Why did Adolin kill Sadeas?
Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
He's young and hotheaded unlike Dalinar.
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Why did Adolin kill Sadeas?
He's young and hotheaded unlike Dalinar.
If Kaladin wasn't in the arena in Words of Radiance, would Zahel have intervened to help Adolin?
I will RAFO that, but a different kind of RAFO—in that I don't think Zahel himself knows what he would do in that situation. The better part of him would want to have, but he is not living his best life right now, shall we say. He is not living up to his potential, and he knows it. And so would he have? He should have. But would be have? Good question. Even he doesn't... I don't think that he could answer.
How about the Iriali and Alethi mix we have going on with Adolin and Renarin? Where would this put them within the chibi figures? I have always had a hard time trying to figure out how they would look like due to their mix ethnicity. I have ideas... of course, but I'd be great to have confirmation.
They're gong to have lighter skin, but skin tone isn't something Alethi pay much attention to. Hair and eye color is what draws their attention. Dalinar and Kaladin will be darker than Adolin and Renarin, though none of them would look Caucasian to us. Of course, Caucasians have varied skin tone as well, so it's hard to say specifically what they'd look like. (As a note, Renarin/Adolin are a Riran/Alethi mix--not exactly Iriali/Alethi, as there's some slightly different genetics going on there.)
Oh I thought Riran and Iriali were the same... Where did I go wrong?
I can't say much without giving spoilers, but there are small differences.
Would be cool if you ever got the chance to sit down with a sketch artist to put out images of your visualization of how some of these characters look.
It would be fun, though I've done this (in a small way) with Ben McSweeny, who does a lot of art for my books. I have semi-official character sketches I use for my own descriptive purposes, but I don't consider them close enough in some ways to be canon, so we don't release them or put them in the books. That said, some of them might be floating around on the internet--I'm not sure.
One thing I wish I'd done was nudge Michael Whalen to push his Kaladin on the cover of Words of Radiance a little further to be a little more ethnically Alethi--as I think it would help people's visualizations of him. But the one we ended up with is already the third version of Kaladin he did for that painting, and each one was increasingly better--I felt bad pushing him further.
As a side note, I've always loved this fanart for Rock. I don't know if there's a more on-target picture of one of my characters out there:
Are the Skybreakers going to go after Adolin for what he did?
You're going to have to read and find out.
Sadeas' murder. Do you consider that arc pretty much wrapped?
That is not wrapped, but there are lots of--
Okay. Because I was writing-- I want more of that.
There is a-- Let's just say that there is a convergence of moral philosophies happening in the Kholin household and that it is not done by far.
Was there ever a time when you had intended to kill off a character, but changed your mind because you liked them too much?
Hmm... I'm trying to think of whether or not this happened. I do believe that Adolin died in the original draft of The Way of Kings, which I wrote in 2002. he had a much smaller role in that book, and it played out very differently. When I did the newer version, which I rewrote from scratch, Adolin evolved much differently.
For those who don't know, he wasn't intended to have as large a role in the plot--but I ran into a problem during writing. Dalinar was feeling inconsistent as a character. I wanted to present him as strong and confident, but at the same time had him troubled by worries that he was insane from visions he was seeing.
This worked in outline form, but when I actually wrote, it seemed like he spent WAY too much time standing around worrying that he was crazy. So I expanded Adolin's character, providing a contrast. Dalinar, confident (to an extent) he was seeing something real--and his son, who worried his father was going insane.
Through this development, and giving Adolin more time on the page, he became a much more rounded character.
Another instance of this was Spook from the Mistborn series, who grew to have a much larger role than I'd originally intended.
There's another in this category--but it could include spoilers for an upcoming book. I'll talk about it eventually.
ETA: Szeth originally died permanently in the end of Words of Radiance. I also changed my mind to let Amaram live in the scene with the poison dart. Adolin killed off Sadeas instead.
Adolin has this connection with Maya. Does that have anything to do with why spren are not pursuing him as a Radiant?
