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Lymond Chronicles > Checkmate ***SPOILERS*** ONLY for those who have READ IT!

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message 1: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
There are many things about Checkmate that I would like to discuss with people who have read the book so I am starting this thread.

A recent question that came up is the ultimate trick DD plays on us when she makes us think that Lymond is dead when it's really Marthe.

I'm still angry about the fact that I thought that Lymond was dead. I do not feel much sorrow for Marthe. We're not sure what her motivations are in coming to Flaw Valley but I think Sybilla's speculation is probably accurate: that she was bringing the documents to the Crawfords proving Sybilla's 'sin'.

In a way, I find it ironic that it was Austin who shot her. Both of those characters continually blamed others for their misfortunes. In Marthe's case, there was some foundation for it, although it was apparently the Dame de Doubtance who determined her fate by not letting her go with Sybilla after her mother died. Austin was just a sorry, lily livered idiot who couldn't bear the fact that Philippa loved Lymond more. He had no more idea what Philippa was about than the man in the moon. I feel sorry for both characters, but not mad that they died.

On the other hand, if it had been Lymond to die without ever being able to live with the rewards of his ultimate reconciliation with who he was and with his mother and his brother and, of course, Philippa; it would have been too tragic for words. I couldn't have born it.


message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I confess to having a really hard time understanding Francis' strong desire to divorce Philippa considering his love for her.

I've only been able to come up with two reasons so far
a) his fear of her feelings being fleeting
b) his general avoidance of the people he cares deeply about because of the risk to them of involvement with him.

Any thoughts?


message 3: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Francis is going through his warped hunchback whelped in the gutter syndrome.

Philippa understands:
Without a tremor, Francis would bring his spoiled heritage to Catherine, the daughter of two people who in their time had indulged in every form of costly licence. But to herself, a girl of twenty reared by Kate with wisdom and wit and endless clear-sighted love, there was no path tht pride, regard, convention, self-respect and even, she suspected, and odd, well-disguised quality of self-distrust did not block for him.

Francis believes, because he loves her, that he is not good enough for her, even though, after the Hotel de Hercule:

Speech came back, 'God in Heaven,' Philippa said. 'Do you think that I care?'
'I know you don't,' Lymond said, 'But you must excuse the hunchback that does.'

Mickey


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Francis is going through his warped hunchback whelped in the gutter syndrome.

Philippa understands:
Without a tremor, Francis would bring his spoiled heritage to Catherine, the daughter of two..."


Ah, right. He does make my heart ache. Thanks for reminding me of that. I'm now rereading from Game of Kings because I can't let go of him. Sigh.


message 5: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Sandra,

No one lets go of Francis, once hooked. Always remember:

In Dorothy we have found a banquet under the heavens that will serve us forever.

Just be thankful, that you are one of the lucky ones that got the Dunnett gene.

Mickey


message 6: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Sandra,

No one lets go of Francis, once hooked. Always remember:

In Dorothy we have found a banquet under the heavens that will serve us forever.

Just be thankful, that you are one of the..."


Ah yes. I am, I am. And what a banquet it is.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I confess to having a really hard time understanding Francis' strong desire to divorce Philippa considering his love for her.

I've only been able to come up with two reason..."


LOL.


message 8: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "And I will have to wait til I read it again, but the scenes where Lymond is in withdrawal and his mother was there were just beyond ??? What the heck was going on? I have to read that all again......"

When are you talking about? You mean after his serious injury with the mills in the river? That wasn't withdrawal. He was in a coma.


message 9: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Mary,

Sybilla was bringing him back from death, which, at this point he so wanted:

The house of opium, read again.

Nostradamus, 'You have heard he long sought this gateway, and at Dorulans he found it. He is not going to come back, for me, for you, or for anyone. This time he has found the boatman, and the boatman has taken him over.

Sybilla makese Francis remember the promise he made her on the night of Mary's wedding. She keeps him to it and brings him back from the brink of death, he so wanted. Remember, Philippa gave him leave to go:

'I have to find Philippa, I will promise you anything you wish, to the end of my life, if you will tell me the name of the house that you know of.' So she brought him back, to what at this time in the story. I was ready to hit her at this point.

I am trying to answer two or three questions, Yes, he was in a coma, but he had found the gate, and was not trying to recover.

'OhJesus lad, Are you sure, are you sure this is how you want it?'
And Lymond said,'I only know I want it.' And then, it is best done with one has of pride.'
Lastly, he said, I have leave to go.
'I know,' said Archie.

