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JordanCon 2016 ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Did the Lord Ruler create the lerasium that he gave to the ten foreign kings? Or where they put there by Leras--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question… No one's asked me that before, I don't believe. Did the Lord Ruler create the lerasium that he gave-- No, he found the lerasium. It was existent before his Ascension.

Questioner

Can I ask if it was placed there intentionally by Leras or did it sort of grow similar to how atium--

Brandon Sanderson

The Lord Ruler-- It was not placed for him, he had to-- he had to get it.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#5 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Why is there such an imbalance between the amount of atium and the amount of lerasium in the world? Also, why are atium and lerasium very imbalanced in Allomantic power (Lerasium is far more useful than atium, really)?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There isn't. Leras is just spread out further. He is in the mists, in the Well, and in the lerasium. Ruin's power however is condensed strictly in atium.

TWG Posts ()
#6 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?

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

What's lerasium?

Brandon Sanderson

That is the bead of metal that Elend finds at the end of Book 2, that Vin finds and gives to Elend.

Questioner

Oh so there were only two and the Lord Ruler kind of left it there?

Brandon Sanderson

There actually were a bunch of them, and the first Mistborn came from people who ate that. The Lord Ruler took one for himself and he left others there to use if he needed them.

Rithmatist Provo signing ()
#10 Copy

little wilson (paraphrased)

Brandon confirmed that "the element" is the bead of lerasium. Which confirms both this theory, and the theory that Hoid wrote the letter.

When I asked the question, I also thought the element and the lerasium were different. I asked it as a "Hoid clearly has a habit for taking important items. He has the bead of lerasium and the element. What other items does he have that we should know about?"

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon's response was that the bead and the element are the same. And that he has many items he should not have.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

I was curious, what would happen if a full Mistborn burned lerasium? What would the Allomantic powers be?

Brandon Sanderson

Oohh, excellent, excellent question. So, I have not revealed what lerasium does if you already have Investiture. So, the answer to that is a RAFO. We've actually had like three people ask that tonight, so there must have been a discussion on the Sh-- the forums about it and I didn't answer them, so I can't answer you.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Preservation's Power

All right, so maybe I lied about there only being three magic systems in this book. It comes down to how you term the powers of Preservation and Ruin, who kind of blanket the entire system. There are a lot of things going on here, and—well, the truth is I don't want to mention all of them, for fear of spoiling future books. However, I'll give you a few rules to apply.

First, to these forces, energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation's did in the bead of metal Elend ate. Second, there is a bit of Preservation inside of all the people—and it's this that allows the people to perform Allomancy. It needs to be awakened and stirred to be of use, but when it is, a proper metal can draw forth more of Preservation's power. It's like the metal attunes the bit within the person, allowing it to act as a catalyst to grab more power.

Allomancy is not fueled by metal; it is fueled by Preservation. The metal is the means by which a person can access that fuel, however. If there were another way to access it, then the metal wouldn't be needed.

Preservation's touch on people differs. Some have more, some have less. This doesn't make them better or worse people—indeed, some most touched by Preservation have been among the worst people in the world. As Ruin later points out, there is a difference between being evil and being destructive.

Regardless, if a person can get more Preservation into them, they become better Allomancers. Hence Elend becoming a Mistborn. Like all people, he had the potential within him—it was just too small of a potential to be awakened through normal means. That little jolt of Preservation's body, however, expanded and awakened his Allomancy.

As a tidbit, that was a side effect of what that bead of metal did. It wasn't the main purpose of the bead, and if another Allomancer were to burn it, it would do something else.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#13 Copy

SageOfTheWise

In allomancy, normal metals are simply a tool that channels allomancers already existing connection to the power of preservation, which is why non allomancers don't get powers from digesting metal. But if I understand it correctly, god metals are an exception, since they are a form of a shards power, burning them directly uses the power stored within.

