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Seon

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Seon
Seon Box and Ala by Connor Chamberlain.jpg
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
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Elantris, The Stormlight Archive
This page or section contains spoilers for Rhythm of War!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

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 that originate on Sel. They are Splinters of Devotion[2] who 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] The light of seons has a mother-of-pearl iridescence, at least in the Cognitive Realm,[7] and it can be difficult to discern their Aons through the light without close examination.[3][8] The general appearance of seons is similar in the Cognitive and Physical Realms;[9] however, this may not always be the case,[10] and is likely related to the unusual history of the Dor on Sel and its effect on Selish magic systems.[11][12] Seons are tangible, although they weigh very little; they cannot pass through solid matter and can therefore be imprisoned.[13][9] Hrathen believes that seons need to sleep.[14]

There is only one seon for each Aon, and they intrinsically know what their Aon means.[15][16] Each seon has an individual personality. Seon personalities are very similar to those of humans and they are able to convey emotions easily; they may even have superstitions.[3] They are generally agreeable, but can sometimes suffer negative psychological effects from stress or abuse.[17][9] Raoden and Sarene each note that their seons are incredibly wise.[6][18]

Known seons tend to have soothing voices. Ashe's voice is described as "deep" and "sonorous", with well-enunciated words.[3][19] Ien's voice is "indulgent",[1] Dio's is "melodious",[20] and Riika needs Mai to tell her a story when she goes to sleep.[19] However, Opa's voice is formal and unemotional, which Sarene notes as unusual, particularly compared to seons in Teod.[8] It is not clear if seons have a gender, but some of them sound masculine while others sound feminine.[14]

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[21] and has similarities to the Nahel bond on Roshar.[22] The seons are bound only by love and are not obligated to serve.[23] 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,[24] but how and why this could happen is not known; Hrathen views seons as heresy and is shocked upon learning that Wyrn Wulfden the Fourth 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.[14] 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.[6] The Passing is initiated when the seon's master instructs it to form a bond with a new person,[25] 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][25] Raoden believes that the seons inherently need to serve and that they would seek out a new master if theirs suddenly died.[25] In some cases, it appears that seons can be assigned by an authority figure; Wyrn gives one to Hrathen[14] and Raoden gives two seons to Dashe.[19] Unbound seons are quite rare.[9]

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.[26] They generate their own light and have control over their brightness, to the point that they can become nearly invisible.[8] They move by floating and seem to be able to change their speed and altitude quickly.[8] 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.[8] They have an innate sense of direction and can point the way to any place they have ever been.[8][27] They cannot be harmed by conventional means.[28]

They are able to link to each other over long distances to allow their masters to communicate instantly. This ability seems to function similarly in the Physical Realm and the Cognitive Realm, and seons are therefore one of the few ways to instantaneously communicate between the realms.[9] They can temporarily transform into a three-dimensional image of the person speaking on the other end of the link.[3][14] 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.

Although Selish magic generally does not function properly away from Sel,[29] seons are capable of traveling to another planet.[30] Their ability to leave the planet is somehow related to the unusual properties of Investiture on Sel, and does not necessarily apply to similar magical beings.[12] The Ghostbloods were able to bring at least two seons to Roshar, including Ala.[9]

Cultural Role[edit]

Ashe noted that Elantris was once "overflowing" with seons[3] and that nearly all Elantrians had one.[19] After the Reod, seons became increasingly rare as more of them went "mad".[6] They remained common enough that some people in larger cities still ignored them,[31] but Ashe mentioned that many people had become wary or even fearful of seons, since they associated them with the fall of Elantris.[6] This attitude was more prevalent in Arelon, the presumed source of seons, than it was in Teod.[8]

Many people in Fjordell did not believe that seons existed,[3] or that they were "heathen magic" that should be be shunned.[14]

After Elantris was restored and Raoden and Sarene became king and queen, seons were once again seen as desirable in Arelon.[19]

History[edit]

Creation[edit]

Seons were created by the Splintering of Devotion, a Shard of Adonalsium.[32][33] Odium traveled to Sel and killed both Aona and Skai, the Vessels of Devotion and Dominion.[32] After they were killed, the power of their Shards was left in the Cognitive Realm and formed the Dor.[34] The seons were bits of Devotion's magic that became sapient.[26][35] They had counterparts formed from Dominion's magic known as the skaze, and there were some similarities between the two groups.[35] The presence of the uncontrolled power of two Shards made the Cognitive Realm on Sel extremely dangerous, as the seons and skaze did not provide an adequate "release valve", unlike the spren on Roshar.[36]

The people of Opelon and Teod did not know the true origin of the seons. The most common assumption was that they were created by Elantrians through AonDor,[14][25] despite a lack of documented proof. Raoden realized that this might be inaccurate, and planned to continue researching the origin of seons.[37] The seons themselves had some awareness of their origin,[38] but they were not known to have shared this information with any humans.

Seons floating aimlessly after the Reod

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.[39] Seons of Elantrians lost their thinking capacity, wandering aimlessly and silently within the walls of Elantris.[40] These seons usually avoided people[41] and their movements were lazy and sometimes wobbly.[18] The change in the seons of Elantrians was caused by the Reod's effect on the Connection to their masters.[42][21] Infrequently, a mad seon might show some unconscious recognition of its Elantrian master, but only through classically conditioned actions, not communication.[18][1] Additionally, if closely inspected, the Aon of a seon who had lost its master to the Shaod would appear patchy and incomplete.[43]

Seons that were not bound to an Elantrian were unaffected by the Reod. During this time (and possibly earlier) Wyrn Wulfden the Fourth used seons to communicate with his gyorns, an embarrassing and closely guarded secret.[14] It is not known how Wyrn and the Derethi obtained their seons.

