Our Military Life Blog

Here Be Dragons – Week 2

Ohhh readers, I don’t know that I can adequately describe this weeks reading!! It is truly one of those, “you have to read it, yourself” passages. Sharon Penman is one of those writers who can draw you in and make you forget that you are only reading a book, and not actually there within the pages witnessing the story unfold. The section that we are reading this week is one that will keep you completely captivated and somewhat on the edge of your seat. I hope that you are enjoying this read as much as I am!


Joanna has been betrothed to the Welsh Prince Llewellyn, and although she does not wish to marry him, she will to please her father. As they spend more time together, and begin to learn about each other, Joanna is surprised to find that she is actually falling in love with her husband. Instead of hating him as she thought, they begin to form a mutual admiration, and although they will not admit it to each other, they are both falling for each other. Joanna is angry though when she returns from a visit to her fathers court to find Llewellyn with his mistress. As tempers flare, they both storm off. But when Joanna goes to apologize to her husband, she finds that he is gone and the other lady has remained. After words are exchanged between the two ladies, Joanna orders the bed from her husbands room to be taken outside and burned. When he returns that evening, Llewellyn is amused to hear of the antics of his wife.

But as time passes, their admiration has blossomed into love, Joanna is still pulled between her father and her husband. She feels as though her loyalty belongs to both, and she can’t decide which one should have the greater portion. As tensions continue to rise and the Welsh turn out to be more cunning and adept than the English gave them credit for. With one of the main Welsh princes taken prisoner, Llewellyn takes the chance to raid into his territory. The English respond with a large show of force, but the Welsh wage their wars differently. The English turn out to be completely unprepared for the expedition and lose many of their men along the way. King John is furious and is determined to bring his son in law down once and for all. But he completely disregards the feelings that his daughter may have for her husband, after he makes Llewellyn swear fealty and come to a truce, it is all Joanna can do to remain in her spot. It takes all her pride and a bit of an explosive temper to get her father to understand where she stands, and how torn she is feeling between the two men who hold her affections. But the end is not near, and the English King and Welsh Prince know that there will be another day when they do not meet as family…

This week we are reading PAGES 181 (Pick up at the start of section 15) and read through 352


  1. Joanna was only 14 when she married Llewellyn. Do you think they were both unprepared for the beginning of their lives together?
  2. Llewellyn wants to expand his territory and bring the entirety of Wales under his control, but the English are not about to let that happen. What could have been done differently that would have brought Llewellyn what he wanted?
  3. Joanna is in a difficult position as the daughter of King John, and the wife of Llewellyn. Where should her greater loyalty lie? Do you think that you would have been torn the same way as Joanna was?