by Stephan Martinière
|Released||April 21, 2005|
Elantris is a fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson, published in April 2005 by Tor Books. It is Brandon's first published book, and currently the earliest published story set in the cosmere. The book, set on the shardworld Sel, tells the story of how Raoden and Sarene restore the magical Elantrians to their former glory.
Part One: The Shadow of Elantris
The events of Elantris take place predominantly in the country of Arelon from three separate points of view: Prince Raoden, Princess Sarene and Gyorn Hrathen. Raoden is the crown prince of Arelon and is first in line to inherit the throne from his father, King Iadon. He is engaged to Princess Sarene of neighbouring Teod with the hope that their marriage will strengthen ties between their countries in the face of external aggression from the Fjorden Empire from which Hrathen hails.
Raoden wakes up one day to find that he has been taken by the Shaod. He is thrown into the city of Elantris where he befriends Galladon, a fellow Elantrian who is originally from Duladen. Galladon describes the terrible lives that Elantrians live but Raoden believes that there must be a better way. He starts a new, more optimistic, society to help newcomers to Elantris. In the process he converts Karata and Taan, two Elantrian gang leaders to his cause. The third gang leader, Shaor, proves to be more difficult and his men's constant attacks are barely held off by the New Elantrians.
Meanwhile Sarene arrives in Arelon to find the country in mourning for Prince Raoden. Under the conditions of their wedding contract, she must stay in Arelon but is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his death. With no husband, Sarene throws herself into Arelish political life only to find King Iadon expects her to stay out of such matters. Sarene quickly allies herself to a group of nobles, including her uncle Kiin, who are dissatisfied with the king's leadership. Together they scheme to overthrow him.
At the same time, Hrathen begins his campaign to convert the population of Arelon to the Derethi religion. His propaganda involves speeches persuading the Arelenes to hate Elantris in the hope of turning them against Shu-Korath, as well as more discreet meetings with the nobility. Hrathen singles out Telrii, a greedy but influential noble, to try and place on the throne, thinking him to be a Derethi sympathiser. However, Hrathen's plans are often stalled by Dilaf, his overzealous odiv, who seems to oppose him at every turn.
Sensing that Hrathen is a danger to Arelon, Sarene also attempts to disturb his schemes. In a change of previous plans, Sarene stabilizes Iadon's rule, fearing that Telrii would be an even more incompetent ruler. Additionally, she enters Elantris with food to show the rest of Arelon that the Elantrians are mostly harmless, not realising she is disrupting Raoden's plans for New Elantris in the process.
With his plans falling apart, Hrathen has to take drastic action and drinks a potion that imitates the effects of the Shaod.
Part Two: The Call of Elantris
After several attempts, Raoden eventually convinces Shaor's gang to join New Elantris. He also finds a mysterious pool where the nearly immortal Elantrians can go to die. Over a number of days, the New Elantrians observe Hrathen being locked into Elantris, being "healed" of the Shaod and subsequently released.
Outside Elantris, Sarene, noticing strange behaviour from Iadon, follows him when he disappears early from a ball. She is horrified to find Iadon ritually sacrificing his palace staff in observance of the Jeskeri Mysteries. He is arrested, but hangs himself in jail.
Claiming his recovery from the Shaod was due to his devotion to Shu-Dereth, Hrathen regains the upper hand over Dilaf. He is also pleased at the death of Iadon as this gives Telrii a clear path to the throne. Realising this, Sarene plans to marry Duke Roial because, together, they have a more legitimate claim to the throne than Telrii does. However on the day of the wedding Sarene appears to be struck by the Shaod, though in reality it is another dose of Hrathen's potion. Without Sarene, Roial's claim to the throne vanishes and Telrii is crowned king of Arelon.
Once in Elantris, Sarene spends a lot of time with Raoden, though she does not realise who he is. Together, they manage to work out what is wrong with AonDor, which has not worked for the past ten years. However, even with the addition of the chasm line to the Aons, AonDor does not seem as strong as it should.
