Previously on Throne of Glass, Celaena asks herself questions about the king. Later, Chaol asks himself questions about the king and Celaena.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
The final Test is tomorrow (FINALLY), and all the Champions are flailing swords around in the training room together in preparation. Celaena’s been flailing with Handsome Thief Nox, who notices she’s off her game—probably because she’s spent the entire bout staring at Cain and wondering about the terrible depths of his evil.
Proving himself more intelligent than all of our POV characters put together, Nox points out (1) the fresh bite-mark scar on her hand, (2) that she’d sent him a note a while back warning him to stay in his rooms that night, and (3) two of the murdered Champions were apparently killed by animals. “What’s going on?” he asks, quite sensibly. “MURDER,” she hisses at him.
“Tell me what you know.”
She couldn’t, not without sounding insane. “If you were smart, you’d get out of this castle.”
“Why?” He shot a look at Cain. “What aren’t you saying?”
[ . . .] “I’m saying that if I didn’t have any other choice but to be here—if it wasn’t between this and death, I would be halfway across Erilea by now, and not looking back.”
For the love of—
Stop trying to convince me that you’re trapped in a horrible situation. Literally nothing is keeping you here except yourself.
Again proving that his intelligence, Nox immediately pieces together some clues from her little speech, and realizes that she isn’t actually Lady Lillian Gordaina, Merchant’s Daughter, but Celaena Sardothien, #1 Assassin. He, like Nehemia, is appropriately awed.
Celaena finally breaks her vow of silence about the murder-stuff, and tells him a bit of what she knows:
“I received this [scar] from a creature I can’t even begin to describe to you, nor would you believe me if I tried. But there are five of us now, and because the Test is tomorrow, that means one more night we’re at risk.”
- Wait a second. Two chapters ago, you decided not to warn Chaol about any of this because you’d decided the danger had passed. Why are you suddenly so certain everyone’s at risk of murder-by-demon? And why aren’t you telling Chaol about it?
- And why aren’t you worried about an attack or attacks on the nights between the final Test and the duel itself? Why are you so certain there’s only one night of danger left?
Whatever he read in her expression made his shoulders sag. “All of this time, I thought you were just some pretty girl from Bellhaven who stole jewels to get her father’s attention. Little did I know that the blond-haired girl was Queen of the Underworld.”
Oh, lord, another ridiculous name to add to her list?
Nox thanks her for the warning, and the narrator graciously informs us in a quick aside that he “left early that night, slipping out of the castle without a word to anyone,” further confirming the uselessness of Chaol’s guards.
Scene change and POV hop! Kaltain, fucked up on opium, passes Cain in a hallway, and wonders if the scary shadow creatures floating around him are evidence that her opium’s gone bad.
Scene change and POV hop! Celaena’s back in her rooms, playing chess with Dorian, while inwardly deciding that their kiss after the ball “hadn’t been so bad,” and was in fact “[n]ice, actually, if she was being honest.” Hadn’t that already been established, what with her whole giddily-waltzing-by-herself-on-her-balcony-in-the-moonlight thing?
She notes that he hasn’t asked her about her fresh scar, and that she wouldn’t tell him about Cain and the demon-thing even if he asked—and hey, it’s occurred to her to scrounge up a better reason to withhold the information this time:
She might feel something for him, but if he told his father about the power of the Wyrdmarks and Wyrdgates . . . Her blood chilled at the thought.
I’m still waiting for her to remember that the king had personally commissioned the Wyrdgate/gargoyle-tower’s construction.
Celaena and Dorian flirt as they play, until she finally encourages him to kiss her—then, when his mouth is approximately a cat’s hair away from hers, she blurts out, “I saw your dad today,” which naturally starts Dorian’s boner on the decline.
He lifted her chin with a finger. “You didn’t say that to avoid the inevitable, did you?” No, she’d said that just to keep talking, to keep him here as long as he would be willing to stay, so she didn’t have to face a night alone with the threat of Cain hovering over her. Who better to keep at her side in the dark hours of the night than the son of the king? Cain wouldn’t dare harm him.
While I appreciate the cool calculation of this decision, I’m not sure that interrupting your impending make-out session by reminding Dorian of his much-hated father is really the best way to keep him in your bed.
Dorian notices she’s trembling, and asks her if she’s okay. Her resolve not to tell him about Cain immediately begins to dissolve, and so, to prevent herself from spilling the beans, she gets back to the smooching. And wow, does she do it with enthusiasm:
She almost knocked him to the floor. But he shot out an arm to the back of the chair and braced himself as his spare arm wrapped around her middle.
Time skip! It’s three in the morning, and, after hours of tonsil-tussling, Dorian’s declared it his bedtime. Celaena would’ve asked him to stay (as a princely body armor against Cain’s attack), but she’s decided to spare him. Instead, she’ll just stay awake all night, fretting. Sounds like what I’d do.
Except she eventually falls asleep, and nightmares for several paragraphs about being chased by a demon. You know how much I love reading nightmares in real-time.
She wakes up at dawn, and several more paragraphs are wasted informing us that she’d just had a nightmare (I’d noticed, thanks), and that she’d survived the night unscathed (I’d noticed, thanks). The narrator then butts in to say that because Nox had ditched the competition, the final Test was cancelled and the duel bumped up to tomorrow.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 3
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
Celaena shocks me by doing something nice for someone else: 2
Celaena does absolutely anything to advance the plot: 0
I don’t know about you guys, but I am so ready for this duel. Will the poison actually diminish her fighting abilities, or will her Super Cool Magical Fae Blood prove too powerful to be drugged? Will someone actually injure her—perhaps even enough to require weeks or months of healing, or alter her appearance? Will she actually lose the competition?
My guesses: (1) she’ll be drugged, but she’s so badass that she’ll still be a better fighter than anyone else—or, even more likely, she’ll have some divine help, (2) no, and (3) no.