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Landis963

Mapping features onto Aons

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We know that Aon Aon consists of a straight line for the Arelish coastline, a curve downward for the Atad mountains, a dot in the center for Lake Alonoe, and another line coming off the curve for the Chasm. Furthermore, Some Aons, e.g. Aon Mea, have additions which correspond to physical features of the map (in this case, the x denoting an especially fertile valley and the extra shape around the central Aon denoting the region in which the Shaod can take place).  In that vein, then, what do the 4 circles around Aon Rao really denote?  The two circles encompassing Aon Tia?  The Circle in the middle of Aon Nae?  Heck, what are the rotated and mirrored versions of Aon Aon supposed to signify, map-wise?  

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It's been a while since I've read Elantris, but if I recall correctly, the four circles surrounding Aon Rao are the four Gate Cities that surround Elantris. Of these, only Kae still is inhabited during Elantris. I cannot recall what the other three cities are called. When Raoden was up at the "lake" he realized that Elantris took the shape of Aon Rao, with each Gate City one of the four circles, and that the chasm needed to be included. That's how he fixed the Dor. 

 

Remember that the magic on Sel is location specific, so that is why the base Aon Aon requires the physical characteristics of Arelon before any other Aon can be completed. 

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As TA said, the four circles represent the gate cities but those cities are also named after the Aons for the cardinal directions. (Kae is East IIRC)

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The odd thing is that it doesn't really check out as an explanation for the circles without some sort of circular feedback situation going on, because Elantris and the gate cities were themselves seemingly built as a massive Aon Rao intentionally, since adding the chasm line restored its original Shaod functions and aons in general seemed stronger with it fixed. So if that's what the circles represent, then it's an aon based on a structure that was based on that aon.

That's just weird.

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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.

Source

 

Edit: fixed link.

Edited by Ascendant Warrior
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It's been a while since I've read Elantris, but if I recall correctly, the four circles surrounding Aon Rao are the four Gate Cities that surround Elantris. Of these, only Kae still is inhabited during Elantris. I cannot recall what the other three cities are called. When Raoden was up at the "lake" he realized that Elantris took the shape of Aon Rao, with each Gate City one of the four circles, and that the chasm needed to be included. That's how he fixed the Dor. 

 

Remember that the magic on Sel is location specific, so that is why the base Aon Aon requires the physical characteristics of Arelon before any other Aon can be completed. 

 

As others have mentioned, that doesn't make sense.  The Aon needed to come first, so that the Elantrians could know how to shape their city.  Therefore, there are regions in each cardinal direction from Arelon that are incorporated into Aon Rao.  

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I think (and am not sure) that while geographic properties increase the efficacy of an aon, just because there is a line or circle present in an aon doesn't mean it's a geographic property. Does that make sense? The only geographic properties that must be present are the shore, mountains, lake and chasm, and only for the aon Aon portion of it, off of which the other sons are made.

So aon Rao existed and the people who underwent the Shaod were like, hey let's build a city like that, which is why Elantris walls glowed. But now I wonder why the other cities like Kae were also not affected by the Reod. More questions...

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I think (and am not sure) that while geographic properties increase the efficacy of an aon, just because there is a line or circle present in an aon doesn't mean it's a geographic property. Does that make sense? The only geographic properties that must be present are the shore, mountains, lake and chasm, and only for the aon Aon portion of it, off of which the other sons are made.

So aon Rao existed and the people who underwent the Shaod were like, hey let's build a city like that, which is why Elantris walls glowed. But now I wonder why the other cities like Kae were also not affected by the Reod. More questions...

That makes sense for monstrosities like Aon Reo or Aon Teo, but simpler ones like Aon Mea? WoB is very explicit that Mea denotes a region on Sel, as triangulated by Aon Aon and by that X.

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That makes sense for monstrosities like Aon Reo or Aon Teo, but simpler ones like Aon Mea? WoB is very explicit that Mea denotes a region on Sel, as triangulated by Aon Aon and by that X.

I think it still works for simpler ones. Just because a line or dot appears in an aon doesn't mean it signifies a geographic point.

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Remember, functional Aons are a mix of signifiers (eg, distance to travel, type of damage to heal, etc...) and geographic features. Some of the Aons will need signifiers in order to function at all, so the form of the Aon with the minimum amount of functional signifiers could be the one people have memorised.

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I wonder if additional cities could be built in different locations such that they mirror the landscape and thus amplify the Dor.  If so, the symbols of writing would all have to be different to be based on the surrounding landscape.  If you put someone in the middle, could they use both sets of symbols?  Could they be combined (not that this would help in any way).

