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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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Now this one will probably be RAFO'd: I know you already said that there are four Shards outside of Ati and Leras in your other books. Could you tell us the numbers per book? Is just a standard two per book? Or do some have more than others?
Is Skai Unity?
(Brandon seems confused by the pronunciation. It is apparently more like "Skae".)
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.
Also, does Endowment have some physical presence in the book similar to Ruin=Atium, etc?
Endowment does have such a thing, but it does not appear onscreen in the novel Warbreaker.
All your novels are tied together by an overarching magic system, and we usualy see evidence of this in the form of the too-still pools of water. However we did not see any such bodies of water directly in Warbreaker. Is there such a pool in Warbreaker? Is that where the Tears of Edgli grow?
Wow. I've got some very perceptive readers.
This is speculation that I will neither confirm nor deny.
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.
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.
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.
Why is there such an imbalance between the amount of atium and the amount of lerasium in the world? Also, why are atium and lerasium very imbalanced in Allomantic power (Lerasium is far more useful than atium, really)?
There isn't. Leras is just spread out further. He is in the mists, in the Well, and in the lerasium. Ruin's power however is considerate strictly in atium.
Are Shards all paired? Does Endowment have a counterpart?
RAFO. Also, yes and no. Not all Shards have perfect counterparts like Ruin and Preservation.
Why were Ruin and Preservation linked together?
Because they're such perfect opposites. Basically it's just an opposites attract thing.
Long, long ago when Hero of Ages came out you listed four Shards other than Ruin and Preservation. You said we interacted with two directly. One is a tough call, we've never met the Shard itself but have seen its power. The other one we've not met directly but have seen its influence. My questions:
-Is the Dor the "tough call" one?
-Do you count Hoid in this list of four shards? It makes a difference for the theories, Brandon! You don't even need to say if he is bound to a shard, rather just if you consider him in this list.
RAFO, and no, Hoid is not included in the list. (Still not sure if he has a shard or not)
Can Sazed "will" himself to any Shardworld if he so desires?
Yes, he has the capacity for it. However, will he? Don't know. If he did there would be a lot of ramifications for it...
Will Sazed eventually go mad trying to hold two Shard's power at the same time (being pushed to two different Purposes simultaneously for millennia)? Why hasn't anyone else tried this trick before in the Cosmere?
No. Since they're so opposite they work together to create a whole. However, after a LONG time it would change him as a person.
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.
5. Is Hoid a Herald, or a Shardholder, or something else entirely.
6. Was the letter posted on the top of chapters to Sazed?
7. Barring the Almighty, did we seen a Shardholder (like Sazed) in this book?
5. Hoid is something else entirely.
6. It is written to a character who exists outside of Roshar. I won't yet say who.
7. I think "Shardholder" would get confusing alongside "Shardbearer." Basically, in the Cosmere's terms, when someone holds a Shard of Adonalsium, I call that person a Shard of Adonalsium. They are imbued with the power of that Shard, but they also become the Shard. Fans can use whatever terminology they wish, but this is how I term it.
You did at least see the direct effects of two of the Shards of Adonalsium, but I won't say whether or not you actually saw a Shard of Adonalsium.
Yes and no. The concept of the "Almighty" in Roshar has a lot of meanings, many of them wrong.
But the person who held the Shard Honor was originally named Tanavast?
Yes. You wiggled it out of me. That was the name of the original holder of the Shard Honor
So Aona is a synonym for love, hmm? Is Charity the correct Shard name?
Not quite. I'm trying to remember what the guesses were for the other Shard on Sel. I may have dismissed them too quickly.
How about Mercy for Aona, then? The guesses for Skai's Shard include Devotion, Obedience, and Order.
Okay, I was right, then. Ha There's something very ironic in all of this.
"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."
Who names the planets? You've said once that "Scadrial" was the name of the planet as Ruin and Preservation knew it, but where'd they get that name? Do the Shardholders all get together and vote on it or something?
He said thay already had their names and that the all the planets existed before the shardholders got there.
Why do Shards refer to themselves by their Shard name, rather than their original name? Do they still remember their original name?
Yes they do, they do remember their original selves( didn’t get any more then that though).
At the end of Alloy of Law, Marsh tells Marasi, that Wax is doing "his brothers work". Does this mean Kelsier is still meddling, or is this a continuation of his initial legacy?
