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San Diego Comic-Con@Home 2020 ()
#51 Copy


You've mentioned before that Odium is scared of Harmony. Is it only because of the raw power of the two Shards? Or is he scared of what Harmony represents? (Meaning the possibility of merging two Shards.) Was he aware that this was possible?

Brandon Sanderson

He, on one level, was aware. But it was more of awareness of this as a possibility. It actually happening is part of what has him scared. It's the idea of the two merging Shards both being more powerful and finding a harmony. (Which Sazed is actually having way more trouble doing than Odium realizes.) Those two things really have Odium scared. Because, partially, this means he has to find a way to destroy or split Harmony without taking up a second Shard himself, because Odium knows if he takes up a second Shard, terrible things will happen. And so he doesn't want to do that. (Terrible things as he views them.) And so he's gotta find a way to split this apart, or somehow otherwise defeat.

Now, the more he learns about Sazed's actual state, the less afraid he'll probably be. But that's an advantage that Sazed has right now.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#52 Copy


When Wax is talking to Harmony he mentions 'the radio' and other things. Are there already societies that have things like that and how is he getting that information. Is it like a Spiritual Realm..

Brandon Sanderson

He knows things from his Ascension. He gain an innate knowledge of the universe in interesting ways. In addition, Preservation had some minor innate progno... he could see the future a little bit, and so could Ruin in a little different way. Let's just say that there are a bunch of things mixing together that give Harmony some knowledge that most people wouldn't have.


But will we see some of societies soon or is that further in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

*RAFOes* You'll find out.

Orem signing ()
#54 Copy

Mason Wheeler

If Harmony could make it so that koloss can reproduce, why is it he did not do the same thing for the kandra?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* I'm not sure how to answer this without straying in directions I don't want to go. It was a conscious choice, I'll tell you that.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#55 Copy


In Era 1 there was an imbalance between Ruin and Preservation because humans had a bit more Preservation than Ruin in them. After Harmony became a thing did this imbalance become [ir]relevant because both powers turned into one, or is it something Sazed had (or has) to deal with?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a RAFO for now--should come up in Era 3.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#57 Copy


Does Odium actually present a real threat to Harmony, because he-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

So Harmony is vastly more powerful than Odium.



Brandon Sanderson

Elend was vastly more powerful than Vin. Who would win in a fight?



Brandon Sanderson

Okay, there's your answer.

Bonn Signing ()
#59 Copy

ElantrianHypochondriac (paraphrased)

In Mistborn Era 2 Marsh has a pouch with some atium leftovers. If he burns a bead occasionally (and hereby burns a part of Ruin's body) does this weaken the Ruin part of Harmony/Sazed somehow?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Technically yes, but it's too little atium to make any difference.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
#61 Copy


How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?

Brandon Sanderson

There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of Preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of Preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.

Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#63 Copy


When Harmony Ascends, he admits he doesn't have a good view of the Spiritual Realm. Does he develop a better one over time? And are there other Shards that already have a very good view of that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. But it is still something that is hard to grok, so to speak. In canon-- in science fiction-- hard to understand. But he has a much better understanding, and the other Shards, some of them have a very good understanding. The thing is, the difference between the Spiritual Realm and the Beyond is not something that is immediately obvious.


So, the Spiritual Realm is not the Beyond?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Spiritual Realm is not the Beyond. There are three Realms of existence. The Beyond, some would say... There are philosophers would would say, the Spiritual Realm and the Beyond are one, that the soul gets sucked into and joins the Investiture. That's the idea of the One. But, most people would say the Beyond is not...

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#66 Copy


With bits and pieces of the respective pieces of Harmony still laying about, is Harmony actually skewed in one way or another if slightly and does Sazed's personality circumvent this in any way ?

Brandon Sanderson

Personality can always circumvent the powers--it just gets harder and harder to hold out as centuries pass.

JordanCon 2021 ()
#68 Copy


It seems to me like the Shards each have a color associated with them. Honor I think is blue, Odium is gold... My first question would be, what colors would be associated with Preservation and Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I have always associated white and black with Preservation and Ruin.


Would that have changed for Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have changed for Harmony. But I won't say what it is.

