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Steelheart San Francisco signing ()
#51 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Someone asked a really good question about inspiration of Sazed's crisis of faith and religion.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon really opened up nicely here saying that he does a lot of research so that he can tap into how people really feel about their religions, and therefore not just argue his characters' religions from a token perspective, but hold something that feels a little more real. He said he often hits up forums for different religious beliefs and surfs there, because people tend to be very honest and passionate on forums, which gives him a nice basis to write from.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#52 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Eight

Sazed Takes Action

Ladies and gentlemen, Sazed is back.

This is the confident Sazed, the person who—without raising his voice, without seeming to make demands—can control a group and get the information he desires. He's always claimed that he's no leader, but he's actually a fantastic one when he puts his mind to it. His calm sense of purpose puts people at ease, and makes them do as he requests.

He's not a king—he's right on that count. He is, however, a man to be respected and obeyed. He doesn't have much time left; the book is almost finished. However, he will make good use of his time.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#53 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten

Sazed's Struggle

Here I can see how giving Sazed something to do—letting him study his religions one by one—makes his viewpoints far more interesting. The previous version of this chapter, which perhaps I'll post, had him simply riding along, listening to Breeze, despairing. That was boring.

Yet, making one small tweak—giving him something to do—changed that dramatically, at least for me as I read the chapter. It allows Sazed to struggle, and a struggle can be even more tragic than a loss. Either way, it's more interesting to read because conflict is interesting. Here, he's trying—even though he's failing—to find meaning in the world. He can try to shove aside his depression and read his pages instead.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#55 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Religious Philosophies

There is a belief that many people hold in the world, and I like to call it the "spokes on the wheel" belief. This is the belief that as long as you struggle hard and try to live your life well, you'll make it to heaven, or nirvana, or whatever lies on the other side of death. People who believe this tend to take an "It doesn't matter what road you take; they all lead the same place" approach. Every religion is a spoke on the wheel, leading to the center.

There is a lot of nobility to this belief. It's an attempt to be inclusionary, and the people I've met who believe this way tend to be sincere—or at least very accommodating—in their personal convictions.

I don't write books to disprove any one philosophy or belief. People who believe this way are not idiots, nor are they fools. This was the belief Sazed followed through the first two books of the trilogy. However, I see a danger in this set of beliefs, and Sazed's trials in this book are a result of that danger. If you believe everything, it seems to me that it is difficult to find any hard-and-fast truth.

Monotheism has its own problems, and I explore those in other books. Don't take this as a bash against your beliefs if you follow Sazed's previous philosophy. I simply saw a potential conflict, and couldn't help but explore it.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#56 Copy

Melhay

Also, We just took for granted that Sazed is with Tindwyl now. Is that so?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, here's the thing. What Sazed is right now is something of a god in the classic Greek sense—a superpowered human being, elevated to a new stage of existence. Not GOD of all time and space. In a like manner, there are things that Sazed does not have power over. For instance, he couldn't bring Vin and Elend back.

Where Tindwyl exists is beyond space and time, in a place Sazed hasn't learned to touch yet. He might yet. If you want to add in your heads him working through that, feel free. But as it stands at the end of the book, he isn't yet with Tindwyl. (He is, however, with Kelsier—who refused to "Go toward the light" so to speak, and has been hanging around making trouble ever since he died. You can find hints of him in Mistborn 3 at the right moments.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#59 Copy

Questioner

I remember in, I believe it was Hero of the Ages, when Sazed was helping TenSoon escape. When he had fallen on the guard, he said that, by increasing his weight he also increases his density so he doesn't <hurt> himself. Then in The Alloy of Law, it also says that when Wax increases his weight he said that he didn't.

Brandon Sanderson

So, Sazed is just making a mistake. He's mistaking the fact when he increases his weight his musculature changes to be able to handle the new weight and that was what he was talking about. Strength and muscle tone and things like that. I might have just gotten it wrong in the original one [scene], I can't honestly remember, but this is what we kinda decided it needs to be. 

 

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#61 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Six

Sazed Agrees to Put On the Metalminds

Sazed was getting close to putting on those metalminds again even without Spook's interference and demands. You can tell by the way he fixated on them recently, and how—despite his determination not to wear them—he ended up getting them out and polishing them. He's been waiting for an excuse to use them.

That said, I like the depth of Sazed's conflict presented in this chapter. He's come a long way from the first draft of the book, where he simply sat around as a depressed lump. (I'm probably exaggerating his weakness in that draft, but I'm pleased enough with this draft that it feels like it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old one.)

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#62 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Epilogue

And so, the circle is complete. Sazed returns to the south and visits the Conventical again, Elend returns to the city wall.

Hopefully, I revealed this well enough for you to understand what you need to in order to make this book work. There are a lot of holes, I know. I've already apologized for that–we'll answer all of them in book three.

For now, understand that something was imprisoned, and it hijacked the Terris religion–the prophesies–and used the Well of Ascension to get free.

Book three is about the real theme of these books. Survival. It's going to be a tough road.

