Recent entries

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10951 Copy

    yulerule

    *Written:* Is Iyatil wandering around the cosmere (Roshar) with a heating medallion? She's a Southern Scadrian, so she needs one of those so she won't freeze to death in normal temperatures.

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on that, but it's a question you should be asking. 

    *Writes:* RAFO

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10952 Copy

    yulerule

    *Written:* If an Allomancer Worldhopper really wanted to hack the magic system and knew what they were doing, could they get their hands on some tanavastium, rayseium, or egdlium? Basically make god metals from the other Shards?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *Reading question:* If an Allomancer worldhopper really wanted to hack the magic system.. *mumble*

    Uh, yes. This is possible.

    *Writes:* Yes.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10955 Copy

    AndrewHB

    Is the rapier a weapon that somebody who doesn't have a Shardblade would use on Roshar?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Why do you ask that?

    AndrewHB

    You know why. Because of the last scene in Words of Radiance. The weapon was an unusual weapon that, well, she needed. *inaudible* odd form *inaudible* If it's common then you can understand why someone would have a Shardblade of that type.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, so... you are on to something.

    AndrewHB

    So that's a read and find out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep, read and find out. You know how to read and find out. I'm not going to answer it, but *inaudible*.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10956 Copy

    AndrewHB (paraphrased)

    Is Niccolò Machiavelli's political theory--the ends justify the means--incompatible with the Knights Radiant's First Oath?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    No. Although many of the Orders of Knights Radiant would find Machiavelli's theory, that the ends justify the means, incompatible with additional oaths and/or values of that Order, there are some Orders who could accept a Machiavellian. (Brandon said that the Skybreakers are where a Machiavellian could find a home.)

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10957 Copy

    wicktacular

    At the end of the first Mistborn trilogy it's really significant that 1/16th of the soldiers who got really sick are now atium Mistings.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Sixteen that he-- when Preservation set that all up. He, number one, was not all there. But he was trying to create sixteen as a symbol to say, "Hey, catch this. I've given you a clue-- uh-- help." And so it was devised specifically for that. "*inaudible* Something's going on here."

    wicktacular

    But we know that there's more than sixteen metals. Wh--

    wicktacular

    So were there-- were 1/16th of the rest of them just *inaudible* just not significant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, no, they would have been Mistings of other types as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    wicktacular

    Did he bump one of the other types then to make it sixteen?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chromium.

    wicktacular

    Okay. Do you have in your head *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, that's right. It would probably have been one of the metals that was difficult to get at that level of technology. It would have been chromium - chromium would be hard gather at that time. Actually, no, it would have been aluminum. *about a minute later, while signing someone else's book* Hold on, there's a caveat to that last answer. Let me finish signing this and expand on that. *pause* So, it would still have been aluminum, but not for the reason your thinking. It would have been aluminum, but there's an asterisk next to that answer.

    wicktacular

    Chromium?

    wicktacular

    Okay. Interesting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hard to get chromium.

    wicktacular

    I've been thinking about--

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh no! He bumped aluminum. Yeah, he bumped aluminum. Sorry I had to-- I changed my mind.

    wicktacular

    Oh!

    Brandon Sanderson

    *a moment later*

    Okay, Chad? I have a <qualification> for you. I'll do this and then we'll...

    *a moment later*

    So...

    wicktacular

    On the sixteen or the *inaudible*...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The sixteen. So the answer is "yes," but it's not something-- it's not what you're thinking it is. 

    wicktacular

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Alright, there's an asterisk on it, okay? There's an asterisk on it, it's not what you're thinking. Uh, you're making-- you're making assumptions. 

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10958 Copy

    wicktacular

    questioner's paraphrase, delete after transcription review: Based on the bit during the open Q&A about Odium splintering Dominion and Devotion and shoving their power into the Cognitive, and that blocking off the Spiritual, which makes Sel's magic so location (or Identity of location) based - if a Shardbearer traveled to Sel, could they still summon their Shardblade?

    Transcription:

    So from what you said about Odium sticking Devotion and Dominion in the Cognitive, if they *inaudible* Shardblade, well Shardbearer, and travelled to Sel would they *inaudible*?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh... what-- I'm going to RAFO that. I've never asked me that before. I guess I haven't really explained that whole thing before to people.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10961 Copy

    Mason Wheeler

    I always sort of got the impression that there were maybe... *waves hand* a dozen or so worldhoppers around *inaudible*. Now this [Arcanum Unbounded] completely blows that idea away.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep.

