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Annotation Mistborn Chapter Thirty-Eight Part One


Chapter Thirty-Eight Part One

Vin’s entrance here is one of my favorite scenes in the book. Short, but very cinematic. It brings together all of the best images in the book–Allomantic pushes, stained glass, swirling mist, and the mistcloaks.

The cloaks are something I really wanted to do. I realize that some readers have trouble imagining them the right way, but I wanted something distinctive for the mistborn to wear. Regular cloaks and capes are nice, but I wanted something that I could make my own, and the multi-layered tassel thing seemed to fit very well with the mist theme.

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to multiply viewpoints near the end of books. Kar’s viewpoint here is another one–I knew I wanted to be outside of Vin’s head for the entrance here so I could describe it properly. Plus, this let me show how Inquisitors see.


Vin’s attempt at killing the Lord Ruler was, I thought, rather clever. I made a point of making her be able to touch her past self when she was burning gold. There are a couple of reasons why this didn’t work. First of all, the images are just that–images. When Vin touched the face of her past self, it was all part of the illusion that gold produced. None of it was real. So, even if she HAD been able to touch the image of the Lord Ruler’s past self, she wouldn’t have been able to hurt the Lord Ruler himself by killing it.

The other reason is important as well. The thing is, the Eleventh Metal isn’t actually an alloy of gold, but an alloy of atium. If you understand Allomantic theory, you’ll understand why this has to be. Each quartet of metals is made up of two base metals and two alloys. The base metals are the Pulling metals, like iron and zinc. They are also made up of two internal metals and two external metals. Two change things about you, two change things about other people.

The Eleventh Metal, like atium, changes something about someone else. Both have to be external metals–that’s the way the pairing works. Gold (and its compliment) change things about the Allomancer.

So, atium shows the future of someone else, malatium shows the past of someone else. Gold shows the past of yourself, and electrum (gold’s compliment) shows your own future. (We’ll talk about that in a different book.)

So, anyway, the Eleventh Metal (malatium) matches with atium–both of which create images from other people. And, just like atium shadows are incorporeal, so are malatium shadows. That’s why Vin couldn’t touch the one she saw of the Lord Ruler.


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