The Well of Ascension Blog Tour: Part IV

I hope everyone is enjoying this book as much as I did.  When Carl picked me to host this part of the blog tour I was thrilled.  This section of the book has some of my favorite moments in the series.  For those newly joining us, here are links to the first 3 parts of the blog tour:

Obviously this post will have spoilers for the book up through the end of Part IV.  So lets get started on the discussion.

One of the central ideas of this book has been watching Elend grow from being an idealistic young nobleman to someone who is truly capable of being a leader.  He shows in this section that even though he’s lost the crown, he still cares about the people of Luthadel.  The first way he does this is by telling the Skaa to move out of the noble houses because the more open Skaa tenements will be able to keep them warmer.  The second is by going out of the city and directly risking his own life to try and find out how Jastes is controlling the Koloss.  How far do you think Elend has come  on the path to being a good king?

One of the best scenes of the entire Mistborn trilogy is the scene where Vin and Zane assault Cett’s keep.  We’ll start with a little background information on this scene.  One of Sanderson’s inspirations for this scene was the lobby scene in the original Matrix movie.  It’s a beautiful scene, but it doesn’t show any of the consequences of the characters actions.  Sanderson wanted to do a similar scene in this book where he looked at how this affected the characters.  Obviously Vin is troubled by what she and Zane did, and it reflects in the fact that hides from the crew for a while – almost ashamed of what she did.  How do you think this changed her as a character?  Do you think this is something she would have done in the first book?  Is it something Kelsier would have done?

And now we come to something that was speculated on quite a bit in the earlier posts.  The identity of the spy.  A couple of people guessed correctly that OreSeur was the spy.  For those who weren’t sure, were you surprised?  Of course immediately following finding out that OreSeur was the spy we run into another fantastic scene in the book, Vin fighting Zane.  I think it’s interesting to see how Vin chooses to deal with Zane having atium while she doesn’t.  I also thought it was interesting that TenSoon was willing to break his contract and betray Zane to help Vin.  What do you think about how this scene played out?  And what do you think of Zane, what do you think the voice in his head was?

And my final question.  A lot of Vin’s character arc throughout this book is dealing with where she fits in the world.  Zane is obviously reminiscent of Kelsier, and as a Mistborn understands Vin in a way that Elend never can.  Is she the noblewoman that Elend fell in love with, or the Mistborn trained by Kelsier and used as a weapon?  What do you think about her choice?

So there are my questions for this section of the book.  What are your thoughts?

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  1. Hi Adam
    I’ve really enjoyed watching Elend’s development. He’s growing up and realising you have to balance idealism with realism! I felt so sad for him when he was deposed and yet apart from a bit of mooching he’s picked himself up and proved himself to be a leader by his actions. I thought the part where he went into the Koloss camp was brilliant. I was amazed when he attacked one of them (only one book ago and he would be sat in a corner with his nose in a dusty book and now he’s attacking gigantic overgrown blue bullies!) – in fact that just further highlights his development – and then his explanation to the others ‘ate my horse’ – that actually made me laugh out loud. It was just so unElend like. I’m still quite not sure what purpose that scene served other than to show the Koloss can be bought?
    The scene at Cett’s keep was a bit double edged. We got to see what Vin was really capable of and it was a bit daunting to be sure. She was of course being egged on by Zane and feeling insecure. It was good to see that at the end she didn’t just murder Cett when she realised he held no threat – you can’t help feeling though that between the two of them they’d killed so many others only then to not accomplish what they’d set out to do. And yet, for me it was a definiing moment for Vin and actually served a purpose – it was when she realised she didn’t have to be like Zane was saying and I think it was because of that that she realised she wanted to be with Elend.
    I think both of the above were key moments for both characters and I can’t help wondering how Elend will change next? There was something in my mind at one point where I almost thought that perhaps he could be the hero – I don’t really know why I thought that other than does the hero necessarily have to be an allomancer? I like that they’ve both headed out now on their own little quest and look forward to what comes next.
    And so to the scene with OreSeur. I’d really grown rather attached to him but at the same time because of the speculation I’d come to the conclusion it was inevitably going to be him! Part of me kept resisting the idea – he’d even helped Vin on more than one occasion over and above the limits of his contract. I liked the way that at the end he helped her – it showed that the relationship between the two had changed and he wasn’t just operating to the contract. I wonder what will happen to him now though, he has betrayed one of his people’s secrets – I don’t want him to die really (but do I just like him because he was a dog?) And what happened to the other Kandra whose place he took?
    I thought the way Vin beat Zane was inspirational!
    Anyway, think I should stop there before this turns into an essay!
    Lynn 😀

    • To be fair it was a small Koloss that he attacked, it’s not like he went after one that was 10 feet tall, although I don’t think I would have attacked any of them at all.

