Week Two questions are presented by Susan of Dab of Darkness (here’s a link to week one).

*Spoilers for chapters 17 through 31*

What do you think of the magic in this world?

A lot of it seems to be tied to the spirituality connected to their religion, Phèdre’s visions of Kushiel for example. We also get hints about the Master of the Straits. He controls passage between Alba and Terre d’Ange but we haven’t gotten all the details or lore yet. Then there’s the dromonde which Hyacinthe and his mother have access to. It was forbidden for her to teach him but it also seems to be something they don’t consciously access. I’m curious about what the training would be like for a skill like that. Is it something that can only be accessed by a certain bloodline or could anyone theoretically be trained?

What do you think of Baudoin and his mom, the Lioness of Azzalle?

I think of Baudoin as that popular-but-a-jerk jock stereotype. He’s aggressive and privileged and his mom seems to enable that. But he also has ambition. He did the role of the Sun King at the Midwinter Masque and he had planned to kill Ysandre to take the throne. I imagine his mom would have done a good portion of the administrative end of the ruling while he did the fighting. I feel bad for their relatives who were exiled but Ysandre and the others had to vote for their deaths. They had too much potential support. If they were exiled they would cause a civil war.

What do you think of Alcuin’s final assignation? Guy’s death? Would Alcuin have been less useful but happier doing a different job than Naamah’s servant?

I can understand why Alcuin backed Vitale Bouvarre into a corner like that because he wanted his debt paid, he wasn’t really into the job (especially not Bouvarre’s assignations), and he wanted an answer for Delaunay but Guy paid the price. But Guy also died doing his job. He protected Alcuin.

It’s hard because Alcuin probably wouldn’t have been able to get the information otherwise. And clearing his debt was an important part of him being able to tell Delaunay how he felt. I could see him working as an assistant. He did that on previous occasions. Alcuin also seemed to enjoy learning. I couldn’t see him as a man at arms. I think learning to defend himself would have been a good idea though.

What do you think Joscelin’s life was like before being assigned to Phèdre? Are you surprised that Delaunay didn’t dismiss him after the confrontation with Childric d’Essoms?

I imagine a combination of strict monastery and special military training base. Not a lot of comfort. Not much distraction. Lots of physical exercise and endurance training plus the specialized dagger and sword learning and practice. Plus religious study and meditation.

I’m not surprised that Delaunay didn’t dismiss him. Phèdre was burned by a poker at one point. But also this is Joscelin’s first assignment. There will be a practical learning curve. Plus he seems to find the two of them together hilarious.

How dangerous do you think Barquiel L’Envers is? What do you make of his history with Delaunay?

Pretty dangerous. He has loyal soldiers and a daughter married advantageously. He has power and the means to defend it. Plus he plays outside the rule of law, taking matters into his own hands.

He’s clearly a witness to Delaunay’s past but they have a compelling reason to work together even if they aren’t friends.

How did you feel about Phèdre granting d’Essoms another assignation? Did she owe him a debt?

In a sense she owes him a debt. He dropped important information to her without needing to be asked (to be fair though he did burn her at the same assignation). But I also feel like a big portion of it was how Phèdre felt about Delaunay and Alcuin being together. She’s a little heartbroken but doesn’t want to talk about it. Also d’Essoms has been hers in a way no other patron has been.

How do you feel about the change in Alcuin and Delaunay’s relationship? Phèdre’s reaction?

Conflicted. As a teenager I was happy for the two of them and I empathized with Phèdre. But I do understand why it will rub people the wrong way. Alcuin was in Delaunay’s care, an indentured servant as well. But they don’t get together until Alcuin is older and he isn’t an indentured servant anymore. We also see Delaunay putting up barriers and holding them until that point. I want them to be happy and they both decided that it was with the other that they would be. I still empathize with Phèdre, I’d be heartbroken but also trying not to hurt them.

4 thoughts on “Kushiel’s Dart Readalong: Week Two

  1. I’m really intrigued by the elements of subtle magic and supernatural powers in this latest instalment. It seems to me more akin to religious fervour on Phèdre’s part but I am happy to be proven wrong if it develops into something more! The dromonde is also particularly interesting and their predictions thus far seem eerily correct!

    I am not happy at all with Delaunay and Alcuin’s relationship… it just seems wrong. Delaunay is, after all, the closest thing he has to a father and has maintained that role since his rescue!

    Liked by 2 people

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