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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Ok, last question. It was really difficult coming up with three questions that haven’t been asked already...
OK... you’re not going to ask me the “what would you ask me” question?
Oooooh, ok. Hm. That one is so hard! Every time people ask me something like this... What have I never been asked that people should be asking, is basically what the question is? Something that the fans have just missed... They pick up on so much, that it’s hard... I do wonder if, you know… all the magic systems [in my books] are connected and work on some basic fundamental principles, and a lot of people haven’t been asking questions about this. One thing I did get a question on today, and I’ll just talk about this one... they didn’t ask the right question, but I nudged them the right way, is understanding that tie between Aondor [the magic system from Elantris] and allomancy [Mistborn’s magic system].
People ask about getting the power from metals and things, but that’s not actually how it works. The power’s not coming from metal. I talked a little about this before, but you are drawing power from some source, and the metal is actually just a gateway. It’s actually the molecular structure of the metal… what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal works in the same way as an Aon does in Elantris. It filters the power. So it is just a sign of “this is what power this energy is going to be shaped into and give you.” When you understand that, compounding [in Alloy of Law] makes much more sense.
Compounding is where you are able to kind of draw in more power than you should with feruchemy. What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the feruchemical charge overwrites the allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel feruchemy with allomancy, is what you are doing. Then if you just get out another piece of metal and store it in, since you’re not drawing the power from yourself, you’re cheating the system, you’re short-circuiting the system a little bit. So you can actually use the power that usually fuels allomancy, to fuel feruchemy, which you can then store in a metalmind, and basically build up these huge reservoirs of it. So what’s going on there is… imagine there’s like, an imprint, a wavelength, so to speak. A beat for an allomantic thing, that when you burn a metal, it says “ok, this is what power we give.” When it’s got that charge, it changes that beat and says, “now we get this power.” And you access a set of feruchemical power. That’s why compounding is so powerful.
Do you ever plan to use bio‐chroma again? It'd be a shame to see such an interesting and original idea left with a single book.
It is unlikely that I will use this magic system in a different book because it is distinctly tied to that particular Shard. The sequel likelihood is good. There is more to tell in this world, so there is a decent chance I will return and do a second Warbreaker book (I've been calling it Nightblood when I've mentioned it before). That isn't to say that there will never be magic systems that will repeat across series—in fact there's a decent chance that will happen—but I'm not going to say any more on that right now.
The paintings (I think there were at least two, right?) that remind Lightsong of his dreams and the Manywar etc. Is the Artist someone we know? If not, will we eventually meet him/her in a later book? Does the artist hope to affect Lightsong this way, or is it just some guy giving abstract art to his God?
Is the artist that painted those paintings Hoid?
Hoid did not make the paintings. The goal of those paintings—and this is spoilery, by the way—the paintings are actually what the text implies that they are. They are abstract paintings which Lightsong, having a touch of the divine, is able to see and read into things that aren't necessarily there.
Beyond that, art is a magical thing in the world of Warbreaker. When an artist creates a work of art, part of the artist's soul ends up in the artwork. Someone who has many breaths and who's Returned like Lightsong has the inherent ability to see into the art and perceive that. So Lightsong can interpret correctly an abstract piece, based on what the artist is trying to convey, in a way that a normal person couldn't.
I was not trying to make the artists anyone specifically important. In the case of those paintings, they are wonderful artists — I think they are two separate artists, if I'm thinking of the two paintings that you're indicating. As Lightsong has a splinter of divine nature inside him, he is able to interpret the paintings—to foresee, using them, and to see into the soul of the person who made them.
If a returned gives away his/her breath they die right? So why doesn't Vasher die after he gives his to Denth?
They will die the moment they run out of breath to harvest. Once a week their body needs a breath in order to survive. Each Returned has one single superpowered breath. Imagine it as one breath that propels them up through the Heightenings, but it is only a single breath. It's what we speak of in Shard world terminology as a Splinter. And when the seventh day comes, if a Returned does not have another breath for his body to consume to keep him alive, his body will actually eat his divine breath and kill him. So they don't die immediately after they get rid of the breath, they're sort of put into a state of limbo where if they don't find more breath by the time that their feast day comes, then they will die. (Vasher did not give his Returned breath to Denth, just a number of normal breaths.)
Elantrians are not slivers. Mistborn trilogy spoiler warnings follow! The Lord Ruler was indeed a Sliver. So was Vin. For the rest, I would say probably not.