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I wonder if additional cities could be built in different locations such that they mirror the landscape and thus amplify the Dor.  If so, the symbols of writing would all have to be different to be based on the surrounding landscape.  If you put someone in the middle, could they use both sets of symbols?  Could they be combined (not that this would help in any way).

 

We've seen what happens to a city shaped like Aon Rao: It's inhabitants become sparkly, extra-durable gods, like Twilight "vampires" without the bloodsucking.  Or the stupidity.  However, I don't believe that cities, in and of themselves, would be incorporated into base Aons the way the Chasm needed to be.  Aon Aon has a coastline, a lake, a mountain range, and now a ravine in it.  Aon Mea has those things, an extra line and arc mirroring the coast and the mountain range, an X denoting (per WoB) a particularly fertile valley (presumably one by the river Kalomo, but the map in the front of Elantris is suspect), and the region wherein the Shaod can work.  EDIT EDIT: I have come to the conclusion that we don't know enough of Sycla to really make informed Dor-related conjectures about it.  We know Aon Aon, and we know that a diagonal line running from the dot to the top corner of Aon Aon might be the Aredel River, and we know that the Chasm isn't supposed to be where the map says it is.  That's it.  

Edited by Landis963
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Thank goodness the Aon Aon doesn't have Elantris as a major feature. Because then you'd need to draw the Aon Rao inside every base Aon... but that Aon Rao would have a base Aon, and thus that one would also need a base, and things get recursive instantly.

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Thank goodness the Aon Aon doesn't have Elantris as a major feature. Because then you'd need to draw the Aon Rao inside every base Aon... but that Aon Rao would have a base Aon, and thus that one would also need a base, and things get recursive instantly.

 

Well at that scale things get simplified to "there's a dot here" psq.  But yes, it's a good thing too.  I can just imagine Raoden's (Or Taan's, I guess) face when he discovers the problem over the course of, idk, designing a new mosaic pattern for his (or Raoden's, I guess) audience chamber floor.   

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We've seen what happens to a city shaped like Aon Rao: It's inhabitants become sparkly, extra-durable gods, like Twilight "vampires" without the bloodsucking.  Or the stupidity.  However, I don't believe that cities, in and of themselves, would be incorporated into base Aons the way the Chasm needed to be.  Aon Aon has a coastline, a lake, a mountain range, and now a ravine in it.  Aon Mea has those things, an extra line and arc mirroring the coast and the mountain range, an X denoting (per WoB) a particularly fertile valley (presumably one by the river Kalomo, but the map in the front of Elantris is suspect), and the region wherein the Shaod can work.  EDIT EDIT: I have come to the conclusion that we don't know enough of Sycla to really make informed Dor-related conjectures about it.  We know Aon Aon, and we know that a diagonal line running from the dot to the top corner of Aon Aon might be the Aredel River, and we know that the Chasm isn't supposed to be where the map says it is.  That's it.  

 

 

Based on some of the Aons we can conclude other things, as there are markers for a nearby forest on the Aon for Wood, and Aon Mea marks the area in which people can be taken by the Shaod, and Aon Rao matches a constellation. (that last one could be a coincidence and the constellation could be named after the Aon, rather than the other way around) That said, we'd really need a few more Aons and a more accurate map to conclude anything particularly useful, I'd say.

 

It is however illuminating to how Aons work that the Aon for wood literally points to a forest.

Edited by Ari
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It is however illuminating to how Aons work that the Aon for wood literally points to a forest.

 

It certainly is a major piece of foreshadowing for the mystery of how the Aons really work.  However.  Where is the forest the Aon points to and, more importantly, where is the Aon that points to the forest?  As I recall, it appears nowhere in the chapter headings or arc title pages.  

 

Also, the physical meaning of Aon Mea was completely opaque beyond the easily recognizable Aon Aon until Brandon cleared that up for us.  

Edited by Landis963
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It is however illuminating to how Aons work that the Aon for wood literally points to a forest.

As an aside, what becomes the Aon for Wood if that forest were burned to the ground or chopped down?

Are there any Aons that are no longer functional because non-elantrians messed up the geography in the period between the Reod and Raoden's restoration of the complete Shaod cycle? 

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From the pages of the 10th anniversary edition:  

 

The X on Aon Mea has changed position, as the chasm is now occupying the place where it used to be.  More importantly, however, the X is now on a place that is off the bottom edge of the map of Arelon.  

 

We now have a Shape for Aon Dii, which has 3 circles inside and along the bottom edge of the central Aon Aon.  

 

Likewise, Aon Eno has now been given a shape, which sports a squiggly line from the central dot to the upper-right corner.  (Gee I wonder what that could be)

Edited by Landis963
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