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    #7951 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Each of the characters is a little autobiographical, mostly noticeable 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.

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

    TWG Posts ()
    #7952 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    First off, no, I didn't base any of the religions in Elantris on any real religions. Shu-Dereth STARTED as the Norse religion when I was worldbuilding. I wanted to take a Norse-style religious feel, then transform it into monotheism over time. However, there wasn't a strict parallel with modern religion. The basis for how all three religions ended up was more Eastern in concept, but again, I didn't use a single religion to focus any of them.

    I did take a few things from other religions. For instance, I liked how a lot of modern religions sprang from the same root. Buddhism came from Hinduism, and Christianity was a growth from Judaism. The aggressive Derethi religion was a little bit more like religions that have a convert or die philosophy--but, from my research, that concept has been used in pretty much every major religion at one point and time.

    I do worry that people will see Derethi and think of a specific religion. Indeed, since I based Hrathen on what I saw as 'Evil missionary tactics' one could easily relate him to churches that do send out missionaries. This wasn't my intention, however.

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    #7953 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lots of Female Keepers (one of the main characters in book two is one), no female Inquisitors or obligators (since the Lord Ruler was pretty much in charge of who got to do both.) However, there weren't actually hard fast rules, so I could see a determined woman ending up in the Steel Ministry if she put her mind to it.

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    #7954 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The longest lasting of the Allomantic metals is actually copper, which is used by Smokers to hide Allomancy. Tin is second, however. Steel and Iron are actually rather quick, but since they're generally used in bursts, it's hard to notice. Both brass and zinc are medium, as is bronze. Pewter burns the fastest of the basic eight, though atium and gold both burn faster than it does.

    In my mind, it's related to how much 'work' the metal has to do. That's why pewter, steel, and iron burn so quickly. A lot of weight and power is getting thrown around, while copper only has to do something simple. However, I never really set any of these things hard-fast.

    And, only atium is really all that rare. Because of the value of the metals, the noble houses expended a lot of resources finding and exploiting mines to produce the metals. This resulted in a slightly higher value for most of them as opposed to our world, but not really noticeably so, because Allomancers really don't need that much metal. Even fast burning metals, like pewter, are generally only swallowed in very small amounts. (i.e. A small bit goes a long way.)

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    #7955 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    A note for those who read Ookla's post above, and might be curious. The characters of Vivenna and Siri are ones that have been bouncing around in my head for quite a while. I made one attempt at a book using them, back about five years ago or so.

    Unfortunately for the two of them, the rest of the elements of that book (particularly the person I chose as a hero, the magic system, and...well, a lot of things) just kind of fell apart. It's my only true failure of a book, made more tragic by the fact that Siri's story was working so well.

    So, I decided that I'd give it another shot, reworking the two characters into a plot where they could be more of the focus, and where the setting and story were better thought out. (I've learned a few things in the intervening years.)

    I never did finish the original book, which was titled MYTHWALKER. So, the people who knew me at the time were left hanging as to what happened to the characters.

    I intend to finish it this time! Ookla, you've got the right of it still. Susebron will be virtually the same character I imagined in MYTHWALKER> I don't want to give spoilers to the others, but if you watch closely, you'll see how I'm going to work things out.

    TWG Posts ()
    #7956 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Dark One. What is it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    YA novel I'm working on. I have a few sample chapters, if you want them. I may have to change the title, though, since a very dissimilar book just came out with a close title.

    I'd rather not talk about the book too much, since I won't be able to get to it for a while, and I'd like to keep the ideas off the internet for a bit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, anyone here can have the sample chapters if they want. In fact, anyone can have sample chapters of any of my books. I send those out pretty freely. I'm just not sure I want to go posting the ideas for this one about yet.

    Also, if anyone wants any of my old books--anything pre-WAY OF KINGS--you need but ask. Most of them won't ever get published in their current form. So, if you're ever board, you can read an old, unpublished Brandon novel.

    The complete Brandon Library is:

    1) White Sand Prime (My first Fantasy Novel)

    2) Star's End (Short, alien-relations sf novel.)

    3) Lord Mastrell (Sequel to White Sand Prime)

    4) Knight Life (Fantasy comedy.)

    5) The Sixth Incarnation of Pandora (Far future sf involving immortal warriors)

    6) Elantris (You have to buy this one!)

    7) Dragonsteel (My most standard epic fantasy)

    8) White Sand (Complete rewrite of the first attempt)

    9) Mythwalker (Unfinished at about 600 pages. Another more standard epic fantasy.)

