Dreamstorm

SKA - Is it Resolved?

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Let's try this all again!  There has been many a view on Shallan's romantic arc in Oathbringer (otherwise known as the infamous "love triangle"), and considering a recent poll shows one-third of this board remains unconvinced that the marriage of our young married couple is really all she (um, he) wrote, it appears there is still division on the topic.  Two preliminary points:

One, I changed the title to reflect my personal feelings on the importance of the characters in this discussion.  "S" for our girl Shallan (it is her romance regardless of outcome after all), "K" for our main character Kaladin, then "A" for our tertiary character Adolin (sorry, Adolin fans, that's the word of the man himself.)  Plus that spells Ska, which just happens to be a word used elsewhere in the Cosmere!  Could this be significant?  Let's discuss!  (Kidding, even I'm not that crazy.)

Two, here is a link to a document compiled by the intrepid @Ailvara during the prior discussion.  This is a little out of date, but suggestions for edits (and also counterpoints!) would be much welcome.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VqLjiUojkPqIfLJLyu7OnykTP3i-LG0f5f1KjRSJE6A/edit

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@Zellyia Thanks for sharing that personal story.  I totally understand that characters and plots in stories can remind us of personal experiences, and in fact part of the reason I really didn't like the moment when Adolin grabbed Shallan's hand and "saw" Shallan (be that the Shallan personality or the real Shallan, depending on your perspective) is because that moment reminded me too strongly about the millions of times the patriarchy has told me who I should be and how I should act and what is best for me without regard for my own feelings, so much so that it is often very hard to separate what the patriarchy is telling me from who I actually am and what I actually want.  I had a very visceral reaction to that moment, as it sounds like you do to the idea of the Shallan and Kaladin relationship.  That moment was partly the reason I was so disappointed in the Shadolin storyline (not for the choice which was made, but how it was made, and that a male writer was the one who wrote it for his main female character), which caused me to look deeper into the books for hope that moment wasn't what it seemed.  I know since you're happy with the resolution, you won't have the similar urge, but I wanted to share a personal connection I had to the storyline as well :)

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11 minutes ago, Dreamstorm said:

@Zellyia Thanks for sharing that personal story.  I totally understand that characters and plots in stories can remind us of personal experiences, and in fact part of the reason I really didn't like the moment when Adolin grabbed Shallan's hand and "saw" Shallan (be that the Shallan personality or the real Shallan, depending on your perspective) is because that moment reminded me too strongly about the millions of times the patriarchy has told me who I should be and how I should act and what is best for me without regard for my own feelings, so much so that it is often very hard to separate what the patriarchy is telling me from who I actually am and what I actually want.  I had a very visceral reaction to that moment, as it sounds like you do to the idea of the Shallan and Kaladin relationship.  That moment was partly the reason I was so disappointed in the Shadolin storyline (not for the choice which was made, but how it was made, and that a male writer was the one who wrote it for his main female character), which caused me to look deeper into the books for hope that moment wasn't what it seemed.  I know since you're happy with the resolution, you won't have the similar urge, but I wanted to share a personal connection I had to the storyline as well :)

And this is why books are crazy amazing, how we all make connections.

Also I will say that I didn't think about the implications of Adolin encouraging Shallan's other personalities and the potential for disasters that might occur with that.  Could make for some interesting developments (and I've never dated anyone with multiple personalities, so no idea how that would go!)

Edited by Zellyia
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Hey guys. I'm very concerned about having any one central place for discussion on this love triangle. I don't think having all discussion on the relationship is wise and will lead to high tensions. Smaller discussions, I feel, will be better. I just feel like having it condensed really did not help, and having megathreads... I don't know. I'd like us to not repeat the same mistakes.

I would like us to rename this topic to a more specific aspect of the triangle and if other aspects wish to be discussed, you can make threads on those. Can we do that Dreamstorm? Could we perhaps discuss the poll saying about a third thinking the triangle isn't resolved? 

I do wish to have character discussion, obviously, and I'm really liked the topics Dreamstorm has made. But I strongly don't want there to be "one" thread to rule them all with Shallan, Kaladin, and Adolin. Perhaps I am biased in that I very much don't want to have conflict, and I'd like to have everyone be nice and respectful :)

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@Chaos I thought the concern with ASK was along the lines that discussion about those characters (Adolin, Shallan and Kaladin) in general happened within the thread, instead of out in other threads which could draw a larger audience.  I personally like (and have missed) discussing the love triangle (or Shallan's romantic arc in OB, as I like to call it given we didn't get much true triangulation (unless we count Kadolin :ph34r:), to our collective relief), and given what was said in the Maya thread that discussion about the romantic arc was not being discouraged, and was in fact encouraged, led me to start this thread.  Would it work better if the thread was renamed "SKA - is it resolved?"?  Or I can even rename it something like "Kaladin and Shallan is end game" to make it clear my perspective on the issue?

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I personally don't think, that you can discuss one aspect of the triangle without taking the other aspects into account. It is too entwined for that.