1) Will the truth of how Evi really died matter to Dalinar's sons? In other words, is it reasonable to expect Adolin, most notably, will react negatively given he believes his father would have never burned the Rift?
2) Dalinar claims he could forgive Adolin for not being the man he thought he was. Is it reasonable to expect this is easier said than done?
1) It would be reasonable to expect that many people (Adolin foremost among them) will react negatively to the truth--which is indeed contained in Dalinar's book.
2) Yes, I would say that's a reasonable expectation as well.
Thank you for the answer, I much appreciate it. Can I ask if it is reasonable to expect some ramifications with respect to those elements within the next book or if this won't be on topic?
We're getting into RAFO territory, I'm afraid.
Adolin is hit by Parshendi lightning, and then his Plate reacts and starts blocking out the light from the rest of the lightning strikes. Is he awakening his Shardplate as well as his Blade?
So Shardplate didn't have as much of a problem as the Blades did, so if someone else were wearing that they could have had the same effect.
So it's more just a function of the Shardplate, really.
Yeah, but I mean the Shardplate needs to be a little more aware-- You know. It didn't have as much of an effect on Shardplate as the Blades.
That being the Recreance?
The Recreance, yeah.
I couldn't help note that Adolin seems to have a somewhat special bond with his Shardblade. And there have been hints about reawakening the dead spren (mostly characters speculating it wouldn't be possible). But what I wanted to know is if someone like Adolin could convince his Shardblade's dead spren to become a spear or shield, like Kaladin gets to with Syl. Or does a spren need sentience to anticipate its bearer's needs?
Adolin's Shardblade is a RAFO, as I want this to play out naturally and not squelch discussion. Suffice it to say that a dead Shardblade, under normal circumstances, is locked into a single form.
I want to ask Brandon if he plans to write how Adolin feels next to Shallan, as we never get Adolin's viewpoint when it comes to their relationship. I thought it was missed.
Tell them that I do plan to do some of that.
I notice Adolin has a talent for picking out when people are lying. At least he caught Sadeas, he caught Amaram, he knew Kaladin was having something, but he missed Danlan.
How reliable is Adolin with his read on people? Better with guys.
Look at the list you just gave me.
Can you reveal something about Adolin, however small, that we don't know yet?
Much of Adolin's early sense of morality was instilled in him by his mother.
Did Odium have something to do with Adolin killing Sadeas, 'cause in Thaylenah he said that he had been preparing Sadeas' troops for a long time.
You've assured readers that Kaladin is a safe name to use for a child or pet. Would you be willing to comment on Adolin in the same way?
I would not.
Here's my thing. This all gives too many spoilers. You're gonna think I'm saying something about that. The reason I would not is not because of anything specific I'm planning about Adolin. Even though you're going to assume that from the way I said this, it is actually not. It is because I realized the danger in confirming that sort of thing and giving away too much of the future.
And so, I would say that most of these names are safe in that, if they turned out to go down a dark route, you could make the argument that you named the character after them when they were on the right path. You can still name a kid Anakin; and Anakin encapsulates the good part of Anakin Skywalker. And I think you can do that and not have it be like, "You are naming your kid after a terrible space tyrant who murders children!" Well, technically, he turned into that, but...
I am not going to tell you other names that are safe. It just potentially gives too much away. What I can promise is that I will try very hard to treat the characters well (as well as they will let me) in the arcs and journeys they decide to go on.
In Adolin's fight in Words of Radiance, when his shardplate was being destroyed. Had he fought Sadeas right there, would he have been able to win? Or would he have--
Adolin thinks that he would have been able to.
Adolin thinks he could, but would he be able to?
I don't know. Adolin's pretty good, but Adolin's not as good as he thinks he is.
What would the Willshapers think about Adolin killing Sadeas?
The Willshapers would probably be okay with that.
Shallan... in Oathbringer... she meets Adolin, and he's staring into her eyes. And she thinks that he can see that when she's Shallan again. So, my question is, is she correct? And if so, how did Adolin see that?