What defines an actual Sliver of Adonalsium is not as clear-cut as you might think. It's a term that in-universe people who study this have applied to various existences and states. Every single person on the world of Scadrial has a bit of Leras in them—a bit of the power of Preservation. Every single person has a bit of Ati in them. There's a certain threshold where these scholars would call you a Sliver of Adonalsium. But I would say that any regular Misting is probably not a Sliver. A full Lerasium Mistborn is getting closer, but people who have held one of the powers are what would probably be termed a Sliver by the definitions. If you hold all the power that makes you a Shard, but the Lord Ruler held a little bit of it and then let it go. From then on they referred to that change in him—the residue, what was left—as a Sliver. When he held it he became the Shard for a short time, and Vin was a Shard for a short time. After Vin gave up the power, what Kelsier is at the end of the trilogy—that's a Sliver of Adonalsium.
I was wondering how the animation of the lifeless statues worked, in regard to the use of Susebron's Breath. If they were lifeless, then vasher wouldn't have been able to take his Breath back out of them, nor would susebron have needed such a great deal of breath to revive them—he just would have needed a password. But if they were simply Awakened, no password would have been necessary to animate the statues, just Breath and Command.
It seems like the statues could be neither lifeless nor awakened. Are they unique, because of the use of bone, or am I missing something? The only other explanation I could think of was that they were lifeless, but Susebron's breath wasn't used to activate the statues, he simply had it passed down from vasher, in addition to the statues. If that's the case(and then I've simply been confusing myself with unnecessary, convoluted logic), why was it necessary to keep the breath safe for all these years?
Wow, there are a lot of questions in there. If you follow the drafts, I think you can see the evolution of what became of the Lifeless army. Originally I had planned for the statues to simply have been placed there so that you could Awaken them—just in my original concepts, before I started the writing—and then that became the army.
I eventually decided that didn't work for various reasons. Number one, as I developed the magic system, Awakening stone doesn't work very well. You've got to have limberness, you've got to have motion to something for it to actually be stronger. So a soldier made out of cloth would be more useful to you than a soldier made out of stone, if you were just Awakening something. At that point, as I was developing this, I went back to the drawing board and said okay, I need to leave him a whole group of really cool Lifeless as the army. But that had problems in that the ichor would not have stayed good long enough. Plus they already had a pretty big Lifeless army, so what was special about this one? Remember, I'm revising concepts like this as the book is going along. You can see where in the story I could see what needed to be there. So I went back to the drawing board again.
I think the original draft of Warbreaker you can download off my website has them just as statues, though at the time when I was writing that I already knew it would need to change. I was just sticking to my outline because I needed to have the whole thing complete on the page before I could work with it. A lot of times that's how I do things as a writer—I get the rough draft down, and then I begin to sculpt.
I eventually developed essentially what you've just outlined in the first part, before you started worrying if you were too convoluted. I said, well, what if there's a hybrid? What happens if you Awaken bones? Can you create something? The reason that you can't draw the Breath back from a Lifeless is because the Breath clings to it. If the Lifeless were sentient enough, it could give up its own Breath, but you can't take it, just like you can't take a Breath from a person by force. You have to get them to give it up willingly. So it sticks to the Lifeless. A Lifeless is, let's say, 90% of a sentient being. The Breath doesn't manifest in them, because they aren't alive, yet they're almost there. A stone statue brought to life would be way down on the bottom rung.
Is there something in between? That's the advancement I had Vasher discover—what if we build something out of bone, but then encase it in stone to make it strong, and build it in ways that the bone is held together by the force of the Breaths? That's really what you're getting at there, that you need a lot of Breath, a lot of power, to hold all that stone together. There are seams at the joints. What the Breath is doing is clinging there like magical sinew, and it's holding all of that together.
Vasher left the Phantoms Invested with enough Breath to hold them together but not to move. You needed another big, substantial influx of Breath in order to actually make them have motion, to bring them enough strength to move and that sort of thing. So it's kind of a hybrid.
Is AonDor Physical, Spiritual, or Cognitive?
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. (laughter) Are you a Sharder?
A little bit. (laughter)
AonDor is mixed up in all three. So I would say more Cognitive and Spiritual than it is Physical, but it is mixed up in all three.
So Ruin and Preservation combine. When Odium slays the Shardbearers, why doesn’t he absorb the enemy Shards?
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.
So by his nature, he can't combine?
I mean he could, but it would change his nature. So he won't.
Time bubbles don’t move, so it would pull you out of it, then it would vanish.
