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Questions about Lord Ruler + Ruin. Misborn Era 1 only please!

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*** Please no spoilers beyond Misborn Era 1 ***

Hello everyone! I preapologize for any typos, I'm waiting this on my phone. 

I just finished Hero of Ages. This is only my second fantasy series that I have finished but I really liked it. It's possible that I just missed something because I listened through the audiobooks so quickly, but I feel like there's some holes I am having trouble plugging related the Rashek and Ruin, and trying to make sense out of what the Lord Ruler did with the power of preservation and what he did near the end of the final empire. 

If you are able to shed some light on my questions, without including information from later books at all, that would be most helpful. I'm sure later books will help color and flesh out things further, but I just want the Misborn Era 1 understanding of what I feel like I'm missing. 

I'm sure I can find answers to all my questions if I searched hard enough, but searching while avoiding spoilers is completely impossible. So I humbly request the help of real people in this thread.

I'm confused by a handful of things. Rashek is ultimately a good man per Sazed, but in the limited time he held the power he created extremely evil things (inquisitors which require slaughtering mistings and koloss which require killing 4 men each to make. Why would he have made these at all?

It mentions he created the kondra as spies against Ruin... but he made inquisitors and koloss first. kondra were created last, and are still 1000 years old... So inquisitors and koloss were made immediately basically. But ruin didn't have control of him to do this or he wouldn't have made kondra how he did afterwards. 

If he tried so hard to breed feruchemy out of the population so no one would ever be a feruchemist and mistborn to challenge his power, why would he essentially create/enable/spread hemalurgy allowing people to do exactly that, become feruchemist and mistborn (like Marsh is revealed to be in hero of ages). That doesn't make sense. 

Rashek still seemed to believe he was keeping ruin from destroying the world up to his death "...what I do for you". But Rashek was doing some horrible stuff. He intentionally altered people to be highly reproductive slaves, he tortured and killed many people, he held public executions, etc. 

Was he supposedly just trying to create the most stable society possible so that he would still be alive and in power when the power returned to the well so he could right the wrongs best he could with 1000 years of experience?

Sorry this isn't a concise question or two. I'm just trying to wrap my head around how the Lord Ruler and ruin interpolated in Mistborn era 1 since I must have missed something. The Lord Ruler is probably my favorite villian ever in fiction. The oppressive, heavy burden of dread and hopelessness he made me feel in book 1 was so awesome, and to find out the big reveal at the end made him super interesting to me as an arc. I just don't want to be ultimately soured on him as a character because I'm missing plot points I assume Sanderson answered in era 1 already. 

I probably have like 15 more questions, but this is already too long and winding. Thanks in advance for any help or clarification. I did just purchase A way of Kings, but that's a 47 hour audiobook and I want to mentally wrap up Mistborn before starting it. 

Thanks!

TLDR: I don't get how Rashek is a "good man" but did all sorts of bad things (like create inquisitors and a permanent slave race) when he held the power, especially since he knew of Ruin and was supposedly trying to prevent him from destroying stuff. Please advise, and refer to my above ramblings for more specific questions I have about this.

*** Please no spoilers beyond Misborn Era 1 ***

 

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21 minutes ago, Rome said:

'm confused by a handful of things. Rashek is ultimately a good man per Sazed, but in the limited time he held the power he created extremely evil things (inquisitors which require slaughtering mistings and koloss which require killing 4 men each to make. Why would he have made these at all?

Relatively a good man, as in, he did try to save the world. But he was also a raging racist, murderer, and enabled or required really bad things. So "good" is really relative here.

22 minutes ago, Rome said:

It mentions he created the kondra as spies against Ruin... but he made inquisitors and koloss first. kondra were created last, and are still 1000 years old... So inquisitors and koloss were made immediately basically. But ruin didn't have control of him to do this or he wouldn't have made kondra how he did afterwards. 

He gained the knowledge of how to create koloss, kandra (spelled with an a, btw), and Inquisitors during his Ascension. He offered the living Feruchemists the choice between death and being turned into mistwraiths with the eventual promise of being restored to sapience with essentially immortality later. Then he did the actual creating later, over the course of decades or centuries. The kandra weren't spies against Ruin, they were double agents. Creatures that looked like they would be easy for Ruin to control, but conditioned to rebel against him when he tried.

25 minutes ago, Rome said:

If he tried so hard to breed feruchemy out of the population so no one would ever be a feruchemist and mistborn to challenge his power, why would he essentially create/enable/spread hemalurgy allowing people to do exactly that, become feruchemist and mistborn (like Marsh is revealed to be in hero of ages). That doesn't make sense. 

He didn't spread Hemalurgy. It was a tightly guarded secret that no one had figured out in 1000 years. It wasn't until Marsh turned into one but managed to keep his own mind (for a while) that they discovered Hemalurgy even existed.

