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    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11451 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11452 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11453 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11454 Copy

    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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    #11455 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11456 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11457 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11458 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11459 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11460 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11463 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11464 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11465 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11466 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11467 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11468 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11470 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11472 Copy

    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

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11473 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11474 Copy

    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.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #11476 Copy

    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 ()
    #11477 Copy

    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 ()
    #11478 Copy

    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 ()
    #11479 Copy

    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 ()
    #11480 Copy

    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 ()
    #11481 Copy

    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 ()
    #11482 Copy

    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 ()
    #11483 Copy

    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 ()
    #11484 Copy

    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 ()
    #11485 Copy

    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 ()
    #11487 Copy

    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.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The saddest part about Kaloo, I think, is that he's not a real character. I had a lot of fun writing him, and when I was done, I wished that I had a full character to play with. Even in these few chapters, I got across a complexity for him that I thought was most interesting. (His line about acting the fool on purpose, as well as the one "The revolution rolled over us while we were still discussing what to have for dinner" are some of my personal favorites.)

    Unfortunately, all of this characterization is undermined by the fact that Kaloo is really just Raoden playing a part. I often develop characters in my mind based solely on their dialect–and everyone has a dialect, despite what you may think. Galladon's might be the most obvious, but–in my mind, at least–everyone in the book speaks a little differently. Roial is dignifiedly mischievous, Ahan favors flamboyant words, Kaloo favors frivolous words, and Ashe likes words that make him sound solemn. Karata is curt, Lukel likes to quip, and Raoden firm.

    That's probably why I grew so attached to Kaloo–he had a lot of dialogue, and through that I created who he was in my mind. This tendency of mine to characterize through dialogue is why I had so much trouble cutting Galladon's frequent use of "kolo", which always bothered Moshe. Galladon's dialect is so much a part of who he is that each cut made me cringe.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Two

    In a later draft, I added a bit of padding to this chapter–in particular, I included more explanations by Raoden regarding how he'd been trying to meet with Sarene. I was worried that I was pushing the bounds of plausibility too much with Raoden's false persona. One of the main reasons that he left Elantris was to see Sarene again, and it just didn't make sense that he would try to keep fooling her. Moshe noted this as well.

    So, we have Sarene refusing Kaloo's letters, and not wanting to let him get her alone. Perhaps this is a little implausible as well–I can't see Sarene avoiding anything that smells of politics. Fortunately, Sarene is also far more impetuous than other "political" character's I've used. I can see her sending away Kaloo's letter because of a mood, or simply because she thought he was trying to taunt her.

    Either way, I had to find a reason to maintain the charade through this chapter, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to pull off Raoden's dramatic appearance in the next chapter.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    This scene ends with a question. Hopefully, the reader is reminded that we haven't really seen anything from Dilaf in the last few triads. Hrathen has been in control ever since he left Elantris, and what we've seen of Dilaf has been cursory and ignorable, for the most part.

    Now, however, he's back. His low profile in the last chapters was intentional. My hope is that the reader will hit the last few lines of this chapter and think "Oh, wait. I've been ignoring Dilaf lately. That's not a good thing. . . ." In other words, I want them to feel like Hrathen does. He's suddenly realized that he's let a foe slip under his notice for a time, and now he's worried about what Dilaf has been planning.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-One

    This is a different kind of Hrathen chapter. With it, I wanted to set the tone for the final section of the book. Only about 15% of the novel remains, and things are going to change for the last bit. You may have noticed a slight tone shift in this chapter–I made it a little darker, filling it with death imagery. (Incense, ash, darkness, Svrakiss.) I wanted to subtly get across that things are growing more dim for Hrathen and Arelon.

    Originally, this scene happened outside, at the Mad Prince's pyre. I liked the death imagery there a little better–Dilaf sifting through the ashes of a funeral pyre made for a very interesting image. However, the visuals in this newer version have their own advantages. I was able to use the lantern to half-light Dilaf's, and the smells from the tent make a nice sensual addition to the section.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty

    Joshua absolutely hates it when I use plots like this.

    I don't know why I insist on putting things like this (mistaken identities, people pretended to be someone else, that kind of plot) into my books. I think, deep down, I've got a weakness for old-school Shakespearean farces. Storytelling is just more fun when people can do a bit of pretending.

    Anyway, I'd been wanting to show a real Dula ever since I started writing the book. Galladon is such a "bad" Dula that I was very pleased when I found an opportunity to work Kaloo into the plot. You've been hearing, through various asides, about Dulas for most of the book. Now you actually get to meet one. Or, at least, someone pretending to be one. (Uh. . .I hope I'm not giving anything away by letting you know that Kaloo is really Raoden. It wasn't supposed to be a surprise.

    Anyway, we'll get an explanation from Raoden later about why he didn't come clean immediately. If he were truthful, however, he'd have to admit something: Though he sometimes teases Sarene for being too fond of political games, he likes them just as much as she does. The opportunity for him to meet her for the third time for the first time was just too tempting to pass up.

    In order for "Kaloo" to appear in this chapter, he and Galladon had to do some serious moving. (Realize that this has to be the same day as the last chapter.) I imagine that they made their discovery early in the morning, and Raoden was extremely eager to get out of the city and find out what was happening. They put on new faces, snuck out of the city, and went to the Arelene market to buy some costumes. After that, they went looking for Roial–whom Raoden wanted to contact first. Instead, however, he found Sarene and company fencing in the backyard. As mentioned, Raoden couldn't resist the opportunity to see her–and the opportunity to try out his Dula impersonation.

