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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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I had a bit of a challenge in this book because—and you may want to put a spoiler warning on this interview—at the end of the first Mistborn trilogy, one of the characters became the god of this world. He became a god figure, an almost omnipotent figure. I had planned this from the beginning, but it also offers a challenge, because in this world you have a real deity that is interacting, that is a character—not to say that in our world God doesn't interact with us, because as you know I am a faithful, religious person. However, I think there is a different interaction going here where the reader has spent time with this person as a character, and now he is a deity figure. So how to deal with this is one of the big challenges in worldbuilding this next several hundred years.
I wanted Sazed to be involved—I didn't want to just have him vanish and not be part of things. I wanted to acknowledge what happened with him and make it part of the mythology of the story. But at the same time, having one of your characters turn into God runs you right into the trouble of literal deus ex machina, once one of your characters has all of this power. So walking that line was both exciting and also very challenging.
I like to deal with religion in my books. I like to look at all aspects of it, and in this book I wanted to look at what it would be like if someone like Sazed had been put in this position and people started worshiping him—what do you do with that?
Can Sazed "will" himself to any Shardworld if he so desires?
Yes, he has the capacity for it. However, will he? Don't know. If he did there would be a lot of ramifications for it...
Will Sazed eventually go mad trying to hold two Shard's power at the same time (being pushed to two different Purposes simultaneously for millennia)? Why hasn't anyone else tried this trick before in the Cosmere?
No. Since they're so opposite they work together to create a whole. However, after a LONG time it would change him as a person.
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.
I can guess two possible options for the Kandra.
1. God Sazed endowed the gift of presence on the now mistwraiths.
2. Some of the Kandra survived in the cave with the Terrisman and people of the city, along with the small mistwraiths, these are re-born with the spikes they pulled out during the resolution.
I can imagine too that some Kandra on assignment may have hidden in the shelters with the rest of humanity.
Yes, they live. The people were smart enough, eventually, to replace their spikes. (And there were a couple who were on assignment who made it to storage caches.)
However, there will likely never be any more of them, since Hemalurgy is required to make them. They are now some of the few people who can communicate directly with Sazed, who—like Ruin—can whisper to people most easily when they are connected to him via spikes. With some speculation, you can probably guess what kind of roles the Kandra will end up playing in future books.
On a broader level, is hemalurgy officially dead, then? Or is it still extant in some Ruin-free (but still messy) form? (If it's gone, is there any imbalance since Preservation's magic power is kept and Ruin's isn't?)
Is Hemalurgy dead? No, not at all. It, like the other two powers, was not created by Ruin or Preservation, but by the natural state of the world and its interaction with the gods who created it. It still requires the same method of creation, but very few people are aware of how it works.
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.
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'm surprised no one else has asked but does this new world have atium? If atium was the body of Ruin then it would seem when Sazed took up Ruin's power he would have reabsorbed all of the atium. New atium then would be bits of Sazed's new powers and weaken him with each newly formed bead. It would seem then that if atium exists it would be much rarer, and mean that Sazed would not be able to control this process.
I guess I am trying to understand why he would want to allow any atium to make its way into the hands of people or rather out of his control?
Ruin and Preservation were not the only Shards of Adonalsium, though they are the only ones on Scadrial at the moment. Sazed's ability to be both at once is actually something I drew from Eastern mythology, where it is believed that the ability to contain two opposing forces at the same time represents ultimate harmony. The Buddha, for instance, was said to have performed the miracle of producing both fair and ice from his hands at the same time.
Is "Scadrial" the proper name to refer to the Mistborn world?
Scadrial is indeed the name of the planet.
A manifestation of Ruin's gathered consciousness, much like the dark mists in book two. The lake was still around in Vin's era, but had been moved under ground. (Note that the Well is a very similar manifestation. You've also seen one other manifestation like this....)
The "lake" was barely ten feet deep—more like a pool. Its water was a crystalline blue, and Raoden could see no inlets or outlets.If that's what you're hinting at...I never thought of the connection before! I just kept thinking of Aether of Night, and never thought of this pool at all.
Both are accurate, but the first is what I meant, as most people here don't have access to Aether.
I'm also thinking that the Dor in Elantris is another Shard of Adonalsium. Certainly in the Elantris world, where the Dor came from is rather ambiguous, which I expected it would be. Of course, if other Shards of Adonalsium do exist, the Dor could have come from that source.
