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    Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
    #6701 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Meaning

    Aon Ene represents wit, intelligence, and cleverness. In recent years, the Aon has also begun to be associated with prosperity and wealth as well. It was once a popular Aon for names, though in recent years it has fallen out of favor in this regard, and names using it are now considered a little old-fashioned.

    The Aon has become a favored symbol of merchants in recent years, as cultural bias looked unfavorably on a shop using the symbol for gold or jewels. (Such symbols on a shop were seen as lavish or presumptuous by some.) Instead, many bankers instead use this Aon on their door to indicate their profession. The appropriation of the symbol is a reference to a quote from the appropriately named Enelan, a scholar who lived about a hundred years before the fall of Elantris: “No wealth of gold and silver can purchase a keen mind, but the man of wit will often find treasures beyond what mere lucre can provide.”

    More traditionally, the symbol was used–and still is used–as a representation of books and scholarly research. Indeed, many scholars, scribes, and illuminators have grown upset by the banking industry’s tendency to use this Aon, as they see it as an appropriation of what they believe to be their own symbol. Part of the tension between the groups has made the Aon fall out of favor for names, though others–generally those who are more traditional–still favor it.

    The shape of the Aon is said to represent two sides of an argument, interacting together in different ways. If one looks closely, one can see that there are, indeed, that the two halves are simply the same set of symbols reversed.

    History And Use

    Some scholars have expressed amusement that this symbol should come to mean intelligence in a broad sense, as the classical meaning of Aon Ene was far more narrow. Ene was the Aon which represented cleverness, the ability to out-wit and out-think opponents. It was often applied in stories and tales to those who had a slyness about them, and often was the symbol which represented the trickster figure. Indeed, those who plaid tricks on others were said to be Enefels–literally, Wit Killers, or those who kill with wit.

    During the Middle Era, when Elantris’s influence expanded and the kingdom of Arelon began to take shape, Aon Ene was attributed to the guild of storytellers who brought tales of the marvels in Elantris. It was often rumored that these people, who took upon themselves the Enefel name, were agents of the Elantrians. Their purpose was to spread good will about the city and its inhabitants, calming the rural populace, who regarded Elantris and its magics with suspicion.

    Over the centuries, this guild of storytellers transformed into a more scholarly group who gathered stories and histories from the people. By the dawn of the Late Era–about two centuries before the fall of Elantris–the group had burgeoned beyond its origins into several distinct sects of scholars and philosophers. By the time of the fall of Elantris, the constant association of this group with Aon Ene expanded its meaning into the more familiar use, representing scholarly intelligence and study.

    Some still remember the original meaning, however. Though most of those are themselves scholars, and find the entire transformation to be something of a humorous joke played by history itself.

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    As use of the name is out of favor recently, the only character in Elantris who appears with Aon Ene in their name is Sarene herself. Eventeo, Sarene’s father, is not only a traditionalist, but a scholar himself. He is well aware of the ancient meaning of the Aon, and has remarked on occasion that he finds the choice particularly accurate when applied to his daughter.

    Ene is one of the primary constellations in the Arelene sky, and the star pattern is the most easy to pick out. It contains the pole star of the world, a concept which as fascinated philosophers throughout history.

    Eventeo’s use of the simple word “Ene” as a nick-name for Sarene is another traditional association with names attached to the Aon. Much as some cultures shorten words or names into common nicknames, Ene–pronounced Eeenee–is a commonly applied term of endearment for someone who has this Aon in their name.

    AonDor

    This Aon has a powerful and unusual AonDor counterpart. A properly drawn Aon Ene puts forth a light, known by many as the Light of the Mind. When sitting in this Aon’s light, one’s mental abilities are enhanced. The Elantrian–or anyone else who happens to be close to the Aon–can memorize more quickly, think more clearly, and stave off mind-clouding effects of tiredness and sickness.

    Used in conjunction with other Aons, Aon Ene is what is known as a “Linking Aon.” Using it properly in the Aon equation will link subsections of Aon lists together, coordinating which effects take place at which times during the Aon List’s progression. It is an important Aon to learn to use well for complex Aon Linkings, and no true AonDor master is without substantial practice in its use.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6702 Copy

    Questioner

    I teach economics at Rutgers and in general I love the books but *inaudible* I like to tease him because he loves them, and say it doesn’t really make sense to have a fixed price for Breaths and it doesn’t make sense that if you give it away when you’re young, and his claim was that somewhere in the book it talks about how the Breath actually gets weaker as you get older.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, dying Breaths can be much weaker, but not middle aged ones. So, you have a legitimate thing, my counter to you is, having listened to a ton of Freakonomics, economic people do not do what is logically economic, particularly in a closed system. You might find that Breaths sell for different things, or are treated differently, in other countries.

