Two Serpents Rise – Part III

GladstoneTwoSerpentsRisingHello everyone! Welcome to the Two Serpents Rise read along! You can catch the schedule over HERE. Feel free to join us in the comments if you like!

This week, Lauren from Violin in a Void is your host, so make sure to swing by her blog to see what she thinks, along with everyone else thinks.

1. After the fight at Seven Leaf, Caleb apologizes to Mal and they finally start dating. What do you think of the way their relationship has developed? Do you agree with Mal that Caleb chased her because he needs gods in his life?

At first, I was a little sad they didn’t sleep together that first night. But in retrospect, I think Caleb was right – that would have been their one and only night together.

Besides, things have been much more interesting this way. So, I am glad that they have had all this time to play off each other, the good and the bad. If they can both survive what’s coming, they could have a lasting relationship.

The sex on the beach was awesome, including that whole engulfed in a shark’s mouth thing. Though I do hope the force field kept out the fetid mouth breath of the beast.

I think Caleb is both attracted to and repulsed by people who have strong spiritual beliefs. He grew up in his father’s shadow, in some ways loved and protected, and in other ways horrified and disgusted. I’m going to go all Psychology 101 on this and guess that he has that same attraction/hate for Mal because of her strong beliefs, even it is only subconscious.

2. This section has been quite philosophical. Where do you stand on the debate – gods, no gods, or some kind of compromise? Do you agree with Caleb’s idea of sacrificing your morality because the religious alternative is even worse?

While I am not a religious person myself, I think a world without gods (and yes, I like there to be many of them and not just one) would be rather dull. Lots of inspiration comes from deities in one way or another. For this world, I think the humans have gained enough Craft knowledge and enough tech that they could reintegrate the gods without losing clean water and plentiful food. As we saw in Three Parts Dead, some (if not all) gods can be negotiated with using the Craft. Maybe that would be possible here.

It took me a while to figure out what Caleb was getting at – that no matter what choice is made, there is indeed a sacrifice. I think this is because my morality isn’t based on religion, so I was having trouble connecting the dots in this world where gods are real. For this world, I can no see clearly what Caleb is saying – imprisoning and enslaving gods, even the vegetable-mind kind, destroys a bit of society’s morality.

So with all that in mind, I have to look at what little we know of these gods. So far, they all seem to be a beastial in nature, taking from and feeding on the humans as desire drives them. Now, this has mostly been through Caleb’s eyes that we learn this, so have a grain of salt to swallow with it. But if that is so, then the gods themselves would understand the Red King’s destruction of them, and enslavement of what remained. they wouldn’t like it, but they would get it. And yet, I still am not entirely OK with enslaving these particular gods. Damn morals.

3. Gladstone is still unveiling amazing things in his world, like a sport based on myth, the eclipse festival, walking on water, and a half-dead sea god whose heart is being used for desalination. What interested you the most?

It was nice to see the ancient Aztec ball game being used as a live sport with raving teams and jerseys and drunken after game parties. This game isn’t based on myth, but on a real ancient ball game (Wikipedia Article). Doesn’t look any more brutal than hockey of Polish Knight League melees.

Haha! I laughed a little too at the Red King’s woes over the cost for a fireworks display for the eclipse festival. I like fireworks, but am not particularly enamored of them. Plus, I live in the desert where we have to perpetually be wary of forest fires. Fireworks season can suck. I think I would rather have free coffee for the entire populace for a day than fireworks.

Desalination isn’t easy, so it was mighty impressive that they found a perpetual power source to do the job in a vegetative state god. Now I am an organ donor and if I ever end up in a vegetative state, I hope they cut out the organs and tissues they can use and then pull the plug. OR plug me into a desalination plant and put me to work for the greater good!

Yet I doubt the god was an organ donor card carrier.

4. Mal has noted twice that they don’t have much time, and she apologizes to Caleb while he sleeps on the ocean. Then Alaxic kills himself and tries to kill Temoc – the last two priests of the old Quechal. What do you think is going on here? Any speculation about how it might turn out?

Something big is coming. I am a little surprised that Caleb, with all his inherent skepticism, hasn’t caught on to Mal’s little phrase of there not being much time left. Perhaps he has a blind spot there, being that he is trying to have a serious kissy-kissy relationship with her.

