Mistborn Groupread, Part II

Hi everyone, and welcome to week two of the Mistborn Groupread!

This week’s discussion of Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn:  The Final Empire” covers chapters seven to fifteen.  Next week’s reading will cover chapters sixteen through twenty five.

When I participate in groupreads that last more than a couple weeks, I like to include fan art in my posts when I can.  There’s some really cool Mistborn fan art floating around the internet.  The picture to the left is “Mistborn Vin” by twilightbeta.

This week’s discussion questions were written by TBM of 50 Year Project.  To find everyone else’s discussions, check out the links over at Stainless Steel Droppings.

From this point onward there will be spoilers.  You have been warned.

The past few days have been a tremendous exercise in willpower for me.  I read the entire section for this week last Thursday, and Chapter 15 ended with one hell of a cliffhanger!  I’m going to try to make myself wait until the end of the day to start reading again, because I do enjoy making predictions about what’s going to happen next and am curious about what everyone else thinks.

1.  The nobility, the skaa, and the Lord Ruler have integral roles in the novel and yet we haven’t really interacted with them much.  Do you think there is a reason for this?  Have you formed an opinion about them?

I’m fascinated by Vin’s interactions with Elend particularly because we haven’t seen much of the nobility yet, but he’s already set himself apart as being a bit different from all the rest.  It leads to some ethical questions about Kelsier’s plan because the nobility aren’t being presented as pure evil.  Vin seemed to have liked him, and if she gets any sort of romantic ideas then it might jeopardize her role in the plan.  Right now she doesn’t know the nobility at all, but if she starts getting attached to anyone then she might have second thoughts about what she’s planning on doing.

I’m also very curious as to what’s in that room at the Lord Ruler’s palace.  I’m pretty sure that the presence of the Inquisitors there means that he’s hiding something big, maybe even something world-changing.

2.  Religion plays a vital role in the story.  What is your opinion about the role of religion under the Lord Ruler?  What do you think of Sazed’s role as a Keeper.

Sazed is one of my favorite characters thus far, so my answer here ties in with question four as well.  I think that the idea of having Keepers to preserve human knowledge of various religions even when the Lord Ruler is trying to stamp them out is pretty badass.  Maybe it’s because I’m studying to be a librarian and have a thing for old documents and ideas.  Sazed is like a living library.  I’m impressed that he’s able to remember everything!

The Lord Ruler controlling religion is a strategic move on his part because if people believe that he’s god then anything he does is moral and justified.  It’s a way of establishing psychological control over the masses.  I do wonder what people will believe once (and if) the Lord Ruler is overthrown.

3.  Are you for/against/or ambivalent about Kelsier’s plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler?  Do you think his heart is in the right place or is it just revenge? 

I’m all for it.  Of course, I agree with Vin and want to see what happens and whether he can pull it off.  I think that his heart being in the right place and his quest for revenge aren’t mutually exclusive, especially if his quest for revenge prevents other people from suffering the same fates that he and his wife did.  I still want to know more about exactly what happened in the Pits.  After reading the last little bit of what happened in the Lord Ruler’s palace, I’m wondering if maybe he never was betrayed by anyone, but rather he stumbled upon something he wasn’t supposed to know about that happened to be heavily guarded anyway.  Nobody knew he was on his way, which means that either someone can read minds or those Inquisitors were already there.

But yeah.  I do think the skaa are oppressed and fully support a revolution to free them.  It seems like the only way that they’ll end up getting their freedom is for Kelsier’s plan to succeed.

4.  Vin and Kelsier are the main characters of the novel, yet there are many characters.  Is there a certain character who intrigues you more than the others? 

Like I said in question two, Sazed is a very interesting character, and is one of my favorites.  I hope we learn more about him as the book progresses.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

27 comments

  1. The perpetual teenager in me (don’t worry – it’s a very small part) wants to see Vin get tangled in her first crush. We’ll see if it’s Elend.

