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:
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 Shardvessels. 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 Shardvessels 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
The Shards of Adonalsium are both the names for the Pieces of God, and a name for the Shardvessels who now wield their power.
- Abstract Apotheosis: Over time, the Shardvessels become one with their Shard's Intent, to the point that they can't act in a way that doesn't fit their nature - for example, Preservation can't kill.
- Achilles' Heel: All Shards have a built in weakness, like how Preservation and Ruin can't properly see metal.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: Apparently the Shards had agreed to all go to different worlds and not interfere with each other. At least 3 worlds (Scadrial, Roshar, and Sel) attracted two Shards, mainly because of their opposing natures, so we know that didn't work out, even without Odium going on his Cosmere murder trip.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Over time, Shardvessels 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 the Shardvessel's will and Shard's Intent, one that Shard sooner or later will win.
- Deity of Human Origin: What happens when a human/Sho Del takes up the power of one-sixteenth of God.
- Eldritch Abomination/Humanoid Abomination: Upon taking up a Shard, a Shardvessel ceases to exist in the Physical Realm, instead moving onto the Cognitive. While they still have a human body, peeking into the eyes of one means looking into the clearly mind-screwy Spiritual Realm, and their real "bodies" are much greater and more incomprehensible.
- God Is Dead: The result when a Shardvessel 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: The names of some shards imply this, like Cultivation and Devotion. Proven to be true with Honor, Preservation and, to an extent, Endowment.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Every Shard has an Intent, which is right in its name: Preservation will preserve, Honor will be honorable, Ruin will destroy, etc. Acting against this Intent gets harder the longer you hold the Shard, to the point that the original Shardvessels 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.
- Magically Binding Contract: If a Shard gives an oath, they cannot break it. Loophole Abuse is totally possible though.
- Our Gods Are Different: Each Shard is one-sixteenth of the ultimate deity, capable of making and remaking worlds, but often limited in their control over sentient beings.
- Personality Powers: Played With: The way the Intent of the Shard manifests (or is "filtered") in each Shardvessel is related to their personality beforehand. For example, the kind and generous Ati came to view the destruction of the world as a mercy. In addition, some of their pre-Shardvessel personalities, like Odium's, who manifests the worst possible version of his Shard's Intent, and was apparently a Jerkass even before bonding with The Power of Hate, match up well with their Shards. This is also why Odium doesn't assimilate the Shards he defeats; he likes his personality the way it is and doesn't want it to change. In addition, it's been hinted that which vessel ended up with which Shard wasn't a coincidence.
- 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 or occasionally more than one. Specific ones are listed below.
- Seer: All Shards have ability to see the future to some extent; how well they can do so depends on their Intent. Preservation and Cultivation seem to be the best at it that we have seen.
- Was Once a Man: Each of the Shardvessels. Most of their names are only known by Word of God.
An unknown Shard mentioned by Khriss in Arcanum Unbounded, who was defeated on Threnody by Odium, and then Splintered elsewhere in the Cosmere.
- Dead to Begin With: Ambition died long before the start of the main Cosmere story, shortly after the Shattering of Adonalsium itself. While Odium defeated her in the Threnodite system, it is unclear who dealt the final blow.
- Sacrificial Lion: Odium's first victim, it would seem; and being a Shard, they're unlikely to be a weakling. Word of God threw some wrinkles into this when questioned: Ambition was first on Odium's hit list, but was not found until after Devotion and Dominion were Splintered.
- Token Nonhuman: Word of God confirms that Uli Da was a Sho Del, not human like every other Vessel seen so far. However, it's possible that other Shards are/were held by other nonhumans.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The battle between Ambition and Odium is why Threnody is so screwed up.
Magic: Sand Mastery, possibly others
A Shard mentioned for the first time in the First Letter in The Way of Kings, Autonomy is rather isolationist, and has sealed off her world to prevent interactions with the rest of the Cosmere. She's set to appear in the graphic novel White Sand.
- Ambiguous Gender Identity: While Bavadin is referred to as "she", Sanderson has noted that when it comes to Bavadin, gender concepts are rather more fluid than they'd normally be.
