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Hemalurgy table.jpg
Related to Ruin
Focus Metal
Prerequisites None
Type End-Negative
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn

Hemalurgy is a power about which I wish I knew far less.

Hemalurgy is one of the three prime manifestations of Investiture on Scadrial. The natives of that world consider it one of the three Metallic Arts. People who use Hemalurgic abilities are called Hemalurgists.[2]


Hemalurgy is the transfer of attributes, such as Allomancy, Feruchemy, or innate human strength via Spiritweb theft and splicing. Hemalurgy can transfer almost any type of Investiture.[3] In the Physical Realm, a metallic spike is inserted into a bind point, such as the heart, in order to Hemalurgically charge it. The spike, now containing a fragment of stolen Spiritweb, is then ripped out and embedded in the recipient, stapling the ability directly into their spiritual DNA (sDNA).[4] This causes wear and tear on the Spiritweb, creating "holes" through which Shards or a sufficiently powerful Rioter or Soother can whisper to or even control a Hemalurgical subject.[5][6]

Hemalurgy is named for a quirk in bind point placement: due to the interaction between the Spiritual and Physical Realms, the spike must come in contact with moving blood in order to remove or add an attribute.[7][8] A spike can be charged if the Hemalurgist stabs the donor with the spike or if it is thrown at them, as long as there is Intent and it hits the right bind point.[9] Spike guns have also been invented for Hemalurgists to use. Intent is important, but the way Hemalurgy interacts with the Cognitive Realm, if it does so at all, is unknown.

Since Hemalurgy involves the transfer of Investiture from one person to another, if the donor is killed, they will enter the Cognitive Realm in a damaged state and be pulled to the Beyond faster. Likewise, if a recipient dies, they will take longer to leave, since they are more Invested.[10]

Creating a Hemalurgic charge requires physical injury, but death is not a requirement to charge the spike.[11] This would leave the donor in a similar spiritual condition to a Drab, but in a worse condition.[12][13] However, this is contradicted by a quote from Harmony, in The Hero of Ages:

Hemalurgy, it is called, because of the connection to blood. It is not a coincidence, I believe, that death is always involved in the transfer of powers via Hemalurgy. Marsh once described it as a “messy” process. Not the adjective I would have chosen. It’s not disturbing enough.


After the spike pierces through the initial person and is Hemalurgically charged, the Law of Hemalurgic Decay states that the spike loses some of its potency.[15] The longer a spike is outside a body, the weaker it becomes. Thus, when the Steel Ministry created an Inquisitor, the spikes were outside of a person for as little time as possible. Additionally, spikes which are physically broken into several pieces will split the charge into the broken pieces, and more Hemalurgic power will be lost when spikes are split.[16]

Coating a spike with blood can reduce the Hemalurgic decay significantly. It is unknown how much blood is necessary to make that effect happen,[17] however, the blood does not need to be fresh, nor separated from a body, with cuts of meat, large enough to contain the spike, also sufficing to reducing decay. This works by 'tricking' the spike into believing that it is buried in a body.[18] It is possible that encasing spikes in aluminum may prevent decay.[19] Even outside of blood, a spike will never completely lose its charge.[20]

It is not possible for multiple attributes to be stolen from the same person.[21] There is a maximum number of spikes a person can have before causing issues of mental or physical limitations.[22]

Hemalurgy can be used anywhere in the Cosmere,[23][24] as long as there is an Intent to create a Hemalurgic spike,[25] and it has indeed shown up at least once on a different Shardworld, though in a subtle way.[26] Hemalurgy can also steal attributes from other forms of Investiture.[27] Hemalurgy can be used on animals,[28] however it can't be used on plants.[29]

For some reason, Hemalurgic spikes don't cause infections.[30]

Hemalurgic Constructs[edit]

Two koloss, one of the types of Hemalurgic constructs

Any Hemalurgy warps the Spiritweb, but physical change is required for a subject to be classified as a Hemalurgic Construct. Four types of Hemalugic Construct are known on Scadrial:

