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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
By N.K. Jemisin

Discussed April 2011

Buy from



  • Yeine Darr
  • Kinneth
  • Dekarta
  • Viraine
  • Scimina
  • Relad
  • T’vril
  • Ygreth
  • Shahar Arameri
  • Aetr Arameri
  • Lord Hakar


  • Itempas
  • Nahadoth
  • Enefa
  • Sieh
  • Zhakkarn
  • Kurue


  • Yeine’s father
  • Yeine’s grandmother Beba
  • Ras Onchi

Discussion Questions

  1. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  2. Instead of the traditional motif of duality (good/evil, black/white), the book presented a motif of three (black/white/gray & colors, night/day/dawn & twilight, order/chaos/balance, peace/strife/creation of life). Do you think this was well executed? Why or why not?
  3. The book has a LOT of themes: slavery, power, motherhood, innocence, family, sex, sanity, love, hope, strength, colonialism, genocide, religion, creation. Was there a theme you thought was particularly powerful? What did you think of the manner in which Jemisin wove them together?
  4. Scimina is a uniquely one-dimensional character in a story where everyone seems to have an unexplained backstory or motivation except for her. Do you think the book would have worked as well if she had been more complex?
  5. Yeine spends a lot of time insisting she is not an Arameri. “What is it that an Arameri should know? How to be cruel. How to spend life like currency and wield death itself as a weapon.” We also learn that in her coming of age ceremony, she killed a man so that she could become ennu. At Sky, she begins to do things that make her horrified. There’s a bit of a turning point at Gem. By the end of the book, do you think she is more Arameri or more Darre? Is there a difference?
  6. What did you think of the use of magic in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms?
  7. For much of the narrative, Yeine is stuck in the quandary that the only way to beat the Arameri is to become evil and mad like them. Then, at the end, there seems to be a third option. Did the third option work for you? Why or why not?
  8. Kurue doesn’t get much facetime, so it’s hard to get a grip on why she did what she did. Do you think her death was necessary? Were you troubled by it?
  9. Do you see the book as an oblique commentary on contemporary political issues? Some examples are race, weapons of mass destruction, parallels between the Enlightenment and “The Bright.”
  10. What other questions do you have?
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