- Ambiguously Human: Bavadin's apparent gender fluidity and propensity for appearing as either male or female has led some to speculate that she might belong to the "third sentient race" of Yolen.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Mentioned in the First Letter as a Shardvessel, mentioned as being someone that Hoid (the author of said letter) has a grudge against, and mentioned in the same sentence as Rayse, which makes it quite some cameo.
- Hypocrite: Khriss mentions that while Autonomy sealed off Taldain to prevent travel to or from the world, she still interferes on other Shardworlds.
- Jerkass: Implied to be less than a pleasant customer.
- Manipulative Bastard: She's apparently prone to interfering with other worlds, and she's manipulated the creation of entire pantheons on Taldain.
- Man of a Thousand Voices/Two Aliases, One Character: In-universe - there are entire pantheons where every single deity is actually Bavadin.
- The Power of the Sun: Her magic is Invested into sand by sunlight, turning it white. When the sand's power is used up, it turns black and takes four hours of sunlight to recharge.
- Red Baron: Known as the Sand Lord on Taldain.
- Samus Is a Girl: The first time Bavadin has been mentioned, it was in the same sentence as Rayse, giving her instant rep. This being said, until Arcanum Unbounded confirmed her gender, she's been assumed to be a man.
- She Is the King: The Sand Masters worship her as "Sand Lord"; then again, given her propensity for assuming different genders, she might very well be male for them.
Magic: Surgebinding, possibly Old Magic; unknown others
A female Shardvessel whose powers include divine foresight. She's worshipped by people of western Roshar, but by the time of The Stormlight Archive, she has all but withdrawn from mankind at least overtly.
- Achilles in His Tent: Apparently Tanavast's death has shaken her to the core, to the point that she has withdrawn and lost all interest in humanity. Or at least that's what people think, though Word of God and events in Oathbringer suggest that might not be entirely the case.
- God Couple: She and Tanavast, Honor's holder, were apparently romantically involved.
- In Mysterious Ways: Her contribution to the plot in Oathbringer. She saw that if she left Dalinar alone, he would go insane, kill Elhokar, and lead the Alethi to conquer the continent. She pruned his memories to give him the opportunity to become a better man, knowing that Odium could give those memories back to him at the worst time to break him. Instead, she gave Dalinar back his memories shortly before Odium would have done so, giving him time to come to overcome them.
- Mother Nature: Cultivation-connected spren are by and large nature spren, and "her" side of Radiant wheel includes the ability to grow plants and Healing Hands. Wyndle also refers to her (or the Nightwatcher, it's not totally clear which) as Mother. Interestingly, so does Dalinar, at least when he's actually talking to her.
- 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. According to Word of God, Hoid calls her Slammer, but that's not her real name.
- Seer: And, according to Tanavast, better at it than he is, presumably because her Intent of Cultivation revolves around nurturing things to grow into more in the future.
- The Ghost: Oft-mentioned, never seen, and implied to be connected in some form to another Ghost, Nightwatcher. We finally see her alongside her daughter the Nightwatcher in Oathbringer.
- The Lost Lenore: Appears to have one in Tanavast.
- Pieces of God: The nature-based spren come from her.
- Tough Love: Implied to feel this way. She lets the Nightwatcher deal with humans on her own so that she can better understand humanity and instead of magically changing Dalinar into a better person, took away Dalinar's memories until he became strong enough on his own to confront his sins.Cultivation: This will be your boon. I will not make of you the man you can become. I will not give you the aptitude, or the strength, nor will I take from you your compulsions. But I will give you... a pruning. A careful excision to let you grow. The cost will be high.
- 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. They actually aren't, though Cultivation does supervise the Nightwatcher and lets her do as she pleases most of the time.
Magic: AonDor, Forgery
The female Shardvessel of Devotion, Aona was killed and Devotion Splintered prior to the beginning of Elantris by Rayse/Odium. She's mainly revered in the 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 a derivative of Dominion actually comes from the 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 as patriotism are also given. It's implied that those chosen to become Elantrians are particularly caring about something.
