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The cosmere[1] is a fictional universe where Brandon Sanderson's adult epic fantasies (including Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker, The Stormlight Archive, and White Sand) are all set.[2] It does not contain Earth.[3]

Brandon has said that you do not need any cosmere knowledge to understand the books, and that they can be enjoyed separately, but it will be necessary eventually to have a certain understanding of Realmatic Theory.[4][5] Elements of the cosmere are slowly being added into the books, behind the scenes, until they come into the forefront with Dragonsteel and the final Mistborn trilogy.[6]

The underlying mythology of the cosmere revolves around Adonalsium, the power of creation, which was broken into sixteen pieces called Shards. The Shards are effectively gods, and magic is derived from their power.

Properties and Forces

A map of Shadesmar--a part of the Cognitive Realm[7]--from Roshar's perspective. Expanses on this map represent other planets in the cosmere.

The structure and physics of the cosmere are the same as our own, but the main story of the cosmere occurs in a compact dwarf galaxy, meaning it has many fewer stars and systems than our galaxy.[8] Time flows the same in the cosmere (except under special magical effects, such as Allomantic cadmium and bendalloy).[9]

There are ten primary planets in the cosmere, sometimes called Shardworlds, as the Shards of Adonalsium play major roles there.[10] There are inhabited worlds with no Shards on them, and some planets may only have Splinters of a Shard on them.[10] Planets without Shards are generally referred to as "minor Shardworlds". On all cosmere planets, magic is called Investiture, a catch-all term for the various expressions of Adonalsium's magic.[11] All magic we've seen has been derived from the Shard's--or Adonalsium's--power.[12] Specific magic systems, like Allomancy or Surgebinding, are termed "manifestations of Investiture."[13] On minor worlds, people don't utilize Investiture directly, and magic is more something people interact with through nature.[14]

The physical universe of the cosmere only tells one part of the story. In fact, there are three Realms of existence: the Physical Realm, the Cognitive Realm, and the Spiritual Realm that all coexist simultaneously, and everything has aspects in each of these Realms.[15] Even planets themselves have souls.[16] Investiture transcends all three of these Realms.[17] The Cognitive Realm, including regions such as Shadesmar, allows for travel between cosmere planets.[18] Also, there is something beyond the Three Realms, where people "pass on," which Shards can potentially touch,[19] but Brandon does not wish to reveal anything about it.[20]

There are also other forces outside of things derived from Adonalsium. One is a force that opposes Adonalsium, which still exists,[21] and some say there are "subtle forces" being manifest, separate from Adonalsium, perhaps referring to the God Beyond.[22][23]


There are currently twelve known planets in the cosmere. Three of these planets (Ashyn, Braize, and Roshar) are known to be in the same solar system.[24][25] Two of these, Threnody and First of the Sun, are worlds that currently have no Shards.[26] Note that the following chart lists Shards currently on the planet, and there may have been other Shards there at other times in the past.

World Shards Books
Ashyn None[27] The Silence Divine[25]
Braize Odium[25] The Stormlight Archive[25]
First of the Sun Patji (Avatar of Autonomy) Sixth of the Dusk[28]
Nalthis Endowment[29] Warbreaker, Nightblood[30]
Obrodai Unknown, Autonomy Unknown - Referenced in Oathbringer
Roshar Honor, Cultivation[31] The Stormlight Archive[30]
Scadrial Preservation, Ruin;[32] Harmony* Mistborn[30]
Sel Devotion, Dominion[33] Elantris & sequels,[30] The Emperor's Soul[34]
Taldain Autonomy[35] White Sand[30]
Threnody Ambition formerly [36] Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell[37]
Vax Unknown Unknown - Referenced in Elantris, Mistborn: Secret History
Yolen Unknown Dragonsteel[30]

*Harmony is the combination of two Shards, Ruin and Preservation, that are intermingled since they are under the control of one individual.[38] Harmony is referred to as a Shard,[39] though it is not one of the original sixteen Shards of Adonalsium.


Before the Shattering

Even now, I can barely grasp the scope of all this. The events surrounding the end of the world seem even larger than the Final Empire and the people within it. I have delved and searched, and have only been able to come up with a single name: Adonalsium. Who, or what, it was, I do not yet know.

Little is known of the extremely distant past of the cosmere: the time before the Shattering of Adonalsium and the Shards. It is not clear who or what Adonalsium was/is. It is unclear whether it is a force, a person, a god, or the metaphysical god. It isn't clear if it was self-aware or not. Regardless, it is sometimes described as the power of creation,[41] possibly a thing with incredible amounts of Investiture (since Investiture is a piece of Adonalsium,[11]) and a power which does not vanish.[42][43]

Humans existed on worlds before this time,[44] though how many is unknown. At the very least, the first humans were on Yolen.[45] Hoid in particular is from Yolen.[46][47] All cosmere planets existed prior to the Shattering, and their names existed before the Shards got there (with the exception of Scadrial, which was created by Ruin and Preservation in the image of Yolen).[48][49] Magic (Investiture) also existed prior to the Shattering, though its form was different.[50] The technology level of this society prior to the Shattering was less than present day Earth's.[51]

There is a force that opposes Adonalsium[21] which created a weapon,[52] but important specifics, such as if it is still around, or if it had played a role in Adonalsium's Shattering, are unknown. There was once a plot to destroy Adonalsium, which failed.[53]

The Shattering

Through unknown means, Adonalsium was broken, in an event called the Shattering. Hoid was present,[54] and due to Hoid being from Yolen, it is thought that this event occurred on Yolen. This Shattering happened intentionally,[55] and occurred all at once.[56]

Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him.