Kelsier has never been good at doing what he's told. He's still interfering.
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.
Can you tell me something about the Cosmere that you haven't told anyone before?
There are inhabited planets in the cosmere that don't have any Shards there. There may be inhabited planets that only have a Splinter of a Shard. There are 10 core cosmere planets, which tell the overarching story of the cosmere.
Are all the Cosmere books so far set on these 10 core worlds?
Are there any of the 10 core worlds without a Shard?
All 10 core worlds have significant Shardic influence.
Ruin and Preservation were not the only Shards of Adonalsium, though they are the only ones on Scadrial at the moment. Sazed's ability to be both at once is actually something I drew from Eastern mythology, where it is believed that the ability to contain two opposing forces at the same time represents ultimate harmony. The Buddha, for instance, was said to have performed the miracle of producing both fair and ice from his hands at the same time.
Is "Scadrial" the proper name to refer to the Mistborn world?
Scadrial is indeed the name of the planet.
Kwaan went into hiding, and he was eventually discovered and executed by Rashek. He wasn't among the First Generation, though he would have been if he hadn't turned against Rashek. Rashek kept the plate, however, just as he kept Alendi's logbook. Partially because even then, Rashek was going a little mad, but partially because of the reminders about his old life they contained.
I'm assuming you meant Alendi hunted him down because he turned against Alendi. Or did Kwaan also turn against Rashek?
No, I meant that he turned against Rashek. Remember, the members of the First Generation were offered immortality in exchange for their Hemalurgy. They had to make this choice for all of the world's Feruchemists. Because his uncle had been the one who gave Rashek the chance to become the Lord Ruler in the first place, Rashek blessed him and included him in the decision. (Speaking directly into his mind along with the others during Rashek's moment of ascension.)
Kwaan was the only one who turned down this offer, calling it a betrayal of who they were as a people. Rashek could have just made him one anyway, but in a moment of anger, he tried to destroy Kwaan—which he couldn't do, not with Preservation's power. As the other Feruchemists changed, Kwaan remained the same. Rashek eventually hunted him down and killed him.
A manifestation of Ruin's gathered consciousness, much like the dark mists in book two. The lake was still around in Vin's era, but had been moved under ground. (Note that the Well is a very similar manifestation. You've also seen one other manifestation like this....)
The "lake" was barely ten feet deep—more like a pool. Its water was a crystalline blue, and Raoden could see no inlets or outlets.If that's what you're hinting at...I never thought of the connection before! I just kept thinking of Aether of Night, and never thought of this pool at all.
Both are accurate, but the first is what I meant, as most people here don't have access to Aether.
I'm also thinking that the Dor in Elantris is another Shard of Adonalsium. Certainly in the Elantris world, where the Dor came from is rather ambiguous, which I expected it would be. Of course, if other Shards of Adonalsium do exist, the Dor could have come from that source.
I will RAFO from here on the other Shards of Adonalsium, as it would be better for me not to give spoilers. Please feel free to speculate. Readers have met four shards other than Ruin and Preservation.
Have we met these four by name, or just by influence? I can't think of a name that would go with the one that the Elantris lake is a manifestation of.
Hoid could be one? I know nothing his purpose other than that he shows up in lots of different books, sometimes begging and sometimes telling stories. Since most of these series happen on different planets (though two of them may happen on the same planet as each other), I'm assuming he has mad planet-hopping skills.
Ookla, I'm going to be tight lipped on this, as I don't want to give things away for future books. But I'll tell you this:
You've interacted with two directly.
One is a tough call. You've never met the Shard itself, but you've seen its power.
The other one you have not met directly, but have seen its influence.
I thought Nightblood was explained sufficiently for my tastes in Warbreaker, so I doubt that it is a Shard, but I've been plenty wrong before. Also, I don't know if Hoid could even be a Shard. Certainly he has mean planet-hopping skills, but I don't know what purpose a celestial storyteller would have in this universe. He doesn't really have the same kind of power as Ruin or Preservation did, so normally I would rule him out right off the bat. But it is possible that these Shards come in many shapes, not just in the near-deific quantity Ruin or Preservation had. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Hoid is a Shard... but, then again, I don't have any ideas for what those four other Shards are.
Maybe Hoid is just a traveler trying to find remnants of Adonalsium and stories about them. He doesn't need to be a shard, I suppose.