- 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.
Magic: Dakhor, Forgery
The male Shardvessel of Dominion, Skai was killed and Dominion Splintered prior to the beginning of Elantris by Rayse/Odium. His religious power base is 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 he and Devotion complemented each other better than Preservation did with Ruin and Honor did with Odium.
- Evil Counterpart: Dominion's actual personality and alignment are unknown, but the magics stemming from this Shard (namely Dakhor and to some extent the Skaze) seem to be dark versions of AonDor.
- Fisher Kingdom: Since Dominion relates to control of a land or country, it's implied to be related to why magic systems on Sel are related to various nationalities and lands, like how only people from MaiPon can use Forgery and why maps of MaiPon are on the backs soulstamps, and why the Aons draw from geography.
- God Couple: Implied to be more of a co-worker with Aona, but all bets are off.
- God Is Dead: Splintered along with Aona.
- 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 that Odium is more evil than him.
- Posthumous Character: He and Aona were killed by Rayse before the events of Elantris.
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 choosing people to Return with missions 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 recently deceased people a chance to Return.
- 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.
Worshipped as a god by the people of eastern Roshar, Honor is the source of ten Surges and used to be Cultivation's partner. He managed to bind Odium to the Greater Rosharan system to stop him from murdering 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 connected pupils.
- Big Good: Or at least he was, until Odium killed him. He's trying to shape Dalinar Kholin into fulfilling this role for him in his absence.
- Catchphrase: "Unite them," a more serious example than most.
- Enigmatic Empowering Entity: He's the one who created the Heralds and the Honorblades, and he apparently powers Surgebinding.
- Fling a Light into the Future: His visions to Dalinar are meant to be this, warning of Odium.
- God Couple: Apparently, he and Cultivation were an item.
- God of Order: One of the two Shards that represent order, specifically making and upholding oaths and agreements.
- 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 a 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 to be one. Honorable, worried about the state of affairs, willingly sacrifices himself to stop Odium form wrecking the 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-based 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.
- Sanity Slippage: The Heralds breaking the Oathpact appears to have hit him pretty hard. By the time of the Recreance, he was apparently raving and babbling.
- 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.
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 Shardvessels, and has been set up as the Big Bad of The Stormlight Archive, along with being the Greater-Scope Villain of the larger Cosmere.
- Arc Number: Seems to be associated with nine, his Unmade numbering nine, his champion will have nine shadows, his Everstorm passing every nine days...
- 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.
- Book Burning: Several of his Unmade focus on destroying books and records, to the point that the Radiants had to invent an entirely new information storage method to make sure something would survive. He also burns Dalinar's copy of The Way of Kings when he sees that Dalinar is finding strength in it.
- The Chosen Many: His Unmade, mirroring Tanavast's Heralds, are his main agents in the world.
- Color Motif: Red, especially when it comes to eyes, and white/gold.
- The Corrupter: His modus operandi. Rather than outright destroy everything like Ruin, he prefers to twist and subvert things into serving him. He does this by forcibly bonding people with his Voidspren, or having his Unmade magnify negative traits like bloodlust and greed to pathological levels.
- Dirty Coward: Why he'll agree to Combat by Champion; if there's a real chance he can be hurt, he'll throw out a champion to buy time and wait a bit before trying again. Once Dalinar turns the tables on him in Oathbringer, Odium loses his smug attitude and runs for the hills.
- 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.
- Emotion Eater: Can apparently feed on emotions.
- 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.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He is blindsided when Dalinar accepts all the horrible things he did instead of putting the blame on Odium, which allows the latter to say his next set of Words and change the momentum of the battle.
- The recipient of Hoid's letter posits that the main problem with Rayse is that he holds Adonalsium's divine Hatred, but lacks everything that gave that Hatred perspective back when it was just one of Adonalsium's sixteen facets.
- Evil Is Petty: His Everstorm seems to go out of its way to cause damage and hurt people, even seeming to specifically target Talenel's temple as revenge for delaying the Desolations so much, and his whole motivation for siding with the listeners/singers against humanity seems to be revenge for the humans abandoning him to follow Honor and Cultivation.
