The Coppermind has spoilers for all of Brandon's published works. Information about books that have not yet been released, like the secret novels releasing in 2023 and Stormlight 5, is allowed only on very specific pages. For more details, see our spoiler policy. To view an earlier version of the wiki without spoilers for a book, go to the Time Machine!
”It was a comforting parent. It wanted to take away his pain and sorrows, just as his mother had once done. 'Come', it pled. 'You can finally give up'.
Location and Appearance
The perpendicularity can be found near the city of Elantris, in the north east corner of Arelon, on the planet Sel. It is located in the Atad Mountains, south east of Elantris, and can be accessed either through an underground tunnel that leads into the city or via switchbacks that run up the side of the mountain.
Despite being called a lake by the local population, the perpendicularity better resembles a small pool as it has no inlets or outlets. It is approximately ten feet deep and is filled with a thick crystalline blue liquid.
”The old Elantrian melted away like sugar in a cup of adolis tea. In barely a second, the man was gone, no sign remaining of flesh, bone, or blood.
Traditionally, perpendicularities have provided waypoints where people can transition between the Physical and Cognitive Realms. Due to the dangerous nature of the Selish Cognitive Realm, it can be assumed that travel through this perpendicularity, while possible, is quite rare.
The modern day Elantrians do not fully understand the nature of the perpendicularity or its power. It is thought that the pool can be used to end life, however, it is not clear whether this is actually the case. Although it is hypothesized that prior to the Reod, Elantrians visited the perpendicularity to die, it is not known whether this is what was preached in the Elantrian religion. There are those who have entered the pool, with others believing they sought death, who have survived. When entering the pool, people hear a voice offering them release and contentment; as perpendicularities pierce the three realms, this message may be an echo of Devotion's prior wishes filtered through from the Spiritual Realm. One must intentionally choose to accept this offer to proceed.
Hidden murals within Elantris indicate that the perpendicularity may have featured in the Elantrian religion, though it is unknown if its existence was widely known among the Elantrian population. Murals found within a hidden building in the city depict how the Elantrians would use the pool to enter the Cognitive Realm.
The first mural can be found in a hidden shrine under the meeting house in the southwest of the city. A second mural can be found in the adjourning room. The placement of these artworks suggests that they acted as sign posts for those wishing to visit the pool via the meeting house. The murals are tilted sideways and depict an Elantrian next to a pool of liquid. On the other side of the pool is the image of a white circle, which may represent the sun as seen in the Cognitive Realm.
The origin of Devotion's Perpendicularity is unknown.
At some point, the perpendicularity was included in the Elantrian religion, and the secret rooms beneath the meetinghouse, as well as the tunnel to the mountain, built, to provide direct access to the pool from inside the city.
”The man floated for a moment in the vivid sapphire water, then released a blissful sigh. The sound opened a longing within Raoden, an intense desire to be free of his pains both physical and mental. The old Elantrian’s face seemed to smooth, his eyes alive again.—Raoden's observations of the Hoed man in the pool
Raoden, Karata, and Galladon discovered the perpendicularity after a Hoed, who had been an Elantrian prior to the city's collapse, requested to be taken to an unknown location. The trio were led to a meeting housed in the southwest corner of the city, in which they found a hidden passage to an underground shrine and library. Taking the Hoed through the passage in the library the trio found themselves on the mountains near the city not far from the perpendicularity. When they placed the man into the pool, his pain seemingly decreased and he disappeared, leading the trio to think the pool was a way for Elantrian's to die. Although they gave a simplified version of the trip to Saolin and Mareshe, they kept most of what they had discovered at the perpendicularity a secret in order to prevent mass suicide among the Elantris population.
Several days later, Raoden and Galladon brought Saolin to the perpendicularity to help end his life after he had turned Hoed following an altercation.
After Raoden turned Hoed, Galladon and Karata took him to the perpendicularity to end his life, as they had previously promised to do, and then end their own. As Galladon moved to place Raoden in the pool, the man returned to consciousness, shocking Galladon who accidentally dropped him into the liquid. In the pool, Raoden heard a voice offering him peace and to take away his pain. Raoden refused, rejecting the offer of the pool before pulling himself from the pool and returning to Elantris.
When Brandon first wrote Elantris, the perpendicularity had been included as a plot device to get Raoden on the mountain so he could see the connection between the city and Aons. Although he knew the pool would be a concentration of power, he did not know how it fit in with the magic system included in the book nor the wider cosmere. By the time Brandon began to write Mistborn, he had a stronger grasp to the role perpendicularities played within the universe.
- Although not intended, the inclusion of the perpendicularity added a hint of mysticism to the Elantrian religion that fit well with the story.
- A running theme in the book is resisting defeat due to pain - Brandon intended for the pool to represent giving in and defeat caused by hope, and meant to portray that someone can resist both these emotions.
- At some point, Hoid worldhops from a pool near Elantris - the pool described does not match the description given by Raoden and it is unclear whether these are the same perpendicularities, though their proximity to Elantris indicate they may be. The postscript scene was not included until the 10th Anniversary edition of the book was released, which may explain the discrepancies in appearance. The pool Hoid uses seems to be in a similar area as visited by Raoden, and is described as very small, crystalline, and approximately waist-deep.
- Elantris chapter 61#
- Elantris chapter 25#
- Firefight release party
— Arcanum - 2015-01-05#
- General Twitter 2013
— Arcanum - 2013-01-23#
- /r/books AMA 2015
— Arcanum - 2015-07-25#
— Arcanum - 2017-11-29#
- Elantris chapter 28#
- Elantris chapter 31#
- Elantris chapter 60#
- Elantris postscript#
- Elantris Annotations
— Arcanum - 2006-04-17#
- Leipzig Book Fair
— Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
- Elantris Annotations
— Arcanum - 2006-04-22#
- Oathbringer Portland signing
— Arcanum - 2017-11-16#
- DrogaKrolow.pl interview
— Arcanum - 2017-03-17#
|Characters||Raoden · Sarene · Hrathen · Dilaf · Galladon · Eventeo · Kiin · Iadon · Roial|
|Places||Opelon · Arelon · City of Elantris · Duladel · Fjorden · Teod · JinDo · Svorden|
|Magic||AonDor · Aons · Dakhor · ChayShan · Seons · Skaze · The Shaod · Forgery · The Pool|
|Mythology and Lore||Devotion · Dominion · The Dor · The Reod · Shu-Korath · Shu-Dereth · Shu-Keseg|
|Shards||Ambition · Autonomy · Cultivation · Devotion · Dominion · Endowment · Harmony · Honor · Invention · Mercy · Odium · Preservation · Ruin · Valor · Whimsy · Survival Shard|
|Planets||Ashyn · Braize · First of the Sun · Nalthis · Obrodai · Roshar · Scadrial · Sel · Taldain · Threnody · Vax · Yolen|
|Terms||Adonalsium · Sliver · Splinter · Realmatic Theory · Investiture · Connection · Identity · Fortune · Intention · Initiation · Perpendicularity · Worldhopper · Spiritweb · Resonance · Axon|
|Other||Hoid · Khriss · Seventeenth Shard · Ire · Shattering · Letters · Silverlight|