If I have this right, how come a normal person can burn Lerasium, but not Atium? Or could they, and no ones thought to try? But if that was true why are there Atium mistings?

Brandon Sanderson

Suffice it to say that what people both in the books and out think about the god metals has some holes in it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#21 Copy

Bithorp

On the Coppermind there is this idea that if a natural Mistborn burned Duralumin and then Lerasium it would empower them to godly levels. Would this actually happen or would another effect happen.

Brandon Sanderson

That actually wouldn't work, but it is a clever idea.

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

little_wilson

So, Brandon. Hoid. I remember you saying at the Idaho Falls signing last year that he was in Well of Ascension. We, your dedicated fans who like scouring books searching for obscure characters who have any possibility of being the mysterious Hoid, have yet to find him. Peter sent us on a hunt for him (Hoid, not Peter...) in the deleted scenes, and we found his boot-print.

Now, I think he broke the pottery there too—the one holding the lerasium—and since there's broken pottery in the actual version, I think he may have snuck into the cavern and broken it as well. If so, is this Hoid's part in Well of Ascension? This trace of him? I commend you if it is. It is clever, making us think it was a person, when in fact it's just something he did.

Brandon Sanderson

You are on the right track, but wrong on one point. Hoid does appear in the book.

I had originally toyed with making his touch on the novel more obscure, but decided that I wanted to be consistent with the other novels by actually having him appear. Once I realized I'd probably cut the scene with the footprint, I decided I needed this actual appearance even more badly.

Fortunately, I knew what Hoid had been up to all this time, and had placed him in a position where several characters could run into him. In Well of Ascension, Hoid believed (as Vin did) that the Well was in the North, even though it was not. He spent much of the book pursuing this idea.

Through events, however, he discovered he was wrong. He made the realization after Vin did, but only because of a chance meeting. (This is recorded in the books. Let's just say he was listening in when someone implied that the Well was in Luthadel.)

He hurried to Luthadel, and was in the town, skulking about in the last parts of the novel. He isn't seen here, though he does still infiltrate the Well. (Hoid is quite proficient at manipulating Shadesmar for his own ends.)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#24 Copy

CPiGuy2728

What would happen to someone who burned an alloy of Lerasium and lead? Would they a) gain Mistborn powers and a splitting headache from trying to burn lead, b) gain Mistborn powers and no splitting headache, c) just get the splitting headache, d) gain the ability to burn lead without a splitting headache, or e) die of lead poisoning?

Brandon Sanderson

This is a RAFO, not because I want to imply that lead has some big secret to it, but because I don't want to dig into the mechanics of Lerasium right now--and I don't want to kick off more questions like this at the moment.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#26 Copy

Questioner 1

What would happen if you used lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy? Um lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy--

Questioner 1

Would it work or would it just not work?

Brandon Sanderson

No I mean it would work--

Questioner 1

If you were to place a lerasium spike would you transform into a full Mistborn as opposed to--

Questioner 2

Well it can also steal powers, not just grant them, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, right. The thing about it is you're trying to Invest something that is already very Invested, which always has weird effects. So while you could do it, it would be a gross waste of the potential. It's like using a nuclear bomb as a paperweight. It is functional but--

Questioner 1

Does that mean it would be hard, for example, to make Nightblood stick something? Because--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it would be very hard to make Nightblood stick to something. The amount of Investiture in Nightblood is--

Bystander

Astronomical?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Larger than most things you've seen. So Pushing on Nightblood, really hard.

Kraków signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

Did Hoid use the bead of lerasium to rewrite his spiritual DNA or Web in a way other than just giving himself allomantic powers?

Brandon Sanderson

His goal was to become an Allomancer.

Questioner

And did he use it to create other powers than Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

It could not give powers other than allomancy.

Questioner

Because it’s lerasium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Oversleep

So he did burn it and become a Mistborn, right?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen him use Allomancy…

Oversleep

Yes, because it’s creating a lot of <misunderstandings>.

