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[OB] Adolin-Shallan-Kaladin Discussion

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One thing baffles me. Brandon is remarkably good at avoiding Mary Sues, especially considering how OP his characters tend to get. Just look at storming Kaladin. He basically stepped out from the "Mary Sue for beginners"  cooking book, and after a few additional spices here and there... he's awesome. There were certain concerns about him after WoR, but from what I've read, OB left mostly everyone satisfied (hopefully we'll have a similar effect with Adolin in books 3+4). All in all, what a fine line Brandon's walking here, and how well he does it. 

So what in the world is Adolin doing here, especially if it all goes on as some people think? (and, sigh, they might partly be right) Prince Charming, handsome, talented, supportive, influential (and seemingly above the law), with scarce flaws talked about but never shown, blah, blah, everything has been said about that. PLUS he gets the girl and lives happily ever after since book 3/10 PLUS he becomes a KR - and in no typical circumstances for that matter, but achieves the thing that is impossible among impossible, all thanks to his heart of gold. 

Is Brandon suddenly a 12-year old girl switching to fanfiction business? Does it stand to reason that this could be the course of action? Either Adolin takes a very back seat, dies or something of the above explodes in his face, or I bet there'll be more readers than me throwing the next book out of the window. I for one refuse to believe that any author with a half of Brandon's talent would go much further into this fairy tale. 

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@Ailvara I agree it is hard not to see Adolin as a Mary Sue at this point. There has also been a lot of discussion of this in the Adolin's breaking thread. I happen to have some hope that Adolin won't end up a Mary Sue and that his story may end up going somewhere more interesting, but unfortunately that's more based on a hunch (largely because it's hard for me to imagine why he has so many viewpoints for no real reason) than anything substantial. But I waver as to whether he may break, become a Radiant and have a triumphant story, or die and go tragic, or even go dark (or some combination of the three).

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1 hour ago, Greywatch said:

It's only speculation to say that her bond with Pattern is suffering; when their bond was in real danger in the past, Shallan always noted Pattern diminishing or his distress, which isn't present here.

I wouldn't say it's complete speculation, pretty sure this was covered much earlier in the thread but Pattern becomes less and less talkative throughout OB, to the point to where I even forgot about him. Pattern and Shallan barely engage each other and he brings up Shallan killing him more than once. Shallan seems to be less aware of Pattern and their relationship was markedly different in OB than in WOR. Also, we have the scene in Shadesmar where Shallan clings to Adolins hand and pulls him up, but Pattern slips through her fingers and he gets lost briefly. I'm pretty sure Brandon wrote it that way for a reason. 

 

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1 hour ago, GarrethGrey said:

 

I wouldn't say it's complete speculation, pretty sure this was covered much earlier in the thread but Pattern becomes less and less talkative throughout OB, to the point to where I even forgot about him. Pattern and Shallan barely engage each other and he brings up Shallan killing him more than once. Shallan seems to be less aware of Pattern and their relationship was markedly different in OB than in WOR. Also, we have the scene in Shadesmar where Shallan clings to Adolins hand and pulls him up, but Pattern slips through her fingers and he gets lost briefly. I'm pretty sure Brandon wrote it that way for a reason. 

 

Alright; lacking the other signs of this situation we've seen in the past, it's partial speculation.

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Fair enough, I'd argue that a large majority of things discussed in these forums pertaining to future plot and character developments is partially speculative, what one person might see as textual evidence for one thing, another might see it as something else entirely. I do agree that if there is a problem with Shallan and Patterns bond, we haven't been made aware of it to the degree that we have in the past. Although Shallan was an increasingly unreliable narrator in OB, so its entirely possible that she herself doesn't notice the fraying of her bond, or she's just ignoring it (she likes to do that) which would explain the lack of her pointing it out to us readers.

 

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Yeah, it's definitely a possibility. Just based on the overall tone, themes of all three characters' arcs and all, it's just not something I buy. (Again - really interested to see what happens in this year gap.)

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On another note, since we have an entire thread dedicated to Adolin being a Mary Sue character, and the majority of this thread (according to what Ive seen and the summary) has been about either Shallan or Adolin, does anyone feel like talking about Kaladin? Or should we rename this thread “Adolin and Shallan have issues and we might talk about Kal once every 10 pages”

Lol. Im just joking. Im really enjoying this conversation, and I can talk about Adolin and Shallan ad infinitum. But seriously. Any thoughts on Kaladin in OB? If not—totally okay with that as I said. Just wanted to give anyone burning with Kaladin comments a chance to get them out. 

