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Red Rising author Pierce Brown is in the process of delivering a followup to his trilogy. While the release of the sequel book has been pushed off to January 2018, Brown has confirmed that this new story will be set ten years following the events of Morning Star, and will involve four different perspectives, unlike the original Red Rising books, which were all told from Darrow's perspective.
Three of Iron Gold's POV characters have been revealed already. One is Darrow, another is a new character named Lyria, and the most recent POV character is none other than Lysander au Lune, grandson to Octavia. Lysander was just a boy during the events of the Red Rising trilogy, but the recent description for his part in Iron Gold has us looking back at the things we know about this intriguing character.
Before we get to that, here's what Random House sent out to fans awaiting Iron Gold a few days ago...
Grandson of the deposed Sovereign, Lysander au Lune was spared by Darrow ten years ago on the condition that he would live under the tutelage of Cassius au Bellona. When investigating a crippled ship in deep space, Lysander and Cassius rescue a mysterious Gold woman and, in doing so, are thrust into the center of a violent coup among the Golds of the Rim. Will Lysander follow Cassius' teachings, or will he choose to forge his own bloody destiny among the Golds?
Since we have months to wait for Iron Gold to hit shelves (January 16, 2018), all we can do is wait and speculate. With that in mind, while Lysander wasn't a central character in the Red Rising series, the original books do offer us some interesting insights and potential clues about who he is and where he comes from. Obviously, we can't say for sure which pieces will prove to be relevant to who he is in Iron Gold, or the story that's set to play out. But given that the character is being brought to the forefront of this saga, I was inclined to try to connect some dots. Or at the very least, lay them out while we wait.
Naturally, this article is full of bloodydamn Red Rising book spoilers.
He was raised through childhood by Octavia au Lune.
Lysander spent the early years of his life under the guidance and influence of his ruthless grandmother, Society's Sovereign, Octavia au Lune. From what we saw of him in Golden Son and Morning Star, it seemed like Octavia kept Lysander close by, often exposing him to the work she did governing Society. Lysander's own grandfather had written him off as irreversibly poisoned by his grandmother's influence. And to be fair, considering what we know of the cunning former Sovereign, who knows what Lysander might have picked up from his dear old granny before she passed.
Beyond the potential for some dark seeds sewn into his impressionable young mind, all signs point to Lysander being a bright, observant boy who thinks things through and is eager to learn. Lorn may have written his grandson off, but given that Lorn wasn't one to offer people the benefit of the doubt -- RIP Tactus -- maybe he was wrong to assume his grandson's mind was permanently poisoned by Octavia.
He idolized Darrow, as a child.
Ok, I picked a pretty ominous quote to caption this entry -- and to be fair to context, a Darrow quote that is unrelated to his and Lysander's relationship -- but I can't help but think it's worth considering whether or not the mercy Darrow showed to Lysander at the end of Morning Star will come back to bite him, especially when we take into account Lysander's initial admiration for Darrow.
During their first meeting, Lysander admitted to Darrow that he'd seen thousands of videos from Darrow's time at the Institute. Lysander is able to casually reference the names of Darrow's friends, as though they're, well, characters in a story he's been following. Of course, this was before Darrow and Mustang orchestrated the downfall of his grandmother's reign, and saw to her death. On one hand, it seemed like Lysander accepted the situation for what it was at the time. But who knows how he's feeling about Reaper and Mustang in Iron Gold's present day, given that he tried and failed to protect his grandmother in the final moments of her life. Does he still see Darrow as the great Reaper? Or does he see him as the man who destroyed the last bit of family he had left?
Lysander could prove to be lethal with a razor.
Lysander's grandfather is none other than razor-master Lorn Au Arcos. This seems particularly relevant to Iron Gold's present day for two reasons. The first, is that we might assume -- or at the very least, hope -- that Lysander has inherited some of Lorn's abilities with the razor. Whether or not that's the case may factor into the second relevant reason, which would be his training. Lorn wasn't particularly active as a teacher in the years before he died, having retired from Society before being forced back in by Darrow. Has Lysander had access to anyone who's familiar with Lorn's famous "Willow Way" style of fighting? Are there even any other options for trainers left, besides Darrow? We don't know how much time -- if any at all -- Lysander and Darrow have spent together since the fall of Octavia. It seems more likely that Cassius would have trained Lysander, and though Cassius is known to be skilled with the razor, he wasn't trained by Lorn, and -- as demonstrated in Golden Son -- wasn't as skilled at the weapon as Darrow grew to be. Regardless of who trained Lysander, I'm sure we're all very curious to see what he can do with a razor.
