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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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Glad you liked the book, Rainbow!
You may want to note that the moment Preservation dropped out and let the last of his consciousness die, someone was waiting in the Cognitive Realm to seize the power and hold on for a short period until Vin could take it up more fully. You'll find him using it to whisper in moments of great stress in the book, to one person in specific in two places. (I'll bet someone on here has already found them.)
He never could just let things well enough alone....
Jedal. After his father.
Which is the reason why Spook didn't like using it.
All right. Kelsier and Moiraine are facing each other in the Suvudu cage match next round. Guess I should do a write up.
I think I'll just flip a coin to decide who wins, then write something that makes it seem logical.
Though this is (for a Suvudu Cage Match) actually quite even, I'm going to have to play it very tongue-in-cheek. Just a warning.
Don't expect an epic battle. I don't have the time to spare to write up something like that in this case.
Okay, that's done. Quick and dirty, I'm afraid, but it's all the time I could spare. Should be up on Suvudu soon, maybe on my website also.
Warning: it not only contains huge spoilers for both series, but a lot of WoT and Mistborn in jokes.
If you disagree with the results of my coin flip, feel free to vote however you wish in the cage match poll. :)
Write up I did for Kelsier and Moiraine will go up Monday, I believe. I'll post a link when it goes live.
You stole my cage match, Brandon! ;)
Ha! You were the one who would tackle this, eh?
Well, if you had something cool you wanted to do, I'll post it on my site if you still want to write it.
In case you haven't seen it, my Moiraine vs Kelsier write up is here.
I liked it, it was a fun read, still voted for Moiraine though :P ^_^
I actually tried to leave it ambiguous at the end. The thing people should be asking themselves is this:
"As the write-up was from Kelseir's viewpoint, can we assume that the whole thing happened as Moiraine wanted it to?"
You need to ask yourself that whenever you end a conversation with an Aes Sedai. :)
Came for the ass kicking, left cause of ass kissing.
...You do realize that Brandon wrote this?
Sadly yes, I heard about him writing it last week, was extremely hype for it. And all for this, something that reads like mediocre fan-fiction. With great expectations comes great disappointment.
In that direction lay a trap.I've stated before that I am uncomfortable with these cage matches because the pairings are often silly, and because I have trouble believing some of the characters would actually fight one another for any reason.
Because the nature of the whole things is so ridiculous to me, I couldn't possibly play it straight. And if I did, the effort required to make it work would distract me from other projects&madsh;and I would have to write both characters out of character to the point that it would just come off as lame.
And so, you get a silly conversation. That was really my only option here, I'm afraid.
This is in reference to the Suvudu cage match between Kelsier and Moiraine.
Within the Mistborn novels, is there a message you wish your readers to grasp?
Not in particular. I don’t go into a book wanting to teach anyone a message. I go in wanting to tell a good story, and I let the characters develop their messages as they see fit. Each book grew to have its own theme dependent on the characters of the given book, their passions and things like that. I do think that the whole concept of Kelsier, “the Survivor,” and pushing forward is an overarching theme of the entire series, but it’s not necessarily a message that I want people to get.
This initial section, with Tresting and the Obligator, was added during one of the last drafts of the book. I had some troubles starting this novel. I really liked the Kelsier section of the prologue (which was originally the first chapter.) However, before I got to Kelsier, I wanted to have a kind of scene-setting omniscient description of the skaa working.
The important part of this zoom out would have been to show them all with heads bowed, then show Kelsier look up and smile. I tried several drafts of this, and eventually settled on something that was okay. Later on, however, I decided that it was just too much of a viewpoint error to have an omniscient section in one of my books, especially since it was the first section of the novel. So, I decided to set the scene from Tresting's viewpoint.
Once I changed that, I like how this scene turned out. However, it does mean that the very first viewpoint that you see in the book is that of a passing villain who doesn't really matter very much. I guess that's all right, but it's part of the reason I moved this back to being the prologue—I think that gives more of an indication that the characters introduced aren't necessarily the main characters of the book.
