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Elantris Reread: Chapters Fifty-Three and Fifty-Four


Elantris Reread: Chapters Fifty-Three and Fifty-Four

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Rereads/Rewatches Brandon Sanderson

Elantris Reread: Chapters Fifty-Three and Fifty-Four

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Published on January 18, 2024

Header image for the Elantris reread

Time to finish up Part Two, Cosmere Chickens! Are you ready? Because Paige and I are ready! So ready! Right Paige? 

Paige: Beyond ready!

Lyn: Let’s not belabor the point and dive right in then, shall we?

(Non-)Spoiler warning: This week’s article has no spoilers from other Cosmere works. Read on fearlessly, chickens!

Trigger warnings: War, revolution, beheading

Last time on Elantris: Conspiracy Theories…

Hrathen runs into Dilaf, who hints that maybe not everything is going according to Hrathen’s plans… meanwhile, Raoden and Galladon are still playing dress-up, but at least their charade has gained them more than a sword-cut on the cheek—Raoden talks Roial into inviting him along to their next Secret Meeting.

Chapter Essentials

POV Character(s): Sarene, Raoden, Hrathen

A map of Arelon


Chapter 53

L: From the Annotations:

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

L: Hooboy. Here we go.

P: I’ve been waiting so long for this!

“Has Roial gone mad?” Sarene asked. “What if that cursed Dula is a spy?”

“A spy for whom?” Kaloo asked.

L: Okay, I have to say, I really love Raoden-Kaloo. He’s cracking me up.

P: He really seems to be enjoying this particular charade.

Despite her insistences that he not prepare dinner, Kiin had obviously been unable to let this many people congregate without giving them something to eat.

L: Brandon really has quite a lot of lovable characters in this book. Not that he doesn’t always, of course, it’s just nice to see in a debut novel like this.

P: I’ve seen people say how contrived this group is compared to, say, Kelsier’s crew. But I adore Raoden’s friends!

“The resistance only survives because the Fjordells are too lazy to chase it out of the swamps.”

Shuden frowned. “I thought they were hiding in the caves of the Duladen Steppes.”

“There are several pockets of them,” Kaloo said smoothly, though Sarene detected a hint of uncertainty in his eyes.

L: Gee, Raoden, if only you’d come clean about your identity you wouldn’t have to do all this lying and risk getting caught!

P: Nobody seems to notice but our dear, mistrustful princess.

Sarene shook her head. “If we give Shu-Dereth that kind of foothold in Arelon, we’ll never be free of it.”

“It’s only a religion, Sarene,” Ahan said. “I think we should focus on real problems.”

L: “Only” a religion, indeed. How many wars have been fought over religions in the real world, again? Oh, right…

P: Seriously, Ahan is daft.

L: Well, considering what he pulls later in the chapter, maybe this is calculated daftness. Maybe.

“Besides,” Kaloo noted, “I don’t think you want to throw this country into war. I’ve seen what a bloody revolution can do to a nation—it breaks the people’s spirit to fight one another. The men in the Elantris City Guard might be fools, but they are still your countrymen. Their blood would be on your hands.”

L: Okay, 1: Good point, but 2: Careful there, Raoden. You’re falling out of character…

P: He is, isn’t he? Starting to sound like Spirit a bit there, Raoden.

“Assassinating Telrii would solve a lot of problems.”

The room fell quiet. Sarene felt a bitter taste in her mouth as she studied the men. They knew what she knew. She had determined long before the meeting began that this was the only way.

“Ah, one man’s death to save a nation,” Kaloo whispered.

L: A hard choice, indeed. We all know what a certain old man on Roshar would say about this…

P: The good of the many, and such.

Sarene’s brow furrowed; she almost had it. There was something familiar about his words…

L: Raoden’s let his guard down and Sarene’s about to pounce!

P: Eeeee! I love this part!

He looked into her shocked, wide eyes, and knew that she knew. Somehow, despite their short time together, she had recognized him when his best friends could not.

Uh-oh, he thought to himself.

L: ::snicker::

P: Uh-oh, indeed. He all but proclaimed himself to be Raoden.

“Why did you lie to me?”

Spirit smiled. “Oh, and you’re going to try and tell me it wasn’t more fun this way?”

L: If I were Sarene, I’d have punched him again for that one, lack of healing or no.

P: He did have quite a good time with it.

I had no idea you were that good an actor. I hated you!”

“It’s nice to feel appreciated,” Spirit said, letting his arms wrap around her.

L: ::wistful sigh:: FINALLY.

P: ::swoon::

Why risk coming out into Kae?”

“To find you,” he said.

