Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth

by

Susan King

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Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth Character Analysis

The protagonist and narrator of the novel, daughter of Bodhe and Ailsa, wife of Macbeth and Gilcomgan, mother of Lulach and Farquhar mac Macbeth. Gruadh is headstrong and loyal. She loves her family and will do anything to protect those close to her, even if it means violating cultural norms or traditional gender roles. She practices magic and learns how to handle a sword, both to protect herself and to protect the ones she holds dear. After surviving two attempted kidnappings and one attempted rape, Gruadh is married to Gilcomgan, ostensibly for her own protection. Although she initially dislikes her husband, she warms to him, and the two conceive a child, Lulach. Macbeth murders Gilcomgan before Lulach is born, and immediately marries Gruadh, both to cement his claim as the new mormaer of Moray and to protect her from King Malcolm, who would like to cut off her bloodline. Gruadh comes to love Macbeth, and the two become a fierce, ambitious pair, who want to honor their bloodlines by ruling Scotland. When Macbeth becomes king, Gruadh becomes his queen, a title only given to women with Gaelic ancestry and the proper heritage. She feels this is her blood right, and happily rules over Scotland, with her husband, for seventeen years. After Malcolm mac Duncan kills her husband, Gruadh is left fending off marriage offers even as her son, Lulach, crowned king after Macbeth, fights Malcolm for the throne. The novel ends as Gruadh decides to recuse herself from the political turmoil and live in solitude in the Scottish countryside.

Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth Quotes in Lady Macbeth

The Lady Macbeth quotes below are all either spoken by Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth or refer to Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Three Rivers Press edition of Lady Macbeth published in 2008.
Prologue Quotes

Drostan, who has long known me, has a fine hand with a pen and hopes to write a chronicle about me. This would be an encomium, a book of praise, for his queen. I told him it was a silly notion. […] From what my advisors say, Malcolm Canmore—ceann mór in Gaelic, or big head, two words that suit him—will order his clerics to record Macbeth’s life. Within those pages, they will seek to ruin his deeds and his name. My husband cannot fight for his reputation now. But I am here, and I know what is true.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

Because I am descended in a direct line from Celtic kings, the purest royal blood courses through me and blushes my skin. I could prick a finger and it would be gold to some.

I am Gruadh inghean Bodhe mac Cineadh mhic Dubh […] My lineage combines the ancient royal branches of Scotland […] Because a man could claim the throne of Scotland by marrying me, I was not safe. Nor were my kinsmen, come to that: if they were killed, one after another, our line would be eliminated at its heart, making room for others’ ambitions. Such is the way of things when one’s heritage is ancient, pure, and royal.

Little good did the blood of ancients do me. I was like a lark spiraling upward, unaware of the hawks above judging time and distance to the prize.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe , Gilcomgan
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

“A princess of Scotland has no use of those skills.”
“Scathach was also a princess,” I pointed out. “Scathach of the old legends, who had a school for fighting on the Isle of Skye and taught the heroes of the Fianna their skills—”

“I know the tale,” he said curtly. “Those were older days. It is not your place to fight, but ours to defend you, if need be.” […]

“I am your direct heir now,” I reminded Bodhe. “I must be prepared, since you say I could be a queen one day, and my husband a king. So men will always argue over me, and more deaths will occur on my account.” […]

“You have a warrior spirit,” he admitted, “for a gently raised daughter.”

“Scathach of Skye,” I reminded. “No one would have stolen her away.”

Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Our priest baptized the child to protect her soul, and the midwives bathed her in warm milk and lifted her in their hands as they spoke charms against all manner of ills: fire, drowning, illness and injury, fairies, bewitchings, elf bolts, all conceivable harms. Bodhe named his new daughter Brigid to further protect her. Yet within days, Ailsa and tiny Brigid were buried together on a hill overlooking the sea, and I, who heard equally the catechism and the Celtic tales, wondered if their souls would travel to heaven or Tír na n’Óg, the paradise beyond Ireland in the misty realm, which our bard spoke about. […]

“Ailsa of Argyll is dead,” [Father Anselm] said bluntly, stopping, “and her soul needs our prayers, not trinkets, so that she may be forgiven by the grace of God. Perhaps she need only spend a little time in purgatory before her soul is purified of sin.”

“My mother will go straight to heaven on the strength of her character,” I said. “Though she might prefer Tír na n’Óg, where she would not be judged.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Father Anselm (speaker), Bodhe , Ailsa , Brigid
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

Them men formed a circle around me, friends and enemies both. Ahead, on the earth of the practice yard, two swords lay crossed and ready, shining blades reflecting the glow of the sunrise. Nearby, horses stood, gleaming and grand, ready to be ridden, while overhead, two eagles winged toward the mountains, and a raven settled on a gatepost. Moon and stars were still visible in the sky, and the sunrise flowed over the hilltops like a spill of blood, the sun in its midst like a golden wafer. […] I knew some of the elements—ravens were death and warning, eagles pride and pairing, horses freedom; the swords might be conflict or war, and the circle of warriors around me could have been a sign of protection, or the men in my future. […] My mother had been gifted with the Sight that brings spontaneous visions, so common among the Gaels that we call it Da Shealladh, the gift of two sighs. A great-grandmother on Bodhe’s side had been a taibhsear, a seer, from whom others sought advice.

Until that moment, I had not known that I, too, had a hint of that talent.

Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

“The truth is in what Moray offers,” [Bodhe] said. “Every mormaer of that region has an ancient right tot be called Rí a Moreb, king of Moray. His wife can be called ban-rí, queen. Just now, Gilcomgan and King Malcolm support one another. But if the Rí a Moreb ever summoned men to revolt, the strength of that army would be such that the mormaer of Moray could himself be king over all Scotland.”

“And marriage to me could ensure that for Gilcomgan. Or for our son,” I added. […] He looked hard at me. “Even carrying the blood of Celtic kings, you cannot rule alone. You need a strong and ambitious husband.
“Our blood needs one,” I corrected bitterly.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe (speaker), Gilcomgan , Thorfin Sigurdsson, King Malcolm
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

“Often the meaning of the omens we see it not clear until later. If we knew too much about the future, we might be afraid to step from our houses. Do not fret—the signs you saw speak of Scotland’s future even more than your own.”
“Scotland?” I blinked. “Because of the warriors and symbols of warfare?”
“Perhaps they will be Rue’s husbands in future,” Bethoc said. “Well, not all of them,” she amended when I gaped at her.

