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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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On Allomancy, he said that tin and pewter are opposites in a sense, that they strengthen different aspects of the body, and that there will be a published poster to explain some apparent inconsistencies among the last four metals.
In your gut instinct, who would win in a fight, Marsh (no atium, limited feruchemy) or Szeth? (Or maybe we could go Zane & Szeth since I see a lot of similarities in their characters. They also happen to be my favorites from their respective series)
One of the interesting things I really liked about the book was Jasnah's lack of faith. It seems like during a lot of the scenes where that is an issue, you give her the upper hand. She makes some argument or point and the other characters leave it unchallenged. For instance the line where she says something like "Religion looks for super natural explanations to natural phenomena, science looks for natural explanations to super natural phenomena." That side of her seemed incredibly well written and genuine. Was it hard to do? Where did you get her arguments/points from? I swear a lot of what she says could of been ripped from comments of /r/atheism.
Lastly, I've been rereading the Mistborn series again after reading The Way of Kings twice in a row so I could decide which I liked more. So far...it's still a tie. I'm really liking getting back into the Mistborn world though. That has me super excited for Alloy of Law. Once it get's a bit more polished would it be possible to get an early copy? :)
First question: It's always hard to answer these questions, since there are so many factors. Do the combatants start at a distance? If so, Marsh/Zane have a huge advantage; they have the ability to fling coins.
Does Szeth have metal on him? Szeth's Shardblade would be mostly immune to Pushing and Pulling, as it's an Invested object. But he'd still have trouble getting to them if he had a clasp on his shoes, for example. He doesn't carry a lot of metal, but he might have some.
Overall, I'd say that a full-blown Mistborn would be tougher than Szeth in most cases.
Also, send me a PM with your Email, Phaz. I can't find your email in my address book. I remember that it's not something I expect it to be, so I'm having trouble looking it up.
Ok, last question. It was really difficult coming up with three questions that haven’t been asked already...
OK... you’re not going to ask me the “what would you ask me” question?
Oooooh, ok. Hm. That one is so hard! Every time people ask me something like this... What have I never been asked that people should be asking, is basically what the question is? Something that the fans have just missed... They pick up on so much, that it’s hard... I do wonder if, you know… all the magic systems [in my books] are connected and work on some basic fundamental principles, and a lot of people haven’t been asking questions about this. One thing I did get a question on today, and I’ll just talk about this one... they didn’t ask the right question, but I nudged them the right way, is understanding that tie between Aondor [the magic system from Elantris] and allomancy [Mistborn’s magic system].
People ask about getting the power from metals and things, but that’s not actually how it works. The power’s not coming from metal. I talked a little about this before, but you are drawing power from some source, and the metal is actually just a gateway. It’s actually the molecular structure of the metal… what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal works in the same way as an Aon does in Elantris. It filters the power. So it is just a sign of “this is what power this energy is going to be shaped into and give you.” When you understand that, compounding [in Alloy of Law] makes much more sense.
Compounding is where you are able to kind of draw in more power than you should with feruchemy. What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the feruchemical charge overwrites the allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel feruchemy with allomancy, is what you are doing. Then if you just get out another piece of metal and store it in, since you’re not drawing the power from yourself, you’re cheating the system, you’re short-circuiting the system a little bit. So you can actually use the power that usually fuels allomancy, to fuel feruchemy, which you can then store in a metalmind, and basically build up these huge reservoirs of it. So what’s going on there is… imagine there’s like, an imprint, a wavelength, so to speak. A beat for an allomantic thing, that when you burn a metal, it says “ok, this is what power we give.” When it’s got that charge, it changes that beat and says, “now we get this power.” And you access a set of feruchemical power. That’s why compounding is so powerful.
A mix of many things inspired Allomancy. The 'feel' of a magic that was really just a new branch of physics, as I spoke about in another post. Alchemy, which is fascinating to me from the standpoint of its place on the border, is another. Real scientists believed in Alchemy, but had to sort out that it was not scientific. It was a time of great thought, and a time when science and 'magic' were mixed in what now seems like strange ways.
Dune was an inspiration (having a limited resource, though I didn't limit it nearly as much, to give an economic side to the magic.) Vector physics was a big influence, as was the fact that I wanted to write a heist story. I therefore designed powers that worked for thieves. The 'burning' of metals was chosen because it resonated with science—the basic way we gain energy is by ingesting things and breaking them down for chemical energy. I wanted something that felt like it had one foot in science, but was also very magical.
I have tried to boil it down to three 'rules' or 'laws' I follow when writing magic systems.
1) The author's ability to resolve conflicts in a satisfying way with magic is directly proportional to how the reader understands said magic. 2) Weaknesses are more interesting than powers. 3) If you change one thing, you change the world.
Basically, the first one says "Don't pull things out of the air. If you want the magic to work, make it REAL and reliable. If you would rather have an air of mystery, which is fine, don't explain the magic—but don't make it do heavy lifting in the plot, either."
The second one says that what the magic CAN'T do is where your story and your character conflict comes from. Allomancy is interesting in part because it relies on metals that can run out. Steelpushing is interesting because you can only Push directly away from yourself.This forces the characters to work harder, and makes the story more interesting. The most interesting things about Superman or Batman are their flaws—the things they can't do, the things that weaken them, their limitations.
3) Magic in a world should be interconnected with the politics, economy, science, religion, and everything else. The author must think through the ramifications of changing small things.
Next two magic systems you might see: 1) Disease magic. Bacteria have evolved to the point that they try to keep their hosts alive by granting them magical powers while you have the disease. So, you catch a cold, and can fly until you get over it.
2) I've got a a very cool 'throwing spheres of light' magic that I'm working on...which, when you break it down, was inspired by seeing how accurate baseball pitchers were and thinking about how that could be weaponized in a fantasy world.
3) That guy with his ice soap has me thinking about "freezing stuff in water" magic. Like, potions that do things only after they thaw...
I've done it all of these ways.
Most commonly, I develop the magic, plot, characters, and some setting ideas separately. I combine them in my head, looking for good synergy. (Allomancy and Feruchemy were designed separately, then put into the same book.) Sometimes, I design to fit a story. (Hemalurgy was designed to fit a hole in the three-fold magic system I wanted to tell.) Other times, the magic comes first, then I build everything out of that. (This happened for my YA book Scribbler—also known as The Rithmatist—which isn't out yet.)
The Inquisitor at the end is indeed Marsh. He stayed alive using the same trick that TLR used.
I said that I actually had a related question.
He said "Oh, do you want to ask why Marsh has a Feruchemical Atium spike?"
I blinked, and said that my question was actually "Why did Bloody Tan see Ten-Soon (as the Survivor) and Marsh (as Ironeyes)?"
He said that he was not answering any questions on what Bloody Tan saw, or thought he saw.
I then said, "But now that you mention it, why does Marsh have a Feruchemical Atium spike?"
He told me "You'll have to figure that out! Good job on getting two RAFOs in a row!"
Time bubbles don’t move, so it would pull you out of it, then it would vanish.
If you were to pop up a time bubble and someone were to be stuck halfway in and halfway out, would they go splooch?
No, they would be in the time bubble. The time bubbles will move with the planet but not with the train.
Yeah, I always thought it was relative to the person creating the time bubble.
No, you’ll see Wayne create one, then he’ll walk up to the perimeter, but if he leaves it, it ruins the time bubble.
So is that because it’s linked up to the spiritual gravitational bond between the planet?
Yes, and you’re digging very deeply into stuff that I now can’t answer. Time bubbles have some weirdness to them that I don’t want to dig in too deeply, but yes.
What happens if you create a time bubble in a time bubble?
Lots of people are theorizing about that. The time bubble would not collapse, I’ll answer that much.
I think that you said at the Alloy release that it was mul—de...
I may have given an answer to that or not. I’m not going to say anything about that. Time travel and find out.
THis is a very very minor spoiler. It's just a statement that was made in Alloy of Law, that Smokers could...
Oh yeah, that was just a typo.
Is that going to change things?
Wait, go ahead and say it.
Can Copperclouds shield others' emotions?
Oh okay. Did we put that in Alloy of Law in the Ars Arcanum? Is that wwhere you read it?
I forget. I don't remember where it is.
I believe it’s in the Ars Arcanum, which in Alloy of Law was put together by Peter. And that’s mostly a mistake, though the thing is the Role Playing Game came to me and said “Is it feasible that this could happen?” And I said “It’s perhaps feasible, but only a very rare individual could make this work if they knew exactly what they were doing.” And so I said “Yeah, go ahead, but make it a power that someone really has to know what they’re doing to make it work.” And so they put it in, and so Peter assumed that it was canon, that anyone can do it, but that’s not what I intended.
So would it be easier to say that somebody discovered they could do it and now they are training copperclouds to do it?
I would say that it is viable that someone could figure it out, but it would be a very difficult thing to train, and it is not a common Coppercloud—A common Coppercloud isn’t going to be able to be doing it, and almost no Mistborn will ever be capable of doing it, they just don’t focus on that metal enough to learn it. Of course, there aren’t Mistborn around anymore. So it is a possible power, it is plausible, but it is not the standard. Perhaps I will allow it to become the standard eventually, but it’s not right now. It would be much easier to wear a tinfoil hat. (laughter) Aluminum, aluminum. Which does work.