- Eviler Than Thou: Killed Skai and Splintered Dominion as part of his attempt to keep others from rising against him.
- Evil Former Friend: Word of God is that he and Hoid used to be friends.
- Evil Is Sterile: Implied. Most of his servants are explicitly corrupted normal people, and his Unmade are hinted to be corrupted spren of Honor and Cultivation. Re-Shephir, for example, has many traits of a creationspren, and Shallan senses that she was somehow twisted into her current form. Speaking of the Unmade, none of them have the ability to actually create anything; even Sja-anat and Re-Shephir, known for their ability to create monsters, merely corrupt and imitate respectively. What we have seen of his Voidbinding so far makes it look like he just took the Surges the Radiants use and powered them through Voidlight rather than Stormlight.
- Evil Old Folks: Tends to take the shape of an elderly man when appearing to his followers.
- Evil Only Has to Win Once: Due to the nature of the Oathpact, he only has to win once via a champion in order to escape imprisonment and resume his Cosmere murder spree. In Oathbringer, he seems to be actively trying to circumvent the Oathpact in order to make sure it cannot be continued.
- Faux Affably Evil: He looks and acts like a cheery old man, even while telling you how he's going to kill everyone.
- Foil: While he would normally be considered a Foil to Honor, on a meta level, Odium serves as a Foil to Ruin, as a current, up front Shard Big Bad, with both employing similar but different forms of prophecy, manipulation, Investiture-powered minions and omnicidal goals.
- God of Evil: While one could make an argument that hatred is not evil in itself, Rayse murders other Shards, seeks to eliminate all life on Roshar and possesses the Listeners.
- 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 divine Hatred, but lacks everything that gave that Hatred perspective back when it was just one of Adonalsium's 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, and the Rosharan equivalent of hell). Averted in Oathbringer, where readers finally get their first look at him.
- 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 Uli Da).
- Hypocrite: At the end of Oathbringer he brags about being more trustworthy than the supposedly Lawful Stupid Honor, since he supposedly obeys both the word and the spirit of bargains struck. The perceptive reader may note that it wasn't that many chapters ago that he pulled an Exact Words on Dalinar...
- Earlier, he claims the other Shards aren't doing a good job managing their worlds. Considering the problems he's caused on his Cosmere murder spree, like the damage to Threnody and the state of the Cognitive Realm on Sel, as well as the humans that followed him apparently devastating Ashyn before they came to Roshar, it's clear that he doesn't have a base to stand on here.
- He also claims to be on the side of the Listeners in reclaiming Roshar, but not only was he humanity's original god, he is perfectly willing to use humans to achieve his goals, and doesn't seem to care about the lives of the non-Fused.
- I Gave My Word: He says he will fulfill not just the letter but also the spirit of his promises. It's almost certainly a lie, considering he only negotiates when he has the upper hand, and admits it openly.
- Immortals Fear Death: The only being he's scared of is Harmony, as it's the only Shard powerful enough to be capable of Splintering him.
- This is why the Oathpact even works. He had been wounded before, presumably during his Shard-killing efforts, so when provoked the right way, he'll appoint a champion rather than fight himself to avoid drawing out any forces that could seriously injure or even Splinter him, so he can try again later.
- Insistent Terminology: He is not merely hate, he is Passion, thank you very much.
- It's All About Me: Oh yes. In his view, there's no room for anyone other than him. He even takes credit for all of Dalinar's horrible crimes, when all Odium did was drive him into a state where he'd be more likely to commit them.
- Kill the God: His entire schtick is murdering Shards.
- Light Is Not Good: Three of the forms he takes are an old man dressed in gold and white finery, a singer with white and gold marbled skin, and a bright, burning light, heavy emphasis on the burning part.
- Made of Evil: He's a giant mass of hate. He argues that it is more than just hate though. The Stormfather tells Dalinar that despite what he claims, he doesn't have a Shardic monopoly on passion.
