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Okay, so here’s my crazy theory about the basic plot structure and possible storylines:

Book 1, our new SWAT protagonists track the mystery mistborn serial killer (mmsk). As they track him they discover a mysterious conspiracy that’s manipulating events on all levels. Around the time they defeat MMSK they learn that Kelsier is behind the conspiracy and he’s working with another Shard against Harmony.

Book 2: Kelsier is the villain of this book, but there are hints all along that he’s playing this other Shard (revealed through his PoVs to be Autonomy.) Our heroes work to defeat him, pitting them against the entire planet. Along the way they (and we) become increasingly Cosmere aware. This ends up leading to them exposing (some of) Kell’s machinations to Autonomy prematurely.

In typical Brandon penultimate fashion, they actually do manage to stop Kelsier’s plans, only for it to be revealed that what he was doing was intended to stop Autonomy who, it turns out, had been active on Scadrial since before Rashek’s Ascension. Of course, in typical Kelsier fashion, he didn’t tell anyone his plans and Autonomy - forewarned - now takes many of them over to turn against Scadrial.

At this point Kelsier joins/is recruited by the heroes, who realize that he was, in his own way, trying to protect Scadrial.

Total theory: The heroes discover that Kelsier is trying to steal HARMONY. They intervene, preventing this, but this leaves a hole that allows Autonomy to shatter Harmony. Kelsier then risks himself to save Sazed, to the shock of the SWAT crew. After this they learn that Kelsier knew Saze couldn’t directly act against Autonomy. He intended to take Harmony and, wielding it as Discord, use it to kill Bavadin allowing him to take her Shard. Then he would return the triple Shard to Sazed.

Saze, upon learning all this, blankly asks why Kelsier didn’t just ASK him for the Shard, as he would have given it to him. The realization that this could all have been avoided if he hadn’t been so intent on one upping everyone is what finally breaks through Kell’s arrogance and forces him to acknowledge that he messed up - very, very badly.

Book 3, then, is Kelsier’s parallel to Sazed’s journey in HoA. His confidence is deeply shaken by how badly he messed up, especially as Autonomy continues to use his own tools against him. This book becomes his redemption arc, as he rebuilds himself and finally learns that, for all his power, he isn’t invincible and he can’t be completely autonomous. This allows him to create a new plan from the dregs of the old, and work with the SWAT crew to defeat Autonomy and give her Shard to Saze. (Harmony being reconstructed as part of this.)

At the end Kelsier and Sazed talk, as they did at the end of Secret History. Kelsier reveals that he told himself he was staying to protect Scadrial, but not only had he not done that, he now acknowledged that he just wasn’t ready to die. He then tells Sazed that he can’t willingly go Beyond now because Preservation’s Command won’t let him. Saze points out that Kelsier still doesn’t want to die - which he notes as very human - and removes/alters Preservation’s Command instead of forcing Kell Beyond. Saze then restores Kelsier, orders him to ‘do better’, and tells him he should go Beyond when he’s actually ready to do so.

The book ends with Kell looking over Scadrial with two eyes and realizing that his hands are smooth and unmarred. His scars are gone.

 

So, while some (most) of this is going to be completely wrong, and a whole lot is pure fancy and sap, I do think Kelsier is going to mess up very, very badly and that this will force the character to grow in ways he hasn’t yet. That’s the only part of this that I really think has any chance of being remotely accurate (aside from the ‘SWAT team chases MMSK’, which is from WoB.)

Either way, with Mistborn Era 3 starting within the next 5 years, I wanted to get this out there on the off chance I’m even REMOTELY right. Mostly so I can claim bragging rights on the off chance any of the above occurs.

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Hey, not bad. I very much think Kelsier is going to be a bad guy, due to Brandon's continuously repeated statement that if Kelsier were in any other story, he'd be the villain.

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16 minutes ago, Knight of Iron said:

Hey, not bad. I very much think Kelsier is going to be a bad guy, due to Brandon's continuously repeated statement that if Kelsier were in any other story, he'd be the villain.

I don’t think he’d remain that way though. It’s too great a betrayal of his arc and it sends the very bad message that you can never be better than your genetics (remember: Kelsier’s psychopathy is neurological, and something he was born with.)

