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The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#1 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.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#2 Copy


How long did you keep the whole High dialect being Spook... How long were you waiting to do that?

Brandon Sanderson

How long was I waiting to do High Imperial? Which is Spook's dialect, turned into a pseudo-religious ancient language. Oh, man, that was so much fun. And you know what, that was one I came up with pretty late in the process. Because, if you know about the Mistborn trilogy, Spook became a larger character as I wrote him. The biggest deviation between my original outline for Mistborn and the final of the Era 1 trilogy is that I added a big sequence with Spook in the third book that had not been in the original outline. So, it was pretty late that I decided that Spook would have an influence over that. I just laughed uproariously when I came up with it, so I knew it belonged in the books. But if you haven't read the new Mistborn books, High Imperial is an ancient and important language.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Elend Runs into the Terris Refugees.

The point of the Terris refugees here is to show us that there is more to the world than just Luthadel. I wanted to hint at politics going on behind the scenes. That's been hard in this series, since so much of the book is focused in a certain geographic location.

In this case, we get wind of what the Inquisitors have been doing. Their strike was intended to kill the Terris leadership–but not just that. Hinted at in the very beginning of the next volume that the Inquisitors captured a large number of Keepers to use for drawing out their powers.

There is also a lot of foreshadowing going on here with Spook. I wanted to lay the groundwork here for him becoming a viewpoint character in the third book. Burning tin as strongly as he does as consistently as he does is not good for his body, and he's doing serious damage to it. But he's grief-stricken and confused, and he fells like he's been sent away from important events because he's useless. Reminding himself of his Allomantic power is one of the ways he's dealing (poorly) with his uncle's death.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Six

Spook Starts to Believe in Kelsier

In this chapter, Spook begins to turn into the person he was during the first draft of the book. In that draft, he immediately listened to Kelsier's voice and didn't question its existence at all. The revision changed things so that he was surprised when he heard it, looking around several times, uncomfortable. This works better in many ways, though the starkness of how unhinged his constant burning of tin had made him before was kind of sad to lose.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Four

"You did well, Spook."

Yes, that's Kelsier's voice at the beginning. As I said in a previous annotation, he can't help but meddle.

There is an afterlife in this cosmology I've built, and Kelsier's in it. He never has been able to leave well enough alone. He saw, here, that a piece of the puzzle needed to be put together, so he stepped in and tried to get through to Spook about it.

Spook was the only one in the crew he could speak to. That's because Spook truly has faith in Kelsier as a deity—which, for these few weeks between Preservation's death and the coming of the Hero of Ages, Kelsier is.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#7 Copy


In Bands of Mourning, we learned that the Sovereign, who they confused as being the Lord Ruler, came after the Catacendre. [He] was their god, was their king and god. And then Kelsier looking for a string. Is the spike somehow connecting Kelsier's soul to Spook's body.

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question. It is connecting his soul with his body, his current body, but it is not Spook's body. That's a great theory.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Playing with Clichés

Well, that turned into a strangely unexpected rant. I'll leave it because it might be interesting to you all, but I did want to continue with my original idea. I didn't bring Reen back (or Kelsier back) because I feel opposed to this kind of plotting unless it is well foreshadowed in advance and built into the magic system. I did, however, want to make the reader think that I'd brought them back, as for some reason it gives me pleasure to bait readers into thinking I'm following the clichés, then ducking away from those clichés. (In a way, that's what this entire series is about.)

As a nod to the intelligence of my readers, however, I didn't let this one last for long. I figured that many would have figured out that the image of Reen was false, particularly after the epigraph strongly hints that Vin has been spiked. In addition, I wanted to use this scene to point out the difference between Vin and Spook. He's an idealist and is rather fresh and inexperienced, despite what the crew has been through. Vin's a realist and a skeptic, and is far more experienced. It makes simple sense to me that she would almost immediately see through Ruin's tricks.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#10 Copy


Will we be seeing any more of stick?

