Rashek of Bridge Four

Who is your favorite radiant

71 posts in this topic

17 hours ago, StrikerEZ said:

In the WoB below (spoilered for length), Brandon talks about how he’d basically always planned, ever since the outlining process (I‘m assuming the outlining for the entire series), that Venli would survive instead of Eshonai.

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Questioner[PENDING REVIEW]

Were you intending to kill Eshonai off from the beginning of the series, or is that a decision you made later on?

Brandon Sanderson[PENDING REVIEW]

That was a decision I made later in the outlining process. It was not begun that way, but it became obvious I needed to do it fairly early on. Why?

Questioner[PENDING REVIEW]

I was just wondering, because as I was reading Way of Kings, a lot of people thought she was going to be a continuing character, maybe even be one of the good guys later on.

Brandon Sanderson[PENDING REVIEW]

Right. The decision I came to, and it was probably... trying to remember exactly when it was. When I came to the decision that Venli was more interesting as a viewpoint character than her sister was, because we already had characters in the series whose attribute was paragon of their...This kind of paragon soldier who's trying to do the right thing is well covered in The Stormlight Archive. She was intended originally, but pretty early in the revision process, I decided it needed to go the other direction, 'cause Venli just worked way better as a viewpoint character.

Questioner[PENDING REVIEW]

Is Eshonai still getting a flashback book?

Brandon Sanderson[PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, she's still getting a flashback book. I didn't change any of that. In fact, before I even began the series, I knew there were some characters who would not make it to their flashback book, and I wanted to make sure that I made clear that that could happen.

Questioner[PENDING REVIEW]

You said that before, I was like, I want to hear it.

Brandon Sanderson[PENDING REVIEW]

Eshonai was intended to continue through, but I changed that pretty quickly, when I realized—like I said.

source

Personally, I’m glad Eshonai died. Venli’s arc of having to work to become Radiant just wouldn’t work with Eshonai, because she was basically perfect for the order. It’ll be so much more interesting to see Venli struggle with her oaths. 

The WoB you brought up is interesting but not quite compelling.  Brandon only says the swap happened "later in the outlining process", which could mean outlining the entire series but could also easily mean outlining OB.  He's outlining books 4 and 5 now, so I'm guessing he probably outlined OB after publishing WoR.  Too late to go back and change things.

You do make a good point about Venli's struggle with her Oaths potentially being more interesting than Eshonai's would have been.  We'll have to wait until book four to find out if that's the case or not.  I think Eshonai's outsider status (the only non-human Radiant) could've been plenty interesting, but perhaps we'll get enough of that with Rlain.

A lot of the reason that I think Venli for Eshonai was a post WoR swap, though, is because of just how much better/more logical the Venli scenes would have been with Eshonai instead.  I'm going to quote a bunch of my earlier posts on the topic rather than rewrite the arguments again, partly because it's been long enough since I read OB that my memory's getting a bit fuzzy:

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I do believe that they'd have forced Eshonai into the storm to bond one of the Fused, exactly like they did Venli and, for that matter, all the other surviving Parshendi.

The difference is that with Venli, we needed the literal deus ex machina of Odium personally intervening on her behalf.  For Eshonai, we'd only have needed Timbre to do for her what he did with Venli later.  Why did Odium intervene?  It seems crazy.  We know he can see farther than Tavargian, and smart Tavargian would have seen her rebellion coming from a mile away, so Odium has to be able to see Venli's rebellion coming if he's paying enough attention to her to intervene on her behalf.  Unless it turns out that her rebellion is somehow playing into Odium's hands, it seems like a pretty gaping plot hole.

As for Venli and Eshonai....  I dunno, I guess I do see them following the same progression.  Imagine for a moment that Eshonai had survived.  Rather than finding her corpse, she'd have been found alive.  Do you think the story would have been any different?  Eshonai still would have been forced into the storm.  She still would have bonded Timbre.  She still would have chafed under Odium's thumb (and Odium would probably have had a better reason to harass her than he did her sister).  She would still have worked covertly to save the Parshendi heritage.  Most of their scenes would have been almost exactly the same.

