Book Discussion: Elantris Chapters 16 - 30

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Book Discussion: Elantris Chapters 16 - 30

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abr. 18, 2007, 7:34 am

I didn't want to put it down last night! So much going on! OH, that clever Hrathen, pretending to be taken by the Shaod. Sarene is falling in love with her own husband, and doesn't know it, and Raoden's 'spirit' is close to the breaking point. I can't stay here typing, I must go READ!


abr. 18, 2007, 8:40 am

I really admire karata and her desire to help not just herself but others. It is so hard to keep the discussions to the chapters. I may have to wait until the end to post.

abr. 18, 2007, 9:54 am

I love when Sarene is falling in love with Raoden and has no idea who she is falling in love with and is in total denial. She really likes him.

I have to say I find the direct link between rank and money very interesting. It makes sense in an obvious way since power is frequently tied to money, but I've never seen it done so blatantly. The system makes corruption very common, and allows for potentially vulnerable kings. It's obvious why Kiin does not want a title.

abr. 18, 2007, 10:04 am

Polly - I feel the same! It's difficult to separate the chapters, and many of my reflections is on the whole of the book /the story, how characters evolve/, not on specific details!

But I agree with Clam - it was a move clever of Hrathen! And you better wait for the rest, hehe ;-)

*WARNING! Eventually a spolier /I don't think so, but.../*
I remember that at this stage I juggled with the idea that the thing "broken" with Elantris was of some technological nature, like electricity, and the knowledge of it had been long forgotten by the inhabitants.
I didn't think it'd fit with the general fantasyishness of the story (magic, world building, concepts of signs, the religions), but it had been an interesting and kind of fantasy turn sf:ish twist.
How it turned out was... interesting, but belongs to another thread ;-)

abr. 18, 2007, 10:33 am

When Hrathen contacts the apothecary guy I KNEW that's what he had in mind. Very cool how this played out.

abr. 18, 2007, 10:38 am

#5 I didn't pick up on that until it happened!

abr. 18, 2007, 10:44 am

#5 and 6 - I immediately latched onto the obvious conclusion. I thought he was going to poison Dilaf. When he took the poison himself I was like ZOMG! What's he DOING???

I always felt ambivalent towards Hrathen (in terms of reacting emotionally to him. I always liked him as a character.) He had good aspects and bad aspects, but I always knew that I didn't like Dilaf. He was so oily, but Brandon did a good job of writing him as if he was constantly simmering at a low boil with rage and hatred.


abr. 18, 2007, 10:44 am

#6 It's one of the few plot points I got ahead of time. This book kept me guessing through the whole thing. LOVE IT!

abr. 18, 2007, 10:50 am

Dilaf is a very well-written character.

I did think Hrathen was trying to kill Dilaf off, then I was actually sad when I thought he'd killed himself.

I'm a gullible reader, the first time I read a book. Discernment/analysis often doesn't come until a second or third reading. :)

abr. 18, 2007, 10:53 am

me too. I'm not a very analytical person thats why I wanted to join book discussions

abr. 18, 2007, 10:59 am

I was also sad when I thought Hrathen killed himself! I thought, "Oh no, he's going to let Dilaf control everything! What will happen now?!?!" I was quite relieved and pleased to learn he'd just chosen to make himself look like an Elantrian.

I truly hated Dilaf. I really just wanted him to die somehow by this point. >

abr. 18, 2007, 11:51 am

The downside of reading lots and lots of mystery novels is that you begin to see the patterns whether you want to or not. I used to think my mom was a genius because she always figured out plots. Now I'm doing the same thing. I can't get emotionally caught up in the story because I'm always figuring the angle. It's a curse.

abr. 18, 2007, 12:44 pm

When Hrathen took the poison I audibly gasped and cried "OH NO!!!!". Woke my husband up, he's saying "What's wrong? Are you okay?" (what a sweetie), but he wasn't too impressed when I told him it was just an unexpected part in the book. :D

abr. 18, 2007, 5:58 pm

My thoughts as I read these chapters:

Chapter 16 - Are Seons like angels? Are the people really their masters, or do they submit out of love?

Chapter 17 - In the Bible it speaks of the lack of hunger in Heaven, yet describes feasting. The ability to enjoy food without the pain of lacking it. I must say the descriptions of the hunger in Elantris are very meaningful in my personal quest to loose weight. Imagine never being filled. Can't help but wonder what has interfered with the Elantrian "life". (I'm with Busifer, wondering if it will end up being something mechanical rather than spiritual.)

