There isn't much info on AonDor in the Coppermind, so I figured I'd ask the experts here. In 'Elantris', it seems that AonDor characters can only be drawn in the Elantris region (maybe exclusively to the city itself...I can't remember).

Is there any reason why this is the case?

Without trying to spoil anything, why couldn't somebody from another region (say, Teod), draw their characters in a slightly different manner to release the Dor in their area?

  • Hmmm, good question. Not sure if this was discussed in the books.
    – apoorv020
    Aug 3, 2011 at 12:59
  • -1, You asked for a spoiler without asking for a spoiler. Feb 7, 2014 at 14:22
  • It's not really true. While AonDor was getting weaker the farther from Elantris a channeller was, it still worked OK in Teod. Moreover this limitation could be bypassed by advanced users, enabling using Aons even off-world.
    – Mithoron
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:06

4 Answers 4


It was my impression that the power of the AonDor were dependent on the energy gathering properties of the city itself, so the farther you are from the city, the weaker the AonDor become.

  • I guess what confused me was that I thought the 'Dor' flowed through each and every living thing, much like Star Wars' Force.
    – erik
    Aug 4, 2011 at 14:09
  • @espais: Sure, which is why it still works when they're away from the city. Aug 4, 2011 at 14:35

You ask for an answer without trying to spoil anything, but the answer to your question requires a spoiler that is revealed in the climax of the book. Read on at your own peril.


Aons are like spells in Elantris. The people are able to use magic in the city of Elantris because the design of the city IS a gigantic Aon that enables magic. That's why the Chasm ruined their existing magic and why learning the system again while incorporating the shape of the chasm in their Aons restored their powers. This suggests that the people of Teod could build another elantris-like city to enable these types of powers in their area.


Satanicpuppy is correct: even though the Dor does, in fact, flow throughout Sel, the Elantrians draw power for both AonDor and themselves from the city itself, hence the limitations distance impose on them. Note that we do see other instances of the Dor being used that don't appear to have such restrictions.

  • as an addition, is it not that the city acts as a focus for the particular application of the Dor (Aons), and actually (SPOILERS) the Chasm seemed to block it worse than if the city wasnt there at all
    – fbstj
    Sep 16, 2011 at 20:37
  • (Spoiler alert!) That is because after the Reod, the city was basically one giant misdrawn Aon. And we all remember how that affects people.
    – 17th Shard
    Sep 16, 2011 at 20:48
  • Thought about adding examples of the other methods of using Dor? :)
    – Stormie
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:38

Dor flows everywhere, but is chaotic and useless in its raw state. However, it is prone to take on the characteristics of forms in its immediate area and be drawn to like forms. To use it you need to collect enough of it in one place and then focus it. Think of a Fibonacci spiral.

The AREA orients the Dor. No matter what the area looks like, the Dor has 'knowledge' of it. The CITY (or any structure that matches the area) collects it. The Dor is drawn to the smaller version of the AREA. The SHAPE drawn by the caster focuses it for use. Again, the Dor is drawn further by the ever smaller series of shapes that match the AREA.

The Chasm changed the AREA, ruining the orientation of the Dor. The CITY no longer collected because it no longer matched the AREA. The SHAPES no longer had anything to focus, and couldn't focus the local Dor, anyway. When the chasm was incorporated into the CITY, the CITY was able to collect the local Dor again. Modified SHAPES could then focus that collected Dor for use

I would assume GPS and GIS technology would allow modern people to focus all of the Dor from extremely vast areas of the planet. Structures that match continents and shapes that mirror those structures would allow God-like powers.

  • This has the makings of a good answer. It is a bit confusing at the moment however. What would also improve it is if you provided a few quotes from the book about how the area and the shapes need to match to be able to focus the power.
    – amflare
    Aug 2, 2017 at 16:21
  • @amflare Yep. I'm looking some up as we speak. Probably won't get a good edit till tonight, though. Aug 2, 2017 at 16:30

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