    Mason Wheeler

    Approximately how many worldhoppers are there in the Silverlight community when Khriss is writing these essays?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Silverlight community is a full-fledged city.

    Mason Wheeler

    Alright... Well, that could be anything.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's not a village; it's a city. I'm gonna let you have a RAFO on the rest until I write the story set there. Let's say we're talking about much larger than people might have originally assumed. But not everyone in Silverlight is a worldhopper. You've got people who are-- that have been born there, and raised their whole lives there, and died there.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10962 Copy

    yulerule

    I actually had like a really-- theory I was developing the past couple of weeks about Regrowth, and healing, and the Cognitive Realm. Let's take a look at this...

    *Written/Paraphrased:* In the cosmere, you have matter, mind, and soul. Obviously, the physical world is most well understood (same as ours) and the spiritual is most mysterious. When anybody dies (going off from info in Secret History) their soul, which was tied to their body, the Connection is broken and the soul/Cognitive Shadow appears in the Cognitive Realm then goes on to the Spiritual. If healing is applied at any moment while the soul/Cognitive Shadow is in the Cognitive Realm, the Connection can be reestablished and that is why Regrowth can heal recently dead. Type of wound Shardblade versus not may determine how fast the Shadow is sucked into the Spiritual Realm. Also amount of Investiture a soul contains. Souls = Investiture, or at least all of them contain some?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So that's a RAFO. We'll dig into that a little later.

    yulerule

    Oh, *inaudible*. Am I close?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you're on the right track.

    Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
    #10963 Copy

    CCQ

    I just read Edgedancer. I was just wondering... Did Ishar deceive Nalan on purpose or was he just wrong-- he had wrong information?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the Heralds are insane.

    CCQ

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It manifests in different ways. Do not trust anything any Herald says. Ever.

    CCQ

    Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nale trusts Ishar too much.

    CCQ

    Okay, but so did he do it on purpose, or...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um... So "on purpose" is a difficult thing when you're referring to someone with the psychology that Ishar has.

    CCQ

    Did he know what it was-- that it was a lie?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *sighs* Alright, I'll RAFO that until I get to him, but the answer is kind of a yes and a no. Okay? So there is part of him that knows and there is part of him that doesn't want to believe it. And yet the things he's been doing lately in Roshar are done because he knows what's coming.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10982 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter One

    This was the hardest chapter in the entire book to write.

    That's often the case for me. I will write a first chapter, continue on through the rest of the book, and then be forced to write the first chapter a few more times to get it right. For this book, I wrote the chapter some five times. If I'm feeling proactive, I'll post some of these chapters in the deleted scenes section about the time Mistborn 3 comes out.

    Anyway, I just couldn't get the right feel for the first chapter. I wanted to start with a dramatic fight scene involving Vin (you now get that in chapter two) but every time I did, the book actually felt too slow. That's because, in order to have a fight, I need to explain Allomancy.

    I started to get this one right when I backed off of the fight a bit and just had Vin creeping through the city. This let me get out a little bit about Allomancy before I threw her into the fight.

    However, I didn't actually get it right until I added the Elend and Ham scene at the beginning. This scene had been in the book, but much later. The first chapter wasn't the only one I rewrote, actually—this entire first section of ten chapters underwent some significant revisions to fix the pacing. Originally, I didn't say much about the army until the later chapters, after Vin's fight.

    However, I realized that I needed to give the sense of large-scale danger to the book before I got into the smaller danger of Vin's fight. Elend and Ham here talking sets the book off right—it introduces the conflict right off, shows what we're going to have to worry about in this book, then gives context to Vin's fight.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10983 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dedication

    This book is dedicated to my maternal grandmother. The last one was dedicated to my paternal grandmother.

    I didn't just do that for cohesion. I see a lot of both women in myself. Mary Beth (from book one) is free-spirited and wacky. That's the easiest side to see in me, the fantasy write.

    Phyllis, however, is a dedicated hardworker. She is, to me, a symbol of simple, uncomplaining dedication. (Well, not completely uncomplaining. Grandma is great at grumbling.)

