You know what always confused me? Just how far the Castle's government actually extended. Like, was Jenna supposed to have influence in the Port, but just didn't because no one in the Port gives a fuck? Was the farmland she passed through technically under her jurisdiction? Was it only stuff inside the Castle walls, leaving stuff like Sally's technically outside her rule? Where did the taxes from those customs in the Port go? Who owned those buildings full or impounded shit that Alice went to?
This was always my BIGGEST peeve with the book. The government/world was so… unexplained. Like, they have government and a Queen and the EOW is kinda part of all that, which means the wizards /kind of/ are too. But what’s…the reach? What do they do exactly? They call it a kingdom but no n e outside of the Castle seems really affected, like you said. Septimus signs a letter at some point (Physik-Syren some time in there) saying he’s from “the small kingdom by the sea”, so I guess that’s their nation’s name. (Also based on the matriarchal line this world uses it should actually be queendom but whatever).
Then there’s the Badlands, the Farmlands, the Forest, the Isles of Syren. Ignoring the Isles, these are all just nearby places that we don’t really see all that much. I mean, we see the forest, but they don’t act like it’s really part of the kingdom. But a kingdom can’t just be a Castle so??? Alice is the only, like, government official under the Queen that we see doing anything. Are there governors, mayors, judges? We’re told the Supreme Custodian kicked all women out of the courts, but like?? Courts?? What’s their judiciary system like???
Milo says in Syren that the reason he’s chasing the Warrior Jinn is because he and Cerys always talked about having an army for the kingdom, and with this one, they didn’t have to pay or feed any of them.
Which raises it’s one SLEW of questions. Does the Castle literally have no sort of guard system or military? Was the Young Army literally the only sort of thing like that? Is the Castle low on funds? Is that why? What are the taxes like then? Especially if there’s no military expense and hasn’t been for years?
Is the Castle just… defenseless against Invaders? Is that what the wizards are? It seems like in a pinch (like during the Darke Domaine) the wizards can step in and fight, but their primary jobs seem to be more scholarly and focused on the well-being and smooth running of the Castle.
And are there other nations they’re warring with? We see other kingdoms/lands vaguely in the first series through the Northern Traders and the House of Foryx/Hotep Ra, but…we never really see or learn how the Castle interacts with them. They have strict trade laws with the North, but that’s all we know. Does the kingdom have an enemy? Other trading partners? The Ancient Ways even kind of make it seem like contact with the greater outside world has been mostly lost. THM gives us the Pathfinder village and the Red City & surrounding desert. But they’re so far away our Castle doesn’t /really/ contact them, save from the rare immigrant, like Dandra.
I have so many questions about how their world works apart from the magyk. The world building in the Castle is overall pretty good, but I have literally so many questions about how this world and government works.