Sarene rapidly heals from the shaod, as Hrathen did, and reunites with Roial, Kiin and the rest of the nobles. They decide to assassinate Telrii for the good of the country when one of their number betrays them. Telrii, with a number of guards, turns up to their meeting and orders Roial killed. Later in the evening, Eondel kills Telrii in revenge, leaving Hrathen's plans in ruins once again.
Part Three: The Spirit of Elantris
Tensions rise as a detachment of fifty Elantric City Guards gallop towards Kiin's house, with Sarene and her friends convinced the guards will attempt to arrest them for treason against the king. Instead, they request that Raoden become their new king. Within the hour his coronation commences. However, Dilaf dispels the illusion Raoden has been keeping up to appear human. The nobles don't appear as shocked as Dilaf would have hoped. In their apathy they merely appear dejected, until Sarene rallies them behind the idea that Raoden is still the man who loved them before his exile.
Dilaf stalks angrily from the palace, lassoing Hrathen into stalking the ardent. Following him to the market district, Hrathen witnesses the Dakhor monks burst from the tents. Asleep in Roial's mansion, Raoden awakens to a disturbance and goes downstairs find Dilaf, who knocks him unconscious. Sarene is caught up in the Dakhor monks' attack when her carriage is assaulted on the way back from Elantris. Fortunately, she is saved by Kiin and Lukel, who take her back to Kiin's manor and barricade themselves in. Dragging Raoden to the manor, Dilaf uses him to capture Sarene. Done with his bait, Dilaf runs Raoden through with his sword and takes Sarene and Hrathen to Teod.
Emerging from their hiding place, Galladon and Karata approach Raoden to find the Hoed remnants of a man who was once their friend. Galladon is determined to give Raoden peace in the embrace of the pool atop the mountain; he will then also give himself the same peace. Karata only acquiesces. While Galladon and Karata carry Raoden towards oblivion, Lukel and the other captives are being marched to the pyres built for them within Elantris. As a revelation assaults Raoden's mind he struggles to regain control of his body. Startling Galladon and Karata he dashes back down the mountain to Kae, grabs a stick and draws out the chasm line in the ground. It explodes with the power of the Dor as he completes it, revealing Elantris and its surrounding cities to be one massive Aon Rao.
As these events take place, Shuden and Lukel lead a fight against their captors, and Dilaf moves to crush Teod. Hrathen overhears Dilaf musing to Sarene that he is going to kill her in front of her father, motivating Hrathen to warn Eventeo of the Fjordell invasion and attack Dilaf. Fighting off the other monks, Hrathen escapes with Sarene. Lukel and the others are beaten but hope is restored with Raoden's intervention. Elantris and Arelon are secure but Ashe appears with grave news of Teod.
Hrathen is assassinated in the streets of Teod. Aided by a now lucid Adien, Raoden teleports to Teod to save Sarene from Dilaf. Galladon and the other Elantrians arrive in time to save Raoden and Sarene, fighting off more than fifty Dakhor monks with AonDor. Seeing Dilaf chase after Eventeo, Raoden pursues only to walk into Dilaf's ambush. Hrathen makes a miraculous appearance during the fight, revealing his partial-Dakhor secret, which he uses to kill Dilaf before succumbing to his own wounds.
With the war over and Teod managing to hold back the Fjordell army, Sarene has one thing left on her mind: marrying Raoden. She is not about to let him out of her sight this time, marching him down the aisle where they are married. A week after their marriage a great funeral is arranged for the people that died during the invasion of Arelon, Elantris, and Teod. Sarene speaks for Hrathen, asking all to remember him as the savior who put what was right before his own ambitions.
- The prince of Arelon, he succumbs to the Reod/Shaod and is thrown into Elantris the day Sarene, his wife to be, arrives in Kae
- The princess of Teod, she arrives in Kae to find her future husband dead and sets up to fight
- The newly appointed leader of the Derethi church in Kae, he is sent to convert the populace in preparation for an invasion
- An overzealous member of Hrathen's congregation and eventual major antagonist
- Sarene's uncle and a good friend of Raoden, he helps Sarene settle in to Arelon
- A grumpy Elantrian Raoden befriends in the city
The magic systems of the world of Elantris each use a set of forms to access the Dor.
