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Oltux72

Could the mixup part simply be cut out?

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OK, how about the ruler dies a few weeks into his reign, unwed and childlessly, so the monk has to be reactivated, as he happens to be the second son? If you see his brides as sent to the king/emperor as an institution, not the person of the ruler, everything can just proceed more or less as depicted. The mixup really does not add that much to the story. Aether of Night is a comedy of confusion, a war novel and a mystery novel and a kind of relevation piece with the back story being discovered.

These pieces are ill joined, but I think necessary to make the whole thing work. But the mixup is bogus. Just kill the oldest son, who just inherited during the sacrifice at the Black Pool and transfer the crown to his monk brother and the crisis can unfold.

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I didn't really find the situation comedic at all. As for plot changes, Brandon might just overhaul the entire thing.

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Honestly, I kinda liked the mixup part, although it definitely could use some improvement (for example, him actually acting more like Hern, and I kinda like the idea of most of the Senate figuring it out and holding it over his head if he disregards their goals too much, to add some more stakes to the political maneuvering). But you're right that he could probably cut it out.

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I think that if you want to keep as much of the plot as possible, it would be hard to remove the mistaken identity element without also having to rewrite Alean. Her main role is to be a huge thorn in Raeth's side by holding the 'I know that you're not Hern and if you don't pick me, everyone else will know it too' sword of Damocles over his head, thus adding a complication to that side of the plot. While I'd anticipate a rewrite to how that plot thread is ended (see a couple other topics on the question of rewriting the book) I don't think removing it entirely would be the best approach. As it stands the senators really didn't care about the mixup but as long as Raeth thinks there's a threat, it works narratively.

Mind you, if there was some sort of plausible secret Alean learned from Hern that she could use as blackmail material unrelated to the mixup, her plot thread could still work while eliminating the mixup angle, I'm just not sure what Hern could possibly know that could reasonably fit that requirement.

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