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.
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!