How does Snapping work now? You said that Sazed changed it.
Uh, RAFO. That is a good question though.
Not even a little hint?
Nah, I don't think so.
Could you make a Kandra an Allomancer?
With the right sequence of sorts of things, you could impart those powers to them theoretically. It’s not likely to happen, but you could do it. You could build a spike that would let them Push or Pull. But you’d give the powers separately, probably.
So what happens if you have a Bendalloy bubble, and then another Bendalloy bubble inside of it?
It will compound and double, and it will multiply. Bendalloy is one of the metals from Alloy of Law if you haven’t read it, as this person obviously has, or has read the Ars Arcanum, you’ll find out what it does.
Watch for what happens when something leaves a bendalloy bubble.
This one is a personal favor... See, for metals that have Feruchemy, this verb is "charge". A metal is Feruchemically charged. But, you've been using the term "charge" for Hemalurgic metals, too, which I think is confusing. Before HoA I called Hemalurgic metals "Imbued" metals. I humbly petition to have that be the official term, because it's just confusing otherwise.
The Seventeenth Shard members use the term of Invest for all of those type of things. However, what they use in world is different on each world. For example WoK is infuse.
In the future when atium is rare again and we have a good Table of Allomantic Metals, which metal steals Allomantic Temporal powers?
It will be on the table when Brandon brings them out. Feruchemy is the next poster to come out. Until then RAFO.
What do you call mixing Allomantic powers with Feruchemical powers? Allochemy?
He hasn't decided yet.
Anything in the bubble.
You create a space around you of sped-up space-time, and anything that gets in there moves more slowly. Like, let's say that I shot a bullet at you and you popped it with sped-up time. That bullet would move really slowly. Everything around you would be slowed. Ah, no, but you would be the same so when the bullet entered it would go the same speed that you are going, but once it's out, it's either faster or slower. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does, it does.
Reversed, yeah. It can have some really powerful effects, but the problem is, you can't change anything. As soon as you get close enough to change it, it's in there with you. So, if you were using it the right way you could dodge bullets, as long as you were able to get it off before the bullet got too close to you, but that's hard to do.
Yeah, that would be the trick.
And, if you're the one who can slow time, you could get someone in your bubble and slow time, then let everyone else move more quickly around you, which, of course, takes a lot more practice to use. You've got to have a buddy who's outside the bubble but who you could stop, he could stop you, and we would see time move the same but everything around us would go super fast. If people were ready for that they could make use of it.
That has a lot of uses…
I recorded the entire session and, should we get approval to post it (I could understand if Peter would rather we didn't), I'll upload it here. Until then (or instead of that, should we get a "no") here are some details that I recalled on the ride home (no cheating, Peter. I promise!)
- We deal with a bendalloy (Allomantic)/gold (Feruchemical) Twinborn in addition to Wax's steel/iron combo
- The nickname for a iron Feruchemist is a "Slider"
- A nickname for Sazed is "Harmony" (I think)
- The events in the first trilogy have spawned 2 religions: Survivorism (der) and Pathism (followers of Sazed, unless I completely misread things)
- Bendalloy has some very interesting rules/restrictions: once a time bubble is created, it cannot be moved; I had always thought it would follow the misting around as they moved) entering/exiting a time bubble has some interesting effects. You can't shoot out of it, because objects entering/leaving the bendalloy bubble (especially those at high velocity) have some strange kind of conservation-of-energy-like effect, where they gain some kind of spin and ricochet in a different direction. I can't help but extrapolate what this means for individuals trying to enter/leave the stationary bubble. Maybe if it's done slowly (like with a shield in Dune), it's OK. We'll have to theorize on that until the novel comes out.
- [This one might already be known, but it sounded new to me] The third Mistborn trilogy will be sci-fi, involving space travel. Crossovers, anyone? This might be the beginning of the final stage of Unity
Is the Dor the same as the power of creation that powers Allomancy?
He said that the Dor is similar to that which powers allomancy but not 100% the same.
You mentioned friday night in #Seattle Allomacy has "FTL" built into it, any more hints you can share on how that would work
It involves where the lost energy from thermodynamic issues goes in certain Allomantic interactions.
Complex "magic" system in Mistborn, and the complex one in Elantris; what base ideas do you build from for this?
For Mistborn, Alchemy and biological metabolism. For Elantris, Chinese linguistics and geometry mixed.
In Alloy of Law are people still Snapping?
Sazed chose to alter the way Snapping works. It bothered him. It does happen, but differently.
it seems that The Lord Ruler still needed to store age "normally" but less. Did Miles ever have to store healing?
Yes. He did, but not in the normal way.
(something along the lines of how exactly is what you see when you burn gold determined)
He said that each time you burn gold, you see a different image, so it changes depending on your current situation.
What would happen if you burned Duralumin and Bendalloy?
He gave us a big RAFO, and i think hinted at that it was going to play a part in future books, so its going to be important.
One person asked what metal Wax's earring was made of.
He wouldn't say which metal, however he did confirm that it does have a "slight hemalurgic charge".
Hey Brandon! As much as I want to fan-gush, I'll keep it short so you can get back to your A Memory of Light drafting.
How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?
There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.
Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.
You've said that Inquisitors could have children. Would those children have a better chance at being Allomancers compared to if they had the kids before they were Inquisitors?
Yes, but there also could be...complications.
I was just rambling on r/WoT about how awesome you are but yeah. Awesome.
Will there be a sequel to Alloy of Law? It felt like there would be but I want to know for sure lol
Are Allomancer more or less common than in the time of the survivor?
First one: Yes, most likely.
Second one: They are more common, but slightly less powerful.
Are there 50 Allomantic Metals?
Nearly. Does Harmony have a metal?
Is that an alloy of Lerasium and Atium?
You're along the right lines.
Marsh is alive. I changed this from when I talked to [Peter]. I realized some things about his use of Allomancy that would allow him to survive. Actually, he is immortal. He can pull off the same Allomancy/Feruchemy trick that the Lord Ruler did. (And he knows it too, since he was there when Sazed explained how it was done in Book One.) He's actually the only living person who actually knows this trick for certain. (Though there's a chance that Spook, Ham and Breeze heard about it from Vin and the others.) So yes, if there were another series, Marsh would make an appearance.
I thought that trick required atium and involved burning the atium. With all the atium gone and Sazed not making any more, it would therefore not be possible even for a full mistborn/feruchemist. Am I wrong, is Sazed providing atium specifically for Marsh to allow a friend and valuable servant to survive, or what?
Marsh has the bag of Atium that KanPaar sent to be sold, as well as several nuggets in his stomach. So, I guess 'immortal' is the wrong phrase. He's got the only remaining atium in the world and can keep himself around for a long, long while—but he WILL eventually run out. Unless Sazed does something.
The last two metals are Chromium and Nicrosil. We'll reveal what they do on the Allomancy poster. Suffice it to say that in the next trilogy, the main protagonist would be a Nicrosil Misting. And, to make a Robert Jordan-type comment, what those two metals do should become obvious to the serious student of Allomancy... (It has to do with the nature of the metal groupings.)
If I read the poster correctly, and have the correlations down, these metals are the external enhancement metals.
The simplest idea is that they do to another person what Aluminum and Duralumin do to the Allomancer burning them. If this is true, then Chromium would destroy another Allomancer's metals (useful skill, that, especially in a group of Mistings fighting a Mistborn) while Nicrosil would cause the target's metals that are currently burning to be burned in a brief, intense flash. This could be used either to enhance a group of Mistings or to seriously mess up an enemy Allomancer.
The other metals do not have exact one-to-one power correlations like that, so it seems more likely to me that they would work differently. It could be like an area effect weakening or enhancing spell. You would want an enhancer in your party, and you wouldn't want to go up against a weakener.
Nicrosil is a rather more complicated alloy than the others. It's an interesting one to pick, rather than something simpler like nichrome (though I guess that's actually a brand name).
Ookla is right, the others don't have 1/1 correlations. But I liked this concept far too much not to use it.
In a future book series, Mistborn will also have become things of legend. The bloodlines will have become diluted to the point that there are no Mistborn, only Mistings—however, the latter are far more common. In this environment, a Nicrosil Misting could be invaluable both as an enhancer to your own team or a weapon to use against unsuspecting other Mistings.
I take it either Spook did not have children or Sazed made him a reduced-strength Mistborn rather than giving him the full potency of the 9 originals and Elend?
Spook is a reduced power Mistborn.
Very interesting about the Nicrosil.
So, if there is no more atium, then that would mean in any future trilogy, there would only be 14 metals, right? Somehow, that doesn't seem right, but maybe that is because it irks me that one quartet to be left incomplete with the absence of atium.
Would it be possible for Sazed to create a replacement metal, by chance, or will the temporal quartet remain inherently empty? It doesn't seem like it's too far of a stretch for Sazed to make more metals: after all, the metal Elend ate was a fragment of Preservation, and now Sazed holds Preservation.