Upon the restoration of Elantris's magic, the mad seons recovered their sanity and returned to their former state.[37] However, they were unable to remember the time that passed[37] and they may have been fundamentally changed by the experience.[44][45]

On Roshar[edit]

I'm … supposed to stay. I’m not supposed to talk. To you. To anyone.

Ala, to Shallan[9]

The Ghostbloods were able to bring at least two seons to Roshar through unknown means. Ala was kept in captivity and given to Shallan Davar inside of a special cube for use as a communication device with Mraize, who possessed an unknown seon. Ala, who seemed traumatized by the Ghostbloods, was eventually freed by Shallan with assistance from Kalak.[9] Hoid, who was also on Roshar during this time, possessed his own unknown seon that he used to communicate with Pattern through Ala.[46] After Ala was released, Hoid informed Shallan of the nature of seons and the rarity of finding one that was not bound to someone. Ala then remained with Shallan.[9]

Similarities to Other Splinters[edit]

Spren[edit]

Seons have many similarities to the spren that live on Roshar. They are both Splinters and essentially "the same thing",[47] but there are some differences that would not make them interchangeable.[48][49] Unlike spren, seons can leave Sel and do not change appearance in the Cognitive Realm; these differences are somehow related to the unusual state of the Dor and Sel's "odd" magic systems.[11][12] Seons are not as common as spren, as they are limited to a single individual for each Aon.[15] Both entities can bond with humans, and the Nahel bond with a spren can theoretically be Passed like a seon bond.[50] Like spren, seons can turn into Shardblades if they have something to pull them more into the Physical Realm.[51] Seons could also be used to build a fabrial, and the nature of the Aon in the seon would influence what kind of fabrial could be made.[52]

Skaze[edit]

Seons are closely related to the skaze that are also found on Sel.[53][54] They are both sapient Splinters, with the skaze being of Dominion rather than Devotion.[55] Like seons, skaze could theoretically be used to create a Shardblade or build a fabrial.[51][52] They each appear as floating balls of light and possess unique humanlike personalities. However, skaze glow with a dark, almost "negative" light and are surrounded by a ring of symbols, rather than having one at their center. They also exhibit personality traits like sarcasm that have not been seen in seons,[56] and could even be considered "evil".[53][54]

Although the origins of both seons and skaze are unclear, they are categorized together by the scholars of Silverlight[35] and were likely created under similar circumstances. The skaze are influential in Fjordell[57] and are not commonly seen or even mentioned in Arelon or Teod.

Notable Seons[edit]

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.[23] 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 that their Aon represents in AonDor while killing the seon. Ien targeted this ability on Dilaf, 'healing' him; since Ien's Aon was still incomplete, this turned Dilaf into a fallen Elantrian.[58] Brandon used some elements of this mechanism in Warbreaker with the Returned's ability to sacrifice their divine Breath.[59]
  • The origins of seons and their connection to AonDor will be explored further in a sequel to Elantris.[13]

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 h Elantris chapter 5#
  7. Rhythm of War chapter 20#
  8. a b c d e f g Elantris chapter 32#
  9. a b c d e f g h i Rhythm of War chapter 115#
  10. Oathbringer London signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-28#
  11. a b Shardcast Interview
    Arcanum - 2021-01-23#
  12. a b c YouTube Livestream 23
    Arcanum - 2020-12-17#
  13. a b TWG Posts
    Arcanum - 2005-05-06#
  14. a b c d e f g h Elantris chapter 12#
  15. a b RoW Release Party
    Arcanum - 2020-11-17#
  16. JordanCon 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-07-17#
  17. Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2005-10-14#
  18. a b c Elantris chapter 10#
  19. a b c d e The Hope of Elantris#
  20. Elantris chapter 45#
  21. a b Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  22. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-19#
  23. a b Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2005-07-29#
  24. Firefight Phoenix signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-21#
  25. a b c d Elantris chapter 34#
  26. a b Stormlight Three Update #5
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  27. Elantris chapter 62#
  28. Calamity Philadelphia signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-20#
  29. Shadows of Self signing Chicago
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  30. Calamity San Antonio signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-26#
  31. Elantris chapter 23#
  32. a b Rithmatist Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2013-05-16#
  33. A Memory of Light Signing Milford
    Arcanum - 2013-02-16#
  34. Boskone 54
    Arcanum - 2017-02-18#
  35. a b c Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System#
  36. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2013-03-11#
  37. a b c Elantris chapter 63#
  38. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  39. Elantris chapter 1#
  40. Elantris chapter 4#
  41. Elantris chapter 28#
  42. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  43. Elantris chapter 16#
  44. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  45. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-22#
  46. Rhythm of War chapter 78#
  47. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2018-03-10#
  48. Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-20#
  49. JordanCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-04-23#
  50. Firefight Phoenix signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-21#
  51. a b Words of Radiance signing Omaha
    Arcanum - 2014-03-13#
  52. a b DragonCon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-08-29#
  53. a b Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2006-05-15#
  54. a b Ancient 17S Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
  55. White Sand Volume 1 signing Orem
    Arcanum - 2016-06-29#
  56. Elantris postscript#
  57. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  58. Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2006-05-15#
  59. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-09-09#
This page is complete!
This page contains all the knowledge we have on the subject at this time.
Big Smooth (talk) 20:14, 8 July 2021 (UTC)