All our theories can at aftermost be put to rest, admitting not all of our questions got answers. But how could they? Alike in about a thousand pages, there were so abounding things in motion, activity into this aftermost book, that abandoned one affair seemed definite: A absolutely big showdown, years in the making, was coming.
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Welcome to the aftermost column in Account Throne of Glass! My arch is absolutely abounding to beginning with details, both basic and random, and I’m dying to allocution about what happened at the end. So let’s get to it.
This column involves all the spoilers for all the books!
In the east, Rowan, Lorcan, Fenrys, and Elide coursing for Aelin, wringing account about Maeve from her Fae commanders. Elide is still bent at Lorcan, but eventually he clears article up for her: he wasn’t ample for Maeve at the end of Empire of Storms. He was ample to Aelin.
In the north, Aedion fights accident battles on two fronts: adjoin Morath’s soldiers, and adjoin his animosity for Lysandra, who he’s still emotionally backbreaking for accepting fabricated affairs with her queen that he wasn’t in on.
Among the khaganate’s ships, Chaol gets chat that Morath marches on Anielle. Abundant as he doesn’t appetite to see his father, he can’t let his home be destroyed.
In the mountains, witches coursing witches: Manon leads the Thirteen in chase of the Crochan Witches. Dorian, amid them, works on his magic, and—once they appointment Cyrene, the spider Manon fooled, who additionally took years and abracadabra from Falkan the shapeshifter—begins to convenance shapeshifting. He wants to go to Morath—in a altered form.
In Doranelle, Maeve tortures Aelin, all with the ambition of accepting her to booty the claret oath. (There is a lot of torture.) Fenrys is affected to watch. Aback Cairn, Aelin’s torturer, moves to bake her, it’s too abundant for both of them: Fenrys snaps his blood-oath and attacks Cairn. Aelin, atrocious abundant that she’d rather die, tries to catalyst Cairn into killing her. And afresh Rowan and aggregation actualization up, aloof in time to help. Aelin is traumatized and silent, blinking her bashful accent with Fenrys, aback the Little Folk appear to advice them all get out of Doranelle.
Cyrene leads Manon to the Crochans, who are skeptical; Manon agilely draws two Ironteeth covens to the accumulated witch force, to activity them and prove herself to the Crochans. A acting accord is struck. The Thirteen fly into the Gap to allege to the added Ironteeth, and Petrah Blueblood listens. Aback the Crochan Matrons appear for Manon later, she lets the Blueblood Matron live. She kills the Yellowlegs Matron, to booty aback Rhiannon Crochan’s acme of stars, and her grandmother escapes. (For now.) Anybody recognizes Manon as queen, and a alarm goes out: hidden Crochan witches from all over dust off their brooms and fly north.
In Adarlan, Aelin—slightly recovered, but covered in new bark from area Maeve’s healers regrew all the damage—and aggregation appointment ruk riders, and accomplish their way to Anielle to accompany the activity there. It’s a awful one, and Aelin has to save the day aback Morath’s legions try to asphyxiate the burghal by breaking a dam. She expends all the ability she’d been tunneling into—saving for Maeve’s afterlife blow—steaming the flood abroad and redirecting it. And afresh anybody active north.
Dorian sneaks into Morath, area he discovers that Maeve has appear to allege to Erawan. Afterwards assuming to assignment with her, Dorian, so satisfyingly, turns off Maeve’s portalling power, uses her own artful ability adjoin her, and brings bottomward what’s larboard of Morath. With all three keys, he accouterment and flies north.
In Terrasen, the angry continues. On the alley there, Dorian finds Aelin, Chaol, and the khaganate host, and afterwards a reunion, it’s time to accord with the keys. Dorian and Aelin plan to allotment the burden, in hopes it won’t annihilate either of them, but things go afield aback Aelin tries to arrangement with the gods for Elena’s existence. Deanna destroys Elena entirely. They don’t booty Erawan with them. The old baron of Adarlan appears—nameless; Erawan took his name—and offers his power. Aelin bliss out Dorian, the baron uses up his magic, and Mala ability Aelin a aftermost asset of power. It keeps her animate afterwards she opens a aperture in the god-world (to the hellscape we aftermost saw in Acme of Midnight), abrogation the gods to activity whatever comes through. And then, led by the bewitched Wyrdmarks in her new tattoo, she avalanche through worlds aback to her own, ability mostly depleted.
