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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lukel and the Will to Fight

    I wanted to bring the "sheep" idea full-circle in this chapter, and show that people don't just have to go along to their slaughter with docility. I think readers will be rooting for this, and this section–where Lukel and Shuden prepare to attack–gives us a little hope. This is a very tense chapter, and everything is going wrong. I decided I needed a few points of light in the narrative, otherwise it might get too depressing. So, I hint the people won't get killed without a fight.

    Besides, this lets Lukel–the regular guy surrounded by mages, heroes, and politicians–be a bit of a hero himself. He overcomes his fear and his lethargy.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Adien's Secret I almost cut this entire twist from the book. I've never been happy with how it worked out, and I think there are–as I've mentioned–still a few too many surprises and twists at the end of the book. (Though, I have fixed it somewhat. It used to be that virtually EVERYONE had a secret past or personality trait that came out in these last four chapters.) Anyway, I don't like the Adien twist–it lacks power since we don't really care about him, and his character–the autistic–isn't terribly original anyway.

    I've left the Adien twist in for a single reason. However, it's a bit of a spoiler, so I'll put it invisible for those of you who haven't read the ending yet. You can come back and read this later.

    Anyway, Adien is my planned hero for book two. I like the concept of a healed autistic being the hero of the next book. And, since he's so good with numbers, he would be incredibly powerful at AonDor. I think he'd be a compelling character to look at, so I left him in this book in case I wanted to use him in the next one.

    Adien has been an Elantrian for some time. That's why Kiin's family knows so much about Elantrians. Read back to the earlier chapters, and you'll see a scene or two where Sarene wonders why they know so much about Elantris and its occupants. They hid Adien's transformation with makeup, and his autism kept him out of social circles anyway, so no one really paid much attention to the fact that he was never around.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty - Part Three

    Dakhor Magic

    I actually didn't plan to use the "teleportation" aspect of the Dakhor magic. However, I wrote myself into this chapter, then suddenly realized that I needed to get the group Teod in a real hurry. I couldn't let days pass while Sarene, Hrathen, and Dilaf sailed to the peninsula as I'd originally intended. (I have no idea what I was thinking.) So, I added in teleportation. It ended up working out very well in the book, as it let me add another dimension to the Dakhor magic–that of having it cost a life to create some of its effects.

    This, more than anything, should instill in the reader a sense of disgust regarding the Dakhor. I particularly like Hrathen's story about Dilaf making someone die so he could travel to a place fifteen minutes away. It characterizes Dilaf perfectly while at the same time giving a clue to how strict and obedient his order is. This isn't a group of people you want to mess with. It's the ultimate exaggeration of Derethi beliefs on loyalty and structure.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Dilaf's Backstory

    I hope that Dilaf's explanations about his past are suitably creepy. I also hope they give some explanation. He is a man who betrayed his religion when he thought it would save the woman he loved–only to find himself, in turn, betrayed by the Elantrians. His wife became Hoed, and he himself burned her. This would have something of an effect on a man's psyche, I think.

    Now, recall that Elantris was at the height of its power when Dilaf took his wife in to be healed. I mentioned her earlier in the book, in a Raoden chapter. He found a story in one of his textbooks about a woman who was improperly-healed, and it turned her into what the Elantrians now are. This is Dilaf's wife. (Go re-read Chapter Twenty-Five for the story.) I find this little item beautifully circular.

    Anyway, we now have an explanation for Dilaf's instability and his hatred. I really like how Dilaf, normatively, grows into being the prime villain for this book. He comes to it slowly, kind of stealthily, while the reader is focusing on Hrathen. Yet, Dilaf is there from the first Hrathen chapter, always dangerous, always trying to destroy Elantris, always making his own plans. I worked hard to bring about his rise to power in the book, and I hope that it worked. Puling off the Dilaf/Hrathen reversal was one of my main goals in the story.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty - Part Two

    Lukel

    Lukel isn't as interesting as Galladon, but I still enjoyed giving him a viewpoint. He has the perfect personality to show what I wanted in these chapters. He's not a warrior–like Kiin–or a king–like Raoden. He's just a regular person caught in a nightmare.

    I wanted to deal a little bit with prisoner mentality in this scene. People allow terrible things to be done to them in situations like this. Part of it is because they fear what COULD happen more than they fear what IS happening. In this case, hope proves their enemy. The Dakhor stop killing the people and start rounding them up instead. The reason for this is simple–after seeing and hearing such terrible things, the people would run and fight. However, if the Dakhor back off, the people can hope that the worst is over. For this reason, they let themselves get rounded up and gathered in Elantris.