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Kaladin had a great arc, and I know some people around the Internet didn't love it. All about letting go and giving up and learning that it's all still going to be okay. I just really liked it; imo, the climax of it was over Adolin's body, unable to reach Dalinar, unable to say the words, unable to help... and life still went on. Just loved it.

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Just now, Greywatch said:

 (Again - really interested to see what happens in this year gap.)

Definitely with you on that, ugh the next few years are going to be torture.

As far as Kal goes, I'll admit, I was super disappointed with his failures towards the end of the book, and his fight with Amaram was underwhelming to say the least. But upon further reflection, and letting my nerves simmer down for a couple months, I actually think its great that he didn't pull another ideal out of the hat so to speak. It will make it so much more emotional and rewarding when he finally does next book. Overall he was pretty stagnant to be honest, which I guess is to be expected after his growth in the first two books. He did have some moments though, I could read his return home and him revealing himself to be a Radiant over and over, it'll never not put a smile on my face. And I did enjoy the few moments he had with Shallan, I love it when those two interact (even if she was kind of a terd when they got to Alethkar, it was funny).

 

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3 hours ago, Ailvara said:

One thing baffles me. Brandon is remarkably good at avoiding Mary Sues, especially considering how OP his characters tend to get. Just look at storming Kaladin. He basically stepped out from the "Mary Sue for beginners"  cooking book, and after a few additional spices here and there... he's awesome. There were certain concerns about him after WoR, but from what I've read, OB left mostly everyone satisfied (hopefully we'll have a similar effect with Adolin in books 3+4). All in all, what a fine line Brandon's walking here, and how well he does it. 

So what in the world is Adolin doing here, especially if it all goes on as some people think? (and, sigh, they might partly be right) Prince Charming, handsome, talented, supportive, influential (and seemingly above the law), with scarce flaws talked about but never shown, blah, blah, everything has been said about that. PLUS he gets the girl and lives happily ever after since book 3/10 PLUS he becomes a KR - and in no typical circumstances for that matter, but achieves the thing that is impossible among impossible, all thanks to his heart of gold. 

Is Brandon suddenly a 12-year old girl switching to fanfiction business? Does it stand to reason that this could be the course of action? Either Adolin takes a very back seat, dies or something of the above explodes in his face, or I bet there'll be more readers than me throwing the next book out of the window. I for one refuse to believe that any author with a half of Brandon's talent would go much further into this fairy tale. 

Brandon is not perfect... I have been following his every words on the matter of Adolin, trying to read in between the lines and what always hit me is how Brandon was really not seeing Adolin in the same ways as some of his readers are. He does think of Adolin was a side-character, he does not think of Adolin as a protagonist, but I do think he painted himself into a corner when he give him out viewpoints when he wasn't supposed to have. 

Brandon' perspective on Adolin in OB is he is surprising, unpredictable and interesting. Brandon also stated he was aware of how anticipated Adolin was in OB and yet OB is what he wrote.

Thus, I am left to conclude Brandon just dropped the ball on Adolin. How he views the character really differs from how readers have viewed him. He planned to use him to contrast his other characters, but one of Brandon's weaknesses, as an author, is he tends to over do his story arcs. Hence, Shallan/Kaladin, they are a bit over the top, too internal, too dramatic, too introspective, too unassuming: it forced him to write a character to be their exact opposite. The end result was Adolin in OB who's perfect in every way. I think Brandon felt the readers would appreciate Adolin's lighter viewpoints and self-assuming personality: some did, but I also think he underestimated how this narrative choice diminished the character by making him less interesting, not more. Not to forget it was completely anti-climatic.

So what were Brandon's intentions? I don't think he had any... I think he loves Adolin's arc as it is, I think he believes what he wrote is sufficient. I don't think he plans something grand nor dramatic. Adolin could die, but it seems pointless at this point in time nor to forget writing a character just to kill him off is pretty useless in terms of narrative.

As such, I do believe more and more readers will refer to Adolin as a Mary Sue. My dim hopes are Brandon will hear about it and then figure out he needs to adjust Adolin's character arc in consequence.

