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Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

How did you sort of develop and write the character of Vin? 'Cause her upbringing is so different from anything we-- that I have experienced and I'm guessing you had a similar experience. So did you have a model or somebody you could talk to?

Brandon Sanderson

I-- Not really. Now I did have two sisters, which helped, but my sisters were not raised in such a manner. It is more just trying out personalities, like I talked about in my speech until I got one that worked. Lots of practice if you want to be a good writer, lots and lots of practice. Try writing people very different from yourself and try to get them right. Give it to people and have them see if anything "Yes this feels right" and things like that. Just do lots of practice.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Another big step for Vin is admitting that she loved Reen. She's finally letting herself feel, and admit, the things that she's been repressing all this time. It's good for her to get them out, even if they hurt.

Of course, we also get to see Vin's abandonment complex. It's something that I haven't enforced too much in the book, but it was always there. Often, I think a sense of forced independence and solitude–like the one attitude Vin displayed in the early parts of the book–comes from believing that everyone will leave you eventually.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Uses Allomancy on OreSeur

Vin is, obviously, backsliding a bit. We get two big indications of it in this chapter. The first is the way she now looks at dresses–she's convinced herself again that they're wrong for her. The dresses represent, to Vin, the noblewoman side of herself. In essence, she's rejecting the balls and the person she was at them. That means to her that she isn't worth being with Elend, and that she doesn't deserve him.

The second, larger indication of her descent is what she does to OreSeur. It should feel a little out of place. This is something she might have tried at the beginning of the book, when she didn't get along with him. Doing it now is a major lapse, and I hope you can follow her thought process and see that she's confused and frustrated. She's trying anything that MIGHT give her an edge, and she goes too far. Even the best of us do things like that sometimes.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Vin and OreSeur Talk while Vin waits to see if Zane will Come Find her on the City Wall

I hope I'm not overdoing the parallels between Vin and the Logbook author, the previous person who thought that they might be the Hero of Ages. Some readers, in the original draft, thought her supposition (in the next chapter) that she was the Hero to be too much. They wondered where she got the idea.

I'm not trying to imply that Vin is or isn't the Hero. I'm just trying to show Vin's thought process. That's a tough line to walk in these chapters. As a writer, I want the narrative to be deeply inside someone's viewpoint, and therefore show who that character is and how they view the world. However, I don't want that narrative to indicate–certainly–that what the character thinks is actually true.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I almost took out the section where Vin thinks "Oh, that's why Sazed saved me. He has to because he promised Kelsier. That makes sense–after all, why would he want to save me?"

This section fits with the earlier Vin, but I think it's just a bit out of character for her now. She's getting over her feelings of worthlessness and solitude. She knows Sazed well enough now to understand that he WOULD save someone because he's a kind person, not just because he promised that he would.

So, I shortened Vin's thoughts in that section, de-emphasizing them by adding them into another paragraph, rather than giving them their own. I maybe should have cut them, but I wanted to hint that she's not over her hang-ups yet. She still has some of those old feelings. The progress is that she doesn't dwell on them as long.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Three - Part Two

Vin the Politician

Vin sells herself short sometimes on her ability to influence people and deal with political situations. She, perhaps, forgets that she began her career as an Allomancer by using the emotional metals, not the physical ones. Long before she was leaping through the mists, she was Pulling and Pushing on the emotions of people in the thieving underground, keeping herself safe, pushing deals to go her way, that sort of thing.

She plays Yomen perfectly here, and really accomplishes some things by it. I'm not one who looks at manipulating a conversation, or even the people in that conversation, as an inherently bad thing. Breeze voices (but exaggerates) some of my opinions on this in book two. We all posture and influence one another. The ability to get people to do what you want isn't itself evil; it's what we call charisma, or even leadership ability. It's what you do with your ability that is either evil or good.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

There are a few points in this chapter that really and truly sum up Vin's character for me. The first point comes in her asking Kelsier if Marsh beat him often. The fact that Vin wouldn't even consider the fact that two siblings could get along without some form of beating or dominerance speaks a lot about the life she's led.

She's not a bad person, however. Kelsier gets it right–she isn't herself bad, she just assumes that everyone else is. In my opinion, the amount of good left in her despite what she's gone through is a powerful testament to her character. And, finally, some of that starts to come out in this chapter. It might be a little early for her to begin changing–it's only been a few days–but I wanted to leave a few hints in this chapter, since we're going to have a big time jump here pretty soon.

