A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Two Dark Reigns

September 11, 2018 Spoiler-Filled Discussion 28

NOTE: In case you missed the title of this post, BE WARNED NOW THAT IT WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! If you want my non-spoilery thoughts on this book, check out my review instead. (There’s also a giveaway!) Or, if you haven’t read this one yet, then feel free to check out my Spoiler-Filled Discussions of Three Dark Crowns, of One Dark Throne and of “The Young Queens” and “The Oracle Queen.”

I just finished book three of this series, and there were some big surprises! Of course, we still haven’t gotten all of our questions answered (there’s one more book to go!), but we did learn a lot in this installment. So, let’s dive right in…

Daphne/Illiana

These characters weren’t really part of the story before, but they drive the main plotline of this book, so I’m starting with them.

My theories:

  • Right at the beginning, when we see the birth of the Blue Queen and the other queens were supposed to be killed, I thought that the midwife was going to spare one or more of them. Then just a few sentences later, I realized that wasn’t true, BUT the elemental queen (who we later learn is Daphne) wasn’t actually killed; instead, she was put on a raft to drift off to sea.
    • I immediately thought, “This explains everything!” What if Jules is a descendant of Daphne and that’s how she’s a queen? 
    • Maybe the reason no other descendants have been queens is that no other babies were conceived by a king-consort during Beltane? (We don’t know for sure that this true of Jules, but it makes sense.)
    • I thought for sure that we would discover that Daphne had babies on the mainland and the king-consort was one of her descendants.
  • Only problem is, we learn that Daphne didn’t stay on the mainland. She became the Blue Queen (which I suspected, but I thought maybe she’d have some babies first—doesn’t seem like that’s the case).
    • So I guess that blows my theory of Jules’s heritage out of the water? Unless there are some other stray queens out there that we still don’t know about? Or Daphne or Illiana had babies we don’t know about?
    • We find that the Goddess didn’t seem to have a problem with having two queens alive on the island. So this supports my theory that the Goddess isn’t the one enforcing the “rules” when it comes to the queens and who lives and who dies—I think it’s just The Black Council doing that.
  • Apparently Queen Illiana is the mist.
    • And she’s not so keen about the way things have been going on the island. So she got all murdery.
    • BUT she hasn’t actually killed Jules OR Katharine. (It seems like she could have easily killed either of them, right?) So, I guess she’s not specifically on either of their sides? Or maybe she’s mad at both of them? We don’t really know why Illiana has chosen this moment to revolt.
    • Daphne tells Arsinoe that a queen (AKA Mirabella) has to die to stop the mist. I’m still not exactly sure why. Maybe Mirabella has to become mist too? Anybody have any other theories about that?
    • Oh, and this quote at the end of One Dark Throne seems even more important now that we know that the mist is actually Illiana: “It swirls around the boat greedily with something that seems almost like relief… As if it was Jules, truly, who the island was trying to keep.” So apparently Illiana wanted Jules to stay!
  • Am I crazy, or did Daphne actually push Illiana off that cliff? If so, should we really be trusting her?

Jules

My original theories:

My original theory was that Jules was going to turn out to be the true Naturalist queen. I based this on her strong naturalist powers and on the fact that she was a Beltane baby who supposedly looks nothing like her family. I thought maybe Jules and Katherine were switched at birth, and another commenter suggested that Jules was actually a Blue Queen. But the novellas proved both these theories wrong, since we were able to see the birth of the triplets. Other commenters suggested that Jules is related to the queens not via their mother but by their father, the King-Consort. This could still be true.

In One Dark Throne we learned that when Jules was born, an oracle said she would be the ruin of the island and that she is legion cursed–meaning she has two different gifts. By the end of this book I was still convinced that Jules is the true Queen.

What did we learn in Two Dark Reigns?

