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Leipzig Book Fair ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Odium has, as I understand it, something like the meaning of God's divine wrath. How is wrath on its own able to cause such terrible destruction? I  mean, he primarily attacked di-Shardic worlds like Sel and Roshar, so could he just have sowed discord between Shards there to an extent of them actually fighting against each other and then just *inaudible*.

Brandon Sanderson

That is a good theory, that he got them to fight against each other. I won't tell you whether it happened or not, but it is a very valid theory. It's fully within his capacity; that's the sort of thing that he does.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#2 Copy

WeiryWriter

How aware is Odium of the Seventeenth Shard? Hoid mentions that he has to be careful to keep his head down as he doesn't want Odium to catch him. Given the history between the two that makes sense, but would Odium have the same policy for the Sharders, or does he not view them as a threat?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

The line about "three of sixteen [ruled] and now the Broken One reigns" - did Odium follow three other Shards to Roshar or is he the third Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Odium is the third Shard on Roshar.

Footnote: The questioner is referring to the epigraph of Chapter 11 of The Way of Kings: "Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns."
Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#6 Copy

Argent

Some of the few Shards Rayse Splintered included Ambition, I believe, Dominion, and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

And those were all way back, in the history. So, we know that the Shards' personalities overrides the Vessel's personality over time?

Brandon Sanderson

Strongly influence, and depending on the individual, override.

Argent

Okay. So did Rayse choose those Shards because--

Brandon Sanderson

He went after Ambition first, but didn't find Ambition until after going after Devotion and Dominion. But Ambition was number one on his hit list.

Argent

Was it because of the Shard or because of the Vessel? Like did he hate the person?

Brandon Sanderson

In this case it was the Shard, primarily, that drove him--

Argent

Oh, he was maybe afraid the Shard would grow too powerful and take over--

Brandon Sanderson

He was afraid that this Shard that would rival him. And so he's like "This one is number one on the hit list. We're taking down Ambition." But then he got trapped in the Rosharan system.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#9 Copy

yulerule

So, we have Shard names; Ruin, Preservation, Harmony, Cultivation, Honor, Ambition, Autonomy, Devotion, Dominion. Those are pretty much regular English words. And then we have Odium. That's a little more Latinate. It's not-- It doesn't fit the pattern.

Brandon Sanderson

So I don't really look as something as Latinate or Germanic, when I'm picking the names usually.

yulerule

But this one is more. Even in Devotion or Dominion, their more regular English. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

I just look for the thing that feels right. Remember, all these words are in translation. When you read the book, they were a word in the original language of the book, that then we have translated to English. And so, don't look to much about what's Greek, what's Latin, what's Germanic. I will mix those a lot. And that's just because I'm looking for the word that has right resonance in English, that I'm writing in. You might even find Latin and Greek mixes in some of my stuff. And that's not done to be like, "Oh, you should be paying [attention]." Usually, I'm just looking for a flavor.

yulerule

So is the flavor-- Because I actually did have *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Because Odium is cooler. It just sounds cooler. There is no answer other than "I like the word better."

yulerule

Is there any connection with the thought that it's not Hatred? Because in Oathbringer, he says he's Passion?

Brandon Sanderson

He would claim that he's Passion and not Odium. But that is part of why I chose it. Hatred felt too on-the-nose, because there is quite arguably that step toward just being all Passion, and that's what he claims that he is.

yulerule

His own perception of himself, can perception, in the cosmere, can that influence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it can influence.

yulerule

So the Shard's intent can--

Brandon Sanderson

Can be influenced by their perception and the holder's, yes.

West Jordan signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

So Ruin and Preservation combine. When Odium slays the Shardbearers [Vessels], why doesn’t he absorb the enemy Shards?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Because that would actually change the way he views the world. The Shard would actually start to influence him, and could actually ruin who he views himself as being. So instead of combining them all, his goal is to destroy them all and be the only one left at his power level.

Questioner (paraphrased)

So by his nature, he can't combine?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I mean he could, but it would change his nature. So he won't.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#11 Copy

Wolfbeckett

Are things that are written by scholars on Roshar suspect? In Mistborn, Ruin could change anything that was written down, so can Odium do the same? Are written words on Roshar: untrustworthy, trustworthy because that ability was somehow limited to Ruin, or trustworthy because Odium COULD do it but just won't because it's not his style/he doesn't consider it?

Brandon Sanderson

Odium didn't have a hand in creating Roshar, and his essence doesn't permeate it in the same way as Ruin permeated Scadrial. This gave Ruin a great deal more power over things like this--except when he ran into metals, of course.

