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    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11052 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The only other thing to say about this chapter is that it's about where the Mad Prince subplot began in the original drafts of the book.

    Though this is explained other places on the site, I should probably note it here. The Mad Prince, a character who has been cut from the book, dominated about three or four chapters in the last quarter of the manuscript. Originally, Raoden wasn't an only child–he had a brother who was something of a madman. Eton–the Mad Prince–was sent away by his father to live in seclusion. He was mentioned several places in the text, foreshadowing the time when Hrathen decided to pull him back into Arelish politics to try and use him as a pawn.

    In this chapter, the Mad Prince arrives in the area–though we don't know it. Hrathen finds out that Eton has arrived, and goes to meet with him off stage. The reader doesn't know what's going on yet–you only know that Hrathen has some other little scheme he's been cooking up since Sarene's fall. (Remember, in the original draft of the book, Telrii was far less of a character. Hrathen gave up on him early in the book, after the plan to sink Iadon's ships ended up being a wash.)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11055 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's a tie–best cheesy line from this chapter.

    FINALIST NUMBER ONE:

    He half-smiled, his eyes unconvinced. Then, however, he regarded her with an unreadable expression. "Well, I suppose the time during your Trial wasn't a complete loss. I gained something very important during those weeks."

    "The supplies?" Sarene asked.

    "That too."

    FINALIST NUMBER TWO:

    "When I opened my eyes, I thought that time I had died for certain." (Remember, when this happened, Raoden was laying on his back. He opened his eyes, and the first thing he would have seen was Sarene's face hovering above him.)

    What can we learn from this? That people who are falling in love are utter cheese-heads.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11056 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Interestingly, I’ve never annotated about Sarene's nickname before. Only her father uses it, and when Moshe read the draft, he had trouble understanding how to get 'Ene from Sarene. That's probably because he, like most people, pronounced her name like the word serene. That's all right–I don't really mind how people pronounce the names in my books. When I read, I see a name, come up with a pronunciation in my head, then go with that from there on. Nothing can convince me that I'm pronouncing it wrong, not even the author him/herself. (Even still, the names of Anne McCaffery's dragons are jumbled, meaningless noises in my mind. That seemed right at the time.)

    Anyway, if you're interested, there's a pronunciation guide for Elantris on the site. Sarene's nickname comes from the Aon in her name: Aon Ene. While in our world, we tend to choose nicknames based on the first syllable of a name, nicknames in Arelish come from from the Aon. Since Sarene's Aon comes late in her name, that's where the nickname comes from. "Ene," by the way, is pronounced "Ay-nay."

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11057 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, I took the bit where Sarene judged Raoden's height from real-life experience. My friend, Annie Gorringe, always used to talk about how her near 6' height sometimes made it difficult for her to find men to date. Often, the first thing she'd do when she was interested in a man was judge his height compared to her own.

    Watch out, folks. If you know an author, you have to watch your tongues. Anything you say is fair game to be used in a novel, as far as we're concerned.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11058 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In these chapters, I had to be very careful during the Sarene viewpoints. As I was writing, I had a habit of accidentally referring to Raoden by his real name, rather than calling him Spirit. Sarene, of course, doesn't know who he really is. I found one place where I called him "Raoden" that somehow lasted all the way to the final edit–hopefully, that was the last one.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11059 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter, we really get to see the effects Raoden's leadership. We see how he makes use of what he is given–the bright cloth, the nails, the sheets of metal. On one side, we saw Sarene twisting his demands. Now we get to see Raoden twisting those items back into usefulness. He changes the bright clothing into an advantage, using it to brighten his people against the sludge. He finds uses for all of Sarene's "useless" payments. The more bleak a situation is, the more Raoden shines.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11060 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-One

    My biggest challenge in this chapter was to make it believable to a reader that the characters would accept Sarene as an Elantrian. The plotting of this section of the book relies on Sarene thinking that she's actually been transformed–otherwise, she would try to escape, and I wouldn't be able to have the short interlude in Elantris I have here. It's vital to Raoden's plotting, and to the relationship between the two of them, that they have some time to think and to get to know one another.

    I had a couple things going for me in creating this suspension of disbelief regarding Sarene's nature as an Elantrian. First, she doesn't really know what an Elantrian should be like–she doesn't realize that her heartbeat or her tears betray her. Secondly, as Raoden will point out in a bit, Sarene has come during the time of New Elantris. There is food, there is shelter, and the pain has mostly been overcome. The differences between an Elantrian and a non-Elantrian, then, are less obvious.

