Endymion is an Empath. He is the first Empath that we meet in the story, and as such he has always carried the burden of introducing the most important fantasy element in the whole trilogy. Through the old original drafts (2008) he did this poorly, with much whinging and passivity. So when I came to re-write the whole series entirely in 2012, I knew he needed to be completely overhauled.
Welcome to the new Endymion. The best thing you can do for a character is give them something to do. Don’t just let them react to what other characters are doing, ESPECIALLY if you write in the first person, because all they will do is monologue about what is happening to them and inevitably whinge, be boring, and piss off the readers. To a certain extent Endymion spends The Blood of Whisperers both reacting and acting, but it was a fine balance it took me many drafts to get right.
After the second draft my alpha readers told me he was a bit boring. I re-wrote 90% of the story between the second and the third draft, which resulted in my beta readers liking him quite a lot. But in that draft Endymion was well aware of who he was, and it was making things a little awkward and strange, at least to me. There were questions I couldn’t answer and a few things that didn’t make sense – unless he actually had no idea whatsoever that he had been born Takehiko Otako. And so I changed it, again, which resulted in another huge re-write of about 60%.
I’ve always found Endymion’s character development very interesting. Here is a nineteen year old young man who has always been a vagabond. He is socially capable, despite disliking the weight of multiple people around him, and his guardian/companion throughout his life has been a priest – Jian. The most interesting thing about this, for me, has always been the fact that he never took to religion. He doesn’t REALLY believe in the gods. There is a conversation he has with Malice later in the book that outlines this pretty well. He does because he should, but really what he believes in, is justice.
Justice is what guides many of Endymion’s actions. He pursues it rather recklessly through the first part of his journey. He wants to know who he is and why he has been lied to, the desire overwhelming any sense of self-preservation.
To this end he demands to meet Lord Laroth, which leads to his Maturation as an Empath under the branding iron. This changes everything. He goes from having comparatively weak Empathy, to being able to connect with people’s thoughts with a touch. And the power grows. He is what they call a Whisperer.
The set back of being unable to talk, his mind foggy and strange, gradually fades leaving him with a very solid and determined purpose – to find out who he is and revenge himself upon Darius. These motivations drive him to the end of the book, his desire for revenge ever increasing to the point where he actually comes in contact with Darius.
And Darius pulls the rug of motivation out from under his feet. The monster he wanted revenge upon is no monster at all, and Endymion, his purpose so solid, is now floating lost. There is only one thing he has left to cling to: Justice.