The Read Along is being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.
This week’s questions were supplied by TBM. You can follow the links to everyone else’s answers here.
We read up to the end of Chapter 15.
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 guess it is much easier for us to sympathize with the rebels if we don’t get a real impression of the nobles and the Lord Ruler. The ball scene suggests that not all of the nobles are the vicious, skaa-beating monsters that Kel and the gang suggest they are. I have a sneaking suspicion that Vin is going to find it increasingly difficult to ignore this and that she will continue to question the rebel’s motives. I suspect that the Lord Ruler began the Final Empire with the best of intentions, but as the proverb says ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and one thousand years is a long time for that corruption to distort his original intentions.
As for the skaa, we have met quite a few of them so far, but they are very varied, depending upon their role and independence. It strikes me that one possible problem for the rebellion is that it will not benefit all skaa equally. Unless the rebel leaders have a good plan in place, the skaa in the worst situations will simply swap one set of oppressors for another.
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.
It is easy to see how a seemingly immortal ruler can be seen as a god and the connection between religion and state has a long history in human culture. Many ancient rulers were viewed as gods and even worshipped, and they weren’t immortal, so I find it totally believable. What I do find strange is that he has tried to destroy all other religions and been remarkably successful at it. I find Sazed and his use as a walking encyclopedia very intriguing and I want to know more about how that works.
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?
The situation of the farm skaa makes me believe that the rebellion is mostly justified. The complaints being made about their laziness seemed very familiar, as the same has been said of slaves throughout history. The ancient Romans had a similar society based upon slave labor, but for them it was a widely held belief that slaves gave better service if treated with respect and some kindness. Indeed, many Roman slaves could expect to be set free if they performed well. As this is not an option for the skaa, it seems that there only chance of freedom is through rebellion.
As for Kel, I am sure that revenge is a major motivator for his determination to destroy the Lord Ruler as an individual. However, I think his desire to overthrow the Final Empire does come from a deeply felt sense of injustice at a system that condemns people based solely on the genetic origins.
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 feel like we haven’t really got to know many of the secondary characters yet, which is a shame. I did enjoy the scene where Vin got to see Breeze in action, because it took us beyond his facade and showed us the skilled man at his work. However, the character that intrigues me the most is Sazed. I have so many questions about his history, his abilities and his role as a Keeper. I was amazed when it was revealed that he was the person who rescued Vin. How did he get up on to that spire? How did he follow and track her? What is a metalmind and how does it work? What is a Terrisman? Are they human? Why are they commonly used as stewards? As I said: lots of questions! :D