    10) Aether of Night (Stand-Alone fantasy. A little like Elantris.)

    11) Mistborn Prime (Eventually stole this world.)

    12) Final Empire Prime (Cannibalized for book 14 as well.)

    13) The Way of Kings (Fantasy War epic. Coming in 2008 or 2009)

    14) Mistborn: The Final Empire (Coming June 2006)

    15) Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Early 2007)

    16) Alcatraz Initiated (YA Fantasy. Being shopped to publishers)

    17) Mistborn: Hero of Ages (Unfinished. Â Coming late 2007)

    18) Dark One (Unfinished. YA fantasy)

    19) Untitled Aether Project (Two sample chapters only.)

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    #7957 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    These pronunciations are pretty hard to say and don't make much sense internally! How do you pronounce "en" at the end of "Raoden" and "is" it the end of Elantris and "Sa-" at the beginning of "Sarene"? Is it Ray-oh-deen and Ee-lain-trice and Say-ray-nay? Or is it "-en" (as in "end" with no "d") and "-triss" (rhymes with "kiss") and "Suh-" (front rhymes with "Samantha")? Or Because if it's "-en" and "-triss" and "Suh-" then these pronunciations are not allowed by your AEIO rules, and if it's "-deen" and "-trice" and "Say-" then your listed pronunciations are not helpful.

    Spelling some "a" sound with "e" instead also throws a wrench into the whole thing. Basically, the fact that you felt the need to do that should have been an indication to you that there were issues with the system to start out with, and that regular English speakers and especially Fantasy readers would just not automatically pronounce your names close to the way you meant them to be pronounced.

    I will hopefully comment later, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to base a language around the just 4 long vowels A E I O (which are pronounced, phonetically, "ei ii ai ou"). It looks like there are some problems in implementation though.

    Eagle Prince

    I thought that only applied to the Aons. The different names and words, ie Raoden, is only part Aon... the other half is like a totally different language. Sort of like a pidgen language combines two different languages into is own sort of language, and can eventually turn into a whole new language (creole). I think that is what happened here....

    I would need to reread the article, but I think it also mentioned something about only the first so many vowels being long and the rest normal. That or just the vowels that dealt with the Aon part of the word.

    I also think the 'ae' thing is pretty common in fantasy.

    Brandon Sanderson


    You're missing the long/short combination. (EP has it exactly right.)

    The Aon has long vowels, the rest of the word has short. Maybe I need to make that more explicit. However, reading it, it makes sense to me.

    So, RAY-Oh-den would be pronounced, I think, exactly as I wrote it there. Two long--for the Aon--one short, for the non-Aon.

    As for the 'A' exception, it was done out of necessity. You see, the truth is that I was creating a language to accent my novel, not the other way around. So, when it came down to writing a name like 'Sarene,' I just couldn't force myself to write it the way that looked worse, just to make the language feel a little more consistent. (There was no physical way to make the name on the page sound like the one in my head without writing something very silly, like Saraynay or Saraenae.)

    I think that people in the world would pronounce her name, therefore, as "Sa-REE-Nee," as I pointed out in the article. However, I'm still going to pronounce it how I want, because I'm an English speaker, not an Aonic speaker. Just like I call Korea 'Korea,' instead of 'Kor-ryo' (or even Hanguk) as would be correct.

    TWG Posts ()
    #7958 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I intentionally left seons--their origin, their connection to AonDor--a little vague in ELANTRIS. The reason for this is that I intend the secrets of the Seons to be a major plot element in a sequel to the book.

    I didn't want to put very much about them in because I knew that it would be years before I got to do an ELANTRIS sequel, and I wanted to give myself enough 'wiggle room' to not confine the second book, which isn't fully formed in my head yet. Anything I say now could ruin the plot for people before I even write the book--or, it could end up being untrue, as I develop my ideas further.

    Eagle Prince

    Can they go through walls? Are they incorporeal like a ghost? I'm guessing they can't move stuff around, because Ashe says something about the Elantrians wanting him to bring them food but he couldn't. And then when Serene was on the wall, he just shouted at her, like he couldn't just knock her back or anything. But then several times it talked about them going through windows, and some of the Elantrian seons bouncing around like drunks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question, EP.

    I answer this in the text just briefly, but it doesn't come up a whole lot. At one point, Raoden's mad Seon tries to float through a wall, and he bounces off of it. I wished to imply that they did have substance, but they were very light, and therefore unable to exert any great amounts of force.

