Author Topic: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character  (Read 2827 times)

Eleaneth

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**SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« on: June 24, 2011, 06:09:01 AM »
So, I have a theory about how the shards affect personality, which I haven't seen voiced by anyone else. However, I have to warn you: this is not the place for a religious debate. If you turn my religious reference into an argument of any kind, the moderators will lock this thread. And I will be annoyed with you. I need to reference religion to illustrate my theory.

Latter-day Saints/Mormons believe that humans have the potential to become like God. However, there is a caveat: to share equally in God's power, you must have God's character. In Sunday School, we sometimes tell a story of a man who wanted to give his children everything he had, but first, he wanted to make sure his children developed the same rock-solid determination, dedication, compassion, and wisdom that he had. We believe that God feels that way for all of us.

How does this relate? Well, every person in Brandon's books who gains the power of one of the Shards of Adonalsium has godlike power, but they don't necessarily have godlike character. Power sometimes corrupts them. My theory is this: the degree to which a Shard-god is corrupted depends on whether they have a moral value, a goal, a person, or a cause which is more important to them than their power, just like Mormons believe the real God will only share His power with those who love Him completely. It's almost like Brandon asked the question, "What could happen if God wasn't perfectly true to his morals?"

Compare Ati/Ruin to Laras/Preservation. According to the Way of Kings, "Ati was once a kind and generous man, and look what became of him." Ati became so consumed with his power that all he cared about was Ruin: the destruction of everything.

Laras, or Preservation, chose to create humans with a little bit more of himself than of Ruin, meaning that Ruin, theoretically, would have more power in the end. Laras sacrificed some of his ability to Preserve, and he risked the ultimate victory of Ruin, by creating humankind, trapping Ruin, and letting his power go to the Well of Ascension. In other words, Laras rose above his power, choosing that something else was more important than simply Preserving things as they were.

Vin went even farther than Laras. At that point, her only reason for living was Elend, so when Ruin killed Elend, she went kamikaze. Ati was totally shocked, because her move "smacked too much of Ruin." She didn't care about the power; she wanted to be with Elend.

Sazed appears to have had a good start to staying uncorrupted: he could control two conflicting powers at once "because he was of one mind on how to use them." (I also speculate that this may play into the grander scheme of things in a really important way. Does any other Shard-god have two Shards? Sazed might be able to defeat any other single Shard-god, if necessary.)

Other Shard-gods that we know of are mostly speculative. The Honor-being in Way of Kings (the one in the Storm) might be a Shard-god who was so consumed by the Shard of Honor that he, himself, was shattered by the breaking of the Oathpact. Without people to trust and be trusted by, this being might have had nothing left.

The writer of the letters at the beginning of some chapters in the Way of Kings (who I think is Hoid) might also be a Shard-god, expressing to his opposite the need for both of them to look beyond their power to some greater goal. That could be why Hoid doesn't appear to give his disciples any magical powers--he could refrain from using his power to avoid temptation that is stronger than his own character. That might also explain why he goes about in human form--to remain himself.

What do you guys think? D'you think I'm reading to much into this, because of my background? Or do you think the personal beliefs and goals of the Shard-gods are as important as I'm guessing?
"Yes," Elend said softly. "The law allows for you to change your vote, Lord Habren. You may only do so once, and must do so before the winner is declared. Everyone else has the same opportunity."
-- The Well of Ascension

Argent

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 07:23:37 AM »
I am  almost 100% certain that Brandon said somewhere that the Shards (the actual Shards, not the people who hold them) have a personality of their own, so to speak. It is in Ruin's nature to destroy things. It is in Endowment's nature to... well, not to endow, I guess; but something like it. He also said that people who take on those Shards - the Shardholders - have their own personalities twisted by the power of the Shards. So just like Ati was a kind man turned vile by Ruin, Loras could have been a twisted criminal turned selfless by Preservation.
Power doesn't always have to corrupt. In many ways, it can change a man for the better.

CabbyHat

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 08:06:15 AM »
But hasn't it also been stated that you have to have a certain affinity for what the shard embodies to absorb the shard's power?
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Eleaneth

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 04:14:24 PM »
It makes sense to me that some Shards' powers would be easier to turn to evil than others. When it comes to Ruin and Preservation, my theory was that both of those powers could have become evil. The power of Ruin could have been restrained, to only destroy certain things. The power of Preservation could be let loose, with the goal of keeping everything the same, with no risk of destruction. I think the Giver, Matched, and Brandon's Alcatraz series are good examples of preservation gone awry. Life can be too safe; it can become meaningless.