Oathbringer release party ()
#70 Copy

Mason Wheeler

Harmonium is ettmetal... Its chemicals properties are sort of analogous to cesium. It explodes in contact with water. People are made out of water. You try to spike someone, you try to swallow it, you try to wear it as jewelry, it will not end well. Why in the world would he pick something so inharmonious?

Brandon Sanderson

He didn't pick it. It's unstable because of the two halves of him not meshing well.

Holiday signing ()
#71 Copy

chasmfriend's friend (Paraphrased)

My friend asked for Brandon to write something about Harmony in her Alloy of Law.

Brandon Sanderson

There's another name Harmony could go by if he weren't able to control the conflict between his halves… *to Zas* Have you guys figured that one out yet? Oh, I'm not going to say anything. You have it on recording… I was pretty sneaky with that one so I don't know if you have it or not.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#72 Copy


If someone did, like what Dalinar did at the end of [Oathbringer], go on Sel, and they Ascended to take up the Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed?

Brandon Sanderson

If someone were able to take up the entire Dor, would they be stronger or weaker than Sazed? I would say equivalent.


Aren't they all Shattered? Aren't they all Splintered, both of them?

Brandon Sanderson

The thing about it is, taking up the power-- taking up the power would-- So, I'll leave it at this. I would say equivalent. Everything still considered.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#78 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-Two

Sazed Ascendant

The answer is yes, I planned it from the beginning. And I didn't.

It's difficult for me, even as the author, to trace back when and where the various threads of a story began. I wrote all three of these books in a row, and to me, they're one long story. Yes, I chose three distinct segments of time over the five-year span, and separated out those chunks. But it's all part of a whole, which is why it was so important for me to be able to write this series as one singular book.

So, if I go back to my very first notes, will it include a discussion of Sazed becoming God and using the stories in his metalminds as guidelines for remaking the world? No, I don't think it's there. Just like Kelsier wasn't originally planning to create a rebellion through his sacrifice, just like Vin wasn't even originally female.

Things change and grow with a book as you write it. However, let me say that I knew early in the series that I wanted Sazed to end up as the Hero of Ages and ascend with the power. I felt it was the only way to deal with the world ending and have it start anew. Plus, he's the only one who really deserved it, as he was the only one of the characters who ever cared much about religion.

I kept this in mind while revising the first book, as I'd finished the rough draft of book three by that time. I planned how to use his religions and feature them in the novels in a way that would show off their finer qualities.

In a way, this is my compromise. As I've said, I don't believe in the "spokes on the wheel" theory. Not every religion can be true, if only because they—logically—disagree on so many points. But every one of them can teach things that are true. This is something I actually believe. And, like many of my beliefs, it ended up influencing how I wrote this book.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#80 Copy


It's a plot point in Hero of Ages that gender-neutral pronouns were used for the aforementioned Hero because they were neither male nor female:

The prophecies always used the gender-neutral, he thought. So that they could refer to either a man or a woman, we assumed. Or . . . perhaps because they referred to a Hero who wasn’t really either one?

However, even this paragraph uses the male pronoun "he".

In Shadows of Self, it's again brought up (by MeLaan, this time) that Sazed is not quite either gender:

“Not really. Wow, you blush easily, don’t you? I’d have thought you’d find this natural, considering that your God is basically a hermaphrodite at this point. Both good and evil, Ruin and Preservation, light and dark, male and female. Et cetera et cetera.”

But the books continue to use the male pronouns (though normally they use Capitalized Male Pronouns or just the name "Harmony").

So my questions would be:

  1. What pronouns should be used for Sazed/what gender does Sazed identify as: he/him? they/them? Or does Sazed not particularly care and he, she, they, etc all work just fine?
  2. If Sazed's pronouns would indeed more accurately be they/them, might we see characters in Era 3 starting to use They/Them in place of He/Him, as Basin society grows more aware of this topic?

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed always saw himself as a "He." So a lot of the records refer to him that way. He'd accept they, though, and might even see himself a little more this way now. What you suggest here is something I've considered--with him having two Shards, they is a good pronoun for other reasons too.