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The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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ParadoxSpren

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.

ParadoxSpren

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.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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CrystalShadow

So is Harmony as excited for the space Mistborn as we are?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have four trilogies now. (Though part of me thinks I might need another interim cyberpunkish one between 1980's and full Space Opera.) Right now, though, I have four eras planned.

As for your original question, Harmony is excited, but also worried, perhaps in equal measure.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

When Sazed picked up the Shards of Preservation and Ruin, did he actively choose to be known as Harmony (instead of, for example, Balance, or Equilibrium, or Stability), or is there some Cosmeric law that says Preservation + Ruin = Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

He chose the name, but in part because it FELT right to him.

Argent

Is this similar to how a Shard's "personality" overwrites the Shardholder's over time?

Brandon Sanderson

Similar, yes.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

Is Harmony only able to see and watch over Scadrial or will he be able to see the potential of other parts of the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll talk about that in an upcoming story. You'll get more clues about that very soon.

Questioner

Very soon?

Brandon Sanderson

Very soon.

Questioner

Like before the end of the night?

Brandon Sanderson

Poten-- Well not-- Potentially before the end of the night, yes.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
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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.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner

I was actually wondering, the epigraphs for The Way of Kings, that were talking about how the various Shardholders [Vessels] are influenced by their Shards over time—how does that impact someone like Harmony, with multiple shards?

Brandon Sanderson

The main effect it's having on Harmony right now is the inability to act sometimes, because his two sides are pushing, and so he is having trouble being proactive. It'd take a long time before it really becomes manifest, but he's had several hundred years, so it's starting to have an effect.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed speaks to Wax

So, if it matters to you, this is actually Sazed talking to Wax here. It's not just Wax's imaginings.

I'm not sure what readers are going to think of this. My goal with the original Mistborn trilogy was to set up a mythology for the world, one in which real characters were playing a part. Sazed is, essentially, God now. Maybe a lowercase g would be better on that word, but regardless, he's the one watching over the world and making sure things go as they should. At this point, he's working hard to discover what's going on with the other Shards and to keep another disaster from coming Scadrial's way.

I've spoken before on my fascination with religion, and this aspect is a particularly interesting one for me. I've played with the ideas of men being treated like gods in Elantris and Warbreaker—but they didn't really deserve it. Here, however, we have Sazed who is approaching more of what a god would be. Should he be prayed to? Why or why not?

You should know that holding two opposed Shards of Adonalsium has made Sazed more . . . zen, if you will. Not inactive. However, he has taken a belief that both Ruin and Preservation are important in people's lives, and doesn't feel that interfering is something he should often be doing. He sees his primary role being to encourage people to be better, to keep an eye on the other Shards, and to make sure the world keeps working as it should.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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Questioner

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.

Questioner

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

Brandon Sanderson

*RAFOes* You'll find out.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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Questioner

The more benevolent Shards, like Cultivation or Endowment; how do they feel about Sazed holding two Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to ask them. That's a RAFO. I want to stay away from too many questions, about the interaction between Shards beacuse that years off, and I want to be careful not to be saying too much before...

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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Ace_of_Face

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.

Oathbringer release party ()
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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.

General Reddit 2012 ()
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kilomtrs

So in the trilogy, we see that when someone has a Hemalurgic spike implanted in them, they can hear Ruin talking to them, both as a vision and in their head. However, we learn in the Hero of Ages that Ruin cannot hear a person's thoughts no matter how much under Ruin's influence they are.

In Alloy of Law, we see that Wax (and other Pathians) uses an earring to "pray" to Harmony, and we see that Harmony can hear his thoughts and respond.

So I guess this leads to three questions: How does Harmony hear the thoughts of Wax, when it's explicitly pointed put that Ruin cannot?

Are the earrings that the Pathians use Hemalurgically charged, as otherwise they would be of no use to Ruin, and therefore Harmony?

Or did Harmony completely change how that aspect of Hemalugy works?

Brandon Sanderson

How this all works dates back to the original design of the magic system.

