Previously on Throne of Glass, Super Heroine Celaena saves Nox from death-by-splatterment, and goes on to pass two more Tests off-screen. Meanwhile, another competitor is disemboweled and dismembered, which Captain Chaol, Smart Guy, seems to dismiss as a freak accident.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Confession time! I have a thing about books showing dreams and nightmares in real-time, and that thing is there’s usually no point, it’s boring, stop doing it. So you can imagine how quickly I headdesked when this chapter opened with Celaena nightmaring at length about Endovier.
But Chaol’s at her bedside to soothe her upon her awakening, and—hold on. What happened to the Squeaky Hinges Alarm she set up on all her doors? Did she seriously sleep through them? She is so bad at assassining, how is she still alive.
Chaol’s come to cancel their Run-Til-She-Pukes training session because today is
Halloween Samhain Samhuinn, and although he’s too hardened for silly cultural superstitions, he thought she might want to attend the “service.” (She’s not invited to “the feast,” though, presumably because she might accidentally-on-purpose kill someone, and that’s no way to party.)
Celaena’s response: “THE GODS ARE REAL AND YOU BETTER RESPECT THEM but fuck no I’m not going to some dumb service.” Okay then.
Chaol’s as confused as I am about her sudden (inconsistent) religious fervor, but drops the topic to remind Celaena she has a Test tomorrow.
“Again? Didn’t we just have one three days ago?” she moaned. The last Test had been javelin throwing on horseback, and a spot on her wrist was still tender.
First: You knew you’d be facing Tests approximately twice a week, so why are you whining like it’s a surprise?
Second: We were just told the last two Tests were on “stealth and tracking,” neither of which would involve javelin-throwing on horseback. Did we just miss another Test, making tomorrow their, what, sixth? I don’t even know how many competitors are left at this point.
Scene and POV change! Prince Dorian can’t escape the stupid Samhuinn service fast enough, because religion is dumb and princely duties are the worst, and mom won’t shut up about marriage and babies and—he walks smack into Celaena, who’s wearing a godawful dress that’s “centuries out of date.” Her servants had abandoned her to attend the morning service, you see, and modern dresses involve corsets and “a labyrinth of secret clasps and ties” that require a committee to negotiate.
And there goes my stupidity-for-the-sake-of-snarky-interaction alarm.
- I’m so glad her dressmaker had the foresight to design and sew her a laughably unfashionable/simple dress for exactly this situation.
- Did all the nobility have to get up an hour early to dress before their servants attended the service? I bet they just loved bending over backward to accommodate their servants’ schedules!
- Seriously, servants have jobs to do. Surely they’d have a separate service worked around the nobility’s convenience.
But her silly dress only exists to give Dorian something to joke about that’ll get her huffy—and indeed, Dorian jokes and Celaena huffs. The romantic tension is too great, you guys, I am not equipped to handle it.
Celaena’s accompanied by Chaol and Eyllwe Crown Princess Nehemia, which gives the narrator the perfect opportunity to dump some info as boringly as possible, and also shine a light into the further depths of Dorian’s princely incompetence. Behold:
For weeks now, Duke Perrington had been pushing for a plan to bring more forces into Eyllwe—to crush the rebels so efficiently that they wouldn’t dare challenge Adarlan’s rule again. Just yesterday, the duke presented a plan: they would deploy more legions, and keep Nehemia here to discourage any retaliation from the rebels. Not particularly inclined to add hostage-taking to his repertoire of abilities, Dorian had spent hours arguing against it.
I. I don’t even know where to start.
- I would’ve loved to watch Dorian fight Duke Perrington and the council—you know, actually see him do something for once.
- When the Adarlan King conquered Eyllwe, I would’ve hoped the Adarlan King would’ve told the Eyllwe King, “I’ll let you keep your throne, but only if you do your job and squash your rebels immediately.” WHY DIDN’T HE DO THIS.
- And why didn’t the Adarlan King take Nehemia hostage already? Why did it take months for someone to think of it? Taking a monarch’s child hostage to ensure said monarch’s good behavior is fairly standard practice. And the children aren’t thrown into dungeons or whatever Dorian seems to be imagining; they’re kept as guests who just aren’t allowed to leave.
- But seriously, dude, “Because that’d make me a meanie” is the least princely way to decide foreign policy. Couldn’t you have couched your argument in terms of, say, potential economic/political/military repercussions? (Who am I kidding? There aren’t any legitimate reasons not to take her hostage.)
- And oh how I lol-ed at the mention of Dorian’s “repertoire of abilities.” So, Dorian, what’s on your list, if I might ask? Aside from “incompetence” and “general dickery”?
I’m voting with Evil Duke Perrington on this one.
At least our precious lamb Dorian finds the strength to not warn Nehemia of Perrington’s
totally reasonable super evil plan. Someone pat him on the head.
Nehemia pouts upon hearing Celaena won’t be attending the Samhuinn feast, but Celaena jokes that Nehemia will have a great time without her, because Dorian “knows how to keep women entertained.” Dorian blushes and thinks, “They made a formidable pair, gods help them all.”
