Week 2: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along http://onemore.org/2016/03/24/come-to-camorr/

“Come along on an epic adventure! Flights (of fancy), accommodation (ethical) and food (for the imagination) included. Poison not guaranteed. All travel is at your own risk. Late nights, sore eyes, and an overwhelming desire to spend hours in the kitchen creating something wonderful may ensue. All belongings are the responsibility of the traveller; travel will not be reimbursed if limbs are lost to sharks, or hearts to thieves.”

You are cordially invited to join The Lies of Locke Lamora read-along. Our itinerary is as follows:

1) Last week we saw the Capa in theatrical mode taking young Locke’s oath on his enchanted shark’s tooth. This week we see the former scholar carving up the surviving Full Crowns and swearing vengeance on the Grey King. What do you think of his responses to the Grey King’s assaults?

Wendy: His response is most certainly understandable. Considering the epic long con he initiated to take up this role in the first place, he knows exactly what is at stake and has every right to be afraid. His paranoia is justified, but it has moved him beyond reason and he is showing weakness in trying to keep himself and his family safe, as everyone else around him seems to be aware. It was frustrating to read the scenes with him torturing the member’s of Tesso’s gang when they obviously didn’t know what happened. But my frustration comes from knowing that there are ways to delete memories, or drugs that can make you lose time. Alchemy and magic are known to exist, but do people like Capa Barsavi know what those things can truly do?

Tiara: The Capa is paranoid, but I guess anyone would be. In our reading last week, the Grey King didn’t even seem to register on anyone’s–or well, at least the Gentlemen Bastards’–radar. In the Bastards view, the Grey King seemed… I don’t want to say harmless, but he was mostly a non-issue to them despite the fact that there seemed to be some stirrings. However, it seems that the Grey King has been ruffling feathers more than they thought, and it’s now starting to spill over into their business as shown with the Capa. I felt a little perplexed like Locke as I was reading the section where Nazca was trying to explain to Locke just how far gone her father was since the reader is only learning as Locke is learning. Macbeth came to mind as I was reading the Capa’s paranoid ramblings. It was like listening to a Macbeth rant. Also, nothing summed up my current (this could change) thoughts better than these lines from Macbeth:“Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble […] By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. “ Let’s see what that something is.

2) We get our first glimpse of magic this week. What do you make of the Bondsmagi (and especially of the Falconer and Vestris)?

Wendy: My immediate thought was of the Technomages in Babylon 5 whom I have just recently met in my first time watch of the series. Alchemy permeates this world, as well as ‘alien’ architecture. I get the sense that there is a lot that the vast majority don’t know about these things and those in the know could be using that ignorance to their advantage. Basically, at the moment, I believe that the Grey King and the Bondmagi are masters of sleight of hand, alchemy, and illusion. If you look too closely, you might spot the man behind the curtain, but because their reputation is so solidly steeped in blood and fear, no one is going to be looking at anything except the direction they are running, which would hopefully be far, far away.

Tiara: First, let me say how much I LOL’d at the memory of Chains telling Locke to be deferential to a Bondsmage if he should ever come face to face to one, and the first thing Locke says to the first Bondsmage he meets (in the present day) is: “Nice bird, asshole.” Then, when I think it couldn’t get worse, he follows up with, “So eat hemp and shit rope, Bondsmage.” Oh my God, Locke, can you not? I mean, I felt pretty impressed with the gall because fuck that guy that’s why, but Locke, no! I don’t like this the Falconer or his damned bird right now. So, no matter how much I typically tend to like (and be impressed by) mages because magic, I reserve my right to be a petty bitch right now. I mean, Kanye West level petty. I’m with Bug on this one. Let’s get to poisoning fools. Yeah, I can go from Shakespeare to petty in less that five seconds flat.

3) The Gentleman Bastards make plans for a hasty exit, but resist the urge to drop everything and go, because reasons. Seemingly entirely reasonable reasons. Do you think our boys are right to stay?