She smiled. That was the right answer.

L: He’s such a charmer.

P: Indeed, he is. And he’s quite taken with his bride.

L: And who can blame him? They’re perfect for one another. Except for all of his deception, of course.

“I assumed that these men would stop meeting after I left.”

Sarene shook herself from the trance of being lost in those eyes. “What was that you just said? After you left…?”


P: And was that a slip or did he intend to say it?

L: A slip, I think. My theory is that being around his old friends again was just too much for him. When you’re in such a familiar and comfortable environment, with people you trust, keeping up an act like Raoden has been doing is much more difficult than it would have been if he were surrounded by strangers. The natural inclination would be to fall back into old speech patterns and routines.

“We need to go back in. But … let’s just say I have something else I need to tell you, once the meeting is through and we can speak more privately.”

L: Ugh. No! This is almost as bad as “we’ll talk when all this is over” in a horror movie.

P: And Ned Stark telling Jon he’d tell him about Jon’s mother when Ned saw him again. Oops.

L: I’m STILL not over that.

P: Me neither. ::sigh::

It was not Ahan she found standing in the doorway. Instead she was confronted by a group of armed soldiers with a well-dressed man at their front. King Telrii.

L: Of course. Someone had to betray them, and Ahan was the most likely culprit.

P: Snake.

Telrii snapped his fingers, and a soldier stepped forward and rammed his sword directly into Duke Roial’s belly. Roial gasped, then crumpled with a moan.

L: Noooooooooo not the likable older mentor figure!

P: I have such a soft spot for Roial!!

L: (warning: dark joke incoming) Roial had quite a soft spot, too. And Telrii’s soldiers found it.

“Interesting you should mention usurpers, Duke Telrii,” a voice said from across the table. “I was under the impression that the throne belonged to Iadon’s family.”

L: Ooooooooooooooooooooooh here we go!

P: In this corner we have Raoden! The rightful King of Arelon!

Raoden. Sarene felt numb. She stared at the man Spirit, wondering who he was, and if she had ever really known him.

L: About time!

P: Yeeessss!

“Do not cry, my boy,” Roial said. “Your return is blessed. You cannot save this tired old body, but you can save the kingdom. I will die in peace, knowing you are here to protect it.”

L: Awww. It’s a shame, Roial really is a sweet old man and a great character. Poor Raoden, unable to save him. (And here’s Brandon with his penchant for protagonists who just can’t save the lives of the people they love. Not that this is unique in the genre or even in fiction in general, of course, as it’s a good way for the hero to lose things and to up the stakes without actually killing the hero themselves… but still, those Kaladin similarities are striking, aren’t they?)

P: Truly striking. And heartbreaking. Killing Roial hurts.

Chapter 54

The rumors said that Prince Raoden had returned from the grave.

Hrathen sat, dumbfounded, behind his desk.

L: Didn’t plan for that eventuality, didja, Hrathen?

P: Who would have? Of course, he doesn’t believe it, thinking that Sarene must have found a look-alike to impersonate Raoden.

Perhaps it wasn’t too late to convince Telrii to at least draft a warrant of execution. It would ease the aristocratic minds if they were able to read such a document.

Telrii refused to see him.

L: I love how he still thinks that he’s got any sway here at all. He keeps trying to stick his nose into Telrii’s business, and Telrii just keeps slamming the door shut on him.

P: Hrathen has a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t just give into him because he’s such a big shot.

The tapestries were in flames, and men struggled desperately in the close confines. Several guards lay dead at the far doorway. Some wore the brown and yellow of the Elantris City Guard. The others were in silver and blue—the colors of Count Eondel’s legion.

L: Here comes the cavalry!

P: Get them, Eondel!

Telrii’s headless corpse fell at Count Eondel’s feet. The count regarded it with grim eyes, then collapsed himself, holding a wound in his side.

L: Well. That escalated quickly. (Here’s how I imagine Hrathen for this scene.)

P: That is absolutely the correct gif.

So much for avoiding a bloody change in power.

L: And the bloodshed’s only just beginning, because Fjorden’s on the way…

P: Ohhh nooo…

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 Part Three.

About the Author

Lyndsey Luther


Lyndsey lives in Connecticut. She’s in the process of closing on a house (yes, in this dreadful market) so please wish her the best of luck, and follow her on Facebook or TikTok!
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About the Author

Paige Vest


Paige resides in New Mexico, of course. Between work and school and the SA5 beta read, she’s trying to work on book 3 of a YA/Crossover trilogy with just a hint of the supernatural. Links to her other writing are available in her profile.
Learn More About Paige
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