      I suppose I can get away with saying that you’ll learn more about TenSoon and the Kandra in book 3, so at least you get to find out what happens.

      • I think TenSoon killed the real OreSeur somehow, which suggests that kandra can be killed, even if it is only by another kandra.

  2. Kristen M.

     /  July 14, 2012

    While I really enjoyed Elend and Vin’s development in this section, most of my questions were about Zane. Why did he have a spike through his chest? Was he going to become an inquisitor? And is the spike linked to the voice? And how will we ever find these things out if he’s dead?! Finally, am I the only one who would have rather seen Straff killed in this section than Zane?
    I thought that the relationship between Vin and TenSoon was really important. I am starting to think that Vin won’t end up being just a savior for the humans/Terrismen but probably also for the kandra. I’m guessing the koloss will be totally destroyed though. They’re quite revolting!
    As for Vin’s choice of Elend, I thought her reasoning was perfect in that she finally learned what made Kelsier a good leader. I’m sure this is only the first step of her putting that revelation to good use.
    This was a really exciting section and I’m excited to get going with the final one of this book!

    • I suppose I’ll be nice and resolve a little bit of tension by saying that book 3 answers a lot of the questions that you asked, unfortunately that does mean it will be a little longer before you find out all of the answers to your questions.

    • I had the exact same thoughts about Zane!

    • I would agree with you 100%: I would have much preferred to see Straff dead! 😀

    • I must admit that I was a bit surprised that Zane died but Straff didn’t! In fact, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed that Zane had died. He played an interesting role. It’s not that I particularly liked his character but I guess I felt a bit sorry for him. I certainly don’t feel sorry for Straff and I think it’s a shame that he didn’t die!
      Lynn 😀

      • Kristen M.

         /  July 16, 2012

        I was surprised that Zane wasn’t given the chance to be redeemed after all.

  3. I was so creeped out the first time I read about that spike in Zane’s chest. What the heck is that??? Is it like an inquisitor spike? And after “God” tells him he was never insane, it made me think that voice was somehow related to the spike, and it made me wonder exactly how those inquisitors work. We really haven’t gotten any info up until now.

    I do like that Vin really found herself when she realized that the difference between Elend and Zane was mostly trust. I’m not sure she could easily be classified as a noblewoman or thief or weapon or anything. She’s a very complicated person who has lived a strange and difficult life. I’m not sure I believe that she’s the hero of ages, though…

    That OreSeur was the spy really surprised the heck out of me on first read.

    • The OreSeur/TenSoon switch really surprised me on my first reading, but looking more closely on my second read through I could see more of the hints that show that OreSeur was the one who was replaced. I think that’s why Sanderson’s books work so well, because they’re so well foreshadowed, even if you don’t always see it the first time through.

      • I completely agree!! I’ve been loving this reread. I can’t remember if it was this section or the last one that I caught a major foreshadowning for book 3 that I didn’t see my first time through of course, during one of the conversations between TenSoon and Vin.

    • That spike int he chest also has me wondering. I would have loved for Marsh to have shown up in the section and explained a few things about the Steel Inquisitors. Perhaps Straff knew something about the making of Inquisitors and took that knowledge and experimented on his offspring, perhaps in the pursuit of creating Mistings and Mistborns.

  4. I imagine that Tindwyl is very proud of him because he has really blossomed into a leader of men. I thought his trip out to the Koloss’ camp was excellent and his fight was such surprise and, like Lynn, I laughed out loud at his “he ate my horse” comment. It is so good seeing a leader doing things because he can for the common good, rather than for what political leverage it will give him.

    During the attack on Cett’s keep I was afraid that Vin had ‘gone over to the dark side’ so to speak. She seemed to really relish her power for destruction, which I assume was Zane’s plan. He probably thought that she would get all caught up in a killing frenzy that she would not stop to question Cett but just kill him. Otherwise I don’t see any reason to fight their way up the tower: they could easily have looked into the windows, spotted Cett and then attacked him without all the bother of killing all of his guards. I am quite sure that Kelsier would have taken that route, especially as there is no suggestion that the guards are nobles. The only thing that redeemed her was that she spared Cett, and then only because he was a defenceless cripple. I was not at all surprised that the gang members were so shocked by the attack.

    I was surprised that I had been correct in identifying OreSeur / Ten Soon as the spy, although it was more through a process of elimination than anything he did that was suspicious. I thought it was very interesting that he broke his Contract to help Vin, although I am not sure what the repercussions will be for him. Having seen Vin the control of him, I can now understand why the kandra fear allomancers and also why the system of Contracts arose. That Lord Ruler was even more awful than we had suspected because he made the kandra, but out of what or whom?

