In the nineteenth chapter of The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh learns of the ramifications of Kahl’s actions. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Kingdom of Gods.
It’s not until the explanation given here that I truly understood why Enefa had struck Kahl from Sieh’s memory: it would have destroyed his essence. He can’t be the godling of childhood and a father at the same time, so Enefa hid Kahl in a pocket world for thousands of years. And truly, it fits in with the larger themes we’ve seen in this book, particularly of loneliness. Loneliness was at the root of the Gods’ War; it’s at the core of Sieh’s struggle with himself, as well as his relationship with Deka and Shahar. And it’s most likely the reason that Kahl has become the Lord of Retribution. As Sieh says, Kal is the “son of death and mischief,” and all those years in solitude only made this worse.
Once again, Sieh experiences a loss of time due to further destruction wrought on his mortal body. This time, he ages thirty years in two weeks. Of course, all this physical damage is kind of nothing compared to Sieh’s first sentence to Deka upon examining how his body has changed:
“I’m too old for you now,” I said, very softly.
WOW, THANKS FOR THAT, N.K. JEMISIN. Look, this whole relationship is ruthlessly fucked up, but that doesn’t negate how meaningful Deka is to Sieh. Amidst all the pain he feels, both emotional and physical, Sieh takes a tired comfort in Deka, and it’s kind of sweet??? I mean, even Sieh acknowledges the temporary nature of all this. As soon as he wakes up, he’s going to have to deal with the fact that Kahl is one step closer to becoming a god. Oh, and Glee. Yeah, dealing with her is somehow more intimidating than everything else becauseâ€¦ she’s Glee. And she’s pissed, given that Sieh could have easily called on Yeine to help Itempas, but Sieh didn’t do the obvious thing when he needed to. She also informs Sieh that Remath has whipped herself into a paranoid fury, doing everything she can to transition her power as family head to Shahar, which is unheard of in and of itself. On top of all this, no one can find Kahl. I think Glee is right to assume that Kahl’s hiding in the world he spent thousands of years in, since that’s the easiest way to avoid detection. But what else is he doing? What’s he waiting for? How many more Darre will he kill, or is the mask finally completed now that he has Itempas’s heart??? I DON’T LIKE BEING LEFT IN THE DARK WITH LESS THAN 100 PAGES LEFT. SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND I’M SCARED.
Given when happens later in this chapter, I think it’s strangely ironic that Yeine created Echo in a manner to negate the need for servants. As Sieh points out, it’s kind of naÃ¯ve for Yeine to assume that by changing a custom of the Arameri, she can change the nature of these people. Yeah, that’s kind of what happens with Shahar, isn’t it? Sieh goes to meet her in the gorgeous chamber where Shahar will see audiences, and EVERYTHING IS UNCOMFORTABLE AND TERRIFYING. In part because of Sieh’s role and because of circumstances surrounding her life, Shahar has become Arameri in nearly every respect. In a sense, it’s kind of sad to see her give in to her nature, despite that she’s spent so time trying not to be that kind of person. But her stubbornness, her willingness to look down on others, and her penchant for violence submission all come out during this interaction with Sieh and Deka.
Not entirely, though, and to say so would be reductive. She has a remarkably vulnerable moment upon admitting that she thinks her mother is preparing to die in order to pass on the family head rule to her. As difficult as Remath has been, Shahar still loves her, and this is yet another instance of love complicating political matters. It would be much easier if Remath could be killed instead of exiled; it would be much easier if Sieh had not loved these two siblings, either. But Sieh can’t change that. Unfortunately, that is precisely what Shahar tries to exploit after Sieh admits that he doesn’t really trust Shahar, especially not after she betrayed him earlier in the book. SHE DEMANDS THAT DEKA WEAR A TRUE SIGIL, WHICH WOULD PREVENT HIM FROM EVER ACTING IN OPPOSITION TO THE FAMILY. Shockingly, her own sigil flashes magic and throws Sieh across the room, and the whole thing feels so much like what happened to Sieh in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Of course, this isn’t the same story, and now there’s a new variable: Deka.
WHO USES HIS MAGIC TO TEAR SHAHAR’S SIGIL FROM HER FOREHEAD AND OH MY GOD. IT’S UNREAL. Like, what are the ramifications of this going to be??? It’s not like people won’t notice, and if they find out that Deka is willing to attack his sister like that, can they trust him to remain loyal?
Whoops, guess we won’t find out just yet, since Morad arrives just as Sieh and Deka were going to leave, and she brings the worst news yet: maskers are attacking Shadow. No, that’s not right. Every single masker in existence is attacking Shadow. I guess the time for war has truly come, y’all, and I am increasingly nervous about how this is going to end. BECAUSE I CAN’T SEE A POSITIVE RESOLUTION TO ALL OF THIS.
Please note the original text contains the word “mad” and “stupid”
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