Ok but can we talk about how the Paladin’s bayards don’t just suit them, but actually ARE them? THE BAYARD PICKS THE PALADIN, MR. POTTER.
The bayards are frankly the coolest metaphorical device happening in this show and I haven’t seen anyone talk about it yet (I’m sure someone has, but I feel like it’s not really… a thing??), and if my major has taught me any(useless)thing it’s to get stuck on functional motifs in storytelling so
I mean this is just fun. You’re probably not surprised that he gets the big blade because he’s main-character-red and the emo/possibly-Asian-one, but let’s consider a few things:
The fact that it’s sharp on both sides acts as a physical reminder of the duality happening within his character (he cuts others down, but internally he’s cutting himself down just as much: a double-edged sword).
Furthermore, that double edge reminds us that it’s a loner’s weapon: he needs to be able to attack with each swing, in any direction, because no one’s coming to back him up. It may be space, but dude is clearly rockin’ the lone wolf/samurai vibe. The length backs that up a bit as well–it keeps everyone he sees as an ‘enemy’ or a ‘rival’ at a distance (//side-eye @ lance).
What’s even more interesting is that if you look at Keith’s relationship with his bayard compared to his Marmora blade, they represent his hidden and public selves: who people see him as/expect him to be vs. who he truly is and wants to be (is afraid to be) himself.
Most people only see his bayard, a classic warrior/knight weapon that represents strength and grace and leadership. Keith brings this out in battle, in front of his friends, before enemies, etc. But when he’s alone at night or when he’s holed up in the desert, the blade on his mind and in his hand is his Marmora dagger. Despite being a secret for so long, it is actually this blade (and not the bayard he got from Voltron) which Keith always keeps close to him (and which he keeps strictly concealed).
He covers up the mark on the hilt as if to cover his own hidden thoughts and feelings (and maybe even dubious past). In public, he feels he can proudly show his bayard but doesn’t want anyone to know he has the dagger, even before he himself knows what it might mean.
Even more interestingly, this blade also represents close combat–letting people get close to you–and the desire to protect others, showing that these are things Keith thinks about, feels, and even wants, but is afraid to show to those around him. What’s more, while the obvious skills and general cool-dude-ness associated with the bayard are something Keith has earned/achieved by his own merit, the Marmora dagger (and all the things it represents) were something he was born with; something inherently part of him. Ironically, once Keith learns more about his dagger and what it represents, it becomes longer–it adds distance, just as the truth about his past puts distance between him and the other paladins.
Like, I could literally (gladly) write an entire essay just on the symbolism of how Keith treats these blades, but you get the idea.
I was gonna do Shiro next but his is even sadder than Keith’s so let’s do
So some things about this are obvious: it bears a (kind of adorable similarity) in shape to her head. It’s small, she’s small, but if you underestimate either of them you will be sorry. It’s an incredibly quick/nimble weapon (a great parallel for her stinging wit). Her bayard is designed for quick, surgically precise movements, which is exactly how Pidge works (both mentally and metaphorically).
However, while it has great attack capabilities, that’s clearly not the bayard’s (or Pidge’s) main purpose; it’s a necessary consequence in the pursuit of other goals. Rather, the transformative and flexible uses of Pidge’s bayard emphasize the desire to be useful and to solve problems over attacking. This is belied by the fact that Pidge forms Voltron’s shield. Pidge would much rather think her way out of/around a problem than charge in head-first.
Her bayard is a reflection of that. Pidge’s bayard is also the most technically complicated, which is another great parallel for her mind. Furthermore, the grappling hook function of her bayard echoes her desire to find things out of reach, and cast out into space and bring those things close to her, or herself to them (*cough*MATT*cough*).
TL;DR: it’s an all-purpose, unassuming weapon meant to perform multiple tasks in an efficient, creative way, and it focuses on problem solving/extraction more than brute attack (though it packs plenty of punch when cornered). And, of course, though she be but little, she is fierce.
