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?????