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"Once upon a time," she said to him, to the world, to herself, "in a kingdom long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom.....very much."

–Aelin to Rowan - Heir of Fire

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, also known as Adarlan’s Assassin and Celaena Sardothien, is the lost queen of Terrasen and the last surviving member of the Galathynius line.

As a child, Aelin was rescued and raised by Arobynn Hamel, the King of Assassins, who trained and honed her into a living weapon. During this time, Aelin completely dropped the usage of her true name and assumed an alias, Celaena Sardothien,

which she used to gain fame and become Adarlan’s Assassin.

Aelin’s true name and her heritage as the rightful queen to the throne of Terrasen is eventually revealed, which makes her a major political opponent of the King of Adarlan.

Appearance

Aelin is described as being particularly beautiful, with long golden hair that shines silver in moonlight. She also possesses Ashryver eyes – bright turquoise eyes with golden rings around the pupils, which serves as the major giveaway to her true identity since they are so distinctive and run in her family. Standing at an average height, Aelin’s body is finely honed and trained - as well as curvaceous - and as a result of this training and her many battles, Aelin's body is covered in scars, including those on her back which she received while laboring in the death camp, Endovier.

Personality

My name is Celaena Sardothien. 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.

Aelin is very passionate about many things, and especially so with the people whom she loves. When she cares for someone, she cares for them deeply, and has experienced enough loss in her life to never want to feel it again. Aelin's passionate nature also often extends to her interests, which include books, sweets, and music.

Aelin feels things both strongly and deeply. While she is often teasing, witty, and carefree when she is happy, Aelin's most immediate reaction when angry or sad is to channel her darker emotions into a barely-contained rage or killing calm. This gets her into trouble more often than not, such as when she is captured due to her rash actions and desire for vengeance after the murder of Sam Cortland.

Although Aelin is an assassin, she tends to be meticulous in managing her appearance. She has a fixation on finery and insists on wearing 'fashionable' clothing, which can often make her appear vain.  

Aelin also has a strong moral compass. Though she often tries to suppress the memories of her tumultuous past, her experiences have shaped her into the woman she is, and that is a woman who does not tolerate injustices. Aelin absolutely loathes slavery and unnecessary cruelty, as is evidenced when she allows her contracted targets to go free while acting as the King's Champion and when she freed the slaves at Skulls Bay with the help of Sam Cortland. 

Powers & Abilities

Due to her heritage as the heir of Brannon Galathynius and Mala Firebringer, Aelin can control and manifest fire - and has control over it due in large part to her extensive training at Mistward with her mate, Rowan. When Aelin was a young girl, she had next to no control over her fire, leading her to accidentally burn part of Orynth's Grand Library. Aelin's fire magic is said to be as strong as her ancestor, Brannon's - the first king of Terrasen. She can shape her fire into shields, daggers, arrows and even a rose, and was even able to set Doranelle's rivers aflame. She once burned someone from the inside out by breathing at him (or so it seems). It also has been proven that there is no bottom to the well of her magic. In Heir of Fire, during the Battle of Mistward, while fighting Valg princes, she discovers what seems to be the bottom of her chamber of magic. However, this is later proved to be just a threshold, and Aelin finds that her magic is limitless.

Aelin also has a small affinity for water magic, which she inherited from her mother's line. Though she showed no proficiency for it as a child, Aelin is finally able to manifest some control over it after her training and healing at her mate's (Rowan's) side. 

Aelin also possesses advanced healing, as do all Fae, though she is shown to not have the best understanding of it.  

Due to her Fae heritage, Aelin is able to shift between two different forms. Her first form is her Fae form, and her secondary form is her human body, which acts as her "animal form".

It is briefly revealed in Empire of Storms that in order to become immortal the Fae must go through a settling. Maeve tells Aelin she is "likely five years away from Settling". Although not yet immortal she likely will be in the future.

History

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Early Life

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was born to Rhoe Galathynius, the nephew and heir of King Orlon Galathynius, and his wife, Evalin Ashryver, in Orynth on May third (citation needed). For the first eight years of her life, she lived as the crown princess and sole heir to the throne of Terrasen. While some people expected her to marry Aedion Ashryver, her cousin and confidante, to solidify the family's claim to the throne, Aelin found the idea laughable as she considered Aedion to be her brother. Aelin's Fae heritage manifested itself at an early age. She could shift between forms quite easily, though her fire control was less than exemplary. Her lack of control led to a deep-seated fear of her own powers, which was so intense that she considered it a relief when magic fell and she no longer had to fear herself. It is revealed in Throne of Glass (from Dorian's perspective) that she encountered Dorian Havilliard as a child while his parents were on a state visit to Terrasen.