    I thought it was very sad to find out that Zane was not insane, because the voice in his head had ruled his life and it was obviously another mind or some sort. I have to assume that it has something to do with the huge spike through his chest. If it were possible, I loath Straff Venture even more now than I did last week! 😦

    By the end of this part, Vin seems much more at piece with herself, using Elend as her touchstone and (almost) moral compass. I was delighted that they decided to marry and finally be open with one another, although it was a long time coming! 😀

    • I loved the “he ate my horse” comment too, and how the koloss just accepted it as if it was perfectly reasonable. Cracked me up!

      I really want to know what that spike is all about!!!

      • Mhm. The spike was interesting, and it made me wonder about the voices in Zane’s head. It also makes me wonder more about the Steel Inquisitors and whether they hear voices in their heads too.

  5. One thing I forgot to mention in my earlier comment: I’m not entirely comfortable with what Vin does to Straff, erasing all his emotions like that. I know it was in an earlier section, but by this point, you see just how much of a long-term affect she had on Straff. I hate Straff with a passion, but there’s just something about being in total control like that which makes me uncomfortable, and I think in a way, it’s another indicator of something Zane would have wanted her to do, the way he wanted her to kill all of Cett’s entourage with him. It was very, very dark. I know Straff was threatening Elend at the time, and if she’d done what she wanted to do, she probably would have just killed the man, but…I don’t know. Just what she did? It felt worse than killing, to me. Maybe this is just a place that touches on my personal fears. I’m just not sure ANYONE deserves that, even people who are as loathesome as Straff.

    • I don’t think allomancers are able to erase emotions, I think what Vin did was to Riot Straff’s fear of her, which was a really fantastic scene.

    • I must admit that I’m not as nice as you Amanda – I really dislike Straff and think he get’s just what he deserves – at least he would if somebody would just kill him already! I can’t seem to dig up any sympathy for him at all – which makes me feel bad I suppose! I could feel sorry for Zane and what his life had been and I felt sorry that he died. I felt sad that OreSeur wasn’t OreSeur and then that TenSoon was the spy – I even felt sad when Ten Soon was revealed as the spy because he seemed to feel shame about it even though he was acting in accord with his contract. But Straff, nope, nothing. I really don’t like him!
      Lynn 😀

      • Straff deserves a big old spike through a delicate bit of his anatomy! I particularly hate the way he is described as having to work really hard to breed allomancers: poor man! 😦

  6. Zane made Vin think about not only what it means to be a Mistborn, but also the wider philosophical differences that set her apart from Kelsier in the first book. Yes, she can slaughter people, but that’s not the kind of person she is, and I don’t see her doing that again unless there is a major perceived threat to people she cares about.

    Much as I was upset that TenSoon was the spy, I was glad that Vin wasn’t wrong to trust him, and that he was willing to sacrifice himself to help her. I’d grown rather fond of him in the reading thus far, and I’d have hated to see him betray her completely;.

    • I have to admit that I was fooled about Tensoon and I never suspected him as the spy. But when I read it, it clicked completely for me. I was enjoying seeing their relationship grow and I was a little relieved when he broke his contract to help Vin. As for Zane I wasn’t too sad when Vin killed him. I thought he was an interesting character but I’m not sure how keeping him in the story would have benefited the whole plot. To be honest, I was getting a little tired of him. Don’t get me wrong, I felt for the poor guy. He had a hard life. But I didn’t like the direction he was taking Vin. And his death adds so many more possible twists…what can I say, I’m a sucker for good plot twists that shock me completely.

      • I didn’t mind Zane’s death because I felt like he mostly existed to help Vin find herself and to serve as a bit of a foil to Kelsier. I’m curious though what the spike he had implies about the Steel Inquisitors and who the voice of God was.

      • I am super excited to find out about the spike and God. I got back to town yesterday and even though I was tired I stayed up past midnight to catch up with the group read…he can be bad for my health.

      • It’s very easy to stay up far too late reading these books, well, for any book that Sanderson has written for that matter.

  7. I agree Adam. He’s kept me up for the past two nights and I’m still recovery from a long vacation. Since the family is visiting I only have time to read late at night and I’m trying to make the best of that time. Fortunately for my sleep, there is only one more book in this series and I only have about 50 pages of this one left.

  1. Well of Ascension Blog Tour, Part IV « Books Without Any Pictures
  2. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson blogtour part V « Lynn's Book Blog
  3. The Well of Ascension Blog Tour, The Conclusion « Books Without Any Pictures
  4. The Well of Ascension Blog Tour, The Conclusion Books Without Any Pictures
  5. Well of Ascension Blog Tour, Part IV Books Without Any Pictures

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