The first hint is that she really is starting to want to become part of the team. She feels sad when she thinks she won't get to act the part of Renoux's heir. In addition–and, for Vin, I meant this to be something very telling–she left food behind. That's a great moment in the chapter for me.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

What would have happened if Vin had actually met up with Hoid in Mistborn-- er-- Hero of Ages?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh... Have you read Secret History?

Questioner

I-- I have never heard of Secret-- I'm kind of new to the cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

There is a short-- or a novella called Mistborn: Secret History that you should read that has a little bit to do with this. It doesn't answer that question exactly, but read it and then ask again, okay?

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
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Questioner

You say that there's part of you in every character, but what of you is in Vin as a character?

Brandon Sanderson

What of me is in Vin? The inherent belief that people are good. And Vin does believe in that. She believes that deep down, that people are good, she just doesn't believe that she belongs with them. Does that make sense?

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Confronts Lady Patresen

I played with this scene, our first ball scene in hundreds of pages, several times—trying to find the right balance I wanted to convey. I wanted to have a nice circle pointing back to Vin's interactions with Shan in the first book, showing how far Vin has come. However, I knew I didn't want to dedicate much time to it, and I didn't want Vin to fall out of character. So, this is the scene that came out. A short, blunt scene with Vin pushing the politics of the party to fit what she wants, rather than playing the games the way they're supposed to be played.

Originally I had Vin's attack convince Lady Patresen to seek Vin's favor, but a friend of mine, Janci, convinced me that it was far more realistic to have the lackeys suddenly switch sides instead. For setting me straight, Janci gained the dubious right to rename Lady Patresen, who had been called something else before. And, being who she is, Janci named the woman after herself—then said, "I get to be the girl who gets spurned by Vin! How cool is that?"

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin's Plan

I had to make sure to expand Vin's explanation for why she was doing what she was doing. A lot of alpha readers were confused at what Vin was planning and why she left, so I added a few paragraphs talking about putting herself in danger. It's not a fantastic plan, but it's all she can think of.

It so happens that she's wrong about why the mists are helping her. It isn't based on need or desire at all—she's fallen to a logical fallacy known as false cause. She's seen two analogous sets of information and incorrectly deduced that they are related. But, well, she's can't do everything right. This is as good a decision as any, considering the fight that Fadrex is facing.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

OreSeur as the Spy

Keeping OreSeur from acting suspicious in this book was really tough. I still don't know how well I pulled it off, though most alpha readers didn't see his plot twist coming.

The biggest trick was making the reader not suspect him from the get-go. I had to use some very subtle misdirection there. Remember, OreSeur was the one who told Vin how long those bones had been in the room. I think Vin points this out later in the book.

Other than that, I had to keep Vin from ever suspecting him, and have her point out other people she thought were far more suspicious. Sometimes, being a writer feels like being a magician. We have to leave things in full view, yet disguise their meaning, so that the end is dramatic.

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

I  never understood why Vin couldn't hold the Ruin Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

I could see a world where Vin maybe could have done it. But the trajectory she was on was opposed to it. Vin could have understood and become it. But what are the things that are keeping her? Vin, I don't think accepts, number one, that decay has to happen. She's experienced it a lot. But there's that piece inside her that doesn't want that to happen, doesn't want things to change, does not want people to leave her. I think that would be--if you read through, that's the soul, sort of, center event is, "Don't leave me, don't go away, don't change." And this is diametrically opposed to Ruin. People focus on the fact that she's good at killing and she is. But that heart, that soul...Ruin is more about things changing and decaying, than even about destroying.

Questioner

And I guess that's the reason why she can hold Preservation very easily?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Two

Wax Ties a Cravat

In the original draft, I conceived this scene specifically because of how strong a contrast it would provide to jumping around in the mists in the previous scene. This has always been a theme of the Mistborn books, and I hoped that some familiarity in that regard would provide a connecting tie between this book and the previous trilogy.