Narrowing the scope could have the side effect of diminishing the quality of discussion, because of too rigid topical constraints. Or if these constraints are lax, we'd just end up with multiple threads where the same things are being discussed.

Just my two cents.

Edited by SLNC
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44 minutes ago, Dreamstorm said:

@Chaos I thought the concern with ASK was along the lines that discussion about those characters (Adolin, Shallan and Kaladin) in general happened within the thread, instead of out in other threads which could draw a larger audience.  I personally like (and have missed) discussing the love triangle (or Shallan's romantic arc in OB, as I like to call it given we didn't get much true triangulation (unless we count Kadolin :ph34r:), to our collective relief), and given what was said in the Maya thread that discussion about the romantic arc was not being discouraged, and was in fact encouraged, led me to start this thread.  Would it work better if the thread was renamed "SKA - is it resolved?"?  Or I can even rename it something like "Kaladin and Shallan is end game" to make it clear my perspective on the issue?

I would much prefer one of those titles! I am totally fine with the romance being discussed, I just don't want one thread where that's the ONLY place it is discussed. I want character discussion to overall be valued and locking it to one thread doesn't promote that idea, you know?

At the end of the day, everyone, if you read a thread and are like, "hmmm, I don't agree with that, I'm going to make a different thread saying my point of view"--please feel free! I'm totally fine with a bunch of threads where people have their own personal takes on the love triangle, for example. It doesn't have to happen like that, but totally could. 

I do understand that, SLNC, I just don't want there to be one place where that's the only place where you discuss romance. We want to promote all discussion and I do think it has value but I also want to strongly encourage people to make new threads--on other specific topics or other takes--so it's kind of a hard line to balance, you know?

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I tend to think the wedding plus Kaladin's "I'm okay with this" moment were Brandon's way of saying "this is over." About as far as you can get from evidence... Just my gut perception of Brandon.

Though I've gotta say, I'm really curious how things might proceed if it's not over.

 

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I'm pretty sure it's over, and frankly I hope it is, I'm not a huge fan of love triangles in general.

No offense to anyone who likes Shallan/Kaladin (or Kaladin/Adolin). It's not that I would have minded Kaladin/Shallan if that's the way things had gone, but I didn't want the love triangle to drag on and I'm glad it got resolved without a lot of drama.

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10 minutes ago, CrazyRioter said:

I'm pretty sure it's over, and frankly I hope it is, I'm not a huge fan of love triangles in general.

No offense to anyone who likes Shallan/Kaladin (or Kaladin/Adolin). It's not that I would have minded Kaladin/Shallan if that's the way things had gone, but I didn't want the love triangle to drag on and I'm glad it got resolved without a lot of drama.

 

19 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

I tend to think the wedding plus Kaladin's "I'm okay with this" moment were Brandon's way of saying "this is over." About as far as you can get from evidence... Just my gut perception of Brandon.

Though I've gotta say, I'm really curious how things might proceed if it's not over.

 

I agree. Honestly I wasn't the biggest fan of Shallan/Kaladin I would have been fine with it had it become cannon but I preferred Shallan/Adolin (or all three of them). But I really don't like love triangles and I would be really disappointed if this carried out into the future. I get it that some people are disappointed with what ship became cannon, I have had plenty of ships that haven't become cannon. That's what makes fandom great, you can I say I reject this reality and substitute it with my own :D But at the end of the day no more love triangle, please, please no more love triangle.

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@Jofwu I guess my big thing with the wedding, was that we didn't see it. Seems an odd thing to just throw in at the end and not show? (Also, Shallan was acting very...odd before the wedding). I did however feel the exact same way you did, when I initially read that they got married, it seems very Brandon to have a wedding, and have that be the end of it.

As far as Kal's comment at the end, I don't really see it the same way. He says he "felt....agreement?" That question mark, at least in my interpretation is huge. Why bother with the question mark? It makes it seem like Kaladin doesn't know what to feel and he's trying to tell himself he's okay with it, when actually, he's not okay at all.

Everything that happened towards the end of the book, leading up to the wedding, is very subjective and theres a ton of different interpretations. Thats why its so fun to talk about.

@CrazyRioter Totally understand not wanting relationship drama to drag out, and being happy its over. Personally I detest triangles as well, fortunately, this one never really was, not in the traditional sense anyway, so there really wasn't any drama, aside from a few introspective moments from Shallan. If anything does happen in the future, I don't expect it to take forever and be full of drama, nobody wants that.

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I think Kaladin was and is attracted to Shallan and thus part of him is a little jealous, but he also feels as he said that he doesn't actually love her and it's better for her to be with somebody who feels something more than just attraction for her.  I don't think he's going to want to act on his attraction especially now that she and Adolin are married.

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I don't think he'll act on anything either, he'll most likely repress and deny his feelings (similar to what I feel Shallan is doing) and keep his distance from the the two of them. But I think its a little harsh to say all Kaladin feels is attraction, there is certainly more there. It started in the chasms, you don't have moments like that and just develop an attraction and nothing more. Add the chasms to Syl's insistence on him and Shallan, and Kaladins own admission that she pushes away the darkness, there is definitely more there. I really don't think we can take Kal's words at the end, that he didnt love her, at face value.

