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    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13151 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    This page is much like the one from Elantris. I don't know if people ignore these, or if they read through them. Regardless, these are some important folks. They do a great job helping turn the rough drafts of my books into things that people would actually want to read.

    I really do like having writing groups. I don't know if I've talked about this before, but I find a good writing group to be a vital part of the process. Not only do they give you encouragement, but they provide great chapter-by-chapter responses to books. Giving the entire book to alpha readers helps a lot with the big picture–but those kinds of readers don't generally catch the smaller issues in a given chapter.

    But, there's another reason I like writing groups. I really enjoy watching writers progress, and seeing their prose develop. It's a lot of fun to take place in a small community of people who are all working toward the same goals, and to give them encouragement and aid.

    I also felt I needed to give David and Irene acknowledgements on this page. I added them in last, after I realized just how much I owe to the people at Tor. Without the people who do the publicity and the artwork, no book would ever get taken off the shelves–or even get out of the warehouse. These people do a great job, and I think they are part of the reason Tor is the powerful force that it is.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13152 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    I had trouble deciding on the dedication for this book. I know a lot of awesome people who deserve the honor. My mother got the dedication of my first one–that was easy–but it was much more difficult to decide who got to go next.

    I eventually decided on Beth Sanderson, my Paternal Grandmother. Both of my grandmothers are awesome people. I decided to use Beth for this one because she is one of the only fantasy fans in my immediate family. (The other being my little sister Lauren.)

    I still remember Grandma Beth talking about the sf/f books that she'd read, trying to get me to read them. She taught junior high English, and I think she must have been great at the job. She is just truly a fun-loving person, always smiling despite the physical hardships she's gone through lately.

    In addition, she's a little screwy–in a good way. Everyone says I must have inherited my strangeness from her.

    So, this book is for you, grandma!

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13153 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Title Page - Part Two

    Okay, so here we see the words Final Empire for the first time. Continuing the discussion I had in the last annotation, one of the books that I wrote after Mistborn Prime was called The Final Empire. (I now call it The Final Empire Prime.) It was the story of a young boy (yes, boy) named Vin who lived in an oppressive imperial dictatorship that he was destined to overthrow. It was my attempt at writing a shorter book that still had epic scope.

    This book turned out to be okay, but it had some fairly big problems problems. While people reacted rather well to the characters, the setting was a little weak for one of my books. Also, once again, I wasn't that enthusiastic about the way the plot turned out.

    After that, I gave up on the short books. I proved no good at it. I decided to do The Way of Kings next, a massive war epic. It turned out to be 350,000+ words–I kind of see it as me reacting in frustration against the short books I'd forced myself to write. About this time, I sold Elantris, and Moshe (my editor) wanted to see what else I was working on. I sent him Kings. He liked it, and put it in the contract.

    I, however, wasn't certain if Kings was the book I wanted to use as a follow up for Elantris. They were very different novels, and I was worried that those who liked Elantris would be confused by such a sharp turn in the direction of my career. So, I decided to write a different book to be my "second" novel.

    I had always liked Allomancy as a magic system, and I liked several of the character concepts Final Empire. I also liked a lot of the ideas from both books, as well as some ideas I'd had for a great plot. I put three all of these things together, and conceived the book you are now reading.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #13154 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Title Page - Part One

    All right, first annotation! About the title page.

    I'm generally just going to call this book Mistborn, though the entire series is the "Mistborn Trilogy." Technically, this book is Mistborn: The Final Empire. The second book is Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, and the third book is Mistborn: The Hero of Ages.

    There’s an interesting story behind this title. As some of you may know, I spent a number of years trying to get published, writing books all the while. My first five books are what I call the "throwaway books." Those were ones I did mostly as practice, figuring out how to do the whole novel-writing thing. Book six was Elantris, which was published in May of 2005; it was the first book I managed to sell.

    However, while I was trying to get Elantris published, I wrote a number of other books. The three after Elantris were big epic fantasy books, much like it in style. After that, I decided that I was writing things that were too big–that no publisher was going to take a huge epic fantasy book from an unknown author. (Though that's eventually what happened. . . .)