Other than that, I liked how this scene let me introduce some of the world elements—obligators, Inquisitors, the ash, the nobility, and the Lord Ruler—in a quick, easy way. Plus, I got to have the scene with Kelsier looking up and smiling, which always gives me a bit of a chill when I read it.
I really like the scene where Kelsier first displays his scars in this chapter. In fact, I really like how this chapter sets up Kelsier in general. It gives him a chance to be a light-hearted (perhaps even a little flippant) while also showing that he's had a hard pas. He has some scars—both visible and hidden. At the end, his attack on the manor house should be something of an indication of what he's capable of doing.In addition, we establish very quickly why Kelsier smiles so much. I've been accused of being a chronic optimist. I guess that's probably true. And, because of it, I tend to write optimistic characters. Kelsier, however, is a little different. He's not like Raoden, who was a true, undefeatable optimist. Kelsier is simply stubborn. He's decided that he's not going to let the Lord Ruler take his laughter from him. And so, he forces himself to smile even when he doesn't feel like it. This is a more brutal world than I presented in ELANTRIS—which is somewhat amusing, since ELANTRIS was essentially about a bunch of zombies. Either way, my goal in this chapter was to show the Final Empire as a place of contrast. Despair contrasted with Kelsier's attitude. The wealth of the nobility contrasted with the terrible conditions of the skaa.
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.
Okay, some spoiler stuff here. Mennis does make a return later in the book, as you probably know. I actually wasn't intending to ever use him again, and was surprised when people read this chapter and expected him to be a main character. I guess I characterized him a little too well in the scene where he gets up. So, when the time came for Kelsier to have a quiet conversation with one of the rebels, I dusted off Mennis and used him again. I'm very pleased with how that scene turned out, though it's another one I had to rewrite a couple times to get correct. We'll talk more about that later.
Unlike ELANTRIS, where I decided to divide the book into 'parts' after the fact, I always planned this book to be told in several sections. Naming the parts actually came quiet easily to me. Part One is the section where Kelsier gets most of his viewpoint time, and I decided that naming it after him would be appropriate.
In addition, I just like the way that "The Survivor of Hathsin" sounds. A piece of me was sad that I never came up with a good full name for Kelsier. Something like Kelsier Mistshadow or something like that. I tried several, but none of them ended up sounding quite right, and I had to rely on calling him "Kelsier, the Survivor" in those places. That ended up working just fine.
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.
So, Kelsier is very interesting to me as a character. Mostly because of what we see in this chapter. He is a man of dichotomy, which is one of the themes of this novel. On one hand, he's the joking, lighthearted man you see in the second half of the chapter. On the other hand, however, he's a very dangerous, even ruthless, man. He laughs at himself in this chapter, but he wasn't faking when he acted the way he did. There is an edge to Kelsier I've never built into a hero before. Sometimes, he makes me uncomfortable.
The other big part of this chapter is, of course, the plan. This is where the story has been pushing up to this point. I worry that even still (despite several cuts) this section feels a little too much like an info-dump. I couldn't really get around that, since Kelsier is—essentially—dumping some information on the crew.
This is also where I begin to diverge from the 'heist story' framework. I started with that concept to write the book, but as I proceeded with the plotting and the writing of the actual novel, I realized that the heist structure was simply too small to fill the larger concepts for the trilogy I was working on.
So, in rewrites, I came back and reworked this section to take to focus off stealing the Lord Ruler's money. The truth is, Kelsier wants to overthrow the government and get back at the Lord Ruler. The money isn't half as important to him. And, as the story progresses, you'll see that the crew spends most of its time on the army.
Originally, by the way, Yeden wasn't the one who hired the team. There was no employer—Kelsier just wanted to try and overthrow the Lord Ruler. The main way I took the focus off of stealing the atium (making this less of a heist book and more of a Mission: Impossible style book) was to put the focus on raising and training the army. Having Yeden be paying them to get him an army worked much better for this format.
