mature subjects.  That aspect of it is pretty YA-level, even if the density and complexity of the story is way beyond YA.

 

I personally think Brandon associates a happy relationship to successful character development – once a character has reached the end of their journey, they deserve to get their happy wedding as a reward, even if they die afterwards.  Maybe it’s predictable, but to me it sounds like an “author appeal” quirk of his.  So I would not say that Shallan/Adolin are destined to fail.  Maybe they will go through a rough patch, but since they are major character and major supporting character, they will get development – and either they will get their happy marriage, or they will break up amiably just like the Wax and Marasi relationship which everyone was rooting on from the beginning.  Not everyone has to be in a relationship, and people can get satisfying character development without it. 

 

 
 

 

 

 Adolin would jump to conclusions, I agree with that.  That is why I included the scene in the fic where he barges into the room and sees Shallan’s dress on Kaladin’s table.  He assumes the worst possible thing happened, but is quickly proven wrong, and accepts that he is wrong because this relationship is one he wants to work.  In the past, when a girl dumped him, I got the feeling that was it, and Adolin didn’t try to get her back – he only moved on to the next girl, possibly even before he got dumped.  But once he gets into a relationship that he is genuinely invested in, he won’t immediately resort to abandoning ship as is default response.  In SA, Adolin tells Kaladin he “wants to keep this one”, which seems like he likes Shallan more than the other girls, and wants to actively continue their relationship.  I don’t know what it means in the post-Sadeas world, but in an AU where he doesn’t kill Sadeas, the day where the relationship might fail is a day that Adolin never wants to see.

 

I have tried to keep most characters in line with their canon personalities, with small changes where their personality/outlook on life depends on turning points that never happened in the AU.  Shallan is the type to take matters in her own hands if she has to, and there is no other option – she is the one who goes to steal Jasnah’s Soulcaster, instead of her older brothers doing anything.  She also likes costumes – and it’s a throwback to the chapter when she kills an ardent and Adolin gives her his coat to cover the bloodstains.  He says she looks nice in it, which is (hint hint) foreshadowing.  She has transferred Adolin to the list of people she would do crazy things to protect (like her brothers), but at the same time, just like canon-Shallan, she is not above manipulating him to get what she wants, or what she thinks is the greater good.

 

Renarin, too, I think is an interesting character, once he has gotten over his depression over being inadequate and useless.  One of the scenes that made an impression on me, was the one in WoK after the chasmfiend hunt when he said he was pretty much a drain on resources and better off dead.  It made me interpret him as a person who thinks outside the neurotypical box, and puts a value on a human life that normal people don’t want to think about because all human life is sacred.  But numbers people, like insurance actuaries do it on a regular basis, and Renarin is a numbers person.  Lirin said that surgeons make village people uncomfortable because they know what goes on inside their bodies when the skin is peeled away, and I write Renarin as someone who makes people uncomfortable because he can determine their usefulness with a dollar sign.  He also doesn’t follow morality in the same way as other people – in the last chapter, he doesn’t call Kaladin out for flirting with his brother’s girlfriend, and he helps Kaladin drug Shallan so he can ask her some questions before her ether trip.  It’s purposefully morally questionable, and I’m surprised no one reacted with a “what the heck why” type of response.

 

The funny thing in stories with strong female protagonists is that often the male characters end up being only cardboard love interests.  It goes both ways.  The big reveal – one of the best parts in a story, especially if it’s one where the readers knew it the whole time, but the supporting characters/other POVs didn’t.  That delicious, delicious irony.  I would say that when a reveal happens that the reader didn’t know about from the start, it is only good if the plot is set up well so it doesn’t come off as a chull pull, and the story still stands up well enough that you can re-read it and it won’t lose all the impact once the surprise is gone.  The best stories are the ones you immediately re-read to pick up the clues you missed the first time.

 

I don’t know if darkeyed girls can pass as a boy in an Alethi army – it’s going to be pretty tough to do a cross dress as an enlisted soldier who actually has to do work and pull their weight.  It’s easier as an officer (who are lighteyed only) who is supposed to live and eat separately from the enlisted grunts, and can tell people what to do instead of having to carry 40kg on his back and march 20 miles a day, but I don’t know if a regular soldier can do it for long – they will inevitably get caught.  Soldiers change in front of each other, don’t cover their safehands, and probably wash in the highstorm like the bridgemen do.  It gets obvious after a couple of weeks. 

 

 

 

 

slow to reply, sorry.   :(  :ph34r:

 

 

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On 15/05/2016 at 7:26 AM, maxal said:

Oh but I am guilty of being a wall, at times: nobody can truly be receptive to all conversation and some individuals need to ponder on things for a longer time period in order to re-assess their opinions. I am the kind of person which gets entangled within her own emotions which makes me yearn for validation. It is a rather complex behavioral system  :ph34r: This being said, in book related discussion, I do believe it is interesting to have people ask themselves questions because such is the purpose of... discussions. To challenge one's opinion with others, but it can get tedious and frustrating.

I judge how good a book is to my personal enjoyment in speculating about it: if it fuels my internal story making then it ranks higher on my personal list. Mistborn was not one of those books for me: it was a pleasant read, it had a few great twists, but it didn't offer me a reading experience as strong as SA. Some parts of the book were weaker and I wasn't mind-blown after reading while when I initially read SA, I felt I was being part of something bigger, grant and each time I picked up my book I thought to myself how great of a book it was. Mistborn greatest strength was falling at being predictable when you expected it to be, but characterization isn't strong in this series. This is true of later books as well. It is OK, not all books need to be strong on characterization (though it is a growing sentient, modern book are demanded to involve more on characters), but readers who prefer it will tend to prefer other books.

I have noticed that you get emotionally invested in in-depth discussions based on personal interpretations of character personalities and motivations.  It can be frustrating when people don’t agree with you, or when they don’t even understand your viewpoint, because they think the things you say are completely unfounded.  And sometimes I think they are, because the way you speculate or predict future happenings is based on what you think would be the best and most appealing “character journey” to you, full of trauma sticks that would fit a single character focused story like Farseer, but would bog down an ensemble cast plot-centered story like SA.  And where Robin Hobb trades in mercy/closure for the sake of drama, Brandon is not so sadistic with his characters as you would prefer.  I would have liked if there was closure on what happened when Shallan fell into the chasm and Adolin ran to save Dalinar first.  But the chasm scene was written as a novella within a novel and even though an “Adolin in mourning” PoV would be cute because I am a filthy shipper, I think it would slow down the pace of the high intensity action-drama of Kaladin and Shallan panicking about getting out of the chasm before the highstorm.  So I know how to separate what I would prefer to what I think is best for the reading experience of the entire book. There is a point where you can get too invested in a story, you know.  It’s only a book series, out of millions of series out there.  

I understand being emotionally invested in stories with characters you empathise with, but when you are reading any story, the author’s intent is that you should feel some sympathy with the acknowledged main character or main cast.  I do not think authors think in terms of “favourites” when writing their character, there are just characters they feel familiar enough or have personality traits based on experiences that the author empathises with, that writing their actions come naturally.  On the other hand, there are characters that take a bit more thought to plan out in order to avoid the OOC-zone.  So when you feel an author is writing a minor character like Lift or Lopen instead of the one you like, it’s not preferential treatment, and it’s not an attack on you, or an implication that your pet character is less liked or less useful to the narrative.  You are disappointed that Adolin doesn’t get a flashback sequence, and you have an issue with the fact that this means that his character can’t be explored in-depth like young Kaladin or young Shallan.  But does his character’s past NEED to be explored?  Adolin from the start was presented as the perfect prince daddy’s boy, and his current character is a subversion of reader expectations.  It is arguable that what he is currently, and what he is becoming, is more interesting than what he was in the past – someone who was closer to the typical Alethi ideal with Alethi thinking patterns, even if he was never as cut-throat as Sadeas or Blackthorn or as arrogant as Relis Ruthar.  I wouldn’t say scenes of his past would be boring, but they would be tangentially related to Dalinar and Renarin’s flashbacks, and having a third view of the same events such as Shshsh’s death would be kind of redundant.  I would prefer more development and screen time on Adolin’s current character over his past, which to other people who do not like him so much, would feel tedious and something that doesn’t contribute to the narrative.  It would be like the Kaladin prison scene.  And you should have enough faith in Brandon that he won’t throw Adolin into the fridge or under the bus or forget about him.

I do not feel like Brandon has “preferential treatment” just as he doesn’t have any specific hate for his characters.  Characters, dialogue, exposition, magic systems – they are all just tools to carry the story.  It is easier to enjoy the story instead of getting worried over it, if you step back a bit and read it as a whole instead of inspecting and analysing with a microscope.  Isn’t that the point of ensemble cast epic fantasy, when you have a wide setting that is a whole planet/supercontinent, and multiple PoV’s?  You are looking for the development and characterisation of literary fiction in an epic fantasy, and you are feeling disappointment because you can’t find them.  Maybe that’s a blunt way to say it, but you admit to feeling empathy with Adolin’s characters because you believe you have many personality traits and experiences in common, and that is how you read into his character deeply in analytical discussions.  Very few readers, or even the author, will likely go that far.  Most people, including me, tend to stay within the text when building theories or assumptions from canon, referring back to the books and including quotes when possible.  The disconnect you feel with most readers who don’t speculate comes from people, like me, who are not really as imaginative or in-depth as you, because where the canon is vague or not explicit in describing something, we refrain from making judgements rather than speculating on thin air.  And that is why people don’t see what you see in analysing SA – you are extrapolating further and farther than everyone else, because you are relying on your personal experience to interpret character interactions between Adolin and Renarin and Dalinar.  This is where the “talking to a wall” effect comes from, when you discuss with other people, or when they discuss certain subjective subjects with you.  Brandon writes with a light enough touch that everyone is free to think whatever they want, so I do not see the point in trying to convince other people if they have formed their own opinions and strongly believe in them.  Just like the way some artists draw Elhokar or Dalinar with a beard, Adolin as a sparkly pretty boy, or Kaladin as sprinter instead of a beefcake. 

 

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I agree with most of what you said about Dalinar/Adolin, except there is a side of Adolin which wants to please, wants to loved and yes even if he is a grown man, he still wants it. It isn't so much he wants a tap on the back, but his father has been putting a lot of pressure on him and Adolin has taken it to an extreme. Adolin doesn't know his father, the man and this is a discussion I believe needs to happen. Call it squishy if you want, but for me to state Rosharian men do not need heart felt discussions with their parents because their culture promotes the idea strong men do not cry is the same as stating men from the 50s never needed to talk and show emotions because such was the culture back in the day. Nothing could have been more wrong. Adolin and Dalinar are human beings, they have emotions and no matter what cultural environment they evolve in, they both have things to say to each other and those things won't flow down easily for both of them. It may not be culturally encouraged, but what happens behind closed doors do not need to be publicly known.

One of the main problem I see is Adolin doesn't seem to make the distinction between his father, his Highprince and his superior. All is muddled up which opens the door wide to his extreme behavior where duty gets mixed up with love. As for Dalinar, he doesn't make the difference between the soldier and the son which makes him treat Adolin harsher than he would normally have. A lot of projection happens here which created a situation where Adolin is not allowed mistakes nor leeway while everyone else is, from times to times. Many readers indeed do see Dalinar's behavior as a compliment, but they also tend to be the readers who have failed to notice how stressed out Adolin is. They don't see a problem because they don't see the problem with Adolin's behavior all through both books. I do not blame them as since the focus never is on Adolin, it is easy to miss all of it, but the words are right there, in the books. Dalinar behaves dramatically differently with basically anyone else, for instance Kaladin. Kaladin is how Dalinar should have treated Adolin: a firm hand coated with fatherly love, but Adolin never gets the later, he never gets leeway, he never gets away with anything and no, this isn't a sign of trust, but a sign of rigidity and a blindness to what it creates on the son: increased stress and pressure.

I am not sure Brought down to Normal is quite it, it seems to mostly take powered characters who looses their powers, like Kal in the chasm, but this scene didn't work for me.

I would agree to your first paragraph if Dalinar treated all of his "children" in a similar manner, but the fact remains he has favorites: Renarin, Elhokar and Kaladin. Adolin, for being his biological son, should have earn the right to be favored, from times to times, but it doesn't. Again, the behavior wouldn't bother me if Dalinar was not more caring about Kaladin than he is about Adolin. I do think Dalinar will sacrifice Adolin, at some point, but it'll turn out fine in the end. Somehow, but Dalinar's arc has to pass through learning being guiding does not mean being judging. It is very similar to Kaladin: he had to learn he doesn't have the right to decide who gets to be punished as he can't kill to protect unless in a direct confrontation. He doesn't get to pass judgment on those worthy or not of living. Dalinar, I suspect, has a similar arc: if he is to lead them all, he needs to learn how to be inspiring as opposed to judgmental. He also can't turn a blind eye of his people's misgiving simply because he is emotionally invested in them, but alternatively he can't be unforgiving for everyone's mistakes or else he won't have a kingdom to rule anymore. It is a very thin line he walks on, but in the end he has to learn to be a better judge of individual's personality and apply the right recipe to each.

I also dislike the idea because men are warriors they don't have feelings: they do. It just happens and Alethkar doesn't strike as this constipated on the matters. Adolin already is a very emotional individual who expresses many outward emotions. He may not talk about them, but they still happen. I personally dislike the idea because this is fantasy, then it has to embrace medieval time idea, especially when we are given inklings this society is quite different. Why because they have swords can't they have feelings as well? In any advent, talking about one's feelings is always difficult, even in our modern day time, so I don't buy the argument Dalinar and Adolin can't have a better relationship because the universe they evolve in isn't our own. I believe I place reasonable expectations on Dalinar as I expect him to treat Adolin is bit fairer which is perfectly within canon as he does it quite well with Kaladin. So it isn't beyond him nor against the Rosharian mentality. He openly dotes on Elhokar and Renarin, he hugs Renarin at the end of WoR: so yes sentimentality does happen on Alethkar. They certainly aren't as physically forward as modern day human, but they aren't above it. The Dalinar and Renarin scene I am referring to is a prime example. So why can't Dalinar behave in a similar manner with Adolin? 

My point is Dalinar is not only showing love nor care towards Adolin, he shows no regards with respect to his life and this has been bothering. I also disagree Dalinar sees Adolin's achievements, he sees what he thinks should be: not something Adolin had to work for. I would also point out Dalinar sees Renarin's achievements as well, stating how proud he was of him on several occasions. His behavior with Renarin is perhaps too soft in the sense he allowed him to grow into his adult years without having found a purpose. This is certainly not something I would wish him to do with Adolin, though he probably never had to make an effort with him. Adolin simply wanted to mimic his father, so he did. It was easy. Renarin is more challenging, but Dalinar projects himself too much into his sons to be an effective father. 

 

I won’t disagree that words need to be said between Dalinar and Adolin, a conversation that isn’t just about talking shop.  But IMHO, modern expectations colour expectations.  You, and other readers, want them to confront each other in a meaningful and lovingly emotional way, because that is the way it would happen in the modern world with therapists and family units that aren’t rigidly constructed in a hierarchy where a father is a patriarch and a superior officer.  Some Alethi men may want heartfelt discussions with their parents, but most would not, and the ones that want it and end up managing to conduct an emotionally honest conversation with his or her parents would not get as much as a modern reader would expect.  They have emotions, but based on how emotions are expressed in Alethi culture, it would not be sitcom “gushing”.  But to them, it would be enough.  A simple pat on the back would say a lot, and say enough, to me.  Compare to how (lighteyed) Alethi express themselves mentioned in-text: they don’t kiss each other in public, not even on the cheek. 

 

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“We march!” Dalinar declared.

A few of the officers whooped in excitement, an extreme show of emotion for the normally reserved Alethi.

Chapter 26, WoK

 

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“What you see is not real. Your life now is a rationalization, a way of trying to pretend that what’s happening isn’t happening. But I’ll go to Damnation itself before I’ll let you drag the entire house down without speaking my mind on it!”

He practically shouted those last words. They echoed in the large chamber, and Adolin realized he was shaking. He had never, in all his years of life, spoken to his father in such a way.

Chapter 24, WoK

 

I would not be surprised if Brandon based some of Alethi culture of stoicism and scholarliness for men and women on classical Greek history.  Kharbranth has always felt Greek to me, with the Palanaeum that is a clear reference to the Library of Alexandria.  Anyways, I would say that Adolin is the odd one out for having emotional responses that surface so visibly.  It’s not about age, or stage of life that prevents Alethi from speaking up about how their feeling, but their culture in general, which can’t just be viewed through the lens of a modern Earth upbringing.  Most other Alethi are stoic in public and on duty, and when they aren’t, it’s when they feel their honour is being threatened, ie, someone insults them.  The other time when an Alethi gives into his emotions is when he is on the battlefield and feeling the Thrill, but it’s taboo to discuss it with other people.  Readers can pick up when Adolin is feeling distressed because the POV narration gives it away, but in-story, no one can read minds and Dalinar is particularly stubborn with his relationship with Adolin, and the reason for it was never actually addressed after I went back and looked for it.

 

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“We’re mocked in every one of the warcamps, our authority and reputation diminishes by the day, and you refuse to do anything substantial about it!”

“Adolin. I will not take this from my son.”

“But you’ll take it from everyone else? Why is that, Father? When others say things about us, you let them. But when Renarin or I take the smallest step toward what you view as being inappropriate, we’re immediately chastised! Everyone else can speak lies, but I can’t speak the truth? Do your sons mean so little to you?”

Dalinar froze, looking as if he’d been slapped.

Chapter 24, WoK

Dalinar never answers the question, but then again Adolin keeps shouting and doesn’t let his father speak.  So they were both at fault at missing the moment that could have solved 1000 pages worth of angst.  It was the first time in his life that Adolin confronted his father like that, and I think that if they have such a moment again, it will be less dramatic and more respectful.  I do not expect it to be squishy.  They don’t need to cry to resolve their differences, which is something that you want, but is probably never going to happen.  Alethi men very very rarely cry, and the one time I can distinctly remember it happening was when Kaladin’s first bridge crew died and he almost jumped off the Honor Chasm.  Dalinar just needs to apologise and publically admit he was being too inflexible, a flaw that he is aware of already.  And he has managed to be honest about his feelings with Navani without breaking down and crying.

 

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“I just ask your understanding. It will take time. When I display frustration, it is not with you, but with the situation.”                         
Chapter 64, WoK

 

Here’s a theory for you – what if Dalinar’s love for Adolin as a son is what keeps him from setting up Adolin with a serious prospective wife?  He likes having Adolin around, even if they mostly interact as army officers, and if Adolin got married, it would mean him spending his time elsewhere “ensuring the succession” Unlike Renarin, Dalinar remarks on how quickly Adolin goes through the girls he courts, but he doesn’t criticise him, or tell him to stick with one girl for more than a month, or treat them better.  He wants Adolin to make a good match, but doesn’t involve himself with the process.  Yeah, it would be an extreme stretch to say that he’s deliberately encouraging Adolin to sabotage his relationships, but he relies on Adolin a whole lot, and his dependence on his son as someone who can speak it like it is without having to defer to rank like Teleb or Khal is important to him.  Or at least it was when he was very confused and pre-Radiant. 

 

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Dalinar sighed. “You know, it is customary to eventually choose just one woman to court.” You’re going to need a good wife, son. Perhaps very soon.

“I am ready, Brightlord,” Danlan said. She had a breathy, husky voice. Just the type that attracted Adolin. He hoped she wasn’t as vapid as those he usually picked.

Chapter 28, 20K

 

Some man-to-man advice about girls could have solved a whole lot of problems.  But it does show that Dalinar is hands-off emotions-wise, and leaves it up to Adolin to deal with his own problems, self-inflicted or otherwise.  It’s either out of innocent, non-malicious negligence or respect for Adolin’s sense of agency and learning from his own mistakes.  He encourages Adolin to marry for love, which means that it’s well-meaning in end, since what he really wants is for Adolin to be happy.  Even if it is difficult for him to show it. 


“Brought Down to Normal” would be the extreme end of the trope.  I think what you prefer is more like a “Prince to Pauper” type of role switch.  It can be really cheesy and heavy-handed in teaching moral lessons to stubborn and bratty kids in the hands of bad authors or YA authors, but I’m trying to think of epic fantasy or adult fantasy that has such a time.

 

The difference between Dalinar’s treatment between Adolin and Renarin is that Adolin is the heir, and Renarin is the spare.  Renarin is allowed leniency, because there is truth to what he is, he’s pretty much useless while Adolin is alive and wears the mantle of Highprince-in-waiting.  Yes, in an ideal world, both sons would be treated identically and raised to be responsible leaders, but Renarin’s diagnosis killed that idea as a child.  Dalinar is aware of it, and that is possibly why he is harder on Adolin.  There’s some aspects of Dalinar projecting and making Adolin into the model of what he wished he was when he was young, but also something of Dalinar wanting Adolin to be what an Alethi leader should be, which he could never be – because Dalinar thinks he is weak and flawed, but Adolin, the better man, isn’t. 

 

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“He will make a fine highprince, Dalinar thought. He’s been reared to it in a way that I never was.”

“Expect honor from those you meet, and give them the chance to live up to it.”

“What would the world be like if all men lived as the book proclaimed?  Someone had to start. Someone had to be the model.”

Chapter 28, WoK

 

That’s the difference between Dalinar’s treatment of Renarin and Adolin.  Dalinar expects too much from Adolin, but doesn’t expect anything at all from Renarin – he just wants Renarin to stay at home without making trouble or getting in the way.  You might call Dalinar’s soft treatment of Renarin to be a show of love, but it’s arguable that Dalinar’s firmness with Adolin is an equal show of love, and shows respect, of Adolin as an adult man and his ability to take care of business.  And I think that if Adolin was treated softly in the same way as Renarin from the start, he would have turned out to be more rebellious and impatient, because Adolin yearns to excel at what he does for his own satisfaction, and not just to impress his dad and the other lighteyes.

 

High fantasy might not follow cultural values of IRL medieval Earth, or Earth at all, but you have to keep in mind at all times that it’s NOT Earth.  Dalinar loves his children, and he loves his Princedom and all the men who follow him.  Just because he doesn’t show it openly, or show it in a way that you, or other modern Earth readers, think love should be showed, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel it.  It’s just like complaining about the way Adolin and Kaladin don’t see anything wrong with the institution of slavery.  Kaladin doesn’t like being a slave, but he doesn’t think slavery is wrong – he would just rather not be a slave himself.  Even if it would be indentured servitude by our Earth definitions, since they do get paid.  Shallan thinks Jasnah’s atheism is really weird in a negative way, and the idea of men being able to read and write (Amaram’s glyph writing) is unsettling to her.  It would be a bit presumptuous for a modern Earth reader to say that what they think is wrong, and it would be improved if they knew better, because it’s part of the setting and the worldbuilding.  It would be more unbelievable and immersion breaking if people in the story were to believe things that do not follow the outlined general beliefs of the world’s population, just as it would be Out of Character for Dalinar to break down and start gushing over his sons and how he mistreated them, or was a neglectful and distant father who cared too much for what the Kingdom wanted rather than their own happiness. 

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“A monarch is control, he thought, remembering a passage from The Way of Kings. He provides stability. It is his service and his trade good. If he cannot control himself, then how can he control the lives of men?”

Chapter 28, WoK

 

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“Dalinar was so firm, even sitting there, contemplating his own madness.  Dalinar made a decision and stuck to it, not wavering or debating.”
Chapter 52, WoK

 

Adolin is aware of his father’s personality, and is aware that he is the only person who can confront his father in an emotionally intimate way.  If anything is going to happen, it would be up to Adolin to broach the subject rather than waiting for Dalinar to call him out on it.  I think Dalinar would be more disappointed than angry about Sadeas’ death, because they had stopped being friends for years; even in his first PoV chapter in WoK, he wasn’t friends with Sadeas.  If Dalinar had paid attention instead of being blinded by hope, he would have been able to see that Sadeas was a sneaky little cremling.  He even knew before the Tower happened that Sadeas was untrustworthy.

 

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“All right,” Adolin said, walking up to Dalinar. They were alone in the hallway. “I can accept that. Assuming you don’t tell Sadeas about it. I still don’t trust him.”

“I’m not asking you to trust him,” Dalinar said pushing the door open to his chambers.

Chapter 60, WoK

 

 

 

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I have made it to chapter 12, but I wasn't sure how to proceed from then and onward. I fear I do not have the writing talent to put in words the story I have in my head. I would need to undergo real-time studies in order to improve my prose: without a teacher I have no idea where most of my mistakes are or why it has to be written differently. 

I try to avoid translation as some of the terms they use are strange or funny sounding. My understanding of English grammar is non-existent. I write as I speak and I put up sentences based on what I believe sound right. English is simpler than French, but many words sound the same to me, so I keep mixing them up.

I have heard mixed reviews about the Golden Compass so I have always been reluctant to try it. The political/religious endgame didn't bother me in Ender's Game, but I have no desire to pursue beyond this one book. What happens next just doesn't appeal to me.

As a teenager, I read mostly LoTR, Stephen King and Ann Rice. YA didn't exist back then, so all stories were slow burners with plenty of words. I fear the YA trend has created expectations with regards to pacing and action into stories as if people couldn't appreciate longer work anymore. Mind, if the pace goes slow, something else need to happen. For instance, in SoS, the pace was up to a minimum for most of the book. I found it problematic because all I got in return was detective work from Marasi which wasn't a story arc I enjoyed. Nothing against Marasi, but murder and mystery just isn't a writing style I enjoy reading. To each our own, so instead of giving me pace, Brandon gave me something I dislike... bad combination.

You don’t have to go through real-time studies, unless you feel that your grasp of language is really that deficient.  You can read properly proofread and edited books published by major publishers and make a conscious note of how paragraphs and sentences structures.  It’s easier if you are re-reading books you know well, rather than new ones, so you can focus on the style of the prose rather than content.  I have no formal education in creative writing and English grammar past what’s mandatory for secondary schools, but reading and picking apart books and applying it to prose I write has helped me a lot in figuring out what is correct versus what sounds correct in my head.  And Google helps.  When I am figuring out how to make sure Neither/Nor and Either/Or are used correctly, or when to use “whom” or “whence” or “wherefore”, I make sure to Google if I am not certain and can’t remember it from my school days.

 

The Golden Compass IS like Ender’s Game in a lot of ways, in that the first book is pretty iconic and readable, and you can stop reading after you finish and never pick up the sequels.  I have re-read Ender’s Game multiple times, but never felt the urge to re-read the sequels after reading them just to find out what happened next.  Ender is a Classic.  Speaker for the Dead loses all the charm and close-focus on one small and well-defined setting that makes Ender’s Game enjoyable.  Modern YA has pretty much popularised popcorn novels.  Most are simplistically written in three acts, with one main character, one main love interest and one main villain, and the themes explored tend to be superficial, but if it is well-written, it will be thoughtful while providing closure.  They don’t appeal to people who want something more sophisticated, more open-ended, more philosophical, etc.  I don’t like everything Brandon writes, and no one has to.  I didn’t really like Elantris, and liked Warbreaker more than Mistborn.  I thought Rithmatist was better than Reckoners Trilogy, of which Steelheart was the best and Calamity was okay, but nothing in it struck me as being an above average YA teen thriller.  Don’t feel guilty about not liking anything!  Save your feelings for feeling nice things about the series you DO like.

 

 

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In my personal opinion, Adolin has emotional control issues, just like most extroverted feelers such as himself and he is highly susceptible to stress and anxiety. He fears being afraid, he anticipates worst-cases scenarios and he refuses himself the right to make mistakes. These are very personal issues Adolin would need to deal with, no matter the setting. He may not have had the opportunity to make a drastic mistake such as in the book, but eventually, he would need to learn how to deal with his emotive side. His incapacity to see mistakes as a possibility combined to a sensitivity to stress/anxiety has to be addressed as it will only get worst as the end game increases. Sooner or later, he will hit his wall and while it may not be as dramatic as book Adolin, he needs to meet it. If not now, then later, but anxiety doesn't resolve itself simply because you are in a good place, it remains there and as soon as a hardship occurs it bounces back. Worst, the least exposure you have to it, the worst it gets once the spiraling starts. So for me, Adolin lacks this side as these aren't things which simply disappears. It remains there and even when you think you have it under control, it pops back. This being said, in the scope of a story where he isn't a MC, there was no need to further explore it.

I personally would not like it if my 17 years old daughter were to date a 23 years old, not to mention I think it is illegal in Quebec. There is a maximum age difference to respect when it comes to minor. I think it is about 2 years for kids under 16 and 4 years for those in between 16 and 18. Adolin could be accused of pedophilia and yes it happens. Some 17 years old kid got accused of such for having a relationship with a 13 years old girl. The fact the parents agreed to it didn't matter: it is illegal in Quebec. So for me 17-23 is too big of an age difference, at their age. If they were 25-30, then it would be fine. The age gap perhaps works into SA, but it has bothered me as it wouldn't be an acceptable one in real life. I wish Brandon has made Adolin a few years younger or Shallan a few years older. 

Does Adolin know about her money problem? We can assume he does, but we do not see her telling him. It has been bothering me, the fact he hasn't told him anything about herself. Anything. Not even the basic: she didn't have to go into the details, but she could have shared a few details. 

I agree the age difference is acceptable within canon, but the fact canon thinks it acceptable does not make me more inclined to agree to it. I wish it had been made smaller. Shallan is too much of a little girl, she isn't ready for marriage while Adolin is. I see much problems with the relationship as it stands.

Shshshsh dying young is sad. I had given thoughts as to how she may have passed away. Initially, I thought she may have died in childbirth. Roshar isn't modern enough in terms of medicare to significantly lower the number of women dying in childbirth. Issues such as preeclampsia, premature birth, diabetes, thyroid, badly positioned baby, delivery issues would still impair pregnant women as those life are being saved by modern technology which Roshar does not possess. It seemed plausible. However, the flashback also told us Shshshshsh and her brother are fugitives running away from pursuers for having stolen a Shardplate: Adolin's Shardplate. It have thus though she may have simply been assassinated... Think about it. Toe stroke an alliance to protect himself and his sister, willing to pay with his stole Plate, though he must have outmaneuver someone in order to give it to his unborn nephew as opposed to a random worthy soldier. Where is Toe now? Not only he does not appear in the story, nobody mentions him... I am left to think he either was killed or he ran away furthermore, trying to steer the pursuers away from his sister. It now seems plausible Shshshsh was killed for having stole the Plate, but she, somehow, managed to hid it away from them to recover. Shallan remarks how Adolin's Plate history has been kept up to date by his mother, except we now know it was stolen... Did she invent it all in order to protect her son's heirloom? Are there people still looking for it?

 

I am aware that beneath Adolin’s confident and charming public persona, he is not as happy as he appears to be.  When I wrote him in the story, I tried to incorporate insecurity and apprehension/fear of the unknown in his character, to contrast with Shallan who feels insecurity but is more aware of it, and tries to rationalise it by passing it off on people around her, like Kaladin or Jasnah, or mentally blanking it out.  I explored it a bit, but only within the context of a romance story, for the scenes where Adolin mentions his failed relationships and how they fail, but I make it clear he has no idea why it keeps happening, which is an unknown that makes him unconsciously uneasy.  Another difficulty in incorporating my analysis of his character was that because I was writing from Shallan’s PoV and trying to stay consistent to that the whole way through, was that the depth I went into dissecting his flaws and weaknesses only went as far as what Shallan personally perceived.  And she is not the most aware or omniscient of narrators.  There is another side of Adolin’s insecurity, for how he admires the Blackthorn’s former glory on the battlefield, but I didn’t get a chance to fully explore it, because again, it was mostly Shallan’s story.   Adolin’s problems don’t go away, and he still has moments of hot-headed impulsiveness, because it’s an important and character-defining part of his personality, but he learns to handle it better, or at least think and consider before he acts.  The epilogue of the story takes place in a warcamp, and I think if I ever wrote more about the war, I would definitely include more of Adolin and his struggles, if he loses a battle or if Shallan and Kaladin wander off and end up in another chasm scene adventure.  Because at the end of Shallan’s story, Shallan has finished her journey but Adolin has only just begun.

