Starla

Kaladin's Character Arc in ROW

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I have a strong affinity to Kaladin and am emotionally invested in his journey. My sincere hope for him has always been to find a sense of peace and fulfillment in his life. It was a bumpy ride getting there, but I feel like he has finally reached that point at the end of this book. It is as if some tension that has been building for four books has finally been released, for him and for me as a reader who cares about him. I don’t expect it to be all puppies and rainbows for the remainder of the series, but at least there is some ground of stability from which to move forward and develop in new ways.

Some specific things I enjoyed about his progression this book:

  • Kaladin and Syl: One of my favorite developments is how Syl evolved as a character alongside Kaladin. Her thoughts, feelings and actions are becoming so human. I love how she tries to understand and support him no matter what he is going through. And conversely, he does the same for her. One of the most striking moments is when he said the fourth ideal. She clung to him as they fell together from the tower, shaking because she couldn’t remember the words. But he knew them, and said them. It was such a reversal from the previous ideals, where he was uncertain and she encouraged and helped him say the words. Also, the scene at the end with them talking about Teft’s loss was so lovely. They seem to have a true partnership at this point.
  • Mental Health:  It is funny that we as readers have been lamenting for years that Roshar needs some advancements in the field of mental health in order to help our heroes deal with their issues. Alongside that, it has been a horror to see how Taln, child Jasnah, and others with mental issues are locked away in dark rooms alone and forgotten. I cheered in joy in chapter 25 when Kaladin began working to change all of this. It is such a perfect direction for him… he has the empathy and experience to understand what these folks are going through, and the means and knowledge to help them. I cannot wait to see where he takes this. The first step is working with Ishar, and I suspect Kaladin will help him and the other heralds to overcome their madness.
  • Fourth Ideal: the thing I loved most about this scene is that, while Kaladin had the actual task of speaking and meaning the ideal, he had help getting there. It was a group effort that included Dalinar, Stormfather, Syl, Tien, and Teft. They were all there with him, supporting him by giving him the time, space, and insight to make this (literal) leap. Up until this point, one of Kal’s problems has been that he tries to do it all himself, does not accept help. At the end of Oathbringer, Syl told him he needed to let other help him for a change, but we see throughout ROW that he has not yet accepted that help from others. Yet in this scene he lets go, and the relationships he has nurtured and developed with others give him the strength he needs to say the words. And can we take a moment to appreciate the slave brands are gone?
  • Relationship with Lirin: this was rough, and there is still a ways to go, but I feel they made a good start in repairing their relationship with this simple line: "Come on. We need to protect the people in that tower. You in your way. Me in mine.” Throughout this book Kaladin was trying to change himself to fit the image his father wanted for him, and when he couldn’t do that, Kaladin took it as a personal failure. Here, he is finally accepting that it is okay for them to have different paths. I hope Lirin can do the same. I feel he took the first steps by having the shash glyph painted on his forehead. 
  • Interactions with Wit: I enjoy their interactions and The Dog and the Dragon story was one of my favorite chapters of the book. It is interesting to note that Wit has told Kaladin a story shortly before his second, third, and fourth ideals. The next time he gets a story I will be looking for the fifth ideal to follow soon after. One thing I am curious about is how Wit projected into the Odium vision. I feel he would need some sort of Connection with Kaladin to sense that he was trapped in the vision and come to him there. I also find the flute curious. Why would Wit give him such an important artifact, and will it have any significance going forward? This book strongly focuses on rhythms and music, so I wonder if it will play a role in some way related to the rhythms of Roshar. Personally would love for Kaladin to learn to play it. Music therapy is a valuable form of psychotherapy.
  • Friendships: I continue to enjoy Kaladin and Adolin’s bromance. I love reading about close friendships between people who care for and respect each other and I feel these two fit in this category. Kaladin trusts Adolin enough to talk about things he hasn't told anyone else. I am glad that Kal has a friend to talk to who is outside his chain of command and who cares about his well being. I also enjoyed Kaladin's interactions with Teft, Rlain, Dabbid, Leshwi, and Zahel in this book. I hope to see Kaladin and Rlain stay in contact with Leshwi and Venli going forward.

There is so much more to talk about including the interactions with Moash, the Odium visions, and the glowing yellow eyes, working with Navani and the Sibling, the fight scenes with Lezian, etc, but this has gotten long enough for one topic.

How do others feel about Kaladin’s arc in this book? Where do you think he will go from here? I have seen some posters saying they are disappointed in his progression. In what way are you disappointed, and what outcome would you have preferred for him? 

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I loved Kaladin in TWoKs and still do, but am one of those people who was disappointed with his progression in the last few books. I'm more critical of his plot/conflict setups (in that he is always challenged the same way), but I do find it bleeding into the character.  

My issue with him is not the destination of his character, but rather the journey, of how we're getting there. 

Since the incredible decisions he made in TWoKs (i.e. choosing to try one more time, choosing to go back to save Dalinar), Kaladin has become more and more of a reactive character (not completely, just more). It seems like a lot of his momentums forward in character is driven by others or due to plot demands. For example, looking at the RoW examples above: 

  • Kaladin and Syl - while watching their relationship, already one of the best, continue to grow was completely satisfying, the greater understanding between the two seemed to have come from a decision made by Syl, not Kaladin. She made herself into someone that needed help, which was IMO how their bond/understanding continued to grow. 
  • Treatment of Mental Health - I think this was the biggest, self-driven step that Kal's taken towards progressing as a character and the best part of the book for him. I'm okay with the plot/Dalinar pushing him here first (because some reactivity is necessary for story). This is kind of why I was harsh on the plot - as it pulled him away from this to something he's already done a million times - punching people in the face.  
  • Swearing the Fourth Ideal - this is the biggest "journey" flaw IMO. He gets a divine intervention/vision (albeit a very beautiful one) that recontexualizes his greatest trauma (with information he can never know) projected directly into his brain, instead of having to make the choice that epitomizes the ideal. Instead of accepting that he can't save Lirin and moving on to help others, he jumped - effectively either committing suicide or trying to save the one he can't save - and is deus ex machina out of it. There is some merit to say that all the little pushes from others helped Kaladin accept he vision, but I didn't feel it as a reader because I didn't see the progress after other's input until this snap moment. 
  • Interactions with Lirin - IMO, the reconciliation was cheap, especially because of what happened with the 4th ideal. I get that Kaladin's plot is essentially Die-Hard, but we literally got the "estranged family starts to fix their issues due to plot trauma without actually directly addressing the relationship" Hollywood solution.  
  • Interactions with Wit - it's a beautiful interaction and Kaladin's realization is powerful. My problem with it, from a "Kaladin's Character" perspective is that the revelation that Kaladin has doesn't seem to stick on any level. I'm okay with him not being able to integrate it (no revelations immediately sticks), but we don't see this helping him progress until the moment of divine intervention.  
  • Friendship with Adolin - I love this relationship too, and I give Kaladin a lot of credit for accepting Adolin's help. However, once again I feel like this is driven so much by Adolin instead of Kaladin.

