R J

Who built Elantris?

11 posts in this topic

I should begin by informing you that this theory discusses info which is available in the 10th Anniversary Edition of Elantris, as well as the Arcanum Unbounded. If you've only read Elantris and not the new version  then you might spoil yourself.

AonDor existed before Elantris was built. We know this because how else would the builders have known the shape of the Aon in which it was supposed to be built?

The Dor itself needs to have existed for AonDor, yet I have a theory that AonDor existed before the Splintering of Devotion & Dominion. And even weirder, I also have a theory that the city of Elantris might've been built while she was still alive

Don't worry though, I also have a far more sane theory attempting to answer this question right below the crazy one that I've marked under a line of tildes (~)

 

The biggest reason why I think that Devotion might've been there when Elantris was created is the Pool.

It had apparent religious significance to the Elantrians. The Pool was depicted in the wall relief in the secret meeting room. It was situated quite close to the city itself, which was visible from the peaks where the pool was located. When entering it, people feel an extreme sense of comfort and calm. The Hoed regained a bit of consciousness in it. The Pool speaks to people when they enter it, offering peace and contentment, wishing to take away their sorrows and pains. Those who do not accept the relief do not dissolve. And it makes sense that way, the Elantrians getting old enough to want release going there to die but finding a new world. Devotion's Perpendicularity just gave the feel from both where it was physically located, to how it was described, it seemed as though it was placed there specifically for this purpose.

There's another thing though, in Mistborn: Secret History, we meet...

Spoiler

...the Ire. A group of old Elantrian Worldhoppers from before the Reod. And they mention Devotion as though they'd met her.

It might just be me though. What gave me that impression was not just how much they knew but how they ended up praying to her when pushed

It is very possible that some form of AonDor existed before the Splintering, since the Selish magics seem to be focused on forms & coding. The proto Aons might not have been in the shape they are now (i.e. the shape of Arelon). The Selish magics' focus probably were symbols even before D&D's death, it's just the region-specificity (in form & function) that might have been introduced to them afterwards. The Surges were very much a part of the Rosharan system before the Shards' arrival, weren't they? The magic should change with an event as drastic as its Shards getting killed and shoved into the Cognitive Realm but why would it need to change the part where the magic is utilized via symbols? The change caused by shoving Devotion & Dominion into the Cognitive Realm is that the magics got region-locked due to the Cognitive Realm distinguishing between such. Even so, Selish magics being unavailable outside of Sel seems much more a direct result of that than region-focused magic, which was probably based on the Cognitive Realm itself being affected by people's perception of being different from other groups than anything purely fundamental about having a Shard hanging around in the Cognitive. I'm hypothesizing the possibility that the problem got exacerbated with their Splintering rather than being created due to it.

Quote

Landis963 (paraphrased)

Is the programming-esque nature of the Dor a product of the power being in the Cognitive Realm or is it for some other reason?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

A mixture of the Vessels' personalities, the fact that the power's in the Cognitive Realm, and the nature of Sel's focus.

GenCon 2017 (Aug. 17, 2017)

There's also the fact that 'Aon' is derived from Aona, Devotion.

And that Seons were born when Aona was Splintered. The Seons have Aons at their centre which are Splinters of Aona. Which means Aons existed during that time.

The religions of Shu-Korath (Domi, united through love) and Shu-Dereth (Jaddeth, united through obedience by the rule of a theocratic government) seem divided between Devotion and Dominion and the magics seem to reflect these divisions too, observing AonDor vs Dakhor, though it might be correlation rather than causation, after all, they are splinter religions arising from an older religion, Shu-Keseg.

We know that Sel's Shards, Devotion & Dominion were killed by Odium and that their power was stuffed into the Cognitive Realm to form the Dor. We also know that this is the reason why the Selish magics are locked.

We see evidence of the conflict between Shards on all of these other Shardworlds except on Sel

⚠ Stormlight Archive minor spoilers (info on the cover blurbs) ⚠ 

Spoiler

Spoiler

On Roshar, we have long history of the Desolations

⚠ Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell spoilers ⚠

Spoiler

Threnody is full of Investiture irradiation. The Shades, possibly the Evil.

Sel also houses dead Shards but the only effect seems rather... mild, is it related to how Odium locked them in the Cognitive? Or is the region-locked magic its version all that remains as evidence of conflict between three Shards? Why is Sel still doing so well despite having two Splinterings? Neither Threnody nor Roshar are doing so well

Spoiler

with one still being affected by Ambition's death and the other suffering through thousands of years of Desolations.