    Even still, there are a couple of things I had to explain. The first is Ashe's existence. This is a major clue to Sarene and company that she's not really an Elantrian. Sarene's bodily changes–or lack thereof–are going to be more and more obvious the longer she stays in Elantris. Obviously, I wouldn't be able to pull this plotting off for very long, but hopefully it works for now.

    EuroCon 2016 ()
    #11066 Copy

    Questioner

    So, you have quite a following these days. As we know from Spiderman, and maybe Nietzsche before that, that carries a lot of responsibility as well. Is there something, in addition to buying your books, that you actually would want to ask from your followers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A wise man named Strongbad once said, "It's better to use your powers for awesome than anything else." However, it is a worry to me that people will take my opinion too strongly. We have a culture, particularly in America, which overemphasizes the opinions of celebrities, myself included.

    That said, I would encourage you, if there's one thing I could have people do, to support new writers, and to support good book sellers, and to encourage our entire genre, particularly through the new authors. It's much harder for them, these days, than it was for me when I was breaking in. So, support your bookstores, and also loan books that you like to your friends and have them read them, particularly if they're authors that not as many people are paying attention to.

    EuroCon 2016 ()
    #11067 Copy

    Questioner

    Hi. I have two questions about the Cosmere. The first one is if a Radiant can have a bond with two spren, and the other one is if Truthwatcher spren are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so RAFO on if a Knight Radiant can have two spren. But the second question was, "Are spren of Cultivation?" One more time?

    Questioner

    If the spren of the Truthwatchers are related directly with Cultivation or the Nightwatcher? Or both?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, most of the sapient spren that form the Orders of Knights Radiant are related to a mixture of Honor and Cultivation. Some lean one direction much more than the other, and the spren of the Truthwatchers leans toward Cultivation.

    General Signed Books 2016 ()
    #11070 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    While imprisoned Kaladin encounters a strange type of spren described as "taut wires crossing before him". When I first read this I instantly thought of the captivityspren Axies is searching for, so I was surprised when someone asked you about it and you were reported as saying they are not captivityspren. What kind of spren is it then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I must have misunderstood. Those were captivityspren.

    General Signed Books 2016 ()
    #11071 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    To what extent do the Shades of Threnody remember their lives? Silence’s grandmother appears to recognize her but on the whole Shades don’t really act like people. Kelsier however, the other main example of a Cognitive shadow, seems little altered from his living state.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shades of Threnody are not as self-aware as other shadows.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11083 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    These two chapters–forty and forty-one–are another sequential pair in a triad, like I did before. I wanted to push out of Raoden's viewpoint as quickly as possible here, because he's already seen Elantris and New Elantris. In these scenes, Sarene's view of things will be more fresh–and therefore more interesting. She can experience some parts of Elantris for the first time, and we can enjoy her realization and discovery.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11084 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This scene where Raoden and Sarene meet on equal grounds is, I hope, something that people have been waiting for. I intended the moment when Sarene lets Raoden take her hand to be a major event in the book. The phrase "For the first time" (I.e., she took his hand for the first time) was added at Moshe's suggestion. I'm personally not as fond of it as I could be–my opinion is often times, making a passage shorter actually emphasizes it more. However, I wasn't so set on those four words that I insisted on not putting them in.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11085 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty

    Originally, I had the steps leading up to Elantris from the outside be a construction put there by the people of Kae. I knew I wanted a large number of scenes on the wall–it is such a dominant visual feature of the book that I thought it would make a good stage for scenes. However, I quickly realized that it would be the people of Kae–not the Elantrians–who controlled the wall. The Elantris City Guard grew from this idea, as did the set of steps constructed on the outside, leading up.

    As I worked more and more on the book, however, I came to realize that the pre-Reod Elantrians wouldn't have needed a city wall for protection.

    Obviously, to those who've read more, there is a good Aon-based reason for the wall. However, there is more to it than that, as well.

    The wall of the city is a symbol–it's part of the city's majesty. As such, it made more and more sense that there would be plenty of ways to get up on top of it.

    When we got the cover art back from Stephen, we were amazed by its beauty. A few things, however, didn't quite mesh with the text. One of these was the set of steps–they were so ornate, so beautiful, that it didn't fit that they would have been designed by the people of Kae. At that point, things kind of fell together, and I realized that there was no reason why the Elantrians themselves wouldn't have put a large staircase outside the city leading up to the wall.