Mairi took my hands in hers and closed her eyes. “Two husbands,” she said. “Three, if you so choose. Like most women you will have a share of happiness and measures of sorrow. Unlike most, you will have… power.” She let go of my fingers. “You can draw strength from within yourself, like water from a well. Your mother gave you the sign of the good Brigid on your shoulder,” she went on, touching my upper sleeve, which covered the symbol. “Call upon that protection whenever you need it.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Bethoc (speaker), Mairi (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe , Gilcomgan , Ailsa , The Goddess Brigid
Related Symbols: The Triskele
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9  Quotes

In the afternoon I looked up toward the ridge of a hill and saw a stand of tall pikes thrusting up like slender trees. The point of each carried a decapitated head, black and gruesome, pitch-soaked to preserve them a long while, until they decayed to skulls […] Aella gasped, near to retching, and hid her eyes with her hand. Bethoc looked away. But I stared, horrified and transfixed, even when Ruari and Conn drew their horses alongside to urge us onward. I remembered that my guard and my only brother had been beheaded but […] never piked.

I would not shrink form the grim display Someday I might have to show toughness for such things, even if I quailed within. As wife to Scotland’s most powerful mormaer, it was in my interest to understand the ways of men and warfare. My own life might turn on that knowledge one day.

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

At one point, King Malcolm himself carried his great-grandson and held him out to King Cnut. The prince, at two years old a sturdy handful, set up a lusty caterwauling, so that both men looked annoyed. Still, the message was clear: young Malcolm mac Duncan of Scotland had made a symbolic homage to the ruler of England.

And it was clear to those watching that in making his great-grandson pledge to England, old Malcolm was declaring that his line, grandson to son, would be kings hereafter. […]

The child’s mother, Lady Sybilla, stepped forward to take her boy from her father-by-law. I was among the retinue of women who walked with her, and she turned to give the squalling child to me. He struggled to get down, and I set him on his feet, taking his hand. He pulled me along rather like a ram dragging its shepherd. Others were amused, but I felt a strange sense, like a weight on my shoulders, on my soul.

And then, with a shudder, I knew it for an omen of the future—myself, and all of us gathered that day were linked to this moment as if by the tug of a heavy chain.

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13  Quotes

Together they had conspired to kill Gilcomgan and wrest Moray from him. Macbeth had overtaken my future, and my child’s, out of his own ambition and desire for revenge. My fingers let go the clutched yarn, red strands unraveling like blood to pool on the floor. I turned to leave, to suppress my anger, as Bodhe might have done. But I was not my father.

Swords sparked bright against the wall, where a few of them leaned, unused. One of them was my own. I snatched it up and turned back to face the men. “Upon this sword, which Bodhe gave to me,” I said, “I swear to protect my child from all your cold scheming. Listen to me,” I said through my teeth when Macbeth stepped forward. “No more of Bodhe’s blood shall suffer for your ambitions!”

They stood still, king, husband, and housecarls. An oath made on a blade was a fierce thing and never taken lightly. I wanted them to understand that I was not helpless, no pawn to stand by while their plans destroyed by father’s proud line. Wild Celtic blood ran strong in me, a legacy of warriors, warrior queens, and sword oaths. It was not the wisest thing I have done; it was something foolish, something brave.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), King Malcolm (speaker), Bodhe , Gilcomgan , Finlach , Farquhar mac Bodhe
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Peace and acceptance were not pretty threads in my wool basket that winter. I realized that I was alone in my resentment and anger. Others readily accepted Macbeth as the new mormaer, soon calling him Moray when they addressed him. […]

One day Maeve pulled me aside. “Find some peace for yourself,” she said. “This grief and torment will poison your babe.”

That night I sought out Elgin’s little wooden chapel, intending to pray for serenity and forgiveness. When I pushed open the door, I saw that Macbeth was already there, on his knees before the alter. He wore only a simple long shirt and trews, and for a moment I did not know him. His head was bowed, glinting dark gold in the light of candles. I saw him cover his face, and then he prostrated himself on the worn planks of the floor like a suffering pilgrim.
Faith is a private thing to my thinking, and here I witnessed an intimate side of the man. He appeared contrite, even tormented. I guessed at his sin, the murder of his first cousin Gilcomgan. By the teaching of the Church, it could blacken his soul and affect him for all eternity come judgment Day, if not expunged.

Backing away, I closed the door. I felt a stir of sympathy for a man who felt such clear anguish within himself. When I wanted to hate him most, I could not. By inches and breaths, my resentments faded, much as I strived to stoke them.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Gilcomgan
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16  Quotes

“I hear,” Macbeth said, “that wives of other mormaers, even kings, stay at home where they are safe, and keep mute about steel-games unless asked for their opinion.”

“I am none of that cloth.” […]

Walking through dry sand to meet my friends, having witnessed by husband do cold murder, I yet felt a stirring admiration for him as a capable warlord. That day, as at other times, he had demonstrated uncompromising will, as well as physical ability and courage. He revealed a strong sense of what was right and what was not, and what was possible between those points—and he took steps to achieve it.

Whether or not he knew it, I considered myself his capable equal, not a subservient wife. Raised by a warlord in a nest of warriors, I would not be regarded as significant in my small household circle, only to be dismissed beyond its boundaries.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Thorfin Sigurdsson, Angus mac Fergus
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17  Quotes

“Men,” Catriona said, “understand life and death differently than women. Ours is to give birth, life, and comfort. We cannot bring ourselves to take life, knowing its struggle and value.”

Somehow this saintly show of opinion irritated me. “If I had to kill to save a life, mine or my son’s,” I said, “I would do it.”

“Rue is trained at arms,” Bethoc said proudly.

“Lady Gruadh has a stiffer backbone than I do,” Catriona said. “It is my work to bring life into this world. My heart is far too tender to destroy it.”

“That is not my intent,” I defended. “The lady of a powerful region must have a martial spirit as well as a virtuous one. I would not hesitate to put on armor and take up a sword, if such was needed for the good of all.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Catriona of Kinlossie (speaker), Bethoc (speaker), Macbeth, Lulach
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

Yet I had to master my temper, as he had done, and stay. Obligation to my kin group demanded that I remain with Moray’s new mormaer, who had no equal among other warlords. Fate had set me in this situation, after all.
I frowned, for he left something unsaid. “What purpose do you see in this union?”

One hand on the door, he turned back. “Together we can tap the power of your legacy and mine,” he said quietly, “and take Scotland under our rule.”

There. He said outright what I, and others, suspected. I straightened my shoulders. This, then, was what Bodhe wanted, and what generations of my kin deserved in their honor. “A thing like that turns on loyalty,” I said, “or falters for lack of it.”

He nodded. “It does.”

