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DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

OK, I’ve got a question about AonDor.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok.

DrogaKrolow

So it's a lot like functional programing.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

DrogaKrolow

And my question is: could you write a higher-level language of programming with that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

DrogaKrolow

Oh...

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm. But. Only an Elantrian could make it, like, work, right? Not compile but could execute the function. They would have to type it out and execute it. Like if you were just-- Even if you just gave it to them, they would have to retype it and go. But yes, you could.

DrogaKrolow

Couldn't you like-- Is there an Aon for define, definition? So like you could go and define some really long sequence of Aons and then assign it to a simple shape.

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

DrogaKrolow

Then draw the symbol, and would it work?

Brandon Sanderson

Right right, object-oriented. This is realistically plausible, you would have to write all this stuff and call the function and have this constantly in a state of kinetic Investiture. But that is reasonable. I mean it's not so far off from things they actually did with much fewer-- much fewer lines of code, if you wish, in the past. It's what Elantris itself was.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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mathota123

Is the creation of Skaze end-negative?

Brandon Sanderson

So, you're not quite using the term right.

The terms "End negative" and "End positive" refer to a specific system--in most cases, we're talking about the individual(s) using the magic. Do you draw more magic out, or is it powered by your own native investiture?

Awakening is what we call end neutral, despite the fact that (obviously) the Breaths came from someone else in the first place. That's not the point in contention here--do the same number of breaths (the same amount of investiture) continue to exist in the system as you're manipulating the magic.

In something like AonDor, you are drawing out much more power than you put in--end positive. That power is put to work doing something, such as healing a body, or creating a blast of power.

The Skaze, like the Seons, were created when a Shard was splintered. The terminology doesn't quite work there, at least not in the way that scholars in the cosmere would use it.

The question from the physicist in this thread about where investiture goes, and what it means for a shard to have access to certain amounts of power, is related to all of this. I'm hoping to be able to find some time to craft a response there, as there are some fundamental understandings of the magic that are relevant to the discussion that i should point out.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Zas678

What is the X in Aon Mea? Is it one of the Shard-pools?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid not. Aon Mea references the expanded region within which the "Elantris Effect" will create Elantrians. The X is fertile valley with a high density of life, a place with a lot of cognitive activity. (Cognitive as defined by Realmatic Theory includes the 'thoughts' of all things that exist, not just human beings. The more complex the life form, the stronger its presence on the Cognitive Realm.)

Firefight Phoenix signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

[Brandon] said in the lecture that he took a programming course in college. He was asked if we will ever see a programming language as a magic system?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

We already have. Reread Elantris.

Questioner [Alternate wording from stormfather's report] (paraphrased)

He's taken programming classes, and someone wanted to know if he'll apply that knowledge into magic systems.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, see: Elantris.

Elantris Annotations ()
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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.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nineteen

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.

...

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.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eight

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 outgrowth of this situation.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

OK another one about programming the AonDor. Could you go lower-level, like assembler, so like you-- The AonDor would be higher so you go even deeper--*waves arms to illustrate*

Brandon Sanderson

That's gonna be more of a RAFO because to go deeper you have to know what's going on with the magic on Sel and I haven't revealed all of that and things like this. Like why the Aons or why the various symbols-- What's going on with all of that, I mean I think people are starting to guess it but I haven't really talked about it a lot so you would have to go, to get to that level I would have to give you information I don't wanna talk about right now.

DrogaKrolow

So that's a RAFO

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So is that the same thing with Commands, are there like ideals that are Commands?

Brandon Sanderson

This is more of a-- For you to interface with the magic, you need to be able to comprehend it. And so forming a Command-- The same thing happens in Elantris, you know they don't accidentally draw runes, right? The intention is part of interfacing with the magic. So it's like your mind reaching into the Spiritual Realm and you have to like conceive something.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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fletchershair

Now that Nightblood is on Roshar, can it use Stormlight the same way is would use Breaths?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll just tell you "yes." I was gonna RAFO that, but I think everyone's figured that out by now.

fletchershair

A friend wants to know exactly how you can go between types of Investiture. You've said that you can before.

