Characters / The Cosmere

This is a blanket Character Sheet for forces throughout The Cosmere, including the Shards of Adonalsium and Hoid. WARNING: As with the Franchise page, this page will not have spoiler tags, and will assume that the reader is familiar with the books in question.

For information on other characters around the Cosmere, see these pages:


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Adonalsium

    Adonalsium 

Adonalsium

Holder: Unknown
World: Yolen
Magic: Some form of Lightweaving; unknown others

The original god of the Cosmere, the entity from whom all magic ultimately springs. He was killed long ago on the planet Yolen, but the exact circumstances of his life and death remain unknown.
  • Deicide: According to Khriss, he was murdered by the sixteen people who became the original Shardholders. Their motives varied from naked lust for power to a belief that it was the only option left.
  • God Is Dead: He died on Yolen, looong before the start of the story.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Most of the Shardworlds were shaped by him before his death, but when the Shardholders visited them, they didn't know what he had intended them for. One Cosmere-aware individual (the one exchanging letters with Hoid in The Stormlight Archive) claims that they're ruining whatever divine plan he had by stumbling around like fools.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Someone holding one of his Shards is nigh-omnipotent and practically omniscient, being capable of moving planets at a whim, reviving entire species, and remaining aware of nearly everything on their planet. And that's with one-sixteenth of his power. We have no idea what the upper limits of his powers were, or what could possibly have killed him.
  • Pieces of God: Most of the problems in the Cosmere are caused by his Shards, which influence their holders with a single portion of his personality without any balance. For example, everyone has the desire to destroy and ruin things at least a little—but when Ati took up the Shard Ruin, he became nothing but that desire for destruction.

Shards of Adonalsium

    Shards in General 

The Shards of Adonalsium are both the names for the Pieces of God, and a name for the Shardholders who now wield their power.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Over time, Shardholders become this for their Shards. This is also the reason why Rayse refuses to assimilate Shards, as they will change his personality.
  • Brainwashed: It's not hostile, but holding a Shard is a constant contest of Shardholder's will and Shard's Intent, one that Shard sooner or later will win.
  • Eldritch Abomination/Humanoid Abomination: Upon taking up a Shard, a Shardholder ceases to exist in Physical Realm, instead moving onto Cognitive. While they still have a human body, peeking into eyes of one means looking into clearly mind-screwy Spiritual Realm, and their real "bodies" are much greater and more incomprehensible.
  • God Is Dead: The result when a Shardholder is killed and the Shard Splintered.
  • God of Evil: Sort of in the case of villainous Shards. However, it's more whatever the name is than straight up "Evil", including Odium, Ruin, and Dominion.
  • God of Good: Some names, like Honor, Cultivation, Preservation, Endowment and Devotion imply this. Proven with Honor, Preservation and, to an extent, Endowment.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Every Shard has Intent, which is right in its name: Preservation will preserve, Honor will be honorable, Ruin will destroy, etc. Acting against Intent gets harder the more you hold the Shard, to the point that original Shardholders are unable to do anything that doesn't align with their Intent - Ruin can't create, Honor can't backstab and Preservation is unable to destroy.
  • Literal Split Personality: Each of the Shards is a fragment of the original Adonalsium, giving the impression that they were each a piece of its personality originally. Moreover, shattering a Shard can result in this, as seen with Seons and spren.
  • Our Gods Are Different: One-sixteenth of the ultimate deity, capable of making and remaking worlds, but often limited in their control over sentient beings.
  • Pieces of God: Adonalsium, to be precise. The Shattering split up both Adonalsium and the original world, Yolen.
  • Power Source: Each Shard powers a magic system. Specific ones are listed below.
  • Seer: All Shards have ability to see the future to some extent, the level depending on their Intent. Preservation and Cultivation seem to be the best at it.
  • Was Once a Man: Each of the Shardholders. Most of their names are only known by Word of God.

    Autonomy 

Autonomy

Shardholder: Bavadin
Shardworld: Taldain
Magic: Sand Mastery, possibly others

An unknown Shard mentioned in the First Letter in The Way of Kings, the Shardholder will appear in the upcoming graphic novel White Sand.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mentioned in "the First Letter" as a Shardholder, mentioned as being someone that Hoid (the author of said letter) has a grudge against, and mentioned in the same sentence as Rayse.
  • Jerkass: Implied to be less than a pleasant customer.
  • The Power of the Sun: His magic is Invested into sand by sunlight.