That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. Suffice it to say that what the characters think they understand about the metals, they don't QUITE get right. If you study the interaction between the temporal metals, you might notice an inconsistency in the way they work...
Uh-huh. That was already noticed by theorizers in the forums here. Gold works like Malatium and Electrum works like Atium. Yet they're on opposite corners of the metal square.
Ah. I wondered if that had been noticed.
Way back as early as when I was working on Well of Ascension, I mentioned to some readers that Mistborn was conceived as a trilogy of trilogies. The reason I wanted to do that was because I was fascinated by the idea of building a fantasy world, then showing it hundreds of years in the future when technology has advanced. Fantasy worlds rarely seem to get to have technological advancement. (The Wheel of Time, it should be noted, is a nice exception to this.)
I loved the idea of thinking about how a magic system, as established in a fantasy world, could change in purpose and use as it interacted with Technology. I loved the idea of a non-static fantasy world. Beyond that, I couldn't think of a major fantasy work that had done something like this—writing a complete series, then jumping ahead hundreds of years to show the same world, only in a more 20th century technology. Then jumping ahead again, and doing a science fiction series set in the same world. (Note that I'm pretty sure someone HAS done it; I'm certainly not the only one to think of this. I just hadn't read one that did it. And, whenever I consider something like that, it makes me want to do it myself.)
Anyway, that's all backstory. The story I'm working on right now, during my "Write whatever you want" break before starting A Memory of Light, isn't one of the three trilogies. It's a shorter work set between the Vin/Elend trilogy and the mid-20th century tech level trilogy. It takes place a few centuries after The Hero of Ages, where most technology (though not all) is somewhere close to 1910 on Earth. The advent of automobiles and widespread electricity. Plus Allomancers.
It involves a lawkeeper from the frontiers of the world who returns to the city to take over leadership of his house after the death of his uncle and cousin. He gets pulled into something he wasn't expecting. (And yes, it does show off some of the unexplored Allomantic powers.)
Whether you'll see more like this from me in the future really depends on how well the experience goes, and whether readers like it. It will be short—for me. Which is looking like around 60k words, at this point—so a short novel, rather than a short story.
The metal chunk that Elend ate is intended to be something of a mystery. Much like atium, actually. Suffice it to say that atium isn't, and never was, what people thought it was.
I intended Allomancy to be much like a real science. People investigate and put things into boxes, trying to describe and understand the world around them. That doesn't mean they always get things right, however.
Let me say this, as I don't want to spoil too much. If that metal Elend ate were fused into specific alloys with certain metals, it could have instead created Mistings of each of the different Allomantic powers. Atium's abilities are not entirely explored yet either.
Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy all work as they once did. However, now they are more directly affected by the presence or absence of the mists, which will slowly return to the world but not be of the extent they once were. (The mists are now an extent of Sazed's power, and where they roam, he is better able to influence things. There will also be two kinds of mists.) Note that in the future, Feruchemy powers will start to fracture and split, creating Feruchemical "Mistings."
Yes, this means that in the future series, it will be possible for a person to have one Allomantic power and one Feruchemical power. It will create for some very interesting mixing of powers.
I was happy when Elend finally burned duralumin with atium. I was holding my breath hoping that someone would eventually do it. However we didn't really get any info as to what Elend experienced. Does a duralumin-enhanced atium burn allow a person to see significantly farther into the future? If so, being that Elend's army was dying all around him did he get to see into the afterlife? Also if you could tell us what he saw that would be awesome. Did something he saw make him not want to avoid Marshes strike?
On a similar note if someone burned electrum with duralumin would they get to see significantly into their own future?
There is much here that I can't say, but I'll give as much as I can. Elend saw Preservation's ultimate plan, and Elend's own part in it. What he saw made him realize he didn't want to kill Marsh, and that his own death would actually help save the world. Like a master chess player, he suddenly saw and understand every possible move his enemy could make. He saw that Ruin was check-mated, because there was one thing that Ruin was not willing to do. Something that both Elend and Vin could do, if needed. And it's what they did.
So, in answer to your question, Elend stayed his hand. This is one of the reasons why I changed my mind and decided that Marsh had to live through the end of the book. Elend spared him; I needed to too.
Why did Ruin give off Allomantic Pulses? Because Preservation did and they're two sides of the same coin? Allomancy is of Preservation, so I figured that's why he did...
Manifestation of the awesome power he held, mixed with Vin's increased ability to sense these things. Allomantic pulses are like a ripple of sound in the fabric of creation itself—the power of creation being used, creating a drum beat to those attuned to it. Ruin created a similar beat when his consciousness was near.
What was she supposed to do? Well, this is difficult to answer, since the prophecies have been changed and shifted so much. Originally, the prophesies intended for a person to go take the power every thousand years and become a protector of mankind for a period of time. Someone to keep an eye on Ruin in Preservation's absence and watch over the world as he would have done. Imagine an avatar who arrives every thousand years and lives for their lifetime blessing the people with the power of Preservation, renewing Ruin's prison, and generally being a force for protection. (Note that Ruin wouldn't have gotten out if the prison wasn't renewed, he'd simply have been able to touch the world a little bit more.) Obviously, it changed a LOT during the years that Ruin was playing with things.
What should she have done? Well, Ruin's release was inevitable. Even if she hadn't let him go, the world would have 'wound down' eventually. The ashfalls would have grown worse over the centuries, and the next buildup of the Well might not have come in time for them to do anything. Or, perhaps, mankind would have found a way to adapt. But Ruin was going to get himself out eventually, so the choice Vin made was all right. There weren't really any good choices at this point. She could have decided to take the power and become a 'good' Lord Ruler, trying to keep the world from falling apart. Of course, she would have had to make herself immortal with Hemalurgy to make that work right. And since she was already tainted, chances are good she wouldn't have ended up any better than the Lord Ruler himself.
The powers of Ruin and Preservation are Shards of Adonalsium, pieces of the power of creation itself. Allomancy, Hemalurgy, Feruchemy are manifestations of this power in mortal form, the ability to touch the powers of creation and use them. These metallic powers are how people's physical forms interpret the use of the Shard, though it's not the only possible way they could be interpreted or used. It's what the genetics and Realmatic interactions of Scadrial allow for, and has to do with the Spiritual, the Cognitive, and the Physical Realms.
Condensed 'essence' of these godly powers can act as super-fuel for Allomancy, Feruchemy, or really any of the powers. The form of that super fuel is important. In liquid form it's most potent, in gas form it's able to fuel Allomancy as if working as a metal. In physical form it is rigid and does one specific thing. In the case of atium, it allows sight into the future. In the case of concentrated Preservation, it gives one a permanent connection to the mists and the powers of creation. (I.e., it makes them an Allomancer.)
So when a person is burning metals, they aren't using Preservation's body as a fuel so to speak—though they are tapping into the powers of creation just slightly. When Vin burns the mists, however, she'd doing just that—using the essence of Preservation, the Shard of Adonalsium itself—to fuel Allomancy. Doing this, however, rips 'troughs' through her body. It's like forcing far too much pressure through a very small, fragile hose. That much power eventually vaporizes the corporeal host, which is acting as the block and forcing the power into a single type of conduit (Allomancy) and frees it to be more expansive.
Boy, this is a hard one to ask because it's been such a LONG process. There were bits of all of this popping around in my head almost twenty years ago, so it's going to be hard to define where what fit into place when.
Allomancy and Feruchemy were originally planned separately. I linked them together into this book when I realized that the 'focus' items that could store attributes could be metal, and therefore work wonderfully with the Mistborn book I was planning.
Hemalurgy came from the image of Inquisitors first, then developed as a need to integrate it in with the other two in a way that evoked the power of "Ruin" rather than the power of Preservation. I figured that Ruin would steal, and it was a great way to add a third magic without having to overload people with a whole new set of powers. The process of writing this series, since I did all three books together, was an interesting one, and I made a lot of connections as I went. Some of the latest things on the timeline were figuring out how to fit atium and the Preservation nuggets into the already built framework. But I don't know if I can give you an exact list. Partially because there would just be too many spoilers in it.
They spike the drinks at one of the nobility's balls with trace amounts of Atium, then cause a bit disturbance. (Often, the Inquisitors themselves arriving will do it) and burn bronze and watch for brief pulses. The body will burn metals instinctively if it can, which has been shown quite often in the series. This is also how they get a lot of their secret information about who is a Misting and who isn't. It's not a perfect method, since you have to watch for Copperclouds messing things up, but it is effective once in a while.
Any time an obligator who is not a Misting joins the Ministry, he is unknowingly given a larger chunk of atium and then forced into a series of rituals that will drain him physically and get the body to react and burn the metal. This was how Yomen was discovered.
Yes, as has been pointed out:
A powerful peace swelled in Elend. His Allomancy flared bright, though he knew the metals inside of him should have burned away. Only atium remained, and the strange power did not—could not—give him this metal. But it didn’t matter. For a moment, he was embraced by something greater. He looked up, toward the sun. (From the text.)
As a note here, the powers granted by all of the metals—even the two divine ones—are not themselves of either Shard. They are simply tools. And so, it's possible that one COULD have found a way to reproduce an ability like atium's while using Preservation's power, but it wouldn't be as natural or as easy as using Preservation to fuel Allomancy.
