"I'm not a good person or a bad person. I'm just here to kill things."
The main character of the series. Vin is a Mistborn, a special type of Allomancer who can use the powers of all the metals. This is because she is the bastard child of a Skaa woman and Lord Prelan Tevidian Tekiel, the leader of the Steel Ministry. At first, she is the member of a thieving crew, but Kelsier recruits her to his rebellion. For some strange reason, she has powers unlike any Mistborn ever before.
Action Girl: A powerful and well-trained mistborn, by the time she gets a handle on her powers she's pretty much a one woman army.
Action Hero:... and she's usually the first to solve her problems by beating the bad guy to a pulp with her bare hands.
Anti-Hero: She can be ruthless and has a dark streak in her, but at the end of the day she's fundamentally a good person. She does sometimes veer into darker territory, most notably when she assaults Cett's keep with Zane in The Well of Ascension.
Badass: Killing the Lord Ruler is just the beginning.
Badass Cape: Mistcloaks are very cape-like and Vin wears one for quite a while. They're the most common symbol of a Mistborn; when you see someone wearing one of these, you look away, mind your own business, and pray to the Lord Ruler that they're not after you.
Beyond the Impossible: She can pierce copperclouds, something which the laws of Allomancy and all of Kelsier's crew state is impossible. The Hero of Ages reveals that she's actually using Hemalurgy to enhance her abilities as a Seeker.
Book Dumb: Vin isn't very well educated and doesn't think very highly of reading and books in general. She is however a quick thinker, a quick learner and good at piecing together information.
Boyish Short Hair: Initially, owing to her fear of being even slightly feminine. She grows it out a bit longer as the series goes on.
Broken Bird: At the beginning of Mistborn: The Final Empire, but she gets better after joining Kelsier's crew.
Bullying a Dragon: Constantly on the receiving end. Despite being an open Mistborn and correctly reputed to have killed the Lord Ruler as of Well of Ascension, that she is ninety pounds soaking wet leads to all manner of aggressors towards her, Elend and Luthadel disregarding her.
Chickification: Subverted after a fashion. She becomes more traditionally feminine as the series progresses, but this in no way makes her less of a Badass Action Girl. If anything she Took a Level in Badass as her femininity increased.
Chosen One: Sort of. She's Preservation's chosen successor, but not the Hero of Ages—so she's a Chosen One, but not the Chosen one. As well, she was Ruin's Chosen One since her combination of an insane mother that Ruin could manipulate, a baby sister who was a seeker and fuel for a hemalurgic spike, and her being a Mistborn made all added up to person who Ruin could manipulate to his ends.
Cute Bruiser: As a Mistborn, she can burn pewter for enhanced strength and endurance. She may look like a scrawny teenager, but she could tie an Olympic weightlifter up in knots without breaking a sweat.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: Drawing on the mists in Mistborn: The Final Empire. Later in The Hero of Ages, she absorbs all the mists near the end, becoming the host of Preservation's power.
Emotion Bomb: When she uses Zinc or Brass and Duralumin. It comes in handy when she needs to take control of a Koloss.
Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Mistborn are rare, but Vin is by no means unique, apart from being an unusually quick learner...and for her ability to penetrate copperclouds, which is shared, for the most part, only by Steel Inquisitors. She's also very small, to the point that she uses pewter more for Super Reflexes than Super Strength, in a manner Ham likens to "an insect".
Heroic Sacrifice: Uses the full force of her power on Ruin so that they both die.
Hyper Awareness: Even before gaining tin, Vin's senses are unusually keen and she is extremely alert. With them, she's capable of outwitting atium-burners. She's even wary enough that when she spots Hoid in The Hero of Ages, she immediately cons onto the fact that there is something very wrong about him. She's right, too, as he is not exactly from around Scadrial....
Indy Ploy: How she wins all her major fights, including her battle with Ruin in The Hero Of Ages. Special note goes to her atium-challenged battles, such as her fight with Shan Elariel in Mistborn: The Final Empire, and her battle with Zane Venture in The Well of Ascension. It's notable that in a series where you can't wave a stick without hitting a Chessmaster, Vin's plans hardly ever work out. Fortunately, she's good at thinking on her feet.
The Infiltration: Her role in the crew is infiltrating the nobility under the guise of Renoux's favorite niece.
I Surrender, Suckers: During her fight with rival mistborn Shan Elariel in Mistborn: The Final Empire, she stops burning her atium to give her opponent the belief that it has run out. Then she stuns and kills them by reactivating it.
Jeanne d'Archétype: How the skaa see her, more or less. Vin herself is deeply bothered by this.
Gets much worse when her Love Interest and later husband Elend joins The Church Of The Survivor for political reasons, which means that he officially accepts her as this.
Knife Nut: The standard weapons of the mistborn are paired glass knives.
Luke, You Are My Father: After the Lord Ruler uses emotional Allomancy on her, she points out Tevidian as her father.
Parental Abandonment: Her mom was crazy and tried to kill her. Her dad was high priest of the Corrupt Church and never knew nor cared that she existed. She was raised, more or less, by her half-brother, who wound up abandoning her too. Or so she thought. Turns out he was captured by Steel Inquisitors that had been trying to find her for years.
Physical God: In The Hero of Ages, she turns into them after absorbing all of the mists.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Barely over five feet tall, about 90 pounds, and made of 100% asskicking. Ham suggests in Well of Ascension that Vin's small size might actually be a boon, as the energy released by burning pewter is concentrated in a much smaller area, making Vin much stronger than a larger pewter-burning opponent.
Power Nullifier: The earring. While still fully capable as a Mistborn, the earring is a Hemalurgic spike, and makes it impossible for Vin to access the power in the mists, as Ruin blocks Preservation. Once Marsh pulls it free, however....
Professional Killer: Considers herself an assassin, though there's more to her character than that.
Properly Paranoid: Doesn't trust anyone, sees secret Allomancers everywhere, automatically assumes powerful nobility to be Mistborn especially after almost being killed by atium-burning Shan or have one within reach and is constantly worried about someone assassinating Elend. It's not paranoia when you grow up in Luthadel.
