Pandora's shard

Adolin "The best of them all"

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To me, Adolin is the most stable character of the stormlight archive.. the most balanced emotionally, good from inside, smart enough to understand when others need help, and when he should hold back, good at whatever he does, and that is why, he will never have had a proper Spren bond, because, he does not have holes in him to be filled by nahel bond. 

He is, in short, the embodiment of how a "good" person should be in real life. 

And that is why, a lot of people hate is character because, he is so balanced and helping, he is never that interesting. Hell, I have seen threads where, some of them say, his arc is about helping others.. hell no guys that is what a good person does. He/she is always there for anyone who needs them. And, isn't that what Adolin always does? 

And I think, the next part of his character arc is going to be about dealing with drawbacks of being a perfectly good person and how others take that for granted and don't care how much emotional support a perfectly balanced and good person need too. Specially, in his relationship with Dalinar. 

 

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You don't have to have "holes in you" to be filled by a Nahel bond. That's a misconception. You need to be chosen by a spren and then swear the oaths, and it's true that people who are pretty extreme or broken are easiest for spren to be attracted to or find, but it's not a requirement by any means.

I do think that his bond will be.... ...whatever's going on with Maya. Maybe it'll eventually be a Nahel bond, maybe it never will, but that's the bond he'll have.

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12 minutes ago, ftl said:

You don't have to have "holes in you" to be filled by a Nahel bond.

Quote

AndrewStirlingMacDonald (paraphrased)

Is being a little bit crazy a prerequisite to becoming a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, so, for many of the cosmere magics to work, you have to... it has to get into the soul somehow. Right? Sometimes you ram it in by spiking someone else's soul and ripping off a piece and sticking it into yours. Sometimes, it just seeps in the cracks. Sometimes the bond allows it to kind of bypass some of this, but it's usually traumatic experience. So crazy is not required, but there's got to be a place for the magic to go, to get in.

Shadows of Self Boston signing (Oct. 14, 2015)

(Emphasis added.)

So you’re like 40% correct. The bond and agency of the spren can “kind of bypass” some of it, but there’s still definitely “got to be a place for the magic to go”. A theoretically perfect person would not be able to be a surgebinder.

 
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3 minutes ago, Ookla the Disproportionate said:

 The bond and agency of the spren can “kind of bypass” some of it, but there’s still definitely “got to be a place for the magic to go”. A theoretically perfect person would not be able to be a surgebinder.

 

Yep, that's how I have always seen magic of Knights Radiant to be.. 

Another thing I want to put here. Speaking oaths.. Doesn't Rythm of War prove that speaking oaths is not enough? You have to have deficiency, then you overcome it, and then, the oaths help you gain the magic. It is almost like, u grow as a person, and so, does magic inside you. So, if a person is perfect, which Adolin almost is, then how can Knight Radiant magic help you grow as a person and fill you with magic? 

As for Adolin and Maya, I think, they are heading to a path of being bonded without the limits of Nahel bond, that is, Adolin will be able to use her without having to say the oaths first.. and the more Maya and Adolin share of each other with each other, the abilities of Adolin in using Maya will grow. (I accept that I will end up being wrong, but this is my guess)

 

But, as a person, Adolin has very little growth to do. 

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2 hours ago, Pandora's shard said:

To me, Adolin is the most stable character of the stormlight archive.. the most balanced emotionally, good from inside, smart enough to understand when others need help, and when he should hold back, good at whatever he does, and that is why, he will never have had a proper Spren bond, because, he does not have holes in him to be filled by nahel bond. 

He is, in short, the embodiment of how a "good" person should be in real life. 

And that is why, a lot of people hate is character because, he is so balanced and helping, he is never that interesting. Hell, I have seen threads where, some of them say, his arc is about helping others.. hell no guys that is what a good person does. He/she is always there for anyone who needs them. And, isn't that what Adolin always does? 

And I think, the next part of his character arc is going to be about dealing with drawbacks of being a perfectly good person and how others take that for granted and don't care how much emotional support a perfectly balanced and good person need too. Specially, in his relationship with Dalinar. 

So, from the perspective of a non-fan, I don't mind he's not interesting. Supporting characters exist for a reason. I do have issues, however, with the way he is presented as "the best of them all" because it's not just the fandom, I totally see why you would think that.

One is: it tends to ignore the somewhat machiavellian touch to his character. He's good, but he's definitely more towards chaotic good than 100% paladin. And we can agree to disagree here, but I'm with Dalinar on this one. Especially when other characters go above and beyond to avoid killing, and prove that it's possible to win anyway. His moral code would absolutely work in, say, GOT, but in SA there are too many examples that it's possible to do better.

Second: to show him as the best undermines the journeys of the other characters. To help a friend, Adolin simply needs to notice they need help and talk to them. And that's lovely. But compare that to Shallan, who shows people their best selves and gives them a smile despite being so shattered on the inside. Or to Kaladin, who gets Bridge Four members out of the darkest place, while battling his own demons, not to mention the whole slavery thing. Even Dalinar, he wasn't born or raised good, he had to go through hell to earn hard whatever moral "level" he is on. These accomplishments are so much more precious because of how hard it was and yet they did it anyway. Veil explained that beautifully.

Quote

"Who is a better swimmer?" Veil whispered. "It's the sailor who has swum his entire life, even if he encounters rough seas that challenge him. Who is the stronger man? It is the man who must pull himself by his arms. And that swordsman with one arm... He was probably the best in raw skill. He couldn't win because of his disadvantages, but he wasn't weaker than the others."

 

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1 hour ago, Ookla the Disproportionate said:

(Emphasis added.)

So you’re like 40% correct. The bond and agency of the spren can “kind of bypass” some of it, but there’s still definitely “got to be a place for the magic to go”. A theoretically perfect person would not be able to be a surgebinder.