    It may seem convenient that the soldiers wait to kill the people, but I think it makes sense. You want to gather everyone in an enclosed place, where they will be trapped, before you begin your slaughter in earnest. That way you can be certain there are no escapees. The only one I fudged here was Kiin. A Dakhor probably should have killed him. However, I've had enough corpses in this book. Randomly killing off Kiin seemed like too much. (Some readers are already in rebellion over the people I've killed–or, rather, will kill shortly. . . .)

    Anyway, I get past part of this concern by throwing in the "purification rites" line. This hints that there is some sort of ritual that needs to be preformed before the people can be killed, and therefore explains why the Dakhor don't just slaughter them immediately. (I still think that control is the greater reason, however.) Another explanation of why the slaughter starts is mentioned by Lukel. Most of the Derethi left in Arelon are regular soldier-monks, not Dakhor. They don't have the same. . .zeal for destruction as Dakhor.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Galladon

    I like finally having a chance to characterize Galladon internally. My sense is that you can never really get to know a character until you can see their thoughts. So, I gave a nice little series of viewpoints to Galladon, partially to show what was happening to Raoden's body, partially so that I could have some last-minute introspection and philosophizing regarding what is happening in the chapters.

    Galladon's hope monologue in this chapter is probably the most powerful, and most interesting, section he gets in the book. This piece is supposed to mimic what the reader is feeling–things are going terribly, but Raoden has always managed to pull out a miracle. He may look bad now, but he can still save them. Can't he?

    I think Galladon is more pessimistic–naturally–than the reader will be. However, he raises good questions, and his talk about hope–how Raoden's gift to him is the inability to give up completely–is one final showing of the power Raoden's personality has in this book. Perhaps the most amazing thing Raoden does in this book–more difficult a task to overcome than the gangs, more rewarding than taking the throne of Arelon–is make a believer out of a man like Galladon. A man who had given up on hope, but who now continues to believe, even though all is lost.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty - Part One

    Form

    From here on out, the chapters get longer. It's interesting to try and work with pacing. I think the shifting viewpoints achieve the sense of drama I want, and coupling that with lots of new chapters would be repetitive, I think. So, I waited for the most dramatic moments possible to end chapters. I think this ending counts.

    The triad system breaks down completely here. Everything is falling apart, and we're getting wild viewpoints from all over the place. (Well, not exactly–we only add Galladon and Lukel. However, I think that after fifty-nine chapters with only three viewpoints, suddenly adding two more will be disorienting enough to have the effect I want.)

    Part of the reason I add the viewpoints is so that I can show the breakdown of the form of the book. However, another–perhaps more important–reason is so that I can show what is happening in places that don't involve one of the three viewpoints. Raoden is off in his own little world of pain, and Sarene and Hrathen have gone to Teod. If I want to show what’s happening in Arelon, I need some new viewpoints.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    "Failed my love. . . ."

    Poor Sarene. Her weddings just never work out. Honestly, I think this might be one of the most traumatic sections of writing I've ever done. (Traumatic for the characters, that is. Like most writers, I'm a closet masochist, and enjoy making my characters–and my readers–squirm.) Things aren't looking too good. Maybe they'll get better in the next chapter.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Nine - Part Two

    Kiin gets a little over-confident here by letting the two of them go on top. However, he doesn't know how powerful the Dakhor are. He assumes that his roof is unscalable.

    In addition, he realizes how difficult a situation he is in. Dilaf has an army–Kiin's fortress house, no matter how well fortified, can't defend against them for long. He needs to do something, and thinks that maybe the negotiations will offer a way. So, he takes the chance.

    Whoops.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, and yes, Elantrians can go unconscious. They can fall asleep, after all. The Elantrian brain is the one organ that continues to work very similarly to the way it did before the Shaod. So, taking a large amount of trauma can make it black out. The Elantrian won't remain unconscious forever–but when he wakes up, the actual physical damage will be there. That's why Raoden loses his sense of balance and everything gets fuzzy.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Nine - Part One

    I think I've noted that my viewpoints tend to speed up as I approach the endings of books. Well, Elantris is a perfect example. We're hopping viewpoints like a crazed body-snatcher. At the risk of sounding redundant, I did this to increase pacing and tension. Quick-rotating viewpoints give a cinematic feel to the story, in my opinion–kind of like cameras changing angles. This keeps things quick and snappy, and keeps the reader reading.

