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    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    One final note for this chapter. Bilg. I prefer him dead. (This is the guy Demoux fought at the end of the chapter, with Kelsier's help.)

    In the original draft of the book, I had Kelsier–through Demoux–kill Bilg in the duel. I thought this was appropriate, and would be the sort of thing that Kelsier would do. In addition, I really wanted to emphasize the ruthless edge that Kelsier has. He is willing to do whatever he has to in order to see that his goals are achieved. It's that conflict–the happy, joking Kelsier mixed with the hard, ruthless rebel leader–that makes him interesting to me.

    Joshua was the big complainer on this one. He felt that my books are too optimistic for something THIS harsh to be done by one of the main characters. He felt that readers wouldn't go along with it–indeed, it was one of the main points that my alpha readers brought up. Some liked it, others hated it. The scene did it's job.

    Eventually, I went with Joshua's suggestion, however, and left Bilg alive. To me, this kind of castrates the scene. However, I suppose the most important elements still get across, and Kelsier gets to remain less tarnished a hero.

    Still, I would have liked the death to remain, if only for the future books. I'll eventually post this scene as a deleted scene from the book.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-One - Part Two

    Originally, you may be amused to hear, I was going to have Vin go on this trip with Yeden, with Kelsier staying behind. I even wrote about half of the "leave for the caves" scene with Kelsier telling Vin he's going to send her with Yeden.

    I'm still not sure what I was thinking.

    Fortunately, I came to my senses, and I quickly reworked the scene. Vin had to stay in Luthadel–she's go too much to do there. But, I did want to get a chance to look over the army, so I sent Kelsier instead. It worked out very well, as I was able to do some other things–such as have Kelsier show off for the troops.

    However, I didn't want to spend TOO long out here. When Vin had been the one coming to the caves, I'd planned two or three chapters. When it became Kelsier, I knew I wanted to shrink it to one chapter. So, that's why we get the kind of weird "time passes" omniscient bit at the beginning of the second section.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    In this chapter, we get our first real information on what it was like to work in the Pits of Hathsin. It wasn't originally planned this way–I was just going to have the caves here be regular caves. The cracks in the ground, however, clicked with me, as that was what I had planned for the Pits. This made for a much more defensible position, as well as let me explore some of Kelsier's past.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Originally, I started this chapter by going right into the logbook excerpt. Then, I realized that I had logbook excerpts before and after the chapter heading–which made things confusing. So, I added in the quick sentence about what Kelsier was doing.

    This is our first chance to see the text of the logbook collected in a longer form. I don't repeat all of the chapter epigraphs in-text–just some of the more essential ones. Partially, this is to make certain everyone who's been skipping the epigraphs has some of that information, and partially it's so that those of you who HAVE been reading the epigraphs can see some greater context for their order and flow.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty-One - Part One

    You can thank my editor Moshe for the canals in this book. He's a bit of a canal buff, and when he had read through Mistborn, he excitedly explained to me how canal technology was just perfect for the level of development I had in this book. So, at his suggestion, I changed caravans into convoys, and swapped horses for longboats.

    I really like the change. It gets boring seeing, reading, or writing the same old things. So, by getting rid of one standard fantasy element–highways and horses–I think we add something very distinctive to the world.

    Moshe, though. Man. He knows TOO much about this stuff.

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    Questioner

     How sweet was it to taste the tears of everybody who read Shadows of Self?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ahhhhh, uhhhhh-- It was kind of a painful book to write, so I--I sympathize.

    Questioner

    It was gorgeous.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't-- I'm not George Martin. I don't bathe in the tears of my fans.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twenty

    I worry a little bit about this chapter. The problem is, it's probably one of the chapters that has undergone the most revisions. Not in a "Fix problems" way–more in a "I need to add scenes to the book. Where shall I put them" kind of way.

    For instance, the beginning has a few paragraphs that–looking at them now–I think drag on a bit. The reiteration of Vin's relationship with Shan, for instance. I put it in because I need to indicate that time has passed, and that Vin's relationships have continued, but I worry that I spent too much time on it at the beginning of the scene. Next, I added another scene showing skaa life (the one with children shaking the trees) in order to remind the reader of how bad things are. Then, later on, I changed the book to have canal convoys rather than caravans. So, this chapter got some more revisions. Then, I added a lot to the scene with Marsh, including Vin’s discussion of her mother.

