the Little Red Reviewer

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part two!

Posted on: December 9, 2013

Hi Everyone! We’re getting into the nitty gritty of the holy-shit-WHAT that’s happening in N.K. Jeminin’s incredible The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This week’s discussion questions were provided by Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings. Head over to her blog to link around to everyone who is participating!

As you’re reading this, I’m enroute to a work thing involving layovers in snowy cities, hotel bars, training sessions, and really long meetings. Internet access and free time will be severely limited, so I’ll catch up with everyone on Thursday morning. Apologies in advance if your comment gets stuck in moderation.

We’re in the spoilerific sections of the book already, so I’ve blotted out the spoilery bits before the jump. and then I just was having way too much fun blotting stuff out. ;)

1) We’ve started to learn about a side of Yeine’s mother that Yeine can barely believe existed. No one in this story seems all that capable of telling the objective truth, however, so who do you think Kinneth really was? A devoted mother? A traitorous schemer? Evil and cruel?

2) Wow major plot reveal Batman! Finding out about Yeine’s second soul was not something I saw coming at all. Did you suspect? Have any other theories? What do you think of this major plot development? What do you think Yeine should do?

3) We’ve gotten to know a lot more about Darr in this section and their traditions have both good and bad sides it seems to me. What do you think of their coming-of-age ritual for the women? What about women soldiers and men being left to protect the children? Any other traditions that struck you?

4) The Walking Death played a pretty big role in the past given none of this would have happened if Yeine’s father hadn’t gotten sick. There was discussion in the previous section about how the Death only infects commoners and those of high-birth aren’t affected. What do you think the Death really is? Any theories on why it infects only certain people?

5) Finally, we’ve learned a lot more about our enslaved gods between getting to know Nahadoth better, finding out what is up with Sieh, and seeing a rather bitter side of Kurue. What do you think of all these revelations? Has your favorite god changed?

Ready for some spoilers?  LET’S DO IT.

1) We’ve started to learn about a side of Yeine’s mother that Yeine can barely believe existed. No one in this story seems all that capable of telling the objective truth, however, so who do you think Kinneth really was? A devoted mother? A traitorous schemer? Evil and cruel?

I think when Kinneth lived in Sky she was evil and cruel, and I think meeting people outside of that horrible place helped her see that not everyone is a selfish schemer. The more time Kinneth spent in Darr, the more she mellowed out. Also, I wonder if getting rid of her  blood sigil on her forehead had anything to do with her mellowing out?  and I wonder if Kinneth ever had “something” with Nahadoth, as he sure likes to tease the mortal ladies.  To know you’ve been played by him would piss anyone off.

I don’t know if it’s to Yeine’s advantage or not for her to learn more about her mother. the woman who raised her most certainly not the same person everyone at the Palace knew. And I like the Darr Kinneth much better.

2) Wow major plot reveal Batman! Finding out about Yeine’s second soul was not something I saw coming at all. Did you suspect? Have any other theories? What do you think of this major plot development? What do you think Yeine should do?

Of all the things I thought might happen, that was NOT it!!  and can i just say that I loved the scene in the library? dusty old books in a million languages, unhelpful old librarian, secrets of the universe just waiting to be found by someone who is willing to investigate a little more.  I loved every word of that scene.

No question about it, the enslaved gods want to be freed, and they’ve figured out a way to do it.  There’s a scene a little later where Yeine learns exactly what happens in the ceremony of the heirs, and just WOW. Talk about expensive! Sure, she can free them, at the expense of her own life.   Those bastards, they manipulated everything!  Had Kinneth not married Yeine’s father, she’s never have left Sky.  Had her father not gotten sick, she wouldn’t have returned. Had Kinneth not died, Yeine would never have been called to Sky. How much of those events were planned by or caused by the enslaved gods? They sure are patient.

What should Yeine do??  bargain, and bargain hard.  Everyone wants something from her, she should get something out of the deal too.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she went through the ceremony, but managed to hang onto all that power for more than a few seconds? For long enough to make a difference?

now that she knows what’s going on, in a way Yeine isn’t afraid of anything. She knows she’s going to die, and probably die soon. Being not afraid makes her terrifyingly powerful.

3) We’ve gotten to know a lot more about Darr in this section and their traditions have both good and bad sides it seems to me. What do you think of their coming-of-age ritual for the women? What about women soldiers and men being left to protect the children? Any other traditions that struck you?

Well, it’s nice to know Yeine isn’t a virgin. that would have been annoyingly cliche.  I liked hearing about Yeine’s experience, because this was yet another contest that was set up so she’d lose.  And she played by her own rules and won.  How else is a warrior supposed to act, anyways? Give up the fight in the first 5 minutes, or fight for their own survival?   Being threatened with rape in a public place sure is a way to test if your young ladies are “tough”. Makes me wonder how many men ended up with gouged out eyeballs.