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I don't really think it's romantic, it's just that she reminds him of Tien a bit.

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Huh. I just realized what it is that bothers me so much about the triangle, and romance in books in general. 

Love is work. It's about accepting that there are things about someone that you don't like and loving them anyway. It's being willing to work to make another person happy despite knowing there are things about yourself they're not going to like either. 

In stories there's typically enough going on, that you never see the struggles. It's all external problems and infatuation. The Chasm scene was a moment. There's no denying that, but until they'd spent time together there's no guarantee that that moment would be more than that. 

It's the same problem with Adolin though. They spend more time together, including off screen, so I can rationing that one in my head a bit more... But in general stories focus on  the good and forget the work. 

They leave out the struggles, and the choice to work through the hard times. They focus on how everything makes each other feel fantastic and leave out the parts where you realize that even when your angry you wouldn't want to be angry at anyone else in the same way. 

I guess I hope it's over, because stories don't show love. They show infatuation and attraction and make light of something that is a choice you have to continue to make all the time. 

The attitudes of characters in stories are the attitudes of people who fall in and out of love just as easily. I'd rather it be done. 

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18 minutes ago, CrazyRioter said:

I don't really think it's romantic, it's just that she reminds him of Tien a bit.

That's one thing I strongly disagree with. Tien was the most important person in Kaladins life, he loved him more than anyone. To have Shallan remind Kaladin of Tien, the most important person in his life, the only other person who could push away the darkness, and bring a light into his life, that screams that Shallan is incredibly special to Kaladin. You can argue that its a familial thing, but I just don't buy it. Just because someone reminds you of a family member, does not mean you can't love them romantically, especially in Kaladins case with Tien and Shallan.

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As I've stated in the past, I hate the overused love triangle trope that a loving “correct” relationship is all about companionship and hard work, instead of passion and having it easily. This is an oversimplification of how relationships happen and way too unrealistic to be given as any sort of advice.

Forgive me for the long length but, maybe since English isn’t my native language, I feel like people sometimes do not understand what I’m trying to convey, so let me explain what I mean, as simply as I can. I’ll use spoiler tags to minimize length :)

Spoiler

 

'hard work' vs having it easily': (applied to all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones)

hard work: There is no relationship, be it familiar, professional, friendly or romantic, that does not need work to exist. If you aren't putting effort in there, it will just dissolve away, so it wouldn’t be a relationship to begin with. You need to keep in touch with people to keep alive the connection, you need to be polite and respectful, remember their situation, understand and empathize with their problems, provide help when needed without overstepping boundaries. These are a few examples of the kind of work you need to put in there, but most of the times just realizing what is needed is the hardest work itself.

getting along easy: Relationships need work yes, but they need work from all the people involved in order to work, so if you find yourself overworking and bending over backwards to please the other side, maybe it's time to take a break from it. Yes, you need to respect the other side, but firstly, you need to respect your own self. That's why they say you can't love another person if you can’t love yourself. So the fact that you get along easily with another person doesn't necessarily mean that the relationship you have is insubstantial and superficial, but maybe it has naturally evolved in the right balance between the ‘giving' and the ‘getting' of the people involved.

companionship vs passion: (applied to long term romance)

companionship: Of course you need companionship in a long term romantic relationship, firstly you need to be friends in order for the relationship to last. There needs to be understanding, trust and a sense of security. Crucial ingredient is honesty here, otherwise how is the other person going to understand you if the ‘you' that you are presenting isn't even real.

passion: It is proven that the chemicals in the human body that drive us to the feelings of infatuation and ‘in-love' are usually gone after a couple of years into a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, that's how people work. Fortunately, that's enough time to build the companionship(see above) part of the relationship. But, here comes the biggest issue I have with the general trope, if the elements of attraction and passion die down completely after two years is it still a romance? How many people do you know IRL that have been married for so many years that only companionship (sometimes not even that) is what’s left of it? Can these relationships still be called romantic? I don't think so. And experience has taught me that you can counter this very early into a romance, when you suddenly find yourself extremely infatuated with a person, without factual common foundation points to build a good long lasting relationship on it.

 

So my point is, you need to find the right amount of sustainable balance, between hard work and getting along easy, as you need the fine line between companionship and passion. So it's not about giving up one instead of the other. You need to have both in a long term romantic relationship, companionship AND passion, having moments that you put effort in it AND moments that it feels amazing being with that person even without trying too hard. Otherwise it's neither long term nor romantic.

To get back on point, in the Adolin/Shallan relationship, there is some effort on both sides to keep that relationship alive but I believe that Shallan puts a lot more effort than Adolin into it, so much that it actually transforms her. A pivotal moment here is when Adolin tries to teach Shallan how to sword fight, but he completely misses the hints that she is uncomfortable in using Patternsword. On the other hand Shallan, puts so much effort on keeping that relationship alive, afraid that Adolin will break the betrothal, that she fractures herself further(and if that’s not “bending herself backwards” I don’t know what is). Radiant was created under the immediate pressure of needing to learn how to sword fight, for Adolin, which he caused just by overstepping and enforcing his own idea onto Shallan.