As a wrap up, I guess I'll say that for me, this book was about Vin and Elend testing and proving their standards. In the beginning, they both made certain determinations about themselves and what they wanted to accomplish. Elend intended to make a good government and not be an exception to his own rules.

Vin intended to love the good, kind man of Elend rather than the man of the street–the hard, strict man that was Kelsier. (See Chapter Ten, where Vin snuggles in the chair with Elend, for an in-dialogue outline of her belief system for this book. This is the offering of the challenge. The trial comes later.) They are both tested, then, in these assertions–Elend by losing his throne, Vin by being forced to take a long hard look at her own heart and what she really wanted. To her, Zane represented the past. Did she return to that, or did she look forward to the hope–and the future–that Elend represented?

They both hold strong. That's the true victory of this book. The release of Ruin disregarded, this book marks great success for the characters. They were tested in their absolute most vital of personal convictions, and they passed. This prepared them for the final book. Now that they'd proven their ideals, they could bear the weights and griefs of the empire.

Of course, there is also Sazed. One of my goals in writing this book was to fix Elend and Vin. But another big one was to break Sazed. While they held firm to who they were, he has been forced to reassess his convictions, and he finds them wanting. Chapter fifty-four was one of the saddest chapters for me, personally, to write. In many ways, Elend and Vin have nearly completed their arcs as characters. But Sazed and Spook have just begun. And that is what leads us into Book Three.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#63 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Goradel Discuss the Skaa Farmers

The conversation between Sazed and Goradel in this chapter is an important one, as it shows the importance of a character's perspective. Two men looking at the same scene see very different things.

Sazed, fighting depression and close to giving up, sees the skaa laboring and notes that nothing much has changed for them. They still have to work themselves near to death, and their lives are still gloomy.

Goradel, who spent his youth being despised by his family and their friends, is now a captain in Elend's army—and is known among the skaa as one of the men instrumental in helping Vin kill the Lord Ruler. He's become something of a local celebrity in some segments of Luthadel. He looks on these same working skaa and sees hope and victory.

As Sazed says in this chapter, being happy and optimistic isn't simply a choice one can make—at least, not a lot of the time. However, I think it's possible to find hope in very dark situations.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#65 Copy

Questioner

Which of your characters are most like you and which would you most aspire to be like?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, this is a really interesting question. All of my characters are part me and part-not me, so you can point at every character and say, "Oh, that's Brandon!" Alcatraz, my mother says is most like me. *laughter* I don't know what that's saying, but those are really goofy middle-grade books about a character who can't take anything seriously. I aspire to be a little more like Sazed I think, is where I'd put that. But every character is a bit like me, and every character is something different than me that I want to explore.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#66 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Clubs, then Tindwyl in the Keep

Finally we get the Sazed scene. This is my favorite in the chapter, and it's a chapter filled with a lot of scenes I really like. Allrianne may make me chuckle, but Sazed MEANS something. Showing off the cost of Feruchemy like this made for some interesting worldbuilding, and having Sazed interact with Tindwyl and Clubs gave us some character.

Sazed is beginning to feel troubled by what he's done and what is happening around him, but he's not the type to show it yet–even in his thoughts. However, the fact that he preaches a religion to Clubs (the first time he's done that to anyone in a while) shows that he's stretching, trying to figure out who he is and find his place in this mess. He figures that with the fall of Luthadel, he'll probably end up dead–and so he wants to know who he is before that happens.

Which is also why he finally seeks out Tindwyl to confront her. The scene where he brings back his senses while holding her is one of the great moments that you can have as a fantasy novelists that those realistic writers just can't have.

Two little behind the scenes thoughts on this section. First, Clubs mentions that the latest messenger to visit Straff was executed. If you guessed that this was because Straff himself is now awake, you guessed right!

Also, the religion Sazed preaches here is one I decided to spin off into its own book, focusing Warbreaker around it. They aren't the same planet, but I wanted to do more about a religion that worships art, and that was one of the initial motivations for Warbreaker's setting.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#68 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

TenSoon to the Rescue

This chapter is also for all you TenSoon lovers out there. He finally gets to show up and lay some smack down. This short action sequence lets TenSoon be a hero, which he deserves, and Sazed once again shows that he's a far better soldier than he thinks. After reading his part in the siege of Luthadel, the reader should have no problem accepting that Sazed—with two metalminds—can take down four surprised kandra. He is a much better warrior than he lets on.

However, he should never have thought that last line of the chapter. The one that reads, "What harm could they possibly do?" I probably should have cut the line, as it feels like a cliché, but it really was what Sazed was thinking.

Foolish, foolish Sazed.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#69 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed Decides

However, we should back up and talk a little about Sazed's decision in the first part of the chapter.

I'm not certain that I'm trying to say anything specific with these sections. As I've mentioned, I don't look to insert themes in most of my books. I write the themes that are important to the characters, and what I say varies based on whose viewpoint we are in.