This is slightly a tangent, but here is a relevant chunk from the Warbreaker Annotations. As this won't be posted for months, I'll put it here as a sneak preview.
This whole scene came about because I wanted an interesting way to delve into the history. Siri needed to hear it, and I felt that many readers would want to know it. However, that threatened to put me into the realm of the dreaded info dump.
And so I brought in the big guns. This cameo is so obvious (or, at least, someday it will be) that I almost didn’t use the name Hoid for the character, as I felt it would be too obvious. The first draft had him using one of his other favorite pseudonyms. However, in the end, I decided that too many people would be confused (or, at least, even more confused) if I didn’t use the same name. So here it is. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about. . .well, let’s just say that there’s a lot more to this random appearance than you might think.
Brandon, I believe in one of Sazed's epigraphs, he actually called it "Adonasium" rather than what you are referring to here, which is "Adonalsium". I'm thinking that's just a typo, right?
I don't suppose you could tell us which book series of yours will tell us more about Adonalsium, would you? You know, just so us theorizers on the forum know when to properly theorize about these things...
Well, I guess this means that the proofreaders did not add the "L" when I marked the error on the manuscript.(sigh). Yes, the correct spelling is Adonalsium. I will try to get this fixed for the paperback, but I've been trying to get that blasted steel/iron error in the back of book one fixed for two years now. . .
If it helps, Sazed would probably under-pronounce the "L" as that letter, like in Tindwyl's name, is said very softly in Terris.
As for your other question, you will have to wait and see. Now, you could search my old books for clues, but I would caution against this. While there are hints in these, they are not yet canon. Just as I changed how things were presented in the Mistborn books during editing, I would have fixed a lot in these books during revision. Beyond that, reading them would give big spoilers for books yet to be released. White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Way of Kings in particular are going to be published some day for almost certain. (Though in very different forms). Aether of Night should be safe, as should Final Empire prime and Mistborn prime, though of those three, only Aether is worth reading, and then only barely. (It is still pretty bad).
Hey @PeterAhlstrom could you tell us what Aona's Shard was? Brandon said he'd look it up and get back to us, but.... [he never got back to us.]
I thought sure that was answered already. But anyway, the answer is yes [Aona is Devotion].
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.
What was she supposed to do? Well, this is difficult to answer, since the prophecies have been changed and shifted so much. Originally, the prophesies intended for a person to go take the power every thousand years and become a protector of mankind for a period of time. Someone to keep an eye on Ruin in Preservation's absence and watch over the world as he would have done. Imagine an avatar who arrives every thousand years and lives for their lifetime blessing the people with the power of Preservation, renewing Ruin's prison, and generally being a force for protection. (Note that Ruin wouldn't have gotten out if the prison wasn't renewed, he'd simply have been able to touch the world a little bit more.) Obviously, it changed a LOT during the years that Ruin was playing with things.
What should she have done? Well, Ruin's release was inevitable. Even if she hadn't let him go, the world would have 'wound down' eventually. The ashfalls would have grown worse over the centuries, and the next buildup of the Well might not have come in time for them to do anything. Or, perhaps, mankind would have found a way to adapt. But Ruin was going to get himself out eventually, so the choice Vin made was all right. There weren't really any good choices at this point. She could have decided to take the power and become a 'good' Lord Ruler, trying to keep the world from falling apart. Of course, she would have had to make herself immortal with Hemalurgy to make that work right. And since she was already tainted, chances are good she wouldn't have ended up any better than the Lord Ruler himself.
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....
Boy, this is a hard one to ask because it's been such a LONG process. There were bits of all of this popping around in my head almost twenty years ago, so it's going to be hard to define where what fit into place when.
Allomancy and Feruchemy were originally planned separately. I linked them together into this book when I realized that the 'focus' items that could store attributes could be metal, and therefore work wonderfully with the Mistborn book I was planning.
Hemalurgy came from the image of Inquisitors first, then developed as a need to integrate it in with the other two in a way that evoked the power of "Ruin" rather than the power of Preservation. I figured that Ruin would steal, and it was a great way to add a third magic without having to overload people with a whole new set of powers. The process of writing this series, since I did all three books together, was an interesting one, and I made a lot of connections as I went. Some of the latest things on the timeline were figuring out how to fit atium and the Preservation nuggets into the already built framework. But I don't know if I can give you an exact list. Partially because there would just be too many spoilers in it.
