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[OB] On Shallan's possible character progression - and why Adolin is hindering it

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This is a theory, that I've been forming in the current Shalladin thread here yesterday. Well, the thread moved on and never really got into any discussion about it. I believe the theory alone is enough to allow for a whole thread.

I don't want this thread to become part of the shipping war. I want to see opinions about this. So, please refrain from getting too worked up about any of it. It's just a theory. (And I know, that I have problems with not getting worked up, too. I try to work on it. ^_^ )

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So, in Chapter 15 of Oathbringer we see Shallan getting confronted by Adolin with the fact, that she actually has a Shardblade, a fact she has been trying to forget by splitting Pattern into two personalities - the spren and the Blade.

Now, I'm a pretty vocal fan of the Shallan/Kaladin pairing, so this might seem a bit biased, but I hope you try to understand my perspective, when I try to explain the Shallan/Adolin relationship in it's current form - from Shallan's perspective - Adolin's is pretty short, he is infatuated with her, maybe even in love, and wants to keep her.

But I digress, Shallan's perspective:

The world is ending, listeners all around Roshar are turning into mindless murder machines threatening mankind. And damnation, Shallan is supposed to be a Radiant. To step up and help save mankind? Imagine the pressure. Imagine the uncertainty. Adolin is the only thing, that currently is certain in Shallan's life. She clings to it, she bends herself to make it work, like when she wouldn't tell Adolin, that she rather would not train duelling stances. That is also why her subconscious starts to kick in and panicks, when she gets the feeling, he might blow off the betrothal. But only the betrothal, she's so focused on the betrothal, of that anchor, that she is afraid of losing that. But I don't blame her, it's human. It is true, that she likes Adolin, but in my opinion, there is little true textual evidence, that she loves him. She never says, "Oh no, Adolin is going to leave me.", but, instead, says "Oh no, he's going to blow off the betrothal."

Now, how does Adolin inhibit Shallan's character growth? By being that one anchor in her life, she is too afraid to lose it. So, in order to not disappoint him, she creates Brightness Radiant, just so she can have a good time with him. It would be fine, but it is not what she has to do to progress. Pattern basically confirms that.

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“Great!” Adolin said. “Great. I brought the Blade guards so we won’t hurt each other. I stashed them back at the guard post. I’ll go fetch them.”

He was out the door a moment later. Shallan stood with her hand stretched toward him, objections dying on her lips. She curled her fingers up and brought her hand to her breast, her heart thundering within.

“Mmmm,” Pattern said. “This is good. This needs to be done.”

Shallan scrambled through the room to the small mirror she’d hung from the wall. She stared at herself, eyes wide, hair an utter mess. She’d started breathing in sharp, quick gasps. “I can’t—” she said. “I can’t be this person, Pattern. I can’t just wield the sword. Some brilliant knight on a tower, pretending she should be followed.”

Pattern hummed softly a tone she’d come to recognize as confusion. The bewilderment of one species trying to comprehend the mind of another.

Sweat trickled down Shallan’s face, running beside her eye as she stared at herself. What did she expect to see? The thought of breaking down in front of Adolin heightened her tension. Her every muscle grew taut, and the corners of her vision started to darken. She could see only before herself, and she wanted to run, go somewhere. Be away.

No. No, just be someone else.

Hands shaking, she scrambled over and dug out her drawing pad. She ripped pages, flinging them out of the way to reach an empty one, then seized her charcoal pencil.

Pattern moved over to her, a floating ball of shifting lines, buzzing in concern. “Shallan? Please. What is wrong?”

I can hide, Shallan thought, drawing at a frenzied pace. Shallan can flee and leave someone in her place.

“It’s because you hate me,” Pattern said softly. “I can die, Shallan. I can go. They will send you another to bond.”

A high-pitched whine started to rise in the room, one Shallan didn’t immediately recognize as coming from the back of her own throat. Pattern’s words were like knives to her side.

 

 

Shallan needs to become a Knight, but she needs to be it herself. Not Brightness Radiant. Not Veil. It needs to be Shallan. As seen above, when Shallan denies the fact, that she can be a Knight Radiant, Pattern is confused. Or, at least, Shallan recognizes it as confusion. Maybe it is irritation. Anyway, I don't believe, that Pattern can help her with this. He blames himself for her state of mind and even offers to kill himself for Shallan. So she can become, who she needs to be. He thinks, that she hates him. Even if Shallan tells him, she doesn't. He is confused, because he is oblivious to the fact, that Shallan, in her mind, has been splitting Pattern in two. I really is a strange relationship Shallan has been creating for them after the hard truth at the end of WoR.

One might argue, that Brightness Radiant is just a role, like an actor would play, but I don't agree with that. She is a different personality, which takes over. A facade. A Shallan-influenced, but different soul. The biggest takeaway for that is, that Brightness Radiant apparently can't draw, one of Shallan's best skills.