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    #7959 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is for both those of you who've read MISTBORN and those who haven't.

    In the first book, you'll notice that I named two of the three magic systems present in the world. The primary name, which I'm quite satisfied with, is Allomancy.

    Sazed's power is the one I'm considering changing. It is called Hemalurgy. Now, I like the way this sounds. However, it doesn't quite fit in meaning with Sazed's powers. (The Hema, which should evoke thoughts of 'blood' has rightly drawn complaints from readers.)

    However, Hemalurgy DOES fit quite well with the third (mostly unmentioned magic system) used by the Steel Inquisitors.

    So, I'd like to rename Sazed's magic system. Here are my thoughts.

    Ferrachemy. I like the sound and construction of this one--it fits with the other two, and seems to relate well to Sazed's powers. The only problem is that I think it's too easy to read as "Ferr-Alchemy," which just doesn't feel right to me.

    Ferruchemy. The word I'm drawing the 'Ferr' from anyway is Latin for iron, which is Ferrum. So, this is truer to my source, but it just doesn't sound as good to me.

    Ferrichemy. I'm not sure if I like the way this one looks or not.

    Ferrochemy. Perhaps where I'm leaning right now.

    Anyone else have any suggestions? I like the traditional-science feel endings of things like 'mancy, 'lurgy, 'chemy. I also like beginnings that relate somehow to metals, as those are used so prevalently in the magic.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped me with this one.

    Ones I particularly liked:

    Auronomy was VERY cool sounding. However, I'm worried about having two 'A' words for the magic. (Still debating this one.)

    Ferramy also had me for a time. The only problem is that I really want something that has the same 'feel' as the other two magic systems.  This doesn't quite resonate right.

    Sangrimancy is also very cool sounding.  The only problem is that I don't really need another 'blood' related magic system. Skar--I stored this one away for potential use in another world. 

    However, I think Jade has really had the best suggestion on the thread. Dropping the second 'R' from the Ferr prefix makes it work a lot better with things. And, to avoid the 'feral' reference Stacer noticed, I think using the original Latin 'u' with the 'Fer' gets us a better word.

    So, the current winner:

    Feruchemy. It isn't actually the coolest sounding word on the thread--I think that's a tie between Auronomy and Sangrimancy. However, Feruchemy 'Fits' better with Allomancy and Hemalurgy. The three have a kind of internal resonance, and give the right feel.

    Thanks all!

    Now, another task. These three are all active arts--something done, rather than simply a study. I'd like, however, a good name for the blanket term for the study of all three magic systems. A name for the system of the world, rather than the specific magical applications of this system.

    All three systems use metal in different ways, and all three draw power for the user from different places. Any clever ideas? (Initial thoughts for me include using 'ology.' However, I'm not opposed to something longer, like I used in DRAGONSTEEL. (Realmatic Theory, for those of you who haven't read it.))

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    #7960 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    How long did it take to write Mistborn from reconception to the end of the first draft? Was that all on off time or did you start when school was still going?

    Shelving Climb the Sky for now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    MISTBORN: Began preliminary work in December 2003. Began writing beginning of February. Finished mid-June.

    CLIMB THE SKY: I'm probably going to have to shelve it for a year or so. I might slip it in between MISTBORN 2 and MISTBORN 3, but Tage keeps telling me that I just need to write a sequel.

    I agree, and so I'm going for MISTBORN 2. I actually wrote ten pages or so prose for the first chapter, though writing will be slower until I get all of my preliminary work done.

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    #7962 Copy

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The round map [in Mistborn: The Final Empire] makes it look like it takes place over a that intentional?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, actually. Though, when we put a map in the book, we'd probably fuzz the edges so we don't have to deal with that. However, after what the Lord Ruler did to the world to try and stop the Deepness, the only habitable parts on the planet are the poles.

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    #7963 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lately, I've been thinking about the different 'models' that writers seem to use when planning their series.

    The Jordan Model: One continuous story that's done when (if) you get to the end.

    The Eddings Model: One continuous story divided into a pre-determined number of books.

    The Bujold/Card Model: More episodic story centered around the life of a single, interesting character.

    The McCaffery Model: Episodic series with a general over-arching storyline, different books focusing on different viewpoint characters in the same world.

    Now, so far I've always followed the Eddings or the Jordan model in my planned sequels. However, I've been thinking that I'd really like to launch a McCaffery style series. It would let me do what I like--develop new cultures and magics in every novel--yet at the same time give me the market benefit of a cohesive 'series.'

