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Ok, I love Sanderson’s work, but I want to understand something. What the heck are these shards I keep hearing about? Not the ones in the Stormlight archive like shard blades and shard plate. Like divine shards or something. Kind of like Gods right, but not? Where the heck do you get information about them? What books? Cause I’m really lost here. I’ve been reading threads on this forum and I’m really confused. People keep talking about shards like preservation/ruin and devotion/dominion. Like what are they exactly? All this time I thought Mistborn was about a fallen God. And now I’m hearing about splintered shards. Can someone please explain this to me, or send me a source so I can read up on this?!

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Welcome to the site!

Check out the Coppermind Wiki- it will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (that we currently know!)

 

Essentially in a nutshell, there was a Force/Power/Creator/God (delete as appropriate)- known as Adonalsium

There was a plot to destroy Adonalsium that failed, and there were two sides to a conflict in relation to Adonalsium, that we know of.

For unknown reasons, Adonalsium Shattered, and 16 living beings (not all necessarily human) took up a Shard, or Aspect of Adonalsium, and they became known as Vessels.

 

These Vessels ended up emboding certain traits of these Shards, sometimes changing them entirely, while others seemed to appeal more to others.

 

Welcome to the Rabbit Hole, we will embrace you with open arms as you jump right in!

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Mistborn and the Stormligt Archive have the most clear examples of Shards. Shards are fractured pieces of the power of a being called Adonalsium, essentially a god, and each Shard represents an aspect of Adonalsium (Ruin, Preservation, Honor, etc). We know that there are 16 Shards in total. The ones we know are:

Ruin and Preservation fron Mistborn.

Honor, Odium, and Cultivation from the Stormlight Archive.

Dominion and Devotion are not mentioned in the book, but they are the splintered (killed by Odium) Shards of Sel, the world of Elantris. (“Merciful Domi” refers to Dominion.) their power forms the Dor.

Autonomy is a Shard referenced across many books by different names (Trell?). They seem to have a split conciousness.

Ambition is another shard splintered by Odium.

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You forgot Endowment for Warbreaker with the Tears of Edgli! :)

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2 minutes ago, imriel452 said:

You forgot Endowment for Warbreaker with the Tears of Edgli! :)

You’re right! Sorry haha. Oops

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Just now, Lightspine said:

You’re right! Sorry haha. Oops

It’s Warbreaker- we all thought it was less significant as a stand-alone at the moment until we read Words of Radiance...

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I'm going to assume you know about the whole Cosmere thing. Shards are basically the gods/magic batteries of the planets or in the case of the splintered ones,just batteries. They create things,destroy things,and just do whatever gods do. Except they're not really gods,more like 1/16th of a god called Adonalsium but if you divide infinite power by any number,you still get infinity,sooo they're god-like? I dunno.

As for the names,each Shard is bound to a certain Intent,as it were,meaning Preservation has to preserve and Ruin has to...well ruin. As for the Splintered ones there's one Shard called Odium(actually Hate/Passion) who's the big bad and wants to rule the Cosmere so he went about and wrecked,like what? 4 Shards? This kills the people wielding the Shards and makes it kinda difficult to pick them up again.

Hope this clears things up.

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Welcome to the rabbit hole that is the greater Cosmere!

To answer where we get our information about them, a lot of what we know comes not from the books but from things Brandon has said outside them at events, online and so forth. He's been making an effort to slip more of this stuff into the published works so fans less obsessive than us can start to get this information without having to actively seek it out. If you haven't read Mistborn Secret History yet, it's got the most concise explanation of the Shards and the big picture of the setting in any published work. There's also the essays that serve as section headers in Arcanum Unbounded and which contain information on each of the star systems (except Nalthis) that we've seen so far, including comments on their resident Shards.

If you want to take the plunge for yourself, take a look at the top of the page and you'll see a link to a site called Arcanum. It's a compilation of all of the 'Words of Brandon', or most of them at any rate since it started with the newer ones and the arcanists that maintain it are working backwards.

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Posted (edited)

@The Feruchemist @imriel452 got it kinda right. The plot to destroy Adonalsium didn't fail. We don't know the means that they used to destroy Adonalsium, but the 16 people (+ possibly Hoid and/or Frost) who became the original Vessels of the Shards were able to Shatter Adonalsium. All of this took place on Yolen, and will be explained in more detail in the series Dragonsteel, which Brandon is going to write eventually (that's a long way off though).