Waif-Fu: Her ability to burn pewter gives her this - she may look small and harmless, but she can acquire incredible Super Strength pretty much whenever she needs it. This works especially well against Koloss, who literally do not seem to be able to comprehend that someone so small can match them in combat.
He forced himself to smile-not out of pleasure, and not out of satisfaction. He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler-and to himself-that he wasn't beaten. No, he wasn't going to walk away. He wasn't finished yet. Not by far.
One of the most legendary men known to the Skaa. Before the trilogy began, Kelsier was the greatest Crewleader any Skaa had known. Together with his wife Mare, he led daring heists and gained great renown. However, during an attempt to rob the Lord Ruler, he and his wife were captured and sent to work in the Pits of Hathsin, the Lord Ruler's Atium mine. After being a slave to the Final Empire for many years, Kelsier was Allomantically Snapped by the death of Mare. Awakening as a Mistborn, he used his powers to escape the Pits of Hathsin, which was said to be impossible. This feat earned him the title "The Survivor of Hathsin".When Mistborn: The Final Empire begins, he has returned to attempt the greatest job the world will ever know. Gathering a team of Allomantic Specialists, Kelsier sets out to end the thousand year reign of the Lord Ruler and topple the Final Empire. Armed with the fabled Eleventh Metal (Malatium), which is said to hold the key to defeating the Lord Ruler, Kelsier begins his battle.
Anti-Hero: Type IV, or even Type V. Kelsier is ruthless, manipulative, and driven by an obsessive desire for personal revenge. He is a liar, a career thief, and a murderer who has killed probably hundreds of people, though most or all of his victims were the evil nobility or their servants and generally deserved it (at least, he assumes that they do). But he has a sense of compassion and honour, fights a genuinely evil and tyrannical empire, and really does believe in the cause of Skaa liberation. Which Type he is ultimately depends on how selfish he truly is, and that is left largely ambiguous.
Badass: The most celebrated and successful thief in Luthadel even before he was a mistborn.
The Chessmaster: Manipulates everything so that he can overthrow the Lord Ruler. Unfortunately, this is played by an even better Chessmaster.
Crazy Awesome: In-universe, his crew thinks he's insane, but nobody can deny he's good at what he does, usually.
Crippling Overspecialization: Vin worries that Kelsier is so focused on using all the metals that he is merely "good" at them all, and would fall to a true master in one of them. Subverted when she realizes that Steelpushes and Ironpulls have always been his specialty, which was hinted throughout the book.
Decoy Protagonist: Gives every indication of being the main character. Dies at the beginning of the climax of the first book, leaving Vin to shoulder protagonist duties from there out.
Doomed Moral Victor: Deliberately invoked; he martyrs himself against the Lord Ruler to provoke his skaa followers to rebel.
Famed in Story: And he knows it and uses it as part of his campaign against the Lord Ruler.
Gentleman Thief: A half-skaa, half-noble, he's equally at home on a heist on in high society.
Master of None: Vin worries that he spent too much time learning to use all the powers of Allomancy, leaving him without a specialty. During the Fountain Battle, she realizes that he does have a specialty: Steelpushing and Ironpulling.
Memetic Badass: In-universe, he becomes the standard against which other Chessmaster heroes are held after the first book. Also parodied, in that Elend believes that "even his handwriting is legendary".
Not Quite Flight: Can use Steel and Iron in tandem to "fly" across long distances.
Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Unusually for Sanderson, he manages to keep himself intact as a temporary host of Preservation postmortem, giving hope to Spook, then Vin, as a voice. He is thrust out to true death when Vin takes up Preservation.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Despite several major hiccups with The Crew's original scheme, he manages to pull off as inspiring and legendary a death as he had in mind all along. His final bout with a Steel Inquisitor was, after all, the result of Renoux's household getting captured...
You Are Not Alone: To Vin in Mistborn: The Final Empireand to Spook in The Hero of Ages.
"Belief isn't simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief-what is faith-if you don't continue in it after failure?"
A Terrisman who is a member of Kelsier's rebellion. He is a Feruchemist, a person with the ability to conserve their attributes (such as strength, weight, etc.) and use them later. He is also the true Hero of Ages, as a result of taking the Shards of Preservation and Ruin.
A God I Am Not: Tries to avoid taking the powers of Ruin and Preservation by claiming he would only make things worse. He snaps out of it when he realizes that he can use the memories in his Copperminds to put the world back to normal.
Badass Bookworm: He manages to incapacitate a Steel Inquisitor early in the first book; it happens off-camera, but it's the first instance of a Steel Inquisitor encounter being treated as anything other than "run or die".
I Surrender, Suckers: In the fifth part of Mistborn: The Final Empire, he lets himself be captured by the Steel Inquisitors and taken to Vin's cage. The trick is that he ate his Pewterminds, allowing him to gain enough strength to break her out.
Let's Get Dangerous: He's a polite, kindly servant/scholar who hates fighting. Threaten his friends or his life's work, though, and you'll find out one of the reasons why the Lord Ruler feared Feruchemists.
Magical Negro: Member of an oppressed people? Check. Mentor-slash-father figure to one of the main characters? Check. Mysterious past? Check. Not a bad fighter himself? Check. Becomes a main character from the second book onward? Che - wait a second. Ends the series as the real Hero of Ages?Now hold on just aminute—
Nice Guy: The most consistently nice character in the series
Photographic Memory: Variation. He doesn't actually have one himself (though his memory is very well trained) but through the use of his copperminds he can perfectly store a tremendous amount of memory. Basically, he achieves this through magic rather than being born with it.
Physical God: Becomes one after taking the powers of Preservation and Ruin.
Religious Russian Roulette: During Hero of Ages, he runs through all his religions disproving them while trying to come to terms with Tindwyl's death.