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Manon’s witches access in Terrasen—and the Bluebloods accompany their side, too. Petrah uses Iskra’s own wyvern-murdering ambush adjoin her. (“For Keelie.”) And afresh Manon’s absolute coven cede themselves adjoin the witch-tower and it’s everything: crushing, effective, giving the fighters time abundant to breathe, and, afterward, time to pay accolade to those amazing women.
When Aelin comes to Terrasen, astride the Aristocrat of the North, she remembers one of the important lessons: symbols acquire power. Aback aggregate is dark—when Gavriel has sacrificed himself, aback the spider-Valg princesses are on the move—she makes a angle in advanced of the gate, her brand burning. The course turns aback a alternation of portals open: Fae, the ones who fled the Southern Continent, and wolves and men, all advancing bottomward from the far arctic to aid the fight.
And aback it comes time to abort Maeve and Erawan, Aelin doesn’t do it alone. Dorian, Lysandra, Elide, and Yrene amalgamate armament to defeat Erawan. Before the final blow, Dorian learns his father’s name: It’s his own. Aback Yrene crushes Erawan, she shows him her mother: a woman Erawan never knew, whose achievement for her babe led them to this moment.
And in advanced of the gate, Aelin, Rowan, Fenrys and Lorcan activity Maeve, who tries, one aftermost time, to about-face their minds. But Aelin has apparent abundant of Maeve’s lies, and block Athril’s arena assimilate the Valg queen’s finger. It’s not a appealing death.
When Erawan falls, his armies stop. And it’s absolutely over. Anybody has fabricated peace—Lysandra and Aedion, Lorcan and Elide, Darrow and Aedion—and their losses aren’t about as abhorrent as they could’ve been, afar from the Thirteen. Gavriel went bottomward in advanced of the gates, attention his son and his son’s people. A lot of nameless, faceless soldiers died, but anybody abroad we apperceive lives. Rolfe and his Mycenians. Ansel, admitting not abounding of her men. Ilias. Hasar and Sartaq and Nesryn, Dorian and Chaol and Yrene. Lorcan and Fenrys. Darrow, Evangeline, apparently alike Nox, wherever he got to.
Aelin is crowned queen, and offers the claret adjuration to Aedion in advanced of everyone. There’s a party, and anybody goes home. A witch brings Manon affidavit that she’s burst the curse: a annual bloomed in the Wastes. And in the end, on a brilliant morning, the kingsflame blooms above Terrasen.
It is absolutely absurd for me to allocution about aggregate that happened in this massive doorstopper of a book, so I’m activity to aces a few key things, starting with three bodies who met in a alkali abundance in Throne of Glass—and whose adventure could’ve concluded there, if “Duke Perrington” had accomplished aloof who he shoved to the floor. Remember those babies? A snarky, arresting assassin; a stoic, committed captain of the guard; and a prince mostly acclaimed for actuality a ladies’ man. You can still see those bodies in the bodies they are now: a warrior queen, a baton and husband, a accomplished archimage and king. All abundant stronger, and all appealing abuse traumatized.
I tend to adulation accessory characters added than leads, and to me, as a reader, Aelin has consistently been the pole about which this adventure rotates, but not what I apprehend the adventure for. Pages and pages of ache is a boxy advertise at the best of times, and afresh I’ve alike beneath abdomen for account about abhorrent things accident to women—but Aelin’s boldness is anxiously laid into those difficult chapters. Her boldness and her band with Fenrys, which is admonition that bodies get through things aback they’re not alone. Maeve underestimates this, actuality Valg; she doesn’t apprehend that by disturbing them both, she pushes them afterpiece together, and they accord anniversary added strength.
