Shardcast: Talking Mistborn Era 2 w/ Merphy Napier!


We are extremely fortunate to have the amazing booktuber Merphy Napier on the show today! She just finished The Bands of Mourning for the first time, and so we thought hey, let's talk about Mistborn Era 2! What book is everyone's favorite, favorite characters, and more! The rest of us reread Era 2 and we have thoughts (and many more podcasts on Era 2 are coming).

We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (Weiry), Jessie (Lady Lameness), Rosemary (Kaymyth), and of course, Merphy, and you can find her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FW6FYqPLeQIXMSulBfOLw/ She just did a Bands of Mourning review (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZFfbD4KAGg) and she's been recently doing an awesome series on Inside Publishing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKebN_9ykjo) which you should go check out!

00:00 Introductions 
00:04:45 What did you think of Era 2?
When to Read Secret History?
14:37 Shadows of Self
22:34 Favorite Era 2 books
35:20 Merphy on Bands of Mourning
47:26 Wayne
1:08:06 Wax
1:13:40 Steris
1:23:28 Marasi
1:28:57 Outro

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thejopen27

Posted (edited)

The biggest problem I've always had with era 2 is that I'm not sure Wax is on the right side of history. He's a rich nobleman who kills revolutionaries. He's basically a gunslinger in service to the establishment, an establishment that doesn't seem particularly worthy of being propped up.

Edited by thejopen27
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26 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

The biggest problem I've always had with era 2 is that I'm not sure Wax is on the right side of history. He's a rich nobleman who kills revolutionaries. He's basically a gunslinger in service to the establishment, an establishment that doesn't seem particularly worth of being propped up.

it's a good question. the thing is, while our western hystory and culture gave us the idea that "revolutionary"="good", the revolutionaries that vax fights are even worse than the establishment. none of the people that wax fought ever wanted "progress" in the first place. in fact, even in the real world a lot of revolutionaries have been on the wrong side, replacing something bad with something worse.

wax may not be on the right side of the story, but his opponents certainly are not. and wax is at least trying to improve things for all.

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48 minutes ago, king of nowhere said:

it's a good question. the thing is, while our western hystory and culture gave us the idea that "revolutionary"="good", the revolutionaries that vax fights are even worse than the establishment. none of the people that wax fought ever wanted "progress" in the first place. in fact, even in the real world a lot of revolutionaries have been on the wrong side, replacing something bad with something worse.

wax may not be on the right side of the story, but his opponents certainly are not. and wax is at least trying to improve things for all.

The Elendel basin needs to change. Brandon has very conveniently written all the people trying to change things to have nasty motives and nasty means, but that doesn't mean the basin doesn't need to change... they left the nobility in charge for god's sake. The SAME noble families from the time before the cadascendre are STILL in charge after. The society in the basin is stagnant and corrupt and Wax spends the entire time propping it up.

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ScadrianTank

Posted

14 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

He's basically a gunslinger in service to the establishment, an establishment that doesn't seem particularly worthy of being propped up.

That's a matter of perspective because I can just as well describe Wax as JC Denton from the original Deus Ex. He's fighting thugs and secret societies conspiring to get power and control over society. Because the Set is closer to magical Illuminati (as presented in popular culture) than a revolutionary organization.

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Elegy

Posted

12 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

The Elendel basin needs to change. Brandon has very conveniently written all the people trying to change things to have nasty motives and nasty means, but that doesn't mean the basin doesn't need to change... they left the nobility in charge for god's sake. The SAME noble families from the time before the cadascendre are STILL in charge after. The society in the basin is stagnant and corrupt and Wax spends the entire time propping it up.

That's a rude oversimplification. First off, Wax himself does not like the nobles, like, at all. He liked being in the Roughs, away from the Elendel Basin. A huge part of his character in Alloy of Law is based on his comtempt for society and politics there. You make it sound like Wax thinks the Basin as good and righteous, when that is explicitly not the case, at all.

And there is change in the society over the course in the story, partly because of Wax' actions. Claude Aradel is the first non-noble leader in Northern Scadrial since over 1300 years, and that happens at the end of Shadows of Self. Things are changing, and the story makes sure that the reader understands that these changes are good and necessary.

