So I don't think I've been following long enough to see why- but what is your reasoning behind disliking Kal? (I have reasons of my own but just curious).
So I’ve been sitting on this because there’s just so much and I knew there were posts that made the point more efficiently than me. But here’s an abbreviated list with some links to my stuff and to izzyovercoffee and cassiansfuzzyjacket’s stuff.
Please note wrt the below: there is a fundamental difference between flawed and abusive (Gena says it better here) . Also, the entire narrative is spent propping up Kal and trying to sell us on how awesome he is without acknowledging anything he’s done as wrong . He is Traviss’s “moral compass” (rivaled only by Jusik) in this set up, and that’s fucked up. ( Gena, Izzy, and Krad discuss this even more in depth here)
His entire relationship with Etain is bullshit, misogynistic, and abusive.
Etain is my heart and while she’s a flawed character, the way Kal treats her re: her pregnancy is not “appropriate consequences or “what she deserved”.
I’ve typed this three times now, but I don’t actually want this part to get too long, so here’s more specifically about him basically setting her and/or her baby up in a situation with no medical care where he thought they were unlikely to survive and about her being absolutely terrified of him and him forbidding her even the power of suggestion in the process of naming her child.
- Also not included in those posts, but upsetting to me as I reread: the part where he tells Etain he’d be okay if Atin knocked Laseema up (who he’s known for two weeks) but that her being a Jedi means this cannot be okay.
- Notably, while I was pulling this post together, it also came up in the group chat that while Kal is going on about Darman being an unwilling solider while simultaneously ignoring that Etain was also literally fighting as a soldier in the same war with an inexperienced and unloved background and then sending her off to die in a war zone
But if anyone has more questions about her pregnancy, shoot me another ask cause otherwise this is going to turn into 13 pages of MLA formatted, text-embedded essay. I could write a term paper on Etain and Kal, and on her pregnancy specifically.
In True Colors Kal appears to be acting kinder though Etain still admits to distrusting and being terrified of him. Then after Etain gives birth her relationship with Kal would seem, on the surface, to improve dramatically…
..but it’s important to note that Etain has spent this entire time trying to convince herself she can trust and love Kal because a) she is desperate to be loved and b) Kal has arranged everything so that her relationships and everyone else’s must, to some degree, flow through him
and his treatment of her, while less hostile, is still not respectful
- he repeatedly infantilizes her, dismisses her ability as a soldier, and is surprised when, after others give her the opportunity to be useful and apply her skills, she achieves measurable successes towards shared goals. he repeatedly dismisses her capability, viewing her only in relationship to himself (as a child), or to Darman or her baby
- doesn’t ever once seek to make amends for his behavior or apologize or even admit that it might have been unjust until a year and a half later when she’s dead… and it becomes a narrative prop rather than something that leads to actual change. also his “regret” is still focused on him, and not her or how he affected her life
- makes her death all about him and his feelings, to the point where he’s the only one other than Dar whose reaction is explored in depth, and his “regret” is just used as a jumping off point for others to tell him how good a man he is
Kal is abusive in general, and manipulative and ableist towards the Nulls specifically.
He generally doesn’t actually help his sons at all with any of their problems and infantilizes them. He also seeks out vulnerable people and manipulates them into positions where their security and relationships are centered around him. Gena and Izzy do a way better job of explaining this than me so:
- General overview from Izzy
- Some stuff about Etain and then the Nulls here from Gena
- Izzy talking about Kal withholding love (in this case in the form of adoption) from the Nulls
- Kal is the one who starts off calling the Nulls “bonkers” (Izzy)
- Kal controls/manipulates Ordo and Mereel specifically rather than helping them (Izzy)
- That time Kal is more ready to believe Ny thinks Kad, the infant, will make a good Dad than Ordo
Kal is a misogynist
Again, Etain’s pregnancy is plenty proof enough, but we also have:
- Him twice accusing Etain of promiscuity in a two week period where she was very attached to Darman, once somehow (nonsensically) implying that in the space of one speeder ride she (somehow?) seduced Ordo
- The fact that Etain telling Kal the baby was a boy was the “worst thing” she could have said because of the special bond between male mandos or w/e the fuck, and the whole naming rule
- his “Rav Bralor was twice the man most men were, which was quite something for a good-looking woman.”
- his entire framing of the situation with Illippi who he removed to a planet she didn’t know, surrounded by a culture she didn’t know, got pregnant three times, and then abandoned by herself for long stretches of time before trying to bring her eight year old into mortal danger
- repeatedly viewing all the women in his life only in their relationship to a) him b) whichever men they’re fucking or he thinks they’re supposed to be fucking
- his repeated disparaging comments about women who try to look feminine
- Honestly there’s a lot of small moments that could go here, but I don’t want to do a complete series reread and this post is so long
And again, like… the biggest problem on top of all of this is that it’s never called out. In no small part because Kal gets used as an author mouthpiece, but the narrative does it’s best to paper over how fucked up Kal acts rather than ever condemning him.