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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#2 Copy

NutiketAiel

For Feruchemy, can you only inherit that? Or is there another way to get it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you could obviously get it through a Hemalurgic spike.

NutiketAiel

Yeah, but that’s kind of a different thing.

Brandon Sanderson

It is hereditary, but it came from somewhere. Which is a RAFO, but it’s not a big RAFO. There’s not something you missed in the books, or anything like that. It originally came from Preservation long ago. And there are other ways to get it, but you have not missed any major plot points regarding that. Good question.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#3 Copy

Adrienne

In Well of Ascension, it mentions that the language of Terris had a gender neutral pronoun. If you actually constructed the language, what was that pronoun? Or did you just leave it as its English translation of "it"?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't spend a long time on the languages in Scadrial, since most people were speaking the same tongue. I just used "it" in my own writings. Roshar has a lot more detail on the languages, because culture-clash is a bigger part of the theme of the series.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#5 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.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

I had a question about the Terris. Is the reason why they don't any Allomancy in their population, is that because they have less of Preservation than the rest of the Scadrial population?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No, I wouldn't say it that way. Good question, but no.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part One

Prophecy

I wasn't certain how I wanted to treat prophecy in this book. On one hand, it's a staple of fantasy books—and my goal in this series was to take the fantasy staples and turn them upon their heads in a way that hadn't been done before. That meant I needed to include and use them, and so I did. In book two, the prophecies turned out to be false, and Ruin used them to trick Vin into releasing him.

However, the fact that he twisted the prophecies left me with the implication that they had once been true. What does that mean, though? If you look at prophecies in our own religions, very few of them are used like fantasy prophecies. In fantasy novels, it seems like prophecies are intentionally obscure, abstract things intended to confuse people and act as some kind of twisted guidebook for the hero to live his life. Yet, in modern religion—specifically Judaism and Christianity—prophecy is more general. Prophecy in these religions means things like "in the end, the faithful will win." They're general or symbolic. Of more use to the population as a whole, rather than applying to one distinct individual.

Sazed and Tindwyl have a great discussion about this in book two. Regardless, I make use of the prophecies here in the final book. As far as I'm concerned, they were given to the original Terris people by Preservation as a means of maintaining hope. They were a promise—a hero will come; that hero will protect you. Have faith.

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

Nesh

So some of us happened across a line in [Mistborn: The Final Empire] that gave us pause. It's in the chapter 19 epigraph:

"Not so Kwaan. In a way, he is as unlikely a prophet as I am a hero. He never had an air of ceremonious wisdom - nor was he even a religious scholar. When we first met, he was studying one of his ridiculous interests in the great Khlenni library--I believe he was trying to determine whether or not trees could think."

This sounded to us like Kwaan the Terrisman might have been looking into or might have known something about Realmatics, like for instance knowing of the Realms and that things have aspects in all three. Is this the case? If so, was such knowledge common among his people or Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Realmatic theory was part of the ancient Terris religion.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

They Discuss Religion

In my books, one of the things I prefer to do is have characters who voice opinions opposite to my own. I figure that my own feelings and beliefs will work themselves naturally into the text, and so there are probably a disproportionate number of characters in my books who see the world as I do. So, any time that I can add a strong character with beliefs that oppose mine, I feel that it gives the novel more credibility.

In this case, I think Tindwyl has a very strong argument against religion, particularly considering the world in which she lives. Prophecies—the staple of fantasy literature—are silly, if you really look at them. What's the point? I like that she offers some strong arguments against religion in this section because it not only fits her character, but gives context to what she and Sazed are doing.

Both Tindwyl and Sazed, by the way, use the same speech patterns. Kwaan does too, as did the Lord Ruler and Alendi. It's very subtle, but it's there—in my mind, at least. In this series, you can tell who is Terris by looking at the way they construct their sentences.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#13 Copy

amilynn

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.

sirgog

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.

Phantine

>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.

emailanimal

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.