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Leipzig Book Fair ()
#2 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.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#3 Copy

BlackYeti

With regards to the Dor, whereabouts is it located exactly, with regards to the Realms.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you're the first to ask this one. It is in the Cognitive Realm... I think you might be the first one to crack that one. So, that's something that I've been dancing around for a while, waiting 'til people started to figure that one out. Now, that's not where most of them are.

Arcanum Unbounded Fort Collins signing ()
#5 Copy

Xyrd (paraphrased)

Was Leras bonded to a being in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You mean like a Nahel bond?

Xyrd (paraphrased)

Yes, or a similar mechanism.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, you have to remember that Shards interact with the realms in a different way, so...

Xyrd (paraphrased)

Well, I more mean before Leras became a Vessel.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Anything before then is RAFO.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#7 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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering, how many pieces of different Shards does Hoid have to collect before he is considered Ascended?

Brandon Sanderson

You know that's even a little bit false, uh-- not begging the question. Whichever logic fallacy is assuming that he could. Or, you are assuming that he could. Who knows if it's even possible, or anything like that.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#12 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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#15 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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner

I really enjoy the systems of religion and the religious questions that you bring up and so I was wondering-- Well first whether in your worlds there is a relationship between the efficacy of religion and the efficacy of magic?

Brandon Sanderson

There is but the relationship is not a direct one-to-one parallel. In other words the beings that are worshiped have an influence over the magic. Whether they are actually God is disputed by various people. And there are people who worship things that are not the various beings the magic is-- Does that make sense?

General Reddit 2013 ()
#17 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.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#21 Copy

RandyD

We've seen, let's say, Ruin and Preservation talking to people--they have limitations on that. Do other Shards share these limitations?

Brandon Sanderson

There are limitations-- All Shards have some interesting limitations that we will get into as we go.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#22 Copy

RandyD

Can a Shard just--like, say someone is using their magic system--can they stop the power from them being able to use it?

Brandon Sanderson

No, that's a bit like stopping the laws of physics. So, while they can circumvent laws of physics and things like that, but if you wanted to stop someone from using magic, smiting them would be the efficient way of making that happen, if you are capable of it in the system.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#24 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. [...]

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

In the event that.. so, say if you've got someone who went through a certain event, and it would have Snapped them. Take that person away from Scadrial, and move them to a different world. Would that still Snap them?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that the Shards are mostly Spiritual Realm things. Space and time do not matter to them. Time does, space does not.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Do Splinters require proximity to their Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

Do they require it for what?

Questioner

Function--

Brandon Sanderson

Function. It's very hard for most Splinters to leave the realm where they were Splintered, but this gets into tricky stuff because the Shard mostly occupies the Spiritual Realm, but what do you mean by the Shard? Because the essence of the Shard is in the Physical Realm, it's all across the cosmere, and things like this. Usually once something is Splintered it is difficult for them to leave that area, so yes.

Questioner

And in the system--

Brandon Sanderson

You see it with the-- I would call most Cognitive Shadows a Splinter in some ways. And you see it when Kelsier tries to leave, right. And spren would have the same trouble, and seons would have the same trouble. But at the same time is that a proximity to the Shard? Kind of. Things get very wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey when you start dealing with the nature of the Spiritual Realm in the cosmere. 

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#36 Copy

ArsenoPyrite

Is the act of taking up a shard parallel to the act of Awakening? In broad strokes awakening gives a piece of a soul for power along with a purpose or compulsion. So, say, when someone takes up Ruin, are they operating on the same principle, taking a fragment of Adolnasium's 'soul' along with the command "ruin things"?

Brandon Sanderson

You could make this parallel, and argue it to many of the cosmere-aware scholars in the books, and they'd find themselves nodding.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#38 Copy

Argent

Can Shards manifest a physical body that can actually interact with the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

If they wanted to, yes.

Argent

Was that the thing that Odium did at the end of Oathbringer or was that just a projection?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, it starts to be really difficult to define when you're getting to these points because they generally are such massive wells of Investiture themselves that it's like, is this thing they're creating, like, they are kinda, y'know, then bending the three Realms around the like spacetime with lots of gravity so is that a projection? Is that a real thing? Does it matter? Does that definition--

Argent

Oh! At that point they are almost the same thing, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, exactly.

A Memory of Light Seattle Signing ()
#39 Copy

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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

Shards. We started with fairly obvious ones, magic wise. Trying to keep this spoiler free, so: Ruin, Preservation, this kind of thing. Then we get the weird ones. Why do we have Shards that can only exist in the mind of a sentient creature? ...Like the concept of Honor can only be done when it's carried out, essentially, by a sentient creature.

Brandon Sanderson

So when I split Adonalsium I said, "I'm going to take aspects of Adonalsium's nature." And this involves personality to me. So the Shattering of Adonalsium was primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality. And so I view every one of them this way. And when I wrote Mistborn we had Ruin and Preservation. They are the primal forces of entropy and whatever you call the opposite, staying-the-same-ism-y. Like, you've got these two contrasts, between things changing and things not changing. And then humans do have a part, there's a personality. Ruin is a charged term for something that actually is the way that life exists. And Preservation is a charged term for stasis, for staying the same. And those are the personality aspects, and the way they are viewed by people and by the entity that was Adonalsium.

So I view this for all of them. Like, Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by. And there's this sense that that is noble, that's the honor aspect to it, but there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other direction. So a lot of them do kind of have this both-- cultural component, I would say, that is trying to represent something that is also natural. And not all of them are gonna have a 100% balance between those two things, I would say, because there's only so many fundamental laws of the universe that I can ascribe personalities to in that way. 

So I find Honor very interesting, but I find Autonomy a very interesting one for the exact same reason. What does autonomy mean? We attach a lot to it, but what is the actual, if you get rid of the charged terms, what does it mean? And this is where you end up with things like Odium claiming "I am all emotion." Rather than-- But then there's a charged term for it that is associated with this Shard. I'm not going to tell you whether he's right or not, but he has an argument. 

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#45 Copy

Questioner

Atium and lerasium are their own special ways of Investiture, of using it. Do the other Shards have those, that even within their magic systems are unique just to that one Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Can you tell me anything about any of that?

Brandon Sanderson

You might see some of them some day? I think, I know you've seen at least one, but people don't know what it is? One person's asked me a question about it, so somebody's figured it out but, yeah, there are things like that in other worlds. Kind of, distilled essence of Shard, yeah.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#46 Copy

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.