One of the most cry out loud parts of the whole LC.


message 10: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Mary,



Goodness, after almost six books and you don't understand Francis and his taking care of those he loved? It was beyond him before the Bailey incident, and then all he thought about was Philippa's well being. She was his wife and he would protect her and knew instantly not to touch her.

Mickey


message 11: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Hi Mary,



Goodness, after almost six books and you don't understand Francis and his taking care of those he loved? It was beyond him before the Bailey incident, and then all he thought about..."


I'm a psychotherapist and have worked with many sexual trauma victims. I thought this was exceedingly well done. Philippa's actions and Francis' care of her were most touching.

After all of Francis' head traumas - perhaps beginning with the one in Game of Kings when Sym and Christian found him unconscious and with no memory - it's no wonder that he had the heaadaches and blindness - I guess a kind of seizure - that he had.


message 12: by Sandra (last edited Nov 30, 2010 08:38PM) (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "i am trying totype this on my kindle. yes mickey i understandthat from his point of view he thought he was protecting phillipa but to me withholding precious love isridiculous and hewas wrong and ..."

Mary, I recall reading in Philippa's memory the times they had touched and she recoiled or withdrew. I think he waited at the end to put his arms around her and kiss her until he was absolutely sure that was what she wanted. And I never thought he withheld love from her; on the contrary he showed it by being there, by not touching her while she tried to heal from the rape.


message 13: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments MZ Let me know if you find a way to read the books slowly. I never have, I know exactly what's coming and I still have to get there as fast as my eyes can move.

I think that you are on one side of a great divide in dunnettdom. Some people are really frustrated with Lymond pretty much through out CM and others accept his suicidal yearnings as an inherent part of his personality. Oh, the battles that rage online. Sybilla saint or sinner, that's another battle.

I personally think that Lymond has had too many people he cares about and people who care about him (not necessarily the same people) die because of 'battles' he's fighting. By the time he gets to CM he cannot support the implications of Sybilla's ?sin?. The possibility of blindness and the very great trauma of Philippa's sacrifice for him to the venal Bailey AND not being able to help her heal is all too much for him.

I agree with Mickey the "I have leave to go" scene is sobbing, nose running, cry out loud, sad.

I think at the very end when he holds out his arms and will not touch Philippa 'til she touches him is two things...he will not take what he needs until he is sure that she wants the same, he doesn't want her to make a decision that she will later regret and two, he doesn't trust that he can have what he so much wants, he is only alive because he promised his mother, he's still not sure he isn't a hunchback fit only to wallow in the gutter.

I wouldn't skip books, the power of the books build on each other and DD is always referring to things in previous books.


message 14: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Sandra, when I looked over and saw the sentence "My beloved is dead" I was too hysterical, literally, to be mad at DD. I went to find the book, I'd thrown it across the room, and quickly read that it was Marthe not Lymond, then I was too thankful to be mad. I did not like Marthe but felt bad for Jerott but not too bad because I think there was no hope for their relationship.
I do think she was coming to Scotland to give her brother his heritage, she did love him. Austin could have grown into a hero but he is just so young and ill equipped to deal with the complexities that surround Lymond he comes off as whiny and small.


message 15: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I confess to having a really hard time understanding Francis' strong desire to divorce Philippa considering his love for her.

I've only been able to come up with two reasons so far
a) his fear of ..."

Yes at first he does worry that Philippa is too young and inexperienced to love him in the same way he loves her but after the library scene he admits that that is not the case. Her love is as deep and as abiding as his love for her.
Then he thinks that he is not good enough for her.
Mickey has it just right..."But to herself, a girl of twenty reared by Kate with wisdom and wit and endless clear-sighted love, there was no path tht pride, regard, convention, self-respect and even, she suspected, and odd, well-disguised quality of self-distrust did not block for him." Though I and Philippa don't agree with Lymond, naturally.
Self sacrifice in a good cause is one thing but giving up on 'one great true love' is wrong. IMO Lymond gives up too soon because he feels so guilty about Will Scott, Christian, Salablanca, Robin Stewart, THE BABY and what Bailey did to Philippa.


message 16: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "Mickey wrote: "Hi Mary,Goodness, after almost six books and you don't understand Francis and his taking care of those he loved? It was beyond him before the Bailey incident, and then all he though..."

Mary, don't feel bad. There are many times that I was impatient with Francis. I could hardly stand him in Ringed Castle. He tore my heart out in Pawn. I alternated between wrenching sorrow impatience and happiness in Checkmate.


