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The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#4 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!

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#6 Copy


What noble houses were Kel and Marsh born into? What's their surname?

Brandon Sanderson

I can't canonize that, yet. I've got it somewhere. Let's RAFO that, for now. That's the sort of thing that I need to run past continuity, make sure that I haven't contradicted it in later books. We should release that, though. It does make sense that people would want to know.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Eight - Part Two

You were probably expecting Marsh's return–at least, you probably were when you read the chapter where he "died." Making Inquisitors via Hemalurgy requires killing other people (see book three for an explanation of the process) so there's a lot of mess involved.

Anyway, I planned for his return here. I wish, again, I could have done more with him. There was another whole book going on with him being watched by the Inquisitors–him thinking that he'd earned their suspicion when they were really just impressed with him and planning to make him one of them. That's how it usually works with Inquisitors–they grab a new recruit, usually an older one, and "draft" him into their ranks before one of the other Cantons has a chance to corrupt him too much. So, they were looking to make another Inquisitor, and Marsh happened to be the most promising recruit training in Luthadel at the time.

He never understood how far his infiltration would take him, or what it would end up costing him. The payoff is that he figured out how to kill Inquisitors–they were all built to have a weakness, so that the Lord Ruler would have power over them if he needed it. Pull out the right spike, and they come tumbling down.

Marsh's plan to kill the Lord Ruler is a good one too. Unfortunately, the Lord Ruler's power doesn't come only from Hemalurgy, but from other things as well. If he'd pulled off the bracelets instead. . . .

Orem signing ()
#8 Copy


Did Harmony give Ironeyes full Mistborn powers, or anything other than what he has with his spikes...

Brandon Sanderson

Just what he has with the spikes, I believe. No-- okay let's say this: Harmony did not do anything... That doesn't mean that Marsh hasn't done things himself.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#9 Copy


In the third Mistborn novel, Marsh's view was shown briefly but what I want to see is a story were one is a main character. This could show many cool stories like, Marsh's training to become an inquisitor (bit like scary hogwarts) or others.


[Brandon], any chance you could squeeze this into the upcoming cosmere short story collection?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm sure I'll do some more Marsh viewpoints eventually, but I have my hands full getting things ready for the collection. (Plus, it has multiple stories from Scadrial already. It's Roshar we're missing.)

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Series Wrap-Up

First Trilogy

Well, that's my first trilogy. I think I improved quite a bit as I wrote these books, and hopefully this ending will satisfy my readers. The inevitable question is going to be "Will there be more Mistborn books?" The answer is "Probably." However, know a few things.

First off, the next series—if I do it—will not include Vin or Elend. They're dead. That's just the way it is. Sorry.

Sazed might make an appearance. He is God, after all. TenSoon is still around. (Sazed stuck the spikes back into him and the other kandra.) Marsh may or may not make an appearance. (I haven't decided if he will survive or not.)

Spook, Ham, and Breeze probably won't make an appearance, though, as I would plan to write the next series some five hundred years after the events in this trilogy. (Remember, TenSoon—as a kandra—is immortal. Marsh is also functionally immortal, as he's both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer, and can combine the powers to reverse his aging. Assuming he has enough atium left from that batch he stole to keep it up for a while, and assuming he managed to grab some cover before the world ended.)

However, this won't be for some time. I've got other projects I want to do, not the least of which is Warbreaker and (probably) its sequel. After that, I want to try a longer series, maybe a five- or six-book one. [Editor's note: Brandon was referring to the Dragonsteel series, which he's now put off in favor of the Stormlight Archive, book one of which, The Way of Kings, comes out on August 31, 2010.]

We shall see.

TWG Posts ()
#11 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.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#12 Copy


Does Marsh know much about what Kelsier's doing during Arcanum Unbounded?

Brandon Sanderson



Okay. Anything else on that, or just a yes until further--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He knows. He's aware. 


I'll read into it. It's probably on 17th Shard or something.

Brandon Sanderson

That's just me, that's not in there anywhere. He's aware, but he's - yeah, yeah. He wasn't aware of all the stuff like he is by now, though, that's what I'll say.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
#13 Copy


At the end of “Alloy of Law” Marsh tells Marasi he is giving the diary to Wax because “.. he does my brother's work”. At this time it was a reminder of Kelsier, but with Secret History and the third book out why does Marsh think we need someone to do his brother's work? Isn't Kelsier doing that himself?