    Anyway, I decided to try writing some shorter (i.e. only about 125,000 words instead of 250,000 words) fantasy novels. The first of these was what I now call Mistborn Prime. It was the story of a man who was a "Mistborn" (a kind of super-powerful assassin) who gets trapped in a small village with people hunting him, and has to try and blend in with the population there.

    Mistborn was a different book for me in many ways. It was shorter, for one thing, and it was also about a kind of anti-hero. It only had one viewpoint character, and the plot was much smaller in scope than my other books. It was successful in some ways, but a failure in others. The magic system I developed for it–Allomancy–was quite spectacular, as were the action sequences. The character, however, didn't appeal to many readers. And, the plot was just a little. . .uninspiring. I'm really better when I have more to deal with.

    As you can probably tell, this book–which was unpublishable–became the inspiration for the book I eventually wrote named Mistborn: The Final Empire. We'll cover that second part in the next annotation.

    General Signed Books 2017 ()
    #13161 Copy


    Like Adonalsium, could Harmony split into 2 shards OTHER THAN Ruin/Preservation with the right intent.

    You once stated that it is plausible that with a different intent Adonalsium could have shattered into a DIFFERENT 16 shards. You have also said that Harmony is one shard (or could be viewed this way.) My question: Could Harmony split/be split into 2 shards OTHER THAN Ruin/Preservation (yet still complementing/opposite) with the right intent of the splitter?  And if not is this because Harmony is still too invested in Scadrial as Ruin/Preservation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Almost anything is possible... but it is very, very unlikely that Harmony would split except back to Ruin/Preservation.

    General Signed Books 2016 ()
    #13166 Copy


    The background to my question is this:

    It was once stated by Mr Sanderson that "Magic in the cosmere needs a guiding force.  If it doesn't have one, the magic itself will gain sentience."  We also have that things like Nightblood that gained sentience because of crazy amounts of investiture.

    My question then is:

    "Is the reason that investiture has this tendency to lead to sentience caused by the fact that pre-Shattering Adonalsium had a goal/purpose/intent of bringing sentience to his universe."

    (I guess this is in a way a 2 part question, because it assumes that Adonalsium actually HAD the intent of bringing sentience to his cosmere)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, this is part of the reason.  Good question!

    The Hope of Elantris Annotations ()
    #13176 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    So there's the backstory. Now, the question comes up, what do I think of the story itself?

    Well, it's hard for me to separate the backstory and the history of the story from the text itself. For me, this story is a piece of my history with Pemberly, and is intertwined with a lot of the emotions and experiences of that crazy year from summer 2005 to summer 2006 when my first novel was released and I met and married my wife.

    Looking back at this story, I think it might be a tad on the sentimental side. (How could it help but be, considering . . . ?) I'm bringing a lot from my own experiences to the characters, and Dashe and Matisse became full and real people to me. However, I'm not certain I justify their relationship and the characters enough to earn the emotion of the short story.

    I hope that it doesn’t come off as too melodramatic. (Read outside the context of the Elantris novel, I think that it might.) I wrote it quickly, and I'm afraid it's not as polished or as intricate as I might have otherwise been able to make it. I realize it's not the finest piece of work I've done, and I certainly wouldn't suggest it to anyone who hasn't read Elantris itself, as the story doesn't work at all (emotionally or plotwise) if you aren't familiar with the novel. I also think it's not a good introduction to my work.

    But for what the story is, I'm quite pleased with it.

    Thanks for reading!

    The Hope of Elantris Annotations ()
    #13177 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hope of Elantris

    I'd been itching to write another Elantris story. Because of the nature of publishing, I knew that I couldn't do a sequel to the book at the time, as the Mistborn novels made so much more sense to publish. However, Matisse's project gave me the inspiration that I needed in order to turn my attention back to Elantris. I stopped writing on Mistborn: The Well of Ascension and wrote out this section of the Elantris story.

