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White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#101 Copy

Questioner

Couldn't think of any [questions], but I would just like to say that I would like to punch Kelsier in the face now, so... *group laughs*

Brandon Sanderson

He usually deserves getting punched in the face. *group laughs* If you were to meet Kelsier on the street, you can guess he has something that he's done that makes him deserve to be punched that day. *group laughs*

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#102 Copy

Questioner

Matrim Cauthon, Kelsier, and Vasher all decide they need to get together and run a heist on Hoid. How do they do it? Why? And what are they looking for? Assuming they know where his "hideout" is...

Brandon Sanderson

Mat has to be persuaded. He doesn't think this is worth it. Once he knows about Fortune, he'd be interested.

Kelsier wants to beat him to a pulp.

Vasher is very utilitarian about it, and agrees that having access to him would be smart, but dangerous.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#105 Copy

Phantine

Did you pre-write the Kelsier stuff for Secret History, or did you just outline the events ahead of time?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier was notes, though detailed ones. They might mostly worked out. I believe there was one "thought" a character has in HERO that I had written to be influenced by Kelsier, but turned out to be logistically impossible. I worked on Secret History itself on and off for years before finishing it last fall.

Phantine

Was that thought the one Sazed has in his fight with Marsh?

Those weren't coins, a voice seemed to whisper.

The bag Marsh shot at you. Those weren't coins.

Brandon Sanderson

Yup, that's it.

Moving the well, playing with where Kelsier was, and the physics of moving through perpendicularities between Realms all kind of combined to make what I had planned originally there not work. I tried fudging things so Kelsier could be there, and felt it was dishonest to the rules. So I didn't let him stray far enough from the Well to talk to Sazed there. Peter had thought for years that was Kelsier, I recall, and was sad we couldn't connect them.

Herowannabe

I don't suppose you'd be willing to share with us who the new, canonical voice in Sazed's head is?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm afraid I probably won't ever go into this. At some point, you risk twisting and turning too much. I have a canon answer in my head, but for readers, it will probably need to remain ambiguous--with "it was simply him coming up with it on his own" being a valid option.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#106 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's Snapping

Why didn't Kelsier Snap before he went to the Pits? I don't have an answer for you, not even in spoilers. He did live a hard life and it is odd that he wouldn't have Snapped until that moment when he saw his wife beaten to death.

They say that the more powerful a person is, the more trauma it takes to get them to Snap and the more dangerous that Snapping is.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#107 Copy

Questioner

How do the Heralds come back? As Cognitive Shadows, how do they a physical body?

Brandon Sanderson

That system will be explained in the coming books, so that is a RAFO. I'm gonna dig into it pretty deeply. It's relevant for multiple reasons...

In the original version, Taln ended up in someone else, like they would get a body from someone else, which was part of fueling the "Is he crazy, is he not," because people were like, "I recognize this guy!" I don't use that system anymore.

Questioner

That's what I was wondering, because the Fused--

Brandon Sanderson

They use something kind of more like the Fused in the original draft, it's not that process anymore.

Questioner

Is that gonna give us lead-ins to how it worked with Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe. Maybe. You shall see.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#108 Copy

sanderfan (paraphrased)

Did Kelsier chose not to move on after he died or did he want to move on but couldn't for some reason?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO. The thing is, Kelsier's wife Mare had certainly moved on, and that would be motivating him to go on to the next life.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#109 Copy

Enfeathered

Assuming that the events of the first Mistborn book took place on Nalthis instead, and especially considering the circumstances of Kelsier's passing and the events afterwards, would he have Returned?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a very interesting question. Endowment can be somewhat...erratic. I don't know, honestly. I'd have to think about it.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#111 Copy

sufficientlyadvanced

It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.

Phantine

Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...

Windrunner

If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The seons and the skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#112 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seven - Part One

The Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship was something that just kind of grew naturally as I was writing. When I started designing the characters for this book, I knew that I wanted Kelsier to have gone through something very traumatic. I settled on a time spent in the Lord Ruler's slave camps, then built his having a wife out of that.

Marsh's unspoken love for Mare wasn't something I originally intended. It actually worked into the story as I was writing this very chapter. I needed tension between Marsh and Kelsier for their relationship to work the way I wanted it to. However, Marsh's disapproval of Kelsier just wasn't enough–especially since Marsh himself had given up leadership of the skaa rebellion, proving that he himself wasn't as much of a hero as he wishes he was.

Mare provided the perfect explanation for their tension. It was something I could imply in just a few sentences, then gain a lot of weight of back-story.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#113 Copy

Questioner

I want to know if Kelsier and Hoid will ever get along?

