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Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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How did all the characters learn about the different magic systems?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it really depends on the character, and the situation, and things like that.


How did the first person discover, like--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Mistborn powers? Ruin and Preservation, in that case, were actively cultivating the society, particularly Preservation. Some of it comes through that. Some of it comes through, if you have the Investiture, part of you kinda knows about it. But it takes experience, so you have to know the right things, and stuff. I'll get into it more eventually.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Ruin in the Cache

So, you'll notice that Ruin appears to Vin here in the form of Reen. One might wonder why he even needed her to investigate if he could visit the cache himself.

This reveals the main problem Ruin was dealing with in this instance. The Lord Ruler was very clever in how he placed and organized these caches. He planned them in locations where there was so much metal in the ground that it would prevent Ruin from discovering them. And, more importantly, he trained his obligators—Yomen included—not to speak of what was down below or reveal the locations of the caches.

Ruin didn't know there was a cache here, not until Vin found the previous plate. Even once he knew where the cache was, he couldn't see much when he visited it. He couldn't know if there was atium there, for the entire area—particularly because of the metal cans Vin mentions—glowed so brightly that Ruin had no idea what he was seeing.

He needed a pawn to visit, one through whose eyes he could see. One who could discover where the atium was. Ruin drew the same conclusion Vin did here—that if there had been atium, Yomen would have moved it. But where? Ruin still needed her to find it for him. Either that or bring in an Inquisitor, something he eventually decided to do.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
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Chaos (paraphrased)

What would have happened if Ruin did get the atium? Yeah, the world is destroyed, but how does Ruin "absorb" the atium so he can utilize the power?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He would metabolize it, just like the normal people have to do. However, if he did get it he would then be able to destroy the world.

General Reddit 2013 ()
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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.


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.

Legion Release Party ()
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Does Nightblood contain any of Ruin's Investiture? Like, not atium, but...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically; and I'm not wiggling around that, because technically, location in the Cosmere and who belongs to what gets really weird, right? Because Ruin's Investiture is everywhere--but I'm not talking that way. I'm talking the way you actually mean it. 

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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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.)

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Why does Ruin's voice constantly tell Vin not to trust Kel or Elend? Especially when she trusted their advice? Weren't the 'good guys' enablers of his plan?


It's also generally useful. Her having solid, stable relationships makes her harder to control. Even when he expects all of them to work towards his goals, if he needs to break them up, or get them to keep secrets from each other, it'll be easier if their alliance is tenuous.

Remember, Vin did a lot of trusting in that final book. She delayed the attack on Fadrex City by convincing Elend, just with a look, to play along with her as she tried to fool Ruin into thinking she had the atium.

Brandon Sanderson

This is on target.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)


Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds. It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds. So "both" is a good guess.


I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it. Thank you for mentioning that he is in these two other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

Brandon Sanderson

The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books. Other clues and links between the books can be found as well. (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them. Others have gone unspotted so far.)

General Twitter 2018 ()
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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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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The Hero of Ages prophecy: For a while it seemed to me that the prophecy was entirely bogus (invented by Ruin as a lure), but it ended up coming true! So my question is, where did the prophecy actually come from? Was it Atium in some form, or something else entirely?

Brandon Sanderson

The religions of Scadrial had a lot of ups and downs. First, you have Ruin and Preservation working together as two gods. Then you have the schism between them, and Preservation betraying Ruin, with Preservation adapting the religion to his own needs and trying to hide in it practices that will keep Ruin imprisoned as long as possible, and then give a chance to defeat him when he escapes. (As Preservation assumes he'll be dead by then.) Finally, you have Ruin corrupting the religions with his influence, trying to figure out what he can twist to his own needs--while missing the hidden layers that Preservation left.


Were there a lot of Hero of Ages who ascended beyond the ones we directly saw in the books?

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say so.

General Reddit 2012 ()
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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.)


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.

JordanCon 2021 ()
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It seems to me like the Shards each have a color associated with them. Honor I think is blue, Odium is gold... My first question would be, what colors would be associated with Preservation and Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I have always associated white and black with Preservation and Ruin.