 

 

Quote

 

Spencer Walther

Lopen clearly states he doesn't consider himself a broken character, like all the other Knights. Do you consider him a broken character?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not. And, again, "broken" is a term with a lot of baggage, let's point that out. I would rather use the terminology that a given person is comfortable with, and let them put definitions on that themselves. Because the way I view it, I don't really view most people as "broken," even if they may use that terminology. What they might have is, they might have certain mental health issues that they haven't yet figured out how to work with that are integral to who they are. But not broken, just still practicing. And that's how I would define a lot of people, but I don't get to define it for those people, if that makes sense.

And one of the things I like to do is to have a variety of viewpoints in my stories, to make sure I'm kind of running the gamut on this, and I think some of the characters in my stories would say, "Yeah. Something in me's broken. You can talk about all the funny business you want, Brandon, about just needing to practice. Something in me's broken, and I need to learn to deal with that. Either fix it, or learn to not let it ruin me." And there are people that I've talked to, that that's how they've described it.

I've talked to other people who say, "No, I'm not broken. 'Broken' implies I'm a less valuable person, because of that phrasing." That is something that I never want to imply. And so it is a dangerous word to use. I let people in fiction use it, because people in real life use it. But just wanted you to be aware of that.

So, the idea that a person needs to be "broken" to be a Knight Radiant is a part of the world that a lot of people talk about. I actually intend Lopen to be a counterargument to that. But people in-world would disagree with me. They'd say, "No no no, he's got some of these things." But if Lopen has them, we all have them. So there are no not-broken people, which also makes the word "broken" just completely wrong phrase to use, if that makes sense.

So, that is how I view it. But I admit that some of my characters would disagree with me.

YouTube Livestream 7 (May 7, 2020)

 

 

A theoretically perfect person couldn't be a surgebinder, I suppose. However, such a person is entirely theoretical, since actual people aren't perfect; everyone has some sort of troubles. If that means literally everyone "has holes in their soul", then sure, you can say that's a requirement, albeit one that everyone meets, including Adolin.

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2 hours ago, Ailvara said:

So, from the perspective of a non-fan, I don't mind he's not interesting. Supporting characters exist for a reason. I do have issues, however, with the way he is presented as "the best of them all" because it's not just the fandom, I totally see why you would think that.

One is: it tends to ignore the somewhat machiavellian touch to his character. He's good, but he's definitely more towards chaotic good than 100% paladin. And we can agree to disagree here, but I'm with Dalinar on this one. Especially when other characters go above and beyond to avoid killing, and prove that it's possible to win anyway. His moral code would absolutely work in, say, GOT, but in SA there are too many examples that it's possible to do better.

Second: to show him as the best undermines the journeys of the other characters. To help a friend, Adolin simply needs to notice they need help and talk to them. And that's lovely. But compare that to Shallan, who shows people their best selves and gives them a smile despite being so shattered on the inside. Or to Kaladin, who gets Bridge Four members out of the darkest place, while battling his own demons, not to mention the whole slavery thing. Even Dalinar, he wasn't born or raised good, he had to go through hell to earn hard whatever moral "level" he is on. These accomplishments are so much more precious because of how hard it was and yet they did it anyway. Veil explained that beautifully.

 

These discussions are the reasons I love this community!! 

So, characters like Kaladin, Dalinar, Shallan...all fight against odds, and then learn to live normally!!! And that is so charismatic that we all can't ignore them. That is their character growth!! Learning to live normally!! 

What to do with a character who already does live normally?? Who has sorted out issues, so, doesn't have to go through such arcs? 

I didn't mean to say, best of them all in the sense of, he is better than all of them as a character. I just meant, he is the most stable person.. the one, who is most balanced emotionally, and who does not need to go through such difficult times.. It is so easy to discount these people, because what's so special about them? They can handle themselves. So why to worry? 

Doesn't that make them atleast noticeable that they are special because they are normal? 

When weird becomes normal, doesn't normal become weird? 

That Adolin can remain who he is despite everything going around him, and not go into bouts of jealousy, or depression, or vengeance.. ya.. for me, that makes him special...

 

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I feel like Adolin's not going to be the one who becomes a Radiant. I'm just imagining something like this:

Maya: "L-life..."

Adolin: *Nods encouragingly* "You can do it, Maya. I believe in you!"

Maya: "Life before death, Strength before weakness, Journey before destination!"

Adolin: "Yes! You did it!"

*Suddenly, rumbling thunder*

Stormfather: "THESE WORDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED"

Maya: *Wails despairingly*

Adolin: *Shakes fist angrily at the sky* "WHY?"

Stormfather: "SHE IS NOT WORTHY. "

Adolin: *Glares at the clouds* "Screw you! Can't you see how hard she's been working? Look at all the progress she's made!"

Stormfather: "THESE WORDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED."

Adolin: "Maya, ignore him. No matter what that guy says, remember: think you're worthy. You're so much better than who he thinks you are. You deserve this more than anyone else. You deserve this."

Stormfather: "THAT DOES NOT MATTER. SHE IS NOT WORTHY, AND THESE WORDS ARE NOT ACCEPTED"

Adolin: *Shouting* "Screw you, Stormfather! Even if you don't accept the Words, do! To me, these words are, and always will be, ACCEPTED!"

*Thunder rumbles, and Maya begins to glow with Stormlight*

Adolin: "You did it!" *Hops up and down in delight*

Maya: *Cheers*

Stormfather: "HOW? THIS CANNOT BE!"

*Chapter ends*

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5 hours ago, Pandora's shard said:

These discussions are the reasons I love this community!! 