—Hoid on Ruin[57]

Adonalsium split into sixteen pieces, referred to as Shards of Adonalsium, each taking a particular facet, or intent, of the greater power of Adonalsium. Sixteen people took up those Shards, becoming the first Vessels and effectively ascending into godhood. Hoid and the Recipient knew these sixteen people prior to their Ascension, as they were familiar with their original names.[58][59][60] Some of these individuals and the Shard they took up are: Aona (Devotion), Skai (Dominion), Ati (Ruin), Leras (Preservation), Tanavast (Honor), Rayse (Odium), Bavadin (Autonomy), Edgli (Endowment), and Uli Da (Ambition). There is one more known Shard, Cultivation, whose Vessel is female but otherwise unknown.

It was not random who took up the Shards,[61] and there was some sort of design in the way Adonalsium was split.[62]

It turned out that, though the power of a Shard required a mind to control it, the specific intent of the Shard would slowly warp the mind of those that hold it.[57][63] It is not known whether the original Vessels knew this when they took up their Shards. Eventually, the people who took up the Shards would simply be referred to as their Shard's name, and referred to as Shards.

At some point, some Shards traveled to other worlds. The Shards were now the primary source of magic in the cosmere,[12] and so they Invested some planets with their power, and in some cases, created humans and other species.[64]

Early Shardic History

The exact timeline of what the Shards did after the Shattering is not clear. Shards settled on specific planets, but could have gone to other places before residing upon the worlds they now stay.

Endowment was the only Shard who traveled to Nalthis.[29][65] At some point during the history of Nalthis, Endowment began intentionally splitting its power, creating what are called Splinters. These Splinters were the divine Breath, which made the Returned.[29]

Bavadin was the single Shard to travel to Taldain.[35][66]

Devotion and Dominion went to Sel.[33] During this early Selish era, magic was present on the planet, though different than the kinds seen later, utilizing the Dor.[67]


Ruin and Preservation, having intents that opposed each other so perfectly,[68] found themselves drawn to each other, which caused conflict. If Ruin tried to destroy, Preservation would stop him, and vice versa. At some point they created the planet of Scadrial.[69]

The only point in creating something is to watch it die.

—Ruin to Vin[70]

They came up with a deal: they would work together to create life, with the condition that Ruin would eventually get to destroy them.[71] But Preservation wanted to create life that they had seen before--humanity[64]--and creating sapient life required more energy. Ruin was not willing to put in that extra energy, so Preservation did. This led to Preservation being slightly weaker than Ruin. Because of this, Preservation knew that Ruin would inevitably triumph and destroy what they created.[71]

Preservation couldn't stand to let Ruin destroy their creations, so he felt the need to do anything to stop this from happening. Preservation, then, betrayed Ruin. Preservation could not destroy Ruin--doing that sort of assault would result in both Ruin and Preservation's death, and the Shard had influenced Preservation's mind too much for him to do something so destructive. In order to stop Ruin, he needed another plan.

Preservation attacked Ruin with his mental power--the distinct mind controlling the Shard's power, rather than the power itself. This would trap Ruin's mind, making him mostly impotent.[72] However, it cost almost all of Preservation's mind. Preservation knew that the moment he did this attack, he would not be able to help life on Scadrial. Preservation saw the future, creating the Terris Prophecies, to give hope to humanity, and to let humanity know that he had a plan in mind.Template:Annotation ref He also altered Allomancy so that there would be atium (and malatium) Mistings,[73][74] and set up his power--the mists--to Snap those Allomancers.[75] And with that, Preservation gave up his mind, imprisoning Ruin in the newly created Well of Ascension.

Odium's Quest and Roshar

One need only look at the aftermath of his brief visit to Sel to see proof of what I say. In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered. Presumably to prevent anyone from rising up to challenge Rayse.

— Hoid in the first Letter[33][58]

Odium wanted to become the strongest being in the cosmere.[76][77] He realized that if he ever took up another Shard, that Shard would change him, and Odium preferred his own intent.[63] So, in his quest to become god of the cosmere, instead of absorbing all the other fifteen Shards, he decided to destroy the other Shards.[76] He developed a way to Splinter a Shard's power, and in the process, killing its holder.[33]

He bears the weight of God's own divine hatred, separated from the virtues that gave it context. He is what we made him to be, old friend. And that is what he, unfortunately, wished to become.

