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Ookla the Apostate

Yet Another Remaining Shards Theory

3 posts in this topic

Like many before me, I have tried to predict the names of the remaining unrevealed Shards of Adonalsium. This is what I’ve come up with.

First, read these two WoBs.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8689
https://wob.coppermind.net/events/247-ancient-17s-qa/#e5518

When asked if all shards have direct opposites, Brandon says no. But when asked if all shards are paired, he gives it a RAFO. So these are clearly two different questions, and “no” is only the answer to one of them. 

Here’s my interpretation. All shards are paired, but not all pairs are direct opposites. I propose that there are two different kinds of shard pairings: Hard Opposites and Soft Opposites.

Hard Opposites are directly opposed to each other. Their intents are in absolute conflict. The obvious example is Ruin and Preservation, destructive change and benevolent stasis. The conflict between them is Irreconcilable.

If the intents of Hard Opposites are like enemies, the intents of Soft Opposites are more like rivals. They ultimately seek the same goal, or address the same issue, but with different philosophies. I believe Devotion and Dominion are Soft Opposites. They are two opposing philosophies on God’s relationship with his people. Dominion thinks God should rule his people, and Devotion thinks God should serve the people. It’s easy to see these two forces warring in the mind of the original God, Adonalsium. But despite their conflicting values, they are not entirely different from one another. They agree that the people-God relationship should exist. They would both be against an atheistic world, where gods keep to themselves. They have differing views, but common interests.

Simply put, Soft Opposites have conflict, but they could probably settle on the same planet without killing each other, unlike Ruin and Preservation. Their intents can potentially compromise.

Now that I have these terms defined, the next step is to look at all the unpaired shards we know of, and figure out if any of them are actually each other’s counterparts.

Odium
Honour
Cultivation
Autonomy
Endowment
Ambition

I think I see a match. I think Autonomy is the Hard Opposite of Endowment. Autonomy is all about noninterference. She doesn’t want any cosmeric stuff to interact with her native people. That’s why Khriss was allowed to leave Taldain, but not to return. And I might even theorize that Autonomy doesn’t want her people (or people in general) to have magic at all, and that she constructed the astronomical weirdness of Taldain specifically to isolate her own magic system on the Dayside, and allow the Nightside civilization to develop magic-free.

Endowment is clearly the opposite. Not only does she elevate people to godhood on a whim, she gives every human on Nalthis a little bit of magic to play around with. Endowment interferes, Autonomy doesn’t. Endowment gives power, Autonomy withholds it. Direct opposites.

This is where things get highly speculative. We have four shards left with no obvious opposite, so I’m going to propose some hypothetical ones to complement them.

Odium’s is the easiest. Odium is hate, so his opposite is love. Or, to use a more shardy-sounding name, Adoration. A Hard opposite. I know the love shard is an unpopular guess because it seems too easy, but bear with me. Adoration is not too similar to Devotion. Devotion is divine, paternal love; Adoration is personal, intimate love. Devotion is a philosophy, but Adoration... is Passion, Dalinar. 

Ambition’s opposite is Humility. This one also seems a bit obvious, but I think it works. Ambition always strives to achieve more, Humility is content with what it has. They are the two halves of God’s self-image. Ambition is the justifiable arrogance of the most powerful being in the universe, and Humility is the part that empathizes with the little people, and might even be appalled by its own power. Ambition wants power, Humility doesn’t. Ambition would have fought hard against the Shattering, Humility might have welcomed it. These are irreconcilable attitudes, and therefore Hard Opposites.

I think the Hard Opposites are easier to figure out. Honor and Cultivation are more complex concepts, without an obvious opposite, which, I think, means they’ll have Soft Opposites.

Cultivation’s is Artifice. I propose that this pair is the part of Adonalsium that dealt with creation. Creation is their shared priority, but they approach it in different ways. Cultivation is creation by encouragement, pruning, growth, and evolution. It’s the slow, organic, gentle kind of creation. Artifice is creation by construction, assembly, engineering, gears, and wrenches. Artifice builds things. Artifice will probably be found on a constructed planet, with perfect geometry in its geography, and whole species of golems. It’ll be a world where no one would ever conceive of evolution because everything was so obviously designed. Artifice’s magic system will probably resemble a crafting system.