Spoiler

Quite frankly I do not think that Shallan is supposed to be a sword fighter at all, I find her infiltrating role of uncovering secrets and espionage a lot more fitting to a Lightweaver (Veil as a disguise is the most genuine Shallan way of fighting) but also, in the battle of TC, her fighting style did not require her to sword fight, it was her creative side attached to Soulcasting and Lightweaving and a large amount of stormlight used. No sword fighting techniques needed.

So even from a literary perspective, I'm not sure what the whole sword fighting lesson actually offered to Shallan apart from her personality fracturing.

Even if we say that the effort they both input in this relationship is on equal terms, would you say that Shallan being supportive for Adolin not feeling guilty about Sadeas, or for Adolin abdicating the throne, or the fact that Adolin unintentionally supports Shallan to dismiss her side personalities, instead of accepting them into herself, are things you are supposed to be just supportive about, without any additional effort needed? Remember, sometimes just realizing what is needed is the hardest work itself. Here, on the contrary, it feels like everything is hastily swept under the rug, in order to get on with the wedding already.

What about honesty? Apart from Shallan fracturing herself over and over to the point that she herself doesn’t know what’s real or not, Shallan has killed both of her parents, why did she hide that fact from Adolin, who has lost his loving mother at a very young age? What about Shallan's involvement with the people that tried to get Jasnah killed, the Ghostbloods? Maybe that would've been important for the whole Kholin family to know, before she supported her future husband Adolin into abdicating? These are not foundations of honesty that a long lasting relationship and a good marriage is built upon. On the contrary, these can be a premonition of things that can cause hurt and mistrust in the future of that marriage.

My other issue with the Shallan-Kaladin-Adolin triangle, is that it never was an actual triangle since feelings were not expressed between Shallan and Kaladin, from either of them.

Shallan was self doubting enough to entrust her betrothal in Jasnah’s hands and only endorsed her relationship with Adolin, stuffing any contentious feelings for Kaladin onto Veil and rationalizing everything by blaming Veil had a “bad taste in men”. (Kaladin is a bad taste? Really?) Kaladin on the other hand was honorable enough to consider a betrothal an important oath that should be kept and I’m pretty sure if he had expressed any feelings to Shallan it would’ve had ramifications on his bond to Syl. On the contrary, he kept his distance, even after realizing his infatuation for her since the chasm scene, and he respected her choice without being the least intrusive.

The fact that people were so adamant of having the "triangle" resolved is baffling to me (because it never existed), but I am happy as well that we never reached that point of drama. At least I’m happy that the relationships progressed before an actual triangle got formed, that would only cheapen the plot and the books for me. But still, I have the impression that things are now so neatly placed for the marriage either to end at some point (one way or another) or, at least, face some very serious turbulence. 

Edited by insert_anagram_here
typos
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How about renaming the thread to "love triangle discussion" or something like that? It'd tell you right away what you're in for and wouldn't refer to the ASK thread. That being said, I'm happy that the love triangle discussion thread is back. :D

Personally, I'm not sure if there are any people like me on this issue, but I am 100% ambivalent when it comes to Shallan / Kaladin or Shallan / Adolin while still being very invested in the romantic arc. I just want both of them to find happiness dammit :D. When I read the end of OB, my gut reaction was a combination of "I thought there was supposed to be a love triangle here, so where is it?" and "Poor Kal. But Adolin's good for her." And I thought I was going to get a brief Syl / Kaladin moment when they had their little talk about Shallan, but then it turned out Kaladin was referring to Tien (or WAS HE :ph34r:)

As far as the marriage itself goes, I found it strange that we'd get the cut-off point right before it happened (though it certainly works as a cliffhanger). We ended on a moment when Shallan was probably at her happiest in years, if ever, whereas WoR ended with Shallan at one of her lowest points ever, having just said her... fourth Truth? I wonder if that is intentional paralleling on Sanderson's part. In my humble opinion, though, rushing the marriage - and indeed making it seem rushed - is certainly intentional. That he said he was pleased with how he'd handled the ending of OB speaks to me that either he knows our confusion related to the love triangle and it never was supposed to be a big thing, or that it will be elaborated on later, or maybe he just messed up with his WoB. As we all know WoBs are not strictly canon, since they are liable to change.

Either way, I don't think it's as easy as saying "meh, they fit together" to get over someone you love, especially for a personality like Kaladin. He's also going to be forced to spend a lot of time with Shallan, which means that it's not going to be easy for him to try to gain some distance and distract himself and that way forget about her. I think there are still some steps for him to take on that front. 

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15 hours ago, Chaos said:

I do understand that, SLNC, I just don't want there to be one place where that's the only place where you discuss romance. We want to promote all discussion and I do think it has value but I also want to strongly encourage people to make new threads--on other specific topics or other takes--so it's kind of a hard line to balance, you know?

