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OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

In Elantris it talks about how the wood and stone in the city is rotten and crumbling. Why does this happen?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is because when objects become Invested for long periods of time their Spiritweb changes to accommodate the Investiture. When the Investiture was pulled up off the stuff in Elantris, its Spiritweb was severely damaged so it showed that in the Physical Realm. This happened with the Lord Ruler when the Bands of Mourning were ripped out of him.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

The Lord Ruler, sixteen-- all sixteen metals, full metalminds, and can compound versus Rand at the end of A Memory of Light *laughter/cheering*

Brandon Sanderson

...At that point probably Rand. Sorry. *cheering*

Questioner

But the Lord Ruler has luck, he can Compound luck.

Brandon Sanderson

He can do a whole lot of stuff. Now if it's the Lord Ruler during the moment of Ascension, it's the Lord Ruler, but post-Ascension? No.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

Who is the Lord Ruler’s child/children?

Brandon Sanderson

People are searching a little too hard for this, he had several, they mixed with the population.  There might be specific individuals who claim heirship and things like that but it’s not like there’s one hidden person among the population, does that make sense?  Even those who claim heirship may not have any more blood than a lot of other people.  I think this is one where fans have latched onto it a little too strongly and I need to let them know they can back off, there’s not a big secret for them to be hunting.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Yomen is one of my favorite characters in this book. In fact, I've liked all three main human villains—the Lord Ruler, Zane, and Yomen—from this series. All were intended to present an antagonist who, in some ways, wasn't as expected. You'll see much more of Yomen in the future, of course, but know that Slowswift isn't lying. Yomen is a good man—and a dedicated one. Perhaps too dedicated.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Inscription on the Cache's Steel Plate

The Lord Ruler's words here are probably the most altruistic things he wrote in his entire life. Elend worries sometimes that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler, and the truth is that—in part—he is. The difference is that the Lord Ruler started out as a spiteful, petty man and learned through the power he held to be more responsible with it. Elend was a good-hearted, idealistic man—and leadership tempered him into someone a little more realistic.

I guess I'm saying that power doesn't always have to corrupt. In many ways, I think it can change a man for the better.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#8 Copy

dyring

A Coinshot able to store weight can, as you showed us with Wax Push in a ridiculously powerful manner, as the weight/mass is the largest factor which controls the Push strength.

I'm wondering if the same can be done with soothing(or rioting). If you where to increase your identity, that may/should increase your emotional imprint(or whatever you might call it), would your soothings/riotings become vastly more powerful in a similar way as weight makes steelpushing more powerful?

And if it does, is this how the Lord Ruler improved his Soothing in such a spectacular fashion?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, the Lord Ruler--don't forget--could compound any Allomancy he wanted. That creates some crazy effects. As for what you discuss in your first question, I don't want to touch too much on Identity yet as I am saving it for later books. Talking too much here might undermine my ability to reveal interesting and cool things in books when the time is right. I like your theory, and it has merit, but I'm not going to give you a yes or a no as it delves too much into what Identity, as an attribute, can do.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I put the Lord Ruler in black and white—rather than just black, as I'd originally planned—to give metaphoric reference to his belief that he is God. He's both black and white—he encompasses all, and controls all. Of course, he's faking. In the mythology of this world, there are two forces—Ruin and Preservation—and he really only touched one of the two powers. But, then, we'll have more on that in later books.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

Did the Lord Ruler create the lerasium that he gave to the ten foreign kings? Or where they put there by Leras--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question… No one's asked me that before, I don't believe. Did the Lord Ruler create the lerasium that he gave-- No, he found the lerasium. It was existent before his Ascension.

Questioner

Can I ask if it was placed there intentionally by Leras or did it sort of grow similar to how atium--

Brandon Sanderson

The Lord Ruler-- It was not placed for him, he had to-- he had to get it.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

What's lerasium?

Brandon Sanderson

That is the bead of metal that Elend finds at the end of Book 2, that Vin finds and gives to Elend.

Questioner

Oh so there were only two and the Lord Ruler kind of left it there?

Brandon Sanderson

There actually were a bunch of them, and the first Mistborn came from people who ate that. The Lord Ruler took one for himself and he left others there to use if he needed them.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#14 Copy

Lurcher

What would have happened if the Lord Ruler survived to take the power from the Well? Would he have tried to fixed Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

By that point in the Lord Ruler's life, he probably would not have. He would like the world where it is, and he was not 100% cognizant of how far he had fallen from his original ideas. So, it would not have been, I think, a good thing. It may have been not as bad as the disaster that followed, in fact I know it would not have been, but in the end, Scadrial needed to go through that eventually. So it would have just delayed that.

