All Souls Trilogy Re-read discussion

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Shadow of Night > Chapters 1-42

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Re-read member Caitlin pointed out the ways in which Deb hints that Philippe is actually Hercules. I must admit that the possibility hadn't really occurred to me--even though it's clear that Philippe is significantly older than Matthew.

This time through, I read the following line from Diana's first meeting with Philippe literally rather than metaphorically: "Lifting my chin, I found myself gazing into the tawny eyes of a Greek god." Thanks, Caitlin!


message 2: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments Good point. Maybe he looked like that because he could be of Greek origin as he combines the old ways of the Greeks (i.e. the sacrifice to the goddess before the weeding) with the ways of other religions/beliefs.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I believe it was re-read member Eliza who lamented the fact that Diana and Matthew take so long to consummate their relationship.

It's interesting to re-read Matthew and Philippe's argument about whether or not Diana is truly Matthew's mate. Initially, I thought Matthew simply didn't want to rush their physical intimacy. In retrospect, I see that he wants to protect Diana from his own possessiveness. I also appreciate how Matthew is sensitive to the fact that a vampire's love might be challenging for an independent, 21st century woman!


message 4: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments Could it be that he is also unsure as to whether he can cope with Diana being so independent, also that he has lived so many different lives in many different centuries therefore is unsure how Diana will react to him in general. It must be confusing to have lived in so many different periods and try and keep track of how as a man you treat a woman in each.


message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) Readsandeats wrote: "Could it be that he is also unsure as to whether he can cope with Diana being so independent, also that he has lived so many different lives in many different centuries therefore is unsure how Dian..."

Have you read any of book 2, Shadow of Night? It is made plain in that book while Matthew and Diana are at Sept-Tours why Matthew has been so reluctant to consumate their marriage. I won't say more lest I accidentally spoil it for you.


message 6: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments Yes have read it but still feel that my thoughts also have reason as well as the reason he gave


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I think--like Matthew himself--his feelings about physical intimacy are very complex.

His previous experiences with love all ended tragically, Diana is forbidden fruit--particularly in 1590 when he's a member of the Congregation--and, yes, I think there's the issue of who he is in each time and place. Each of us is shaped by the era in which we live and I believe it's Hamish who warns Diana that Matthew will not be the same person in 1590--with or without a beard!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

"Black is the badge of hell/ The hue of dungeons, and the school of night."

Most of us envy Diana's ability to timewalk, but what would it really mean to be who you are in a different time and place? Diana is initially tongue-tied around the great playwright Christopher "Kit" Marlowe, but he is dismissive and even rude towards her. Of course, Kit's in love with Matthew, but he's also exhibiting the unfortunate sexism of his time. Were you familiar with any of the members of the School of Night before this book? What was your favorite--or least favorite--interaction between Diana and one of Matthew's old friends?


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa L-B | 14 comments Julie wrote: ""Black is the badge of hell/ The hue of dungeons, and the school of night."

Most of us envy Diana's ability to timewalk, but what would it really mean to be who you are in a different time and pl..."


My favorite interactions were with Henry Percy/Hal/Earl of Northumberland. He was always very respectful towards Diana and was often her advocate. I think this advocacy was best represented in chapter 16 when he suggested Diana would quickly bore with just a few books and she should meet Mary Sidney.


message 10: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments I really liked Henry as a character and he seemed to understand how hard it is to fit into an already made group no matter what era you are from. Many of us could do with a Henry in our lives


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to say that Henry Percy is my human crush. He's shy, but kind in a way that's immediately appealing.

On the other hand, Philippe took some time getting used to. We hear so much about him before he actually appears in the book that I felt nervous about how he would treat Diana! Of course, we now know that--despite his imperious command that Matthew come to France and his refusal to allow Matthew and Diana to share a bedroom--he makes Diana his blood-sworn daughter in chapter 11. Was Philippe the vampire you expected to meet?


message 12: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments In some ways yes, especially when he and Matthew were in the barn sword fighting but he was doing this out of love and wanting Matthew to face who he was as a person and to accept himself for who he was.

