The Kingdom of Gods read-along part 1

The Kingdom of GodsHi everyone and welcome to The Kingdom of Gods read-along! Our host for part one is Susan from Dab of Darkness, so head over to her blog to leave your link and blog hop through everyone else’s answers. Feel free to leave your link in my comments as well.

This section covers the Prologue through to the end of chapter 4, and at this early stage there are no major spoilers. However, there are slight spoilers for the previous two books.

And now, on with the Q&A!

1) Do you think the twins’ names Dekarta and Shahar are portentous of who they will grow into?
For Shahar there are already lots of similarities. Itempas gave Shahar a knife; this Shahar got one from Sieh. The first Shahar used the knife to kill her abusive father; this Shahar used it to stab Sieh and save herself and Deka. Itempas was intrigued by Shahar’s behaviour; Sieh admits to finding Shahar’s mad fury attractive. Itempas and Shahar became lovers; it seems Sieh and Shahar will do the same. Like Itempas, Sieh is lonely and vulnerable.

Presumably Sieh and Shahar’s relationship will be a very important, maybe even world-changing (although hopefully not because it starts another God’s War). I hope this Shahar isn’t as insane and manipulative as her ancestor, but I don’t think Jemisin would write it so simplistically. She’s not a reincarnation. However, Sieh’s knowledge of what happened between Shahar and Itempas may make him wary of this Shahar’s influence. Also, Shahar’s relationship with her mother makes it clear that she’s got her own agenda.

I don’t think the parallel with Itempas will be lost on Sieh. Itempas ‘lost’ Nahadoth to Enefa, and in the prologue Sieh describes losing Yeine to Nahadoth (at least as a sexual partner). Like Itempas, he feels horribly alone. I hope this parallel  will be a good thing, and he’ll start to empathise with his father more.

With Dekarta, I’m not sure, but I doubt his naming is random. I suppose he might have the same love/hate relationship with Shahar that his predecessor had with Kinneth. Like Dekarta, he might also want to take revenge on a family member.

There’s another parallel as well – the last set of twins we encountered was Scimina and Relad. I wonder if there’s any importance in that?

 

2) Yeine and Itempas. Too early? Or will Yeine be the bridge that puts everyone back together?
I was quite surprised by this, and not entirely sure how I feel about it, but it doesn’t seem to be too early. Even Nahadoth isn’t bothered by it. In fact he admits to desiring Itempas and says he no longer wants him to be an enemy. Sieh is infuriated, but later feels bad for wanting to deny them their intimacy even though it hurts him. The ultimate goal is for the Three to be together again, so it seems good rather than bad.

 

3) Sieh seems to have some need, or at least an attraction, to be in Sky Palace. Healthy or unhealthy?
In itself, I’m not sure if visiting Sky is healthy or unhealthy, but I do think it’s a symptom of the fact that there’s something wrong with Sieh. I think, in a way, he misses being part of the Enefadeh. Not because he misses being enslaved, but he misses the tight family group he lived in, and misses being essential to Nahadoth. They’re all free now but Nahadoth has Yeine and might even become Itempas’s lover again, leaving Sieh alone and angry. So it makes sense that he’d return to Sky, about which he has similarly conflicting feelings – it was kind of like a torture chamber, but, as he states, it was also the only place in the mortal realm he’s ever called home. He might have gone there to wallow in his own unhappiness, or it might help him work through his emotional problems somehow.

 

4) In just this beginning section, we see more than just physical changes in Sieh. What do you think is happening to him, and more importantly why?
Something to do with the Maelstrom, but I have no idea what. And presumably something triggered by Sieh mixing his god’s blood with Arameri blood, or simply by making a blood oath with humans.

I assume Oree’s child will have some role to play in this story, which makes me wonder if her son or grandson is the twins’ father. If they were demons their blood would probably have killed Sieh, in which case Oree’s child might be something other than a demon. After all, Itempas was a god in mortal form. So perhaps the child’s blood could make a god mortal rather than simply killing him? But’s that’s total speculation.

 

5) Shahar is quite angry with her mother and has been for some time. Justified? How do you think their relationship will shape this story?
At the moment, her anger does seem a tad unfair (which is true of most teenagers). Her mother sent her brother away, but that’s infinitely better than pitting them against each other like Dekarta did with Scimina and Relad. Perhaps Remath made a tough but kind decision and her daughter cannot appreciate that. However, I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know yet.

On the other hand, Remath seems ruthless in her willingness to use Shahar as a pawn by making her Sieh’s servant. She clearly not a very nice person. And although it wasn’t stated explicitly, I got the impression that Remath not only wants Shahar to be Sieh’s companion, but to have his baby. That would give them another demon and Sieh’s favour. Imagine – a demon at the head of the Arameri family!