Lurcher

So, would he just kind of use up the power? Held it, and let it--

Brandon Sanderson

He would have done something with it. Maybe with the Southern Continent or something. But he wouldn't have fixed anything, he probably would have made things a little worse.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#16 Copy

babididum

Did the Lord Ruler have any hobbies / anything he just enjoyed doing not related to being a tyrant?

Brandon Sanderson

He did. Actually, across a thousand years he tried pretty much everything. He was most fond of music.

Argent

Composing, playing, or listening to?

Brandon Sanderson

Playing and listening to. Not composing.

KeleksBreath

Did he perhaps play the flute?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he did.

TheCurseOfEvilTim

Is that the flute Hoid gave to Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#18 Copy

Phantine

How cosmere-aware was the Lord Ruler? If a Returned waltzed into Kredik Shaw, would he have any idea what was going on? Or at least be able to recognize, "Hey that guy seems Endowmenty."

Brandon Sanderson

Aware enough to know he wasn't alone, but not so aware that he'd know specifics. He didn't hold the power long enough to explore outward very far.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#19 Copy

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.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I figured it would make sense that the Lord Ruler would be so old, so experienced, and so powerful that he wouldn't be able to be lied to. He's been around people for centuries and centuries. It's very hard to fool him.

His extreme power in Allomancy takes a little bit more explaining. It'll take me three books to get to the real reasons for that one. So, you'll need to be patient.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#21 Copy

Questioner

You've mentioned that the Lord Ruler had children? Have we been introduced to any of them in the books?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

Interesting. But they're out there?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, they were. It's been a while... Descendants, potentially. You have not met any of the Lord Ruler's children.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#22 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Those of you who have read to the end might wonder where the Lord Ruler got his fantastic healing powers. Well, it has to do with Feruchemy. See, the ability to heal one's body is one of the things a Feruchemist can store up. And, the Lord Ruler's power–by being both Allomancer and Feruchemist–is to draw near-infinite power from his Feruchemical storages by burning them. He can be any age he wants. He can live as long as he wants. And, he can heal as quickly and much as he wants. More on this in book two.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Iceblade44

So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#27 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. . . .

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#28 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Eight - Part Four

So, my favorite secret in the novel is the fact that the Lord Ruler is actually Rashek. I'm still not sure if this revelation will mean as much to readers as I want it to–it depends on them reading, and caring, about the story that happened in the past. However, when it all comes together, I think it really pays off.

So, the concept that started me on this book was "What if the Dark Lord won?" I thought about that, then figured it would be more scary if the hero had become the Dark Lord–only something worse. Kind of a "What if Frodo kept the ring?" idea. Well, I eventually decided to twist that into a "What if Sam killed Frodo and took the ring, then became a Dark Lord?" Like Kelsier says, there's always another secret.

The story, of course, grew into much more from there. The interaction between Rashek and Alendi (the unnamed hero from the logbook) was interesting enough to me that I decided to give it its own story, told through the chapter bumps. I see this book as actually having three prime viewpoint characters: Vin, Kelsier, and Alendi.

My favorite kinds of revelations are after this nature–things that the reader has been familiar with, yet not quite understanding, the entire book. Things you could have figured out much earlier, if you'd really been paying attention to the right clues.

These clues, then, led to the source of the Lord Ruler's immortality. It has been foreshadowed that age is one of the things that Feruchemists can store up, and we've established that the Lord Ruler can change his age. So, I don't think it was too great a stretch to make Vin understand that his Feruchemical storages were somehow behind his immortality. You'll get more explanation of this in the epilogue.

Skyward release party ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

God-King versus God-King. Susebron versus Rashek, who comes out on top?

Brandon Sanderson

Rashek, probably.

Questioner

By a lot or a little?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, here's the thing. I think Susebron is at the disadvantage in almost every situation.

Questioner

Okay. How so?

Brandon Sanderson

Rashek has been alive longer. Rashek knows what he's doing. Rashek has martial training. Rashek has killed a lot of people, Susebron never has. Fewer scruples. His magic is way more combat-oriented. He can get out of range a lot easier. He has power emotional Allomancy, which Susebron would *inaudible*.

