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Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixteen - Part Two

Sazed's nature as a eunuch was stabilized in my mind almost from the beginning of the formation of his character. With the Lord Ruler trying so hard to breed a perfect race of Terrisman servants, I felt that it would be important for him to castrate most of the Terrismen. In addition, I've never written a eunuch character before, and really wanted to see if I could deal with one in a good way.

I read up on what castration does to a man when it's preformed before puberty. Often, apparently, the result is obesity. Another result is that the person grows taller than normal (for some reason) and their arms grow longer in proportion to their bodies than regular people. I didn't make Sazed fat–I think that had been done too much for eunuchs–but I did give him the other physical characteristic.

He continues to grow more complex as a character as the book progresses. That's one of the things I absolutely love doing–giving readers a side character that they think will only be secondary, then building his motivation and complexity until he becomes one of the most important figures in the story.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

In this chapter, we get to meet Sazed–who ranks as one of my favorite characters in the entire series. (Alongside Vin and someone we haven't met yet.) I like Sazed because he's inherently conflicted, yet acts so peaceful. He's a member of a servant race, bred to be humble and submissive. Yet, he knows the one who directed all of that breeding is the Lord Ruler. Add in that he seeks to work with the rebellion, yet feels out of place unless he's acting as a servant, and you get a really good character, in my opinion.

Needless to say, you'll be seeing a lot of him.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#5 Copy


Do you have a pronunciation guide anywhere?

Brandon Sanderson

So, we need to put one of these up. I put one up for Elantris. The trick with pronunciation guides is that, personally, I am kind of a believer in that I write a script where you are the director. You get the script I've provided, and then as you read the story, you are creating the actual final detail of how everything looks and osunds and stuff. And so, in your head, your version of the character names are canon to you, and there is no right pronunciation, really. I can give you the one that I thin is closest to how they would say it in-world, but I don't even always say them right. For instance, I just said Tashikk for the country in the Makabaki region when I was reading the Lift thing. But that's actually the Arab ق (IPA: /q/) sound, I can't even do it, it's the double-q. I can't say that. *Brandon tries to say taʃiq* Peter can do it, my editorial assistant, he's not here, but he can do it. I can't. I say them like an American. I say "KELsier" (ˈkɛlsiər). They say "kelsiEY" (ˈkɛlsiˌei). So, is my version right? My version is wrong, but it's right to me? So, yeah. But if there's a character name you want to know how I say it, I can tell you. Is there one specifically?



Brandon Sanderson

I say shuLAWN (ʃəˈlɔn). But, again, none of us are actually Veden like her, so who knows how they say it? They would have some accent that would be something that I can't even do.


What's Sazed? How do you say that?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Saze? So, I say say-zed (seizɜd). But I say that, and that's how Kelsier says it. Sazed himself is from the Terris region, he's gonna have a slightly different pronunciation. I would say that say-zed is not how he says it. It's gonna be either sawzd (sɔzd) or, it's gonna be something softer like that. I just say it like Kelsier does. But he says it wrong, depending on your definition of wrong.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Sazed and Tindwyl discuss the Deepness

When it says that "Sazed was the one who presented Tindwyl with the accumulated knowledge of the Keepers gathered while she was gone" that's a lot more involved than you might think. It included him reciting to Tindwyl hundreds of hours worth of information, the two of them sitting there, him speaking, her memorizing. It took them months, during which time they really got to know each other well. I think that's probably when he first started to have feelings for her.

I've worried about the romance between them, and not just because of Sazed's nature as a eunuch. Tindwyl isn't presented as the most sympathetic character in the series, yet Sazed is one of the most likable. I worry that readers won't be able to see to the depth of their affection for one another. I didn't originally intend to give Sazed a romance in this series, but when I was working through book two, I saw how many things it would help facilitate. You'll see what I mean later on.