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“I know mine is part of me,” Radiant (see how she is Radiant here?) said, resting the Blade at her side and setting her gloved safehand on it. “I’ve bonded it. I suspect this is the origin of the tradition among Shardbearers.”

[...]

After a short time of that she dismissed her Blade, then picked up her sketchbook. She quickly flipped past the drawing of Radiant, and started to sketch Adolin in his stance. She was forced to let some of Radiant bleed away.

“No, stand there,” Shallan (see how she suddenly is Shallan again?) said, pointing at Adolin with her charcoal. “Yes, like that.”

She sketched out the stance, then nodded. “Now strike, and hold the last position.”

He did so. By now he’d removed his jacket, standing in only shirt and trousers. She did like how that tight shirt fit him. Even Radiant would admire that. She wasn’t dead, just pragmatic.

 

 

She's even talking of Radiant as a different person.

Anyway, the bottom line is, that Shallan is already building walls again. And, though not through his intent, Adolin is enabling it. The worst part is, that he doesn't even see the change in Shallan, when she takes on the Brightness Radiant persona.

I have seen some arguments about Shallan being able to overcome her fear of Pattern, by Adolin's love of Blades rubbing off on her. Could be, the problem is, that it currently is rubbing off on Radiant, who is a completely different entity from Shallan. Even in Shallan's own mind! I can't emphasize that enough.

Poor Adolin doesn't know it, but he's doing her a disservice. And now he thinks, that she enjoys Shardblade practice, so I am positive, that it will become a regular thing. And everytime he won't be with Shallan, but with Radiant.

Then I've been thinking: "What could help her then? If her own betrothed can't help her, because of their convolution in being betrothed in the first place?" And then it hit me: Kaladin. In the end, it always comes down to Kaladin.

Why? I'll tell you. Remember after Kaladin killed that Veden Shardbearer (I won't call him Helaran here, because I'm still not 100 percent convinced it really is him. The description was suspiciously vague.), who killed his men? He refused the shards. He said, that he can't bear them, that he won't bear them. For one, because they were coated with the blood of his own men. See the parallel to Pattern being tainted by Shallan's mother's blood? And, secondly, because it would make him a lighteyes.

Remember how Adolin offers Kaladin Shards after the duel? He still refuses. He still can't imagine ever carrying a Shardblade. He fears them for their killing power, he disrespects them for that. But he overcame his problems. He saw, that he needed to be a Knight Radiant, to wield a Shardblade and, if necessary, even become lighteyed in the process. Become one of those persons, that he hated for all his life.

What I think is, that Shallan doesn't need someone, who tells her how great Blades are and that she should be happy for having one. She needs someone, who she can relate to. Who understands her problem.

Someone, who says, "I know how you feel, I felt the same not so long ago. I hated the idea of wielding a Shardblade. But let me help you get over that fear. Let me help you become what you have to become. You don't have to do this all by yourself, you're not alone." And that someone is Kaladin. Because, if you break it down to bottom, they both have or had the same problem. The unability to use a Shardblade as a weapon. Hating them for their killing power.  Plus it would give a wonderful opportunity to finally talk about Helaran.

Kaladin also seems to be pretty good at noticing, when she's hiding herself again. Like he did in the carriage ride in WoR, where she was hiding some emotions from Adolin.

Conclusion: Shallan is barricading herself in lies again. Pattern blames himself for it. Adolin is involuntarily enabling her. Kaladin might be the solution.

Edited by SLNC
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It is an interesting point, though I don't agree Adolin is preventing SHallan to grow in this regard, his fondness towards his Blade could soften her and I'm skeptical that Kaladin would be able to relate better - Syl didn't kill his friends after all, he accepted her as Blade because the situation was different than the dead Blades much like the ones used to kill his friends.

As for Brightness Radiant, I want to point out Shallan has been gradually moving to this step - first with the deserters:

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The woman she glimpsed in one breastplate looked too tall, too stately, to be Shallan herself.

She still speaks as Shallan but it was her first attempt at creating someone who can manage a task she doesn't fully trust herself to do. Later on she incorporates this image into herself like Jasnah thaught her.

Later about Veil:

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Shallan gasped, then immediately shoved her safehand into her pocket. The darkeyed con woman that Tyn had trained could go about half-clothed, but not Shallan herself.

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Shallan blushed. It occurred to her that this person she became when she put on the hat and dark hair was not an imitation of someone else, not a different person. It was just a version of Shallan herself.

At first she thinks of Veil as another person only to later realize it was her all along. It could happen again with Brightness Radiant. Yes, this last persona seems more detached and different from Shallan than Veil was, but Veil was also more like a different person than the woman who went to face the deserters.

So instead of hindering Shallan's growth, Adolin could help it. Shallan could learn to integrate Brightness Radiant slowly, by using her often enough to come to the same realization - that she is part of her just like Veil.

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44 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

Syl didn't kill his friends after all, he accepted her as Blade because the situation was different than the dead Blades much like the ones used to kill his friends.

