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Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#4 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Long, long ago when Hero of Ages came out you listed four Shards other than Ruin and Preservation. You said we interacted with two directly. One is a tough call, we've never met the Shard itself but have seen its power. The other one we've not met directly but have seen its influence. My questions:

-Is the Dor the "tough call" one?

-Do you count Hoid in this list of four shards? It makes a difference for the theories, Brandon! You don't even need to say if he is bound to a shard, rather just if you consider him in this list.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO, and no, Hoid is not included in the list.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#7 Copy

DrogaKrolow

What happened with the Shard that just drifts in the space, the one that wants to hide and survive?

Brandon Sanderson

What about that Shard? They want to hide and survive.

DrogaKrolow

Huh, something more?

Brandon Sanderson

I think I will RAFO that for right now.

Footnote: The questioner seems to be conflating two separate Shards in his question. There is the Shard that wants to hide and survive and another that is not on a planet.
General Reddit 2018 ()
#9 Copy

ReadAndFindOut

In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/103-salt-lake-city-comic-con-2014/#e1010). However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8606). Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

Brandon Sanderson

I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

But no Shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The Investiture on that planet is residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a Shard present. Indeed, I would say that no Shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of Shardworlds.)

Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" Shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor Shardworlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor Shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a Mistborn.

But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)

Oversleep

Wait.

I'm confused.

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?

Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

But now you're saying it didn't?

If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

Could you please clarify all that?

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?"

The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

When people ask, "What Shard is this Investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing.

I always imagine Investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a Shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To Investiture, Adonalsium's Shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

Autonomy never "Invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a Shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of Investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "Invested" there? No, no more than you're Invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of matter and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

Overlord Jebus

You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

Investiture on First of the Sun predates any Shards fiddling with it.

Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.

Chaos

Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#10 Copy

Pagerunner

The letters in [Oathbringer]. Are they all three from Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

...Yes.

Pagerunner

Is the first one, is that one we know? Is that one we've seen yet?

Brandon Sanderson

They are all ones you have seen.

Pagerunner

They are all ones we have seen.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Or at least you know.

Pagerunner

Have seen or know of.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#11 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Will Sazed eventually go mad trying to hold two Shard's power at the same time (being pushed to two different Purposes simultaneously for millennia)? Why hasn't anyone else tried this trick before in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. Since they're so opposite they work together to create a whole. However, after a LONG time it would change him as a person.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

How many Shards have been Splintered, besides the four we know?

Brandon Sanderson

You're gonna make me canonize this? I can't canonize this. There's a couple that I'm just kind of...

Questioner

Odium, Endowment, Devotion...

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, Odium has not been Splintered. Endowment and Devotion have been Splintered... Endowment hasn't been Splintered, sorry. Dominion and Devotion have been Splintered. I've confirmed that one other has been Splintered. And then Honor has been Splintered. Those are your four that I've canonized. The other one is, I don't know if I've mentioned who exactly it is, but it's not one that you've seen on one of the planets...

Yeah, I'm not gonna canonize it, exactly how many there are. Because there are things going on in the cosmere that I wanna settle down and decide on once I get to it, exactly what. And Splintering can be a vague term sometimes, too... So that's a RAFO.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
#14 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Shards and Shard intents: Holding a Shard is a contest of willpower against the Shard that, over time, is very hard to resist.

Shards affect you over time, but your mind will not leave a permanent effect on the Shard. A holder's [Vessel's] personality, however, does get to filter the Shard's intent, so to speak. However, if that holder [Vessel] no longer held that Shard, the Shard will not continue to be filtered by that person.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#15 Copy

Yurisses

Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it is. That one is even closer associated with a Shard, the actual Investiture of the magic. Remember when I say Investiture, I mean matter, energy and magic. Sometimes the word Investiture refers just to the magic such as the Aviar and in that it is associated directly with one of the Shards...

Yurisses

Which one?

Brandon Sanderson

Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium. *silence*

Overlord Jebus

Sorry, can you say that again?

Brandon Sanderson

Patji is a Shard of Adonalsium.

Aurimus

Is that one of the Aviar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Patji is the island.

Overlord Jebus

Island or islands?

Brandon Sanderson

The island but Patji is one of the islands.

