Shardcast: Shallan's Past


In this episode of Shardcast, we go through the very light, chill topic of Shallan's past. Oh boy, there is so much to talk about, and so much more in Rhythm of War to ruminate on. Let's grind through and see if we can figure out what's going on here.

Today We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (Weiry), David (Windrunner), Grace (thegatorgirl), Joshua (jofwu), and Jessie (Lady Lameness, who I still owe brownies to). 

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Stitof

Posted

Yay! Great topic. Can't wait to listen.

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Shallan's past is so much more complicated than the other major POV characters, even beyond the fact she buried her memories of it to such an extreme. It seems like Brandon decided she would have multiple personas and went "Let's give her multiple of everything!"

Shallan has 4 brothers. Dalinar, Kaladin, Venli all had 1 sibling each. 

2 radiant spren of the same order. 

The controversial love triangle which is a traditional trope, but she's the only main character to be the center of one in the present day (Navani had one with Gavilar & Dalinar in their youth).

Shallan had fraught relationships with and killed both her parents. We don't even know Dalinar's parents' names. We only meet Venli's mother. Kaladin has 1 parent he doesn't get along with, did not kill.

Shallan's family had not one but TWO secret societies involved with them when she was growing up.

There is implied to be an Unmade influencing her family in some way when she was growing up. Maybe more than one based on how everything else is her life comes in multiples. 

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I find it somewhat curious that even post-RoW statements along the lines of "what the Radiants did to their spren during the Recreance" persist. It feels like the full import of arguably the two most emotionally laden words in the entire novel have not been properly internalized by the fandom.

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teknopathetic

Posted (edited)

Loved the episode but was really hoping there would be some talk about the inconstancies with the information we have on Shallan's Mother's soul being but in a box, but then Shallan going to talk to Testement after the Soul was in the box, meaning that Shallan knew her mother's soul was not the Testament blade (but seems to have confused these later in life much as she has done with Pattern and Testament). 

With the reveal about Testament, it blows my mind that more people didn't look at the Glowing Soul of Light thing and not consider there may be some truth to what Shallan remembers. Shallan believes that:

1) Shallan is attacked because her mother is disgusted by Surgebinders
2) Shallan summons a blade to kill her mother in self defence. 
3) Shallan's father picks up something glowing and locks it in a safe.
4) Shallan believes her mother's soul is trapped in a safe.
5) Shallan goes to the garden to yell at Testament and unbond the spren.
6) Shallan continues to see light radiating from the safe for the rest of her time in the Davar household. 
7) Shallan retains some knowledge that she could summon Testament again (as she seems to know this is tWoK before meeting Pattern)
?) So why does Shallan believe anything is trapped in the safe if Shallan knew Testament would be in the garden to talk with her AND that Shallan knew on some level that she could summon Testament at any time (as she proves in tWoK and WoR)? What is there in the safe to consider locked-away? And why hallucinate light? Shallan may be loads of unstable, but she has never hallucinated before - she instead represses or stitches together narratives. If anything, she has some kind of magical connection-sight as shown by her ability to draw Yalb's actual survival on a beach. There is no reason to believe that Shallan made up the light besides a bias we have against her. 

When Shallan goes to the garden to unbond Testament, she is not crazy or repressing any of these events yet, so her understanding that Testament was not equal to the thing in the safe seems pretty clear and concrete to me. So to me it seems clear that something else was put in the safe and modern-Shallan has repressed memories and is conflating whatever was put in the safe with Testament (which she further conflates with Pattern). Could this be a Herald's soul? Could Shallan's father have known about Chanarach? Could the safe have been something other that just a run of the mill safe? With Seon in the mix, is there some other tech abound? It is just so odd. 

Add on the fact that Cryptics were drawn to child-Shallan for no currently apparent reason (so much so even that a dead spren didn't deter them and they tried a second time years later), that there are Seons involved somehow, the influence of an unmade is around the family, secret societies are abound and persistent (to the point where Maraize even says he should have known a Davar was a radiant despite Heleran not being one), and Shallan's parents fighting about Shallan's future all before these events, there is something very very special going on and non-standard about Shallan's family and the death of Shallan's mother in particular. 
 