By the way, you should recognize Tindwyl's line about making "occasional exceptions." That's virtually the same language she used with Elend when suggesting that it was okay for him to have a romance with Vin. That was the first hint I seeded that Tindwyl might have a soft spot for romance, and be willing to overlook some of her strict rules if love was involved. In truth, if Tindwyl were going to admit her real feelings to herself, she didn't come to the city for Elend. She came hoping–yet dreading–that she'd find Sazed there.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Goradel Discuss the Skaa Farmers

The conversation between Sazed and Goradel in this chapter is an important one, as it shows the importance of a character's perspective. Two men looking at the same scene see very different things.

Sazed, fighting depression and close to giving up, sees the skaa laboring and notes that nothing much has changed for them. They still have to work themselves near to death, and their lives are still gloomy.

Goradel, who spent his youth being despised by his family and their friends, is now a captain in Elend's army—and is known among the skaa as one of the men instrumental in helping Vin kill the Lord Ruler. He's become something of a local celebrity in some segments of Luthadel. He looks on these same working skaa and sees hope and victory.

As Sazed says in this chapter, being happy and optimistic isn't simply a choice one can make—at least, not a lot of the time. However, I think it's possible to find hope in very dark situations.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed Decides

However, we should back up and talk a little about Sazed's decision in the first part of the chapter.

I'm not certain that I'm trying to say anything specific with these sections. As I've mentioned, I don't look to insert themes in most of my books. I write the themes that are important to the characters, and what I say varies based on whose viewpoint we are in.

Sazed has been struggling between his logical side and the side that desires some kind of faith to form a groundwork for his life. The problem has been in his attempts to analyze religions like one would a machine—input and output. The difference for him comes when he looks at the lives and writings of those who believe. That is what changes his heart.

In the end, he decides to elevate his faithful side over his rational side in this one instance. You can always question. Skepticism is as dangerous as faith, in my opinion, because it is difficult to know when to stop. You can become such a skeptic that you refuse to take anything at all as true. At some point, you need to decide when to stop questioning.

This is where Sazed decides he will stop. You may decide somewhere else.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Elend and Vin Visit Sazed in Turn to Ask about Relationships

I didn't want this scene to feel too much like a sitcom, and I tried hard to make it realistic. But having both Vin, then Elend come to Sazed with their problems has some inherent issues. It feels a little comedic, and perhaps too coincidental.

However, despite those problems, I really like the scenes. They show off the difference in the two characters, and particularly show how Elend has changed over the course of the book. He comes in, confident, ordering people about even as he asks for advice. Vin is more hesitant. Her confidence is in other matters, and here she has trouble expressing herself. It's a nice reversal.

However, the fact that both of them think first of Sazed, and that both of them just really need to speak their minds—without him doing much more than confirm things they already felt—shows again how similar they are.

And I really do think the key and lock speech is one of the most wise things Sazed has ever said.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


And so, the circle is complete. Sazed returns to the south and visits the Conventical again, Elend returns to the city wall.

Hopefully, I revealed this well enough for you to understand what you need to in order to make this book work. There are a lot of holes, I know. I've already apologized for that–we'll answer all of them in book three.

For now, understand that something was imprisoned, and it hijacked the Terris religion–the prophesies–and used the Well of Ascension to get free.

Book three is about the real theme of these books. Survival. It's going to be a tough road.

As a wrap up, I guess I'll say that for me, this book was about Vin and Elend testing and proving their standards. In the beginning, they both made certain determinations about themselves and what they wanted to accomplish. Elend intended to make a good government and not be an exception to his own rules.

Vin intended to love the good, kind man of Elend rather than the man of the street–the hard, strict man that was Kelsier. (See Chapter Ten, where Vin snuggles in the chair with Elend, for an in-dialogue outline of her belief system for this book. This is the offering of the challenge. The trial comes later.) They are both tested, then, in these assertions–Elend by losing his throne, Vin by being forced to take a long hard look at her own heart and what she really wanted. To her, Zane represented the past. Did she return to that, or did she look forward to the hope–and the future–that Elend represented?

They both hold strong. That's the true victory of this book. The release of Ruin disregarded, this book marks great success for the characters. They were tested in their absolute most vital of personal convictions, and they passed. This prepared them for the final book. Now that they'd proven their ideals, they could bear the weights and griefs of the empire.