So, it's not a magical thing. She shifts even when she's kind of being herself-- When she becomes different people, even if she's not completely Lightweaving herself, she shifts.
Is it visible?
It is visible.
So he's looking very closely.
And he wouldn't be able to point out that he had seen that. But it's intuitive, and he's learned to recognize that.
...In her final scene, she seems like she kind of summons her personas-- as if she's fully in control, and they're not coming by themselves anymore, is that correct?
So, they still come and go as they want?
Yes, she's much more in control, but still has a way to go.
Would Wit basically approve of what she's done?
He would give her a "that's a step forward, but you're not there yet."
Was Adolin and Shallan always the endgame, or did you ever shift to Kaladin?
I did shift, back and forth. So, what I do with a lot of my relationships is, I don't usually plan them out. A lot of characterization, I have to leave the characters kind of their own volition. So I write my way into relationships and I write my way into the character elements. I plot my world, my setting, and my plot out ahead of time but I let the characters go where they're going to go. I know some people would rather she made a different decision, but that is the decision that felt right to me going forward.
I've just validated all the Shallarin people on the internet saying, "Aw, he changed his mind!"
Is Adolin left-handed?
Adolin is not left-handed.
He was asked if Adolin had been broken in a way that could make him become a radiant.
He RAFOed this.
Is there a meaning for Adolin's name, like there is for Kaladin?
Okay, do you want to tell me it?
Honestly I have to look them up. So I don't have them off the top of-- I should. I just have to look them up. It’s like there's technically a meaning to almost every name but yeah.
Is Adolin unkilling Maya? RAFO?
I'll give you a [RAFO] card.
We want to know if Adolin is the hottest character.
If Adolin's the hottest character in the entire...?
In the cosmere.
I don't know, Blushweaver's pretty hot. Adolin's pretty hot.
I thought you might go with a Returned.
But the Returned are supernaturally hot, and Adolin is only naturally hot.
With a Returned it's almost unfair.
It is unfair. If you're gonna go without any magical enhancements, Adolin's gonna be up there. He's got personality hotness and physical hotness, so yeah.
Have we seen Adolin at his prime yet, at his best?
I would guess... that depends on your point of view.
Speaking of Rosharan calendar-- So seventeen year old Kaladin, is he the equivalent of a seventeen year old Earthling?
It's 1.1, I think is what is it. Right, they're 10% older than their accounting system. So no.
So Adolin is 27, true?
So then a year is obviously a lot more than 1.1 but--
Well no. The years are 500 days, but they're 20 hour days. Keep that in mind. So when you run the calculations kinda together, you end up with around 1.1.
Based off of your previous question, the first Kaladin became Adolin?
Adolin was actually in that book, and so the first Kaladin wasn't even-- didn't even become Adolin, like the first Kaladin was like-- you've read this book before probably. The young peasant boy trains to be a knight, that sort of thing and was just too familiar, it was too-- I was playing the tropes and hitting the nails on the head, but in a way that was not interesting. Adolin and Renarinare both in that book basically as the people that they ended up being. Shallan and Kaladin are the people that I basically pulled out and replaced with new characters, because neither of them were working. I'll someday release that book and you can read it and be horrified about this book where really, really different things happen, and the characters half feel like themselves and half don't. Bridge Four isn't in that version of the book, Bridge Four is actually in Dragonsteel. Which is another book I wrote, which is where Dalinar started too. I wrote 13 books before I sold one. Dragonsteel was number 7 or 8. Half the ideas for the version of The Way of Kings you read came from that and half the ideas came from the original Stormlight Archive.
How would Adolin fare against the greats like Lan, Rand, Galad, and how would Kaladin and his spear fare against Mat?