    I see on your side bar you are reading Elantris and Mistborn right now. I am also doing the same thing. Are you finding it difficult to keep the two separate in your head? Similarities between the books?

    1. The two books are different enough that I’m not having any major issues keeping them straight, and even the systems of magic are different even though they both operate according to natural processes and rules. I actually finished Elantris a few days ago, I just haven’t gotten to post a review yet. I enjoyed it a lot, and it was interesting to see how Sanderson’s writing changed over time. I also thought it was cool that it works as a standalone novel while still having an epic-style plot.

      I know we’ve all been hoping that Vin will come out of her shell and open up a bit… I’m just worried that she’ll do it in the most inconvenient way possible. 🙂

  2. Yesterday I started reading Asimov’s Foundation, and reading your post (specifically the line about Sazed remembering everything) reminded me of the encyclopedists from Foundation. (Oddly enough, the Lord Ruler has been in power for 1000 years, the same amount of time that the Foundation was going to have to hide knowledge for, I don’t know if Sanderson did that intentionally, but I’ve heard him mention Foundation on his podcast, so I’m assuming he’s read it.)

    1. That’s an interesting comparison. I’m impressed that he’s able to remember so much without having it written down. I hope you enjoy Foundation; it’s a fantastic book and the rest of the trilogy is even better.

  3. The question I find myself wondering is if the plan succeeds and the Lord Ruler is overthrown, then what?

    I’m hoping that since this is a series, we may find out in future installments that overthrowing the ruling class is just the first step and that having power isn’t the same thing as wanting it.

    Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones and it’s coloring me…

    1. Good question. I’m wondering if the skaa rebels are ready to take over or not, especially since they’ve never really had any successes. I know that Kelsier doesn’t want power, so it could get very interesting.

    2. Excellent question. I think the step after overthrowing is always a tricky thing and most especially if a group of people have not ever been in position to make policy and decisions.

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one that got the “librarian” vibe from Sazed. I commented elsewhere that I saw him as something of a walking librarian, a repository for lost knowledge. I’ve seen characters/ideas like that in other stories, films, etc. and I always like it, I’m sure because I am a reader and lover of books. I hate the idea of lost knowledge. It is intriguing, to be sure, but also very sad to think of all the amazing stuff that we don’t know today because it wasn’t preserved.

    I agree, I don’t think Keslier’s motives have to be mutually exclusive. I do think a time, or times, will arise when he will have to make a choice between these motives though. Perhaps not, but that is one of the things I see as a logical course in the story. And at that point deciding for revenge may be what undoes all his carefully laid plans.

    The skaa are interesting. They remind me of things I’ve said in the past about other countries and why people choose to live in oppression rather than standing up for themselves. Now I know why, the reality is that doing so is very dangerous, as we can see in Syria right now. But the other side of that is living a life of oppression and I cannot imagine how awful that would be. Then again I imagine the very nature of being “oppressed” means that you are so beaten down that you are defeated inside as well as outside. So rising up and fighting back is probably not even in your wheelhouse anymore.

    1. Lost knowledge is fascinating… I always wonder about the parts of human history that we just don’t know, either because books were lost or people simply forgot or didn’t consider things important enough to write down.

      It seems to me like the skaa don’t rise up against the Lord Ruler because it would be suicide, and that a miserable existence is better than no existence at all. They don’t stand a chance without leadership and a master plan, which Kelsier is willing to provide for the moment. I hope that they win, because I feel really bad for any skaa parents who have the misfortune of having daughters that they can’t protect.

      1. And, of course, lets not forget all the history that has been wiped out by the ‘then’ current ruler not wanting any mention to be made of past Kings/Rulers, etc. Again, thinking of King Henry VIII’s time – very little history/pictures of Lady Jane Grey – things were just forbidden and so therefore were almost lost from history completely.
        Lynn 😀

  5. Sazed has quickly become one of my favorites. I am thinking that a Keeper is a bit more than just retaining all the knowledge to pass on to others. It seems there is much more to Sazed than we are being told.