Brandon Sanderson

It just depends on the Investiture. Some are much easier to use than others. Like, running Aons with other Investiture, very hard. Just the nature of the magic makes it very hard. But, Nightblood? He'll feed on whatever he can get. So, it's really easy to fuel Nightblood.

KChan

Does Feruchemy have anything to do with that? Converting into Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Not gonna say.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Brightlord Maelstrom

When a Dakhor monk leaves his homeland do his bones still give him his abilities? Is it only the creation that's location-dependent or is it also the ability that's location-dependent?

Brandon Sanderson

The further you get away, the weaker the power the bones will give you will get. It's way better than Elantris at bringing the power with you. That's where it is in the notes right now, I have not written the second book, I could totally change that.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

I notice how in the different worlds you have different sets of powers. Elantris has two gods in it, two shards, and there is four powers that we've seen, and we've seen three powers on Scadrial. Do you have kind of a formula or general rule for how many magic systems there are in a place.

Brandon Sanderson

No. I was looking at this and decided that what people call a magic system is more a human construct of etymology and categorization than it is an actual true magic systems. You could claim that all the magics on Roshar are just one magic system: applying the powers of nature through the Knights Radiant and stuff like that. You could say that is just one magic. You could say that the magics on Sel, Elantris' world, are all the same magic. People divide them into systems saying "these are Aons and these are with the Skaze" but those are kind of the same thing, it's just different powers. So that's a human construct just like saying animal, vegetable, mineral, mammal, non-mammal. That's a human construct. Yes there are Laws in nature that we are using as our guidelines but those are our constructs.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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linkhyrule5

Why is there only one Chasm line per Aon? Since each Aon is made up of repetitions of Aon Aon, shouldn't there be a Chasm line per repetition?

Brandon Sanderson

The Aons aren't JUST made up of repetitions of Aon Aon. There's a lot more to them than that. Some follow a repetition pattern, others do not. The only requirement is using the initial Aon once, then building from there. Because of this, I made the new requirement be only one use of the chasm line.

Aons can actually have multiple forms and still work. For example, if you drew the chasm line on each one of those Aons, they'd work fine. (Maybe even better, in some cases.) What is happening in the books is that the Aons are ALMOST functional, and the Dor is straining to come through them. The chasm line brings them the one step further they need to be functional. However, further tweaking could make them more efficient.

Elantris Annotations ()
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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.

BYU Writing Class Wrap-up 2017 ()
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Just another guyn

If an Elantrian were to get a hold of Nightblood and draw it, how would Nightblood react to that-- What kind of power would be unleashed?

Brandon Sanderson

So Nightblood needs kinetic Investiture to feed upon. The Elantrian would have to be able to get a conduit to the Dor to feed Nightblood or Nightblood would just eat their soul.

Just another guyn

So if they used AonDor to fuel Nightblood--

Brandon Sanderson

There are some types of AonDor that would work, and there are others that would not.

Just another guyn

And would Nightblood just keep going until either the Aon was--

Brandon Sanderson

He would dissolve the Aon as he drew the power from it.

Just another guyn

So it wouldn't just empty the Dor?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it would not empty the Dor.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Blightsong

Is the bond between an Elantrian and Arelon similar to that of a Knight Radiant and it's spren. You've said that Zombie Elantrians are similar to dead spren, so I was wondering get if ther was a bigger connection there.

Thank you for your time!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is a similar relationship.

Blightsong

Is there a similar ideal system? Are Elantrians transformed because of their character? Maybe their closeness to the culture of Arelon?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, now you're getting into RAFO territory. Let's just say that you don't have to have a Seon to be made an Elantrian, but in the vast majority of cases, you need a spren to be a Knight Radiant. So there are some differences.

Blightsong

Last question, does this have anything to do with the personification of culture, as Spren are personifications of forces and emotions.

Again, thank you for your time, it's always nice to get a response from you on Reddit.