    Because Matisse had inspired me, I decided that I would name a character after her. I also felt that if I was taking the time to write a short story in the world, I wanted to introduce a new character rather than telling the story from Dashe's viewpoint. (As would have been likely had this section ended up in the final novel.) Therefore, it was reasonable to write it from the viewpoint of the character I'd just named after Matisse.

    The Matisse in the story doesn't act like the real Matisse. I didn't know the real Matisse; I'd never met her. (Though I did have Pemberly describe her so that I could make the character look like her. Matisse was one of my wife's favorite students, as you might imagine from her doing fantastic projects like the Elantris book.)

    After writing the story, I sent a copy with Pemberly to give to Matisse as a gift and a thank you. I can only imagine how surprised she was to turn in a project based on one of her favorite books, then get back a short story written by the author including her as one of the characters in the world. This is the kind of nifty little thing you can pull off once in a while as a novelist, and I just couldn't pass by the opportunity.

    (Of course, the fact that I'd just put one of Pemberly's favorite students into a story for her, then let Pemberly give the gift, did not escape me. I can't help but think it got me a few bonus points. After all, we did start dating exclusively just a short time after that. . . .)

    Matisse gave us the original Elantrisology book she had made as a wedding gift. She still comes to a lot of my signings, and as far as I can tell is still one of the most awesome people alive. (Though I'm biased toward anyone who says nice things about my books.)

    The Hope of Elantris Annotations ()
    #13178 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Holes in the Story

    In any novel, there are decisions you make regarding what to put in and what to leave out. A lot of authors talk about the "iceberg" theory—that for any good book, there's a lot of story and worldbuilding beneath the surface that the author knows, but the reader never discovers. These things give weight and a foundation for the story you do see, allowing it to feel more real and more engaging because the author has thought through so much of what isn't stated.

    In Elantris, there are a couple of these holes. Places where I knew what was happening offscreen, but decided that I couldn't talk about it in the book. In this novel, there were generally two reasons for these holes. One was if I couldn't get a viewpoint character into the right location at the right time; the chapter triad format earned me a lot of things, but also constrained me sometimes. At the end of the book, however, the triad system fell apart on purpose, and so I could show random other viewpoints. In the case of what was happening with the children in Elantris, however, I decided that there was already too much happening during the climax, and these sections were the ones that had to be cut.

    So I knew what was going on inside Elantris when the attack by the Dakhor came. In the back of my mind, I also knew that the children were saved and protected by Dashe and Ashe the seon, kept from being slaughtered in the attack. I didn't want them to fall like the others; Karata had worked so hard to protect them, and letting the children not have to suffer through the slaughter at New Elantris was my gift to her. A kind of compensation for her own sacrifice at the end of the novel.

    The Hope of Elantris Annotations ()
    #13179 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    This short story actually has a very interesting backstory.

    If we flash back to January 2006, we find me having been dating Pemberly (her real name is Emily, but she goes by Pemberly online) for about two months. Our relationship was still quite new, and we weren't exclusive yet. (Though I wanted to be. I was pretty sure I wanted to marry her by that point.)

    Well, at one of our dates, Pemberly told me an amazing story. It seems that one of her eighth grade students—a girl named Matisse—had done a book report on Elantris. Now, Matisse didn't know that her teacher was dating me. She didn't even know that Pemberly knew me. It was just one of those bizarre coincidences that happens just to prove to us all that the world is a funny place.

    Now, when I say book report, that doesn't get across the scope of what Matisse did. Being a clever, creative girl, she went the extra mile. Instead of a simple write-up on the book, she did a Dragonology-style book on Elantris. This thing is amazing; it has sketches and bios of the characters, strips of Elantrian cloth stapled in as examples, little pouches filled with materials from the books, all of that. A total multisensory experience dedicated to the novel, all handmade. Pemberly showed it to me, and it was honestly just about the coolest, must humbling thing I'd ever seen. Matisse had obviously loved the book very much.

