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.
Some of my readers thought that Sazed expended far too much of his speed in order to get to Luthadel. I don’t agree. What he saw in that village disturbed him greatly. Remember, he’s been spending the last six months investigating news of the mists killing people, and now he found an entire village where something like that happened. He’s worried and he’s eager to get back to Luthadel. In the face of that, the use of his metalminds makes sense, I think.
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.
Koloss are something I’ve been trying to work in for a time. Originally, in the very first draft of Mistborn one, I had them make an appearance in the prologue:
The skaa worked the fields with the lethargy of the hopeless, their motions methodical and listless. Though the sun’s light was darkened and ruddied by the ever-present smoke, the day was still oppressively hot. Yet, no skaa man paused to wipe his soot-stained brow–being seen resting by a koloss fieldmaster would invite a whipping.
So, the skaa worked. Eyes down, watching the dirt by their feet, they dug at the weeds–daring not to speak, barely even daring to think. Koloss stalked amidst them, blood-drop eyes alert for signs of skaa laziness.
Obviously, I changed their place in the world drastically. During the drafting of book one, I was still working out what I wanted the koloss to be. I knew they were going to be something monstrous, and as the first draft of Mistborn One progressed, I slowly cut them from the book and decided to save them for book two. As the characters talked about them, the koloss reputation became more and more nasty–and I went so far as to explain that the Lord Ruler himself feared to keep them near human settlements.
So, when it came to plan book two, I put a lot of effort into developing the koloss. I wanted them to be cool visually, live up to their reputations, and work within the worldbuilding and magic of the setting. You’ll find out a lot more about them as the series progresses.