Each of the 16 Shards has an intent (not capitalized @Dustbringer Lord, Intent means something different from Shardic intent) that relates to aspects of divinity. We know 10 of those 16 Shards, and 9 of their Vessels. They are:

  • Ruin (Ati) and Preservation (Leras): These were the two Shards created Scadrial, the planet Mistborn takes place on. Their original Vessels were killed and the Shard has been taken up by Sazed, who is now the Vessel of Harmony.
  • Honor (Tanavast) and Cultivation (unknown): These two were romantically involved, and travelled to the Rosharan system sometime shortly after the Shattering of Adonalsium. Honor was Splintered by Odium sometime after the Recreance, and his Cognitive Shadow (basically his soul) fused with the Stormfather.
  • Devotion (Aona) and Dominion (Skai): These two Shards came to reside together on Sel. At some point early on in the Cosmere timeline, Odium Splintered them, but, since they were his first attempt at Splintering, he accidentally shoved their power into the Cognitive Realm on Sel, creating the Dor.
  • Ambition (Uli Da): The Vessel of this Shard was a Sho Del, one of the two other species besides humans on Yolen (the Yolish species were humans, Sho Del, and dragons [which can shapeshift into human form; Frost, the oldest person in the Cosmere, is a dragon]). Odium mortally wounded her on Threnody, the planet where Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell takes place, but she was Splintered somewhere else.
  • Odium (Rayse): Odium has been going around the Cosmere and Splintering Shards. What this does is break up the power of the Shard into many pieces so that no one can take up the Shard anymore. He has Splintered at least 4 Shards: Devotion, Dominion, Ambition, and Honor, though there may be more we don't know about. He is going around and Splintering Shards because he wants to be the most powerful being in the Cosmere, and he doesn't want to take up other Shards because that would change who he is and he likes how he is now. Ambition was at the top of his list because of her intent, but he couldn't find her at first, so he killed Devotion and Dominion first. Then he killed Ambition, then he got stuck on Roshar somehow and eventually killed Honor.
  • Endowment (Edgli): Endowment is the Shard on Nalthis, which is where Warbreaker takes place. She is the one who gives Returned their Divine Breath. Not much else is known about her.
  • Autonomy (Bavadin): Autonomy is the Shard on Taldain, which is where White Sand takes place. Autonomy has been known to make Avatars of herself across the Cosmere, such as on First of the Sun, where Sixth of the Dusk takes place.

There's a helluva lot more stuff out there about this. You can find it by either going to the coppermind (the wiki), or to Arcanum (the archive for all of the quotes from Brandon Sanderson himself). Welcome to the Shard, and have fun discovering the Cosmere!

Edited by StrikerEZ
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Posted (edited)

7 minutes ago, StrikerEZ said:

Autonomy (Bavadin): Autonomy is the Shard on Nalthis,

I think you mean Taldain as Nalthis is the world of warbreaker and Endowment is situated there.

It is believed that Trell is another avatar of Autonomy.

 

Otherwise this is a beautiful summary of what we know about the shards at the moment.

 

Edited by Rhapsody
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Just now, Rhapsody said:

I think you mean Taldain. As Nalthis is the world of warbreaker and Endowment is situated there.

Otherwise this is a beautiful summary of what we know about the shards at the moment.

 

Oops, yeah, that's what I meant :P Time to go edit.

And thank you

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Posted (edited)

@The Feruchemist Welcome to what @Weltall correctly described as the rabbit hole of the Cosmere! Brandon has revealed much in the form of his WoB on Arcanum and in his books though there is much we don't know. In short to summarize 16 individuals on the planet Yolen in the distant past splintered this thing known as Adonalsium. They each took a Shard/Portion of this thing and ascended in the same way that Vin does in HoA. Their minds become expanded and they become a source of infinite power. Odium whose vessel is Rayse is as has been indicated on a crusade to destroy the other Shards. When a vessel has splinters you sometimes get investiture fragments like spren. When the vessel is killed the power is released as happened in HoA. Hoid was present at the shattering though he did not take up a shard.  

As @StrikerEZ pointed out this is only a drop in the bucket.

Edited by Nathrangking
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