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1 minute ago, GarrethGrey said:

As far as Kal goes, I'll admit, I was super disappointed with his failures towards the end of the book, and his fight with Amaram was underwhelming to say the least. But upon further reflection, and letting my nerves simmer down for a couple months, I actually think its great that he didn't pull another ideal out of the hat so to speak. It will make it so much more emotional and rewarding when he finally does next book. Overall he was pretty stagnant to be honest, which I guess is to be expected after his growth in the first two books. He did have some moments though, I could read his return home and him revealing himself to be a Radiant over and over, it'll never not put a smile on my face. And I did enjoy the few moments he had with Shallan, I love it when those two interact (even if she was kind of a terd when they got to Alethkar, it was funny).

Yeah... I just can't see it as stagnant. Brandon has been so good at portraying depression, and recovery and healing is never a straight line. It's not regression, not in the sense of undoing his progress. But it lapses and moves forward, it moves up and down, he's going to feel great, he's going to feel terrible... but it's all forward motion. Depression is frustrating, and it may well be like this for the rest of Kaladin's life. To be honest, one of the best things I think Kaladin could do for his own healing right now is to fail, to not be there for somebody, and have them still be okay. Kaladin has been treating himself like the only one who can Do It (for whatever doing the thing is in a given situation, generally life-or-death), and beating himself up for failures, but it'd be so good when/if he can get to that point where he can recognize he doesn't have to be there 100% of the time, he doesn't have to "win" all the time to be deserving of happiness and self-worth.

Nine times out of ten, Shallan puts my hackles up whenever she interacts with Kaladin, but that's getting into it a bit. Personally, I thought Kaladin and Adolin were golden in OB, I loved every single ... everything about them in OB.

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19 minutes ago, Greywatch said:

Kaladin had a great arc, and I know some people around the Internet didn't love it. All about letting go and giving up and learning that it's all still going to be okay. I just really liked it; imo, the climax of it was over Adolin's body, unable to reach Dalinar, unable to say the words, unable to help... and life still went on. Just loved it.

Agreed.

16 minutes ago, GarrethGrey said:

Definitely with you on that, ugh the next few years are going to be torture.

As far as Kal goes, I'll admit, I was super disappointed with his failures towards the end of the book, and his fight with Amaram was underwhelming to say the least. But upon further reflection, and letting my nerves simmer down for a couple months, I actually think its great that he didn't pull another ideal out of the hat so to speak. It will make it so much more emotional and rewarding when he finally does next book. Overall he was pretty stagnant to be honest, which I guess is to be expected after his growth in the first two books. He did have some moments though, I could read his return home and him revealing himself to be a Radiant over and over, it'll never not put a smile on my face. And I did enjoy the few moments he had with Shallan, I love it when those two interact (even if she was kind of a terd when they got to Alethkar, it was funny).

 

I actually really enjoyed his character arc, though it was heartbreaking at times. Poor guy just kept getting knocked down at every turn. I didnt think his arc was stagnant at all—he just had what I call a descending arc: he started high, riding the momentum of his successes at the end of Oathbringer and feeling confident about his new place. Then things just kept knocking him down. I agree wholeheartedly that one of his most powerful scenes was when Adolin was wounded and he couldnt say his oaths. 

7 minutes ago, maxal said:

Adolin could die, but it seems pointless at this point in time nor to forget writing a character just to kill him off is pretty useless in terms of narrative.

As such, I do believe more and more readers will refer to Adolin as a Mary Sue. My dim hopes are Brandon will hear about it and then figure out he needs to adjust Adolin's character arc in consequence.

I dont know that writing Adolin into a death would be useless to the narrative. I think, with how much Adolin is loved by the main characters, his death would actually have enormous impact on the narrative—much more so than the feared continuation as he is currently written. 

Edited by Alderant
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7 minutes ago, Alderant said:

I dont know that writing Adolin into a death would be useless to the narrative. I think, with how much Adolin is loved by the main characters, his death would actually have enormous impact on the narrative—much more so than the feared continuation as he is currently written. 

If the limit of the impact is "they're really sad", I'm not sure that's good enough. It'd need to happen in such a way that the manner of death not only made them sad, but also changed their actions/goals/paths in some way. And if that part of it is still in the air, then it's back to being a choice that's just as good as leaving him alive - "as good as" meaning it's arguable. Brandon is a planner - whatever's happening next, Brandon already has it written down somewhere (or has a strong plan and will have it written down in the next year as he plots SA4 and 5).