As his swagger (and even his name, like talk about being on the nose) suggests, Lance is totally in-your-face, up-in-your-business blabbermouth who seems pretty simple to understand. So why does he have the weapon that arguably requires the most finesse, patience, and also has a long range? Because that’s what Lance is really like under all that talk. It may seem like Lance lives with the words “are we there yet” on his tongue, but consider this: Lance wanted to be a pilot, but was originally relegated to commercial-class ranks. Did that stop him? Nope. He kept at it until he made it to the top of those ranks (it’s safe to assume that if they only promoted one pilot to fighter-class after Keith’s expulsion, it would be the top of the commercial-class students). That’s more patience than any of the other paladins have shown.
As a gun in a team that has close-combat weapons, Lance’s bayard automatically assumes a supportive role (despite all his talk about beating Keith and being the best), and we see this multiple times throughout the show. His first day as a fighter-class pilot, what does Lance do? Talks to his team and says they should stick together. How does he find out about Shiro? He’s following Pidge and asking about what she’s up to–crazy theories that others wouldn’t care to hear out. There are a lot of other examples of this (notably, when he throws himself in front of Coran), but from the get-go we’re slyly shown that Lance actually cares about and pays attention to those around him (even though he keeps talking about kicking their butts and being #1). It makes sense, then, that his weapon would be one designed to support and provide cover for others. In fact, we see Lance doing exactly this in the first episode when Pidge mouths off and he rushes in to cover for her.
Sadly, as one of the longer-range weapons, Lance’s bayard is also one of the loneliest metaphors in the group, and we see the reason for this just as much in VLD: Lance doesn’t feel appreciated (or sometimes even accepted) by the people around him. He often feels distant, though not by choice. He may shoot (ha) his mouth off a lot, but at the end of the day it’s pretty apparent that this boy craves love and attention, almost as much as he wants to be perceived as a ‘top gun’ (double ha) within the group.
A gun–especially the rapid-fire type that Lance has–further mirrors his tendency to be impulsive (and even impetuous) rather than controlled and thoughtful. On the bright side, though, it is exactly that willingness to pull the trigger that has catapulted the gang forward on a number of occasions.
Between Shiro’s arm and his bayard there are so many different things going on here I don’t even know how I can touch on all of them. If I could write an essay on Keith’s weapons, I could write a BOOK on Shiro’s.
First, let’s talk about Shiro’s actual bayard. In Zarkon’s hands, you can read this as a physical extension of Shiro’s freedom, or even as Shiro himself: Zarkon took the bayard–something meant to be used for good–from another world, and then warped it in the hopes of using it to cause destruction.
The good news is that both Shiro and the bayard escape Zarkon’s clutches because of Voltron, and though Zarkon intended to use them, they instead become the strongest weapons to fight against him. They will always feel the effects of Zarkon’s influence and ownership–the bayard because of Zarkon’s former paladin connections, and Shiro because of his arm and PTSD–but they still fight. In the end, it is Zarkon’s obsession with them as his former ‘possessions’ that becomes his downfall. So deep is his trauma that Shiro actually waits until it looks like they’re about to die (when Voltron is in an electric headlock) to activate his bayard. Why? Because he doesn’t trust his arm, he doesn’t trust his hold on the bayard or the lion (don’t even get me STARTED on how the lion–down it’s right-hand weapon and still somewhat under Zarkon’s control–represents Shiro himself), and as a result he doesn’t trust himself to be stronger than Zarkon.
Even when Shiro finally gets the bayard back, he doesn’t call it his bayard, or the black bayard; he calls it Zarkon’s bayard (and it looks the part). This can be seen as a mirror for how Shiro sees himself: even though it’s a bayard, Zarkon tainted it, and now it doesn’t belong to him even though it’s rightfully his and he has it in his hands (which, ironically, is still technically Zarkon’s hand… you get the picture).