    All in all, it feels like a hodge-podge chapter to me. A lot of important information is explained, but it doesn't fit together as well as I might have wanted. The rhythm of the chapter is just a little. . .off.

    I'm not certain how interested people are in the real theory of Allomancy and how it works. However, I do think that some people like to hear the theory and background to magic systems like this, so I try to include the occasional explanation. For those of you who don't fit into this category, I apologize for Marsh's lengthy explanation here.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Originally, the nobleman Kelsier met with was Lord Hasting. This was the only place he appeared in the book. I decided in a rewrite to introduce Elend's father here instead, since he's a character we’ll see much more from.

    I also strengthened Straff in this scene. Before, he came off too weak as he bought the lies Kelsier told him. (Which, by the way, I've weakened. I realized that spreading too many falsehoods would be dangerous, and not really effective. Kelsier needs to whisper half-truths, rather than outright lies.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nineteen - Part Two

    This is the only chapter where we get to see directly what Kelsier is going about doing at night. You may think that a thousand manuscript pages is a lot of room to do things in a book, but you'd be surprised. With the focus on Vin's progress, I really can't spent that much time showing Kelsier running about being sneaky. In truth, I think it would get old very quickly.

    Yet, one chapter–such as this one–makes for a very interesting break from what we have been doing. It gives us an idea of Kelsier's part in the job without being laborious. Actually, I find this chapter quite fun, since it gives us quite a bit of information in a very short amount of time. Having Kelsier ask about House Renoux, and getting the response, lets the reader know that the crew is safe for the moment. Yet, having Straff ask about the Survivor lets us know that Kelsier's reputation is growing, and that the crew might soon be in danger.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This was the first novel I wrote knowing for certain that it would be published. That was an odd experience for me, after having written some thirteen novels without ever knowing if I'd make it as a novelist or not.

    So, in a way, this is my celebration novel. And, as part of that celebration, I wanted to include cameo nods to some of the people who helped me over the years. We get to see characters named after my friends and alpha readers, the people who encouraged me to keep trying to get published–my first fans, in a sense.

    So, a lot of the names of side characters come from friends. Stace Blanches, mentioned in the last chapter, is Stacy Whitman, an editor at Wizards of the Coast. House Tekiel was named after Krista Olson, a friend and former writing group member. (Her brother Ben is my former roommate.) Ahlstrom square was named after my friend Peter Ahlstrom, who is an editor over at Tokyopop. There are over a dozen of these in the book–I can't mention them all.

    I do, however, want to point out Charlie–or, as he's called in the book, Lord Entrone. I've never actually met Charlie, but he's hung out on the timewastersguide message board for the last three or four years. He was my first British reader. I figured I'd commemorate that by having his dead body get dumped over a wall by Kelsier.

    Spook is actually based directly on someone I know, but I'll get to that later.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Nineteen - Part One

    This book is not a story about the history of the Final Empire or Allomancy. Those things will come in later novels. This is the story of a girl learning to overcome her trust issues, while at the same time the story of a beaten people resisting despite the odds.

    However, I did want to give some clues as to the nature of this world and its mythology. The biggest clue outside of the logbook comes in the way that the mists themselves react to someone using Allomancy. They swirl around him or her. This is meant to show that the mists are not something natural. They're more than a weather pattern; they're part of the magic of this world.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The scene with the skaa getting killed in the courtyard was also added later in the drafting process. Moshe was worried that the Final Empire didn't seem brutal enough–especially in these middle chapters, where it was easy to forget (as Vin almost did) how dangerous the world was. The balls and the frills were supposed to be distracting. However, I realized that I needed to bring people back on-course by throwing in a scene like this, where abject brutality could be contrasted with the night's beauty.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Why would Elend bring a dangerous book like this one to the ball? We'll talk a little bit about that in the next chapter. However, I can offer some further insight.

    The thing is, Elend goes and meets with his friends after balls, and they discuss political theory and the like. Elend is the leader of those meetings, and guides the discussions, and so he feels that he needs to be ready to present interesting ideas and arguments to keep the conversation going. That's why he's always reading at balls and taking notes–he's getting ready for the night's meeting. He's the type who is always preparing, right up to the last minute (I'm the same way.)

