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|Published||2006 - 2008|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (September 2012)|
|Published||2006 - 2008|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
The Mistborn series is four high fantasy novels written by Brandon Sanderson and published by Tor Fantasy between 2006 and 2008. The series consists of the original trilogy of Mistborn: The Final Empire, Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, and Mistborn: The Hero of Ages as well as a stand-alone short novel titled Mistborn: The Alloy of Law was released on 8 November 2011. The book takes place about 300 years after Mistborn: The Hero of Ages.
The series primarily takes place in a region called the Final Empire on a world called Scadrial. One thousand years before the story begins the king of the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler, gained access to a divine power at what is called 'The Well of Ascension.' With this power he remade the world and everything in it into its state at the beginning of the first book. In the Final Empire a Dominance is a territory within the Lord Ruler's empire.
Luthadel is the capital of the Central Dominance and the entire Final Empire. Luthadel is the heart of the Lord Ruler's power, as well as the site of his palace, Kredik Shaw. Before the Lord Ruler remade the world, Luthadel was a mountainous region known as Terris. To hide the true location of Old Terris and the Well of Ascension, the Lord Ruler moved the mountains elsewhere and named that region "Terris" instead.
Terris is the ancestral home of the Terrismen. It is a mountainous region located north of the Northern Dominance. The Terris Dominance is the only Dominance to retain its original name. It is also historically the home of the Well of Ascension.
Urteau is a key crossroads city in the Northern Dominance. It was the traditional seat of House Venture although the family is based mainly in the capital. Later it came under the control of a Skaa dominated government led by a man calling himself 'the Citizen'. Urteau is also famous for its canals that mysteriously ran dry. It plays a key role in the third novel.
Fadrex City is an important cross roads city in the Western Dominance. Although all cities outside of Luthadel are forbidden from having walls, Fadrex City has a natural rock formation that makes it very defensible. Lord Cett made this city his base after the fall of the Lord Ruler for this very reason.
The nobles are the descendants of people who were early supporters of the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler gave them the gift of Allomancy because of their support, giving them a substance that exists only in the Well of Ascension. This has been passed down through the generations, but their Allomantic gifts have grown weaker over the years. At first there were few Mistings, but now Mistings far outnumber Mistborn. Allomancy is the main reason the interbreeding of nobles and skaa was made illegal by the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler had more control over the Nobles, so he didn't want the skaa to have Allomancy.
Skaa are the descendants of people who did not support the Lord Ruler when he first came to power. During the reign of the Lord Ruler they were not technically slaves, because the law said they were not the property of their masters, but in practice they were. There were multiple skaa rebellions over the centuries, but they never came close to succeeding. All skaa Allomancers have some noble blood. The Lord Ruler changed their physical bodies when he rose to power, making them less intellectual, more willing to obey, and able to reproduce quickly.
When the series first starts, the skaa are beaten-down and hopeless, superstitious about the Mists and treated as subhuman by the Nobles. They're treated as less than animals, and it is acceptable for a Noble to have sex with a skaa woman and then kill her.
Mistwraiths are part of the reason why most skaa fear the mists. They are scavengers that have the ability to add the bones of creatures they consume to their own forms. Mistwraiths can become kandra.
Kandra are sometimes referred to as "mistwraiths that have grown up." Unlike their mindless brethren, they are quite intelligent, and valued for their skill as impersonators. They adhere rigidly to an idea called 'The Contract,' through which they offer their services to humans. To hire a kandra, you must pay him or her with atium, the most powerful Allomantic metal.
It is revealed in the third book that kandra were first created from the Terrismen and they do not die naturally. They can kill each other under orders from the Contract holder, but this is considered treasonous, and results in either imprisonment or execution. Executions are performed by pouring acid on an imprisoned kandra or by means of starvation.
Bestial creatures, the koloss have only two emotional states: boredom and rage. They have superhuman strength and grow to a maximum height of about 13 feet, at which point their hearts cannot support their bulk and they die. Although powerful in combat, they are seldom used, for they have a tendency to completely ravage the enemy in battle, making them unsuitable for attacking cities and other civilized targets. They can be controlled with emotional Allomancy by a very powerful Mistborn or a group of Soothers.