    It should be noted that writing and filmmaking are two completely different arts. What works in one doesn't work in the other–action sequences, for instance, have to be written completely differently in a novel than they would be displayed on screen. However, both storytelling forms try to evoke similar feelings in their audiences. So, you can't do the same things in writing as you can in filmmaking–but you can get a similar effect by using different tools. Here, I use viewpoint shifts, which is something a filmmaker can't really access without first-person voice-overs. Viewpoint is, in my opinion, one of the prime unique tools that we have as writers. That's why I think it's important to understand, and to manipulate.

    If you're paying attention to such things, we actually get two complete–and well-rotated–viewpoint triads in this chapter. Again, this is to increase the sense of urgency and pacing.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    And, yes, Dilaf always had bones that were deformed. That's why I mention that they're not terribly disfiguring–they would be quite easy to hide under robes. And I often pointed out in the book that Dilaf was wearing his enveloping robes.

    Hopefully, these moments–Dilaf's unleashing–have been building for you through the entire book. By now, you should have realized that Dilaf was always the main villain of the story. He's the one with true hatred, and true instability. Hrathen is an antagonist, but he's no villain. Dilaf, however, has been built-up as someone who can do some truly terrible things. Now he’s unleashed, and he has an army of demonic monks at his control.

    And yes, we'll get to more about how Dilaf was able to imitate an Arelene later.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I've only mentioned Gragdets a couple of places. Hrathen never thinks much about them, since he doesn't consider them part of the traditional Derethi structure. In truth, they aren't–but they do have authority over a Gyorn in their own small sphere. I don't think that the reader needs to understand the entire social structure of the religion, however. Hrathen understands what is happening, and knows that he should probably let himself be under Dilaf's authority. That should be enough for most readers.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Four

    I don't know if you've noticed this, but this chapter forms a mini-triad of its own. It shows all three characters in their traditional rotation. It's something fun I decided to, playing with my own format. The idea was to give an unconscious sense of urgency to the reader by giving them a whole triad compacted into one chapter. I don't expect anyone to pick up on it–actually, I don't want them to. For it to work right, the reader will be paying so much attention to the text that they don't consciously notice the speed up. However, I hope that it will make them read faster and faster as the book progresses.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Torena

    So. . .in the original draft, Torena is Eventeo's new spy in Arelon. Do you remember the conversation that Sarene and Eventeo had a little ways back? The one where he told her he had a new spy in Arelon, and refused to tell Sarene who it is? Well, yes. Torena.

    When I was writing this book, I went a little bit too far with the hidden pasts and amazing discoveries. I had Torena being the one who came to rescue Sarene from the Dakhor. (She arrived in a second carriage, I think.) However, the Dakhor caught up to them again, and suddenly Kiin appeared to save them.

    This scene was terrible. It's not that any of the pieces were bad. It's just that it was too repetitive. First you find out Torena has a secret past, and that she's come to rescue Sarene. Then we find out that Kiin has a secret past and he's come to rescue Sarene. It just didn't work–and the Torena surprise, which was only mildly foreshadowed, ruined the much better Kiin surprise.

    So, I cut the Torena parts–and I'm very glad that I did. My early alpha readers said that the worst part about the book was how all of the surprises at the end interfered with each other. Looking back, some of the things I did are embarrassing. I was adding surprises just for the sake of surprises. This is always a bad idea–surprises should be integral to plot and character, just like everything else. We want to find out about Kiin because we like him and are interested in him. We don't really care about Torena.

    (In my defense, I originally intended Torena to be a female friend for Sarene, kind of a second sidekick. However, there were already too many people hanging out with Sarene, and I just couldn't work Torena in without complicating things even further.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Three

    Kiin's Background

    So, call me melodramatic, but I think the Kiin surprise is one of my favorite in the novel. I've been foreshadowing this one from almost the beginning. And while it isn't a major part of the plot, it does suddenly explain a lot about Kiin's character.

    So, in case you couldn't infer it from the text, Kiin is Eventeo's (Sarene's father) older brother. He should have inherited the throne, but he wasted his youth on pleasure voyages and exploration, visiting foreign ports while his little brother stayed behind and helped rule the kingdom. (Their father was ailing, and often Eventeo would have to hold court for him and attend the other tasks of king.)

