The Robin Hobb Collection discussion

Fool's Quest  (The Fitz and The Fool, #2)
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Book 15 - Fool's Quest > Fool's Quest - discussion *spoilers*

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message 1: by Em (last edited Aug 16, 2015 04:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Em | 62 comments I'm not starting the book until next week but go ahead and chat to your hearts content:)


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks :)

Now, anyone finished? Maybe we could start the discussion with the new characters; Ash/Spark, Motley and Fleeter, Dwalia and co, Foxglove, etc.

I enjoyed Motley and definitely enjoyed her interactions with Lord Feldspar (the scene with the wig in the market made me laugh).
And Foxglove! Loved having someone remember Fitz from before Badgerlock, apart from Kettricken (who was amazing herself).


message 3: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Finally Fitz comes out of the shadows. It seemed like that would never happen.

And the end with them going to Kelsingra, that was such a payoff for reading Rain Wild.

I figured Perseverence, Lent and Ash would end up coming along somehow.

I'm particularly intrigued by Perservence's immunity (is that the right word?) to the Skill and the Wit. I hoped that's explored more in the third book.

I'm glad the Fool won't suddenly be dying, but I found him very frustrating in this book. I guess that's the intention though. Obviously he's suffered a lot since we last saw him.


Overall, I loved the book. My only complaint was the raping of Withywoods. Was that really neccessary?

Personally, I think Fitz would be motivated enough simply by them taking Bee that having several women be raped wasn't necessary to the plot.

You could argue it's more 'realistic' (which in and of itself is sad to begin with), but this is a fantasy world made by the author. A female author. I'd have preffered it didnt occur. What purpose did it really serve? What did everyone else think about it?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree about Withywoods. It felt like I was reading Game of Thrones!
Maybe Robin Hobb put it in to establish the cruelty of the Chalcedeans. I feel like despite the Duchess of Chalced being, as far as we know, on good terms with Kelsingra and perhaps the Duchies, that Chalced will become a more important part in the next book.


message 5: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Oh and Motley, Fleeter and Foxglove were all great additions. I love and miss Nighteyes, but when will Fitz finally bond a new companion? She keeps teasing us with it... It's like Lucy and the Football at this point...


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I was rather worried with Fleeter; I kept thinking of Nighteyes and 'Wolf Father'. Mind you, I thought and hoped Fitz would bond with Motley, up until she was named by the Fool.

If part of the Fool stayed with Fitz after the Wit healing in Fool's Fate, is it possible that part of Nighteyes lives on in the Fool as he does in Fitz?
They were never bonded, but there was the moment in Assassin's Quest where they were 'one being'.


Oshun | 61 comments I have to disagree. A fantasy novel does not require a perfect world simply because that would be lovely and a writer is able to create that fluffy world of rainbows and unicorns if she so desires. I think if one actually read that book, the sweetness would cloy after a pretty short while.

I think the rapes were well-handled and to a purpose. The point is that this assault was thorough and brutal and horrific. I found nothing titillating or overly graphic or anti-woman about them like some of the scenes on TV Game of Thrones. Of course, I hated them! I was supposed to hate them. Their absence would have left me thinking, "Well, thank god, no despoiling of women and children at least!" Which would have changed the tone of the attack and the viseral response to it by everyone involved.


message 8: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Oshun wrote: "I have to disagree. A fantasy novel does not require a perfect world simply because that would be lovely and a writer is able to create that fluffy world of rainbows and unicorns if she so desires...."

Who said anything about a perfect world? There was torture and death and a lot of other really bad things that I'm not saying should have been removed.

I'm simply saying the rape felt unnecessary to me. And personally I don't like villains who are so black and white awful as the Chalcedeans were. They felt like cartoon characters.

If nothing else, it could have gone unsaid. Leave it up to the reader. It could be done such that rape seems possible or likely, without explicitly adding it in. At least it wasn't graphically depicted like in other books I've read, but it still made me want to put the book down.

Oshun wrote: "Their absence would have left me thinking, "Well, thank god, no despoiling of women and children at least!" "

And you're not alone in that thought, which makes me sad for the world we live in..