Uh-uh. Kaladin didn't want to have a Blade, because it would essentially make him lighteyed. It doesn't have to do with the fact, that Syl is alive and the other Blades are dead. I mean, the Shards Adolin offered were not the same Blade, that killed his men, but he still refused. Shardblades apalled him. And not for the fact, that they were dead spren. He didn't even know that beforehand. He overcame his problem by accepting to become a Knight Radiant, by essentially becoming everything he ever hated (lighteyed). The exact same problem Shallan has right now - albeit for different reasons. Shallan has the problem, that she doesn't want to wield a Shardblade, because she killed her mother with one. The problem, not wanting to wield a Shardblade, is the same. The reasons, becoming lighteyed / reminding him of his failure to protect his men vs. hating Blades because one killed her mother, are different.

One big point is that Shallan doesn't really hate Pattern, but the fact, that he can become a Shardblade. That is the point. Wielding any Shardblade will always remind her of how she killed her mother. Pattern is just misunderstanding her, he blames himself.

 

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I disagree with your interpretation, Kaladin refused the Shards not because he just didn't want to become lighteyes, but because of the association between Blades and his dead men which is seen clearly in what he told Adolin when he offered those shards you call different, yet they didn't feel different to Kal

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“Adolin, those Blades have killed too many people I love. I can’t look at them, can’t touch them, without seeing blood.”

He accepted Syl because sylblade is different in nature. 

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11 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

but because of the association between Blades and his dead men which is seen clearly in what he told Adolin when he offered those shards you call different, yet they didn't feel different to Kal

I never disagreed with that. I even point that out in the main post.

I wanted to point out, that even though Adolin offered different Shards, they still apalled him. Both because they reminded him of his failure to protect his men, but also because they would make him lighteyed.

11 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

He accepted Syl because sylblade is different in nature.

Syl is not different in nature from a Shardblade, except that she is alive and can change shape. She still acts like a Shardblade, when she is one. She still kills like one, which exactly what was Kaladin's problem. As it is Shallan's.

The reason, why Kaladin accepted Syl as his Blade, is because he accepted, that to become what he needs to become (a Knight Radiant), he has to wield a Shardblade. Because it is not only a weapon, but also a symbol of authority. Like we have already seen in Hearthstone. Shallan doesn't see that yet.

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5 minutes ago, SLNC said:

I never disagreed with that. I even point that out in the main post.

I wanted to point out, that even though Adolin offered different Shards, they still apalled him. Both because they reminded him of his failure to protect his men, but also because they would make him lighteyed.

Syl is not different in nature from a Shardblade, except that she is alive and can change shape. She still acts like a Shardblade, when she is one. She still kills like one, which exactly what was Kaladin's problem. As it is Shallan's.

The reason, why Kaladin accepted Syl as his Blade, is because he accepted, that to become what he needs to become (a Knight Radiant), he has to wield a Shardblade.

He doesn't have to wield a Shardblade to be fair and he refers to it as sylblade clearly showing a difference in perception between Blades. Kaldin and Shallan have different issues. He doesn't see his dead men when he looks at the sylblade, whereas Shallan sees her dead mother in patternblade.

I don't think Kaladin would necessarily be able to relate to Shallan's issue or that Adolin can't help her. Integrating Brightness Radiant is a likely solution, she just needs time to realize Radiant is part of her. That way she's basically solving her problem on her own, which is much more satisfying.

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12 minutes ago, Aleksiel said:

He doesn't have to wield a Shardblade to be fair and he refers to it as sylblade clearly showing a difference in perception between Blades. Kaldin and Shallan have different issues. He doesn't see his dead men when he looks at the sylblade, whereas Shallan sees her dead mother in patternblade.

I don't think Kaladin would necessarily be able to relate to Shallan's issue or that Adolin can't help her. Integrating Brightness Radiant is a likely solution, she just needs time to realize Radiant is part of her. That way she's basically solving her problem on her own, which is much more satisfying.

Yes, now he refers to her as Sylblade. When he first summoned her? "A Shardblade appeared in his outstretched hand." Temporal context is a thing. And honestly? Dead Blades have names as well. Giving a Blade a name doesn't really differentiate it from dead Blades.

But my point is, that he did see his dead men in Shardblades. He overcame his problem, because he accepted, who he is. And it has nothing to do, that Syl is different. She still kills like one, which is the exact part of what Kaladin hated about Blades. Because the way they killed reminded him about his failure.

No one says, that Kaladin or Adolin have to solve her problems for Shallan, but that they could help her. Sure, it might happen, that Shallan suddenly realizes, that Radiant is suddenly part of herself, but I don't think so. Her anxiety of Shardblades and losing her anchor, her betrothal, is too high. Radiant is a product of a really personal crisis, Veil is a tool.

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As a general comment about chapter 15, it feels to me that a number of readers are assuming the worst. However, the actual chapter itself ends on this note:

Quote

Shallan would have to wait another night to visit taverns and hunt for answers. She trailed back into her room—strangely contented for all that the world might be in the middle of ending. That night she slept, for once, in peace.

