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The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Human's Origin

Human is a very special koloss. He's quite a bit older than most, his creation running all the way back to before the Lord Ruler's death. He was originally the leader of a rebellion out in the southeast—the same area where Clubs spent his youth fighting. Human, then known as Vershad, was one of the more successful leaders of the wasted men—those who live out in the desert outside the borders of the Final Empire, but come in to raid and steal supplies from outlying villages.

Charismatic and intelligent, he managed to keep his band alive even once the Lord Ruler turned his attention on them. Rather than ravaging villages, Vershad would convert them—quietly, carefully—to his side and get them to give him supplies. In turn, he would "raid" them and destroy the lords' mansions, causing chaos and letting the people get a sideways revenge against their masters. In the chaos, it would be assumed that the raiders got away with the skaa food, and it would be replenished.

The Lord Ruler tired of such games and eventually sent his koloss against Vershad and his men. As clever as they were, they weren't able to stand against a well-laid betrayal and ambush set by an Inquisitor—one who controlled a troop of koloss. The raiders were slaughtered, and Vershad himself was turned into a koloss for his crimes.

He retained enough of his determination and his intelligence, however, to make a remarkably clever koloss. (There is some variety to koloss, based on who they were before the transformation.)

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Error in the Hardcover edition

I forgot to mention it in the appropriate chapter (I think it was way back in twenty-six) so I'll mention it here. Maybe I'll move this eventually.

Anyway, the hardcover edition of the book had of the more embarrassing typos in the series. (I think we got it fixed for the softcover.) It relates to Clubs and his Allomantic abilities, which is why this scene made me think of it. Way back in chapter twenty-four, I mistakenly (during one of the very last drafts of the book) mention Clubs as being a Seeker, not a Smoker, and burning the wrong metal.

I knew I'd do this some place in the series. The thing is, Clubs was originally going to be the team's Seeker, with Marsh being the Smoker. I swapped this before I started writing, but there is still some latent belief on my part that Clubs is a Seeker. And, because of that, when writing quickly and smoothing over rifts made by re-arranging chapters, I wrote the wrong metal down. (And it isn't just a single word typo; I think I even talked about him being a Seeker, and being able to sense what metals people are burning. Something like that.)

All I can say is. . .whoops!

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Clubs and Dockson die

And, speaking of Breeze, here we have Clubs's death scene, as seen by Breeze. So, in truth, Spook was prophetic when he said that Clubs had said good bye to him for good.

The simple truth is that felt I had too many characters in the books. I couldn't flesh them all out, and I really needed to get rid of a few. Clubs was, unfortunately, one of the casualties.

Of course, I didn't just kill him because I had too many characters cluttering the story. That was one of many reasons. I knew that I couldn't go through a siege without losing a few characters. It just wasn't realistic. The characters had dreaded this conflict too much, and they knew it was going to be dangerous–probably deadly–when the invasion came. I often say that I feel I can't protect my characters from the decisions they make. I did write in a little more power to some of Clubs' scenes in the book once it was certain that he would die here. The interactions between him and Sazed and him and Breeze in this novel were there partially because I knew he was going to die, and I wanted to give him some chances to participate in the story before going.

Dockson was the other one I decided to kill. In the initial draft, the scene with him dying ended with a koloss killing him from behind, without him looking at it.

My alpha readers complained profusely about this. So, at the request mainly of my friend Skar, I let Dockson grab a sword and charge before dying. Another send-off for Dockson is the comment he makes, noting that if the crew done things differently, turning on the nobility as he had wanted to in book one, he and the others would have been no better than beasts. It's his way of acknowledging that they'd done the right thing, and is a little bit of a redemption for him. He'd tried very hard to work with the noblemen, to make up for the atrocities he committed during younger years.

The final reason that I knew Dockson and Clubs had to die was because I wanted to REALLY make you think that Sazed was going to die too. If everything is working right in these chapters, you'll be sitting there, knowing that Vin is going to arrive in time. Yet, you'll question, you'll worry, and you'll begin to fret. You'll see Clubs drop, then Dockson die, in rapid succession. Then we come to Sazed, and he falls, out of metals, out of hope.

That's when I bring Vin in.

TWG Posts ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

This one got introduced late in the editing process as I was shuffling around several plots. In the original, way back planning stages of the series, Clubs was going to be a Seeker and Marsh a Smoker. I swapped that, but I've NEVER been able to shake it from my subconscious. Kind of like the way that Tin used to be Silver. (I worry about getting that one mixed up in places too.)

