October 19, 2012

Here Be Dragons | Discussion 1 | Chapter 1-16

Thirteenth-century Wales is a divided country, ever at the mercy of England's ruthless, power-hungry King John. Then Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, secures an uneasy truce with England by marrying the English king's beloved, illegitimate daughter, Joanna. Reluctant to wed her father's bitter enemy, Joanna slowly grows to love her charismatic and courageous husband who dreams of uniting Wales. But as John's attentions turn again and again to subduing Wales--and Llewelyn--Joanna must decide to which of these powerful men she owes her loyalty and love.

A sweeping novel of power and passion, loyalty and lives, this is the book that began the trilogy that includes FALLS THE SHADOW and THE RECKONING.  

Discuss Chapter 1 through Chapter 16 here.. next discussion will be available on October 26, which will discuss through Chapter 37.

Feel free to answer any and all discussion points below.. as well as asking your own questions in the comments, and since some of us are not such fast readers... jump in when you get caught up!!

How did you feel when you saw how Richard the Lionheart was spoken of as homosexual? Could you imagine this portrayal occurring in writings created in 2012?

What are your first impressions of Llewellyn, and did they change by the time you reached the end of Chapter 16?

Do you enjoy the romance of Llewellyn and Joanna, or do you think there was too much focus on it and would prefer more of a telling of the battles and the details of the factions?

King John is so easily detestable in other reads, how did you like this portrayal of him as a father and a provider?

What do you think of the fate of Arthur, Duke of Brittany? Do you think Joanna is naive in her outlook?

Do you have a favorite character picked yet? Is there a character that you would rather see more or less of? Character you wouldn't mind seeing locked in a dungeon (Maude!)?

Could you sense a hero emerging, and who would that be?

Have you read similar era novels that you would recommend as companion reading? Elizabeth Chadwick's William Marshal novels are ones I would suggest for a greater grasp on some of the many characters in Here Be Dragons. Have you read any Welsh-based novels that you could recommend?


  1. I wonder how Penman feels today about the homosexuality? It's a touchy subject that has evolved over the years. My favorite character is David/Davydd, and of course that means I loathe Gruffydd.

    1. Homosexuality is a non-issue with me. I'm not a fan of erotica in any form, though I haven't read anything close to that in Penman's book...am I in for a surprise, Marie?

    2. LOL No surprises... Just the raunchy type of men gossiping about Richard's preferences, and others just referring to the fact that since he was gay, he wasn't likely to produce an heir for England. (according to the story line)

  2. I'm behind in my reading, so I have not officially met Davydd yet...My favorite so far is Llewellyn and (must I say it)....John. I really love how she has characterized him.

    I'm enjoying Penman's writing, and I knew that I would. Glad I finally picked up one of her tomes :)

    I don't much like Richard, but I like his sense of humor and his wisdom.

    I'm very interested in Joanna's plight...will post more throughout the week as I get caught up!

  3. Joanna was an admirable woman, and I could sympathize with her. I loved how Penman included the earlier times of Llewellyn so we could follow along his path and help understand him more later on.

  4. It would be interesting seeing the first impressions of Maude against her fate that we later come to know..


Got something to say? Share your thoughts!