When I wrote The Kheld King, I had a few goals.
First, of course, was to create the bridge narrative between the events of Sordaneon and those of the already completed rest of the Triempery series. I figured readers would want to continue from where Sordaneon left off. After that ending? Yeah, they would.
Second was to relate firsthand events that resonate—powerfully—through the remainder of the series. Originally, in the next four books, these events were merely referenced—incidents, deaths, catastrophes—and they are important to inform the reader why Stefan is viewed in certain ways by different groups. These events also say a lot about how and why Essera ends up where it does leading into The Second Stone. Showing them directly is both more memorable and carries more impact.
And third, but not least: I wanted readers to get Stefan’s side of the story—alongside Dorilian’s experience of those events. And of Stefan. These two characters are intertwined. Tangled. In fact, they are inseparable—their conflict plays out in various ways through four more books.
Sordaneon features numerous chapters from Stefan’s POV (point of view). It has been important from the start of the Triempery series to include Stefan’s story. In The Kheld King, readers will see why. Who Stefan is, the person he wants to be and the person he becomes during the course of his kingship, touches the arc of every other main character… including an Entity and many characters that readers will not have met yet.
I like using different POVs to show how issues, and characters, have more than one side. Maybe even many sides. I did this in Sordaneon with Dorilian and Marc Frederick, of course, but also with Dorilian and Stefan to show the beginning of their tortured relationship. Dorilian and Marc Frederick reached common ground; Dorilian and Stefan did not. Sordaneon does not show the consequences (at least not the full consequences) of their failure. The Kheld King does.
I want readers to get to know Stefan. Love him or hate him. I feel the same way about Dorilian… and every character I write. Meet them. Spend time with them. Get to know them. Make up your own minds.
Readers are not going to be told what to think about the people in the books. All I can do is give each character, however major or minor, a chance to show who they are. Readers will form their own opinions.