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Chapter 5 - The Eastern River

It may seem odd to bring up this river in the middle of a discussion of the west, but during an otherwise uneventful discussion of the Laughing River (AKA the Shallow River, AKA the Eastern River), Steve surprised me with

The Eastern River is actually the *westernmost* of the major Rivers, it is not another name for the Laughing River. The Eastern River does flow North South, passing about a hundred miles east of Hartre before continuing to the ocean, about five hundred miles west (and a little south) of Adrilankha.

There are numerous references to "the Eastern River" in the text, but none of them refer to a river that is west of Adrilankha. I asked Steve how this could be, and he replied,

There is the "Eastern River" which flows pretty much due north south and is west of Adrilankha. Then there is the Laughing River, which sounds like the one you're talking about, and which is often called the Eastern River as it is the River that parallels the Eastern Mountains.

To my knowledge, the river properly known as the Eastern River is not mentioned in any of the novels. To avoid confusion as much as possible, if I refer to the "Eastern River" in this document outside of a quote, I will be discussing this westernmost river. I will refer to the river that parallels the Eastern Mountains as the "Laughing River".

There is a second problem with this river. He says that it flows 100 miles east of Hartre, and 500 miles west of Adrilankha, which would put Hartre about 600 miles west of Adrilankha, which seems to violate this passage:

[From Hartre] we have more than five hundred kilometers to travel, and that is if we go in a straight line; you perceive it is even longer if [we] follow the coast [to Adrilankha] (The Paths of the Dead, Chapter 28)

500 km = 311 miles, about half the needed distance. I asked Steve just how far Hartre was from Adrilankha, and he replied,

About 600-800 miles in a straight line, I think ... And, yes, much longer if you follow the coast.

He went on to describe the relationship between these two cities in a little more detail.

Hartre is pretty much due west of Adrilankha, but there is a big peninsula between them, and that is where Hartre empties into the ocean (on the eastern side of the peninsula, to be precise).

If Hartre is west of Adrilankha and there is a peninsula between them, Hartre would have to be on the western side of the peninsula, not the eastern side, so I think he meant "that is where THE EASTERN RIVER empties into the ocean."

Steve also said where the source of the Eastern River was:

The headwaters are about three hundred miles northwest of the old site of Dragaera City.

and that it flowed south from there:

The Eastern River passes through a valley, going south, at a point where the Grand Canal, going east-west, goes over what is essentially a river bridge (still standing at the time of the Vlad novels) made of granite, giving the strange appearance of rivers crossing each other.

The Eastern River
The Eastern River

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Copyright © 2011 Bryan Newell, unless otherwise noted.