So as far as I am concerned, the chapter itself ends on an unambiguously positive note and the chapter by itself was net positive for Shallan and Adolin was a net positive for Shallan. It might become a net negative down the line but obviously that's speculative.


Pattern is aware of what Shallan thinks about the blade, since she told him in chapter 8:

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“We’ll work it out,” she said, eyes forward. “It’s not your fault my parents are dead. You didn’t cause it.”

“You can hate me,” Pattern said. “I understand.”

Shallan closed her eyes. She didn’t want him to understand. She wanted him to convince her she was wrong. She needed to be wrong.

“I don’t hate you, Pattern,” Shallan said. “I hate the sword.”

“But—”

“The sword isn’t you. The sword is me, my father, the life we led, and the way it got twisted all about.”

“I…” Pattern hummed softly. “I don’t understand.”

I’d be shocked if you did, Shallan thought. Because I sure don’t. Fortunately, she had a distraction coming her way in the form of a scout climbing up the ramp to the platform where Shallan perched. The darkeyed woman wore white and blue, with trousers beneath a runner’s skirt, and had long, dark Alethi hair.

(it would be interesting to know exactly what Shallan wants to be wrong about... it might be related to my speculation below)

Shallan's hatred of the blade is not a new thing. We know in tWoK that she had a Shardblade but she had forgotten about Pattern and she clearly identified the blade as something terrible. We also have this from WoR (from when she killed Tyn with it):

Quote

 

She did not. She crushed those emotions and hid them deep within. At the moment, she needed something strong to hold to, and the weapon served that purpose. Even if she hated it.

However, Shallan is able to use Pattern as a "tool" (eg to carve rock in the chasm scene or to operate the Oathgate). It's using him as a weapon where it causes her real problems. It's an all too stark memory of using that weapon to kill her mother. Shallan had built up a hatred of the blade in all those years since so it's not something that's going to go away quickly.

Here's some speculation I'm going to toss out: maybe Shallan's final Truth will actually involve Pattern and Shallan saying something like "I don't hate you Pattern in any shape or form and I want us to be friends". Pattern has been expecting Shallan to kill him eventually since WoR. It was presented as something related to the Recreance in WoR but so far in OB it feels like it's personal. Maybe Pattern knew this all the time and it feels like Pattern believes that he himself is a block on her growth.

I'd say that Shallan doesn't want to kill Pattern and actually hates the idea:

Quote

 

“It’s because you hate me,” Pattern said softly. “I can die, Shallan. I can go. They will send you another to bond.”

A high-pitched whine started to rise in the room, one Shallan didn’t immediately recognize as coming from the back of her own throat. Pattern’s words were like knives to her side. No, please. Just draw.

 

So I think that Shallan somehow needs to come to terms with "Pattern the friend she likes" and "Pattern the blade she hates".

Could Kaladin help? Maybe, though obviously he's not available right now. I think Shallan intends to take a visit to some taverns etc as Veil to talk to people in general about her problems with what she's done in the past. Maybe that'll be enough. Or maybe that'll lead to her asking Kaladin similar questions once he comes back. Not just Kaladin though, she could ask others - it would be interesting to see her ask Dalinar if he has any past regrets about killing people for example. She knows that Adolin is an active soldier so she might ask him too. Though whether Kaladin would be able to provide her with answers that would help her is hard to say - while there are some parallels between their problems, Shallan's is much more personal and much deeper. As far as I can tell, it's specifically Pattern as a weapon that she hates and not weapons in general or Shardblades in general. Also, Kaladin didn't want to become a lighteyed and accepting a Shardblade would mean becoming that.

 

3 hours ago, SLNC said:

The world is ending, listeners all around Roshar are turning into mindless murder machines threatening mankind. And damnation, Shallan is supposed to be a Radiant. To step up and help save mankind? Imagine the pressure. Imagine the uncertainty. Adolin is the only thing, that currently is certain in Shallan's life. She clings to it, she bends herself to make it work, like when she wouldn't tell Adolin, that she rather would not train duelling stances.

I don't see anything to suggest in the text that Shallan considers Adolin to be a certainty in her life. The opposite if anything - she fears that the relationship could fail. This doesn't necessarily change the rest of your argument of course since Shallan clearly wants to make the relationship work.

 

3 hours ago, SLNC said:

I have seen some arguments about Shallan being able to overcome her fear of Pattern, by Adolin's love of Blades rubbing off on her. Could be, the problem is, that it currently is rubbing off on Radiant, who is a completely different entity from Shallan. Even in Shallan's own mind! I can't emphasize that enough.

I strongly disagree with your depiction of how "Radiant" works. It's clearly contradicted by the text:

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His blue eyes were alight, and Shallan loved seeing that glow from him. Almost like Stormlight. She knew that passion—she’d felt what it was to be alive with interest, to be consumed by something so fully that you lost yourself in the wonder of it. For her it was art, but watching him, she thought that the two of them weren’t so different.

