zebobes

Steelheart prologue!

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The prologue for Steelheart has just been posted. It's perfect timing really—just when you finished enjoying one Brandon novel, you can then start eagerly anticipating the next one. 

 

http://www.avclub.com/articles/heres-an-exclusive-first-look-at-brandon-sanderson,97785/

 

It definitely is a gruesome world, but the imagery of Newcago and the idea of a steel city built on Lake Michigan is pretty spectacular. 

 

I wonder if it was the fact that David's father was trying to protect Steelheart that made it possible for the bullet to actually hurt him? Kind of the "Power of Love" idea. 

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The prologue is a great read.

 

I think your theory on protection is quite likely, but then again this is a Brandon Sanderson book. Some more theories:

1) Only grazing shots work. (Unlikely, since if there's automatic fire, surely some of them would have grazed him.)

2) You have to be deliberately aiming at someone else.

3) An Epic and a Normal need to be trying to hurt him at the same time. This is my favorite theory for now. With all Epics on the evil side, it should be interesting to see how the Reckoners get one to cooperate.

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Yeah, I doubt "power of love", if only because it raises Harry Potter-level concerns about why only one person would ever risk themselves for love.

 

As for the how, I'm looking at that bank vault. Maybe some coins or diamond dust or something? Needing another Epic's help would be interesting, though perhaps undercutting the "muggles fighting back" theme.

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Wow, that was really dark.
 

I know Mistborn had its cruelties, but we never actually saw the worst things there and the mother holding the remains of her child was truly a powerful visualization.


I really like the setting and whole exposition of the story. Truly a very good read, I am very excited for the book.

Edited by Makromag
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Yeah, read this and got very excited. Not knowing how the Epics were created, and even though it isn't Cosmere, Brandon can craft some great magic / powers, there has to be something in how Epics started existing. Maybe the touch of another Epic makes him vulnerable to normal weapons. Or, maybe, all of Steelheart's power was going to saving him from Deathtouch (was that the name) which temporarily rendered the invulnerability gone.

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Heard some people complaining about the whole "Supers are evil" thing andd how unoriginal it is. Do I hear five dollars that this will be the subject of much ridicule a few months form now? Ten dollars?

 

All this speculation is going nowhere, but it's still fun! Here I go:

 

Yeah, very dark and very cool. Could be a Leven Thumps thing where you can't ever hurt him on purpose. Or maybe he has to actively block attacks? Heck, maybe it has to do with him using their guns on them.


 

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I totally loved the Steelheart material.

 

I think I have guessed, maybe, Steelhearts vulnerability. David's father was not actually trying to hurt Steelheart. Much like Shieldbreaker from Fred Saberhagen's Sword series, I believe that Stealheart can be hurt if he engages with someone that is not actually trying to hurt him.

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Aww, sanderson really loves crapsack worlds, don't he?

I remember him mentioning an idea for a world where only evil people ggot superpowers. I guess it's this one.

 

About steelheart, I got the impression that he was vulnerable to a bullet that has killed an epic in its course. or maybe that has been soaked in the blood of an epic

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^Except that the bullet was shot from in front of Steelheart, cutting him before killing Deathpoint behind him.

Edited by Kurkistan
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^Except that the bullet was shot from in front of Steelheart, cutting him before killing Deathpoint behind him.

I got the impression that deathpoint was covering behind steelheart from the soldiers, but the protagonist's father was on the other side, so he had a clear shot on deathpoint.

It would also make no sensse the other way. since steelheart is higher than deathpoint, if the second was behind the first, there would be no way to hit him. only way was for the father to see deathpoint in front of steelheart.

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"My father had shot at Deathpoint, but the bullet had passed by Steelheart first— and had grazed him on the way."

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right, then i misread.

There goes my perfectly reasonable explanation.

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I love seeing all of these interesting theories about how he dies!  I wish I were half as creative as some of these.  I think my favorite so far is that the touch of another epic makes him vulnerable.

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Heh, yes. My theories are largely in the "Power of love" category. Something like "If you love him and consider him to be a good hero, and wish to protect him, he becomes vulnerable to you. Now shoot him in the face."

So... it might be a little early, but what kind of Epic would you like to be? Powers, vulnerabilities, flavours of evil? No real limits :)

Mine would be:

Power: My body is a 3D portal, perfectly controlled. (Not that I can make them, but that I am a portal, so no physical body to hurt). Normally it automatically maps to nearby matter to make me look human. Distance limits: solar system :) Can stretch and move, teleporting stuff whole or in pieces. Size limit: 1 square kilometer. Senses are limited to the stuff passing through me and worldfeel.

