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Shadows of Self release party ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Before Preservation locked up Ruin, or whatever, or if Ruin had won. Would atium exist?

Brandon Sanderson

...There are timelines where there would be no atium.

Questioner

...So if Harmony exists, does atium exist?

Brandon Sanderson

Atium does not exist because there is no Ati. Well there is atium left over from before, but--

Questioner

So it was only part of Ati's body and not part of Harmony's body.

Brandon Sanderson

There is no atium, there is no Preservation any longer, there is no Ati.

Questioner

So does harmonium exist?

Brandon Sanderson

...There's no Leras and there's no Ati, there's no Ruin--

Questioner

Does harmonium exist then?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question.

Calamity release party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

What is the metal that powers the airships?

Brandon Sanderson

Ettmetal.

Questioner

*sigh* Oh, come on. I know how alkali metals work, just tell me which one.

Brandon Sanderson

It is not a metal that is-- um-- It is in the line, but it's not one that exists in our world.

Questioner

Mmm, okay.

Brandon Sanderson

It is way too explosive to-- it's more explosive even than the ones in our world.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

If I were to alloy atium and lerasium, would I get harmonium? Or is harmonium different after the Shards combined?

Brandon Sanderson

It's different after the Shards combined.

Questioner

If I was to take harmonium and separate it out through distillation, would I get lerasium and atium or something that functions similarly?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you would-- It actually has become a different--

Questioner

Can't be split?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. I mean, you could find a way, but you're not going to get it through normal, mechanical means.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

So if I understand correctly, every Shard has three different states in which it manifests physically in the world, liquid, gaseous and solid. So my question is, Harmony's holding two Shards, is there any bleedover that would make like...harmonium?

Brandon Sanderson

In the newspaper pages, one of the essays is on "Does Harmony have a metal?". So this is a question they are asking in-world, that they think should probably be, and if you look around you see strange metals appearing, including one that is highly unstable. Or highly reactive is what I would say, not unstable, because it's not radioactive but it is...yeah, so.

TWG Posts ()
#9 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

What will an Atium-Lerasium Alloy do ?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Ah, I've been asked this before. There are a number of theories, but nobody's really sure, since there haven't really been any opportunities to alloy lerasium with atium. You can choose which one to believe. Most require an understanding of realmatic theory to comprehend, which you need to be a Shard or Splinter to even begin to understand.What Lerasium is, is essentially a hack for something like your spiritual DNA. It rewrites what your spiritual self is capable of. So, combined with atium, which allows you a glimpse into the vision of everything - past, present, future - the theories say it could do one of two things. It could either create a substance so volatile that it would have world-ending repercussions, or rewrite your "spiritual DNA" (his phrase, not mine) with atium's power. Is that a vague enough answer?

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#10 Copy

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

*holding out list of Allomantic metal symbols* Is ettmetal's symbol one of these four? *Points at the unused ones*

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Uh, no, it is not. Ettmetal has it's own symbol.

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

Have we seen it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I don't believe you have. Isaac... *inaudible*

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

*making connections internally* Oh, that's interesting, since we have seen harmonium's symbol.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You've seen his symbol? You've seen the symbol?

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

Yeah, we have. *momentary staredown* 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*inaudible* it might have been the...

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

It looks lerasium but both sides. *waves hands around in the air like an idiot to pantomime the axis of reflection*

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*looks crestfallen* Oh... Okay... okay, yep, he put it in. *inaudible* Okay, ettmetal's... Fine, fine, fine. 

Pagerunner (paraphrased)

Am I allowed to tell people? I can keep it a secret if you want.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, you can tell people. I mean, it's obvious *inaudible* The fact that ettmetal's so volatile. It's intended to be a *inaudible*.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#11 Copy

Phantine

[Question unknown]

Brandon Sanderson

So, don't consider [harmonium] magically-enhanced cesium. Consider it a magically-created alkali metal. It's going to share attributes with the alkali metals, and generally follows the trends of the others, save for its melting point.

But in answer to your real question, atium would be a platinum group metal. (And platinum itself was my model.)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#13 Copy

youshallnotpass

Will there be a metal called harmonium in the mistborn world?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. But good question.

WeiryWriter

Just an fyi but you have confirmed the existence of harmonium before. (And this is probably a RAFO, but is there a reason you didn't follow the convention of the other "god metals" and call it something like sazedium? "Harmonium" just seems out of place.)

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed didn't like the sound of Sazedium.

Oathbringer release party ()
#15 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.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#16 Copy

classicalkhlennium

Could a Shard like Harmony create new elemental metals, like harmonium, or is that unconscious--

Brandon Sanderson

So, unconscious isn't the right word, but a manifestation of his will being the same as manifestation of the laws of physics in the world, if that makes sense. It's not like a choice, it's not, like, not a choice either, to create others, it is theoretically possible, but what has happened is more in line with the laws of his realm.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said ettmetal is chemically reactive, not nuclear.

The longer answer makes it sound like Harmonium isn't a Lerasium/Atium alloy, but a whole new metal. He described it as "super-cesium," and that its volatility was based on electrons, not on protons or neutrons.

"It is not unstable, it is reactive. So it's like a "super-cesium". It reacts so violently..."

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#20 Copy

Silasary

If someone is a full Mistborn and is able to use Feruchemical gold... can they safely burn harmonium?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, okay. This is theoretically possible. 

Silasary

Would it have an effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It would do something.

Silasary

And I'm going to hopefully ask what that is.

Brandon Sanderson

*gives a RAFO card* You've earned their card.

Boskone 54 ()
#21 Copy

Ironeyes

So harmonium, we have a working theory that the reason it's so volatile is because some of the subatomic particles are associated with Ruin and some of them are [of?] Preservation. Is that true?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's basically what's going on is that it's creating a very unstable metal. Now, it is in the nature of the Cosmere not a compound but an element. But, you could call it a subatomic particle sure. It's very volatile because it is in nature spiritually in contrast with itself. And so though it is a single element rather than a compound, the spiritual nature is not happy as it is, and you can set up in the physical realm, through reactivity things that would just rip it apart and really your energy is not, your energy in that is actually pulling from the Spiritual realm, and so that's why it can be so much more explosive than even the chemistry would account for.

Ironeyes

So it's not that the subatomic particles are invested, it's that they have a spiritual identity which causes them to...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ironeyes

So then it's not creating an oxide because after the spiritual energy goes away from the explosion[unintelligible] metal, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, and...

Ironeyes

So you can't find harmonium oxide in the water afterwards.

Brandon Sanderson

Right right right right. Because it's not, it's, yeah.  But you might be able to find something else, which is really relevant to the cosmere. And to Scadrial.

Ironeyes

So the core elements, the core particles, having extra repulsion causes them to have a nuclear potential.

Brandon Sanderson

I would not call it nuclear because it's not the same exact thing. But there is a cosmere equivalent, to... I mean, you could do nuclear power just the same in the cosmere, but since we have a third kind of state of matter, right, matter, energy, Investiture, you have a third axis that you know, you can release energy from matter, you can release investiture from matter, and things like that. So it's similar, but following its own rules that I have a little more... that are controlled by me, right. But are built on this idea. So once you add [unintelligible for a few syllables] that matter can now exist in this third state, you get all sorts of weird things, which one of the things that happens is, you can get an energy release in sort of the same way. A reaction, I'm not going to call it a nuclear reaction, but of the same vein.