Quiver

[OB] Lyn Question

29 posts in this topic

Couldn't figure out a punny title for this thread. Bleh.

Anyway... I feel as though I'm missing something with regards to Lyn, given an early reaction she has. When she meets Shallan, she expresses interest in the Knight Radiants. When Shall mentions that, despite having a Shardblade, she is still feminine, Lyn's reaction get's noticed by the text, and she sounds disappointed.

(Don't have OB on me to cite the reference)

That stood out to me as a signifcant line or moment, but I can't figure out what it's meant to show. Does Lyn just generally dislike Rosharan gender roles, and was deflated when Shallan reinforced it? She does mention towards the end that one of the other women has been training with a spear for year, jokingly referring to her as "cheating".

So... yeah. What exactly are these comments hinting at? Lyn disliking gender stuff is the most obvious conclusion I can think of, but I'm not sure if that was Brandon's itnention or not...

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I'm going to go with the gender role thing, simply because he has a foil for Lyn in Renarin in challenging gender roles. I don't have it off hand, but I feel like I remember a WoB where he said that one of the things he wanted to do was setup the gender roles in SA as something to be challenged. I'll see if I can find it and put it in later.

 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/178-stormlight-three-update-2/#e3725

 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/77-shadows-of-self-lansing-signing/#e6838

Edit: Additionally, Shallan is very irritable in this scene, and my reading of the scene says to me that Shallan was potentially viewing Lyn's question initially as a sort of jibe or insult. I think that if Shallan had been approached at a different time, under different circumstances that there could have been a dialogue between the two that avoided the pricklyness that Shallan shows here. I also feel like the disappointment that you point out in Lyn is Shallan noticing this and deciding that she might have been a little harsh. Upon further review, no, Shallan does not seem to care. The scene is here below, Spoilered for length since I provided some of Shallan's prior thoughts for context.

 

Spoiler

Shallan gestured, and the scout led the way back down and across the plateau. Here, Shallan noticed that more than a few soldiers on the field had stopped their drills and were watching her. Bother. She would never again return to being just Shallan, the insignificant girl from a backwater town. She was now “Brightness Radiant,” ostensibly from the Order of Elsecallers. She’d persuaded Dalinar to pretend—in public, at least—that Shallan was from an order that couldn’t make illusions. She needed to keep that secret from spreading, or her effectiveness would be weakened.

The soldiers stared at her as if they expected her to grow Shardplate, shoot gouts of flame from her eyes, and fly off to tear down a mountain or two. Probably should try to act more composed, Shallan thought to herself. More… knightly?

She glanced at a soldier who wore the gold and red of Hatham’s army. He immediately looked down and rubbed at the glyphward prayer tied around his upper right arm. Dalinar was determined to recover the reputation of the Radiants, but storms, you couldn’t change an entire nation’s perspective in a matter of a few months. The ancient Knights Radiant had betrayed humankind; while many Alethi seemed willing to give the orders a fresh start, others weren’t so charitable.

Still, she tried to keep her head high, her back straight, and to walk more like her tutors had always instructed. Power was an illusion of perception, as Jasnah had said. The first step to being in control was to see yourself as capable of being in control.

The scout led her into the tower and up a flight of stairs, toward Dalinar’s secure section. “Brightness?” the woman asked as they walked. “Can I ask you a question?”

“As that was a question, apparently you can.”

“Oh, um. Huh.”

“It’s fine. What did you want to know?”

“You’re… a Radiant.”

“That one was actually a statement, and that’s making me doubt my previous assertion.”

“I’m sorry. I just… I’m curious, Brightness. How does it work? Being a Radiant? You have a Shardblade?”

So that was where this was going. “I assure you,” Shallan said, “it is quite possible to remain properly feminine while fulfilling my duties as a knight.”

“Oh,” the scout said. Oddly, she seemed disappointed by that response.

“Of course, Brightness.”

 

Edited by Furry-And-Lovable-Grover
For WoB
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Here's the thing...

Lyn is a real person that Brandon wrote into the book

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While I felt the Lyn-challenging-gender-roles vibe later on in the book, I didn’t read the scene with Shallan that way.  For me, it felt like Shallan misinterpreted Lyn’s curiosity, and Lyn’s disappointment afterwards was because Shallan didn’t seem open to questions and just wanted to assume instead of have a discussion.  Looking at this from Lyn’s perspective, I thought she was asking (or hoping to ask) how to become a Radiant.  At this point in the book, the Radiants are Dalinar (who is too high to be talked to and questioned by a lowly soldier), Kaladin (who is off in Alethkar), Renarin (who comes off as strange to most people), and Shallan.  Shallan is a fellow woman which might make her easier to approach, not exactly high enough nahn that Lyn could not have a conversation with her, and Lyn saw the opportunity to have that conversation.  But Shallan assumed something different, that Lyn wanted to know if she was still womanly, and was harsh.  Lyn would definitely be disappointed that her chance to learn about Radiants was not being met with an open minded Shallan.

