Magic in the Mistborn series
This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, magic is depicted as a supernatural force harnessed via three distinct disciplines, also known as the three Metallic Arts. They are Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalurgy. All three magic systems are based on metals which are used to grant specific abilities. Their power originates in the Shards Preservation and Ruin; the two god-like deities that are present in the Mistborn world.
In the Mistborn series, Allomancy is a predominantly genetic ability that allows a person to metabolize ("burn") metals, ingested by the Allomancer, for magical powers that can enhance physical and mental capacities. There are 16 metals that such Allomancers can use, with each metal granting a specific ability. In addition to these, there are two fictional metals, Atium and Lerasium that are the solid manifestation of the powers of Ruin and Preservation respectively. A person who is only able to burn one of the Allomantic metals is known as a Misting. Anyone who is naturally capable of burning all of the metals is called a Mistborn. In the first trilogy, only Mistings and Mistborn existed, although in the second series, interbreeding caused a new phenomena of people with one Allomantic and one Feruchemical ability, called Twinborn.
Origins of Allomancy
In The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, it is revealed that Allomancy originates from the power of Preservation. There are three sources (or origins) of Allomantic abilities in the Mistborn world:
- Lerasium beads: Burning the fictional metal, Lerasium, which is the solid form of Preservation's power, turns a person into a Mistborn. This was how the Lord Ruler "created" the Allomantic bloodlines among the Final Empire's noblemen.
- Snapping: The mists, the gaseous form of Preservation's power, that appear in the Mistborn world when power returns to the Well of Ascension would begin to violently activate ("snap") innate Allomantic abilities in people.
- Genetic descent: Descendants of Allomancers were also likely to have Allomantic abilities, though it takes physical anguish to awaken them.
The Allomantic metals come in four groupings of four metals: Physical, Mental, Temporal, and Enhancement. Each of these four groupings have two base metals and their corresponding alloys, which in turn have a related ability that counteracts or balances the base metal. Each metal produces an internal or an external effect.
In addition to the basic Allomantic metals, there are two fictional "God metals": Atium and Lerasium and their alloys. Burning lerasium or its alloys can turn regular humans into Mistborn and Mistings respectively. Atium allows Allomancers to see into the future. In The Final Empire, an atium alloy called Malatium is revealed, which allows an Allomancer to look into the past.
Pushes on Nearby Metals
Pulls on Nearby Metals
Increases Physical Abilities
Increases Physical Senses
Hides Allomantic Pulses
Detects Allomantic Pulses
|Internal||Duralumin (Duralumin Gnat)
Enhances Current Metal Burned
|Aluminium (Aluminium Gnat)
Wipes Internal Allomantic Reserves
Reveals Your Past Self
Reveals Your Future
Enhances Allomantic Burn of Target
Wipes Allomantic Reserves of Target
Slows Down Time
Speeds Up Time
Dangers & side-effects
Allomancers who flare their metal intensely for extended periods of time may be physiologically altered by the constant influx of Allomantic power. These Allomancers are known as Allomantic Savants. These people experience heightened ability with, and dependence upon, whatever metal they are burning in such a manner. Under most circumstances, this is considered damaging and it is believed that this process is irreversible, without powerful external intervention.
Feruchemy is a genetic ability found among the people of the Terris region of the Final Empire in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Series. A person who can use only one Feruchemical metal is known as a Ferring, while those who can use them all are called Feruchemists.
Feruchemy involves the use of the same metals as Allomancy, but rather than ingest the metals, they can be worn or carried by the Feruchemist. Unlike Allomancy, the metal itself is not consumed but is used as storage of the Feruchemist's own attributes. Feruchemists refer to the metals that they use as metalminds. As long as a metal is in contact with the skin and the Feruchemist has stored something in it, it can be drawn upon. Only the Feruchemist that originally stored the attribute can use it.
Background of Feruchemy
During the events written by Sanderson in The Final Empire, the Lord Ruler hunted any and all Feruchemists he could find and it was commonly believed before The Fall that Feruchemists had been entirely exterminated. It was revealed in The Final Empire that they had not all been killed and that shortly after The Fall, they began to travel and teach the skaa the things that they needed to know to effectively live and develop on their own.
All Allomantic metals can be used for Feruchemy but the primary difference between Allomancy and Feruchemy is the way that the metals are used. All an Allomancer needs to gain an ability is burn the appropriate metal but a Feruchemist must spend time without whatever attribute they wish to store. The Feruchemist can then tap into those stores at a later time, making themselves superhumanly powerful for a short duration.
Stores physical speed
Stores mental speed
Stores physical senses
Stores physical strength
Hemalurgy is the third metallic art in the Mistborn series, and is based on the powers of the deity Ruin. It allows the transfer of allomantic and feruchemical powers from one person to another, though with a net loss of power. It is the least known among the three arts.
To use Hemalurgy, a metal spike must be driven through a point in a human body. The spike is then placed into a body of another person, both points determining what power is transferred. The preferred method is to stab it directly through the heart into the other person, as the longer it is left out of the body the more power is lost. However, having a hemalurgic enhancement makes one susceptible to outside influence. Hemalurgic creations, like the koloss and kandra as well as the Steel Inquisitors were controlled by the Lord Ruler and later by Ruin in this manner in the original trilogy.
- Mistborn series:
- Mistborn: The Final Empire (2006)
- Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (2007)
- Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2008)
- Mistborn: The Alloy of Law (2011)
- Mistborn: Shadows of Self (2015)
- Mistborn: The Bands of Mourning (2016)
- Mistborn: Secret History (2016), a side-story set during the events of the first three novels.
- Stone, Eric James (23 July 2006). "Book Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire". ericjamesstone.com. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- Kain, Erik (6 February 2013). "'Mistborn' Review: A Fantasy Masterpiece". Forbes. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Sklaroff, Sara (30 July 2006). "Science Fiction & Fantasy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Sanderson, Brandon. "The Reason for Mistsickness". Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "The Hero of Ages: chapter 38 annotation".
- Cahill, Martin (17 June 2015). "Learn About the Many Magic Systems of Brandon Sanderson". Tor.com. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- "Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Adventure Game". RPG.net. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Feruchemical Table Poster". The Brandon Sanderson Store. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Hill, Joshua; Peters, Koen. "The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson". Fantasy Book Review. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Sanderson, Brandon. "Annotation Mistborn 3 Chapter Thirty-Five". Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- Sanderson, Brandon. "Annotation Mistborn 3 Chapter Thirty-Nine". Retrieved 9 January 2016.