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Salt Lake City signing ()
#5 Copy


So, at the Forbidden Planet signing you said that when Adonalsium was Shattered, all Investiture in the cosmere was associated to one of the Shards... So, what happened with Adonalsium's spren on Roshar? Were those associated to Honor and Cultivation? What happened with them?

Brandon Sanderson

So they were very-- They were already associated to certain parts of Adonalsium and they went with those associations. There's a lot of Cultivation in all of the spren, particularly the natural spren.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#8 Copy


In the first three Mistborn books, and Elantris and Warbreaker, you focus a lot on sort of gods and religion, is there a particular reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Why do I focus on gods and religion in my books. Well there's a couple of reasons. The main one is the kind of overarching story of the cosmere, which all my books are connected, there is some divine force named Adonalsium that was broken apart long ago and the scions of that-- people who have that power are showing up and causing problems and things on planets. So that's kind of the hidden epic behind the scenes, and so because of that religion is a very big part of what happens there.

I'm also a religious person. For those who don't know, I'm Mormon, I'm LDS. And so religion is important to me and whatever I'm fascinated by works it's way into my books. Now I'm generally the type of writer who doesn't feel like I should go into a book with a theme, I should explore what the characters are passionate and let the theme manifest naturally. And so I do that a lot, I don't go in saying "Oh I'm going to teach people this" I say "Who is this character, what are they passionate about" But the things I'm interested in you see. That's why you end up with stories about a god who doesn't believe in his own religion, from Warbreaker. Or you end up with these different things, with Kelsier founding a religion to use it, or having people with different types of faith. And I really think that part of the point of fiction is to, for me, to explore different ideas from different angles and try to just tackle them. And so you'll see me coming back to some of the same concepts again and again, because I want to try them from a new angle, see how this person thinks, see how this character deals with it. Because that's just really interesting to me.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#10 Copy


When Hoid is talking to Dalinar he seems to expect that Dalinar may have heard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium.  Yes.


Why is that?  Why would he think that Dalinar would have knowledge about that?

Brandon Sanderson

He thought that Dalinar was part of some of the secret societies on Roshar, and he had thought his way into thinking Dalinar was part of them and that was how Dalinar was knowing certain things he was knowing.  Which he really wasn't, he was getting from the storms and things like this, but he thought that Gavilar had confided things in Dalinar and that Dalinar would know more about this.  And so he was kind of testing to see, and he was wrong.  

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#15 Copy

Paladin Brewer

Was it necessary that Adonalsium split into sixteen Shards, or was it happenstance?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that one.

Paladin Brewer

Would the number or intents have been different, if there were more or less people?

Brandon Sanderson

That's all wrapped up in that RAFO. Let's say it's conceivable that the split could have happened in different ways.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#16 Copy

Billy Todd

How closely does Adonalsium map to the gnostic demiurge?

Brandon Sanderson

A little bit.

Billy Todd

So, not completely? I'm not completely off?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not off at all. 

Billy Todd

So, not the urge, but the demiurge. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, well I'll have to go read to make sure what I'm talking about then. Your answer is: I will go read and make sure I know. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

Billy Todd

So, there's the creator, which is the urge, which is the creator of the Universe. *large hand gesture* The demiurge is actually God. The demiurge is the one that creates [its] universe, *small hand gesture inside larger gesture* and entities living within the universe need knowledge of that which is beyond what the demiurge has created.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, that matches pretty well.

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


Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)


Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds. It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds. So "both" is a good guess.


I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it. Thank you for mentioning that he is in these two other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

Brandon Sanderson

The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books. Other clues and links between the books can be found as well. (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them. Others have gone unspotted so far.)

General Signed Books 2016 ()
#18 Copy


The background to my question is this:

It was once stated by Mr Sanderson that "Magic in the cosmere needs a guiding force.  If it doesn't have one, the magic itself will gain sentience."  We also have that things like Nightblood that gained sentience because of crazy amounts of investiture.

My question then is:

"Is the reason that investiture has this tendency to lead to sentience caused by the fact that pre-Shattering Adonalsium had a goal/purpose/intent of bringing sentience to his universe."

(I guess this is in a way a 2 part question, because it assumes that Adonalsium actually HAD the intent of bringing sentience to his cosmere)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is part of the reason.  Good question!

Oathbringer London signing ()
#19 Copy


For Adonalsium to create the universe, therefore he must have infinite power to create an infinitely sized universe. Therefore, infinity divided by sixteen is equal to infinity. Therefore, why don't the Shards have infinite power, which they clearly don't, because they can be killed?

Brandon Sanderson

The power can't be killed. The entity controlling the power can. Infinite power existing and being able to access the infinite power are different things, and a finite mind, even added to a very powerful sense of power, isn't necessarily able to tap all of that.


What about Ruin and Preservation in Well of Ascension? We hear about Ruin using some of its power. Therefore, it must not have infinite power, because if you minus something from infinity, it's still infinity...

Brandon Sanderson

So, infinite power is changing forms. It's not going anywhere, right? So, the Investiture, the power, is becoming energy, which is doing work, which is being released back into the system. Nothing's growing or shrinking. It is simply changing forms, and potential energy is becoming kinetic.

Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
#21 Copy


Could Rysn "use" her Command power and change change the nature of a Shard (e.g. make Odium not evil)

Can the Dawnshards be combined a la Ruin and Preservation?

And on a scale of power who would win: someone welding a Shard of Adolnasium or a Dawnshard? Does it depend of the SoA?

Nikli referred to Adonalsium as "it" and not "him" or "her". Was Adonalsium a being or a general force?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFOs all around!