It’s similar to later on in the book when Lyn meets Kaladin.  Yes, she’s challenging gender roles by wanting to be a fighter rather than a scribe, but it seems like she joined Bridge Four in order to become Radiant and was again put off by Kaladin’s indifference and assumptions.

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29 minutes ago, Blazenella said:

Here's the thing...

Lyn is a real person that Brandon wrote into the book

Yes, and ...?

The question is still valid. Lyn the character may have originated this way, but now she's in there, her personality, motivations and story arc have to be fleshed out and developed like any other. She wasn't just dropped into the story a fully formed 21st century Earth woman and left to her own devices. 

My reading of this scene was that Lyn finds the gender roles and narrow definitions of femininity in Vorin society highly restrictive. She saw in Shallan a potential role model, proof that women could break out of the traditional structures and succeed in masculine fields. Shallan's response demoralises Lyn, because even though Shallan has proved that women can be Radiants, she reinforces the importance of maintaining her traditional sense of femininity. 

Shallan's mood certainly played into the exchange, but the broader societal taboos on acting other, or even talking about acting other should also be acknowledged. 

EDIT:

From @Belcyrlis

Quote

Looking at this from Lyn’s perspective, I thought she was asking (or hoping to ask) how to become a Radiant. 

This too. Good point. 

Edited by Varion
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1 minute ago, Varion said:

Yes, and ...?

And I hope we don't see much of her because of it. Now that i know, it's distracting and takes me out of the book. I'm never going to be able to read her character as anything but a fan-insert, because that's what she is. It's ruined a few other members of Bridge Four for me, too. 

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2 minutes ago, Rainier said:

And I hope we don't see much of her because of it. Now that i know, it's distracting and takes me out of the book. I'm never going to be able to read her character as anything but a fan-insert, because that's what she is. It's ruined a few other members of Bridge Four for me, too. 

I'm curious. Why does this affect you so much? At most, all that he took was the name and perhaps some physical characteristics. The rest of the character is entirely fictional and part of the world. Writers use real life people as building blocks for their characters all the time, often quite openly. Brandon has a cast of thousands in his books, so what harm him giving some of his biggest fans and supporters something special? 

I believe Brandon has said that Lyn's character has grown from what he originally intended, which shows that adding her actually expanded the book in some small way that may not habe happened otherwise. If that way was to give voice to a female character who wants to challenge traditional gender types, then that's even better. 

If these characters were written poorly, or stood out like bad product placement im a TV show, then I'd agree with you. But if you didn't know beforehand about Lyn's origin, I highly doubt you'd have noticed. I certainly didn't. 

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1 hour ago, Varion said:

I'm curious. Why does this affect you so much?

I can't speak for Rainier, and personally for me it isn't a huge deal but it does break my immersion a bit. A lot of Lyn's, like OPs original post makes you wonder if you missed something in her backstory or a hint of her character when often times the answer is you didn't. So there are two ways to fix this, one you give lyn more screen time and background to make her feel more fleshed out, or two you give her less and make her feel more flavorful rather than interactive. The problem is neither one of these solutions work super well, If you give her more time we start to run into a problem with too many characters and POV's to juggle, which is something that brandon wants to avoid from what he learned in his writing of the WoT. But if you decrease the amount of time to her, since she is based on a real person it would probably hurt said persons feelings. 

Sorry I'm not the best at explaining things and like I said its not a huge deal for me but hopefully that might explain why it could take someone out of being immersed in the book.

Also I wish I had a character :D

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1 hour ago, MonsterMetroid said:

I can't speak for Rainier, and personally for me it isn't a huge deal but it does break my immersion a bit. A lot of Lyn's, like OPs original post makes you wonder if you missed something in her backstory or a hint of her character when often times the answer is you didn't. So there are two ways to fix this, one you give lyn more screen time and background to make her feel more fleshed out, or two you give her less and make her feel more flavorful rather than interactive. The problem is neither one of these solutions work super well, If you give her more time we start to run into a problem with too many characters and POV's to juggle, which is something that brandon wants to avoid from what he learned in his writing of the WoT. But if you decrease the amount of time to her, since she is based on a real person it would probably hurt said persons feelings. 