    So, it makes sense for him to bring the books he wants to talk about with him to the ball. He's been sheltered, and doesn't really believe that he'll ever get in trouble for what he reads, and so he has a habit of being careless with his reading material. Hence, we end up with him in a room full of obligators and nobility, reading a banned book.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eighteen - Part Two

    Shan was a later addition to the book. In the original draft of the novel, I did mention her in this chapter, but we didn't see her–and Lord Liese didn't mention her. As I wrote the first draft, however, I began to realize that I needed more tension and political wrangling in the Vin ball scenes. So, I expanded Shan and made her a larger character. Then, during the first rewrite, I added her in to this scene, along with some others.

    The purpose of Shan, therefore, is to show that some of the nobility ARE the way Kelsier says. The thing is, most of what we get about the nobility come from him, and he has a very skewed perspective. Our only real opportunity to interact with them is at the balls, and so I knew I needed to cram a variety of personalities into this scene, so that people could have a chance to experience the range of the nobility.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I wasn't planning on Elend getting as big a part in this book as he ended up having. However, the more I wrote scenes with him, the more interested I became in him as a character. He doesn't exist just to provide a romantic interest for Vin–he exists to show the human side of the nobility. I knew that I needed at least one nobleman who was presented favorably, otherwise Kelsier's harshness wouldn't have the contrast it needed. So, I designed a young man that Vin could meet at the balls.

    Yet, when I started writing the scenes with Elend, I found them flowing very easily. I really liked his voice and his relaxed affability. Mistborn, being about such a harsh world an society, threatened to become too dark. I needed another character like Elend to provide moments that were more lighthearted. He also gives us scenes that are interesting in a more thoughtful way, rather than a dark way. He turned out much better than I'd hoped, and is probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the novel.

    Part of humanizing the nobility was to show Elend being interested in the skaa. I had to walk a line with him. I didn't want him to be TOO interested, or sympathetic, toward the skaa. He's a nobleman, not some crusader for the rights of the oppressed. Yet, I wanted to show through his simple interest that he wasn't cruel. I also wanted to show how little some of the noblemen know about skaa. The things Vin wonders–if the nobility even know about much of the suffering in their world–are valid. Someone like Elend, who spends most of his time at balls or being waited upon in his keep, wouldn't really understand the life of a skaa.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Elariel ballroom isn't a place I've ever visited. (Unlike keeps Venture and Lekal–which are both based on real places.) I just liked the concept of a ballroom with the stained glass windows on the roof. It seemed like a good image, especially if it were lit from above. The ballrooms are the only places I really get to show off noble extravagance in this book, and so I worked hard to make each of the four distinctive and visually interesting.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, I think it was about time to establish firmly the relationship between Kelsier and Vin. She–if you haven't guessed–has a bit of a hero-worship crush going on with him. It will never be stated explicitly, but it's there, and kind of has to be there.

    Kelsier, however, regards her like a protégé, and perhaps even a daughter. That's it. I apologize to those who were looking for a romance between the two. I realize that I'm breaking some laws of storytelling by introducing a female viewpoint in chapter one, then a male viewpoint in chapter two, and not having them get into any sort of romantic way. However, that's not what this book is about. Kelsier is not only much older than Vin, he really doesn't look for relationships any more. Not his focus in life right now.

    I never intended there to be any romantic tension between the two of them. However, some of my alpha readers were hoping to find it–and found more than I anticipated. So, I added the lines here from Kelsier about wishing he had a daughter, just so I could make things clear.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen - Part Three

    This conversation between Kelsier and Vin on the balcony is one of the most foundational scenes in the book, at least in regard to how Vin's character is going to progress. As I've mentioned, I'm often accused of being overly optimistic in the way I view the world. I'm probably guilty as charged, but I figure that most optimists I know tend to be pretty darn happy. Seems like a good life.

    Anyway, I really do think it would be better on a person's psyche to just go ahead and trust those that are close to you. However, you run the risk of having to deal with what happened to Kelsier. Do you stop loving someone because they betray you? No, that's what makes it hurt. That's why breakups are tough, because you can't really change your feelings. You can only try and overwhelm them with bitterness instead.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Flowers. It was actually hard to write a world without flowers. For instance, the scene where Kelsier fights in the conservatory–I had to struggle to not call things flowerbeds. Describing gardens without flowers was tough too.

