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Your search for the tag 'Aondor' yielded 56 results

  • 1

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2011

    Open The Fridge

    Ok, last question. It was really difficult coming up with three questions that haven’t been asked already...

    Brandon Sanderson

    OK... you’re not going to ask me the “what would you ask me” question?

    Open The Fridge

    Not quite...

    Brandon Sanderson

    OK good, because I hate that one! (laughs)

    Open The Fridge

    My question is if there’s anything that you’ve never been asked that you would like to talk about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oooooh, ok. Hm. That one is so hard! Every time people ask me something like this... What have I never been asked that people should be asking, is basically what the question is? Something that the fans have just missed... They pick up on so much, that it’s hard... I do wonder if, you know… all the magic systems [in my books] are connected and work on some basic fundamental principles, and a lot of people haven’t been asking questions about this. One thing I did get a question on today, and I’ll just talk about this one... they didn’t ask the right question, but I nudged them the right way, is understanding that tie between Aondor [the magic system from Elantris] and allomancy [Mistborn’s magic system].

    People ask about getting the power from metals and things, but that’s not actually how it works. The power’s not coming from metal. I talked a little about this before, but you are drawing power from some source, and the metal is actually just a gateway. It’s actually the molecular structure of the metal… what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal works in the same way as an Aon does in Elantris. It filters the power. So it is just a sign of “this is what power this energy is going to be shaped into and give you.” When you understand that, compounding [in Alloy of Law] makes much more sense.

    Compounding is where you are able to kind of draw in more power than you should with feruchemy. What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the feruchemical charge overwrites the allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel feruchemy with allomancy, is what you are doing. Then if you just get out another piece of metal and store it in, since you’re not drawing the power from yourself, you’re cheating the system, you’re short-circuiting the system a little bit. So you can actually use the power that usually fuels allomancy, to fuel feruchemy, which you can then store in a metalmind, and basically build up these huge reservoirs of it. So what’s going on there is… imagine there’s like, an imprint, a wavelength, so to speak. A beat for an allomantic thing, that when you burn a metal, it says “ok, this is what power we give.” When it’s got that charge, it changes that beat and says, “now we get this power.” And you access a set of feruchemical power. That’s why compounding is so powerful.

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  • 2

    Interview: Dec 15th, 2011

    Question

    Is AonDor Physical, Spiritual, or Cognitive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. (laughter) Are you a Sharder?

    SAME MEMBER OF AUDIENCE

    A little bit. (laughter)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    AonDor is mixed up in all three. So I would say more Cognitive and Spiritual than it is Physical, but it is mixed up in all three.

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  • 3

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2011

    zas678

    Why do Seons become broken when their person is taken by the Shaod?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Seon has a Spiritual Connection with their user. When the Shaod takes the user, it messes up the spiritual nature of the user, and it really messes up the nature of the Seon.

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  • 4

    Interview: May, 2010

    Chaos

    This is other information we overheard while we were there.

    Skaze are the evil seons, and are related to Skai. Seons are related to the AonDor and thus Aona.

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  • 5

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2011

    Shadowsofink (14 November 2011)

    Complex "magic" system in Mistborn, and the complex one in Elantris; what base ideas do you build from for this?

    Brandon Sanderson (Mon Nov 14)

    For Mistborn, Alchemy and biological metabolism. For Elantris, Chinese linguistics and geometry mixed.

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  • 6

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2011

    Fejicus

    Concerning the Radiants' shardplates, and the glyphs on them that Dalinar had never seen before, is there any relation to these and the AonDor? Could they perhaps act as an added focus?

    Brandon Sanderson

    From what I recall, he didn't really give a definitive answer on this one, but he seemed as if we were in the right direction.

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  • 7

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AON EHE

    Meaning

    Aon Ehe represents the primal force of fire. A complex Aon with only basic symmetry, its form has often been likened to wisps of tickling fire burning out from a central coal.

    While the many poets in history seem to have preferred the overall symmetry of an Aon like Aon Omi or Aon Rao, not a few preferred Aon Ehe for its distinctive look and feel. (Much like Aon Shao, this Aon breaks with traditional Aon form in appearance.) For this reason, and because of the destructive yet vital power of fire, the poet Lenehe of the fifth century named Aon Ehe "The most inspiring of all Aons, a symbol for those with a creative heart and an unhindered mind."

    Recently, this Aon—easily recognizable, even to the uneducated—has become synonymous with "danger," and is used as a warning. In many cases, in fact, it is printed on warnings which have nothing at all to do with fire. One might find it upon an unsteady bridge or outside a forest hiding dangerous wolves just as easily as one might find it referencing actual flames.

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  • 8

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    History and Use

    All Aons exist independent of humankind, their symbols inherently tied to their meaning, but few have distinct origin stories explaining how the Aon was first discovered. Some modern scholars scoff at such tales, but Aon Ehe's origin myth is well known among the common people and believed by most.

    The story tells of the first princess of Arelon. This was some years after the founding of Arelon following the migration of the Aonic people from other lands. Elantris, of course, had already existed as a city when that migration occurred, and had been discovered empty. While some people assumed it haunted, Proud King Rhashm (later renamed Raoshem) determined to conquer the fears of his people and set up a kingdom centered on Elantris.

    The transformation of the first Elantrians happened beginning several decades later. Princess Elashe—the first of Raoshem's line to be chosen as an Elantrian—claimed to have seen the pattern of this Aon inscribed on a coal in her hearth the day after she underwent the transformation. Whether or not this story is true, a coal or rock written with Aon Ehe on it is considered good luck and a ward against winter spirits. (Though this kind of superstition is frowned upon by the Korathi priests.)

