Another guest post today which is the second part of Jade’s parallels post!
A continuation of the Nahri and Ali parallels in The City of Brass, this post takes a look at their actions and situations in The Kingdom of Copper.
During my rereads of the Daevabad Trilogy, I’ve noticed a number of parallels between the two main protagonists, Nahri and Prince Alizayd. From their echoed actions and thoughts to certain life circumstances, Nahri and Ali are like two corner pieces that eventually meet in the middle.
Featuring major spoilers for The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper, I’ve compiled a list with 39 examples. I’ve divided these into three categories: actions/thoughts, life circumstances, and skills/interests, with quotes and page numbers (from the US hardback copies) for context. Let’s dive in!
THE KINGDOM OF COPPER (with callbacks to The City of Brass) (20)
- Reprimanding their unadventurous companions. KoC (Nahri, ch. 1 pg. 42: “You know, for a magical being, you have a terrible sense of adventure.” and Ali, ch. 2 pg. 53: “And you are all sadly lacking a spirit of enterprise.”)
- Fear of the future, don’t feel like they can be happy. KoC (Ali, ch. 2 pg. 61: “Dread crept over him. Yes, it seemed to answer, swallowing the simple fantasies running through his mind’s eye. For in Ali’s experience, dreaming of a better future had only ever led to destruction.” and Nahri, ch. 26 pg. 424: “When I try to imagine my future here, Nisreen, I see nothing. I feel like the very act of envisioning the things that make me happy will destroy them.”)
- Denying their temperament and what might fix it. KoC (Ali, ch. 2 pg. 58-59: [Lubayd:] “You should start building a life here. I suspect marriage would vastly improve your temperament.” […] “an irritable prince exiled to the land of his forefathers . . .” Ali’s temper finally snapped as he reached for the tent flap. “I am not irritable.” and Nahri, ch. 6 pg. 111: [Muntadhir:] “And you clearly need to relax. Consider it a professional duty.” His hands slipped underneath her tunic. “Surely your patients will be better served by having a Banu Nahida who’s not in such a snappish mood.” Nahri sighed, pressing closer to him despite herself. […] “I am not snappish . . .”)
- Marriage being used as an excuse to get rest. KoC (Nahri, ch. 6 pg. 111: “She had been under a great deal of stress lately, and she often got more sleep the nights she spent in Muntadhir’s room;” and Ali, ch. 22 pg. 355: [Hatset:] “it wouldn’t be the worst idea for you to burn a marriage mask with a nice shafit girl. Maybe then you’d actually visit your bed instead of working yourself to death.”)
- Thinks the other looks good in their feast outfit. KoC (Ali, ch. 12 pg. 214: “Ali looked equally taken aback by the sight of Nahri, his shocked gaze traveling from her uncovered head down her bare arms. She heard him take a sharp breath.” and Nahri, ch. 12 pg. 215: “Nahri hated to admit such a thing, but he looked striking in his new clothes, the beautifully dyed robe highlighting his haughty features and luminous dark skin.”
- “It was the wrong thing to say.” KoC (Nahri, ch. 23 pg. 381: “Ghassan gave her an annoyed look. ‘Stand down, Banu Nahri,’ he said condescendingly. ‘I do not have the patience for one of your self-important speeches right now. Let your husband punish you as he sees fit.’ It was exactly the wrong thing to say.” and Ali, ch. 29 pg. 461: “Muntadhir drew nearer, his grin fading. ‘Or maybe you’ve been intruding upon my world for so long—insinuating yourself with my wife, embarrassing me before Abba—that you’ve forgotten your place.’ He said the final words in Geziriyya, his voice low. ‘Maybe you need a reminder.’ It was the wrong thing to say.”)
- Terrified of the other standing up to Ghassan, fear they’ll be killed for it. KoC (Ali, ch. 25 pg. 406: “He could still remember her—small in comparison to his father, exhausted and covered in ash, but thoroughly defiant, heat rippling through the air when she spoke, the stone street shivering with magic. It was one of the bravest acts he’d ever witnessed. And it petrified him, for Ali knew all too well how his father handled threats.” and Nahri, ch. 28 pg. 450: “‘And how many more people will die while we wait for that day?’ Their gazes locked. There was nothing but conviction in the warm gray of his eyes. No cunning, no deception. It terrified her. Because whatever history was between them, Nahri did not think she had it in her to watch the kind man who’d built her this office, this quiet homage to the home she still loved—the man who’d taught her to read and helped her summon flames for the first time—be executed in the arena.”)
- Moving slowly with exhaustion in every line of their body. KoC (Ali, ch. 28, pg. 443: “Ali sat up. His movements were slow, bone-weary exhaustion written into every line of his body.” and Nahri, ch. 31 pg. 486: “He watched her set aside the forceps and touch the little boy’s face before pushing slowly to her feet, exhaustion in every line of her body.”)
- Asking God for help before attempting something scary. KoC (Nahri, ch. 30 pg. 481: “A sandstorm. Nahri caught her breath. Creator, please, she prayed. Help me save my city.” and Ali, ch. 31 pg. 492: “God forgive me. God guide me. ‘I’m very sorry, Abu Nuwas,’ he said quietly. Ali’s hand dropped to his khanjar. ‘But I’m not going back to the palace.'”)
