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.
Chapter Forty Nine
Elend and Vin Ride out of Luthadel, Allrianne Joins Them
And Tindwyl and Elend end on a sour note. I guess that’s appropriate.
Allrianne is one I’d been wanting to add a shade of depth to for a while, and I saw my chance here. We’ll get a viewpoint from her in a short time–just a short one, and it won’t do much except maybe give her a little rounding out.
You can thank Isaac (aka Nethermore, the guy who did the internal art for the Mistborn Books) for naming the gates in the city. He was the one who, when doing the city map, realized that it would be cool if the eight gates were named after the eight basic metals. It made so much sense; I’m surprised I didn’t think of it.
Vin and Elend do manage to escape the city, as they had hoped. My big worry here is that readers will be frustrated that I’m sending the two main characters away for the big battle. My big hope, however, is that readers will take this as a sign that nasty things are coming for the city. I think this chapter here leads to some real potential for tension in the siege itself.
Atop the wall, as the team watches Vin and Elend leave, we get another exchange talking about Sazed and his belief in a lot of different religions. I hope I didn’t lay it on too thick; I just wanted to show some character dynamics as he talks to other characters. You can also note here that Ham is back to calling Elend “El.” (Against Elend’s request earlier in the book.) Ham started that up a while ago, actually. He’s not the best at following orders.
Straff Plot Climax with the Poison
And, finally, we get back to Straff. His cycle is filled with quite a few short little scenes, and I suspect that many readers won’t pay attention to them. Still, if I’m going to give someone a viewpoint, I like to give them conflicts and problems unrelated to the other characters. It makes the characters and their lives more real. In this case, Straff’s problems with a former mistress surface in a revenge ploy.
As I said, it’s a small thing, rather unrelated to the overall plot of the novel. When Tor was pushing for me to cut the book (which I didn’t end up doing) I left these scenes because I felt that they 1) Worked quite well and 2) I think they gave a little more depth to the story, showing that characters have lives other than the main plot.
The mistress lies here, by the way. Going cold turkey on that drug probably wouldn’t have killed Straff. It might have, but probably not. Still, being under her power probably wouldn’t have been very fun for him. He didn’t kill her intentionally–he really was just losing control of his anger under the influence of panic and poison. This is one of those little twists that I hope feels very realistic under the circumstances, but is also unexpected.