    Questioner

    In the Warbreaker world.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But I do think about these things.

    Questioner

    Oh no, it’s obvious you do. It’s pretty clear when you start looking at it, and that's not something...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here’s the thing, there are fantasy writers who are actually economists, L.E. Modesit is the most famous one, and he-- I’ve been on panels where he’s complained about how writers, fantasy writers ignore economics, basic economics, all the time. So I try to listen at his feet a bit.

    Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
    #6703 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Meaning

    Aon Ehe represents the primal force of Fire. A complex Aon with only basic symmetry, its form has often been likened to wisps of tickling fire burning out from a central coal.

    While the many poets in history seem to have preferred the overall symmetry of an Aon like Aon Omi or Aon Rao, not a few preferred Aon Ehe for its distinctive look and feel. (Much like Aon Shao, this Aon breaks with traditional Aon form in appearance.) For this reason, and because of the destructive yet vital power of fire, the Poet Lenehe of the fifth century named Aon Ehe “The most inspiring of all Aons, a symbol for those with a creative heart and an unhindered mind.”

    Recently, this Aon–easily recognizable, even to the uneducated–has become synonymous with ‘Danger,’ and is used as a warning. In many cases, in fact, it is printed on warnings which have nothing at all to do with fire. One might find it upon an unsteady bridge or a wood hiding dangerous wolves just as easily as one might find it referencing actual flames.

    History And Use

    All Aons exist independent of humankind, their symbols inherently tied to their meaning, but few have distinct origin stories explaining how the Aon was first discovered. Some modern scholars scoff at such tales, but Aon Ehe’s origin myth is well known among the common people and believed by most.

    The story tells of the first princess of Arelon. This was some years after the founding of Arelon following the migration of the Aonic people from other lands. Elantris, of course, had already existed as a city when that migration occurred, and had been discovered empty. While some people assumed it haunted, Proud King Rhashm (later renamed Raoshem) determined to conquer the fears of his people and set up a kingdom centered on Elantris.

    The transformation of the first Elantrians happened beginning several decades later. Princess Elashe–the first of Raoshem’s line to be chosen as an Elantrian–claimed to have seen the pattern of this Aon inscribed on a coal in her hearth the day after she underwent the transformation. Whether or not this story is true, a coal or rock written with Aon Ehe on it is considered good luck and a ward against winter spirits. (Though this kind of superstition is frowned upon by the Korathi priests.)

    Other uses of Ehe are plentiful. It is one of the primal elements, and is often used in scientific writings. It is a ward and warning against danger. It is used on signs in conjunction with other Aons to mean warm food or warm beds available. Some artists and poets choose it as their symbol, both to hint at the dangerous nature of artistry and to speak of the passion of artistry.

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    Aon Ehe is often mispronounced as “E-hay.” Though scholars of Aonic insist that the proper term, “E-Hee” is more accurate, the former is slowly being acknowledged as an acceptable pronunciation as well. It is infrequently used in names during modern days, as the meaning ‘Danger’ is seen as unfavorable. However, historically, it was a favorite Aon for poets and artists (who often took new names for themselves when entering into their maturity as an artist, a tradition by which they removed themselves from their old body of work and indicated that they were beginning anew.)

    Some famous examples of names from Aon Ehe include the poet Ehen, the artist Ehelan, and Mehen the philosopher.

    AonDor

    Aon Ehe is one of the most spectacular, useful, and awe inspiring of base Aons when used by an Elantrian. There are many Aons which have destructive or powerful effects, but none are as strong without modification as Aon Ehe.

    Drawn simply, the Aon creates a column of flame, acting as a direct and primal conduit to the Dor itself. The diameter of the column depends on the size of the Aon drawn, and the direction the column is launched depends on the direction the Aon is facing. Often, this Aon is drawn on the floor so that a column of pure fire can be launched up into the air. The column is brief–only lasting a few seconds–but incredibly powerful.

    With some enhancement modifiers, this Aon can be made to last longer. The pre-Reod AonDor scholars crafted lamps with flames that continued to burn no matter which way they were turned. They would even continue to burn beneath water. This Aon can be used in warfare, if necessary, though Aon Daa is generally a better weapon.