So I think it's unfair to make it seem like Wax fights for the status quo and we should cheer for that. It's evidently not the case. I have a lot of problems with Era 2, and that's not one of them.

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15 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

The biggest problem I've always had with era 2 is that I'm not sure Wax is on the right side of history. He's a rich nobleman who kills revolutionaries. He's basically a gunslinger in service to the establishment, an establishment that doesn't seem particularly worthy of being propped up.

The present state of the Basin cannot continue. They have no common government. With the contact to the Southerners and opening up the wider Cosmere this has to change. Hence the idea that the political future of Scadrial could be determined by its internal conflicts and clashing interests has just gone out of the window, I am afraid.

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STAG

Posted (edited)

On 8/7/2021 at 10:56 AM, thejopen27 said:

The biggest problem I've always had with era 2 is that I'm not sure Wax is on the right side of history. He's a rich nobleman who kills revolutionaries. He's basically a gunslinger in service to the establishment, an establishment that doesn't seem particularly worthy of being propped up.

Wax is literally a law man, his job is to uphold the law of society, the law isn’t intentionally bad. He wouldn’t be a law man if he decided to support the terrorists. Sure, it’s a difficult situation, but change doesn’t automatically mean better. Don’t assume that because they are in charge, they are wrong. He is doing a good thing, whether you agree with it or not.

Edited by STAG
Didn’t mean to post so soon.
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STAG

Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

The present state of the Basin cannot continue. They have no common government. With the contact to the Southerners and opening up the wider Cosmere this has to change. Hence the idea that the political future of Scadrial could be determined by its internal conflicts and clashing interests has just gone out of the window, I am afraid.


 

You assume that to be a government they must rule over all peoples. Even with the discovery of the Southerners an Elendel society ruled by a similar government is likely, not impossible. Things will change, of course, but why would the Southerners cause a complete and sudden upheaval of the old hierarchy.

(I didn’t mean to double post I’m so sorry)

Edited by STAG
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1 hour ago, STAG said:


 

You assume that to be a government they must rule over all peoples. Even with the discovery of the Southerners an Elendel society ruled by a similar government is likely, not impossible. Things will change, of course, but why would the Southerners cause a complete and sudden upheaval of the old hierarchy.

(I didn’t mean to double post I’m so sorry)

What? No. I don’t care about the southern scadrians until we learn something about them. I want democratic reforms and the nobility to lose all actual power. It’s time for the Basins second republic. 

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STAG

Posted (edited)

1 minute ago, thejopen27 said:

What? No. I don’t care about the southern scadrians until we learn something about them. I want democratic reforms and the nobility to lose all actual power. It’s time for the Basins second republic. 

Wayne for Elendel senator of ‘12!!

Edited by STAG
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4 hours ago, STAG said:

You assume that to be a government they must rule over all peoples. Even with the discovery of the Southerners an Elendel society ruled by a similar government is likely, not impossible. Things will change, of course, but why would the Southerners cause a complete and sudden upheaval of the old hierarchy.

The Southerners mean that the Basin now needs armed forces. If these are to be effective it does not need armed forces, but an armed force.

2 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

What? No. I don’t care about the southern scadrians until we learn something about them.

That is not a stance Northern Scadrians can afford. To put it bluntly the very first ships that came over carried bombs.

The Basin just underwent its version of the Sputnik Shock if you like historical analogies.

2 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

I want democratic reforms and the nobility to lose all actual power. It’s time for the Basins second republic.

The conflict of rich versus poor is an issue in Elendel. But the really pressing conflict in the Basin as a whole is center versus periphery. That is on the verge of causing a civil war. Given the population advantage of Elendel the solution to this would have to be less democracy and more centralisation. Add to that the need to form armies. The only people with some form of military forces are the nobles.

You are entirely correct if you see the Basin in a prerevolutionary state. But who ruled France in 1790 and whole ruled in 1810?

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STAG

Posted (edited)

31 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

You are entirely correct if you see the Basin in a prerevolutionary state. But who ruled France in 1790 and whole ruled in 1810?

