It’s time for the mid-week conversation about Brian Sanderson’s fantasy epic Mistborn. This week’s questions were provided by TBM and cover chapters 7-15 in the novel.
And it’s never too late to jump into things! You can find out more about the read along and find links to other responses at Stainless Steel Droppings.
Now, onto week two’s questions.
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?
As we finish up this section of the book, it feels like Sanderson is starting to give us an entry point into the world of the nobility with Vin attending the ball. But I agree that we’ve only really been introduced to the various factions of Misborn society to this point. And I think that’s for the sheer reason of Sanderson not wanting to overwhelm us with page after page of exposition. Or as my old English teachers used to say, show don’t tell. Sure, we could have a whole prologue that introduces the world and how each various social strata works but that is lazy writing and would, quite frankly, turn me off of the novel. I realize that we have to have info-dumps at times, but there are ways for authors to integrate information about the world and universe they are creating into the novel without it feeling like we’re stopping to explain everything for readers. Sanderson appears to be doing this. So far, we’ve met our crew, we’ve been introduced to the magic system and we’ve got a thumbnail sketch of the society of this world. Now I have a feeling we’re going to jump into those segments of society a bit deeper as the world opens up.
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.
For some reason, I kept thinking of a couple of Star Trek episodes. When we’re told about how the Lord Ruler is the centerpiece of the religion and has, apparently, been around for longer than the average lifespan of characters in this novel, I kept thinking–this is how they’ll bring him down. They’ll prove that he’d not a god, causing the people to lose faith, inciting rebellion and bringing down the Empire. And that brought to mind the original Trek episode, “This Side of Paradise” and the “See the god that bleeds” comment. In case you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of Trek, it’s the one where Kirk has his memory erased, goes native and the village believes he’s a god because he’s come out of the obelisk.
I also found myself thinking about the TNG episode “Who Watches the Watchers” in which Picard must debunk the society’s view that he is a god of some type. He does it by allowing himself to be wounded and shown to be mortal. That may be part of why I think the eventual plan will be somehow disprove the Lord Ruler as a god.
I did find it interesting that Sazed’s role is to know everything about every religion and someone impart all of that to Vi.
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?
Again, going back to genre TV examples (I watch a lot of TV), I keep comparig Kelsier to Rigel from Farscape or Jayne from Firefly. They’re not necessarily good or bad, but they’re motivated from their own selfish self interest. If the plan is good for them, they’re for it. And I see Kelsier in a similar light–he doesn’t necessarily see himself as some kind of grand hero in the classic definition of a hero, but instead is doing this out of some other motivation. He sees people as an either a solution to help further his goals or as an obstruction. On some level, Vin sense this as well wondering if Kelsier is sharing all of the knowledge on how to use her powers with her or holding something back for a rainy day or for himself.
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?
I’ll admit I’m intrigued by the noble who is more content to read than take place in the social interactions of the ball in the last chapter we read. I’m guessing (I’ve not read ahead from this point) that he’ll become some kind of greater player in how things unfold.