Everything that Venli did, Eshonai would have done.  Everything that Venli felt, Eshonai would have felt.  The specifics of their actions and regrets might differ somewhat (Eshonai, for instance, would have been mourning her sister in the scene where Venli was mourning her lover), but they'd be fundamentally the same.

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In every scene we get with Venli -- literally every scene, IMHO -- that scene would have been more powerful and/or made more sense if Eshonai were there instead.  What reason did Venli have to risk her life to hide Timbre, for instance?  Eshonai would have, sure, I'd believe that; but Venli, not so much.  Or for another example: when Dalinar reaches out through the Stormfather for a Parshendi to talk with, who would have made more sense narratively: the Parshendi with whom he'd already had abortive peace talks before, or some random Parshendi woman he'd never met?  For a third example: when our main Parshendi is saved from the Fused who would inhabit her, which makes more sense: that Odium intervened personally to save Venli despite that she would later betray him (the scene we got), or that Timbre saved Eshonai when she opened herself to the storm (the scene we might have had)?

You can do this compare-and-contrast for every Venli scene.  Basically, I can't even think about Venli's scenes without imagining the much better and more coherent versions we might have got with Eshonai.  The swap was the worst mistake in Oathbringer, bar none.

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Originally, I think Eshonai was supposed to have the role now assigned to Venli.  I think that after Szeth's resurrection and Jasnah's pseudo-resurrection at the end of WoR, Brandon felt that bringing Eshonai back after having her fall off the cliff would be too much -- he's already made it clear that he thinks handling Jasnah in such a fashion in WoR was a mistake.

Unfortunately, I think swapping Venli for Eshonai was an even bigger mistake.  Literally every scene with Venli in Oathbringer would have been stronger with Eshonai in her role, IMHO, which is the main reason why I don't think the swap was planned.  Venli didn't have any reason to risk her life saving Timbre, but Eshonai would have.  Odium would have had more reason to harass Eshonai than he did Venli.  He also didn't really have a reason to save Venli from the Fused who wanted to inhabit her -- but the command to "open yourself up completely" would have been a great opportunity for Timbre to bond Eshonai, and he could have chased off (or captured) the Fused.

Fundamentally, I think Venli is basically just a last-minute swap for Eshonai.  She doesn't quite work as well in the book as Eshonai would have, but by the time WoR was published it was too late to go back and give her the characterization she needed.  She kind of works as a substitute, just not very well.  If you look closely, you can pretty easily see the seams.

I think Brandon is too good a writer to have left in so many plot holes and scenes with insufficient foreshadowing if he'd had an entire book or two to work with beforehand (another way of saying that I think the scenes were clearly first designed/imagined with Eshonai in them, then adjusted to shoehorn Venli in afterward).

But I'm with you in hoping that in book 4 Venli's scenes will better suit her character and be more interesting than Eshonai's scenes would have been.

There's seven more books, after all.  Perhaps Venli will get her chance to shine.

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@galendo I agree with a lot of points you make. Eshonai was my favorite character (and would have been my favorite Radiant too), and I felt the exact same way reading OB. I think I would have preferred Venli as a non-Fused singer villain, WoR made me really excited to see Venli as an antagonist. I just wish the good Venli we got was a bit more proactive instead of just reacting to stuff. 

That said I do really enjoy reading the Venli chapters a lot, and I think that she's a really interesting addition to the main cast.

I'm a little confused though why Brandon stuck with Eshonai as the flashback character after the switch. Eshonai fits the present plot better, but Venli flashbacks sound more interesting. The only reason I can think of why we're still getting Eshonai is that she'll provide a pretty stark contrast to her present day sister as she's trying to become more like who her sister was. But I worry that Eshonai's flashbacks may not be as emotionally impactful as the first three were... I don't need a shocking reveal at the end to enjoy flashbacks, but just thinking about it, Venli and Ulim trying to bring about the Everstorm sounds more interesting than Eshonai wandering around the Unclaimed Hills. 

