Dorothy Dunnett fans discussion

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Lymond Chronicles > The Game of Kings - #1 LYMOND -- SPOILERS are clearly marked.

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message 1: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Okay, I'm in. Let me know when you've gotten caught up.


message 2: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Maragret comes from both English and Scottish parents. Her father was Scottish and her mothe Mary Tudor was the sister of Henry the VIII. Her mother had been married to James the IV of Scotland. After his death, Mary married the 6th Earl of Angus which is Margaret's father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret...

How both of their lives are entertwine with the history of this period is fasinating.


message 3: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments We can both look for a map, because it would really be helpful, but what you did find is invaluable!!

Lymond has just rescued Will Scott from the clutches of the English sympathizers disguised as the Spaniard. This had been such a serious read up to that point, but the poor lisping Lord Grey was hilarious as was Will's reaction to his speech.


message 4: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments Hi, I'm not sure I have time for this discussion right now but I'm going to give it a shot because Zorro tempted me beyond my capacity to resist. She and I read and discussed The Game of Kings a year ago and it was my favorite discussion of all time, so here I am.

I'm going to go look in my files and see what sites I saved and see if any of them may be helpful. Be right back...


message 5: by Katherine (last edited Sep 09, 2010 03:51PM) (new)

Katherine | 48 comments Scots Pronunciation and Meanings
http://www.dorothydunnett.co.uk/dupro...
(Lots of info on this site worth browsing)

Google Books: Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English Vol. II G-Z
http://books.google.com/books?id=M8c6...

Wikia: GoK Characters
http://dunnett.wikia.com/wiki/GoK:Cha...

Wikia: GoK Chronology
http://dunnett.wikia.com/wiki/GoK:Chr...

Wikia GoK Annotations-Opening Gambit
http://dunnett.wikia.com/wiki/GoK:Ann...

Notes on The Game of Kings pages 1-58
http://www.angelfire.com/zine/azurite...

McBain's Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language
http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MB2/inde...

The School Gaelic Dictionary
http://www.ceantar.org/Dicts/MF2/inde...


message 6: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Thanks for the sites. Is college credit offered for this series?? I was just going to read the first book and see how it went. Now I'm totally drowning in reference books and sites. It may be slow going, but I'm in for the long haul.


message 7: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments Sj wrote: "...Is college credit offered for this series??"

Ha, you'd think so wouldn't you?

I suspect there's only one way to do this, jump off into deep water and just keep going. Toe dipping is allowed but I'm not sure it gets you anywhere. I think you have to feel like you're drowning and completely adrift and then suddenly things begin to make sense.

The Game of Kings is without doubt the smartest, most challenging, intriguing book I've ever read. I haven't been brave enough to tackle the rest of the series yet but I'm willing to do this one again a year later. Go figure.


message 8: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Well, I have been reading Dorothy since 1976, there are those that have been reading her since the beginning 1961. All of the lists continue to discuss the books, because no matter how many times you read them you find something different. Dorothy wrote on so many different levels. sigh. She never made it easy for her reads, who she adored. In reading Dunnett the first time, you will never ever get it all. Goodness, I think I have RC and CM memorized and still find a wow, why did I not see that before. (g)
You must peel away the different layers after each reread. It is a life long obsession. Like I always say, you either have the Dunnett gene or you don't and pity those that never get it.


message 9: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Okay I have to ask. Should I then question anyone's posting other than the aforementioned? Are there giveaways as to whether a posting is from a spoiler?


message 10: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments MaryZorro wrote: "I think I should introduce everyone...."

Hi, SJ and Mickey, pleased to 'meet' you.

Mickey, I must thank you for introducing MZ to The Lymond Chronicles, that in turn prompted me to begin. While I haven't blazed on as Z has, it certainly has been a completely unique and interesting reading experience. Thanks!


message 11: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments "Unfortunately, while I can let some of it go, I'm apparently too anal to let very much get away without an explanation."

SJ, I relate.

I read the last half of the Opening Gambit in bed last night and finally decided I either had to let things slip past or risk an injury juggling back and forth between the book, the companion, and the monster dictionary on my nightstand. Never mind the laptop as there was no room for it. Right now I'm debating with myself on whether I go back through that portion or let it ride...

Sheesh, talk about making me wishing I had studied more history and classical lit. Lymond can't seem to open his mouth without some obscure quote issuing forth. Well obscure to me.