In this chapter we also have the first mention of the Eleventh Metal. I kind of wish that I'd found another place for this, since the chapter is already filled with a long discussion scene. Yet, it proved to be the best place for it in the drafting process.
If you think that what Kelsier is saying here is a little fishy, then you're not alone. Most of the crew doesn't believe him either. I'll certainly admit that there is more going on here—far more—than anyone suspects.
Hopefully, you noticed Clubs's little 'hooks through our throats' line here. That one pops up again, certainly, and it has a nice little relation to the next time we see Camon's lair.
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.)
The Kelsier-Marsh-Mare relationship was something that just kind of grew naturally as I was writing. When I started designing the characters for this book, I knew that I wanted Kelsier to have gone through something very traumatic. I settled on a time spent in the Lord Ruler's slave camps, then built his having a wife out of that.
Marsh's unspoken love for Mare wasn't something I originally intended. It actually worked into the story as I was writing this very chapter. I needed tension between Marsh and Kelsier for their relationship to work the way I wanted it to. However, Marsh' disapproval of Kelsier just wasn't enough—especially since Marsh himself had given up leadership of the skaa rebellion, proving that he himself wasn't as much of a hero as he wishes he was.
Mare provided the perfect explanation for their tension. It was something I could imply in just a few sentences, then gain a lot of weight of back-story.
The scene with Vin standing in the darkness and looking in at the people having fun inside was one of the first and fundamental scenes I got for her character. Those who have read other annotations and essays by me know that I build my books by important focal scenes. This image of Vin keeping herself aloof from the fun and good humor, yet desiring to be part of it so badly, seemed to me to be the perfect character for Kelsier's apprentice.
Of course, this scene was actually only half of the image I conjured in my mind. The other half comes, of course, the scene later in the book where Vin has become fully a part of the crew, enjoying their friendship, and looks out of the kitchen at the dark hallway beyond, where she once stood. Nice little brackets of a character arc, and the main focus in my mind of Vin's growth in this 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.
In the original draft of the book, Kelsier didn't show up at this meeting. He let Yeden do the recruiting. However, as the drafting proceeded, I decided that I wanted Kelsier to present himself more fully to the skaa population. With Yeden now acting as their employer—rather than just another member of the crew—I also needed to show what Kelsier could do that Yeden could not.Of course, this is also the first hint we get of Kelsier's true plan. I decided that I wanted him to give this speech here to initiate the idea that he's building himself a reputation with the skaa.
This book is quite a bit more violent than ELANTRIS. I worry about that, sometimes. I hope I don't put people off who enjoyed my first novel. Several things save me, I think.
First off, though people initially don't think of ELANTRIS as a gruesome book, it really does include quite a few disturbing elements. The brutality of the people in Elantris, for instance, or the slaughtering done by the Dakhor monks. In chapter one of Elantris, we see a boy with his throat crushed, seeping blood. So, really, there isn't anything in MISTBORN that stands out THAT much.
The difference is, I guess, that one of the heroes is himself a killer. Also, we have scenes like this one, which are just plain disturbing.
He would have taken over, because that character doesn't not take over. And it would have been a very different series, it would have been more heist focused, and not so much epic fantasy focused.
Would he have finished everything up a heck of a lot faster than Vin and Elend did?
Worse, but yes. Things would have gone very differently, how about that? The reason I decided it couldn't go that way was because I think the series just wouldn't have worked.
Well, it would be tough—I'd have to decide if I wanted the party to be crazy, interesting, or low risk.
For example, inviting Hoid and Kelsier to the same party could result in murdering. Having Sazed around with someone like Jasnah would lead to some great discussions of philosophy.
In the end, I'd probably pick the core WoT cast, just because they've been my friends for so long. Longer than anyone other than Wit and Dalinar, actually. So Perrin, Rand, Mat, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Thom. Fourth book era.
Wait—are you implying Hoid and Kelsier would want to murder each other, or that they would team up to murder other people?
Hoid and Kelsier do not get along. At all.