    Thoughts? (I'm thinking of using the AETHER OF NIGHT world as a launching point for this series, in case you were wondering.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing: I've got this world idea (already have one book written in the setting) which involves a lot of different magical powers based on the same theme.

    I think it would be nice to write a lot of books in the same world, but to have sub-series of them focusing on a given society (i.e., a given magic.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, folks. If you've been paying attention to the other thread I started here today, I've been working on a new series schema. I need a title for the overarching series, however.

    I've been thinking of calling the series "The Aethers of Lore," with 'Lore' being the world name.

    I'm not sure if I like this, though. I like 'Lore' because of the way it sounds, not necessarily because of its dictionary meaning. I've tried other iterations of the same sound, but none of them quite work. Lorr doesn't look right on the page, I think, and Lorre makes me think it should be pronounced 'Lory,' like the actor.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wish I could get away with a sub-series name. ... Perhaps something like


    The Aethers of Lore:

    Aether of Wind Trilogy, Book One.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hum. I think I'll just go with 'Lor.' Sounds right, and I didn't Google any major fantasy series' that use the word. Can anyone think of a conflict?

    As for CLIMB THE SKY--well, we'll see. I'm growing more and more attached to it. The story is, however, about flying magic, so I don't think that--in context--it will be as cheesy as one might originally assume without a cover or jacket blurb.

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    #7964 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, so here's the thing. I want to write a sequel to ELANTRIS someday--or, at least, I want to leave myself open to the possibility.

    The first book is named after the city of Elantris, where most of the action takes place. The sequel, set ten years after the first book, will take place in the capitol city of the prime antagonists in the series. For cohesion, this book should probably be named after that city.

    So, here's the problem. Usually I have months and months to settle on a book title, and I'm usually pretty happy with what I get. However, I don't have an opportunity to write the book this time before I name it. I mention the city that will be the title of the next book several times in ELANTRIS. I have to make certain I really like this city name now, since I'll probably name a book after it sometime in the future.

    So, I've been digging for ideas. The country the book will take place in is called 'Fjorden.' As you might guess from that name, the dialectical genre of the culture is a Scandinavian spin-off. (It's kind of a guttural Norse--Scandinavian with some harsh Germanic sounds thrown in.)

    Other words in the language:

    Hrathen, Dilaf, Arteth, Dakhor, Grondkest, Svorden

    I need a name for the new city that would work well as a book title (i.e., it needs to be fairly easy to pronounce, and needs to sound cool) but that still fits with the linguistic style of the region.

    Here are some I've come up with so far. What do you think of these? Which is your favorite? Which don't you like?

    Zinareth, Widor, Velding, Klynair, Valinrath, Skaln, Vallensha, Vallinor

    Brandon Sanderson

    The original (in-text) name of the city was 'Widor.' Back then, however, I wasn't thinking of a sequel.

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    #7965 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    ELANTRIS and WHITE SAND have what I would call 'flawless' heroes. DRAGONSTEEL and AETHER OF NIGHT have mostly flawless heroes, with their internal issues being only minor parts of the plot. These four have, from what people have told me, are generally their favorite books of mine.

    WAY OF KINGS, MISTBORN (version 1), and FINAL EMPIRE all have heroes with serious emotional or psychological issues that they're dealing with. KINGS is the most daunting of these, with each of the major characters having their own personal 'thing' that they are working through in the book. MISTBORN (version 2) is similar to this (though none of you have read it yet.)

    These three books have received mixed reactions. While many people claim to like them, I'm not sure that they enjoyed them as much as the previous set.

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    #7966 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    This book is kind of a 're-envisioning' of Mistborn. The first Mistborn version I wrote had this absolutely amazing world and magic system, but the characters were very weak and the plot was so-so. Even as I finished it, I knew it would need a revision.

    Then, later, I wrote Final Empire--the book I finished when our writing group finally dissolved. This book had much better characters, but the world/magic was very weak.

    As I finished WAY OF KINGS (back in November of 2003) I began to fiddle with new potential projects. I began outlining WAY OF KINGS 2, but I knew that KINGS itself was likely to undergo some major revisions, and I wasn't quite sure where the characters would be for the beginning of the second book. So, I decided to delay writing that. I also fiddled with an ELANTRIS sequel, but I wasn't certain Tor wanted one of those or not.

    As I worked, the idea of a MISTBORN rewrite tempted me more and more. I had another idea for a cool plot, and was intending to develop it into its own book, but it didn't have characters or a setting yet. It occurred to me that the MISTBORN setting would work very well, especially if I borrowed some characters and concepts from FINAL EMPIRE.