⚠ Mistborn: Secret History spoilers ⚠

Spoiler

Similar situation almost happened on Scadrial

According to WoB, if Kelsier was not around to hold Preservation after Leras' Cognitive Shadow died, Scadrial would have suffered greatly

The lack of any direct effect from the Splintering I can accept, maybe Odium finished the deed in the Cognitive or immediately locked the remnants in the Cognitive after killing Aona (Devotion) and Skai (Dominion) but why isn't there any evidence of a planet scale war? There must have been some evidence of the conflict for Khriss to deduce what happened.

Who would the conflict be staged between on Sel? On Roshar

Spoiler

the conflict took place primarily between the Humans and the Singers.

This is assuming Odium even needs to subvert people to create hatred between groups to somehow damage how another Shard is perceived, or that he tried to pit Devotion and Dominion against one another, these are just theories and are in no way confirmed.

But if such a conflict did occur, was it waged between the continents on Sel? On each continent? Opelon doesn't have indications of such a conflict. Except maybe the city of Elantris and the land of Arelon, which was found uninhabited by its would-be settlers, the Aonic people, led by King Rhashm who would go on to rename himself King Raoshem. 

Did Devotion and Dominion just die to Odium? Ambition fought, Honor fought, Devotion and Dominion must've fought as well, Elantris and the land of Arelon could have been a staging ground for the conflict between the Shards, which might've been why it was empty when it was found, having been on the side that lost

I should note that so far as we know, both the Splinterings occurred within a few thousand years of the Shattering. And Odium could've very well ignored the inhabitants of Sel and only concerned himself with the Shards he was there to kill.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The less crazy theory is

~Mistborn: Secret History spoilers~

Spoiler

That the original Elantrians were the Ire.

It could be that the Ire were the original inhabitants of Arelon who built Elantris and then left the Physical Realm

 

I know, I know, the first one was a crazy idea, right? There have been counter-arguments to a lot of the points I've raised, including the possibility of a Cognitive Shadow of Aona being the voice that one hears when submerged in the Pool or that the feelings invoked are a direct effect of the Shard's Intent, both very much possible with what we've of other Shards like Ruin, Preservation, Cultivation, Odium... It could be that the location of the city was based on proximity to the pool instead of the other way around, it could also be sheer coincidence or something made the liquid Investiture of Devotion coalesce there

~Mistborn & Stormlight spoilers~

Spoiler

Could Aona & Skai have Cognitive Shadows on Sel? Tanavast had a Cognitive Shadow, which merged with Stormfather. Leras had a Cognitive Shadow-ish, which formed after he sacrificed his Cognitive aspect to form Ruin's prison. But Devotion & Dominion'a power was locked in the Cognitive Realm, would that have disrupted the formation of their Cognitive Shadows? Hmm...

So how crazy did you find the first theory?

And What did you think of the second theory? Do you have any other theories on the origin of Elantris?

Edited by R J
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1 hour ago, Honorless said:

AonDor existed before Elantris was built. We know this because how else would the builders have known the shape of the Aon in which it was supposed to be built?

Some use of Aons existed. Not necessarily AonDor.

1 hour ago, Honorless said:

The biggest reason why I think that Devotion might've been there when Elantris was created is the Pool.

The pool clearly survived the splintering of Devotion. And the location of Elantris next to the pool is easy to explain by them simply picking the location.

1 hour ago, Honorless said:

It had apparent religious significance to the Elantrians. The Pool was depicted in the wall relief in the secret meeting room. It was situated quite close to the city itself, which was visible from the peaks where the pool was located. When entering it, people feel an extreme sense of comfort and calm. The Hoed regained a bit of consciousness in it. The Pool speaks to people when they enter it, offering peace and contentment, wishing to take away their sorrows and pains. Those who do not accept the relief do not dissolve. And it makes sense that way, the Elantrians getting old enough to want release going there to die but finding a new world. Devotion's Perpendicularity just gave the feel from both where it was physically located, to how it was described, it seemed as though it was placed there specifically for this purpose.

That can just as easily apply to the people before Elantris was built.

1 hour ago, Honorless said:

We know that Sel's Shards, Devotion & Dominion were killed by Odium and that their power was stuffed into the Cognitive Realm to form the Dor. We also know that this is the reason why the Selish magics are locked.

Do we? It looks a lot like devotion to a country.

 

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On 2/9/2020 at 11:40 PM, Oltux72 said:

the location of Elantris next to the pool is easy to explain by them simply picking the location.

 

Do we? It looks a lot like devotion to a country.