On topic, my favorite Radiant is Dalinar, but that'll probably change by the time Venli gets to do more Radiant-ing.

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@galendo You see, I just don’t agree at all that Eshonai would’ve even got to experience any of those scenes instead of Venli if she had lived.

Ulim knew that Eshonai was rebelling. I think it’s highly likely that, if she’d been found alive, she either would’ve been killed or just forced to accept a Fused. And if Timbre did repel the Fused from taking Eshonai, I think Odium would’ve just had one of the Fused kill her at that point. If the Fused were so willing to put so much effort into finding a single Cryptic in Kholinar to prevent a Radiant, I doubt Odium would let Eshonai, who he had to know was already resisting him, live as a Radiant.

With Venli, Odium wouldn’t even believe at that point that she could/would turn at the point where Eshonai’s corpse was found since she literally did everything in her power to bring about the Everstorm. And Odium isn’t all-knowing; he probably knew that Eshonai was resisting him, but I doubt he could tell that there was a budding Radiant bond at that point. Eshonai had only just recently begun to attract Timbre, and hadn’t even sworn the First Ideal. So I don’t think he knew that Timbre was gonna end up bonding Venli because he didn’t even know that Timbre had transitioned into the Physical Realm in order to bond Eshonai and would therefore be more able to bond Venli. Plus, I’m sure Odium doesn’t see Venli as being able to attract any Radiant spren, so isn’t worried about that.

If none of that convinces you, then you have every right to believe that Eshonai would’ve been better fitted for Venli’s role in the story. Personally, I think Eshonai would’ve fallen too easily into being the Radiant and that story would’ve been far more boring. And Brandon did do a general outline of the entire series before he started writing it. While he’s been willing to change minor things, such as the importance of Adolin, I doubt he’d completely swap two characters the book before.

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18 hours ago, Ciridae said:

@galendo I agree with a lot of points you make. Eshonai was my favorite character (and would have been my favorite Radiant too), and I felt the exact same way reading OB. I think I would have preferred Venli as a non-Fused singer villain, WoR made me really excited to see Venli as an antagonist. I just wish the good Venli we got was a bit more proactive instead of just reacting to stuff. 

That said I do really enjoy reading the Venli chapters a lot, and I think that she's a really interesting addition to the main cast.

I'm a little confused though why Brandon stuck with Eshonai as the flashback character after the switch. Eshonai fits the present plot better, but Venli flashbacks sound more interesting. The only reason I can think of why we're still getting Eshonai is that she'll provide a pretty stark contrast to her present day sister as she's trying to become more like who her sister was. But I worry that Eshonai's flashbacks may not be as emotionally impactful as the first three were... I don't need a shocking reveal at the end to enjoy flashbacks, but just thinking about it, Venli and Ulim trying to bring about the Everstorm sounds more interesting than Eshonai wandering around the Unclaimed Hills. 

On topic, my favorite Radiant is Dalinar, but that'll probably change by the time Venli gets to do more Radiant-ing.

I agree with you that Venli would have made a good non-Fused villain.  Personally I don't like the Fused as antagonists because they're basically faceless enemies without any background (though I assume this will change before the series is finished, since at least some of the Fused actually have names, and maybe eventually characters to go with them).

I confess I haven't given much thought as to why Eshonai will get the flashbacks in book 4 rather than Venli, since Venli's flashbacks do seem like they would be more interesting.  One possible reason is that by seeing certain scenes from Eshonai's point of view in the flashbacks, but by seeing them in Venli's point of view (as retrospectives) in the main book, we'll get two opposing points of view.  It's also possible that Brandon wants to play Venli as an unreliable narrator and will use the contrast between the two points of view to hint to the reader that's what's going on.  It's also possible that he wants to hide the mechanics of first encountering Ulim and/or the stormform voidspren from the reader, and that doing so would be difficult from Venli's point of view; but Eshonai would only see the results, not how it happened.