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#22 Copy


Could you have a good conversation with Adonalsium, back in the day?  

Brandon Sanderson

Back in the day? I actually have to RAFO that because I actually haven't said whether Adonalsium was a force or an individual. So it is an excellent question, no one has asked me that before, but it's not one I can answer.  


That was a bit of a sneaky one, because it seems like it would be an easy one to answer, but it gives away too much  

Brandon Sanderson

It does.

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


In Mistborn: There was mention of a man named Adonalsium. We were wondering if this man may have been Preservation, who "died" before Vin took over. Is that who he was or was he someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

The man who died before Vin took over was named Leras. (I've occasionally written it as Laras. I've said the names in my head for years, but I'm only now writing them down as people ask me on forums.) Leras, like Ati (aka Ruin), were NOT Adonalsium. (Sorry about the typo on that one in Mistborn 3. I wrote it down on the manuscript, and it didn't get put in quite right. We'll get it fixed.)

Adonalsium was something or someone else. You will find out more. There are clues in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#24 Copy


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 ( However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard ( 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.)



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.


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.

Starsight Release Party ()
#26 Copy


You’ve said that you would call Surgebinding, Voidbinding, and fabrials the three magics on Roshar. Would it be more accurate to say that Surgebinding followed and emulated fabrials and/orthe possibility of fabrials or vice versa?

Brandon Sanderson

 Vice versa. Fabrials are... generally, Surgebinders first, fabrials second. 


So you couldn’t have done fabrials when it was just Adonalsium. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, before the [Shattering]? *deep in thought mmming*


Would the spren have still been able to do Surges then?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say... no. No, Adonalsium probably would not have let that happen. You could theoretically do it, if Adonalsium allowed it. 


He had boundaries against it. 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, I would say no. 

JordanCon 2018 ()
#29 Copy


I know that with Harmony, he has difficulty interacting because he holds two Shards. Did Adonalsium, since he had all these other personality traits, also have issues directly interfering? 

Brandon Sanderson

A RAFO! Good question. I've never been asked that question before.

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


Since you established that all the worlds you created in your books are linked, any chance to see in the (very) distant future a book/series that delves into this overarching story/universe/rules more directly? Possibly with a crossover of characters from your different stories, specifically characters that became "immortal" or at least achieve a "different" state: Sazed, Kelsier, Raoden. Is that something you would even be interested in doing?

Or will you stick to placing subtle hints in your different books/series about the overall system?

Brandon Sanderson

VERY distant future is correct. I will confirm that I do have stories planned that delve into what is going on behind the scenes. There will be short stories dealing with Hoid, most likely posted to my website.

Some of these stories are novel length, and I can't say what I'll do with them. Perhaps I'll write them out in novel form and release them in bookstores, but I have a feeling that most of my readers would be completely confused by them. So perhaps these will all just be on my website only. (If they are released that way, they'll most likely be free for download and reading.)

The subtle hints will continue until then. Mostly, I want the stories to be enjoyable and self-contained. I don't want anyone to HAVE to know any of the behind the scenes, regarding Hoid, Adonalsium, and the rest. (Yes, there is more.) Those are there for the readers who want to dig, and who want to see the greater story. But I don't want them to overshadow the stories of the books themselves. At least not yet.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#35 Copy


Are there any magic systems in the cosmere that aren't shard based?

Brandon Sanderson

This depends on definitions. The effects of Adonalsium permeate everything, and Adonalsium is also the source of the Shards. It is possible to find a magic that isn't DIRECTLY powered by a specific shard, however, though most of these would have been set up before the shattering and would be much smaller in scope than things like Allomancy and Surgebinding.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#45 Copy


As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium


Brandon Sanderson

Roshar predates the Shattering. I've spoken of this before, haven't I?


Maybe somewhere before, and obviously most planets existed before the shattering (Planets are pretty old) but I don't think you've ever mentioned Roshar (the continent) being specifically grown by Adonalsium.

Is this a normal thing that Adonalsium did or was Roshar special to him in some way?

A quick search reveals that you have mentioned that Roshar was named Roshar before the Shattering but nothing mentioned about it being grown by Adonalsium. It makes sense though, that shape is obviously not natural.

Brandon Sanderson

There are many things that are unique about Roshar, but it wasn't the only world created in this way.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#46 Copy


Is it possible to make an artificial shard? And not in an easy manner but if one had the resources and time could they make one?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not sure what an artificial shard would be. You'd be using the power from Adonalsium to do it--so it wouldn't be 'artificial,' by cosmere terms. You'd just be collecting power. The question becomes if you gather enough of it, would it combine back together--which is a RAFO in the world. Nobody knows.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#47 Copy


Since the evil on Threnody isn't a Shard, can you tell us anything about its nature? Is it an actual being, and is it related to Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson

Everything is related, in the Cosmere, to Adonalsium. Most of the magic you're seeing is a just a natural outgrowth of Cosmere-related magic, you're seeing Cognitive Shadows. The Evil is similarly related.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
#49 Copy


In Secret History we learn the 16 Shards that Shattered Adonalsium. Was that done [on behalf of the anti-Adonalsium force]?

Brandon Sanderson

You’re focusing too much on this idea of an anti-Adonalsium. It—the original question I believe that was asked me was “is there a force that is opposed to Adonalsium” and it left me a lot of wiggle room. In other words, the people who killed Adonalsium, you could say were a force, any person who opposed Adonalsium... What they were trying to get was a “devil” but to do that you must assume Adonalsium was a more Christian-style God, and I haven’t confirmed any of that.