Granted, he's got so much investiture, he may be able to shrug that off. But still, I would put Rashek at the advantage.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
#30 Copy

king of nowhere (paraphrased)

The lord ruler moved Scadrial closer to the sun, and orbital dynamics dictate that so its time of revolution would also become shorter. how did that impact the ages of the characters, and how did it impact the 1024 years of refilling of the well?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that Arcanum unbounded will contain all the calendars and that peter made actual orbital calculations. Brandon also confirmed that the characters ages were really earth ages, and that the lord ruler kept the old calendar in the final empire, even though it did not fit with the length of the year. That sounded very strange to me, but then I remembered that we already have the Islamic calendar who doesn't follow the year, so a calendar not coinciding with the year is something never seen before. he also confirmed that modern Scadrial has an earth-like year duration, which we already knew. he said that people only started asking that in the last year and he was surprised it took that long to ask about that.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#32 Copy

Chaos

You have said the fandom puts too much emphasis on the Lord Ruler's children. Is that because the Lord Ruler suppressed his ability to pass on his abilities to them?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Chaos

Brandon, that makes no sense. What? Now I'm even more upset. It's actually my fault, 'cause I keep telling people that the Lord Ruler's kids should be important, so you can blame me.

Brandon Sanderson

People can be important and not be cosmere-relevant.

Chaos

Yeah, but they'd be like super-powerful Mistborn!

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, who died nine hundred years ago!

Chaos

But he spent so much time getting Feruchemy away from Allomancy!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's true.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#34 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The First Noblemen Weren't Rashek's Friends

I'm curious to know if anyone figured out the logical problem with the Terrismen becoming nobility. It's what everyone assumed, and it's been mentioned in the previous books. Everyone knows that the Lord Ruler made his friends into Allomancers.

Only, he didn't. That's simply a fabrication he allowed to continue as rumor, then become fact, so that he could cover up the origins of the kandra. The men who became the first Allomancers were actually foreign kings. Rashek knew that he could conquer the world if he needed to—but he also knew that it would be a lot easier to rule that conquered world if he had allies and kingdoms who joined him out of desire, not out of fear. So, he offered Allomancy to the royal families who would give their allegiance to him. Once he showed off his own power as a Mistborn, he managed to get several important monarchs to throw their weight behind him. They got to be Allomancers.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#37 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

"Then you have doomed us all."

We can finally explain the Lord Ruler's final quote, given at the end of book one and then quoted again in this chapter. "You don't know what you've done," he said. "You've doomed yourselves." (Or, at least, something like that. I hate it when I misquote myself, but it happens a lot.)

He knew that the power would soon return to the Well, and he'd been planning how to resist Ruin. Yet he knew that Ruin would try something—something to stop him, to destroy him. The Lord Ruler wasn't expecting it to come in the form of a rebellion to overthrow his empire and kill him, but he was expecting something.

And so, as he lay dying, he realized what had happened. He knew that Ruin must have orchestrated it—the timing was too perfect. He knew what was coming, and that it would probably mean the end of the world.

Doomed indeed. Another nice connection back to previous books here with Vin's quoting of that.

Chris King interview ()
#38 Copy

Chris King

Did the Lord Ruler use lerasium to gain his super Allomantic abilities or did he grant that to himself with the Well's power? If he used the bead, does he count as one of the nine original Allomancers that Sazed mentions?

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. He did not use the bead. He-- In all of this he granted himself basically, he rebuilt himself to be extremely powerful and he did not use one of the beads.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#39 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Inquisitor's Speed

What the Inquisitor does here at the end is very important. If you've read book two recently, you may recognize this as what Sazed did when he tapped speed at the end of that book.

The Inquisitors are gaining Feruchemical powers, which makes them very, very dangerous. Mixing Feruchemy and Allomancy is what made the Lord Ruler so formidable. Fortunately, it took him a long time to figure out how to mix the powers correctly, and the Inquisitors haven't had the time to practice, regardless of the force controlling them.

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

Chaos2651

In Mistborn, you say its planet is called Scadrial. In-universe, where (or when) did the name Scadrial come to be used to be describe the Mistborn planet? Did the Lord Ruler and his obligators use that as the name of the planet, or did it come later, post-Mistborn 3? Or is "Scadrial" just what you as an author use to refer to it?