That’s what this thread has been about. Wax wouldn’t let a violent revolution like that happen, and for good reason.

Edited by STAG
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8 minutes ago, STAG said:

That’s what this thread has been about. Wax wouldn’t let a violent revolution like that happen, and for good reason.

Well, Waxillium Ladrian is presumably still wanted in New Serran for murdering a local noble woman. So him not starting a civil war is a dubious position.

And that is what we would primarily see. We have a brewing civil war. And it is not clear on whose side Waxillium would stand. He has expressed certain sympathies for the Outer Cities in terms of trade policy. But what does that mean if they march on Elendel? (And they would have to. It is the transport hub of the Basin. The possibility of secession and a peaceful resolution does not exist at that point.)

Now we are facing the awkward question of how such a deal acceptable to the outer cities would be implemented. (I hope we agree that the Outer Cities are basically making just demands). It cannot be in a democratic manner. No starving worker in Elendel would vote for a reduction of protective tariffs.
It looks to me as if the Basin needs a new Emperor, but one who rules against majority opinion, if a civil war is to be averted. The question what is the right side of history is not so clear, except that it won't be a peaceful and democratic future.

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STAG

Posted

30 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

It looks to me as if the Basin needs a new Emperor, but one who rules against majority opinion, if a civil war is to be averted.

Needed, maybe? But that is completely immoral in both our world and scadrial. Who decides right and wrong? In the absence of a clear choice it’s the majority that decides. I think wax would go through a similar process as vin, realizing that while his duty is to serve the people, nobles and wealthy are those people too. It’s the opposite of the cliche, which is what I would expect from Sanderson.

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Like the discussion on Wayne. That dude is a really fun character who is just SO flawed and messed up. 

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STAG

Posted

5 hours ago, HoidsVoid said:

Like the discussion on Wayne. That dude is a really fun character who is just SO flawed and messed up. 

As in it’s not a cliche?

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23 hours ago, STAG said:

Needed, maybe? But that is completely immoral in both our world and scadrial. Who decides right and wrong? In the absence of a clear choice it’s the majority that decides. I think wax would go through a similar process as vin, realizing that while his duty is to serve the people, nobles and wealthy are those people too. It’s the opposite of the cliche, which is what I would expect from Sanderson.

Scadrial never developed the idea of one man, one vote. Even Elend Venture with his ideas based representation on class, not numbers. They will not come up with a simple majority vote.

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STAG

Posted

46 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

Scadrial never developed the idea of one man, one vote. Even Elend Venture with his ideas based representation on class, not numbers. They will not come up with a simple majority vote.

I can’t even remember what we were talking about at this point. But I loved it.

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Honorless

Posted (edited)

I agree with you there, @thejopen27. Learning about the continued wealth disparity and disproportionate representation of nobles in era 2, the very same noble families that we hear of in era 1, was a very bitter thing. Then that moment where Wax goes all "I have to be the nobleman, not the lawman because thousands depend on my house for their livelihood" and it's played straight, that felt like a gut punch. Brandon really does a lot of noble nobles, even accounting for how pervasive pro nobility and royalty themes are in the high fantasy genre. The modern eras can't come fast enough... Well, assuming a few things about the modern eras.

Disagree on the revolutionaries bit on a technical basis. We don't really meet any social revolutionary characters. The Vanishers are a gang, the Set are like some kind of Illuminati, I don't think Bleeder quite counts as that either, her problem was with Harmony's meddling. We really only see the social issues play out in the peripheries and in the broadsheets.

Now, on an unrelated note, excuse me while I stare uncomprehendingly at people saying they like the Lord Ruler. Ugh, I just do not get why so many people like the Lord Ruler. He was a terrible human being. Points at the Final Empire. He turned his fellow Feruchemists into the Mistwraiths while he was holding Preservation's power. Killed who knows how many people afterwards establishing his rule. Then the entire Final Empire. He created the skaa to be a slave race. I swear I just keep seeing that scene where the fountain ran red whenever someone mentions him. Great on him not wanting Scadrian humanity to go extinct. Still a terrible person.

