IRJE: April 15 (The Hero of Ages)

In the Hero of Ages, book three of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, the world of Scadrial is ruled over by two opposing gods, Ruin, the god of change, and Preservation, the god of stability. For aeons, they were at an impasse, with neither one able to achieve their full goal. Thus, Scadrial was too left in between, with each being possessing equal amounts of chaos and stability inside of them.

Preservation’s desire to create sentient life was what eventually broke the stalemate. In order to give mankind awareness and independent thought, Preservation knew that he would have to give up a part of himself–his own soul–to dwell within mankind. This would leave him just a tiny bit weaker than his opposite, Ruin. . . Preservation got mankind, the only creations that had more Preservation than Ruin rather than a balance. Independent life that could think and feel. (pp. 483-484).

In this passage, it is stated that humans have a part of Preservation inside of them, making them the only being on Scadrial to not be completely balanced between chaos and stability. It is implied that two of the things that make mankind a creation of Preservation are their abilities to think and feel. I find both of these ideas–that humans are beings more of perpetuation than change and that a reason for this is the ability to think and feel–questionable at best.

Firstly, quite obviously every creature has the ability to feel. I considered that perhaps there are not animals on Scadrial, as they are rarely ever mentioned and the conditions of the world would theoretically make it quite hard for many of them to survive. However, wolfhounds and other such creatures are referred to in the novel, if sparingly. In any case, it is unquestionable that feeling is not unique to the human race.

More importantly though, feeling and thinking, in my mind, are in no way attributes of stagnation and stability. Emotion combined with the ability to process and ponder is one of the most chaotic things in this world. In some ways, beings that lack consciousness are in a perpetual state of meditation. The average life of a person is a tornado of disorder and complication compared to the life of an animal. Many of the people who represent calmness to us are those that actively try to put everything out of their minds: monks. Naturally, humans are beings of what Ruin represents– chaos. In Mistborn, Ruin’s goal is to eventually destroy the world. I dare say if Ruin had seen Earth’s example of what humans can do to a planet, he would have been a thousand times more eager to bring them into Scadrial than Preservation was.

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One thought on “IRJE: April 15 (The Hero of Ages)”

  1. Fenna, I see two obvious ways to make this better than it already is. 1) Start with a clear assertion. Jackson’s April 15 post has a good example of this. 2) Make your IRJE a single paragraph. The SQCE mnemonic will help: if what you are writing is part of SQCE, then it all belongs in one paragraph.

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