Mark Reads ‘The Kingdom of Gods’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh struggles with an uncomfortable meeting with someone from his past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.

Chapter Ten

You know what’s rewarding about this series? Historical context matters. Jemisin fills her books with a lot of metaphors, stories, parallels, and themes you could easily find in our world, but this series’s fictional history absolutely matters in informing what happens in the presence. There is nothing that happens in this chapter that isn’t because of what once was. Just in terms of continuity, it’s fulfilling to read. We’re constantly dealing with these tiny (but necessary) callbacks to details from the past two books. I LOVE SERIALIZED NARRATIVES.

But it’s refreshing to know that someone cares about what came before. History is not an unconnected set of actions and events that all exist independent of one another. The arguments and sparring between Ahad and Sieh are evidence of that, as they’re based on the social rules of the Arameri, on the ramifications of the Gods’ War, and on Yeine’s actions at the end of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. That’s why it’s necessary for Jemisin to have those two brief segments in the early parts of this chapter that take us back to Ahad’s “birth,” to provide us with the context we need to understand their behavior. But there’s also a strange irony in that we learn how Ahad came to grow up, right as we’re experiencing Sieh’s slow decline of mortality. It’s like they’re meeting each other in the middle, except that Ahad won’t ever age again.

Yeah, YEINE MADE AHAD A GODLING. OH SHIT. But how much of Ahad’s psyche or behavior is due to what Sieh and the Arameri did to him? I’d say most of it is, and Sieh admits as much:

What he has become is my fault. I have sinned against myself, and there is no redeeming that.

There’s no redemption here, and what transpires ultimately is a truce of sorts. It’s not long before Ahad and Sieh come to blows, though initially, Sieh is easily overpowered. Well, physically that is. While Ahad holds Sieh to his desk, he negotiates with Hymn, WHO IS STILL IN THE ROOM. What a trooper, oh my god. I would have left long before this. But she’s sort of intrigued by all of this; even after getting her money from Ahad, she doesn’t leave. She expresses concern for Sieh’s fate, reasoning that she doesn’t want blood money. So Hymn is a pragmatist, but she’s not without her own morality. She pushes the issue even after Ahad swears he’s not going to kill Sieh, and then WHOOPS:

“I’ll give you back the money. Just let him come with me.”

Ahad’s hand tightened until I saw stars at the edges of my vision. “Don’t,” he said, sounding far too much like my father in that instant, “ever command me.”

That’s why he’s in charge of the Arms of Night, right? He couldn’t ever be underneath someone else’s authority, not after what he went through as the daytime form of Nahadoth. LORD. So yeah, now I get why Ahad freaks out after Sieh fights with him by pulling him into his essence, and then the reverse happens. Well, obviously I didn’t have the full context of this, but going back and reading this again, I noticed that Sieh says, “Let’s see you now” as he enters Ahad. Note that Hymn is still there. SHE NEVER LEFT. Anyway, it’s fascinating to me that Ahad says that he ultimately doesn’t even care about Sieh, as I don’t know that that’s entirely true. He cares about him enough to recognize that Sieh can help him and will probably do so if he asks. Of course, it’s hard to talk about this without being reductive. There’s a complex emotional landscape to these characters and their history with one another, you know?

So I’m interested to see how the hell this is going to work. If the Arms of Night is a “brothel” for DIVINITY (not sex), what role could Sieh play? He’s losing his god powers by the day. And what else in this world has changed since Itempas fell from power? How has the relationship between gods and mortals changed? How does this brothel actually work? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, Y’ALL. And then there’s the shocking revelation that not only is Ahad unable to speak the gods’ language (I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN INNATE POWER???), but he doesn’t know his nature. And it makes sense that this is the case once you think about his rebirth. He was not originally created as a god; Yeine’s words were what made him that way. Seriously, how does this work? How has this book become this? I truly think that this final book of the series is the most mysterious of all, especially since we haven’t really been given a clue as to the overarching theme or story. Yeine’s story was of the inheritance ceremony; Oree was dealing with life with Itempas and trying to find out who was killing gods; and now Sieh is drifting, barely surviving after being made mortal, but without a sign of what the future. Hell, this is the most uncertain novel out of all three of them, and yet, I’m completely taken in my this world. WHERE IS THIS GOING? Oh gods, I need to find out SOON.

Please note that the original text/the videos contain uses of the words “mad,” “crazy,” “insane,” and “whore.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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