That is one of the biggest tick marks on the against column of this theory, yes

 

Yup, or magic working within a region a people group have dominion over

Oh well, Brandon has said that the reason why the Selish magics act the way they do is because location doesn't matter in the Spiritual Realm but it does matter in the Cognitive Realm where the Dor is located. I've tried to address this the best I could in the topic.

Edited by Dreamer
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The Dor wouldn't have existed before Devotion and Dominion were Splintered. Also, the region thing is completely due to the fact that the Dor and the power of the two Shards is stuffed in the CR instead of being in the SR like it usually is. So no Aons and none o the geographical factors would have been in play before their Splintering. So I don't think that Elantris could have existed before Devotion and Dominion were Splintered.

There's also these WoBs

Elantris wasn't built that long before the Arelish people found it

Quote

Locke219

How long ago (before Elantris 1) was Elantris built?

Brandon Sanderson

Hundreds of years if not over a thousand years.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson (Jan. 10, 2011)

AonDor was working before Elantris existed

Quote

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.

Elantris Annotations (Feb. 14, 2006)

 

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From Khriss in Sel's AU Essay:

"I believe that early on, the Shards took an unconcerned approach to humankind—and society was shaped by the slow, steady discovery of the powers that permeated the landscape."

This implies that there was some kind of magic system prior to their shattering

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3 hours ago, Eternal Khol said:

From Khriss in Sel's AU Essay:

"I believe that early on, the Shards took an unconcerned approach to humankind—and society was shaped by the slow, steady discovery of the powers that permeated the landscape."

This implies that there was some kind of magic system prior to their shattering

I don't disagree with that. I just don't think it was at all similar to using the Dor.

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10 minutes ago, RShara said:

I don't disagree with that. I just don't think it was at all similar to using the Dor.

Whatever it was, it was probably less restrictive and far less powerful

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I did say the theory is a bit crazy *shrugs* I'm suggesting a magic similar to AonDor existed, fuelled by the Shards rather than the Dor, possibly their forms did not mimic that of the users' native land at first but such a shift should be possible before D&D Splintering. I mean native lands clearly mean something or speaking languages via manipulating Connection wouldn't be a thing. I tried to explain all this, but yeah, again, this theory is very out there

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My personal theory is a shard built Elantris, and the Reod earthquake was caused by the splintering of the shards, we know

Questioner

So I wanted to know if the asteroid belts around some planets are because of Splintering of a Shard there?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time. If the what?

Questioner

Asteroids belts around some planets.

Brandon Sanderson

Are caused by the Splintering of Shards? So the Splintering of Shards has had cosmological effects; you should not assume that most asteroid belts are caused by the Splintering of a Shard.

Questioner

Yeah, you know most of the planets, I think all of the planets where the Shards were Splintered have asteroid belts. So is it like the physical manifestation of the Splintering?

Brandon Sanderson

You should not assume that all planets that have that are the result of a Splintering of a Shard but the Splintering of a Shard can have such an effect.

Prague Signing (Oct. 26, 2019)

that splintering shards can cause physical effects like that.

Edited by Booknerd
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14 minutes ago, Booknerd said:

My personal theory is a shard built Elantris, and the Reod earthquake was caused by the splintering of the shards, we know

Questioner

So I wanted to know if the asteroid belts around some planets are because of Splintering of a Shard there?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time. If the what?

Questioner

Asteroids belts around some planets.

Brandon Sanderson

Are caused by the Splintering of Shards? So the Splintering of Shards has had cosmological effects; you should not assume that most asteroid belts are caused by the Splintering of a Shard.

Questioner

Yeah, you know most of the planets, I think all of the planets where the Shards were Splintered have asteroid belts. So is it like the physical manifestation of the Splintering?

Brandon Sanderson

You should not assume that all planets that have that are the result of a Splintering of a Shard but the Splintering of a Shard can have such an effect.

Prague Signing (Oct. 26, 2019)

that splintering shards can cause physical effects like that.

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 (May 12, 2006)

 

Questioner

Was the wall around Elantris soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, good question! It was not soulcast. Excellent question.

Questioner 2

*Inaudible* find out later, maybe?

Brandon Sanderson

Their own magic was involved in the creation of Elantris. The local magic was involved.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

 

 

 
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The Splintering of Devotion and Dominion far predated the chasm earthquake.

Quote

Questioner

So, in Elantris, the earthquake that [???], was that [caused? counterplayed?] by Shards, by some powers...?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't really dug into that, but the number one thing people assume is that it was the shattering of Dominion and Devotion, which is not the case. They were broken much earlier. The Splintering [of them] happened much earlier.

Calamity Austin signing (Feb. 25, 2016)

 

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