It’s really hard to say this, because what are different characters’ skill levels and things? For instance, I generally count Lan as the strongest and the best. My [Wheel of Time] books that I wrote show that. I think Lan would beat Adolin. You just can’t replace the twenty years of intense practice that Lan has, and the wisdom, no matter how talented of a rookie you are -- even though Adolin is not a rookie. I think Lan could go toe-to-toe with anyone non-immortal in the cosmere, because a lot of the cosmere people have an advantage, right? Taln has spent 4,000 years practicing with weapons. Granted, he spent a bunch of that time being tortured as well, but you know. He has many lifetimes behind him, and has been able to be killed making mistakes and never make those mistakes again. That is a leg up on someone like Lan or like Adolin that is just of a supernatural level. And so, while I think Lan would beat any swordsman in a fair fight from the Cosmere, I would count anyone who has a greatly expanded lifespan as an unfair fight. Like, I don’t think Lan would be able to stand against the better duelists among the Heralds or even against Vasher. Vasher’s got multiple lifetimes of practicing with the sword.
How would Kaladin do against Mat? It depends, Mat’s luck is a very big wildcard, and how is the luck on Mat’s side and how is karma working in Mat’s favor or against him in that given moment? That’s part of what makes Mat fun. So Kaladin is a soldier, again, not a duelist. Kaladin is really good with a spear, but his training is in war, his training is to be a battlefield captain. What even is Mat? Mat has been trained by fate itself with weapons, which is just really hard to play. Let’s call that a tie, edge probably to Kaladin.
Lan beats Adolin or basically any duelist but you put him up against the Heralds and he has a much harder time.
While I am glad to hear the book is going along well, I will not hide the fact I am severely disappointed by Adolin's lack of page time. I cannot believe we won't get to read his thoughts following the events of WoR. If there was one POV I wanted to read, it was his, but according to the planning, we won't, not until the very end of the book.
I truly appreciate the efforts done to keep the fans informed, but I cannot hide my disappointment. I guess it is better knowing now than finding it out about it after having waited for the book for another year.
I don't know if you're the same person who wrote to me in private, as I closed that window--so forgive me if I'm repeating myself somewhat.
I am well aware that many people are very interested in what is happening to Adolin, and I consider him one of the more interesting and unexpected developments of the series, in deviation from the original outline. I intend to dig into things with him in the book.
He's done a lot with very few viewpoints in the books so far. Why not read and see where he goes in this one?
Thank you for your response. I have pondered on it all day yesterday.
Unfortunately, knowing Adolin doesn't have viewpoints until the last 100K words of the book basically is a show stopper for me. While I knew his story arc would never be as large as other characters, much to my sadness, I had hope he would, at the very least, remain a steady viewpoint character. My expectations for this book were to read more of him, especially considering how his story arc ended in WoR, not less.
Those very few words might be amazing, but it sounds too little and too late: especially knowing they are cramped into one of the smallest part of the book and shared with 5 other viewpoint characters including the three major ones.
My expectations sincerely were very different. It might my own fault for not having understood before how small Adolin's role was bond to be, but I cannot help being disappointed by it. If I knew Adolin had a bigger role waiting for him in later books, I would bear my time and think I only need to be more patient, but I know it will not happen.
So all in all, as much as I have loved the first two books, knowing Adolin's overall arc in so small in the upcoming book is a show stopper for me as a reader.
I truly appreciate your work as an author, but I had considered Adolin to be one of the major payers, despite the lack of flashbacks. I had expected him to be present within the story and not just through third person's perspective. Knowing it won't happen basically breaks the magic for me.
So sorry again.
I still think you're over reacting, and prematurely at that. Jasnah was a major force in the first book, and became many people's favorite, despite having no viewpoints. Sometimes, keeping someone from having viewpoints actually enhances their story.
Regardless, there is a bigger issue: the story cannot be everything to every reader. It must be the story I shape it to be; to try anything else is madness. You have the option, when reading, to edit the story in your experience of it, if you wish, to better match your desires. I have to tell the story the way my writing instincts say is the strongest, and this is the viewpoint breakdown that is best.
It kind of felt like you let Adolin off the hook for murder.
