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The Coppermind has spoilers for all of Brandon's published works, now including The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England and Yumi and the Nightmare Painter (Secret Projects Two and Three). Information about books that have not yet been released, like the other secret novels releasing in 2023 and Stormlight 5, is allowed only on meta-pages for the books themselves. For more details, see our spoiler policy. To view an earlier version of the wiki without spoilers for a book, go to the Time Machine!

Related to Realmatic Theory
Type Spiritual property
Universe Cosmere
This page or section needs to be updated with new information for Rhythm of War and Yumi and the Nightmare Painter!
Be aware that in its current state, it may not include all additional content yet.

Identity is a Spiritual attribute[1][2] within the cosmere that demarcates one being from another for the purposes of Investiture.[1] It acts as a sort of spiritual DNA, and it functions together with Connection in order to form a link to various forms of Investiture.

Mechanics and interactions[edit]

Across the cosmere, use of magic is tied to the user's Identity, and power stored by one person is hard to access by a different person (though it is possible, albeit extremely unlikely, for two people to have matching Identity by chance).[3] This restriction is the reason, for example, that Breaths stored or metalminds charged by one person cannot be used by anyone else.[1] However, if someone "blanks" their Identity and stores power, it becomes easier for others to use that power (especially other blanked people, but potentially also non-blanked people, depending on the magic system).[4]


In Feruchemy, Identity is stored in aluminum. To effectively use aluminum, one must have Feruchemical access to at least one metal besides aluminum. By storing Identity in aluminum and then filling another metalmind, they create an "unkeyed" metalmind that can be used by any Feruchemist.[1] One example is in The Bands of Mourning: Wax finds a gold bracelet filled with healing power that Wayne, a gold Ferring, can access, Wax cannot.[5] Through a method that has not yet been fully revealed, but which builds on unkeyed metalminds,[6] it is also possible to create an "unsealed" metalmind of investiture, which anyone can use to access Feruchemical power; the Southern Scadrial medallions are an example.[7][8]

As of Mistborn Era 2, the Kandra and the Terris community have begun experimenting with Identity and the other spiritual aspects of Feruchemy, but still understand very little, owing to the rarity of the appropriate Ferrings and metals.[1]


In Hemalurgy, Identity can be stolen by a duralumin spike.[9]

Someone who has been granted Feruchemical abilities via Hemalurgy can access the metalminds of the Feruchemist whose abilities were stolen, presumably because they obtain some portion of the original person's Identity in the spike. If two people are spiked with spikes made from the same person, they will both be able to access the original person's metalminds, but not each other's, as their own Identity will interfere.[10]

More generally, Hemalurgy can overwrite anything attached to the soul, including Identity.[11][2]


Like with Feruchemy, Breaths that have been put into an object are keyed to the original Awakener's Identity, and so can only be reclaimed by that Awakener.[12][4] However, when Breath is transferred directly from one person to another, the magic system automatically rekeys the Identity of the Breaths to that of the recipient, making Awakening the easiest of the magic systems to gain access to.[13] Breaths used by an Awakener who has blanked their Identity can be retrieved by anyone, though Intent is required.[14]


Storing Identity makes one more susceptible to being affected by many things in the cosmere, including Forgery.[15] When a human is soulstamped, the transformation lasts a relatively short period of time, and the best crafted stamps last approximately a day. This is due to the fact that the Identity of a person, as opposed to an object, is constantly growing, changing and shifting.[16]


There is a "pretty tenuous" link between Identity and the different parts of Shallan.[17]

Singer forms[edit]

Identity and Connection are involved with the singers' ability to change forms.[18] If a singer's Identity and Connection is stolen, they will change into slaveform.[19][18]

Nahel Bonds[edit]

Forming a Nahel Bond utilizes Identity and Connection in some manner. Lessening those attributes, such as by storing them in a metalmind, would affect the bond.[20]


Most healing in the cosmere works by using the three versions of the user's self: the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual versions.[21][22] Healing typically heals the Physical version by matching it to their ideal Spiritual version, which is filtered through the lens of their minds (Cognitive version).[23] Almost all forms of healing in the cosmere are filtered through the perception of the user.[24][25] If a person hasn't accepted a wound as a part of themselves, they can still heal it regardless of how long they've had it.[26] However, even if a wound is recent, if the person has changed their mindset to see it as a part of themselves, they will not be able to heal from it.[27][28]


  • Blanking Identity and tapping Connection can cause someone to gain an accent for a particular area.[29]


  1. a b c d e The Bands of Mourning chapter 3#
  2. a b Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2018-03-10#
  3. Worldbuilders AMA
    Arcanum - 2015-12-09#
  4. a b Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  5. The Bands of Mourning chapter 17#
  6. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  7. The Bands of Mourning chapter 21#
  8. General Signed Books 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-01-26#
  9. Hemalurgy Table
  10. Worldbuilders AMA
    Arcanum - 2015-12-07#
  11. Firefight Seattle Public Library signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-07#
  12. Warbreaker prologue#
  13. Arcanum Unbounded signing Chicago
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  14. RoW Release Party
    Arcanum - 2020-11-17#
  15. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-07-14#
  16. The Emperor's Soul - Day 30#
  17. Oathbringer Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-21#
  18. a b Oathbringer chapter 17#
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 72#
  20. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2018-03-10#
  21. Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2018-03-10#
  22. Shadows of Self London UK signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-19#
  23. General Reddit 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-11-20#
  24. Calamity release party
    Arcanum - 2016-02-16#
  25. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  26. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  27. Words of Radiance Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-08#
  28. Oathbringer interlude I-13#
  29. Arcanum Unbounded signing Fort Collins
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
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