The Kingdom of Gods read-along part 2

The Kingdom of Gods

Hi everyone, it’sΒ The Kingdom of Gods read-along part 2! This section covers chapters 5-10, so there will of course be spoilers up to that point. I’m your host for this week, so be sure to leave your link in the comments. And without further ado, lets get to the Q&A.

1. Do you think Shahar can keep her childhood promise and be a good person and an Arameri?
Based on what Sieh said, it seems unlikely – eventually her family will defeat her. She already made the mistake of participating in her mother’s schemes by seducing Sieh. She very badly wants her mother and brother’s love, and that could easily get in the way of her noble goals for the Arameri. However, there is some hope in the fact that the Arameri have changed so much over the past few decades; maybe they no longer have the power to corrupt her. And based on her name, I expect that Shahar will somehow be a world-changing character.

I also wonder what effect the last set of events at Sky will have on Shahar. She agreed to seduce Sieh in the hope of getting her brother back, and perhaps winning her mother’s approval. She knew she’d lose Sieh’s friendship in the process. When she learned that having a child would kill Sieh, she revealed the plan, which led to Sieh slaughtering a whole bunch of family members. How might Shahar interpret this? Does she see herself as a vulnerable child caught between her mother’s scheming and Sieh’s murderous nature? Or does she blame herself for betraying a friend and causing the deaths of some of her family members? I’m keen to get back to Sky palace and see how Shahar has changed.

2. The Arameri family has changed drastically and now we learn they’re being systematically killed off. Do you like the changes? Do you feel sorry for the family or are they getting what they deserve?
I like most of the changes, even though the Arameri must have been very reluctant to change. Nevertheless, I things have improved – they’re more racially diverse, and more tolerant of religious differences. They have non-Amn employees in high ranks, and the Head Scrivener is (was) a primortalist.

On the downside, we now have the Arameri going to desperate measures, like trying to have demon children and breeding incestuously to avoid ‘polluting’ the bloodline.

I think they’re getting what they deserve though. The possibility that their deaths might start another Gods’ War if a godling is responsible is, of course, a major problem, but I don’t think the Arameri deaths themselves are all that tragic. I feel a bit sorry for Shahar who seems unnerved by the prospect of her family disappearing, but for the most part the Arameri don’t even seem upset about the idea of losing family. It’s the fact that they’re losing power that’s their problem. At this point, I think the only reason they should retain power is to help keep the peace. If they can’t, or if that’s no longer necessary, then screw ’em. The Arameri have been responsible for centuries of oppression; it’s about time their reign ended.

3. Any theories on the antagonist that Sieh meets in his dream?
I think it’s Sieh’s son. He’s clearly a godling, but he says he’s not one of Sieh’s brothers. Although he’s very cold and angry, there’s a moment when he touches Sieh’s hair with something like affection.

Sieh obviously doesn’t know about a son, and I think he’s been forced to forget about this mystery figure, whoever it might be (the word “forget” keeps popping up when Sieh come close to the issue). A son could explain Sieh’s condition. As he told Shahar, having a child would kill him because childhood can’t survive it. Given that Sieh is dying but not dead, perhaps forgetting about the child was necessary for his survival; it still had a great affect on him, but as long as he doesn’t actually know about it he remains alive.

I think that would be quite an interesting scenario – the father who can’t be a father. Sieh would be an even worse father than Itempas because it’s antithetical to his being. Having a child automatically becomes an oftence against that child, hence the vengeance. If this is the case, I’m hoping that Sieh’s son’s plan to kill him is actually a way of changing Sieh – killing the god of childhood to make him into something that can accept fatherhood. Sieh’s suffering means that vengeance is – conveniently – part of the package. And if Sieh can be transformed, then maybe his son can have the father he wants.

If Sieh does have a son, I wonder who the other parent is? God or godling? Is the son an elontid or an mnasat? If he’s an elontid, is Itempas the father? Does that explain why he’s disappeared?

(Having done all this speculation I hope I’m right about some of it at least!)

4. Religious belief in the city and the palace has changed a lot, as have humans’ relationships with the gods. Thoughts? What might your beliefs be if you lived in Sky/Shadow?
I like that heresy has become trendy πŸ™‚ Shows how far the world has come from the Itempas-or-death approach during the Interdiction. I also like the idea that most gods don’t want to be worshipped. As Ahad argues, it’s a transaction – the worshippers expect the god to give them something in return. At least The Arms of Night is more honest about that relationship. And why should gods want that just because they’re gods? Our standard understanding of gods is that they expect humans to worship them, but I Jemisin makes us question that assumption. Why would the gods expect to be worshipped just because they’re powerful? For Nahadoth, Itempas, and Enefa/Yeine it makes more sense because they created the world. But for the godlings? Some of them probably are vain enough to want worship, but most of them probably just aren’t interested.

