Previously on Throne of Glass, Adarlan’s Crown Prince Dorian (who’s a dick) summons Enslaved Assassin Heroine Celaena (who’s insufferable) from the salt mines to confirm she’s pretty underneath all her dirt, and tells her he has a proposition for her. Celaena, who dreams of killing everyone and escaping into the woods, replies, “I’m listening.”
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Prince Dorian leers at Celaena’s enslaved-in-a-salt-mine-for-a-year body, then wipes up his drool and tells her why he’s summoned her: his kingly father wants to get himself a Champion. And by “Champion” he means “personal assassin.”
It took a delicious moment for her to understand.
Celaena tipped back her head and laughed. “Your father wants me to be his Champion?”
As you can see, the author continues to prioritize interesting-sounding word combinations over phrases that actually make sense. (See: “glorious boredom” and Celaena’s “crooned” responses in the previous chapter.) Who on earth would describe their moment of confusion as delicious?
Also: why did it take Celaena a “moment” to understand? Isn’t the implication immediately obvious?
While Celaena’s congratulating herself on her powers of deduction, Prince Dorian elaborates on the whole Champion situation. You see, rather than just choose a Champion, the King wants this book to have a plot:
“My father thought to have a bit of fun. He’s hosting a competition. He invited twenty-three members of his council to each sponsor a would-be Champion to train in the glass castle and ultimately compete in a duel. Were you to win,” he said with a half smile, “you’d officially be Adarlan’s Assassin.”
This is ridiculous.
- The council members will select their potential Champions from the “thieves and assassins and warriors” idling around the kingdom.
- The Champion will be rewarded handsomely for their servitude.
- These potential Champions might feel indebted and loyal to the council member who sponsors them.
- So the king’ll be saddled with a Champion who will probably be in a council member’s pocket, which might not be a big deal, but could also go horribly wrong for the king.
- These warriors and thieves and assassins (who may be taking orders from council members, or perhaps joined the competition for Nefarious Reasons of Their Own), will be trained in the royal castle, because no one considers the possibility that at least one of these killers could possibly be angling for an opportunity to enter the castle and murder somebody. When there are ongoing rebellions against the king.
And the most ridiculous part of all:
- Prince Dorian has chosen to sponsor Celaena—Celaena, who is the world’s best assassin, who has a grudge against the Adarlan royal family, and who was sentenced by the King to a painful, slow death in the salt mines—thus bringing her into the royal castle so she can earn the job of King’s god-damn Champion, where she’ll be entrusted to carry out the King’s will by assassinating his enemies.
AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES THE PROBLEMS HERE.
But maybe I’m wrong! We’re told that, as he’s waiting for her to accept or decline his offer, Dorian is visibly tense:
He wanted her to say yes. Needed her to say yes so badly he was willing to bargain with her.
Maybe Dorian’s smarter than he seems; maybe (for instance) he’s playing dumb while maneuvering Celaena into position to assassinate his father for him.
But why play dumb? I’m sure she’d be just as happy to kill the King with Dorian’s help as without it—and if he’s openly helping her, she’d probably be less inclined to add him to her to-murder list.
Dorian informs her that, should she agree to compete, she’d have to do it under a false name; apparently, everyone in the world knows that The Most Assassinist of Assassins Celaena Sardothien had the All-Mighty Adarlan Royal Family in a state of pants-shitting terror, but the royal family has ensured no one knows the cause of their fear was a mere teenager. They’d be horribly embarrassed if people found out, you see.
Also, “people still whisper when they mention [her] name,” because apparently she’s Voldemort, and come on, seriously? My eyes are rolling so hard.
Dorian tells Celaena that if she wins the competition, she’ll spend four years as Champion, then be free to live wherever and however she pleases. Once again we see that her dream of freedom inexplicably involves roughing it in the wilderness rather doing what any other sensible, appearance-obsessed person would do: settling in a city where she’d have access to the baths and combs and maybe a full-size mirror, which would better reflect her glory than some sludgy pond in the middle of bug-infested nowhere.
“Sign me up,” she says, already dreaming beautiful dreams of murdering her way to freedom.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 5
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Someone’s plan is dumb: 2
Still not enjoying this.