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Seon

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Seon
Seon Ien.png
by User:Big Smooth
Abilities flight, immortality, enhanced senses, instantaneous communication to and through other Seons
Appearance glowing, floating spheres with Aons at their core
Magic AonDor, Splinters of Devotion
World Sel
Featured In Elantris, The Hope of Elantris
You look at things as a human, young master. You see rank and distinction; you try to order the world so that everything has a place either above you or beneath you. 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]

Seons are sapient magical beings on Sel. They are Splinters of Devotion[2] that serve human masters.

Appearance and characteristics[edit]

Seons take the form of floating orbs of light, each with a glowing Aon at their core for which they are named.[3][4] They are described as "small"[3] and "melon sized".[3] Seons have control over the level of their brightness,[5] and they often pulse while speaking or laughing.[6] It can be difficult to discern their Aons through the light without close examination.[3][7] Seons are tangible, although they weigh very little; they cannot pass through solid matter.[8] Hrathen believes that Seons need to sleep.[9]

Each Seon has an individual personality. They are generally agreeable, but can be affected by stress.[10] Raoden and Sarene each note that their Seons are incredibly wise.[6][11] Seon personalities are very similar to those of humans and they are able to convey emotions easily; they may even have superstitions.[3]

Known Seons tend to have soothing voices. Ashe's voice is described as "deep" and "sonorous", with well-enunciated words.[3][12] Ien's voice is "indulgent",[1] Dio's is "melodious",[13] and Riika needs Mai to tell her a story when she goes to sleep.[12] However, Opa's voice is formal and unemotional, which Sarene notes as unusual, particularly compared to Seons in Teod.[7] It is not clear if the Seons have a gender, but some of them sound masculine while others sound feminine.[9]

Bonds with humans[edit]

Seons can form bonds with individual humans. The human does not have to be an Elantrian. They love their masters and act as loyal companions and advisors.[1] The bond works through Spiritual Connection[14] and has similarities to the Nahel bond on Roshar.[15] The Seons are bound only by love and are not obligated to serve.[16] The bond typically makes the Seon and its master very close. Raoden sees Ien as more than a servant or even a friend; he sees him as the embodiment of his god's love.[1] A Seon could theoretically abandon its master,[17] but how and why this could happen is not known; Hrathen views Seons as heresy and is shocked upon learning that Wyrn uses them. He uses his Seon as a necessary tool to achieve higher goals, hating it and keeping it in a box, but it is always ready and willing to serve him when called upon.[9] Unlike the Nahel bond, the bond between Seons and humans has not been shown to give either party any new abilities.

The bond can be Passed from person to person.[18] The Passing is initiated when the Seon's master instructs it to form a bond with a new person,[19] but the mechanics of the change in bond is not clear. Passing can occur even if the human is an infant.[6] It is not uncommon to keep a Seon in the same family for hundreds of years.[6][19] Raoden believes that the Seons inherently need to serve and that they would seek out a new master if theirs suddenly died.[19] In some cases, it appears that Seons can be assigned by an authority figure; Wyrn forces Hrathen to use a Seon[9] and Raoden gives two Seons to Dashe.[12]

Powers and abilities[edit]

As Splinters of a Shard of Adonalsium, Seons are a sapient form of Investiture and possess several magical qualities. They are immortal.[20] They generate their own light and have control over their brightness, to the point that they can become nearly invisible.[7] They move by floating and seem to be able to change their speed and altitude quickly.[7] They are able to mimic human speech and mannerisms, which they may have perfected over time.[6] Their senses are superior to those of humans.[7] They have an innate sense of direction and can point the way to any place they have ever been.[7][21] They cannot be harmed by conventional means.[22]

They are able to link to each other over long distances to allow their masters to communicate instantly. They can temporarily transform into a three-dimensional image of the person speaking on the other end of the link.[3][9] The image shows only the person's features and not anything else in their surroundings.[3] It is not clear if they can transform for any other purpose.

Selish magic generally does not function properly away from Sel.[23] It is technically possible for a Seon to travel to another planet[24] but it would not be easy.[25]

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

Seons were created by the Splintering of Devotion, a Shard of Adonalsium.[26] Odium traveled to Sel and killed both Aona and Skai, the Vessels of Devotion and Dominion.[27] After they were killed, their Shards' power was left in the Cognitive Realm and now forms the Dor.[28] The Seons are bits of Devotion's magic that became sapient.[20][29] They have counterparts formed from Dominion's magic known as the Skaze, and there are some similarities between the two groups.[29] The presence of the uncontrolled power of two Shards makes the Cognitive Realm on Sel extremely dangerous, as the Seons and Skaze do not provide an adequate "release valve" unlike the spren on Roshar.[30]

The people of Opelon and Teod do not know the true origin of the Seons. The most common assumption is that they were created by Elantrians through AonDor,[9][19] but there is no documented proof of this. Raoden realizes that this may be inaccurate, and plans to continue researching the origin of Seons.[31] The Seons themselves have some awareness of their origin[32] but they do not appear to have shared this information with any humans.