I would say no, I didn't. There will be more implications there, but what you've gotta understand is, Adolin does not view what he did as murder. His dad is uncertain if it is. And his dad is the ultimate judge of legality. There will be far-reaching implications of this, but kind of the way a society like that works, if you didn't get caught and you are the son of the king, then you get a little-- you know what I mean?
Is it yet to be resolved?
Yet to have the full extent of its implications, how about that? I would say that you are perfectly right if you were to say he did something morally wrong. There are many who would agree with you; there are many who would disagree with you. And that disagreement is part of what the story is about.
Will Adolin ever become a Knight Radiant?
That's a RAFO!
Why did you make Adolin kill someone?
Adolin's on the edge. He was just really frustrated with this guy who tried to murder his dad multiple times. Adolin demanded that it happen. It wasn't me forcing it to.
Because I was reading that during my creative writing course. Everybody in there was wondering why I was so mad...
You can slap him around sometime, if you want. But he made the call himself.
What Jasnah did, in the first book, with Shallan in the alleyway and what happened at the end of this book... between Adolin and the other character [Sadeas]. Would you put them on the same level? Or would you say that what Adolin did was maybe a little bit darker?
I would say that what Adolin did was less dark, personally... It just depends on your perspective, but personally I say what Adolin did was something that needed to be done and no one else was capable of doing.
Would you say that it's going to have any ramifications for him down the line? With how it was handled?
Oh it's definitely—how it's handled, definitely there are ramifications, lots of ramifications. And there are certain characters who would think that what he did is totally, totally, totally wrong.
Is Adolin going to be an Edgedancer?
That's a RAFO.
All right. So...things do get confusing whenever I'm trying to circumlocute spoilers. I could have smacked myself for forgetting to mention "no spoilers" before the Q&A. I keep forgetting that there are many readers who are not as sensitive to these things as I am. (Though one woman did gasp in the row behind that guy asking the question--as his original one mentioned Sadeas's death, I believe.)
I will say that there are multiple people I'd consider well on the path to being Radiants by the end of Book Three, and several of these would--shall we say--dispute KR traditions from the past, specifically on this subject matter. (What makes someone eligible to become a KR.) So this discussion is relevant for multiple reasons.
I wasn't trying to drop any bombs about Adolin, however, as I remain very solidly in RAFO territory about his future.
Thank you for taking the time to clarify this one Mr Sanderson.
This WoB created a massive shock-wave all across the fandom and many readers were taking you had officially confirmed Adolin was "well on his way towards Knighthood" which I was personally convinced was very deeply into the RAFO territory, as it should be.
Perhaps in order to also settle some additional debates, would you say Adolin would challenge what has traditionally made someone eligible to become a KR or is this within RAFO territory too? Readers can never seem to agree on how perfect Adolin actually is. We seem to find rationals for both.
I hate to use terms like "perfect" or the like. It's even difficult to (when not speaking in world) use some of the terminology the KR have used in the past--as we have to reconcile several things.
How do you decide what is a mental illness and what is simply a person's unique brain chemistry? Usually this comes down to two factors--the person's own feelings on it and the advice of medical professionals. Even language like "Well-adjusted," as I used before, is dangerous territory because it's so subjective. One need look only to the deaf community to find examples of people who challenge an outsider's perspective of what is a disease and what isn't.
So I generally prefer to talk about this through the character's viewpoint, the lens of historical commentary (which is in world, and may not therefore be accurate--but at least offers a perspective,) and the context of the book.
And in that context, I like Adolin being a RAFO. I believe that using the text, there are multiple directions one could go in discussing him.
So, when the group was in Shadesmar, Adolin's sword seemed to kind of take on a life of its own and attack him. Is it possible for a dead spren to come back?
They would say no, in-world. I will say RAFO.
In Stormlight Archive before the full disadvantaged duel, there's foreshadowing of Shardblades being spren and Adolin talking to his Blade, tradition. But then also... Adolin says, "Oh I forgot my mom's lucky necklace," and I don't think there's ever a reference to that again. Do we see something come back up about that necklace?