On their own, each of these points are fine - every character reacts. But with Kaladin, I feel like whenever I look, wherever I turn, the plot or others are driving him forward instead of himself. The result of all these plot/character forces affecting him is he's become a less relatable character for me. Kaladin's struggle was beautiful in TWoKs because he persisted out of his own choosing, and I feel empowered by that. By RoW, it feels like the corpse of his agency is being dragged across the finish line by the plot and other characters. 

 

 

Edited by Topgoon
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7 hours ago, Topgoon said:

Since the incredible decisions he made in TWoKs (i.e. choosing to try one more time, choosing to go back to save Dalinar), Kaladin has become more and more of a reactive character (not completely, just more). It seems like a lot of his momentums forward in character is driven by others or due to plot demands.

I can see this perspective, though think it is appropriate for him to be "reactive" due to the nature of his duties as a soldier, bodyguard, a radiant, and healer. All of these are service professions which requires him to be available to those in need, and to be on call to respond to whatever threats and emergencies arise. His desire to help people is a defining characteristic for him and I think it would be out of character for him to take solitary actions that are not in response to helping others as needed.

Even so, he still takes his own initiative within the scope of his duties. As head of Bridge Four, the Kholin guard, Windrunner, he set up the structure and training of the organizations. I believe it was Leshwi who commented on how his work with the Windrunenrs is an extraordinary achievement without the help of heralds of radiants with prior knowledge and experience. There is also the funny comment from Adolin about Kaladin and the Kholinar Wall Guard in Oathbringer: “He’s probably their leader now or something. Storming bridgeboy.” In his short time as a surgeon, he took the initiative to set up the group therapy sessions to help the mental patients. Once the tower was attacked his actions were in response to the needs of Teft, Navani, the Sibling, and the whole of Urithiru. All of these actions are driven by his desire to help and protect as many people as possible, which is totally appropriate for his character type.

All that said, I can see that some people might prefer characters who have goals and actions driven by their own needs and desires, rather than responding to the needs of others. Service professions aren't always glamorous or exciting to read about, although Kaladin does like to "grandstand" at times as Teft pointed out, which can make his actions entertaining to read, if you like that sort of thing.

 

 

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To me at least, Kaladin was at his best in tWoK.  He had depression, but depression didn't dominate his character, it was just one obstacle amongst many to be overcome.  The most interesting part of Kaladin was when he was inspiring the hopeless men of Bridge 4 to become more.  He was an exceptional and inspiring leader, and I craved more of that in the future books.

Unfortunately every book since then has to increasing degrees separated Kaladin from Bridge 4 and the more interesting/elaborate questions of what it means to be a good leader, and focused more and more on his depression.  Kaladin has shifted from a character with depression to a character where his depression is his defining characteristic.  (I say this as someone who has recurrent Seasonal Depression, please stop focusing so much on Kaladin's depression Brandon!)

Personally, I think "Die Hard Kaladin" was a mistake.  Kaladin is at his most interesting when he is inspiring others to be their best (Bridge 4 and the newly freed Alethi singers).  The depression counseling angle did touch on this idea, but then it was abandoned for the huge majority of this book in favor of lots of skulking and Kaldin feeling abused.  I think Kal is at his best when he's interacting with and inspiring others.  Sneaking around on his lonesome or with just a couple other people dampens what makes him most interesting.

I feel like the tWoK expertly expressed a strong emotional arc for Kaladin: beaten down by the world to his lowest point, but he refused to give up and then rode the emotional rollercoaster to new cathartic heights for readers.  The darkness of the lowest point gives contrast to the light of the highest.  Repeatedly throwing more misery onto Kaladin for him to overcome each book starts to feel kind of repetitive though.

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7 hours ago, Topgoon said:

I loved Kaladin in TWoKs and still do, but am one of those people who was disappointed with his progression in the last few books. I'm more critical of his plot/conflict setups (in that he is always challenged the same way), but I do find it bleeding into the character.  

My issue with him is not the destination of his character, but rather the journey, of how we're getting there. 

...

  • Interactions with Lirin - IMO, the reconciliation was cheap, especially because of what happened with the 4th ideal. I get that Kaladin's plot is essentially Die-Hard, but we literally got the "estranged family starts to fix their issues due to plot trauma without actually directly addressing the relationship" Hollywood solution.  

I understand where the objection is coming from, and I think they are generally applicable throughout the series at various points (though I think RoW was actually one of the better books in this regard - early WoR and I think Oathbringer overall were much worse in this regard). That said, I think this trivializes the progress Kaladin and Lirin's relationship makes within this book.

The first thing to note is that the relationship needed to be worked on from both ends. The problem isn't just on Kaladin, and it's not just about Kaladin figuring out a way to deal with it. Indeed, the biggest changes occur on Lirin's side:

Quote

“And you know, I’ve listened to ardents talk. I’ve been poked and prodded. I’ve been stuck in the dark. None of that worked as well as knowing this one thing, sir. He still gets up. He still fights. So I figure … I figure I can too.”

Hesina squeezed Lirin’s hand again, pulling him away as she thanked Noril with a smile.

“You want me to acknowledge,” Lirin whispered, “that what Kaladin’s doing is helping that man, while my surgeon’s treatments could have done nothing.”

“You said you’d listen,” she said. “You asked what I want of you? I want you to talk to them, Lirin. The people in this room. Don’t challenge them. Don’t argue with them. Simply ask them why they wear that glyph. And see them, Lirin. Please.”

She left him standing there and returned to her maps. Trusting in him, and the man she knew he was.

Sanderson, Brandon. Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive) . Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

Kaladin ends up getting the 'last word', so to speak, in the book, but much of the growth in this relationship is on Lirin's side. The event at the end,

Quote

“Well, you do hate it when people waste time,” Kaladin said, grinning. Then he paused, letting go of Lirin with one arm—which was somewhat disconcerting, though Lirin now seemed to be floating on his own. Kaladin touched Lirin’s forehead with fingers that felt normal, despite being faintly outlined by the gauntlet.