I don't want to be unsympathetic to people's love for these characters, but I feel that as a writer I must resist the urge to bring back characters in this manner. I feel it would undermine my storytelling. I never want to get to the point where people read and the tension of a character being in danger is ruined by the thought, "Well, even if they die, they'll probably just be brought back in the future."
I'm not saying I won't ever do it, but I want to be very sparing. I like how Robert Jordan did it with a certain character's return in TofM. It was foreshadowed, built into the story itself, and relevant.
There are characters--in the 36-book-cosmere-superoutline--who return when thought dead. Some have not met their perceived end yet, while others have. So it's going to happen, but I want it to be very rare.
Right, that’s one of the most contentious name decisions that I’ve chosen. Before I tell you the answer, I will preface it by saying I don’t say the names right, in a lot of times. For instance I say “E-lawn-tris” like everyone else, but in world they say “Elayn-tris” because of the system of language that’s been built. I say “Kel-seer” and they say “Kel-see-ay,” in-world. And so I’m American and I use my pronunciations I say “Say-zed”.
However, that may not be the way they actually say it. And beyond that, every reader of a book has the ability to rewrite the book as they wish. A book doesn’t exist until you’ve read it. I write a script, I write- I get you hopefully seventy five percent of the way there but the last twenty-five percent is you, it’s participatory. And as you write, you create the images of them in your own imagination and that becomes the right interpretation for you. And you have line [inaudible] veto.
When I read Anne McCaffrey’s books the dragons are these unpronounceable things in my head that I could never actually because it’s just something a dragon can say. And it has very little relationship to the letters that are there on the page. I have a friend, who when he reads the Wheel of Time- the first time when Thom Merrilin shows up in the books, on screen, it says he has these big drooping moustaches. My friend said, “No he doesn’t.” And he cannot imagine Thom Merrilin with a moustache. To me, the moustache is an integral part of who Thom Merrilin is. It’s like him, he’s the moustached guy! Well, theres a couple other moustached guys but Thom’s the first moustached guy in the Wheel of Time! And so, you have the right to say it however you want.
What character of yours would be a great addition to Game of Thrones?
Ha! I don't know if I hate any of my characters enough to do that to them! What interesting questions you have! I think Kelsier from Mistborn would probably fit in the best. Not a lot of people pick up on this, but Kelsier is actually a psychopath. He likes to kill people. He takes pleasure and joy in it. He only lets this side of himself out once in a while, but there are points in the book where he takes down a nobleman, and he's just gleeful about the ability and the chance to do it.
In the Mistborn world, he's a hero because the people Kelsier is killing are oppressors. Part of the fun of writing him was the idea that in another story, if things had gone differently, he'd be the villain. But in this story, Kelsier is the hero, and it's because he's able to channel his being a psychopath into a noble cause, but still, there's a danger behind Kelsier's eyes that might let him survive in Westeros better than a lot of my other characters.
Hope I'm not too late! This question does contain spoilers for the first Mistborn book. I'm electronically inept to a degree so that's all the warning anyone will get.... Seriously, though.
Did you intend for the reader to almost believe Kelsier would come back to life... or was I just sort of crazy?
Yes, I did. And whether he is completely gone or not is actually something I want to be more nebulous than many people think it is.
Hey Brandon, love all of you work and so does everyone I give them to. Keep up the good work.
Which of your protagonist characters do you dislike the most as a person? Taking into account that you know all of their inner secrets and motivations.
On the flip side. Which of your antagonists do you connect with the most? The Lord Ruler seems an obvious choice as he was misunderstood by everybody for so long. But still, I'm curious.
This is a tough one, as while I'm writing, I HAVE to like everyone. However, the most disturbing of them is probably Kelsier. He's a psychopath—meaning the actual, technical term. Lack of empathy, egotism, lack of fear. If his life had gone differently, he could have been a very, very evil dude.
Elend. I see myself as an idealist like him.
Discussion of the week: Shadesmar & Truthspren
It says that it's dangerous to travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Why?