Embarrassing First Name: Claims that his name "Ladrian" is one, but it's actually a lie. In reality, he doesn't want anyone to connect him to a certain Lord Ladrian who mysteriously disappeared several years ago.
Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: An arguable and generally benevolent case; he often toys with the emotions of those around him, lessening the effects of negative emotions such as fatigue, fear, or sadness, in order to emphasize the effect of positive emotions the subjects already feel.
I Love You Because I Can't Control You: The foundation of his friendship with Clubs. As a Smoker, Clubs is immune to emotional Allomancy, and he is immune to mundane manipulation because everything just makes him grumpy.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He appears, at first, to be a pompous, selfish, lazy, egotistical, and manipulative scoundrel. All of this is absolutely true, but it becomes clear (especially in the second and third books whenever he becomes a point-of-view character) that at least as much of his manipulation goes toward helping others as toward getting his own way.
May-December Romance: With Lady Allrianne Cett. He's over 40, she's in her early 20s. Note that she's the one who seduces him.
Non-Action Guy: Despite carrying around a dueling cane, there's little indication that Breeze is a warrior of any kind.
Sixth Ranger: From the perspective of the other crew members- though he joins up near the beginning of the book, he's the only major crewmember apart from Vin who Kelsier has never worked with before.
Sour Supporter: Kelsier has his loyalty, but he's also one of the first to criticize when things go wrong, just because that's his personality.
"They were people, just like everyone else. And you killed them. Is this all a game to you, Kelsier?"
Kelsier's older and more level-headed brother. He is a Seeker, an Allomancer who can detect the use of Allomancy in others. He was involved in a love triangle with Kelsier over Mare, and grew a deep resentment of his brother when Mare died in the Pits of Hathsin. Marsh was formerly the the leader of the Skaa Rebellion, but he decided that his cause was hopeless and quit.In the present day, he returns to call out Kelsier on his murderous tendencies. Kelsier ends up recruiting him to the Crew. Marsh's role in the mission is to infiltrate the Steel Ministry, learning their secrets and telling to Kelsier and his crew.
And I Must Scream: Trapped inside his own head, forced to watch as Ruin does terrible things using his body, and often overwhelmed so completely he's forced to like it.
The Atoner: In The Alloy of Law, we find out he's working for Harmony, probably for this reason.
An Ax To Grind: When working for Ruin, he carries the typical Inquisitor ax.
Gone Horribly Right: When he vanishes and is presumed dead, the others assume the Canton of Inquisition must have found out that he was The Mole. In reality, they never knew - they converted him into an Inquisitor because he had impressed them with his diligence and competence as an acolyte.
The Grim Reaper: By The Alloy of Law, the Church of the Survivor has a god of death named "Ironeyes." Kelsier would probably have found this hilarious.
Heroic Willpower: Resisting Ruin even to a small degree required phenomenal amounts of this. It pays off when he saves the world.
Immortality: The same way as the Lord Ruler; in fact, he's still alive three hundred years later in the sequel.
The Infiltration: Kelsier's plan has him infiltrate the Steel Ministry. He chooses to infiltrate the Canton of Inquisition. This later leads to his transformation into a Steel Inquisitor.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's grim and embittered, but he loves his brother and nobody believes in the rebellion as strongly as he does.
The Leader: Formerly lead the skaa rebellion. Later leads the Steel Ministry.
Phlebotinum Rebel: Initially. He kills every other Inquisitor in Kredik Shaw, then helps Vin fight the Lord Ruler.
Reforged into a Minion: Turned into an Inquisitor near the end of the first book. Subverted in that he retains control of his faculties and helps Vin take down the Lord Ruler. Played straight in the next two books, when Ruin takes control of him.
The Stoic: Earns him the nickname "Ironeyes". Prophetically, as it turns out.
That Man Is Dead: He doesn't say it himself, but in The Hero of Ages, Vin repeatedly tells herself that Marsh is dead, and only Ruin is left.
Tragic Monster: He never wanted to be an Inquisitor, and certainly didn't want to be Ruin's puppet.
Walking Spoiler: Everything that happens to him from the climax of The Final Empire through The Hero of Ages is a massive spoiler.
Was Once a Man: Being turned into an Inqusitor gives you tremendous power, but also makes you something other than human.
What the Hell, Hero?: To Kelsier when he first shows up, pointing out Kelsier's disregard for human life.
Lord Teven Renoux (Impostor)/OreSeur
A man working for Kelsier as part of his plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler and the Final Empire. After Lord Renoux's death at the hands of Kelsier and OreSeur himself, his life is taken over by this man. He somehow looks exactly like Lord Renoux, and has copied all of his mannerisms. His role in the operation is to serve as a front for the weapons purchased for use by the crew and the skaa rebellion. He is actually a kandra, a special type of mistwraith who has human level intelligence due to the third magic art on Scadrial, Hemalurgy. His true role is only revealed after Kelsier's death: he is to devour Kelsier's bones to make the Skaa of Luthadel believe that Kelsier is a god. This will make them rise up and overthrow the Lord Ruler.In The Well of Ascension, his contract has been passed to Vin.
Blob Monster: In his true form, just like every other kandra.
Canine Companion: Forced to take a dog's form at Vin's request since she doesn't want to kill a person just to give him a body. He never gets to use it, because he is killed by TenSoon.
He impersonates Lord Renoux, who died because of Kelsier. He was able to do this because because his race's ability to assume the form of living creatures after absorbing their bones naturally makes him very good at this.
His impersonating talent gets reversed on him when he is killed and impersonated.
Squick: invoked When Breeze realizes what he is, he tells Yeden not to ask about it, as the answer would seriously squick him out. When his secret is finally revealed to the members of The Crew who were left in the dark, it really, really bothers Vin. This feeling is increased tenfold because one of the people he ate was Kelsier.
Talking Animal: When in his dog body. At least he should have been. TenSoon killed him before he could wear it.
A Tineye, one who can enhance their senses with Allomancy, who is the nephew of Clubs. He aids Kelsier's rebellion, becoming more important as the story progresses. By the time of Hero of Ages he's become so dependent on tin that he is permanantly forced to burn it, giving him extreme senses at the cost of no being able to turn them off.