Another difference is that Odium has a fully-living, fully-aware, and very powerful Shard opposing him. (Contrasted to one that was half-dead and going mad.)

So yes, you can trust much of what was written. Odium can be subtle when he needs to be, but his primary avenue of attack has been along a different line than the one Ruin used.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#12 Copy

mooglefrooglian

Shallan explains the theory that all spren can be divided into two categories (emotions and forces). Jasnah then links these to Cultivation and Honor, and also notes that voidspren are of Odium.

Is this theory maybe a little incomplete? Is there a third category of spren for "sensationspren" like painspren (which don't seem to involve emotions or forces)?

Brandon Sanderson

In Vorin thought, those would be emotions, but that doesn't mean that the scholars who think about these things are right.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#13 Copy

Autarchk

If I can ask a question, I just read the Mistborn trilogy and, were Preservation and Ruin two different shards or a single one with their power split somehow? If they were two shards, does that mean a single person can hold more than one, since Harmony apparently holds both now?

Brandon Sanderson

They were two shards.

Yes, one entity can hold more than one. Remember that holding a shard changes you, over time. Rayse knows this, and prefers to leave behind destroyed rivals as opposed to taking their power and potentially being overwhelmed by it.

Nepene

I have a question, if you are willing. Would Ruin be more compatible with Rayse, would he pick up that shard had he visited Scadrial and shattered him? All the shards we have seen that he has shattered seem rather different in intent than him- Honor, Cultivation, Love, Dominion. But Ruin seems more in line with Odium. Rayse has ruined the days of quite a few people.

Brandon Sanderson

Technically, Ruin would be most compatible with Cultivation. Ruin's 'theme' so to speak is that all things must age and pass. An embodiment of entropy. That power, separated from the whole and being held by a person who did not have the willpower to resist its transformation of him, led to something very dangerous. But it was not evil. None of the sixteen technically are, though you may have read that Hoid has specific beef with Rayse. Whether you think of Odium as evil depends upon how much you agree with Hoid's particular view.

That said, Ruin would have been one of the 'safer' of the sixteen for Rayse to take, if he'd been about that. Odium is by its nature selfish, however, and the combination of it and Rayse makes for an entity that fears an additional power would destroy it and make it into something else.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

What Shard is the opposite of Odium in the sense of the *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

There are several that could be considered opposites--

Questioner

I mean in the assimilation sense, you’ve said that Odium doesn’t want to absorb any of the other ones but which one would want to?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, which one would want to join with him?

Questioner

Or any of them.

Brandon Sanderson

I think that if personalities had been different, Honor and Odium, there would have been a very natural pairing, not that they’re opposites but they would have attracted. [...]

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#19 Copy

LordSkybreaker

Hey u/mistborn I have a couple questions about Magic: the gathering.

What colors/kind of deck do you play in magic?

What colors are the known shards?

What colors are the various orders of the knights Radiant?

And finally, have you ever thought of doing the story for Wizards Of The Coast on one of their mtg blocks?

Brandon Sanderson

Any combo-style deck I can draft--or esper if I'm constructed.

Ruin: Black. Odium: Red. Honor: White. Preservation: White. Cultivation: Green. Devotion: Green/red. Dominion: Black/White. Autonomy: It's complicated.

(Also, question 3 is way too large for me to commit to right now. And for 4, if the right opportunity came along and they were interested, I could see myself doing this.)

SoupOrMan692

What about Endowment and Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

Ambition is mono-black, and endowment is probably mono-green. Some of the blue shards are ones we haven't seen as much from yet.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#20 Copy

2dark_22

RAFOed I'm sure, but you said you are planing 2 arcs of 5 books each in Stormlight Archive. Having read all of your published works (and some unpublished:)) I know your storytelling pace is astronomicaly quick. I'm positive you will end current desolation story in the first 5 books, since as I understod, other 5 books will be set in near future in SA universe. So I guess my question is; can you drop any hint will Odium survive to see 6th SA book:)?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Odium will survive. Now, whether the one HOLDING that power will survive...that's a different question. :) (Not quite a RAFO.)