    That set me thinking of something I could do as a thank-you surprise to Matisse, who still didn't know that her teacher was dating one of her favorite authors. I'd had this idea itching in the back of my head.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13180 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Book Wrap-up

    So, that's my book. It may be about seven years old to me now (it was written in '99), but I still retain a great fondness for it. You have no idea how exciting it is to finally see it in print.

    Hopefully, you enjoyed these annotations. I want to do them for all of my novels, but we'll see how things go. (Note from future Brandon, who is posting this after he wrote it some months earlier. There WILL be Mistborn Annotations starting July, 2006!)

    For now, I've got about 40,000 words here—a good half of a novel for free. Keep coming back to the website for more information, and make certain you check out the other bonus materials. (Deleted scenes will be posted throughout June.)

    Oh, and make sure you go by Mistborn when it comes out! If Elantris was this good and I did it seven years ago, think of what kinds of things I'm working on right now!

    I did most of these annotations while doing the copy edit of Elantris—which is probably the last good read I'll give the book in the drafting process. Ten drafts. And now I turn away from the book and call it complete.

    Thank you so much for reading.

    The Elantris project

    Begun 9-27-1999 (First Word to Page)

    Finished 10-18-2004 (Final Annotation Written)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13181 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    This is the dénouement to the denouement, I guess. We get to end with my favorite character, tying up some of the small loose ends that were related to her storyline. There is some good material here–she points out that Raoden is doing well as king, how Ahan is fairing, and gives a nice prognosis for the future of Arelon.

    However, the important part of the epilogue comes at the end. I love the last line of the book, despite the fact that Joshua disagrees with it. (He wanted something else there–I can't quite remember now what his quibble was.)

    Anyway, I always intended to end this book talking about Hrathen. He was their savior, after a manner–and he certainly was a dominant force in the book. I wanted to give him one final send-off–to honor him for what he did, both for Arelon, and for the story in general.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13183 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Loose Threads

    You'll notice, therefore, that I pile on the lose threads here. The most important one, of course, is the concept that Fjorden has gained access to the Dor (presumably recently.) The Dakhor are a newer development–Wyrn was just getting ready to use them against Elantris when the city fell on its own. (Dilaf wasn't the only Dakhor plant inside Arelon. But, those are stories for another time.) Anyway, I think I gave myself plenty of sequel room here. There are the questions about the Dor, about Fjorden, and about the seons.

    That said, I can't honestly promise that I'll do an Elantris sequel. When I was writing during this period of my life (some seven years ago now), I was trying to create as many first books as possible. I was sending them all off to publishers, trying to get someone to bite on one of them so I could start a series. However, since I was a nobody, I had to write each book as a stand-alone as well. Publishers, I was told, like to get books from new authors that could stand alone or launch into a series. That way, they’re not committing to anything drastic, but can monopolize on popularity if it comes.

    Elantris turned out to be one of the best stand-alones I did. I kind of like how it doesn't really need anything more to make it feel complete. And, I've got so many stories that I want to tell, I don't know that I'll be able to get back to this one. I guess it will depend upon how well Elantris sells, and whether or not Tor pushes me toward writing more books in this world.

    Anyway, I've got plenty of things I could talk about if I do come back.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13184 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Three


    Well, Sarene finally gets her wedding. I hope the women don't kill me for showing it from Raoden's bored viewpoint rather than Sarene's excited one. However, there were a lot of things I needed to go over in a relatively short period of time here.

    When I was younger, I always got mad at authors for having denouements that were too short. Perhaps I'd be angry at myself, if I were to read the book. (I've always wondered what Brandon the teenage reader would have to say about my current works.) Regardless, I've since become a fan of terse endings. I try to wrap things up thematically while still pointing out all the different ways the plot could go, if more were to happen.

    Stories never really end. Any author will tell you this–we've always got more to say. That doesn't mean that there will certainly be a sequel to this book. (See below) It just means that the characters live on in my mind, and that I want to give a sense that the world continues.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13185 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    So, Hrathen wasn't really dead. (Ironically, while many of you are probably saying "yeah, yeah. That was obvious," I actually didn't have him appear here in the first eight drafts of the book. I'll explain later.)