There’s also the fact that if he’s going to face-heel turn the process has to occur in Mistborn - and not in a novella or in the time between books. It has to happen in a mainline novel.

So that leaves us with three possibilities.

One: Kelsier remains a Mistborn protagonist throughout. His motives are - relatively - pure, and he’s on the side of angels throughout.

Based on various things Brandon has said, I no longer think this will be the case. And honestly? It would be way too boring for the character.

Two: Era 2 will be a protagonist journey to villain for Kelsier.

I don’t think this is likely because of the reasons mentioned above, and because that isn’t the story Brandon has been telling with Kelsier. There’s also the fact that such a story has to take place primarily ‘on screen’ and I think too much of the story will have been told ‘off screen’, possible Secret History 2 not withstanding. 

This one also causes a few other problems, all meta. One is fan alienation. Let’s be fair here. Most fans don’t read every Word of Brandon. You have fans who only read one series. You have casual fans who don’t analyze every word. And Kelsier, as a character, has many fans. You make him a villain and the fans who aren’t primed for it will - rightfully - feel betrayed. The last they saw of the character he was a hero, and he was in the process of becoming a better person.

There’s also the fact that even if the arc is done so well that no one objects - and it can 100% be done - there is a great risk of making it impossible for many people to reread the original series. If you know this character that you fell in love with as a hero becomes this horrible twisted villain in a story written over a decade later, it can taint the original story. So for those of us who love Kelsier, who fell in love with and were inspired by him, it can make the original trilogy too painful to read.

I’ve mentioned this a handful of times, and I’ll say it again here: Kelsier has saved my life. Where Kaladin makes me suicidal, Kelsier’s ability to smile no matter how hard or bad things are has given me the strength to fight through the few days a month when I’m depressed. People have told Brandon that Kelsier’s inspired them in that manner. And I don’t think that’s the kind of thing Brandon wants to take away.

Which leaves option three, the one I think is most likely and most interesting and -in my opinion - the most true to the character: Kelsier initially seems to be the villain, even acts as the villain, but ultimately turns out to be on the correct side all along - just going about things in the wrong way, causing him to have a redemption arc.

This one allows for a lot more leeway, as we don’t need to see the hero to villain story - because it never happened. Kelsier has always been a hero with... unorthodox methods, shall we say? We’re now on the other side - the crew not knowing his plans. But this crew doesn’t trust him and THIS time his plans don’t go off as planned. Kelsier himself though is still the same person he was - and that’s the crux of his problem. 

He can be a villain without being a villain in this scenario. And it lines up nicely with what Brandon has said - that in other circumstances he’d be a villain, because Kell’s way of doing things doesn’t work well in most situations. And that lesson would be the very one Kelsier would be learning as his arc in this kind of story.

Basically:

option one: his character remains static

option two: his character regresses

option three: his character progresses.

So my guess is option three for all the reasons stated above.

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I agree that Kelsier can be a villain or pseudo-villain but I doubt that:
a - He is working with another Shard.
b - He's trying to steal Harmony.
It makes a lot more sense that he's trying to steal the power of Autonomy.

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59 minutes ago, Raphaborn said:

I agree that Kelsier can be a villain or pseudo-villain but I doubt that:
a - He is working with another Shard.
b - He's trying to steal Harmony.
It makes a lot more sense that he's trying to steal the power of Autonomy.

Read the whole theory. He’d be running a double con, where he’s seemingly trying to steal Harmony while supposedly allied with Autonomy, but is actually planning to ‘borrow’ Harmony and use it steal Autonomy and then give back Harmony + Autonomy to Saze.

Basically:

Step 1: Kelsier pretends to become disillusioned with Saze

Step 2: Kelsier ‘allies’ with Autonomy

Step 3: Kelsier manipulates Autonomy into arranging a situation where he can sever Saze from Harmony, supposedly so Autonomy can shatter it.

Step 4: During the above step Kelsier betrays Autonomy and steal Harmony. Due to Kelsier’s nature this turns the Shard to Discord.

Step 5: Kelsier uses Discord to kill Bavadin, who is momentarily vulnerable.

Step 6: Kelsier takes up Autonomy, Connecting it to Discord.