—The Second Letter on Odium[78]

Odium traveled to Sel for a short time to attack Devotion and Dominion, and Odium Splintered them.[33] This left a lot of energy on Sel, and, with no release valve and entity to control the power, Shadesmar became incredibly hazardous on Sel.[79] Selish magic itself changed,[67] and perhaps the Dor was created--a force that can be drawn upon but with no controlling entity. Odium left Sel after this event, and did not Invest any of his power on the planet.[79]

At some point--perhaps before Odium's actions on Sel, or after--Honor and Cultivation went to Roshar together.[31] Later, Odium went to the Rosharan system.[80] Before this, Odium did not settle on a specific planet, but on Roshar, he Invested his power, and his magics are felt there,[81] and perhaps other worlds in the system. Devastating wars called the Desolations were fought over Roshar, between Odium's Voidbringers and Honor's Heralds and Knights Radiant.[82] Cultivation's exact role in the Desolations is not clear, but Honor and Cultivation were a romantic item.[31]

Odium eventually killed Honor, using the same method as he did with Devotion and Dominion.[83] However, Honor was crafty, and even though Honor perished, Odium was then trapped on the Greater Rosharan System.[59] At some point, Odium ended up being on Braize, which he is currently located, prior to the True Desolation.[25] Cultivation, on the other hand, survived Odium, and is still alive.[84] Odium has not killed another Shard after this point.[60]

Before Odium's confinement on Greater Roshar, at some unknown time, he also killed another Shard in addition to Devotion, Dominion, and Honor.[85] It is also known that he mortally wounded the Shard of Ambition shortly after The Shattering, and Ambition was later Splintered (presumably by Odium). There is also a Shard who just wants to survive, presumably against Odium's onslaught.[86]

Hoid and the Seventeenth Shard

For I have never been dedicated to a more important purpose, and the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here. I ask again. Support me. Do not stand aside and let disaster consume more lives.

Hoid on Odium's war[87]

Hoid was deeply concerned about Odium's involvement on Sel, and thought that his war would lead to devastate the whole cosmere.[87] He sent a letter[58][63] to a person (possibly a dragon[88]) to call off his "friends of the Seventeenth Shard" and join Hoid.[89] The recipient of Hoid's original letter did not see things as Hoid, and said that the reason these events have occurred is because of their involvement.[90] As such, he advocated nonintervention,[91] where Hoid meddled a great deal, on all main worlds.

The Seventeenth Shard are a group of worldhoppers moving between planets using various magics, and are perhaps led by the Recipient.[89] Their members are from many worlds,[92] including Scadrial, Taldain, and Sel. They searched for Hoid on Roshar shortly before the Everstorm was summoned.[93] They may also be nonintervenionists, due to their possible relationship with the Recipient.[89]

There is also Khriss, a worldhopper who is the most knowledgeable person in the cosmere, by far.[94] She writes all the Ars Arcanums.[95] She has an employee, Nazh, who, among other things, draws and annotates maps, and collects other things for Khriss.[96] Their motivations--and exact relationship with the Seventeenth Shard--are not clear.

However, there is an end goal of the Seventeenth Shard.[97] In the immediate future, they fear Hoid's purpose will not align with theirs, and so they hunt him down.[98]

There is not a universal language for all cosmere worlds that these worldhoppers speak.[99]

The Ascension of Harmony

Ruin's Plan for Freedom

On Scadrial, the Well of Ascension, that power that came from Preservation, could be utilized by humanity. For much of Classical Scadrian history, a person called the Hero of Ages by the Terris Prophecies would take up the power and become a protector of mankind. They would live the rest of their lives blessing people with the power of Preservation, renewing Ruin's prison, and watch over the world.[100] The power did not vanish, instead returning every 1024 years.[101]

Ruin was keenly interested in the Well of Ascension. If he could get a person to hold the power there, but instead of utilize the power, release it, then the prison on Ruin's mind would vanish, and he would then be free to finally destroy the world.[102] To do this, Ruin manipulated the Terris Prophecies over a long period of time. He made it so the Hero of Ages would include the "sacred piercings," actually Hemalurgic piercings, so he could influence the Hero.[103] More importantly, Ruin changed the Prophecies extensively so that the Well and the Hero's purpose was obscured.[100] Now the Hero was supposed to take the Well's power and release it.

Then, Ruin drove the world into desperate straits so that people would believe in a hero of ancient prophecy. If he fought Preservation, the mists--the Shard of Preservation's direct essence--which still protected the land would oppose him. So, he used Preservation to his advantage: the mists Snapped Allomancers, and people misinterpreted the mists as a negative thing. Instead of fighting against the mists' action, Ruin enhanced them, bringing the death of plants, and causing the threat that became the Deepness.[75]

Thus, when a Terris Worldbringer, Kwaan, claimed that Alendi was the Hero of Ages,[104] Ruin saw an opportunity. He altered the Terris Prophecies to fit Alendi more perfectly.[105] Alendi came to persuade kings and all the Worldbringers who denied him that he was the Hero, and under the threat of the Deepness, Alendi was their leader.[106][107] So, to defeat the threat of the Deepness, Alendi traveled to the mountains of Terris, where the Well of Ascension lay, to take up the power, and release it to eliminate the Deepness.[108]

Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension, for he must not be allowed to release the thing that is imprisoned there.