I liked the way he helped Diana to fit in by making her deal with the household running and the fact that he protected her by making her his blood-sworn daughter.


message 13: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 51 comments Yes, Phillipe was the vampire that I expected to meet. In fact, he exceeded my expectations. Such a clever creature -- I'm thinking in particular about the note exchanges with Ysabeau.

I have to say that during this re-read, I paid more attention to Matthew's friends. Henry Percy is such a gentle soul. I liked him the best. My least favorite was Kit.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Readsandeats wrote: "In some ways yes, especially when he and Matthew were in the barn sword fighting but he was doing this out of love and wanting Matthew to face who he was as a person and to accept himself for who h..."

I agree! I initially thought he was trying to cow her with the responsibility, but he was just accepting her on equal terms.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Melissa wrote: "Yes, Phillipe was the vampire that I expected to meet. In fact, he exceeded my expectations. Such a clever creature -- I'm thinking in particular about the note exchanges with Ysabeau.

I have to..."


I loved the notes. They also made me a little sad because they were mementos from beyond the grave.


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) Melissa wrote: "Yes, Phillipe was the vampire that I expected to meet. In fact, he exceeded my expectations. Such a clever creature -- I'm thinking in particular about the note exchanges with Ysabeau.

I have to..."


I agree with you about Kit! Since this is a thread about ckapters 1-21 I won't go into what happens later that makes me really despise him, but you can probably guess what I am talking about!


message 17: by Readsandeats (new)

Readsandeats | 54 comments Yes, definitely not a character to like or even feel sorry for.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Matthew's circle is known as the "School of Night," but Deb chose to title this volume Shadow of Night. Any thoughts on why this might be?


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Our conversation about Kit has made me think about all the wonderfully awful villains in the series. To see what you think, I've added a poll. I'll post the results on Monday!


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) I voted! As much as I dislike Kit there is someone I despise even more!


message 21: by Jean (new)

Jean | 10 comments Shadow of Night is a nod to both the School of Night and QEs nickname for Matthew.


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa L-B | 14 comments It's so hard to vote based only on what has been revealed through chapter 20. My vote will change twice more by the end of the series :).


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Lisa wrote: "It's so hard to vote based only on what has been revealed through chapter 20. My vote will change twice more by the end of the series :)."

I know. I'm being sneaky!


message 24: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 51 comments I voted, too. As vocal as I've been about my dislike for Kit, I'm with Jeffrey... I voted for someone that I dislike even more.


message 25: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 8 comments During this re-read it's been interesting to see the different species reactions to Diana. From the start of the first book humans have always been enamored with her, which is why Henry and George were so considerate to her. Vampires have been protective, which is why I think Philippe made her his blood sworn daughter. I know at first it appeared he didn't like her, but he was testing her, which were his interactions with his family at all times. It's because of him treating her like the rest of his family from the beginning, it makes me feel he approved of her from the start. Remember he is always 2 steps ahead of everyone else! With demons it's been a mixed bag. Maybe DH wrote it in that way because of their propensity to be unpredictable. With Kit he despised her from the start because she was a woman and because she was married to the man he loved, but Tom is intrigued by her, and Hamish is cautious, slightly antagonistic. With witches there has been envy, fear, curiosity, and love. Since Matthew isn't friendly with any witches in the past or present, I can only make observations on the ones that have introduced so far.


message 26: by Joanna (new)

Joanna | 13 comments I love this era. The costume and the time. However i think i would struggle to hold my tongue.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Jean wrote: "Shadow of Night is a nod to both the School of Night and QEs nickname for Matthew."

Thanks, Jean! Even re-reading, I miss crucial items. I shall have to start over once I'm done re-reading TBoL!


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Lisa wrote: "It's so hard to vote based only on what has been revealed through chapter 20. My vote will change twice more by the end of the series :)."

That's why I thought it would be fun to do mid-series!


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Joanna wrote: "I love this era. The costume and the time. However i think i would struggle to hold my tongue."

I think we all would, Joanna. Thankfully, none of us is accustomed to being confined in corsets and discussed in the third person!


message 30: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 51 comments Interesting observations, Michelle.

Re-reading SoN has me thinking of things a little differently. Specifically, I'm thinking it would be really difficult to visit a previous time period... if one had that ability, of course.