The means of getting powers—Ruin stealing, Preservation gifting—are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.
If a Mistborn burns lerasium, as in, not just ingests it, what effect would it grant Allomantically?
That is a RAFO. It would do something, but the thing you've gotta remember is that, when ingesting lerasium for the first time and gaining the powers, your body is actually burning it. Think of lerasium as a metal anyone can burn. Does that make sense?
By burning it you gain access to those powers. It rewrites your spiritual DNA, and there are ways to do really cool things with lerasium that I don't see how anyone would know. Were most Mistborn to just burn it, it would rewrite their genetic code to increase their power as an Allomancer.
Joe from the U.K. asks a terrifying question, "If an Allomancer is turned into a koloss, would they keep their powers?"
If an Allomancer is turned into a koloss? You know...
We're scared of this
Yeah, no. That's actually something I've thought about. An Allomancer turned into a koloss would keep their powers because, as you'll recall, an Allomancer turned in to an Inquisitor retains their powers. Whether they would be able to always know how to use them remains to be seen, but you could definitely have a koloss Allomancer if you built them right.
I know some of us have heard the story of how you came up with the symbols for Mistborn, but tell those of us who haven't how they came about.
I'd drawn about a half dozen pages of symbols inspired by my first reading of the book. Pages with dozens and dozens of tiny, intricate symbols—maybe someday I'll write a post about the process: Failed Allomantic Symbol Designs. But nothing was really working for me or Brandon.
I'd collected a lot of reference material for the steel inquisitors—nails, railroad spikes, those sorts of things—and one day when I was looking at a picture of a rusty pile of bent up nails, I saw the symbol for Iron. It was a Beautiful Mind experience. The symbol just jumped out at me. Glowing and everything.
After that initial experience with the symbol for Iron, it was easy to come up with the others. The bent nail part eventually became the crescent shapes used in the final book.
How many magic systems did you go through before deciding on the one in the book?
Building the magic for a world is not something I’ve simply been able to drop in, usually. I generally am working on lots of different themes and ideas in my head *laughter* When I’m planning a novel and the magic will fit a certain story and influence how it goes and I will do a lot of building and practice to see if that’s working and do a lot of, I’ll do a lot of pre-writing and see how the magic influences the plot, influences the setting. If these things are also intertwined then it’s not a drag and drop so to speak and usually even if I pull out a magic, I’ll really be pulling out parts of it and replacing it with other parts.
For instance with the Mistborn books Allomancy was in one form there from the beginning and yet what the powers that Allomancy could do often I was ripping out and adding new ones in, in order to better fit the novel and the narrative I’m shooting for. So for Way of Kings I’ve kind of taken a—the series I’ve been working on for quite a while, people have read the online interviews and things like that. I generally took a ‘more is awesome' approach to the magic systems and yet because of that I didn’t want the first book to be overrun by them, it would be very easy for my books to simply become interesting gimmicks about a magic rather than a story about characters and the story that happens to them, and so I was actually very careful to not overwhelm with the magic in this book. Which is actually somewhat ironic because this book, I built into it somewhere around thirty magic systems and yet I didn’t want to overwhelm and so the first book, there are only hints of any of them but generally when I was world building this I came up with a great idea, I worked it into the magic system rather than saying "Oh, let’s do this instead."
Talk about your process of writing; and also about how you creatively approach it.
Every writer has a different process. There’s as many ways to do this as there are writers in the world. For me, my creative process is that I’m always searching for the ideas that I can connect into a larger story. I feel that a book is more than just one idea. A good book is a collection of ideas; usually a good idea for each character—something that forms the core of their conflict—several good ideas for the setting: something that’s going to drive the economy, something that’s going to drive (for me the magic) the setting—that sort of thing—and then several good plot ideas. These all bounce around in my head—I’ll grab them randomly.
An example of one of these was for Mistborn: For Mistborn, one of the original seeds was, I was watching the Harry Potter movies that had come out, and I was thinking about Lord of the Rings, which I had just reread, and I was thinking, you know, I like the hero’s journey: young, plucky protagonist goes, collects a band of unlikely followers, face the Dark Lord… and I thought “yeah, but those Dark Lords always get, just like, a terrible, raw end of the deal. They’re always beat by some dufusy kid or thing like that,” and I thought “I want to write a book where the Dark Lord wins.”
But that was kind of a downer of a book, as I considered it, a little bit, you know, “you read this book, and then at the end the hero loses,” that’s kind of a downer. So I stuck that in the back of my mind saying “I want to do something with that idea, but it’s going to take me a little while to figure out exactly what I want to do with that idea.” And then I was watching one of my favorite movies from a long time ago—both of these ideas come from movies, many of them don’t but these two did—Sneakers, if any of you have seen it, just a, like an amazingly awesome heist story, and I thought “ya’ know, I haven’t seen a heist story done in fantasy in forever,” little did I know that Scott Lynch was going to release one, like, one year later [The Lies of Locke Lamora].
But nobody had done one, and so I said “I want to do a fantasy heist story.” The two ideas combined together in my head. Alright: world where the Dark Lord won, a hero failed; thousands of years later, a gang of thieves decided to rip the Dark Lord off and kind of try to over thrown him their way, you know, making themselves-- by making themselves rich.
And those ideas combined together. And so a story grows in my mind like little atoms bouncing together and forming a molecule: they’ll stick to each other and make something different. Those two ideas combine to make a better idea, in my opinion, together. And then character ideas I’d been working on stuck to that, and then magic systems I’d actually been working on separately. Allomancy and Feruchemy, two of the magic systems in Mistborn, were actually designed for different worlds, and then I combined them together and they worked really well together, with the metals being a common theme.
I did all of that, and when it comes down to write a book I sit down and I put this all on a page, and then I start filling in holes by brainstorming. “What would go well here, what would go well here, I need more here” [accompanying gestures indicate different “here’s”]. And I fill out my outline that way, and I fill out my “World Guide,” as I call it. I actually just got—the wonderful folks of Camtasia (it’s a software that records screens) sent me a copy of their software so that I can record a short story, and I’ll go—I’ll do the outline, and then I’ll do the story, and then I’ll post it on my website and you can see exactly, you know, step-by-step what happens. Just don’t make too much fun of me when I spell things wrong.
It’s really weird when you’ve got, like, that screen capture going on, you know people are gonna’ be watching this, and you can’t spell a word, and it’s like “I don’t want to go look it up, I can get this right,” it’s like, the writerly version of the guy who refuses to go get directions. So I like try a word like seventeen different ways, and like “Gehhhh okay,” and then Google tells me in like ten seconds. Anyway, that’s your answer and I hope that works for you. Thanks for asking.
What is your favorite part of The Alloy of Law?
I would say my favorite part was getting to finally write about interactions between guns and Allomancy.
All right, first annotation! About the title page.
I'm generally just going to call this book MISTBORN, though the entire series is the "Mistborn Trilogy." Technically, this book is MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE. The second book is MISTBORN: THE WELL OF ASCENSION, and the third book is MISTBORN: THE HERO OF AGES.
There's an interesting story behind this title. As some of you may know, I spent a number of years trying to get published, writing books all the while. My first five books are what I call the "throwaway books." Those were ones I did mostly as practice, figuring out how to do the whole novel-writing thing. Book six was ELANTRIS, which was published in May of 2005; it was the first book I managed to sell.
However, while I was trying to get ELANTRIS published, I wrote a number of other books. The three after ELANTRIS were big epic fantasy books, much like it in style. After that, I decided that I was writing things that were too big—that no publisher was going to take a huge epic fantasy book from an unknown author. (Though that's eventually what happened. . . .)
Anyway, I decided to try writing some shorter (i.e. only about 125,000 words instead of 250,000 words) fantasy novels. The first of these was what I now call MISTBORN PRIME. It was the story of a man who was a 'Mistborn' (a kind of super-powerful assassin) who gets trapped in a small village with people hunting him, and has to try and blend in with the population there.
MISTBORN was a different book for me in many ways. It was shorter, for one thing, and it was also about a kind of anti-hero. It only had one viewpoint character, and the plot was much smaller in scope than my other books. It was successful in some ways, but a failure in others. The magic system I developed for it—Allomancy—was quite spectacular, as were the action sequences. The character, however, didn't appeal to many readers. And, the plot was just a little. . .uninspiring. I'm really better when I have more to deal with.
As you can probably tell, this book—which was unpublishable—became the inspiration for the book I eventually wrote named MISTBORN:THE FINAL EMPIRE. We'll cover that second part in the next annotation.
Okay, so here we see the words FINAL EMPIRE for the first time. Continuing the discussion I had in the last annotation, one of the books that I wrote after MISTBORN PRIME was called THE FINAL EMPIRE. (I now call it FINAL EMPIRE PRIME.) It was the story of a young boy (yes, boy) named Vin who lived in an oppressive imperial dictatorship that he was destined to overthrow. It was my attempt at writing a shorter book that still had epic scope.
