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Bands of Mourning release party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

In Alloy of Law, Marasi goes to see Wax in his house and he was doing experiments, she describes him as being oddly-- looking oddly younger than he had before. Is that relevant or is that just because he’s excited about--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it's more that, and more she had this picture in her head of him and things like that. There's no actual magical thing going on there. It's an excellent question.

Calamity release party ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

It seemed like in Alloy of Law you made us like Marasi better than Steris, and then kind of switched it. Was your intention the whole time for them to end up with Steris, or...?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes.

Questioner

Okay, it was.

Brandon Sanderson

In fact, I like Steris a lot in the first book. But you are seeing things through the eyes of other characters. And Steris takes a little bit of time to warm up to. Like, many people like her. And once you get to know here--which, I always knew her--then there's a level of <thoughtfulness> there.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Dinner conversation with Marasi

This is probably a good point to talk about Marasi too. She's a little more simple than Steris, but also more innately likable.

Marasi represents me playing with concepts of how to make strong female characters. I'm well aware that in fiction, one of the most simple ways to make someone strong—male or female—is to make them capable in combat. Whether it's Vin or Kaladin, being able to kick butt and take names on a battlefield leads to a powerful sense of competence and self-confidence. It's only one side to those characters, of course, but it's an important side.

It shouldn't be the only way to be strong, however. Though I'm very pleased with Vin's ability to be both feminine and combat-savvy, I don't want to fall into the trap of implying that only those who can lay waste to their enemies are strong. I have conversations about this in The Way of Kings, but this story felt like a place to put some of it into practice.

I'm curious to see what people think of Marasi. I gave myself a challenge with her—create a female lead who is also very young and inexperienced, prone to blushing, and has no interest whatsoever in picking up a gun. I hope that she ends up interesting in her own right.

Shardcast Interview ()
#6 Copy

Comatose

In Lost Metal, you had Marasi ultimately reject Kelsier’s offer of joining the Ghostbloods, and I think that's a decision we've seen some division on with the fans. So I'm curious, what’s your analysis and thoughts on that? Because it was an interesting and fun character choice.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I'm not surprised there's some division of fans; there was division among the beta readers on this. And there is even—like, I, as I was writing the book, left myself the option to have her join if I wanted her to. I didn't lock myself in in that part of the outline.

My instinct was this isn't a good place for her. And so why…? And then when I got to the end am like, no, this isn't a good place for her. So, you know, Marasi’s journey through the books has been, "how do I change the world?", "how much am I interested in changing the world?", and "how much do I change the world?". Kind of in conversation with the dreams that she had as a younger person and the reality that she's now living?

And one of the things I wanted to deal with in this book was this idea that she is kind of worried that she's just— she's becoming a cop, with all that that entails, right? That there's a culture to that and whatnot. And should she be doing more? And all of that. And so that did lead a lot toward the whole Ghostbloods thing, right? And I expected a lot of people to be like, "Oh, yeah, well, here's the easy answer."

The problem is Kelsier is just such a terrible match to Marasi, right? Like personality-wise, you know, Kelsier is about the shadows. He honestly believes that if all the information were known that it would be worse for the world. He can share it in a small group. And he's got this sort of "I need to take care of people and I need to do it my way" sort of philosophy, which is really antithetical to somebody like Marasi, who, you know, her whole thing is "we need to be better as a society, not as individuals, and we need to be—". And so I at the end decided this is just a really bad place for her, right?

But she needed a place. Actually, the first draft of the book, I didn't have her make the decision to go into politics. She had rejected politics in the first book, right? She’s like, "I'm not going that way, that’s not that's not for me." And I went double back on that. I'm like, no, this is probably the right route for her, which is nice because like, it it kind of snapped together for me at that point when I did the revision to be like, no, she does need something. If she's going to turn down Kelsier, she needs something.

You know, you will have some fun in Era 3. Era 3, I don't know…? I warned you I might spoil unwritten books… Have I said this? I might have said this—you guys will know—Era 3’s working title for the series is Ghostbloods, right? And so like you know Mistborn: Ghostbloods is what Era 3 is going to be called, most likely. So if you were sad, well, just remember if Marasi joined the Ghostbloods we're still skipping decades. You would not have been able to see her as a member of the Ghostbloods. But that's what the name of the next series is going to be.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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zas678

A little safer question- Why did you not have Waxillium fall for Marasi? Why stick with the contract with Steris?

Brandon Sanderson

Marasi, as she was in Alloy of Law, was just plain wrong for Wax. As I write books, I allow my characters to grow more free-form (while my setting and plot are outlined in detail.) In writing the book, I felt that a Marasi hook-up at the end would not only be wrong for the character, but wrong for the story. If I do direct sequels (which I probably will) perhaps things will change.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#9 Copy

dissociation844

As a women, I loved reading about Vin who was a strong female leading character in Mistborn. It's not something easily found in the fantasy world unfortunately. While I loved Vin, I felt pretty sad after reading about the swooning-over-an-older-man tripe that was Marasi in The Alloy of Law. It felt like kind of a 360 for me after reading about Vin.

