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Mistborn Group Read Part 4

Oh, my gosh!!! What a week of reading! What a book! This is our 4th group discussion and our last really long passage of reading. Only one more week after this and one short (but dare I say ‘exciting’) section to read. Lynn graciously agreed to handle question duties for this week and no doubt her questions, combined with all that happened in this section of the book, will generate loads of discussion topics.

For those of you who have not read the book and were perhaps skimming through our posts please let me dissuade you from doing so this week. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate your comments, it is that now that I’ve read this first book I desperately want you to read it and the spoilers that are going to come out in this week’s Q&A will truly ruin the experience for you. And reading Sanderson is an experience.

And as for you fellow participants, what are you waiting for? Let’s get the ball rolling!

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?

Whoa! I mean I so didn’t see that coming. The Lord Ruler being that powerful, that invincible, to be given Kelsier’s best shot and it not even making him flinch, and then dispatching Kelsier without breaking a sweat. It was indeed a surprise all the way around. It certainly seems that his strength and power are not merely the stuff of legend but are instead more powerful than Kelsier and his band could have ever imagined. I have to believe he can be beaten, or what would be the point of the story? I don’t see this being some long trilogy that ends in complete futility. But it does seem that the Lord Ruler is going to give all comers a run for their money.

I was also interested to see how truly ruthless he was in this section. The mass executions which showed that his disdain for the skaa was not just rumor but was instead true revealed him to be even more of a monster than hinted at early on. I can definitely say that, whether or not he can be beaten, it was this section of the book which finally pushed me over the edge–now I desperately want to see him be defeated, utterly and completely. I don’t want to see any kind of Darth Vader redemption. He’s done gone and pissed me off. It is time for him to die! :)

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?

It will be interesting to see what a blow Kelsier’s death will be to them. We cannot forget that for all the honor and loyalty they’ve shown thus far that they are still a group of thieves, a group with their own moral and ethical code. To be a successful thief for this long you have to have the ability to see the odds and know when to cut and run. I suspect that will be tempting to them and at the same time it would be hard to see them split up. I’m not sure what books two and three of this trilogy have in store, but at this point in the story I would certainly hate to see a long story arc where the crew split up and went their own directions. I am a sap, and I’ve grown really fond of this group of renegades. They are an interesting family and I want to see them be there for each other. The theme of ‘betrayal’ may still overshadow the story and I hope it is not manifested in the crew disbanding.

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?

It was in character for the Kelsier we’ve all grown to know through this story. One one hand he is a thoughtful planner and a leader who can organize and lead men. On the other hand he has moments of rash impulsivity that threaten to unravel all of his carefully laid plans. His reaction to Marsh’s death was what you would expect a brother to do, especially given their sometimes troubled relationship. It was apparent early on that there was love there no matter the past and, love or not, family is family and you don’t mess with family. I half expected him to charge the palace again, so his return to the Pits and his destruction of them was yet another surprise Sanderson threw my way. It was a powerful act of vengeance.

Repercussions? Oh yes, destroying the supply of atium is going to have some HUGE repercussions. It has too. And I suspect it may cause a great deal of problems for those parts of the plan that haven’t completely unraveled. You have to think that an economic impact on the nobles is going to flow down and affect the skaa too. The skaa seem to take the brunt of punishment for everything that goes on, so I have no doubt the Lord Ruler will exercise some of his vengeance on the skaa.

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 Darkness is not as oppressive when higher up in the mountains – do you have any more ideas about the Darkness?

None whatsoever. I only know that there is no way Sanderson is teasing us with that only to let it drop. We’ll see the Deepness become an important part of this story at some point. But as of yet I cannot imagine what it is, what it might do, how powerful and pervasive it might be and just where in the heck it is right now. The whole ritual and the Well of Ascension and the Deepness is all still a mystery at this point, one of the many threads Sanderson has woven around us to keep pulling us deeper into the story.

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?