If you were to pop up a time bubble and someone were to be stuck halfway in and halfway out, would they go splooch?
No, they would be in the time bubble. The time bubbles will move with the planet but not with the train.
Yeah, I always thought it was relative to the person creating the time bubble.
No, you’ll see Wayne create one, then he’ll walk up to the perimeter, but if he leaves it, it ruins the time bubble.
So is that because it’s linked up to the spiritual gravitational bond between the planet?
Yes, and you’re digging very deeply into stuff that I now can’t answer. Time bubbles have some weirdness to them that I don’t want to dig in too deeply, but yes.
THis is a very very minor spoiler. It's just a statement that was made in Alloy of Law, that Smokers could...
Oh yeah, that was just a typo.
Is that going to change things?
Wait, go ahead and say it.
Can Copperclouds shield others' emotions?
Oh okay. Did we put that in Alloy of Law in the Ars Arcanum? Is that wwhere you read it?
I forget. I don't remember where it is.
I believe it’s in the Ars Arcanum, which in Alloy of Law was put together by Peter. And that’s mostly a mistake, though the thing is the Role Playing Game came to me and said “Is it feasible that this could happen?” And I said “It’s perhaps feasible, but only a very rare individual could make this work if they knew exactly what they were doing.” And so I said “Yeah, go ahead, but make it a power that someone really has to know what they’re doing to make it work.” And so they put it in, and so Peter assumed that it was canon, that anyone can do it, but that’s not what I intended.
So would it be easier to say that somebody discovered they could do it and now they are training copperclouds to do it?
I would say that it is viable that someone could figure it out, but it would be a very difficult thing to train, and it is not a common Coppercloud—A common Coppercloud isn’t going to be able to be doing it, and almost no Mistborn will ever be capable of doing it, they just don’t focus on that metal enough to learn it. Of course, there aren’t Mistborn around anymore. So it is a possible power, it is plausible, but it is not the standard. Perhaps I will allow it to become the standard eventually, but it’s not right now. It would be much easier to wear a tinfoil hat. (laughter) Aluminum, aluminum. Which does work.
Got another one. Why do Kandra need two spikes to have a blessing and to become sentient?
It is just the nature of how Hemalurgy works. More spikes are capable of changing form and body more, and I didn’t feel that one spike was viable for the alterations that are made to their nature.
Could you make a Kandra an Allomancer?
With the right sequence of sorts of things, you could impart those powers to them theoretically. It’s not likely to happen, but you could do it. You could build a spike that would let them Push or Pull. But you’d give the powers separately, probably.
Does Iron store mass or weight?
Excellent question. The thing is it really does involve mass, but I’m breaking some physics rules, basically. I have to break a number of physics rules in order to make Magic work in the first place. Those whole laws of Thermodynamics, I’m like “You are my bane!” (laughter) But I try to work within the framework, and I have reasonings built up for myself, and some of them have to be kind of arbitrary. But the thing is, it does store mass if you look at how it interacts, but when a Feruchemist punches someone, you’re not having a mass transference of a 1000 pounds transferring the mass into someone else.
So there are a few little tweaks. You can go talk to Peter, because Peter has the actual math. Oh Peter’s back there. Peter is dressed up as Allomancer Jak from the broadsheet. In fact we’re giving some out broadsheets, aren’t we Peter. So when you come through the line, we’re giving out Broadsheets. Please don’t take fifty—I think we might have enough for everybody. The broadsheets are the newspaper from the Alloy of Law time. It’s an inworld newspaper. It’s actually reproduced in the book in four different pages, and we put it together in one big broadsheet.
So anyway, you can talk with him, he’s got more of the math of it. I explained the concept to Peter and he’s better with the actual math, so he said “We’ll figure it out.”
Can a Drab Return?
A Drab can not Return as the Returned are known, and there are things about the Drab that are not completely understood. But a Drab without a Breath, it’s going to be very hard. Drabs do not Return. Good question, by the way. No one has ever asked me that before.
Are the usual quadrants (Physical, Mental, Temporal, Enhancement) preserved in Feruchemy and Hemalurgy?
No. In Ferchemy, it is based Realmatically. There is a quadrant of Spiritual, a quadrant of Cognitive and two quadrants of Physical.
Does the person being pierced in order to charge a Hemalurgic spike have to die?
Not necessarily. A spike does require you to rip pieces of a soul from the victim, but that does not mean they must die. They would be a very different person afterwords though.
Why do Seons become broken when their person is taken by the Shaod?