    Cultivation 

Cultivation

Shardholder: Unknown
Shardworld: Roshar
Magic: Surgebinding, possibly Old Magic; unknown others

A female Shardholder whose powers include divine foresight. She's worshipped by people of eastern Roshar, but by the time of The Stormlight Archive, she has all but withdrawn from mankind, acting only to some extent through her spren Nightwatcher.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Apparently Tanavast's death has shaken her to the core, the point that he has withdrawn and lost all interest in humanity.
  • God Couple: She and Tanavast, Honor's holder, were apparently romantically involved.
  • Mother Nature: Cultivation-connected spren are by and large nature spren, and "her" side of Radiant wheel includes ability to grow plants and Healing Hands. Wyndle also refers to her as Mother.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: Not evil as much as somewhat neglectful, but nature spren call her Mother - for a reason, as they're her Splinters.
  • No Name Given: We only know she's female.
  • Seer: And, according to Tanavast, better than he is at it.
  • The Ghost: Oft-mentioned, never seen, and implied to be connected in some form to another Ghost, Nightwatcher.
  • The Lost Lenore: Appears to have one in Tanavast.
  • Troll: As Nighwatcher, if the two really are the same, she gives banes that can be both crippling and annoying, from making someone see the world upside down to making them forget their wife's name and image.

    Devotion 

Devotion

Shardholder: Aona (formerly); currently none
Shardworld: Sel
Magic: AonDor, Forgery

The female Shardholder of Devotion, Aona was killed and Devotion Splintered prior to the beginning of Elantris by Rayse/Odium. She's mainly revered in Arelon/Teod region of Sel, and her Splinters are known as Seons.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In-universe. Selish people call her Domi, which while looking like derievative from Dominion actually comes from Aon Omi, which means Love.
  • God Couple: Zig-zagged - she and Skai went to Sel together, but Word of God suggests that their partnership could be more business-like in nature.
  • God Is Dead: She's been Splintered by Rayse as part of his agenda to leave himself the sole Shard of the Cosmere.
  • Literal Split Personality: The Seons are tiny Splinters, and all that remains of her.
  • Love Goddess: Devotion implies this heavily, although interpretations such patriotism are also given.
  • Not Quite Dead: Something of her still lingers, as evidenced by the voice telling Reoden to give in at the end of Elantris.
  • Posthumous Character: She and Skai were killed by Rayse before the events of Elantris. It is implied that their deaths are related to the faultline that screwed up AonDor, but the precise details are unclear.

    Dominion 

Dominion

Shardholder: Skai (formerly); currently none
Shardworld: Sel
Magic: Dakhor, Forgery

The male Shardholder of Dominion, Skai was killed and Dominion Splintered prior to the beginning of Elantris by Rayse/Odium. His religious power base in mostly focused in Fjordell's sphere of influence, and his counterpart to Seons are Skaze.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: It would appear that the reason he didn't go off the rails like Ruin or Odium did is because him and Devotion compliment each other better than the former do with Preservation and Honor.
  • God Couple: Implied to be more of co-workers with Aona, but all bets are off.
  • God Is Dead: Splintered along with Aona.
  • Evil Counterpart: The actual personality and alignment of Dominion are unknown, but the magics stemming from this Shard (namely Dakhor and to some extent the Skaze) seem to be dark versions of AonDor.
  • Literal Split Personality: The only remains of him are the Skaze.
  • Obviously Evil: Called Dominion, presides over Blood Magic, his splinters are pitch black and want to destroy Arelon. His saving grace is the fact that he's dead, and Odium is evil-er than him.
  • Posthumous Character: He and Aona were killed by Rayse before the events of Elantris. It is implied that their deaths are related to the fault line that screwed up AonDor, but the precise details are unclear.

    Endowment 

Endowment

Shardholder: Edgli
Shardworld: Nalthis
Magic: BioChroma

The only Shard on Nalthis, the source of the Returned and the magic of Awakening. She doesn't interfere directly, but tries to have some influence on Nalthis by chosing people to Return with mission to steer the world clear of apocalyptic dangers, or just nudge it in the right direction.
  • All There in the Manual: Her name and gender come from Word of God.
  • Back from the Dead: She can bring people back to life.
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Apparently Endowment's voice is "calm and comforting" after someone dies, soothingly offering some a chance to Return.
  • God of Good: She Returns people to save the world from catastrophes, and is genuinely reassuring and comforting when speaking to the dead.
  • Pieces of God: The "Divine Breath" that powers the Returned is a Splinter, but Endowment herself is not known to be fully Splintered.
  • Seer: She appears to possess fairly solid ability to see the future, as that's the basis on which she offers people to Return them.
  • The Ghost: Referred to under many names by Nalthis people, and heard only in a flashback.
  • The Voice: Never seen, only heard by those who Return.

    Honor 

Honor

Shardholder: Tanavast (formerly); currently none
Shardworld: Roshar
Magic: Surgebinding

"You must unite them. Unite them. The sun approaches the horizon. The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows. I cannot fight him any longer."

