Hi all! At long last here are my responses to this week’s reading questions, which cover chapters 33-47. If you haven’t been reading the book, beware of spoilers.
1) What stood out to you for Moirin’s baptising ceremony? Have you ever been through such a religious ceremony and did it go as you expected?
It reminds me of a combination between a baptism and a confirmation. Catholic confirmation usually takes place at the age of 16+, once you are old enough to make your own decisions and can choose of your own accord to become a full member of the faith.
It seemed like a par for the course religious ceremony until the Patriarch decided to make her commit apostasy in order to be baptized. That was the point where Moirin had to nope out of there. It was such a bizarre test to throw in the middle of it, and when it came down to it, she couldn’t reject and betray who she is and what she believes. And even though she didn’t hesitate, it took a lot of courage to stand firm.
2) Now Moirin and Alexsie (spelling?) are free. Alexsie has much to learn not just about Moirin but also about the larger world. What moment do you think challenged his ingrained believes the most? What do you think he will do ultimately with his life?
The entire time he was with Moirin, basically. I think it was a gradual journey as he started to realize that she was authentic, and that his worldview was not the only one out there. And it was so nice to see him come out of his shell and realize that there is more to life and to religion than shame and fear and guilt. I know he’ll likely always have that struggle, but at least now he has experienced peace and unconditional love in a much deeper way than he ever has before. He knows what faith *should* feel like.
I imagine that Alexei will have a hard time returning to his home, but that he will do his best to navigate the complexities of his situation and will be able to free his mother too.
3) There comes a moment when Moirin realizes that she did come to love Alexsie, in a way, and that’s the same moment she knows she will not see him again. Naamah’s curse indeed! Have you had such a moment yourself? Do you think this curse also applies now to Moirin’s love of the departed Jehane?
I feel for her so much in that situation. You can love someone who you know you have no future with, but also cherish the time that you do have together and appreciate that love for what it is. And I have had that experience before, many years ago, and I made my choice without regret. I really like the way that love is portrayed in Moirin’s story, because contrary to popular belief, you can love multiple people, and you can love different people in different ways. And love alone doesn’t mean long-term compatibility, and Moirin is able to see that and recognize it and realize that that’s okay, and that not every relationship in her life is meant to last forever.
4) Falcons and spiders and rats, oh my! What stood out the most for you in Moirin meeting up again with Erdina, Bao’s wife? And what do you expect Moirin will find as she heads towards the Falconer with his Spider Queen?
As a Dungeons and Dragons nerd, I am picturing Drow. Lots and lots of Drow. This might also be a good time to mention that I am terrified of spiders.