 

With these kinds of laws, it’s pretty much only illegal if you get reported and caught.  In Australia, the drinking age is officially 18, but no one will arrest you if you are drinking alcohol with the knowledge and consent of parents.  So these laws are mean well, and are trying to protect people from abuses, but I don’t think they are unquestionable DA RULEZ that mean that feeling attraction or wanting to be in a relationship with this or that person is wrong and you should feel bad for wanting it, in this universe and in the Cosmere.  Because Shallan is around 17.5 in WoR, and I don’t think that six months from being 18 is enough to make Adolin a paedo.  Laral married Roshone when she was 15/16, and he must have been almost 40, Malise Gevelmar was 22-25 when she married Lin Davar.   13 and 17 would be a stretch, since one person is under 16, but if both people are over 16, then I think it comes down to a case by case basis on whether the age difference is inappropriate. 

 

Adolin is only courting Shallan, which you do for several months to several years, and courting, in the old-fashioned formal sense, means going out on dates in public, with chaperons and minimal touchy-touchy.  In Alethkar, and because it’s a Brandon book, they wouldn’t be doing anything “mature” before they’re married, and since Dalinar dated Shshshs for 3 years, they’ll all be perfectly legal adults in Earth-years by the time that happens, if it happens at all.  This is why I don’t consider their relationship inappropriate, and why I don’t see it necessary that any character be aged or de-aged to make the story more enjoyable to my reading experience.  But it depends on the characters, and Adolin and Shallan act like, and are expected to act like, mature adults in their setting based on what we’ve seen from them, even if they are both capable of acting rashly and doing stupid things occasionally, which most adults are.  If you have read the Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim is a 22/23 year old Toronto guy who is dating 17 year old Knives Chau.  I did not like this pairing at all, even if the author made it clear that nothing explicit happened and their dates were just hanging out at the arcade or the pizza shop.  Knives is a high schooler who just wants a boyfriend, and Scott is an emotionally immature pathetic manchild who cheats on Knives because he is so pathetic he can’t say “no” when another girl hits on him.  This is the type of relationship I do not like, and it’s not really the age that bothers me, but rather how unsuited for each other the characters are.  This is why I can read classic romance novels where 10 year age differences are normal, and I don’t feel weirded out, as long as the relationships and the characters are handled in a mature and realistic way, which I feel Brandon Sanderson has done so far.   But, essentially, this is a YMMV thing, and I personally don’t have a problem with it.  I started dating my boyfriend when I was 18 and he was almost 22.  It comes down to emotional maturity, and being a reasonable person who can communicate with other people in a clear and rational way, which is a skill that not everyone has, no matter their age. 

 

If Uncle Toe or Shshshsh were violently assassinated, that could explain why Adolin is so protective of his father when they thought the Assassin in White was gunning for him.  Dying through childbirth complications is also possible, but the difference between Roshar and IRL Earth history is because they have fewer diseases, most women wouldn’t be having 13 children each like they did in early modern history.  Most deaths back then were due to infections, and because Rosharans have Herald knowledge and can see rotspren, they don’t have as high a mortality rate.  I don’t see lighteyed women having more than 2-4 children if they are all guaranteed to survive to adulthood, because they would have to provide incomes for all of them, and there are only so many Citylord positions you can hand out through nepotism.  And since Adolin was guaranteed Shardplate since birth, it was all but guaranteed that he would survive to inherit the Kholin Princedom.  It could have been an unfortunate horse riding accent, which would be kind of anti-climactic, but non-traumatising to Adolin since he doesn’t seem affected by as of WoR.  However, Rosharans can still get mental illnesses.

 

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“Adolin’s grandfather had suffered from delusions. When he’d grown old, he’d thought he was back at war. Was that what happened to Dalinar? Was he reliving youthful battles, days when he’d earned his renown?”

Chapter 12, WoK

 

I’m assuming that the grandfather is Dalinar’s father and not Shshshsh’s, since it seems like Shshshsh and her brother abandoned their families in Iri.

 


 

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If I search the tag on Archive of our Own, the majority of my discoveries are either OT3/OT4 or another non-canon based ship. I sincerely do not understand the appeal of some of those ships. It would be better if several writers weren't keen on writing miserable broken weak injured crying Kaladin being taken care of by strong perfect Adolin. That one is baffling... Kaladin does not break, even when he breaks, he doesn't become weak. This is pure fan service, but it is too OOC for me to enjoy it.

There aren't a lot of people who dare writing Shallan/Adolin even though it is one of the most popular one. There is one fic who is quite good, in a heart-breaking way. It explores an AU where Zahel does not make it to Roshar and thus does not train Adolin nor Kaladin nor Renarin. None are ready for the 4 on 1 duel. Kaladin gets killed first, then Renarin. Dalinar jumps in the melee and he gets killed as well. Then the beating starts. They let Adolin live, but he is horribly crippled. He does not break though: he keeps on going and he gets his revenge. He marries Shallan as well. It was a short fic, but I thought it was a good one, in a sad way.

I agree most of those fics are fan service built up is required, but perhaps those writers didn't know how to bring it forward better. Still I read all fics, so Kadolin aren't bad.: there are 2-3 I rather liked.

OT3 ships ARE fanservice, and if you expect them to be anything different, then you will be disappointed.  From the 2000+ pages of SA already published, I think it’s pretty clear within the established character personalities that they would not accept a polyamourous relationship situation, and Adolin nor Kaladin have not shown any indication of being bi or gay.  Kaladin in his bridgeman and bodyguard storylines up until 75% of WoR was more asexual than anything else, IMO.  So any fan-written story that tries to go in that direction is ignoring canon, for the writer’s own satisfaction.  And hey, if you can’t decide if Shalladin is better than Shadolin, why not give Shallan two boyfriends instead of making her pick one?  Such stories run on author appeal, and honestly, if it doesn’t appeal to you personally, you don’t have to read it if the plot synopsis looks like something you wouldn’t enjoy.  I personally don’t read a lot of fanfiction, because from what I have read, it is a sad fact that most amateur/hobby writers in general don’t have the motivation or the skill to develop or “sell” a story.  So many stories are left unfinished, or are poorly plotted with a flat resolution, or are short stories under 5k words that read like popcorn – you read it, and then you forget it, because it didn’t develop enough either in story or in character to make it memorable.  I don’t mean to sound harsh or elitist, but there is a rule of the internet that states that 90% of stuff will be terrible, due to the massive amount of content out there, whether it is on fanfiction.net or on deviantart.  When I want to be immersed by a story, I read published fiction or well-reviewed completed serials.  And from what I have seen on the creative side of Sanderfan content, the visual artists support Shadolin more than Shalladin, and both of those over the OT3 pairing.  Could be a demographics thing, who knows.

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Oh gee neither Dalinar nor Adolin know how to cook: they would probably burn water  And poor Adolin eats disgusting protein shakes while having to count his calories: a sad life  AU Adolin has a bit of a sad life: he is very lonely, just like in the book, but modern day makes it worst. Adolin at the Stormblessed tables has wide eyes like a child in front of a Christmas tree: delicious simple humble food and Hesina gave him a second serving without looking twice at his shape. 

Nah Adolin does not have an old video game console: video games were forbidden in the Kholin household as they were deemed unproductive. Renarin hacked a few games on his computer, but Adolin lives by the rules. Tien is the one who has a second-hand old video game console and he introduces Adolin to it who is too cool to refuse. Of course, he's terrible at it while Kaladin, who never plays, is excellent.

I think Adolin, depending on his mental state when he meets them, would be ridiculously happy to meet Shallan's brothers. Balat, I think, would play the role of the over-protective brother and look at Adolin's engaging smile in a suspicious manner. Jushu would think he is too squeaky-clean (if they ever get married, Jushu tries to corrupt Adolin at this bachelor party  ). Wikim would get along just fine with Adolin: he'd remind him of Renarin.

No video games?  No fun allowed?  What does Adolin do with his free time, assuming he gets any?  I would think that “fun” activities are banned on school nights and weekdays, but they should be allowed on weekends.  The Codes of War ban drinking on duty, drunkenness and duelling, but in a modern AU, there is no war, so Adolin should be allowed to chill out a bit on weekends, at least.  Dalinar from SA disapproves of Adolin visiting courtesans, and who knows how that could be translated to modern Earth. I have the suspicion that it would make Adolin would be a very sad, repressed, and frustrated young man.  :ph34r:

 

I think Shallan is the type of person who can’t cook, either.  If Shallan and Adolin ever co-habit, they would be the kind of couple that lives off takeaways.  Whereas Kaladin is very conscientious about taking care of his stuff, and cleaning – Surgeon Lirin from SA made him do all the cleaning in their home clinic, and probably makes sure to sharpen his kitchen knives on a regular basis.  It would be a nice thing for Adolin and Renarin to have friends their own age, if they did get cool new brothers-in-law like Balat and Wikim.  I’m not sure about Jushu, because he seems like the most outwardly dysfunctional brother, while being essentially harmless.  But Balat is the real messed up one, because he thinks he is perfectly sane, and what he does to keep control of his sanity is something that Adolin, who loves animals and hates bullies, would never tolerate.  I think that if SA-Shallan has “reforged” herself after she has accepted her truths, she would have the awareness to realise that her family IS messed up, and she would be ashamed for Adolin to see them at their worst. 

 

 

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Lift was given Wyndle by the Nightwatcher recently: not all bonds started 6 years ago. I certainly do not think all stories will involve torture or terrible parents trying to kill their children... Dalinar's past does not involve any of those events: his brother was assassinated. Not a fun thing to go through, but not quite the same as murdering your mother at the age of 11 years old. Jasnah and Renarin's former life also seem to be exempt of overly traumatic events, but we have yet to read it. Jasnah's carries much mystery, I agree but Renarin? Is there truly much in there but a small disabled boy who felt he didn't belong? I for one do not believe the boys were involved into their mother's death unless Renarin is a very liar and was able to hide this from Adolin all those years.

It would be shameful because the live-spren all view the dead-Blade as abomination. Syl openly hates all Shardbearers and distrusts them. Now while it is fair to assume not all sprens would react in a similar way, it is also fair to assume several would embrace a similar behavior. Therefore considering how important Syl's reaction is to Kaladin, it is also fair to assume a large chunk of the future Radiants would look upon the dead-Blades disapprovingly. It will give credence to Relis running away screaming about having killed his Blade... Shardbearers are bond to grow wary around their Blade, perhaps not all of them, but several. In the end, as the Radiants become more numerous, respected and at the head of society, the general populace is bond to emulate their behavior, so to speak. For me, it is only a question of time before the former Shards become obsolete. A nice advantage to have, but one you need to hide for fear of being labelled a murderer.

I am unsure if the Radiants will ever be able to work with the Shardbearers... Kaladin really hates them, I don't see him fighting side to side with them, on purpose. I am convinced he won't be the only one sharing the sentient. In any case, we'll have to RAFO on that.

 

If being “broken” doesn’t have to involve torture or abuse from an external source, there is still a good possibility that the “breaking” was internal.  I think Kaladin bonding Syl properly came more from the Chapter 11 scene in WoK when he thought about jumping into the Honor Chasm than those 9 months of beatings and being hauled around in a slave cage after Amaram’s betrayal.  It is possible that there was a point in Renarin’s life that he wanted to jump into his own Honor Chasm, and his choice of life over death was the action that bonded Glys.  I get that people feel that Renarin’s reveal of being a secret Radiant the whole time came out of nowhere, and felt unfounded, because he didn’t appear to feel the same level of trauma of everyone else.  Yes, it would be kind of dull in a narrative sense to have a second formerly-suicidal Radiant, but depression is a legitimate and serious illness so I guess I will hold my judgement on whether Renarin is “worthy” or “deserving” of being magically chosen until it’s made clear in canon.

 

This is just a theory, but maybe Syl is adamantly against dead Shardblades because as an Honorspren, she is closest to Honor than any other spren “flavour”, and the idea of broken oaths between a Knight and his/her bonded spren makes her sick more than any other type?  Honorspren hold personal oaths above written laws, so it would be understandable for her to feel revulsion from proximity to dead Blades, but you can compare her reaction to Pattern.  Pattern has no problems with lies, and is closer to Cultivation on the spren scale.  He had no problem thinking about dead Blades or dying, and he expects that he will become one someday.  He was in close proximity to Adolin’s and Renarin’s dead Blades when they were figuring out the Oathgates during the Battle of Narak, and didn’t make negative comments on them to Shallan, which Syl would have done if it had been Kaladin in that situation.   I think Kaladin’s dislike of Shardbearers comes from his past history and unpleasant associations with Amaram and his squad rather than the concept of Shardbearers in general.  He had no problem with Moash being a Shardbearer, even if he would have hated to be one himself. 

 

Not everyone will want to emulate Radiants, not for generations at least, or however long it takes to finish the Desolation or defeat Odium for good.  The general population has a huge mistrust of Radiants, which can’t be changed unless the Radiants visibly and publicly save the world.  Until then, and until the number of Radiants ramps up, they will have to work with Shardbearers, who are not completely obsolete when they can handle the mooks of the Desolation, which are the Stormform Voidbringers.  Sure, they might not be able to take on a Thunderclast when they can’t surgebind, but they can make sure the smaller, weaker monsters are taken care of when the Radiants, not all of which are combat-class, go to battle.  And there will be normal people who are neither, because they seemed to have survived the previously.  If lighteyes are the descendants of Radiants, and based on what we have seen of Alethkar, darkeyes outnumber lighteyes, and most farming communities are 95% darkeyed, there are people who not Surgebinders who managed to survive the apocalypse.  So I would say that Adolin, as a lighteyed Shardbearer of privilege, is not completely useless in battle, as long as he doesn’t do something stupid to take himself out of the game, like run off ridgebark for a week straight to keep up, etc.  Everyone will have to work together to pull through, darkeyes and lighteyes, Radiants and Shardbearers.  Dalinar’s duty is to UNITE MEN.  He wouldn’t let disagreements divide his army, not when the world needs saving.

 

 

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If you pick Assassin's Apprentice thinking it is about assassin, then you have not done a good job at researching the author you are about to read   Robin Hobb has her style, just like any author and her style pleases a lot of readers because she focuses heavily on character development even if she goes heavy on the trauma stick. You have to be emotionally prepared to read Robin Hobb which is why I haven't read her latest books yet: I am not in the mood for it.

London, I picked up because the paper had an articles on "books to make you travel". The name sounded familiar and I recalled hearing about it a while back, so I decided to try. I had no expectation whatsoever. It really worked out for me, but I had to work for it as the first two chapters weren't the best. It picks up with Julius, imho. The format was different than other format I have read and for this, it got my attention. Instead of focusing on characters, I focused on families. Of course, I had favorites going all the way through, but in the end I thought it was indeed a nice travel. Seeing how the fate of a family changes from one generation to the other was actually quite compelling, but the book is not for everyone. My mother-in-law didn't like it either. I had recommend it because she was enjoying Ken Follett: I thought it offered a similar experience.

Brandon once said there was some of him in all of his characters... I think all characters having a theological questioning must have some of Brandon in them, Kaladin takes up after his wife (he talked about it once). Adolin probably has his eager, generous, ready to help side. Brandon has also explained he was not comfortable writing certain scenes so instead of writing it bad, he waited until he would grow more confident. Over all, I think he has progressed a lot as a writer and he will likely keep on progressing. I do not chafe him for not writing more gory or sexual scenes: it isn't what I expect when I pick his books. 

Brandon has shown an inclination towards giving happy wedding to his characters though we must point out it isn't always the case. Gavilar/Navani was one unhappy union, for instances and so are Elhokar/Aseduan. This being said, I think he will muddle the cards with Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin. He won't go for the obvious right away even if it is his end game: he all but promised a love triangle recently thought not a traditional one whatever this means.

 

If you know a book is heavy before you read it, it’s always good to take a breather with a light novel to get into the mood.  Between “heavy” books I like to re-read my favourite romantic comedies, or other books that I know end in a high note.  Robin Hobb is rather good for having a reliable publishing schedule, so even if one book ends up in a depressing cliffhanger, you are guaranteed to find out what happens next in a year, and when she finishes one series, it is always a satisfying end with closure.  Even it isn’t something that is 100% rainbows and sunshine.  London was a book that I never bothered to re-read because I went into expecting historical fiction, but then it turned into a series of self-contained short stories that was closer to a family drama that happened to be set in the past.  I don’t mind family dramas, nor do I mind travelogue style stories, but I do like character continuity throughout a whole novel or novella.  That is why I rarely read fantasy anthologies, even if they are written by authors I like, who consistently churn out good stories that appeal to me.  Many fantasy authors do this after finishing a series or writing in between series – they write a short story, or bonus story featuring a secondary character in a well-loved universe.  It whets your appetite but leaves you hungry in the end. 

 

It’s a good thing when you can’t tell how much of a writer is in his or her characters.  Writers usually put something of themselves in a character, but as long as they do it in a way that the average reader can’t pick it up, they did it right – it makes characters less predictable, and authors less annoying.  It is always very tedious for me to read a story where it is obvious that the main character is the mouthpiece of the author, and everything the MC says is a reflection of the author’s beliefs – and sometimes I will put the book down if it turns into political or moral lecturing.  I actually finished a book recently with such a MC, which had me rolling my eyes at how contrived it was.  Brandon’s writing sexual/violent scenes in SA is criticised as being “sanitised”, but compared to how he wrote Elantris or Warbreaker, he has gotten much better.  He’s still very subtle about it, but it’s still there if you look for it.  And if Brandon’s theological references bother you, then it’s better to enjoy the story at face value instead of digging deeper into the analysis sphere in order to read between the lines, as some people did with their interpretations of Mistborn’s writing on metal plates.

 

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“Navani,” he said sufferingly. “Please. Don’t do this again. I’m tired.”

“Excellent. That might make it easier to get what I want.”

Chapter 52, WoK

 

:lol::lol::lol:

 

No one knows what Brandon meant by “traditional” love triangle.

 

 

 

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In the past, Adolin has presumably unconsciously sabotage all his relationship the second they start to get serious. According to Brandon, he is indeed afraid, afraid he won't be good enough, so he runs away instead of facing the music. It is a common quirk on perfectionists: to avoid the task at end for fear of falling. Shallan has completely unsettled his response pattern, so he has a harder time with it, but I do expect his instincts to come back. Think about it: he couldn't make it work with any girl because he feared he wasn't up to the task and now Shallan is a Radiant... He is wondering if he will ever be good enough for her: this time it is harder because he allowed himself to crush for her, but I see him get cold feet quite soon.

Also, since Adolin doesn't think he is good enough for anyone, the second he sees the implication something may have happened, he is bond to react very badly. It tackles his weak side: he already thinks no woman will ever love him, so why when he sees what appears as an "adventure" would he accept it isn't as it seems? Unconsciously, his instincts should be screaming out loud.

I like Shallan dressing up as an officer to stay with Adolin though I wonder how she plans to maintain, on the long run. Adolin is a soldier and it doesn't look as if he'll ever stop being one which means he will always be in danger of getting wounded or killed. It seems to me as if Shallan does not want to see this day, and I understand, but if she marries him, she has to live with him. Gagging him with ether to drag him out of the front lines is very cheap, imo. Adolin would never forgive her from taking him out of his duty, but I agree it does fit within Shallan's character to take this decision for him. Are you writing another epilogue?

I like Renarin as a supply officer: if this task had been performed by men, then surely Renarin would have endorsed this role happily. It makes me wonder, surely not all officers deal with battle in the Kholin army... It seems strange to me, but it may very well be so. I had wondered about the questioning Shallan: it seemed as a cheap ploy to find out if she really likes Adolin or not.

The best stories for me are those who are rich enough to allow me to speculate about it. Multi-POV authors will usually try to work out with several gender characters without having one solely being a love-interest, but in single-POV stories, you kinda have one character, so huh. I guess it happens. I have read good female characters and good male characters: as long as I have one character to root for and this character has something resembling to an arc, I'm happy.

 

Adolin is afraid, and he’s insecure about “deserving” and being “worthy” of love.  SA Adolin is or is heading in a dark place right now since everyone is too busy doing other things to ask him how is and how he’s feeling.  But in the fic I wrote, Shallan has moved past the point where she just wants to use him because he’s useful.  What would Adolin’s state of fear and insecurity be if he knew that Shallan cared for him, enough to follow him to the battlefield in what appears to an unambiguous act of love?  Would he even get cold feet when he feels more than a crush for Shallan, and she feels for him right back?  This is what I was thinking about when I wrote the last chapter of the story.  Shallan has not appeared to show interest in other men in Adolin’s presence, and because Adolin is a good judge of character, he wouldn’t immediately jump to conclusions about any naughty things Kaladin may or may not have done.  Kaladin isn’t untrustworthy like Sadeas, who is a textbook sleazy villain.

 

Cross-dressing as a male soldier can never be a long-term thing.  People will get suspicious if one officer looks like he’s permanently stuck in puberty and never needs to shave.  Shallan understands that Adolin is a soldier, but she doesn’t understand why he needs to fight in the front lines and die in a last stand, because she disagrees with the codes of honour and chivalry from the Way of Kings.  Shallan might have levelled up after her character development, but she is still Shallan – she will still lie whenever she feels like it, she can be manipulative and deceptive.  But she does it for what she feels are the right reasons, because Adolin has become someone she wants to protect, just like she went to all those lengths to protect her brothers back home.  That potential storyline was purposefully supposed to mirror Kaladin saving Adolin and Dalinar at the Tower, when Adolin refused to go if it meant leaving Dalinar behind.  Is a post-epilogue epilogue even necessary?  The point of a romance story is a couple getting together.  Any further development would genre-switch the story from a romance to military historical fiction.

 

There are male quartermasters in WoR – the soldier who gives Bridge Four their new bodyguard uniforms was male.  I expect that you have to be able to read and write glyphs to get the job, since the Alethi numbers can be written in glyphs, but it must be horribly inefficient if you can’t write in the shorthand women’s script when ordering supplies or writing reports.  But who knows, in a fantasy world.  The difference between modern and medieval warfare was the sophistication of bureaucracy, and in my story, I wrote it closer to modern.  Bureaucrats and non-combatants in a modern army are as important as combat soldiers, and that would be enough for Renarin to stop thinking of himself as useless, and show his tougher and more ruthlessly effective Blackthorn side. 

 

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“I feel each of the things you mention, Sadeas,” Dalinar said, eyes forward. “But I don’t always let them out. A man’s emotions are what define him, and control is the hallmark of true strength.”

Chapter 26, WoK

 

Renarin is closer to Dalinar’s ideal than anyone expects, I think. 

 

As for Kaladin questioning Shallan, from Shallan’s PoV, she is not attracted to him in that way.  Kaladin still feels something for her, and thought they had something going on, since they danced together a couple of times, and Regency social etiquette says that if a man asks you to dance more than twice, he likes you.  And his attraction is not something he can turn off or shut down after he finds out his best friend is going to marry her.  Remember, in WoR, Kaladin saw that Adolin and Shallan fit together, and even though he was crushing on Shallan, he decided to just ignore it.  So when Shallan rejects him, from her PoV, she assumes he can just un-like her, but it doesn’t work that way.  Kaladin still liked her at that point, and after, and that was why he asked her in a way that ensured that she couldn’t lie about it.

 

Anyways, hopefully I wrote Shallan as a sympathetic and understandable character, since I have always liked her since I first read WoK.  Many readers didn’t like her in WoK because they wanted to go back to the Kaladin or Dalinar action, so to read something that is over 1/3 of WoK’s length in only Shallan’s PoV can be pretty tiresome for people.  And I have read book reviews for WoK/WoR from people who thought that Shallan’s mental blanking of herself is pretty scary and was uncomfortable to read.  The benefit of multiple PoV stories is that you have a better chance of finding a character you connect well with, but the benefit of a single PoV is that it gets the depth of development beyond all the characters in a multi-PoV, if it is well written.  And I like the ambiguity of world it gives – when your narrator is not omniscient and sometimes biased and unreliable, it gives room to speculate on what is really happening, and what the other characters are thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happened to the site?  I went away on holiday and now it looks completely different...

 

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5 hours ago, sheep said:

What happened to the site?  I went away on holiday and now it looks completely different...

Ah we had an upgrade a few days ago. Looks swell now :) There is a thread about the changes onto the main page. They also changed a few things about the reputation system to make it less aggressive and to stop having posters feel negatively targeted. It's pretty cool. I love the red hearts and the negative reputations don't look so angry anymore. 

Thanks for your response, may take a while to respond though.

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On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

I have noticed that you get emotionally invested in in-depth discussions based on personal interpretations of character personalities and motivations.  It can be frustrating when people don’t agree with you, or when they don’t even understand your viewpoint, because they think the things you say are completely unfounded.  And sometimes I think they are, because the way you speculate or predict future happenings is based on what you think would be the best and most appealing “character journey” to you, full of trauma sticks that would fit a single character focused story like Farseer, but would bog down an ensemble cast plot-centered story like SA.  And where Robin Hobb trades in mercy/closure for the sake of drama, Brandon is not so sadistic with his characters as you would prefer.  I would have liked if there was closure on what happened when Shallan fell into the chasm and Adolin ran to save Dalinar first.  But the chasm scene was written as a novella within a novel and even though an “Adolin in mourning” PoV would be cute because I am a filthy shipper, I think it would slow down the pace of the high intensity action-drama of Kaladin and Shallan panicking about getting out of the chasm before the highstorm.  So I know how to separate what I would prefer to what I think is best for the reading experience of the entire book. There is a point where you can get too invested in a story, you know.  It’s only a book series, out of millions of series out there.  

It is in part the reason why I love Adolin so much: he and I are very similar. It is also why I feel, at times (and perhaps wrongly) I can understand him or visualize how it feels for him. I know what it feels to be griped with emotions you have a hard time controlling, I know how it feels when the inner cup fills up too much and I understand anger. I understand anger is not always evil, it is often needed and while it is a powerful motivator, it also is a difficult beast to tame. I understand emotions, the ones which puts words into your mouth and which gives you the inner feeling you are totally justified in your rant. It probably is why I yearn to read more Adolin: he is a character I can connect with on a personal level which is not something I can say about the other characters.

When I speculate or predict future happenings, I speculate and I predict future happenings: it remains a prediction. Others can either take it or leave it, but it remains predictions. I typically look into a given character's personality, events in his life and how he may evolve based on them. I seriously dislike the term "trauma stick": my wishes are not to watch characters suffer uselessly, but to give them the most significant character arc possible within the realm of the active story. I have no desire to recreate Fitz stories which were rather depressing and unsatisfying based on their lack of ending nor do I wish SA was a single-POV story focusing solely on Adolin. I love multi-POV stories because they offer a greater variety of characters and it changes the viewpoint from time to time. I simply wish for Adolin to inherit a satisfying character arc, one befitting the character I have been able to read so far. I feel he is a character with a story to tell and he has the potential to grow with it: I want to read it. I want him to have enough page time to make this story fulfilling. In other words, I wish for Adolin to move onto one of our main protagonists because I sincerely feel this is where he belongs: his voice is unique enough and his character is interesting enough for it. This being said, a good character arc does have some trauma to it: Kaladin's arc has trauma and so did Shallan. Those two characters arc are at least as dramatic as Fitz's entire story. The main difference in between Kaladin and Fitz arc is I can expect Kaladin's to perhaps not end so bad, but I disagree Brandon cannot be sadistic nor do I think Hobb is sadistic. She enjoys putting her characters into hopeless situations, so does Brandon, but Brandon makes his characters succeed more frequently while Hobb reserves success for the very last pages of her book. 

As I said, I do not prefer Robin Hobb as an author: I prefer Sanderson. I am here, on the 17th Shard, a fan's forum dedicated to Brandon Sanderson's books, not on a forum dedicated to Robin Hobb. I prefer Sanderson because he has shown me he could write satisfying character arcs with both Kaladin and Shallan, arcs which were both filed with endearing drama (for the most part) and intense resolution. This is exactly the kind of arc I wish for Adolin to get, something with just the right touch of drama with a satisfying conclusion only to be continued within the next book with additional trials, just as we are seeing with all other characters.

For the chasm scene, an Adolin POV didn't need to come in and break the tempo: we had a small Teft followed by a small Dalinar's POV towards the end of this "novella". Adding a few pages with a small Adolin's POV, showing us how he deals with it, wouldn't have broken the pace anymore than those POV did. This being said, there may be a reason why the author didn't give us this POV. It could be it wasn't the time to dig deeper into Adolin's relationships issues, it could be the story works better if the Adolin angst is postponed until book 3.

It may be only a book, but it is my favorite one, so far. I do read stories to get emotionally involved or to get an emotional response which is why I yearn for the stories susceptible of drawing one out of me. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

I understand being emotionally invested in stories with characters you empathise with, but when you are reading any story, the author’s intent is that you should feel some sympathy with the acknowledged main character or main cast.  I do not think authors think in terms of “favourites” when writing their character, there are just characters they feel familiar enough or have personality traits based on experiences that the author empathises with, that writing their actions come naturally.  On the other hand, there are characters that take a bit more thought to plan out in order to avoid the OOC-zone.  So when you feel an author is writing a minor character like Lift or Lopen instead of the one you like, it’s not preferential treatment, and it’s not an attack on you, or an implication that your pet character is less liked or less useful to the narrative.  You are disappointed that Adolin doesn’t get a flashback sequence, and you have an issue with the fact that this means that his character can’t be explored in-depth like young Kaladin or young Shallan.  But does his character’s past NEED to be explored?  Adolin from the start was presented as the perfect prince daddy’s boy, and his current character is a subversion of reader expectations.  It is arguable that what he is currently, and what he is becoming, is more interesting than what he was in the past – someone who was closer to the typical Alethi ideal with Alethi thinking patterns, even if he was never as cut-throat as Sadeas or Blackthorn or as arrogant as Relis Ruthar.  I wouldn’t say scenes of his past would be boring, but they would be tangentially related to Dalinar and Renarin’s flashbacks, and having a third view of the same events such as Shshsh’s death would be kind of redundant.  I would prefer more development and screen time on Adolin’s current character over his past, which to other people who do not like him so much, would feel tedious and something that doesn’t contribute to the narrative.  It would be like the Kaladin prison scene.  And you should have enough faith in Brandon that he won’t throw Adolin into the fridge or under the bus or forget about him.

 

I do not feel like Brandon has “preferential treatment” just as he doesn’t have any specific hate for his characters.  Characters, dialogue, exposition, magic systems – they are all just tools to carry the story.  It is easier to enjoy the story instead of getting worried over it, if you step back a bit and read it as a whole instead of inspecting and analysing with a microscope.  Isn’t that the point of ensemble cast epic fantasy, when you have a wide setting that is a whole planet/supercontinent, and multiple PoV’s?  You are looking for the development and characterisation of literary fiction in an epic fantasy, and you are feeling disappointment because you can’t find them.  Maybe that’s a blunt way to say it, but you admit to feeling empathy with Adolin’s characters because you believe you have many personality traits and experiences in common, and that is how you read into his character deeply in analytical discussions.  Very few readers, or even the author, will likely go that far.  Most people, including me, tend to stay within the text when building theories or assumptions from canon, referring back to the books and including quotes when possible.  The disconnect you feel with most readers who don’t speculate comes from people, like me, who are not really as imaginative or in-depth as you, because where the canon is vague or not explicit in describing something, we refrain from making judgements rather than speculating on thin air.  And that is why people don’t see what you see in analysing SA – you are extrapolating further and farther than everyone else, because you are relying on your personal experience to interpret character interactions between Adolin and Renarin and Dalinar.  This is where the “talking to a wall” effect comes from, when you discuss with other people, or when they discuss certain subjective subjects with you.  Brandon writes with a light enough touch that everyone is free to think whatever they want, so I do not see the point in trying to convince other people if they have formed their own opinions and strongly believe in them.  Just like the way some artists draw Elhokar or Dalinar with a beard, Adolin as a sparkly pretty boy, or Kaladin as sprinter instead of a beefcake. 