    As a modifier, Aon Ehe can be used to create a ward that sets off other Aon chains. It provides one of the more useful tools in an AonDor practitioner’s repertoire, though the difficulty in drawing it can make it difficult to use for the less talented.

    Brandon's Blog 2008 ()
    #6704 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Meaning

    In its most basic form, Omi is used to represent love and benevolence. It is a common root Aon for a wide variety of words, including affection, care, passion, piety, zeal, and some synonyms of loyalty.

    A complex Aon with strong symmetry, the Aon has often been used as an example of balance, and even perfection. The great AonDor scholar Enelan of the fourth century called it “The most perfect of Aons, fully incorporating the base of Aon Aon and spinning it into a complex icon that is artful and complicated, yet somehow basically simple at the same time.”

    In later centuries, the symbol has come to mean not only love, but divinity as well, an association created by the Korathi Church’s appropriation of the Aon. Many Korathi devout also regard the symbol as representing the potential unification of all mankind through peace, temperance, and love.

    History and Use

    Aon Omi is best known as the official symbol of the Korathi church in Arelon. It was chosen by Korath (known as KoWho in JinDo) himself to represent the church and God. Scholars of the time say that Korath made the decision late in his life, after decades spent preaching his interpretations of the tenets of Shu-Keseg (which eventually became the Korathi religion) in Arelon and Elantris itself.

    The choice was shocking to many, as the young Korathi devout saw the Elantrians and their worship as a competing religion. Their Aons, the basis for Elantrian magic an power, were then regarded as heathen symbols. Korath was always bothered by this competitive streak in his believers, and it is widely accepted that he picked an Aon to represent God and his religion as an attempt to show that all people were acceptable beneath the blanket of the Korathi doctrines. He himself called the Aon a “Thing of Beauty” and asked an Elantrian smith of his acquaintance to craft a silver pendant for him bearing the symbol.

    That event, and the subsequent adoption of Aon Omi by the Korathi church, led to the odd relationship between the Elantrians and the Korathi religion which found root in their homeland. (Though, following Korath’s death, his right hand man and follower ShanVen moved the religion’s center of operations to Teod instead, where the young monarchy there had embraced Shu-Korath as its official religion.)

    Over the years, many other Aons have been adopted by the Korathi religion, but this one–Aon Omi–has remained their most powerful and important symbol. It is used extensively in Korathi religious services, and pendants bearing Aon Omi are commonly worn by the devout. (Many simply call them Korathi pendants, or Korathi religious pendants.) Such pendants are commonly exchanged during Korathi wedding services. (See the end of ELANTRIS the novel for an example.)

    Many Korathi priests now look at the use of Aons by their religion as symbol of the potential unity of all mankind, when different beliefs, sects, and cultures will be drawn together through sincere affection for one another.

    Naming and Usage in ELANTRIS

    As can be expected from its meanings, Aon Omi is a common root Aon for names in Arelon, particularly among those who follow the Korathi religion.

    The most obvious word using Omi as a root is the name Domi itself, the Korathi word for God. This usage did not become common until the seventh century; before then, the Jindoeese name Dashu was used by the Korathi, and the Elantrians preferred a word using Aon Daa as its root. In an interesting exchange, the Aonic word ‘Domi’ eventually became a loan word back to Jindoeese, where the word DoMin eventually came to mean ‘god.’

    The head priest of the Korathi chapel in Kae, Father Omin, also uses this Aon in his name. (As a side note, like many Korathi priests, Omin chose a new name for himself once he joined the priesthood. In his youth, he went by the name of Elenan.) Father Omin wears a jade pendant of Aon Omi.

    Eondel wears a pendant of Aon Omi, his sky blue. Sarene wears one of green and gold, while Raoden wears one of black.

    AonDor

    Aon Omi is a powerful Aon, and before the fall of Elantris could perform powerful magics. When drawn it puts out a powerful and pure white light; any who are touched by this light find their negative emotions wiped away, replaced by a sense of serenity and peace. It is difficult indeed to maintain a sense of hatred while Aon Omi is in force.

    So powerful is this Aon, however, that using it requires much of the Elantrian who draws it. The Aon will be weak unless the one drawing it feels a sincere affection for those around him, making this Aon very difficult to use in tense situations. This strange requirement has fascinated AonDor practitioners for centuries, as it is one of the few Aons which requires something other than skill in drawing from its Elantrian.

