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JordanCon 2016 ()
#1 Copy



I have a lot more tidbits and all of them more juicy than this, but this may be the single thing all weekend that actually added to the canon. As far as Peter and Brandon know, they never explicitly stated Kelsiers eye color, only that they were "dark", and Brandon thought about it and went with hazel.

Does it matter? Probably not lol. But the moment he said it Peter contacted the wiki writer to add it officially. Pretty cool to ask a simple question that Brandon graciously chose to answer and then add to the canon story


Since when is Hazel considered dark?

Peter Ahlstrom

It isn't. What we said is that Mistborn doesn't give anyone's eye color and only says Vin's eyes are dark. (Shan Elariel's eyes are also dark.) Kelsier's eyes will now be considered canonized as hazel, which is not dark.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The new Kelsier is something that this book needed. If he hadn't been forced to go through the guilt of nearly-losing Vin (a reminder to him of how one of his jobs lost him Mare) I don't think he would have had the solemnity and dedication to accomplish the things he does in the rest of the story.

He'll return more to his old, joking self as the next few chapters pass. However, he'll always remember what he nearly let happen to Vin, and it will become an important aspect of his character.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed Thinks about Kelsier's One Flaw

Kelsier's hatred of the nobility—and the terrible brutality he manifested in killing them—was indeed his greatest flaw. Some would disagree with me. I've read a lot of fantasy, particularly lately, where Kelsier's style of brutality is the norm for characters. Anyone who isn't like that is chewed up and spit out.

Skyward release party ()
#6 Copy


In Secret History, you talked about Kelsier being attuned to Ruin, more to Ruin than to [Preservation]. How come Vin isn't that way.

Brandon Sanderson

I have to say this very carefully. She is, for reasons I'm not going to explain at the moment, and she isn't, at the same time.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Vin is more powerful than Kelsier. That's what I'm trying to imply by the scene of her and Kelsier in the hole. And, for one little more quip, I like the fact that Kelsier walks straight forward and says "I need no password." Which, if you think about it, is the opposite of what he told the soldiers last time he visited the caves–he told them they couldn’t even let him out, if he didn't have proper authorization. Ah, Kelsier. . ..

Idaho Falls signing ()
#9 Copy


Would Dalinar or Kaladin like Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I think they both would have their issues with Kelsier.


'Cause he's more of a rogue.

Brandon Sanderson

It would really depend on what situation they were in. But I think Dalinar would not approve of his methods. And I think Kaladin would empathize with him, but at the end would not approve either. To Kaladin he would probably represent the things that Kaladin kind of wishes he would do, but is too moral to do. And that would be a dangerous thing for Kaladin.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#10 Copy


Did you intend for the reader to almost believe Kelsier would come back to life... or was I just sort of crazy?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I did. And whether he is completely gone or not is actually something I want to be more nebulous than many people think it is.

Calamity Austin signing ()
#11 Copy


What were your inspiration when you wrote the [Mistborn] series, or for particular characters--

Brandon Sanderson

Well, Mistborn-- I passed, honestly, through a fog bank at 70 mph driving from my mom's house, and I'm like, "This looks cool, I've got to use this." That's the first thought I can think of. Feruchemy goes back to being in high school and being an insomniac, being really tired and wishing I could store up my sleep, so I'd be sleepy when I wanted to be sleepy. Kelsier's inspiration was a guy who had been only out for himself, who realized the greater import of doing something.

YouTube Livestream 10 ()
#12 Copy

Dane Brown

Hypothetically, if Kelsier were to meet Kaladin, what would he say?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably "don't be so hard on yourself, kid." That would probably be what Kelsier says. He would do some version of "I've been there, don't be so hard on yourself. You can't fix it all." That's what my gut says.

Kelsier would really like Kaladin. He's the sort of person that Kelsier just... Kelsier loves to see and recognize the people who are just innately good and trying to do good. He's drawn to that because it's not something that is natural to him, if that makes any sense. He can recognize it, though. And it's one of those things that he kind of wants to preserve in the world. And he would really like Kaladin.

