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The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing, #1)
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Prince of Nothing > TDTCB -- Character Analysis: Esmenet (spoilers)

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John | 136 comments I don't know how much I have to say right now, and I'm a bit strapped for time, but I couldn't open all these topics about characters without including Esmi!


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Kathi | 819 comments Mod
I found Esmi the most difficult character to fathom. I thought she really loved Achamian, but kept turning tricks, knowing how hurtful it was to him. She seemed passive until she left the city.


Lannister (lannisteruk) Kathi wrote: "I thought she really loved Achamian, but kept turning tricks, knowing how hurtful it was to him."

I had the feeling that she did it out of necessity, because she knew that sooner or later Achamian would up and leave and she'd be left destitute. I'm sure she made a comment or had a thought that if she didn't make herself available for her regular customers, they'd go somewhere else and she'd have no one.

I think she didn't want to depend on Achamian, because she felt he would let her down sooner or later. And I suspect she's probably right!

(I'm making these comments from memory, hope my memory is correct!!)


John | 136 comments Lannister, you're right on. What we see between Esmenet and Achamian is deeply influenced by their circumstances. As a Mandate Schoolman, Achamian's life isn't his own, and Esmenet can't count on him. Their time together in Sumna is sad because of that gap between them, but what's really poignant is the missed connection when they're both encamped with the Holy War.

What I mean by that is that in Sumna, there's a sort of equilibrium. Esmenet doesn't feel like she can give up prostitution for him, because he's going to be forced to leave at some point, and when he does, she'll be in a worse position, having lost the clients who support her living. So they're a bit star-crossed there. But then she does make that leap of faith to leave Sumna and follow him... and basically everything goes wrong. Her shoe breaks, she almost gets stoned to death--whereas in Sumna she had a comfortably established position, out in the world she is hated for being a whore and virtually powerless as a woman. Sarcellus protects her, and she needs that, but he also nurtures the doubts that she already had about the viability of a relationship with Achamian (of course, he--it?--has other motives). So the fact that they're so close and she doesn't go to Achamian, and then at the end when he is so caught up in the revelation that the Consult is real, is active, is THERE, and she misinterprets his failure to see/acknowledge/embrace her... that's rough. Especially since there's a high likelihood that this would be a situation more favorable to the development of their relationship: he's presumably going to be with the Holy War as long as it lasts (and thus, with her); she doesn't have to be a prostitute there, with him. And yet they miss that opportunity.


Lannister (lannisteruk) Thanks for the great explanation, John! :)


message 6: by Kathi, There’s no such thing as too many books! (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kathi | 819 comments Mod
So let's revisit Esmenet now that we have read all 3 books in the series.
(view spoiler) She changes so much through the course of the 3 books.


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