The Awakened Salad

Preservation as a Villain

11 posts in this topic

Sorry if this has been done before, but I had this thought: 

This is more of a what if scenario than a theory or anything, but ever since I finished Era 1, I've always wondered how the books would've differed if Preservation ended up as the main antagonist instead of Ruin. Like instead of saving the world from destruction, maybe the crew now have to save it from stasis? As Ruin says in Secret History:

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You realize that if he were in control, nobody would age? Nobody would think or live? If he had his way you'd all be frozen in time, unable to act lest you harm one another 

Since Mistborn already has so much trope deconstruction and subversion, I don't think it'd be too far-fetched if Brandon turned around and was like "hey, you know that evil malevolent force I've been foreshadowing this whole time? Yeah well now everyone has to work with it to stop the end of the world", albeit "the end of the world" in a different sense. 

I'm not sure exactly how much it would change the story (it has been a few years since I've read Era 1), but I think it would've made for some interesting character dynamics. Maybe this time Preservation sealed Ruin in the Well to stop him from interfering with Preservation's plan of freezing the world, and in Hero of Ages maybe Vin and the crew are actively searching for the missing atium. Though this probably means The Lord Ruler's backstory would have to completely change, and actually, the Final Empire would probably be completely different. And Secret History . . . well, I don't know what would happen there, except that it would have to be completely reworked. 

I think Mistborn does a pretty good job of establishing that Ruin or Preservation are neither truly good or evil, but that they're both necessary, but it would've been cool to see their roles reversed. 

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They already basically defeated both of them. Basically humans and shards will always be at best a shaky alliance. The tendency to use people as cannon fodder is too strong.

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There's already a WoB on that

In a scenario where Preservation, Ruin and Cultivation settle on a planet, Preservation is likely to be the antagonist as the other two are about change while Preservation would become something closer to Stasis

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2 hours ago, Honorless said:

There's already a WoB on that

In a scenario where Preservation, Ruin and Cultivation settle on a planet, Preservation is likely to be the antagonist as the other two are about change while Preservation would become something closer to Stasis

Would Cultivation being there change Ruin? How? 

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27 minutes ago, aneonfoxtribute said:

Would Cultivation being there change Ruin? How? 

A guiding force, mostly. Ati's Ruin was mostly an entropic force, but with another Shard that that's focused on breaking down to build more things, it would probably leak over. That, or Cultivation would just hijack Ruin's shenanigans and he'd be unwittingly participating anyway.

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23 minutes ago, Invocation said:

A guiding force, mostly. Ati's Ruin was mostly an entropic force, but with another Shard that that's focused on breaking down to build more things, it would probably leak over. That, or Cultivation would just hijack Ruin's shenanigans and he'd be unwittingly participating anyway.

Makes sense. 

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Era 1 ends with Harmony. So, that is basically already saying that none of them are truly evil, otherwise Ruin would splitered or expelled from planet. I wonder if Odium will have similar fate or if hatred will be pure villan? 

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On 28.10.2019 at 5:06 AM, The Awakened Salad said:

I'm not sure exactly how much it would change the story (it has been a few years since I've read Era 1), but I think it would've made for some interesting character dynamics. Maybe this time Preservation sealed Ruin in the Well to stop him from interfering with Preservation's plan of freezing the world, and in Hero of Ages maybe Vin and the crew are actively searching for the missing atium. Though this probably means The Lord Ruler's backstory would have to completely change, and actually, the Final Empire would probably be completely different. And Secret History . . . well, I don't know what would happen there, except that it would have to be completely reworked. 

If you switch the magic systems, you can actually end up with a society very similar to the Final Empire. Just look at the Altered Carbon and the cortical stacks technology there (what I think Presevation's Hemalurgy could look like). Nobles can live forever using skaa bodies, creating a dystopia that Ruin and his rebels want to overthrow :)

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@The Awakened Salad - I like the thought experiment, but honestly, I feel like Preservation might already end up being rebranded as the villain in retrospect. (At least from the perspective of non-scadrians)

While Ati is narrated as overtly sadistic and overcome by murderous contempt for the Scadrians, Leras' desire for the preservation of the Scadrians leads him to betray his pact with Ati to not let Scadrial grow too powerful, betray his agreement with the other Shards to not recombine with another Shard, and, if the foreshadowing thus far is any indicator, potentially set Scadrial on a path of war and conquest against other systems throughout the Cosmere.

I suspect before the epic is through, most of the Shards will be widely perceived as lawful-evil, a few as chaotic neutral, one or two as true-neutral, and maybe none that can be called any type of good.

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No one is good and no one is evil. One cannot judge forces. But Preservation was my antagonist. If Ruin hadn't been written as such a sadist, he would have been a tragic antihero, fulfulling a promise long since broken. There was actually a fanfiction about it on AO3. I don't remember the title though.

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Tragic anti-hero? Isn't that a role that some might argue Preservation already had donned in the story?

He chose to go through a lingering death by possibly sentencing Ati to mindlessness, then thrust the role of suicide on someone else. He did break a promise, and he did do some bad things, but he did it for what was undeniably the greater good and he sacrificed himself first, for his children, the Scadrians.

As for Preservation as a villain, I like @KandraAllomancer's idea, if Preservation's reaction to the Lord Ruler's death was any indication.

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