    Good point about the palace room. I think it is always heavily guarded. There is something majorly important within those walls. Someone can mind read? good idea, but I am not certain. Betrayal still seems highly likely, but probably as likely that simply the room is always guarded heavily by those who could kill easily.

    1. Yes… for someone who comes off as such a simple character at first, Sazed always seems to conveniently be right where he’s most needed.

      I was just thinking that the immediate conclusion was betrayal when the Inquisitors popped out, but since they popped out a second time when Kelsier hadn’t told anyone he was coming it makes me think that they’re always there and that they’re guarding something big. It makes me trust Kelsier a bit more as a judge of character if there wasn’t a betrayer.

      1. Sazed is an excellent character. I loved the way he rescued Vin. She was so despondent and falling into darkness and then he came to the rescue. And, I didn’t expect it – I thought she was being caught by an Inquisitor so that she could be tortured! Such a relief.
        Lynn 😀

  6. Living library – I hadn’t thought about Sazed that way but you’re right.

    I do think it’s interesting that the first person of the nobility that we really meet is someone who is obviously an oddball in noble terms. I do like Elend though. Can’t help but be drawn to the bookish one. 😀

    1. I want to know more about Vin’s father. I hope he never recognizes her or suspects! Her mother must have been an excellent actress to hide the fact that she was skaa for so long. I wonder what kind of dynamic was going on there.

  7. Hi Grace
    Step away from the book!!!
    I must say that Elend and Sazed are my favourite characters – your post made me realise that both of them are book people (yay). Sazed – the walking library and Elend – reads at a ball! Great stuff.
    I do like Kelsier but he sees things in simple black and white and there are no shades of grey in between. I don’t see him as a bad character, in fact I think he’s a softie really and he certainly can’t say ‘no’ – which he needs to learn how to do with Vin!
    Lynn 😀

    1. It’s so hard to put it down!

      I like Kelsier a lot, but I definitely agree with you that he sees things in black and white when the reality is a lot more complex. I think that might be why Elend’s character was introduced–to show that the nobility aren’t all the heartless oppressors that we’ve seen them as thus far. Elend seems pretty innocent, but he’s probably going to be impacted by the plan in some tangible way.

      1. I definitely think Elend will be involved much more. It’s odd that Kelsier went there immediately after finding out about the events of the ball. I’m kind of hoping that Vin and Elend had a spark – but that could be misplaced. I liked the interaction between the two of them though so who knows. Kelsier is an odd one. He does things that I don’t always agree with but then I end up talking myself out of it – I’m almost pre-disposed to like him for some reason!
        Lynn 😀

        1. I had actually thought at first that he was going off to House Venture at first… maybe going right after the ball was a way of going when nobody else would suspect it. I think he’s definitely haunted by what happened last time he went to the Lord Ruler’s place and went in part for a sense of validation.

    2. I don’t think Kel lets himself acknowledge the shades of grey when it comes to killing: as you say, he is a softie, and would find it difficult to kill people who he didn’t perceive as ‘evil’

  8. I had a hard time putting the book down when I finished the reading for the week. But I didn’t want to influence the questions so reluctantly I set it aside. I might not be so well-behaved this time around. And fortunately I’ve been too busy to tempt myself. But I am looking forward to picking it up again tonight!

    Vin’s reaction to Elend is quite interesting. She seemed taken with him and is already forming an idea in her head that not all nobles are horrible. I’m really curious to see how Sanderson handles this and how far he will take it.

    I also wondered if Kelsier was never betrayed. The room is heavily guarded and you may be right that he just stumbled into trouble. That would make for an interesting twist.

    I do love Sazed. I find intelligent people fascinating and sexy. He’s going to be a fun character to get to know.

    1. I’ve started the next section this morning and it’s already getting interesting, especially after the discussions.

      Elend and Vin would be quite the cute awkward couple, but it’s going to complicate things if they start getting feelings for each other, and it’ll draw unnecessary attention to Vin if she starts hanging out with one of the Ventures like that.

      Sazed is just awesome. I wanna be like him.