- Prefacing this with: anything Eugenides does, ever.
- Attolia's rise to power. Her father married her off to an ambitious family who planned to use her position as a minor princess to seize the throne. Because she acts like a stupid Shrinking Violet, they openly discuss their treasonous plans around her while she collects coleus leaves and catalogs her jewelry. Accordingly, her brother mysteriously dies shortly after he takes the throne, and her husband formally marries her to take the kingship. He gloats loudly until he takes a sip of wine from her cup (which she has been fake-drinking from because it's full of coleus poison). Then when a courtier demands she marry him as her erstwhile husband is cooling, she orders one of the guards to kill him, having bought them all off with her jewelry.
- Gen taking on the whole Queen's Guard and winning. Even when one of them turned out to be trying to kill him, he hardly thought of him as a threat at all!
- The following exchange. And even better is the attendants' reactions.
Attolia: Ninety-eight days. You said it would take six months.Euginides: I like to give myself a margin when I can.
- The entire first book is revealed as one for Gen. Not only has he managed to retrieve Hamiathes' gift for his cousin, the Queen of Eddis, but it's revealed that the entire book was his plan to make sure Eddis wouldn't have to marry Sounis. Even better, it becomes clear on rereading that he has never once outright lied.
- Conspiracy of Kings: The new king of Sounis has to be elected by the council of barons. Sophos gives an impassioned speech about uniting with Eddis and Attolia against the Mede threat, cooperation, and other such things that cast him as a Wide-Eyed Idealist to a bunch of hard, cynical men... so they vote him down, and the Mede ambassador gloats appropriately by asking if he really expected that to work. "Not on the first vote," says Sophos. And then he shoots the leader of the rebellious barons dead, and holds the ambassador at gunpoint — specifically because if he were to aim at anyone else, the other barons might think they were safe. The barons unanimously vote him in as king.