However, as Keith corrects him (”you’ve got your bayard”), the bayard rejects the changes Zarkon forced upon it, and reverts to a form that matches Shiro and the other paladins (likely how it looked before Zarkon started using it for evil). Just as the paladins healed Shiro by rescuing him and making him part of Voltron, Shiro does the same for the black bayard. Indeed, he only pulls out the power necessary to retrieve the black bayard once he wakes up to find the team fighting to protect him. It might be telling symbolically that Shiro leaves his bayard behind when he goes missing at the end of the season–perhaps he’s won his freedom only to have it taken once again.
Which leads me to…
The black bayard could also represent Shiro’s memories: both are known to exist, and we get hints/flashes/teases throughout the show, but both are initially “lost”. Slowly, it is revealed just how both Shiro’s bayard and his memories have been taken/corrupted by Zarkon. We see this in the way Shiro’s memories haunt him, only to frustratingly elude him when he needs them. When Shiro finally tries to find out more about why Zarkon has the bayard, he’s also facing his own mind–his memories, his insecurities, and his apprehension at what fate awaits him–as well. In this sense, when Shiro reclaims the black bayard, he is also reclaiming so much more: the hold/fear Zarkon held over him, the insufficiency and anxiety he felt because of it, etc.
You can also read the bayard as a mirror for Shiro’s arm: Zarkon took Shiro’s arm and replaced it with something Galran. Shiro joins Voltron only to find that Zarkon also has his metaphorical right hand–his weapon. Shiro can’t use the weapon he should be holding (in a hand he doesn’t have because of Zarkon) because Zarkon took it. Talk about a vicious cycle. This symbolism is supported all through season 1 and parts of season 2 where we see Shiro simultaneously struggle with controlling Zarkon’s lasting effects on Voltron and coming to grips (ha) with controlling his arm. It’s hinted–both during battle and through PTSD–that if Shiro doesn’t control his arm, it will control him, just as Zarkon demonstrates that if Shiro can’t reclaim the bayard, Zarkon will use it to kill him (we see a similar parallel with his memories).
I’m just going to stop here because the black bayard and Shiro’s arm can represent so many different things that it totally distracts me and I can only really do it justice by literally sitting down and writing out a full on dissertation on it.
But TL;DR: Shiro’s arm and his bayard are in a crazy, soap-opera drama with Zarkon on so many different levels and it is symbolistically incredible.
Hunk’s bayard, much like Hunk, is pretty straight-forward and simple. Physically, it’s a big weapon. A big, hulking (Hunking????) weapon. It looks incredibly imposing, but its chief function isn’t destruction, but preventing destruction. Just as Hunk likes to avoid violence, his canon is mostly used to disable enemy weapons as part of Voltron, and individually Hunk uses it to provide long-range cover fire for his team (when he tries to use it in a more actively combative role, he just ends up almost shooting Pidge… gg, Hunk).
Unlike Lance’s more nimble and quick-fire weapon, Hunk’s takes a lot of strength to move around and a long time to power up–this mirrors Hunk’s own well-rooted stance (he’s not easily swayed), and his cautious nature. He doesn’t do things off-the-cuff or on a whim; he thinks them through first. Indeed, it’s almost always Hunk warning the others of the possible outcomes of their proposed escapades.
He’s also slow to anger, just as his weapon is slow to fire. However, once he has decided to take a shot, his firepower is incredible, just as when he does decide to take action (like with the Balmerans), his will is unstoppable.
I could go on for days, guys. I have so much stuff I had to cut out because even the hardcorest Voltron fans don’t care about underlying motifs this much, I know, but AGH. GUYS. GUYS. THE BEAUTY??? OF THIS WRITING??? IN A KIDS’ SHOW?????
I sincerely hope that for the Defenders, Luke Cage is made the designated leader, with Claire Temple as the Nick Fury-type member.