Of course, there is also Sazed. One of my goals in writing this book was to fix Elend and Vin. But another big one was to break Sazed. While they held firm to who they were, he has been forced to reassess his convictions, and he finds them wanting. Chapter fifty-four was one of the saddest chapters for me, personally, to write. In many ways, Elend and Vin have nearly completed their arcs as characters. But Sazed and Spook have just begun. And that is what leads us into Book Three.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Six

Sazed visits the Refugees, and meets Tindwyl there.

This scene with the refugees isn't, actually, a new addition to the book in later drafts, though it works wonderfully to remind the readers of the siege. It was in the very first draft.

Tindwyl did wonder if Sazed really cared about the people or not. You see, in her mind, if he DID care about the people of the empire, he wouldn't be in Luthadel at all—but out doing what a Keeper should. It was good for her to see him here, trying to help as best he could, ignoring his studies to care for the sick. He does care; he's perhaps the most caring person in this series. He's just trapped, trying to do what is best for as many people as possible.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-Six

Sazed Agrees to Put On the Metalminds

Sazed was getting close to putting on those metalminds again even without Spook's interference and demands. You can tell by the way he fixated on them recently, and how—despite his determination not to wear them—he ended up getting them out and polishing them. He's been waiting for an excuse to use them.

That said, I like the depth of Sazed's conflict presented in this chapter. He's come a long way from the first draft of the book, where he simply sat around as a depressed lump. (I'm probably exaggerating his weakness in that draft, but I'm pleased enough with this draft that it feels like it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old one.)

ConQuest 46 ()
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Esmale (paraphrased)

I asked Brandon if Sazed will resurrect Kelsier at some point in the future, since Brandon has pointed out that Kelsier's soul has stuck around and is still tied to Scadrial.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

His response was "Sazed is not going to resurrect Kelsier. Keep your eyes open." And there was a verbal emphasis on Sazed's name.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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I also had a question about Sazed. When you were writing him as a character. So, I noticed he says "I think" a lot, which is a very Japanese thing to do.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, I've used this before; Galladon does it too, "kolo." A lot of Earth languages do it. Japanese is one, Korean does it. And it is one of these things-- we don't do it the same way in English. "You know?" But it is one of those things, and it is a cultural thing from the Terris people, and should be a tick that will help you pick out people who have been socialized like Terris people.

Skyward release party ()
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What was the inspiration for Sazed's spiritual turmoil?

Brandon Sanderson

He came from several ideas. One idea was the missionary for all religions. Which was that the cool concept, that originated his story, was someone who tried to fit a religion to someone like you fit shoes to somebody. "Let's find the right one to fit them." When I was developing that character and working on it in the outlining process, and after I tried a few scenes and knew that I liked who he was, the question that followed up is, "What does he really believe?" As I developed the character, I settled on "He doesn't know," because that's not what he does, he tried to suit to other people. I knew that the story had to put him in a crisis of deciding what does he actually believe, and what is his belief system, because that is who he is. The inspiration of that was simply growing out of who the character was as I saw this character, and trying to create a crisis that would force him down that path, to make the hard decisions.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten

Sazed's Struggle

Here I can see how giving Sazed something to do—letting him study his religions one by one—makes his viewpoints far more interesting. The previous version of this chapter, which perhaps I'll post, had him simply riding along, listening to Breeze, despairing. That was boring.

Yet, making one small tweak—giving him something to do—changed that dramatically, at least for me as I read the chapter. It allows Sazed to struggle, and a struggle can be even more tragic than a loss. Either way, it's more interesting to read because conflict is interesting. Here, he's trying—even though he's failing—to find meaning in the world. He can try to shove aside his depression and read his pages instead.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#22 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed speaks to Wax

So, if it matters to you, this is actually Sazed talking to Wax here. It's not just Wax's imaginings.

I'm not sure what readers are going to think of this. My goal with the original Mistborn trilogy was to set up a mythology for the world, one in which real characters were playing a part. Sazed is, essentially, God now. Maybe a lowercase g would be better on that word, but regardless, he's the one watching over the world and making sure things go as they should. At this point, he's working hard to discover what's going on with the other Shards and to keep another disaster from coming Scadrial's way.

