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    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.)

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Leiyan

    So I had some things I figured out, I just wanted to know if they're maybe true or not. So I have that the orbits of the moons would precess so that the farthest point is always pointing towards the sun.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, one more time.

    Leiyan

    [Holding out and point at diagram she brought] So they precess, so that the long point is always towards the sun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, so, we have figured all this out. It's in the wiki...so me just saying...it's not in the wiki that you can find. I would need to go compare this to what we have. 

    Leiyan

    Because I was wondering how accurate these were, but that's ok, so I can skip that bit. I had like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the calculations on things like this...this is stuff where I sat down with Peter, who knows much more astronomy than I did and said "here's what I want" and he's like "well it has to be this" and I'm like "ok".

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    Questioner

    <How do you develop/create names?>

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the book. Usually I develop the language and sounds that are going to be used in the language and then I try to build names out of it, but sometimes there is trick like in Alethi with symmetrical names and I focus a little more on that.

    So it just depends on the book.

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    Leiyan

    Do you know, do the moons orbit the opposite direction of Roshar's rotation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe they do but I'm not 100% sure.

    Leiyan

    There's no eclipses as far as I can tell, so the plane of the orbit must be inclined pretty strongly, because there'd be an eclipse every day if there were eclipses...

    Brandon Sanderson

    We had to fudge that because as you said, if there were any it'd be all the time.

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    Questioner

    I'm guessing it's a RAFO, but why do Honorblades work the way they do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Honorblades were crafted before Shardblades existed...

    Questioner

    So they were crafted.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They were crafted before Shardblades existed, and all Shardblades that exist came about as certain individuals trying to find out how to copy Honorblades.

    Questioner

    So would it be fair to say that Honorblades are analagous to fabrials in some sense? Trap spren in a crystal yada yada Stormlight power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is an analogy there, that I think would pass the SAT's rigor for analogies.

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    Questioner

    What are we going to do when you retire?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Retire? RETIRE?! I would never! I will stop writing when they find me dead in my office and my face is on the keyboard and I type the word "k" seven thousand times.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    EHyde

    I was curious about the dye in Hallandren, the Tears of Edgli. So, that can be used to make a whole bunch of different colors, right? Does the flower come in different colors? Or is that something in the dye process, or-?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The flower comes in different colors.

    EHyde

    And it dyes all fiber types the same?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does not dye all fiber types the same.

    EHyde

    In theory, if they had synthetic fibers would it work on them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say yes.

    EHyde

    Is it more fuel-efficient for Awakening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is what more-?

    EHyde

    Like, color used in Awakening-?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Those dyes are very effective for Awakening.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Questioner

    Did the shattering [Splintering] of Honor happen in the Cognitive Realm, and Ruin in the Physical? *Brandon laughs* The reason I'm wondering is, are spren the expression of the shattering in the Cognitive Realm while Ruin's physical being is an expression of the shattering in the Physical?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is an interesting theory that I don't want to completely shoot down, but it is not heading in absolutely correct directions. The shattering of a shard is an event that transcends all three Realms.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The yellowing of our sun is not actually caused...so our sun being yellow is not based on the star's actual color.

    Leiyan

    I'm curious about the sun because it's described as white, and our sun is typically yellow. I assume it's a different type of star?

    Leiyan

    So is it bigger than our sun? Smaller? If there's anything you want to throw out there I'll take it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay...I'm having to reach into my memory. This is not canon. Younger and larger, I believe it is both. Younger and larger.

    Brandon Sanderson

    The star's age, at Roshar...Earth astronomers would say that is a star which could not have planets with life on them.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Questioner

    What's your working title for the third book [of The Stormlight Archive]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has two. The original working title was Stones Unhallowed. However, [Patrick] Rothfuss is using Doors of Stone, and I kind of feel like I might want to do something different, so my interim title is Skybreaker, but it has to be an in-world book. The in-world book for book 3 is kind of a different one, so I can do a lot with it, but Stones Unhallowed is easier.

    Questioner

    I was gonna ask if this was gonna be a trend for the whole series--

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is going to be a trend.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Questioner

    Are we going to see Shai again in the next ten years?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. [...] But the chances of me doing another short about her are not great just because The Emperor's Soul turned out so well that I feel like doing a follow-up is just the wrong move. So more likely you'd see her show up in something else.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Brandon Sanderson

    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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    Brandon Sanderson

    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.