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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Three

    Lightsong Visits Blushweaver While She's Enjoying a Gardener's Art

    One of the things I wanted to do with this book was come up with different kinds of art that the gods could enjoy—things that we wouldn't normally look at as traditional "art" but which in this world have been developed to the point that they're just that.

    I liked the concept of a gardener whose art came from the movement and arrangement of pots of flowers and plants into patterns on the fly, like—as Lightsong says—the leader of a musician leading an orchestra. He directs, gesturing and pointing, and dozens of servants rush about, holding different pots. Then they set them down and retreat, leaving them for a few moments. Then it repeats, different servants rushing in with other pots and laying them in other patterns. A little like synchronized swimming, but with plants.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Tonk Fah Wants to Be the Mean One

    Tonk Fah is a sociopath. He doesn't feel an emotional connection to other people, nor does he feel their pain when he hurts them. He tortures and kills animals when it strikes his fancy. There's a dead parrot in the basement of the safe house, which is why Denth keeps Vivenna from going down there. There aren't any bodies of Idrian soldiers down there currently, though Denth has had a few of them killed already. The fact that he has people watching their house, plus Vivenna's mention of her father's soldiers checking Lemex's house first, are tiny clues. They do indeed go there first, and Denth has his people there watching. That's how he catches the Idrian soldiers.

    By this point in the story, he's killed about three people who have come looking for Vivenna. The death count will eventually reach several dozen.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Denth's Speed

    Yes, Denth is inhumanly fast. He's a Returned, after all, and has all of the physical enhancements that come with that. Even when he's chosen not to manifest most of them, he's still got an edge, just like Vasher does.

    How do they hide that they're Returned? Well, it comes down to mastery of their ability to change their appearance. They can't shape-shift entirely; they can just alter some things about their appearance. They can change their weight, their hair color, and things like that at will. Vasher doesn't do this often, but Denth has been known to use it as a disguise. The problem, after you do this once and someone realizes it, your nature becomes very suspect.

    They have learned to suppress their divine Breath. This allows them to hide, but they must be careful never to give away all of their Breath. Denth has been a Drab before—he's not completely lying—but never for longer than a few days. And his divine Breath is always there, suppressed. So he doesn't know what it's like to be a true Drab, which is why in this chapter he says he doesn't think it changes you that much. He's never felt it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna at the Safe House

    Vivenna is right about what happens to a person when they lose their Breath. It is a part of your soul, and without one, you are more prone to depression, you get sick much more easily, and you're generally more irritable.

    I included this mention here because I'm betting that most people who read the book side with Denth and assume he's right when he talks about these things. But don't be too judgmental about the Idrians—yes, they're biased, but the Hallandren are too in a lot of ways. It's not as simple as one side always being right and the other wrong. In this case, the Idrian teachings are correct, and most Hallandren are looking for justifications when they say that giving up one's Breath isn't all that damaging to them.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Two - Part Two

    Clod the Lifeless

    Yes, Clod is Arsteel, in case you were wondering. After Vasher killed him, Denth's team decided to have him made into a Lifeless. Partially because Denth was curious if it was possible, and partially because Arsteel was such a capable warrior that they knew he'd make for an excellently skilled Lifeless. It isn't as good as having Arsteel himself, of course, but Clod is probably the greatest Lifeless swordfighter in existence right now in the entire world.

    Another tidbit that never comes up is that Jewels was in love with Arsteel, which is the primary reason she joined Denth's team in the first place. Arsteel joined it because he wanted to try to redeem Denth; he felt that a reconciliation between Denth and Vasher was possible, and as a peacemaker, he thought he might be able to make it happen. As for why Vasher killed him . . . well, I'm afraid that's another story that will have to wait for the sequel.

    Jewels is still in love with him. And yes, she still sleeps with him on occasion. And yes, she's a little bit unhinged emotionally and mentally because of his death.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Only Potential Heirs of Idris Have Royal Locks

    This is true. It's not a matter of genetics, but lineage. That's a subtle distinction. Only the children of the person who ends up inheriting will have the Royal Locks. (Though there are a couple of notable exceptions to this, they won't show up in this book, as it will take another novel to explain why and how the Royal Locks really work. If I ever write a sequel, that should be in it.)

