MICHELLE MORAN has a degree in English literature. She lives in
California with her husband and cat, Anubis.
1. Thousands of years after the Pharaohs ruled Egypt, this
ancient civilization continues to fascinate the world. Were you
drawn to Nefertiti by an interest in Egyptology? What
aspects of Egyptian life are of interest to you?
2. History remembers Nefertiti as a great beauty. What other
aspects of her personality are highlighted in Nefertiti?
How does she use her stunning good looks to her advantage? How do
they hurt her? Have you ever known a woman like Nefertiti? Overall,
is this a positive portrayal of her as a queen? As a sister?
3. Is Mutnodjmet jealous of her sister? Is Nefertiti jealous of
Mutny? How are the sisters different? What makes two people who are
raised together turn out so differently? What do they have in
4. Nefertiti knows she must convince Amunhotep that she is more
than his mother's choice of bride. How does she do it? How does
Kiya attempt to keep him? How do their powerful fathers make the
rivalry between these two women worse?
5. How are Nefertiti and Kiya alike? What is the nature of the
Pharaoh's relationship with each? If you put his ambitions aside,
which of them do you think Amunhotep loved more? Why does Nefertiti
try so hard to outshine Kiya at every turn? Are her reasons
personal or political?
6. What is your impression of Amunhotep? Do you think he was
responsible for the death of his older brother? His father? Is he a
tragic figure in Nefertiti or a villain?
7. General Nakhtmin is taken by Mutnodjmet from their first
meeting, while she pretends to be uninterested in him. Why? What is
the attraction between them? Why does Mutny deny it? What finally
convinces her to admit her love for him?
8. Do you think Nefertiti's father, Vizier Ay, was a wise man or
was he a slave to his ambitions just as his daughter was? Do you
think he asks for an unfair level of loyalty from Mutnodjmet? Does
she disappoint him?
9. When the Elder dies, Amunhotep becomes Pharaoh of both Upper
and Lower Egypt, meaning he is free to do as he wishes. Nefertiti
is entitled to the dowager queen's crown but doesn't take it. What
does she do instead? Why doesn't Nefertiti demand this symbol of
all she has worked to attain?
10. Why do Nefertiti and Amunhotep oppose Mutnodjmet's marriage
to the general? When Mutny lost her baby, did you think Nefertiti
was to blame? How would a child of Nakhtmin and Mutnodjmet be a
threat to the Pharaoh?
11. What effect does the intrigue, politics, and positioning of
court life have on Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet's relationship? What
makes the sisters close? Would you say they are bound by love or
obligation? Why does Nefertiti want to keep Mutny so close?
12. Unwilling to call on the army, Amunhotep makes a treaty with
the Hittites. What is the result of this treaty? Why is Amunhotep
so afraid of the army?
13. Desperate for a son, Nefertiti asks Mutnodjmet to take her
to visit a shrine to Tawaret, the hippo goddess of birth. What does
the fact that Nefertiti calls on the old gods in times of trouble
say about her belief in Aten? Why does she ask her sister to pray
for her? Considering how powerful the Egyptians considered their
gods, do you think Nefertiti had any concerns about denying the
gods to advance herself and her family?
14. Why does Nefertiti banish Mutnodjmet?
15. What does Mutnodjmet learn about herself when Ipu marries
and takes a long journey away? How does this help her resolve any
anger toward Nefertiti?
16. Nefertiti tells the Pharaoh that she dreamed the scheming
Panahesi would be High Priest of Aten to get him out of her own
father's way. On page 386, Panahesi tries to use the same ruse to
assure his grandson the throne. Is it a success?
17. How does declaring Nefertiti co-regent change Amunhotep's
position? What does this mean for Nefertiti? For her daughters and
family? Is this the ultimate victory it appears to be?
18. When the plague comes to Amarna (page 404), Mutnodjmet
decides to stay instead of leaving for the safety of Thebes. Why?
What would you have done in her position?
19. What happens to Amunhotep? Do you think he deserved this
fate? Does Nefertiti deserve what happens to her?