Unsong chapter 30 describes a climatic duel.

Then the Other King himself took the field, ripping through the Comet King’s troops with secret Names of fire and night. The Coloradan line began to buckle. And so the Comet King, looking terribly old with his white hair and lined face, strode to the front of his ranks and challenged the necromancer to single combat.

They fought high above the earth, darting in and out of clouds, their attacks shooting like lightning to the barren ground beneath. The mountains shook. Some cracked. The air thundered with the sound of forbidden magic.

The Comet King’s body dropped lifeless to the ground.

But much later in the book we find out that

the Comet King

has not died, but has been hiding under a fake name. What exactly happened in the duel then?

1 Answer 1


From near the end the character explains.

I borrowed a golem from Gadiriel, killed myself off, took on the new identity, and never showed my face.


the comet king used his various abilities to animate a golem and either switched his soul into the golem and killed his origional body or used the golem as a fake of himself to be killed.

  • My problem with that is that a golem shouldn't be able to use Names, but that duel would look fake to the onlookers if one party did not use Names.
    – b_jonas
    May 24, 2017 at 20:06
  • 2
    "They fought high above the earth, darting in and out of clouds..." doesn't sound like anybody had a very good view of what was going on, so it wouldn't have been too hard to fake IMO. May 25, 2017 at 0:38
  • @b_jonas keep in mind: it's the comet king. He could use names for both sides of the dual.
    – Murphy
    May 25, 2017 at 8:56

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