    So, how does a world get by without flowers? Why don't they exist any more? All these questions will be answered.

    In book three. Sorry.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen - Part Two

    Sazed calls Breeze by his real name–Ladrian–for the first time in this chapter, I believe. Breeze doesn't like going by this name. You'll see later that he tries to get people (or, rather, Sazed, who is the only one who uses Breeze's real name) to avoid calling him Ladrian.

    The reason is simple. Ladrian is the name that Breeze went by when he was growing up. He's actually the only one on the crew who is a full-blooded nobleman. (More on this in book two.) None of the others know this, of course. He's come to the underground from the opposite direction of everyone else–down from the top. He has let some few people know that his real name is Ladrian (mostly on accident, when he was younger) and the name has stuck.

    It's a common enough name in the Final Empire, but someone COULD theoretically connect him to one Lord Ladrian who disappeared from noble society some number of years back. He doesn't, of course, want anyone in the underground to know he's actually a full-blooded nobleman, otherwise he would loose credibility–and maybe even gain the anger of people like Kelsier, who hate the nobility unilaterally.

    So, he pretends that he finds the name unsuitable for other reasons, and asks people to just call him Breeze. None of this, of course, gets to come out in the book. Otherwise, I wouldn't have just told it to you. I just don't have the chance to develop Breeze as I would like here. So, those of you reading this can feel vindicated in the fact that you've gotten some true insider information! Breeze will, for those of you who are his fans, get some viewpoints in the next book, which will expand his character somewhat.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I sincerely hope that you've figured out that the logbook Sazed is translating is the source of the epigraph/bums at the beginnings of the chapters. I found this a very interesting way to use the epigraphs–almost every one of my alpha readers spent a lot of time trying to guess who wrote them, and where they came from. That kind of anticipation makes for strong storytelling, and so I'm very pleased with the way the bumps start to come together and make more sense once the book gets found.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I kind of wish I'd had more time to show Yeden's transformation into trusting–even liking–Kelsier. Unfortunately, I've focused the book around Vin. By now, you should be seeing that she's taking more and more viewpoints, and Kelsier is getting fewer and fewer.

    That's another reason why I shifted the book from being a true heist book into what it became. I wanted the story to be about Vin, not about the various clever members of the crew. Vin is a deep and interesting character to me, and she deserved the screen time to develop. That's more important to me for the overall series than the clever heist against the Lord Ruler.

    The result is that I don't have a lot of screen time for characters like Yeden. So, their character arcs have to happen quickly and abruptly–such as the way he shows his changes in this chapter.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventeen - Part One

    Whew! I've got a lot to say here. First off, Vin's earring. It's a little morbid the way she wears it around, since it was her mother's. The same mother that killed Vin's sister and tried to kill Vin, before Reen rescued her. But, we'll get to more of that later.

    My feeling is that the earring is Vin's last connection to her real family or the life she knew with Reen. True, it wasn't a great life–but it was part of her, just like the Pits became part of Kelsier. He'll always carry those scars. The earring is the same for Vin.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I almost took out the section where Vin thinks "Oh, that's why Sazed saved me. He has to because he promised Kelsier. That makes sense–after all, why would he want to save me?"

    This section fits with the earlier Vin, but I think it's just a bit out of character for her now. She's getting over her feelings of worthlessness and solitude. She knows Sazed well enough now to understand that he WOULD save someone because he's a kind person, not just because he promised that he would.

    So, I shortened Vin's thoughts in that section, de-emphasizing them by adding them into another paragraph, rather than giving them their own. I maybe should have cut them, but I wanted to hint that she's not over her hang-ups yet. She still has some of those old feelings. The progress is that she doesn't dwell on them as long.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The bit about Mare betraying Kelsier was one of the little tidbits I'd been reserving for quite some time. I hope that some of you managed to guess it. It only makes sense, I think, considering the emotional torment Kelsier has gone through. In order for him to be the man I want him to be, he has to have faced a TRUE betrayal–a hurtful one.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixteen - Part Two

    Sazed's nature as a eunuch was stabilized in my mind almost from the beginning of the formation of his character. With the Lord Ruler trying so hard to breed a perfect race of Terrisman servants, I felt that it would be important for him to castrate most of the Terrismen. In addition, I've never written a eunuch character before, and really wanted to see if I could deal with one in a good way.