  • Well, so far Jules’s quest for the throne hasn’t gone so well. It looked like it might happen for a little while until …
  • Jules truly does go mad when her war gift is unbound—and it’s not pretty!
  • There is a possibility that the oracle’s vision of a legion-cursed girl being the ruin of the island could refer to Katharine, since she has more than one gift as well, which technically makes her a legion queen. (This idea was brought up directly by Madrigal.)
  • The mist (Illiana) wanted her to stay on the island and hasn’t killed her (yet).
  • Madrigal had a boy! So, does that mean that the Milone sisters curse has been broken and won’t affect Jules? (Supposedly, the Milone sisters always had two daughters and one was barren.)

What are my predictions now?

  • I refuse to let go of the idea that Jules is meant to rule, either by herself or with the other queens.
  • I have to assume that Jules is somehow descended from the queens, even though she’s not one of Queen Camille’s triplets.
    • The best theory seems to be that she’s the king-consort’s daughter, conceived during the Beltane. I also still wonder if she’s somehow descended from a queen who was supposed to be killed but wasn’t. (Daphne? Illiana? Someone else?)

Katharine & Pietyr

My original theories:

I was fairly certain that Katharine has no gift of her own. All of her gifts seem to come from the dead queens. One commenter mentioned that her true gift might just be suppressed because of all the poisons she’s ingested (like we saw with Queen Elsabet in “The Oracle Queen”).

I thought we were going to find out that something happened to Pietyr in the Breccia. But so far that doesn’t seem to be true. Apparently, he just went in there and nothing happened and he came out? I don’t quite get it. In fact, every time I think something interesting is happening with Pietyr, it turns out to be nothing. I’m beginning to think Pietyr’s just a boring character who’s there to adore Katharine (and try to save her from herself) and not much else.

In One Dark Throne, we also learned that  Katharine is literally poison, and she can’t have triplets and carry on the family “tradition.”

What did we learn in Two Dark Reigns?

  • Katharine confirms that she has no gift except for what she gets from the dead queens.
  • She goes back to being sweet Katharine from book one most of the time, but every once in a while the dead queens take over and get a little taste of blood. (And they managed to unbind Jules’s war gift in the process. Oops!)
  • Now that she’s queen, most of the leaders of the island are loyal to her (the people are another matter—they’re sort of terrified of her and the mist).
  • She decides to let Pietyr help her get rid of the dead queens (after the Madrigal disaster), but then changes her mind in the heat of the moment. She ends up basically drowning Peter in dead queen essence until he bleeds out his eyes and ears. Not a good sign.

What are my predictions now?

  • Since she didn’t get rid of the dead queens, we can’t really root for Katharine at this point. I’m assuming that in book three, the queens will somehow band together and help Katharine break free? (Or they’ll just end up killing her. But it looks like Mirabella is going to side with Katharine, at least for a little while, so I’m guessing she’ll end up finding love for her little sister once again.)
  • Looks like Pietyr’s dead. So I guess I don’t have to worry that he ended up being a boring character?

Mirabella & Arsinoe

My original theory:

I didn’t all that many major theories about Mirabella or Arsinoe. Several commenters pointed out Mirabella’s vivid dreams and wondered if she might have the sight gift in addition to the elemental gift, but that doesn’t seem to be where the series is going.

What did we learn in Two Dark Reigns?

We learned a few things about these two, but most of them had to do with the Blue Queen storyline, so I already summed them up there. But for good measure:

  • Arsinoe’s supposed to tell Mirabella that she has to die to get rid of the mist. Arsinoe’s basically said there’s no way she’ll do that. (Why wouldn’t Daphne had just told Mirabella directly? Mirabella was way more likely to sacrifice herself to save everyone than Arsinoe would be to sacrifice her sister.)
  • Mirabella has had misgiving all along about Jules’s revolt. She believes strongly that Katharine is the true queen now, like it or not. At the end of the book, it looks like Mirabella is heading out to support Katharine (after she’s prodded by some old friends and reminded that she used to love both her sisters, not just Arsinoe.)

Overall Predictions for the End of the Series

This has been a crazy roller coaster ride, and I’ve loved every minute! I honestly have no idea where this will all end because Blake has certainly kept me guessing, BUT I’ve got some theories. Who knows, maybe some of these might turn out to be correct!

