In the fourteenth chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh is continually forced to examine his mistakes and flaws. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.
I think one of the more compelling aspects of this final book in the Inheritance Trilogy is the fact that amidst what is essentially a looming apocalypse, N.K. Jemisin has chosen to take the main character on a surprisingly introspective journey. Sieh – and, in turn, the gods and goldings themselves – is forced to think about the choices he’s made in life and what the ramifications of them are. Amidst this, I can’t ignore that Jemisin is describing a kind of existence that I otherwise couldn’t fathom. The gods do not live and think as we do, and there’s a scene at the end of this that exemplifies it quite well. So where does that leave Sieh, who has lost almost all of what makes him a god and not a mortal?
There’s a peace and calm, then, in how chapter fourteen opens: Sieh enjoys playing in the sand dunes near the Repentance Sea with one of his siblings from long ago, Spider. I actually thought this was a dream because Sieh’s infectious joy was so genuine. Seriously, that’s how much I’m expecting this all to be an emotional nightmare. I BECOME SUSPICIOUS OF ANY HAPPINESS. Anyway, it’s not long until Sieh’s real purpose in being there is brought to the surface, and we’re back to everything being relentlessly uncomfortable. I don’t doubt that Sieh wanted to see Spider again, but it was clear that he needed to know more about Kahl, and Spider would be able to “see” the past better than any of his other siblings. (I suppose now it seems kind of obvious that Spider’s nature is time or has to do with time?)
What she reveals is…convoluted. I mean, that’s an understatement, since most of what she says sounds like nonsense. “The Darre’s new ennu…is the kindling,” she says, speaking of a fire that’s been lit. Okay, so… we kind of already knew that? But then she talks about a seashell that “floats on green wood and shining white bones. Inside is betrayal, love, years, and more betrayal.” OKAY, I DON’T UNDERSTAND. This is made even worse when Spider is the next person to confirm that Sieh has forgotten. What can’t he remember? What mistake of his is coming back to haunt him? AND WHAT IS THE THING WHISPERING TO HIM THAT “CONSIDERS HIM”? No, that sounds so terribly creepy!
But she does urge him to see Itempas. Okay, that’s the second time that Sieh’s been told that Itempas might be able to help him. But, since we’re talking about Sieh here, he doesn’t go to his father. Instead, he loses himself in work for Ahad, playing tricks on his fellow godlings along the way, and – surprisingly – getting bored. So, it’s not hard to see why he reacts poorly when he learns from Ahad that Shahar is finally getting married. Obviously, there are emotional reasons for his behavior, but he’s also not able to keep himself distracted from the news, since Ahad doesn’t always keep him busy. In a sense, his behavior in the Teman bar is both childish and horribly adult. His tantrum contains both the makings of a child throwing a fit and an entitled young man being furious that someone he loves is with someone else. The whole thing is incredibly reckless, and in that sense, Sieh acts like a god. He’s used to being able to do whatever he wants in mortal company, and it takes Glee Shoth to remind Sieh that this isn’t quite the case anymore.
GLEE SHOTH. WHO IS SO AMAZING. Oh my god, her characterization here is much more fleshed-out than what we got of her before, and it’s absolutely fascinating (and a bit eerie) to see how similar she is to Itempas. She’s got his stoic nature and his sense of logic, and I think her emotional landscape reminds me of him, too. She’s more understanding than she lets on, and it’s because she keeps her vulnerable side guarded. I mean… SHE SOUGHT OUT HER FATHER AFTER SHE WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM BY ITEMPAS AND ENEFA. And her whole argument with Sieh about the Gods’ War and Sieh’s history is rife with an comprehension of complicated realities that’s just plain impressive. I’m guessing that she must be close with Itempas for him to tell her all of this. (Though I’m also curious about the way she phrased that bit about her mother’s death. It sounded so disconnected. Not, “My mother is dead,” you know?)
Well, she’s close enough to know that Itempas has changed. (And the audience knows that, too, and knows that Sieh is wrong about his insistence that Itempas can’t change.) But that closeness is different than Sieh’s closeness, which is more about proximity. It sounds like there’s an emotional relationship between Glee and Itempas that Sieh does not have with his father. However, part of what happens here is because Glee is actually removed from Itempas in a way that Sieh is not. She was not alive during the Gods’ War and during the period of Arameri slavery. She can’t (and does not) speak to those experiences, but she can grant Sieh a chance to look at the bigger picture, one of loneliness and betrayal, and solitude. That doesn’t excuse what Itempas did all those years ago, but understanding why he acted as he did is important! So now I want to know: WHAT THE HELL DID SIEH DO TO CONVINCE NAHADOTH AND ITEMPAS TO COMPEL ITEMPAS TO LEAVE SHAHAR? I’m fairly certain that was what was meant by that whole section with the lie, the one that Sieh can’t remember. Was this struck from his memory, too, or did he just plain forget it?
Regardless, after all of this HEAVY TALK, Sieh finally asks Glee if he can see his father. Glee’s naturally protective of Itempas, but that’s nothing compared to Nahadoth’s love of Sieh, which is demonstrated at the end of this chapter BY NAHADOTH SHOWING UP. AND ADMITTING THAT HE PLANS TO USE GLEE AS A WEAPON IF NECESSARY. Again, the gods are nothing like us in some regards, but the desire to protect our loves ones at any cost? That sounds like mortals to me. But the big shocker is dropped here at the end when Naha reveals that he and Yeine will grant Itempas one day free from his punishment if he promises to help Sieh. UM OKAY THIS IS REALLY HUGE. HOW ARE THERE SO MANY PLOTS ALL HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME IN THIS BOOK??? I mean, now we’ve got Itempas getting his power back; Ahad’s group; Sieh’s mortality; ; Kahl’s identity; the masks; Deka’s plan for something as the weapon of Shahar; Shahar’s marriage; and Glee and Sieh protecting Deka and Shahar during the wedding announcement. HOW IS THIS BOOK REAL.
Please note that the original text features the words “mad,” “crazy,” “insanity,” and “whore.”
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