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30 minutes ago, Alderant said:

I dont know that writing Adolin into a death would be useless to the narrative. I think, with how much Adolin is loved by the main characters, his death would actually have enormous impact on the narrative—much more so than the feared continuation as he is currently written. 

I always felt like, that Adolin never was to be a fully-fleshed out character, but rather a... as harsh as it sounds, tool employed by the author. More of an observer to provide a contrasting PoV. To bring a few crucial people together... Kinda develop the plot in necessary ways. The problem is, that tools, after a time when repairs are done or a thing got built, are not needed anymore.

Thing is, the readers liked Adolin... Wanted to have more of him and, while I respect Brandon's writing ability, I don't think he's infallible. I think, that by giving Adolin a bit of more prominence in the story, he tried an experiment. Would have probably also worked out, but it didn't due to Adolin not really being fleshed out as a character.

I think, and I know that many might disagree with me, by dying, Adolin probably at Odium's hand would have a big impact on our main characters:

Dalinar: It would make it personal... I don't know yet how that would impact him, but it definitely would, because despite what some others think, I'm positive that Dalinar always loved and loves his son. Even if he's stupidly strict with him at times.

Shallan: She's using Adolin as an anchor, to cling to a life, that she always expected, but life being life, didn't allow her to have. I think, Adolin being plucked from the story could shove her in the right direction. And to finally address her situation with her masks. I don't think, that she'll otherwise will try to change the status quo. She'll need a nudge. It is basically about which life she is going to choose. The married noblewoman, she always was expecting to be. Or the Lightweaver, the path life chose for her. But for that decision, she'll need a nudge. She's too good at hiding.

Kaladin: He still has problems with failure and will continue to be needed tp be exposed to it, to accept, that he can't save everyone. Adolin's death could be such another exposure.

 

Edited by SLNC
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I'm not saying I didn't enjoy Kaladins arc in OB or that it was bad, and maybe stagnant was the wrong word, It was just frustrating and hard to read at times towards the end when everything kept going wrong. (I had grown used to an awesome Kal kicking chull at the end of books, this was not that).

And yes, that scene with Kal over Adolin in Shadesmar was fantastic, but marred in my original read because I was hoping for his 4th ideal...

32 minutes ago, Greywatch said:

Nine times out of ten, Shallan puts my hackles up whenever she interacts with Kaladin, but that's getting into it a bit. Personally, I thought Kaladin and Adolin were golden in OB, I loved every single ... everything about them in OB.

Yeah, I agree interactions between certain characters can be very subjective depending on the person, as someone who loves Kaladin, and really loved Shallan pre OB (I just cant figure her out atm, her arc in OB was really painful to read, and I can't decide what to feel about her until we see how she is in SA4) I've always enjoyed their interactions and their banter especially, to me they click, but I can see how other people might not enjoy them. As far Adolin and Kal, yes, 10x yes, they were pretty great in OB.

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4 minutes ago, GarrethGrey said:

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy Kaladins arc in OB or that it was bad, and maybe stagnant was the wrong word, It was just frustrating and hard to read at times towards the end when everything kept going wrong. (I had grown used to an awesome Kal kicking chull at the end of books, this was not that).

I understand and I felt like that on the first read too, but after thinking about it I quickly reconciled with it. Failure is a part of life and especially Kaladin has a problem with it. It was the best for his future character growth.

But I absolutely feel the frustration :)

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4 minutes ago, SLNC said:

I understand and I felt like that on the first read too, but after thinking about it I quickly reconciled with it. Failure is a part of life and especially Kaladin has a problem with it. It was the best for his future character growth.

But I absolutely feel the frustration :)

Oh 100%, it seems we had almost the same reaction and then thought process. It took me a little while but I'm definitly on board with how most of his arc turned out, really looking forward to seeing what this 1 year gap and SA4 has in store for him.

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11 hours ago, Greywatch said:

It's only speculation to say that her bond with Pattern is suffering; when their bond was in real danger in the past, Shallan always noted Pattern diminishing or his distress, which isn't present here.

When has their bond been in real danger in the past? (That we’ve seen on screen - it broke before the books started, but since they re-bonded, which I peg as beginning of WoR since that’s when Shallan first “met” him onscreen.)