This book turned out to be okay, but it had some fairly big problems problems. While people reacted rather well to the characters, the setting was a little weak for one of my books. Also, once again, I wasn't that enthusiastic about the way the plot turned out.
After that, I gave up on the short books. I proved no good at it. I decided to do THE WAY OF KINGS next, a massive war epic. It turned out to be 350,000+ words—I kind of see it as me reacting in frustration against the short books I'd forced myself to write. About this time, I sold ELANTRIS, and Moshe (my editor) wanted to see what else I was working on. I sent him KINGS. He liked it, and put it in the contract.
I, however, wasn't certain if KINGS was the book I wanted to use as a follow up for ELANTRIS. They were very different novels, and I was worried that those who liked ELANTRIS would be confused by such a sharp turn in the direction of my career. So, I decided to write a different book to be my 'second' novel.
I had always liked Allomancy as a magic system, and I liked several of the character concepts FINAL EMPIRE. I also liked a lot of the ideas from both books, as well as some ideas I'd had for a great plot. I put three all of these things together, and conceived the book you are now reading.
By the way, Joshua—my agent—pushed until the end to get me to put the Kelsier action sequence in-scene, rather than having it happen off-screen. I resisted. Allomancy is a very complicated magic system, and my writing relies on the reader understanding how Allomancy works in order to provide action. I didn't want to slow the story down right here by giving an extended explanation of the magic. Instead, I just wanted to show the effects of what Kelsier can do. Later (chapter six, I think) we'll actually see how he does them.
This second scene with Camon is important for several reasons. The first thing I'll note is that Vin doesn't say anything out-loud in the book until she tells Camon that his servants are too fine. I thought it would be interesting to introduce Vin as a character who doesn't say a whole lot—who thinks her responses. This establishes, I think, that she's something of an introvert, and that she's smarter than she lets people know. When she does speak, she's blunt and straightforward.The other thing established in this scene is Vin's use of Luck. Hopefully, you connect her abilities with Kelsier's line in the prologue about the Lord Ruler fearing skaa who have 'powers they shouldn't even know exist.' Vin fits quite well into this category. She can obviously do something extraordinary, yet she doesn't know why—or really even how. It was difficult, narratively, to work out how Vin was able to use Allomancy without knowing it, but it works, and you'll get the explanation later.
This introductory scene, where Dox and Kell meet on the city wall, has just the right feel for me. I wanted this book—particularly at the beginning—to have the feel of a heist movie. Something like Ocean's Eleven, Sneakers, or Mission: Impossible. I thought a couple of senior thieves getting together on the wall and talking about the team they are gathering would fit in just perfectly.
That was, by the way, one of the major inspirations for this book. I've mentioned that I stole the concepts for Allomancy and Vin's character from other books I wrote. The plot came from a desire to write something that had the feel of a heist movie. I haven't ever seen that done in a fantasy novel—a plot where a team of specialists get together and then try to pull off a very difficult task.
Joshua, by the way, also pushed for an action scene here—where Kelsier grabs the Inquisitor's attention and runs. I do take most of Joshua's suggestions. In fact, his desire to have an action scene earlier in this book is the biggest bit of advice by him I can think of that I haven't taken. I just really felt that I needed more time to ease into Allomancy before I could do justice to an action scene. Actually, I think a fast scene like that would actually slow the book down, since I'd have to spend so much time explaining. Better to let the next few scenes play out, where we get some good explanations in dialogue.
In MISTBORN PRIME, there were no such thing as Mistings. Allomancy's practitioners were called Mistborn, and they could use all of the various abilities, depending on which metal they ingested.
When I started work on this incarnation of the book, however, I felt that I wanted to involve a specialized team of Allomancers. That meant including people who were really good at one specific thing, but who couldn't do other things. It's a staple of the heist genre—you want specialists. So, I split up Allomancy, allowing lesser Allomancers to exist. These people, who only could do one of the many Allomantic powers, would be very good at the one thing they do. And, since Mistborn were so rare, you couldn't really make an entire team of them. You'd be lucky to even get one. (Though Kelsier's team just got a second one.)
Soon, you'll get to meet the rest of the crew, and will be able to see how I split up Allomancy. One thing of interest, however, is that there was no emotional Allomancy in MISTBORN PRIME. I added Soothing and Rioting—the ability to make people less or more emotional—into this book because I felt I needed something that would be more. . .sneaky. These are skills that don't relate to fighting, and I think they'd be very helpful for the sort of political intrigue I want to do in this book.
Okay, so I lied. I thought the fight scene came in chapter six, but it came in five. I'm better at pacing than I thought!The truth is, this is one of my least favorite fights in the book. I put it in primarily because it gave a good, quick showing of the basic concepts in Allomancy. You got to see Kelsier enhance his strength with pewter, his senses with tin (including using it to help him focus), and then use both steel and iron in a variety of different Pushes and Pulls. The thing is, it wasn't that exciting because it wasn't really a fair fight. As soon as Kelsier got ahold of that ingot, those soldiers were toast. I did spice up the fight a bit by giving them shields—something that was missing from the original draft of the fight. Even still, this seems like a kind of brutal combat, not the more poetic and flowing battles I generally envision for Allomancy. (This is, by the way, the only fight I ported over from MISTBORN PRIME. There was a similar scene in that book where the protagonist took down a group of men with only an ingot. Again, I decided to grab it because of how well it introduced the concepts of Allomancy. It was quick and dirty.)
Actions and reactions. Kelsier's little explanation here is probably the most fundamental and important thing to realize about Allomancy—indeed, about a lot of my magic systems. I like to follow physics as best I can. I think it's more interesting that way. Kelsier's mention that you can't just fling things around randomly with the mind is a kind of dig against Star Wars and other magic systems with telepathy.
Certainly, you could come up with systems that work they way they do. However, I personally find it more fascinating—and more logical—if a person is only able to apply force directly.
It really is the way the world works. You apply a pressure, and something moves in that direction. For strong forces, people can only push away from themselves or pull toward themselves. It makes perfect logical sense to me that a magic system would work that way.
Of course, I might just be a loon for trying to apply so much physics logic to magic in the first place.
Oh, and by the way. People often ask me how far ahead I plan my novels. Well, I've noted already in this annotation that some things—such as the Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship—come to me as I write. They appear when I need something to fill a particular hole in the story. Other things, however, are quite well planned. Want an example?
Kelsier's warning about not flaring metals too much is a foreshadowing for book three of the trilogy. You'll see what I mean in a couple of years. Also, there's something very important about Vin's brother that will be hard to pick out, but has been foreshadowed since the first book...
To be honest, I'm not certain if Kelsier's right. Making someone jump off a city wall as one of their very first Push/Pulling experiences seems a little extreme. Kelsier is, however, a somewhat extreme person. It's fortunate for him that Vin is both determined and a quick learner.
The fight in this chapter is what I consider the first true Allomantic battle of the series. This is what it's supposed to feel like—there's a reason I started with the concept of Vin feeling free. Allomantic battle is graceful, yet sharp. It is leaps through the mist and clever uses of Pushes and Pulls. This is what attracted me most to the magic system—not the logic of metals and the like, though I enjoy that. I loved the idea of mist, plus flying forms in fluttering mistcloaks.
I realize that it's obvious, by the way, that Kelsier is her opponent. I didn't write the chapter calling him 'her opponent' to be surprising. I just thought that by de-emphasizing Kelsier, I could better create an illusion of tension. The idea is that Vin herself isn't thinking of him as Kelsier. Just as an opponent.
I'd just like to point out that Sazed heard Kelsier approaching before Vin did. That should mean something to you. This is also the first time we get Vin wanting to ignore Reen's voice in her head. That is, in my way, an acknowledgement to the progress she's achieved during the last few months.
The mists and Allomancy feeling right to Vin have something to do with the ending, where she draws upon the mists for an extra burst of power. I'm afraid I can't say more until we get to future books.
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.
With Shards? Because they only have so much power they can access at a certain time, but yet they still have more energy. So how does that work? Is it just they have so much power they can use at any given time?
[still slightly confused] What are you talking about? Like which shards?
Ruin and Preservation. Since we know the most about them.
Ruin and Preservation were a specific instance, because almost all their energy was thrown into resisting each other. Keep that in mind. Even after Preservation was only a shadow, basically all of it was "Let's keep Ruin from destroying the world". So they were polar opposites. Set in balance. But slightly unbalanced in a couple of ways, that eventually, that slight imbalance [led to the Mistborn Trilogy]. They are a special case, because of that.
So then why are they hesitant to directly fuel Allomancy?
Why are they hesitant to? What do you mean by directly fuel Allomancy?
You mention in the Hero of Ages Q&A that they can directly fuel Allomancy, like Vin does with Elend, but it requires expending their energy in a way they are hesitant to do.
Because it imbalances them more. Does that make sense? So if you are putting your energy here, rather than fighting the other force, that gives them an edge somewhere else, while trying to gain an edge here. And you have to make sure that's really worth it. Like a chess game. Is it worth sacrificing my pawn here to expose myself over here.
That makes sense.
[Brandon being cautious about wording] Certain things built into a world are not the same. Not used in the same way. Meaning the energy of Preservation and Ruin inside of something living and growing—yes that's "of" them, but that's not direct force that they're using at that time.