Maas doesn’t shy abroad from the repercussions of Aelin’s time in Maeve’s clutches. She’s not herself, not for a continued time, not alike at the end of the book, admitting she’s better. She’s afflicted so much, but in one way, her choices are consistent: She fights, and afresh she tries to cede herself, cerebration it the best way to booty affliction of her people. She did it in Heir, and Rowan aggregate his power; she did it in Empire, and it adored Elide and her friends; she would acquire done it here, aback it comes to the Lock, but Mala intervenes. It’s the truest way in which Aelin is a queen; her aboriginal antecedence is her people. It’s all she asks of those who booty the claret oath: that they assure Terrasen and its people.
Will accustomed life—normal aristocratic life—be a claiming for Aelin? Will she acquire bristles kids with Rowan, like in his dream? With added threats appear to Terrasen? Will she anytime apprentice to acquaint bodies her plans?
Chaol has beneath time in this book, but it’s acceptable time. It’s important time; it’s him adverse his ancestor with his new wife at his side, and award that he can angle up to the old crotchety lord. So abundant of Chaol’s strife, in the beforehand books, comes from him assured bodies to be a assertive way, and that includes himself. That’s allotment of his attempt in Tower of Dawn: accepting that you can’t consistently be the actuality you anticipation or capital yourself to be. He’s had to acclimatize his expectations, afresh and again; he’s had to abound added flexible, and added accepting. He’s activity to be such a acceptable adviser for Dorian.
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It’s Dorian I begin the best alluring as this alternation went on. He’s taken the longest to amount himself out, which makes sense—he was a prince, an heir, his activity set out for him; afresh he was bondservant to one of those awful Wyrdstone collars. There are things he’s consistently accustomed about himself—his loyalty, the way he ethics friendships—but there’s so abundant abroad he has had to amend as his adventure confused and changed. He’s disturbing with PTSD about as abundant as Aelin is, and he’s had to appear to agreement with the raw abracadabra he never accustomed to have.
What I adulation is that his acknowledgment to all of this is to abound curious. He studies Cyrene’s asset of shapeshifting magic; he tries on added bodies; he tests Damaris’s accuracy capabilities, amendment Gavin, learns, literally, to fly. He’s about never still; he’s affective and attractive and watching, and aggravating to understand. He doesn’t aloof appetite to acquire what he’s able of; he wants to acquire how added bodies move through the world. He uses Damaris to ascertain lies, but additionally to acquire truths, and to see what matters.
When he stands in that alcove of Morath and debates who he is, and what affectionate of activity defines him, the choice, again, is taken from him. But really, he already chose: he chose aback he attenuated Morath, but not the pathways bodies used. He chose aback he approved to activity the prince in his Valg collar, and he chose aback he accustomed that maybe he acquainted like the adapted that collar. (I don’t adulation the association that if bodies aloof believed in themselves added they could activity Valg possession, though; that veers a little too abutting to victim-blaming for me.)
It’s Dorian I appetite to chase now that this adventure is done—Dorian and Manon, who both acquire kingdoms to rebuild. But added on that later.
I’ve been on Team Manon aback her aboriginal appearance, and so you can apparently assumption how I acquainted aback the Thirteen flew off to their deaths—their light-filled, important, heart-wrenching deaths. (I could about apprehend the folio through tears.) Allotment of me hates this choice, hates that Manon has to go off and advance the Witch Kingdom afterwards the actual witches who accomplished her to care, to love, to change, to attending above the shitty means she’d been taught. It’s a huge loss.
The adventure of the witches is the adventure of advantageous a history of infighting and self-hatred, and in some means I ambition the book was added upfront about that, about how the Ironteeth activity with the cliched weapons of the catfight, nails and teeth, angry atrociously deadly. There’s article I can’t absolutely put my feel on about the changeable friendships in the series; I adulation them, but they tend to be amid women with differing levels of power, whether Manon and her additional or Aelin and the women who will be ladies of Terrasen—but still capacity of their queen— aback this is all over. It’s a alternation about kings and queens and royalty, so you can altercate this is inevitable, but there’s article altered about the access amid men and amid women. (And I can’t advice but apprehension that the abandoned bodies who die are single; no one loses their accomplice or mate. It’s friendships that ache most: the accident of all the Thirteen, and two of the cadre.)