Vulnerabilities: Yes, I'll go with cliche on this one :P Love is a twisted, incomprehensible emotion :) Somebody in love with me passing through me will close that part of me. The larger the area closed, the harder it gets to reopen. After some limit, I die.

 

Flavour of evil: Benign :D I'd only kill/maim people who annoy me, stand in my way or accuse me of lying. I'd probably have little interest in actually ruling or subjugating them. I'd probably have some fun working with them against other Epics - not like they can refuse me :)

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I think its something that was in the vault.  The mentions of the vault are placed very deliberately, and I think, significantly.  After Steelheart enters the scene, the vault is mentioned three times.


 

One of the soldiers fired some kind of rocket from his gun, and it shot past Steelheart— who continued to blast his enemies with energy— to hit the back end of the bank, blowing open the vault. 

 

First mention of the vault after Steelheart arrives, and its interesting to me that in all the seemingly random devastation Steelheart causes, none of it hits the fault - its a human weapon that breaks the vault open.  Also notable here is that between when this happens and when Dave's father shoots his weapon, there's no further mention of the soldiers shooting at Steelheart once the vault is blown open.  It says the soldiers died quickly after that rocket launch, and we see Deathpoint reaching for Steelheart from behind, but as far as we call tell from the narration, the bullet Dave's father fires could very well be the only shot to actually hit Steelheart after the vault blows open.
 

Steelheart’s eyes went wide, and he raised his hand before him, looking at his own blood. He seemed completely astounded. He glanced at the vault behind him, then looked at my father. In the settling smoke and dust, the two figures stood before each other—one a massive, regal Epic, the other a small homeless man with a silly T- shirt and worn jeans.

 


Second mention of the vault.  Immediately after he realizes he's been wounded, his first reaction is to look to the vault, THEN to the man who shot him.  To me, this almost reads like the man who shot him is the lesser of two threats to Steelheart in this moment - after all, lots of men were shooting at him, something was different to make this man's shot wound him.  And I think even if Steelheart didn't know previously something was in the vault that could hurt him, he somehow realizes once shot, that the vault is what's responsible.  Like maybe he can sense whatever weakens him emanating from the vault, now that his attention is focused.

 

I hid in the vault.

 

I wish I could claim that I was smart for making that choice, but I’d simply gotten turned around. I vaguely remember crawling into a dark corner and curling up into a ball, crying as the rest of the building fell apart.

 

Since most of the main room had been turned to metal by Steelheart’s rage, and the vault was steel in the first place, they didn’t crumble as the rest of the building did.

 

And the third mention of the vault.  The obvious element here is that the vault protected Dave due to its durability, and that alone is the reason for his survival, but I can't help but attribute more significance to it.  Especially as the very last part of the prologue, when Dave is running through his mind a list of all the things about the situation and environment that might have weakened Steelheart, the vault is the one significant element he fails to add to the list.  Steelheart reacted to his injury by personally shooting Dave's father, but after that, he doesn't even stick around long enough to make sure he's dead.  He just starts throwing energy around, changes everything to steel, and flies out of there, killing people from above (far away from the vault) and then having Faultline bury the whole structure under the earth.  


My take is something emanating from the vault after it was blown open and all the steel/metal between it and Steelheart was out of the way rendered him vulnerable to gunfire.  Perhaps further exposure or closer proximity would have temporarily rendered him fully human, or maybe the more powerful the Epic, the slower the weakness is to take full effect, I don't know.  But Steelheart assessed the threat, got the hell out of there, and made sure to bury all evidence.  Not just content to destroy the people who witnessed his weakness, but fully destroying the building as well, even going so far as to enlist another Epic to do it more completely than he could himself,  This is a guy who can shatter walls with energy but uses peoples' own guns to shoot them when they piss him off.  He's not likely to use someone else to enact his revenge at this indignity, he'd want to do it all with his own hands if that's all it was.
 

So that's my theory.  Something was in the vault, and Dave unknowingly (at the time) took part of it with him when he was rescued from the vault, maybe a piece of it was stuck in his clothes, or it was dust or liquid or radiation he was soaked in from being in there, something he wouldn't have realized was significant at the time, but in hindsight he'll realize.

Edited by ROSHtafARian
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Too many times. A red herring!?!?!?!?  :ph34r:

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Possible vulnerabilities that I could come up with (or poach from you guys above me):

Intent of shooter - David's father did not intend to hurt Steelheart / intended to protect him.  This seems the most obvious reason, but maybe a little too obvious.  I don't know how this would relate to shrapnel or other happenstance.  If a building falls on him, would it hurt him?

 

Steelheart's intent - Steelheart might need to actively protect himself.  This one seems unlikely, because it would be too easy to snipe him in the back.

 

Combination of Epic powers and gunshot - Plausible.  Deathpoint's powers weren't very flashy, he could have easily been using them when David's father shot him.