I also wondered if you could explain that circle in the cave some more, I didn't quite get it.
I was sure Vin was the hero right up until the end, even though originally before I read the book, I was sure it would be Elend or Sazed. But then the epilogue author started naming people off, so I knew it wasn't them. But it only mentions Vin as 'she,' when talking about how she got her spike. I was sure one of the epigraphs was going to be: "And that girl is me."
The Sazed thing totally made sense in hindsight, I can't believe I didn't figure it out. And we were right about the "on the arms," bit being the part Brandon was referring to, good find Vintage!
I'm a little sad that the lake doesn't come into it more. But the Mist spirit and the Deepness were BOTH Preservation. That was cool.
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.
He responded that sometimes he has several synonyms that he hasn’t quite decided on. So I asked him if he was now canonizing a new shard and he said yes. So this is now official. He agreed to let me share it, so here it is.I’ve attached the picture for you to see for yourself, but the text says: “The second shard on the Elantris world (Sel) is Dominion.”
Is Cultivation a Shard on Roshar?
Yes, Cultivation is. (very inquisitively) Where did you get that word?
It's in the book.
Is it in the book? Okay.
It's mentioned once.
Okay, one of the Shards from Roshar is Cultivation.
Was Honor Splintered?
Was Honor Splintered? ooh someone's been paying attention, very much. I would say that yes Honor was Splintered. That is a very important question to be asking, someone really knows their stuff.
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.)
With Shards? Because they only have so much power they can access at a certain time, but yet they still have more energy. So how does that work? Is it just they have so much power they can use at any given time?
[still slightly confused] What are you talking about? Like which shards?
Ruin and Preservation. Since we know the most about them.
Ruin and Preservation were a specific instance, because almost all their energy was thrown into resisting each other. Keep that in mind. Even after Preservation was only a shadow, basically all of it was "Let's keep Ruin from destroying the world". So they were polar opposites. Set in balance. But slightly unbalanced in a couple of ways, that eventually, that slight imbalance [led to the Mistborn Trilogy]. They are a special case, because of that.
So then why are they hesitant to directly fuel Allomancy?
Why are they hesitant to? What do you mean by directly fuel Allomancy?
You mention in the Hero of Ages Q&A that they can directly fuel Allomancy, like Vin does with Elend, but it requires expending their energy in a way they are hesitant to do.
Because it imbalances them more. Does that make sense? So if you are putting your energy here, rather than fighting the other force, that gives them an edge somewhere else, while trying to gain an edge here. And you have to make sure that's really worth it. Like a chess game. Is it worth sacrificing my pawn here to expose myself over here.
That makes sense.
So are Shards the most powerful thing in the Cosmere?
Or is Adonalsium?
No, no, let him RAFO the first one first, or he'll lump them together.
It depends on what you believe. The Shards are the most powerful things currently overtly manifest. There are those who would say there are other subtle forces being manifest. Most people in the know would say that Shards are the most powerful thing.
Does Hoid believe that Shards are the most powerful thing?
You'll have to ask him sometime. [gives troll grin]. Or see him get asked something like that sometime. There's argument to be made that right now Harmony is the most powerful thing in the Cosmere.
[Brandon being cautious about wording] Certain things built into a world are not the same. Not used in the same way. Meaning the energy of Preservation and Ruin inside of something living and growing—yes that's "of" them, but that's not direct force that they're using at that time.
Would a good example of that be Allomancy versus the blessings the Kandra have?
Yeah, yeah sure.
People have been thrown by you saying that Odium is not native to Roshar.
Odium is not native, that's the thing. Are any of them native? So if you dig the deeper question, are any of them native, ehhh, none of them are native to the planets you've seen so far. What I probably should've said to be more precise is that Honor and Cultivation were there long before Odium showed up.
You've said that Splintering a shard is essentially the same thing as the shattering of Adonalsium, repeated on a smaller scale.
And a while ago, someone asked you if Splintering was permanent or reversible, and you said that it can be reversed.
And shard holders 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?
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.
Ok real quick then I'll get back in line again. There's a bunch of people who follow this stuff online ... I just found out about it ... I don't want to call them a cult, but ... So anyway, at one point someone asked you if Seons were shards of—
Devotion ... yeah Aona, and you said that was close. My question is: are the Aons at the HEART of the Seons shards of Devotion?
No, but close.