Would that have changed for Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have changed for Harmony. But I won't say what it is.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Spook Plans to Flood the Streetslots

You may note a tiny bit of hypocrisy on Spook's part here. He blasts the Citizen for killing nobleman to improve his reputation while keeping the Allomancers for himself. (And, indeed, Spook is right to be so critical.) However, Spook's plan here—to return the water to the canals and build his own reputation—is, in many ways, just as much fakery as the Citizen's actions. Spook plans to "magically" restore the waters and make himself look like a hero, engineering his own deus ex machina end to this story.

This is Ruin's taint upon him—Ruin, who doesn't believe in building things up or improving the lives of others, but who relies on shells of reputation and impressive acts for his followers. Much as Hemalurgy is a false way to become an Allomancer, Ruin is using false methods to bring Spook notoriety.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part Four

Vin's Sacrifice

Killing Elend and leaving Vin alive would have been, in my opinion, more tragic than what happened. As I establish in a little bit, there is an afterlife in this cosmology. Better for them both to die and to be together.

There were only two ways that Ruin could have died in this book. The first would be to have him give up his life as Preservation did. I don't think that was very likely.

The second way is the one I've been subtly pushing the reader toward from the very beginning of the novel. Ruin and Preservation are opposites. Equal, particularly while Ruin doesn't have access to the chunk of his power trapped in the atium. The only way, then, for him to be killed would be for Preservation to smash his power against that of Ruin and destroy both of them. It's a form of balance. Either you block and stop each other, warding each other away, or you overlap and destroy one another.

This was the role Preservation chose Vin to play all those years ago. As she surmises, he needed someone to do what he could not. He had been too corrupted by his power, and could not destroy Ruin. If Vin had held the power for millennia as Preservation had before her, then she too would have lost the ability to destroy Ruin.

It needed to be someone fresh to the power, still separate enough from it to be able to kill Ruin. Preservation knew that if he did not sacrifice himself and let someone else take up the power, then Ruin would eventually win and the world would end. Imprisoning Ruin was always only intended to be a delaying tactic.

The delay was so that the power could find a new person to bear it. Someone who could do what Preservation could not.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Ruin Helps Destruction Along

Ruin makes an interesting comment here. He says that he couldn't refuse to help the Lord Ruler, since the Lord Ruler was destroying so beautifully. Ruin will help an enemy if there is destruction in it.

That's something to remember when thinking about this book. Some of the things Ruin does, he does to set up his plans. Others are just about destruction. He's convinced that he's won—even before Vin's capture, Ruin knows that there is nothing that can be done to stop him.

In his mind, he's just playing with people, biding his time as most of his power is focused on bringing earthquakes, ash, and lava upon the world. Yes, he wants the atium to complete his power, but he doesn't need it. Or so he thinks.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The Storage Caches

One of the major revisions I made to the book during drafting was to reduce the number of storage caches. Originally I'd planned for eleven or twelve. The one here in Vetitan was still going to be the penultimate, with Fadrex being the last—the team just would have discovered more of them between books.

I changed this in order to make the cache in Fadrex seem more important. I wanted to get across the idea that taking that city was vital to the plans and goals of the team, and making it have one of five caches instead of one of twelve seemed to help with that.

In the first draft, the major draw of the final cache was the hope that it contained atium. But I realized that atium just wasn't that useful anymore—or, at least, many of the reasons it might have been useful are no longer important to the characters. Vin's instinct is right—the atium is more important than it might seem at first, but the original draft made it look like they were chasing a hope for something that wasn't even very useful. So, during revisions, I inserted Elend's acknowledgment that they don't really need atium, and I also added Vin's instinct that it's vital. We'll see how this plays out.