Gracie wrote: "Sandra, when I looked over and saw the sentence "My beloved is dead" I was too hysterical, literally, to be mad at DD. I went to find the book, I'd thrown it across the room, and quickly read that ..."

Damn, Gracie. You're making me cry all over again. I was reading the book on my Nook and the page #'s seemed to say I only had a few pages to the end. It was 3 in the morning and I was bleary-eyed. My mind was numb, but I just HAD to know what happened. Then I realized I'd read the #s wrong and there were more than 100 pgs left! So I paged ahead to the end, backed up and started reading where he was shot. That's when I got mad. Then I reread it and felt nothing but relief that it was Marthe not Francis. Went to bed and got up and read the last 150 pages in a more leisurely manner. I have since read the ending about 50 times, grin.

So I think all that paging back and forth on my Nook cracked the button that turns pages, 'cause it's cracked. They're sending me a new one.


message 17: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
MaryZorro wrote: "Anyway...these were my feelings as I read the last chapter of Checkmate...and these feelings prompted me to read the end to see if finally they did 'live happily ever after' What a relief! But re..."

In one group a reader said she stopped reading at that point and mourned and sobbed until someone told her to read on. She did then and discovered that she had caused herself a long period of unnecessary mourning.


message 18: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments The reader was Olive (UK), she was on a train, threw the book, then a person walking through the train picked it up and said, "I think you really should read the rest of the story.

Mickey


message 19: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments I starting reading Dunnett in 1976, some on the other lists have been reading her from the start, 1961. When we were reading, we did not have the benefit of the various lists, or the DDRA. So, for me at least, while it was great finding fellow readers in 1997, my opinions about the books were well set. That is why I rarely make any comments anymore on any of the lists. I let the newbies duke it out, so to speak. HN series was different since I had only read it once before I created Claes and we did out first group read in 2000. I am not one to second guess Dorothy, I adore her books, CM is favorite. I have been through years of which child is which, who was in the tent, did Kate love Francis, was the Bailey incident a rape or what Philippa did to get the papers, the scene in Dumbarton with Joleta, oh I could go on an on. I read Dorothy's book and rarely disagree with how she wrote her characters. So, if at times, I sound a little strong, it is just that I don't have problems with Francis and his actions.

Mickey going back to lurking.


message 20: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Mary, Dunnett readers are many things, but a dunce or thick-skulled nitwit, I think not.

I love when Philippa says, 'You can give me a brooch. A sapphire one.'
'Ah,' he said, 'But will you take care of it?'
Her smile was a very private kind of secret.

Dorothy brings everything full circle, brilliant.

Mickey


message 21: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Hi Sandra,

Marthe's motives are revealed in Part V, chapter 11. She did want to cause trouble and Danny tried to stop her.

Mickey


message 22: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Lol you sound like me when I was a kid.

Mickey I just heard of DD on Goodreads and have just started a reread of LC. I agree she knows what she's doing with the characters she creates and I can already see many nuances I missed in my fever to find out What Happens so truly appreciate your comments.


message 23: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Hi Sandra,

Marthe's motives are revealed in Part V, chapter 11. She did want to cause trouble and Danny tried to stop her.

Mickey"



That's what I thought. She was bitter and vindictive to the end.

Re: sapphire brooch - I just reread that part in GoK :)


message 24: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments It is when Lymond goes to Flaw Valley the first time to question Gideon. He does question the 10 year old Philippa and then pins a sapphire brooch to her nightshirt and Philippa rips it off and grounds it with her shoe.

Mickey


message 25: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments My gut answer would be yes but I don't have the books here at work. I'll look in the morning.


message 26: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I would imagine they met when Gabriel is at Malta. It's so close to Africa.


message 27: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
I finished reread of RC and started this and already want to stab Francis in the eye! Damn, man! Stop lying, already.

He says to Archie, No, said Lymond. I have no intention of meeting Mistress Philippa privately, either before or after this afternoon's meeting. What she does is of no possible interest to me: my reputation doesn't rest on my parentage. The quicker she finds what she is looking for, the sooner presumably she will get out of France and cease troubling us.

Bah! What BS is that.


message 28: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments He loves her and wants her gone. He no longer can trust himself around her.

It is not BS, it is Francis trying to save Philippa.

Mickey


message 29: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "He loves her and wants her gone. He no longer can trust himself around her.

It is not BS, it is Francis trying to save Philippa.

