Kushiel’s Justice readalong: week 5

Chapters 30-37. Shit got real. Questions by Susan.

1) What did you think about Imriel’s men leaving him behind on the cattle raid?

I don’t think they would have done it if there had been any danger, but I don’t think I would have been able to brush it off as easily as Imriel had. Like him, I think I can be understanding of why they did it, and maybe laugh with them afterwards, but I think it would have stuck in my craw, even if I wouldn’t let it show.

In a way, it reminds me of an experience I had here. I’m from the US and live in England. I was picking up my kid from school, and next to me there was a group of parents chit chatting. This one guy in the group (who was a bit rotund, and this is relevant to the story) was talking about how he met an American woman and she wasn’t fat. This was the whole story. He kept on going on and on about how he told her “all Americans are fat and you’re not!” Ha ha! One of the women he was talking to was a bit larger apparently, and he said something to her about how the American woman wasn’t super skinny, she was bigger but not fat and kind of looked like her. She laughed politely and said “I’m not sure how to take that.” At this point, I just had to say something. I mean, I didn’t need to be rude, but I just had to let them know, dude an American is hearing everything you are saying. And the beautiful thing is, I just had to speak. And this was my opening. So I turned to them and said “Yeah, I’m not sure how to take any of this.”

In that one second following those words, I realized that I had this opportunity. I could either put on an angry face and let them know that I thought they were rude, or I could laugh. I laughed. The whole experience was irksome, but it’s better as a funny story than as one with hurt feelings.

So with Imriel, I like how he reacted, and I guess I aspire to have that attitude. (I also think the situations are different. Imriel understood he had to prove himself to men of Clunderry, and these parents at the school yard, no one had to prove anything to anyone. He was just being a dick.)

2) Alais has done some harmless flirting in this section. What do you make of her request to postpone the wedding to Talorcan a year? Do you think one year will make a difference to either one of them?

I think a year will make a difference for Alais. Everything is new to her, and I think it’s a good idea for her to get adjusted. I also think a year will make a difference for Alba. I think people who were reluctant to see the marriage between Alais and Talorcan or Imriel and Dorelei will have a year to get used to the idea and see that nothing has changed.

3) In this section, we experienced two Alban holidays – the Day of the Dead and the Day of Misrule. What stood out to you the most? If you could only celebrate one, which would you pick?

The Day of Misrule! Sounds like fun!

4) Throughout this section, there is plenty of talk about denying one’s own nature – Imriel’s talks with Morwen, the chat with the priestess, and even Dorolei and Alais noticing changes in Imriel when his bindings are redone. Getting philosophical, is denying part of your nature good or is it nearly always a bad idea?

I think it’s a bad idea. I just watched Frozen for the first time, and I kept thinking of Elsa’s powers as a metaphor for sexuality and thinking about kids who have to hide who they are.

5) Could Imriel have done anything differently to prevent the tragedy of loosing his wife and unborn child? If you were in his shoes, would you have asked for mercy for the Maghuin Donn?

I hope that I would be able to ask for mercy for others. I think Imriel knows that other Maghuin Dhonn are blameless in this–that being born of a certain tribe (or family) doesn’t mean you acted in a certain way or will act in a certain way.

Other bits:

Something that stuck out to me while I read was Morwen and Imriel’s conversation just before she showed him the future. Imriel shared with her that they worship Elua barefoot. I don’t know. I’m not sure how to phrase it. Just that simple exchange stuck with me. That she seemed surprised to realize maybe they were not so different.


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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4 Responses to Kushiel’s Justice readalong: week 5

  1. tethyanbooks says:

    I wonder if that moment of realizing they are not so different made Morwen regret briefly what they were about to do to Imriel and his family.

    • emmawolf says:

      Yeah, I got the feeling from this reread that she was filled with regret, the whole time. I don’t know, maybe I didn’t think about it as much before. I think she realized the whole thing was on her–that if she hadn’t interfered to begin with, none of it would have happened and she wouldn’t have been a sacrifice. And I think learning that they had at least some similarities hurt her and just symbolized how badly she messed up.

  2. nrlymrtl says:

    I like the way you handled the dick at the school yard. You had a chance to be a bitch and instead you rose above that and you still made a point with everyone who heard that conversation. Educational and diplomatic.

    I haven’t seen Frozen yet. I will have to check that out.

    I also loved that Morwen was a bit surprised to see that Imri worshiped barefoot as well. Too bad they couldn’t have had that conversation months before. Maybe then things would have gone differently.

    • emmawolf says:

      Thanks. I think it makes a great story. I wish I would be thinner too to emphasize how completely ridiculous he was, but nothing’s perfect.

      I have mixed feelings about Frozen, but I like my interpretation (and the internet tells me that others agree with me). It’s kind of sex positive that way, but I have other issues with how the movie treated Anna. And I’m just not so into entertainment that is all “yay sisters!” (I love Hunger Games, but that’s my issue with that too.) Which is actually why I really like Sidonie and Alais, how different they are, how they don’t always agree or get along. In particular, I liked Alais’s description of Sidonie in the last part of the reading for this week and how their differences in experiences relate to how they see Imriel.

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