I can understand the idea of breaking the immersion, or taking you out of the book, as @Rainier said earlier. And it's a valid point, too. Authors work so hard to build an immersive world, it's a shame if something like this pulls you out of it, even if it is only momentarily. I can't say it bothered me, but I've been working in the publishing industry for more than a decade, so I'm very familiar with the sausage factory of book creation and marketing. To me, it's not so important how the author finds inspiration for their characters or plots, it's how they take that inspiration and weave it into their story that matters.

One of the things I love about Brandon is that he is so open with his entire process, and this has always been received positively by his fans. I actually use Brandon as an example to many authors I work with, both to get first-hand writing advice, and on how to build a thriving community with their readers. I've always seen the whole fan-placement issue from the point of view of an author or publisher building an audience, so it's very interesting to hear whether making one fan's dream come true comes at a cost of diminishing the experience for many other fans, even if only very slightly.

Edited by Varion
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29 minutes ago, Varion said:

I can't say it bothered me, but I've been working in the publishing industry for more than a decade, so I'm very familiar with the sausage factory of book creation and marketing.

That would explain it. I'm not involved, and so seeing the sausage get made isn't exactly appealing. It would have been better if I had never known that she was a fan-insert, which I didn't when I started reading OB. She still stuck out before I realized why, so I don't think he did a great job with her.

3 hours ago, Varion said:

I believe Brandon has said that Lyn's character has grown from what he originally intended, which shows that adding her actually expanded the book in some small way that may not habe happened otherwise. If that way was to give voice to a female character who wants to challenge traditional gender types, then that's even better. 

This is exactly what I don't want. I don't want to see fan-insert characters grow and develop and get screentime. I want fan insert characters like GRRM does: Maester Rigney and his theory that time is a circle (James Oliver Rigney AKA Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time), or the knight with a star getting killed by a giant (Giants beat Cowboys). Both of those are one-off lines that do not affect the book at all in any way. They're just little easter eggs.

Lyn is not an easter egg, she is a character, and she's literally a fan insert character. She might as well be a DMPC mucking about in the campaign.

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OK, Lyn is a character who has some personality that happens to be based on a real person. 

So are the majority of Bridge Four. They're based on Brandon's friends. One of them is named Peet. As in Peter Alhstrom. 

Lyn is no different. If you'd never been told she was an homage to someone, she would have been an odd character jumping into the book, would have joined Bridge Four just the same, and this would be forgotten. 

Seriously, all of the minor Bridge Four characters were created in the same manner. You have Rock, Teft, Sigzil, Lopen, who are actual story characters that Brandon made, then you have the others who are based on real people. According to what Brandon said at the signing I was at in Portland, the only exception is Skar, who was just a extra name. 

It's no different. 

Edited by Calderis
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I feel almost the oposite. I think it is really cool that Brandon puts real people in, it barely effects my immersion and it makes me extra attached to characters who would normally be B4 characters that I struggle to distinguish.

As for Lyn, I really enjoy her arc. Not just the societal gender defying things but her wanting to be a radiant. I am surprised we don't have more of the populous fighting to join the Windrunners. I would!

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15 hours ago, Rainier said:

And I hope we don't see much of her because of it. Now that i know, it's distracting and takes me out of the book. I'm never going to be able to read her character as anything but a fan-insert, because that's what she is. It's ruined a few other members of Bridge Four for me, too. 

13 hours ago, MonsterMetroid said:

I can't speak for Rainier, and personally for me it isn't a huge deal but it does break my immersion a bit. A lot of Lyn's, like OPs original post makes you wonder if you missed something in her backstory or a hint of her character when often times the answer is you didn't.

I actually agree - it kind of bothers me that Lyn and some of the Bridge Four people are based on (or at least are named after) real people.  Having a reminder of the real world like that can pull you out of the story.  I had originally thought that Leyten was a cool character name, but once I found out he was named after a real person I realized that Leyten could actually be a regular name for a normal guy, and it just sort of ruined it for me - if I met someone named Leyten, I might think "Ok, that's a little different," but I wouldn't think that the name was pulled out of a fictional world.  So whenever I read the name Leyten now, all I can imagine is some friend of Brandon Sanderson with glasses and a button-up shirt, asking to be included in his book.  

I think the reason why people talk a lot about Lyn (I've noticed her mentioned surprisingly often) is the fact that there are much fewer female characters in Stormlight than there are male characters, and in particular with regards to Kaladin's storyline and Bridge Four, there are almost no female characters.  Lyn is literally the only female character to have a close connection with Bridge Four.  So people talk about her and wonder if she's going to become romantic with Kaladin and wonder if Brandon has big plans for her, but I think that really, she's just a very minor character and probably will stay that way. 

