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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: How much of what the Lord Ruler did was because he was truly evil, and how much was Ruin's influence? On the flip side, how much of what he did to protect his people was out of genuine caring, and how much was a Pragmatic Villainy case of Evil Versus Oblivion?
  • Complete Monster: Lord Straff Venture is introduced in The Final Empire as a brutal noble ready to commit all manner of atrocities to cement his power. He systematically abuses his children to force them to conform to his standards, even trying to have his son Elend assassinated. He sires illegitimate children to use as loyal assassins and spies, and discards his mistresses when they get too old—too old being late teens. In The Well of Ascension, he allows an army of monsters, known for their ruthlessness and utter lack of mercy, to attack an enemy city, regardless of collateral damage. He later decides to allow the city's destruction, concluding he only cares about the Atium rumored to be hidden in the city. Caring for nothing but his own power and advancement, and seeing others as nothing but tools to use or obstacles to be destroyed, Venture stands out as one of the only humans in The Cosmere completely devoid of sympathy.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: At the beginning of The Hero Of Ages Ruin has returned and is poisoning the minds of everyone with a Spike, the Mists are slowly starving the already paltry crops of the empire, the inquisitors have an army of 300.000 koloss, and the entire world is slowly being smothered in ash. Happy days.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Mennis among the alpha readers. He was popular enough that Brandon gave him an extra scene in Mistborn: The Final Empire.
    • Yomen, an Obligator from The Hero of Ages, has a pretty big fanbase.
    • TenSoon, due to his awesome Character Development.
    • Marsh. Brandon even notes in his The Well of Ascension annotations that he was surprised by Marsh's very positive reception.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • The Lord Ruler. Even Vin and Alendi find him attractive.
    • Lady Shan Elariel is quite the looker.
  • Game-Breaker: In the Tabletop Game, narrators are advised not to try and combine Allomancy and Feruchemy because the rules to handle this without making it a Game-Breaker don't yet exist.
    • Following the release of the Alloy of Law supplement book this is actually no longer the case so long as you keep full Feruchemists and Mistborns out of the blend. Twinborns have their own rules and are very interesting (and balanced!), but have in turn replaced regular Mistborns and Feruchemists. As stated before, if you decide to blend full Feruchemists and Mistborns with Twinborn you'll have Game Breaking left and right.
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    • Considering who can actually do this in-canon, it's to be expected that it'd be a bit OP...
  • Jerkass Woobie: Rashek.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The Lord Ruler is the godlike emperor of the Final Empire who rose from humble origins to become a tyrant who united the known world under his rule and reshaped it in his image. Despite centuries spent struggling with Ruin's influence on his thoughts, the Lord Ruler remained determined to ensure the survival of humanity by any means necessary and set numerous contingency plans in motion. Even following the Lord Ruler's death his hand continued to work behind the scenes and would play a key role in Ruin's final defeat, and even centuries down the line his influence on Scadrial's history can't be entirely escaped.
    • Kelsier was little more than an arrogant master thief until he and his wife were sentenced to the dreaded Pits of Hathsin by the Lord Ruler. Escaping, he proceeded to hijack the rebellion as his private army and carefully spread his reputation as a quasi-religious figure across the empire, so that when he was killed his martyrdom would trigger a mass uprising that would topple the Lord Ruler - and The Secret History describes how even death couldn't keep him down for good as he continued his scheming as a cognitive shadow. Charismatic, brilliant, and more than a little mad, the Survivor of Hathsin would topple a thousand-year empire through sheer force of will and cunning and create a reputation for himself as an iconic figure that would endure for centuries.
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  • Nightmare Fuel: Where to start? Inquisitors, Kandra, and the rampant rape and murder of skaa women are just a few examples from the first book alone. Also, Hemalurgy in all its applications - the Kandra actually turn out to be its least scary manifestation.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Consider the Big Bad's ability to alter written words and how powerful that is. This very book series could have been changed by him. In fact, you're reading right now. These very words could be the words of an evil god, working to manipulate your thoughts. I am everywhere.
  • So Okay, It's Average: While the story is very interesting, playing with, deconstructing, reconstructing, playing straight, and subverting any number of High Fantasy tropes, the writing style itself can be somewhat bland, and the author works a little too hard at being mysterious, planting several deliberate references to things yet unexplained, and pointing out how unexplained they are, as if to say to the reader "Hmm, isn't that mysterious? Don't want to keep reading to learn more?" He should thoroughly grab you by the midpoint of the first book, though, during the great, intense, pulse-pounding scene of Kelsier, Vin, and the Inquisitors.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Vin and Elend in the first book. They do share a few conversations in which they learn to know each other, especially one during which Elend confesses to her his feelings about having to do something against the Final Empire's corruption and about his traumatism when his father forced him to sleep with a skaa woman before having her killed when Elend was 13. However, you can make the argument that Vin falls for him too quickly, something that contrasts her otherwise extremely suspicious nature. She is even willing to put her life at stake by taking on other Mistborn (something she has never done up to that point) against the explicit wishes of Kelsier and the crew for his sake. Fortunately, the sequels flesh it out.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Much is made in the first book about Kelsier not having enough time to personally train Vin, and having the other crewmembers (who are Mistings, and so can only burn one metal) teach her their specific metals. Vin quickly realizes that, in exchange for the versatility of being Misborn, the Mistings have learned to use their individual metals much more subtly and thoroughly than Kelsier had. Little ever comes of this, however, with Vin instead discovering duralumin, which lets her put super-duper oomph behind her Allomantic powers.
    • A minor one. During one of the parts told from Breeze's point of view, we learn that he's actually a full-blooded aristocrat but never revealed this secret to anyone. This could have led to interesting dialogues and developments if other members of the crew discovered it, especially Kelsier and Dockson. However, this backstory never actually plays any part during the story.
  • The Woobie:
    • Vin, early on. She has some moments of it later, but by that point the fact that she's enough of a badass to take on fake gods and a real one kind of offsets it...
    • And Marsh. Seriously, with all the stuff that happens to him, Marsh needs a hug. Provided he doesn't stab you or something.
  • Woobie Species:
    • Believe it or not the koloss. They're made from a combination of five humans, so they know they were human once, but just can't remember what it was like. They desperately want to be human, but everyone treats them as inhuman monsters because technically, they are.
    • The kandra experience loads of Fantastic Racism, and some of their masters use them as punching bags because while they feel the intense pain, they can heal.

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