Step 7: Kelsier gives the triple Shard back to Sazed, ensuring that Scadrial has a Shard capable of action.

Interference would occur between steps 4 & 5, mostly because Kelsier is conning Sazed as well as Bavadin. This results in Harmony being Shattered, at least until book three.


And Kelsier wouldn’t be a villain; he’d be a pseudo-villain. Right idea, wrong methodology. I pointed out why he can’t be a true villain in my second post. It’s mostly because the third Era would have to be a hero to villain story for Kelsier, as that kind of face-heel turn can’t occur offscreen.

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7 hours ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Okay, so here’s my crazy theory about the basic plot structure and possible storylines:

Book 1, our new SWAT protagonists track the mystery mistborn serial killer (mmsk). As they track him they discover a mysterious conspiracy that’s manipulating events on all levels. Around the time they defeat MMSK they learn that Kelsier is behind the conspiracy and he’s working with another Shard against Harmony.

Book 2: Kelsier is the villain of this book, but there are hints all along that he’s playing this other Shard (revealed through his PoVs to be Autonomy.) Our heroes work to defeat him, pitting them against the entire planet. Along the way they (and we) become increasingly Cosmere aware. This ends up leading to them exposing (some of) Kell’s machinations to Autonomy prematurely.

If Kelsier really wanted people dead, why wouldn't he just appear to a few of his priests and hand over a list?

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36 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

If Kelsier really wanted people dead, why wouldn't he just appear to a few of his priests and hand over a list?

Because he’s hiding his involvement. Also, I think the MMSK is actually Bavadin’s, not Kelsier’s. They’re just ‘working’ together (while planning to backstab each other.)

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Kelsier being involved in Era 3 or even being the antagonist of Era 3 aren't new theories (one of my earliest Reddit posts was about that, and I've seen the theory pop up every now-and-then since), but I like your spin on them!

(Spoilers All) Crackpot theories incoming! : Mistborn (reddit.com)

My own theory on it is similar to my OG one in some ways but very different in others. I a lot of ways it's similar to your theory...which doesn't bode well for your theory sadly, since I think I've had a less than 10% success rate with Cosmere theories... 

I think that the serial killer will be Kelsier, who is working with whoever is providing that "red mist" that Harmony is fighting. Eventually, it'll be revealed that Kelsier was actually working with the "red mist" provider in order to gain information as well as to force Harmony into action. (I'm not sure if this will prompt him to become Discord, but I sort of doubt it.) But then it would turn out that Kelsier got something for himself out of the deal too:

Spoiler

The power to leave Scadrial. 

I do have some theories about whether or not Kelsier would reveal himself to the public and try to use those actions as a way to garner allies, but I think that's an Era 4 move TBH. 

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6 hours ago, Use the Falchion said:

Kelsier being involved in Era 3 or even being the antagonist of Era 3 aren't new theories (one of my earliest Reddit posts was about that, and I've seen the theory pop up every now-and-then since), but I like your spin on them!

(Spoilers All) Crackpot theories incoming! : Mistborn (reddit.com)

My own theory on it is similar to my OG one in some ways but very different in others. I a lot of ways it's similar to your theory...which doesn't bode well for your theory sadly, since I think I've had a less than 10% success rate with Cosmere theories... 

I think that the serial killer will be Kelsier, who is working with whoever is providing that "red mist" that Harmony is fighting. Eventually, it'll be revealed that Kelsier was actually working with the "red mist" provider in order to gain information as well as to force Harmony into action. (I'm not sure if this will prompt him to become Discord, but I sort of doubt it.) But then it would turn out that Kelsier got something for himself out of the deal too:

  Reveal hidden contents

The power to leave Scadrial. 

I do have some theories about whether or not Kelsier would reveal himself to the public and try to use those actions as a way to garner allies, but I think that's an Era 4 move TBH. 

I don’t think Kelsier himself will be the serial killer. It doesn’t make sense for him to be doing the killings personally. I actually think the MMSK will belong to the Set, although I can’t exactly explain why. It just makes more sense to me. (Shrugs.)

We know Kell is going to be a major character in Era 3, so I’d expect him to have full viewpoints and be actively involved in the major plot lines. I do think he will ultimately remain a protagonist, but it’s not going to be nearly as straightforward as in Era 1.

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