The Hero of Ages Annotations

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Name The Hero of Ages Annotations
Date June 2, 2009
Location Brandon's website
Entries 247
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#1 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Title Page

Originally, this book was going to be called The Final Hero. In the first draft of book one, that was the term I was using for the hero from Terris lore. I changed this for a couple of reasons.

First off, I just didn't like the way The Final Hero sounded. Something about it felt off to me. In addition, if I titled book one The Final Empire and the last book The Final Hero, then it seemed that the second book should also be The Final (Something)—and I didn't like that either. The Well of Ascension is actually my favorite title of the three, I think.

So I toyed around with other words and terms I could use. Eventually, I settled on The Hero of Ages. I'm satisfied with it, but it's not my favorite title. If you've read the books, then it makes perfect sense and is a great capstone title to the trilogy—but to those who haven't, I think it comes off as a rather bland title.

Regardless, I'm now very glad I didn't go with The Final Hero. People were confused by book one having final in the title, as they weren't sure if that book were the first or last in the series. I think having another book with final in the title could have been even more confusing—particularly if I decide to do any more books in the Mistborn world.

#2 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


This one is for my brother, Jordan. He is, in a word, awesome.

I don't know if any of you had to grow up with a domineering older sibling, but I know my brother did. I'm the eldest, and when we were growing up, I was the "good" son. I did everything right (not really, but I know it seemed that way). I was the one who got the good grades, who did what he was supposed to, was responsible—all of that. I know it was rough on Jordan. It took me until I was in my twenties to snap out of the sense of entitlement that growing up this way gave me.

Many younger siblings, I think, would have reacted bitterly to a brother like me, even going so far as to cut off contact. Yet Jordan has remained my stalwart pal. He put up with a lot when we were younger, and he didn't give up on me. He's fiercely loyal, a wealth of information, and a great webmaster.

Thanks, Jordo.

#3 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


As usual, this page has a couple of inside jokes buried in it. In the first Mistborn book, I referred to Peter Ahlstrom (one of my longtime friends and alpha readers [Editor's note: and now the assistant who's editing these annotations]) as "the incalculable Peter Ahlstrom." He got a big kick out of this, partially because he didn't know what the heck it meant. (I don't either.) He even went so far as to make a T-shirt that said "Incalculable" on it and wear it to one of my signings. (I had to think for a while to get the joke, to be honest. It had been forever since I'd written that acknowledgments page, and I'd forgotten what I'd written.)

Anyway, this time around he gets to be The Indivisible Peter Ahlstrom. I don't know what that means either.

Ben Olsen is another friend I tend to make fun of. I don't know why. Tradition, I guess. This time around, I realized Olsen is almost a kandra name. Ben OleSoon he became. And Eric "More Snooty" James Stone came about because he and Eric J. Ehlers got into a lighthearted argument about how they were snooty for including their middle initials on the acknowledgments page.

These are all wonderful folks who helped me in creating these books, and they have my thanks. I know most readers skip this page, which is why I like to add Easter eggs to it.

#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


Just like the other two books, the maps in this volume are brought to you by the talented Isaac Stewart—video game designer, writer, and all-around great guy. Isaac is a member of my writing group, and he started work on the maps for Hero of Ages early, since we knew we'd want maps of Urteau and Fadrex to replace the map of Luthadel (which doesn't have as big a part in this book as it did in the others).

I'm curious to know what people think, opening this book and seeing these two cities instead of the familiar Luthadel. Part of me still wishes I'd been able to set the book in Luthadel.

And yet, I worried that that setting was played out. In book two, the action came to the characters—but I wasn't certain I wanted them to still be sitting there, dealing with the problems life threw at them. I wanted them to be out proactively seeking to head off the end of the world.

That required them to leave Luthadel, and while I did find opportunity for a few scenes in the city, they aren't the focus of the book.

I like how both of these maps turned out, as they both have visual elements that were challenging to describe in the text. For Urteau, the streetslots are an unusual image, and I think the map helps get across the idea of the empty canal streets. Fadrex was an even bigger problem—it was tough to get down the descriptions of the rock formations around the city that provide natural fortifications. I think that the map here gives me a leg up on description, as it adds a visual image I can work from before I even have to begin describing.

I know some readers complain about how fantasy writers feel a need for maps, but for me it's always been a vital part of the experience. The map is an initial visual image that begins to pull you away from our world and deposit you someplace else. David Farland always says that one of the goals of fantasy—and reading in general—is to take you somewhere new. Maps are the gateway into doing this, and I'm happy to include them in my books.

#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


Book two didn't have a prologue—if you read the annotations, you can find out about the one I was planning to use but then decided to drop for various reasons.

However, I always knew that this one would have a prologue. Why is this a prologue and not chapter one? I'm not sure I can explain it—I just had a sense of what it needed to be.

It's a glimpse rather than a full chapter. It's from a viewpoint that, while important to the book, doesn't carry a lot of weight in page count—we won't see Marsh again for a number of chapters. Plus, it stands out as being the closest thing to an evil character viewpoint in the book. All of these things scream prologue to me, as they give a hint of what is to come, but don't immediately indicate how the story is going to start.

#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Magic System Focus

I've mentioned before that, in my mind, each of the three books has a focus on one of the three magic systems. Book one introduced Allomancy. And in book two, Sazed became a viewpoint character, and his story is very important to that book. Through him, we see Feruchemy work.

We will, of course, see lots more Feruchemy and Allomancy in this book. However, we also add Marsh to introduce us to Hemalurgy. The secrets behind how this magic system works are a major focus of the plot of this volume, as they explain to us how Ruin and Preservation operate.

#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter One

Part One Title

The title of this section of the book is "The Legacy of the Survivor." If I recall correctly, part one of the first book was "The Survivor of Hathsin" and part one of book two was "The Heir of the Survivor."

Kelsier still overshadows these books. In this chapter particularly, I wanted to show an entire group of people doing essentially what he did in book one. Just as Kelsier faced down an Inquisitor, this band of soldiers is going to charge an army of koloss.

#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Fatren's Viewpoint

I knew early on that I'd need to start with a viewpoint from someone we haven't seen before. I thought that someone fresh would allow us to get a distinct sense of what has happened to the world in the months since the end of book two. The viewpoints of the main characters would be clouded by events—I wanted someone who could show us what was really happening.

That meant using a skaa peasant in one of the outlying cities. I wanted to show a different slice of life and indicate how hard things were. In addition, I felt I wanted to hit right away on the fact that this book would be about the world ending.

Hence we have Fatren. I toyed with making him a main character, but I eventually discarded that idea. I think this is the only chapter from his viewpoint. I hate to use a throwaway viewpoint so early in the book, but the alternative—making him a main character just to avoid having a throwaway viewpoint—was a bad idea. We already have too much to focus on with Elend, Vin, Spook, TenSoon, Sazed, and Marsh all being major viewpoint characters in the novel.

Adding TenSoon, Marsh, and Spook gave us enough that was new in the way of viewpoints. We didn't need Fatren—except for this first scene. Here, we get to see Elend from an outside perspective, and I think this does an excellent job of providing contrast—both against the hopelessness of the world and against the Elend that readers have in their head.

He's changed, obviously. The beard and rugged looks are meant to indicate a year spent fighting koloss and leading humankind as it struggles against extinction. Using Fatren's viewpoint gave me a powerful way to update the world and explain what's changed. I'm pleased with how he turned out.

#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Two


I wrote the TenSoon chapters separately from the rest of the main storyline. (In fact, I wrote in three sections, since I did Spook as a chunk as well.) So when I wrote this, I didn't know exactly which chapter in the book it would be.

I decided to place it early. Not only did I feel I needed something short to split up the two big Elend chapters, but I wanted to introduce TenSoon as soon as possible. His chapters were the favorite of many of the alpha readers, as they offer a completely new experience and mark our first viewpoint in this series from a creature of a different species. (As I think about it, this is probably the first viewpoint in any of my books from a nonhuman.)

This chapter is short, mostly giving background and setting the stage for TenSoon's viewpoint chapters. I found it curious that I got such a good response from readers about his chapters, since TenSoon is forced to be mostly reactive. He's imprisoned, undergoing trial. He can't really do much other than speak. Yet readers found the chapters compelling and interesting.

#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A Kandra Perspective

I knew I wanted a kandra viewpoint in this book. They have a unique perspective on the setting and the mythology of the world, and beyond that they're just plain fascinating to me. I like their culture, and I'm glad I finally found a place to show the Homeland, their true bodies, and so forth. (More on this in upcoming annotations, of course.)

In addition, TenSoon's viewpoint offers a contrast to the battles, sieges, and wars going on in the other viewpoints.

#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Three

The Fight against the Koloss

One of my biggest worries about the beginning of this book is that the fight scene here is too long, particularly for the beginning of a book. But I wanted to show this fight in chapter three for a few reasons. First, I wanted to have a dramatic beginning. I also wanted a good excuse to reintroduce Allomancy and how it works, and I've found that battles are the best place to do that. Finally, I wanted to indicate what the feel of this book would be.

Book one was underscored by the heist story and book two by the siege of Luthadel. Book three is underscored by epic war. That's not all it is, but the wars and battles are a big part of what drives this book.

Unfortunately, having to stop to explain Allomancy slows things down. I think I did it better in this book than I did in book two, but it still makes this fight a tad dry.

#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Writing Fight Scenes

A fight should be more than a blow-by-blow. I've talked about this before. In a book, you can't get away with action for the sake of action—at least not in the same way you can in a movie.

With a visual medium, viewers can simply enjoy the blow-by-blow. Character X hits Character Y can be exciting. In books, it's dreadfully boring. I think I went a little too far toward that in this chapter.

What makes a fight work? Well, emotional impact for one. If we're tied to a character and think that they might be in danger, that can make a fight work—but only insofar as we're seeing the danger's emotional effect on the character. (Which is something books can do far better than movies.) Also, interesting discoveries and ramifications can work to make a fight more exciting.

Why is Elend forcing these men to fight like this? Where are the armies he promised? How are they going to win? Hopefully these questions drive the action. Thus the final way to make something exciting in an action scene is to show the characters being clever through the way they manipulate the fight or the magic or the area around them.

That's just my take on it.

#14 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


I held off on using this metal because while I knew what it had to do, I also knew that it would make atium far less important.

The way I built Allomancy, there is a logic to its framework. Atium shows other people's futures. Gold shows your own past. Each group of metals has internal and external powers. Therefore, one of the two alloys (either atium's or gold's) had to show other people's pasts—the Eleventh Metal from book one, an alloy of atium.

The final metal of that group, then, had to show your own future. I wanted this to be an alloy of atium. But the problem was that it couldn't be. There is always a pushing metal and a pulling metal to each set. The pull always comes first; the push is always the alloy. The two external metals (that do things to other people) have to be grouped together, and the two internal metals (that do things to yourself) have to be grouped together.

That means atium and gold are both pulling metals, and the ones that do things to you both had to be related to gold—and both metals that do things to other people had to be related to atium. Therefore, even though initial logic makes it seem that the alloy of atium should be the one that shows your own future, the way the magic is arranged means that it has to show other people's pasts. [Editor's note: Careful readers may intuit something else about this that Brandon is holding back.]

#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Inquisitor's Speed

What the Inquisitor does here at the end is very important. If you've read book two recently, you may recognize this as what Sazed did when he tapped speed at the end of that book.

The Inquisitors are gaining Feruchemical powers, which makes them very, very dangerous. Mixing Feruchemy and Allomancy is what made the Lord Ruler so formidable. Fortunately, it took him a long time to figure out how to mix the powers correctly, and the Inquisitors haven't had the time to practice, regardless of the force controlling them.

#16 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Elend Takes Control of the Koloss Army

The truth is that Ruin wanted Vin and Elend to get this army of koloss. He wanted them to keep up their quest and to surround themselves with his minions. Now that he's got Marsh and company churning out new Inquisitors, he figured that he could risk—and probably lose—one here in order to keep Vin and Elend thinking that they were doing the right thing. After all, if the Inquisitors are fighting them, then they must be on the right track.

Again, Ruin is playing them. Though, one other thing to note is the attempt to get a spike into Elend here. In Ruin's opinion, that also would have been an acceptable end to this fight, and another good reason to toss away an Inquisitor. He wasn't successful, but he got close. If Ruin had been quick enough to block Vin as she grabbed one of the koloss, the rest of the book would have been quite different.

#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Four

Sazed's Depression and Search for Truth

And we finally get to do the first Sazed chapter.

It seems that each book presents different challenges. In book two, Sazed's scenes flowed easily and perfectly, much as TenSoon's chapters did in this book. However, in book three, I couldn't get Sazed's chapters to work right. I had to do several revisions.

The main problem was that in the first draft of the book, Sazed just sat around moping all the time. I wanted to show him in the clutch of depression, having given up on all of his religions. In that draft, he'd already decided that all of his religions were false and that there was no hope.

But his chapters were a major drag. They were rather boring to read, and even when exciting things were happening, Sazed himself was just too depressing. That came from two problems. First off, his depression just didn't feel right—it felt like I was telling people he was depressed, rather than showing someone who really had depression. Secondly, he wasn't doing anything. That's an accurate portrayal of someone with depression, but it sure is a drag to read.

So, I revised heavily and came up with the idea of Sazed looking through his portfolios searching for truth. I like how this turned out. Not only is he being active now, but it feels to me that he's more depressed—despite being active—because of the way he thinks and the edge of despair you can feel each time he eliminates one of the religions in his portfolio.

At the same time, I took out a lot of his thoughts about how depressed he was, and instead just let his outlook on things show that depression. I'm still not sure if I got the balance perfect or not, but this is such an improvement on the previous drafts that I am very pleased with it.

#18 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Five

Vin and Elend's Plans and Progress

This is my personal favorite of the opening chapters. I love how it establishes what Vin and Elend are trying to accomplish, but at the same time shows how stretched thin they are. Both bounce around from one emotion to another, and the argument near the end of the chapter is a good example of just how exhausted they both are.

Elend is more forceful now. He's become a wartime leader, a much different man than he was in book one, when he went to parties and read books. He's fighting to find a balance between being the man he thinks he should be and the man he knows he has to be. It all works very soundly for me.

#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Storage Caches

One of the major revisions I made to the book during drafting was to reduce the number of storage caches. Originally I'd planned for eleven or twelve. The one here in Vetitan was still going to be the penultimate, with Fadrex being the last—the team just would have discovered more of them between books.

I changed this in order to make the cache in Fadrex seem more important. I wanted to get across the idea that taking that city was vital to the plans and goals of the team, and making it have one of five caches instead of one of twelve seemed to help with that.

In the first draft, the major draw of the final cache was the hope that it contained atium. But I realized that atium just wasn't that useful anymore—or, at least, many of the reasons it might have been useful are no longer important to the characters. Vin's instinct is right—the atium is more important than it might seem at first, but the original draft made it look like they were chasing a hope for something that wasn't even very useful. So, during revisions, I inserted Elend's acknowledgment that they don't really need atium, and I also added Vin's instinct that it's vital. We'll see how this plays out.

Of course, the reason Vin has an instinct that atium is vital is because of Ruin's touch on her emotions, driving her to seek out the final cache, where Ruin himself hopes to find that atium. To him, Vin and Elend are just another pair of pawns—in some ways more useful than Inquisitors because they don't even know they're following his goals. Ruin isn't sure if these caches will have the atium—he's in fact rather suspicious that this is a ruse of the Lord Ruler—but he's willing to dedicate some resources to the possibility, hence what he did to send Elend and Vin searching out the caches. He worries that there will be some kind of guard set at the final cache or the atium that has been told to watch for Inquisitors and keep them away, and he feels that using Vin and Elend is both more clever and potentially more effective than just sending an Inquisitor.

#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

Marsh Is Still Around

Short little Marsh chapter here. This is partially just to remind you that he's still around, since he has a part to play in this book.

I learned a little from book two, where I had wanted to use Marsh more but wasn't able to squeeze him in. There were a lot of complaints about this from alpha readers and fans talking about how Marsh was one of their favorite characters, and how they didn't like it that he disappeared throughout most of the book.

The problem I run into is that I can't show too much of what he's doing, as that would reveal Ruin's plans prematurely. I do go into some of what Marsh is up to in subsequent chapters, but I felt that at this point it was too early. So, fairly late in the revision process, I added this chapter in as a reminder of his mindset and what he's up to.

#21 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seven

Avoiding Hints about the Epigraph Author

The epigraph to this chapter, where the epigraph author discusses that he/she is going to refer to each group as "we" is very important, though most readers skip over it. What she/he is saying here is that you aren't going to be able to guess who he/she is simply by looking at which parts of this book she/he discusses. And that's all I'm going to say, because typing he/she all the time is getting very annoying/frustrating.

#22 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Kandra Culture

We get to dig a little bit deeper into the kandra culture here. True Bodies were one of the more interesting things I wanted to discuss in this series, and I'm glad I finally found a chance to show them off.

It makes perfect sense to me that kandra would turn their skeletons into works of art. Some have asked me why they don't do more—take their bodies more to the extreme. But TenSoon addresses that right here, in a way. The kandra are too used to having human shapes; that is what makes sense to them. It's odd how something inherited from a society's oppressors can become an important part of that society's culture.

I worked for a long time to make the kandra culture feel real and interesting. The idea of shape-shifters is not new, particularly changelings who take the place of humans they meet. And so my means of making the kandra distinctive can't come from what they are but who they are. Their culture, their thought processes.

#23 Copy

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.

#24 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss Named Human

Human is another reader favorite from this series. He completes a cycle of characters I'd conceived from the beginning of the series.

In each book, Vin is given an assistant—someone to watch over her and guide her. In book one this was Sazed, who Kelsier charged with watching over Vin. Eventually, Sazed became his own force in the books and could no longer fill this role. At that point, Elend asked TenSoon to watch over her, and he became her attendant for book two. Now in book three, TenSoon is a viewpoint character in his own right and Vin is left without an assistant.

Human fills that role for this book. I had planned him to have a much larger place in the novel than he eventually got—I intended to do something more like with TenSoon in book two, where Human was always accompanying Vin. However, I feared repeating myself in that way, as the TenSoon/Vin relationship in book two worked so very well. I didn't want to do another story about Vin and her inhuman companion growing to trust each other and becoming friends. So, I reduced Human's role in the book. A koloss would make a terrible sidekick anyway.

#25 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Symbol of the Spear

I'm not trying to overtly duplicate Christianity with the spear becoming the symbol of the Church of the Survivor much like the cross became for Christians. It just seemed a very natural symbol, and I do very much like playing with the idea of how a religion grows and changes from a loose set of beliefs into an organized theology.

#27 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nine

TenSoon and Chronology

I probably should have found a way to stagger these kandra chapters a little bit better. We get a lot of them up front in the book, and then they dribble away through the late middle. The problem is that I didn't have very many pages to devote to TenSoon's story. I decided that rather than having one or two long chapters, I'd split it up and have five or six short chapters.

