Welcome to week two of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Justice! This week covers chapters 8 through 14, and the discussion questions have been provided by Emily of EmmaWolf. As usual, beware of spoilers through chapter 14 below!
1. There’s some politics, and Imriel learns a little more about the Ephesian ambassador/Unseen Guildsman Diokles Agallon. Does this shed any light on Melisande’s whereabouts or the Guild? Do you have any new guesses?
It sounds like Diokles Agallon is an opponent of his mother’s within the Guild. I was a little surprised that Imriel would not want to deal with an enemy of his mother. It seems his opinion of her has been changing a little since he read her letters and has had time to absorb the knowledge that she has been trying to protect him. I don’t really have any further guesses on what the Guild is up to, though.
2. Joscelin tells Imriel to give it a year with Dorelei to see if his feelings for Sidonie (or hers for him) fade. What do you think of this advice? Do you have any thoughts on Imriel’s wedding?
I think it is sound advice, especially since they’ll have more options when Sidonie officially reaches her majority. It would also stop them from causing a major political incident if their love ends up just being teenage lust and the lure of the forbidden, since that kind of love probably wouldn’t survive the year. I don’t think Joscelin believes this is the case, but in all cases waiting seems the wisest option.
I have to admit that I find myself wondering how well Imriel and Sidonie’s relationship might fare in ordinary circumstances. They both admit that the ‘forbidden’ aspect is probably part of their attraction, and circumstances have not really allowed them to explore much of their relationship besides sex. I think that might make it especially hard for both of them to split up, since they don’t really have a solid relationship outside the bedroom yet.
3. We learn a bit more about Alban law and culture. What do you think of the law that imposes harsher sentences on the wealthy/ruling class? What is more dangerous: armies or books? What do you think about the Maghuin Dhonn?
I think that is a better inequality than the other way around. If the wealthy/ruling class is good at avoiding being caught, though, it might not matter. For books/armies, I would say armies. Violent people are much more terrifying and dangerous to me than new ideas. It sounded like the Maghuin Dhonn was a case of wanting vengeance so badly that you’re willing to sacrifice your own soul. I really hope this doesn’t end up like Darsanga.
4. Dorelei lays some truths on Imriel. How do you like her now? What do you make of the dream she had of Imriel?
I have always thought Dorelei seemed like a good person, even if I sometimes forgot her name in discussion. I think she and Imriel really needed to have this discussion. I hope it helps Imriel see her as a person, and not as a ‘miscast actor in his own personal tragedy’. After all, Dorelei’s situation is just as tragic—being married to a man who is in love with someone else. I think they also need to have the BDSM talk soon, though, since it didn’t sound like she really understood why he was sometimes a bit rough with her. It’s possible there may be some things she’s willing to try, even if she isn’t really into the Kusheline arts. About the dream, I have no idea. I never do seem to figure these kinds of things out before the answer is handed to me.
--I still find it kind of funny how Imriel sees his chemistry with Sidonie as more like Phedre and Joscelin’s passion. Phedre and Joscelin’s compatibility in the bedroom was initially more like Imriel’s with Dorelei.
--It’s great to see that the Albans seem to be accepting Alais already! I hope we get to see some of her dream-reading training.