Previously on Throne of Glass, Totally Competent Heroine Celaena wins the duel (with magical help from Nehemia and Elena), Chaol kills Cain (then angsts about it), and Kaltain’s dragged off to prison.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold, it’s paraphrased snark.
We’re in our final week, guys: five chapters left. LET’S DO THIS.
Dorian starts us off bold and silent, engaged in a staring contest with King Dad. Who’s gonna break first? It’s . . . King Dad!
King Dad: “What d’you want?”
Dorian: “I wish to know what will happen to Chaol. For killing Cain.”
Me: “Okay, hold on, why should anything ‘happen to Chaol‘ when he was just doing his job and protecting the King’s Champion from an unprovoked attack by the opponent she’d just defeated—and possibly saving Dorian’s life, or at least protecting him from serious injury, as well?”
King Dad: “I see no reason why I should rid myself of a perfectly capable Captain of the Guard.”
Dorian: ” . . . oh. Cool.”
Me: “PERFECTLY CAPABLE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD ARE YOU KIDDING ME.”
Dorian then asks (for no apparent reason, which is my favorite reason for characters to do things), “What’re you gonna do with Celaena?”
Oh wait, he does have a reason: to give them a reason to talk at length about Celaena, and give Dorian ample opportunity to defend her honor (?) against his father.
King Dad: “Why should I see an assassin as anything but a monster?”
Dorian: “She’s not a monster[.] Everything she’s done, she did to survive.”
Dorian’s been taking notes on Chaol’s deft handling of Celaena-related situations, and goes the Angry Werewolf route, complete with a baring of teeth and a growl that clues the king into the depths of Dorian’s attachment to her. Uh oh, Dorian. Your soft spot is showing.
King Dad tells him to just leave the matter alone, and Dorian spends half a page stewing “in the cold rage that lay inside of him.” I seriously do not understand where this rage is coming from. The king told him (1) Chaol’s not going to be punished, (2) Celaena’s an assassin, and (3) Dorian shouldn’t be attached to her. Sure, he also flopped around some lame insults at Celaena’s expense, but nothing worthy of rage.
I continue to assert that Dorian doesn’t (yet?) have the brains or the self-control to be a decent prince, much less king.
Dorian privately decides he’s not man enough to make his father pay for his treatment of “those rebels in Eyllwe,” whom he feel sympathy for (?), but maaaaybe he can start trying to stand up to King Dad.
So he faced his father, and kept his head held high as he said, “Perrington wishes to use Nehemia as some sort of hostage in order to make those Eyllwe rebels obey.”
Oh my god, Dorian no. Not this again. I can’t take your stupidity.
But he doesn’t listen to me, because he never listens to me, and his gums keep a-flapping:
“I think we’re better than that.”
“Are we? Do you know how many soldiers and supplies I’ve lost thanks to those rebels?”
Uh, we the readers don’t. Care to clue us in? No? Okay.
“I do, but to use Nehemia like that is too risky. The rebels might use it to gain allies in other kingdoms.”
“We’d be better off trying to win over Nehemia—trying to work with her to get the rebels to back off. That won’t happen if we hold her hostage.”
No, you are not better off wooing Nehemia into an alliance. You know who she’ll never ally with? THE KING OF ADARLAN. Seriously, Perrington’s plan is the most logical, and the most likely to succeed.
Don’t let me down, King Dad. Be the
reasonable “evil” monarch I need you to be.
At last, his father nodded. “I shall order Perrington to stop his planning, then.”
Scene change and POV hop! Celaena wakes up, snuggled up in bed and fairly well messed up, as you’d expect after the ass-kicking she’d received the day before. Her pains are listed, and we’re treated to a quick description of her nightmares.
Hearing the narrator’s lengthy caressing of Celaena’s body and dreams, Nehemia enters the room. Guess the “Welcome, Please Enter” mat is still out.
Nehemia, by the way, is ready to receive credit where credit’s due:
“I won’t waste time dancing around the truth,” Nehemia said. “I saved your life at the duel.”
We already figured that out, Nehemia. Did you think any of us actually believed Celaena would save herself? Allow me to gently remind you that she’s done literally nothing for herself this entire book. Other people—you, Chaol, Elena, some random dead scholar centuries ago—have done it all for her. Trust me, we are aware.
The girls unroll all of Nehemia’s lies up to this point, and none of them are surprising:
- She can see the demon-things all the time,
- She can speak the common language perfectly, and only asked Celaena to tutor her in the language so they could be friends,
- She and her family know everything there is to know about Wyrdmarks.
No, she doesn’t explain why her family didn’t use Wyrdmarks to protect their kingdom from Adarlan’s brutal conquest; she just says that Wyrdmarks “are only to be used as a last defense against evil, or in the gravest of illnesses.” If Wyrdmarks are okay for use against illness, surely they’re cleared for saving thousands of people from death and imprisonment-to-death during a time of war?
And holy crap, apparently Nehemia’s been the secret protagonist of this shitshow all along:
“Since the moment I arrived here, I was aware that someone was using the Wyrdmarks to call forth demons from the Otherworlds—realms beyond our realm. That fool Cain knew enough about the Wyrdmarks to summon the creatures, but didn’t know how to control them and send them back. I’ve spent months banishing and destroying the creatures he summoned; that is why I’ve sometimes been so absent.”
Why couldn’t we have had her as our heroine? She actually knows things, and has been doing stuff.
I am deeply bitter.
Also proving she’s our true heroine: those creepy Wyrdmarks repeatedly drawn under Celaena’s bed were Nehemia’s work. They were protection against the demons Cain was summoning. Check it out, Nehemia actually goes out of her way to protect others. How novel!
Nehemia’s also the reason Elena was able to deus-ex-machina her way into the duel on time. Thanks for that, Nehemia.
They talk about Cain’s evilness for a bit, and Celaena hilariously notes:
“At least the king doesn’t know about any of this; I can’t imagine what he’d do if he had access to that kind of power.”
It’s charming, how she’s incapable of suspecting Perrington of being in on Cain’s plot—and the king of being plot-buddies with Perrington.
Nehemia finally admits that she’s in the castle for spying purposes (shocking!), and reasserts that her country is her BFF and she’d do anything to protect it. Oh, but she and Celaena are BFFs too, and after Celaena’s all healed up they’ll make friendship bracelets or something to prove it (I’m guessing).
Nehemia tosses Elena’s magical amulet necklace thing to Celaena and leaves. Celaena passes out instantly.
We’re told Celaena’s A Total Badass: 1
Celaena proves she’s A Total Badass: 0
DORIAN RAGE: 6
This was a fairly long chapter, and consisted entirely of (a) Dorian angst, and (b) Nehemia info-dump. Hopefully it was less boring for you than it was for me.