Like it is not an exaggeration to say Shiro had a weird mindscape cage fight with Emperor Goddamn Zarkon and was nearly murdered. Literally the only reason he won/was saved is because of his bond with Black.
Which has been emphasized to be really strong as early as, y’know, the first dang episode. And who when they did the dumb cheerleader pyramid thing to try and form Voltron, this stuck with Black, really strongly, and, y’know what?
I think that makes perfect sense. Of course it would. She’s been intermittently hurt, hunted, trapped, and losing everything to a huge ugly falling out and war centered partially around her. She finds a paladin, she gets out, and immediately, it’s back to fighting for your life-
And then, that. The fact that the new paladins have no idea what they’re doing. That they’re kind of silly and kind of frustrated and are willing to throw up their hands and go “Nothing else is working. Let’s just. stack. Cheerleader pyramid. Do this. Hunk, why are you on my head.”
It’d be, honestly, hilarious. When was the last time Black had fun like that? When was the last time she could, giant space lion thing notwithstanding, feel normal?
And that even fits perfectly with Shiro as well because, honestly, part of him was probably feeling the same way. When was the last time he could just do something irrelevant and be moderately inconvenienced without his life or somebody else’s on the line?
I feel like what fundamentally upsets me so much about a lot of the hypothetical permanent Lion-swapping meta is that it often without even really meaning to suggests like… that the Lions don’t care? That Black is just a sword in the stone waiting for another King Arthur and not a person who would be grieving Shiro in his absence as much as the rest of the team? Or that she’d only focus on Keith out of “worthiness” and not how lost and scared and out of his depth he’d feel?
Because it’s not like the team’s going to go “aah! We need to have seven people!” run to Earth, grab a hypothetical Ryou Shirogane and just all start treating him exactly like Shiro? Because, interpersonally you don’t have specific slots that you replace and the root of the Lion-paladin bonds really feel like interpersonal friendship, openness- a specific kind of harmony.