Previously on Elantris: Sarene decided to fuck with Hrathen’s plans to convert all of Arelon. She also found her long lost uncle; they exchanged stupid nicknames.
A bit of personal stuff before this week’s post: today is my late husband’s 31st birthday. I miss him so much, especially now that I live in California. He would have had such hilarious things to say. On a similar note, we’ll be skipping Fantasy Friday on February 8th so I can take a personal day where I get super high instead of being sad about the day he died. Like, I’ll probably be sad anyway, but yeah.
That said… we’re back to Hrathen, my lovelies!
It’s a short chapter this week, but I’m too lazy to do two.
Dilaf Crazy-Eyes is presumably back from escorting the fired Fjon to Fjorden. Alliteration! Hrathen tells Dilaf that the king is a lost cause, although he never assumed the nobility would follow him easily. Everyone quarantined Arelon after the Reod because they were worried about getting infected with whatever took out the Elantrians, so Shu-Dereth may have lost out on its chance to manipulate vulnerable people into a cult.
This characterization is happening in tandem:
“Jaddeth struck down the Elantrians,” Dilaf said fervently.
“Yes,” Hrathen said, not bothering to look down at the shorter man. “But ofttimes Jaddeth uses natural processes to bring about His will. A plague will kill Fjordell as well as Arelene.”
“Jaddeth would protect His chosen.”
“Of course,” Hrathen said distractedly, shooting one more dissatisfied glance down the hallway toward the throne room.
Reason #1,058 why I like Hrathen: he’s not nearly as brainwashed as most religious extremists.
Hrathen knows he has to make an example of the king after such a formal rejection, but he’s hoping to avoid the bloodshed brought about in the Duladel revolution, his most recent country-wide conversion. He says he’s no lover of carnage, but I feel like his god might be Old Testament levels into carnage.
With the way things are going, as well, Hrathen knows he may have to incite a revolt. He mentions that perhaps he expected too much of the people here, as they’re “only Arelenes,” which is so deliciously bitchy.
Ooh, and then he asks Dilaf about Sarene! Because of their smoldering eye contact, remember?
“A Teo princess could be a problem,” Hrathen mused.
Little does he know how badly Sarene wants to prove him right about that.
Dilaf continues to be annoying. He goes, “Nothing can hinder Jaddeth’s empire,” but Hrathen rightly points out that if that were true, they wouldn’t be running around trying to convert people. Hrathen speaks very confidently of his ability to pull off this mass conversion, although with careful planning, as Arelon and Teod have an alliance now. I think Hrathen is the one with a mind for this stuff, whereas Dilaf is just a psycho.
Atop the walls of Elantris, Hrathen makes more judgements about the city of Kae’s fortifications, the usefulness of its guard, and the city’s survival despite being “a ripe jewel waiting to be pillaged.” We interrupt these thoughts to listen to Dilaf froth at the mouth over his hatred of Elantrians.
I’m not even going to quote it because I’m already sick of him.
Hrathen looks down into the city and sees a couple Elantrians, one of whom pauses and looks up. I bet it’s Raoden! Our lovely gyorn dehumanizes the Elantrians immediately and decides to use them as his scapegoat in taking back Arelon. Sigh.
We make a scene break to find Hrathen and Dilaf back in the Derethi chapel. Hrathen asks about the Elantrians from literally the most biased source in the fucking world:
“They are foul, loathsome creatures,” Dilaf hissed, entering behind Hrathen. “Thinking of them makes my heart grow sick and my mind feel tainted. I pray every day for their destruction.”
Thankfully, Hrathen is like, “Dude chill the fuck out and tell me some useful information.” Dilaf gives a short summary of the Reod and everything the Elantrians did wrong, which basically boils down to “they lied to us about their divinity.” Of course, this doesn’t really factor in why people would still be transformed into Elantrians — people who had never participated in the building of false promises. Regardless, although Hrathen had already decided to use the Elantrians in his mission, he finally realizes how.
There’s a force in Shu-Dereth doctrine called “Svrakiss,” which is a collective of the souls of dead men who hated Jaddeth. Hrathen posits that these souls controlled Elantrian bodies before the Reod to make simpleminded and nonspiritual people believe them to be gods.
Dilaf doesn’t seem surprised by this concept, which makes Hrathen self conscious. Crazy-Eyes also accuses him of not even believing in the thing he’s going to preach to the people of Arelon. We as readers can see that he’s kind of right — Hrathen is just using this logical connection to suit his purposes. Dilaf continues to have a boner for destroying the Elantrians, so whatever, I hate his stupid face.
Hrathen’s strategy will most likely work, because the chapter ends with this quote:
“…You will find that hate can unify people more quickly and more fervently than devotion ever could.”
And that’s accurate AF.
And Here’s Matt with the Gay Perspective:
Oh joy, another Hrathen chapter. I always feel so dirty after reading them, like I just rubbed myself all over city wall of Elantris. Reason 1 of 1 why I don’t like Hrathen: his intelligent and calculated execution of what he’s doing. He has no excuse to be a religious zealot! Unlike poor Dilaf, who’s just too crazy to know better. Dilaf seems like a bitter, jilted lover, and he’s too much of a stupid headcase to realize that’s why the Elantrians upset him so much. They presented themselves as super cool sexy gods and then turned into these gross monsters. I’ve been there, Dilaf, with many a guy — I feel your pain!
Rebecca and I obviously have starkly contrasting views on the Hrathen chapters. Now, I don’t want dear readers to pick a side, but just know that her opinions are driven by her red armor fetish. My views are pure, intellectual, and not at all influenced by relating hard with Dilaf!
Until next week. But talk about how crazy Rebecca is in the comments below. She needs to hear it.