    Other uses of Ehe are plentiful. It is one of the primal elements, and is often used in scientific writings. It is a ward and warning against danger. It is used on signs in conjunction with other Aons to mean warm food or warm beds available. Some artists and poets choose it as their symbol, both to hint at the dangerous nature of artistry and to speak of the passion of artistry.

    Footnote

    It is unclear if "other lands" is on planet(Sel), or from somewhere else.

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  • 9

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    (Warning, spoilers below! Don't read this section if you haven't read ELANTRIS!)

    Aon Ehe is often mispronounced as "E-hay." Though scholars of Aonic insist that the proper pronunciation "E-Hee" is more accurate, the former is slowly being acknowledged as an acceptable pronunciation as well. It is infrequently used in names during modern days, as the meaning of "danger" is seen as unfavorable. However, historically, it was a favorite Aon for poets and artists (who often took new names for themselves when entering into their maturity as an artist, a tradition by which they removed themselves from their old body of work and indicated that they were beginning anew).

    Some famous examples of names from Aon Ehe include the poet Ehen, the artist Ehelan, and Mehen the philosopher.

    In the history of Elantris, Aon Ehe played an interesting role as it is the first known Aon to have been drawn with the Chasm Line. During the research of King Raoden, he was practicing this Aon (for its complexity) when he realized the problem with AonDor. The story goes that he added the Chasm Line without thinking, making Aon Ehe spurt out a column of fire and destroying an entire bookshelf.

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  • 10

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AonDor

    Aon Ehe is one of the most spectacular, useful, and awe-inspiring of base Aons when used by an Elantrian. There are many Aons that have destructive or powerful effects, but none are as strong without modification as Aon Ehe.

    Drawn simply, the Aon creates a column of flame, acting as a direct and primal conduit to the Dor itself. The diameter of the column depends on the size of the Aon drawn, and the direction the column is launched depends on the direction the Aon is facing. Often, this Aon is drawn on the floor so that a column of pure fire can be launched up into the air. The column is brief—only lasting a few seconds—but incredibly powerful.

    With some enhancement modifiers, this Aon can be made to last longer. The pre-Reod AonDor scholars crafted lamps with flames that continued to burn no matter which way they were turned. They would even continue to burn beneath water. This Aon can be used in warfare, if necessary, though Aon Daa is generally a better weapon.

    As a modifier, Aon Ehe can be used to create a ward that sets off other Aon chains. It provides one of the more useful tools in an AonDor practitioner's repertoire, though the complexity of drawing it can make it difficult to use for the less talented.

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  • 11

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AON ENE

    Meaning

    Aon Ene represents wit, intelligence, and cleverness. In recent years, the Aon has also begun to be associated with prosperity and wealth as well. It was once a popular Aon for names, though recently it has fallen out of favor in this regard, and names using it are now considered a little old-fashioned.

    The Aon has become a favored symbol of merchants, as cultural bias looked unfavorably on a shop using the symbol for gold or jewels. (Such symbols on a shop were seen as lavish or presumptuous by some.) Instead, many bankers instead use this Aon on their door to indicate their profession. The appropriation of the symbol is a reference to a quote from the appropriately named Enelan, a scholar who lived about a hundred years before the fall of Elantris: "No wealth of gold and silver can purchase a keen mind, but the man of wit will often find treasures beyond what mere lucre can provide."

    More traditionally, the symbol was used—and still is used—as a representation of books and scholarly research. Indeed, many scholars, scribes, and illuminators have grown upset by the banking industry's tendency to use this Aon, as they see it as an appropriation of what they believe to be their own symbol. Part of the tension between the groups has made the Aon fall out of favor for names, though others—generally those who are more traditional—still favor it.

    The shape of the Aon is said to represent two sides of an argument, interacting together in different ways. If one looks closely, one can see that there are, indeed, two halves that are simply the same set of symbols reversed.

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  • 12

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    History and Use

    Some scholars have expressed amusement that this symbol should come to mean intelligence in a broad sense, as the classical meaning of Aon Ene was far more narrow. Ene was the Aon which represented cleverness, the ability to outwit and outthink opponents. It was often applied in stories and tales to those who had a slyness about them, and often was the symbol which represented the trickster figure. Indeed, those who played tricks on others were said to be Enefels—literally, Wit Killers, or those who kill with wit.

    During the Middle Era, when Elantris's influence expanded and the kingdom of Arelon began to take shape, Aon Ene was attributed to the guild of storytellers who brought tales of the marvels in Elantris. It was often rumored that these people, who took upon themselves the Enefel name, were agents of the Elantrians. Their purpose was to spread good will about the city and its inhabitants, calming the rural populace, who regarded Elantris and its magics with suspicion.

    Over the centuries, this guild of storytellers transformed into a more scholarly group who gathered stories and histories from the people. By the dawn of the Late Era—about two centuries before the fall of Elantris—the group had burgeoned beyond its origins into several distinct sects of scholars and philosophers. By the time of the fall of Elantris, the constant association of this group with Aon Ene expanded its meaning into the more familiar use, representing scholarly intelligence and study.

    Some still remember the original meaning, however. Most of those are themselves scholars, and find the entire transformation to be something of a humorous joke played by history itself.

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  • 13

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    (Warning, spoilers below! Don't read this section if you haven't read ELANTRIS!)

    As use of the name is out of favor recently, the only character in Elantris who appears with Aon Ene in their name is Sarene. Eventeo, Sarene's father, is not only a traditionalist, but a scholar himself. He is well aware of the ancient meaning of the Aon, and has remarked on occasion that he finds the choice particularly accurate when applied to his daughter.

    Ene is one of the primary constellations in the Arelene sky, and the star pattern is the most easy to pick out. It contains the pole star of the world, a concept which has fascinated philosophers throughout history.