General Twitter 2018 ()
#26 Copy

Alvaro Lopez

Why Odium is stronger and worst evil than Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

One reason is that Ruin had a person in control of it who, for many years, fought against the impulse to destroy--and in the end, channeled it toward entropy and decay, necessary elements of the universe. Odium represents something else entirely.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#35 Copy

zas678 (paraphrased)

Can Odium influence people the same way that Ruin can?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, you see, the kandra and the koloss have a "hole" in them that allows Ruin to come in and take over. The Parshendi naturally are protected from this, but when they expose themselves to the storms, and the spren come in, many of these spren have that kind of "hole" in them, and that's what allows Odium to take control of them.

zas678 (paraphrased)

No, I'm talking about how Ruin was able to push people, place things in their minds, stuff like that. Can Odium do the same thing?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, Odium wasn't around when those people were created, so it's a little different for him than Ruin. So if he influences people in that way, it's through the Unmade.

Rithmatist Denver signing ()
#36 Copy

Kogiopsis (paraphrased)

How long before the events of Elantris did Odium kill Aona/Devotion and Skai/Dominion?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Same time as the origins of the seons.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#38 Copy

UndertakerSheep

If I remember correctly, Allomancy is from Preservation, Hemalurgy is from Ruin and Feruchemy is from both Preservation and Ruin.

legobmw99

This is correct. It isn't caused by a shard, but the interaction of two opposing shards

Invisible_Walrus

Would something like that happen between honor and odium?

legobmw99

I just read WoK the other day, I have yet to start in on WoR. That said, my speculation is possibly, but I don't think so. It sounds kind of like Odium isn't from Roshar. Maybe I'm wrong there, but I got that impression. That would mean his form of investiture is somewhere else.

Also, I think that the reason Preservation and Ruin have Feruchemy is also that they worked together to create. There has to be some reason that they interacted while others didn't, and I would guess it is probably their working together

Edit: We could summon [Brandon] but I am almost positive this would get RAFO'd

Brandon Sanderson

...RAFO.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#39 Copy

faragorn

When I asked you during a signing about how Rayse took down the other shards, you RAFOd it. Was that because it will be explicitly covered at some point in the series, or more because the subject will affect things later (possibly vaguely answering my question) and you dont want the info to get out too early?

And can you give anything on when it might be touched on? Front five, back five, book five?

Brandon Sanderson

There are a ton of reasons, and you've touched on several. It will be touched on increasingly going forward, but I'm not going to say when (firmly) it will be discussed in depth.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing ()
#40 Copy

Hoidonalsium

What was the order of the Shards coming to Roshar and changing allegiances? Did humans come with Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

So... you're talking about on Roshar specifically? So, Odium had visited Roshar. The humans gave him more of an ear... The Dawnsingers would have considered him the god of the people who had come, but-- I mean, it wasn't like they necessarily brought him. He was capable of getting around before that. I mean, he did kinda come along with them, he was instrumental in what happened there.

Hoidonalsium

Okay, but he was separate, and after Honor and Cultivation had really settled there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he was after Honor and Cultivation had settled.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#42 Copy

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

Skyward release party ()
#45 Copy

JoyBlu

At the end of Oathbringer there is an agreement between Odium and Taravangian.

"If you help me, I will save your family.  Anyone within two generations of you."

Taravangian says "Not enough."

"Then we have no deal"

And so then they go on and they make the deal that says "The city itself, and any humans who have been born into it, along with their spouses."

Was the grandchildren included in that? -- or was it meant to be ambiguous?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on where they were born.

JoyBlu

And then, Grandchildren. There are three listed of Taravangian's: Gvori, Karavangia, and Ruli.  There is also the one that Shallan drew the picture of which I think is a different one.  Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

*nods head in agreement*

JoyBlu

So far we have four granddaughters.  Karavangia is obviously named after her grandfather, Right?

Brandon Sanderson

*nods head in agreement*

JoyBlu

Does he have more grandchildren named after him?

Brandon Sanderson

*shakes head no*

Why are you asking?

JoyBlu

I was wondering if Tarah was somehow related to Taravangian.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, no.

Phoenix Comicon 2013 ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

When one of the shards, like Odium, move from world to world in the cosmere, does their presence, like the metals they leave behind and their magic, leave with them?

Brandon Sanderson

Odium never really settled on a planet.  He is now settled on Roshar and his magic has permeated things.  Leaving would be very difficult for him. It would either involve leaving behind some of his power or ripping that out, which would be a difficult process.  So yes it is very tough to leave.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#50 Copy

Blightsong (paraphrased)

Is it normal for people to become Connected to an area after being there for a bit, like with Kel and wherever he was when he found the Ire, or is something special going on?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is normal for a cognitive shadow to get stuck to places, because they exist through investiture it is normal for them to get tied to an area. Kelsier was still in Scadrial when he found the Ire. This happened with Odium and the two shards on Roshar, Preservation to Ruin, and the Heralds.