I understand that and I agree.

I think, that there are certainly topics that merit a different thread, for instance in-depth individual character analysis, and I, by no means, think, that this thread should disencourage people to discuss romance in other places on the Shard. I just wanted to express, that I don't think, that the triangle topic itself should be forcibly turned in to many topics, just because. :)

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Fair warning: 2684 word essay to follow in the spoiler section of this post.

Spoiler

No, I do not think it is resolved. I am not convinced that the supposed resolution we got hangs together under any amount of scrutiny, barring that of none. It would be a tremendous presumption to make the supposition that all the subtext that can be observed can be resolved or dismissed in the span of a couple of pages. Such subtle or not so subtle hinting and the connections that are perhaps pointed at should not be so readily thought concluded. This will be a long series. There is, has been, and should be discussion on the matter. But here we are. I will keep with @Dreamstorm's priority sequence with which I very much agree with.

That means I will start with Shallan. While she made a tentative stride forward and prevented the creation of further split personalities or masks, whichever term is found preferable, she still is not fully in control of her faculties. Veil and Radiant are her. They are the masks to whose personalities she has shifted all of the inconveniences she does not want to deal with. Currently she is pushing them at the back of her head and stifling them, while actively promoting Shallan who by her own admission to Isnah earlier is as false as Veil and I do not think that there is any significant change on that. Shallan is who she wants to be at the moment. Who she finds it easier to be. Radiant is the one who uses Pattern as a Blade. Veil is the one who has to work with the Ghostbloods. “Shallan” has it by far the easiest. She's a Radiant but not one that anyone expects to fight. She is happily married for the time being. She's happy which is alright by her own words. That to me suggests that she wants to be happy as to not face herself and her troubles. The path of the Shallan mask offers the least amount of obstacles. Adolin is an easy person to get along with and it is not like her to challenge her. And it doesn't take that much work for them to be together. Everyone either expects or pushing them together. There is no prejudice to be overcome. No misconceptions and initial impressions to be turned around by forming a connection. A connection that has been pointed towards at least twice and yet the only time that this connection fails to come through is enough to be erase the other two and be used as condemning evidence. That seems more like an attempt by the author to convince the readers and the characters themselves of something that what they feel is not true, while in reality it is. Shallan wants to convince Adolin, because she wants to reach that low plateau where she can rest and indulge in her false mask that allows her to be happy by putting in the least amount of effort and affords her the opportunity to not fully recognize Veil and Radiant as full parts of herself since Adolin doesn't seem inclined to do the same, and thus she doesn't have to deal with the issues that Veil and Radiant bring about. I do not for how long this will be sustainable. I do not think it is healthy for Shallan in the long term. Perhaps it is for the short-term but at some point she has to realize that it is alright to hurt and that Veil and Radiant are her and not parts of her that she can shove at the back of her head. Avoiding your feelings and problems is never the solution or the point that should be taken by any story. And I do not think it is the path to self-awareness, a path closely related to that of a Lightweaver. The question is what a Shallan that is in full possession of her mental faculties and self-aware will want. Because both Veil and Radiant seem to be susceptible to the prospect of a relationship with Kaladin as much or even more than with a relationship with Adolin. Which means that Shallan is open and susceptible to it but does not want it at the moment because she cannot deal with what that would mean. So she surrenders to the Shallan mask and promotes and presents it to the world. She proclaims that it is alight to be happy. And it is. But how true is that supposed happiness when you use it as a mere distraction from your problems? And for how long will this be sustainable? Should this issues be left to fester just because no new ones are introduced for the time being? No I do not think that is the message of this story. It's rather that is ok to hurt. It is fine to get out of your comfort zone to be yourself. Lie but never to yourself. So who will she be at the end and what will she want out of life? Who knows. But this part of her story is not the end. Just the end of Act 1 perhaps. It's in Act 2 where the Act 1 realities are challenged. I will see how it is resolved in Act 3. I think that is enough for Shallan.

