It’s time for the second week of I Shall Wear Midnight, with questions provided by Susan of Dab of Darkness. These discussion questions cover chapters 7-10. I’m a day late, so on to the questions.
1) This section featured some characters from the Night Watch, who are featured in other books. Did you enjoy the cameos? If you haven't read the Night Watch books, did their appearance pique your interest?
I vaguely remember the Night Watch members from Thud. I definitely remember Commander Vimes and his son, and that was a fun cameo to see!
2) Roland sure is harsh in this section! What do you think is the source of these drastic changes in him? What, or who, would you delete in his life to makes things better?
Well, spoilers from later in the chapters, but Letitia. It appears that she’s done something to make him dislike Tiffany, and I’m guessing it has him a harsher person in the process. If her magic was tied up with the Cunning Man, it also makes sense that he would be more cold and harsh.
3) As Mrs. Proust predicted, Miss....Smith of the Unreal Estate found Tiffany. How do you think Ms. Smith's info on the Cunning Man will be used by Tiffany? What would you fear stumbling over in the Unreal Estate, a place where magical bits are constantly bumping into each other?
I’m not sure how the story will be useful, but I’m sure Tiffany will find a way to fight him. In a way, the Cunning Man is the most dangerous of enemies Tiffany has faced, because he is the most human. I don’t think I could handle the Unreal Estate. It sounds way too dirty.
4) Tiffany & the Feegles return to the Chalk to find Roland's men about to dig up the Mound. Luckily, Tiffany is able to make them see sense and they put away their shovels. If they hadn't, what do you picture would have happened?
I imagine the Feegles would have cut them to pieces. I really don’t think that’s workable in a YA novel, though, so it’s for the best that they saw sense and stopped. That’s the most serious I’ve ever seen the Feegles, but I suppose things do get very serious when you threaten someone’s home and family.
5) The Duchess seems ready to cause everyone a bit of pain, especially Tiffany. While Tiff seems to have checkmated her for now, what do you think the Duchess's next moves will be? Did you find it hard to hold your tongue during that standoff too?
After seeing Letitia and the Duchess together, I actually wondered if that was part of why Roland was marrying her. He has been (up until now) a pretty decent guy, and Letitia is in a pretty horrible family situation. I’m not saying he would have married her for pity, but if he liked her anyway, the desire to get her away from her awful mother could have played a role in the decision.
As to the actual question, I’m not really sure what the Duchess hopes to accomplish. Maybe she’ll try to go for having Tiffany executed for witchcraft, but does she really think she can bully everyone into that? And yes, I would not have been able to hold my tongue, but I doubt I would have handled everything as gracefully as Tiffany did. Tiffany did rise to the bait a little, but I thought she managed to stay remarkably calm in the circumstances.
6) We've met a very interesting guard, Preston, the newest of the bunch. He's a bit of a bookish nerd. Do you see him being of further assistance to Tiffany? How do you think this will affect his long-term employment at the castle?
I’m hoping that Preston will not remain working at the castle. I don’t think it would ultimately be a very happy life for him, having to play stupid all the time (though “happy ass, corp ass” = “habeas corpus” did crack me up). I’m hoping that he’ll help Tiffany more, and he’ll find another path for himself through his interaction with her. It seems to me that he’s mostly a guard because he couldn’t find a better option for himself, and I hope he learns that there are things he can do that suit him better.
7) Finally, we learn something very interesting about Letitia. It appears she is a witch. Will Letitia and Tiffany join forces to defeat evil? What do you think Letitia did, if anything, to bring the Cunning Man?
Right now, I think that Letitia inadvertently summoned the Cunning Man. She seems to be very magically talented, and to have had no help or training whatsoever. I’m not really buying the “woe is me, I was born pretty and rich” lament, though. She does have a difficult situation with her mother, but she could do something for herself. We’ve seen no evidence that she’s ever done anything but cry, paint watercolors, and work magic for petty reasons. I have some sympathy for her, but probably not as much as Roland seems to.