15 hours ago, StrikerEZ said:

@galendo You see, I just don’t agree at all that Eshonai would’ve even got to experience any of those scenes instead of Venli if she had lived.

We're just going to have to disagree here, I think.  I do agree that Eshonai would have been forced to accept a Fused (like all the other remaining Parshendi), so I therefore believe that we'd have gotten the same "going into the Storm and opening yourself up" scene with Eshonai that we got with Venli.  I just think the scene would have been stronger, though, mostly because it wouldn't have required a literal deus ex machina to save the viewpoint character from her own ignorance.

Your mileage may vary, of course; and if the scene works for you then more power to you.  But it falls flat for me.

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If none of that convinces you, then you have every right to believe that Eshonai would’ve been better fitted for Venli’s role in the story. Personally, I think Eshonai would’ve fallen too easily into being the Radiant and that story would’ve been far more boring. And Brandon did do a general outline of the entire series before he started writing it. While he’s been willing to change minor things, such as the importance of Adolin, I doubt he’d completely swap two characters the book before.

I doubt he felt the need to swap the characters until after WoR came out, when he realized how Jasnah's fake-out death had accidentally cheapened death in SA.  At that point he probably thought that bringing Eshonai back would just worsen the problem, so not bringing her back and instead forcing Venli to play her role seemed the better alternative.  I think doing so was a mistake, an example of the old adage that "two wrongs don't make a right", but I can see why he felt the need.

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5 hours ago, galendo said:

We're just going to have to disagree here, I think.  I do agree that Eshonai would have been forced to accept a Fused (like all the other remaining Parshendi), so I therefore believe that we'd have gotten the same "going into the Storm and opening yourself up" scene with Eshonai that we got with Venli.  I just think the scene would have been stronger, though, mostly because it wouldn't have required a literal deus ex machina to save the viewpoint character from her own ignorance.

Your mileage may vary, of course; and if the scene works for you then more power to you.  But it falls flat for me.

I mean, yeah, the whole deus ex machina of Odium stopping Venli from being turned into a Fused was a bit much, but Odium did it for a reason. He wanted to keep Venli, who was the instigator of the Everstorm to begin with, around as someone who could tell the newly reConnected Singers about the Listeners and how they brought the Everstorm, etc. So, I don’t think it was too unreasonable, though it certainly felt weird in the moment. On later rereads though, knowing how the rest of Venli’s arc plays out, I think that scene was just fine. (I think Oathbringer is a book that is best when you read it a second or third time anyway, but that’s a whole other topic)

And I still think that, if Timbre had saved Eshonai from being turned into a Fused (a less deus ex machina version of that scene), the Fused would’ve just killed her then and there. 

5 hours ago, galendo said:

I doubt he felt the need to swap the characters until after WoR came out, when he realized how Jasnah's fake-out death had accidentally cheapened death in SA.  At that point he probably thought that bringing Eshonai back would just worsen the problem, so not bringing her back and instead forcing Venli to play her role seemed the better alternative.  I think doing so was a mistake, an example of the old adage that "two wrongs don't make a right", but I can see why he felt the need.

I don’t know, I have much more confidence in Brandon as a writer that I don’t think he’d make such a drastic change to the story simply because he was worried about death feeling insignificant in the series. I think it was more a happy accident that Eshonai’s death happened to solve that problem.

Anyway, we’ll probably have to just agree to disagree here.

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Favourites - obviously Kaladin, I agree with WindsAlight here, he is so far my favourite fantasy character (well, Ged from the Earthsea can compete for me, but he is too flawless) and Szeth. I loved Szeth at first sight, though he seemed a little bit imba to me and I was afraid of it, but it turned to be all right. I think I just have a weakness towards lawful neutral characters. I was truly impressed by his story and can't wait for his flashback book. He really didn't want to kill all those people and hated himself for that but could do nothing, because he had to obey his master. And he missed Shinovar, and thought about stone and his own changes and this is all so awwwwwwww :wub:

Less favourite obviously is Malata and less obviously Renarin. I like him, just less than others. But if Adolin becomes Radiant he will take the first place of my despised Radiants far ahead of Malata. I just don't think this guy deserves that, sorry, Adolin fans :unsure: He is nice as a character, but Radiant... Please, no.

