Discussion Questions for Chapters 12-17
1. 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?
I could see myself as feeling a bit like I did watching the Royal Wedding earlier in the year. I was a tad bit jealous, who wouldn’t want to be a Princess and travel to a castle or royal ball? Yet I was very happy to watch the tradition and spectacle of it all!
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?
When my husband became a prominent member of
the community, I constantly worried about being out of my element. I worried about what people would say or react and if I would say anything unintelligent and embarass him. Eventually, after many events and dances (although I hate couple dancing in public), I finally realized that I am just a person like everyone else 🙂 This immediately made me feel connected to all the others in attendance.
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?
I was a bit surprised at her reaction. She seems very mature for her age. Most teenage girls would have jumped into a relationship, not thinking about the consequences of time. She really takes it all into consideration and doesn’t let her teenage emotions guide her every move. As far as his assumption, I believe that it is only right. In those ages and especially being betrothed, I don’t think he would go around just kissing any girl in site. It had to mean something to him to take the chance with Gabi.
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?
Gabi has been through a lot for a teenager. Losing her father and being around artifacts alone would make her understand that we only have a short time on the earth and help in her maturity. Traveling back in time and seeing a place that is now in ruins would only raise that feeling to the forefront of her mind. In her time, Marcello has long passed.
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?
This was definitely another turning point in Gabi’s youthful life. She would hardly come close to experiencing this in her own time, and it shows her character maturing in the fact that she was able to listen to Marcello and do as he said. I could not imagine having to fight for my life in a time and place unfamiliar to me, with medieval weapons and actions. So much for a modern teenager to deal with. I do believe I could have done the same in her shoes, but it would not have come so easy, seeing as I know nothing of the time period to even begin sword or fighting in general.