    I read up on what castration does to a man when it's preformed before puberty. Often, apparently, the result is obesity. Another result is that the person grows taller than normal (for some reason) and their arms grow longer in proportion to their bodies than regular people. I didn't make Sazed fat–I think that had been done too much for eunuchs–but I did give him the other physical characteristic.

    He continues to grow more complex as a character as the book progresses. That's one of the things I absolutely love doing–giving readers a side character that they think will only be secondary, then building his motivation and complexity until he becomes one of the most important figures in the story.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    By the way, Vin's line about "We aren't invincible" is a very important one. In part two, I spent a lot of time showing off just how amazing Mistborn can be. I felt I needed to end the section with a colossal failure–and a near death–to show that while Mistborn are powerful, they aren't by any means indestructible. Nothing's more boring than heroes who can't be defeated.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The new Kelsier is something that this book needed. If he hadn't been forced to go through the guilt of nearly-losing Vin (a reminder to him of how one of his jobs lost him Mare) I don't think he would have had the solemnity and dedication to accomplish the things he does in the rest of the story.

    He'll return more to his old, joking self as the next few chapters pass. However, he'll always remember what he nearly let happen to Vin, and it will become an important aspect of his character.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixteen - Part One

    The epigrams in this section of the book should look familiar. Not because you've read them before, but because–assuming you have any familiarity with fantasy–you've read this kind of story before. The young peasant hero who rises up to fight the dark evil. I suspect that the jacket flap, if you've read it, gives away much of this storyline. This is one of the foundational concepts for the book, however. I've read too many stories about young peasant boys who save the world. I wanted to tell one about a world where the prophesied here came, then failed!

    This concept, of course, evolved. The original idea was for the Dark Lord to defeat the peasant boy. Instead, however, I found the concept of the peasant boy becoming the dark lord more interesting.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    One thought—you might want to go through the book after each section ending and read ONLY the italicized epigrams at the beginnings of chapters. They tell a story in and of themselves. I will, for those of you who are epigram-challenged, dump some of the more important sections into the narrative later. However, there are some subtle things you'll miss if you don't read through all of the introductions.

    The concept of these epigrams—telling a story within a story—was another of the big things that made me want to write the book. There really is a third viewpoint happening in this book—a first person viewpoint that comes in each chapter, if only very briefly. Who is writing them? Where do they come from? You'll find out soon. (Like, in just a couple of chapters.)

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Those of you who have read to the end might wonder where the Lord Ruler got his fantastic healing powers. Well, it has to do with Feruchemy. See, the ability to heal one's body is one of the things a Feruchemist can store up. And, the Lord Ruler's power–by being both Allomancer and Feruchemist–is to draw near-infinite power from his Feruchemical storages by burning them. He can be any age he wants. He can live as long as he wants. And, he can heal as quickly and much as he wants. More on this in book two.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Burning metals by instinct, by the way, is something I had to add to the book for scenes like this. I had to be able to have characters be able to heal quickly–in a relative sort of way–so that I could keep the pacing where I wanted it. That meant long term, quick healing, if that makes any sense. I made it possible for an Allomancer's body to use metals–particularly pewter and tin–when they needed them.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifteen

    This two-chapter cycle is one of my very favorites in the book. It's the sort of thing you can only pull off–in my opinion–after good set up. The reader has to feel an attachment to the characters so that the tension works. They also have to understand the magic so that the action is quick, not laden with explanations or confusion. And, they have to understand the context so that it feels like something is at stake.

    But, when everything comes together, you get chapters that are very powerful and, hopefully, fulfilling. The scene with Vin falling in the rain, hitting the rooftop, then crawling into a puddle is one of the first and most vivid ones I had for this book. Then, the image of Sazed–the quiet, humble scholar–appearing at the lair with the dying girl in his arms. . . .