Brandon Sanderson

Everybody loves stick, everybody is very fond of stick. I have no current plans for stick.



Brandon Sanderson

You will find out more about Spook.

It is not impossible that you will see some sort of story involving Spook. After all I did a little short story about Kelsier for the role playing game. It's now on my website.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook Plans to Flood the Streetslots

You may note a tiny bit of hypocrisy on Spook's part here. He blasts the Citizen for killing nobleman to improve his reputation while keeping the Allomancers for himself. (And, indeed, Spook is right to be so critical.) However, Spook's plan here—to return the water to the canals and build his own reputation—is, in many ways, just as much fakery as the Citizen's actions. Spook plans to "magically" restore the waters and make himself look like a hero, engineering his own deus ex machina end to this story.

This is Ruin's taint upon him—Ruin, who doesn't believe in building things up or improving the lives of others, but who relies on shells of reputation and impressive acts for his followers. Much as Hemalurgy is a false way to become an Allomancer, Ruin is using false methods to bring Spook notoriety.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fourteen

Spook Enters the Stage

And so, here we have our first Spook chapter. When I wrote these books, I'd been planning Spook's sections for quite some time and was very excited to write them. As I said earlier, I wrote them all together, like a mini-novel of their own, then interwove them with the Vin/Elend sections and the TenSoon sections.

Spook has always been a personal favorite of mine. His silly nonsense of a language from the first book was a lot of fun, and even then I began planning what I could do with him were I to make him a viewpoint character. The first thing I had to do was, unfortunately, get rid of the dialect—it annoyed too many people, and it just wasn't comprehensible enough.

The second thing I had to do was give him conflict. Clubs's death, and Spook's absence during the Siege of Luthadel, gave me a large chunk of that. But from there I needed more—and I wanted to do something different with Allomancy for him. Hence the idea of the tin savant, a person who has burned and flared tin so much that it has changed his body.

We'll get a lot more on this as the book progresses. However, my feeling has been that these novels have focused too much on the powerful and the very capable. I love Vin's and Elend's scenes, but we needed something from someone a little bit lower on the power scale. I wanted to do these Spook sections to show someone more average, someone most readers usually ignored, doing amazing things.

Originally, I wrote Spook a little bit more unhinged. He was cocky in his new powers to the point of being a little too off-putting. During the final revision—the one where I added Sazed's studies of the religions—I backed off on Spook's intensity in these first few chapters from his viewpoint, trying to make him a little more sympathetic and a little more trustworthy.

Yes, he's done serious damage to his body by ignoring the advice not to flare his metal too much. (See book one where Kelsier gives this same advice to Vin.) However, he now recognizes what he's done and explains why he's doing it.

Other than that, this is another setup chapter reintroducing us to Spook, giving us his motivations and place in the book, and showing off his magic a little. The next chapter from his viewpoint has a lot more going on.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
#14 Copy


There is an overarching storyline between all the books... that we finally find out about in the last book, between two gods that are at war, and you were saying yesterday in your lecture how you tend to freestyle your characters but you tend to plan certain other events, and specifically to do with the ring in Vin's ear. Was that a planned event, or was that a part of the overarching plot?

Brandon Sanderson

That was a planned event that I worked out. What I'll do a lot of times when I'm building a series is, I will build an outline for the first one, and then I'll have just a few paragraphs on the rest of the series, and then I'll write the first one, and once I'm done with the first one, and I'm sure of the characters' personalities, that really allows me to expand the outline for the rest of the series; it's very hard to write—you know, to build a full, complete outline for everything until you know exactly who the characters are gonna be, and as I said yesterday, my characters I allow to grow very naturally. Characters do always get veto power over a plot, meaning if I get to a point where I'm like, the person this character's become would not do this thing that the plot requires for them, I either have to go back to the plot and rebuild it from scratch, or I have to go say, this is the wrong character for this role. Let's try a different character cast in this role. And I've done both before.