Mistborn was about balance—balancing the life of a thief (and then assassin) in Vin's case with the life of a noblewoman. I wanted Wax to be dealing with some of the same concepts, but from another direction. Instead of a young person discovering high society, Wax is returning to it after abandoning it. But, as Vin never truly abandoned her street-thief roots, Wax never abandoned his gentleman's ways.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

Reen and Ruin, how much of the personalty that we saw in the books was Ruin, her actual memories, and how much of it was actually Reen?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of what you saw was this kind of weird amalgamation, because it's getting filtered through her memories and things like this. You can see mostly Ruin at that point, but there is some actual Reen in there mixed in. Maybe twenty-eighty. Eh, twenty five-seventy five.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin sees Demoux in the dark

I ramped up the Demoux suspicion scenes during the final draft, since I figured I needed a pretty good red herring this late in the game to keep the heat off of OreSeur. Originally, the next "Vin Follows Demoux" scene happened right after she saw him sneaking out the first time. I moved this in the draft, giving her longer to suspect him

The result was this scene, where she hasn't eliminated him as an option yet, but also knows that he snuck out at night. I had to rationalize why she wouldn't just grab him straight out, though I think I came up with pretty good rational. It makes sense, actually, and was one of the easiest fixes I made in this book. She WOULDN'T want to spring a trap on him, not yet. She'd want to watch and see what she could learn from him.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eight

Killer Mists

The mists kill now. That was a major plot point from book two, so I hope you haven't forgotten it.

Not only was it necessary for the mythology of the world—as will be explained—it was a necessary shift for Vin's personality. This series is about, as I've stated before, the concepts of trust, betrayal, and faith. The mists are the one thing Vin thought she could trust, but now they have turned against her. How she deals with that is a big part of this book.

If you watch throughout the book, Vin has a stronger reaction against the mists than other characters. True, they're worried about the way it's killing people, but Vin is bitter—almost hateful. This is partially because she feels betrayed, but another factor is the taint of Hemalurgy—and therefore Ruin's touch—in her blood.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So my dog's name is Vin. I was wondering if there was any sort of story behind that name and how you thought of it.

Brandon Sanderson

Wine in French. Because building the whole region off of French-sounding names—Kelsier and Demoux and things like that. And I just really like... the sound of it. I know it's kind of like a guy's name, but I just really like the sound of it.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen - Part One

Whew! I've got a lot to say here. First off, Vin's earring. It's a little morbid the way she wears it around, since it was her mother's. The same mother that killed Vin's sister and tried to kill Vin, before Reen rescued her. But, we'll get to more of that later.

My feeling is that the earring is Vin's last connection to her real family or the life she knew with Reen. True, it wasn't a great life–but it was part of her, just like the Pits became part of Kelsier. He'll always carry those scars. The earring is the same for Vin.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Since I have a little room here, let me mention something I've been wanting to talk about for a while. Vin's name. I realize that a lot of people read this name and think of a man—it is, after all, the name of a current action hero.

I didn't even make the connection. When I was developing this character, I wanted something that was quick and simple. I'm not sure why, but I felt a single syllable name was important for this hero. It indicated her somewhat base, street-wise nature, I think. Simple, straightforward, but not weak.

Vin was, however, originally a boy. The hero of Final Empire Prime was a young boy named Vin. When I pulled some of those character concepts over to this novel, I realized that making the hero female worked so much better. Some of the original Vin's conflicts hadn't ever felt right—the abandonment issues, the blunt attitude. They just all worked better with Vin being female. I knew I'd written an entire book with the hero being the wrong gender the moment I tried writing my first sample chapter of Mistborn with Vin as a girl.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Why didn't you have Vin talk to Hoid? She sort of saw him and then just ran off.

Brandon Sanderson

I have not answered that question yet. But that means you can have one of these [RAFO cards].

Argent

That doesn't come up very often but we got it twice.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's not that big of a thing.

Argent

You should take the hint.

Brandon Sanderson

You are going to have to wait a while to get that answer.

Footnote: The answer to this question is revealed in the novella Mistborn: Secret History.
Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

There were two important events for Vin in this last scene. First, she decides to stay and try to save Sazed. As I note below, this is a character climax for her. She's not only grown to trust, but grown–somewhat–to sacrifice. Most of Reen's harm to her soul has been reversed by the care and love of a group of idealistic thieves.

The second thing Vin does of importance in this section is fight without her Allomancy. I think it's a nice moment for her, and lets her show some true bravery. One problem with making heroes as powerful as mine is that it's sometimes hard to find a challenge for them. Also, it's hard to present them as the underdog. In this scene, Vin gets to fight as just a regular person, and show that she's still better than most people, even without Allomancy.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin comes to tell Elend what she's discovered.