Ascended Extra: In the first book, he's just the kid with the weird accent who tags along with Clubs. In the second, he's somewhat more prominent. In the third, he's one of the main viewpoint characters.
Discard and Draw: At the end of the series, Harmony reverses the transformation into a tin savant and makes him Mistborn instead.
Irony: His character is partly defined by his Overshadowed by Awesome and I Coulda Been a Contender attitude to the full Mistborn members of the crew. He gains full Mistborn powers from Harmony at the end and is the only Mistborn left in the world. By the time of The Alloy of Law he is known as "the" Lord Mistborn.
Jive Turkey: He speaks a certain dialect of street slang. It is very nearly utterly incomprehensible to both the reader and to anyone in-setting. At least one bit of translation is given in The Hero of Ages, saying that 'wasing' means 'was doing,' and 'wasing the run of there' means 'I was running to that place'. It's still confusing.
Hilariously, by the time of The Alloy of Law this once annoying street slang is now known as High Imperial.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Lestibornes is street slang translating as "Lefting I'm born", or "I've been abandoned." The reader never finds out what his given name was.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Being a Tineye is pretty cool. Unfortunately, being surrounded by people whose powers are even cooler leaves him feeling somewhat left in the dust. By Hero of Ages, he's clearly got something of a complex about it, but becoming a Tin Savant helps bring him up to par.
Took a Level in Badass: In The Hero Of Ages. First, he becomes a Tin Savant, having super-enhanced senses beyond what any Tineye should have. Then, spirit Kelsier gives him pewter. After learning the truth about Hemalurgy he pulls out his spike, but he later gets pewter back when Sazed makes him a full Mistborn.
The leader of the skaa rebellion. He joined Kelsier's crew in hopes of overthrowing the Lord Ruler.
Decapitation Presentation: Though it's never confirmed if he was decapitated in battle or posthumously, scouts sent to look over the remains of the slaughter to confirm deaths report finding his head mounted on a spear left in the battlefield.
Hot-Blooded: He's aggressively determined to topple the Lord Ruler, but doesn't have the sense to back it up.
The Leader: Of the skaa rebellion. He's serious and competent enough, but Kelsier's prowess at raising his hopes works too well.
Rebel Leader: Until Kelsier basically swoops in and takes over the job.
Sacrificial Lion: When he's killed off about two thirds of the way into the first book, it becomes apparent just what a bind the heroes are in.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Believes that Kelsier can grant his Mistborn abilities to others, and so attacks a Final Empire shipment full force. He's wrong, and everyone knows its Kelsier's fault.
Dead All Along: He never betrayed Vin. He was actually captured and killed.
Heroic Sacrifice: Letting Kar and the other Inquisitors kill him so that they wouldn't find Vin.
Jerkass: Not a nice guy by any stretch of the imagination. The rest of this entry should make the details abundantly clear.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's pretty clear that Reen was cruel to Vin primarily because he thought that she'd only survive if he toughened her up and taught her to always be suspicious and cynical. Unfortunately, this also lead directly into the Broken Bird nature she exhibits, particularly early in the series. Probably an example of why emotionally damaged cynical Jerkasses, even well-intentioned ones, shouldn't raise kids.
Four-Star Badass: He eventually becomes one of Elend's generals. And yes, he is badass.
Mauve Shirt: He's pretty much the face of the rebel army.
Neat Freak: In contrast to Ham, he always keeps himself neat and tidy.
Plot Armor: He's named after one of Brandon's friends, and Brandon had to promise said friend that Demoux would survive to the end of the story and find a Love Interest. By Word of God, this is the reason he survived the mistsickness and the koloss battle.
Red Herring Mole: Vin believes that he has been impersonated by a kandra. In reality, he was just joining the Church of the Survivor.
Scars Are Forever: Picks up a fairly impressive collection of these as the series goes on.
A skaa soldier from Luthadel who works for the Lord Ruler and The Final Empire by extension. In the climax of Mistborn: The Final Empire, he is standing guard at Kredik Shaw when Vin decides to raid it. She tells him about the skaa uprising, leading to his decision to leave the Final Empire and join Vin.
Big Damn Heroes: Shows up with Elend in Mistborn: The Final Empire when they go to save Vin from the Lord Ruler.
Courier: Carries Spook's message about Hemalurgy in The Hero of Ages.
Black and White Insanity: Skaa with no noble blood are good. Anyone with the slightest connection to the nobility is evil though he'll make an exception for his half-sister. This attitude was doubtless provoked beyond all reason by Ruin.
Bread and Circuses: How he maintains his Villain with Good Publicity status. He allows the people small freedoms like cheap wine and no curfew, coupled with constant invocation of the Survivor, to distract them from his increasingly tyrannical methods.
Heel-Face Turn: Upon being freed from Ruin's influence, he expresses regret and horror at what he did and helps the heroes.
He Who Fights Monsters: Few would deny that the Final Empire's system was corrupt and brutally oppressive. Quellion's methods of creating a new order are hardly any better, though. It's unclear at what stage of the proceedings Ruin got involved.
Knight Templar: He follows a radical interpretation of the Church of the Survivor and kills anyone who disagrees with him.
Modest Royalty: Though essentially the king of Urteau, he wears regular skaa worker's clothing (albeit dyed red or, later, blue) and takes no title grander than "The Citizen" - the better to present himself as a man of the people.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: She's basically Vin's opposite in this regard; where Vin doesn't trust anybody easily, Beldre wants to trust everybody and thinks she can solve the conflict between her brother and Spook just by talking it out. Actually, that probably would have worked if Ruin hadn't been prodding both Quellion and Spook to act more and more irrationally.
One of the Skaa on Lord Tresting's plantation.
Breakout Character: His popularity among the alpha readers caused Brandon to increase his role in the first book.
