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Preservation’s Mind



In the Hero of Ages Sazed says that Preservation gave up his mind in order to trap Ruin in a prison. What exactly does it mean for Preservation to give up part of his mind? Does it mean part of his Shardic Investiture? Wouldn’t he get his mind back once Vin released the prison?

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42 minutes ago, ShroudedMoon said:

In the Hero of Ages Sazed says that Preservation gave up his mind in order to trap Ruin in a prison. What exactly does it mean for Preservation to give up part of his mind? Does it mean part of his Shardic Investiture? Wouldn’t he get his mind back once Vin released the prison?

Hello, welcome to the Shard :) What other books have you read? Have you read Mistborn Era 2, or The Secret History?

A Shard is made out of two major parts: a Shard, which is the power and a Vessel, who is a person holding that power. A Vessel is the mind of a Shard, they control the power. Sazed is now the Vessel (the mind) of both combined Shards of Ruin and Preservation, the Vessel of Harmony. For Preservation to give up his mind it means he used the essence of his own mind - the soul of the Vessel you might say - to trap Ruin's mind. This mind, this soul is made out of the same stuff that everything else is made out of, it's the same thing that Shardic power is made out of, the same stuff that powers Metallic Arts - investiture - which basically is energy. Preservation, or rather Leras - the Vessel of Preservation - used up his own soul, his mind, to trap Ruin's mind, or rather Ati - the Vessel of Ruin. 

Releasing Ruin from his prison didn't bring back Preservation's mind. Leras was gone, he was almost dead at this point and his mind was used up as power - there was no going back from that. When Vin Ascended, the former Vessel of Preservation, Leras, had finally died, leaving just empty Shardic power with no mind to control it (this happened just after Elend talked with the Mist Spirit, after taking over the new Koloss army on his own). Vin provided a new mind for Preservation, becoming the new Vessel of Preservation.

Some WoBs, Words of Brandon from Annotations to Mistborn:


Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifty-Five

Elend Sees the Mist Spirit

Elend really does have a lot of faith in Vin, even if he doesn't worship her. He ascribes an almost supernatural power to her. And, I can kind of see why he would. In these books, Vin's almost less of a character and more a force. Like Ruin and Preservation, in a way.

Regardless, this chapter is about Elend giving up—then finding his hope again. I bring the mist spirit back here for a final appearance, but I wanted to be careful not to have it give too much information to Elend. Not because I don't want the information itself to get out, but because the mist spirit hasn't been a presence in this book, and so I haven't foreshadowed it enough. Therefore, if it simply showed up and gave a bunch of answers, I think that would feel cheap to the reader.

The mist spirit is, as the next epigraph explains, the remnants of Preservation's mind. I don't delve into it too much in this book, even the epigraphs, but Preservation's consciousness is indeed separate from his power. However, his consciousness itself has a limited power. And that is what he used to bind Ruin.

That did not weaken his power, which still protects the world. Instead, it cost him his mind, leaving behind only a faint shadow—like the mists' memory of Preservation, far removed from what he had once been.

That consciousness attached to Preservation—like the one attached to Ruin—is a part of Adonalsium, which will eventually be explained. Suffice it to say that in a pinch, Preservation could draw upon the power of his own mind and use it to imprison Ruin. This was why he was able to pull of the trick, as Ruin wasn't expecting it. He might have anticipated an attack using Preservation's power, but not his mind—not knowing what burning his own mind would do.

That is why Preservation's cage captured Ruin's own mind, but not his power.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (Jan. 19, 2010)



Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Nine

The Mists Chose Someone

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than even the author of these epigraphs knows. Reasons why Vin was chosen, and why the power of Preservation needed a new mind to control it.

The author is right in that Preservation did need someone to control its power, and it did seek for a host in which to invest itself. It began this search with what mind it had left about sixteen years before the return of the power to the Well of Ascension, just as it began a search for a new host before the return of the power the previous time.

Unfortunately, just as Ruin took control and manipulated Alendi, he took control and manipulated Vin.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (May 13, 2010)

HoA epigraphs ch 55:


By sacrificing most of his consciousness, Preservation created Ruin's prison, breaking their deal and trying to keep Ruin from destroying what they had created. This event left their powers again nearly balanced—Ruin imprisoned, only a trace of himself capable of leaking out. Preservation reduced to a mere wisp of what he once was, barely capable of thought and action.

These two minds were, of course, independent of the raw force of their powers. Actually, I am uncertain of how thoughts and personalities came to be attached to the powers in the first place—but I believe they were not there originally. For both powers could be detached from the minds that ruled them.



I have come to see that each power has three aspects: a physical one, which can be seen in the creations made by Ruin and Preservation; a spiritual one in the unseen energy that permeates all of the world; and a cognitive one in the minds which controlled that energy.

There is more to this. Much more that even I do not yet comprehend.



I believe that the mists were searching for someone to become a new host for them. The power needed a consciousness to direct it. In this matter, I am still rather confused. Why would power used to create and destroy need a mind to oversee it? And yet, it seems to have only a vague will of its own, tied in to the mandate of its abilities. Without a consciousness to direct it, nothing could actually be created or destroyed. It's as if the power of Preservation understands that its tendency to reinforce stability is not enough. If nothing changed, nothing would ever come to exist.

That makes me wonder who or what the minds of Preservation and Ruin were.


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1 hour ago, ShroudedMoon said:

This clears it up for me. Thanks for the thorough response! I have read Mistborn Era 2, but not the short stories like Secret History.

Then if you read Band of Mourning, I highly recommend Secret History to you. It explains a lot of stuff.

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