Yurisses

It's a Shard?!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, big asterisk! But yes.

Aurimus

Shard as in equal or Shard as in a mass of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

As in one of the 16 Shards of Adonalsium is represented and involved in First of the Sun. In fact, one of the letters references First of the Sun in this *Indicates Oathbringer*

Sorry, I probably killed some theories on that one.

Overlord Jebus

Yup, but by doing that you've confirmed some as well so it's fine!

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#16 Copy

Argent

Some of the few Shards Rayse Splintered included Ambition, I believe, Dominion, and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

And those were all way back, in the history. So, we know that the Shards' personalities overrides the Vessel's personality over time?

Brandon Sanderson

Strongly influence, and depending on the individual, override.

Argent

Okay. So did Rayse choose those Shards because--

Brandon Sanderson

He went after Ambition first, but didn't find Ambition until after going after Devotion and Dominion. But Ambition was number one on his hit list.

Argent

Was it because of the Shard or because of the Vessel? Like did he hate the person?

Brandon Sanderson

In this case it was the Shard, primarily, that drove him--

Argent

Oh, he was maybe afraid the Shard would grow too powerful and take over--

Brandon Sanderson

He was afraid that this Shard that would rival him. And so he's like "This one is number one on the hit list. We're taking down Ambition." But then he got trapped in the Rosharan system.

Calamity release party ()
#17 Copy

Little Wilson

You mentioned that half(-ish) Shards are whole at-- during Shadows of Self. Is that counting Splinters?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time.

Little Wilson

You mentioned that half-- like I think it was at the Bands of Mourning release party-- you said that "half-ish Shards are whole" during Shadows of Self.

Brandon Sanderson

"Half-ish Shards are whole?"

Little Wilson

Yeah, you didn't want to do the math, because it was-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I get it. You're saying-- Okay, so I'm sorry. I'm trying to think of Shards that are half-powered. That's not what you're saying. Half of the existing Shards. 

Little Wilson

Yes, yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, got it. Yeah.

Little Wilson

And does that-- is that counting Splinters? Splintered Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, no. I mean, a-- Splintered is one of the ways that they are not considered whole.

Zas678

Like completely Splintered as in Dominion and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. That's what-- That's the opposite of whole.

Zas678

But having a Splinter, like Endowment...

Little Wilson

Because I-- I was kind of going with "Shattered" <and> "Splintered". So Shattered would be kind of what I was going with Devotion and Dominion. 

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Little Wilson

And then Splintered would be more like... You mentioned that Honor kind of Splintered himself off to create the spren before--

Isaac Stewart

Oh, and that's mentioned isn't it?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, but you've got to keep in mind that-- um... So in Scadrial, Ruin and Preservation did the same thing. Their bodies are part of the world. They-- if their exist-- like, the things on the Spiritual Realm don't matter where they are in relation to each other and things like this. All those <piece> spren are still Honor, when he was alive. Does that make sense? Like, yes those are little Splinters of Honor, but they are still Honor. It's not like he's diminished, because his whole essence is the world, right? There is no diminishing that. And so that thing is we're talking about the fracturing of the mind and the killing of the Shard. That's the distinction between whole and not whole as I was making it for you there.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

Do the Shards move-- Other than Odium do the Shards move around and have we seen-- Or have Shards moved to worlds after the events that we have read about?

Brandon Sanderson

Do Shards other than-- Do Shards move around? The answer is yes, there are several of them. Have Shards moved around after the events you've read about? Yes, there are Shards that have moved around after that.

Questioner

That have moved to the worlds we've read about?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO. I'm not going to tell you whether they've moved to the planets you've read about or not.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

What happens when a... spren picks up a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean picks up a Shard? Shardblade or Shard of Adonalsium?

Questioner

Picks up a Shard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

A spren is a Shard of Adonalsium so it just--

Questioner

Picks up one of the big ones like could a spren do the same thing that Kelsier's spirit did after he--

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* It's like you're asking if electricity can gain a charge of electricity and get electrified. Does that make sense? I mean-- It's a question that doesn't make a lot of sense.

If a Shard were to somehow-- They would just combine into a bigger Shard and get larger-- if that makes sense?