    And so, in the final rewrite of the book (the ninth draft) I changed the staircase, and the general feel of the wall, to give the proper sense to the reader. The staircase was placed by the Elantrians as a means of getting up on top the wall. The wall itself became less a fortification, and more a wonder–like the Eiffel Tower. It is there to be climbed and experienced.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11086 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Nine

    I did this triad a little differently. You might notice that the Hrathen chapter starts off right where the Sarene chapter ends. Again, I eventually decided to be more loose with the triad system than I'd originally intended. It would have been to limiting to force all three chapters to happen during the exact same time. So, instead I have them all happen on the same day, usually overlapping, but not always.

    Anyway, this chapter was a nice little place for Hrathen to feel proud of himself. You may have noticed that the chapters are speeding up–getting shorter, things happening faster–as the book progresses. This is an aspect of my style, and while it's not quite so noticeable in my new books (I've tried to even out my climaxes and surprised better during the last few years,) Elantris is an "Old School" Brandon novel. My books tend to push toward the endings quite dramatically, and you usually hit a place my friends affectionately call "The Brandon Avalanche." Generally, my books tend to go haywire in about the last ten percent, the pace increasing drastically, the viewpoints going wild.

    That hasn't happened at this point in Elantris, but we're getting closer.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11088 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll notice in the "Sarene prays in the chapel" scene that I take care to describe how high-necked, long-sleeved, and generally enveloping Sarene's dress is. Hopefully, this doesn't look suspicious. However, those of you who are watching carefully probably realized what was going to happen at the wedding. This was just too good an opportunity to pass up–for the surprise factor, for the wrinkles it throws in to the plot, and because it lets me mix Sarene and Raoden again.

    This prayer scene also offers our first, and only, real look into Sarene's religious mindset. Her faith is probably one of the only simple aspects of her personality–she believes, and it doesn't need to go much further than that for her. That's why I had this prayer be so simple. Sometimes, a simple thing can be far more powerful than a complex one.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11089 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This chapter is supposed to be something of a small redemption for Iadon. First off, we have his proclamation, which gives validity to his structure of rule. I think everything in the Arelish government makes a lot more sense now that we understand why Iadon did what he did.

    The second bit of redemption comes at the burial site, where Sarene watches the barrow being built. Her thoughts don't excuse what Iadon did, but I hope they give something of an explanation. I like this scene because of the way it feels–there is a reverence about it which gives the proper atmosphere for a funeral.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11090 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, in the original draft, when Sarene gives her "All of Arelon is blessed by your presence" line when the Patriarch is on the docks, the Patriarch originally said "I know." Moshe thought this was a little overdone, so I cut it. In my mind, however, the Patriarch IS overdone and cliché–that's part of his character. But, anyway, one other item about this scene is the storm. I threw it in so that I could fudge the time of the Patriarch's arrival–the triad structure requiring me to have had him on the boat longer than the trip should take. This might actually not be necessary any more–in the original, I had him leave before he found out about the king's death. (I'm. . .not exactly sure why. Something to do with pacing and the triad structure. However, it was always my intention to have him read the proclamation at the funeral, so I had to have him ASSUME that Iadon would be executed, then take off with the proclamation. Either way, I eventually fixed this, smoothing things out considerably.)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11091 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I brought in the Patriarch for a couple of reasons. Though Joshua wanted to cut him (my agent is quite the headsman) and suggested that I have Omin reveal the proclamation, I felt that I needed someone with a little more authority to fill that role. Plus, Elantris is a book about religion, and I wanted to look at the idea of having a religious leader who isn't necessarily as. . .wise as his people would like. By giving the Korathi religion a man like the Patriarch at its head, I could show a different aspect of faith in the book–the idea that a religion is more than its leader, and faith is more powerful than one man. I think that for any religion to last, it needs to be able to survive IN SPITE of the people who run it, rather than just because of them.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11092 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Eight

    Ah, we needed some more Lukel. He hasn't been around enough lately. I'm glad I had the presence of mind to throw in a character to balance out Shuden and Eondel's solemnity. Lukel doesn't really have much part in the plot, but he's always there to throw in a nice quip or two. His annoyance at being told his face is too pink here is probably one of his best moments.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11093 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another big nod of thanks goes out to my thesis committee for their suggestion regarding this chapter. I'm not sure how I missed it, but in the original drafts, Raoden and company never acknowledge the fact that Hrathen had been healed. They never even mentioned it, and they certainly didn't give their thoughts on why it happened.

    The fix was an easy one–you can read it in a few paragraphs in this chapter. However, the fact that it hadn't been there before was indeed a problem. Moshe was dumbfounded when I mentioned the oversight to him.