Would a good example of that be Allomancy versus the blessings the Kandra have?
Yeah, yeah sure.
I've always been a daydreamer; that's probably why I ended up doing what I do now. Books, for me, come when I've got a lot of good ideas bouncing around in my head, and several start to combine together. It's like a person trying to match various colors in a room; you try out different shades together and see what works. Except I'm trying out different ideas together and seeing what kind of chemical reaction I get.
With magic systems, first of all, I'm looking for something that fits the book that I'm writing. So for instance, in Mistborn, I was looking for powers that would enhance what thieves could do. I was also looking for something that had one foot in alchemy, in that kind of "coming-of-age magic into science" way. Alchemy is a great example because it's a blend of science and magic... well, really, a blend of science and superstition, because the magic part doesn't work. So something resonates there.
I'm also looking for interesting ways to ground the magic in our world, and using something mundane is a great way to do that. Magic is naturally fantastical, and so if I can instead use something normal, and then make it fantastical, it immediately creates a sort of ease of understanding. Burning metals sounds so weird, but it was chosen for that same reason, because we gain a lot of our energy through metabolism. We eat something, we turn the sugars into energy, boom. So that's actually a very natural feeling. When I started writing out some sample things, it felt surprisingly natural, that people eat metal and gain powers, even though it sounds so weird. It's because of this kind of natural biology. So I'm looking for that.
Once I have a magic system, I look for really great limitations. Limitations really make a magic system work better. A good limitation will force you to be creative, and your characters to be creative. Pushing and pulling metals is basically telekinesis, right? But by making it center of mass, you can only pull directly towards yourself or push directly away from yourself... Number one: it's vector science. It has one foot in sciences. Number two: it feels very natural to us because this is how we manipulate force ourselves. Number three: it limits things so much that it forces creativity upon the characters. There's that sweet spot, where they can be creative and do cool things, where it doesn't become too limited, but it also keeps you from having too much power in the hands of the characters, so they are still being challenged. I'm looking for all that, and on top of that I want to have good sensory ways to use magic.
I don't want to have two wizards staring at each other, and then be like "and they stared at each other very deeply! And then they stared harder!" I don't want it all to be internal, which is where the lines for the metals came from. You see something, you push it forward. The pulses that some of the Allomancers use, they'll hear. I wanted sensory applications.
If you could have one Allomantic ability, which would you choose and why? (I still have my suspicions about you and speed bubbles.)
I would pick Steelpushing, because who doesn't want to fly, right? That's as close to flying as any of the powers get. As I'm walking or driving around I'm often noticing where the sources of metal are and considering where I could push off them to go where I want to go, and that's always exciting to think about.
Someone asked if Brandon intended to write any more science fiction books.
He indicated first that the upcoming Steelheart (available September 2013) is a sci-fi, though it's superhero sci-fi. He then said the third trilogy in the Mistborn series would be science fiction. He explained that built into allomancy is the ability for faster-than-light-speed travel and that the final trilogy would involve space travel.
Is there a Cosmere-specific term you use to describe, say, a Shard's power inside someone? For example, people on Scadrial had little bits of Preservation in them that made them sentient (and, with enough Preservation, Allomancy). This obviously doesn't make these people Slivers or Splinters, so I was just wondering if you had a word for it.
In my own terms, I refer to all of this as types of investiture. The degree, and effects, can be very different - but those people are invested. I term this Innate Investiture, and it is similar to what happens with people on Nalthis. That is also innate.
A lerasium Mistborn's kids would surely be Allomancers. If such a lerasium Mistborn traveled to, say, Nalthis, fell in love and had kids with a native Nalthisean, would those kids be Allomancers? Or something else?
In most cases, they would still be Allomancers. Mixed, potentially, with something else depending on the native innate investiture. That mixture could do some strange things, though.
I recently picked up the Mistborn Adventure game and am loving it. I made a character who is a blind Mistborn because hey, I thought it would make for some interesting possibilities. As I understand Allomancy, he can hear/sense well enough to get around with Tin, plus even though he's blind he can still "see" Steel lines (like the inquisitors), and I assume Atium would work the same way—that is, he could still "see" Atium shadows. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
No, you're right. That works. He'd have to burn metals a LOT though. It might warp him a little. :)
The metal that's stumping me is Gold—what happens when a blind person burns Gold—especially if he "sees" a version of himself that isn't blind? Can he see the other version or just hear/feel/sense him? What about the other version, can it see things? Could a blind person use gold in this way to see the world around him?
A blind person would indeed sense these things, but not have the vision with the eyes. In the same way that a blind person still dreams, but doesn't "See" in them. (As I understand it.) I'd suggest talking to someone who is blind and getting their take on how this would work.
Anything infused (regardless of the world or magic that infused it) is resistant to magic. So you'd have a lot of trouble pushing or pulling on a spike, unless you had access to a boost of some sort to overcome the resistance.
So, Nightblade would be resistant to steelpushing? Good to know ;-)
My friend and I asked him something like this at a book signing, but for some reason it never seemed to make it onto 17th Shard. We asked if a shardblade or Nightblood could be used as a hemalurgic spike (i.e.: two different investitures of magic). Brandon said that yes, in theory you could do that, but objects have a limit to how much investiture they can hold, and that it could be argued that things like Nightblood and Shardblades are already "full."
Brandon said that theoretically you can push/pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could push/pull Shardblades/plate
I hope everyone enjoys the question I got to ask.
If you are standing inside of a time bubble, and throw a spear out of the bubble, what happens to that spear as it traverses the border of the bubble? Are different parts of the spear ever in different "time zones," going fundamentally different speeds?
On that line of reasoning, what would happen to a train and its occupants if Marisi stood next to railroad tracks holding up a Cadmium bubble while that train sped by?
A coinshot able to store weight can, as you showed us with Wax push in a ridiculously powerful manner, as the weight/mass is the largest factor wich controls the push strength.
I'm wondering if the same can be done with soothing(or rioting). If you where to increase your identity, that may/should increase your emotional imprint(or whatever you might call it), would your soothings/riotings become wastly more powerful in a simular way as weight makes steelpushing more powerful?
And if it does, is this how the lord ruler improved his Soothing in such a spectacular fasion?
Okay, and second, Mistborn, the broadsheet hints that there's a continent or whatever on the other side of the Mistborn planet.
Would that also be connected to Allomancy and Feruchemy and all that?
Yes, it will be.
So, I gave you a lot of answers. [laughter] To expand upon that, the magic systems for Elantris- the pitch to myself designing the world and magic system was this kind of procedural-based, almost programing-based magic. Where in Elantris, you use these characters to programout a sequence of events that tells the power flowing through what to do.
What Shai is doing in this book is she carves a little seal. And the seal is very much like a little program, and she stamps it on something and uses that stamp to rewrite the history of the object. As long as the seal is there, the object thinks it has this other history. The example you see in the book is you know- an old dirty table that's not been cared for, she can write a seal for its history, she has to figure out what its history was first. And she can write out a seal that basically reprograms that past, so when she stamps it, it thinks it's been cared for all along and suddenly it gains this lacquer, it's beautiful, it's been well-cared for, because in that fake Forgery of the history, that's what happened to it. And that's what her magic does, which is why she's been hired to Forge a copy of the emperor's soul.
[Ooooh] Yeah, I know I'm evil.
Yeah, I know I'm evil.
Was the Lord Ruler using feruchemy + alchemy to soothe all of the people around him? Or was he, as I like to think, flaring for so long that he became a Soother Savant?
He lived long enough and used his metals enough (particularly Soothing) to become nearly a savant in every area, if not a full savant.
Are there any magic systems in the cosmere that aren't shard based?
This depends on definitions. The effects of Adonalsium permeate everything, and Adonalsium is also the source of the Shards. It is possible to find a magic that isn't DIRECTLY powered by a specific shard, however, though most of these would have been set up before the shattering and would be much smaller in scope than things like Allomancy and Surgebinding.
I continued to ask about the Lord Ruler and his Allomantic strength. There's an upper bound to the amount of power you can get from being a savant. Brandon said that, obviously, the Lord Ruler wasn't using duralumin and Elend could only get that powerful in Soothing using duralumin. He implied that there was a way to Compound to enhance Allomancy. (Note, we have discussed this on the forums a while back. This isn't news.)
We asked if it was possible to use bronze to Seek Feruchemy. He said it could be possible. If it were to happen, it was very hard, because the Inquisitors would desperately like to be able to find Feruchemists that way, and it was implied they had not discovered this power. So, it is a freaking hard technique to learn, if possible at all.
What would happen if a person were to burn a metal that was Feruchemically charged using Allomancy?
The metal used in Allomancy is like a key or a doorway to the power that Allomancy actually uses. The metal acts as a filter, much as the Aons in Elantris do, to determine what the power actually does. However, if the metal is Feruchemically charged, then it will basically become a super-burst of Feruchemical power with no Allomantic effect. The Feruchemical charge acts as a filter as well as the metal, and changes what the power does. in this case, say you were burning steel, you would just be massively speedy for a second, and wouldn't actually have the ability to push on anything Allomantically. Hope that answered the question. I get the concept, so if you need me to explain it differently, let me know and i'll try. Oh, the other thing I forgot is that this concept only works if it's a metal that you charged yourself. If it's a metal someone else charged, it would just work like regular Allomancy, and the Feruchemical charge would just cease to exist.
