Welcome to week three of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms readalong. This week’s host is Andrea from The Little Red Reviewer.
There will be readalongs of the second two books in N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy beginning in the new year. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome, and you don’t have to have read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms for the rest of the series to make sense.
The following discussion will contain major spoilers for the first 3/4 of the book. For a spoiler-free review, see here.
1. T’vril takes Yeine to the servant’s party. What did you think of that party, and of Sieh’s part in it?
It was refreshing to see a different side of Sky. I think that it fit Sieh’s nature well to provide a sense of childlike joy to people who generally have a bleak existence. Seeing him in an older body makes it seem like his childlike nature is in part a coping mechanism that he uses to remember Enefa and pay her respect.
2. Yeine presents herself as such a nice, compassionate person. Did your feelings about her change after the meeting she and Nahadoth had with Gemd?
Do the lives of a few outweigh the lives of the many? Yeine is caught in a difficult position, and even though her actions seemed cruel, they are balanced by realizing just how many lives would be lost if Darr were to be invaded. By making an example, hopefully she can keep the peace and piss off Scimina in the process. Yes, it’s cruel, and a bit Arameri of her, but leaders sometimes need to make difficult decisions, and if that is what it takes to prevent a lot more bloodshed, then I can understand why she did it.
3. on page 230 we learn about the Darre concept of “esui”, of attraction to danger. Have you ever experienced Esui? did it help you, or hurt you? Do you think it will help Yeine, or hurt her?
I love the concept of “esui,” and yeah, I’ve definitely experienced it. It’s what made me take an eight credit Russian course my first semester of college (and what made me stick with it, despite my professor’s Stalinistic teaching methods). It makes people take risks and step out of their comfort zone, and it’s why Naha is sexy despite the fact that he’s a killing machine. Having studied other languages, I’m always intrigued to see places where concepts exist in one language but not in another. For example, there isn’t a literal translation that means the same as “fun” in Russian, but there is a word that means “places of interest that are worth seeing.”
4. What did you think of the reveal regarding Ygreth’s (Kinneth’s mother) death? Was it something you expected? How does being forced to do something like that (or knowing you’ll be forced to) shape a person?
It makes Kinneth’s actions make a lot more sense. I wouldn’t want to be a royal Arameri. Not that I wanted to before, but this seals the deal. *shudders* It proves that you have to be a heartless dick if you want to be in charge. It also explains why the Arameri regard emotions as weak; if you have to kill someone you love to rule, then best not get attached to anyone.
5. If I’m reading it correctly, the ceremony can require a human sacrifice (to show that the heir is strong enough to kill anyone, if asked). Who might Scimina sacrifice? Who might Yeine sacrifice?
Scimina doesn’t have enough of a heart for her to have a meaningful sacrifice. Relad, perhaps? I don’t see Yeine sacrificing anyone. She’d throw a tantrum and refuse to have any part of it, thus changing the course of history forever.
6.The ball is only a few days away. What do you think will happen?
I already know what will happen, so I’m not going to answer that one. However, it would be totally badass if she’d unleash the Nightlord at the ball.
As I said in my original review of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, there’s some cruelty and violence in this book that puts even Scott Lynch to shame. There were multiple gruesome torture scenes in this section, and all of them made me hate the Arameri and wonder how they can be so unfeeling. It was also very telling to see Nahadoth and Sieh express that they cared for the people who prayed to them, whether or not it was within their power to do anything about it. That has to weigh on a person, and explains a lot about why the Enefadeh act the way they do and why they’d be willing to go to any length to escape.