    Aon Omi is also used in other places in AonDor equations. It can be used to tie other Aon chains together, and is also a weaker power modifier, if used in the correct way.

    Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
    #6705 Copy

    PaalmReader

    Now that Bands of Mourning came out, and the Southern Scadrians. In Sixth of the Dusk, the people who show up, is that them? Because it sounds like the same technology...

    Brandon Sanderson

    …I've not announced it yet. But a lot of people are assuming that it was.

    PaalmReader

    Well that's something, it's better than Read And Find Out. Thank you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is kind of a Read And Find Out though so if you want a card you can have one.

    Brandon's Blog 2007 ()
    #6708 Copy

    Questioner

    Were any aspects of Elantrsi at all biographical? In my case, at least, my writing is often unintentionally reflective of my own experiences. Is this the case for you as well?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every book is a little autobiographical. You can’t separate yourself from your work, though I try not to include intentional messages in my writing. (That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to my books having meaning; it just means that I don’t tent to approach them with the idea “I want to teach something in this book.”)

    Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, something that is most noticeable to me in retrospect. Raoden represents my belief in the power of optimism. I’m an optimist. I can’t help it; it’s just the way I am. And so, a hero like Raoden often grows to represent my beliefs. His conflict–that of being cast into the most horrific place in the kingdom–is an outgrowth of me trying to devise the most hopeless situation I could, and then make the conflict for my character the attempt to retain hopeful in the face of that.

    Sarene represents an amalgamation of several people I knew in my life, most notably Annie Gorringe, a friend of mine in college. Not that Sarene acts just like her, of course–but that some of the conflicts in Annie’s life, mixed with some of her personality quirks, inspired me to develop a character that ended up in my book.

    Hrathen is as much a piece of me as Raoden. I served a mission for the LDS church, and while I did so, I thought often about the ‘right’ way to share one’s beliefs mixed with the ‘wrong’ way. It seemed to me that focusing on the beauty of your message, mixed with the needs of the individuals you met, was the way to go. When you start to preach just to be preaching–or to convert not because of your concern for those around you, but because you want to seem more powerful–you risk beating the life out of your own message. You also get in trouble when you focus on putting other religions down (or challenging others on their beliefs) instead of just talking about what makes you believe like you do.

    So, in a way, Hrathen represents my fears of what I could have become–a warning to myself, if you will.

    Brandon's Blog 2006 ()
    #6710 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    More and more, I’m feeling that someday I will write a sequel to Elantris. A lot of people seem to want one, and there is a lot of the story that I’ve left untold–the origin of the Seons, the reason that the Dor and the landscapes are linked, the Fjordell magic. Doing book tours for Elantris and reading emails from readers has reminded me of all the wonderful things I wanted to do with that world.

    Brandon's Blog 2006 ()
    #6711 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Idea of the day: Write a story about a doctor or healer in a fantasy world that combats a new disease, one that has several distinct stages that each have a different magical effect on the victims.

    Someday I’m really going to write my ‘Disease magic’ book. I haven’t ever figured out how to make it work right, but it’ll click together eventually. This will be a book where you ‘catch’ magical powers from others. So, if you want to be able to fly, you go hang out with someone who has the flying disease for a while. People would do various things to lower their immune systems, which could have its own ramifications…. Anyway, I haven’t gotten that idea to a place where it won’t be silly, so perhaps you can do something with the more serious one stated above.

    Brandon's Blog 2004 ()
    #6712 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Aonic: Pronounce Aonic names by finding the Aon (most of them are listed in the back of the book. Otherwise, find the two nearest vowels.) Then, pronounce the Aon’s vowels in ‘long’ form (I know—my linguist friend told me that’s not exactly correct. See below for examples, however) and any other vowels in short form. The first syllable with the Aon in it always gets the stress.

    Examples: Aon = AY-Ohn Raoden = RAY-Oh-den

    List of Aon vowels: A = a as in ‘bake’ E = e as in ‘eat’ or a as in ‘bake.’ (See below.) I = i as in ‘bike’ (A double i Aon pronounces both long i sounds. See below.) O = o as in ‘boat’ U = There are no ‘u’ sounds in Aons.

    Every other vowel should be pronounced in short form without a stress.

    A note on ‘E’ sounds in Aonic. The only exception to the rule includes words written with ‘e’ in the Aon. In English, ‘e’ can often produce a long ‘a’ sound. So, I wrote many long ‘a’ sounds with ‘e’s. This was a device I used to try and make the names look better and have a chance of being pronounced more accurately. Note the examples in names below.

