Kushiel’s Scion readalong: week 2

It feels like it was just yesterday that I started the reread posts for Kushiel’s Scion. Probably because it was and I’m behind. This week it’s chapters 12-19, questions by Allie.

1) In this chapter, Katherine and Roshana introduce Imriel to some innocent regional courtship games. What do you think of the differences between the two games? Do you remember anything similar from when you were a teen?

Upon first reading this portion, I was kind of off put by the games. Honestly, I think I still am. I think now it’s more like “can’t you see he is so wounded that he can’t even!?!” As a teen, I was not into “courtship games.” I was into books. I think this is just something….I don’t know. This portion (and other similar) kind of take me out of the world. It’s something that I have a hard time suspending my disbelief for. It’s not that I think Carey wrote it badly or anything. I don’t think I’m a prude either. I mean, come on. I’m reading erotica. I guess it’s the “instruction” angle. This isn’t meant to be a judgment. It’s not a squick feeling, like it’s grooming. It’s just a, I’ll skip this part. I don’t think sex is something to learn as such. Maybe that’s why I also had problems with Phedre “there is a precise art to taking off someone’s clothes.”

2) How do you think Imriel’s ideas of love and sex affected by the model set by Joscelin and Phedre? Do you think they’re doing a good job getting him through these awkward years?

I feel like this is a tricky question. I’m going to go with yes. Imriel is hurt and complicated and confused, and probably only Joscelin and Phedre can understand this. Joscelin and Phedre, well, they don’t have a “traditional” relationship, by real life standards or by D’Angeline standards, but by now, I think it’s pretty healthy. I think the health of their relationship and the respect they have for each other is an important model. I don’t know if this makes sense or gets at what Allie was getting at.

3) Imriel is getting a lot happier and easier at court these days. Is there anything that was particularly notable for you in this period, during the apple-picking party or on the Longest Night?

Nicola and Imriel’s complicated relationship with her. From the beginning, I wasn’t in love with her. I thought her trying to play spy was weird. But I liked her in Kushiel’s Avatar (and she was useful in finding Imriel). And I like her here. I feel like Nicola is a symbol of the violent desires he’s afraid of. He wants to embrace them but is afraid of turning into the Mahrkagir. So he resents Nicola’s ability to do it with love.

4) Imriel comes of age in this section, and spends his first night in the Night Court, at Balm House. What do you think about his experience with Emmeline?

Love. I love her talk about healing.

Also, it’s just a small moment, but I love the description of Mavros when Joscelin talks to him about the mock-abduction of Imriel to take him to the Night Court on his birthday. How he’s just like “yeah, no, I’m not doing that.” Of course, he’s older and knows Imriel better than some of his other friends. It just seems understanding, and I like it. (Same with Alais. I think she might have more knowledge of Imriel’s past whereas Mavros intuited more…if that makes any sense.)

5) Imriel has also made a new close friend, Eamonn mac Grainne! What did you think of their fight? How do you think their closeness will affect his image at court?

Yay! It was fun to read. I liked how upset Eamonn was with the wooden swords. How it will affect Imriel’s court image, I don’t know. On one hand, I would say there is some exoticism with Imriel being friends with someone foreign and strange. But on the other, this is D’Angelines we’re talking about. But on a third hand, they have become more open, especially with Albans.

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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5 Responses to Kushiel’s Scion readalong: week 2

  1. tethyanbooks says:

    Your thoughts on the first question are really interesting, since I didn’t realize that sort of thing would be so off-putting. I guess I saw the ‘instruction’ angle just being because it’s easier for inexperienced teens to frame courtship as a game with rules. Phedre’s “precise art” comments I just took to be snobbery, honestly :).

    That is also a good point, that they set a good model for Imriel in their respect for each other, even though his future relationships are not likely to be anything like theirs in the particular details.

    • emmawolf says:

      For courtship games, I don’t know why I feel strange about them. Maybe I just had weird experiences growing up, but no one played spin the bottle or 7 minutes in Heaven. Those were things on tv that we mocked. Maybe I think calling it a game juvenilizes it, which makes me think it’s weird that kids are playing at BDSM. Or maybe I just can’t get around Imriel not being not ready for this. It shows Imriel being uncomfortable, and I am uncomfortable.

      It’s a sharp contrast to Emmeline. There it’s also about instruction, but it’s so much more personal. Learning about the other and oneself. Responding to each other.

  2. @lynnsbooks says:

    Haha – we played spin the bottle and let me just say for the record, the game always ended before the bottle ever landed on me – I think most of us were just embarrassed – and certain others used it as a means to ‘rig’ the game and land a kiss with their current crush! The scenes with Imriel – I feel sorry for him and can’t help wondering how people can be – and I don’t mean to be harsh here – but so insensitive. He was abducted and, well, all sorts of other horrible shit – don’t talk about abducting him as a giggle – it’s really not going to be funny to him. So then, I go into a rant in my head for a few minutes until I have to come to terms with the fact that they’re all young, and most teenagers are the centre of their own universe after all so I guess most of them just simply forget about Imriel’s ordeals. *now breathe*
    I’m loving Eamonn – he’s like a breath of fresh air and I hope he has more of an involvement.
    Lynn 😀

    • emmawolf says:

      Yeah…that scene was odd. Especially when contrasted with Mavros knowing better than to the participate in the abduction. Like they (or at least Mavros…but you’d think maybe he could have talked Roshana out of it) are sensitive. But the mock abduction is way different from the game. I don’t know. I like what Allie said about it being a Hail Mary pass/we’ve tried everything else, let’s go all in.

  3. nrlymrtl says:

    While I don’t think I would care for such games as an intro to romance and/or sex, I can see that Imri was not responding to general flirtations and even deeper invitations. Sometimes such games provide a safety net, a certainty of how things will work and how things can end without hard feelings when a player is ready to be done with it. Obviously, Imri wasn’t ready for Roshana’s game, but he might have been ready for the typical Siovale game Katherine mentioned.

    Good points about Nicola. Also, Imri doesn’t have details. He doesn’t know what Nicola and Phedre play at when together. In the one scene we have seen them together, it is complicated bindings with devious, carefully placed knots. Imri might not object to that too strongly as it doesn’t involve knives or branding or biting flogs.

    Eamonn is just plain good for Imri.

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