Chapter Thirty Five
The joke is, of course, that Eventeo told Sarene not to do this very thing–not to overthrow Iadon and put herself on the throne. It was back in chapter two, the first Sarene chapter, and he said it in jest. (She broke her promise, though–she said she’d wait at least two months to put herself on the throne. Go read the last page of that chapter if you want to see what I’m talking about.)
Anyway, yes, I killed Iadon off-stage. I didn’t see any reason to go on with him at this point. He’d done his damage, suffered his defeat. The best thing for him was to disappear without causing any more trouble, I think.
This spy conversation is a remnant of things left over from a previous version. I’ll talk more about it later. However, if it looked like I was foreshadowing something. . .well, I was. Unfortunately, the thing I was foreshadowing got cut. Again, I’ll talk more about it later.
The Jindoeese food section is another one of those potentially out-of-place sections of the book, but I certainly had a lot of fun writing it. I’m interested in the fact that some more ‘primitive’ cultures often understand the same things that modern medicine and science do, they just can’t quite explain themselves to our satisfaction. It makes sense to me that a culture like the Jindoeese might figure out that a diet lower in fats is good for you, but they might not completely understand why. Anyway, poor Eventeo doesn’t get to eat butter any more.
One interesting note about this book is how small the armies are. Often in books, I’ll deal with armies in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Those, however, tend to be war epics–it makes sense to me that in ELANTRIS, they’re talking about hundreds of men, rather than thousands. This may seem like a ridiculous number for a defense force, but I imagine Arelon being a small country, quite isolated and–as noted in the text–rather innocent. They really only need policing forces.
My copy editor was worried about my use of the word ‘legion,’ actually, for Eondel’s personal force. She said that a legion, dictionary wise, was usually much larger. While this may be true, I think the fact that they call it “Eondel’s Legion” makes it a proper noun, and is usable. This is a kind of honorary title, rather than a descriptive name. Besides, in Arelon, a couple hundred men really is quite big.
Boy, I have a lot to say on this chapter. Let’s talk about Sarene’s engagement to Roial.
Some moments, when you’re writing, things just click together. The moment when I came up with this plotting element was one such moment. I hadn’t actually planned this into my outline. Suddenly, as I was writing, I realized just how much sense it made, and how wonderful it would be to force the characters to have to go through this. Even still, this is one of my very favorite twists in the book.
The scene in the carriage has been there from the beginning, but I did change it slightly in the last draft, adding the section where Roial talks to Sarene about herself. His line “You’re an excellent judge of character, except for your own” is something I think needed to be said to Sarene at some point in the book. The actual suggestion that it happen came from my Master’s Thesis committee. They–correctly–saw Sarene as someone who had an unrealistic image of herself.
She really isn’t as unmarriagble, or as unwantable, as she thinks she is. Even back in Teod, she wasn’t regarded quite as harshly as she assumes. However, she’s very hard on herself. Someone needed to sit her down and tell her–at the same time acknowledging to the reader–that she isn’t half as bad as she seems to think.
And, as for the ending lines–yes, I did it again. The same little cliffhanger-extension from before. I figured that it was fitting, since this structure threw Hrathen into the city. Why not use the triad system to do the same thing with his getting healed?