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In Elantris, Adien, Kiin and Daora's autistic son, turns out to have been taken by the Shaod years ago.

In one scene after the rebirth of Elantris, he tells Raoden the exact distance in steps to Teod.

How on Sel did he know this? Has Brandon Sanderson ever said anything about it? The annotations don't cover how he knew this.

  • Afair, he said that he didn't write his savantism well. I'm afraid that he didn't think of other explanation besides "he's a genius". Something like that might be possible with very precise maps (or GPS :)) but I don't think they had them :/ – Mithoron Aug 2 '19 at 20:50
  • Had he ever walked to Teod? – Adamant Aug 3 '19 at 5:29
  • @Adamant He did go there as a child, but I 1. extremely doubt he walked and 2. he couldn't count that accurately even if he were. – Stormblessed Aug 3 '19 at 5:31
  • I don't know enough about autism or savantism, but apparently some guy counted to a million once., although with some means of keeping track. – Adamant Aug 3 '19 at 5:37
  • @Adamant well I'm wondering if his knowledge could have been caused by the Shaod or something. – Stormblessed Aug 3 '19 at 5:40
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Out of universe:

Regardless, I do think I gave Raoden all the pieces he needed here. Adien always existed in the book for this one moment–to give Raoden the length measurement he needed to go try to save Sarene.

Elantris chapter 62 annotations

and

Anyway, I don't like the Adien twist–it lacks power since we don't really care about him, and his character–the autistic–isn’t terribly original anyway. I've left the Adien twist in for a single reason.

Adien is my planned hero for book two. I like the concept of a healed autistic being the hero of the next book. And, since he’s so good with numbers, he would be incredibly powerful at AonDor.

Elantris chapter 60 annotations

So Brandon was leaning on the "popular culture" stereotypes to show that Adien was autistic, and this probably comes under that banner: remembering ridiculous obscure facts.

This may have been a later addition to the story:

I actually didn't plan to use the "teleportation" aspect of the Dakhor magic. However, I wrote myself into this chapter, then suddenly realized that I needed to get the group Teod in a real hurry. I couldn't let days pass while Sarene, Hrathen, and Dilaf sailed to the peninsula as I'd originally intended. (I have no idea what I was thinking.) So, I added in teleportation.

Elantris chapter 60 annotations

Other than this, I've found no other questions of why Adien knows this.

  • Adien is going to be the protagonist of the next book, so I guess we'll have a better answer when that comes out. – Stormblessed Aug 6 '19 at 14:29

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