Friends and enemies: Kushiel’s Chosen Read-along, Part 2

As Phèdre heads to La Serenissima in search of her answers, she gets a few surprises along the way – both at home and on the road. But what awaits her at her destination?

Let’s discuss Kushiel’s Chosen.

This week’s discussion contains spoilers for chapters 18 through 30.

 

 

Marmion Shahrizai has a sudden fall from grace this week. What’s your take on how he handled Persia’s treason – and on how Ysandre handles him? Do you feel sorry for him? Do you think we’ll see him again?

I don’t recall if Marmion turns up again later in the story, so that’s an interesting question. I guess we’ll find out! As for my feelings on him now: I think they’re mixed at this point, still. I guess I can commend him for not committing Persia’s treason along with her, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle the discovery that your sister is a traitor to the Crown and Marmion did not exactly handle it right…

On the other hand, it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re terrified, and I do sympathise with him on that count. He was clearly twitchy about something so I think it’s obvious now that he wasn’t actively masterminding this deception like a real villain might. But I think Ysandre handled it about as fairly as she could; choosing not to execute him was a good call, I think.

 

What do you make of Nicola L’Envers y Aragon? Do you trust her? Do you think she’s right in her assessment of Barquiel L’Envers?

In contrast, I did remember Nicola, and rather fondly, if not entirely clearly, heh! I think she’s put herself in an interesting position by offering Marmion sanctuary in Aragon, though I don’t get any trouble-making vibes from her. I think she’s just a bold person who made a bold decision in certain eyes. As for Barquiel – I think she’s absolutely right, to be honest. I wouldn’t say I like him, exactly, but I can see Nicola’s point – I agree that the reason he and Phédre keep butting heads and are so prickly around each other is because they’re perhaps a bit too much alike.

 

Much has been made of Joscelin standing at a crossroads. Did any of his choices this week surprise you? Any thoughts on what roads he may walk down – and where they may lead him?

This is a tricky one to discuss without spoilers, but it’s fairly established by now that when Joscelin chooses to unbend and get out of his own head a bit, his personality blossoms. There is much more to this man than just the Cassiline warrior, and we’re seeing a lot of his inner conflict playing out here – but I don’t think Joscelin’s going to leave. He has an oath to keep and it may be a hard road to walk, but if anyone’s got the strength to walk down it, it’s him.

But the two of them still need to sit down and bloody talk to each other.

 

On the road again… Phèdre discovers she has friends in unexpected places and allies in every port. What was your gut reaction to the confrontation with the Unforgiven? Any predictions for what may await in La Serenissima?

That scene with the Unforgiven was an interesting one on a couple of levels. For one thing, it shows that this story, the events going on, are not confined to Phèdre’s political bubble. Everything that happens here has wider consequences that she may not always see, and so I think it was important for her to see this. It’s always worth being reminded that your actions have consequences, and I’m putting it that way because I’m not entirely sure that being put on a pedestal like this by the Unforgiven is a good thing? I feel like they’re only seeing an aspect of who Phèdre is and not the whole, entire, flawed person. This strikes me as a potentially unhealthy sort of relationship for her to have to them, and though it might prove to be useful down the line, I can’t help being a bit wary of it.

As for what’s waiting in La Serenissima … I can’t comment too much on that because a) spoilers; and b) again, my memory is fuzzy on the details. But I am certain it won’t be boring, and so I’ll end this here and wait to see what the rest of our group-readers have to say!

2 comments On Friends and enemies: Kushiel’s Chosen Read-along, Part 2

  • It’s true that Barquiel and Phèdre have a lot (probably too much) in common, which is why they can’t work with each other! 😂

  • Ah, Nicola 😍

    …I see we share reservations about the Unforgiven. I absolutely agree that this is a potentially unhealthy relationship for everyone involved, but hot damn the sheer DRAMA of the scene where they first appear. Still gasping. Although that might be Nicola’s fault.

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