So, very belatedly, it’s time for this week’s (read: should have been posted on Monday…) selection of questions for the Gollancz/Fantasy Faction Gentlemen Bastards readalong. Chapters 5-8 of The Lies of Locke Lamora, which of course ended at such a cliffhanger that it was hard to put the book down and prevent myself from reading ahead!
Question: It is interesting that Lynch shows Locke unable to perform in a brothel. Very few authors would show such ‘weakness’ to their male hero. How did you find this scene? Did it fit with the rest of the novel? Did it show – as I guess it was meant to – just how cut up Locke was on Sabetha or did it weaken his character? Maybe both?
Personally, I don’t find that to be weakness, and I thought it fit very well with the established character. It had already been stated multiple times that he was really hung up on Sabetha and had been celebate for years because she wasn’t around. And in a moment of stress, he tries to just give that up and succumb to lust… and his emotions override his, er, more base desires. Rather than finding that to be an expression of weakness, I found it to be very effective at showing his loyalty and devotion, which is something that you see often in novels, but rarely done so well and so realistically. I have to give Lynch some serious props on showing that men can actually be loyal to their mates (or people they like/love/desire) instead of just crude sex-machines.
Question: Locke’s conscience coming into play during Chapter 7 is interesting. Before now he could be excused for not comprehending the pain he causes those he robs, now though he has lost this excuse. Is Jean right, are they really Robin Hoods, robbing the rich and greedy who ‘deserve it’ or is Locke right to reconsider his position now the con is on him?
‘Deserve’ is a relative term. I’m sure that in many ways, the people that Locke and his gang rob don’t need as much money as they have. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t earn it, and it doesn’t mean that Locke needs it. As they clearly don’t. Robin Hood at least tried to redistribute stolen wealth to those in need.
It is interesting to see the tables turned, I admit. Though I can see the event affecting his actions in the long-term, I don’t think he’ll end up reconsidering his calling. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s more likely to step up his game to the point where he can’t be touched, where he won’t have to worry about he or his ending up in a bad situation again.
Question: Can you think of a better plan than Locke came up with to survive both the Grey King and Capa’s wrath or would you have just run?
Me personally? I’d have run. Grabbed what I could, gone into hiding, then made my way to some other city where I stood less chance of being found. But then, I’m something of a coward and wouldn’t have turned to thieving anyway, so my own choices aren’t really an issue here. For the position that Locke found himself in, I think he did the best he could. Torn between danger to himself and loyalty to those he cares about, there really wasn’t much else he could do unless he confessed everything to Barsavi and begged for his help. Which would have been very much out of character.
Question: If not answered above, how would you kill the Bondsmage and get away with it?
Short of catching him sleeping, I honestly don’t know. Everyone can be killed, one way or another, but the Bondsmage would be a tough mark, and there’s every chance that whoever tried to take him out simply wouldn’t survive the encounter. Maybe overpowering him with brute force and hoping for the gods’ own luck?
Question: Do you think Chains’s background fits his character?
I was a bit of a surprise to discover his origins, but not so much of one that his eventual path seemed unrealistic. It was interesting, actually, to hear Chains alk about how similar origins can lead to very different ends, and was yet another touch of realism in a very well-put-together world. I think his background fits, in that it isn’t an uncommon end in the situation that Chains found himself in.