The only thing I don’t get about the ritual is the publicness of it. It’s assumed that the young woman who is “coming-of-age” is a virgin. Ok, I get that.  But being deflowered in public, *and* being expected to be the more aggressive partner?  How many teen girls are going to be excited about that after spending a month, alone, in the forest? If I’m reading this right, the dude is going to get to deflower a virgin no matter what (the question seemed to only be who’s on top), so what’s he care if she fights back or not?  then again, I could be putting my contemporary thoughts on what is going on. If this is a matrilineal culture, perhaps the men aren’t used to being sexually agressive? Again, they get laid no matter what, so it’s almost in the dude’s best interest to let her win.  Yeine sort of did the same thing, but opposite – she was partnered with a strong male warrior, and in a way, it may have been in her best interest to let him win. So she did. and then she won.

4) The Walking Death played a pretty big role in the past given none of this would have happened if Yeine’s father hadn’t gotten sick. There was discussion in the previous section about how the Death only infects commoners and those of high-birth aren’t affected. What do you think the Death really is? Any theories on why it infects only certain people?

I really want to know what the walking death is, because I no longer believe it is a physical ailment.  it’s something, else, I just don’t know exactly what.  I think if you have a sigil on your forehead you can’t be infected.  The nobles have something, or have been exposed to something that protects them. I don’t think it’s being exposed to the gods, I think it’s something else. But have no idea what!  Want. To. Know!!

5) Finally, we’ve learned a lot more about our enslaved gods between getting to know Nahadoth better, finding out what is up with Sieh, and seeing a rather bitter side of Kurue. What do you think of all these revelations? Has your favorite god changed?

“if you were her,” he said, “you would love me.”

I wish Yeine would love Sieh more. Not because he expects it of her, not because he’s hoping against hope that Enefa will become dominant in her, but because he is just so damn vulnerable. He’s like a puppy.  Except that he’s planning for her to physically die. okay, that sucks, maybe he’s not so puppylike. . . but everything he has done is exactly to his nature. (don’t even get me started on gods, their nature, and them having no free will, I can talk about that forever!) I’d love him, even without a piece of Enefa in me.

Kurue is playing a much bigger part, but i don’t feel like we’ve gotten to know her as well as Nahadoth and Sieh yet.  And I need to read closer because for reason I’m getting Kurue and Zhakkarn mixed up. Is Zhakkarn another one of Enefa’s “children”?  Like Sieh, but made later?

Don’t tell anybody, but I’d hop into bed with Nahadoth in a heartbeat. Yeah, I just went there.

pg 189:

“I had been warned. Nahadoth didn’t like to kill outright. He teased and tickled until you lost control, forgot the danger, and opened yourself to him. He made you ask for it”

technically that scene is about Naha giving Yeine a hard time about her mother not telling her anything useful, but somehow those lines don’t feel like that’s what Yeine is talking about.  And that scene in Scimina’s apartments?  Wow, talk about the ultimate bad boy!  Mortal men have nothing on that!   Excuse me, I’m gonna go take a cold shower.

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5 Responses to "The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along, part two!"

My understanding was that Yeine was to defeat the warrior in one-on-one combat, after surviving a month in the wilds on her own. So, she is probably weak from that month, comes home and the last part of the ritual is to defeat the warrior picked out for her. Then, if she loses, she is ritually raped publicly, showing that she is not fit to lead, since she can’t defeat a single male. Anyway, that is how I read it.

Nahadoth, Lord of the Night makes me need a cold shower. Or a hot man in my bed. Daytime Naha is a little too creepy for me, a little too close to utter chaotic violence.

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1. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of what losing the blood sigil might have done to Kinneth. She wouldn’t have built-in loyalty anymore, but would it have changed in her other ways too?

2. It’s been suggested at least once that Dekarta might not have killed Kinneth, so yes, maybe the Enefadeh did. They at least had a good reason to. But could they murder people without the knowledge and approval of Dekarta or someone else?

3. I’d say that for the men, the ritual isn’t just about the certainty of getting laid. I’m pretty sure that most if not all the men I know would not want to get laid so badly they’d have sex in public. It might also be very important for the Darre men to be seen to fight back; we don’t know how the men in those rituals are perceived afterwards.

5. Oh yeah, Nahadoth can be really hot. And really scary. He’s the most sexualised character in the book – Itempas, Enefa, Scimina, Yeine and maybe Kinneth have all wanted and/or had him. His sensuality is partly what led to all this trouble in the first place.

Here are my answers: http://violininavoid.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-hundred-thousand-kingdoms-read-along-part-2/

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1. Didn’t Zhakkarn say they had to do something to Yeine before she got her blood sigil, to mark her with something else first. Which does seem to imply that with Kinneth lost her mark it could have changed her somewhat.

2. A part of me wondered if the Yeine/Enefa soul(s) will return to godhood when the ceremony takes place, and that a part of Yeine survives. At least that’s what I’m hoping, but Jemisin’s writing is full of surprises so it could be something completely different!

I have to agree that Nahadoth is pretty hot, but Naha? I think I’d steer clear of him.

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yeah, i am thinking the blood sigils do more to a person other than mark their rank/class. i’d love to know what!

i’m hoping Yeine does some major ass-kicking with her few seconds of godhood during the ceremony.

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I wonder if part of the publicness of it is a symbolic preparation for battle, kind of as a way of introducing new warriors to what’s gonna happen on the battlefield (especially if they lose), but doing so within the “safety” of their own culture.

And totally agreed on Naha. He’s sexy. Let’s just say he’s my favorite of the Enefadeh for a reason. :P

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