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.
Elend Organizes Off Duty Troops to Salvage
Hopefully, this sort of thing is what you’ve been waiting the entire book to see from Elend. He’s finally acting like a king; making decisions, being in control, doing something. It comes too late to save his throne, but it will do a world of good for his people.
In this, I think I was successful in the book. Elend didn’t win the struggle for the throne. He’s not king. However, he won the struggle with himself. There was a cost to his idealism, but he gained much more than he lost.
You might want to note the Goradel cameo here. He’s a character I use a lot more in book three, so I wanted him to at least show up in this book.
Ham helps Elend Sneak out of the City
It’s tough to remember that Ham has a family. Part of the problem is that, to be honest, I forgot myself. I wrote them into this book during the revision process. I had the whole novel finished before I remembered that in book one, Ham had mentioned he had a family.
I like the tiny bit of rounding-out that the family gives him, however. He’s the only married one on the crew, and that gives him different motivations. I didn’t just want to cut it from book one (which I could have done, once I remembered after writing book two, since book one wasn’t out yet.) But I wanted to keep it, so I had to write it into book two.
I eventually decided that I wouldn’t show any scenes with his family, just like I hadn’t in book one. It was easier, and it seemed to fit with their place in the novel.
Elend Goes into the Koloss Camp
Elend does go overboard in this chapter. He realizes it, when fighting the koloss. He’s let his adrenaline, and his desire to do something, make him a bit reckless. However, this first thing–going in to see Jastes–actually makes a lot of sense. First off, it gives us nice closure on the “Visit the enemy kings” plot sequence. (Elend Visited Straff, then Cett, in their strongholds. Now he does so for the final army.)
And, of the three army leaders, Jastes should have been the one most kind to Elend. The two are old friends. If you don’t remember him, he was pretty much Elend’s best friend in book one. He was the one who first discovered that Vin was not who she said (he had her followed) and was the main person Elend hung around with at the parties.
I wanted to show that good doesn’t always win, particularly in the short term. The things Jastes tried to do are what Elend did. In both cases, they failed. The world wasn’t ready for their brand of freedom yet.
Elend speaks the truth, however. A man’s losses are what define his faith.
The koloss are meant to be creepy. Their line about taking the city, then living in it isn’t just a random comment–we’ll get into this a lot more later on. (Particularly in Book Three.)