It’s time for week two of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah’s Blessing. This week covers chapters 16-26, and questions are provided again by Susan of Dab of Darkness. Beware spoilers below!
1) What do you think of the assistance the Shahrizai have provided to Moirin and Bao so far? Do you think there's merit to their claim that the Shahrizai should govern the Shemhazai district?
It’s good that they have allies, and Moirin and Bao may feel cheered by the fact that the Shahrizai are generally quite good at playing politics. The Shahrizai must think that the pair has a good chance of succeeding, or they would not have given them their support. I don’t really know much about the Shemhazai folk, so I’m fine with the Shahrizai taking over the area!
2) Did you enjoy the Oath Swearing Ceremony where Moirin pledged to be Desiree's protector? What did you like best about it?
I liked the lottery for common folks to attend the party, and it was nice that Moirin ran it personally. She seems like a very genuine person, which seems to be helping her win over people who are not embroiled in d’Angeline politics.
3) Finally, there's news from Terra Nova. From chocolate to spices to riches to a vexing pox that Raphael may be able to cure to the loss of crown prince! Do you think Prince Thierry is really dead? If not, what kind of trouble might he be in? What else about Terra Nova intrigues you at this point?
Ghost-Jehanne is probably telling the truth, so he’s probably alive. He also can’t be in any urgent trouble, because it will be months more before anyone can arrive in Terra Nova. Maybe he is being held by some of the people there for some reason? Maybe he was exploring a new culture and lost track of the days? Maybe Focalor-possessed-Raphael has taken over a kingdom and Thierry is trying to stop him? I guess we’ll see!
4) Let's discuss King Daniel. He spent some time with his daughter but then planned to abdicate to Thierry when he returned. Upon the sad news, King Daniel is no longer with us. Is there anything more that could have been done, either by Daniel or for him?
I have a lot of sympathy for King Daniel’s grief, but that was also so selfish. He couldn’t be strong enough to minister the realm, he couldn’t be strong enough to love his daughter, and he couldn’t even manage to tell someone else his concerns instead of taking them with him to the grave. He must have realized that Moirin claiming that he’d completely changed his mind about Rogier would not be especially convincing.
I still think he should have gone to Balm House, and just lived there for a while. I also think that after he basically abdicated the throne to Rogier’s control, that should have been a sign that he should no longer have been permitted to refuse help. This is going to be a grief that will shape his daughter’s life, both from the emotional trauma and the political problems it will cause her. At least, through Moirin, she’ll know that one of her parents had loved her.
5) Rogier is angling for more political power. What do you think of him using his grieve to obtain his goal? Will Moirin and Bao be able to head off to Terra Nova without provoking Rogier further?
I have to believe that he doesn’t know his son is likely a rapist. That is extremely negatively viewed in Terre d’Ange, to the extent that his son would be guilty of blasphemy. I feel like Moirin needs to find a way to bring that to light, because it is a big deal.
If Rogier does not know this, I suspect he thinks he is doing what’s best for Terre d’Ange. While he is being calculating about using his emotions to accrue power, I don’t think, at this point, that his intentions are impure in a patriotic sense. I’m suspecting that Moirin and Bao will quietly slip into the Shahrizai mission to Terra Nova, and maybe in that way they can just disappear without him realizing until after they’ve gone.
--It was really weird to see Moirin and Bao in Melisande’s house, viewing all her stuff as historical artifacts.
--I like Balthasar. He seems like a good guy.
--I am impressed with Moirin’s father’s strength in his convictions. I did not expect him to turn against his childhood friend, but he did not hesitate to do so when he realized Rogier was in the wrong.