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Aspiring Writer

The Sibling Question

What do you imagine/refer the Sibling as?   70 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you imagine/refer the Sibling as?

    • He
      5
    • She
      11
    • They/It
      30
    • They, you storming @$$hole, it is said they don't have a gender!
      24
  2. 2. What do imagine them looking like? (Which side their appearance leans towards.)

    • Male
      2
    • Female
      6
    • Dunno, don't care
      8
    • Not even human (Don't imagine them looking Human at all)
      54

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39 posts in this topic

So, I have seen people to the Sibling using they, he, and she when referring to them (I personally keep using she) and I was wondering what everyone imagines her as.

 

I actually thought the Sibling was male when first referred to in Oathbringer but then shifted more to female in RoW. I don't know why.

Edited by Aspiring Writer
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I do imagine the Sibling as male. It’s mostly because of most Radiant spren being the opposite gender of the Radiant 


but I honestly coudnt care it’s gender.

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@Aspiring Writer can I get an 'it' on the gender option? I don't know but I can't ever get 'they' to be singular.

 

Whenever I imagine the Sibling I just imagine a guy, knid of like a bald Sazed.

Edited by Frustration
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42 minutes ago, Frustration said:

@Aspiring Writer can I get an 'it' on the gender option? I don't know but I can't ever get 'they' to be singular.

 

Whenever I imagine the Sibling I just imagine a guy, knid of like a bald Sazed.

Done. 

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I had no idea this was even a question people were still working through.  Brandon has made it abundantly clear, ever since the very first mention of the Sibling, that they have no gender.  (The Stormfather, to Dalinar: "you have hurt them enough.")  If both the author and the character have an obvious preference, does it make sense for readers to decide otherwise?

I agree it's a bummer that English lacks a clear set of genderless pronouns.  I think "them" / "they" / "their" (singular) is the least problematic option; referring to people as "it" leaves a bad taste IMO.  As Sir Terry Pratchett observed, evil stems from treating people as objects.  I feel it likely that this will become the accepted solution going forward - I have several nonbinary friends who prefer "they" to "he or "she". But as a grammar pedant, I certainly do understand the pain of the singular "they"!

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Honestly, like Harmony in W&W, I just imagine the Sibling as a echoey distant non-gendered voice. I don't really give them a shape either. 

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They're agender. And their body kind of is the Tower. The Sibling themselves won't care what you call them, they don't have a biological gender... they don't even have a biological body to begin with.

My mother tongue doesn't have grammatical gender, though most other languages in my country do, as does English & most European languages and apparently Vorin languages as well. Outside of my mother tongue, the other languages I know tend to to focus on the object's grammatical gender rather than the gender of the subject person. So I'm not getting any grammaratzi urges. And I'm gay so I kinda sympathize. This isn't just a matter of the Sibling, there are people who identify as agender. Asking which gender you imagine an agender character being seems quite inconsiderate. I don't like the idea of using "it" for any non-binary people. "It" is not used to refer to people, to do so seems very disrespectful. What something could mean in an ideal world and what it does mean are two very different things, so I'm really uncomfortable with this we should use "it" discussion. Non binary and trans people very specifically prefer to be called specific pronouns: "they" or specific pronouns coined by the community/gender they belong to. Wishing to call them by a different pronoun despite knowing that... You all are just saying these things with no consideration and complaining about LGBT people being prickly at the same time, seriously?

Edited by Honorless
edited in response to further development in the thread
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14 hours ago, AquaRegia said:

I had no idea this was even a question people were still working through.  Brandon has made it abundantly clear, ever since the very first mention of the Sibling, that they have no gender.  (The Stormfather, to Dalinar: "you have hurt them enough.")  If both the author and the character have an obvious preference, does it make sense for readers to decide otherwise?

I agree it's a bummer that English lacks a clear set of genderless pronouns.  I think "them" / "they" / "their" (singular) is the least problematic option; referring to people as "it" leaves a bad taste IMO.  As Sir Terry Pratchett observed, evil stems from treating people as objects.  I feel it likely that this will become the accepted solution going forward - I have several nonbinary friends who prefer "they" to "he or "she". But as a grammar pedant, I certainly do understand the pain of the singular "they"!

I understand that, but that doesn't mean you can't imagine something in your head, and the voice I hear when they speak leans more feminine. The Canonitcal gender is not the question, just what you see in your head you think of the Sibling, because conversations where they come up, people sometimes slip up and show that they imagine them as a he or she because of... something. I doubt they even know why they imagine them as that, I don't even know why. And seeing as many do imagine them male or female, there is validity o asking the question, because remember, the tower has a spren in shadesmar and we aren't really given a description, and plenty of people seem to imagine them being humanoid, like most spren.

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When I read RoW for the first time in an ebook form, Sibling was truly gender-neutral in my head. Spren representing natural and primal things made sense in my head to imagine them as amorphous spirits, like Seons. Then I listened to the audiobook version, and when rereading Sibling scenes, all I hear is Kate Reading's wonderful voice. But I also have a similar thing with Nightblood - I read its lines in a female voice, not sure why. So maybe it's just a me-thing.

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On 4/8/2021 at 5:42 PM, Frustration said:

I don't know but I can't ever get 'they' to be singular.

Agreed. This is one of my main problems with Starsight

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The Sibling is a building without a body even in Shadesmar, and no name except a description of their relationship to Stormfather/Nightwatcher (Sibling) and Sja-Nat (cousin). And has been referred to in-text with 'they'. Doesn't really make sense to me to gender them as anything but they. 