So, characters like Kaladin, Dalinar, Shallan...all fight against odds, and then learn to live normally!!! And that is so charismatic that we all can't ignore them. That is their character growth!! Learning to live normally!! 

What to do with a character who already does live normally?? Who has sorted out issues, so, doesn't have to go through such arcs? 

I didn't mean to say, best of them all in the sense of, he is better than all of them as a character. I just meant, he is the most stable person.. the one, who is most balanced emotionally, and who does not need to go through such difficult times.. It is so easy to discount these people, because what's so special about them? They can handle themselves. So why to worry? 

Doesn't that make them atleast noticeable that they are special because they are normal? 

When weird becomes normal, doesn't normal become weird? 

That Adolin can remain who he is despite everything going around him, and not go into bouts of jealousy, or depression, or vengeance.. ya.. for me, that makes him special...

I'm afraid I disagree with this.

Every person experiences hardship differently, they learn to deal with stress, loss and trauma differently and not always in a healthy way. I think people tend to overlook all the hardships in Adolin's life when comparing him to Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar, as they are admittedly rather extreme examples. Never the less if we were to consider all the events that may have negatively impacted him throughout his life, I can't help but marvel at his ability to remain so unfazed through out the story.


So let's give it a shot. He loses his mother at an early age (he later finds out that his father unintentionally caused this). His father turns to alcoholism as a result and distances himself from his sons emotionally. His brother is ridiculed for his illness which I don't doubt bothered Adolin as well. Then by the end of TWoK he, along with Dalinar is abandoned on the plateau and left to die by Sadeas, a battle during which a significant portion of the Kholin army is eliminated. We're told that among them were friends of his I believe, though we never know who they were. Throughout WoR he is mocked by Sadeas and is shunned by the remaining nobility due to Dalinar's policies, one of whom is his "friend" Jakamav who later betrays him in his duel against Relis. At the battle of Narak, even more of their army is decimated and on top of that he loses his Ryshadium Gallant, which as of RoW, we know is not just a loss of some pet, but the loss of something truly special. All this leads to a boiling point when Sadeas taunts and threatens his family, which causes Adolin to snap and kill him on the spot (he's shocked by the act himself but keeps it hidden). OB comes around and Adolin is still quiet about the murder. He goes with the strike team to Kholinar, where his cousin (the king) is killed, his home conquered and his people enslaved, in other words a complete disaster. Adding to all that, the fact that he is the Blackthorn's son, so I think it's fair to assume that there's a certain amount of pressure thrust upon him especially after failing at Kholinar. Lastly he's nearly killed before they reach Thaylen city. Now finally in RoW he discovers the truth about his mother's death. Kaladin advises him to put Maya aside so that he would attract a living spren and become radiant. Dalianr encourages him to do the same and subtly reprimands him for Sadeas's murder, claiming that if he strays from being the perfect son he perceives Adolin to be, he'll end up turning into Taravangian 2.0 (I thought this moment was similiar to Lirin calling Kaladin a monster tbh.) Throughout Shadesmar he's told by other spren that Maya is dead and that he's wrong for believing otherwise. He is then made to stand trial for humanity as a whole failing spren in the past. Throughout all this he's also worrying about Shallan struggling with her accpeting her past and balancing her alters.

I'm sorry if this was tedious to read but I hope it get's my point across, after all that he's been through and is still going through, I can understand the need for a character being the source of optimism but when considering all of the above. I am nothing short of bewildered. How can such a flawless person exist, without on the rare occasion, having a moment of doubt or weakens. These moments are hinted at at best, (for example in OB he gets quiet when he's put in charge of the investigation of Sadeas's murder and both Renarin and Shallan notice) yet the consequences that these moments should have on a "normal" person are never fully explored. Let me be clear I don't object to him reaching most of the conclusions he does in all the books, but the way he reaches them, that is to say I wish his journey (the execution) was more fleshed out and believable.

You say it's a good thing he doesn't feel random bouts of jealousy, vengeance, or sadness. Again I fear I must disagree. It's not random to feel jealousy when you believe that the person you love is falling for someone else. It is perfectly human wanting to punish a man who has on several occasions tried to kill you and your loved ones, and promises to do so again. It is perfectly human to feel sadness and grief when faced with the loss of a loved one, or loss of life in general (I'll note it's one thing to feel such emotions and another thing to act on them). Even though I like his character a great deal, my main issue with Adolin is often based on the fact the his humanity is often sidelined for the purpose of furthering the plot or enabling the growth and development of others. The result of that however is him lacking depth by comparing him with the remaining characters, both primary and secondary. His reactions are limited to being only what the plot demands of him, not what would feel natural for a person who has lived and experienced all that he has, unlike the other characters in the story.

I understand that this is done deliberately but I can't say that this does the story favours, if anything at times it's almost immersion breaking at how flawless he is portrayed and how effortless and convenient all his accomplishments are.

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6 hours ago, TheHidelSubldies said:

I'm afraid I disagree with this.

Every person experiences hardship differently, they learn to deal with stress, loss and trauma differently and not always in a healthy way. I think people tend to overlook all the hardships in Adolin's life when comparing him to Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar, as they are admittedly rather extreme examples. Never the less if we were to consider all the events that may have negatively impacted him throughout his life, I can't help but marvel at his ability to remain so unfazed through out the story.


