Mistborn Group Read - Part Four

Welcome to Part Four of the Mistborn: The Final Empire group read. After this one there is only one more part to go for this book! One more! Things have certainly been coming to a head. It was exceptionally difficult not reading onward after finishing this section, and I’ve read it before. If I hadn’t read it before, I don’t know that I could have restrained myself!

This week’s questions have been provided by Lynn of Lynn’s Book Blog, and this group read is being hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings.

Mistborn fanart - Inquisitor by Inkthinker

Mistborn fanart - Inquisitor by Inkthinker. Seemed appropriate for this week's reading!

Part Four of the group read discusses the Chapters Twenty-Six through Thirty-Four. Spoilers ahoy!

1. Well, we finally got our long awaited view of the Lord Ruler, firstly just a brief glimpse during the executions and then during the fight with Kelsier. What do you now think about him and the myth’s surrounding him? And, given his strength do you think he can be beaten?

I know this question is focused primarily around TLR, but that fight between Kelsier and the Inquisitor really was something, wasn’t it? It amazed me as much this time as it did the first time through just how absolutely vivid the imagery created in my mind was for that fight. I could see the moves as clearly as if on a screen before me. Amazing.

To the question at hand though, striding along with a few spears sticking out of him as if they ain’t nothin’ at all certainly lends some plausibility to the myths. As did the strength behind the otherwise casual backhand he delivered Kelsier.

Can he be beaten though? I think so. By this point of the book I had a fairly strong suspicion about where at least some of his power was coming from and thus the nature of it. Turned out I didn’t know the whole story, but I was at least partially right. I’ll discuss that more in the ‘invisible’ sections down below though. 🙂

2. We seemed to suffer a number of set backs to the plans this week. The army had already been all but destroyed and following a bit of a rethink/regroup/coming up with a Plan B things still have gone disastrously astray. What do you think the Crew will do now??

Given how they were talking after the discovery of Marsh, I would suspect that the crew may seriously consider going their own way. I don’t think, though, that Vin will be having a bar of that. It’s possible she will be able to talk them into staying. It’s also a possibility that she will find Elend and perhaps they can achieve something.

I don’t think I really expected Elend to show up in the middle of a battle looking for her, didn’t really seem his style. On the other hand, I’m not absolutely convinced he was quite aware of the danger he was in. What reason did he have to believe that an Inquisitor would go after him?

3. What was your reaction to Kelsier’s response to finding Marsh dead? I can’t help feeling that there are going to be some serious economic repercussions to destroying the crystals – what sort of impact do you think this will have, not just on the nobles but on the Skaa?

The most immediate repercussions — other than perhaps what we’ve already seen with the new round of executions — will be to House Venture itself. I think that the toll exacted for this failure is going to be rather unforgiving. In fact, Elend’s presence during the battle may well have been his last chance to find Vin/Valette before his father forced a retreat from Luthadel.

Heck, Lord Venture may have already left, leaving his son to face the wrath of TLR on his own.

In the longer term, without a new supply of atium, it is perhaps likely that TLR will cease distributing even the sparing portions he had been, or if he does continue, it would be at ruinous prices. Lesser house’s mistborn will be at a fairly significant disadvantage when they run out of current atium supplies. Presumably the greater houses would have more of a supply — or at least in the short term, be able to afford the greater costs in the interests of supplanting the lesser houses — to keep their own mistborn at top fighting shape, able to scythe down their lessers with ease.

For the Skaa, it is harder to say. If too many of the houses employing Skaa in the city are wiped out or beat a hasty retreat, will they be left to their own devices to essentially starve since they can’t earn meal tokens any more? Will the supplanting greater houses take control over them, in effect causing no net change for them?

What will TLR do to Skaa he would have formerly ‘given a chance’ at the Pits of Hathsin? Will they still go there, and be expected to delve deeper, go further, and be more ruthless toward one another in the hopes of finding an undamaged crystal? Or will they merely be summarily executed?

The consequences could be extreme, but I don’t think they were necessarily thought through in their entirety. Of course, Kelsier and Breeze both seem to think of the destruction of the pits as a good thing. I can only assume because they looked at it only so far as the chaos it would sow between TLR and the nobility.

4. Finally, each week we learn a little bit more of the Lord Ruler’s history. And each week it has a different impact. This week’s snippets had the same impact – I was really interested in the excerpt when he mentions that the Deepness is not as oppressive when higher up in the mountains – do you have any more ideas about the Deepness?

I never wanted to be feared.
If I regret one thing, it is the fear I have caused. Fear is the tool of tyrants. Unfortunately, when the fate of the world is in question, you use whatever tools are available.

This quote is the one I found most interesting, as it seems to say so much. Assuming we are to believe these quotes as being ‘true’, it further shows that somewhere within TLR is the good man we saw in the earlier excerpts, taking what we perhaps see as the wrong path but for the right reasons.

I think perhaps that part had already been well established — again, assuming we believe the excerpts — but the other part that struck me about this one is that this seems to be a much more current quote. It would seem to suggest that perhaps the Deepness has not been defeated as is told in obligator doctrine, but merely contained, controlled or otherwise temporarily neutralised.

As to the nature of the deepness itself, or why it wouldn’t have any effect on them high up in the mountains? … I’m not really sure. Not much has been said very specifically about what the Deepness was, other than that it was ‘oppressive’. Could it be that what is taken as the strong depressing ‘Soothing’ from TLR is in fact a remnant of containing the Deepness himself? Or is it the very mists themselves, which the Skaa — and some nobles, including Elend — see as oppressive and frightening?

5. I was wondering about Elend and Vin – they’ve also had their ups and downs this week but seem determined to work round them – can you see anything of a future for these two or is there too much history between the nobles and Skaa and too much difference and prejudice between the two?

I think Elend’s — perhaps rather odd! — reaction to the discovery of who ‘Valette’ was is promising. As to was his presence during the fighting looking for her. I mentioned above that I think it possible he didn’t really have any concept of the danger he’d put himself in, but even if that is the case, the fact he came looking certainly means something in my opinion.

Of course, it is entirely possible that he came looking purely for intellectual reasons; to ‘study’ and learn from her. I don’t think it very likely, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

Bonus: 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.

She looked up at Kelsier. “When are you going to go? When will you leave me?”
Kelsier looked sorrowful. “I . . . Vin, I don’t know. This job, the plan . . .”

As I mentioned last week, there has been some running (although subtle) foreshadowing about the demise of Kelsier. More than that, though, a demise he has planned in full. The quote there taken on its own could simply reflect Kelsier’s uncertainty as to whether or not he will survive what is to come. However it is where Kelsier is forced to face the human cost of his plan to others, not just himself. Vin has been abandoned again and again, and now that he has used her to get this far, demanding her trust, he knows that soon enough he will be one of those who will also leave her.

Greater good or no, this is no easy thing.

The other part I wanted to mention invisibly for re-readers I actually had suspected on my first read through, but I’m still a little dubious mentioning in the ‘visible’ section because it turned out to be at least partially right.

As Vin had heard, his fingers glittered with rings, the symbol of his power.

Nooo, Vin, not just a symbol of his power, but also a source of his power. This and the many other quotes like it made me wonder, ever since Sazed finally explained to Vin a little about Feruchemy — and then when Kelsier explained it further — that perhaps TLR was also a Feruchemist.

He could store health and thus shrug off things, like, you know, a couple of incidental spears through his ribs. It would potentially explain his physical strength as well. Further it would make a little more sense of his desire to hunt down and kill every other living Feruchemist.

He would not want anyone about who could conceivably guess one of his sources of power and understand intimately its limitations, right?

End Spoilers.


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