It has to do with the Dor and the lack of an entity controlling much of the power Odium left in his wake on Sel.
Woah, that's interesting. I had no idea Odium left little bits of his power on Sel... I guess it kinda makes sense for evil monks to be powered by pure hate, though.
Odium did not leave his power behind, one should note. He left several other powers which are now, to a large extent, mindless...
This is an awesome answer!
If you wouldn't mind answering, does Roshar have a similar problem, with Honor being Splintered?
No, Roshar does not have the same problem. There are some differences going on. (One reason being that the spren are far more extensive on Roshar, and provide something of a "release valve." The Seons and the Skaze on Sel are not numerous enough to fulfill a similar function. Though, of course, that's only one part of the puzzle. Raw power is dangerous.
It's one reason everyone should be thankful Kelsier was around on Scadrial.
In Well of Ascension, there are two strange "voice in the head" experiences. One of them is with Sazed and Marsh are fighting, and Sazed realizes that he can burn the metal rings that are now in his stomach. But the other one is with Elend, when a voice comes, and he’s not sure where it comes from. It says something like "If you have a dagger, the only way to win is to go in for the kill"
That one, where it came from, is – I know what you are searching for, but it’s actually just an old (something) from weapons training. He’s just dredging- he’s not sure where it came from because he never thought he would need any of it, he thought he was just going to be a scholar. But his father did have him trained in weapons, so it’s just instinct that he got from one of his old mentors in fighting.
So there’s nothing to see there, so no, he’s not (something).
Okay. We were just wondering if it was Preservation, or Kelsier.
Nope. Unfortunately, no. I do that on occasion, but this time...
Okay, give me another one. We’re way over five now.
True. (Although it’s not! Haha!) Why did OreSeur signup for Kelsier’s plan. Was he forced to because of his contract? Or did he actually want to do it?
All kandra want to be back in the Homeland. That said, OreSeur, he as a kandra, likes challenges, and was a real method kandra, a lot of them are, but he truly was. And you can see that in him. So for him, the contract and the role he plays.
Are more important than what he actually wants.
Yeah. Even though he had spent all this time doing this stuff. So he was part of it, but for him, his role was being this person. If I may.
Is there some reason why both Vin and Kelsier are half-skaa, half-noble, both natural Allomancers, both end up overthrowing the Lord Ruler, and have siblings that are seekers.
Both were heavily influenced by Ruin in doing what they were doing. So there is a connection there, maybe not the one you’re looking for, but Ruin was looking for talented Mistborn that were easy to manipulate and talented Mistborn tend to come from talented Mistborn lines, and so Ruin is looking for that, and they both end up fitting that role. And the thing is, is that the half breeds ended up being easier for him to manipulate and easier lost in the shuffle of things, so they weren't paid attention to as much by the ministry, because the ministry didn't know about them.
So it's mostly coincidental for what Ruin's trying to achieve.
Some of them are immortal, but that would kind of be cheating. If you let people who are immortal participate, it's going to very much favor someone like Hoid, who is really, really, really hard to kill. Of course, he would not be very good at offing anyone either, because of certain things in his past. It would be really futile when it got down to the last two. But if we take that out.
You'd have to set ground rules. Do they get access to their magic? Where is it taking place? If we take away all magic and we just say people are beating up on each other, who's going to win? It's probably Kelsier because he'll fight dirty. Vasher fights really dirty, too. If Kelsier and Vasher gang up on the rest, and then it depends who's still not in pieces at the end. It'd be Kelsier or Vasher probably.
Can I make some guesses?
Is it Kelsier?
What does that mean?
That means I'm not going to answer that.
Following Kelsier this night is probably one of the dumbest things Vin does in this book. Letting her follow is undoubtedly the dumbest thing Kelsier does in the book. Yet, these two characters are alike in more ways than they may seem at first. Both have a sense of brashness that borders on the foolhardy.
