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A Shard influences plots

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I have had this theory for sometime, and now that I have finished all the Cosmere books I can now post this theory, as, in my eyes, it has not been yet disproven.

The events on a planet are influenced by the Invested Shard 

Think about it:

In Elantris (On Sel), the story is mainly about Shu-Dereth as it attempts to convert the citizens of Arelon and Teod, and bring them under Wyrn's control. The part about religion ties into Devotion and its nature, while the part about control is connected to Dominion.

In Mistborn Era 1 (Scadrial) the story was, simplified greatly, about different factions warring. People like Elend were attempting to preserve humanity while people like the Lord Ruler wre attempting to destroy it. IN Era 2, it's all about how Ruin and Preservation work against each other in one body (the theory doesn't fit very well in Era 2, but I pit that down to the fact that Sazed holds both).

In Warbreaker (Nalthis) the story was all about giving (Endowment), and this is something I noticed at the end. Everyone was handing out Breath, and giving it away.

In Stormlight Archive (Roshar) it was all about cultivating the human race in a harmful environment, and the political system greatly showcases the honor of every one of the highprinces, and how Dalinar attempts to overcome their pride and honor.


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Shards literally invest in worlds, and that investiture, colored by the intent of the Shards is bound to influence the people and therefore the the events of the stories. I don't think anyone is going to argue with that. I pretty much took it as a given. 

The level of influence is going to vary though, depending on the intent of the Shards involved. And at points human nature is going to overcome that intent and work opposite to it. For example, Nalthis, Breath is a currency, and while the magic system requires giving it away to use, people horde it for the benefits it offers, and the wealth it literally is. 

On Roshar, we see that for the majority of the alethi, honor is truly dead in all but name. This may be due to the the state of the Shard, but I think it is just the tendency of people towards greed and thirst for power. Dalinar is shown as being mocked and ostracized for truly having a sense of honor.

Mistborn Era 1, the Lord Ruler held the world in stasis. He was far more of Preservation than Ruin. He was cruel and ruthless, but he held the world in a kind of stasis. Once he was gone, and Ruin was freed, without Preservation whole to fight against him, we see the only instance of a Shards direct involvement in story events so far, and that is literally the story of HoA.

So I guess it depends on what you mean by "influence," but yeah. They do, for the most part in very subtle ways. 

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I agree @Calderis. Correlation with the Shard intents and the plot of a story is frequently a natural consequence of that Shard's investiture in the world (including the magic) and the people. 

I'd like to add that sometimes I find something in one story that reminds me of a Shard from a different planet

e.g. Kaladin's struggle with whether you can kill to protect reminds me of Wax's struggle with being Harmony's "Ruin". This sounds like a Preservation and Ruin thing, but it is important to a character on Roshar, where the local Shards have completely different intents to Scadrial's Shards. 

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14 hours ago, NamelessThirteenth said:


I did not know that the fact that they influence the plots was a given.

Rather enlightening :):) 

It's not so much that it's a given, but that it was expected.

The Thrill(Of Odium) makes for a lot of violence, which is often tied with hate/anger, so it fits. He isn't directly influencing the story, but his influence permeates the story.

Ruin and Endowment are a bit more direct, with the Returned's visions and Ruin's meddling in prophecies, but his whispers to Vin and controlling Marsh is the only direct meddling in the plot we've seen.

Edit: Their magic systems are often built around their Intent (Honorspren, Hemalurgy) so magic users are forced to act in ways that seem influenced by their Shard's Intent.

Edited by The One Who Connects
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