One night, the King of Adarlan decided to overthrow one of his major political opponents - the royal family of Terrasen. Aelin discovered the deaths of her parents when she climbed into their bed thinking the wetness of the bed was due to the rain, and then she woke up to a maid's screams and discovered the bed was filled not with water but with the blood of her parents. Her mother's dearest friend, Lady Marion Lochan, sacrifices herself to allow Aelin to escape and survive the massacre of her family and bide her time. The King of Adarlan cemented his rule over Erilea by promoting across the country the deaths of the Terrasen nobility, all the while unaware of the survival of Aelin. After the death of her parents and King Orlon she became the sole heir to the throne of Terrasen. Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins, found Aelin half frozen and half dead on the banks of the Avery River outside the palace. He offered her a choice; to stay with him and be trained as an assassin, or to be cast off in the streets. Aelin chose the former and became an assassin, killing her first target at the age of nine. She was restyled as Celaena Sardothien to hide her true identity. 

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Celaena trained at the Assassin's Keep in Rifthold, and it was here that she spent the majority of her life following the deaths of her parents. However, she was captured after attempting to exact revenge on Ioan Jayne and Rourke Farran for murdering her lover Sam Cortland. As a result, she was sent to the salt mines of Endovier - a death camp - and sentenced as a slave to reside there for the remainder of her life.

The Assassin’s Blade

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Celaena meets with Arobynn's inner circle of assassins late at night. Arobynn announces that the mission has failed, resulting in Gregori's capture and incarceration in the palace dungeons. Celaena suggests that the assassins poison him before he leaks any information to the authorities, as per protocol, but Sam expresses horror to this proposal. She then inquires about Ben, as she has noticed that he is not present, and Arobynn reveals that Ben was killed during the mission. Outraged, Celaena demands why the others did not retrieve Ben's body; Sam replies that there were too many guards and that the retrieval could potentially lead the guards to the Assassins' Keep. Furious, Celaena stalks out of the room, vowing to recover her friend's body.

Two months later, Celaena and Sam travel to Skull's Bay to meet with Rolfe as Arobynn's emissaries, in order to exact retribution from the Lord of Pirates for the murders of three other assassins by pirates. Celaena expresses indignation at Rolfe's tardiness and roots around Rolfe's office, much to Sam's irritation. Rolfe arrives and demands that Celaena remove herself from his chair. She rises, sits beside Sam, and then accuses Rolfe of being involved in Gregori's capture and Ben's death, citing the tattoos that were spotted on the attackers. The Pirate Lord argues that the tattoos would only have been visible during a full moon, but the incident did not occur during a full moon. She and Sam hand Arobynn's letter to Rolfe; he finishes reading it, then reveals that he will not be compensating Arobynn in gold, but rather - much to Celaena's horror - is brokering a slave trade agreement with him. Although she was unaware of the true content of the letter, Celaena acts as if she knew exactly what the message was. Rolfe sends Celaena and Sam to their lodging. Initially Rolfe plans to provide two separate rooms for them, but Celaena insists that only one room is necessary. Rolfe raises his eyebrows suggestively, prompting Celaena to clarify that she wishes for two beds in one room.

Alone in the room with Sam, Celaena turns on him, believing that Sam had prior knowledge of the contents of the letter, but he denies her accusations. Celaena rants, baffled as to why Arobynn would deceive Sam and her and dispatch them to reprove Rolfe for a crime he was not involved in. Sam says that Arobynn has his reasons, but Celaena presses on, expressing disgust at the idea of trading slaves. She asserts that the guild does not need the money, but she wonders if Arobynn is not as wealthy as she believes and has been spending money that he does not have, or if he simply wishes to become more affluent. Sam asks if she is going to bathe or if he can go first, and Celaena storms off to take a bath.

