Mistborn Reading Guide-Part III – Supernatural People


Mistborn is a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy written by author Brandon Sanderson.  The series is really hard to describe but what I’ve said to others is that it’s like a collision between The Lord of the Rings and X-Men.

As an avid reader, I am picky about who I read.  When I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson and finished reading Mistborn, I placed him as one of my top 3 favorite authors.  He knows how to introduce and develop characters, he maintains a strong storyline and he captures the reader’s imagination.

As I read through the books, I gathered information about the world of Scadrial, the characters in the books and the science behind the three mysterious super-human abilities Sanderson created.

Spoiler Alert


This post is about the actual people who are affected by one or more of the three supernatural powers that exist in the world of Scadrial.


  • An Allomancer is a person (usually a noble or someone who has noble blood up to five generations) who is able to burn an Allomatic metal in order to enhance their physical or mental abilities
  • All Allomancers are descendants of the men who ingested beads of Preservation’s power that were found at the Well of Ascension.  These were the men who sided with the Lord Ruler after he took power and formed the foundation of the nobility.  The power in those few beads was so concentrated that it could last through ten centuries of breeding and inheritance (Chapter 62 in The Hero Of Ages)



  • Misting is an Allomancer who can only use one of the sixteen metals
  • Misting usually specializes in their one skill, utilizing coordinated tactics as well as customized tools and clothing
  • Most Mistings operate in coordinated groups to rely on and complement each other’s abilities

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    Don’t go up against a Coinshot unless you know what you’re doing
  • Coinshots are most commonly accompanied by lurchers (to provide the pulling of metals), smokers (to hide their location) and thugs (to do the melee fighting)
  • In this regard, a coinshot can be considered a sniper; they target the enemy as they are physically pushed into a corner by a thug
  • The coinshot can use well-aimed shot coins (or other metal objects) to “snipe” the target
  • Also the combination of coinshot and lurcher can be used to disarm the target of any metals they are using
  • Mistings who Push and Pull are very uncommon.  The only way for this to be possible would be for them to have an iron or steel spike with a Hemalurgic charge driven through them – transforming them into a quasi-Inquisitor (see the post “Mistborn Reading Guide-Part II – Supernatural Powers”) (Chapter 5 in Mistborn)
  • The Misting underground survived because of its reliance on copper to find other Allomancers (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)


  • A Mistborn is an Allomancer who can burn all of the sixteen Allomatic metals
  • Mistborn are heralds of the mists themselves, endowed with great powers from the Lord Ruler
  • Only high noblemen can be Mistborn; there is said to be a secret sect of assassins who served the Lord Ruler, only going out at night (Chapter 4 in Mistborn)
  • No imperial patrol would dare bother a Mistborn (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Nearly all Mistborn are members of the great noble houses – and the rest are from lesser Luthadel houses (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Mistborn are so rare that noble houses can’t afford to apply gender prejudices to them (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)tumblr_n3xxh9w6jW1qe5707o1_500
  • Most Mistborn live two lives – the life of the court-going aristocrat and the life of the sneaking, spying Allomancer (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • Mistborn identities are closely guarded house secrets – rumors regarding who was Mistborn are always a focus of high noble gossip (Chapter 7 in Mistborn)
  • The first group of Mistborn possessed the undiminished power of the god Preservation, which was then passed down through the lines of the nobility, weakening with each generation
  • Many full Mistborn neglect specific abilities because they are so used to burning all  of the Allomatic metals and don’t concentrate on one specific metal (Chapter 20 in Mistborn)
  • It is very unwise for a group of regular soldiers to go up against an experienced Mistborn, as they will be defeated very quickly
  • The only worthy opponent of a Mistborn is another Mistborn, unless a group of highly organized Mistings with very specific abilities is found

Non-metal knives made from obsidian or glass used to fight Mistborn


  • Feruchemists are Terrismen who can use all of the Feruchemical metals by storing them up; somewhat like a battery or a computer hard-drive
  • Feruchemists are to Feruchemy as Mistborn are to Allomancy
  • By the nature of their powers, they have a tendency toward scholarship.  With their incredible memories, they were very difficult to control over the centuries, even when the Lord Ruler suppressed them (Chapter 65 in The Hero Of Ages)


