The Kingdom of the Gods Readalong, Week 2

The Kingdom of the Gods

The Kingdom of the Gods

Hey everyone, and welcome to the second week of the readalong of N.K. Jemisin’s The Kingdom of the Gods, hosted by S Voss from Dab of Darkness, Lauren from Violin in a Void, Gabriella from Book Bound, and myself.  The reading schedule is as follows:

The Kingdom of Gods – 575 pages

Week 1 Prologue – Chapter 4 (104 pages) Feb. 10th Dab of Darkness

Week 2 Chapters 5-10 (115 pages) Feb. 17th Violin in a Void

Week 3 Chapters 11-13 (119 pages) Feb. 24th Books Without Any Pictures

Week 4 Chapters 14-17 (117 pages) March 3rd Book Bound

Week 5 Chapter 18 – END (116 pages) March 10th Violin in a Void

This week’s questions were written by Lauren.  The following questions and discussion will contain spoilers through the end of chapter 10.

1. Do you think Shahar can keep her childhood promise and be a good person and an Arameri?

One of the themes of The Kingdom of the Gods thus far is change and whether it is possible to change one’s nature.  If Sieh, Shiny, and Naha can change, then so can the Arameri.  Shahar seems like the right sort of person to bring that change to the Arameri.  She’s clearly capable of playing the Arameri games, but she doesn’t want to, and she realizes that the world is far different than when the Arameri first grasped for power.  Diplomacy is a necessity in the new world order, and the other Arameri are too blinded by tradition to see it.

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 feel bad for the Arameri.  Why?  Because the people who enslaved and abused the gods are dead.  This is a new generation that hasn’t done anything yet other than have the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I feel especially bad since most of the people who disappeared at first were from the lower ranks of the family, because they didn’t seem so bad to begin with.  The Arameri’s fate should be determined by their actions.  Individually, not as a group.  And yeah, Shahar’s mother is a bitch, but my thoughts on her are no excuse for destroying everyone.

3. Any theories on the antagonist that Sieh meets in his dream?

Maybe the Maelstrom spit out another god.

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 don’t think that the gods should be worshiped.  Respected, sure, but they’ve proven that they are fallible creatures and their word can’t be taken as truth.  Even more importantly, people can’t be trusted to be the gatekeepers of what the gods want.  We saw how very wrong that is with Itempas’ followers in the last book.  If I lived in Sky/Shadow, I’d probably befriend some of the gods and invite them over for the occasional afternoon tea.

5. Sieh’s not quite the charming boy god we saw in book 1. How do you feel about his character at the moment?

He’s a petulant teenager, and I love it.  He’s got his flaws, his vengeance, his rebelliousness, his lust… he’s growing up, and is annoying in exactly the same ways that most adolescents are.  Jemisin couldn’t have done a better job writing him.

6. Should Sieh work for Ahad?

I don’t trust Ahad, but I don’t hate him either.  I did have a sneaking suspicion for a moment that Ahad might have been the entity that Sieh met in a dream, but I don’t think so.  He seems as clueless as everyone else.  I find Ahad’s “brothel” to be amusing, but it’s a peaceful place where people can explore their desires willingly and without judgement.  Sieh is lucky to have found it; I don’t think that any other brothel would have the same care or consideration.  He’s facing the same problem as many other of Sky/Shadow’s population, and he’s gonna have to worry about things like food and shelter that weren’t such a big deal when he was a god.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Sieh could certainly do worse than working for Ahad.

7 thoughts on “The Kingdom of the Gods Readalong, Week 2

  1. 2. Oh now I feel bad. My answer was something along the lines of “screw those guys”. I kind of imagined the Arameri being mostly like Remath and Remina. But your answer makes a lot of sense. The lower ranking members weren’t so evil and a lot of the higher ranking members might not be quite so bad. However, I still think it’s only fair that their reign comes to an end.

    6. I also wondered if Ahad was the one trying to kill Sieh, but yeah, he seems clueless, and Sieh didn’t seem to think it was the same voice.
    I find it amusing that Sieh is struggling to think about things like looking after his body. That’s exacly what Itempas struggled with, and Sieh taunted him for it.

    1. Oh, I definitely want to see either their reign to end or for them to be good rulers who don’t oppress their people. I just keep thinking of characters like T’vril who never really had a chance and were used as pawns by those above them. And maybe they are all evil, in which case, they get what they deserved, but I don’t see the sense in punishing the new ones for what their ancestors did.

      I find it amusing as well that Sieh has to deal with all the implications of morality. I think it’ll be good for him in the end; the gods don’t have much perspective on mortality (not counting Yeine, that is), for all the time they spent with the Arameri. They don’t mean to be so clueless, but I think the idea of having to live in the moment and make every day count has never occurred to them before.

  2. The idea of Sieh becoming a prostitute at this point (he would probably end up killing some of his clients, as Ahad pointed out) doesn’t seem great to me, but I think staying with Ahad for a while would be a great opportunity for him. Ahad has suffered a lot of similar torments, but seems to have been able to start to heal (which Sieh really hasn’t).

    Also, I don’t think I would worship those gods either, but I might be a little too afraid of them to invite them to tea. I don’t know, maybe if I could find one whose affinity was cooking tasty desserts? That would be a nice and harmless afternoon tea partner :).

    1. As much as I don’t like the idea of him becoming a prostitute either, I’d sooner see him do that than starve, and let’s face it, Ahad’s place is pretty nice compared to what he’d be likely to face elsewhere.

      I think that if the gods lived in my community my curiosity would get the better of me. And if there were one who could make yummy desserts I think I’d be friends for life. 😛

  3. Yep, I don’t think change is limited to the gods/godlings in this series. We saw that Oree had to change. Yeine of Book 1 definitely had to change. So why not Shahar? Also, this seems to be a coupling – the god that changes is linked closely with the human that changes the most.

    True, the entire Arameri family as it sits right now shouldn’t have to die for the sins of past family, nor for the sins of the current leader.

    While I totally agree that the gods are fallible, I still think some folks will worship them nontheless. I think of the Greek and Roman pantheons and how humans knew the gods were fallible, yet still worshiped anyway – a lot. Things are a bit different in Sky/Shadow in that there are godlings walking around interacting with humans, so maybe that would take some of the shine off.

    1. Mhm. Despite the fact that the gods don’t like to admit it, their lives and fates are intertwined with those of mortals.

      The Greek and Roman gods are fascinating because they are so very human. I’ve often wondered at the way that people worshiped them; it seems almost a recognition of different elements present in human nature.

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