So let's give it a shot. He loses his mother at an early age (he later finds out that his father unintentionally caused this). His father turns to alcoholism as a result and distances himself from his sons emotionally. His brother is ridiculed for his illness which I don't doubt bothered Adolin as well. Then by the end of TWoK he, along with Dalinar is abandoned on the plateau and left to die by Sadeas, a battle during which a significant portion of the Kholin army is eliminated. We're told that among them were friends of his I believe, though we never know who they were. Throughout WoR he is mocked by Sadeas and is shunned by the remaining nobility due to Dalinar's policies, one of whom is his "friend" Jakamav who later betrays him in his duel against Relis. At the battle of Narak, even more of their army is decimated and on top of that he loses his Ryshadium Gallant, which as of RoW, we know is not just a loss of some pet, but the loss of something truly special. All this leads to a boiling point when Sadeas taunts and threatens his family, which causes Adolin to snap and kill him on the spot (he's shocked by the act himself but keeps it hidden). OB comes around and Adolin is still quiet about the murder. He goes with the strike team to Kholinar, where his cousin (the king) is killed, his home conquered and his people enslaved, in other words a complete disaster. Adding to all that, the fact that he is the Blackthorn's son, so I think it's fair to assume that there's a certain amount of pressure thrust upon him especially after failing at Kholinar. Lastly he's nearly killed before they reach Thaylen city. Now finally in RoW he discovers the truth about his mother's death. Kaladin advises him to put Maya aside so that he would attract a living spren and become radiant. Dalianr encourages him to do the same and subtly reprimands him for Sadeas's murder, claiming that if he strays from being the perfect son he perceives Adolin to be, he'll end up turning into Taravangian 2.0 (I thought this moment was similiar to Lirin calling Kaladin a monster tbh.) Throughout Shadesmar he's told by other spren that Maya is dead and that he's wrong for believing otherwise. He is then made to stand trial for humanity as a whole failing spren in the past. Throughout all this he's also worrying about Shallan struggling with her accpeting her past and balancing her alters.

I'm sorry if this was tedious to read but I hope it get's my point across, after all that he's been through and is still going through, I can understand the need for a character being the source of optimism but when considering all of the above. I am nothing short of bewildered. How can such a flawless person exist, without on the rare occasion, having a moment of doubt or weakens. These moments are hinted at at best, (for example in OB he gets quiet when he's put in charge of the investigation of Sadeas's murder and both Renarin and Shallan notice) yet the consequences that these moments should have on a "normal" person are never fully explored. Let me be clear I don't object to him reaching most of the conclusions he does in all the books, but the way he reaches them, that is to say I wish his journey (the execution) was more fleshed out and believable.

You say it's a good thing he doesn't feel random bouts of jealousy, vengeance, or sadness. Again I fear I must disagree. It's not random to feel jealousy when you believe that the person you love is falling for someone else. It is perfectly human wanting to punish a man who has on several occasions tried to kill you and your loved ones, and promises to do so again. It is perfectly human to feel sadness and grief when faced with the loss of a loved one, or loss of life in general (I'll note it's one thing to feel such emotions and another thing to act on them). Even though I like his character a great deal, my main issue with Adolin is often based on the fact the his humanity is often sidelined for the purpose of furthering the plot or enabling the growth and development of others. The result of that however is him lacking depth by comparing him with the remaining characters, both primary and secondary. His reactions are limited to being only what the plot demands of him, not what would feel natural for a person who has lived and experienced all that he has, unlike the other characters in the story.

I understand that this is done deliberately but I can't say that this does the story favours, if anything at times it's almost immersion breaking at how flawless he is portrayed and how effortless and convenient all his accomplishments are.

I can tell you such people exist... because my maternal grandfather was one of them.

He was a teenager when his family was deported by the Nazis from Czechoslovakia. He survived the entire beside his brother, only for his brother to die of diabetic shock when the Well-meaning soldiers shared their rations. He carried his brother’s body from the Russian side to the American side, so he could live free.

He discovered his father survived, but was trapped behind the Iron Curtain. We’ve never found out what happened to him. He got his two sisters married off before getting married himself. He built himself up from nothing to become wealthy. He struggled for 20 years to have a child.

And everyone I’ve ever met who knew says he was the kindest, gentlest, joyous, most giving person they knew. So people like this? They exist. 

 

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9 hours ago, TheHidelSubldies said:

Even though I like his character a great deal, my main issue with Adolin is often based on the fact the his humanity is often sidelined for the purpose of furthering the plot or enabling the growth and development of others. The result of that however is him lacking depth by comparing him with the remaining characters, both primary and secondary. His reactions are limited to being only what the plot demands of him, not what would feel natural for a person who has lived and experienced all that he has, unlike the other characters in the story.

I’ve seen this opinion a lot, and I appreciate that it’s a common one in the fandom. My favorite Adolin-hater friend will surely be along shortly to tell me all the ways I’m wrong, I’m sure. ;-)

But I read him with more depth and nuance than many seem to, perhaps because his colors are in more muted shades than our main characters. There’s subtext, and fewer viewpoints, and we are often seeing him through the eyes of our (often struggling) main cast. We see him in Dalinar’s flashbacks as the perfect, eager son. We don’t see his feelings dealing with his mother’s death or his angry, alcoholic father. We see him in WoR via Shallan as a perfect Adonis with the perfect life. We see him via Kal’s eyes as the spoiled lordling with no sense of how the masses struggle. But in the moments we read his POVs, I read the insecurity and jealousy in them, almost from the beginning. Polishing Maya before his duels in WoR he talks about how little people expect of him and how hard it is to live in his fathers shadow, all while never letting himself resent Dalinar. His anger at Sadeas and his betrayal. His fear in Shadesmar and his emotions during the battle at Thaylan Fields. And he was downright resentful toward Dalinar in RoW—and set out to prove himself in a way that almost got himself imprisoned. And yet, yes, he is emotionally stable, and agreeable, and conscientious. But as I’ve said in other threads on this, I feel like still waters often run deep, and I read the Adolin chapters with more shades of gray than many do, apparently. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to the similar reactions from others, even close friends!, who think my life is perfect when it is decidedly not. As my fav Adolin-hating poster here said once, “Bliev, you’re projecting.” Perhaps. But we all read them through our own lenses. And I certainly identify.

on topic, though, I don’t think we will see Adolin the radiant, because  Adolin is a committed man, and Maya is his choice. And I’m not sure if she’d be able to bond again in that way, or if Adolin would ever push her to do so, even if she could. 