Questioner

The foundation of that question was I thought that maybe the Stormfather spren was basically doing what Kelsier's spirit did.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, um *sighs* Not really... It's really a not really There's some similarities but it's a not really. It's not quite a RAFO though. more of a--

Questioner

More of a "doesn't quite work that way".

Brandon Sanderson

--doesn't quite work that way but you're thinking along the right lines?

Oathbringer London signing ()
#20 Copy

Overlord Jebus

Is all Investiture in the cosmere associated with a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, well, okay. So this is a complicated one. *pauses* So, Investiture predates the Shattering of Adonalsium, all Investiture was from Adonalsium, all Investiture got assigned to one of the 16 Shards when Adonalsium was Shattered. Some of the Investiture was not on Yolen but location is irrelevant. So Investiture is related to Shards even on planets where none of the Shards are inhabiting. 

Overlord Jebus

Are they aware of that Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

That's part of the whole seeing into the infinite, being beyond even the power of a Shard. So, technically you could make the argument that Harmony could feel the sense of Preservation on every world in the cosmere, right? Because the building blocks of all life and creation are these things.

Overlord Jebus

So the Shard of Preservation embodies all preservation in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes but he just can't do that, right? Like, he's not infinite. The Vessels are not, even if their minds are enormously expanded by holding a Shard, they are not infinite. The Connection is all there in the Spiritual Realm

General Reddit 2013 ()
#21 Copy

Autarchk

If I can ask a question, I just read the Mistborn trilogy and, were Preservation and Ruin two different shards or a single one with their power split somehow? If they were two shards, does that mean a single person can hold more than one, since Harmony apparently holds both now?

Brandon Sanderson

They were two shards.

Yes, one entity can hold more than one. Remember that holding a shard changes you, over time. Rayse knows this, and prefers to leave behind destroyed rivals as opposed to taking their power and potentially being overwhelmed by it.

Nepene

I have a question, if you are willing. Would Ruin be more compatible with Rayse, would he pick up that shard had he visited Scadrial and shattered him? All the shards we have seen that he has shattered seem rather different in intent than him- Honor, Cultivation, Love, Dominion. But Ruin seems more in line with Odium. Rayse has ruined the days of quite a few people.

Brandon Sanderson

Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy. That power, separated from the whole and being held by a person who did not have the willpower to resist its transformation of him, led to something very dangerous. But it was not evil. None of the sixteen technically are, though you may have read that Hoid has specific beef with Rayse. Whether you think of Odium as evil depends upon how much you agree with Hoid's particular view.

That said, Ruin would have been one of the 'safer' of the sixteen for Rayse to take, if he'd been about that. Odium is by its nature selfish, however, and the combination of it and Rayse makes for an entity that fears an additional power would destroy it and make it into something else.

Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
#22 Copy

T.T

Barring the Almighty, did we seen a Shardholder (like Sazed) in this book?"

Brandon Sanderson

I think "Shardholder" would get confusing alongside "Shardbearer." Basically, in the Cosmere's terms, when someone holds a Shard of Adonalsium, I call that person a Shard of Adonalsium. They are imbued with the power of that Shard, but they also become the Shard. Fans can use whatever terminology they wish, but this is how I term it.You did at least see the direct effects of two of the Shards of Adonalsium, but I won't say whether or not you actually saw a Shard of Adonalsium.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#23 Copy

Zas678

Now this one will probably be RAFO'd: I know you already said that there are four Shards outside of Ati and Leras in your other books. Could you tell us the numbers per book? Is just a standard two per book? Or do some have more than others?

Brandon Sanderson

Some worlds have more than others. You have seen the effects, influences, and work of four other Shards. One Shard, however, was no longer on the world by the time the story was told there.

Zas678

I know that we've "interacted with two directly" (the pool in Elantris, and The Voice that called Lightsong back to life) that we've "seen it's power" (Dahkhor??) and another that we've seen their infulence (I have no idea on this one, though I think it might be whatever pointed out Aon Rao in Elantris to Raoden)

Brandon Sanderson

Nice guesses on most of those. You've got some things right. You've got some things wrong. The only thing I'll confirm (and I don't think I've said this before) is that The Voice is, indeed, one of the Shards of Adonalsium. (Endowment is that Shard's true name, by the way.)

Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
#24 Copy

Dawnshard

So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#25 Copy

Dragon13

Are there requirements to join the Seventeenth Shard, and would they accept, for lack of a better term, a non-enhanced member?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and yes... Baon is not Invested...

Questioner 1

What would they not like? 'Cause, like, we know they don't like Hoid, and what he's doing-- *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

They do like what Khriss is doing, alright? This is an acceptable thing to them.

Questioner 1

...What about when people start integrating themselves with a culture, is that gonna make problems?

Brandon Sanderson

They would prefer that people didn't do that.

Questioner 2

So not Vasher?

Brandon Sanderson

Not Va-- Vasher is very far from being Seventeenth Shard. *laughter* So very far.

Argent

Would you say they are a community of scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

They are a community-- They are not all scholars, so I would not say that. I would say they are interested parties who do not want any planets to get destroyed.

Questioner 3

So they're the Apocalypse Guard? *laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

No, they aren't really able to prevent these sorts of things. They're more like the-- Oh what do they call them in DC? The Watchers? ...But those guys are super powerful and stuff, so it's not like that. But you can imagine it's something like that. "We're watching, we're studying' we're investigating, and we're trying to prevent-- ...They're like Starfleet, right? They've got some Starfleet stuff right? "We're gonna go research and study these people, but we shouldn't be involved." It's less about Prime Directive, and more about "What if something we do causes-- exacerbates the conflict between the Shards." The Shards split up for a reason, is what they think, right? Shards split up for a reason, they should continue to be split up, we should not dabble in bringing them together.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

Do Splinters require proximity to their Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

Do they require it for what?

Questioner

Function--

Brandon Sanderson

Function. It's very hard for most Splinters to leave the realm where they were Splintered, but this gets into tricky stuff because the Shard mostly occupies the Spiritual Realm, but what do you mean by the Shard? Because the essence of the Shard is in the Physical Realm, it's all across the cosmere, and things like this. Usually once something is Splintered it is difficult for them to leave that area, so yes.

Questioner

And in the system--

Brandon Sanderson

You see it with the-- I would call most Cognitive Shadows a Splinter in some ways. And you see it when Kelsier tries to leave, right. And spren would have the same trouble, and seons would have the same trouble. But at the same time is that a proximity to the Shard? Kind of. Things get very wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey when you start dealing with the nature of the Spiritual Realm in the cosmere. 

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#27 Copy

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

So, at the end of Mistborn Era 1, Sazed takes up both [Preservation] and Ruin, Shards which are obviously fairly diametrically opposed. Secret History implies that Sazed is able to hold both of them at once because of (for lack of a better term) who he is, and therefore implies that other people might not be able to do the same. Is that true? What would happen if someone tried to take up multiple shards and didn't have those qualifications?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Sazed was uniquely able, yes. Usually there would be an imbalance favoring one shard, which would override or push out the other.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Like, physically expulse?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Right. Not necessarily, but yes.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

So what would happen then? Would it just float around? Would it Splinter? Could it be dragged into the Cognitive, like on Sel?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Oh, you guys finally figured that one out?

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

No, no, it's- it's in the book.

*points to Arcanum Unbounded*

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Right, yeah, I gave you that one. But it depends- it depends on the circumstances. It might Splinter. In the right circumstances, it might obtain its own sentience. Or it might seek out a holder on its own.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Wait, you mean, sentience without a holder? Just...?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

In the right circumstances, yeah.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

And if it sought a holder, it would be inclined to find someone that would fit better with its intent?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

And these circumstances would also depend on which Shards are taken up? Like, if they're less opposed that Ruin and Preservation?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah, exactly.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Demoux. Him, also being in the Interlude. How is that one...

Brandon Sanderson

He is part of a group called the Seventeenth Shard. [They] are cosmere-aware and travel around the planets and have a kind of pact of non-intervention. Which they aren't doing a very good job on, because they brought the common cold to Roshar.

Questioner

How did he actually find out about this?

Brandon Sanderson

I will give you [a RAFO card], because I will answer about the Seventeenth Shard eventually.

Questioner

So all these questions are actually going to be answered?

Brandon Sanderson

The Seventeenth Shard will have a big role to play in future books.