    So, thanks Sally, Dennis, and John. You saved me from some embarrassment.

    I like the explanation that Raoden gives here for Hrathen's healing. It seems like it would make sense to the Elantrians, and it saves me from having them suspect what was really going on.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11094 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Seven

    We've entered the section of the plot where Raoden has a few short chapters (this one and the one before.) As I mentioned, his major plot cycle–the three gangs–for the first part of the book is over. Right now, the most important things are happening on the outside of Elantris, so Raoden gets a slight breather to study.

    That said, the realization that happens here–that Raoden isn't bad at dealing with the pain, he's simply facing something that the others don't have to–is an important one. There needed to be some progression here, even if it does take away Raoden's main character conflict. (Now he doesn't have to worry that he's inferior.) However, this conflict is replaced by another little timebomb–now Raoden has to worry about being destroyed by the Dor before he can finish his studies. It gives him a sense of urgency, makes things a little more difficult–which is why I introduced this plotting structure in the first place. As I've mentioned, I was worried that there wouldn't be enough tension in his chapters once the gangs were defeated. Hence the Dor attacks.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11095 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This chapter asks the question "What is a miracle?" You've heard me wax pontificatory too much on religion, so I'll hold off here. Instead, I'll just point out that what Hrathen thinks–that something can be a miracle even if there was nothing "miraculous" involved–makes perfect sense, I think. Look at it this way. A) Hrathen believes (as many in our world do) that God controls everything. B) Hrathen believes (as many in our world do) that God can do whatever he wants without expending any resources or weakening Himself. C) Therefore, it doesn't matter to God whether or not He has to "magically" cause something to occur or not–as long as an event is made to coincide with what He wants to happen, it is miraculous. It's just as easy for Him to make something occur through the natural flow of the universe as it is for him to make it occur through breaking of normal laws.

    (This, by the way, is why "miracles" such as faith healings or the like should never, in my opinion, form one's grounds for belief in a particular religion.)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11096 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, all this time Hrathen was under the effects of the potion. It was a little bit contrived not to tell the reader that Hrathen had asked for the effects to be temporary, but I figured the drama was worth it. You should have been able to figure it out anyway–it was the only logical reason Hrathen would drink the potion.

    Of all the politickings, maneuverings, and plannings in this book, I think this is the best one. In a single brilliant gamble, Hrathen managed to make himself into a saint who is seen to have power over Elantris. He out-witted Sarene and Dilaf at the same time, gaining back everything he'd lost during his arguments and self-questioning. This isn't really a "twist," in my mind–it's something better. It's something that makes logical sense, something that carries the plot forward without having to trick the reader, yet still earning wonder and appreciation.

    In my mind, this sort of plot twist is superior to gimmick surprises. I don't often pull it off, but there's something. . .majestic about a plotting device that is obvious, rational, yet still surprising.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11097 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Six

    Dakhor. One of the better words I came up for this book, I think.

    Be patient with me–I'm going somewhere with this whole Dakhor monastery thing. We'll get there eventually. For now, enjoy Hrathen's visions. Or, rather, be disturbed by them. (Dakhor, if you haven't noticed, isn't a very friendly place. . . .)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11099 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Boy, I have a lot to say on this chapter. Let's talk about Sarene's engagement to Roial.

    Some moments, when you're writing, things just click together. The moment when I came up with this plotting element was one such moment. I hadn't actually planned this into my outline. Suddenly, as I was writing, I realized just how much sense it made, and how wonderful it would be to force the characters to have to go through this. Even still, this is one of my very favorite twists in the book.

    The scene in the carriage has been there from the beginning, but I did change it slightly in the last draft, adding the section where Roial talks to Sarene about herself. His line "You're an excellent judge of character, except for your own" is something I think needed to be said to Sarene at some point in the book. The actual suggestion that it happen came from my Master's Thesis committee. They–correctly–saw Sarene as someone who had an unrealistic image of herself.

    She really isn't as unmarriagble, or as unwantable, as she thinks she is. Even back in Teod, she wasn't regarded quite as harshly as she assumes. However, she's very hard on herself. Someone needed to sit her down and tell her–at the same time acknowledging to the reader–that she isn't half as bad as she seems to think.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11100 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    About here, I decided to start having Ahan be less helpful in these meetings. The subtext here is that he's been playing both sides, intending–yet never quite managing–to overthrow Sarene's group. Early in the book, he was having fun just playing the game–and he never did anything incriminating against the king. Now, with Iadon gone, he's reworking his motivations. So, that's why he's a bit less communicative in this chapter.