Sarah Alder/Tally Craven

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Pairing: Sarah Alder/Tally Craven
Alternative name(s): Talder
Gender category: F/F, Femslash
Fandom: Motherland: Fort Salem
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Popular
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Sarah Alder/Tally Craven is a fanon femslash pairing in the Motherland: Fort Salem fandom. It was very popular on Tumblr and Twitter, particularly with GIF sets of their scenes together and meta exploring the characters and their ongoing and changing relationship in canon. A number of fan events for the pairing have been set up in the last few years and the tag remains active despite the show's cancellation and removal from streaming.


Sarah Alder is the Commanding General and head of the army at Fort Salem and while she and Tally Craven, a new recruit to the military, share scenes in episode one when Alder is talking to the new recruits, their on-screen time together is quite limited. However, the relationship between them does change all the same. Tally joined the military with a positive view of the army at Fort Salem and of Alder, and due to a number of events throughout season one, Tally begins to question the military and Alder.

Arguably, their first significant scene shared is at the end of season one when Tally offers herself as one of Alder's 'Biddies' when one is killed during a mission. Alder accepts, ageing Tally to take her life force. After this is reversed in season two, the experience has an ongoing effect on Tally, while she also struggles with growing evidence that Alder may not be fit to lead the witches at Fort Salem as their General.

At the end of season two, after the Camarilla attack Fort Salem, Alder dies and is passed into the Mycelium (essentially a sentient fungal-like structure made up of the souls/essences of witches who have died). She is later resurrected by the Mycelium in season three. Tally and Alder reunite in the third episode of season three and have a number of important interactions and scenes throughout the remainder of the season, including departing on a mission together in episode eight.

At the end of the show, Alder leaves (by disintegrating/fading away) following an emotional departure from the Bellweather Unit, with the unconfirmed subtext being that she has returned to the Mycelium.


In season one, no doubt due to their limited interactions, there was very little shipping of Alder and Tally, though some fans commented on Tally's hero worshiping of Alder being akin to a crush. In season two, following a number of scenes where fans felt there was notable chemistry between the two characters, this changed and the shipping of the two grew in seasons two and three.

After Tally becomes ones of Alder's biddies temporarily, a connection between the pair is formed which has a significant impact on canon events and was a key aspect of many people beginning to ship the pair. Episode 2.8 had a dream sequence in it which had considerable chemistry between the characters and was an especially popular scene for discussion in the Talder fandom at the time and appeared in multiple GIF sets. Tally being torn in her loyalty to Alder and uncovering the truth about what happened to Nicte Batan is another aspect of canon which often translated into fanspaces, with many fanworks exploring Tally being caught between Alder and Nicte in some way.

Fan Commentary

Common Tropes and Fanon

  • Hurt/comfort, angst, and whump - Talder fans seem to have a love for putting Alder, Tally or both of them through the ringer, dialling the angst and whump up, then sprinkling on some comfort.

Fan Events

An account, Talder Week [1], was created by badwolfkaily in 2021 to run a week long event focused on the Tally/Alder pairing. Since then, a number of different fan weeks have been run with various themes, some running yearly and others as one off events.

The fandom also raised money for the One Tree Planted non-profit through their Trees4Lyne campaign.


There are some fans who oppose the Talder ship, typically based either on a combination of the age gap (Tally is in her 20s, Alder is 300+ years old) [3], the uneven power dynamics [4], or because of perceived familial-adjacent relationships between Alder and all the younger witches (she refers to them in canon as her "daughters") [5].

There has been some conflict between Talder shippers and Raelle/Scylla shippers, such as the latter being upset because they felt Talder shippers were ignoring the canon sapphic ship [6] [7] and the former being upset due to comments made by the actress who played Scylla which were misinterpreted as a sleight against Talder shippers [8].

When season three of Motherland: Fort Salem ended with Tally being paired off with supporting character Gregorio Shellbark, a number of fans were disappointed. While many were disappointed that it meant Talder was not going to become canon, others were disappointed that a rushed romance was created between Tally and Gregorio just so everyone was paired off[1]. Some fans sent hateful messages on social to the actor who played Gregorio [9], which a few other fans used to berate the Talder fandom more generally.

Cast Response

Both Jessica Sutton (Tally) and Lyne Renée (Alder) have been appreciative and supportive of the Talder fans. Lyne discussed jn an interview how she played the scene in episode 2.8[2] the way she did to wind up Jessica. Jessica also tweeted about the scene.

“When you’re opposite Jess, you just know she’s going to come prepared and you’re just like ah, this is going to be fun. I just love reacting with something that they don’t how do I say that? expect. I like to kindly throw them off and I thought you know, if i’m gonna play this scene, this whole dream sequence, I have to push it and I have to make it strange and weird and with Tally and Alder having had that intense connection and it now being severed I thought it would be fun to just play with, how close can she come, and it was so much fun to just tease Jess with like am I going to? it was very dark so in that moment it was really fun to stand still and make little Jess quiver”

Lyne Renée on Lez Hang Out Podcast [3]

lyne made me think she was gonna kiss me...the...entire...time shooting this scene. I forgot to breathe. #MotherlandFortSalem

Jessica Sutton on Twitter @JessLauraSutton [4]

Both actresses are always complimentary of each other and their skills, crediting that for the chemistry between their characters. Jessica admitted in an interview with AngeChats, when discussing the Talder ship[5], that she had "dabbled" in some Talder fanfiction. Some fans jokingly refer to her as the Captain of the Talder Ship due to her genuine enthusiasm for the ship and fanbase.

After the wedding episode in season three, Jessica released a behind the scenes photograph on Twitter of her and Lyne sharing a kiss for the fans with the caption "#Talder happy ending (unscripted) couldn't go to the weddings and not kiss my wife! #MotherlandFortSalem"[6]. During an appearance at a convention in 2023, Jessica and Lyne also posed for a number of wedding photos for fans [10].

There are criticisms of how Tally and Alder's story-lines played out; particularly with how the duaric relationship with Gregorio was rushed into the final two episodes for Tally, and a small number of fans have suggested that the way Jessica and Lyne engaged with the fandom was queer-baiting. However, this is a relatively small part of the Talder fanbase. Most fans saw the engagement and the love for the Talder fans as appreciation and point out that while both have been supportive, they've never misled people into thinking the ship would become canon.

If Talder is not canon or if nothing romantic happens by the end of the season it is NOT queerbaiting. We and the cast have a right to enjoy things and have fun with them even if they're not canon. This is an important part of enjoying and consuming media. Not everything has to be a fight for a cause or something. Have fun Talder friends 😊

themehplace at Tumblr [7]

just because two female characters have chemistry together does not mean that they HAVE to become canon or the show is automatically queerbaiting you. the way the term queerbait has been bastardized to hell and back is beyond me. do people not use the term 'crackship' anymore? am i old? have i been here too long? lmao. i know that lgbtq+ people have had a rocky relationship with our representation in media but we can just have fun ya know! i promise you we can and we used to do it quite a lot. actresses can acknowledge that they have good on screen chemistry and just have fun with it, just like the fandom does, without it being a Thing™.

wildermoore at Tumblr [8]

Example Fanworks




Other Fanworks


(This is where any fannish essays discussing the ship are to be linked.)

  • She Squared Podcast, Episode 10, "The Talder Episode"[14] - A dissection of the subtext in scenes between Tally and Alder in Season 3 and discussion of their relationship.

Archives and Communities

Other Fannish Resources