I've spoken before on my fascination with religion, and this aspect is a particularly interesting one for me. I've played with the ideas of men being treated like gods in Elantris and Warbreaker—but they didn't really deserve it. Here, however, we have Sazed who is approaching more of what a god would be. Should he be prayed to? Why or why not?

You should know that holding two opposed Shards of Adonalsium has made Sazed more . . . zen, if you will. Not inactive. However, he has taken a belief that both Ruin and Preservation are important in people's lives, and doesn't feel that interfering is something he should often be doing. He sees his primary role being to encourage people to be better, to keep an eye on the other Shards, and to make sure the world keeps working as it should.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#23 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Two

Betrayal and Trust

Sazed's discussion on betrayal and trust here is very important. It harks back to Vin's conflicts in the first book, as well as one of the major interactions between her and Kelsier.

Kelsier believed that it was better to trust people and be betrayed than to never trust at all. He loved his wife, but worried that she'd betrayed him. It was a major source of pain and conflict for him. Yet, in the end, he decided that even if she had betrayed him, he preferred having loved her and trusted her. He treated his crew the same, not letting a worry about traitors ruin the companionship of his team.

I wanted to work this into Sazed's scenes here because, to me, this entire series uses trust as a theme. Whom do we trust and why? Do they deserve it?

It's about being betrayed, but taking the time to understand why we were betrayed. Kelsier forgives Mare, Vin forgives TenSoon. Sazed has to forgive God.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Have Hoid and Sazed, since he became Harmony, had a conversation?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… yes, that has happened.


Was it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, Hoid considers everything meaningful.


Of course he does. Would Sazed consider it meaningful?

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, Sazed considers every individual important.

Calamity Chicago signing ()
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What race is Sazed? We have an argument on this but...

Brandon Sanderson

The Terris have intermixed to the point that they-- Skin tone run the gamut, from being indistinguishable to being darker-skinned. When I write them and say darker-skinned they get as dark as perhaps a dark Indian, East Indian. But they can range in that skin tone.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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So we've seen three different cultures of people on Scadrial. Is Harmony involved… well, we can probably assume there's probably more cultures, but there are…

Brandon Sanderson

There are more, yes.


Is Harmony involved in all of them, or is he-- Does he pretty much keep his attention on the main one.

Brandon Sanderson

Harmony considers himself the god of all of them.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifteen

Miles talks with Suit, gets two minders, then burns gold to see two versions of himself

One curiosity of dealing only with Mistings, rather than full Mistborn, was what to do with the less powerful metals. Certainly a Pewterarm or a Tineye can be useful. We've seen them in the series do plenty of interesting things.

But what about a person who can burn only gold? I think there's just one place in the entire first trilogy where someone does it, the time Vin burns it in the first book. (I may have put a second time in; I don't recall.) Gold, as a power, was placed into the schematics to give a clue as to what the Eleventh Metal was. Beyond that, I wanted some of the powers of Allomancy to be more metaphysical, more thoughtful, and less about combat.

I'd already decided that Miles would be a Gold Compounder, capable of the Lord Ruler's healing. That meant he had to be a gold Misting. What would one do, with this power? Ignore it? Was there a way to use it? His nature as a gold Misting is a large part of why Miles is such a thoughtful, introspective person. He is not a good man, but he is a self-reflecting one.

There's more going on here, of course. Pay attention to the name he mentions: Trell. This is one of the gods from the ancient religions Sazed talked about. You might think that the spikes in Miles will let Sazed influence him directly, and they would—except that Sazed has taken a complete "free will is needed" perspective on life. He won't let himself take control of people directly unless they've "given themselves" to him, as most of the kandra have at this point. Even then, he usually only nudges.

But there is something odd going on with Miles.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seven

Here's where we start to get some of our first real hints of the dominating plotline that will overshadow these two books: The Lord Ruler is dead. What in the world have we gotten ourselves into?

As I mentioned in the previous Sazed annotation, I really like his scenes for the conflict represented in them. He is a rebel, but he feels so bad for it. It's always nice when you can make a character feel some very real turmoil for doing the RIGHT thing.