Rolfe taunts Celaena at dinner, urging her to remove her mask so she can partake in the meal, but she refuses. When Rolfe questions her about her past, Celaena shoots back a gibe about the map tattoo, implying that Rolfe did not work for his position as she did for hers. Rolfe then tells her that the map has been immutable for the past eight years, which unnerves Celaena, and that he did have to toil and kill to earn his title. Once again, Rolfe remarks on her arrogance and cites Sam as an example for discretion in terms of choosing when to speak. He warns Celaena to be wary of Sam, as he could be waiting for a chance to eliminate her. Celaena snaps at Rolfe to mind his own business.

Back in their room, Sam pokes fun at Celaena, who threateningly suggests that perhaps he should not sleep that night. Sam asks if she really cannot tolerate teasing, to which she replies that she cannot when it involves her life. He nervously asks if he should be concerned about sleeping that night, but she laughs to herself and reassures him that he need not worry - for tonight, at least. He falls asleep, and Celaena listens to his breathing as she keeps watch.[1]

Celaena does not sleep well that night because the situation with the slave trade nettles her. She thinks to herself that Ben would be appalled by the deal too, because he was the kindest person she knew. Disgusted with the immorality of slaving and Arobynn's choice to involve her in his deal, Celaena decides to rescue the slaves.

After disarming the guards of the two slave ships, disabling seven other ships, and starting a city-wide brawl, the two assassins successfully help the two hundred slaves escape and secure a contractual agreement with Rolfe, effectively ending both Arobynn's and Rolfe's involvement in the slave trade and establishing Skull's Bay as a safe haven for escaped slaves. Their collaboration blossoms into a tentative - if somewhat awkward - friendship between the rival assassins, and Sam and Celaena to return together to face the wrath of Arobynn.

Upon their return to Rifthold, Arobynn's anger is undeniably great, deadly and raging. Restraining Sam, Arobynn beats Celaena mercilessly until she lost consciousness, forcing Sam to watch.

The Assassin and the Healer

Following her abolition of the Skull's Bay slave trade and the severe beating by Arobynn as a result, Celaena is sent to train with The Silent Assassins as further punishment. After spending two days waiting for her ship to the Red Desert, she is in a combative mood and expresses some disappointment that no one has attempted to rob her. Yrene notices Celaena, although she does not know her by name. She observes that the mysterious girl can drink quite a bit and keeps to the shadows. When she brings dinner to the girl's table and the girl speaks to her, Yrene notes her manner of speaking, which marks her as an educated person, and remarks mentally that she is wise to eschew the stew. Celaena watches Yrene move about the White Pig, admiring her deft avoidance of the grasps of handsy customers. Her thoughts turn to her own restlessness, as the room she rented from Nathan is foul, the town is too isolated to offer any decent entertainment, and she has already read her book more than once.

Itching for a fight, Celaena sneaks into the alley behind the inn after closing only to find four mercenaries attack Yrene in the hopes of stealing her meager earnings. After killing three of the four men, Celaena allows a shaken but grateful Yrene to treat her wounds while the young woman shares her heart-wrenching story, revealing her past as a gifted healer. Celaena gruffly questions Yrene as to why she, the daughter of a healer, is in Innish working as a barmaid; she admonishes her for not pressing on and at least being penniless in Antica near Torre Cesme instead of miserable in Innish and criticizes her for allowing herself to waste away in the awful town for the sake of a clean conscience. When Yrene doesn't answer, Celaena asks how long it has been since Yrene's mother died and acknowledges the hardship of being a gifted healer - especially one from Fenharrow - during that time, before inquiring what she would do if she attended Torre Cesme. Yrene replies that she would return to Erilea to help those in need of healers. The barmaid tries to offer Celaena something to treat the injuries on her face, but Celaena refuses, saying that they are meant to be a reminder for herself. Instead of leaving, Celaena, out of fear for Yrene's safety, offers to teach Yrene to defend herself.

Celaena coaches Yrene on the most effective self-defense moves. When Yrene murmurs that she should impart Celaena's tips to Jessa, Celaena urges Yrene to share what she has learned with any female who bothers to listen. The time for Celaena's departure nears, and she realizes that she does not want to remain in one place out of uncertainty and resignation like Yrene. Yrene inquires whether Celaena has needed to use the self-defense moves before; Celaena admits that she has - usually as the hunter.