Raoden - Spirit- Hope for the hopeless.

Chapter 23 - It bothered me that none of these lords who had worked so closely with Raoden would recognize him after conversing with him all afternoon. Even if his looks had changed drastically, his mannerisms, attitude and movements must have been familiar. Sarene I can excuse, I'm not sure how much talking through the Seons would tell one of another, but at least one of these men should have suspected.

Chapter 24 - Excellent soul seeking, examining the motives of the heart. (I don't have the book here anymore, but I'm thinking I wrote that of Hrathen. I was impressed with him very much and eager to find out where he would end up.)

Editat: abr. 18, 2007, 8:41 pm

#13 katylit - I did the same thing, only without waking anyone up. This book had so many moments like that. When I'm really into something, I tend to talk to it/comment aloud on what's happening. I did a whole lot of that here.

I loved the point at which Sarene and Raoden finally met. It made me go all gushy. I couldn't stop grinning.

And I really need to stop commenting at work so I can actually look through the book and say concrete things without worrying about spoilers!

ETA: okay, now that I'm home I realized I forgot to mention one of my favourite things about this segment: we finally get to see Raoden through someone else's eyes. We've already seen how Sarene and Hrathen react to one another via the chapters in their POV, but we've never really seen Raoden from anyone else's viewpoint.

abr. 19, 2007, 9:55 am

It's funny, I was surprised when Hrathen took the poison and assumed it was something other than death that was achieved buy its ingestion. Then he was cursed as an Elantrian. I was really surprised. and I stopped reading last night at chapter 30. At first I was thinking it served him right, then I remembered that only the locals could become Elantrian and that tripped the whole thing for me. He faked it to show that piety and preying to his god can miraculously heal him of the 'curse'. VERY dirty trick.

abr. 19, 2007, 10:22 am

Once he became Elantrian, I did quickly realize that he shouldn't have been able to because he was Fjordell. Lying jerk..

About none of Raoden's former friends recognizing him, the chapter does mention that he was being careful not to use his usual mannerisms around them. And, of course, people see what they want to see. They weren't expecting to see Raoden, so they didn't. Expectations play heavy role in what we perceive--this is just human nature (no matter how perceptive we think ourselves).

abr. 19, 2007, 10:29 am

#17 - Agreed, lefty. In Hrathen's case he seemed to be a follower of that old adage 'the ends justify the means.'

At one point he even says, " A man can force himself to hate if he wishes, especially if he convinces himself that it is for a higher good." (page 303 of the paperback)

abr. 19, 2007, 1:44 pm

Finished it at 1:42 am. That was a very satisfying read. The chapters run together in my head, so I'll wait for the "Through the end" thread to comment further.

abr. 20, 2007, 3:50 pm

I can hardly wait to join the "Chapter 31 to End" thread! I have a few more chapters to read and it's very difficult to stay away from the spoilers. My opinions about characters are changing as I read more and more. Like most of us here, I absolutely love this book! I will certainly be reading more of Brandon's work.

Okay - off to finish the book!

abr. 24, 2007, 1:50 am

#1: You just summed up my two favorite plot elements for this section of the book. ;)

#3: The rank/money connection came from my desire to try and do something different with the politics of the world. I don’t know how well it would actually work--not so well, I suspect. People who gain power through money gain connections as well, and don’t lose them just because the money dries up. However, one of the fun things about fantasy/sf is the ability to ask ‘what if.’ A good book, in my opinion, needs more than just one or two interesting ideas--it needs some smaller, cool ‘what ifs’ as well as the big ones that drive the story.

#9: Development of Dilaf came from my work that Hrathen (in the planning stage of the book) was simply becoming TOO sympathetic. I imagined Dilaf as a character to be his Id, the thing Hrathen inadvertently creates then loses control of. There is more to Dilaf than that, of course, but discussion of that part belongs somewhere else. . . .

#11 (and others.) We authors love readers like you! It’s great when people analyze and see what we’re doing, because it gives us (as writers) a challenge. However, for me, it’s wonderfully fulfilling when someone gets lost in the book to the point that they’re as surprised as the characters when things happen. It means that instead of seeing the book as a puzzle that must have all the pieces, you see it more like the characters do--as life, full of unexpected twists.

(More in a bit. I'll get to the next thread soon!)

abr. 24, 2007, 4:02 am

Dammit! I'm tired, but only 55 pages from the end.

*shakes fist* Damn you, Brandon Sanderson.