The way Elend treats Vin in this chapter puts a few people on edge. If you're in that group, realize that I want you to feel this. And, not just for plotting purposes. I just think it's more realistic.

People get tired. People have trouble focusing. And people treat even those they love with indifference sometimes. This is particularly bad of people like myself–men who are quick to get focused on one project or another. I've done things just like this to my wife, unintentionally ignoring her because I am so tied up in my current project.

It's not a good thing, but it IS natural and normal. Unfortunately, it prompts something very important: the return of Reen's whispering voice in the back of Vin's mind. She's been free of him for a long time now, but I thought it appropriate to bring him back. After all, that voice–partially a representation of her subconscious–was a large part of her character in the first novel.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

Alright, who would win in a fight: Rand al'Thor or Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

Who would win in a fight, Rand al'Thor or Vin. I'm going to go with the person who's a pseudo-diety and held the powers of creation. Which is gonna be-- Yeah. I'm gunna say Rand on that one, pretty safely. With the caveat of "You have to pick when". If Vin where able to get to Rand while he's still on a farm, I think she'll do a better job than the Trollocs did. If you replace Narg with Vin, Rand is in trouble. If at the ends of their respective series, I still think Rand would win, even when Vin is at her most powerful., because he is able to bend reality. But I don't know, Jason?

Jason Denzel

Oh I definitely agree, but I'm a little bit biased here. But yeah it really does depend on the time. Like if you take Vin at the last few pages of Mistborn, I don't know because she's--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, certain spoiler-rific things happen there. So she could give him a fight at that point, but I'm going to side with Rand on this. I'm going to side with Rand versus any character in most pieces of fiction.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Soothes the Koloss

She does it by Soothing the koloss. I think this is probably the easiest of the twists in the book–after all, I showed her doing the exact same thing to a kandra, then told you that kandra and koloss were very similar. So this shouldn't have been too much of a logical leap. If Vin hadn't been exhausted and overworked here, she probably would have figured it out earlier.

I thought it important, by the way, to show her fighting without her powers–and to show that she's still good, even when she doesn't have pewter steel or iron. She's a dangerous person. The metals just make her VERY dangerous.

By the way, I used Kelsier's last words–obliquely–as the thing that pulled her out of her stupor when she fell to the lack of pewter. She's been burning it far too much for this entire book, and hopefully you're expecting her to have to pay for that at some point. She would have dropped unconscious if she hadn't thought of her friends.

Kelsier would have been proud. His last words to her had been a chastisement, since she hadn't been treating their friends as well as she should have. He insisted on rescuing Spook from the cages, rushing into an obvious trap despite the danger. Vin has done nearly the same thing in returning to Luthadel.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I hope you noticed the difference between the way Kelsier got into the room and the way Vin did it. She walked up to the guards at the front and talked them away, rather than killing them. She just strolled through the guard chamber–the place where she killed her first time–instead of attacking. Why attack? She's powerful enough that she can just slip through and escape.

For Kelsier, the killing was always part of the victory. Vin's more goal-oriented, perhaps. In addition, she doesn't like to kill. So, her way is to just slip by the men. Then, in the room, she doesn't get close to the Inquisitors–she takes them down with tricks. On the streets, she would have had to use very little to gain much. She needed to be extremely clever with the small advantages she had. She used Allomancy in small ways to great advantage. Now that she's more powerful, I think her cleverness and resourcefulness will lead her to be far more amazing an Allomancer than Kelsier was.

/r/fantasy AMA WorldCon 2013 ()
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Ansalem

A lot of your works that are stand alone novels or seemingly completed stories, you have announced or started working on sequels for. Are there any stories that you feel complete and don't need to work on the same world or characters again? Or do feel there is always some new tale to tell about every world you make?

Brandon Sanderson

It's hard, because the way I plot I always have to know what happened before the book and what will happen after the book. Knowing that doesn't mean that I have to continue. It's also hard, though, to say no to fans who are so passionate about a specific project.

The Vin/Elend story is most certainly done. As is the Raoden/Sarene story, as is Siri's story from Warbreaker. So there are completed threads. There might be other stories to tell in those worlds, though, so I'll avoid closing the door on them for now. (That said, it did feel very good to finish The Wheel of Time for good, and look forward to putting some of my own works to rest in a similar way.)

