Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn readalong week 2

Just finished reading this week’s Chapters for the Mistborn readalong being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.  If you’re not taking part there’s still time to join in the fun or just to become involved with the discussions.  Check out this link and whilst you’re there take a look at Carl’s Once Upon a Time event.

Well, I really enjoyed this week’s read, again.  It was very interesting and compelling, new characters and also I had what I thought was a bit of a revelation (for me) although it’s probably all wrong!  I was getting towards the end of the designated chapters – probably No.14 or something like that – and I was reading the little introductory story at the start of the chapter and it came into my mind (and I don’t know why) that maybe these little snippets were actually related to the Lord Ruler?  Now that’s probably a stupid idea but it got me thinking and so I went back and read the previous chapter beginnings from the start to our current point and it’s actually telling a story of sorts – I hadn’t realised that as I was reading along because I read the snippet and by the time I get to the next chapter I don’t remember the content and so hadn’t realised they were connected – I originally thought that there were all random thoughts from different people involved in the story but now I think it’s the same person and one story – has anybody else noticed that at all?  Anyway, moving over to the questions which this week were provided by TBM my answers are below (stop reading now if you haven’t read as there will be spoilers ahead).

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?

I wonder if we have had so little interaction at the moment in order to maintain a sense of mystery.  Particularly in relation to the Lord Ruler.  I’m finding it difficult to believe that he’s immortal for example and can’t help wondering if he has some sort of secret device or other means or regenerating himself?  I suppose the less we know the more our minds will run rampant looking for explanations.  I like that about Sanderson’s way of storytelling.  The other thing that I’m really enjoying about Sanderson’s storytelling is just that he has this brilliant way of making me feel as though I’m on the same wavelength as him (which I’m pretty sure I’m not), but, what I mean about that, is I read something and think (‘well, why/where/when,etc) and within a few pages or lines even he’s explaining away my query.  It’s great – it’s as though he’s reading my mind and answering my thoughts as we go along (virtual reading!).

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.

I think the Lord Ruler uses religion as a device to keep his subjects in tow.  I think the Lord Ruler has probably made up or fashioned some kind of religious story about himself in order to make himself seem invincible.  So, in that respect the religion is very important to him.  I’m not sure that everyone buy’s into it and there have been hints to the contrary which brings us to Sazed.  I don’t think he believes for one minute the Lord Ruler’s hype.  I think that’s why he’s always telling people about the many other religions that have been lost to the past.  I get the feeling that he’s trying to demonstrate that people want to have something to believe in.  They need to have faith that there is more than just ‘this’.  And, I think he’s alluding to the fact that the Lord Ruler’s religion is similar in that respect – it’s really a story that he’s surrounded himself with.  What is interesting about this religion though is that there is no love for it.  The ska are mainly ruled by fear and they may believe the Lord Ruler’s religion (or maybe they are too browbeaten to disbelieve it) but it is simply fear that controls them.  Actually thinking into that a little more I suppose many religions have the ‘fear’ aspect – ‘do this’ – and ‘this’ will happen/go to hell/internal damnation, etc, etc – but most religions are loved by their followers??  I don’t think you could even accuse the Ska of loving the Lord Ruler.  Not really sure what point I’m now getting at!!  I suppose on reflection the Lord Ruler knew what he was doing when he made himself a God and he’s proved himself to be rather canny in terms of self-promotion and marketing!  In terms of Sazed – I think he has the potential to turn into one of my favourite characters (without a doubt).  He is brilliant as a keeper and I love his patience and his overall attitude.  Everyone could do with a friend/keeper like him.

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? 

It’s strange to admit but I’m almost complacent about the plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler.  Not that I don’t want Kelsier, Vin and the rest of the crew to succeed, but I feel so wrapped up in the minutiae of what’s actually taking place that it’s almost as though I’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.  I will just point out that I say this in a good way.  I’m enjoying the story and just waiting to see how it develops.  I do think Kelsier’s heart is in the right place.  I’m sure there is an element of revenge, because frankly how could there not be, but I think he’s always had a sort of mission in his mind – he did after all get captured trying to break into the Lord Ruler’s secret chambers – and this was well before he had any reasons for revenge.  Plus he comes across as a bit of a softie – which isn’t always a good thing!  He definitely could have done with being a bit firmer with Vin over his latest mission – it almost got her killed after all.  And I got the impression he was feeling very guilty about that and turning round with the excuse ‘she followed me and is very stubborn’ doesn’t really cut it when you consider his age and experience.  (Although I will admit she is a tenacious little so and so!)

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’m enjoying the development of Vin and Kelsier.  I particularly enjoyed watching Vin’s first performance as a noblewoman which brings me nicely onto the two characters that really intrigue me.  Sayed and Lord Elend Venture.  I think that learning more about Sayed’s history will be very revealing to how this world became as it is.  And, I have a feeling that Lord Venture is set to maybe play a bigger part.

I can’t wait to read on and find out how horribly wrong I am!!  LOL

18 Responses to “Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn readalong week 2”

  1. Amanda

    Elend really intrigued me, too.

    Interesting notes you make on the religious aspect, because you’re right – a lot of them incorporate fear. I wonder if maybe the Lord Ruler’s religion and fear aspects are more similar to the way people used to regard religion. I’m not sure there was much love back in the days of burning heretics at the stake. Passion, but not necessarily love? I’m not sure. I’m not a big history person, but it’s an interesting thing to think about.