  • Like I already said, I think Mirabella’s going to find some sympathy for little Kat and try to help her. Hopefully they’ll find a way to be rid of the dead queens once and for all.
  • I’m assuming Arsinoe will find a way to cure Jules, BUT there will still be a war because the war gift is still strong in Jules.
  • Anybody else expecting a romance between Jules and Emilia? Jules seems to be the last one to see Emilia’s feelings for her. (I suspected long before any of the characters seemed to.)
  • I have a sad suspicion that Mirabella’s going to be the only queen who doesn’t survive. She’ll probably end up sacrificing herself to defeat the mist. Because that’s the kind of person Mirabella is. Unless…
  • Maybe the mist is just trying to get them to stop the cycle of queen-killing? I don’t think it’s the Goddess who has made the island politics the way they are, so maybe all the queens can live after all? And maybe that would appease the dead queens too (though, I’m sort of doubting that—they seem awfully bloodthirsty).
  • I sure hope we find out the secrets of Jules’s parentage. (If we don’t, I’ll probably scream.)
  • In the end, I think we’ll end up with more than one queen OR with just Jules as a queen. We shall see!

What did you think of book three? How do you think it will all end? I want to know!

28 Responses to “A Spoiler-Filled Discussion of Two Dark Reigns”

  1. Kerry Garrigan

    I don’t think that Jules is the daughter of a king-consort because the king’s blood doesn’t seem too important, just the queens: plus a lot of the consorts were expected to cheat so it seems that there should be a lot more king’s daughters if they were important. I do really like the idea that other queens have survived (Daphne’s survival and the switch between Arsinoe and Kat and the unsanctioned by the Goddess killing of the Oracle Queens show that the whole process is a lot less certain than people seem to believe) and that their descendants are important (perhaps the Milone curse with their odd birthing pattern is because of queen descent – maybe the curse is broken because of the Low Magic, the interbreeding with the Sandrins who only father boys, or because Jules is a Queen now and the rest of the line is now unimportant.) The Jules was a queen line could be because she is descended from a queen or is reincarnated from a queen? I also think Jules was originally twins (the two gifts and the two colored eyes could mean that she absorbed a twin in the womb?) I think that Arsinoe is going to return to Low Magic like Madigral to bind Jules madness. I think that Kat really does have some weak naturalist powers like her mother saw: just weak from the poisons and now covered by the dead queens and that sweet heart was her familiar or maybe the second one is? Still would like to know what’s up with the Tree and the low magic and what does the Mist want. Do think that the Queens (all four) will end the way things have been done and make a new system.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      You have so many fantastic theories here! I agree that I’ve been a little skeptical that the king-consort’s blood alone would cause a new queen to be born—seems like there would have to be some queen’s blood in there. I was so convinced it was going to be Daphne’s, but it didn’t seem like it by the end of the book.

      I hadn’t really thought about the Milone curse being thwarted by a queen being born, and I had completely forgotten that the Sandrins only have boys while the Milones only have girls. That seems important!

      The theory about twins is an interesting one too. And I think you’re right that there’s a good chance low magic will be involved with releasing Jules from the curse (or binding her war gift again).

      So many things to think about! That’s why I love these posts—I love to read everyone’s theories!!

    • Anna

      I think the bent-over tree MUST be where they buried the oracle from Jules’ birth.
      I like the idea that Arsinoe goes back to low magic to save Jules.
      I think Katherine is dead though, and the queens are animating her body. Mirabella will have to kill her.

  2. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    Okay, so I have predictions, which are quite possibly 100% wrong, of course.

    I’m thinking Mirabella will indeed sacrifice herself to “fix” the mist (now there is a weird sentence).

    I think Katherine will evict the dead queens and either die a redemptive death (saving one of her sisters? or the island?) or will have to live without magic.

    Leaving Jade and Arisinoe to rule and to change how everything is done. Nobody will be killing off babies or sisters once all the dust settles.