Of course, the reason Vin has an instinct that atium is vital is because of Ruin's touch on her emotions, driving her to seek out the final cache, where Ruin himself hopes to find that atium. To him, Vin and Elend are just another pair of pawns—in some ways more useful than Inquisitors because they don't even know they're following his goals. Ruin isn't sure if these caches will have the atium—he's in fact rather suspicious that this is a ruse of the Lord Ruler—but he's willing to dedicate some resources to the possibility, hence what he did to send Elend and Vin searching out the caches. He worries that there will be some kind of guard set at the final cache or the atium that has been told to watch for Inquisitors and keep them away, and he feels that using Vin and Elend is both more clever and potentially more effective than just sending an Inquisitor.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss Attack Anyway

That's not to say that there aren't some very daunting things happening in this chapter. Ruin controls the koloss, and always has. Every time that Vin and company took control of them, Ruin allowed it. He didn't always like losing Inquisitors to the fights, and sometimes would have preferred that the battles went differently. However, when it came down to either having the koloss under his direct control, or having them under Vin and Elend's control, he chose the latter. Because it set him up for a time like this, when he could turn their own army against them.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's voice here has gotten to the point where Spook no longer questions its presence, though he still hesitates to do what it says. For those of you who are paying attention to the connections between the books, it should start to seem more and more like the voice that Zane heard in book two. This one is a little bit more powerful and controlled than the one Zane heard—but then, Ruin is free now and can affect things more directly.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Spook Asks Kelsier for Help Talking to Beldre

"Kelsier" can't help Spook with relationship advice, which is telling. Ruin doesn't understand relationships at all. It's one of his main weaknesses.

In creating Ruin as a villain, I wanted to shy away from making a force that was purely evil. I don't believe that Ruin is evil, personally. I believe that he's actually justified in what he's trying to do.

That doesn't mean the characters should just sit back and let him destroy the world. However, he is a force given sentience—or, rather, sentience that has attached itself to a force. Regardless, that force drives him and dominates him. And destruction is a natural part of life.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin and Zane Watch Outside the Tent

Zane's cutting has an interesting evolution in the story. At first, I added him cutting himself simply because–well–it made a cool scene. Zane, cutting his own arm in front of his father, primarily to make the other man uncomfortable.

However, there's more behind this, and the cutting worked very well into the interaction of the different magic systems in the book. Particularly Hemalurgy. The pain makes the voice in Zane's head weaker. There will be more on this later.

I'll admit that I didn't originally intend to make the Zane-Kelsier connection with those scars on his arms. However, when writing this scene, I couldn't believe I'd missed seeing what a great opportunity I had. Vin already associates Zane with the Survivor; letting her see the scars on his arms gives her another powerful connection, particularly since she misinterprets where they came from.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
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Chaos (paraphrased)

Are Shards all paired? Does Endowment have a counterpart?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO. Also, yes and no. Not all Shards have perfect counterparts like Ruin and Preservation.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Why were Ruin and Preservation linked together?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Because they're such perfect opposites. Basically it's just an opposites attract thing.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Nine

The Mists Chose Someone

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than even the author of these epigraphs knows. Reasons why Vin was chosen, and why the power of Preservation needed a new mind to control it.

The author is right in that Preservation did need someone to control its power, and it did seek for a host in which to invest itself. It began this search with what mind it had left about sixteen years before the return of the power to the Well of Ascension, just as it began a search for a new host before the return of the power the previous time.

Unfortunately, just as Ruin took control and manipulated Alendi, he took control and manipulated Vin.

Writing for Charity Conference ()
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Zas678 (paraphrased)

Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier are half-skaa, half-noble, both natural Allomancers, both end up overthrowing the Lord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing what they were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you're looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulate and easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren't paid attention to as much by the Ministry, because the Ministry didn't know about them.

So it's mostly coincidental for what Ruin's trying to achieve

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

When I was designing the Three Metallurgic Arts for these books, I knew that I wanted Hemalurgy to have a built in flaw. A flaw that, as a deconstructionalist might say, was created intentionally and relied upon by the very force hoping it won't exploit it.

It was important to me that Ruin eventually be brought down, in part, because of things he did or flaws in his power. Preservation could simply build into the humans he created an innate goodness, then expect them to do as he hoped that they would. Ruin had to be able to directly corrupt and influence people. He felt himself stronger because he could MAKE them do exactly as he wanted.

The problem is, for his magic to work–for him to exercise control over someone–he had to leave a hole, so to speak, that other people could wiggle through and use. And so the entire "control the koloss" plot sequence in Book Two was intended to set up Hemalurgy, and in a way predict Ruin's fall.