Oshun | 61 comments We definitely have to agree to disagree on this one. I really dislike reading things like that assault, in all the details, but it was necessary. Hobb had this entire re-visiting and followup relating to the handsome rapist--so I suppose that had to go also? Which then, tossing that out, leaves a different Fitz, never having had that experience. His torture by Fitz was not a expendable extra plot point either, but key to character development. (I hated that part also, but saw the point of writing it.)


message 10: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Yeah. I don't know what you do with the torture scene. Probably leave it as is, and now Fitz looks less sympathetic, though not much in my opinion. He's doing this mostly for Bee. He'd do anything to get her back..


Oshun | 61 comments No, without the brutal rapes as additional provocation, Fitz is a different character.


message 12: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Oshun wrote: "No, without the brutal rapes as additional provocation, Fitz is a different character."

Not to me. You don't think he'd have tortured them to get information on Bee? Maybe not in exactly the same way, but Fitz was trained to do this. Just because he'd be tortured about it, doesn't make him unwilling to do so when he's determined.

But agree to disagree as you said.


message 13: by Oshun (last edited Aug 16, 2015 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oshun | 61 comments I am sorry to revisit this, but I just found a quote that I think convinced me it was the rapes that provoked Fitz to be as brutal as he was:

"If it were not for my women, the women of my household, and my serving men, I would think it dishonorable for me to do this to you. Tell me. How long did it take you to rape one of the women of my household? As long as my knife has been playing with your face?”

Of course, I also understand reflexive responses like yours to certain authorial choices--we all have those. I probably could never write those rapes into a novel of mine, but I understand what Hobb was trying to do and I think, within that context, it worked for her story, and was not for me, therefore, nearly so awful as it could have been--like a lot of things in G.R.R. Martin often are.

Apologies for not dropping the point, but I did think I remembered Fitz saying something to indicate that he was primarily motivated by the violation of women to torture the man to the degree and in the way that he did.


Emma  | 92 comments It's not the first time Hobb has written about the brutalising of women. It is horrible to read about, particularly about what happened to Elm the kitchen girl, but it is a part of the world she created and particularly after reading about Chalcedeans in her other books, it would have seemed false if she hadn't included it at Withywoods. Also, to skim over it or leave it to suggestion doesn't really convey the full horror of what happened or the viciousness of the mercenaries. Hobb isn't one for dulling down details so the story is comfortable to read. That's one of the things I most like and admire about her books. Its very diffcult to write that way and pull it off.

I'd agree to Chalcedeans being a bit cartoonish in how single-mindedly awful they are, but they are terrifying and I took huge satisfaction in reading that scene where Fitz catches up with them. It was one of my favourite parts of the book.

What does everybody think about the way Fitz left Buckkeep? At the end of the first book, I was about 50/50 for him and the Fool dying in this trilogy. Now I'm at like 90% sure they will.


message 15: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim (kimwitbeck) | 1 comments Fitz was committed to staying away from Buckkeep and staying at Withywoods for years-- So only something as horrible as what happened at Withywoods would have forced him to abandon it (even if he could return home successfully with Bee). I also wondered if the results of dosing everyone with elfbark to restore their memories of what happened would somehow come up again in some other way (a comment/question on how having the ability to "correct" things shouldn't always be used)?

I felt Fitz leaving Buckkeep was just the conservative way to do it, in case he didn't come back...The parts with Verity and Bee at the end made it seem to me like it was possible to live in and return from the Skill current, which gave me hope!


message 16: by Oshun (last edited Aug 16, 2015 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oshun | 61 comments At the end of the first book, I was about 50/50 for him and the Fool dying in this trilogy. Now I'm at like 90% sure they will.

I always hope that we might get a happy ending. Silly me! Perhaps the best that one can expect is something similar to the sacrifice of his humanity by Verity-Dragon. I think she is pretty stingy overall with wanting to give the reader anything hopeful to cling to. As much as I love her books, that propensity, along with her addiction to relentless suspense and cliffhangers, are what keep me from completely enjoying her books.

I thought this book was one of the best, however, if not the very best. And I still refuse to relinquish my hope that, after nine books and 20 years, I might get an ending that makes me happy.


message 17: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments I was very happy with the end of Fool's Fate personally. I'd consider that a happyish ending. I'd have been content if she left things there at least.

