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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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Why did the Well of Ascension refill every thousand years rather than 500 or 200, etc.?
It's actually every 1024 years. The Lord Ruler just befuddled the information a bit.
Why did Rashek create mistwraiths the way that he did?
He wasn't sure what you meant by this, but he was sure that the annotations would cover what you wanted to know.
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.
Koloss were bad tempered before Ruin's influence, though he certainly made them worse. They were designed by the Lord Ruler to be aggressive, so aggressive that they would destroy themselves if they got loose and away from him. (This was intentional. Note that he didn't give the spark of humanity in them enough credit, and they managed to overcome this and 'evolve' in a way to keep their species going, even after he died.)
There ARE still koloss around, though many of them were vaporized. Human is alive. Sazed took pity on them, however, and they have been transformed. They are now a race that breeds true, like the Kandra, and have different thought processes from what they once had. You'll see more of them in the sequel series.
Kwaan went into hiding, and he was eventually discovered and executed by Rashek. He wasn't among the First Generation, though he would have been if he hadn't turned against Rashek. Rashek kept the plate, however, just as he kept Alendi's logbook. Partially because even then, Rashek was going a little mad, but partially because of the reminders about his old life they contained.
I'm assuming you meant Alendi hunted him down because he turned against Alendi. Or did Kwaan also turn against Rashek?
No, I meant that he turned against Rashek. Remember, the members of the First Generation were offered immortality in exchange for their Hemalurgy. They had to make this choice for all of the world's Feruchemists. Because his uncle had been the one who gave Rashek the chance to become the Lord Ruler in the first place, Rashek blessed him and included him in the decision. (Speaking directly into his mind along with the others during Rashek's moment of ascension.)
Kwaan was the only one who turned down this offer, calling it a betrayal of who they were as a people. Rashek could have just made him one anyway, but in a moment of anger, he tried to destroy Kwaan—which he couldn't do, not with Preservation's power. As the other Feruchemists changed, Kwaan remained the same. Rashek eventually hunted him down and killed him.
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.
Moshe mentioned to me that we're going to have to do a book after the MISTBORN series that doesn't have such a gloomy setting. First, I had ELANTRIS, with the city full of dark sludge. Now I've got MISTBORN, with the entire world full of black ash.
The coincidence wasn't intentional. Remember, for me, there were seven books in-between ELANTRIS and MISTBORN. Most of those had far more cheerful settings. However, this story—which is based around a world where the Dark Lord won—kind of required a depressing atmosphere.
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.
We mention the Lord Ruler's flawless memory here. This is actually the only time in the entire series that it's mentioned. However, this is an important clue for later. However, as I'm writing this, without being able to hide this text, I don't want to explain too much and inadvertently ruin something. However, if you've finished the book, you might be able to figure out why the Lord Ruler might have a reputation for being able to remember things.
Also, Sazed gives us our first real discussion of belief and religion. I think this is a very important aspect of this novel, since the Lord Ruler is—esentially—God. I'll get more into this later, but I wanted it known that some members of the group are worried about religious concerns.
This chapter has my favorite of Ham's little philosophical dilemmas. Most people I've had read the book don't think much of this argument. It seems obvious to them that resisting the Lord Ruler is the right thing for the people to do. I guess that means I've done my work well, giving the readers a distinct hatred of this government.
And yet, I don't think the answer is that simple—not for the people living in the world. Ham has a point, in my opinion. Not a big one, but at least one worth considering.
We get another mention of the Deepness here. I am a bit sad that I didn't get to spend very much time in this novel explaining the mythology behind the Lord Ruler's rise to power. I get to plenty of that in the next two books, fortunately. So, you've got a lot to look forward to.
Several other things were added to this scene in later drafts. One was the moment when Vin looked up at the windows and contemplated the Deepness and what she knew of it. As I've mentioned, I wanted more chances to talk about the mythology of the world. Moshe mentioned this as well, and so for the sixth draft (this book took seven, including the copy edit) I added in this scene.
Another big change was renaming the Lord Ruler's priests. Originally, they were called just that—priests. And, the Steel Ministry was the Steel Priesthood. I made the change to Steel Ministry and obligators because I didn't want the religion and government in the Final Empire to feel so stereotypical. This was a world where the priests were more spies and bureaucrats than they were true priests—and I wanted the names to reflect that. So, I took out 'Priesthood' and 'priests.' I really like the change—it gives things a more appropriate feel, making the reader uncertain where the line between priests and government ministers is.
By the way, my friend Nate Hatfield is the one who actually came up with the word 'obligator.' Thanks, Nate!
Anyway, I when I changed the priests to obligators, I realized I wanted them to have a more controlling function in the Final Empire. So, I gave them the power of witnessing, and added in the aspect of the world where only they can make things legal or factual. This idea expanded in the culture until it became part of society that a statement wasn't considered absolutely true until an obligator was called in to witness it. That's why, in this chapter, we see someone paying an obligator to witness something rather trivial.
This was one of the main chapters where obligators were added in, to show them witnessing—and keeping an eye on the nobility. Moshe wanted me to emphasize this, and I think he made a good call. It also gave me the opportunity to point out Vin's father, something I didn't manage to do until chapter forty or so in the original draft.
Then Kiley had a question. She's very soft-spoken so I'm not sure I got it all down right.