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Overall, I really enjoyed Kaladin’s arc in OB. I was frustrated with his misunderstood conversation with Shallan about how she deals with her pain (but that isn’t surprising considering what Shallan didn’t say) and, as previously discussed, I hated how he claimed not to have feelings for her at the end (at first, since I don’t take it at face value now it’s fine). But other than that I really enjoyed his interactions with Syl especially, as well as Adolin, Shallan, Bridge 4 and others. I don’t mind that he didn’t get his 4th oath, it made sense, and maybe we get a big payoff for it later. Overall, his struggles in this book were fitting, and though they could be hard to read at times, I actually worried for him less than I did in WoK or WoR so I feel there has been important progress. Maybe I just had no worry left though after spending it all on Dalinar and Shallan! 

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15 hours ago, Greywatch said:

If the limit of the impact is "they're really sad", I'm not sure that's good enough. It'd need to happen in such a way that the manner of death not only made them sad, but also changed their actions/goals/paths in some way. And if that part of it is still in the air, then it's back to being a choice that's just as good as leaving him alive - "as good as" meaning it's arguable. Brandon is a planner - whatever's happening next, Brandon already has it written down somewhere (or has a strong plan and will have it written down in the next year as he plots SA4 and 5).

agreed.  The characters at minimum have to have some measure of growth, or downward signaling trajectory of their personal arcs as a result. Otherwise, I agree, the death would be meaningless. Upvote for you

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17 hours ago, Alderant said:

Lol. Im just joking. Im really enjoying this conversation, and I can talk about Adolin and Shallan ad infinitum. But seriously. Any thoughts on Kaladin in OB? If not—totally okay with that as I said. Just wanted to give anyone burning with Kaladin comments a chance to get them out. 

Thank you! I can talk about Kaladin all day. I'd like to give some thoughts on why I think he made huge progress in this book.

I know some folks see his inability to say the fourth oath as a failure, but I see it as a sign of progress and self-awareness. He came very close to it a couple of times, to the point where the windspren gathered around him, and Syl told him he was close when he asked her about it. I'm pretty sure he knows the words. However, he knows himself well enough that he is not ready to say them yet. He learned the hard way in WOR how important his oaths are, and breaking one of his oaths will break his bond and kill Syl. I don't think he will say any oath until he is certain he can embody it 100%. The fact that he knows the ideal, realizes "I'm not ready for this," and decides not say it, is a sign of maturity and self-awareness. We know from one of the epigraphs that the Windrunner fourth ideal is a tough one, and I am excited to see Kaladin's process of working towards it, rather than it coming easily in a moment of need.

Compare Kaladin's fourth ideal to the end of WOR when Shallan said her fourth truth. I don't think she was ready for it, and her entire arc in Oathbringer is the fallout from a pre-mature oath. We don't know yet if this has damaged her bond with Pattern (I am one who thinks their bond is fraying throughout Oathbringer), but it has certainly damaged her mental health. I know Pattern was pushing her into that truth at the end of the last book, but ultimately it was her choice and I think she should have said "not yet" if she knew she wasn't ready.

Now back to Kaladin... I also think he made great progress with his mental state compared to the previous two books. His prejudice of lighteyes is nearly gone, he has fully embraced being a Knight Radiant, and he was downright chipper in the first three parts of the book. Then Elhokar died. Losing Elhokar and seeing his friends kill each other put a damper on his mood. Even so, he realized he was sinking into depression and tried to figure out how to stop it. I think this is a huge step for him. At one point he says "My emotions are irrational. I’ll try to contain them." During another depressive moment, he has this lovely thought: "He’d come far in the last half year. He seemed a man distant from the one who carried bridges against Parshendi arrows. That man had welcomed death, but now— even on the bad days, when everything was cast in greys— he defied death. It could not have him, for while life was painful, life was also sweet." These are just two of several instances where he questions his own negative thoughts and pulls himself out of his funk. By the time they reach Thaylen City, he is back in kick chull radiant mode and there are no more depressive thoughts for the rest of the book. 

Finally, during the fight with Amaram we have one of my favorite quotes in all of Stormlight: "Ten spears go to battle and nine shatter. Did that war forge the one that remained? No, Amaram. All the war did was identify the spear that would not break.”

