Alderant

Who are Kaladin’s Friends?

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(NOTE: In this thread I am only talking about emotionally intimate relationships. This does not mean that relationships are necessarily romantic or platonic—they can be either—but rather relationships of mutually deep emotional support. Please keep the discussion to this idea—romantic development can certainly be an eventual possibility, but it is not the focus of this discussion.)

Before we get into this discussion, let me start by quoting part of a post here to see where this thread is stemming from:

Quote

I think an intimate relationship, one where Kaladin can have someone who he is both emotionally intimate with and who can be emotionally intimate in return, is vital to Kaladin's progression. I think most of SLNC's argument on this topic stems from the idea that this kind of emotional intimacy is usually only achieved through romance in fiction, though I see no reason why it specifically has to be. Even with Tarah, who knew probably more than most, wasn't even half as emotionally intimate with Kaladin as Shallan or Tien were--and this is why I think Tarah ultimately falls short. She understood that there were some things he wasn't ready to let go, but from Kaladin's internalogue, there were many walls that he hadn't let her through. The only person we've every seen able to cut through those walls and reach Kaladin's core is Shallan (and it's implied that Tien did this as well), so I believe this kind of intimacy is essential--someone who can say, "Listen, I know you. I know your darkness. You deserve happiness just as much as everyone else." (Obviously, I'm discounting Syl here. As great as Syl is, I really don't think she's going to cut it ultimately.)

One of the things that Kaladin is severely lacking in his life are people that he shares an intimate emotional connection with. To date, there have been two that we have seen either implicitly or explicitly on screen: Tien, and Shallan.

This emotional absence is, in large part I feel, why Kaladin is stuck in such a rut. He feels like he can’t confide in anyone, that he has to shoulder this darkness by himself, that no one else can possibly understand what he is going through—and for those of you unaware, this is textbook depression speak. Tien and Shallan both helped to banish the darkness. Tien was a beacon of light for Kaladin, Shallan someone was able to cut right through all of his walls and see to the heart of who he was. Aside from these two, however, Kaladin lets very few people in to see the true him.

Who are some people that you think Kaladin could develop an intimate connection with? I have three in mind.

Adolin

Provided that there is no subsequent bad blood between these two over Shallan (and I doubt there would be, considering), and also provided that Adolin doesn’t spend the whole book around Shallan, I think there is the possibility that Kaladin and Adolin could reach some level of emotional depth. Adolin has shown remarkable insight into Kaladin and what Kaladin needs in trying times.

Where I am concerned with this relationship is that Kaladin, despite liking Adolin and enjoying his company, has never really let Adolin in. Most of the “truths” he’s told Adolin are surface level things he’s told many others—such as Dalinar, Moash, and most of Bridge 4. In order for this pairing to work, Kaladin would need to open up to Adolin about his depression and despair, and a whole slew of other things, and Adolin in return would need to not brush off this conversation or divert it to an unrelated or easier topic, as he’s done repeatedly with his wife.

Teft

Oh, Teft. My heart goes out to you.

One of the things that strikes me about Teft is that Teft is familiar with the darkness of depression, like Kaladin. This is a potential bonding point for the two of them. Teft has shown good insight into what Kaladin needs to do, especially with respect to appealing to Kaladin’s duty to his friends and those under his command.

Where I worry about Teft is with his addictions. It’s very difficult to develop and maintain an emotionally intimate relationship if one person is constantly relying on the other. Further, Kaladin and Teft are two people who have lived a long time walling themselves off from others—one because he cares too much, one because he worries of failure. In this regard, they are very similar, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing—though I definitely believe that the potential is there for them to draw strength from each other if they could respectively let down their own walls.

Jasnah

Okay, that groan was audible, guys. Hear me out.

I don’t mean this one romantically (though I’d totally be okay for it progressing to that point)—I mean this platonically. Presumably, with Jasnah now as “King” and Kaladin sworn to the protection of the King and his family, these two will spend a bit of time together. Though, yes, Jasnah and Kaladin might butt heads initially, I think there’s potential for both to develop an emotional connection.