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixteen

Vin in her room

This first scene is a classical Brandon scene–a character studying, thinking, and exploring who they are in their own head. Some people find my narrative style–with the thoughts, the conclusions, and the debates in the head–to be a little slow. I can understand that, even if I don't agree.

I like knowing my characters. A chapter like this really works for that, in my opinion. It seems to me that in too many books, you never really know a character's thoughts, feelings, and logic enough to understand why they do what they do. So, I spend time on those things.

This scene is important for the decisions Vin makes about herself. She is not the type of person to second-guess herself. In a way, she shows some of the very things Tindwyl tries to get across to Elend later in the chapter. Vin encounters a problem, mulls over it, then comes to a firm decision to trust herself.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Elend reveals that he's joined the Church of the Survivor

Unfortunately, this entire chapter is a big mallet driving the wedge down between Vin and Elend. The next chapters are why I had to make sure I established their relationship earlier in the book, so that readers would hope for them to stay together as the novel progressed. However, I suspect that at least a few readers are pulling for the Vin/Zane thing to work out.

Either way, it's better–narratively, and character-wise–to have Vin figure out Elend's plan on her own. It gives her the chance to show how she's grown. She sees things like a politician. Though she's hard on herself, she knows a lot more about these things–and is a better match for Elend–than she gives herself credit.

I actually think this is a clever, clever move. Elend has done a lot of work for the skaa, but he's never really worked to make himself seem like one of them. This establishes him as on their side, solidly–but also gives him a kinship with them. He doesn't worship the Lord Ruler. He worships their god. That gives him a lot of credibility with them.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part Four

Vin's Sacrifice

Killing Elend and leaving Vin alive would have been, in my opinion, more tragic than what happened. As I establish in a little bit, there is an afterlife in this cosmology. Better for them both to die and to be together.

There were only two ways that Ruin could have died in this book. The first would be to have him give up his life as Preservation did. I don't think that was very likely.

The second way is the one I've been subtly pushing the reader toward from the very beginning of the novel. Ruin and Preservation are opposites. Equal, particularly while Ruin doesn't have access to the chunk of his power trapped in the atium. The only way, then, for him to be killed would be for Preservation to smash his power against that of Ruin and destroy both of them. It's a form of balance. Either you block and stop each other, warding each other away, or you overlap and destroy one another.

This was the role Preservation chose Vin to play all those years ago. As she surmises, he needed someone to do what he could not. He had been too corrupted by his power, and could not destroy Ruin. If Vin had held the power for millennia as Preservation had before her, then she too would have lost the ability to destroy Ruin.

It needed to be someone fresh to the power, still separate enough from it to be able to kill Ruin. Preservation knew that if he did not sacrifice himself and let someone else take up the power, then Ruin would eventually win and the world would end. Imprisoning Ruin was always only intended to be a delaying tactic.

The delay was so that the power could find a new person to bear it. Someone who could do what Preservation could not.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I just really like Elend and Vin's relationship. It's one that really shouldn't work, but for some reason, they just get along so well in my head. I doubt that they could explain it either–but the two fit together in a very strange, "opposites meet" kind of way. They actually have a lot more chemistry, for me, than Sarene and Raoden–though those two are far better matched for each other. Maybe that's because the frustration and confusion Elend feels seems very realistic to me. He never really does know what Vin is feeling, even though her emotions are so blunt and simple when we're in her viewpoint.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Kandra are a race that will also get a lot of development as the series progresses. During the development of this book, I tried to resist using the "there's a spy among us" plot, but in the end, I just couldn't do it. The pieces were all there, and I wanted to play with the concepts of trust and reliability.

In the first book, Vin learned to trust. She learned that it was better to trust and be betrayed than to suspect everyone. The nice twist on that in book one was that there WAS no traitor in the book. Everyone stayed true to Kelsier and his vision.

So, in this book, I had to sew seeds of distrust. I wanted Vin to have to deal with those problems again, and really have to confront her suspicions and paranoia. The only way to do that was to have her begin suspecting members of the crew.

Besides, you don't just put in a race of shapeshifters then ignore the tension of people wondering if someone they know has been replaced. That would just be irresponsible.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

It was extremely important that Elend reject Vin in this chapter. I worry that I got a little bit into convenient motivations in this chapter–I always hate it when men and women have relationship problems in book simply because it's the place in the story for things to go wrong. Weak conflict–something a friend of mine calls "Deus Ex Wrench" is a problem with most romantic comedies.

