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The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Gets Her Earring Back

Getting Vin's earring back to her proved a logistical problem here, perhaps one of the biggest puzzles in the entire book for me. If I pulled the earring, then Ruin couldn't talk to her, and I couldn't include the scenes of her and Ruin in jail. I felt they were very important—both to make good use of Vin's time while imprisoned, and to get across useful information about the nature of Ruin—his goals, his motivations.

And so, I needed to have Yomen give the earring back. But why? Why would he give a piece of metal to an Allomancer? Vin's reasoning in this chapter is the best I could come up with. Yes, Yomen has atium, ready to burn it. He is, indeed, trying to spring any traps Vin has ready. In fact, once he had her taken away, he followed a distance behind and waited by her cell for the rest of the day, expecting her to try something. When she didn't, he was rather confused.

The earring also presented a problem in that in the original drafts of book one, silver was an Allomantic metal. I later changed silver to tin and played with what the metals did. However, I didn't have the specifics of Hemalurgy down. And so, when I got this book, I worried that her earring would be the wrong metal. Hence the silver plating explanation, as I worried that I'd forgotten or missed some instances in book one where I mentioned the earring being silver. (I tried to cut all references to its actual metal, so that I would be open to build Hemalurgy as I saw fit.)

Notice that Ruin's voice doesn't come to her until after she puts the earring back in. As she points out later, his telling her to kill isn't as specific as she's interpreting it. He's just sending her a general feeling that she should kill and destroy; his attention is elsewhere at the moment, watching what Spook is doing.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

Okay, so I'm contractually obligated to ask about time bubbles one more time.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

So what's up with frame of reference for time bubbles; in that obviously if you make a bubble and it's still it's not really still, like time moves differently but--

Brandon Sanderson

We deal with that a little bit in Era 2 Book 2 [Shadows of Self], where we talk about the fact that you know-- obviously the bubble is moving with the planet. So they're not-- the frame of reference is not absolute.

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

And so we talk about sorta' the idea of mass and momentum and time bubbles and things like that.

Kurkistan

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

For instance you can make a time bubble on a train.

Kurkistan

Oh and it stays on the train?!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but when you start catching stuff off of the train, it's gonna' jar each time, and it's probably going to ruin your time bubble, right?

Kurkistan

So does it get it's "anchor" from-- it's asking all the things that are within it what they think "still" is?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That's a good way of looking at it. Frame of reference for the Cognitive things around. Make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, the things around or the things within it, specifically?

Brandon Sanderson

The things that it's cutting into, specifically, but yeah.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Oudeis16

Is duralumin easier, harder, or the same to Push on allomantically as, say, tin?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to start moving into "RAFO almost everything" mode here, unfortunately, as (with the weekend over) I need to be getting into the ending of the book itself. Some of the questions, though not yours, are getting very detailed and I need to scale back on answers for now. (Sorry.)

General Reddit 2011 ()
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mmm_burrito

You snake. I just finished Hero of Ages, and come to find out I'll never know the last 2 metals. Grr.

Brandon Sanderson

Cadmium and Bendalloy are what you're looking for. They create bubbles of warped time around the Allomancer. I will be doing more books in the world, though not with the same characters, and you'll see the other metals.

Warsaw signing ()
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Questioner

In The Emperor’s Soul, Forgery allows you to Forge your soul to create a different past. My question is, would on Scadrial burning gold in a controlled way allow you to do something like that?

Brandon Sanderson

Wow, you guys are good. So, they are similar but different. I would say that no, gold is not gonna do this exact thing. They're working from the same fundamental roots, but gold is a lot more bounded in what it can accomplish.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

Where do the lines point, exactly, when burning steel or iron?

Brandon Sanderson

Generally, right toward your center.

Questioner

On the objects?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, the objects. Center of mass, unless you are starting to get really good at it, whereupon you'll be able to kind of see a sort of spectrum that you can pull on and yank on.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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WinespringBrother

Do soothing and rioting work on a telepathic or physiological level (or both)?