“Well enough,” I said, watching him. An agreement of sorts.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Catriona of Kinlossie
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18  Quotes

“There must be some kind of justice and recompense for these deaths!”
“Justice will be brought,” Macbeth said low.

“When?” I asked, splaying my hands, slim fingered and beringed, on the table. Such feminine hands for such hard masculine thoughts. The urge sprang in me like a dark wolf within. I did not like it, but fed it nonetheless. It is the way of things, Bodhe would have said. “When will you avenge my kinsmen? Tomorrow? A year from now?” […]

“If one of Bodhe’s bloodline held the throne someday,” my husband then said, “it would be far more lasting revenge than bloodshed now.”

Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19  Quotes

“The old legends are filled with such women—the great Irish queen, Macha, and Princess Scathach of Skye, who trained warriors in her fighting school, and also her sister Aoife, who bested Cu Chulainn and bore his son […] Celtic women have fought beside their men since before the names of kings were remembered. And even though Rome forbids Gaelic women to fight, it is rightful enough according to our customs.”

“They forbid with good reason,” Maeve said, bouncing Lulach on her lap. “Women have enough to do and should not have to go out and fight men’s battles, too.” […]

“The eyes of the Church cannot easily see beyond the mountains of the Gaels,” I said, “where warlike behavior in a woman is not sinful heresy, and is sometimes even necessary.” And I remembered my early vows—as a girl taking up a sword to defend herself, as a woman swearing on a sword to defend her own. Another facet of my obligation to my long legacy came clear: if others were so set on eliminating my line, and I and Lulach the last of it, then I would be steadfast as any warrior.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Aella (speaker), Bethoc (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Bodhe , Lulach , Dolina, Scathach of Skye
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

“Your weapons practice and your desire for vengeance,” Maeve told me one day, “are hardening you, dulling the bed of your womb. How can you expect to conceive a child when you feed yourself on spite and anger? Those are poisons for the body.”

She made me think, I admit, and she made me wonder. But I did not stop, not then. […]

“Your wish for vengeance is sinful,” [Father Osgar] told me one day after confession, when we walked a little. “But it is understandable. Let prayer and faith heal you.”
“I cannot give it up,” I said. “I am not yet done with this.”

“Give it up or keep it close,” he answered, “but know that until you find some peace in your heart, I will pray on your behalf. Grief is sometimes like a sharp-toothed demon that gets hold of our hearts. But its grip weakens with time, and one day you will be free of it.”

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker), Macbeth, Bodhe
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20  Quotes

“If we were to gain rod and crown,” I said low, so that none should hear but he, “we could satisfy our heritage and avenge our two fathers, all at once.”

“Just so.” He cast me a look that was sharp and clear.

I felt a chill. “You led me deliberately to share your plan, from the first.”

“In part,” he admitted, “for I knew the worth in your blood, and saw the worth of your nature. But I could never have planed as well as fate has done. It has twinned our motives now. Your father and mine are gone, and they deserve this. Our branches, Gabhran and Lorne, deserve this.”

“And the ancient Celtic blood of the whole of Scotland—it, too, needs this.”

“It does.” He smiled, and we rode on in silence.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Bodhe , Finlach
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21  Quotes

“Your husband Macbeth will be remembered among the greatest of his ilk, the kings of Scotland,” she said. “One of your sons will be a warrior. Not the others.”

“Others,” I repeated, pleased. “Monks, then, or abbots? Bards, perhaps.”

“They will not be,” she murmured slowly, eyes very dark, “warriors.”

A shiver slipped down my spine. […]

“Carry this warning to your husband. I have told him the same, but tell him again from me. Beware the son of the warrior whose spilled blood will make him a king.”

I stared. Her cloak, when she turned, was a swirl of utter blackness, so that I stepped back for fear the portal to the other side, open that night, might overtake me.

I did not repeat her message to Macbeth.

Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22  Quotes

Although I had a place on his war council, lately he had not included me, claiming I needed rest. I did not. I needed something more to do, for my household was smoothly run, and my son was finding his way in the world more and more without his mother. With no other little ones to fill my arms, as I should have had by then, I lacked enough to do. […] I watched carefully as I could over Macbeth’s Moray in his absence, and the responsibly was no chore. Later I realized that in small and large ways, I had begun to prepare myself for what might come. Queenship in its many aspects was not a teachable thing, yet instinctively I tutored myself with charitable works and sword training. Inch by ell, I became the small queen of Moray in more than name alone.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Aella , Bethoc
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:

I brought my dilemma to Macbeth, too. “What if God is punishing me for grievances and ambitions, for sometimes wanting you to be king, no mater the cost?”

“Be patient,” he said, as he often did. “What will we give our children without the kingdom that is our lineage, and theirs? All will come to us in time, including sons.”

Maeve, who wanted me to produce another babe so that she could knee-nurse again before she was too old, said she knew what was wrong. “It is willfulness and old grief, poisoning your womb. You want to be a warrior, and you want to be a mother. A woman keeps to home and family, and tends to matters inside the home. A man keeps to war games an tends to matters outside.”

A queen tends to both, I wanted to say, but did not. She would not understand.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth (speaker), Maeve (speaker)
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25  Quotes

“My ambition was always for Scotland as much as myself. We must be careful to preserve the heart of what is called Gaelic, the honor, the power in it, when the outer world—the Church, our enemies, the trade, all the rest—stands to change us. Duncan is hastening the end of the Gaels, if he even knows it.”

“You can honor that heritage and vindicate your kin and mine,” I reminded him.

Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26  Quotes

“I made a sword vow years ago to protect my own, and I will keep it. I have a home and a son to protect, and I have a husband to support as best I can. All my life I have lived a female among Celtic warriors. My sword arm is trained, my bow and arrow are swift, and I have already bloodied the blade. Know this—my determination is in place. I will go with you.”

Macbeth took my horse’s bridle. “Each one who rides with me contributes to the whole. Your skill I will not argue, but your fortitude is little tested. You would require guards to protect you, and that detracts from the whole.”

“Have you not made it your purpose to uphold the old ways, the ancient ways, of the Gaels and the Celts?” The horse shifted under me, and I pulled the reins. Macbeth still held the bridle. “Celtic women have always fought beside their men.”

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

Watching the prow of the boat surge through lapping waves, I knew that I had protected Malcolm from retaliation. By honoring my promise to his mother and following my own heart as a mother, I had prevented his murder as a boy. And he had returned, just as the mormaers had warned. I had brought this tragedy about.

But if that chance came again, I could not order the deaths of children. A devil’s bargain, that, to choose sin or grief. Closing my eyes, I rested my face in my hands and struggled, overcame a weeping urge. What I had done had been most rightful, though it came with a hard price. It was the way of things.

Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:

Here is what the annals will say of Macbeth’s kingship: very little.

Seventeen years of plenty and peace for Scotland, give or take some strife. We suffered few battles and fewer enemies compared to other reigns. Scotland was brimful: fat cattle on the hillsides, fish in the streams, sheep thick with wool, the bellies of trading ships heavy with goods. Grain crops were golden and larders and byres filled; treasures accumulated, and all prospered, from shepherd to mormaer. Contentment is a thing not often recorded in the annals.
For much of Macbeth’s reign, the strength of his reputation and presence and the loyal nature of his alliances protected Scotland as never before. We had respite from decades of wars and conflict. Given more time, he would have attained what he sought of Scotland: more fair-minded laws, and the blending of honored Celtic traditions with the ways of the Church and even the Saxons.

Related Characters: Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth (speaker), Macbeth, Malcolm mac Duncan
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:
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Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth Character Timeline in Lady Macbeth

The timeline below shows where the character Gruadh / Rue / Lady Macbeth appears in Lady Macbeth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
It is the middle of winter, 1058. The recently-widowed Gruadh has been rejecting the repeated marriage proposals of Malcolm mac Duncan, the man who murdered... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
If Gruadh will not marry Malcolm mac Duncan he would like her to go to a convent,... (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Drostan wants to write an encomium for Gruadh. Although she told him his idea was “silly,” she secretly wants an account of her... (full context)
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Until her life is truly over, Gruadh thinks it is too early to memorialize her. Still, “some truths there are which must... (full context)
Chapter 1
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh begins her life story at age nine, when she is briefly kidnapped while riding a... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh falls to the ground and watches Bodhe and Farquhar fight off her attackers. This is... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh keeps the brooch she used to stab her attacker, although she doesn’t wear it. She... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
...of Atholl. In King Malcolm’s judgment court, Bodhe accuses Crinan of killing Farquhar and kidnapping Gruadh to marry his own son, but the king rules in Crinan’s favor, and Bodhe must... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
After Farquhar’s death, Gruadh becomes Bodhe’s only heir. As a result, her life and blood right becomes even more... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Gruadh is abducted again four years later, at thirteen. She goes out with Bethoc and Aella... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
An old woman comes to give Gruadh food and ale and a bucket to pee in. When she hears footsteps again Gruadh... (full context)
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Ketill tells Gruadh that the man who tried to rape her was Harald Silkhair, a widower who was... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Back in Fife, Bodhe has hired an Anglo-Saxon priest, Father Anselm. Gruadh suspects that Bodhe has begun to think “more closely about souls and their fates, and... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Bodhe rushes to arrange a marriage for Gruadh. He seeks “both a protector” and an “unbreakable alliance” for his lineage. Gruadh is unimpressed... (full context)
Chapter 2
History, Memory, and Storytelling  Theme Icon
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Gruadh confronts Bodhe and tells him she wants to learn how to fight. He resists, but... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
In Bodhe’s mind, Gruadh’s “most important role” is being the direct descendant of several Picts and Irish kings. She... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh continues to insist. She argues that “men will always argue over me, and more deaths... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Gruadh’s mother, Ailsa, died from complications of childbirth when Gruadh was eleven. Gruadh’s little sister, Brigid,... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
In the days after Ailsa’s death, Gruadh’s aunt, Eva, gives her a bag of charms—crystals, Ailsa’s needles and embroidery, and a small... (full context)
Magic, Tradition, and Religion  Theme Icon
Fate, Family, and Ambition  Theme Icon
When her daughter was a baby, Ailsa gave Gruadh a Celtic tattoo, the triskele, or symbol of the goddess Brigid. It is a symbol... (full context)
Chapter 3
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Gruadh begins to practice fighting. Most of her father’s warriors don’t want to train her, and... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
Violence, Justice, and Revenge  Theme Icon
Gruadh begins to practice with Finn, her foster brother. She’s offended when he wants her to... (full context)
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Over the next year Gruadh improves—she upgrades to blunt metal swords from her wooden sticks and daggers. Still, she is... (full context)
Gender Roles  Theme Icon
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For her fifteenth birthday, Bodhe gives Gruadh a sword with a triskele engraved upon it. She is aware of the significance of... (full context)
Chapter 4 
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One morning in March, Gruadh helps Drostan muck out the stables. As they work, Bodhe returns from a journey with... (full context)
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Gruadh continues to muck the stables even after Aella comes out to fetch her on Bodhe’s... (full context)
Chapter 5 
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Gruadh remembers the first time she saw Macbeth. She was just four years old in 1020,... (full context)
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...properties. This is the highest possible fine, but Ailsa, who is watching the proceedings with Gruadh, argues, “this is not justice,” and believes Macbeth deserves more. Maeve, who has also come... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Back in the great hall at Fife, Macbeth and Gilcomgan face off. Fergus urges Gruadh to watch the fight, especially Macbeth, to learn more about swordsmanship. (full context)
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Gruadh considers the argument between the two men. She realizes that even if Gilcomgan hadn’t killed... (full context)
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...splitting the chainmail and cutting into the skin, but still the fight continues. Next to Gruadh, a man catches her attention, and she is surprised to see Ketill, who she had... (full context)
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The fight finally ends when Gilcomgan stumbles into Gruadh and Bodhe forces the men to stop. Dolina takes Gilcomgan to treat his wound, and... (full context)
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Gruadh tells Macbeth that not only will she not marry Gilcomgan, she would not marry him... (full context)
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Bodhe explains to Gruadh that she must get married and this is the best match for her. She counters... (full context)
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Thorfin Sigurdsson interrupts them. Bodhe explains they have made their peace with him, but Gruadh still holds a grudge. Thorfin tells her he beheaded Harald, the man who assaulted her.... (full context)
Chapter 7 
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The night before Gruadh’s official betrothal she sneaks out of the castle to perform a ritual. She brings with... (full context)
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Before Gruadh can see anything in the water, Ruari, Finn, and Drostan interrupt her. They followed her... (full context)
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Gruadh’s friends return her to the castle. As she enters the fortress and the sun begins... (full context)
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After breakfast, Aella and Maeve help dress Gruadh. She wears a green dress, even though it is an unlucky color, because it belonged... (full context)
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That night, Gruadh has difficulty sleeping, and gets up to wander the fortress. She runs into Bodhe in... (full context)
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Gruadh understands that her marriage to Gilcomgan will make him even more powerful, will give Bodhe... (full context)
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Gruadh wonders why, if Macbeth has a better claim to Moray, she isn’t marrying him. Bodhe... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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The following spring, Gruadh spends her days embroidering and eavesdropping on Bodhe’s conversations with other noblemen about politics and... (full context)