Worshipped as a god by the people of Alethkar, Honor is the source of ten Surges, including Windrunning and Soulcasting. He managed to bind Odium to Greater Roshar system to stop it from mudering Shards, and was eventually killed in Odium's attempt to break free. Fortunately, whatever he did, it's holding even after his death.
  • Arc Number: Ten. Ten Heralds, ten Surges, ten times ten Desolations he trapped Odium in, and his symbol is often constructed by ten points.
  • Arc Symbol: Double Eye, an eye with two irises.
  • Big Good: Or at least he was, until Odium killed him. He's trying to shape Dalinar Kholin into fulfilling this for him in his absence.
  • Catch Phrase: "Unite them", a more serious example than most.
  • Enigmatic Empowering Entity: He's the one behind creation of Heralds and Honorblades, and his magic powers Surgebinding.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: His visions to Dalinar are meant to be this, warning of Odium.
  • Handicapped Badass: Metaphorical. He started off with just as much power as other Shards, but because of his Investment into Roshar, he's less powerful than uninvested Odium. He still manages to hold it back, even posthumously.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Oathpact, which bound Odium in Greater Roshar and stopped him from taking Cosmere Murder Road Trip, is his doing, and ultimately led to his demise.
  • Honor Before Reason: His magic system grants the powers of Surgebinding to those who exercise this.
  • I Have Many Names: Almighty, Honor, Tanavast, and according to the ardents, Elithanathile (He Who Transforms).
  • Like a God to Me: The people of Alethkar, Roshar, worship him as "the Almighty".
  • Nice Guy: Seems like it. Honorable, worried about the state of affairs, willingly sacrifices himself to stop Odium form wrecking Cosmere, bought Hoid a drink once. He's also one of the few people Hoid speaks about with friendliness only, which is saying something, given the man's typical Deadpan Snarker tendencies.
  • Pieces of God: The emotion spren are what remains of him.
  • Posthumous Character: The entire mess that befalls Roshar largely started because he died thousands of years ago. His biggest direct impact on the story so far are his visions to Dalinar.
  • Seer: He can see the future, but he isn't very good at it.
  • The Chosen Many: Has them in ten Heralds.
  • The Lost Lenore: Appears to be one to Cultivation. Rare Male Example.
  • The Voice: For most of his appearances, he's the voice in Dalinar's visions.

    Odium 

Odium

Shardholder: Rayse
Shardworld: Braize
Magic: Voidbinding

The holder of the Shard of Odium (hatred). As a man, Rayse was cruel, and taking the Shard of Odium has only made him worse. He is the most dangerous of the 16 Shardholders, and has been set up as the Big Bad of The Stormlight Archive, along with being the Greater Scope Villain of the larger Cosmere.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: According to Hoid, he was already a Jerkass before bonding to the Cosmic Principle Of Hatred.
  • Big Bad: Of The Stormlight Archive, or at least appears to be.
  • Color Motif: Red, especially when it comes to eyes.
  • Divine Conflict: With every other Shard, but most notably Tanavast.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone who knows about him is terrified of him. He, in turn, finds Harmony to be this.
  • Eternal Recurrence: Was deliberately trapped in a cycle of this on Roshar, where he repeatedly destroys civilization but is unable to move on to threaten the Cosmere as a whole.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Killed Skai and Splintered Dominion, the Evil Counterpart of Devotion, as part of his attempt to keep others from rising against him.
  • Evil Former Friend: Word of God is that him and Hoid used to be friends.
  • Good Needs Evil: Inverted as "Evil needs Good" - the recipient of Hoid's letter posits that the main problem with Rayse is that he holds Adonalsium's Hatred, but lacks everything that kept it in check back when Adonalsium had sixteen facets.
  • The Ghost: Hasn't actually been seen yet, but the effects of his power have been felt throughout The Stormlight Archive. Word of God confirms that his nexus isn't even on Roshar, it's on Braize (another planet in the same star system).
  • Greater Scope Villain: He is set up as the most significant evil presence in the Cosmere, and his actions have caused a lot of the problems seen on the other Shardworlds, even if he wasn't directly influencing their events. To be more specific, he is all but outright said to be responsible for the damage inflicted to Sel (the world where Elantris is set) and splintered the Shards used by four others (Aona, Skai, Tanavast and one other unknown holder).
  • Immortals Fear Death: The only being he's scared of is Harmony, as it's the only Shard powerful enough to be capable of Splinetring him.
  • Made of Evil: He's a giant mass of hate.
  • More Than Mind Control: He can control Voidbringers via his spren, although it's more subtle, based mostly on changes in possessed's personality rather than direct order-giving that Ruin does.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Aside from "Odium", we have Rayse, which sounds similar to "Raze".
  • The Power of Hate: Quite literally.
  • There Can Be Only One: His endgame is becoming the only Shard in the Cosmere.
  • Torture Technician: Spends his free time torturing Heralds.
  • Serial Killer: Has shades of this, having killed at least four Shardholders.

    Preservation 

Preservation

Shardholders: Leras, Kelsier (postmortem), Vin (temporarily), Sazed.
Shardworld: Scadrial
Magic: Allomancy, Feruchemy

