Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

The basics

Title: Elantris


Series: Elantris #1

- Elantris (2005)
- Untitled (2020)
- Untitled (2022)

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Goodreads Summary:

The capital of Arelon, the home to people transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod.

But then the magic failed, Elantris started to rot, and its inhabitants turned into powerless wrecks.

And in the new capital, Kae, close enough to Elantris for everyone to be reminded of what they have lost, a princess arrives. Sarene is to be married to unite Teod and Arelon against the religious imperialists of Fjordell. But she is told that Raoden, her husband to be, is dead.

Determined to carry on the fight for Teod and Arelon's freedom, Sarene clashes with the high priest Hrathen. If Hrathen can persuade the populace to convert, Fjordell will reign supreme.

But there are secrets in Elantris, the dead and the ruined may yet have a role to play in this new world. Magic lives.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in Elantris by Brandon Sanderson to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

what happened in Elantris?

  • Prince Raoden has been taken by the Shaod and is exiled to Elantris.
  • Raoden meets Galladon, who is from Duladel. Galladon tells Raoden that since he is technically dead, any injuries that he sustains will not heal. Raoden asks Galladon to help him for thirty days.
  • Princess Sarene arrives from Teod along with Ashe. She was engaged to Raoden but when she arrives in Arelon she learns that he is dead.
  • Serene is not allowed to look in Raoden’s casket at the wake. She finds this, and King’s Iadon’s absence suspicious. She tells her father about Raoden’s death. She decides to remain in Arelon.
  • Hrathen arrives in Arelon. He plans to convert people to Shu-Dereth. Fjon greets Hrathen, who is unimpressed by everything going on at the Derethi chapel. He sends Fjorn back to Fjordell and becomes head arteth.
  • Hrathen meets an arteth called Dilaf, who tells him about his trip to Rain and how he recruited people there. Hrathen tells Dilaf to make sure Fjon is actually on his way back to Fjordell.
  • Hrathen’s orders are to kill anyone who doesn’t convert after three months.
  • Raoden tours the city and learns of the three gangs in Elantris – Karata’s, Shaor’s, and Aanden’s.
  • He also learns that eventually people in Elantris become crippled by the constant pain from wounds they have sustained.
  • Gallodon can draw Aons.
  • Hrathen requests that King Iadon converts to Shu-Dereth, but the King points out that he believes in Shu-Korath, and therefore in the same god as Hrathen.
  • Sarene realises that Hrathen is a problem.
  • Sarene bumps into her uncle Kiin and is invited to his home. They discuss the Reod and politics and the servant revolt against the Elantrians.
  • Hrathen asks Dilaf about Sarene. Hrathen thinks Sarene could be a problem. Hrathen reveals that he plans to use the Elantrians as scapegoats.
  • Raoden learns to draw Aons that light up. He and Galladon plan on researching what happened to the Elantrians.
  • Raoden recruits a newbie called Mareshe to make shoes. He plans on making his own gang. He is soon joined by Maare, Riil, and Saolin.
  • Sarene debates with Hrathen in public. Hrathen is impressed.
  • Galladon realises that Raoden is the prince.
  • Kiin hosts a dinner for some novles. Sarene joins them and listens to how they oppose the king. Sarene suggests that they free the farmers to improve morale. She wonders if Iadon had Raoden killed or imprisoned.
  • Hrathen has a Seon which he uses to communicate with Wyrn.
  • Raoden finds a book written in Aons that he wants to translate.
  • Raoden and Karata sneak out of the city into Kae. Karata leaves a note in the palace for her daughter. They get back to Elantris and Karata agrees to help Raoden make Elantris self-sufficient. Karata reveals that she has been taking care of the Elantrian children.
  • Sarene offers to teach the women of the palace to fence.
  • Duke Telrii hosts a party. Sarene learns the history of Shu-Keseg, which is the parent religion of Shu-Korath and Shu-Dereth.
  • Duke Telrii is an ally of Fjorden.
  • Hrathen tries to stop Telrii from doubting himself and the plan. Telrii tells Hrathen that Sarene could be a problem but Hrathen doesn’t listen.
  • Aanden’s followers plan to attack the Elantrian children. Karata’s followers leave to defend the children. Raoden calms both groups down.
  • Eventeo tells Sarene about Iadon’s ships that are being sunk, and Sarene realises that the king’s hold on the throne is weak. She wants to take his side over Hrathen’s, though.
  • Hrathen interrogates Diren, who is from Elantris. Diren tells Hrathen about the hunger and the gangs. Diren is supposedly allowed to go back to Elantris, but Dilaf works up a mob and sends them after Diren. Hrathen stops the mob from killing Diren. He then has Diren burnt alive. Hrathen decides that he must deal with Dilaf.
  • Saolin is stabbed in a fight with Shaor’s gang.