Brandon has once explained how his favorite character was the one he was currently writing: I assume he can't truly play favorite as it would show into the story. This being said, authors have their own perception as to what makes the best story which may, sometimes, differs from their readers. Pick any famous book and join a fandom, you will see other readers ranting on how they wished this or that part was made different: it is inevitable. I yearn for Adolin to play a bigger role, but other readers yearn for much more major changes. I simply wish for a character I believe has tremendous potential to be allowed enough place to grow. 

Flashbacks are a character development tool, period. They are used to tell us, the reader, how a given character evolved to be the character he/she now is and a good flashback doesn't have to carry in intense trauma such as Kaladin's or Shallan's. It simply needs to tell us something important about the character. For instances, this flashback where Wax witnesses his uncle refusing a business deal to a man he perceived as honest was not dramatic, nor tragic, nor mysterious, nor anything of the sorts, but it served to show us, the readers, what kind of man Wax truly is. Adolin's flashbacks would also serve a similar purpose, giving us the insight we need in order to understand the man he is. Right now, we simply do not have enough data and behaviors such as compassion and care, which are more abnormal given his family, would benefit from us finding out how he grew up to be this way.

My whole point is you can't truly understand a character until you have the full picture and Adolin may be a subversion of a trope, he remains an individual with experiences no doubt having shaped him into the man he currently is. These, I wish to find out about them. Also, there is this tiny detail wanting non-flashback characters are given much less page time, lesser character arcs and are downright on a less important scale. I do not mind the author spending time on minor character, I simply mind knowing a character which read as "important" is not allowed to grow much beyond a certain role simply because. Screen time is unfortunately proportional to the character having a flashback sequence or not. So, in the end, I do fear Adolin will not be a detailed enough nor an explored enough character because of narrative choices and planning.

I also disagree Adolin's flashbacks would be tedious or pure fan service. The reason behind the fact Kaladin's prison scenes were difficult to read for many readers were they portrayed a majorly internal dilemma. In other words, we are stuck with Kaladin, talking to himself about how much of a victim he is and secretly planning his revenge while being severely depressed. It was a very internal arc and because it was internal, it became boring to several readers who didn't have Kaladin as a favorite character. Have you ever listened to Brandon's writing excuses pod casts? He talks about this aspect of writing. He mentions how, in the first draft of WoK, Dalinar came across as a very internalized character. His entire ordeal was completely inside his head which made his arc..... boring. Brandon then split it up by introducing Adolin in order to bring an outside perspective to his arc and because of Adolin, a formally static, internal and boring (according to the beta readers) arc became an external, active and interesting one. Kaladin's small arc in prison suffers the same problems: it was too internal to be interesting unless you were heavily invested within the character. If you weren't, then those scenes seemed to last for too many chapters. Now I do not mean to say Kaladin's prison scenes weren't interesting: many readers loved those, but alternatively many readers didn't. These were either a hit or a miss, depending on who you ask. I think they highlight how internal story arcs are difficult to sell to the readers: they need to  follow a beloved character, else they become boring. 

Adolin, as a character, do not have the same issues. His flashbacks wouldn't be an internal story, but an external one, one with action, interactions and precious insight onto life a the court for a young lighteyed. Just the scenes where teenage fopish and slightly vain Adolin evolves within his former environment would be worth a read because they would seriously clash with nowadays more reserved, groomed and conventional Adolin. They would also feature how he became a pupil to Zahel which is interesting in itself for all readers, not just the Adolin lovers, but also the more Cosmere invested ones as Zahel remains a very mysterious character. His beginning onto the dueling ring, when he was young an inexperienced as well as how he got to have his ritual are worth reading. They do not need to retell the tale of how mother died, they simply have to tell us how he decided to take the necklace. All in all, Adolin's past would feature action and extravagance as no other character would be able to depict the court life as it used to be prior to Gavilar's death. Neither Dalinar nor Renarin can be used for this purpose. 

I also disagree Renarin's flashbacks are more interesting... You say Adolin would feel like reading the prison scenes again and I disagree. In fact, I am inclined to think reading Renarin's flashbacks may feel as reading the prison scenes because he is a very internal character. His issues are with himself and his head: reading endless chapters of how useless Renarin feels seems much less interesting than reading about Adolin winning his Shardblade, but everyone's MMV on this.

So all in all, I definitely think there is potential within those flashbacks. The fact the author decided not to write them implies he believes he has a better story to tell by using other characters. It is his personal choice and I do think part of it was fuel by the fact Adolin isn't a "standard" character for Brandon. He isn't a character the author spontaneously chooses to feature into his stories while autistic or depressed characters are a among his "usual". However, I do think Adolin's voice has value within the Stormlight Archive if only for the fact he is the only male character of importance who isn't aligned with Honor. Without him, all we have are Dalinar, Kaladin and Szeth whom are all taken decision based on personal codes as opposed to what is right. Adolin is just more grounded and refreshing: he brings balanced to the story. Someone needed to kill Sadeas.

For the rest, not everyone reads stories the same way. Some readers are very attached to the written words and will not engage in discussion outside of them, worst they may even react negatively to extrapolation based on characters personalities. I certainly do not expect everyone to react positively to those: I write the character analysis for those who enjoys reading it, for those who are willing to move pass the written words, for those who want to draft a fuller portraits of characters which could be accurate or entirely wrong. I do not write them for those who prefer to stick to the written words and aren't interested in digging within the story. I expect people to respect how each other chooses to enjoy the story at hand and to keep it alive in between books. If someone is not interested in the stuff I write, I expect them to simply not read it and ignore it, moving into topics of higher interest to them. I am far from being the only character theoretician onto the 17th Shard and while the author may not go into such depth, I certainly believe he has drafted the major lines for each characters. Not knowing what those lines may be, I may be right and I may be wrong about certain aspects.  

I dislike the term "speculating on thin air": it basically removes all credibility into my own analysis. For myself, speculating on thin air would be speculating onto Lopen's future because there is seriously no data to speculate on. Or speculating as to whether Lirin is a Herald or a Radiant or not or anything about Laral: there is virtually no text evidence to support those theories, be it evidence or character clues. Adolin, on the other hand, has enough data written on him to speculate onto his relationships, his future behavior as we actually have an idea of how he is.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

I won’t disagree that words need to be said between Dalinar and Adolin, a conversation that isn’t just about talking shop.  But IMHO, modern expectations colour expectations.  You, and other readers, want them to confront each other in a meaningful and lovingly emotional way, because that is the way it would happen in the modern world with therapists and family units that aren’t rigidly constructed in a hierarchy where a father is a patriarch and a superior officer.  Some Alethi men may want heartfelt discussions with their parents, but most would not, and the ones that want it and end up managing to conduct an emotionally honest conversation with his or her parents would not get as much as a modern reader would expect.  They have emotions, but based on how emotions are expressed in Alethi culture, it would not be sitcom “gushing”.  But to them, it would be enough.  A simple pat on the back would say a lot, and say enough, to me.  Compare to how (lighteyed) Alethi express themselves mentioned in-text: they don’t kiss each other in public, not even on the cheek. 

I would not be surprised if Brandon based some of Alethi culture of stoicism and scholarliness for men and women on classical Greek history.  Kharbranth has always felt Greek to me, with the Palanaeum that is a clear reference to the Library of Alexandria.  Anyways, I would say that Adolin is the odd one out for having emotional responses that surface so visibly.  It’s not about age, or stage of life that prevents Alethi from speaking up about how their feeling, but their culture in general, which can’t just be viewed through the lens of a modern Earth upbringing.  Most other Alethi are stoic in public and on duty, and when they aren’t, it’s when they feel their honour is being threatened, ie, someone insults them.  The other time when an Alethi gives into his emotions is when he is on the battlefield and feeling the Thrill, but it’s taboo to discuss it with other people.  Readers can pick up when Adolin is feeling distressed because the POV narration gives it away, but in-story, no one can read minds and Dalinar is particularly stubborn with his relationship with Adolin, and the reason for it was never actually addressed after I went back and looked for it.

Dalinar never answers the question, but then again Adolin keeps shouting and doesn’t let his father speak.  So they were both at fault at missing the moment that could have solved 1000 pages worth of angst.  It was the first time in his life that Adolin confronted his father like that, and I think that if they have such a moment again, it will be less dramatic and more respectful.  I do not expect it to be squishy.  They don’t need to cry to resolve their differences, which is something that you want, but is probably never going to happen.  Alethi men very very rarely cry, and the one time I can distinctly remember it happening was when Kaladin’s first bridge crew died and he almost jumped off the Honor Chasm.  Dalinar just needs to apologise and publically admit he was being too inflexible, a flaw that he is aware of already.  And he has managed to be honest about his feelings with Navani without breaking down and crying.

Here’s a theory for you – what if Dalinar’s love for Adolin as a son is what keeps him from setting up Adolin with a serious prospective wife?  He likes having Adolin around, even if they mostly interact as army officers, and if Adolin got married, it would mean him spending his time elsewhere “ensuring the succession” Unlike Renarin, Dalinar remarks on how quickly Adolin goes through the girls he courts, but he doesn’t criticise him, or tell him to stick with one girl for more than a month, or treat them better.  He wants Adolin to make a good match, but doesn’t involve himself with the process.  Yeah, it would be an extreme stretch to say that he’s deliberately encouraging Adolin to sabotage his relationships, but he relies on Adolin a whole lot, and his dependence on his son as someone who can speak it like it is without having to defer to rank like Teleb or Khal is important to him.  Or at least it was when he was very confused and pre-Radiant. 

Some man-to-man advice about girls could have solved a whole lot of problems.  But it does show that Dalinar is hands-off emotions-wise, and leaves it up to Adolin to deal with his own problems, self-inflicted or otherwise.  It’s either out of innocent, non-malicious negligence or respect for Adolin’s sense of agency and learning from his own mistakes.  He encourages Adolin to marry for love, which means that it’s well-meaning in end, since what he really wants is for Adolin to be happy.  Even if it is difficult for him to show it. 

I think you are too settled on the crying part... I never said they needed to cry: I said they needed to talk to each other, honestly because the more the story moves forward, the more expectations are being built into this relationship. Dalinar expects so much out of Adolin and Adolin expects so much out of himself (and out of his father who cannot do no wrong), something's got to give, at some point. I have no idea how it will realistically be conducted within the story frame, I only know it need to happen if both characters want to grow. 

Alethi are meek: they do not express any outward emotions. They are naturally reserved, reacting stoically to insults, not reacting which is why most of the young society likes to taunt Adolin. He reacts. He bursts out. As Sadeas put it, he has little control over his emotional response. You see no other lighteyes publicly calling others "coward" or forming fists ready to strike or rushing up in the middle of the king's counsel because they can't keep themselves under control. He may be the odd one out, but he remains a very expressive young man. The map scene you were referring to was very, very meek, IMHO, considering the circumstances. It was a first time for Adolin, a first time when he had so much emotions, he had to let them out. If we look closely at what triggered his response, it wasn't much: simply believing his father may be going crazy while being refused to have the discussion he needed to have. Five times he tried to broach the subject, in a calm manner, with his father and five times he was turned down. Then he exploded. If this is how he responds when his father refuses to acknowledge his visions may be damaging, how is he going to react upon the events of WoR? His circumstances are much more dire now than they were early in WoK: this will add up and he will explode again. Emotional people just don't burst out once and then learn to be meeker, it isn't out emotive responses work. They burst, then they burst again up until they learn control. Adolin is leagues away from even starting to learn control: his only control mechanism has been his brother and his father. External control, not internal one. 

As for the crying part, I have said already I didn't think it needed nor would happen, but I would like to point out Adolin publicly cries when he sees Dalinar fly to the sky. He says his vision is blurry for the tears in his eyes: he gets so emotional he rushes towards his own death by confronting Szeth. This is Adolin: a dedicate, very loyal young man with strong emotions which threaten to overcome his rational thinking. He loves too hard, he hates too hard, he feels too much and when you feel too much, then anything can happen.

Nice theory about Dalinar's intentions with Adolin, but I do think he is sincere when he claims he wish for his son to marry for love. In the second flashback, Gavilar excuses himself from not letting Dalinar choose his own wife which seems to be an aspect of his former marriage Dalinar has forgotten. All he remembers is he loved his wife and he courted her for three years: he forgot she wasn't his choice. To him, it thus normal his son would choose his wife. He however under-estimates the amount of pressure it puts Adolin under, being required to make a decision for himself which requires personal knowledge he does not have, while being constantly put under the prying eyes of the entire Alethi court. Dalinar doesn't realize his son is a much better catch then he was which leads him to put him into a negative situation. I also think the reason Dalinar doesn't criticize Adolin for his lack of choice is the fact he still is younger than he was when he married... At 23, Adolin still is... very young. Dalinar didn't marry until his late twenties and he was happy, so it would seem, to him, marrying as a teenage isn't such a good idea. He also has issues in seeing both his sons as grown-up, even Adolin whom he persistently refers to as "boy" or "lad". In his eyes, Adolin still has plenty of time to get married, but the Alethi court strongly disagrees, hence the growing pressure Adolin starts to feel.

It is interesting to note Dalinar may be co-dependent on his eldest son, the projection of himself he has crafted and the one son capable of speaking his mind, a quality he has praised in the past. He may not be in a hurry to see him married of and within the grasp of another woman... preferring to keep the boy close to him so he could keep a closer eye on him. It has merit as a theory... I may ponder on it some more. Though I would like to point out, married Adolin is probably not expected to actually leave the family house. He would most likely moved to larger apartments, right next to Dalinar's. 

Dalinar is, of course, ill-equipped to truly help his son with his courtships. He never been in the same position, so it is hard for him to relate. Also not being overly perspicacious, he fails to notice the various masks his son chooses to wear. He doesn't realize Adolin simply is afraid to be... himself for fear of disappointing someone.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

“Brought Down to Normal” would be the extreme end of the trope.  I think what you prefer is more like a “Prince to Pauper” type of role switch.  It can be really cheesy and heavy-handed in teaching moral lessons to stubborn and bratty kids in the hands of bad authors or YA authors, but I’m trying to think of epic fantasy or adult fantasy that has such a time.

The difference between Dalinar’s treatment between Adolin and Renarin is that Adolin is the heir, and Renarin is the spare.  Renarin is allowed leniency, because there is truth to what he is, he’s pretty much useless while Adolin is alive and wears the mantle of Highprince-in-waiting.  Yes, in an ideal world, both sons would be treated identically and raised to be responsible leaders, but Renarin’s diagnosis killed that idea as a child.  Dalinar is aware of it, and that is possibly why he is harder on Adolin.  There’s some aspects of Dalinar projecting and making Adolin into the model of what he wished he was when he was young, but also something of Dalinar wanting Adolin to be what an Alethi leader should be, which he could never be – because Dalinar thinks he is weak and flawed, but Adolin, the better man, isn’t. 

That’s the difference between Dalinar’s treatment of Renarin and Adolin.  Dalinar expects too much from Adolin, but doesn’t expect anything at all from Renarin – he just wants Renarin to stay at home without making trouble or getting in the way.  You might call Dalinar’s soft treatment of Renarin to be a show of love, but it’s arguable that Dalinar’s firmness with Adolin is an equal show of love, and shows respect, of Adolin as an adult man and his ability to take care of business.  And I think that if Adolin was treated softly in the same way as Renarin from the start, he would have turned out to be more rebellious and impatient, because Adolin yearns to excel at what he does for his own satisfaction, and not just to impress his dad and the other lighteyes.

High fantasy might not follow cultural values of IRL medieval Earth, or Earth at all, but you have to keep in mind at all times that it’s NOT Earth.  Dalinar loves his children, and he loves his Princedom and all the men who follow him.  Just because he doesn’t show it openly, or show it in a way that you, or other modern Earth readers, think love should be showed, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel it.  It’s just like complaining about the way Adolin and Kaladin don’t see anything wrong with the institution of slavery.  Kaladin doesn’t like being a slave, but he doesn’t think slavery is wrong – he would just rather not be a slave himself.  Even if it would be indentured servitude by our Earth definitions, since they do get paid.  Shallan thinks Jasnah’s atheism is really weird in a negative way, and the idea of men being able to read and write (Amaram’s glyph writing) is unsettling to her.  It would be a bit presumptuous for a modern Earth reader to say that what they think is wrong, and it would be improved if they knew better, because it’s part of the setting and the worldbuilding.  It would be more unbelievable and immersion breaking if people in the story were to believe things that do not follow the outlined general beliefs of the world’s population, just as it would be Out of Character for Dalinar to break down and start gushing over his sons and how he mistreated them, or was a neglectful and distant father who cared too much for what the Kingdom wanted rather than their own happiness. 

Adolin is aware of his father’s personality, and is aware that he is the only person who can confront his father in an emotionally intimate way.  If anything is going to happen, it would be up to Adolin to broach the subject rather than waiting for Dalinar to call him out on it.  I think Dalinar would be more disappointed than angry about Sadeas’ death, because they had stopped being friends for years; even in his first PoV chapter in WoK, he wasn’t friends with Sadeas.  If Dalinar had paid attention instead of being blinded by hope, he would have been able to see that Sadeas was a sneaky little cremling.  He even knew before the Tower happened that Sadeas was untrustworthy.

Nah Prince to Pauper was used on Vivenna in Warbreaker. I am not sure I would enjoy a similar arc for Adolin. I like what Brandon has going on with Adolin right now: it is either Prince Charming or the Knight in White Armor, but whichever one you think it appropriate, it is interesting to note the author is taking tropes previously used to describe boring cardboard and often nameless characters to give life to a realistic one. Nobody is perfect and under the shinning armor, the winning grin and the Casanova behavior hides a young man with self-confidence issues who has spend a lifetime trying to be exactly what other expects to see. He is the one character fantasy hardly ever broach: who wants to write about the upper class prince who is forced to undergo change because the heroes have arrived when you can write about the peasant who becomes the hero? It makes his voice rather unique in the sense he isn't the bringer of change, he isn't on a journey, but may very well be force to take one... I do not know which trope it would be, Adolin sounds unique enough I have had a hard time finding out the right trope. He is a deconstruction of several trope, a take on a character often forgotten.

We know Dalinar is harder on Adolin because he is his heir, my point has been he perhaps is too hard. Being too hard, just like not being hard enough aren't desirable behavior. By being too hard, whatever the reason, Dalinar is pushing down stringent expectations on Adolin removing him from the chance to make his own mistakes: he deprives him of valuable learning experiences up to the point where Adolin is completely unsuited to deal with the new world. The increased stress, the anxiety, the questioning and yes the murder, all of those events could have perhaps been avoided had Dalinar been less focus on being hard on his eldest son. And the downfall! How do you even begin to cope when you have disappointed your role-model, your hero? And the timing? It happens right after Dalinar finally acknowledges Adolin as a grown-up, as a man. He finally agrees to let go pf his control, proud to see he has succeeded in raising the perfect son: how can you deal with the inevitable fallout when the father learns about the son's actions? In my perspective, all of these events will be made worst because of Dalinar's initial behavior and strict line of conduct when it comes to Adolin just as I certainly believe his leniency towards Renarin and Elhokar will cause harm.

So it isn't so much I believe Dalinar is has ill-intentions, but it may not end up happening as he initially wanted. Besides, what will it do to him, to see his prized son turn into a murderer?

Adolin excels at what he does because this is how he gets his self-esteem. He can't have it any other way because he doesn't think he is good enough for anyone, but his successes at dueling are tangible. He has direct results which are telling him he is good, therefore he is able to feel better about himself. The modern day counter-part would be the kid who self-esteem is proportional to his grades: a bad grade meaning he isn't a worthy person, a good one meaning he still has potential. Had Dalinar been more lenient, Adolin would have perhaps attached less importance to how others view him, to his own ability to conform himself to the expectations and might have had more self-confidence. Rebellious, no. I do not see it: he doesn't have a rebellious personality. He is a conformist, not a reformist.

The problem with Dalinar is not that he doesn't love: we know he does. This is quite obvious in the text, the problem is does Adolin know? The fact he isn't being demonstrative and all he has to say to his eldest are more orders led me to wonder if Adolin is actually aware of how strongly his father loves him? Seeing him dote openly on others, showing a side of you you aren't being privy to can be difficult. So does Adolin know? When he disappoints his father, will he be able to realize his father probably still loves him or will he think this love is conditional to his own behavior? That's what I meant about Dalinar's behavior: it isn't right nor wrong, but it does raise the question.

I think you are underestimating the impact of the death: Dalinar will not be upset Sadeas is dead. He has buried this friendship a long time ago and if it blinded him back in WoK, he has admitted his former friend was no longer a man he wanted to deal with. Dalinar will be upset because by killing Sadeas, Adolin destroyed the "perfect boy" image he had of his son. He will link the behavior to his former days as the Blackthorn and seeing his son did the one thing he has raised him not to do with demolish him in a cruel way. The fact Adolin is the culprit will make matters worst. Had it been anyone else, Dalinar would have reacted differently, but it is Adolin, the one he places all his hopes on, the future of the house, his heir. To him, it will be equivalent to a betrayal: a betrayal of his ideas, of his code, of his entire self.  Yes, Dalinar loves Adolin, but he has put so much expectation onto him, he has been so hard with him, the downfall is inevitable. This will hurt, both of them, but Adolin may end up being the one who loses the most.

OOC for Dalinar would be to brush it away, to not care for the actions, to react positively and to not take it out on Adolin. He just hasn't progress enough to be capable to forgiving such behavior. It may be a day where he will and on this day, I suspect his words will be an apology for falling at being "guiding", as a father should have been. This I definitely see as I strongly believe dealing with Adolin will be the key to Dalinar's next oath as a Bondsmith.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

You don’t have to go through real-time studies, unless you feel that your grasp of language is really that deficient.  You can read properly proofread and edited books published by major publishers and make a conscious note of how paragraphs and sentences structures.  It’s easier if you are re-reading books you know well, rather than new ones, so you can focus on the style of the prose rather than content.  I have no formal education in creative writing and English grammar past what’s mandatory for secondary schools, but reading and picking apart books and applying it to prose I write has helped me a lot in figuring out what is correct versus what sounds correct in my head.  And Google helps.  When I am figuring out how to make sure Neither/Nor and Either/Or are used correctly, or when to use “whom” or “whence” or “wherefore”, I make sure to Google if I am not certain and can’t remember it from my school days.

The Golden Compass IS like Ender’s Game in a lot of ways, in that the first book is pretty iconic and readable, and you can stop reading after you finish and never pick up the sequels.  I have re-read Ender’s Game multiple times, but never felt the urge to re-read the sequels after reading them just to find out what happened next.  Ender is a Classic.  Speaker for the Dead loses all the charm and close-focus on one small and well-defined setting that makes Ender’s Game enjoyable.  Modern YA has pretty much popularised popcorn novels.  Most are simplistically written in three acts, with one main character, one main love interest and one main villain, and the themes explored tend to be superficial, but if it is well-written, it will be thoughtful while providing closure.  They don’t appeal to people who want something more sophisticated, more open-ended, more philosophical, etc.  I don’t like everything Brandon writes, and no one has to.  I didn’t really like Elantris, and liked Warbreaker more than Mistborn.  I thought Rithmatist was better than Reckoners Trilogy, of which Steelheart was the best and Calamity was okay, but nothing in it struck me as being an above average YA teen thriller.  Don’t feel guilty about not liking anything!  Save your feelings for feeling nice things about the series you DO like.

Doing as you say would involve quite a bit of time: I do not have the time to re-read formally beloved stories. Even WoK and WoR, I haven't re-read entirely. I tend to leave them in the bathroom so it allows some time to re-read parts of it but a full re-read it not something I usually do.  And I do use up the dictionary, but thewe have re is just a way into my writing which doesn't sound quite right. I have ideas, but I can't put them convincingly into words, not as I wish I was capable of doing. The fic I had in mind ends with Adolin actually climbing the "Radiant tower" after having refused to climb it before because he wasn't "one of them". He isn't a Radiant (not yet), he hasn't revived his Blade (not yet), but he has found its name and he is bringing it to the top of the tower. In other words, he has started his journey, but it will be a long one. 

I thought Ender's Game was fine, but not extraordinary. The writing style came across as slightly old: I had the feeling the story would have flowed quite differently had it been written more recently. I liked it, but I did not liked it enough to want to read the sequels, especially since I have heard the story went downhill after a while. I agree modern day YA has changed how stories are being written. For instances, if I read Hunger Games or Ender's Games or Eagle of the Ninth I can read the difference in between stories written in the current century and those written in the past. Neither is either better nor worst, but something has changed in the last decade or so as to how writers craft their stories. I am not quite capable of putting a name on it, but I definitely see a difference.

I do no enjoy everything Brandon writes either. While I am rather found of the Rithmatist which I thought was an intelligent well-developped YA novel, I disliked the Reckoners. Stealheart was enjoyable enough, but Firefight was a walking cliche. Everything from the hot blond bombshell with a bland personality to the rebellious teenager nobody sees fit to put into his place and who turns out being right about everything combined with horribly cheesy scenes where they fly, wet using the spyreel made up for a story I found difficult to enjoy. I can see why others love it, but I guess it wasn't for me. I haven't yet picked up Calamity. I seriously dislike David as the major lead: he worked well enough in Stealheart, but he has literally no growth in Firefight and I couldn't stand Brandon writing yet another "socially awkward" character. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. Stormlight Archive is, by far, his best product. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

I am aware that beneath Adolin’s confident and charming public persona, he is not as happy as he appears to be.  When I wrote him in the story, I tried to incorporate insecurity and apprehension/fear of the unknown in his character, to contrast with Shallan who feels insecurity but is more aware of it, and tries to rationalise it by passing it off on people around her, like Kaladin or Jasnah, or mentally blanking it out.  I explored it a bit, but only within the context of a romance story, for the scenes where Adolin mentions his failed relationships and how they fail, but I make it clear he has no idea why it keeps happening, which is an unknown that makes him unconsciously uneasy.  Another difficulty in incorporating my analysis of his character was that because I was writing from Shallan’s PoV and trying to stay consistent to that the whole way through, was that the depth I went into dissecting his flaws and weaknesses only went as far as what Shallan personally perceived.  And she is not the most aware or omniscient of narrators.  There is another side of Adolin’s insecurity, for how he admires the Blackthorn’s former glory on the battlefield, but I didn’t get a chance to fully explore it, because again, it was mostly Shallan’s story.   Adolin’s problems don’t go away, and he still has moments of hot-headed impulsiveness, because it’s an important and character-defining part of his personality, but he learns to handle it better, or at least think and consider before he acts.  The epilogue of the story takes place in a warcamp, and I think if I ever wrote more about the war, I would definitely include more of Adolin and his struggles, if he loses a battle or if Shallan and Kaladin wander off and end up in another chasm scene adventure.  Because at the end of Shallan’s story, Shallan has finished her journey but Adolin has only just begun.

Oh I didn't mean it as a critic of your story: it wasn't an Adolin centrist one. Shallan was the main protagonist so it made sense it would explore her issues. I do not think Adolin is unhappy, per say, but I do think he is very lonely. In canon, he only realizes this in WoR when he yearns for a sympathetic ear to listen to his women problems only to be turned down by the one person he thought was a good friend. He had always entertained a large circle of acquaintances, but he never truly noticed the fact not one of them actually cared about him pass the benefit a "friendship" with him may mean. When push comes to shove, he is all by himself and if his family, those who should care about him, start to reject him based on his actions, then I have no idea how bad he will react to it.

I certainly think there is much to be said in the Adolin/Dalinar relationship and I hope book 3 will broach it. Adolin admires his father, he hero-worships him: he can't be allowed to fail in his eyes. Ah there is an entire story to be written just about these two.

Adolin's hot-headed impulsiveness is linked to his emotions: the more emotional he is, the more impulsive he gets. I can't truly ever go away, just as Kaladin's depression will never go away: it is how he is, but he can learn to control it better, to take a time out instead of rushing up and, more importantly, he can learn how to sooth himself. I also do not think book Adolin has truly understood the meaning of the chasm adventure: I think he didn't add it up in his head. I suspect everything will hit home going into the next book.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

With these kinds of laws, it’s pretty much only illegal if you get reported and caught.  In Australia, the drinking age is officially 18, but no one will arrest you if you are drinking alcohol with the knowledge and consent of parents.  So these laws are mean well, and are trying to protect people from abuses, but I don’t think they are unquestionable DA RULEZ that mean that feeling attraction or wanting to be in a relationship with this or that person is wrong and you should feel bad for wanting it, in this universe and in the Cosmere.  Because Shallan is around 17.5 in WoR, and I don’t think that six months from being 18 is enough to make Adolin a paedo.  Laral married Roshone when she was 15/16, and he must have been almost 40, Malise Gevelmar was 22-25 when she married Lin Davar.   13 and 17 would be a stretch, since one person is under 16, but if both people are over 16, then I think it comes down to a case by case basis on whether the age difference is inappropriate. 

Adolin is only courting Shallan, which you do for several months to several years, and courting, in the old-fashioned formal sense, means going out on dates in public, with chaperons and minimal touchy-touchy.  In Alethkar, and because it’s a Brandon book, they wouldn’t be doing anything “mature” before they’re married, and since Dalinar dated Shshshs for 3 years, they’ll all be perfectly legal adults in Earth-years by the time that happens, if it happens at all.  This is why I don’t consider their relationship inappropriate, and why I don’t see it necessary that any character be aged or de-aged to make the story more enjoyable to my reading experience.  But it depends on the characters, and Adolin and Shallan act like, and are expected to act like, mature adults in their setting based on what we’ve seen from them, even if they are both capable of acting rashly and doing stupid things occasionally, which most adults are.  If you have read the Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim is a 22/23 year old Toronto guy who is dating 17 year old Knives Chau.  I did not like this pairing at all, even if the author made it clear that nothing explicit happened and their dates were just hanging out at the arcade or the pizza shop.  Knives is a high schooler who just wants a boyfriend, and Scott is an emotionally immature pathetic manchild who cheats on Knives because he is so pathetic he can’t say “no” when another girl hits on him.  This is the type of relationship I do not like, and it’s not really the age that bothers me, but rather how unsuited for each other the characters are.  This is why I can read classic romance novels where 10 year age differences are normal, and I don’t feel weirded out, as long as the relationships and the characters are handled in a mature and realistic way, which I feel Brandon Sanderson has done so far.   But, essentially, this is a YMMV thing, and I personally don’t have a problem with it.  I started dating my boyfriend when I was 18 and he was almost 22.  It comes down to emotional maturity, and being a reasonable person who can communicate with other people in a clear and rational way, which is a skill that not everyone has, no matter their age. 

Of course, you need to be reported to be accused, but it happens often enough. I wouldn't want to risk it. Legal drinking age also is 18 years old, but being caught under aged drinking does not bear the same legal consequences as being caught up having an affair with a minor. In one case, you get a tap on the hand, in the other, you get send to prison for 3 years. The problem I have with 17 years old and 23 years old is both ages involve them being several phases apart. In modern day, Shallan would be in High School while Adolin would have graduated from University and working out his first professional job. You can't go out an date a High Schooler when you are a grown-up on the work force, it just isn't done. Of course, such transitions do not exist on Roshar, but the age difference is still quite big, IMHO. I would have preferred if it had been smaller. 18 and 22 is already much, much better: it is only 4 years. 17 and 23 is 6 years which I find a bit too much.

I do not think Alethi court for long periods of time... Navani was married at 16 and she had Jasnah not long after. It doesn't leave much time for courting: Dalinar was an exception, not the norm. In the second flashback, it was made clear the reason the courtship lasted this long was because Dalinar came across as an unsophisticated brute and both Shshshsh and her brother were horrified to watch him. Three years is what it took for him to convinced them he was not a mindless beast. I certainly do not think it is expected their courtship would last for years, but I suspect it may happen this way.