Now that more time has passed, that more story has been told, I have come to feel better about Vin and Elend. I suspected I would and much to everyone’s chagrin continue to stand by my assertion that teenager or no teenager, Vin’s crush was too quick and too schoolgirl silly during that brief part of the story. As time passed and she began to realize she was in love with him, not just gaga over him, that romance felt more authentic and more a natural part of the fabric of the story. Maybe my initial problem with the first part is that it felt like a much more contemporary story at that point rather than the fantasy that it is. Anyway, I’m not sure anymore that there is a future for anyone. I mean I didn’t expect Kelsier to succeed, but I also didn’t expect him to get removed from the picture this early. I do hope they have a future, but my expectations are tempered knowing we have more to read yet in this book plus two more books waiting, filled with things both good and bad, I would think.

Other thoughts:

a) Keslier dead! Whoa! Okay, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating. I liked Kelsier. I liked him a lot. I’m going to really miss him.

b) The skaa slaughter. I already mentioned this too, but man that was hard seeing innocent skaa being punished for things the crew was doing. I’m glad Kelsier had the feeling that they needed to bear witness to these atrocities, that they needed to honor the skaa.

c) Vin. That girl is something special, and I love how we are given small glimpses into just how special without the exact nature of who or what she is being revealed. She learned things quickly from Marsh. She could sense things about the Lord Ruler than no one else seemed to be able to sense. She suspected and began to discover that perhaps not all the things assumed about allomancy were accurate. She is really going to have to step up in Kelsier’s absence. I hope she can do it.

Well, I’m so glad that this is just the beginning and that my answers and your answers are just the starting point of all we have to talk about this week. Please leave your discussion links below. I’ll send out questions for our final section on Sunday or Monday. And keep your eyes on your email for announcements about the dates and schedule for book two of this trilogy.

Thanks again Lynn for making up the questions this week, you did GREAT! :)

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36 Responses to “Mistborn Group Read Part 4”

  1. Naithin May 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    I still agree with you, I think, that the initial aspects of Vin and Elend’s ‘courting’ I suppose rushed by a little fast. As I mentioned somewhere else, the only defending argument I can think of is how completely and utterly seperate ‘Valette’ was from her street girl ‘Vin’ persona during those sections.

    She has sort of amalgamated into a more complete person since, but back then it was almost a case of split personality! So where Vin may not have thrown Elend as far as she could throw him, Valette in her place was smitten.

    That said, I get your argument about it seeming a bit too contemporary. I had a similar complaint about the blackboard and chalk planning session from right near the beginning. Even thinking about it grates me the wrong way. :P

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      That is true, Naithin, I think you are right on the separation of those personalities. One positive thing is that portion of the book served to show just how confused Vin still was in not only this role but also in this new crew that was so much different than what she was used to. It also served to remind me that she was indeed a teenager, something that I had strayed away from in my recollections.

      She is much more complete and I’ve loved seeing that character growth. It excites me to see what Sanderson might do with her…provided he doesn’t pull a Kelsier on us with Vin. LOL!

      Reading your chalkboard complaint makes me feel like asking, “was it like fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard?” ;)

      • Lynn May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

        Funnily enough I keep forgetting Vin’s actual age! I too thought her feelings for Elend were at the start a bit too much – after all she was fresh off the streets where she couldn’t trust anybody. The only thing I figured is that she felt more relaxed around him at the Balls because he was less intimidating – even so….
        Lynn :D

      • Naithin May 2, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

        I would not at all like to see Vin be wiped out as well! Still so much more room to grow, as both a character and it would appear in terms of her power.

        As to the fingernails over chalkboard? Yes… Yes very much like that. I inflicted myself with that question as well and then had to groan because it made it all the worse. lol

  2. Grace May 2, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Poor Kelsier… I wanted it to be a trick where he wasn’t really dead, but that would have been too convenient. I’m going to miss him too. He was such a charismatic character.

    Vin and Elend are kind of cute together, despite the fact that he’s a bit naive. I’m glad she learned to open up and to trust. Elend’s not a bad person, which makes his role as a part of the nobility so much more interesting.