I’d most likely be a primortalist since I’m not inclined to religious worship, but the gods still intrigue me. And I haven’t forgotten the great relationship Oree and Maddiing had. I have to admit, I’d probably want to check out The Arms of Night πŸ™‚ It’d also be cool to just learn about the gods.

5. Sieh’s much more than the charming boy god we saw in book 1. How do you feel about his character at the moment?
It’s been suggested by at least one character that the version of Sieh we saw in book 1 was partly an act he put on for Yeine. I’m inclined to agree. Most of the time he takes childhood to dangerous extremes. The story started with Sieh’s jealousy and anguish about being excluded from his parents’ relationships. He played some scary games with the young twins. He kills people impulsively, and I thought his massacre at Sky Palace was impressive, but over the top. Especially since he killed the scrivener Shevir, who was quite nice. Sieh’s so self-absorbed that he never bothered to understand the choices his siblings made during the Gods’ War; he just wrote them off and he was powerful enough not to care what they thought of him. He’s also terribly hierarchical. He felt justified in killing the mnasat because “they were so foolish as to interfere in the concerns of their betters”.

I was also shocked when Sieh suggested to Ahad that gods shouldn’t have to pay for sex with humans, because all they needed to do was point to a mortal and take what they wanted. Sieh was raped repeatedly by the Arameri for two thousand years, but he doesn’t bat an eyelid at the idea of gods raping humans. His contempt for mortals and his sense of superiority is frightening.

His behaviour suits his nature as the god of childhood, but it also makes him seriously dysfunctional and – for me – increasingly unlikeable. He’s been through a lot, and he’s still struggling with some of his feelings, but he lacks the maturity to cope. It also seems unlikely that childhood could survive the experience of being an Arameri slave for two thousand years, so maybe Sieh has been a broken god for a long time.

6. Should Sieh work for Ahad?
While I hate the idea of Sieh being a whore again, I think he needs to spend time with humans and godlings. He’s so contemptuous of humans, which is no surprise given that most of his experiences with humans are based on his time as an Arameri slave. And he doesn’t seem to have many godling friends. He just wants to be with Yeine and Nahadoth, like a clingy child.

Ahad’s business doesn’t seem that bad either. It’s consensual and mutually beneficial. And I get the impression that it offers more than just sex, so maybe Sieh could provide some other kind of service?

Other
Β – Those Arameri and their incestuous ways… What will Shahar and Deka make of it? Interesting that they can do in vitro fertilisation though.

– Wow, En can be pretty badass…

Links
Dab of Darkness
Books Without Any Pictures
Book Bound
Tethyan Books
All I Am, a Redhead

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12 thoughts on “The Kingdom of Gods read-along part 2

  1. I think that Shahar betraying Sieh might actually be good for her. It’ll give her a chance to feel some good old fashioned guilt and remorse after screwing up. She can make mistakes and learn from them, and emerge a better person than she was before.

    I like your theory on Sieh having a son. It would explain the changes in him. I wonder though how it would have come to be; as Sieh did explain that Enefa had prepared for the possibility and made him infertile. It might not be a physical one, but more of a metaphorical one born from his own needs or desires. Kinda like the Greek gods, actually.

    • That’s true. Betraying Sieh will give Shahar a strong sense of responsibility, given that her choices had such disastrous consequences.

      If Sieh does have a child, I doubt it happened in any normal kind of way. It might just be metaphorical, as you say, which is why I was wondering if the ‘son’ might be Ahad.

  2. 1. Being a good person is relative. I think Shahar’s already shown that she’s *different,* and I hope she stays that way, but I don’t think it matters really whether those differences make her a good person or a bad.

    2. The Arameri are awful. So awful. Part of me can’t believe that they’ve managed to hold on to power for so long after the enslaved gods escaped, I thought that world changing event would completely destroy them, but I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go. Good riddance.

    3. I like your theory for this one. I had believed it was Itempas (since it was a dream space and he can’t really go to the Gods’ Realm anymore, either), but I’m not certain he really cares enough about Sieh either way to expend that kind of energy.

    5. The worse Sieh gets, the more I love him. Being a god, his brain just seems to work in a fundamentally different way than a human’s, and I understand his rage, and I understand his logic even when it doesn’t seem all that logical. I don’t know. I like em dark and twisted, I guess. That, to me, is the most fascinating kind of mind to be privy to.

    • 2. I’m surprised they lasted so long too. I suppose it helped that Yeine wanted them to stay around for a while as a peacekeeping force, and they managed to keep the loss of the Enefadeh a secret.