This being said, it isn't I think Brandon hasn't handled it right, I simply question his choice: why make Adolin so much older than everyone or reversely, why make Shallan so much younger? Why? What purpose does it serve into the story? I am uncomfortable with it because it more or less portrays Adolin as a man-child who is so immature he can't find someone his age, so he has to go and date teenagers.... I know this isn't how the story is written, but I comes too close to it for my personal taste. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

If Uncle Toe or Shshshsh were violently assassinated, that could explain why Adolin is so protective of his father when they thought the Assassin in White was gunning for him.  Dying through childbirth complications is also possible, but the difference between Roshar and IRL Earth history is because they have fewer diseases, most women wouldn’t be having 13 children each like they did in early modern history.  Most deaths back then were due to infections, and because Rosharans have Herald knowledge and can see rotspren, they don’t have as high a mortality rate.  I don’t see lighteyed women having more than 2-4 children if they are all guaranteed to survive to adulthood, because they would have to provide incomes for all of them, and there are only so many Citylord positions you can hand out through nepotism.  And since Adolin was guaranteed Shardplate since birth, it was all but guaranteed that he would survive to inherit the Kholin Princedom.  It could have been an unfortunate horse riding accent, which would be kind of anti-climactic, but non-traumatising to Adolin since he doesn’t seem affected by as of WoR.  However, Rosharans can still get mental illnesses.

I’m assuming that the grandfather is Dalinar’s father and not Shshshsh’s, since it seems like Shshshsh and her brother abandoned their families in Iri.

 

If uncle Toh and Shshshshsh were violently assassinated, then I doubt Adolin even knows about it or else he would carry on a few scars. My thoughts are it is quite possible the boys do not know the whole truth: mother died in an accident, she was not killed. It may also be it was just a dumb accident..., but Adolin is so unaffected by it, I have to rule out every traumatizing deaths.

The quote most certainly refers to Dalinar's father as Adolin says it when he worries his own father may go insane. It is also assume Adolin knows next to nothing about his family on his Iriali side.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

OT3 ships ARE fanservice, and if you expect them to be anything different, then you will be disappointed.  From the 2000+ pages of SA already published, I think it’s pretty clear within the established character personalities that they would not accept a polyamourous relationship situation, and Adolin nor Kaladin have not shown any indication of being bi or gay.  Kaladin in his bridgeman and bodyguard storylines up until 75% of WoR was more asexual than anything else, IMO.  So any fan-written story that tries to go in that direction is ignoring canon, for the writer’s own satisfaction.  And hey, if you can’t decide if Shalladin is better than Shadolin, why not give Shallan two boyfriends instead of making her pick one?  Such stories run on author appeal, and honestly, if it doesn’t appeal to you personally, you don’t have to read it if the plot synopsis looks like something you wouldn’t enjoy.  I personally don’t read a lot of fanfiction, because from what I have read, it is a sad fact that most amateur/hobby writers in general don’t have the motivation or the skill to develop or “sell” a story.  So many stories are left unfinished, or are poorly plotted with a flat resolution, or are short stories under 5k words that read like popcorn – you read it, and then you forget it, because it didn’t develop enough either in story or in character to make it memorable.  I don’t mean to sound harsh or elitist, but there is a rule of the internet that states that 90% of stuff will be terrible, due to the massive amount of content out there, whether it is on fanfiction.net or on deviantart.  When I want to be immersed by a story, I read published fiction or well-reviewed completed serials.  And from what I have seen on the creative side of Sanderfan content, the visual artists support Shadolin more than Shalladin, and both of those over the OT3 pairing.  Could be a demographics thing, who knows.

Well, there is ignoring the canon and there is... ignoring the canon. I can manage to ignore the various shipping writers like to explore (even if I dislike them, I am free to stop reading a story at any given time), but I have a harder ignoring characters being OOC. Even in a modern day setting, I prefer when the characters have to retain their primary characteristics. Too many fics ignore those and change the characters almost beyond recognition. YMMV on this one, but some of the takes others have taken in fanfiction just do not work out for me.

As for the OT3, I guess I do not understand the appeal of a girl playing around with two guys: it seems disloyal, though the OT3 mostly is Adolin and Kaladin together with Shallan watching which makes it kinda creepy. I basically read everything which comes under my hand, even if the ship does not please me, I may still like other aspect of the story. I read fanfiction because I want more of the story and the author isn't producing new material fast enough for my personal tastes.... I just want more, so in absence of canon material, I rely on fanfiction.

From what I have seen in the fandom, in general, Shalladin is more heavily supported than Shadolin. I had a great explanation with respect to demographic as I certainly think it plays a role.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

No video games?  No fun allowed?  What does Adolin do with his free time, assuming he gets any?  I would think that “fun” activities are banned on school nights and weekdays, but they should be allowed on weekends.  The Codes of War ban drinking on duty, drunkenness and duelling, but in a modern AU, there is no war, so Adolin should be allowed to chill out a bit on weekends, at least.  Dalinar from SA disapproves of Adolin visiting courtesans, and who knows how that could be translated to modern Earth. I have the suspicion that it would make Adolin would be a very sad, repressed, and frustrated young man.  :ph34r:

I think Shallan is the type of person who can’t cook, either.  If Shallan and Adolin ever co-habit, they would be the kind of couple that lives off takeaways.  Whereas Kaladin is very conscientious about taking care of his stuff, and cleaning – Surgeon Lirin from SA made him do all the cleaning in their home clinic, and probably makes sure to sharpen his kitchen knives on a regular basis.  It would be a nice thing for Adolin and Renarin to have friends their own age, if they did get cool new brothers-in-law like Balat and Wikim.  I’m not sure about Jushu, because he seems like the most outwardly dysfunctional brother, while being essentially harmless.  But Balat is the real messed up one, because he thinks he is perfectly sane, and what he does to keep control of his sanity is something that Adolin, who loves animals and hates bullies, would never tolerate.  I think that if SA-Shallan has “reforged” herself after she has accepted her truths, she would have the awareness to realise that her family IS messed up, and she would be ashamed for Adolin to see them at their worst. 

 

Just as canon Adolin is allowed to go out to the winery and have some fun, providing he remains sober, modern day Adolin also is allowed to attend to various parties, providing he behaves properly. Inside the household, however, he has to live by his father's rules which are quite strict, so yes, no video games. His father thinks badly of them and Adolin is incapable of taking any action his father may disapproved of. Even in his drunken state, Adolin still hero-worships him, thinking of his former days, when he was the Blackthorn, a famous NFL player. He still naively thinks if he does well enough, if he performs well enough, his father will come around to his senses. 

Dalinar, of course, disapproves of relationship in between unmarried people, so there's that. Adolin is allowed to date, but he knows his father would disapproved if he ever moved pass first base, so he hasn't. Anyway, he is too afraid for this: what if he can't do it right?

In the modern day fic, Adolin has a lot of pressure and it reaches abnormal level as he enters his final year at University. All of a sudden, everything becomes more... concrete. He will graduate and he will be asked to join into the family company. He will have to produce results: he can't just be like cousin Elhokar who just sprawl over the board of directors playing at making decisions (in the fic I had in mind, Elhokar wears salmon polo shirts and has a grin worthy of a toothpaste commercial. He isn't a bad businessman, in fact, it will turn out he is quite astute, but ever since he has started the divorce procedure with his witch of a wife, he has been in a bad place. Fighting for custody of his young son also did not help, but he turns out being a rather cool guy (he calls Adolin sports), in a stuck up kinda of way).... No Adolin has always expected the best out of himself, he wants his father to be proud of him so he would stop thinking about uncle Gavilar's death, but now he fears he won't be up to the task. Therefore, he starts to feel rather anxious.

The downward spiral starts on the day where he gets a bad grade. He was tired, he had been working himself hard and he just... He fails. A terrible grade. He is flabbergast. He can't flunk. Not only does he need to succeed, he needs to do it well enough to graduate with honors or else father will never be proud of him. 

So he does what many young people are doing nowadays: he starts to take performance drugs. Drugs to help him be more concentrated, to prevent him from needing this much sleep: he just starts to munch on those. Jakamav, a teammate is the one who introduces him to the product. Relis is selling it and Adolin is... buying it. Up until Jakamav denounces Adolin to their football coach which gets him to be suspended from the team. Oh surprise, who was his replacement? Jakamav. 

Then everything starts to go from bad to worst.

I won't tell you the wake-up call I had in mind... You are going to say it is way WAY too tragic (and inspired from a TV series I recently watched)... but it ends well.

Adolin never graduates from his business administration degree: he misses almost all of his last semester and he never goes back to do his finals. Instead, he changes it up to become... a sports physiotherapist. He drops football, but he becomes a lacrosse player with Kaladin, much to Elhokar's utter dismay who, despite his rant, never misses one game, with his son in tow cheering up widely "uncle Adolin" with a gigantic foam hand. Adolin also leaves the Kholin mansion to share a flat with Kaladin. He and Shallan become friends, friends up until they finally kiss, about a year later after seeing Kaladin go out on a date with a mysterious envelop in his jacket pocket. 

After the wake-up call event, Dalinar enters the AA with Renarin as his "follower" and "watch-dog". He becomes sober again, but it takes a while, a long while for him to start patching things up with his eldest son.

Adolin still has shares into the family company: but nobody wants to tell him. Dalinar manages them for him, for the time being, waiting. Waiting for the day his son will be ready to acknowledge he still has a family...

I also think modern day Adolin would probably grow up repressed and sad... 

Oh I am sure Kaladin can cook... When they are flatmates, Kaladin practically takes over manning the kitchen. They eat very healthy food and Kaladin's colored friend Rock (OK, in my head, Rock is black, period) often comes to share his culinary knowledge with them. Adolin pays for practically everything: he may have left, but daddy is still paying for everything. That's the one tie he hasn't been able to totally severe (also without Dalinar, Adolin has no money).

Adolin and Renarin definitely are in need of friends within their age range. I have always thought Wikim would make a nice friend for Renarin: they seem so similar. Unfortunately, I see nobody within the Davar's family who may befriend Adolin.

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

If being “broken” doesn’t have to involve torture or abuse from an external source, there is still a good possibility that the “breaking” was internal.  I think Kaladin bonding Syl properly came more from the Chapter 11 scene in WoK when he thought about jumping into the Honor Chasm than those 9 months of beatings and being hauled around in a slave cage after Amaram’s betrayal.  It is possible that there was a point in Renarin’s life that he wanted to jump into his own Honor Chasm, and his choice of life over death was the action that bonded Glys.  I get that people feel that Renarin’s reveal of being a secret Radiant the whole time came out of nowhere, and felt unfounded, because he didn’t appear to feel the same level of trauma of everyone else.  Yes, it would be kind of dull in a narrative sense to have a second formerly-suicidal Radiant, but depression is a legitimate and serious illness so I guess I will hold my judgement on whether Renarin is “worthy” or “deserving” of being magically chosen until it’s made clear in canon.

Being "broken" can't always involve torture or abuse, it isn't realistic. There used to be thousands of Radiants in a much less populated world than our own. The percentage of people having gone through events of equal scale as Kaladin or Shallan is very small and among this percentage, the percentage of those having Radiant-like qualities is even smaller. It doesn't add up, not to mention Radiants such as Renarin or Janash were never tortured nor beaten nor abused. Gee, Dalinar wasn't abused either: it was more him who abused of others.

Breaking thus have to be internal and yes, it may be easier to break when you are forced to kill your mother as a child, but you can break just as easily through internal hardship, dixit Renarin.

Kaladin presumably bonded Syl when he was a squadleader in Amaram's army: Syl admits as much. When he fought Helaran, he already wasn't a "normal human being" as even prior to having said oaths, Radiants are able to draw in power. Dalinar was able to heal himself and to get "more out of a Plate then most people" years before he said the first oath. Kaladin Stormblessed got his renowned because he has had help all along, he had Syl, even if he didn't know about it. What broke him was Tien's death, not the slave period. The slave period if what nearly lost him, just as killing her mother was not the "bonding incident" for Shallan, but the dramatic event which nearly caused her to lose her bond.

It is unknown when Renarin bonded Glys. I used to think it was somewhere in between chapter 14 and chapter 28 in WoR, but a recent WoB has said Renarin has been a Radiant since longer than it become obvious. I am thus left to conclude he must have been a Radiant back in WoK and perhaps even before. I personally did not read Renarin as depressive though Feather thinks his impulsive actions are disguised attempts at suicide... I am not sure I embark onto this theory as it clashes too heavily with the first oath which Renarin has said a long time ago. So, I dunno. What I do know though is further insight into Renarin's head, back in WoR, wouldn't have been overly interesting to read. It goes back to Dalinar who was too internal in the first draft of WoK: Renarin is too internal to be a POV character right now. His inner dilemma would have been too difficult to read not to mention it would have spoiled the later events, had we known in advance. Needless to say the 17th Shard folks knew a long time ago Renarin was a Radiant.... it only came as a surprise to those who didn't come here beforehand. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

This is just a theory, but maybe Syl is adamantly against dead Shardblades because as an Honorspren, she is closest to Honor than any other spren “flavour”, and the idea of broken oaths between a Knight and his/her bonded spren makes her sick more than any other type?  Honorspren hold personal oaths above written laws, so it would be understandable for her to feel revulsion from proximity to dead Blades, but you can compare her reaction to Pattern.  Pattern has no problems with lies, and is closer to Cultivation on the spren scale.  He had no problem thinking about dead Blades or dying, and he expects that he will become one someday.  He was in close proximity to Adolin’s and Renarin’s dead Blades when they were figuring out the Oathgates during the Battle of Narak, and didn’t make negative comments on them to Shallan, which Syl would have done if it had been Kaladin in that situation.   I think Kaladin’s dislike of Shardbearers comes from his past history and unpleasant associations with Amaram and his squad rather than the concept of Shardbearers in general.  He had no problem with Moash being a Shardbearer, even if he would have hated to be one himself. 

Not everyone will want to emulate Radiants, not for generations at least, or however long it takes to finish the Desolation or defeat Odium for good.  The general population has a huge mistrust of Radiants, which can’t be changed unless the Radiants visibly and publicly save the world.  Until then, and until the number of Radiants ramps up, they will have to work with Shardbearers, who are not completely obsolete when they can handle the mooks of the Desolation, which are the Stormform Voidbringers.  Sure, they might not be able to take on a Thunderclast when they can’t surgebind, but they can make sure the smaller, weaker monsters are taken care of when the Radiants, not all of which are combat-class, go to battle.  And there will be normal people who are neither, because they seemed to have survived the previously.  If lighteyes are the descendants of Radiants, and based on what we have seen of Alethkar, darkeyes outnumber lighteyes, and most farming communities are 95% darkeyed, there are people who not Surgebinders who managed to survive the apocalypse.  So I would say that Adolin, as a lighteyed Shardbearer of privilege, is not completely useless in battle, as long as he doesn’t do something stupid to take himself out of the game, like run off ridgebark for a week straight to keep up, etc.  Everyone will have to work together to pull through, darkeyes and lighteyes, Radiants and Shardbearers.  Dalinar’s duty is to UNITE MEN.  He wouldn’t let disagreements divide his army, not when the world needs saving.

Considering the fact we haven't seen Pattern react as negatively to the dead-sprens as Syl, it is safe to assume not all sprens are going to react the same. It could be, being a Honorspren, Syl is more sensitive to oaths being broken, but why would she take it on current day bearers of the dead-Shards? It isn't their fault, they aren't to blame, so why does she hate them? I would understand why she would hate the original knight, the one who broke their oaths, but hating Adolin seems pointless. 

As for Kaladin, even prior to Amaram's betrayal, he refused to pick up the Shards he had won. This is how it all happened: Kaladin refused to take the Shards for himself and decides to give them to one of his men, thinking he would be allowed to do so. Technically, he was in his right, but practically what he did was unprecedented and decency has it he should have given them to his lord, not some untrained spearman. Amaram was wrong, but I sadly can understand his point of view. The problem was Shards are just too valuable: kingdoms have been lost for one Shard. In his disdain, Kaladin failed to acknowledge their worth. I personally dislike Kaladin's attitude towards the Shards: I find it disrespectful. They are dead, they are suffering, they do not deserve your disdain: it isn't their fault nor is it the current day bearers' fault.

We do not know, yet, what form the mook of a Desolation will take. It may be the Stormform Parshendis only are a tiny subset of it as if it were only them, then humanity wouldn't have faced complete annihilation each time a Desolation popped by. The creatures who lurk will be terrible, far more terrible than the little we have seen so far and I personally bet, without Radiants, they are completely doomed. Former Desolation threaten to destroy all human life: whichever foes it will propel, they won't be as easily beat down as the Stormform Parshendis.

I would also point out there are only 30 Shardbearers and soon there will be several hundreds of Radiants... One Shardbearer won't matter so much once we reach this stage and it is quite possible those holding Shards will go into hiding, purchased by the disdain of all the Windrunners and their thousands of squires.

This being said, Adolin is not useless, but his use will be severely reduced and in a world where everyone he knows have super powers, chewing ridgebark for 7 straight days is exactly how I think he may behave. Look at the modern day fic idea: this is exactly how he ends up behaving. He did it when he thought his father was threaten by Szeth, he will do it again. Adolin, as a bearer of dead Shards, will become obsolete and it won't take too long for it to happen. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

If you know a book is heavy before you read it, it’s always good to take a breather with a light novel to get into the mood.  Between “heavy” books I like to re-read my favourite romantic comedies, or other books that I know end in a high note.  Robin Hobb is rather good for having a reliable publishing schedule, so even if one book ends up in a depressing cliffhanger, you are guaranteed to find out what happens next in a year, and when she finishes one series, it is always a satisfying end with closure.  Even it isn’t something that is 100% rainbows and sunshine.  London was a book that I never bothered to re-read because I went into expecting historical fiction, but then it turned into a series of self-contained short stories that was closer to a family drama that happened to be set in the past.  I don’t mind family dramas, nor do I mind travelogue style stories, but I do like character continuity throughout a whole novel or novella.  That is why I rarely read fantasy anthologies, even if they are written by authors I like, who consistently churn out good stories that appeal to me.  Many fantasy authors do this after finishing a series or writing in between series – they write a short story, or bonus story featuring a secondary character in a well-loved universe.  It whets your appetite but leaves you hungry in the end. 

It’s a good thing when you can’t tell how much of a writer is in his or her characters.  Writers usually put something of themselves in a character, but as long as they do it in a way that the average reader can’t pick it up, they did it right – it makes characters less predictable, and authors less annoying.  It is always very tedious for me to read a story where it is obvious that the main character is the mouthpiece of the author, and everything the MC says is a reflection of the author’s beliefs – and sometimes I will put the book down if it turns into political or moral lecturing.  I actually finished a book recently with such a MC, which had me rolling my eyes at how contrived it was.  Brandon’s writing sexual/violent scenes in SA is criticised as being “sanitised”, but compared to how he wrote Elantris or Warbreaker, he has gotten much better.  He’s still very subtle about it, but it’s still there if you look for it.  And if Brandon’s theological references bother you, then it’s better to enjoy the story at face value instead of digging deeper into the analysis sphere in order to read between the lines, as some people did with their interpretations of Mistborn’s writing on metal plates.

Ah well I am currently speed reading Shopaholic to the Rescue...  BTW, I have finished both Eagle of the Ninth and Sabriel. I rather liked both. The first one was written in the old style, but I liked it nonetheless. I disliked the physical description of Marcus and the drawings in the book, so I focused on Channing Tantum instead. It worked much better. I liked Sabriel, I especially like Touchstone, I mean, "prince being rescued" is absolutely a brilliant trope (now I want Shallan to rescue Adolin). It isn't as deep or complex as SA, but it is devoid of under-dogs or depressive characters, so definitely a plus.

Robin Hobb isn't an author I enjoy enough to yearn for her next book: I typically tend to wait for her trilogies to be completed before reading them. I am not emotionally invested into her stories, I enjoy them, but not much more than that. 

I liked the family drama of London... I thought it was quite enthralling. I plan to read the guy's other books. As for fantasy anthologies, they have to be about stories I particularly enjoy. Even WoT, I didn't bother to buy it. As for writing in between series, I believe this is exactly what Brandon is doing with his upcoming arcs arcanum: several short stories set in several worlds. Sure there is the Edgedancer one which I am rather excited to read because of the insight it may give me onto my favorite theory (Adolin becomes an Edgedancer). I think the timing is excellent and cannot be arbitrary. Brandon is everything but arbitrary.

Brandon once said there was some of him in all of his characters, but none were truly him. He also doesn't use up his characters to speak his belief, such as Terry Goodkind loves to do. It makes the moral standpoint in the story to be linked to the characters and not the author. Though I would say Bandon certainly has favorite character types, as highlighted by the fact several of his male leads are very similar and by the fact he has written not one but two autistic character. Twice he has use the same character traits which is rather strange... As for critics of Brandon's words been sanitized, well these people haven't read the flashback sequences he wrote for Dalinar: they aren't sanitized nor clean, but then again they aren't equivalent to Abercrombie's sad world. Brandon simply isn't a grim dark author which is why several readers tend to visualize the story as an anime, devoid of any grimness while I tend to envision the battles as being quite... bloody. Simply because the author is not using the most descriptive words possible doesn't mean fighting is sanitized in Alethkar. I think it is pretty grim and disgusting, but Adolin (our main viewpoint during battles) is not really realizing this until the end of WoR when he fights Thrill-less.

I personally do not care so much for digging up theological references into the work of Brandon: I know it is there, but it isn't something I enjoy speculating on. 

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

No one knows what Brandon meant by “traditional” love triangle.

Adolin is afraid, and he’s insecure about “deserving” and being “worthy” of love.  SA Adolin is or is heading in a dark place right now since everyone is too busy doing other things to ask him how is and how he’s feeling.  But in the fic I wrote, Shallan has moved past the point where she just wants to use him because he’s useful.  What would Adolin’s state of fear and insecurity be if he knew that Shallan cared for him, enough to follow him to the battlefield in what appears to an unambiguous act of love?  Would he even get cold feet when he feels more than a crush for Shallan, and she feels for him right back?  This is what I was thinking about when I wrote the last chapter of the story.  Shallan has not appeared to show interest in other men in Adolin’s presence, and because Adolin is a good judge of character, he wouldn’t immediately jump to conclusions about any naughty things Kaladin may or may not have done.  Kaladin isn’t untrustworthy like Sadeas, who is a textbook sleazy villain.

 

Nope, but we are going to find out going into book 3: a love triangle was confirmed, though nobody knows which form it will take.

Random thought here... Adolin's mother was a foreigner and based on our first acquaintance with her, it seems as if she struggled to live up to the Alethi ideal. Clearly, she was left-handed and he lack of Alethi manners got her onto the laughing side of both Navani and Ialai. It struck to me she probably struggles all her married life to conform herself to the Alethi ideals, trying to be the best Alethi wife possible for her husband... How much has this behavior was passed down to her sons? More importantly, what has Shshshsh told her golden haired boy who looked more Iriali than Alethi? What has she told her smaller and slender youngest son who didn't inherit of the Kholin's strong physic?

Has Shshshshsh told her boys they needed to do their best to blend in? 

Could it be Shshshsh' own insecurities were passed down onto her sons? Why does Adolin think he isn't good enough to be loved? Where does it all come from? Why is he so afraid to open-up to people? Didn't he grow into a paradise? The cherished and prized son of a wealthy and influential family? How the heck did Adolin develop self-confidence issues? Renarin is pretty easy to figure out, but Adolin? We know it is relevant to his character, so I am not imagining things here...

So why is he so insecure when his life has been so secure?

What would Adolin's state of fear be if a woman proclaimed her undying love to him while being ready to put herself into danger for his pretty eyes? I think it would right up there... He would think she is endangering herself for... nothing. I doubt he'll be able to fully commit to any relationship up until he admits he deserves to be loved. In the fic, he was closer to this turning point than canon Adolin. Canon Adolin is going into a place where he will feel he is unworthy of everything, let alone of people wanting to die for him: this would be the worst. He is the one dying for others, not the other way around.

I personally think the courtship to Adolin Kholin will last quite a while because quite a while is how long it will take for him to acknowledge he is capable of developing a stable relationship with someone. Adolin wants to be loved, but right now, he has gotten into a place where he feels nobody cares for him except perhaps his family. What happens when he starts to feel even them do not care for him?

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

Cross-dressing as a male soldier can never be a long-term thing.  People will get suspicious if one officer looks like he’s permanently stuck in puberty and never needs to shave.  Shallan understands that Adolin is a soldier, but she doesn’t understand why he needs to fight in the front lines and die in a last stand, because she disagrees with the codes of honour and chivalry from the Way of Kings.  Shallan might have levelled up after her character development, but she is still Shallan – she will still lie whenever she feels like it, she can be manipulative and deceptive.  But she does it for what she feels are the right reasons, because Adolin has become someone she wants to protect, just like she went to all those lengths to protect her brothers back home.  That potential storyline was purposefully supposed to mirror Kaladin saving Adolin and Dalinar at the Tower, when Adolin refused to go if it meant leaving Dalinar behind.  Is a post-epilogue epilogue even necessary?  The point of a romance story is a couple getting together.  Any further development would genre-switch the story from a romance to military historical fiction.

There are male quartermasters in WoR – the soldier who gives Bridge Four their new bodyguard uniforms was male.  I expect that you have to be able to read and write glyphs to get the job, since the Alethi numbers can be written in glyphs, but it must be horribly inefficient if you can’t write in the shorthand women’s script when ordering supplies or writing reports.  But who knows, in a fantasy world.  The difference between modern and medieval warfare was the sophistication of bureaucracy, and in my story, I wrote it closer to modern.  Bureaucrats and non-combatants in a modern army are as important as combat soldiers, and that would be enough for Renarin to stop thinking of himself as useless, and show his tougher and more ruthlessly effective Blackthorn side. 

 

Nah I simply wondered if the "knocking Adolin out, gagging him and dragging him out of the battlefield" plot line would have really happened. I can see Shallan wanting to do it, but it wouldn't sit well with Adolin... I love the idea of the woman being the one ending up protecting the man, from whatever danger there may him (himself in the case of Adolin), but in the fic you wrote, I certainly think Adolin would do a last stand just to prove he has the nerves for it. His military career hasn't been great and he has trouble admitting he may not have the stomach for warfare. It would definitely fit within the character to do something very stupid just to make a point. 

Canon Adolin doesn't have anything to prove as a soldier, but I think he'll have thinks to prove as a son which may end up in him doing something equally stupid.

Kaladin is stated as an oddity for knowing how to read, it is thus safe to assume the male quartermaster are just as illiterate as Adolin... If a prince didn't learn his glyph, then we can safely bet pretty much everyone else didn't.

I certainly think Renarin is the son who takes up the most after Dalinar's ruthless instincts: he simply lacks the means to demonstrate it, but once he figures out his worth... I say watch out for him...

On 6/18/2016 at 3:47 AM, sheep said:

Renarin is closer to Dalinar’s ideal than anyone expects, I think. 

As for Kaladin questioning Shallan, from Shallan’s PoV, she is not attracted to him in that way.  Kaladin still feels something for her, and thought they had something going on, since they danced together a couple of times, and Regency social etiquette says that if a man asks you to dance more than twice, he likes you.  And his attraction is not something he can turn off or shut down after he finds out his best friend is going to marry her.  Remember, in WoR, Kaladin saw that Adolin and Shallan fit together, and even though he was crushing on Shallan, he decided to just ignore it.  So when Shallan rejects him, from her PoV, she assumes he can just un-like her, but it doesn’t work that way.  Kaladin still liked her at that point, and after, and that was why he asked her in a way that ensured that she couldn’t lie about it

 

Anyways, hopefully I wrote Shallan as a sympathetic and understandable character, since I have always liked her since I first read WoK.  Many readers didn’t like her in WoK because they wanted to go back to the Kaladin or Dalinar action, so to read something that is over 1/3 of WoK’s length in only Shallan’s PoV can be pretty tiresome for people.  And I have read book reviews for WoK/WoR from people who thought that Shallan’s mental blanking of herself is pretty scary and was uncomfortable to read.  The benefit of multiple PoV stories is that you have a better chance of finding a character you connect well with, but the benefit of a single PoV is that it gets the depth of development beyond all the characters in a multi-PoV, if it is well written.  And I like the ambiguity of world it gives – when your narrator is not omniscient and sometimes biased and unreliable, it gives room to speculate on what is really happening, and what the other characters are thinking.

 

Yes. Renarin is closer to Dalinar than Adolin: this usually comes as a shocker whenever I try to use it. My new pet theory is Renarin's condition was inherited from his... father. If you listened to the second flashback, Dalinar comes across rather poorly: he is temperamental, incapable of concentrating, terrible at reading people, firmly set onto satisfying his personal needs... I mean, the more I listen to it, the more I think I am onto something: Dalinar is not neurotypical. Either he has AHDH or autism or both, but either way, young Renarin's condition comes from his father with the tiny change being he has seizures (which is common in autistic individuals) and he didn't inherit daddy's physical abilities. The rigidity, the firmness, the tunnel vision... and yes it is quite possible Renarin responded better than Adolin to his father's lessons on emotional control. It may be why he is often seen trying to calm Adolin down back in WoK. The first time we meet him, he is riding with Adolin to the chasmfiend hunt. Adolin wants to ride up front so he could snoop on Sadeas. Renarin doesn't want to because he "hates how Adolin gets whenever Sadeas is close by". In other words, Adolin has a very hard time holding up his temper whenever Sadeas is there badmouthing his father and Renarin dislikes those open demonstrations of uncontrolled emotions. So why does Renarin hates how Adolin gets when Sadeas is nearby? It is he hates emotions because he can't understand them? Or is it because they unsettle him as he prefer when things are predictable (I mean they are brothers after all, they do share a few traits)? Or is it because he fears Adolin is hurting himself and he wishes for him to be more stable? Or is he afraid his brother may do something stupid and he won't be able to prevent it? Is Renarin afraid for Adolin?

Double-shocker... Renarin has been a Radiant for longer than it appears which means he may have had Glys back then... So, did he fear for his brother because he knew something bad would happen to him? As a Truthwatcher with visions, did he know Adolin would get into trouble? Had he guess, back then, his brother was in danger of causing harm (to himself mostly) by losing control? Is it why he was so set in trying to keep him "under control"?

That's a nice a theory... no strong arguments about it, but it seems plausible enough.. How much does Renarin know?

Well, Kaladin will have to sort out his feelings for Shallan, one way or another. In the fic, it seems as if Shallan has truly turned away any possibilities here, but in canon it has yet to happen. 

I always liked Shallan, even back in WoK. She wasn't my favorite character, but I enjoyed her chapters. It is true I had a preference towards Kaladin, back then. I recall how I ended thinking Adolin's POV was fun to read (I only got emotionally involved with his character in WoR), Dalinar probably being my least major favorite POV. I liked him well enough, but the whole vision deal wasn't my cup of tea. I thought his son was more interesting to read so I was pleased when WoR made more place for Adolin and less for Dalinar. Adolin just works out so well... even if he started up as a foil, he is such a good one he managed to steal the show. After reading WoR, I recall how I once told a fellow reader who was about to start WoR how I thought Adolin was stealing whichever scene he walked on. The story just isn't the same without him.

I also recalled how I wasn't completely enthralled to find out the focus of the book would move from Kaladin to Shallan. While I liked her, I was not convinced... Turns out I really liked Shallan's arc. Her flashbacks weren't as good as Kaladin, IMHO, but these were only a few chapters. I loved her arc on how she got to the Shattered Plain and how she broached courting her Prince, but I was not a fan of the Ghostblood arc. Unfortunately, since the Ghostblood arc appears as if it will be her major one, going into book 3, I am less excited about her than about other character. It is a bummer because I like her better than Kaladin, but this one arc does not appear large enough to occupy all the POV she is getting. Kaladin has the homecoming and the Kholinar arc which are major... Surely the courtship won't take up this many pages, not that I would mind, but realistically.

