This snippet reveals the way that Mikeli of Tsaia thinks about the responsibilities of a royal marriage. There are no plot spoilers.
Where: palace in Vérella, Tsaia
Who: King Mikeli of Tsaia and his younger brother Prince Camwyn
“You should see this,” Mikeli said. “It’s from the king of Kostandan. He thinks I should marry his daughter Ganlin.”
“I thought Rothlin was interested in her,” Camwyn said, reaching for a hot roll. “He said she seemed to like him.” Then he remembered he’d heard that via Aris, his sister Gwenno, and Beclan, which made it gossip. He stuffed the roll in his mouth.
“Close to the throne isn’t the throne,” Mikeli said. He put the scroll down and picked up a tumbler of juice. “I hate this, you know. Girls are all very well, and I must have a wife, but I understand how Kieri Phelan felt when they pressured him. And now he’s married and happy with it. I suppose I will be.”
“Will you marry this girl, then?” Camwyn tried to sound more adult and sensible than he felt. Girls–Aris’s sisters, or the others he knew–were just people, as far as he was concerned. Pretty or plain didn’t matter as much as whether they were lively or dull.
Camwyn’s at a very awkward age, obviously. He’s trying to be more grown-up and take an adult interest in issues, but his thinking skills and attitudes are still very boyish….and time is running out as events press on both of them. Mikeli’s trying to be a good big brother while also being the king in a situation already difficult and soon to be much more so.
Even if they were the same age, they would not be identical twins. Camwyn’s more impulsive, more “hot” in his reactions; Mikeli’s more reflective and “cool.” Both are basically good-hearted, but in very different styles.