And so, with Mistborn I did plan that in from the beginning and then write the first book and then in the second two I expanded on it and said yes, this is going to work—this can be an important feature of the story—and so it was one of those things that came together that you always hope will come together, and it did. Being able to embed some of the things in book one that work for book three, and I was really using it as practice for the larger series and things like that, so the fact that it came together made me more confident I could do this sort of thing across bigger series. But I'm very pleased with how the Mistborn trilogy turned out. I did have the training wheels on for the Mistborn trilogy; when I sold Elantris, they said they were going to publish it in 2005, and that they needed my next book by then. Well, that was two years away. I had a good writing habit and work ethic at that point, and so I was able to write all three books of the Mistborn trilogy before I had to turn the first one in for publication which gave me a safety net in case I wasn't able to get all of this stuff in and whatnot—I could change the plot so that I can not have to fall face-first, so to speak—but it did all come out so I was very happy with that, but it did allow me to go back and tweak a few things, like for instance, there's a character who becomes a viewpoint character in book three who hadn't been one in the first two. That wasn't planned in the outline; that's something when I got to book three and was working on it, I felt, I really need to give this character more space, which meant that there was a location this character was in—Urteau, which was not built into the plot to be a major location—and so I had to go back and add some foreshadowing for this place, that it was important and these sorts of things; it allowed me to do some stuff like that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's voice here has gotten to the point where Spook no longer questions its presence, though he still hesitates to do what it says. For those of you who are paying attention to the connections between the books, it should start to seem more and more like the voice that Zane heard in book two. This one is a little bit more powerful and controlled than the one Zane heard—but then, Ruin is free now and can affect things more directly.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Romance Starts to Work

Anyway, this is the part I told you about earlier—the place where the Spook romance starts to work. For there to be real romance, I believe there has to be interaction. I've never been a fan of the "love at first sight" types of romances in books, though I do have to admit that such things afflict teenagers regularly. My goal here, then, is to show Spook moving a little bit beyond the infatuation stage and into the stage of knowing and caring for someone.

The book doesn't take their relationship very far, and that is intentional. There just isn't the time.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Elend Discovers that the Koloss have been left to Destroy, then Elend Executes Jastes

And here we have the scene where Elend Kills Jastes. This, more than anything, is a sign to Elend of the way the real world works. This chapter is a sign of innocence lost, and a measure of the price of idealism. Elend will never be the same man after this.

Some of my alpha readers rebelled against this scene, but–unlike the scene where Kelsier used Demoux to kill a man in book one–I decided not to cut it. This event says too much about what has happened to Elend, and it means too much to his character. However, I did arrange things a little differently. In the original draft, Elend struck and killed Jastes, then explained why he did it. In this version, he outlines Jastes' sins first, then takes his head off.

Now, finally, Elend and Vin have discovered Sazed's lies. Did you wonder about him sending the two of them off to climb the mountain in the winter? Spook was around to stop that, in case you were wondering.

And yes, Spook knew. Considering how long it took Vin to get over the fact that OreSeur knew about Kelsier's plan to die, you can imagine that she's not soon going to forgive Spook for this one. In his defense, he was pulled about between some very strong emotions and motivations, not the least of which being his uncle explaining that if he DIDN'T go, nobody would be there to explain the truth to Vin and Elend and keep them from trekking all the way to Terris. Besides, Spook didn't want to die, and this path offered him an escape. Can you blame him?

He'll blame himself. Book Three.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#18 Copy


In The Hero of Ages, there is a scene where Spook wonders why Clubs spent all that money and traveled all that distance just to save him (Spook) from likely death at the hands - or foot, as it is - of his father. Why did Clubs do it?