    And with Joseph and Pietyr dead, I’m a bit concerned about “Junior’s” future as well. Oh, and I really wanted Mirabella to be gay in the first book; she was so close to her girlfriends, but then the whole one night stand thing happened. Maybe she can still be bi? Or maybe Jules will be? I just find it a bit odd that in a society where women are so powerful there aren’t more lesbians. It just seems like they wouldn’t need to be closeted, so wouldn’t they be a small but present part of society?

    I also think that there will EITHER be a complete separation of Fennbirn from the rest of the world, OR a complete co-mingling.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Oooh, I hadn’t really thought about the fate of Fennbirn vs. the Mainland—I think you might be right about that. I’m sort of guessing that we will get a romance between Jules and Emilia. Emilia’s society is the only one that has any hints of women commonly being gay. I agree that’s sort of strange when their world is so run by women.

  3. N Sanders

    I have a few comments and predictions, but what I really want to know is “What about Billy?” Remember the Arrons want revenge on his whole family for Natalia’s death!!!
    PS I really think that the dead queens are going to completely control Katharine and try to kill Mirabella… going back on her oath to partner with her if she stands with the Crown against the rebellion.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Oh, you make a really good point—I can’t believe I left Billy out since he’s now in some pretty serious danger. And he plans to go “find” his dad, which we obviously know isn’t going to end well.

      You might be right about Katharine and Mirabella. I worry about poor M—she’s headed for a lot of danger.

  4. Verhana

    There is a possibility that the oracle’s vision of a legion-cursed girl being the ruin of the island could refer to Katharine, since she has more than one gift as well, which technically makes her a legion queen.

    Katharine confirms that she has no gift except for what she gets from the dead queens.

    Hi! Just got confused from your conflicting statements here since it is both labeled as “what we learned from…”. So is Kat really gifltess or not?

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Kat has basically confirmed that she has no gift of her own (though she could be mistaken), BUT she has multiple gifts from the dead queens, so technically she could be considered a legion queen. Madrigal brought up that theory, so … we shall see! 🙂

      • Ashley

        If I am not mistaken, in the “Queens of Fennbirn” book, it states that Katherine is born a Naturalist, but it was not much, much like how Arsinoe is born a Poisoner, but again, not much in comparison to Mirabella’s Elemental strength. Queen Camille switched Arsinoe & Katherine at birth because she felt in her gut that Mirabella was going to be crowned queen due to her intense powers, so to make it easier for Mirabella to claim the throne, it wouldn’t be much of a fight from her lesser sisters if she simply switched them & they never strengthened their powers.

        I think Katherine being poisoned all of those years has definitely lessened her naturalist gift, & also to Katherine, she never even considered being a naturalist because she was brought up believing she was a poisoner, & to not have the poisoner gift, I think that is why Katherine considers herself giftless. But Katherine is, in fact, a naturalist, so she must have the gift, but never worked on it.

        If they allowed Katherine to embrace her naturalist (had anyone knew) then she was would be as powerful as Arsinoe, the poisoner. But still, not as strong as Mirabella, but enough to give Mirabella a run for her money…

        But! I also believe Katherine is, in fact, dead (which makes me sad, because she might be my favorite — I don’t know, I switch between Katherine & Mirabella all the time on who I like more) so she is “giftless” because she’s… well… dead LOL.

        I can’t say who I want on the throne, or who I think will end up on the throne… It’s looking like Arsinoe will be the one who is crowned queen, simply because a poisoner always seems to win, somehow, some way. I think Mirabella will die by sacrificing herself & become the “new mist” & Katherine is already dead sooooo…

        I don’t know about Jules, I think Arsinoe will end up killing her best friend for the sake of the island (because her Legion Curse is on a 10000% right now).

        So the only one who will be left to rule will be Arsinoe, & she already has a king-consort, Billy (if he survives).

