Previously on Throne of Glass, Bravely Brave Celaena kills Cain’s evil creature, and Nehemia uses Wyrdmarks to heal Celaena’s battle-wound.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
Celaena awakens, hale and hearty, with but a few tiny scars on her hand to show that she’s just survived the most terrifying and dangerous encounter of her brutal assassinly life. Thank goodness for that; we wouldn’t want our beautiful heroine in any way inconvenienced or uglified!
Nehemia’s lounging in a chair nearby, wearing her best You Better Tell Me What The Fuck Is Going On face.
Having decided Nehemia’s probably not going to kill her, Celaena opens up with the truth: “Behold: I am Celaena Sardothien, Badass Assassin.”
Nehemia’s appropriately shocked, and also hurt that her BFF kept such a major secret from her. Celaena’s all, “I would’ve told you, but the evil king said I had to keep my mouth shut,” to which Nehemia replies, “THE KING KNOWS YOU’RE HERE?” Hallelujah, someone else is as amazed as I am by the king’s stupidity.
“I’m here for his amusement.” Celaena sat up straighter in bed. “I’m here because he’s hosting a competition to be the King’s Champion. And after I win—if I win, I’m to work for the king for four years as his lackey and assassin. And then I’ll be freed, and my name cleared.”
- No, you’re here for Dorian’s amusement, remember? Dorian straight-up told you he’d selected you only because it’d piss his dad off.
- Clear your name of what, exactly? Being an assassin? But you are an assassin, and your name cannot be “cleared” of that—especially not by continuing to be an assassin. I think the phrase you’re looking for is “pardoned for my past attacks on Adarlan.”
- Speaking of: what exactly did you do that requires pardoning? You had to have killed someone, but who did you kill? How many people? How did you terrify the Adarlan royal family so deeply? I’m still waiting for the details.
Nehemia’s as amazed by Celaena’s bullshit as I am:
Nehemia just looked at her, damning her with that blank stare.
“You think I want to be here?” Celaena shouted, even though it made her head pound. “It was either this or Endovier! I had no choice.”
There’s practically a red carpet rolled out for you, Celaena, leading the way to that beautiful secret exit in the sewers. The secret exit that you decided not to use because you wanted to “clear your name” in as “fair a manner as possible,” without “running away like a coward” (to paraphrase your earlier excuses for your fucking idiocy).
Deeply touched by Celaena’s show of passion, Nehemia crawls into bed with her, takes her hand, and whispers stuff about how badass Celaena is for surviving Endovier unscathed, and that their friendship can’t be broken just because Celaena didn’t introduce herself with her real name.
“You bear many names, and so I shall name you as well.” Her hand rose to Celaena’s forehead and she drew an invisible mark. “I name you Elentiya.” She kissed the assassin’s brow. “I give you this name to use with honor, to use when other names grow too heavy. I name you Elentiya, ‘Spirit That Could Not Be Broken.'”
Time to get another list going.
- Am I the only reader made deeply uncomfortable with how appropriative this name feels? The only things we know about Eyllwe are that it’s ruled by a king, and that its princess is black. Where’s this Stereotypical Mystical Native American naming scheme coming from? It just so unexpected and reeks of Hey, this sounds magical and exotic and cool, let’s throw it in! NO, DON’T THROW IT IN.
- Are you really trying to convince me that Elentiya translates to “Spirit That Could Not Be Broken?” Really? I mean sure, I’d buy that it could translate to “Unbroken,” or “Unbreakable Spirit,” or something equally short. But stretching it out into “Spirit That Could Not Be Broken” is like saying William comes from Wilhelm, “He Who Eagerly Takes Up The Helmet Of Battle.” Sorry dude, the direct translation is “Wants the Helm.” The book’s bending over backwards to make Celaena as cool as possible, but it’s bent past cool and planted its face squarely in cringe-worthy.
Celaena was held in place. She could feel the name fall upon her like a shimmering veil.
On the one hand: please, god, let there be real power in this name, and let her need this power at some point in the future. Please don’t let this ridiculous name be just another checked box on Celaena’s Chart of Badassness.
On the other hand: please, god, don’t let this name be yet another magical doodad dropped into her lap for her to conveniently remember and use within seconds of finding herself in danger.
The scene ends with Celaena beginning her lengthy autobiography for Nehemia. Thank goodness we get to skip that.
Scene change! Celaena and Chaol are strolling through the castle. The narrator informs us she’d told Nehemia almost everything. Specifically, “she hadn’t mentioned Cain or the creature,” and no, we’re not told why she didn’t see fit to warn her beloved best friend of the lurking evil sorcerer who can summon human-eating demons.
Who wants to be she doesn’t tell Chaol, either?
Chaol notes that she’s not being her usual bratty self, then morosely asks if she enjoyed dancing with Dorian, then declares he no longer needs to babysit her all the time, because he’s decided he trusts her and knows she’s “not going anywhere.”
She wanted to tell him about Cain.
SO DO IT.
She’d wanted to tell him when she saw him at the door this morning.
WHY DIDN’T YOU DO IT.
She’d wanted to tell him everything.
WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, JUST TELL HIM.
But he couldn’t know.
OH MY GOD.
Because, she’d realized last night, if she told him about Cain and the creature he’d unleashed, then he’d ask to see the remains of the creature.
And that meant taking him into the secret passage.
While he might trust her enough to leave her alone with Dorian, knowing that she had access to an unguarded escape route was a test she wasn’t ready to give Chaol.
ARE YOU SERIOUS.
Besides, I killed it. It’s over. Elena’s mysterious evil is vanquished. Now I’ll just defeat Cain in the duel, and then no one needs to know.
Oh good lord.
Do you really think your safety, and the safety of the people you “care” about, is less important than Chaol’s fledgling trust in you? You’re willing to risk your life and theirs just to avoid testing Chaol’s trust? You are the most selfish, thoughtless, idiotic protagonist ever. And the worst part is, you’re not even good at being selfish! The secret exit is right there. Just go already.
If you’re so anxious about Chaol losing trust in you, can’t you just point out to him, “I’ve had access to this secret escape route for months, and never used it; see, I’m even more trustworthy than you thought”?
I’m endlessly amazed by the nonsensical excuses Celaena uses to justify her inactivity.
The pair arrives at the practice room, and Chaol interrupts Celaena’s awful-heroine-inner-monologue with some quick angst about her budding love triangle, asking: “Do you know what you’re getting into with Dorian?”
Celaena avoids the question, allowing Chaol to give hands-down the best advice anyone’s given anyone in this book: “Just remember to use your brain, will you?” I’d like this even more if it weren’t so clearly a “Do as I say, not as I do” suggestion.
Time skip! Celaena and Chaol are walking back to her rooms, flirting and talking poetry, when they round a corner and OH SHIT, THE KING OF ADARLAN’S BACK.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 5
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Celaena makes a dumb decision: 2
Celaena does anything at all to advance the plot: 0
This is one of the few chapters that has ended on a cliffhanger—meaning this is one of the few chapters that’s made me curious to see what happens next. Good job, book; you’re improving.