However, I generally follow a straight chronology in my books—meaning that page 22 is almost always later in time than page 21, no matter which characters happen to be on the different pages.

That means when I split TenSoon's trial into three chapters, I had to keep them all very close together, since they were covering a single day. I didn't want to—say—stick in a TenSoon chapter, jump a week forward to Vin's section, then jump back to TenSoon's trial.

#28 Copy

Brandon Sanderson


It's never fully explained who MeLaan is, so I'll give you the background here. One thing that kandra do is take Contracts serving mankind in exchange for atium. However, there are other jobs that kandra can do back in the Homeland. One of the more prestigious ones includes the training and instruction of a child kandra.

This can take years and years, as kandra grow very slowly. TenSoon was appointed as a "parent" of a single kandra during his lifetime. (Many of the Fifth Generation have been parents dozens of times, but the Thirds are a rebellious group, and it was only after much consideration—and political pressure in the Homeland—that Thirds were given chances.)

MeLaan, then, is kind of TenSoon's adopted daughter. She has something of a hero-worship crush on him, inspired by his gruff style and adventuresome personality. Her idolizing of him borders on a romantic crush, and this makes TenSoon somewhat uncomfortable.

There you go. Now you can astound your friends with Mistborn background trivia.

#29 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten

Sazed's Struggle

Here I can see how giving Sazed something to do—letting him study his religions one by one—makes his viewpoints far more interesting. The previous version of this chapter, which perhaps I'll post, had him simply riding along, listening to Breeze, despairing. That was boring.

Yet, making one small tweak—giving him something to do—changed that dramatically, at least for me as I read the chapter. It allows Sazed to struggle, and a struggle can be even more tragic than a loss. Either way, it's more interesting to read because conflict is interesting. Here, he's trying—even though he's failing—to find meaning in the world. He can try to shove aside his depression and read his pages instead.

#31 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Religious Philosophies

There is a belief that many people hold in the world, and I like to call it the "spokes on the wheel" belief. This is the belief that as long as you struggle hard and try to live your life well, you'll make it to heaven, or nirvana, or whatever lies on the other side of death. People who believe this tend to take an "It doesn't matter what road you take; they all lead the same place" approach. Every religion is a spoke on the wheel, leading to the center.

There is a lot of nobility to this belief. It's an attempt to be inclusionary, and the people I've met who believe this way tend to be sincere—or at least very accommodating—in their personal convictions.

I don't write books to disprove any one philosophy or belief. People who believe this way are not idiots, nor are they fools. This was the belief Sazed followed through the first two books of the trilogy. However, I see a danger in this set of beliefs, and Sazed's trials in this book are a result of that danger. If you believe everything, it seems to me that it is difficult to find any hard-and-fast truth.

Monotheism has its own problems, and I explore those in other books. Don't take this as a bash against your beliefs if you follow Sazed's previous philosophy. I simply saw a potential conflict, and couldn't help but explore it.

#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eleven


If I ever do any short stories in the Mistborn world, one I would like to write would be from OreSeur's viewpoint near the end of the events of book one.

He was a complex individual, a true kandra in many ways—but also a rebel. It was no accident that he was assigned to Kelsier's team, who were planning to overthrow the empire. OreSeur was one of the only kandra willing to take that Contract, and he came out of a long retirement in the Homeland to accept it.

His motivations were his own, and I'd like to explore them. What would a kandra think, joining a movement to overthrow the Father of his own religion? What would he think when that movement actually succeeded? How would he react to, then, being assigned to care for the woman who had held the spear that killed the Lord Ruler?

Many of the Third Generation, TenSoon and OreSeur included, weren't as devout in their dedication to the Lord Ruler as many others. OreSeur himself had seen what the Lord Ruler had done to the world and the people in it. And yet, fighting against the man who was revered by his people in such a holy light?

Anyway, it would make for a good story. I can't tell it here, unfortunately, but maybe somewhere else I will.

Eventually, I'll explain why the kandra think that they are of Preservation, when the other races are of Ruin. We'll get to that, don't worry. Just watch for it in the text of the book.

#33 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

TenSoon Declares That Vin Is the Lord Ruler's Successor

I think TenSoon's argument here is a good one. If the Seconds had stopped to give it some real thought, they might have decided that he was right. Without the Lord Ruler, their religion and society were destined to degenerate into chaos. But if they'd picked Vin to follow instead, the Seconds could have perhaps kept it all going.

However, that would have felt too much like a relinquishment of power. In truth, some of them were pleased at the fall of the Lord Ruler, for it removed the great force ruling over them. His death left them, in essence, free. Without the First Contract, they could govern themselves, particularly now that mankind had forgotten how to control kandra by using Allomancy.

TenSoon spoiled that last part, of course. Perhaps you can see why they're so determined to punish him.

#34 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve

Vin Talks to Elend about Breeze

Vin's right about Breeze trying too hard. You can see it in the previous chapter, where he tries so much to force Sazed to be happier. They're all stretched quite thin, as I've mentioned before, and this is how Breeze shows the effects of that. His jokes become forced, and instead of being quite sarcastic, he starts to be cheerful and peppy. It's a complete act for him, but that's how it goes.

#35 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn Tropes, Kelsier and Elend's Leadership Styles

As I mentioned previously with giving Vin a "sidekick" in each book, there are other cycles that I've tried to use in each of the three novels in order to give them a sense of cohesion. I felt this was important because of how different the themes of each book are, and I wanted to give a sense and reminder that they were all in the same series together.

In this case, we have the "discuss the plan" scene. The first of these is the most obvious, back in book one. Kelsier leads this one with the chalkboard and talks everyone through the plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler.

In book two, we had the scene where Elend presented his plan to play Cett and Straff against each other. Now, in book three, we have the discussion of the mists closing in and the team's goals of capturing the two remaining powerhouse cities.

I like the comparison between these three scenes and what they say about Elend and Kelsier. In book one, Kelsier's plan is pretty much already in his head—he says that he wants to discuss things with his team and get ideas from them, but if you pay attention it's clear that he manipulates the conversation into going with the plan he wants. He offers one form of leadership.

In book two, Elend's meeting is a near disaster. He arrives late and tells them about his plan—only to find out that the crew already has their own plan. He then has to talk, wiggle, and persuade to get them to go with the plan he's come up with.

In book three, you have Elend the emperor. Gone is the guessing and insecurity. This is the plan presented by a man at war to his troops and advisors. He asks for ideas, then takes them and puts people to work on them. He presents his goals clearly and expects them to be accepted.

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Brandon Sanderson

Physical Signs of Impending Doom

The earthquake here, by the way, was added in one of the later drafts. My editor and I decided that we needed something else to show that the world was approaching collapse—not just sociologically and not just because of the mists. The earthquakes and the rumblings from the ashmounts are an indication of this. Watch for more of them.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirteen

Marsh Decides to Kill Himself…Again

This is, unfortunately, another throwaway chapter for Marsh, more intended to remind you that he's around than to actually accomplish anything. I still think this is better than just abandoning his viewpoint for most of the book, then coming back to it near the end. However, I like what I do in the next couple of sections—where we get to see him working toward something—better than these chapters of him just sitting.

This one is particularly annoying because it's simply showing him waffling back and forth. In the previous chapter, he decided that he couldn't ever get up the strength to kill himself. In this one, he decides again to kill himself.

There is some good stuff in here—we get to see why he makes the decisions he does, and we get a tiny bit of backstory on the Marsh/Kelsier/Mare relationship. We get to see Marsh in conflict, which is good.

However, reading back through the book, I'm feeling that I like the Marsh chapters in part one the least. Ah well. Somebody had to have the worst sections.

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Brandon Sanderson

Part One Wrap-Up

Setting the Scene

Like always, part one is a little slow. I'm working on my style, trying to get the pacing better in the first third of my novels. However, one feature of my style is the setup, followed by fast-paced endings. I don't want to lose that; I just want to make sure every part of a given book is fun to read.

There are a lot of good things happening here, but also a lot of establishment. How Allomancy and Feruchemy work, what has happened to the characters in the year between books—the setup for the conflicts of this novel. Things start to pick up in the next section, and we add our final viewpoint: Spook.

Overall, I'm pleased with part one and the way it sets the scene of the book. The world is ending. People everywhere are in trouble. Elend, Vin, and the team have no idea how to fight it—they're just doing their best at guessing.

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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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Fifteen


I've expressed before that I wish I could have done more with Ham. Of the main crew, he's the only one other than Clubs who never got even a token viewpoint in the series.

I just didn't have the time for everyone. Perhaps, as I write more and more, I'll get better at covering more ground with fewer pages. That will let me branch out into studying more of the lesser characters and rounding them out. However, for this series, I had to pick and choose carefully. Ham's story didn't have enough conflict, tension, or growth in it. So, I went with Spook and TenSoon instead.

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Observes the Mists

There's a lot going on in this chapter, even though it seems to basically be filler. Again, the setup in my books can be rather extensive. I apologize if you find this sort of thing slow, but it's how I work. Maybe if I point out some of the important factors of the chapter, it will highlight what I'm trying to do.

First off, we have Vin pointing out to the reader that the mists are definitely supernatural. Included in this are the fact that they don't go indoors, the way they pull away from Vin but spin around other Allomancers, and the way they vanish too quickly before the sun. Added to that is the part where Human says he can sense a hatred from the mists.

These things are all related and connected to Vin in ways that—if you've read the book already—you should be able to pick out on your own.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixteen

Spook Reacts to the Citizen's Reign

This is another of my favorite chapters. (So far, that count includes this one and chapter five.) In Spook's sections, I think this is one where I managed to get the balance of language, action, imagery, and theme to work just right. Not too much exposition, the fight isn't too long, and we've got some very nice descriptive passages. This is the first chapter I imagined when I planned to write Spook's sections.

My biggest worry about the Spook chapters, however, is the plot with the Citizen. To be honest, the oppressive peasant regime isn't new—either in history or in fiction. I decided upon it after a great amount of consternation.

I worry sometimes about coming off as clichéd. It's very difficult to get that balance down between being familiar and being radically new. My goal is to have new and interesting plots, characters, and settings in books that still feel like they are epic fantasy. I'm never sure if I'm erring too much on the side of the familiar or writing things that are too inaccessible. (The names in Elantris, for instance, strayed too far into the inaccessible for some people.)

This plot feels just a tad on the overused side. However, I thought it was something very important to show in the world. Kelsier's preaching was too harsh, in my opinion—it was what was needed at the time, but now that the empire has fallen, it becomes brutal and violent. I wanted to show what would happen if a group of skaa peasants followed Kelsier's advice with exactness.

Spook discovers that the Citizen is using Allomancers. However, this is a hypocrisy perpetuated by Kelsier himself. He hated the nobility, but was one of them—at least, he was a half-blood who was raised to their culture. He acted far more like a nobleman than he did a skaa, as Vin pointed out back in book one.

Anyway, I thought about what would happen if Kelsier's vision became reality, and this is what I came up with. There is more going on here—things that relate to the overarching plot of the book—but the basic concept is just what it seems to be. I toyed with doing a form of government that was more radical and new, but I eventually decided that the historical approach of the lower class becoming as intolerant as the former ruling class was the most logical.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

The Mists Strike Down Demoux

I knew we needed a meaningful casualty from the mistsickness, somebody who we knew and cared about. I don't know if readers care about Demoux, but he's the only one among the crew who could be susceptible to the mists. My intention is that striking him down here impacts the reader directly, making the danger of the mists more concrete.

I maintain a paranoid worry that somewhere in this book, or the previous one, Demoux went out into the mists and should have fallen sick then. I can't think of an instance, and I do believe I could reasonably make this the first time he's exposed to them. But still I worry that I've missed something. I'm sure my loyal—and very meticulous—fans will let me know if I did.

(Note that Demoux would have had to go out in the mists after the time when they started killing people. This happened while Vin approached the Well of Ascension—by way of trivia, the mists changed the very moment the full power of the Well returned to be drawn again. Anyway, any times Demoux went into the mists before then would not have inoculated him.)

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Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier's Snapping

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

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

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighteen

Sazed Visits the Pits of Hathsin

Sazed's visit to the Pits is foreshadowing, as we're going to make use of them as a setting later in the book and I wanted to establish what they looked like and what was going on there. It also, however, gave me a chance to frame Sazed's conflicts a little bit more by showing what the other Terris people think of him. (There will be more of that in the next Sazed chapter.)

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Brandon Sanderson

Sazed and Goradel Discuss the Skaa Farmers

The conversation between Sazed and Goradel in this chapter is an important one, as it shows the importance of a character's perspective. Two men looking at the same scene see very different things.

Sazed, fighting depression and close to giving up, sees the skaa laboring and notes that nothing much has changed for them. They still have to work themselves near to death, and their lives are still gloomy.

Goradel, who spent his youth being despised by his family and their friends, is now a captain in Elend's army—and is known among the skaa as one of the men instrumental in helping Vin kill the Lord Ruler. He's become something of a local celebrity in some segments of Luthadel. He looks on these same working skaa and sees hope and victory.

As Sazed says in this chapter, being happy and optimistic isn't simply a choice one can make—at least, not a lot of the time. However, I think it's possible to find hope in very dark situations.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Nineteen

Spook Sees Kelsier in the Burning Building and Burns Pewter

How, exactly, does one write from the perspective of a deranged, exhausted, dying man in the middle of a burning building? This is my attempt. Reading through it now, I particularly like how the imagery and Spook's disorientation come across. It works as a nice component to the previous Spook chapter.

Yes, Kelsier appears to him. Yes, Spook can burn pewter. One of the reasons I decided to soften Spook's craziness in his first two chapters is that I wanted this chapter to stand out in more stark contrast. A sizable number of my alpha readers, after finishing this chapter and the next one, couldn't decide if Spook was in fact burning pewter, or if he had gone insane.

My hope is that since I made Spook easier to relate to in the first two chapters, he'll be considered more trustworthy by readers. The fact that he can burn pewter is very important to the plot's development from this point on.

My other worry with this chapter is that people will read it and think that I'm pulling a "Swiss Army magic" trick on them—inventing new powers and abilities just to get my characters out of trouble. I can assure you that not only is what's happening to Spook here logical and built into the magic system, but you've seen these things happen before in the series as far back as early portions of book one.

If you want confirmation, realize that Marsh was given new Allomantic powers back in the first book via Hemalurgy, something very similar to what just happened to Spook. Also, very early in the series you got to see Ruin influencing people and speaking to them. Note Vin in book one and Zane in book two.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty

What TenSoon Doesn't Know

Remember that TenSoon doesn't know what happened at the end of the second book. This was kind of hard for me to keep in mind, as I kept wanting him to mention the day mists and the troubles up above. However, he left before the Siege of Luthadel ended—he doesn't even know that Vin survived the assault on the city, let alone that she found her way to the Well of Ascension.

I considered having TenSoon overhear some kandra guards discussing these events so that he could use the information in his speeches, but I decided that would seem too contrived. He had to get along with what he knew, not what I wanted him to know.

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Brandon Sanderson

Why the Lord Ruler Created the Kandra as They Are

You may have noticed something in this chapter. TenSoon mentions the food pits that the kandra people cultivate, a mixture of algae and fungus that they grow in holes in the ground. Yes, they can survive on this. No, it doesn't taste very good. However, it doesn't need light to grow.

Humankind couldn't survive on this mixture, unfortunately. However, one thing that is never brought up in the text is something that not even the kandra know. There are several reasons that the Lord Ruler created them as he did. One of those reasons was so that there would be a people who could survive beneath the ground, should the world above be destroyed by the mists. In other words, he created a race of subterranean dwellers to outlast humankind, should that become necessary. He was the one who gave them the Homeland as their inheritance and taught them to begin growing food that would survive underground.

Then, of course, he decided to add the Resolution to their code of law. That was a precaution in case Ruin decided to claim them as his own. A bit self-defeating, true, but the Lord Ruler felt it was better for them to die than to become pawns of his most dangerous enemy.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-One - Part One

Demoux Survives

Yes, Demoux lives. He'd have died, save for a promise I made. If you've read the other annotations, you'll know that he was named for my former roommate Micah DeMoux. I always thought his name was cool, and wanted to use it for a character. He said I could, but made me promise two things. 1) His character had to get a girl eventually, and 2) His character had to survive to the end of the series.

So Demoux couldn't die here. He's protected by a magical shield known as the author's promise to his pal.

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Brandon Sanderson

Elend's White Uniform

Another interesting item to note is that Vin mentions how Elend's uniform was as white as they could get it. Some readers ask how it would be possible to keep clothing white in such circumstances.

My answer is much along the lines of what Vin says here. If you, from our world, were to go and look at Elend's uniform, I doubt you'd call it white. Probably a light grey. However, compared to the world around it, it's very white. This is all relative. What the characters see is a brilliant white uniform, even though we would describe it differently.

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Brandon Sanderson

A Happy Obligator

If you're up for trivia, we'll have a lot of it in this particular set of annotations. I've been living Mistborn for some five years now, and I've read each of the books around eight or nine times. So I've filled this one with allusions back to the first two.

When Vin mentions that she'd once thought a happy obligator was always a bad sign, she's referencing a scene from the first few chapters of book one. She, with Camon—her crewleader at the time—visited a Ministry building to try scamming the obligators. They walked in to meet with the official there, but were confronted by a high prelan they didn't expect. He was smiling, and Vin's narrative mentioned her belief that smiling obligators were bad signs.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-One - Part Two

Being a Leader

Elend has always been a man prone to self-examination. I think it's one of the marks of a true scholar. In book one, he constantly compared himself to Kelsier. In this book, he no longer worries about trying to fill Kelsier's shoes. Instead, he worries that he is filling the Lord Ruler's shoes.

The themes of what it means to lead, and what is required of a leader, are fascinating to me. In fantasy books, we can deal with these themes on a macroscopic scale. But that's the epic format. These books let us deal with issues in exaggerated ways, which makes them easier to talk about and reference. Just like a doctor might look at microbes under a microscope to see them in a larger way, we expand and blow up our issues—giving them epic scope—to make them easier to handle and explain.

So, in a way, Elend's conflict here is an application of real-world issues. The fear of failure, the difficulty of living up to expectations, and what it means to lead and be followed.

He has a lot to work through, and one of the earliest problems I had in writing this book was dealing with how I wanted to show Elend's progression as a character. I eventually did a rewrite where I focused primarily on him and his motivations, though many of those edits don't come to light until later in the novel.

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Brandon Sanderson

The Number Sixteen

I worry that having Vin make this connection is one of the more forced events in the book. She'd just finished telling everyone that she wasn't a scholar, and now she discovers a pattern of numbers hidden in the statistics of how people fall sick? My original intention for this was to have her be in a mind-set where she was looking for natural rules—because of her earlier discussion of Ruin and his rules—which then allowed her to see this pattern.

Rereading it, I'm not 100% pleased with it, but it's too late to make a change. I'd probably rewrite it so that Noorden or Elend make the connection, then let Vin connect that to what she's been thinking about. That would have been a much more natural progression.