I love the Italian Renaissance time period, for example. Yet, reading and studying about it would be quite different than being transported directly into the midst of the times. Really thinking about Diana's struggles has driven that home for me.

There was a BBC reality series from ~10 years ago called "1900s House." The premise was to take a modern day family and drop them into the home (which was modified to be an authentic replica from the Victorian era) -- and their struggle with living the lifestyle on a daily basis. I had never heard of this series until recently. I watched the 4 episodes via youtube... what a challenge this family had.

My point, I guess, is that our minds tend to romanticize many of the details about the past and not really consider the harsh realities. Deborah Harkness did a wonderful job portraying the Elizabethan Era - in a realistic manner.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 6 comments Melissa wrote: "Yes, Phillipe was the vampire that I expected to meet. In fact, he exceeded my expectations. Such a clever creature -- I'm thinking in particular about the note exchanges with Ysabeau.

I have to..."


I agree Melissa. I went into SON with the idea that I would not like Phillipe, but he exceeded my expectations as he did what was necessary to protect his family - no matter what.


message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) See, now I was just the opposite. I don't know if I thought I would LIKE Phillipe, but I somehow knew I would RESPECT him. When I read the story I ended up liking AND respecting him.


message 33: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 15 comments Julie wrote: "Matthew's circle is known as the "School of Night," but Deb chose to title this volume Shadow of Night. Any thoughts on why this might be?"

Each book title in the trilogy is derived from the title of a historical source:
“The Discovery of Witches” by Matthew Hopkins
“The Shadow of Night” – George Chapman’s poem dedicated to the poet Matthew Roydon
“Book of Life” – Marsilio Ficino (actual translation is “Three Books on Life”)

“Shadow of Night” is a far more encompassing and intriguing title than “School of Night.” SON pays direct homage to the members of the “school”, the time period of the story, and conveys richer symbolism. It also resonates to the alchemical process of transformation.

The members of the school hold “heretical” views and some are spies. They are creatures and humans operating in the shadows outside of societal norms. They meet under the cover of night, a time that allows for greater contemplation away from prying eyes. They are conscious when most of the world is asleep.

Diana and Matthew arrive at night at the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead is considered to be thinnest. Vampires and witches are considered to be creatures of the night. (The Moon is the Queen of the Night and Diana is the Moon Goddess.) Diana and Matthew are dealing with some very deep seated emotions and issues brought from the shadow of darkness to the surface as Diana learns to fully awaken and harness her power.


message 34: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 14 comments So Matthew Roydon was a real person. I didn't know that. Further wikipedia-ing, brings up an entry on Roydon to read. I missed that when I was first learning about SON characters.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Deborah wrote: "Julie wrote: "Matthew's circle is known as the "School of Night," but Deb chose to title this volume Shadow of Night. Any thoughts on why this might be?"

Each book title in the trilogy is derived ..."


Thanks, Deborah! Deb is so good at weaving real life elements of history and literature into her story. I wish we could all sit in on one of her classes!

Let's talk about Matthew being a spy and a member of the Congregation. As Deb often says, Matthew keeps so many secrets. At this point, Diana doesn't even know all of them. Could you be involved with someone whose life is so complex and hidden in the shadows? Does her own awakening power make her more comfortable with sharing her life with a vampire whose life is full of intrigue?


message 36: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbaradesimone51gmailcom) | 32 comments Forgive me-I've been out of commission for a couple of weeks, so I'm just going to comment on everything at once. I love books about Elizabethan England and what is so great about this one is that is shows how regular people live-usually it's all about Elizabeth and royalty.
As far as Phillippe, when I first read the books I was not sure what to expect from him, but he is truly the lord of his domain in the best sense. I ended up loving his character. I thought he was Greek originally because when he takes Diana to sacrifice to the goddess, he refers to his childhood and calls her Artemis which is the Greek name for Diana. Also, in his note to Isobeau, he signs his name Phillipos (not sure of my spelling) which I'm assuming is Greek.
I think life is difficult for Diana because Matthew has so many secrets, but she loves him and ultimately that won't change. It would be difficult for me to be with someone who had such secrets, but at the same time, if the man I loved was 1,500 years old, it would have to be expected.


message 37: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbaradesimone51gmailcom) | 32 comments Julie wrote: ""Black is the badge of hell/ The hue of dungeons, and the school of night."