Initially known to the people of Scadrial as the "Mist Spirit", Preservation presents himself as a mysterious creature made out of mist, mentioned in the logbook Kelsier and Vin find. The source of Allomancy, he locked Ruin away, at the cost of his own mind, in an attempt to save the world they've created together from destruction. The following mostly refers to Preservation when it's held by Leras.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: Justified because initially all his power is tied up in keeping Ruin imprisoned and after Ruin gets out, one of his first acts is to kill the weakened Preservation's mind.
  • Arc Number: Sixteen, which was built into everything surrounding his powers and actions as his "signature".
  • Big Good: For Mistborn: The Original Trilogy.
  • Body Horror In Secret History, when he starts to fall apart because of Ruin's influence, it starts to show on his physical body, to the point that half of his face is graphically missing and he doesn't notice.
  • The Chessmaster: Preservation is the best Chessmaster in the whole Gambit Pileup in the Mistborn series. Culminates with Vin absorbing his power and using that to destroy Ruin, because while Preservation himself can't destroy, humans can because they are of both Preservation and Ruin.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick: Despite being The Chessmaster, he lets Kelsier call the shots throughout Secret History, as by then he's fading fast and unable to even remeber what his endgame was.
  • Cleopatra Nose: Leras is noted as having a prominent nose.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Comes across like this to Kelsier, with remembering and forgetting things, second-guessing his own thoughts and general disposition. Played completely serious, though - it's all signs that he's fading.
  • Divine Conflict: With Ruin, stemming from the fact that while he wants to keep people of Scadrial alive, Ati wants them dead.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: For all of The Well of Ascension and most of The Hero of Ages, everyone assumes that the mists are of Ruin and a deadly danger to the land, thanks to Ruin's manipulation.
  • In Universe Nickname: Kelsier nicknames him Fuzz because of his fuzzy appearance in the Cognitive realm.
  • The Man Behind the Man: A rare heroic example.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: The mists that "attack" people in the second and third books are actually Preservation's power identifying those with innate Allomancy and forcing them to Snap.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Sacrificed most of himself to set off the dominoes that would ultimately lead to the death of his opposite number, Ruin. Technically he didn't actually die until much later, but since his sacrifice left him almost totally unable to interact with the world, and his eventual true death was also part of his plan it counts.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The Order side of his conflict with Ruin.
  • Red Herring: Presented as a possible Big Bad in The Well of Ascension. In reality he's the Big Good, but circumstances made him look like a villain.
  • Seer: Possibly the most capable one in the Cosmere, able to see forward thousands of years.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Merges with Ruin within Sazed to become "Harmony".
  • Thanatos Gambit: He knows that he's going to die, so he sets up Vin as the heir to his power.

    Ruin 

Ruin

Shardholder: Ati (formerly), Sazed.
Shardworld: Scadrial
Magic: Hemalurgy, Feruchemy

"How do you like that? I killed him! I Ruined everything you love. I took it from you!"

One of the two male forces of creation that created Scadrial long ago. Ruin agreed to help Preservation create the human race, under the condition that he would eventually be granted the right to destroy all things. To prevent Ruin from accomplishing his goal, Preservation sealed him in the Well of Ascension, but he was released by Vin. He can manifest in the minds of people with Hemalurgic spikes. He is Zane's "God" and the voice of Reen in Vin's head.
  • Above Good and Evil: Ruin denies being malevolent; to him, the destruction of the world is both inevitable and natural.
  • Affably Evil: When Ati personally interacts with Kelsier in Mistborn: Secret History, he talks genuinely about the necessity for endings and change. But he's still ready to end the world now, saying its time is up.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Ati was once a kind and generous man, says Hoid.
  • Badass Boast: "I am mountains that crush. I am waves that crash. I am storms that scatter. I am the end. ...I am Ruin."
  • Big Bad: The true villain behind all the events of the original Mistborn trilogy.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The little we see from his perspective (through Marsh) indicates that his claims that things are only beautiful when they end is completely genuine as far as he is concerned. To him, life and the story of peoples' lives are insignificant compared to the ending that they reach. Ironically, the fact that he was kind and generous when mortal may CONTRIBUTE to his omnicidal mania, since he thinks he's doing everyone a favor by destroying them.
  • Break Them by Talking: He shows up several times for the express purpose of doing this to Vin. The fact that he feels the need to do this is her first clue that on some level he's human, and therefore fallible.
  • The Chessmaster: Hoo, boy. For most of the Mistborn trilogy, everybody is dancing on his strings.
  • The Corrupter: To people who have hemalurgic spikes or otherwise have their souls damaged, with subtlety ranging from making them hold onto an item to convincing them to do morally dubious experimentation to simply urging them to kill everyone they meet. He's so good at this last one that he sometimes has to force his victims to not kill everyone they meet, as it is slowing them down.
  • Destruction Cannot Comprehend Life: As Vin points out to him during her scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech. He just doesn't get people's non-destructive impulses.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Pulls one of several people, notably Kelsier (to Spook and Quellion), the Lord Ruler (to Penrod), and Reen. Vin sees through the last pretty quickly, at least when it's more than just the voice.
  • Evil Redhead: As a human, he had red hair. This is played with, because he was only evil as a Shardholder, and he didn't have a body then. Before obtaining Ruin, the man he once was, Ati, was actually kind and generous.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He was once a kind and generous man (and by his lights probably still is), but due to his Shard's Intent he was corrupted and became an instrument of ultimate destruction.
  • Fake Memories: He is able to edit the contents of Copperminds, allowing him to create them.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Willing to act friendly towards Vin and others, but evil to a fault.
  • For the Evulz: a lot of his conversations with Vin seem to have no purpose other than to taunt her, especially when he gloats that his servant killed Elend.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Tries to do this with Vin once she is captured by Lord Aradan Yomen.
  • Hero Killer: By far the most powerful and terrifying villain in Mistborn. He'd have killed the whole world if Vin hadn't managed to stop him, and even then it was a close call.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When Ruin and Preservation worked together to create the world, they both put part of themselves into humanity, thus allowing humans to both preserve and destroy. Thus, when Vin absorbed Preservation's power (just as planned) she could use that same power to attack and destroy Ruin, unlike Preservation.
  • Just Between You and Me: Shares part of his plan with Vin.
  • Made of Evil: Or at least, made of destruction.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To just about everyone.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Even though he suffers from Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, that doesn't mean he's not good a playing on peoples' darker emotions. Especially obvious with Spook.
  • Meaningful Name/Name's the Same: His name when he was still human, Ati, is a variation of Atë, the greek personification of ruin. Ironically, in the Aon language of Sel, his name means 'hope'.
  • Motive Rant: Rants about how it wants to destroy everything.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Ruin" pretty much says it all, really.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He could have prevented his eventual defeat simply by not forcing Marsh to read the message he intercepted from Spook.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: His very nature is the end of all things, and part of the bargain that allowed the two gods to create life at all stipulated that Ruin would eventually get to destroy it all.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Two cans. His power is sealed in the Well of Ascension, and his body is atium... also known as the single most valuable substance in the Empire.
  • Spikes of Villainy: By its nature as an intangible being it can't have them, but its power fuels the evil spike-based magic Hemalurgy.
  • Split-Personality Merge: As a Shard, he is a split personality of Adonalsium. He merges with Preservation within Sazed to become "Harmony".
  • Weaksauce Weakness: He can't see or directly affect words written in metal- a rather potent weakness, as his greatest success came from altering written records, especially prophecies (this is due the fact that the magic systems on Scadrial are fueled by metal, and thus glow with power to his senses. Trying to read words on a metal tablet would be like us trying to read scratches on a really powerful lightbulb). He also can't read minds, though he can influence them if the person has a Hemalurgic spike.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: According to the First Letter, Ati was a good-natured and generous man. Ruin... isn't. Or rather, he is kindly and generously sharing the GIFT of ultimate destruction.