Since I can imagine ways for Preservation's power to be used excessively, I think that it can't be just the Shard itself that is generally good or generally evil. I think that any one Shard could be used to excess. Any shard could become a person's only goal, so they care about nothing else.
"Yes," Elend said softly. "The law allows for you to change your vote, Lord Habren. You may only do so once, and must do so before the winner is declared. Everyone else has the same opportunity."
-- The Well of Ascension

CabbyHat

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 05:21:14 AM »
Of course, all that being said, there's really only one place you can go with something like Odium. ^^;
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Adrienne

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 05:43:56 AM »
I yanked this out of another post I was reading.

Quote
Additionally, every shard is controlled by a god-like consciousness that used to belong to a mortal. Each shard has a sort of ... pathology to it that eventually turns the mind of the shardholder until it matches the shard's will. Some might be considered "bad", while others are arguably "good.

I'm assuming these people who "just got out of class" to post were from one of Brandon's classes.

I know you said not to mention religion but I wonder how LDS and the devil might tie into the evil of the stories.

happyman

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 02:47:54 PM »
Of course, all that being said, there's really only one place you can go with something like Odium. ^^;

Not entirely.  Sometimes Odium for something is entirely deserved.

On the other hand, imagining something that is just Odium running around is much more scary than imagining something that is just Honor.  I'll definitely give you that.
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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 02:44:47 AM »
I yanked this out of another post I was reading.

Quote
Additionally, every shard is controlled by a god-like consciousness that used to belong to a mortal. Each shard has a sort of ... pathology to it that eventually turns the mind of the shardholder until it matches the shard's will. Some might be considered "bad", while others are arguably "good.

I'm assuming these people who "just got out of class" to post were from one of Brandon's classes.

I know you said not to mention religion but I wonder how LDS and the devil might tie into the evil of the stories.

I'm curious, where did that quote come from?

I think Brandon's LDS background could be an influence to his mythology, and that's interesting that Preservation did use some sacrifice, with the Well of Ascension.  I would imagine that, given it was a while ago, he still had some of his mind left to use to sacrifice a bit. And really, all of Preservation's sacrifices were in line with the intent of Preservation.

A Shard's intent is obviously very important, but I think given enough time, every Shardholder will be molded to their Shard's intent.
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Adrienne

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 04:20:36 AM »
That quote came from this thread:

http://www.timewastersguide.com/forum/index.php?topic=7878.0


Now this is just from what I can tell with a quick search on LDS and Satan. It could be accurate, it could be a misrepresentation.

Quote
The Mormon church views Jesus and Satan as spirit brothers and sons of God. God put forth His plan of salvation for the world, and Satan proposed his own plan. Jesus accepted the Father's plan and offered to implement it as the Savior. The Father chose Jesus

I can visualize that the devil/satan entity is a spirit that had good intentions. In the end those intentions became twisted and self serving. That sounds a lot like TLR to me.

I'm not trying to debate the religion but only learn more about the opposite point that was brought up. Brandon's books seem to point to pairings in the world.

I just signed up for the 17th shard while trying to learn more about the cosmos. The site and information is amazing and daunting.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 04:23:23 AM by Adrienne »

happyman

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 04:41:52 PM »
That quote came from this thread:

http://www.timewastersguide.com/forum/index.php?topic=7878.0


Now this is just from what I can tell with a quick search on LDS and Satan. It could be accurate, it could be a misrepresentation.

Quote
The Mormon church views Jesus and Satan as spirit brothers and sons of God. God put forth His plan of salvation for the world, and Satan proposed his own plan. Jesus accepted the Father's plan and offered to implement it as the Savior. The Father chose Jesus

I can visualize that the devil/satan entity is a spirit that had good intentions. In the end those intentions became twisted and self serving. That sounds a lot like TLR to me.

I'm not trying to debate the religion but only learn more about the opposite point that was brought up. Brandon's books seem to point to pairings in the world.

I just signed up for the 17th shard while trying to learn more about the cosmos. The site and information is amazing and daunting.

The Jesus/Satan as brothers thing is misleading.  To say the least.  It needs a bit of context.

