Kushiel's Dart – Part VI

Heldig and a very good book
Heldig and a very good book

Hello everyone! Welcome to the read along of Jacqueline Carey‘s Kushiel’s Dart. You can find the schedule HERE. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. We also have a Goodreads group for SF/F read alongs. Folks are always welcome to join us.

This week, Grace at Books Without Any Pictures is your host. Head on over there & leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all visit you. Folks are also most welcome to answer any and all questions in the comments and join in the conversation.

Chapters 46-54 are covered below. If you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers for these chapters.

1) One of the questions from last week dealt with initial impressions of Waldemar Selig’s steading.  Now that we’ve finally met him, what are your thoughts about him?  Do you think he suspects that Phedre knows anything, and will he continue to play a role in the story?

Waldemar Selig is a man who can walk with one boot in his native homeland and one wandering. He understands his people and yet has some understanding of the bigger world and deep hunger to explore it. I also think he is a bit ruthless and willing to sacrifice what he must to obtain his goal. Phedre may entertain him in bed and look pretty kneeling in the corner, but I don’t doubt that he would hesitate to kill her if he felt she was a threat.

I don’t think he suspects her of knowing anything specific, not unless Melisande has somehow cautioned him about her wit and training. He was definitely peeved when she escaped (as witnessed by all the men he spared to fetch her back or kill her), and that alone with the basic info he knows she witnessed (like all the Thanes in one place for a war meeting) would be enough to wish her dead.

Since this is a reread for me I will say that Waldemar’s machinations are not over.

2) What did you think of the visit to Lodur?  Do you think it will impact how Phedre thinks of herself?

Lodur is an interesting shaman or healer. I loved his little bit in this book, especially his story about his eye and how the gods can’t be bribed! Ha!

In such a short amount of time he gives Phedre much to think about. Along with his little insight into the gods and bribery, he also called her a weapon of the gods due to her Kushiel’s Dart. I  don’t think anyone other than Delaunay perhaps has thought of Phedre as a weapon or as a dangerous person. In a later conversation with Joscelin, she says she should show Melisande which throws truer – Kushiel’s Dart of Kushiel’s scion. Definitely the Dart.

Then Lodur gives her wicked grin practically asks for a kiss, and then chuckles at Phedre’s blush. I did enjoy the old man and I hope he survives the forthcoming battles/war.

3) Phedre and Joscelin have both gone through some harrowing experiences in the past few chapters.  How do you think it will change them going forward?

The one that stood out for me was Phedre nearly being raped while heading to Gunter’s camp to say her farewells. This wasn’t a private session in Gunter’s or Waldermar’s bedchamber. No, it was bare bottom’s up in the middle of the camp! Phedre does a really good job of imparting to the reader that in Terre D’Ange rape is not just illegal but sacrilege. That takes consent to a whole new level. I expect Phedre will add more caution to her life in the future.

Then of course Joscelin wades in to save her where Knut (or Harald?) and Waldemar have already done so and gets his head knocked senseless. Once again he ends up in chains, locked in a tiny hut. He bemoans the fact that he killed once again. And again, Phedre has to shame him into seeing the reality of the situation. I loved her line about writing his Prefect and telling him that the gods were better served by a whore of the Night Court. And she was right. Joscelin is really having to reassess everything he has been taught about right and wrong.

4) If you were in Phedre or Joscelin’s place, would you have acted the same way in crafting your mastermind escape plan?  What are your thoughts on how it worked out?

Of course, I would have wanted a bit more time. But Phedre and Joscelin felt they didn’t have it. I really liked how the author reflected this in Phedre’s lack of getting a tent.

If I were masterminding an escape, I would wait until I could find some poisonous plants. In the meantime, I would work my way around to having kitchen duty a few times a week, so that when I do have my poisonous plants I could, with little trouble, administer my brew to the whole bunch at once. Even if it just made half the warriors ill, I would have a better chance of escape.

Alas, Phedre and Joscelin may not have had until spring. Waldemar was already looking a little slant-eyed at Phedre after Lodur’s comments about her being a weapon. Joscelin was in trouble with no real sign he would be out of it any time soon. So I think they did the best with what they had.

5) We’re finally getting to observe a budding romance between Phedre and Joscelin.  How do you see this playing out?  What do you think of it?

This being a reread, I know where this goes. So let me just say that Phedre and Joscelin are one of my favorite hero couples exactly because they are so complicated, individually and together.