    This factoid about the Royal Locks should be one of several hints about the lineage of the Idrian crown. There is something odd about their heritage.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-Two - Part One

    Lightsong Plays Tarachin With Three Other Gods

    This is the newest scene in the book, added in the last revision before the novel went to copyedit. I added it for two reasons. My editor wanted to see another chapter between the previous Lightsong chapter and the next one. He felt that the god made up his mind to help Blushweaver too easily, and wanted to spend more time with Lightsong mulling over the decision.

    I reacted quickly to the suggestion, as I'd been wanting to show Lightsong interacting with some of the other gods. It's sometimes too easy for me to build my books around a small core cast and rarely involve any others, and I have to force myself to include more characters to round things out. This book had a distinct lack of scenes with "ordinary" gods. We got to see a lot of the exceptions, but never the run-of-the-mill divinities who make up the ranks.

    I wanted to show how they schemed and how they acted. Putting Lightsong with three of them here helps the book quite a bit, I think. It makes the world feel more real and helps his character by providing contrast.

    The game is something I developed in order to make this scene work. I wanted a divine game—one that wouldn't require too much effort, would require a lot of preparation and extravagance, but would still qualify as a sport. So, we have a game where the gods can sit on a balcony attended by a fleet of servants and scribes tallying their throws.

    When my editor read the scene, he loved it instantly. He called to tell me it was one of his favorites in the book, partially because of some particularly good Lightsong quips. He says that he fully expects some Sanderson book readers to develop the rules for the game someday, then play it at a con.

    [Editor's note: Also compare the game of Stones in the deleted Mad Prince Eton scenes from Elantris. Warning: Contains spoilers, so do not read this if you have not read Elantris.]

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The contact Vasher mentions in this scene is Bluefingers. The little scribe is working very hard to push the court toward war, and he thinks that if Vasher sneaks into the hidden tunnels, he might do something dangerous like kill a few guards. More than that, Bluefingers is hoping that by giving away that tidbit of information, he might be able to get Vasher to trust him, and therefore get the chance to manipulate him toward fomenting the war.

    At this point, Vasher has contacted Bluefingers pretending that he's interested in the politics of the court and the war. Bluefingers inaccurately assumes—from intelligence he's gathered, from what Denth has said, and from some faint awareness of who Vasher might be—that Vasher wants to drive Hallandren back to war with Idris. At the very least, Bluefingers assumes that Vasher will want to kill and destroy, since death and destruction have often been his wake.

    And so, Bluefingers sells to Vasher a little tidbit that he assumes is innocent (the presence of the tunnels). This gives Vasher an unexpected edge. He now knows that it's possible to get to the Lifeless garrison, and into the court itself, through ways nobody knows about. That makes him suspect that something greater might be going on, perhaps a coup of some sort.

    I apologize for only showing little pieces of this in the book. But, to be honest, I don't think it's that interesting—mostly because everybody is so wrong about what they're assuming. And the assumptions are rational enough that I think it would be confusing in the book. Vasher is wrong about the coup, and Bluefingers is wrong about Vasher's motives. Denth only cares about getting a chance to punish Vasher for the death of his sister.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Fights the Guards, Then Creates a Lifeless Squirrel

    I wanted to show the creation of a Lifeless somewhere in this book, as I think the process is interesting. The draining of color happens in a slightly different way than in regular Awakening, though it's similar. In this case, the creature draws color from its own body in order to come to life.

    The better your imagining of the Command when you make it (not the orders you give it, but the one when you give it the Breath), the more intelligent and capable of following orders the Lifeless is. Later in the book, for instance, people are surprised at how good this little squirrel is at doing what it is told.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vasher Pretends to Be Crazy, Approaches the Guards

    This line about gods attracting the unhinged comes a little bit from personal experience. Many of you may know that in the LDS church, we often serve missions during the early part of our twenties or our late teens. I did this, moving to Korea for two years and doing service, teaching about the church, and generally having a blast living among and learning from another culture.

    One thing I learned, however, is that when you're associated with anything religious in a formal way like that, you tend to attract people of . . . interesting inclinations. I got to listen to a surprising number of people who weren't all there tell me about things they'd seen or decided upon. (And note, this isn't me trying to make fun of other religions or other beliefs—I, of course, got to speak with a lot of people who believed differently from myself. No, in this case, I'm referring to the mentally challenged people who—for whatever reason—liked to search out missionaries and talk to them.)

    It was a lot of fun, don't get me wrong. But it was also weird.

