Mistborn Group Read Week 2

We’re up to the second week of questions and answers involving Mistborn: The Final Empire.  This week’s questions have been provided by TBM and they cover chapters 7-15.  On we go.

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?

Vin

I think there are several reasons we haven’t really seen much from people other than the crew.  The first is dealing with the learning curve of the world.  The first section hits you really hard with a lot of worldbuilding, whereas the second section is where we really start to get a lot of information about allomancy.  The second is that the more you know about someone, the more you tend to sympathize with them (unless they’re pure evil, which from meeting Elend we can see that they aren’t).  By keeping the scope of the book fairly small (all of our viewpoints with the exception of the prologue have been either Vin or Kelsier) it keeps the pace of the book moving.

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.

Religion – specifically faith – is one of the central themes of the entire series.  (Some of this answer comes from my having read Sanderson’s online annotations.)  The religion isn’t really like any religion I’ve ever heard of, it’s run more like a business than a religion.  Granted, having your god living in your city does change things up a bit from most of Earth’s major religions.

I really enjoy watching Sazed discuss different religions throughout the course of the series.  It’s also really interesting to watch as he tries to ‘fit’ a different religion to each member of the crew.  Sazed is a very interesting character over the course of the book.

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?

I’m all for insane plans that have almost no chance of working.  The setup of this book is similar to a heist movie (think Oceans 11).  It’s a lot of fun to watch a crazy plan as it is broken down into manageable chunks and then executed.

I think it’s partially revenge and partially a heartfelt way to help the skaa.  He’s obviously angry about the way that the Lord Ruler treats the skaa, especially considering how he and his wife were treated.  But despite the revenge being there, I really think that Kelsier does want to help the skaa to better their position in life.

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?

Sazed

I mentioned above that Sazed is a really interesting character throughout the book, there is a lot more going on with him then you see at first glance, but he is a great character.  Reading the book this time I was reminded of just how great Elend is at this point in the story.  He’s a really interesting character, but I also think it’s because he reminds me of myself.  I never went to any dances or anything in school, and even today when my family gets together for whatever reason (birthdays, holidays, etc.) I still prefer to be on the outside a little bit.  I’ll show up and say hi to everyone, then go off and read a book or listen to music for a while.  Elend trying to read at a ball is something I could see myself doing far too easily.  Lastly, Lestibourne is fun because of his language.  Next time you go into your spam filter, read a couple of the posts in there, some of them sound like his street slang.

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16 Comments

  1. I definitely agree, it does keep the pace of the book moving forward at a nice clip by keeping the story focused on a handful of characters. We aren’t losing any momentum at this point by switching to another setting or another scene. Now Sanderson may do that later (as he did in Way of Kings) and if it happens it will hopefully work as well as it did in that book. But for now I think it is great that we are being pulled into this story by keeping the point of view to mainly these two characters.

    Sazed is stand-out character in this section of the book, I like him very much.

    I’m with you on Kelsier’s dual motives, and I am curious if a time, or times, will arrive where he will have to choose one motive over the other.

    Isn’t it fun when you can see yourself in characters? When you can relate to them on a personal level? I believe that when that happens it makes the story just a little bit more special.

    Reply
  2. nrlymrtl

     /  April 18, 2012

    That’s a great comment about Lestibourne’s language. I wonder if he will remain a tension-relieving side kick, there for humor, or grow into something more…..hmmm…..

    Reply
    • It works well for some comic relief throughout the book, but he’s a cool character (and it was really hard to not refer to him by his nickname).

      Reply
  3. I agree with your reasonings as to why we have not seen much of the skaa. Good thought on Sazed fitting a religion to the specific person – I am enjoying that too.

    I choose Sazed as the character who is greatly intriguing me. My second choice would have been Elend. His interaction with Vin has really piqued my interest. I am very curious about him.

    Reply
    • It’s a lot of fun watching Vin and Elend throughout the course of the book. Sazed has a lot going on right now that works really well to give him an air of mystery.

      Reply
  4. Haha, I’d probably try to read at a ball as well…

    One of the things that I love about reading Sanderson is that he’s got perfect pacing with the worldbuilding. He’s not one of those authors that makes you feel like you’re listening to a lecture when introducing you to elements of his world, but at the same time you’ve always got enough context to understand what’s going on.

    Reply
    • I’ve found that generally the best worldbuilding is when the author gives out small details in passing. If you sit and read through pages and pages of infodumping about the world, it gets old really quickly. By giving it out in small doses he keeps the pace of the novel going and leaves you wanting to know more about the world, rather then giving you too much.

      Reply
  5. I also felt like the religion was set up more like a business than a faith, which is an interesting play on religion, especially given that all of Sazed’s religions discussed so far have been more traditional in their teachings.

    I love Elend. 😀

    Reply
    • In Medieval Christianity wealthy people could pay priests etc to do their praying for them, or to get their sins forgiven, so it isn’t such a big leap to see religion as a form of business.

      Reply
      • You’re right, I forgot about that. It isn’t done as overtly in today’s society, so it seems like a huge stretch for a religion, but there is plenty of basis for it in the history of religions in our world.

  6. I love the pace of this story and the fact that it is kept fairly small character wise and definitely agree that this keeps it moving.
    I can’t wait to see more between Vin and Elend and I’m loving Sazed – he’s a mystery isn’t he but I love his calm patience.
    Lynn 😀

    Reply
  7. Whenever we would have big family functions, you could always find me in my grandfather’s chair reading a book. I can relate to Elend on this level.

    You are right that Sanderson knows how to pace a novel so it feels just right. I never feel overwhelmed even though he is throwing a lot at us.

    Sazed is a great character. I love his belief that there are certain beliefs that fit different people. I wish more people in our world were this open minded.

    Reply
  8. Forgot to mention – isn’t that a lovely picture of Vin – she looks so young and fresh faced!
    Lynn 😀

    Reply
    • I really like that picture as well. I don’t know who drew it (I found it via google image search) but it’s also currently the background picture on my iPod.

      Reply
  9. hannahrose42

     /  April 24, 2012

    Your comment about Spook got me — the spam does sometimes really sound like his slang.
    One of the biggest things I have gained from reading this is a deeper perspective on religion. I have never been one for religion… and I love reading books where there are a bunch of religions, all well thought out. The Steel Ministry is fascinating.

    Reply
    • I agree entirely, I’ve never been a religious person, but this series does a fantastic job of showing how important – and powerful – faith can be in a person’s life.

      Reply

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