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Fractalfire posted a topic in Stormlight Archive[Note: Reposted from older thread, which originally asked us to speculate about Odium's method of shattering shards.] My theory is that Odium's advantage and ability to shatter other shards is tied very tightly to his intent. Consider: 1. Odium's Intent Allows him to Perceive Evil and Flaws in Others Odium (at one point named “Anger”) appears to be an aspect of divine wrath. Divine wrath is not merely objectless anger or hatred, however, it is specifically hatred of evil (E.g. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, etc.) We know that Odium’s wrath is “separated from the virtues that gave it context” – so mercy, justice, and even the principles of “lex talionis” (“eye for an eye”) do not bar his anger. However, to be able to be wrathful about something, you must still have some conception of where it has gone wrong. Odium isn't just wrathful against anything and everything - his wrath has a focus. Whenever I think of Odium, I am reminded of the Demon’s Mirror from the “Snow Queen” fairy tale, described here: I think Odium’s intent makes him see both people and shards in their most negative, evil aspects. He compares them to perfection, and, in so doing, is filled with hatred towards their flaws and vices. It is this which makes him despise and hate the other shards, for he sees the ways in which they fail the people and cause misery and suffering. We see, I think, a hint of this in Odium’s conversation with Dalinar in chapter 57. Odium states that I think he is aware of how the other Shards are flawed and that this leads him to hate them. This explains both his desire to destroy them and his desire to remain unalloyed with their power, which from his perspective would be corrupting. We also see a little bit of Odium’s nature in his choice of allies: he fights with the party first injured in the desolation, the ancient Singers who were forced out of their land by humanity. He sees the evil the humans have done and he hates and despises it, but his hatred has no proportionality or mercy. He is willing to completely destroy even generations which have no knowledge of the crime and wipe them from the face of Roshar. I suspect, even should he succeed, Odium’s wrath would merely turn upon the victors (since they would have killed innocents in the process of victory). In fact, I suspect this has already happened once. I think Odium led the first desolation where the humans attacked the voidbringers, probably in response to some sort of wrong, then promptly switched sides to avenge the attacked party and punish the sins on the human side. In this way, his wrath is an example of the saying “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.” Evil begets evil and so Odium’s wrath is never satiated – he sees all the flaws and will always be supporting a twisted sort of vengeance till eternity end. 2. The Ability to See Flaws allows Odium to See Weaknesses in Shards Seeing the flaws of both mortal and Shard however, would provide Odium with a distinct advantage. It means he can see where a Shard is in conflict with their intent, or where their intent is flawed. He is aware of their Hamartia (fatal flaws). Since all of the Shards are pieces of a complete unity, they each have weaknesses that make them blind to their own particular evils – none of them are perfectly “good” or can act perfectly in align with their intent. My theory is that shattering specifically occurs when a shard is forced into a position where it acts against its own intent or else is forced to face the flaw in its own intent in a major way. In Honor’s case, I suspect he was shattered either upon breaking one of his own Oaths or upon realizing that Oaths were fundamentally flawed. (I think the Herald’s betrayal is strongly tied into this in some way and that it either forced him to go against one of his oaths or else made him realize that Odium was correct and oaths were imperfect.) Hypothetically then, any Shard forced into a position that goes against its own intent would be shattered. Preservation, for example, might be shattered by either getting its power to cause an act of great destruction, or else demonstrating that, by preserving things, it is in fact ruining them by making their natures fundamentally different. Cultivation might be shattered by either forcing it to “burn” its “gardens” or else revealing a flaw in its methods of “cultivation”. Ambition might have been shattered by forcing it into a position of subservience and so on and so forth. I don’t know enough about most of the other shards to speculate, but I think given enough information a flaw in each of their intents could be found.) If true, Odium could potentially be shattered in one of several ways: 1) Forcing him into a position where his wrath is turned inward to attack his own flaws.* 2) Forcing him to confront a being of perfect good which has no flaws. 