    Some minor crisis arrived at the same time as their father died, and Eventeo–thinking his brother unworthy of the throne–eased into the role of king and was crowned before Kiin was the wiser. Eventeo dealt with the problems of state, and generally was a good king. When Kiin got back from his latest trip, however, he was furious to find that his crown had been stolen from him. He demanded it back; Eventeo refused, and had Kiin banished.

    Kiin was popular with the military men, however, because of the heroic figure he cut. He was the adventuring sailor, while Eventeo was a scholarly bureaucrat. Over the next few years, Kiin managed to gather a naval force from pirates, deserters from Eventeo's armies, and mercenary forces. It was during this time he nearly died to the accident that crushed his throat. He took the name "Dreok," after Aon Reo, and sailed against Teod, trying to take the throne by force.

    Eventeo won (barely) and Kiin escaped with his life (barely.) He went to Arelon to recoup and plan his next invasion. However, he fell in love with Daora, and slowly began to loose his hard edge. A decade or so later, we have Kiin the chef and home-maker.

    I think it's a great backstory because of the questions it leaves. Eventeo did something that might have been right for his country, but something that was legally incorrect. All excuses aside, he usurped the throne. Kiin wouldn't have made a good king–he didn't have practice at administration, and he was a brusque, impetuous young man. However, the throne still should have been his.

    Moments like this one–when the secrets, foreshadowing, and hints all click together–are one of my greatest joys in writing. We've got a few more good ones coming up in the book. However, I did go a little overboard in places. We'll talk about that next.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, this is where the book turns a little violent. You can read some of my earlier annotations on the topic. I was a little bit worried about putting any strong violence in this book, since it was generally focused around politics and other, more subtle methods of building tension. However, I decided to go with contrast instead. So far, nearly everything in the book has been surprisingly peaceful. We didn't even see Shaor's men kill many people.

    Now things are going very wrong. An evil that nobody was expecting has come against the city, and it's controlled by a demented, hateful creature. I don't see how we could get around having these scenes be particularly dark. I think there is an element of realism here too, however. This is what happens with all of the politics and the maneuvering breaks down.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    In the original drafts of the book, I had Sarene feeling a sense of foreboding here at the beginning of her section. My thought was that we'd just seen the Dakhor attack Raoden–the reader is going to be feeling some tension, so I thought I'd like to keep it up in the Sarene scene.

    There's still a little bit of it there, but I cut most at Moshe's recommendation. He felt that having Sarene feel an unnatural eeriness about this particular night was too melodramatic, and implied a kind of psychic link. Personally, I think there's nothing psychic about it–it's just a general storytelling convention that characters can sense when something is wrong.

    Either way, I do think the more subdued tone of this first part has its own advantages. By having Sarene completely ignorant, even unconsciously, of what is coming, I think I build a sense of tension. The reader knows danger is approaching.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Two

    I don't know if you remember or not, but there was some small confusion on Raoden's part earlier about who Sarene was getting to bring supply shipments into Elantris. They always came and left at night, and didn't want anybody there to greet them. I realize we haven't seen the beggars very often, but I thought I'd use them again in this section. It made sense that they would be the ones Sarene used, assuming she knew about them. I'd say that Ashe found them in one of his information-gathering excursions.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    My only sadness concerning the Dakhor is that I had to wait so long to reveal them. I think that visually, they are very interesting. The concept of a group whose bones have been twisted and deformed by powerful magics brings interesting images to mind.

    The Dakhor aren't majorly deformed, however–they still have all the pieces in the right places. Their bones have simply been. . .changed. Expanded in places, simply twisted to form patterns in others. Because of this, of course, they have to run around shirtless. It's more dramatic that way. Besides, we spent all this money on special effects–we might as well show them off.

    Of all the things in the book, this one worries the most with its sudden appearance. I really did try to foreshadow this as best I could. If it’s still too sudden for you, I apologize. My suggestion is to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so I'm a prude. I'll admit that. I like my characters to be married before they have sex. Besides, Sarene is right–she deserves a wedding. She's waited since chapter two to have her big, princess's wedding. She deserves something official. So, Raoden and Sarene spend this night apart. Besides assuaging my moral sense of decency, it works much better for the plot to have them apart.

