Throne of Glass: Chapter 21

Previously on Throne of Glass, Celaena tries to convince us she loved some dead guy named Sam, while Dorian considers whether or not sexxxing Celaena would be worth his father’s and Chaol’s (and Celaena’s) ensuing wrath.

Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.

Chapter Index


Praise the lord, chapter twenty-one opens in the middle of the second Test: spider-climbing the castle’s (stone) walls in a race to retrieve a golden flag, placed ninety feet up.

FYI, one Champion is missing; Celaena thinks he made a run for it, but my money’s on definitely-not-drunken-brawl-related disembowelment.

Hulking Beast Cain is playing the scout leader and guiding most of the competitors along the easiest route, while Celaena has opted for the black diamond XTREME SPORT path. Seriously, I don’t know why I keep expecting her to bow to Chaol’s wisdom and hide the unequaled greatness of her assassinly abilities; maybe I’m the idiot here.

And there goes one competitor, fallen off the wall and now painting the flagstones with his guts. No climbing harnesses and safety lines for these guys, though some are given a bit of rope. (Not Celaena, of course. She scoffs at mere ropes. She’s opted for a tin of tar with which she can stickify her bare hands and feet.)

Inspired by the fresh splatter-painting below, Creepy Assassin Grave shoves Handsome Thief Nox off a ledge and starts sawing at the rope still holding Nox aloft. Celaena, watching for a distance, decides she needs to interfere because . . . her morals demand it, I guess? Her, uh, deeply-ingrained assassinly belief in fair play? Whatever the reason, Celaena—who’s currently in the lead of the race to the golden flag—decides to go all super hero, thus sacrificing her sure victory so she can save the day.

I appreciate a protagonist’s willingness to engage in a bit of self-sacrifice now and then, but why on earth is Everything Revolves Around Me And My Killer Reputation Celaena Sardothien willing to lose the race/possibly fail the Test just to save a (admittedly handsome) competitor? I do not understand. 

And I swear to god, if she saves him and then starts bitching about how she came in last place/failed the Test, I will pull up my sleeves, reach into this book, and throttle her.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, sorry. Let me give you the physical layout of the scene, which makes approximately zero sense.

  • Celaena’s seventy-plus feet up the wall, shimmying up a drain pipe.
  • Fifteen feet directly below her is a cluster of five stone gargoyles.
  • There’s a landing that’s (I’m assuming) level with these gargoyles, across eighteen feet of open air.
  • If you tie a rope to Celaena’s gargoyles and swing out from them (ignoring that’s not how physics works), you can land on that landing, then make your way (somehow—up, over, across, down—the book doesn’t say) to another cluster of gargoyles, where Nox and Grave are fighting.
  • I am therefore assuming that Nox and Grave are at least eighteen feet away from Celaena’s gargoyles (if their gargoyles are level with Celaena’s), but most likely more (if their gargoyles are higher or lower than Celaena’s, or there’s any distance at all between the landing and their gargoyles).

So Celaena, seeing the fight, slides down the pipe, lands on her cluster of gargoyles, grabs a rope that’s anchored around one of her gargoyles’ necks, ties the other end around her waist, then:

There was a sharp snap of rope breaking, and Nox’s cry of fear and rage, and Celaena took off, sprinting across the backs of the four gargoyles before she launched herself into the void.

And the chapter ends.

Realistically, she should run and jump off the gargoyles, make it (what’s a reasonable guess, do you think?) six or seven feet out, then plummet, with the rope dragging her back to smack into the wall (some unknown distance—we’re not told how long the rope is) directly below the gargoyle serving as her anchor.

Meanwhile, Nox’s body would’ve already started cooling on the flagstones below.

But of course I know she’s going to save him, because she’s Celaena Sardothien and what do I expect from this book, realism? Ha ha ha.


We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 2

Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0

Someone’s plan is dumb: 1

I laughed in disbelief and/or despair: 2

I hope Nox dies. Unless magic is involved, I guess. Is this when Celaena’s magical Fae magic awakens? Is it unlocked by her uncharacteristic act of selflessness? No wonder she never activated it sooner!



6 thoughts on “Throne of Glass: Chapter 21

  1. I never have to read this book because your reviews provide me with more entertainment. I love the tallies. That’s hilarious. Your whole review made me laugh hysterically. She sounds so awful. It’s funny because your not the only person that’s said Celaena’s character never demonstrates how tough the author says she is. I’m so not a fan of telling vs showing. I’d rather see how much of a bad ass the character is without the author reaffirming that’s what I should think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Telling as opposed to showing is one of the quickest ways to tank a book’s quality, you’ve got that right.

      I’ve heard Celaena’s character gets, uh, more legitimately badass in the later books–but I haven’t heard if she becomes a more likable person. Here’s hoping.

      Glad I can maybe save you the money/aggravation of reading the book yourself! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “maybe I’m the idiot here.” Or, y’know, it might be that you have a healthy level of self-esteem that allows you to NOT desperately need to be the bestest and the center of all attention. …come to think of it, that emotional imbalance would make her kind of tragic and interesting if she was actually a character.

    “her morals demand it, I guess?” Her love dodecahedron demands it! If he were ugly thief Nox, would she bother?

    All I can say about her launching into the void is, I wish she would. Go into orbit Celaena.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your entire reply made me laugh out loud. Go into orbit, indeed. 😀

      And you make an excellent point about Nox; I 100% do not believe she’d save him if he were ugly. Her day planner’s too booked to waste time on anyone who’s less than stunningly attractive.

      Liked by 1 person

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