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.
Sazed and Tindwyl discuss Alendi and the Lord Ruler
I added this run-down of who everyone is in the past just to help you keep them all straight. There aren’t really that many people involved, but since we only hear of them via logbooks and notes, I think they might be hard to keep straight.
I like the depth of history this story-within-a-story gives us. I realize that some of you may not find it interesting, but–well–there are parts of every book that every one of us don’t find as interesting. On the other hand, I know that a lot of you DO like these parts, since you email me frequently and ask if I’ll do a Mistborn prequel dealing with Alendi and Rashek.
These sections are here for those of you who want to REALLY understand what is going on in the Final Empire. The weight of history that caused the characters to end up in the situation they did. In addition, one of my main motivations in writing this series was in the idea I had for Alendi, Rashek, and Kwaan. I didn’t think they deserved their own book, and to be honest, I’m not convinced that the prequel should be written. (Despite your requests.) The story works better as an accent to this main story, I think. If I ever were to do a prequel (and generally I’m not fond of them) I would rather tell Kelsier’s story training with his master Gemmel and finding the Eleventh Metal.
Elend Thinks about Losing his Kingship on his Balcony.
I love this Elend scene, with him up on the balcony, thinking. It is poetic in the way that I like to be poetic–a person, alone with their thoughts, wrestling with their own ideas and motivations. I think there’s some very beautiful language here, but not in a traditional poetry sense. In the way that it accents Elend’s character.
He does, however, completely misunderstand Vin. I know it’s a bit of an overused plot device–the man misunderstanding the woman, and the woman in turn misunderstanding the man. But the truth is, we write about it so much because it’s so true. When my wife and I were dating, we each had the toughest time deciding if the other was interested. We were both terrible at interpreting each other, even though we both wanted the same thing.
We managed to get through it and get married.
Elend talks to Tindwyl, then returns to his room and puts his uniform on.
Elend’s relationship with Tindwyl cracks me up. That is all.
During this conversation between the two Terrismen and Elend, I think Sazed speaks my philosophy on characters and writing. They have to do what is important to them. I don’t like to advocate situational ethics, but in some cases, that philosophy is appropriate. If you’re a Jew who follows Kosher, then you don’t eat pork. (Among a lot of other things.) For that person, I think it is morally wrong to break Kosher–because you’ve made a promise to yourself and God that you won’t. However, is it wrong for someone like me to eat pork? No. I haven’t made that same promise.
The same goes for my LDS belief in not drinking alcohol. I’ve promised not to–but that doesn’t make another person bad or evil for drinking. They haven’t made the same promises I have. It’s about remaining true to yourself. There’s nothing inherently wrong with alcohol (Christ himself drank it, after all.) But there’s something wrong with making a promise, then breaking it.
In this case, it was right for Elend to do what he did. Another king could be a good man and make the opposite decision without rebelling against his own personal morals. There are a lot of absolute rights and a lot of absolute wrongs in life, but there are far MORE rights and wrongs that depend on who you are as a person, I think.
Sazed, however, IS setting himself up for some difficulty later on with some of the things he says here. You’ll see what I mean at the end of the book.