In the eleventh chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, WHAT THE FUCK!!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.
I wanted my questions answered and THIS IS NOT HOW I EXPECTED THIS TO GO.
- JESUS CHRIST, I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THIS BOOK IS HEADED EVEN THOUGH I NOW KNOW WHAT IS AT STAKE
- HOW DOES N.K. JEMISIN KEEP DOING THIS TO ME?
- So, did the opening of this chapter remind anyone of the initial time Oree spent in the House of the Risen Sun? That’s where my mind went.
- I also admit to being slightly amused by Sieh waking up with a hangover. It’s been like 12 years since I had one, which doesn’t compare to Sieh, but still. Not a fun feeling!
- HISTORY. HISTORY. Everything I wrote for the last two reviews actually ended up being fairly spot on, as Sieh’s conversation with Egan is entirely based on their shared history, both before the Gods’ War and after it. Their anger is based on a mutual disgust for what the other one did during that war and the time after it, but Sieh, like he did in the last chapter, has a very visceral and surprising reaction to the ire that rises in him: he lets it go. This is something that’s unique to mortals, as we’ve seen time and time again that the gods can hold grudges that last for CENTURIES. Lord, wasn’t the last book specifically about that? Itempas was not a god of change, even when he needed to change to adapt to his new world. However, Sieh doesn’t have the luxury of time anymore. What’s the point of holding onto that grudge at this point? And it’s so fascinating because everything about this conversation is just so new. GODLINGS APOLOGIZING TO ONE ANOTHER. UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER. OFFERING COMFORT AND PLEASURE TO ONE ANOTHER. And it’s all tempered by the end of this chapter, too. What if the gods can change? What if it’s not necessary to wipe them out?
- That’s an optimistic outlook, though, and I acknowledge that. It’s highly unlikely, you know?
- Anyway, Sieh meets with Ahad and a newcomer, Glee, who is part of some unnamed consortium of humans who “owns and supports the Arms of Night.” Initially, she’s there to determine whether or not it’ll be worth it to keep Sieh in the event that he might “jeopardize the investment she and her partners have already made.”
- But then it veers wildly into territory that I WAS NOT READY TO EXPLORE.
- Like the moment where Glee definitely states she knows what the masks are that are killing Arameri.
- I love the idea that the Mencheyev and Darren peoples kept this ceremony in their cultural memory for years by practicing it in secret. “It” being the ceremony that imbues a mask with the essence of a god, and it explains why the masks kill people in varying ways. As far as I could tell, the masks are all unlike another one. Individualized murder machines!
- So, it seemed to make sense that they’d send a trickster god to go cause some mischief in Darr, but Ahad and Glee have one hell of a surprise up their sleeve: They want Sieh to go broker a peace deal with Usein Darr, not kill her. The whole thing is so surreal, not just because they want peace instead of war. But it fits the themes we’ve been seeing. Anyway, they give Sieh virtually no preparation or leverage whatsoever. Nope, Ahad just transports him there seconds after their conversation is over. YEAH, WHAT THE HELL.
- Arrebaia, the capital, is not what it used to be, which Sieh finds out rather quickly after a little boy angrily corrects his assumption about the main temple, Sar-enna-nem, being the home of a single god. It’s home to all of them, which is VERY VERY NEW. Just like the city of Sky and Shadow, the cultural climate of the rest of the world has been changing ever since Itempas fell from power, though no one really knows what actually happened.
- Sieh is directed to the Raringa to find Usein Darr for his test, which, at this point, still had no direction at all. I mean, I should have known because of this that it would be nothing but surprises, but honestly, what could I have expected from this? Sieh was in a foreign country and was about to ask their future leader to make some sort of deal with him so that they wouldn’t end the world. The whole thing is preposterous!
- It wasn’t surprising that Usein-ennu was so fierce and quick to protect herself and Darre. Knowing Yeine, this was expected. And really, I figured that Sieh couldn’t exactly lie about who he was or what he was doing there, as it wouldn’t help his negotiations if he was openly trying to deceive this woman. BUT Y’ALL:
- “I’m a godling, sent by an organization of godlings based in Shadow. We think you might be trying to destroy the world. Could you, perhaps, stop?”