- Horrified at the thought of ghouls entering their city and devouring innocents. Interestingly, both situations had ghouls unleashed by Vizaresh with Dara present. CoB (Nahri, ch. 2 pg. 34: “‘You mean there’s a chance these things might get out and start feasting on everyone in Cairo?’ He looked thoughtful. ‘That would provide a distraction…’ Perhaps noticing her horror, he quickly changed the subject.”) and KoC (Ali, ch. 36 pg. 536: “And then his heart stopped. A ragged hole had been punched into the wall facing the street. […] ‘Are those things in our city?’”)
- Pulled the ceiling down on someone they love. CoB (Ali, ch. 28 pg. 497: “The rain drummed against the glass above him, the water achingly close. […] Ali took a deep breath, trying to quell the emotions churning inside him. Something metallic groaned above their heads. A small leak sprang. […] The roof gave out.”) and KoC (Nahri, ch. 38 pg. 565-566: “Nahri inhaled, suddenly aware of every brick and stone and mote of dust in the building around her. […] In an explosion of plaster and stone, Nahri brought the ceiling down on him.”)
- Admitting in a daze that the other is their friend. CoB (Ali, ch. 24 pg. 436: “‘You’re not terrible,’ he declared. ‘You’re my friend.’”) and KoC (Nahri, ch. 40 pg. 592: “‘He… He’s my friend.’ It was a ridiculous answer and yet it was the first that came to her.”)
- Bad reputation with a tribe they haven’t actually hurt. CoB (Ali, ch. 8 pg. 157: [regarding Kaveh:] “‘He wants you away from Abba, ideally away from Daevabad and back in Am Gezira, where you can’t do anything to hurt his people.’ Ali threw up his hands. ‘I haven’t done anything to his people!'”) and KoC (Nahri, ch. 8 pg. 125: “She bristled. ‘Why should they hate me? I was raised in the human world!’ ‘And then you came back here at the side of a man famous for using a scourge to determine the color of someone’s blood,’ Muntadhir pointed out. ‘You have a reputation with them, Nahri, like it or not.'”)
- Understands the feeling of their appearance not matching the expectation of their role. KoC (Ali, Nahri, ch. 21 pg. 350: “‘No,’ he replied tonelessly. ‘I suppose of the two of us, Muntadhir looks more like what people expect of a Qahtani prince.’ She realized too late the double meaning of her words. ‘Oh, no, Ali. That’s not what I meant. Not at all.’ Every time Nahri pinned her chador over her human-round ears, she had the same feelings about her appearance not matching expectations, and it made her sick to think she might have implied the same to someone else.”)
- Attacked by a massive marid-controlled water beast. CoB (Nahri, ch. 11 pg. 211: “A serpent the size of a small mountain and made entirely of rushing black water.”) and KoC (Ali, ch. 33 pg. 507-508: “The water was rising. […] It rose higher and higher, blocking the stars and mountains to tower over the city. The rough outline of a reptilian head formed, it’s mouth opening to reveal glistening fangs.”)
- Attacked by a swarm of ghouls, with one biting into their shoulder. CoB (Nahri, ch. 2 pg. 37: “Managing to wrench an elbow free, she shoved at it hard. The ghoul fell away but took a good piece of her shoulder with it.”) and KoC (Ali, ch. 36 pg. 545: “There was a blur of bone, the scent of rot and blood overwhelming as they tore into him. Ali screamed as one bit deeply into his already wounded shoulder.”)
- They both have their father’s eyes. CoB (Ali, ch. 4 pg. 64: “All he’d inherited from his father was his dark steel eyes.”) and KoC (Nahri, ch. 40 pg. 592: [Manizheh:] “Marid curse be damned– you still have his eyes.”)
- Both have a monsterous family member that will kill innocents to reach their goals. KoC (Nahri, ch. 19 pg. 320: [Dara:] ‘These are innocents. Children. Travelers coming to celebrate Navasatem…’ […] ‘Then we will be monsters.’ Manizheh declared. ‘I will pay that price to end this war.’” and Ali, ch. 25 pg. 410: “He knew his father had done some awful things, but sinking a ship full of fleeing child refugees was pure evil. It didn’t matter who Ghassan had been hunting.”)
- Talks a lot about the things that interest them. CoB (Ali, ch. 20 pg. 358: “He’d answer, she knew; he answered all her questions. By God, sometimes he talked so much it could be difficult to get him to stop.”) and KoC (Nahri, ch. 6 pg. 109: [Muntadhir:] “You, who barely stops talking about your work in the infirmary, discovered your ancestors’ old hospital and a group of freed ifrit slaves, and your only comment is ‘It was interesting’?”)
- Strongly deny facts they don’t want to face. KoC (Nahri, ch. 9 pg. 178: [regarding Dara] “He wouldn’t have started a war. I wouldn’t have let him.” and Ali, ch. 9 pg. 179: [Nahri:] “’They changed you, didn’t they? The marid?’ Ali went cold. ‘No,’ he insisted, to himself as much as to her. ‘They did nothing.’”)
That’s all for now! Can’t wait to see what new parallels and callbacks exist in The Empire of Gold.
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