Moving on to Kaladin then and his apparent resolution and acceptance. Kaladin had been making excuses to Syl's probings throughout the book. Excuses that neither Syl nor I as a reader found the least bit convincing. I have no reason to think that his latest declaration is not more of the same other than the fact that it is put at the end of the book, as if this is a sufficient indicator of anything really. Indeed, after his flashback with Tarah I am even more convinced that he is making excuses. He is still using Tien as an excuse. He is still fixated upon his dead. He is getting better but he is still pretty young and quite angry, mostly with himself. And men make stupid mistakes when they are young and angry. The fact remains that he does not want to commit to a relationship. He does not want to face the pain of loss again. He does not want to hurt the people he loves and appreciates. He wants to feel agreement so he pushes himself towards that all book. But what he says does not much what he thinks. His thoughts do not reflect someone who has no romantic feelings toward Shallan. The opposite. The assumption on his part then that he never really loved Shallan and that he just reminds him of Tien is frankly ridiculous. He did and perhaps does love Shallan. Even if she reminds him of Tien, a quite important individual in his life that made him happy and drove the darkness away, that fact does not prevent him from pursuing a romantic relationship. The idea of implied incest here is honestly fallacious and ridiculous and I will not even dignify it with an attempt to argue against it, as common logic does a pretty good job against that itself. So by his own admission if she reminds him of Tien and he loved him, so he should love her as well. And we have seen his feelings on the matter not to be platonic. You do not think of a sibling's body and how it sculpts the winds around it and daydream about teaching them how to really fly. Those parts of the book where even specially formated in the text as to emphasize their double meaning. I believe the language used and the ideas that were pointed at to be as close as we would get to sexual thoughts on Kaladin's part. His thoughts were similar in the chasms, when he became really aware of Shallan pressed against him. Wasn't he aware then of who she reminded him?I think he was. I think he had mentioned how she reminds him of Tien. And the theme of him admitting to himself that she is brilliant and he should really like to similarly hold her attention continues when he watches her and Adolin leaving with the armies later. Those are real overt romantic thoughts. Those thoughts are reiterated in OB. So his declaration at the end does not hold water. It is an excuse. Not quite that dissimilar to the one where he declares that he needs no one else than his “Bridge 4 brothers” which Syl finds really unconvincing and points it out. So no, Kaladin's apparent resignation will not keep for the future. Weak excuses do not hold for long. We will probably find out more about his thought process in the next book. What I expect from him is some heavy emotional suppression and avoidance. He will make no overt “moves”. That is not his way. Expect more of the same out of him. His position both narratively and situationally is very delicate. He will not be presented as the instigator or even the main reason for any short of separation. He will keep away. That will make it easier for him to believe his own excuses. But that obviously will not continue indefinitely. It cannot. I wonder what will his self-assurances will amount to when he can no longer keep away and he gets really inconvenient thoughts again. Will he double-down? Maybe for the short term. He may even try to distract himself who knows? But what will happen if or when the restrictions that prevented him from committing are removed? And will Syl keep pushing him? I think she will. She seemed thoroughly confused by his pretty rock at the end and makes no assurances of agreement with his sentiments. So it would be a fair assumption to say that she is convinced. And spren have a lot of insight on their Radiants and have some sort of sense for their thoughts. Those are my thoughts on this particular matter.

Moving on to Adolin. I am of the mind that with Adolin what you see is what you get, per the author's own words. Therefore I will choose to believe that his confession to Kaladin in WoR that he believes that he likes to surrender control over his romantic life to someone else since he has not done very well in that sector himself. I think that he really wants to make a relationship, any relationship, work. As to why that it? Maybe he is in love with the idea of being in love. Maybe he wants to fulfill society's expectations and be with someone because people expect him to be. Maybe he is really in love. Maybe it is none of above. Maybe it is all of the above locked in a cause and effect association. But what has to be recognized is that even him, who has a vested interest, can see Kaladin's effect on Shallan. He recognizes the nature of these effects. Irksome wording aside, he is willing to step back over said recognition. But in the end he is convinced by Shallan's tirade. Or he is not. We do not know what he is thinking at that point. Maybe he allows himself to be convinced for the time. He might think that she is making a compelling superficial argument that he can accept and make an 180 degree jarring turn within a couple of pages. He wants to be convinced. He is shown to like the idea of a relationship and the prospect of a marriage. The question is if he will continue to be interested long-term in case marriage proves to be not what he imagined it to be. Adolin wants a life of comfort. While I am not married I do not think the honeymoon phase last very long and the feelings that characterize that phase are enough to keep a union going for the long-term. I expect that difficulties are bound to arise. Will he be able to deal with them? Is he equipped to do so? Many people believe that his sympathetic ear and kind manners are enough. Personally I am not convinced that they will be. His behavior when treating Veil, after he is informed of her existence, suggests a luck of understanding to me as he treats her as a different personality mostly because he cannot recognize her a part of the Shallan he thinks he knows, who is no other than the false mask he is presented. And he cannot be expected to do so, as he lacks crucial information that prevent him from recognizing her as part of his soon to be wife. For Kaladin, Veil is not separate from Shallan because he can attribute what she thinks that he should recognise as out of character to her because ,for example, he doesn't consider it out of the realm of possibility that the woman that came up with the soulcaster plan, information that Adolin lacks, would come up with the mutiny plan. Kaladin knows more about her past at this point than her husband. That might change in the one year gap but it might not. She has not, so far, shown any inclination to reveal her familial past to him. There is a huge amount of information that Adolin lacks about his wife. Information that should have been revealed prior to such a drastic move as marriage. How will he react to a possible revelation of such information? Probably not much of a reaction judging by how the rest of the revelations where treated as shallow speed-bumps to the road to marriage, since that was the destination that should be reached at all costs. But how will he react if he learns that he's the second person that finds out, with the exception of her family? That the first that was told was "the storming bridgeman" at a point where their relationship was very rocky. Will he doubts resurface? She should at some point tell him. In the interest of honesty and transparency. Will she also tell him who she told first? Doubtful. Will it come up between the two men again? It might. And who knows what other factors might erode his convinvtions? I am not convinced that foundation of his marriage are not strong as they are presented on superficial examination. That is all I have on the matter.

