[identity profile] agh-4.livejournal.com
Welcome to April, the month before the month of Thick as Thieves! This week, we’re reading from “The stool hit the wall with a satisfying crash” to “Costis returned to his room, freed himself of belt and breastplate, and fell, otherwise fully dressed, onto his bed.” As always, these discussions are spoiler free for “The Wine Shop,”The Knife Dance,” and the Thick as Thieves arc, but we WILL probably discuss content from all four published books. Page numbers are from the 2006 paperback.

The discussion for the first five chapters is here. Next week, led by [livejournal.com profile] ibmiller , we will finish the book!

What could possibly happen in a five-chapter chunk that begins and ends in Costis’s room? EVERYTHING.

Summaries and assorted questions )

I'd like to take a moment in this post to acknowledge and remember [livejournal.com profile] philia_fan, whose username came from Chapter Eight. Philia meant a lot to many of us here, and it was very sad to lose her when she passed away five years ago. Her insight shaped my readings of these books as much as her thoughtfulness shaped my experience of this community. So, so, so, shoutout to Philia. <3
[identity profile] live-momma.livejournal.com
This week we’re reading from the beginning of the Prologue, "The queen waited..." through the end of Chapter 5, "...knowing himself entirely guilty of what the king had not condescended to assume him of."

Prologue + Chapters 1-5 of The King of Attolia
These discussions are spoiler free for the new short stories, “The Wine Shop” and “The Knife Dance,” as well as the “Thick as Thieves” arc.

There will be spoilers for books 1-4, so if you haven’t read all the published books yet, proceed with caution.

The prologue gives us four little snippets, each is Turner giving the reader hints about the main players in this book.

In the first Attolia waits for Attolis on their wedding night. We get a glimpse at the difficulty of their union, but also this: "Today she had yielded the sovereignty of her country to Eugenidies, who had given up everything he had ever hoped for, to be her king." And with that one line she reminds us that Eugenides never wanted to be king, as demonstrated in the final scene of Chapter 19 of QoA.

The second shows us Ornon's schadenfreude at the new king's "fetters". He seems almost sinister. In case you'd forgotten, Ornon almost succeeded in making Eugenides "safely dead" in Chapter 2 of QoA.

The third introduces us to Costis, a responsible guard whom the captain, Teleus, respects. They both believe the king to be "Attolia's most dangerous enemy." We find out later (Chapter 14) that Eugenides intended to "change the mind of the man next to {Teleus}." This is the first peek at their minds.

And the final tells us that Relius fears the king and wants to limit his powers. Which is ironic since the king doesn't want to rule and the king is the one who saves him from the queen's punishment.

Chapter 1 - Wait until your father gets home!
While Eugenedes and Costis wait for the Queen to come home from hunting to issue a punishment, we learn that Costis's best friend is Aristogiton called Aris and that Costic came from a land-owning (petronoi) farm family, but that Aris's family are landless okloi. We are introduced to Laecdomon (whom the king could do without) and Legarus the Awesomely Beautiful guard and Sejanus. We learn that the king is most unkingly in dress and manner and that he has not lost his ability to enrage people.

    "He said the only thing worse than being wrong in a family argument was being right."

    "You don't walk like a king, you don't stand like a king, you sit on the throne like...like a printer's apprentice in a wineshop."

Chapter 2 - Now you've done it!
The queen comes home, and the king neatly chains Costis to Teleus. Costis is volun-told to be the king's sparring partner, and Teleus agrees to start doing his job. When the king lets Costis see a glimpse of his real self, Costis thinks he's still dissembling.

    "Unkingly, in so many ways, My King. Not the least of which is listening to your guard tell you so."

    "A snake," repeated the queen.
    "A black one. A friendly one."

    "I didn't know, Your Majesty." It wasn't an excuse. It was an admission of failure.

    "Were you lying?"
    "I never lie," he said piously. "About what?"

Chapter 3 - Making your life miserable.
Teleus makes it clear that he expects better things from his men, even if he doesn't actually respect the king, and Costis skips his first sparring match (but not the second) and gets his first taste his new responsibilities. Aristogiton is pretty sure he delivered the note to release the hounds, the king continues to sneak about in his own palace (which no one realizes, even when they see him!), and Costis has not lost the respect of his fellow guards, which baffles him, and the king promotes him to lieutenant.

    "So, so, so," said Aris, "at least my honor will be intact."

    "Shall we begin with the first exercise?"

    "Your guard is low," Eugenides said calmly...

    "When breakfast was over, the king stepped around the table and bet to kiss his wife's cheek."

    "I was listening," the king said, aggrieved. "I closed my eyes to listen better."
    "What did you hear?"
    "I'm not sure," he said. "That's why I was listening so closely..."

    "Out on the steps, Costis stopped to look at the schedule. He stared at the sheet in consternation. The king hadn't needed to hang him; he would be dead of exhaustion within the month."

