Previously on Elantris: Hrathen figures out how to scapegoat Elantrians. Dilaf is annoying.
Raoden now knows that Galladon was hiding some serious shit — he can draw in the air, you guys! We return to find Raoden also trying to draw in the air.
Raoden stabbed the air with his finger. The air bled light. His fingertip left a glowing white trail behind it as he moved his arm, as if he were writing with paint on a wall—except without the paint, and without the wall.
Like that, but not like that. You know?
Please watch that video. It’s the best sketch ever and it’s less than two minutes.
Every Aon starts with two lines and a dot in the exact same place. Each additional line or dot is then built atop that in unique combinations. The first Aon Raoden draws (that we see, anyway) is Ashe. OMG, you guys, is that fate or what? Sarene’s seon is based on the Aon Ashe, and that’s why his name is Ashe. Connections are being made.
The Aons disappear almost as soon as Raoden is finished drawing. When the magic actually worked, they would linger and do…magic things. Raoden is surprised to get the hang of it so easily; lots of crazy rumors about the nature of the magic have been spread since the fall of Elantris.
…some people, mostly Derethi priests, claimed the magic had been a hoax, while others, also mostly Derethi priests, had denounced the art as blasphemous rites involving the power of evil.
Religion shifting its narrative at will? NO WAY.
The truth is that anyone taken by the Shoad can perform AonDor (that’s the name of the magic system), granted they intimately know all the Aon characters. Only, obviously, the Aons don’t work anymore. Raoden and Galladon bond over their disappointment.
The cliffhanger at the end of Raoden’s last perspective chapter was partly that Galladon had this little study full of books hidden away, and Raoden seems to think the answer to their troubles might be in one of those books. He complains about the lack of light to read by, but there aren’t even lamps and oil left in the city — the Elantrians used to use metal plates with the Aon for light carved into them to foment their nighttime exploits.
Raoden also muses that without knowing exactly how AonDor worked, he can’t figure out how it might have failed. He assumes that while none of the books likely contain a direct explanation of AonDor’s base functions, he may be able to piece something together from other stuff.
Then he realizes he’s hungry, and he seems to understand more fully why most of his Elantrian pals are basically animals. Yeah, I get cranky when I’m hungry too, Raoden.
Raoden and Galladon set off to wait for the newly cursed to be tossed into Elantris. Up on the wall, Raoden sees my boy Hrathen, who is yelling things to a small crowd he’s gathered. Raoden and Galladon muse about Derethi motives in Kae, during which we find out this tidbit:
“…They’re secretly afraid that the Elantrians are just testing them—that they will return to their former glory someday and punish all the unbelievers.”
Meet fear with fervor! All right, this post already has way too much social commentary. I agree, guys.
In other news, Raoden continues to wait for fresh Elantrian meat. An old man is thrown in, and Raoden gets him to join his new club by calling out a random, common Aonic name and hoping the dude responds:
The spindly newcomer looked up with surprise, then glanced over his shoulder with confusion.
Suuuuuuuper lucky that worked out, huh?
Raoden, the old man, and Galladon run away from the square before any of the gangs of Elantris can lay claim to the newcomer. They run into a crumbling house, go up to the roof, and collapse the staircase behind them. Galladon is pissed, and I’m with him, because Raoden and his hero complex did NOT consult him first.
Raoden throws most of the newcomer’s food back down into the house, where Shaor’s men are waiting. Galladon is like, “Why???” and Raoden explains that now the newcomer will think he owes Raoden his life.
The new guy, Mareshe, was a jeweler outside, which Raoden quickly dismisses. Way to not care about a guy’s entire life work. Asking if the man can craft other things, Raoden eventually lands on shoes. But they must be perfect shoes, because perpetual blisters, so clearly only a true artisan can handle it. Mareshe sells that angle hard.
Now, while I see the value in Elantrians being offered shoes, I’m not 100% sure why this exchange was necessary:
“We are Elantrians now, Mareshe,” Raoden said. “Our wounds no longer heal.”
“No longer heal…?”
“Would you care for an example, artisan?” Galladon asked helpfully. “I can arrange one quite easily. Kolo?”
He used to make jewelry, guys. Chill the fuck out.
Raoden decides to let people call him Spirit, and I groan internally, because THE NICKNAMES IN THIS BOOK! It’s technically a translation of Aon Rao, which his name is based on, but I don’t even care.
Mareshe, the newly appointed shoemaker, seems to think he’s seen Raoden before but is quickly denied. Below, Shaor’s men aren’t leaving, and Raoden casually declares that they should all enjoy their time on the roof. Then it starts to rain.
The chapter ends with Galladon grumbling. Silly Galladon. This is Raoden’s story!
And Here’s Matt with the Gay Perspective:
I just want to take full undeserved credit for Rebecca’s sass towards Branderson’s writing in the beginning. I’ve been a wonderful influence.
The side bit of exposition early on in this chapter about the Elantrians being so dependent on magic for even basic things like lighting suggests that this was just a giant metaphor for technology. The whole line about being able to turn on light with the brush of a hand is basically clap on and clap off. I sure as hell wouldn’t know how to survive without electricity — I mean, my hot water went off once in my apartment and I had a mental breakdown. But wait, where does the proletariat rising up and killing the Elantrians fit into this? Bear with me, readers: I’m going to get a comprehensive, cogent metaphor out of this book if it breaks my brain to do it.
I’m going to skip over Raoden rescuing the new Elantrian without telling Galladon — sorry, Rebecca, but we both know that Gallodan would have been a little bitch about it — and get to one of the dumbest things in the entire book.
“Hey, random jeweler: Basically being skilled in one craft means you are skilled in all crafts, right?” Hey, Sanderson — your ability to write must mean you could be a master painter and musician, right? It is so mind-numbingly dumb that they just have this jeweler go make shoes. The one time you need to add more exposition, Sanderson, and you didn’t! The book isn’t that long, just add a freaking page about the jeweler studying some books on leatherworking.
I’m going to go cool off by making a 3-tiered cake. Never done it before, but I should be able to, right? I’m good at making a cocktail, and it’s all the same.