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Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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Questioner

I've noticed that Seons and Spren are very, very similar but i haven't seen anything like that in the Mistborn world.

Brandon Sanderson

In Mistborn the Investiture took other forms. It never obtained sapience in the same way. Its theoretically possible that it could have but it.. yeah.

Questioner

So it wouldn't be like the Mist?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you could say that the Mist has a bit of sentience to it, so yes, but there are a bunch of different things going on. On one hand, you've got, right up to the end, Preservation's Cognitive Shadow still around doing stuff, basically still there, so that's preventing it. It's just a very different situation.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
#2 Copy

Lady Radagu (paraphrased)

Were there cadmium/bendalloy and possibly chromium/nicrosil mistings in the Final Empire? If yes, were the mists Snapping those too?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um, yes, there were, but since the mists were trying to create a pattern to be a sign, and people didn't know all the metals, they (the mists) had to use substitutions. They were acting the way we've seen other cognitive shadows, who are deceased, act.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

The Mists Form

In writing this book, I had to nail down a few worldbuilding issues I'd been contemplating even before the first trilogy ended. What would happen to the mists, for instance, once Sazed took over and became Harmony?

The mists, obviously, are a big part of the series. It didn't make sense—either narratively or worldbuilding-wise—to lose them completely. However, they'd been created as an effect of Preservation trying to use his essence to fight against Ruin's destruction of the world. So . . . wouldn't they go away?

I decided that Sazed would still send them. They're part of the nature of the world now. To acknowledge what had happened, they wouldn't come every night any longer. But they would come. They were changed in that they are no longer simply the raw power of Preservation; they're now a part of Harmony—so they no longer pull away from Hemalurgy in the same way as they used to. They still have the odd effect of being able to power Allomancy. (And Feruchemy as well—if one knows how to do it.)

The mists are, in part, the raw power of creation. And when one is favored of Harmony, the mists have a greater effect than they might otherwise have. We'll see more of this later.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Observes the Mists

There's a lot going on in this chapter, even though it seems to basically be filler. Again, the setup in my books can be rather extensive. I apologize if you find this sort of thing slow, but it's how I work. Maybe if I point out some of the important factors of the chapter, it will highlight what I'm trying to do.

First off, we have Vin pointing out to the reader that the mists are definitely supernatural. Included in this are the fact that they don't go indoors, the way they pull away from Vin but spin around other Allomancers, and the way they vanish too quickly before the sun. Added to that is the part where Human says he can sense a hatred from the mists.

These things are all related and connected to Vin in ways that—if you've read the book already—you should be able to pick out on your own.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eight

Killer Mists

The mists kill now. That was a major plot point from book two, so I hope you haven't forgotten it.

Not only was it necessary for the mythology of the world—as will be explained—it was a necessary shift for Vin's personality. This series is about, as I've stated before, the concepts of trust, betrayal, and faith. The mists are the one thing Vin thought she could trust, but now they have turned against her. How she deals with that is a big part of this book.

If you watch throughout the book, Vin has a stronger reaction against the mists than other characters. True, they're worried about the way it's killing people, but Vin is bitter—almost hateful. This is partially because she feels betrayed, but another factor is the taint of Hemalurgy—and therefore Ruin's touch—in her blood.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin's Plan

I had to make sure to expand Vin's explanation for why she was doing what she was doing. A lot of alpha readers were confused at what Vin was planning and why she left, so I added a few paragraphs talking about putting herself in danger. It's not a fantastic plan, but it's all she can think of.

It so happens that she's wrong about why the mists are helping her. It isn't based on need or desire at all—she's fallen to a logical fallacy known as false cause. She's seen two analogous sets of information and incorrectly deduced that they are related. But, well, she's can't do everything right. This is as good a decision as any, considering the fight that Fadrex is facing.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Drawing upon the Mists

Vin draws upon the mists here for the second time. I kind of wish I'd been able to make her do it in the second book somewhere, but I decided to back off on that plot in book two. The thing is, Vin drawing upon the mists is kind of deus ex machina, and I didn't want to make the entire series about that. It's a mystery to be explained, true, and was worked into the magic system from the beginning. But I can't deny that it feels like it comes out of nowhere.

So, having her use her ability to draw upon the mists here was an attempt to have that happen sometime other than a major climax moment, reminding the reader of what happened back in book one so we can begin to delve into what was happening and why.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nineteen - Part One

This book is not a story about the history of the Final Empire or Allomancy. Those things will come in later novels. This is the story of a girl learning to overcome her trust issues, while at the same time the story of a beaten people resisting despite the odds.

However, I did want to give some clues as to the nature of this world and its mythology. The biggest clue outside of the logbook comes in the way that the mists themselves react to someone using Allomancy. They swirl around him or her. This is meant to show that the mists are not something natural. They're more than a weather pattern; they're part of the magic of this world.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Draws In All the Mist

Here we finally have Vin suck in the mists and use them to fuel her Allomancy completely. I began building this plot arc way back in book one, which ends with Vin drawing upon the mists to fight the Lord Ruler. It took me all the way until here to make good on that, though I still don't even explain how or why she was able to do it. Eventually I'd like to be able to do that, but we'll see. It's bigger than this trilogy. I have to leave some secrets for later.

I do want to mention that this scene of Vin blasting Kredik Shaw to pieces was quite fulfilling to write for some reason. It feels like the end of a series to me, with familiar places being torn down and old expectations being dismantled.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

The Mists Strike Down Demoux

I knew we needed a meaningful casualty from the mistsickness, somebody who we knew and cared about. I don't know if readers care about Demoux, but he's the only one among the crew who could be susceptible to the mists. My intention is that striking him down here impacts the reader directly, making the danger of the mists more concrete.

I maintain a paranoid worry that somewhere in this book, or the previous one, Demoux went out into the mists and should have fallen sick then. I can't think of an instance, and I do believe I could reasonably make this the first time he's exposed to them. But still I worry that I've missed something. I'm sure my loyal—and very meticulous—fans will let me know if I did.

(Note that Demoux would have had to go out in the mists after the time when they started killing people. This happened while Vin approached the Well of Ascension—by way of trivia, the mists changed the very moment the full power of the Well returned to be drawn again. Anyway, any times Demoux went into the mists before then would not have inoculated him.)

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

I'm going through Hero of Ages...again and I noticed...when Vin takes the power of Preservation into herself the descriptions remind me a lot of someone who has been Invested with Stormlight--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--are those powers very similar--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--in how they operate?

Brandon Sanderson

Ye-- Definitely some similarities. You will see a lot of mist in Stormlight if you are looking. So yeah.

Questioner

It like puffs out like mist.