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Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Melhay

In Mistborn #3 Hero of Ages: It isn't mentioned where all the Steel Inquisitors, Kandra, and Koloss went in the end. Do you feel that they were removed from the world and Sazed took all the lost souls to his better place?

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh survived. (He'll show up in the Mistborn sequel series.) The Kandra were restored, and have taken a vow to live only in animal bodies. There will never be any more of them, but they are functionally immortal. So you'll see them again. The Koloss who were in the cavern at the time survived, and were changed to become a race that breeds true, rather than Hemalurgic monsters. More below.

Words of Radiance Portland signing ()
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Kogiopsis

How did koloss-blooded people happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Koloss-blooded people-- A koloss-blooded is the result of two koloss having a child. A full koloss is only made once you accept the spikes and are mutated into the final form. And so a koloss-blooded-- The koloss can breed true now but that's what you get. And so they actually have a ritual at coming-of-age where you can accept the spikes or you can leave. And so all koloss in the wastes-- in the Roughs that are in the koloss tribes are-- have chosen that and outsiders can choose it too.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

With the hemalurgy, I was a bit confused on how it worked on people and how it worked for kandra, there was the blessings, and one brought them more stability of mind or something. So what is different for kandra than it is for other people?

Brandon Sanderson

The things that are building kandra have ripped off different pieces of souls. Rather than stealing someone else's Allomancy, most of those were just created with regular people. The same way that a koloss... you don't need an Allomancer to make a koloss. You just take a regular person, you rip off a piece of their soul, and you staple it to someone else's, and basically screw up their Spiritual DNA, and you have a koloss. But stapling on someone's Allomancy requires an Allomancer.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

If a mistwraith eats a Koloss will it [?].

Brandon Sanderson

If a Mistwraith eats a Koloss, you're asking "will it become it", um, "will it gain sapience because it now has Feruchemical* spikes?" Any Feruchemical* spike is not necessarily enough to make the creature we call 'Kandra', but there may be very weird side effects to what you just described.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Koloss are something I've been trying to work in for a time. Originally, in the very first draft of Mistborn one, I had them make an appearance in the prologue:

The skaa worked the fields with the lethargy of the hopeless, their motions methodical and listless. Though the sun's light was darkened and ruddied by the ever-present smoke, the day was still oppressively hot. Yet, no skaa man paused to wipe his soot-stained brow–being seen resting by a koloss fieldmaster would invite a whipping.

So, the skaa worked. Eyes down, watching the dirt by their feet, they dug at the weeds–daring not to speak, barely even daring to think. Koloss stalked amidst them, blood-drop eyes alert for signs of skaa laziness.

Obviously, I changed their place in the world drastically. During the drafting of book one, I was still working out what I wanted the koloss to be. I knew they were going to be something monstrous, and as the first draft of Mistborn One progressed, I slowly cut them from the book and decided to save them for book two. As the characters talked about them, the koloss reputation became more and more nasty–and I went so far as to explain that the Lord Ruler himself feared to keep them near human settlements.

So, when it came to plan book two, I put a lot of effort into developing the koloss. I wanted them to be cool visually, live up to their reputations, and work within the worldbuilding and magic of the setting. You'll find out a lot more about them as the series progresses.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

What's the difference between a spike prepared for a Koloss and a spike prepared for a Mistwraith or Kandra? What side effects might occur from... [?]... Koloss spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

It's the pieces of the soul that are being ripped off and the amount of the soul that's being ripped off. That's a big part of it. What side effects would there be? You would probably not get something as intelligent.

Questioner

What's the difference in how you prepare those spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss spikes, you've seen how their done. The Kandra spikes were prepared by the Lord Ruler. He gave them to them, and so we don't know what he did, at least in canon.

Questioner 2

That means that we kind of screwed up the role playing.

Brandon Sanderson

You can totally do- I imagine all the role playing happening in a slightly different alternate universe, where there are slight variations and differences.

But yeah, there are no- Kandra spikes are prepared and given by the Lord Ruler, they didn't even know how to make them themselves. I mean they had an inkling of what went on, but they didn't know.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The God King Has No Tongue

Okay, so here we have the first major reversal in the book. There are several reasons I wanted to write this story. The first was that I loved the concept of the woman being sent to the terrible emperor, only to discover that he was a puppet of someone else. This was a big part of the original Mythwalker plot for Siri, and was a big part of what intrigued me about that story. (As a side note, Mythwalker was also the first place where I tried out the words koloss and skaa for races. They were completely different then, however.)

After writing Mistborn, I became increasingly intrigued with the idea of a complete reversal book—a book that did things very differently from the way I'd done them before. I'd dealt with an all-powerful emperor, and so people would (unconsciously) expect the God King here to be like the Lord Ruler. That gave me more opportunity to use their expectations against them and pull off a reversal of roles like the one in this chapter.