And because of the weakness of Hemalurgy, and the Allomantic strength of TLR, he could take control of the Inquisitors at any time. So they were no threat to him. He simply didn't create ones that would rival him.

26 minutes ago, Rome said:

Was he supposedly just trying to create the most stable society possible so that he would still be alive and in power when the power returned to the well so he could right the wrongs best he could with 1000 years of experience?

Rashek wasn't exactly sane by then. But he was probably referring to hiding the atium, keeping the storage caverns stockpiled, keeping the location of the Well secret, etc. He was planning on taking the power again and fixing himself and maybe some of the planetary problems that he caused, too.

 

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Sazed is too kind, Rashek hated Alendi from the beginning, preached Terris superiority for their access to Feruchemy, burned the population of Scadrial aside from those at the pole, turned the Terrismen who disagreed with him into Mistwraith, turned the population that didn't support him into skaa.

He is a "good man" in that he did what he did to delay an existential threat, he was possibly further corrupted by Ruin but he still murdered Alendi, was a noted xenophobe and Terris supremacist and did the transformations while still holding Preservation's power at the Well of Ascension. The knowledge of Hemalurgy may have been granted to him during this, but he was still himself when he chose to turn his companions into mindless beasts. Ruin could have whispered to him while he held the power of Preservation but not anything more than that. The later cruelties and stagnation of the Final Empire may have been due to Ruin's influence and a result of holding Preservation's power respectively but Rashek was still a complete d*ck.

Edited by Honorless
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To answer the question, Rashek was an angry bitter man. He did good things, and he did incredibly evil things. He did what he felt he needed to do to save the world from Ruin, but at the same time he also lashed out at his mentor when he rejected his offer to become a Kandra, and then had him hunted down and murdered. He took dissidents and turned them into monsters. He brutalised his own people to prevent them from becoming a threat. He did everything he did to save the world, and he did everything he did because he felt that he had the right to do it, and that no-one else's opinions mattered. He was vindictive and petty, and believed that the only way the world could be saved was his way.

He did all these things because he felt he could keep control over what he made - Hemalurgy allowed him to dominate the minds of his Inquisitors, and Koloss were powerful tools. So long as he remained alive he could control what he made, and as long as he was alive Ruin couldn't break free, as he would take the power at the well again. He was a man who was cruel, but he was a man who also wanted to save the world.

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Thanks everyone for replies so far. 

Can Sazed be too kind? I mean, he was god when he wrote that, one would think he would be accurate. 

Also, I see what you guys are saying about inquisitors, koloss and kandra not being threats, but I still don't understand why he made any of them, esp the inquisitors and koloss. 

The koloss are sequestered away forever (and he supposedly feared them?), And the inquisitors were just used as allomancer hunters, which seems like super Overkill to capture mistings. Especially when that granted feruchemy to allomancers as noted before, something he was seemingly terrified about if it happened naturally. 

Can I ask... Is the certainty with which you all are saying he's still a pretty bad dude coming from knowledge gained in future books, or was it supposed to be obvious that he was a bad dude even though he did good things and Sazed said he is good when he was god? Thank you for not giving spoilers, I'm just curious if Rashek is ever mentioned again, or if you came to these conclusions purely from what I have already read in Mistborn era 1.

Thanks again for the replies, certainly the more input the better. :)

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15 minutes ago, Rome said:

Thanks everyone for replies so far. 

Can Sazed be too kind? I mean, he was god when he wrote that, one would think he would be accurate. 

Also, I see what you guys are saying about inquisitors, koloss and kandra not being threats, but I still don't understand why he made any of them, esp the inquisitors and koloss. 

The koloss are sequestered away forever (and he supposedly feared them?), And the inquisitors were just used as allomancer hunters, which seems like super Overkill to capture mistings. Especially when that granted feruchemy to allomancers as noted before, something he was seemingly terrified about if it happened naturally. 

Can I ask... Is the certainty with which you all are saying he's still a pretty bad dude coming from knowledge gained in future books, or was it supposed to be obvious that he was a bad dude even though he did good things and Sazed said he is good when he was god? Thank you for not giving spoilers, I'm just curious if Rashek is ever mentioned again, or if you came to these conclusions purely from what I have already read in Mistborn era 1.

Thanks again for the replies, certainly the more input the better. :)

Rashek's pretty much only covered in Era 1. He might have some mentions in Era 2, but they're pretty vague and not particularly informative. Rashek did go to a lot of time and effort for the atium and the storage caches, and he did try to make things better. Just...his idea of better was really really really bad for a lot of people. And he still thought it was better. So...whether some of his actions redeemed him from his other actions is a judgement call for each individual to make.