That scene, in the cave of Elua, was breath taking.

Other Tidbits

Waldemar and his Troi Milles Joies. I really like how the author leaves much up to the readers imaginations here. Phedre doesn’t really describe any of the positions or acts, other than a little with the Rutting Stag, but I like how she makes comments along the lines of everything except those acts a Skaldi man deems unmanly. Of course, I m very curious as to what those acts would be!

Joscelin had to kill a White Brother, unprovoked. Essentially murder. I felt for him, but I also noted the need. Same with Phedre when she had to kill Harald, though I did feel a bit more for her since she was never trained in the how (mentally, emotionally, or physically) of killing.

Did anyone else ache for the lost horses during Phedre’s and Joscelin’s flight?

Participating Bloggers:

Celine at Nyx Book Reviews
Jenn at Morrison Girl
Kheya at Not Food Porn
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

10 thoughts on “Kushiel's Dart – Part VI”

  1. The horses were part of what made me so scared for Phedre and Joscelin, because seeing them fall really made it hit home just how treacherous the terrain was and how slim the odds of survival were.

    I saw the encounter with Lodur as a major turning point in the story. Up until now, Phedre’s watched and listened, but hasn’t really been a major actor in terms of the political mechanations in the realm. She’s been a part of other people’s plans, but never her own. When Lodur speaks of her as a weapon, I think it drives home Phedre’s dawning realization that she’s got agency, she’s got skills, and she is capable of changing the world. Melisande said as much to her earlier in the story, but I suspect Phedre didn’t take it as seriously as she could have because it was coming from Melisande.

    1. I never really thought of the moment with Lodur as a turning point for Phedre. I did note the change in her willing to make plans and take charge during and after her Skaldi ordeal. You put it well though and this is why I love read alongs. New insight on one of my favorite books!

  2. I thought the scene with Lodur was really good! And, yes, I suppose Grace has a point about Phedre seeing herself as a weapon – plus Waldemar seeing the same thing – I think for the readers it was also a turning point in a fashion. Although, I do think Phedre has shown a lot of wiseness in the course of the past few chapters.
    The scene with Joscelin was lovely, and even though this is a reread for me it still came as a surprise they way he acted after it. It makes the reading going forward very interesting though. They’re quite a fascinating couple really.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Yes, Phedre has been wise for some time now, or at least developing some wisdom and acting on it.

      I had forgotten about Joscelin’s comment that at least he can say that it took a courtesan fit for kings to make him break his vow of celibacy.

  3. I loved Lodur’s flirtiness! Such a great old guy, it’s a shame we won’t be seeing more of him.

    Totally agree about the cave scene being breath-taking!

    I loved the little note about ‘acts a Skaldi man deems unworthy’. I have a few ideas what those could have been…!

    I definitely ached for the lost horses. I’m so glad Phedre’s wee pony is still standing for now.

    1. Yes, I am too curious about what a Skaldi man would deem unworthy in the bed chamber. Hmm… I love that Carey doesn’t spell out every sex act or naughty thought. She leaves some of it up to us to ponder over.

      And yes, I am glad the pony has made it through the tale so far.

  4. For a scene that all the readers had been looking forward to for so long, I was surprised how quickly the actual sex scene between Joscelin and Phedre was kind of glossed over. It’s an interesting choice, after being so graphic with other sex scenes.

    I actually got chills when they left the cave and saw that the Gods that they worship had actually stopped in that same place. Very interesting.

    I love that damn nameless pony way more than I should. I’d read a whole book about him.

    1. Yes. it is interesting that Carey chose to make the sex scene between Phedre and Joscelin so short. But I like that she focused on their emotions before, during, and after. It was not just about the act itself or reaching orgasm. Their time together was deeper.

      Ha! Same for me about the pony.

  5. I am wondering how things will go for Phèdre and Joscelin here on out. I think Joscelin is going to have to struggle to come to terms with some things if their romance continues.

    The murders were definitely a hard part of the escape. They had to basically kill them in cold blood, because they couldn’t afford to lose the element of surprise, too. I wonder how the two of them will cope with that going forward, as well.

    1. Yes, they will each need therapy once they return to civilization. Joscelin has broken several vows, but not his vow to keep Phedre safe. I think that will weigh heavily in his favor, both in his mind and in the Cassiline Order.

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