“What is this?” Kaladin asked.

Lirin remembered, with some embarrassment, what he’d finally let that one-armed fool Noril do to him. A painted shash glyph on Lirin’s forehead.

“I figured,” Lirin said, “that if an entire tower was going to show faith in my son, I could maybe try to do the same. I’m sorry, son. For my part.” He reached up and brushed aside Kaladin’s hair to see the brand there.

Sanderson, Brandon. Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive) . Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

does feel rather glib and superficial, and it is, if you look at just that and not understand how much went into that decision. 

Basically, if you look at the development of their relationship from Kaladin's perspective alone, yes, it looks like the reconciliation was, if not unearned, somewhat easy. But if you look at it from Lirin's perspective (if he's the main character in their plot), I think it's easier to see how much of a struggle and change it represents.

I think a great deal of this has to due with Kaladin being Lirin's son. If it had been someone who he wasn't so heavily invested in from the beginning, it would have been much easier for Lirin to adapt a 'live and let live' attitude. Having Lirin be able to step back and recover some of that objectivity is much of his development. It's not just the bonding between people due to shared stresses; Lirin has to recognize that there are wounds that Kaladin understands better than he does, and that Kaladin isn't his child/apprentice (even in the arts of healing) any longer. Instead, Kaladin is a peer - someone whose opinions may differ from Lirin's, but are no less valid, rather than a studen, who still needs to learn from Lirin's position.

Again, this doesn't feel as pronounced from Kaladin's side since he's come to the this position throughout the entirety of the series (starting, essentially, from TWoK). But it represents a significant growth from Lirin's part.

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On 11/22/2020 at 9:34 PM, Starla said:

I can see this perspective, though think it is appropriate for him to be "reactive" due to the nature of his duties as a soldier, bodyguard, a radiant, and healer. All of these are service professions which requires him to be available to those in need, and to be on call to respond to whatever threats and emergencies arise. His desire to help people is a defining characteristic for him and I think it would be out of character for him to take solitary actions that are not in response to helping others as needed.

Even so, he still takes his own initiative within the scope of his duties. As head of Bridge Four, the Kholin guard, Windrunner, he set up the structure and training of the organizations. I believe it was Leshwi who commented on how his work with the Windrunenrs is an extraordinary achievement without the help of heralds of radiants with prior knowledge and experience. There is also the funny comment from Adolin about Kaladin and the Kholinar Wall Guard in Oathbringer: “He’s probably their leader now or something. Storming bridgeboy.” In his short time as a surgeon, he took the initiative to set up the group therapy sessions to help the mental patients. Once the tower was attacked his actions were in response to the needs of Teft, Navani, the Sibling, and the whole of Urithiru. All of these actions are driven by his desire to help and protect as many people as possible, which is totally appropriate for his character type.

All that said, I can see that some people might prefer characters who have goals and actions driven by their own needs and desires, rather than responding to the needs of others. Service professions aren't always glamorous or exciting to read about, although Kaladin does like to "grandstand" at times as Teft pointed out, which can make his actions entertaining to read, if you like that sort of thing.

In reading your thoughtful post here, I think we define "reactive" in different ways.

For me, it's specifically about how a character's decisions interact with the story. Do their choices drive the plot forward, or does the plot drive their decisions? I.e. does Kal choose  A because the plot needs him to choose A, or does Kal's A create the plot. 

In that sense, High Marshall Kaladin is a more reactive character than Kaladin the Slave. 

It's not about the social role the character has to play - a tyrant that holds 100% of decision power, implied to have tons of initiative, and can still be written as a reactive character. The same character going from A to B can feel active or reactive entirely based on the way the author frames that decision against the story. I'm not judging Kaladin the person, but Kaladin the character.  

For example, in both TWoKs and RoW, Kaladin is faced with a "keep fighting or just give up" choice. IMO, there are subtle writing decisions that make one feel more reactive than the other. 

 

TWoK Chasm Choice 

  • In Chapter 11, Syl interrupts Kaladin's attempt to jump. She offers an alternative perspective, but the decision to fight one more time is still made by Kaladin deliberately. The alternative (death) was completely acceptable to this version of Kaladin.
  • Kaladin's choice drives the plot for the rest of the book. The entirety of Bridge 4's growth and relationship, Dalinar's survival, are all driven by his character choices.

 

RoW Tower Occupation Choice

  • In Chapter 43, Kaladin's choose to fight in direct response to Singers' actions towards Teft (moments after he chose not to act). It is a choice, but it's much more akin to choosing to dodge a punch. Letting Teft be taken was not really a viable alternative for Kaladin - there's no dilemma at this point. The plot made the choice for him .  
  • His choices also doesn't drive the rest of the Tower Occupation plot. Navani's delays, revelations, and activation of the tower all works without Kaladin (albeit with some adjustments to detail). 
    • IMO, this is due to Kal's entire tower situation being "plot decided". He's not the sole surviving hope just because of his choice - others have the same means and motivation but were magically removed by plot sleep

 

The thing is, every character reacts. 99% of stories start with an inciting incident that forces the characters to go on a journey and that is not only fine, but needed. In RoW's case, Dalinar "firing" Kaladin - kicked off a very interesting plot point, with Kaladin making an active choice to start helping those with mental trauma. It's really when the assault on the tower starts that a chain of reactivity plagues Kaladin for the rest of the book.  

I also believe that not every character needs to be active in a story, but a main POV would ideally have more. It makes me question why this specific story was chosen for Kaladin? Why use his POV so much for this plot?

 

Edited by Topgoon
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I agree with a lot of what @Subvisual Haze is saying. Kaladin is my favorite because of how inspiring he is. For the entire book Kaladin still manages to fight by the skin of his teeth but he is so depressed and so broken by the pressure on him that I was very sad reading his parts. I didn't feel my usual awe. I hope going forward Kaladin is able to stand on his feet more and not fall to his knees/blackout so much. @Starla has a great point that Kaladin reacts to be there for people who need him. I love this about him. I love reading about this. I just don't want to read about Kaladin being in horrific pain as he forces himself to react. He was tearing himself apart and it was tearing me apart.