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According to the Roman church, women practicing swordplay is heresy, and so Dolina forbids Gruadh from practice in advance of her wedding. Bodhe doesn’t believe sword-fighting will put Gruadh out... (full context)
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Overwhelmed by Dolina’s wedding preparations, Gruadh visits her cousin Bethoc and Bethoc’s mother Mairi, who live in the hills outside of... (full context)
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Mairi and Bethoc also advise Gruadh to participate in the tradition of kissing people on the new moon after she returns... (full context)
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Gruadh then runs into Macbeth. He cautions her again against marrying Gilcomgan, warning that her future... (full context)
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Macbeth has grabbed Gruadh’s arm, and she finds herself drawn in towards him. He is drawn to her, too,... (full context)
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As a present, Bodhe gives Gruadh a hauberk and a brass helmet. He has begun allowing her to sit in on... (full context)
Chapter 9 
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Gruadh and Bodhe ride to witness a meeting of kings on the border between Lothian and... (full context)
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Days into their trip, Gruadh’s envoy passes a series of heads on pikes. Aella is disgusted, and although Gruadh is... (full context)
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After many days of travel, Gruadh and her party reach their destination—a meadow where the kings will meet. King Malcolm and... (full context)
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Gruadh examines the beautiful land around her. She wonders why the kings will not use Hadrian’s... (full context)
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That evening Gruadh, Bodhe, and their entourage stay at a nearby thane’s house. They have dinner and listen... (full context)
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That evening Gruadh talks to Lady Sybilla, wife of Duncan mac Crinan, who has two young sons, Malcolm... (full context)
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Gruadh and Macbeth talk as they play. Gruadh discovers that Macbeth is married, and so is... (full context)
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...Malcolm and King Cnut meet a final time to conclude the ceremony. At one point, Gruadh observes King Malcolm carrying his great grandson Malcolm mac Duncan. Everyone present recognizes this as... (full context)
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Lady Sybilla takes her child from King Malcolm and gives young Malcolm mac Duncan to Gruadh to care for. Gruadh feels heavy as the young child drags her arm and realizes... (full context)
Chapter 10 
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Dolina polishes and scrubs the household at Abernethy in preparation for the wedding. Dolina has Gruadh purchase silk and linen to sew into bedclothes, gowns, and undergarments for her new life... (full context)
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That May, Gruadh and Gilcomgan are married. Gruadh had wanted a Celtic wedding, but instead she has a... (full context)
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The day before Gruadh leaves Abernathy for Moray, she goes to Luag, Bodhe’s bard. She asks him about Moray,... (full context)
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In the weeks and months after Gruadh and Gilcomgan arrive at his fortress in Moray, the couple begins to get along. She... (full context)
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Gruadh hangs rowan branches, juniper, and pine over the doorways for luck. She spends her days... (full context)
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After almost a year of marriage, Gruadh misses her period. She has some morning sickness at the beginning of her pregnancy, but... (full context)
Chapter 11 
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In 1032, when she is sixteen years old and seven months into her pregnancy, Gruadh is woken up in the middle of the night by a messenger sent by Banchorrie.... (full context)
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Macbeth lashes out at Gruadh, knocking the sword out of her hand and throwing her to the ground. Gruadh’s men... (full context)
Chapter 12 
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The next morning, guards escort an unwilling Gruadh to a nearby church where Macbeth waits to marry her. Gruadh does not want to... (full context)
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Gruadh further complains that she would “prefer to be wed in the old Celtic way, with... (full context)
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Back in Elgin, Gruadh goes against Macbeth’s commands. She will not stay in her chamber as he has requested,... (full context)
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Gilcomgan’s body and the bodies of his men are returned to Elgin and buried. Gruadh feels numb. She expects that soon Bodhe will avenge her husband and waits for him... (full context)
Chapter 13 
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King Malcolm and his men arrive at Elgin, and Macbeth greets them. Gruadh hopes that the King has come to avenge her dead husband but is disappointed when... (full context)
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Gruadh also returns inside. A man introduces himself as Banchorrie. He is Macbeth’s uncle, and sent... (full context)
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Macbeth suggests that Gruadh leave the room while he discusses politics with King Malcolm and the others, but Gruadh... (full context)
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...way is better. Malcolm insists Macbeth pledge his loyalty, especially since he gave him Moray. Gruadh understands that the two conspired to kill Gilcomgan. (full context)
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Gruadh turns to go, but before she does she grabs her sword, which leans against the... (full context)
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That evening, Maeve and Aella comfort Gruadh as she cries. Gruadh knows women, especially ladies, are not meant to be impulsive and... (full context)
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Two weeks later Gruadh is happy to see the banner of Fife and Bodhe in the yard of Elgin.... (full context)
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As time goes on, Gruadh realizes she is the only one who has not accepted Macbeth as the new mormaer.... (full context)
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Gruadh tries to find peace in her precarious situation, and one day goes to the chapel... (full context)
Chapter 14 
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One day, Gruadh looks for Macbeth and finds him in the room where they keep falcons. She wants... (full context)
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Macbeth is offended by the implication that he would sabotage the birth. Gruadh clarifies that she is more worried about King Malcolm. As they leave, Macbeth offers Gruadh... (full context)
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Three days later, Gruadh’s contractions wake her. She gets up to pace the fortress. She runs into Banchorrie, whose... (full context)
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Over the next day and night, Gruadh labors but cannot deliver her baby. Maeve and Aella help her as best they can.... (full context)
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Although Gruadh stubbornly waits for her cousins Bethoc and Mairi, Macbeth eventually goes for a midwife himself.... (full context)
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Macbeth jokes that the baby looks just like Gruadh, and luckily looks nothing like Gilcomgan. Gruadh agrees that the baby is like a “small,... (full context)
Chapter 15 
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Gruadh names her son Lulach. It is the name of one of her ancestors. Although Maeve... (full context)
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Dermot arrives and tells Gruadh what he has seen—Lulach will live happily until twenty. He will be a good and... (full context)
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Gruadh wonders if Dermot mapped the stars and told Macbeth the best time to ride into... (full context)
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Gruadh decides to reveal that she can see visions of the future. She tells Macbeth she... (full context)
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...an envoy from Fife arrive late in the winter. They also bring gifts from Dolina. Gruadh is happy to be reunited with friends and to be reminded of home. She even... (full context)
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...has had marriage offers she has turned them down so far. As a fellow widow, Gruadh understands her reluctance to remarry, and her desire to be reunited with her son. However,... (full context)
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Lulach has his naming ceremony, which, according to custom, Gruadh is not allowed to attend. Maeve goes however, and afterwards tells Gruadh of a strange... (full context)