 

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Considering that I dislike womanizers, and Adolin in the first book was certainly described as a womanizer, perhaps without bad intentions but certainly not without a clue about how he hurts people, I mostly rolled my eyes at him through the first book. Adding to that that his other primary interests were fighting and fashion, I thought he was the stupidest and the shallowest of the characters. His friendliness seemed more like a habit than genuine feeling; in the book it was mostly described as external behavior, rather than something that comes from within. In the next two books I tolerated him, but didn't really care to identify with his POV. It's mostly in this book that I kinda started to like him, but more grudgingly than the others.

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11 hours ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

I can tell you such people exist... because my maternal grandfather was one of them.

He was a teenager when his family was deported by the Nazis from Czechoslovakia. He survived the entire beside his brother, only for his brother to die of diabetic shock when the Well-meaning soldiers shared their rations. He carried his brother’s body from the Russian side to the American side, so he could live free.

He discovered his father survived, but was trapped behind the Iron Curtain. We’ve never found out what happened to him. He got his two sisters married off before getting married himself. He built himself up from nothing to become wealthy. He struggled for 20 years to have a child.

And everyone I’ve ever met who knew says he was the kindest, gentlest, joyous, most giving person they knew. So people like this? They exist. 

That's beautiful, truly an inspirational story, thank you for sharing it.
I guess in my rant I sort of went off the point. It is comforting to know such people persevere. I'll try and convey my thoughts more clearly. Apologies english isn't my fist language.
It's not so much can they exist, but how?. I said I don't mind him being the person he is in the books. Merely that I wished for his journey to be explored more. I wanted to see genuine distraught after Kholinar because surely it would be normal for him to have such a reaction, even if for a moment. I wanted to see more of his frustration during his conversation with Dalinar. Because surely it would be normal to feel such when your own father doesn't see you for who you are and claims that if you don't live up to his expectations, you are destined to become like Taravangian (I thought this was rather cruel on Dalinar's part). Yet his response was to "shove the seething knot" down. How many times can he do this. How long can he repress his own frustrations, worries and problems. I don't believe that this is a healthy way to deal with trauma for any one, be they burdened with mental illness or not. I know form personal experience that attempting such in the long run is a recipe for disaster.
So in the end Adolin to me, comes of as a lovable walking, feel-good plot device who's human complexity will never be explored which I believe is a shame. Again I want to preface by saying don't mind the destination that he seams to reach, but I rather wished that his journey was explored more.

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@TheHidelSubldies I totally agree with some of this—I want to see his internal narrative more. But I also feel that way about Jasnah, Szeth, Lift, Renarin, etc. Adolin is in our narrative more often because of his proximity to two mains, Dalinar and Shallan, but I don’t think that means he hasn’t been dealing with his issues, just that Brandon hasn’t saw fit to show that journey because there are others to show. I think the clues are there when, and if, he decides to do so.

I also think it’s not clear that he’s avoiding and repressing like, say, Shallan does. He should definitely address Dalinar directly, and I’d love to see that be part of Dalinar’s possible leveling up in book 5–he has to connect with his son and handle his own house before trying to save the world. 

For example, the scene in part 1 where Adolin and Dalinar and crew are in the strategizing meeting, when Adolin is indeed acting petulant, where Shallan intercedes. Shallan knows how he feels. It seems they talk about almost everything. He’s not dissociating, just being selective with what he shares with whom. So even if he’s not telling Dalinar how he feels, or he’s “shoving down the seething knot”  that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally stable about it, it just means he doesn’t want to deal with it right then. He’s aware of his emotions and aware of why he feels the way he does. He also knows the consequences for bringing it up at that moment. Being self aware doesn’t mean you don’t feel things or make mistakes, but it does mean you can often deal with those issues as they arrive because you aren’t trying to lie to yourself. 

I think, as per Navani, Shallan is as good for Adolin as he is for her, because he’s learned to be his own man, whatever that means.

with that said, I’m more concerned with how poorly Dalinar treats Adolin and how little he has sought to rectify and connect with Adolin in the intervening year. Dalinar may have grown in his own self awareness but he has not tried to “unite” himself with his own son, he didn’t even tell them about Evi himself! 
 

if you ask me, Dalinar’s inability to move forwards with his powers is precisely because of this.

 

ETA: just dawned on me how in some ways Dalinar is acting like Lirin here, trying to make his son act in accordance with his goals and values; being disappointed in him, treating him with disdain. It’s funny how who we identify with changes our perceptions I think. 

 

Edited by Bliev
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Just because Adolin isn’t a walking billboard for the DSM-V doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have flaws and experienced great mental stress- and that is the more important thing for the realmatic process of creating cracks in the soul than just mental illness. Vin Snapped as an infant, plenty of people were taken by the mists and even the nobles who were beaten into Snapping don’t all have highly visible disorders and neuroses.

Brandon has been moving away from the whole “mental illness=broken” in WoBs for a while, I suspect it would have to do with the fact that describing autistic people like Renarin as broken might be terribly offensive. I’ve known plenty of people on the higher functioning side of the spectrum who don’t see their autism as a bad thing, so much as just a different thing.

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@Bliev I hear you and appreciate you putting up with my rambling

1 hour ago, Bliev said:

I want to see his internal narrative more. But I also feel that way about Jasnah, Szeth, Lift, Renarin, etc. Adolin is in our narrative more often because of his proximity to two mains, Dalinar and Shallan, but I don’t think that means he hasn’t been dealing with his issues, just that Brandon hasn’t saw fit to show that journey because there are others to show.

