The following is commentary, written by Brandon, about one of the chapters of MISTBORN: THE WELL OF ASCENSION. If you haven’t read this book, know that the following will contain major spoilers. We suggest reading the sample chapters from book one instead. You can also go to this book’s introduction or go to the main annotations page to access all annotations for all books. For those who have read some of MISTBORN 2, any spoilers for the ending of this book will be hidden, so as long as you’ve read up to this chapter, you should be all right.
So, yes. The crew has been manipulated. Everyone’s been manipulated for a good thousand years. By this thing wanting to be released.
You’ll find out more in the next chapter, but realize here that most everything about the traditions from the old days–the prophesies, all of that–has been manipulated.
Marsh Vs. Sazed
But first we have the Marsh Sazed battle. I really like this scene, since I get to do something very new with it. Do you remember when I promised you that you’d see some cool interactions between Allomancy and Feruchemy?
I realized almost immediately, when designing Feruchemy, that I could do some very fun things with it mixing with Allomancy. With how much that Mistborn depend on their Steelpushes and Ironpulls, a person who can change his weight would have an enormous advantage. Everyone always says that Allomancy is the better combat skill, but that’s just because the resource it uses–metal–is far more plentiful than the resource Feruchemy uses. Put the two into a battle together with enough power to spare, and the Feruchemist will almost always win.
At the end of this, Ham gets to do something. Makes me glad that I wrote him back into the story after forgetting about him. . . .
Oh, and that blow to the head was no slight blow–Sazed’s actually wrong. That strike will lay Marsh out for some time. Remember what Ham said about two pewter burners canceling each other out? Well, you just had a very strong soldier flaring pewter hit a man who was simply burning it in the back of the head with a stick hard enough to break it. Marsh is out cold.
Vin Gives up the Power
Writing toward this scene where Vin would have to take the power, then give it up, was one of my focuses in this novel. I had to get her, as a character, to a point where she’d be able to do something this gut-wrenching.
It was extremely cruel of me. And yet, there’s a beauty to being cruel like this to characters. (It’s why George R. R. Martin is a genius.) I plotted out this particular plot element from the beginning of the first book, as I wanted to not only upend some fantasy tropes in the series, but approach them from a post-modern perspective. If people are so powerfully motivated by the concept of prophesy and religion, then what better way would there be for a force like Ruin to manipulate them than to use that sensibility against them? In many ways, Book One was my look at the concept of the Dark Lord in fantasy fiction while Book Two is my look at the concept of prophesy as used by fantasy. (Book three is my look at the concept of the hero.)
Originally, by the way, this cavern was discovered up in the mountains after Vin, Elend, and Spook traipsed through the snow for a while. Yeah. I know. This works so much better. I’ll go ahead and post that as a deleted scene, but don’t think too poorly of me. Sometimes, you try things in your books that just don’t work. You can’t be afraid to experiment, however.