We will go a lot more into Sazed's character, and how he is regarded by the other Terrismen, in future chapters.

YouTube Livestream 16 ()
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If video games existed in the cosmere, which current cosmere character that we know would be the best gamer?

Brandon Sanderson

Best gamer? Um...

Adam Horne

I want to see if your statement is the same as mine.

Brandon Sanderson

Whew, best gamer? Who wants to sit down and game?

Adam Horne

That's going outside of mine, my character probably would not want to, but I think they'd be very good at it.

Brandon Sanderson

Very good at gaming, very good at gaming... Lift.

Adam Horne

Oh, Lift would probably enjoy it. Mine is Sazed because he can store his speed and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Sazed would be technically, you're right, would be way, way better. I don't know if Wayne could slow time and put in inputs and then they would come out, I don't know how that would work.

Adam Horne

Is the tv outside of his bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the tv would have to be outside of his bubble. How would that work?

Adam Horne

What happens to a wireless signal when it hits the bubble?

Brandon Sanderson

Wireless signal is going to have a red shift. Physicist, what happens if a red shift happens? As I understand it, that actually wouldn't change it appreciably, but we'd let a physicist say on that. Regardless, yeah, Sazed would definitely have a big leg up. That's a very good answer.

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
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Could a Shard like Harmony create new elemental metals, like harmonium, or is that unconscious--

Brandon Sanderson

So, unconscious isn't the right word, but a manifestation of his will being the same as manifestation of the laws of physics in the world, if that makes sense. It's not like a choice, it's not, like, not a choice either, to create others, it is theoretically possible, but what has happened is more in line with the laws of his realm.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Have you ever thought (just for fun) which KR Order your characters for other books would fit the best? Like, Sazed is Bondsmith, Kelsier is probably Skybreaker.

Which Rosharian Shard, Honor, Cultivation or Odium, better fits with Dalinar's personality?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd agree with the other commenter that Kelsier isn't much of a Skybreaker. But picking orders would depend on what point in the person's life we're talking, and the situation. It's not a hard-fast rule.

For example, young Dalinar is very Odium. Modern Dalinar is very Honor.


What about Magic: The Gathering color alignments?

Like, would Kelsier be Red/White or Red/Black?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is blue/black. Vin is Red/green. Sazed is white/green--with arguments for mono-white. Elend is red white. The LR is white/black.


This actually surprises me a lot. I would have expected Sazed to be Bant-colored, and Elend seems much bluer than he does red.

Brandon Sanderson

Actually, I don't know why I said red/white for Elend. Must have been answering quickly. You're right, blue/white is a better match for him. Ham is red/white.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#36 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Forty-One

Sazed and Breeze Discuss the New Survivor

I'm not sure whether this is an appropriate use of the term ostention or not. I guess Dr. Thursby, my folklore professor at college, will have to read the book and let me know. Seemed like it worked for me.

For a lot of my readers, this opening paragraph—with Sazed acting like his old self—was a very triumphant one. They said "Finally, Sazed is back!" in compliment. However, I took that as a sign that something was wrong in the earlier chapters. True, it's a good archetype to have one of your characters do something wrong for a time before finding redemption. However, the problem with Sazed is that the thing he'd done wrong as a character was boring. You never want that as an author. In the rewrite, I hope that the difference between Sazed in this chapter and previous chapters is still there—just not as stark.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#37 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Eight

Sazed Takes Action

Ladies and gentlemen, Sazed is back.

This is the confident Sazed, the person who—without raising his voice, without seeming to make demands—can control a group and get the information he desires. He's always claimed that he's no leader, but he's actually a fantastic one when he puts his mind to it. His calm sense of purpose puts people at ease, and makes them do as he requests.