But ... I was sure ... the floating Aon at the heart, that's not a shard ...
(taking pity on me) You're close but a word is wrong. You're using the wrong terminology.
SPLINTER. Are the Aons at the heart of Seons SPLINTERS of Aona?
Can I post that online?
. . . Ok. That's fine. It's been long enough, they've earned it.
Is there a Cosmere-specific term you use to describe, say, a Shard's power inside someone? For example, people on Scadrial had little bits of Preservation in them that made them sentient (and, with enough Preservation, Allomancy). This obviously doesn't make these people Slivers or Splinters, so I was just wondering if you had a word for it.
In my own terms, I refer to all of this as types of investiture. The degree, and effects, can be very different - but those people are invested. I term this Innate Investiture, and it is similar to what happens with people on Nalthis. That is also innate.
I don't think it's necessary at all. The writer's own fascinations—whatever they are—can add to the writing experience. But yes, some philosophical ideas worked into my fiction. Plato's theory of the forms has always fascinated, and so the idea of a physical/cognitive/spiritual realm is certainly a product of this. Human perception of ideals has a lot to do with the cognitive realm, and a true ideal has a lot to do with the spiritual realm.
As for more examples, they're spread through my fiction. Spinoza is in there a lot, and Jung has a lot to do with the idea of spiritual connectivity (and how the Parshendi can all sing the same songs.)
Not completely sure where Spinoza comes in. I guess the shards are part of the natural world and have no personality without a human wielder.
Yes on Spinoza there, and also the idea of God being in everything, and everything of one substance. Unifying laws. Those sorts of things. (Less his determinism, though.)
How long before the events of Elantris did Odium kill Aona/Devotion and Skai/Dominion?
Same time as the origins of the Seons.
This was the second-closest I came to getting RAFO'd. He was sort of jovially apologetic about this answer; I tried to get a solid number of years but to no avail.
My question is in regards to the writing system. In Warbreaker, when Siri is teaching Susebron to read, she mentions the letter "shash," which we now know better as a Glyphair from WoK.
so onto the questions:
Are the two writing systems related, or is this a chance coincidence of names? If they are related, did they stem from the same source? (i.e., do the people of Nalthis and Roshar both descend from a more ancient group of people?) If I haven't gotten a RAFO yet, did the separation from these other people create the legends of being cast out of the Tranquiline Halls?
There are interesting connections around the cosmere between linguistics and some cultures. Though different groups of humans were created on different planets, the Shards all share a single point of origin. However, the Tranquiline Halls legends are not related to a Nalthis/Roshar connection.
Why does Scadrial, which has two Shards, only have three manifestations of investiture, (Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy) but Sel, also with two Shards, has five manifestations of investiture (AonDor, Dakhor, ChayShan, Forgery, and Bloodsealing)?
Sel's magics are much more regionalized than Scadrial's. Each area has its own manifestation, but they're all actually the same magic. So really there is one magic on Sel—much as Windrunning and Lightweaving on Roshar are kind of different magics, but also kind of the same.
I love how many authors we get on this subreddit, it's amazing. Not sure if you meant this forum or not but it's still cool. I hope I see Brandon Sanderson one of these days, I have a stupid question for him.
I've been terrible about my reddit pms lately. Better to ask here.
About Miles from Alloy of Law and his regenerative powers. If he was bisected down the middle and the halves were separated immediately before the healing process could begin, would the two halves each regrow into a whole Miles?
Good question. In all of the Cosmere's Shard-based magics, the greater portion of a bisected body regrows the lesser portion. If it were done EXACTLY halfway, the soul wold jump to one or the other randomly and that would regrow.
Amusingly, this first came up in 1999, six years before I got published. (I see someone else already mentioned the situation where I had to consider it.)
As little add—on Sanderson has stated that at its core, Shard-based healing is about restoring the person back to themselves. So someone who wears glasses and gets shot and healed, will still need glasses as that is how they (or their soul) sees themself. I assume this would happen in more extreme cases too, some one who had a limb amputated at birth gets healed at another time, the limb will not be restored because they see themself as an amputee, even if it is within the magic's ability to restore limbs to some one who recently lost one.
So... wait a sec, the Lord Ruler got decapitated at one point...
What did he do with the severed head? Mount it on the wall?
He mounted it SIDEWAYS? :P
Actually, this is kind of a sillier followup to a silly question, but could you use Forgery to say 'actually, this half had 51% instead of 49%' and temporarily clone Miles?