Better to have realistic, rather than feigned, tension. I hope that I was able to manage that in this chapter. Elend is being almost completely honest with his emotions here–he has just discovered that Vin was lying to him all along. Rather than feeling bitter, however, he feels like a fool. He's realized that the game was playing him all along, and he's disappointed to find that Vin is part of it. That, in turn, persuades him that he should just give in and do his duty to his house.

And so, he turns her away. The vital part of this all, of course, is that it gives Vin the chance to love him–and protect him–even though he's rejected her. This is perhaps the most important step for Vin in the entire book. She's learning the things that Kelsier talked about, the truth that she needed. With this in hand, she can trust people, even knowing that they might betray her.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
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Questioner 1

That question I asked, I've been wondering about it a lot, how do you do misogyny *inaudible*? I think the message of the book...isn't really right wording.

Brandon Sanderson

No, I know exactly what you mean. How do you write misogynistic characters without writing a misogynistic book? That is tricky. You know, one thing that I didn’t bring up a lot is to have people on a spectrum. If every--‘cause even if you go back to, for instance--if you went back to 600 BC, there would be certain people who think different ways than everyone else. We think that cultures are monolithic, but they're not. And if you go back most of my characters are not acting like they would in the mid-1800’s. If you went back then you would find people who are anti-racist, even back then. So it’s legit that you can have certain...

Yeah. The trick is you can’t make anyone just a super paragon, like Ghandi was racist but he was really powerfully influential in what he did.  Everyone has got their biases and so if you make someone with no biases then they’re a bad character, but if you make people’s biases shine a light on each other you’ll have a stronger story.

Questioner 1

*inaudible about Kaladin* He does have that deep-seated prejudice against the lighteyes, but in every other way as with everyone else its a subtle reminder.

Brandon Sanderson

Except the Parshendi.  He’s been getting better.  But that’s the whole point of relaying this. This person has.

Questioner 2

Like you said, there's the stereotypes about Herdazians.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Herdazians. And most people don't pick it out that there's like this deep racism against the Herdazians.

Questioner 1

Do people ever accuse you of being <misogynistic>?

Brandon Sanderson

Not yet. I know it will happen. It probably has happened and I haven't seen it, but no, I haven't been upfront accused of it. My worse thing is there's some unconscious sexism in Mistborn. Vin works very well but there aren't any other women. I kind of fall into the one woman in the whole world sort of thing. But part of learning about this is we all have these biases, we're all going to these make these mistakes. You have to be okay to fail. Better that than wrong. Why is that wrong? What about is it? In what way?

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Brandon Sanderson

Epilogue

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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Ham, Elend, and Spook discuss Vin's attack on Cett

Ham mentions Vin exploding at the group. If you recall, this is the scene where Vin accuses the others of all being noblemen. She's mad at Kelsier for the way he treats Elend, but she also felt that the group didn't REALLY know what it was like to be skaa.

Ham never understood why she did this; he just saw an irrational young girl. And, in truth, a teenage girl's emotions can be rather volatile. However, I think her explosion was quite rational–as did Kelsier, who talked with her afterward and apologized.

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Brandon Sanderson

Also, I think it was about time to establish firmly the relationship between Kelsier and Vin. She–if you haven't guessed–has a bit of a hero-worship crush going on with him. It will never be stated explicitly, but it's there, and kind of has to be there.

Kelsier, however, regards her like a protégé, and perhaps even a daughter. That's it. I apologize to those who were looking for a romance between the two. I realize that I'm breaking some laws of storytelling by introducing a female viewpoint in chapter one, then a male viewpoint in chapter two, and not having them get into any sort of romantic way. However, that's not what this book is about. Kelsier is not only much older than Vin, he really doesn't look for relationships any more. Not his focus in life right now.

I never intended there to be any romantic tension between the two of them. However, some of my alpha readers were hoping to find it–and found more than I anticipated. So, I added the lines here from Kelsier about wishing he had a daughter, just so I could make things clear.

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Questioner

Which of your characters do you think would win in a fight?

Brandon Sanderson

At what stage in their career?

Questioner

Not the Slivers.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so they don't count, the Shards of Adonalsium don't count… Does Kelsier have atium?