    Harmony 

Ruin and Preservation

Shardholder: Sazed
Shardworld: Scadrial
Magic: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy

The combined Shards of Ruin and Preservation, fused together to form an entirely new one. Sazed accidentally created this Shard when he took up the opposing powers in order to save his world. Due to being comprised of diametric opposites, the Shardholder finds it very difficult to summon the impetus to act.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: At "merely" three hundred years old, he's by far the youngest Shard and Shardholder, with others being thousands, if not tens of thousands years old. Because of that, he's horridly lacking in terms of Cosmeric knowledge, which accounts for his problems in Wax and Wayne stories.
  • Barrier Warrior: Is currently spending a significant fraction of his power keeping another Shard away from Scadrial.
  • Blood Magic:
    • Downplayed: The only remnant of Hemalurgy he personally uses is the earrings given to people who actively worship him. These allow him to talk to and direct people meditating (or performing "actions of import") in accordance with the precepts of his Path. It's possible he will use it to sustain the Kandra race as well at some point, but no promises.
    • In addition, he has done the best he can to wipe the knowledge of it off the face of Scadrial, without breaking his other rules, that is.
  • Big Good: On Scadrial.
  • The Big Guy: The titan of the Shards, the most powerful one of them. Unfortunately, his conflicting Intents don't let him act all that often.
  • Catch Phrase: Tends to end his sentences with "I think", just as he did when mortal.
  • The Chessmaster: He inherited this talent from both his halves, although he notes that the person he was before the Ascension would be indignant at what the talent requires.
  • Divine Conflict: He's locked in one from Shadows of Self on, but doesn't know who his enemy is.
  • The Dreaded: Odium is terrified of him, as being a holder of two Shards means he is quite possibly the most powerful entity in the Cosmere.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: He realized too late that he gave the people of Elendel too many advantages. While they're progressing technologically, it's far slower than they should, because they just don't need anything. They're a hundred years behind on radio, who knows how far behind on aeronautics, and part of the reason the Roughs are so desolate is because the Elendel basin is so fertile that no one bothered to learn any basic farming or irrigation techniques.
  • Gentle Giant: Probably the most powerful entity of the modern Cosmere, but refuses to engage in Evil Overlord behaviour and his Intent makes acting difficult.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Due to the way his powers work, he can't really do much without a great deal of effort. The fact that he also wants to preserve free will and knows what happens when Shardholders use their powers indiscriminately is probably also part of it.
    Wax: Who tied God's hands?
    Harmony: I tied them myself.
  • Magical Negro: Not a particularly glaring example, but the Terris people are black, and he's the one to become the god.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: In the second book he cannot predict Bleeder's actions or identify her location. It's a sign that another Shard is interfering on Scadriel.
  • Omniscient Morality License: He's a god now. They can do that. Of course, not everyone agrees. He's admitted to being wrong before, and one of the reasons the kandra Paalm rebelled was because she disliked having a god who was as fallible as everyone else, but who everyone treated as infallible.
  • Path of Inspiration: Played with. The "nefarious purpose" the trope requires is not so much present, as he genuinely is doing his best for the people of Scadrial. But his best DOES involve judicious use of shapeshifting body snatchers, blood magic, mind control, and manipulation.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: He's actually a merge of two Shards, and the only Shard not to be held by a native Yolese, making him stand out in the crowd.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: He is probably the most powerful being in the Cosmere at this point, holding two shards. But he has only held the power for 300 years, and is far less knowledgeable about both history and the Cosmere in general than any other shardholder.

