Monday, June 19, 2017

Read-Along: Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey, Part 3

Welcome to week three of the read-along of Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah’s Curse, book eight of Kushiel’s Legacy.  This week’s questions were provided by Susan of Dab of Darkness, and they cover chapters 33-47.  Beware of spoilers through these chapters in the questions and answers below!

1) What stood out to you for Moirin's baptising ceremony? Have you ever been through such a religious ceremony and did it go as you expected?

I really hated that she was forced into pretending a faith she did not have, just to avoid execution.  I also feel like the Maghuin Dhon and Yeshua should have a loophole about oaths made under duress, regarding her later troubles. On the other hand, I appreciated that the novel made it clear that these ceremonies would not have truly made Moirin a believer.  The important bit was that quiet moment earlier, where she personally decided whether or not to accept Yeshua as her savior.

Regarding the second question, I was baptized when I accepted the Christian faith.  It went pretty much as expected.  My denomination practices immersive baptism, so it was done in a small pool with myself and the pastor.  The baptism itself is intended as a symbolic death and resurrection to a new life with Christ, and also as a public declaration of faith.  No one pressured or coerced me into my faith; it was a choice freely made!  
2) Now Moirin and Aleksei are free. Aleksei has much to learn not just about Moirin but also about the larger world. What moment do you think challenged his ingrained beliefs the most? What do you think he will do ultimately with his life?

I think one of the most defined shifts he had was when he realized that his feelings and his genetic heritage did not mark him as an evil person.  His uncle tried so hard to instill undeserved shame in him, and I think Moirin’s words helped him see that this was not God’s will. I liked that he did not suddenly reject everything he believed.  He only rejected that of his uncle’s teachings that did not ring true when compared with his understanding of Yeshua.  I expect, given his d’Angeline charisma, that he will be a great leader in his faith.  I am glad he has concluded that this future cannot be with Moirin, because they really aren’t suited for one another in the long-term.
3) There comes a moment when Moirin realizes that she did come to love Aleksei, in a way, and that's the same moment she knows she will not see him again. Naamah's curse indeed! Have you had such a moment yourself? Do you think this curse also applies now to Moirin's love of the departed Jehane?

Moirin, like Phedre, has a lot of love in her heart, and I am glad there is a little corner in there for her memories of Aleksei.  I’m delighted that Aleksei did not tragically die, and at least they may see one another again in the world someday.  I would say the curse is simply that humans are capable of a great depth of love, and that this means we will hurt all the more when we’re inevitably parted by death or circumstances.  I would say this applies not only to romance, but also to love for family and friends.  In that sense, I think we all eventually feel that pain.

4) Falcons and spiders and rats, oh my! What stood out the most for you in Moirin meeting up again with Erdene, Bao's wife? And what do you expect Moirin will find as she heads towards the Falconer with his Spider Queen?

This sounds like a fairy tale!  I hope Moirin is kind to everyone she meets, so that she has plenty of magical allies! I’m guessing that Bao’s half-diadh-anam is burning low because he is a mind-controlled assassin right now.  I expect he will face a conflict where he must rely on his love for Moirin to overcome the Spider Queen’s dominating power.

Other Things:

--Did Aleksei remind anyone of Joscelin in this section?  I am remembering Joscelin’s strict discipline, and his shock with Phedre’s behavior.  

--I think it’s a bit unfair that Aleksei says Moirin didn’t hesitate.  She really did! She warned him, and then waited to see if he would back down.  It’s not like she shot an arrow at him on sight.

--I’m glad Moirin got her stuff back.  Erdene seems to be a kind woman, especially after all Bao has put her through.


  1. I totally agree with you about Yeshua and the Maghuin Dhonn! They should have a loophole concerning folks being coerced into a faith under threat of execution.

    Good point - Aleksei isn't inherently evil because of the circumstances or genetics of his birth. And thanks for the correct spelling of his name!

    Now that you bring it up, I can see a few similarities between Aleksei and Joscelin - their innocence in so many things.

    True. Moirin did give fair warning. Rostov has already tried to have her killed, had her abducted, kept her prisoner. He would do it all again if given the chance. So I feel that Moirin was being generous with her warning.

    1. I think what first got me thinking about Joscelin vs. Aleksei was Aleksei's focus on chastity, and in a more superficial way his blond hair!

  2. Agreed on the loophole as well. And I'm really glad Moirin was able to recover Jehanne's perfume. Her mementos may be just things, but they help remind her of happier times and give her hope along her journeys.

    1. Yeah, I was really sad about her having lost the perfume, after we learned Jehanne had died. That especially will be a good reminder of happy times.

  3. Exactly. You can't give somebody a choice between accepting their faith or death - most people want to live of course so will make the decision based on that reason alone - it doesn't actually mean they really believe though does it. You can't force somebody to share your beliefs - you can try to persuade them, but certainly not by offering to kill them if they disagree.
    I think Moirin was very fair giving Rostov fair warning - it's more than he gave her after all. A very unsavoury character and I hope we've seen the last of him.
    Bao - a mind controlled assassin - wow, I hadn't thought of that.
    Lynn :D

    1. I agree completely. I think Rostov should have considered that before he started making death threats in the first place. I also hope he doesn't show up again, though I wouldn't mind Moirin dropping in to see how Aleksei's doing in a few years.