Danny is too naive and immature to be leading anyone while Matt and Jessica have WAY too many personality issues to inspire loyalty. Let’s not forget what happened in Daredevil season two with what went down between Matt, Karen, and Foggy and how Jessica treated people not named Trish and Luke.
(Malcolm is a slight exception since he did redeem himself but she still screwed him over a bit)
Luke, on the other hand, is a pretty stable dude who does inspire people. That was one of the main points in his show, that people look up to him and are inspired to do good. He may be reluctant but he definitely plays well with others and can take the lead when he needs to. Plus, he’s a former sheriff so I’m pretty sure he has actual experience leading a team into dangerous situations.
This isn’t hate on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Iron Fist by the way. Like, I LOVE Matt Murdock but even I’d be disappointed if he was made team leader. The man can barely manage himself, do you really think he can manage three other people, each of whom have their own issues?
Thanks you guys, it's good to be free again-who the hell are you two?
*points at Matt and Danny*
Don't look at me, I don't know either. All I know is that Claire needs our help.
Okay, Luke, Jessica, this might sound strange but we have a situation on our hands.
Claire...please. I'm a walking bulletproof man.
And I took down a man with mind control powers.
Exactly. You'd have to really TRY in order to weird us out anymore.
Okay, in that case, I'm gonna let Matt and Danny explain what's happening.
*Matt and Danny step up*
The city is under attack from an ancient, Japanese cult of ninja called "The Hand".
Right now, they're trying to harness the power of the "Black Sky" from a woman named Elektra Natchios, who was killed but later resurrected through a blood ritual involving some weird, ancient pod.
Also, Elektra's my ex-girlfriend. And she's part of an ancient organization called "The Chaste", who are the Hand's nemesis.
Oh, and did I mention that I was raised in a mythical city by monks and I can charge my fist with mystical chi energy?
And I'm blind but my senses have been heightened to the point that I don't need sight. Oh yeah, and I'm Daredevil aka the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Are you with us so far?
1.I LOVED DANNY RAND IN THIS. SCREW ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE
2.HE AND LUKE CAGE ARE ULTIMATE BROTP GOALS.
3. I WANT JESSICA AND LUKE TO END UP TOGETHER ALREADY. DAMMIT.
4. ELEKTRA’ S LAST NAME WILL ALWAYS BE NACHOS TO ME.
5. KAREN PAGE IS FINE AF. DEBORAH ANN WOLL WILL ALWAYS BE BAE.
Can you do a companions react to the Inquisitor being Autistic? Especially Cole?
I (Mod Sarah) am autistic, so I was very pleased to see this request. That being said, autism is a wide-reaching term for an entire spectrum of symptoms that affect people differently– every autistic person is unique, and each has their own quirks and symptoms. I feel that companion responses would vary, depending on what symptoms and behaviors the Inquisitor in question is displaying. For the sake of simplicity, I will be basing this autistic Inquisitor off of my own unique brand of autism, finely aged and diagnosed for the last ten years. Let’s get this show on the road.
Cassandra: Their behavior confounds her, at least at first. They avoid eye contact like the plague, can have intense reactions to stimuli, such as loud noises like explosions upset them with ease. She at first thought they were just being childish, but eventually realizes they’re genuinely hypersensitive to certain things. She guesses that they’re not exactly neurotypical, judging by behavior, and tries to be more receptive to their needs and sensitivities after finding out they’re innocent. It doesn’t particularly bother her that they fidget and stim and avoid eye contact, or even sometimes speak too loudly or too quietly– so long as they’re honest and good at heart. Iron Bull later on describes a mental condition known to the Qun that’s akin to autism and other development disorders, and she agrees that they likely are autistic. If Romanced: He likes just lying by her side, citing the same poems he knows by heart, staring up at the sky with her. She’s smiling, too, as she listens, knowing the poem by heart from repeated recitations as she holds his hand and looks up at the world beyond, so long as they’re there for each other.