- More Than Mind Control: He can control Voidbringers via his spren, although it's more subtle, based mostly on changes in the possessed's personality rather than the direct order-giving that Ruin does.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Aside from "Odium", we have Rayse, which sounds similar to "Raze".
- Odium himself expresses mixed feelings towards his Shard's name, believing hatred to be too narrow of a focus for his Realmatic Intent.
- Never My Fault: He actively cultivates this attitude in people, since if they blame him (as the cosmic embodiment of uncontrollable emotion) for their bad decisions, it means that they've implicitly given over their agency to him.
- Pieces of God: The voidspren and the Unmade are bits of him.
- Purple Is Powerful: His Voidlight is sometimes depicted as violet, and one of his Unmade can bond with people in a way that causes them to grow Amethyst out of their body.
- The Power of Hate: Quite literally, considering how he's made of the divine wrath.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The whole Eternal Recurrence on Roshar was deliberately engineered to trap him there and prevent him from continuing on his cosmic rampage.
- Seer: His servants are associated so heavily with foresight that it's become a taboo to try and predict the future, even via mundane means. That said, his own ability is said to only let him view things cloudily by the Stormfather.
- Serial Killer: Has shades of this, having killed at least four Shardvessels.
- There Can Be Only One: His endgame is becoming the only Shard in the Cosmere.
- Torture Technician: Spends his free time torturing the Heralds.
- Unreliable Exposition: While he's one of the few people around who remember the distant past in any detail, his recollections are heavily biased. For instance, he claims that Honor never cared about people, just about oaths, while the Stormfather remembers that while Honor did get more influenced by his Shard over time to the point of Sanity Slippage, he never stopped caring about people and in fact laid down his life to save humanity in the end.
- Villainous Breakdown: Freaks and quickly flees when Dalinar opens Honor's Perpendicularity.
- Visionary Villain: He paints himself as one when first meets Dalinar, saying that he's the only one who cares, that the other Shards have done a terrible job building their worlds, and once they're out of the way he'll make everything so much better.
- You Are Not Alone: Pulls an extremely twisted version of this on Dalinar, telling him how he has always been by his side, pushing him to do terrible things through influences like the Thrill.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Presents himself as a kindly looking old man in Oathbringer, even though Dalinar sees a fragment of his true essence, which he perceives as an infinite expanse of baleful purple-white fire that would drive him insane to comprehend.
The Shard(s) that live on Obrodai have created an "avatar of their being" on Obrodai, an unknown female entity who has been instilled with a great dislike of Hoid in order to prevent his returning there. Hoid receives a letter from he/she/it in Oathbringer.
- Hidden Elf Village: On a planetary scale. The shard(s) is/are genuinely surprised that Hoid is able to find them at all.
- Leave Me Alone!: Makes it clear that Hoid's presence is not welcome, barring him passing their avatar's test.
- Only the Worthy May Pass: Tells Hoid that if he wants their knowledge, he will have to take the trial that the avatar has devised.
- Single-Biome Planet: Appears to a world mostly covered by water or small islands.
- Young and in Charge: The female avatar is apparently youthful, at least by divine standards.
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.
- Blue and Orange Morality: In his own way, he's got just as alien a mindset as Ruin. While Ruin wants everything to end, Preservation wants everything to remain exactly as it is, static and unchanging for all eternity. Naturally, nothing changing ever (which means that, say, food wouldn't be digested, cells wouldn't divide, and even the chemical processes for thoughts wouldn't happen) would be just as bad as Ruin destroying everything. This also means that if something bad is happening, Preservation would want to stop it, which is distinct from fixing it.
- This shows in how the Lord Ruler (who Preservation liked as a ruler because his Compounding allowed him to be a stable, immortal ruler, free from the bloodshed crises of succession cause, despite not agreeing with his more immoral actions, comparing it to empathizing with the lamb while admiring the lion) used his power, every time he made something worse, instead of undoing it, he made another change to try and stabilize things.
- Body Horror: In Secret History, when he starts to fall apart because of Ruin's influence, it starts to show on his appearances in the Cognitive Realm to the point that half of his face is graphically missing and he doesn't notice.
