Hello Tor.com! Journey with me through these last few chapters of RROK, won’tcha?
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 87, “The Breaking of Oaths”, and Chapter 88, “Miya’s Gift”. 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 87: The Breaking of Oaths
[In which the sword is in the stone, but not like that, and another Emperor dies.]
Ha, you see what I did there. Because the sword Urthaenriel was just lying on the ground, but then Kihrin put it through a stone – the Stone of Shackles, to be exact – and, so, the pun. I am so funny, y’all!
Ahem. Anyway, you have to love The Purloined Letter trope. If you haven’t read Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”, well, you should, it’s short and a classic, but also you may not know that it’s the most famous (possibly the first?) instance of the literary device on display in this chapter:
“[The sword] wasn’t inside the buildings?” Gadrith was astonished. “All this time, and it was never inside the buildings at all?” He looked as though his whole world had just been upended. Perhaps it had.
“Yeah, kick in the crotch, isn’t it? You’ve spent thirty years chasing something that anyone could have picked up,” Kihrin agreed, “at any duel fought in the Arena. It was tangled in some roots, out in the open, laying in plain sight.”
You could argue that the sword was cheating at least a bit, by looking all grungy and rusted out, but then so was Poe’s letter; that was the point, to hide in plain sight. Clever.
And also, Gadrith is dead, yay! By one hell of a precision strike on Kihrin’s part, too. Shattering a pendant-sized stone with a big ol’ sword, before killing the guy wearing it, is not something just anyone could do. But I guess having an ancient prophetical sword with the obligatory Phenomenal Cosmic Powers helps a lot on that front.
I remember being confused at this point why, having killed the Emperor, Kihrin wasn’t now also the Emperor. I am… actually still confused about that. I remember who does become the Emperor, but not why it worked out like that. Well, we’ll all find out soon, won’t we?
Chapter 88: Miya’s Gift
[In which… damn.]
Right, so this was probably the most shocking chapter in the book, as far as I was concerned. Also the most confusing.
I wasn’t confused by what Miya-slash-Khaeriel did – murdering the entire D’mon family except Therin was pretty straightforward, if horrifying – but, well, this:
“[I am] Khaeriel.” She smiled as Therin’s eyes widened. “Khaeriel, Queen of all the vané, daughter of Khaevatz, Queen of the Manol vané, daughter of Khaemezra, of the Eight Guardians.”163
163 This explains why King Terindel, of the Kirpis vane, thought that Queen Khaevatz was ‘unfit’ to rule the vané – because of her voramer mother. Presumably since then, the royal family has come to terms with that bit of grafting on to the family tree. This is especially true since they probably know Khaemezra is actually the goddess Thaena. Also, technically, Kihrin and Teraeth aren’t related to each other – only because Kihrin’s biological mother is Miya (even if Miya’s body is now possessed by Khaemezra’s granddaughter Khaeriel). Were that not the case, Teraeth, who is Khaevatz’s half-brother, would be Kihrin’s great-uncle. Yes, it’s complicated.
Uh, yeah, Thurvishar, “complicated” is one word for it. After reading this about five times I think I mostly get it, but one of the bigger disadvantages of reading a book this way is that the earlier conversations Kihrin and others had which give the background being referenced here happened so long ago for me that it’s difficult to recall them in any kind of detail.
So what I think the deal is, is that Khaeriel is the descendant of the Manol vané (and also of Khaemezra aka Thaena, but that’s less important at the moment) and Therin is the descendant of the Kirpis vané (as is his son Kihrin, but that’s also less important at the moment), and now that Khaeriel’s slaughtered his family in retribution for X number of years as a gaeshed slave, she’s dragging Therin off to play Happy Elf Family and, I guess, reclaim the vané throne? Overthrow the humans? Sure, why not.
So on the one hand, I am most definitely not a fan of slavery and cannot really blame Miya/Khaeriel for wanting revenge on her enslavers, but on the other… come on, Galen? He was the only innocent adult in this entire story! And killing children? No, not acceptable. I get it, she’s trying to wipe out the D’mon line, but she has definitely made herself one of the bad guys in doing so. Not cool, Miya/Khaeriel. You seem sure that Therin will get over this and be your elf consort or whatever, but I hope he doesn’t. Also? You’re free, walk away and leave your former captor behind, don’t capture him back! So messed up.
I was initially very upset that Galen was murdered here, but as Therin (and one of my lovely commenters) pointed out, he’s still able to be Returned if someone gets to him fast enough. Maybe all of the D’mons can be resurrected, who knows. So I can live in hope that the one person who didn’t deserve to die, maybe won’t.
And that’s what I got for the penultimate post for Ruin of Kings! We’re almost there, y’all! Come on back for the final chapters next week!