      3. I think Itempas must be involved somehow. Surely his disappearance isn’t a co-incidence? I hadn’t considered the possibility that it might be Itempas, but I can’t think why he’d want to kill Sieh. And if there is a reason, then Sieh’s enslavement should cancel it out.

      5. I like them dark and twisted too, although that often means I don’t like them πŸ™‚ I find Sieh interesting but scary and in need of serious reform. I’m glad we got a godling as a narrator this time, to get a better understanding of such a strange and – in this case – dysfunctional mind.

  3. I like your idea on Sieh’s enemy. I’d have to look it up again, but I think Sieh was the one who first mentioned vengeance. I think the dream figure said something about killing Sieh because it was part of his nature, which would make perfect sense if he was Sieh’s son. Also, it makes sense that he would go along with the idea that he’s some sort of vengeance godling, since pointing out that he’s Sieh’s son might just kill Sieh then and there. Of course, it could also be a vengeance thing.

    I guess Sieh is in the tough position that he seriously needs to mature a bit to deal with his personal issues, and that would probably kill him. I suspect he might have been a kinder child before Enefa’s death.

    • That’s a good point – Sieh mentioned vengeance but it wasn’t confirmed. His nature might be something else that just sort of coincides with vengeance at the moment.

      Yes, Sieh might have been completely different a few thousand years ago. His mother’s death and two thousand years of slavery must surely have taken his toll. Now he’s more like an abused child.

  4. http://schreibenundwriting.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/read-along-kingdom-of-the-gods-week-2/#more-491

    3. Wow I really like your idea! I wouldn’t have thought it would be his son, how do you think that even happens? Though if you think of it, his whole interaction with Yeine kind of hints at it a bit…
    4.Yes! Arms of Night would be a perfect idea
    5. I wonder if Sieh isn’t just the sort of god who maybe is so contemptuous of humans that he doesn’t know what he says. Because he is so fond of Shahar and Deka, that how could he have such a different idea of what is good and bad with just a few exceptions

    • 3. Thanks! I have no idea how it might have happened though. If anything it was something totally unexpected and unique.

      5. Yes, Sieh definitely needs to spend some time with humans and pick up a few social skills!

  5. Great observations about Shahar. I too wonder if she will blame herself for the ones Sieh killed….or she might not because she was raised to be distant to nearly everyone and I expect some of those family members made fun of or accused her brother of wreaking Sieh’s wrath when they were little – and we know she’s attached to her brother.

    Ooo! I like your idea that the mystery death dealer is Sieh’s son. But a son by who? Who has he bedded within the year prior to him starting to age? And if that is the case, was the childhood game of swearing friendship in blood what triggered him aging? I keep linking the two in my head…but what if they aren’t?

    So true. The Arms of Night are at least honest about the transaction between the ‘worshipper’ and the god/godling. And, yes, I would also want to check it out, even if it was just for tea and people watching…..but I wouldn’t be averse to something more if it intrigued me.

    Yes, such a good point. Can the god of childhood still hold that title after being a slave in every way from kitchen to pig pen to bed warmer? Sieh does appear to be broken. And this may well feed into your other theory about his son. Perhaps someone, like Yeine, decided that Sieh needed to be whole and if he couldn’t be whole, then he needed to be be god of something else, or maybe even no god.

    Perhaps Ahad could now open a an hourly daycare with Sieh keeping the children entertained while the adults find their own kind of entertainment?

    Sorry I am visiting so late this week. It is irrigation ditch cleaning week on the farm and someone has been going to be pretty darn early as a result.

    • I think Shahar might have a kind of messed approach to those dead family members. She probably doesn’t care about many of them personally, but at the same time might be anguished over getting them killed because she’s trying to be a good person. And she seemed quite worried by the prospect of the Arameri dying out.

      Now that I’ve read the next section I’m pretty sure who the other parent is πŸ™‚ Still wondering what happened with that blood oath though…

      Sieh definitely seems to have reached a point where he cannot go on as before. The person forcing him to change seems really dangerous though…

      Lol, I wouldn’t trust Sieh with children! He might be the god of childhood, but I don’t think he’d take care of children the way adults would want them to be cared for. He’d make up some great games, I’m sure, but he’d also indulge their worst (or most irritating) tendencies. Imagine Calvin and Hobbes met Sieh and went out to play…

      Oh, I didn’t know you lived on a farm! What kind of farm is it?

  6. Pingback: The Kingdom of the Gods Readalong, Week 3 Books Without Any Pictures

  7. Pingback: The Kingdom of the Gods Readalong, Week 4 Books Without Any Pictures

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