@Topgoon helped me understand how I was feeling about the 4th oath. If it had just been Kaladin and Syl I think I would have liked it more. Like when Kaladin almost committed suicide at the chasms it was just Kaladin and Syl and his decision to try again was powerful. Instead it was mostly Dalinar and strangely Tien. Tien is dead and I would expect him to not contribute more to the story. I thought he went beyond so that not even a connection could bring him back. Like @Topgoon I think if there had been more signs that the many people trying to get Kaladin to see he didn't need to save everyone and to take pride in what he had accomplished had been having an effect before he decided to commit suicide I would have gotten more behind his acceptance of the 4th oath. Instead throughout the book Kaladin is sliding further downward until he finally gives up. Lastly, I expected Kaladin to give up and I expected him to decide he didn't want to die, accept the 4th oath and that there would be great drama. But the drama I really wanted to see was Kaladin falls, makes a different decision, says the 4th oath, turns around, flies, and shoves that in Moash's face.

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I found their POVs ok, after reading part 1 I was expecting their chapters would be mostly about mental illness when in reality they were mostly about fighting and hiding.

It doesn't add any substance to the narrative, as Navani was clearly the central character on Urithiru, with Venli showing other side of the same plot, but Kaladin at least bring in some action scenes that saved Urithiru parts 3 and 4 from lethargy 

 

I still think he should had far less POV though. The Pursuer was  basically a setup for him to have some battles and Moash role in Urithiru was everything but satisfying, but I'm happy the finally swore this 4th ideal and could progress further 

Edited by IcaroRibeiro
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On 11/22/2020 at 10:48 AM, Topgoon said:

Friendship with Adolin - I love this relationship too, and I give Kaladin a lot of credit for accepting Adolin's help. However, once again I feel like this is driven so much by Adolin instead of Kaladin.

I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I want to call this out in particular and give Kaladin a pass on it.  At times the friendship is forced on him by Adolin, and at other times Kaladin allows himself to be dragged along.  And even when we see it in RoW, Kal makes the choice to trust Syl's judgment that he should go out and have fun with Adolin.  It can be impossibly hard to make that choice on your own during a depressive episode, so I think that he deserves leeway for this one.

On 11/22/2020 at 6:34 PM, Starla said:

Even so, he still takes his own initiative within the scope of his duties. As head of Bridge Four, the Kholin guard, Windrunner, he set up the structure and training of the organizations. I believe it was Leshwi who commented on how his work with the Windrunenrs is an extraordinary achievement without the help of heralds of radiants with prior knowledge and experience. There is also the funny comment from Adolin about Kaladin and the Kholinar Wall Guard in Oathbringer: “He’s probably their leader now or something. Storming bridgeboy.” In his short time as a surgeon, he took the initiative to set up the group therapy sessions to help the mental patients. Once the tower was attacked his actions were in response to the needs of Teft, Navani, the Sibling, and the whole of Urithiru. All of these actions are driven by his desire to help and protect as many people as possible, which is totally appropriate for his character type.

I'm about to say some negative stuff, so I just want to preface by saying that I really enjoyed RoW.  I think it was easily the worst of the Stormlight Archive so far, but that still means it's a good book that I was basically unable to put down until I had finished reading it.  I also think that it's great when people enjoy parts of the books and stories that I don't; I'd honestly feel bad for the author if absolutely everyone disliked the same parts of the book.  And those parts I don't particularly care for can make the parts that I do enjoy a lot pop out even more by comparison.

Anyway!  You make great points here.  Absolutely excellent ones.  It would have been amazing to see more of them on-screen.  I'd've loved to see a scene or two about how Kaladin initially deals with the training structure, and then has to adjust because of shenanigans, and how that develops into the current formalized structure of the Windrunners.  I would also love to know what the current structure of the Windrunners actually looks like.  The #2 thing that I want from RoW that was teased but not provided is more time with Kaladin inventing the field of Psychology/Therapy.  Give me 90% less Pursuer, replaced with Kaladin trying to keep these people who already had next to no hope and had tried to kill themselves at least once alive and getting better.  Seeing on-screen Kaladin taking charge and inspiring people is what is great about Kaladin to me.  People saying that Kaladin takes charge and inspires people is not, at all, the same.  Even with the residents of Urithuru inspired by Kaladin keeping up the fight, it was way too much tell instead of show.  I'm told they're inspired; they say they're inspired; but I don't ever understand why they feel hope because of a glowing dude flying around.  The scene when they band together to protect the Radiants is awesome!  I loved it!  But--it would have been more powerful to have a better understanding of why they felt that way.

The much more interesting story, to me, of Kaladin working in and among the people and protecting and helping and organizing and leading them during the invasion just didn't happen.  Instead, we get Kaladin the Unstoppable forced to fight again and again because of plot-related McGuffins--even giving him his own pseudo-replacement to his Lashings because of course those don't work because of reasons not explored, but here's a glove.  I'd've loved to see Venli actually use her Radiant powers, especially the ones that we haven't seen on display at all ever before, to take a more prominent role in protecting those plot-related McGuffins so that Kaladin could be freed up to do what he supposedly does best but we see so little of on-screen.

Kaladin's character arc, despite all of my faults, is perfectly fine, although like others have mentioned I would have expected the interactions of others to have had a textual impact on his way of thinking and ability to say and mean the necessary Words without an Act of Demigod bringing the ghost of his dead brother to speak to him.  The story and plot arcs, however, didn't mesh with it nearly as well as they could have, which resulted in many of the scenes feeling like they were unnecessary, redundant, or the less interesting thing going on in the Tower, which ultimately undermined the strength of those climactic scenes for me.

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On 11/22/2020 at 10:02 PM, Subvisual Haze said:

Kaladin is at his most interesting when he is inspiring others to be their best (Bridge 4 and the newly freed Alethi singers).  The depression counseling angle did touch on this idea, but then it was abandoned for the huge majority of this book in favor of lots of skulking and Kaldin feeling abused.  I think Kal is at his best when he's interacting with and inspiring others.  Sneaking around on his lonesome or with just a couple other people dampens what makes him most interesting.

I agree with this, but I think he still continues to inspire others while in stealth mode. This passage from Noril in Hesina’s interlude sums it up:

“It’s hard sometimes,” Noril said, stirring. “Coming awake means leaving the nothingness, you know? Remembering the pain. But then I think, ‘Well, he gets up.’”

“You mean Kaladin?” Lirin asked. 

“Yes, sir,” Noril said. “He’s got the emptiness, bad as I do. I can see it in him. We all can. But he gets up anyway. We’re trapped in here, and we all want to do something to help. We can’t, but somehow he can. 

“And you know, I’ve listened to ardents talk. I’ve been poked and prodded. I’ve been stuck in the dark. None of that worked as well as knowing this one thing, sir. He still gets up. He still fights. So I figure … I figure I can too.”

