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YMMV / Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

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  • Angst? What Angst?: Invoked in-universe: The Shin way of dealing with grief, including but not restricted to children whose parents die thousands of miles away and are not allowed to attend their funerals. Similarly, Valyn is told to say a prayer for his father in the evening and then, roughly paraphrased, get on with his life.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The Emperor's Blades: Sami Yurl and Balendin Ainoa, a pair of sadistic cadets with the Annur military, are both involved with a plot to overthrow the royal family. Torturing a prostitute to death, they use her hatred and fear of them to fuel Balendin's magic, allowing him to collapse a pub on the Emperor's son, Valyn, endangering dozens of others in the process. When Valyn survives, the two of the lure his friend Ha Lin out to a secluded place and beat her to a pulp, using her emotions to power another assassination attempt on Valyn, for which they frame cadet Annick. During their graduation trials, they take the opportunity to capture Ha Lin and torture her to death, and following graduation, try to assassinate Valyn and his brother. Upon capturing Valyn's squad, the first thing that Balendin brags about is how he will have them handed over to Sami to be raped; Sami himself meets his end at the hands of Valyn while trying to cut him to pieces.
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    • While Yurl is killed, Balendin reappears in the other two books, branching off from the conspiracy to overthrow the ruling dynasty and impressing the Urghal people with his penchant for cruelty and causing pain. With his powers relying on drawing emotions toward himself, Balendin begins taking prisoners and torturing them viciously to draw out their hate and fear, further strengthening him. Becoming the de facto leader of a massive army of Urghal warriors, Balendin leads them to slaughter all in their path, taking hundreds upon hundreds of prisoners while he personally tortures and skins them alive in front of horrified city walls to draw out more and more power for himself, revealing his only loyalties are his complete devotion to his own ego and hunger for power.
  • The Woobie: All three of the main characters, after their father's death - especially the two brothers, who've been away from home for eight years and didn't even get to attend their parents' funerals.
    • Iron Woobie: Kaden, mostly because of the Shin training.
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