Sharing these moments with him and drinking of his excitement felt special. Intimate. Even more so than their closeness had been earlier in the evening. She let herself be Shallan in some of the moments, but whenever the pain of holding the sword started to spike—whenever she really thought about what she was doing—she was able to become Radiant and avoid it.

 

 

Overall I would say that you're being way too negative about the entire scene.

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4 hours ago, SLNC said:

I have seen some arguments about Shallan being able to overcome her fear of Pattern, by Adolin's love of Blades rubbing off on her. Could be, the problem is, that it currently is rubbing off on Radiant, who is a completely different entity from Shallan. Even in Shallan's own mind! I can't emphasize that enough.

This is a very common fictional conceit dramatize the thoughts of somebody who is trying to play a number of different roles, that you and a couple of other folks are needlessly pathologizing to act like Shallan's going crazy. Shallan was scarcely able to think about the Blade in the first book. The fact that she's able to use this persona to train with it now is a sign of her character progressing, not getting worse.

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43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

So as far as I am concerned, the chapter itself ends on an unambiguously positive note and the chapter by itself was net positive for Shallan and Adolin was a net positive for Shallan. It might become a net negative down the line but obviously that's speculative.

Look. This is not about positivity vs. negativity and I specifically state, that his is a theory. Of course, it is speculative.

We read from Shallan's Viewpoint. Of course, she is happy in that moment. Her plan worked out, Adolin is happy, everything is fine. Why shouldn't she finally sleep in peace? She found a workaround.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

Shallan's hatred of the blade is not a new thing. We know in tWoK that she had a Shardblade but she had forgotten about Pattern and she clearly identified the blade as something terrible. We also have this from WoR (from when she killed Tyn with it):

I never said it was. I just said, that it is time for it to be overcome. She has a new role. She can't run away anymore.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

It's using him as a weapon where it causes her real problems. It's an all too stark memory of using that weapon to kill her mother. Shallan had built up a hatred of the blade in all those years since so it's not something that's going to go away quickly.

Which is what I said.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

I don't see anything to suggest in the text that Shallan considers Adolin to be a certainty in her life. The opposite if anything - she fears that the relationship could fail. This doesn't necessarily change the rest of your argument of course since Shallan clearly wants to make the relationship work.

What I meant with Adolin being her only certainty in life right now is that she is positive, that they are going to marry. Which is reflected in her anxiety about Adolin breaking off the betrothal. Everything else is... well, uncertain.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

I strongly disagree with your depiction of how "Radiant" works. It's clearly contradicted by the text:

I actually pointed out the exact part, where she switched between being Shallan and Radiant. My point is not that she can't switch between them. It never was. My point is, that Radiant is not just a role, but a different life. That is why I used a soul analogy, but I seems that I have failed. Tackling her problems as Radiant doesn't help Shallan one bit, since it allows her to avoid them. She says it herself.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

Could Kaladin help? Maybe, though obviously he's not available right now. I think Shallan intends to take a visit to some taverns etc as Veil to talk to people in general about her problems with what she's done in the past. Maybe that'll be enough. Or maybe that'll lead to her asking Kaladin similar questions once he comes back. Not just Kaladin though, she could ask others - it would be interesting to see her ask Dalinar if he has any past regrets about killing people for example. She knows that Adolin is an active soldier so she might ask him too. Though whether Kaladin would be able to provide her with answers that would help her is hard to say - while there are some parallels between their problems, Shallan's is much more personal and much deeper. As far as I can tell, it's specifically Pattern as a weapon that she hates and not weapons in general or Shardblades in general. Also, Kaladin didn't want to become a lighteyed and accepting a Shardblade would mean becoming that.

Kaladin tried to protect his men and failed. He lost them to the killing power of a Shardblade. Shallan lost her mother by killing her in self-defense with Pattern. Kaladin didn't hate Shardblades in general, he just didn't want to wield one. That Shallan specifically thinks about Pattern is a necessity, because she couldn't have bonded a Shardblade in the first place. The difference between Kaladin and Shallan is, that Shallan already had bonded a spren, so she naturally thinks about Pattern in that case.

About Shallan's problem being more personal? Maybe, but she didn't have any problems disclosing personal information with Kaladin in the past. And I don't think it to be too different. Kaladin sees his men basically as family.

My point is, that Kaladin overcame his repulsion against using a Shardblade as a weapon and could be someone Shallan could relate to in that manner. Of course, it wouldn't be him to solve her problems, but he could try to help her. I could be wrong though, but I don't think I always have to state that when formulating a theory.

43 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

Maybe Pattern knew this all the time and it feels like Pattern believes that he himself is a block on her growth.

I feel that this is true, which is reflected in my statement of how Pattern blames himself.

