Mistborn Groupread, Part III

Hey everyone, and welcome to week three of the Mistborn groupread!  This week’s discussion covers chapters 16-25 of Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn:  The Final Empire.”  Discussion questions were written by yours truly.  If you pop over to Carl’s post at Stainless Steel Droppings you’ll be able to find links to everyone’s posts.

The above image, Occupy Luthadel by EHyde, amused me tremendously and seemed to fit well with this week’s reading.

From this point onward there will be spoilers.

1.  During the past week there’s been a lot of speculation as to the quotes at the beginning of each chapter.  Now that we finally know the answer, does it change anyone’s opinions of the Lord Ruler?

Knowing that the Lord Ruler was the one who wrote the passages at the start of each chapter makes the story much more complex.  We see him hearing voices and being pursued by shadows, but all in all he doesn’t seem like a bad guy.  What changed?  How did he regress from hero to tyrant?  I’m also curious about the Deepness.  If it’s true that the Lord Ruler keeps the Deepness at bay, then Kelsier might end up with a bigger mess than he bargained for in the event that he does succeed.  On a similar tangent, what secrets did the Terrismen hold?  They seem to know an awful lot about the Deepness and the Lord Ruler’s role in their prophecies.

And while I’m on the subject of Terrismen… poor Sazed!  When I found out he was a eunuch I just wanted to give him a hug or pat him on the head or take violent revenge on the Lord Ruler.  Y’know.  He deserves better.

2.  What did you think of Elend’s group of subversive nobles?  Do you think that Kelsier is right to dismiss people who could be potential allies, or is this another case of his anti-nobility biases showing?

I like them.  Yeah, they are still nobility, and as such they’re complicit in some of the crimes against the skaa.  At the same time, they do want to change, and I think that Kelsier is wrong to dismiss them entirely.  I’m foreseeing that Elend’s little club is going to end up playing a key role later on, and Vin might find herself faced with some tough choices if she’s forced to fight them.

3.  What’s your favorite part of the book so far?

There are so many parts that I like, but I think that any time that Kelsier and Vin are out in the mists with their cloaks unfurled are my favorites.  It’s fun to imagine them flying around and fighting.  I’m kind of curious about the Mistwaiths; they seem a bit horrific.  I wonder if they’re important or are just a way to set the mood and show the skaa’s fears.

Aside from the mists, I’d say my other favorite parts are any time that Sazed speaks.  He’s fascinating, and I’m intrigued by the history of the Lord Ruler and of what came before.  The Keepers are awesome.  I want to know how to store memories in my jewelry too!

4.  Now that Kelsier’s plan has hit some major stumbling blocks, what do you think will happen next?  Do you think he can still succeed in defeating the Lord Ruler?

Well, Kelsier’s ego finally got the better of him.  By letting people believe that he was invincible, he ended up giving the confidence to go on a spur-of-the-moment suicidal mission because they thought they could handle it.  This changes everything.  Is he going to be able to save the remnants of the army?  I think it’s kind of sad that the skaa considered this to be a victory, but on the other hand, knowing that even skaa can put a dent in the Lord Ruler’s power when they work together might convince more people to come to Kelsier’s aid.  Only time will tell.  I’m wondering what this is going to mean for everyone else though, and whether covers were blown during the defeat.

Bonus:  For anyone who has read “The Way of Kings,” were you surprised at all to see Hoid pop up?  What do you think of his role here?

I almost fell out of my chair when Kelsier called Hoid a skaa.  Seeing him here makes me want to reread his bits in The Way of Kings to see if I can figure out any clues as to what he’s up to.  I like the way that Sanderson’s books are all connected, and I’m curious to learn more about the larger universe that they’re set in.

39 thoughts on “Mistborn Groupread, Part III

  1. Your observation that Hoid is in many of his books and there is some links makes me think that Sanderson is even smarter than I gave him credit for. And thanks for mentioning Hoid in a review last week. If you hadn’t, I would have missed it. But when I saw his name I was excited. I do wonder what his purpose is in this story and others. Or is Sanderson just playing. I heard an author speak last week and he said that he puts mysteries in his novels all the time since he spends so much time locked up in a room writing. He says he does it to relieve his boredom of working alone.

