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[OB] Adolin-Shallan-Kaladin Discussion

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9 minutes ago, Walkerxes said:

As for Kaladin and Shallan's masks.. I don't think he's had the exposure (nor explanation) to Veil and Radiant that Adolin has. To Kaladin that's just Shallan being odd, but he hasn't really experienced a recognizable personality flip like Adolin did. He caught glimpses of Veil before Shallan entered the palace, but at the time she was wearing Lyn's face, and it was probably taken as Shallan being "in character".. but at the end when she was flip-flopping between the 3 after Jasna brought here back behind the walls, Kaladin wasn't there to witness it, where Adolin was... on a side note, Kate Reading, who narrates the female-focussed chapters in the audiobook did a great job differentiating vocally between Shallan, Veil and Radiant, especially in that part.

Actually, she flipped to Veil mid-conversation with him on that ship in Shadesmar, where Shallan (wearing her Veil mask) suddenly suggested to steal some Stormlight for him, so he could free Syl or start a mutiny. He didn't pick up on the change though. I do believe that is because he doesn't deem it to be too out of character for Shallan to suggest something like that, because he already knows of her... resourcefulness, when it comes to thinking of unorthodox solutions.

Once again, Veil and Radiant are not different persons. They all are still Shallan on the inside. Yes, she crafted the masks to be different from what she believes is herself, but in the end the distinction is all just in her head. When Veil comes up with an idea, actually it was Shallan, that came up with that idea. When Radiant fights, it is actually Shallan fighting. Veil and Radiant don't exist. They are just a figment of Shallan's mind.

Edited by SLNC
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1 minute ago, SLNC said:

Actually, she flipped to Veil mid-conversation with him on that ship in Shadesmar, where Shallan (wearing her Veil mask) suddenly suggested to steal some Stormlight for him, so he could free Syl or start a mutiny. He didn't pick up on the change though. I do believe that is because he doesn't deem it to be too out of character for Shallan to suggest something like that, because he already knows of her... resourcefulness, when it comes to thinking of unorthodox solutions.

Once again, Veil and Radiant are not different persons. They all are still Shallan on the inside. Yes, she crafted the masks to be different from what she believes is herself, but in the end the distinction is all just in her head. When Veil comes up with an idea, actually it was Shallan, that came up with that idea. When Radiant fights, it is actually Shallan fighting. Veil and Radiant don't exist. They are just a figment of Shallan's mind.

Ah! You're right! I'd forgotten that part on the boat!

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35 minutes ago, Walkerxes said:

even then, though, it was Adolin who kept his eye on Kaladin and tried to keep him focussed and not dwelling on Elhokar.

I won't deny, that Adolin helped, but it was Kaladin, that pulled himself out of the hole, that he was falling into again. I do think it is unfair to say, that Adolin deserves all the credit for it. It is like in real life, a therapist can help a depressed person. He can guide him, but the work has actually to be done by the depressed person themselves.

Edited by SLNC
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3 hours ago, Dreamstorm said:

But Adolin didn't need to "play" the part of a lighteyes; he is one.  If anything, he was "playing" a slightly lower dahn lighteyes - General Kahl's son - so it would make more sense had he been in uniform or something more practical.  (Kahl, being a Kholin solder, I am assuming dressed in uniform due to the codes like all the rest of Dalinar's men.)  It remains to be seen whether Adolin's love of fashion is just an amusing quirk, or if there's something deeper regarding frivolity, outward appearance, or some other connection, but even stalwart Adolin fans have noted his obsession with fashion while in Kholinar (and Shadesmar) seems at odds with what was happening.  (Btw, Kaladin wasn't playing a soldier (he is one), but he was playing a lighteyes.)

I don't like Adolin playing "dressing up" and I still think those scenes exist mostly because Brandon thought they were comical and he wanted to add some humor to otherwise grim part of the narrative, but I recently read someone (not myself) argue Adolin focusing so much on fashion, when everything else is going wrong, is mostly him holding on to familiar things. He goes in line with his second viewpoint chapter where the smell of the stables was something familiar he could hung up onto despite being very distressed over Sureblood.