Brandon Sanderson

They, uh-- that's a RAFO, but I wouldn't hold my breath. There are mashing of egos that just don't mesh well going on there.

Questioner

How long will Kelsier's story go?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's story has some more stages to it. I'm gonna RAFO that... But the stuff that's happening right now is set up for a later story with him.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#116 Copy

Questioner

We were talking about Kelsier, and how he was much more powerful than most Mistborn, and how Vin was slightly more than most Mistborn...

Brandon Sanderson

Why were Vin and Kelsier more powerful?

Questioner

I know why Kelsier, but why Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

Vin was not more powerful. Vin just took to it very naturally. She was highly skilled. It was very instinctive to her, but Elend was actually more powerful than she was, if you count just raw power. Vin just knew her stuff. Beyond that Vin is a rare individual that for reasons I have not explained yet, was able to draw in the mists for a little extra boost at times. And there are other characters you have seen do this.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#117 Copy

Questioner

Which of your characters do you think would win in a fight?

Brandon Sanderson

At what stage in their career?

Questioner

Not the Slivers.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so they don't count, the Shards of Adonalsium don't count… Does Kelsier have atium?

Questioner

Yes, atium exists.

Brandon Sanderson

A Mistborn burning atium is really hard to beat in any other way.

Questioner

So you think that Kelsier would beat Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Kelsier would beat Vin if he had atium and she didn't. If they both did? Vin has more raw talent, Kelsier has a lot more experience. So if you can pick Vin after she's had more experience she will give him a fair fight, but before that she will not.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#118 Copy

ExaltedHamster

I feel like The Lord Ruler from Mistborn would be a pretty good example of black/white philosophy. ( [Brandon] feel free to chime in here if you want). Kelsier from the same book feels pretty red/white to me.

Brandon Sanderson

I always viewed Kelsier as red-black, personally. He loves his friends, and his team, but is counter-authority in a big way. He's extremely selfish and violent, but is bleeding toward believing in something more important as the books begin.

sirgog

This is interesting, I thought of Kelsier as about as mono red as you can get.

Freedom and emotions - rage and love at various times - drive him.

Never altruism, never malice. Just passionate rage.

Brandon Sanderson

I can completely see that argument. However, Kelsier has a strong megalomaniac streak. He set up a religion to worship him. He spent most of his life as a thief, seeking to get ahead--and enrich himself.

His arc is, to an extent, learning to allow the red side of him dominate the black side--but I still see him as a mixture of both. And you can see the malice on occasion (like when he dumps the body of the nobleman he's killed.)

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#120 Copy

Questioner

Did you purposely make the Church of the Survivor sort of like Christianity or not?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier intentionally made it like Christianity. In kind of a false way, meaning he read about and had Sazed tell him about religions that were similar and then he built that his own way.

Questioner

Oh so did Sazed tell him about...

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed told him about religions that were similar. I wouldn't say Christianity specifically, but their version and things. So there is a yes and a no.

Prague Signing ()
#121 Copy

Oversleep

Does Nazh want his knife back, the one he gave to Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he would want it back but it's not like the flute. It's not something that was super super important to the person who gave it away. So he would like his knife back eventually,  but you know, nothing important.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#122 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter One

Part One Title

The title of this section of the book is "The Legacy of the Survivor." If I recall correctly, part one of the first book was "The Survivor of Hathsin" and part one of book two was "The Heir of the Survivor."

Kelsier still overshadows these books. In this chapter particularly, I wanted to show an entire group of people doing essentially what he did in book one. Just as Kelsier faced down an Inquisitor, this band of soldiers is going to charge an army of koloss.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#126 Copy

ParadoxicalWims

I remember reading a WoB about which of your characters you'd invite to dinner (of which Hoid and Kelsier were two) and you said the both of them have a bit of a problem with each other. Is it anything major and when did this problem happen? (Have they also seen each other again now Kelsier's a cognitive shadow?)

Brandon Sanderson

Big RAFO.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#127 Copy

Questioner

What happens when a... spren picks up a Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean picks up a Shard? Shardblade or Shard of Adonalsium?

Questioner

Picks up a Shard of Adonalsium.

Brandon Sanderson

A spren is a Shard of Adonalsium so it just--

Questioner

Picks up one of the big ones like could a spren do the same thing that Kelsier's spirit did after he--

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* It's like you're asking if electricity can gain a charge of electricity and get electrified. Does that make sense? I mean-- It's a question that doesn't make a lot of sense.

If a Shard were to somehow-- They would just combine into a bigger Shard and get larger-- if that makes sense?

Questioner

The foundation of that question was I thought that maybe the Stormfather spren was basically doing what Kelsier's spirit did.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, um *sighs* Not really... It's really a not really There's some similarities but it's a not really. It's not quite a RAFO though. more of a--

Questioner

More of a "doesn't quite work that way".