    Anyway, I would assume these guards are accustomed to dealing with the unbalanced. Though entry into the Court of Gods is restricted, it's hardly impossible to get in. With the lottery, and with the numbers of performers and artists coming into the place every day, you can sneak in without too much difficulty. At least up until what happens this night, after which things become a lot more strict.

    I imagine that Mercystar, somewhat vain though she is, intentionally hired men to be her guards who were of a kindly disposition. She's a good woman, if a bit of a drama queen. In my mind, most of the people working in the Court of Gods are generally good people. But perhaps that's my personal bias that religion—when it's not being manipulated and used for terrible purposes—does wonderful things for people.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-One

    Vasher Awakens His Clothing, Then Leaps off the Palace

    One of the subtle, yet drastic, changes to Awakening that happened in this story came during the middle drafts. Originally, the Command was part of the process of Awakening—but wasn't as important as I eventually made it. I had intended for very difficult things to be accomplished through the use of very long and intricate Commands. However, as I wrote the first draft, I felt this was bulky. What it meant that was if you wanted to use a powerful Awakening in battle, you'd have to stop and spout several paragraphs of instructions. It really cut down on the tension of the battle sequences. (And Awakening was already slower than I preferred, with the need for all of the steps—Breathing, finding color, then Commanding.)

    So during revisions, I changed this. Instead of requiring a lengthy Command to create a powerful Awakening, the strength and skill of the Awakener is instead determined by their ability to visualize what they want the Command to do. The Command is a focus, the spoken words an important part of the process, but the real trick is getting the right mental picture.

    This way, someone can practice a lot, and still use simple Commands—like "grab things"—yet have them do very powerful things. It also allows me to have Commands be easier to learn and use, yet still require skill to master.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The God King Has No Tongue

    Okay, so here we have the first major reversal in the book. There are several reasons I wanted to write this story. The first was that I loved the concept of the woman being sent to the terrible emperor, only to discover that he was a puppet of someone else. This was a big part of the original Mythwalker plot for Siri, and was a big part of what intrigued me about that story. (As a side note, Mythwalker was also the first place where I tried out the words koloss and skaa for races. They were completely different then, however.)

    After writing Mistborn, I became increasingly intrigued with the idea of a complete reversal book—a book that did things very differently from the way I'd done them before. I'd dealt with an all-powerful emperor, and so people would (unconsciously) expect the God King here to be like the Lord Ruler. That gave me more opportunity to use their expectations against them and pull off a reversal of roles like the one in this chapter.

    I hope it worked. By now, you were probably suspecting that something odd was up with the God King. However, I hope you weren't expecting something as redefining as the lack of a tongue. In this society, with this magic system, that is an even greater symbol of powerlessness than it would be in our society.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The God King Approaches Siri in Bed

    Siri wonders why the God King wears black, rather than white—which his BioChroma would distort. The answer is simple. To Awakeners, black is a symbol of power. It's a fuel, a color that can be used for Awakening. White, however, is useless. So to wear white would be foolish, except in certain cases where the priests want to prove how powerful the God King is by letting him dynamically bend the light. So while he occasionally appears in white, his everyday attire is black.

    His ability to bend light into the prismatic colors, by the way, was added about halfway through the first draft. I wanted a stronger visual indication of someone who had reached the top Heightenings, and I like the imagery associated with it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty

    Bluefingers Warns Siri Outside the God King's Chamber

    I'll admit that many of Siri's thoughts here are complaints I myself have. She wonders why Bluefingers had to be so cryptic. It's a weak literary device, in my opinion, always having people with knowledge tease with it but never give the full truth. I hate it when I read stories where characters withhold information just because it needs to be withheld in the book.

    At the same time, the only way to have a mystery is for there to be things the characters don't know. There can be legitimate reasons why someone doesn't want to speak or share what they know. In my books, I want those reasons to be good ones—which is why in the Alcatraz books, I never have the adults refrain from giving Alcatraz information just because of his age.

    In this case, Bluefingers has very, very good reasons for what he does. I hope that it doesn't feel contrived for him not to speak further here.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Denth's Plans

    When I was posting chapters online as I wrote them, I remember one person in my forums noting (upon reading this chapter) that Denth's plans were a terrible way to help Idris. By attacking supply caravans and creating a crisis in the city, chances are very good that the war factions would be more likely to get the others to strike. Desperate times generally give more power to those who are willing to act, even if those actions might lead to even more problems.