Adam Horne

Would Kaladin like Kelsier?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not. But Kelsier would probably be just fine with that.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Three

So, Kelsier is very interesting to me as a character. Mostly because of what we see in this chapter. He is a man of dichotomy, which is one of the themes of this novel. On one hand, he's the joking, lighthearted man you see in the second half of the chapter. On the other hand, however, he's a very dangerous, even ruthless, man. He laughs at himself in this chapter, but he wasn't faking when he acted the way he did. There is an edge to Kelsier I've never built into a hero before. Sometimes, he makes me uncomfortable.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
#18 Copy


Matrim Cauthon, Kelsier, and Vasher all decide they need to get together and run a heist on Hoid. How do they do it? Why? And what are they looking for? Assuming they know where his "hideout" is...

Brandon Sanderson

Mat has to be persuaded. He doesn't think this is worth it. Once he knows about Fortune, he'd be interested.

Kelsier wants to beat him to a pulp.

Vasher is very utilitarian about it, and agrees that having access to him would be smart, but dangerous.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#19 Copy


The Sovereign...

Brandon Sanderson



...has a <nail> in his eye. Which eye is *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

I am going to RAFO that one. Just in case.


Has Bloody Tan seen the Sovereign?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* So... here's the thing-- and this is why I'm RAFO-ing these, it's not because of what you think. I'm RAFO-ing these because these the nature of the Sovereign, and who they call the Sovereign, and these sorts of things is stuff that I want to potentially leave for Secret History 2-- or for [Secret History3, if I write more Secret Histories. So the answers are probably simple, right? And they're not ones that are gonna be mind blowing. But I don't want to lock myself down until I've written those, which is why I'm RAFO-ing most of the questions dealing with this, okay?

*a moment later Brandon overhears continued conversation about Secret History*

So, oh, you were asking it that specific way to not give spoilers to someone here? Yeah, I see what you're doing. I see-- I thought you were trying to wiggle out of me something that you weren't trying to wiggle out of me.


Not everyone here has read...

Brandon Sanderson

I get it, I get it. I see what's going on.


We're not trying to be that *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, okay. I was misinterpreting the intent of those questions a little bit. Yes, being very tricky. Okay. 

*pauses to sign a book*

So the answer of which spike is it? I can answer that one? *interruption* Or really I can tell you--it's in my notes, and I don't have them, but it's not particularly relevant--it's the opposite side of the one where Death's skull was crushed. 


Oh, yes. Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

They would look like mirror images if you saw them.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Elend comparing himself to Kelsier is a kind of theme for him in this book. I wanted Kelsier to leave a long, long shadow over these next two books.

A lot of people couldn't believe that I killed Kelsier, since he was such a ball of charisma, and the driving force for the first book. (A lot of others CAN believe it, but are rather annoyed at me for doing it.) However, I happen to like this book specifically because of Kelsier's absence.

He overshadowed everything when he was alive. Elend could never have developed as a character–and even Sazed and Vin would have had trouble–as long as Kelsier was there dominating everything. He was a character at the end of his arc–while the others are still only just beginning. It's so much more interesting if they have to do things without him.

Just part of Kelsier's arrogance, I guess. Both as a character in the book, and externally to it. He dominated so much that he had to go.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#22 Copy


Was there a person in real life that you based the character Kelsier off of ?

Brandon Sanderson

There is not. Kelsier grew out of the idea, primarily, of the thief who is really good at his job, like the gentleman thief, who then picked up a larger purpose. And I kind of built him out of that. I built him first as kind of the con artist that I wanted to have gone through something that changed him. And I explored that and that's just who he became. But there's not really a specific person.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#23 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fourteen - Part One

Following Kelsier this night is probably one of the dumbest things Vin does in this book. Letting her follow is undoubtedly the dumbest thing Kelsier does in the book. Yet, these two characters are alike in more ways than they may seem at first. Both have a sense of brashness that borders on the foolhardy.

Vin is beginning to understand that there are crews where people truly care about each other. The problem is, she's feeling a very natural (especially for a girl of her age) desire to fit in and be needed. She has a deep-seated fear that she'll be proven useless, then be abandoned by the people that she's only just beginning to understand that she needs.

So, she wants to learn to be useful as quickly as she can. For Kelsier's part, he just feels that he's invincible. It's always been a problem of his. He's the type of man who can make things go his way. It's easy for him to ignore the failures and focus on the successes–like the fact that the Lord Ruler trying to kill him only ended up turning him into a Mistborn.

And so, they infiltrate together. And, this was the natural result.

General Reddit 2013 ()
#24 Copy


It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?

Brandon Sanderson

It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.


Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...


If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The seons and the skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.

It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#25 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fourteen - Part Two

I don't spend an awful lot of time here talking about the back-story with Mare and Kelsier. I'll get to more of it later. However, you know just about all you're going to know about their failed plan. Kelsier thought there was atium in this room. They tried to sneak in. They got caught.

In a way, Kelsier is indeed reliving his last days with Mare by trying to break into the room again. He's a Mistborn now, and he wants to accomplish now what he was defeated in earlier.

This chapter is also another example of the hard edge Kelsier has. He kills his enemies without any pause at all. In my opinion, it was the Pits that did this too him. He's been thought something so horrible that death just isn't as meaningful for him as it once was.

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


Kelsier vs. Kaladin, who wins?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is meaner. Kelsier is sneakier. Raw power - I'm not sure, but I'm gonna go with Kelsier. If its on a battlefield, Kelsier doesn't win. If its off the battlefield, Kelsier wins. Kaladin is a soldier. He can fight a war and fight with a team and he can win a battle. Kelsier can sneak into someones house and stab them.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier Speaks

The final thing I'll note on this chapter is that the voice Spook hears after he's pulled out the spike is actually Kelsier. You'll see Kelsier's voice pop up a few more times in the narrative, now that Preservation is dead.

Ever the meddler, Kelsier can't just sit around and let the world end. Preservation's death left a void, and Kelsier has managed to piggyback his spirit just slightly onto Preservation's power. He can't do much, but he can reach out and whisper a few choice words to people. At least until Vin takes the power and shoves him out.

I know I said he wouldn't come back, but . . . well, he's Kelsier. He doesn't listen to what I say. He just does what he wants.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#31 Copy


1. Which of your protagonist characters do you dislike the most as a person? Taking into account that you know all of their inner secrets and motivations.2. On the flip side. Which of your antagonists do you connect with the most? The Lord Ruler seems an obvious choice as he was misunderstood by everybody for so long. But still, I'm curious.

Brandon Sanderson

  • This is a tough one, as while I'm writing, I HAVE to like everyone. However, the most disturbing of them is probably Kelsier. He's a psychopath--meaning the actual, technical term. Lack of empathy, egotism, lack of fear. If his life had gone differently, he could have been a very, very evil dude.

  • Elend. I see myself as an idealist like him.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's Bones

I don't know if I mentioned it previously in the annotations, but I originally had TenSoon leave Kelsier's bones in Luthadel, burying them again following his appearance to Wellen and the other guard. My alpha readers, however, were very disappointed in this. They saw Kelsier's bones as a very important artifact, and they wanted to see more from them. So, I added the scene where the people in the warehouse saw TenSoon and he gave them advice, then I had him bring the bones with him.

However, I wasn't sure what to do with them. I'd already written the book at this point, and was just revising. I realized there wouldn't be another chance to make use of the bones. But I figured the readers were right, and TenSoon should bring them just in case.

Where the bones are at the end of the book is something of a mystery. They made it back to the kandra Homeland, I'll say that. However, what happened to them then . . . well, you will have to see.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#33 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The bit about Mare betraying Kelsier was one of the little tidbits I'd been reserving for quite some time. I hope that some of you managed to guess it. It only makes sense, I think, considering the emotional torment Kelsier has gone through. In order for him to be the man I want him to be, he has to have faced a TRUE betrayal–a hurtful one.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#35 Copy


Who were Kelsier’s parents?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier’s parents? I haven’t talked a lot about Kelsier’s parents. He's obviously a half-breed. So he was raised in noble society, unlike a lot of the half-breeds. He knew his nature. He gets his skaa half from his mother, but they hid in plain sight. Like, she pretended to be noble.

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


Do you have a pronunciation guide anywhere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, we need to put one of these up. I put one up for Elantris. The trick with pronunciation guides is that, personally, I am kind of a believer in that I write a script where you are the director. You get the script I've provided, and then as you read the story, you are creating the actual final detail of how everything looks and osunds and stuff. And so, in your head, your version of the character names are canon to you, and there is no right pronunciation, really. I can give you the one that I thin is closest to how they would say it in-world, but I don't even always say them right. For instance, I just said Tashikk for the country in the Makabaki region when I was reading the Lift thing. But that's actually the Arab ق (IPA: /q/) sound, I can't even do it, it's the double-q. I can't say that. *Brandon tries to say taʃiq* Peter can do it, my editorial assistant, he's not here, but he can do it. I can't. I say them like an American. I say "KELsier" (ˈkɛlsiər). They say "kelsiEY" (ˈkɛlsiˌei). So, is my version right? My version is wrong, but it's right to me? So, yeah. But if there's a character name you want to know how I say it, I can tell you. Is there one specifically?



