Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Read Along of Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson Part 4

The Read Along is being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. 

This week’s questions were supplied by Lynn. You can follow the links to everyone else’s answers here.

We read up to the end of Chapter 34.

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?

As an individual, to be viewed from a distance, he does not seem all that extraordinary. However, the simple fact that he can Soothe an entire city is very impressive, so his mere presence is enough to subjugate most people. The fight with Kel did make him seem godlike. I particularly liked the image of him walking along with the two spears through his chest: if anything is going to make people think that you are a god, that is it! It reminded me of the scene in the film 'Van Helsing' when Dr Frankenstein plunges a long sword into Dracula, who just continues walking up to the poor doctor, forcing himself up the sword blade. Yikes! I have to assume that the Lord Ruler can be beaten, as otherwise this is going to be a thoroughly depressing book / trilogy, but I have no idea how it will happen. His choice to wear metal jewelry is interesting: what if he can use feruchemy? We have already had the hint that Vin can sort of use feruchemy metals, so perhaps he can use them both ways as well. 

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??

We will either see a very quick resolution before the end of this book, or they will regroup and begin to plan for the long haul of the next two. I almost expected the great mass of skaa to rise up and overwhelm the Lord Ruler and his minions, but his fight with Kel scared them all half to death. I guess it depends if they can come up with a way to neutralize the Inquisitors: head removal seems to be effective, but how can Vin cope with so many at one?

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?

I thought Kel's response was well handled. To lose a sibling is never easy, but to lose one that you have always fought with is even worse because it leaves so many things unsaid and undone. The atium may prove to be the key to destroying the Lord Ruler some how or another. He takes a huge interest in holding a giant supply of it, which means that he needs it, lots of it. Maybe he needs it to retain control, like the Pilots in Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ need the Spice to bend space. It would be a little bit of a let down if he broke down and died because he ran out of atium, but as long as he dies I will be quite happy.

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?

Contrary to what we all thought last week, I have changed my mind about the identity of the person who wrote the diary snippets that we are reading. I no longer think that they are written by the Lord Ruler: he is not the Hero of Ages who wrote this diary. Remember that the diary ends with the Hero about to confront the Darkness: either he died or the man who became the Lord Ruler betrayed and murdered him. What if the Lord Ruler was one of the Terrismen who were acting as packmen, which would mean that he definitely could use feruchemy? This would make feruchemy his great weakness, so he hides his metal minds in plain sight and encourages the nobles to wear metal jewelry so that his is not unusual. It would also explain why he has persecuted the Keepers, as they would be the most likely to recognize his metal usage and so expose any weaknesses that it confers.

Sorry: I got a bit carried away by that stream of thought there. Anything called  ‘The Darkness’ is not going to be a happy, pleasant thing. It sounds metaphysical, but other than that I have not got a clue.

5.       (I did have another query – but it might be too much??)  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?

I hope that they can work together. Elend seemed very excited to discover that she was a skaa, and he also risked his life to save her. He seems to have genuine concern for her, but I am not sure that he is in lurve like she is: poor Vin. I think Vin’s explosion at Kel about the gang all being part noble has made them all reconsider their attitudes to the rebellion. We can see this in their reactions to the convoy of prisoners. I like to think that even Clubs would have tried to help out.

Extra thought: What the heck is a Kandra???? We know that Lord Renoux is one and House Venture has one called TenSoon, but it suggests that it can impersonate or animate corpses:
Elend still wasn’t used to the creature’s most recent body, which had once belonged to a servant in the Hasting household.
This would make them perfect spies, but who, what, why, how?????


  1. I am also curious about a kandra - they don't die easily. Bodysnatcher of some sort? Who can detect them - inquisitors or obligators and that is why Lord Renoux would not stand up to their scrutiny?

    I think your theory on who wrote the journal is interesting. If you're right, it opens all sorts of other possibilities.

    And that is one reason I am digging this book. 

  2. I was surprised when the Lord Ruler showed up to fight Kelsier and then when the spears didn't bother him I knew something bad was about to happen.  I still couldn't believe that he was able to kill him so easily.  No wonder many think he is a god.