    This person on the forums is, of course, exactly right. I'm impressed that they caught it, since most everyone else seemed completely taken in by Denth. However, what Denth is doing here is using Vivenna to help continue plots he has long had in motion. He's lying when he says that he doesn't know what Lemex was involved in and has only seen pieces. In truth, Lemex was doing what Denth wanted him to—they were Denth's plans all along.

    However, Lemex was beginning to grow more reticent, and Denth was having more trouble manipulating him. Another good reason for the poisoning. (And it took a lot of poison to off someone with that much Breath.)

    If you're reading it through again, I hope that Tonk Fah's line about being able to stow a lot of bodies in the storage space is a creepy line. It's supposed to be.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Denth Tells Vivenna to Use Her Breaths

    Don't forget that Vivenna has a huge wealth of Breath. To most people, anything over one or two Breaths is a huge wealth—and Vivenna has enough to reach the Third Heightening. She's fully capable of Awakening objects, and while she's not as powerful as Vasher in Breath right now, she could learn quite quickly. (The more Breath you hold, the easier it is for you to learn how to use it.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nineteen

    Clod Arrives with Jewels

    Early on in the development process, I knew that I wanted to have a Lifeless as a side character. They're such an interesting part of the world—in fact, they're a big part of the foundation of the setting, or at least what made me want to write it.

    That meant having a Lifeless on Denth's team, and Clod as a character fit into place quite easily. I had worried about how to make Jewels distinctive in the team, after having Denth and Tonk Fah establish themselves for some twenty chapters before Jewels even makes an appearance. Working with that, I realized that by making her the Lifeless handler, I could add something unique to her—and to the team.

    Denth knew that Vivenna wouldn't react well to there being a Lifeless on the team. That's part of why he kept Jewels away for so long. (In fact, when Jewels says, "Who's that woman?" in regards to Vivenna, it should have been slightly suspicious to you. She knew they had a new employer, and she should have made the connection. Indeed, she did. Denth had specifically ordered her to stay away until this moment, as he didn't want to scare Vivenna off.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lightsong Refuses to Get Out of Bed

    As I've already mentioned, this is a chapter where—after a climactic focal point in the book—the characters backslide a tad in order to enforce that there are still struggles going on. Did I consciously decide this? No, honestly. I sat down to write this chapter, and I felt that I needed to spend a little more time focusing on the conflicts of the characters. So that was intentional. But the placement in the book? That was just by gut instinct.

    Llarimar has been holding this little tidbit—the knowledge that he knew Lightsong before the Return—back for just the right moment. He knows his god well, and understands that information like this can be very powerful as a motivator. He's been waiting for years to use this hint at a time when Lightsong was morose. (And yes, that happens to Lightsong fairly often.) This seemed an important moment to keep the god motivated, so Llarimar doled out the tidbit. Talking about the past of one's god is unorthodox, and maybe even a little sacrilegious. Fortunately, one of the nice things about being high priest is that, on occasion, you get to subtly redefine what is orthodox and what isn't.

    He did make sure to send the servants away first, though.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Does Her Show for the First Time

    This little sequence is far more discomforting to me than the actual nudity, to be honest. Being somewhat of a prude as I am, I hesitated to put this into the book. I realize that to most readers, it's not even very risqué. But I'm the one writing the book, and I'm the one who decides what I include. I have to be willing to take responsibility for what's in my stories.

    Why did I put this in if it discomforts me? Well, to be honest, there was no other way. It was what the story demanded. I couldn't see the priests not at least listening. (And, as I think will be mentioned later in the story, they did have some people watching the first nights—no matter what Bluefingers says in this chapter. He's not lying, he's just wrong. The priests would never let a potential assassin near their God King without taking precautions. There was even a soldier hiding under the bed that first night, and another watching from a secret chamber beside the hearth. It was still a risk to let Siri into the room, of course, but they were fairly certain—after taking her clothing and instructing the serving girls to watch carefully during the bathing—that Siri had no weapons on her.)

    Regardless, it was ridiculous to think the priests wouldn't listen in, knowing what they do of the God King. That meant Siri had to either sleep with him for real, or find a way to distract them. This was a clever move on her part, and I like it when my characters can be appropriately clever. And so the scene stays. If I hadn't allowed her to do this, then I would have—as an author—been holding her back artificially.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eighteen

    Siri Decides to Spite the Priests, Then Reverses That Decision

    This chapter involves a bit of a backslide for both Siri and Lightsong. It was important to establish that they, as characters, are still the same people that you started reading the book about—even if both of them are being forced to change the way they react to things. (Well, at least Siri is being forced to change. Lightsong is more just mulling over what he wants to do. Or not do, as the case may be.)