Vin is beginning to understand that there are crews where people truly care about each other. The problem is, she's feeling a very natural (especially for a girl of her age) desire to fit in and be needed. She has a deep-seated fear that she'll be proven useless, then be abandoned by the people that she's only just beginning to understand that she needs.
So, she wants to learn to be useful as quickly as she can. For Kelsier's part, he just feels that he's invincible. It's always been a problem of his. He's the type of man who can make things go his way. It's easy for him to ignore the failures and focus on the successes—like the fact that the Lord Ruler trying to kill him only ended up turning him into a Mistborn.
And so, they infiltrate together. And, this was the natural result.
This room in the palace is another reason why I had to make this book about much more than just stealing atium. Kelsier is half-convinced that the Lord Ruler keeps his atium stash in this room, rather than in the treasury. Either way, it wouldn't be TOO difficult for a Mistborn like Kelsier to break into a room like this—or even the treasury—and be off with the atium. (At least, that's what he thinks. Right up until he gets stopped in this chapter, anyway.)
Either way, Kelsier wouldn't feel that he needs a crew in order to break into a room and steal some metal. He does that just fine to Keep Venture earlier in the book. By making Mistborn so relatively powerful, I needed a task for Kelsier's group that went far beyond a simple heist. Only something like raising an army and overthrowing an empire would present them with a challenge.
I don't spend an awful lot of time here talking about the back-story with Mare and Kelsier. I'll get to more of it later. However, you know just about all you're going to know about their failed plan. Kelsier thought there was atium in this room. They tried to sneak in. They got caught.
In a way, Kelsier is indeed reliving his last days with Mare by trying to break into the room again. He's a Mistborn now, and he wants to accomplish now what he was defeated in earlier.
The new Kelsier is something that this book needed. If he hadn't been forced to go through the guilt of nearly-losing Vin (a reminder to him of how one of his jobs lost him Mare) I don't think he would have had the solemnity and dedication to accomplish the things he does in the rest of the story.
He'll return more to his old, joking self as the next few chapters pass. However, he'll always remember what he nearly let happen to Vin, and it will become an important aspect of his character.
By the way, Vin's line about "We aren't invincible" is a very important one. In part two, I spent a lot of time showing off just how amazing Mistborn can be. I felt I needed to end the section with a colossal failure—and a near death—to show that while Mistborn are powerful, they aren't by any means indestructible. Nothing's more boring than heroes who can't be defeated.
Also, I think it was about time to establish firmly the relationship between Kelsier and Vin. She—if you haven't guessed—has a bit of a hero-worship crush going on with him. It will never be stated explicitly, but it's there, and kind of has to be there.
Kelsier, however, regards her like a protégé, and perhaps even a daughter. That's it. I apologize to those who were looking for a romance between the two. I realize that I'm breaking some laws of storytelling by introducing a female viewpoint in chapter one, then a male viewpoint in chapter two, and not having them get into any sort of romantic way. However, that's not what this book is about. Kelsier is not only much older than Vin, he really doesn't look for relationships any more. Not his focus in life right now.
I never intended there to be any romantic tension between the two of them. However, some of my alpha readers were hoping to find it—and found more than I anticipated. So, I added the lines here from Kelsier about wishing he had a daughter, just so I could make things clear.
The thing is, Kelsier's wife, Mare, had certainly moved on, and that would be motivating him to go on to the next life.
As Vin herself points out, this is the second time she has forced Kelsier to take her with him when he was planning on going alone. This time, however, is different—or, at least, I wanted to be metaphorically different.
If Vin hadn't been along, Kelsier would have charged the army. He'd probably have died, and that really WOULD have been the end. He's got an impulsive streak. Vin, however, learned from her near-death at the palace. Mistborn are not invincible—something that's harder for Kelsier, even still, to grasp.
From my journal, written the day I finished this chapter (I sometimes keep a chapter journal for purposes of doing annotations later on.)
MBFE Twenty-Six: pewter dragging
The first half of this chapter came quickly, especially after I switched it to Vin's viewpoint. She's come to dominate the story far more than Kelsier, which is good—that's what I'd hoped would happen. Now, it's much easier to write in her viewpoint than Kelsier's, since she has more internal struggles and, I think, more depth.