I really loved Mistborn and The Way of Kings was great, but I am just wondering if you are planning any more work with strong female leads?

Brandon Sanderson

Marasi was designed specifically to be a contrast to Vin, and to put her in a place where she really had some growth to do. I spent periods of time as a Marasi (though, in my case, swooning over women) when I was younger. I think most of us are like that at some point in our lives, and I like trying characters with different types of arcs and personalities, so I suggest giving her a little time.

I have several stories in the works I think will fit this conversation, though when they come out will really depend on timing. The 1980's era Mistborn series also has a female lead, as does one of my YA projects.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#10 Copy

NotOJebus

If Wax/Marasi had worked out, he'd probably have been okay with it, for example.

Was there ever a chance this was going to be the case?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there was a slight chance. It wasn't what I had planned, but even an outline writer like myself must be willing to change plans as a story adapts. So until a book is published, there's a chance things will change.

However, in this case, the more I wrote, the more confident I was that this path was the right one.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nine

Wax and Marasi talk philosophy and his past

This sort of thing is another hallmark of the Mistborn books. (And, well, perhaps my writing in general.) I intended this book to be faster paced than what I term an "epic" like any of the books in the original trilogy. I wanted to move at a fair clip and not get slowed too often by conversations like this one. However, conversations like these are what add depth to characters for me, so I didn't feel it right to cut them completely.

Here, we get to see Waxillium's and Marasi's different views on life, the ways that who they are ground what they do. Waxillium is a realist. He sees things as they are. (Or how he thinks they are, at least.) He has a touch of a philosopher inside of him, as he wonders about what the truth is—but he wants to find that truth, prove it. He's not unaccommodating or harsh, but he does believe in absolutes and wants to find them.

Marasi is more interested in extremes because they're interesting, not because she is seeking for truth or reality. She's like a moth drawn to flame, fascinated by outliers. She's good with numbers and statistics, and can find those outliers; then she reads as much as she can about them. She could name for you every serial killer in Elendel's history, and talk about their lives and what led them to do what they did. She wouldn't consider it morbid, just fascinating. Wax, reading the same thing, would find his eye twitching. He'd get through a part of the reading, then find himself out on patrol, trying to run across someone doing something wrong that he could stop.

Holiday signing ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

So you initially said that you had started the first third [of Shadows of Self] and then you took a break for two years.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, mmhmm

Questioner

I kind of get the feeling that in the first third The Set was supposed to be the Big Bad villain of the second book and then you massaged it into the kandra.  Is that the case or--

Brandon Sanderson

No the kandra was always planned as the second book villain. When I sat down to do the outline of the three, that is when I decided-- So yeah it was the kandra. The big change is that Marasi wasn't working at all, that's probably one of the reasons I stopped it. I had to rebuild her from the get go in that one, and she works much better in the revision. I was pushing her in the first draft more toward lawyer/attorney stuff and it just wasn't working, it's not where she wanted to go.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Wax and Marasi talk in Ranette's house

There's a tiny bit of sexual tension between the two of them. It's not supposed to be very strong, as Lessie's death hovers over Wax like a shadow. He's not really looking for romance, and I didn't want to push the book too much in that direction.

I'm assuming that people will pick up on Marasi as a romantic interest from the get-go. And, of course, I therefore hope that they find themselves a little bit upended when Wax stubbornly ignores, or resists, the story cues that he's supposed to be falling for Marasi. Because so far, he's really not. Though who she is looks good on paper for him, it's just not right, and he knows it. Sometimes in real life, you put two people together and they start dating. They seem perfect for one another, but for some reason there's nothing there.

Part of it is the hero worship that Marasi has. He can sense it, and that makes him uncomfortable. He worries that she's interested in him merely because she has read so much about Wax the lawkeeper. Unfortunately, he's right. She doesn't know him. She could fall for the real him—and she's in the process of doing that—but from his perspective there's still something wrong with this relationship. Too many things wrong, I should say.

An interesting note here is that my editor took great effort in this scene (for some reason) to shorten "Waxillium" each time it was mentioned to simply "Wax." I didn't catch what he'd done until the copyedit. That was utterly wrong, because this is Wax's viewpoint. And in his head, he now sees himself as Waxillium, and not just Wax. If you never noticed it, read through the book again and pay attention to when he calls himself Waxillium and when he calls himself Wax. It's done very deliberately.

Peter Ahlstrom

What name other characters use for Wax when talking to or thinking about him is something to pay attention to throughout this series.