He's not a king—he's right on that count. He is, however, a man to be respected and obeyed. He doesn't have much time left; the book is almost finished. However, he will make good use of his time.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#38 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed's Speech Patterns

Sazed thinks here, I am, unfortunately, in charge. Look back at the very first epigraph of the book. Notice a similarity? All of the epigraphs in this novel use Sazed's distinct language style. They sound so much like how he talks that I thought, at first, that it would be blatantly obvious from the first few chapters. Fortunately for me, most people don't pay that much conscious attention to how characters speak.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#40 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Church of the Survivor

Another aspect of worldbuilding had to do with building all of the religions. Kelsier is still around, by the way. I'll tell you eventually what he's been up to, but if you look through the original trilogy you'll find hints of it.

I wanted the religions of the world to all be grounded in fact, but all have different motivations. I wanted them to be realistic, however, in that they don't always get along. Harmony may be there watching, but I didn't think he'd interfere too much. That comes from holding two opposed powers; he's got more of a Zen outlook on things.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Are there any black people in Scadrial? Or any other races? I couldn't find an answer online, but the descriptions in the book all seem like white/European people.

Brandon Sanderson

The Terris had a lot more skin color diversity than the people of the central dominance. A large number of those preserved had darker skin, so in the W&W era, you are starting to see skin color become associated with them. During the Final Empire, skin color was basically ignored.

Note that for even people in the Elendel Basin, darker skin won't get nearly as dark as what you will find on Roshar or Taldain.

EDIT: Now that I'm on my computer instead of my tablet, I can dig into this a little more. What other posters have been saying is true--the region of the Final Empire we see in the first trilogy is very small, and the Final Empire itself isn't terribly big. There's not a lot of racial diversity at all.

That said, the Terris are a distinct ethnic group. I carefully didn't describe people in the original books with regard to a lot of racially identifying features. One of the Lord Ruler's goals over the years was to stamp these things out, to create a single unified people. While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers. In addition, it was important that the Terris be diverse enough that, while some looked Terris from just a glance, with others, you could meet them and (for obvious reasons that are spoilers) not know they were actually Terris.

That isn't to say they aren't there--they actually are. Elend and Straff would have a bit of an accent, and Cett a fairly strong one. Sazed would look racially distinct from Vin.

As we get further from the Final Empire, we see these things becoming more of a marker. The Terris work to preserve their cultural heritage, and this distinctiveness highlights other aspects about them, including the dark skin that many of them brought through the end of the world. The next trilogy (1980's era) is planned to star a Terriswoman right now, and she would likely resemble someone ethnically black to many of us on Earth.


How far off your impression of Sazed was I in imagining him looking like Teferi from MTG?

Brandon Sanderson

I often give him a Teferi-like-look in my own head, but in actuality his skin tone is probably more akin to someone like Keegan-Michael Key.


>While he couldn't change genetics, his work here did make people start to look at things like class and clothing more than accents or racial identifiers.

How did the 'skaa/noble' class genetic tinkering work out, anyway? Did the leadership of every nation just wake up the next morning and find themselves taller, more intelligent, and less fertile?

Brandon Sanderson

Most genetic differences between skaa and noble were exaggerated, even fabricated, by noble culture as justification for their perceived superiority. Height differences due to nutrition, 'intelligence' due to education and societal expectations, fertility due to common factors in urbanization. The LR did try some minor tinkering, to be played out over time through genetics, but in the end these changes weren't very successful.


This is actually good to know. I've seen your other responses to similar questions, where the inference was that there was indeed a significant difference.

The main changes were for dealing with the atmosphere, correct? And they were reverted by Sazed/Harmony?

Brandon Sanderson

There were also some general hardiness changes for the skaa and some fertility changes, but as I said, by the time of the books those were basically gone. And yes, Sazed reverted the ones designed to help survival in the ash.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#43 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed's Character Climax

It's both fascinating and worrisome for me to write about religion. As a religious person, it's not my goal in these books to insult those who don't have a religious belief themselves. However, I find faith—my own included—to be a fascinating thing, worthy of study and introspection.

And so I write in characters like Sazed, who think about these things and wrestle with them. He voices here some of my own frustrations and fears regarding religion. It is hard to believe, sometimes, in the face of some of the terrible things that religion has done in the world. The rationalization required for faith is sometimes difficult to justify.

But, on the other hand, I have seen beauty, peace, and love brought by religion. I have seen and felt things that seemed miracles to me at the time. Do I discard that?

