The following is commentary, written by Brandon, about one of the chapters of MISTBORN: THE WELL OF ASCENSION. If you haven’t read this book, know that the following will contain major spoilers. We suggest reading the sample chapters from book one instead. You can also go to this book’s introduction or go to the main annotations page to access all annotations for all books. For those who have read some of MISTBORN 2, any spoilers for the ending of this book will be hidden, so as long as you’ve read up to this chapter, you should be all right.
Chapter Twenty Seven
Elend and Straff Spar in Straff’ Tent
As Elend suspects, Straff is lying through his teeth about the treaty with Cett. Straff would be too frustrated by making an alliance with someone he feels that he should be able to conquer, particularly after such a short time at siege. He’s not fond of Eastern noblemen, a trait common in those from Luthadel, and he’s annoyed that Cett forced him into the siege in the first place.
He has contacted Cett to feel out the other man’s position, of course–which is how he knows that Cett isn’t interested in the city, only in the atium. Or, at least, that’s what Cett claims. Either way, Straff isn’t about to split the atium cache–if he were to find it–with someone else. Particularly not a man who could prove to be such a strong rival.
Elend threatening Straff here is what I see as Elend’s first big character turning point. It’s brash, but it’s also kingly. He stares down a much stronger foe through sheer force of will, though he does add in a very powerful threat.
Vin and Zane Watch Outside the Tent
Zane’s cutting has an interesting evolution in the story. At first, I added him cutting himself simply because–well–it made a cool scene. Zane, cutting his own arm in front of his father, primarily to make the other man uncomfortable.
However, there’s more behind this, and the cutting worked very well into the interaction of the different magic systems in the book. Particularly Hemalurgy. The pain makes the voice in Zane’s head weaker. There will be more on this later.
I’ll admit that I didn’t originally intend to make the Zane-Kelsier connection with those scars on his arms. However, when writing this scene, I couldn’t believe I’d missed seeing what a great opportunity I had. Vin already associates Zane with the Survivor; letting her see the scars on his arms gives her another powerful connection, particularly since she misinterprets where they came from.
Back Into the Tent With Elend and Straff
The reason that Straff acts so oddly through these two chapters should make more sense once you remember that Zane’s spy is still feeding them information. Straff was warned, vaguely, what Elend would try to do.
Elend Returns and Gets the Letter Deposing Him
And, finally Elend gets deposed. I worry about this plot twist coming out of nowhere, though it is quite well foreshadowed. Elend mentions at one point that the Assembly can choose new kings. He’s missed several of their meetings, and–because of his earlier proposition–they can’t do anything about the armies until he decides to let them.
That put a lot of pressure on the assembly, and they were made to feel irrelevant. There are, of course, other forces pushing and pulling at the Assembly–and you’ll find out about those later.
Elend made a big mistake here. He was so busy being king that he forgot he himself had set up a constitutional monarchy. His enemies DIDN’T forget about this fact. In Elend’s defense, both Straff and Cett have a lot more experience with leadership than he does.