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Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
#1 Copy

Joeh42

In Warbreaker, is Clod the Lifeless body of Arsteel? I like this idea because Arsteel would have had some Breaths within him when he died, as this is how Vashir defeated him and Denth, and this could help explain why he seems to be a little more self-aware than most Lifeless. Could you respond to this idea?

Brandon Sanderson

I confirmed in the Warbreaker annotations that Clod is Arsteel.

Clod is more self-aware than most Lifeless. There is something left of Arsteel within Clod. The Breaths that Vasher gave him when he killed him do have an effect on this.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher is wrong about Arsteel, by the way. Arsteel didn't need to be killed; Vasher misinterpreted the man's motives in joining with Denth. It's unfortunate that the two came to blows, but Arsteel never intended to kill Vasher in the duel, just subdue him and talk some sense into him. ("Sense" as Arsteel saw it. He wasn't actually right in what he was doing—he didn't understand Vasher's reasoning either. All I'm saying is that Arsteel's motives were, in fact, pure.)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#3 Copy

Rillum

Vasher had a strange reaction when Vivenna mentioned Clod to him. Was Clod someone that Vasher knew in life? Or was this a reaction of his general disapproval of the Lifeless in general?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Vasher has a connection to that particular lifeless. It was indeed someone Vasher knew in life.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

And by the way, we don't see Tonk Fah, Jewels, or Clod again in the book. They'll come back in the sequel. Without Denth's control, Tonks is off to start murdering and killing wantonly; by the next book, he'll have changed quite dramatically.

Jewels, on the other hand, is taking Arsteel (Clod) to his brother, who is a master of Lifeless Commands. (Yesteel invented ichor-alcohol.) She hopes to find a way to restore to Arsteel some of his memories and personality.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vasher and Denth Spar; Vasher Gets Stabbed

I love scenes in books (when I read them) that imply a great weight of history that we don't get to see between characters. It gives me a sense that the story is real. That these characters lived before the story, and that they'll continue to live afterward (or, well, the ones who survive).

When I built this book, I knew that the Vasher/Denth relationship needed a lot of groundwork to give it that sense. I wanted them both to be complicated characters who have a twisted past. It all comes to head here, in this chapter, and we get the ending of a story over three centuries old. Will I ever tell those stories? Probably not. Like the story of Alendi and Rashek in Mistborn, I think the story between Vasher and Denth is stronger as it stands—as something to lend weight to this book. We will go more into the Vasher/Arsteel relationship (particularly as we deal with Yesteel) in the next book, if I write it.

By this point, you should be wondering just who Vasher is. He's been alive since the Manywar, and Denth implies that Vasher himself caused the conflict. There's obviously a lot more going on with him than you expect.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#8 Copy

sonofstannis

Regarding the sibling relationships of Yesteel/Arsteel and VaraTreledees/Shashara, were either pairing returned simultaneously? If so, how did they know they were siblings? And do any of the four know their original birth names? Finally, is it coincidence that there are two pairs of siblings in the five scholars or is there something more at work?

Brandon Sanderson

I do intend to delve into questions like in your first point when I return to that world, so I'll RAFO for now.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Two - Part Two

Clod the Lifeless

Yes, Clod is Arsteel, in case you were wondering. After Vasher killed him, Denth's team decided to have him made into a Lifeless. Partially because Denth was curious if it was possible, and partially because Arsteel was such a capable warrior that they knew he'd make for an excellently skilled Lifeless. It isn't as good as having Arsteel himself, of course, but Clod is probably the greatest Lifeless swordfighter in existence right now in the entire world.

Another tidbit that never comes up is that Jewels was in love with Arsteel, which is the primary reason she joined Denth's team in the first place. Arsteel joined it because he wanted to try to redeem Denth; he felt that a reconciliation between Denth and Vasher was possible, and as a peacemaker, he thought he might be able to make it happen. As for why Vasher killed him . . . well, I'm afraid that's another story that will have to wait for the sequel.

Jewels is still in love with him. And yes, she still sleeps with him on occasion. And yes, she's a little bit unhinged emotionally and mentally because of his death.