Throne of Glass: Chapter 48


Previously on Throne of Glass, Cain wins the first round of the duel, Nehemia gives Celaena her fancy staff, and Celaena thanks Chaol for giving her freedom “meaning.”

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

CHAPTER 48

IT’S DUEL TIME.

Oily Assassin Grave wastes no time, charging at her like a bull. He’s got bad teeth and poor hygiene on his side; she has quick reflexes and a cool attitude on hers. I won’t give you the blow-by-blow, but one of my favorite bits is:

He stumbled, but her fist was waiting. As it met with his nose, she savored the rush of pain through her hand and the crunch of his bones beneath her knuckles.

If I had a fighting style, it’d probably be this right here: holding my fist out and waiting for someone to come break their face on it.

He calls her a bitch, and she quickly nails him to the ground, then leans in:

“My name is Celaena Sardothien,” she whispered. “But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

Hell yeah, this is what I signed up for. Couldn’t we have had this Celaena the entire book? The calmly confident girl who doesn’t give a shit what other people think about her? The one who determines the value of her own life without regard to men? I want this one.

FYI, when not under the influence of a drug, she’s a better fighter than Cain; it took Cain three minutes to defeat his opponent (isn’t that, like, a super long time?), and it took Celaena two (which is still a rather long time, right?).

Time for a toast! Kaltain presents the two goblets, and of course “Celaena wanted to punch her.” There’s our old girl back, thirsting for unnecessary violence.

Celaena and Cain drink their wine, and the final duel begins immediately. Also immediate: the world-hazing effect of the drug. Ruh roh.

Cain attacks, and we’re treated to a lengthy description of the fight, peppered with Celaena’s frequent “Am I ill?” “Why do I feel sick?” “Is something wrong with me?” questions, and why don’t you realize you’ve been poisoned oh my god. It’s so obvious.

Except wait, she’s attacking “faster and faster, stronger and stronger,” but at the same time she’s getting clumsy? I can’t tell how the drug’s supposed to be affecting her abilities.

She’s literally a split second from winning the duel when her muscles go noodley. Kaltain giggles from the sidelines in delight, so Celaena casts her a quick Go Fuck Yourself glare—and her eyes catch on the goblets. Finally, our cunning heroine experiences that unequaled pleasure of figuring it the fuck out. She’s been poisoned with bloodbane.

Cain smacks her around and insults her, and she realizes he knows what’s up. Glad we’re all on the same page here.

This couldn’t be happening—they couldn’t have betrayed her like this.

Maybe we’re not on the same page here. Who do you think betrayed you? Because you shouldn’t be shocked that Cain would poison you, and you think so little of Kaltain that her involvement shouldn’t shock you either.

Celaena helpfully informs us that she needs to end the duel quickly because the hallucinations will start soon, and that “seers had once used bloodbane as a drug to view spirits from other worlds,” which sounds like it might come in handy at some point.

She makes a valiant attack, but alas, her staff snaps and Cain dislocates her arm—and then he kicks her so hard that her shoulder relocates on impact. Holy crap, ow.

She’s down, holding the broken staff, and Cain’s approaching like a beast, when—

POV hop!

Dorian clenched his teeth. Something was terribly wrong. He’d known it from the moment the duel started, and began sweating when she had the opportunity to bestow a winning blow and failed to deliver it. But now . . .

WHAT THE FUCK, BOOK. I don’t give one single damn about Dorian and his observations and his concerns. Celaena is finally fighting Cain. She’s finally injured. She’s finally losing. GIVE ME CELAENA BACK.

But oh my god Dorian’s just all “He couldn’t watch as Cain kicked her shoulder” and “What was wrong?” and “He should stop it” and GIVE ME CELAENA BACK.

His narration is over half a page long and includes only two details of the fight: Cain slices Celaena’s thigh open and punches her face. The rest of the narration is all “Dorian had to help her” and “Dorian almost cried out” and I hate it.

POV hop!

Something in Chaol began fraying as Celaena raised her bloodied face to look at Cain.

THE EVERLIVING FUCK, BOOK.

At least Chaol lets the narrator describe the fight for us, rather than nattering on about his feelings. Cain taunts Celaena, asking what her father would say of her failure—indicating that he, at least, knows her super-secret identity as the princess (well, should-be queen) of the conquered kingdom of Terrasen. Cain goes all creepy and says he can see her secrets clear as day, so the evil magic must be strong in him.

Cain continues to talk disrespectfully of her murdered family, rousing Celaena’s wrath. She staggers back to her feet and attacks, only to be kicked back down like a ragdoll, flopping all over the ground. Chaol’s panicky at how badly she’s losing, understandably.

POV hop! FINALLY, we’re back in Celaena’s head. She’s a limp sack of blood that Cain’s beating to nothingness.

All around her were whispering, laughing, otherworldly voices. They called to her—but called a different name, a dangerous name.