Alaxic was talking about worthy sacrifices on the night of the lunar eclipse. However, sacrificing himself wasn’t enough. So does this mean that he holds Temoc in high regard, so taking Temoc with him in this poisoned suicide was a worthy sacrifice? Or had Alaxic truly retired to the sidelines and knew Temoc was up to something and so was not only sacrificing himself & Temoc, but also whatever Temoc was trying to achieve?

Still so many questions on this one, and I look forward to getting the answers in the final part!

Other Tidbits:

I had forgotten the Red King had kept Mal’s pendant. It’s checked out and now Caleb has it back, along with the order to find the cliffrunner woman. Caleb is walking a slippery slope…..

Hooray for female sports celebrities!

Mal is the one who bought Teo’s girlfriend’s art piece. Coincidence? Or does it mean something? I’m going to go all conspiracy theory here and wonder if both Teo and Caleb are being shadowed in case they need to be eliminated or controlled for whenever this Big Something happens…..cause we all know something big is yet to come, right?

Below are the blogs participating:

Lauren – Violin in a Void
Heather – The Bastard Title (who will be in and out as time allows)
Ria – Bibliotropic
Susan (me) – Dab of Darkness

10 thoughts on “Two Serpents Rise – Part III”

  1. Hmm… Given what we know of the location of Dresediel Lex, do you think there should have been a little information the threat of forest fires in the book? I don’t recall Gladstone mentioning it.

  2. ‘I think Caleb is both attracted to and repulsed by people who have strong spiritual beliefs’ – I think that is spot on and really well put.
    This was a really interesting few chapters – the whole walking on water thing was a bit jaw dropping – not to mention then using that same spot to make out! And sharks – surely a bit off putting.
    I was very puzzled by the attempt on Temoc’s life – I can only think he must be considered a threat in some way.
    Lynn 😀

    1. The walking on water thing made me think of those high-saline lakes in which the human body is super buoyant and if the water is super shallow (yet still very reflective due to the salts) you can take funny pics that make it look like you are walking on water.

  3. 1. Good point about Caleb being attracted and repulsed by strong religious beliefs, in Mal at least. I wonder what he would think of her if she weren’t so pretty though.

    2. “It took me a while to figure out what Caleb was getting at”
    That might also be because he took quite a while to get to the point!

    “the gods themselves would understand the Red King’s destruction of them, and enslavement of what remained”
    Hmm, that’s an interesting point to consider… I think they’d understand it in the sense that their morality is based on power, not ethics. I don’t know if the gods would have asked whether human sacrifice is right or not; they could just demand it because of what they could provide in return, and how violent they could become if they didn’t get it. That the Red King would enslave them because he has the power to do so makes sense, but they’d definitely smite him if they could 🙂

    3. Oh wow, thanks for the link to ulama! I didn’t mean that it was a mythical game, but rather that the structure of the game was based on the myth of the sisters who gave their hearts to Achal and Aquel. Do you know if the real ulama has a similar origin?

    4. I was so annoyed with Caleb for not picking up on Mal’s meaning when she said they didn’t have much time! At least ask her what she means.

    1. Oh yes, those powerful deities would definitely take out the Red King if they could, and think it a perfectly normal reaction.

      Ooops. So, yeah, totally see what you are saying now about myths and sports. My bad. I am not familiar with the origins of ulama, though I have seen it played once when I lived in the southern part of the state. Makes rugby look like a gentle sport.

      Caleb does seem quite taken in with Mal’s looks, as well as her daring. Still, I want to slap him upside the head three times for missing Mal’s references to running out of time

      And this shocking idea just entered my head – what if Caleb is the sacrifice in the nefarious scheme?

      1. “And this shocking idea just entered my head – what if Caleb is the sacrifice in the nefarious scheme?”

        Ooh, ooh, love that! Lynn E. was just asking how I wanted the book to turn out, and I think that’d make for a cool twist. And now that you mention it, I’m reminded of something someone said/thought about people dying for their goddess, and of course Caleb’s relationship with Mal has been compared to a man chasing after a god…

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