Kwaan, however, had a fabled memory, and noticed that the Prophecies had changed.[111][112] But Kwaan was not able to persuade Alendi that he was not, in fact, the Hero after they had argued for so long to prove that he was the hero of legend.[113] So Kwaan, knowing something was awry with the Well, tasked a nephew, Rashek, who hated Alendi, to be Alendi's guide through the mountains.[114][115] Since Rashek was a Feruchemist, Rashek and his friends were easy picks for Alendi. If Rashek could not lead Alendi astray, he was to kill him.[116]

And Rashek did murder Alendi. Rashek took the power of the Well himself, and in those few moments of Ascension, he tried to stop the Deepness by moving Scadrial itself closer to the sun, to burn the mists. To counteract the heat, he created the Ashmounts.[117] He also altered humans on Scadrial, creating skaa and nobles. He learned of the Metallic Arts, developing Hemalurgic constructs, and with the discovery of Allomancy, he figured out a way to combine Allomancy and his Feruchemy to become immortal (through Compounding).[118] Rashek would be the Lord Ruler, the Hero of Ages, and protect the world from Ruin.[119]

One can see Ruin's craftiness in the meticulousness of his planning. He managed to orchestrate the downfall of the Lord Ruler only a short time before Preservation's power returned to the Well of Ascension. And then, within a few years of that event, he had freed himself. On the time scale of gods and their power, this very tricky timing was as precise as an expert cut performed by the most talented of surgeons.

Ruin saw the Lord Ruler's poor use of the power and saw that the Lord Ruler would be an agent of spectacular destruction.[121] So, subtly, Ruin manipulated him to destroy. The Lord Ruler did do things to stymie Ruin, such as hiding atium,[122] but Ruin's subtle manipulations took a toll on the man, and led to him subjugating his own people, among other atrocities. But as destructive as the Lord Ruler was, a thousand years later, the Well of Ascension was about to refill. The Lord Ruler planned to retake the Well's power,Template:Annotation ref and Ruin would not have that happen.

So, Ruin plotted the Lord Ruler's downfall. He subtly put in Kelsier's mind the idea of an "eleventh metal" to the ten known Allomantic metals of the time.[123][124] This, combined with Kelsier's desire to see his dead wife avenged and her dreams of a world without ash be a reality, led Kelsier to seek to kill the Lord Ruler. He formed his crew, consisting of many, but including Vin, a skaa Mistborn who Ruin manipulated; Marsh, his brother; and Sazed, a Terris Keeper, who studied the past before the Lord Ruler. In the process of leading the skaa to revolt against the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler killed Kelsier.[125] Vin confronted the Lord Ruler, and using the power of the "Eleventh metal", discovered that the Lord Ruler was a Feruchemist.[126] She somehow drew upon the mists and pushed the Lord Ruler's metalminds away, leading to his death a mere two years before the Well was replenished.[126]

Ruin now needed a person who could hold the Well's power. The servants he could touch most easily through Hemalurgy, the Steel Inquisitors, could not hold Preservation's power,[127] so Ruin chose Vin to do it. Ruin, early in Vin's life, had influenced her insane mother to kill her sister with an earring. Her sister was a Seeker and this created a Hemalurgic spike. Vin's brother gave her the earring and when wearing it Ruin could influence her more easily. The spike, through enhanced bronze Allomancy, allowed Vin to hear the pulses of the Well of Ascension.[128] Ruin strengthened the mists again to recreate the threat of the Deepness, and influenced events so that Vin seemed like the Hero of Ages.

With all this, Ruin led Vin and Sazed to the Well of Ascension for them to "save" the world once again. However, Preservation had a shadow of his mind left, and in the form of a mist spirit, tried to foil Ruin.[129] Preservation even wounded Vin's husband, Elend, at the Well so Vin would use the power to heal Elend instead of releasing it. But Vin did what the prophecies supposedly asked, releasing the power.[130]

Ruin was free once again.

Vin and Preservation

Ruin could now directly affect the world, but the power of Preservation--in the form of the mists--still protected the planet.[131] Ruin had been weakened since the Lord Ruler hid his essence, atium, and so Ruin and Preservation were balanced again. Ruin could not find the atium personally, as he could not see metal, and the Steel Inquisitors, had spikes in their eyes, and so had this same flaw. So, Ruin continued to use his pawn, Vin, along with Elend, to find the atium for him.Template:Annotation ref

Ruin did not know that Preservation had actually selected Vin to take up his power,[128] which enabled Vin to draw upon the mists--Preservation--directly.[132] Unfortunately, Vin could not use this power with her earring being a Hemalurgic spike, as Hemalurgy, being of Ruin, pushed away Preservation.[133]

In those final days, the shadow of Preservation's mind that remained communicated with Elend, and then passed.[134] This had the potential to be a catastrophic event: when a Shard lacks a mind controlling it, and the power has no "release," it is incredibly dangerous, as happened on Sel when Odium destroyed Devotion and Dominion.[79] Fortunately, Kelsier, who had not passed on beyond the Three Realms, held onto Preservation's power for just a little longer, until Vin could take it up.[135]

Vin eventually caught onto Ruin's ploys, and would not find the atium for him.[136] Because of this, Ruin sent his Inquisitors, along with Marsh, his main Inquisitor, to kill Vin.[137] Marsh, though almost entirely under Ruin's direct control, held a small bit of himself back, and he used that shred of humanity to tear the Hemalurgic earring from her.[137] Vin could now access the mists--Preservation's power--fully, and upon burning it, she ascended, becoming Preservation.[138]

The Catacendre

Preservation could never destroy you! He could only protect. That's why he needed to create humankind. All along, Ruin, this was part of his plan!

