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Ien

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Ien
Seon Ien.png
by User:Big Smooth
Abilities Splinter of Devotion
Bonded With Raoden
Species Seon
World Sel
Featured In Elantris
To a Seon there is no above or beneath, there are only those we love. And we serve those we love.
— Ien to Raoden[1]

Ien is a Seon, a magical being on Sel. He is bound to King Raoden of Arelon.[2] He is named for Aon Ien, which means "wisdom"[3] and is the symbol used for healing magic in AonDor.[4]

Appearance and personality[edit]

Like all Seons, Ien is sentient and he appears as a melon-sized ball of light.[5] Seons have some control over the level of their brightness,[6] and they often pulse while speaking or laughing.[7] Ien's namesake Aon glows at his center, although it may be difficult to discern through the light.[6]

When Raoden is taken by the failed Shaod, Ien's appearance changes. His Aon has new breaks in its lines and patchy colors,[1] displaying some similarities to the blotchy skin of Elantrians before the restoration of their powers.[8] Despite this change, Ien was still recognizable to humans and other Seons.[9] After Raoden regains access to the power of the Dor, Ien reverts to his original appearance.[10]

Ien is exceptionally wise and very thoughtful.[8][10] His voice is described as "indulgent" and "stoic".[1][5] He cares deeply for Raoden and serves him simply because he loves him.[1]

Abilities[edit]

Seons are sapient Splinters of Devotion[11] and possess several magical qualities, including flight, light generation, immortality,[12] invulnerability,[13] instant communication, and enhanced senses.[5][6]

Ien retains at least some of these powers when he loses sentience - he still glows and is able to fly - but they are severely weakened.[8]

Bond with humans[edit]

Seons form bonds with humans; this bond can be Passed from person to person.[14] This bond works through Spiritual Connection[15] and has similarities to the Nahel bond on Roshar.[16] When Raoden was taken by the broken Shaod, his spiritual nature was changed, causing Ien to lose his sentience.[15]

History[edit]

Ien was presumably created when Devotion was Splintered,[17] but the history of Seons prior to their interaction with humans is not known.

Bonding with Raoden[edit]

Ien has been bound to Raoden since he was a young boy.[18] It is not clear who exactly Passed Ien to Raoden, but it is common to keep Seons within a family. When Raoden was eight years old, he severely broke his leg.[4] Doctors could not heal him, and his mother and his father Iadon were forced to take him to Elantris. A female Elantrian healed him with a complex version of Aon Ien.[4] He has intense memories of this event,[4] but it is unknown if that influenced the selection of his Seon.

In Raoden's youth, he learns about slavery and attempts to free Ien, but Ien assures him that he wants to serve him and that he requires no payment.[1] Raoden considers Ien a a friend, but he also sees him as a reflection of his god's love.[1]

The Shaod[edit]

Ien is almost always at Raoden's side. When Raoden is taken by the Shaod, he does not immediately understand what has happened and is confused by the fact that he cannot find Ien.[2] After getting thrown into the fallen city of Elantris, Raoden worries about Ien but tries not to think about his fate.[19] He later finds Ien, but the Seon has lost sentience and seems to be barely able to stay upright.[8] There are some indications that Ien somehow recognizes Raoden, but they are fleeting moments that pass quickly.[8][1] While most "mad" Seons stay away from humans, Galladon thinks Ien is "creepy" because he tends to stay near Raoden.[20]

Post-restoration[edit]

After the Elantrians regain their powers, the mad Seons also have their powers and personalities restored. Ien claims to have no recollection of anything that happened during his "madness".[10] However, Raoden notes that Ien has changed; he has become quieter and even more thoughtful.[10] This change in Ien is significant.[21]

Trivia[edit]

  • Ien, like other Seons, could theoretically become a Shardblade under the right conditions.[22]
  • The change in Ien's personality after the restoration of AonDor could be explored in a planned future sequel to Elantris.[21]
  • In an early draft of Elantris, Ien (then known as "Ian") showed up and had a major role during a climactic fight with Dilaf.[23] Brandon and his editor Moshe Feder felt that the scene (including the way that the Seon magic was used) did not fit into the book's narrative, and it was completely rewritten.[24]

Notes[edit]

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