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Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Iceblade44

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

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dialation 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.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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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.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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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 ()
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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.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Why the Lord Ruler Created the Kandra as They Are

You may have noticed something in this chapter. TenSoon mentions the food pits that the kandra people cultivate, a mixture of algae and fungus that they grow in holes in the ground. Yes, they can survive on this. No, it doesn't taste very good. However, it doesn't need light to grow.

Humankind couldn't survive on this mixture, unfortunately. However, one thing that is never brought up in the text is something that not even the kandra know. There are several reasons that the Lord Ruler created them as he did. One of those reasons was so that there would be a people who could survive beneath the ground, should the world above be destroyed by the mists. In other words, he created a race of subterranean dwellers to outlast humankind, should that become necessary. He was the one who gave them the Homeland as their inheritance and taught them to begin growing food that would survive underground.

Then, of course, he decided to add the Resolution to their code of law. That was a precaution in case Ruin decided to claim them as his own. A bit self-defeating, true, but the Lord Ruler felt it was better for them to die than to become pawns of his most dangerous enemy.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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 Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Straff is generally everyone's least favorite character–though that's kind of what I expected. He's not insane; he’s just a terrible person. Those do, unfortunately, exist–given his power and upbringing, he’s not all that surprising in his bullyness.

I wanted to provide a range of villains for this series. The Lord Ruler was one type of villain–the untouchable god, distant and mysterious. Straff is another: the downright, simple bully with too much power and not enough wisdom. Zane is our third villain–sympathetic, edgy, and possibly more dangerous than either of the two.

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Why did the Lord Ruler have to stay aged at times?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's when he was doing his rebuild. He didn't really have to, but he let himself. He has to recharge periodically, and then stays on a higher and higher burn over the thousand years. It gets harder and harder. The way the magic works—he doesn't have to stay aged.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is he burning or tapping?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He's tapping.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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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.

#tweettheauthor 2009 ()
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Anusien

[Question unknown, probably about why the Lord Ruler did not give up his piercings.]

Brandon Sanderson

A few reasons. First, Ruin had his fingers in the LR’s soul by then already. Subtle things are easier to influence.

He played off the LR’s natural nostalgia and desire to hold onto something so important to his past.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do ever plan on doing a prequel to the Mistborn <trilogy> about the emperor, how he came to power?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I considered it and I'm not planning to do it right now. I feel like the story has been told enough. I don't think it would work. But I reserve the right to change my mind.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Eight

The Lord Ruler's Final Message

This plaque from the Lord Ruler was very difficult to write. Originally it was much shorter, but I expanded it during the last draft because I felt it was just too useless. Even still, it doesn't say much. And that's the problem.

I was always intending the Lord Ruler's final plate to contain no answers. It works into my themes for this series—this was the "quest" book playing off the epic fantasy ideal of the powerful object that must be discovered and used to fight the evil. Except that this time, I wanted them to get to the place they'd been questing toward and find it empty, with no answers from the Lord Ruler. I felt this would only heighten the sense of hopelessness the characters are feeling in trying to fight Ruin.

The problem is, rereading this plate I realize that I've done exactly what I wanted—but that it's also a really, really big letdown. I hate letting down readers. It feels like breaking promises. After consideration I think this is still the best thing to do, but I wish I'd found another way to deal with this.

Note that the circle with a dot here is completely lost on Vin. The size of the circle in relation to the text around it, and some numerical clues scribbled around the perimeter of the circle, are indications of the size of a scale map it should be placed upon. If placed the right way, the dot will point directly at the Pits of Hathsin.

Vin's awesome, but she's barely got a basic education. A complex mathematical puzzle like that one is completely lost on her. If Elend had had the time to study the plate, he might have figured out where it was pointing. There wasn't time, however.

The Lord Ruler did leave a very important clue on this plate. However, I feel that obscure clues like this are deciphered far too often in books like this one. I think realistically if you're going to leave a clue like that, chances are good that it will end up getting missed or misunderstood. Which is exactly what happened here.

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

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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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 ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Six

The North Pole

One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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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.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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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.

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

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.

Shire Post Mint Mistborn Coin AMA ()
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Argent

I'll ask you... about how you took the pretty minimal description from Brandon's books (I think we just knew that the Lord Ruler's face was on one side, and Kredik Shaw was on the other) to full coin designs.

Isaac Stewart

As for designing the coins based on Brandon's descriptions, I brought it up at one of our Dragonsteel work meetings. We discussed what the coins ought to look like, I looked up old coins for inspiration, then I worked up some really rough designs and got them approved by Brandon. You can consider these designs to be canonical as to how they would've looked in the Final Empire and later on in Elendel.

Ben McSweeney

For TLR, I actually started from the basis of this piece, but aging him further so that he appears more mature and regal.

The design for Kredik Shaw is an amalgamation of different versions I've done. I would expect that the building on the coin is merely the "main palace", and possibly only part of that. The Kredik Shaw palace complex would be much larger.

My favorite is actually TLM (Spook) "revealing the Elendel Valley" after the Catacendre. It came out much better than I anticipated.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Four

Allomantic Secrets

Some people have asked me why the Lord Ruler was so careful to keep secrets about Allomancy. What would it have mattered if he let out that there were atium Mistings?

Some of the secrets offered a sizable tactical advantage. Keeping back duralumin and aluminum gave him and his Inquisitors (the only ones told about those metals, other than a few select obligators) tools that nobody knew about. Very few Inquisitors could burn duralumin (and most who did it gained the ability through the use of spikes reused from previous, dead Inquisitors—and those spikes were therefore much weaker.). However, those who did have the power could appear inordinately skilled in Allomancy, enhancing the Lord Ruler's divine reputation.

Beyond that, knowledge is power. I believe that. And I think that if you're the Lord Ruler, you want to keep a few secrets about your magic system. Mistborn are very rare. Mistings among the nobility—particularly in the early centuries—were not rare. If they'd known about atium Mistings, it could have upset the balance by creating too many superwarriors.

Plus, if there are unknown superwarriors to be had, then you want to keep them for yourself.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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theFinisher4Ever

Was the Lord Ruler using feruchamy + alchemy to soothe all of the people around him? Or was he, as I like to think, flaring for so long that he became a Soother Savant?

Brandon Sanderson

He lived long enough and used his metals enough (particularly Soothing) to become nearly a savant in every area, if not a full savant.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
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Chaos (paraphrased)

I continued to ask about the Lord Ruler and his Allomantic strength.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There's an upper bound to the amount of power you can get from being a savant. Brandon said that, obviously, the Lord Ruler wasn't using duralumin and Elend could only get that powerful in Soothing using duralumin. He implied that there was a way to Compound to enhance Allomancy.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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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.

Lucca Comics and Games Festival ()
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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.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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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.