Time for the final readalong post, chapters 73 to the end. Questions by me. Thank you to everyone for participating in the readalong. It’s been great fun, and I’ve really enjoyed having my opinions challenged, being wrong, and changing my mind. This is a really smart bunch. So many times I have wanted to scream “omg, keep reading!” or “wait until Kushiel’s [fill in the blank]!” I hope we continue reading, because I can’t wait to hear all your opinions on later events.
Without further ado:
1. Earlier in the book, Phedre promised to rid the temple of Asherat of corruption. Here we see her speaking for the goddess. Is this what you had in mind? Is Phedre channeling the goddess or using her own words? Was her act a sign from the goddess, as Cesare Stregazza said, or merely a trick, as Marie-Celeste said? (I realize this is very similar to Lynn’s question from last week. I read ahead and wrote these questions early. I flatter myself to think that great minds think alike.)
I did not see this coming. I tend to think that is was the will of the goddess/Phedre channeling Asherat and not blasphemy. As much as I complain that Phedre is a snob or so perfect and well-liked, she really is god-touched. In this series where the gods use humans as their tools, I think it was divinely inspired.
2. Ysandre offers (or demands) to take Imriel into her own household to spare him the “taint” of being a traitor’s son. What do you think of this? Would an Imriel raised by Ysandre be welcomed by the people as the heir to the throne? Or would the people remember Melisande’s treachery when they see her son?
Having read the rest of the series, I don’t think I can answer this. Someone posted something one of the earlier weeks about how Melisande doesn’t know who her son will grow to be. I’m sorry, I can’t remember who it was, but I can’t wait to read your impressions of the rest of the series and who he becomes. But to answer the first part, I just remember being really moved when it happened, when Ysandre made her offer. I thought it was a really diplomatic gesture.
3. What do you think of Melisande taking sanctuary in the temple to Asherat and the Doge allowing it? Is it blasphemous? Ysandre asks Phedre what she can expect from Melisande, and Phedre cannot answer. What do you expect from Melisande?
This I kind of think is more like blasphemy. Well, I don’t know. I don’t know a lot about the religion and the customs. Is this sort of sanctuary only for followers of Asherat? I think upon first reading, I expected Melisande to escape and reunite with her son.
4. After seeing his fellow Cassiline Brother attempt to assassinate their charge in La Serenissima, Brys no Rinforte is badly shaken and is unable to accompany Ysandre through the Royal Army and into the City of Elua. What do you make of this? Phedre called it “defection,” which, according to dictionary.com, has two meanings: 1) desertion from allegiance, loyalty, duty, or the like. Apostasy; and 2) failure, lack, loss. What do you think of Phedre’s description? Phedre also tells us that Ysandre dismissed the Cassilines from her service. What share of the blame does Brys deserve for Ysandre’s decision? What do you think of the irony that Cassiline Brothers have become more popular among D’angelines?
I thought Brys’s action was a failure but not a desertion, if that makes sense. I thought Phedre was kind of unsympathetic to suggest that he played a role in why Ysandre decided not to have Cassilines around anymore, considering his defection really paled in comparison to David’s. And while I can’t blame him for being completely shaken by what David did, I was a bit surprised by his inability to accompany Ysandre through the Royal Army but sympathetic. I think it goes back to what I think I may have said earlier: Cassilines are humans, not house elves. So often, characters just looked through the Cassilines. Well, of course Cassilines searched through the archives, but they wouldn’t have taken anything because they are Cassilines! I don’t know. I guess I just feel bad for Brys. His failure seemed so human and just reflected d’Angeline society that doesn’t treat Cassilines as individuals. Then again, he did abandon his charge.
5. The Rebbe Nahum ben Isaac said “you Children of Elua are too quick to forget how the love you invoke may cut like a blade.” What do you think? Is Elua a gentle, loving god or is the rebbe right?
Both. Love gave Joscelin the will to storm La Dolorosa.
I was always interested in Ghislain turning his back on his father and taking his wife’s family’s name. Because House Trevalion had no history of treason and had nothing to do with Percy’s actions.