Mistborn Read Along, Week Two

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.

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24 Comments

Filed under Mistborn Read-Along, Read Along

24 responses to “Mistborn Read Along, Week Two

  1. I agree, this was a nice entry point into the world of the nobility, seen through the eyes of one of their own, to a degree, rather than through Kelsier’s eyes. I so like the way Sanderson’s structure in this book is unfolding. We are penetrating the various levels of society as the story moves forward, being introduced to new and interesting characters that peel another layer of mist, pardon the pun, back to reveal a little more about this world. Love it!

    The training of Vin was a bit more of an info-dump than I expected, but I ended up not minding as it reminded me of the training levels in a video game. I almost felt like I was playing a game, envisioning Vin learning to burn metal and use her newly discovered abilities.

    Good call on Star Trek. I hadn’t pictured that show but the whole idea of the Keepers and the Lord Ruler from a religious/cultural aspect was reminding me of films. I don’t see Kelsier as quite as self-interested as Jayne, but it is a fun comparison. I’d see Kelsier as a little more like the Mal we see right up to his conversation with Shepherd in Serenity. He has his own brand of morality/nobility but he is also very much about keeping himself (and his crew) alive at whatever cost and isn’t afraid to make others pay, even with their lives, to do so. It is also unclear at this point exactly what he “believes” and that also reminds me of Mal.

    I think it is great that Sanderson has introduced a reader into the mix. That is the kind of character that we book-lovers cannot help but be drawn to, at least in the beginning.

  2. nrlymrtl

    Kelsier = Jayne from Firefly – I hadn’t thought of it that way and now that it is there, I have a meld of Jayne’s weapons with Kelsier’s Allomancy. Crazy.

    In those Star Trek and STNG episodes, those were basically good folks who didn’t want to be worshiped as a god. The Lord Ruler doesn’t appear to have that hindrance. Which makes me wonder if he is simply a master-mind with no powers at all and has to depend on this mythos and rumors to keep most at bay.

    • That’s why I’m here–to draw as many pop culture references into the reading material as possible! 🙂

      And I do take your point about the god figures in Trek and how it’s different from what we see here. Yes, the Trek characters are more benevolent, but I believe that Lord Ruler could be discredited just as easily.

      Of course, a lot of my interest in how power is achieved and held onto is being colored by my viewing of Game of Thrones this season.

      • I’m wondering whether discrediting the Lord Ruler would actually work because he seems to have such absolute power. You’d almost have to convince the Inquisitors/Obligators to turn against him, I think… then again, they may be more faithful than the average population and if they could be turned might make a more powerful weapon against him.

      • nrlymrtl

        Did you ever see Riddick Chronicles the sequel to Pitch Black? The main bad dude is see as all powerful, until he takes a knife wound…..

      • I’ve seen Pitch Black but it’s been a while. Not sure I caught the second installment or not…but I like the point made.

        And yes, I can see how the social structure could continue even if the Lord Ruler is debunked…but it could be fascinating to see it all unravel over the course of the next couple of books.

      • I think one problem of relying on discrediting the Lord Ruler is that the Obligators and nobility have a great deal of power because of him and they won’t want to give it up, even if he is killed.

  3. I think Sazed is much more than just a keeper of all the information and the one to give Vin history lessons. For some reason, I feel he has a larger role – there is more power behind him??? I think.

  4. I think Kelsier has motivations beyond his own self interest. He was a very successful and wealthy skaa thief before he was taken to the Pits of Hathsin, and now that he’s Mistborn it would be very easy for him to continue on his old path to try and get rich. It’s kind of the difference between getting $100 million (robbing nobility) or $1 billion (robbing the Lord Ruler), both are going to leave you and your family set for life, so there’s no reason to go for the bigger prize if money is your only goal.

    • I just can’t help wondering if what is stashed in that secret room is something to do with the Lord Ruler’s immortality? Time will tell I suppose.
      Lynn 😀

  5. I think it’s interesting what you say about Kelsier, because in a way, it does feel like he’s setting himself up to be a legend. He may not see himself as a hero, but i think he’s making everyone else see him that way, if that makes sense.

  6. I like your answer to number 1.
    Kelsier – he’s a puzzle isn’t he? I don’t think he’s a bad character but then he sometimes seems very harsh. Then others a softie. I was reading somebody elses comments and it got me to thinking – I hope it wasn’t his wife who betrayed him!! That would be too horrible. I’m sure that didn’t actually happen but it popped into my head momentarily!
    Lynn 😀

    • I’ve actually been thinking she did betray him. Especially because, from a structural standpoint, it would dovetail nicely with Vin’s character who was betrayed by her closest family member, her brother.

      • Oh, I love all this speculation. It’s killing me not to read on of course, but I do love it!
        Lynn 😀

      • Me too, but on the other hand I am really enjoying taking my time with this and not feeling pressured to drop everything else in my life to read. It has been nice to have this balance and it is making me really appreciate the read.

      • I know what you mean. I literally pick it up and read the chapters the night before we post. This week I’ve had to read two books in-between to keep me off reading it! It’s great though.
        Lynn 😀

      • Oh whoa…I hope she did not betray him! How devasting. What happened to her anyway? did she not die therefore how would betraying him benefit her? The speculation is as much fun as the actual reading of the book.

      • Perhaps Kelsier’s wife is in the secret room!!!!!!! (no, only kidding). Really, i did have a moment of thinking it would be kind of a brilliant twist if his wife was the betrayer. It makes sense in that nobody ever mentions it (the rest of his crew that is) – which they wouldn’t would they? Also, it kind of makes sense of kelsier’s behaviour – yes, he comes across as wanting revenge, but, he also comes across as wanting one-up-manship! I dunno. But, it’s a very intriguing theory. And, it makes more sense as to why he’s always so secretive now!
        Lynn 😀

      • I hope not too, but I was looking at the line Marsh spoke to Kelsier when they first get together in the book:

        Kell: “I miss her too”

        Marsh: “I’m sure that you do–but I have to be honest with you Kell. Despite what she did…sometimes I wish that you hadn’t been the one to survive the Pits.”

        Now this seems to me like they might be talking about someone else, someone connected to Marsh, not Kell. But still, it was an interesting line.

      • OMG I never even picked up on that!
        Lynn 😀

      • An intriguing theory for certain. Your right, it would lend itself to his secretiveness.

    • You know, all this speculation is making it more difficult for me NOT to pick up the book and read right through to the end! I’m trying not to do that so I don’t spoil things in the questins each week, but man the temptation…

  7. TBM

    I really like your answer to question one. I remember my English teacher saying something like that. I I loved how you put this: as the world opens up. That is a wonderful way to not only look at Sanderson’s novel but how to take in novels that offer us different worlds. That phrase offers so much promise and is a great approach to a story.

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