Edited by Sedside
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Kaladin.

But this question made me consider, because he is my favorite character, but that is not necessarily the same as being the favorite Radiant. So I filtered it through three things:

1) Best Dynamic Duo. A lot of strong contenders in this category. Kaladin and Syl (my fav non-POV character), Shallan and Pattern, Dalinar and grumpy Stormfather, Lift and Wyndel, Venli and the adorable Timbre, and Jasnah and Ivory (the only Radiant spren with enough maturity I could imagine him lounging in his den in a smoking jacket, checking his stock portfolio). And even though Adolin isn't a Radiant (yet), he and Maya are developing a wonderful bond.

2) Best Radiant powers. From the list above, I pick Kaladin, because his are fun and I love the way he can manipulate the air flow around himself when he flies but isn't really sure how he does it. Shallan might get top marks here for her Lightweaving, though, as she uses it for disguise, distraction, hide in shadows, puppet plays, and interactive maps. It is fine that she doesn't use Soulcasting much, as I don't like Soulcasting, because she doesn't need to with Lightweaving being so cool and useful.

3) Radianting. Dalinar has been trying to "unite them" since before he was a Radiant, so kudos to him for that. But highly visible blue streaks of light dropping from the skies, bringing hope to the populace? Kaladin organized his bridge crew squires, so he gets top marks here.

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Dalinar and Jasnah. Dalinar because he's an all around bad chull. Jasnah because she is too.

Can't stand Kaladin. Every scene is a pity party for him. The worst part is he doesn't even have the most tormented back story. Dalinar killed his wife and butchered countless innocents. Now he has to live with it. Shallan murdered both of her parents, one in self defense the other basically in cold blood. She's also struggling with DID apparently brought on by said murder spree. Kaladin's brother died and now he's a demigod. Poor poor him. It's also worth pointing out that pretty much every viewpoint character has lost someone from their nuclear family and none of them act like Kal.

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6 hours ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

Can't stand Kaladin. Every scene is a pity party for him. The worst part is he doesn't even have the most tormented back story.

Kaladins issue is exactly that. He has depression. He could have an even better life than he has but still suffer from those problems. 

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Yeah,that's just how depression is. It's a chemical problem with your brain and can happen regardless of how good your life is, if you are predisposed to it.

Also, just because he doesn't have the worst back story doesn't mean he hasn't suffered and doesn't have things to be traumatized by.

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8 hours ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

Dalinar and Jasnah. Dalinar because he's an all around bad chull. Jasnah because she is too.

Can't stand Kaladin. Every scene is a pity party for him. The worst part is he doesn't even have the most tormented back story. Dalinar killed his wife and butchered countless innocents. Now he has to live with it. Shallan murdered both of her parents, one in self defense the other basically in cold blood. She's also struggling with DID apparently brought on by said murder spree. Kaladin's brother died and now he's a demigod. Poor poor him. It's also worth pointing out that pretty much every viewpoint character has lost someone from their nuclear family and none of them act like Kal.

Do you always talk like that about people with clinical depression? Because that's what Kaladin has.
Maybe his depression wouldn't be as bad at times without all the crem he's been through, but it would still be there, just as it was already there when he was twelve years old.

Besides, he not only lost his brother, he had his whole squad killed in front of him by a person he served and trusted, he has been a slave for more than year (living through that and still be the same as before? I don't think so) and then was thrown into Bridge Four, which is one of the worst things than can happen to you in the Cosmere. So yeah, Kaladin has absolutely no reason to be who he is. (That last sentence was sarcasm btw.)