    Siri's decision here is intended to show just how far she has come during her short time in Hallandren. Siri had all the potential to blossom like this before; she just never had a good reason. With Vivenna there dominating and drawing everyone's attention, Siri was like a plant growing beneath the shade of an enormous tree—she couldn't get enough sunlight to grow herself. Freed from that shadow, she's ready to go.

    Her first impulse is very characteristic—it's the sort of behavior that she's ingrained in herself for many years. But she decides against it, which should be a big tip-off that she's capable of much greater things.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Reads Her Father's Letters to Lemex

    So, is what Dedelin did wrong? I don't know. Again, I'm not here to give answers. He did what he felt he needed to do. Getting Lemex into the Court of Gods was an extremely important task. Without access to the assembly sessions, he had to rely upon paying people who could get in to take notes. Much better to get your spy in there himself. Unfortunately, the easiest, best, and least obtrusive way to do this was to get Lemex a pile of Breaths.

    Now, I don't expect any readers to be shocked by what he did. The tone of the book presents Awakening as being far less inherently evil than Vivenna sees it. I'm afraid this is a bias I can't stamp out, since I myself see the power as being something other than evil. Neutral, as are most of my magic systems.

    But I do think it's important to hold to your own personal code. Vivenna is rightly shocked about what her father did. But, then, perhaps this is a sign that she wouldn't have made as good a queen as she and her father assume she would have. While she's perfectly willing to sacrifice herself for Idris, she doesn't seem willing to live for Idris—meaning to stay behind and lead her people. She ran off. Beyond that, she would never have been able to make the decision her father did, buying Lemex Breaths.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vivenna Returns to a Ransacked Home

    I'm a little annoyed at myself that it took so long to introduce Jewels. Here we are in chapter seventeen and she still hasn't shown up. She barely gets a mention here. Unfortunately, I knew that her arrival would present problems for Vivenna, so I felt the need to put it off until Viv was attached enough to the mercenaries that she'd be able to overlook a certain "pet" that Tonk Fah talked about earlier.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen

    Siri and Lightsong Interact

    This chapter has our first real melding of several viewpoints. In a way, it's a focus chapter for that reason. All four viewpoint characters, who have been off doing other things, congregate here, meeting and mixing. Lightsong and Siri, whose plotlines influence one another a fair amount, sit and talk for the first time. Vivenna and Vasher, who are far more intertwined through the story, meet eyes for the first time.

    Vasher shouldn't have brought Nightblood. But he's always a little afraid to leave the sword alone for too long. That can have . . . consequences.

    Anyway, it was good to be able to show an interaction between two of the viewpoint characters in the form of Siri and Lightsong. This lets us see how Siri acts through the eyes of another, and I think this scene here is one of the first where we really get to see into Lightsong's soul.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The High Priest Tells Siri She Needs to Produce an Heir

    Note that in a previous section where I said that I couldn't delve as deeply into Siri's plot in this book as I could have in one where there was only one viewpoint character, I didn't mean that I didn't intend to give her a lot of political intrigue and plot twisting. I only meant that I decided it was best to keep things a little more focused for her, rather than adding a lot of subplots.

    I've been wanting to do a story like this one, with a woman sent to marriage in a politically hostile country, since I wrote Elantris—where Sarene arrived and found out her wedding couldn't happen. Again, this is an attempt to turn in a new direction for me, but the inspiration is the same. Sarene arrived and found that her fiancé had died and the court didn't care about her. Siri arrives and does get married, then has far too many people paying attention to her.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixteen

    Lightsong Listens to the Priests Discuss War

    Is this an antiwar novel? I'm not sure, honestly. I didn't sit down to write one, certainly. I rarely try to interject messages into my books, though sometimes they worm their way in. (The Alcatraz books are particularly bad about this.)

    A war here would be a bad thing. Idris and Hallandren shouldn't be involved in trying to kill one another. But am I, myself, antiwar? Again, I don't know how to answer that.

