March 1, 2013

Finnikin of the Rock: Week Four


It's here - the final week of Finnikin of the Rock! After last week's revelations, I was really interested to see how the book would conclude. There was so much goodness in these last few chapters, and I loved seeing how Marchetta brought everything together in the end.

As always, discussion starts after the jump so we don't spoil things for anyone not participating.


Let me take a minute to say how much I've enjoyed this read-along! I know we still have Froi of the Exiles to tackle, but I can't say enough how much I've loved discussing these books with all of you awesome ladies. I'm so glad we've been able to have such great conversations and am looking forward to all of your insight on the final section AND the next book!

1. What did you think about Trevanion and Beatriss' reunion where they meet and shake hands? When Trevanion learns what Beatriss suffered? And when he promises to wait for her? 
So, yes, I did basically just combine everything that happened with Beatriss and Trevanion into one question. Sorry! I just had too many things I wanted to talk about in this last section. I know the shaking hands thing was such a small moment, but it felt so poignant and raw to me. I could just picture it in my hand - and I felt the sadness and weight of the moment in that one decision to shake hands instead of embrace. A small thing that spoke volumes.

Oh, I wanted to cry when we learned what she had suffered during her captivity - the way she was used as a tool to show everyone just how bad things could be for them. And it also broke my heart when Trevanion just walked out after learning it - I could only imagine what was going on in his head.

When they finally talk and Trevanion turns to walk away having given up all hope... and then Beatriss says, "I woke with your name on my lips every morning. Like a prayer of hope. For now, that is all I can offer." I felt so relieved! And I loved that he will wait for her, however long it takes.

2. Did you notice how Evanjalin/Isaboe is the one to break the curse, but Finnkin is the one to break the years of silence?
As we all learned last week, Evanjalin was needed to break the curse. Yes, Finnikin went with her, but she was really the missing piece. I loved so much that she broke the curse, but he breaks the silence.
"It had been what the queen had feared had happened to her people: nobody had talked these past ten years. They had whispered words to survive. Muttered curses beneath their breath. Murmured plans in the deep of the night. Even exchanged words of love. But nobody had told their stories, until Finnikin asked them to" (342).
I just loved that moment! In all of our discussions about power, one thing that has come up is how Isaboe basically holds all the power now. While I agree that her position gives her power, I think Finnikin may have more of a different kind of power. It's to him that people open up, confide and tell their stories. He is, ultimately, as necessary to Lumatere and its hope for restoration as Isaboe is because of her place on the throne.

3. Since we talked previously about the blood curse and what was happening to the daughters of Lumatere, how did you feel about the revelation about what was going on inside its walls?
The image of men forced to choose one family member to die and being on their knees begging to be taken instead just cut right to my heart. I felt so heartbroken just imagining it. And then, a few lines later to learn that the men always chose their daughters to be killed so that they wouldn't be raped and abused... I just don't even have the words. I did assume that what was going on in Lumatere involved girls being raped, but I think learning that fathers were having to choose which family member to kill and then always picking their daughters was almost worse. I feel teary just thinking about it.

4. In light of last week's discussion on identity and Finnikin trying to figure out who he is in relation to Isaboe, what did you think about his conversation with Beatriss about choosing Isaboe versus her choosing him?
In some ways, I think Beatriss is a little bit like Evanjalin. Not only is she a strong woman, but she's also able to turn Finnikin's perspective on a head and show him his own heart/intentions/thoughts. I like that both of these woman are able to speak truth into his life (and yes, I recognize that choosing the word "truth" and applying it to Evanjalin is a bit tricky). Did you notice this similarity about the two women?

5. How did you feel about the deaths of the imposter king and his men - and Evanjalin/Isaboe's role in it?
I'm a little torn on this whole thing. To be honest, it frustrated me that, yet again, Evanjalin just goes off and does things for her own reasons. Yes, maybe her reason is the good of the people, but I still don't really understand why she can't involve Finnikin. Why must everything be kept from him? I think she treats him like a pawn sometimes, and that really bothers me. A strong marriage is a partnership where the two treat each other like equals, and I don't think Evanjalin treats Finnikin like that. I feel like she's constantly doing things over his head and then just waiting for him to catch on/catch up to her ultimate plan. Don't kill me, but there were a few moments that I wished Finnikin could end up with someone a little less manipulative.