*slams down a drink with a little caffeine*

abr. 24, 2007, 7:24 am

#22 - Very funny, kawika! When I reached that point I wasn't cursing Brandon, I was cursing myself for being a puny mortal and needing sleep.

abr. 24, 2007, 2:47 pm

>23 clamairy: ooooooo 23. Magic number. But anyhoo, were I to blame myself, that would run completely contrary to the fact that nothing is ever my fault.

abr. 25, 2007, 4:23 am

I like the book, especially the religion angle. However I miss some of the background of the religion. (I have to admit this is a hobbyhorse of mine). I love Hrathen with his imposing character and belief, who has to work with a fanatic like Dilaf and the problems it may cause.

One thing that bothers me though is the timeframe. The story is supposed to last three months (at least the conversion-part, it may be that there is more to the book). Is this realistic? I guess I have to read the rest of the book to find out, but I don't know if I can take this bit.

Editat: abr. 25, 2007, 4:18 pm

#14: MrsLee

(About none of Raoden’s friends recognizing him when they visit Elantris.) The truth is, you’re right. I had to take a few small liberties in this area. It’s a kind of staple of the ‘hidden identity’ genre, but it does kind of pick at you, doesn’t it? I tried to find better rationalizations, and they all just highlighted the problem, so I cut them out.

#15: xicanti

I guess you’re figuring out why this book won the Romantic Times award for epic fantasy of the year. . . . :) (My brother has never let me forget that one. “Dude, you won a ROMANCE book award. Dude.”)

#22: Included here (As another Green Dragon Exclusive!) is a segment from my kid’s book Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians coming out in October. It’s a kind of self-aware, poke fun at the genre and myself, book (along with fun magic and characters, of course.) There are a lot of asides from the first-person narrator.

---Begin qote---

(Up here, there were some random things about the current workings of the plot)

This revelation may annoy you. It may even frustrate you. If it does, then I’ve achieved my purpose. However, before you throw this book against the wall, you should understand something about storytelling.

Some people assume that authors write books because we have vivid imaginations, and want to share our vision. Other people assume that authors write because we are bursting with stories, and therefore must scribble those stories down in moments of creative propondidty.

Both groups of people are completely wrong. Authors write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people.

Now, actual torture is frowned upon in civilized society. Fortunately, the authorial community has discovered in storytelling an even more powerful--and more fulfilling--means of causing agony in others. We write stories. And, by doing so, we engage in a perfectly legal method of doing all kinds of mean and terrible things to our readers.

Take, for instance, the word I used above. Propondidty. There is no such word--I made it up. Why? Because it amused me to think of thousands of readers looking up a nonsense word in their dictionaries.

Authors also create lovable, friendly characters--then proceed do terrible things to them (like throw them in unsightly, Librarian-controlled dungeons). This makes readers feel hurt and worried for the characters. Just another example. The simple truth is that authors like making people squirm. If this weren’t the case, all novels would be filled completely with cute bunnies having birthday parties.

So, now you know the reason why I--one of the most wealthy and famous people in the Free Kingdoms--would bother writing a book. This is the only way I can prove to all of you people that I’m not the heroic savior that you think I am. If you don’t believe what I’m telling you, then ask yourself this: would any decent, kind-hearted individual become a writer? Of course not.

I knows how this story ends. I know what really happened to my parents. I know the true secret of the Sands of Rashid. I know how I finally ended up suspended over a bubbling pit of acidic magma, tied to a flaming altar, staring at my reflection in the twisted, cracked dagger of a Librarian executioner.

But I am not a nice person. And so, I’m not going to reveal any of these things to you.

So there.

--End quote---

;) I later explain that keeping people up late at night when they should be sleeping. All part of the sadistic side of being a writer, I'm afraid.

abr. 25, 2007, 4:19 pm


Ask these questions again in the next section, after you’ve seen how the book progresses. I’d like to address them, if you still wonder about them, but the next set of chapters may change your view on the questions.

Editat: abr. 25, 2007, 4:22 pm

#26 Brandon, I always suspected....aren't you going to be thrown out of the writer fraternity for giving away too many secrets?

Does that make me a masochist?

abr. 25, 2007, 4:21 pm

#26 - "Authors write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people."

I love it!!

abr. 25, 2007, 4:29 pm

"we like to torture people."

Well, yeah, but there is an economic hope, too. ;)

abr. 25, 2007, 4:40 pm

Brandon!!! Bwaa haa haa!!! Very good.

Well you did a fine job of keeping this reader up past her bedtime!