    Is anyone prowar? War is a terrible, terrible thing. Sometimes it's necessary, but that doesn't make it any less terrible. I'm no great political thinker. In fact, being a novelist has made me very bad at talking about political topics. Because I spend so much time in the heads of so many different characters, I often find myself sympathizing with wildly different philosophies. I like to be able to see how a person thinks and why they believe as they do.

    I didn't mean this to be a book about the Iraq war—not at all. But war is what a lot of people are talking about, and I think it's wise to be cautionary. War should never be entered into lightly. If you ask me if the Iraq war was a good idea, you'll probably find me on both sides of the argument. (Though I certainly don't like a lot of aspects about it, particularly how we entered it.)

    Regardless, this isn't a book about anything specific. It's a story, a story told about characters. It's about what they feel, what they think, and how their world changes who they are.

    As a very, very wise man once said, "I don't mind if my books raise questions. In fact, I like it. But I never want to give you the answers. Those are yours to decide." —Robert Jordan. (FYI, that's not quoted exactly. I can't even quote myself exactly, let alone other people.)

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Life Sense as Part of the Magic

    The ability of the Heightenings and Breath to give people an added dose of life sense was part of my attempts to make Awakening, as a magic system, feel more visceral and real. Allomancy is a great magic system, but I wanted a different feel here. In Allomancy, the powers granted are more like superpowers; with Awakening, I wanted something that felt . . . well, closer to what people already do.

    Perfect pitch and perfect color recognition are two things that I think resonate this way; the ability to bring inanimate objects to life may seem wildly superpowerish, but I think it's a part of our own superstition and mythology—or at least the superstition and mythology of our past. Life from things inanimate, like spontaneous generation, was long assumed as something real. Witches were often thought to be able to bring sticks or bundles of cloth to life.

    I think that there's still a lot of superstition in our modern world regarding how it feels to have someone watching you. We are more aware of our surroundings, sometimes, than we realize. I think we attribute a supernatural connection to some of these things. Who knows? Maybe there is one. I don't know, perhaps I've got a bit of it myself.

    Enhancing this and making it part of the magic was a way to get the visceral feel I was looking for. It also plays off the idea that by giving up your Breath, you give up part of your life. The fact that Drabs can't be noticed by life sense allows me to show that they have taken one more step toward being objects themselves.

    BioChroma. It turns objects into living things, but turns living things into objects as well.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifteen - Part Two

    Vivenna Sees Vasher

    I'm sorry that we don't get to see Vasher as much as you all want. I considered adding more chapters in. I considered it several times during several rewrites. In the end, I just decided that his viewpoints had to remain as they were in the early part of the book. If you see too much of what he's doing, it will give away things I don't want to give away.

    I don't like having viewpoints that fail to reveal things about the characters and their emotions and plans. It feels like I'm lying to the reader when I hide things the viewpoint character knows. I avoid it when I can (though I can't always—reference Kelsier in Mistborn).

    Either way, I just decided to keep Vasher as he was, with only occasional appearances.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Kalad's Phantoms

    Kalad used to be Khlad, by the way. I didn't want his name to sound so Pahn Kahlish, which I signify with the extra h sounds to give them an airy feel to their words. I added the mythology of Kalad's Phantoms to the book late in the process, wishing to give some more depth to the superstitions of the world. And perhaps do some other things too. . . .

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Lightsong Kneels before the God King

    My vote for most thoughtful line of the first chunk of the book? Lightsong's comment that he'd found that make-believe things were often the only things of substance in people's lives. (Not quoted directly.)

    It's a little bit cynical, yet somewhat hopeful as well. As Lightsong perceives it, it's true.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifteen - Part One

    Siri Sees the God King

    I think this is my favorite plotline of the book. The Siri/God King one, I mean. It's hard to choose, but this is the one that I felt most interested in. (Though Lightsong's ending chapters are powerful too.)

    I wanted the God King to be an enigma, much like Vasher is, at the beginning of the book. Well . . . that's not quite true. Right at the beginning, I wanted him to be scary and dangerous. I wanted the reader to perceive him as Siri did.

    By now, however, you should be wondering more. Who is he? What are his motives? Is he angry with her or not?

    The driving force behind this, actually, is the Lord Ruler. In Mistborn, a part of me always felt that he was just a little too stereotypical an evil emperor. True, I worked hard to round him out, particularly through the later books. But writing him made me want to take an evil emperor archetype in a very different direction.