Vin to Ruin[139]

Upon Vin's ascension, she tried to oppose Ruin, but learned that she could not do much, for Ruin would oppose her.[64] On the ground, Elend and Sazed discovered the atium, and Ruin immediately sent his forces to destroy them.[140][141] Ruin, through Marsh, killed Elend, and Vin realized Preservation's plan. Preservation needed someone who could preserve, but also destroy, and Preservation was too touched by his Shard to destroy Ruin. Vin knew she had little left to live for without Elend, and so, directly attacked Ruin with her power. She pressed in, not shying back, and in the assault, killed Ruin and herself in the process.[139]

Sazed, on the ground at the battle, saw the corpses of Ati and Vin, with the power of their Shards leaking from their bodies, and Sazed took up both Shards together. The power did not vanish as the Well of Ascension's power did; these were the Shards themselves, which, under the control of one mind, could both preserve and destroy, or create. Using the knowledge from his metalminds, he began to remake the world, and undid the damage the Lord Ruler did to Scadrial.[142] This event will later be known as the Catacendre, meaning "the end of the ash".[143] He then created a paradise for them to live in.[144][145] The conflict on Scadrial had vanished, for now.

Now under the control of one mind, Ruin and Preservation's power began to intermingle, and Sazed became known as Harmony.[38] It is considered a single Shard, much like a king of two countries is still just one king.[39]

Odium became aware of Harmony, is scared of him,[146] and is making plans regarding him.[147]


During my unpublished days I wrote thirteen books, only one of which was a sequel. So I had twelve new worlds, or at least twelve new books—some of them were reexaminations of worlds. But I wanted to be writing big epics. This is what I always wanted to do; something like the Wheel of Time. So I began plotting a large, massive series where all these books were connected, so I could kind of "stealth" have a large series without the editors knowing I was sending them books from the same series. It was mostly just a thing for me, to help me do the writing I wanted to be doing. And then when publication came I continued to do that, and told the story behind the story.


When Brandon was beginning writing and trying to get published, he loved gigantic epic fantasy series. He knew, however, that starting with a big series might not be the best idea. If he wrote four books in a series, and the first one didn't get published, he couldn't submit his sequels.[149] He decided instead to focus on standalones and trilogies. Not only would they be easier to market to publishers, but Brandon also wanted people to trust his writing before digging into something bigger.[149]

He still loved the idea of a huge epic series, so he decided to create a "hidden" epic to link his novels together. His ideas for this connected universe--the cosmere--came about when he wrote Elantris, Mistborn, White Sand, and Mythwalker (which became Warbreaker).[149] Brandon had seen other authors who made a single universe for all their books, like Isaac Asimov, but Brandon didn't like how Asimov had to retcon and shoehorn things together to connect their books. Brandon wanted to do the cosmere from the ground-up, so it would always be consistent.[149]

Some ideas that came into the worldbuilding of the cosmere came from Plato's theory of forms, which contributed to the idea of Realmatic Theory, and the idea of the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual Realms. In this, the distinction of what is perceived as "ideal" and what is the true ideal is important: true ideals have much to do with the Spiritual Realm, while people's perception of ideals deals with the Cognitive Realm. Another influences is Spinoza, with the idea that God is in everything.[150] Brandon also incorporated the idea of a "unifying theory of everything" from physics to the magic in the cosmere. All magics have underlying rules, and are derived from a single unified theory of magic.[151]

There is a distinct beginning, middle, and end to the cosmere sequence, and a clear sequence Brandon wants to tell.[152] There's about 36 main cosmere books, and Brandon has three "core" cosmere series: Dragonsteel, Mistborn, and the Stormlight Archive,[153][154] which are well-planned out.[155] Dragonsteel is the start of the cosmere sequence that will tell Hoid's backstory[156] and, presumably, the Shattering of Adonalsium. Mistborn will have four big trilogies, its last one being science fiction, deals heavily with the cosmere[157] and has travel between the different planets of the cosmere.[5] Stormlight Archive is set in the middle of the cosmere sequence.[158] Generally, the cosmere will not come into the forefront until Dragonsteel or the final Mistborn trilogy,[6] and the final Mistborn trilogy is one of the last cosmere series, if not the last. Brandon has said it will all fit together, and thinks we'll be impressed.[159]

I hope that people will stick with me for all these books, because I'll do a lot of them. But they will fit together in some really cool ways once they are all done. I think you'll be very very impressed, but that's a while off.

—Brandon on the cosmere[159]

At the start of Brandon's career, he wrote cosmere novels in chronological order, but there are books that are skipped, like Dragonsteel and White Sand,[158] some of his earlier, unpublished novels. (Those unpublished novels would need to be rewritten from scratch, much like Brandon rewrote The Way of Kings.[160]) He wanted these cosmere novels to not require knowledge of previous books in the hidden epic of the cosmere. Generally, clues to the cosmere are currently easter eggs, and will not be in the forefront. However, more hints to the greater universe are inevitable, and eventually the worlds will cross over and interact,[161] perhaps in the last Mistborn trilogy.