Wearing nice clothes, sewing himself clothes, these may have just been comical scenes written to relief the tension, but these may have also been subtle ways Adolin's character has used to regain a semblance of normality in a world he does not recognize. The party with the fancy suit, I think it was more Adolin remembering his teenage years, then anything else. When Adolin mentions of how someone's clothes speaks of its personality, Shallan asks him what happened to his fancy suit. Adolin responds he didn't fit him anymore... I always thought this was an odd response, but with the above explanation, it makes more sense.

Adolin no longer is the fop he once was: he tried once last time and it wasn't him anymore. I think this other person may have put the finger onto something.

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1 hour ago, SLNC said:

I won't deny, that Adolin helped, but it was Kaladin, that pulled himself out of the hole, that he was falling into again. I do think it is unfair to say, that Adolin deserves all the credit for it. It is like in real life, a therapist can help a depressed person. He can guide him, but the work has actually to be done by the depressed person themselves.

Agreed.. I hope I didn't come across as I felt Adolin should get all the credit. Kaladin certainly grabbed his own bootstraps and gave a good yank. However I do believe Adolin doesn't get enough credit for things he's done throughout. In the end, he's one of the most stand-up characters in the books, in spite of his initial pettiness with Kaladin in WoR.

35 minutes ago, maxal said:

I don't like Adolin playing "dressing up" and I still think those scenes exist mostly because Brandon thought they were comical and he wanted to add some humor to otherwise grim part of the narrative, but I recently read someone (not myself) argue Adolin focusing so much on fashion, when everything else is going wrong, is mostly him holding on to familiar things. He goes in line with his second viewpoint chapter where the smell of the stables was something familiar he could hung up onto despite being very distressed over Sureblood.

Wearing nice clothes, sewing himself clothes, these may have just been comical scenes written to relief the tension, but these may have also been subtle ways Adolin's character has used to regain a semblance of normality in a world he does not recognize. The party with the fancy suit, I think it was more Adolin remembering his teenage years, then anything else. When Adolin mentions of how someone's clothes speaks of its personality, Shallan asks him what happened to his fancy suit. Adolin responds he didn't fit him anymore... I always thought this was an odd response, but with the above explanation, it makes more sense.

Adolin no longer is the fop he once was: he tried once last time and it wasn't him anymore. I think this other person may have put the finger onto something.

This is also what I took away from that.. in the end it's the uniform, that he used to rail against, that was the best fit.

However bear in mind that most Alethi still play at dress up, so earlier in the city when going incognito, being stylish would be very Alethi. Only the Kholins kept the codes, and as he was masquerading as NOT Kholin, dressing up made sense (plus for the comic relief value). As Kaladin pointed out.. the world is ending and what do the lighteyes do? Throw a party.

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11 hours ago, Walkerxes said:

However I do believe Adolin doesn't get enough credit for things he's done throughout. In the end, he's one of the most stand-up characters in the books, in spite of his initial pettiness with Kaladin in WoR.

Adolin constantly gets praised for every single little thing he does. He's a decent human being, yes, but excuse me if I don't explode in laudations for it.

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15 hours ago, maxal said:

Wearing nice clothes, sewing himself clothes, these may have just been comical scenes written to relief the tension, but these may have also been subtle ways Adolin's character has used to regain a semblance of normality in a world he does not recognize. The party with the fancy suit, I think it was more Adolin remembering his teenage years, then anything else. When Adolin mentions of how someone's clothes speaks of its personality, Shallan asks him what happened to his fancy suit. Adolin responds he didn't fit him anymore... I always thought this was an odd response, but with the above explanation, it makes more sense.

Adolin no longer is the fop he once was: he tried once last time and it wasn't him anymore. I think this other person may have put the finger onto something.

I can understand the normalcy point, though I don't know if I agree with it (normal would have been a uniform for Adolin, as that is what he's been wearing for the past six years.  Fancy clothes would be a novelty at this point.)  Even if we take the normalcy point, that is along the same lines as Adolin's focus was elsewhere besides on the task at hand, on making himself comfortable, on feeling normal.  A perfectly natural feeling, but also different than the other three who were pushing their personal boundaries in order to accomplish the task (Kal being a lighteyes, Shallan risking her life to feed beggars (a misguided attempt, but that was her intent), Elhokar actually being a leader (lol at that last one)).

