Hearty_Joe

[OB] Shallan Theory

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I just want to throw out a theory I have concerning Shallan that I haven't seen discussed. Could it be Brandon created her multi personality struggles as more than personal character development? What do you think about Book 5 concluding with Shallan having accepted herself as well as her many developed alias's and joining the unmade in Braize, taking the Heralds' places. That way, even if a particular personality is tortured to the point of destruction, she can have another personality replace it and continue the fight, all the while protecting and maintaining her core (Shallan) self. Maybe Brandon is setting up Shallan to be the world's Martyr.

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Not to derail your theory, its an interesting one. But Brandon has already confirmed through a WoB, that Veil and Radiant aren't actually separate personalities. Underneath Veil and Radiant, its still Shallan. All the actions shes taking as those two, are actions she's taking as Shallan, they are essentially "masks" and she's just hiding behind them.

So when she finally accepts herself, and comes to terms with who she is and wants to be, Veil and Radiant will disappear, and we will be left with a healthy, whole Shallan, who doesn't need her masks anymore. 

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For sake of completion, here's the WoB in question. And warning, it's long. 

Spoilered for length

Spoiler

Brandon Sanderson

So, a couple of things here. First off, I'll take any knocks I get--and try to do better. I'm not an expert on Mental Health, and though I do my best, I'm going to get things wrong. I'm going to risk defending myself here--and hopefully not dig myself deeper--as I at least explain my thought process, and why I built Shallan the way I did.

However, one of the rules of thumb I go by is this: Individual experience can defy the standard, if I understand that is what I'm doing. Like how Stephen Leeds is not trying to accurately portray Schizophrenia, Shallan is not trying to accurately portray dissociative identity disorder (if a scholarly consensus on such a thing even exists. I haven't glanced through the DSM5 to see what it says.)

In Legion, I have an easy out. I say, point blank, "He doesn't fit the diagnosis--he's not a schizophrenic, or if he is, he's a very weird one." I don't have the benefit of a modern psychology voice in the Stormlight books to hang a lantern on this, but my intention is the same. What Shallan has is related to her individual interaction with the world, her past, and the magic.

Is this Hollywood MPD? I'm not convinced. Hollywood MPD (with DSM4 backing it up, I believe) tends to involve things like a person feeling like they're possessed, and completely out of control. The different identities don't remember what others did. It's a very werewolf type thing. You wake up, and learn that another version of you took over your body and went out and committed crimes or whatever.

Shallan is coping with her pain in (best I've been able to do) a very realistic way, by boxing off and retreating and putting on a mask of humor and false "everything is okay" attitudes. But she has magical abilities that nobody in this world has, including the ability to put on masks that change the way everyone perceives her. She's playing roles as she puts them on, but I make it very clear (with deliberate slip-ups of self-reference in the prose) that it's always Shallan in there, and she's specifically playing this role because it lets her ignore the things she doesn't want to face.

She's losing control of what is real and what isn't--partially because she can't decide who she wants to be, who she should be, and what the world wants her to be. But it's not like other personalities are creeping in from a fractured psyche. She's hiding behind masks, and creates each role for herself to act in an attempt to solve a perceived shortcoming in herself. She literally sketched out Veil and thought, "Yup, I'm going to become that person now." Because Veil would have never been tricked into caring about her father; she would have been too wise for that.

I feel it's as close as I can get to realism, while the same time acknowledging that as a fantasy author, one of my primary goals is to explore the human interaction with the supernatural. The "What ifs" of magic. What if a person who had suffered a great deal of abuse as a child COULD create a mask for themselves, changing themselves into someone stronger (or more street-smart who wouldn't have been betrayed that way. Would they do it, and hide behind that mask? What would that do to them and the world around them?

DID is indeed controversial, but I really like this portrayal. Not of a disease, but of who this character is. And I've had had enough positive responses from people who feel their own psychology is similar that I'm confident a non-insignificant number of people out there identify with what she's doing in the same way people with depression identify with Kaladin.

source

 

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On ‎3‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 1:19 AM, GarrethGrey said:

Not to derail your theory, its an interesting one. But Brandon has already confirmed through a WoB, that Veil and Radiant aren't actually separate personalities. Underneath Veil and Radiant, its still Shallan. All the actions shes taking as those two, are actions she's taking as Shallan, they are essentially "masks" and she's just hiding behind them.

So when she finally accepts herself, and comes to terms with who she is and wants to be, Veil and Radiant will disappear, and we will be left with a healthy, whole Shallan, who doesn't need her masks anymore. 

Even assuming they're all masks, perhaps they contain strong enough identity to be a front against Odium's forces in Braize. Brandon can set Shallan up as a Martyr in Braize at the conclusion of the fifth book and complete the story Arc; The Second story Arc can begin hundreds of years later- When Shallan herself breaks.

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Please remember to put [OB] in front of your title on new topics on the Oathbringer spoiler board.

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1 hour ago, Hearty_Joe said:

Even assuming they're all masks, perhaps they contain strong enough identity to be a front against Odium's forces in Braize. Brandon can set Shallan up as a Martyr in Braize at the conclusion of the fifth book and complete the story Arc; The Second story Arc can begin hundreds of years later- When Shallan herself breaks.

The second story arc is confirmed to take place 10-20 years after the end of the first arc, and will have Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Taln and Ash as the flashback characters.  Sorry.

 

Also, I still dislike the idea of the first arc ending in a defeat or a delaying measure, as having someone get tortured for a couple decades would be.

