Previously on Throne of Glass, our charming heroine and Totally Inept Personal Trainer Chaol bond as she pukes, and a random Champion tries to add a touch of grimness to the story by committing suicide-by-archers.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Handsome Nineteen-Year-Old Prince Dorian narrates this chapter for us, and begins by complaining bitterly about being a prince while nodding off on his throne. “Why must his mother insist on his attending court?” the CROWN PRINCE wonders. “Even the weekly afternoon visit was too much,” the CROWN PRINCE thinks.
I’m so sorry that the station you were born into and grew up with and should probably be accustomed to by now is interrupting your nap time.
Also interrupting his nap time: the terribly mutilated corpse of the Champion known as Bill Chastain, the Eye Eater. You remember him; he’s the one found in his bedroom (which is watched at all times by a veritable army of royal guards) exploded into gobbets and ribbons a few chapters back.
Now, I know I’ve been hard on Prince Dorian, questioning his intelligence for selecting Celaena as his Champion, criticizing his uneven character development, and (above) staring in disbelief at his flippant disregard of his station. But surely, in light of this gruesome murder (which happened under his guard’s noses), he’ll blink off his yawns and straighten his crown and get some shit done, right?
He’d worry about that later—if it became an issue. Which it wouldn’t, if Chaol was looking into it. It had probably just been a drunken brawl.
SERIOUSLY? A drunken brawl? You’ll worry about it later?
But hey, at least there’s this:
What had his father been thinking when he decided to host this contest?
[The queen] certainly didn’t know anything about [the contest], and probably would have been horrified if she knew what kind of criminals were living under her roof.
At least somebody recognizes the problems this contest presents—well, would recognize them, if she’d known the contest was happening.
Which, again, how does nobody know the contest is happening?
Dorian watches the courtiers doing their courtier thing, and sulks about his mom and sulks about his clothes (“his chestnut suede boots looked too new for masculine pride,” because everyone knows firstborn princes only ever wear manly hand-me-downs), until his mother interrupts with an imperial order that he must marry soon because “her face was a bit wrinkled” and “her auburn hair had a few silver streaks” and therefore she’s going to die soon and SHE WANTS GRANDBABIES, SON.
Judging from Dorian’s response, this is apparently the first time his parents have discussed the issue of the nineteen-year-old crown prince’s marriage:
“Marry?” Dorian ground his teeth. “Marry whom?”
The queen’s already unfurling a list of potential brides, chortling that hey, at least he won’t have to marry that awful Princess Nehemia, and it’s a shame Lady Kaltain’s already spoken for by Evil Duke Perrington, but oh, what about pretty blond Elise? (Ladies’ Man Dorian smirks and scoffs: “Been there, done that.”)
You see, Prince Dorian is bored. The noble ladies are boring, the servant girls are boring, politics is boring. “Even gambling over the so-called Champions had become achingly dull. It was clear Cain and Celaena would ultimately face each other, and until then . . . well, the other champions weren’t worth his time.”
Wait. Are you telling me Dorian really only chose Celaena to be his Champion for the sake of a bet and the momentary satisfaction of pissing off his dad? Are you telling me he brought the continent’s greatest assassin—his family’s MOST FEARED ENEMY—into the royal castle to receive physical training and compete for a job working as the king’s right-hand killer?
AM I STILL THE ONLY PERSON WHO SEES THE PROBLEMS HERE.
Dorian continues to do the brooding-teen thing (“He felt as if there were something inside him that didn’t fit in with [the courtiers’] merriment, with their willing ignorance of the world outside the castle. [ . . .] The worst of it was that they didn’t seem to notice he was different—or that he felt different”) while I gape at him in astonishment, until—ahaha, the queen literally pulls out a list of potential brides (I was only being facetious when I said she had before), all of whom the queen assures him “are quite capable of producing heirs.”
Dorian takes the list and flees, waylaid only briefly by a gaggle of young women whom he stares at “blankly,” unable to remember their names, because he is literally the worst prince to ever prince. But he shakes them off and runs straight to the (should’ve-been-empty) training room where Celaena’s sword-fighting against three guards, with Nehemia waiting bloodthirsty on the sidelines with a staff she’s holding like an expert.
Apparently Dorian does have a few smarts hiding in his brain somewhere, because the sight of Celaena with a sword in Nehemia’s presence without Chaol’s supervision (uh oh, where’s Chaol?) sets his alert mode to Moderate.
He drags Celaena into a corner and asks where Chaol’s run off to and what Nehemia’s doing here. She answers both questions honestly (“I dunno,” and “We’re hanging out”), which takes him aback:
“I don’t recall you being so talkative.”
“Well, perhaps if you’d taken the time to speak with me, you’d have found me to be so.”
He snorted, but took the bait, gods damn him. “And when would have I spoken to you?”
“You do recall the little fact that we traveled together from Endovier, don’t you?”
Let me finish this intense sigh of aggravation before I flip back to chapter four and remind you that, as they were preparing to leave Endovier, Dorian tried to strike up a friendly conversation with her about his dogs, and she shot him the fuck down.
But really, who’s surprised she’s blaming him for the fact that he hasn’t tried too hard to instigate any conversations since then?
When she turns away in a huff, Manly Prince Dorian does what any self-respecting asshole would do: “[i]rritated, but slightly curious, he grabbed her arm.” BECAUSE YES, I whisper-shout into my desk, upon which I have planted my face, PHYSICALLY RESTRAINING A WOMAN FOR ANY REASON, ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE’S ANGRY WITH YOU, IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR, YEP.
His erection starts nudging its way down his pants at the sight of her beautifully angry eyes (“sweaty as she was, she was beautiful,” he thinks, which is so gracious of him because sweaty women are always fucking hideous, as we all know), and then—oh my god, no.
“Aren’t you afraid of me?” She glanced at his sword belt. “Or are you as deft at handling your sword as Captain Westfall?”
He stepped closer, tightening his grip. “Better,” he whispered in her ear. There: she was blushing and blinking.
Sure, I’m enjoying my dick jokes at his expense, but it’s disgusting to see a man (who is, I remind you, physically restraining a woman against her will) making a dick joke—especially about his own dick and how well he uses it—at the expense of the woman he’s threatening.
Sure, a lot of people might accept this as sexy sexual tension, but I’m not one of them.
Because he hasn’t pissed me off enough already, Dorian decides to throw in a possible rape joke (Celaena: “Would you rather spar with me [than with Nehemia]?” Dorian: “Perhaps if we had a private lesson in your chambers. Tonight.” Me: “Aaaauuuugh”) before concluding the chapter with an offer to teach Nehemia some swordplay basics (because for some reason he assumes she’s never held a sword, despite her clear mastery of the staff). Have fun with that, guys.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 2
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Prince Dorian fails at princing: 7
This is our first chapter told entirely from Dorian’s point of view, and . . . I think I might actually prefer Celaena’s POV. At least she doesn’t make gross, threatening sex jokes while physically restraining people. Ugh.