If someone aluminum or duralumin burned the Feruchemically charged metals, what would happen?
Basically the same thing as above, except with aluminum. Aluminum, they would just go away.
Does lerasium have Feruchemical and Hemalurgical powers.
Yes. Brandon will probably be getting into these, and the other metals Hemalurgical and Feruchemical powers, in greater detail in the future Mistborn Trilogies. He also will probably release full charts for these as he did with Allomancy.
What benefit does an aluminum savant get?
(After a short period of laughing)
Is it even possible to become an aluminum savant? You'd have to be burning aluminum consistently, and aluminum just kind of goes away in a burst.... After that, he discussed how being an aluminum Misting will likely be considered a handicap in the Mistborn RPG because you can't pick up other Allomantic abilities.
Before the Ascension, why did the mists appear just as the Well was gaining power? Did they come out at other times?
This one is trickier. From what I got out of it, it's because the mists are a manifestaion of Preservation, and physical manifestations of Preservation (including Allomancers) are intended to do two things - stop Ruin, and protect the Well of Ascension. Which are kind of the same thing. So, when the Well was dormant, the mists didn't really have much to do. The Deepness form of the mists is a result of the conscious part of Preservation freaking out and trying to produce a way to protect the well, mostly by producing more Allomancers. That's why the mists do all the funky things in the Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages - they're trying to produce more Allomancers to combat Ruin.
Why did the mist sickness only happen after the Lord Ruler's death?
It didn't. It just happened on a much smaller scale. As you remember, the Lord Ruler basically meant stagnation. Because it seemed the Lord Ruler would be taking the power again (as was intended, and as apparently had been done many times before), and because of the extreme stability of the Final Empire, Preservation (though it really only had a shadow of it's mind left) wasn't as freaked out. After the LR died, Preservation began to attempt to create more Allomancers for the reasons mentioned in question 7. It also left clues, such as the number 16 everywhere, so that people would know it was Preservation doing it, and not just random chance, or ruin. Turns out that that didn't work so well.
The second mistborn trilogy: Takes place in an urban setting with guns, cars, skyscrapers, etc. Plot will center around a group of Allomancers paid by the government to take out Allomancer criminals and will involve a mistborn (which is rare at this time) serial killer.
Do you plan on writing any other books that feature allomancy?
It's possible. When I write a series, I imagine it in my head as a certain length, and I generally keep to it. But that doesn't mean that I won't revisit the world for new stories. The story of the characters in the Mistborn books is done; the trilogy is finished. If I were going to write more in this world, I would either go forward in time or backward in time, which unfortunately makes it so I'm not as likely to write one. Not that I would be opposed to approaching the Mistborn world in a new way and telling a series of new stories—there were still some holes in allomancy by the end of the books which were intentionally left there in case I did want to revisit it. So, it's definitely possible. But with The Wheel of Time on my plate, I can't promise when or if it will ever happen.
No, being a Savant is when you burn so much it alters your spirit, Compounding is similar but different.
He might have heard the question wrong here, I don't know. I should have asked it differently. But, there goes my theory :P
[impish grin] Ah ha ha ha. The Lord Ruler, heh heh heh, That is an excellent question.
Not going to answer?
Not going to answer that one.
Would you answer if Hoid used it for Feruchemy?
His bead? Hoid’s bead was—He originally got it because he wanted to be an Allomancer. [Note that he doesn’t actually answer the question.]
So, like metal inside a person’s body?
It depends on how strong the investiture in them is.
Is that going to be the answer for all of these?
How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy? Not in a person.
Not in a person? It depends on how strong—yeah. A spike is moderately—in the realm of these sorts of things—moderately easy to push on, because a spike does not rip off very much investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and it loses that over time. So I would put that at the bottom—with the top being very hard—to be one of the easier things.
How about a metalmind? A feruchemy metalmind that is "full."
That is going to be middle of the realm. Generally easier than, for instance, a shardblade, which is going to be very hard.
But a shardblade isn’t actual metal. Ish?
Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.
So would that be the same for Shardplate, too?
Shardplate and blade are very hard. Blade is probably going to be harder. [...]
Halfshard? Like a halfshard shield?
Halfshard shield is going to be in moderate.
Nightblood? I imagine is going to be very difficult.
Very hard. Of all the things you’ve listed, he’s the hardest. Far beyond even a shardblade.
Far beyond metal inside a person?
Yes, depending on how invested the person is.
If someone was invested as much as Nightblood I’m pretty sure it’s going to be very difficult.
Yes, for instance, the Godking, at the end, with all of those Breaths. Pushing on something inside of him? Getting through all that? Gonna be REAL hard. Average person on Scadrial? You’ve seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.
That was actually going to be my next one- No, sorry, not a drab, a Lifeless.
A Lifeless. Lifeless are kinda weird, because they’ve had their soul leave, but then they’ve had a replacement stuck in, in the form of Breath, which puts them in a really weird position compared to a Drab, which has had part of their investiture ripped away, but the majority of it remains. So anyway, I’m going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.
Okay, a soul-stamped piece of metal.
A soul-stamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of investiture going on in a soulstamp.
[Paraphrasing] That is not an inapt metaphor for it. It's like a wedge gets in the soul and cracks it, and investiture can fill it up.
And using allomancy breaks it further?
Do other magic systems in the Cosmere function in a similar way?
Which ones? Will we see them soon?
I'm going to have to RAFO that.
It definitely wouldn't be pleasant.
Ok, I have this steel allergy, I got it last year, and I work in a steel plant.
It would not be pleasant, but I would have the instinct that fewer people on Scadrial would have that allergy, because of the Investiture during their creation. But, it could totally happen.
It was something that you or I would probably not want to eat in our world, but that Wit got some benefit from eating...
Something we've seen in the Mistborn books, perhaps?
(sounding pleased) Yes, perhaps like something you've seen in Mistborn.
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.
Could Miles heal back his Allomancy if it was spiked out of him?
No, he could not. He would no longer be an Allomancer. Also, he'd probably be dead. :)
I'd thought maybe he could just do some super-tapping from his existing Health in his goldminds (since he'd still have his Feruchemy)...
Oh, I see what you're asking. Using Feruchemy to heal the removed portion of soul. That's actually plausible, not so different from healing other kinds of soul-wounds. If he survived, then yes, this actually might work. (That's why I get for reading the questions so quickly.)
You could create Allomantically viable metals, yes.
But is it automatic?
I would say that the pure metals are, but the alloys are not.
Well, you see those two were not really metals. Those were pieces, fragments, of a god.
I thought that might be it but the symbols are the same above them from-- the atium symbol is the same as--
No, it's a different symbol, it might be reversed though.
Not usually. It happens sometimes, but not usually.
[Brandon] then mentioned a little about sDNA, but that it's not inherited as much as it is when it's natural.
The more skilled you are, the more you have the ability to moderate that. For most people it is burn or flare. But you can kind of burn up to a flare, does that make sense? Going below is really hard.
Can you push a flare?
One interesting aspect of the book that I haven't mentioned yet comes with the metal of tin. Originally, tin wasn't one of the Allomantic metals—I used silver instead. You see, I originally paired silver and pewter together, thinking that pewter had a significant amount of silver in it. Well, turns out that isn't the case. (Remember, each set of paired metals is a metal and an alloy made from it.)
My false impression on the belief that pewter is a silver/lead alloy goes back to my childhood. I remember when I used to paint lead fantasy figures that I bought at the local hobby store. One of the employees told me that they would be going up in price because the manufacturers wanted the figures to be safer. They were going to cast them out of pewter instead of lead, because pewter is much less toxic. I asked what the difference between pewter and lead was, and the employee told me that pewter is has lead PLUS silver, and that's why the figures cost more.
He meant tin, I guess. Either way, that's stayed with me for quite a long time. I soundly resisted changing silver to tin during the first drafts of the book, even when I found out the truth. The problem is, I really liked the name "Silvereye" for those who burn silver/tin. It sounds far slicker than "Tineye."
I eventually came around, however. Consistency in the magic system is more important than a single cool-sounding name. I blame Hobby Town in Lincoln Nebraska for my pains.
The ninth metal. It was difficult to decide what this one would do. I wanted something opposite, yet complimentary, to the power of atium. So, I decided that it would give a kind of skewed perspective of the past, kind of like atium gives a limited view of the future. Obviously, this will come back into the plot later.
I do worry that it took too long to get to this scene. You've probably been wondering for quite a long time what the ninth metal did—and that concerns me, because if you wonder it, you'll also wonder why Vin herself didn't get around to figuring out what it was.
The problem is, this really is the first place I could work it in. Allomancy is a very complicated magic system, and I wanted plenty of time for you to get used to it before I delved into its more odd aspects.