Brandon Sanderson

Well. (laughs) Marsh is of multiple minds on what's happening with Kelsier at this time. When he's referencing his brother's work, he's specifically tells Marasi speaking to the lore of the Survivor. Like he's specifically talking to somebody, and he does believe this. He may not think that Kelsier is doing Kelsier's work anymore. But that depends on... You will see interaction between Marsh and Kelsier in the future.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh was a tricky one to write in this book. Everybody loves him, for some reason, and they were really happy I didn't make him a bad guy at the end of book one. The more I put him into book two, the more readers tended to like him there as well.

However, I've got enough characters in this book that I couldn't really focus on Marsh as much as I would have needed to, so I backed off on him. You'll see some of him in the next few chapters, but then he fades into the background. Simple reasoning is that the book was long enough, even in the planning stages, that I knew I couldn't tackle Marsh and what was going on with him. Not yet, at least.

Starsight Release Party ()
#18 Copy


Are we gonna see any more Marsh in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It's likely you will see some more Marsh.


Do you think book 4? Or next trilogy?

Brandon Sanderson

No. He's more the next trilogy. You might see him in book 4, but I would not hold my breath.


Okay. But he's my main man so I just want to make sure.

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh has been through a lot and he has weathered it well, so...

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Two

Marsh Visits Penrod in Luthadel

This chapter didn't exist in the initial draft of the book; I added it in revisions. I originally liked the idea of the characters happening upon Luthadel later in the book and having to piece together what happened to Penrod from the aftermath of his getting spiked.

Ultimately I decided to drop that in favor of showing this chapter in-scene. It was a tough choice, but knew I needed to show Marsh being active. I also had enough complaints from alpha readers about the lack of news from Luthadel that I realized showing this scene would work better. We are so attached to Luthadel as a city that it's hard not to know what's going on there. Plus, this choice allowed me to include some interesting things—such as talking about what Marsh and the other Inquisitors were doing with their time and showing another character getting spiked.

You may remember one of the spiking attempts on Elend earlier in this novel, right at the beginning. I flirted with putting more of these in, but decided that it would grow too obvious and too heavy-handed if I emphasized it that much. (The scene I toyed with included a madman unexpectedly rushing Elend with a spike.)

I think this is the last of the Marsh insert chapters, meaning others you read after this were in the first draft. You'll probably notice a larger gap before seeing him again. Marsh and TenSoon kind of get lost in this third quarter of the book, I'm afraid. We still see them, but it's infrequently enough that Spook/Sazed and Vin/Elend dominate.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#24 Copy


I believe you've said that you've toyed with the idea of writing books more like Secret History from other characters' viewpoints. Would you consider doing one for Marsh, like, during the events after the Ascension of Harmony to The Alloy of Law?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's a possibility, people have asked me for a Marsh viewpoint before. I would like to do more Marsh. So, we would have to see-- Like, when I do-- if I can find the time for it, Secret History 2-- Mistborn: Secret History 2, that would cover time before the start of Era 2 and it's possible I can slip in some Marsh. I mean, in Secret History we got some Spook, so…

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#26 Copy


Is Marsh happy?

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh is Marsh's version of happy.


I'm just worried about him.

Brandon Sanderson

...He has never been a happy person. But he's in a better place now than he's been in other times of his life.

There's a part of Marsh that really likes skulking around and being an incarnation of Death in peoples' minds. He's not really one, but you know what I mean? There's a part of him, the part that's related to his brother, that really digs that, even if he would never admit it.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Four

Marsh Kills a Smoker

This chapter was a late addition to the book. My agent, during his second read through the novel, noticed that Marsh basically disappeared through the middle of the novel—much as he had in book two. In addition, the reader got very little sense of what was happening in the Central Dominance while all of the characters were out taking care of other cities. In my books, the cities themselves tend to be characters, and Joshua was disappointed to not have at least a few token mentions of Luthadel in the middle of book three.

I agreed with him, and that's where this Marsh chapter—along with the next one—came from. An attempt to have him doing something, rather than just sitting around being controlled by Ruin, while at the same time showing some of what is going on in places where there aren't any main characters to narrate for us.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#33 Copy


We know a bit about the Pathians and the Survivorists in Era 2, but almost nothing about the other major religion of the Basin, Sliverism. Can you share a bit about it and about Marsh's role in it.

Brandon Sanderson

I'd rather not right now. So we'll RAFO that.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#34 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


One of the things about this novel is that the bookends–the beginning and the end–are very closely tied together, with only small strands weaving through the middle. Here, at the end, we come full circle. We find a body, just like the one that Sazed found in the first chapter where we introduced him. Next, we run into Marsh, who vanished so many months ago.

