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Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#152 Copy

Questioner

At the end of the last Wax and Wayne book, which I love, that statue that they though was the Lord Ruler. It was Kelsier.

Brandon Sanderson

That was Kelsier.

Questioner

Ok. I thought so, because the way the other thing ended with the eye, the eye thing was throwing me off and then I went and grabbed the secret thing and I was like "No that can't..."

Brandon Sanderson

That is Kelsier.

Questioner

And will we find out more in the next Wax and Wayne book or do we need to wait and find out more later?

Brandon Sanderson

You will find out more in the Wax and Wayne book, really that that's going on there is foreshadowing for era 3, and for future Secret History stories if I do them. So the Wax and Wayne books are not about the return of Kelsier, but the return of Kelsier is very important for later things in the series.

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#153 Copy

Ironeyes52

What noble houses were Kel and Marsh born into? What's their surname?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't canonize that, yet. I've got it somewhere. Let's RAFO that, for now. That's the sort of thing that I need to run past continuity, make sure that I haven't contradicted it in later books. We should release that, though. It does make sense that people would want to know.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#155 Copy

Questioner

If Kelsier had been born on Roshar, would he have become a Knight Radiant and if so...?

Brandon Sanderson

I think there’s a possibility that some of the orders might want him, but it really depends on what period he was born in, and what he’s up to, because Kelsier's got this dark edge to him where he could go villain very easily, depending on what’s going on with him. *pause* That’s kind of how I view Kelsier’s defining attribute, if channeled correctly he’s a great force for good, but he’s like right on the line.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#156 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Vin is more powerful than Kelsier. That's what I'm trying to imply by the scene of her and Kelsier in the hole. And, for one little more quip, I like the fact that Kelsier walks straight forward and says "I need no password." Which, if you think about it, is the opposite of what he told the soldiers last time he visited the caves–he told them they couldn’t even let him out, if he didn't have proper authorization. Ah, Kelsier. . ..

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#157 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.

Shardcast Interview ()
#158 Copy

FeatherWriter

I have to ask about using the word "avatar" for Thaidakar sending avatars... does Kelsier actually have anything resembling a real avatar or is he just using the word and lying through his teeth?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, he's mostly lying through his teeth. Basically — this is not canon, because I might come up with a better [idea] - but in my head, I have him with a large cloak with a Seon on top indicating his face [hosts laugh] It was something along those lines. He wants them to think that he is capable of getting to Roshar in a meaningful, physical way.

Spoiler! he can't get off Scadrial, and it's really annoying to him. At least by this point in the continuity, in fact a little past it, because the Wax & Wayne books...

*multiple people*

[Tangent where he forgets where in the timeline Wax & Wayne actually falls, and Chaos corrects him. Answer ends up being that it takes place after Stormlight 5, as he has usually said.]

Brandon Sanderson

As of the Alloy era, he is still unable to get off of Scadrial.

Chaos

Guess we'll learn about that in Era 3, if it's all Kelsier stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Era 3 will definitely involve some Kelsier stuff. Let's just say he's perturbed.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#160 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Three

So, Kelsier is very interesting to me as a character. Mostly because of what we see in this chapter. He is a man of dichotomy, which is one of the themes of this novel. On one hand, he's the joking, lighthearted man you see in the second half of the chapter. On the other hand, however, he's a very dangerous, even ruthless, man. He laughs at himself in this chapter, but he wasn't faking when he acted the way he did. There is an edge to Kelsier I've never built into a hero before. Sometimes, he makes me uncomfortable.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#161 Copy

Questioner

At one point, you mentioned that Kelsier scared you. Could you talk a little more about why?

Brandon Sanderson

So, Kelsier is one of my favorite characters. I like them all, whoever I'm writing, right? But one of the things that makes Kelsier tick is (and this was my original pitch for him to myself) in another story, he'd be the villain. Kelsier has this hard edge to him. He's one of those people that, when channeled wrong, he becomes the best and most interesting villain. But he happened to be in a situation that pushed him the other direction, and he became a hero. But he still has that edge to him. And there is a darkness to Kelseir that doesn't exist in most of the heroes in my books. Someone like Kaladin has a darkness to him, too, but a darkness that they're fighting against. Whereas Kelsier has embraced this darkness. It is part of what makes him him. So, Kelsier is a little frightening to me as a writer, just because he's a character that I can't guarantee will make good decisions.

Oathbringer release party ()
#162 Copy

Questioner

In Secret History, Nazh briefly mentioned that there's requirements or conditions to become a Cognitive Shadow. Can you tell us one of those?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, lots of Investiture. Is one way. As a certain person discovered.

Questioner

If that person were to not have entered Preservation's pool, it still would have given the same result?

Brandon Sanderson

If they had not, they would be gone.

Questioner

I wasn't clear. If they had done a different pool, not Preservation's.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, if they had been able to Invest themselves heavily, then they could have stuck around, yes. That wasn't Preservation's pool, that was more a function of--dipping themselves, pulling an Achilles inside of a Shardpool when you are dead, turned out to work. It's not the only way, not everyone on... Threnody, for instance, is heavily Invested.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#164 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.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#166 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.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#168 Copy

chaplainchris

The Ghostbloods. Are they Kelsier's new crew?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question... Do I wanna answer this or not? *laughter* I'm gonna RAFO this one. Yeah, we're gonna RAFO this one. It is the RAFOlympics after all.