The koloss were made to be his shock troops. A threat to hold over everyone, and an army utterly loyal to him. That can subsist on grass.

Inquisitors were like his hands--also utterly loyal/controllable yet able to function independently of him, given instructions. Because, powerful as he is, he can't be everywhere and deal with everything.

The kandra were his eyes--sent to infiltrate and learn of things he wanted to know about but wasn't able to go and find for himself.

He made tools to extend his reach, all of whom were incapable of disloyalty. That's worth a lot to a megalomaniacal god-ruler.

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15 hours ago, Rome said:

Can Sazed be too kind? I mean, he was god when he wrote that, one would think he would be accurate.

You'd best abandon that notion. Gods in the Cosmere are very much not infallible 

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12 hours ago, Inky said:

You'd best abandon that notion. Gods in the Cosmere are very much not infallible 

Noted! Lol

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On 11/18/2019 at 4:38 PM, RShara said:

Rashek did go to a lot of time and effort for the atium and the storage caches, and he did try to make things better. Just...his idea of better was really really really bad for a lot of people. And he still thought it was better. So...whether some of his actions redeemed him from his other actions is a judgement call for each individual to make.

This is the crux of it, really.

Ultimately, to call him "a good man" boils down to not only that Rashek managed to stonewall Ruin for a thousand years, a difficult feat, but that he bothered to try to do so at all, as the only reason to do that would be to hedge against the scenario where Ruin managed to kill him before the Well refilled for him to renew the prison, and not having any way to know what he was doing would work. But he did it anyway.

Rashek could easily have done all the same brutal social engineering he did while intending to repeat the cycles of renewal only so long as he was on top as a god-ruler, with no plan for a scenario where he did not rule. "I am the Final Sliver of Preservation; if I fall, so falls the world to Ruin." Instead, he made defeating or resisting Ruin the focus of his nigh-immortal existence.

All the power trappings of his "Final Empire" were done to create and to maintain a stable society according to his domineering, cruel, and resentful nature. To make a hierarchy of dominance, with himself at the pinnacle, created and enforced with Allomantic (and hemalurgic) brutality. But in the end, he still remained faithful to the primary tenet of the Terris religion: Preservation vs. Ruin. We are of Preservation. SURVIVE!

Another person, especially a non-Terris person, who temporarily Ascended at the Well may well have been kinder and gentler than Rashek with the social engineering, but likely would not have had the focus and the will to hide 90% of the atium in the world so well over a thousand year period, or thought to create Ruin-hidden shelters stocked with supplies. And that's what actually allowed humanity to survive long enough for Sazed to remake the world anew.

You don't know what it is I do for mankind, he said while dying.

And at the end, Vin realized: And we didn't. Thank you.
 

 

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Lots of good stuff here, but there is one more thing I want to point out. Rashek had his atium armbands piecing his skin. This enabled Ruin to communicate with him directly, and I don't think Rashek even realized that. So keep in mind that he had a very clever death god whispering into his thoughts for a thousand years. 

With that in mind, Rashek started out as a good person. Yes, he was ruthless and aggressive, but his original goal was to create a stable society and do the best for his people(not just Terris in this case, but the whole world). Over time Ruin's influence started to corrupt him, so Rashek's society does eventually turn into a brutal bloodbath. But considering he had Ruin whispering straight into his thoughts for a thousand years, he still did pretty good. I mean, check out Vin, Spook, and Quellion and just how much influence Ruin garnered in such a short time.

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1 hour ago, Wandering Investor said:

Lots of good stuff here, but there is one more thing I want to point out. Rashek had his atium armbands piecing his skin. This enabled Ruin to communicate with him directly, and I don't think Rashek even realized that. So keep in mind that he had a very clever death god whispering into his thoughts for a thousand years.

Ruin could communicate with him, but not  because of the Atium armbands. You have to have a dedicated Hemalurgic spike that has been used to kill someone in order for ruin to communicate with you, and those armband spikes were not Hemalurgic, he only put them there as extra safety against allomancers.

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47 minutes ago, Llstml said:

Ruin could communicate with him, but not  because of the Atium armbands. You have to have a dedicated Hemalurgic spike that has been used to kill someone in order for ruin to communicate with you, and those armband spikes were not Hemalurgic, he only put them there as extra safety against allomancers.

Actually, spikes don't have to kill, just touch blood in the proper place with the proper intent. I mean, tearing off a chuck of the soul is usually fatal, but not always. But in this case, you are correct, they piece him but are not proper spikes. I did some more digging and found there was some confusion on that subject, but Brandon clarified they were not hemalurgic in nature. But I also found a quote about Ruin having access to LR's soul and thoughts anyways, not sure how though. 
 