I feel faith is important. Or, at least, it is to me. And so we have Sazed's struggle. There is a lot more to come; I didn't give him an easy answer in the form of the Terris religion. (Though I hope the reader is expecting one, as I always like to surprise you.)

Orem signing ()
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I'm curious, did you have [Sazed's] end result planned out from the beginning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes and no. Mostly what I would do is I would generally write the first book as an exploration. Then I will outline the series, make sure the first book matches the series, then write the rest of the series. With Mistborn I did more of a write straight through all three. And then make sure they all fit... So where I had that, it would be very hard for me to pinpoint, because I kind of wrote the three books as a whole.

But I am an outliner, so I do know a lot of things ahead of time. You're asking me to remember back ten years, what happened while I was editing. I often say yeah I knew ahead, but the honest truth is it came in there somewhere. It might have been ahead. I would have to go look and see what my outline looked like.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Sazed In Charge of the City

Sazed's in charge here. There's one small problem with that. Sazed's not very good at leadership.

It's not his fault. He just doesn't have the skillset for it. Unlike Elend, who had a buried desire to lead–and the skills to become a king, if he learned how to use them–Sazed just wants to be a quiet scholar. We saw this when he gathered the crew and couldn't keep them from arguing. We see it again here.

He's much more in his element when he looks through the book he wrote with Tindwyl. Though, of course, losing her is starting to hit him pretty hard. He keeps wavering back in forth emotionally, and that's intentional. He is confused, and doesn't know what to do.

Here's another Couple of things we'll find answers to in book three:

How Vin drew on the mists, and why she could do it.

Why she can feel the pulsing of the Well and nobody else can.

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where do you get your inspiration to create new worlds & characters?

Brandon Sanderson

Inspiriation comes from all over. Often things I see. Color magic in WRBRKR came from watching b/w movies.

The mist in mistborn came from driving through a foggy night at 70mph..

Sazed came from a Buddhist monk I met in Korea.

Sarene came from a friend, Annie, who complained that she was too tall and too smart for men to want to date.

If you want more, send me an email and ask for my “Ideas” essay. @PeterAhlstrom will send it to you.

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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Clubs, then Tindwyl in the Keep

Finally we get the Sazed scene. This is my favorite in the chapter, and it's a chapter filled with a lot of scenes I really like. Allrianne may make me chuckle, but Sazed MEANS something. Showing off the cost of Feruchemy like this made for some interesting worldbuilding, and having Sazed interact with Tindwyl and Clubs gave us some character.

Sazed is beginning to feel troubled by what he's done and what is happening around him, but he's not the type to show it yet–even in his thoughts. However, the fact that he preaches a religion to Clubs (the first time he's done that to anyone in a while) shows that he's stretching, trying to figure out who he is and find his place in this mess. He figures that with the fall of Luthadel, he'll probably end up dead–and so he wants to know who he is before that happens.

Which is also why he finally seeks out Tindwyl to confront her. The scene where he brings back his senses while holding her is one of the great moments that you can have as a fantasy novelists that those realistic writers just can't have.

Two little behind the scenes thoughts on this section. First, Clubs mentions that the latest messenger to visit Straff was executed. If you guessed that this was because Straff himself is now awake, you guessed right!

Also, the religion Sazed preaches here is one I decided to spin off into its own book, focusing Warbreaker around it. They aren't the same planet, but I wanted to do more about a religion that worships art, and that was one of the initial motivations for Warbreaker's setting.

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Brandon Sanderson

TenSoon to the Rescue

This chapter is also for all you TenSoon lovers out there. He finally gets to show up and lay some smack down. This short action sequence lets TenSoon be a hero, which he deserves, and Sazed once again shows that he's a far better soldier than he thinks. After reading his part in the siege of Luthadel, the reader should have no problem accepting that Sazed—with two metalminds—can take down four surprised kandra. He is a much better warrior than he lets on.

However, he should never have thought that last line of the chapter. The one that reads, "What harm could they possibly do?" I probably should have cut the line, as it feels like a cliché, but it really was what Sazed was thinking.

Foolish, foolish Sazed.