Brandon Sanderson

To an extent, yes.

Elantris Annotations ()
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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.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Blaze1616

Fabrials and AonDor. In Elantris you mention there’s Tia plates that let people teleport around the city. Could an Elantrian essentially make portable fabrials using a similar method as the Aon Tia plates?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Yes, that is within the possibility of what it can do. The problem is the further you get from Elantris, the weaker the magic, so they’re going to be really limited in distance. But yes, totally could. And you could probably get them working through most of that region.

Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

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 a wood hiding dangerous wolves just as easily as one might find it referencing actual flames.

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.

Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

Aon Ehe is often mispronounced as “E-hay.” Though scholars of Aonic insist that the proper term, “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 ‘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.

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 which 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 difficulty in drawing it can make it difficult to use for the less talented.

Pocatello signing ()
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Lady Radagu's husband (paraphrased)

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 (paraphrased)

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. *pauses in thought* It's kind of like with computer programming.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Yourigath

Can you access the Dor while on other planets? Can you, I don't know, "tell the Dor" that you are on Roshar using an Aon that doesn't have the base on the map of Sel but in the world of Roshar and use Elantrian magic there? An Aon with an spiral pattern with the right lines, dots, etc... that tells the Dor "I'm here. This is Roshar. And I need your power to do X"

Brandon Sanderson

Great question, and one integral to the workings of cosmere Magic! No, you cannot currently access the Dor anywhere else. The Dor is a big part of why magic on Sel is distinctive.

Yourigath

If an Elantrian worldhops does it returns to a normal human pre-Shaod state? If this Elantrian goes back to Sel it recovers his Elantrian powers or he keeps his pre-Shaod form?

Brandon Sanderson

An Elantrian away from Sel would still be an Elantrian--but many of the visible signs would fade away, much like something florescent that stops glowing when moved away from a Black Light.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Could you build Aons or something similar to Aons off of the natural landforms on Roshar, like the Dawncities and the other cities that are sort of symmetrical?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

The Elantrian magic system, the Selish magic systems, are the ones that don't work very well-- don't interact very well with other worlds... Other ones are a lot more easy to interact between worlds.

Elantris Annotations ()
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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.

General Twitter 2015 ()
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Nathan Cutler

The question is where does the Chasm line go on new Aons? The bottom right, away from the Aon?

Peter Ahlstrom (Part 1/Part 2)

http://brandonsanderson.com/beta/wp-content/gallery/elantris-illustrations/arelon_map_10yr_color_ebook.jpg The chasm line is under the bottom of the square, right of the center dot.

On the Rao it's above the bottom circle, just to the right of the small vertical line.

Nathan Cutler

Ahh, ok. So would it be going down and away from the line (which is the road, right?) in a SE direction?

Peter Ahlstrom (Part 1/Part 2)

Yes, the same angle as the chasm in the picture I linked to.

Though of course, Raoden drew it ending by the road rather than starting by the road. (Stroke direction.)

Nathan Cutler

Thanks Peter! Does this imply that stroke direction/order doesn't matter as long as the end result is right?

Peter Ahlstrom

I can't remember what it says in the text—but you certainly won't go wrong if you draw it like Raoden did, since that obvsly works

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

I noticed in a lot of your cosmere books, like for example Elantris or Mistborn, they have something to do with some sort of subject matter or school or something. For example the Steelpush and Ironpulling in Mistborn is based on physics.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

If you push too hard it's based on...

Brandon Sanderson

Vector physics, yes.

Questioner

And then like Warbreaker is just like math, adding Breaths together. Did you intend that?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. I read a lot and I like science and I like philosophy and I like and things like this. And those spark most of my ideas. So yes in a term but I'm not like "Let's do this subject".

I would say Warbreaker, the big part of Warbreaker is the idea of sympathetic magic. Which is the idea that like affects like, which is a very common type of magic throughout all cultures on the planet, on our planet. When people believe in magic they believe in sympathetic magic. A voodoo doll is sympathetic magic. And that's where the idea came from.

