Mark Reads ‘The Kingdom of Gods’: Chapter 17

In the seventeenth chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh bids goodbye as he accompanies the Arameri to their new home. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.

Chapter Seventeen

Lord, this is just SO UNREAL. There’s so much here that blows me away just in terms of what it means for the whole series because HOLY SHIT, THE THREE ARE BACK TOGETHER. And this reunion is preceded by a sense of finality to Sieh’s journey, which makes me wonder what else Jemisin has up her sleeve. He’s saying goodbye to Hymn and Ahad and what is going to happen? I mean, I don’t think it’s irrational to view this as the beginning of the end. When Sieh goes to South Root to collect his belongings from Hymn’s place, the two treat one another as if they’ll never see each other again. That includes Hymn giving Sieh two absolutely soul-crushing gifts: a handmade glass knife, and a “handful of tiny beads in different sizes and colors,” which she explains as follows:

“I just remembered that old rhyme about you. About how you stole the sun for a prank? I figured, suns need planets, don’t they?”

Why must this book keep hurting me in this way? I’m honestly convinced that we’re not going to see Hymn again. Her role in helping Sieh ease into humanity has ended, and now Sieh is off to see if Itempas can turn him back into a god again. It’s why Ahad’s meeting with Sieh is so conflicting, too. On the one hand, I get why these two are probably never going to get along with one another. It’s obvious as Sieh tries to shock Ahad with the knowledge that he’s got some demon children in Sky that Ahad can’t see eye-to-eye with Sieh after what happened to the two of them. There really is too much pain between them, you know? Their experiences in Sky absolute shape them, and what the Arameri did to them will always exist. Well, maybe not always. To say that would be to ignore how much the gods do change, as made clear by the second half of this chapter. But Ahad is too new for that. I’m curious if we’ll get to know his nature before this trilogy is over. Perhaps he discovered it while in bed with Glee? Hmmm.

So, after having said so long to Ahad and Hymn, Sieh is flung back to Sky, and the final preparations for the Arameri’s journey to their new home take place. Y’all, I absolutely love that Sieh gets a brief quiet moment in the Altar that was last featured at the end of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. It’s fitting because that final scene included the return of Enefa, and a brief reunion of the Three. Here, though, it’s Glee who brings Itempas to Sieh for a much-needed but emotionally-fraught reunion. It’s so difficult, and it’s by design that this is all so frustrating to read. Sieh teeters between desire and disgust, need and want, love and hate, and we’ve got an entire novel behind us that informs us why he reacts the way he does. The most shocking part of it all, though, is Itempas’s clear demonstration that he has changed. There’s a strange, stoic affection to the way he speaks with Sieh, at least prior to his tearful breakdown. (As much as Itempas can have a breakdown, that is.) Even before Sieh begins yelling at father, Sieh can sense that the god of the Bright is not the same anymore. There’s that reference to the Dawn, which I assume is Itempas’s admission that he believes that Yeine has is about to begin some sort of new era in allowing the Arameri to worship her instead of him.

But it’s more than that. Sieh refuses to believe Itempas, even though he can see the changes before him. Notice how he lashes out in an attempt to hurt Itempas, which is something that’s very, very common of Sieh. It’s what he does, and even that part of his nature hasn’t changed with his mortality. When Itempas realizes that Sieh won’t believe him, he decides to demonstrate that his words are the truth BY OFFERING UP A KNIFE COVERED IN GLEE’S DEMON BLOOD SO THAT SIEH CAN STAB HIM AND KILL HIM. Itempas would let Sieh kill him just to pay penance for what he’d done. !!!!!!!! Y’ALL, HE IS SO DIFFERENT THAN WHEN WE FIRST MET HIM.

When I looked up, just before my head passed beyond the floor’s threshold, I saw Itempas watching me. He had not picked up the knife. He had, however, changed: his face was wet with tears.

NOOOOO OH MY GOD, THIS IS TOO OVERWHELMING. Of course, Jemisin has to follow this with Sieh seeking out Deka for affection. No, scratch that – a hug. I think it’s important that he wants a non-sexual form of affection initially because he knows that Deka will give it to him. It’s a deliberately selfish act, but it’s one that Sieh needs at that point. He craves more, but Deka surprises Sieh by not following through on the desire he’d made apparent earlier in the book. The comfort of one body next to another is enough for Deka, maybe a hand on top of Sieh’s. UGH, IT’S SO CRUSHING.

Yeah, then everything is so surreal. I could not believe how quickly the journey to the new Arameri came upon us. It’s made even stranger when both Itempas and Nahadoth show up because HOLY SHIT, HOW ARE THE THREE OF THEM EVEN IN THE SAME ROOM RIGHT NOW??? I barely had time to reconcile this when dawn arrived (was that what Itempas referred to???) and YEINE TRANSPORTS EVERYONE TO THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. But not just any ocean. Clearly, she’s got a twisted sense of humor:

“The Ovikwu,” I said, letting my voice carry so they could all share the joke, “was a landbound sea in the middle of the Maroland – the continent that once existed where we now stand.” The continent that had been destroyed by the Arameri when they’d been foolish enough to try and use Nahadoth as their weapon. He’d done what they wanted, and then some.

Deka inhaled. “The first Sky. The one that was destroyed.”

AND THEN, IN A SCENE THAT REMINDED ME OF OREE SHOTH CREATING A WORLD OUT OF NOTHINGNESS, YEINE RAISES THE NEW PALACE OUT OF THE FUCKING OCEAN. I still can’t get over this and how beautifully this whole scene is written. Y’all, this book is literally too much. Oh my god, I love the image I got of the place in my mind’s eye. I love that Yeine made it buoyant so that it could move over the ocean. But it’s the emotional impact of this act that hit the hardest. Nahadoth and Yeine join their powers to adjust the color and composition of the palace grounds after Sieh makes a joke about it being too white. And goddamn, even I felt an enormous pang of sympathy for Itempas, who had to watch his siblings act so affectionate and friendly with one another in front of him. It’s followed by Sieh experience a brief flare of companionship and love for Deka and Sieh, one that’s extinguished by the possibility that he’s about to leave them a mortal and return a god, ruining any chance of them ever developing a true friendship. This is all about loneliness. Deka and Shahar have one another, as do Nahadoth and Yeine. But Itempas and Sieh, for their own reasons, are left alone at the end of all of this.

Yeah, this book is incredible. Painful to read at times, but incredible.

Please note that the original text/videos contain uses of the terms “mad” and “whore.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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