Study Guide

Khondamir in Beneath a Marble Sky

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We really don't know what Jahanara's parents were thinking when they arranged for her to marry the despicable brute Khondamir. Of course, there's a political aspect to their union, but does that make up for his overall awfulness?

And we do mean awfulness:

A stout man, he hardly rose to my height and was more than twice my age. But he was a powerful silver merchant and had long opposed many of my father's policies. Our marriage, Father hoped, would help to change his views. Father also greatly wanted to use Khondamir's trading contacts in Persia to find friends north of our border. Father needed such friends to make peace with the Persians, which he had to make for the sake of the empire. Though he seemed to take little interest in me, Khondamir was eager for our coupling, as the arrangement brought him within touching distance of the Peacock Throne. (4.9)

He must've really pulled the wool over their eyes and laid on the charm thick, because there is not one redeeming value this dude possesses that would make up for his boorish, brutal abuse.

He's fat. He's smelly. He's terrible in bed—and he's infertile, too. He's a bigot, a misogynist, and a terrible womanizer. Did we mention that he often makes Jahanara watch him doing the nasty with prostitutes? He drinks until he fouls himself and passes out. He rapes Jahanara, beats her, and has no respect for her whatsoever. Nice guy, right?

It only makes sense, then, that this guy is also a big fan of Aurangzeb. After Jahanara's stolen ring plot accidently makes allies out of her husband and her brother, Khondamir follows that bad dude around like an obedient little rapist puppy, doing whatever he can to make Jahanara's life miserable.

Luckily, Khondamir is duller than a bag of hammers. He's a few sodas short of a six-pack. He's so dumb, he couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions written on the heel.

So, like most of the bad guys in our book, he gets what's coming to him in the end. Jahanara cleverly manipulates Aurangzeb into thinking that Khondamir has been her spy all along. Aurangzeb angrily decapitates his little sidekick, and we all cheered and threw popcorn to celebrate. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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