Iron Bull: He’s met people like them. He figures it out after observing them, and he adapts accordingly. The Qun values people like them, especially if they have special interests, which are encouraged and honed for special jobs as adults. As a result, he respects them more at first. He accommodates them, and never asks them why they avoid eye contact or fidget or stim in any way. He informs the others what he thinks is different about them, and that’s about it. The man is also good at figuring out what they mean when they speak somewhat disorderly, as if words got jumbled before coming out, and often clarifies for the others. He’s a big source of help during the Winter Palace, getting them out of sight and letting them calm down or stim when overwhelmed. If Romanced: Sex with him is somewhat specialized, but fantastic– he figures out what they do and don’t like, and he works with it. Sometimes they just lay side-by-side, while he massages their muscles in just the way they like it, whispering sweet words of comfort at just the right tone for them, repeated and quiet.
Blackwall: He’s never encountered someone like them, so he thought, until Bull tells him that he likely has but never noticed. He’s not really sure how to go about them, so he just decides he’ll take it in stride and work with them. It works well, and they’re comfortable with each other. After he’s revealed to be Thom Rainier, they actually get over it pretty fast, regarding what he did as a Bad Thing, but he’s trying to make up for it, which they accept. If Romanced: He’s more worried than usual about going into romance with them, because he’s worried that if and when they find out who he is, she’ll have a meltdown, she’ll refuse to even look at him, what have you. He doesn’t want to break her heart. When the time comes, she’s having a meltdown, but not because of who he is– but because he’s in jail, and she desperately wants him to come home. When he finally does, he gets a scolding, but she forgives him. He decides that his new mission in life is making her safe and happy, like she made him.
Sera: She doesn’t care in the least– in fact, she likes it. She sort of relates to them, actually– to the point where she starts wondering if she’s autistic at all. She gives them all sorts of things and textures to fiddle with. She speaks at a level that doesn’t upset them (while she enjoys yelling and cheering and howling with laughter, she’ll take it down a notch for their sake) and will viciously prank anyone who gives them shit for their quirks. “It’s not like they can help it. It’s just who they are, and anyone who says otherwise can knob it.” If Romanced: The romance proceeds mostly like normal, though she doesn’t start yelling at her in the culminate scene when describing her nightmare, because she knows it will upset her. Instead, she avoids her, frustrated and trying to figure out how to describe what’s going on, and opts for writing it down. The Herald reads it, looks up at her, and frowns. “But I love you,” the she says, sounding a little hurt, “I’m sorry about the dream, but dreams are dreams. They don’t have to come true. I just want to be with you.” Sera’s heart melts, and tackles her with a kiss.
Varric: He’s very understanding and unfazed by their quirks, and isn’t surprised when Bull mentions they’re probably autistic. He just works with it, with who they are, and treats them like people, not just a weirdo. “So what if you’re a little different? That’s what makes you who you are, and you’re fine.” They like listening to him tell stories– his voice is nice and even and calm, which calms them down. Often they ask for the same few stories they like again and again, but Varric doesn’t mind– he’s happy to have an enraptured audience. He also suggests to them trying to write to get their thoughts out, to express themselves, and it helps.
Cole: He is of a LOT of help to the Inquisitor. He’s good at voicing how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking if they’re incapable in any way of doing so, as well as getting them things they need but don’t vocalize that they need. “They’re a little different in the way their thoughts work, but they think of new and wonderful things that most can’t. They are good the way they are.” He protests whenever they have to mask how they actually act, citing it as stressing them out and exhausting. He also knows exactly what textures, sounds, and tastes they do or don’t like, often bringing them things for stimming to calm them down or steering them away from offending stimuli, such as excessively bright lights or noise. If they have a special interest(s), he happily listens to them info-dump without getting remotely bored– it makes the Herald so happy, which makes him happy.