I realise that for many people this kind of storylines are not that interesting and do not find them enjoyable. Therefore they would vastly prefer that it is done as to eliminate the possibilty that they would become the focus of the story. That is understandable. I do not expect that they will receive a bigger place in the spotlight, but certainly they will be a side-show for the development of these characters, which cannot be possibly resolved so soon and so swiftly. I walked into OB wanting and esxpecting to be convinced. It wouldn't take much more page time than what we got to convince me. And yet I was not. No matter how hard I try, I end up not convinced and the more I look into it the more unconvinced I become. The more I think about it the more it seems like a short-term outcome with arguments both in favour and against it. I also realise that many people are set on and enjoy the outcome we got and they want it to be over as they would find alternate prospects displeasing. But the religation of one pairing as lesser or none existant and the expectation that one will work no matter what while the other would never is something I find unfair and untrue. Having any opinion is fine, but dismissing another so readily and discounting the arguments in favour of it as fictitious and a product of overthinking is not usefull to the discussion of these matters. The fact that a number of people can make and support arguments for an alternative outcome should be indication enough that matters are not as clear-cut as they are thought to be presented.

 

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My opinion is this poll is the best thread on the triangle I have seen. Pure statistics on opinons around the 17th Shard.

 

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I think it's resolved for now. The end of Oathbringer seemed pretty conclusive to me. One of the advantages of the love triangle is that it allows Shallan to see Adolin's faults, which is vital in moving their relationship onto the next level. Whenever she's with Adolin, she tends to focus on positive things. It's only when she compares him to Kaladin that she sees where he's lacking. She realises she loves him anyway and chooses him. Similarly, Adolin learns that Shallan has split personalities and still loves her anyway. Then they get married, which makes any relationship between Shallan and Kaladin very difficult indeed and I can see both of them having an aversion to adultery. In my mind, the wedding was Sanderson's way of concluding the issue before the one-year gap. Of course, I'm sure the marriage won't be smooth-sailing, especially because they'll have to deal with Shallan's issues and a world at war, but that doesn't mean they won't be able to get through it. They clearly love each other.

Personally, I hated the love triangle. Love triangles are bad at the best of times but very difficult when it concerns three of your favourite characters. I would definitely not want it to return. I was for Shadolin all along, so was delighted at the ending to OB (and bought it). I was also really happy that Kaladin realised he never actually loved her (which I do believe, by the way). I also think that, narratively, there's no reason to keep it going. Romance is a side story and, as far as I'm concerned, the love triangle story has been told and resolved. There's a much more important story going on and going back to the love triangle just detracts from that.

However, this only applies to the first five books. Characters/circumstances could change a lot in the gap between books, which makes Shalladin plausible again. I think that if Shallan and Kaladin do get together, it will be in the second set of books, although I don't know if these characters are going to be around/relevant enough in the later books for this romance to be a plotline. For now, though, I think the issue is resolved. I don't see any of the characters changing enough in the next two books for the triangle to have a different outcome. Besides, I think Shallan and Adolin are really good for each other and it would be a shame to ruin that. Kaladin has Bridge 4 for support.

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Super long post warning but I will put some parts behind a spoiler tag to make it a little more manageable. 

My opinion on this question has changed completely since I first finished OB. I believe a surface read of this aspect of the book would likely lead to one conclusion while in depth discussion and a very detailed reread has led me to another. Initially I thought it was over, Shadolin was the conclusion and to me it was an extremely dissatisfying one. It seemed as though Brandon chose the quickest, easiest way to end the love triangle (that never really was). This seems to be what a lot of readers actually were hoping for (a speedy, low drama end) so I can understand why if that is your view you wouldn’t want to look further at it. That’s not me however, so after much discussion and rereading I am now convinced it isn’t over and feel much more satisfied with the quality of this aspect of the story as a result. I’ll lay out some of the major reasons that convinced me that it isn’t over.

If I had to sum it up in with one argument I would say that in order to see the ending of Shallan’s romantic arc in OB as satisfying, I believe it is necessary to accept that Adolin actually chose a whole, real Shallan when he squeezed her hand and she thought, “That’s the one. That’s the one I am. He knows.” If instead you believe as I do now that he actually chose the one personality that she had shown him and presented as her true self, it is much harder to see the wedding as a satisfying end to this arc. Honestly even if he had known and been able to identify a true, whole Shallan I still would have had a problem with the way it was written because it would depict Shallan as completely dependent on Adolin to know herself. But having it not even be her whole self is even worse. Let me explain in more detail from the text why I believe that the Shallan he recognized was not her whole self but a persona.

