Friday, March 30, 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora read along - week 4

Welcome to week 4 of Travels Through Iest's read along of The Lies of Locke Lamora, this week our questions come from SF Signal.
The action really heats up in this section of the book, so the questions become very intriguing. Please read on to see my impressions from the 4th part of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

1. In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we
learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so
much fantastical as realistic – how about you?

The tea was in many ways to me reminiscent of the British custom of high tea. This was another example of 19th century Britain meeting Renaissance Venice, which was how I felt about the rather Faginesque character of the Thiefmaker at the start of the book. Having seen the marvellous Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey I can’t help but picture her as Dona Vorchenza whenever I read this scene.

2. When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for
the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people
feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of

Oh yes, Jean’s first encounter with the Wicked Sisters was a real water shed moment for the character. This is where Jean realises exactly what his role with the Gentleman Bastards and Locke specifically will become. Some people are good at talking (Locke) and other people are good at hitting/killing things to make them shut up (Jean). There’s a quote from Jean at some point in the book (not sure if it’s been passed or not, so don’t want to spoil anyone by using it) which sums him up perfectly.

3. Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you
find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find
yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little
less descriptive?

Scott describes these scenes so viscerally and so well. I’m right in there with his description. I love the rawness of it. I’m also an arachnophobe, so my skin crawls when reading about the salt devils. I still love it. Less descriptive? Hell no! Admittedly I don’t think he could be more descriptive.

4. This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a
place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the
House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it

No, I never saw it coming. It hit me so hard. It hits me every time I reread the book, even though I know it’s coming. I couldn’t say it earlier, but that scene where they do their Liar/Bastard schtick before Locke impersonates the Grey King, it makes me cry. It’s the last time they’re ever all together as a group. It’s the last time they see each other alive. I hurt for Calo, Galdo and Bug…oh God especially Bug.

5. Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled
at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a
life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why
or why not?

Chains routinely taught all his ‘apprentices’ how to operate as various holy men. He may have felt Jean of them was best suited for Aza Guilla, but I don’t think he ever anticipated exactly how the service would be used. No one ever saw the Grey King coming. Even Chains, if he had seen it coming he would have warned them, and not cryptically. He knew he was going to make them damned good conmen, possibly the best even Camorr had ever seen, but this fight with the Grey King, he never saw that.

6. As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s
remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy
and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern

The Thorn of Camorr has never had to fight for his very existence before. Locke has the capacity for violence within him, but he generally doesn’t have the ability or the need to commit it. Locke is a cornered rat and cornered rats bite.

7. Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s
Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?

The Thorn and Locke were separate entities when he was running the game. Locke kept them separate in his head, but there’s a lot of Locke in the Thorn and vice versa. By the time he has to go into Meraggio’s the Thorn and Locke are one and the same.

That was what I thought, I'll be intrigued to see what other people have to say.


  1. I'm starting to feel really bad for everyone who is reading this book for the first time. We've forced you to watch as Locke and Jean lose everything that means anything to them. . . and then it is "Ok, now pull yourself together and write a coherent blog post about it!".

    I've read this book like 10 times, and that last scene with Bug, I still cry.

    Ahhh, Dona Vorchenza! I wish her and Dona Salvara got more screen time, because they really are very cool characters, Dona Salvara and that damn garden of hers, especially.

  2. Yes, it's almost mean to put people onto this book because Scott MAKES you care for these characters and then does such horrible things to them. Oh Bug! Poor Bug, I was incandescent with rage at Lynch for doing that.