In the short story “Not the End,” we learn what Itempas chooses to do next. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish The Kingdom of Gods.
“Not the End”
We all inherit things in our lives whether we want to or not, and for the most part, that inheritance is a forced thing. We inherit privileges, we inherit power. Money. Families we never chose. Worlds we never imagined. We inherit diseases and good genes, we inherit systems of government and oppressions, we inherit economies and histories and theories and gods and it’s all part of the process of what molds us into the people we are. However, it’s in the choosing that we become more than just clean slates inheriting the world.
I have commented many times over the course of this trilogy that N.K. Jemisin inherently respects history: of her characters, of the world she’s created, and of the complicated emotional framework that’s built into this massive cast of characters. Context always matters. And I even said before that I was so pleased to figure out that the name of this trilogy was a reference to this very idea that we all inherit some part of the world just by existing, and that’s certainly what happened with Yeine, Oree, and Sieh. Each of them dealt with what they’d inherited by force, by choice, or through their own actions.
So it fits that this story, which tells us right off the bat that this isn’t the end, is about Oree Shoth’s inheritance. In her case, she chose all those years ago to make Shiny a part of her life, and after he is freed and returned to complete godhood, he makes the conscious decision to return to her. Obviously, I did not understand that at first. Holy shit, I guessed these characters SO WRONG AT FIRST, and now it’s immortalized on video that I thought this was from Itempas’s perspective and then Ahad’s and I WAS WRONG FOREVER. But I actually like that I didn’t get it right because it made the reveal that Jemisin had returned to Oree Shoth’s world so much more powerful. It meant that she’d revealed to me that she had gotten married. MARRIED. She had lived a whole life in the year since Itempas had been forced to leave her, and now her daughter and son-in-law lived with her, and this was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how emotionally distraught this story was going to make me.
After the coda, I thought that this was it. Glee had gotten to spend time with her mother, and that was it. Oree died without ever seeing the love of her life ever again. It was a sad thought, but at least we knew that her life had been long and complete. It’s why this conversation here between Oree and the newly god-made Itempas is so wrought with tension and drama. It speaks to the history between these two, and, again, Jemisin shows us that this history will always matter in her world. When Itempas finally reveals that he showed up to stay with Oree until her death, it’s not an immediately joyous thing for Oree. No, rather, she’s furious. She hadn’t gotten married after her husband Cingo died because she knew she’d always outlast a mortal man, at least until she finally reached an age. Given that, she knows that she won’t outlast Itempas. She’ll just be a speck in his life, a brief dot in the thousands upon thousand upon millions of years that he’ll be alive, and she doesn’t want that either. She doesn’t want chaos like her life was when she was with Itempas. She wants to die a boring death. And that’s her history, one that she needs Itempas to understand.
But he does understand her, doesn’t he? He know she’s lonely, and I don’t think it’s hard to see how Itempas would know loneliness after what he’s been through. But it’s more than that. He turns Oree’s logic back on her in an attempt to prove that he really does want to spend time with her. I feel like that’s a huge deal for a god, particularly one who has to help heal the world after the events in this book. He wants quiet, boring years with Oree. He wants something that’s as close as possible to the quiet, boring days he spent with her before everything was ripped apart. And for someone like Itempas, I really do feel like that’s a huge admission for his character. She doesn’t need Itempas; Itempas needs her.
So they begin again. An end will come at come at some point, but it’s not that time for these two.
Unfortunately, it’s that time for me. Y’all, I’m just so enamored with this series, and I’m truly sad that it’s come to an end. I’ve never read anything like this in my entire life, and I know I never will. To say I loved these books is an understatement. I’ve loved the experience, the heartbreak, the challenge, and the loving, caring support of all of you. So thank you for following along, for supporting me every day and commissioning videos, and for helping learn all over again why I love reading. And an extra huge thanks to N.K. Jemisin for the support and inspiration. You’re one of a kind, and I’m honored to have read these.
So! The Inheritance Trilogy Q&A starts Friday at noon Pacific time, and I’ll ask that you hold all spoilery fun/posts until then. I’ll actually be online all day to answer questions about the series and read about EVERYTHING I MISSED. That’s right, you can finally link me to all the fandom stuff and meta and interviews that weren’t allowed before. PARTY FOREVER.
Which means that this Friday is when I start my journey through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. FOR REAL. IT’S HAPPENING.
Please note that the original text contains the words “mad” and “insane.”
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