  5. Greg

    Ok I just finished Two Dark Reigns, so… I got the distinct impression that the Goddess may be a little more laid back than maybe previously thought, and that between the Black Council and the dead queens there are actually OTHERS driving all these events. Or the traditions that are supposedly so important. I mean we’ve already seen from the novellas how Elsabet has been completely misrepresented! I don’t doubt that the Goddess has her preferences, but she seems not to be driving events personally? I thought the killing mist was the Goddess being pissed off, but then we find out it’s Illianna. And I wondered the same thing… DID Daphne push Illianna? It’s not stated explicitly but it sure seems like it.

    I still think Jules is the rightful Queen too. And yeah there’s some connection between Illianna and Jules, seems like.

    I kinda hope Pietyr’s dead? I’m not crazy about him anyway and we need more body count. I guess we’ll see.

    I think Daphne’s manipulating Ars and that’s why she didn’t just appear to or tell Mira about her “having to die”. She wants Arsinoe to struggle with it and keep it from Mira, I think? And this book just solidified for me how much I like Mirabella. She just seems so selfless and admirable- I REALLY hope she survives. I’ve always liked Arsinoe, and Katharine too (when she’s herself), but Mirabella is right up there with Jules for me as favorites. I don’t, however, like that Mira appears to be going to Katharine to join her. I think she’d stay with Arsinoe, Bree and Elizbeth notwithstanding, but maybe that’s just me.

    Between the dead queens (they’re awful) and Daph, the sisters have their hands full! The dead queens have really become an integral part of the story and I’ll be curious what it takes for them to be laid to rest. Also Jules and Emilia- yeah I have mixed feelings about Emilia and how hard she pushes Jules, but it does seem pretty obvious that she wants more from their relationship. And it was nice to see oracles too.

    I was really worried about Camden too. 🙂

  6. Sophia Shanks

    I feel like i’m the only one who wants Arsinoe to end up ruling. Below are a hell of a lot of theories, written out in a very badly worded and extremely incorrect grammatical format. With sleep deprivation and a lot of red bull as fuel for the thought process. What you’re about to read is like the Breccia Domain of my mind.

    I think Katharine is going to die, whether that be she can’t live with herself after killing Pieter, the dead queens leave her and she dies, she tries to escape everything by going to the mainland where likely without the dead queens she would die – unlikely but there have been so many twists and turns through the series it’s possible -, or by getting killed by one of her sisters/Jules/Emilia – which being real is probably what is going to happen.

    Mirabella is going to either take her life to save the islanders from the mist, or Arsinoe is going to find a way to stop the mist without needing her to die and Mira will go back to the mainland. My ideal would be she does it in front of Arsinoe in a way that mimics the way, Illianna became the mist when Daphne was there watching (or killing her, i mean lets be honest that still isn’t really clear). Maybe Arsinoe will push Mira off of the same cliff. As of now i don’t think that Arisinoe would kill Mira to stop the mist, however since we don’t know what her reaction will be once she finds out that Mira has left her to be with Katharine it’s hard to say.
    Side note maybe even Katherine will lose control because of the dead queens and kill Mira, causing Arsinoe to get justice for her beloved sister (like I said in all of my theories Mira and Katherine both die).

    Continuing on to the Arsinoe theories, The shop keeper said that people in wolf springs had been hoping it was true that there was a poison queen who wasn’t corrupt – disclaimer, this is a summary not a direct quote so he said something along those lines – so it seems fitting that she be the rightful ruler in my opinion as she’s powerful, but fair and wasn’t raised with the high priestess and temple to corrupt her, or the black counsel.

    Jules is currently going mad with the legion curse, however Arsinoe has gotten pretty freaking good with using low magic so I believe that she will use the low magic at LEAST once more to bind Jules or release her from her war gift, if that happens then maybe Jules will end up being the one and only queen. However if i’m being real here, soooooooooooo many people are shipping Jules and Emilia – me included – and if they get together who is going to bare the next queens/queen (or will a king rule next? I mean endless possibilities here, maybe Madrigals son will become a king, ruling after Jules). I think that Arsinoe and Billy should take the throne and have the next triplets, with Jules and Emilia on their counsel. Then go live happily in the mainland after they have finished their rule.