Brandon Sanderson

Clubs had his reasons, not all of which were altruistic.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook's Delusions of Grandeur

Spook thinks a line here that my editor, and several writing group members, tried to cut. It's the line where, just in narrative, it implies that Spook had been the one to overthrow the Lord Ruler. It says something like, "It was much like that night, the night when he had overthrown the Lord Ruler" with the narrative making it clear that the "he" was Spook.

You have to remember that I use a limited narrator, not an omniscient one. When I'm writing a scene from a character's viewpoint, the text is colored by what they think and their view of the world. This line is deliberate, as by this point Ruin has his claws deep into Spook and is making him begin to think things that just aren't true. It's getting difficult for Spook to distinguish Ruin's fantasies from the reality, and for a moment he inflated his own part in the overthrow of the Lord Ruler.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

This was the first novel I wrote knowing for certain that it would be published. That was an odd experience for me, after having written some thirteen novels without ever knowing if I'd make it as a novelist or not.

So, in a way, this is my celebration novel. And, as part of that celebration, I wanted to include cameo nods to some of the people who helped me over the years. We get to see characters named after my friends and alpha readers, the people who encouraged me to keep trying to get published–my first fans, in a sense.

So, a lot of the names of side characters come from friends. Stace Blanches, mentioned in the last chapter, is Stacy Whitman, an editor at Wizards of the Coast. House Tekiel was named after Krista Olson, a friend and former writing group member. (Her brother Ben is my former roommate.) Ahlstrom square was named after my friend Peter Ahlstrom, who is an editor over at Tokyopop. There are over a dozen of these in the book–I can't mention them all.

I do, however, want to point out Charlie–or, as he's called in the book, Lord Entrone. I've never actually met Charlie, but he's hung out on the timewastersguide message board for the last three or four years. He was my first British reader. I figured I'd commemorate that by having his dead body get dumped over a wall by Kelsier.

Spook is actually based directly on someone I know, but I'll get to that later.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Two Sides of Spook

The best part of this chapter, in my opinion, is how we get to see both sides of Spook. We get to see a glimpse of the bumbling, but good-hearted, teenager in his conversation with Beldre. And we get to see the budding figure of myth in the way he deals with the people at the bars. We get to see sincere and intimate Spook, and we get to see insincere megalomaniac Spook—or, at least, hints of both.

At this point, Ruin is well on his way to corrupting the poor boy.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#22 Copy


You have a couple of fantastic running jokes, such as the High Imperial.

Brandon Sanderson



How do you think of those things and when do you decide to commit to a great joke like that?

Brandon Sanderson

When do I decide to commit to a running joke. See Spook doesn't consider that a joke, he thinks it's awesome. So with this, I love-- I'm kind of going to expand this to not just jokes-- Which, definitely-- It's the sort of insider things. I love, in series that i have read a lot of books on, when there is something you will only get if you have been invested in the series. I love this stuff. It is part of the seed of the Cosmere, this idea that if people are reading my books they will start to see and make these connections. It's important to me that it never becomes the forefront, at least until I'm very clear to people that this is-- now you have to have the background of all of the books. That hasn't happened. There will be series that I do that with but I want you to be able to read Stormlight and not feel like you have to know a thousand pages of the wiki behind-the-scenes stuff before you can appreciate it. But I do like these inside references and things like that, and so it comes very natural to me. Some of it's planned out, some of it is something that I think of as I'm working on the story. Some of it's seeded, some of it just works. So you do it as it works. I wouldn't say that I-- With like High Imperial. High Imperial I knew about the time when I decided Spook was going to be a larger character in the series. But if you know Mistborn, my original-- I wrote the first book, did a quick outline of the second two, and then wrote the second two and Spook was the big discovery written surprise. He wasn't intended to be the main character that he became in the later books. And so once he-- I was writing the third book, I'm like "Oh, I know what's going to happen here. I know where this is going." And High Imperial grew out of that.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#23 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Three

Spook Wrap-Up

Overall, I'm very pleased with the Spook cycle of chapters in this novel—particularly once I revised the early ones to make him a little more sympathetic to the reader. I think there's real heart, tragedy, and triumph in these chapters. Their one flaw is that the Spook/Beldre romance isn't very strong, but I can accept that. Considering that both of them are teenagers, with powerful teenage passions, and considering what I managed to do with the space allotted, I'm pleased.

