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Odium

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Odium
Odium.jpg
by Kyle Pearson
Holder Rayse
Slivers None
Splinters Voidspren, Unmade
Status Whole
Magics Voidbinding
Residence Unknown
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
This page or section contains spoilers for Oathbringer!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.
I am emotion incarnate. I am the soul of the spren and of men. I am lust, joy, hatred, anger, and exultation. I am glory and I am vice. I am the very thing that makes men men.
— Odium speaking to Dalinar[1]

Odium is a Shard of Adonalsium, held by Rayse.[2] The author of The Letter calls Odium the "most frightening and terrible of all the Shards."[3] Odium had been on Roshar, though arrived on Roshar later than its other two Shards, Honor and Cultivation.[4] Currently Odium is settled on Braize, one of the three Shardworlds in the solar system of Greater Roshar, but his presence is still felt on Roshar.[5] According to Syl, Odium was brought by the humans; he was the first god of humans on Roshar before they turned to Honor.

Unlike many Shards, which usually stay on their own worlds, Odium moves through the cosmere, causing havoc. Odium had been on Sel a short time, and the results were devastating.[6]

The Shard's intent, Odium, means two things: the feeling of strong hatred, and that which provokes hatred from others.[7]

Personality and History[edit]

Over time, a person holding a Shard will be shaped to the Shard's intent. This can, for example, turn a kind person like Ati into someone who just wants to destroy. However, Rayse was purportedly already an incredibly crafty, loathsome, and dangerous individual, even before picking up the power. A Shard's intent is mildly interpreted by its Vessel[8] (for example, the idea of Preservation could be interpreted in a number of ways, and the Shard's Vessel helps determine this), so Odium is probably being interpreted in the darkest, most dangerous way possible. Odium is a force of pure hatred which is held by a man who can--and will--use that power to the most terrible end.

Odium's ultimate goal is indeed terrible: he seeks to be the most powerful being in the cosmere. To this end, he kills other Shards (namely Aona, Skai[6], Uli Da[9], and Tanavast[10]).[11] But, instead of picking up those Shards (and becoming more and more powerful as he increases his Shard count), Rayse does not want to be unduly influenced from other Shard's intents.[12] He feels that Odium matches him perfectly. So, he Splinters the Shards he kills, preventing anyone taking up those Shards to challenge him.[6]

Odium intends to do this to every Shard and be the only Shard left, effectively making him unstoppable and giving him free rein in the entire cosmere. And, Odium appears to have no trouble with killing former acquaintances to progress his goals.

Ambition was the first Shard to be targeted by Odium, as he felt threatened by the Shard's Intent.[13] However, Odium was unable to locate Ambition until after he Splintered Devotion and Dominion on Sel.[13]

Odium tends to attack two kinds of Shards- those that violated the original Vessels' pact to not settle on the same world (such as Dominion and Devotion) or those he feels would be a threat or challenge to confront (such as Ambition).[14]

He is willing to work with another Shard if he is in charge. He may have done this once.[15]

Odium currently has an alliance with a Cosmere power other than Bavadin.[16]

When Odium appears in Dalinar’s visions he tells Dalinar that he is not the shard Hate, but rather the shard of Passion. Odium claims to be the only Shard that can understand how humans think and feel. He tells Dalinar that Honor only cares that people obey their oaths and Cultivation only cares if things are grown regardless of whether they are good or bad, and that he is the only Shard that can feel.

Appearance[edit]

While Odium’s true essence is too powerful to be seen, he generally appears to Dalinar as an old man with a wide, furrowed face and bone-white hair sweeping back from his head. He appears with thick mustaches with a hint of black in them blended into a short white beard. His skin and eyes look Shin and he wears a golden crown in his powdery hair.[17] To the singers, he appears as an ancient singer with gold and white marbled skin.[18] He carries a golden sceptre in both of these forms.

When Dalinar claims to have seen Odium, Odium shows Dalinar an enormous, all-encompassing flame. It is bright white and red. While it primarily emanates hatred, it also overwhelms Dalinar with human emotion, passion, and anger.

Abilities[edit]

Odium has managed to kill several Vessels and, in some cases, Splinter their Shards. It is unclear whether Odium has some unique skill or attribute enhancing his ability to do this or whether all Shards are capable of these actions given the right motivation.

Unlike Ruin, Odium is unable to change text documents on Roshar.[19] This is due to him not having infused his essence into the world, like Ruin did at the creation of Scadrial.[20]

Influence[edit]

On Sel, Odium's influence is omnipresent: he Splintered Devotion and Dominion, the only Shards on that world. Seons and Skaze are both Splinters, so in a way, Odium caused their existence.

Odium's actions are more obvious on Roshar, his present locus of interest. Honor stated to Dalinar that Odium is the enemy,[10] and implied he is the cause of the Desolations and potentially the leader of the Voidbringers. So, Odium has been attacking societies on Roshar for over 4,500 years.[21] This ultimately culminated with Odium killing Tanavast and Splintering Honor, though the Vessel of the third Shard on Roshar, Cultivation, still lives. In the present, Odium brings about the threat of the Everstorm and the True Desolation.

Odium may be the cause of the Heralds being tormented after dying in the Desolations.

Odium has killed at least one other Shard[22], heavily implied to be the shard Ambition which was mortally wounded by Odium during a clash in space within the same solar system as Threnody[23].

Trivia[edit]

  • The mere mention of the word Odium makes Syl hiss.[24]

Quotes[edit]

"I am... I was... God. The one you call the Almighty, the creator of mankind." The figure closed his eyes. "And now I am dead. Odium has killed me. I am sorry."
Honor to Dalinar[10]
Something blew against him. "Wait!" Kaladin said. "Why is there so much war? Must we always fight?" He wasn’t sure why he asked. The questions simply came out.

The storm rumbled, like a thoughtful aged father. The face vanished, shattering into droplets of water.

ODIUM REIGNS, the voice said more softly.
—The voice in the storm to Kaladin[24]

Theories and Speculation[edit]

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

The Broken One[edit]

Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.
—Way of Kings, epigraph 11[25]

Odium may be the one referred to as the Broken One. This quote mirrors how the voice in the storm talked to Kaladin and said "Odium reigns".[24] The "sixteen" surely indicates the sixteen Shards, and indeed there are three Shards on Roshar. However, it is peculiar that if three reigned, why is Odium (presumably one of the three) referred to so strangely as the "Broken One" here? It is possible to say that indeed Odium is one of the three mentioned rulers, and as to why he is called the Broken One, it can be said that while Odium ruled along with the other two Shards he was still solid and "whole" in the sense that he was of physical form. But as indicated by Wit he is more of a force than a living being so this Broken One status we can say is him becoming this force.

Shardic Future Sight[edit]

It has been theorized that Odium is much better at seeing into the future than Ruin was. It is postulated that a Shard's skill in seeing the future is directly related to their intent and the mindset it gives them. Under this theory, the reason Ruin was very bad at seeing the future is that he always desired to destroy immediately, and so, he was focused on the present much more than Preservation, who had to think much more long term to fulfill his intent.

Odium has shown much craftiness and planning, so he probably is significantly more adept at seeing the future than Ruin. It isn't clear in this theory just how good Odium is at future sight--it is entirely possible that Preservation and especially Cultivation are still superior to Odium in this regard. Still, if Odium is better at seeing the future than Ruin, that already makes Odium a much bigger threat than Ruin ever was, despite like Ruin having an over- inflated confidence in the ability of its shard.

Notes[edit]

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