Well, Cosmere Chickens, we’re coming down to the end now. Only three more chapters left after this one, and then one final installment of the reread in which we’ll be discussing Hope of Elantris and our closing thoughts on the book as a whole. The Sanderlanche is in full effect, so we won’t hold you up here with these opening thoughts, except to remind you that we’ll be quoting Past!Brandon periodically throughout the article, pulling in relevant segments from his annotations on the novel. Please note that these quotes are unedited and were written back in 2006, and are being presented here in order to help give a broader understanding of Brandon’s state of mind while writing the book at the time, not his thoughts on it now. That said… read on and enjoy, chickens!
Spoiler warning: This week’s article contains spoilers from the Stormlight Archive and one clearly marked spoiler (in white text that you will need to highlight in order to view ) from an unpublished work. Proceed with caution!
Trigger warnings: Chronic pain, genocide
Last time on Elantris: SANDERLANCHE!
Dilaf finally reveals his terrible secret to Hrathen—he’s actually the leader of the monastery of Dakhor, and he’s led his creepy monks here to begin the invasion of Arelon far earlier than Hrathen had been told.
Meanwhile, poor Raoden is taken captive. When Dilaf offers to parlay with Sarene, he instead sends his monks up onto the wall to capture her, too. Then he stabs Raoden and leaves him to his unending agony as he calls up Sarene’s father and forces him to re-swear fealty before sending his men in to destroy the poor Elantrians.
L: But, what’s this? A POV from… GALLADON? Not Sarene, Raoden, or Hrathen?
P: Frankly, this is really handy. Since Sarene has been whisked away to Teod and Raoden is incapacitated, it’s good to have another POV so we can see what’s happening.
L: Loyal to the end.
P: ::sniffle:: Galladon is so damn underrated. He’s truly a great character. He reminds me of Teft, in a way. Loyal, yes. But also a bit grizzled and reluctantly hopeful.
L: If Raoden is the proto-Kaladin, then Galladon is definitely the proto-Teft.
L: Kiin is just amazing. I’d honestly read a whole book about this pirate-turned-chef.
P: Sign me up! Maybe we’ll get some information in the next Elantris book!
L: There are a couple of things that I’d like to discuss about Adien. First of all, a reminder that he’s been taken by the Shaod and his family’s been hiding that fact, disguising him with makeup in order to keep him from getting thrown into Elantris. Second, he’s quite clearly on the autism spectrum, and as such, I think he’s the first of Brandon’s neurodivergent characters in a published work. This is something that he’s really embraced over the years, with characters such as Renarin, Kaladin, and Steris Harms (to name a few). Brandon’s dedication to representing all kinds of experience and identities, in terms of race, gender, sexuality (or the lack thereof), and neurodiversity is part of what makes his fanbase so broad and devoted. So it’s really cool to see the beginnings of this here, in his very first published book.
P: Oh, absolutely. I think this is one of the things about Elantris that sold me on Brandon from the get-go, since this was the first of his books that I read: A strong female lead character; a magic system like nothing I’d ever seen; a neurodivergent character; and on top of all that, that bit of darkness that spoke to my soul…
Let’s hear from Past!Brandon on this…
P: There’s some more of that beloved darkness.
L: Whoa. Teleportation powers?! Well that’s handy!
P: What a complete trip. No Elantrian powers, so whatever the Dakhor do is unique to them.
L: Interesting. This works very differently from the way the transportation surge on Roshar does. There, the user is transported into the cognitive realm. It’s more similar to the way the Oathgates work, so I wonder if there’s some Cosmere commonality there… Also interesting to note that the physical matter of the monk was used as energy to facilitate the teleportation. The Oathgates use Stormlight… I wonder, if these monks had access to pure Investiture, could they use that instead?
L: I have to admit, I never expected that we’d actually wind up seeing Teod. It’s always seemed so distant, I expected all the action of the book to remain in Kae and Elantris!
P: I vaguely recall them going to Teod, but not a full fifty Dakhor monks. Scary!
L: Well, this is unfortunate.
P: Maybe not. It gives Raoden some much needed time.
L: I can absolutely see how he’d feel that way.
P: I understand, as well. Though deep down, Galladon truly knows how Raoden feels about Sarene.
L: And yet…
Past!Brandon has this to say:
L: HE’D BETTER.
P: Please, oh please! I remember lots of running!
L: Poor, poor Raoden. He’s been through so much.
P: Sufferedso many wounds, so many hits to his pride and integrity.
L: Not to mention physical wounds.
L: Hrathen has a much more charitable view on Dilaf’s state of mind than I do.
P: Yeah, dude’s already nutters.
L: Hooboy. That’s a lot to unpack.
P: Truth. But in retrospect, there had to be some reason he hated the Elantrians so fiercely.
L: Let’s turn to Past!Brandon to tell us a little about what he was thinking…
L: As far as the magic system goes, I’m curious as to what exactly happened here. “The magic went wrong” is awfully vague.
P: Raoden had talked of Aons being drawn incorrectly, so perhaps it was something along those lines?
L: Right, but a simple case of user error then being blown up on this huge of a scale to everyone else? Seems, as the kids say, sus.
L: And there we have the textual revelation of that twist!
P: Poor, poor Aiden. An incomplete Elantrian and not even aware of the fact.
L: Now, Brandon goes on to elaborate on this a bit:
L: MAJOR spoiler here for unpublished works, so if you’d rather go into future Cosmere works blind, I recommend that you not highlight this block of text:
BEGIN SPOILER(highlight to read):
Now back to the text:
L: We can hardly blame Hrathen for not remembering. Trauma can do a number on memory.
P: It certainly can. And Hrathen most definitely experienced trauma at Dakhor Monastery.
L: Ugh. What a waste of life. (And by that I mean Dilaf, not the unfortunate monk.)
P: Okay, you made me snort-laugh.
L: I’d say it was a success.
P: It definitely was. Though they’ve been years apart, I’ve done multiple rereads and I forget this fact every time.
L: Something gives me the feeling that a certain princess is going to have something to say about that.
L: Aon alert!
L: Oh ho! It does look strikingly similar, doesn’t it?
P: ::trumpets sounding:: Here it is, people! Finally!!
L: Major props to him for coming out to meet this lunatic with just a small honor guard, though.
P: You succeeded, Brandon. We have zero sympathy for Dilaf.
L: What a great moment!
P: And he’s unable to speak!! ::screams::
Back to the action:
L: And of course that’s where we’re left until next week. What a cliffhanger!
P: Although we know he’s not gonna dissolve, I’m still thinking in my mind: “Please don’t dissolve, please don’t dissolve!”
We’ll be leaving further speculation and discussion to you in the comments, and hope to join you there! Next week, we’ll be back with Chapter 61.
Christine Holder is a writer at AZ News, where she covers politics, health, business, and finance. She has been with the publication for three years. Prior to that, she worked as a writer for several other publications in Arizona.
Christine is also a huge fan of dogs and spends much of her free time volunteering at local animal shelters.