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The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#1 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 Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#3 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 Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Tindwyl Confronts Elend about Vin

Tindwyl's parting words–that Elend might have to choose between Vin and his work–were tough to write. Not because they're true, but because they're a bit clichéd. In the end, I had to admit that I think Tindwyl would bring up this point, and would see it as her duty to make certain Elend thought about these things. So, I had her say these things anyway.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#5 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.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I think Tindwyl has a lot of good points in her training. Some people rebel against the things she says, but I think that she has a good idea of what makes a leader. Or, at least, one kind of leader.

The problem is, that isn't the only kind of leader that works. Still, in my mind, she knows that she HAS to be like that in order to react against Elend's frivolousness.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed talks to Vin about Tindwyl's Past

The other big thing in this chapter, of course, is Tindwyl. As I think I've mentioned, I wanted to include another strong female character in this book. Perhaps with this chapter under your belt, you can begin to understand Tindwyl better. Readers seem fairly well divided on their opinions of her. Some like her a lot, others dislike her violently.

Me, I am quite fond of her. She voices a lot of my own concerns, and represents something that this group of characters needed. A firm voice for stability.

She and Sazed actually have quite the history, which you will discover more of as the book progresses.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Sazed Sees The Koloss Begin to Attack

Tindwyl is, indeed, going to help with city defense. She didn't even offer argument; when she decided to stay, she decided that she'd help. As a Keeper, she sees that she can justify trying to help protect the people inside of Luthadel from a slaughter. She probably wouldn't help fight against Straff–but against koloss, she is willing.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Five

Vin and Tindwyl go Shopping

Part of me wants to get the same reaction out of the reader that Vin gave in this chapter. "Shopping? They're going SHOPPING?" I realize that this scene is a gamble. This is a book about a besieged city, and in the middle of it, I include a chapter spent trying on dresses.

There are a lot of important things I wanted to show in this chunk of the book, and this really did seem like the best way. First off, I wanted to get Vin back to the market so that she could see how tense the people were. Also, I wanted to have a chance to let her interact with Tindwyl–both to show another side of Tindwyl, and to finally force Vin to start confronting some of the things she needs to work on in this book.

She's reacted too strongly against the person she was becoming in the last novel. With Kelsier, and his encouragement, gone, she's reverted. She's frightened to accept the noble half of who she is.

I also wanted to show just a bit more of Allrianne. She's going to get some more screen time in upcoming sections, and I wanted a chance to give her character a little more rounding.

Beyond all of those reasons, I also just wanted to do something different, something a little more light. I miss the ball scenes we had back in book one. There was really no way to work them into this book, and so I let them go. However, I wanted to at least give a nod to those people who enjoyed them in the last novel. This scene and the dinner with Straff are both kind of throwbacks to those chapters from the first book.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#10 Copy


How many worldhoppers have we seen?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I haven't kept track, you've seen quite a few. There's one from Mistborn, did you catch him? I don't think people have really picked out the Terriswoman yet, who makes her way into them, but they're mostly not supposed to be noticeable yet, until you get to know them as characters and you look back and be like "oh that was that person."


Is it the Terriswoman I think it is?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know which Terriswoman you think it is.



Brandon Sanderson


Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#11 Copy


Also, We just took for granted that Sazed is with Tindwyl now. Is that so?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, here's the thing. What Sazed is right now is something of a god in the classic Greek sense—a superpowered human being, elevated to a new stage of existence. Not GOD of all time and space. In a like manner, there are things that Sazed does not have power over. For instance, he couldn't bring Vin and Elend back.

Where Tindwyl exists is beyond space and time, in a place Sazed hasn't learned to touch yet. He might yet. If you want to add in your heads him working through that, feel free. But as it stands at the end of the book, he isn't yet with Tindwyl. (He is, however, with Kelsier—who refused to "Go toward the light" so to speak, and has been hanging around making trouble ever since he died. You can find hints of him in Mistborn 3 at the right moments.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fourteen

Yes, it was probably stupid of the crew to leave Elend alone with Tindwyl. I pushed this situation a little bit farther than, perhaps, is plausible. However, you have to remember how the Terris people are regarded by those in Luthadel. Terrismen are, in general, such kind and loyal servants that it’s hard for Elend and the others to feel distrust for one.I was very pleased with this scene when I wrote it. I'd known from the beginning that I wanted to bring another strong female character into this book, as well as give Elend a mentor for kingship. Tindwyl fills both of those roles remarkably well. She also gives us another look at Terris culture–it's always difficult in a book like this to distinguish the cultures from the people. If you have only one Terrisman in a book, then he doesn't just represent himself–he represents all of his people. And so, unless you show another side of that culture, the person and where they come from become the same thing.