Note that here, Vin misunderstands what these numbers mean. She's looking for rules that bind Ruin. What she finds is not that, but instead a clue left by Preservation. Numbers are understandable to people regardless of language, and so Preservation decided to leave some clues for people to discover that would hopefully lead them to follow the plans he'd set in motion. In my prewriting, I'd intended there to be more hard facts to be discovered in the workings of the universe—numbers hidden in mathematical statistics that said rational things, like the boiling point of water or the like. All as a means of Preservation hinting to humankind that there was a plan for them.

In the end, this didn't work out. I decided it would be overly complicated and that it would just be too technical to work in this particular novel. The only remnant of that plot arc became the number sixteen that Preservation embedded into the way the mistsickness works, intending it to give a clue about what the mists are doing to people. "You now are Allomancers!" is what this was supposed to scream. Unfortunately, the Lord Ruler's obfuscation of Allomancy—and the number of metals in it—left this clue to fall flat.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Two

The Last Feruchemist?

Sazed is likely not the last Feruchemist. The Lord Ruler tried for a long time to breed Feruchemy out of the population, and it's highly unlikely that now the power would simply vanish because the living Feruchemists were killed. The genetic trait is still there, suppressed in the population, but it would eventually resurface.

That's not to say that the loss of the Synod wasn't a blow. That many living Feruchemists suddenly killed would wipe out a large segment of the population who could have bred Feruchemy true. However, the fact that many of the Synod were eunuchs made their usefulness in that regard less important.

Remember, however, that Sazed is struggling with depression. It's easier for him to see things in a depressing light than it is to see them in a positive light.

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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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Four

TenSoon the Wolfhound

TenSoon made a much better wolfhound than he did a person. He'd been on lots of Contracts, and his ability to re-form a body was second to none. During this book, he was probably the single most talented kandra alive when it came to manipulating his shape and creating believable human features even without a model to use as a guide. He was certainly faster than any other kandra.

However, when it came to acting a role and playing a part, TenSoon was only average. He didn't have OreSeur's flair for imitation, where he got so into a part that he began to think of himself—to an extent—as that person. TenSoon was more prone to letting his true biases and feelings come through.

Fortunately, Vin forced him into the wolfhound's body. The gruff voice, the blunt ability to speak his mind, the powerful body designed for speed and jumping—this fit TenSoon perfectly, far better than I think he even realized himself. It also freed him, playing off his natural wanderlust, the same wanderlust that had sent him out on Contracts time and time again.

If life hadn't intervened, he would have been perfectly content to spend the next century or so acting as a wolfhound guard and attendant to Vin and her children. Assuming he didn't eventually surrender to his wanderlust and head out into the wilderness where he could finally be free of all the politics and Contracts.

I'm not sure if he ever would have done it. His sense of duty, his sense of responsibility to his people, was as strong as his desire to run free. Either way, it was a shame that the world had to up and end on him. Things were finally, after seven centuries of life, looking up for TenSoon.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Five


Fadrex was originally named Fadex. However, nobody—not my editor, my agent, or my writing group—liked that name. I added one letter, and suddenly it was okay. Go figure.

This city, as I mentioned earlier, was very tough for me to figure out how to describe. I can picture it quite distinctly in my head. Of course, I've spent a lot of time in southern Utah, where rock formations like this are plentiful. If you Google "Cathedral Valley" you can get an idea of what this area might look like—except that the formations in Cathedral Valley are a little bit higher and more spread out than what I imagine for Fadrex.

Sometimes I wish I could crawl inside the heads of my readers while they experience these stories and see what they imagine the places to look like. I've said before that I like how fiction is participatory—that each person who reads my books imagines slightly different things; each person gets different images for places and characters. I'd like to know what they see, just for curiosity's sake. There's no wrong way to imagine these people, just like there isn't a right or a wrong way to pronounce the names. It's all up to you.

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Brandon Sanderson

Assassinating King Yomen?

The assassination card is one that I'm always very hesitant to play. Perhaps it's old-fashioned morals on my part, though I think it's more that I'm saving up the "guilt from assassinating so many people" character conflict for a different book sometime. I'd like it to be a major theme sometime as I work out what it does to a person to kill in such a way.

However, the lack of assassinations in book two is, I think, one of the weak parts of the novel. To be honest, despite my own explanations and rationalizations, I think there probably should have been more of an attempt by the good guys to simply kill Straff and Cett.

I try to do a better job in this book, mostly by doing what I probably should have done in book two—I pointed out the danger of assassinating a man who, himself, had a Mistborn who could reach those you love. As soon as the game gets personal and knives start stabbing in the night, things get very dangerous for the leadership on both sides. I think that people would want to put that off as long as possible while they pursued other possibilities.

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Brandon Sanderson


Oh, and Felt gets a mention here. I don't know if you remember him from book one, but he was the spy who Elend sent to tail Vin one night and figure out who she truly was. He was loyal to house Venture, and Elend inherited Felt from his father when Straff fled Luthadel and left behind most of his servants and men.

A third son of a very minor nobleman, Felt is used to working for a living—something that does happen to a lot of nobility in this world, even if the ones you see most of the time are either too busy ruling, stealing, or going to war to bother with things like that.

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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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Allomancy's Mental Effects

An interesting side note is to watch how Allomancy—all of its forms—enhances the mind in some way. Though the original concept for the magic system focused on different powers—some physical, some mental—the final product always had a mental component. Notice how, when burning tin, Spook is more able to focus on solitary conversations in the room. Or how his mind can filter out the mist or the cloth he wears. Burning pewter or tin will also make the mind more alert and awake. Burning atium not only lets one see a little bit into the future, but also lets one process that information in a useful way.

The mind is such a big part of what makes us who we are. I wanted Allomancy to impact the characters—to have an effect you could see on the minds of those using it. As I've stated, one of the places where books can outshine television or movies is in the ability to see exactly what is happening inside a character's thoughts and emotions. By adding a mental component to each of the Allomantic powers, my hope was to play off of this strength of the written form.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Vin Reminisces about Her Early Days with the Crew

There's a lot to talk about here. First off, this is one of several nostalgia chapters I threw into this book. When I worked on the second book, I missed getting to write about some of the themes from the first book. Gone were the balls and a lot of the banter, and Kelsier's death removed one of the series' most dynamic characters.

When I got to this book, I wanted to see if I could blend what worked well in the first book with what worked well in the second book—and then, of course, add some things unique to this book. Among the most charming parts of the first book were the balls and the noble society.

So here we get to have Vin contemplate those days as a slight foreshadowing to gear us up for a few scenes that hark back to those days. As this is the final volume of the trilogy, I think it's very appropriate to recapture some of the tendrils from the first book and weave them in.

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin's Tactics Improve

Cloth-wrapped coins are something I probably should have thought of in the very first book. The problem is that I worked very hard to establish the "we use coins as weapons and to jump around" idea that I wasn't thinking about ways to improve the method. The coins are cheap, abundant, and effective, not to mention aerodynamic. However, they're also noisy. Adding a thin layer of cloth makes a ton of sense when using them to jump around.

Also, Vin finally ditched the mistcloak. Her reasoning is correct, unfortunately. I loved the image and the symbol of the mistcloak, but it was no longer useful, so it was time for her to go about without one. I'm sure there's symbolism in there somewhere—finally becoming her own woman, shrugging off the mantle Kelsier gave her, something meaningful like that. The truth is, I didn't think about that. I just acknowledged that the cloak no longer made sense. It was too noisy to be worth wearing.

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Brandon Sanderson

Architectural and Character Cameos

Many of the High Noble keeps I described in the first book are real buildings. Keep Venture, for instance, is based on the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Well, Keep Orielle here is based on the LDS Salt Lake Temple, only with more stained glass. Go read the description again (I think it's in this chapter) and maybe you'll be able to see it.

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Brandon Sanderson

In a similarly amusing cameo (I must have been in a cameo mood) we have Slowswift—who is based on Grandpa Tolkien. (See this picture.) The name itself comes from his love of wordplay and of names that are inherently self-contradictory.

I'm no Tolkien scholar—I don't know the man's personality or how he would have reacted to this situation. I'm just a layman and a fan—who for some reason felt like sticking in a tiny side character in imitation of the master. We authors do strange things like that occasionally.

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Brandon Sanderson

Yomen is one of my favorite characters in this book. In fact, I've liked all three main human villains—the Lord Ruler, Zane, and Yomen—from this series. All were intended to present an antagonist who, in some ways, wasn't as expected. You'll see much more of Yomen in the future, of course, but know that Slowswift isn't lying. Yomen is a good man—and a dedicated one. Perhaps too dedicated.

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Tells Slowswift Why He Should Care

Vin's little speech on change here is another of the interconnected weavings I mentioned earlier. This paragraph is supposed to hark back to book one, when Vin is walking with Sazed in the Renoux gardens near the middle end of the book. She says that everything is going to change, and Sazed offers wise council on the need for change in one's life. She's learned through her own experience that Sazed was right, and here she is able to use that knowledge to persuade Slowswift to be her ally.

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Brandon Sanderson

Vin Senses She's Being Followed

I hope you haven't forgotten about Vin's ability to pierce copperclouds. It was a major plot point in books one and two, though I haven't had much time to introduce it yet in book three. It isn't that necessary a plot point in this book, which is why I haven't bothered to deal with it much yet. However, know that the explanation for why she can do this will finally come in this novel at some point. (In one of the epigraphs, actually.)

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Guns in Fantasy

Gunpowder is mentioned in the epigraph. It's odd how we fantasy fans feel an inherent and deep aversion to gunpowder. We have this idea that guns will damage the fantasy feel of a book. I still remember reading a fantasy book when I was younger—I think it was one of Robin McKinley's—and running across a passage where it mentioned that the characters had rifles. I felt suddenly and strangely betrayed, as if the book had just been ruined.

That's silly, of course. A story can have guns and still be fantasy—at the very least, Pirates of the Caribbean proves that. Still, I'm always hesitant to use guns. Maybe I will someday, but for now I'm keeping them out. Fortunately, in this series I had a very good and interesting reason why we could have nineteenth-century canal and civil engineering technology but no use of gunpowder.

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Correspondence on Metal Sheets

The metal letters mentioned several times in the book (including in this chapter) were almost all changed to metal in late drafts. (Save the Goradel letter later on; that one was metal from the start.) I realized I wasn't giving enough of a sense that the characters were paying attention to Ruin's ability to change text that isn't on metal, and I wanted to show them taking precautions. I have my writing groups to thank for getting on me about this one.

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Homicidal Hat Trick

My editor tried very hard to get me to cut the "homicidal hat trick" line. Not because it wasn't clever, but because he felt it was anachronistic, as the phrase is commonly a metaphor for some quite modern sports. However, I was able to prove via Wikipedia (which is infallible) that the term was used as early as the nineteenth century and didn't always refer to sports, but to three wins in a row in even simple games of chance. So, grudgingly, he let me keep it.

I love the line because of the way that little section harks back to the old Elend. He's still in there, hidden behind the emperor-at-war exterior. The old Elend could be clever and awkward at the same time, just like he is here when he tries to make a point to Vin but comes dangerously close to an insult instead. That's the same guy as the one who would, while standing on the balcony at a party, compliment a lady and then immediately turn back to his book and ignore her.

And, on that note, I believe that I warned you about the coming ball scenes. We're going to have another nostalgia chapter fairly soon, and it's one of my favorite chapters in the entire series.

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

Narrative Clues about Spook's Condition

The scene here where Spook goes into the building without a torch, and Sazed stands outside waiting, is a direct parallel of a scene in book two where Marsh does the same thing to Sazed. Both Spook and Marsh can see in ways Sazed cannot, and both tend to forget others aren't as talented in that area.

That's not the only similarity. I intended Spook's glasses with cloth wrapped around them to be a reference to how an Inquisitor looks with spikes through the eyes. Both these parallels are designed to be big clues about what's happening to Spook in this book.

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Breeze's Relationship with Sazed

Breeze reacts strongly upon entering the storage cache because this is the first time he's seen one of them. At the end of book two, if you'll recall, he was left psychologically shaken to the point of being unable to function. I thought about playing with that as a character trait for this book, but decided—as I've mentioned before—that I already had too many viewpoint characters.

So anyway, after book two closed, Sazed too was left dazed and frustrated—by the loss of Tindwyl. In order to keep from getting lost, he dedicated himself to nursing Breeze back to health, alongside writing fact sheets on all of his religions. Breeze and Sazed formed quite a bond of friendship during this period, as both reacted to the trauma of the siege of Luthadel. Allrianne was there, of course, helping with Breeze—but she's not particularly good at the whole "helping someone recover from intense trauma" thing.

Breeze never visited the storage cache in Luthadel. By the time he was feeling well enough to be mobile, that topic was blasé, and Elend needed him to go on ambassadorial trips. Breeze asked to bring Sazed along, which seemed a good fit, and the two of them have been pretty much hanging out together since then.

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Chapter Thirty - Part One

Vin Arrives in Her Black Gown

This is kind of a girly moment in the text. I put these in sometimes. Too many female readers have complained to me that I don’t linger enough on what people wear, and I figure that Vin—trained by Kelsier—would know the power of a surprising entrance. Hence the drama of her appearing in that unexpected dress.

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Anyway, I'm glad I was able to work Ham's penchant for logic puzzles back into the book. There hasn't been much room for Ham lately, and he hasn't had a chance to really shine since book one. We didn't get to see much of him during the Siege of Luthadel, nor do we get all that much from him throughout this book. He's always there, in the background, but never does anything very significant. He's just Ham—good natured, pleasant, and rather unmotivated. He's also the only family man on the crew, unless you count Cett with his two children.

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Chapter Thirty - Part Two

Vin Doesn't Explain Her Dress

This chapter and the next Vin/Elend chapter form the major force of nostalgia in the book. I love the ball scenes—in fact, I think the one in the next chapter makes it another of my favorite chapters in this book (the third on that list so far).

Here we get Vin's line "We Mistborn need not make sense," which is a direct quote from Kelsier back in book one, where he bursts in on the crew through the balcony door, surprising them after a night of creating political tension between the houses.

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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?"

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Chapter Thirty-One

The Crew Moves into the Cavern

Some of my alpha readers were far more worried about Sazed's team getting trapped in the cavern than I was—and of course one of the most vocal was Skar, my military friend. They figured that it would be so easy to box Sazed and company into that chamber that it was a tactical mistake for them to stay down there.

I, however, figure that the dangers of possible assassins from the Citizen and of the building being rushed by soldiers were far more serious threats. If I were Sazed and Breeze, I'd rather be trapped in the well-stocked cache than in danger up above. But to each his own, I guess.

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Sazed's Speech Patterns

Sazed thinks here, I am, unfortunately, in charge. Look back at the very first epigraph of the book. Notice a similarity? All of the epigraphs in this novel use Sazed's distinct language style. They sound so much like how he talks that I thought, at first, that it would be blatantly obvious from the first few chapters. Fortunately for me, most people don't pay that much conscious attention to how characters speak.

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Sazed Thinks about Kelsier's One Flaw

Kelsier's hatred of the nobility—and the terrible brutality he manifested in killing them—was indeed his greatest flaw. Some would disagree with me. I've read a lot of fantasy, particularly lately, where Kelsier's style of brutality is the norm for characters. Anyone who isn't like that is chewed up and spit out.

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The Inscription on the Cache's Steel Plate

The Lord Ruler's words here are probably the most altruistic things he wrote in his entire life. Elend worries sometimes that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler, and the truth is that—in part—he is. The difference is that the Lord Ruler started out as a spiteful, petty man and learned through the power he held to be more responsible with it. Elend was a good-hearted, idealistic man—and leadership tempered him into someone a little more realistic.

I guess I'm saying that power doesn't always have to corrupt. In many ways, I think it can change a man for the better.

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Chapter Thirty-Two - Part One


As I mentioned a couple annotations ago, this chapter is one of my favorites. That, however, doesn't mean it doesn't have flaws. It has a lot of them, the most important one being the fact that it's just a tad out of place. It's almost a chapter from book one pulled and stuck into book three, where it has no business being and is likely to get clubbed on the head and dragged into a dark alleyway.

Book one was far more lighthearted than this final book is, and while I love having this chapter in the book for the nostalgia it evokes and for the opportunity it gives for banter, I will acknowledge that some people may find it out of place.

There is a strong rationale for it being like it is. Elend hit on this while dancing with Vin. The familiar setting and situations brought out the person he used to be when he attended the balls. I think we all do this. When I came back home after my first year of college, I was shocked at how quickly I fell back into being the person I was before that year, which had forced me to stretch and grow a great deal. I was home, and the high-school me resurfaced.

Well, this chapter has the high-school Elend. He goes too far and makes too many wisecracks. He should have known better. In fact, he did know better, and he almost immediately regretted treating Yomen as he did. One other thing to remember, however, is that this is Elend's first real parlay with an enemy king. His previous two conquests were made by Vin and were negotiated via the use of a lot of Allomancy and a rather large koloss sword.

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Elend Talks to Telden

I doubt many people remember Telden, but he was a minor character from book one. We saw him in five or six scenes, interacting with Elend. He was the dandy of the group, and together with Elend and Jastes, formed a trio of friends who were in line to rule powerful houses eventually. (Though, Telden was fairly distant in the succession of his house, I believe.)

Anyway, his reappearance here is another hark back to the first book. We'll see a bit more of him, just like we did of Jastes in book two.

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Chapter Thirty-Two - Part Two

Elend's Verbal Sparring with Yomen

Something to notice about the conversation between Elend and Yomen is that Yomen's arguments are quite good. Better than Elend gives them credit for being, I think—though I might revise as I go through the copyedit to have Elend notice this more.

Either way, I hope one can see why Yomen would resist making a treaty with Elend. This is a sticky situation, and in this conversation I think Elend comes off poorly. Partially because his old ball-going self is resurfacing, but partially because his role has been reversed. In book two, he was under siege and was trying frantically to keep his city from being conquered. Now he's forced to sit on the other side of the table and be the one who has come to conquer.

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Vin's Identity Acceptance

This is a very important chapter for Vin, as it finally ties up a conflict that had been tormenting her since book one. All through the first and second novels, she struggled to find a balance between her different identities. Was she a noblewoman, the wife of an emperor? Or was she a thief, trained on the streets? It might seem at first glance like this would be a simple balance to work out, but as I dealt with it in her personality through the books, it seemed a very weighty process to me.

She's come far enough that she can finally recognize why it is that she turned away from noble culture and activities. And she can also see why doing so was wrong.

Vin is half noblewoman. Her father, if you recall, was an obligator—a member of a very important noble line. (House Tekiel, if you're wondering, though upon joining the obligators he forfeited his surname.) And, while I don't think parties and ball-going are genetic attributes, she does have a heritage. Elend fell in love with her while she was attending those balls and being Valette. It's good that she finally realized that she wasn't being false; she was just showing another aspect of herself when she attended those parties.

