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Annotation Elantris Chapter 34
I know it seems like I’m setting Shaor up for a return, but I really don’t intend to bring her back. At least, I didn’t when I wrote this chapter. The truth is, I just didn’t want to write a scene of the madmen returning with the torn up body of a little girl.
However, every time I read this section, I can’t help noticing that I left one of the book’s most dangerous villains alive (potentially.) Ironically, because it seems so obvious from the text that Shaor is still alive, I think I’d avoid doing anything with her in a sequel. It seems like in fiction, any time you don’t see a body, you automatically assume (often correctly) that the villain is still out there somewhere.
However, in this case, it really doesn’t make sense to use her again. Shaor wasn’t a threat because of any special skills on her part–I see no reason to bring her back.
Now that the three gangs have been dealt with, Raoden’s storyline has had some major resolutions. The increasing pain of his wounds, however, is something I introduced into the book for fear that he wouldn’t have enough pressing conflicts. As stated in previous annotations, his personality is uniquely strong and stable amongst characters I’ve created, and I figured that giving him a small problem in the area of self-confidence wouldn’t be remiss. He feels that he’s worse at deal with the pain than everyone else, and that makes him worry that he isn’t the leader he should. We’ll have more on this later.
My explanation for the slime, admittedly, relies a bit heavily on ‘fantasy writer’s license.’ Usually, I resist overdoing things like this. (I.e., simply explaining away events in the world with magical answers.) Though there is a slight logic to Raoden’s explanation, it isn’t something that would have been intuitive to a reader, given the facts of the novel. That makes it a weak plotting element. However, the slime explanation isn’t part of any real plot resolution, so I decided to throw it in. Its place as an interesting world element, rather than a climax, gives me a few more liberties, I think.
And, as for the Seon explanation here. . .well, I’m afraid that’s all you get for this book. I think this is the last (or, rather, only) discussion the characters have about the origins of the Seons. It’s not much, but that is intentional. When I wrote ELANTRIS six years ago, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever even sell the book. Therefore, I didn’t want to invest too much thought into a sequel right then. I wanted the book to stand alone, yet I wanted to give myself plenty of room to do interesting things in a series, if it ever came to that. Therefore, I intentionally left a few open spaces in the worldbuilding–things the characters didn’t even know.
One of these holes is the origin, and even workings, of the Seons. I have some ideas, of course, but you’ll have to wait for another book before they get explained. (You can thank Moshe for what you got in this chapter–he was very curious about Seons, and he wanted a little bit more. That’s why we had the discussion of Passing, as well as the explanation that you don’t have to be noble to have a Seon.)