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Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#1 Copy


So, in Allomancy, most of the metals are in pairs, they're equal and opposite, pushing and pulling, Rioting, Soothing, that kind of thing. The god metals have always-- lerasium and atium, have always struck me as kind of unbalanced in a way. Like, lerasium gives you the power to use all these metals, plus atium being one of them. Is there a reason for that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is, and it kinda has to do with Snapping and some of the fundamental rules of the Mistborn world and the fact that people have Preservation and Ruin inside of them and all these sorts of things. So, the answer is yes.

Partially, narratively, I built that in partially just 'cause I wanted atium to seem odd in the placement, right, when people got to it it's like "What? Why is this one-- This one doesn't match the others. This doesn't really work." When I was building Mistborn, one of the big things I wanted was this idea of a periodic table that was, kind of a flawed construct, that, as you read the books, you came to understand better and better. And that was something I executed-- I don't think I executed that 100% right, but I'm pleased with the general concept and how it plays out. And so I wanted atium to stick out like a sore thumb.

The other thing is, I knew I needed some good foreshadowing for Fortune, for people being able to kinda see the future or versions of the future, for the whole cosmere to work. And, so, I built in atium specifically to do those things. And I built in lerasium to have, kind of, the ultimate sort of benevolent endowment sort of thing. (Not Endowment the Shard, you know what I mean.) But I also wanted to show these two magics were intrinsically tied together on Scadrial because the way that humankind was created. We're getting into some deep stuff, I'll just leave it there. But that was what was going through my mind as I was building those things all out. 

Holiday signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner 1

I just notice that in the newer Mistborns that some of the older Mistborns, on the metals, aren't there a couple metals that are missing?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There are. They didn't quite understand the-- all things, just like we don't understand all science, and as the series progresses you will see that table become even more intricate as it becomes more and more scientific.

Questioner 2

So this series is a step modernized? I've only read the original.

Brandon Sanderson

This one is a step modernized, still all the magic and stuff, but it's kind of mixing gunslinging and Allomancy. There's going to be another series that's going to be 1980's level technology where you'll really see things start to modernize, and then there's a science fiction series. Eventually.

General Twitter 2017 ()
#3 Copy

Wubdor (Part 1/Part 2)

Early in [The Well of Ascension], Vin calls duralumin the 14th metal. But at the end of [The Final Empire] only 12 are known to them, aluminum being the 12th.

Did they find out about electrum as the 13th (since it's in the Ars Arcanum), but didn't tell the reader? Is it intentional that duralumin is the 14th to them or was there a specific reason that electrum was never mentioned?

Peter Ahlstrom

Electrum was found between book 2 and 3. But they said 14th because of pairing.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#4 Copy


I actually have a weird question. From the Mistborn series it says there are 16 Allomantic metals but then you go into Alloy of Law and the 16 are listed there, minus the atium and another one, so are there really 18 metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, you see those two were not really metals. Those were pieces, fragments, of a god.


I thought that might be it but the symbols are the same above them from-- the atium symbol is the same as--

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's a different symbol, it might be reversed though.

General Reddit 2022 ()
#5 Copy


My understanding is that Brandon thinks it is a plothole that Lerasium can be burned by Scadrian (regardless of if they are mistings/mistborn) but Atium can't.

His solution is to retcon the Pits to naturally produce an Atium/Electrum alloy, presumably by the design of Preservation. Therefore we don't know what pure Atium looks like or does when used in any magic.

Peter Ahlstrom

We do know what it does. It’s on the Allomancy poster, and the effect appeared one time at the end of Hero of Ages.


Interesting. Do you know if he had already conceived the retcon by the time the poster was written, or if that line about pure atium just turned out to fit really well retroactively?

Peter Ahlstrom

The retcon is way older than a lot of people assume.


Does this mean he had it in mind by the time Hero of Ages released (since the first public version of the poster dates to 2008), or just that it's old but not sure exactly how old?

Peter Ahlstrom

Remember that what's in the books is filtered through the understanding of the characters. So even if Brandon planned it from the beginning, if the characters didn't know about it, it's not going to come out in the book.

And see this thread reply from 2009.