    Notice that Raoden awakes here, much in the same way that he did in chapter one. I kind of wanted this chapter to call back to that one. Both chapters open with a slight sense of peace, followed by awful discovery. Both end with Raoden being cast into hell.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Ah, and Hrathen's three month timebomb. It's always nice when you can have a timebomb go off early. Hrathen thinks in this very chapter about how he's got a month left on his deadline. However, I suspect that readers will look at the book and realize that there's less than a hundred pages left. Hopefully, with these chapters–Raoden crowned king, Hrathen apparently beaten–I invoke a sense of confusion in the reader. They'll be expecting something big, something they weren't looking for.

    The arrival of the Dakhor monks is it. You'll get some more explanation of this later, of course. Anyway, now you know why I kept mentioning the Arelene market and how unprofitable it seemed. The merchants there weren't even really merchants.

    In the first draft, I had the monks hiding on the merchants' ships. In a later rewrite, however, I realized that this wasn't as powerful as if I had them actually playing the part of the merchants. If I had them on the ships, I had to have Hrathen follow Dilaf all the way to the docks. In addition, those monks would have had to spend weeks cooped up in the holds of a bunch of merchant ships. So, I changed it so that the monks were impersonating the merchants themselves–a better plan, I think, on their part. This lets them infiltrate the city, move around and scout the area, and essentially hide in plain sight.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I use this chapter as a strict triad chapter–it covers the same space of time as the other two chapters. With Sarene and Raoden running around together now, the triad system has been easy to forget. While I still start each chapter with the correct character, I often let the viewpoints intermix after that.

    Again, this is intentional. After this last Hrathen chapter, I have the triad system break down completely. It's supposed to be a subtle indication of the chaos of these last few chapters. I'll even start throwing in viewpoints that aren't of the core three, which I hope with give the reader a sensation that something different is happening. The world, even the narrative structure of the book, is breaking apart. None of the old rules hold any more.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Seven

    As I've mentioned before, I didn't want Hrathen's affection for Sarene to ever be overt in the book. He's not a man of passions, and I think he would be very good at keeping his interest unacknowledged, even in his own thoughts. He has "learned to ignore" the passions of the flesh. We only get a few small clues as to his attraction to Sarene, and this chapter is probably has the most of those.

    Still, hidden though they are, I wanted it to be obvious that Hrathen is a man, and does have masculine desires. He's found a woman whom he considers his equal–the fact that she is of a heretic religion would only make her more appealing, I think. Hrathen is attracted to challenges, and Sarene is nothing if not challenging.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    If we were in Sarene's viewpoint here, we'd probably see her thinking about the time this very thing happened to her–at her wedding.

    I think her speech makes some good points. However, I think the people of the city have also been through so much lately that they're ready to accept anything. The combination of moving speech and unresponsive crowd is what let them get away with making Raoden king. Honestly, so many people have been popping in and out of Elantris lately that I suspect the people of the city are beginning to lose their edge of fear. They know that the Shaod isn't contagious, and they now know that many Elantrians aren't dangerous. The would see the illusion drop, and finally make the connection between Raoden and the Elantiran Spirit that helped them distribute food.

    In this case, hope overcomes fear.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Dilaf manipulating the Dor is supposed to be a major "What the. . . ?" moment in this book. I'm sorry–I didn't really give you much foreshadowing on this one. There really wasn't an opportunity; this isn't the kind of thing that Dilaf would use very often, for fear of betraying his secrets.

    I think it works, however, since this scene is actually supposed to be foreshadowing itself. You'll find out more about Dilaf, obviously, in the next chapter.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, this section marked one of the biggest changes to the text during the revision process. In the Mad Prince version of the novel, the soldiers who ride up to Kiin's house were members of the Mad Prince's army. They arrested Raoden–he went willingly–and tried him for the death of their leader. This took the better part of two chapters, and ended with Raoden almost getting beheaded.

    Overall, I kind of happy to lose the scene. The trial was a big distraction, and I'm not sure that I ever pulled it off narratively. There were a few interestingly tense moments, and it did let Raoden show his honor in his defense (he accepted the judgments of the army assuming they promised to make Sarene queen.) However, I sense that the scene in general was just over-written.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Six

    This chapter begins with an interesting scene. There's already a bit of tension between Sarene and Raoden. Nothing big, of course–but I think it's realistic. People don't always agree. Loving someone doesn't change the fact that you sometimes think what they're doing is flat-out dumb. It does, however, tend to change your reactions. And so, Sarene acknowledges that Raoden is acting like a king, not a friend, and lets the matter drop.

