Chapters 23-29. Questions by Allie.
1) Given the developments since last time, what do you think the Maghuin Donn are after with Imriel? Could it be related to Dorelei’s and Alais’s dream? Were Imriel and Dorelei right to refuse their blessing?
I don’t like how Dorelei refused their blessing. I feel like that was a sign of bad faith. But from her point of view, they ensorceled her husband and continue to threaten him, so I can’t really blame her for that. (But I can continue to wish that she had had an open mind, more like Grainne, from the beginning.)
2) Imriel and Dorelei’s relationship is very honest now. Do you think their plan is a wise one or not? What do you think of the Alban custom of limited-term marriage?
I don’t know. Nothing is ever as simple as we can just walk away from it and that’s it. Also, maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t think I see the point. Is there no divorce in Alba? Even if not, I don’t see how that’s an issue. Grainne has children from lots of different fathers (and Dorelei admits there are a lot of absent fathers to other children in Alba). So even if there is no divorce and someone walks out on a spouse, what are the implications? In orthodox Judaism, a wife needs permission from the husband to get a divorce. I guess she can’t just leave because the communities are so small and so intertwined that her dirty laundry would follow her. Is that anything similar to how it is in Alba that would necessitate the idea of a temporary marriage? I kind of doubt that. Marriages seem less important there.
3) What did you think of the Alban nuptials, with respect to the ones in Terre d’Ange? Did anything in particular stick out as memorable?
I loved all the men bragging about their wives/girlfriends! And Imriel afraid someone would tattoo him in his sleep.
4) We get to see Hyacinthe again! What are your thoughts on his plan to not pass on his knowledge? Do you think Phedre and Joscelin are completely on board with it, and do you think this ‘secret task’ will affect Imriel’s story?
I guess he is worried that he won’t pick a worthy successor (or that that person won’t pick a worthy successor, etc.). I see his point. Power corrupts. Wait…what would happen if he were to pick more than one successor? Maybe an Alban and a D’Angeline? Or one from each tribe of Alba? Or he taught only part of his knowledge to each and they had to work together? (Still, they could choose someone unworthy or teach each other and then we have power corrupting again.)
5) Imriel’s going to start off as a Prince of Alba with a neighborly cattle raid. What do you think about this tradition? Is the violence and risk worth the respect and goodwill Imriel will likely get for it?
I think it’s a bit silly, but it doesn’t sound like anyone would get hurt? Urist calls it a “friendly skirmish.”
I wonder about Alais’s reaction. Does this show that she doesn’t understand Alban culture as much as she wants to or thinks she does?
For those of you with better knowledge of the geography of England, where do you think Clunderry is?