Chapter 4 - Keeping your life miserable.
Sejanus leads the pack in bullying the king, and the king picks on Costis in turn. Costis receives mysterious study guides. The king gets a lesson in wheat, makes a joke, and sits alone in his room.

    "Sejanus liked his jokes. Costis was growing tired of them."

    "Thank gods I didn't ask about fertilizer," he said.

Chapter 5 - Secrets.
This chapter is very long! Relius witnesses the king's reluctance to rule but misinterprets it. The king visits Artadorus in the middle of the night, and he, too, misinterprets it. Sejanus continues his quest to irritate the king, and the king does the same to Costis. Dite writes a song about the King's Wedding Night, the king loses his temper over it, and Costis earns a day off to recover.  Ornon is no longer pleased that the king is not. The undersecretary for provisions to the navy nearly takes a very short trip to meet Eugenides's cousins, the queen offers the king some wine, and the king requests a dance instead. Eugenides tells Dite that the queen cried on her wedding night, which makes Dite his friend. Costis tells the king he would never reveal confidential information, then does so with both the queen and Baron Susa, and the valet tells him what he overheard Sejanus and Baron Erondites discussing in the baths. The assistant to the Ambassador from Eddis maneuvers Eugenides into building a bridge. Relius is arrested.

    "Don't give up hope just because chances are slim."
    "For the assassination or the heir, Your Majesty?" asked Costis.

    "He wondered how the Attolians thought Eugenides had managed to become king if he was the idiot they assumed him to be. Perhaps because they had never seen him as the Thief, with his head thrown back and a glint in his eye that mad the hair on the back of a man's neck rise up... As a ten-year-old boy, the Thief of Eddis could stop a grown man in his tracks with a single look."

    "Don't be afraid. Before I stole Hamiathes's Gift out from under your nose, these were the only dances I knew."
    "I am not afraid," she said coldly."
    "Good," said the king. "Neither am I."

    "Spare me," said Attolia, "and my court, from dancing on the roof."
    "It probably only works in Eddis."

    "I would never stoop to revealing information I knew was private."
    "Not even if you don't like the person whose privacy you are protecting?"
    "Especially not then."

    "Costis walked on through the palace and down to the Guard's barracks, knowing himself entirely guilty of what the king had not condescended to accuse him of."

Closing thoughts:
If this book is Costis's Hero's Journey, Chapter 5 brings us to #6 TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. Everyone is being positioned for the main action. Relius's arrest is less important than his absolution later on. Costis is still only beginning to empathize with Eugenides, who is actively avoiding being the king. He would still much rather be the queen's husband and Thief.

Next week we will continue with KoA chapters 6-10 lead by [livejournal.com profile] agh_4!


Mar. 18th, 2014 03:41 pm
[identity profile] freenarnian.livejournal.com
On page 188 of A Conspiracy of Kings, when Gen is speaking about his attendants (to Sophos, in the wine shop), he mentions that he'd "had some hope for Philologos... but Sejanus won that hand neatly." The conversation then moves on to philosophical reminiscences of Ambiades, making the quip about our dear Philo look like nothing more than an off-hand remark. But this is Gen we're talking about (and MWT), and because all things Philologos amuse and therefore interest me, I wondered if one couldn't dig a little deeper. It struck me as something I hadn't picked up on or considered previously. To start with: What, exactly, did Gen mean by Sejanus winning that hand? Was Philo contested in KoA? Did Sejanus merely have the greater influence on the behavior of the younger man, or was there more at stake than just Philo's attitude toward/opinion of Gen? What did Gen see in Philo that initially gave him hope? Hope for what? (Also noted: In the character index at the end of ACoK, it says Philo is the youngest but highest in rank among Gen's attendants. I can't remember if I knew this during KoA? What does it all mean?)


Feb. 29th, 2012 06:45 pm
[identity profile] rose-amidlilies.livejournal.com
I thought you would all appreciate this bit of Roman history from my class.

Read more... )
[identity profile] ricardienne.livejournal.com
Some of you may remember that a while ago, I discovered a small fragment of what seemed to be an epic poem.

Well, I was poking around the library again this afternoon (procrastinating, as usual), and as I mused over older and older and stranger and stranger old editions of obscure things, in the medieval grammarian Manilius Erondites' treatise De Pessimo Genere Oratorum (of all places!) I came across another little fragment of something that might be of interest to us all.

Fragment, with translation and notes, at my journal

[identity profile] drashizu.livejournal.com
I was reading a Wikipedia article about starvation being used historically as a form of punishment (trust me, it took some serious link-hopping to get there in the first place) and I saw this: In ancient Greco-Roman societies, starvation was sometimes used to dispose of guilty upper class citizens, especially erring female members of patrician families. For instance, in the year 31, Livilla, the niece and daughter-in-law of Tiberius, was discreetly starved to death by her mother for her adulterous relationship with Sejanus and for her complicity in the murder of her own husband, Drusus the Younger.

Well. You can guess what I clicked on in that sentence.