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About Kaladin and Shards: he sees Blades, unchecked, as instruments of death. He sees Shardbearers as people who have no regard for human life, and kill men like flies. He also doesn't want to become a lighteyes, and he associates the worst characteristics of lighteyes with Blades - the arrogance, selfishness and uncaring in killing instead of protecting. But I would say his main hangup (leaving Syl aside) with the Shardblades is in what they DO and what that implies about people who carry them, not just that they make you  lighteyed. In his opinion, Shardbearers as a category exemplify the worst of lighteyes.

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16 minutes ago, Harry the Heir said:

This is a very common fictional conceit dramatize the thoughts of somebody who is trying to play a number of different roles, that you and a couple of other folks are needlessly pathologizing to act like Shallan's going crazy. Shallan was scarcely able to think about the Blade in the first book. The fact that she's able to use this persona to train with it now is a sign of her character progressing, not getting worse.

I never even said, that I see it as a possible illness. If you mean that by 'pathologizing'.

She had just begun to reconstructing her bond to Pattern in WoK. Of course, she didn't think about Pattern as a Blade. She had pushed him away after all. Forgot him.

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6 minutes ago, Elena said:

About Kaladin and Shards: he sees Blades, unchecked, as instruments of death. He sees Shardbearers as people who have no regard for human life, and kill men like flies. He also doesn't want to become a lighteyes, and he associates the worst characteristics of lighteyes with Blades - the arrogance, selfishness and uncaring in killing instead of protecting. But I would say his main hangup (leaving Syl aside) with the Shardblades is in what they DO and what that implies about people who carry them, not just that they make you  lighteyed. In his opinion, Shardbearers as a category exemplify the worst of lighteyes.

I think it is a mixture of both, but yes, thank you. That is what I meant. Kaladin and Shallan both hate Blades as an instrument of death. The difference is that Kaladin accepted the need for having a Shardblade, if he is to be a Knight Radiant.

But it is also something that I have stated in my main post, which apparently is getting overlooked.

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6 minutes ago, SLNC said:

I think it is a mixture of both, but yes, thank you. That is what I meant. Kaladin and Shallan both hate Blades as an instrument of death. The difference is that Kaladin accepted the need for having a Shardblade, if he is to be a Knight Radiant.

Defiitly, but I think in this case the difference can be found in the nature of his bond with Syp as opposite to Shallan and Patter. Syl is beyond supportive of Kaladin, and he feels comfortable using her in Blade form because theirs is a relationship based on mutual trust. Shallan and Pattern.. not so much. From Pattern's oblique hints that Shallan will kill him to Shallan's denial and loss of memories, their relationship is very frail. I don't think Shallan views Patter as someone she can count on for support. It's more about observing each others and exporing what they can do together. They aren't friends.

Now of course we don't know how muvh of the difference between Kaladin and Shallan's bond is due to their different orders/ different personalities and how much is the influence of Shallan's trauma, but something is going on there I think the way for Shallan to become comfortable with the Blade aspect of her Radianthood will need to pass through her relationship with Pattern, and Kaladin can't help much. He can be a sort of example, but IMO it's something very personal and unique to Shallan.

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11 minutes ago, Elena said:

Now of course we don't know how muvh of the difference between Kaladin and Shallan's bond is due to their different orders/ different personalities and how much is the influence of Shallan's trauma, but something is going on there I think the way for Shallan to become comfortable with the Blade aspect of her Radianthood will need to pass through her relationship with Pattern, and Kaladin can't help much. He can be a sort of example, but IMO it's something very personal and unique to Shallan.

Of course he can help. When you are traumatized, depressed or otherwise confronted with hardships, one of the largest suggestions is to talk with a third party. Find another perspective. Get support. Obviously Pattern isn't very supportive, but that is just the way Pattern is. He himself doesn't understand how Shallan plans to overcome this issue and it is why he always defaults back to blaming himself for it. I know, that Shallan doesn't want to kill Pattern and I think that she won't, but I am also positive that she is on the completely wrong track of solving this right now. Just being able to talk sometimes helps. She can't do that around Adolin. Well, she could, but she won't. Like we have already seen multiple times.

The only other human character (to distinguish from Pattern), she ever opened up to was Kaladin. I don't see anyone else she could talk with about that. Except maybe Adolin, but, yeah, their relationship is complicated in that regard.

Edited by SLNC
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First off, its nice to see a Shallan/Kaladin/Adolin discussion where Shallan is the center, and not Adolin or Kaladin.

Second, I disagree with the notion that Adolin is bad for Shallan. By learning to be honest with him, Shallan will gain more as a character than just taking the easy route with Kaladin. I think that Shallan has more room to grow with Adolin. 

Furthermore, I'm not really convinced that Kaladin would be all that great when it comes to Blades. Adolin is the more compassionate individual, so I think that he would be able to help her better.

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Why is everyone keen on misunderstanding me? I never said, that Adolin is bad for Shallan, but that he is involuntarily enabling her to fall back into old mechanisms. That doesn‘t really make him bad for her. It is not that simple. Honestly his worst fault is, that he doesn‘t even notice it, when Shallan changes or hides her emotions.

Kaladin can be just as compassionate as Adolin. He has shown it on multiple occasions.