The necklace is just pure superstition on his part, it's not seeding something in... I have to sometimes make certain things not relevant, otherwise everything is relevant. So the chicken and the necklace mean nothing, but obviously the talking to the sword is a tradition that has a meaning, and it comes into play in Oathbringer.
I've noticed some similarities between the father-son pairs of Dalinar/Adolin and Mormon/Moroni, was that intentional or did it creep in subconsciously? The M/M relationship is an incredibly powerful one for me and I'm glad to see it pop-up in unexpected places.
That's not intentional, but it could certainly be unconscious influence.
I've heard Brandon talk about these characters and he said that originally there was no Adolin. Dalinar was the only character speaking to both the belief and doubt of what he was experiencing. Brandon's Writing Group gave feedback that having one character flip-flop like that wasn't working, so Brandon developed Adolin to help express those doubts. What a great way to solve a problem, and the result is a wonderful relationship that immitates many powerful Father/Son stories.
You're ALMOST right. Adolin wasn't a viewpoint character initially, but he was in the book during the draft you're talking about. (The one where I had to fix things.) But if I go back to Dalinar, the character, back in his origin (before I wrote the way of kings the first time, back in 2002) he did not have a son. It was his relationship with his brother and nephew (needing to take over the kingdom for a beloved brother who died, and rule it for a nephew--then have concerns about giving up power, and how much he should take) that was the origin of Dalinar.
Isn't Adolin not in the original [Way of Kings draft]? That the son listed is an entirely different character that was cut and Adolin added as a different son?
Aredor is Adolin's old name. They're still the same person. However, Shinri Davar is a completely different person from Shallan Davar.
Shallan's and Adolin's relationship felt sort of rushed at the end. Was there a reason you developed it like that?
Shallan and Adolin are very young and madly in love. The marriage partly was for state reasons. They're really unlike Dalinar, who was in denial for 15 years about loving Navani.
Was it moral for Adolin to kill Sadeas?
Which morality scheme are you looking for?
Yours. Your personal morality.
My personal morality. It depends on the day. That one's on a line. I would say yes. There's a little bit of-- there's enough chaotic good in me. I would generally put myself in neutral good. But there's enough chaotic good in me to say, "Yeah, that guy asked for it. He betrayed you, he was threatening your family." I would side on Adolin's side, I think.
I am very convinced that Adolin, with the events that happen with the last book. You're sending him down a like a dark path. Is he possibly going to be a-- *questioningly* Antagonist? Protagonist?-- A bad, eventually? Or is he--
I'm going to say this, the things that Adolin did do not contradict some of the moralities on Roshar, in fact they follow them directly. Some of the moralities on our planet would say what he did is the right thing to do. I think treating it as a "dark path" is too reductionist to say. There are people who would seriously argue, and they would have a good argument, that what Dalinar was doing by leaving Sadeas around was a good idea. And then there are other people who would say "You know what Sadeas did was a challenge and it was rightly then responded to" and then there are people who would say it was absolutely immoral. So, it depends on your philosophy.
What would Honor say? Well, Honor's dead, so-- *lots of laughter* You know Honor would not have been behind that action, but Honor's dead.
Who's your favorite Cosmere character to draw?
Mmmm... lately, Adolin. But I don't get to draw the characters "officially" very often.
Does it mean you have drawn Adolin? Any chances were are going to see those sketches someday? As a die-hard fan of him, I am dying to see a proper representation.
There's a peek at Adolin's face on the Shardplate page, but just a peek. His armor does appear twice, both on the same Plate page and as Adolin's chapter icon, and those are Brandon-approved designs for both Plate and Blade... we might modify them as time goes on, but for now they're a good starting point.