Boy. That's a can of worms, right there...
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?
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.
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.
Shards and Shard intents: Holding a Shard is a contest of willpower against the Shard that, over time, is very hard to resist.
Shards affect you over time, but your mind will not leave a permanent effect on the Shard. A holder's personality, however, does get to filter the Shard's intent, so to speak. However, if that holder no longer held that Shard, the Shard will not continue to be filtered by that person.
I don't remember what prompted me to write this, or what impression I had that made me write this, but I wrote: Anyone can take up a Shard. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I would not have written this if it was not crystal clear to me that this is what Brandon meant.
Odium wants to be the only Shard. Odium could pick up other Shards if he wants to, but, he doesn't want to. His Shard is a good match for his personality and he doesn't want to be influenced by another Shard.
Feruchemy ended up being a balance system, because of how polar Ruin and Preservation were. Any world with at least two Shards will result in a similar phenomenon.
Like Roshar. There is something like that going on there.
Um...it...Adonalsium could have been shattered in other ways.
Was there a force determining which way it shattered?
So, like metal inside a person’s body?
It depends on how strong the investiture in them is.
Is that going to be the answer for all of these?
How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy? Not in a person.
Not in a person? It depends on how strong—yeah. A spike is moderately—in the realm of these sorts of things—moderately easy to push on, because a spike does not rip off very much investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and it loses that over time. So I would put that at the bottom—with the top being very hard—to be one of the easier things.
How about a metalmind? A feruchemy metalmind that is "full."
That is going to be middle of the realm. Generally easier than, for instance, a shardblade, which is going to be very hard.
But a shardblade isn’t actual metal. Ish?
Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.
So would that be the same for Shardplate, too?
Shardplate and blade are very hard. Blade is probably going to be harder. [...]
Halfshard? Like a halfshard shield?
Halfshard shield is going to be in moderate.
Nightblood? I imagine is going to be very difficult.
Very hard. Of all the things you’ve listed, he’s the hardest. Far beyond even a shardblade.
Far beyond metal inside a person?
Yes, depending on how invested the person is.
If someone was invested as much as Nightblood I’m pretty sure it’s going to be very difficult.
Yes, for instance, the Godking, at the end, with all of those Breaths. Pushing on something inside of him? Getting through all that? Gonna be REAL hard. Average person on Scadrial? You’ve seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.
That was actually going to be my next one- No, sorry, not a drab, a Lifeless.
A Lifeless. Lifeless are kinda weird, because they’ve had their soul leave, but then they’ve had a replacement stuck in, in the form of Breath, which puts them in a really weird position compared to a Drab, which has had part of their investiture ripped away, but the majority of it remains. So anyway, I’m going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.
Okay, a soul-stamped piece of metal.
A soul-stamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of investiture going on in a soulstamp.
I will reveal this as we go. However, be aware that in the past, when a Shard was killed, the person holding it, it is a slow burn to actually kill someone; because power cannot be destroyed. So, what it means to be killed means something a little different in these cases.
Did Tanavast survive Honor's splintering?
Tanavast is dead. Good question. However, that is as of the start of The Way of Kings.
So he could have survived the Splintering...
He could have survived the Splintering.
...as a mortal...
Well, he could have survived for a time, but then he could not have then...
...passed away in his sleep...
For the Dangerous Women story, are you going to write anything again in that world?
That world will show up again. Silence probably won't, but the world itself, yes. It's called Threnody, it is one of the Cosmere worlds. There's not a Shard there but there are interesting things happening. There's actually been a character in other books who's from Threnody. It will eventually be clear who that is, but they have shown up in many previous Sanderson novels.
Would that be Hoid?
Hoid is not from Threnody. Good question though. Hoid is from Yolen.
Hey Brandon! It was lovely interrogating hanging out with you in Chicago, so I'll keep this somewhat brief :)
[Cosmere] Can any two Shards be joined together, like "Preservation and Ruin", or does it depend on their Intents?
[Mistborn] What difference does Allomantic strength make when using gold/electrum, if any?
[Stormlight Archive] Have you planned out the interludes for Book #3, and if so - any returning characters? Share one?
[Fandom] Can you do another Q&A with The 17th Shard, so we can ask the good questions there? :P
Thank you for doing this - and everything else you do :)