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3 minutes ago, Proletariat said:

The Sibling is a building without a body even in Shadesmar, and no name except a description of their relationship to Stormfather/Nightwatcher (Sibling) and Sja-Nat (cousin). And has been referred to in-text with 'they'. Doesn't really make sense to me to gender them as anything but they. 

It mentions a humanlike body at one point, but that was just a projection they showed Navani.

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IMO, the closest we get to seeing their "real" body is Urithiru in Shadesmar at the start of Act 2. Which, again, is basically a giant building, but more glowy and magical looking. "A shimmering mountain of light and color. They were created to be a building or to be the giant fabrial that runs throughout the building and controls it. They've never been shaped as anything else or if they were it's not mentioned or implied as far as I can tell. 

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I suppose when the Stormfather actually talks audibly about The Sibling in the Alethi language he uses the neutral pronouns the Alethi use for Ardents.
Now, in the western world this issue is politically loaded. It makes no sense to project that onto an alien artificial spirit materialized as a building. We cannot expect human languages to be perfectly adapted to those circumstances.

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As the Sibling doesnt have any gender, I imagined their voice as something like a lot of people speaking the same thing at the same time.

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It, the singular non-gendered pronoun. “They” just annoys me for being grammatically incorrect. Why can’t we use ‘it’ in the same way it’s always been used? He and she are also used for objects and animals, but no one seems to have an issue with that...

I imagine the sibling sounding like a Castrati, much like Sazed. This link will explain a bit about Castrati and has the music of the only one to be recorded. Stunning voice, but a horrible thing to do to a child.

https://www.openculture.com/2016/06/hear-alessandro-moreschi-the-only-castrato-ever-recorded-sing-ave-maria-and-other-classics-1904.html

For a speaking voice: 

Jimmy Scott was a natural “Castrati”, whose voice never broke.

Edited by Kingsdaughter613
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44 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Why can’t we use ‘it’ in the same way it’s always been used? He and she are also used for objects and animals, but no one seems to have an issue with that...

I agree on the “they” aspect of that. It’s pretty weird that one thing gets called a plural.

But “it” is very dehumanizing (or desprenizing) as it makes them seam like they have no conscious of their own.

The English language just doesn’t have a good word for a spren that doesn’t think of itself as human. Go figure

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2 minutes ago, Bejardin1250 said:

I agree on the “they” aspect of that. It’s pretty weird that one thing gets called a plural.

But “it” is very dehumanizing (or desprenizing) as it makes them seam like they have no conscious of their own.

The English language just doesn’t have a good word for a spren that doesn’t think of itself as human. Go figure

I’ve always seen it as simply the non-gendered singular. No connotations involved. I think that if we started using it for humans the negative connotation would vanish within a couple of generations, for those that have such connotations. 

But then, my brain is a little odd. 
 

Either way, Sibling (and Sazed) should be voiced by someone like Jimmy Scott, a natural ‘Castrati’.

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1 minute ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

I’ve always seen it as simply the non-gendered singular. No connotations involved. I think that if we started using it for humans the negative connotation would vanish within a couple of generations, for those that have such connotations. 

You could be 100% right on this.

But the world today especially in America is very unforgiving on these sorts of things.

So Brandon as an author would have to take the safe route on this. 

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Just now, Bejardin1250 said:

You could be 100% right on this.

But the world today especially in America is very unforgiving on these sorts of things.

So Brandon as an author would have to take the safe route on this. 

Very true. At least we use non-gendered words for most things. In other languages even the plural is gendered!

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1 hour ago, Bejardin1250 said:

So Brandon as an author would have to take the safe route on this. 

I am glad he has not discovered his inner Tolkien, published a dictionary and grammar and rereleased Oathbringer in Alethi.

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7 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

I am glad he has not discovered his inner Tolkien, published a dictionary and grammar and rereleased Oathbringer in Alethi.

I would buy that.

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On 4/13/2021 at 11:11 AM, ScadrianTank said:

When I read RoW for the first time in an ebook form, Sibling was truly gender-neutral in my head. Spren representing natural and primal things made sense in my head to imagine them as amorphous spirits, like Seons. Then I listened to the audiobook version, and when rereading Sibling scenes, all I hear is Kate Reading's wonderful voice. But I also have a similar thing with Nightblood - I read its lines in a female voice, not sure why. So maybe it's just a me-thing.

I second this. I was alternating between audio and ebook throughout my first read and it was hard not thinking of The Sibling as female with Kate Reading narrating. Even in the few instances where Kaladin spoke directly to her and Michael Kramer was doing the narration, The Sibling sounded vaguely feminine. But, it's obvious from how the Stormfather and Brandon say they/them that The Sibling isn't supposed to have a gender. I'm just curious to see whatever Syl referred to as having four genders. 

Also, I have no problems with the whole singular they/them thing IRL or in books, people do it all the time without realizing it. 

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23 minutes ago, Harrycrapper said:

I second this. I was alternating between audio and ebook throughout my first read and it was hard not thinking of The Sibling as female with Kate Reading narrating. Even in the few instances where Kaladin spoke directly to her and Michael Kramer was doing the narration, The Sibling sounded vaguely feminine. But, it's obvious from how the Stormfather and Brandon say they/them that The Sibling isn't supposed to have a gender. I'm just curious to see whatever Syl referred to as having four genders. 

The four genders were from the Parshendi

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I was thinking about that actually. 
but if this was the case why did the Spren disappear. The Parshendi were there to imagine the genders.

And woudnt humans have imagined that when the Desalations were happening 

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