As to quality, I'd put this book as number 2 behind that one.

And It's definitely far better than the last book was.


Oshun | 61 comments My favorites are the Farseer series and then this last one. Too many horrifically painful things and too much stress and frustration in the Tawny Man Trilogy for me. I remember Fool's Fate mainly as Thick seasick all the time (now there is a plot point I could live without--made me queezy).


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

When it comes to endings, I'm pretty sure all the Wolf of the West stuff is talking about Fitz. At one point they mentioned the Wolf saving people, and I think this connects very closely to Bee's dream in Fool's Assassin about the stone wolf her father went into.

The peculiar Skill healings Fitz performed on the Fool, and how they basically swapped the injuries to Fitz, make me remember that in Bee's stone wolf dream, Fitz was described as grey. Is it likely that Fitz heals the Fool entirely, giving his eyesight etc and therefore taking on the Fool's grey skin, and then enters his stone Wolf carving?

If so, Robin Hobb's been dropping clues for a long time. "We dream of carving our dragon."


Wastrel | 270 comments That was... exhausting. And exhilarating. And such a brilliant example of the power of the epic series - not only does it fill everything with years of meaning, but it means there are so many threads just lying around waiting to pick up... I was frustrated that Fitz didn't reveal he'd been to Kelsingra before, but then - well, ending with Verity perhaps taking a role in the series again, eleven books later, that's quite an ending...


As for the rape: it had to be there. Not because it motivated Fitz, although it did, but because... this is Robin Hobb. Other writers put up an ominous situation, then fade to black, and afterward make sly allusions, so that the readers can assume that rapes happened if they want to assume that, but don't have to think about it. Or, if this were an adolescent grimdark series, they might come right out and say that the rapes had happened, and pretend to be a very mature series because of it. But the reader would be insulated by the comforting 'once upon a time' formula of it, not forced to look right at it.

Whereas Hobb has a small child raped, violently, to the extent of being unable to walk properly, and when we have the small consolation that at least she can't remember it, she has the hero ruthlessly inflict all that suffering on her again until the memories drive her insane.

To me, that's a huge part of the whole point of Hobb's work. Fantasy - and fiction in general - have comforting formulas and expectations, which we as readers have come to take for granted. They deaden us to the meaning of what happens. What Hobb does is use those formulas while still questioning them. Sometimes that's by having the unexpected happen - in stories, once the hero has tied up one minor villain to die of exposure, and has moved on to the next, that's the end of it, so here of course Ellik frees himself and comes after Fitz, because really, how sure can anyone be that the knots they tie will hold? But other times, it's by the expected happening, but happening in a more conscious, examined way. That's a big part of why her plots move so slowly, for instance. Other writers would have begun this book with Fitz already in motion to rescue Bee... but Hobb asks 'what would really happen? how would Fitz even find out about the attack? What would finding out be like? How would Fitz plan what to do next?' and so on.
And part of it is making us look face-on at what is happening, trying to make it non-formulaic, trying to make it real and more importantly perhaps individual, not something taken from a playbook. And as a result, the suffering is much greater... but then so is the elation. Small personal moments of triumph, and small personal moments of tragedy. Not "everyone finds out Fitz is alive and they all live happily ever after", but "Patience finds out the son-she-never had, whose body she prepared for his secret, shameful burial, is alive but has been letting her live in grief for twenty years". Not "Fitz is praised by authority figures", but "Fitz reads the businesslike living will written by his beloved uncle Verity that proves how much faith he had in him all along, while holding a physical symbol of his acceptance by his family, as made for him, without his knowing, by his old friend Hod, now long since dead". And not "fitz's home is pillaged by evildoers" but "Elm, the small girl who works for Fitz, is violently abused by a paedophile, and no matter what Fitz does or how succesful everything else is in these books, nobody can do anything to undo that. Everybody will not live happily ever after, because Elm, for one, will still have been condemned to a lifetime of incoherent post-traumatic nightmare-life by the legacy of the rape she suffered. To me, that's important. That absolutely has to be there, or it's a very different book. Hobb has created a world in which almost any evil thing can be undone or overcome - see the way that Fitz heals children who have been established as unhealable since the beginning of The Liveship Traders. But no matter how much evil we undo, we can never undo everything.