Known 17th Sharders

    Khriss 

Khriss

Shardworld: Taldain
Magic: Worldhopping
Appearances: White Sand (unreleased), The Bands Of Mourning, Mistborn: Secret History.

"Now if only I could figure out why there's no redshift in speed bubbles..."

A researcher with the 17th Shard, advancing the understanding of Investiture throughout the Cosmere.
  • The Archmage: Played with. Her own power level is unknown, though presumably fairly high since she's a Worldhopper. But she's the one who writes the detailed treatises on the magic systems we find in all of the books, so she has extremely broad theoretical knowledge.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Sees absolutely nothing wrong with quizzing Wax relentlessly about the physics of being a Crasher and frequently asks Nazh to do things that are detrimental to his well-being.
    • Audience Surrogate: Any member of the real-life 17th Shard would instantly recognize (and sympathize with) her MO.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Uses the cognitive realm to travel the worlds of the Cosmere, mostly for research.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Her complaint above. Fun Fact: the reason there's no colorshift in speed bubbles is that it's a Required Secondary Power so that Wayne doesn't microwave himself.
  • Meaningful Background Event: She's the author of the "Ars Arcanum" treatises that explain the magic systems.
  • Mr. Exposition: Gives Kelsier a crash course on the basic setup of the Shards when he presses her.

    Nazh 

Nazh

Shardworld: Threnody
Magic: Worldhopping
Appearances: The Stormlight Archive, Elantris (10th anniversary edition only), Wax And Wayne.

"My friend, annotated as per your instructions."
— notes on a map of Elendel

An archivist for the 17th Shard, working to document the various Shardworlds.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: He is often sent on tasks that are harrowing/dangerous/both by his unseen boss.
    Nazh: [on a Fjordell-published map of Sycla] This map has severe deficiencies, especially in the Northwest, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances, considering where you abandoned me.
  • Butt Monkey: Was tasked with retrieving a trunk full of notes from the bottom of the sea. He was apparently left behind in Fjordell of all places. Was tasked with drawing the plateau pattern of the entire Shattered Plains.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His annoyed sass comes out rather quickly in writing.
    Nazh: [on a map of the Elendel Basin] Had to add the tributary and reservoir myself since the Canton of Cartography doesn't seem to care about accuracy outside of Elendel.
  • Haunted Technology: A broadsheet story in Bands Of Mourning shows an encounter with him, where he uses some kind of magical gun that shoots shades. The author even calls him 'The Haunted Man'.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: He is adept enough at Worldhopping to rescue a trunk full of notes from the bottom of the sea, quick enough that said notes were only partially damaged.
  • Oh My Gods!: "Shadows!" An early clue as to his homeworld, and something of a catchphrase.

     Joshin Yomen 

Joshin Yomen

Shardworld: Scadrial
Magic: Worldhopping, possibly Allomancy
Appearances: Wax And Wayne

A lord of Elendel by the time of The Alloy of Law, he is seen getting congratulated by Hoid on his marriage to Mi'chelle.

     Mi'chelle Ostlin 

Mi'chelle Ostlin

Shardworld: Nalthis
Magic: Worldhopping, possibly Awakening
Appearances: Wax And Wayne

A noble lady of Elendel, she is seen getting congratulated by Hoid on her marriage to Joshin.
  • I Choose to Stay: Moved to Scadrial to be with Joshin.
  • Real Person Cameo: She's an administrator on the 17th Shard fan site in real life, as is her husband's counterpart.

Others

    Hoid 

Hoid/Midius/Cephandrius/Topaz/Wit/Roamer/Others. Oh, so many others.

Shardworld: Yolen
Magic: Many, including but not limited to Lightweaving, Time Manipulation, Allomancy, and World Hopping
Appearances: Elantris, The Emperor's Soul (mentioned only), Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Warbreaker, The Stormlight Archive, Wax And Wayne.

"I learned it many, many years ago from a man who didn't know who he was, Your Majesty. It was a distant place where two lands meet and gods have died."