    This highlights a difference between the two of them that I have pointed out earlier. Sarene was not raised to rule–Raoden was. That lifetime of preparation has changed the way Raoden sees things; it has made him look at everything in the light of how it effects his people. Actually, there is no "Raoden the man" separate from "Raoden the ruler." They're tightly integrated.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, "The Call of Elantris"—the name of Part Two—is probably the weakest of my three sub-titles. I liked "Shadow" and "Spirit" a lot, and I knew that I had to use something parallel. I named this one "Call" because of the way Hrathen and Sarene both end up getting tossed into the city, then end up using that event to their advantage. Raoden also deals with the "call" of the Dor inside himself during this section, overcoming that particular conflict

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    Brandon Sanderson

    I worked for a while on the last line of Part Two. Originally, Hrathen thought to himself "Well, this isn't good." However, Moshe disagreed with that line. First, he thought it was too quippish. He wanted something more serious here. Second, he didn't think that these events were actually bad for Hrathen. Telrii, a man who had been giving Hrathen serious troubles, and Eondel, one of his main enemies, had just killed each other. On top of that, Roial—the main rival for the throne—is dead. All in all, a lot of annoying people are dead.

    Moshe had a point, though I did disagree a bit. I think Hrathen would see Telrii's death as a wasted investment. He was still hoping to control the man, and having Telrii on the throne and amiable to Hrathen would have been a much better outcome, since it would leave Hrathen looking less powerless before Wyrn.

    However, I went ahead and changed the line. It now reads "So much for avoiding a bloody revolution." It gets across the same ruefulness as before, without being as flippant.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Part Two Wrap-up

    Things certainly are moving along now. I told you the book would speed up as it approached the ending.

    There were some very good moments in this part. I like how removing the Mad Prince from the book streamlined the pacing, and I think it pushes quite well to the final section. A lot is happening now, so I hope that it's hard for you to get to these annotations—I want you to keep reading the book! You can always re-read it a second time, and look through the annotations then.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Aons are an interesting part of this book–perhaps my favorite of the world elements. If you think about the system I've set up, you'll realize some things. First, the Aons have to be older than the Aonic language. They're based directly off of the land. So, the lines that make up the characters aren't arbitrary. Perhaps the sounds associated with them are, but the meanings–at least in part–are inherent. The scene with Raoden explaining how the Aon for "Wood" includes circles matching the forests in the land of Arelon indicates that there is a relationship between the Aons and their meanings. In addition, each Aon produces a magical effect, which would have influenced its meaning.

    The second interesting fact about the Aons is that only Elantrians can draw them. And Elantrians have to come from the lands near Arelon. Teoish people can be taken, but only if they're in Arelon at the time. Genetically, then, the Teos and the Arelenes must be linked–and evidence seems to indicate that the Arelenes lived in the land first, and the Teos crossed the sea to colonize their peninsula.

    Only Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, so someone taken by the Shaod must have developed the writing system. That is part of what makes writing a noble art in Arelon–drawing the Aons would have been associated with Elantrians. Most likely, the early Elantrians (who probably didn't even have Elantris back then) would have had to learn the Aons by trial and error, finding what each one did, and associating its meaning and sound with its effect. The language didn't develop, but was instead "discovered."

    There are likely Aons that haven't even been found yet.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Five

    So, one thing you should notice from this chapter is that Raoden no longer needs his book of equations to draw his face illusion. He's been practicing and getting better. A subtle hint, but one I decided to throw in.

    I don't know if you, as a reader, have been imagining Sarene with short hair since her departure from Elantris, but this chapter fixes that. The heroine has her hair back–all is right in the world.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    And, the body count grows. (Ha ha. One of them IS a count.)

    I don't kill for shock value. I don't think that's a good reason to do much of anything. I kill characters because of consequences in the plotting. Eondel, unfortunately, was doomed the moment he decided to exact revenge on Telrii. He didn't have enough men to both get in and out of the king's chambers.

    I think this is a legitimate reaction for Eondel, however, based on how his character. He was honest, straightforward, and he respected Roial a great deal. He knew that Raoden would never condone an attack like this, but he also thought that it would be best for the country if he killed Telrii. So, he went and preformed his "assassination." This is supposed to be a little ironic, considering the events and decisions of the last chapter.