A Seon has a Spiritual Connection with their user. When the Shaod takes the user, it messes up the spiritual nature of the user, and it really messes up the nature of the Seon.
Entities exist on all three realms that are only vaguely shadowed on the other realms. You have seen entities who exist primarily on the Cognitive Realm + are shadowed on the Physical.
Why did the Well of Ascension refill every thousand years rather than 500 or 200, etc.?
It's actually every 1024 years. The Lord Ruler just befuddled the information a bit.
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?
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.
Since the dawn of Scadrial, why was Feruchemy isolated in a single distinct population in the world, namely the Terrismen? Allomancy, while rare within the population of Scadrial, at least was not isolated to one population, it was spread evenly, it seems. What is special about the Terrismen that only they get the power of Feruchemy? Does it have something to do with the previous Ascensions before Rashek, with the guardian keeping the power for a time?
It's all in the spiritual DNA, which is passed on like normal DNA. However, they are a separate people. They've kept themselves isolated, similar to the jews in our world. When I asked he said there have been some Feruchemical-mistings in the past, but they are very rare.
Let's say hypothetically we get Ruin, Preservation, and Endowment to create a planet. Would there be *more* magic systems due to Endowment's involvement (think permutations), or would this specifically not work at all?
It could work. There is the potential for more magic systems.
Tucker asks, "Will you ever write a book or series where different magic systems come into the same world?"
Where different magic systems come into the same world. Um...I have already.
(confused) Published novels?
I mean like different magic systems from different worlds.
That's what I said.
He's being really clever about this, Eric.
Okay, okay, sorry.
You're asking if I'll do it obviously.
Where that's the focus of the novel? Someday I might. Right now I've been planning in the back of my head, but I'm not sure if I'll do it. See, here's the thing: I like all of this stuff to be behind the scenes; I don't want any reader to walk up on the shelf and pull it out and feel like they are completely lost because they have to read 27 Sanderson novels before this one makes sense. And so that would be my hesitance in ever doing that. But I already have in very subtle ways. And if were going to do a conflux book, I might just post it on my website. I don't know, I'm not sure. It depends on how popular the things are and whatnot. But, I don't think I want to do that to my casual readers.
Right, they wouldn't have any of the background.
Right, they wouldn't have any of the background. Thing is, some of the magic systems do cross worlds, and have before. And that has not happened obviously; you haven't really seen it. Right now Liar of Partinel [an unpublished book —ed] and Stormlight Archive share a magic system, because with the unifying theory of magic there's a certain number of things that magic can do, and there's a lot of different ones, but when they get similar they tend to work in the same way. So Lightweaving shows up in both books. I may change that for Liar of Partinel, but it's kind of integral to that book and it's kind of integral to Stormlight Archive right now too. This is one of the reasons why I had to decide to do either Dragonsteel or Stormlight Archive as the big epic.
Some of the magic systems have been discovered on different planets, and some of them do work. A lot of them don't, but some of them do. It depends on your spiritual DNA, what people are able to do, and things like that. But, if you find a way to do illusion magic in one of my worlds it's going to work pretty much like Lightweaving, regardless of which planet you're on. If that makes sense.
Anything in the bubble.
You create a space around you of sped-up space-time, and anything that gets in there moves more slowly. Like, let's say that I shot a bullet at you and you popped it with sped-up time. That bullet would move really slowly. Everything around you would be slowed. Ah, no, but you would be the same so when the bullet entered it would go the same speed that you are going, but once it's out, it's either faster or slower. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does, it does.
Reversed, yeah. It can have some really powerful effects, but the problem is, you can't change anything. As soon as you get close enough to change it, it's in there with you. So, if you were using it the right way you could dodge bullets, as long as you were able to get it off before the bullet got too close to you, but that's hard to do.
Yeah, that would be the trick.
And, if you're the one who can slow time, you could get someone in your bubble and slow time, then let everyone else move more quickly around you, which, of course, takes a lot more practice to use. You've got to have a buddy who's outside the bubble but who you could stop, he could stop you, and we would see time move the same but everything around us would go super fast. If people were ready for that they could make use of it.
That has a lot of uses…
Was Syl's appearance and behavior caused by Kaladin giving up his shardblade?
It was a major fundamental factor in what happened between them.
"How is a Splinter different from a Sliver?
"Let me see... You have met splinters in Elantris, Warbreaker, and in Way of Kings. You have not met them in Mistborn."