Oh, lord. I never even thought to wonder what her real, Princess/Queen of Terrasen name is. It has to have at least as many vowels as Celaena, surely.

The hallucinations have started. First up: a creepy dead dude with red eyes and long sharp teeth.

She’s resigned herself to defeat when Chaol approaches the ring with his pom-poms and chants at her to get up. Cain, meanwhile, is beating his chest and crowing insults. After a while, Chaol changes from the Get Up chant to the Celaena chant (which is performed in a breathy, romantic whisper).

And in that moment, somehow his face was the only thing that mattered.

Oh my god. Please don’t tell me this is connected to that whole infuriating “my life/freedom is only meaningful because Chaol was somehow involved in it” thing, because I will vomit.

Girls, remember this: your life is valuable because it’s yours. Not because some hot dude hangs out with you, or says your name in a way you like. Not because of some dude, period. Because it’s yours.

That said: I can understand giving up on your life and only gaining the strength to carry on because of the people you love. If Celaena and Chaol had developed a realistic, strong relationship over the course of the book, I probably wouldn’t be complaining right now.

Celaena scrapes herself together and gets  back up, only to be shoved face-first into the gargoyles’ clock tower. The hallucinations have gone from wtf to WTF, and suddenly, she’s being attacked by monsters?

They were going to bring her inside their realm, and the tower was the gaping portal.

Don’t know how she decided that’s what’s happening, but okay.

She’s terrified, but then she gets mad. She starts flailing around and then pop, she’s back in reality, with Cain ripping Elena’s magical amulet off her neck. You’re telling me she was wearing  her necklace loose during these duels? I’ve never fought a fight in my life, and even I know better than that.

Also: I am genuinely relieved to see Celaena stripped of her magical protection bauble. Will she actually have to rely on her own abilities for once? Dare I hope?

The chapter closes with Celaena amuletless, and all the bad things descending on her like seagulls on a bag of chips.

CHAPTER TALLIES

We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 3

Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0

I swore out loud in outrage: 8

I don’t know what the fuck the book was thinking, switching POVs like that, but let me just reiterate that I hate it. If it happens again next chapter, I don’t know that I’ll do.

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CHAPTER INDEX


21 thoughts on “Throne of Glass: Chapter 48

  1. Lots of swearing in that chapter.
    I remember rolling my eyes a lot during this, but at the same time, something (must have been the call of the blood) kept me turning pages frantically.

    “Girls, remember this: your life is valuable because it’s yours. Not because some hot dude hangs out with you, or says your name in a way you like. Not because of some dude, period. Because it’s yours.” Would you consider touring schools with banners and waffles to teach this to young girls?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, my internal language-filter is breaking, I think. What is this book doing to me??

      I’ll agree with you that this was the most interesting and readable part of the book so far! I definitely turned the pages faster in this chapter than at any other time in the story. For a climax, so far it’s not too bad. (Except those POV hops, oh my god.)

      Oh man, I would absolutely love to. That’d be wonderful–especially if I could recommend tons of great YA that teaches readers the right way to view themselves and engage in relationships with others. My dream come true.

      Like

  2. Yeah, hi five for finding a chapter that infuriated you enough into such a profanity inducing rage it would make a sailor blush!
    Remind me to never write a POV hop 😛
    Or to write one full of them, just for you.
    Actually the latter would entertain me to know end.
    Does that make me a sadist? Hmm.
    You’re almost done! Congrats.
    What ever shall you dissect next?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I think you’re safe so long as you don’t POV hop during the climax from the protagonist (who’s engaged in SUPER EXCITING THINGS) to a useless bystander who has nothing to contribute. Slowly dies.

      WAIT, NO, DON’T WRITE ONE FULL OF THEM JUST FOR ME. DIES FASTER.

      Okay, yeah, that would be kind of hilarious. 😀

      I’m thinking up next might be Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8705784-born-at-midnight

      Like Throne of Glass, I’d tried to read it a few years ago, and only made it through the first three chapters. It was too dumb for me to handle. On the one hand, I’m hoping it’s dumb throughout, and therefore great for snarking; on the other hand, I hope it’s only dumb in the first few chapters–in which case I’d do a normal review of it. We’ll see! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hah, it’s tragic really, the one part that actually had you excited about this series and they killed it with a pointless POV hop.
        You’re safe, for now. I’m still too nervous to post anything I write fiction wise.
        I’ve never heard of that one actually. I’m hoping it’s awful so you can just destroy it 😛
        More fun that way.
        For me anyway. Must be torture for you! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Tragic” is the perfect word for it. Alternatively: “fucking awful.” Either would do.