Spoiler

Early on, in Part 1, Shallan has a moment when she thinks of Shallan as “innocent, lively…quick with a quip…earnest, but sometimes overeager,” she then thinks, “she could be that person,” and “adopts the persona.” This is the first moment when we clearly see that the Shallan she often presents to the world, and specifically to Adolin, is a persona. In Part 3, when Ishnah realizes that Veil and Shallan are the same person and is surprised that “Brightness Shallan” is the real one, Shallan tells her that they (Brightness Shallan and Veil) are both “equally false.” Later on in Part 3, during a moment with Adolin when she thinks she is not good enough for him she wonders, “Could she…become that someone? Craft for him the perfect bride, a woman that looked and acted as befitted Adolin Kholin? It wouldn’t be her. The real her was a bruised and sorry thing, painted up all pretty, but inside a horrid mess. She already put a face over that for him. Why not go a few steps further? Radiant…Radiant could be his perfect bride, and she did like him.  The thought made Shallan feel cold inside.” This makes it clear that Shallan has always been playing a role for Adolin, acting as she imagines he would want her to and hiding what she sees as her real self. In Part 4, Shallan does finally admit to Adolin that she becomes “Veil” and “Radiant” at times and she describes each to him, asking which one he likes best. She doesn’t explain and perhaps doesn’t at that point accept that Veil and Radiant are also her. Adolin appears to assume that Shallan becomes “other people,” and she never corrects him on that. So when he says he prefers the “real” one, he isn’t aware that he has never really seen the real Shallan.

Finally in Part 5, right before the moment when Adolin squeezes her hand, she repeatedly describes herself as Shallan, Veil and Radiant. Of the three Shallan is described as particularly weak and tired, and she asks herself, “which am I…?” Even though Adolin has chosen the Shallan persona and she becomes her, immediately afterward Kaladin appears. At that point Veil immediately takes over and she pulls herself to her feet. Radiant at that point says she has finally come to the logical conclusion that a union with Kaladin would be more equitable, while Veil argues for Kaladin from an emotional perspective. At that point Shallan “stuffed [Veil and Radiant] into the back part of her brain,” insisting that they are not her.

So at the end Shallan (apparently the Shallan persona based on the above evidence) thinks that Veil and Radiant are not her, but is she correct? There is a lot of evidence both in text and out of text that Shallan is wrong. Most likely she knows this deep down, but is lying to herself and not facing things that she doesn’t want to, which is her usual pattern. So let’s look at the words of both Wit and Brandon for evidence that Veil and Radiant are actually Shallan.

When Veil has her breakdown in Kholinar, and Wit tells her the story of the Girl Who Stood Up, he refers to the personas as Shallan’s “other minds” and that she is the one who “birthed them.” He shows her illusions of herself, including one that is standing which Shallan senses has all of her pain and memories, which have been smothered by, “Forgiveness. For herself.” Shallan says she cannot be that person, but Wit tells her, “I only see one woman here. And it’s the one who is standing up. Shallan, that has always been you. You just have to admit it. Allow it. It’s all right to hurt.” These words are echoed back to Shallan at an interesting time. In Part 4, she is drawing and realizes it is childish: “Veil was seeping out. That has always been you, Shallan. You just have to admit it, allow it.

This is a clear statement that Veil is Shallan, with Wit's words saying that is her coming immediately after Veil appears. 

As for the WoB, we have this:

Spoiler

Oathbringer Glasgow signing (Dec. 2, 2017)
 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Shallan's personas. How would they be viewed in the Spiritual Realm? Would they be an individual? Or would they be seen as being slightly separate?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They would be seen as an individual.

And also this, quoted only the relevant part:

General Reddit 2017 (Jan. 1, 2017)
#1Nov. 29, 2017

Brandon Sanderson

The romantic angle between Shallan/Adolin/Kaladin was tweaked as I more and more referenced the idea that two different personalities of Shallan's were in love with two different people. IE--moving it further away from a love triangle, and instead showing more clearly that that Shallan was splitting further into multiple people, with different life goals

These indicate that Veil and Radiant are not separate people from Shallan and in fact he places Veil and Shallan on equal footing in the second quote as both are described as “personalities.” He doesn’t actually name which two personalities he means, but from the text it is clear that by the end the Veil personality is in love with Kaladin and the Shallan personality is in love with Adolin. Radiant is never said to be in love with anyone. Early on it is said that she likes Adolin and it is clear that Shallan has some intention that Radiant could be the perfect bride for Adolin but in the end Radiant also chooses Kaladin (though from a logical not emotional standpoint).

So by the end Shallan has become the dominant personality, pushing Veil and Radiant (who both would choose Kaladin) to the side. She tells herself that they are not her but this conflicts with textual evidence and the WoB. There’s a lot more to break down in the pre-wedding scene but I will save that for another post because this is already too long. Suffice it to say when you really break down that scene there are some alarming indications that not all is well which provides some additional evidence that this isn’t over.

In the end I just can’t believe that if Brandon wanted us to be satisfied with Shadolin that he would have written it this way. Again, I can understand how the immediate impression would be that Shadolin is end game, because they are married and Shallan says she loves him and she thinks that Adolin knows her, but a lot of that falls apart with further inspection. I definitely understand how people that aren’t that into romantic arcs in general or hate love triangles or really wanted Shadolin to begin with might view it differently, but the text has convinced me to change my mind on it.

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