Hoid, a character who appears in each cosmere novel, is one such easter egg. It is not random where he is; Brandon has said that if Hoid appears in a place, that place is about to be very dangerous.[4] Hoid is doing things behind the scenes, and at some point, we might have Hoid short stories explaining what is doing and why.[162][46] There are also other people who cross between worlds that eventually Brandon thinks will be much clearer later, once we see those characters more.[163] But for now, they are easter eggs.

Brandon does not feel that the cosmere is restrictive to his writing.[159] Though cosmere novels are intensive, as they require more planning and specific rules[164] (Brandon has continuity editors, like Peter and Karen Ahlstrom, on his internal wiki to keep it straight[165]), he feels that if he needs to take a break, he can just write a non-cosmere novel. Those "breather" novels are used to keep Brandon creatively engaged, and are almost always non-cosmere.[166] If there is a concept he really wants to write but doesn't fit in the limitations of the cosmere, he moves it into a non-cosmere book.[167]

The Rithmatist used to be a cosmere novel, and its magics take many elements from cosmere magics,[168] but Brandon decided that Earth is not in the cosmere, nor any alternate Earths.[169]

Eventually, there will be an official timeline for cosmere events.[170] There will probably be a cosmere encyclopedia at some point, but not for a long time.[171] It is more likely there will be Stormlight and Mistborn worldbooks first.[172] There will eventually be a Shadesmar map and star map for the cosmere that is released.[18] A partial star map of the cosmere was released in Arcanum Unbounded.

Brandon does generally plan out which cosmere hints to give to fans, but sometimes he gives hints on the fly. Usually, fans are able to pry much more than he initially intended to tell.[173]

Bibliography of the Cosmere

Publication Title Series
2005 Elantris Elantris #1
2006 The Hope of Elantris Elantris #1.5
Mistborn: The Final Empire Mistborn (Era 1) #1
2007 The Well of Ascension Mistborn (Era 1) #2
2008 The Hero of Ages Mistborn (Era 1) #3
2009 Warbreaker Standalone
2010 The Way of Kings The Stormlight Archive #1
2011 The Alloy of Law Mistborn (Era 2) #1
The Eleventh Metal Mistborn (Era 1) #0.5
2012 The Emperor's Soul Short Work
2013 Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell Dangerous Women Anthology
2014 Words of Radiance The Stormlight Archive #2
Sixth of the Dusk Shadows Beneath Anthology
Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania Mistborn (Era 2) #1.5
2015 Shadows of Self Mistborn (Era 2) #2
2016 The Bands of Mourning Mistborn (Era 2) #3
Mistborn: Secret History Mistborn (Era 1) #3.5
White Sand Volume 1 White Sand #1
Arcanum Unbounded Anthology
Edgedancer The Stormlight Archive #2.5
2017 Oathbringer The Stormlight Archive #3
2018 White Sand Volume 2 White Sand #2
2019 White Sand Volume 3 White Sand #3


The following are other confirmed upcoming cosmere stories.


  • Stormlight Archive 4, tentatively title The Rhythm of War. Will feature flashbacks from Eshonai and Venli's point-of-view.[174] At his last update, Brandon was hopeful the book would be released on November 17th, 2020.
  • The Lost Metal, the fourth and final Era 2 Mistborn novel. Projected release in 2020 or 2021.[175]
  • Elantris sequel and Elantris finale, the sequels to Elantris. Expected to be written after Stormlight Archive 5 and Mistborn Era 2 are done.[176] They need to be written before Mistborn Era 3 and Nightblood.[177][178]
  • Era 3 Mistborn trilogy, the trilogy with Allomancy in a modern, 1980s technology level. Planned to be written in the break between Stormlight 5 and Stormlight 6.[179]
  • The Stormlight Archive, which will have ten books in total, plus novellas. Book 5 will be written in the somewhat near future, after which Brandon will take a break and there will be an in-universe time skip of about a decade before book 6 picks up.[180]
  • Nightblood, the sequel to Warbreaker. Likely won't be written until Stormlight Archive 5, the Elantris sequels, and Mistborn Era 3 are written.[181]
  • Dragonsteel, the origin story of Hoid and the Shattering of Adonalsium. Brandon is loosely working on it, but the series will not be written until the Stormlight Archive is finished.[182][183]
  • Era 4 Mistborn trilogy, the science fiction trilogy, with Hoid as a main character of this.[156] This will be one of the last known cosmere sequence, chronologically, and has much to do with the worlds coming together.[6]



Chronological Order

The exact order of cosmere stories is difficult, as Brandon has typically not canonized it, as he wants to remain flexible for the behind-the-scenes stories with worldhoppers and other unpublished works. An uncanonical timeline of the cosmere has the distance between the Shattering and the breaking of the Oathpact is about 6000 years.[186] Do not take that for exact fact, but it probably means that these time scales are in thousands of years, not millions of years.

