Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.5

Today is the fifth week in our readalong of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart.  Week five is being hosted by Igret’s Corner.  The questions and answers for week No.5 are below.  If you haven’t read this book already be aware of spoilers in the following text.  If you have read and want to jump in with your own answers then please do so.  If you want to join in with the readalong then leave a comment – the details are here.

Chapters 37 – 45

1) In this section we see Melisande betraying Delaunay and Phedre. Did you see this coming? Why or why not? Also, what do you think Melisande’s highest loyalty is to?

Well, I never really trusted Melisande to be honest although I think her betrayal was still a shock.  More shocking for me was Delaunay and Alcuin’s deaths – in fact I still on a reread am shocked by that particular scene and I knew it was coming.  The first time I read this I was gobsmacked by their deaths – I really didn’t see it coming.  As to who Melisande is most loyal to – I can really say only herself!  I don’t think she’s a character that you could ever really trust because at the end of the day she’ll do exactly what she needs to do to suit her own needs first.  She’s a great character though – you have to admit.

2) We see Phedre sold into slavery by Melisande and D’Anglemort. How is slavery different than being a bond servant, how is it the same?

I’m struggling to find the best answer for this as the two do seem to be so similar. I think the biggest difference that I can come up with is that a bond servant does seem to be something more of a contract that a person can work towards becoming free of.  Okay, it might take a long time but there is a light at the end of the tunnel?  A slave – well, I suppose a slave could try and seek freedom or even try and accumulate money to try and buy their freedom but there’s no obligation on the person who owns the slave to let them do so?

3) Hedwig’s treatment of Phedre is not what Phedre expected. What does her behavior tell us about Skaldi women? 

I liked Hedwig and the way she treated Phedre.  I think the Skaldi women live in a harsh world and frankly a man’s world where they don’t really have a great deal of choice about a number of things but they do stand up for themselves and I like that.  Hedwig was determined that Phedre would be treated well and set the example for everyone else.  It’s not like anything was going to change the fact that Phedre had become Gunter’s property, or his actions, but at least she was treated with some decency.

4) Joslin initially hates Phedre for not attempting to run, yet ultimately chooses to stay with her. What does this say about Joscelin and his views of Cassiel? 

I was a bit surprised at the strength of feeling that Joscelin had for Phedre because frankly I think she was the more sensible of the two in the way she was behaving.  It’s not like they had a real chance of escaping at the time.  I think his views of Cassiel were solid at this point though as I think he was still doing what he thought was right.

5) Phedre says that Guntersville raid reminded her that she was with the enemy. Do you think that prior to the raid she had developed stokholm syndrom? What about life in the stedding made her complacent?

I don’t think Phedre developed Stokholm syndrome because I wouldn’t say she really liked Gunter – more she put up with what was going on, in fact she deeply resented the fact that she didn’t have a choice in becoming his sex slave and that really highlighted for me the difference with her former situation where she at least felt, in spite of being a bond servant, that she had a good measure of control.  She, and Joscelin, did become a little complacent, but I guess they had an end plan in sight and in the meantime they weren’t being mistreated.

6) Joscelin breaks his vows during the holmgang.  Do you think he should have or not? What do you think the repercussions will be?

I think it was something he needed to do in order to survive as I think his situation was becoming worse and the other warriors were starting to lower their opinion of him.  Plus, he was already in a bit of a tenuous situation because of all the female attention he was getting.  This way, he stood up for himself and in the bargain seemed to get rid of a member of the clan who didn’t seem to be very well liked.  It was a bit revealing that after the challenge everyone started drinking and laughing while the body of the other warrior was still growing cold on the ground – clearly no love lost there.

7) We see Waldemar Selig’s steading for the first time, what are your impressions of it?

It seems to be well organised and well controlled which does seem out of character for the Skaldic people.  It tells you something of this new leader that he’s able to control such a rowdy bunch of characters – not to mention keeping all the different clans together in one place and still maintaining some semblance of order.

Apologies for the late post everyone.

8 Responses to “Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, readalong week No.5”

  1. Michael

    Your post for this week is not nearly as late as mine was for last week…so don’t feel bad! 🙂

    As for the issue of slavery vs bond servant, one thing I took away was that even as a bond servant, Phedre had her choice of assignments. Mayhaps this is that Delauanay was a more benevolent bond holder than others. But I feel like she at least had some choice there — or the illusion that she has choices, if that makes sense. Here she lives and serves as the whims of another and she has no choice. She must share a bed with him and while she teaches him in the ways that they can both enjoy things, there are times he doesn’t care and only worries about his desires. And then there are others when he can be tender.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah – I felt sorry for Phedre – it could have been a lot worse I suppose but saying that doesn’t mean that things were okay.
      Lynn 😀

  2. nrlymrtl

    So true! Melisande makes a fascinating villain.

    It was very nice of Hedwig to ensure Phedre was given a bit of space her first night at the stedding. She also set the example for the rest of the Skaldi women on howto treat the new slaves.

    The author does a great job of showing how consent makes a big difference in a relationship. Phedre consents to all sorts of non-mainstream sex with her patrons, some of which I didn’t understand or found shocking when I first read this book over a decade ago. But then we have Gunter with is ‘hunting boar’ plain vanilla sex – which is really rape because there isn’t the mutual consent. It doesn’t matter that it’s standard, accepted sex and that Phedre’s body still goes to orgasm (without her mental permission). I think we all hate Gunter just a bit for it.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah – Hedwig was a good character – I liked her for the way she treated Phedre with respect. It was interesting when Phedre knelt to Hedwig she said something along the lines of ‘we don’t hold with that – we’re not savages’ – it kind of made me laugh.
      Gunter on the other hand – you can try and find things okay about him – like he didn’t share Phedre with the rest of his men – but at the end of the day she didn’t consent. It was interesting to see how she reacted with him and her obvious dislike, especially after the raid.
      Lynn 😀

  3. tethyanbooks

    #1, she is an interesting character, and I’m wondering what she’s up to while Phedre is at the stedding.

    #5, Yeah, I don’t think she ever really liked him either. She is making the best of a bad situation, but she’s still being raped regularly.

    #6, Good point, I guess he did need to do something for his reputation. No one seemed to bother him much after that.

    • lynnsbooks

      1. – nothing good I shouldn’t wonder!
      5. – pretty horrible situation really.
      6. – sometimes you just have to make a stand – and I guess making a stand against a fairly hated member of the clan wasn’t such a bad idea.
      Lynn 😀

  4. E.Maree

    Completely agree about it being quite shocking seeing Phedre being rational and Joscelin being the emotional one — what a change from their usual!

    • lynnsbooks

      The way they reversed roles during these chapters was really interesting wasn’t it – I think it also demonstrated the bond between the two and how strong it has become.
      Lynn 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s