  • Ferrings are Terrismen who can use only one of the Feruchemical metals
  • Ferrings are to Feruchemy as Mistings are to Allomancy


  • 9495286a7649e802f67955ad5f66cb07A Keeper and a Feruchemist are one in the same
  • They are Terrismen who are able to utilize all of the Feruchemal metals
  • Not all Terrismen are Keepers, only very few; just like not all nobles are Mistborn
  • Each Keeper has a specific field of knowledge on which they focus on like religion or mechanics or agriculture or engineering
  • Every Keeper carries all the knowledge of their previous Keeper’s who trained and mentored them
  • Since knowledge stored by one Keeper cannot be accessed by another, an elder Keeper has to recite their entire library of knowledge for the new Keeper to store in their coppermind; in many cases, this recitation takes months or even years to complete
  • Every new generation of Keepers was charged with the four missions:
    1. To collect and store as much information as possible in their lifetime
    2. To return to Terris when the time had been decided and pass all their knowledge on to the next Keeper
    3. To always hide their Feruchemy from everyone lest their copperminds be destroyed and their knowledge lost forever
    4. When the time came and the Lord Ruler fell, to be ready to travel the land and teach their knowledge freely and openly to all that wanted it or needed it
  • There is a council of elder Keepers that made decisions concerning the use of copperminds and where Keepers go to collect information; they are known as the Keeper Synod


A Terrisman Keeper
A Terrisman Keeper
  • During The Final Empire, the Lord Ruler hunted any and all Feruchemists he could find and it was commonly believed before The Fall that Feruchemists had been entirely exterminated
  • Later it was revealed that they had not all been killed and shortly after The Ascension, the Lord Ruler instituted a Breeding Program targeted at eliminating Feruchemical abilities
  • At the time of the Ascension, all living Feruchemists were turned into mistwraiths by the Lord Ruler in his paranoia that Feruchemical and Allomantic lines might mix, thereby potentially producing a person with his same powers, to challenge the Lord Ruler
  • Shortly after the death of the Lord Ruler, a few Keepers were then allowed to travel and teach the skaa the things needed to effectively live and be more productive in the absence of the Lord Ruler

Steel Inquisitor

  • Steel Inquisitors (or simply known as Inquisitors) are  group of strange priests who serve the Lord Ruler under the Steel Ministry and are frantically devoted to him
  • Steel Inquisitors are a part of the Canton of Inquisition
  • An Inquisitor is the ultimate fighting machine – they usually possess the same abilities as a Mistborn without running out of the metals because they don’t need to burn them like a Mistborn does
  • Steel Inquisitors, like the Obligators from which they were created from, are bald with a large number of tattoos spreading from their eye sockets across their headsteel_inquisitor_side_view_1_by_divinedelphi-d5epzct
  • These tattoos indicate many things including rank and what kind of Allomancer they were before recruitment
  • Steel Inquisitors have several more spikes on their body, most of which are not visible
  • Inquisitors were created to hunt down skaa rebels and maintain order in the Final Empire
  • They were creatures of Ruin created by the Lord Ruler with an ingrained weakness (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Their powers were gained through Hemalurgy
  • An Inquisitor is created when several Hemalurgic spikes are pounded through a Feruchemist or an Allomancer into the body of a future Inquisitor
  • This future Inquisitor or Host was either an Allomancer or an existing Inquisitor before
  • Depending on the type of spike used (iron, steel, etc.), a different power was stolen from the Donor or victim and given to the Host or new Inquisitor
  • Each Hemalurgic spike driven through a person’s body gave Ruin some small ability to influence them.  This was mitigated by the mental fortitude of the one being controlled (Chapter 75 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In some cases – depending on the size of the spike and the length of time it had been worn – a single spike gave Ruin only minimal powers over a person.  He could appear to them and could warp their thoughts slightly, making them overlook certain oddities  (Chapter 75 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • The creation of an Inquisitor has been described as a “messy process” (Chapter 13 in The Hero Of Ages)

How Inquisitors Are Made


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    Inside the Conventical of Seran where Inquisitors are created

    New Inquisitors have to be recruited from noblemen ranks; they were originally people but they had been changed (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)