    EuroCon 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Hi. Our question is Cosmere. It's, knowing that Odium destroys whomever may become a menace for him, then is it possible that the Knight Radiant broke their vows not to attract his attention over Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. Why the Knights Radiant broke their bonds is something I RAFO, because it is an important, big plot element of the series.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Four

    Poor Hrathen. He's been getting jerked around a lot lately–it's hard for him to react to events before new ones draw his attention. In addition, most of the Mad Prince scenes happened in his chapters. That meant that when I did the revision, he lost the largest number of pages. So, his sections here got even shorter than they had been.

    Regardless, things have obviously changed for him again. The guard switch-out here is one of my favorite moments in the book. I like the urgency of Hrathen's realization, not to mention how this introduces the scene into chaos.

    Originally, the fight scene here took place in the Mad Prince's tent. I had to stretch a bit to keep the dripping flames from above–I just really liked that image. And, I apologize for actually using the words "Time slowed." That mechanic is a bit over-used in fiction, I admit. However, this is one of my early books, so you'll forgive me, right?

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Some people are very surprised by this chapter. It isn't the most narratively-surprising death I've ever written, but it was one of the more sudden ones. I'm sorry if you really liked Roial.

    I wrote this book to be less of a "violent book" than some others I've written or read. However, on reflection, I realize that what I intended by this was to write a novel where the protagonists didn't rely on violence as much as they did on their wits. I didn't mean that I wouldn't let the bad guys be. . .well, bad.

    (In addition, by the way, this is part of why Raoden and Sarene are such competent people. They don't have swords or magic to perform flashy fight scenes–so, instead, I gave them competence in relation to their personalities. In part, this is what amuses me by complaints that Raoden and Sarene are too flat as characters. Make a man the most brilliant swordsman ever, but make him emotionally incompetent, and you have a "deep" character. Make a man incapable with weaponry, but emotionally mature, and he's flat. Go figure.)

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I don't think I'm particularly brutal with my characters. (I'm no David Gemmel, for instance. I swear, the body counts in that man's books. . . .) I am, however, realistic. People die in my books. Sometimes they're viewpoint characters. It happens. From a storyteller's viewpoint, I think it makes the tension more real. There IS danger for the characters. In a more philosophical bent, I think this makes the characters more heroic–they aren't protected from the consequences of their decisions. Even if those decisions are good. Choosing to try and overthrow a dictator like Telrii is a dangerous decision, and if the heroes are going to be considered "heroic" for that action, then I have no right to protect them from harm. Doing so would take away the "will" of my villains.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Three - Part Three

    There has been some confusion about Raoden's line "After I left" to Sarene right before they go back into the kitchen. Right here, he's getting ready to tell her that he's really Raoden. He is implying that, after he left Kae (and was thrown into Elantris) he didn't think his group of noblemen would keep meeting. It was supposed to be a subtle hint–Sarene would catch something too obvious, and I didn't want to weaken the drama of Raoden's appearance.

    This is a very noble, and a very sorrowful, scene. A lot of emotions fly around in this chapter. Again, if I have done my job and made you sympathetic to the characters and their stories, then these emotions will come off as powerful drama. If I've failed, then all you'll get from this scene is melodrama. I hope it worked for you. I wanted Raoden's final revelation–and return to Kae–to be a dramatic and powerful event.

    Originally, this scene happened with the Mad Prince, whom I'd built up as being deathly afraid of spirits and ghosts. When Raoden appears, Eton thought he was a ghost, and ran away. (Ha ha. Another pun off the original title of the book. I felt so clever–then cut it all out.) Anyway, on consideration–and in rewriting these scenes to use Telrii instead–I realized that Telrii's soldiers would never strike down Raoden. His nature as the true king of Arelon would be enough to send them all fleeing in surprise and worry.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Three - Part Two

    Yes, Ahan is a traitor. When building this book, I knew that I wanted one of the characters to betray the rest. I also knew that I didn't want it to be the most obvious one in the group. This left me with a problem. I had to provide a character whom nobody would suspect as a traitor, yet at the same time make it believable that he would turn traitor.

    The first thing I did was throw in Edan as a diversion. He worked perfectly–virtually all of my alpha readers mentioned that they thought for certain that he would turn traitor. I had Edan run off early because I wanted to lull the readers into a sense of security, thinking that their "traitor" character had disappeared already. I also didn't want to throw Ahan's betrayal in with Edan still there–I think that would have made Edan's purpose too obvious to those who could see the two contrasted that way.

