Hi 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.
– 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?