I wanted Ruin and Preservation to be complementary opposites, like many things in the Mistborn world. Allomancy, for example, has Pushes and Pulls were are less "negate one another" opposites, but instead two sides to the same proverbial coin.

Ruin is invasive. The power is more "Yell" than "Listen." The philosopher would probably have some interesting things to say about the masculine symbolism of Hemalurgy and its spikes.

Ruin can insert thoughts. That power, however, can't HEAR the reactions. It's about invasion.

Preservation, however, is the opposite. Preservation listens, Preservation protects. (Perhaps to a fault--if there were no Ruin, there would be no change to the world, and life could not exist.) Because of this, Preservation can hear what is inside people's minds. It cannot, however, INSERT thoughts. (This is important to the plot of Hero of Ages.)

Harmony is both, the two complementary opposites combined. And so, he inserts thoughts with Ruin and still uses Hemalurgy. He can also listen.

Yes, Wax's earring is Invested. (Or, in other terms, it's a Hemalurgic spike.)

bettse

Doesn't that imply it was shoved through someone's heart at one point (ala Steel Inquisitor creation process)?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the metal would have to have been part of a spike that at one point was used to kill someone and rip off a piece of their soul.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Ward

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, *inaudible*, 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.

Ward

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...

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

So we've seen three different cultures of people on Scadrial. Is Harmony involved… well, we can probably assume there's probably more cultures, but there are…

Brandon Sanderson

There are more, yes.

Questioner

Is Harmony involved in all of them, or is he-- Does he pretty much keep his attention on the main one.

Brandon Sanderson

Harmony considers himself the god of all of them.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Can a Returned like Lightsong go to Roshar and form a bond with a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Investiture interferes with other Investiture.

Argent

And they have a lot of it.

Brandon Sanderson

And they have a lot of it. That is not-- It's not completely-- For instance you can Push on Invested metal, but it's hard. There's a resistance, the more Invested the harder-- So a bond for instance-- forming a bond-- It's, yeah-- It can be done--

I mean Sazed took two of the powers up, right? But I kind of imagine what he did as a nuclear reaction. Where breaking an atom is hard, unless you are in the middle of a sun. And he was in the middle of the sun. At that point--

Argent

There was a lot of stuff going on around him that facilitated.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, definitely. But when you've got that much power you'll-- In other words if there is a lot of power going around, these things become easier.

Argent

So, possible but difficult is--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

The Mists Form

In writing this book, I had to nail down a few worldbuilding issues I'd been contemplating even before the first trilogy ended. What would happen to the mists, for instance, once Sazed took over and became Harmony?

The mists, obviously, are a big part of the series. It didn't make sense—either narratively or worldbuilding-wise—to lose them completely. However, they'd been created as an effect of Preservation trying to use his essence to fight against Ruin's destruction of the world. So . . . wouldn't they go away?

I decided that Sazed would still send them. They're part of the nature of the world now. To acknowledge what had happened, they wouldn't come every night any longer. But they would come. They were changed in that they are no longer simply the raw power of Preservation; they're now a part of Harmony—so they no longer pull away from Hemalurgy in the same way as they used to. They still have the odd effect of being able to power Allomancy. (And Feruchemy as well—if one knows how to do it.)

The mists are, in part, the raw power of creation. And when one is favored of Harmony, the mists have a greater effect than they might otherwise have. We'll see more of this later.

General Signed Books 2017 ()
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CosmereQuestioner

Like Adonalsium, could Harmony split into 2 shards OTHER THAN Ruin/Preservation with the right intent.

You once stated that it is plausible that with a different intent Adonalsium could have shattered into a DIFFERENT 16 shards. You have also said that Harmony is one shard (or could be viewed this way.) My question: Could Harmony split/be split into 2 shards OTHER THAN Ruin/Preservation (yet still complementing/opposite) with the right intent of the splitter?  And if not is this because Harmony is still too invested in Scadrial as Ruin/Preservation?

Brandon Sanderson

Almost anything is possible... but it is very, very unlikely that Harmony would split except back to Ruin/Preservation.

A Memory of Light Seattle Signing ()
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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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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darklordreddit

With puts 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.