Questioner

Yes, atium exists.

Brandon Sanderson

A Mistborn burning atium is really hard to beat in any other way.

Questioner

So you think that Kelsier would beat Vin?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Kelsier would beat Vin if he had atium and she didn't. If they both did? Vin has more raw talent, Kelsier has a lot more experience. So if you can pick Vin after she's had more experience she will give him a fair fight, but before that she will not.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty - Part Two

Here's my original journal entry for this chapter, written right after I finished the chapter itself:

Chapter Thirty: Vin saves Elend at the party.Finished 5-19-04

It's wonderful when a chapter turns out just the way you envisioned it.

I worked on this chapter for a long time–from the beginning of the planning process, I imagined this as one of the major action sequences in the book. I began with the image of Vin shooting up through the air as the rose window twisted and fell beneath her in the mists, then I expanded that to her protecting Elend, giving Vin a real scene of heroism. Originally, I wasn't intending her to fight the Allomancers, just to lead them away, but I decided that I needed a pure Mistborn-on-Mistborn fight in the book. Every other Allomantic battle involves Inquisitors.

The scenes in this chapter are some of my favorite so far. Though, oddly, it took me a long time to get into them–I hedged over what the first part of the chapter should entail. Eventually, I decided that this would be a perfect place to give Vin some abandonment issues. This is a hold-over from the original Vin from the first Final Empire [Prime] write–the fear of abandonment was a large part of that Vin’s personality. It worked well in this setting, and I think I'll emphasize it just a bit more in the rewrite. The next chapter really plays off of this idea.

It feels a little bit weird to be writing about a young girl running around killing people in her skivvies, but I don't really see any reasonable way for her to fight in one of those bulky ball gowns I'm using in this book. So, underwear it is!

Kliss and Shan have both come to have much larger parts in the book than I'd intended. Kliss was intended to be a throw-away character used in one chapter, but now she's become an informant and a conspirator. In a rewrite, I think I'll have to introduce her sooner and try and give her a more distinctive personality. As for Shan. . .well, I only added her a couple of chapters ago. Obviously, she'll need more time in the rewrite as well. Vin's battle will be much better if I can have her fight a named character that's been an antagonist in a few chapters. The Vin ball scenes have become a larger part of the book than I had thought, and adding Kliss and Shan as recurring characters will help flesh out that plot-line, I think.

Like how I ditch Sazed in this chapter so that I can have Vin's "grand" entrance in the next chapter? Pretty smooth, eh? I was worried about how I was going to deal with him. . . . As for the actual fight and the scenes, I think everything flowed quite well. We'll see what readers think!

(Note, when I wrote this, Elantris wasn’t even out yet–it was still over a year away from publication–so I really had no idea if people would be responding well to my writing or not.

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Assaults Cett's Keep

This is one of my favorite chapters in the book. I only occasionally REALLY let myself go with Allomancy, letting the Mistborn reach for their potential. I don't like violence. And yet, I love the beauty of a good fight.

This is a twisted beauty. Corrupt, fascinating, destructive—yet powerful. I've wanted to write something like this ever since I saw the lobby scene in the Matrix. Not because it was so amazing—which it was—but because I think they handled it wrong. The characters commit this huge slaughter, but we never see the horror of it—only the awesome visuals.

There are repercussions for doing something like what happens in this chapter. Perhaps Zane can slaughter wantonly, but that's only because he's beaten his conscience away repeatedly. Vin will not escape so easily.

Oh, and the guy on the wall—Wells—is a cameo. He is my good friend, Dan Wells. He's not this much of a coward, but he didn't make it into book one, so I figured I'd throw him in here. He'll be back, actually. . . . (Watch for him in Book Three.)

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin and OreSeur

Another thing that's going well is the Vin-OreSeur relationship. In fact, because of some of the wedges Zane is driving between Elend and Vin, one of my alpha readers continually joked that he thought Vin and her dog had a better relationship than Vin and her boyfriend.

I don't think that's true–he was reading the book one chapter a week as I workshopped them. I hope, given Vin and Elend's closeness at the beginning of the book, that you can see they still love each other–even if they are under a great deal of stress. That isn't to say that Vin isn't falling for Zane a bit. However, I don't think she's falling out of love with Elend so much as convincing herself that she's no good for him.