I don't think we always need to see Kaladin out in front being a rock star. He can also help, protect, and inspire from behind the scenes, or in more subtle ways like helping the soldiers with PTSD. Once he was removed from duty it didn’t take long for him to find another group of people to support and protect. At the end of this book he told Dalinar he wanted to continue that work, so I hope we’ll see more of it going forward.
 

On 11/23/2020 at 2:43 PM, Topgoon said:

For me, it's specifically about how a character's decisions interact with the story. Do their choices drive the plot forward, or does the plot drive their decisions? I.e. does Kal choose  A because the plot needs him to choose A, or does Kal's A create the plot. 

Perhaps it’s my reading style, but I feel like both of these options are valid for a character, depending on the situation at hand. Sometimes it is appropriate to make a choice or action that other characters respond to, while at other times its necessary for a character to respond to something that is happening around them. 

In this particular book, it makes sense for Kaladin to respond to the invasion of Urithiru as part of a team effort including himself, Navani, Venli, Teft, Rlain, Dabbid, and Lift. They all came together to protect the Sibling, save the radiants, and to ultimately liberate Urithiru. They all came up with the plan that Kaladin detailed at the beginning of part 5. They are all, as a group, reacting to a threat and doing what’s needed to counter it, each in the best way they can. This works for me in this book. For me personally, I don’t think it would have been appropriate for Kaladin to have his own plot arc here where he is driving the narrative separate from the team.

 

On 11/23/2020 at 8:12 PM, wotbibliophile said:

For the entire book Kaladin still manages to fight by the skin of his teeth but he is so depressed and so broken by the pressure on him that I was very sad reading his parts. 

I agree, much of it was excruciating! I tend to read these books with my heart rather than my head (on the first read through, at least), and there were numerous scenes where I had to put the book down and take a break. I often wondered how much more can the man take before he breaks? How much more does he need to suffer? And to pile on top of his depression, PTSD, feelings of failure and guilt, and fatigue, he also is bombarded with visions from Odium for much of the book. We only got to see one of these first hand in the chapter with Wit, but it seemed like he was having these visions every time he went to sleep from part three onward. So it is very real to me that after all of this, he completely ran of steam. It reminded me of the Fleet story. Like Fleet, he fell and was reborn.
 

Quote

Instead it was mostly Dalinar and strangely Tien. Tien is dead and I would expect him to not contribute more to the story. 

I love that Dalinar was there to catch him. For the entire series now, Kaladin is the hero saving everyone. And in doing so he has built relationships with people who have come to care for him deeply. And in the end, it is the relationships that save him. If he had not saved and believed in Dalinar, Dalinar would not be there to save and believe in him. For someone who likes to be the lone savior, I think this is a huge step for him to accept help from others.

In regards to the Tien scene, I feel that was a wound that needed healing. Seeing Tien, and finding the truth that he chose to be on that battlefield to help others, was needed for Kaladin to let go of his own guilt. It was a nice parallel to Maya’s “WE CHOSE” moment. It changes the entire context of the situation so healing can begin. It was also similar to Evi saying “I forgive you” to Dalinar in Oathbringer. It helped him let go of the guilt enough to say his oath.

 

14 hours ago, kaellok said:

I'd've loved to see a scene or two about how Kaladin initially deals with the training structure, and then has to adjust because of shenanigans, and how that develops into the current formalized structure of the Windrunners.  I would also love to know what the current structure of the Windrunners actually looks like.  The #2 thing that I want from RoW that was teased but not provided is more time with Kaladin inventing the field of Psychology/Therapy.  Give me 90% less Pursuer, replaced with Kaladin trying to keep these people who already had next to no hope and had tried to kill themselves at least once alive and getting better.  Seeing on-screen Kaladin taking charge and inspiring people is what is great about Kaladin to me.  People saying that Kaladin takes charge and inspires people is not, at all, the same.  Even with the residents of Urithuru inspired by Kaladin keeping up the fight, it was way too much tell instead of show. 

I think the lack of these scenes is due to the structure of this book. For Windrunner training and organization sequences: we saw Kaladin begin this in Oathbringer Part 2, but the majority of it took place in the one year time gap between OB and ROW. We missed a lot during the gap from everyone’s story, and I’m not sure how those could have been included rather than small references in passing in the present day story. I think it would be jarring to add those scenes in ROW, unless they were done as flashbacks.

For the therapy work, I agree that it would be awesome to see more of that, and I believe we will get it in future books based on Kaladin’s talk with Dalinar at the end of the book. However, the structure of Rhythm of War didn’t allow much time for it. The Fused attacked shortly after he set up the therapy groups, and it wouldn’t make much plot sense to see it continue while the tower is occupied and Kaladin is a fugitive radiant. I do hope the next book gives more time with this storyline because I love this development!

In regards to Kaladin inspiring others, I'll refer to the quote I listed above from Noril. I absolutely loved that scene. Due to the nature of the invasion, Kaladin can't do his work openly yet he still inspires the people from behind the scenes. They know he is there and they have faith in him. The shash glyphs on everyones foreheads say so much. It actually made me tear up to read that the brands that have plagued Kaladin for so long, having been a symbol of his darkest time, have come to symbolize hope for the people he protects. For me, that is way more powerful than seeing him personally giving orders or speeches to people.

Yikes, that got long! 

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@Starla somehow I'd completely forgotten about that scene with Lirin and Noril, even though I loved it so much in the text.  Thanks for reminding me of it!

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15 minutes ago, Starla said:

I love that Dalinar was there to catch him. For the entire series now, Kaladin is the hero saving everyone. And in doing so he has built relationships with people who have come to care for him deeply. And in the end, it is the relationships that save him. If he had not saved and believed in Dalinar, Dalinar would not be there to save and believe in him.

I think part of my problem with how he ended up saying the 4th oath is my deep, deep dislike of Dalinar.

 

19 minutes ago, Starla said:

For me, that is way more powerful than seeing him personally giving orders or speeches to people.

I don't feel the same way. I loved the scene with Noril. It was wonderful, but I would love to read more of Kaladin as he was in WoK. I do not get tired of it. I just want more and more and other characters (such as Dalinar) can just disappear and I will like the book more.

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It was pretty drawn out. Wish the time could have spent with other characters.

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1 hour ago, Starla said:

For the therapy work, I agree that it would be awesome to see more of that, and I believe we will get it in future books based on Kaladin’s talk with Dalinar at the end of the book.

