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