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Annotation Elantris Chapter 41

Chapter Forty-One

My biggest challenge in this chapter was to make it believable to a reader that the characters would accept Sarene as an Elantrian. The plotting of this section of the book relies on Sarene thinking that she’s actually been transformed–otherwise, she would try to escape, and I wouldn’t be able to have the short interlude in Elantris I have here. It’s vital to Raoden’s plotting, and to the relationship between the two of them, that they have some time to think and to get to know one another.

I had a couple things going for me in creating this suspension of disbelief regarding Sarene’s nature as an Elantrian. First, she doesn’t really know what an Elantrian should be like–she doesn’t realize that her heartbeat or her tears betray her. Secondly, as Raoden will point out in a bit, Sarene has come during the time of New Elantris. There is food, there is shelter, and the pain has mostly been overcome. The differences between an Elantrian and a non-Elantrian, then, are less obvious.

Even still, there are a couple of things I had to explain. The first is Ashe’s existance. This is a major clue to Sarene and company that she’s not really an Elantrian. Sarene’s bodily changes–or lack thereof–are going to be more and more obvious the longer she stays in Elantris. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to pull this plotting off for very long, but hopefully it works for now.

In this chapter, we really get to see the effects Raoden’s leadership. We see how he makes use of what he is given–the bright cloth, the nails, the sheets of metal. On one side, we saw Sarene twisting his demands. Now we get to see Raoden twisting those items back into usefulness. He changes the bright clothing into an advantage, using it to brighten his people against the sludge. He finds uses for all of Sarene’s ‘useless’ payments. The more bleak a situation is, the more Raoden shines.

In these chapters, I had to be very careful during the Sarene viewpoints. As I was writing, I had a habit of accidentally refering to Raoden by his real name, rather than calling him Spirit. Sarene, of course, doesn’t know who he really is. I found one place where I called him ‘Raoden’ that somehow lasted all the way to the final edit–hopefully, that was the last one.

By the way, I took the bit where Sarene judged Raoden’s height from real-life experience. My friend, Annie Gorringe, always used to talk about how her near 6’ height sometimes made it difficult for her to find men to date. Often, the first thing she’d do when she was interested in a man was judge his height compared to her own.

Watch out, folks. If you know an author, you have to watch your tongues. Anything you say is fair game to be used in a novel, as far as we’re concerned.

Interestingly, I’ve never annotated about Sarene’s nickname before. Only her father uses it, and when Moshe read the draft, he had trouble understading how to get ‘Ene from Sarene. That’s probably because he, like most people, pronounced her name like the word serene. That’s all right–I don’t really mind how people prononce the names in my books. When I read, I see a name, come up with a pronunciation in my head, then go with that from there on. Nothing can convince me that I’m pronouncing it wrong, not even the author him/herself. (Even still, the names of Anne McCaffery’s dragons are jumbled, meaningless noises in my mind. That seemed right at the time.)

Anyway, if you’re interested, there’s a pronunciation guide for Elantris on the site. Sarene’s nickname comes from the Aon in her name: Aon Ene. While in our world, we tend to choose nicknames based on the first syllabal of a name, nicknames in Arelish come from from the Aon. Since Sarene’s Aon comes late in her name, that’s where the nickname comes from. ‘Ene,’ by the way, is pronounced ‘Ay-nay.’

It’s a tie–best cheesy line from this chapter.


He half-smiled, his eyes unconvinced. Then, however, he regarded her with an unreadable expression. “Well, I suppose the time during your Trial wasn’t a complete loss. I gained something very important during those weeks.”

“The supplies?” Sarene asked.

“That too.”


“When I opened my eyes, I thought that time I had died for certain.” (Remember, when this happened, Raoden was laying on his back. He oppened his eyes, and the first thing he would have seen was Sarene’s face hovering above him.)

What can we learn from this? That people who are falling in love are utter cheese-heads.

|   Castellano