Questioner

Is Hoid part of the...?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid is not part of the Seventeenth Shard. They're trying to chase him down.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#29 Copy

zotsandcrambles

You've mentioned that a person's personality eventually erodes and is replaced by the will of the shard they hold. Besides Harmony, are there any Shards holders that are still actively and significantly defying the intent of their shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kellsier

Is Harmony ([Sazed], for instance) actively trying to fight against it's shard intent?

Brandon Sanderson

Its intent(s) match Sazed very well, actually, and he has the philosophy that these natural powers are best minded and not dominated. So while he pushes back against the inaction holding both of them has caused, he appreciates and understands the need for both. I'd say he has less "push back" than some others.

A Memory of Light Seattle Signing ()
#30 Copy

Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

You've said that Splintering a Shard is essentially the same thing as the Shattering of Adonalsium, repeated on a smaller scale.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah.

Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

And a while ago, someone asked you if Splintering was permanent or reversible, and you said that it can be reversed.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah.

Mason Wheeler (paraphrased)

And Shardholders [Vessels] tend to take the name of the Shard they hold. So you've got Sazed, who goes by "Harmony" now, after taking up Ruin and Preservation. That makes me wonder, does he hold two Shards... or one?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You could really answer that either way. The distinction is a really subjective one, and you could say that he's holding both Shards, or that he holds one single Harmony.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Questioner

We know Ati chose how Ruin was interpreted, in that he was a card-cackling maniac. Could someone so differently interpret a Shard as to change its name to be something different? Could someone pick up the Shard of Ruin and think I'm the Shard of Change? Or could someone pick up the Shard of Honor and think--

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Yes. To an extent. The interpretation, what you call a thing-- I think it would be arguable either way in-world, regardless of what they call themselves. There are those who would say the core intent is still there and you can't shift it that far, and others would argue you can shift it far enough to change the definition to a synonym. You see evidence of someone claiming this in the books. I'm not gonna confirm or deny for you whether that is actually a thing or not.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Which is a nice segue to Shards Investing into Shardworlds, that I've been meaning to ask. So is it kind of a passive-- The more a Shard stays on a world--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--the Investiture kind of seeps--

Brandon Sanderson

It does. Once you've got a Perpendicularity, you are starting-- That's trouble for going other places. But you've gotta remember, going other places means multiple things to someone actually holding a Shard. They can exist in the Spiritual Realm, where all things are one. And they can even kind of comprehend it...

Argent

Can a Shard choose to just instantly invest in a place?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they just need to start making some stuff.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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xolsiion

I'm a big fan of Harmony.

zatanamag

Probably will never happen but I'd love to see him put the smackdown on Odium.

chx_

Paging [Brandon]... what do you think of this theory :) ? Is this your plan? Or are we asking about something which is decade(s) away?

Brandon Sanderson

I find theories like this very interesting, but yes, you're right. This is talking about things very far away. I've said, however, that Odium is wary of Harmony.

zotsandscrambles

It seems like Odium has been attacking shards that share a world for some reason (dom and dev hon and cult). Maybe his exploit against dual sharded worlds would work less well against a dual-wielding shardholder?

Brandon Sanderson

I won't say yes or no to that, but you can imagine that what happened on Scadrial is something he would have preferred never occur.

zotsandscrambles

I'm surprised it didn't occur to anyone to grab two shards to begin with? Pairing Odium with Devotion seems like a good idea.

Did this not occur for a specific reason, or just an oversight on the part of the folks involved?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So I've got sort of a Shard-related question. So, the entity that Harmony is, all the other Shards that we've had named so far, are any of them combinations, or are they all--

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, good question. The only one I would count as a combination is the Dor, right? But it isn't even a full Shard. So everything else, single holder only when we talk about it okay? That's an excellent question. Or they've been Splintered completely.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Shards. We started with fairly obvious ones, magic wise. Trying to keep this spoiler free, so: Ruin, Preservation, this kind of thing. Then we get the weird ones. Why do we have Shards that can only exist in the mind of a sentient creature? ...Like the concept of Honor can only be done when it's carried out, essentially, by a sentient creature.