I will RAFO from here on the other Shards of Adonalsium, as it would be better for me not to give spoilers. Please feel free to speculate. Readers have met four shards other than Ruin and Preservation.
Have we met these four by name, or just by influence? I can't think of a name that would go with the one that the Elantris lake is a manifestation of.
Hoid could be one? I know nothing his purpose other than that he shows up in lots of different books, sometimes begging and sometimes telling stories. Since most of these series happen on different planets (though two of them may happen on the same planet as each other), I'm assuming he has mad planet-hopping skills.
Ookla, I'm going to be tight lipped on this, as I don't want to give things away for future books. But I'll tell you this:
You've interacted with two directly.
One is a tough call. You've never met the Shard itself, but you've seen its power.
The other one you have not met directly, but have seen its influence.
I thought Nightblood was explained sufficiently for my tastes in Warbreaker, so I doubt that it is a Shard, but I've been plenty wrong before. Also, I don't know if Hoid could even be a Shard. Certainly he has mean planet-hopping skills, but I don't know what purpose a celestial storyteller would have in this universe. He doesn't really have the same kind of power as Ruin or Preservation did, so normally I would rule him out right off the bat. But it is possible that these Shards come in many shapes, not just in the near-deific quantity Ruin or Preservation had. I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Hoid is a Shard... but, then again, I don't have any ideas for what those four other Shards are.
Maybe Hoid is just a traveler trying to find remnants of Adonalsium and stories about them. He doesn't need to be a shard, I suppose.
This is slightly a tangent, but here is a relevant chunk from the Warbreaker Annotations. As this won't be posted for months, I'll put it here as a sneak preview.
This whole scene came about because I wanted an interesting way to delve into the history. Siri needed to hear it, and I felt that many readers would want to know it. However, that threatened to put me into the realm of the dreaded info dump.
And so I brought in the big guns. This cameo is so obvious (or, at least, someday it will be) that I almost didn’t use the name Hoid for the character, as I felt it would be too obvious. The first draft had him using one of his other favorite pseudonyms. However, in the end, I decided that too many people would be confused (or, at least, even more confused) if I didn’t use the same name. So here it is. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about. . .well, let’s just say that there’s a lot more to this random appearance than you might think.
Brandon, I believe in one of Sazed's epigraphs, he actually called it "Adonasium" rather than what you are referring to here, which is "Adonalsium". I'm thinking that's just a typo, right?
I don't suppose you could tell us which book series of yours will tell us more about Adonalsium, would you? You know, just so us theorizers on the forum know when to properly theorize about these things...
Well, I guess this means that the proofreaders did not add the "L" when I marked the error on the manuscript.(sigh). Yes, the correct spelling is Adonalsium. I will try to get this fixed for the paperback, but I've been trying to get that blasted steel/iron error in the back of book one fixed for two years now. . .
If it helps, Sazed would probably under-pronounce the "L" as that letter, like in Tindwyl's name, is said very softly in Terris.
As for your other question, you will have to wait and see. Now, you could search my old books for clues, but I would caution against this. While there are hints in these, they are not yet canon. Just as I changed how things were presented in the Mistborn books during editing, I would have fixed a lot in these books during revision. Beyond that, reading them would give big spoilers for books yet to be released. White Sand, Dragonsteel, and Way of Kings in particular are going to be published some day for almost certain. (Though in very different forms). Aether of Night should be safe, as should Final Empire prime and Mistborn prime, though of those three, only Aether is worth reading, and then only barely. (It is still pretty bad).
In one of the bumps, Sazed mentions a discussion between Vin and Ruin in which Vin asks Ruin why she was chosen to release him from the Well. Did this discussion occur in the in-between afterlife where Vin, Elend, Kelsier, etc., were, or did it occur off-screen while Vin and Ruin were busy stopping each other from affecting the world?
I was fairly sure she asked it while she was a prisoner of Yomen, but I could be wrong.
I'd first like to say that this series was fantastic. I was exceptionally pleased with how you tied everything together in this final book of the trilogy.
(1) This series has the best world-building, magic system, and over-arching plot of any epic fantasy I have ever read. I think George R.R. Martin is still the master of creating memorable characters, developing them, and having them interact with each other. Other authors, like Hobb and Rothfuss, are better at evincing emotion. You are an amazing writer yourself.
That being said, I have a couple suggestions for you.