Brandon Sanderson

--doesn't quite work that way but you're thinking along the right lines?

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#128 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Also, I think it was about time to establish firmly the relationship between Kelsier and Vin. She–if you haven't guessed–has a bit of a hero-worship crush going on with him. It will never be stated explicitly, but it's there, and kind of has to be there.

Kelsier, however, regards her like a protégé, and perhaps even a daughter. That's it. I apologize to those who were looking for a romance between the two. I realize that I'm breaking some laws of storytelling by introducing a female viewpoint in chapter one, then a male viewpoint in chapter two, and not having them get into any sort of romantic way. However, that's not what this book is about. Kelsier is not only much older than Vin, he really doesn't look for relationships any more. Not his focus in life right now.

I never intended there to be any romantic tension between the two of them. However, some of my alpha readers were hoping to find it–and found more than I anticipated. So, I added the lines here from Kelsier about wishing he had a daughter, just so I could make things clear.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#130 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Part One

Unlike Elantris, where I decided to divide the book into "parts" after the fact, I always planned this book to be told in several sections. Naming the parts actually came quiet easily to me. Part One is the section where Kelsier gets most of his viewpoint time, and I decided that naming it after him would be appropriate.

In addition, I just like the way that "The Survivor of Hathsin" sounds. A piece of me was sad that I never came up with a good full name for Kelsier. Something like Kelsier Mistshadow or something like that. I tried several, but none of them ended up sounding quite right, and I had to rely on calling him "Kelsier, the Survivor" in those places. That ended up working just fine.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#132 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Soothes the Koloss

She does it by Soothing the koloss. I think this is probably the easiest of the twists in the book–after all, I showed her doing the exact same thing to a kandra, then told you that kandra and koloss were very similar. So this shouldn't have been too much of a logical leap. If Vin hadn't been exhausted and overworked here, she probably would have figured it out earlier.

I thought it important, by the way, to show her fighting without her powers–and to show that she's still good, even when she doesn't have pewter steel or iron. She's a dangerous person. The metals just make her VERY dangerous.

By the way, I used Kelsier's last words–obliquely–as the thing that pulled her out of her stupor when she fell to the lack of pewter. She's been burning it far too much for this entire book, and hopefully you're expecting her to have to pay for that at some point. She would have dropped unconscious if she hadn't thought of her friends.

Kelsier would have been proud. His last words to her had been a chastisement, since she hadn't been treating their friends as well as she should have. He insisted on rescuing Spook from the cages, rushing into an obvious trap despite the danger. Vin has done nearly the same thing in returning to Luthadel.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#133 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Two

Betrayal and Trust

Sazed's discussion on betrayal and trust here is very important. It harks back to Vin's conflicts in the first book, as well as one of the major interactions between her and Kelsier.

Kelsier believed that it was better to trust people and be betrayed than to never trust at all. He loved his wife, but worried that she'd betrayed him. It was a major source of pain and conflict for him. Yet, in the end, he decided that even if she had betrayed him, he preferred having loved her and trusted her. He treated his crew the same, not letting a worry about traitors ruin the companionship of his team.

I wanted to work this into Sazed's scenes here because, to me, this entire series uses trust as a theme. Whom do we trust and why? Do they deserve it?

It's about being betrayed, but taking the time to understand why we were betrayed. Kelsier forgives Mare, Vin forgives TenSoon. Sazed has to forgive God.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#136 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier Speaks

The final thing I'll note on this chapter is that the voice Spook hears after he's pulled out the spike is actually Kelsier. You'll see Kelsier's voice pop up a few more times in the narrative, now that Preservation is dead.

Ever the meddler, Kelsier can't just sit around and let the world end. Preservation's death left a void, and Kelsier has managed to piggyback his spirit just slightly onto Preservation's power. He can't do much, but he can reach out and whisper a few choice words to people. At least until Vin takes the power and shoves him out.

I know I said he wouldn't come back, but . . . well, he's Kelsier. He doesn't listen to what I say. He just does what he wants.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#137 Copy

Questioner

Regarding Hemalurgy and its basis in the Pits of Hathsin being Ruin’s body, my theory is that Kelsier gained his Mistborn powers from being in the Pits of Hathsin.

Brandon Sanderson

It’s a good theory. I’m not going to confirm or deny it. It is a very good theory.

Questioner

Do you just get all the small little bits and pieces from just the way people talk about him as the Survivor, so *inaudible* theory... Are we ever going to see it confirmed or denied?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible that you will, but you will see...I’ve got somethings that I want to write about Kelsier.