I like your point about that quote on "fit" a lot more.  It's something I had forgotten about.  I'll quote it below for reference:

Quote

"Clothing says a lot about people." (Adolin)

"Yeah?  What happened to the fancy suit you got in Kholinar?" (Shallan)

He looked down - which stopped the massaging of shoulders for an unacceptable count of three, so she growled at him.

"It didn't fit me anymore," he said, resuming the massage.  OB, Ch. 97, Riino

Putting aside the fact this is a really stupid question by Shallan (they had been oathgate-napped from a battle.  Why would Adolin wear a party suit to a battle?  That's like me being kidnapped from the gym and someone asking why I was in gym clothes instead of a party dress), as I actually think the fact the question was so moronic means it was definitely only inserted so that Adolin could say his line using an alternate meaning of "fit."  He's obviously not talking about physical fit (he didn't change size in the past day), but instead figurative fit.  This aligns with Adolin's reflection on "feeling taller" when he puts back on the uniform prior to the battle.

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When he walked down the steps to the main room a short time later, he was wearing his Kholin uniform.  His skin missed the softer silk and better form of the tailored outfit, but he found he walked taller in this one.  Despite the fact that a part of him, deep down, worried he didn't deserve to bear his father's glyphs any longer.  OB, Ch. 83, Crimson to Break

This shows great personal growth for Adolin IMO.  The way I read it is that Adolin was able to indulge himself, for the first time in years, in the frivolous vanity of fancy clothes.  He did so (much like a college student gorges themselves on bad food when they move out of their parent's house), and he realized he actually felt better, stronger in the uniform, and that frivolity didn't fit him anymore.  Good, subtle character growth, so excellent point.

Now, what is really interesting is that later on in Shadesmar (Ch. 101, Deadeye), there is an Adolin chapter which starts with Adolin sewing and having much thought over his Celebrant disguise clothes (and later critiquing everyone else's.)  This is also the chapter where Adolin has conversations with both Ico and Azure about his concern with being king now that Elhokar is dead.  I don't think this is a coincidence considering the above.  Adolin had previously decided he didn't need fashion, as the utilitarian uniform suited him and made him feel better, yet the next time we see him fussing over fashion, he has a conversation (with Azure) that becomes one of the turning points in his decision to refuse to be king.  So he's coming back to the frivolity of fashion at the same time he starts going down the path of abdicating his duty (or what his family would see as his duty), essentially turning away from the uniform and what it represents.  [ETA:  I think this does tie into the last part of the quote above - about not being worthy to wear the uniform due to his killing Sadeas.  That is a huge factor in why he abdicates being king, and in fact his justification to his father, so it's as though Adolin is deciding he doesn't deserve to wear the uniform anymore, so in fact the frivolous clothes actually fit him better in the end due to his perceived lack of worthiness.]

I'm spoilering this next part as it's long and only sort of on point.

Spoiler

I know you (Maxal) will disagree that Adolin not wanting to be king was a negative thing.  This is something which is open to debate among the readership, as it's not clear how Brandon wants us to feel about it.  (I personally do not even know how I feel!)  I know you've said before that Brandon has said Adolin is a very straight-forward character who shouldn't require much analysis.  However, as you know, Adolin is actually one of the most confusing characters in SA, at least as evidenced by the wildly differing interpretations of his actions.  I wasn't in the fandom post-WoK, but I doubt there was much debate about Adolin and his characterization, as at that point, he was pretty straight forward.  The debates started because he killed Sadeas, which is one of the very few (if only?) truly morally ambiguous actions in SA from the perspective of the reader.  There are many actions which are morally ambiguous to the characters, but the way the situation is presented to the reader makes it clear how we're supposed to see the action, e.g. Amaran killing Kaladin's men (Amaran thinks he's justified, but it's presented as bad to the reader), Shallan killing her mother and father (murders which make Shallan hate herself, but which are presented as necessary and even courageous to the reader), everyone killing Parshendi (moral dilemma for all due to their role in Gavilar's assassination, but by end of WoK, it's clear they are not the enemy so killing them is bad.)  The Sadeas killing sparked a lot of debate because there are strong arguments for its morality, or lack thereof, on both sides.  At this point, Adolin is deliberately set up to be a polarizing character.  The most similar action in the books that I can recall is Jasnah killing the thugs in the alley, an action which was set up (both in world and out) as an exercise to debate the morality of an action.  In addition to the Sadeas killing, I see Adolin's abdication of king along the same (though less dire) lines.  It's another morally ambiguous action, where I honestly do not know how Brandon wants readers to feel.  Adolin gets debated a lot, and definitely to the greatest extent based on his amount of screen time, and I think it makes sense; he is one of the few characters who is set up by the author as making decisions where it's not clear how we as readers should feel about those decisions.  (To make certain this point is taken correctly, you may be certain in how you personally feel about those actions, but the great amount of debate on the topic makes it clear the author did not make it universally clear, as there are readers who feel equally as certain and have the opposite feelings.)