(2) The first contradicts itself, so take it for what it is. I would suggest that you write how you feel the story should be written. Getting inspiration from someone is one thing, but changing your work because some people want a happy ending or dark ending takes away from the purity of writing. The part you added in at the end where Sazed let Spook know Vin and Elend were happy in the afterlife really stuck me like a thorn. I think it was apparent how happy they were together in life and how necessary their sacrifices were. That would have been enough for me.
(3) My other suggestion is more of a plea really. Please don't extend this series just to capitalize on it. If you really feel there is more story to be told, then tell it. I, for one, thought the ending would have been perfect if allomancy, hemalurgy, and feruchemy would have faded from existence as their corresponding gods did. It would have been rather romantic to have people start over with a new "normal" world.
Congratulations again on completing a masterful work!
1. You humble me. I don't think I've NEARLY the skill for characters that Mr. Martin does, and that's not just an attempt at modesty. I hope to be there some day, however.
2. This is a tricky one. I didn't change the worldbuilding or the cosmology of the story in order to fit what people wanted, but I feel strongly about using writing groups and test readers to see if my intention in a book has been achieved. I show things to alpha readers to see what is confusing or bothersome to them, then decide if that's really something I want to be confusing or bothersome.
In my mind, the presence of a powerful being such as Sazed, mixed with some direct reaching from beyond the grave by a certain crew leader, indicated that there WAS an afterlife. However, test readers didn't get it, so I tweaked the story to make it more obvious. Perhaps I should have left it as is, but I liked both ways, and decided upon the one I liked the most in the context of reader responses.
I do plan to always tell the stories from my heart, and not change them because of how I think the reactions will be. But I do think it's important to know what those reactions are ahead of time and decide if they are what I want or not.
3. We are on the same page on this one. You can read other posts on the thread to see what kind of thoughts I might have for more Mistborn books, but I don't know if/when I will write them. It depends on the story and how excited I am to tell it.
I still can't stop thinking that in my head. It's all that's really coming to mind at the moment.
I made the stupid mistake of finishing the book this afternoon in a public place. Therefore I looked like a complete moron as I burst into tears when Elend died. I think it was a good ending. I'm still not totally decided on that. I'm just in shock.
It's just so amazing how the books progressed, developing into this huge cosmic epic that I never expected from just reading The Final Empire a year ago. I guess in some sense what I'm feeling is a slight sense of... awe, maybe? I want to know how he comes up with stuff. I mean seriously, talk about not just writing another fantasy series.
But I'm also shocked that no one else seemed to have figured out that Sazed was the Hero of Ages. I thought it might be him when I started the book, but it could as easily have been Vin or Elend. But at about a third of the way through, page 215 to be exact, there was this line from Sazed thinking in his head:
"I am, unforunately, in charge."
"I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages."
No one else would have used the same wording as Sazed did when he was thinking to himself. I have to assume that was intentional on Brandon's part. It was very subtle... I'm actually surprised I noticed.
I'm gratified that you noticed. The Terris dialect IS very subtle. That speech pattern is one hint, the other is the use of "I think" to soften phrases at the ending. Beyond that, Sazed speaks with compound, complex sentences using frequent hedging to indicate that he's often uncertain. (That's another Terris speech pattern, not wanting to offend with language.)
The epigraphs in this book particularly (though I did it for Kwaan too) are intended to "sound" Terris, and like Sazed in particular. I didn't think anyone would catch it. You made my day!
The reference to northern mystics, in this chapter, is a foreshadowing of the powers of Keepers, such as Sazed. One of their abilities is to make themselves heavier and lighter. You won't see much of that until book two, however.
In this chapter, we get to meet Sazed—who ranks as one of my favorite characters in the entire series. (Alongside Vin and someone we haven't met yet.) I like Sazed because he's inherantly conflicted, yet acts so peaceful. He's a member of a servant race, bred to be humble and submissive. Yet, he knows the one who directed all of that breeding is the Lord Ruler. Add in that he seeks to work with the rebellion, yet feels out of place unless he's acting as a servant, and you get a really good character, in my opinion.
Needless to say, you'll be seeing a lot of him.
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.
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.
We've now seen Sazed preach a couple of religions to members of the crew. You may be interested in my process of coming up with his character.
It actually began when I was watching the movie THE MUMMY. Yes, I know. Sometimes it's embarrassing where we come up with ideas. However, my inspiration for Sazed was the moment when the oily little thief character gets confronted by the mummy, and pulls out a whole pile of holy symbols. He goes through each one, praying to each god, looking for one that would help him.
