Previously on Throne of Glass, Incompetent Princelet Dorian sulks incompetently about his princlethood before condescendingly offering to teach Princess Nehemia how to hack about with a sword.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Oh thank god, this chapter is approximately two pages long.
Celaena smiles on like a benevolent mother as Dorian shows Nehemia how not to stab herself with her own sword, and—oh, perfect:
He was charming, she supposed. In an arrogant sort of way. [ . . . ] It made her uneasy how he’d made her blush. In fact, he was so attractive that she had difficulty not thinking about how attractive he was, and again wondered why he wasn’t married.
She sort of wanted to kiss him.
Let’s summarize their relationship from Celaena’s point of view, shall we? (Note, I’m guessing on the days; I’ve lost track of time. But you get the idea.)
- Days 1 – 28: “I want to murder you so hard.“
- Days 29 – 58: “Hell with you and hell with your country.”
- Day 59: “MY FACE AND PANTIES MELT IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR HOTNESS.”
Sounds . . . realistic.
Though she’s onto something with the whole “why isn’t he married yet” thing. As the adult crown prince to a growing empire, shouldn’t he be filling the royal nurseries with (legitimate) In Case Of Emergency heirs by now?
But Celaena interrupts her concern for Dorian’s alarming bachelorhood to inform us that, by the way, she had once Deeply and Truly Loved an assassin named Sam who smooched her a lot:
She’d been kissed before, of course. By Sam, and often enough that she was no stranger to it. But it’d been over a year since she’d lost the assassin she’d grown up with. And even though the thought of kissing anyone else had once made her sick, when she saw Dorian . . .
Confession time: Celaena had offhandedly mentioned Sam once earlier in the book, but she was so quick and dismissive that I assumed he wasn’t important. (If I’d known he’d pop his head in again later, I would’ve mentioned it/made a joke about it at the time.) In any case, Sam apparently died at about the time Celaena was captured and sent to the mines.
Which, I’d like to gently point out, would’ve provided Celaena some excellent and engaging emotional complexity from page one, if she’d been capable of thinking about anything but her own awesomeness. Which she isn’t.
But really, who needs to grieve or even think about a boyfriend who died a whole year ago? Especially when one has new boys to flirt with now?
Celaena’s staring at Dorian and adjusting her lady-boner (thinking, “Damn him for being so handsome!”) when Chaol comes tearing in and—oh, lovely—“grab[s] her arm hard enough to hurt,” which you know I love.
Chaol’s all growly and upset at the sight of Dorian and Nehemia awkwardly fencing, and pulls Dorian aside for (and this is just a guess; the book is determined not to share its characters’ motivations for anything they do) a quick scolding. But Dorian’s too princely for that, and goes right back to his Swordplay for Princesses 101 class.
Determined to shut someone’s shit down, Chaol grounds Celaena and sends her to her room. When Celaena voices a shrill protest, he ups his physical abuse (“a pinch from Chaol kept her voice down”), which merely launches Celaena into the sullen-kid-shit-fit to end them all:
“I hate sitting around, locked in my room, bored out of my senses. I hate all these guards and nonsense; I hate you telling me to hold back when Brullo sings Cain’s praises and I’m just there, boring and unnoticed in the middle. I hate being told what I can’t do. And I hate you most of all!”
Celaena, my sweet, weren’t you ecstatic to have a ginormous library at your disposal? Weren’t you, in fact, bemoaning how little free time you had because you wanted to read more? And I’m well aware you’re too vain for your own good; did you really have to remind me? And come on, how many times (before now) have you been told you can’t do something—once? Maybe twice?
I’m sure it’s just awful being “boring and unnoticed in the middle,” but Jesus Christ shut up.
And she does! Harboring her usual fantasies of pulverizing Chaol’s face, Celaena ends the chapter by fleeing the room, praise the lord.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Celaena wants to punch Chaol: 1
Celaena punches Chaol: 0
I’m eagerly awaiting the day Celaena’s taken down a few pegs and forced to realize (a) she isn’t the bestest and most important person ever, and (b) the only thing that revolves around her is her.
But who am I kidding? This book doesn’t care about such measly things as realism and tension and character growth. Its protagonist is Celaena Sardothien, World’s Best Assassin, and she has a reputation of unchallenged awesomeness to maintain.