It’s time for week two of the read-along of Max Gladstone’s Last First Snow! This week’s questions are from Anya of OnStarships and Dragonwings, and they cover chapters 17-37. Keep in mind that there will be spoilers through chapter 37 below!
1. We've gotten glimpses of the two sides to the Skittersill situation. Gladstone is once again using his fantasy world to discuss interesting social issues. What do you think of the arguments on each side and the solution they came to?
Looks like we’re dealing with gentrification this time, which I think is currently a major social issue. I think both of their perspectives have some value. Tan Batac, especially, seems to be seeing this as a way to improve the place of his origin, and the others are seeing their work in terms of making Skittersill a safer place to live. However, the intention of improving the area doesn’t stop the fact that they are planning to effectively destroy the current Skittersill community. I really liked the spider example, and I thought it was very effective in communicating the disconnect between their perspectives. I think they came to a pretty good compromise, in the end.
Of course, that was before the shooting and the accidental killing of the child and everything going downhill from there. It looks like the agreement is still valid, though, so it’s still possible for things to settle.
2. Temoc is experiencing a lot of conflict over his roles of father/husband and leader of the rebellion. Do you think he's making the right decisions? What do you think you'd do in his place?
I’m suspecting, based on knowledge of the future, that he’s going to choose the rebellion over his family, and then he’s going to attempt to ‘protect’ Caleb out of guilt for putting them in danger. I thought it was a nice gesture, to bring his family to the signing of the contract, and I don’t think there is any way he could have anticipated things would have gone as badly as they did. The bargaining was over, the broadsheets were stopped, and all that was left was to celebrate their victory. I don’t think he necessarily made a bad decision there, it was just unfortunate that things fell out the way they did.
As for his bargaining with the Red King, I guess the Major has now shown clearly his desire to ruin everything. I know that’s not how he would put it, but that was a very underhanded thing to do, using Temoc’s good faith as a cover for a flanking move. I guess I could say Temoc should not have trusted the Major, but I don’t know what else he could have done to try to defuse the situation.
3. Who do you think tried to assassinate Tan Batac? Any theories as to their purpose or affiliation?
My first thought was the guy who was distributing the broadsheets. His goal seems to have been to force Temoc into the role of a religious leader for the masses. He has succeeded there, so maybe his next step is to move Temoc’s people into violent rebellion. If that’s the case, I would guess that his goal is to return the old ways of worship to Dresediel Lex. I guess we’ll find out soon who is really behind this!
4. What do you think Elayne's going to do next to try to fix this quickly snow-balling situation?
I am guessing punishing the Warden who accidentally killed the child and finding Tan Batac’s shooter would have to be top priority, so maybe she’ll do something on that front. I’m suspecting that she’ll be hunting Tan Batac’s shooter. The new wards are holding, so at least that agreement is already settled. Now, they just have to stop a potential civil war…
--I was surprised to see they have kebab places in Dresediel Lex!
--The Red King seems entirely too flippant about the situation. I think he may be taking things seriously, and that’s just his personality, though.
--I don’t yet get why the Major wants a war so badly. It isn’t a war they can win. Is he trying to tear a whole in the fabric of the universe, as mentioned previously?
--I’m not sure how the new wards breaking would help the situation. Kevarian seemed to be saying that it would force them to bargain more, but I think the situation has gone well past the bargaining stage by now.