Kaladin is referring to himself as the spear that would not break. I think this is his greatest moment of strength in the whole series so far. For so long he felt like he a victim, betrayed by Amaram and other lighteyes, with so much hate and resentment. But here, he is taking responsibility for his own awesomeness. He became a radiant because he was strong, not because of what Amaram did to him. It ties in to the overall theme of personal responsibility in Oathbringer, and is also a nice parallel to Taln, who was the ultimate spear who would not break.

So yeah, I think Kaladin had a great arc in Oathbringer! I can't wait to see what happens with him in the next book with his progress as a radiant, and how he handles the conflicts between the humans and Singers. I think he'll play a crucial role in whether the Singers become enemies or allies with humans. I've noticed that Kaladin seems to be moving in a direction of compassionate non-violence over the course of the three books, and I look forward to seeing if he can help bridge the gap between the two species with everyone killing each other. As a pacifist myself, I am looking forward to him offering up some creative peaceful solutions. Whether the other radiants and world leaders will listen is another story. I have a feeling they won't, which will set up some fun conflict.

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@Starla

Thanks for your comments and analysis! I'll admit I read Kaladin a little bit differently, but I largely agree with your interpretation of his arc. I agree that he made a lot of progress in the book--much more than I think most are willing to admit. I do think, however, that Kaladin's not completely over his mental insecurities--one of the big hallmarks of that is that he doesn't try to pursue Shallan at all. I've said elsewhere that I think that's a good thing--I don't think Kal was in a place emotionally to pursue a romantic relationship in OB. And he does seem a bit more lost at the end of OB than he was. He seems to have largely lost his drive, and I think that's an important setback for Kaladin to have.

In WoK and WoR, Kal was largely motivated by two things: duty and hatred. Those are powerful motivators, but as you pointed out at the beginning of your post, by the time OB starts, he's largely getting over his hatred. That leaves him with only duty as his primary fuel, and when he failed in his duty with Elhokar, because he couldn't bring himself to involve himself against either side of people he cared about, it rocked him hard--I'd argue Kaladin hadn't been rocked that hard since Tien's death. This was totally different from the despair of WoK--this was a mind-numbing, crippling realization that he couldn't protect everyone, something he's always tried to do. So now his hatred is gone and duty has failed him...what does he have left? That seems to be the question looming over his head during his conversation with Teft and the end of OB.

On another note, I have to say that I really enjoyed the conflict between him and Jasnah. That was far better than I could have expected, and was a nice reprieve from Shallan being an utter snob to him...though I do have to say, his reaction to her lightweaving of him, as read by Michael Kramer, was absolutely hilarious.

On the topic of Shallan, I really do think that the bond is fraying. There's not a lot of textual evidence like there was for Syl, but Shallan as a narrator was a lot more unreliable than Kaladin was during his time, and comments from Pattern like "Can't you tell who you are" and "This lie is not right" really bothered me. But rather, I don't think it's the Truth itself that damaged the bond, but rather Shallan's attempts to run away from it. Remember that Lightweavers don't speak Oaths, like the rest of the orders. They speak Truths about themselves, to gain self-awareness and actualization. Pattern forcing Shallan into the Truth I think was absolutely necessary at the end of WoR--in order for them to progress, Shallan needed to confront the truths about herself. And yet, rather than confronting those truths, she chose to run away. She delved into her personas in large part to avoid those truths. After the beginning, we see almost no mention of her fourth(?) Truth, and at the end, she is not reflecting on that Truth, but rather on a bastardization of her conversation with Hoid. I think we're still in store for aftermath and ramifications of her Truth. TBD.

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18 hours ago, SLNC said:

I always felt like, that Adolin never was to be a fully-fleshed out character, but rather a... as harsh as it sounds, tool employed by the author. More of an observer to provide a contrasting PoV. To bring a few crucial people together... Kinda develop the plot in necessary ways. The problem is, that tools, after a time when repairs are done or a thing got built, are not needed anymore.

You have a way with words, my friend. That's the same point I've been trying to make.

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8 hours ago, Alderant said:

I dont know that writing Adolin into a death would be useless to the narrative. I think, with how much Adolin is loved by the main characters, his death would actually have enormous impact on the narrative—much more so than the feared continuation as he is currently written. 

