*Major spoilers for all three Mistborn books!/ Minor spoilers for Rhythm of War at the very end!*
I’ve wanted to do a character analysis of a Mistborn character for a while. But I struggled to find the right one to start with. Kelsier seemed like a solid pick, given that he was only around for one book; that ought to make my life easier. Then I thought about Elend, since his arc was pretty compelling. Maybe Spook? Or should I be basic and start with Vin, the main character?
In the end, I decided to go with my gut. Which character did I feel warranted the most analysis? The answer was, in the end, surprisingly simple. If it had to be anyone, it definitely had to be Sazed.
In the first Mistborn book, The Final Empire, Sazed’s role in the story isn’t an incredibly significant one. He provides our heroes with the information they need to achieve their goal, and he saved Vin more than a few times, but he didn’t really have an arc to speak of. It wasn’t until the second book, The Well of Ascension, that his story really begins. Then, it isn’t until the finale, The Hero of Ages, that he finishes his arc.
With a god damn bang, I might add!
The Want: A Keeper’s Duty
Alright, so brief recap: Sazed is a Keeper, someone who stores knowledge long forgotten in metal bracelets using their powers to pass it on to the world when the Lord Ruler’s tyranny is eradicated. Their duty is to teach the people, to restore humanity’s ability to function without their so-called God. While each one shares in most knowledge, many have their own speciality.
Sazed’s specialty is religion. He stores the many faiths that the Lord Ruler destroyed long ago in his metal-minds to teach to the world later. All the while, he hunts for information regarding his people’s own religion, the Terrace Religion.
Thus, when the Lord Ruler is killed, Sazed steps out into the world to fulfill his duty. However, he finds that he can’t quite manage it. After spending so many years fighting the Lord Ruler and being outcast by his people, he finds it difficult to focus on that original task. Even though he knows what he ought to be doing, he can’t help but be drawn to his more selfish desire of examining ancient knowledge and helping his friends with their wars.
And in doing so, he was reunited with the woman he loved.
The Wound: Tindwyl
Again, I must stress the spoiler warning. If you haven’t read the Mistborn trilogy yet, go do that before you read the rest of this. Last chance.
In Tindwyl, Sazed found companionship. Someone to share in his scholarly pursuits. They often conflicted, sure, but what healthy couple doesn’t? She offered him a strength, a stability, and a confidence that he desperately needed.
And then the Koloss attacked Luthadel and murdered the hell out of her.
The Lie: Truth in Faith
Tindwyl’s death sent Sazed into a deep depression. He was sucked dry of his energy, of his will to do anything, and even his free will. It was only at the orders of Vin or Elend that he found the strength to do anything.
In this depression, Sazed had a crisis of faith. He wondered if there was any truth in all the religions he had been preaching all these years? Surely, one of them had to be the correct religion, right? One of them had to give him peace of mind!
But no matter how hard he searched, he couldn’t find the truth he so desperately desired. All of the religions he studied had holes in their logic, asking their followers to just ‘have faith’. To Sazed, a man whose faith had been shattered, that was the ultimate frustration. Why couldn’t any of them be accurate? Be right?
Little did he know that they were all accurate. At least, a little bit. Rather, each one was a piece to a puzzle.
The Need: Hero of Ages
At the ultimate climax of the trilogy, everything is fucked. Both Vin and Elend are dead. The world is quite literally on fire. Ruin is defeated, sure, but what does that matter? In the end, none of it mattered.
This brought Sazed to his lowest. After all this time, after he finally pieced together all the answers to all the mysteries, after all their collective effort, they were still doomed. What was the point of it all? If the prophecies of his people’s ancient religion were so accurate, why was the world still ending? What was Sazed’s purpose in it all?
Then it all clicks. He pieces together all the pieces. All the hints hidden in all the religions. All the context clues hidden within the prophecy. He figures out exactly what he needs to do. He knows what his purpose is.
The Lord Ruler wasn’t the Hero of Ages. Neither was Vin. This whole time, it was destined to be Sazed.
It was in this realization that Sazed finally found peace. His faith was rewarded, giving him the knowledge he needed to save the world. In this purpose, all of his sorrow, all of his struggles, all of his efforts were rewarded.
Ironic, isn’t it? Sazed spent so long trying to find God. What does he do? He becomes God!
Sazed is an absolutely incredible character. He seems so timid, so unintrusive, that you don’t at all expect him to become the single most important character in the whole series! He straight-up outlives all three of the main characters!
Although you can say that about most characters in comparison to Kelsier. Sad as that makes me.
I always find it remarkable how Sanderson continuously surprises me with his stories. Just when I think I finally have his number, he swings around and catches me off guard! He’s done it over and over again, with practically every one of his books! But no character has ever taken me more by surprise than Sazed.
You can tell that Sanderson loves him too. Why else would he low-key *CENSORED FOR RoW SPOILERS*