  • Raoden learns about The Force (a force called Dor… not The Force from Star Wars). Raoden thinks that Dor is still working, which is why the Elantrians are alive in some sort of limbo. He wants to fix AonDor to therefore fix Elantris.
  • Sarene plans to deliver food to Elantris. Iadon becomes angry and threatens Sarene. She offers a trade agreement between Teod and Arelon in exchange for entry to Elantris.
  • Sarene thinks the king is using secret passages within the castle for some reason.
  • Raoden learns that Shaor is a young girl, and her followers worship her as a god.
  • Sarene visits Elantris with some nobles and some food.
  • Raoden meets with Sarene in disguise. He tells her he wants to distribute the food himself and ask for grains and oil. Sarene sends Ashe to spy on Raoden.
  • People start to leave New Elantris to hang about by the gates and wait for food.
  • Saolin is wounded again by Shaor’s gang.
  • Raoden thinks that the weird limbo thing that the Elantrians are in is caused by an Aon spell that’s been blocked.
  • Galladon reveals that his father was an Elantrian.
  • A Hoed shows Raoden a secret pool on the mountain. The Hoed is placed in the pool and dissolves.
  • Hrathen’s plans aren’t going so well so he feels a bit rubbish. He ingests poison.
  • Raoden admits to withholding food from the Elantrians. Sarene gets upset.
  • Hrathen is taken by the Shaod.
  • Saolin is taken to the mountain pool after being injured in a fight.
  • Raoden bribes Shaor’s followers with grain. They eventually join Raoden’s group.
  • Sarene follows Iadon into the sewers, where she comes across a cult murdering a woman as part of a sacrifice. Iadon is imprisoned.
  • Telrii may well be taking the throne. The city guards joins with him. To prevent this from happening, Roial and Sarene plan to marry.
  • Hrathen is supposedly cured. He returns to the chapel.
  • Raoden passes out and when he awakens, Karata tells him that he was glowing.
  • The wedding happens and when Sarene’s veil is removed, the guests see that she is a victim of the Shaod. The wedding is cancelled. Hrathen, knowing that this is actually just temporary, starts planning for Telrii to take the throne.
  • Iadon kills himself.
  • Sarene is taken to Elantris. Raoden gives her a tour. Ashe comes to find her. Telrii is now the king.
  • Eventeo offers to convert to Shu-Dereth if Sarene is healed.
  • Sarene starts to look normal again. She returns to Kae. Sarene moves in with Kiin.
  • King Telrii goes back on his promise to convert right away.
  • Raoden successfully draws an Aon.
  • Raoden disguises himself as Kaloo and fences with Sarene. Roial invites Kaloo to Kiin’s house. Kaloo attends a meeting. Sarene realises who he is.
  • Roial reveals that he hired assassins to kill Telrii. Ahan leaves early then returns with the king and some guards. Roial is killed for treason. Telrii attempts to have the rest of the nobles killed but Raoden turns back into himself and everyone runs away.
  • Eondel kills Telrii as revenge.
  • Raoden and Sarene talk about their marriage.
  • Raoden intends for his coronation to go ahead. Raoden gives a speech in the throne room. His illusion is broken by Dilaf. People don’t really care though.
  • The Dakhor monks attack, Dilaf among them. They take Raoden hostage, as well as Sarene and Kiin.
  • Hoid is told to deliver weapons to the Elantrians.
  • Raoden is stabbed by Dilaf and becomes one of the Hoed. Galladon plans on taking him to the pool on the mountain.
  • The monks teleport to Teod along with Dilaf and Hrathen. Dilaf tries to kill Sarene but Hrathen intervenes by smacking Dilaf in the face. Hrathen, Sarene, and Eventeo hide.
  • Raoden enters the pool and exits it again, now suddenly able to move. He draws a line and light bursts from the ground. Galldon is stabbed and Karata is beheaded in a fight.
  • It turns out that Elantris and the surrounding cities combine to make one Aon.
  • Fjon stabs Hrathen.
  • Raoden teleports to Teod. Raoden and Sarene try to escape. Elantrians arrive to help in the fight. Dilaf runs to hunt down Eventeo. Raoden chases after him and is ambushed. Sarene tries to help and is stabbed in the shoulder. Hrathen shows up and chokes Dilaf, and then dies himself.
  • Raoden and Sarene get married.
  • In the epilogue, Hrathen’s funeral is held. They will remember him as a hero.
  • Hoid is standing by the mountain pool. He inspects his face and hands, and is wondering why he didn’t turn into an Elantrian. A dark sphere talks to him and calls him a failure. Hoid steps into the pool and disappears.

anything else

The Shaod – The process of being turned into an Elantrian.

The Reod – An event that took place ten years ago. An earthquake caused a chasm to alter the landscape, which meant the Aons stopped working.

Aons – A writing system based on the landscape.

Seon – Floating orbs that act as magical servants.

Hoed – Elantrians that have acquired too many injuries to move.

The Dor – Magic. Spiritual energy.

That’s what happened in Elantris! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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