    I enjoyed seeing Vin’s reaction to the gold for some reason. Out of all of the Allomantic metals we’ve seen so far, that one appeals to me the most, if only because it would be so bizarre.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Me too, but it was so matter-of-fact, and so quick and cold-blooded, that I don’t think we’ll see any sudden Kelsier resurrection.

      I like that Elend is a mirror image of Vin in some respects, that he has forged his own beliefs based on the life he’s been forced to be in over these years and that he is working to break out of that and become his own person. It gives them a really nice common base to work from.

      That was bizarre, and I doubt it is as meaningless as Kelsier seems to imply that it is.

  3. TBM May 2, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    When Kelsier died I was shouting “NOOOOOOOoooooo.” I couldn’t believe it. I knew his rash impulses would be the end of him, but I didn’t expect him to exit the story in the first book. And I was a little angry with Sanderson…how could he do that to me! I did appreciate that at the end, Kelsier saves Elend. That was a great moment and he did it for Vin. He finally wasn’t so black and white about the nobility.

    And oh man did I start to loathe the Lord Ruler. Not only the mass executions of the skaa but his lack of any empathy towards anyone really angered me. And then he killed Kelsier so easily. I wanted him dead right then and there. However, given his strength I wouldn’t volunteer to do it. He’s a scary, bad man.

    I can’t wait to learn about the repercussions of destroying the Atium. I have a feeling that was a huge mistake. Big mistake. Horrible mistake.

    I am totally clueless about the Deepness as well.

    • Grace May 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Yeah. Something tells me that Atium is going to be necessary for something further down the road and that when they need it it’s not gonna be there. At the same time, destroying all the Atium was like giving the Lord Ruler the middle finger, and I thought it was a rather fitting gesture considering my feelings toward him. Nobody should be allowed to get away with such atrocities.

      • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        Me too. I think that is one of the reasons I liked Kelsier so much. Even when he had it all figured out he didn’t really have it all figured out because he would act impulsively and spin the plan off in all kinds of unforeseen directions.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      TBM: I know! If I hadn’t somewhat felt it coming on with the public executions and the trap (which I suspected was a trap before it was revealed) I think I might have flung my book across the room!

      That was a great moment with Kelsier and Elend, and I appreciated the fact that he wasn’t about to let the grand plan interfere with doing what was right by his people even if it was probably stupid, and of course led to his death.

      The Lord Ruler was “revealed” almost like a monster coming out of the mists. There were these vague outlines, shadows, rumors and then suddenly he is on the scene and he is more terrible than we might have imagined.

      • TBM May 3, 2012 at 2:04 am #

        I didn’t even think that it was a trap so when I found out that it was I should have thrown my book. Oh man, what a heartbreak. I love Sanderson and hate him all at the same time.

        Kelsier frustrated me at times with his impulsiveness, but his end couldn’t have been more heroic. I have to admire the man for standing up to such a foe. And why did the Lord Ruler have to strike him down like he was just a bug. No respect. I wanted to kill him myself.

        By the way, great choice for a group read Carl. Thanks for hosting! I’m excited for next week.

  4. Amanda May 2, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    Kelsier’s death came as a complete surprise to me the first time I read this. He and Vin were the center of this story! Where’s it going to go without him??

    I admit, I wasn’t at all uncomfortable with Vin and Elend’s relationship prior to this week’s reading. But after Elend gets all excited about her being a skaa, in a way that sounds a little too much like he wants to pat the “cute little foreigner” on the head, I’m a little put off him. I hope he can come to think of her as a person, rather than as a skaa. Whether or not he’s willing to treat her well as a skaa is not the point. If he continues to think of her as skaa – as something foreign and strange – they will never be equals. I *was* relieved that he did try to come to her rescue.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      I guess looking back it was less surprising why Sanderson chose to have Vin be our eyes through much of the story. Though it happens more often with contemporary genre stories, it still surprises me when a main character gets killed so early in a story, in this case in the first book of a trilogy.

      I was relieve Elend made some bold efforts myself and didn’t have to be led into them by Vin or someone else. I’m glad he went ahead and defied the doubts of people like Kelsier and stood up for Vin and for the things he’s been reading in his books.