In the end, there are three queens on this continent, and three witches arch the way aback to the Witch Kingdom. There’s far added ability in the easily of non-evil women than there was at the alpha of the story. Still, I ambition the Thirteen had gotten to accumulate demonstrating the bigger assignment they helped Manon learn: how bodies can change, and abruptness you. But war is war, and bodies die, and their cede was a draft to the heart.
It wasn’t in vain; Manon will still be a abundant queen, alike afterwards them. She’s abstruse to accomplish harder and harder choices, to inspire, to see animosity as strengths, not aloof weaknesses. She and Aelin appear to queendom from adverse ends—Aelin from a abode of aggravating to do aggregate herself; Manon from a abode of annihilative teamwork for a alarming cause—but they both grew up, at atomic allotment of the time, actuality aria to and controlled. And they’re activity to advice anniversary added amount out how not to be like that, I think.
(I’m animated she didn’t ally Dorian. I don’t anticipate either of them are done baking yet, to mix in a Buffy metaphor. As allies, and, yes, lovers, they’re activity to abound to be incredible. But they don’t allegation to get married.)
This is still active me bananas: How! Did! Erawan! Get! The! Third! Key! Obviously he had it, but aback and how did he get it? Brannon hid that key in Mala’s temple, area abandoned addition with his ability could get it—or addition who captivated addition key. So … who did it? Was it afterwards Erawan got the key from Elena’s tomb? Valg abhorrence fire, so he abiding didn’t go aback that one himself. (Did he use Kaltain, who’s said to acquire had the blaze gift? Was there time for that?)
I know, I know: this isn’t the best important thing. But it was alluring to accomplishment this alternation and anticipate about the aberration amid what an columnist prioritizes in a adventure and what a clairvoyant feels is basic to the tale. There are a lot of changing questions here, and I don’t beggarly that in a please-spell-everything-out-for-me sense, but in a worldbuilding sense. Authors acquire to accomplish best about what they focus on, and Maas congenital such a huge apple that it was absurd to beef out all of it.
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I’m a eavesdropping reader; I appetite to apperceive how things work. I anticipation there would be added to the Wyrd (the way it’s discussed in the aboriginal book, for example, is actual different), and to the accomplished adventure of the gods: what they were, how they got here, how they set themselves up as gods, how they chronicle to the added gods admirable in the Southern Continent. Bless Gavriel for apprehensive what I wondered—with the gods gone, is there an abandoned armchair in the underworld?
Some of my abiding questions were answered, like area the Fae from the Southern Abstemious went—but that acknowledgment was just, North. We didn’t accommodated any of them, or apprehend any of their stories. What’s their administration like? The accomplished history is still abounding of mysteries that absorb me: What acquired the witch wars? What absolutely happened to Mab and Mora? Who were Brannon’s added children? What about the dragons in the southeast? From beginning came Rolfe’s Mycenians, and were there anytime sea dragons? What am I missing about the accord amid Rhiannon Crochan and the aftermost go-round in this game: Why does Maeve apperceive her face, and why does Manon acquire to footfall into the mirror with Aelin, aback no witch is all-important for the accomplishment of the Lock? What about the accompanying mirror, in the added chest that was allegedly beneath Morath?
Maybe I’m aloof greedy, though. If I acquire one primary ambition about Kingdom of Ash, it’s that I capital it to go a little added afterwards Aelin’s coronation. I capital the agnate of “The Scouring of the Shire”—the arena aback our battered, tired, long-traveling heroes acquire to go home and accord with the blend cat-and-mouse for them. I capital to see Dorian in Rifthold, addition out area to alpha with his sacked city, advancing to agreement with his answerability and trauma, and authoritative a bigger apple with Chaol and Yrene. I capital Manon aerial over the Wastes-no-longer, seeing the abode she can alarm home. I capital to watch Aelin accommodated Nehemia’s parents, to assuredly accord their country a moment in the spotlight that isn’t about death.
There’s a accomplished adventure afterwards the action is won, and it’s one that’s rarely told. But this is a celebration, and I account that: Afterwards everything, Aelin and aggregation deserve a ball, a coronation, a quiet farewell. (And a prime, admirable actualization of the Little Folk, who’ve been there all along.)
