Time for week 5 of the Kushiel’s Avatar readalong. Questions by Lynn.
1. There was so much action this week, let’s just take a minute to discuss that – particularly Phedre’s plan for escape. I realise this isn’t particularly a question but I just found these chapters so edge of the seat that I think we need to take a moment to discuss them and gather all our thoughts. What stood out for you? What surprised you?
One of my favorite lines in this whole series is “I propose to borrow your hairpin.” I just… ahh! It just cuts through the tension and brings it to concrete plans. I don’t know. I love it.
Jolanta always kind of stands out for me. How she made her sign of solidarity and started the fighting.
2. We’ve already had a debate on Imriel’s abduction and who was responsible and why. What are your thoughts now on the Gods and their motivations?
I think the gods used Phedre to destroy the Mahrkagir and evil. I’m in a discussion on nano about culture appropriation. Someone mentioned the great white savior (so to speak) motif. I wonder if this is part of that. I’d never really thought about it through this negative lens, but now I can’t unsee it.
3. How do you feel about Imriel and also who do you think is trying to assassinate him? Also, his reaction to his own family history – do you think that Melisande would ever have stood a chance to bend him to her will or not?
Maybe if she had had the opportunity to raise him since infancy. Or maybe, possibly, if it hadn’t been for Darsanga. But I think no. I think being raised in the sanctuary kind of “cured” him from Melisande’s influence. But maybe that was her plan all along. (dramatic music: dun dun dun!)
I don’t know who personally, but whoever tried to kill Imriel was put up by Valere. I kind of doubt she was acting on Bariquel’s orders, but she probably at least thought she was acting with his blessings.
4. Phedre and Joscelin – they’ve been through a lot and ultimately it’s taken a toll. Do you think this is something that they can get past particularly now that Joscelin has been injured – how do you think he will cope with that?
My guess is he’d make a poor patient. Also, being physically injured must be very hard emotionally for him. So much of his identity is tied up in being a protector. If he can’t do that, he feels useless. But I think they can get through it. I think few people will understand what they went through and their choice (sort of) to go through it.
5. It looks like Phedre’s cause to help Hyacinthe will be restored. It looks, at least, like she will have unexpected help along the way. What are your predictions in that respect.
Um….Ok, so I’ve read these before and I’m not quite sure where the reread ends (because I’m bad at stopping) so I don’t want to answer because the book is downstairs and I’m too lazy to get it and figure out what this question is referring to.
additional thinky thoughts:
So I want to go back to things I said during the last book about Kazan. Basically, when I thought Phedre was being hard on Kazan, I was thinking “OMG but he is no where near as bad as the Mahrkagir!!!” I was always “tchah, really?” when she is all “oh the jade dog!” How does this person deserve her sympathy?! But I realized two things: 1) who am I to judge? I can’t judge how she coped with what she went through. 2) Another difference between Kazan and the Mahrkagir is that Kazan was just a dick and it was only chance that brought them together and it was her gods that brought her to the Mahrkagir and she saw him through the lens of being Kushiel’s chosen.
Also, I have to roll my eyes when she gets…I don’t know about “murder.” No. That is not murder. That is justifiable manslaughter in self-defense. I get my panties in a bunch when people use murder in non-murder situations. (Which is actually why I got all excited when I heard Quentin Tarantino be all “let’s call murderers murderers.” Yes. And let’s stop using “murder” where it doesn’t belong because it makes the word lose meaning.)
Edit: I’m rereading the part about with the Chief Magus, and I don’t understand people’s reaction. There is one line that shows some disdain for Phedre–“I stepped close to the ancient priest, close enough that he drew back lest my nearness taint him, and I knew that in his eyes, I was still Death’s Whore, the Mahrkagir’s favorite.”–but I feel like as a whole, I can’t complain about his actions (he makes sure she has everything she asks for and advises her on how to leave). First, I don’t like close talkers. Maybe it’s just a matter of he wants more personal space. But Phedre’s a reliable and observant narrator, so I don’t think that’s it.
Second, I don’t think the Magus understands all of what happened or all of Phedre’s nature as Kushiel’s chosen. It’s true–she was Death’s Whore and the favorite. It’s what allowed her to get close enough and get him vulnerable enough to kill him. But since she never relied on the help of the priests, I don’t think we can assume he understood what was going on. He just saw someone seemingly enjoying the debasement and acting to kill him only when her life depended on it.
I also think it’s possible that he feared her. Phedre destroyed death. He who fights monsters and all. Him stepping back from her was in reaction to sort of a threat.