    By the way, you might remember that I've mentioned Raoden's fencing ability before. Very early in the book, I note during one of the fencing practices that Raoden had Eondel teach him to fight simply to spite Iadon. He's actually surprisingly good–Raoden, however, is the type of person who is surprisingly good at a surprising number of things.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    If you were wondering, most of the explanations we get in this chapter are true. The reason that Raoden was subject to the Dor attacks was because he spent so much time practicing with the Aons. He began to make a bridge between this world and the Dor, and because of that, he gave the Dor a slight opening into his soul. I imagine that he isn't the first one to suffer something like this during the ten years that Elantris has been fallen. Other Elantrians probably practiced with the Aons, and the Dor eventually destroyed them. When it was done, they simply became Hoed.

    By finally using the Dor effectively, Raoden relieved a little bit of the pressure, letting the nearby buildup of the Dor (the one that he himself had created by practicing so much) rip through him and fuel that single Aon.

    Originally, I had Raoden's conflict with the Dor continue on after this scene–I had it continue attacking him. In a later draft, however, I realized that I'd made a mistake. Raoden has other things to worry about in the upcoming chapters–he doesn't need the Dor attacks to create conflict and tension. So, after this chapter, the Dor attacks actually became distractions. I also realized that the way I'd set up the magic system, this chapter was probably the place where the Dor should stop attacking, since Raoden had fulfilled what he wanted it to do.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part Two

    So, in this chapter we get to have a nice look at the "mathematical" style to AonDor. To be honest, I'm not really a math person. I did well in my classes, but I never pursued the skill long enough to get deeply into theoretics. That's why there aren't any specifics in these chapters–I try to give enough to imply that AonDor works like mathematical proofs, but I don't include any specific ratios or equations.

    My goal was to get across the "Feel" of the magic without actually having to get into number crunching–which is something at which Raoden's much better than I am. (Though, it's less numbers and more of an understudying of length, location, and combination.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll notice that I start this chapter with a block of narrative, going over what has been happening since our last triad. I do this with some frequency in the Raoden chapters. Not everything in a book can be "in scene," and I sometimes find myself throwing in these narrative sections at the beginning of chapters. It's a bit of a triad-break, but not a huge one. After all, you can just assume that the narrative is coming from Raoden as he thinks back about previous events.

    Speaking of that, I haven't really talked much about viewpoint in these annotations. You may or may not have noticed that I'm a big fan of strictly-limited third-person viewpoints. Third person past tense has pretty much become the industry standard during the last fifteen years (before that time, you saw a lot more omniscient–look at Dune, and to a lesser extent, Ender's Game.) You almost never see it these days, though, and I personally think that's a good thing. Omniscient is a little better for plotting in some places, but limited is far better for characterization.

    Any time you read one of my books, you should remember that I'm almost always in strict limited. Whatever you read in the text, it is something that a character feels or has observed.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part One

    My biggest worry about these chapters is that people will look at the map we put in the front of the book and realize that it doesn't match the text. I really do like Jeff's map–it's well-drawn, and it has a very cool feel to it. I love the little city designs; they give the map a different feel from many fantasy maps. Overall, I think this map fits the "mood" of the book quite well.

    However, I myself didn't give him good enough instructions on how to develop the map, and now it doesn't completely fit what I talk about in the text. Since the landscape of the land is so important to the development of the book and the magic system, this could be a problem for some readers.

    Anyway, yes, Raoden makes the connection here. The Chasm line is what has been missing all along. I tried to emphasize the Chasm several times in the text, reminding people that it's around. However, as I may have said in other annotations (the spoiler sections), I now worry that the Chasm is TOO obvious. Anyway, I suspect the discovery will work for some people, and not work for others. Hopefully, the characterizations and the events in the book are interesting enough that even if some people think this discovery is obvious, they'll enjoy reading anyway.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    So, all of Telrii's characterization through the novel has been pushing toward this chapter. I knew I wanted him to throw a huge wrinkle into Hrathen's plans, and so the basic thing I had to decide was what Telrii could possibly do that would be as disastrous as the Mad Prince's uncontrollability. In the rewrite, then, I made certain to make Telrii a more unpredictable character. He's not just wasteful, he's arrogantly wasteful. At the same time, however, he's not as much a fool as people assume. He likes his spending, but he also likes how that luxury makes him look. It makes other people underestimate him, and makes them assume that he's predictable. That lets him pull little coups like the on he throws at Hrathen in this chapter.

    Hrathen is, of course, right. Telrii doesn't have any clue how great a misjudgment he just made. The idea is not that Telrii is brilliant–he's just smart enough, just wily enough, to be surprising. He's just dangerous enough to do something disastrous like this.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Forty-Eight

    Now we're getting into the most heavily-edited chapters of the book. From here, if you're curious about the Mad Prince version of the book, look in the "Deleted scenes" section. For the rest of the annotations, just realize that what the Mad Prince once did, Telrii now does. There is, of course, a lot of cut material–however, all of the essential elements of the plot still occur.

    Basically, the Mad Prince gave aggravation and problems to Hrathen in these late chapters. He'd had so much success with his Elantris-poison plots that I knew I had to give him a few more wrinkles during these chapters. In the original draft, he instigated the arrival of the Mad Prince, then realized that he couldn't control what he'd unleashed.

    These were all difficult edits. I still think the Mad Prince worked better in the role than Telrii does–however, the book as a whole works better without the Mad Prince in it. Sometimes you have to cut something good in order to achieve a better over-all effect.