  • Inquisitors are made from ordinary men – men who remember who they were but gain new Allomatic abilities (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • The Host or Recruit is one person who will become an Inquisitor
  • The Donors or Victims are the group of Allomancers or Feruchemists who are killed – thus donating or transferring their powers into the Recruited Host
  • The Lord Ruler ordered existing Inquisitors to hunt down skaa Mistings so Inquisitors could perpetuate themselves, creating new ones.  They needed Allomancers to kill in order to create new Inquisitors (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In most cases, Inquisitors were created from Donors who were Mistings or Feruchemists.  It appeared that Seekers were the favored Recruits.  For, when a Mistborn wasn’t available, an Inquisitor with enhanced bronze abilities stolen from a Seeker was a powerful tool for searching out skaa Mistings (Chapter 37 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Because many Inquisitors were Seekers before they were transformed, their ability to use bronze became twice as strong.  This simple fact explained how many Inquisitors were able to pierce copperclouds (Chapters 45 and 59 in The Hero Of Ages)

The Making Process

  • The spikes in a Recruited Host Inquisitor’s body transfer Allomatic ability.  Eight Donor Mistings can be killed and all their powers are transferred in the process of creating one Inquisitor (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • An Inquisitor is a fusion of many different people.  In order to make one, the Canton of Inquisition has to get a whole group of Donor Allomancers, then combine their powers into one Host Inquisitor (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • To create an Inquisitor, one must be impaled by a spike that already has a Hemalurgic charge through a Feruchemist or an Allomancer
  • e4a69048216bThis is very difficult though because one must place it in exactly the right place – called a bind point
  • Even a fraction of an inch off results in the death of the Donor and/or Host or at least a wasted spike
  • Each spike, positioned very carefully, can determine how the Host’s body is changed by Hemalurgy.  A spike in one place creats a monstrous, near-mindless beast.  In another place, a spike can create a crafty – yet homicidal Inquisitor (Chapter 43 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Each spike, now Hemalurgicaly charged, tears into and forcibly splices information from the Victim to the Host’s spiritweb
  • Hemalurgic decay is less obvious in Inquisitors who have been created from Mistborn Donors.  Since they already have Allomatic powers, the addition of other abilities makes them awesomely strong (Chapter 37 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Hemalurgy – particularly Allomatic permeation – is much more potent when one can drive the spike through the Donor’s heart (killing them) and directly into a waiting Host (the future Inquisitor). This way, very little of the Allomatic ability is lost (Chapter 34 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • If a spike is driven into a less vital area of a Donor, it can grant the new Host Inquisitor far less power (Chapter 34 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Hemalurgic spikes change people physically, depending on which powers are granted, where the spike is placed and how many spikes someone has (Chapter 41 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • After impaled with a spike, Inquisitors are changed drastically from the humans they used to be.  Their hearts are in different places from humans and their brains rearrange to accommodate the lengths of metal jabbed through their eyes (Chapter 41 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • The process of stabbing spikes into the waiting Host moves vital organs, allowing the spikes to be inserted practically anywhere without fatally wounding the Recruit
  • This process is not painless for either person involved, as both violent changes to the spiritweb and having metal spikes driven into one’s body causes excruciating pain

      Important Facts On How Inquisitors Are MadeInquisitor_Wallpaper_1024X768_by_EUOL

  • Most Inquisitors have nine spikes.  More powerful ones have as many as ten.  Only Marsh, the most powerful of all Inquisitors, had twenty (Chapter 72 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Under the Lord Ruler, Inquisitors were given the Hemalurgic spikes for Allomancy and one gold spike for storing and tapping Feruchemical health
  • This obviously was where Inquisitors got their infamous ability to recover from wounds quickly and was also why they needed to rest so much so they could store up health in their gold spike (Chapter 36 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In Hemalurgy, the type of metal used in a spike was important, as was the positioning of that spike on the body (Chapter 36 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • For example, steel spikes take Allomatic powers – the ability to burn pewter, tin, steel or iron – and bestow them upon the person receiving the spike.  Which of these four was granted, however, depended on where the spike is placed (Chapter 36 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • Spikes made from other metals stole Feruchemical abilities.  For example, all of the original Inquisitors were given a pewter spike, which – after first being pounded through the body of a Donor Feruchemist – gave the Host Inquisitor the ability to store up healing power (though they couldn’t do so as quickly as a real Feruchemist, as per the law of Hemalurgic decay) (Chapter 36 in The Hero Of Ages)