The Cut-and-Paste Wonders of Public Property )

Oh, and in checking, it looks like someone has already posted about this. The character of Sejanus in "I, Claudius" was played by Patrick Stewart.

Also, didn't Attolia leave that traitor Malaveras to starve in a cage in the courtyard for a week before executing him? I seem to remember Eugenides mentioning something like it in QoA.


Feb. 14th, 2009 02:26 pm
[identity profile] traboule.livejournal.com
So I'm sure I'm not the only one who decided to spend my Valentine's Day with Gen, but in the process of re-reading, I discovered a tiny point I'd forgotten and I wondered if anyone had discussed that here, and what conclusions anyone had come to.

In the short story at the end of KoA, Periphys refers to Helen as "the last Eddis."


I don't remember seeing any other references to Helen as the last Queen of Eddis, but I might have missed them. I guess the odds are good that she'll marry Sophos and the whole peninsula will end up united in the deserving hands of the Annux* but I thought it was an interesting moment.

Sidenote: Has anyone else seen I, Claudius? And does that mean that, for anyone else, Attendant Sejanus looks like Patrick Stewart Sejanus? (scroll down for a longer shot as well; there are two) Maybe he only sticks in my head because it's one of the few times where a historical name matches up to the historical person...but either way, it's a bit weird.

*My only gripe with these three books is the Annux vs. Basileus split. I know it's an older word and has different connotations and all, but I cannot, cannot take the King of Kings seriously if it sounds like he has conquored the new addition on the back of the house. I'd like to think Gen would agree with me, but since he's actually fluent in Archaic (and probably Linear B), I doubt it.

[identity profile] philia-fan.livejournal.com
So...here's a discussion question for fun:  Who is your favorite MINOR character in the books, and why?  Or, which minor character would you like to know more about?

Have at it.


Oct. 18th, 2007 11:00 pm
[identity profile] hershey-fan.livejournal.com
I was reading Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible the other day, looking up a reference to the praetorian guard from Philippians in the Bible. As I read I just had to gasp because I found the Attolian guard there; the praetorian guard were specially trained soldiers put in place to guard the rulers at that time in Rome, but later, they turned. One guard, Sejanus, is actually mentioned as doing so.
I am once again in awe of MWT. These are real events that she has woven into the fabric of her novels.
Question...where else has she researched? :-)
Must read more.
[identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
I don't know if this has been discussed, but I found it while reading The Wife of Bath's Tale for the [insert horrifically large number here]th time.

In reference to the line "Of Livia he told me and of Lucy," where the Wife is listing some of the bad wives her fifth husband used to tell her about in order to keep her in line (which failed miserably):

"Livia was either Augustus's wife, who poisoned several prominent Romans (including her own husband) for political gain, or Livilla, Livia's granddaughter, who poisoned her husband at the instigation of her lover Sejanus."

Intruiged, I went to Wikipedia and read this article.

Feel free to discuss the implications of this, but I also wanted to ask if anyone thought there was anything specific in the characters' names.  We already know that at least Attolia (and Eddis, if you buy into that whole "Helen" thing which I do not :-b) has an ironic name (potentially chosen for its irony?), and we know that "Eugenides" means "well-born," and of course there's dear wise Sophos, but what about people like Philologos ("lover of truth" or "word," etc)?  Would anyone happen to know what any of the other characters' names mean?
[identity profile] peggy-2.livejournal.com

What are the Community theories surrounding Heiro's visit to Gen after his attack by the assassins and before the nightmare?  When I first read it, I assumed she brought the quinalums, at Gen's request, so he could spike his own lethium.  Now I'm not so sure.  What else might they have discussed?

And later, the queen accepts Petrus, the court physician, did not spike the lethium.  After the Dr leaves:

"You trust him?" she asked. ...
"I know something you don't," the king told her.
"Who put the quinalums in the lethium?"
"That too."

"that too" - What else does Gen know besides who put the quinalums in the lethium???

[identity profile] ferris-girl.livejournal.com
Just to bring this up. I was in my literary theory class when my prof happened to mention Janus. And I immediately thought of Sejanus. For those of you who don't know, Janus is a Roman god that has two faces looking the opposite direction. I thought this fit Sejanus very well...

Are there other wordplays within the books? Did I already miss this conversation...let me know.
[identity profile] generalblossom.livejournal.com
Hi everybody, I joined the community just a couple days ago, just after finishing KoA. And after finishing it, had to reread the whole series ( oh glee, am so glad we got this third book and can now call it series). I loved the KoA, it might be my favorite of the series, but I love court intrigues and character interaction, which was what this was. And I got a couple questions, I think the spoiler policy is gone, but am putting on a Read more... ) just the same.

This book and the reread left me all eager for more, even though I got this feeling any next book will probably be about Sounis and Sophos, there seems to be a whole interesting mystery there- any word from MWT on it yet? And this feels ridiculous, I waited years for this book, now it´s out and I loved, here I am , in the month it cames out already concerned about book after this, poor authors with eager fans.
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