A mysterious figure who appears throughout the Cosmere, Hoid's purposes for interfering in the workings of the Shards are unknown.
  • Actual Pacifist: Rock in The Stormlight Archive claims he's not allowed to hurt humans, and in Mistborn: Secret History he is apparently only able to hurt Kelsier because he is already dead.
    Hoid: You needn't fear me. I'm terribly ineffective at hurting people. I blame my upbringing.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: His exact powers are unknown, but they are at a bare minimum Vast. He's very prolific in worldhopping, and has picked up the magics from several worlds.
  • Almighty Janitor: He often takes the position of a beggar or other low-profile role, though his job as the King's Wit in Roshar is a partial exception due to his proximity to an important ruler. Although his power level isn't known much, he is implied to be planning something that spans the entire Cosmere, likely related to Odium.
  • Angel Unaware: We still don't know precisely what he is, but he's very old and much stronger than he pretends. In Words of Radiance, Dalinar finally cottons on that there's something more to him than meets the eye.
    Dalinar: Are you a Herald, Wit?
    Hoid: Ha. No. Thank you, but no.
  • Ascended Extra: While he wasn't really an "extra" per se, he didn't have an extremely large amount of involvement in events in books before The Stormlight Archive. In that series, he is becoming an increasingly major character, with his knowledge of the Cosmere taking the forefront, and people actively seeking him out.
  • Bald of Awesome: At least in Mistborn: The Final Empire.
  • Beneath the Mask: As shown first in "the first Letter" in The Way of Kings and in his characterization up front in Words of Radiance, he is actually extremely serious, and the threat of Rayse/Odium has become serious enough that he has far more breaks in his Obfuscating Stupidity, and more swearing and shouts as well.
  • The Cameo: His appearances so far, including at the Shattering of Adonalsium.
  • Combo Platter Powers: The extent is a matter of speculation; at minimum, he has Lightweaving, feruchemy (per Word of God), some means of Worldhopping, and a way to dilate time. In The Well of Ascension he gets a lerasium bead, which would make him a full Mistborn; in Words of Radiance, he is implied to be using Allomancy and to have enough Breath to have reached at least the Second Heightening. Finally, he seems to think he wouldn't suffer any lasting damage from a shardblade. Whew.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Dead Person Impersonation: If early looks at The Liar of Partinel are accurate, he took the name of his own Lightweaving master following the latter's assassination, and kept it for hundreds of years after. However, given the sheer amount of time and the fact that he goes to many worlds where people would have no idea who the original Hoid is, it's largely irrelevant.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially in his role as the King's Wit, where he is a legal, institutionalized Troll.
    Second Letter: I am told that in your current incarnation you’ve taken a name that references what you presume to be one of your virtues. This is, I suspect, a little like a skunk naming itself for its stench.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Traverses between Shardworlds by way of the Cognitive Realm/Shadesmar, even from Sel, and, presumably, from Roshar as wellnote .
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: As noted by him in The Way of Kings, "I began life as a thought, a concept, words on a page." Plus, his character has appeared in every Sanderson "world" of the Cosmere. He even mentions Adonalsium to Dalinar once.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: We understand some of his magic and how he moves between Shardworlds, along with his world of origin and his real name. However, we don't really know anything else about him, up to and including his motives, most of his history, and his actual appearance.
  • In the Hood: In Elantris, where he is also The Faceless due to the hood shrouding his face completely.
  • The Informant: To Kelsier in Mistborn: The Final Empire.
  • The Jester: His job as "the King's Wit" in Alethkar, Roshar is to be this, being allowed (and required) to insult members of the court. However, the narration makes clear that this is not the same thing. His role as the Imperial Fool of the Rose Empire is implied to be another example. He plays a short, similar role in the Court of the Gods in Nalthis as a storyteller who explains some history of Hallandren to Siri.
  • Master of Illusion: He is capable with Lightweaving, among other skills. This makes it very hard to tell what he actually looks like.
  • Meaningful Background Event: He practically is one due to his many behind the scenes acts. By the time of The Way of Kings, some of the people he crossed paths with are starting to put ends together to find out what is going on.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Uses an unknown application of feruchemy to sense where important events are going on.
  • Mysterious Past: And pretty much every other time about him, actually.
  • Mysterious Stranger: Likes to pretend to be one when he wants to give some important piece of information without too many too difficult question. The best example would probably be his meetings with Kaladin in The Stormlight Archive.
  • Noodle Incident: He cheerily mentions a time he spent the better part of a year inside a large stomach, being digested. Of course, he doesn't bother explaining this any further.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: While he's certainly very skilled, and has access to a lot of magic, he definitely makes mistakes. For example, per Word of God he spent most of the events of the Mistborn Trilogy running around fruitlessly in the Terris Dominance looking for Preservation's shardpool. Made even more hillarious because, per Mistborn: Secret History, Preservation's shardpool was actually where he arrived on Scadriel in the first place.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In Mistborn: The Final Empire, he pretends to be blind so that Kelsier will let his guard down. Unfortunately, Kelsier sees right through it, being familiar with the skaa underworld, but it doesn't end up mattering much. Considering Hoid's other characteristics, odds are he was intentionally letting Kelsier know that he was faking blindness so as to have Kelsier assume he was just another Skaa urchin/informant.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: With varying success depending on who he's talking to. As shown in The Stormlight Archive in progressively increasing amounts, he is actually extremely astute and troubled by the goings on of several of the Shards, especially Odium.
  • Older Than They Look
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: According to he himself, he "abandoned his real name long ago", meaning that Hoid isn't actually his name. According to early looks at The Liar of Partinel, the earliest novel in The Verse chronologically so far, his real name is Midius, and he took the name of senior jesk and master Lightweaver Hoid on Yolen following the latter's death.
  • Pals with Jesus: He personally knew the Shardholders before they became gods. In Words of Radiance, he mentions flippantly that he had drinks with the Almighty, and never thought of him as particularly divine.
  • Planar Champion: To a small degree, by way of the Shadesmar.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: He spends a good amount of his time on Roshar trying to get Sadeas to kill him. There's a law that anyone can kill the King's Wit, but they give up all their titles and lands upon doing so. Sadeas killing him, therefore, would solve about half of the problems in the first two books in one fell swoop. He'd almost certainly find a way to survive, of course.
  • Time Master: He ages very slowly, and has been in all of the Cosmere works in chronological order. However, he has not seen all of the years he has gone through, meaning he has some form of time travel.
  • Troll: His entire job as the Alethi King's Wit in Roshar is to be this. He spends a feast thrown by the King just sitting by the entrance, insulting everyone who walks in (except Dalinar) with an easy, practiced air. He also mocks Sadeas, one of the most powerful highprinces, several times.
    Wit: Sadeas, I don't believe you've ever paid me a sphere. Though, no, please, don't offer. I can't take your money, as I know how many others you must pay to get what you wish of them.
    Sadeas: A whore joke, Wit? Is that the best you can manage?
    Wit: Each man has his place. Mine is to make insults. Yours is to be in-sluts.
  • The Unfettered: In Words of Radiance, he admits to Dalinar that he would let all of Roshar die if it helped him in his goals, even if he had to do it with a tearful gaze.
  • Wizard Beard: Part of his disguise in Warbreaker.
  • Wrong Context Magic: He's been seen utilizing Allomancy and Second Heightening on Roshar, a world to which both are notably not native.

