Discussion Questions Chapters 12-171. In Siena, on her way to the ball at Palazzo Pubblico, Gabi likened her experience to being on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the goal being "to see and be seen." If you were a peasant, watching from the crowd, what would you be thinking as this procession passed by?
2. Though quite nervous about dancing at the ball, Gabi discovers a strange feeling of connection to the time, the people, and the society through the unified beauty of the dance. Have you ever been in a position where you felt out of your element, but, in one, pinpointed moment, became a part of or connected to something bigger than your fear?
I often have to present my research at these national conferences in front of all these really important people in my field. I'm often nervous and just feel like I don't belong with all these crazy smart and prestigious people. But then in the middle of all these presentations, I'm really enjoying everyone's research and completely feel connected to this wonderful community just by our shared interest. It's quite an adventure and one I'm so glad I get to experience.
3. The kiss. Oh, the kiss. When Marcello finally kisses Gabi, he believes the experience to be proof that they are meant to be together. What did you think about his assumption? Were you surprised at Gabi's reaction to it? Have you ever experienced a kiss that seemed to be prophetic in a similar (or opposite!) way?
4. Many go through their teen years with a subdued sense of immortality. Do you think Gabi has a sense of this teen feeling? And did you think Gabi's converse observation, "Sometimes death came hunting and there was no way to cut it off at the pass." was informed more by the experience of losing her father, her self-admitted closet hypochondria, or the forced maturation of being transported to a different time? How does this observation show Gabi's growth as a character?
I do think Gabi has some sense of immortality. She knows she has this mission to rescue her sister and she is going to do it no matter the costs. I think Gabi's observation of death has come from her time-traveling back into this foreign time where there were gallant knights and people did fight to the death. She saw battles and realized they were not romantical (thank you Anne Shirley for Anne of Green Gables for that wonderful word) and people died in horrible ways. I think Gabi has grown so much for this whiny character to someone who is willing to risk her life and not only help her sister but to help her new friends for their freedom for the continual fighting with the Paratores. Her selflessness and sacrifice shows just how much she was truly become an amazing person.
5. In the span of a few moments, Gabi goes from sword-wielding teen beauty to man-killing warrior. Did you think her realization of the finality of death -- and her justification for its necessity -- was realistic? And, in her slippers, could you have done the same?
I think people will do anything for love. My sister is the closest person to me and if she were in trouble I'd be there in a heart-beat. I don't know if I could kill to save myself, but to save the ones I love I truly believe I could do it. I'd be racked with insane guilt afterwards and probably locked in the crazy hospital but my love one's would be alive. I think with Gabi being in the time she was in with fighting and death occurring all around her I think her actions and realizations were realistic.