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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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One person asked what metal Wax's earring was made of.
He wouldn't say which metal, however he did confirm that it does have a "slight hemalurgic charge".
So in the trilogy, we see that when someone has a Hemalurgic spike implanted in them, they can hear Ruin talking to them, both as a vision and in their head. However, we learn in the Hero of Ages that Ruin cannot hear a person's thoughts no matter how much under Ruin's influence they are.
In Alloy of Law, we see that Wax (and other Pathians) uses an earring to "pray" to Harmony, and we see that Harmony can hear his thoughts and respond.
So I guess this leads to three questions:
1. How does Harmony hear the thoughts of Wax, when it's explicitly pointed put that Ruin cannot?
2. Are the earrings that the Pathians use Hemalurgicly charged, as otherwise they would be of no use to Ruin, and therefore Harmony?
3. Or did Harmony completely change how that aspect of Hemalugy works?
How this all works dates back to the original design of the Magic system.
I wanted Ruin and Preservation to be complimentary opposites, like many things in the Mistborn world. Allomancy, for example, has Pushes and Pulls were are less "negate one another" opposites, but instead two sides to the same proverbial coin.
Ruin is invasive. The power is more "Yell" than "Listen." The philosopher would probably have some interesting things to say about the masculine symbolism of Hemalurgy and its spikes.
Ruin can insert thoughts. That power, however, can't HEAR the reactions. It's about invasion.
Preservation, however, is the opposite. Preservation listens, Preservation protects. (Perhaps to a fault—if there were no Ruin, there would be no change to the world, and life could not exist.) Because of this, Preservation can hear what is inside people's minds. It cannot, however, INSERT thoughts. (This is important to the plot of Hero of Ages.)
Harmony is both, the two complimentary opposites combined. And so, he inserts thoughts with Ruin and still uses Hemalurgy. He can also listen.
Yes, Wax's earring is Invested. (Or, in other terms, it's a Hemalurgic spike.)
I also love how you evolved the world for The Alloy of Law. Despite it not being as "heavy" as some other stuff like Way of Kings and the trilogy, it was almost my favorite things you've written. I know it was supposed to be a "bridge" novel between trilogies, but is there any chance we'll see those characters again? Wax and Wayne are probably my favorite literary pairing since Tehol and Bugg or Arthur and Ford. :)
I am working on a sequel, as I was fond of the book too. It will be a side project, however, so I can't promise when it would be out.
Oh, that's a great question. The thing about Waxillian's name is, a lot of people don't like it. I actually love it, but that happens a lot in my books; I'll do something I love that I kind of know other people are going to be annoyed by. The Wax books came, actually....as I was designing the books, I was figuring the characters, and the pun Wax and Wayne struck me, and I thought, "I can't do that; that's too lame a pun." But the characters adopted those name before I could even do anything about it, and I actually tried changing the names, and it didn't work. You know how sometimes, organically, it just happens, and you're like, "I gotta go with this." And so I didn't want to actually just named them Wax and Wayne; I wanted Wax to be short for something, and it fits very well into the Mistborn universe, because all the characters tend to have nicknames that—you know, there was Clubs and Ham and Breeze in the last series—and I wanted a name that fit with that, and so Wax worked really well, but I wanted it to be short for something, and so I started looking at period names, things like William that worked and I actually ended up picking Waxillian because it also has a metallurgic sound and I figured names in this culture in the Mistborn world where metals are so important to the magic, you might have people named after metals; you might have names that sound like metals intentionally because of that resonance. At the end of the day I just really ended up liking it. It is a bizarre name.
...but I noticed towards the end you started creating overtones of a much larger story, and I was curious how you are going to follow up on that.
I will do more books without Alloy of Law, with Wax and Wayne. I originally—I may have said this in the forward to Alloy of Law—I pitched the Mistborn series a three-book, as three sets of trilogies, past-present-future, and I do still intend to do that, but I am going to pick up some of the things that I did in Alloy of Law and keep going with those same characters for a little longer, the main reason being I really like how Alloy of Law balances Stormlight Archive. I love big epics, but I also love fast-paced kind of actiony books as well, and being able to do a little bit of both of that fulfills both sort of itches, scratches them both, and so I like having Alloy-of-Law-style books come out alongside larger epics.
So I will be—to answer the questions that are coming—next is the last Wheel of Time book, and pretty much everything I have is devoted to that book. I'm hoping to have revisions of that done by the end of June, and then can start on Stormlight 2 which is what I will do next. The Wheel of Time book is coming out in January. I had really hoped to have it out in November, but it proved unrealistic, and I'm too optimistic on these things sometimes, and Harriet wisely counseled that we need to slow down a bit and spend some more time on the revisions, which we are doing. The Stormlight book, if I'm really on the ball, will be next November-ish—not this one but a year from that—and then I would follow it really closely with another Alloy of Law book.
The light-hearted banter in your recent standalone Mistborn book, The Alloy of Law, is an unexpected yet delightful change from the more serious tone of the original trilogy. Why did you decide to make such an abrupt shift? Will we get to read more about Waxillium and Wayne?
This was quite conscious on my part. One of the reasons I ended up writing The Alloy of Law as I did is because I personally wanted something to balance The Stormlight Archive, which is going to be more serious and have a tone more like the original Mistborn trilogy. I'm planning a five-book sequence to start off The Stormlight Archive, so I wanted something to go between those books that was faster paced, a little more lighthearted, and more focused.
I love The Stormlight Archive—it's what I think will be the defining work of my career, but that said, sometimes you want a bag of potato chips instead of a steak. Sometimes you want to write that, and sometimes you want to read that. I knew not all readers would want to go along with me at the start on such a big, long series; they may want to wait until it's finished. So I wanted to be releasing smaller, more focused and more simply fun books in between, both for my own interest and for my readers. And I will keep doing this; there will be more Wax and Wayne books in the future, spaced among my bigger epics.
I also referenced the recent Q&A and this post, and speculated that the reason why the original poster thought Wax's sister was a duralumin ferring was because of Wax's comment that he did not feel any strong emotions as a result of her death. I told Brandon that the poster must have thought that she was deliberately suppressing her Connection with Wax by using Feruchemy.
I said that I didn't need a yes or no answer from him, and he replied that he would neither confirm nor deny my statement and would only agree that it was very interesting.
If you were to choose (to be) a Feruchemist or an Allomancer, which would you choose?
I would choose Allomancy, because I would want to have Steel Pushing; that's my favorite of the powers.
Is that why you gave Waxillium Steel Pushing?
I'm really intrigued by both of those premises. Where do you keep getting all these ideas from? I really admire your ingenuity.
Also, and I'm not sure if you can/will answer this, but will we see another book with Waxillium Ladrian? His story doesn't appear to end with The Alloy of Law. And will his story be directly related to the next Mistborn trilogy? This has been eating away at me since finishing that book.
Wax's story was indeed directly related to the second trilogy, but I was intrigued enough with his time period that I find myself wanting to do more with him. I probably will.
The initial plan for Mistborn was three trilogies, with Alloy of Law being a spin off. With Alloy getting a sequel, has the Waxillium portion become the second trilogy?
No. The second trilogy will still happen. (As will more Wax books.)