I hereby dub this chapter the official start of the Brandon Avalanche! Let the rejoicing begin.
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.
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.