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Maeve notes that Macbeth has strong ambition, and that marrying Gruadh strengthened his claim to the throne and increased his power. Maeve believes that one day... (full context)
Chapter 16 
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That winter, Gruadh continues to soften towards Macbeth. She still feels grief and anger, but also believes one... (full context)
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Gruadh knows accepting Macbeth as her husband will make her life, and the lives of those... (full context)
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...weather begins to warm, Macbeth and his guards begin to travel out into the countryside. Gruadh doesn’t understand why he is going on war patrols, but he understands he is looking... (full context)
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Gruadh begins to feel flashes of desire for Macbeth, who has yet to visit her in... (full context)
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Gruadh has the urge to leave the fortress. She has Angus, Bethoc, and Séan, one of... (full context)
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...a box, but there is some disagreement and Macbeth kills one of the Viking soldiers. Gruadh is horrified, but Angus chastises her and argues if she were “a true warrior, rather... (full context)
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Although Angus encourages her to sneak away with him, Gruadh feels her husband has been “secretive and cruel” and wants to confront. She reveals herself... (full context)
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As Gruadh returns home she feels “admiration” for Macbeth. She sees that he is capable, uncompromising, and... (full context)
Chapter 17 
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Gruadh continues to do her best to run her household. She observes Macbeth riding out into... (full context)
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One day Macbeth and Gruadh lock eyes as Macbeth plays with Lulach. Gruadh recognizes that he “yearns” for her, and... (full context)
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...to help with the birth of another child. Bethoc remains jealous and unwelcoming. One day Gruadh asks how Macbeth knew to fetch Catriona, and the midwife reveals she and Macbeth were... (full context)
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Bethoc, Aella, Gruadh, and Catriona discuss the prospect of Macbeth becoming king. Bethoc notes he would have to... (full context)
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Gruadh continues to argue with Catriona, who claims she “cast no blame” when her husband died.... (full context)
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Over the summer Gruadh and Macbeth often lock eyes and Gruadh often feels a spark of attraction and connection,... (full context)
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Later that summer, Macbeth considers appointing a Catholic bishop in Moray. He asks Gruadh for her input and, impressed with her answer—that a Celtic man “who will think of... (full context)
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Macbeth rides off to visit a thane for a few days, and Gruadh goes on a hunting trip with Finn and Angus. Gruadh, who once enjoyed hunting, is... (full context)
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Gruadh realizes she is close to Catriona’s home, and decides to visit to mend their friendship.... (full context)
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Gruadh returns to Elgin, furious. She plans to leave and return to Fife, but Macbeth arrives... (full context)
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...and Catriona have been friends their whole lives and “sometimes sought comfort in the other.” Gruadh angrily observes “you take no comfort from me,” and he counters, “you offer none.” Gruadh... (full context)
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Macbeth tells Gruadh she can return to Fife, but she knows she can’t and won’t, as “obligation to... (full context)
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In July, Gruadh watches Macbeth oversee a judgment court. Seeing men clap and stamp for him, she feels... (full context)
Chapter 18 
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As Gruadh and Macbeth travel for a wedding they pass three black ravens, a bad omen. (full context)
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At the wedding Gruadh is excited to see Bodhe, Dolina, and Malcolm mac Farquhar, her nephew. She still feels... (full context)
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Gruadh reports that Macbeth wants to be king. Bodhe knows this already, thinks Macbeth will be... (full context)
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The pair returns to the hunting party, and Bodhe asks Gruadh to say a prayer for “the sake of those who share your bloodline.” He believes... (full context)
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Back in Elgin, Gruadh has a vision of men fighting. Both Macbeth and Gilcomgan are there. To the north... (full context)
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One day, as Gruadh stands outside, Ruari rides into Elgin and announces that Bodhe and Malcolm mac Farquhar have... (full context)
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Gruadh and Macbeth travel to Fife for the funeral. They bury Bodhe, young Malcolm mac Farquhar,... (full context)
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Gruadh must take care of loose ends at Abernethy. She allows Father Anselm to stay, because... (full context)
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Gruadh can see Bodhe’s kinsmen from Fife are want revenge as much as she does. She... (full context)
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Black Duff, a cousin of Gruadh’s who is now a close associate of King Malcolm, comes to pay his respects. Gruadh... (full context)
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That night, Luag, the bard, recites the names of the significant men and women in Gruadh’s linage, from her ancestors to Bodhe to Lulach. She realizes Lulach will never be fully... (full context)
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...monastery to pay respects. He is on official business, keeping a record for the scribes. Gruadh is happy that he will “record old Malcolm’s evil deed forever.” (full context)
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During the funeral Gruadh thinks how she wants “mourning over so revenge could begin.” As she and the funeral... (full context)
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...that when he is king the feud between Bodhe and King Malcolm will be forgotten. Gruadh promises that once she is Lady of Fife, although she will make an effort to... (full context)
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Gruadh is frustrated that as Bodhe’s daughter she cannot enact revenge herself and must wait for... (full context)
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The next week, while still at Abernethy, Finn, Macbeth, Gruadh and others discuss revenge. They wonder who sent the men who killed Bodhe, whether it... (full context)
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Gruadh wants Macbeth to kill Malcolm, but he refuses. He argues installing someone from Bodhe’s bloodline... (full context)
Chapter 19 
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Gruadh and Macbeth return to Moray in late August. Macbeth transfers his household from Elgin to... (full context)
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A few weeks after their move, Gruadh and Macbeth receive a letter from King Malcolm, announcing he’s installed Black Duff as Fife’s... (full context)
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...diving into the ocean and encountering dozens of bana-ghaisgeach, or warrior women. The next day Gruadh considers these warrior women, and how she is part of their Celtic legacy of women... (full context)
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Gruadh notes that although the church does not approve of warrior women, it is too far... (full context)
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Gruadh has another dream of the future; in this one, Macbeth fights a single opponent as... (full context)
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Macbeth rides into his territory to curry favor with his people. Gruadh spends much of her time with Lulach. She prays daily, and occasionally finds time to... (full context)
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That winter Gruadh and Macbeth return to Elgin. Gruadh and Macbeth often have sex, but she has not... (full context)
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Gruadh sends a request to Duff asking for Bodhe’s hawks. Two weeks later, Ruari arrives with... (full context)
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That winter Lulach takes his first steps, and sometime later Gruadh is pregnant again. She prays to the goddess Brigid for protection, but miscarries not soon... (full context)
Chapter 20 
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That spring Macbeth, Gruadh, and an envoy of eighty men on horseback set out to survey Moray. Gruadh insists... (full context)