I began to wonder what it would be like to have a kind of missionary who preached a hundred different religions. A man who, instead of advancing his own beliefs, tried to match a set of beliefs to the person—kind of like a tailor looking to fit a man with the prefect and most comfortable hat.
That's where the inspiration for the entire sect of Keepers began. Soon, I had the idea that the Lord Ruler would have squished all the religions in the Final Empire, and I thought of a sect of mystics who tried to collect and preserve all of these religions. I put the two ideas together, and suddenly I had Sazed's power. (I then stole a magic system from FINAL EMPIRE PRIME, which I'll talk about later, and made it work in this world. Feruchemy was born.)
I did, I did.
K, good. I just wanted to make sure.
I feel kind of silly because it actually is a pun. And the entire Mistborn trilogy is therefore based on a pun. The first paragraph of the first chapter. But you know, if you can't tell from me naming my character Wax and Wayne, that I have a slight problem with puns.
I love that! I didn't even realize it until I started to explain it to my family, and I was saying that the main characters are Wax and Wayne. It was a good moment.
You've said that Splintering a shard is essentially the same thing as the shattering of Adonalsium, repeated on a smaller scale.
And a while ago, someone asked you if Splintering was permanent or reversible, and you said that it can be reversed.
And shard holders tend to take the name of the shard they hold. So you've got Sazed, who goes by "Harmony" now, after taking up Ruin and Preservation. That makes me wonder, does he hold two shards... or one?
You could really answer that either way. The distinction is a really subjective one, and you could say that he's holding both shards, or that he holds one single Harmony.
My favorite part of the Mistborn trilogy was Sazed and his scholarly work. I really liked how you described the motivations behind and the methods used in his analyses of religious doctrines. It seemed like you took a lot of care in writing about his quest.
Was Sazed's search inspired by any sort of scholarly work you've done, on religion or otherwise?
Yes, it was, though his sequence in the third was one of the most difficult to get right in any book I've written. Originally, I wrote it as him having already come to the conclusion he does near the end—that all religion is false—and that left him wallowing about in a depressive funk through most of the book. This was just horribly boring to read, and it was only through revision that I decided to show his quest.
I am a religious person, and have spent a lot of time thinking, questioning, and deciding what I believe and why. I don't think questions like these are easy ones to answer, and anything that is difficult is prime material for storytelling in my mind. Writing Sazed was an exploration for me as much as it was an exploration for the character.
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.
I don't really have a question, I just want to say that the twist at the end of Well of Ascension absolutely blew my mind.
I specifically remember when Sazed noticed the Holy First Witness in the prophecy, I was surprised I hadn't made that connection myself since I remember the prophecy so well. Then I get to the end where we learn about Ruin altering text, and thought that was an amazing plot twist, and I started wondering if you'd been altering the text in the passages at the beginning of chapters, since some of them were repeated a few times. THEN I suddenly remembered that the text originally referred to the Announcer, not the Holy First Witness, and . . . my mind was blown. That was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced in any fiction I've read.
Thanks! I worked quite a lot on that one. Glad to see it worked for you.
Thanks so much for all your writing, Way of Kings is the best book I've read in the last decade.
If Sazed were to die, would he drop the shards Ruin and Preservation, or would he drop the shard Harmony?
Excellent question. The shards are now intermingled, and would take effort to split apart. He would drop Harmony. (This is what Odium feared would happen, by the way.)
Sazed's two Shards do not "cancel out", as Brandon said that it would like being pulled by two huge gravitational tides. You can get to a way that you aren't instantly ripped apart, but that doesn't mean you don't feel it. EDIT: When asked what effect the Shards would have on Sazed, Brandon said, "Read Alloy of Law to find out".
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...
Oh! Did Ati- We see Elend and Vin in that kind of holding pattern with Sazed at the end, did Ati perish? Or did he also stay in the holding pattern?
Ati perished. He is gone.
Can I make some guesses?
Is it Kelsier?
What does that mean?
That means I'm not going to answer that.
Sazed's nature as a Eunuch was stabilized in my mind almost from the beginning of the formation of his character. With the Lord Ruler trying so hard to breed a perfect race of Terrisman servants, I felt that it would be important for him to castrate most of the Terrismen. In addition, I've never written a eunuch character before, and really wanted to see if I could deal with one in a good way.
I read up on what castration does to a man when it's preformed before puberty. Often, apparently, the result is obesity. Another result is that the person grows taller than normal (for some reason) and their arms grow longer in proportion to their bodies than regular people. I didn't make Sazed fat—I think that had been done too much for eunuchs—but I did give him the other physical characteristic.