You can easily tell the difference, for example, between someone like Lyn and someone like Rysn, just in the way that they are characterized and written.  They are in the book about the same amount, but for some reason you can just tell that Rysn is more "real" - more important to the story, more well fleshed-out, more genuine.  I can easily see Rysn becoming very important moving forward, whereas it would seem very strange if Lyn became significantly important to the story.  If I didn't know that Lyn was based on a real person, and I had to guess between Lyn and someone like Rysn which one was, I would immediately guess Lyn.  The same goes for other minor female characters like Isnah or Aesudan.  (Although... just watch - Brandon's going to announce that Rysn is actually named after a friend of his, and my whole theory will crumble).   

Edited by Llarimar
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On 9/1/2018 at 2:48 PM, Quiver said:

Couldn't figure out a punny title for this thread. Bleh.

Anyway... I feel as though I'm missing something with regards to Lyn, given an early reaction she has. When she meets Shallan, she expresses interest in the Knight Radiants. When Shall mentions that, despite having a Shardblade, she is still feminine, Lyn's reaction get's noticed by the text, and she sounds disappointed.

(Don't have OB on me to cite the reference)

That stood out to me as a signifcant line or moment, but I can't figure out what it's meant to show. Does Lyn just generally dislike Rosharan gender roles, and was deflated when Shallan reinforced it? She does mention towards the end that one of the other women has been training with a spear for year, jokingly referring to her as "cheating".

So... yeah. What exactly are these comments hinting at? Lyn disliking gender stuff is the most obvious conclusion I can think of, but I'm not sure if that was Brandon's itnention or not...

“I thought you were asking … I mean, in the highprince’s visions, there were women who were Knights Radiant, and with Brightness Shallan…” She blushed. “Sir, I didn’t join the scouts because I liked sitting around staring at ledgers. If that’s what you’re offering, I’ll have to pass.” [Chapter 45 "First into the Sky"]

i find the lyn storyline a good match with the renarin one. both fight the vorin gender dichotomy. the early dialogue with shallan follow this track, she ask to shallan how broke the absolute genders rules of the vorin society, and start doing something for 'real'

i am very fond of the character, the dialogue between skar and lyn is my favorite in the book.

 

Edited by Fulminato
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Personally, I don't particularly care. I liked Lyn, though once I heard that she was a tuckerization I payed her less attention, thinking that she'd remain a small cameo. But I remember reading somewhere later that Sanderson already had the character in mind - in fact she appeared as a nameless messenger in WoR, and just needed a proper-sounding name, which Lyn absolutely is.

I have more problems with May Aladar, frankly, because "May" absolutely isn't a fitting name for a daughter of a highprince and for all the mentions she got, she had nothing to do. How many times have we been told that darkeyes typically have short names, while lighteyes have longer, grander ones? Also introducing a May and a Mayalaran in the same book is just confusing.

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38 minutes ago, Isilel said:

I have more problems with May Aladar, frankly, because "May" absolutely isn't a fitting name for a daughter of a highprince and for all the mentions she got, she had nothing to do.

Is May a different cameo? As for name both Lyn and May are thoroughly un-Alethi so I wouldnt say one fits better that the other.

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I don't really know you're really asking op, but I personally can't see Lyn's lines being interpreted any way other than that she dislikes gender roles, and I for one am super ready for the entire concept of gender to be torn down in Roshar in the coming books.

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43 minutes ago, MonsterMetroid said:

Is May a different cameo? As for name both Lyn and May are thoroughly un-Alethi so I wouldnt say one fits better that the other.

I wondered while reading the book if May was a fan-insert as well, because of her name.  I know it's a kind of nit-picky thing to get annoyed with, but one of my main problems with including real-life names in a fictional story is that you create inconsistencies with the linguistic system.  Of course, fantasy authors can do whatever they want, and they don't have to create believable, foreign-sounding names for their characters.  Patrick Rothfuss  does this constantly with the Kingkiller Chronicle books - characters with names like Jake and Cob pop up all the time.  However, I feel like Brandon is so thorough with his worldbuilding, and in particular with the naming systems he creates for his cultures, that he can't get away with this type of thing as easily.  Alethi people have certain types of names - their names are frequently palindromes or near-palindromes (Ialai, almost Shallan), and there are few sounds that appear frequently, such as "kh" (Kholin, Kharbranth, the glyph khakh).  So when a name like May or Lyn pops up in the story, it really sticks out and immediately makes you wonder if the character is named after a real-life person.

