Hi everyone, and welcome to part 3 of the The Broken Kingdoms read-along. I’m the host for this section, covering chapters 11-16, so be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll add it to the blog-hop list 🙂
Spoilers for book 1 are no longer an issue, but there will of course be loads of spoilers for this book, in both the questions and answers.
1. Oree chooses not to reveal Shiny’s identity to Dateh. Did you agree with her decision? What might have happened if she’d chosen otherwise?
I really wanted her to tell Dateh the truth, but I guess that’s because I just wanted him to be devastated by it. He probably wouldn’t have believed her though.
But if he did? Well Oree thought it would be too risky to tell “madmen” something so devastating to their beliefs, and she may be right. What if their belief in Itempas proves to be more important to them than Itempas himself? As Oree says about Itempas, “He was never what we wanted him to be”. Dateh’s beliefs have no room for the real Itempas, who was Nahadoth’s lover and loves him still. He’s committed himself to an insanely dangerous and ambitious plan that he cannot back away from now. He might prefer to kill or imprison Itempas than to acknowledge the truth about him.
Now that they’re out of the New Lights’ clutches though, I’m eager to see what happens if (when?) Dateh learns the truth.
2. Madding’s dead 😦 How do you feel about his death? What do you make of his last words to Oree?
Damn it, I was afraid of this. His relationship with Oree was too good, too comforting. It felt like he was going to die, sacrificed to the needs of the narrative. And his death is so very useful. It cements the reader’s hatred for Dateh. It gives us a chance to see what Dateh does with the gods’ bodies (I’d completely forgotten that Role’s heart was missing). It shows how much Itempas cares about his children.
It also introduces so many complications for Oree. She called Madding. Her blood was used to kill him. I wasn’t her fault, but she’s dangerous in ways she can’t fully control.
It was such a sad and touching scene. Madding doesn’t suddenly fear or revile her – he says he always knew she was special and tells her how much he loves her. I also like that he said “Don’t let him use you […] You’re more than just a weapon.” Presumably he’s speaking about Dateh but I actually thought he was talking about Shiny at first, warning her that Shiny might use her as an excuse to hunt down demons again, and he shouldn’t let her.
3. Itempas has seen what terrible things people do in his name. What do you make of Dateh’s interpretation of Itempan faith? Could this help rehabilitate Itempas or will he simply see the New Lights as a delusional sect?
I loved that bit in the dinner scene where Shiny asks how how killing Itempas’s children can be seen as serving him. Here we have a priest lecturing his god, explaining why god would want them to commit these atrocities, when in fact that god only sees his children being murdered.
But Dateh’s idea of things does make sense in a crazy kind of way. The godlings are chaotic; driving them away restores order. Nahadoth is a god of chaos with a grudge against humanity, so why not kill him? Itempas himself set a precedent for such cruelty in the God’s War. And Dateh actually says they worship Itempas because he’s such a great killer. Which is pretty creepy…
I have no idea how Itempas is going to be changed by this. He might want to lay down stricter laws, perhaps make some kind of bible. “Thou shalt not murder my children and eat their hearts.” But hopefully he’ll realise that the Three were meant to rule together and a faith that will only acknowledge one of them is inherently dysfunctional.
4. After Madding’s death, Oree loses the will to live, except to stop the New Lights. Shiny wants to kill her because she’s a demon. Do you think she’ll survive the events of the novel? Is it safer to wipe out the demons?
Up until the last chapter where Oree’s wounds were attended to, I thought there was a pretty good chance she’d die trying to stop the New Lights. Now, I’m not so sure. She might be willing to sacrifice herself as a kind of response to Madding’s murder, but I hope she doesn’t
On the existence of demons… Yes, they’re a danger to the gods. And more importantly, they can be used by humans as weapons against the gods. So from that perspective it’s understandable that they should be wiped out.
But that’s assuming the gods should not have any threat to their immortality, except for each other, and that they should definitely not have to fear humans. But should the gods be kept sacred in this way? This is a different world and the gods are very powerful beings rather than sacred ones, if that makes sense? Does their power mean they should also have the power not to fear or even care about humanity?
I don’t want anyone – especially people like Dateh – murdering gods. I think the gods are awesome. However, since the gods can very easily kill or harm humans, isn’t it fair for the playing field to be levelled a bit? The gods might be forced to treat humans with more respect. They wouldn’t be quite so intimidating, but I don’t think people would generally go round killing them in the same way that we don’t kill other people just because we can. The world’s societies could become a mix of gods and humans, especially if godlings are allowed to have children with humans again.
Mortality might be a good thing for them too. Earlier in the novel, Oree was recounting a bit of history and said that mortality was considered a gift, something humans had and gods lacked. Demon’s blood is a threat to gods who don’t want to die, but what if one wanted to? If a god got tired of existing, or wanted to live like a human, knowing that death was inevitable? Demon blood could give them that option.
And as Madding said to Oree, she’s more than just a weapon. Just because someone is potentially dangerous – a martial arts expert, for example – doesn’t give us a reason to kill that person. Why should it be different for demons?
5. Itempas shares his feelings about his actions in the God’s War. Have your feelings about him changed at all?
I’ve warmed to him. Not so keen to see him punished as I was before. He’s been more helpful to Oree, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how polite he was to the beggars who helped them.
His account of the God’s War also makes him so much more relatable. He said he loved Enefa. Maybe not in the same way he loves Nahadoth, but he didn’t hate her, which was the impression given in book 1. Deciding to kill Enefa was perhaps a case of him taking his own desire for order too far. Kind of like the New Lights? And like Dateh he chose a path and couldn’t turn back. That would have meant facing up to the wrath of Nahadoth and all the godlings, when it was in his power to subdue them instead. He chose arrogance over humility (no surprise there).
It’s very cowardly, but very human. How often do people try to avoid facing up to the mistakes they’ve made? Or get arrogant and aggressive as a defence? Sometimes it seems easier to live with the consequences of your mistake – even if that means being miserable – rather than admitting you were wrong and setting things right.
6. There’s something odd about Hado. Shiny says to him “You are not quite yourself. […] Something of him lingers.” Oree notes that Hado’s shadow is darker than the non-magical things around him. Could he be more than just a spy, and if so, what?
Perhaps he’s allowed himself to be possessed by a god or godling, to help take down the New Lights. Since his form looks so dark to Oree, maybe it’s a child of Nahadoth, or even Nahadoth himself. Which would be great, because then he knows about Dateh’s plans. However, I’m not sure if Nahadoth would be so willing to work closely with the Arameri after being their slave for 2000 years, so maybe it’s someone else.
– It’s weird that Oree still prays to Itempas, even when he’s standing right next to her. She still thinks of herself as an Itempan (albeit a lapsed one) and of Itempas as her god even though she now knows what he’s really like.
– If Shiny can use magic to defend himself – like he did with the Order-Keepers – how come he hasn’t been able to use it against Dateh and the other New Lights when they kill him?
– I’ve been wondering about the extra limbs Oree sometimes sees on Dateh. Could be the result of eating godling hearts, which he says is the seat of their divine essence when in human form. Perhaps the remainders of the dead godlings are contained within him?
– Can’t Oree or Itempas pray to Nahadoth and tell him about Dateh’s plot that way? Unless Itempas has already done this.
– Yay, so glad we get to see the altered Sky palace! So cool how Oree can now ‘see’ because the walls are made of magical materials.