Let the fun begin!!!
Tonight we will be talking about The Brothers of Gwynedd by Edith Pargeter, Book One: Sunrise in the West.
Here's how it's gonna work. We'll start off with question #1 and after we talk about that a bit I will add question #2 to the post, so please REFRESH YOUR PAGE to see the new question...and so on and so on.
This is a first for Danielle at Sourcebooks and I, so please bear that in mind. Also, feel free to ask any questions you'd like in the comments section or you can email me at email@example.com if there is a topic you'd like to talk about OR if there's a problem with the page or post.
1. When Lord Griffith and his family commit treason and defect to the English court, only Llewelyn decides to stay behind and support his Welsh homeland. Though still a child, Llewelyn has such a strong sense of loyalty to Wales that he breaks his ties to his family and abandons them to return home. How would the first part of the novel been different if Llewelyn had remained loyal to his family instead of his country? Is a person’s family or country more deserving of their undying loyalty?
2. Though both arranged along a hierarchy, the expectations for members of the English and Welsh courts are very different, with the English court utilizing servility and the Welsh court members knowing their place, but respecting each other more as equals. Which is the better way to rule a kingdom, with a strict iron fist or with strong and respected authority? Do the attempts of fratricide and rebellion within the Welsh court give evidence that equality can weaken a ruler’s authority?
3. The legitimacy of an heir is a prominent issue in the first part of the novel and the main reason for bad blood and war between two generations of Welsh rulers. Do you agree with the English that only a child born in wedlock can contend for the throne, or should any child born to a ruler be considered a possible heir? Does being a ‘bastard’ undermine a person’s authority to rule in a land that is heavily governed by religion?
4. Samson not only finds the means to escape an abusive parent when he joins the priests at Aberdaron, but he also gains an immense amount of education and wisdom through their tutelage. How has the knowledge he gained there helped him in his young adult life? Has his introverted personality and tendency for observance been a hindrance to Samson at all?
5. The rivalries between Lord Griffith’s four male children reaches new heights when Owen and David battle Llewelyn for the land and rights they feel they are due. To Llewelyn, this opposition from his two brothers seems to come on suddenly, but Samson alone knows that David had been feeling resentful for quite some time. If Samson maintains his loyalty to Llewelyn by dismissing David and his grievances, why then does Samson not tell his prince of David’s dangerous jealousy? Is Samson to blame for letting the rivalry get so far along by remaining silent to both sides?
6. Upon returning to Wales from his childhood asylum in England, David begins to wage an internal war between the lavish memories of his happy, though traitorous, upbringing and the guilt he feels for not defending his homeland in the war. Does David fight for his quarter of the Gwynedd realm out of a guilty need to prove himself to the Welsh people or is it his haughty pride that urges him to war in the hopes of gaining money and a title like he had as a spoiled child in England?
7. There are many different reasons why the people of Wales defect to England at the onset of war; some because they felt safer with a more powerful kingdom, some due to grievances over land, and others with the hope of benefiting from the Welsh Lord David’s ruin. Are there ever excusable reasons to commit treason? When the brothers are first reunited and Samson saves Llewelyn from being murdered by Owen, his vassal, is this treasonous act excusable?