I just started reading The Hero of Ages and I noticed that from a certain point Vin and other characters were mentioning Ruin by its name.

Maybe I missed it, but I can't recall them ever finding out the name of the creature that was trapped in the well.

I tried going back a few times, but all I could find was a quote about that the creature must never be released by Kwaan.

So in short: when did Vin et. al. find out that the creature that was released is called Ruin?


1 Answer 1


Perhaps the name is something people automatically apply to the creature because of its nature. Vin certainly seems to think she's come up with the name herself:

The force she had released, the thing she called Ruin, had proven that it could change things in the world. Small things, yet important ones.

-- The Hero of Ages, Chapter 21 (emphasis mine)

This seems to be the first name the name 'Ruin' is used by any of the 'good guys' (not counting the possessed Marsh).

And yet, it also calls itself Ruin, and Marsh thinks of it as such due to his direct contact with it:

It was not yet complete. It needed more. Something else ... something hidden. And Marsh would find that something, bring it to his master. The master that Vin had freed. The entity that had been imprisoned within the Well of Ascension.

It called itself Ruin.

-- The Hero of Ages, Prologue (emphasis mine)

This is the first mention of the name "Ruin" in the text.

  • It was not coined by Vin (the Kandra use it). Ruin is not simply a name...it is what Ruin is.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 22:46
  • @Obie2.0 Strange then that she and the kandra (and Ruin itself) use the name independently. I've edited.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 22:52
  • I can think of a few good reasons. The most obvious is that Ruin is simply the only/most obvious name in their language for what it does. The second is that she remembers what the kandra said (was she there?) The third is a bit spoilery, but I think you can guess it.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 23:03
  • 1
    This is as correct as it gets, but it doesn't really answer why. I'd always assumed that releasing it gave Vin some connection to Ruin and she could feel what he was, the same way that Marsh knows the name simply because he's there in his head all the time, but that doesn't jive with how she has to figure out the rest of the god-business on her own.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 17:39
  • 1
    dont forget Ruin is in Vin's head the entire time, via her earing, he could very well have suggested his own name TOO her. His shard is the shard of ruin, in the cosmere so despite what vin decides to call him, his name was intended to ruin the entire time anyway.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 17:59

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