    Eventeo's use of the simple word "Ene" as a nickname for Sarene is another traditional association with names attached to the Aon. Much as some cultures shorten words or names into common nicknames, Ene—pronounced Eeenee—is a commonly applied term of endearment for someone who has this Aon in their name.

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  • 14

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AonDor

    This Aon has a powerful and unusual AonDor counterpart. A properly drawn Aon Ene puts forth a light, known by many as the Light of the Mind. When sitting in this Aon's light, one's mental abilities are enhanced. The Elantrian—or anyone else who happens to be close to the Aon—can memorize more quickly, think more clearly, and stave off mind-clouding effects of tiredness and sickness.

    Used in conjunction with other Aons, Aon Ene is what is known as a "linking Aon." Using it properly in the Aon equation will link subsections of Aon lists together, coordinating which effects take place at which times during the Aon list's progression. It is an important Aon to learn to use well for complex Aon linkings, and no true AonDor master is without substantial practice in its use.

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  • 15

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AON OMI

    Meaning

    In its most basic form, Omi is used to represent love and benevolence. It is a common root Aon for a wide variety of words, including affection, care, passion, piety, zeal, and some synonyms of loyalty.

    A complex Aon with strong symmetry, the Aon has often been used as an example of balance and even perfection. The great AonDor scholar Enelan of the fourth century called it "The most perfect of Aons, fully incorporating the base of Aon Aon and spinning it into a complex icon that is artful and complicated, yet somehow simple at the same time."

    In later centuries, the symbol has come to mean not only love, but divinity as well, an association created by the Korathi church's appropriation of the Aon. Many devout Korathi also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.

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  • 16

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    History and Use

    Aon Omi is best known as the official symbol of the Korathi church in Arelon. It was chosen by Korath (known as KoWho in JinDo) himself to represent the church and God. Scholars of the time say that Korath made the decision late in his life, after decades spent preaching his interpretations of the tenets of Shu-Keseg (which eventually became the Korathi religion) in Arelon and Elantris itself.

    The choice was shocking to many, as the young Korathi devout saw the Elantrians and their worship as a competing religion. Their Aons, the basis for Elantrian magic an power, were then regarded as heathen symbols. Korath was always bothered by this competitive streak in his believers, and it is widely accepted that he picked an Aon to represent God and his religion as an attempt to show that all people were acceptable beneath the blanket of the Korathi doctrines. He himself called the Aon a "Thing of Beauty" and asked an Elantrian smith of his acquaintance to craft a silver pendant for him bearing the symbol.

    That event, and the subsequent adoption of Aon Omi by the Korathi church, led to the odd relationship between the Elantrians and the Korathi religion which took root in their homeland. (Though, following Korath's death, his right-hand man and follower ShanVen moved the religion's center of operations to Teod instead, where the young monarchy there had embraced Shu-Korath as its official religion.)

    Over the years, many other Aons have been adopted by the Korathi religion, but this one—Aon Omi—has remained their most powerful and important symbol. It is used extensively in Korathi religious services, and pendants bearing Aon Omi are commonly worn by the devout. (Many simply call them Korathi pendants, or Korathi religious pendants.) Such pendants are commonly exchanged during Korathi wedding services. (See the end of ELANTRIS the novel for an example.)

    Many Korathi priests now look at the use of Aons by their religion as a symbol of the potential unity of all mankind, when different beliefs, sects, and cultures will be drawn together through sincere affection for one another.

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  • 17

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    As can be expected from its meanings, Aon Omi is a common root Aon for names in Arelon, particularly among those who follow the Korathi religion.

    The most obvious word using Omi as a root is the name Domi itself, the Korathi word for God. This usage did not become common until the seventh century; before then, the Jindoeese name Dashu was used by the Korathi, and the Elantrians preferred a word using Aon Daa as its root. In an interesting exchange, the Aonic word "Domi" eventually became a loan word back to Jindoeese, where the word DoMin came to mean "god."

    The head priest of the Korathi chapel in Kae, Father Omin, also uses this Aon in his name. (As a side note, like many Korathi priests, Omin chose a new name for himself once he joined the priesthood. In his youth, he went by the name of Elenan.) Father Omin wears a jade pendant of Aon Omi.

    Eondel wears a pendant of Aon Omi, his sky blue. Sarene wears one of green and gold, while Raoden wears one of black.

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  • 18

    Interview: 2005

    Brandon Sanderson

    AonDor

    Aon Omi is a powerful Aon, and before the fall of Elantris could perform powerful magics. When drawn it puts out a powerful and pure white light; any who are touched by this light find their negative emotions wiped away, replaced by a sense of serenity and peace. It is difficult indeed to maintain a sense of hatred while Aon Omi is in force.

    So powerful is this Aon, however, that using it requires much of the Elantrian who draws it. The Aon will be weak unless the one drawing it feels a sincere affection for those around him, making this Aon very difficult to use in tense situations. This strange requirement has fascinated AonDor practitioners for centuries, as it is one of the few Aons which requires something other than drawing skill from its Elantrian.

    Aon Omi is also used in other places in AonDor equations. It can be used to tie other Aon chains together, and is also a weaker power modifier, if used in the correct way.

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  • 19

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 7)

    It's interesting that this book would be the first one I publish. Many of you know that when I finally sold ELANTRIS, I was working on my thirteenth novel. By the time ELANTRIS was released, I'd written fifteen separate novels. Very few of these are sequels, and of the fifteen, ELANTRIS is actually number six.

    One of the things I pride myself on as a writer are my magic systems. I spend a lot of effort and prewriting on them, and I strive very hard to make them feel like nothing a reader has ever experienced before. MISTBORN, the book that will come out a year after ELANTRIS, is a very good example of this.