In Mormon cosmology, all humans, angels, and devils are children of God, all that are alive, all that ever have lived, and all that will live, and even all those who never lived because they didn't keep God's commandments before this life (e.g. Satan and his angels).  We are all brothers and sisters, differing not in potential, but in the choices we make.  Jesus and Satan simply represent extremes of where that can lead (extreme obedience, humility and love, or extreme pride and hatred), with most of the rest of us falling somewhere less extreme (although most Mormon's I know believe that Jesus' position was still more special than the rest of ours, including Satan's.)

In most interpretations of Satan in Mormon cosmology (including the authoritative ones) he does not come off as someone with good intentions, but rather as someone who put his own power and authority over anybody else' good.  For a quick overview of the way he's normally depicted in Mormonism, try reading The Book of Moses.   Not remotely flattering and not even a hint of being misguided.  Just evil.
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zas678

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 04:55:27 AM »
I think a better comparision rather than TLR would be Odium. Starts out evil, continues being evil, and grows in influence.

This is what Brandon has to say about his LDS influence:

Blackrabite
My friend and I read Mistborn when we first heard you were going to take over on The Wheel of Time. We've been hooked ever since and you are definitely one of our top authors now.
The friend I spoke of grew up in a Mormon household, as did my wife, and both of them say that a lot of your work seems to borrow or at least use ideas from the Mormon idea of an afterlife as building blocks. Are those just similarities or is your world building influenced heavily by those ideas?

Most of what people are noticing isn't so much intentional as inevitable. Just like people see WWII influences in Tolkien (though he denied that there were such parallels) there are going to be LDS parallels in my books.
I don't seek to expunge them; they are part of who I am. If I'm reaching into mythology and history for my foundations, I'm going to dip into LDS sources more often than others. So tell your friend and wife that they're seeing real things, most likely--though it's not intentional allegory.
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Adrienne

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2011, 05:02:18 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to explain that. I prefer to hear from someone who has first hand knowledge. As you can see it's easy to misinterpret things. I should have more free time after Monday to spend reading. My knowledge of LDS is limited to a South Park episode and a Wiki article. I once tried to order the Book of Mormon and got in serious trouble with my parents.

I believe I've heard something along those lines before Zas. It's not an intentional thing. That being said when something is ingrained like your spiritual beliefs and you write books about spirits it's inevitable some things cross over. I think being informed might give some good insight into things. Obviously a lot of people bring it up because they see the parallel - hence the author of this thread.

Either way, I think I need to read that 160 pages of Brandonology soon. That thing is insane!!

zas678

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 05:51:17 AM »
Oh I'm glad!

I realized that he does have at least one bit that is exclusively Mormon. King Nohaden (or whatever the author of the Way of Kings is) is based off of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon

He's a king who defends his people, and then when he gets older farms to support himself and then gives a big speech to the people about how "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." His people love what he says and have no more desire to do evil. Yeah, he's awesome.

But the thing is- a lot Mormons don't know that he's a general, that he defended his land with the sword and troops. And Brandon mirrored that somewhat with Nohaden. (Or at least Peter says so   ;)  )
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“So was witch-burning,” Melody said.  “Unless you were the witch.”

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 02:46:01 PM »
That's really interesting; I never would've noticed that about King Nohaden on my own.

I'm not LDS so I could easily have missed things, but I've read a bit and I find it hard to see LDS parallels in the Shards. In the cosmere only 16 people can become divine, and it's not something their religions encourage, or even know about, whereas in LDS divinity is offered to all humans as part of God's plan. That to me is a pretty big difference. I see sufficient explanation in storytelling and world-building. Humans being able to take the place of a god is a fairly common idea in fantasy. We can guess that Brandon wants a Shard to be powerful enough to make magic systems for one planet, but not so powerful that it provides all the answers and removes the need for faith, and not so powerful that these worlds are utopias without conflict.

In some fiction, the existence and will of God or gods is so obvious that faith never happens anymore; people might have loyalty, but not faith. Characters' experience of religion then is nothing like ours, and frankly a bit boring. It's hardly religion at all if it doesn't require faith. Brandon avoids this so well that I think the Shards are reverse-engineered exactly to provide room for doubt and religious controversy, and to make the characters' religions more genuine.

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Re: **SPOILERS** Shards: Power and Character
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 09:48:42 PM »
I haven't read about anyone trying to explain N.K. Jemisin's religious beliefs based on how she writes about gods in the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. But people try it with Brandon all the time, although it really doesn't work very well.
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