Edited by teknopathetic
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Wait! Are we seeing her safehand ?!?

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17 hours ago, teknopathetic said:

Loved the episode but was really hoping there would be some talk about the inconstancies with the information we have on Shallan's Mother's soul being but in a box, but then Shallan going to talk to Testement after the Soul was in the box, meaning that Shallan knew her mother's soul was not the Testament blade (but seems to have confused these later in life much as she has done with Pattern and Testament). 

With the reveal about Testament, it blows my mind that more people didn't look at the Glowing Soul of Light thing and not consider there may be some truth to what Shallan remembers. Shallan believes that:

1) Shallan is attacked because her mother is disgusted by Surgebinders
2) Shallan summons a blade to kill her mother in self defence. 
3) Shallan's father picks up something glowing and locks it in a safe.
4) Shallan believes her mother's soul is trapped in a safe.
5) Shallan goes to the garden to yell at Testament and unbond the spren.
6) Shallan continues to see light radiating from the safe for the rest of her time in the Davar household. 
7) Shallan retains some knowledge that she could summon Testament again (as she seems to know this is tWoK before meeting Pattern)
?) So why does Shallan believe anything is trapped in the safe if Shallan knew Testament would be in the garden to talk with her AND that Shallan knew on some level that she could summon Testament at any time (as she proves in tWoK and WoR)? What is there in the safe to consider locked-away? And why hallucinate light? Shallan may be loads of unstable, but she has never hallucinated before - she instead represses or stitches together narratives. If anything, she has some kind of magical connection-sight as shown by her ability to draw Yalb's actual survival on a beach. There is no reason to believe that Shallan made up the light besides a bias we have against her. 

When Shallan goes to the garden to unbond Testament, she is not crazy or repressing any of these events yet, so her understanding that Testament was not equal to the thing in the safe seems pretty clear and concrete to me. So to me it seems clear that something else was put in the safe and modern-Shallan has repressed memories and is conflating whatever was put in the safe with Testament (which she further conflates with Pattern). Could this be a Herald's soul? Could Shallan's father have known about Chanarach? Could the safe have been something other that just a run of the mill safe? With Seon in the mix, is there some other tech abound? It is just so odd. 

Add on the fact that Cryptics were drawn to child-Shallan for no currently apparent reason (so much so even that a dead spren didn't deter them and they tried a second time years later), that there are Seons involved somehow, the influence of an unmade is around the family, secret societies are abound and persistent (to the point where Maraize even says he should have known a Davar was a radiant despite Heleran not being one), and Shallan's parents fighting about Shallan's future all before these events, there is something very very special going on and non-standard about Shallan's family and the death of Shallan's mother in particular. 
 

I think the reason most people assume Shallan is hallucinating is because in one of the flashbacks, Shallan is with Helaran and sees light coming from the safe "so bright that it's blinding" but Helaran claims to not see anything. Unless Helaran's lying or only Shallan can see the light for some reason, it might just be the simpler answer that she's hallucinating.

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20 minutes ago, LuckyJim said:

I think the reason most people assume Shallan is hallucinating is because in one of the flashbacks, Shallan is with Helaran and sees light coming from the safe "so bright that it's blinding" but Helaran claims to not see anything. Unless Helaran's lying or only Shallan can see the light for some reason, it might just be the simpler answer that she's hallucinating.

It could be related to how most people can't see Radiant spren unless the spren chooses to reveal themselves. Most people can't see Syl unless she allows them to, but her radiant Kaladin always sees her (and Rock but that's different). 

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teknopathetic

Posted (edited)

38 minutes ago, Child of Hodor said:

It could be related to how most people can't see Radiant spren unless the spren chooses to reveal themselves. Most people can't see Syl unless she allows them to, but her radiant Kaladin always sees her (and Rock but that's different). 

Agreed. Shallan is invested while Heleran is not. As well, Shallan was part of the event, so she may have more connection to the item in the safe than her brother. Or maybe Shallan is more connected to her mother (some think herald) than her brothers for some reason. It may even be related in some way to the screams that Szeth often hears after he has murdered someone.