    ELANTRIS, however, is very interesting in that I don't actually get to spend much time with the magic. Or, at least, I don't get to spend much time showing it—the magic of this book is broken, and so while we find out a lot about it (and I think it's distinctive in its arrangement) we don't get to see it.

    In the end, when the magic finally gets restored, I think it actually loses just a bit of charm. I developed this magic system to be an interesting and original puzzle—and so, when you finally see it working, I think there's a fulfilling payoff. However, in its actual form, it isn't generally as distinctive as some of my other magic systems.

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  • 20

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 8)

    The economy of Arelon is one of the interesting features of this book. Even still, I'm not certain if I made things a little too odd here. The idea of nobility being tied directly to money is described so often by the characters that I worry that readers will think the system too foolish to have arisen. However, I think that by establishing the king as a former merchant—and by pointing out how the system was created quickly, to fill the void after the fall of Elantris—I manage to keep the economic and social situation in Arelon within the realm of possibility.

    I think that too often fantasy writers are content with simply throwing in a slightly-original spin on magic—ignoring the fact that their cultures, governments, and religions are derivative. There is this idea of the 'general' fantasy world, and writers draw upon it. However, I think an interesting cultural element can be just as fascinating—and as useful to the plot—as an interesting magic system. In the best cases, the two are inter-woven, like what one can find in brilliant genre books like DUNE.

    Of course, the strange economic/governmental system of the book is only a descendant of another strange economic/governmental system. Sarene and Lukel discuss a few of the problems presented by having a race of people who can create whatever they want through use of magic. I don't get to deal with that aspect of AonDor very much in this particular book, since the novel is set during a time when the magic of Elantris doesn't work. However, there are a lot of interesting ramifications AonDor would present for a book set during Elantris' heyday. What good is gold if someone can create it from nothing? In fact, what good is a monetary system at all when everyone can have as much food as they want? What need is there for invention or ingenuity in the face of a group of people who can re-create any good, no matter how complex, with a mere flick of the magical wrist?

    The truth behind the Elantrian magical abilities is far more limited than Sarene or Lukel acknowledge in this chapter. If one were to go back fifteen years, one would find that the Elantrians who had the skill to fabricate complex materials 'out of nothing' were actually quite rare.

    As we learn later in the book, AonDor is a very complicated, difficult skill to master. As I was writing this book, I imagined the complicated Aons that Raoden eventually learns how to draw being only springboards to massive equations that could take weeks to plan out and write. Fabricating something very complex would require a great deal of detail in the AonDor recipe.

    Even still, I think the tension between the Elantrians and the merchants is a natural out-growth of this situation.

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  • 21

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 19)

    Yes, okay. I'll admit it. I started a chapter with a dream sequence. However, if you didn't realize that it was a dream before you got to the end, they you obviously haven't been paying much attention to the rest of the book. It's usually good advice to avoid dream sequences. It's particularly a good idea to avoid flashback dream sequences at the beginning of your novel. I did it anyway. The truth is, I liked what this scene did too much to cut it. My purpose was not to 'fake out' or confuse—but simply to show some things that would be otherwise impossible to show in the novel.

    I wanted to show AonDor working without Elantris' current limitations. The only way to do this—to really show this, rather than just describe it—was to have a flashback. So, I gave Raoden the dream where he able to remember the days before the fall of Elantris. You'll notice that I refer back to this dream several times through the chapter, using it as an example of several things Raoden considers.

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  • 22

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter, I also go a little bit into the linguistics of the novel. If you'd been able to figure out that 'Dor' wasn't an Aon, then you were a step ahead of Raoden at this point. I realize it's probably too small a thing to have been of note, but I do actually mention the 'Dor' one time earlier in the book. It's in the discussion where Galladon discovers that the republic has fallen. He says, "Only outsiders—those without any sort of true understanding of the Dor—practice the Mysteries."

    There are a lot of other clues sprinkled through these chapters. If you're really clever, you could probably figure out from this chapter what is wrong with AonDor, and from that extrapolate why the Shaod went bad.

    Anyway, if you want more on linguistics, head over to the 'goodies' section of the website. I've got a whole essay on the languages in ELANTRIS over there.

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  • 23

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the first chapter where I really start to get into the magic system of the book. There will be much more later. Some people have accused me of writing science fiction that masquerades as fantasy. That is, of course, an exaggeration. I like fantasy idioms—the deep characterization, the slower plot progression, the sense of wonder and magic—far more than I like the science fiction counterparts. However, I'll admit that I do design my magic systems with an eye for science. (Or at least pseudo-science.)

    The idea of a runic magic system is not new. I've seen several other authors write some very interesting runic systems (David Farland, for instance, has a particularly good one.)

    The twist I wanted to bring to my novel was twofold. First, I wanted to focus on what went wrong with the magic—therefore really allowing me to get into its mechanics. Secondly, I wanted the runic system to be more mathematical than it was mystical. Raoden hints at this in the chapter, and you'll get more later. However, the idea of runes that include qualifiers and functions appealed to me as a little more distinctive than some of the other systems I'd seen before.

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  • 24

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mention the Outer Cities here with the beggars. Actually, the main reason I put them in was to give myself another excuse to mention the Outer Cities. Throughout the books progress, I've been worried that people wouldn't understand the ending climax. In order to get what is going on with Aon Rao, they need to understand the geography of the cities around Elantris. Hopefully, I describe it well enough that it comes off.

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  • 25

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Those of you who've read the book before should recognize the case study Raoden mentions in this chapter. The woman who was miss-healed by the Elantrian is none other than Dilaf's wife—he speaks of her near the end of the book. This event—the madness and death of the woman he loved—is what drives his hatred of Elantris, and therefore Arelon and Teod.