What worked best, I think, was the subtle demonstration of Ruin's corrupting fingers—mixed with careful plotting to give Spook the power to overcome in the end. He doesn't win through use of his powers, ironically, but through use of his flaws. The numbness that was so shocking to him earlier now becomes the tool he can use for victory.

The twist with Beldre being an Allomancer isn't too much of a twist; I suspect that some readers will guess it early on. However, this is the reason the Citizen started saving Allomancers. He recognized their usefulness because of his sister. Like most tyrants through history, it was very easy for him to make, for people he liked, excuses and exceptions to his hatred. It should be noted that Quellion himself had no noble blood. His sister was in fact a half sister.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#24 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook's Message

Here is the connection between the groups, and the reason I wrote the Spook sections.

Well, that's not completely true. I wrote the Spook sections because I found him a compelling character, with a new way to use the magic and an interesting story to tell. I liked how his story played against Sazed's conflicts, and what the work in Urteau said about the overall message of the book.

However, the piece that connects the storylines and brings them together is very important too. Spook knows about things that Vin does not, and so we begin to thread these different viewpoints together. We've already had Marsh and Vin's scenes ram together, as well as Sazed's and TenSoon's. Now we'll weave Spook in too.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#25 Copy


In your talk earlier about character arcs do you have a character who surprised you the most in how they ended up developing?

Brandon Sanderson

Spook from the Mistborn books, he was not in the original outline having the role he did in the third book. But when I finished the second book I was like "Ennnh he's grown into something that needs more exploration".

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#28 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Vin and Elend Traveling North

Next, we have the happy couple scene. I figured that after all of the problems, confusion, indecision, and the like, these two deserved a couple of days to relax. This is, then, their version of a honeymoon. Not much to say, other than to note that Spook is going to start coming a little more to the forefront in the next few chapters. I want to introduce some of his conflicts and character issues to provide a lead-in to the next book, where he's one of the major viewpoint characters.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#29 Copy


How did Spook not die of lead poisoning after losing the ability to burn pewter in the third book? He must have had some pewter left in him. Or was he going to die of it, but Sazed healed him?

Brandon Sanderson

It wasn't in his system long enough to hurt him.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#30 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook Visits Beldre in the Garden Again

Spook's romance with Beldre is one of the things I'm not sure about in this book. I tried to give it as much time as I could, and you'll see some later scenes that fill it out some more. It isn't really love at this point, but just Spook being a teenage boy who is attracted to a pretty girl. However, a lot of romances start that way. Keep in mind that Beldre sees Spook very differently from the reader. She sees a mysterious figure, a handsome young man who comes in the mists and the darkness, bearing with him the weight of rumor and legend. She sees a man who rescued a child from a burning building, a man who stands up to her brother when nobody else does.

She's definitely attracted to him, for many of the same reasons that Vin was attracted to Zane in book two.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#31 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

So, here's a little of the jovial friendship that I mentioned in the last annotation. One of the things I like about these books IS the way that the characters can get along and relax. It's a bit tougher to pull off in this book–with Kelsier gone, and with everything falling apart–but it's still there, where I can squeeze it in.