Point is there are a lot of ways to have Shallan's Light be something real considering the  book's setting, motifs, and precedents, 

Edited by teknopathetic
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AllHailStick

Posted (edited)

@Jofwu's aside about if Kaladin bonded 2 spren just has me imagining all of these variants of him zooming around with dual shardspears, a shardspear and his traditional knife he used in the army now shardknife, a shard spear and shardshield at the same time, etc.

And now I want it to be so.

Edited by AllHailStick
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59 minutes ago, AllHailStick said:

@Jofwu's aside about if Kaladin bonded 2 spren just has me imagining all of these variants of him zooming around with dual shardspears, a shardspear and his traditional knife he used in the army now shardknife, a shard spear and shardshield at the same time, etc.

And now I want it to be so.

One is a spear the other is a surfboard he can lash and ride around on (I know it would likely resist lashing, but let me dream). 

On the Sharcast they talked about how Shallan is good at lightweaving and really bad at soulcasting. This suggests she is getting lightweaving from Pattern and soulcasting from the deadeye. This fits with her soulcasting in Way of Kings after talking to a voice that she later said didn't sound like Pattern. 

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6 minutes ago, Child of Hodor said:

One is a spear the other is a surfboard he can lash and ride around on (I know it would likely resist lashing, but let me dream). 

On the Sharcast they talked about how Shallan is good at lightweaving and really bad at soulcasting. This suggests she is getting lightweaving from Pattern and soulcasting from the deadeye. This fits with her soulcasting in Way of Kings after talking to a voice that she later said didn't sound like Pattern. 

Oh gosh, I wonder if that could be. I really like that theory.

Also, 1000x yes to the surfboard. He's even got the beautiful flowing locks to match. XD

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I think when you all were talking about Pattern being “sleepy” a couple of times (the second time being on the way in to the war camps) - It would make sense that the bond with Pattern might be affected if she summoned Testament to kill Tyn 

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I was a also a bit disappointed that there was no speculation about Shallan's mother - it certainly seems ripe for a Big Reveal of some kind.  I'm a big fan of the Chanaranach theory and it seems a shame it wasn't covered, though one could argue that it was about Shallan and not her mum.  Another episode, perhaps.

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Comment on the reconstructing oaths thing, I'm not confident in all the connotations of connection, but consider this; Shallan is not reconstructing oaths. She's reconnecting to them. Previously, she had a disconnect between her memories, life, and oaths with Testament. The reconstructions might not be truths progressing the bond, but rather an acknowledgement to her history with Testament. This might mean that "I'm terrified" is part of that re-connection process, a potential acknowledgement of her previous bond, a fear of herself, the situation, and what she has done. It could also mean that "I killed my spren," again, isn't exactly a truth, it's an acknowledgement of her connection to Testament and showing a willingness to perhaps reconnect and continue. Again, I really don't know for sure, and I might be splitting hairs in this.

Other comment, more on the literature and writing side of things since I'm not logically adept enough to create all the different theories that you do, but listening to you talk about the confusion and sudden perspective change made me think. This has got to be somewhat similar to Shallan's state of mind. Everything, exactly as it was, with no room for any alternate interpretation or doubt. And then suddenly it's all on its head. Nothing is the way she thought it was. Everything is up to debate, and even her own knowledge of herself is questionable. It might be more annoying than anything else or maybe not quite intentional, but I found it interesting.

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My theory on the truths:

"I'm Terrified" - to testament, allowed the old bond to slightly reforge and let her Soulcast

"I killed my father" to Pattern.  He was still new to her so he was still kind of "dumb" but his intelligence came at a much faster rate (than say Syl's did in WoK)

"I Killed my mother" also Pattern

"there is something wrong with all blades except mine" not a personal truth, closer to a Truthwatcher's, doesn't count.  Alternatively, it was accepting that pattern was her blade, and was a truth.  

"I killed my spren" not sure who this goes to yet

 

I wonder if Shallan can get a blade and such faster than a normal Lightweaver because of this being her second bond.  I think she breaks the mould.

 

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