The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Five

It’s the final week of The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along.  This week’s questions cover the end of the book and the entire book as a whole, so there are SPOILERS here.  If you don’t want to know how it all ends, bookmark and come back when you’ve finished reading!

This week’s intro is courtesy of Little Red Reviewer

Hi Everyone!   Can you believe it? this is the final week of our read along of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, and what a wild, wonderful ride it as been!  Everyone give a warm welcome the newest member of our lunatic read along team, Lynn, from Lynn’s Book Blog, who provided our discussion starters today.  The last chunks of the book are pretty dense, and there is a lot to cover. Feel free to focus on as many or as few of these discussion starters as you like, or add in your own!

Due to massive quantities of spoilers, please don’t post anything until Saturday morning.  I know a lot of people are travelling this weekend, so if you aren’t able to post during the weekend, don’t worry about it, post something whenever you have a chance during the week.  Send out your links as you publish so everyone else can visit you.

A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this read along, it couldn’t have grown into the giant monster of the most incredible read along I have ever been a part of without you!

Here are Lynn’s questions/discussion starters:

1.       The Thorn of Camorr is renowned – he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor.  Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact.  Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend.  Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?

In some ways, it reminded me a bit of the relationship between Superman and Clark Kent.  Superman is what he can do, Clark Kent is who he really is.  Similar thing with Locke and the Thorn.  The Thorn is a persona of what Locke says he can do and he’s allowed the reputation to build and be embellished over the years, but in the end Locke is who he really is.   As for how he compares to the legend, I think he ends up falling short because no mortal could ever be everything that the Thorn’s reputation makes him out to be.  Locke can try and we see how the reputation does come back to bite him at several points in the story (or should I say the lengths Locke must go to in order to maintain the reputation.  Another pop culture reference could be Fonzie from Happy Days.  In an early episode, Fonzie is trying to teach Richie about being tough and points out that everything thinks the Fonz is tough even though we’ve never see Fonzie hit anyone.   Similar thing here.  Locke has built a reputation possibly based on a couple of previous deeds but it’s all about maintaining it).   Unlike the Fonz, Locke can’t maintain the air of coolness and toughness as the novel plays out and we end up finding out that the actual Locke is a pale imitation of what he’d like the Thorn to be.

2.       Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play.  We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn.  How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?

Not really since it seems that Locke and Jean are equal opportunity bastards.

3.       Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi.  The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo.  But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??

Reading this, I had to wonder if Lynch is setting up some things for future installments in the series.  Again, it all goes back to world-building and since this feels like the start of a longer fantasy series, it only makes sense that there are pieces being put into play that we’ll have to wait for future installments to see how they play out.

4.       We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on.  Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?

The early stages, I found the interludes all about world building and creating the universe for the novel and series.  As the story progressed, I have to admit I found them a bit more intrusive than I did in the early stages.  I was so caught up in the scheme unfolding and the peril to Locke and company that it was hard to step away and have the interlude for a couple of pages.   Honestly, I skimmed these on first reading and got back to the drama unfolding and then went back to the interludes and gave them fuller attention once I’d got the final page and found out how everything turned out.

5.       Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?

The Grey King is almost a mirror image of Locke, only without the guidance of Chains to shape him.   In many ways, you can see how the Grey King would believe he is the hero of the story.  Those kind of characters–the ones who are absolutely convinced that what they’re doing is right–make for the best adversaries or villains in a story.  And I like that Lynch gave us the motivation for the Grey King.  It doesn’t make him any less a bastard…but at least we can see that he’s got some very good reasons for being one.

6.       Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower  – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden? 

Surprised?  Yes and no.   It does show some character growth to Locke from the first pages of the novel where he’s willing to let the rules apply to everyone but him.  Or he disregards them.   And it goes along with bits of the Thorne persona that Locke has created for himself.   In the end, I get the feeling that the Throne is who Locke wishes he could be in an ideal world.  And here was a chance to put that into practice, so he did it.

7.       Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity.  How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?

I read this with a real world book group as well this month and one comment that a lot of us had was that there was an awful lot of cussin’ in the novel.  It was a bit more obvious in the first fifty to one hundred pages but once I got used to the voice and language Lynch was using to tell his story and create his universe, I will admit it didn’t seem quite as glaring as it did in the early pages.

8.       Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?

I plan to be back for the next round of read-along questions, yes.

You can check 0ut other responses HERE.


Filed under Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, meme

9 responses to “The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Five

  1. I love your Superman/Clark Kent comparison – it’s really good. Not to mention Jean and Locke are equal opportunity bastards!! LOL
    I still liked the interludes because I always felt as though they were giving us a message which was always pertinent to the next stage of the story, for example The Thorn in the Ashes, which told us how daunting the Bondsmagi were and how you didn’t kill one of their kind without incurring massive repercussions – which was then followed by the torture scene where the Falconer loses his fingers and tongue (it sort of gives you the answer to why they just simply don’t kill him).
    I did have a very brief moment of sympathy for the Grey King but it fairly swiftly passed to the stage where I felt he deserved everything he got!
    Lynn 😀

  2. At first I was a bit frustrated by all of the interludes, but I stopped minding them as much as the book progressed and it became more obvious that they were being used to foreshadow future events.

  3. I agree completely in terms of the interludes starting to feel like an intrusion in the later stages. I suppose I wish Lynch had’ve gotten them all out of the way before the action started, because they were all very informative and foreshadowed and explained a great deal but they were still a little irritating in the later stages amidst all the action that was unfolding. 😀 Love ‘equal opportunity bastards.’ Perfect answer, very concise.

    • Sorry, but I totally disagree about the Interludes. I liked how they made me slow down and not just race through the action. They made me think about what their message was, and why Mr lynch had placed them where he did.

      I do agree about “equal opportunity bastards” though: what a perfect description! 😀

      • Yeah, I really liked the fact that the interludes slowed me down a bit and gave me pause for thought. Also, as you’re reading along it soon becomes apparent that each of the interludes is actually a little lesson to shed light on what will occur later in the story – it’s a bit like reading one of Aesop’s fables and trying to guess what the message is about.
        Lynn 😀

  4. The Clarke Kent comment is interesting. I was expecting Locke to improve as a character and live up to some of The Thorn of Camorr’s reputed abilities but he still remains flawed in some regards. That’s not to say he doesn’t grow since he gets a better idea of his abilities and works to his strengths which we see in the final fight. Like you I expect the elderglass and eldren to continue to be explored in greater depth over the course of the series.

  5. nrlymrtl

    There were several twists and turns that had me surprised. Like when Locke is pushed to the point of torturing The Falconer. I get why he did it and it is good to see how a fairly non-violent person can be pushed to such an extreme.

  6. The Grey King and his ‘justifications’ reminded me a lot of Viserys Targaryens, The Beggar King in George R R Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones”. They would both be justified in their grievances if they weren’t so totally oblivious to common decency and the world around them.

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