The Reod[edit]

The Reod had a significant effect on the magic used in Arelon, including Seons. The Reod disrupted the Elantrian connection to the Dor and corrupted the Shaod.[33] Seons of Elantrians lost their thinking capacity, wandering aimlessly and silently within the walls of Elantris.[34] These Seons usually avoided people[35] and their movements were lazy and sometimes wobbly.[11] The change in the Seons of Elantrians was caused by the Reod's effect on the Connection to their masters.[36][14] Infrequently, a mad Seon might show some unconscious recognition of its Elantrian master, but only through classically conditioned actions, not communication.[11][1] Additionally, if closely inspected, the Aon of a Seon who had lost its master to the Shaod would appear patchy and incomplete.[37]

Upon the restoration of Elantris's magic, the Seons recovered their sanity and returned to their former state.[31] However, they were unable to remember the time that passed while the Shaod was incomplete[31] and they may have been fundamentally changed by the experience.[38][39]

Cultural role[edit]

Ashe notes that Elantris was once "overflowing" with Seons[3] and that nearly all Elantrians had one.[12] After the Reod, Seons become increasingly rare as more of them go "mad".[6] They remain common enough that some people in larger cities still ignore them,[40] but Ashe mentions that many people have become wary or even fearful of Seons, since they associate them with the fall of Elantris.[6] This attitude is more prevalent in Arelon, the presumed source of Seons, than it is in Teod.[7]

Many people in Fjordell do not believe that Seons exist[3] or that they are "heathen magic" that should be be shunned.[9] In reality, Wyrn Wulfden uses Seons to communicate with his gyorns, an embarrassing and closely guarded secret.[9]

After Raoden and Sarene become king and queen, Seons are once again seen as desirable in Arelon.[12]

Similarities to spren[edit]

Seons have many similarities to the spren that live on Roshar. Brandon has called them "the same thing"[41] but he has also noted that there are some differences that would not make them interchangeable.[42][43] Like spren, a Seon's appearance in the Cognitive Realm would be different from their appearance in the Physical Realm.[44] The Nahel bond with a spren can theoretically be Passed like a Seon bond.[45]. Like spren, Seons can turn into Shardblades if they have something to pull them more into the Physical Realm.[46]

Notable Seons[edit]

  • Ashe - Sarene's companion
  • Ien - Raoden's companion

Trivia[edit]

  • Seons were inspired by a series of paintings by Michael Whelan called Passage. Brandon saw the paintings in high school and wrote a story involving balls of light, which later became the Seons.[16] The paintings can be seen on Michael Whelan's website.
  • In an earlier draft of Elantris, Seons possessed the ability to 'complete' their Aons a single time, creating the effect their Aon is used for in AonDor, and killing the Seon.[47] Ien targeted this ability on Dilaf, 'healing him'; since Ien's Aon was still incomplete, this turned Dilaf into a fallen Elantrian.[48] Brandon used some elements of this mechanism in Warbreaker with the Returned's ability to sacrifice their divine Breath.[47]
  • The origins of Seons and their connection to AonDor will be explored further in a sequel to Elantris.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e Elantris chapter 16 #
  2. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  3. a b c d e f g h i j Elantris chapter 2 #
  4. Elantris Ars Arcanum #
  5. Elantris chapter 17 #
  6. a b c d e f g Elantris chapter 5 #
  7. a b c d e f g Elantris chapter 32 #
  8. a b TWG Posts
    Arcanum - 2005-05-06#
  9. a b c d e f g h Elantris chapter 12 #
  10. Annotation for Elantris chapter 32 #
  11. a b c Elantris chapter 10 #
  12. a b c d e The Hope of Elantris #
  13. Elantris chapter 45 #
  14. a b Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  15. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-19#
  16. a b Annotation for Elantris chapter 16 #
  17. Arcanum entry 893
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  18. Annotation for Elantris chapter 34 #
  19. a b c d Elantris chapter 34 #
  20. a b Stormlight Three Update #5
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  21. Elantris chapter 62 #
  22. Calamity Philadelphia signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-20#
  23. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  24. Arcanum entry 736
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  25. Arcanum entry 9760
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  26. Arcanum entry 4679
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  27. Arcanum entry 7103
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  28. Arcanum entry 1625
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  29. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System #
  30. General Reddit 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-03-11#
  31. a b c Elantris chapter 63 #
  32. Arcanum entry 3024
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  33. Elantris chapter 1 #
  34. Elantris chapter 4 #
  35. Elantris chapter 28 #
  36. Arcanum entry 1267
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  37. Elantris chapter 16 #
  38. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  39. Arcanum entry 9561
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  40. Elantris chapter 23 #
  41. Arcanum entry 9432
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  42. Arcanum entry 6928
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  43. JordanCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-04-23#
  44. Oathbringer London signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-28# - old
  45. Arcanum entry 885
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  46. Words of Radiance signing Omaha
    Arcanum - 2014-03-13#
  47. a b Annotation for Warbreaker chapter 12 #
  48. Annotation for Elantris chapter 62-3 #
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