    However, if something needs to be done, she just does it. Always. She's like 90 years old, and she's still just plugging away, the same as always. She's a real inspiration to me, and I think that I owe a lot of my success to the things she instilled in my mother–who instilled them in me. Getting published took a lot of hard work–those of you who've read a lot of my annotations know I wrote 13 books before I sold one. The sense of "just do it"-ness that my grandma gave me helped quite a lot when I needed to work, write books, and learn to make it in this field.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10984 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've already talked about how much I love the maps in this book. Isaac is amazing. He also did the chapter symbols, which are interesting in that they are based off of the symbols in the first book. If you compare, you can see that they're the same symbols, only changed. The idea is that these symbols in this book are earlier versions of the same alphabet in the previous book, used here since this book will be partially about the characters looking into what happened in the world a thousand years back. You can imagine the epigraphs (the italicized things at the beginnings of the chapters) written in this alphabet. Modern people in the book, then, write in the version of the alphabet that is used in book one.

    We had planned some pretty dramatic artwork to use in the book along with these–some large-scale symbol glyphs using the alphabet–but eventually decided not to go with them. Not only was Isaac swamped, but Tor was giving us grief about the length of the book (I'll talk about that later.) In the end, I'm glad we went with only these–they are elegant, and I like how they work with the previous symbols.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10985 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maps and Interior Art

    Isaac has gone well beyond the call of duty here.

    The art department wasn't expecting there to be revisions to the maps, and they actually complained a little bit when it happened, thinking that they'd get charged again. Isaac, however, just wanted to make certain that the maps in the book fit with the context of the novel. So, he updated both maps, making certain that they included key points, and were revised to show new places. There are also a lot of cameos and inside jokes sprinkled through them, if you know where to look. I believe that there's a bookstore on the city map named after my agent, and a canal shop named after my editor. There's a mountain named for the best man at my wedding, and a lot of things like that.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10986 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Acknowledgements

    There's not a whole lot to say here. A lot of people are returning time and time again as alpha readers. They should get awards or something.

    I decided to expand a bit and give some different kinds of acknowledgments this time around. The more I learn about the book industry, the more I realize how many people it takes in order to create the product you now hold. People like Yoder, Dot Lin, and the bookstore sales forces are all part of the "Brandon Sanderson" name, in a way. It's kind of like Brandon Sanderson is, in part, a pen name for the hundreds of people who collectively create a novel.

    The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
    #10987 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Title Page

    This title was fairly easy to choose. Actually, the titles of all three books were easy to choose. I originally toyed with calling The Hero of Ages the Final Hero. So, because of that, I was tempted to come up with a "final" title to use for book two.

    However, I quickly decided that I liked Hero of Ages instead of Final Hero (you'll see why in Book Three.) So, way back as far as the first chapters of book one, I was planning book two to be named The Well of Ascension.

    I think it's a great title. I've been wanting to release some books with titles that have more classical fantasy feels to them. Well of Ascension really works well. In fact, as I write this annotation, it's December of 2006, and I'm on Book Tour with David Farland. He just got done complimenting me on the title! So, I guess maybe I'm not the only one who likes it.

    The title, obviously, comes from the place the Lord Ruler visited to gain his godhood. Hopefully, this indicates to the reader a little bit of what the book will be about. Though, I do worry about this for reasons I'll explain in a bit.

    The only other fun thing to note is that I have a devil of a time spelling Ascension. I always want to spell it "Ascention" instead. Curse my lack of spelling ability! I feel like an idiot every time I write it the wrong way. What kind of writer can't spell the title of his own book? I feel like a punch line waiting to happen.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10988 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Book Wrap-up

    Well, there you have it, the complete annotations for The Final Empire, Book One of Mistborn. The paperback of this comes out in just about three weeks, so my goal of getting all the Annotations posted before the paperback release has been achieved.

    This was a very fun book to write. In a couple of months, Book Two will come out—which was, in turn, the most challenging book I think I've ever written. (But we'll talk about that during the annotations.)

    Every book has things that turn out just like you imagined, things that surprise you, and things that never quite work out. In this book, the "heist" feel for the book is the one that never quite worked out. I sit and look back through the pages, and can still imagine the book as it was in my head before I wrote it. It's kind of an odd feeling to then have this book, which shares some attributes with the imagined novel, yet deviates in some important ways.

    The power of the characters was what worked well—the thing that I wanted to have happen, then was pleased when it finally worked out. Kelsier's surprise at the end was a similarly nice payoff, as was the way that Allomancy worked out. Elend was a surprise, as was the amount of time I ended up spending in the ball scenes.

    All in all, I'm very pleased with this book—I think it's better than Elantris, if not as "meaningful", and achieves just what I wanted. A second book to show off what I can really do.

    I hope you enjoyed reading it.