So how much, either consciously or unconsciously, do the diary entries from the Lord Ruler reflect the Rand-type characters?
That's the pitch to myself for Mistborn, years ago: "What if Rand failed, and decided to take over the world instead?" basically. It's more than that, though; it's, you know" "What if Frodo kept the ring? What if the hero from the monomyth failed, and instead became the tyrant?" And so, I consciously evoked that.
So did you ever see in that through the end, so that Rand didn't go....like, this is really similar, ever?
Not specifically, but you know, I was basing the idea off of that, yeah.
It was like, "This could be Rand's diary," you know.
Why did the Lord Ruler [in Mistborn] have to stay aged at times?
That's when he was doing his rebuild. He didn't really have to, but he let himself. He has to recharge periodically, and then stays on a higher and higher burn over the thousand years. It gets harder and harder. The way the magic works—he doesn't have to stay aged.
Is he burning or tapping?
This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to push/pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.
3.) The amount of investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.
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?
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.
How cosmere-aware was the Lord Ruler? If a Returned waltzed into Kredik Shaw, would he have any idea what was going on? Or at least be able to recognize 'hey that guy seems endowmenty'.
Aware enough to know he wasn't alone, but not so aware that he'd know specifics. He didn't hold the power long enough to explore outward very far.
I love how many authors we get on this subreddit, it's amazing. Not sure if you meant this forum or not but it's still cool. I hope I see Brandon Sanderson one of these days, I have a stupid question for him.
I've been terrible about my reddit pms lately. Better to ask here.
About Miles from Alloy of Law and his regenerative powers. If he was bisected down the middle and the halves were separated immediately before the healing process could begin, would the two halves each regrow into a whole Miles?
Good question. In all of the Cosmere's Shard-based magics, the greater portion of a bisected body regrows the lesser portion. If it were done EXACTLY halfway, the soul wold jump to one or the other randomly and that would regrow.
Amusingly, this first came up in 1999, six years before I got published. (I see someone else already mentioned the situation where I had to consider it.)
As little add—on Sanderson has stated that at its core, Shard-based healing is about restoring the person back to themselves. So someone who wears glasses and gets shot and healed, will still need glasses as that is how they (or their soul) sees themself. I assume this would happen in more extreme cases too, some one who had a limb amputated at birth gets healed at another time, the limb will not be restored because they see themself as an amputee, even if it is within the magic's ability to restore limbs to some one who recently lost one.
So... wait a sec, the Lord Ruler got decapitated at one point...
What did he do with the severed head? Mount it on the wall?
He mounted it SIDEWAYS? :P
Actually, this is kind of a sillier followup to a silly question, but could you use Forgery to say 'actually, this half had 51% instead of 49%' and temporarily clone Miles?
Boy. That's a can of worms, right there...
Inquisitors knowing how to Compound: some may have figured it out at some point. I got the impression it was not a technique the Lord Ruler taught them.
We asked some questions about the Lord Ruler, like if he knew about chromium and nicrosil. Brandon said he knew about those metals, and then also said "The Lord Ruler knew a lot of things that no one knows." All right then.
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.)
Feruchemy is about multipliers. The more the Lord Ruler aged, the less "multiplier" he could store in his metalmind. And the more he aged the more he would need to Compound to stay alive. There could exist an upper bound to the amount of time the Lord Ruler could survive off this trick.
What do the burnlands look like?
The burnlands are the area surrounding the Final Empire area. They are liveable on the border, but as you get further and further from the final empire, they get more and more barren until eventually nothing can survive. Basically a really large desert. Brandon also mentioned that some koloss live there, because they can survive, and some humans live on the border. These humans actually have some technology that the Final Empire did not, because they needed it to survive, and/or because they were far enough from the oppression of the Lord Ruler to develop new things. Because of this, the border of the burnlands would actually be a good setting for a game.
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.
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.
[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.]
Did the Lord Ruler know how to worldhop?
He was familiar with the idea that people lived on other planets, but had no interest—or experience—in visiting other places. During his Ascension, he could have left Scadrial, if he'd wished.
Ok so would Rashek still have had powers [because he was a Sliver]?
He would have had some residual effects. But it also works the soul in weird ways, like a balloon that has been deflated.
I figured it would make sense that the Lord Ruler would be so old, so experienced, and so powerful that he wouldn't be able to be lied to. H's been around people for centuries and centuries. It's very hard to fool him.
His extreme power in Allomancy takes a little bit more explaining. It'll take me three books to get to the real reasons for that one. So, you'll need to be patient.
Straff is generally everyone's least favorite character—though that's kind of what I expected. He's not insane; he's just a terrible person. Those do, unfortunately, exist—given his power and upbringing, he's not all that surprising in his bullyness.
I wanted to provide a range of villains for this series. The Lord Ruler was one type of villain—the untouchable god, distant and mysterious. Straff is another: the downright, simple bully with too much power and not enough wisdom. Zane is our third villain—sympathetic, edgy, and possibly more dangerous than either of the two.
[Surprised, because this dashed a favorite theory of mine] Oh okay!
Yeah, the compounding trick. Really what’s happening is you’re fueling feruchemy with the power of allomancy, but you’re filtering it through you, and then you’re storing it.
So it’s not that you’re a more powerful mistborn when you’ve tapped [investiture]
No, good question.