A herbalist who was a former mistress of Straff Venture. Nowadays, she hangs around Straff and prepares antidotes for Zane's poisoning attempts. In reality, Amaranta got Straff hooked on drugs, and she tricked him into thinking that drug withdrawal was a poisoning attempt. She's also Zane's mistress.
The Dog Bites Back: She finally gets sick of Straff and turns on him after Zane's death. It didn't do her much good.
Magic Antidote: She has a herbal mixture that can cure every single poison that Zane throws at Straff. Actually, that's not true. Straff mistakes the feeling of drug withdrawal for the feeling of being poisoned, and she simply prepares him more of the drug.
Woman Scorned: Straff treated her cruelly and rejected her when she was too old to meet his ridiculous standards of attractiveness so she teamed up with Zane to get revenge.
Lord Elend Venture
"We're going to do what we've always done, Vin. We're going to survive."
A young and idealistic noble who is the heir to the powerful Venture house. He meets Vin by chance, and grows quite close to her.
Amazon Chaser: Considering he's in love with Vin, should be obvious.
Author Avatar: More specifically, Brandon Sanderson has said he's partly based on a younger version of himself, who likely really would get out a book at a party. His character is also influenced by one of Sanderson's friends as well.
Badass Bookworm: Always a bookworm, slowly becomes a badass across Well of Ascension culminating in becoming a mistborn himself.
Took a Level in Badass: Twice. First under Tindwyl's tutelage in The Well of Ascension, and then another after becoming Mistborn himself at the end of that book.
Troll: Elend is an expert on annoying people both to get a reaction out of them and to draw their attention.
Unskilled, but Strong: As a Mistborn, he's got more raw Allomantic power than anyone in the series short of the Lord Ruler himself- but he's also the first to admit that Vin has a far more subtle affinity for her powers. Justified because he acquired his Mistborn powers directly from the same metal that was used to grant the original, near-godlike Mistborn their powers by the Lord Ruler.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Very evil. Even most of the other nobles, corrupt and tyrannical and they are, think Straff is excessive in both regards.
Ascended Extra: Was a minor, although important, villain in Mistborn: The Final Empire. In The Well of Ascension, he's one of the contenders for the title of Big Bad.
Big Bad Wannabe: He spends most of the second book being outwitted or outplayed or reacting to events, and is a threat mainly because he has the biggest army, the greatest resources, and the fewest moral qualms of all the kings (that is to say, none). After he is killed, the story continues for another Act until Ruin'sEvil Plan comes to fruition, and Ruin had been manipulating half the cast the whole time, including Straff's own Dragon Zane, whom Straff never truly controlled anyway.
Bullying a Dragon: Despite being only a Tineye Allomancer, Straff starts off The Well of Ascension personally antagonizing not one but two dangerous Mistborn. He browbeats Zane despite the latter being Ax-Crazy and alternates between scorning Vin and implicitly threatening her with sexual abuse and Elend with death. Elend's ultimate gambit on escaping Straff's camp is pointing out exactly how suicidal messing with Vin is, with Vin emphasizing the point with blatant emotional manipulation.
Composite Character: Of a sort. The original version of Kelsier's informant scene had Kelsier talking to Lord Hastings, and it was the only scene featuring the latter. In the final version, Kelsier speaks to Straff Venture, making Straff a combination of himself and Lord Hastings.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Dear God, does he have a bad case of this. The very idea of altruism is alien to him and he ascribes nefarious or selfish motives to everything that anyone ever does. For example, the idea that somebody could save the life of another because they didn't want to see an innocent man die is an idea he finds both hilarious and stupid, too stupid to be what really happened (even though it basically was). The person in question was his son, Elend Venture. Vin had to save him from the assassins that Straff had sent to kill him.
Offing the Offspring: Sends assassins to kill Elend, and tries to have Zane killed. Near the end of The Well of Ascension, it backfires on him when he does kill Zane, prompting his mistress to turn on him.
Smug Snake: He's competent enough, but his ego far exceeds his capabilities.
The Sociopath: Devoid of empathy and compassion with a distinct sadistic streak.
Tyke Bomb: Straff made it a point to have many mistresses so that he could produce countless children who could potentially possess Misting or Mistborn powers, to serve as his personal assassins. He went so far as to deliberately violate the Lord Ruler's prohibition against allowing skaa women to bear children born from noblemen to ensure he had Misting children.
Villainous Breakdown: During The Well of Ascensionas it sinks in that Zane is uncontrollable and Vin is virtually unstoppable.
Straff Venture's second in command. He becomes one of the three kings under Elend Venture.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The heroes stop hearing from him after a certain point in The Hero of Ages, and while it's heavily implied that he's one of the offscreen casualties of Ruin's destruction of the world, it's neither confirmed nor denied by the end of the book. Word of God indicates he was captured by koloss and turned into one of them.
Lady Shan Elariel
Elend's fiance. She's a soother, and is arrogant and manipulative.
Alpha Bitch: She's in a court, rather than school, setting, but otherwise fits the trope to a "t" though she's rather more dangerous than most.
Badass: She's a mistborn, goes with the territory.
Knife Nut: Like Vin, favors the traditional allomancer's glass knives. She's also quite crazy
Murder the Hypotenuse: Vin kills Shan when she tries to assassinate Elend. It wasn't Vin's intention, but Shan was Elend's fiancee. Elend makes a dark joke along these lines in Hero of Ages, mentioning that Vin married him after killing his fiancee, his father, his brother and his god, to boot.
The Reveal: For most of her appearances, she's built up as practically a female Draco Malfoy- arrogant, obnoxious, and annoying, but ultimately harmless. Then it turns out she's a Mistborn nearly as powerful as Vin and fully trained besides. Even Kelsier is surprised that Vin lived through the fight.
Rich Bitch: Shan is the daughter of a wealthy, powerful House and is extremely proud of that fact, looking down not only on the skaa but on lesser nobles as well.
Smug Snake: Exceedingly arrogant though it may at least partially be a facade.