In some ways, the end of the alternation reflects the end of Empire of Storms: As ever, Aelin has affairs she doesn’t acquaint anyone, from not answer (even to Rowan!) why she doesn’t use her ability until that atrocious moment in Anielle, to not cogent anybody that she’s asked the Fae and Wolf Tribe in the arctic to appear to Terrasen’s aid. The latter, I understand; she never wants to accord anyone achievement that may be unfounded, because she knows what it’s like to lose hope. The above was endlessly frustrating, because while Aelin didn’t use her fire, bodies died. Nameless people, nameless soldiers, all falling to Morath’s hosts.
This turns out to be aloof as well, because all that ability is bare to stop the flood that rushes from the destroyed dam. Aelin’s best turns out to be right, and it’s about too tidy, the way her abhorrence turns out to be the appropriate move. But it additionally makes for one hell of a scene: the fire-breathing allegation queen, axis a flood to steam.
But what affairs in the end of this book—what’s mattered all along—is that battles aren’t won by individuals. Aelin saves Anielle, but that’s already the action is done; there are abandoned bodies to save because anybody fought, ruks and basal soldiers and Fae and all. From the actual start, Aelin never wins her battles alone. Assassinations, yes: Archer Finn’s afterlife is an assassin’s kill, and it ability be the aftermost time that happens.
Nehemia and Chaol fought beside her, if not in the ring, aback she became King’s Champion. Rowan lent her his abracadabra aback she faced the Valg in Beneficiary of Fire. Destroying Arobynn was a accumulation plot, the aftermost draft Lysandra’s; extenuative Rifthold from the baron was a two-pronged effort, in the streets and in the castle, and neither Dorian nor Aelin could acquire done it alone. The aforementioned goes for the action at the end of Empire, which took every accord Aelin could alarm up on abbreviate notice.
So aback it comes time to end the series’ two villains, it’s fitting, and beautiful, that it takes everyone—every above appearance we’ve appear to apperceive over these bags of pages. Everyone’s abilities are needed, from Dorian’s raw ability to Yrene’s healing light, Lysandra’s backbone to Elide’s perceptiveness. Chaol and Aedion, soldiers to the core, activity on the battlements; the amount activity at Aelin’s side, every one of them with a allotment to comedy in the abolition of Maeve. It’s personal, like Asterin actuality the one to abort the Blackbeak Matron, but it’s added than that: it’s fitting. And it’s absolutely satisfying, too.
Given how abundant of this book is fighting—a lot—it’s adage article that the acute action is so breathtaking. Maas has abutting ascendancy over the narrative, which moves all over Orynth; there’s never any abashing about area the characters are, how they chronicle to anniversary other, and she manages to analysis in with aloof about anybody as aggregate comes to a agitated but august close. You can trace some of the moments aback to assorted archetypal fantasies, from the behemothic wolves and hidden bodies in the arctic to the way that alike non-fighters can comedy a basic role at the end of things. (How I admired Elide, afterwards a goddess at her shoulder, still so acceptable at seeing what needs to be seen!)
The end of this book is, like Chaol thinks afterwards the battle, the beginning—the alpha of a new affectionate of activity for all of them. And two of our queens accomplish choices, aboriginal in the book, that outline what that activity will be, and what this adventure is all about. Aback she faces the Matrons, Manon spares Cresseida for a simple reason: She has apparent that the Bluebood Matron is able of love. And aback Maeve tries to allure Aelin with an abstract adaptation of Rowan that’s perfect, that never suffered, Aelin rejects the dream, because the absoluteness is what matters—the absoluteness area they got their bits calm in Mistward, area they saw anniversary other’s flaws and pain, and begin achievement in all of it.
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It’s all hope, like it’s consistently been. It’s hope, and friendship, and connection. But it’s a affably amiss affectionate of hope, not the affectionate that wants the apple to aloof be magically better, but the affectionate that understands that mistakes can be abstruse from, that bodies can be better, and that failures accomplish us who we are, for bigger or worse. Sometimes they’re not alike failures, like aback a witch loves her daughter. Sometimes they’re aloof things we haven’t absolutely ample out how to see yet.
Molly Templeton absolutely isn’t abiding what to apprehend next. Appear allocution to her about your Kingdom of Ash feels on Twitter!
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