Yes this mostly, I guess I figured that, what with him having this much exposure we'd have a clearer view of his thoughts.
 

1 hour ago, Bliev said:

ETA: just dawned on me how in some ways Dalinar is acting like Lirin here, trying to make his son act in accordance with his goals and values; being disappointed in him, treating him with disdain. It’s funny how who we identify with changes our perceptions I think. 

Agreed. Both fathers seem to have a strict view of how their sons should live their lives and then show a kind of cold disapproval when said sons opt to walk their own paths instead.

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I would like Adolin a lot more if he wasn’t given main character status.

After all, Lopen isn't a terribly deep character.  Sanderson has stated that Lopen doesn’t really have any major flaws.  And yet Lopen is one of my favorite minor characters because he isn’t a major focus of the series.

Not everyone needs to have soul crushing backgrounds.  But following the journey of someone whose biggest flaw is that “sometimes he feels that his father is smothering him” is really exhausting to read.  I would be thrilled if Adolin’s future arc will involve him degenerating as a character.  Unfortunately, for the past four books he has remained the poster child for the “dashing knight in shining armor” trope that Sanderson said he wanted to subvert.  His murder of Sadeas is swept under the rug, and is presented as justified (after all it was Sadeas).  Even though he was initially portrayed in Way of Kings as a man who eventually neglected his various girlfriends, Adolin is now the perfect husband to Shallan.  So how can Adolin grow as a character?  He is already practically flawless.  Learning to cope with the expectations of his father is not enough of a reason to give Adolin so much screen time.

Edited by SomeRandomPeasant
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TBF on Renarin, he has plenty of reasons outside of autism to be "broken"--until Words of Radiance, he has his brother, and his father, and his aunt/stepmom, and that's it.  His father and aunt/stepmom treat him with kid gloves and he's smart enough to recognize it; only Adolin is there, unconditionally loving and supportive in a way that even Dalinar, to my view, isn't.  Everybody else in Alethi high society treats Renarin as something between a joke and something to pity.  Note how easily Sadeas slipped into degrading him before Dalinar threatened to murder Sadeas for the insult (and it would've been murder, even in a duel Dalinar could take Sadeas any day of the week with one hand tied behind his back, and both men clearly know it).  

Renarin has two living parents who treat him with borderline overprotectiveness until prodded into giving him a chance, and one brother who loves him unconditionally and unreservedly and tries to help Renarin live up to his potential.  First thing Adolin does upon winning a Blade in Words of Radiance?  Gives it to Renarin.  "Here, bro, your turn to be a badass."   Dalinar gave him plate but doesn't seem to have ever thought of giving him a blade, because he's instinctively thinking of how to protect Renarin from the world.  

And that's not bad, but Renarin as somebody with neurological issues needs the kind of support Adolin gives (the kind of support Adolin seems to give everybody, the being there in the moment and doing little things and stuff that's just as important as Dalinar's leadership and Kaladin's forging of community and Shallan's giving people the chance to see themselves as better people and Lift's...actually Lift kinda does the same thing, c.f. giving Nale a hug in the storm and her small kindnesses that come almost instinctually) much more than he needs to be shielded from the world.  

See, I'm kinda like Renarin.  I have Tourette's Syndrome, probably undiagnosed tardive dyskinesia, OCD, ADHD, and possible autism (diagnosed Asperger's but that's probably OCD/ADHD comorbidity though I do have some stimming habits).  I spent most of the years between 8th grade and the second or third year after college having violent spasms that are primarily distinguishable from epileptic grand mal seizures in that I remained fully cognizant of my surroundings and able to communicate during them.  I still managed to run several half-marathons, do a triathlon and competitive swimming (being submerged in water is extremely effective at suppressing my symptoms for some reason), and made it through college with minimal accommodations.  People tend to underestimate people with neurological issues and that can be emotionally harmful; I'm lucky that my parents were more interested in helping me find and push my limits than in protecting me from everything.  

So.  Yeah, Adolin is actually my favorite Stormlight Archive character, in part because of how he supports Renarin, in part because of his fantastic instincts for judging people, and in part because he's a good, supportive person in a less dramatic but no less significant way than those embodied by Dalinar, Shallan, and Kaladin.  Kal brings people together.  Shallan inspires people to be better.  Dalinar gives people an ideal to aspire to.  Adolin is there when Kaladin desperately needs someone to believe him, when Shallan needs somebody to want her for Shallan, when Renarin needs someone who believes in him wholly and unreservedly, when Maya needs somebody who will be there for her no matter what because he values her for what she is rather than what she provides or could be.  

And that's why Adolin is, IMO, almost certainly going to become an Edgedancer through a roundabout route.  Edgedancers, per Lift's example, seem to be all about the little guy, small but meaningful emotional support, and being cosmic dorks.  Also Lift and Adolin are both super snarky and need to spend more time together.  

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2 hours ago, SomeRandomPeasant said:

Not everyone needs to have soul crushing backgrounds.  But following the journey of someone whose biggest flaw is that “sometimes he feels that his father is smothering him” is really exhausting to read.  I would be thrilled if Adolin’s future arc will involve him degenerating as a character.  Unfortunately, for the past four books he has remained the poster child for the “dashing knight in shining armor” trope that Sanderson said he wanted to subvert.  His murder of Sadeas is swept under the rug, and is presented as justified (after all it was Sadeas).  Even though he was initially portrayed in Way of Kings as a man who eventually neglected his various girlfriends, Adolin is now the perfect husband to Shallan.  So how can Adolin grow as a character?  He is already practically flawless.  Learning to cope with the expectations of his father is not enough of a reason to give Adolin so much screen time.

