What’s this? Part two already? Yep! I was about two weeks behind — really, a little more, but I should be able to read through enough to be caught up in time for part three and beyond — when I started. This unfortunately has lead to the sandwiching of these two parts together a little bit.

Promise, the next ones will be spaced out a little better! For now, here is a take on depicting Kelsier. I don’t think I see the character in quite the same way, but the artist of this is clearly talented!

Usual Group Read Post Note: This is a re-read for me, and already it has been quite interesting revisiting this earlier work of Sanderson’s. Please note that spoilers will be in these posts for the sections under discussion that week, and perhaps earlier sections, but nothing beyond.

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.

'Kelsier' fan art, by Hayley M. Lazo

Part Two of the group read discusses the Chapters Seven through Fifteen. Spoilers ahoy!

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?

In this section we received our first taste of interacting with the nobility in a form other than as immediate recipients of murder. Vin has had to attend her first noble party and her interaction with Elend was amusing, and eye-brow raising.

Elend, so far, seems like he may not share in the common opinions held by the rest of the nobility. Where there is one, could there be more?

The Skaa are an interesting bunch as well though, aren’t they? For the most part, completely dispirited and subjugated. Yet at the same time, some of them are willing to take the vast risk of imitating nobility and infiltrating their circles. Not just Kelsier’s crew, but other thieving crews as well.

Finally, the Lord Ruler himself. The one we’ve seen the least of. In fact, to this point, we’ve had no direct interaction with him at all. I think that Sanderson understands that sometimes, the unseen threat, the unknown, can be the most intimidating.

Sanderson has been building the Lord Ruler up throughout the book so far, discussing his power in uncertain terms yet we can see his power is vast, being implicitly shown through the control he is able exert on the terrible Inquisitors that we have already seen.

The Lord Ruler is not going to be a pushover to deal with.

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.

The Lord Ruler, we are told, is actively seeking to destroy all traces of any other religion. That Sazed is a repository for as many of these religions as possible, against the day the Lord Ruler is overthrown gives me pause.

Pause because already Sazed is one of my favourite characters in the book. His knowledge is going to be important if Kelsier ever gets his wish and overthrows the Lord Ruler. Yet he has been written in such a way that suggests that yes, there are more secrets to give up, but that he may not get the chance to offer them all. Kelsier and Vin are the clear protagonists of this story so far.

Sazed feels like he has the makings of a sacrificial lamb on the altar of telling a better story.

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?

This seems to perhaps be a case of, ‘the right thing, for the wrong reason’. The Lord Ruler needs to go and a degree of equality brought to the differing classes.

With how clear cut the lines between skaa and nobility are drawn, it is tempting to consider them completely separate races. But they’re not. There is only a matter of original bloodlines, whether they go back to families that supported, or did not support, the Lord Ruler in the earlier days of his rule.

Perhaps equality isn’t quite the word I’m after. There may well always be an upper and lower class. There shouldn’t be however, a slave class. Nor should anyone of the ‘lower’ class be considered any less human or have any less in the way of basic rights (ok, maybe equality was fine after all).

For Kelsier, though? This is revenge motivated. He’ll use whatever is necessary to bring together the force he needs to make this happen, even if it means convincing himself of what he’s selling. I think it’s possible he believes what he says in the meetings and to his crew, yet his complete dehumanising of the noble class shows a much darker aspect.

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?

Sazed, but I’ve already spoken of him.

So perhaps Elend. We’ve only encountered him briefly at the noble ball, on a balcony, where it seemed he would much rather read a book than to partake in the festivities.

Even so, he possessed a certain charm and wit that one mightn’t typically associate with a ‘bookish’ character. Further, as mentioned above, he expressed some opinions that we’ve been told no noble would ever hold. Namely, that the skaa don’t deserve to be so mistreated.

My worry based just on the information available from reading up to Chapter 15 is that he is going to come to blows with Kelsier, as Vin first feared when she caught up with him after following along the bronze highway. Kelsier may well remorselessly kill Elend, hoping to spark the chaos and house war(s) he desires while perhaps inadvertently killing one who may have offered support.

Worse, if Vin finds out Kelsier did it…? Oof.

Other Parts
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five