    I think this is my favorite scene of this chapter. Not only is it written a little better than the rest of the book (I added it quite late–just this last summer) but it gives final closure to the Hrathen-Dilaf relationship. It uses Hrathen's time in Dakhor as an ironic twist against Dilaf. In short, it is a pretty good scene. Fulfills character, plot, and theme at the same time–while giving us a nice image to boot. (Though I do hate to do the "Hey look, a guy we thought was dead is really alive" twist.)

    The story behind this scene is pretty recent. One of the original rewrites Moshe asked for was a fix of the ending, which he thought was too Deus Ex Machina. (Which, indeed, it was.) I don't think I'll go into the entire original version here–it was quite different. You can read the alternate ending in the deleted scenes section, when I throw it up next month. The short of it, however, is that Ien (Raoden's seon) showed up to save Raoden and Sarene from Dilaf. I used a mechanic of the magic system that I have since pretty much cut from the novel (since it was only in the book to facilitate this scene) that allowed Ien to complete his Aon, "healing" Dilaf. Except, since Ien's Aon was broken, it turned Dilaf into an Elantrian instead. (A non-glowing Elantrian. One like Raoden the group used to be–like Dilaf's own wife became after she was improperly healed in Elantris.)

    I know that's probably confusing to you. The scene, over all, was just kind of weak. It relied on a barely-explained mechanic mixed with a tangential character showing up at just the right moment. When Moshe asked for the change, I immediately saw that I needed to bring Hrathen back to life for a few more moments. Letting him die on the street just wasn't dignified enough (though originally I wanted him to die this way because it felt more realistic.) I wanted a final confrontation between Hrathen and Dilaf, since it would give most people's favorite character a heroic send-off, and would also let me tie in the aforementioned Dakhor irony.

    In the end, I was very pleased with the rewrite. It's good to have an editor.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13187 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Raoden and Sarene vs Dilaf

    There's really only one way this battle could have ended–Dilaf had to win. Raoden might know his Aons, but Dilaf has been a Dakhor for decades. Sarene has practiced fencing, but Dilaf is a warrior monk with a supernaturally fast and powerful body. It makes sense to me that this little battle wouldn't even be much of a contest. Both Sarene and Raoden are people who succeed not based on their ability to beat up their enemies, but on their ability to manipulate their surroundings. By having the heroes defeated in combat by the villain at the end, I think I give a final nod to my desire to write a book that didn't use violence as the solution to problems.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13188 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Three

    The Dakhor Monks

    In the original write of the book, the Dakhor broke and ran before the Elantiran attack. My thought was that the Dakhor always been so much more powerful than their opponents that they didn't know what to do when faced with someone more powerful than they were. In a rewrite, however, I changed this. I'd spent too much time establishing that he Dakhor were fiercely loyal. I see them as fanatics–people who were either originally like Dilaf, or who became like him through their conditioning. They wouldn't break before a superior force–they'd attack it, even if it meant getting slaughtered.

    This revision works far better for me–especially since I can have the scene where Dilaf wishes he could join them. Death is not something that scares a group like this.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13189 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Weak Aons

    Elantris is like a massive power conduit. It focuses the Dor, strengthening its power (or, rather, the power of the Aons to release it) in Arelon. This far away from Elantris, however, the Aons are about as powerful as they were before Raoden fixed Elantris.

    If you consider it, it makes logical sense that the Aons would be tied to Elantris and Arelon, yet would work without them. The Aons had to exist before Elantris–otherwise, the original Elantrians wouldn't have known the shape to make the city. Their study of AonDor taught them a method for amplifying Aon power.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13190 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Damsel in Distress

    Now, I'd just like to note here that Raoden's just returning a favor. Sarene is the one who gave him the clue that led to his fixing the Aons, then finally restoring Elantris. Now that she's in danger, he gets to rescue her in turn. Just because someone finds themselves in danger or trouble does not mean that they themselves aren't competent.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13191 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Two

    Raoden's Teleportation

    I had to work very hard to make this one work. I think it turned out, but it is a little bit of a stretch. Hopefully, readers will go with me on this one because of the climactic feeling of the near-ending.