Brandon Sanderson

Primarily telepathic, though the body does respond physiologically. After the Soother is gone, the emotion remains for a time, so long as it was a natural emotion. Strong soothing/riotings against a person's nature can wear off quickly, and the body react (sometimes) with a strong opposite emotion in response. A very good Soother/Rioter can inspire emotions that begin telepathic only, but then have a response in the body, so the emotion gets more cemented.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of-- am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the Investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike...

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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alanthiana

Allomancy can be such an internal form of magic... how would you see it being dealt with visually, if Mistborn were ever to have a TV/movie version?

Brandon Sanderson

Pushes and Pulls are going to be done (if this version of the film gets made) by having metals glow blue when an Allomancer is using their powers. There will be visual or auditory cues for the other powers as well.

ICon 2019 ()
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yahel26 (paraphrased)

What would happen if an Elantrian burned or flared aluminium? Would they become Reod or a normal person? Or something else?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Like if they got Allomantic powers?

yahel26 (paraphrased)

Yeah, like a lerasium [bead] or something.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Okay, yeah, I'm gonna say RAFO, I knew this one was coming.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The First Noblemen Weren't Rashek's Friends

I'm curious to know if anyone figured out the logical problem with the Terrismen becoming nobility. It's what everyone assumed, and it's been mentioned in the previous books. Everyone knows that the Lord Ruler made his friends into Allomancers.

Only, he didn't. That's simply a fabrication he allowed to continue as rumor, then become fact, so that he could cover up the origins of the kandra. The men who became the first Allomancers were actually foreign kings. Rashek knew that he could conquer the world if he needed to—but he also knew that it would be a lot easier to rule that conquered world if he had allies and kingdoms who joined him out of desire, not out of fear. So, he offered Allomancy to the royal families who would give their allegiance to him. Once he showed off his own power as a Mistborn, he managed to get several important monarchs to throw their weight behind him. They got to be Allomancers.

Orem Signing ()
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Questioner

I was wondering, what would happen if you Steelpushed or Ironpulled on liquid metal?

Brandon Sanderson

It would work a lot like ferrofluid works. You'd be able to push or pull on it. It would just respond in a fluid way.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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dwhitlo1

I was re-reading through Vin's fight with Zane, and I think that her method of killing him might be more complicated than necessary. Here is the strategy I would use to fight a mistborn with atium (assuming I have no atium myself or electrum). First I would use a duralumin enhanced soothing to deaden everything except complacency. I would at the same time use a duralumin enhanced riot to spike their sense of complacency. I would then go for the jugular with a duralumin enhanced pewter slash. I think this strategy has a good chance of victory since atium does not show what is going on inside of you, only what you will physically do. Therefore, your enemy will not see the emotional allomancy coming which gives you a few seconds to work with as he is stunned. By the way, if you do not think complacency is a riotable emotion replace it with love. What do you think? Does my strategy have a chance of success?

Brandon Sanderson

I like this strategy. Thinking outside the proverbial box. I think it has a good chance of succeeding, depending. Remember, emotional Allomancy is NOT mind control. And a duralumin-fueled blast of emotion is going to draw a lot of attention to itself, but will still be stunning. So yes, I'd say this is a valid method of taking on someone with atium.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Chaos2651

Hemalurgically, atium steals Allomantic Temporal Powers. But, that seems unlikely, since atium is a god metal. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the magic system. Did Preservation, in addition to switching Cadmium and Bendalloy for Atium and Malatium, also switch atium's Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers with Cadmium? Because it seems to me there's not a lot of atium Marsh can use to live for hundreds of years into the next Mistborn trilogy.

Brandon Sanderson

Preservation wanted Atium and Malatium to be of use to the people, as he recognized that it would be a very powerful tool—and that using it up could help defeat Ruin. But he also recognized that sixteen was a mythological important number, and felt it would make the best sign for his followers. So he took out the most unlikely (difficult to make and use) metals for his sign to his followers. But that doesn't have much to do with Hemalurgy's use here.

Remember that the tables—and the ars Arcanum—are 'in world' creations. (Or, at least, in-universe.) The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws. That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.

Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers. What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers. Think of it as a wild card. With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike. It works far better than other spikes as well.

As for Marsh, he's got a whole bag of atium (taken off of the Kandra who was going to try to sell it.) So he's all right for quite a while. A small bead used right can reverse age someone back to their childhood.

But this was a little beyond their magical understanding at the time.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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tay95

A theme throughout a lot of the Cosmere novels is that form, of one sort or another (patterns, aons, etc.) has a crucial role to play in unlocking or using Investiture.

As a chemist, I'm curious about the role of form in Allomancy and Feruchemy. Does the underlying molecular or crystalline structure of the metal or alloy play a roll? Different processes, doping ratios, and metal mixtures result in different molecular packing, lattices, and ultimately structure. It seems like that kind of very defined, orderly matrix would be right in line with other forms of unlocking Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes! I've actually mentioned to people before that the chemistry of the various metals acts, for Allomancy, in the same way that the Aons work for AonDor. It's more a key than it is a source of power itself.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy

The Reason for the Mistsickness

So, it finally comes out. I wonder at this numbers plot, as I think many readers will glaze over it and ignore it. I think others will read into it and figure out what it means very quickly, then feel that the reveal here isn't much of a revelation. Hopefully I'll get a majority in the middle who read the clues, don't know what they mean, but are happily surprised when it comes together. That's a difficult line to walk sometimes.

What is going on here is that the mists are awakening the Allomantic potential inside of people. It's very rough on a person for that to come out, and can cause death. Preservation set this all up before he gave his consciousness to imprison Ruin, so it's not a perfect system. It's like a machine left behind by its creator. The catalyst is the return of the power to the Well of Ascension. As soon as that power becomes full, it sets the mists to begin Snapping those who have the potential for Allomancy buried within them.

Many of these people won't be very strong Allomancers. Their abilities were buried too deeply to have come out without the mists' intervention. Others will have a more typical level of power; they might have Snapped earlier, had they gone through enough anguish to bring the power out.

My idea on this is that Allomantic potential is a little like a supersaturated solution. You can suspend a great deal of something like sugar in a liquid when it is hot, then cool it down and the sugar remains suspended. Drop one bit of sugar in there as a catalyst, however, and the rest will fall out as a precipitate.

Allomancy is the same. It's in there, but it takes a reaction—in this case, physical anguish—to trigger it and bring it out. That's because the Allomantic power comes from the extra bit of Preservation inside of humans, that same extra bit that gives us free will. This bit is trapped between the opposing forces of Preservation and Ruin, and to come out and allow it the power to access metals and draw forth energy, it needs to fight its way through the piece of Ruin that is also there inside.

As has been established, Ruin's control over creatures—and, indeed, an Allomancer's control over them—grows weaker when that creature is going through some extreme emotions. (Like the koloss blood frenzy.) This has to do with the relationship between the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm, and the Spiritual Realm—of which I don't have time to speak right now.

Suffice it to say that there are people who have Snapped because of intense joy or other emotions. It just doesn't happen as frequently and is more difficult to control.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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JamesCRNA

Is there any substance that reflects Allomantic power? (For example, such that a Coinshot could appear to be a Lurcher if this substance were behind the piece of metal being Pushed, or perhaps said Coinshot could Push things around a corner if this substance were angled properly?

Brandon Sanderson

Nothing like this is known right now.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Atium's Mechanism

Atium is, indeed, different from the other metals. When you burn most Allomantic metals, it opens a conduit through which you can draw upon Preservation's power and use it in very specific ways.

Atium doesn't do that. Atium is, itself, a fuel. When you burn it, the metal itself provides the power. A subtle distinction, I know, but it has to do with where the power is coming from. Most Allomancy is fueled by Preservation, but atium and malatium are fueled by Ruin.

This metal doesn't quite belong on the table where it has been placed.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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jmass12

Quick question on genetics and investiture on Scadrial. Is it weird that Wax would have a different Allomantic power than his predecessors, or does it only matter that you have the ability in the first place, and then it takes different forms generation to generation?

Brandon Sanderson

Great question! I don't think anyone has asked it.