Things got tough once I got back to the caves. I knew I wanted Kelsier to have a kind of soul-searching period of thought, followed by the return of Mennis. The problem is, I wasn't exactly sure how much I wanted him to self-doubt. He isn't really the type to second-guess himself, so I didn't want him to brood for too long. Also, I didn't want his discussion of Mennis to go into the things I need to discuss in the next chapter—namely, the reasons the plan hasn't failed just because the army is dead.
The second half didn't start to work until I made Mennis more of a conversation-antagonist, having him advise that Kelsier just give up. This was kind of his function in chapter one as well, so I'm not certain why I didn't figure out his place in this chapter more quickly. In a rewrite, I think I'll strengthen this idea little more. It's good to pile on the 'you can't succeed' sections of the book, so that when the rebellion finally does happen, it's all the more sweet because of the overwhelming sense of the odds.
The Venture-atium connection is something I wish I could have foreshadowed a little bit better. However, without Elend being a viewpoint until this chapter (the reasons for which I'll explain in a bit) there really wasn't much I could do to connect Venture and the Pits.
By the way, the 'something a few years ago' that Elend mentions happening to disturb the atium production was Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin, Snapping and coming to an awakening of his powers—then bursting out of his hut and slaughtering every soldier or nobleman within ten miles of the Pits.
This is the most overt and obvious of my savior-imagery scenes for Kelsier. I hope you didn't feel like I was hitting you over the head with it. (I didn't actually realize the similarity between Survivor and Savior until I was part of the way through the book.) Either way, yes, the Christian imagery is intentional. I didn't put it in simply because I'm religious (after all, if you look at it, Kelsier isn't really all that Christian in the way he deals with people.) I put it in because I think that the images and metaphors of Christianity are deeply-seated in our culture, and drawing upon them provides for a more powerful story.
Part of this is to intentionally make people uncomfortable—for discomfort (when used right) leads to tension. The Christians who read this might be made uncomfortable by how strikingly un-divine Kelsier is. He's acting in some of the same roles as Christ did, but he's not the man that Christ was. He's kind of a pale imitation. The non-Christians, in turn, might be made uncomfortable by the fact that Kelsier is manipulating the people in the way that religions often do, giving hope in something that could very well prove to be false.
Either way, he is what he is. The truest Kelsier is the one we see near the end, where he's standing in the kitchen, smoldering in his black clothing. He is a dangerous man with powerful beliefs.
We're gearing up for some pretty spectacular fight scenes, if I do say so myself. The short one in this chapter is a good one. However, there's much more to come.
I'd been waiting to pit Kelsier against an Inquisitor since the early chapters, where he led that one on a chase. Part of the reason I didn't show that chase is because I wanted the reader to anticipate this moment themselves. I also didn't show Kelsier fighting the Inquisitors in the palace the night that Vin was wounded. In short, I wanted to save the scene of a fight between them until Kelsier could really give it his all, actually fighting.
It took a lot to get him into a direct fight. However, push Kelsier far enough, and he'll snap. When he does... well, you'll have to read on.
You know, I always talk about how I like happy endings. And yet, everyone always complains that I'm too brutal in places. Here is a good example.
Kelsier dies. Yes, he's really dead. Yet, his death isn't truly that sad to me. He accomplished a lot, and died facing down the Lord Ruler himself. It's not a sad death.
Honestly, you should have seen it coming. I worried about doing this, actually, since it seemed a little too expected. The mentor figure always ends up getting killed. I nearly didn't do it simply for that reason. However, I eventually decided that a good story is more important, sometimes, than avoiding the expected. Once in a while, you just have to do what feels right, even if that feeling leads you into areas that others have tread. Hopefully, I take it in my own direction. (See the next chapter.)
If you couldn't tell, this is one of the climactic scenes I was writing toward.