Questioner

Please, that would be amazing.

Brandon Sanderson

You have not seen the last of that man, I want to write some stuff that happened.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#140 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Four - Part Two

The other big part of this chapter is, of course, the plan. This is where the story has been pushing up to this point. I worry that even still (despite several cuts) this section feels a little too much like an info-dump. I couldn't really get around that, since Kelsier is–essentially–dumping some information on the crew.

This is also where I begin to diverge from the "heist story" framework. I started with that concept to write the book, but as I proceeded with the plotting and the writing of the actual novel, I realized that the heist structure was simply too small to fill the larger concepts for the trilogy I was working on.

So, in rewrites, I came back and reworked this section to take to focus off stealing the Lord Ruler's money. The truth is, Kelsier wants to overthrow the government and get back at the Lord Ruler. The money isn't half as important to him. And, as the story progresses, you'll see that the crew spends most of its time on the army.

ICon 2019 ()
#141 Copy

Questioner

About the end of Secret History... We see that Saze is being very shy with Kelsier. Seems like he is afraid of what he's gonna do. Can you tell us about it?

Brandon Sanderson

*carefully* Sazed believes in Kelsier more than Kelsier does.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#143 Copy

Questioner

How do you think Kelsier really feels when it's revealed that the skaa really are different from the other ruling--

Brandon Sanderson

So-- *pause* I would call it still a matter of debate whether they are or aren't. Whether they were is a different matter of debate, right? But I would say that a lot of the things that were claimed about skaa were not accurate. Some of the things claimed about them were, and that is part of what makes it subject to debate. And Kelsier is very good at not accepting answers he doesn't like.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#144 Copy

Questioner

What did Leras do to Kel right when he died that made him stay? That prevented him from going on?

Brandon Sanderson

Right when he died?

Questioner

Right, because he starts to go-- slip into the Beyond, and then Leras keeps him there.

Brandon Sanderson

Read that again closely.

Questioner

He did something. He shoves him into the pool right?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, yes. You just answered it.

Questioner

Okay, but I wasn't sure...

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Questioner

...if it was specifically what Leras did? Or if that's something only [Vessels] can do?

Brandon Sanderson

So it's the pool and not Leras that is important there.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#146 Copy

RoboChrist

Did Kelsier really hear Preservation's voice telling him to Survive when he was in the pits of Hathsin? Or was it Ruin pretending to be Preservation?

If it was Preservation, does that mean Kelsier died in the pits? Or were there special circumstances that allowed Kelsier to hear Preservation's voice without dying?

Brandon Sanderson

Special things often happen in the cosmere when someone is very close to death, or undergoing intense pain (either physical or emotional.) Barriers between the realms weaken.

I can confirm that the Kelsier who left the pits was not a cognitive shadow.

Phantine

Could he have become a shadow using the pits if he died immediately after snapping?

Brandon Sanderson

Possibly.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#148 Copy

Questioner

[In Secret History] there was a key scene with a character named Drifter. And, uh, that was the first time that I felt like there was a sense of malevolence with this character. And I was curious if that's something that I should state with that punch? Or was this just a particular thing? 

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes. Drifter is an ancient entity who has very, very many sides and that is accurately one of them. That said, in that particular scene, there are certain personalities that play off of each other poorly, in real life and in books, and you happened to catch one that-- Drifter and this character do not-- Let's just say they rub each other the wrong way. But I would definitely say that is an aspect of his personality. 

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
#149 Copy

Glamdring804

While we're on the subject of you and MtG, do you have a spreadsheet or a document somewhere with the color identities of all your characters? Some of them are obvious, like Kelsier being red with maybe a splash of white, but others I can't make a solid decision on, like Vin.

Brandon Sanderson

See, I think Kelsier is blue black--though you're right, he probably has some red to him in his rebellious nature and focus on friendship and emotion. But no, I don't keep track of this. I enjoy talking about it with people, but it isn't an important part of how I design characters.

Glamdring804

Really? Blue black? I see where the blue comes from, and the black as well, but he was always felt like primarily red to me. Namely, his rebelliousness, desire for revenge, and general dislike of society’s structure feel like strong red traits to me. I suppose then, that might make him Grixis?

Brandon Sanderson

I could see Grixis.

Skyward release party ()
#150 Copy

Questioner

When you pictured Kelsier in the Mistborn Series, did you see him as a Christlike figure?

Brandon Sanderson

He sees himself that way, I do not.

Questioner

And the church that follows up after him, is that more like *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

It is hierarchical like some Christian churches are, but it is not meant to reference any specific church. I do not personally see Kelsier as... he has a more inflated opinion of himself than I think he should have.