I find it would be useless because it would nullified all the time we have spent reading him. If his character resolution ultimately is to die, then why have we bothered giving him viewpoints in the first place? This is why Elhokar's death worked in OB, because we never had a strong investment in him, he never really fitted anywhere within the story, he was slightly redundant with Adolin/Renarin. His death wrapped his character arc nicely without giving the impression readers spent two books building a character just to kill him off.

Killing Adolin, at this point in time, when he is about to revive Maya, now he is Highprince and has married Shallan would be pointless. It would be a waste of investment. There are only threes ways of satisfyingly killing an important character: you kill one who never has viewpoints, you kill one who's story arc has come to an end, you kill one for shock value, but this last one, really, isn't Brandon's style.

8 hours ago, Greywatch said:

If the limit of the impact is "they're really sad", I'm not sure that's good enough. It'd need to happen in such a way that the manner of death not only made them sad, but also changed their actions/goals/paths in some way. And if that part of it is still in the air, then it's back to being a choice that's just as good as leaving him alive - "as good as" meaning it's arguable. Brandon is a planner - whatever's happening next, Brandon already has it written down somewhere (or has a strong plan and will have it written down in the next year as he plots SA4 and 5).

Seeing the impact of Elhokar's death is "they are a bit sad", I wouldn't expect Adolin dying to have a much bigger impact. Elhokar is the one Kaladin had sworn to protect, Elhokar is the one Dalinar transferred his guilt upon, he is Navani's only son and yet they shed few tears for him. They moved on. Quickly. 

Wasting Adolin's character just to be able to state "I killed an important character" is just not worth it narrative-wise. I don't see it as a worthy take on the narrative.

Brandon may be a planner, but I don't think his plans are always perfect. Much of my issues with OB steams from the fact Brandon "planned OB" and "planned a given structure" for the narrative. Plans can be good, to give direction to your story, to make sure you don't pain yourself into a corner like GRRM, but plans can take away spirit, life and emotion out of a narrative. It can also yield badly explored characters such as Adolin. My thought are Brandon went too far on one extreme with OB.

How much as he planned for Adolin's character? Well, I am sure he planned his arc, but I do think he might be under-looking how much depth it needs to be convincing and engaging for all readers.

18 hours ago, SLNC said:

I always felt like, that Adolin never was to be a fully-fleshed out character, but rather a... as harsh as it sounds, tool employed by the author. More of an observer to provide a contrasting PoV. To bring a few crucial people together... Kinda develop the plot in necessary ways. The problem is, that tools, after a time when repairs are done or a thing got built, are not needed anymore.

Thing is, the readers liked Adolin... Wanted to have more of him and, while I respect Brandon's writing ability, I don't think he's infallible. I think, that by giving Adolin a bit of more prominence in the story, he tried an experiment. Would have probably also worked out, but it didn't due to Adolin not really being fleshed out as a character.

I think, and I know that many might disagree with me, by dying, Adolin probably at Odium's hand would have a big impact on our main characters:

Dalinar: It would make it personal... I don't know yet how that would impact him, but it definitely would, because despite what some others think, I'm positive that Dalinar always loved and loves his son. Even if he's stupidly strict with him at times.

Shallan: She's using Adolin as an anchor, to cling to a life, that she always expected, but life being life, didn't allow her to have. I think, Adolin being plucked from the story could shove her in the right direction. And to finally address her situation with her masks. I don't think, that she'll otherwise will try to change the status quo. She'll need a nudge. It is basically about which life she is going to choose. The married noblewoman, she always was expecting to be. Or the Lightweaver, the path life chose for her. But for that decision, she'll need a nudge. She's too good at hiding.

Kaladin: He still has problems with failure and will continue to be needed tp be exposed to it, to accept, that he can't save everyone. Adolin's death could be such another exposure.

I more or less agree with the first part of your post. I agree Adolin is a tool Brandon is using and I agree he wrote him the way he did because it offered a strong contrast with Kaladin/Shallan's arcs. Arguably, he went too far with Shallan and, as a result, he had to go too far with Adolin and his "perfection". If he were to aim in the middle, then I feel all character arcs would be superior and satisfying.

I however do not think giving out more page time to Adolin was an "experiment". I think Brandon did it because the character was both useful and worked nicely within the narrative. He also felt he could develop Adolin without giving him much viewpoints: he commented on this a few times. The problem is, with OB, he dropped the ball on readers expectations: he judged readers would be satisfied with the small bout of Adolin reviving Maya, but he forgot to take into consideration if the rest of the character's narrative answered to the climax he wrote himself. 