Their responsibilities are monumentally taxing, and both have had to shoulder their burdens alone for a long, long time. Jasnah has fought every day since her father’s death for a reason, for understanding, and to make the world a better place. Almost as a mirror, Kaladin has fought every day since his brother’s death to help others, to give misfits a place of safety, and to find purpose in his life. Both have lived a lot of their lives in isolation—much of it self-imposed. It’s not a stretch to believe that by virtue of time together, they’d eventually reach an understanding of each other and why they act the way they do, and Jasnah is blunt enough to cut to the heart of Kaladin’s issues without giving him leeway to escape. Kaladin, in reverse, is mature enough to appreciate Jasnah’s independence and drive—and oppose it when he feels the need to, which is something very few people seem inclined to give her.

My biggest concern here, however, is that there just isn’t a lot to go off of with these two. A lot of it is conjecture on my part based on my own understanding of their characters.

Anyway, what do you all think? Who out there could Kaladin develop an intimate friendship with, based on what we have so far? Because I think this kind of friendship—romantic or not—is absolutely vital to his development from this point on. Kaladin needs friends.

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Posted (edited)

The Sandeson creatith, and the Sanderson destroyith. and the thing he is most fond of destroying is Kaladin's happiness, so... good luck with that. 

6tU3gRQ.gif  fwkGdLK.gif

Edited by ShardShaper
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Just now, ShardShaper said:

The Sandeson creatith, and the Sanderson destroyith. and the thing he is most fond of destroying is Kaladin's happiness, so... good luck with that. 

6tU3gRQ.gif  fwkGdLK.gif

That's not really helpful to the discussion. And I'd wager that the thing he's most fond of destroying so far is kholoss.

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Are you sure? Tien-Dead. Cenn-Dead. Dunny-Dead. His Squad-Dead. Mapps, Dallet -All Dead. Moash-Living... STORMS, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO KILL THAT SON OF A KOLOSS!!!

 

Kaladin will not die. everyone else will.

 

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7 minutes ago, ShardShaper said:

Are you sure? Tien-Dead. Cenn-Dead. Dunny-Dead. His Squad-Dead. Mapps, Dallet -All Dead. Moash-Living... STORMS, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO KILL THAT SON OF A KOLOSS!!!

 

Kaladin will not die. everyone else will.

 

I think there's still more koloss dead (by several orders of magnitudes) than Kaladin torture-porn. Again, however, this isn't really conducive or helpful to the discussion. The question is not how much does Kaladin need to suffer, but who are his friends. If you don't have anything worthwhile to add, then please refrain from posting to make room for others who would like to participate.

Thanks. :)

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9 minutes ago, ShardShaper said:

Are you sure? Tien-Dead. Cenn-Dead. Dunny-Dead. His Squad-Dead. Mapps, Dallet -All Dead. Moash-Living... STORMS, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO KILL THAT SON OF A KOLOSS!!!

 

Kaladin will not die. everyone else will.

 

I'm going to pull from another series here. Dresden Files. Don't worry anyone, no specific spoilers.

Jim Butcher has described his job in writing the Dresden Files as finding new ways to make Harry Dresden suffer. Yet, through it all, Dresden has grown as a character. He's found hope in dark moments, grown in power and wisdom, and progressed in his relationships.

There is no reason Sanderson can't do the same with Kaladin. Kaladin's development would be learning to let go of people and not blame himself for their deaths. I agree with the OP that the first step of this might be to actually reach out and connect with other people. Many have predicted that his next oath will be something like, "I will forgive myself for those I cannot save" or the like. Perhaps though, it will be more other-centric, like ,"I will entrust those I cannot save to those who can save them." It would signify that he's finally realized he's not alone.

For those that believe his next oath will he about leading, perhaps it would be something like, "I will guide others to save those whom I cannot."

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Posted (edited)

In my eyes, only one person has ever really understood him and formulated that understanding, where even Kaladin himself only could say "Yes." in awe: Shallan. I don't mean any inherent Lightweaver magics, that might alleviate sadness and despair, but no, exactly what happened in the chasms during WoR, where she told him about pressing feelings of guilt.

