The read-along continues with the second part of N.K. Jemisin's The Kingdom of Gods! This week, the questions were provided by Violin in a Void, and they cover up through chapter 10. Beware of spoilers below!
1. Do you think Shahar can keep her childhood promise and be a good person and an Arameri?
I suppose that depends on how strict one keeps the definition of a “good person”. She is not without compassion, but she is shaping up to how her family operates. For instance, she was going to threaten genocide to get her way, until Sieh shamed her out of it. She argues she would never actually do it, but using that as a threat is pretty serious.
Also, her betrayal of Sieh was just a disaster. She must have suspected that bearing his child would kill him, based on their earlier discussions of childhood. When she told Sieh, I’m not sure what she expected to accomplish; maybe it was just a failed attempt to do the right thing. Sieh himself seemed to believe it was a ploy to get him to kill her mother, at least until Shahar nearly sacrificed herself to save her.
Right now, I guess, she’s mostly just young, inexperienced and doesn’t always seem to think through the consequences of her actions. She has a lot of negative influences and not many positive, so I’m not sure if she’ll be able to keep that from affecting her.
2. The Arameri family has changed drastically and now we learn they're being systematically killed off. Do you like the changes? Do you feel sorry for the family or are they getting what they deserve?
I didn’t really notice this in the first section, but it makes sense that so much would have changed. They’ve lost the Enefadeh, and they’ve made a lot of enemies over the years. I would hesitate to say they’re getting what they deserve, though. They may be getting what their ancestors deserve, but it’s starting to look like the modern-day Arameri are not exactly like their ancestors. I guess that means I like the changes, and I don’t think the whole family deserves to die based solely on their legacy.
3. Any theories on the antagonist that Sieh meets in his dream?
Right now, my wild theory is that it is Dekarta. We know that Dekarta surprisingly and luckily had magical talent that was discovered shortly after their disastrous declaration of friendship. Could it be possible that when Sieh became part mortal, Deka became part god? Maybe the other Arameri don’t even realize it. If so, his existence could now be linked to Sieh in some way.
4. Religious belief in the city and the palace has changed a lot, as have humans' relationships with the gods. Thoughts? What might your beliefs be if you lived in Sky/Shadow?
I think the Primortalist’s beliefs make sense. The gods in this world clearly exist, but they just as clearly don’t always have the best interests of their mortal followers at heart.
5. Sieh's not quite the charming boy god we saw in book 1. How do you feel about his character at the moment?
I think he is probably not all that different in temperament than he was in the first book. He had been killing Arameri here and there the whole time he was enslaved, so that’s not exactly new. He also doesn’t think about consequences, acts on impulse, and is still very easy to set off. Yeine saw a very different side of him, but that doesn’t mean this side didn’t exist, then, too. I think he’s a really interesting protagonist, but he's not someone I would ever want to meet!
6. Should Sieh work for Ahad?
I think Ahad was right about his potential as a courtesan, so a resounding ‘no’ in that sense. I think he should work for Ahad in some way, though, and stick around. It looks like his relationship with Ahad could teach him a lot about his relationships with Shahar and Itempas. I hope that he and Ahad can come through the wrong Sieh did to him to some kind of understanding, and that will help him figure out how to deal with the other people in his life.
I was a little confused about what happened when Sieh and Ahad merged. If I understood correctly, Ahad was not Sieh’s biological son. I think that the problem was that Ahad thought of Sieh as a father, since Sieh kind of raised him. Maybe it was made worse because Sieh had corresponding fatherly feelings? In any case, it was nice of Ahad to reinforce that they were brothers, to keep Sieh safe.