Now, the only problem in all of this (for the heroes, at least) is that when Ruin actually got free, he was so strong that it was all but impossible for anyone else to "get through" the holes that he had left in his Hemalurgists. But it wasn't impossible. In a way, the foreshadowing in this book was meant to lay the seed that Ruin's control of his minions is not absolute. And an individual who wanted to resist him had that potential.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Ruin Escapes

So, yes. The crew has been manipulated. Everyone's been manipulated for a good thousand years. By this thing wanting to be released.

You'll find out more in the next chapter, but realize here that most everything about the traditions from the old days–the prophesies, all of that–has been manipulated.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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If Ruin had won, what would his long term goals for the Cosmere be?

Brandon Sanderson

Ruin's goals and motives were about fulfilling the needs of the Shard inside of him. It overwhelmed his personality, and corrupted him. He would seek for all things to be reduced to a state of entropic equilibrium.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
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Argent (paraphrased)

Ruin and Preservation were often represented in the Mistborn trilogy in terms of black and white. Is this imagery limited to that series, or do other Shards also have an associated hue?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This (Ruin & Preservation's colors) was because of the specific world and their perception of the world and themselves. Essentially, because of the dynamics of the interplay between Ruin and Preservation, they "chose" to view themselves as black and white respectively, so that's how they were represented. Also, because the only two Shards on Scadrial, and their natures were opposites, after the long period of time they spent on the same planet, they kind of "polarized." If similar thing happened on another world, similar coloring effect could happen.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Spook's Delusions of Grandeur

Spook thinks a line here that my editor, and several writing group members, tried to cut. It's the line where, just in narrative, it implies that Spook had been the one to overthrow the Lord Ruler. It says something like, "It was much like that night, the night when he had overthrown the Lord Ruler" with the narrative making it clear that the "he" was Spook.

You have to remember that I use a limited narrator, not an omniscient one. When I'm writing a scene from a character's viewpoint, the text is colored by what they think and their view of the world. This line is deliberate, as by this point Ruin has his claws deep into Spook and is making him begin to think things that just aren't true. It's getting difficult for Spook to distinguish Ruin's fantasies from the reality, and for a moment he inflated his own part in the overthrow of the Lord Ruler.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You've said that "The Pits of Hathsin were crafted by Preservation as a place to hide the chunk of Ruin's body that he had stolen away". How does one Shard steal a portion of another Shard and create a Physical outlet for it, like the Pits were for Ruin's power?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It has to do with clash between the two Shards' power. When pressed, he then said that it was "kind of" like splintering

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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In the Well of Ascension, Kwaan says that Ruin changed the words in the Feruchemists' metalminds. Ruin can't *inaudible* metal plates. I was wondering what the difference was?

Brandon Sanderson

Because they're in the person's head before they're going in the plates. And he can affect the power as it's transcribed between. Because the power is partially him, the Power of Creation of that world. So there is a bit of him inside of every person, and as the power is going from person into plate... It's kind of like how people can hack your phone through your wifi. Does that make sense? So, that's what's going on there.

General Signed Books 2017 ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Asks Ruin about Preservation

After this scene, perhaps you can see why I wanted so badly to spend some time with Vin and Ruin talking while she was imprisoned. I felt this was important enough that I was willing to stretch plausibility a tad to make it possible. (The spoiler in the chapter 54 annotation explains what I mean by that.)

The discussion of morality here is an important one, as I wanted Ruin and Preservation to represent forces, not moral poles. This is vital for various reasons in the underlying cosmology. If they represented poles, then that implied there could only be two like them. But, as they represent opposites, that leaves more room.

Preservation did betray Ruin. This brings us onto the shaky ground of the morality of lying to achieve a greater good. If as much were at stake as is here—the end of an entire world—then perhaps you'd betray someone too. (I love fantasy. Where else can you talk about the end of the world as a consequence of a betrayal and have it be literal?)

Ruin's consciousness—separate from his power—isn't a particularly nice being. But you can't much blame him, as there's very little that is left of the mind that once was. The force of Ruin has pretty well molded the mind to fit with the force's intent.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Can Odium or any other [Shards] edit text like Ruin could? ...Or is that a special Ruin thing.  