14 hours ago, Walkerxes said:

Only the Kholins kept the codes, and as he was masquerading as NOT Kholin, dressing up made sense (plus for the comic relief value).

The codes were kept by the whole Kholin army.  Adolin was playing Meleran Khal, youngest son of General Khal (see Ch. 69 and 77 for mention of this), who is a member of the Kholin army.  Meleran would be subject to the same codes as Adolin.  You can't argue that the fashion interest isn't Adolin being Adolin; it's mentioned in WoK (complaining about following the codes) and WoR (looking at folios) and then of course emphasized in OB (even outside of when he's playing Meleran, such as in Shadesmar.)  Whether in the mind of Brandon this is comic relief/a personality quirk or symbolizes something deeper (which is why I like Maxal's point) is what remains to be seen.  But Adolin isn't interested in fashion because he's playing a part; it's something which is part of his character.

Another spoiler, because I digress into a discussion on sexuality stereotypes.

Spoiler

To share a background worry of mine about the clothes thing, I'm concerned this will become a hint Adolin is gay/bi.  As I've mentioned a couple times on here, when I first read WoK and WoR, I definitely thought Adolin was more attracted to men.  (The fact Shallan pushed physicality into their relationship, his obvious chemistry with Kaladin, the fact he subconsciously never wanted to progress his relationships with women (avoiding intimate contact).)  That's all a pretty classic set up for being in the closet.  (I read a lot of gay fiction.)  OB only strengthened that, especially with regard to Adolin's thoughts on Kaladin. Given what I now know about Brandon, though, I think it is highly, highly unlikely he'll go there with as prominent a character with Adolin (he's so much as said he won't), but if the "love of fashion" becomes a hint at Adolin's sexuality I will be supremely disappointed at how it played into a gay stereotype.

Edited by Dreamstorm
Added further point
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17 hours ago, SLNC said:

I think, that Kaladin has actually come quite a long way in dealing with his depression. Sure, he still has severe depressive episodes, but in general he does seem to have a more positive perspective on his life (I remember him saying something along the lines, that he was quite happy with his new life). And even in his depressive episode after Kholinar and he gets those cynic, dark thoughts about how idiotic Adolin seems to be and what not, he chastises himself for that. He doesn't completely lose himself in his depression anymore. Maybe some of it is because of his drive to protect/be there for others, but I don't see that as a band-aid, but purpose in life. A direction. Something, that in the long-term definitely helps depressive persons, who like Kaladin started in a position only full of despair.

I do agree that Kaladin is getting better, but I also wonder if he might be avoiding serious issues that could drag him back down. On that note, I think going straight to Shadesmar after Kholinar was bad for Kaladin personally. The sheer strangeness and danger of the place, and the fact that Dalinar needed his help so much, may have stopped him from dealing with what happened in Kholinar out of sheer necessity.

 

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Shallan's masks? Definitely a band-aid solution. I don't see her getting better in anyway at the moment and the downward spiral seems to be continuing. Sure, she decided to not make any more masks, but is that really a victory? I don't think so. The masks allow her to ignore her core problem. She hates herself, and tries to anchor herself to Adolin, so that she doesn't leave herself behind, but that doesn't solve the core problem. She needs to learn to love herself as a whole again. And not just parts of herself.