However, they are soon interrupted by the fourth mercenary who returns with his comrades to exact revenge. When Celaena refuses to lower her weapons on threat of Yrene's death, Yrene incapacitates her attacker while Celaena quickly dispatches the others, revealing that Celaena was simply using the attack as training for Yrene. With her ship scheduled to depart in the morning, Celaena feels a tug of fate toward the healer and leaves her money and a ruby brooch in the hopes that Yrene can finally afford to travel to The Southern Continent to train as a healer. Without another word, Celaena boards the ship to the Red Desert.

The Assassin and the Desert

Red desert

Conceding to her punishment by Arobynn, Celaena journeys through the crimson dunes of The Red Desert to the fortress of The Silent Assassins, to train with The Mute Master and gain his approval within a month's time. Upon arrival at the fortress, her skills are tested but she is deemed worthy enough to train with the other acolytes, among them Ilias, the son of The Mute Master, and Ansel of Briarcliff, who becomes a fast friend. Training vigorously with the other acolytes and running daily to the oasis, she aids in the defense of the fortress against the silent attack of Lord Berick's men, scaring them off by igniting an oil-drenched ridge.

Imprisonment at Endovier

She spent a total of one year in the mines[2] (before Dorian Havilliard removed her to compete for the title of King's Champion) and was often beaten for amusement by the guards. Most prisoners only survive an average of three months in the mines[2], and she had survived only because slaves from Eyllwe would tend to her wounds every night. Celaena was left with many scars from her imprisonment, namely three stark scars down her back from being whipped. On the anniversary of Celaena's parents' deaths, she snaps and ends up going on a killing spree, killing 24 of the Endovier guards - including her overseer - in the process. Her shaft was three-hundred and sixty-three feet from the wall. She was caught a finger's tip away from the wall, whereas most prisoners would not get past three feet from their prison cells.

Throne of Glass

As a result of the King of Adarlan's decree to hold a King's Champion Tournament competition to find the King's Champion, Prince Dorian sets out with the Captain of the Royal Guard, Chaol Westfall, to Endovier to retrieve Adarlan's Assassin, Celaena Sardothien, and propose to her that she should compete. Should Celaena win, she would serve the king for four years until earning her freedom. Celaena takes the opportunity to get out of the terrible camp of Endovier and takes the prince up on the deal. Prince Dorian of Adarlan, along with The Captain of the Guard, take Celaena to the Glass Castle, the home to the King of Adarlan. Celaena finds that she is in fact not the only criminal to compete, there are numerous thieves and killers sponsored by other lords to partake in the King's champion_Tournament competition. The prince gives Celaena an alias to use during her stay, Lady Lillian Gordaina of Bellhaven.

Chaol Westfall of Anielle is to train Celaena for the various tasks she is to complete to move through the competition. In the meantime, the other competitors are slowly getting picked off, either murdered in grotesque fashions or eliminated by the "Tests". Chaol divides his time between training/guarding Celaena and investigating these mysterious deaths. In a dream, Celaena finds a door hidden behind a tapestry in her bedchamber leading to a series of secret tunnels within the castle. One leads out of the castle and another leads to a room containing the tomb of Elena, the first Queen of Adarlan and daughter of Brannon Galathynius. Celaena wakes up that morning with an amulet (named "The Eye of Elena") in her hand, the same one Elena gives her in her dream, along with a warning that there is evil coming and that she is the one to stop it. While trying to distract herself from the impending doom predicted by Queen Elena's spirit, Celaena, under the guise of Lillian, befriends the visiting Princess of Eyllwe, Nehemia Ytger. The Princess exchanges lessons on the tongue used in Adarlan for teaching Celaena what she knows about Wyrdmarks, the strange symbols that Celaena finds at the crime scenes of all the murdered competitors as well as other parts of the castle.

Chaol often finds himself chaperoning the two girls. Celaena is excluded from the festival of Samhuinn. Feeling bad that she is forbidden to attend, Chaol brings back a gift from the celebration - an amethyst ring. Celaena ends up treasuring this ring throughout the books and never parts with it. Although Chaol does not allow himself to forget that Celaena is in fact an assassin, he begins to warm up to the eighteen-year-old girl who enjoys conversation, dresses, and any opportunity she can get to show him up in training, despite Chaol's warnings that she should remain under the radar. There is one person's attention in particular that Celaena has tried to avoid but can't seem to shake, and that is Kaltain Rompier, one of Queen Georgina's (Dorian's mother) ladies-in-waiting. She vies for the affections of Dorian in order to take the throne while pretending to show interest in Duke Perrington, the man backing Celaena's greatest rival for the competition, Cain. Kaltain claims that Lillian is after the prince's affections, long before Celaena begins to show interest in the prince.