I agree. Kaladin is my favorite character, and I personally loved his arc in this book. However, it is getting tiring to watch him getting ground into the floor again and again. Going forward, I hope he does grow into a role of helping and protecting others with mental health issues. The part in Part 2 where he and Teft brought out Noril is one of my favorite scenes.

That said, if Kaladin does turn into a therapist, I'm guessing his role in the plot will decrease. The Stormlight Archive is focused on the Desolation and the Contest of Champions (10 days???), so there's less time to watch Kaladin revamp Roshar's approach to psychology. Besides, it would probably be difficult to write a major character that isn't really struggling with anything, especially given the Stormlight Archive's focus on trauma and internal character journeys.

Kaladin is a big part of why I love these books, and it make me sad to think his role might decrease. That said, if I had to choose between giving Kaladin a major plot role and getting him to a healthy place, I'd choose his well-being.

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I loved Kal's arc in all 4 books and think any passivity/reactiveness in him is very realistic.

 

Where people think the Depression has taken over his arc to overly define him, I have 2 quibbles:

 

1) that's the point. That's what happens. Sanderson is deliberately doing this and you are MEANT to feel frustrated and uncomfortable about it.

2) I think in the last 2 books, Kaladin's PTSD is more of a factor than his depression in many ways.

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Kaladin Stormblessed is a character who made me fall in love with him unconditionally. He's my favorite character in Fantasy genre and while there are many SA characters I like, none of them ever make it to the spot I have in my heart for Kaladin. The moment I picked up TWoK, and read about this character, I was immediately addicted to know more, to explore more and BS never disappointed in providing satisfactory arcs for Kaladin. WoR was even better than its predecessor but all while Kaladin's part in Oathbringer were great, his drastic reduction of screentime was a gamble which failed to produce productivity. The author missed a lot of pivotal scenes, especially the part where Kaladin and Shallan fly to Thaylenah when there was an evident love triangle between Adolin, Shallan and Kaladin. But nevertheless, I accepted it as a part of his development and then came RoW.

I've read people's disappointment in Kaladin's character and honestly, I don't see where this disappointment comes from. The book had everything to define who Kaladin is, chapter by chapter, unique morphemes making sure we know the journey of our hero who's struggling to accept himself in different situations. 

Maybe its because, sometimes readers have difficulty accepting Kaladin's depression and while, I myself is not prone to such episodes, I have suffered from prolonged period of lingering gloom which makes it impossible to not overthink and ignore an avalanche of emotions falling on your head. The pacing was brilliant, and each chapter was special. To my belief, Kaladin was the heart of RoW and without him, the story would never be enough. 

Kaladin is a hero who inspires tens of thousand. He is a person who has undergone waves of betrayal and yet, managed to move towards light by protecting even those he hates as long as its right. When RoW began with Lirin's chapter, I was already aware than this man is emotionally constipated and his failures veil him to understand Kaladin's success. Lirin's hatred towards Kaladin might have irked me in beginning but then I understood all Lirin wanted was to make sure his son never suffered from what his father, the renowned surgeon had ailed from. We then jumped into action pack sequences and introduced to Pursuer and then again, people make comments that the Pursuer was a cliched villian added to Kaladin's plot. None of them understand that this Fused is like thousands of years old and mentally retarded to let his passion of genocide take over rational processing. Lezien served his purpose and got his ending.

Throughout the first part, little surprises about Kaladin kept dropping. Like he was freezing up, like he tried to court Lyn, like he still thought about Jasnah who had sworn 4th Ideal and he didn't. And his depression that came from failing others. And also....when Bridge Four members kept checking on him...it was good and kind, but the way Kaladin took care of Bridge Four can never be same as them taking care of him. For Kaladin, it cannot be the same but wind's alight, we have Sylphrena.

Syl was there for him, and I already have accepted them as soulmates. You don't have to be romantically involved with someone to make them your soulmates and Syl and Kaladin...their bond is so precious, beyond threads of Radiance. Syl is there for him, always and that makes me happy. Their relationship is stronger than any other which I ponder for Kaladin, and for him, Syl is enough. She is his confidant, his friend, his advisor, his co-voyager, his strength, his happiness, his love and his heart. There is no romantic implications to my words because their relationship is undefined by mortal terminology. And as it has been said, only death can do them apart. In RoW, their relationship progressed phenomenally. As Syl began regaining her memories...she began to remember that even as a spren, she is prone to have darkness within her and while its not same as Kaladin...they are together to overcome it. Some moments between them, especially acting as each other therapists to breathe over insanity made me cry. BS has written these two souls in passionate ink of melancholic sanguineness.

Kaladin and Adolin's friendship, no matter how restricted it was to two chapters also provided a content note to the story. Being a huge shipper, I believe Adolin would fare better with Kaladin than Shallan but they are adults and their decision must be respected as this point. Still, the friendship between these two men is precious. It was nice to see them off together and I hope they get some good bromance moments in book 5.

Kaladin's whole arc in the story, starting from being relieved off duty to begin as a surgeon to becoming Roshar's first therapist to then accepting his sole as a protector and savior is like horizon of storm.

I know the chapters can be frustrating because they are meant to be frustrating because that is the frustration which Kaladin felt of being helpless, of commanding his body to move but his muscles having got stiff from numbness of failure to aid him further. The turmoil was explained such brilliantly that I could ask nothing more from BS. He has created a phenomenal character called Kaladin Stormblessed and he keeps making phenomenal developments.

When decision came to chose soldier or surgeon, Kaladin chose to be what was right at that moment. He is not a genocidal lunatic relishing for killing Fused and singers. The thought sickens him as well saw—he turned away from dying Fused. He chose to protect as long as it was right at that moment and that varies to perception. Some think that killing cannot justify saving and I agree to them, and tell them to keep that perception but don’t freaking block Kaladin for doing what he wants for people he cares.

And then followed the most suspenseful, breath-holding moments in whole RoW. I loved the way BS showed Kaladin’s super-senses and the ability to sneak around like spies and assassins used to. You cannot except one person to go blitzkerzing-suicidal way to attack thousands of troops without scouting, noting enemies and discovering sour-points. Why the heck people say he was wallowing and moping around? Use your freaking brains! Half of his powers don’t work, all the radiants are comatose, the queen is captured and for part 2 and 3, he had only Syl as companion. Despite his arcane abilities, it would be sheer stupidity if he started bombing randomly.