    I've spoken on the reversals in this book. Well, one thing I realized after the fact is that the novel is—in a lot of ways—about reversals of my own writing. Things I've done before, but taken the opposite direction. Almost like I need to react against myself and explore things in new ways, particularly in cases where (like the Lord Ruler) I did things that were more conventional to the genre.

    I think that's why this book has so much resonance with my previous books. Or maybe it doesn't really, and I'm just seeing something that doesn't exist. A lot of my ideas in writing, however, come from seeing something done in a movie or a book (or even in one of my own books) and wondering if I could take it a new and different direction. I hope that doesn't make me feel like I'm repeating myself.

    Warbreaker Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Different Viewpoints in the Same Chapter

    In the Mistborn books, most of the characters were either involved in the same plotline or separated from one another by distance. I missed being able to do what I did in Elantris, where I would show an event from the perspectives of characters who were involved in very different storylines.

    The characters in Warbreaker are a little more focused on the same things, and are tied together by plots, but they're also very separate. (At least at the beginning.) It's fun for me as a writer to be able to show Lightsong, Vivenna, and Siri all attending the same event, but drawing very different experiences from it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fourteen - Part Two

    Vivenna Enters the Court

    Color harmonics are one of the things in this book that, I think, have some very interesting philosophical implications. I've always been fascinated by the concept of perfect pitch. Pitches and tones are an absolute; music isn't just something we humans devise and construct out of nothing. It's not arbitrary. Like mathematics, music is based on principles greater than human intervention in the world. Someone with perfect pitch can recognize pure tones, and they exist outside of our perception and division of them. (Unlike something like our appreciation of other kinds of art, which is dealing with things that are far more subjective.)

    However, I wondered if—perhaps—there are perfect steps of colors just like there are perfect tones, with color fifths, sevenths, and chords and the like. In our world, nobody has the ability to distinguish these things—but what if there were someone who could? Someone who could tell something innate about color that isn't at all subjective?

    I'm not sure if I explained that right, but it intrigued me enough to become part of this book.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, and since we're on to random notes, I want to mention that I'm not intending Siri to ever betray who she is through the reversals of this book. When I say that she and Vivenna are switching places, I don't mean that they'll start acting like each other. Siri will always be the type who likes to feel the rain on her face and walk barefoot in the grass. Vivenna will probably always be the type who restrains herself from those kinds of activities.

    My intention was to have them remain who they are, but still progress and learn to fill one another's roles.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Siri Enters and Sees Returned

    Just a little note here. Returned live for eight days without a Breath, though the week is seven days long in this world. Why? Well, I figured that they'd need an extra day as leeway. On day seven, they start to grow weak and sluggish. If they don't consume a Breath, their body will consume their own on the eighth day of their life, and they'll die again.

    In some parts of this world, Returned aren't worshipped, but instead seen as something akin to vampires. They draw in Breath to survive, and need a supply of people to feed off of. They tend to wear black, since it's the most powerful color for draining to Awaken things.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fourteen - Part One

    Lightsong and Blushweaver

    This is another of the scenes I revised heavily to make the conversation between Lightsong and Blushweaver more snappy. I work very hard in the beginning of the book to establish their personalities and their dialogue, and so the first few chapters were revised more heavily than the later ones. Also, my editor thought that the later ones were already amusing enough; it was the beginning ones that he wanted to have a little more zip.

    Their conversation about the weather (playing off the one between Lightsong and Scoot) is one of my favorites from the book. I like how it's able to show some worldbuilding through the theology of the religion, give a strong dose of character through the different ways that Lightsong and Blushweaver talk about the weather and their desires for how it should go, and all the while be snappy and amusing. The line about serving followers as food is a little cheap, though. Sorry.

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    Aila

    Would food from Hallandren be considered men or women's food in Alethkar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Food from Hallandren I think is mostly going to be considered masculine food. Let me see-- I'd have to go and look and see at my notes what they're eating because there's a lot of Pacific islander influence on the area, not the culture, but where they are. So there's going to be a lot of fruit in their diet, but I think I mention that-- yeah I think it's gonna be mostly man-food. Actually no, I'm going to retract that, it's going to be both. They're going to be weirded out by it, because they're not-- you know, like our food, if they came here and ate, they would be weirded out by it. Number one a lot of it would be too bland. So they'd be like ehh, we're not sure.