Tired of being excluded from another celebration, Celaena sneaks into the masked ball held to celebrate Yulemas. Chaol recognizes Celaena immediately and although he is fuming with anger at her insubordination, he agrees to let her stay. Frustrated that no one will ask her to dance, Celaena chides Chaol for glaring away all of her would-be suitors. When Chaol claims to be doing no such thing, she asks him to dance. He refuses, stating that it would be dangerous for them to dance. Just in time, Dorian arrives and asks his champion for a dance, and in that moment Celaena realizes that she might have feelings for the prince. She notices Chaol leaving the ball before she finishes dancing with Dorian.

Kaltain Rompier makes a point of trying to find out the truth about Lillian Gordaina and even goes so far as to poison Celaena with bloodbane at Duke Perrington's request during the final battle against Cain. Cain seems to know about Celaena, not only her true identity but also about events that he could not possibly have witnessed. He uses this knowledge to break Celaena's spirit. In spite of this, however, Celaena is able to fight the effects of the poison, with the help of Elena and a moment of tender encouragement from Chaol. Cain, however, is more than he seems, it's as if he is possessed. A strange mark appears on Celaena's forehead during the fight, later revealed to be a wyrdmark symbolizing her ancestor Brannon, meaning "the nameless". Celaena eventually wins, after taking a serious beating. Cain attempts to kill Celaena anyway but then Chaol steps forward and kills Cain with his sword.

It comes to light that Kaltain poisoned Celaena with Duke Perrington claiming that he had nothing to do with it. Kaltain is thrown in the dungeons and Celaena is crowned the King's Champion. Recovering from her wounds, Celaena wonders if the king will send her her contract or if he will decide to throw her back into the mines of Endovier. Chaol comes to visit; it is the first time she is seeing him since the fight, since he killed Cain. They share a tender moment of understanding and embrace, until Dorian walks in and the two break apart. Celaena decides to break up with Dorian, concluding that it would not fit for the Crown Prince to carry on a relationship with the King's Champion. She asks him to remain her friend. Dorian seems quite disappointed but agrees. After breaking it off with Dorian, Chaol returns and Celaena remarks that it is unusual, she is pleased that she gets to see him twice in one day. Celaena tells Chaol that she ending things with the prince. He joins her in dinner and they raise a glass, Chaol toasting Celaena.

Elena visits Celaena again and tells her that she has more work to do, and that even though she has defeated Cain, there is more evil ahead. Upon signing the contract to be the King's Champion, the King of Adarlan threatens that should Celaena betray him or not return from a mission, he will kill the captain and Nehemia's family. Celaena admits to Chaol that she may have just signed away her soul, however the two walk arm in arm as the Captain and the King's Champion.

Crown of Midnight

Celaena is ordered to kill rebels by the King of Adarlan. Instead she has been warning them to flee and subsequently faking their murders. Celaena has decided to ignore, Elena and her demand to fight the King. She makes a difficult decision between Dorian and Chaol, but chooses Chaol. However, when her best friend Nehemia is killed, she turns on Chaol because he knew about the threat to the Eyllwe Princess' life and failed to act. As a result it was Archer Finn - a courtesan and former ally of Celaena - who assassinated Nehemia to show Celaena who to trust. She finds out that Dorian has magic, and her friends discover that she is Fae.

After having Celaena sent away to the southern continent of Wendlyn for her own protection (with a cover story of a mission to assassinate the royal family there), Chaol finds out that she is actually Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, the heir to the throne of Terrasen.

Heir of Fire

Heir of fire

Celaena is sent to Wendlyn by Chaol and the King of Adarlan. Although she was sent there to kill the Wendlyn King and his son, she is unable to do it as she is their relative and their people love and respect them. She is approached by Rowan, an immortal Fae warrior prince and servant of Queen Maeve, her great-great aunt. He takes her to meet the immortal Queen of Fae at the Fortress of Mistward, a strategic outpost between the mortal lands of Wendlyn and the immortal lands of the Fae. She wants to ask questions about the Wyrdkeys but Maeve refuses to answer her questions, saying that she will answer them in Doranelle, the Fae capital city. However, she says mortals and half breeds can enter the immortal lands only if they are deemed worthy, and therefore, Celaena must prove herself worthy to Rowan, and Maeve commands him to train her in magic.

