This chapter is another indication of my attempt to space out the climaxes in my books. We’ve had the big Vin fight with the Inquisitors; now I’m going to back off from things just a tad so that the reader has time to catch his or her breath. That isn’t to say that the next few chapters aren’t going to be more quickly paced than ones from the middle of the book; I just hope that they’re not quite as breakneck as similar chapters from Elantris or some of my other books with overwhelming endings.
I had fun with these sections because I was able to make good on some tensions and interactions that were going on since the first TenSoon chapters. TenSoon himself isn’t here, but we are paid off for the time we spent with him getting to know the kandra in the Homeland, as now their interactions with Sazed directly affect the major conflicts in the series.
Some readers worried that the revolt of the Seconds here was a little out of nowhere. I read through again, just in case, and this is one of those situations where I disagreed with the alpha readers. I believe I’ve fully established that the Seconds enjoy being in charge, and have somewhat let their power go to their heads. We’ve rarely seen them offer to the Firsts the same reverence they demand from everyone else. Beyond that, they were just embarrassed in front of the kandra people, and the Firsts began to speak of requiring the mass suicide of the entire race.
If that wouldn’t encourage a group of aristocrats to revolt, I don’t know what would. The Seconds control the police force in the tunnels, and are the ones who truly rule the kandra. It makes sense to me that they’d do what they just did. You know, if I were in their place, I’d probably do the exact same thing. What the Firsts are talking about is very discomforting, and something that should make anyone—whatever their level of faith—sit down and question whether their beliefs really should require such a sacrifice.
However, we should back up and talk a little about Sazed’s decision in the first part of the chapter.
I’m not certain that I’m trying to say anything specific with these sections. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t look to insert themes in most of my books. I write the themes that are important to the characters, and what I say varies based on whose viewpoint we are in.
Sazed has been struggling between his logical side and the side that desires some kind of faith to form a groundwork for his life. The problem has been in his attempts to analyze religions like one would a machine—input and output. The difference for him comes when he looks at the lives and writings of those who believe. That is what changes his heart.
In the end, he decides to elevate his faithful side over his rational side in this one instance. You can always question. Skepticism is as dangerous as faith, in my opinion, because it is difficult to know when to stop. You can become such a skeptic that you refuse to take anything at all as true. At some point, you need to decide when to stop questioning.
This is where Sazed decides he will stop. You may decide somewhere else.
The First Contract
I was originally tempted to include the full text of the First Contract. In the end, however, I didn’t write it. There wasn’t a good place for it, and I felt that we already knew the important information from it without reading it. It would simply have slowed down the plot at this point.
Plus, the questions and problems it could have raised weren’t worth the trouble. By including it, I would have taken the chance of contradicting myself or setting up other problems that—at this point in the book—I just didn’t want to have to work out.
So we don’t get to read it. Sorry. There aren’t any hidden secrets in it, though.