 

Death of an Epic - Deathpoint's death might have caused some reaction that allowed Steelheart to be injured.  Unlikely, because Steelheart was injured before Deathpoint's death.

 

Bullet material - the bullet was made of the Epic equivalent of Allomantic aluminum.  Maybe it had the same composition as the steel Steelheart creates.  Unlikely, because it's just a random gun.  If it had the right composition, others would as well.  Still plausible, because David's father had Steelheart's attention before the attack, and it's possible that Steelheart inadvertently used his powers and converted the bullet to steel.  Unlikely, because there's no reason to think Steelheart could/would transform the bullet.

 

Gun source - David's father picked up the gun from a guard killed by Deathpoint.  This ties into the "combination" theory mentioned above, but with a different twist.

 

Ambient conditions - this is ROSHtafARian's theory that the vault contained something that made Steelheart vulnerable.  Unlikely, because none of the other gunfire hurt him, even after the vault opened.

Deathpoint's death - the bullet could hurt Steelheart because it killed Deathpoint on the other side.  Unlikely, because it messes with casualty - if Steelheart had deflected the bullet, it wouldn't have hurt Deathpoint.

 

Belief - David's father believed that Steelheart was a hero, which he clearly wasn't.  Perhaps only people who believe he is something he isn't can hurt him.  Unlikely, because David's father's belief had nothing to do with Steelheart's invulnerability, just his alignment.

 

Only grazing shots work - This was Havoc's idea.  As he said, it's unlikely because surely there have been other grazing shots.

 

I think the most likely theories are Intent of shooter, and combination of Epic and gun (either from Deathpoint's active attempt to kill him, or by "charging" the gun when he killed it's owner).  If it's intent, then they'll need some sort of From Russia with Love scheme.  (The Mists of Avalon uses a similar and possibly more applicable scheme to kill the Merlin).  If it's the combination, then they'll need to enlist another Epic.

I personally think that combination is more likely than intent, because a) the bullet has no intent, and it's the bullet that hurt him, and b ) Rithmatics has a large intent element, and Brandon doesn't like repeating himself.

Edited by Sir Read-a-Lot
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Maybe it's a knowledge thing? Like, knowing something and acting on it, or not knowing something allows him to be hurt. I'm not sure what I mean by this, but it came to mind.

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Steelhearts Weakness: Only able to be hurt if attacked unintentionally by an ally trying to protect him while he is standing in a Shrine that was recently desecrated by someone who is trying to kill him.  

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His weakness is epics wielding guns. Daddy-o actually turned into an epic moments before he fired - too soon for him to reveal his evilness.

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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Wasn't expecting that much mindless slaughter from Sanderson.  And a baby too!

 

Can't wait to have the finished product in my hands.

 

I don't like the idea of the bullet hurting him because the father was trying to save him.  It feels to simplistic and too complicated at the same time.  Also, I don't think David is going to be wanting to save Steelheart anytime soon.

 

I'm jumping on the Vault bandwagon.  Something in there, or maybe the nature of the metal it is made of, and that David now has a residue of  it within him.  Kind of like radiation?  Of course, I expect a very Vin/Lord Ruler type of battle to happen, where everyone thinks they know what is what, then David faces Steelheart, only to reveal they don't know ****!

 

I already have an Epic power.  It doubles as a Smedry power.  The Power of Procrastination.

Edited by Menden Atal
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Ok so I have two ideas for possible weaknesses

  1) Some form of emotion negates Steelhearts powers if he experiences it, so if he regrets something or something like that. I say this because him experiencing rage activates a power, turns stuff into steel, so it seems possible that a different emotion could negate them. I'm thinking that some of what that dad guy said got to him so he wavered for a moment, especially when that one guy who believes in him starts aiming his gun in Steelhearts direction, then he gets hurt, filled with rage and the emotion is gone so his invincibility is back.

  2) Living things negate his power, this is based on how things in a small area around living people are not turned to steel by the rage powers, so they are already negating one power so maybe they negate all the rest. Deathtoutch was grabbing at him from just behind so he was in range to negate the invincibility when he was hit and that let Steelheart be injured.

#2 seems unlikely to me because he punches the dad and if being close to someone negated your powers that seems like a strange thing to do but it's an idea.

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The weakness is far more sinister than anything you are thinking.

The weakness is as follows: Steelheart cannot be hurt on purpose. Anything which is intended to hurt him won"t work. However, if a lethal weapon attacks him without the user having the SLIGHTEST intention of hurting him, the attack works.

 

This is not Harry Potter. Drop the whole "power of love" thoughtline.

And OBVIOUSLY metal has nothing to with it ... Mistborn addicts!

Edited by aeromancer
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