It is revealed in the third book that they are created through Hemalurgy. This involves hammering a spike through a human's heart and later hammering that spike into another human who then becomes a koloss. As a result of this, many koloss insist that they are human and have semi-human attributes.
Allomancy is the most prominent set of abilities that people can have in Mistborn. It works by an Allomancer ingesting and then burning one (or more) of 16 specific metals to draw powerful abilities from them.
Allomancers are divided into two main groups:
Feruchemy is the second most prominent set of abilities in Mistborn. It is an ancient trait passed down among the race known as Terrismen and Terriswomen. Those with this ability are known as Keepers or Feruchemists.
Feruchemy involves the use of the same metals as Allomancy but, rather than ingest the metals, they can be worn or carried by the Feruchemist. Unlike Allomancy, the metal itself is not consumed but is used as storage of the Feruchemist's own attributes. Feruchemists refer to the metals that they use as 'metalminds', e.g. 'Coppermind' or 'Ironmind'. As long as a metal is in contact with the skin and the Feruchemist has stored something in it, it can be drawn upon. Only the Feruchemist that originally stored the attribute can use it. In the original trilogy only those from the Terris region of The Final Empire have Feruchemical abilities.
There are seventeen known Feruchemical metals, linked to different attributes stored. The primary difference between Allomancy and Feruchemy is the way that the metals are used. All an Allomancer needs to do to gain an ability is burn the appropriate metal but a Feruchemist must spend time without whatever attribute they wish to store. Another key difference is in how the abilities are expended. While an Allomancer can only burn metals at specific rates, a Feruchemist can expend the power they have saved at any rate they choose. In theory, this allows Feruchemists to enhance their abilities far beyond that of an Allomancer, albeit limited to how much ability they have stored. A more specific example would be if an Allomancer wants increased senses all they have to do is burn tin, but a Feruchemist, using the same metal, would have to spend days or weeks with reduced capacity in whichever specific sense (sight, smell, hearing, etc.) they wanted to store.
The following metalminds store the corresponding attribute:
Ironmind: Physical weight
Steelmind: Physical speed
Pewtermind: Physical strength
Zincmind: Mental speed
Terrismen or Terriswomen with Feruchemical abilities are called Keepers. Each Keeper has a specific field of knowledge on which they focus, but all Keepers carry all of the previous Keeper's knowledge. Since knowledge stored by one Keeper cannot be accessed by another, an elder Keeper must recite their entire library of knowledge for the new Keeper to store in their coppermind. In many cases, this recitation may take many months or even years. Every new generation of Keeper is charged with the mission to collect and store as much information as possible in their lifetime, to return to Terris when the time has been decided and pass all their knowledge on to the next Keeper, to always hide their Feruchemy from everyone lest their copperminds be destroyed and their knowledge lost forever, and above all, when the time comes and the Lord Ruler falls, to be ready to travel the land and teach their knowledge freely and openly to all that want it or need it. There is a council of elder Keepers that make decisions concerning the use of copperminds and of where Keepers go to collect information; they are known as the Keeper Synod.
During The Final Empire, the Lord Ruler hunted any and all Feruchemists he could find and it was commonly believed before The Fall that Feruchemists had been entirely exterminated. Later it was revealed that they had not all been killed and shortly after The Fall, they began to travel and teach the skaa the things that they needed to know to effectively live and develop on their own. Things like irrigating land and growing crops have always been the skaa's tasks, but nothing was ever explained to them so it was the first task of the Keepers to teach the skaa how to survive and prosper.
It is revealed in the third book that, at the time of the Ascension, all living Feruchemists were turned into mistwraiths so that none could gain both Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities and challenge the Lord Ruler.
