This chapter argues that reading sainthood in Bujold’s novel Paladin of Souls requires forcible recognition of the social constructions of gender, power, and normal life in Chalion, through their eventual disruption by the Bastard, fifth god of the Chalionese pantheon. Reading the novel through Ista dy Chalion’s first and second sainthoods result in comprehensive transfigurations of both the individual and her social contexts, through reconfigurations of gender, family, sexuality, and devotion, which cohere in a rereading of Ordol’s Sermon of the Cups. These lenses together mark sainthood as a form of queer failure, an inability to reproduce or represent normative life narratives or biographies, and centralizes this queering as the primary mode of divine presence throughout the novel.
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