Edited by Honorless
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king of nowhere

Posted (edited)

I must also point out that the level of democracy on scadrial is the same that we had on our world when we had the same tech level.

Probably it's different from an american perspective, because you've been a democracy since before the industrial age, but in europe, at the beginning of 1900, we still had kings and emperors - and not those we still have in costitutional monarchies, whose practical power ranges from "basically a president" to "basically a figurehead". In 1900 we had already got rid of absolute monarchies, there were voting rights, there were parliaments with actual powers, but kings still were firmly in charge, and nobles still had privileges.

most european states became democracies after losing some of the world wars, basically the old ruling class screwed up too badly and was ousted for it. those countries that remained, and still are, parliamentary monarchies, are the ones where the kings were decent and capable, and they never gave the people enough of a reason to kick them out. In that regard, it is much like on scadrial: the nobles houses that still are in charge are those that were not implicated in the worst atrocities of the final empire. The revolution removed the worst elements. Those countries that had peaceful, gradual transition of power from the nobility to the masses now have the same standards of human development as the others, and they avoided violent revolutions and bloodsheds. Wax wants to follow this path, to gradually reform, and I would say history very much vindicates him: where possible, it is the best outcome.

Anyway, northern scadrial is late 1800 tech level, and when we had that tech level, we also had nobles and monarchies, so it's realistic. United states were the one exception - though, for all that the constitution stated that all men are equal, slavery still exhisted for 70 more years, and racial segregation remained in the law for one more century. While in backward, "feudal" europe slavery has been abolished much earlier, and aside from the nazi and fascist regimes, nobody would have ever considered istituzionalizing racism. Just to further complicate things, to show that "more democratic" does not necessarily equate to "more progressive" or "fair". Also, both in the democratic usa and in the monarchic european states, the conditions and exploitations of the working classes were fairly similar, and in line with what we see on scadrial.

In fact, scadrial having close enough gender equality is incredibly progressive compared to its technological development.

Perhaps the lesson to be taken in this is that progress is not linear, and it doesn't work to try and force it into a line; there are many different issues, scadrial is more advanced in some and less advanced in others.

Edited by king of nowhere
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11 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

Anyway, northern scadrial is late 1800 tech level, and when we had that tech level, we also had nobles and monarchies, so it's realistic. United states were the one exception - though, for all that the constitution stated that all men are equal, slavery still exhisted for 70 more years, and racial segregation remained in the law for one more century. While in backward, "feudal" europe slavery has been abolished much earlier, and aside from the nazi and fascist regimes, nobody would have ever considered istituzionalizing racism.

All men are born equal. And there is the problem. The Metallic Arts refute that sentiment. It is just obviously and empirically speaking not true. And the difference is not gradual as with other capabilities. You are either metalborn or you are not.

And secularism is also obviously impossible on Scadrial. It is clear that deities exist and do have a will. Separation of church and state is a joke or nonsensical on Scadrial. The ideological background of democracy as we know it cannot exist.

11 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

Just to further complicate things, to show that "more democratic" does not necessarily equate to "more progressive" or "fair". Also, both in the democratic usa and in the monarchic european states, the conditions and exploitations of the working classes were fairly similar, and in line with what we see on scadrial.

While the ideological background of something close to classical communism, socialism or syndicalism can exist.

11 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

In fact, scadrial having close enough gender equality is incredibly progressive compared to its technological development.

I cannot resist. All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. (Mao)

We just see demonstrated that groups with combat power cannot be discriminated against in a certain manner.

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3 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

I cannot resist. All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. (Mao)

We just see demonstrated that groups with combat power cannot be discriminated against in a certain manner.

yes, i think there's a word of brandon somewhere that equality comes from there being as many mistborn women as men, and the noble houses needed all the metalborn they could get, and could not afford to discriminate

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Chaos

Posted

Let's steer this conversation more to the books and less on real-life politics, thanks!

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thejopen27

Posted (edited)

On 8/9/2021 at 2:27 AM, STAG said:

That’s what this thread has been about. Wax wouldn’t let a violent revolution like that happen, and for good reason.

But maybe a violent revolution should happen... hence my problem with Wax as a character.

Edited by thejopen27
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