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  • 26

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Father Omin, by the way, 'traces Aon Omi' on Hrathen's chest as part of the religious service. This should look familiar. It is a subtle little thing, but I wanted to show how the Korathi religion has been influenced by its proximity to Elantris. The priests probably wouldn't do something like this in Teod. In a way, Hrathen is right—Elantris has had a corrupting influence on those around it.

    However, 'corruption' is probably too strong a word. Religions adapt as their people adapt, and often times cultural elements are incorporated into belief structures. People have asked me, as a Christian, what I think about Christmas itself being set in place of a pagan holiday. Doesn't really bother me. The day we happen to celebrate the birth of Christ doesn't have any doctrinal importance to me. A religious person has to be willing, in my mind, to accept that while truth may be eternal, the way we interact with it—as changing human beings—must needs be influenced by the way we think and the way society works.

    It doesn't matter if my religion 'borrowed' things from other religions or cultures—especially if the things we filched added good things to the religion. That's what humans do. We adapt. We steal. This especially makes sense if you happen to be a writer. (We're really good at stealing. . .uh, I mean 'adapting.')

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  • 27

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 32)

    Time for my second favorite chapter! (The first, if you recall, was the one where Raoden led Karata to the king's palace.)

    There are so many things going on in this chapter that I don't quite know where to start. I guess I'll begin with the Mysteries. I drew part of this religion, including the name, from the mystery cults of ancient Greece. I added the ritual sacrifices to give them a bit of zing. You'll get a little bit more of an explanation of the Mysteries, and why someone might decide to join one, in a later Sarene chapter.

    As I've noted before, religion—especially its dark side—is a theme in this book. I don't think I could have covered this subject well in the book without including a look at cult mentality. Now, I'll admit that 'cult' is a word we bandy about too frequently in religious discussions. It has been noted that Christianity started out as a kind of cult, and it seems that many consider any unorthodox religion to be a 'cult.'

    To me, however, a cult is something that twists who you are, changing you into a shadow of what you used to be. I firmly believe that you can judge a religion by the effects it produces in its practitioners. Does it make them better people? If so, then there's a good chance that the religion is worth something. Does it turn them into people who sacrifice their own servants in an effort to make evil spirits come and kill their daughters in law? If so, well. . .you might want to stay away from that one.

    Anyway, the Mysteries were—in my mind—a natural outgrowth of the Mystical Jesker religion. Like Galladon is always saying, they're NOT the same religion. The Mysteries are a perversion and simplificication of Jesker teachings. Jesker looks to the Dor—the power behind all things—and tries to understand it. The Mysteries treat the Dor like some kind of force to be manipulated. (Which actually, is what AonDor does. . . .)

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  • 28

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Of course their constellations form Aons. What else would you expect?

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  • 29

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 40)

    Originally, I had the steps leading up to Elantris from the outside be a construction put there by the people of Kae. I knew I wanted a large number of scenes on the wall—it is such a dominant visual feature of the book that I thought it would make a good stage for scenes. However, I quickly realized that it would be the people of Kae—not the Elantrians—who controlled the wall. The Elantris City Guard grew from this idea, as did the set of steps constructed on the outside, leading up.

    As I worked more and more on the book, however, I came to realize that the pre-Reod Elantrians wouldn't have needed a city wall for protection.

    Obviously, to those who've read more, there is a good Aon-based reason for the wall. However, there is more to it than that, as well.

    The wall of the city is a symbol—it's part of the city's majesty. As such, it made more and more sense that there would be plenty of ways to get up on top of it.

    When we got the cover art back from Stephen, we were amazed by its beauty. A few things, however, didn't quite mesh with the text. One of these was the set of steps—they were so ornate, so beautiful, that it didn't fit that they would have been designed by the people of Kae. At that point, things kind of fell together, and I realized that there was no reason why the Elantrians themselves wouldn't have put a large staircase outside the city leading up to the wall.

    And so, in the final rewrite of the book (the ninth draft) I changed the staircase, and the general feel of the wall, to give the proper sense to the reader. The staircase was placed by the Elantrians as a means of getting up on top the wall. The wall itself became less a fortification, and more a wonder—like the Eiffel Tower. It is there to be climbed and experienced.

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  • 30

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Interestingly, I've never annotated about Sarene's nickname before. Only her father uses it, and when Moshe read the draft, he had trouble understanding how to get 'Ene from Sarene. That's probably because he, like most people, pronounced her name like the word serene. That's all right—I don't really mind how people pronounce the names in my books. When I read, I see a name, come up with a pronunciation in my head, then go with that from there on. Nothing can convince me that I'm pronouncing it wrong, not even the author him/herself. (Even still, the names of Anne McCaffery's dragons are jumbled, meaningless noises in my mind. That seemed right at the time.)

    Anyway, if you're interested, there's a pronunciation guide for Elantris on the site. Sarene's nickname comes from the Aon in her name: Aon Ene. While in our world, we tend to choose nicknames based on the first syllable of a name, nicknames in Arelish come from from the Aon. Since Sarene's Aon comes late in her name, that's where the nickname comes from. 'Ene,' by the way, is pronounced 'Ay-nay.'

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  • 31

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Anyway, back to the chapter. I planned from the beginning for Sarene to give Raoden this vital bit of information about the magic system. As I've said before, she represents chaos—and chaos isn't always a bad thing. She is able to give Raoden the one simple bit of information that, despite all of his studying, he hasn't been able to find.

    I worry, now that we have the map, that the Chasm answer is too obvious. Jeff made the Chasm a lot bigger than I intended it to be. And, since we zoomed in on the map so much, the Chasm dominates a large section of what we see.