Anyway, no more of plot and what-so-ever. One of Kaladin’s best traits is that he listens, and corrects his mistakes that he ever made. For example, Rlain and honorspren—Kal understood that he was mistaken and accepting your mistakes and learning from it brings the best within your to make better decisions in future. I have not seen Shallan or Adolin or Navani making such deals. I hated their hypocrisy and the way they behaved to Kaladin calling him ‘lowly man’ in their eyes. Think about it, Adolin respected Kaladin because he recognized the warrior in him. Shallan treated Kal as dirt away and I am so freaking glad they didn’t end up together and Navani’s initial behavior towards Kal is unforgivable. They came around eventually which was another brilliant execution of understanding.

Kaladin is perhaps the most strongest character of Stormlight Archive. Yes, healing is not easy. Healing is frustrating. Healing is so freaking difficult that you could feel fire running in your veins, branding you of failure and not letting your accomplishments or love or dauntlessness be your armor against it. It hurts. Kaladin hurts. But healing is not impossible. And Kaladin by far has not been healed. His soul is fractured. People around him die but he is strong enough to take the right step in direction of becoming better—to combat that shrouding depression by being strong for himself, by accepting that he can’t save everyone but he can try and be better than who he is be so that it would never come to that!

 His presence has begun encasing people with hope. His persona launches a private war within people—to be heroes for themselves—to be the hero for their hero and never give up. He gives them hope. He is the embodiment of hope that no matter whatever happens, no matter of his pain, no matter how much he hurts—he will get up. Everytime he falls, he will rise and he will rise again and again and strike and become that beacon to people so that they can never fall, no matter the evil. No matter the pain. And from that pain, eventually—it will be the strength. It will be ultimate power of healing.

Kaladin is an inspiration. Kaladin is our hero and I do not think a single word in Rhythm of War has been wasted for him. And by no means he is going to take backseat in book 5 as well. Nobody was excepting Kal to having maximum screentime in RoW and I know, it might not happen same in book 5 but he will be pivotal character. That is the ultimate oath of Knight Radiants—their foundation. It’s not who is the boldest or strongest. It’s who that binds every single one of them with hope. And that’s Kaladin.

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@Ramona Tehradin, I completely agree, especially about the 'prolonged periods of lingering gloom', I've had those too, and Kaladin was incredibly inspiring when that was happening.

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If anything the excessive trauma and abuse that the narrative conspires to throw at Kaladin every book mangles the depression metaphor.

Depression is an irrational response.  You feel terrible for no good reason, and then you get mad at yourself for your inability to just be happy. I thought Kaladin's depression was much better represented in the earlier books in that regard.  Despite things going well Kaladin would still feel unhappy (and Syl would directly call him out on it).

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3 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

If anything the excessive trauma and abuse that the narrative conspires to throw at Kaladin every book mangles the depression metaphor.

Depression is an irrational response.  You feel terrible for no good reason, and then you get mad at yourself for your inability to just be happy. I thought Kaladin's depression was much better represented in the earlier books in that regard.  Despite things going well Kaladin would still feel unhappy (and Syl would directly call him out on it).

Disagree.

 

Kal DOES feel terrible when things are going well. And things utterly collapsing around him actually triggers him to step out of his depression. I think it's the opposite of what you suggest.

 

It's also inherently untrue to suggest that traumas don't exacerbate depression. The depression exists and can worsen outside of bad things, but it often has tangible triggers and is affected by outside events 

Edited by IndigoAjah
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I really liked it! Heck, the Kaladin Therapy Center was probably one of my favorite arcs in RoW! Die Hard: Windrunner Edition was good as well, but not my favorite. 

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28 minutes ago, IndigoAjah said:

Disagree.

 

Kal DOES feel terrible when things are going well. And things utterly collapsing around him actually triggers him to step out of his depression. I think it's the opposite of what you suggest.

 

It's also inherently untrue to suggest that traumas don't exacerbate depression. The depression exists and can worsen outside of bad things, but it often has tangible triggers and is affected by outside events 

My point was that with depression even relatively mundane events can push you down.  When you run Kaladin repeatedly through the grinder of objective emotional suffering every book to what extent are you really representing the struggles of depression anymore?

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1 minute ago, Subvisual Haze said:

My point was that with depression even relatively mundane events can push you down.  When you run Kaladin repeatedly through the grinder of objective emotional suffering every book to what extent are you really representing the struggles of depression anymore?

You are showing the struggles of depression and the extent to which the human spirit can recover!

 

I agree that Sanderson is a bit sadistic specifically towards Kaladin but I also trust that it's going to pay off. And even with all that stuff, there are LOADS of fans elsewhere saying "why can't Kaladin just get over it? He's so mopey, he's not the sort of hero I want to read about", so I'm not sure Sanderson is anywhere near close to overselling this point yet. 

 

It's an anvil that's worth catapulting downwards with the force of an exploding star nevermind dropping 

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20 hours ago, Lightdancer said:

That said, if Kaladin does turn into a therapist, I'm guessing his role in the plot will decrease. 

I suspect we’ll get to see more of his work as a therapist in the next book since Dalinar is sending him to work with Ishar. Though I have no idea how he’s going to make the leap from soldiers with PTSD to mad scientist Bondsmith herald. Should be a fun journey, especially with Szeth and Nightblood along for the ride. Talk about a group that needs a therapy session. 

@Ramona Tehradin  Great post. I especially agree about with your thoughts about Kaladin and Syl. Their relationship was my favorite part of this book and perhaps one of the best I've ever read.

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8 hours ago, Ramona Tehradin said:

Kaladin Stormblessed is a character who made me fall in love with him unconditionally. He's my favorite character in Fantasy genre and while there are many SA characters I like, none of them ever make it to the spot I have in my heart for Kaladin. The moment I picked up TWoK, and read about this character, I was immediately addicted to know more, to explore more and BS never disappointed in providing satisfactory arcs for Kaladin. WoR was even better than its predecessor but all while Kaladin's part in Oathbringer were great, his drastic reduction of screentime was a gamble which failed to produce productivity. The author missed a lot of pivotal scenes, especially the part where Kaladin and Shallan fly to Thaylenah when there was an evident love triangle between Adolin, Shallan and Kaladin. But nevertheless, I accepted it as a part of his development and then came RoW.

I've read people's disappointment in Kaladin's character and honestly, I don't see where this disappointment comes from. The book had everything to define who Kaladin is, chapter by chapter, unique morphemes making sure we know the journey of our hero who's struggling to accept himself in different situations. 