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As Macbeth and Gruadh set out, he mentions Enya, Thorfin’s grandmother, who now lives in northern Moray. Macbeth has... (full context)
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On their journey Macbeth, Gruadh, and their party stay with many friendly thanes. Gruadh can see that “approval gather[s] for... (full context)
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One morning, Gruadh asks Macbeth when he decided he wanted more power than could be attained by simply... (full context)
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Gruadh observes that, if they were to become king and queen, they could avenge both of... (full context)
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While staying with a mormaer whose territory, Ross, borders Moray, Gruadh listens to a bard tell the story of Deirdre and Naisi. Although Deirdre was hidden... (full context)
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Later in their journey, Macbeth gifts Gruadh with a small dagger with which she can keep herself safe. They travel towards Moray’s... (full context)
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That Saturday Macbeth and Gruadh go to pray at the local church. Macbeth leaves gifts for the priest, who promises... (full context)
Chapter 21 
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A few days later, as Macbeth, Gruadh, and their party ride home, a group of men attacks them. One man grabs Gruadh... (full context)
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...his men “won,” but there were casualties on both sides. Macbeth comes to check on Gruadh and tells her he suspects Crinan sent the attackers to cut off Bodhe’s line. Gruadh... (full context)
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Gruadh is suddenly overwhelmed by guilt. She has killed a man and wants to go to... (full context)
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...weeks later Macbeth is thrown from his horse. He recovers in a tenant’s house and Gruadh goes to see him. She is surprised to find Catriona already there. She urges Macbeth... (full context)
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Gruadh has another dream of the future. In this one, she is in a boat, and... (full context)
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That fall, on All Saint’s Eve, Gruadh goes out into the community with Bethoc and Aella. Her two friends are most excited... (full context)
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Una wants to talk to Gruadh and takes her aside. Gruadh has come to see Una but is reluctant to admit... (full context)
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Una continues her prophesying—she tells Gruadh she will have three husbands, six pregnancies, and more than six heartbreaks. Una then give... (full context)
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Gruadh does not repeat Una’s message to Macbeth. She realizes either Una is telling her lies... (full context)
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...king. Macbeth will go to bury his grandfather on Iona, where all kings are buried. Gruadh insists on coming with him. (full context)
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Before arriving in Iona, Macbeth, Banchorrie, and Gruadh meet in Scone and discuss King Malcolm’s death. Banchorrie warns the couple that some people... (full context)
Chapter 22 
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King Malcolm’s body is brought to Scone, where candlelight vigils are held. At Scone, Gruadh also witnesses Duncan’s crowning. Macbeth stands on the hill with Duncan as the ceremony begins,... (full context)
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...and son, “smacked of conspiracy to some.” That day and night, although there are celebrations, Gruadh has an ominous feeling.    (full context)
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Malcolm is buried at Iona. Macbeth goes with the escort, but Gruadh remains at Dunsinnan. Gruadh reflects on Lady Sybilla, who is “effectively queen,” although because she... (full context)
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Gruadh and Lady Sybilla spend a lot of time together while their husbands are away. The... (full context)
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Macbeth has returned from Iona and travels home with Gruadh. He hopes to be buried on Iona one day. Shortly into Lent, Gruadh miscarries a... (full context)
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When Macbeth, Finn, and Ruari all ride out without telling Gruadh where they are going, she reflects on how, although she has a place on the... (full context)
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As she learns the names of her tenants and becomes known in her community, Gruadh begins to prepare herself for queenship. In exchange for her goodwill, people in Moray begin... (full context)
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...preparing for war, and make arrangements for the men to be housed, armored, and fed. Gruadh wonders if this is on Duncan’s behalf or for Macbeth’s personal army. Finn explains Macbeth... (full context)
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...southern Saxon border, although King Malcolm had hashed it out years earlier with King Cnut. Gruadh complains to Macbeth that she wants to be on his war council, and to participate... (full context)
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That fall, Gruadh becomes acutely sad that she is unable to carry a baby to term. She wonders... (full context)
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Still, Maeve tells Gruadh “old grief” is “poisoning” her body against pregnancy, and that by trying to be a... (full context)
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One day Macbeth returns home with a letter from Duncan—compensation for Bodhe’s death. He gives Gruadh crowning rights, which would make her bloodline second only to the king’s. They both understand... (full context)
Chapter 23 
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Banchorrie arrives one morning with a band of men to warn Gruadh and Macbeth that Scottish warships have been sighted off the Moray coast. Duncan has asked... (full context)
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A few days later, Gruadh rediscovers the jet-and-bronze brooch from her childhood. She knows even if “war came to our... (full context)
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Gruadh visits Finn in the blacksmith. She asks him to make her a helmet and hauberk.... (full context)
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...returned to Orkney to gather more troops. However, Thorfin, not Macbeth has sent word to Gruadh. In thanks, she tells Ketill to tell Thorfin she hopes for peace between Moray and... (full context)
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Macbeth returns to Elgin and tells Gruadh to gather her household and move somewhere safer. He tells her Thorfin wants to join... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Gruadh is happy to have Macbeth home for an evening. He has been spending weeks and... (full context)
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That spring Gruadh returns to Elgin. While there, she is happy to hear Thorfin and his army has... (full context)
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Later in the year, Gruadh is upset to hear Lady Sybilla died in childbirth. She remembers her promise to watch... (full context)
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Accompanied by Angus, Aella, and other guards, Gruadh finally goes to meet Enya. Enya greets Gruadh as Queen, which she corrects to Lady,... (full context)
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The two women look into a bowl of water together. Enya predicts Gruadh will have two sons, although they “remain in God’s hands.” Gruadh is not excited by... (full context)
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Gruadh asks Enya about Thorfin’s raven banner. Enya admits she gave it power through spells and... (full context)
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...to fight Thorfin and lose. That summer, Macbeth comes home one evening and he and Gruadh watch the northern lights. Macbeth says they are “celebration for a king and a queen.”... (full context)
Chapter 25 
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...ships to fight Thorfin and continues to lose. Macbeth is often away at war, and Gruadh misses him. Gruadh spends her time embroidering, mostly images of battles, which fascinate young Lulach.... (full context)
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That winter, Macbeth returns and he and Gruadh have sex, but she does not become pregnant. She has become more resigned to their... (full context)
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...enough soldiers. Two weeks later Duncan sends Macbeth another plea. With his messenger comes Drostan, Gruadh’s childhood friend. He has come to collect reports for his monastery and has brought gifts... (full context)
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That evening, Gruadh pours mead for her friends and family. She gives Macbeth one drinking horn and Drostan,... (full context)