Sazed has been struggling between his logical side and the side that desires some kind of faith to form a groundwork for his life. The problem has been in his attempts to analyze religions like one would a machine—input and output. The difference for him comes when he looks at the lives and writings of those who believe. That is what changes his heart.

In the end, he decides to elevate his faithful side over his rational side in this one instance. You can always question. Skepticism is as dangerous as faith, in my opinion, because it is difficult to know when to stop. You can become such a skeptic that you refuse to take anything at all as true. At some point, you need to decide when to stop questioning.

This is where Sazed decides he will stop. You may decide somewhere else.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#70 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Nine - Part One

Sazed's Memorization Skills

Okay, long chapter here. I'll bet I have to split this annotation in two. But, let's launch into it. First off, you should know that Sazed tends to gloss over just how hard he had to work to memorize those copperminds of his in the first place. Keepers like him go through intense memorization training early in their lives, learning how to build near-photographic memories even before they use their metalminds. The goal of this, of course, is to train the mind to hold a perfect image of what it has read so that knowledge can be kept as pristine as possible before being shoved into the coppermind.

Generally, a Keeper can keep the entire contents of several books memorized in their head even without use of Feruchemy. Like a Muslim who memorizes the Koran, Sazed could take a book and memorize it word for word, then repeat it all back to you. He's trained himself in this skill for so long, however, that it seems mundane to him. Beyond that, the application of Feruchemy changes his abilities—and how he uses them—somewhat.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#71 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten - Part Two

We've now seen Sazed preach a couple of religions to members of the crew. You may be interested in my process of coming up with his character.

It actually began when I was watching the movie The Mummy. Yes, I know. Sometimes it's embarrassing where we come up with ideas. However, my inspiration for Sazed was the moment when the oily little thief character gets confronted by the mummy, and pulls out a whole pile of holy symbols. He goes through each one, praying to each god, looking for one that would help him.

I began to wonder what it would be like to have a kind of missionary who preached a hundred different religions. A man who, instead of advancing his own beliefs, tried to match a set of beliefs to the person–kind of like a tailor looking to fit a man with the prefect and most comfortable hat.

That's where the inspiration for the entire sect of Keepers began. Soon, I had the idea that the Lord Ruler would have squished all the religions in the Final Empire, and I thought of a sect of mystics who tried to collect and preserve all of these religions. I put the two ideas together, and suddenly I had Sazed's power. (I then stole a magic system from Final Empire Prime, which I'll talk about later, and made it work in this world. Feruchemy was born.)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#73 Copy

CPiGuy2728

When you wrote the epigraphs to the third book, how much were you expecting to lead readers astray? How loony is it that I thought their author was TenSoon for most of the book? (After all, he is not a man, but a force. He defended his ways, yet violated them. He was their savior, yet they called him heretic.)

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted very much for people to think they'd figured it out. I was actually annoyed when my editor wrote in the jacket copy a question, implying that the identity of the Hero was a mystery. I wanted people to assume it was Vin.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#74 Copy

classicalkhlennium

Could a Shard like Harmony create new elemental metals, like harmonium, or is that unconscious--

Brandon Sanderson

So, unconscious isn't the right word, but a manifestation of his will being the same as manifestation of the laws of physics in the world, if that makes sense. It's not like a choice, it's not, like, not a choice either, to create others, it is theoretically possible, but what has happened is more in line with the laws of his realm.

Orem signing ()
#75 Copy

Questioner

Sah-zed, that's how you pronounce it, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, it depends on who you are. You can say it however you want. It's said all different ways in the books. Because he is Terris, and everybody's just kind of saying his name, right?

So Kelsier says Say-zed. But in world, he would say something more like Sahz-d, not Say-zed, himself. But I say Say-zed. You can say Sah-zed.  Some people would say that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#76 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed's Character Climax

It's both fascinating and worrisome for me to write about religion. As a religious person, it's not my goal in these books to insult those who don't have a religious belief themselves. However, I find faith—my own included—to be a fascinating thing, worthy of study and introspection.

And so I write in characters like Sazed, who think about these things and wrestle with them. He voices here some of my own frustrations and fears regarding religion. It is hard to believe, sometimes, in the face of some of the terrible things that religion has done in the world. The rationalization required for faith is sometimes difficult to justify.

But, on the other hand, I have seen beauty, peace, and love brought by religion. I have seen and felt things that seemed miracles to me at the time. Do I discard that?

I feel faith is important. Or, at least, it is to me. And so we have Sazed's struggle. There is a lot more to come; I didn't give him an easy answer in the form of the Terris religion. (Though I hope the reader is expecting one, as I always like to surprise you.)

Salt Lake City signing ()
#77 Copy

Questioner 1

When Sazed is fighting Marsh he hears a voice telling him about his rings, in his head.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner 1

Whose voice is that? Can-- Can I make some gueses?

Brandon Sanderson

Sure.

Questioner 1

Is it Kelsier?

Questioner 2

*Brandon hands RAFO card?* What does that mean? *laughing*

Brandon Sanderson

That means I'm not gonna answer that.