The Hero of Ages Group Read, Parts III and IV

Welcome to the fourth week of the Hero of Ages groupread!  Since there was no discussion last week, feel free to discuss Part III here as well as Part IV.  The following post (and the comments) will contain plot spoilers, so if you haven’t read this far into the book, be warned.

These are just some ideas to get the discussion started; feel free to add any other thoughts or bring up points that I’ve missed.

This section revealed a good deal about the dueling forces of Ruin and Preservation.  Do you think that it’s possible to defeat Ruin, and do you have any guesses as to how this could be done?  I’m assuming that Ruin will be held at bay in the end (mostly because otherwise there wouldn’t be anywhere for The Alloy of Law to take place), but I’ve got no idea how he could be stopped short of the whole of humanity joining hands and singing Kumbaya, and at this point, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

During the past two sections, we’ve also been given a lot of background on Hemalurgy, as well as its relationship to the kandra, the koloss, and the Inquisitors.  I guessed during last week’s reading that Vin’s earring is the spike that’s allowing her to hear Ruin’s voice, even though she hasn’t realized yet what’s causing her to hear it.

I think it’s interesting the way that the koloss are becoming more human as spikes are recycled over and over again; perhaps the dilation of their power could be one of Ruin’s weaknesses?  Or perhaps the winding down of its power is just a reflection on the nature of Ruin himself.

I’ve noticed that the Kandra seem to know more than everybody else about what’s going on, but aside from TenSoon, none of them really seem to care.  I wonder if the Kandra know anything that could help save the world.  What did you think about TenSoon’s impersonation of Kelsier?

The dynamic of Vin and Elend’s relationship has changed drastically from the previous book.  Both had to learn the necessity of trusting each other.  Do  you think Vin’s capture will strain their relationship, now that Elend is beginning to realize that she’s as mortal and fallible as he is?

Spook was a fantastic hero.  The ending of this section was epic, and has been one of my favorite scenes in the trilogy thus far.  It seems like the sort of thing that will be passed down in legends for the ages to come.  Speaking of Spook, I found it fascinating to see how much Urteau’s decline at the hands of Ruin mirrored political and social events in Communist nations during the latter half of the 20th Century.  It was neat to see how ideas that started out with fundamentally good intentions could be corrupted by Ruin and used to create a monstrosity.

What are your thoughts on the past two sections of the book?  What parts stood out for you the most?  Do you have any predictions for how the rest of the story will play out?

6 thoughts on “The Hero of Ages Group Read, Parts III and IV

  1. Hi Grace, I’ve not read all your post as I don’t want to pick up any spoilers – I’ve messed up with this book. I had it on order from the library but had cancelled it by accident and it’s not due in until September! I will catch up – I realise I’ll miss all the good discussion but once I’ve had a chance to get up to date I’ll revisit and check out everyone’s comments. I’m such a massive moron!
    Lynn 😀

  2. I have to assume that Ruin can be defeated; otherwise this book is going to have a really depressing ending, so I have my fingers and toes crossed that Ruin will be defeated or at least shoved back into its prison. However, with the apparent death of Preservation, I am getting increasingly worried . . . Kumbaya, My Lord, Kumbaya . . . everybody now!

    The whole process of Hemalurgy is so obscene and terrible that I have to wonder how the Lord Ruler discovered it. I hope it was through accidents like the one Spook, rather than him randomly doing hideous stuff to people. With Vin, I am now at the point of thinking that she must be a bit dumb not to realize that her earring might be a spike, but then I have to remind myself that she doesn’t know about Spook and hasn’t learnt all that we have. It is making me very nervous though, especially because it is making me second-guess the need to kill Yomen and take the city.

    I found the origins of the koloss very sad and quite moving. I assume that the reduced power of the spikes is simply due to time, as we saw with the spike that Marsh ‘empowered’: he was aware that it became less potent with time away from blood. Again, I am appalled at all the bloodshed and pain that goes into creating each of the hemalurgical spikes that we see, because they represent probably millions of gruesome deaths.