  • Steel Inquisitors are former humans with nine to eleven spikes, each charged with an Allomantic or Feruchemical power. Their characteristic eye-spikes grant them Allomantic iron and steel to "see" in lieu of eyes. A linchpin spike, placed in the lower back, holds their fraying spiritwebs together; removal results in death. Mistborn and Seekers are preferred candidates to become Inquisitors, due to their ability stacking with spikes granting Allomantic bronze, allowing Inquisitors to pierce Copperclouds.[31][32]
  • Koloss are brutish, monstrous beings created with four iron spikes, each charged with human strength. They lose their intelligence, but gain immense strength. They continue to grow until they die. After the Final Ascension Harmony changed them into a breeding race.[33]
  • Kandra are former Mistwraiths given sapience by two spikes, both charged with the same human attribute. To the Kandra this is known as a Blessing. It is possible for a Kandra to have sapience with only one spike, although their behavior will be more erratic as a result.[34]
  • Chimeras are former humans, and are created with a single spike of an unknown metal, charged with an unknown attribute.[34] Their single spike makes them invulnerable to Harmony's control, which requires two. They are quadrupedal, and their features have been twisted in such a way that they now more closely resemble canines, in addition to having thicker skulls to resist modern firearms.[35][34][36]

The more spikes an entity has, the more their form and body can be changed.[37] However, this isn't always the case, such as chimeras are created with a single spike.[34]

Hemalurgic Properties of Metals[edit]

Table of Hemalurgic Metals[38]
Iron Iron
Steals strength
Steel Steel
Steals Physical Allomantic powers
Zinc Zinc
Steals emotional fortitude
Brass Brass
Steals Cognitive Feruchemical powers
Tin Tin
Steals Senses
Pewter Pewter
Steals Physical Feruchemical powers
Copper Copper
Steals mental fortitude, memory, and intelligence
Bronze Bronze
Steals Mental Allomantic powers
Chromium Chromium
Might steal destiny
Nicrosil Nicrosil
Steals Investiture
Cadmium Cadmium
Steals Temporal Allomantic powers
Bendalloy Bendalloy
Steals Spiritual Feruchemical powers
Aluminum Aluminum
Removes all powers
Duralumin Duralumin
Steals Connection/Identity
Gold Gold
Steals Hybrid Feruchemical powers
Electrum Electrum
Steals Enhancement Allomantic powers

Bind Points[edit]

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

For all that it disgusts me, I cannot help but be impressed by Hemalurgy as an art. In Allomancy and Feruchemy, skill and subtlety come through the application of one's powers. The best Allomancer might not be the most powerful, but instead the one who can best manipulate the Pushes and Pulls of metals. The best Feruchemist is the one who is most capable of sorting the information in his copperminds, or best able to manipulate his weight with iron.

The art that is unique to Hemalurgy, however, is the knowledge of where to place the spikes.

The points which can be used for Hemalurgy are known as "Bind points" and there are between 200 and 300 in the human body which can be pierced depending on the effect needed.[40] Anyone who sees into the Spiritual Realm, perhaps by burning atium, helps with placing spikes.[41]

Another important aspect of Hemalurgy is spike location. The spike must be placed in certain locations on the human body in order to steal a power or attribute, and then placed in another point on the recipient to tap into their Spiritweb. Most common attributes are stolen through the heart. If a spike is placed in the wrong location it can have unforeseen effects, such as killing the recipient, granting the wrong power, or possibly not granting any power at all.[42][43]

There are other ways to use spikes than to place them in bind points.[44]

Bind Point Spike Types Hemalurgic Effect Seen in
The Back Between the Shoulder Blades Spike type varies. It is also known as a linchpin spike. Unknown; binds other spikes together to keep the receiver alive Normal Inquisitors[45]
Eyesocket Steel Unconfirmed, likely Allomantic Steel and Iron Normal Inquisitors[45], Kelsier[46]
Between Ribs Steel Unconfirmed, likely Allomantic Pewter and Tin Normal Inquisitors[45]
Between Ribs Bronze Allomantic Brass, Zinc, Copper, and Bronze Normal Inquisitors[45]
Between Ribs Gold Feruchemical Gold Normal Inquisitors[47]
Chest[48] Atium Allomantic Atium Normal Inquisitors[49]
Heart Pewter Feruchemical Steel The Inquisitor at Vetitan[45]
Heart Bronze Allomantic Copper Penrod[50]
Sternum Steel Allomantic Steel Zane
Earlobe Bronze Allomantic Bronze Vin
Upper Arm Bronze Allomantic Bronze Quellion
Shoulders Steel Allomantic Pewter Spook
Shoulders Iron, Tin, Zinc, & Copper Kandra Blessings Kandra (Note, however, that Kandra do not consistently have shoulders)

Side Effects of Hemalurgy[edit]

When an Allomancer can sense Allomantic pulses through a coppercloud (known as piercing a coppercloud), it is most often due to a Hemalurgic spike. It's simply a matter of Allomantic strength to pierce copperclouds, so if a Seeker has a spike charged with Allomantic bronze, that essentially makes them twice as powerful, allowing them to overpower a coppercloud.

