Discussion Questions for The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar

Please note: The following questions are intended for readers who’ve finished The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar and therefore contain spoilers.

Compare and contrast how Leova, Deorlaf, and Sunwynn accept Christianity.

Although Leova and her children are baptized, none of them completely lets go of the  Saxon religion. Why? Had they been better educated about Christianity, how would that knowledge affect their acceptance of the faith? Would they have concluded the Saxon deities were instead demons, as the Franks believed? Had the Saxons in general been better educated about Christianity, would they have rebelled as often or as viciously?

Why did King Charles destroy the Irminsul? Did this hurt or help his cause?

Discuss Sunwynn’s mixed feelings and complicated relationship with Gerhilda.

Deorlaf kills a monk during a robbery, believing it will spare the man the agony his uncle endured from a belly wound. What was your reaction when you read that scene? Did Deorlaf make the merciful decision? Did he make the right decision?

Leova makes choices considered sinful for the sake of her children such as having sex with Ragenard outside marriage and poisoning Pinabel. Did she make the right decision? In these circumstances, what would the consequences have been if she made other choices? To what lengths should a parent go to protect their children?

Had Sunwynn remained in Le Mans, would she and Thomas have become lovers? What makes Sunwynn like Thomas so much?

Father Osbald believes his purpose in life is to bring Continental Saxons to God. By helping Ealdgyth and Wulfgar, is he being noble or naïve? Or both?

Leova and her children forgive Hugh but seek revenge against their own relatives. Why?

Why does Sunwynn decide she wants to marry Hugh, even though she knows he killed her father? Why does Leova accept him?