  3. I kind of still think the diary snippets were written by the Lord Ruler - he thinks he fulfills the prophecy (which i don't think he does) and I think he did take on the Deepness - I think that's why he's almost invincible today - actually now I'm thinking about it maybe the mists and the deepness have all been made worse by him - perhaps he thought he was the prophecy, but the actual prophecy is about him - he is the reason why everything is so bad.  Like, once upon a time there was the deepness but then this person (who is now the Lord Ruler) thought he had to conquer the deepness and that he was the hero prophesied about, but actually, the prophecy was really about conquering him and what he had become - omg - how convoluted was that! A thousand apologies for rambling on!
    He was pretty impressive (the LR that is) when he did show up - not in a good way of course - but in the way that he just lived up to all his myths.  He was young, strong and could walk around with two spears sticking out of his chest as though they were acupuncture needles!
    I hope vin and elend get together and overcome their differences - I think it will make a huge difference to everyone else, they'll be leading by example!
    Lynn :D

  4. I'm with you on wondering if the Darkness is literal or metaphysical. Because we're seeing so much Soothing and Rioting and such, I'm tending toward it being an emotional darkness. However, we also have the mists and the ash ... so who knows! This is only one of the reasons that it will be essential to read the other two books!

  5. Absolutely: it is essential that we read the other two books ASAP! :)

  6. I agree that I don't think the Lord Ruler fulfilled the prophecies, and that might be why everything has gone to Hell in a hand cart. Even worse, he might be the only thing holding back the real big bad that will be revealed later in the series: yikes! :D

  7. This was such a cool political move: Kel is powerful enough to kill an Inquisitor, which was supposed to be nearly impossible, and then gets two-hitted by the Lord Ruler. The only thing he didn't do was yawn while doing the killing! Bastard!

  8. I wasn't sure if they are bodysnatchers or mimics, but they obviously have some tell tale sign that can be detected . . . books that make me think and speculate are always my favorites! :)

  9. The Kandra are definitely interesting.  I wonder if they're tied to the beginning of the Lord Ruler's reign too.

    My theory with the Atium is that the Lord Ruler is using it to keep back the Deepness.  I'm probably wrong, but it would make things interesting.

  10. I really like you theory on who wrote the journals as opposed to who is currently TLR.  Anything in particular point you down this path, or just wondering due to the animosity between the hero and the Terris packmen shown in the journal writings?

  11. I just found it very strange that the journal ended the night before the assault on the Deepness. If it was so important for him to keep and guard it, then it seems strange that there were no more entries. But if the Hero had died in the assault or been murdered, then his diary might be kept by TLR as a reminder of what he, TLR, had done. Plus, I am convinced that TLR can use feruchemy, which would be easier to accept if he were a Terrisman. Just a wild theory, but I love a book that makes me want to speculate! :)

  12. Wow, I am really impressed with a lot of your deductions.

  13. They are probably way off the mark! :D

  14. I like the comparison to that scene in Van Helsing.  You are correct.  There is also a similar scene in The Fellowship of the Ring that your comparison calls to mind, when Aragorn rams the sword into the Uruk Hai and he pulls the sword deeper into himself just to bring Aragorn closer.  TLR really is a bad mama jammer!  I didn't expect him to be that powerful and I was so very wrong.  What a villain!

    I think if it was my brother and I had the abilities that Kelsier did I would have went on some kind of vengeful path myself.  The overwhelming grief of it all, especially knowing that he got Marsh involved in this, would almost demand some kind of cathartic act of this magnitude.  I do think it will have major consequences though. 

    You were pretty right on in your predictions there for TLR! :)

    Yes, I'm not sure how deeply committed Elend is either, but I do think it is a good sign that he came to try and rescue her, even though I suspect he had no idea of the real danger in that situation.

  15. Of course: I knew the idea seemed so familiar! Though it does make me wonder how I could have forgotten that it was in FoTR?????


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