Welcome to Part Three of the Mistborn: The Final Empire group read. This week’s questions have been provided by the lovely Grace of Book’s Without Any Pictures. The group read as you may already know as a whole, is hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings.

Mistborn Fanart: Sazed by Firnheledien

Mistborn Fanart: Sazed by Firnheledien

This was the week I finally caught up! Early, even. I’ve had to tuck it away on my Kindle with a bookmark to avoid reading any further. Yes, I know, it’s a re-read for me anyway, but that just makes it harder to stay on track for the actual section we’re supposed to be talking about! Actually having read it again would be a nightmare, I tell you!

I have decided that I quite enjoy what Amanda of ‘Ramblings‘ is doing, whereby at the end, after the questions have been answered, she includes an ‘invisible’ section (must highlight it to read) of thoughts as a second time reader. There have been a few things I’ve picked up this time through, either from knowledge of the rest of the series or indeed from knowledge of Sanderson’s Cosmere but I couldn’t really discuss them for fear of spoiling things for even the other group read folk who are experiencing the series for the first time!

Part Three of the group read discusses the Chapters Sixteen through Twenty-five. Spoilers ahoy. After the group read has concluded, I’ll do a spoiler-free review for anyone not participating and who has not yet read the book.

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?

I remember the first time I had this confirmed for me that it was most certainly eye opening. The blurb lead me to believe that 1,000 years ago some other group of heroes had embarked on the mission that Kelsier and his crew were now attempting and that the Lord Ruler had been the ‘big bad’ way back then as well.

This seemed to suggest that in actual fact, the Deepness was the thing to be feared and that he whom is now the Lord Ruler was once a prophesised hero, uncertain of his own place in the world but determined to do what he could to save not only his people, but the entire world.

You can see as the chapter quotes continue the corruption of Hero into Lord Ruler and that he is painfully aware of it, yet still trying to deny it is so.

In the end, I must trust in myself. I have seen men who have beaten from themselves the ability to recognise truth and goodness, and I do not think I am one of them. I can still see the tears in a young child’s eyes and feel pain at his suffering.
  If I ever lose this, then I will know that I’ve passed beyond hope of redemption.

This sheds us of our view of the Lord Ruler being nothing but pure evil and instead paints a picture of the tragic fallen hero. These quotes give us a humanising aspect to the one our heroes are supposed to despise and overthrow, even as their point of view and what we witness — through their perspectives, I would note — show a completely different story.

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 think that the fact Kelsier went to listen — not just once but three seperate times — shows that despite what he said he may have been willing to contemplate their inclusion. … Although I also suppose it is entirely possible he listened to discover if they would be a threat or interference with his own plans and thus end them if he determined it necessary.

So perhaps ‘both’ is my answer to this question, if we assume the latter explanation is more likely for Kelsier’s visit.

Both because I don’t think it would have been a wise move to include them. From the conversation we overheard via Vin’s eavesdropping, while Elend may have been willing to take more dramatic action, it was fairly clear not all the others shared his view to that extent.

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

I’m liking the building conflict we’re seeing between Kelsier’s (and Dockson’s!) views of the nobility as being entirely, 100%, to the core, rotten and the ‘reality’ we’re seeing of Vin’s actual interactions with them, and Elend in particular.

To fight a battle like Kelsier and Dockson were, it was probably more effective — and better for the psyche — to assume that all of their enemies were evil.

This comment actually challenged my views quite a bit. It makes sense. It might not be that Kelsier is willfully stripping the nobility of their humanity, but rather as what could reasonably be considered a soldier in a war, there is just no room for considering whether the men you just killed had wives or children who loved them.

I’m not sure I completely buy into this view, it could be Vin’s rationalisation for their views so that she can remain part of their world, a world she is coming to love as shown by a wonderfully poignant moment when the crew is together and she views a wisp of her prior self standing in the doorway.

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?

This is dangerous ground for me to answer too much on, so I may include a little more in the ‘invisible’ section below.

However I will just say that during the battle (well, slaughter really) scene or shortly after, I saw some very subtle foreshadowing to Kelsier’s own plan.

If I do my best to ignore that hint — I don’t think it is very likely for anyone on a first read to pick up on it — I would say that it was most certainly a set back, one that may cost them time or force them to come up with another plan for that army to take account for the new, much diminished count.

At this point, I would believe that it would likely still happen, the Lord Ruler would still go down, but perhaps not in this volume.

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?

Since I already knew about Sanderson’s Cosmere, no, I wasn’t surprised. Hoid’s role is certainly an interesting one. Was he merely there to collect information on the current state of the Lord Ruler and the goings on in this world? Or by passing on the ‘knowledge’ that Kelsier dropped in that conversation, was he knowingly trying to help Kelsier and his crew out?

Any of that and more besides is possible where Hoid is concerned.

Bonus the Second: My Thoughts as a Second-time Reader.

Contains full book and even series spoilers. Select/Highlight the text to read it if you’ve read before, or don’t mind the spoilers.

It is interesting to see just how many times Vin touches her earring while thinking about or hearing the voice in her head of ‘Reen’. You may remember the significance of this earring and the fact it is metal that pierces her body once Ruin comes into play in a stronger way later on in the series.

Then there is the very nature of the magic itself, it would seem to me that Allomancy — burning the metals away — would be of Ruin, and Feruchemy — which stores energy or knowledge and the like without destruction — would come from the power of Preservation.

This next one is big, even if you don’t typically mind spoilers, I suggest not highlighting this part unless you’ve read the first book to completion.

I was silly and didn’t mark the quote in my Kindle from during the battle/slaughter scenes that suggested to me that Kelsier had intended to be a sacrifice all along. That he had been building up the mysticism around him and this 11th metal for the express purpose of giving the skaa something to believe in.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been on him, to have even his friends doubt and question him, to possibly believe his ego was going too far astray, when he knew all along he would give the ultimate sacrifice of his life so that they would have a much better chance without him to see days where they lived free.

Do I agree his plan was a good one? No, I don’t. But I admire it nonetheless.

End Spoilers.



Other Parts
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Part Four
Part Five