    Fortunately, I think it's the very next Triad where Raoden figures out how to use Sarene's bit of information. We don't have to wait long for him to figure out the secret—so, hopefully, if the readers figure it out, they won't feel Raoden is too stupid for taking so long.

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  • 32

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    My biggest worry about these chapters is that people will look at the map we put in the front of the book and realize that it doesn't match the text. I really do like Jeff's map—it's well-drawn, and it has a very cool feel to it. I love the little city designs; they give the map a different feel from many fantasy maps. Overall, I think this map fits the 'mood' of the book quite well.

    However, I myself didn't give him good enough instructions on how to develop the map, and now it doesn't completely fit what I talk about in the text. Since the landscape of the land is so important to the development of the book and the magic system, this could be a problem for some readers.

    Anyway, yes, Raoden makes the connection here. The Chasm line is what has been missing all along. I tried to emphasize the Chasm several times in the text, reminding people that it's around. However, as I may have said in other annotations (the spoiler sections), I now worry that the Chasm is TOO obvious. Anyway, I suspect the discovery will work for some people, and not work for others. Hopefully, the characterizations and the events in the book are interesting enough that even if some people think this discovery is obvious, they'll enjoy reading anyway.

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  • 33

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 49 Part 2)

    So, in this chapter we get to have a nice look at the 'mathematical' style to AonDor. To be honest, I'm not really a math person. I did well in my classes, but I never pursued the skill long enough to get deeply into theoretics. That's why there aren't any specifics in these chapters—I try to give enough to imply that AonDor works like mathematical proofs, but I don't include any specific ratios or equations.

    My goal was to get across the 'Feel' of the magic without actually having to get into number crunching—which is something at which Raoden's much better than I am. (Though, it's less numbers and more of an understudying of length, location, and combination.)

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  • 34

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you were wondering, most of the explanations we get in this chapter are true. The reason that Raoden was subject to the Dor attacks was because he spent so much time practicing with the Aons. He began to make a bridge between this world and the Dor, and because of that, he gave the Dor a slight opening into his soul. I imagine that he isn't the first one to suffer something like this during the ten years that Elantris has been fallen. Other Elantrians probably practiced with the Aons, and the Dor eventually destroyed them. When it was done, they simply became Hoed.

    By finally using the Dor effectively, Raoden relieved a little bit of the pressure, letting the nearby buildup of the Dor (the one that he himself had created by practicing so much) rip through him and fuel that single Aon.

    Originally, I had Raoden's conflict with the Dor continue on after this scene—I had it continue attacking him. In a later draft, however, I realized that I'd made a mistake. Raoden has other things to worry about in the upcoming chapters—he doesn't need the Dor attacks to create conflict and tension. So, after this chapter, the Dor attacks actually became distractions. I also realized that the way I'd set up the magic system, this chapter was probably the place where the Dor should stop attacking, since Raoden had fulfilled what he wanted it to do.

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  • 35

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, there is a little foreshadowing in this chapter. Raoden's ability to draw with a stick or a quill to do his Aons is very important, obviously. Some people still have trouble what is going on at the climax of the book, and so I found constant need to incorporate explanations and hints where I could to foreshadow events.

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  • 36

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 55)

    So, one thing you should notice from this chapter is that Raoden no longer needs his book of equations to draw his face illusion. He's been practicing and getting better. A subtle hint, but one I decided to throw in.

    I don't know if you, as a reader, have been imagining Sarene with short hair since her departure from Elantris, but this chapter fixes that. The heroine has her hair back—all is right in the world.

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  • 37

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    Aons are an interesting part of this book—perhaps my favorite of the world elements. If you think about the system I've set up, you'll realize some things. First, the Aons have to be older than the Aonic language. They're based directly off of the land. So, the lines that make up the characters aren't arbitrary. Perhaps the sounds associated with them are, but the meanings—at least in part—are inherent. The scene with Raoden explaining how the Aon for 'Wood' includes circles matching the forests in the land of Arelon indicates that there is a relationship between the Aons and their meanings. In addition, each Aon produces a magical effect, which would have influenced its meaning.

    The second interesting fact about the Aons is that only Elantrians can draw them. And Elantrians have to come from the lands near Arelon. Teoish people can be taken, but only if they're in Arelon at the time. Genetically, then, the Teos and the Arelenes must be linked—and evidence seems to indicate that the Arelenes lived in the land first, and the Teos crossed the sea to colonize their peninsula.

    Only Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, so someone taken by the Shaod must have developed the writing system. That is part of what makes writing a noble art in Arelon—drawing the Aons would have been associated with Elantrians. Most likely, the early Elantrians (who probably didn't even have Elantris back then) would have had to learn the Aons by trial and error, finding what each one did, and associating its meaning and sound with its effect. The language didn't develop, but was instead 'discovered.'

    There are likely Aons that haven't even been found yet.

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  • 38

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAODEN VIEWPOINTS

    It was essential to this chapter that I establish that Raoden can catch glimpses of what's happening around him. I went to a lot of work to get him into place above the city where he could make the connection, looking down on Elantris and the outer cities. The pool, actually, simply grew out of my need to find a way to put Raoden on the slopes of the mountains near the ending of the book. I like how it turned out in the final story—it added a dimension of mysticism to the Elantrian belief system, and it worked very well into the plotting I had developed. My only worry about it is that it was too far away from the Elantris, but we'll talk about that later.

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  • 39

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    THE SPIRIT OF ELANTRIS

    So, this moment—where Raoden is nearly dead, looking down on the cities, and finally makes the connection—was one of the scenes that made me want to write this book. In each novel I write, I have some important scenes in my mind. They're like. . .focuses for the novel. They're the places I know I need to get, and they're usually very dynamic in my mind. In a way, I tell the rest of the story just so I can make my way to these moments.