Yes, this is a fantasy world. But that doesn't mean it has to be pure fluff, pure escapism. Yes, she could have written a world without rape... but why should she have done that? Because rape is a painful subject? Well yes - but Hobb wants to hurt her readers. So for instance she offers us the reassurance that Shun doesn't get raped, because Bee heroically and cleverly saves her. Hooray! Except that no, not hooray, because it turns out she's already been raped by an entire troop of soldiers by that point, because that's not how violence works. War isn't a matter of everything turning out OK in the end because some plucky kid has quick wits, war is hell.

[What is it Starling says about being raped? I had always believed, perhaps childishly, that if you followed the rules, you would be protected, that things like that would not happen to you. Afterwards I felt… tricked. Foolish. Gullible, that I had thought ideals could protect me. Honour and courtesy and justice… they are not real. Is it so wrong for Hobb to want to force us to understand that feeling?]

I don't understand the "I'm glad there's lots of torture and brutal murder of innocents, but rape? Oh no I don't want any of that here thank you" point of view. Is the rape necessary? Well, is the torture necessary, and the death, when there could just be the rape instead? [Was there any reason for Fitz's stablemen to have been murdered, for instance? (except perhaps for Per's father specifically) I mean, if all of Fitz's people had just been lined up and raped, but not killed, that would have been pretty brutal. Or if they'd been tortured, but not killed...] - but I don't think Hobb is thinking "how little can I challenge my readers while letting this plot work? How wrapped in cotton wool can I keep them? Do I really have to have that happen? Wouldn't the plot still work if I didn't make them cry at this point, or feel sick?" - I don't think she's thinking anything of the sort.]


And let's face it, we've missed the boat by two decades if we don't want rape in our hobb books. for better or worse, rape is clearly a preoccupation of Hobb's - it's something she's really committed to writing about. In Farseer, not only is Starling raped in her backstory, but she's raped during the books as well. Kettricken and the Fool are both exposed to threat of sexual abuse, with it ambiguous how much they actually suffer. The Fool and iirc Shrewd experience rape through the eyes and bodies of others. There are provocative cases too - skill-control of others is presented in a rapelike fashion, Verity takes possession of Fitz's body to have sex with Kettricken under false pretences, and Nighteyes has sex with Molly in similar circumstances. In Liveships, Althea is raped on page, Kennit is raped in backstory, Serillia is repeatedly gang-raped just off page but unambiguously, Malta is ambiguously raped or sexually abused off-page, her grandmother (can't remember her name) is strongly implied to be raped off-page and perhaps forced to prostitute herself for favours, her mother is implicitly (or is it explicit?) subject to spousal rape, wintrow is explicitly under constant threat of rape, etta is a prostitute whose condition is tantamount to (and sometimes unambiguously) rape, Kennit's general manipulation of those around him is conceptually paired with his history of and propensity to rape, the situation both with the harnessing of the dragon coccoons into liveships and with the suppression of vivacia beneath bolt are conceptually rape-like, and of course many slave girls are raped throughout the books. In Tawny Man, we get more rape-like possession of people and animals, both by Wit and by Skill, and we have extensive rape of both men and women, and, it's implied, of the Fool. The Rain Wild Chronicles are surrounded by rape, both threatened and real, violent and via intimidation and manipulation.

to be honest, if you had to sum up the whole 15 books so far in one word, you could do a lot worse than saying that it was a series about rape.


Remember back in Royal Assassin, when we hear about a town being raided. Hobb doesn't say 'a town was raided'. She doesn't want us to think like that; her character don't think like that. Instead, when Fitz asks about the fate of a woman he saw, the Fool responds by trying to recite the nightmarish experiences of every woman in the town, one by one, all of which he has seen: Did she die? Yes. No. Badly burned, but alive. Her arm severed at the shoulder. Cornered and raped while they killed her children, but left alive. Sort of […] Roasted alive with the children when the burning structure fell on them. Took poison as soon as her husband awoke her. Choked to death on smoke. And died of an infection in a sword wound only a few days later. Died of a sword thrust. Strangled on her own blood as she was raped. Cut her own throat after she had killed the children while raiders were hacking her door down. Survived, and gave birth to a raider’s child the next summer. Was found wandering days later, badly burned, but recalling nothing. Had her face burned and her hands hacked off, but lived a short… - if you want the Charles and Mary Lamb version of the horror of man's inhumanity, this is not the right series to come to!