The leader of House Hastings. He's apparently a pretty evil guy, even if we don't get to meet him. He gets what's coming to him when his house is destroyed by Elariel assassins.
The Ghost: We never actually get to meet him. He was originally going to have a one-shot appearance when Kelsier was posing as an informant, but his role was given to the much more important Straff Venture.
Lord Ashweather Cett
The king of Fadrex, Cett left his city after hearing about Straff Venture's siege of Luthadel. Fearing that Straff would take the atium within the city, Cett besieged Luthadel himself, wanting to take the atium and increase his wealth.
Obfuscating Stupidity: More like Obfuscating Superficiality. Most of what you see is Allrianne's real personality, true - but it's not all that there is to it by a long shot; she's much smarter than she looks.
Opposites Attract: Both she and Breeze can manipulate emotions, but while he's a Soother who can calm people down and make them more suggestible, she's a Rioter who can amplify passions and feelings.
Properly Paranoid: He is convinced that Valette Renoux, the girl Elend has fallen for, is more than she seems. He's right to presume so, as she's a half-Skaa trying to overthrow the Final Empire, but his paranoia extended way too far.
Sanity Slippage: Being surrounded day-in-day-out with koloos clearly took a toll on his mental wellbeing.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: He starts this way, but turns to the dark side when the Final Empire collapses.
The leader of House Lekal. Flees during the Fall of Luthadel, but Sazed and Breeze later go to meet him.
Crews was a known Mistborn, and a very competent knife fighter.
—Kelsier, thinking about Crews Geffenry
A Mistborn of the Geffenry house, and an excellent knife fighter. The Geffenry house had been petitioning for a stronger alliance with House Tekiel around the time of Lord Charrs Entrone's death. Because Crews was gambling against Charrs on the night of his death, Kelsier believes that Crews will become a suspect in the murder of Lord Charrs.
Badass Cape: Presumably sported a mistcloak, like most mistborn.
The Ghost: He never actually appears in the story, unless he was the Mistborn aiding Lady Shan Elariel when she tried to assassinate Lord Elend Venture near the end of Mistborn: The Final Empire.
Guilt by Coincidence: Kelsier believes that he will become a suspect in the Entrone murder purely by happenstance.
Knife Nut: As Kelsier notes, he is very good with a knife.
Final Empire Administration
The Lord Ruler
The Lord Ruler
"How dare you? After what I gave you? I made you superior to regular men! I made you dominant!"
The immortal tyrant who rules the Final Empire. All-powerful and invincible, he is revered as God. He apparently defeated The Deepness in the past. After doing so, he somehow gained god-like powers, and used them to conquer the world. He calls himself "The Sliver of Infinity" because he is apparently only a small part of God. He is the main villain of Mistborn: The Final Empire.
Achilles' Heel: He is one of the deadliest magic users in the series, but without his Atiumminds he's toast.
A God Am I: Presents himself as God to the Final Empire.
Anti-Villain: Believe it or not. He genuinely wanted to be a good king and tried his hardest to protect the world from Ruin even as he slowly went mad and became a terrible tyrant.
Beyond the Impossible: He is able to use Allomancy to do things thought impossible, like Push the metals inside a person's blood stream, pierce copperclouds, or Riot and Soothe hundreds of thousands of people at once.
Big Bad: As the evil tyrant ruling the Final Empire, he serves this role. Except that there are forces much Bigger and Badder than him out there, and he was keeping one of them imprisoned...
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Straight up kills Kelsier, executes any underlings who could potentially turn on him, hides the source of his power, and has strict laws that he uses to prevent his defeat. There's a reason this guy has been successfully ruling for over a thousand years.
Notably, the entire political system he has created is structured to be in permanent, self-culling stasis. Every so often, Decadent Court intrigue (essentially the only thing most nobles do) boils over into a general war. The ensuing mass casualties and changeover of dominant Houses prevent any noble family from consolidating enough to believe they can challenge him. And he has direct economic control over the most powerful House as well because they are only that rich by being the operator of the secret atium mines.
Dark Is Evil / Light Is Not Good: His usual outfit has black and white elements, and no other colors. Word of God indicates that it represents that TLR feels he has gained mastery over all opposing forces like Ruin and Preservation. Though as Sazed notes in the last book's chapter headers, he was greatly overestimating his own importance.
Dark Messiah: Saved the world. Turned it into an ash-choked hellscape he ruled as king and god in the process.
The Dreaded: Almost everyone believes he's God. Even those who don't know he's the most powerful allomancer alive. Either way, hardly anyone would dare cross him.
Emotion Bomb: Casts a super-powerful Soothing cloud wherever he goes, essentially projecting hopelessness and despair by deadening all other emotions.
Evil Overlord: Tyrannical ruler of an empire that covers the known world.
Fallen Hero: Zig-zagged. He's initially presented as being the Hero of Ages, who became corrupted and conquered humanity rather than saving it. Then we find out he's Rashek, the Hero's packman, who betrayed and murdered him and took his place. Then we find out that said murder was a case of Shoot the Dog to prevent Alendi from releasing Ruin, and Rashek actually was trying to protect the world, even as he gradually became corrupt and insane during his reign. So he was a Fallen Hero after all.
God Emperor: Spiritual and temporal ruler of the Final Empire, revered by his followers as the "Sliver of Infinity", a piece of God in human form. The skaa think he's evil and with good reason. The truth's a bit more complicated. He really does mean well and his harshness is arguably necessary, but Ruin's been attacking his mind for the last thousand years and it's getting to him.
Healing Factor: He has unlimited regeneration powers thanks to the Feruchemic applications of gold.
How Do I Shot Web?: When using the power at the Well of Ascension. It ended up sucking for Scadrial, because his screw-up is what made it what it is today.
Last Villain Stand: Has a dramatic final duel with Vin and Marsh that basically consists of thrashing them with minimal effort until Vin figures out his Achilles' Heel.