6. Names and their importance have been a reoccurring theme in Finnikin of the Rock, so were you struck by Beatriss' story of the birth of her first child? 
I loved that Beatriss told Finnikin that she "said her name out loud so she would one day be able to shout it through the heavens" and that she told the baby the names of all of her family. Such a small moment in this week's reading, but one that really stood out to me in light of everything else that has happened with names in the book. 

7. Were you struck by the conversation Froi has with Perri, Trevanion and Moss where he reveals that he would die for Evanjalin and Finnikin?
I loved so much about this scene! I liked that it started with the note about one of the workers telling him that what he felt was respect - he's growing so much as a character and being given the chance to be human and feel a whole new range of emotions. I also love his honesty - he doesn't lie about his feelings for Lumatere. And finally, I adored that moment when he says he would die for Finnikin and Evanjalin. It's a small thing to say, but it means so much for his character to be at this point. Also, when he says that Evanjalin came back for him and not the ring in Sarnak... oh my heart!

8. Since we've talked in the past about empathy and power, what do you think about Tesadora telling Finnikin he alone has the power to bring Isaboe out of the darkness because of his strong empathy for her?
I think it's interesting that Isaboe needs Finnikin. She doesn't just want him - she really does need him to help bring her out of the darkness when she's close to losing her way. Again, there is such an interesting way that power comes into play. Does Finnikin have power over Isaboe? And does his empathy for her make him stronger because it's what gives him the power to help her?

9. What did you think of the "If I" / "If you" back-and-forth between Finnikin and Queen Isaboe? 
The scene was interesting because it was a negotiation - it really and truly played off of the whole power dynamic that we've discussed through the entire reading. I like that Sir Topher told Finnikin not to let Isaboe lead the negotiations. Do you think they'll continue to have these type of conversations throughout their marriage? I feel like they'll always struggle to find that perfect balance. Also, do you think Isaboe will continue to leave Finnikin out of decisions, even when he's her husband? I'm curious about your thoughts! I know their conversation shows that they want to compromise, but I still think that at the end of the day Isaboe is going to do what she pleases / what she believes is for the good of her people. Agree or disagree?

10. Did you notice the repeating use of the "choose a hand" scene? I was swooning over the last scene when Anna pointed out that it was the third appearance of that motif.
Many, many thanks to Anna for pointing this out to me! I loved that final scene where he asks her to choose a hand, and Anna mentioned that it's actually the third time this happens. The first is when Evanjalin runs off and Finnikin asks her who is in charge, and the second time is when they enter Lumatere together. Doesn't that just make this last scene all the more special?! I love little things like this - the type of repetition that you'd likely miss on a first read and only notice on a reread. All the more reason I think people should place more value on rereading!

So Quotable
"'This hand says you spend the rest of your life with me,' he said, holding out his left hand, 'and this one says I spend the rest of my life with you. Choose.'"

"'I will die for you,' he whispered.
She cupped his face with her hands. 'But promise you'll live for my first, my love.'"

One Last Question!
Before we start Froi of the Exiles next week, I just wanted to ask if you want me to continue posting discussion questions? I'm happy to switch things up - including rotating and having a different reader write the questions for each week. Or we can have no questions. It's up to y'all! Leave me a comment and let me know what you'd prefer. I'm happy with anything - just want to make sure everyone likes the format.

3 comments:

  1. I never noticed that theme (holding hands) until you/Anna pointed it out! But I think it's really awesome that each moment they did hold hands was very significant. It just puts all the more special meaning into their relationship!

    Thanks for the awesome questions, as always. I've answered them on the blog with a post going up tomorrow!

    I'm good with you posting the questions. It's interesting for me to read everyone's thoughts (when I can).

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    Replies
    1. I was so glad Anna pointed out the hands thing - I definitely wouldn't have noticed that on this read if she hadn't! I loved the added significance though, and I think it shows how much though Marchetta puts into her books.

      Excited to check out your post!

      And thanks for answering my question about the discussion posts for Froi :)

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  2. My final thoughts are finally up! Hannah, thanks SO much for hosting this, I'm having such a great time reading everyone's thoughts, particularly because it's given me so different ways to look at this amazing book. Personally, I really liked this format, but I know it can also be a lot of work for you, so whatever you want to do for Froi is fine with me--I know I'll have plenty to say regardless!

    And you know that I at least, as the resident Evanjalin hater (okay, I don't hate her anymore, but she does rankle on me quite a bit), I would have liked to see Finnikin end up with someone less manipulative too. I'm SO excited for Froi after his developments in the last half of this book.

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