Oshun | 61 comments Wastrel wrote: "That was... exhausting. And exhilarating. And such a brilliant example of the power of the epic series - not only does it fill everything with years of meaning, but it means there are so many threa..."

I endorse your remarks. That example of what Fool told Fitz is an excellent summary of how she has graphically shown that she does not want to smooth over the hard parts. There is no casual handling of the rape question--she addresses it as you note over and over and it is never anything less than devastating.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay, you've convinced me.
Except that I don't think you could say the books are 'about rape'. Now I look back, it does play a pretty major part, but Robin Hobb's books are about so much, it's unfair to pin them down onto any one area. I could easily say that they are about dragons or a royal family, but it wouldn't encompass the entirety of these books.
Nevertheless, I see your point. :)


Ariel | 3 comments For rape to be an acceptable plot device I think the author has to focus on its effect on that particular character. If Shine's rape had only been used as Fitz's motivation I would have had a big problem with it. I think it is a very real part of Shine's story though, and her character development is being handled well (realistic devastation without the melodramatic she is a ruined person/her life is now over stuff).


message 24: by Oshun (last edited Aug 19, 2015 10:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oshun | 61 comments I know where you are coming from with this and sympathize with the provocation that makes you write it: rape to be an acceptable plot device I think the author has to focus on its effect on that particular character. But I could not disagree more. It is the business of the author and not yours to determine what story she wants to tell. What you said above is tantamount to censorship. If you can't trust the author, don't read the book.


message 25: by Ariel (last edited Aug 19, 2015 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ariel | 3 comments Some authors choices are morally problematic, and saying so is not akin to censorship. Maybe you are being pedantic about my word choice, but really I made a judgement about what makes a rape more or less okay in a story, the exact same way you did when you said GRRM is more awful in this regard than Hobb is.

My comment was meant to point out that including a rape in a story just to create motivation for a male character would make it worse in my opinion, not better.
*Edited for clarity


Oshun | 61 comments Fine. We definitely are going to disagree on everything if we are discussing characters from your perspective--male vs. female. Where does that put Fool for you? Never mind. I cannot come back to this discussion--it's make my blood pressure go through the roof. Have fun with your reading life!


Oshun | 61 comments Ariel wrote: "Some authors choices are morally problematic, and saying so is not akin to censorship. Maybe you are being pedantic about my word choice, but really I made a judgement about what makes a rape more..."

I wish I knew now what you edited for clarity. Because I no longer know what I responded to. Clearly, I should not be on discussion threads with strangers. I assume certain affinities with people who are very engaged with the same books. That is stupid and idealistic on my part. I basically just got called an insensitive woman-hater here and I don't like it. My bad for being here and voicing an opinion.


Wastrel | 270 comments Ariel wrote: "Some authors choices are morally problematic, and saying so is not akin to censorship. Maybe you are being pedantic about my word choice, but really I made a judgement about what makes a rape more..."

Why does male vs female make a difference? Did you find (spoilered in case you haven't read Liveships) (view spoiler) 'unacceptable' just because they motivated male characters? (and as Oshun points out, this is a strange series to insist on gender-essentialism with!).

More broadly, I think Oshun may be struggling with your language of "acceptable" vs "must not be accepted" - this seems very unnuanced and judgemental, and gives the impression that you think people should be prevented from writing these books, or that people must not buy or read them. This comes across as a much stronger opinion than, say, using words like 'distasteful', 'cliché', or even 'irritating' might have done. Particularly when you accuse the author of being 'morally problematic'. Those are extremely strong fighting words from somebody who does not know the author personally, nor can be certain of correctly reading the author's intent.

