The following is commentary, written by Brandon, about one of the chapters of MISTBORN: THE HERO OF AGES. 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 of Brandon’s books. For those who have read some of MISTBORN 3, 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.
Marsh Kills a Smoker
This chapter was a late addition to the book. My agent, during his second read through the novel, noticed that Marsh basically disappeared through the middle of the novel—much as he had in book two. In addition, the reader got very little sense of what was happening in the Central Dominance while all of the characters were out taking care of other cities. In my books, the cities themselves tend to be characters, and Joshua was disappointed to not have at least a few token mentions of Luthadel in the middle of book three.
I agreed with him, and that’s where this Marsh chapter—along with the next one—came from. An attempt to have him doing something, rather than just sitting around being controlled by Ruin, while at the same time showing some of what is going on in places where there aren’t any main characters to narrate for us.
The triangles Marsh uses to kill people were requested by my writing group. For those up on your obscure Mistborn trivia, in book one we get some glimpses (really our only glimpses) of the ceremonial aspect of the Lord Ruler’s religion. In that religion, the common people—even the nobility—were not asked for devotion or faith. They were required to obey and fill their roles in the Lord Ruler’s empire, but they never had to worship.
The priests, however, were required to do more. They had to perform daily prayers and ceremonies to the Lord Ruler, worshiping him and maintaining a religious air that the rest of the world never saw or knew about. Involved in these rituals, on occasion, was the process of slicing one’s body with small triangular razors. When Vin and Kelsier infiltrated Kredik Shaw in book one, one of the Inquisitors shot a handful of the razors at Vin.
My writing group wanted a return appearance of these things, though I don’t know why. Still, I stuck them in, as they were a nice reference back to book one.
Marsh’s Target is Drunk
Though it’s apparently not completely clear in the text, the nobleman Marsh kills didn’t know an Inquisitor was coming for him. He wasn’t drunk because of his despair over his impending death; he was drunk because of his despair over the state of the city, his fortune, and the world in general. It was a coincidence that he was unconscious when Marsh arrived, which is why Marsh was so annoyed at missing out on the anticipatory fear that killing the man would evoke.