    Common Aonic Names Raoden = RAY-Oh-den Sarene = sa-RAY-Nay (or sa-REE-Nee, if you want to get technical.) Elantris = EE-Layn-tris (Though most people say el-lan-tris, which is fine.) Kiin = KYE-Eye-n Teod = TAY-Ohd Arelon = ah-RAY-Lone Daorn =DAY-Ohrn Kaise =KAY-Ice Ahan = AY-Hayn Roial = ROH-Eye-al

    Other Names: Hrathen = Ray-then (with a very subtle ‘h’ sound at the beginning.) Fjorden = Fee-ohr-den Galladon = Gall-ah-dawn Dilaf = Dee-lawf

    Brandon's Blog 2004 ()
    #6713 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Interestingly enough, I’ve never written a sequel. After seven years and fourteen novels, you would think that I’d have tried a sequel at least once–but I never have, not really. (Early on, the third book I wrote [Lord Mastrell] was a continuation of my first book [White Sand]. I don’t really count it as a sequel, however, since I simply stopped mid-plot on my first book because it was getting too long. I declared it to be ‘book one,’ took a breather and wrote something else for a while, then came back and finished the story.)

    Brandon's Blog 2004 ()
    #6714 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The next segment from my Tor proposal talks about a book some of you may have heard of: THE WAY OF KINGS. Originally, this was going to be the second book I published, but I’ve decided to put it off in favor of MISTBORN. The reasons are explained below.

    This decision was met with a great deal of disappointment by some of the manuscript’s fans, but I really think it’s best for my career right now to delay KINGS. It’s a magnificent story, but it needs some more time before it’s ready for the general public.

    —————

    THE WAY OF KINGS (Book one of the Oathshards Series.)

    KINGS was the book I was working on when Moshe first called me to buy ELANTRIS. While we were in contract negotiations, he asked to read a bit of my current work. I sent him KINGS, and he decided he wanted to purchase it as well. I don’t think, however, that he knew what he was getting into.

    The OATHSHARDS is a massive war epic centering around ten angelic beings who have been driven insane—each in a slightly different way—by millennia spent protecting, fighting for, and dying for mankind. The first book, THE WAY OF KINGS, follows six separate viewpoint characters (one of them an immortal) during a time when the three peninsulas are thrown into a massive war. It is an intensive character piece coming in at over 300,000 words, and can be quite brutal with its characters.

    It still does the things I do well—it has several original magic systems (though magic isn’t a focus in the first book.) It has a very interesting setting (which is one of its strong points) and has an array of interesting characters from all walks of life. (One a young peasant soldier, one a middle-aged sister to the king, one a battle-hardened nobleman general, one an honor-bound assassin serving an evil master, one a young lady-in-waiting, and the final one being an immortal protector of mankind who is slowly breaking beneath the pressure of his station.) The central theme of the book is that of leadership, and each of the six viewpoint characters are defined in one way or another by how they lead others.

    KINGS has a lot going for it. It’s the kind of story that people remember—it has a grand scope, meaningful characters, and an expansive plot that would have to cover at least five books. However, I don’t know that it’s the best thing for my career right now. The book needs a lot of work before it could be published—at its current length, it would have to be cut into two pieces or slashed by a third in order to work. I also have to do some serious revisions to the plot. I like how all of the characters work, but I worry that the book is too slow (even for me) at the beginning as I establish six viewpoints and six separate plots. I need to find a way to combine some of the plotting so that several viewpoints can work on the same problems.

    I think this series could really make an impact on the genre. However, it would take far more work than MISTBORN to get to a publishable level. Perhaps it would be best for me to publish a few books like MISTBORN or ELANTRIS before I do something this ambitious.

    FAQFriday 2017 ()
    #6715 Copy

    Questioner

    Do your children sometimes inspire your writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Having children has certainly been a big help in understanding the way that younger people think.  I spend a lot of time reading with them, and seeing what engages them in other books.  This has been an excellent help to me in my writing.

    So far, I haven't taken any of their specific ideas–but they're still a little young.  They do offer suggestions, but they tend to be things like, "You need a big orange dinosaur that builds itself a robot suit to fight ninjas."

    On second thought, that's a pretty cool idea, isn't it?

