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Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

In Secret History we find out that when Kelsier had the power of Preservation, whenever he was near someone with cracks in their minds he would end up healing them up naturally, right? When he tried to--

Brandon Sanderson

Not heal them up but--

Questioner

The intent was that he would Preserve them, right?  So my theory is that Snapping, when they’re getting physically damaged their cracks are wider and wider and that it ends up Preservation, if they have a good Connection with Preservation or whatever randomly comes in those cracks.  Am I anywhere along the right track?

Brandon Sanderson

This theory has merit.

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

Questioner

Why, in your books, are your characters so often, per say - before they get the powers they become broken first.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a narrative reason and an in-world reason. The narrative reason is characters in pain are more interesting to write about. This is just a rule of thumb for writing. Find the person whose in the most trouble, things are going the worst for and that's generally your easiest character. In the stories, the actual Cosmere, the mechanics of the magic finds, this is only one way to describe it - its not the only way - might not be one hundred per cent accurate but it's an easy metaphor, cracks in the soul allow the magic to seep in and that's how you end up with a lot of the different magic systems.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's Snapping

Why didn't Kelsier Snap before he went to the Pits? I don't have an answer for you, not even in spoilers. He did live a hard life and it is odd that he wouldn't have Snapped until that moment when he saw his wife beaten to death.

They say that the more powerful a person is, the more trauma it takes to get them to Snap and the more dangerous that Snapping is.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

The change in how the magic (on Scadrial) interact with each other, was that done by Sazed?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes it was. You will find a theme. The snapping in Mistborn is actually a repeated theme through a lot of the different magics. Um, but what I felt at the end of the day Sazed would do something about it. So, even though that is part of the magic system, he changed that. The change to Feruchemy is more a matter of other factors such as the large amount of interbreeding that happened following...and things like that. And so a lot of people with Feruchemy sDNA mixing with people with people with Allomantic sDNA has affected the way the magics blend, so to speak. That's not done by Sazed. That's just kind of an effect.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

In the event that.. so, say if you've got someone who went through a certain event, and it would have Snapped them. Take that person away from Scadrial, and move them to a different world. Would that still Snap them?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that the Shards are mostly Spiritual Realm things. Space and time do not matter to them. Time does, space does not.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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wicktacular

At the end of the first Mistborn trilogy it's really significant that 1/16th of the soldiers who got really sick are now atium Mistings.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Sixteen that he-- when Preservation set that all up. He, number one, was not all there. But he was trying to create sixteen as a symbol to say, "Hey, catch this. I've given you a clue-- uh-- help." And so it was devised specifically for that. "*inaudible* Something's going on here."

wicktacular

questioner's paraphrase, delete after review: So, were the other remaining group of soldiers that fell sick all still Mistings of the other base metals?

So were there-- were 1/16th of the rest of them just *inaudible* just not significant?

wicktacular

But we know that there's more than sixteen metals. Wh--

wicktacular

Did he bump one of the other types then to make it sixteen?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, they would have been Mistings of other types as well.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

wicktacular

Okay. Do you have in your head *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Chromium.

wicktacular

Chromium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's right. It would probably have been one of the metals that was difficult to get at that level of technology. It would have been chromium - chromium would be hard gather at that time. Actually, no, it would have been aluminum. *about a minute later, while signing someone else's book* Hold on, there's a caveat to that last answer. Let me finish signing this and expand on that. *pause* So, it would still have been aluminum, but not for the reason your thinking. It would have been aluminum, but there's an asterisk next to that answer.

wicktacular

Okay. Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to get chromium.

wicktacular

I've been thinking about--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no! He bumped aluminum. Yeah, he bumped aluminum. Sorry I had to-- I changed my mind.

wicktacular

Oh!

Brandon Sanderson

*a moment later*

Okay, Chad? I have a <qualification> for you. I'll do this and then we'll...

*a moment later*

So...

wicktacular

On the sixteen or the *inaudible*...

Brandon Sanderson

The sixteen. So the answer is "yes," but it's not something-- it's not what you're thinking it is. 

wicktacular

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, there's an asterisk on it, okay? There's an asterisk on it, it's not what you're thinking. Uh, you're making-- you're making assumptions. 

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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Rhandric

How many magic systems are there on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on your definition. Is Windrunning its own magic system, or is it a division of a larger magic system? Are the ten different Surges each their own magic system, or...it's really how...

Rhandric

If you assume the surges are considered one.

Brandon Sanderson

Well then you would have Surgebinding, and the Old Magic, those are two at least, and there are things that are not explained in those at all, and how do you count creating fabrials? Is that a science and not a magic? Is that its own magic system?

Questioner 2

It's a science, because anyone can do it.

Brandon Sanderson

So Awakening is not a magic, then? Awakening's a science? Because anyone can Awaken if they just get the breath.

Rhandric

That's one thing that stood out to me in your magic systems, because in all your other magic systems that we've seen so far there has to be some form of snapping to occur, and that's unique...

Brandon Sanderson

Not all of them because, um, let's see...

Questioner 3

BioChroma doesn't.

Brandon Sanderson

BioChroma does not requires snapping.

Rhandric

Actually wait, is there an active magic system on Threnody?

Brandon Sanderson

Threnody has a non Shard-based...it depends on what you call magic. Do spirits coming back to life count as magic? It's science to them, but it's goofy science.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy

The Reason for the Mistsickness

So, it finally comes out. I wonder at this numbers plot, as I think many readers will glaze over it and ignore it. I think others will read into it and figure out what it means very quickly, then feel that the reveal here isn't much of a revelation. Hopefully I'll get a majority in the middle who read the clues, don't know what they mean, but are happily surprised when it comes together. That's a difficult line to walk sometimes.

What is going on here is that the mists are awakening the Allomantic potential inside of people. It's very rough on a person for that to come out, and can cause death. Preservation set this all up before he gave his consciousness to imprison Ruin, so it's not a perfect system. It's like a machine left behind by its creator. The catalyst is the return of the power to the Well of Ascension. As soon as that power becomes full, it sets the mists to begin Snapping those who have the potential for Allomancy buried within them.

Many of these people won't be very strong Allomancers. Their abilities were buried too deeply to have come out without the mists' intervention. Others will have a more typical level of power; they might have Snapped earlier, had they gone through enough anguish to bring the power out.

My idea on this is that Allomantic potential is a little like a supersaturated solution. You can suspend a great deal of something like sugar in a liquid when it is hot, then cool it down and the sugar remains suspended. Drop one bit of sugar in there as a catalyst, however, and the rest will fall out as a precipitate.

Allomancy is the same. It's in there, but it takes a reaction—in this case, physical anguish—to trigger it and bring it out. That's because the Allomantic power comes from the extra bit of Preservation inside of humans, that same extra bit that gives us free will. This bit is trapped between the opposing forces of Preservation and Ruin, and to come out and allow it the power to access metals and draw forth energy, it needs to fight its way through the piece of Ruin that is also there inside.

As has been established, Ruin's control over creatures—and, indeed, an Allomancer's control over them—grows weaker when that creature is going through some extreme emotions. (Like the koloss blood frenzy.) This has to do with the relationship between the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm, and the Spiritual Realm—of which I don't have time to speak right now.

Suffice it to say that there are people who have Snapped because of intense joy or other emotions. It just doesn't happen as frequently and is more difficult to control.