Scarletfox

Mistborn Era 1 Literary Protagonist

Protagonist of Mistborn   10 members have voted

  1. 1. Who do you think is the literary protagonist of the Mistborn trilogy?

    • Vin
    • Elend
      0
    • Sazed
    • Spook
    • Breeze
      0
    • Tensoon
      0
    • Kelsier
    • Other
      0

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3 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hello, friends!

I was just analyzing the story arc of the original Mistborn trilogy in my mind while cleaning the other day, and was especially focusing on the literary protagonist of the story. I initially thought it was Kelsier back when I was reading book one, but then (spoiler alert) he died. Of course it seemed like it was either Vin or Elend for the next two books until, (spoiler alert again) they both died, too. 

The obvious answer is Sazed, but what does he want? And who would be the antagonist? Perhaps Sazed wants to understand the world's mysteries, and he gets in the way of himself... ? This would mean that he is both the protagonist and the antagonist, which is certainly possible and used in literature on occasion. It is hard to narrow down exactly what Sazed wants, because for the majority of the time prior to him taking the power, he himself doesn't even know. He could want to feel fulfilled, like he has a purpose and is contributing something worthwhile to society. When he realizes that he is the Hero of the Ages, he realizes that he now has a meaningful purpose. 

Although I had already eliminated Vin in my mind because she died, I realized that she very well could be the protagonist, with another man vs. self type conflict. I would argue that her desire was to feel loved, but her instincts against trust prevented that. She eventually comes to terms with the fact that Elend loves her, which would be the climax of the story. I'm sure the climax could be narrowed down a scene or a couple chapters, however I've only read Mistborn once so far (and I read that last book in about two days) so I'm not confident in my ability to pinpoint the moment.

Then again, it could be Spook. Spook may have similar desires as Sazed, a place to fit in. I would guess that himself, or even the world gets in the way of that. Things that were out of his control prevented him from ever feeling he was a part of Kelsier's crew, however, when Sazed makes him Mistborn everything changes. (on the other side) Could it be that it was his own insecurity that kept him from fitting in to Kelsier's crew? Perhaps when Harmony made him Mistborn, it boosted his self-esteem.

I've also considered Elend, Breeze, and even Tensoon. Currently my thoughts are a bit of a scattered mess, so if I just completely confused y'all, I apologize.

I'd love see y'all's thoughts on the matter! (Oh, and, please try not to spoil anything from Era 2 Mistborn for me, I only just started The Alloy of Law :D)

Edited by Scarletfox
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Well, I'm not well versed on literary requirements for a protagonist, but I would argue Vin, as the the "main character" (most POV chapters), is the protagonist or the Era 1 series. She's our main hero and develops substantially as a person throughout the story. Kelsier and Spook are not consistently prominent characters thought the trilogy. I could understand Sazed being a protagonist for Hero of Ages, but (as I remember it) he's not a major POV character in Final Empire. Same for Elend--we don't get much character development from him until Well of Ascension.  

The fact that Vin

Spoiler

dies at the the end doesn't make her any less of a protagonist.

And regarding Era I antagonist--def gotta be Ruin. 

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Posted (edited)

@PleatherDuster Some very good points! I would definitely agree that Vin is the main character of Era 1. She is the one the reader is meant to track for the majority of the books. By the literary definition, however, she may or may not be the protagonist, depending on what you think.

Edit: Please don't feel inclined to read this whole thing, I got kind of carried away... :D

In every story, there is conflict. Conflict in literature is when a someone (the protagonist) wants something, and someone or something else (the antagonist) is getting in the way of that something. There are different types of conflict. Man vs. man and man vs. self are the two main types. Man v. man is where one person is pitted against another. Man v. self is where one person is pitted against themselves. Even if they don't know it, they are the thing keeping themselves from what they want. Like someone who wants to be happy, but is depressed because they are unhappy with the way they look. Their thoughts may be what is keeping them from being happy.

An example of literary analyzation: in Little Red Riding Hood, the girl tries to bring her grandmother flowers, and the wolf stops her by eating her grandmother and eventually her. Assuming that little red riding hood is the protagonist, we have to ask what she really wants. Does she want to bring her grandmother flowers, or is it something more. Maybe she wants to make her grandmother happy, and does that through bringing flowers. The antagonist of the story would be the wolf, who eats the grandmother and therefore gets in the way of what riding hood wants. The story is resolved because the farmer cuts open the wolf, and gets them both out. Riding Hood has what she wants, her grandmother is happy, and the story ends. Little Red Riding Hood is a man v. man conflict, Little Red Riding Hood against the wolf.

In Mistborn, what does Vin want, I mean truly want? Who gets in the way of what she wants. Perhaps this book is a man v. self conflict, where Vin wants to be loved. The literary protagonist and the main character aren't always the same person, so the protagonist could be Sazed. Sazed may want to know the truth. Or he may want to feel safe. There is no wrong answer in literature, as long as they are backed well.

I apologize for the density of this, I get wordy when I get excited about the technicalities of literature. If my literature teacher saw this, I think she would either be really proud of my understanding on the issue, or on the ground laughing at my explanation. 

Edited by Scarletfox
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