I am now regretting not making more notes in the margins the first time through.


message 12: by Katherine (last edited Sep 10, 2010 11:31AM) (new)

Katherine | 48 comments MaryZorro wrote: "...SJ is the one who will be most impacted by spoilers because this is her first time through the books."

I'll be careful to post where I'm at in the reading at the top of each post that contains anything other than a general comment so to avoid spoilers. Thanks for the reminder.


message 13: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments I have a housefull of company this weekend and will not get much farther I don't think. Additionally, I'm going to run back through what I've already read and accumulate some info (on paper for future reference)that I thought I was smart enough to retain the first time I read it and apparently wasn't.
By the way, Hello to all and nice to meet you. I'll try not to ask too many questions that I don't yet "have the need to know". Thanks for the guidance.


message 14: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Oh Sj,

I will offer this suggestion, which you can take or not. I would just read the book for the scope and sequence and don't try to figure every thing out. My goodness, there are some of us that are still not in agreement on loads of things in the books. That is the fun of the discussion groups. I can recommend Elizabeth website: http://www.angelfire.com/zine/azurite...
And Nancy Wright's translation guide:

http://www.dorothydunnettreadingaids....

Do not order the family tree, that would blow your mind at this point.

If you join Dunnetwork, you will have access to Carol Gleason's wonderful companion.
On all of the various lists there is a treasure trove of all kinds of information collected over the years. It is amazing and of course Bill Marshall's website, http://www.dorothydunnett.co.uk/

You can join the DDRA, (Dorothy Dunnett Readers association and receive Whisper Galley their magazine.

Why just read the book and enjoy it, ask a few questions and understand no one ever gets it the first time. (g)

Then you read it again and things start falling into place. Just my two cents worth.


message 15: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments I was really trying to get not so much the layers of intrigue or even an explanation of events that I may have missed or even the stuff I was complaining about in my first post...I'm finding that just as far along as I am, the characters all getting all confused with one another. I just may scan for names and leave the rest for a second read. Thanks for all the good advice, I promise not to let myself get mired in the little stuff.


message 16: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments Sj wrote: "...I'm finding that just as far along as I am, the characters all getting all confused with one another."

Yes, and to make it more complicated the characters may be referred to by more than one name or title. I find myself checking repeatedly the list of characters at the front of the book.


message 17: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments I'm going to have to find DD Companion I elsewhere since apparetly Kindle only has volume II. I am about 85% through and am having trouble putting it down for any reason. Need to do a lot of research on Margaret since while I can see where some of her motivation is coming from, she's just really a terribly hateful person.


message 18: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments MaryZorro wrote: "Today I received the paperback of the Dorothy Dunnett Companion. Looking forward to using it with The Game of Kings. Anyone out there still reading? I am about half way through."

Z, I think you'll find it much easier to use than the Kindle version though it does take some getting used to having to look everything up in another book as you're reading.

I've wondered if it would be useful or worthwhile to highlight the companion annotations in different colors for each of the separate books to make them easier to find?


message 19: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 48 comments I'm wondering if I'm not planning on reading The House of Niccolo books right now do I need The Dorothy Dunnett Companion Vol. II? I'm having a hard time imagining that a third book to juggle while reading The Lymond Chronicles is a good idea.

Anyone have any advice to offer?


message 20: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments I ordered DD Companion Vol. I from Barnes & Noble. Should be here next week. I'll hold off starting the second book until I have it. Loved the first. Do any of the characters other than Lymond and his immediate family appear in the subsequent books in the series? Do members of his family even appear in them? I'd hate to think I finally came to like Richard and will never see him again.


message 21: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments Sj wrote: "I ordered DD Companion Vol. I from Barnes & Noble. Should be here next week. I'll hold off starting the second book until I have it. Loved the first. Do any of the characters other than Lymond ..."

The family and friends element is very important in all DD's books. I can assure you that you will meet them again, in bad as well as good circumstances.