Brandon Sanderson

It is "In Universe" so to speak, though the name itself isn't known to the people on-planet. The Lord Ruler was the only one who understood the exact nature of a planet, really, though some of the obligators and noble scholars had a general idea. Astronomy was one of the scientific areas where the Lord Ruler didn't mind people doing research, so long as it kept their interest away from chemistry or a science that could lead to advances in weaponry.

Scadrial would then have been the name that Ruin and Preservation understood for the planet, as well as certain other groups and individuals of a less directly divine nature.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#42 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I like the obligator scene in this chapter, as it gives Vin a chance to realize just what the whole obligator system is about. Regular priests watch over the spiritual well-being of their people. The Lord Ruler doesn't really care about that. So, his priests watch over the economics of his empire. Seems like something a living god would do.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#43 Copy

Questioner

Does the Lord Ruler have children?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I've been dodgy about this before, but the answer is yes, the Lord Ruler did have children. I don't think I've-- I've strongly hinted at it, and so I think people basically know. But yes, he did... But it is children.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#44 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Four - Part One

Subtlety with the Power

The Lord Ruler created koloss, kandra, and Inquisitors during his time holding the power. This took some practice and experimentation, however. As has been explained, holding the power granted some intuitive understanding of how to use it. For instance, he knew how to make Hemalurgic creatures—but he wasn't practiced enough with the specifics at first to know exactly what he wanted to make or what the results of his experimentations would be.

In a similar way, he knew that he could move a planet—and did. With practice, he could have figured out how to shove the planet the right way to place it correctly in orbit. Unfortunately, you can't really experiment with moving a planet around without causing a whole lot of damage.

And so, he could do something as subtle as create three new races—and, with that practice in biology, redesign the world's plants and animals slightly—but could be so far off in the way he shoved the planet about the first time.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#46 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Ruin in the Cache

So, you'll notice that Ruin appears to Vin here in the form of Reen. One might wonder why he even needed her to investigate if he could visit the cache himself.

This reveals the main problem Ruin was dealing with in this instance. The Lord Ruler was very clever in how he placed and organized these caches. He planned them in locations where there was so much metal in the ground that it would prevent Ruin from discovering them. And, more importantly, he trained his obligators—Yomen included—not to speak of what was down below or reveal the locations of the caches.

Ruin didn't know there was a cache here, not until Vin found the previous plate. Even once he knew where the cache was, he couldn't see much when he visited it. He couldn't know if there was atium there, for the entire area—particularly because of the metal cans Vin mentions—glowed so brightly that Ruin had no idea what he was seeing.

He needed a pawn to visit, one through whose eyes he could see. One who could discover where the atium was. Ruin drew the same conclusion Vin did here—that if there had been atium, Yomen would have moved it. But where? Ruin still needed her to find it for him. Either that or bring in an Inquisitor, something he eventually decided to do.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

Why in the world would the Lord Ruler spike himself?

Questioner

No.

Brandon Sanderson

...Because he needed to give himself the powers that he didn't have. He could have done it like-- gained the knowledge but the power was gone so fast he actually needed to-- Well no no no, the spikes, the spikes, the spikes. So, it doesn't matter if he was spiked because he was hiding the metals inside himself so people couldn't Push or Pull on them. That's the real reason he was doing that. Does that make sense?

Brandon Sanderson

Metal that's inside of him--

Questioner

Ruin influenced him, what did the spiking do?

Brandon Sanderson

Well the metals that were stuck through him were so people couldn’t Push or Pull on them. If they were outside his body people would know he was a Feruchemist. Which is the very thing he was-- so he stuck the metals inside of himself to hide them.

Questioner

And he did that as Hemalurgic spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd have to go back and look because-- Lord Ruler is he spiked or has he just got--

Isaac Stewart

I thought he was... spiked but I can't remem--

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking something that I wrote 12 years ago.

Isaac Stewart

Peter, was the Lord Ruler spiked?

Brandon Sanderson

Lord Ruler was spiked, right?  Or is it just--

Peter Ahlstrom

I don't think so.

Brandon Sanderson

--piereced with metalminds, right? They're not actual spikes, just metalminds.

And I want to ask the Sharders on there [the recorder] about that Lord Ruler question, because I didn’t think he was spiked but--

Isaac Stewart

I think I recall him having the bands with spikes in them?

Footnote: Brandon has previously stated that the Lord Ruler did in fact have Hemalurgic spikes.