    Well, I feel that these two chapters are some of the best I've ever written.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This altar room is about all you get to see of the actual religious trappings of the Final Empire. As I've said earlier, I intentionally gave the religion in this book a bureaucratic feel. I think that with a living God, the people would be less inclined to faith, prayer, or that sort of worship–and it would be more about obedience and loyalty. So, the obligators and Ministry are police more than they priests.

    Yet, I did want to hint that there are some ceremonial aspects to the religion–they just aren't things that the Lord Ruler cares about the public masses taking part in. This little room, with its strange bowl of tiny knives and odd altar, was intended to evoke a kind of mystical, religious feel. Enough to hint that there's more that the readers don't know, but not enough to get boring.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fourteen - Part Two

    I don't spend an awful lot of time here talking about the back-story with Mare and Kelsier. I'll get to more of it later. However, you know just about all you're going to know about their failed plan. Kelsier thought there was atium in this room. They tried to sneak in. They got caught.

    In a way, Kelsier is indeed reliving his last days with Mare by trying to break into the room again. He's a Mistborn now, and he wants to accomplish now what he was defeated in earlier.

    This chapter is also another example of the hard edge Kelsier has. He kills his enemies without any pause at all. In my opinion, it was the Pits that did this too him. He's been thought something so horrible that death just isn't as meaningful for him as it once was.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This room in the palace is another reason why I had to make this book about much more than just stealing atium. Kelsier is half-convinced that the Lord Ruler keeps his atium stash in this room, rather than in the treasury. Either way, it wouldn't be TOO difficult for a Mistborn like Kelsier to break into a room like this–or even the treasury–and be off with the atium. (At least, that's what he thinks. Right up until he gets stopped in this chapter, anyway.)

    Either way, Kelsier wouldn't feel that he needs a crew in order to break into a room and steal some metal. He does that just fine to Keep Venture earlier in the book. By making Mistborn so relatively powerful, I needed a task for Kelsier's group that went far beyond a simple heist. Only something like raising an army and overthrowing an empire would present them with a challenge.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fourteen - Part One

    Following Kelsier this night is probably one of the dumbest things Vin does in this book. Letting her follow is undoubtedly the dumbest thing Kelsier does in the book. Yet, these two characters are alike in more ways than they may seem at first. Both have a sense of brashness that borders on the foolhardy.

    Vin is beginning to understand that there are crews where people truly care about each other. The problem is, she's feeling a very natural (especially for a girl of her age) desire to fit in and be needed. She has a deep-seated fear that she'll be proven useless, then be abandoned by the people that she's only just beginning to understand that she needs.

    So, she wants to learn to be useful as quickly as she can. For Kelsier's part, he just feels that he's invincible. It's always been a problem of his. He's the type of man who can make things go his way. It's easy for him to ignore the failures and focus on the successes–like the fact that the Lord Ruler trying to kill him only ended up turning him into a Mistborn.

    And so, they infiltrate together. And, this was the natural result.

    Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the first chapter where we get to see atium work. The metal is one of the most interesting aspects of the magic system, in my opinion. In fact, one of the things that made me want to start writing Mistborn was this idea of an extremely rare metal that gets used up by the world's mages. It felt natural to me, then, that this metal would do something very powerful.

    Allomancy is, basically, a physical/combat oriented magic system. So, the spectacular power of atium would have to be something physical, and useful on a one-on-one basis. The ability to see slightly into the future, with the atium shadows, felt like a very interesting image to me, so I went with it.

    In Mistborn Prime, the main character lacked atium–and spent most of the book trying to get ahold of it. (He actually stumbled across an atium mine hidden in a small village, which was being oppressed by a tyrant.) It is a small nod to the original book that I developed the plot of this one to be characters trying, essentially, to get ahold of some atium.

    Just a lot more of it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The pathway that Vin uses is called a Spikeway–or, at least, that's my informal title for it. I had a lot of trouble deciding how I was going to move people between Luthadel and Fellise (which, by the way, used to be named Tenes. I changed the name because of conflicts with other names in the book. And, for the life of me, I can't remember which names those were.)