- Sandi


message 22: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Sj,

Queen's play is probably the most difficult book to get through. But stay with, it is so important to the other four to come. Dorothy will get you on a roller coaster ride, well then she does with the rest of the series. Yes, his family will be in the other books. You will meet so many wonderful characters. Just fasten you seat belt and enjoy.


message 23: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments Yes I'm finished!! And I do have questiona. For instance, was the there a history that will be revealed later to explain why Margaret was so hateful or was she just a malignant kind of person. Of course in that time they weren't as touchy feely to start with as people are today. Hard to relate to. And, how old was Lymond? At one time Richard asks him if Will Scott was aware of his age and he said no, which leads me to believe that he was younger than we would suppose. Other than his being Richard's "younger brother, I don't remember its being mentioned. And I am assuming that Agnes Herres (Erskine)intentionally left the door to the basement unlocked to allow Lymond to escape and passed the blame to Will Scott. But since that was pretty obvious since there was no real need for Erskine to have sent her home otherwise, maybe that's not such a deep question after all.
Don't have to discuss the entire book until y'all are finished even though I know you've all read it once.


message 24: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments Sj wrote: "Yes I'm finished!! And I do have questiona. For instance, was the there a history that will be revealed later to explain why Margaret was so hateful or was she just a malignant kind of person. Of..."

History with Margaret Lennox: Yes, bits are revealed all the way through the series. She is a recurring character and has a major role in several of the books.

Lymond: younger than you think, but part of the reason for his maturity is evident in this book; and subsequent books explain more (as if Dunnett ever explains anything straightforwardly!). Dorothy was deliberately vague in this book so you did not miss any information. I found it interesting to see how my reactions and assumptions about Lymond changed from book to book, as I learned more about him. When I learned his true age, then how he behaved in The Game of Kings towards both himself and others took on a new dimension.

Agnes Herries: I thought that she really matured through the book, from the annoying brat in the first chapters. I think you read it right, she was deliberately sent home by her husband Maxwell, to try to free Lymond. Interestingly, I have just found out that she had 12 children: 5 boys and 7 girls; and died at the age of 60.

Queens' Play was my first introduction to Dorothy Dunnett and it took me a while to get Lymond. But her use of language and style was evident from the start. I hope you find it equally enjoyable.


message 25: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments You find out how old Lymond is in PinF. So at that time you can go backward and find out how old he is in GofK.


message 26: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments Mickey wrote: "You find out how old Lymond is in PinF. So at that time you can go backward and find out how old he is in GofK."

I forgot how far through the series it is when we learn Lymond's age.


message 27: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Margaret come into play in RC and also at the end of CM.


message 28: by Sj (new)

Sj | 24 comments So,do we have more discussion points? Are you ready to start the next one? where is eveybody?


message 29: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandi13) | 21 comments MaryZorro wrote: "Can you all identify the shooters of those first arrow? And can you tell me Weren't there 4 arrows flying around"

Yes, four in total but I always understood here that Dorothy was counting the three unexpected arrows - Lymond's and Hunter's - separately as they came over the heads of the crowds.


message 30: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I haven't read all the posts here yet, but wanted to say thanks for all the links! I read The Game of Kings earlier this year and am now on Ringed Castle. I already know I'll have to reread these books. There are just so many layers and so much richness here. I do love Lymond passionately.


message 31: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "With help from GameofKings at Yahoo groups I will try to stir up some more in-depth discussion here.

Elise says:

<
Someone in another chat group mentioned once that sh..."


I'm inclined to think that Lymond's remark about our modest yeoman enjoying his lordship is just a straightforward reference to Richard enjoying his lordship while Lymond is on a slave galley.

But who knows whether he was molested or not? There are some incidents in later books that would be spoilers but surely indicate some sexual ambiguity in Lymond's actions and history.


message 32: by Janny (last edited Nov 27, 2010 02:16PM) (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 29 comments MaryZorro wrote: "What does Lymond mean when he says: "I am a narwhal looking for my
virgin" [Game of Kings. Penguin 1999. 2]?"


Narwhal - a species of whale with a twisted horn, often passed off by shysters as 'unicorn horn'/hence the unicorn/virgin legend referenced.


message 33: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "What does Lymond mean when he says: "I am a narwhal looking for my
virgin" [Game of Kings. Penguin 1999. 2]?"


Oh mercy, there's a long discussion about that on the GoK yahoo group. Narwal being a unicorn and the whole association of unicorns and virgins. It was very interesting, but I can't remember all the discussion.


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "Yes, Sleo....I read that discussion and I was wondering if we have anything original to say about this?? I don't! But you all might."