I suspect the troubling words you use may just have been unthinking or the result of casual assumptions, rather than being as ideological as they may come across; but equally, people react emotionally, not always with the most charity they could summon up in sober reflection. Thought it might be useful to point out why people might be troubled.

In particular, the ubiquitous 'male rape victims don't matter (and/or don't exist)' assumption is something that's likely to piss people off in a very serious and personal way. In reality, men comprise something between 15-25% of rape victims at least, and probably more. [And those figures are only for male-on-male rape, as at least in this country female-on-male rape is not legally recognised as possible; similarly, government funds for rape victim support are not allowed to go to groups to support male victims, regardless of the sex of their attacker] - I suspect you were only making that assumption without thinking, but then that's sort of the problem. This may be part of why Oshun's head has exploded apoplectically.

---


AAAANYWAY.... does anyone have any NON-political comments on the book?


message 29: by Oshun (last edited Aug 19, 2015 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oshun | 61 comments Wastrel wrote: "Ariel wrote: "Some authors choices are morally problematic, and saying so is not akin to censorship. Maybe you are being pedantic about my word choice, but really I made a judgement about what mak..."

"This may be part of why Oshun's head has exploded apoplectically." --thanks Wastrel, you made me laugh and I really needed that. Awww!

I am generally not a fragile little flower--but I hate being called insensitive on women's issues, since I am an old battleaxe with literally more than four decades fighting on women's issues and would pit my credentials on the woman question against anyone's!

I really like your points above as well as the description of me as apoplectic. Thanks and I am thrilled to let the point drop.


Ariel | 3 comments I would be happy to have this discussion in more detail elsewhere if anyone is interested, but will also let it drop here so as not to derail this thread.


Wastrel | 270 comments Sadly, it doesn't seem as though there's anything to dereail...


message 32: by Emma (last edited Aug 19, 2015 02:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma  | 92 comments I will discuss it properly right after I'm done reading it again ;)

[e] I will ask now though, because it does concern me, does anybody else think the pacing of this trilogy seems a little off?

If this is the trilogy, then I feel we are about here:
--------X----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When in truth, we are about here:
------------------------------------------------------------X------------------------------

I'm worried I'm not going to like the third book because all of the story will be crammed in before the end.

And when I think back to the older books, there always seemed to be so much going on but in these, there's just one thread that's taking forever to follow - finding Bee.

I don't know, I'll have to read it again before I make up my mind. I think it was just that Fitz and the Fool's debut in Kelsingra felt tagged on at the end, in comparison to the detail and time put into the rest of the happenings in Buck.


Wastrel | 270 comments I think the pacing is... unusual. Personally, I could imagine there being another three novels of the quest to Clerres. Certainly other novelists would have done that.

Incidentally, are we taking bets on whether it will only be one more book? I know it's advertised as a trilogy... but Hobb has ended up splitting two of the last four books (the two RWC ones). And Fool's Fate was massive, over 900 pages in paperback. Looking around at other behemoths (A Storm of Swords, To Green Angel Tower, Ash, Toll the Hounds, The Lord of the Rings), it seems as though 1100 is about the upper limit, though Erikson's do go longer (both Ash and ASOS were split by some publishers, kept together by others). I wouldn't be shocked if the final book in this trilogy is longer than Fool's Fate, and I don't think it can be much longer before they split it...



...However, Hobb has always had weird pacing. Except maybe in Liveships? The others all put the emphasis in the 'wrong' places. This series seems to be following the lead of Tawny Man: first book set-up, ends with what looks like the beginning of the big quest; second book preparing for the quest; third book actually having the quest, which ends astonishingly rapidly, only halfway through the book, leaving the remaining half for epilogue...


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

It's going to be especially hard pace the next book if Bee gets more chapters. There were only a few scattered Bee chapters in Fool's Quest and it was enough. But in the next book it's seeming very likely that Verity-as-Dragon will take up a major character again (Yay!!) and will probably be in Bee's chapters. I think that Bee is going to get a lot more time on page. Combine that with Fitz's quest and well, basically, Assassin's Fate is going to be one hell of a book. :)


Wastrel | 270 comments Wish it were 'Fool's Apprentice' instead...


