Mistborn Reading Guide-Part VIII – Hemalurgic Spikes

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Mistborn is a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy written by author Brandon Sanderson.  The series is really hard to describe but what I’ve said to others is that it’s like a collision between The Lord of the Rings and X-Men.

As an avid reader, I am picky about who I read.  When I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson and finished reading Mistborn, I placed him as one of my top 3 favorite authors.  He knows how to introduce and develop characters, he maintains a strong storyline and he captures the reader’s imagination.

As I read through the books, I gathered information about the world of Scadrial, the characters in the books and the science behind the three mysterious super-human abilities Sanderson created.

Spoiler Alert

*****THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS INFORMATION THAT REVEALS THE PLOT OF ALL THREE BOOKS IN THE MISTBORN TRILOGY – IT SHOULD BE USED FOR REFERENCE AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY*****

This post is about the Hemalurgic metals, the abilities they give people and their properties.

Basics of Hemalurgy

  • Hemalurgy is the transfer of attributes, such as Allomancy, Feruchemy or innate human strength via Spiritweb theft and splicing
  • 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 sDNA (Spiritweb DNA)
  • This causes wear and tear on the Spiritweb, creating “holes” through which Ruin or a sufficiently powerful Rioter or Soother can whisper to or even control a Hemalurgical subject
  • 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
  • Intent is important but the way Hemalurgy interacts with the cognitive realm, if it does so at all, is unknown
  • 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 (Chapter 36 Epigraph in The Hero of Ages)
  • The longer a spike is outside a body, the weaker it becomes
  • Thus, when the Steel Ministry creates an Inquisitor, the spikes are 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 (Theoryland, January 10, 2011)
  • Hemalurgy can also be used on animals (Theoryland October 2008)

Bind Points

  • 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 commonly, 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 or possibly not granting any power at all

Side Effects of Hemalurgy

  • When an Allomancer can sense Allomantic pulses through a Coppercloud (known as piercing a Coppercloud), it is most usually 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 – it twists the body into something almost inhuman
  • This twisting is how Inquisitors survive with spikes through their eyes and other vital places and explains the physical deformation of the koloss
  • In the case of the Inquisitors, it is known that their heart is in a different place and their brain is shaped around the spikes that have pierced their eyes
  • Ruin constructed Hemalurgy with a flaw: each spike creates holes in the mind, making them easier to manipulate
  • Through powerful emotional Allomancy, one can Push on a spiked creature’s emotions so hard that they literally come under the Allomancer’s control
  • Indeed, the spikes in the koloss were what allowed the Lord Ruler to control them
  • Kandra also can be controlled in this way but as Allomancers decreased in power, this knowledge was forgotten and was known as The Secret to all kandra

1.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Iron

Fe

Shoulders

Increases strength

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, iron steals human physical strength (Ars Arcanum in The Hero of Ages)
  • Increasing the number of spikes increases the strength of the recipient but at the cost of twisting the body and mind of the person who receives the spikes (the more spikes, the stronger control Ruin has)
  • Koloss are created when a living human is implanted with four iron spikes.  This gives the koloss incredible strength but the process effectively destroys their minds, leaving them incapable of complex logic and extremely vulnerable to Ruin’s control (Chapter 40 Epigraph in The Hero of Ages)
  • The kandra call a pair of these iron spikes the Blessing of Potency, which gives them the benefit of physical strength and endurance (Chapter 39 in The Hero of Ages)
  • The Blessing gives the mistwraiths sentience

2.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Steel

FeCMnNiCrMoVSiB

Shoulders, sternum, eyes or ribs

Pushes metal

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, steel steals the physical Allomantic powers of Pushing on metal

3.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Tin

Sn

Shoulders

Enhances senses

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, tin steals human senses (Ars Arcanum in The Hero of Ages)
  • The kandra Blessing of Awareness gives the mistwraiths sentience, with the added benefit of heightened senses (Ars Arcanum in The Hero of Ages)

4.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Pewter

CuSbBiPb

Heart

Enhances strength

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, pewter can steal physical Feruchemical powers (Late-Breaking Report, 17th Shardforums, March 17, 2012)

5.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Brass

CuZn

Shoulders

Stores warmth

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, brass steals mental Feruchemical powers

6.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Zinc

Zn

Shoulders

Emotional fortitude

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, zinc steals human emotional fortitude (Ars Arcanum in The Hero of Ages)
  • The kandra Blessing of Stability gives the mistwraiths sentience, with the added benefit of emotional stability

7.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Copper

Cu

Shoulders

Mental fortitude

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, copper steals human mental fortitude (Ars Arcanum in The Hero of Ages)
  • The kandra Blessing of Presence gave the mistwraiths sentience, with the added benefit of increased mental capabilities

8.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Bronze

CuSn

Heart, earlobe, ribs or upper arm

Senses Allomancy

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, bronze steals mental Allomancy

9.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Gold

Au

Sternum

Stores health

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, gold steals the Feruchemical powers of health and healing
  • All Steel Inquisitors are given a pewter spike charged with Feruchemical gold, allowing for their rapid healing

10.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Atium

Ae

Varies

Varies

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, atium is like a wild card
  • Depending on where it is placed, it can steal any Hemalurgic property and it does so better than the original spike (Theoryland, July 2009)

11.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Aluminum

Al

Varies

Enhances Allomatic powers

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, aluminum steals enhancement Allomantic powers

12.  Spike Type

Atomic Symbol

Bind Point

Hemalurgic Effect

Duralumin

AlCu

Varies

Steels spiritual Feruchemy

  • When used as a Hemalurgic spike, duralumin steals spiritual Feruchemy (Mistborn Adventure Game, chapter 4)

 

Other Posts from “A Reader’s Guide to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy”:

Part I – Gods and Religion

Part II – Supernatural Powers

Part III – Supernatural People

Part IV – Groups of People

Part V – Allomatic Metals Part I

Part VI – Allomatic Metals Part II

Part VII – Feruchemal Metals or Metalminds

Part VIIIHemalurgic Spikes

Part IX – Events, Terms, Places and Titles of People

Part X – Creatures Part I: Koloss

Part XI – Creatures Part II: Mistwraiths and Kandra

Part XII – Characters

 

References

Sanderson, B. (2006). Mistborn (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

Sanderson, B. (2007). The Well Of Ascension (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

Sanderson, B. (2008). The Hero Of Ages (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

Sanderson, B, Flagg, A, Kapera, P. (2012). Mistborn Adventure Game [role playing]. Knoxville, TN: Studio 2 Publishing.

Mistborn Wiki. Retrieved January 7, 2015. http://mistborn.wikia.com/wiki/Mistborn_Wiki

The Copermind. Retrieved August 18, 2015. http://coppermind.net/wiki/Category:Mistborn

Theoryland of the Wheel of Time. Retrieved August 21, 2015. http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=1052#79

 

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