Brandon Sanderson

You have actually seen him use Allomancy.

Footnote: Brandon still refuses to say whether Hoid did burn lerasium
Skyward Houston signing ()
#36 Copy

Paladin Brewer [PENDING REVIEW]

Previously you were asked if Hoid could have been using the Lerasium to alloy with other metals to change his spiritweb, and you answered it was technically possible. Does that mean you’re finally admitting that Hoid did not digest the bead?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I am not admitting that. It was possible for him to do that, but he did not.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#37 Copy

SageOfTheWise

Is there a reason why Rashek left a nugget of Lerasium at the Well of Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

He left several. It was, in his opinion, one of the best kept secrets and best protected locations in his empire.

Phantine

Were there originally 16 of them?

Brandon Sanderson

An excellent guess.

Manchester signing ()
#38 Copy

BlackYeti

Because you've talked about alloying the god metals with other ones-- I was wondering whether you would be able to melt them down as you would with normal metals.

Brandon Sanderson

If you could distill the god metal: you could distill it out of the mist, that's theoretically possible.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#42 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

So, in Allomancy, most of the metals are in pairs, they're equal and opposite, pushing and pulling, Rioting, Soothing, that kind of thing. The god metals have always-- lerasium and atium, have always struck me as kind of unbalanced in a way. Like, lerasium gives you the power to use all these metals, plus atium being one of them. Is there a reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, there is, and it kinda has to do with Snapping and some of the fundamental rules of the Mistborn world and the fact that people have Preservation and Ruin inside of them and all these sorts of things. So, the answer is yes.

Partially, narratively, I built that in partially just 'cause I wanted atium to seem odd in the placement, right, when people got to it it's like "What? Why is this one-- This one doesn't match the others. This doesn't really work." When I was building Mistborn, one of the big things I wanted was this idea of a periodic table that was, kind of a flawed construct, that, as you read the books, you came to understand better and better. And that was something I executed-- I don't think I executed that 100% right, but I'm pleased with the general concept and how it plays out. And so I wanted atium to stick out like a sore thumb.

The other thing is, I knew I needed some good foreshadowing for Fortune, for people being able to kinda see the future or versions of the future, for the whole cosmere to work. And, so, I built in atium specifically to do those things. And I built in lerasium to have, kind of, the ultimate sort of benevolent endowment sort of thing. (Not Endowment the Shard, you know what I mean.) But I also wanted to show these two magics were intrinsically tied together on Scadrial because the way that humankind was created. We're getting into some deep stuff, I'll just leave it there. But that was what was going through my mind as I was building those things all out. 

Calamity Austin signing ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

Can you share any abilities that Hoid has accrued so far in the books, does he-- with him taking the bead, I can't even pronounce the L-word...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, lerasium, he is indeed an Allomancer. So. That has happened. I haven't confirmed much else, but he does have that.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#47 Copy

Questioner

I was also wondering if... I just finished reading the Ars Arcanum in the back of Bands of Mourning and I heard it mention that god metals could be alloyed to give different abilities or traits.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Could you give an example of one?

Brandon Sanderson

So, you could alloy lerasium with certain metals of the sixteen in the table and get, if you had just enough lerasium, it would make them a misting of those powers.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

The size of the metal, does it matter to transfer Allomancy or can it be really really tiny or really really big?

Brandon Sanderson

For Allomancy? Or what, a bead of lerasium? Is that what you're talking about?

Questioner

Yeah, when you're transferring the powers, like to make someone a Mistborn...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it has to be-- The size of it is going to influence how strong a Mistborn you are.

Questioner

It couldn't be a sliver.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah-- Well it could, you'd just be really weak as a Mistborn.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemallurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemallurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and t less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal. Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Halfshard?

Brandon Sanderson

A halfshard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soul stamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soul stamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of investiture going on in a soul stamp.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#50 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.