Hemalurgy is the corresponding power of the God Ruin, it is used for stealing a person's natural traits or powers by fatally stabbing them through the heart or other vital organ with a spike made of one of the Allomantic metals, then driving it into a precise point in another person's body. Hemalurgic spikes never kill the beneficiary, even in normally fatal places such as driven directly through the skull. Only one attribute can be stolen per spike, per person, and the power or attribute gained depends on where the beneficiary is stabbed, and which metal is used. Hemalurgy can be used to grant Feruchemical or Allomantic abilities as well as natural attributes. Hemalurgic abilities also work alongside other abilities; a Feruchemist with a Hemalurgic spike that grants Allomantic physical powers, for instance, will be able to use both Feruchemy and a specific physical Allomantic ability.
Unlike Allomancy or Feruchemy, net power is lost through Hemalurgy in line with Ruin's stated purpose which is to break the world down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Hemalurgic spikes can also be reused. If a spike is removed from one person it keeps its Hemalurgic charge for sometime after and it can then be used by someone else to gain the ability or power that spike has. The power granted can be a different one from what the original user had (if the spike was used to steal a group of powers e.g. Allomantic physical or mental) because the new user can place it in a different spot. The longer the spike is outside of a living body the more the Hemalurgic charge diminishes as per the law of Hemalurgic decay.
The following metals steal the corresponding attribute:
Iron: Human Strength
Steel: Allomantic Physical Powers
Tin: Human Senses
Pewter: Feruchemical Physical Powers
Brass: Feruchemical Mental Powers
Zinc: Human Emotional Fortitude
Copper: Human Mental Fortitude
Bronze: Allomantic Mental Powers
Aluminum: Allomantic Enhancement Powers
Atium: Allomantic Temporal Powers
Hemalurgy is also used to create Koloss, Kandra, and Steel Inquisitors. To make Koloss, four ordinary people are stabbed through the heart with one spike each, those spikes are then strategically placed on another person's body to turn them into a new Koloss. It is possible to recycle these spikes and use them on another person should the original Koloss die, but the power of the spikes diminishes with each re-use. To make a Kandra, two spikes created in a similar manner are put inside of a Mistwraith.
The term "Twinborn" was not introduced until the fourth book, but in the first book the Lord Ruler was a Twinborn. A Twinborn is someone with both Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities. While a full Mistborn and Feruchemist like the Lord Ruler is possible in the time after the original trilogy ended only Mistings with Ferrings happened in the fourth book due to the dilution of the bloodlines over the centuries. A Twinborn can have their Allomantic abilities and their Feruchemical abilities in the same metal which allows them to multiply them together, but that is rare and being a Misting and Ferring in different metals is what is most common among Twinborn.
Ruin and Preservation are the two gods in the Mistborn world. They are two parts of Adonalsium, a Godlike entity.
Ruin was imprisoned by Preservation in an attempt to prevent Ruin from destroying the world. Ruin has the power to subtly alter writing and Feruchemical Memories, but not writing inscribed in metal or normal memories. Ruin also has the power to influence any creature pierced by Hemalurgic metal, and any person who has gone insane. Ruin also has some power over the mists, and can force them to block sunlight from crops. It was this power which originally threatened the world and was known as the Deepness. Ruin is also the power that enables Hemalurgy.
Before the events of Mistborn: The Final Empire, the Lord Ruler temporarily defeated Ruin by siphoning power from the Well of Ascension, which reinforced Ruin's prison. Ruin is first revealed at the end of Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, when Ruin tricks Vin into "giving up" the Well's power, which frees him. At the conclusion of Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Ruin's power is absorbed by Sazed, a Terrisman who intends to use his powers wisely and benevolently.
It was Preservation that wanted to create life on Scadrial, but he needed Ruin's help to do so. In exchange for Ruin's help, Preservation promised that Ruin would be allowed to destroy everything one day. However, after they had succeeded in creating the world, Preservation reneged on its bargain and sacrificed a significant portion of its power forever to create the Well of Ascension as a prison for Ruin to prevent the destruction of the world. To keep the prison strong, Preservation wrote prophecies for the Terris people that showed them how to renew Ruin's imprisonment by diverting the power, in the form of a metallic liquid, from the Well.
