Book Series Wednesday: The Cosmere and Personal Theories

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.



If you are reading this article that means you’ve read Mistborn (including Alloy of Law), Warbreaker, Elantris (and Emperor’s Soul), and both Way of Kings and Words of Radiance!

Explanation of Brandon Sanderson’s work: Every single one of Brandon Sanderson’s Adult Fantasy novels is set in the same universe (not the same planet necessarily), and there are certain characters you will see in every book. There is an over arching story to the Cosmere, which we don’t know the specifics of except a few scant details, but if you pay attention to certain words that pop up in each series it’ll make sense. If you have read all his books and are still looking for the rest of the little information we do know go to the and look up their Cosmere posts on the forums. It’s a mind-boggling read in and of itself, but there are plenty of spoilers for various books so only do that after you’ve read all his Adult Fiction stuff that’s been released.

What we know of the Cosmere:

  • We know there was something, we aren’t sure of what it was (man, object or what have you) but that it was called Adonalsium and that it was shattered many many years ago. Adonalsium is also called the Power of Creation.
  • We know that when it shattered it shattered into 16 pieces, which we call Shards.
  • We know of 8 Shards so far.
  • They are: Preservation, Ruin, Odium, Endowment, Honor, Cultivation, Dominion and Devotion.
  • We know that there is one Shardholder that just wishes to hide and survive somewhere in the Cosmere.
  • We know that a person named Bavadin either held or still holds a Shard.
  • We know that Preservation and Ruin were combined into Harmony after the events in The Hero of Ages when Sazed takes up both Shards. This makes Sazed the most powerful being in the Cosmere, which makes Odium very nervous.
  • We know that in the Cosmere there are Three Realms: The Physical Realm (Where we live and breathe and touch things), The Cognitive Realm (Where our minds are, and where if one has the knowledge able to traverse immense distances in very short amounts of time which allows for Worldhopping) and finally the Spiritual Realm (Where our souls are).
  • We know that Honor, Devotion and Dominion are dead and Splintered by Odium. We are not sure how Odium did this yet.
  • We know that there is a person, who was there at the Shattering of Adonalsium, that is traveling throughout the Cosmere and that he on occasion passes advice to people on different Shardworlds. We know this person as Hoid.
  • Hoid has the following abilites: Lightweaving (from Yolen the world where Adonalsium was), Feruchemy of some form or another( which somehow gains him the ability to foresee where or when he is needed to be), Enough Bio-chromatic Breath to reach the Second Heightening, Allomancy (of which we know he has at least the ability to Soothe as he uses it on Shallan in WoR, but probably has full access to all 16 powers of Allomancy), An extremely long life and the ability to skip forward in time and possibly backwards as well, The knowledge necessary to traverse the Cognitive Realm (which is known as Shadesmar on Roshar) and Worldhop as he sees fit.
  • We know that Hoid often disguises himself, sometimes appearing as a beggar, or a story teller.
  • We know that there are people searching for Hoid, of whom we know at least three are a part of an organization called the 17th Shard. The known members of the 17th Shard include: Galladon (from Elantris), Demoux (from Mistborn Trilogy 1) and a person from the White Sands world.
  • There are other people in the Cosmere who can Worldhop, we suspect that Mraize is one of them.
  • We do not know how people Worldhop, only that it is very difficult on Sel (the world that Elantris takes place on) and that it involves Shardpools somehow.
  • We know of at least two different Shardpools, The blue lake above Elantris and The Well of Ascension.
  • We know that Hoid hates Odium’s holder Rayse, and that he is taking steps to remove him.
  • We know that for at least 360 years after the Final Acension that Marsh is still moving around Scadrial (the world that Mistborn takes place on) and he has been brought to at least a semblance of sanity by Sazed.
  • We know that Vasher no longer has Nightblood when we see him again on Roshar, where he goes by the name Zahel, and that he is on Roshar to gain Investiture more easily.
  • We know that Naln gave Nightblood to Szeth after he revived Szeth. Nightblood is the equivalent of an Honorblade on Roshar.
  • We know that Szeth was killed by Kaladin, and that some sort of Fabrial might have been used to bring him back.

That list probably makes your head spin a little. I’m covering the bare basics of the Cosmere and what we know about it. My personal theory is that Hoid is trying to remake Adonalsium, or to make a smaller version of it, because he has been going around gathering pieces of Shards since The Well of Ascension and took a bead of Lerasium (the metal that Elend swallowed to become a full Mistborn. Why he is doing so I have no idea, although he may have been the original wielder of Adonalsium, or his master was, and therefore sees it as his obligation to restore it to it’s former power.  What are your theories on the Cosmere, and why is Hoid going around doing what he is doing. I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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