Hello Everyone and welcome to the blog chat for The Forever Queen. We have a lot of deep and interesting questions to think about this evening and we will be joined by the one and only Helen Hollick. I am so excited and pleased to host this chat here on my blog tonight and to have her here to participate as well.
This is my first blog chat in this format so please bear with me. I am going to do this one exactly like Amy @ Passages to the Past held her last one. Basically I will list a question and you will all comment and discuss in the comments section of the blog post. After awhile or when the topic has been exhausted I will edit the post and add another question at which time you will need to refresh you page to see the new questions.
I hope you enjoy the chat and have a lot of fun. I am so pleased to have you all here.
1. August 1003. Emma has spent a while at Wilton Nunnery, mentally and physically exhausted after being ill and witnessing the horrors at Oxford. She has found peace at Wilton, but is summoned because someone has come to fetch her back to Court. She is astonished to discover that Athelstan, Æthelred’s eldest son, is outside – even more astonished to be accused of collusion with the Reeve of Exeter who opened the gates to Viking raiders, the town subsequently being ravaged. What did you think about her reaction?
2. When Emma first arrived in England she was a shy, lonely and somewhat frightened young girl. When do you think she started standing up for herself? What was it that gave her the courage to do so?
3. Compare the men in this story. Æthelred is weak and incompetent. His son Athelstan apparently despises Emma; Edmund tries his best to do what is right and Cnut has a point to prove to himself and others. Emma loathes Æthelred, is afraid of Athelstan, admires Edmund and learns to love Cnut. Where her feelings for these four men correct? Which of them did you prefer – and why.
4. Emma’s antipathy towards her eldest son, Edward, yet her over-protective doting on Harthacnut were almost opposite feelings. Why did she so loathe one, but was almost obsessed with the other? Because of the circumstances of their births perhaps – or for her own position and security? Could you sympathise with her reaction to the two young men as they grew, or do you disapprove of her attitude?
5. What kind of woman do you think Emma would have been if she lived in modern times?
6. One of the big plot points that people react to is right at the beginning: Emma, at thirteen years old, being sent from her home to marry Æthelred. However, this was common practice and betrothals in some countries around the world still take place at such a young age. Discuss how this significant event in Emma’s life shaped who she eventually—and had to—become.
7. Another amazing scene is when Emma and her infant son are trapped and Emma has to climb a cliff to reach safety from the rising tide. This story actually happened, but with Helen Hollick’s own grandmother! Think of the women in your own families—how have they inspired you?