Emma  | 92 comments I wish for a whole different set of titles, if I'm honest xD


message 37: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments I thought the pace of this one was much better than the last one, but yeah, there is a lot to resolve if there is only one more book.


Scarletine | 469 comments I'm not reading the comments, cos i'm only on ch 20, but for anyone who has the UK version. Robin has just posted that a paragraph was missed out of the last chapter in the UK version. You can read it here. How upsetting for her.
http://www.robinhobb.com/2015/08/twix...


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow. So, I'm guessing Bee lost a lot of time in the Skill pillar. Thanks Scarletine, my edition was missing that paragraph too. :(


Wastrel | 270 comments To be honest, I think it works better without it. It doesn't add any new information, and just sort of hammers home what we already know. [I get that Bee would at some point think that, but she could easily wait to the end of the chasing to think it...]


Scarletine | 469 comments I've just finished the book and WOW! i loved it...but what the hell have I stumbled upon with this thread?

Tiptoes away quietly...

I'll mull things over and be back! ;-)


message 42: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob (robzak) | 432 comments Scarletine wrote: "I've just finished the book and WOW! i loved it...but what the hell have I stumbled upon with this thread?

Tiptoes away quietly...

I'll mull things over and be back! ;-)"


Yeah, I wish I hadn't said anything, because it seems to have largely derailed discussion.


Scarletine | 469 comments Lets get discussion back on track!

This actually read like a Robin Hobb book, whereas Fools Assassin read like it was half filler, written by someone else. I ate this book up, and will be reading it again, straight away.

My main want for this book was for Fool to heal and he and Fitz to go kick ass. So many things happened that i didn't know i wanted to happen! Primarily Fitz being brought out of the shadows and recognized. The fact that no one kicked off was pretty amazing, as tales of the whitted bastard blamed him for every wrong that ever befell the six duchies! I am glad he was outed, and sad Fool was not there to witness it.
The relationship between Fitz and Fool was wonderful as it used to be, and the closeness missing from Fool Assassin was rekindled beautifully. Fitz is still such a frustrating character! Thoughtless,then tender and thoughtful and then roiling with guilt for something said or unsaid. He never gets the balance right! The taking on of injuries when he was skill healing Fool was fascinating, and may be a hint to their final fate (mingling, maybe) And as fool healed a little, and started to gain a little of his old personality I grew more and more relieved. The dragon's blood was a perfect evolution for Fool. I can't wait to read how the changes affect him,and what he becomes, but as long as he stays alive and they kick servant ass, that is all that matters. I loved when he realised he and Fitz had a daughter. So beautifully written.

There is so much in this book that i have only scraped the surface of my initial thoughts...Bee's dreams...and finding out about Fools childhood were wonderful peices of the jigsaw.

So,we are left dangling, with Fitz and Fool sharing a full skill bond,(Yessss) Bee stumbling out of the pillar (where?) Can we assume that she is in the market plaza? Will she stumble upon her father's discarded belongings...maybe find her mothers candle? ..and a hungry bear that has a few servant bodies to snack on. If she is in the market Plaza, maybe Wolf Father will guide her to the stone dragons, and find Verity for protection.
The final book will have so many ends to tie. Clerres itself deserves a trilogy of it's own with all the crazy shit that goes on there!...forced breeding for gods sake...These servants had better get obliterated! :-)


message 44: by Em (new) - rated it 5 stars

Em | 62 comments I finished last night and I'm so happy with how this book turned out. Fool's Fate has always been my favourite but I think this one has topped it! I'll know more after another read through which I'll do in the next week or so.

I think it would have been a good idea in hindsight to split up this thread into sections of paragraphs like someone suggested. I avoided it as I didn't want to come across any spoilers but could really have done with discussing things as they happened. Maybe we can do that for the next book if everyone would prefer it?

My big worry is that it felt like Fitz was saying goodbye for a lot of this book. Kissing Chade on the forehead before he left, his night spent laying next to Kettricken, wandering through Buckkeep, time with Dutiful and other members of the family and of course the great reveal in front of everyone and him finally coming out of the shadows. Though I'm thinking that this could be another 'trick' of Robin's, making us believe this could be the end for Fitz and the Fool. I hope so anyway!