I'll go reread. It was fascinating, but late last night so need to refresh.


message 35: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I am a narwhale looking for my virgin - The various speculations on yahoo include him being a unicorn looking for his virgin - the virgin being variously Edinburgh, Scotland, the baby queen. And of course the ultimate virgin that those of us who've completed the series know about... Lymond does like to speak in riddles.


message 36: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "<You are invited to create and edit p..."

OMG, don't give me any more DD pages to look at! (Kidding). I won't have time to read!


message 37: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I think I agree with the folks over at yahoo whose consensus seems to be that the narwhal reference means that Lymond is the unicorn returned to Scotland looking for his innocence.


message 38: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Sandra aka Sleo, my reading has been cut in half, minimum probably a quarter from before I hooked up to the net but as my sister reminded me I'm still reading just not new novels. I'm going with the flow and trying not to burn out. I had just finished a reread of the LC when I got my laptop and everyday I am tempted to start them again but am forcing myself to read other stuff.


message 39: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Gracie wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo, my reading has been cut in half, minimum probably a quarter from before I hooked up to the net but as my sister reminded me I'm still reading just not new novels. I'm going with t..."

Alas and alack! too true, Gracie.

The question becomes 'what to read?' I made the mistake recently of trying to listen to an audio version of one of Ken Follett's huge historical tomes and after 12 hours, decided it was a total waste of time that was pissing me off. So I stopped and read Disorderly Knights, and then couldn't stop.

I'm now rereading Game of Kings in a leisurely manner, following the discussion at the GoK yahoo group as I go. It's been interesting.

A question asked: Was Lymond's sneeze outside the door at Mungo's an accident or contrived?

I personally think it was not an accident, as Lymond rarely if ever has accidents. If the pig in the basement is Mungo's pet guard 'dog', then they got him drunk first to be a distraction from Lymond's escape and the confiscation of the contraband in the basement. He wanted them to find him.

Another popular discussion point is this: Did you know the body that Sym found in the creek and that Christian and he subsequently cared for was Lymond? I didn't first time through, but this time it's obvious. Also Lymond's manner with Christian is totally different as he uses none of his sarcasm and mocking to converse with her.

So, if he's returning to Scotland to prove his innocence, why does he want to let people know he's there? The robbery at Midculter, the stabbing of Janet Eaton, etc., seemed deliberately done to provoke. Some suggest he is trying to provoke Richard into a confrontation, to save Richard from accusations of collusion with his supposedly traitorous activities. What do you all think?

PS - since the discussion in the other group is ten years old, I can't really comment in that group without being a bore to those who've been actively discussing for all that time. And since I'd like to liven interest in GR, I will post my thoughts here.


message 40: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "PS - since the discussion in the other group is ten years old, I can't really comment in that group without being a bore to those who've been actively discussing for all tha..."

I remember trying to figure that out on first read. Will let you know. But I think Lymond is, as they say, a sucker for innocence and purity and respects anyone with integrity, so he acted toward them with honor. I think Christian was more than a little in love with him, as who wouldn't be?


message 41: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
You know, DD always plays tricks on us. The last sentence before Sym finds Lymond unconscious, it says Will Scott knew no more. So the obvious conclusion is that the body is Will Scott. However, since it was close to Boghall and not Annan where they had been it's open to question.

When I read this, I realized that the penultimate chapter in Checkmate subterfuge is part of a pattern with her. She misleads us all along the way. Although that one really really made me mad! I guess she wants us to pay attention! LOL.


message 42: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
There is some priceless humor in this book.

One line that sticks is at the end of the pig episode:
Meanwhile Sir Wat Scott of Buccleuch was riding westward from Edinburgh, free at last of the Governor's councils, and leaving behind him his good friend Tom Erskine, a distraught smuggler, and a depressed pig.

Then there's her description of Jonathan Crouch's discourse:
The keep of Ballaggan encased the ceaseless drone of Mr. Crouch's voice. He droned through September until it and his captors were exhausted; then pounced on October with undimmed vigour and worried the blameless days for a fortnight.

Priceless.


message 43: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Sj wrote: "Yes I'm finished!! And I do have questiona. For instance, was the there a history that will be revealed later to explain why Margaret was so hateful or was she just a malignant kind of person. Of..."

