The Goblin Emperor: Read-Along Week 3
Oh, boy. Time for week #3 Wyrd and Wonder read-along of The Goblin Emperor, and I am even more excited than last time. Lisa at Dear Geeks Place is still hosting the read-along on the Goodreads group page if anyone wants to join late. There’s still time! This week's discussion is on chapters 18-26 and will include spoilers. Next Saturday is our last discussion of The Goblin Emperor and I am both excited and sad it has to end. Lots has happened to Maia this week, so let’s jump in.
These chapters open with a very candid, yet significantly warmer than most, conversation between Maia and Arbelan, and from there things begin to change as Maia learns to act with more confidence. Do you think Arbelan's kinder treatment of him is what sparks this, and if so, how much of an impact do you think it had?
I don’t think so. Maia’s conversation with Arbelan was one of a few good conversations he had in those chapters. Maia was getting tutored by Lord Berenar and had dinner with the goblin ambassador before his conversation with Arbelan. On a sad note, Maia is beginning to realize that he can’t rely on people too much as emperor. I think all of these things contributed to Maia’s newfound confidence.
The river bridge scheme proves to be a delightful plot point to push a lot of character interaction forward, as well as opening up the scope of this world. Were you surprised by the developments involving Lord Pashavar?
Yes, Lord Pashavar did surprise me. First, this is a big step for Maia. The bridge project is the first time Maia is taking initiative without relying on someone else. I was happy to see that Maia was beginning to make his own decisions as emperor.
Although I was glad that Lord Pashavar was honest with Maia and willing to listen, I can’t say that I’m completely on board with his character. He’s stubborn and has views that I disagree with, but it seems like he’s giving Maia a fair chance. I liked that Maia and Lord Pashavar were able to disagree without becoming enemies. Not everyone in the court has to agree with Maia, and not everyone has to be an enemy.
Like a train gathering steam, a great deal of plot drama happens here. Let's talk about Shevean and Chavar. Were you surprised by their gambit? And how do you feel about the way it all played out (ie. Idra's decision to put his foot down)?
I wasn’t surprised by Shevean and Chavar. They have hated Maia from the start, and it was only a matter of time before at least one of them tried to take Maia off the throne. Idra was a surprise though. He’s now my second favorite character (after Maia, of course). He seems a lot older than 14, but I guess that’s a consequence of growing up in court. I feel bad for Idra because he seems like he’s been surrounded by a lot of crummy people his entire life. It’s amazing that he’s kept his values. I love him even more for giving up his chance at the throne. He seems wiser than most characters in the book...
We get another surprising turnaround from Ceredin, Maia's intended empress-to-be, as well. What are your thoughts on her by the end of these chapters, compared to her initial impression?
Poor Maia just doesn’t know how to talk to her. At first, I was annoyed that Ceredin was so cold towards Maia. I realize that an arranged marriage probably wasn’t what she was hoping for, but come on. Maia’s so sweet, couldn’t she give him a break?
I was pretty happy when Maia finally snapped at her. That seemed to catch her off balance, and we finally got a glimpse at her character. She seems awesome, so I hope she will keep being friendly towards Maia.
The story, and perhaps the danger, is not quite over yet ... any thoughts on what might be in store in the final chapters?
I am not sure about more traitors, but I think Maia is going to find a way to make peace with the Nazmorhathveras that were mentioned. He seemed very upset that he could not just give them back their burial ground, and I hope he figures out a way without endangering his people. I also think the bridge project will be significant in the future and who committed the initial murder of Maia’s father. I don’t think Shevean or Chavar had a part in the murder at this point, but I think the person at fault will make an attempt to kill Maia. Oh, and let’s not forget Maia’s grandfather. He’s bound to show up, and I am still suspicious. However things go down, I hope Maia remains a good emperor and maybe makes a few friends along the way.
As always: any other bits and pieces you'd like to highlight?
I thought it was interesting to see how easily frustrated Maia was in these chapters. He doesn’t get much sleep anymore, and the constant work is getting to him. It was clear that Maia was still bitter about Cala and Beshelar telling him they couldn’t be friends at first, but I hope now that so much has happened the tension has eased.
Also, it was very interesting to learn about what caused the late emperor to banish Setheris. He and his wife were co-conspirators! I wonder what they will be up to in the last part of this book. They can’t be trusted, and I hope the conflict does not give them an opportunity to seize power.
And more (so much happened). Tethemar. Thank goodness Maia did not agree to the marriage between Tethimar and Vedero! Tethemar is officially on my hate list.
I hope everyone is enjoying this book as much as I am! I'll probably finish the book today because I am so excited to see what happens. We'll finish the discussion next week!