Billy Todd

Have there been interactions between Kelsier and the Ghostbloods?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#169 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

If you didn't see the Zane/Kelsier comparison later, I bring it up here. In a way, Zane's purpose in this book is to represent things that Vin never really had an opportunity to choose.

She ended up with Elend. However, there is another option, and that was the option that Kelsier represented. The option that Zane represents. Despite her assurances to Elend that she didn't love Kelsier, there WAS something there. Kelsier had a magnetism about him, and since he died, Vin didn't ever have to choose between him and Elend.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#170 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.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#171 Copy

Questioner

Is there any specific relation between Kelsier and Kaladin, and the fact that Kelsier was killed with a spear and Kaladin used a spear. They seem like almost exact opposites.

Brandon Sanderson

Not really an intentional one, though I do intend their personalities to be opposed. I like how they are opposing philosophies as protagonists, but the spear thing is completely coincidental. They are very opposite styles of hero, the big pitch for myself was "Kelsier would the villain if he were in the wrong story." This is a guy where you could easily imagine that this guy could be the antagonist. He gets channeled towards good things and becomes the protagonist. There is no way Kaladin would ever be the antagonist, or if he did it would rip him apart, right. It's not in his nature.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#176 Copy

Questioner

Kelsier vs. Kaladin, who wins?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is meaner. Kelsier is sneakier. Raw power - I'm not sure, but I'm gonna go with Kelsier. If its on a battlefield, Kelsier doesn't win. If its off the battlefield, Kelsier wins. Kaladin is a soldier. He can fight a war and fight with a team and he can win a battle. Kelsier can sneak into someones house and stab them.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#177 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.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#179 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.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#180 Copy

Questioner

Did Kelsier help in the search for [Hoid] that Galladon and Demoux were doing in the Purelakes?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question--

Questioner

He's the only one that can call him something similar, like "Drifter" so -

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I'm going to RAFO that-- Not quite where-- I'll just RAFO it. I'll just RAFO it. Kelsier is not on Roshar, but obviously that's not what you're asking, which is what I thought you were.

Questioner

He has an aura that fits in with--

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm!

FanX 2021 ()
#182 Copy

Questioner

Are the Ghostbloods good, in your mind, or bad?

Brandon Sanderson

They are neither, in my mind.

Questioner

Does their leader, Thaidakar, affect what they do a lot?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but the Roshar branch is a little bit removed from him.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#183 Copy

sheesania

You've said before that Kelsier hung around in the Cognitive Realm after dying and continued to interfere with events going on in Scadrial - talking to Spook, using Preservation's power, etc. You've even implied that Kelsier is STILL hanging around and meddling in the Wax & Wayne era. So my question is - did he CHOOSE to stay in the Cognitive Realm instead of passing on? Or is something forcing him to stay there? 

Brandon Sanderson

This will be revealed before too much longer. I've been keeping it under my hat for a long time.

ConQuest 46 ()
#185 Copy

Esmale (paraphrased)

I asked Brandon if Sazed will resurrect Kelsier at some point in the future, since Brandon has pointed out that Kelsier's soul has stuck around and is still tied to Scadrial.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

His response was "Sazed is not going to resurrect Kelsier. Keep your eyes open." And there was a verbal emphasis on Sazed's name.

Skyward release party ()
#187 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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#188 Copy

Questioner

Are there differences in pronunciation between the different worlds in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Do you have any record of that?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it depends on the culture and things like that, what it's going to be like. You can kind of bet in Mistborn it's going to be French, if it's from the Central Dominance. So they'll say "Kelsi-ay" and "De-MOH" but where Elend's from is a lot more Germanic so "EE-lend" "STRAHFF" and stuff like that. The other worlds are all going to have their different things. In Roshar you are going to get some of the "YAS-nah kHo-LIN" it's going to be a little more Semitic in its language family.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#190 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.

A Memory of Light San Diego Signing ()
#191 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

In the Mistborn series, I read on one of your posts online that you had a rough outline of how the series would have gone if a major death in the first book hadn't happened? I was just curious how that would have progressed if he was still alive?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He would have taken over, because that character doesn't not take over. And it would have been a very different series, it would have been more heist focused, and not so much epic fantasy focused.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Would he have finished everything up a heck of a lot faster than Vin and Elend did?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Worse, but yes. Things would have gone very differently, how about that? The reason I decided it couldn't go that way was because I think the series just wouldn't have worked.

MisCon 2018 ()
#192 Copy

Glamdring804

In Way of Kings, Jasnah recommends to Shallan the Devotary of Sincerity. Their motto is "There is always something more to discover." That sounds very similar to our favorite Mistborn psychopath's saying; is Kelsier connected to that at all?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#194 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Church of the Survivor

Another aspect of worldbuilding had to do with building all of the religions. Kelsier is still around, by the way. I'll tell you eventually what he's been up to, but if you look through the original trilogy you'll find hints of it.

I wanted the religions of the world to all be grounded in fact, but all have different motivations. I wanted them to be realistic, however, in that they don't always get along. Harmony may be there watching, but I didn't think he'd interfere too much. That comes from holding two opposed powers; he's got more of a Zen outlook on things.