        Ahaha, we can be scaredy-cat writers together. I don’t know if or when my writing will ever see the light of day. 😀

        Happy to suffer for your continued enjoyment! Bows.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think there is just something so personal about allowing someone to read something you’ve written. It’s sort of akin to that dream where you’re standing in front of a bunch of people naked with no clothes in sight. You just feel totally exposed and vulnerable.
        One day… I’ll get over it one day.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. haha loved your description of the other assassin running into Celaena’s fist. Shocking as this may be though, I don’t actually have a problem with POV hops- shocking I know, but as long as it’s clear it’s a different perspective, I don’t see anything wrong with it. If anything I was surprised the first time I heard someone complaining about it and saying writers categorically shouldn’t do it, cos I’ve read so many books that make it work just fine- I mean some of the greatest literary geniuses (Eliot, Dickens, Austen etc) use this technique all the time. I know that (as per usual) this has gone off topic- but I’ve seen you mention this a few times about this book- is it something you have a problem with in general or is it something you just dislike in this book? Just curious

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, of course POV hops are great, when carefully considered and benefit the story. The vast majority of my stories are told from multiple perspectives, actually.

      The two issues I have with the way the POV hops are carried out in this chapter are:

      (1) Head-hopping. We’re in Dorian’s POV, but suddenly there are a couple paragraphs from Chaol’s POV, without those two different perspectives being separated by scene breaks. Here’s a bit of info on head-hopping: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/most-common-writing-mistakes-pt-41/

      (2) Killing the climax. Celaena’s FINALLY in the climactic battle (and even better, she’s terribly injured, about to lose)–and we’re torn away from her perspective to hang out with two side characters who’re just standing around and feeling bad for her. Switching to Dorian and Chaol’s POV doesn’t help the climax; it cripples it, by yanking us out of the excitement and making us idle around with a couple of useless dudes who’re less emotionally invested in the battle than Celaena is. I want to stay with the active heroine, who’s struggling and suffering and has so much to lose–not with these two idiots twiddling their thumbs and wondering what Cain is telling Celaena and wincing when she gets hit.

      Actually, if there’s anyone else’s perspective I’d like to see during the climax, it’d have been Nehemia’s–because she’s DOING SOMETHING, unlike Dorian and Chaol. I would’ve loved to know what she was doing, why, whether she was succeeding, and exactly what it cost her (emotionally, mentally, physically).

      I definitely agree with you, it’s weird to know there are people out there who want a strict ban on switching POVs. That might work well for some stories, but definitely not all, or even most.

      Your off-topic discussions aren’t off-topic at all! They’re awesome. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, so I think I understand your perspective. But I have a number of issues with the whole head hopping argument- I’ve seen it around before and I disagree with a lot of what she was saying. While she was right that it can be disorientating if done badly or in the middle of a scene, it really does depend on the author’s skill. Frankly, a brilliant author can slip from one perspective to another without you even noticing- obviously the example she gave of switching in the middle of the paragraph is bad practice, but a lot of authors switch from one end of the chapter to another and it’s quite clear what’s going on there- especially if an author uses third person omniscient third person limited together- because by doing so it kind of orients the reader.
        Also, she based her argument on the idea that “deep POV” is this new phenomenon in literature (it isn’t- it’s no different to third person limited which has been around for centuries). What is actually a new phenomenon is the practice of separating out POVs in an obvious way eg Song of Ice and Fire (not complaining about it, just pointing out the difference between that and, say, Hardy or Austen)
        I definitely agree with you about killing the climax- your argument makes a lot of sense. I’m not gonna argue with you about Throne of Glass, because it’s a long time since I read it and if you found the head hopping disorientating then I’ll take your word for it there as well.
        Great! I’m really glad you think so 🙂

        Like

    2. I’m editing/about to post tonight’s chapter, and realized my comment about Nehemia came a chapter too early! We don’t see what she’s up to until chapter 49, which is the one I’d like to see a bit of her perspective in. Sorry for being confusing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha OH GOSH, NOT AGAIN. The start of the chapter was perfect! Finally, she’s showing us! And then: “And in that moment, somehow his face was the only thing that mattered.”

    Back to square 1. Also, thank you for this comment: “your life is valuable because it’s yours.” I was actually clapping at that point. THANK YOU! And you’re not alone in hating the POV hops. This is seriously becoming a problem now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OHMYGOD. I hated that POV hop!!! That was just NOT OKAY.

    “Girls, remember this: your life is valuable because it’s yours. Not because some hot dude hangs out with you, or says your name in a way you like. Not because of some dude, period. Because it’s yours.” <<this is everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “THE EVERLIVING FUCK, BOOK.” And I am torn between the dreadful hilarity of it all, and the knowledge of your suffering. It’s like watching a black comedy of the sort that makes me feel really guilty for every laugh.

    “If it happens again next chapter, I don’t know that I’ll do.” I’d feed it to my binding-gnawing manx. But then that’s me…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep! He looks for all the world like a mini polar-bear with cat-ears and he’s polydactyl, having a grand total of 24 toes. Someone abandoned him outside a Walmart when he was a kitten. He’s a bit strange in the head, even beyond his penchant for book-gnawing, but he’s ridiculously cute.

        Liked by 1 person

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