Brandon Sanderson

So when I split Adonalsium I said, "I'm going to take aspects of Adonalsium's nature." And this involves personality to me. So the Shattering of Adonalsium was primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality. And so I view every one of them this way. And when I wrote Mistborn we had Ruin and Preservation. They are the primal forces of entropy and whatever you call the opposite, staying-the-same-ism-y. Like, you've got these two contrasts, between things changing and things not changing. And then humans do have a part, there's a personality. Ruin is a charged term for something that actually is the way that life exists. And Preservation is a charged term for stasis, for staying the same. And those are the personality aspects, and the way they are viewed by people and by the entity that was Adonalsium.

So I view this for all of them. Like, Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by. And there's this sense that that is noble, that's the honor aspect to it, but there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other direction. So a lot of them do kind of have this both-- cultural component, I would say, that is trying to represent something that is also natural. And not all of them are gonna have a 100% balance between those two things, I would say, because there's only so many fundamental laws of the universe that I can ascribe personalities to in that way. 

So I find Honor very interesting, but I find Autonomy a very interesting one for the exact same reason. What does autonomy mean? We attach a lot to it, but what is the actual, if you get rid of the charged terms, what does it mean? And this is where you end up with things like Odium claiming "I am all emotion." Rather than-- But then there's a charged term for it that is associated with this Shard. I'm not going to tell you whether he's right or not, but he has an argument. 

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You've said that "The Pits of Hathsin were crafted by Preservation as a place to hide the chunk of Ruin's body that he had stolen away". How does one Shard steal a portion of another Shard and create a Physical outlet for it, like the Pits were for Ruin's power?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It has to do with clash between the two Shards' power. When pressed, he then said that it was "kind of" like splintering

Orem signing 2014 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

So what happens when Shards die?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, it depends on how long the Shardholders have held the Shard. After it dies, the Shard is often able to continue acting, a kind of "Cognitive Shadow" of sorts. For example, the mists were able to continue doing what Preservation wished in helping out Vin and Snapping people. With the Stormfather, he is that Cognitive Shadow, and he's semi-sentient. It's that power, but no one is actually holding it. We also see this on Threnody.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

Was the other god in Scadrial, Trell or whatnot, they're kind of mentioning him, does that imply there other really powerful beings out there outside of the Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

There are possibly really powerful beings, but… how should we say… *long pause* I mean, there are those who would call Hoid a very powerful being, who exist outside Shards, but if you're talking deific level things in the cosmere, they're all related to the Shards… Or demigod level.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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goody153

Are we gonna get more hints or insight about Harmony's involvement (the dudes he sent) or other non-Roshar shards involvement in the next book ?

Brandon Sanderson

There will continue to be hints in the books.

goody153

Ah thanks ! I wasn't expecting for you to reply . Good to know, i always found it interesting how many world hoppers are there in Stormlight so i figured there might be shards like at least watching Roshar events.

Might i ask if there are one or more non-Roshar shards that would be poking around?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to have to RAFO this. Watch and see what you find! :)

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

Atium and lerasium are their own special ways of Investiture, of using it. Do the other Shards have those, that even within their magic systems are unique just to that one Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Can you tell me anything about any of that?

Brandon Sanderson

You might see some of them some day? I think, I know you've seen at least one, but people don't know what it is? One person's asked me a question about it, so somebody's figured it out but, yeah, there are things like that in other worlds. Kind of, distilled essence of Shard, yeah.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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little wilson

How many Shards are whole at the time of [Shadows of Self]?

Brandon Sanderson

How many Shards are whole at the time of Shadows? I'm just going to RAFO that because-- because I don't want to do math right now.

Bystander

More than half or less than half?

Brandon Sanderson

At the time of Shadows? How many Shards--

zas678

Or about half?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha! *long pause* *really high and stretched out* Half-ish?

zas678

Half-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Half-ish. It depends.

zas678

Give or take?

Brandon Sanderson

Give or take. Like it de-- Are there now only 15? Like what's the number? ...So-- I'm not going to-- I'm not going to--

zas678

RAFO.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, RAFO.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Dragon13

Would it be possible to create a potential Vessel that has a Connection to all 16 Shards? Through a combination of birth planet, genetics, Hemalurgy--

Brandon Sanderson

You--  So, terminology. The Vessel holds a Shard. Lots of people have Connections to the Shards without holding them. So, I'm just gonna RAFO that. You guys got years and years left, before we're even gonna discuss things about-- But if I tell you now, like, what are you gonna ask?