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #6717 Copy

    Kabsal

    I spot a potential error [in Oathbringer]:

    While she spoke of Jezrien and Kelek, she said their names strangely: Yaysi and Kellai.

    This line comes from Dalinar's perspective - don't the Alethi use the name Jezrezeh and not Jezrien?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The name Jezrien isn't unknown—Sizgil knew it in Way of Kings, even though they don't say Jezrien in the Makabaki lands either. But I'll ask Brandon about this line.

    EDIT: We have determined that Dalinar should have said Jezerezeh in this context. So we'll fix this in the ebook and audiobook, and in future reprints.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #6718 Copy

    jay-veezy

    So it might be a bit far fetched but it seemed like Brandon mentioned quite often that the caves beneath the Fields of Rebirth were slowly getting flooded. Any ideas why that might be important?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    They’re getting flooded due to the river that flows around all sides of the Field of Rebirth. It's at least somewhat miraculous that they haven't entirely flooded already.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
    #6719 Copy

    PewPewPokemon

    If I spend thousands of dollars and fly halfway across the world to go to a book signing, what can I expect? I've never been to one before, and likely never will again. But Stormfather take me if this doesn't seem like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You are more than welcome to come! But I do always feel a little strange when people spend a lot of money to come see me, as I'm not convinced I'm worth it.

    Here's how a signing goes down: I usually speak for about an hour, which is divided into three segments. I generally start with a short (15 min or so) talk about something I'm interested in at the moment. Usually it relates to the book somehow, or to the fantasy genre. Then I do a Q&A with the audience for maybe 25 min. Then I do a reading for maybe 20 min. (This is usually from something I'm working on that isn't yet published.)

    From there, I sit down and start doing the signing. This part takes a long time--four to six hours, depending. You usually get a line number from the store based on a couple of factors. (When you arrived and if/when you bought your book.) I strongly suggest checking with the store you plan to visit, as some of them have stricter policies than others about being required to buy a copy of the book to get into line. (Most of them don't require it, but let the people who bought the book from them--which is most people there--go first.)

    You get maybe thirty seconds or so with me, during which you can ask a question and get a picture, if you want. (I always feel bad it's such a short time.) I will generally personalize up to three books, though I will sign as many as you want. Most stores only sell the US edition in the US.

    If you mention you came from New Zealand, you will most likely be the person who came the longest distance, which I usually reward with a little pin.

    All of these signings will be relatively packed, I'm afraid, so I can't suggest one over another being faster. But they're also all very good stores, and are generally willing to let you leave and grab food, then come back closer to your chance to get a book signed.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Torrieltar

    For those who haven't seen this before, Brandon recently updated his website to show that he's started working on a new "Mystery Project".

    Anyways, Brandon mentioned in his interview with Crendor that, over the summer, he finally managed to craft a really solid outline for Dark One, and I'm almost certain this is his mystery project.

    Dark One is a Cosmere YA story that has stymied Brandon for years on end, so it'd be no surprise that he'd want to write it as soon as possible now that he's "finally cracked it" and has a storyline he's confident with. I can just see him cackling at the idea of springing this on us out of the blue after all these years. We're on to you, Brandon!

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was almost Dark One...but I have other plans for that right now.

    This is a different book that has been brewing for many years that I finally decided to work on. I probably won't talk about this until State of the Sanderson, though, because it will take some explaining.

    General Reddit 2017 ()
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    Blightsong

    Who drew [the Oathbringer endpapers]? Are they in-world art?

    Brandon Sanderson

    These are in world paintings done by the Oilsworn, one of the people Shallan studied when practicing her art. The actual paintings were done by the Oilsworn's real-world counterpart, Dan Dos Santos, who did the cover of Warbreaker.

    There are two more pieces in the back, done by someone else, which are also in-world art pieces. They're all part of a larger theme, and are equally gorgeous.

    Phantine

    I assume these are paintings of heralds, then?

    Brandon Sanderson

    These two [in the front of the book] are Ishar and Ash. The back two are Jezrien and Vedel.

    ConvolutedBoy

    Ash is so much more...shiny than I expected, but I guess that's Lightweaving for you. I love the space background too.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Remember, these are in-world artifacts. So this is how someone painted her from their imagination, based on lore. These are Rosharan versions of the paintings of the prophets along the top of the Sistine Chapel.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin Confronts Lady Patresen

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

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

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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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    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 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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    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 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Felt

    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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    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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    Chapter Twenty-Five

    Fadrex

    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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    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.