"I feel like we know that. So, qualitatively, what's the difference?"
"Qualitatively, they're reverses of one another. A Sliver is a human intelligence who has held the power and released it. A Splinter has never been human."
"But it derives from a Shard's power."
"Yes. That's not it completely, but there's at least something to think about."
Is the Dor the same as the power of creation that powers Allomancy?
He said that the Dor is similar to that which powers allomancy but not 100% the same.
How could a person from Scadrial access Shadesmar? An alloy of a god metal?
He RAFOd me on this one and said it was a plot point for future novels.
I do remember some things, but the majority of the questions were about WoT.
He said that all of his own books take place in the same universe, but not on the same world per se. The overall magic system was based on the principle of investing, i.e. people and things are invested by magic. So for example in Mistborn, the metals themselves aren't magical, but they become a vessel for the magic.
Also he said that the ways of magic are different. In Mistborn it's genetic (or through ingesting atium, but he didn't talk about that). In Warbreaker it has to do with gathering other people's Breath, etc.
You mentioned friday night in #Seattle Allomacy has "FTL" built into it, any more hints you can share on how that would work
It involves where the lost energy from thermodynamic issues goes in certain Allomantic interactions.
Loved Way of Kings; can you say where shardblades go when not summoned or is it a RAFO?
It is RAFO, but one that will be answered for sure.
In Alloy of Law are people still Snapping?
Sazed chose to alter the way Snapping works. It bothered him. It does happen, but differently.
My next question was a random idea I had based on the answer about entities living primarily in the cognitive realm given here. I asked (stupidly, you'll see why in a second): "Could it be that spren and seons are basically very similar things?"
He smiled, thought about how to answer that for a second and then said... "Yes, it could be."
I very much got the impression that I was correct though, but I gave him the perfect opening to appreciate the question without answering it at all. Stupid me. I explained that I had the idea that seons exist primarily as cognitive entities with smaller presences in the physical world, while spren are primarily spiritual, also with smaller presences in the physical world. He just smiled for a second, and I said I'd take that as a possible yes and let him get back to signing books for the awesome Waterstone's in Manchester. I'm writing up my thoughts on that in this post.
(something along the lines of how exactly is what you see when you burn gold determined)
He said that each time you burn gold, you see a different image, so it changes depending on your current situation.
Concerning the Radiants' shardplates, and the glyphs on them that Dalinar had never seen before, is there any relation to these and the AonDor? Could they perhaps act as an added focus?
From what I recall, he didn't really give a definitive answer on this one, but he seemed as if we were in the right direction.
Hey Brandon! As much as I want to fan-gush, I'll keep it short so you can get back to your A Memory of Light drafting.
How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?
There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.
Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.
Quick question to help me settle a debate. Could allomancy affect a shard plate/blade?
No. Investiture interferes with most magics.
I actually really liked Steris, and was hoping to see more characterization of her. I think of her a bit as a tsundere character, where we have not had many chances to see the dere, just the tsun.
Her businesslike demeanor to everything developed because she had high expectations placed upon her by her family's station. She was an interesting counterpoint to Wax who decided to turn his back on his family to live in the Roughs. Her particular response to marriage and relationships was influenced by her own father's infidelity to her mother. She didn't include a clause for mistresses in the marriage contract because she wants her husband to cheat on her; she just came to expect affairs because of her mother and father's relationship. Still, she and Marasi seem to care for each other, so I don't think she held that against her half-sister.
One question, two parts: If a double Nicrosil Twinborn started Compounding and storing Investiture in a Nicrosilmind, could they do something cool by tapping a whole huge bunch at once? And since Scadrialians have both Ruin and Preservation in them, could they store both those qualities in a one Nicrosilmind, or would it require two different ones?
Ha. All things regarding Investiture (particularly in regards to Feruchemy) are instant RAFOs at this point, I'm afraid. I've got to save SOME things for future books.
Why did Ruin give off Allomantic Pulses? Because Preservation did and they're two sides of the same coin? Allomancy is of Preservation, so I figured that's why he did...
Manifestation of the awesome power he held, mixed with Vin's increased ability to sense these things. Allomantic pulses are like a ripple of sound in the fabric of creation itself—the power of creation being used, creating a drum beat to those attuned to it. Ruin created a similar beat when his consciousness was near.