Generally, cosmere novels have been written chronologically, so Elantris is before era 1 Mistborn books, which is before Warbreaker. However, Brandon will go back and add other works into this scheme, like Dragonsteel.[158]

A rough chronological ordering of current cosmere works is:

Dragonsteel will be the beginning, before the Shattering. Mistborn Era 4, the sci-fi trilogy is at the end.[154] Nightblood, the Warbreaker sequel, will be set closer to Warbreaker than Stormlight Archive.[195]


This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

Prior to The Way of Kings, all Cosmere books were published in Chronological order, but some important stories had been skipped.[189] From other interviews, we know that Dragonsteel comes at the beginning of the series.[158] Elantris will have a sequel which takes place ten years after the first book.[196] White Sand is one of the earliest,[158][186] and comes before Elantris.[187] From the time of the Shattering to the Prelude of The Stormlight Archive might be around 6,000 years.[186] Another of the skipped novels is set on Ashyn.[189] The Warbreaker sequel, Nightblood takes place closer to Warbreaker and definitely before The Way of Kings.[195] There will also be a fifteen-year gap between Stormlight books five and six (the two story arcs).[197][198]



The capitalization of the word "cosmere" is inconsistent at best from official sources. Generally, in the novels, like Stormlight Archive books, cosmere is uncapitalized,[199][200] but exclusively in The Alloy of Law, its Ars Arcanum refers to it with a capital C.[13] Adding to the confusion, these Ars Arcanum are written by the same person,[201] and Words of Radiance's Ars Arcanum uses lowercase.[202]

From interviews where Brandon types responses, Brandon sometimes capitalizes cosmere,[166] and sometimes leaves it uncapitalized.[203] Peter Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant, has said that generally, cosmere is uncapitalized in books, but capitalized outside of them.[204]

