Keith and Shiro’s bond is stronger than we realize.
So after finishing season two not even 12 hours after it aired, and with many things becoming canon (aka Galra Keith), I had to go back to the first episode to watch it all again and actually understand every detail.
So we all know that Keith and Shiro were left stranded in a rocky planet full of lizard-like creatures that are not friendly at all. We see an injured Shiro, a distraught Keith and more importantly: both of them trying to desperately find each other. We see Shiro at his most vulnerable and Keith going through as many obstacles as needed: jumping across a void, running through geisers, almost dying…
He even has Shiro’s words in his mind all the time:
Let’s remember that Shiro BARELY remembers who Keith is, and their past together, in the Garrison or wherever it took place, is unclear. But Keith obviously remembers Shiro since the beginning, which is obvious since S01E01, when he rescues Shiro.
This conection, I’m positive, is bigger than what he has with Lance, Pidge or Hunk. I mean, sure, he has a bond with his fellow paladins, but hear me out: Shiro is his priority.
His connection and bond with Shiro comes from even before the other paladins even met.
Let’s start by one of the biggest moments: the Black Lion.
When Shiro is baldy hurt and in critical danger because of the alien lizards, the Lion, the one that was barely loyal to Shiro and even had an inclination for Zarkon, is still unactive while its paladin is near death. We all know Shiro had issues with his Lion that continue to develop, but what happens as soon as Keith tries to make contact with the Black Lion?
It recieves Keith. It lets Keith take control and safe Shiro. It let another paladin that had a totally different Lion hop in and take control.
You could say “yeah, Black did it for Shiro, it needed someone to control it to act and Keith was the only one, so it had no choice”, but let’s remember that Red could act without a pilot whenever Keith was in danger various times through the season. That either means that Keith has an outstanding connection to the Lions (which is totally possible, considering that he was the one to find the Blue Lion first), or the Black Lion recognized Shiro and Keith’s bond and trusted, I repeat, trusted Keith enough to control him, just as Shiro completely trusts Keith.
Which means that Shiro and Keith’s bond is gigantic, and perhaps one of the strongest within the paladins.
Also, the infamous quote:
There it is. It’s obvious. Shiro has all his trust placed on Keith, who he doesn’t even remember properly. And, oh, when did he say this? Right after he saw Keith and the Black Lion’s connection, and saw that Keith was able to lead the Black Lion without any issues, and now sees that Keith could lead Voltron.
And it’s not even a thing that happened once. It’s not just Shiro being delirious and wounded in a stranded planet with little to no hope of being rescued. He even says it again:
It is clear that this was no mistake. Shiro trusts Keith. He would place the huge duty of leading Voltron on him because he knows better than anyone of what Keith is capable, and makes sure that Keith knows.
That is the amount of trust they have in each other.
Second Moment: The Marmora Headquarters.
Now we get to see the bond from both sides: Shiro, worried to death as he sees Keith being beaten up over and over again, and Keith, still having Shiro as a predominant thought.
Shiro obviously doesn’t want Keith to go through the trials. He might die. Voltron would lose a paladin, and most importantly, Shiro might lose one of his most important conections to his past, Keith himself.
But then this scene comes up:
He smiles. There is relieve all over him when he sees Shiro coming to help him. And we know for a a fact that Keith Kogane does not smile often.
We are told that Keith is seeing his hopes and feares being materialized before him. I think the method they use is take the person’s biggest hope, and make that one hope throw all his fears at him. That would make anyone fall into despair, right?
And who is Keith’s biggest hope?
Takashi fucking Shirogane.
He is beaten up, has almost fainted, is losing hope, just wants the truth about his past and himself and where he comes from and who he is. But what does he want over all?
Edit: Shiro’s reaction during this moment.
So, yes, Keith is beaten up. He can barely stand up. He is weak, he is suffering, and Shiro, knowing he is in pain, intervenes without a doubt, and you know why? Because he knows how it feels to have your past torture you, to feel despair, to have your mind attack you, and he won’t let Keith go through that. So he forces his way through soldiers that could easily defeat him, as he is outnumbered, and places his own self in danger.
And as soon as he gets to Keith and has him with him, and he sees a soldier trying to attack Keith to take away the blade, it doesn’t even stop for a second and drops everything to go protect Keith.
To me, that’s who Shiro is: A man, broken and distraught by his past and his trauma, that will defend those he loves without doubting, even if it means that he will get hurt or die. He did the same for Matt in the Galra Prison: he placed himself in danger to save him. He did the same with Allura: he went back for her and got terribly injured in the process.
And now he does it for Keith.
Third point: Keith is growing.
This is an obvious point after he learned his Galra origins. Keith, either because of his new knowledge or because he now knows Shiro sees him as his right hand and possible future leader, becomes warmer, more open, even congratulates his teammates like Shiro does. He grows as a person and becomes more mature despite still being hotheaded:
This could be taken as him learning from Shiro, or trying to follow his advice to become a better person. Whatever it is, Keith is growing so much in a small amount of time. He is no longer a loner emo teen, but is opening to his surroundings and to new people, which we know didn’t happen before in his life since he is an orphan with almost no knowledge of his past, a loner, and a dropout.
If that is not what strong bonds do, then I don’t know what does.
Unlike Allura, who held a grudge against Keith for some episodes due to him having Galra blood in his veins, Shiro never attacked or was afraid of Keith. He knows his buddy is still there, that nothing has changed, and will still be there for him, Galra or not.
Keith is always checking, during battles, that Shiro is okay. He not only intervened in Zarkon’s laser at the end of season one so that he wouldn’t take the Black Lion, but he is, most of the time if not always, the first one to realize that Shiro is in trouble.
Shiro is the only one that says goodbye to him before their individual missions.
He is the first one and the most desperate to reach Shiro’s lion at the end of this season.
He is even placed as the focus of attention when they realize that Shiro is gone.