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Chapter Thirty-Three

TenSoon Escapes

TenSoon's escape shocked the other kandra. They probably should have taken more precautions, but they thought they'd done all they needed to. The two soldiers with the Blessing of Presence should have been enough to keep him from running, and the blocked doorway out was—in the minds of the Seconds—a major obstacle. Mix that with the fact that TenSoon had shown no resistance, and had come to his fate willingly, and you have a group of Seconds who had a false sense of security.

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Kandra Blessings

The Blessings are still a little confusing, I fear. Originally I designed a Blessing as a single bit of metal in each kandra's shoulder. Eventually, however, I realized that I needed to change this for magic system cohesion reasons. I changed it to be two bits of metal, one in each shoulder. So, each kandra has one Blessing, but that Blessing consists of two bits of metal.

Each kandra only gets one Blessing from among the different types. There will be more on this in the book later, of course.

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Chapter Thirty-Four

Marsh Kills a Smoker

This chapter was a late addition to the book. My agent, during his second read through the novel, noticed that Marsh basically disappeared through the middle of the novel—much as he had in book two. In addition, the reader got very little sense of what was happening in the Central Dominance while all of the characters were out taking care of other cities. In my books, the cities themselves tend to be characters, and Joshua was disappointed to not have at least a few token mentions of Luthadel in the middle of book three.

I agreed with him, and that's where this Marsh chapter—along with the next one—came from. An attempt to have him doing something, rather than just sitting around being controlled by Ruin, while at the same time showing some of what is going on in places where there aren't any main characters to narrate for us.

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Metal Triangles

The triangles Marsh uses to kill people were requested by my writing group. For those up on your obscure Mistborn trivia, in book one we get some glimpses (really our only glimpses) of the ceremonial aspect of the Lord Ruler's religion. In that religion, the common people—even the nobility—were not asked for devotion or faith. They were required to obey and fill their roles in the Lord Ruler's empire, but they never had to worship.

The priests, however, were required to do more. They had to perform daily prayers and ceremonies to the Lord Ruler, worshiping him and maintaining a religious air that the rest of the world never saw or knew about. Involved in these rituals, on occasion, was the process of slicing one's body with small triangular razors. When Vin and Kelsier infiltrated Kredik Shaw in book one, one of the Inquisitors shot a handful of the razors at Vin.

My writing group wanted a return appearance of these things, though I don't know why. Still, I stuck them in, as they were a nice reference back to book one.

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Marsh's Target is Drunk

Though it's apparently not completely clear in the text, the nobleman Marsh kills didn't know an Inquisitor was coming for him. He wasn't drunk because of his despair over his impending death; he was drunk because of his despair over the state of the city, his fortune, and the world in general. It was a coincidence that he was unconscious when Marsh arrived, which is why Marsh was so annoyed at missing out on the anticipatory fear that killing the man would evoke.

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Chapter Thirty-Five

How Hemalurgy Works

The epigraphs to this chapter and the ones around it talk about Hemalurgy. I'm feeling that by now, you've figured out what it does. You use a spike on an Allomancer or a Feruchemist, killing them and charging that spike with power. Then you drive that spike into someone else, and they gain that same power. (Though they get a little bit less than the person who died. In some cases, if the spike sits outside of a body for a long time, it can lose a lot of its potency.)

Though this mechanism doesn't add any new powers to the world, I really like the way it works. With Allomancy and Feruchemy, we already have a lot of different magic powers to keep track of. I wanted something from Hemalurgy that wouldn't simply add to the list of abilities, but would instead fit with the feel and the nature of the magic. Something to balance Allomancy, in which a lot of power can be obtained without much direct cost to the Allomancer.

Hence, Hemalurgy. In a way, it has the most potency of all the powers, for with it you can make anyone an Allomancer or a Feruchemist. You can steal single powers from the other two arts, then mix them in a person as you wish. It adds a different element to the world—a way to obtain more power, a way for a common man to become like Vin or Kelsier, but at a terrible price. It works perfectly with who I wanted Ruin to be and what I wanted the conflict of these books to become. What is the cost of power?

Cause and effect, action and reaction.

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Spook's Timeline

One of the problems with Spook's sequences is that I had to break the chapters timewise longer than I'd wanted to. Originally, these latest three or four Spook chapters happened in the course of a week's time. However, when I added them into the rest of the book, I realized I had to space them out a lot farther because of the things happening in Vin and Elend's timeline.

So it's a little bit awkward. Three chapters ago, Spook heard men mention the rumors Durn was spreading about him. Then we had two chapters dealing with Sazed and Breeze's arrival. Only now can Spook finally track down Durn and demand to know about the rumors he was spreading.

It would have made much more sense to have had Spook find a way to do this earlier, but I just couldn't work it in until now. The “count the skulls” thing is coming up too; I haven't forgotten it. Unfortunately, it suffered from this same issue.

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The Voice Is Real

One of the most important events in this chapter was when Kelsier's voice told Spook "You're not in danger." This presents strong evidence that Spook isn't simply hallucinating. The voice knew who was coming before Spook did, and has information Spook does not.

The discovery of the metal vials in the burning house should have given enough proof of that, I thought. However, some alpha readers still had trouble. They wondered if Spook was simply making up all the things he was hearing.

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Chapter Thirty-Six

Talking Scenes

I realize that my books contain an awful lot of scenes where people stand around talking to each other. I try to keep them moving as much as possible, changing scenery, making the dialogue dramatic, allowing the characters to make conclusions and decisions. But, at the core, my stories consist of a lot of people discussing and weighing options in their heads.

I worry that sometimes I need to make things a little faster paced. I wanted to avoid too much of Elend brooding. In fact, one of the earliest rewrites of the book I did (one I did before I finished the novel, which is rare—I usually don't rewrite until I finish the rough draft) was done specifically to make Elend a more active character. In that same rewrite, I tried very hard to work out his character arc. (It just hadn't been working in the first draft.)

This was what I came up with. The emperor who knows he will end up having to make a very difficult decision, and fearing that he'll do what's right for his people—even if it seems morally wrong at the time. I didn't want to have many chapters of him brooding, but that sort of decision can't be off-the-cuff. For his character to work, I needed him to wrestle with the question—even go back and forth on it, as we as people often do.

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The Number Sixteen

Demoux's problems here are intended to give me another means of reminding the reader of the statistical anomaly found in the numbers of people who fall sick to the mist. As I wrote the draft, I'm glad I was forced to keep Demoux alive, as doing so gave me a character who was intimately connected with the problems of the mists and the things they were inflicting on people.

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If the number sixteen seems obvious to you, please don't blame the characters for not figuring it out. Remember, for a thousand years they've had it reinforced over and over again to them that there are only ten Allomantic metals. Sure, you've got the handy illustration in the back of the book showing you all sixteen in a circle, but the characters don't have the benefit of being able to read the novel.

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Chapter Thirty-Seven - Part One

The Camp Gets Attacked

There's an old adage in writing. If things feel slow, have the protagonists get attacked. (I wonder what literary fiction would be like if they tried this out. . . .) [Editor's note: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?]

Anyway, I'd planned for this scene to happen a little later in the book, but I felt after Elend's last scene—mostly discussion and wrestling with inner demons—that we needed something quick and action-oriented to speed things up. So I moved the battle up to here and had the camp get attacked.

In a way, therefore, Vin's thoughts at the beginning of the chapter were my thoughts. Finally, a fight! A few of my writing group members echoed this feeling when they got to this chapter, which let me know I'd made the right choice. (Maybe it should have been even sooner.)

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Half the Koloss Die

I had to have Elend lose some of his koloss, as just in the last chapter he was thinking that he'd be able to take the city for certain. It would mean losing a lot of lives—mostly on the other side—but he figured he could take it. That left only his morals keeping him from invading.

This way, we've got a double problem. Yes, he worries about the morality of invading—but he now also has to worry about the cost to his own army. It's much more of a risk, which means more conflict and more tension. Hopefully.

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The Elusive Allomancer

It didn't occur to me until doing this annotation that Vin's ability to pierce copperclouds has been a kind of minitheme for all three books. She discovered the power early in book one, and by using it was able to save Elend's from getting killed by Shan and her assassins. In book two, it let Vin try to track down the spy, while also letting her hear the pulsings of the Well of Ascension before they were powerful enough for other Allomancers to recognize.

Now, in book three, it lets her discover this hidden Allomancer and begin chasing him down. Where she got her ability to pierce the copperclouds is a major factor in what is happening in this novel and how the plot will play out in the end.

If you're wondering, then yes—this is Ruin appearing to Vin and acting as a Mistborn to distract her. Right here, he's worried about the siege. He wants Vin and Elend to just attack the city and move on with it. He's frustrated that his pawns aren't doing what he intended them to do—at least not as quickly as he wanted. So he helps Yomen here by distracting Vin, hoping that by having them get attacked and losing some of their koloss they'll get angry at Yomen and strike back in retribution.

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Chapter Thirty-Seven - Part Two

Human Tries to Make a New Koloss

Yes, koloss are people. I assume that many of you guessed this. Then, again, many of you probably didn't. The clues are there, if you care to look—including the fact that small spikes were found in the koloss bodies after the siege of Luthadel. (It's mentioned at the end of book two.)

Unfortunately, the heroes just don't know enough about Hemalurgy to make the connection until this dramatic reveal by Human. There are only three magic systems in this book—all related, all dealing with metal. It's mentioned in book two that koloss, Inquisitors, and—yes, even kandra—are related in some way. All were created by the Lord Ruler during his Ascension.

And all were created from existing material, one might say. There's a little more depth to the kandra, since they're a race that (kind of) breeds true. You'll see as the book progresses. However, all were created through Hemalurgy, and the spikes are very, very important.

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Human's Origin

Human is a very special koloss. He's quite a bit older than most, his creation running all the way back to before the Lord Ruler's death. He was originally the leader of a rebellion out in the southeast—the same area where Clubs spent his youth fighting. Human, then known as Vershad, was one of the more successful leaders of the wasted men—those who live out in the desert outside the borders of the Final Empire, but come in to raid and steal supplies from outlying villages.

Charismatic and intelligent, he managed to keep his band alive even once the Lord Ruler turned his attention on them. Rather than ravaging villages, Vershad would convert them—quietly, carefully—to his side and get them to give him supplies. In turn, he would "raid" them and destroy the lords' mansions, causing chaos and letting the people get a sideways revenge against their masters. In the chaos, it would be assumed that the raiders got away with the skaa food, and it would be replenished.

The Lord Ruler tired of such games and eventually sent his koloss against Vershad and his men. As clever as they were, they weren't able to stand against a well-laid betrayal and ambush set by an Inquisitor—one who controlled a troop of koloss. The raiders were slaughtered, and Vershad himself was turned into a koloss for his crimes.

He retained enough of his determination and his intelligence, however, to make a remarkably clever koloss. (There is some variety to koloss, based on who they were before the transformation.)

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Chapter Thirty-Eight

Preservation's Power

All right, so maybe I lied about there only being three magic systems in this book. It comes down to how you term the powers of Preservation and Ruin, who kind of blanket the entire system. There are a lot of things going on here, and—well, the truth is I don't want to mention all of them, for fear of spoiling future books. However, I'll give you a few rules to apply.

First, to these forces, energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation's did in the bead of metal Elend ate. Second, there is a bit of Preservation inside of all the people—and it's this that allows the people to perform Allomancy. It needs to be awakened and stirred to be of use, but when it is, a proper metal can draw forth more of Preservation's power. It's like the metal attunes the bit within the person, allowing it to act as a catalyst to grab more power.

Allomancy is not fueled by metal; it is fueled by Preservation. The metal is the means by which a person can access that fuel, however. If there were another way to access it, then the metal wouldn't be needed.

Preservation's touch on people differs. Some have more, some have less. This doesn't make them better or worse people—indeed, some most touched by Preservation have been among the worst people in the world. As Ruin later points out, there is a difference between being evil and being destructive.

Regardless, if a person can get more Preservation into them, they become better Allomancers. Hence Elend becoming a Mistborn. Like all people, he had the potential within him—it was just too small of a potential to be awakened through normal means. That little jolt of Preservation's body, however, expanded and awakened his Allomancy.

As a tidbit, that was a side effect of what that bead of metal did. It wasn't the main purpose of the bead, and if another Allomancer were to burn it, it would do something else.

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Rumors of a New Survivor

Oh, and uh . . . I should talk about the chapter, eh? Well, I needed Sazed and Breeze to start hearing the rumors about Spook, but I didn't want them to figure out that those rumors were actually about Spook quite yet. I liked the connection between Spook and the Survivor, so I extrapolated how the religion would deal with new leaders and new mystical forces. And the Survivor of the Flames was born. Ta-da!

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The Mechanism of Hemalurgy

The Blessings and the workings of Hemalurgy gave me some trouble as I designed the second and third books of this series. On one hand, I liked the way Hemalurgy worked by stealing powers from Allomancers or Feruchemists and giving them to other people. However, if I was going to limit myself to sixteen metals and be able to steal both Allomancy and Feruchemy, that meant I needed a mechanism to determine which power got stolen. If, for instance, you drove a pewter spike into a person who was both an Allomancer and a Feruchemist, then how would that spike know which power to suck out and grant to the one who would gain it?

As I was toying with how this would work, I realized that I needed to work the kandra and the koloss into this as well. Only, it was ridiculous to assume that the Lord Ruler would kill Allomancers to make koloss. There weren't enough Allomancers, for one thing—plus it would be foolish to lose the power of an Allomancer to gain an inferior tool in a koloss.

So that meant koloss had to be made out of regular people, not Allomancers or Feruchemists. Suddenly I had another set of abilities that Hemalurgy had to be able to steal—the basic pieces of Preservation inside the souls of all men.

Hence the decision that where the spike was placed in the receiver, and how it was used to kill a person, influenced how the power was shaped. Now a pewter spike could steal any of a number of powers, based on how it was used. And regular people could be used instead of Allomancers—however, when that happened, the receiver was twisted much more than if an Allomantically charged spike or a Feruchemically charged spike was used.

My rationale for this is that if the spike is pulling out the pure power of Preservation—part of the power of all creation—and twisting it, it would change the body of the recipient greatly. Twisting them through use of the twisted power.

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The Blessing of Stability

It's mentioned in this chapter, and in the preceding chapter's epigraph, where the epigraph author notes that it is "rarely used." There's a simple, rational reason why you never see this one getting used in the book.

I added the Blessing of Stability after the fact.

You see, I realized that I needed at least one more Blessing to fit with what I'd built for Hemalurgy. I needed another mental power to complete the set of four. Two are the basic physical powers from Allomancy and Feruchemy: strength and fortitude from one, increased power of the senses in another. However, for Allomancy and Feruchemy, the mental powers deviate from one another. So I wanted the same thing to happen here. Hence the Blessing of Presence—which makes the mind more stable.

But after writing the book, I realized I needed a forth. The Blessing of Stability was born, and I wrote it in in a few places just to make token note of it. I like the concept for the power—that of making one emotionally stable—and am kind of glad I don't show anyone using it. I can show it off better in a later book.

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Chapter Forty

The Creation of New Inquisitors

It was very convenient for the system I built into Hemalurgy that the Inquisitors were designed and commanded to hunt down skaa Mistings. There were always enough of those that they could create new Inquisitors to replace the ones who eventually died of old age.

The Inquisitors were always so determined to catch the skaa. So passionate. With good reason, for that was the only means by which their race—and Inquisitors are a separate race, just like the koloss and the kandra—could perpetuate itself.

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Discussing How to Defeat Ruin

This chapter is mostly intended as a reminder that something larger is happening. I worry a lot that the reader will see the struggles for Fadrex and Urteau as a step down in conflict from book two, where Luthadel itself was besieged. In other fantasy books, the heroes would go on some quest to find a magical object or person that could defeat the dark god for them.

And in a way, that's what they're trying—searching out some mythical answer that may or may not be there. However, my goal with this book was to show that when faced with something as powerful and incomprehensible as Ruin, there isn't much that common people—even Allomancers—can do. They're fighting their best, but how do you even start to deal with something like Ruin?

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Lieutenant Conrad

Lieutenant Conrad is Tom Conrad, another roommate. Tom was my first roommate ever—a computer stuck us together in Helaman Halls at BYU, and wacky high jinks ensued. We roomed together for two years, after which Tom decided he wanted to pay less for rent than we were paying. He then moved into the crawl space beneath a trailer home off campus. (Well, not really, but it sure felt like that when I visited.)

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Ruin Interferes with Communications

Another note on what Ruin is up to here. He figures that keeping supplies from Elend—and not letting him know about the chaos in Luthadel—will make him more likely to attack Fadrex. So, Elend and Vin get it wrong. In this case, Ruin is more successful than when he helped destroy the koloss, and his ploy has the desired effect. By putting the pressure on Elend, Ruin hopes to make the emperor more impulsive and more likely to follow his gut, which is telling him just to attack.

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Chapter Forty-One

Sazed and Breeze Discuss the New Survivor

I'm not sure whether this is an appropriate use of the term ostention or not. I guess Dr. Thursby, my folklore professor at college, will have to read the book and let me know. Seemed like it worked for me.

For a lot of my readers, this opening paragraph—with Sazed acting like his old self—was a very triumphant one. They said "Finally, Sazed is back!" in compliment. However, I took that as a sign that something was wrong in the earlier chapters. True, it's a good archetype to have one of your characters do something wrong for a time before finding redemption. However, the problem with Sazed is that the thing he'd done wrong as a character was boring. You never want that as an author. In the rewrite, I hope that the difference between Sazed in this chapter and previous chapters is still there—just not as stark.

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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.

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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.

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Another reference to previous books comes when Sazed mentions the executions from book one. This is the second or third time we've had a reference back to those in this novel, and there were a couple references in the second novel as well. I hesitated to put those executions into the first book because of the graphic nature of the beheadings (which, if you recall, were done into the fountains at the central square, causing the water to flow red). However, it became such an important scene throughout the series that I'm certainly glad I did it. The characters needed a poignant visual memory of the Lord Ruler's brutality.

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Chapter Forty-Two

Marsh Visits Penrod in Luthadel

This chapter didn't exist in the initial draft of the book; I added it in revisions. I originally liked the idea of the characters happening upon Luthadel later in the book and having to piece together what happened to Penrod from the aftermath of his getting spiked.

Ultimately I decided to drop that in favor of showing this chapter in-scene. It was a tough choice, but knew I needed to show Marsh being active. I also had enough complaints from alpha readers about the lack of news from Luthadel that I realized showing this scene would work better. We are so attached to Luthadel as a city that it's hard not to know what's going on there. Plus, this choice allowed me to include some interesting things—such as talking about what Marsh and the other Inquisitors were doing with their time and showing another character getting spiked.

You may remember one of the spiking attempts on Elend earlier in this novel, right at the beginning. I flirted with putting more of these in, but decided that it would grow too obvious and too heavy-handed if I emphasized it that much. (The scene I toyed with included a madman unexpectedly rushing Elend with a spike.)

