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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Is Skai Unity?
(Brandon seems confused by the pronunciation. It is apparently more like "Skae".)
Hey @PeterAhlstrom could you tell us what Aona's Shard was? Brandon said he'd look it up and get back to us, but.... [he never got back to us.]
I thought sure that was answered already. But anyway, the answer is yes [Aona is Devotion].
In its most basic form, Omi is used to represent love and benevolence. It is a common root Aon for a wide variety of words, including affection, care, passion, piety, zeal, and some synonyms of loyalty.
A complex Aon with strong symmetry, the Aon has often been used as an example of balance and even perfection. The great AonDor scholar Enelan of the fourth century called it "The most perfect of Aons, fully incorporating the base of Aon Aon and spinning it into a complex icon that is artful and complicated, yet somehow simple at the same time."
In later centuries, the symbol has come to mean not only love, but divinity as well, an association created by the Korathi church's appropriation of the Aon. Many devout Korathi also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.
It was essential to this chapter that I establish that Raoden can catch glimpses of what's happening around him. I went to a lot of work to get him into place above the city where he could make the connection, looking down on Elantris and the outer cities. The pool, actually, simply grew out of my need to find a way to put Raoden on the slopes of the mountains near the ending of the book. I like how it turned out in the final story—it added a dimension of mysticism to the Elantrian belief system, and it worked very well into the plotting I had developed. My only worry about it is that it was too far away from the Elantris, but we'll talk about that later.
So, this is a SLIGHTLY contrived mechanic, and I realize that. I let Raoden off easily by having him simply choose not to be dissolved by the pool.
Partially, I did this simply because I couldn't think of a better way to get him out of it. In addition, however, I think it fits the form of the novel. The pool represents giving in—though it's giving in to peace instead of pain, it is still an admittance of defeat. I've mentioned over and over that the pain has no power against one who doesn't give in to it. I don't see why the peace should be any different. If you can resist one, then you can resist the other.
Besides, the image of Raoden bursting from the pool in front of Galladon and Karata was too good to pass up.
I'm honestly not sure what the pool is or how exactly it fits into the theory of this magic system. It was added as a plotting devise, as mentioned earlier, and therefore was never tied directly to the cosmology or theoretics of the world. When I do a sequel to this book, I think I'll try and find a way to tie it in. For now, however, it's kind of a loose thread. The only thing I know for certain is what I mentioned above. Just like the pain of an Elantrian, I think the peace offered by this pool is a supernatural force. It has something to do with the physical form of the Elantrians.
I had to work very hard to make this one work. I think it turned out, but it is a little bit of a stretch. Hopefully, readers will go with me on this one because of the climactic feeling of the near-ending.
Regardless, I do think I gave Raoden all the pieces he needed here. Adien always existed in the book for this one moment—to give Raoden the length measurement he needed to go try to save Sarene. I've established that Seons have perfect senses of direction, and I've talked about how to use Aon Tia. More importantly, I think I've established that this is something that Raoden would do. He gets just a shade foolhardy when Sarene is concerned. (It's all her fault.)
There is another important element to this teleportation. I thought it important to involve deity in the climax of what has been such an overtly religious book. You may not believe in God, and it is never my intention to belittle your choices. However, the format of this book has been one that dealt with religion and the way that people interact with their faith. And so, I took this last moment of the book, and gave Raoden an opportunity to call upon the aid of providence.
Raoden arrives safely, despite the odds against his having gotten the distance, direction, and other factors right. You are free to simply think of this as luck, if you wish.
Ok real quick then I'll get back in line again. There's a bunch of people who follow this stuff online ... I just found out about it ... I don't want to call them a cult, but ... So anyway, at one point someone asked you if Seons were shards of—
Devotion ... yeah Aona, and you said that was close. My question is: are the Aons at the HEART of the Seons shards of Devotion?
No, but close.
But ... I was sure ... the floating Aon at the heart, that's not a shard ...
(taking pity on me) You're close but a word is wrong. You're using the wrong terminology.
SPLINTER. Are the Aons at the heart of Seons SPLINTERS of Aona?
Can I post that online?
. . . Ok. That's fine. It's been long enough, they've earned it.
How long before the events of Elantris did Odium kill Aona/Devotion and Skai/Dominion?
Same time as the origins of the Seons.
This was the second-closest I came to getting RAFO'd. He was sort of jovially apologetic about this answer; I tried to get a solid number of years but to no avail.