    • lynnsbooks

      the thing is the burning of heretics was more to do with people disagreeing with each other about which religion was right (the yours or mine attitude). Look at England, Roman Catholic until Henry VIII couldn’t keep his mits (and things) to himself, converts the whole country just because the pope won’t grant him a divorce! There you have a prime example of somebody abusing religion for his own gain – and not only that – calling himself divine – he was the Head of the Church after all.
      Lynn 😀

  2. nrlymrtl

    I also felt Kelsier was grasping at straws in his excuses for nearly getting Vin killed. She is stubborn, but Kelsier is the leader and, to some extent, the adult in the situation. I wonder what life-lessons Vin will take from this experience? She’s been hurt before, but not like this.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know – I could see why he ended up taking Vin – but then alternately I was thinking come on man – tell her no and if necessary take her back – and damn well stop letting her follow you! I hope if Kelsier can’t learn to say ‘no’ then Vin learns a lesson from this! Not a good way to learn but……
      Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        I think it was probably less dangerous though for her to come with him than for her to be following him without him knowing. It could have proved disastrous if she had popped out at the same time the Inquisitors did because then he’d have been completely thrown off guard.

      • lynnsbooks

        Yes, that would have been disastrous! But, I can’t help thinking that as Kelsier knew she was there, and, as he knew she would follow him, he should have abandoned his mission and took her back rather than simply think okay I’ll take her. After all, he got out of there – with two Inquisitors – relatively easily, or at least unscathed. The thing is I think it will become less and less easier for him to escape her because I think she will pretty soon surpass him! He has to lead, and she has to trust, but it’s difficult for both of them. I can’t decide yet why Vin always follows him – does she like his company, can she not stand to be in the dark, is she simply curious, does she mistrust him?

      • Grace

        Maybe a case of curiosity and intrigue, not just because of the plan but because everyone seems to be more trusting around him. The fact that he’s teaching her to be a Mistborn might also have something to do with it. I mean, I’m curious about what he’s up to, but I wouldn’t have the nerve to follow him like that…

  3. Carl V.

    I don’t think that a stupid idea at all, and I think others in the group have a feeling it might be the Lord Ruler as well.

    Sanderson does seem to have an amazing way to interact with the reader through his books. He’s a true talent, no doubt about it.

    I too think this style of writing helps fuel the mystery regarding characters we have yet to meet as well as situations that have yet to unfold.

    Good thoughts on the religion. It may not even be that the Lord Ruler made up anything so much as he did just what Sazed talked to Vin about, he found a religion that fit him and then wrapped it around himself. Which would especially be the case if the chapter openings are his writings because I believe one of them refers to some kind of prophecy. He could actually be interacting “appropriately”, for lack of a better word, within a religion that he discovered and chose for himself.

    I’m with you in suspecting that I’m going to grow more and more fond of Sazed as the story progresses. The character has such potential for being incredibly interesting.

    • lynnsbooks

      yeah, I was really intrigued by the chapter headings – not at first, but definitely they seem to run in sequence if you go back through them and definitely seem to tell a story (which I hadn’t picked up on until I went back to the start and just read them through on their own).
      I think this is a great story so far and I’m so glad I’m reading it with this group. I’ve wanted to read it for a while but just needed a little push!
      Thanks
      lynn 😀

      • SueCCCP (@SueCCCP)

        I am pretty sure that they are written by the Lord Ruler, and that we will eventually see that he began life as someone very similar to Kel, with similar good intentions who then gets corrupted by all that power.

      • lynnsbooks

        Yeah, you could be right. It’s going to be so interesting to find out!
        Lynn 😀

  4. Grace

    I’m very curious about the Lord Ruler. He’s quite the mysterious figure, and I want to know what magic/powers he has that put him into power and lets him get away with keeping it. His reign seems tied to the ash and mists, so what is it that made him change the entire dynamic of the planet?

    I can’t wait to find out who’s speaking in the chapter openings!

    • lynnsbooks

      I can’t help thinking the ash and mists are the aftermath of something horrible that the Lord Ruler actually did to make himself all powerful, or to make people believe he was.
      I am fascinated to know that the heck he has in that room. it’s very mysterious. I really do think the chapter openings are a story by themself – you must go back and read them – they seem to run in sequence and I am beginning to think it’s how the Lord Ruler started – go back and take a look i’d be keen to know what you think.
      Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        I’m definitely going to do that tonight. I’m intrigued. =D

      • lynnsbooks

        Oh, I can’t wait, I’m sure they run in sequence but I want somebody else to check it out. I’m like an over-blown balloon now = about to burst! LOL
        Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        Oh wow… I’m definitely seeing the ties to the Lord Ruler in the openings now. It’s a distinct possibility, and the openings raise so many questions… what is the Deepness? Does the Lord Ruler serve an actual function in protecting the world from destruction?

  5. TBM

    Love your thoughts about the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I have started to wonder if it is the Lord Ruler. I briefly considered asking that as one of the questions. I’m really hoping we get to meet him soon in the story. What is in that room?!

    I’m not sure that many people are on board with his religion or story, but either out of fear, exhaustion, or disinterest they just don’t have the means to combat him about it. He is quite powerful and yet elusive. That is an interesting combination.

    • lynnsbooks

      I’m definitely thinking the quotes are like a little mini story by themselves.
      I know what you mean about the religion – I think people are generally indifferent. I can’t wait to discover more about the Lord Ruler and in particular what is in that room!
      Lynn 😀

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