    I know that Blake will probably end the books with not having the next line of royalty be triplets (i’m not sure how she’ll do it and i may be wrong). Why would we watch the characters struggle in the book as they realize, and us as readers realize that this system of doing things just doesn’t work anymore. Saying that though, we know that each time a queen with a specific gift rules, that gift becomes stronger with the other people who share it over time – which is why the poisoners are so strong after having so many poisoner queens in a row- so if that system of deciding a queen is stopped, then what will happen to the gifts?

    If Jules becomes a queen, will the goddess give her triplets even if she doesn’t have queen blood? If that doesn’t happen then Jules will only give birth to naturalist and war gifted children (i’m assuming, it’s not like everyone in Wolf springs is giving birth to poisoners and elementals, and we don’t really know how gifts are passed on & how much the mother/father contribute to a gift- another disclaimer is I haven’t read Queens of Fennbirn yet so I may be missing some info on this subject), so would that mean other gifts would get progressively weaker as time goes on until eventually the “magic” is gone from the island and it becomes like the mainland.

    Which brings me to my last point…

    Without the mist the island will be discovered by the mainland? After all it’s the only thing that was keeping them hidden and safe. Without the mist will one of the queens find a way to close off the island forever and no longer have suitors come in from the mainland to court the future queens (if there are future queens), or will it become known and once again easily accessible. In which case will there be more wars (after all they believe that magic is caused by witches, and island of witches is definitely going to cause fear and a war would surely follow). Or if there are no more queens in the future, will the island slowly drain of magic until it’s “normal”.

    I don’t really have any theories about what will happen with Billy, or the Goddess, or exactly what will continue with the mist that was once the true Blue Queen. My brain is full enough with the three queen theories. The comment by Kerry Garrigan above with all of the Jules theories is amazing. I do also agree with the comment that theorized that the bent over tree is where they buried the oracle from Jules birth, I thought the exact same thing!

    If someone made it all the way through well done!! I’ve been having these theories in my head all day driving me nuts and had to get them out somewhere 😭😭😭

    • Ashley

      Hey, I really like this!

      I wouldn’t say that I want Arsinoe on the throne, but I do believe she will be the one who ends up on the throne. But I also think it will be at the cost of losing everyone: Katherine, Joseph, Mirabella, Jules, Camden, maybe even Billy…

      It’s looking like Arsinoe will be the one who is crowned queen, simply because a poisoner always seems to win, somehow, some way. & your statement about how the people of Wolf Spring wouldn’t mind a poisoner queen so long as she wasn’ corrupted makes it even more believable…

      I think Mirabella will die by sacrificing herself & become the “new mist” & to me, I think Katherine is already dead ever since the Breccia Doman incident… sooooo…

      I don’t know about Jules, I think Arsinoe will end up killing her best friend for the sake of the island (because her Legion Curse is on a 10000% right now).

      So the only one who will be left to rule will be Arsinoe, & she already has a king-consort, Billy (if he survives).

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I can totally relate to having theories in your head that just want to get out. That’s why I started writing these posts in the first place! I would be totally on board with Arsinoe as queen with Billy by her side. I sort of hope poor Mira just gets to live in peace on the mainland, but I have a feeling your death theory is more likely. 🙁

      • Ashley

        I agree, because Mirabella is my favorite, I hope somehow she can escape death… But I actually really hope she ends up being queen because she’s the second most knowledgable about the role, & only second to Katherine, who really knows how to play role well.

        I think Arsinoe being queen would be a disaster, especially if she doesn’t have her ideal Black Council with her. She does not work well with outsiders, so that is the ONLY reason why I think Arsinoe being queen may not happen.

  7. Sarah

    I just finished the book and it occured to me that Katherine mentioned that there weren’t many dead elemental queens. That could mean two things. The first is that elemental queens won most of the time, which seems pretty likely. However, something else could be happening. My theory is that after the Daphne/Ilianne fiasco the elemental queen of the triplets has to always be sacrificed in order to keep the mist up and running. Though again it might not be something important. I also think that Jules’ brother, Fenn, will have an important role to play in the next book. Other than that I don’t have any other theories.

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