He's actually been in the city. Some of Demoux's people reported seeing an Inquisitor, if you recall, and Vin found footprints inside of Kredik Shaw. Marsh has been here the whole time, watching and waiting.

Now he has something to do.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the beginning and the ending are tied so closely together. On one hand, I worry that you've forgotten about Marsh and the killings the mists caused. On the other hand, I like the symmetry in this book. You think you're done with it after the siege of Luthadel.

Then this happens.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#38 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seven - Part One

The Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship was something that just kind of grew naturally as I was writing. When I started designing the characters for this book, I knew that I wanted Kelsier to have gone through something very traumatic. I settled on a time spent in the Lord Ruler's slave camps, then built his having a wife out of that.

Marsh's unspoken love for Mare wasn't something I originally intended. It actually worked into the story as I was writing this very chapter. I needed tension between Marsh and Kelsier for their relationship to work the way I wanted it to. However, Marsh's disapproval of Kelsier just wasn't enough–especially since Marsh himself had given up leadership of the skaa rebellion, proving that he himself wasn't as much of a hero as he wishes he was.

Mare provided the perfect explanation for their tension. It was something I could imply in just a few sentences, then gain a lot of weight of back-story.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#41 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

Marsh Is Still Around

Short little Marsh chapter here. This is partially just to remind you that he's still around, since he has a part to play in this book.

I learned a little from book two, where I had wanted to use Marsh more but wasn't able to squeeze him in. There were a lot of complaints about this from alpha readers and fans talking about how Marsh was one of their favorite characters, and how they didn't like it that he disappeared throughout most of the book.

The problem I run into is that I can't show too much of what he's doing, as that would reveal Ruin's plans prematurely. I do go into some of what Marsh is up to in subsequent chapters, but I felt that at this point it was too early. So, fairly late in the revision process, I added this chapter in as a reminder of his mindset and what he's up to.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#42 Copy


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.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#43 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

By the way, you probably remember form book one the way that Inquisitors see. They have such a subtle touch with Steel and Iron, and their lines, that they can see via the trace metals in everyone's bodies and in the objects around them.

The thing is, any Allomancer with access to iron or steel could learn to do this. Some have figured it out, in the past, but in current times, nobody–at least, nobody the heroes know–is aware of this. Except, of course, for Marsh.

And he chose not to share it.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#44 Copy


I don't think Marsh would get along too well with Hoid, but are they ever going to hang out?

Brandon Sanderson

*pause* Are they ever going to hang out?


Are they ever going to meet?

Brandon Sanderson

Are they ever going to meet. It is likely that if they both survive for many more books that they would, but I can't promise it.

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


Can you tell us why he's called "Death"?

Brandon Sanderson

Because he is seen usually in creepy situations, and looks creepy, and mythology has grown up. Though that one's also a RAFO for the Secret Histories-- that's a real RAFO for the Secret Histories. I might get into that. But you can assume that the allure of... I mean, there's a little more to it. But I mean, let's say you saw him...


*laughs* That would be... *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

You'd be like, "Ahhhh!" So... But no, I do intend-- there are little things like that, that if I write Secret History 2 I can get into where some of these legends started. So you'll be able to see some of the starts of those and things like that.

General Reddit 2020 ()
#46 Copy


Ooh, I think that's a really good point, Marsh probably should have flared steel or iron or something? /u/mistborn ?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you're right. Good catch, /u/Thevulgarcommander! I believe we caught this already, however, and tweaked future printings.


So does this mean that tin doesn’t enhance Allomantic senses when burned? You’ve said before that windwhispers can store Allomantic senses, so I’m surprised at the difference there

Brandon Sanderson

I just think the passage is confusing, and was better of being tweaked. The new version, if you find it, makes it clearer--I believe he flares both tin and steel/iron.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#47 Copy


When Marsh and Sazed go to the Conventical of Seran, Marsh kind of tells Sazed, "You go do whatever you want, I gotta go do something, I'll be back." What was Marsh's purpose there? Why was he there?

Brandon Sanderson

I intend to do some Marsh stuff, from his viewpoint, eventually. I don't know if I'll ever get to it. There is actually something there. There is something that I intended to leave a place for me to play later on with. So the answer is a RAFO, but a legitimate RAFO. Not a "I'm trying to lead you on," or a "I don't feel like answering this right now."