It is the second of your two theories. The power manifests differently in different people; specific powers are not hereditary.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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PathToEternity

Can Cadmium bubbles be nested if you have multiple Pulsers?

Bonus Question: add in duralumin/nicrosil to the equation.

Phantine

Yes.

The effects multiply.

shinarit

Source

I guess hiring 3-4 Pulsers before something you have to prepare for might be worth it. They create their bubbles one after the other at the same place, and boom, you have days instead of minutes.

Ok, lets calculate. We don't have exact figures for cadmium, but we have for bendalloy: 2 minutes into 15 seconds, that's a ratio of 8. 4 Pulsers mean 84 = 4096 ratio. So 21 second for every day goes by for every day you spend in there.

The outer Pulser burns this 168.75 second's worth of cadmium, the first inner one needs 22.5 minutes, the second inner one needs 3 hours and the innermost needs the 24 hours.

So basically for every day spent in these bubbles you need ~27.5 hours worth of cadmium, depending on how routinely they set up the bubbles one after the other.

PathToEternity

Wait, are you mixing up sliding and pulsing? I also think you are nesting your bubbles but not your pulsers, so you are losing a lot of efficiency not to mention practicality.

Tell me if I'm misinterpreting what you're describing, but this is how I'm visualizing it:

http://i.imgur.com/Hujpz8c.png

I'm saying that you get 4 pulsers huddled together and the one that can open the biggest bubble goes first. Then the next largest one pops his. Then the next. And finally the smallest bubble fires.

In that scenario (unless there is something that prevents this) I picture it like this:

http://i.imgur.com/9qjB0lJ.png

This method, 170 days pass only burning 4 hours worth of cadmium.

Well. I'm gonna do it. Gonna page /u/mistborn and ask: is this possible? Can time bubbles be nested like so and if they can do you truly get this kind of efficiency?

crosses fingers

Brandon Sanderson

This one is a RAFO. :)

#tweettheauthor 2009 ()
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mnehring

How did you come up with what metal would give what powers in Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

The assignment of metals to powers was done mostly randomly.

I started by trying to mix and match colors and hues, but that ended up not working.

I also originally wanted the physical to be more common, and then move toward less common with mental and others.

Hence, iron is physical, Gold is mental, Atium is temporal. The mentals don't quite fit this, though.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Tiek00n

What would happen if Lift ate aluminum or other Allomantic metals? 

Brandon

Lift would not be able to do anything with Allomantic metals. Good question.

Tiek00n

Does that include turning them into Stormlight?

Brandon

Yes, that includes turning them into Stormlight.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Commicommand

Does emotional Allomancy work on animals?

Brandon Sanderson

Emotional Allomancy requires a certain level of sapience.

Phantine

So dolphins, oragutans, mistwraiths and parrots might work?

Brandon Sanderson

I was intentionally vague. :)

A_Shadow

Huh, so that would mean that divine Breath (or just regular Breath?) works in a completely different underlying mechanism than emotional Allomancy in providing that calming effect for animals and children. I had previously thought it was just an overlap in abilities.

Brandon Sanderson

There is an overlap. But it involves playing with Spiritwebs and/or the Cognitive Realm.

ConQuest 46 ()
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Kaymyth (parapharased) (paraphrased)

I asked another question about the population levels of Mistings, Ferrings, and Twinborn.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The numbers in the [Alloy of Law Mistborn Adventure Game] supplement are off. (It states the occurrence of Mistings/Ferrings is 1 in 50 people.) He said that they're not terrible, but they definitely are shown as somewhat more common than they really are. But he also said that they're not nearly as rare as people seem to think; for example, he stated that virtually everyone would know at least one Coinshot. So there are definitely a lot of Allomancers around.

And the occurrence of Twinborn would not be a normal statistical spread (alas).  As folks opined before in this thread, the Terris folk do tend to keep somewhat to themselves, so there's not a huge amount of population mix.  So Twinborn will be rarer.

I did point out that there had to be some mix, else we'd be seeing full Feruchemists around, and to that he mostly just smiled and looked mysterious.  As he does.