    The Final Empire Project: November 2001-July 2007

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10989 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    The name "Ars Arcanum" deserves a note as well. I’ve always liked how Ann McCaffery named her appendix the "Dragondex" in the back of her Pern books. One of the biggest draws of my books are the magic systems, and since I intend to do a new one for every series I write (and many, like the Mistborn trilogy, will have multiple magic systems per series) I wanted some sort of "catch all" title I could name the appendixes in each of my books.

    I fiddled around for a while. Ars Magica was my first choice, since it's kind of a cool Latinate take on "Magical Arts" or "Magical Skills." However, there's an RPG out with that name, and I figured I wanted to stay away from their title. Ars Arcanum, then, was my next choice. I ended up liking it better, if only because it has a little more true Latinate feel to it.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10990 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ars Arcanum

    It's kind of surprising to me, but to some people, appendices like this can be very divisive topics. There are people who will pick up a book and check to see if it has a map and appendix–and if it has both, they're more likely to read it. (I was actually one of these when I was younger.) I guess the philosophy here, if I analyze my teenage self, was that if an author put so much work into a book–and if the book was so complex–that there had to be an appendix, then that was a book I wanted to read.

    Others have the opposite reaction, I've come to learn. I've met people who think that this sort of thing in the back of a book indicates that the author is sloppy, and can't tell a tight story. Or, that the story is going to be too complicated to enjoy.

    In Elantris, my first book, I fought for a pronunciation guide and a cast of characters in the back. I like appendixes, though now it's mostly because my untrustworthy brain often forgets who characters are. With the Mistborn trilogy being as complex as (hopefully) I want it to be, I figured I'd need cast lists in order to help you remember book one when reading book two.

    So, book two has a bigger appendix. However, I wanted to do something in this one as well. One thing I knew people were going to ask about was a way to keep the metals straight. That's why I developed the quick reference chart, and my friend Isaac did that beautiful metal table for a visual reference–I absolutely love how it looks.

    ...

     

    My magic systems are generally like a new science for the world in which they are practiced, so I like the feel this gives. Hopefully, you found this appendix useful. If not, I suspect you'll really appreciate the one in book two, as the cast of characters there will provide a lot of helpful reminders.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10991 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Epilogue - Part Three

    And here we come to the final scene of the book.

    This one is important for several reasons. I intentionally made it focus around Reen's voice in her head, since the very first chapter of the book where we see Vin, she's dealing with those same whispers from Reen.

    Here, I wanted to show the progress Vin has made in one final moment. I don't think of my books as romances, but they certainly have romantic elements. The Vin/Elend relationship was actually one of the parts of the book that was less planned (as I think I've mentioned). I knew I wanted her to get involved with a man of the court, but I wasn't sure where I'd take it, or how it would end.

    I think my books have happy endings. Ominous ones, sometimes–and bittersweet ones, definitely. But they're happy, at least for me. I'm an incurable romantic, and I like it when two people find each other.

    Of course, this isn't the end. Vin and Elend don't really have a relationship yet, they have the budding beginning of one. We'll deal with the more. . .testing elements of relationships in the second book. For now, however, they get to be happy. That's a rare enough thing in the Mistborn world that it's worth noting.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10993 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Epilogue - Part Two

    The discussion of Feruchemy and Allomancy working together is one of the most complicated magical explanations I've ever done, and I hope it works. One of the fun things about my books are the magic, and it's really tough to walk the line between making magic that has technically interesting aspects without making it either a) too complicated or b) feel like I'm just making it up as I go along.

    I was trying to get across here an unexpected consequence of mixing the two magics. Like how certain chemicals react oddly when mixed, or even like two computer programs running on the same computer can cause odd reactions, letting someone use Feruchemy and Allomancy together makes for some very strange mixtures of the powers. (I intend to get into this later.)

    Of course, what this also does is un-deify the Lord Ruler somewhat, which is intentional. I don't want it to undermine the accomplishment the characters have made–what they did was difficult and they have achieved a great victory. However, what I'm trying to give in this book–however–is a sense of foreboding.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10994 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Elend is chosen as king. I wondered if this would be seen as a stretch or not, which is one of the reasons I didn't put it in scene. I think it's easier to believe if I simply explain that it happened, rather than trying to make it work in narrative. The problem is, after the big climax with Vin and the Lord Ruler, I think anything involving Elend's actual speech would have been a distraction.

    So, I leave it at this. It's a foreboding ending, I know. Elend is king, but honestly, none of these people have ever done anything like this before. The crew has no experience with government, and Elend has very little. (Though he at least knows a lot of theory.) So, then, this is set-up for the next book, where I wanted to ask some very tough questions. It seems to me that overthrowing the empire would actually be easier than trying to make it run smoothly. This is what the group is going to have to deal with.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10995 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Epilogue - Part One

    This last epigraph is actually out of order. Most of them were chronological as Vin read from the logbook. This one, however, doesn't actually come after the one before it. I just put it here because it felt like it belonged at the end.