    In the end, after a few months of planning, the three pieces--MISTBORN magic and Setting, FINAL EMPIRE characters and politics, and the new plot--clicked together very nicely. I was extremely pleased with the results, since MISTBORN and FINAL EMPIRE are the two books I've written that I was the most disappointed in. This project would give me the opportunity to redeem the original ideas from both stories, and improve on them.

    I called the resulting book MISTBORN: FINAL EMPIRE out of Homage, though "Mistborn" is the title I expect to stick (instead of the subtitle, kind of ala Star Wars: A New Hope.) Time, and reads from my writing groups and friends, will tell me if my experiment was a success or not.

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    #7967 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    How much [Writing Preparation] do you do? What files do you create?

    I've done it various ways. Usually I have an 'outline' document for plots, a 'character' document for characters, and a 'world' document for magic systems and things.

    Sometimes, the preparatory documents are only a couple dozen pages. (Elantris.) Sometimes they're hundreds of pages long. (Dragonsteel, Way of Kings.)

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    #7968 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, I'm entering a portion of my current book [Mistborn] where I have to devise a lot of names. Anyone want a Cameo? I could throw in something close to your name, or perhaps a version of one of your usernames, if you wish. Firstcomers get speaking parts.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, Lord Rian Strobe just got added to the book. He's even got a line! (He asks a young lady to dance.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    OutKast: Elariel is a good fantasy name--won't have any problems with that.

    Tekiel: Can probably use that one straight-up, if you want.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, 'House Erikeller' just got mentioned as one of the major noble houses in the book. They probably won't have a big part, but they are weapons merchants, which I thought you might appreciate.

    Gemm, I didn't so much as give you a character as base an entire cultural dialect off of your language patterns. They're a bunch of underground street punks who like to speak in a slang that (intentionally) confuses everyone else. There is a character in the book from that culture, though he's a few years younger than you.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, House Elariel and the Lady Stace Whiten just got cameos. House Elariel throws a party that some characters attend; Lady Whiten is a young woman that is supposedly one of characters' dates, but he ditches her. (Sorry. He's kind of like that.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay, busy night.

    First off, House Tekiel showed up in the book. In connection with that, I managed to work in House Geffenry and House Izenry.

    My favorite for the night, however, is the appearance of Lord Charleir Entrone. He shows up only as a corpse, having been stabbed in the back while in a drunken stupor, but he has a reputation of being a twisted connoisseur of underground bloodfight gambling.

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    #7970 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, I would like to point out that I have been miss-represented. While I have a penchant for characters who avoid marriage, I have some (not as many, I admit) who look forward to it. Let's look at viewpoint characters in my current novel:

    Jasnah: Female. Doesn't want to get married.

    Taln: Male. Doesn't want to get married.

    Shinri: Female. Eager to get married, and engaged.

    Merin: Male. Never really thought about it (only 17) but not really opposed to it.

    Jek: Male. Neutral.

    Dalenar: Male. Has been married twice, and is currently married. Wanted to the first time, was forced into it the second time.

    So, while I wouldn't argue that I tend to have a lot of characters who (perhaps) share my philosophy, I try to represent the other side as well.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #7971 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson


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

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

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #7972 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    TenSoon Impersonates Kelsier

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

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

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

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #7973 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Two

    This Book's Epigraphs

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

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

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

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

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
    #7974 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-One

    Elend Fights the Koloss in the Village

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

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

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

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

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

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    Chapter Fifty

    Vin Tries to Defeat the Sedative

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

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

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

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    Quellion's Hidden Attack

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

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

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

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    The Sliding Scale of Allomantic Potential

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

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

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

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    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part Two

    The Canal Genius

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

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    Breeze the Nobleman

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

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

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    Chapter Forty-Nine - Part One

    Sazed's Memorization Skills

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

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

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    Chapter Forty-Eight

    The Lord Ruler's Final Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    You mentioned one time that there were guards hiding under the bed and in a secret room when Siri first goes to the God King?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I at least imagined it that way.


    Do you always add details like that in your imagination?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's very frequently I do. Just cause I want to be a few steps ahead. And I want to be making sure that my motives for the characters—particularly the side characters, we're not seeing through their eyes, make sense. Motives are really important to me.