The Arameri full-bloods seem to make for very cruel parents in general as well, and given that the whole family has a long history of killing each other, and based on that it’s not surprising that Shahar has reason to hate her mother, and would react by killing her. Not sure how it will shape the story, but there is the possibility that she’ll use Sieh to get what she wants.

 

6) Why do you think Shahar’s letters to her brother return unopened?
Perhaps the letters never get to Deka. They could be intercepted by his instructors or even his mother, who doesn’t want the twins communicating for some reason.

There might also be something we don’t know yet that led Deka to avoid communicating with his sister. Perhaps he blames her for being sent away? I don’t really have any theories.

 

Other

– The gendering of the gods is interesting – Nahadoth taking female form to comfort Sieh, and later taking Sieh into his womb. Sieh choosing a male form to be among humans because there are fewer restrictions imposed on boys. Itempas was male from the start and stayed that way, which according to Sieh is because is so unchanging and arrogant. I like that their gender is fluid, although there’s also some essentialism to it – female as nurturing, male as arrogant.

– I love Sieh’s sun 🙂

– Where is Itempas?! Don’t Yeine and Nahadoth worry that his disappearance is related to what happened to Sieh?

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7 thoughts on “The Kingdom of Gods read-along part 1

  1. I like your comparison of Shahar and historical-Shahar. I hope she doesn’t end up like historical-Shahar. I loved En, too! I hope he makes it through all right as a necklace. I thought the fluidity of the gods gender was interesting, too, but I guess there is that annoying bit of essentialism in there. I think I read it more as ‘Nahadoth became female because Sieh wanted to be comforted by a female’, rather than ‘Nahadoth became female because females are more nurturing’.

    Spoilers from information of the last 2 books below:

    Also, I was wondering about what exactly happened when they made their friendship pact, but had kind of put that curiosity on the backburner. It did happen when Sieh’s blood came into contact with the twins’ blood, though, so them having Oree’s child as a grandfather is an interesting idea. They did remark that “one drop of mortal blood is death” or something like that, and also that Oree’s blood had to be condensed to be able to kill a god. Maybe just a drop of part-demon blood would cause mortality, while the condensed form kills outright?

    • I don’t think Shahar will end up quite like her historical counterpart. That seems too simplistic. However, I do think the comparison between the two will influence the characters.

      That’s a better way of reading the female gender thing. And it makes sense, given how childlike Sieh is, and his attachment to Enefa and Yeine.

      Hmm, yes, that’s possible. I don’t think there was an instance where we saw what only one drop of demon blood would do to a god. But if Oree’s child (or grandchild) is the twins’ father, then the demon blood would be much more concentrated. Oree’s had been diluted by the thousands of years between her and her demon ancestor. The twins would only be one or two generations apart.

      I wonder if Sieh would agree to become mortal. Would be fitting, I guess, given that Yeine became an immortal god in the first book.

      • About the blood, I suppose it’s true that it would be much more concentrated than Oree’s. I don’t really know how much godling a demon needs in them to be instantly lethal, or what would happen with a non-instantly-lethal dose.

  2. Good point about a possible parallel between Relad & Scimina and Deka & Shahar. I had not thought of that and now I wonder if the story will draw a parallel between the two sets of twins.

    While Nahadoth may be OK with Yeine taking Itempas for a test ride, he is still angry enough to not agree to Itempas being reinstated so that he can heal Sieh. I am not so sure Nahadoth is ready to let go of his anger.

    Wow! It had not even occurred to me that Oree’s child may be a blood relative to the twins and that mixing their blood with Sieh may have caused all this change in him. Fascinating possibility!

    I also like that the gods (most of them) can be fluid in their gender. If they can do all this other stuff, why not that? So glad Jemisin gave them that power, and inclination, as it makes for such an interesting bit or world building.

    • Hopefully incest isn’t the parallel. Those Arameri…

      I love the fluid gender thing. Why would you stick to gender boundaries if you don’t have to? Why would you want to if you’re a god and gender is a physical and cultural thing that applies to humans but not to you? It’s something I’d like to play around with if I could. In Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels, for example, I like the way the Culture’s inhabitants change sex just to see what it’s like, to swap gender roles in a relationship, to see what it’s like being pregnant, etc.

      • Yes, I like the fluid gender aspect of being a god. I too would play around with it if I could. Maybe in the near future we could have jacks in our heads that let us do the full 5 senses experience of movies. Then maybe it would be possible to experience another gender, among many other things.

  3. Good point about Sieh missing the close family group he and the other gods became while they were enslaved. Ever since, they’ve drifted apart, and I don’t think that Sieh feels the same camaraderie with the other gods/godlings. Of course, I’m not sure that it would occur to him to reach out and ask for friendship from them; he seems very childlike in that he’s jealous of his parents’ relationship and their new roles, and he wants the same attention that he used to have. Since he’s been incapable of growing up and maturing in the past, it makes him harder to placate, and he hasn’t really found a place of his own within the new order of the gods’ society.

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