    Regardless, I do think I gave Raoden all the pieces he needed here. Adien always existed in the book for this one moment–to give Raoden the length measurement he needed to go try to save Sarene. I've established that seons have perfect senses of direction, and I've talked about how to use Aon Tia. More importantly, I think I've established that this is something that Raoden would do. He gets just a shade foolhardy when Sarene is concerned. (It's all her fault.)

    There is another important element to this teleportation. I thought it important to involve deity in the climax of what has been such an overtly religious book. You may not believe in God, and it is never my intention to belittle your choices. However, the format of this book has been one that dealt with religion and the way that people interact with their faith. And so, I took this last moment of the book, and gave Raoden an opportunity to call upon the aid of providence.

    Raoden arrives safely, despite the odds against his having gotten the distance, direction, and other factors right. You are free to simply think of this as luck, if you wish.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13192 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    And, here we have Lukel joking again. Just like a the end of last chapter, where he faints. Comic relief shouldn't be underestimated, I think. Especially comic relief like this–jests and levity given in-character by people who are trying to lighten the mood of a stressful time. Lukel isn't there simply to entertain the reader, he's there to show a different side of human reaction. I think that if I were in his situation, I'd be trying to find a way to laugh about what happened too.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13193 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    Okay, so not all of the random surprises were cut from the book. I considered writing Fjon's appearance out of the book on several occasions, and I also played with several ways of using this scene. Eventually, I settled on what you see now–which was my original version.

    I realize this is a kind of "out-of-nowhere" shock. If I were writing this book today, I'd probably have cut this one. I'd also have slowed this chapter down a bit–I think the quick viewpoint jumps are getting a bit tired. They work for a short time, but I've been going with them for too long. (Sorry.)

    Anyway, back to Fjon. He has two basic purposes in the book. First is to kind of prove to Hrathen that no amount of logic and planning can prepare him for everything. The second is to set up Wyrn as a more mysterious, and more powerful, character. I definitely meant to imply that Wyrn managed to see, limitedly, into the future and sent Fjon to the place where he'd be able to slay an important traitor to Fjorden. I also thought Fjon's appearance a nice tie back to the early chapters.

    Looking back on it now, I still worry about this scene. Perhaps the book would have felt more professional if I'd just taken Hrathen out with a stab from Dilaf or one of his monks. The Fjon shock just wasn't built up enough to earn its place in the book. However, at the same time, a piece of me likes the fact that this one event is completely random. It doesn't detract from any of the characters–which is my main reason for avoiding random surprises. In battles, wars, and political conflicts, sometimes things happen that are completely unexpected. This is one of them.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13195 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Salvation of Elantris

    Yes, Raoden lets the Dakhor monks go. That's the sort of thing that happens in this book. If you want something more gritty, you can read Mistborn. (Which is gritty for me, though nowhere near the genius sadism of George R. R. Martin's books.)

    I like having this scene from Lukel's viewpoint. If nothing else were gained from his other sections, I think the scene of the Elantrians emerging from the flames would be enough to justify his viewpoints in these last few chapters.

    So, anyway, that's one major plot line finished. Elantris has been restored. Most fantasies, however, are about characters more they are about plot. I love great twists and revelations–but the book isn't over until the characters are fulfilled. So, onward.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13196 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


    I keep promising that I'll tell you about some of the other silly character revelations I had pop up in the book. This one is particularly embarrassing. To be honest, I have NO idea what I was thinking.

    In the original draft of the book, Hrathen turns out to have been from Duladel the entire time. It's revealed in this scene, when he and Sarene are running from the Dakhor. He was of Dula blood, having grown up there, then moved to Fjorden as a teenager.