Hemalurgy is a destructive art, that twists the body into something almost inhuman (particularly if the spike stole an attribute which is neither Allomantic nor Feruchemical). This twisting is how Inquisitors survive with spikes through their eyes and other vital places, and explains the physical deformation of the koloss.[51] In the case of the Inquisitors, it is known that their heart is in a different place and their brain is shaped around their eye-spikes. Extracting the spikes of an Inquisitor at such important places would invert the transformation, causing their death.[52] The more spikes a person has, the higher the chance that there could be issues of mental or physical limitations.[22] Additionally, any children produced by someone with a large number of Hemalurgic spikes, such as an Inquisitor, are likely to encounter complications, although they will also have a higher chance of being an Allomancer.[53]

Hemalurgy was not specifically created by Ruin but rather arose from the interactions between Preservation, Ruin, and Scadrial itself.[54] This Metallic Art has an inherent flaw: each spike creates holes in the mind, making individuals who have received spikes easier to manipulate. Through powerful emotional Allomancy, one can Push or Pull on a spiked creature's emotions so hard that they literally come under the Allomancer's control.[55][56] Indeed, the spikes in the koloss were what allowed Rashek to control them. Kandra also can be controlled in this way, but as Allomancers decreased in power, this knowledge was forgotten.[5] This damage to the soul also repulses Radiant spren.[6] The influence of Ruin and presumably emotional Allomancers can be reduced by aluminum.[57]

Damage done to a persons spiritweb by Hemalurgy will have implications for said person during the transition period between physical death and passing into the Beyond. These effects are lessened after they pass to the Beyond.[58]

Other Uses[edit]

Allomancy and Feruchemy[edit]

Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities granted with Hemalurgy cannot be inherited.[59]

If an Allomancer attempted to burn a Hemalurgic spike, the Allomancer's spiritual DNA would be spliced to that of the person's contained in the spike. The consequences of this are as of yet unknown.[60]

Allomancers cannot burn Hemalurgic spikes that have extracted powers from others, however, would be able to burn a spike used on themselves that was going to remove their own power.[61]

An atium spike granting Allomantic atium could be briefly burned by the recipient.[62]

The same piece of metal can be Hemalurgically and Feruchemically charged at the same time.[63]

When a Feruchemical ability is stolen, the spike's recipient is able to access any metalminds created by the donor.[64] If that spike was split into two pieces and given to two different people, they would both be able to access their donor's metalminds but not those made by the other person, due to the recipients' own identities "muddying" the metalminds' keying.[64]


More could be taken from an Elantrian than most other beings.[65] Reod Elantrians can also be spiked. Two spikes would be required to steal an Elantrian's powers, with one spike stealing the powers and the other spike stealing the Elantrian's Connection to Sel.[66]


It is possible to steal Investiture a Forger has given someone (e.g. if a Forger made someone an Allomancer, a Hemalurgist could steal that ability and become an Allomancer without needing the soulstamp).[67]


It is possible for a spike to be Awakened, but it would be more difficult than Awakening metal without a Hemalurgic charge.[68] It is theoretically possible to spike a Lifeless, if "there was enough of the soul left for the spike to take".[69] Hemalurgy can also be used to spike a Divine Breath from a Returned,[70] and the recipient would not need to consume a Breath a week.[71] It is unclear if normal Breaths can be stolen using Hemalurgy, since they are primarily in the Physical Realm and not attached to the soul.[72]


It is possible to steal Surgebinding, but it is more difficult compared to other Investitures due to the Nahel bond.[73] Since a spren still has autonomy over the bond,[74] they can break the bond and the Hemalurgist could immediately lose the power.[75] A Hemalurgist can also spike spren[76][77] and spike the Nahel bond from the spren.[78] Doing so would have weird ramifications.[79] In order to effectively steal Surgebinding, the Hemalurgist would need to spike both the Surgebinder and the spren.[80]


It is possible to steal a dead Shardblade, although Hemalurgic decay would lengthen the summoning time.[81]