Arterial Spray

Huh. Was Clubs going to be the one who became a Steel Inquisitor?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it was always going to be Marsh who did that job. I actually made the swap because I realized I couldn't send the Smoker away from the team to infiltrate. I actually added that plot line a little bit later in the development process. These were all things I changed before I even started the first page of actual writing.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Three

Spook Remembers Clubs

Ah, fever delusions are such useful things for us authors. Every character should go through a few of them so that we have an opportunity to explore their backstory through the use of a very timely flashback.

On a more serious note, I'm glad I had an excuse for this one. I like to avoid flashbacks when I can—they're usually more of a hassle and an annoyance than they are useful. However, on occasion they can add something that would have been very hard to get across any other way. This is one of those times. We get to see Spook as a kid, the day that Clubs recruited him.

By this time, Clubs had already served in the Lord Ruler's army and had been wounded in the leg and discharged. Though I rarely mention it, the borderlands of the empire include a large population of rogue skaa who are constantly causing trouble. Despite what's believed in the rest of the empire, there were in fact some successful uprisings, most notably these clans who stuck to the desert wastes out there on the edges of habitable land.

...

Anyway, Clubs had been discharged, an event that left him without a means of supporting himself. However, during his time fighting, he'd Snapped and become a Smoker. So, he found his way into the underground, where he was paid very nicely for his abilities.

He was always a lot more softhearted than he let on. When he discovered what was going on with his nephew, he spent quite a bit of his savings to go rescue him and bring him back to Luthadel. Clubs spent twenty times as much money on travel expenses (skaa were forbidden to travel, so he had to stick to some very expensive hidden routes) as he did on that bag of coins he left with Spook's family.

Spook never really knew how much Clubs sacrificed for him. Or perhaps he did—his uncle's death, after all, affected him quite dramatically. Clubs was a far better parent to the boy than either his father or mother ever had been.

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

Questioner

How do you keep everything straight in your head?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's kinda weird. I forget my keys. I forget what day it is, I'm one of these types, right. But stories, I don't forget. Stories are in there. Part of the help for this, though is I do use a wiki, called wikidpad, it's, like, a personal wiki thing. And I stuffed a whole bunch of it in there, not all of it, but a whole bunch of it. I actually have someone whose job it is to go through each book, add in all the new details and things like this to keep kind of a personal encyclopedia of the Cosmere, for myself, for reference that I can be working with as I'm building things.

So, yeah, it's a mixture of tools, my own personal weird brain psychology, and good help and forum assistance. Like, if you read one of my early drafts, there's, like, so many continuity errors. So many, right? Because there's just stuff I... like, when you're writing, you're not thinking about. And your fingers, they just type it. Or, like, I forget, like... one of the things I have to do for a Stormlight is I have to go through and add in way more spren. Because it's just so unnatural to us to have emotionspren, that first draft, I don't even worry about them. Like, get down what's happening, and then I will highlight where the spren appear. It's almost like I do post-production on my books. But, even still, to this day, I write silver when I mean tin in Mistborn, because for years it was silver was that power. Like, it's been ten years since it was silver, that I changed it to tin, but even still my fingers type silver. And the alpha readers and beta readers are like, "Oh, there's a silver in here! We found one!" Like for years, Clubs, I think it was Clubs, and... I had two of the powers swapped for the... anyway, so there's all that. And then there's all the stuff that I forget I changed in revision in previous books.

So, it's not like I'm photographic memory who keeps all this. I have a good team, a good process, and enough up here that we can make a good book come together. But those early books... don't become an alpha or beta reader for me unless you're willing to be like, "Okay. Canon is not here." Like, in the Lift chapter, there was even a place where I'm like, "I think this is connected. I wanna connect this to something in the Cosmere, but I can't remember what it is. Karen, can you look up some of this and see, so I can make sure that I can..." I think it's in there. And then in the beta read document, everyone's like, "Oh, you can do this! You can do this! You can do this!"

Questioner

No that wasn't in Lift!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it is! I just went and looked at it. Maybe Karen posted that quote that I gave her, maybe Peter pulled it out, and she posted it in the document later on.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Breeze Viewpoint Continues. After speaking with Elend, he visits Clubs.

The friendship between Clubs and Breeze came mostly because I wanted to give Clubs just a little more screen time. I also liked the irony of the pairing—the Soother and the only man on the crew who is completely immune to him. It makes for a nice juxtaposition.

It is good to note that Allrianne did, in fact, seduce Breeze—and not the other way around. She's a girl who knows what she wants and how to get it. You'll see a viewpoint or two from her later on.

Clubs lies here in this scene, by the way. He says that "Money" is the reason he joined with Kelsier. He says it so quickly and naturally that even Breeze buys it. But, if you remember the scene in the first book when he joined, you'll know his real motivation. He wanted to spit in the Lord Ruler's face. He knew he was going to get caught and killed eventually, and he wanted to do it in a dramatic way.

Thing is, his team actually won. Go figure.