    This book had two main Moments for me. We haven't gotten to the second yet, but this is the first. I hope that you, the reader, arrived at the realization just as Raoden did. I've had a lot of trouble getting this balance right. Some readers figured out the secret early, while others (the larger group) didn't even understand what's going on in this chapter.

    If it requires explanation, Raoden is thinking about Aon Rao. Then he notices that Elantris and the cities around it form a pattern—the exact pattern of Aon Rao. The cities form an Aon on the ground. At this moment, Raoden realizes why Elantris fell, and why the Elantrians went with it. If you haven't figured it out yet, I won't spoil it for you.

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  • 40

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    THE SPIRIT OF ELANTRIS (PART TWO)

    So, my only worry about the climax here is that it's a little hard to visualize. Because I never quite got the map to look like I wanted it too, it's hard to see what Raoden is doing in this chapter. Essentially, he adds the chasm line to the Aon Rao that Elantris and its outer cities form. Because Elantris was an Aon, it stopped working just like all of the other Aons did when the Reod occurred. I've established several times in the book that the medium an Elantrian draws in—whether it be mud, the air, or in this case dirt—doesn't matter. The form of the Aon is the important part. By putting a line in the proper place, Raoden creates a gate that allows the Dor to flow into Elantris and resume its intended purpose.

    This is the scene that made me want to write this book. It, along with the one I talked about in the last chapter, formed a climax that I just itched and squirmed to write. (That's always a good sign, by the way.) The central visual image of this book is that of the silvery light exploding from the ground around Raoden, then running around the city. Storytelling-wise, this is the one scene I wish I could do cinematically rather than in text.

    I'm sorry for killing Karata. It felt like the right thing to do right here, even though my readers universally disagree with this decision. This is a very important series of events. If I didn't have any real danger for the characters, then I think earlier events—where characters did die—would come across feeling more weighty. Karata and Galladon throw themselves at a troop of armed soldiers. There was no way for that to end well.

    (By the way, none of the readers have even batted an eye about Eshen's death. I guess she got on their nerves.)

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  • 41

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson (Chapter 62-2)

    RAODEN'S TRANSPORTATION

    I had to work very hard to make this one work. I think it turned out, but it is a little bit of a stretch. Hopefully, readers will go with me on this one because of the climactic feeling of the near-ending.

    Regardless, I do think I gave Raoden all the pieces he needed here. Adien always existed in the book for this one moment—to give Raoden the length measurement he needed to go try to save Sarene. I've established that Seons have perfect senses of direction, and I've talked about how to use Aon Tia. More importantly, I think I've established that this is something that Raoden would do. He gets just a shade foolhardy when Sarene is concerned. (It's all her fault.)

    There is another important element to this teleportation. I thought it important to involve deity in the climax of what has been such an overtly religious book. You may not believe in God, and it is never my intention to belittle your choices. However, the format of this book has been one that dealt with religion and the way that people interact with their faith. And so, I took this last moment of the book, and gave Raoden an opportunity to call upon the aid of providence.

    Raoden arrives safely, despite the odds against his having gotten the distance, direction, and other factors right. You are free to simply think of this as luck, if you wish.

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  • 42

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    WEAK AONS

    Elantris is like a massive power conduit. It focuses the Dor, strengthening its power (or, rather, the power of the Aons to release it) in Arelon. This far away from Elantris, however, the Aons are about as powerful as they were before Raoden fixed Elantris.

    If you consider it, it makes logical sense that the Aons would be tied to ELANTRIS and Arelon, yet would work without them. The Aons had to exist before Elantris—otherwise, the original Elantrians wouldn't have known the shape to make the city. Their study of AonDor taught them a method for amplifying Aon power.

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  • 43

    Interview: Oct, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    5) The magic in ELANTRIS was designed to be one of its more unique points, which makes it ironic that for most of the book, it doesn't work. What were your thoughts on this? Did you like the scientific approach to magic, or would you have preferred something more mystical? What parts of the magic system and its plotting did you like, and which did you find unimportant?

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  • 44

    Interview: Oct, 2004

    Brandon Sanderson

    7) Where do YOU think the Seons came from, and how do they relate to the magic of AonDor?

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  • 45

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Zas

    So Power of Creation. Is the Power of Creation this thing of power that powers Allomancy and powers the Aons, or is the Power of Creation just what each shard has?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say [the power] each shard has. Is more the definition.

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  • 46

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2012

    Zas

    What about Aon Rii? Talk about Aon Rii. What are the random dots? Are they valuable metals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Honestly, I don't remember. [laughter] I'll be straight up honest with you, I designed the Aons—When I designed the Aons, they all had things like that. Like "Oh, that's what this will be," but I was not as good about taking notes of things then. I didn't have the wiki that I now have.

    Josh

    What I would give for one hour with that wiki.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn't have all of that stuff, so I can say "Yeah, that's going to be valuable metals", and canonize it that way, but I don't remember what I was actually thinking when I designed it. It was my first time doing anything like that, like [?] sort of thing. I hadn't ever done anything like that before, so I was just flying by the seat of my pants.

    In fact, there's a fun story about that, a story I don't think I told during the annotations, I might have. Originally, I wrote it, and used all the Aons as like little things about characters' personalities.

    Zas

    Really?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like Rao is spirit, and Ene (eenee) is wit. Well, all the other ones were things like that, to the point that the traitor character, his Aon's the one that meant Betrayal. Like this, all the characters have little things like that. And then my editor saw it and said "Ah. Do you really want to give away everyone's personality? And who's going to name their kid Betrayal? And I was like "That was really stupid Brandon, why did you do that?" But at the time, I didn't know if I was going to have a dictionary in the back or anything, and so I had to go back and rename almost all of them. I left Rao and Ene, but I renamed almost all the—renamed the wrong word. I shifted all the meanings and things like this so that everyone would have a name that would make sense that you would name a person. And none of them meant anything more than what they actually mean.