  5. Adam May 2, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    The Lord Ruler does almost come across as a force of nature when we finally see him. Uncaring about anything that gets in his way and almost completely oblivious to all the lives he destroys. I love how well he lives up to the mystique surrounding him to this point.

    Kelsier dying was a huge blow to me when I first read the book (as I’m sure it was to all of you as well). Up to this point he’s been the driving force behind everything going on in the book, and he’s a charismatic and interesting character. Still, the scene where he defeats the inquisitor and then stands up to the Lord Ruler is one of the most powerful scenes in the book and one of the most memorable scenes from any book I’ve read for quite some time.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      He lived up to his mystique and so much more. I guess unconsciously I figured that when we finally saw him that it would have been all smoke and mirrors somehow, all manipulation. But no dice. He is the real deal, a powerful being in his own right. Wow!

      It will be interesting in future books to see how either Vin or someone else fills the void left behind by Kelsier’s death.

      And I agree, that whole scene was incredibly powerful. I was on the edge of my seat.

  6. Michael May 2, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Sanderson seems to take a page from George R.R. Martin–don’t get too attached to any of the characters, good or bad. Cause they could meet the fickle finger of fate at any time.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Evidently so! :)

  7. Kristen M. May 2, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    I was also shocked about Kelsier but there was another death that I was totally rooting for and was actually smiling when it happened — Shan Elariel. What a bitch, right?! And then to have her be a fully trained Mistborn who gets tricked and killed? That was awesome. For some reason I also liked that Elend had no idea that there were actual assassins after him at Keep Venture. He’s just like “oh, someone was spying on me … I’m going to go hang at my friend’s house instead then”. There’s just not a devious bone in his body, is there? He can’t even see the most obvious politicking and betrayal right in front of him. It gives me hope for his future (assuming he isn’t the next on the chopping block).

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Yes, I was glad Sanderson gave Vin her moment and didn’t have Shan be a long-term nemesis for Vin. That was a great fight scene and I was happy to see Vin get her moment of triumph.

      I too liked that Vin didn’t drop down and reveal to Elend right then and there what all had just happened. It made the story more interesting.

      • Grace May 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        Haha, what would she have said if she did? “Oops, I accidentally killed your fiance. She was trying to kill you, so you’re better off without her. By the way, I’m a Mistborn.” It would have been such an awkward moment.

        • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

          Well, the way she was crushing on him earlier it wouldn’t have been surprising for her to rush in and tell him about the plot, but I thought it showed a real maturity for her as a character that she resisted doing so.

  8. nrlymrtl May 2, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    I really loved that speech Vin gave the crew when she returned from that final ball – about how they were not Skaa, but rather nobles without titles. I think she really brought to light the differences between these well-fed, rested, nicely-clothed Skaa rebel leaders and what most Skaa endure day-to-day.

    I want to be Vin when I grow up.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Yes, that speech was a defining moment for her character. Glad you brought that into the conversation. Very powerful storytelling there.

    • Lynn May 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      Yes, I loved that little speech as well – it was spot on!
      Lynn :D

    • Naithin May 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      I really liked that too, although I didn’t like how easily she in effect ‘took it back’ by her thinking — and Kelsier confirming! — she had said ‘something foolish’.

      It wasn’t foolish at all, it probably needed to be said. All their intentions are good, and most if not all of them do have experience as the other type of Skaa — which I suppose now thinking about it, might be the reason she acknowledged it was a foolish thing to say.. Hm.

      • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

        No, definitely not foolish. Although words spoken in anger can sometimes be ‘foolish’ even when they are things that need to be said.

  9. Sue CCCP May 2, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    I do wish authors wouldn’t follow Mr Martin in murdering my favorite characters: it is just not fair! :(

    The Lord Ruler is a total bastard, isn’t he? But, just like the Death Star, he must have a weakness that can be exploited and the sooner the better.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I’m sure Kelsier’s death will somehow serve a greater purpose in the story. That being said, I must admit to being a person who is okay with things turning out “happily ever after” in the end.