- THAT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE LINES IN THIS WHOLE TRILOGY. BLESS.
- And then it’s just one sequence after another that simply blew my mind. SHE TAKES SIEH TO SAR-ENNA-NEM TO LOOK UPON A STATUE OF HIMSELF. That boy wasn’t kidding; all the gods were welcome there. Though I did love the physical effect this had on Sieh, as it meant that this place really was dedicated to the gods. But I didn’t pick up on one small detail that was a hint of what Usein was planning: This place celebrated a time before the Gods’ War.
- OH GOD, IT WAS RIGHT THERE.
- Like Sieh’s interaction with Egan earlier in this chapter, the long and painful history since the Gods’ War informs what Usein and Sieh discuss: how the Arameri have too much power; how the world prior to the War was one with more “freedom,” and then Usein is asking if Sieh created the Walking Death? DID HE? THAT’S PRETTY MUCH CONFIRMED, ISN’T IT??? !!!!!!!!!!
- And seriously, that whole section about the Arameri’s power is so CRITICAL for understanding of this cultural dynamic that’s been a part of this series since the beginning. It’s not just that the Arameri are in control; it’s that they “denigrate everyone else.” As Usein says, “All civilization, every bit of it, is made to keep the Arameri strong.”
- So they want to start fresh.
- SHE WANTS TO WIPE THEM ALL OUT. EVERY ARAMERI AND EVERYTHING THEY’VE BUILT.
- Like Sieh, I kind of just thought, “Well, that’s not really a bad idea.”
- However, he also reminds her of the complete historical context: the Gods’ War was due to the bickering of the gods prior to the war. The gods are as much responsible for this tragedy as the humans who took it up as their mantle.
- So yeah, when Sieh asks her how fresh of a start she wants, she decides to show him exactly what they’re going to do. WHICH IS BRAVE AS FUCK, Y’ALL. That’s intimidating! She doesn’t care that Sieh knows!
- MASKS. EVERYWHERE. MASKS ON MASKS ON MASKS. Jesus, there’s a mask for Childhood. That means they made it in his archetype, right??? What exactly does that mask do?
- And before Usein can reveal too much, Jemisin does The Thing. She RUINS ME by not only showing exactly what sort of capacity for destruction that Usein possesses, but she reveals the identity of the godling who visited Sieh and afflicted him with mortality: Kahl. But we don’t know his essence or nature, and we don’t know the motivation for all this. Instead, we know exactly how far Kahl is willing to go in this war. Y’all, Usein is terrified of this godling and what he’s done to “use” the people of Darr, and I didn’t understand any of this, and IT WAS REALLY SCARY, AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT USEIN WAS GOING TO PULL OUT OF THAT HIDDEN COMPARTMENT BUT NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS WOULD I HAVE EXPECTED A MASK THAT IS THE ARCHETYPE OF THE MAELSTROM. IT WILL BEAR GODHOOD ONTO WHOMEVER WEARS IT.
- Oh, except for the first mortal who tested it out and BURNED FROM THE FUCKING INSIDE OUT OVER THE COURSE OF THREE DAYS
- THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THIS THAT’S NOT WRONG.
- “Enefa is dead, Sieh.” His voice was soft now. “Not all her works vanished with her, but some did. I remembered. You will, too, eventually.”
- WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? There’s been this pervasive theme of forgetting lately, and I don’t get it. It happened before when Sieh tried to view Ahad’s purpose, remember? OH GOD, WHAT AM I MISSING?
- “In the meantime, a word of advice, Sieh: find Itempas. Only his power can save you; you know this. Find him, and live for as long as you can.” When he pushed himself upright, his teeth were a carnivore’s, needle-sharp. “Then if you must die, die like a god. At my hands, in battle.”
- I AM SO LOST, AND I KNOW IT’S BY DESIGN. UNFAIR.
- Holy shit, I can’t even believe how many times the narrative in this book has shifted from one thing to another. What an experience.
The original text and the videos contain uses of the words “crazy,” “mad,” and “insane.”
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