Questioner

So in Elantris, which is different and then--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that's basically fantasy programming, is where that one came from.

Questioner

And then there is The Stormlight Archive, which basically violates all the laws of physics by just saying everything comes from spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well no they still have arguments on that, are spren attracted to these things or do they cause them.

Questioner

Yeah that's kind of weird...

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight Archive was based on the fundamental forces, if you want go read on physics google fundamental forces.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

You recently compared the Aon Dor to a programming language of some sorts. Could you actually go one step further and build something like a curcuit board?

Brandon Sanderson

The difficultiy with all of that is that you have got to remember that the magic as they understand it right now only works based on Elantrian intention and activation. There were basically these sorts of things, but the switch has to be flipped by an Elantrian. Those things existed in Elantris.

Questioner

It's just that I think that Elantris itself could be some sort of a really big circuit board.

Brandon Sanderson

That may be a little too far for what Elantris is, but there are places in Elantris which are just what you are describing.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

So you said that different Investitures from different worlds can fuel different Investitures, right? Would that mean that you could potentially use Stormlight for Allomancy and/or Feruchemy.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little harder with the metallic arts than, for instance, Nightblood is the easiest example. He can just feed on whatever investiture is around.

Questioner

Could he feed on the Dor from...

Brandon Sanderson

He could totally feed on the Dor.

Questioner

Would you need to have a special sheathe to do that or?

Brandon Sanderson

No, what you would have to do for him on Elantris is you would have to open some conduit to the Dor that's persistent, like a light or something, and he will suck through that, he would probably end up sucking the whole aon.

Questioner

Sucking Elantris itself?

Brandon Sanderson

Sucking Elantris itself would work, yeah, but you're gonna be in trouble if he sucks up the whole thing, which is totally possible.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Nine - Part Two

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.)

Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

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 basically 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 Korathi devout also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.

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 found 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 symbol of the potential unity of all mankind, when different beliefs, sects, and cultures will be drawn together through sincere affection for one another.

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 eventually 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.

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 skill in drawing 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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Viper (paraphrased)

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 (paraphrased)

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

Viper (paraphrased)

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 (paraphrased)

That's correct.

Viper (paraphrased)

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

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's very interesting, isn't it?

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Brightlord Maelstrom [PENDING REVIEW]

Would there be a way that is reasonably feasible to use Aon Tia to teleport off-world?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Theoretically yes.

Brightlord Maelstrom [PENDING REVIEW]

...Would there be a way to create it where instead of teleporting you directly there, it opens a portal?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

We'll go ahead and start RAFOing at this point.

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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."

...

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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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

The magic system from Elantris has a lot of drawing things, and the system from Warbreaker has a lot of colors. Would you be able to combine that, if you did a rune with colors?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

This is possible, yes. It's an interesting combination, it would work in interesting ways.

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Brandon Sanderson

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 in recent years 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 in recent years, 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, that the two halves are simply the same set of symbols reversed.

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 out-wit and out-think 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 plaid 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. Though most of those are themselves scholars, and find the entire transformation to be something of a humorous joke played by history itself.

Naming and Usage in 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 herself. 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 as fascinated philosophers throughout history.

Eventeo’s use of the simple word “Ene” as a nick-name 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.

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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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Could an Elantrian just write an Aon above Nightblood and then use it forever?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Use it forever? No. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Forever is pushing it.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, no, I mean, Nightblood would destroy an Aon pretty quickly. It would pull power through it--

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

It would be like trying to put too much power through a small--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, it would just rip it up to shreds. You'd get a little use out of it. He would eat the very structure of it, if that makes any sense.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

You've made it clear that on Sel, all magic requires both location and shape to be dependent. But we also know Elantrians are consistently being renewed by AonDor. Is that because Elantrians' bodies have been changed a certain way or is that due to a large Aon Rao?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is a little bit of ... more about the way they have been changed than about the *inaudible*.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Is that a spiritweb based or is that body change *inaudible* to the Dhakor monks?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It is a mix of both.