    Yes, I know. I must have been tired when I wrote that chapter. Anyway, at one point it must have seemed like a good idea. It didn't make even the first cut, however–my first readers rose up in open rebellion, and I joined them.

    I figure I must have decided that it was more dramatic to discover that Hrathen had betrayed his own people by destroying Duladel. (Note, in the early draft of the book, I made more of a habit of pointing out that the Duladen republicans weren't generally dark-skinned.) In the first draft, I always had Hrathen wear black die in his hair and pretended to be from Fjorden.

    Yes, again, I know. It was stupid. We writers do stupid things sometimes. I didn't even pause to think that the drama of Hrathen betraying his own people and religion in the present is far more powerful than a betrayal that happened before the book even started. I denied his entire character by trying to rely on some whim that seemed like a clever, unexpected twist. Don't let yourselves do things like this, writers. Let the twists help develop the character, not exist simply to surprise.

    Anyway, I'll post this scene in the deleted scenes section. It'll keep me humble to know people can read it.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13197 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-One - Part Four

    Hrathen and Sarene There is some good, if terse, exposition here with Hrathen sorting through his feelings. I don't think he really wants to come to any answers right now. Logic has lead him astray before, and now that he's doing what he feels is right, he doesn't want to pause to give himself a chance to consider the ramifications of what he’s done.

    Again, Sarene has fulfilled her purpose in the book. She's thrown chaos into Hrathen's otherwise-orderly life. However, her chaos here–just like the chaos she caused in Elantris with her food–eventually proves to be a good thing. It inspires change for the better, even though that change is painful.

    And, of course, I remind the reader here that there is something odd about Hrathen's arm. I've only mentioned it in a couple of places, so I don't expect people to remember what is going on here. I actually forgot to have the sleeve in the original rewrite. I didn't even think to notice that his Dakhor arm would be exposed to Sarene in this scene. . . .
    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13198 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm sorry for killing Karata. It felt like the right thing to do right here, even though my readers universally disagree with this decision. This is a very important series of events. If I didn't have any real danger for the characters, then I think earlier events–where characters did die–would come across feeling more weighty. Karata and Galladon throw themselves at a troop of armed soldiers. There was no way for that to end well.

    (By the way, none of the readers have even batted an eye about Eshen's death. I guess she got on their nerves.)

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13199 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Spirit of Elantris (Part Two)

    So, my only worry about the climax here is that it's a little hard to visualize. Because I never quite got the map to look like I wanted it too, it's hard to see what Raoden is doing in this chapter. Essentially, he adds the chasm line to the Aon Rao that Elantris and its outer cities form. Because Elantris was an Aon, it stopped working just like all of the other Aons did when the Reod occurred. I've established several times in the book that the medium an Elantrian draws in–whether it be mud, the air, or in this case dirt–doesn't matter. The form of the Aon is the important part. By putting a line in the proper place, Raoden creates a gate that allows the Dor to flow into Elantris and resume its intended purpose.

    This is the scene that made me want to write this book. It, along with the one I talked about in the last chapter, formed a climax that I just itched and squirmed to write. (That's always a good sign, by the way.) The central visual image of this book is that of the silvery light exploding from the ground around Raoden, then running around the city. Storytelling-wise, this is the one scene I wish I could do cinematically rather than in text.

    Elantris Annotations ()
    #13200 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-One - Part Three

    Raoden's Run

    Now, perhaps, you see why I was worried that I had Raoden too far up on the slope. In order for the plot to work, I had to get him down to the city in a hurry so that he could draw the Chasm Line.

    If you think about pacing a little bit as you read this chapter, you'll see that a lot more time is passing between sections than I'm implying by the quick cuts. It probably takes Raoden a good twenty minutes of running to get down that mountain. Fortunately, I've established that Elantrians don't get out-of-breath.

    He also runs, dragging the stick, longer than I imply. I think the pacing here is important to keep up the tension. However, if you draw the line, you'll see that he had to cross a good distance of land while dragging his stick.