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I don't think Kaladin's case is comparable to what we have here, there was no problem with him bonding Syl as she was not only alive, but pure, never used to commit any atrocities. He also didn't have a problem with using Pattern in the chasm when his back was to a wall, like it was stated Kaladin was reppeled by what owning a balde came to represent, not simply the weapons themselves. Whereas Shallan's own blade was involved in her trauma, so she started blaming it for what happened, what she needs isn't someone who can tell her it's ok to use the blades, nor someone who shows her how lovely the blades are, but someone who can help her realise that the blade, which IS Pattern, wasn't responsible for what happened that night.

I don't know who this person is going to be, Shallan is too focused on pleasing Adolin to, in her mind, risk losing him by revealing too much, so if they're going to open up to each other, the first step will probably have to be taken by Adolin, who hasn't shown any inclination to do so from what we've seen, the only chance of this happening is if something is discovered during the investigation which forces the issue. Kaladin on the other hand, has been shown to be perceptive, and so is far more likely to notice how off Shallan's behavior is at times, add to that their shared experience in the chasm ... It really can go, and work, either way. I'd still place my bet on Adolin, Kal is off heroing around and won't be back to the tower for a while i assume, and this isn't an issue i'd like to see stretched too long. I know it'll take time to be resolved, but i doubt she can endure it long before at least starting the process.

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This is slightly off-topic but I don't want to start a new thread for it: Can anyone remember any passage in the text (or a WoB) that suggests that Shallan hates or dislikes Shardblades in general? I can't think of any and I checked a few places as well. I think it's just her blade that she has a problem with.

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41 minutes ago, kari-no-sugata said:

This is slightly off-topic but I don't want to start a new thread for it: Can anyone remember any passage in the text (or a WoB) that suggests that Shallan hates or dislikes Shardblades in general? I can't think of any and I checked a few places as well. I think it's just her blade that she has a problem with.

It's just her Blade. She volunteered to update the royal Shard drawings and show no problem with those or any other Blade - Adolin's, Renarin's, no anti-Blade reaction during the 4vs4. The only thing that came remotely close was the sight of Helaran's Blade and only because it meant her brother was dead like she already suspected. 

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1 hour ago, kari-no-sugata said:

This is slightly off-topic but I don't want to start a new thread for it: Can anyone remember any passage in the text (or a WoB) that suggests that Shallan hates or dislikes Shardblades in general? I can't think of any and I checked a few places as well. I think it's just her blade that she has a problem with.

Which is still beside the point, that she has a problem with wielding a Shardblade. She hates, that the Blade - Pattern in this case - killed her mother. Kaladin disliked that a Blade killed so many of his men. He added his hate of lighteyes upon it and extrapolated that dislike to all Shardblades. He would still use it in times of necessity though (Like Pattern versus the Chasmfiend in the chasm). He overcame that dislike of a Shardblades potential to end a life so easily. I'm still positive, that he can support Shallan in that, because in the end she hates Pattern as a Blade for that same reason. The stories don't lineup exactly, but that is not the point. Shallan will have to do the bulk of the work anyway. This nitpicking is counter-productive.

Edited by SLNC
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I disagree rather vehemently that Adolin is hindering her, at least in regard to this. Her creation of Brightness Radiant isn't related to Adolin at all. Dalinar could've been like "I've arranged a swordmaster to train you with your Shardblade so you can learn to use it," and she would've had the exact same reaction. It's not the betrothal that did it. It's that she has a Blade that she has to come to terms with and she doesn't feel like she can do that as herself. She's afraid, and she's using a terrible coping mechanism to mask that fear from herself and others.

Until she can learn to recognize her different personalities as herself and accept herself and what she's done, there isn't anything that anyone - Adolin, Kaladin, or someone entirely different - would be able to do to help her. It's not a romantic partner she needs to help her conquer this. It's herself. She needs outside help, yes, but the core of the healing is going to come from within her and she's not in a mental place to do that right now, and no one else can help her until she accepts that something is dreadfully wrong and is willing to work through it. She might recognize that something is wrong, but she's creating other personalities to mask it. She's hiding. Kaladin won't be able to help that any more than she can, especially since Kaladin has his own mental health issues. He'll be able to empathize to a degree, but I'm unconvinced that he'd be a good help for her.

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6 minutes ago, little wilson said:

I disagree rather vehemently that Adolin is hindering her, at least in regard to this. Her creation of Brightness Radiant isn't related to Adolin at all. Dalinar could've been like "I've arranged a swordmaster to train you with your Shardblade so you can learn to use it," and she would've had the exact same reaction. It's not the betrothal that did it. It's that she has a Blade that she has to come to terms with and she doesn't feel like she can do that as herself. She's afraid, and she's using a terrible coping mechanism to mask that fear from herself and others.

Of course it is related to Adolin. She doesn't want to disappoint him, because she wants to keep the status quo running. Her head is like: Alright, Shallan. Don't. Create. Conflict.