There do however seem to be a lot of potential for other books involving Fitz & the Fool, especially now they've met up with Malta and Reyn and finally seen the dragons. I loved that whole scene with Ephron, the healing, thought it was wonderful, totally surprising. Please let Fitz work his magic on the Fool's eyesight now:)

Great that we've heard from Verity again, he was always one of my favourites!


message 45: by Em (new) - rated it 5 stars

Em | 62 comments One other thing....because Fitz and the Fool have the skill link renewed, does that mean Fitz may take on some of the Fool's Elderling traits, as he took on some of the Fool's injuries during the skill healing?!


Wastrel | 270 comments Em wrote: "I finished last night and I'm so happy with how this book turned out. Fool's Fate has always been my favourite but I think this one has topped it! I'll know more after another read through which I'..."

Yes, definitely either Fitz is going to die, or else he's not going to die (prediction: the Assassin dies; whether its body dies, or whether its body goes on to become King, or Prince, or Eminence Grise, I don't know]. Which sounds fatuous when you say it like that, but... I think one of the remarkable things about Hobb, and in particular a way in which she has gotten better and better, is the depth of possibility she puts into her books. You know the Fool's/Bee's description of standing at a point and seeing all the possible futures stretching away? It's like that, every page. Every little thing could be meaningless, or could mean everything. Every page, almost, you could write a different prediction of what was going to happen, and any one of these futures would make sense.

Like, when Chade complained about there being too much Rosemary... does this signal a massive plotline whereby a) Chade is fully compus mentis, and b) Rosemary is plotting against the crown? Or does it just mean that a) Chade is slightly less demented than we thought but it won't have any plot significance, and b) Chade is a bit paranoid? Who knows?



I will share one thing that bugged me, though. Crows. Crows are legendarily a solitary species, not, as Hobb says, a social one. [As the saying goes: a crow in a crowd is a rook; a rook all alone is a crow]. It's also rooks who do the parliaments and the purges and the mobbing of other rooks (though crows occasionally gather to mob predatory birds, iirc).

It's not a big thing, it just means Fitz's world has a different species of crow. Maybe it's just that Hobb is assuming that these are American crows - I don't know how American crows behave. It's just that for so long I've had the impression that Fitz lives in a basically northern european milleau (with differences clearly marked through neologisms, like 'shadowcats'), it's a bit of a shock to realise that what Fitz calls a crow isn't what I call a crow...


Alfred Haplo (alfredhaplo) | 550 comments It's 4:40am. Just finished. Loved loved loved. After 15 books on everything in the Realm of the Elderlings, this book answered lots of questions for me. Looking forward to chiming in my thoughts after I've processed it all. My mind is racing. I do have the US version with the extra paragraph. Does not add much to overall ending other than providing a tiny prelude to book 3. Another year to go? Dammit. Chat soon..


Scarletine | 469 comments Alfred wrote: "It's 4:40am. Just finished. Loved loved loved. After 15 books on everything in the Realm of the Elderlings, this book answered lots of questions for me. Looking forward to chiming in my thoughts..."

Yay! Alfred. I'm still mulling things over too. Em and I are doing a re-read starting the week of 7th Sept. I might do as Em suggested and open new threads to seperate the chapters and discuss the implications of the mountian of new info Hobb had gifted us with.


Oshun | 61 comments I would be really enthusiastic about a true re-read chapter-by-chapter (i.e., spoilers for future chapters allowed, otherwise probably not, it would be too tedious for me and not very thought provoking).


message 50: by Alfred (last edited Aug 31, 2015 10:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alfred Haplo (alfredhaplo) | 550 comments Wastrel wrote: "Crows are legendarily a solitary species, not, as Hobb says, a social one. ...It's not a big thing, it just means Fitz's world has a different species of crow. Maybe it's just that Hobb is assuming that these are American crows - I don't know how American crows behave. ..."

I never paid much attention to crows in my neck of the woods and now you got me curious - looks like Motley is American through and through, right down to the white feathers... (esp. read the part that some crows are completely white.. ooh. Imagine Motley changing color due to proximity to Fool..)

http://www.scientificamerican.com/art...

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/wh...


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