Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Week 4 (late)


Melisande -sketch- by zeldyn on DeviantArt

So, I know that I’m behind on the readalong, but since I am technically hosting this coming week, I’m going to try super hard to get caught up really fast.  The Week 4 questions come from Dab of Darkness.

Alcuin finally talked with Delaunay about being uncomfortable serving Naamah. He spent 3 days in the sanctuary of Naamah and came out with a lighter heart. What do you think occurred there?

I think he bore a certain burden of guilt knowing that he wasn’t enjoying his service to Naamah, and realized through talking it out that he was acting out of love, and that nobody would force him to do anything against his will.  And I think for him that just being able to get away for a while might have been a much-needed mental vacation.

We are introduced to the new protector of the Delaunay household, Joscelin Verreuil. What were your first impressions? Would would you find it harder to pay homage to: Naamah or Kushiel or Cassiel?

Joscelin amuses me, because he’s a lawful good character ordered to protect a person whose has extreme massochism as a superpower.  So he’s obviously uncomfortable with what she’s doing, and she’s got this feeling that he’s a prude, but at the same time you can’t deny that there’s a certain chemistry between them despite the fact that they’re complete opposites.  As far as part two of the question, I think it would be hardest to serve Cassiel.  I’m not cut out to live a monastic lifestyle, although for a long time, everyone thought I was going to end up being a nun.  And of the three, I find Kushiel the most intriguing.

Phedre visits Childric D’Essoms two more times; once to beg a boon for Delaunay and again because she feels she owes him a debt. Do you think she was right to go on either of these occasions?

Yes, I think so.  My impression is that the two of them were closest on the third occasion, once you took out the mistrust and feelings of suspicion.  It’s the first time he seemed to see her as her instead of Delanay’s creature, and you could definitely see some tenderness in the end.  It was the actual reveal that was dangerous, and Phedre and Jos were lucky they were able to handle it unscathed.

We meet the Duc Barquiel L’Enver, who has spent much time in Akkad. What do you think lies in the past between him and Delaunay? What do you think of his methods to dealing with Vitale Bouvarre?

His methods are questionable, but the end result is there.  As far as the past between him and Delanay, I’ll admit that even though this is not the first time I’ve read the book, the politics here turn into a it of a blur.

At the palace, after a meeting with Clavel, Phedre sneaks off. In the hall, she overhears Isidore d’Aiglemort talking about the Glory Seekers along the Skaldi border. Then she finds herself hiding under some furniture when she witnesses a secret meeting between Delaunay and Ysandre de la Courcel. What do you make of this latest political intrigue?

The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place, but I don’t trust Phedre to keep herself out of trouble with the knowledge that she’s acquiring.  In her case, ignorance is bliss, and with the prophecy looming over her head, I worry that she’s trying too hard to figure everything out and will one day regret it.

Melisande Shahrizai points out to Phedre that she both despises and loves each of her patrons, if only a little. Do you think this is true for Phedre? For most human relationships?

It’s been my belief for some time that love and hate are not opposites.  Both involve strong passion and feelings for a person.I would counter that the opposite of both love and hate is ambivalence.

Phedre is contracted for the Longest Night by Melisande to be shown off to the Duc de Morhban. What stood out for you the most this night? Now that Phedre can complete her mark, what do you think she will do?

I have fond memories of reading about the Longest Night for the first time.  You see, Mike had a habit of reading over my shoulder the first time that I read the book, and I swear he had perfect (by which I mean the most hilarious) timing.  It was never the parts about the politics or the lore about fallen angels, but rather, the more explicit scenes… like Childric and the poker, or Melisande and the flechettes.  I’m glad I didn’t wind up scaring him off.  😛

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2 comments

  1. Describing Joscelin as Lawful Good is an excellent way to put it.

    And you considered being a nun?

    I think I didn’t really grasp the politics until perhaps my 3rd read through. I am so glad that Phedre often connects the dots for me.

    I like your idea that the opposite of hate & love is ambivalence. I will have to give that a good think.

    1. I was particularly fascinated by the cloistered orders, and went to several open-house days for folks considering joining. In retrospect, I can see that a big part of it was that growing up as the oldest of four kids in a small house, the idea of permanent quiet and contemplation was quite appealing. But obviously I chose quite a different path, and I’d have made a terrible nun. I have too many blasphemous ideas. 😛