I like it more when authors do not name characters after real-life people, but instead just base their appearance and personality traits on real-life people, while giving them a more unique name.  I would honestly be much less bothered by characters like Lyn and Leyten if I knew the people they were based on had different names.

Edited by Llarimar
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How have the linguistics been broken? We've seen Lyn's name in a male variant in Shallan father Lin, and Veden and Alethi are so close as to be considered dialects of each other. Yes, Kaladin sounded "like a lighteyes" name to a bunch of rural villagers, but we've seen two syllable names in the upper lighteyes before, how is May worse than that? We also know that the Alethi upper dahns are more likely to marry foreigners than anyone else so we can't even be sure that May's name is Alethi. 

56 minutes ago, Llarimar said:

I would honestly be much less bothered by characters like Lyn and Leyten if I knew the people they were based on had different names.

If a name doesn't fit he does change it. For example, Moash is named after his editor Moshe. It's similar, but changed to fit the linguistic structure he has. 

Brandon's not going to break his stories for fan service. If this stuff hadn't blown up and gotten all of this attention it wouldn't be an issue. 

Edit: and to add to the Moash example, that's a perfect highlight of how a character being named after someone in real life has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on what that character is going to do in the story. It's just a name drop, that will normally never be noticed. 

Edited by Calderis
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2 hours ago, Llarimar said:

I would honestly be much less bothered by characters like Lyn and Leyten if I knew the people they were based on had different names.

To be fair, no one IRL calls

me Lyn, so....

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4 minutes ago, LyndseyLuther said:

To be fair, no one IRL calls

me Lyn, so....

And for some reason I doubt that Lyn's personality is in any way based off yours. 

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Yeah the character is built first.  The name of the character has very little relevance to the character's personality or arc.  It's a name that really could be interchangeable.  Kaladin used to be named Merin, and Vasher and Hoid have lots of pseudonyms.

Edited by RShara
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On 1/10/2018 at 6:42 AM, Llarimar said:

You can easily tell the difference, for example, between someone like Lyn and someone like Rysn, just in the way that they are characterized and written.  They are in the book about the same amount, but for some reason you can just tell that Rysn is more "real" - more important to the story, more well fleshed-out, more genuine.  I can easily see Rysn becoming very important moving forward, whereas it would seem very strange if Lyn became significantly important to the story.  If I didn't know that Lyn was based on a real person, and I had to guess between Lyn and someone like Rysn which one was, I would immediately guess Lyn.  The same goes for other minor female characters like Isnah or Aesudan.  (Although... just watch - Brandon's going to announce that Rysn is actually named after a friend of his, and my whole theory will crumble).   

Out of curiosity, did you have the same feelings regarding Vasher (I'm assuming that you've read Warbreaker)? His name is, after all, also based off of someone in the real world.

And what about Sarene (again, assuming that you've read Elantris)? Parts of her character were borrowed from a real person as well.

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22 hours ago, MonsterMetroid said:

Is May a different cameo? As for name both Lyn and May are thoroughly un-Alethi so I wouldnt say one fits better that the other.

I have no evidence re: May being a cameo, but I suspect that she is, because her name is a RL name that absolutely doesn't fit in with other Alethi names for highborn ladies and sticks out like a sore thumb, IMHO.

This is not the case for Lyn - after all, we already had _Tyn_, who, while a lighteyes, was a low-level one and allegedly born abroad to boot. One of her parents may even have been dark-eyed, for all we know. Or it may have been an alias.  Both Lyn and Tyn also are similar enough to other short, simple darkeyes names like Khen, Cenn, Tien, etc.

@Calderis,

Lin Davar does seem to be an exception as far as mid-to-high level lighteyes names are concerned. What is even weirder is that after OB scene where newborn Adolin was named, we know that "-lin" literally means "born of", which makes Lin's name even odder. OTOH, Vedens and their language are similar to the Alethi but not the same, and maybe he was named in honor of or by some eccentric Horneater ancestor? Who shortened his own unpronouncable name to "Lin"? 

 

Edited by Isilel
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1 hour ago, Isilel said:

I have no evidence re: May being a cameo, but I suspect that she is, because her name is a RL name that absolutely doesn't fit in with other Alethi names for highborn ladies and sticks out like a sore thumb, IMHO.

I'm wondering if May could be a name from Iri or Rira. It doesn't match Alethi names, but it does seem like it would fit right along with Evi and Toh. 

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