The powers of Ruin and Preservation are Shards of Adonalsium, pieces of the power of creation itself. Allomancy, Hemalurgy, Feruchemy are manifestations of this power in mortal form, the ability to touch the powers of creation and use them. These metallic powers are how people's physical forms interpret the use of the Shard, though it's not the only possible way they could be interpreted or used. It's what the genetics and Realmatic interactions of Scadrial allow for, and has to do with the Spiritual, the Cognitive, and the Physical Realms.
Condensed 'essence' of these godly powers can act as super-fuel for Allomancy, Feruchemy, or really any of the powers. The form of that super fuel is important. In liquid form it's most potent, in gas form it's able to fuel Allomancy as if working as a metal. In physical form it is rigid and does one specific thing. In the case of atium, it allows sight into the future. In the case of concentrated Preservation, it gives one a permanent connection to the mists and the powers of creation. (I.e., it makes them an Allomancer.)
So when a person is burning metals, they aren't using Preservation's body as a fuel so to speak—though they are tapping into the powers of creation just slightly. When Vin burns the mists, however, she'd doing just that—using the essence of Preservation, the Shard of Adonalsium itself—to fuel Allomancy. Doing this, however, rips 'troughs' through her body. It's like forcing far too much pressure through a very small, fragile hose. That much power eventually vaporizes the corporeal host, which is acting as the block and forcing the power into a single type of conduit (Allomancy) and frees it to be more expansive.
Glad you liked the book, Rainbow!
You may want to note that the moment Preservation dropped out and let the last of his consciousness die, someone was waiting in the Cognitive Realm to seize the power and hold on for a short period until Vin could take it up more fully. You'll find him using it to whisper in moments of great stress in the book, to one person in specific in two places. (I'll bet someone on here has already found them.)
He never could just let things well enough alone....
Yes, as has been pointed out:
A powerful peace swelled in Elend. His Allomancy flared bright, though he knew the metals inside of him should have burned away. Only atium remained, and the strange power did not—could not—give him this metal. But it didn’t matter. For a moment, he was embraced by something greater. He looked up, toward the sun. (From the text.)
As a note here, the powers granted by all of the metals—even the two divine ones—are not themselves of either Shard. They are simply tools. And so, it's possible that one COULD have found a way to reproduce an ability like atium's while using Preservation's power, but it wouldn't be as natural or as easy as using Preservation to fuel Allomancy.
The means of getting powers—Ruin stealing, Preservation gifting—are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.
What percentage of the Underlying Cosmere have we uncovered? Like five percent, fifteen percent?
The number of planets? Or...
No, not even that. Like how much do we know about the underlying metaphysics? Of the rules?
You said there's a lot more that we don't know.
There's a lot you don't know.
I was wondering if you could put a number on it?
I don't know if I can put a number on it. If you've read Dragonsteel you have a lot more, because there's talk of philosophy in that book about it. But I can't give a percentage because I know it all.
And I can't remember at times. I often have to go back and research and say, okay, what did I put in, what haven't I included and so on. I would say that you know enought ot be dangerous, but not the majority by far. There is a theorum of magic for all these worlds, which I don't think has been mentioned before...
But yeah, it's kinda one of the things that may amaze. People keep trying to look for a unifying theory, you know, the great unifying [theory that ties all things together]. I have a little science background and I wanted a unifying theory of magic, which there is, in these books at least. It's not simple, it's not like one sentence but you can map out how the magic all fits together in this kind of super theorem.
If a Mistborn burns lerasium, as in, not just ingests it, what effect would it grant Allomantically?
That is a RAFO. It would do something, but the thing you've gotta remember is that, when ingesting lerasium for the first time and gaining the powers, your body is actually burning it. Think of lerasium as a metal anyone can burn. Does that make sense?
By burning it you gain access to those powers. It rewrites your spiritual DNA, and there are ways to do really cool things with lerasium that I don't see how anyone would know. Were most Mistborn to just burn it, it would rewrite their genetic code to increase their power as an Allomancer.
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:
1. How does Harmony hear the thoughts of Wax, when it's explicitly pointed put that Ruin cannot?
2. Are the earrings that the Pathians use Hemalurgicly charged, as otherwise they would be of no use to Ruin, and therefore Harmony?
3. Or did Harmony completely change how that aspect of Hemalugy works?
How this all works dates back to the original design of the Magic system.
I wanted Ruin and Preservation to be complimentary 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 complimentary 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.)
Yes it can.
So if Kaladin suddenly contracted brain cancer...
It's plausible-- it depends, see what it does is it takes your body and makes it align with your spirit, and partially through the filter of how you view yourself. So if you view yourself as sickly, then you won't.