My recollection of the history of Margaret Lennox and Lymond's relationship is that there is never a full explanation, but it comes in bits and pieces along the way. Margaret Lennox is a real historical figure and was always scheming and manipulating to get one of the crowns that she might be in succession for. A niece of Henry VIII, I believe. One of the things Lymond always does is try to puncture this sort of manipulation. That alone would explain her hatred of him, but the story implies that they once had an affair and then she became jealous of his attentions to others.


message 44: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
OMG, I am having so much fun rereading this. I'm amazed at how much I remember, but am finding it so much easier to read this time through. I just cracked up at the whole caper where they stole the supplies going to Grey's castle and then the follow up visit to Lord Douglas. Lymond is just too much.


message 45: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments I think the list of Lymond's mistakes, accidents and slip ups is *very* short. DD's mind is very slippery so you must always pay attention to what came before; a sentence or a sound or a thought. Sometimes she definitely does this to mislead as the Will Scott segue shows but most often to give the subtext and explication. Just within the last couple of months a poster came up with a whole new take on a scene by doing just that, paying attention to what came just before.
One thing that helped me is bookmarking important scenes so that when they are referred back to I can quick look at them. Online the scenes develop names, shorthand, it's a good thing to do this for yourself.
Funny OMG yes! The best one for me is in DK involving left-handed redheads.
What to read after??? It is a hard question Georgette Heyer has the *wit* but her stuff is simple in the extreme: not that I don't love her. Sharon K. Penman has the historical *accuracy* but her plots don't grab you like DD's but they are great books. *Complexity* ? a lot of the people on Yahoo are into Patrick O'Brian. I tried once and will go back but they don't grab me, so far. For a great engaging hero I recommend Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga (read in order) - Miles is pure joy.
And one last word,it's always worth looking for Margaret Lennox in any conspiracy or dark corner.She's not always there but....
Another last word..There are many 'questions' from the LC and HoN still being discussed and argued *decades* after people have read the books.


message 46: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I'm looking through the archives as the GoK group first read this book back in 2000. I'm amazed that there isn't much comment on the whole papingo episode as to who shot Richard. I know, of course, having read it, and the clues are there, but it seemed remarkable that there isn't much discussion, as they discussed the whole narwhol issue to death. Funny.

MaryZorro - I'm not seeing much evidence that Lymond is falling in love with Christian. I think he's very grateful to her for rescuing him and he's respectful. They obviously formed a friendship bond while he was at Boghall, but love? Not on his part. Now, at the fair, as she's reaching the tent to have her 'fortune' read, her heart is beating fast and she's astounded at her own reaction. If that isn't a symptom of falling in love, I don't know what is.

I confess, though, I can't make heads or tails of most of Lymond's remarks to her in the tent.


message 47: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "I would like to go back and read the tent scene.

I thought that L was very respectful and very fond of Christian, but not in love with her. She was a brave and caring woman. I do think she was..."


I'm going to reread it also, MZ, and agree with your assessment of L and Christian.


message 48: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 29 comments I found these books way back in the 70s, and though I have never frequented discussion groups, I've had plenty of time to think on this.

My take on the relationship with Christian and Lymond is a bit different. I think she was one of the few, besides his mother, who saw him for who he was; understood who he was at heart. And she had a mind that could keep up with him. He was very conscious of the fact he was a danger to her; and her help in his desperation was a favor he could not do without.

I believe he would not allow himself the moral license to even consider a relationship while he was still at the horn.

So it pained him that he had to be that close to her at all. It's plain, he mentions the irony: that without her infirmity, his friendship at that stage would not have even been remotely possible.

I believe SHE chose to marry another, despite her feelings, because she knew HER infirmity might hold him back/and the weight of the favor he owed her might tie him in ways she did not wish.

I think she died before Lymond ever had the chance to let down and explore what might have been - a cherished deep friendship, or more than that. It was left unexplored due to the moral implications he was under, while his name was blackened.

That she died due to the fact she had helped him, and due to the fact she was one of the few who understood him was the emotional scar left to him, afterwards. Tragically, exactly the sort of scar Christian herself would have spared him.


message 49: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Gracie wrote: "I think the list of Lymond's mistakes, accidents and slip ups is *very* short. DD's mind is very slippery so you must always pay attention to what came before; a sentence or a sound or a thought. S..."

Can you set the scene for left handed redheads?


message 50: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I just reread the tent scene and can very much see all that you're talking about Janny. Also agree, although you said it more eloquently than I.

Lymond's reluctance to be involved with anyone he cares about is undoubtedly due to his fears for their safety.

And I think respect and honor is what drives his relationship with Christian.


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