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  • 47

    Interview: Feb 16th, 2013

    Viper

    Aons look like Arelon; soulstamps look like MaiPon. Aons get weaker when you get further from Arelon, right? That's not just cause Elantris acts like a focus?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's right, it's based on distance. That's why there are no stamped objects in Elantris.

    Viper

    So do soulstamps get weaker further from MaiPon? If you left Sel via Shadesmar and went to another planet, would the soulstamp stop working?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's correct.

    Viper

    Could soulstamps be carved that used Arelon as a base form instead of MaiPon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's very interesting, isn't it?

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  • 48

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Kuri Shardweaver

    I've heard tell of an upcoming book where the magic is based on forging. This excites me greatly, and I was wondering if you could give us just a smidge more information regarding it? Either the world, the magic itself, or how it impacts said world? Though something like the Shard behind it would be awesome too..

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure, the story is The Emperor's Soul, and it actually takes place on Sel. (Same planet of Elantris.) The magic system works by using a carefully designed stamp to rewrite the past of an object--creating a 'forgery' of its past, and that changes what it is in the future. Rewrite the past of a beat-up chair so it was owned by someone who cared for it, and suddenly it's polished and maintained. It's not illusion; it's an actual transformation.

    It works on the same mechanics of AonDor and its kin, using written characters to access the Dor and channel its power.

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  • 49

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2013

    Question

    Can AonDor heal chronic conditions, like poor eyesight? If so, does it require specialized Aon drawing to work, or will enough Aon Iens do the job eventually?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, AonDor could cure a chronic condition like poor eyesight. But you would have to get the specifics of everything, kind of like they're equations, correct. You'd have to know a LOT about AonDor and a LOT about the body to get it right. (Here Brandon paused in thought) It's kind of like with computer programming.

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  • 50

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2013

    Question

    If a Dakhor, Dilaf, could erase a symbol written by an Elantrian, Raoden, could an Elantrian erase/heal a Dakhor bone-symbol?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a theoretical possibility, but not a specialization of AonDor.

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  • 51

    Interview: Mar 11th, 2014

    Question

    Is there a region based magic like Elantris on any of the other worlds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Aon magic is unique to that planet because it is intrinsic to the shard that created it, but you could theoretically hack the magic system so that AonDor would work on another planet.

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  • 52

    Interview: Dec 6th, 2014

    Question

    Could Shai soul Forge herself into becoming an Elantrian?

    Brandon Sanderson (Paraphrased)

    That would be really hard. First of all, she'd have to change where she's born, then soul Forge the fact that she became an Elantrian. Even then, she'd probably look like an Elantrian, but not have any powers. There would probably need to be some kind of bridge, or she would need some kind of super push from AonDor to make it work.

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  • 53

    Interview: Mar 13th, 2014

    Sir Jerric

    Could a Seon, or a Skaze, could they turn into a, some sort of Shardblade on their own planet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is theoretically possible. It's—I mean they work under the same fundamentals, but they would need to have something to pull them more into the physical realm.

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  • 54

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2015

    Question

    In Elantris, the AonDor comes in the form of the lands, so if an Elantrian wanted to use it on a different shardworld, like Roshar, would the symbols change?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's an excellent question! And I'm going to RAFO it.

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  • 55

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2016

    Kurkistan

    How exactly, Realmatically, is it tracked- like [for example] Aon Aon with these swirls and lines means "Arelon"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm not gonna' explain that yet; I can explain how the shape is, but the whole relationship between the Aons and the magic and the landscape-

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  • 56

    Interview: Dec 6th, 2016

    Question

    So we know that you can’t just have someone--if someone were to do something similar to Hoid, he can’t just pop and go ‘oh look, I can now do Allomancy or now do Surgebinding’. What about Breath? Could somebody give Breath--could they still get the benefits--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, good question. Yes you can, actually. Breath, once it is given to you, it is being keyed to you--your Identity. So that transfer makes it yours to use however you want.

    Question

    So you could Awaken?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You could Awaken. If you were to somehow make it there, you would be able to Awaken. It’s the easiest of magics to get the magic from, and then to manipulate. Because it has keyed into it Identity.

    Question

    [garbled]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you can take Breath onto another world. In fact, you’ve seen characters do this.

    Question

    [garbled]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it would work the same way. The only magic that is location-dependent-- the ones who aren’t interested in this, just hum to yourself, okay? You don’t need to know any of this stuff to enjoy the books, okay? I’ve [written] them so that each series can be read independently, and enjoyed. There is behind the scenes stuff, and if you want to dig, it goes pretty deep. So on Sel, we have AonDor. AonDor is based on the fact that the Dor, which is an amalgamation of Dominion and Devotion, has been pressed together and stuffed into the Cognitive Realm by Odium who didn’t want it to gain sentience, as Investiture will do if it is left alone. It will either seek someone to be its Vessel or it will gain sentience. He pressed it in there; he pressed it together, which creates the violent reaction, because those two Intents are opposed. And that is the foundation of the magic. Because it’s stuck in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual Realm (the Spiritual Realm is location-independent; Cognitive Realm is location-dependent), it makes the magic on Sel only work in close proximity to what is keyed through there to the location they’re keyed to. This has to do with Identity and Connection--mostly Connection. So that means you can’t do AonDor on another planet, but you can do other magics works anywhere, because they’re drawing the magics specifically through either the place, or they’re end-neutral, like Breath is, and don’t need any extra power.

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