I think this is the last of the Marsh insert chapters, meaning others you read after this were in the first draft. You'll probably notice a larger gap before seeing him again. Marsh and TenSoon kind of get lost in this third quarter of the book, I'm afraid. We still see them, but it's infrequently enough that Spook/Sazed and Vin/Elend dominate.

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Chapter Forty-Three

The Ball at the Canton of Resource

I didn't want this chapter to be a repeat of the previous ball scene, so I kept the nostalgia to a minimum and focused on the plan. I hope I've established why Vin and Elend are willing to take this risk—a mixture of Elend's desire to avoid attacking the city and the general recklessness being a Mistborn can foster in a person.

Either way, we avoid dancing and small talk in this chapter. I didn't want to write that, and I'm assuming that the reader doesn't care to read it. The tension of the infiltration is what matters now.

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Yomen's History

Yomen was a fun character to write. Named for Aaron Yeoman, who won a charity auction that I did for character naming rights, I wanted him to present a type of villain different from Zane in book two. Somewhat sympathetic, but a thinker rather than a fighter.

He felt from a very young age that he was destined to be an obligator. The son of a minor nobleman back in Luthadel, he entered the priesthood early and distinguished himself through scholarship and theology. This isn't an aspect of the Steel Ministry that we often get to see in the books, as our focus lies elsewhere. However, there are a lot of philosophers and thinkers in the Ministry—and most of them ended up in the Canton of Resource, the best place for men with an analytical mind.

When a position opened in Fadrex, Yomen jumped at it, as he knew it was a place where most obligators didn't like to serve. It was too out of the way, too removed from important events. Of all the obligators in Luthadel, he was the only one of any distinguished record who wanted to go. (He did beat out more qualified obligators from other cities, as he had connections with the Ministry elite in Luthadel.)

Within five years at Fadrex, he'd risen to being the prelan (i.e. the high priest) of the local Ministry building, despite his youth. Many were saying they saw him heading back to Luthadel to enter the ministry's upper ranks, though it's debatable if this would have happened or not. By going to Fadrex, he put himself in a position to rise quickly as there was little local competition among the obligators. (Many of whom had been stationed there because they lacked the influence to get put elsewhere.) However, it also removed him from the political scene back in Luthadel—and from the minds of many of the more important people there.

It's possible he would have been able to maintain connections and pull enough strings to get himself back into an influential position in the capital. However, it's also possible that by seizing the opportunity in Fadrex, he gave himself a quick path to prelan—but locked himself out of any higher ranks.

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Chapter Forty-Four - Part One

Subtlety with the Power

The Lord Ruler created koloss, kandra, and Inquisitors during his time holding the power. This took some practice and experimentation, however. As has been explained, holding the power granted some intuitive understanding of how to use it. For instance, he knew how to make Hemalurgic creatures—but he wasn't practiced enough with the specifics at first to know exactly what he wanted to make or what the results of his experimentations would be.

In a similar way, he knew that he could move a planet—and did. With practice, he could have figured out how to shove the planet the right way to place it correctly in orbit. Unfortunately, you can't really experiment with moving a planet around without causing a whole lot of damage.

And so, he could do something as subtle as create three new races—and, with that practice in biology, redesign the world's plants and animals slightly—but could be so far off in the way he shoved the planet about the first time.

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I hope I wasn't too obvious with my increased references to Reen in this chapter. A few of my alpha readers noticed it, but I think it's subtle enough that I decided to leave it. Obviously, I was trying to prepare the reader for the appearance of Reen later in the chapter by giving a few reminders of who he was and what he meant to Vin.

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Chapter Forty-Four - Part Two

Slowswift's Young Men

One may be left wondering about the two unfortunate men whom Vin used in her ploy. Aledin and Troalin were brothers, actually—cousins to Slowswift; men whose mother was executed by the Steel Ministry for her dalliance with a skaa serving man. (Her husband and their father had passed away some years before.)

Yomen—who was in charge in the city by then—allowed her legitimate sons to keep their titles and not suffer disgrace in exchange for their silence about their mother's dalliance, which would have been an embarrassment to all. They remained in Fadrex, but never got over what had been done to their mother and were known by Slowswift as dissidents against the obligator's reign.

Both were implicated in Vin's infiltration of the cache, as Yomen had other spies watching her that she never noticed—spies whose job was to stay out of the way and make sure the door shut behind her when she sneaked in. The brothers were tossed in a dungeon, only to be released after the beginning of the alliance between Elend and Yomen. They made it into the cache before the end, and later became distinguished leaders under Spook's reign.

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Ruin in the Cache

So, you'll notice that Ruin appears to Vin here in the form of Reen. One might wonder why he even needed her to investigate if he could visit the cache himself.

This reveals the main problem Ruin was dealing with in this instance. The Lord Ruler was very clever in how he placed and organized these caches. He planned them in locations where there was so much metal in the ground that it would prevent Ruin from discovering them. And, more importantly, he trained his obligators—Yomen included—not to speak of what was down below or reveal the locations of the caches.

Ruin didn't know there was a cache here, not until Vin found the previous plate. Even once he knew where the cache was, he couldn't see much when he visited it. He couldn't know if there was atium there, for the entire area—particularly because of the metal cans Vin mentions—glowed so brightly that Ruin had no idea what he was seeing.

He needed a pawn to visit, one through whose eyes he could see. One who could discover where the atium was. Ruin drew the same conclusion Vin did here—that if there had been atium, Yomen would have moved it. But where? Ruin still needed her to find it for him. Either that or bring in an Inquisitor, something he eventually decided to do.

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Chapter Forty-Five

"Reen" is Ruin

Did you really think I'd bring Reen back?

Well, maybe you did. It's all right if you did; we in the fiction world have kind of acclimatized people to strange resurrections of long-dead characters. I'd guess it's due to one of two things. Either 1) The author is so attached to the fallen character that he/she wants to have them return or 2) The author wants to do something completely unexpected, so he/she returns to life a character the reader isn't expecting.

Unfortunately, both answers are based on emotions outside of what is commonly good for the actual plotting of the story. Do this enough, and readers are required to stretch their ability to suspend disbelief. This sort of practice is part of what earns genre fiction something of a bad reputation among the literary elite. (How can there be tension for a character if the reader knows that death doesn't mean anything?)

The trick with saying this is, of course, that I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I've got two books in the works where I'm planning deaths and resurrections—though, of course, I'm building in these elements as plot points of the setting and worldbuilding.

Beyond that, there are lots of instances where this sort of thing is appropriate in fiction, and where it works. After all, one of the reasons to write fantasy is so that you can deal with themes like this that wouldn't work in mainstream fiction. I just worry that we, as a genre, are too lazy with ideas like this. If we push this too far, we'll end up where the comic book world is—in a place where death is completely meaningless.

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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.

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Chapter Forty-Six

Sazed Agrees to Put On the Metalminds

Sazed was getting close to putting on those metalminds again even without Spook's interference and demands. You can tell by the way he fixated on them recently, and how—despite his determination not to wear them—he ended up getting them out and polishing them. He's been waiting for an excuse to use them.

That said, I like the depth of Sazed's conflict presented in this chapter. He's come a long way from the first draft of the book, where he simply sat around as a depressed lump. (I'm probably exaggerating his weakness in that draft, but I'm pleased enough with this draft that it feels like it's leaps and bounds ahead of the old one.)

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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.

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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.

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Chapter Forty-Seven

The Death of Bilg

You may not recognize a cameo appearance by Bilg in this chapter. He was the soldier who punched Demoux. Who is Bilg? Well, if you go read book one, you'll find a scene where Kelsier visits the caves where his army is training. He picks a soldier out of the crowd to champion him and has the man fight a duel with one of the army's dissident members. Kelsier helped his champion by using Allomancy to interfere with the fight.

The champion? Captain Demoux. The dissident troublemaker he fought? A guy named Bilg. (Perhaps you can see why Bilg would bear a grudge against Demoux.) In the original draft of book one, Bilg died in that fight. However, readers reacted harshly against Kelsier killing a man to make a point. So, I backed off and had Bilg live and become a follower of Kelsier.

I've always felt that he should have died, though. So, in this book, he makes trouble again, fights Demoux again, and this time finally gets what he deserves. The only problem is that Elend gets his name wrong here and calls him Brill instead. Oops. Since that makes it pretty much impossible to spot the cameo, I may get that changed in a reprint.

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What to Do with the Mistfallen

Everything I've read indicates that people during times like these—and soldiers in particular—were a fairly superstitious lot. I think it makes sense. If your job is to fight, and you face death regularly, then you might be very careful not to do anything that might upset your luck. Particularly if you live in an era without a ton of scientific light and reasoning.

Hating the mistfallen makes a lot of sense by their rationale, and—if I were in the army—I might very well agree with this sentiment. Elend and Ham should have worked harder to smooth things over, but with tensions as high as they are, it's not an ideal situation. Remember, these are guys who have only been running an army for a few years. Everything they've learned, they've had to learn the hard way.

Sending Demoux and the others away was the right decision at this point.

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Chapter Forty-Eight

The Lord Ruler's Final Message

This plaque from the Lord Ruler was very difficult to write. Originally it was much shorter, but I expanded it during the last draft because I felt it was just too useless. Even still, it doesn't say much. And that's the problem.

I was always intending the Lord Ruler's final plate to contain no answers. It works into my themes for this series—this was the "quest" book playing off the epic fantasy ideal of the powerful object that must be discovered and used to fight the evil. Except that this time, I wanted them to get to the place they'd been questing toward and find it empty, with no answers from the Lord Ruler. I felt this would only heighten the sense of hopelessness the characters are feeling in trying to fight Ruin.

The problem is, rereading this plate I realize that I've done exactly what I wanted—but that it's also a really, really big letdown. I hate letting down readers. It feels like breaking promises. After consideration I think this is still the best thing to do, but I wish I'd found another way to deal with this.

Note that the circle with a dot here is completely lost on Vin. The size of the circle in relation to the text around it, and some numerical clues scribbled around the perimeter of the circle, are indications of the size of a scale map it should be placed upon. If placed the right way, the dot will point directly at the Pits of Hathsin.

Vin's awesome, but she's barely got a basic education. A complex mathematical puzzle like that one is completely lost on her. If Elend had had the time to study the plate, he might have figured out where it was pointing. There wasn't time, however.

The Lord Ruler did leave a very important clue on this plate. However, I feel that obscure clues like this are deciphered far too often in books like this one. I think realistically if you're going to leave a clue like that, chances are good that it will end up getting missed or misunderstood. Which is exactly what happened here.

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Chapter Forty-Nine - Part One

Sazed's Memorization Skills

Okay, long chapter here. I'll bet I have to split this annotation in two. But, let's launch into it. First off, you should know that Sazed tends to gloss over just how hard he had to work to memorize those copperminds of his in the first place. Keepers like him go through intense memorization training early in their lives, learning how to build near-photographic memories even before they use their metalminds. The goal of this, of course, is to train the mind to hold a perfect image of what it has read so that knowledge can be kept as pristine as possible before being shoved into the coppermind.

Generally, a Keeper can keep the entire contents of several books memorized in their head even without use of Feruchemy. Like a Muslim who memorizes the Koran, Sazed could take a book and memorize it word for word, then repeat it all back to you. He's trained himself in this skill for so long, however, that it seems mundane to him. Beyond that, the application of Feruchemy changes his abilities—and how he uses them—somewhat.

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Breeze the Nobleman

Sazed mentions that Breeze does the best job of anyone he knows in imitating a nobleman. Well, if you remember Breeze's viewpoints from book two, you'll realize that there's a good reason for this. Breeze is a nobleman—full blooded, not a half-blood like the rest of them. He fled to the underground and pretended to be a half-breed (probably one of the only noblemen ever to do so) in order to gain the protection of the skaa rebellion.

If we had time for Breeze viewpoints in this book, we'd see that he's changed quite a bit from book two. The pivotal moment for him was when he snapped mentally at the end of the Siege of Luthadel. After living through the battle, Breeze has decided to enjoy what he has and not take it for granted. Though he acts a lot like the old Breeze, you should be noticing a lot more optimism and even kindness from Breeze in this book. He's decided to go ahead and love Allrianne, and he tries to help the emotions of others even more than he did back in book two.

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Chapter Forty-Nine - Part Two

The Canal Genius

Lord Fedre, the infamous nobleman mentioned here for his research in canals, is none other than my editor, Moshe. He got several cameos in relation to canals, as he was the one who suggested the use of them way back in book one as a way to enhance the feel of the series and give it the right technological level.

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The Sliding Scale of Allomantic Potential

Noblemen, despite what Spook says in this chapter, are not immune to the mistsickness. The rumor Spook is referencing does have merit, however. You see, since the mists are Snapping people and awakening the Allomantic potential within them, it will affect far fewer noblemen than skaa. Why? Because a lot of the noblemen have already Snapped. They were beaten as children to bring out the powers.

However, that won't stop all of them from being affected by the mistsickness, because the mistsickness is also awakening Allomantic potential that would otherwise be too subtle to be brought out. Pretend there's a sliding scale of Allomantic potential. 100% means you're an Allomancer—in this series, only two people have hit 100%—Vin and Elend. Buried within a lot of people, however, is enough of a touch of Preservation's power to hit, say, 50% on the relative scale of Allomantic power. These people, when beaten and made to pass through something traumatic, awaken to their Allomantic abilities.

There are a lot of people out there, however, with something more like 20% to 30%. These are the people the mists are Snapping—since the mists are, themselves, partially the power of Preservation, they can touch people and increase their Allomantic potential slightly and then bring it to the forefront.

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Quellion's Hidden Attack

Spook brings up that he feels they should have been attacked by now. This is an echo of what I said earlier, where I had planned to throw in an attack here in the middle and have them defeat some assassins. Like I said, I cut that out. Instead, I had the Citizen send his assassin to kill them all.

So, in a way, Spook is prophetic. He speaks of assassins, then Beldre shows up with orders to kill them. She didn't sneak past the soldiers; she was allowed in on the Citizen's orders. (That part should have seemed fishy to you, by the way. How did Beldre sneak past a soldier encampment?) However, her inexperience and general good nature meant that she couldn't do what her brother had ordered.

Not every Allomancer is an innate killer like Vin. Some are pampered girls who were trained to use their powers, but who never got very good at them—or even wanted to be good at them.

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Chapter Fifty

Vin Tries to Defeat the Sedative

That's our dear, impulsive Vin. Drinking the drugged wine before five minutes had passed. Elend would have stewed in the cavern for days before making that same decision.

I went back and forth on how difficult it might be to open those cans. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult for an Allomancer with pewter. However, what about a regular person—which is what Vin would become once her pewter ran out? I wouldn't want to try opening a sealed can without some kind of tool. Maybe slamming one against the ground enough would crack it and let her suck the juices out.

Either way, I think she made the right decision here. She knows that Yomen is, at least, a reasonable man. Besides, hanging out in that cave listening to Ruin laugh at her wasn't particularly good for her sanity.

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Chapter Fifty-One

Elend Fights the Koloss in the Village

This chapter gets my next award for favorite chapters in this book. (I think this is number four.)

The next few Elend chapters run him through the ringer—and yet at the same time let him shine. He's alone, forced to work through his problems without Vin, Tindwyl, or the others to support him. It's time for him to decide who he really is and what he really wants.

This chapter begins that. Elend's frustration at not being able to protect his people finally bursts from him, and his passion drives him to do as Vin did in book two. Yet there is far less beauty to his attack than there was to hers. Elend is powerful, but with Allomancy he also has to be blunt.

I love the imagery of this scene in the village, Elend fighting by the firelight of burning buildings, ash and mist in the air, koloss dying by the dozens. It's his first real chance to be a Mistborn, in my opinion, and he is kind of surprised by what it does to him.

He's not finished working through his need to protect the people of his empire. In a way, he's just beginning down the path of what he needs to work out. However, this is a pivotal moment, where he finally acknowledges what it is that has been bothering him so much. He doesn't just fear that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler—he fears that he's becoming like the Lord Ruler but doing a much poorer job than his predecessor ever did.

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Chapter Fifty-Two

This Book's Epigraphs

The epigraphs from this book are quite a bit different from the ones in the previous two volumes. These are a much more scientific, and—unlike the first two sets—are not from the past, but from the future. (Though, like the other two, they're from a written record that eventually does appear in the novel.)

This is intentional. In the other two books, the epigraphs were intended to fill out the mythology of the world. By having them come from the past, I was able to add a weight of history to the story that would otherwise have been missing, as the characters weren't focusing much on those kinds of things. In this book, however, I felt that digging up yet another ancient record would be repetitious. I wanted to do something new, something that would add to the tone of this novel.

And, since the book is about the end of the world, I figured that someone looking back on events and writing about them would give just the right mixture of mystery (Who is it?) tension (Does the world actually end? How can it, if someone survives to write?) and information. These epigraphs, then, are meant to answer questions and fill out the setting of the world in a different way from the other two.

I do worry that they're too scientific for the feel of the book. I like my books to feel like fantasy, but I really walk the line with how technical my explanations of the magic can feel. Overall, in my books I generally shoot for more of a Renaissance or early industrial revolution feel than a classical medieval feel.

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TenSoon Impersonates Kelsier

I hope it's not too much of a stretch for you to buy TenSoon mimicking Kelsier here. The groundwork is all there: He is extremely good at crafting bodies, to the point that he was able to make a believable person out of bones he'd never used before back in the Homeland. He interrogated OreSeur and knew where the bones were, and what quirks of features he'd need to include to mimic Kelsier. And he'd seen the Survivor on one occasion himself.

That's right—as he mentions, he did see the Survivor. This shouldn't be too surprising for you, as TenSoon makes an appearance in book one. Go back and look in the book at where Elend confronts his father after going to one of the balls and coming home late. (I think it's the first or second Elend viewpoint we get.) There he mentions TenSoon, the Venture kandra.

TenSoon was there the day Kelsier fought in the Square of the Survivor, just like Elend and Straff were.

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Wellen/Wells is a cameo on two levels. First off, you may remember him from book two as a random viewpoint we got during Vin and Zane's assault on Cett when he was staying in Keep Hasting. Wellen was the guy on the wall who distrusted the mists—and was the only survivor of his squad after Vin and Zane blasted through them to attack the keep itself.

Well, Cett's army—and therefore Wellen—joined with Elend's army. He ended up remaining in Luthadel as part of Penrod's force. He also happens to be based on my pal and fellow writer Dan Wells, whose first novel I Am Not a Serial Killer comes out from Tor in March 2010.

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Chapter Fifty-Three

Beldre is a Normal Person

The point Spook makes about Beldre being normal is an important one in this book. I think that readers might be overly harsh on her for her innocence and the way she ended up getting captured. (Though there is more going on there than the reader knows.) I like how she doesn't notice when someone is walking up to her, which is seen as odd by Spook at first. People in this world, particularly our protagonists, don't get surprised from behind. They are people of extreme senses and training.

