If you haven't read the book, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.
This week we read through to the end of Chapter 21.
1. Up to this section, we believed the Basghilae could not cross water, but we learn to the detriment of our heroes that this is not so. What further hidden abilities do you think might crop up from these walking dead?
Of course, I have to be a little pedantic and argue that we did not actually see them crossing water: they were wading through water but still travelling on the land. Or did I miss / forget something? As Ellion points out, they are hardly likely to be able to attack the group once they are on a water craft, so I am a little confused by this sudden concern about them ‘crossing water’. It seems that the attacking groups are positioned all over the world, so one group’s inability to cross a river seems rather unimportant in the overall scheme of things.
I dread to think what other special talents they might display, though I have to assume that they cannot fly because of the efforts made to get the group out of their airship. However, I am beginning to wonder if the Basghilae outnumber the living people because there seems to be an endless supply of them.
2. As the party enters the human lands, they come up with a cover story and request that Letitia remove her torc. She refuses. Do you think her decision was the correct one?
They are going to stand out no matter what she is, or isn’t, wearing so I am not even sure why she bothered with the cloak. If the Tanaan were seen more frequently in these lands, then I could see the point of trying to cover up, but they obviously are not.
3. At one point Ellion lingers over the warding process, specifically warding Letitia, and how a person must be completely nude for wards to be put in place. I'm going to leave this one wide open for comment ;).
I think someone needs to start slipping some bromide into his tea: he is waaay too concerned with sexytimes to think straight! :D
4. Ellion makes a tough decision to leave the Tanaan and while he watches them leave he has a huge epiphany about his inner motives. How do you think this will affect his actions and motivations the rest of the book?
I have a horrible suspicion that his future is already mapped out by Fate / the Goddess / his birth chart and no matter what he does he will be carried along to his Grand Destiny. Perhaps he is ta’veren of some type, to use a term from Robert Jordan, because he seems to have as little say in how his future unfolds.
5. We saw the Tanaan and Ellion in some interesting situations of a more personal nature in these chapters, from the Night Butterflies to cutting in at a dance. What did you make of these instances, what further cultural differences along these lines do you foresee happening, and have you ever been a part of such a situation?
I was a little surprised that Ellion was so embarrassed about explaining what a whore is. We have seen that the Tanaan have a liberal attitude to sex, so why would they be upset about men paying for it? I would have thought that this concept would be much more shocking for a repressed, conservative culture. The dancing was much more about socially acceptable behaviors and manners, although I was a little surprised about the Tans anger until Ellion reminded us about the once-in-a-year chance for the Tana to be fertile.
I have never been in a situation of being submerged in a culture so very different from my own that I have had to deal with major problems like this.
6. Once again, we were treated to some fight scenes. What stood out for you about these scenes?
After the discussion we had last week about the Tanaans and their ability to adopt new tactics, I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. The knights have formed a cohesive group and we have seen fewer deaths as a consequence. However, I am still confused about why they are being harried and not simply eliminated: their enemy certainly has the numbers to overwhelm them, but he chooses not to.