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Beowulf25

Elantrians as Shardholders

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At the recent Idaho Falls book signing I asked Brandon if there was any difference between the magic that exists in Elantris and The Emperors Soul and the magic that existed before the shards on Sel were splintered. He said that "The things that they do in those books, couldn't have been done pre-splintering. They could do different things back then but not what is in the books."

This means that the splintering of the shards on Sel did change the magic systems in some way.

My original theory was that there had been three distinct magic systems on Sel as a result of the two shards being located there, just like in Mistborn, and when the shards were splintered and their holders killed the magic systems themselves were splintered and you got something like what we see in Elantris with several different yet similar magic systems all arising from different splinters of the same shard. That is, AonDor, Dakhor and ChayShan would each come from the same shard and would all be the offspring of one pre-splintering magic system. However, it seems fairly clear that Dakhor is of Dominion and AonDor is of Devotion, so I have formulated this new theory.

There is a splinter of Devotion located somewhere near the city of Elantris and a splinter of Dominion located somewhere in Fjorden. This is why only people from those areas can use those powers and why the symbols in the magic have a geographical element. Looking at the differences between AonDor and other magic systems that we see on other worlds (Allomancy, surgebinding, etc.) I see one major difference. In the other magic systems you have a very limited number of things that you can do; 16 abilities in Allomancy, 10 abilities in surgebinding. But with AonDor there are literally hundreds of Aons that can be written in thousands, if not tens of thousands of combinations. Allowing an Elantrian access to many times the number of abilities of a magic user on another world. The other big difference between magic on Sel and another world is that there is no cognitive component to the splinters, their original holders were killed and, so far as we know, no one has taken them up.

Elantrians, therefore, do not have to access the power of their shard through a middleman, the shardholder, they must be directly connected to the splinter that powers AonDor. And, if that's the case, I believe that when one of them is taken by the Shaod it is an effect of their splinter trying to find someone to hold it, in much the same way that Vin was taken by Preservation's power. Except that, in this case, because the shard has been splintered, instead of one person gaining godlike power, you have hundreds or thousands of people gaining demigodlike power. They each have about as much power as a mistborn or surgebinder, but far fewer constraints on how they can use that power. This would also explain why they go through such drastic physical changes; glowing skin, rapid healing, etc. they are actually holding some of the raw power of their splinter.

Then there is Dakhor which also involves physical changes and grants a wide variety of abilities. I believe that something similar happens to the monks who go through the rituals at the Dakhor monasteries, wherein they gain direct access to the power of their splinter.

That leaves only the third magic system that is a balance of Devotion and Dominion. I think ChayShan fits this nicely. Unlike the other two it does not physically alter the user in any way, and it seems as if anyone could learn to use it if they just practiced the forms.

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Biochroma is similar in that it grants passive effects as well as having a seemingly infinite variety of applications, so I don't think either of those are necessarily due to splintering. This could be a bit of tricky wording as well because it might just be that Elantris hadn't been built back when Aona and Skai Splintered and so the magic was weaker.

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Biochroma is similar in that it grants passive effects as well as having a seemingly infinite variety of applications, so I don't think either of those are necessarily due to splintering. This could be a bit of tricky wording as well because it might just be that Elantris hadn't been built back when Aona and Skai Splintered and so the magic was weaker.

I considered that. I think that since Endowment is about giving something else a part of yourself it could work in a similar way. That is, Endowment gives all the humans on its planet Breath which allows them to do the same thing that it does, namely, give that breath to other people or inanimate objects and imbue them with life or a reasonable facsimile thereof. In that way it would be like the people on that planet (I forget the name) would be directly accessing the shard, Endowment gave them that ability because that's how it works.

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That sounds more like the Returned Breath than the regular ones, I don't know that just seems like a much more Shardicly involved system than what we've seen elsewhere.

EDIT: Oh and the planet is Nalthis for future reference.

Edited by Voidus
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Very cool that Brandon said that!

My personal take on Elantris/Sel is as follows:

1) For whatever reason, Devotion's splintering caused different geographical areas of Sel to have slightly different ways of accessing power, but all of these were "form-based" (to use the AoL Ars Arcanum terminology). Note that it's not just Elantrian magic, but also Forgery, and the Bloodsealer's magic, and to some extent, the Dakhor monks' bone-runes.

2) In MaiPon (Shai's homeland) anyone can learn to use Forgery, as long as they have the patience and dedication (or Devotion :-) ). The magic, however, while very versatile, is relatively weak. It takes a very large amount of time, skill and effort to produce any effect, and there are limits on how "magical" the effects can be. By contrast, in Arelon, the average person has no access to magic. However, those taken by the Shaod have much more access than a MaiPon Forger; their effects still take skill to produce, but are much faster, don't take any physical effort (no seals to painstakingly carve, just wave your finger in the air!) and can produce obviously "magical" effects that Forging is not capable of.

3) At some point, the ancient Elantrians figured out how to use the city-Aon Rao to enhance themselves. This makes them even more powerful near the city.

4) The pool where Elantrians can go and kill themselves when they get bored - clearly, it's a Shardpool, like the Well of Ascension. Only this time, entering it doesn't give you the Shard's power, it takes your power and joins it to the Shardpool. Is this a way for Devotion to regather itself?

5) Does Brandon's comment imply that the Shaod only began after Devotion was splintered? If so, it greatly bolsters my theory that Elantrians each receive one of these splinters when they transform.

6) If the splintering was prior to the founding of the City of Elantris, it must have been a very long time ago, since the origins of the city are lost in antiquity. This begs the question - how recent is Hoid's letter in Way of Kings? It implies that the reader might not be aware of events on Sel, as if they were in the recent past. Is it possible that time passes at different rates on different Shardworlds?????

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6) If the splintering was prior to the founding of the City of Elantris, it must have been a very long time ago, since the origins of the city are lost in antiquity. This begs the question - how recent is Hoid's letter in Way of Kings? It implies that the reader might not be aware of events on Sel, as if they were in the recent past. Is it possible that time passes at different rates on different Shardworlds?????

Much more likely, I'd say, is the idea that both the sender and recipient of the letter have lived so long, they view time in a way different from normal humans. "Recently" depends very much on the time-scale you live at.

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