- Cast from Hit Points: According to Word of God, he created the prison for Ruin by using the energies of his own mind. Unsurprisingly, this had very deleterious effects on his mind... which is why it worked, since Ruin didn't expect Preservation to be willing do something like that to himself.
- 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 the original Vessel of Preservation is unable to destroy due to having held the Shard long enough that he is unable to go against its Intent, a person who is new to holding the power can. Note that he managed to arrange that despite having been effectively dead for at least a thousand years and probably considerably longer than that though the power of superior foresight.
- 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 remember what his endgame was.
- 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. Kelsier's narration even references mental illness.
- Dead Man Walking: As a result of what he did to seal Ruin, even saying that he's already dead. Ruin escaping just sped things up.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: Comforts the souls of those who die on Scadrial before they go Beyond. Harmony inherits this duty after his own death.
- Divine Conflict: With Ruin, stemming from the fact that while he wants to keep people of Scadrial alive, Ati wants them dead.
- God of Order: The other of the two Shards that represent order, specifically in providing stability for the world.
- 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".
- Telepathy: Can hear the thoughts of people, especially with certain aspects to their spiritwebs, but has little ability to speak to them because of its Intent being protective to a fault, and thus can't really insert thoughts. The only reason Kelsier was able to contact Spook in "Secret History" while holding the power was because Spook's soul, in addition to being damaged from his near-death and removed Hemalurgic spike, had a strong Connection to Kelsier's, the Tineye having believed in him like no one else.
- Thanatos Gambit: He knows that he's going to die, so he sets up Vin as the heir to his power.
Magic: Hemalurgy, Feruchemy
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.
- 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 Cannot Comprehend Good: As Vin points out to him during her scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech. He just doesn't get people's non-destructive impulses.
- Evil Gloating: "How do you like that? I killed him! I Ruined everything you love. I took it from you!"
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Kelsier isn't impressed with his attempts to make a joke.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: At one point in Secret History, he presents himself in the Cognitive Realm as sitting on a burning throne.
- Evil Redhead: As a human, he had red hair. This is played with, because he was only evil as a Shardvessel, and he didn't have a body then. Before obtaining Ruin, the man he once was, Ati, was actually kind and generous.
- FaceHeel 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.
- False Flag Operation: One of his favorite tricks is to pretend to be Preservation, then do something destructive, so that people then distrust Preservation. He impersonated the mist spirit several times, and "the Deepness" was actually Ruin adding his own power to Preservation's mists, in order to make them so strong that they blocked out light and killed all plant life.
- 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 original human name, Ati, is a variation of Atë, the Greek personification of ruin. Ironically, in the Aon language of Sel, his name means 'hope'.
- Mercy Kill: Views destroying the world as a mercy.
- 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".
- Telepathy: Can project his thoughts and/or an image of himself or another into those who have a Hemalurgic spike and/or have a cracked spiritweb, and can control people with enough spikes outright, but cannot hear the thoughts of others, so he can be caught unaware if one fights back suddenly. This is because of his Intent being invasive, more "Yell" than "Listen".
- 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 to 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.
Ruin and Preservation/Harmony
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 Shardvessel 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 Shardvessel, 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.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Since Harmony's Intent is for, well, harmony, Sazed finds it extremely difficult to act in any way that would destabilize the Balance. This is one of the main reasons for his relatively hands-off style of management.
- 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.
- Catchphrase: 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, and could allow Harmony to Splinter him.
- 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 that 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 behavior 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 Shardvessels use their powers indiscriminately is probably also a large part of it. He also doesn't want people to become too dependent on him, as if he acts too overtly, people are going to be wanting him to help them all the time.Wax: Who tied God's hands?
Harmony: I tied them myself.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: Shaping up to be this for the Cosmore, as he is the only one Odium fears, and could potentially destroy him.
- Magical Negro: Not a particularly glaring example, but the Terris people are black, and he's the one to become the god.
- The author has retconned the Terris people so that they come in a number of different shades, probably because someone explained to him how they invoked this trope. Sazed is still black, though.
- 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.
