Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 50 and 51

Hey howdy hay, Tor.commers, it’s another RROK!

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 50, “The Lord Heir’s Wife”, and Chapter 51, “The Rock Garden.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

 

Chapter 50: The Lord Heir’s Wife (Talon’s story)

[In which Kihrin learns probably-at-least-50%-lies about his family while Alshena/Talon gears up for some statutory rape. Yay.]

Ugh. We’ll talk about the rape when we get to it, I guess. CAN’T. WAIT.

The problem with exposition from a psycho monster assassin who lies like she breathes, it turns out, is… well, pretty darn obvious, really. Thurvishar is certainly very footnote-skeptical of a lot of it. But hey, it’s what we’ve got to go on at the moment, so let’s look at it.

“Lady Miya? Did she put this here?”

Alshena shrugged. “I have to assume. These rooms were hers once, after all.”

He frowned and shook his head. “These rooms belonged to the High Lord’s late wife.”

“Lady Norá? Yes, they did.” Alshena coughed, “and Miya was Norá’s handmaiden. Then Norá died and Miya took over these rooms, and your mother Lyrilyn was her handmaiden.”

I’m not sure, but this could be the first time we’ve heard the name of High Lord Therin’s first (only?) wife, and the big scandal was that even though Therin was a former priest of Thaena, when Norá died the other priests (or Thaena herself, or both) wouldn’t Return her. Apparently Thaena was not too happy with her former acolyte—or there was a more devious purpose to the refusal. For instance, making sure that Therin had Kihrin with Miya instead (as we now know he did, rather than it being Darzin and Lyrilyn). Or it’s all just whatever and I’m reading too much into it. But probably not.

We also learn that Miya nearly singlehandedly kept House D’Mon from falling apart back in the Affair of the Voices days, when family members were dropping like flies and Therin was too busy grieving his wife to do anything about it. This is the first real hint we get that there’s a lot more to seemingly sweet lovely Miya than initially meets the eye. (And how, as we will eventually discover.)

Alshena/Talon’s next bit about how Miya fell out of favor with Therin after he refused to keep Darzin away from Lyrilyn and Miya helped Lyrilyn escape is noted by Thurvishar as a probable lie, and of course it was one. At the moment it apparently serves Talon’s purposes for Kihrin to continue to believe Darzin and Lyrilyn are his parents, and the story bolsters that idea nicely.

And then Kihrin confesses that he was mind-raped by a demon and Talon decides she should finish up the job and UGH, next chapter please.

 

Chapter 51: The Rock Garden (Kihrin’s story)

[In which more vané history via Doc, and then Fun Ways to Make Rocks Horrible, by The Old Man.]

From the center of each pillar, a figure pulled away as if trying to escape mud. They were still covered in rock, but it was a thinner layer, enough to keep them trapped but not to hide their shape. The rock only retreated fully from their faces, letting them open their eyes, open their mouths. They did not scream, even though the horror in their eyes made it clear it was all they wanted in the whole world.

Each of those pillars was a person.

I saw the way their eyes rolled in mad terror—the panic, and despair as they were allowed to see freedom, if just for a moment—while they sang for the Old Man’s pleasure.

I mean, the basic horrificness of this speaks for itself. Fun ways to achieve immortality: This is not one of them. I don’t remember whether Kihrin (or anyone) frees the pillar singers in this book, but I really hope someone does it at some point. And also kills the Old Man, as seemingly impossible a task as that appears to be. Seriously, worst dragon ever.

Then there’s Doc, aka Nikali Milligreest, aka King Terindel, aka, apparently, Kihrin’s ancestor (or ex-ancestor, since he’s no longer in his original body), who gives us a bit more of how the Kirpis royal line got tangled up in House D’Mon. Which was via Doc’s daughter Valrashar, who Kihrin correctly guesses got sold into slavery after Terindel’s sort-of death and ended up giving birth to Pedron (Kihrin’s grandfather) and Tishar (his great-aunt). Yaaay.

Doc also offhandedly mentions that Tishar is technically the heir to the Kirpis throne, therefore. This is especially bemusing considering we’ve had maybe one line out of Tishar in the entire novel so far, and I don’t know that we get any more lines either. (Also, I think she dies at the end along with most of the House? But I could be wrong about that.)

And Kihrin is second in line after her. I’m not actually sure why that is, because even if you don’t know who Kihrin’s real father is, surely both Therin and Darzin would be ahead of him in the line of succession? That should be the case regardless of whether you think Darzin is Kihrin’s father or older brother, actually.

(I know there’s something I’m forgetting here about Miya, obviously. Does it maybe turn out that she was Valrashar all along? Maybe? That would certainly explain it, as well as add a nice dollop of incest to garnish all the slavery and rape going on. But that is not a thing Doc would know, because he sure as hell wouldn’t be so blasé about his daughter still being alive if he knew, so maybe I’m barking up the completely wrong tree here. We’ll find out, I guess!)


And that’s where we stop for today, kids! Try to stay cool and dry, a thing I am not really succeeding at these days, and I’ll see you next week!

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