Spook is a character I groomed through the first book to do more than you might originally expected from him. He doesn't really come to his own for some time yet, but you should be able to see changes start to appear in him–subtly, of course. You'll see a lot more from him later on in the series.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook Escapes the Burning Building

This scene with Spook bursting out of the burning building, trailing smoke, is one of two big focal scenes I imagined for his storyline. Interestingly, I had planned on three focal action scenes, and ended up skipping one as I drafted. I planned to have assassins attack the ministry building and Spook fight them off, but could never quite work it into the pacing of the story, and I figured that after this scene—which works so well to convey what I want—another scene was unnecessary.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#33 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten

The Carriage Ride to the Forge

Note that Wayne sleeping here is a side effect of him getting really sickly for a short time, trying to recover a bit of healing power. Marasi thinks he's just relaxed, which . . . well, he kind of is, but he wouldn't be sleeping right now save for the effects of his Feruchemy.

As another side note, the city really is as miraculous as Marasi thinks to herself. Sazed created an Eden-esque little section of land here, a place of extreme bounty and fertility, in order to cradle the regrowth of mankind. The actual science (such that it is) of it has to do with the mists bringing fresh water and hugging the ground extra strongly here, as well as some molds that refertilize the ground.

Marewill flowers are named after Kelsier's wife. (Spook, the Lord Mistborn, came up with the name—as well as naming a lot of the things that held out until this time, such as the months of the year.) The other little worldbuilding item of note here is the idea of what Wayne calls the "God Beyond," which is an idea that has begun to creep into society, the idea that there is a greater God of the universe beyond people like Harmony or Kelsier. It's somewhat analogous to some of the Gnostic beliefs in early Christianity.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#34 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Three

Spook Remembers Clubs

Ah, fever delusions are such useful things for us authors. Every character should go through a few of them so that we have an opportunity to explore their backstory through the use of a very timely flashback.

On a more serious note, I'm glad I had an excuse for this one. I like to avoid flashbacks when I can—they're usually more of a hassle and an annoyance than they are useful. However, on occasion they can add something that would have been very hard to get across any other way. This is one of those times. We get to see Spook as a kid, the day that Clubs recruited him.

By this time, Clubs had already served in the Lord Ruler's army and had been wounded in the leg and discharged. Though I rarely mention it, the borderlands of the empire include a large population of rogue skaa who are constantly causing trouble. Despite what's believed in the rest of the empire, there were in fact some successful uprisings, most notably these clans who stuck to the desert wastes out there on the edges of habitable land.


Anyway, Clubs had been discharged, an event that left him without a means of supporting himself. However, during his time fighting, he'd Snapped and become a Smoker. So, he found his way into the underground, where he was paid very nicely for his abilities.

He was always a lot more softhearted than he let on. When he discovered what was going on with his nephew, he spent quite a bit of his savings to go rescue him and bring him back to Luthadel. Clubs spent twenty times as much money on travel expenses (skaa were forbidden to travel, so he had to stick to some very expensive hidden routes) as he did on that bag of coins he left with Spook's family.

Spook never really knew how much Clubs sacrificed for him. Or perhaps he did—his uncle's death, after all, affected him quite dramatically. Clubs was a far better parent to the boy than either his father or mother ever had been.

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


Just wondering, are you ever going to go back and write about The Further Adventures of Lestibournes? I think his character is pivotal to the Mistborn trilogy and felt cheated that the trilogy mostly focused on Vin, Kel, Sazed, and Elend. I would like to know more of his backstory and how he became the stud that he is.

Brandon Sanderson

He became quite the 'stud' in the years following the first trilogy. I might be persuaded to show some of this at some point. He also knew many things he really should not have.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#36 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Two

Spook in Ruin's Power

In this chapter, we show Spook almost completely under Ruin's power. This is the ultimate culmination of everything that the force has been working toward with Spook.

Ruin knows how to play off the lusts of mankind. Lust makes sense to Ruin, as he has lusts himself. He needs to destroy. It's part of who he is and what makes him function. It's the driving force of the power upon which his consciousness feeds to remain alive.

Things that don't have to do with lust, yet are still human emotions, are more difficult for him to remember and empathize with.