- AonDor uses symbols called Aons, which can be drawn directly in the air as glowing light, or in a large variety of physical representations, such as etched into metal plates, or incorporated into the design of buildings. Anyone can learn to draw Aons, but they only have power when created by an Elantrian. AonDor is tied to the land of Arelon and is only practiced within its borders. Aons work elsewhere but become weaker with distance from Arelon.
- ChayShan is not explored much in Elantris, however it seems to consist of a type of meditative martial art, with the forms one moves through granting access to the Dor. It appears that, like Aons, these forms can be practiced, potentially by anyone, without supernatural effect, with additional factors such as intent or bloodline establishing the connection to the Dor.
- Dakhor is even less well understood than ChayShan, without even a concrete name. It is currently referred to as Dakhor because its only known practitioners are members of Dakhor Monastery. What is known is that its use alters the bones of the user, causing them to twist and form patterns under the skin. These patterns are most likely the 'form' through which this magic is channeled. Dakhor allows access to the Dor and has a possible connection to Dominion. Dakhor requires human sacrifice in several of its uses.
- Hoid helps Sarene smuggle weapons into Elantris
- Devotion's Shardpool is seen
- Galladon is a worldhopper and has been seen on Roshar chasing Hoid with Demoux and Blunt
- There were a set of annotations and some deleted scenes published on Brandon's site, as well as the short story The Hope of Elantris.
This is Brandon's first published novel, and his sixth written novel.
It's written in a triad system, with sets of three chapters telling roughly the same period of time through the three main points of view.
- America (Tor, Spring 2005)
- Audio rights (unabridged) to Recorded Books
- Audio rights (dramatic abridgment) to Graphic Audio
- UK book club rights to BCA
- Russian rights to Azbooka
- German rights to Heyne
- Japanese rights to Hayakawa
- French rights to Calmann-Lévy
- Dutch rights to De Boekerij
- Spanish rights to Ediciones B
- Spanish book club rights to Circulo de Lectores
- Thai rights to ARIP
- Turkish rights to Arkadas
- Czech rights to Talpress
- Hungarian rights to Delta Vision
- Polish rights to Mag
- Chinese rights (Complex) to Fantasy Foundation
- Chinese rights (simplified) to Shanghai Wanyu
- Romanian rights to Tritonic
- Hebrew rights to Silver Stars
- UK rights to Gollancz
- Bulgarian rights to Bard 
A tenth anniversary trade paperback edition, which includes new maps and illustrations and an updated Ars Arcanum, was published in October 2015.
- Romantic Times Award, Best Epic Fantasy
- Selected as Barnes & Noble Explorations' #1 Editor's Pick.
- SF Book Club selection 
Elantris was written in a chapter triad system, rotating the primary viewpoints from Raoden to Sarene to Hrathen. Part 1 and Part 2 each contained 27 chapters, or 9 triads. The triad structure broke down in Part 3, which consisted of 9 chapters.
Cover Art Gallery
Original cover by Stephan Martinière
- Elantris chapter 17
- Elantris chapter 56
- EUOlogy: My History as a Writer
— Brandon's website - 2008-10-19
- Brandon's Awful Agent page
— Awful Agent
- Elantris Reading Group Questions
— Brandon's website - 2004-10-18
|Characters||Raoden · Sarene · Hrathen · Dilaf · Galladon · Eventeo · Kiin · Iadon · Roial|
|Places||Opelon · Arelon · City of Elantris · Duladel · Fjorden · Teod · JinDo · Svorden|
|Magic||AonDor · Aons · Dakhor · ChayShan · Seons · Skaze · The Shaod · Forgery · The Pool|
|Mythology and Lore||Devotion · Dominion · The Dor · The Reod · Shu-Korath · Shu-Dereth · Shu-Keseg|