I'm already pretty taken with this book, just from the first few chapters. The narrator is the godling Sieh, which is a completely different perspective than either Yeine or Oree. I love his deliberate childishness and capriciousness.
1) Do you think the twins' names Dekarta and Shahar are portentous of who they will grow into?
I think that it might show more of what their parents hoped they would become. Shahar seems very different than what I remember from the description of Itempas’s Shahar. So far, her defining trait is that her bad family has not been able to extinguish her kindness (which is why she’s an unift heir).
2) Yeine and Itempas. Too early? Or will Yeine be the bridge that puts everyone back together?
Oh yes, too early. I think Yeine is a little more willing to forgive, because she has not exactly been Itempas’s victim. She has Enefa’s soul inside her, but she isn’t Enefa. Itempas neither murdered nor enslaved her, so it’s easier for her to be moved by his penance.
I don’t think he deserves to be forgiven yet, though, so I can totally understand Nahadoth and Sieh’s inability to forgive and forget. As Nahadoth said, his eventual forgiveness may be inevitable, but it will certainly not be immediate.
3) Sieh seems to have some need, or at least an attraction, to be in Sky Palace. Healthy or unhealthy?
I don’t know if I would call it healthy or unhealthy. He’s obviously been through a lot of trauma, so part of the attraction might be trying to prove to himself that Sky isn’t dangerous to him anymore. There are also things in Sky that he might not want to leave behind—the empty spaces where he played, and his orrery, for instance.
Lastly, the way he approached playing with Shahar and Dekarta, I wondered if this was a thing he did often. If he’s been making a habit of playing with Arameri children, and then killing them when they grow up and ‘go bad’, it almost seems like he’s trying to prove something. Maybe he wants proof as to whether the Arameri are beyond saving or not.
4) In just this beginning section, we see more than just physical changes in Sieh. What do you think is happening to him, and more importantly why?
His turning into an adolescent is a little scary, considering he’s the godling of childhood. I’m guessing you’re also talking about the resonance with the Maelstrom. My speculation is that it is possible for a godling to become a god, it just has never happened before. I think this is what’s happening to Sieh, based on the fact that he is the strongest godling, and on his frustration at not being enough to comfort the Three. I think it is happening now because Itempas (who resists change) is out of power. The influence of a powerful Nahadoth with no Itempas as a balance might be making this kind of transformation possible. If this is some kind of transformation, I hope Sieh survives it!
5) Shahar is quite angry with her mother and has been for some time. Justified? How do you think their relationship will shape this story?
Yes, I think it is justified. I think her mother is a ‘true Arameri’ and that she doesn’t really care about her daughter at all. I mean, look at the way she gave her daughter to Sieh as a toy! I think that the core of their relationship will be her mother trying to make Shahar become her, and Shahar trying to remain herself.
6) Why do you think Shahar's letters to her brother return unopened?
Right now, my best guess is one of two things. Maybe her brother blames her for him being used as the scapegoat after that day with Sieh. He might feel that she betrayed him by not protecting him. Alternatively, maybe Shahar’s mother insisted he never contact her again, as a part of her plan of isolating and then hardening up her daughter.
--How cute was En, the petulant sun!
--I had always thought of Nahadoth as male, but it makes sense that he would have no fixed gender. It was interesting to see him turn female to suit Sieh’s needs for a motherly comforter.
--Sieh plays some dangerous games! I have to say I've never read a scene about children playing that was quite so tense.