See, I see what you just said as growth. He was more vain and shallow, he grew to be deeper and committed. He was first worried about Dalinar's sanity as a reflection of Alethi might, now he sees his father more clearly and the problems with the "way Alethi do things" more clearly. His murder of Sadeas isn't swept under the rug, he owns it, doesn't regret it, and it still is the reason that Dalinar is disappointed in him. He actually is worried Adolin is going to become Taravangian! Adolin gets screen time mostly, up until now, because we see him through the eyes of the mains. He's a bridge to them all. He sees them. He is a *good person* and that alone is interesting in its way, for me. 

Also, him chafing up against his desire to support Shallan and his need to prove to his father that he's not a disappointment ended up driving much of the B plot in this book, which was a pretty important arc.  

I do appreciate that other people feel that it's boring. Everyone has a right to what they like! (Like for instance, this being the first book that I was truly affected by Kaladin's arc when I wasn't nearly as captivated by it in other books--I often skip Bridge 4 sections on re-reads--and loving Shallan's arc all the way through, and being really irritated by the fact that DALINAR IS A HORRIBLE FATHER but is supposed to be the savior of the world el oh el.) And perhaps, as I said above, it's somewhat projection, but let's play a little mental exercise: are we saying that if, say, I have my life "together": have a great job, and a loving family, and am supportive of others and happy and generous that I have no growth left? That my story is no longer interesting? Perhaps growth is not always about slaying internal demons, but connections with others and reaction to future conflicts as well. I think his "learning to cope with the expectations of his father" is probably the biggest issue here that you lay as minor, but which is certainly something Dalinar MUST confront. How do you progress as a bondsmiith if you can't own up to your failures in connecting with your only son? How can you save the world if you can't accept him? And how can Adolin learn to be his own person while standing in such a shadow? I see that as infinitely exciting. 

 

 

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On 11/28/2020 at 1:06 AM, Pandora's shard said:

He is, in short, the embodiment of how a "good" person should be in real life. 

Nah, he's a murderer and he engaged in a genocidal war. 

I do like him as a character though.

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9 minutes ago, Nymeros said:

Nah, he's a murderer and he engaged in a genocidal war. 

So is Dalinar.  

The thing with Adolin is that he knows damn well he's messed up and his surroundings are messed up, and he doesn't want power or anything like that, he just wants to do what good he can and live his best life every day.  He knows he makes mistakes, he owns his mistakes, and he knows that everybody else in the world makes mistakes.  (As he says to Kaladin about Amaram, nobody is that clean, it makes him instantly suspicious when somebody is said to be so perfect)  This makes him look like a perfect hero, mostly because everybody else either has much more obvious mental health issues or is a worm like Sadeas.  But what it is is a kind of fundamental self-honesty and clarity that's honestly really refreshing.  Even the man he idolizes as the greatest in the world if not in history, his father, is not clean, and Adolin recognizes that.  As he tells Kaladin in WoR, even Dalinar makes bad judgement calls sometimes and otherwise fumbles.  And Adolin sees through that to the man beneath, even as he worries for that man's sanity.  

Adolin isn't the one who forges a team.  He isn't the one who gives hope to the hopeless.  He isn't the one who provides a grand ideal that can unite armies and nations.  He's the guy who goes up to those people when they're starting to waver, gives them a hug, takes them out for a night of drinks, and sits in protest with them because storm society, Kaladin is in the right and Ehlokar is being a pissant.  

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2 minutes ago, GroundPetrel said:

So is Dalinar.  

Wait, what? Really?? Oh my Gooooooood!!!

 

 

 

Oh nevermind; I just remembered that I already knew that.

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On 11/28/2020 at 8:04 PM, Bliev said:

on topic, though, I don’t think we will see Adolin the radiant, because  Adolin is a committed man, and Maya is his choice. And I’m not sure if she’d be able to bond again in that way, or if Adolin would ever push her to do so, even if she could. 

I actually think this is the #1 reason he's going to be an Edgedancer.  He chose her even when repeatedly offered something far better, stuck with her when he was on trial and the honorspren tried to use her against him, has stuck with her even as pretty much everybody else has written her off as a sad case, what a tragedy, oh well, nothing we can do.  Just like Lift went back to save Gawx, a thief's kid not even valuable enough for his father to go back for, bleeding out on the floor of the Emperor's palace.  What a shame, poor kid, nothing to be done.  Until the Edgedancer said, "storms no, there IS something to be done, and I'm going to do it, storm the consequences".  

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Adolin may be a good person, but a character needs to be more than "good" to be a good character.

@Bliev I think the reason we disagree is because I don’t see minor blemishes as genuine character flaws.  Even Mary Sues have some minor imperfections that are described as “flaws”.  I wouldn’t call Adolin a full blown Mary Sue, but I do think that Adolin is a weak character.  Yes, Adolin is insecure about the expectations placed on him by his friends and family.  Yes, Adolin isn’t actually perfect.  But who among us isn’t like that?  Just because a character is realistic doesn’t make them a good character.

2 hours ago, Bliev said:

See, I see what you just said [that Adolin used have commitment issues but now is a dependable husband] as growth. He was more vain and shallow, he grew to be deeper and committed.

Change is not the same thing is growth.  This change wasn’t a result of Adolin incrementally changing his behavior through effort.  Adolin met his betrothed and immediately transitioned into a completely dependable husband without issue.  If Kaladin’s hatred of light-eyes was changed overnight I wouldn’t call that growth, I would call that a completely random change that came out of nowhere.  If a character solves their issues without any apparent effort, that isn’t an example of character growth.