Living Lie Detector: Thanks to his being a despair Emotion Bomb, mustering the willpower to lie to his face is nearly impossible. Even if you do, his combination of Super Senses and a thousand years of practice at reading people means he'll almost always know.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He thinks nothing of Pushing all the metals in Vin's body....and in the process Pushes out the earring that keeps her from using Preservation's power in the mist.
No Immortal Inertia: After Vin removes his Atiumminds, he rapidly ages until he is as old as he should be. It makes sense considering the magic system; the aitumminds literally contained his youth and vitality.
Photographic Memory: In an early chapter of Mistborn: The Final Empire, he is said to have one. He actually just uses his copperminds to hold memories until he needs them.
Shrouded in Myth: A large part of the series deals with finding out what kind of man the Lord Ruler really was, and where the man ends and the myth begins.
Crucial to the plot of the first book, no one living has any real idea of what the Lord Ruler can truly do, other than be immortal and a powerful Allomancer. He's actually far more powerful than even Kelsier believes, much to Vin's horror. He doesn't need his various armies to crush rebellions, which makes Kelsier's brilliant gambit functionally mass suicide.
Story-Breaker Power: He's a Lerasium-made Mistborn, so he has complete and undiluted Allomantic power. He's also a Feruchemist, and he knows how to use Allomancy and Feruchemistry together to create an infinite loop of Feruchemic power. This grants him immortality, regeneration, and numerous abilities that he can use in a pinch. If that wasn't enough, he has Hemalurgy as well, making him a master of all the magic systems on Scadrial. He may not be a real god, but that doesn't mean he's not just about the most lethal magic-user possible in the setting.
Will Not Tell a Lie: It's generally believed in the Final Empire that the Lord Ruler never lies. After all, he's the all-powerful god-king, so why would he even need to? The only exception seems to be the obfuscation neccessary to convince the world that he's the righful Hero of Ages, and even then he kept the document that would allow a clever reader to discern the truth around under guard rather than destroying it outright.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Unusually, both inverted and played straight. Word of God is that Rashek actually grew as a person as a result of acquiring and being forced to responsibly use godlike power; pity that the hemalurgy he used brought him into telepathic contact with Ruin, who wormed his way inside his head and drove him to increasingly brutal, irrational, and tyrannical actions in the name of the greater good.
We Hardly Knew Ye: After lingering in the background for most of Mistborn: The Final Empire, he finally comes into the spotlight after Vin's capture. Kar's plan for his execution immediately comes to fruition.
"By allowing common men to rule your Ministry, you have unwittingly allowed corruption and vice to enter the very heart of your holy place."
The leader of the Steel Inquisitors. For many years, he has been plotting to gain control of the Steel Ministry.
Healing Factor: He gets shot full of arrows, but is able to heal from them.
Immortality: He has been alive for two hundred years. As Marsh proves, immortality and invincibility are not the same thing.
Implacable Man: As an Inquisitor, he can keep coming even after taking a ridiculous amount of punishment.
The Rival: He has a serious political rivalry with Tevidian. In the climax of Mistborn: The Final Empire, he ends up the winner when Tevidian is executed.
Slasher Smile: Has one when he leads Vin to the Lord Ruler as part of his plan to take control of the Steel Ministry.
Small Role, Big Impact: His plotting with Bendal and the other Steel Inquisitors caused a great deal of the bad events in Vin's life. They even have a background subplot in Mistborn: The Final Empire, in which the Canton of Inquisition gains power over the Steel Ministry, paving the way for Marsh's rise.
Smug Snake: On the high end of this. The man was certainly extremely clever, but he never imagined he'd be betrayed by one of his own order.
Was Once a Man: Started out human before being turned into an Inquisitor.
Lord Aradan Yomen
An Obligator from Urteau who was Lord Ashweather Cett's political rival. When Cett left Fadrex to besiege Luthadel, he takes over.
Anti-Villain: He genuinely wants to rule well and protect his people. Unfortunately, he also wants the heroes (and Vin especially) dead for overthrowing the Lord Ruler.
Badass Bookworm: Can match Elend word for word in philosophical debate and defend himself capably from assassination.
The Chessmaster: Barring the Lord Ruler and Ruin themselves, he's probably the smartest "bad guy" in the series.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: While not believing much in Vin or Elend's reputation, he is thoroughly prepared for both an invading army and dangerous Mistborn. This includes having a way to completely separate Vin from her powers and being ready to bluff an attacking Allomancer that he's actually an atium-armed Mistborn by virtue of being an atium Misting (which no one knows can exist) .
Grey and Grey Morality: He and Elend both make good points, and considering the circumstances are both pretty justified in their actions- Yomen just has incomplete information.
He's Just Hiding: invokedHis opinion regarding the Lord Ruler. Since obviously a god can't be killed, he must have let the skaa overthrow him as part of some plan. Yomen spends a lot of Hero of Ages trying to figure out just what that plan is.
He's not entirely wrong, either. Lord Ruler really is dead, but his planning in the case of his death means he remains an important character even posthumously.
Heel-Face Turn: Ends up deciding that the Lord Ruler would rather he help Vin and Elend stop Ruin instead of work against them.
An Obligator who met with Camon to discuss a "transport deal" (in reality a scam by Camon). He was actually meeting with Camon to investigate Laird's report of emotional Allomancy. He sends Bendal to kill Camon and his crew.
A taskmaster working for Lord Tresting. His role on the plantation is to make sure the Skaa are doing their duties well. He beats them if they don't meet his expectations. Kelsier blows him up at the end of the prologue of Mistborn: The Final Empire.
Kelsier's wife, who died in the Pits of Hathsin. Together they were part of a thieving crew, which was one of the most successful crews in the Final Empire. However, during a daring heist on Kredik Shaw, Mare betrayed Kelsier to the Steel Inquisitors. The Lord Ruler thanked her, then sent her to the Pits of Hathsin anyway. She died giving Kelsier an atium geode, claiming that she had already found one.
The Mole: Although she claimed that she didn't betray Kelsier, nobody else could have. It turns out that she really didn't betray Kelsier, but her use of tin gave away the crew to the Steel Inquisitors, who can pierce Copperclouds.