 

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On 27/06/2016 at 3:36 AM, maxal said:

It is in part the reason why I love Adolin so much: he and I are very similar. It is also why I feel, at times (and perhaps wrongly) I can understand him or visualize how it feels for him. I know what it feels to be griped with emotions you have a hard time controlling, I know how it feels when the inner cup fills up too much and I understand anger. I understand anger is not always evil, it is often needed and while it is a powerful motivator, it also is a difficult beast to tame. I understand emotions, the ones which puts words into your mouth and which gives you the inner feeling you are totally justified in your rant. It probably is why I yearn to read more Adolin: he is a character I can connect with on a personal level which is not something I can say about the other characters.

When I speculate or predict future happenings, I speculate and I predict future happenings: it remains a prediction. Others can either take it or leave it, but it remains predictions. I typically look into a given character's personality, events in his life and how he may evolve based on them. I seriously dislike the term "trauma stick": my wishes are not to watch characters suffer uselessly, but to give them the most significant character arc possible within the realm of the active story. I have no desire to recreate Fitz stories which were rather depressing and unsatisfying based on their lack of ending nor do I wish SA was a single-POV story focusing solely on Adolin. I love multi-POV stories because they offer a greater variety of characters and it changes the viewpoint from time to time. I simply wish for Adolin to inherit a satisfying character arc, one befitting the character I have been able to read so far. I feel he is a character with a story to tell and he has the potential to grow with it: I want to read it. I want him to have enough page time to make this story fulfilling. In other words, I wish for Adolin to move onto one of our main protagonists because I sincerely feel this is where he belongs: his voice is unique enough and his character is interesting enough for it. This being said, a good character arc does have some trauma to it: Kaladin's arc has trauma and so did Shallan. Those two characters arc are at least as dramatic as Fitz's entire story. The main difference in between Kaladin and Fitz arc is I can expect Kaladin's to perhaps not end so bad, but I disagree Brandon cannot be sadistic nor do I think Hobb is sadistic. She enjoys putting her characters into hopeless situations, so does Brandon, but Brandon makes his characters succeed more frequently while Hobb reserves success for the very last pages of her book. 

 

It seems like a strange thing to me to choose what books to read or media to consume based on how closely the protagonist resembles me in personality.  But I guess that is part of the differences between people, what they prefer, and what process they use to decide what they will read, and what they will like.  For me, actively looking for books for similar personality characters, or reading into characters in series I’m already reading in order to find mutual experiences or character traits is something that I don’t think I’ve done more than a few times.  That is the reason, I think, that explains why people don’t understand what you see when you write essays or speculate, and even when you explain, they still don’t see it.  And in some instances, I can be that person, because when I read fantasy novels or fiction in general, I enjoy reading characters that don’t resemble me in any way, because it’s fantasy – you can be anyone and anywhere if the author is skilled enough.

I actually had a think about the books I’ve recently read, and the reason why I liked them or didn’t like them.  I think it’s a good exercise for a person to do, when they want to understand their consumption habits in order to narrow their preferences or at least write a review.  I find story fulfilling if the world is thoughtfully built and carefully crafted, or the characters are well-fleshed out and believable.  If the characters are flat, then the world building must be good, like in science fiction – space operas use planet scale or world building, and the characters tend to be an ensemble cast with regular casualties.  If the world is flat, then the characters must be human and sympathetic, like in urban fantasy which is set in modern Earth, and the author often expects you to know what it’s like already, so doesn’t bother describing environments or social customs.  If the books fail to meet my standards for world and character, and are poorly written (bad prose, plot holes, can’t suspend disbelief) they get dropped.  And even if they meet the requirements for being readable to me, sometimes I find that they are not completely enjoyable.  The reason why I like Brandon more than Hobb is that Brandon’s multiple PoVs and plot threads tie up in the Sanderson Avalanche, or “convergence”, where everything comes together in a satisfying way.  Hobb doesn’t give me that until the end of the third book of her trilogy, and at that point I’ve been strung along for so long that it doesn’t feel completely satisfying.  And this is why I’m very wary of multiple PoV stories, because it takes a high level of writing and plotting skill for an author to match conflict to closure in a way that balances neatly – too much on either side and it becomes unfulfilling, or seems a Deus ex Machina. 

It comes down to narrative pacing and preferences, I guess.  Brandon guarantees a bit pacing payoff in the form of the Avalanche climax at the end of every book, for every major character arc, while Hobb dangles it on front of you for two and a half books and gives a bittersweet ending at the end of the third.  Spend too much room developing and deepening the plot conflict, or expanding on the characters’ quirks and personalities, and you will have less room to actually move the plot along.  Novel writers get more leeway in their pacing and world building, but in short stories and novella writing, you don’t mention details unless you are going to reference it again later on.  Unless, of course, you are deliberately subverting expectations with a red herring when writing in the mystery genre, or experimental literary writing. 

And that is why I presume Adolin won’t be getting flashback sequences.  He may be an important character two books in, but if he isn’t getting the “star treatment” with his own book, it gives the impression that he will not be a major character throughout the 5 book front half of the series.  Adolin’s character was used as a narrative tool to contrast with Dalinar in WoK and Kaladin in WoR, and if his appearances were thrown in, it is possible that Brandon didn’t think it would affect the long-term storyline across the whole of the series.  So apart from doing things in the “close focus” like killing Sadeas and leading armies, it would be safe to assume that Adolin won’t be doing “big picture” things like saving everyone in Roshar, worldhopping with Hoid, or becoming Odium’s champion.  What backstory of his that is explored will only be dropped in bits in pieces that are relevant to the main storyline, and nothing more.  It would be similar to what was revealed of Teft and Moash’s pasts – Teft was the one with the crazy cultist parents, which explains how is so knowledgeable about Surgebinding, which is taboo when Radiants are considered evil, and Moash’s dead grandparents who died because Elhokar was being a manchild.  Each reveal explains why a character’s personality is a certain way, so their actions are justified within the story – but since they are not major characters, they don’t get extra paragraphs or chapters devoted to them, because then you’d be wondering if they’re important, or if they will become significant players later on.  And if they don’t, it would appear like a buildup with no resolution, or a failure of pacing. 

So Adolin not getting flashbacks may seem like a disappointment, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get his character development coming full circle.  Moash, a minor character, is someone who most people expect will have a change of heart, or go full bad and get dealt with in a satisfying manner (if you like tough guy fights and one liners).  Based on the page space spent on Adolin, it would be a failure of pacing if there was no resolution for him.  I do not doubt that Adolin won’t get his closure, because Brandon is too skilled and aware not to deliver on that, even if it might take 10 years to get there.  It’s just that his past that will probably stay unrevealed when Brandon plans out his books with word limits in mind, and from what has been happening in-story, the consequences of Adolin’s present actions have more relevance to the plot than the person he once was.  There was some of the “old Adolin” in WoK, when Adolin mentally disagreed with most of Dalinar’s ideals – for instance, when he admires his own Shardplate which is painted and has decorations bolted on, and compares it to Dalinar’s plain grey Plate, the only plain one in all of the warcamps.  But in the time between releases, there’s always writing fanfiction or speculating.  At least the benefit of Adolin being demoted to supporting cast is that he will never get a book cover featuring him.  Your mental image will never be destroyed by high fantasy cover artwork where he is in a cheesy superhero pose wearing a hideous headband that does nothing but look atrocious. ^_^

The reason why I seem so dismissive of speculating – and I’m not trying to demean you or your character analysis – is that at this point in time, years from the last release in the series, and years until the next one, most of the low hanging fruit in terms of fan theories have already been picked, so what people are throwing out these days are theories that are just way out there.  I think you would call them “thin air” speculating, and you know what I mean, the ones where Kaladin’s father is secretly a Herald, and his mother is a Returned from Nalthis.  And Tien’s body was taken from the battlefield and he was secretly inducted into the Skybreakers.  These are the types of theories I dislike, because it’s not far from grasping for straws.  Brandon is fond of twists, but he tends to do foreshadowing before the reveal.  I’m not being maliciously disparaging of speculation, just these types, which make me roll my eyes, because occasionally there are good theories, thoughtfully explained with justified reasons supporting the author’s belief.  The ones I dislike are the ones where instead of proof or quotes, the author of such a theory just says “WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF IT WERE TRUE”.  Yes, maybe it would be cool, but is there more substance than coolness value? :rolleyes:  In books with flat worldbuilding and cardboard characters, I will keep reading and suspending my disbelief if the writing is done humorously tongue-in-cheek.  I think thin air theories are acceptable if they are funny.  And anything involving the Stick automatically becomes unfunny.  (I think Brandon’s April Fool’s short story featuring the Stick made it seem like it was a significant character (is it even a character?) but in reality it was only a couple of sentences in WoR, so can people get over it already!) I know I sound salty. :lol:

I also think that people on the forums who are so fixated on being 100% canon-compliant that they demand quotes and page numbers for every assertion posted by other people can be pretty rude.  And if rude is a strong word, then I would call them unpleasant.  I like quotes because I refer to them all the time when I sketch and draw fanart, and it makes me feel satisfied when my illustrations match the description; it’s like I hit the bullseye when everything is neat and correct.  To me, it’s fun.  However, when people who post get verbally “attacked” by others who demand quotations, that is not very fun.  Though I enjoy quotes, I know that not everyone cares or enjoys citing every sentence they write, and fiction and forums should be about what you enjoy, or else why bother?

I’ve been trying to think of stories with characters similar to Adolin, but it gets difficult when it has to have a sociable, extroverted, preferably male protagonist with character development, be a fantasy, preferably a completed series, and preferably a series with multiple viewpoints.  (That last one is difficult as any multi PoV series with an arrogant patrician tends to have other characters who are more humble and lower-ranking, often becoming Underdog Saves the Day protagonists.-_-)  I think finding similar stories comes from putting trope labels on either the character or the plot, or both. Would you read an “Arrogant Patrician” type character who learns humility in a “Fall From Grace” style plot that is either self-inflicted or caused by some outside event, like being shipwrecked or kidnapped?  The only examples I can currently think of are scifi or historical, and they explore the world more than the characters.  And disappointingly, the characters turn out to be more character archetypes than fleshed-out characters.  The fantasy ones I can find just tend to be re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast in a different setting, and a romance plot that often has a female co-protagonist who is so generically beautiful and innocent that everyone falls in love within one chapter of meeting her.  “Fall From Grace” style plots do tend to be predictable, because it is expected that the main character earns their way back through lots of hard work, or learns a lesson if it was self-inflicted.  It is down to the author to make the journey enjoyable and entertaining, since the destination is going to be the same every time. 

 

 

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Alethi are meek: they do not express any outward emotions. They are naturally reserved, reacting stoically to insults, not reacting which is why most of the young society likes to taunt Adolin. He reacts. He bursts out. As Sadeas put it, he has little control over his emotional response. You see no other lighteyes publicly calling others "coward" or forming fists ready to strike or rushing up in the middle of the king's counsel because they can't keep themselves under control. He may be the odd one out, but he remains a very expressive young man. The map scene you were referring to was very, very meek, IMHO, considering the circumstances. It was a first time for Adolin, a first time when he had so much emotions, he had to let them out. If we look closely at what triggered his response, it wasn't much: simply believing his father may be going crazy while being refused to have the discussion he needed to have. Five times he tried to broach the subject, in a calm manner, with his father and five times he was turned down. Then he exploded. If this is how he responds when his father refuses to acknowledge his visions may be damaging, how is he going to react upon the events of WoR? His circumstances are much more dire now than they were early in WoK: this will add up and he will explode again. Emotional people just don't burst out once and then learn to be meeker, it isn't out emotive responses work. They burst, then they burst again up until they learn control. Adolin is leagues away from even starting to learn control: his only control mechanism has been his brother and his father. External control, not internal one. 

 

Meek would be the wrong word – the dictionary defines it as “shy” or “submissive”.  I don’t think the warlike Alethi would be described like that, at least not the lighteyed upper classes.  They would be accurately described as aloof, and being seen as reserved and haughty in public makes them appear dignified and leader-like in front of other lighteyes and the darkeyed lower classes.  In a society with a rigid social hierarchy, people are more aware of their place in it than they are in the modern day, which is why Kaladin is such a freak.  He is supposed to speak when he’s spoken to, but he doesn’t.  Even though Alethkar has a lot of Asian influences, I sense some Victorian-era British prudishness in lighteyes’ sense of propriety.  Men can visit brothels if they want, and no one blinks an eye, but it’s shocking for a lighteyed girl to kiss her potential future husband on the cheek in public.  It seems like having a stiff upper lip is the Alethi way, and being stoic and in-control all the time is how you display leadership qualities.  Since Dalinar’s visions cause him to hit the ground and start twitching, to other people it looks like he is losing control of his body, and that makes Jakamav and Sadeas believe that is enough to make him unworthy to be a leader.  It must be immensely restricting for Adolin when his whole life he is taught that his natural response to stressful situations is wrong, and not what real men do, or at least not what real Alethi do, when all he is doing is feeling feelings.  Being a “real Alethi” must be a stressful situation in itself for him, since he has mentioned that people regularly comment on his hair, and tell him that his bloodline is impure.  Self-deprecation for humour often is a way people deal with insecurities, and Shallan does it all the time.  Honestly, if Shallan was more self-aware and perceptive she would have been able to tell that Adolin is not as happy as he outwardly presents.  But she tends to focus on her own problems and only the very un-subtle gets noticed, like Kaladin publicly being a jerk.

You could say that Dalinar is partially responsible in training Adolin to be the kind of person who won’t adapt well to changes like the return of the Radiants.  I would add that even though Dalinar holds some of the blame for emotionally stunting his son and controlling him to the point where he feels uncomfortable accepting the responsibilities of independence and what passes for adulthood in Alethkar – Dalinar didn’t do any of this on purpose.  He thought what he was doing was for the greater good, and it was changing his son into his own conception of what he considered a fair and worthy leader.  And before the whole “Desolation” thing, before the visions, all Dalinar expected was that Adolin would eventually become Highprince after him, not be involved with supernatural conspiracies or saving the world with taboo magics.  If the world went along according to plan, with Adolin inheriting, would you say that Adolin, without the outside plot-induced stresses, would be perfectly capable of holding his own in such a world?

Hm, maybe rebellious is too strong a word, but Adolin appreciates having a choice, even if he does end up choosing the option that everyone wanted him to pick.  Hence his uniform being more fancy than everyone else’s, and his duelling methods being unorthodox, using wrestling moves instead of the Shardblade-only combat approved by the Highjudge.   I do not see him ever liking being forced into an ultimatum, because it has the potential of forcing him into a situation where he is completely unprepared, eg, when he fights Szeth both times and has trouble deciding if his life is worth more than Dalinar’s.  Still, freedom of choice is something I imagine Adolin values a lot, because it gives him the security of knowing that he is his own man, which he projects in public, even though some part of him must subconsciously identify himself as his father’s son.  He makes a big deal of his having his choice of wife, courting a new girl every 2 weeks or so, but inwardly, he wouldn’t mind it if he had a formal arrangement with just one girl.  Those thought patterns are very strange and contradictory to people outside the personality type, I guess.  But choices, actions, and consequences I suspect will make up a lot of Adolin’s character development.  And ultimately, Adolin is responsible for what he does, not Dalinar, who formed the framework of his morality, but doesn’t make the decisions.  Dalinar isn’t solely responsible for Adolin turning out the way he is.  When Adolin was a child, his father was away conquering Alethkar, and Adolin didn’t get the join in the fighting until the War of Reckoning.  Before that, it’s assumed he spent his days training in the company of his mother (before she died) and Renarin.  And based on what is mentioned about Shshshsh, she doesn’t seem to be a bad person.

 

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“Origin of the Makabaki,” Renarin said. “Mother told me that story when I was a child.”

Chapter 61, “Right for Wrong”, Way of Kings

 

Who knows, maybe it’s Shshshsh who unwittingly influenced Adolin into becoming an insecure, overstressed daddy’s boy.  That could be a real theory there, since from what we know of Shshshsh hasn’t been that flattering of a description – Navani doesn’t think she’s clever, and since she was dragged along by her brother to a foreign land, I don’t think she can be considered a strong-willed, self-confident and assertive type of person, even if she is kind and well-intentioned.  I don’t think she was the one who stole the Shardplate from Iri, and she is definitely not the person who came up with the plan to carry it to Alethkar and arrange for political asylum through a strategic marriage.  She could not have been a good role model for young Adolin, if he was left alone with her for years while Dalinar was on campaign with Gavilar, since her whole life, like the lives of high ranking women, was to be a glorified secretary/bureaucrat who shuffles papers in support of a husband who makes the decisions.  She, like Queen Aesudan, would be expected to “run the farm” and play a support role to her husband, if he was away.  I do not think she is the type of character with the political acumen and dominant personality to demand equal status in a relationship like Ialai Sadeas.  Ialai breaks conventions and eats men’s food at the men’s table.  Shshshsh goes along with her brother’s plan to marry her off for political protection.   Adolin is follows the rules and remains observant of social conventions.  He doesn’t even realise it until he meets Shallan who does the completely unexpected.

Alternatively, it could be kids his age who instilled in Adoiln the impression of being inferior because of his foreign and impure blood, as little kids on the playground or training arena tend to do, and young Adolin developed into a young adult who acts arrogant in public to compensate.  Or it could even be the rigid Alethi society where the Asian concept of face is held to utmost importance, and any display of emotion is a sign of weakness that causes sharks to circle, because Alethis can be petty and cutthroat.

I would be hesitant to say that it’s all Dalinar, because before Dalinar got his visions – I’m not sure about the timeline on this, so I’m assuming they started a year or two before the events in WoK, he was still mostly Blackthorn and universally lauded as an Alethi hero.  In that period, Adolin’s posturing and hotheaded reactions to goading wouldn’t have gotten him into much trouble other than a disadvantaged duel or two.  I’m still not sure why Dalinar banned duelling for officers if Adolin in WoK was still duelling for honour rather than Blades (with Sadeas, Elhokar and Dalinar commenting on how good he is, since he comes out untouched), if the whole purpose of the ban was to prevent potential injuries.  It wasn’t until Dalinar got really into the Way of Kings enough to speak the words and get the visions that he considered paths other than standard lighteyed Alethi authoritarianism and being a backseat autocrat.  So it could possibly be argued that Dalinar’s negligence with regards to Adolin’s training and education rather than heavyhanded-ness that caused Adolin to go off the rails at the end of WoR.  Everyone was so involved with their own problems, and no one really communicated – the scene where Dalinar wants to abdicate and Adolin starts yelling at him is a prime example.  They don’t exactly resolve their disagreement because of stubbornness and plot-induced convenience.  “Do your sons mean so little to you?”  I really wanted an answer to that question in WoR.  What I’m really trying to say is that it could be Dalinar’s recent flip-floppy behaviour from Blackthorn to Proto-Radiant, from “NO DUELING” to “Win me Shards, son” and other events that happened in the background, like Szeth’s assassination attempt, that set routine-oriented Adolin off, rather than his father being too controlling.  And in the end, it was his own choice to go off the deep end, since it was confirmed that it wasn’t Odium controlling him.

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The look of utter shock on Sadeas’s face amused a part of Adolin, the very small part that wasn’t completely, totally, and irrevocably enraged.

Chapter 89, “The Four”, Words of Radiance

Adolin has to have some awareness and control if he can think that, and spout out a one liner before knifing Sadeas.  He is the one ultimately responsible for his actions, not Dalinar.  Even though Dalinar will take it personally, and if he thinks Adolin is a failure for doing that, it is because he failed his son. 

I like characters having a sense of agency, and to blame their decisions on someone else is kinda disappointing in a narrative sense.  Of course things aren’t that clean and clearcut in real life, but fictional character motivations are all down to perception and interpretation, and I prefer to see it as an action Adolin did for himself, with the added bonus of protecting the people he loves, rather than an explosive tantrum of repressed daddy issues.

 

 

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Doing as you say would involve quite a bit of time: I do not have the time to re-read formally beloved stories. Even WoK and WoR, I haven't re-read entirely. I tend to leave them in the bathroom so it allows some time to re-read parts of it but a full re-read it not something I usually do.  And I do use up the dictionary, but thewe have re is just a way into my writing which doesn't sound quite right. I have ideas, but I can't put them convincingly into words, not as I wish I was capable of doing. The fic I had in mind ends with Adolin actually climbing the "Radiant tower" after having refused to climb it before because he wasn't "one of them". He isn't a Radiant (not yet), he hasn't revived his Blade (not yet), but he has found its name and he is bringing it to the top of the tower. In other words, he has started his journey, but it will be a long one. 

I thought Ender's Game was fine, but not extraordinary. The writing style came across as slightly old: I had the feeling the story would have flowed quite differently had it been written more recently. I liked it, but I did not liked it enough to want to read the sequels, especially since I have heard the story went downhill after a while. I agree modern day YA has changed how stories are being written. For instances, if I read Hunger Games or Ender's Games or Eagle of the Ninth I can read the difference in between stories written in the current century and those written in the past. Neither is either better nor worst, but something has changed in the last decade or so as to how writers craft their stories. I am not quite capable of putting a name on it, but I definitely see a difference.

 

I never re-read WoK or WoR in its entirety, either.  Most of the time I re-read a chapter at a time after wanting to find a quote and searching up a key word with my eReader.  I always skip the interlude chapters because even though they are useful worldbuilding, I find them hard to get into because they are so different in tone to the main storylines.  Especially that first Purelake one.  The sudden contrast and setting-switch is jarring.  Anyways, if you haven’t got the time to go through old favourites, you can at least pick up a book that you found hit your standards for the three main points of prose/style, plot and characterisation.  That one book that you could immediately name as one of your top 10, and has been so for years.  For me, it would be a book that I would bother owning in hardcopy and eBook edition.  If you get to a point where you are actually going to sit down and write, it helps if you have that one book in front of you, so you can double check and compare your sentence structure and level of description.  It’s a useful trick if you want to emulate a certain style of writing, and I used to do it in my old school days.

I thought the writing style in Ender’s Game was serviceable.  Descriptive without being elaborate, and carries the plot, but it is workmanlike in the same way as Brandon’s, but not beautiful.  Now and then there are poignant moments, but overall it is blunt and definitely not poetic.  The Eagle of the Ninth is more introspective and pays more attention to building imagery and relationships, with an old fashioned sort of charm that I like.  And since it was written for kids, it doesn’t have the intrusive satirical comments on society or politics that many older authors liked to put in their books.  Since YA wasn’t a genre when it was written, it is suitable for all ages to read, which is the best type of YA novel – one that you can enjoy as a kid and re-read as an adult and enjoy it just as much, or even see it on a deeper level.  I think that’s the difference between old YA novels and modern ones with garish covers, supernatural love triangles, and teen protagonists who have problems respecting authority figures.  I have recently read/skimmed a few YA novels, and the main thing I see in common is that they lack complexity.  The conflicts are more black and white than grey and grey, the world tends to be some version of alternate Earth or historical Earth rather than something more original and alien, and focus is put on the characters first and worldbuilding second.  Of the characters, each has one or two main traits (barely better than cardboard) with the obviously defined MC with the most development, but character arcs tend to be minimal and sometimes non-existent.  Of course, this would not be something that would bother a child reading for enjoyment, but I would not be immersed, and I’d be rolling my eyes the whole way through.  Having a simple world or simple characters is not a bad thing if the author does it well, and makes up for it in other ways, but modern YA published in the last 5 or so years rarely has any substance to redeem itself.


My problem is that I’ve been spoiled by too many good books and now I’m too picky.  Well, at least it means that it has forced my taste and my writing skills to improve.  I have learned what kind of styles work, and what writing styles are not worth copying unless I want to write cookie cutter YA.  If you can pick up a book and immediately dislike the writing style enough to be able to explain why it bothers you, then you have become a prose connoisseur.  And if you can translate to skill to writing, you can consider yourself better than published authors.

 

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Oh I didn't mean it as a critic of your story: it wasn't an Adolin centrist one. Shallan was the main protagonist so it made sense it would explore her issues. I do not think Adolin is unhappy, per say, but I do think he is very lonely. In canon, he only realizes this in WoR when he yearns for a sympathetic ear to listen to his women problems only to be turned down by the one person he thought was a good friend. He had always entertained a large circle of acquaintances, but he never truly noticed the fact not one of them actually cared about him pass the benefit a "friendship" with him may mean. When push comes to shove, he is all by himself and if his family, those who should care about him, start to reject him based on his actions, then I have no idea how bad he will react to it.

I certainly think there is much to be said in the Adolin/Dalinar relationship and I hope book 3 will broach it. Adolin admires his father, he hero-worships him: he can't be allowed to fail in his eyes. Ah there is an entire story to be written just about these two.

 

I don’t mind critiques!  I think if they are written by a thoughtful reviewer (someone who can do a better job than writing “THIS SUCKS 1 STAR”) they help authors improve plot and pacing, because people who write things spend a lot of replaying scenes in their head and proofreading to the point where they lose sight of the impact of their writing.  Twists aren’t shocking twists when you’ve read over it two dozen times trying to make it sound right.  I want to get better at writing so I know what to avoid and what to use the next time I decide to write something.  One theme that I really enjoy reading (and writing) is friendship.  I enjoy heartwarming stories as much as I enjoy a good romance, and I wanted to explore friendship within a relationship, which is something that many modern romances lack, because they run off “hey ur hot, let’s have sex” relationship development.  The Power of Friendship is cheesy as heck, but if the friendship is well-written and develops organically, then it’s one trope I unashamedly love.  The lack of platonic or sibling relationships involving trust and communication in WoR was a disappointment to me, because it would have solved a lot of problems, or at least kept them from turning into massive problems. Kaladin, Adolin and Shallan don’t have friends that last the whole book, and only start to become friends at the end.  But hey, fanfiction is authors writing what they want to read, and a lot of what I wrote was author appeal.  I guess it says a lot about me as a person, hahah.

 

Shallan is around 17.5 as of the end of WoR, so it might be closer to 5 years’ difference between her and Adolin rather than 6 years.  To Rosharans, the age difference in-story doesn’t seem to be a big deal and no PoV character has commented on it, so no one thinks it’s unusual or immoral for Adolin to be dating someone Shallan’s age.  Lin Davar considered marrying Balat off to a 50 year old woman, which would be socially acceptable since everyone understands that the marriage would be in the nature of exchange, as most high ranking marriages are.  They thought it was too much because she’s twice his age and probably is too old to have children, but it is still perfectly socially acceptable, if unusual.  Balat would have been a trophy husband in that instance. :o

In the second flashback, Shshshsh was 18 or 19 and Dalinar must have been around 24, which is a 5-6 year age difference, which again, is not commented upon.  If they married at age 21 and 27, would you consider that too much?  Because if Adolin’s relationship preferences turn out to mirror his father’s (as they seem to be turning out to be, the more gets revealed from SA3), I could see he and Shallan getting married at that age, if they decided to get married at all.  She would be a legal adult in all countries by Earth standards, if Brandon wanted to avoid the squeamishness of readers who dislike the thought of teenagers doing “things”:ph34r:, or teenage pregnancy.  Though he has written about it before in Warbreaker, with Siri was around 17 and Susebron who was biologically (but not physically) 50 years old, and a prime example of being a manchild.

If Susebron (the tongueless version) was the measuring stick for being a manchild, I would say that Adolin is very far from that.  He may be emotionally stunted, suffers from PTSD and lives in a strict society with no therapists and no friends, but he has adult responsibilities that he is capable of managing himself.  When he rescues the prostitute from being beaten up in WoK, and she offers herself to him no charge, he handles the situation calmly, and I have the suspicion that Dalinar wouldn’t call Adolin out for visiting a brothel.  Dalinar isn’t the type of person who could comfortably talk about “those things” when he can barely discuss them with Navani, so I doubt he would confront Adolin if he did.  Susebron in comparison didn’t even know how that stuff worked.  So I would not say that Adolin is “trawling for teens” because that makes him seem creepy, as it was Jasnah who suggested the match, but rather looking for “the one”.  And if the person who might turn out to be “the one” happens to be a teenager, what is he going to do about it?  Dump her or tell her to come back in 3 years?   What exactly are the symptoms of Adolin’s manchildness?  The wandering eye, playboy behaviour?  The fear of commitment and eventual self-sabotage?  Seems like standard personality flaws rather than being the Rosharan equivalent of a modern neckbeard who lives in his mum’s basement and plays World of Warcraft all day.

I think it’s just your modern perspective overlaying your reading which results in such a dislike of the age gap.  Some of my friends told me that they thought 18 and 22 was too much, but to me, it’s so subjective and honestly, best judged on an individual level rather than with a blanket Yes/No.  Years later, these same friends seem to have changed their minds and have admitted that someone a bit older and with a more “settled” way of thinking would not be a bad thing. <_<

 

 

 

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Well, there is ignoring the canon and there is... ignoring the canon. I can manage to ignore the various shipping writers like to explore (even if I dislike them, I am free to stop reading a story at any given time), but I have a harder ignoring characters being OOC. Even in a modern day setting, I prefer when the characters have to retain their primary characteristics. Too many fics ignore those and change the characters almost beyond recognition. YMMV on this one, but some of the takes others have taken in fanfiction just do not work out for me.

As for the OT3, I guess I do not understand the appeal of a girl playing around with two guys: it seems disloyal, though the OT3 mostly is Adolin and Kaladin together with Shallan watching which makes it kinda creepy. I basically read everything which comes under my hand, even if the ship does not please me, I may still like other aspect of the story. I read fanfiction because I want more of the story and the author isn't producing new material fast enough for my personal tastes.... I just want more, so in absence of canon material, I rely on fanfiction.

From what I have seen in the fandom, in general, Shalladin is more heavily supported than Shadolin. I had a great explanation with respect to demographic as I certainly think it plays a role.

 

I think most fanfics lose me within the first 4-6 paragraphs due to being OOC or just not having an interesting plotline that is sometimes helpfully summarised by the author’s blurb.  In those cases, I only finish the first chapter and close out.  It is the very best fanfiction that makes me want to hit “Next Chapter” as soon as I finish the last, which happens very rarely.  Mostly because many fanfics are short one-shots or incomplete and hanging in writer limbo.  To be fair, I am just as picky with published fiction, and first chapters are important for cementing the style and tone of a written piece.  If your first page doesn’t grab me, then I will struggle trying to immerse myself into the fictional world. 

OT3’s are love triangles, but instead of having the conflict of the girl choosing which one is better, she gets to have them both.  Even if Alethi society was accepting of such an arrangement (they probably would not care, as long as no one knew about it), I have the feeling that Adolin and Kaladin are the type of people who would prefer a monogamous relationship.  It looks like fanfiction authors are writing Shallan as someone with a voyeur fetish.  Well, it’s a bit unusual, but I wouldn’t say it doesn’t fit her character if you stretched your interpretation a bit.   She does enjoy watching shirtless sailors, lets Pattern spy on people, spies on people herself, and likes doing life study drawings.  If Shallan happened to stumble across Adolin changing his clothes in the locker room, her reaction would be more of interest than embarrassment.  Her drawing skills and memory make her the ideal stalker and peeping tom in a setting without modern technology.

 

 

 

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Just as canon Adolin is allowed to go out to the winery and have some fun, providing he remains sober, modern day Adolin also is allowed to attend to various parties, providing he behaves properly. Inside the household, however, he has to live by his father's rules which are quite strict, so yes, no video games. His father thinks badly of them and Adolin is incapable of taking any action his father may disapproved of. Even in his drunken state, Adolin still hero-worships him, thinking of his former days, when he was the Blackthorn, a famous NFL player. He still naively thinks if he does well enough, if he performs well enough, his father will come around to his senses. 

Dalinar, of course, disapproves of relationship in between unmarried people, so there's that. Adolin is allowed to date, but he knows his father would disapproved if he ever moved pass first base, so he hasn't. Anyway, he is too afraid for this: what if he can't do it right?