Uh, what happened to Dorian being a nonchalant ladies’ man, cracking jokes about his own sexual prowess? Why does a fairly tame sex joke make these girls such “a formidable pair” that everyone must invoke the gods’ help to face them?
Once he’s alone again, Dorian stews in his teen libido-rage a bit:
Dorian wanted to yell, to pull out his hair. He’d enjoyed seeing Celaena the other night—enjoyed it immensely. But for the past few weeks, he’d gotten caught up in council meetings and holding court, and hadn’t been able to visit her. Were it nor for the feast, he’d go to her again. [ . . . ]
Dorian scowled and walked off to the kennels.
I get it, dude, hormones can be rough. Hang in there, you’ll pull through in a couple years.
POV hop! Celaena’s smiling to herself over her pretty dress. Frankly, I’m relieved she’s not letting Dorian’s teasing ruin her love for the dress. Good on you, Celaena.
Aaand once again the narrator steps in to inform us what we might’ve been better off seeing for ourselves:
She’d managed to see Nehemia a fair amount of the past two weeks—mostly just for brief walks and dinners, where they discussed [ . . . ] who at court had managed to annoy the princess that day. Which, to Celaena’s delight, was usually everyone.
I take it back: thank god we didn’t have to sit through their Everybody Sucks But Us song and dance.
Back in the present, Chaol and Nehemia are bickering about whether Chaol’s technically a soldier. Nehemia’s stance: yes. Chaol’s stance: HELL NO.
“I’m not trained to fight in battles,” Chaol replied through his teeth.
You’re . . . you’re not? So this whole Captain of the Royal Guard thing is more of a, what, Captain of the Royal Color Guard?
Wait—have you been neglecting your dance practices to babysit Celaena? Dude, you can get demerits for that.
Celaena interrupts the argument with some meaningless joke, while thinking to herself “His hair’s looking extra fuckable today, mmm yeah.” But even the visual feast of “the tiny gaps between the strands” of his sexxxy hair can’t soothe her disappointment in being grounded from tonight’s party; she pouts about it a bit, and, when Chaol remains unmoved, she dials up the manipulation:
“As my friend, you should either bring me along, or keep me company.”
“Friend?” he asked.
She blushed. “Well, ‘scowling escort’ is a better description. Or ‘reluctant acquaintance,’ if you prefer.”
But why does she blush? She shows no actual interest in him as a person, much less a friend; her interest in him extends only to his ability to (1) be handsome and (2) compliment her. So what’s with the blushing?
But Chaol smiles, and they’re toeing off their shoes for a game of bare-footsie when Nehemia interrupts with a non-sequitur complaint about “those horribly boring old men they call tutors” who’re trying to teach her the Adarlan language, and a demand that Celaena sacrifice an hour every day to become her language teacher.
Choal’s explaining why even the Princess of Eyllwe can’t always have her way (good luck with that) when Celaena spots Cain crouched in the courtyard, acting suspiciously. Something’s afoot, whispers Celaena’s something’s-afoot radar. Cain disappears, and off she goes to investigate!
Turns out he was cleaning off the flagstone that Celaena had noticed on her first day in the castle—you know, the one carved with a symbol that the creepy gargoyles are pointing to.
Nehemia glances at it and declares it a Wyrdmark, a symbol that’s “part of an ancient religion that died long ago.” Celaena spots a bunch more Wyrdmarks across the courtyard while Nehemia mutters darkly that she should leave well enough alone and “[s]uch things were forgotten for a reason.” Uh, Nehemia, if you have a legitimate reason to believe Celaena shouldn’t be messing around with the Wyrdmarks, you might want to elaborate.
Instead, Nehemia stares hard at Celaena’s forehead, then goes all sharp and demands, “You know nothing about the Wyrdmarks?” Magically Magical Celaena says, “Nope, nothing,” which makes Nehemia suspicious (presumably because “#1 MAGICAL BADASS” is scrolling across Celaena’s magical forehead marquee):
“You’re hiding something,” the princess said softly in Eyllwe, though it was not accusatory. “You are much more than you seem, Lillian.”
(Reminder: Nehemia thinks Celaena is a merchant’s daughter who caught Dorian’s eye.)
Because this book wouldn’t know subtlety if it, uh, punched the book in the face, Celaena shouts to herself things like “What had Nehemia seen [on her forehead] that caused her to act that way?” just in case we hadn’t figured out her face is magic.
Celaena and Nehemia conclude the chapter by making secret plans to exchange daily language lessons:
“Can you teach me how to speak Eyllwe properly?”
“If you can teach me more of your ridiculous language,” said the princess [ . . . ]
What’s a bit of casual racism between friends, am I right?
So the girls agree to meet in Celaena’s rooms tomorrow before supper, and boy, I can’t wait.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
I almost gave up reading this chapter: 3
I’m sliding beyond indignation, straight into vaguely aggravated boredom. Come on, book. Liven up a bit before I fall asleep.