I don't agree Adolin dying would have a big impact on the characters, not when neither Jasnah nor Elhokar dying did. Killing a character is also a shock moment, it last a few seconds and then, you have to write the rest of the story without him. Sure, Brandon could afford to kill Elhokar: he never were important. He can afford to kill Eshonai as a huge shock moment readers never saw coming: he never were more than a minor side character. Killing Adolin means he will lose his one "none magical" character, his one "going on a different journey" character. Adolin is diversity within SA, he might be badly explored, but he offers something no other character can provide. Thus, even now, killing him is, IMHO, a bad choice. The "issues" he has also strongly differ than other characters and that could be very interesting shall Brandon ever try to write it convincingly. 

Here are characters I believe are better suited to create an impact onto the characters within the story.

Dalinar = Navani. Navani dying would create a much stronger emotional turmoil within Dalinar than Adolin. Present day Dalinar doesn't even act as if he loved Adolin, to think he'd be devastated if he were to die seems far-fetched.

Shallan = One of her brothers. Everything she did was for them: if they were to die, then it will all be for nothing.

Kaladin = Someone from Bridge 4. Because he's the one Kaladin wants to protect above anyone else, above Adolin. Also, he already had a moment where Adolin nearly died, twice would be redundant.

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46 minutes ago, maxal said:

not when neither Jasnah nor Elhokar dying did.

No? Kaladin was shaken into near uselessness by Elhokar being killed.

Jasnah's "death" heavily impacted Navani, you know, her mother. Granted, a bit more behind the scenes, but there was an impact.

46 minutes ago, maxal said:

you kill one who never has viewpoints, you kill one who's story arc has come to an end, you kill one for shock value, but this last one, really, isn't Brandon's style.

Exactly. And what do you see next in store for Adolin? Sure, there is the possible Maya arc, but I see no confirmation or hint, that Adolin will actively pursue it. Every bit that could blossom into character growth for him, has blossomed. Not satisfyingly, for me, but it is done.

Relationship problems? Solved through arranged marriage, that is now fulfilled.

Not knowing his place between all the Radiants? Also solved when a Radiant apparently respects him so much, that she chooses to marry him.

His murder of Sadeas? Swept under the rug.

Besides, him becoming a Radiant won't suddenly turn him into a better character with more depth.

46 minutes ago, maxal said:

Killing Adolin means he will lose his one "none magical" character

And turning him into an Edgedancer, like everyone here seems so inclined to think, will have the same effect.

46 minutes ago, maxal said:

his one "going on a different journey" character. Adolin is diversity within SA, he might be badly explored, but he offers something no other character can provide.

And yet, he doesn't. He probably won't. He's the Kholin highprince now. He won't have time for some kind of grand adventure. He will be entangled in the same thing every human will be on Roshar: survival. And closely working with the Knights Radiant at that. His father is leading them after all.

He won't have his own journey because he never was intended to. He is not a main character.

46 minutes ago, maxal said:

Here are characters I believe are better suited to create an impact onto the characters within the story.

Dalinar = Navani. Navani dying would create a much stronger emotional turmoil within Dalinar than Adolin. Present day Dalinar doesn't even act as if he loved Adolin, to think he'd be devastated if he were to die seems far-fetched.

Shallan = One of her brothers. Everything she did was for them: if they were to die, then it will all be for nothing.

Kaladin = Someone from Bridge 4. Because he's the one Kaladin wants to protect above anyone else, above Adolin. Also, he already had a moment where Adolin nearly died, twice would be redundant.

The point is that his death would impact these characters. That was the sole point I was trying to make. Showing alternatives, that are definitely there, doesn't defeat that point.

I know, that you don't like Dalinar, but despite his strictness, he cares about Adolin and is proud of him. I really don't know why you think he doesn't love him.

Shallan is his wife, if their love is really as deep as everyone is trying to make me believe, his death would devastate her. Not to mention, that her anchor point would crumble away.

And redundancy? If anything, Kaladin's inability to let Adolin go showed how much he actually likes Adolin now. It would devastate him, redundancy is completely irrelevant for that.

Non-Radiant Kholin highprince, almost unanimously liked too. Hell of a target for the enemy to create some turmoil in the leadership to be honest.

Edited by SLNC
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