 

Oh, Dalinar.  I have serious doubts that Dalinar was a virgin at 27 when he married Shshshsh, and that he was a virgin at 24 before he had even met her.  It must be hilariously hypocritical to forbid such “intimacy” for his son, especially in a modern setting where education about these things starts early, and where the “consequences” of a mistake would have been extremely shameful in a medieval setting, can be taken care of in the modern day without too many questions asked.  How does a father even enforce such rules on a son without keeping him locked in the house?  How would a father even find out if his son got to second base with a girl? :blink: Kids don’t talk about these things with their parents (how uncool is that) past the mandatory educational speech everyone gets at around age 12, and even if they did mention it in the presence of others, there is always hip slang that grownups don’t understand.  I don’t disagree that Adolin is a virgin – I’m pretty sure he is, if a kiss on the cheek makes him blush.  If he has kissed girls before Shallan, there wouldn’t have been very many of them, and I assume that he didn’t get any farther than that.  But I believe that his “purity” comes from his own choice or own inability to make a choice rather than his father’s view on marital morality.  Dalinar would probably be glad to see his son had finally settled down.  In WoK he has mentioned before that a good wife would be useful, to Adolin as an officer’s secretary and to the family as a whole, since the only person so far who can be trusted fully with writing notes is Navani.

…And that brings up another question about Adolin’s fears of getting married.  He’s afraid of not being able to do it right.  Is it even possible to do it wrong? :ph34r:

I don’t know if you picked up on it, but when I wrote Adolin in my story, I wrote him as one who is intimately inexperienced.  In the last chapter, the Epilogue, I tried to make it clear that he and Shallan were doing the things. :ph34r: Even if you start out inexperienced, I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out what goes where.;)  I tried to walk the line between tasteful and humorous without going into explicit, and writing it made me laugh pretty hard, because the reason why Adolin avoids Shallan for a few days after his first time is that he thinks he broke her or something silly like that. :ph34r::ph34r: If I had written the story with Adolin’s PoV, I would have included a mention that afterwards, Adolin went to Kaladin for doctor advice on how to “unbreak” Shallan because he was freaking out about finding some spotting on his bedsheets.:lol:

I remember you saying a while ago in this thread that Adolin’s lack of experience would make his first experience cute and sweet.  I personally thought it would turn out to be unintentionally hilarious. 

Jeez.  Your story gets dark pretty quickly.  It seems to fall into the genre of literary fiction or family drama than fantasy, if that’s what you were aiming for.  With family dramas, it is easy to accidentally turn it into soap operas if you have too many viewpoints going on at once, without keeping in mind the balance of internal character exploration and the overall narrative.  But if you do it well, it can turn into a heartwarming family story.  Are you planning to write it out properly, or is this just a mental scenario? 

I think I am the kind of person who feels bad for putting fictional characters in depressing situations.  I would feel guilt if I had to write a “Fall From Grace” scenario where a character ends up in a bad place, especially if it was all self-inflicted.  I feel bad reading about the ways Kaladin was forced to run bridges and get strung up in a highstorm, and I felt bad for every bad thing that happened to Fitzchivalry.  I admire writers who can convincingly write characters at the worst point in their lives, because I don’t think I could do it.  I’m just too soft-hearted, and I need hope spots or else I can’t pick up the book.  Even now I hesitate to re-read books that I know explore depressing character arcs because it’s a mental rollercoaster for me, and I can’t handle the feels.

Kaladin and Adolin as roommate would be a cute idea, if they develop a bromance like they had going on at the end of WoR.  When Adolin went to jail as a protest after the 4:1 duel, he and Kaladin were basically roommates.  I’m a very boring person who enjoys fan service in the form of simple “slice of life” stories instead of high drama, so a story about roommates who do mundane, everyday things like grocery shopping and going to the gym together would be something I’d find enjoyable.  I know it’s boring, but sometimes I like a little light reading.  If Adolin gets over all the drama and ends up doing simple things that make him happy, I think I would be fulfilled with such an ending.  I know other people who have read fantasy novels featuring farmboys who are given magical swords of destiny expect the farmboy to end up as a king at the end of the day, but I like it when the farmboy retires and goes back to his farm.

I do not see Adolin wanting to become friends with Shallan’s brothers.  They are secretive people because of the whole “cover up our parents’ death” deal and the abusive parents thing has traumatised all of them to certain degrees.  Adolin wouldn’t know the reason for their being so evasive, but he’s such a good judge of character that he would pick up on the fact that there is something wrong with them, something that they’re not telling.  He would find it hard to trust them, and he would struggle to befriend them, since Balat is a cripple and can’t participate in Adolin favourite hobby, duelling.  It would be annoying for Adolin if Jushu runs up gambling debts and tells his creditors that Adolin will pay the bills.  But the Ghostbloods are trading Shallan’s brothers in exchange for her participation in their schemes, so an actual introduction of the Kholins and the Davars is likely going to happen SA3.  How exciting! 

 

 

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Considering the fact we haven't seen Pattern react as negatively to the dead-sprens as Syl, it is safe to assume not all sprens are going to react the same. It could be, being a Honorspren, Syl is more sensitive to oaths being broken, but why would she take it on current day bearers of the dead-Shards? It isn't their fault, they aren't to blame, so why does she hate them? I would understand why she would hate the original knight, the one who broke their oaths, but hating Adolin seems pointless. 

As for Kaladin, even prior to Amaram's betrayal, he refused to pick up the Shards he had won. This is how it all happened: Kaladin refused to take the Shards for himself and decides to give them to one of his men, thinking he would be allowed to do so. Technically, he was in his right, but practically what he did was unprecedented and decency has it he should have given them to his lord, not some untrained spearman. Amaram was wrong, but I sadly can understand his point of view. The problem was Shards are just too valuable: kingdoms have been lost for one Shard. In his disdain, Kaladin failed to acknowledge their worth. I personally dislike Kaladin's attitude towards the Shards: I find it disrespectful. They are dead, they are suffering, they do not deserve your disdain: it isn't their fault nor is it the current day bearers' fault.

We do not know, yet, what form the mook of a Desolation will take. It may be the Stormform Parshendis only are a tiny subset of it as if it were only them, then humanity wouldn't have faced complete annihilation each time a Desolation popped by. The creatures who lurk will be terrible, far more terrible than the little we have seen so far and I personally bet, without Radiants, they are completely doomed. Former Desolation threaten to destroy all human life: whichever foes it will propel, they won't be as easily beat down as the Stormform Parshendis.

 

Oh man, Kaladin’s arrogant and presumptuous attitude really annoys me.  We all know his terrible past and abuses he went through in the past with Amaram, when he refused the Shards Adolin offered him and didn’t really give an explanation, that must have felt like a slap in the face to propriety and polite behaviour.  To me, it was something like Shallan telling Adolin she doesn’t need his protection, but doesn’t explain why.  Adolin is left with the awareness that something bad happened, and he doesn’t know what exactly it is, but he still has to step around it carefully like Legos in the dark.  If that scene was a Tumblr post, it would have a trigger warning. 

I think Stormform Parshendi would be the most common Desolation mook, since they are slaves in every rich person’s estate.  Lin Davar, in rural Jah Keved, and Wistiow in the small farming town of Hearthstone had a couple of Parshmen slaves.  No one knows how Thunderclasts and Midnight Essences pop up, if they need an Odium spren to come out of the ground and attack people, but Parshmen just need an Everstorm to change their forms.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see the rarity rankings of various Voidbringers, but in the Shattered Plains at least, with its close proximity to Narak/Parshendi hometown, would have the most number of Voidbringer mooks.

If Honorspren hate dead spren blades, I would not assume that all Windrunners would hate them too – it is only Kaladin who is extremely biased against them due to his traumatic past.  If there were other Windrunners, they would feel uneasy when close to a dead Blade, and they would hear screams if they touched one, but I do not think they would attack the owner of a dead Sprenblade and force them to break the gem bond and throw the Blade down a chasm.  Let alone Radiants forcing Shardbearers to go into hiding.  Shardbearers aren’t criminals just for owning a Shardblade, and since Radiants are into doing the “right thing”, for all flavours of morality, I just can’t see it happening.  A Shardbearer could say he got rid of Blade and never summon it in a public place, and no one would ever know.  It would take years for a bias against dead Blades to spread from Surgebinders/new Radiants to the whole population, since most people know Shardblades as mythical blades of the ancients that are worth kingdoms, and are immediately bestow rank and status to darkeyes.  Little kids in rural farming villages know the stories and legends of Shardblades.  They would not immediately accept the dead Blades as TOOLS OF EVIL.  And even if Shardbearers are kicked out of the army (which is a stupid idea tactically when the Shardplate doesn’t cause screams, and grants extreme mobility, strength, and endurance and immunity to lightning) because Surgebinders think they’re bad people, the majority of them are ambitious, powerhungry Alethis who still feel the Thrill.  Instead of teaming up and fighting Voidbringers with the new Radiants, the Shardbearers would go back to the Princedoms and fight border battles with each other, trying to take lands that aren’t being watched due to all the chaos of the Desolation.  And if the Soulcasters, they don’t even need to follow standard rules of supply and logistics that military actions usually require.  The Alethi upper classes are that petty and selfish.

I think people immediately believing Shards are obsolete is unrealistic, but that’s just me.  News doesn’t travel that quickly in a medieval type setting, when only rich people can afford spanreeds that require gems and Stormlight to operate, and only females are allowed to read.  The warcamps’ messenger system involves young women riding horses and reading the announcements to the men within earshot, over and over.  That’s not very efficient, and can’t cover a country the size of Alethkar within a month or three, which I’m expecting is the timeline covered by SA3.  I think we just disagree about the impact and presence of dead Shardblades in the Desolation.  I agree in a narrative sense that it would create lots of delicious narrative drama and conflict for newly discovered Radiants who ascend from humble origins and can now go toe-to-toe with the established ruling class noble Shardbearer families.  It would make for a great read seeing how people manage to work together and overcome their differences.  But in a realistic sense, I just don’t think it would be something that could pan out over the 3 months or so that each SA book covers (excluding the flashback sequences, of course).

 

 

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Ah well I am currently speed reading Shopaholic to the Rescue...  BTW, I have finished both Eagle of the Ninth and Sabriel. I rather liked both. The first one was written in the old style, but I liked it nonetheless. I disliked the physical description of Marcus and the drawings in the book, so I focused on Channing Tantum instead. It worked much better. I liked Sabriel, I especially like Touchstone, I mean, "prince being rescued" is absolutely a brilliant trope (now I want Shallan to rescue Adolin). It isn't as deep or complex as SA, but it is devoid of under-dogs or depressive characters, so definitely a plus.

Robin Hobb isn't an author I enjoy enough to yearn for her next book: I typically tend to wait for her trilogies to be completed before reading them. I am not emotionally invested into her stories, I enjoy them, but not much more than that. 

 

Would you like the books less if I told you that Marcus in Eagle of the Ninth was 21 when he met the love interest girl Cottia when she was 14 years old?  And Sabriel is 19 while Touchstone is biologically over 200 years old. :lol:  Both books were ones I enjoyed reading as a kid, and enjoy re-reading, because they focus on adventure questing with the romance as a very minor plot that you can ignore if you aren’t interested in it, while still acknowledging that it’s there and that the characters aren’t total robots.  I think it’s because they were written in 1954 and 1995, years before YA became the genre it is now, and both blur the lines between adult fiction and youth oriented fiction.  “Sabriel” is one of the classics of rules-organised magic systems, and Brandon has definitely read it, because he references the author Garth Nix in his Alcatraz Smedry series.

I’ve recently read pulp 1980’s fantasy, one of those cheap paperbacks with the terrible cover pictures that never seem to match with any scene in the book, and they tend to use inscrutable classic wizards with robes and staffs who have seemingly limitless power and never explain anything.  The reviews say that it was good for its time, but in this day and age, readers are so aware of tropes that to use the classic ones can be boring and predictable.  Which is why I enjoy Sabriel as an example of a strong female protagonist who saves the day, and saves the prince.  It also features necromancy and zombie apocalypse without veering into grimdark territory.

Brandon’s writing of battle scenes is more violent than standard YA fare, but I’d say it’s pretty typical in terms of tone for a fantasy series.  It’s not squeaky clean; it’s visceral and bloody and gets across the point that war is not pretty or glorious, especially when the PoV character isn’t running on adrenaline or the Thrill.  But compared to grimdark fantasy, or hardcore military scifi/fantasy, Brandon doesn’t revel in the bloodshed and linger on the gory descriptions like other series do.  When you read it, you get that it’s a dirty job, but you aren’t retching while you read.  When I am physically cringing while reading a violent battle scene, that is what I’d call genuinely grim and disgusting. 

 

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The first wave killed Kaladin’s leathery-faced friend, dropping him with three separate arrows. The man to Kaladin’s left fell as well—Kaladin hadn’t even seen his face. That man cried out as he dropped, not dead immediately, but the bridge crew trampled him. The bridge got noticeably heavier as men died.

The Parshendi calmly drew a second volley and launched. To the side, Kaladin barely noticed another of the bridge crews floundering. The Parshendi seemed to focus their fire on certain crews. That one got a full wave of arrows from dozens of archers, and the first three rows of bridgemen dropped and tripped those behind them. Their bridge lurched, skidding on the ground and making a sickening crunch as the mass of bodies fell over one another.

Chapter 6, “Bridge Four”, Way of Kings

 

This is where Kaladin realises how bridges work for the first time, and is one of the things that makes him want to hit the Honor Chasm.  It’s descriptive, but not overly emotive.  I can picture what’s happening in my mind (one of Brandon’s strong points in writing), but I don’t feel it.

Compare it to true grimdark:

 

 

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Have you ever burned yourself, Jorg?’ Father asked.

I had. I once picked up a poker that had been left with one end in the fire. The pain had taken my breath. I couldn’t scream. Not until the blisters started to rise could I make any sound above hissing, and when I could I howled so loud my mother came running from her tower, arriving as the maids and nurse burst from the next room. My hand had burned for a week, weeping and oozing, sending bursts of horrific pain along my arm at the slightest wiggle of fingers. The skin fell away and the flesh beneath lay raw and wet, hurt by even a breath of air.                

With a scream I let the hammer swing.

Justice’s leg broke with a loud snap. For a heartbeat there was no other sound. The limb looked wrong, upper and lower parts at sick-making angles, white bone in a slather of red blood and black fur. Then came the howling, the snarling fury, the straining at his bonds as he looked for something to fight, some battle to keep away the pain.

Chapter 10, King of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence

It’s a well written series with great twist endings, and it’s so descriptive sometimes that it hurts.

I like Brandon’s books, but there are things that other authors are better at writing, and when I read other things and later come back to Cosmere works, I find I can appreciate them more.

 

 

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Nah I simply wondered if the "knocking Adolin out, gagging him and dragging him out of the battlefield" plot line would have really happened. I can see Shallan wanting to do it, but it wouldn't sit well with Adolin... I love the idea of the woman being the one ending up protecting the man, from whatever danger there may him (himself in the case of Adolin), but in the fic you wrote, I certainly think Adolin would do a last stand just to prove he has the nerves for it. His military career hasn't been great and he has trouble admitting he may not have the stomach for warfare. It would definitely fit within the character to do something very stupid just to make a point. 

Canon Adolin doesn't have anything to prove as a soldier, but I think he'll have thinks to prove as a son which may end up in him doing something equally stupid.

 

Adolin in WoK didn’t like the idea of a darkeyed slave saving him and the remnants of his army from the Tower.  But he’s pragmatic when he comes down to it.  In the heat of the moment, he would definitely do a heroic last stand.  When he calms down afterwards, he’d be eventually appreciative of the effort taken to save his life.  I think it would be something that would strain his and Shallan’s relationship if it actually happened, but Shallan wouldn’t regret it if it saved someone she loves.  Shallan is selfish for good reasons, like stealing Jasnah’s Soulcaster to save her family.  She knows that Jasnah wouldn’t like it if someone took her stuff, but she just doesn’t care, because she considers saving her brothers worth the risk.  I wanted to emphasise that Shallan, even though she is “good”, however you interpret it, she can be a person who is not conventionally nice.  She’s still selfish and self-centred, and the fact that Kaladin is willing participate in her schemes shows that he’s not completely goody-goody either and understands that Adolin being alive is beneficial, and not just because they both value his friendship.  I also wanted to hint that Kaladin is still not completely over his crush on Shallan, and even when she decides she doesn’t like him romantically, she still compares how different he is to Adolin.  Brandon does it in a superficial way in WoR, when canon Shallan thinks of Kaladin as rugged rocks, and Adolin as kind and genuine.  Come on girl, you can do better than that. 

This is why I take a break and read romances, because they get deeper into the emotional development instead of the relationship being a minor sideplot to saving the world.   I tried to explore the relationship between Shallan and Kaladin in the direction that I felt SA would develop given enough time.  Shallan and Kaladin can have a working and functional platonic-only relationship, because they have so much in common, but if they tried to base a relationship on it, Shallan would bail because she would rather move on instead of linger in self-pity as Kaladin has a tendency to do with his grudges.  I do not see Adolin being interested in maintaining a platonic-only relationship with Shallan.  He would put effort into a relationship if it was important to him, whereas Kaladin is such a workaholic that he would take it for granted, do other things, and come back wondering why his relationship is crumbling.  I think I’m much better at writing romance than the family drama genre.:lol:

 

 

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Kaladin is stated as an oddity for knowing how to read, it is thus safe to assume the male quartermaster are just as illiterate as Adolin... If a prince didn't learn his glyph, then we can safely bet pretty much everyone else didn't.

I certainly think Renarin is the son who takes up the most after Dalinar's ruthless instincts: he simply lacks the means to demonstrate it, but once he figures out his worth... I say watch out for him...

 

Sigzil, a darkeyed slave, can read.  So can Renarin and Dalinar.  Adolin knows enough to recognise some basic shapes of glyphs, but he can’t read.  I would say that most lighteyed men can read glyphs, or else they wouldn’t print café menus in glyphs – if it was for women only, all the writing would be in the squiggly women’s script. Some higher nan darkeyed men can too, if it is relevant to their trade.  Adolin is the odd one out for being illiterate when he hasn’t learn the writing that is allowed to men.

 

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“Sir!” said a lanky, long-armed man at the front of the bridgemen. “We were just heading in to check on the highprince, when . . .”

Adolin didn’t hear the rest. He pushed through the bridgemen, finally seeing what the spheres illuminated on the floor of the sitting room.

More scratched glyphs. Adolin knelt down, trying to read them. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been drawn in any kind of picture to help. He thought they were numbers . . .

“Thirty-two days,” said one of the bridgemen, a short Azish man. “Seek the center.”

Damnation. “Have you told anyone of this?” Adolin asked.

“We just found it,” the Azish man said.

Chapter 50, “Uncut Gems”, Words of Radiance

 

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The back side of the wood had been scratched with a knife, jagged lines forming a series of glyphs.

Adolin stood up. Several of those were numbers, weren’t they?

“Thirty-eight days,” Renarin read. “The end of all nations.”

Chapter 33, “Burdens”, Words of Radiance

 

Which goes onto prove that Renarin is perfectly capable of holding a supply position as quartermaster, and contributing to the Kholin army in useful and constructive way.  He just doesn’t want to because he’s too single-minded and inflexible about being a proper Alethi “real warrior” and going to warrior heaven.  For someone who so adamantly refuses to go to the Ardentia and become a priest, he sure does get fixated with those crazy Vorin religious beliefs.

I always figured that Renarin’s dislike of Adolin being around Sadeas was because Adolin is normally friendly, flirty and easy-going.  When he is around Sadeas, it’s essentially an OOC moment for him, since he keeps his twitchy moments (summoning Shardblade over and over, highstorm nervousness) to himself most of the time.  I didn’t think Renarin’s Truthwatching powers manifested in a way that let him predict that Adolin would end up ruining his life killing Sadeas 2000 pages later, but rather that he knows his brother and his habit of doing stupid risky things out of impulse.  It could just be confirmation bias, but the more I look into Renarin’s character quirks and compare it to Dalinar’s, they really are alike.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that both are on the autism spectrum, but Adolin has previously mentioned that he and Renarin’s grandfather had mental illness that gave him visions/hallucinations in old age.  Renarin and Dalinar care a lot about control and try to keep themselves perfectly composed, because if they don’t, they feel like their weakness is exposed to the world.  To me, it seems like a conscious effort to present outward calmness and control, and their perception of themselves comes from how well they hold their control   Adolin in comparison values what other peoples’ perceptions, and puts on his confident playboy act naturally and subconsciously.  He doesn’t become aware of how fake it is until Jakamav rejects him and he realises he has no friends and no one really cares about him.

Seems like Dalinar putting his own framework of Codes onto Adolin instead of letting Adolin interpret the Codes for himself is like shoving a square peg in a round hole.

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On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

 

It seems like a strange thing to me to choose what books to read or media to consume based on how closely the protagonist resembles me in personality.  But I guess that is part of the differences between people, what they prefer, and what process they use to decide what they will read, and what they will like.  For me, actively looking for books for similar personality characters, or reading into characters in series I’m already reading in order to find mutual experiences or character traits is something that I don’t think I’ve done more than a few times.  That is the reason, I think, that explains why people don’t understand what you see when you write essays or speculate, and even when you explain, they still don’t see it.  And in some instances, I can be that person, because when I read fantasy novels or fiction in general, I enjoy reading characters that don’t resemble me in any way, because it’s fantasy – you can be anyone and anywhere if the author is skilled enough.

I actually had a think about the books I’ve recently read, and the reason why I liked them or didn’t like them.  I think it’s a good exercise for a person to do, when they want to understand their consumption habits in order to narrow their preferences or at least write a review.  I find story fulfilling if the world is thoughtfully built and carefully crafted, or the characters are well-fleshed out and believable.  If the characters are flat, then the world building must be good, like in science fiction – space operas use planet scale or world building, and the characters tend to be an ensemble cast with regular casualties.  If the world is flat, then the characters must be human and sympathetic, like in urban fantasy which is set in modern Earth, and the author often expects you to know what it’s like already, so doesn’t bother describing environments or social customs.  If the books fail to meet my standards for world and character, and are poorly written (bad prose, plot holes, can’t suspend disbelief) they get dropped.  And even if they meet the requirements for being readable to me, sometimes I find that they are not completely enjoyable.  The reason why I like Brandon more than Hobb is that Brandon’s multiple PoVs and plot threads tie up in the Sanderson Avalanche, or “convergence”, where everything comes together in a satisfying way.  Hobb doesn’t give me that until the end of the third book of her trilogy, and at that point I’ve been strung along for so long that it doesn’t feel completely satisfying.  And this is why I’m very wary of multiple PoV stories, because it takes a high level of writing and plotting skill for an author to match conflict to closure in a way that balances neatly – too much on either side and it becomes unfulfilling, or seems a Deus ex Machina. 

It comes down to narrative pacing and preferences, I guess.  Brandon guarantees a bit pacing payoff in the form of the Avalanche climax at the end of every book, for every major character arc, while Hobb dangles it on front of you for two and a half books and gives a bittersweet ending at the end of the third.  Spend too much room developing and deepening the plot conflict, or expanding on the characters’ quirks and personalities, and you will have less room to actually move the plot along.  Novel writers get more leeway in their pacing and world building, but in short stories and novella writing, you don’t mention details unless you are going to reference it again later on.  Unless, of course, you are deliberately subverting expectations with a red herring when writing in the mystery genre, or experimental literary writing. 

And that is why I presume Adolin won’t be getting flashback sequences.  He may be an important character two books in, but if he isn’t getting the “star treatment” with his own book, it gives the impression that he will not be a major character throughout the 5 book front half of the series.  Adolin’s character was used as a narrative tool to contrast with Dalinar in WoK and Kaladin in WoR, and if his appearances were thrown in, it is possible that Brandon didn’t think it would affect the long-term storyline across the whole of the series.  So apart from doing things in the “close focus” like killing Sadeas and leading armies, it would be safe to assume that Adolin won’t be doing “big picture” things like saving everyone in Roshar, worldhopping with Hoid, or becoming Odium’s champion.  What backstory of his that is explored will only be dropped in bits in pieces that are relevant to the main storyline, and nothing more.  It would be similar to what was revealed of Teft and Moash’s pasts – Teft was the one with the crazy cultist parents, which explains how is so knowledgeable about Surgebinding, which is taboo when Radiants are considered evil, and Moash’s dead grandparents who died because Elhokar was being a manchild.  Each reveal explains why a character’s personality is a certain way, so their actions are justified within the story – but since they are not major characters, they don’t get extra paragraphs or chapters devoted to them, because then you’d be wondering if they’re important, or if they will become significant players later on.  And if they don’t, it would appear like a buildup with no resolution, or a failure of pacing. 

So Adolin not getting flashbacks may seem like a disappointment, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get his character development coming full circle.  Moash, a minor character, is someone who most people expect will have a change of heart, or go full bad and get dealt with in a satisfying manner (if you like tough guy fights and one liners).  Based on the page space spent on Adolin, it would be a failure of pacing if there was no resolution for him.  I do not doubt that Adolin won’t get his closure, because Brandon is too skilled and aware not to deliver on that, even if it might take 10 years to get there.  It’s just that his past that will probably stay unrevealed when Brandon plans out his books with word limits in mind, and from what has been happening in-story, the consequences of Adolin’s present actions have more relevance to the plot than the person he once was.  There was some of the “old Adolin” in WoK, when Adolin mentally disagreed with most of Dalinar’s ideals – for instance, when he admires his own Shardplate which is painted and has decorations bolted on, and compares it to Dalinar’s plain grey Plate, the only plain one in all of the warcamps.  But in the time between releases, there’s always writing fanfiction or speculating.  At least the benefit of Adolin being demoted to supporting cast is that he will never get a book cover featuring him.  Your mental image will never be destroyed by high fantasy cover artwork where he is in a cheesy superhero pose wearing a hideous headband that does nothing but look atrocious. ^_^

The reason why I seem so dismissive of speculating – and I’m not trying to demean you or your character analysis – is that at this point in time, years from the last release in the series, and years until the next one, most of the low hanging fruit in terms of fan theories have already been picked, so what people are throwing out these days are theories that are just way out there.  I think you would call them “thin air” speculating, and you know what I mean, the ones where Kaladin’s father is secretly a Herald, and his mother is a Returned from Nalthis.  And Tien’s body was taken from the battlefield and he was secretly inducted into the Skybreakers.  These are the types of theories I dislike, because it’s not far from grasping for straws.  Brandon is fond of twists, but he tends to do foreshadowing before the reveal.  I’m not being maliciously disparaging of speculation, just these types, which make me roll my eyes, because occasionally there are good theories, thoughtfully explained with justified reasons supporting the author’s belief.  The ones I dislike are the ones where instead of proof or quotes, the author of such a theory just says “WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF IT WERE TRUE”.  Yes, maybe it would be cool, but is there more substance than coolness value? :rolleyes:  In books with flat worldbuilding and cardboard characters, I will keep reading and suspending my disbelief if the writing is done humorously tongue-in-cheek.  I think thin air theories are acceptable if they are funny.  And anything involving the Stick automatically becomes unfunny.  (I think Brandon’s April Fool’s short story featuring the Stick made it seem like it was a significant character (is it even a character?) but in reality it was only a couple of sentences in WoR, so can people get over it already!) I know I sound salty. :lol:

I also think that people on the forums who are so fixated on being 100% canon-compliant that they demand quotes and page numbers for every assertion posted by other people can be pretty rude.  And if rude is a strong word, then I would call them unpleasant.  I like quotes because I refer to them all the time when I sketch and draw fanart, and it makes me feel satisfied when my illustrations match the description; it’s like I hit the bullseye when everything is neat and correct.  To me, it’s fun.  However, when people who post get verbally “attacked” by others who demand quotations, that is not very fun.  Though I enjoy quotes, I know that not everyone cares or enjoys citing every sentence they write, and fiction and forums should be about what you enjoy, or else why bother?

I’ve been trying to think of stories with characters similar to Adolin, but it gets difficult when it has to have a sociable, extroverted, preferably male protagonist with character development, be a fantasy, preferably a completed series, and preferably a series with multiple viewpoints.  (That last one is difficult as any multi PoV series with an arrogant patrician tends to have other characters who are more humble and lower-ranking, often becoming Underdog Saves the Day protagonists.-_-)  I think finding similar stories comes from putting trope labels on either the character or the plot, or both. Would you read an “Arrogant Patrician” type character who learns humility in a “Fall From Grace” style plot that is either self-inflicted or caused by some outside event, like being shipwrecked or kidnapped?  The only examples I can currently think of are scifi or historical, and they explore the world more than the characters.  And disappointingly, the characters turn out to be more character archetypes than fleshed-out characters.  The fantasy ones I can find just tend to be re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast in a different setting, and a romance plot that often has a female co-protagonist who is so generically beautiful and innocent that everyone falls in love within one chapter of meeting her.  “Fall From Grace” style plots do tend to be predictable, because it is expected that the main character earns their way back through lots of hard work, or learns a lesson if it was self-inflicted.  It is down to the author to make the journey enjoyable and entertaining, since the destination is going to be the same every time. 

I do not pick book based on how similar to myself main protagonists are: I did not pick up Way of Kings knowing I would bond with one of its characters. It is impossible to predict when and where one will find a cherished character, one capable of giving voice to our own inner conflicts or hardships: it can't be planned nor predict. This isn't something I consciously do nor is it something I wanted to do. I do not know if you read the "fanfiction" thread, but in it Twilight explained how she, inexplicably and suddenly, started to relate with Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter. Somehow, through the bathroom breakdown scene, she saw a glimpse of an unexplored hardship which was so reminiscent from her own, she couldn't help be relate to him. Unfortunately, the author didn't agree with her and didn't share her vision, Rowling didn't see the hidden potential within Draco, she didn't see the brewing inner conflict which, providing she had been willing to tap into it, could have turned the character from antagonist to fan's favorite. One could even argue she missed a chance of writing a really compelling growth arc using this character, whom has been previously considered bad, by giving him the depth she allowed the readers to see through a few small selected scenes. Draco could have been more and this more was something Twilight found she could relate to, in a deep manner which made me think on how I relate to Adolin.

I can certainly say the greater majority of my theory making will most probably not come true, because just like Twilight, I have used a few selected scenes, a few selected moments to draft a more cohesive portrait of the character. What Brandon has given me is the making of a character I ended up relating to in a more personal way than I can relate to other characters. Adolin has thus, inadvertently, become the written expression of a story arc I now wish to read above all others. It is hard to explain and I think it may be only those who has experienced the same phenomenon with other characters can truly understand. When we find a character which we can relate to, when this character becomes the expression of something important and dear to us, we end up wanting this story, because this story, somehow, becomes our story. It becomes either an inspiration or a liberation at knowing you aren't the only one suffering with those issues, either way it becomes more personal. From this point and onward, there is nothing left but trying to show others what you have seen, knowing they will never develop the link you have. They may, however, end up seeing the potential you see and this story, your story, may end up having more supporters because you made it sound awesome to them.

As it happens, I do think Brandon is not seeing the complete potential of Adolin, as a character. Just like Rowling didn't want to further develop Draco, giving him fuller layers and a compelling arc, I do think Brandon doesn't want to spend more time than necessary developing Adolin. As you say, the fact he isn't a front-runner does imply his development will only happen if it is relevant to the main narrative and to other characters. In comparison, Kaladin's character development IS the main narrative, Adolin merely is a mean to get there, a character who's purpose is to create conflicts into others or to say out loud what others are merely thinking, externalizing struggles thus making them more active and less passive. In other words, he is a foil. A foil doesn't get flashback scenes, a foil's character development only happens in order to make the foil more efficient in accomplishing his task. The problem is I do think Brandon has crossed this threshold you mentioned: what happens when you give too much introspection to a foil character? It happens exactly what is currently happening with Adolin: the readers are wondering about him, the readers are speculating about him (threads are being launched every two weeks about Adolin on Reddit), but the author isn't committed into further developing the character passed his usefulness to other characters. The planning of SA3 couldn't have made the matter more clear: there are no Adolin POV into Part 1 which is the longest part ever. It implies the aftermath of Sadeas's death will be explore WITHOUT one single Adolin POV to supplement it which means it won't be relevant to him, it will be relevant to Dalinar. Then we are moving into Part 2 which focuses almost exclusively onto a new viewpoint character which will serve to explore lore of the world... so no Adolin (I may be wrong about this one, but the last update was not encouraging in the matter). Therefore, it does appear as if Brandon may drop the ball on Adolin and it will feel like a failure, a built-up with no resolution. He built up Adolin, he made his arc end up in a cliffhanger, he is the most discussed character since the release of WoR, but all evidences point out towards him not wanting to write the resolution of this conflict through his eyes. All people I have talked to agree: they wish to read the Sadeas death arc through Adolin's eyes. They want to read the downfall and they want to read it because the narrative implied they would. Oh it will come into a full circle, but it won't be a satisfying one as the expectations created at the end of WoR made many thing it would be a much larger circle, not a tiny one barely explored through Dalinar's POV.