    Anyway, the spikeway occurred to me as an interesting application of the magic system that also solved a narrative problem in the book. I needed to get Kelsier back and forth quickly. So, I devised this. Often, this is the way things like this occur to me in writing. I'll see a need–such as Mistborn needing to travel–and fill it by applying the magic system in a logical way. This is one of the advantages of writing Hard Fantasy, where the rules of the magic are very well defined. You can actually be creative in the way you apply things.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    And, Elend. He's one of my other favorite characters in the series. You'll see more of him–don't worry. I really wanted him to walk the line between being clever and just plain dense (in the way that men can sometimes be.) Some people accuse me of writing Elend too much like myself. In truth, I could see myself sitting at a party reading a book, rather than paying attention to the pretty girl trying to talk to me. Or, at least, that's the way I would have been when I was growing up.

    I'll talk more about Elend later. Though, I do want to note something important. It's a law of storytelling that the girl is going to end up talking to the one boy at the party that she's not supposed to. So, don't pretend you didn’t see it coming.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Another big change was renaming the Lord Ruler's priests. Originally, they were called just that–priests. And, the Steel Ministry was the Steel Priesthood. I made the change to Steel Ministry and obligators because I didn't want the religion and government in the Final Empire to feel so stereotypical. This was a world where the priests were more spies and bureaucrats than they were true priests–and I wanted the names to reflect that. So, I took out "Priesthood" and "priests." I really like the change–it gives things a more appropriate feel, making the reader uncertain where the line between priests and government ministers is.

    By the way, my friend Nate Hatfield is the one who actually came up with the word "obligator." Thanks, Nate!

    Anyway, I when I changed the priests to obligators, I realized I wanted them to have a more controlling function in the Final Empire. So, I gave them the power of witnessing, and added in the aspect of the world where only they can make things legal or factual. This idea expanded in the culture until it became part of society that a statement wasn't considered absolutely true until an obligator was called in to witness it. That's why, in this chapter, we see someone paying an obligator to witness something rather trivial.

    This was one of the main chapters where obligators were added in, to show them witnessing–and keeping an eye on the nobility. Moshe wanted me to emphasize this, and I think he made a good call. It also gave me the opportunity to point out Vin's father, something I didn't manage to do until chapter forty or so in the original draft.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twelve Part Two

    Several other things were added to this scene in later drafts. One was the moment when Vin looked up at the windows and contemplated the Deepness and what she knew of it. As I've mentioned, I wanted more chances to talk about the mythology of the world. Moshe mentioned this as well, and so for the sixth draft (this book took seven, including the copy edit) I added in this scene.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The limelights were added at Moshe's suggestion. In the original drafts of the book, I had bonfires burning outside. That was problematic, however, since they not only required a lot of fuel, but getting them close enough to the windows to provide enough light meant getting them close enough to be dangerous to the glass because of the heat. In addition, Moshe pointed out that bonfires just wouldn't be intensely focused enough in their brightness to provide the right illumination for the stained glass windows. (And, of course, I HAD to illuminate the windows. Why go to all the trouble of putting the balls in gothic cathedrals if nobody could see the windows?)

    So, anyway, Moshe came up with the limelights as a fix. They actually work quite well–they fit the general level of technology I place the Final Empire as having, and the provide focused and intense light. As I understand it, they were the way that stages were illuminated to show the actors during the nineteen hundreds. Hence, being in the limelight as a phrase for someone who is being paid attention to.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Twelve - Part One

    Why do I have the ball scenes in this book? Isn't this supposed to be an action story? Well, the absolute truth is I like party scenes like these.

    It's kind of odd. I don't particularly like parties myself, but in books, they add quite a nice contrast to the dark skulking type of activities Vin has been about so far. It's nice to show the lavish side of life in Luthadel. The ball scenes in Elantris were some of my favorite, since they allowed for some relaxed–if important–verbal sparring and witty commentary. So, when I was planning Mistborn, I knew I had to have some parties at the noble keeps.

    So, that meant I had to get Vin to said parties. That meant she had to pretend to be a noblewoman. That's where this whole plot cycle started–with me wanting an excuse to have ball scenes in this book.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, and no. I don't know what Camon's throat-rope is tied to. You did have a foreshadowing of this kind of execution earlier in the book. (Though, to be honest, I added that in during a rewrite. I didn't come up with particular method of killing someone until I got to this point in the book. It seemed to me that the Inquisitors wouldn't just kill Camon. They'd do something more drastic.)