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Macbeth convalesces in bed. Bethoc does what she can, but Gruadh realizes she needs Catriona’s expertise. Catriona arrives and begins to care for Macbeth. Weak as... (full context)
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As Macbeth recovers he and Gruadh receive word of Duncan from Ruari. Duncan tried to capture some holy relics but failed,... (full context)
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Early in August Macbeth asks Gruadh to prepare the house for a war council. Mormaers and warriors from across Scotland come... (full context)
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Later that night Macbeth joins Gruadh in their bedroom. He tells her his coconspirators want him to participate in an old... (full context)
Chapter 26 
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...two weeks of planning, Macbeth receives word that Duncan is advancing Elgin with his troops. Gruadh gives Macbeth the blessed pin from Enya. Before he rides to battle. She says a... (full context)
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Macbeth prepares to ride out, and so does Gruadh. She reasons that if Macbeth is willing to die “for the sake of my kin... (full context)
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When Macbeth sees Gruadh he tries to send her back inside, but Gruadh will not budge. She argues her... (full context)
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Just as Gruadh suspected, her presence encourages men to join Macbeth’s army, and she even inspires some women... (full context)
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Eventually, Macbeth, Gruadh, and their army crest a hill and see Duncan and his forces on the other... (full context)
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...the ground, but Macbeth does not kill him; instead he walks away, the clear winner. Gruadh watches her husband kneel and pray before wiping his sword on the ground. (full context)
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...he is no longer king, and before Macbeth is crowned—is one of these special times. Gruadh does her best to nurse the dying king, but there is nothing she can do.... (full context)
Chapter 27 
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...thanks him but turns him down. By noon the day after the battle Macbeth and Gruadh are sailing south along with Duncan’s corpse. Macbeth is quiet and tense and Gruadh senses... (full context)
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...after arriving in Scone, mormaers, thanes, priests, and soldiers meet to elect a new king. Gruadh is not involved in the conversations and prays in her bedchamber until Macbeth finally joins... (full context)
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...and then the mormaers in his land will bring him handfuls of soil as homage. Gruadh joins Macbeth and says a chant for him. She feels “the old spirits watching.” (full context)
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That day, Gruadh and Macbeth participate in the Celtic crowning ceremony. A bishop says prayers, and then leads... (full context)
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In her early days as queen Gruadh first visits Dolina, and then Drostan in his monastery. Gruadh invites him to come and... (full context)
Chapter 28 
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Gruadh and Macbeth move to a new fortress, Kincardine O’Neil. Gruadh briefly returns to Elgin to... (full context)
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Catriona is surprised to see Gruadh, but gracious. As they talk Gruadh begins to warm to her former rival, realizing that... (full context)
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By Christmas, Gruadh is pregnant. For the first time she tries to be careful—and displays a “new devotion... (full context)
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...allowed to live they will grow into warriors who will return and challenge Macbeth’s title. Gruadh thinks of her promise to Lady Sybilla and her own pregnancy. She leaves the room... (full context)
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...argues it is a mistake to let Malcolm mac Duncan come of age and tells Gruadh she has “sealed [her] husband’s fate.” That night in bed Gruadh reflects Una’s prophecy “Beware the... (full context)
Chapter 29 
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...half after Macbeth’s crowning. Thanks to Macbeth, Scotland has enjoyed years of peace, and so Gruadh goes to visit Mother Enya with only a small envoy. (full context)
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Gruadh reflects on past battles—Macbeth killed Crinan six years earlier, and bested the Earl of Siward,... (full context)
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...sack of the earth of Scotland,” so “he would not leave Scotland entirely.” He left Gruadh behind, and she serves as regent—managing trade, land disputes, and even legal judgments. (full context)
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Over the past decade Gruadh gave birth to two sons. The first, Ferchar, died before he turned two. The second,... (full context)
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Gruadh notes Macbeth became more religious after the death of his sons and spent a lot... (full context)
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Over the years, Mother Enya and Gruadh have become friends. First, they talk, and then they look into the water to see... (full context)
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Gruadh and her men rush to the beach. Thorfin and Ketill, come to great them. Angus... (full context)
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Gruadh decides to hear what Thorfin has to say, although she still doesn’t fully trust him... (full context)
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The next morning, Gruadh stands on the cliffs of Moray backed by twelve hundred soldiers, with her son, Lulach,... (full context)
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From her perch Gruadh watches Thorfin’s long ships hide themselves along the shoreline. Gruadh then watches Macbeth’s merchant vessel... (full context)
Chapter 30 
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Eight years have passed. Gruadh wakes from the dreams of a citadel, inside of which is Macbeth. Out of the... (full context)
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Waking up, Gruadh wanders the halls of Elgin. She has been spending her days considering her story, but... (full context)
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Gruadh finds Drostan and a messenger from Malcolm mac Duncan in the great hall. Malcolm has... (full context)
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Gruadh thinks back over the past eight years and recounts the death of her husband, Macbeth,... (full context)
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...mac Duncan declared he was King of Scots, although the priests did not agree, and Gruadh, the crowner, would not crown him. After Macbeth’s defeat he returned to Elgin, where Gruadh... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Gruadh knows that although Macbeth reigned for seventeen years of relative peace and prosperity, he will... (full context)
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Gruadh reflects on how, given more time, Macbeth would have worked to blend Celtic traditions with... (full context)
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Gruadh recalls that in 1054 Lulach married Thorfin’s daughter, Ingebjorg, uniting Moray and Orkney. That spring,... (full context)
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Gruadh, her daughter-in-law, and her grandchildren escaped to Banchorrie. They waited all night and in the... (full context)
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Macbeth explained to Gruadh that if he died before Lulach was made king, Gruadh and all her heirs would... (full context)
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Gruadh remembers feeling dread decades ago when she saw three ravens sitting on a stone. She... (full context)
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Gruadh also acknowledges that she almost singlehandedly saved the lives of Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald... (full context)
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Macbeth made sure Gruadh understood that he wants to die in Scone as “rightful king of Scots,” not up... (full context)
Epilogue
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In 1058, Gruadh is excited to greet Lulach, who has just arrived at Elgin. She is happy to... (full context)
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The family gathers inside. Gruadh is acting regent of Moray for young Nechtan, and he jokingly asks her “how his... (full context)
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Ruari and Lulach tell Gruadh that Macbeth has finally been buried at Iona, as he always wanted to be. (full context)
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Lulach plans to launch an attack on Malcolm mac Duncan’s forces, and wants to move Gruadh to a safer fortress. She refuses, instead she will go live in solitude in a... (full context)