Most of us envy Diana's ability to timewalk, but what would it really mean to be who you are in a different time and pl..."

My favorite interactions are with Diana and Henry Percy. He is so sweet and so considerate of everyone. I think he made everything easier for her.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Barbara wrote: "Forgive me-I've been out of commission for a couple of weeks, so I'm just going to comment on everything at once. I love books about Elizabethan England and what is so great about this one is that ..."

It's interesting to me how little freedom the royalty really have. They enjoy some lavish luxuries, but really live at the queen's whim.

I'd also love to taste one of Prior's meat pies!


message 39: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 51 comments I'm weighing in on the relationship question:
I don't think I would be able to have a relationship with someone who had so many secrets. Trust is the foundation of a good relationship. To keep so many secrets is the equivalent of lying (in my opinion).


message 40: by Jessica (new)

Jessica  (jessical1961) True! But how do know what you might be leaving out secret-wise after 1500 years? That is a lot of remembering!


message 41: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 51 comments Ok, that is a good point, Jeffrey. It is the deliberate choice to not share info that I'm referring to.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

I have a feeling that Matthew has a very good memory!


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

In our last poll, Gallowglass gave Matthew a run for his money in terms of being your favorite vampire. What are some of the qualities that make him so appealing? And without giving too much away, did you like him immediately or was it his actions in TBoL that won you over?


message 44: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 6 comments Julie wrote: "In our last poll, Gallowglass gave Matthew a run for his money in terms of being your favorite vampire. What are some of the qualities that make him so appealing? And without giving too much away, ..."

I liked Gallowglass in SoN, but I really liked him after TBoL. The qualities that strike me the most are: steadfast and loyal. Despite the pain these qualities cause him personally, he puts family first.

Untypically for me, I was emotionally involved in his pain. I think that is why I am hoping Deborah will continue to share his story. I want to see an end to his pain. He deserves it, imo.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Sarah wrote: "Julie wrote: "In our last poll, Gallowglass gave Matthew a run for his money in terms of being your favorite vampire. What are some of the qualities that make him so appealing? And without giving t..."

Interestingly, I felt the same about the development of Matthew's character. He's swoon-worthy in ADoW, but we really get to understand what makes him tick in SoN. His relationship with Philippe, the depth of his faith, and the moments of self-doubt that make him so much more than a tall, dark, handsome vampire.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I also love how Deb illuminates the absurdity of intolerance in any form.

Even amongst the witches, some value certain powers over others. Susanna Norman--Sophie Norman's ancestor in 1590--believes that water and fire witches are superior to those who cast spells. Back in the present, Diana recalls how her "Aunt Sarah thought witches who relied on elemental magic were dilettantes.... I smothered a sigh at these bizarre prejudices. Weren't we all witches?"


message 47: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catherinefear) | 3 comments Julie wrote: "In our last poll, Gallowglass gave Matthew a run for his money in terms of being your favorite vampire. What are some of the qualities that make him so appealing? And without giving too much away, ..."

I fell in love with Gallowglass in SoN then my heart completely went out to him in TBoL, he is so steadfastly loyal to both his family obligations and to Diana. This is what makes him so appealing. Also I think his vulnerability (as his character develops) makes you empathise with him and connect with him in a different way to how you connect with Matthew in the books.

However, after saying all this I voted for Ysabeau as my fave vampire as I can't resist such a strong, powerful female character.


message 48: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 15 comments Julie wrote: "I also love how Deb illuminates the absurdity of intolerance in any form."

Completely agree, Julie. One of the many reasons why I love this trilogy.


message 49: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (stitchingcoach) | 12 comments Barbara wrote: "Julie wrote: ""Black is the badge of hell/ The hue of dungeons, and the school of night."

Most of us envy Diana's ability to timewalk, but what would it really mean to be who you are in a differe..."


Oh, wouldn't it be great to have an "All Souls Trilogy" cookbook!


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Dawn wrote: "Barbara wrote: "Julie wrote: ""Black is the badge of hell/ The hue of dungeons, and the school of night."

Most of us envy Diana's ability to timewalk, but what would it really mean to be who you ..."


What a fun idea!


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