Book Circle: Hart's Hope by OSC CH 1-5

This is for the chapters 1 thru 5. Feel free to discuss any particulars about this portion of the book.

Jinheim 16 years ago
So does anyone want to discuss this book? I finished chapter 5 last night.
Viriu 16 years ago
I read it too long ago now to make any constructive discussion :\
Verileah 16 years ago
Alright…let’s talk. I’ll start, feel free to answer the questions I pose, comment on my answers, and/or ask your own. Or tell us what you thought of the book; I’ll likely be doing some of each here.

I was kicking around ideas for questions to kick us off, and as I read I thought that some of the questions the characters in the book posed might be interesting to hash out further. So…

If I do not temper my victory with one act of mercy, even one that is dangerous to myself, then how will I look in the crystal and say to God that a better man than Nasilee now wears Nasilee’s crown?

The question in and of itself displays an interesting, if in my mind somewhat unsophisticated, morality; the idea that a good act will erase evil deeds. I think throughout the book the idea of a moral balance, which is, I suppose, one way of looking at justice, is played around with quite a bit, and I’ll poke at that more later.

I find it interesting that he seeks to compare himself to the evil King Nasilee and find himself the better man. Is this the case? I think the rape of Beauty and the murder of Berry actually have some disturbing similarities; in both cases, the perpetrator argued that they were forced to do what they had done in order to be King. Beauty had a very good argument against her father that neither man seemed to understand; that with the name of King one can make their own rules. They had the crown, but followed tradition’s will, and neither could seem to think past this. Both blamed Beauty for their deeds (grrr).

Things get a bit more complicated when one factors in Palicrovol’s religious beliefs; he, and his followers, believe he was ordained by God, The Hart, and the Sweet Sisters to rule as King. Could it be argued that, while Nasilee loved the name of King more than Berry, Palicrovol loved his God more than his own morality? That he would do something he considered personally atrocious to serve his God? Or is that all a bunch of self justifying crap, and he was by this point corrupted by power?

The sad thing is, whatever the case may be, we learn in the course of these five chapters that the Gods are not all powerful, nor all knowing, nor even necessarily –good- by any objective measure (though of course all of that is debateable). This is something Beauty figures out at age 12. So both men put their deepest values in the hands of something that may have only what meaning the men themselves have given it.

All of this is not to say that I feel in any way sorry for Palicrovol. I cannot imagine a way he could have acted in a worse way at that moment, and he was completely deserving of Beauty’s undying hate imo.

Moving on…
Tell me—Is my vengeance just?

Beauty asks this of Weasel (too lazy to write her real name) four times, and gets a different answer each time. She concludes that the truthful answer is no, but what is interesting in this scene I think is that it shows Weasel does not have a monopoly on Truth, but can only state the truth as she sees it. She is honest, even to her detriment, even though the words would only bring her and her new husband harm, but the answer is not so simple to define.

Her point that justice should be exacted only on the one who committed the crime is fair. My question is, what –would- be true justice in this scenario? Was the rape of Palicrovol (and yes, I would argue that he was raped just as Beauty was. I would not say his treatment was –worse-, per say, because I personally feel that at that point there really isn’t a gradient, but that is, as is everything I say, subject to much debate) enough to ‘even the score’? We learn that even as horrific as Palicrovol’s torments are, Beauty gets little in the way of satisfaction. I do not think the satisfaction of the victim really –can- define justice, though.

So what would have been just? And more importantly, does it matter when no satisfaction, no healing, is to be found? Was there ever any hope of a balance to this evil deed?

I get the impression that, at least within the world of Hart’s Hope, we are to believe that the universe is far more cruel and chaotic than these characters would like to believe. Beauty understands this, and scorns the Gods and everything else because of it. Sleeve is largely indifferent to it. Palicrovol is misguided (*laughs darkly at the understatement*) by it. Craven *thinks* I am not certain about him, I think he desperately needs something good and true to believe in and fight for and can only hope he is on the ‘right side’. But perhaps I am missing something in his character. Weasel, I think, is similar to Beauty in that she can say alright, the world is clearly a mess and I clearly need to follow my own path. She, of course, chooses the path of truth.

I have a little more to ramble about, but I think this is a good stopping point for tonight.