- Telepathy: Inherited Preservation's ability to hear and Ruin's ability to speak.
- 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 Shardvessel.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: He holds the fundimenatally clashing powers of Preservation and Ruin.
Appearances: White Sand, Bands of Mourning, Mistborn: Secret History.
A researcher with connections to 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.
- Bad Boss: Not deliberately, and she's not evil, but considering what she puts Nazh through for the sake of her research, she doesn't seem to care much about his comfort... or safety, for that matter.
- Black and Nerdy: She's an enthusiastic Investiture scientist, and a Darksider of Taldain.
- Dimensional Traveler: Uses the Cognitive Realm to travel the worlds of the Cosmere, mostly for research.
- The Exile: An offhand comment during her conversation with Kelsier suggests she's been exiled from Taldain, or at least cannot return to it.
- Knowledge Broker: By Word of God, she's not affiliated too closely with the 17th Shard and simply gives information to those who ask for it.
- 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.
- Those Two Guys: Forms a duo with Nazh.
Appearances: The Stormlight Archive, Elantris (10th anniversary edition only), Wax and Wayne.
Khriss' archivist and errand boy, working to document the various Shardworlds.
- Beleaguered Assistant: He is often sent on tasks that are harrowing/dangerous/both by his 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.
- Catchphrase: "Shades!" Sometimes "shadows!" as well.
- 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.
- Those Two Guys: The other half of the Background Worldhopper Duo with Khriss.
- Oh My Gods!: "Shadows!" An early clue as to his homeworld.
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.
A noble lady of Elendel, she is seen getting congratulated by Hoid on her marriage to Joshin.
Hoid/Midius/Cephandrius/Topaz/Wit/Roamer/Others. Oh, so many others.
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.
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.
- A God I Am Not: Denies being a god when asked, though apparently a god once ended up worshipping him somehow.
- 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.
- Oathbringer confirms that he can Awaken, something Word of Sanderson says is not easy for a non-Nalthian to do, and he apparently bonds with the Cryptic that was going to bond with Elhokar in the last scene, becoming a Lightweaver Radiant.
- Cool Old Guy: Ancient and awesome.
- Cryptic Conversation: He often uses this when he has to pass some important information, but doesn't want to do so plainly. This ranges from easter eggs for Cosmere-aware readers to something that puzzles everyone.Two blind men waited at the end of an era, contemplating beauty.
- 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 youve 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.
- 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 keeps it for hundreds of years after, even using it on worlds that have no idea who the original Hoid is.
- Dimensional Traveler: Traverses between Shardworlds by way of the Cognitive Realm/Shadesmar, even from Sel, and, presumably, from Roshar as wellnote .
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Considering that Hoid has countless of varieties of magic, including Allomancy and Feruchemy (both of which have a large amount of combat applications), it's probably for the best that he has little ability to hurt others.
- 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.
- Healing Factor: Can heal so quickly that he sometimes needs to actually repress it to not stand out, and is even capable of healing from damage like what Shardblades cause. Word of Brandon even said once that in a battle royale of his protagonists, Hoid would do fairly well because he is really really hard to kill.
- Hero of Another Story: Most of the time, we only catch glimpses of his greater plan, and it's hard to piece his "plotline" together, but he seems to be engaged in some sort of ages- and worlds-spanning scheme.
- I Have Many Names: Let's see - Hoid, Midius, Cephandrius, Topaz, Wit, Dust, Roamer, Lunu'ananki...
- 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 Disguise: He looks different - but always fittingly to circumstances - in almost every of his appearances, and his disguises are so good, that he can fool Wax into thinking he's two different people even though both times he mentions having the same name..
- 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.
- The Mentor: He takes up this role for Shallan, and surprisingly not an Eccentric Mentor. He gives her genuine, honest advice, with very little metaphor and symbolism. It's implied that while his own Lightweaving is different than Shallan's, he went through similar trials as she did and is willing to help her through them.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Uses an unknown application of feruchemy - speculated to be Luck or Fortune - to sense where important events are going on.
- Mysterious Past: And pretty much every other thing 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.