    The next thing I did was begin foreshadowing that Ahan acts, and speaks, without thinking through his actions. I mention this a couple of places, including at the eclipse party. I made his character a bit indifferent, a lot blustery, and tried to indicate that he didn't quite see the treason he was engaging in as being as dangerous as it really was.

    Finally, I began having him act suspicious. You can go look through the spoiler annotations if you want notes of where I had him doing things like this. Essentially, he acted odd when Telrii was mentioned, and he was the one who went to visit Telrii when the group wanted one of their party to get in good with the enemy.

    These are small things, I realize. However, I think they work well enough. I wanted to get across a sense of shock and surprise at the betrayal. I always hate it when traitors are obviously oily men with shifty eyes. I don’t think people trust that kind of man.

    Anyway, I think the other thing that lets me get away with Ahan's betrayal is that he doesn't completely change characters with the treason. He isn't a different person–he doesn't suddenly become a "bad guy," like happened in some stories. (Ahem. The TV show 24, first season.) Ahan just didn't think hard enough about what he was doing–he took his actions too lightly.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Speaking of Raoden's honor and truth, I'd like to note something about assassination and killing in this book. As I've stated in earlier annotations, I wanted this book's conflict to be non-violence focused. I think that the characters in this book, therefore, represent a more mature philosophy regarding social problems–a philosophy that could only exist among a people who have spent so much of their lives not having to deal with death and war. A people who have a valid reason for seeing things more like people in a contemporary culture.

    As my friend Alan likes to say, however, "Violence may not always be the best answer–but it's usually AN answer." Conflict and social commentary should be based on the characters and their beliefs, rather than forced expressions of the author's message. That doesn't mean that I don't let my personal views shade my writing–I think that level of self-removal would be impossible. However, I do think that the themes expressed in a book need to be reflective of the characters.

    I like that I was able to write a novel where the characters came to the conclusion that they'd rather find a way to stop their opponents without resorting to hiring assassins. This, I think, is a noble way of viewing the world. However, the realist in me says that most people–and most situations–won't be so open to this kind of decision. It says something that after working so long on Elantris, I promptly went and made my next heroine (the one from Mistborn) an assassin herself. In her world, life is far more brutal–and these sorts of philosophical problems aren't as difficult to deal with. There, there is too much riding on the protagonists for them to worry about their methods. I think they're still good people. They just have a slightly different philosophy.

    Elantris Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    On a more serious note, I'll get to some of the major events in the chapter in a moment. First, let's talk over some smaller annotations. I like the fact that Lukel doesn't like Kaloo–it seems like a perfect characterization for both of them. I will note, however, that Lukel has much better lines in this chapter than Kaloo does. His crack about Ahan getting sick by sheer laws of probability makes me chuckle every time I read them. Kaloo, on the other hand, spends all of his time trying to be honorable and true. Raoden is a good hero, but he can be dreadfully boring sometimes. Maybe that's why he threw himself into the Kaloo persona so eagerly.

    EuroCon 2016 ()
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    Questioner

    Now I would like to ask a question about what comes next, because this is really something that we're very interested in. You have a comprehensive website where we have a list of all your projects, and when you will finish your next novel, and so on, so forth. As far as we know--and maybe Nova, the publishing house, can confirm this--but for January, we have Calamity, for April, by April, we will have White Sand, and then we have The Rithmatist 2, maybe, or The Stormlight Archive. I don't know, maybe you could clarify, give us some insight into these novelties that we have.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, my next book coming out in Spanish is Calamity, the last of The Reckoners, and Spain is one of the few countries, maybe the only one, that is doing White Sand, the graphic novel, in translation. Right now, I am writing the third of The Stormlight Archive. I wrote some here, in Barcelona, and I am going to be releasing that, hopefully, next year, in English. One of our goals is to eventually get to where we're doing closer simultaneous releases, but that puts so much of a weight on our translators, but we've been talking about it, my agents and I. My poor translators. Rithmatist 2 will come eventually. I tried writing it once. It didn't quite work. I had to rebuild the outline, so now I need to find another slot in my writing schedule for it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

     

    It may seem odd that Roial invites Kaloo to the meetings after just a short time. Remember several things, however. First, Sarene wasn't in the town for very long before she herself got into the meetings. Second, they're desperate for help and new perspectives. Third, Kaloo has been living with Roial, and Roial knew Raoden quite well. I'm not saying that Roial saw through the persona, but he undoubtedly sensed some of the same things in Kaloo that he liked in Raoden.