The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 2 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor


Today is the second week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a and don’t spare the horses:

So many verbal encounters. So much political muck! Let’s start with Princess Sheveän, who seemed so very outraged at the idea of the late emperor’s body being ‘desecrated’. Do you buy that as her reasoning? Or do you think she was making a scene for another reason?

I don’t really understand what that was all about tbh. I mean she seemed absolutely furious didn’t she?  Perhaps she’s hiding something or maybe she just really doesn’t like Maia and is all too eager to pounce on anything he does and find fault with it. At this point – I suspect everyone (almost).

Cala and Vedero both have some hard but pragmatic advice for Maia here: Cala’s concern is for the emperor being seen to be weak for treating his nohecharei as equals when their job is to protect him; and Vedero’s situation is different but her concern is basically the same as Cala’s. She seems alarmed at the idea that Maia might go against society and tradition by refusing to bargain for a marriage for her. How do you feel about these scenes, and the conversations between them? Are they being too harsh and/or cynical, or is Maia simply being too naive?

I think that the scene with Cala giving Maia advice was very touching.  I felt so sorry for Maia because he does seem to have latched onto the two as friends and so with that in mind I think the advice was good – particularly if he wants to keep the two of them close.  I think if he makes his feelings towards them too obvious in public then somebody will find a way of replacing them by saying they’re not doing their job properly.  And then he could be left with two people with a very different agenda. The same with Vedero – I think she was genuinely trying to give good advice to Maia, even if it isn’t advice that she likes herself.  Maia is being naive but that’s understandable given he hasn’t been brought up in court or with expectations of ever being there and so it’s good that he has some people around him to give advice.  But, I like that he still makes his own decisions, the case with Vedero being a perfect example.

Setheris attempts to come at Maia from his more abusive position, clearly intending to railroad his cousin into giving him a position at court he feels is worthy of him. Yet Maia sticks to his intention of sending Setheris somewhere he will not have so much easy access to the new emperor. Do you think, with that, that Setheris’s days of troubling Maia are over?

It’s interesting because Setheris has tried his bullying tactics now and they haven’t worked, so he’s seeing that Maia can and will stand up to him.  I don’t think he will be happy though and I definitely don’t think that’s going to be the last we hear from him.  Perhaps he will try something more subtle.  Maybe he’ll pull Hesero out of his bag of tricks and see if she can work her magic on Maia.

A discovery is made that the sabotage of the Wisdom of Choharo may have been caused by the Cetho Workers League – a “dissident group”. Do you think this will lead to a resolution of the investigation, or did the plot just thicken?

I think the plot did just thicken.  Clearly there are unhappy people in the empire and I’m sure that’s going to be due to a catalogue of unfair treatment from the previous Emperor.  I don’t think the Workers League will be responsible for the crash but I do think that someone will try to use them as a very convenient scapegoat.  It’s just too easy to pin this on a bunch of unhappy people and point the finger, plus it skirts round the issue of what they’re unhappy with and removes them from the picture.  Maia will probably be interested in hearing what others have to say and making change for the better so if the crash can be pinned on them it removes any justified complaints they might have.

Maia’s grandfather is coming to court for Winternight, though this seems to please Maia far more than it pleases Chavar … What do you make of Chavar’s open disagreeableness during the dinner at the ambassador’s home? Is it plain arrogance (albeit the racist kind), or do you think his disapproval of goblin folk runs deeper than that?

Well, I think there is a lot of racism at this court – and it’s not particularly well hidden, but with a new Emperor, and one that is half Goblin, people will have to be more careful.  Hopefully, Maia’s kindness will help people to see things in a new light – but such changes don’t usually happen overnight.  I imagine that Chavar’s open opposition to all of this runs slightly deeper.  He’s probably worried that the goblins will now use the opportunity of Maia being Emperor to their own benefit.  Or perhaps he’s worried that Maia will have more of an ear to what the goblins have to say?  It’s also another potential ally for Maia.  I’m really looking forward to the visit though, for Maia’s sake and also to learn more about his family.