Edited by RShara
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On 3/3/2018 at 9:45 PM, Hearty_Joe said:

What do you think about Book 5 concluding with Shallan having accepted herself as well as her many developed alias's and joining the unmade in Braize, taking the Heralds' places.

I've been advocating for something like this, yes. I don't think she'll be there alone, though, but with the 10 'founding' Radiants, two of whom were OG Heralds.

Then again, I'm always up for something new. What if our back five characters (Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Taln, and Ash) stay behind, but our front five (Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, Eshonai Venli, and Szeth) sacrifice themselves to accomplish something significant, similar to the Oathpact.

We've got our Bondsmith, somehow Ascended, who has a standing deal with the devil: a duel of champions. He has or can gain the power to bind shards, or perhaps Shatter them. The front five sacrifice themselves, with five others we meet in book 4, the back five are left with the task of preparing properly this time, due to their unique talents.

The more I think on it, the more I realize that whatever happens at the end of book 5, it has to escalate the conflict somehow. This series is going somewhere, my easy guess the Shattering of Odium, and it's going to take ten books to get there. What can we do at 5 that both pauses and escalates?

 

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But anyone going to Braize to be tortured doesn't address two main questions.

1.  The Oathpact and the Heralds bind the Fused to Braize.  They don't affect Odium at all, or at most, tangentially.

2.  The Fused don't go back to Braize when they die anymore.  They float around the Everstorm until they get a new body.  Going back to Braize wouldn't do any good.

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@Hearty_Joe I like your theory :) I'm not saying it's plausible or not, since I'm not a WoB nor a Realmatics expert, but I like the potential this twist could have in the story from a literary perspective. Maybe it won't play out exactly as you are imagining it, but you could be close to a plan that humans could use in an attempt to defeat Odium. Or something that affected Shallan's past, considering the recurring aluminum necklace mentioning, in her childhood flashbacks in WoR.

This is why I like theories, because they are food for thought. They are there to spark an idea on how the narrative may proceed in the future. If you predict something 1 or 2 or 7 books in the future that's cool as well right? But considering how complicated fantasy plots end up after a couple of books, this could be something charted in the narrative anywhere between now and the end of the books. 

Nice theory!

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On 20/03/2018 at 0:19 AM, RShara said:

1.  The Oathpact and the Heralds bind the Fused to Braize.  They don't affect Odium at all, or at most, tangentially.

2.  The Fused don't go back to Braize when they die anymore.  They float around the Everstorm until they get a new body.  Going back to Braize wouldn't do any good.

My theory would ionvolve Shallan going to Braize (with or without the surviving original Heralds) as part of a new Oathpact; An Oathpact that operates similar to the previous one. It would once again bind the Fused to Braize, and then they will no longer float around and inhabit a new body by every storm. 

 

On 19/03/2018 at 5:20 PM, RShara said:

The second story arc is confirmed to take place 10-20 years after the end of the first arc, and will have Lift, Renarin, Jasnah, Taln and Ash as the flashback characters.  Sorry.

 

Also, I still dislike the idea of the first arc ending in a defeat or a delaying measure, as having someone get tortured for a couple decades would be.

Pardon me, Shallan would break 10-20 years into her time at Braize.

Concerning ending a series on without a classic victory for the good guys, in the original Mistborn trilogy Brandon concluded by killing off the main Heroine Vin, and having Sazed sacrifice his humanity to become a God and start a world anew. Shallan sacrificing her humanity so the world could start anew wouldn't be original for Brandon at all.

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Personally I am not a fan of this theory for 2 reasons. One, Brandon has made it clear so far that this new Desolation is unlike any that came before. Fused aren't trapped on Braize anymore, humanity is more technically advanced, High Spren are tentatively reaching out to Listeners, the newest Bondsmith is bonded to Honor's Cognitive Shadow. Nothing is the same so it would be lame if this vastly different landscape yielded the same results as what happened 4500 years previous. Second, the Oathpact turned out to be a garbage idea anyway. Probably the only thing they could think of at the time (and of course hindsight is 20/20), but it turns out that humans break in the face of never-ending torture. It won't be an effective delaying tactic in the long run as we've seen. Last, I'm not sure that Shallan could hold out for 20 minutes much less 10-20 years. 

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Maybe book 5 ends with Cultivation's death and Dalinar or Navani taking up the shard just as odium thinks he's won. Also, Shallan can hardly control herself at the Revel so I doubt she can be tortured for any time.

I also wonder when wayne is going to show up, his hat thing with the resulting personality deep dive just screams lightweaver.

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On 4/1/2018 at 5:01 AM, Bigmikey357 said:

Personally I am not a fan of this theory for 2 reasons. One, Brandon has made it clear so far that this new Desolation is unlike any that came before. Fused aren't trapped on Braize anymore, humanity is more technically advanced, High Spren are tentatively reaching out to Listeners, the newest Bondsmith is bonded to Honor's Cognitive Shadow. Nothing is the same so it would be lame if this vastly different landscape yielded the same results as what happened 4500 years previous. Second, the Oathpact turned out to be a garbage idea anyway. Probably the only thing they could think of at the time (and of course hindsight is 20/20), but it turns out that humans break in the face of never-ending torture. It won't be an effective delaying tactic in the long run as we've seen. Last, I'm not sure that Shallan could hold out for 20 minutes much less 10-20 years. 

Agree on that. Why would they search for new Oathpact and torture and martyr. That is what got them in this mess in first place. They will look for something better, for solution and not just delaying tactic. It is all about people being unique and special so they can make it much more different this time around and may be end this for good with Odium gone forever, one way or the other.

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