During the night the world is covered in mist. It is revealed, late in the series, that the Mist is a form of the body of Preservation and that the mistsickness is another, more violent way of activating one's allomantic powers, similar to the noble families' practice of beating children to near-death. In Mistborn: The Well of Ascension and Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Preservation manifests as a "mist spirit" that becomes weaker as Ruin gains power. At the end of the trilogy, Sazed, a Terrisman, absorbs the powers of both Ruin and Preservation and utilizes them to recreate the world as it was before the Lord Ruler's ascension. As the balance between Ruin and Preservation, Sazed becomes known as Harmony.
The Steel Ministry is the name of the religion that the Lord Ruler established for everyone else to worship him. The Lord Ruler allowed the Nobles to control most aspects of the empire, such as the production of resources, but he used the Steel Ministry to control the Nobles. The Steel Ministry had two groups of people used to control different aspects of society; Steel Inquisitors and obligators.
Inquisitors are creatures of Ruin; their powers gained through Hemalurgy. An Inquisitor is created when several Hemalurgic spikes are pounded through a Feruchemist or an Allomancer into the body of a human, usually an allomancer or an existing Inquisitor. Depending on the type of spike used (Iron, Steel, etc.), a different power is stolen. To create an Inquisitor, one must be impaled by a spike that already has a Hemalurgic charge. This is very difficult though, because one must place it in exactly the right place. Even a fraction of an inch off results in death, or at least a wasted spike. Under the Lord Ruler, Inquisitors were given the Hemalurgic spikes for Allomancy and one gold spike for storing and tapping Feruchemical health. Once they came under the direct control of Ruin, however, it was revealed that the Lord Ruler had not given them all the powers hemalurgy could bestow (especially many of the Feruchemical powers).
During the reign of the Lord Ruler, Inquisitors carried out his direct orders. Their primary duty was chasing down skaa Mistings and Mistborn, to kill them and steal their powers via Hemalurgy.
The obligators were drawn from the ranks of nobles, usually Allomancers and are trained in the arts of bureaucracy and the teachings of the Steel Ministry. They are marked by tattoos which decorate their face and body; the more tattooed an obligator is, the higher his rank. They served as witnesses for every possible legal contract (e.g., business deals and marriages), which meant that they were privy to all happenings among the nobles. This gave the Lord Ruler great control over the nobility, as any contract not witnessed by one of his obligators did not officially take place.
The Church of the Survivor worships Kelsier, who served as its first martyr, and thus Vin, who was Kelsier's 'disciple', was also worshiped. Kelsier created the Church as means of creating passion in the Skaa so they would finally rebel. With his death, the Skaa turned their devotion to Vin and Sazed, who are unsure of their own beliefs and uncomfortable with the worshiping masses.
There are a number of other religions in the series. Sazed mentions that the Keepers record at least five hundred and sixty-two different belief systems including sects and branches of the same religions in their metalminds. However, none are currently practiced as the Lord Ruler has suppressed them.
The original trilogy is the first in what Brandon Sanderson calls a "trilogy of trilogies." The second trilogy will be set in an urban setting, featuring modern technology. The sequel Mistborn: The Alloy of Law is not a start to the second trilogy but is rather a stand-alone short novel. However, Sanderson's announcement on August 1, 2012 to write a sequel to Mistborn: The Alloy of Law means it will not stay a stand-alone novel, but it will not necessarily turn into the second trilogy.
In early 2009, Brandon Sanderson announced he was working with Crafty Games to release a role-playing game based on the series. While the release date was originally placed as "sometime in 2009", it has been since quoted as fall, 2010.
As of early 2010, the release date has been pushed to mid-2011.
Among other RPGs, Mistborn: Thieves in the Ninth House is set to be available for preview at GenCon 2011.
In January 2010, Brandon Sanderson announced that he had optioned the rights to the Mistborn books to Paloppa Pictures LLC.