2 hours ago, Bliev said:

let's play a little mental exercise: are we saying that if, say, I have my life "together": have a great job, and a loving family, and am supportive of others and happy and generous that I have no growth left? That my story is no longer interesting? Perhaps growth is not always about slaying internal demons, but connections with others and reaction to future conflicts as well. I think his "learning to cope with the expectations of his father" is probably the biggest issue here that you lay as minor, but which is certainly something Dalinar MUST confront. 

Just because a character could exist in the real world, doesn’t mean that character would make a compelling story.  There is a reason most of The Rythem of War doesn’t revolve around a farmer of Hearthstone who is dependable and is always devoted to his family.  This type of person certainly exists in real life, just like people like Adolin exist in real life.  The point is that chronicling the journey of these people would not make a very compelling story.  Which is why I said I would like Adolin more if he didn’t occupy such a major part of the story.

Edited by SomeRandomPeasant
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On 11/30/2020 at 1:38 PM, Bliev said:

and being really irritated by the fact that DALINAR IS A HORRIBLE FATHER but is supposed to be the savior of the world el oh el

I'm going to have to nitpick this.  Dalinar is a ridiculously busy man, dealing with a buttload of trauma and regrets, and has discovered relatively recently that the son who he thought was a stand-up kid (and probably considered to be a better person than himself, at that) murdered a guy in cold blood and kept it secret from Dalinar for weeks, only admitting it when he was about to be given lots of power.  

This is like calling Lirin the worst father ever for being mad at Kaladin because Kaladin's now a war-hero Radiant.  (Lirin isn't a great dad, and I think he's a weak man in his own way, but then I think Dalinar is weak in a very specific way too, which I'll get to in a moment)  These men are kind of going through something like what Kaladin did in WoR--unsettled and trying to deal with a whole bunch of new, unexpected things.  They're going to stumble and storm up before things get fixed.  

Also Dalinar has always been a kind of distant father, even after he tried to be a better guy and father after Cultivation pruned him.  He also has a tendency to project his own values onto others--he assumed that Sadeas worked in the same fundamental framework and with similar fundamental values right up until Sadeas betrayed him, and he took that extremely personally.  He assumed that Adolin was basically a mini-Dalinar even though they're dramatically different people (both in terms of how they are good people and in terms of their way of their self-awareness).  E.G. Dalinar doesn't really understand how corrupt and broken Alethi society is on an internal level.  He recognizes it consciously but he's just not able to internalize it even when he tries really, really hard and acts like a total sociopath to try to drown out the screams in his flashbacks.  Adolin instinctively understands that Alethi society is fundamentally broken on an internal level even if it takes him a while to externalize that, and he has a grade-A chull-dung detector where Dalinar has a tendency to get suckered by people like Sadeas and Amaram and has to work to be more aware of cremlings like those two.  (Adolin smelled chull dung on Amaram the moment that worm stepped foot on the Shattered Plains even though his relationship with Kaladin was a hot (probably closeted bisexual) mess at the time; Dalinar had to put Amaram to the test before he could truly believe it, even though he otherwise trusts Kaladin implicitly)  And Daliniar doesn't get that Adolin is so fundamentally different from him.  

So basically Dalinar looked at his son admitting that he murdered Sadeas, and refusing to apologize, and he remembered being the Blackthorn on the battlefield thinking that being honest about being a monster would make the screaming stop, and he thought, Oh storms, my son is becoming me.  And he doesn't quite get that no, that's not what Adolin's becoming, Adolin killed Sadeas because he thought of all the lives that Sadeas had ruined and would ruin and recognized that Sadeas needed to be stopped, in that moment, by any means necessary.  Dalinar internally glosses over Adolin's guilt over killing Sadeas and never seems to grasp Adolin's fear of holding power because he just doesn't understand how fundamentally internally honest Adolin has always been with himself.  (Because Adolin is clearly feeling guilty about murdering a man in a dark corridor in cold blood, and while he knows internally also that Sadeas was a monster who had to be stopped, he does not want to risk becoming somebody who could treat lives with casual disregard)

Dalinar is a weak man in this way.  He is easily suckered, he has to work at understanding others, he is hard on Adolin because he sees him as a mini-me.  

Dalinar IMO needs to understand--and I think this is probably going to be a big character moment for him, almost certainly important wrt. his Bondsmith oaths--that he and Adolin are very different people internally, he needs to internalize this.  Dalinar grew up in the shadow of a brother he both idolized and resented, a brother who everybody admired but was probably always just a charismatic abusive/manipulative asshole.  Adolin grew up protecting and supporting a brother who he loved passionately and who was picked on by everybody.  Dalinar developed a longing to be a better man because he couldn't cope with being an asshole and probably a little bit of wishing he could be what he saw in Gavilar.  Adolin grew up learning every single slight and petty cruelty heaped upon his brother, learned how to protect and support Renarin, learned people in a way Dalinar never really had to, while watching his father, the Great Man of History he idolized, crumble before his very eyes.  He also very clearly had to learn himself as well--I will bet my life savings that there was a moment in Adolin and Renarin's past where Renarin got frustrated at Adolin being overprotective and Adolin had to learn how to let Renarin stand up for himself.  

So basically they are coming from completely different formative experiences and Dalinar has trouble recognizing that.  Does this make Dalinar a terrible father?  No. It makes Dalinar...slightly better than Lirin.  Which is basically, not terrible, but also emotionally distant and difficult to be the child of.  Dalinar is not a horrible person or an evil parent, he's a flawed man who's doing his best to be better every day.  Just like Lirin is a flawed man who tries his best (even if he can be storming infuriating).  

Also I kind of get the feeling that Adolin kind of wants to be his father but also knows that he never can be because they're fundamentally different and might be struggling with that a bit, rereading his bits in WOR.  

And that's my incoherent word salad of the day.  XD

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