If I had a chance to rewrite the book again, one of the things I'd change is the scene where Vin gets caught here. If you want to imagine it this way instead, pretend that she dropped both Inquisitors completely, and therefore thought she was safe to inspect the room beyond. The Inquisitors can actually heal far more quickly than I've had them do in this book.
My problem with this scene is how easily Vin lets herself be cornered and captured. I think that breaking into the room is exactly the sort of thing she'd do. However, I just don't think the writing works here (around the section where she gets surprised and grabbed by the Inquisitor.) She's more careful than that. The way it's written makes it seem like she gets grabbed simply because that's what needed to happen. There isn't enough drama, or enough realization, to the scene.
I do like what happens afterword, however—Vin using the Eleventh Metal. In this book we get our first hints regarding just how much Allomancy has been hidden and obfuscated by the Lord Ruler. Vin realizes that the Eleventh Metal must be part of the structure of Allomantic theory, as is the metal that she's given that makes her lose all of her other metals. (It's aluminum, by the way.)
Vin's entrance here is one of my favorite scenes in the book. Short, but very cinematic. It brings together all of the best images in the book—Allomantic pushes, stained glass, swirling mist, and the mistcloaks.
The cloaks are something I really wanted to do. I realize that some readers have trouble imagining them the right way, but I wanted something distinctive for the mistborn to wear. Regular cloaks and capes are nice, but I wanted something that I could make my own, and the multi-layered tassel thing seemed to fit very well with the mist theme.
As I mentioned earlier, I tend to multiply viewpoints near the end of books. Kar's viewpoint here is another one—I knew I wanted to be outside of Vin's head for the entrance here so I could describe it properly. Plus, this let me show how Inquisitors see.
Vin's attempt at killing the Lord Ruler was, I thought, rather clever. I made a point of making her be able to touch her past self when she was burning gold. There are a couple of reasons why this didn't work. First of all, the images are just that—images. When Vin touched the face of her past self, it was all part of the illusion that gold produced. None of it was real. So, even if she HAD been able to touch the image of the Lord Ruler's past self, she wouldn't have been able to hurt the Lord Ruler himself by killing it.
The other reason is important as well. The thing is, the Eleventh Metal isn't actually an alloy of gold, but an alloy of atium. If you understand Allomantic theory, you'll understand why this has to be. Each quartet of metals is made up of two base metals and two alloys. The base metals are the Pulling metals, like iron and zinc. They are also made up of two internal metals and two external metals. Two change things about you, two change things about other people.
The Eleventh Metal, like atium, changes something about someone else. Both have to be external metals—that's the way the pairing works. Gold (and its compliment) change things about the Allomancer.
So, atium shows the future of someone else, malatium shows the past of someone else. Gold shows the past of yourself, and electrum (gold's compliment) shows your own future. (We'll talk about that in a different book.)
So, anyway, the Eleventh Metal (malatium) matches with atium—both of which create images from other people. And, just like atium shadows are incorporeal, so are malatium shadows. That's why Vin couldn't touch the one she saw of the Lord Ruler.
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 physics. 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.
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.
Remember the Lord Ruler's final words. They're important. The lack of atium will impact the second book greatly, as well the fact that Kelsier is dead. Overthrowing the Lord Ruler was tough, but it was still the easy part of this trilogy. Things get hard from here on out...
If you paid any sort of attention during the last book, you were probably expecting a new metal or two to show up in this book. I dropped a lot of hints that there were other metals.
It was a little bit of a stretch to let there be metals that, despite the thousand-year history of Allomancy, weren't known. However, I rely on the fact that the Lord Ruler had informational control over the society. There are A LOT of things that he knew that aren't known to a lot of people.
Duralumin is a real alloy from our world, commonly made from Aluminum. Actually, a lot of things we call aluminum—particularly industrial aluminum—is actually duralumin. Aluminum, pre-electrolysis, was really tough to get. It's said that Napoleon had a set of aluminum plates that were more valuable than his gold or platinum ones.
Metal vials. People may wonder why Allomancers use them. Why ingest only small bits of metal, which could run out on you? There are a couple of reasons for this.
First off, you don't want to eat too much metal because, simply put, it's poisonous. Kelsier talks a little bit about this in book one, and it's given token nods from characters throughout the series. I don't do a whole lot with it—dying from metal poisoning isn't the type of extended disease you tend to deal with in a novel that only covers a few months time, like this one.
The second reason for metal vials is more simple. Allomancers with the right powers can Push or Pull on sources of metal—the larger the metal source, the harder the Allomancer can Push on it. So, little flakes of metal make a terrible Anchor, and so if you're caught wearing your vials, you aren't giving much of an advantage to your enemies.
A few things to watch out for. There might be an extra "Silver" or "Silvereye" stuck in the books somewhere.
If you read the annotations in the last book, you'll know that I changed the Allomantic metal of silver into tin at the last minute. I couldn't find a good alloy of silver, and though I liked "Silvereye" as a word much better than "Tineye" I decided to go with the choice that was more logical for worldbuilding, rather than the one that sounded better.
There could still be a spare silver or two hanging around in this book, since it was written before I made the swap. (I just found one in Book Three and got it changed right in time.)
This chapter is meant to be our 'pay off' chapter for the time we've invested into Sazed over the last few chapters. I, personally, think it's the coolest chapter in this section of the book.
Feruchemy really turned out well as a magic system, and I'm glad I found a place for it in this book. It connects with Allomancy perfectly; I'm actually surprised at how well they go together. (As you may recall, I originally tried out Feruchemy in a book I now call Final Empire Prime.)
Here, you finally get to see some REAL Feruchemical tricks. Sazed can do so much more than just make himself strong (like he did in book one) or memorize things. If you think about it, there are an awful lot of things that can be done to intertwine Allomancy—with its Pushes and Pulls—and Feruchemy, where a person can increase or decrease their weight.
By the way, you probably remember form book one the way that Inquisitors see. They have such a subtle touch with Steel and Iron, and their lines, that they can see via the trace metals in everyone's bodies and in the objects around them.
The thing is, any Allomancer with access to iron or steel could learn to do this. Some have figured it out, in the past, but in current times, nobody—at least, nobody the heroes know—is aware of this. Except, of course, for Marsh.
And he chose not to share it.
This fight is for the Allomancy junkies. I don't think there's another one quite as technical as it is in the entire rest of the series.
I try to give variety to how my fight scenes are handled. The spar between Ham and Vin was quick and visual. This fight is all about pushes, pulls, and weight. I fear that it's pretty hard to imagine, and unless you're really into Allomancy, I suspect that many of you skimmed most of it.
Yet, writing a book is about putting in lots of things for lots of different people, I think. Allomancy is fun because of its versatility—I can to all kinds of things with it. This was just one of them.
So, if you really like how Allomancy works—with the pushes and pulls, the vectors, mass, accleration, and all that, this is a present for you. A chapter really showing off what two Mistborn can do when expertly manipulating their powers.
It cannot affect Shardblades. Well, cannot is a strong term. Things with innate Investiture are much more difficult to affect by any of the magics at all. Which is why it's very hard for Szeth to bind people or lash people wearing Shardplate to the ceiling. In the same way Allomancy wouldn't be able to push on it without some help. Duralumin with a strong Push would probably do it.
I was just wondering if it was actually metal.
It is metalish--it's metal enough for Allomancy to work on it.
You've seen people using Allomancy in Roshar before.
You said that on Roshar the only reason they have aluminum is that they can Soulcast it, right? I think you said something like that … maybe? I was wondering how that would work, if an Allomancer were to--
Aluminum has some weird properties on all of the magic systems, not just allomancy. It does not have the same effect, but aluminum has some bizarre effects.
Hi Brandon! Thanks for doing this. I may have made some embarrassing sounds when I heard you were answering questions. I have a few questions:
1. You've said previously that the molecular structure of metals serve to act sort of like the Aons in AonDor. Why, then, can mists power Allomancy? Shouldn't the metals themselves be the things causing the powers? And if metals don't cause the effect, how can a non-Feruchemist burn a metalmind that has been 'unlocked' through identity tricks and get a boost of an attribute without Feruchemist sDNA?
2. If a Surgebinder went to another world with infused gems, would they still automatically be able to Surgebind, or is that an effect limited to Roshar? (I ask because you've said someone with a Seon bond who went to Roshar would gain some powers because it would be treated like a Nahel bond.)
3. Hoid uses Allomancy in one of Shallan's flashbacks. How can Hoid draw on Preservation's power on Roshar? Does it teleport? Shouldn't he only be able to burn metals on Scadrial?
4. Breath seems like it doesn’t run out like Stormlight. You Awaken something, and it lasts basically forever. But if you Lash something, the Lashing ends a short time later. Why does Stormlight run out and Breath not?
Thanks for answering!
I was trying to figure out how to answer this, and then I realized while driving to get a hair cut that you were regarding this wrong in a fundamental way. Remember, the source of power for Allomancy is EXTERNAL while the source for Feruchemy is INTERNAL. This is a fundamental difference discussed in the series.
When you burn metals, you're drawing power from another place. When you tap a metalmind, you are drawing power that the person has created--a battery developed by themselves, so to speak.
So I think that's going to answer the source of your confusion.