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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.

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.

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.

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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Thanatos17901

If Sazed were to die, would he drop the Shards Ruin and Preservation, or would he drop the Shard Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. The shards are now intermingled, and would take effort to split apart. He would drop Harmony. (This is what Odium feared would happen, by the way.)

Shardcast Interview ()
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WeiryWriter

What made you decide to canonize not one, not two, but FOUR new Shards? A whole quarter of Adonalsium in this book?

Brandon Sanderson

It had been long enough. I had been coy with them long enough. I had worked out enough of the outlines moving forward that I knew what Shards I needed and things like that, and they had gotten locked in enough that I could just do it. And they would mention it. We're getting to the point where if I didn't start mentioning them I'd have to do verbal gymnastics in the stories to not. 

When Harmony is trying actively to figure out what happened, and who they all are, and where they all are. It was time for me to go ahead and stop dribbling that. The reason I was dribbling is there were still a few I was still deciding upon. And now that they're all locked in. There's no reason to hold it back.

I don't hold things back from you guys out of glee. I hold things back because narrative drama, and because things are not locked in yet.

WeiryWriter

So there's still two [Shards] we don't know. Do you have those locked down or are those still...?

Brandon Sanderson

Those are a little more vague, like I haven't picked the words for them. I look for the right word, and sometimes I have the word that's the wrong synonym. Odium in this case would be Hatred. Calling the villain Hatred doesn't work in the same way that calling the villain Odium works. I'm looking for those right words.

Dragonsteel 2022 ()
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Questioner

My favorite god, Sazed/Harmony, in my recent reread I got a bit angry at him because he didn’t let kandra be able to reproduce, but he let the koloss be able to do it. And I’m wondering if there’s a way he could have allowed that, but he chose not to? And also if there’s a way that it could happen in the future, so that two of my favorite people could have a baby?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a couple things that he was facing, and let me walk you through his philosophy on this, which you are allowed to disagree with. I want, for every character I write, there to be things they do that you disagree with, because otherwise I’m writing all characters to be the same person, if that makes sense.

The kandra have immortality and are able to perpetuate their culture by being immortal for as long as the individuals live. The koloss don’t have that, meaning that if he didn’t make koloss able to breed true, the entire people vanish in one generation and all culture associated with them. And so because of that, he took the extra effort to change the koloss to allow for this sort of thing. But he did it in such a way that they would not have to have hemalurgic spikes, because the idea of making new hemalurgic spikes is extremely distasteful to Harmony. Reusing old ones is a thing he was willing to allow, but new ones he didn’t.

Could he have changed the kandra to be similar? Well, the answer is kind of a fairly... yes, but they would no longer have been the kandra, they would have been rolled back to being what they were before the Lord Ruler. And so they basically would stop being what they are that makes them unique as a culture. And he decided not to do that.

You can disagree with that, and I think there are some pretty valid arguments against the choice he made, but that is the choice he made.

Is there a way going forward? Yes, this is theoretically possible.

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.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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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.

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.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner

Did Harmony give Ironeyes full Mistborn powers, or anything other than what he has with his spikes...

Brandon Sanderson

Just what he has with the spikes, I believe. No-- okay let's say this: Harmony did not do anything... That doesn't mean that Marsh hasn't done things himself.

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

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.

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.

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! :)

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.

Holiday signing ()
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little wilson

Are Ruin and Preservation separate in Sazed or are they fully combined together like can he give one of them, or does he have to give both.

Brandon Sanderson

They are not fully combined. I mean that's not the way this works. He could pull off a piece of one even and make-- stuff like that. That's totally, totally viable. I mean it's basically what happened with the spren. The spren existed before even Honor was destroyed and things like that.

little wilson

So, did the-- my gosh, on Sel-- the Aons-- not the Aons-- the seons did they exist before the Splintering?

Brandon Sanderson

They did not. That's a good question. But they are not the majority of the power. They're just little pieces, they are like the sparks when something gets destroyed. The sparks are not the majority but they are the sparks that were thrown off, if that makes sense?

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...

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.

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.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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Phantine

A friend of mine was thinking Harmony's two-power combination 'perk' was the ability to use them together to create instead of just to destroy or preserve.

Was that 'chemical reaction' rule in the plan from the beginning, or was having Harmony more a precedent to develop a rule from it?

Brandon Sanderson

It was pretty early. (The idea that the two together can create was mentioned very early in the series, long before Harmony came to be.)

JordanCon 2021 ()
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Questioner

Is there a significance between Harmony and Discord being musical terms? And would they be considered different Investiture tones? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. So what's going on here is that... it is significant, I chose those two terms very specifically. Not gonna tell you a lot about Discord or things like that, but the idea is that idea of Harmony is in... the sounds are in harmony, they are working together. In Discord they are not. I wouldn't call them Investiture tones, more the way the two tones are responding to each other.

/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.

Firefight Miami signing ()
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Questioner

How far does Sazed's power actually extend?

Brandon Sanderson

It is mostly limited to his immediate sphere of influence, so the planet.

Questioner

...But doesn't he move stars at the end?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he moved the planet. His solar system, he can definitely have influence on the whole solar system. But none of the other planets around Scadrial are inhabited.