    Frost 

Frost

Shardworld: Uknown; possibly none
Magic: Immortality; possibly others
Appearances: Dragonsteel (unpublished), The Way of Kings' (mentioned), Words of Radiance (epigraphs)

It seems to me that all things have been set up for a purpose, and if we—as infants—stumble through the workshop, we risk exacerbating, not preventing, a problem.
A mysterious being or person, known only via unpublished works and a letter to Hoid in Words of Radiance. He's a strong believer in non-intervention policy, dislikes Hoid for his meddling, and may or may not be an actual dragon.

  • Bystander Syndrome: Refuses to take active part in events unfolding in Cosmere, even at Hoid's nagging.
  • In Mysterious Ways: The basis for his non-intervention policy. He belives that Adolansium shattered himself for a purpose, and that intervening will wreck the intricate design.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Heavily implied to be one. He's certainly capable of writing, and immortal.
  • The Atoner: He seems to have some guilt stemming from his part in Shattering of Adonalsium.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Hoid suggests he has some control over Seventeenth Shard.
  • Time Abyss: Said to be the oldest living being in the Cosmere, which is telling, given how Shards are possibly tens of thousands of years old.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Suggested, if only by the fact that him and Hoid still exchange letters.

    Felt 

Felt

Shardworld: Scadrial (most lately seen on Roshar)
Magic: Worldhopping, longevity
Appearances: Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Words of Radiance

A low-key worldhopper from Scadrial, originally a spy hired by Elend's father and sent on various errands throughout the events of Mistborn. He resurfaces over three hundred years later on Roshar, where he works as a scout for the Kholin family.

  • Army Scout: On Roshar, his job is scouting the Shattered Planes in search of Parshendi activity.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Appears to be his MO, especially in first two Mistborn books, where he figures out things hidden by solid detective work.
  • Badass Mustache: He's described as having a mustache.
  • Badass Normal: A non-metalborn spymaster in the legendarily murderous court of Luthadel, and later a soldier whose job includes pole-jumping over chasms dozens of metres deep to scout movements of creatures capable of jumping the same chasms In a Single Bound and throwing lightning.
  • Beneath Notice: On Roshar, he clearly learned from his earlier spymaster gig, as he masquerades as a simple scout. It's so effective, even fans who routinely scour the books for clues and cameos didn't notice him in Words of Radiance for two years.
  • The Cameo: His brief appearance in Words of Radiance is little more than a name drop.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: He is one by the time of The Stormlight Archive. How long has he been a worldhopper? Why is he a Kholin scout? How much does he know? Why is he even on Roshar? Well, all you know is a name drop.
  • Married to the Job: Overjoyed at the prospect of being "in the field" again.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He words for most recent Venture, be it Straff or Elend, who have very opposite philosophies.
  • Planar Champion: A worldhopper.
  • Really 700 Years Old: There's a three hundred year gap between Well of Ascension and Words of Radiance, yet he doesn't look noticeably old.
  • The Spymaster: When working for the Ventures.

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