Old Magic[edit]

It is possible to remove a boon and curse granted to someone else from the Old Magic. It is also possible, though much more difficult, to separate the boon and curse.[82]


Hemalurgy can be used to replicate the transformation of a singers Forms.[83] It can also be used to spike the ability to grow a gemheart.[84]

Resonances and Savantism[edit]

Hemalurgically granted abilities will not create resonances most of the time, though a person can still become a savant with them.[85] The extra abilities gained by a savant cannot be transferred through Hemalurgy.[86]

Notable Hemalurgists[edit]


  • People with Hemalurgy have been to Roshar and may have been seen on screen in the The Stormlight Archive. Who these people are is unknown.[87]
  • The early editions of the books said Feruchemical healing was granted by pewter spikes[15], even though the hemalurgy table says pewter spikes only give Physical Feruchemical abilities.[38] And the early editions didn't mention the health spike in The Hero of Ages chapter 5[45]. Later editions of the books changed that to a gold spike in both places.


  1. The Hero of Ages chapter 35 epigraph#
  2. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-05-13#
  3. Firefight Seattle Public Library signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-07#
  4. Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-06-11#
  5. a b The Well of Ascension chapter 54#
  6. a b Dark Talent release party
    Arcanum - 2016-09-06#
  7. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-28#
  8. DragonCon 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-09-04#
  9. Stuttgart signing
    Arcanum - 2019-05-17#
  10. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  11. Alloy of Law release party
    Arcanum - 2011-11-07#
  12. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  13. #SandersonChat Twitter Q&A with
    Arcanum - 2016-02-04#
  14. The Hero of Ages chapter 13#
  15. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 36 epigraph#
  16. Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  17. Shadows of Self chapter 6#
  18. JordanCon 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-07-16#
  19. Kraków signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-21#
  20. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-22#
  21. General Signed Books 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-20#
  22. a b Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-22#
  23. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
  24. Ancient 17S Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
  25. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  26. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  27. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-26#
  28. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  29. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  30. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  31. The Hero of Ages chapter 37#
  32. The Hero of Ages chapter 45#
  33. Orem signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
  34. a b c d Shadows of Self chapter 21#
  35. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  36. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  37. West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-12-15#
  38. a b c Table of Hemalurgic Metals
  39. The Hero of Ages chapter 43 epigraph#
  40. The Hero of Ages chapter 42#
  41. #NookTalks Twitter Q&A with Barnes & Noble
    Arcanum - 2016-02-16#
  42. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
  43. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
  44. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-07-03#
  45. a b c d e f g The Hero of Ages chapter 5#
  46. The Bands of Mourning epilogue#
  47. The early editions of the books said Feruchemical healing was granted by pewter spikes[15], even though the hemalurgy table says pewter spikes only give Physical Feruchemical abilities.[38] And the early editions didn't mention the health spike in The Hero of Ages chapter 5[45]. Later editions of the books changed that to a gold spike in both places.
  48. The Final Empire epilogue#
  49. The Final Empire chapter 34#
  50. The Hero of Ages chapter 34#
  51. The Hero of Ages chapter 41 epigraph#
  52. The Final Empire chapter 38#
  53. /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-01-17#
  54. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  55. The Hero of Ages chapter 3#
  56. The Hero of Ages chapter 21 epigraph#
  57. JordanCon 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-07-17#
  58. Firefight release party
    Arcanum - 2015-01-05#
  59. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  60. Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  61. #tweettheauthor 2009
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  62. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-30#
  63. Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  64. a b Worldbuilders AMA
    Arcanum - 2015-12-07#
  65. Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  66. Orem signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
  67. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  68. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  69. London signing
    Arcanum - 2014-08-04#
  70. The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2018-10-25#
  71. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-10-04#
  72. Shadows of Self London UK signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-19#
  73. General Twitter 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-01-26#
  74. Orem Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-03-16#
  75. DragonCon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-09-01#
  76. Shadows of Self Portland signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-10#
  77. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-21#
  78. General Twitter 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-05-25#
  79. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-09-23#
  80. GenCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-08-17#
  81. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-07-21#
  82. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-07-21#
  83. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-11#
  84. The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2018-10-25#
  85. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
  86. Shadows of Self Lansing signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-13#
  87. Oathbringer signing London
    Arcanum - 2017-11-28#
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