Though I kinda find it hard to believe them building any kind of relationship now, since Shallan seems to have chosen Shallan as her primary mask for the time being, who to validate Adolin had to paint Kaladin in the worst light possible. I'd also be surprised, if Kaladin would try to actively form any kind of friendship with her now after OB. I'm predicting a professional distance, maybe not even that. For the time being, anyway.

Edited by SLNC
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Posted (edited)

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

In Oathbringer, or near the end, Kaladin is talking to Syl about not getting Shallan or whatever, and he says that she really just reminded him of someone, who is it that she reminded him of?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

She reminded him of Tien, his brother, because his brother was a [unfortunate?] Lightweaver, and Lightweavers, you'll notice, when they're around someone, that person starts to act a little bit more like their best self. There's a bit of, also, counteraction to feelings of darkness and despair, it's just a natural Lightweaver sort of thing. And so, part of what Kaladin was drawing from Shallan was that feeling. I think it could've totally become love. And he's now cutting that off, he's saying it couldn't at all have become that - it could have. But that was part of what was drawing him in.

FanX Spring 2019 (April 19, 2019)

@SLNC I was merely observing not directing argument.

Edited by Nathrangking
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Posted (edited)

I don't know if you are talking to me, but I am aware of this WoB and this is exactly not what I meant.

Edited by SLNC
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2 hours ago, Alderant said:

Adolin

Provided that there is no subsequent bad blood between these two over Shallan (and I doubt there would be, considering), and also provided that Adolin doesn’t spend the whole book around Shallan, I think there is the possibility that Kaladin and Adolin could reach some level of emotional depth. Adolin has shown remarkable insight into Kaladin and what Kaladin needs in trying times.

Where I am concerned with this relationship is that Kaladin, despite liking Adolin and enjoying his company, has never really let Adolin in. Most of the “truths” he’s told Adolin are surface level things he’s told many others—such as Dalinar, Moash, and most of Bridge 4. In order for this pairing to work, Kaladin would need to open up to Adolin about his depression and despair, and a whole slew of other things, and Adolin in return would need to not brush off this conversation or divert it to an unrelated or easier topic, as he’s done repeatedly with his wife.

I think the most likely choice is Adolin. Kaladin and Adolin are already friends, though not to the emotionally connected stage you reference in the OP. Adolin (eventually) supports Kaladin, and frequently gets him to take himself a bit less seriously. Adolin is also one of the few people that have been able to get Kaladin to reconsider some of his prejudices, and has repeatedly gone out of his way to protect people (i.e. prostitute in Sadeas' camp, taking on the Thunderclast). Things will need to line up correctly, since neither one seems to open up to others easily, as they both have 'faces' they present to the world, but I think they could do so to each other.

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Rock is Kaladins friend too. And Dalinar. Kinda, anyway. 

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Kaladin is a thoughtful introvert with trust issues and survivor's guilt.  Currently he throws his everything into his career to distract himself from his lack of social life, and he puts up walls to limit the abilities of others to get to know the real him.

Bridge 4 is a great example of the "walls" he puts up.  Kal is caring and protective of his people and willing to listen to their inner problems, but he never "lets his hair down" and just chills with anyone as a friend rather than a commander (they basically had to strongarm him to get drinks with them once).  He is also very protective of his own personal details and inner thoughts and concerns.  His "work life balance" is currently 100% work.  These are defensive mechanisms (that he may not consciously realize he is doing) to distance himself and lessen the trauma of losing further people he is close to.  He protects his inner self because his trust has been severely betrayed before.

Adolin being a friendly extrovert has the best chance of cracking his shell.  He's willing to push Kaladin to try new things, and not offended when Kaladin is occasionally snippy.

Ultimately though, Syl is a big limiting factor on Kaladin getting out there and socializing.  Syl is like a perfect imaginary friend: always supportive, intellectually engaging, entertaining, always willing to listen (literally always, she never sleeps!).  She's almost too perfect to the point that she allows Kaladin to be complacent and never feel the need to interact with others.

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2 hours ago, Toaster Retribution said:

Rock is Kaladins friend too. And Dalinar. Kinda, anyway. 

Rock and Dalinar know Kaladin well, like him, and trust him. But I wouldn't say they are friends of the type discussed by the OP, largely due to the difference in rank. Can you really imagine Kaladin confiding in either one?