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    I was actually wondering, the epigraphs for The Way of Kings, that were talking about how the various Shardholders [Vessels] are influenced by their Shards over time—how does that impact someone like Harmony, with multiple shards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The main effect it's having on Harmony right now is the inability to act sometimes, because his two sides are pushing, and so he is having trouble being proactive. It'd take a long time before it really becomes manifest, but he's had several hundred years, so it's starting to have an effect.

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    Kaladin in the second book seemed to be a different Kaladin than at the end of the first book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    In what way?


    And he seemed angrier, and my question is, why did you write him that way?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has always been angry. In the first book, he is focused on saving his men and now that his men are safe, all of those emotions—if you go look at him from the first nine chapters of Way of Kings, he's that way there, it's when he becomes focused on saving his men he has something to drive him and it kind of subsumes these things, but once they're safe all these things he hasn't dealt with came back out.

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    Are the Wax and Wayne stories going to always be in stand-alone, or are they ever going to tie in to the main Mistborn and stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They will tie in, in fact I intended the first one to foreshadow stuff for the next trilogy, so you will find things tying in with what's going on, but I kind of wanted them to also just be more independent, so we'll see. It'll be a little of both.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    What to Do with the Mistfallen

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

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

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

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    Chapter Forty-Seven

    The Death of Bilg

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

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

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

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    Spook Plans to Flood the Streetslots

    You may note a tiny bit of hypocrisy on Spook's part here. He blasts the Citizen for killing nobleman to improve his reputation while keeping the Allomancers for himself. (And, indeed, Spook is right to be so critical.) However, Spook's plan here—to return the water to the canals and build his own reputation—is, in many ways, just as much fakery as the Citizen's actions. Spook plans to "magically" restore the waters and make himself look like a hero, engineering his own deus ex machina end to this story.

    This is Ruin's taint upon him—Ruin, who doesn't believe in building things up or improving the lives of others, but who relies on shells of reputation and impressive acts for his followers. Much as Hemalurgy is a false way to become an Allomancer, Ruin is using false methods to bring Spook notoriety.

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    Spook Visits Beldre in the Garden Again

    Spook's romance with Beldre is one of the things I'm not sure about in this book. I tried to give it as much time as I could, and you'll see some later scenes that fill it out some more. It isn't really love at this point, but just Spook being a teenage boy who is attracted to a pretty girl. However, a lot of romances start that way. Keep in mind that Beldre sees Spook very differently from the reader. She sees a mysterious figure, a handsome young man who comes in the mists and the darkness, bearing with him the weight of rumor and legend. She sees a man who rescued a child from a burning building, a man who stands up to her brother when nobody else does.

    She's definitely attracted to him, for many of the same reasons that Vin was attracted to Zane in book two.

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    Chapter Forty-Six

    Sazed Agrees to Put On the Metalminds

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

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

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    I'm working on a story slowly about a world where diseases grant powers while you have the disease. The pitch is you catch the common cold, you can fly until you get it over. This is the idea that bacterial and viruses have evolved to grant these powers in order to spread themselves, and so I need some help with my immunology stuff. Even if it's just...


    No one ever needs immunologists.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here. Give a list of good diseases that have a certain like how long it takes the average person to get over them, and I have to really work out the viruses that you don't ever really get over. Right?


    The chronic ones, like yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Like how does that work with the magic, and cuz I actually want one plot point of the story for someone to invent penicillin. And its basically like a weapon, right? To knock out people's powers, and so, I have to make sure I can only use those for bacteria and I have to know how that's going to work and stuff.

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    What would happen if a copper-compounder would compound copper?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of people have been asking that one. I don't know why they've all suddenly latched onto it, but you are going to get RAFO-ed, but I will give you a card. *laughter* I have reserve something for later books.

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    Is there any real difference between Steelrunners and Sliders? It seems like that could be sort of similar class--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. But different.

    --Sliders have the bubble around them, but...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. They work similarly, the big difference is you're seeing the limitations of Allomancy versus Feruchemy. Where Feruchemy there upper limit is unbounded, but you have really much more distinct cost and that can be stored up. You see that these have a different kind of cost to them, but I would call them the same category of thing, it's just the Feruchemy can be way more powerful. Except its limited by how much you store up.

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    I was a little bit interested in Words of Taln's Shardblade screams for Dalinar when the other Honorblade doesn't scream for Kaladin...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is true. So, if you look at the description Shardblade at the end of book one and they present it book 2, check the [clipped].

    Questioner 2

    You also give a hint at the end of the book of what happened.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. I give a hint in the book of what happened as well, the hint is, those aren't the same swords.