    I also wonder how the Lord Ruler progressed from the time he was writing to Kelsier’s time. How did he become and evil ruler?

    Vin’s group of nobles are interesting. When Vin overheard their conversation I couldn’t help but wonder what Sanderson is up to. I don’t trust that man–Sanderson I mean 🙂

    The poor skaa. Even when they are beaten in battle they still think they have scored a victory. That breaks my heart. They must feel so hopeless all of the time and I can’t imagine that feeling.

    1. I do wonder whether he’s playing, but I’m hoping he uses Hoid to tell a story within a story that is slowly revealed if you read all of his books. He’s made cameos in Mistborn, Elantris, and Way of Kings (probably Warbreaker too, but I haven’t read that one yet). I want to know what he’s up to.

      I think it’s interesting that the Lord Ruler’s writing is kind of journal-style. It makes me think it’s authentic rather than something he wrote after he came to power.

      1. I would like to see the connection with Hoid, but I’ll have to advance my memory skills!

        I so want to know more about the Lord Ruler…he is such a mystery and I keep hoping he will pop up on the next page…and then the next and so on.

        1. I like your theory that the Lord Ruler isn’t still alive, but is more of a mythical figurehead, especially since we haven’t actually seen him yet.

      2. At least Sanderson appears to have some plan for connecting his novels together early in the game. Unlike Asimov or Heinlein who tried (not always successfully I might add) to put their universes together later in life.

        1. Yes. It seems like he’s already thought out his storylines and the way that they interconnect. I just hope that he writes them faster! Maybe once he’s done with Wheel of Time he’ll start focusing on his own books again.

  2. I’m seeing some parallels between the Lord Ruler’s persecution of the Terrismen and Kelsier’s hatred of the current nobility. Hammond’s story confirms that others, while not as fanatical as Kell, are just as ready to practically wipe out the current ruling class.

    Awesome art work at the top, btw.

    I can’t imagine having the reproduction of your people controlled to such an extent. Sazed’s anger must burn deep and hot.

    1. Thanks. I had some other artwork picked out, then saw this one and was like “Yes. This must happen.”

      I wonder what the Terrismen did or said to make the Lord Ruler hate them so much that he continues to persecute them a thousand years later. The current Terrismen weren’t even born then! It does remind me of Kelsier’s hatred of the nobility, even the ones that are not horrible people and are noble because of an accident of birth. Every single one can’t be a scheming monster; I think that’s part of what Elend’s character was introduced to demonstrate.

  3. In theory you could organize your jewelry so that it helps you set up a mnemonic device that would help you remember things more effectively. Not quite the same as what Sazed does, but it would work.

    The idea of flying through the mists is so much fun. Sanderson is working with a company (whose name I can’t remember offhand) on a Mistborn video game. I hope they’re able to pull it off effectively, because it could be absolutely brilliant. (I do know that Sanderson is writing the story for it, so at least that part of the game should be good.)

    1. Haha, that would involve a lot of time, effort, and more jewelry than I actually own. The idea of storing memories like that is pretty cool though, and I’m wondering if this power runs in the Terrisman blood the same way that Allomancy runs in the noble bloodlines.

      When the video game comes out I’m definitely going to have to give it a try. I’m excited!

  4. Yep, Sazed does indeed deserve better. More than anyone in the story he is the character I would have liked to see paired up with someone in the future, siring little Terrisman babies and helping them reform their culture.

    The Lord Ruler is a complex character. I’m not entirely convinced he was ever a really good person. When I read his writings about the prophecies and his doubts I’m not sure if I see a good person or just an opportunistic one. Which is part of what makes him complex.

    What if the Deepness is locked in that secret room?!?! 🙂

    I definitely cannot see Sanderson introducing this group of nobility and not somehow using it for interesting plot twists in the future. It would really shock me if there wasn’t much more depth to this than we are seeing here at first.

    I’m wondering if the mistwraiths are something akin to the spren on the planet that The Way of Kings is set on.

    I too am interesting in checking out Hoid’s sections in The Way of Kings just to see if I can pick up on any more information about him.