Mickey"


Yes, I know. It still frustrates me.


message 30: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
You were quick to jump to his defense, *g*.


message 31: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
And his conversation with P on the way to Marthe and Jerott's is hilarious. He's redeemed. And Philippa is the only one who stands up to him. *g*


message 32: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
It's hilarious he calls Austin Grey 'Tristram Trusty.'


message 33: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Philippa has a kind of 'third' eye when she observes Francis, and is always able to intuit what's going underneath his hard and prickly crust.

Of course, she falls in love with him after their wild and crazy run through Lyon, and blows it by saying something spontaneous to him. And he's told her his heart belongs to someone else, who she thinks is her mother.

And FC flees once more. Oh, he's such a difficult man. And so filled with poisonous self loathing.

'Long as I live, my heart will never vary
For no one else, however fair or good
Brave, resolute or rich, of gentle blood.
My choice is made, and I will have no other.'


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
All right! Archie's talking back to him. It was the way he treated Archie in the above quote that was upsetting. And Archie calls him "Ye senseless bluidy tupheidit madman!" with venom. Grinning grinning. And then realizes he was blind. Clutching the paper in his hand declaring the death of Francis Crawford.


message 35: by Grace (new)

Grace (greengrace) | 71 comments Long as I live, now that's romance. I remember when I first translated it I cried and cried.
Isn't it joyous that Francis eventually gets to use that wonderful store of words in his brain to express his feelings instead using poetry to hide behind and lead others away from his 'real' meaning.


message 36: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Gracie wrote: "Long as I live, now that's romance. I remember when I first translated it I cried and cried.
Isn't it joyous that Francis eventually gets to use that wonderful store of words in his brain to expre..."


Well, yes, but not 'til the end when he 'weaves her a bower'. This time he's using it to deceive her. And yes, it's very romantic.


message 37: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Danny Hislop: After fighting in Russia, war in France was like fighting a war in a chicken dish. :)


message 38: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
All right, calling ye ole Lymond experts! Why did Francis promise Philippa he'd get her the information? Why did he go to find the farm of Renee Jourda when he knew it was so dangerous? The reason I think of is that he cares a great deal more about his parentage than he lets on both to others and to himself? Or is he somehow doing it for Philippa? Oh dear, dear, dear.


message 39: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 29 comments To stop her setting off after it, herself?


message 40: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Of course, he knew Philappa and what she thought she needed to do. He loved her and wanted no harm to come to her. Very simple.

Mickey


message 41: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
AAahhh, thank you ladies. Sometimes I'm such a dunderhead. Of course.


message 42: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
His despair and his malicious tongue to poor Austin Grey is almost too much to bear.


message 43: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments One did not hear Simon at Y'all spit and his talk on Austin, masterful. But he is a twit.

Mickey


message 44: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "One did not hear Simon at Y'all spit and his talk on Austin, masterful. But he is a twit.

Mickey"


I would've loved to hear that. Yes Austin is a twit. But he's too easy prey for Francis Crawford. Methinks maybe there's some jealousy as he thinks Austin will have her instead of himself.


message 45: by Sandra (last edited Jan 23, 2011 09:48AM) (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
It's interesting that Francis doesn't include Guzel in his mental list of possible friends. As he reflects on his meeting with Richard on the beach at his return from Russia, he thinks of his grief over the death of Diccon Chancellor, a budding friend. Then he muses that two women who might've matched him are dead - must be Christian and Oonagh - and one he's refused to pursue... Philippa, of course.

His suicidal tendencies are rampant in this book. Interesting that the battle restored him, isn't it? Several of his companions mention Francis on a battlefield. That would be a wonder to behold. And yet DD doesn't really give us any descriptions of specific battles other than individual fights he has occasionally.

And yet, Guzel's words run through his mind at various points... Together nothing can stop us... or something of the sort. Don't have the exact passage in front of me.


message 46: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
"When she finally closed her eyes before dawn, she was awakened almost at once by the noise of somebody frantically sobbing. It was not until she felt Celie's brusque arms around her that she realized that it was herself."

;(


message 47: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
"Do you think I care?"

"No but you must excuse the hunchback who does."

Oh, Francis, Francis.

____________
My god, Danny Hislop with Sybilla and Marthe is absolutely hilarious.


message 48: by Mickey (new)

Mickey | 61 comments Danny is one of my favorites, all of his lines, reduce me to tears of mirth. Got to love the man.

Mickey


message 49: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
Mickey wrote: "Danny is one of my favorites, all of his lines, reduce me to tears of mirth. Got to love the man.

Mickey"


:D


message 50: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 314 comments Mod
"Come, my wife," said Francis Crawford. "We are going to Sevigny."

How can you say anything after that?


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