Brandon Sanderson

I say shuLAWN (ʃəˈlɔn). But, again, none of us are actually Veden like her, so who knows how they say it? They would have some accent that would be something that I can't even do.


What's Sazed? How do you say that?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Saze? So, I say say-zed (seizɜd). But I say that, and that's how Kelsier says it. Sazed himself is from the Terris region, he's gonna have a slightly different pronunciation. I would say that say-zed is not how he says it. It's gonna be either sawzd (sɔzd) or, it's gonna be something softer like that. I just say it like Kelsier does. But he says it wrong, depending on your definition of wrong.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
#41 Copy


The part of Mistborn Era 1 that I absolutely loved was how the flower drawing made its way among characters, eventually allowing the Hero to place them on Scadrial again. How early was that little plot piece put into the outline? Did the idea for it come from somewhere in particular that you remember? Little details like this are what make me love your work and I just want to get an idea of where they came from.

Brandon Sanderson

The flower plot started as a way to characterize Kelsier. As I've talked about before, I generally start an outline, then write my way into characters with some actual chapters, then go back and finish the outline with these characters in mind.

I knew I needed a way, after writing a few chapters of the book, to indicate to readers who might have missed it that this world has some strange ecology. Providing the picture of a flower, and talking about how strange it was to them (and the legends of it) became a method of showing this, but also showing Kelsier's feelings about Mare. Once I had it written into the book, I planned for it to show up other places, as a kind of visual reminder of what the characters were fighting for. (Even if the reader didn't quite understand how far it would go.)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#43 Copy


I remember reading a WoB about which of your characters you'd invite to dinner (of which Hoid and Kelsier were two) and you said the both of them have a bit of a problem with each other. Is it anything major and when did this problem happen? (Have they also seen each other again now Kelsier's a cognitive shadow?)

Brandon Sanderson


Writing for Charity Conference ()
#44 Copy

Zas678 (paraphrased)

Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier are half-skaa, half-noble, both natural Allomancers, both end up overthrowing the Lord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing what they were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you're looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulate and easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren't paid attention to as much by the Ministry, because the Ministry didn't know about them.

So it's mostly coincidental for what Ruin's trying to achieve

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#46 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Soothes the Koloss

She does it by Soothing the koloss. I think this is probably the easiest of the twists in the book–after all, I showed her doing the exact same thing to a kandra, then told you that kandra and koloss were very similar. So this shouldn't have been too much of a logical leap. If Vin hadn't been exhausted and overworked here, she probably would have figured it out earlier.

I thought it important, by the way, to show her fighting without her powers–and to show that she's still good, even when she doesn't have pewter steel or iron. She's a dangerous person. The metals just make her VERY dangerous.

By the way, I used Kelsier's last words–obliquely–as the thing that pulled her out of her stupor when she fell to the lack of pewter. She's been burning it far too much for this entire book, and hopefully you're expecting her to have to pay for that at some point. She would have dropped unconscious if she hadn't thought of her friends.

Kelsier would have been proud. His last words to her had been a chastisement, since she hadn't been treating their friends as well as she should have. He insisted on rescuing Spook from the cages, rushing into an obvious trap despite the danger. Vin has done nearly the same thing in returning to Luthadel.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#47 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter One

Part One Title

The title of this section of the book is "The Legacy of the Survivor." If I recall correctly, part one of the first book was "The Survivor of Hathsin" and part one of book two was "The Heir of the Survivor."

Kelsier still overshadows these books. In this chapter particularly, I wanted to show an entire group of people doing essentially what he did in book one. Just as Kelsier faced down an Inquisitor, this band of soldiers is going to charge an army of koloss.

MisCon 2018 ()
#48 Copy


In Way of Kings, Jasnah recommends to Shallan the Devotary of Sincerity. Their motto is "There is always something more to discover." That sounds very similar to our favorite Mistborn psychopath's saying; is Kelsier connected to that at all?

Brandon Sanderson