Part of me wants to get the same reaction out of the reader that Vin gave in this chapter. “Shopping? They’re going SHOPPING?” I realize that this scene is a gamble. This is a book about a besieged city, and in the middle of it, I include a chapter spent trying on dresses.
There are a lot of important things I wanted to show in this chunk of the book, and this really did seem like the best way. First off, I wanted to get Vin back to the market so that she could see how tense the people were. Also, I wanted to have a chance to let her interact with Tindwyl–both to show another side of Tindwyl, and to finally force Vin to start confronting some of the things she needs to work on in this book.
She’s reacted too strongly against the person she was becoming in the last novel. With Kelsier, and his encouragement, gone, she’s reverted. She’s frightened to accept the noble half of who she is.
I also wanted to show just a bit more of Allrianne. She’s going to get some more screen time in upcoming sections, and I wanted a chance to give her character a little more rounding.
Beyond all of those reasons, I also just wanted to do something different, something a little more light. I miss the ball scenes we had back in book one. There was really no way to work them into this book, and so I let them go. However, I wanted to at least give a nod to those people who enjoyed them in the last novel. This scene and the dinner with Straff are both kind of throwbacks to those chapters from the first book.
Aborted attack on the walls
The end scene of this chapter, with the army outside making test on the Luthadel walls, was one that Moshe suggested that we add. It came into the book very late in the process, during the last major revision, well over a year after I’d finished the first draft of the novel. The purpose of the scene was to give a reminder of the armies and the pressure they’re applying to the city. We knew we needed to keep the reader thinking about the armies, and this chapter was a way of speeding up the book by making it longer, as I talked about before.
A test on the walls, then, makes sense. This also let me show off a bit how Allomancers might be used in battle, which I’d never been able to do in book one.