The Weakness Of Inquisitors

  • Steel Inquisitors are very powerful and – with Feruchemical healing – nearly invincible
  • Rumors in the Skaa Underground held that Inquisitors were immortal, that they could see into people’s souls and that they were warriors with no equal (Chapter 3 in Mistborn)
  • However, the Lord Ruler created Inquisitors with an ingrained weakness; they could lose some spikes and still live. However, if the linchpin dorsal spike between their shoulder blades or the eye spikes were removed, they would die. Vin discovered this when she fought 13 Inquisitors at once (Chapter 54 in The Well Of Ascension and Chapters 3 and 73 in The Hero Of Ages)

steel_inquisitor_by_jaspersandner-d42d0gmThe History Of Inquisitors

  • Once they came under the direct control of Ruin, it was revealed that the Lord Ruler had not given Inquisitors all the powers Hemalurgy could bestow (especially many of the Feruchemical powers)
  • During the reign of the Lord Ruler, Inquisitors acted as priests of the Steel Ministry and carried out his direct orders
  • Without the instinctive knowledge granted by taking the power at the Well of Ascension, Rashek would never have been able to use Hemalurgy.  With his mind expanded and with a little practice, he was able to perceive where to place spikes that would create the servants he wanted (Chapter 43 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • A little-known fact was that the Inquisitor’s torture chambers were actually Hemalurgic laboratories the Lord Ruler would use to experiment with in creating different types of Inquisitors by placing spikes in different places to see what the outcomes were (Chapter 44 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In The Well of Ascension, Sazed and Marsh visit a place called the Conventicle of Seran. It is an abandoned sort of temple where they would create new Inquisitors

How Inquisitors “See”

  • When an Inquisitor sees through their spike filled eyes, everything is outlined in fine blue Allomatic lines, highlighting their world (Prologue in The Hero Of Ages)
  • In the way their sight works, it is difficult for an Inquisitor to differentiate colors. However, an experienced Inquisitor is familiar enough with their powers that most of the time they are able to distinguish colors as the Allomatic lines from metals inside most items are quite expressive of their specific color (Chapter 44 in The Hero Of Ages)

Inquisitor Character and Agemistborn09

  • Another “weakness” Inquisitors have is that because they are made from Hemalurgy, it leaves the mind wounded.  It allows an Allomancer to creep in and take control.  The nobility always wondered what made the Inquisitors so fanatically devoted to the Lord Ruler.  They aren’t like regular Obligators but far more obedient – zealous to a fault (Chapter 40 in The Hero Of Ages)
  • It is not known how Inquisitors age; they change occasionally and are very long-lived but they do eventually die of old age (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • Marsh or Ironeyes, one of the best known Inquisitors, lived for a very long time and appears 300 years after the end of The Hero of Ages in the fourth Mistborn book; The Alloy of Law

Inquisitors and Obligators

  • Inquisitors don’t have many dealings with normal Obligators – there has been political tension between the two groups for centuries (Chapter 27 in Mistborn)
  • They see the Obligators as faulty humans who shouldn’t be a part of the Steel Ministry

Other Posts from “A Reader’s Guide to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy”:

Part I – Gods and Religion

Part II – Supernatural Powers

Part III – Supernatural People

Part IV – Groups of People

Part V – Allomatic Metals Part I

Part VI – Allomatic Metals Part II

Part VII – Feruchemal Metals or Metalminds

Part VIIIHemalurgic Spikes

Part IX – Events, Terms, Places and Titles of People

Part X – Creatures Part I: Koloss

Part XI – Creatures Part II: Mistwraiths and Kandra

Part XII – Characters


1.  Mistborn Wiki. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://mistborn.wikia.com/wiki/Mistborn_Wiki

2.  Sanderson, B. (2008). The Hero Of Ages (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

3.  Sanderson, B. (2007). The Well Of Ascension (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.

4.  Sanderson, B. (2006). Mistborn (First ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates.


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