    I did, actually, write most of these epigraphs (or bumps–or whatever you want to call the things at the beginnings of chapters) in one lump, then cut them apart, as I think I've mentioned. I did the same thing for book two, actually, where there's a different kind of puzzle going on in the narratives.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10996 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Finally, we get to have a nice little scene with Vin and Sazed standing over the body of the Lord Ruler. This is another good metaphoric scene, where he has been cast down by the people he sought to oppress, much as the skaa cheering outside have cast down the empire that sought to oppress them. The rising sun outside, of course, is a nod to this.

    And the Lord Ruler dies in the same way that Kelsier did, with a spear in the chest while he's laying on the ground, defeated.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10997 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Eight - Part Four

    So, my favorite secret in the novel is the fact that the Lord Ruler is actually Rashek. I'm still not sure if this revelation will mean as much to readers as I want it to–it depends on them reading, and caring, about the story that happened in the past. However, when it all comes together, I think it really pays off.

    So, the concept that started me on this book was "What if the Dark Lord won?" I thought about that, then figured it would be more scary if the hero had become the Dark Lord–only something worse. Kind of a "What if Frodo kept the ring?" idea. Well, I eventually decided to twist that into a "What if Sam killed Frodo and took the ring, then became a Dark Lord?" Like Kelsier says, there's always another secret.

    The story, of course, grew into much more from there. The interaction between Rashek and Alendi (the unnamed hero from the logbook) was interesting enough to me that I decided to give it its own story, told through the chapter bumps. I see this book as actually having three prime viewpoint characters: Vin, Kelsier, and Alendi.

    My favorite kinds of revelations are after this nature–things that the reader has been familiar with, yet not quite understanding, the entire book. Things you could have figured out much earlier, if you'd really been paying attention to the right clues.

    These clues, then, led to the source of the Lord Ruler's immortality. It has been foreshadowed that age is one of the things that Feruchemists can store up, and we've established that the Lord Ruler can change his age. So, I don't think it was too great a stretch to make Vin understand that his Feruchemical storages were somehow behind his immortality. You'll get more explanation of this in the epilogue.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
    #10998 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Thirty-Eight - Part Three

    My one disappointment with this chapter is that I had to end up making it look like I was breaking my own rules. The Allomancy-Feruchemy-Hemalurgy triad is one of the most complex magic systems I've ever devised. The interplay between the three systems, mixed into the mythology of the setting (which involves the mists at a foundational level) makes for some very complicated rules. I try to explain them as simply as possible–simple, basic rules are necessary for most sequences to work.

    Yet, the depth of complexity leads to some things that are confusing at first glance. I wasn't planning on having Vin draw upon the mists in this book–I was going to save it for later–but the initial version of this chapter (which had Vin simply grabbing the bracelets off the Lord Ruler’s arms with her hands) lacked the proper drama or impact. So, I moved up my timetable, and gave her access to some abilities she wasn't going to get until the next book.

    A lot of the "Rules" of Allomancy are, in my mind, like our basic rules of physicist. They make simple sense, and can be explained easily. However, they only apply when generalities–or large-scale events–are explained. When you get down to the really advanced physics, traditional Newtonian Laws start to break apart.

    The same is true for Allomancy. The vast majority of Allomancers aren't powerful enough to look beyond the basics. For them, simple rules like "You can't Push on metals inside of someone's body" apply. It's much easier to tell someone that, as opposed to "People's bodies interfere with Allomancy, making it much harder to affect metals inside of them–so hard, in fact, that only some people you'll never meet can Push on metals inside of people's bodies."

    It is a matter of degree of power. Vin, for reasons I'll explain eventually, has access to far more Allomantic power than regular people. The Lord Ruler is the same way, though for different reasons. And so, he can affect metals that are blocked by blood. Vin has to draw upon another, external source of power in order to produce the same effect, but it is possible for her.

    Narratively, I worry that this looks too much like I'm breaking my own rules. However, I had to balance drama with effect in this chapter, and eventually decided that I could make it work. I've established throughout the book that there are flaws in the commonly-perceived laws of Allomancy. There are metals nobody knows about. You can pierce copperclouds. In fact, one of the unwritten laws of Allomancy is that it isn't understood as well as everyone seems to think.