    1. I like having a complex villain; it gives the story more depth. Seeing the Lord Ruler’s journals and his uncertainties is a way to make him seem more human. He seems to think that what he’s doing is for the good of the world, but he’s also unsure. It makes me wonder what the old Terrisman prophecies were.

      I wonder if the Deepness is something that can be confined to a room. If so, then it definitely could be!

      Oooh… mistwraiths being kind of like spren would be cool. So far they don’t seem to be sentient or particularly harmful, but they would pretty scary-looking. It would also make sense that they’re so feared if they incorporate dead people into their bodies; it isn’t such a big leap to see one and think that they ate someone.

        1. Me too. I wonder if they have anything to do with the Deepness; I’m assuming they wouldn’t have lived on the planet when it was healthy. They would have had to have sprung up around the same time the Lord Ruler took power.

    2. Interesting thoughts on TLR in his earlier days being merely opportunistic. I read those earlier quotes quite differently.

      I saw them as a good man afraid to fail, but thinking of them again, I can certainly see how they could be read as the writings of an opportunistic man as well.

      Being afraid of being seen as false may not have been fear for them, but fear for himself.

      As for TWoK information on Hoid/Wit, the chapter headings in ‘Part 2’ form a letter written by (assumably, but not definitely proven to be by) Hoid/Wit.

      It is verrrry interesting strung altogether.

      1. Oooh… I definitely have to re-read that (and get my book back for long enough to re-read it; it’s on loan to a friend).

        I wonder if Hoid will turn up in the book that’s coming out this winter…

        1. http://stormlightarchive.wikia.com/wiki/The_Way_of_Kings%27s_Epigraph_Letter

          That’s a link to the letter composed as a single piece. I should offer a spoiler warning though. Granted, you would have read this before while going through TWoK, but there is a spoiler in the context of Mistborn.

          It isn’t made explicit, exactly, so it’s possible to read over it and not (yet) know what you’ve just seen. But it isn’t impossible to put together from knowledge possessed so far of Mistborn and the letter, either.

          I’ll leave it to your judgement whether you look at it now or later, but if you do look over it, would be keen to discuss what you think!

              1. Had some information on Elantris in there as well which you might find interesting, having recently read it. 🙂

                I <3'd getting an explanation of what on earth had actually happened to the Elantian magic. 🙂

              2. That throws a completely different light on pretty much everything that happened in Elantris. It all makes sense, and at the same time leaves more questions. Do you know if Hoid pops up in Warbreaker too? I need to read that one soon.

              3. Hoid does show up in Warbreaker as well. Lesser role than TWoK, but a slightly greater one than in Elantris.

                And yes, it’s quite eye opening. I actually read TWoK before Elantris, but didn’t connect the dots this letter points out until after the fact and in seeing the ‘letter’ in full like it is on the wiki.

  5. Yes, poor Sazed, although he is very calm isn’t he and just takes everything in his stride.

    I still like Elend but i do wonder now – after reading a little further on he does come across as incredibly naive. I can’t help thinking he’s got a bigger part to play though – I hope he doesn’t come between Vin and Kelsier and the rest of the crew. The other thing about the nobles is, can you ever see them as being more accepting of the Skaa? Just like the Skaa have been brow-beaten for hundreds of years how can the nobles ever come to accept them as anything more than human fodder or grist for their mills. I know Elend and his little band of merry men have their own notions but they don’t seem to have thought much further than reading books and you can’t help thinking that they’d probably be horrified if the Skaa did have more control.
    Lynn 😀

    1. I think that Elend could be, although I don’t know about the others. Yeah, he’s naive, but he’s got his own expertise that would probably help the crew, especially since he reads so much subversive material. A different perspective might be useful when searching for clues as to the Lord Ruler’s origins and motives.

      On a related note, I wonder what Elend would think if he realized that Lady Valette was a skaa in disguise. Would he be disgusted or would he realized that she’s just like him?

  6. I love that Occupy Luthadel image!!

    I have to read The Way of Kings now. This was my first Sanderson book, and I had no idea Hoid showed up in multiple books!

  7. “Aside from the mists, I’d say my other favorite parts are any time that Sazed speaks.”

    Haha, how true. I love all the religions he remembers.

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