- Neutral No Longer: Normally he interacts with the heroes on and off, helping behind the scenes or on the sides, while having little direct involvement in the conflict, persuing his own goals. The end of Oathbringer implies that he's going to actively get involved this time around, as he's bonded with a Cryptic.
- 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.
- In Edgedancer, Lift mentions a white-haired fellow giving her some good advice when she was younger and then letting himself get eaten by a greatshell, so that was likely the beginning of that year of digestion. Still no word on why.
- Apparently, a god ended up worshipping him by accident on one of the last seven times he got mixed up with religion.
- 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 hilarious because, per Mistborn: Secret History, Preservation's shardpool was actually where he arrived on Scadriel in the first place.
- He explains in Oathbringer that he has access to a power that lets him know where he needs to be to accomplish his goals, but doesn't tell him what he needs to do when he gets there.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ornamental Weapon: The sword he carries with him on Roshar, as he can't kill anything anyway.
- Pals with Jesus: He personally knew the Shardvessels 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.
- A letter in Oathbringer implies that he didn't just know the Shards, but was part of the plot to kill Adonalsium, only to end up rejecting Shardhood.
- Sarcasm Failure: He's actually stunned into silence when Shallan hugs him in Words of Radiance. Sanderson considers it one of the few moments that makes him drop his guard.
- Seer: Apparently has some ability to sense where he needs to go, but not why or what he needs to do there. Word of Sanderson implies that it has something to do with Feruchemy.
- 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.
- Thanatos Gambit: Discussed. As the King's Wit on Roshar, he tries unsuccessfully to goad Brighlord Sadeas into killing him, because Alethi law would then strip Sadeas of his titles. Of course, given Hoid's nigh-immortality, it would have been faked for show anyway.
- Time Abyss: Thousands of years old, looks as old as he wants to. Shallan assumes he's as old as the Heralds, but he laughs. Evidence points to him being as old as the Shardholders themselves, which would put him at six thousand years old at absolute minimum.Shallan: You're... old, aren't you? Not a Herald, but as old as they are?
Hoid: Child, when they were but babes, I had already lived dozens of lifetimes. 'Old' is a word you use for worn shoes. I'm something else entirely.
- 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.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Per Word of God, he is very fond of instant noodles, and is thus very interested in Scadrial since they are the Shardworld closest to developing them.Question: Is he doing anything to push that along?
Brandon Sanderson: He is not as involved in that as certain other forces are.
Question: There are forces involved in the developing instant noodles?
Brandon Sanderson: Yes, oh yes.
- 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 benefiting from the Second Heightening on Roshar, a world to which both are notably not native.
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.
- He drops a few hints in Oathbringer that Dalinar doesn't notice, when talking about the Nightwatcher.Dalinar: Any idea why she didn't visit you?
Felt: Well, best I could figure, she doesn't like foreigners.
Dalinar: I might have trouble too.
Felt: You're a little less foreign, sir.
- Married to the Job: Overjoyed at the prospect of being "in the field" again.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: He works for the most recent Venture, be it Straff or Elend, who have very opposite philosophies.
- 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.
Other Worldhoppers and Where To Find ThemQuite a few interplanetary travelers have already gained prominence in specific works before the fact that they are worldhoppers was revealed. As such, they are listed on appropriate pages.
Magic: Immortality; possibly others
Appearances: Dragonsteel (unpublished), The Way of Kings (mentioned), Words of Radiance (epigraphs)
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 Adonalsium 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 he and Hoid still exchange letters.
The God Beyond
A theoretical divinity above the Shards and even Adonalsium. It is said to be the true God of the Cosmere, and resides in the Beyond where the Shards cannot go.
- Have You Seen My God?: There is no actual proof of its existence besides vague theories. Most people haven't even heard of it. It is mostly only worshiped on non-Shardworlds, since Shards are far more direct examples of godhood.
- In Mysterious Ways: If it truly is a god above gods, it has a very strange way of doing things. Letting Adonalsium get killed, letting Odium murder other Shards, letting Scadrial get within a hair's breadth of destruction...