Hence, Brandon may be crafting Adolin to be a built-up character without any satisfying resolution or arc. I may still be wrong about this and I hope I am wrong about it, but I have to consider the fact the author never ever mentions Adolin into his planning as a sign of his lesser importance. It simply is Brandon prefers writing Lift or Kaladin or Dalinar then writing Adolin (he always talks of his pleasure in writing them, but he never talks of his pleasure in writing Adolin, not to say he has none, just it isn't up to par with the others). I can't fault him for wanting to write his story his own way and for wanting to craft a story he loves, but I have mixed feelings over the wrong signals he sent into WoR regarding Adolin's place within the story.

As for world versus characters versus plots, it is all part of an ensemble which makes up for stories which either speaks to us or not. When I initially read WoK and WoR, I thought those stories would be character centrist, but it seems as if book 3 will make a sharp turn. It will not be the world serving the plot, but the plot serving the world which is why we are getting a novella instead of Part 2. It is also why we aren't getting more Adolin: he isn't important to the climaxes because it isn't how the author crafted his story and since the story mostly is world-building, then he has no room to grow. I can, personally, enjoy stories mostly about world-building such as WoT which I have adored. My tastes are not restricted to a selected few, they are broader than this, but ever since I glimpse the potential story which is Adolin, I want to read it. Moreover, since I have little faith Brandon will write it, I am indeed looking for other authors having explored a similar plot arc for their character. Twilight sought fanfiction (and wrote it) to fulfill her need to have closure on the character she thought could be: I am looking for the same. Unfortunately, I haven't been very successful. I will not be satisfied until I have read a satisfying conclusion to Adolin's story, or since it isn't possible with Adolin, an Adolin-like character, a deep satisfying story which would bring the character through a complete growth arc, not one which only happens if it benefits Kaladin or Dalinar.

I love speculation, but those you mention aren't speculation, they are wishful thinking based on poor plotting. Lirin being anything more than he is would sound too convenient and would only serves to further enhance Kaladin's importance into the main narrative. Kaladin works as a character because he is a self-made man: he comes from nowhere and he rises to heights simply by his own doing. Have him be the secret son of a Herald or the long lost son of Dalinar would cheapen his arc seriously, changing him from a ral under-dog to a chosen one sheltered by a wise old man in disguise. Now, I may not be up to the whole under-dog trope for having read too many of those, but it essentially is Kaladin's strength as a character: alter this and we do not have the same character anymore. The same can be said about speculation regarding Hesina, making her a lighteyed in disguise... What purpose would it served if Kaladin's mother was a lighteyed? To prove the only reason Kaladin succeed is because he has "lighteyed blood" in him? So there aren't speculations, but wishful thinking or perhaps ideas coming from people having read one of those stories where everyone somehow are secretly related or he children of Gods or kings.

The speculations I love are those which base themselves onto character traits in order to extrapolate where they may be heading without the added trauma of having secret relationships. Speculating on Adolin's future is interesting because it has solid ground basis onto the main narrative. For instances, is he going to run away? Is he going tell the truth? How will Dalinar react? What consequences will he suffer? These are valid fun speculations, but Shshshsh secretly being either a Herald or a worldhopper are of lesser interest to me.

I also dislike those who insist on complete quotation and who would badmouth you if, by mistake, you got it wrong. It seriously gets on my nerves to be called out for a fool because the literal reading of a given passage does not confirm my theory without the inch of a doubt. I am not big on quotes because I do not have an e-book: if I want to post one, then I have to skim through my book to locate it and it takes forever. Hence, I rarely post quotes which makes me guilty of dismembering a few. This being said, it isn't such a huge problem onto the 17th Shard. If you go Tor.com, it can rapidly get unpleasant: those guys are nuts over quotes and they seriously dislike digging more into the story. If it isn't confirmed by either a quote or a WoB, then it has no face value. It more or less clashes with my personal approach which is to dig into characters based on the words. Take Adolin for instances. He has trouble with relationships. Where can I go from there using the words written in the books? I can go many ways which may be wrong, but I remain coherent with the story at hand or at least I try to.

I am difficult now am I not? :ph34r::ph34r::ph34r: As I said, I want Adolin's story to feel satisfactory and since I am doubting Brandon will bring it where I hope it will go, I am looking for another story to replace it. I will not be satisfied until I fulfill this need I have to read this story. As for your examples, I would definitely read an "arrogant patrician" who gets serve a lesson in humility by being shipwrecked or kidnapped providing he actually has some redeeming qualities. I need to understand why he was arrogant to begin with, there need to have a valid reason other than being a jerk. If he is a jerk, then he needs to be a sympathetic one or become one through his ordeal. This being said, I would definitely enjoy shipwrecked or kidnapped tropes, sounds interesting, but I never stumble on one of those. I think I would get annoyed at a beautiful female character everyone falls in love with at first sight, it would make me think of Megan which I dislike for this one reason. Even if it is predictable, Fall from Grace is so rare just by itself it would be satisfying. In comparison, I find Underdog a great deal more predictable: you know the hero with master whatever skills he needs in the matters of minutes, defeat the evil force and probably be crown king :o

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Meek would be the wrong word – the dictionary defines it as “shy” or “submissive”.  I don’t think the warlike Alethi would be described like that, at least not the lighteyed upper classes.  They would be accurately described as aloof, and being seen as reserved and haughty in public makes them appear dignified and leader-like in front of other lighteyes and the darkeyed lower classes.  In a society with a rigid social hierarchy, people are more aware of their place in it than they are in the modern day, which is why Kaladin is such a freak.  He is supposed to speak when he’s spoken to, but he doesn’t.  Even though Alethkar has a lot of Asian influences, I sense some Victorian-era British prudishness in lighteyes’ sense of propriety.  Men can visit brothels if they want, and no one blinks an eye, but it’s shocking for a lighteyed girl to kiss her potential future husband on the cheek in public.  It seems like having a stiff upper lip is the Alethi way, and being stoic and in-control all the time is how you display leadership qualities.  Since Dalinar’s visions cause him to hit the ground and start twitching, to other people it looks like he is losing control of his body, and that makes Jakamav and Sadeas believe that is enough to make him unworthy to be a leader.  It must be immensely restricting for Adolin when his whole life he is taught that his natural response to stressful situations is wrong, and not what real men do, or at least not what real Alethi do, when all he is doing is feeling feelings.  Being a “real Alethi” must be a stressful situation in itself for him, since he has mentioned that people regularly comment on his hair, and tell him that his bloodline is impure.  Self-deprecation for humour often is a way people deal with insecurities, and Shallan does it all the time.  Honestly, if Shallan was more self-aware and perceptive she would have been able to tell that Adolin is not as happy as he outwardly presents.  But she tends to focus on her own problems and only the very un-subtle gets noticed, like Kaladin publicly being a jerk.

You could say that Dalinar is partially responsible in training Adolin to be the kind of person who won’t adapt well to changes like the return of the Radiants.  I would add that even though Dalinar holds some of the blame for emotionally stunting his son and controlling him to the point where he feels uncomfortable accepting the responsibilities of independence and what passes for adulthood in Alethkar – Dalinar didn’t do any of this on purpose.  He thought what he was doing was for the greater good, and it was changing his son into his own conception of what he considered a fair and worthy leader.  And before the whole “Desolation” thing, before the visions, all Dalinar expected was that Adolin would eventually become Highprince after him, not be involved with supernatural conspiracies or saving the world with taboo magics.  If the world went along according to plan, with Adolin inheriting, would you say that Adolin, without the outside plot-induced stresses, would be perfectly capable of holding his own in such a world?

Hm, maybe rebellious is too strong a word, but Adolin appreciates having a choice, even if he does end up choosing the option that everyone wanted him to pick.  Hence his uniform being more fancy than everyone else’s, and his duelling methods being unorthodox, using wrestling moves instead of the Shardblade-only combat approved by the Highjudge.   I do not see him ever liking being forced into an ultimatum, because it has the potential of forcing him into a situation where he is completely unprepared, eg, when he fights Szeth both times and has trouble deciding if his life is worth more than Dalinar’s.  Still, freedom of choice is something I imagine Adolin values a lot, because it gives him the security of knowing that he is his own man, which he projects in public, even though some part of him must subconsciously identify himself as his father’s son.  He makes a big deal of his having his choice of wife, courting a new girl every 2 weeks or so, but inwardly, he wouldn’t mind it if he had a formal arrangement with just one girl.  Those thought patterns are very strange and contradictory to people outside the personality type, I guess.  But choices, actions, and consequences I suspect will make up a lot of Adolin’s character development.  And ultimately, Adolin is responsible for what he does, not Dalinar, who formed the framework of his morality, but doesn’t make the decisions.  Dalinar isn’t solely responsible for Adolin turning out the way he is.  When Adolin was a child, his father was away conquering Alethkar, and Adolin didn’t get the join in the fighting until the War of Reckoning.  Before that, it’s assumed he spent his days training in the company of his mother (before she died) and Renarin.  And based on what is mentioned about Shshshsh, she doesn’t seem to be a bad person.

Yes, aloof sound more appropriate than meek. Alethi aren't shy, they are reserved and they value falseness. They aren't authentic. I do agree with your wording here, they perceives leadership in one particular way: the more stoic you are, the stronger you must be. Sadeas actually gives us quite a bit of insight as to how Alethi view leadership. He wants to take out Dalinar because he genuinely believe Alethkar is getting weaker for being in the hand of a man he now perceives as weak. I agree the fact he loses control during the visions plays on how others perceive him. The strongest man, the meanest has to stand at the top and would remain there up until someone stronger would come forth and throw him down. Alethi have been fighting among themselves since forever: if they saw stuff other had and they wanted it, they warred. They are a walking hypocrites as they would rage war, kill everyone in sight, but they do not tolerate outward emotional responses when they meet in person. Someone like Adolin is completely lost during those gatherings because he is too authentic, he hates the game and the hypocrisy. It costs him to be forced to remain contained at all times when his men at the one being killed by the machinations of others. As you say, Adolin is just feeling feelings and he does not know what to do with them. He has been told he had to be something, someone very specific, but he differs from the start: he is blond. Too blond. Just there, he has a strike against himself. People often use self-depreciation to cover their insecurities such as Adolin when he calls himself dumb while laughing out loud. Why would anyone call himself dumb in front of a date? Someone who is terribly afraid the other may call him dumb, so he takes the lead and calls himself dumb while giving the impression he does not care. Except Adolin does care. He can't read. He didn't learn. He can't tell numbers from words. If the glyphs are too stylized, he struggles immensely at understanding them. He fails to note the number of glyphs Navani wrote. He justifies himself by saying it "wasn't important", but the truth probably is he was afraid to be bad at it or perhaps he did try and failed.

I would argue Shallan has too much to worry about then to perceive the "perfect man" she is dating may have insecurities. She doesn't love Adolin, she merely wants the advantages which would come from being his wife. Him? She has not passed the phase where she cares for more than superficial stuff such as "he is handsome and nice". It may change though, but I am not surprised she didn't get more out of him. The reverse is also true. Adolin didn't catch much about Shallan, he missed all of it, completely.

I agree Dalinar had the best intentions in the world which is why the father/son dynamic is interesting. Neither are to blame and both are doing they best.  Dalinar wants Adolin to be prepared to take over as a Highprince, so he raised him to follow a strict code, walk a tight line up until he was satisfied. What he missed is the fact people need to make their own mistakes: to learn how to walk you first need to fall. By holding Adolin's hands all the way through, by forcing him to evolve into such a strict mold he told him what he expected of him, he told him who to be, how to behave, but he didn't teach him how to walk. Could Adolin have hold his own in the former world? Probably.  Quite well actually as he knows how to evolve in a stable world, but he doesn't deal well with the unexpected. I thus assume he would have done badly in any situation which differs too much from those he is used to deal with. That's the thing with anxiety, the more you confront it, the better you get, the less you confront it, the worst you react to its triggers. Adolin doesn't know how to adapt because he was too controlled, too sheltered and he was not allowed enough free-will growing up. On someone less prone to react with stress, one someone more easily adaptable, it would be a no matter: not everyone reacts the same. Dalinar failed to notice his son had this weakness. It is a bad situation really because Dalinar did raise Adolin quite well, he was hard, yes, but within old Alethkar, it probably was the right way. This being said, what to say of Adolin's issues with relationships? If Adolin's problems are solely tied to his too rapidly changing environment, then how come he couldn't develop meaningful relationships even before? Something is going on here and it was happening before. I hope Brandon will broach it at least in parts.

Adolin wants to have the choice to choose what everyone else chooses. He wants to choose his own clothes so he could wear something others would find interesting. He wants to be allowed to drink so he could choose to behave like others. Ultimately though, Adolin will end up choosing what Dalinar wanted him to choose, but he wants to do it on his own terms. At the Tower, Adolin finally chooses he needs to follow his father's visions. Dalinar doesn't understand how his son managed to change his mind after having opposed himself so forcefully. My thought are Adolin came to the conclusion his father was following what he felt was right, in his heart which isn't something Adolin can argue against as he would have done just the same. So basically, Adolin chooses to follow his father not because Dalinar ordered him to, but because he chooses to follow his father's heart. This being said, Adolin is not rebellious. When deprived of a choice, he'll just do as he is told, because he is too loyal to go against the orders.

As for the courtship issues, if it makes more sense to you, I would say Adolin wants to have the right to choose while wanting to be told what he should choose. In other words, he wants to be told what to choose while being allowed to say "Yes I do.". Quite a paradox. Having too much choices make him insecure which is one of the reasons he keeps backing off. And no, Dalinar is not responsible for any of this, but he is responsible for thinking his son's life is an acceptable sacrifice to make to fulfill his visions.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Who knows, maybe it’s Shshshsh who unwittingly influenced Adolin into becoming an insecure, overstressed daddy’s boy.  That could be a real theory there, since from what we know of Shshshsh hasn’t been that flattering of a description – Navani doesn’t think she’s clever, and since she was dragged along by her brother to a foreign land, I don’t think she can be considered a strong-willed, self-confident and assertive type of person, even if she is kind and well-intentioned.  I don’t think she was the one who stole the Shardplate from Iri, and she is definitely not the person who came up with the plan to carry it to Alethkar and arrange for political asylum through a strategic marriage.  She could not have been a good role model for young Adolin, if he was left alone with her for years while Dalinar was on campaign with Gavilar, since her whole life, like the lives of high ranking women, was to be a glorified secretary/bureaucrat who shuffles papers in support of a husband who makes the decisions.  She, like Queen Aesudan, would be expected to “run the farm” and play a support role to her husband, if he was away.  I do not think she is the type of character with the political acumen and dominant personality to demand equal status in a relationship like Ialai Sadeas.  Ialai breaks conventions and eats men’s food at the men’s table.  Shshshsh goes along with her brother’s plan to marry her off for political protection.   Adolin is follows the rules and remains observant of social conventions.  He doesn’t even realise it until he meets Shallan who does the completely unexpected.

Alternatively, it could be kids his age who instilled in Adoiln the impression of being inferior because of his foreign and impure blood, as little kids on the playground or training arena tend to do, and young Adolin developed into a young adult who acts arrogant in public to compensate.  Or it could even be the rigid Alethi society where the Asian concept of face is held to utmost importance, and any display of emotion is a sign of weakness that causes sharks to circle, because Alethis can be petty and cutthroat.

I would be hesitant to say that it’s all Dalinar, because before Dalinar got his visions – I’m not sure about the timeline on this, so I’m assuming they started a year or two before the events in WoK, he was still mostly Blackthorn and universally lauded as an Alethi hero.  In that period, Adolin’s posturing and hotheaded reactions to goading wouldn’t have gotten him into much trouble other than a disadvantaged duel or two.  I’m still not sure why Dalinar banned duelling for officers if Adolin in WoK was still duelling for honour rather than Blades (with Sadeas, Elhokar and Dalinar commenting on how good he is, since he comes out untouched), if the whole purpose of the ban was to prevent potential injuries.  It wasn’t until Dalinar got really into the Way of Kings enough to speak the words and get the visions that he considered paths other than standard lighteyed Alethi authoritarianism and being a backseat autocrat.  So it could possibly be argued that Dalinar’s negligence with regards to Adolin’s training and education rather than heavyhanded-ness that caused Adolin to go off the rails at the end of WoR.  Everyone was so involved with their own problems, and no one really communicated – the scene where Dalinar wants to abdicate and Adolin starts yelling at him is a prime example.  They don’t exactly resolve their disagreement because of stubbornness and plot-induced convenience.  “Do your sons mean so little to you?”  I really wanted an answer to that question in WoR.  What I’m really trying to say is that it could be Dalinar’s recent flip-floppy behaviour from Blackthorn to Proto-Radiant, from “NO DUELING” to “Win me Shards, son” and other events that happened in the background, like Szeth’s assassination attempt, that set routine-oriented Adolin off, rather than his father being too controlling.  And in the end, it was his own choice to go off the deep end, since it was confirmed that it wasn’t Odium controlling him.

Adolin has to have some awareness and control if he can think that, and spout out a one liner before knifing Sadeas.  He is the one ultimately responsible for his actions, not Dalinar.  Even though Dalinar will take it personally, and if he thinks Adolin is a failure for doing that, it is because he failed his son. 

I like characters having a sense of agency, and to blame their decisions on someone else is kinda disappointing in a narrative sense.  Of course things aren’t that clean and clearcut in real life, but fictional character motivations are all down to perception and interpretation, and I prefer to see it as an action Adolin did for himself, with the added bonus of protecting the people he loves, rather than an explosive tantrum of repressed daddy issues.

If you allow me to throw my own parenting experience into the lot, I would say some children are naturally more stressed out and anxious than others. You see it rather quickly, the emotive child cries more often, is upset more easily, has a harder time dealing with frustration, doesn't deal well with transitions especially when they are new ones. All in all, they function better in a very stable routine where they know exactly what to expect. Life however isn't stable, so these kids have to learn how to deal with transitions. Modern day kids go to daycare, they see a lot of transitions from an early age and while the emotive naturally more stressed out child has more trouble adapting to those, the more he goes through them, the more you guide him throw it, the better he ends up dealing with them. 

This however is modern day. Little Adolin didn't go to daycare and probably never had to through several transitions per day. He was raised, alone. He didn't get a sibling until he was close to being 4 years old and little Renarin didn't get old enough to start picking up his toys until he was about 6 years old, the age at which he put up into swords training. 

Insecurities and family issues can, of course, turn a secure child into an insecure one, but Adolin isn't an insecure child. He is a very, very, very secure one. His issues as a grown-up do not have roots into his childhood. His problem is he never learned how to adapt. I think.

As for Shshshsh' contribution, I think her behavior towards the Alethi community may have played a factor. She has raised him to be a moral person, to never let bullies get their ways, to be respectful and more importantly, she raised him to understand trampling on others wasn't a way to achieve your goals. She steered him away from the games everyone are playing. She also probably had issues to fit in herself, as illustrated by Navani's cold reception of her person. I thus think it possible she strove to be what others wanted her to be, she may have inadvertently taught her young son your own self is good enough only if it compares well to others. Come to think of it, Renarin's issues may come from the same upbringing.

Dalinar banned dueling, but he couldn't completely forbid it. He talks about it in WoK, he mentions how a complete ban would have been too hard for Adolin to carry as dueling is his passion, so he allowed him to duel for honor in low key none-threatening duels. So right here, we have an example of Dalinar compromising. Quite reassuring, truly :ph34r: 

I personally think Adolin goes off-road because he never learn how to sooth himself, how to deal with the influx of emotions he often has. As long as his life was very stable, this influx was low enough he could deal with it, often using Renarin or outside elements to ground him and prevent him from being too impulsive. Where Dalinar made a mistake is in thinking a rigid environment without any fluctuations, where everyone obeys strict orders is what Adolin needed to grow into a well balanced young man, but it had the opposite effect. The prevalence of rules, codes and order made him grow more anxious of their absence. Had Dalinar been more observant, he would have ask himself question about the relationship issue... Had he done this, he would have figured out his son had self-confidence and personal decision making issues, though even if he had, I don't know what he could have realistically done. What I fear the most about Dalinar is his rigidity not allowing him to give his son support he may need as events unfold.

I also do not think Adolin went over board because of his father's behavior, it was event related, not Dalinar related. However I do think it will play a role going into the next book because as you say "Does your son means so little to you?". Adolin may have to find out about it. This being said, of course, Adolin didn't kill Sadeas out of a tantrum fueled by repressed daddy issues. He killed him out of blood rage and if he was able to voice his actions, I don't believe he was in complete control of himself. The text is rather clear: his mind snap, something broke in him much like some people will go into a frenzy because their body just can't cope with the amount of stress it is forced to process and it starts to identify everything as a life endangering threat. What happens to Adolin is very sad and heartbreaking. It is his fault, it was all him, but it was an action he had consciously decided to do.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

I never re-read WoK or WoR in its entirety, either.  Most of the time I re-read a chapter at a time after wanting to find a quote and searching up a key word with my eReader.  I always skip the interlude chapters because even though they are useful worldbuilding, I find them hard to get into because they are so different in tone to the main storylines.  Especially that first Purelake one.  The sudden contrast and setting-switch is jarring.  Anyways, if you haven’t got the time to go through old favourites, you can at least pick up a book that you found hit your standards for the three main points of prose/style, plot and characterisation.  That one book that you could immediately name as one of your top 10, and has been so for years.  For me, it would be a book that I would bother owning in hardcopy and eBook edition.  If you get to a point where you are actually going to sit down and write, it helps if you have that one book in front of you, so you can double check and compare your sentence structure and level of description.  It’s a useful trick if you want to emulate a certain style of writing, and I used to do it in my old school days.

I thought the writing style in Ender’s Game was serviceable.  Descriptive without being elaborate, and carries the plot, but it is workmanlike in the same way as Brandon’s, but not beautiful.  Now and then there are poignant moments, but overall it is blunt and definitely not poetic.  The Eagle of the Ninth is more introspective and pays more attention to building imagery and relationships, with an old fashioned sort of charm that I like.  And since it was written for kids, it doesn’t have the intrusive satirical comments on society or politics that many older authors liked to put in their books.  Since YA wasn’t a genre when it was written, it is suitable for all ages to read, which is the best type of YA novel – one that you can enjoy as a kid and re-read as an adult and enjoy it just as much, or even see it on a deeper level.  I think that’s the difference between old YA novels and modern ones with garish covers, supernatural love triangles, and teen protagonists who have problems respecting authority figures.  I have recently read/skimmed a few YA novels, and the main thing I see in common is that they lack complexity.  The conflicts are more black and white than grey and grey, the world tends to be some version of alternate Earth or historical Earth rather than something more original and alien, and focus is put on the characters first and worldbuilding second.  Of the characters, each has one or two main traits (barely better than cardboard) with the obviously defined MC with the most development, but character arcs tend to be minimal and sometimes non-existent.  Of course, this would not be something that would bother a child reading for enjoyment, but I would not be immersed, and I’d be rolling my eyes the whole way through.  Having a simple world or simple characters is not a bad thing if the author does it well, and makes up for it in other ways, but modern YA published in the last 5 or so years rarely has any substance to redeem itself.


My problem is that I’ve been spoiled by too many good books and now I’m too picky.  Well, at least it means that it has forced my taste and my writing skills to improve.  I have learned what kind of styles work, and what writing styles are not worth copying unless I want to write cookie cutter YA.  If you can pick up a book and immediately dislike the writing style enough to be able to explain why it bothers you, then you have become a prose connoisseur.  And if you can translate to skill to writing, you can consider yourself better than published authors.

I tend to leave the books I love close by, so I can munch through them as a I stroll pass them into the house. When I do this, I usually stick to my favorites bouts. Your method sounds great, but honestly I do not think I have enough time to devoid to this. Learning how to write will probably have to wait until my retirement in some 30 something years :ph34r: 

I am not a huge fan of the interludes, so I never re-read them. I thought they were better in WoR than in WoK but, in a general manner, I tend to prefer wanting to read the main narrative. The Purelake one wasn't so bad, I actually liked the whole shallow lake idea with the land being basically half under water. I thought it was a neat world-building element, so I enjoyed it (and I secretly wished our cast would go there, eventually). The ones I didn't like so much were the Rysn ones... She is a rather popular interlude character but I have always found her interludes to be very long, too long. I liked the one in Kholinar because it was interesting and the one about Reddin, the bastard whom was an instant love at first sigh when it comes to characters. I liked Lift, but I am not convinced about her as a main protagonist.

I found Ender's game writing wasn't he most engaging: it was, as you say, serviceable. It carried the story from point A to point B, but it didn't make me connect too deeply with the character. It lacked warmth or something which I can't quite put a name on. Needless to say that while I liked the story, I have no desire to pursue my reading into this world. I also totally disliked the fact his friends all went their own way: why bother creating a team spirit if you are to dismantle it right after the first book? I have to agree with you on old time YA novels versus modern day ones. Ender's games is a simplistic story with a good plot and a strong twist: it doesn't need much more than that, but modern day YA tend to revolve strongly on romance. If Ender's games had been written recently, then there would be a smoking love story in between Ender and Petra where one has to save the other against "evil dudes" or something. I personally enjoy stories which have a more complex and realistic conflict than the "evil government" is bullying the poor people and oppressing them up until some teenager figures out how to defeat it. I love when stories explore the various ramifications of the system and I hate to think only the upper dogs are evil while the oppressed are angels: human nature is more diverse than this. I want to read conflicts stories tend to ignore, I want to read the "normal" people which are forced to witness the "hero" change the world and I want to read about the bad side of those changes. Every time I pick up a story, the hero wins, changes everything and then he leaves, forcing everyone to pick up the pieces and restructure their life. The arrival of a hero can't have nothing bu positive consequences: I want to read about the other side of the medal. 

Yes, Dalinar and Renarin are now Radiants, they are heroes now, this is fabulous. They have gotten the change they so desire, but what does it mean for the others? What if their journey towards heroism comes at a cost for others? Now that would be interesting.

I have gotten more picky recently but this have to do with my actual desire to get closure on a beloved story. It is annoying, quite frankly.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

I don’t mind critiques!  I think if they are written by a thoughtful reviewer (someone who can do a better job than writing “THIS SUCKS 1 STAR”) they help authors improve plot and pacing, because people who write things spend a lot of replaying scenes in their head and proofreading to the point where they lose sight of the impact of their writing.  Twists aren’t shocking twists when you’ve read over it two dozen times trying to make it sound right.  I want to get better at writing so I know what to avoid and what to use the next time I decide to write something.  One theme that I really enjoy reading (and writing) is friendship.  I enjoy heartwarming stories as much as I enjoy a good romance, and I wanted to explore friendship within a relationship, which is something that many modern romances lack, because they run off “hey ur hot, let’s have sex” relationship development.  The Power of Friendship is cheesy as heck, but if the friendship is well-written and develops organically, then it’s one trope I unashamedly love.  The lack of platonic or sibling relationships involving trust and communication in WoR was a disappointment to me, because it would have solved a lot of problems, or at least kept them from turning into massive problems. Kaladin, Adolin and Shallan don’t have friends that last the whole book, and only start to become friends at the end.  But hey, fanfiction is authors writing what they want to read, and a lot of what I wrote was author appeal.  I guess it says a lot about me as a person, hahah.

I can't very much have for critic: I wish it had been more about Adolin. It wasn't, the story was Shallan's and I was fine with it, truly. I am not sure I would honestly be a good reviewer as I tend to focus on aspects of the story readers aren't supposed to focus on.

I agree about friendship. These days, it seems all ships need to be romantic while friendship is severely under-looked. There is something tantalizingly amazing in reading two characters who have a platonic relationship based on mutual respect without having all the drama and the angst which typically come with romance. You expect romantic partners to do the impossible for their loved one, but seeing someone act out of friendship can be more powerful because it isn't a relationship which is blinded by love.  These days, I am particularly found of siblings or parents to children relationships: there are so little of them in fantasy stories. Most of the time, parents are dead or evil and siblings only exist to die such as the main protagonist could have his way without opposition or to create angst. The fact Stormlight still has an almost intact family is incredibly interesting.

What it says about you? That you have read many romance before and you now yearn for something different which perhaps would feel stronger and satisfying once the impeding doom surrounding most love stories is removed? 

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Shallan is around 17.5 as of the end of WoR, so it might be closer to 5 years’ difference between her and Adolin rather than 6 years.  To Rosharans, the age difference in-story doesn’t seem to be a big deal and no PoV character has commented on it, so no one thinks it’s unusual or immoral for Adolin to be dating someone Shallan’s age.  Lin Davar considered marrying Balat off to a 50 year old woman, which would be socially acceptable since everyone understands that the marriage would be in the nature of exchange, as most high ranking marriages are.  They thought it was too much because she’s twice his age and probably is too old to have children, but it is still perfectly socially acceptable, if unusual.  Balat would have been a trophy husband in that instance. :o

In the second flashback, Shshshsh was 18 or 19 and Dalinar must have been around 24, which is a 5-6 year age difference, which again, is not commented upon.  If they married at age 21 and 27, would you consider that too much?  Because if Adolin’s relationship preferences turn out to mirror his father’s (as they seem to be turning out to be, the more gets revealed from SA3), I could see he and Shallan getting married at that age, if they decided to get married at all.  She would be a legal adult in all countries by Earth standards, if Brandon wanted to avoid the squeamishness of readers who dislike the thought of teenagers doing “things”:ph34r:, or teenage pregnancy.  Though he has written about it before in Warbreaker, with Siri was around 17 and Susebron who was biologically (but not physically) 50 years old, and a prime example of being a manchild.

If Susebron (the tongueless version) was the measuring stick for being a manchild, I would say that Adolin is very far from that.  He may be emotionally stunted, suffers from PTSD and lives in a strict society with no therapists and no friends, but he has adult responsibilities that he is capable of managing himself.  When he rescues the prostitute from being beaten up in WoK, and she offers herself to him no charge, he handles the situation calmly, and I have the suspicion that Dalinar wouldn’t call Adolin out for visiting a brothel.  Dalinar isn’t the type of person who could comfortably talk about “those things” when he can barely discuss them with Navani, so I doubt he would confront Adolin if he did.  Susebron in comparison didn’t even know how that stuff worked.  So I would not say that Adolin is “trawling for teens” because that makes him seem creepy, as it was Jasnah who suggested the match, but rather looking for “the one”.  And if the person who might turn out to be “the one” happens to be a teenager, what is he going to do about it?  Dump her or tell her to come back in 3 years?   What exactly are the symptoms of Adolin’s manchildness?  The wandering eye, playboy behaviour?  The fear of commitment and eventual self-sabotage?  Seems like standard personality flaws rather than being the Rosharan equivalent of a modern neckbeard who lives in his mum’s basement and plays World of Warcraft all day.

I think it’s just your modern perspective overlaying your reading which results in such a dislike of the age gap.  Some of my friends told me that they thought 18 and 22 was too much, but to me, it’s so subjective and honestly, best judged on an individual level rather than with a blanket Yes/No.  Years later, these same friends seem to have changed their minds and have admitted that someone a bit older and with a more “settled” way of thinking would not be a bad thing. <_<

I agree, within the context of SA, the age difference doesn't seem to be important enough for anyone to comment on it. It is also true their world have less life defining transitions as our own, so there isn't any "Shallan being in High School" while Adolin has "graduated from University". It makes it less important, but still I wished it had be organized differently. It just makes Adolin so much older than everyone else, separated from everyone.