Quote

Dalenthas

Did the Lord Ruler have any Hemalurgic spikes in him? It would seem he'd need to for Ruin to influence him, but it wasn't mentioned. Or did his bracers work as spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

His arm bracers, which pierced his skin, were his spikes.

Footnote: Brandon later clarified this. The Lord Ruler's bracers pierced his skin to provide additional protection from Allomancy, but they were not hemalurgic spikes.
Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide (Oct. 15, 2008)
Quote

Anusien

Why did Lord Ruler not destroy the logbook knowing what trouble Ruin could cause with it?

Brandon Sanderson

A few reasons. First, Ruin had his fingers in the LR’s soul by then already. Subtle things are easier to influence.

He played off the LR’s natural nostalgia and desire to hold onto something so important to his past.

#tweettheauthor 2009 (July 8, 2009)

 

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15 hours ago, Wandering Investor said:

Actually, spikes don't have to kill, just touch blood in the proper place with the proper intent. I mean, tearing off a chuck of the soul is usually fatal, but not always. But in this case, you are correct, they piece him but are not proper spikes. I did some more digging and found there was some confusion on that subject, but Brandon clarified they were not hemalurgic in nature. But I also found a quote about Ruin having access to LR's soul and thoughts anyways, not sure how though. 

The fan consensus (I don't think there's an explicit "WoB" about it) seems to be that:

  1. Brandon changed his mind at some point about TLR having hemalurgic spikes or not.
    • At one point he had said he did; now, he says not, the metalmind "piercings" were just that, not hemalurgic in nature.
    • He has wiggle room in the published text, anyway, so he's just twiddling his own side comments.
  2. He's also flip-flopped on why TLR was super-strong in Allomancy
    • He didn't ingest a lerasium bead or use hemalurgy (he'd said or hinted at both at one time or another); he modified his own Spiritweb while Ascended
    • Since strength in Allomancy is a function of one's spiritual Connection to Preservation, this makes sense
  3. Even without hemalurgic spikes, Ruin would be able to communicate with TLR directly due to his having Ascended and thus "stretched his spirit"
    • If you read Mistborn: Secret History, you'll learn more about who Ruin/Preservation can talk to and why, and that Ascension has aftereffects on a spirit even after de-Ascending

 

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On 11/18/2019 at 1:52 PM, Rome said:

 

I'm confused by a handful of things. Rashek is ultimately a good man per Sazed, but in the limited time he held the power he created extremely evil things (inquisitors which require slaughtering mistings and koloss which require killing 4 men each to make. Why would he have made these at all?

Goodness is subjective.  To Saze apparently its the thought that counts.  TLR thought his actions were necessary for the survival of sentient life.  Apparently he did not see another way out of his predicament.  Reshek needed the Inquisitors to police the nobility and obligators.  He needed to be able to control them and he need them to be powerful.  He needed a way to crush rebellions easily with the same ability to control the troops.  Remember TFE was not supposed to be a perfect empire that created a good life for the majority of people it was just supposed to stick around forever. 

On 11/18/2019 at 1:52 PM, Rome said:

It mentions he created the kondra as spies against Ruin... but he made inquisitors and koloss first. kondra were created last, and are still 1000 years old... So inquisitors and koloss were made immediately basically. But ruin didn't have control of him to do this or he wouldn't have made kondra how he did afterwards. 

Pretty sure he made the kandra first(out of his friends).

On 11/18/2019 at 1:52 PM, Rome said:

If he tried so hard to breed feruchemy out of the population so no one would ever be a feruchemist and mistborn to challenge his power, why would he essentially create/enable/spread hemalurgy allowing people to do exactly that, become feruchemist and mistborn (like Marsh is revealed to be in hero of ages). That doesn't make sense. 

He had the ability to mind control inquisitors.  They were the only people who knew the actual ins and outs of feruchemy.  He was also worried about the Teris religion surviving(he knew it was being manipulated by Ruin) as well as feruchemy's ability to spread information he did not want getting out.

On 11/18/2019 at 1:52 PM, Rome said:

Rashek still seemed to believe he was keeping ruin from destroying the world up to his death "...what I do for you". But Rashek was doing some horrible stuff. He intentionally altered people to be highly reproductive slaves, he tortured and killed many people, he held public executions, etc. 

Was he supposedly just trying to create the most stable society possible so that he would still be alive and in power when the power returned to the well so he could right the wrongs best he could with 1000 years of experience?

Only one person(Reshek) can truly answer this question.  He did believe what he was doing was right and necessary.  Weather he wanted to just survive as long as possible(and have TFE do the same) or he thought he could actually fix thins is up for debate.  I personally suspect the former.  In my view he was past actually thinking about real solutions and just wanted to keep going as long as possible.

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