Edited by Winds Alight
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I usually don't pick favorites, as I tend not to relate to book characters. However, I can pick the most interesting, hence enjoyable for reading about. For me it's Dalinar.

Least favorite is Kaladin,  another sad anime character, boring and annoying.

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4 hours ago, Winds Alight said:

Do you always talk like that about people with clinical depression? Because that's what Kaladin has.
Maybe his depression wouldn't be as bad at times without all the crem he's been through, but it would still be there, just as it was already there when he was twelve years old.

Besides, he not only lost his brother, he had his whole squad killed in front of him by a person he served and trusted, he has been a slave for more than year (living through that and still be the same as before? I don't think so) and then was thrown into Bridge Four, which is one of the worst things than can happen to you in the Cosmere. So yeah, Kaladin has absolutely no reason to be who he is. (That last sentence was sarcasm btw.)

Not going to debate my likes/dislikes. Kaladin isn’t a real person, he’s a character in a book.

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That's a little bit like talking rust about a fictional character for being gay or black or whatever is a topic that polarises and then going for the easy way out "hey hey they dont exist, chill" ... you are free to say you don't like him but 'buhuu he is sad all the time without reason' is a flaw of character as far as I'm concerned

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5 minutes ago, Void89 said:

That's a little bit like talking rust about a fictional character for being gay or black or whatever is a topic that polarises and then going for the easy way out "hey hey they dont exist, chill" ... you are free to say you don't like him but 'buhuu he is sad all the time without reason' is a flaw of character as far as I'm concerned

I get it. Kal is your favorite. He’s my least favorite. There’s nothing you can say to make me change my mind, only Brandon can do that.

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I actually like Kaladin because he's depressed. That's a POV I haven't read before.

Actually, it's because he's a fictional character that makes it okay to like his depression. In real life, you'd just advise them to go to therapy and hope they get better :|

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18 hours ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

Can't stand Kaladin. Every scene is a pity party for him. The worst part is he doesn't even have the most tormented back story. Dalinar killed his wife and butchered countless innocents. Now he has to live with it. Shallan murdered both of her parents, one in self defense the other basically in cold blood. She's also struggling with DID apparently brought on by said murder spree. Kaladin's brother died and now he's a demigod. Poor poor him. It's also worth pointing out that pretty much every viewpoint character has lost someone from their nuclear family and none of them act like Kal.

I’m not going to try to change your mind, but how on earth did you get through WoK?  Sure there are other POVs, but Kaladin was after all the focus character.  And even though I personally loved him in it, I thought his flashbacks were kind of slow despite the eventual payoff, so I can’t imagine what you thought of them.  So what kept drawing you back to reading it that was strong enough to overcome your dislike of the lead character?  I’m trying to understand, because for me, if I can’t stand a main character, even if there are other major POVs, I imagine I’d drop the book.  Especially if it’s a 1000 page behometh and is only the first book in a series.

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1 minute ago, ILuvHats said:

I’m not going to try to change your mind, but how on earth did you get through WoK?  Sure there are other POVs, but Kaladin was after all the focus character.  And even though I personally loved him in it, I thought his flashbacks were kind of slow despite the eventual payoff, so I can’t imagine what you thought of them.  So what kept drawing you back to reading it that was strong enough to overcome your dislike of the lead character?  I’m trying to understand, because for me, if I can’t stand a main character, even if there are other major POVs, I imagine I’d drop the book.  Especially if it’s a 1000 page behometh and is only the first book in a series.

He didn’t bug me as much on the first read through. Maybe I thought there was a light at end of the tunnel? The other characters carry me through it too. I’ve enjoyed Dalinar’s PoV from the start. Kaladin even has good scenes, his balance is just the lowest one of the bunch for me.

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Just now, SwordNimiForPresident said:

He didn’t bug me as much on the first read through. Maybe I thought there was a light at end of the tunnel?

Got it.  So it’s like your opinion of him dwindled the more you read him.  So kind of like me and Shallan in OB (I’m sure THATS an unpopular opinion cough cough sarcasm)

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