Beldre is a regular person. I think a lot of us would have acted like she did in this book. Confronted by someone like Spook, perhaps we would have taken a chance on believing in him. And perhaps we'd have been captured.

Either way, I doubt any of us would notice if an Allomancer walked up behind us.

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Spook Asks Kelsier for Help Talking to Beldre

"Kelsier" can't help Spook with relationship advice, which is telling. Ruin doesn't understand relationships at all. It's one of his main weaknesses.

In creating Ruin as a villain, I wanted to shy away from making a force that was purely evil. I don't believe that Ruin is evil, personally. I believe that he's actually justified in what he's trying to do.

That doesn't mean the characters should just sit back and let him destroy the world. However, he is a force given sentience—or, rather, sentience that has attached itself to a force. Regardless, that force drives him and dominates him. And destruction is a natural part of life.

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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.

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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.

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We're moving in the story, timewise, much more quickly here than we were at the beginning of the book. Often there will be a week or so between chapters. It's kind of hard to tell in my books, as I don't talk very often about time passing. That's not one of my things; my books tend to feel very compressed, as if they happen over the course of a few days. However, each of the Mistborn books has covered many months—the first one covered almost an entire year. The nature of the Final Empire, where it tends to have very mild winters, makes the changing of seasons rough to follow.

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Vin Gets Her Earring Back

Getting Vin's earring back to her proved a logistical problem here, perhaps one of the biggest puzzles in the entire book for me. If I pulled the earring, then Ruin couldn't talk to her, and I couldn't include the scenes of her and Ruin in jail. I felt they were very important—both to make good use of Vin's time while imprisoned, and to get across useful information about the nature of Ruin—his goals, his motivations.

And so, I needed to have Yomen give the earring back. But why? Why would he give a piece of metal to an Allomancer? Vin's reasoning in this chapter is the best I could come up with. Yes, Yomen has atium, ready to burn it. He is, indeed, trying to spring any traps Vin has ready. In fact, once he had her taken away, he followed a distance behind and waited by her cell for the rest of the day, expecting her to try something. When she didn't, he was rather confused.

The earring also presented a problem in that in the original drafts of book one, silver was an Allomantic metal. I later changed silver to tin and played with what the metals did. However, I didn't have the specifics of Hemalurgy down. And so, when I got this book, I worried that her earring would be the wrong metal. Hence the silver plating explanation, as I worried that I'd forgotten or missed some instances in book one where I mentioned the earring being silver. (I tried to cut all references to its actual metal, so that I would be open to build Hemalurgy as I saw fit.)

Notice that Ruin's voice doesn't come to her until after she puts the earring back in. As she points out later, his telling her to kill isn't as specific as she's interpreting it. He's just sending her a general feeling that she should kill and destroy; his attention is elsewhere at the moment, watching what Spook is doing.

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Chapter Fifty-Five

Elend Sees the Mist Spirit

Elend really does have a lot of faith in Vin, even if he doesn't worship her. He ascribes an almost supernatural power to her. And, I can kind of see why he would. In these books, Vin's almost less of a character and more a force. Like Ruin and Preservation, in a way.

Regardless, this chapter is about Elend giving up—then finding his hope again. I bring the mist spirit back here for a final appearance, but I wanted to be careful not to have it give too much information to Elend. Not because I don't want the information itself to get out, but because the mist spirit hasn't been a presence in this book, and so I haven't foreshadowed it enough. Therefore, if it simply showed up and gave a bunch of answers, I think that would feel cheap to the reader.

The mist spirit is, as the next epigraph explains, the remnants of Preservation's mind. I don't delve into it too much in this book, even the epigraphs, but Preservation's consciousness is indeed separate from his power. However, his consciousness itself has a limited power. And that is what he used to bind Ruin.

That did not weaken his power, which still protects the world. Instead, it cost him his mind, leaving behind only a faint shadow—like the mists' memory of Preservation, far removed from what he had once been.

That consciousness attached to Preservation—like the one attached to Ruin—is a part of Adonalsium, which will eventually be explained. Suffice it to say that in a pinch, Preservation could draw upon the power of his own mind and use it to imprison Ruin. This was why he was able to pull of the trick, as Ruin wasn't expecting it. He might have anticipated an attack using Preservation's power, but not his mind—not knowing what burning his own mind would do.

That is why Preservation's cage captured Ruin's own mind, but not his power.

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Chapter Fifty-Six

Spook and Sazed Talk about Faith

I say that I don't try to put messages or morals into my writing, but that doesn't mean they don't appear there. It just means that I try to avoid sitting down and writing stories for the express purpose of getting across an agenda.

Every character in the book is a piece of me. Some of them voice my doubts; others voice my hopes. However, what Spook says here at the end of the chapter is my voice almost directly.

This is what religion means to me. It means that someone up there is watching. That someone is sorting everything out, and that someone cares about us and wants us to succeed. It means that if you try your best, you may not win—but winning won't end up being important. The fact that you tried your best, however, will be important.

I have real trouble believing that God, assuming He exists, is the type of being who would condemn the greater portion of mankind to eternal punishment because of their ignorance, their mistakes, and their . . . well, humanity. Yes, we need to try to be good people. Yes, the things we do wrong will cause us sorrow eventually. But there is someone watching, and that someone will do His best to make it all work out for us in the eternities. Or, most of the time, that is what I hope. Hope's enough for me right now.

Sorry to rant on you. To get back to the story, Spook is right. There are a lot of reasons to point fingers at religion and faith. We deserve it, and a pointed finger—the eyes of a critic—will hopefully make us into better people. Religion, as practiced by man, is far from perfect. The reason, then, to keep believing in the face of seeing the troubles religion can cause is directly related to the knowledge (or at least hope) that someone upstairs is going to make it all work out for us.

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Chapter Fifty-Seven

Vin Wonders If She's Mad

I love Vin's paragraph on deciding if she's mad or not. Zane spent his entire adult life debating this issue, trying to determine whether he was really insane or not and trying to figure out how much of the world around him was a fabrication of his broken mind. Vin? She gives herself a couple of seconds to consider, realizes that if she's mad, there's no way to know, and decides the line of reasoning is useless.

On occasion Vin complains that she's a creature of instinct and not logic—but that's not the right way to put it. She's very logical—far more so than most scholars, I'd say. She just doesn't like to dwell on things and debate them. Present facts to her, and she'll accept them.

In a way, she's literal and concrete—which are the most basic of logical philosophies, I'd say. Elend is abstract. He likes to consider and rationalize. Think around problems, rather than face them head on. But he's logical too.

Perhaps their love of hard facts is part of what draws them together.

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Vin Asks Ruin about Preservation

After this scene, perhaps you can see why I wanted so badly to spend some time with Vin and Ruin talking while she was imprisoned. I felt this was important enough that I was willing to stretch plausibility a tad to make it possible. (The spoiler in the chapter 54 annotation explains what I mean by that.)

The discussion of morality here is an important one, as I wanted Ruin and Preservation to represent forces, not moral poles. This is vital for various reasons in the underlying cosmology. If they represented poles, then that implied there could only be two like them. But, as they represent opposites, that leaves more room.

Preservation did betray Ruin. This brings us onto the shaky ground of the morality of lying to achieve a greater good. If as much were at stake as is here—the end of an entire world—then perhaps you'd betray someone too. (I love fantasy. Where else can you talk about the end of the world as a consequence of a betrayal and have it be literal?)

Ruin's consciousness—separate from his power—isn't a particularly nice being. But you can't much blame him, as there's very little that is left of the mind that once was. The force of Ruin has pretty well molded the mind to fit with the force's intent.

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Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part One

Spacing Out the Climaxes

I tried something new in this book. I've been criticized—rightly—in the past for cramming too much into my endings. A good, fast-paced ending is great, but when you layer climax on top of climax, a little of it gets lost. I've been trying, therefore, to plot things so that we end up with the important climaxes spaced more evenly. My hope is to not lose any of the tension or drama, but to have the climaxes be more focused by not letting them interfere as much with each other.

We're seeing this here with Spook. This chapter is, essentially, the climax of his scenes. We'll have some smaller chapters involving him later in the book, but his storyline pretty much ends here (save for one loose end). Hopefully, by having this explosive chapter here, I can save the last third of the book to deal with the other characters, making the pacing a little more even.

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Beldre Shoots a Coin at Spook

I imagine there being a lot of interaction between Spook and Beldre off screen in this novel. We start the book knowing he'd gone to spy on the Citizen numerous times, and had grown to look forward to seeing her there. We know that weeks passed while Sazed was building his machine, and Beldre was down with them for a good chunk of it.

However, I tried to make it so that the plot didn't rely on there being a very strong relationship between them. In the end, she's willing to shoot Spook, but feels bad about it. Afterward, she's willing to forgive him for what he did, as he did not end up killing her brother—but instead, as you'll see, brought him back from being under Ruin's power.

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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.

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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.

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Quellion Pleads with "Kelsier"

By the way, Quellion can in fact see Ruin here. When Ruin manifests himself in form, not just in voice, anyone who he's corrupted with a spike can see him with their natural eyes. (Or at least, in the case of Inquisitors, with their Allomancy.) I tried to get this across as best I could, but some readers still had trouble with it.

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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.

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Kelsier Speaks

The final thing I'll note on this chapter is that the voice Spook hears after he's pulled out the spike is actually Kelsier. You'll see Kelsier's voice pop up a few more times in the narrative, now that Preservation is dead.

Ever the meddler, Kelsier can't just sit around and let the world end. Preservation's death left a void, and Kelsier has managed to piggyback his spirit just slightly onto Preservation's power. He can't do much, but he can reach out and whisper a few choice words to people. At least until Vin takes the power and shoves him out.

I know I said he wouldn't come back, but . . . well, he's Kelsier. He doesn't listen to what I say. He just does what he wants.

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Chapter Fifty-Nine

TenSoon Visits Urteau

The fact that TenSoon is out of the homeland without a Contract is an important point, one I myself didn't consider up until now. Always before, anyone who wanted to hire a kandra left a message in a designated place in Luthadel. The kandra found you—a creature who was under direct Contract by the Lord Ruler to act as an intermediary.

The kandra Contract was completely confidential, even from the Lord Ruler—though he probably could have demanded to know the details of who the kandra were working for at a given time. He didn't bother, as he never thought that one would be used in a plot against him.

The kandra who arranged Contracts—a member of the Fifth Generation—would travel to the Homeland with the signed papers and the atium, and would send a new kandra out to serve the new master. Nobody left the homeland without a Contract, and if their Contract ended or their master died, then they returned immediately to the Homeland.

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Kelsier's Bones

I don't know if I mentioned it previously in the annotations, but I originally had TenSoon leave Kelsier's bones in Luthadel, burying them again following his appearance to Wellen and the other guard. My alpha readers, however, were very disappointed in this. They saw Kelsier's bones as a very important artifact, and they wanted to see more from them. So, I added the scene where the people in the warehouse saw TenSoon and he gave them advice, then I had him bring the bones with him.

However, I wasn't sure what to do with them. I'd already written the book at this point, and was just revising. I realized there wouldn't be another chance to make use of the bones. But I figured the readers were right, and TenSoon should bring them just in case.

Where the bones are at the end of the book is something of a mystery. They made it back to the kandra Homeland, I'll say that. However, what happened to them then . . . well, you will have to see.

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Spook Survives, but Breeze Is in Charge

Also, Spook lives! More on this later, and why I decided to let him survive. As another side note, I'm not sure if Breeze is a good person to put in charge or not. He certainly enjoys the position, and is a natural at ordering people about. However, he may enjoy it a little too much. He's not self-reflective like Elend, nor is he a man of action like Kelsier. He just loves sitting around and being adored while he tells everyone what to do.

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Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

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Vin's Guards Are Hazekillers

I've managed to work hazekillers into all three books. That amuses me, since I put them in the first Kelsier fight scene back in book one out of the blue, on a whim. I wanted something that would be harder for him to fight than regular soldiers, but weaker than Allomancers. I never ended up using them again in book one, since they weren't a very good foe for someone as powerful as a Mistborn.

But people never forgot about them. My readers kept mentioning them, and how much they liked the word—even though I find it kind of awkward. Alpha readers kept asking, "Why doesn't Cett have any hazekillers?" and the like. So, I felt I needed to use them some more, and they made it into this book as well.

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Vin Attacks Anyway

Vin without Allomancy is still quite a formidable threat. I established this back in book one, and thought I'd reinforce it here. She's scrappy, quick, and very skilled. Even a group of prepared guards was surprised by her, and she fought quite exquisitely, considering how outmatched she was.

The other great thing about Vin is her resourcefulness. A childhood on the streets with Reen taught her to use everything she has, and to improvise what she doesn't have. Give her a cot and some gruel, and she'll come out of it with a weapon, a means of escaping her manacles, and a darn good way to distract a bunch of guards.

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Chapter Sixty - Part Two

Vin Defends Herself before Yomen

I really like this conversation between Vin and Yomen—it's one of the pivotal scenes in the Vin/Elend chapters. Not only is Yomen a decent man, but he's got some sound reasons for doing what he does. He doesn't kill Vin because he's worried that doing so would upset the Lord Ruler's plan. He listens to her, however, and I think he's about as good a person as could have existed within the upper ranks of the obligators.

The interjection of Ruin walking around in the room at the same time adds some dynamic to the conversation, bouncing Vin's—and the reader's—attention back and forth between the two discussions. I wish I could have done more of this, since it was so interesting to write two conversations at once.

Regardless, Yomen isn't spiked. Ruin tried several times, but never managed to pull it off. (I think I have an epigraph on this in the book.) In a way, Yomen is doing just what the Lord Ruler would have had him do—and, in the things he does, he's helping frustrate Ruin. So he gets marks for being a faithful follower of his religion, if nothing else.

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Vin As the Lord Ruler's Heir

In this chapter, Vin says the same thing that TenSoon did—that she's the heir of the Lord Ruler. To her, it's a bad thing.

I worry that too many people in this series spend their time comparing themselves to either Kelsier or the Lord Ruler. However, I felt it was very natural for them to do so. This scene isn't a character climax for Vin—this explanation that she's the Lord Ruler's heir doesn't strike me as a deep and meaningful resolution of problems in her psyche. It's just an interesting tidbit that came out under some duress.

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Yomen Is an Atium Misting

I think it's safe to say that this isn't much of a spoiler, but I'll hide it just in case. Readers have been predicting atium Mistings since book one, and I kept meaning to have Vin make the connection in this chapter. There was just too much going on, however, and I didn't want to slow things down with this revelation. You'll note that when I finally do confirm that he's an atium misting, Elend—the character there at the time—doesn't dwell on it for long. He realizes they should have figured it out, and they really should have. Narratively, it just never worked.

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Chapter Sixty-One

What Happened to Janarle

We finally get a brief mention of Janarle in this chapter. He is a side character who became a side side character. It's important that he bowed to Vin at the end of the second book, but he quickly became someone I didn't have time to deal with in this book.

His disappearance is not, in fact, due to one of Ruin's spikes. Janarle simply bolted. The stress of running a kingdom, even a subject one, was far more than he'd anticipated. He was a soldier, not a king, and was only a minor lord before his elevation.

He'd lost Urteau—the best and most profitable city under his rule—to the rebels. He suffered through a couple of assassination attempts and dealt with koloss rampaging through his Dominance and slaughtering villages. Once the ashmounts started erupting and destroying cities, he decided it was time to just get out. He packed up a bunch of food, grabbed his family and loyal guard, and fled for the hills north of the dominance near Terris.

All were eventually captured by koloss, then turned into koloss themselves. Janarle ended up back in the Central Dominance, as a koloss, for some of the upcoming events in the book. Even as a koloss, though, he didn't end up doing much that was important. He didn't even reach the front lines.

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Elend Decides to Attack

Elend makes a decision here—an important one. The waiting is over, and the siege has ended. He's under the same stress as Janarle, but he's not going to run. He's going to fight.

It's probably the wrong decision. But I've often heard that being a military leader isn't always about making the right decision. It's about being able to make a decision when a decision is needed.

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Chapter Sixty Two - Part One

Some Notes

Here we have another of my attempts to space out climaxes. Sazed's character climax—the first, and perhaps most important of his climactic chapters—comes here after Spook's climax, but before the book really begins to end. I hope I squeezed this into the right place.

Before I talk about Sazed's revelation, however, let's do a few notes. First off, Spook is alive. Yes, I let him live. He earned it, for one, and for another, there is something very important he still needs to do. You'll see.

Either way, I think—with the number of viewpoint characters I've killed in my books—that I've earned the right to have someone survive a very dangerous situation like Spook went through.

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Also, as a note, Alendi was an Allomancer, as the epigraph notes here. He had to be—he heard the pulsing at the Well of Ascension when nobody else could. "Ah," you might say, "but I thought that you said Allomancy didn't exist before those beads." That isn't 100% true. The legends say that Allomancy came with the Deepness. Alendi was one of the very first Allomancers, and he gained his powers as the mists began to cover the world.

That's important. ;)

Because, of course, he was Snapped by the mists, like is happening to people in this book.

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Sazed's Character Climax

It's both fascinating and worrisome for me to write about religion. As a religious person, it's not my goal in these books to insult those who don't have a religious belief themselves. However, I find faith—my own included—to be a fascinating thing, worthy of study and introspection.

And so I write in characters like Sazed, who think about these things and wrestle with them. He voices here some of my own frustrations and fears regarding religion. It is hard to believe, sometimes, in the face of some of the terrible things that religion has done in the world. The rationalization required for faith is sometimes difficult to justify.

But, on the other hand, I have seen beauty, peace, and love brought by religion. I have seen and felt things that seemed miracles to me at the time. Do I discard that?

I feel faith is important. Or, at least, it is to me. And so we have Sazed's struggle. There is a lot more to come; I didn't give him an easy answer in the form of the Terris religion. (Though I hope the reader is expecting one, as I always like to surprise you.)

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Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Two

Betrayal and Trust

Sazed's discussion on betrayal and trust here is very important. It harks back to Vin's conflicts in the first book, as well as one of the major interactions between her and Kelsier.

Kelsier believed that it was better to trust people and be betrayed than to never trust at all. He loved his wife, but worried that she'd betrayed him. It was a major source of pain and conflict for him. Yet, in the end, he decided that even if she had betrayed him, he preferred having loved her and trusted her. He treated his crew the same, not letting a worry about traitors ruin the companionship of his team.

I wanted to work this into Sazed's scenes here because, to me, this entire series uses trust as a theme. Whom do we trust and why? Do they deserve it?

It's about being betrayed, but taking the time to understand why we were betrayed. Kelsier forgives Mare, Vin forgives TenSoon. Sazed has to forgive God.

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The First Noblemen Weren't Rashek's Friends

I'm curious to know if anyone figured out the logical problem with the Terrismen becoming nobility. It's what everyone assumed, and it's been mentioned in the previous books. Everyone knows that the Lord Ruler made his friends into Allomancers.