Maybe its because, sometimes readers have difficulty accepting Kaladin's depression and while, I myself is not prone to such episodes, I have suffered from prolonged period of lingering gloom which makes it impossible to not overthink and ignore an avalanche of emotions falling on your head. The pacing was brilliant, and each chapter was special. To my belief, Kaladin was the heart of RoW and without him, the story would never be enough. 

Kaladin is a hero who inspires tens of thousand. He is a person who has undergone waves of betrayal and yet, managed to move towards light by protecting even those he hates as long as its right. When RoW began with Lirin's chapter, I was already aware than this man is emotionally constipated and his failures veil him to understand Kaladin's success. Lirin's hatred towards Kaladin might have irked me in beginning but then I understood all Lirin wanted was to make sure his son never suffered from what his father, the renowned surgeon had ailed from. We then jumped into action pack sequences and introduced to Pursuer and then again, people make comments that the Pursuer was a cliched villian added to Kaladin's plot. None of them understand that this Fused is like thousands of years old and mentally retarded to let his passion of genocide take over rational processing. Lezien served his purpose and got his ending.

Throughout the first part, little surprises about Kaladin kept dropping. Like he was freezing up, like he tried to court Lyn, like he still thought about Jasnah who had sworn 4th Ideal and he didn't. And his depression that came from failing others. And also....when Bridge Four members kept checking on him...it was good and kind, but the way Kaladin took care of Bridge Four can never be same as them taking care of him. For Kaladin, it cannot be the same but wind's alight, we have Sylphrena.

Syl was there for him, and I already have accepted them as soulmates. You don't have to be romantically involved with someone to make them your soulmates and Syl and Kaladin...their bond is so precious, beyond threads of Radiance. Syl is there for him, always and that makes me happy. Their relationship is stronger than any other which I ponder for Kaladin, and for him, Syl is enough. She is his confidant, his friend, his advisor, his co-voyager, his strength, his happiness, his love and his heart. There is no romantic implications to my words because their relationship is undefined by mortal terminology. And as it has been said, only death can do them apart. In RoW, their relationship progressed phenomenally. As Syl began regaining her memories...she began to remember that even as a spren, she is prone to have darkness within her and while its not same as Kaladin...they are together to overcome it. Some moments between them, especially acting as each other therapists to breathe over insanity made me cry. BS has written these two souls in passionate ink of melancholic sanguineness.

Kaladin and Adolin's friendship, no matter how restricted it was to two chapters also provided a content note to the story. Being a huge shipper, I believe Adolin would fare better with Kaladin than Shallan but they are adults and their decision must be respected as this point. Still, the friendship between these two men is precious. It was nice to see them off together and I hope they get some good bromance moments in book 5.

Kaladin's whole arc in the story, starting from being relieved off duty to begin as a surgeon to becoming Roshar's first therapist to then accepting his sole as a protector and savior is like horizon of storm.

I know the chapters can be frustrating because they are meant to be frustrating because that is the frustration which Kaladin felt of being helpless, of commanding his body to move but his muscles having got stiff from numbness of failure to aid him further. The turmoil was explained such brilliantly that I could ask nothing more from BS. He has created a phenomenal character called Kaladin Stormblessed and he keeps making phenomenal developments.

When decision came to chose soldier or surgeon, Kaladin chose to be what was right at that moment. He is not a genocidal lunatic relishing for killing Fused and singers. The thought sickens him as well saw—he turned away from dying Fused. He chose to protect as long as it was right at that moment and that varies to perception. Some think that killing cannot justify saving and I agree to them, and tell them to keep that perception but don’t freaking block Kaladin for doing what he wants for people he cares.

And then followed the most suspenseful, breath-holding moments in whole RoW. I loved the way BS showed Kaladin’s super-senses and the ability to sneak around like spies and assassins used to. You cannot except one person to go blitzkerzing-suicidal way to attack thousands of troops without scouting, noting enemies and discovering sour-points. Why the heck people say he was wallowing and moping around? Use your freaking brains! Half of his powers don’t work, all the radiants are comatose, the queen is captured and for part 2 and 3, he had only Syl as companion. Despite his arcane abilities, it would be sheer stupidity if he started bombing randomly.

Anyway, no more of plot and what-so-ever. One of Kaladin’s best traits is that he listens, and corrects his mistakes that he ever made. For example, Rlain and honorspren—Kal understood that he was mistaken and accepting your mistakes and learning from it brings the best within your to make better decisions in future. I have not seen Shallan or Adolin or Navani making such deals. I hated their hypocrisy and the way they behaved to Kaladin calling him ‘lowly man’ in their eyes. Think about it, Adolin respected Kaladin because he recognized the warrior in him. Shallan treated Kal as dirt away and I am so freaking glad they didn’t end up together and Navani’s initial behavior towards Kal is unforgivable. They came around eventually which was another brilliant execution of understanding.

Kaladin is perhaps the most strongest character of Stormlight Archive. Yes, healing is not easy. Healing is frustrating. Healing is so freaking difficult that you could feel fire running in your veins, branding you of failure and not letting your accomplishments or love or dauntlessness be your armor against it. It hurts. Kaladin hurts. But healing is not impossible. And Kaladin by far has not been healed. His soul is fractured. People around him die but he is strong enough to take the right step in direction of becoming better—to combat that shrouding depression by being strong for himself, by accepting that he can’t save everyone but he can try and be better than who he is be so that it would never come to that!

 His presence has begun encasing people with hope. His persona launches a private war within people—to be heroes for themselves—to be the hero for their hero and never give up. He gives them hope. He is the embodiment of hope that no matter whatever happens, no matter of his pain, no matter how much he hurts—he will get up. Everytime he falls, he will rise and he will rise again and again and strike and become that beacon to people so that they can never fall, no matter the evil. No matter the pain. And from that pain, eventually—it will be the strength. It will be ultimate power of healing.

Kaladin is an inspiration. Kaladin is our hero and I do not think a single word in Rhythm of War has been wasted for him. And by no means he is going to take backseat in book 5 as well. Nobody was excepting Kal to having maximum screentime in RoW and I know, it might not happen same in book 5 but he will be pivotal character. That is the ultimate oath of Knight Radiants—their foundation. It’s not who is the boldest or strongest. It’s who that binds every single one of them with hope. And that’s Kaladin.

Regarding Syl and Kal, I agree (well I agree with it all but have something to add on this point!)

 

They are soul mates. At first I assumed, much like Pullman's Daemons, this was just par for the course for Spren with their Radiants but we've not seen any Spren Radiant relationship as deep as theirs, even as we get several Radiants explored in some depth. They care for each other deeply and personally and are almost a part of one another 

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