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The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The Symbol of the Spear

I'm not trying to overtly duplicate Christianity with the spear becoming the symbol of the Church of the Survivor much like the cross became for Christians. It just seemed a very natural symbol, and I do very much like playing with the idea of how a religion grows and changes from a loose set of beliefs into an organized theology.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#2 Copy


How is homosexuality regarded across the cosmere?

I know one member of Bridge 4, though I forget who, is gay, but I'm asking more in the sense of legality, societal view, etc.


It would probably depend on the planet and culture involved. Roshar has many varied cultures and probably has multiple different acceptance levels. Scadrial is much more progressive and really only has two cultures so it's more likely that most if not all of the world accepts it. Maybe this is something you could ask [Brandon] at a signing or during an AMA.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this varies widely based on the planet, and even culture, TimAnEnchanter.

Roshar, for instance, has a lot of different perspectives on homosexuality. In Iri, the more religious segment (who believe that life is about new experiences) would approve, while the more rigid modern, secular society has outlawed it.

In Azir, you'd find something like existed in middle-ages India. (Some societies there had this curious system where a gay man would be given "social reassignment" so that he was treated like a woman, dressed like one, and had relations with men--even if he wasn't actually transsexual.)

Vorin culture is concerned with oaths. Extra-marital sexuality is strictly forbidden, but homosexuality is regarded the same by most as heterosexual relationships. If the proper oaths are spoken, then the Almighty approves. (This usually means marriage, but there are certain official forms of other relationships that would allow it also.)

There are actually a couple of scenes in Book Three talking about it, for those who are interested, as the family and romantic relationships of the bridgemen are becoming a larger part of the story. (Still a small part, I should note, for space limitations.)

On Scadrial, it's going to fall between Pathian lines (each individual decides for themselves) and Survivorist lines (you follow church hierarchy, which forbids it.)

Don't even get me started on Bavadin's religions.


What reasons do Survivorists use to rationalize heterosexuality? Thank you so much for these tidbits it's really interesting to hear more about this stuff from you. It would be great to see some of this canonized, maybe in an interlude, or random background discussion somewhere. Thank you again for your books! Also very interested in hearing why secular Iriali have decided to 'regress' on that.

Brandon Sanderson

Survivorism calls it unnatural, and not conducive to the survival of the species. More than that, though, Survivorism has become very conservative and slow to change. What early thinkers had to say is regarded very strictly in the religion. Back during the early days of the new era, repopulating the basin was of prime concern, and this became a big part of what led to moral codes in Survivorism.

Skyward release party ()
#3 Copy


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.


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 ()
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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.


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.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Follows Demoux

And, this chapter just keeps going! It's one of the ones that suffered a bit from the rearrangement of some of the sequences, in this case I moved the "Chase down Demoux" scene from an earlier chapter into this one to keep the suspense going.

I wanted this scene for two reasons. The first, obviously, is to round out Demoux just a bit and make spotting the imposter a more difficult problem for Vin. However, an equally important part of it was my desire to show how the Church of the Survivor is evolving.

Those of you who have read Elantris know that I'm fascinated by religion. In this case, I want to show a fledgling religion, and try to postulate how one would develop. A lot of the observations made by Vin here, then, are my attempts at tracing the beginnings of religious movement. Right now, there is no doctrine or ceremony—just belief and hope.

And one of those hopes is that Vin will somehow bring the sun and plants back to the way they once were. I don't hit the visuals on the world as hard in this book as I did in the last one. Hopefully, it's present enough in the setting to make you remember that the sun is red because of the haze in the upper atmosphere. Plants are brown, not green, and there are no flowers. The prophesy that Vin will restore these things is new, relating to some of the things that Kelsier used to talk about.