I'll admit, I didn't have this exact twist down when I started the book. As I worked through the novel, I quickly began to realize that Kelsier had to have some master plan—something greater than he was letting on. That's just the way his personality is. Plus, I needed something that lent more weight to the book. Made it more than just the simple heist story that I'd originally conceived. (After all, a heist story could be told in far less than 200,000 words.)
Kelsier's real plan wasn't firm for me until I wrote the scenes with him in the caves, influencing the soldiers. By then, of course, over half the book was written. So, I had to begin building Kelsier's true plan from there—and then do a rewrite to put it in from the beginning.
I had known from the beginning that Kelsier was going to die, and that he was going to gain such renown with the skaa (before his death) that the crew began to worry that he would turn into another Lord Ruler. Putting these two things together so that his growing reputation was part of his plan all along was the realization I needed to connect. Then, I could have the bang I wanted in the ending chapters, when the crew realized what Kelsier had been planning all along.
As surprises go, I think this is one of my better—but definitely not one of my best. It required keeping too much back from the reader when in Kelsier's viewpoint, and it required to much explanation after-the-fact to make it work. There's a much better surprise later on. Still, I'm pleased with the bang on this one—especially since I got to have such a beautiful scene with the crew standing atop the building, the mists coming alight around them, as if representing their own growing understanding of the job they'd always been part of.
Kelsier gets to have some last words in this chapter. He earned them, I think. I'm sorry to keep the truth of kandra from you so long, as I've said before. However, I needed to leave the explanation off so that the reader could experience the revelation with Vin here. Even if you'd already figured out what Renoux was, then I think this scene is more powerful by having the revelations happen like they did.
Anyway, Kelsier is among my personal favorite characters, if only for his depth. He is a complicated, multi-faceted man who managed to scam not only the entire empire, but his own crew at the same time. I felt I had to give him some last words, if only through a letter, so that the reader could bid him a proper farewell. In addition, I wanted him to pass that flower on to Vin—symbolically charging her with Mare's dream, now that Kelsier himself is dead.
I hope you noticed the difference between the way Kelsier got into the room and the way Vin did it. She walked up to the guards at the front and talked them away, rather than killing them. She just strolled through the guard chamber—the place where she killed her first time—instead of attacking. Why attack? She's powerful enough that she can just slip through and escape.
For Kelsier, the killing was always part of the victory. Vin's more goal-oriented, perhaps. In addition, she doesn't like to kill. So, her way is to just slip by the men. Then, in the room, she doesn't get close to the Inquisitors—she takes them down with tricks. On the streets, she would have had to use very little to gain much. She needed to be extremely clever with the small advantages she had. She used Allomancy in small ways to great advantage. Now that she's more powerful, I think her cleverness and resourcefulness will lead her to be far more amazing an Allomancer than Kelsier was.
Elend comparing himself to Kelsier is a kind of theme for him in this book. I wanted Kelsier to leave a long, long shadow over these next two books.
A lot of people couldn't believe that I killed Kelsier, since he was such a ball of charisma, and the driving force for the first book. (A lot of others CAN believe it, but are rather annoyed at me for doing it.) However, I happen to like this book specifically because of Kelsier's absence.
He overshadowed everything when he was alive. Elend could never have developed as a character—and even Sazed and Vin would have had trouble—as long as Kelsier was there dominating everything. He was a character at the end of his arc—while the others are still only just beginning. It's so much more interesting if they have to do things without him.
Just part of Kelsier's arrogance, I guess. Both as a character in the book, and externally to it. He dominated so much that he had to go.
I guess, specifically, does someone have to have both… with Connection, are there more than one elements that people would have to have to have Connection to… provide avenue to power from a different area.
Oh, um… there are multiple things that could help with it, yes. There are certain things that you can Connect through to make one strong Connection would be enough for variety of magics, yeah.
I said that I was still suspicious of Hoid,
to which he said I should be, as those two (Hoid and Kelsier) do not get along. He said that the memory uncovered a truth that Kelsier did not want to be known.