He was raised through adolescence by Cassius.
As mentioned, when we last saw Lysander, Cassius had declared his protection over the boy, and the recent character description suggests the two stuck together in the years since. It's an interesting scenario, given that Cassius had lost his entire family by the end of the Red Rising trilogy, and is now something of a wildcard in terms of his loyalties and plans for the future. The hatchet between Cassius and Darrow seemed to be buried at the end of Morning Star, but it also looked like Cassius was ready to move in his own direction from there. Whether or not he remained on speaking terms with Darrow, we don't know.
So what kind of man did Cassius go on to become after everything he experienced, including the loss of his family and his renewed alliance with Darrow? Is Cassius still holding any grudges? Will he ever be fully over Julian's death and Darrow's part in it? Or did he turn a new leaf after Morning Star and focus his attention and affection on the boy he vowed to look after? These questions seem particularly relevant, given the influence he's likely had over Lysander over the past decade. I like to think Cassius abandoned his grudges, and went on to embrace his appreciation for brotherhood gained from both his actual brothers, and the men he called brothers at the Institute, despite the loss and betrayal he suffered. We'll see.
Lysander's mother may have been organizing a coup against Octavia.
In Golden Son, Darrow is talking to Lorn, and brings up the rumor that Lysander's mother was organizing a coup against Octavia. Lorn doesn't confirm or deny it, so we need to take this information with a small grain of salt, however the fact that it's mentioned does make it seem like a potential clue to a bigger story, and one Lysander may not have heard before -- or worse, heard his grandmother's version of it. Octavia references Lysander's mother's death in Golden Son, saying she didn't apologize to her grandson when his mother's ship was destroyed by Outriders.
Whether or not any of this proves to be relevant to Lysander in Iron Gold remains to be seen, but it does raise some interesting questions. For one thing, was Lysander's mother following after her own mother's footsteps in trying to wrestle the throne from her mother? Or was she trying to overthrow a tyrant and reform the system? The more obvious question is, was Octavia behind her death? We wouldn't put it past her, especially if she thought her daughter was coming after her crown. But what does Lysander really know of the situation? His grandmother was always big on truth and honesty... or her version of it anyway. If Octavia was behind his mother's death, does Lysander know or suspect as much?
Lysander's father Brutus was killed in an "accident."
While we're suspicious of the circumstances surrounding Lysander's mother's death, his father's death is even more mysterious. In Golden Son, Darrow refers to Brutus's death as a "convenient accident" when the subject comes up with Lorn, and then brings up the rumors about Octavia's daughter organizing a coup against her. This may imply that the two events are related, or assumed to be. If the odds are high that Octavia had something to do with the death of Lysander's mother, they're even higher that she was involved in Brutus's death.
Maybe Octavia wasn't directly involved in any of this. It's entirely possible some other person or organization orchestrated the deaths of Octavia's daughter and Lorn's son. It's also possible their deaths are unrelated to one another's. There's even a chance that one of them had to do with the other's death, though I'm less likely to ride that theory given that they had a son together, and that son ended up orphaned and left to be raised by one of the worst people in the solar system. That seems like something Octavia would have done -- especially if she was looking for an heir she could properly mold -- and if Lorn could've gotten Lysander back early on, I'm inclined to think he would have.
We really don't have enough information about the situation to know the full story about Lysander's parents. The point is, there are some interesting unanswered questions about them. It's pure speculation that this backstory will even be relevant to Iron Gold, but given that Lysander is a central character in the book, we can hope that we'll learn more about who his parents were.
We'll close out this collection of information and speculation with words from Pierce Brown's own post about Lysander's involvement in Iron Gold.
My name, as given to me by my mother, is Lysander. I was named for a contradiction: a Spartan general who had the mind of an Athenian. Like that man, I was born into something that is mine and not mine, a heritage of worldbreakers and tyrants.
As mentioned, Iron Gold is coming in January and available for pre-order now. While we countdown the days to its arrival, be sure to check out the prequel comic book series Sons of Ares. As you might surmise, it features a very familiar face... or mask. Check that out here.