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4 hours ago, Calyx said:

Rock and Dalinar know Kaladin well, like him, and trust him. But I wouldn't say they are friends of the type discussed by the OP, largely due to the difference in rank. Can you really imagine Kaladin confiding in either one?

Maybe not Dalinar (or maybe) but I think Rock. Everyone seems to confide in Rock. But Rock won’t confide in anyone.

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I think Adolin and Jasnah have the best chance of characters we know of to break down Kaladin's walls and form a relationship that doesn't trend into unhealthy territory. He's well on his way with golden boy, there's work to do with the queen. Other than them however, I don't think we've met the friend yet.

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WE are Kaladins friends! :(

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7 hours ago, Subvisual Haze said:

Ultimately though, Syl is a big limiting factor on Kaladin getting out there and socializing.  Syl is like a perfect imaginary friend: always supportive, intellectually engaging, entertaining, always willing to listen (literally always, she never sleeps!).  She's almost too perfect to the point that she allows Kaladin to be complacent and never feel the need to interact with others.

This is an interesting thought.

Would love to see a deep analysis on how Syl has affected Kaladin's relationships so far. I expect you could make arguments either way. After all, it was Syl who snapped Kaladin out of being totally shut down and disconnected early in TWoK.

Where's the line between her being a crutch that Kaladin becomes dependent on versus a crutch that helps him heal so he can walk on his own? Particularly with regard to Kaladin opening up to others.

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Spoiler

 

@Jofwu

I suppose that depends on Kaladin himself. I think the Oaths have an influence, helping him to heal and become whole Spirituality. Syl's presence and influence could serve as a positive model for future, healthy relationships. However only he can push through to that evolution. If he cannot then I cannot see him progressing to the final Ideal.

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On 4/24/2019 at 4:11 PM, ShardShaper said:

The Sandeson creatith, and the Sanderson destroyith. and the thing he is most fond of destroying is Kaladin's happiness, so... good luck with that. 

6tU3gRQ.gif  fwkGdLK.gif

 

On 4/24/2019 at 4:13 PM, Alderant said:

That's not really helpful to the discussion. And I'd wager that the thing he's most fond of destroying so far is kholoss.

On 4/24/2019 at 4:17 PM, ShardShaper said:

Are you sure? Tien-Dead. Cenn-Dead. Dunny-Dead. His Squad-Dead. Mapps, Dallet -All Dead. Moash-Living... STORMS, WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO KILL THAT SON OF A KOLOSS!!!

 

Kaladin will not die. everyone else will.

 

I'm back! I have decided that due to brandon's obsession with making Kaladin sad, and killing Koloss, he will have Kaladin fall in love with a Koloss (or at least make friends with one) then kill it.

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I honestly think Syl will ultimately make it to that point; she's already the person Kaladin relies on most, and it's implied that as their bond progresses, she grows more emotionally mature (as seen in the way she regresses when their bond is nearly broken in WoR). I think that by the time Kaladin has completed the fifth ideal, Syl will be fully equipped to handle him, even at his lowest. Also, let's not forget that through all three 1000+ page books, Syl is one of the only people, and the only one who's still alive, that he's shown a true, genuine smile to.

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2 hours ago, luluzulu said:

I honestly think Syl will ultimately make it to that point; she's already the person Kaladin relies on most, and it's implied that as their bond progresses, she grows more emotionally mature (as seen in the way she regresses when their bond is nearly broken in WoR). I think that by the time Kaladin has completed the fifth ideal, Syl will be fully equipped to handle him, even at his lowest. Also, let's not forget that through all three 1000+ page books, Syl is one of the only people, and the only one who's still alive, that he's shown a true, genuine smile to.

Upvotes for you.

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Syl is sufficient. Kaladin isn't friendly, and isn't really down with relaxing and opening up.....the person he felt closest to in Bridge 4 was Moash of all people.

I cannot imagine him having too many friends.

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I think it's worth noting that he's now been reunited with his family. I don't think that they'll become his "friends" per se, but I do think that he can reconnect with them, and that they'll help him with the trust issues he's been struggling with.

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