He continues to grow more complex as a character as the book progresses. That's one of the things I absolutely love doing—giving readers a side character that they think will only be secondary, then building his motivation and complexity until he becomes one of the most important figures in the story.
If you had to pick any one of your characters to be your new best friend (besides your wife) for the rest of your life, who would would it be and what do you imagine would be your weekend "Let's hang out, but I don't want to plan anything, so let's do the 'usual'" ritual?
I think I'd dig hanging out with Sazed. The usual would be, "tell me about a religion you've studied."
Sazed was many people's favorite character in the first book. I knew pretty early on in the writing process of that book that Sazed would become a major force in the novel. In fact, he was one of the very first characters I outlined and built in my head. Who he is, and what he stands for, is quite integral to the plot arc of the entire series.
So, knowing that, you probably aren't surprised to see him become a major viewpoint character in this book. I loved writing his chapters. The way he sees the world—always trying to look from other people's viewpoints, always trying to understand others and give them the benefit of the doubt—makes him very dear to me. He is pleasant to write about, and his inner turmoil (we'll talk more about that later) is so much more painful because of how basically a nice person he is.
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.
A very short Sazed chapter. Mostly, this was just here because I had to remind the readers that Sazed was doing things. Getting to the Conventical is going to take enough time that, if I hadn't thrown in a small chapter like this, you would have gone a long time without seeing Sazed.
The things he mulls over here, then, are reinforcement of his character and his conflicts. It's also helping establish Marsh. Not because of what is said, but simply because you see them both again, and are therefore reminded of the things I talked about last time I was with him.
I wrote Mistborn One mostly chronologically, regardless of viewpoint. I did that with this book for the most part too, but I did write a lot of these Sazed chapters together, in bulk, so that I could keep the tone and voice right. I knew how many chapters from his viewpoint I needed, and I knew where they had to go, so I divided up what needed to happen and went from there.
You may be interested to know that I planned a prologue for this book, originally, with Sazed seeing the mists during the day. He was going to ride past a valley, see it creeping along inside, then rush down and find it gone by the time he arrived. That's when he was to hear the rumors of people killed by it, then rush off, and eventually get lucky enough to find a person killed just a day before.
I never wrote that prologue. I just didn't feel that I needed it, and didn't want to start with that scene—I wanted something more active, rather than something mysterious, for the opening. As I revised the book and tried to focus the reader more and more on the politics and warfare, rather than the mists (particularly at the beginning) I decided that a prologue that dealt with the mists would be out of place.
The koloss army was another thing that got shuffled about in this book. Originally, the Luthadel folks discovered its advance pretty early on. All of their discussions, then, talked about the fact that they had three armies bearing down on them.
I pushed back knowledge of the koloss for a couple of reasons. First off, koloss are scary—and I think they deserve to be treated differently from the other two armies. Their appearance can throw a real wrench into things later on, once Elend and company hear about them. It allows for the reader to know something that most of the characters do not, and leads to anticipation and tension.
In addition, it gives Sazed another good reason to exist in the plot. Now he knows about the koloss and nobody else inside the city does. His mission, therefore, is even more vital. He has to bring information back to his friends.
So the Shard wouldn’t be able to heal…?
Well, the Shard...Like, here’s the thing we have to get at with this, what we’re getting at, which is the question of, for instance, is Kaladin’s depression a flaw in him that needs to be healed? And that is a question for philosophers. There are certainly people in the Cosmere and outside the Cosmere that say yes, this needs to be healed, but what about somebody who’s...say, someone who is autistic, and their mind just works in a different way, and this way allows a certain bond to happen that couldn’t otherwise happen? Is that a flaw, or - is it a bug or a feature, to speak in coding terms? Is what’s up with Kaladin a bug or a feature? I know that my wife would probably get rid of her depression if she could, but it’s also fundamental in how she sees the world and who she is, would that change her into a different person? And things like this. So, I want you when you discuss this, to be very careful about treating mental illness as a flaw as opposed to an aspect of a human personality that allows certain different things to happen. Does that make sense? [Applause]
The way I was sort of thinking, was, could Odium say, “Oh, I’m just going to fix this” and then [...]?
Right, right, yeah. If he - if there was - that is possible, but it would be hard to do without the consent of the person, but that is possible. You can fix somebody in a way that they didn’t want to be fixed, and it would ruin things.