It could be Adolin will only marry once he reaches his late twenties, with all which is happening, it wouldn't surprised me if it were to happen. Would it be more acceptable? I don't know... I guess my problem is I wish there was less age difference in between the younger character: Renarin, Shallan and Kaladin all have about the same age, then you have Adolin which is several years older. I don't want Adolin to be forced into the "big brother" role forever, never being affected by anything and not going onto any growth because "big brother" characters tend to be very statics within fantasy stories.

Siri and Susebron didn't bother me because Susebron doesn't physically look like a 50 years old man and he has the emotional development of a teenager. It thus fit, in a weird way. I certainly do not think Susebron is the measuring stick for being a man child: he is the ultimate man child and it was due to out of normal circumstances. You just can't compete with Susebron in this department. Did I say Adolin was a man child? I do not think he is, but I do think he is immature in the relationship department and he comes across as rather naive when it comes to how the world really works. His comments to Kaladin illustrates it: he doesn't realize why he is being insulting nor does he comprehend the horror Kaladin has been through. This being said, he's also very mature in other areas which I believe may be the trade-mark of young adult years: maturity is not acquired in all spheres at the same time. It's hard to say why it bothers me so much...

Why do you say Adolin has PTSD? In your fic, he does, but in the canon story, he doesn't. Well, arguably, the author could have pushed for it and have him develop a light version of it following the Tower fight, but it'd be a very hard sell to any reader. I think the hints we are supposed to get with Adolin's characters are the stress, the pressure... There is a new fic which I think portrayed it adequately. It is modern AU and the way Adolin is written, being scattered around, jumping from one thing to another while thinking about something else, nervously tapping on his cell and just trying to meet all ends was very plausible. Sadly, it's probably going to develop into, yet another, Shalladin fic, but so far it was a nice read. 

As for the intimate relationship department, well Adolin is inexperienced, not ignorant nor is he an idiot, most of the times. He knows which ends goes well and "making babies" certainly isn't a great mystery to him: no need to ask Dalinar about that, but he may worry about the mechanism of the action... Ever saw American Pie? Something along those lines minus the comedy aspect.

I had wondered where Adolin's fear of commitment came from.. We know it is linked to a fear of "not being good enough", but in which sense? Is he afraid he isn't smart enough for those well-educated lighteyed ladies who recites poetry as they breath? Is he afraid they would not like him? Why wouldn't they like him? Is he afraid he will not know what to do once the relationship moves forward? I tend to think it is about expectations, but what expectations does Adolin think his future wife has for him? It is hard to tell.

I have couples in my entourage with a larger age difference, but most meet up during their adult years, they never were apart within their development phases. Seriously I do not know why I am so stuck up on ages.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

I think most fanfics lose me within the first 4-6 paragraphs due to being OOC or just not having an interesting plotline that is sometimes helpfully summarised by the author’s blurb.  In those cases, I only finish the first chapter and close out.  It is the very best fanfiction that makes me want to hit “Next Chapter” as soon as I finish the last, which happens very rarely.  Mostly because many fanfics are short one-shots or incomplete and hanging in writer limbo.  To be fair, I am just as picky with published fiction, and first chapters are important for cementing the style and tone of a written piece.  If your first page doesn’t grab me, then I will struggle trying to immerse myself into the fictional world. 

OT3’s are love triangles, but instead of having the conflict of the girl choosing which one is better, she gets to have them both.  Even if Alethi society was accepting of such an arrangement (they probably would not care, as long as no one knew about it), I have the feeling that Adolin and Kaladin are the type of people who would prefer a monogamous relationship.  It looks like fanfiction authors are writing Shallan as someone with a voyeur fetish.  Well, it’s a bit unusual, but I wouldn’t say it doesn’t fit her character if you stretched your interpretation a bit.   She does enjoy watching shirtless sailors, lets Pattern spy on people, spies on people herself, and likes doing life study drawings.  If Shallan happened to stumble across Adolin changing his clothes in the locker room, her reaction would be more of interest than embarrassment.  Her drawing skills and memory make her the ideal stalker and peeping tom in a setting without modern technology.

I don't stumble on enough fanfiction to afford being too picky... I tend to read through every I get my hands on, but if it doesn't interest me, I'll read very quickly and not retain a favorable memory. 

Yup, you just highlighted why I dislike the OT3: not choosing and settling for a relationship most people wouldn't be happy within isn't what I consider to be a sound conflict resolution. Polyarmorous relationships have to brought upon in a careful way in order to be accepted by the main audience as most people wouldn't recognize themselves into them. 

I would love for Shallan to stumble on Adolin changing clothes: this would be brilliant.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Oh, Dalinar.  I have serious doubts that Dalinar was a virgin at 27 when he married Shshshsh, and that he was a virgin at 24 before he had even met her.  It must be hilariously hypocritical to forbid such “intimacy” for his son, especially in a modern setting where education about these things starts early, and where the “consequences” of a mistake would have been extremely shameful in a medieval setting, can be taken care of in the modern day without too many questions asked.  How does a father even enforce such rules on a son without keeping him locked in the house?  How would a father even find out if his son got to second base with a girl? :blink: Kids don’t talk about these things with their parents (how uncool is that) past the mandatory educational speech everyone gets at around age 12, and even if they did mention it in the presence of others, there is always hip slang that grownups don’t understand.  I don’t disagree that Adolin is a virgin – I’m pretty sure he is, if a kiss on the cheek makes him blush.  If he has kissed girls before Shallan, there wouldn’t have been very many of them, and I assume that he didn’t get any farther than that.  But I believe that his “purity” comes from his own choice or own inability to make a choice rather than his father’s view on marital morality.  Dalinar would probably be glad to see his son had finally settled down.  In WoK he has mentioned before that a good wife would be useful, to Adolin as an officer’s secretary and to the family as a whole, since the only person so far who can be trusted fully with writing notes is Navani.

…And that brings up another question about Adolin’s fears of getting married.  He’s afraid of not being able to do it right.  Is it even possible to do it wrong? :ph34r:

I don’t know if you picked up on it, but when I wrote Adolin in my story, I wrote him as one who is intimately inexperienced.  In the last chapter, the Epilogue, I tried to make it clear that he and Shallan were doing the things. :ph34r: Even if you start out inexperienced, I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out what goes where.;)  I tried to walk the line between tasteful and humorous without going into explicit, and writing it made me laugh pretty hard, because the reason why Adolin avoids Shallan for a few days after his first time is that he thinks he broke her or something silly like that. :ph34r::ph34r: If I had written the story with Adolin’s PoV, I would have included a mention that afterwards, Adolin went to Kaladin for doctor advice on how to “unbreak” Shallan because he was freaking out about finding some spotting on his bedsheets.:lol:

I remember you saying a while ago in this thread that Adolin’s lack of experience would make his first experience cute and sweet.  I personally thought it would turn out to be unintentionally hilarious. 

I didn't get a feel of Dalinar as a virgin when I listened to the second flashback. His entire behavior with women and his internal monologue speaks of someone who has fouled around quite a bit, especially when he states "Where are the women?". I didn't get he was shy as Adolin either, just very reserved and self-centered, but quite frankly it is hard to make myself a rightful opinion with only one chapter. This remains my "gut feeling" analysis. 

I am also not sure Dalinar enforced "purity" on his son... it may be Adolin got the idea himself, though in a world where contraception is non-existent, fathering a bastard with any random girl would be a short-term drama. We must also consider circumstances seem to be very different for young Adolin than they were for young Dalinar. Gavilar hinted how people believed they once lived in huts, so it may be Dalinar didn't grow up being such a prestigious high profile catch as Adolin. If anything, Ruthar's reaction to Shallan indicates other princedom are widely interested in who will end up marrying the golden boy of house Kholin. Tyn also hinted how Adolin's reputation may be overdone when she indicates she can see why Dalinar would want Adolin married off. In other words, she does think he's been sleeping left and right thus making the threat of a bastard child a reality.

As for the modern day fiction, well, Dalinar cannot enforce "purity" on his son, but he may put pressure on him to remain so. It has become quite normal, in the States, to expect young people to remain chaste up until their wedding: religion is putting high pressure on teenagers to not consume their love. Therefore, having Dalinar frowning on his son's potential involvement with girls is highly plausible. He is a strict pious man who prefers to refer on written texts as opposed to his own free will, hence he would insist Adolin remains chaste. Of course, he can't chaperon him, this is unrealistic, but modern day Adolin, just as canon Adolin simply wants to please his father. He doesn't know who he is or what he wants, truly, so he just goes with the flow. He merely does what is expected of him without asking himself too many question, it is only where pressure starts to get to him he starts to falter.

We know Adolin is afraid of not being good enough, but in which sense is unclear. Is it good enough in the sense of "personality"? In the sense of "performance"? In which way? So yes, he is afraid of marriage but he isn't afraid to spend the rest of his life with the same woman, he is afraid of intimacy. He is afraid of removing his armor in front of people, he is afraid to show his vulnerable side which may be what he thinks is not "good enough".

Oh I got it in the last chapter they had become "intimate". I love how Kaladin told Shallan to stop playing with Adolin: marry him or do not marry him, but just don't leave him in the doubt such as how it is. And yes, being inexperienced only last for a short time, but it may make the first time more difficult. LOL on Adolin thinking he broke something. Their first time could be hilarious such as in American Pie or it could be sweet and adorable. Speaking of which, I had a bizarre idea the other day... Elhokar does become a Radiant, as most people expect he would, and he does have to give away kingship which automatically goes to... Adolin being the only suitable Kholin male. Since he has to become king, him marrying suddenly become extremely important, so Shallan figures out potential wife for him. At this point in time, she has already decided she would not marry Adolin because reasons. Adolin is just completely phased out and he picks one girl at random. He tries to get through with the wedding, but it feels like a funeral to him... and them, I can let my imagination ramble on and on and on.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Jeez.  Your story gets dark pretty quickly.  It seems to fall into the genre of literary fiction or family drama than fantasy, if that’s what you were aiming for.  With family dramas, it is easy to accidentally turn it into soap operas if you have too many viewpoints going on at once, without keeping in mind the balance of internal character exploration and the overall narrative.  But if you do it well, it can turn into a heartwarming family story.  Are you planning to write it out properly, or is this just a mental scenario? 

I think I am the kind of person who feels bad for putting fictional characters in depressing situations.  I would feel guilt if I had to write a “Fall From Grace” scenario where a character ends up in a bad place, especially if it was all self-inflicted.  I feel bad reading about the ways Kaladin was forced to run bridges and get strung up in a highstorm, and I felt bad for every bad thing that happened to Fitzchivalry.  I admire writers who can convincingly write characters at the worst point in their lives, because I don’t think I could do it.  I’m just too soft-hearted, and I need hope spots or else I can’t pick up the book.  Even now I hesitate to re-read books that I know explore depressing character arcs because it’s a mental rollercoaster for me, and I can’t handle the feels.

Kaladin and Adolin as roommate would be a cute idea, if they develop a bromance like they had going on at the end of WoR.  When Adolin went to jail as a protest after the 4:1 duel, he and Kaladin were basically roommates.  I’m a very boring person who enjoys fan service in the form of simple “slice of life” stories instead of high drama, so a story about roommates who do mundane, everyday things like grocery shopping and going to the gym together would be something I’d find enjoyable.  I know it’s boring, but sometimes I like a little light reading.  If Adolin gets over all the drama and ends up doing simple things that make him happy, I think I would be fulfilled with such an ending.  I know other people who have read fantasy novels featuring farmboys who are given magical swords of destiny expect the farmboy to end up as a king at the end of the day, but I like it when the farmboy retires and goes back to his farm.

I do not see Adolin wanting to become friends with Shallan’s brothers.  They are secretive people because of the whole “cover up our parents’ death” deal and the abusive parents thing has traumatised all of them to certain degrees.  Adolin wouldn’t know the reason for their being so evasive, but he’s such a good judge of character that he would pick up on the fact that there is something wrong with them, something that they’re not telling.  He would find it hard to trust them, and he would struggle to befriend them, since Balat is a cripple and can’t participate in Adolin favourite hobby, duelling.  It would be annoying for Adolin if Jushu runs up gambling debts and tells his creditors that Adolin will pay the bills.  But the Ghostbloods are trading Shallan’s brothers in exchange for her participation in their schemes, so an actual introduction of the Kholins and the Davars is likely going to happen SA3.  How exciting! 

As soon as you move SA from fantasy to a modern day setting, it essentially become a family drama, so this story would most definitely fit as one. Adolin would be the main viewpoint with a few alternate viewpoints, but it mostly is him. Him who is slowly unraveling as the pressure starts to get to him as he approaches a defining life transition marking his official passage into the world of adulthood except for this small voice screaming he isn't ready. And as his family situation appears more desperate than ever, as he drops one by taking a few pills to help him power through the rush (everyone does it, right?) and as his "friends" betray him, thus getting him kicked out of the football team, he cracks. He just can't control enough of everything and he spirals down as he tries to keep it together. Dalinar isn't helping as his anger, when he founds out about his son's behavior, is rather... epic.

I dunno what twist you expected, but rest assured, it isn't suicide attempt :ph34r: I had more in mind to have Adolin crash his father's car into a tree and ending up in the ER... Turns out he had been drinking which is the slap in the face Dalinar needed to actually enter an AA program. Adolin misses his finals because he's not recovered enough for them: he is offered remedial but he doesn't take them. It actually ends quite well: he finally gets a break. His family fusses over him widely which is a nice change, so he does get better even if he ultimately decides he needs to go live on his own. He also gets a lot of help from counselors. It isn't so depressing, I think. It could have been worst: I initially wanted to have Danlan be with him in the car and have her die :o It kinda needed a breaking point event where the wheel stops spinning so Adolin could fall back on his feet.

I am not sure I can write it though.

I love Fall from Grace, but I appreciate them more if the character ends up there through his own actions. Kaladin didn't have the right feel because he is just a victim: he isn't responsible for what befalls him, so instead of reading a heart-wrenching story of someone having to pull himself out of the deep, you read the depressing story of a character the author thinks needs to have the most tragic story ever to leave a mark. Fitz certainly fall within this mold. He and Kaladin just have so little agency to what happens to them.

And I love Adolin and Kaladin as roommates. In my setting, Kaladin turns out being one true friend. They start off hating each other, for no specific reason besides being from different world, but "event" happens to have their perception change. I am not sure what though. I've been trying to figure out what could happen to bring those two closer. The last end of the fic was supposed to have a lot of roommates fluff, especially when Kaladin dares Adolin to come to the lacrosse training, stating they'll go easy on his leg (he beaks his leg in the accident). A lot of Adolin's physical recovery passes through him going to those practices.

Personally, I expect some drama coming for Shallan's brothers... I dunno if it will pass through Adolin, but I am sure it will happen.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Oh man, Kaladin’s arrogant and presumptuous attitude really annoys me.  We all know his terrible past and abuses he went through in the past with Amaram, when he refused the Shards Adolin offered him and didn’t really give an explanation, that must have felt like a slap in the face to propriety and polite behaviour.  To me, it was something like Shallan telling Adolin she doesn’t need his protection, but doesn’t explain why.  Adolin is left with the awareness that something bad happened, and he doesn’t know what exactly it is, but he still has to step around it carefully like Legos in the dark.  If that scene was a Tumblr post, it would have a trigger warning. 

I think Stormform Parshendi would be the most common Desolation mook, since they are slaves in every rich person’s estate.  Lin Davar, in rural Jah Keved, and Wistiow in the small farming town of Hearthstone had a couple of Parshmen slaves.  No one knows how Thunderclasts and Midnight Essences pop up, if they need an Odium spren to come out of the ground and attack people, but Parshmen just need an Everstorm to change their forms.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see the rarity rankings of various Voidbringers, but in the Shattered Plains at least, with its close proximity to Narak/Parshendi hometown, would have the most number of Voidbringer mooks.

If Honorspren hate dead spren blades, I would not assume that all Windrunners would hate them too – it is only Kaladin who is extremely biased against them due to his traumatic past.  If there were other Windrunners, they would feel uneasy when close to a dead Blade, and they would hear screams if they touched one, but I do not think they would attack the owner of a dead Sprenblade and force them to break the gem bond and throw the Blade down a chasm.  Let alone Radiants forcing Shardbearers to go into hiding.  Shardbearers aren’t criminals just for owning a Shardblade, and since Radiants are into doing the “right thing”, for all flavours of morality, I just can’t see it happening.  A Shardbearer could say he got rid of Blade and never summon it in a public place, and no one would ever know.  It would take years for a bias against dead Blades to spread from Surgebinders/new Radiants to the whole population, since most people know Shardblades as mythical blades of the ancients that are worth kingdoms, and are immediately bestow rank and status to darkeyes.  Little kids in rural farming villages know the stories and legends of Shardblades.  They would not immediately accept the dead Blades as TOOLS OF EVIL.  And even if Shardbearers are kicked out of the army (which is a stupid idea tactically when the Shardplate doesn’t cause screams, and grants extreme mobility, strength, and endurance and immunity to lightning) because Surgebinders think they’re bad people, the majority of them are ambitious, powerhungry Alethis who still feel the Thrill.  Instead of teaming up and fighting Voidbringers with the new Radiants, the Shardbearers would go back to the Princedoms and fight border battles with each other, trying to take lands that aren’t being watched due to all the chaos of the Desolation.  And if the Soulcasters, they don’t even need to follow standard rules of supply and logistics that military actions usually require.  The Alethi upper classes are that petty and selfish.

I think people immediately believing Shards are obsolete is unrealistic, but that’s just me.  News doesn’t travel that quickly in a medieval type setting, when only rich people can afford spanreeds that require gems and Stormlight to operate, and only females are allowed to read.  The warcamps’ messenger system involves young women riding horses and reading the announcements to the men within earshot, over and over.  That’s not very efficient, and can’t cover a country the size of Alethkar within a month or three, which I’m expecting is the timeline covered by SA3.  I think we just disagree about the impact and presence of dead Shardblades in the Desolation.  I agree in a narrative sense that it would create lots of delicious narrative drama and conflict for newly discovered Radiants who ascend from humble origins and can now go toe-to-toe with the established ruling class noble Shardbearer families.  It would make for a great read seeing how people manage to work together and overcome their differences.  But in a realistic sense, I just don’t think it would be something that could pan out over the 3 months or so that each SA book covers (excluding the flashback sequences, of course).

Effectively. The Radiants are broken, the Radiants have reasons they do not care to explain, the Radiants are the fragile bridle everyone must tip toed around... Of course, I am exaggerating, but it does feel this way at times as neither seem to have any consideration towards others. I will be terrible unfair here and states the Radiants keep on thinking everything is about themselves which makes them spit on others kindness because it isn't exactly what they wished for. Explanation? Why bother? Others haven't suffered enough to even pretend at being worthy of understanding.

Quite harsh, huh?

I tend to think the return of the Radiants will not be positive for everyone and I once had a pet theory having Radiants within a given family tend to break this family. Can we truly believe having one member of any given family will not create any waves within this family? Will the other members be readily fine with it?  

I think we will need to read and find out about which creatures the Desolation will throw at our heroes. I however do think the life expectancy of the non-Radiants will be rather low.

Syl has expressed obvious hate towards the Shardbearers. How much of it is responsible for Kaladin hating them as well? How could he feel so disgusted in front of Shards upon his first kill? His argument stating they had kill people he loved was very, very weak: Shards merely are weapons. The one he should hate is the man who carried the weapons, not the weapons themselves. It makes no sense for him to hate them unless his reaction directly reflected the ones of his spren. If it is indeed the case, then wouldn't it be fair to state most Windrunners would feel the same? In any advent, while it is entirely possible Shards will not be totally obsolete from one day to another (it may be, as you pointed out a tad unrealistic), but I certainly think their value will slowly deflate as Radiants start to pop by. Adolin more specifically may feel the negative stigma towards them via his own family members. How is he suppose to carry on as if nothing ever happened when his family members frown each time he summons his own Blade? The fights he went through against the surgebinders have also illustrates how powerless, despite all his skills, he was to stop them which does imply regular Shardbearer, while still valuable, will not be the pillars armies rest upon anymore. This change of mentality may be hard to bear for someone like Adolin.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Would you like the books less if I told you that Marcus in Eagle of the Ninth was 21 when he met the love interest girl Cottia when she was 14 years old?  And Sabriel is 19 while Touchstone is biologically over 200 years old. :lol:  Both books were ones I enjoyed reading as a kid, and enjoy re-reading, because they focus on adventure questing with the romance as a very minor plot that you can ignore if you aren’t interested in it, while still acknowledging that it’s there and that the characters aren’t total robots.  I think it’s because they were written in 1954 and 1995, years before YA became the genre it is now, and both blur the lines between adult fiction and youth oriented fiction.  “Sabriel” is one of the classics of rules-organised magic systems, and Brandon has definitely read it, because he references the author Garth Nix in his Alcatraz Smedry series.

I’ve recently read pulp 1980’s fantasy, one of those cheap paperbacks with the terrible cover pictures that never seem to match with any scene in the book, and they tend to use inscrutable classic wizards with robes and staffs who have seemingly limitless power and never explain anything.  The reviews say that it was good for its time, but in this day and age, readers are so aware of tropes that to use the classic ones can be boring and predictable.  Which is why I enjoy Sabriel as an example of a strong female protagonist who saves the day, and saves the prince.  It also features necromancy and zombie apocalypse without veering into grimdark territory.

Brandon’s writing of battle scenes is more violent than standard YA fare, but I’d say it’s pretty typical in terms of tone for a fantasy series.  It’s not squeaky clean; it’s visceral and bloody and gets across the point that war is not pretty or glorious, especially when the PoV character isn’t running on adrenaline or the Thrill.  But compared to grimdark fantasy, or hardcore military scifi/fantasy, Brandon doesn’t revel in the bloodshed and linger on the gory descriptions like other series do.  When you read it, you get that it’s a dirty job, but you aren’t retching while you read.  When I am physically cringing while reading a violent battle scene, that is what I’d call genuinely grim and disgusting.

Honestly, I did frown when I read Cottia was 13 while Markus was 21, but since this is historical fiction, it didn't overly bother me. I mean, these things did happen back in Roman days and yes, girls of 13 would have been considered old enough to be considered wife. It was also clear Markus never took Cottia was a little girl, but for a woman, even if he was surprised to see her more "womanly" after he got back from his adventure. I really need to watch the movie during my vacations (which is right now)... As for Touchstone and Sabriel, it didn't bother me one bit because Touchstone, technically, isn't 200 years old. I figured he was about 20-21 when imprisoned and his aging/maturing process was put on hold, so he's basically a guy in his young twenties who was frozen in time for 200 years. They sounded rather plausible as a couple. I saw the next book features their children. I'll get to it, as soon as I am done with New-York. 

When I was a kid, I read LoTR, Anne of Green Cables and a lot of Stephen Kings. I didn't know there were other books for LoTR within the world of fantasy, so I missed all of the classic of my own years. I grew up reading Fighting Fantasy, but I had no idea it was fantasy: I just liked the stories, especially Lone Wolf. I never knew YA as a genre until, huh, Hunger Games I guess? Which means just a few years ago... In 1995, I was reading Ann Rice: that movie had a serious impression my young self. I recalled how I had to lie about my age to get in as I wasn't quite old enough :ph34r: Sweet old days when you get away with this :ph34r: So there, I never read the pulp fantasy of the 80s despite being old enough for it and huh I am not sure I would like it today. I did try David Eddings a few years ago, but it didn't draw my in. I wasn't sure about the whole necromancer aspect of Sabriel, but I was surprised to see it work. The book holds itself quite well and it doesn't suffer from several of modern days major flaws which would be to transform any story into romance..... as if young people only wanted to read about romance. 

Brandon isn't a grimdark author, this is certain: he walks more within the lines of Jordan, in terms of cleanliness. His story could have been darker and he could have emphasis certain aspect more, but he chose not do. Unfortunately, it also made a lot of people root for an Anime adaptation while I'd rather get the real thing, providing they can actually cast it which I am not sure they can. I don't recall cringing when reading battles, but I tend to focus more on characters, so the grim details remain... details. Abercrombie put a lot of it in his story, but when placed in front of not endearing, unsympathetic characters while feeling you are being robbed from the potential character arcs in order to favor broken bones, then yes, I'd say I much prefer Brandon's writing style. I find overly descriptive prose can deter the attention from the emotional ordeal: in the extract you have suggested, it seems tragic but I am not reading any emotions. In the "equivalent" Brandon extract, I can actually feel something even if it is less descriptive. Knowing how bones crack and everything is keen, but what interests me is what the character feels.

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Adolin in WoK didn’t like the idea of a darkeyed slave saving him and the remnants of his army from the Tower.  But he’s pragmatic when he comes down to it.  In the heat of the moment, he would definitely do a heroic last stand.  When he calms down afterwards, he’d be eventually appreciative of the effort taken to save his life.  I think it would be something that would strain his and Shallan’s relationship if it actually happened, but Shallan wouldn’t regret it if it saved someone she loves.  Shallan is selfish for good reasons, like stealing Jasnah’s Soulcaster to save her family.  She knows that Jasnah wouldn’t like it if someone took her stuff, but she just doesn’t care, because she considers saving her brothers worth the risk.  I wanted to emphasise that Shallan, even though she is “good”, however you interpret it, she can be a person who is not conventionally nice.  She’s still selfish and self-centred, and the fact that Kaladin is willing participate in her schemes shows that he’s not completely goody-goody either and understands that Adolin being alive is beneficial, and not just because they both value his friendship.  I also wanted to hint that Kaladin is still not completely over his crush on Shallan, and even when she decides she doesn’t like him romantically, she still compares how different he is to Adolin.  Brandon does it in a superficial way in WoR, when canon Shallan thinks of Kaladin as rugged rocks, and Adolin as kind and genuine.  Come on girl, you can do better than that. 

This is why I take a break and read romances, because they get deeper into the emotional development instead of the relationship being a minor sideplot to saving the world.   I tried to explore the relationship between Shallan and Kaladin in the direction that I felt SA would develop given enough time.  Shallan and Kaladin can have a working and functional platonic-only relationship, because they have so much in common, but if they tried to base a relationship on it, Shallan would bail because she would rather move on instead of linger in self-pity as Kaladin has a tendency to do with his grudges.  I do not see Adolin being interested in maintaining a platonic-only relationship with Shallan.  He would put effort into a relationship if it was important to him, whereas Kaladin is such a workaholic that he would take it for granted, do other things, and come back wondering why his relationship is crumbling.  I think I’m much better at writing romance than the family drama genre.:lol:

 Actually, Adolin admits later on he hardly even remembers his encounter with Kaladin at the Tower. Kaladin describes Adolin's states as "practically unconscious" which goes without saying: Adolin was so physically exhausted, the fact a darkeyed ordered him around didn't truly register in his mind. He isn't holding up against Kaladin.

I think Adolin would go for the heroic last stand if people he cares for a threaten. For instance, he'd stay behind to hold on the enemy while his men retreat, but not any longer than required. He would go once all of his men are safe, but it may be too late for him. He wouldn't take a last stand just to be foolish nor would he try to hold on a pass after all hopes is lost: he would sound the retreat, but while going on through it, he may end up staying behind too long. 

In the plot you suggested, I think Adolin's reaction would be tied in to several factors... If he is merely rescued from his back position and drag forward, then he'd probably end up realizing it may be for the good. However if his life is saved at the expense of several other life, then he wouldn't be fine with it. Adolin wants to be strong, he wants to be reliable and he has taken up on his shoulders the task to oversee to everyone. The guilt, his guilt following failure would be terrible. Shallan may act for what she thinks is right, but she may end up drowning Adolin in guilt.

I agree about your take on relationships: Shallan and Kaladin would never agree over the future and each other's attitude would grate on the other. Shallan would tire of having to drag Kaladin forward and Kaladin would get annoyed at Shallan for always hiding from the truth. A friends however, they may be able to tell each others the things they both need to hear, hence they would have more growth if they stay away from romance.

 

On 7/7/2016 at 11:09 AM, sheep said:

Which goes onto prove that Renarin is perfectly capable of holding a supply position as quartermaster, and contributing to the Kholin army in useful and constructive way.  He just doesn’t want to because he’s too single-minded and inflexible about being a proper Alethi “real warrior” and going to warrior heaven.  For someone who so adamantly refuses to go to the Ardentia and become a priest, he sure does get fixated with those crazy Vorin religious beliefs.

I always figured that Renarin’s dislike of Adolin being around Sadeas was because Adolin is normally friendly, flirty and easy-going.  When he is around Sadeas, it’s essentially an OOC moment for him, since he keeps his twitchy moments (summoning Shardblade over and over, highstorm nervousness) to himself most of the time.  I didn’t think Renarin’s Truthwatching powers manifested in a way that let him predict that Adolin would end up ruining his life killing Sadeas 2000 pages later, but rather that he knows his brother and his habit of doing stupid risky things out of impulse.  It could just be confirmation bias, but the more I look into Renarin’s character quirks and compare it to Dalinar’s, they really are alike.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that both are on the autism spectrum, but Adolin has previously mentioned that he and Renarin’s grandfather had mental illness that gave him visions/hallucinations in old age.  Renarin and Dalinar care a lot about control and try to keep themselves perfectly composed, because if they don’t, they feel like their weakness is exposed to the world.  To me, it seems like a conscious effort to present outward calmness and control, and their perception of themselves comes from how well they hold their control   Adolin in comparison values what other peoples’ perceptions, and puts on his confident playboy act naturally and subconsciously.  He doesn’t become aware of how fake it is until Jakamav rejects him and he realises he has no friends and no one really cares about him.

Seems like Dalinar putting his own framework of Codes onto Adolin instead of letting Adolin interpret the Codes for himself is like shoving a square peg in a round hole.

Quartermaster would probably be below Renarin's rank... There is this to take into consideration: he can't occupy a position which would be typical be given to lighteyed of the 6th dahn. It just isn't done. I think Renarin stating being a warrior is the highest calling merely is an excuse to justify his angst towards his lack of capacity and his obsession over not dropping his childhood dream. Vorinism states it is right he should obsess over it, therefore he does it, but his real reasons aren't religious, they are entirely different and these are hard to pin-point exactly. 

It is far-fetched to think Renarin may have had insights on Adolin's future breakdown. I have been pulling at straws with this one. It may be seeing Adolin as "not in control" creates anxiety within Renarin. Didn't Adolin state he tried to be confident for everyone, but especially for Renarin? It may be autistic Renarin has come to strongly rely on his older, stable and strong brother and he hates seeing Adolin fall short. It may also be why Adolin represses his weaknesses so deep, others rely on him, Renarin relies on him, thus he refuses to be anything than... strong. Except he isn't always strong, he is easily unsettled. He mistakes not showing doubt as strength when real strength would be to acknowledge his own fall-outs. Adolin just wants to project a given image so hard he ended up putting a lot of pressure to conform himself to this standard. 

I absolutely agree Renarin quirks are similar to Dalinar: my pet theory is Dalinar also is on the spectrum. His flashbacks showed us a rather different character, a man which may not have been neurotypical for his lack of awareness to his outside environment. The grand-father quote indicates the illness likely runs within the Kholin family and not the mother's family as many initially thought.

Does Renarin truly value self-control over anything? He hardly ever shows emotions, he is very secretive and deeply introverted, so what we think is self-control may simply be the expression of his nature. It doesn't seem as if Renarin struggles to keep up his mask of calm: it is just how he is. Dalinar, though, most definitely try to keep a mask of control. He puts all of these rules around him because he need this rigidity to control himself, without a strict routine, he'd go back to his wild uncontrolled self. As a son, Renarin probably doesn't have much issues conforming to this behavior, but Adolin struggles. While Dalinar merely want to be what he projects, Adolin wants to project what he thinks others want to see in him. In the case of Dalinar, the behavior is internal, but in the case of Adolin, it is external.

Love the square peg to round hole comparison :lol:

Sorry for the late response... I've been working on this one bit by bit every day... I hope it sounds cohesive which is the danger with long reply: by the time you reach the end, you forgot what you initially wrote :ph34r:

 

 

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