Brandon's always been pretty cagey about releasing official illustrations of characters... Michael Whelan gets a pass because he's Michael flipping Whelan and because covers need faces, but we try to limit it within the pages of the book (covers change around the world, but the interiors go everywhere). This is because Brandon doesn't want to force one interpretation of a character's likeness down the reader's throat. He describes them, but the face you see in your mind is your own creation, and that should remain as valid as possible for as long as possible.
Someday we might collect those background works into a book, but not for a while. :)
Oh that's a shame. I really hoped to see a more detailed facial within the next book. The miniature was amazing. You did a great job: I especially loved the little bangs of hair. I wished we could see what hid under the helmet though or just Adolin without his armor.
I might do some unofficial version at some point. I like doing fan-art as much as anyone, it's how I got this job to start with. :)
Have you ever considered giving Adolin more screen time and a better arc, similar to how Spook grew on you? There are a lot of die-hard Adolin fans that are really hoping he will get bumped up into a more important role?
RAFO on that one.
Love Adolin! May we also see more style tips for Alethi men? lol I'm likely alone in that.
You'll be getting some more.
What is the biggest change you've made based on alpha/beta reader feedback? (This goes for any of your books)
Probably adding Adolin as a main viewpoint character in the first book, which was done because I had trouble striking the balance between Dalinar worrying he was mad, and being a proactive, confident character. Worried better to externalize some of the, "Am I mad" into his son worrying "My dad has gone crazy" while letting Dalinar be more confident that his visions were something important. (I still let him worry a little, of course, but in the original draft, he felt temperamental from vacillation between these two extremes.)
Bringing Adolin to the forefront in the books has had a huge ripple effect through them, as I've been very fond of how his character has been playing out.
May I ask why you choose to use Adolin as the viewpoint character to supplement Dalinar as opposed to Renarin? My understanding is Renarin has always been the "most important brother" within SA, which made me wonder why, based on the beta readers comments, you ultimately decided to use Adolin and not your established character to bring forward the dilemma.
I am, obviously, extremely fond of how Adolin has been played out so far and while I have no idea where he is going (but zillions of theories), I am curious to know what his initial purpose in the story was. Did you draft the character's personality just for WoK's needs or did you have an idea of what to do with him when you made the change?
I was well aware that I needed certain things about Renarin to remain off-screen until later books, and him being a viewpoint character early would undermine these later books.
Adolin is a happy surprise and works exactly because he doesn't need to be at the forefront, even after I boosted his role. With Adolin, what you see is really what you get, which is refreshing in the books--but it also means I don't need huge numbers of pages to characterize him, delve into his backstory, etc. He works as a side character who gives more to the story than he demands pages to fullfill that giving, if that makes sense. Renarin is more like a pandora's box. Open him up, and we're committed to a LOT of pages. (Good pages, but that was the problem with TWOK Prime--everyone was demanding so many pages, from Renarn, to Jasnah, to Kaladin, to Taln, that none of their stories could progress.)
Adolin has basically always had the same personality, from TWOK Prime, through the original draft of the published TWOK, to the revision. The changes to making him more strong a viewpoint character were very natural, and he has remained basically the same person all along--just with an increased role in the story, and more development because of it.
I do discovery write character, usually, as a method of keeping the books from becoming slaves to their outlines. This means that Adolin has gone some new directions, but it's been a growth from the person he was in TWOK Prime. (Which you'll be able to see when I release it, sometime in the hopefully not distant future.)
Is Adolin's inability to form meaningful relationships important to his overall character arch?
Yes, it is.
With Syl being able to be revived, is Adolin ever going to be able to revive his own blade, or--
Ah, that would be very difficult, because the original-- in most cases, the original person who broke the oath would have to be the one.
I asked for something about Adolin.
Adolin's entire plot in The Stormlight Archive has been rebuilt because he worked so well in book one. He has a bigger role now.
Is there anyone in the cosmere capable of winning a fight against Lan Mandragoran without Investiture?
No. I would not say that there is. Lan is the best swordsman I have ever written. Adolin, of the people I have written about, would be the closest, but Lan would win.