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible for others as well. The trick about it is, [Ruin] saturated everything on Scadrial in a way that not all Shards saturate their planets.  


Okay, what do you mean "saturate"?

Brandon Sanderson

Creating it, does that make sense? And so this was partially an aspect of the fact that everything on that planet, every atom was, y'know, had him in it... I mean he didn't create the atoms, let's say that, but yeah... The whole planet's existence and particularly the people on it are [Ruin], attuned to [Ruin].

Writing for Charity Conference ()
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Zas678 (paraphrased)

A question that has it's roots in Dragonsteel. When Ruin changes words, is he actually changing words,or is he changing what people see?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Did we canonize this question Peter? I'm pretty sure we did. I thought we answered this one already.

Let's just say that most of the time, Ruin was searching for a place to transition, where he could change what was being trans-transcribed. Or what was being heard, or what was being said.

Zas678 (paraphrased)

That's pretty interesting. 

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So the easiest time for him is when a scribe is writing in a new book, he's copying a new book down, and he just pops in and changes the words.

Zas678 (paraphrased)

Okay. That makes sense. 

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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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.


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

Brandon Sanderson

*RAFOes* You'll find out.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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I  never understood why Vin couldn't hold the Ruin Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

I could see a world where Vin maybe could have done it. But the trajectory she was on was opposed to it. Vin could have understood and become it. But what are the things that are keeping her? Vin, I don't think accepts, number one, that decay has to happen. She's experienced it a lot. But there's that piece inside her that doesn't want that to happen, doesn't want things to change, does not want people to leave her. I think that would be--if you read through, that's the soul, sort of, center event is, "Don't leave me, don't go away, don't change." And this is diametrically opposed to Ruin. People focus on the fact that she's good at killing and she is. But that heart, that soul...Ruin is more about things changing and decaying, than even about destroying.


And I guess that's the reason why she can hold Preservation very easily?

Brandon Sanderson


The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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In Mistborn 3, when Ruin is controlling Inquisitors. Before, they said that Inquisitors were bald. When Ruin is controlling them, does he still have them shave and stuff like that?

Brandon Sanderson

They still kind of go through their daily life. It's not like he's-- His control can get stronger, and weaker at times. And so they mostly kind of just do what they would normally be doing, until he moves that one right there at that moment where he seizes them, if that make sense. So yes, but it's less like he's like "I am now going to puppet-control them to go to the bathroom," right? He just lets them do that, and when he needs them he seizes control.

Orem signing 2014 ()
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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.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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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.)


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/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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It's a little odd that Preservation would inherently give up its power to fuel Allomancy, because you'd think he would preserve himself, you know? Does that make sense?

Brandon Sanderson

Preservation, as a Shard, is about preserving life, people, and the like. Not about self. No more than Ruin is about destroying self, or Cultivation is about growing herself.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Two - Part Two

Marsh and the Earring

Also, here we get a Marsh viewpoint. It's almost our last one. (I think there is one more in the next chapter.)

He didn't get much screen time, but I hope that what he did get led you to this climax for him. Spook's letter wasn't in vain, though I take delight in knowing that some of my alpha readers were convinced it had been.

I've been told my endings are a little too neat sometimes. Well, that might be valid criticism. However, I prefer it for this particular book. After three novels of building and foreshadowing, I can finally make good on promises and threads I began way back in book one. There's a reason I included that scene with Marsh and Vin on the balcony of Mansion Renoux. Marsh had to know how she'd gotten her earring.

You can probably see it now. Vin's mother, who was schizophrenic, was corrupted by Ruin, who spoke in her mind. He got her to love her first daughter, but hate her second—to see the second as a repulsive monster. In her insanity, she killed the second daughter by cutting open her chest and ramming a pin through her heart. Then, she stuck that same pin into Vin's ear, turning it into an earring.

Reen, the older brother—not even a teenager at that point—stumbled in upon this scene, and it nearly snapped his mind. That night he took Vin and ran.

Vin's mother was tracked down by the Inquisitors a short time after that. Fortunately for Vin, her father had realized he was in trouble and ordered his own lover executed. His assassins got to her just before the Inquisitors, and all they found was a corpse.