Only, he didn't. That's simply a fabrication he allowed to continue as rumor, then become fact, so that he could cover up the origins of the kandra. The men who became the first Allomancers were actually foreign kings. Rashek knew that he could conquer the world if he needed to—but he also knew that it would be a lot easier to rule that conquered world if he had allies and kingdoms who joined him out of desire, not out of fear. So, he offered Allomancy to the royal families who would give their allegiance to him. Once he showed off his own power as a Mistborn, he managed to get several important monarchs to throw their weight behind him. They got to be Allomancers.

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Ruin Helps Destruction Along

Ruin makes an interesting comment here. He says that he couldn't refuse to help the Lord Ruler, since the Lord Ruler was destroying so beautifully. Ruin will help an enemy if there is destruction in it.

That's something to remember when thinking about this book. Some of the things Ruin does, he does to set up his plans. Others are just about destruction. He's convinced that he's won—even before Vin's capture, Ruin knows that there is nothing that can be done to stop him.

In his mind, he's just playing with people, biding his time as most of his power is focused on bringing earthquakes, ash, and lava upon the world. Yes, he wants the atium to complete his power, but he doesn't need it. Or so he thinks.

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Vin Figures It Out

And, reading here, I realize that I eventually did have Vin figure out that Yomen was an atium misting. That wasn't in the first draft of the book, and it was added late enough in the process that I'd forgotten that I put it there. I'm glad I did, though. I just couldn't go on pretending that Vin and Elend wouldn't notice this, and it wasn't a big enough reveal to keep hiding it. So, Yomen's an atium misting. Not that big of a deal compared to the other revelations coming out in this book.

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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.

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"Then you have doomed us all."

We can finally explain the Lord Ruler's final quote, given at the end of book one and then quoted again in this chapter. "You don't know what you've done," he said. "You've doomed yourselves." (Or, at least, something like that. I hate it when I misquote myself, but it happens a lot.)

He knew that the power would soon return to the Well, and he'd been planning how to resist Ruin. Yet he knew that Ruin would try something—something to stop him, to destroy him. The Lord Ruler wasn't expecting it to come in the form of a rebellion to overthrow his empire and kill him, but he was expecting something.

And so, as he lay dying, he realized what had happened. He knew that Ruin must have orchestrated it—the timing was too perfect. He knew what was coming, and that it would probably mean the end of the world.

Doomed indeed. Another nice connection back to previous books here with Vin's quoting of that.

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Ruin Wants the Atium

And, it is about atium. Tada! The atium drove the plot in book one as Kelsier and team tried to find it. (Ruin didn't need to influence them very much on that one.) It drove the second book as the armies besieged Luthadel with the hope of claiming the fabled atium stash of the Lord Ruler.

It would have been a disappointment for readers, I think, to have that mythical atium supply to end up useless. Yomen is right; it no longer matters monetarily. Cities aren't selling food to one another in the face of the destruction that is coming. Atium is meaningless economically.

But there are other reasons, and—as you'll see—the atium is an important part of all of this.

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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.

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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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Goradel Volunteers

Good old Goradel—or Richard Gordon, a good friend of mine and a fantasy fiction fan. Since this became the series to work in cameos (I didn't put many at all in Elantris), I wanted a place for Rich. He's very similar to how Goradel looks and acts; a solid, good-natured guy. The type you want running your important message through a dying world in an attempt to save it.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Five

Ham Says Not to Attack

And, what is this? A climax for Ham?

Hammond lovers, your faith has paid off. This is the best I could give him, but it seems to me like it works. All through the series, I've had him question and debate, and he rarely comes to any conclusions on moral issues.

But, here, he gives Elend advice at the exact right moment. And it's the right advice. Now, by saying that, I don't mean to say that attacking the city was the wrong thing to do. It was just the wrong thing for Elend to do.

He's a protector, not a conqueror. Taking a city for its own good would have destroyed him, as it violates his basic life principles. He should have turned around as he did, and karma—or, well, the author—rewards him for it.

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The Koloss Attack Anyway

That's not to say that there aren't some very daunting things happening in this chapter. Ruin controls the koloss, and always has. Every time that Vin and company took control of them, Ruin allowed it. He didn't always like losing Inquisitors to the fights, and sometimes would have preferred that the battles went differently. However, when it came down to either having the koloss under his direct control, or having them under Vin and Elend's control, he chose the latter. Because it set him up for a time like this, when he could turn their own army against them.

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Drawing upon the Mists

Vin draws upon the mists here for the second time. I kind of wish I'd been able to make her do it in the second book somewhere, but I decided to back off on that plot in book two. The thing is, Vin drawing upon the mists is kind of deus ex machina, and I didn't want to make the entire series about that. It's a mystery to be explained, true, and was worked into the magic system from the beginning. But I can't deny that it feels like it comes out of nowhere.

So, having her use her ability to draw upon the mists here was an attempt to have that happen sometime other than a major climax moment, reminding the reader of what happened back in book one so we can begin to delve into what was happening and why.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Six

Talking Horses that Talk about Their Feelings

A fun story about this chapters beings by me admitting that I didn't come up with the "TenSoon digests a horse" trick at first. I tried writing this scene with Sazed clinging to TenSoon's wolfhound back as they ran to the south. It was awkward to describe, even more awkward to imagine, and it never worked that well.

Eventually, while working on a solution to the problem of getting Sazed south to the Homeland, I realized that TenSoon could just digest another body and use that. Easy fix, and one that fit marvelously with the magic and setting.

This intersects another story relating to my friend Nate Hatfield, one of the guys in my writing group. He's a big fan of Dinosaur Comics, a webcomic that often deals with philosophy or literary criticism. Years ago, he brought a comic to the group where one of the characters in the comic strip complains that fantasy books are all about talking horses that talk about their feelings.

All through the writing of book two of Mistborn, Nate took delight in the Vin/TenSoon scenes as they were about a talking dog who talks about his feelings. He never let me live that connection down.

And then, almost just for him, I had TenSoon take on the body of a horse for a few chapters. I doubt I'll ever hear that end of that one. At least he didn't end up saying much about his feelings. ;)

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Kandra Have Spikes

You should be worrying here about the kandra having spikes. After all, just one chapter back, Ruin took control of a pile of koloss and turned them against their allies. He's already done that with the Inquisitors. Only the kandra remain.

Ruin has generally ignored the kandra. He doesn't see them as all that useful. They can't kill people, and they are too thoughtful and quiet to be destructive in the way he wants. He considers them a much inferior creation to the koloss and the Inquisitors.

That doesn't mean he isn't aware of them, though. You are right to be worried.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Seven

The Pace Quickens

Our chapters are shortening and speeding up. If you've read any of my previous books—and I certainly hope you have, if you're reading book three of this series—then you'll know that means we're getting close to the ending.

All I can say is this: Hold on tightly. There's a lot coming your direction in the next little while.

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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.

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"Let's have a chase."

At the end here we have Vin think, "Let's have a chase now, you and I." This is a direct quote from book one near the beginning, where Kelsier thinks the same thing to himself. He's intending to lead an Inquisitor away to keep it from finding and killing Vin, even before Kelsier meets her. I put the same quote here as a throwback, but also because I liked the parallelism. Vin is leading Ruin on a false chase the same way that Kelsier led that Inquisitor back in book one.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Eight

Sazed Takes Action

Ladies and gentlemen, Sazed is back.

This is the confident Sazed, the person who—without raising his voice, without seeming to make demands—can control a group and get the information he desires. He's always claimed that he's no leader, but he's actually a fantastic one when he puts his mind to it. His calm sense of purpose puts people at ease, and makes them do as he requests.

He's not a king—he's right on that count. He is, however, a man to be respected and obeyed. He doesn't have much time left; the book is almost finished. However, he will make good use of his time.

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The First Generation Arrive

The First Generation are different from the other generations. Other kandra were born from mistwraiths that had bred true, becoming their own species. The Firsts, however, were humans who were changed directly into kandra. They aren't as good at holding their bodies together as creatures who were born first as mistwraiths. Someone like TenSoon carries with him a heritage of intuition and instinct gained by his previous life as a mistwraith.

The Firsts don't have that. They haven't practiced taking new bodies—in fact, only a couple of them have ever even done such a thing. They've spent their lives in the Homeland and don't know how to use their powers. The skin droops from their bones, and they look—and feel—old, something that doesn't happen to other kandra.

Here, oddly, is the first climax of the TenSoon chapters. He's not there to see it, but his words are what finally convinced the Firsts to come down from their alcoves and face the truth that the end has come.

Also, Moshe, I still think those should be podiums rather than lecterns.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty-Nine

Marsh Finds Goradel

And, Goradel dies. I hope Rich appreciates the time and effort I put into this death scene. I mean, if you've gotta go, then facing down an Inquisitor in the night, surrounded by ash, and actually giving him some trouble is a pretty good way.

Spook's message is now gone, destroyed. Sorry about that. Not sure what else to say about this short chapter. I like the poetry of the discarded tools imagery, and it reminds me of things Zane said in book two—that he felt like he was always someone else's knife. Spiked through the chest, he was one of Ruin's more useful pawns.

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Brandon Sanderson

Marsh was there in the village Elend attacked a few chapters back, by the way. That is where he went after Luthadel; he took charge of a group of koloss and began leading them around to destroy cities. When Elend came to get the koloss, he was commanded to hold onto them for a time—and make it tough for Elend—but then to give them up and let them go.

He was the nearest Inquisitor to Fadrex, which is why he's the one who showed up to claim the nonexistent atium.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy

The Reason for the Mistsickness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-One

Sazed Finds No Easy Answer

Now we get to dig deeply into some concepts of theology. Sazed came to the Homeland expecting deus ex religion. (Hee hee.) Instead, he discovers that his lost Terris religion is quite a lot like other religions.

There are no easy answers to this question. Why do we believe? Why have faith? The Bible teaches to follow the Bible—the logic is circular, and faith is required.

I'm a believer, but I'm also a man of logic. I see these inconsistencies and have to admit that there are holes, things we haven't been told yet.

Religion can be a force for great good, if we let it. The problem—the clash—between religion and science comes down to fundamentals. The basic tenet of a lot of religions, including my own faith, is that some things require belief before signs or proofs are given. Science teaches that you get proof and then believe.

I believe in rendering to science the things that belong to science. I have no problem with evolution or discussions of the age of the Earth, for I don't believe that we come anywhere near comprehending the mind of God or the workings of the universe. Science can explain a lot, but it cannot give us faith, and I think we need both.

Sazed, however, has some soul-searching to do. He's looking for an easy answer, and there isn't one. If he's going to believe in religion, then he'll have to accept that his true religion shares a lot in common with other religions. He'll have to accept faith. If he doesn't, then that's all right too. No man is an idiot for questioning these things.

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Brandon Sanderson

Atium Convoys

The First Generation mention the Ministry convoys that carried the hidden atium to Luthadel from the Pits, or carried atium to the pits and other locations, where the Ministry had purchased beads of it back from the nobility. If you'll recall book one, Vin and Camon right at the beginning were planning to rob a convoy just like this. Instead, Camon decides to double-cross his associate and take a payoff.

However, assuming they'd ever managed to pull that off, they'd have broken the system and discovered the atium. And, in doing so, would have exposed the Lord Ruler's ruse to Ruin, probably leading to the end of the world.

Good thing they didn't pull it off, eh?

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Brandon Sanderson

Atium's Mechanism

Atium is, indeed, different from the other metals. When you burn most Allomantic metals, it opens a conduit through which you can draw upon Preservation's power and use it in very specific ways.

Atium doesn't do that. Atium is, itself, a fuel. When you burn it, the metal itself provides the power. A subtle distinction, I know, but it has to do with where the power is coming from. Most Allomancy is fueled by Preservation, but atium and malatium are fueled by Ruin.

This metal doesn't quite belong on the table where it has been placed.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Two - Part One

Vin's Climax Begins

I set a high bar for myself with the previous books in this series. I knew I would need a climax to this one which would match the fight between Kelsier and the Lord Ruler in book one, which is undoubtedly the best action sequence I've ever written.

So, these next eight chapters are an attempt to match all of that. I'm not sure if I pull it off, to be honest, but I'm much more pleased with these than I am with the ending of book two. It was good, but it was just faintly lacking. Vin's arrival at the walls was too expected, and the fighting too chaotic and brutal to be poetic.

This chapter and the next are filled with references tying the entire series together. We're back in Luthadel, back to the Lord Ruler's palace itself. In each of the previous books, the final climactic scenes happened in this building. It feels good to get us back there again.

And, of course, this fight between Vin and the Inquisitors is analogous to the first book, where she nearly died doing the same thing at Kredik Shaw. The line "She fell with the rain" is a direct quote from book one where Vin loses her strength after fleeing the Inquisitors and falls down to the ground. Sazed saved her that night. He's not around this time, as she points out.

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Vin Versus the Inquisitors

Vin fights the Inquisitors, hoping to put herself in a situation where she can draw upon the mists. It's a reckless plan, but I hope it feels exactly like something Vin would do. She's tired of being manipulated; she knows the end is very near (less than a day away) and knows that she needs to do something. This is all she could come up with, and I think it's a good plan. (At least if you're Vin.) It's a final attempt to save the world or go out in a blaze, fighting down thirteen Inquisitors at once.

This is my favorite fight in the book. The previous ones are all too warlike. I prefer the beauty of a couple of Mistborn fighting in the rain and the mist, as opposed to the characters taking out hundreds of koloss. This fight between Vin and the Inquisitors is the kind of thing I developed Allomancy to do in the first place.

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Chapter Seventy-Two - Part Two

Marsh and the Earring

Also, here we get a Marsh viewpoint. It's almost our last one. (I think there is one more in the next chapter.)

He didn't get much screen time, but I hope that what he did get led you to this climax for him. Spook's letter wasn't in vain, though I take delight in knowing that some of my alpha readers were convinced it had been.

I've been told my endings are a little too neat sometimes. Well, that might be valid criticism. However, I prefer it for this particular book. After three novels of building and foreshadowing, I can finally make good on promises and threads I began way back in book one. There's a reason I included that scene with Marsh and Vin on the balcony of Mansion Renoux. Marsh had to know how she'd gotten her earring.

You can probably see it now. Vin's mother, who was schizophrenic, was corrupted by Ruin, who spoke in her mind. He got her to love her first daughter, but hate her second—to see the second as a repulsive monster. In her insanity, she killed the second daughter by cutting open her chest and ramming a pin through her heart. Then, she stuck that same pin into Vin's ear, turning it into an earring.

Reen, the older brother—not even a teenager at that point—stumbled in upon this scene, and it nearly snapped his mind. That night he took Vin and ran.

Vin's mother was tracked down by the Inquisitors a short time after that. Fortunately for Vin, her father had realized he was in trouble and ordered his own lover executed. His assassins got to her just before the Inquisitors, and all they found was a corpse.

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Giving you power!

That voice at the end of the chapter is Kelsier, who can finally speak to Vin, now that her earring is gone. She's close enough to the mists and Preservation's power that he can touch Vin's mind or a brief moment and send a few words toward her.

The last words echo his famous line about the mists, the first thing he taught Vin about them on a mist-wetted street in Luthadel her first night of training.

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Chapter Seventy-Three

Cinematic Writing

I sometimes wonder just how much writers from my era have been influenced by the visual media of entertainment we've experienced. How do I imagine things differently because of my childhood watching television and movies? What have the improvements in special affects done for my ability to visualize things I have not seen? How does my pacing, plotting, and description reflect my background and my exposure to media?

I look at a chapter like this one, and it feels extremely cinematic to me. Not that I'm some great master of the cinematic form, but rather that I'm so familiar with that media—as are many of us—that I am drawn to it instinctively.

The quick flashes from viewpoint to viewpoint—TenSoon, Breeze, Elend—showing what was going on, followed by a quick cut of Vin mid-action . . . it just feels right to me to do it this way.

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"Government is far too inefficient to provide a suitable income."

In Breeze's scene, we have another reference back to book one as he mentions telling Kelsier that he didn't want to rule. That's not 100% accurate—Breeze was actually talking to Yeden or Vin, I think. However, he did go on a diatribe about not wanting to rule or be in charge, since leading countries seemed like a bad way to make money. However, I can't find this scene now, so I can't point out exactly where it is.

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Vin Draws In All the Mist

Here we finally have Vin suck in the mists and use them to fuel her Allomancy completely. I began building this plot arc way back in book one, which ends with Vin drawing upon the mists to fight the Lord Ruler. It took me all the way until here to make good on that, though I still don't even explain how or why she was able to do it. Eventually I'd like to be able to do that, but we'll see. It's bigger than this trilogy. I have to leave some secrets for later.

I do want to mention that this scene of Vin blasting Kredik Shaw to pieces was quite fulfilling to write for some reason. It feels like the end of a series to me, with familiar places being torn down and old expectations being dismantled.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Four

Allomantic Secrets

Some people have asked me why the Lord Ruler was so careful to keep secrets about Allomancy. What would it have mattered if he let out that there were atium Mistings?

Some of the secrets offered a sizable tactical advantage. Keeping back duralumin and aluminum gave him and his Inquisitors (the only ones told about those metals, other than a few select obligators) tools that nobody knew about. Very few Inquisitors could burn duralumin (and most who did it gained the ability through the use of spikes reused from previous, dead Inquisitors—and those spikes were therefore much weaker.). However, those who did have the power could appear inordinately skilled in Allomancy, enhancing the Lord Ruler's divine reputation.

Beyond that, knowledge is power. I believe that. And I think that if you're the Lord Ruler, you want to keep a few secrets about your magic system. Mistborn are very rare. Mistings among the nobility—particularly in the early centuries—were not rare. If they'd known about atium Mistings, it could have upset the balance by creating too many superwarriors.

Plus, if there are unknown superwarriors to be had, then you want to keep them for yourself.

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Yomen Is a Seer

That raises the question of how Yomen discovered that he was a Seer. He mentions that atium was too valuable to waste on testing for atium Mistings. That's true, but incomplete. The Lord Ruler did test his obligators for the power, particularly the high-ranking ones. Those he found were told of their power and used as an extra level of security. There weren't many, but there were some—and they tended to rise very quickly in the ranks (like Yomen) and be given important positions. Yomen's power with atium made him a valuable secret weapon, and when in a position of power, he could use his ability to quell rebels or perform feats of wonder to keep the people in line.

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Chapter Seventy-Five

The Second Generation Seizes Control

This chapter is another indication of my attempt to space out the climaxes in my books. We've had the big Vin fight with the Inquisitors; now I'm going to back off from things just a tad so that the reader has time to catch his or her breath. That isn't to say that the next few chapters aren't going to be more quickly paced than ones from the middle of the book; I just hope that they're not quite as breakneck as similar chapters from Elantris or some of my other books with overwhelming endings.

I had fun with these sections because I was able to make good on some tensions and interactions that were going on since the first TenSoon chapters. TenSoon himself isn't here, but we are paid off for the time we spent with him getting to know the kandra in the Homeland, as now their interactions with Sazed directly affect the major conflicts in the series.