See Also


  1. Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  2. Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  3. Calamity Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-17#
  4. a b Fantasy Faction interview
    Arcanum - 2014-04-24#
  5. a b Words of Radiance release party
    Arcanum - 2014-03-03#
  6. a b c Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  7. Words of Radiance San Diego signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-04#
  8. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  9. New York Signing
    Arcanum - 2013-11-16#
  10. a b Alloy of Law York signing
    Arcanum - 2011-11-24#
  11. a b Words of Radiance San Diego signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-04#
  12. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-17#
  13. a b The Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum #
  14. Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-09-04#
  15. The Emperor's Soul - Day 12 #
  16. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  17. Words of Radiance Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
  18. a b Orem signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
  19. B&N Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  20. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  21. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  22. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2012-09-22#
  23. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-05#
  24. Map of Roshar system
  25. a b c d e SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  26. Figment chat
    Arcanum - 2015-01-19#
  27. Words of Radiance Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-22#
  28. Arcanum Unbounded - The Drominad System #
  29. a b c Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  30. a b c d e f Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  31. a b c Rithmatist Albuquerque signing
    Arcanum - 2013-05-22#
  32. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  33. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 22 epigraph#
  34. Fantasy Faction Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-05-21#
  35. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  36. Arcanum Unbounded - The Threnodite System #
  37. Words of Radiance release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  38. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-23#
  39. a b Alloy of Law Milton Keynes signing
    Arcanum - 2011-11-21#
  40. The Hero of Ages chapter 39 epigraph#
  41. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  42. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  43. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-03-12#
  44. Firefight San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-17#
  45. Shadows of Self San Diego signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-08#
  46. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  47. Words of Radiance San Diego signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-04#
  48. Oslo signing, 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-05-30#
  49. Alloy of Law York signing
    Arcanum - 2011-11-24#
  50. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-26#
  51. West Jordan signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-12-06#
  52. Words of Radiance release party
    Arcanum - 2014-03-03#
  53. General Signed Books 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-01-07#
  54. Writing for Charity Conference
    Arcanum - 2012-03-17#
  55. Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-05#
  56. Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-06#
  57. a b The Way of Kings chapter 18 epigraph#
  58. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 23 epigraph#
  59. a b Words of Radiance chapter 69 epigraph#
  60. a b Words of Radiance chapter 70 epigraph#
  61. Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A
    Arcanum - 2011-11-05#
  62. New York Signing
    Arcanum - 2013-11-16#
  63. a b c /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2013-03-14#
  64. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 76 #
  65. Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  66. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  67. a b The things that they do in those books, couldn't have been done pre-splintering
    17th Shard forums - Nov 29th, 2012#
  68. Ancient 17S Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
  69. The Hero of Ages chapter 53 epigraph#
  70. The Hero of Ages chapter 57 #
  71. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 54 epigraph#
  72. The Hero of Ages chapter 55 epigraph#
  73. Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  74. Waygate Foundation Write-a-thon
    Arcanum - 2014-01-17#
  75. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 81 epigraph#
  76. a b Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A
    Arcanum - 2011-11-05#
  77. West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-12-15#
  78. Words of Radiance chapter 71 epigraph#
  79. a b c /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2013-03-11#
  80. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2012-09-22#
  81. Phoenix Comicon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-05-24#
  82. The Way of Kings chapter 42 #
  83. The Way of Kings chapter 75 #
  84. Rithmatist Albuquerque signing
    Arcanum - 2013-05-22#
  85. Idaho Falls signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-11-29#
  86. General Signed Books 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-11-08#
  87. a b The Way of Kings chapter 28 epigraph#
  88. The Way of Kings chapter 19 epigraph#
  89. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 26 epigraph#
  90. Words of Radiance chapter 66 epigraph#
  91. Words of Radiance chapter 74 epigraph#
  92. Salt Lake City signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-11-06#
  93. The Way of Kings interlude I-1 #
  94. Words of Radiance Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
  95. General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-06-16#
  96. Manchester signing
    Arcanum - 2014-08-06#
  97. Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-05#
  98. Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-21#
  99. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-26#
  100. a b Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  101. Ancient 17S Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
  102. The Hero of Ages chapter 46 epigraph#
  103. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  104. The Well of Ascension chapter 13 epigraph#
  105. The Well of Ascension chapter 40 epigraph#
  106. The Well of Ascension chapter 23 epigraph#
  107. The Well of Ascension chapter 24 epigraph#
  108. The Well of Ascension chapter 50 epigraph#
  109. The Well of Ascension chapter 58 epigraph#
  110. The Well of Ascension chapter 59 epigraph#
  111. The Well of Ascension chapter 45 epigraph#
  112. The Well of Ascension chapter 46 epigraph#
  113. The Well of Ascension chapter 52 epigraph#
  114. The Well of Ascension chapter 53 epigraph#
  115. The Well of Ascension chapter 54 epigraph#
  116. The Well of Ascension chapter 56 epigraph#
  117. The Hero of Ages chapter 4 epigraph#
  118. The Hero of Ages chapter 9 epigraph#
  119. The Hero of Ages chapter 48 #
  120. The Hero of Ages chapter 50 epigraph#
  121. The Hero of Ages chapter 63 #
  122. The Hero of Ages chapter 71 #
  123. The Hero of Ages chapter 24 epigraph#
  124. The Eleventh Metal #
  125. The Final Empire chapter 34 #
  126. a b The Final Empire chapter 38 #
  127. The Hero of Ages chapter 49 epigraph#
  128. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 74 epigraph#
  129. The Hero of Ages chapter 56 epigraph#
  130. The Well of Ascension chapter 58 #
  131. The Hero of Ages chapter 58 epigraph#
  132. The Hero of Ages chapter 79 epigraph#
  133. The Hero of Ages chapter 77 epigraph#
  134. The Hero of Ages chapter 55 #
  135. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  136. The Hero of Ages chapter 67 #
  137. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 72 #
  138. The Hero of Ages chapter 44 #
  139. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 81 #
  140. The Hero of Ages chapter 79 #
  141. The Hero of Ages chapter 80 #
  142. The Hero of Ages chapter 82 #
  143. Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-06#
  144. Map of Elendel Basin
  145. Shadows of Self chapter 5 #
  146. Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-09-04#
  147. Waygate Foundation Write-a-thon
    Arcanum - 2014-01-17#
  148. The Fringe Magazine: Author Interview: Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2010-12-23#
  149. a b c d Google+ Hangout
    Arcanum - 2012-04-17#
  150. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  151. /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  152. Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-21#
  153. Words of Radiance Portland signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-07#
  154. a b JordanCon 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-04-11#
  155. /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  156. a b Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  157. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-26#
  158. a b c d e f West Jordan signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-12-06#
  159. a b c West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-12-15#
  160. A StompingMad YetiHatter Collaboration Interview
    Arcanum - 2010-09-16#
  161. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-16#
  162. Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  163. Steelheart Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-14#
  164. The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview
    Arcanum - 2013-05-13#
  165. Words of Radiance release party
    Arcanum - 2014-03-03#
  166. a b General Reddit 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-01-10#
  167. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  168. SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  169. Arcanum entry 7879
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  170. Arcanum entry 4093
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  171. Arcanum entry 4091
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  172. Arcanum entry 4912
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  173. Arcanum entry 4910
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  174. Arcanum entry 12963
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  175. Arcanum entry 12504
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  176. Arcanum entry 12486
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  177. Arcanum entry 1053
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  178. Arcanum entry 9105
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  179. Arcanum entry 11548
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  180. Arcanum entry 9442
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  181. Arcanum entry 12276
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  182. a b Arcanum entry 12490
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  183. Arcanum entry 12313
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  184. Arcanum entry 8869
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  185. Arcanum Unbounded - The Rosharan System #
  186. a b c Arcanum entry 1355
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  187. a b Arcanum entry 10502
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  188. Arcanum entry 1410
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  189. a b c Arcanum entry 10107
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  190. Arcanum entry 6445
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  191. Arcanum entry 10273
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  192. a b c Arcanum entry 549
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  193. Arcanum entry 1491
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  194. Arcanum entry 6664
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  195. a b Arcanum entry 5657
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  196. Arcanum entry 10193
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  197. Arcanum entry 1300
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  198. Arcanum entry 1380
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  199. The Way of Kings chapter 54 #
  200. Words of Radiance chapter 75 epigraph#
  201. Arcanum entry 9875
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  202. Words of Radiance Ars Arcanum #
  203. Arcanum entry 1084
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  204. How is cosmere supposed to be capitalised?
    — Twitter - June 6th, 2015#
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