Posthumous Character: She's been dead for several years, but her influence is felt throughout Kelsier's plotline.
Super Senses: She is a Tineye, so she can enhance her senses by burning tin.
The Informant: Pretends to be a gossip in order to gather plenty of juicy information to sell to the highest bidder.
A Terriswoman who arrives in Luthadel during The Well of Ascension. She believes in things being "proper".
Cool Old Lady: Intelligent, determined, and perhaps most impressively still alive and thriving after just about the crappiest backstory of anyone in the series (and in the Final Empire, that's saying something).
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Elend finds out the hard way. It's explicitly stated she's like this to him because as an idealistic nobleman's son, she feels he needs to be hit over the head with reality before he can become a good leader. She's much nicer to Vin, based on the fact that Vin's been the target of physical and emotional abuse for good chunks of her life and what she needs is confidence and self-worth.
Good Is Not Nice: She can be pretty harsh, but it's mostly to force Elend to sit up and take notice of what she's saying.
Stern Teacher: She's serious and no-nonsense, but she knows exactly what she's doing when it comes to training Elend.
Zane Venture/The Watcher
"You were supposed to save me!"
A mysterious Mistborn in The Well of Ascension. He haunts the nights, having Allomantic duels with Vin. He's House Venture's hidden assassin.
Ax-Crazy: But not quite for the reasons he thinks. He thinks he is crazy because he hears voices in his head—until the voice in his head tells him he isn't crazy, because the voice in his head is very, very real. On the other hand, he's still an emotionally unstable, sociopathic Stalker with a Crush, so he still qualifies, just not for the reason he thinks.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Straff puts up with Zane's constant attempts to kill him and his madness because otherwise he won't have a Mistborn. Turns out Zane hardly ever actually tried to kill him; not only were his few attempts half-hearted, what Straff thought was poison were actually withdrawl symptoms, the result of Straff being an ignorant drug addict. Ignorant in that the drug was the "antidote" his Woman Scorned servant had been giving him over the years to cure what he thought were Zane's poisoning attempts, which were usually either somebody else's poisoning attempts, or all in Straff's head to begin with.
The Sociopath: He's not quite as bad as Straff- he's more emotionally dead than sadistic, generally- but it's pretty clear that everything- even his relationship with Vin- ultimately comes down to what he wants, not how it affects anyone else.
Spikes of Villainy: The Well of Ascension mentions his spike several times. It's a Hemalurgic spike connecting him to Ruin.
The Starscream: Subverted. He continually pretends to try and kill Straff, because that's what Straff expects, but he has no real desire to do it—he muses to himself that if he did, Straff would already be dead.
The Mole: In The Well of Ascension, he kills and impersonates someone in Luthadel.
Not So Different: When Vin tells him of her experiences as a member of a thieving crew, he realizes the experience isn't that different from having to follow the Kandra Contract. Leads to an Odd Friendship of sorts.
The leader of the First Generation of Kandra. He was one of the Terris packmen Alendi took with him to the Well of Ascension. Rashek turned him and the other packmen into Kandra to make them immortal and to remove potential rivals.
Cool Old Guy: The oldest of the kandra, and also one of the wisest and most reasonable.
Mr. Exposition: His role is to give Sazed information about the kandra and the Terrispeople.
Suicide Pact: Like all kandra, though he would have been one of the first to agree to it.
Was Once a Man: Started out human, was changed into a kandra by Rashek to spare his life.
"Sometimes I worry that I'm not the hero everyone thinks I am."
The so-called "Hero of Ages", declared as such by Kwaan. Although he started off as an idealistic youth, but became cynical during his quest to defeat The Deepness. Although the prophecies said that he needed to give up the power at the Well of Ascension, he used it for himself instead, becoming the Lord Ruler.
The Chosen One: Subverted in that he was killed by Rashek before he did what he was chosen to do. Then deconstructed when it was revealed he was only chosen in the first place because of Ruin screwing with the prophecies.
Red Herring: As they read the epigraphs in Mistborn: The Final Empire, the reader gradually comes to understand that the Lord Ruler wrote them. Then it turns out that he isn't the Lord Ruler.
Start of Darkness: His epigraphs detail what would lead up to his fall. In reality, it details the lead-up to Rashek's.
Unwitting Pawn: He was being manipulated by Ruin, who sought to free himself from the Well of Ascension. Fortunately, Rashek killed him before he could make things worse.
Wangst: invoked His journal is full of it, in Vin's opinion.
Warrior Poet: A warrior and conqueror, but also a thoughtful, somewhat brooding man.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Though he apparently became quite ruthless, he always remained dedicated to helping the world and not taking up the power of the Well of Ascension for himself. Which is why Ruin chose him in the first place.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: In the beginning. As time progressed, he eventually became more broken.
"My name is Kwaan. Philosopher, scholar, traitor. I am the one who started this all."
The Terrisman prophet who originally declared Alendi to be the Hero of Ages. Author of the epigraphs in The Well of Ascension.
Cassandra Truth: Nobody believed him when he claimed that Alendi was in fact, not the Hero.
Determinator: Deconstructed. His burning desire to prove that Alendi was the Hero of Ages allowed Ruin to manipulate the Terris prophecies for his own purposes. Had Kwaan not set up countermeasures, Alendi would have released Ruin.
It's All My Fault: Gains this attitude when he sets to the world on the fast track to destruction. It really is.
My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when he put the pieces together and realized that Ruin was manipulating the prophecies.
By declaring Alendi to be the Hero of Ages, he paved the way for Ruin's release.
Sending his nephew Rashek to stop Alendi worked, but it led to Rashek becoming a tyrannical maniac.
Photographic Memory: He can remember things perfectly without even needing to use a Coppermind. That's good, because Ruin is able to edit Copperminds.
Pride Before a Fall: He was already starting to have his doubts about Alendi being the Hero of Ages when the other Terris decided to agree with his views. He notes that it was his pride that kept him from doing the right thing.