I hope it worked. By now, you were probably suspecting that something odd was up with the God King. However, I hope you weren't expecting something as redefining as the lack of a tongue. In this society, with this magic system, that is an even greater symbol of powerlessness than it would be in our society.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

Where do koloss-bloods come from?

Brandon Sanderson

Where do koloss-bloods come from... Good question. So when two-- When a mommy koloss and a daddy koloss… *laughter* Any natural offspring from two koloss become koloss-blooded, they do not become full koloss unless they decide to take the initiation which involves the spikes.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Phantine

Would a lifeless Koloss still be super strong?

Brandon Sanderson

You see, what is happening to create a koloss is a human soul is taken, sliced up, and sutured back together--with the spikes being the "stitches" that holds it all together. That's a problem, since the various forms of investiture don't play very well together. In Awakening, you're basically giving something a counterfeit soul. (But without the skill or knowledge of something like an Essence Mark.)

This means that in investing the corpse of the koloss, you have troubles. It's going to want to snap back to the original human shape and strength. If you COULD overcome this, then yes, it would be stronger.

General Reddit 2013 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Fun fact: Hoid, the character who has shown up in each of my cosmere books, had a brief stint as one of my high school D&D characters. He didn't start life there, but I did try to build a character for him. So I've done the same thing. (Koloss made their first appearance in a game I ran, though they were far more demonic in nature.)

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Five

Koloss-blooded

I've mentioned before, obliquely in interviews, that Sazed transformed the koloss during his ascension. Part of what he did restored their sentience to more human levels, and he changed the way they interact with Hemalurgy. (And that's all I'll say about it for now.)

Anyway, yes, it's possible for someone to be a koloss-blood. I'm reserving an explanation for precisely what this is, and how it works, for a future book.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Tehdren

For instance, a person's spiritual component knows how old they are.

Wow. Has this been talked about before? This kind of seems like a big tidbit. Now we have some idea of how Hoid changes his age?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't said if this is a method Hoid uses or not, but it's part of the reason the Lord Ruler turned to dust when he lost his metalminds. (His body tried to match the age his spirit said he was.)

Phantine

If they somehow killed the Lord Ruler in a conventional manner, would he still have turned to dust?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. The metalminds would have stopped being tapped, and the spirit of the matter would probably still have had this strange effect. Not it didn't happen to the bodies of the shard vessels who died.

Phantine

Would koloss spikes turn off when they die too, so dead ones shrivel up like raisins?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy changes the spirit. So not necessarily.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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.)

FAQFriday 2017 ()
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Questioner

Are Hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are koloss and kandra also something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, actually.

Fabrial means specifically a bit of Investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else. Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity. In most Hemalurgy, Investiture keyed to the Identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul. Not the same, though I can see the confusion.

Koloss and kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an Invested spike. In the cosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (Spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner 1

Alloy of Law.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm.

Questioner 1

We've got koloss-born guys.

Brandon Sanderson

Mhm. 

Questioner 1

What's their origin?

Brandon Sanderson

So... Currently in Mistborn-- And I delve into this a lot more in the later books, but, you know, it's not a big spoiler so I can tell you. Um... Koloss have become... They can breed, but when some-- when a child is born to them it is born as a koloss-blood. It is not born the full thing, right? Grows up normally, and at maturity, at their right of passing, they can choose to ma-- take the step, gain-- get the spikes, and turn into actual, true koloss. Or if they don't, they have to leave the tribe and go... You know.

Questioner 1

But they're more, like, human size? Like, human looking?

Brandon Sanderson

They're human size, human-- I mean, they've got some residual effects. They're a little bit tougher. But yeah...

Questioner 1

Yeah, that's what I thought. Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

But yeah. General, they can be human. And so what you're seeing in Tarson is some-- one of those who actually came and-- He's the son of a full koloss-blood and a human Allomancer, which makes an Allomancer koloss-blood.

Questioner 1

Okay. So that's what I thought. A little human interbreeding. *unintelligible* weird.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, um, and a human could, if they wanted to, go convince the koloss to accept them, join the tribe, and get spiked. So yeah...

Questioner 2

It makes their skin saggy, and they start growing...?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It makes their skin saggy, and start growing, and start ripping, and all that sort of stuff.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Oh, and as bonus aside, let me point something out to you. Human and his group of koloss were inside the Homeland when the sun came out, destroying everything on the surface. They were still there when Sazed rearranged the world and fixed things. TenSoon and the kandra were also inside, though they had been turned into mistwraiths. Hum . . . Wonder what happened to them. . . .

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Zehahahaha

So, I'm having a discussion with some people on discord and we were wondering, what color is a koloss's genitals?

I know Sazed gave them the ability to breed, and the discussion stemmed from Koloss-blooded people. If you can give me an answer, I'd be incredible grateful! If not, thanks for your time anyway. I know you're busy and silly questions don't exactly endear me to you.

