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European Royalty Group Reads > Here Be Dragons: Book 1, Ch. 1 - 14

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message 1: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Please discuss Book One: Chapters 1 through 14 here.


message 2: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (wanda514) I have not made it to Chapter 14 yet. I am close though. So far, so good. I am reading this for the third time and still finding things I missed before. I just wish, oh, how I wish, that everyone did not have the same name. Is anyone else reading the book?


message 3: by Wanda (last edited Mar 17, 2009 03:20AM) (new)

Wanda (wanda514) Did the Welsh way of inheriting - legitimate and illegitimate having a claim - encourage or discourage fratricide? I think it would encourage fratricide because the last man standing would claim the entire pie encouraging him to kill his brothers to enable him to claim the entire pie. Reading about the English-style inheritance, the men just seemed to accept as fate that one brother would inherit, one would go to the Church, and the others would be taken care of in some way or another. I did like that the women were entitled to one-third of her husband's property.


message 4: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments I just started it, so far so good!


message 5: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I'm into the second part of Book One, but I'll have to comment more later (at work right now). Really enjoying it!


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy (amy_lofgreen) | 14 comments I love the women's rights the Welsh had at the time. They were much more progressive than the English in that regard. I do wonder if they didn't have to kill all of the other potential leaders if the Welsh may have outlasted the English. Perhaps all of England would be Wales if only they hadn't killed all the other leaders. I find it tragic. I sometimes imagine what our modern day would be like if that had been the case.


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy (amy_lofgreen) | 14 comments What do you think of Llewelyn?


message 8: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (wanda514) Amy wrote: "What do you think of Llewelyn? "

Amy, I like Llewelyn a lot. He seems fair, honest and yet strong and ruthless at the same time. I am sure that he had to be all of those things in order to survive. It is his strength in character which appeals to me - like, when he does not bed Joanna because he knows she is too much of a child yet to understand and handle all that it entails. Of course, it does not help that he has another woman on the side. It's not like he is missing anything by waiting for Joanna. But, I absolutely love what Joanna does when she finds out about the other woman. I won't say anything else in case you have not gotten that far - it's a whopper!


message 9: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I thought it interesting that the English view the Welsh as uncivilized, when in many ways they are far MORE civilized. The way their women are treated is an obvious example, but also the fact that bastards have rights, and that second (and subsequent) sons are also entitled to an inheritance.

I do think that Welsh law of inheritance encouraged fratricide, but I think that almost has more to do with the nature of the Welsh. They were a warring people.
In most cases, splitting your possessions and properties between your children is a good and fair thing.
For rulers, though, I think there needs to be one heir. Otherwise - assuming you could avoid the wars - everything would be divided up again and again until no one controlled anything significant.
Basically that's how it played out - too many Princes with not enough land. I think that's why England was able to defeat them so thoroughly. They didn't have to divide to conquer, it was already done for them.


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy (amy_lofgreen) | 14 comments Wanda wrote: "Amy wrote: "What do you think of Llewelyn? "

Amy, I like Llewelyn a lot. He seems fair, honest and yet strong and ruthless at the same time. I am sure that he had to be all of those things in ..."


I am so glad you enjoyed Joanna's reaction. The history books back that up. She really did it. That scene is one of my favorite from all the historical fiction I have read and it is so satisfying knowing that Penman wasn't just creative, but Joanna really was that type of girl. What did the rest of you think of Joanna's reaction?



message 11: by Nona (new)

Nona (goodreadscomnona) | 145 comments Joanna reacted on emotions which most women reined in but she let it out, got to respect her for that alone in an age where woman were possessions not individuals. Llewelyn handled it better then I would have thought, but Welsh have different rules when it comes to marriage, woman rights and so forth.


message 12: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 696 comments Heh, I loved Joanna's reaction along with Llewelyn. Personally he's up there in my all time hunks-in-history. You'll all know what I mean towards the end of the book.


message 13: by Nona (new)

Nona (goodreadscomnona) | 145 comments oh yes I do. we had a little solid black half draft stud colt born and I proudly declared his name, Llewelyn, what can I say he's a handsome fellow and sweet natured.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy (amy_lofgreen) | 14 comments Jeannine wrote: "I'm really enjoying reading this. I'm an American married to a UK resident and we lived most of this past year in North Wales so it's fascinating reading about all of the places where I've been. It..."

I don't remember where I read it, but Welsh law allowed Joanna to react the way she did. I believe the fact that she actually did means she probably was studying Welsh law to know what she was able to do. I love Llewelyn, but his reaction in this instance had to be because she was well within her rights. I love the Welsh. If only we had similar laws. Think, we would all have our own harp as well.


message 15: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments It seems like brothers (and cousins, uncles, relatives, etc.), whether legit heirs or not, often seemed to fight each other for power. The English system may have declared that the oldest legit son would get everything, but it usually came down to who was more powerful. Just look at the War of the Roses! I don't think it matters if they are Welsh or English (or Norman, etc.). I'm pretty sure William the Conqueror's sons battled for a while too amongst themselves (don't quote me on that - it's been a while since I've read anything about them). It seems like a guy thing - fight, fight, fight!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 378 comments Yes, Sara - the sons of William the Conqueror certainly did fight a good bit amongst themselves - "Red" William (William II), the second son, ended up being the Conqueror's heir in England; the oldest son, Robert, was in Normandy at the time and got pipped at the post for the crown.


message 17: by MichelleCH (new)

MichelleCH (lalatina) | 55 comments It does seem like there is no time for much else but fighting and a constant struggle to keep what has been won. I haven't gotten to Joanna's reaction, but you have all peaked my interest! It is also refreshing to have men as lead characters who to this point have some empathy for the women in their lives.


message 18: by ladywallingford (new)

ladywallingford Mandy wrote: "I thought it interesting that the English view the Welsh as uncivilized, when in many ways they are far MORE civilized. The way their women are treated is an obvious example, but also the fact that..."

I agree with much of this. I think both ways of inheritance have their pros and cons but in the case of Wales, I really think their laws of inheritance ultimately ended up doing them more harm than good.


message 19: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_b) I'm behind everyone--finally starting this tonight. This will be my second Penman book and I loved The Sunne in Splendour so I'm really looking forward to it.


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