For someone with as serious a problem as Shallan, not choosing to make the problem worse is a victory though. I think the end of OB at least shows that she's trying to go forward on the right path for her.

 

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I see it a bit differently. Yes, Adolin does the right things and Kaladin does the wrong things. From Shallan's perspective. What Adolin does confirms, what she wants to have confirmed. That Veil and Radiant are different entities from her. Kaladin... doesn't dífferentiate between Veil and Radiant. He doesn't notice changes, because he doesn't have expectations on how Shallan should behave. Of course, Adolin would recognize changes in Shallan's behavior, because she has been living wearing a mask for him since they first met. Kaladin knows more of her other aspects (Veil in particular), by how she acted in the chasms, so he doesn't pick up on her masking.

IIRC, Kaladin doesn't know Veil and Radiant are a thing, so of course he's not going to differentiate between them. He and Adolin are working from two totally different levels of information, so is it really valid to compare them on this part?

 

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I think, that Adolin is saying the right things and doing the wrong things, by keeping Veil, Radiant and Shallan as different persons and has different relationships with them, because it doesn't reflect reality. They are all Shallan, just not in her head. Kaladin is saying the wrong things and is doing the right things, by seeing Shallan as Shallan. Because that is what reflects reality.

It's interesting to talk about reality in this case, because people can only work with the reality that they know. Adolin doesn't have the advantages of WoB's and reading Shallan's PoV like us ,the readers. He can only work with what Shallan tells him. In that context, I do think Adolin is doing the right things, as far as he is aware.

In terms of what is best for Shallan, isn't it more important that she has someone there who is willing to support her? At least, Shallan certainly thinks so.

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1 hour ago, Mage of Lirigon said:

He and Adolin are working from two totally different levels of information, so is it really valid to compare them on this part?

I agree. Hence why I'm saying, that Adolin, through his information, is telling Shallan the right things, in her eyes. The things, that she wants to hear. I just don't believe, that her judgment of what is right for her is correct or, rather, due to her tendency to lie to herself, is even capable of judging correctly.

1 hour ago, Mage of Lirigon said:

It's interesting to talk about reality in this case, because people can only work with the reality that they know. Adolin doesn't have the advantages of WoB's and reading Shallan's PoV like us ,the readers. He can only work with what Shallan tells him. In that context, I do think Adolin is doing the right things, as far as he is aware

I know. I'm not blaming Adolin, so no need to get in full defense stance for him again. I know how the situation is and all I'm looking at the possible ramifications for Shallan from my perspective as the reader and all my knowledge.

The rest of it is just my personal beliefs and are not meant to be an attack on Adolin. Even if it was, I don't see the problem of me attacking a fictional character, but rest assured, that it isn't. I won't engage in a discussion about Adolin with you again. We tried that and got nowhere.

Edited by SLNC
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4 hours ago, Mage of Lirigon said:

For someone with as serious a problem as Shallan, not choosing to make the problem worse is a victory though. I think the end of OB at least shows that she's trying to go forward on the right path for her.

Ehh....I disagree that "not choosing" to make the problem worse is a victory, and while she's at least made a decision regarding Adolin, I don't think she's trying to go on "the right path" either. At the very best, she's just becoming stagnant--she's not going anywhere, she's not confronting her problems, she's not trying to get over them, but she's also not fracturing further. At the worst, however, she is either ignoring the problem, or she's avoiding the truth. Both of those are bad options.

For me, even a small step in the path to self-closure would be a victory to me, but what she's doing is simply not stepping. She's not going forward or backward. She's reached a plateau, built herself a tenuous foundation to stand on, but she's still fractured. She's still avoiding the problems within, and she's still not her most genuine self. But this plateau's going to crumble eventually and if she doesn't try to climb out of the hole she's dug herself in, she's only going to fall farther.

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1 hour ago, Alderant said:

She's reached a plateau, built herself a tenuous foundation to stand on, but she's still fractured.

Not to mention, that this foundation is anchored to a different person, namely Adolin, and not herself.

Edited by SLNC
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1 minute ago, SLNC said:

Not to mention, that this foundation is anchored to a third-party, namely Adolin.

True. Relying on another person as a foundation for your mental health is generally not a good thing. 

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