Brandon Sanderson

I imagine they'd pull a Dr. Manhattan, and the genitalia would be blue. I'll admit, I haven't given it much thought, though.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Four

Vin sits and thinks in the mists

Most of the logbook entries that you're seeing Vin reference in this book were used as epigraphs in the first book. As I mentioned in that book's annotations, one of my goals in this series was to finish the rough drafts of all three books before the first novel went into production. I had a lot of plans for the series when I started the first book, but I knew that there would be a lot of things I wouldn't be able to nail down until I had Book Three worked out. (You'd be surprised at the connections and ideas you come up with as you work through things on the page.)

I realized that I'd want to be able to foreshadow and worldbuild in a way that pointed toward the third book, as I thought that would give the series a powerful cohesion. For instance, when I was working on the first book (and planning the series) I knew I wanted to use the mist spirits and the koloss in this second book. However, when I was planning the series, my worldbuilding had included the use of SEVERAL different "Mist Spirits" rather than just one. In addition, as I was working on the first book, I realized that the koloss just weren't working, and so I cut them from that book to leave them for this novel, where I would have more time with them. (Allowing me to better define for myself what they were like.)

By the time I finished this book, I realized that–for the mythology I wanted–there could only be a single mist spirit. Also, I knew pretty darn well what koloss were. It was very helpful to have finished this novel before Book One came out, as I was able to go back and revise the logbook entries which referenced "spirits" in the mists so that they spoke of just a single spirit instead. I also had characters speak of koloss in book one the same way they do in book two.

Not big changes, but I think they improve the feel of the series.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How does rewriting the Spiritual aspect work?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...So, it has ramifications through the other two Realms. It can happen. You've seen it happen.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

That's what happens with kandra, right?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, to an extent, yes.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

With the koloss?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, both of them. Hemalurgy is, like, sticking a piece of someone's spirit to another person's spirit and creating a Frankenstein's monster of spirits.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Seven - Part Two

Human Tries to Make a New Koloss

Yes, koloss are people. I assume that many of you guessed this. Then, again, many of you probably didn't. The clues are there, if you care to look—including the fact that small spikes were found in the koloss bodies after the siege of Luthadel. (It's mentioned at the end of book two.)

Unfortunately, the heroes just don't know enough about Hemalurgy to make the connection until this dramatic reveal by Human. There are only three magic systems in this book—all related, all dealing with metal. It's mentioned in book two that koloss, Inquisitors, and—yes, even kandra—are related in some way. All were created by the Lord Ruler during his Ascension.

And all were created from existing material, one might say. There's a little more depth to the kandra, since they're a race that (kind of) breeds true. You'll see as the book progresses. However, all were created through Hemalurgy, and the spikes are very, very important.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

How do koloss breed? It doesn't make any sense to us?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So... A child born to a koloss and a koloss, or a koloss and anybody else, is what we call a koloss blooded. They don't become a full koloss until they undergo the ritual and are spiked.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay. But also they didn't have the gender parts.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They do have gender parts.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do koloss have hair?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...It depends on the form. Some do, some don't. But, in general, they do. But it's not-- Here's the thing, it's not quite hair. They're not mammalian.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

What are they if they're not mammalian?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

They are their own-- uh, yeah.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss Attack Anyway

That's not to say that there aren't some very daunting things happening in this chapter. Ruin controls the koloss, and always has. Every time that Vin and company took control of them, Ruin allowed it. He didn't always like losing Inquisitors to the fights, and sometimes would have preferred that the battles went differently. However, when it came down to either having the koloss under his direct control, or having them under Vin and Elend's control, he chose the latter. Because it set him up for a time like this, when he could turn their own army against them.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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Darkless

I have my own theory but I thought I should ask, if the koloss reproduce through Hemalurgic spike's how can there be half koloss in Alloy of Law.

Brandon Sanderson

I am holding this answer back for future books, I'm afraid. I have said some things, but the full truth is still subject to debate. I will answer this eventually in the books.

Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide ()
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Kaimipono

Also, are koloss just naturally bad-tempered, even without Ruin's influence? Cause the koloss are still taking swipes at Sazed immediately after the merger. (And, does Sazed zap all the koloss? Did they all get toasted by the sun? But what about Human and his friends underground? Are there still koloss around? Just wonderin'.)

Brandon Sanderson

Koloss were bad tempered before Ruin's influence, though he certainly made them worse. They were designed by the Lord Ruler to be aggressive, so aggressive that they would destroy themselves if they got loose and away from him. (This was intentional. Note that he didn't give the spark of humanity in them enough credit, and they managed to overcome this and 'evolve' in a way to keep their species going, even after he died.)

There ARE still koloss around, though many of them were vaporized. Human is alive. Sazed took pity on them, however, and they have been transformed. They are now a race that breeds true, like the Kandra, and have different thought processes from what they once had. You'll see more of them in the sequel series.