Brandon Sanderson‘s preoccupation with deification has been mentioned in passing in at least two Writing Excuses episodes (Season 2, Ep. 12 [transcript]; Season 3, Ep. 18 [transcript]). The way it manifests itself in his work is not necessarily uniquely Mormon, but certainly Sanderson’s Mormon-ness is a likely culprit for the source of the preoccupation.
I mention this because I think his work deserves closer examination. And what I’d like to see is less the reading of his works through the lens of Mormon culture, doctrine and history (such as has been done with Stephenie Meyer’s work) and more a through study of this preoccupation as a dialogue across his work and then a situating of that work in relation to notions of power (and especially super power) in fantasy. That is, it’d be relatively easy to do some basic deliniation of how the LDS doctrine of deification translates in to the themes realized in the Mistborn Trilogy and Warbreaker (and to a lesser extent Elantris and The Way of Kings). What could be much more interesting is what the texts themselves do that’s different from or similar to the general field of epic fantasy. This would be a different type of search for Mormon exceptionalism that would focus on the work itself rather than perceptions of Mormon underpinnings/the search for LDS traces.
This is a half-baked thought, to be sure. But it’s one of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately as a way to think about what Mormon literary criticism could/should do.