Gentlemen Bastards readalong – Red Seas Under Red Skies – Chapters 5-8

It’s time for week 2 of the Red Seas Under Red Skies readalong, hosted by Gollancz and Fantasy Faction, so let’s get right to it.

Question: The section where Locke talks with Chains about reminding the rich who they are certainly enforces the idea that Locke is more Robin Hood than malicious thief. Indeed, this is also the first time we’ve heard the Bastards claim to be more than simply thieves. Do you think this is something Scott has always planned or do you think Scott decided after the first book that he needed to give Locke a heroic purpose?

I admit, I’m not completely sure. It fits in with everything that Locke did in the last book, with no conflicts that I could see, so it wouldn’t surprise me to know that it was planned all along. However, with the amount that Locke and Jean are quoting the “thieves prosper” line in this book, you’d think that if it was planned from the beginning, that line might have come up a time or two in The Lies of Locke Lamora. So there are signs that even if it fits perfectly well in character, it might not have been planned this way early on.

But either way, Locke didn’t need to have a heroic purpose. Not really. I don’t need to think that he’s doing what he does on behalf of his god to think that he’s great to read about. It adds another layer to his characters, but I don’t require that my protagonists view themselves and morally right in some fashion to empathize with them and enjoy reading about them.

redseasunderredskiesQuestion: For me, the archon trying to destroy Karthain plot-thread is the first time this series has felt like an ‘Epic’ fantasy novel (i.e. epic in scale). How do you guys feel about that? Is it inevitable in a fantasy novel that the protagonist eventually has to play a part in saving / bringing down the world?

I don’t think it’s inevitable, but it does seem to happen an awful lot. It doesn’t surprise me that Locke and Jean would get involved in something large-scale, though. Those two work big schemes on people who are either rich enough to affect politics, or who are placed to affect politics, and I think it was only a matter of time before their own big schemes yielded something bigger than the both of them.

Of course, I think the whole plot is bigger than everyone involved, and most of all bigger than those trying to orchestrate it, so I can’t wait to see how it all backfires.

Question: We recently ran an article on Fantasy-Faction about secondary characters. Certainly, Scott Lynch has put a ton of great ones in RSURS. What do you think of the mysterious characters like Merrain, Selendri, Requin, Stragos, Caldris? Which is your favourite?

Secondary characters are awesome, because they keep a book from only having a few principle characters being developed. And Lynch has done a great job making secondary characters layered and complex enough to seem as real as Locke himself. It’s hard to pick a favourite, really, because they’re all quite interesting. Seledri’s got an interesting past, Merrain keeps me on my toes every time she’s on the pages, Caldris had such a great scathing wit that he loved to turn on Locke and Jean, and Jibril’s just kind of awesome and I hope he shows up again so I can read more about him.

Question: What did you think of the sudden swing in direction – one minute we were focusing on a casino vault heist (Ocean’s Eleven) the next we are jumping on the high seas (Pirates of the Caribbean). Are you glad we are moving away from the Casino, are you looking forwards for the pirate sections?

Both settings were interesting in their way, and honestly, even if the book took place entirely in the Sinspire, it still would have ended up being great, because trouble follows Locke and Jean like a puppy. But I’d have to say the pirate sections beat the casino for interest, in part because the two have little idea what they’re doing and the game has expanded so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens from here on out.

One comment on “Gentlemen Bastards readalong – Red Seas Under Red Skies – Chapters 5-8

  1. Pingback: September in Retrospect | Bibliotropic

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