Keep it up!

abr. 25, 2007, 5:27 pm

Love the exerpt! It was a lot of fun.

abr. 27, 2007, 6:24 am

Thanks Brandon, I'm nearly finished now, and I have to admit it changes somethings. But the three month deadline (minus traveling time!) still causes problems...
Anyway I'll type out my questions and post them on monday when I've got acces to the internet again.

abr. 27, 2007, 6:25 am

Hmm, edit doesn't seem to work today. Monday is Queen's Day, so I guess it will we tuesday ;) Monday I'll be wearing red, white and blue warpaint...

Editat: abr. 29, 2007, 2:39 am

I had a break of a couple of days between when Hrathen took the poison and when he woke up Elantrian, so I completely forgot he took any poison. Since this part was called "The Call of Elantris" I thought maybe the Shaod was starting to reach out to other groups of people. Didn't twig until I read this thread that Hrathen was faking. *blush*

Having a harder time putting down the book now. We had visitors so I had to stop but I found myself looking forward to when everyone would leave, the kids fall asleep and I could get back to it. I'm really enjoying this book. I wouldn't compare it to Kay's work, I find GGK's writing more lyrical and tugs more at my heartstrings. But Elantris is a good story and I can't wait to find out what happens between Raoden and Sarene. I don't like romance novels, but I like a good romance in a novel. I also can't wait to find out what broke the magic and how the seons are connected with that magic.

abr. 30, 2007, 9:43 pm

Wow! Thanks for the quote from the upcoming book, Brandon. I teach middle school, and this is going to be a definite for me to do something with, either for me to read aloud or teach (if I can talk the librarian in scraping up funds for a class set). I love the humor!! I want to read more!

You're good at that - making people want to read more!

Editat: maig 18, 2007, 2:17 pm

Looks like I'm still trudging along at the back of the pack! No worries though, it has nothing to do with the quality of the book. I've been reading it as my work book so I only have a limited amount of time to read each day and that time has been encroached upon quite frequently of late by errands and such that need to be run instead of sitting in a comfy chair and reading.

Anyway, I finally made it through chapter 30 and read through this short thread. I had a feeling that the middle section would be the shortest of the discussion threads. In the beginning, the book is new and everyone is eager to gush about it, but by the time one gets to this point, you're so into the story that you don't want to set it aside to discuss it, you want to plunge ahead and finish the book and discuss it in its' entirety!

On to the book itself. I'm still enjoying it greatly!

Here's what I've come to think of the characters so far:

Hrathen: I'm in the minority as I didn't really like him much as a character. Don't get me wrong, I think that he is written and developed fine I just don't like him as a person. In this section of the book, I did come to admire the fact that he does show some compassion, but he still hadn't won me over and the stunt at the end only reinforced my overall hesitation.

Dilaf: Great villain!! He's vile, back-stabbing and I hate him, but that's the intent. I love the way that he's taken control of everything underneath of Hrathen while acting the part of servant. Nice work here, Brandon! You have created a character that is the true epitome of fanatical evil.

Serene: I really like the development that has taken place with this character. Her plotting and scheming have been great. I too am enjoying the romance that isn't and the way that she is try avoid any feelings what-so-ever for "Spirit." I also find her filling the Elantrians requests with items only vaguely resembling what they really want to be hilarious.

Raoden: His sections are still my favorites in the book. I like the fact that although he shows optimism and hope on the outside, he's not feeling this way at all himself. He truly has great strength of character to be able to lead these people to a better life while suffering all the things that he does privately.

Galladon: He's actually my favorite character in the book. I like his dry humor. He's kind of the opposite of Raoden in that he is pessimistic on the outside, but internally knows that what Raoden is doing is a good thing for all of Elantris.

Anyway that's how I see the characters developing up to this point in the novel. However, with the great plot twists that Brandon's been throwing at us, some of these perceptions will most certainly change.


maig 23, 2007, 2:32 pm

Brandon, I must say this is one of the best recently written books I have read in a long time! I'm enjoying it immensely. As far as the characters go, bravo on excellent, beleivable character developement, its something thats not easy to do, and most people seem to fail miserably at. I especially love how whenever I think I've figured something out about a character, I get thrown for a loop.

Hrathen: Admittedly, he's still one of my favorites, and I feel sorry for him losing power to that slime-ball Dilaf, but he's honestly starting to piss me off. The man is power hungry, cruel, and really not what most would consider a "good guy," even if he isn't a true villain.

Dilaf: An excellently fleshed out character. He's believable, he's intelligent (in an extremist sort of way) and you can't do anything but hate him. excellent job on creating a great villain