Some readers worried that the revolt of the Seconds here was a little out of nowhere. I read through again, just in case, and this is one of those situations where I disagreed with the alpha readers. I believe I've fully established that the Seconds enjoy being in charge, and have somewhat let their power go to their heads. We've rarely seen them offer to the Firsts the same reverence they demand from everyone else. Beyond that, they were just embarrassed in front of the kandra people, and the Firsts began to speak of requiring the mass suicide of the entire race.

If that wouldn't encourage a group of aristocrats to revolt, I don't know what would. The Seconds control the police force in the tunnels, and are the ones who truly rule the kandra. It makes sense to me that they'd do what they just did. You know, if I were in their place, I'd probably do the exact same thing. What the Firsts are talking about is very discomforting, and something that should make anyone—whatever their level of faith—sit down and question whether their beliefs really should require such a sacrifice.

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Sazed Decides

However, we should back up and talk a little about Sazed's decision in the first part of the chapter.

I'm not certain that I'm trying to say anything specific with these sections. As I've mentioned, I don't look to insert themes in most of my books. I write the themes that are important to the characters, and what I say varies based on whose viewpoint we are in.

Sazed has been struggling between his logical side and the side that desires some kind of faith to form a groundwork for his life. The problem has been in his attempts to analyze religions like one would a machine—input and output. The difference for him comes when he looks at the lives and writings of those who believe. That is what changes his heart.

In the end, he decides to elevate his faithful side over his rational side in this one instance. You can always question. Skepticism is as dangerous as faith, in my opinion, because it is difficult to know when to stop. You can become such a skeptic that you refuse to take anything at all as true. At some point, you need to decide when to stop questioning.

This is where Sazed decides he will stop. You may decide somewhere else.

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The First Contract

I was originally tempted to include the full text of the First Contract. In the end, however, I didn't write it. There wasn't a good place for it, and I felt that we already knew the important information from it without reading it. It would simply have slowed down the plot at this point.

Plus, the questions and problems it could have raised weren't worth the trouble. By including it, I would have taken the chance of contradicting myself or setting up other problems that—at this point in the book—I just didn't want to have to work out.

So we don't get to read it. Sorry. There aren't any hidden secrets in it, though.

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Chapter Seventy-Six

The North Pole

One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.

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"Something in the form of that which we'd seen before."

There's one other cool item to note in this chapter. If you read Ruin's words carefully, he admits that he has indeed seen human life somewhere before. This means that there is life on other planets in this cosmology, and that Ruin and (presumably) Preservation have experience with those other planets.

Another building block for the larger story.

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Penrod's Dying Message

Here we get to see the aftermath of Marsh spiking Penrod. This is what could have happened with Spook, had he not made the decision he did at the end of his sequence of chapters. I figured that after watching Spook's narrative, we didn't need to explicitly see what Penrod did to cause so much destruction and damage, ending with his own death. Knowing that he was spiked, then seeing TenSoon's reaction to the terrible things happening in the city, should be enough to let your imagination flow.

In truth, it was a house war—which I believe was mentioned earlier in the text—that did much of this damage. The dangers that Kelsier rioted up and nearly loosed on the city four years before finally snapped and were allowed to run free. (Previously, Elend held off the skaa and the nobility from tearing the city to pieces.)

Poor Luthadel. It has taken a real beating. First the rebellion, then the siege, and now this. This is our last scene in the city for the series; we leave it behind as a corpse.

Note, however, that are indeed people hiding underneath Kredik Shaw, as Elend feared. A lot of them, in fact. As many as fled to the pits. But I didn't want to deal with this in the book, as it would be distracting.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Eight

Sazed's Second Time in Prison

The other time Sazed was imprisoned was, of course, when he was thrown in jail in an attempt to get close to Vin and rescue her. That was way back at the end of book one. It strikes me as very amusing that the kandra have trouble adapting to what to do with a prisoner like Sazed. They eventually just lock him in one of their standard kandra prison cells and come by pouring water on him like they would one of their own.

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Brandon Sanderson

Fantasy Stereotypes

Sazed makes an interesting note. "There is a kandra who fits in with his people as poorly as I do with my own," he thinks. Why is it that I tend to create a culture, then build characters who are in direct opposition to the way that the rest of their people act? I think there are a couple of reasons.

First off, as I've said, I feel that characters are driven by conflict. The person who is a perfect example of what his people revere just doesn't have as much conflict as the person who is in opposition to his own social mores. A Terrisman rebel, a kandra with wanderlust, a Dula who is depressed—these types of people just seem more interesting to me.

In addition, fantasy has a reputation for defining an entire culture based on a single individual. If you meet a dwarf, then you know how all dwarves act because each and every dwarf is just like this dwarf. It's common in fantasy books to let race or nationality be the same as personality. I react against this, and so intentionally create characters who don't fit in with their own people as a means of showing that any culture can create a multitude of different types of people.

I have to be careful not to let this be a crutch, of course.

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Brandon Sanderson

TenSoon to the Rescue

This chapter is also for all you TenSoon lovers out there. He finally gets to show up and lay some smack down. This short action sequence lets TenSoon be a hero, which he deserves, and Sazed once again shows that he's a far better soldier than he thinks. After reading his part in the siege of Luthadel, the reader should have no problem accepting that Sazed—with two metalminds—can take down four surprised kandra. He is a much better warrior than he lets on.

However, he should never have thought that last line of the chapter. The one that reads, "What harm could they possibly do?" I probably should have cut the line, as it feels like a cliché, but it really was what Sazed was thinking.

Foolish, foolish Sazed.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Nine

The Mists Chose Someone

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than even the author of these epigraphs knows. Reasons why Vin was chosen, and why the power of Preservation needed a new mind to control it.

The author is right in that Preservation did need someone to control its power, and it did seek for a host in which to invest itself. It began this search with what mind it had left about sixteen years before the return of the power to the Well of Ascension, just as it began a search for a new host before the return of the power the previous time.

Unfortunately, just as Ruin took control and manipulated Alendi, he took control and manipulated Vin.

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Brandon Sanderson

The Resolution

TenSoon and the other kandra resist Ruin and are able to pull the spikes from their shoulders. There are a couple of reasons why they can do this.

The power that Allomancers have to take control of them is the same power Ruin has. That control is exerted in the form of mental pressure through emotional Allomancy. As can be seen from Marsh's viewpoint, it is more than simply forcing the body to act as Ruin wishes. The extreme pressure on emotions changes the very way the mind thinks, tricking it into doing exactly what Ruin wants. The flaw in Hemalurgists leaves them open to this kind of manipulation.

Kandra, who only have two spikes, are far more difficult to control than koloss or Inquisitors. Vin is able to control TenSoon with ease in book two, but that's partially because he wanted her to do so. He would have been able to resist her. If she'd continued to push, she could have broken him, but it would have taken time.

Even Ruin's pressure wasn't enough to take control immediately. The kandra had a few moments during which they could overcome him and maintain their free will. Beyond that, they were in a cavern surrounded by metal ore in the walls, making it very difficult for Ruin to see what was going on and interfering with his ability to control them.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty - Part One

Her Eyes Lingered Fondly

If you've been keeping track, this Terriswoman is, indeed, the romantic interest I promised Micah DeMoux by the end of the book. He said he didn't care if he ended up with an important character—that didn't matter to him. He just wanted Captain Demoux to find romance. It took some working, but I managed to work it in. The story behind this is, of course, Captain Demoux and his troops showing up to lend organization and authority to the Terris people, who had been flooded with refugees.

Demoux and his men created law and order, stopping the petty theft and the like that had been a problem with the refugee bands. He essentially took command of the entire place, though he was very respectful to the Terris leaders. This woman, daughter of one of the Terris elders, fell in love with Demoux for his honor and his respectability, and he began to reciprocate.

Even as the world neared its end, she and Demoux were able to find love.

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Brandon Sanderson

Testing the Mistfallen

Originally, I didn't have Elend have Demoux and his soldiers take a look at their metals until a little later on. Alpha readers correctly noted this, however, pointing out that it was one of the very first connections they made. I had to put it off mostly for dramatic reasons, which you'll see in the next chapter, but I decided I could insert these few lines of Elend telling the men to go test themselves to see if they were Allomancers.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty - Part Two

Sazed Sees Mistwraiths

I worry that I didn't get to show mistwraiths very much in this book. It's not that big of an issue—they're only a minor world feature, and are only tangentially important. Still, they're a part of the kandra past and culture, and I want readers to understand what they are and what they have to do with the kandra life cycle.

Remember, all of the kandra save for the First Generation were born first as mistwraiths. That race of creatures breeds true, and has only a fifty-year lifespan. They die off, but birth new members. Taking one of those new members and adding spikes to them, however, awakens them and brings them sentience. They're part human, just like the koloss who remember having once been human.

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Brandon Sanderson

Don't Try This at Home

As for the Resolution—the kandra mass suicide—well, don't try this at home, kids. This is one of the more discomforting parts of the book, and I don't want to advocate religious extremism in this way. Remember, this is a fantasy book—just like you shouldn't try jumping off your house and using a coin to Push off of, you shouldn't participate in mass-suicide death cults. The kandra had special circumstances, as they were in the process of being taken over by a dark god when they killed themselves.

The thing you can try is what Sazed did, actively using his religion and calling upon a higher power to bring him help. This is one of the core tenets of many religions—that we, as humans, cannot do all things on our own and need the help of others. I'm not exactly sure (again) what I'm trying to say by having Vin be the one who answers and saves Sazed. But, well, in this theology she's now his god, so I guess it all makes sense. Strangely.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part One


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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Using the Atium

I hope that the use of all that atium in this chapter was spectacular enough for you—after all, I waited three books to finally have them find the Lord Ruler's cache. I think that discovering it before this moment would have been anticlimactic. In books one or two, it would simply have meant wealth. The characters getting rich is all well and good, but I think that would have meant a letdown for the reader. All of that anticipation for something so mundane?

Instead, I wanted to use an entire army's—or at least a large platoon's—worth of Allomancers burning atium to fight two hundred thousand koloss.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part Two

Charging Them Is Madness

Vin probably should have figured out what Elend was doing, being kind of a god now and all. (Or at least she has a fraction of a god inside of her.) However, remember a few things.

She doesn't know that many of Elend's troops have been turned into Allomancers. She's also been very distracted lately. On top of that, the man she loves is charging two hundred thousand koloss. Even if she'd connected that he'd be burning atium, her opinion would still have been that he couldn't fight that many and survive.

In the end, she was right. So her concern was warranted.

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Brandon Sanderson

One of the things I also wanted to do before the series was done was show someone burning atium without regard for it running out. I wanted to show the awesome power of the metal. And then I wanted to have them lose.

Why? Many reasons. Because violence may work to solve some problems, but it isn't always the answer. In fact, it's often a poor answer, even if it's the only answer. (As it was for Elend.) Killing koloss doesn't solve anything in the long run.

Yes, atium is amazing. Yes, showing it off like this was inevitable in the book. However, I figured that most fantasy novels would get to a point where the character drew on the ultimate hidden weapon, and then would save the day. I didn't want to do that. Not just because I like to do the unexpected, but because it didn't fit what I wanted to say with this book. It didn't fit what felt right.

A twist is no good if it's just there to be a twist.

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Brandon Sanderson

Human Enters the Tunnels

And here we also get some Human viewpoints. I believe I mentioned that he'd be returning. I didn't manage to do very much with him, but my alpha readers demanded something. (These two short scenes with him, as well as the epigraph saying he'd be back, were added in a later draft.) I figured that he deserved a little more screen time after what he'd done for the team, and I had wanted to show the koloss bursting in on the Trustwarren. This seemed like a perfect answer to both problems.

As I've said, I wished I could work Human in a little bit more. At least this lets us give him a parting goodbye.

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Brandon Sanderson

Oh, and as bonus aside, let me point something out to you. Human and his group of koloss were inside the Homeland when the sun came out, destroying everything on the surface. They were still there when Sazed rearranged the world and fixed things. TenSoon and the kandra were also inside, though they had been turned into mistwraiths. Hum . . . Wonder what happened to them. . . .

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-One - Part Three

Elend's Death

I rewrote Elend's death scene a number of times. In the first draft, it happened much more quickly. He and Marsh met, Elend's atium ran out, and Marsh cut him down. Elend always got his "we've won" line, but Human wasn't getting viewpoints, so we didn't cut there. Nor did we have Vin fuel Elend's metals or have him burn duralumin and atium at the same time.

I just felt he needed more. Part of this was due to the reactions of alpha readers, and part of it was due to my own desire to make his last scene more dramatic. I wanted there to be a closeness between him and Vin at the end, and I also had too many people asking what would happen if you burned duralumin and atium at the same time to ignore that possibility.

So, I rewrote several times, eventually landing at this version. As for why I killed him . . . well, for the same reason that I kill any character in one of my books. It just felt like the right thing to do. It's hard to explain when we get down to specifics like this. On one hand, the rational side of me can explain that there need to be casualties to make victory worth something, and Vin needed to lose Elend so that she'd be willing to do what she had to in order to kill Ruin. Logic says that this book was about Vin and Elend defeating Ruin no matter what the cost to themselves, and allowing them to give their lives for the victory was noble and completed their character arcs.

Emotion, however, is what drove me—not logic. It just felt like the right thing to do. It was the right ending for the book. Now, I could have chosen a different ending. I know that I could have. It would have felt contrived to me, and would have lacked bite. Yet perhaps readers would have liked it better. I honestly don't know what doing this (killing both of my main characters) will do to my readership and if people will still want to buy my books after this. The founder and president of Tor Books, I know, would have preferred that I didn't kill my two main characters.

But in the end, I went with what I knew was the better ending. By doing this, at the very least I've earned something. From now on, readers will know that nobody is safe in my books—and that will create tension, will make the novels feel more real. (Note that I didn't do this because I wanted to make readers feel that way. It's just a side effect.)

Either way, this is where this book was pushing from the beginning. Vin and Elend followed in Kelsier's footsteps. They were both ready to give their lives, and in doing so, saved those they love. In my opinion, that's not a tragic or sad ending. It's just an honest one.

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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.

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty-Two

Sazed Ascendant

The answer is yes, I planned it from the beginning. And I didn't.

It's difficult for me, even as the author, to trace back when and where the various threads of a story began. I wrote all three of these books in a row, and to me, they're one long story. Yes, I chose three distinct segments of time over the five-year span, and separated out those chunks. But it's all part of a whole, which is why it was so important for me to be able to write this series as one singular book.

So, if I go back to my very first notes, will it include a discussion of Sazed becoming God and using the stories in his metalminds as guidelines for remaking the world? No, I don't think it's there. Just like Kelsier wasn't originally planning to create a rebellion through his sacrifice, just like Vin wasn't even originally female.

Things change and grow with a book as you write it. However, let me say that I knew early in the series that I wanted Sazed to end up as the Hero of Ages and ascend with the power. I felt it was the only way to deal with the world ending and have it start anew. Plus, he's the only one who really deserved it, as he was the only one of the characters who ever cared much about religion.

I kept this in mind while revising the first book, as I'd finished the rough draft of book three by that time. I planned how to use his religions and feature them in the novels in a way that would show off their finer qualities.

In a way, this is my compromise. As I've said, I don't believe in the "spokes on the wheel" theory. Not every religion can be true, if only because they—logically—disagree on so many points. But every one of them can teach things that are true. This is something I actually believe. And, like many of my beliefs, it ended up influencing how I wrote this book.

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Brandon Sanderson


The End

This epilogue ties up a few loose ends, then sets up a couple of others. Much like most of my endings. At least now you know how Vin Snapped. Many people have wondered this, so I thought I should include it somewhere in the book.

Here, with Vin and Elend in the flowers, is where I could have made them survive, if I'd wanted to. I could have patched everything up and given the "happy" ending a lot of people wanted. But . . . well, I just couldn't. It didn't feel right. Anyway, I agree with Sazed. They deserve to rest. I added the line about him having spoken with them to soften the blow of their deaths somewhat and give confirmation of a pleasant afterlife for them.

This chapter is a reminiscence, in a way. Since book one I've promised a return to green plants and a blue sky, and it was always my intention to make good on that promise. I think it's sometimes hard for people to remember that in the Final Empire, the plants were brown and the sky red. I don't think that matters so much, as I believe Spook and Breeze's reactions—and the descriptions—in this chapter work to provide the proper impact.

Flowers have been another thread, along with the little picture that Kelsier carried around in book one. I'm glad I was able to weave that back in, though it was an afterthought. (As was adding it into this book from the early chapters with Vin and Sazed together.)

That first line of Sazed's book was not an afterthought. It can be found as the very first epigraph of this book. I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.

Yes, Sazed. You are.

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Brandon Sanderson

Series Wrap-Up

First Trilogy

Well, that's my first trilogy. I think I improved quite a bit as I wrote these books, and hopefully this ending will satisfy my readers. The inevitable question is going to be "Will there be more Mistborn books?" The answer is "Probably." However, know a few things.

First off, the next series—if I do it—will not include Vin or Elend. They're dead. That's just the way it is. Sorry.

Sazed might make an appearance. He is God, after all. TenSoon is still around. (Sazed stuck the spikes back into him and the other kandra.) Marsh may or may not make an appearance. (I haven't decided if he will survive or not.)

Spook, Ham, and Breeze probably won't make an appearance, though, as I would plan to write the next series some five hundred years after the events in this trilogy. (Remember, TenSoon—as a kandra—is immortal. Marsh is also functionally immortal, as he's both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer, and can combine the powers to reverse his aging. Assuming he has enough atium left from that batch he stole to keep it up for a while, and assuming he managed to grab some cover before the world ended.)

However, this won't be for some time. I've got other projects I want to do, not the least of which is Warbreaker and (probably) its sequel. After that, I want to try a longer series, maybe a five- or six-book one. [Editor's note: Brandon was referring to the Dragonsteel series, which he's now put off in favor of the Stormlight Archive, book one of which, The Way of Kings, comes out on August 31, 2010.]

We shall see.

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Brandon Sanderson

Parting Thoughts

What are my parting thoughts on this series? Well, honestly, they're "Damn, that turned out well."

It was my first series. I began the first book the year I sold Elantris, back before I'd met my wife. I'm writing these annotations in December of 2007, with my first child being about a month old. Mistborn has dominated my life for some four years.

I love these characters. I am thrilled with how the world turned out. And the plot . . . well, it just all worked out even better than I'd hoped. I worry about being able to top this—but then, I always worry about that.

A book is a window into the author's soul, and there was a lot of soul-searching in these books. My thoughts and fears about leadership, religion, relationships, and the nature of truth all show up in the interactions of the characters.

These books are part of me. But now they're part of you too. Thank you so much for reading.

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn Project

May 2003-December 2007(For now.)

Event details
Name The Hero of Ages Annotations
Date June 2, 2009
Location Brandon's website
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