The Broken Kingdoms Readalong, Week 3

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Hi everyone, and welcome to week three of The Broken Kingdoms readalong!  Today’s discussion questions were written by Lauren from Violin in a Void and cover chapters 11-16.  The following discussion will contain spoilers, so if you aren’t up to chapter 16 yet, then you might wanna wait until you are to read more.

1. Oree chooses not to reveal Shiny’s identity to Dateh. Did you agree with her decision? What might have happened if she’d chosen otherwise? 

The cult doesn’t care about Itempas so much as it uses him as an excuse to justify their grab for power.  They worship stability.  If they were to realize who Shiny was, they might just kill him to preserve their own illusion.

2. Madding’s dead 🙁 How do you feel about his death? What do you make of his last words to Oree?

Madding’s death was tragic to the extreme, and it’s even more sad since we know that he was avoiding getting too attached to Oree because he was afraid he’d die.  He loved her till the very end, and it’s gonna take Oree a long time to get over him.  I think that with everything else going on, she’s still in shock and it hasn’t fully sunk in.  I could also imagine her rage at the cult for what they’ve done will help her to keep pushing herself even after all that she’s been through.

3. Itempas has seen what terrible things people do in his name. What do you make of Dateh’s interpretation of Itempan faith? Could this help rehabilitate Itempas or will he simply see the New Lights as a delusional sect?

The New Lights are bad news, and Itempas/Shiny is on the receiving end of their abuse.  He’s seeing firsthand the results of being too much like himself.  Dateh’s interpretation is largely correct, and I think it scares Shiny.  Here’s Shiny’s issue, as I see it.  His very being is resistance to change, but being among the humans has changed him, and now he’s having an existential crisis.  He hates Naha, but he loves him too, and that love is what’s making it possible for him to be so revolted by the New Lights’ plan.

The thing that I think will rehabilitate Itempas is the way that he cared for the beggars when he lived among them.  I didn’t expect it, and I don’t think that Oree did either.  It shows that somewhere deep inside of him, there’s a part of him that actually cares about people.

4. After Madding’s death, Oree loses the will to live, except to stop the New Lights. Shiny wants to kill her because she’s a demon. Do you think she’ll survive the events of the novel? Is it safer to wipe out the demons?

The fact that something is safer doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.  I think Oree will survive, and I’m counting on Shiny to change in order for it to happen.  He’s gonna have to realize that you can’t control every variable, and that some danger in life isn’t a bad thing.

5. Itempas shares his feelings about his actions in the God’s War. Have your feelings about him changed at all?

There’s some hope for him after all.  I just hope he gets his act together before it’s too late and stop Naha from squishing everybody.

6. There’s something odd about Hado. Shiny says to him “You are not quite yourself. […] Something of him lingers.” Oree notes that Hado’s shadow is darker than the non-magical things around him. Could he be more than just a spy, and if so, what?

He knows that Shiny is Itempas.  That’s interesting.  A scrivener, perhaps?  Although if you look at the letters naHADOth, it seems like a strange coincidence.

See everyone next week to discuss the last few chapters of the book.  🙂

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

5 comments

  1. 1. I felt the same way. They’d want a god who fits their beliefs.

    3. Shiny hates Nahadoth?
    I was pleasantly surprised at how polite and grateful Shiny was to the beggars. There’s hope for him after all!

    6. AAAAAAHHHH! I totally missed the Hado in Nahadoth’s name! That’s brilliant, well-spotted 🙂

    1. 1. And if the reality is different than what they’d expect, they’d sooner change that reality than their beliefs or their plans.

      3. Well, he did give Naha as a slave to the Arameri. You don’t do that unless you’re really pissed at someone and want to seriously hurt them. I don’t see love and hate as mutually exclusive; both involve very strong passions. I think the New Lights don’t realize that even though Itempas wanted to harm Naha, he doesn’t want him dead. There are still feelings there.

      I liked seeing Shiny among the beggars. It kind of reminded me of how Sieh took care of the servants in Sky, weirdly enough.

      6. It could just be a coincidence, buuuut… 😉

  2. I think Oree is going to be able to put her grief and anger over Madding’s death to good use too. The House of the Risen Sun needs to be taken down and disbanded permanently!

    I find it interesting that it was the lowest of the low, the beggars, that Shiny first ‘bonded’ with or at least got on speaking terms with. He could have wandered the land and gone to kings and queens and probably been treated as a grounded god. But, instead, he spent quality time among those that are impaired in some way (financially, legally, physically).

    1. Good point! And it’s weird because you’d expect based on his history that he’d be more inclined to like people with ruthless dedication like the Arameri. There’s some hope for him yet.