Welcome to part 8 of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. Our host this week is Lynn from Lynn's Books, and her questions cover chapters 64-73. Keep in mind, therefore, that there will be spoilers up through chapter 73 in the questions and answers below! Also, remember to visit all the participants blogs to see what they have to say about this week’s section!
1.We finally go sailing and everything seems to be going so well that we were lulled temporarily into a false sense of security! Sailors are a superstitious bunch, throwing coins to the Lord of the Deep, for example. What did you make of the Master of the Straits? Any similarity to other myths or legends?
I wasn't really sure what he was exactly, up until now. I think this is the first unequivocal fantasy creature we've met in the series. Luckily he likes singing! He reminded me a bit of Poseidon.
2. Hyacinthe plays a much larger role in this installment and has come into his own, plus given a new title - ‘Waking Dreamer’. His travels so far have been very bitter sweet and you really do feel for him. Bearing that in mind what did you make of the strange dream that Breidaia had where she saw Hyachinthe on an island - this was skimmed over a little but did it give you pause for thought. Do you have any ideas of what’s in store for our Waking Dreamer?
I thought it was really nice that Hyacinthe has a name for what he is, which doesn’t involved him being an abomination. It really makes you think the gender-restriction on the dromonde has no real reason behind it than tradition, if men commonly see the future in the UK. I don’t know about the island... maybe he stays on the British Isles when the others return?
3. You have to hand it to Ysandre for choosing Phedre as Ambassador. It seems her strange talents come in very useful indeed. What did you make of her tactics and powers of persuasion?
I think it was mostly luck, because Ysandre could not have guessed what would have happened. I mean, I thought all Ysandre knew was that the Cruithne valued virginity in brides. Sending a courtesan as a diplomat could have backfired pretty badly. I think it was more just that she needed someone she could trust, and Phedre was the only one who spoke Cruithne. I’m glad her unconventional tactics worked!
4. We finally meet Drustan he at first seems like an unlikely match for Ysandre and yet they both seem to have a shared vision. Can they make it work do you think? They have so many differences even if they do succeed in battle?
I think it is a teenage infatuation. They barely know each other, after all. In the end, though, I think the plan is that they’ll each rule their separate kingdoms and come to visit one another every once in a while. I think that even if they don’t end up in love, they can probably make a strategic partnership/friendship like that work.
5. Can we discuss the Dalriada and the Cruithne - do they put you in mind of any particular races? What do you make of them?
I think that Carey didn’t change the words much here, I looked up Dalriada and Cruithne and found that they were actually ethnic groups. Their time is, I think, a little earlier than Kushiel’s Dart, but it seems like they’re the inspiration at least.
6. I’m puzzled about Joscelin - he’s always so severe on himself, particularly after the battle and Moiread’s death. I wonder why he blames himself so much - and I also wonder how he’s coping with watching Phedre’s actions - in particular her closeness to Hyacinthe.
I think mostly it’s the usual young self-importance, where the hero feels deep down like his decisions and actions have weight, while other peoples’ don’t. Thus, in his mind Moiread failed to be protected by him. In other peoples’ minds, she fought in a war for her family and was killed. It was good that Drustan called him out on that one, and hopefully it will help him in the future as well. As for Hyacinthe—I think he knows he has no claim on Phedre, and that she is going to sleep around (she’s trained for it!). All the same, it seems clear he loves her. It’s a difficult position for him, and I think like his feelings are going to come out into the open soon.
7. Finally, we’re working ourselves up for the grand finale - do you have any predictions as to how this will all pan out?
I think (or hope!) Ysandre and her team will win. I hope everyone we care about makes it through, and that Hyacinthe is able to find a new family that doesn’t think he is an abomination. I hope Melisande and d’Aiglemort are executed for treason, and the Skaldi are defeated. We’ll see!