Vivienne: She was a little off-put by how they acted in her chateau at first, but she starts suspecting something isn’t normal about them aside from the mark. When Bull explains the disorder to her, she does research and quickly comes to agree with the diagnosis. She’s significantly more patient with them as a result, and she tries to coach them on talking to people. “Unfortunately for you, eye contact is a standard of Orlesian society,” she says, “if this is too difficult for you, try focusing your attention on a nose or intricate part of the mask. They’ll never tell the difference.” When it comes to fidgeting, she actually gets them a notebook and fancy quill, and advises them to play with the quill against the notebook when at parties– Orlesians will just think they’re working and admire it, while they can stim to some extent. She recognizes it’s part of who they are, and must be worked with instead of covered up.
Dorian: They get frustrated easily with social interaction, and if they recruit the mages, practically the whole time spent in future Redcliffe is them trying to not have a meltdown or sensory overload. He tries his best to keep them as calm as possible, but begins to think that maybe there’s more going on with them than just panic at their situation. Bull explains what he thinks is up with them, and Dorian buries himself in whatever information he can get about the disorder. He gets good at calming them down and using certain spells to numb certain sensations or noises, which greatly reduces their stress levels. If Romanced: He cringes, at first, when the Herald bluntly tells anyone who asks that he’s his boyfriend. They don’t understand at all why it should be hidden in any regard, and Dorian tries to explain his discomfort, or at least plans to– until he sees him positively glowing with joy and pride as he talks about him, and Dorian smiles and reconsiders. He really does love him, and Dorian knows it– and loves him back.
Solas: He’s seen memories of people somewhat like them in the Fade, being social outcasts, misunderstood and called stupid when they were anything but. He won’t treat them like that, and he strives to understand them and their disability to the best of his ability. If they don’t mind, he asks a lot of questions about how they feel and think. Often he listens to them info-dump about their special interest, if they have one, and sometimes they get embarrassed. He just encourages them to go on. If Romanced: Assuming Lavellan has a special interest of some sort, he starts taking her into the Fade, showing her old memories of anything related to what she’s interested in. He listens to her talk, happy and excited, and she thanks him with a kiss. “Ma serannas, ma vhenan!” she squeals. “No, I am the one who should be thanking you, Vhenan.” he replies with a chuckle and another kiss, soft and sweet.
Josephine: She notices their lack of tolerance for eye contact before any other symptoms, and while initially worried she did something wrong, the others explain the Herald’s unorthodox behaviors and tics. She, along with Vivienne, tries her best to coach them on talking and interacting with others. It’s not without hard work and tears and meltdowns on the Herald’s part, but they have relatively smooth sailing in the Winter Palace with their hard work. They’re absolutely exhausted after trying to act neurotypical, and she always feels so bad for them and tries to compensate them with something they like. She also cringes at their awful handwriting– it looks like chicken scratch on steroids– and figures out it’s due to poor eye-hand coordination. She also spends a lot of time trying to remedy this, even considering hiring a scribe to help them. If Romanced: They like listening to her just talk about her day, sometimes asking her to repeat stories again and again, old and new. They cuddle on the couch before the fireplace in their room while they cuddle, and Josephine is full of bliss.
Leliana: She’s unfazed by their unusual behavior and tics, and is remarkably patient with them. She likes it when they don’t hide it, because she can tell how they’re actually feeling and thinking most of the time when they don’t mask themselves. She sometimes gives them raven feathers that have fallen to the ground to the Herald for them to run their fingers along the smooth texture, which pleases them. It always brings a smile to her face to see them relax, even a little.
Cullen: You meet all sorts of people in the Circle, and autistic mages (and the occasional templar) were among them. He’s receptive to their sensitivities and needs, and accommodates them without complaint or so much as a second thought. He takes it all in stride, knowing that’s just how they are. When Bull tells him about autism, he just nods. “That explains a lot about a lot of different mages I’ve met over the years.” he remarks. If Romanced: She likes running her fingers through his hair, a sort of stim in and of itself, and he tolerates it, listening to her hum and chatter about the day’s events.