    I find the kandra society very interesting, and I can see how these very old beings can become detached from the real world and almost oblivious to it. It seems like TenSoon knows something very important that he needs to tell Vin, but I have no idea what it is. Perhaps it is something that will allow Ruin to be weakened or re-captured in the Well: I do hope so as we are running out of options. I liked his attempts to use Kelsier’s bones to do good and I am glad that he is taking them with him because he will no doubt need them again to convince everyone to start the “Kumbaya” sing-a-long! (That is such a great idea! :D)

    I was a little surprised by Vin’s capture because she is normally so cautious. I think it will make Elend more self-confident as he realizes that he can rely on himself to do things. However, I was very concerned about his blood lust against the koloss and I was extremely suspicious about the absence of an inquisitor controlling them. It seems like Ruin has given them to Elend and that makes me very worried that he is doing the wrong thing. I thought that Preservation’s last effort to point him in the right direction was very poignant and I was severely disappointed when he ignored it: bad Elend!

    It was great to see Spook rise to the challenge of being a hero and leader. I hope he survives the fire, but his efforts show a super-human desire to do the right thing. As with Elend, I am not sure how his actions have helped Ruin because they seem to have been the right things to do and we saw that the Citizen was also influenced by Ruin. To be honest I am getting totally confused when I try to work out what Ruin is trying to achieve by the actions it provokes, so I am trying not to think too hard about what might happen next: it makes my head hurt!

    I am pleased to see Sazed coming out of his funk somewhat and beginning to feel useful and hopeful again, which is ironic given the deteriorating situation. I hope that he can find some sort of peace with the world and his place in it because he is a good man and he still needs a big hug.

    1. I’m also hoping that Spook survives the fire, but even if he doesn’t, it was a really good way for him to go. It’s kind of like when a certain someone died in RSURS to save everyone else in the most epic manner possible.

      I feel like Elend fighting the Koloss might not be a good thing; Ruin seems to be provoking people into fighting, so I think that not fighting seems like the only way to fight him. On one hand it’s good to see him acting for himself, but he really should be following Preservation’s last attempts at instruction.

      I agree completely with you on the Koloss; I may or may not have teared up a little when Vin found out as Human said “I am human.” Hemalurgy in general sends shivers down my spine; it’s atrocious. The Lord Ruler is more interesting because of it though; we can hate him for the monstrosities he created, but at the same time he was doing his best to save the world.

  3. I just finished reading part 4 tonight due to some out-of-town family here. I was totally blown away by Spook! I was glad that he figured things out before he did anything too drastic. Of course, Urteau is now on fire so we’ll have to see if it’s a repairable situation or not! I like him so much more since he made the “right” choice and gave up the pewter power. And I like Beltre more now since she wasn’t just blindly following her brother. He really was a good man (or we hope so) who was taken control of by Ruin.
    As for Elend, I think he is going to make the right choice in the end. He’s too smart to just go ahead and fight when he knows that plays into Ruin’s plans. I don’t think Preservation’s last “words” were wasted.
    I wish we didn’t have to wait so long for TenSoon to find Vin though! If he’s on his way to Urteau, he’ll have to get there first and then find out he has to go to Fadrex. That’s going to take FOREVER and I want to know what he has to tell her! Does he know the way to stop Ruin? What is the Contract really about? I hope there’s more of him in the next part than there was in this one. He’s one of the most fascinating characters at this point! His impersonation of Kelsier was brilliant. It seems that it was possibly the only way to get the skaa to listen. He meant it as a way to get information but I think it will prove to be more useful to those who got information from him on where to hide.
    I’m not sure where the story will go but obviously someone makes it through because we have the entries at the beginning of each chapter. I can only hope that everyone makes it through, that the koloss are mercifully put down and that hemalurgy becomes a thing of the past. Of course, there are still a bunch of murderous Inquisitors roaming around. Where are they and what are they doing? We haven’t seen Marsh for a bit. Will he be able to foil Ruin’s plans at the last minute? I loved when Spook did just that and Ruin was screaming in anger. Let’s hope we see that happen a lot more in the pages to come!

    1. The Urteau situation was particularly interesting because both sides of the conflict were being manipulated by Ruin. It was some very clear insight into the way that Ruin operates, and it almost makes me want to go back and re-read previous books to see if I can find signs of similar occurrences.

      Oooh, I just got an interesting idea. What if Sazed is behind the chapter beginnings? I thought at first that it was Vin, but maybe not…

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