Wendy: Locke seems to have learned his lessons well from Chains and others and understands that in this case, the cut and run might buy time for the moment, but he’s become very good at looking at the consequences such actions will bring upon himself and the others. He’s even factored in the need to continue with the current con they are working on — not just because they want more money (well they do, but not out of need), but because he wants to ensure a solid conclusion to this job. It might seem silly to stay when the situation is so volatile, more so when the Grey King actually pulls Locke into it in the most unexpected way, but the result of running away would leave Locke in ignorance of what is going on, and I don’t get the feeling the Locke deals well when he can’t analyze all the bits and pieces of the puzzle to determine how to make those pieces work for the Gentlemen Bastards.

Tiara: I come from the Master Shake Aqua Teen Hunger Force School of Philosophy when it comes to things like this:

“Master Shake: I’m goin’ to Mexico, until all this bill business chills out.”

Except replace “bills” with this undesired scenario. Any undesired scenarios. All the undesired scenarios. However, there wouldn’t be much of a story if they ran. I can’t decide if I think they’re smart or foolish not to run. I feel like they’re being pretty foolish, but at least there are some half-assed contingencies in place if things don’t go as planned. I’m sure things aren’t going to go as planned. Why would they?

4) We’ve now seen a lot more Eldren architecture, including the spectacular rooftop ‘rose garden’ Don Maranzalla trains his students in. Do you think the Elderglass is a creation of magic, science or something else entirely?

Wendy: It seems to me that the Eldren understood science well enough to make things like appear magical to those who don’t understand the intricacies of such construction.

Tiara: Right now, I don’t know what I think about it. It could be some amalgam of both. I feel like, at this point, it’s one of those unexplained things that we may or may not find the origin of in the long run.

9 Comments on “Week 2: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along”

  1. I think I’m a little frustrated with the Capa – given his background and his experience, it feels like he MUST know that these guys could have had their memories tampered with. So he’s making a statement again, with the theatre aimed at the rest of the Right People. I’m so uncomfortable with that. But then, this is why I’m not good with criminal underworld stories generally! However, Shakespeare seems entirely appropriate 🙂

    …and I’d never looked at it like that, but I think Wendy is spot on in saying that Locke isn’t good not knowing all the angles. You can’t be the smartest guy in the room if you don’t know what’s going on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think once paranoia has fully set in–and let’s be honest, the Grey King has effectively gotten into the Capa’s mind–it’s kind of hard to be rational about anything even if you know there are other possibilities. I think your mind settles on the scenario that would be most detrimental and starts assigning blame for that which is why the Capa is such a Shakespeare tragedy walking. He has a place up there with Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point about his torture of the others being a statement to the others, but combined with him sequestering himself and his family away, I tend to agree with Tiara that this is a Shakespearean breakdown at its finest. The Grey King is playing a strong psychological game because that’s the only way to get to a man who does the same. You have to break him from the inside and turn him into his own worst enemy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Come to Camorr: week 2 – x+1

  3. In response to Wendy: I don’t think Capa Barsavi has his wits organized enough right now to ponder drugs and alchemical means of erasing memories or causing a person to lose time. And even if he did, I expect he would still take out part of Tesso’s gang just to make sure it wasn’t a big fat lie.

    Now I want to go back and rewatch Babylon 5.

    I too wonder how much of the Bondsmagi is sleight of hand and good theater versus real magical power and skill.

    In response to Tiara: I like how the Bastards initially blew off reports of the Grey King. But I guess in their line of work, it’s not uncommon for some smaller fish the food chain to take a shot at moving up the ladder.

    Yes! The Master Shake plan does seem to be the wiser of the two courses.


  4. I’m very intrigued by the political plot that seems to be there, and by the haist and its possible outcome.
    I’m also very intrigued by the mix of science and magic that seems to be there. I didn’t expect this. I thought this was a purely fantasy world.
    (no, I’m not reading the book, I’m just reading your impression 😉 )


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