  10. ibeeeg May 2, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    I was very much left with the same reaction to the confrontation between the Lord Ruler and Kelsier. Not only was I incredibly impressed by the power exuded by the Lord Ruler, I also was definitely impacted with the fact that my original thoughts were way off based. This guy…man…whatever he is… is not to be taken lightly. His ability to be brutal without any sort of flinching has impacted me as well. I believe he will be brought down, not easily, but it will occur. Otherwise, why a series? :)

    Yes, the Crew are a group of thieves, but they do seem to have a different set of standards…code…morals…than those of the average thieving gang. I, do believe they will face temptation to either go for the quick buck and give up on this mission given to them. But, I also believe that even if all members do not stay with the Crew, they will stay on mission. Like you, I am a sap and believe in this Crew. Betrayal is still in the air…I hope it is not amongst those in the Crew, but I will not be surprised if there is one member who will go astray.

    I was surpassed by Kelsier’s vengeance through destroying the pits. I think it is very fitting.
    The skaa definitely will feel the repercussions…it already has started when the Lord Ruler executed hundreds of innocent skaa. But, is some ways, I think the destruction of the pits will ultimately serve as a boost to inciting change. I may be wrong, but this is my hope that good will come from this act of destruction. I wonder, we see it as a rash move on Keslier’s part, but do you maybe think it was apart of his plan all along? Certainly could have been considering how many twists and turns this story has taken…the surprises.

    Good to see that I am not the only one without a single clue as to the Darkness. I agree with your statement, Carl.

    For Vin and Elend…what defines a future? Your answer in this part brought forth that question. I guess, for me, I was not thinking years, and decades ahead with them. Their future to me was more in mind of the immediacy of whether or not they will team up. I do believe they will team up in ways more than because of love.

    I am there with you in my inability to fully intake Kelsier’s death. I liked him a whole lot too. He cannot just be dead and slide away from the story. I think Sanderson will take the “religion” aspect on , and as well as cultivate Vin in Kelsier’s image….in a way. Vin is special, I agree. I think she has great potential.

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      It was wild to see the true power of the Lord Ruler revealed. Not sure why my expectations were what they were, but it was fun to be proved wrong.

      As much as Kelsier obviously despised the Pits because of what it did to him and to Mare, I can’t help but think that he fantasized about their destruction for a long time. After all it didn’t take him long to go do it when he made up his mind about it.

      True, Vin and Elend wouldn’t have to have some kind of fairy tale future. Although the sap in me wants something like that for her.

      I’m missing Kelsier something fierce!

  11. Charlotte C. May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I, too, was devastated by Kelsier’s end. It just seemed that he would always be around — to me he was the central character around which everything revolved. I was shocked!

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Very shocking. It does make me want to keep reading the books though. I wonder if we have other shocks…heartbreaks…ahead?

  12. Lynn May 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    I am totally gutted about Kelsier – I really can’t believe it – frankly I had a moment there where I wanted to pack up my dinosaurs and take them home! I did sulk and I’m not afraid to admit it. I even put the book down (for five minutes). I’m not sure that I can come to terms with his not being involved in the rest of the trilogy – I really liked having the two of them and can only imagine that he has to die for a reason.
    So much good reading this week though. I was horrified by the execution and the horrible complacency with which they were just accepted. Having now seen the Lord Ruler in action it does sort of make sense that nobody stands up to him though!
    The other thing that you can’t help thinking is that although there aren’t many nobles a large proportion of their number seem to be pretty nasty – I was very pleased that Shah got hers – bitch!
    The thing that does come across for me is that if I – and in fact all of us – are so gutted by Kels death then imagine how his crew and Vin feel!
    Lynn :D

    • Carl V. May 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      Ah, nice Bradbury reference! It is going to be hard to come to terms without Kelsier. More so I think as we start to get into book two. I think Vin is going to miss not only the example he was to her but also the way that he unconsciously pushed her to be better.

      What, you didn’t like Shan? ;)

      • Lynn May 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

        She got on my last goddamn nerve and she got what she deserved! It was a great moment for Vin too! :D

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