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Odium as Entropic Hero


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Following is some speculation about the underlying theme of the Cosmere series. I believe MISTER Sanderson tells the story of how magic moves from dictatorship to democracy.

 

As the sole god and source of all the Cosmere’s investiture, Adonalsium “ruled” everywhere by himself, a dictatorship. Adonalsium’s Shattering broke divinity into Sixteen equally powerful parts, each reflecting a single aspect of divinity. Collectively, the Sixteen “ruled” after Adonalsium’s Shattering, an oligarchy of power. Now Odium wants to splinter and diffuse each of the others.

 

What happens if he succeeds? MISTER Sanderson says (in Item 7),

 

“Odium wants to be the only Shard. Odium could pick up other Shards if he wants to, but, he doesn't want to. His Shard is a good match for his personality and he doesn't want to be influenced by another Shard.”

 

Ultimate hatred, however, hates everything, including all existence and, I posit, itself. Self-loathing may be at the core of hating others. If Odium succeeds, he will find himself in a hateful Cosmere, divisive and in constant war with itself. He will be without peers or other worthies to hate and will have no future other than an eternity of loneliness and purposelessness. A Cosmere whose primary emotional focus is hatred will likely destroy itself.

 

And Odium, by himself, cannot build a new Cosmere. Hatred is not a creative force. In this respect, he’s like Ruin, he cannot create by himself.

 

Faced with this, I think Odium will eventually destroy himself, completing Adonalsium’s disintegration. His hatred will turn inward. By splintering each Shard ending with himself, Odium will cause Adonalsium’s original investiture to diffuse throughout the Cosmere rather than be concentrated in the hands of the Sixteen.

 

Odium is thus the Cosmere’s entropic hero, its true Revolutionary, bringing magical democracy to the Cosmere after it has been a dictatorship and an oligarchy.

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Ultimate hatred, however, hates everything, including all existence and, I posit, itself. Self-loathing may be at the core of hating others. If Odium succeeds, he will find himself in a hateful Cosmere, divisive and in constant war with itself. He will be without peers or other worthies to hate and will have no future other than an eternity of loneliness and purposelessness. A Cosmere whose primary emotional focus is hatred will likely destroy itself.

Intents do not work like that. WoB confirms that shards don't apply their intents to themselves. Ruin didn't seek its own destruction, and wouldn't do it if it won. Preservation was not above self-sacrifice. Odium does not need to destroy itself.

Also, why do you write "MISTER Sanderson"?

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I agree with DreamEternal that Odium will not destroy himself, but I like the rest of your theory, and could see it being true. Odium could be splintered at the end by whoever are the protagonists at that point and result in a Cosmere without Adonalsium or his (original) Shards.

 

Also, why do you write "MISTER Sanderson"?

 

I think its a part of the chat filter, because I've seen that in a few different places. He's probably just typing Brandon (or something), and then it is getting replaced with MISTER.

Edited by King's Twit
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The main reason I no longer grace MISTER Sanderson with his first name is this one. If you didn’t see the last play of that game, watch it on YouTube to understand. (I also like how it rhymes with Agent Smith’s pronunciation of Neo’s name in The Matrix.)

 

Regarding the OP, you both make a good point. But the two situations are not necessarily the same. Ruin causes decay but couldn’t destroy himself. Odium hates, so therefore can’t hate himself? Even if he can’t, there’s nothing in his mandate (intent) that prohibits him from killing himself. If self-hate doesn’t compel him to, I would think loneliness in a hate-filled self-destructive Cosmere might suffice.

 

It may even happen without his desire. Odium can’t create or IMO even bond things together. His mandate (intent) corrodes and divides. Natural entropic forces cause elements of the Cosmere to break down, and the splinters of the other Shards probably lack the power to put Humpty back together again. Will Odium be content to preside over a disintegrating Cosmere for eternity?

 

I doubt the Cosmere books will progress so far as to leave Odium the last Shard standing. I’m just following Odium’s plan to its conclusion and wondering why he even bothers. A Shard’s compulsion, I guess.

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Intents do not work like that. WoB confirms that shards don't apply their intents to themselves. Ruin didn't seek its own destruction, and wouldn't do it if it won. Preservation was not above self-sacrifice. Odium does not need to destroy itself.

Well, the shardholders would have created their names for themselves, right? And a personality (or whatever Adonalsium is, I'm just trying to speculate her) is not so easily divided into 16 parts, so Odium could just be the part of Adonalsium that induces hate against others, not just the pure intent hate. Did I just blaspheme a little too hard? Anyways, that seems a little too murky for Brandon, I'm probably misunderstanding it.

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It may even happen without his desire. Odium can’t create or IMO even bond things together. His mandate (intent) corrodes and divides. Natural entropic forces cause elements of the Cosmere to break down, and the splinters of the other Shards probably lack the power to put Humpty back together again. Will Odium be content to preside over a disintegrating Cosmere for eternity?

What you're describing sounds too much like Ruin to me, and I don't think MISTER Sanderson would make two Shards that were that similar. There is also a quote from Elantris that runs counter to the notion that Odium can't bind things together. I don't have my book with me ATM, so I can't give an exact quote, but it's something along the lines of "Hatred can unify far better than devotion ever could."

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