Most of my alpha readers thought by this point of the book that I would make Spook's storyline a tragedy—that he would snap here and become a villain. I won't rule out my doing something like that in a novel, as I think it would be very compelling. I don't know how many readers thought I would do that here. However, it wouldn't work in this story. The problem is, if I showed this entire plotline just to end with Spook destroying the city, I think the sections would ultimately feel unfulfilling because they wouldn't be connected to the rest of the book.

If this were a middle novel, and not the end of a trilogy, I would have been much more inclined to show a tragedy like this. Then it could have effects on the next books, and the pages the reader had invested would mean something to the overall story. As it stands, I was always intending for Spook to be redeemed. Partially because I think that's who he is—he let Ruin urge him toward getting carried away, but he's still a solidly good person. Also, I have a fondness for him since the first book. I couldn't let him end that way.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#38 Copy


You've mentioned Spook being a bit of a 'stud' before, because I get oddly curious about this, how many children did he have?

A pretty weird question I know, but he does have a LOT of descendants

Brandon Sanderson

Spook has a lot of descendants, it's true. He had over a dozen children.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#39 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Spook is based very loosely on a person I knew from the timewastersguide forums. Zack–or Gemm, as his nick was–is very good at posting random gibberish which, if you look at it very closely, actually reads to be rather poetic. I wanted to do a character who spoke with a dialect that had an interesting rhythm, yet was difficult to make out.

Hence the character of Spook. Normally, I don't like dialects. Yet, something about this one was very intriguing to me. I like the way his sentences sound, even when they're completely unintelligible. I do realize, however, that some people really don't like reading what he has to say. Don't worry–he begins to speak more and more intelligibly from here on out.

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


According to [Sanderson's Second Law of Magic] your characters have flaws, weaknesses. What is the reason, that in a lot of them (Vin, Elend, Kaladin, Dalinar, Spook, etc) the most significant weakness is the lack of self-confidence?

Brandon Sanderson

It's because of mode-shifting. The people you noted have been doing one thing for a long time, and are now forced into something else. The self confidence is a side effect of that. However, I wouldn't say it's the primary character attribute for any of them, however. I think you're blanketing self confidence as a larger issue, when it's the smaller part of something larger for each character.

Vin: Trusting Others

Elend: Idealism

Dalinar: Conflict between the killer he was and the man he wishes to be.

Spook: Self Worth

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#42 Copy


Was Spook still alive when they figured out the Allomantic properties of cadmium and bendalloy and that sort of thing?

Brandon Sanderson



Okay. Follow-up, did he learn how to use them and travel into the future?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughter* You will find more out about Spook's fate, how about that?


That'll work.

Brandon Sanderson

It has not been– There is more coming about Spook.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#43 Copy


Was there ever a time when you had intended to kill off a character, but changed your mind because you liked them too much?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... I'm trying to think of whether or not this happened. I do believe that Adolin died in the original draft of The Way of Kings, which I wrote in 2002. he had a much smaller role in that book, and it played out very differently. When I did the newer version, which I rewrote from scratch, Adolin evolved much differently.

For those who don't know, he wasn't intended to have as large a role in the plot--but I ran into a problem during writing. Dalinar was feeling inconsistent as a character. I wanted to present him as strong and confident, but at the same time had him troubled by worries that he was insane from visions he was seeing.

This worked in outline form, but when I actually wrote, it seemed like he spent WAY too much time standing around worrying that he was crazy. So I expanded Adolin's character, providing a contrast. Dalinar, confident (to an extent) he was seeing something real--and his son, who worried his father was going insane.

Through this development, and giving Adolin more time on the page, he became a much more rounded character.

Another instance of this was Spook from the Mistborn series, who grew to have a much larger role than I'd originally intended.

There's another in this category--but it could include spoilers for an upcoming book. I'll talk about it eventually.

Brandon Sanderson

ETA: Szeth originally died permanently in the end of Words of Radiance. I also changed my mind to let Amaram live in the scene with the poison dart. Adolin killed off Sadeas instead.