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    Silver

    If you created a Forgery where someone was killed, would that person stay dead or would they wake up when the stamp wore off?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Umm ok. So you, in order to kill them, would have to Forge them to death, right. You can't just like-- for instance, if you rewrote this table so for whatever reason it believed that I was dead, it wouldn't affect me at all, it would only affect the table, because if you rewrote the table to believe it had been carved a certain way and I was the carver, I wouldn't remember doing that. So the Forgery affects only the item. If you stuck a stamp on me that forged me to be dead, I think that would probably be-- Depends on what you do to me, but it could go either way.

    Questioner 2

    It would have to be be believable wouldn't it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah it would have to be believable, but it could go either way. Depending on how you created it, and what was going on. It's a good question.

    Silver

    I did not come up with it!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it is a good question... That could create some interesting paradoxes also.

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    Silver

    Did you ever confirm Renarin's eye color?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if I have. Peter would have to look in the wiki and see if I've written something that contradicts or not. But I have not yet, I don't think. But if you write us an email I can, it's something I just have to be able to look up.

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    Questioner

    What's going on in the other pole of Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oooh that's a big ol' RAFO. But it is a RAFO with a promise that you will find out before too long.

    Questioner

    So in these coming two Mistborn books, maybe? Because there was some mention of something to do with that, I thought, briefly, in Alloy of Law, just some vague--like there was something that had been found, or some brief contact, maybe...

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Brandon clears his throat, significantly* let me say this, so I don't spoil things. By the time we do the 1980's level technology, the whole world will have been explored. I mean, I can't really do the second trilogy, with-- I mean, by then, you know what the continents look like, and things. Even in Scadrial, where they just haven't explored nearly as much, but they're kind of behind on that so far, so sometime between now and then, exploration of the world has to happen. 

    Questioner

    Good point. Because they didn't have the whole volcano thing going on. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    No they didn't. They did not.

    Questioner

    How is there anyone alive over there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, I can tell you this because it's in the annotations. The people down there were placed as kind of a control group to the changes that were made to the people of the north, where changes were made to live with the ash and things like that. But other changes were still made to them. Or changes happened to them, shall I say. 

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    Questioner

    So the shape of the Shardblades of the spren that pretty much die and leave them afterwards, are they specific because of something? Or just because that's how the Radiant used them, in that shape? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is a mixture of how the Radiant views them, and how-- Their nature. It's a mixture of their nature and how the Radiant views them.

    Questioner

    Were they still able to shape them however they want? ...The Shardblades. 

    Brandon Sanderson

    Originally? Yes.

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    Questioner

    Atium and lerasium are their own special ways of Investiture, of using it. Do the other Shards have those, that even within their magic systems are unique just to that one Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Questioner

    Can you tell me anything about any of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You might see some of them some day? I think, I know you've seen at least one, but people don't know what it is? One person's asked me a question about it, so somebody's figured it out but, yeah, there are things like that in other worlds. Kind of, distilled essence of Shard, yeah.

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    Questioner

    I'm a poet myself and I totally related to your thoughts on writing and how to keep it fresh and on fire, and yet disciplined.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have a lot of respects for poets, it is hard work. When I had to do poetry in one of my books, I actually went to a poet and hired them to write the poems, to put the-- I don't know if you've read Words of Radiance, but the songs were kind of hired out, because I don't trust my own poetry chops, they're just not good enough.

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    Questioner

    What is Feruchemy, is it tied to any Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Feruchemy, is it tied to any Shard in specific? Yes, they talk about that in the books.

    Questioner

    Ok, it's like, of Preservation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, you could say that.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Because it seems like one Shard, one magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing, it's more that-- They, in their philosophy, say that it's kind of a hybrid between the two, but you could kind of feel that it's more--

    Questioner

    It seems more Preservation.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It seems more Preservation, but in-world they think it's kind of a hybrid. The philosophy says that one was kind of net-positive, one was kind of net-negative and one was a hybrid. That's their in-world philosophy. I personally would place it more with Preservation.

    Questioner

    Ok so more than one magic system can be tied to one Shard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. 

    Questioner

    Ok, that's what I wanted to know.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing, the definition of magic system can be, is so fluid. Like you can look at this book and say "how many magic systems are there?". Is Surgebinding one or is it ten?

    Questioner

    Allomancy's 16--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is Allomancy 16 or one, and things like that. So yes multiple magic systems can be tied to a Shard.