To Dalinar I could have had imagined her saying, that she doesn't want the training. She would have just been running away. The problem is, that the creation of Brightness Radiant doesn't help her accept Pattern as a Blade. It is a means to an end, not a resolution. Brightness Radiant doesn't help her to progress in that, but rather helps her avoid even thinking about even wielding the Blade. She says it herself.

Quote

She let herself be Shallan in some of the moments, but whenever the pain of holding the sword started to spike—whenever she really thought about what she was doing—she was able to become Radiant and avoid it.

 

14 minutes ago, little wilson said:

Kaladin won't be able to help that any more than she can, especially since Kaladin has his own mental health issues. He'll be able to empathize to a degree, but I'm unconvinced that he'd be a good help for her.

For anyone to help her, she'd have to open up first. I can only see that happening with Kaladin, because he already parts of her dark past - and didn't become judgemental. Adolin? Nah, she's too afraid.

I don't propose, never did, that Kaladin should fix her problems for her, but I can see him support her in fixing her problems. That is all I ask.

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13 minutes ago, SLNC said:

Of course it is related to Adolin. She doesn't want to disappoint him, because she wants to keep the status quo running. Her head is like: Alright, Shallan. Don't. Create. Conflict.

It's related to Adolin merely because he happened to be the one to point it out. I suppose keeping the status quo could be a small part of it, but it is far from the driving motivator here.

Quote

To Dalinar I could have had imagined her saying, that she doesn't want the training. She would have just been running away. The problem is, that the creation of Brightness Radiant doesn't help her accept Pattern as a Blade. It is a means to an end, not a resolution. Brightness Radiant doesn't help her to progress in that, but rather helps her avoid even thinking about even wielding the Blade. She says it herself.

I can see her wanting to say she doesn't want it. But I don't see Dalinar accepting that. He'd either not even hear her, because he says it, and then goes off to do something else, since he's stating it as fact, not asking for input, because it's not even a discussion to him, or he'd hear her and be like "Why?" And whatever explanation she came up with (which wouldn't be the true one), he'd like "You knowing how to use the Blade is more important. End of discussion."

And then Zahel or another swordsmaster comes to her and says "I'm here to teach you, Highprince's orders." And if she hasn't already had her Brightness Radiant breakdown, she does then.

And sure, Brightness Radiant doesn't help her accept Pattern as a Blade (though I disagree with you about what Shallan thinks of Radiant), but that's not the point. The point is that Adolin is not the reason for Radiant's creation.

Quote

For anyone to help her, she'd have to open up first. I can only see that happening with Kaladin, because he already parts of her dark past - and didn't become judgemental. Adolin? Nah, she's too afraid.

I don't propose, never did, that Kaladin should fix her problems for her, but I can see him support her in fixing her problems. That is all I ask.

Yes, she has to open up, and yes, Kaladin didn't judge her. They were also in a stressful situation and exhausted, so her inhibitions were a little lower and she was more likely to open up to someone then. I rather doubt she would've opened up to Kaladin otherwise. To say that she'll never open up to anyone else, much less Adolin, about her past because she's too afraid.....I don't see it.

I'm aware, but outside of what she shared with him, I don't see him really being able to do that to any large degree. Putting two people with very different mental illnesses together when both need help with their respective mental illnesses strikes me as a very bad idea for both of those people. That is not a healthy relationship. At all.

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The overall premise of the theory is plausible. Although I do feel like you are putting too much blame on Adolin for Shallan's mental deterioration.
It is true that Shallan's feeling for Adolin may have put more pressure on her to create Brightness Radiant, but the groundwork for this personality creation has been laid out before Adolin was on the scene. Like you have pointed out, Shallan copes with distressing situations and memories by building walls and avoidance. She has a unique, and often unhealthy, relationship with lies. This is likely how she attracted crypticspren to begin with. And, as someone has said, she has used this coping mechanism before with success. I do however feel that Brightness Radiant will have some type of negative outcome for her, UNLESS she can find a way to reconcile her personalities.

I think that her desperation to not lose Adolin definitely prevents this from happening. I do however feel that this has less to do with Adolin himself, but rather the situation she istrying to preserve. I feel her and Adolin are fighting a losing battle by trying so hard to hold onto their relationship as it is. I honestly think that no matter who Shallan "ends up with," her relationship with Adolin will have to change. They both need to be more open than they are with each other. I actually like the chemistry between the the two, but right now they are both hiding things in order to make the betrothal work. And both are so busy hiding their own secrets that they can't see when the other is lying or hiding something.

You argue that this hinders progression, but instead I see it as a necessary tension for both characters. I can see Shallan progressing more after a potential disaster or blow up from her deception with Adolin than I can from any talk or discussion she has with Kaladin. I do agree, though, that she may be more open to Kaladin simply because she isn't as desperate to avoid losing him. The question is, would this openness with Kaladin result in the progression that you theorize? I am not entirely convinced, though it could lead her in the right direction.

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