In Arcanum Unbounded, Khriss says “[Scadrial] is one of only two places in the cosmere where humankind does not predate the arrival of Shards.” I propose the other place is Artifice’s planet. Artifice would insist on creating her own variety of humans from scratch.

Honor’s Soft Opposite is Conviction. Maybe there’s a better name for that. My first thought was “Ruthlessness,” but that doesn’t sound very shardy. Honor and Conviction are both committed to right action. They both encourage doing the right thing. But Conviction believes in “the ends justify the means.” Conviction encourages getting results by any means necessary, especially underhanded or devious means. He encourages healthy competition, and the survival of the fittest. Honor, of course, is committed to consistent rightness, in both ends and means. He is the thing you don’t sacrifice in pursuit of your goals. He believes in unity and cooperation.

In other words, Honor is Dalinar. Conviction is Sadeas. 

We now have fourteen shards.

Honor and Conviction
Odium and Adoration
Ruin and Preservation
Devotion and Dominion
Cultivation and Artifice
Autonomy and Endowment
Humility and Ambition

That means we’re missing one pair. And this pair should include... the Survival Shard.

Looking at what we have so far, I think we can group the shards into categories, each with four.

Divinity Shards, which deal with the role of God in human society.
Devotion, Dominion, Autonomy, Endowment.

Physical Shards, which deal with creating and maintaining the physical universe.
Cultivation, Artifice, Ruin, Preservation.

Attitude Shards, which deal with God’s own values and morals. 
Honor, Conviction, Humility, Ambition.
 

Emotion Shards, which are pretty obvious.
Odium and Adoration.

Look at that! One category is missing a pair. And you’ll notice that each category contains a pair of Hard Opposites (marked in bold) and a pair of Soft Opposites (marked in italics).

So we need a pair of Soft Opposite Emotion Shards.

I propose Sorrow and Fear.

This idea comes from some old mental health wisdom, and I’m sorry I couldn’t figure out exactly who to attribute this to. It says that depression is when you’re fixated on the past, and anxiety is when you’re fixated on the future. Some people get stuck in one of those. Some people oscillate between them. I think Adonalsium was one of the latter.

Sorrow is God’s depression. Fear is God’s anxiety.

And Fear, which constantly obsesses about the future, is the shard with the most powerful precognitive abilities. It has foreseen things none of the other shards know about. Things so terrifying that it flees from them, fearing for its own survival. 

I could (and perhaps will) create a table of shards, like the allomantic table, which divides them into quadrants and into Soft vs Hard Opposites instead of Internal vs External metals. 

Thoughts? Scathing criticism? Insults?

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This is actually a pretty good theory. Well thought out and nicely written. However, I disagree the the fear/sorrow pairing. It really doesn't seem to work. May I suggest an Ingenuity Shard instead? Its opposite could be a Knowledge kind of shard. Ingenuity is impulsive, Knowledge is more careful. Spontaneous creativity versus reasoned logic. I know, it isn't emotional, but it works better than fear and sorrow, and I really think that Adonalsium would need a lot of creativity to create the cosmere.

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On 2017-12-07 at 4:07 PM, SilverTiger said:

This is actually a pretty good theory. Well thought out and nicely written. However, I disagree the the fear/sorrow pairing. It really doesn't seem to work. May I suggest an Ingenuity Shard instead? Its opposite could be a Knowledge kind of shard. Ingenuity is impulsive, Knowledge is more careful. Spontaneous creativity versus reasoned logic. I know, it isn't emotional, but it works better than fear and sorrow, and I really think that Adonalsium would need a lot of creativity to create the cosmere.

Thanks, and I agree that Sorrow and Fear are the weak link in the theory. They were a leap of faith. But what you’re describing as Ingenuity and Knowledge are basically Cultivation and Artifice. Cultivation is the more emotional one, with her affection for living things, and Artifice, more mechanically inclined, would be the logical one. Both should be creative and clever.

Although I do like the idea of a Knowledge shard. I think Wisdom is a popular guess. That would be another good candidate for the Survival Shard, since knowledge/wisdom would probably lead to good future sight.

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