3) Forcing him to confront one of the virtues which wrath is supposed to be associated with (i.e. mercy), something good which takes into account error/sin and forgives or heals it. * I can’t help but wonder if this hasn’t already happened to a certain degree. We know the Unmade are, at least in some respect, Shards of Odium. Perhaps he is confronting evil aspects inherent in all men (including himself) and intentionally removing these “flaws” from the Shard, spinning them off as separate evil entities and thus making himself “the Broken one”. Alternatively, they might be “distorted reflections” of the evil in either men or Shards that he uses to accomplish his attacks. Cultivation would probably be in a good position to pull something like this off, probably by guiding the people of Roshar, both Singer and human, to rally against him and reject their mutual hatred in a larger version of Dalinar’s refusal to let Odium “have his pain” (i.e. his flaw). However, if Odium were shattered, I think the result would likely be tragedy. Consider the above quote with the Demon’s Mirror. If he is shattered, Odium would become even worse, because his splinters would enter into the hearts of men, Singer, Spren, and (perhaps) Shard and begin to destroy them. Instead of one locus of hatred, there would be many. 3. Possible Objections: Objection 1: An enhanced ability to see flaws may in fact be part of Odium’s nature, but the shattering may still be done by corrupting investiture. Odium would probably be better at corrupting investiture under this theory than other Shards, because he would see the “flaws” in the magic be able to take advantage of this, twisting the investiture towards his own use. Response 1: This is likely true. However, to destroy a shard, Odium would most probably have to corrupt a large portion of their investiture (perhaps close to half) to be able to overpower them. It seems unlikely that he would be able to corrupt such a large portion of their nature, particularly if they found out and resisted. Response 2: In corrupting investiture, Odium must exert some of his power. He will thus weaken himself proportionally to how much he invests. He might, if clever, be able to use this to destroy one Shard if he outfought them. However, if he must use so much power, how can he possibly destroy two? (Which he has done once and is attempting to do again.) In attacking one Shard, Odium would leave himself vulnerable to the other, who has their investiture free and now knows how he shattered the first shard. I think the shattering must instead be something that can be swift and not readily accomplished by the other shard. Response 3: If the corrupted investiture is formed by the power of two shards, why can the other Shard not attack Odium through the same route? You say because the other shard has invested more in the world. But if Odium is investing some power in the other Shard’s magic, why can that Shard not turn the corruption against him? Response 4: Some of the suggested corruptions do not seem to be influenced by Honor. The unmade in particular do not appear to have anything honorable about them. I do not see any good reason to believe they are large chunks of Honor’s power that have been corrupted (at this time). The voidsurges DO seem to be corruptions of the Nahel bond, but this bond was first formed by Spren, who figured out how to mimic what Honor did with the Honorblades. Though I suppose it’s possible that the formation of the voidish surges was a corruption of Honor’s investiture, I’m not sure of this. Response 5: If Odium uses the corruption method, then Honor should have been unraveling ever since Odium first formed the corrupted voidlight. However, since they seem to have been around a long time and Honor seems to have shattered relatively abruptly, I do not see how they can be the weapon that did it. Objection 2: Odium names himself Passion and, although Brandon implies he is partially deceiving himself, his words and methods seem to imply that there is in fact some truth to this. Response 1: Odium does in fact feel emotion besides anger. Anger is powerful precisely in so far as it mourns the loss of what is good. He thus does experience the positive emotions he states – joy, happiness, etc. etc. – because he must first appreciate these things before he can be wrathful for their loss. He must first love innocence before he can hate evil for defiling it. His interpretation thus is in some ways closer to the truth than the interpretation that he is mere “anger,” but it also misses the mark in that he is not just raw emotion (else his emotion would not be weighted towards vengeance). Response 2: Odium is represented in Dalinar’s vision as a flame. This is similar, interestingly, to the Altar of the Saints described in Revelation, which is fed by the tears and mourning of the oppressed: “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had upheld. And they cried out in a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” The altar is fueled by injustice – by passion, by weeping, by joys lost, by sorrows and fear – but it burns at the foot of the throne of God, bringing their prayers and mourning into his presence, and fuels his wrath towards the wicked. Metaphorically, I think Odium’s flame is similar. The weeping and prayers of the people, their emotions, feed his wrath. In fact, now that I think of it, the burning of glyph wards may in fact be an aspect of Vorinism that originated in the old world and once was (or perhaps still is) of Odium. Response 3: I believe Odium may be using the interpretation of himself as emotion to avoid his own fatal flaw -- the fact that he is wrath unbound by virtue. He thus interprets all the evil emotions inside himself as simply part of a vast "Passion," which of course must contain these negative emotions. In this way, he bears no guilt for anything he does that is evil and need not confront his own flaws. Response 4: Both Ruin and Odium discuss passion, and, we are told, so would other shards. I think "Passion" is probably something Brandon has used to divide shards into categories, much as with the metals in Allomancy. Ruin and Odium possess Passion as it is part of their intent (and apparently the intent of other shards), but they are not passion itself. This was originally posted in the Cosmere forum, but some people recommended that I make it into its own topic and I think it fits better in the Stormlight Forum since I am mostly discussing Odium. Original post: I welcome any criticism and particularly any insight into Brandon's comments that may be relevant to this conversation.