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27 December 2007 @ 12:59 pm
The Curse of Chalion Discussion #1: First Impressions  
Hello and welcome to booklog_sff's first discussion! I hope everyone had a wonderful time reading (or in some cases rereading) Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion.

Let's begin with some basics.

What were your first impressions of the book?

Were there things that you liked immediately? Disliked?

Did the main character, Lupe dy Cazaril, interest you from the start?


This post may be edited after some input.
 
 
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an absolute word tart!schemingreader on December 27th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Well, in the Vorkosigan books, Miles is obsessed with who is Vor and what it means to be Vor. Here also, there is a nobility and a peasantry, but our Cazaril has been through this terrible experience as a galley slave and has stopped caring about rank. He still knows the rules of behavior according to rank, he knows how a courtier should act, etc. but he no longer believes that a person has more worth according to his rank.

He actually says this a couple of times in the text (and my copy is where to show you? I might have to come back later with page numbers). In some ways this is atypically clunky of Bujold. In the Vorkosigan saga, and before, she does a lot of really good stuff about cloning and who is human, and also about physical difference, and she doesn't seem to feel like she has to put the lessons into the mouths of the characters in quite this way. what were the genetically modified people in her early book in the 1980s? The Quaddies. The Quaddies are incredibly perfect, sweet people with a lot family instinct, etc. etc.--well, I guess she does actually have her protagonist say things like "they're just kids. " Oh well, maybe it's typically clunky, not atypically.

What I mean is, she has Caz SAY these things, but of course we mainly focus on people of rank. I guess the character of the groom is an exception...
Anne-Elisaetrangere on December 27th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's that's simple. The issues of who is human, physical differences etc., are still very hot issues in our society. But nobility? Well, in the US at least, it's kinda not very relevant anymore (and she's not exploring that as classes either, so I don't think she's trying for something marxist), so is Cazaril saying this for our sake? That wouldn't make any sense. So either it's a clunky way to establish her characterization or... well I'm not sure.

The Quaddies were very awful though XD I hope she's capable of better now.

Although you're right it's still mainly people of rank (which is true of the Vorkosigan series as well anyway).
Oryoscriva on December 28th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
I think having a protagonist who thinks more like us as far as equality in society is concerned is a mean to make this society accessible to us, as a modern reader. It's very usual in many fiction set in a pre-modern setting that the characters the reader should sympathise with think like modern persons. However, by giving Cazaril his back story, Bujold gave her character a believable mindset, instead of just making him the only enlightened person by a simple whim.

an absolute word tart!schemingreader on December 28th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
This is a good point. In the Vorkosigan series, she has Miles confront the tension between his mother's and his father's views of hereditary nobility and democracy--but he's still a noble. We have the same here--we get to have our cake and eat it too.