We know that Ruin, on Scadrial, could mainly only influence those who had been given Hemalurgic spikes. Those with one, such as Vin, could be subtly influenced and spoken to. Those with multiple, such as the Kandra, could be controlled, and those with even more, such as the Inquisitors, could have their thoughts entirely altered by Ruin. The mechanism of this control was damage to people’s Spiritwebs, the spiritual blueprint for their powers, and to some extent their personality and thoughts.

Magic works similarly throughout the Cosmere, so it made me wonder whether this is also the method through which Odium can influence the Parshendi. Do Parshendi all have these “holes” in their Spiritweb? Or do Voidspren create them? Has Brandon said anything about how Odium exerts his control?


Yes and No

Voidspren have the "hole" in them, which allows access to the other member of the bond.

Q: Can Odium influence people the same way that Ruin can?

A: [misunderstands question as a question about kandra/koloss/parshendi] Well, you see, the kandra and the koloss have a "hole" in them that allows Ruin to come in and take over. The Parshendi naturally are protected from this, but when they expose themselves to the storms, and the spren come in, many of these spren have that kind of "hole" in them, and that’s what allows Odium to take control of them.
Brandon Sanderson - Dec 6th, 2014 (answer paraphrased at source)

But it's not the same sort of control Ruin has. Though it does seem Odium does have other means of asserting that control.

Q: No, I'm talking about how Ruin was able to push people, place things in their minds, stuff like that. Can Odium do the same thing?

A: Well, Odium wasn't around when those people were created [Here it sounded like the mankind that's on that planet, not the specific generation], so it's a little different for him than Ruin. So if he influences people in that way, it's through the Unmade.
Brandon Sanderson - Dec 6th, 2014 (answer paraphrased at source)

To expound for a moment. The Nahel Bond (bonding with a spren) does not seem to be the same sort of magic as the Metallic Arts. They both allow the being in question to use Investiture, but they go about it in different ways. Ruin can allow Investiture through the use of Hemalurgic Spikes, a side effect of which allows Ruin to speak to the mind. Odium, Honor, and Cultivation allow Investiture through the Nahel Bond. This does not seem to grant the same level of control.

Remember, Preservation, who was also part of the Metallic Arts, could only read minds. Even he didn't have the same type of control that Ruin did. This would suggest to me that Ruin's type of influence is unique to him.

  • Good pair of answers on these. – Radhil Sep 15 '17 at 22:00
  • It's also a significant point to note that Ruin didn't enable Investiture use through Hemalurgy - Hemalurgy allows someone to steal Investiture use, no matter what Ruin wants or doesn't want. He might have created the method, but his permission isn't a factor in who uses it. It''s even been stated that it works everywhere - a Word of God says you could use it to steal a Nahel Bond (reddit.com/r/Cosmere/comments/aoidni/… ). – Gloweye Jul 1 '19 at 12:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.