Rowan and Celaena train. At first Celaena had a difficult time trying to shift to her fae form and harness her wildfire. She even stormed off once in furious aggravation – causing her to face an encounter with skinwalkers. Rowan comes to her aid and forces her to shift to her fae form in order for them to outrun the skinwalkers. After mastering the shift from her mortal form to fae, Rowan moves on to training Celaena how to control her fire. They also go investigating mysterious dead remnants of bodies that are dumped. Rowan eventually tells Celaena about his mate Lyria, about how she died pregnant and he has been scarred ever since then. They decided to get out of the dark abyss they're currently in together. More things happen, Aelin had a burnout and Rowan found out about her past as a slave. Rowan and Celaena end up upholding the best platonic bond. Celaena fought and nearly died defeating the valg princes. Finally coming to terms and accepting her destiny as the rightful Queen of Terrasen. Celaena frees Rowan from Maeve's blood oath and they claim each other. She has to return to Erilea not as Aelin, but Celaena Sardothien.

Queen of Shadows

Aelin returns to Rifthold and finds Arobynn in a tavern. He tells her Aedion is imprisoned for treason and will be executed in three days. He will help her rescue Aedion if she will bring him a Valg creature. He also tells her where to find Chaol. Aelin finds Nesryn, who takes her to Chaol. They recount what has happened while they were separated. They are sad about what the other has endured but are vocal about mistakes the other has made. Chaol knows how to restore magic, but he won’t share the secret with Aelin. This infuriates her. Chaol returns the Eye of Elena necklace, and Aelin returns the amethyst ring.

Arobynn sends Aelin’s old assassin uniform to her. He also sends Lysandra, a former nemesis. She has a letter her lover Wesley wrote before his death explaining what happened leading up to Sam’s death. Chaol and Nesryn go to the Shadow Market for a covert meeting with some guards from the castle. They learn how the king’s soldiers will be set up during the execution banquet. Aelin shows up and almost blows their cover. She asks the guards a few favors to help her during Aedion’s rescue.

Chaol asks Aelin to make sure Dorian is unharmed during her castle raid. They argue about it, and Aelin lets Chaol know she has heard about his history with Nesryn from Arobynn. Chaol shares the secret of how to restore magic.Aelin enters the castle with Madam Florine’s troupe of dancers. The dancers enter the banquet hall, tossing fistfuls of a black colored powder as they dance. In the finale, the dancers throw glass flowers on the ground. A substance in the glass ignites the black powder on the floor, and the banquet hall explodes in flame. Everyone flees. Aelin frees Aedion, and they fight their way out of the hall. After rescuing her cousin, they run through the gardens toward the wall. Dorian approaches. The demon inside him tries to kill Aelin, but she has protective Wyrdmarks on her skin. She asks Dorian to give her one sign he’s in there, but he doesn’t. She goes to kill him with her sword, but Nesryn shoots an arrow at the sword to deflect the swing. She has been spying on Aelin on a tip from Arobynn. Aelin and Aedion flee.

At the pick-up point, they hop in a carriage with Lysandra. Then they switch into a carriage with Chaol and make their way back to Aelin’s apartment. Chaol reveals he knows she almost killed Dorian. They argue, and Chaol says she’s not his queen. So Lysandra discovers who Aelin is. Aedion wakes up in Aelin’s apartment. The cousins rehash everything they have been through in the ten years they were separated. Aelin is surprised he’s not ashamed of some of the things she has done, but he’s committed horrors, too.

Aelin and Chaol meet Arobynn at a new tavern. Arobynn has signed Aelin up to fight. She chooses a Valg demon commander as her opponent. Chaol is amazed at her new skills. She kills the demon pretty easily. Arobynn is mad she went for the kill instead of delivering the demon to him. Aedion is slowly recovering, and he thinks Aelin is babying him. They discuss Rowan, and Aelin discovers the hero worship Aedion has for him. Aedion suspects Rowan might want to be part of her court and hopes he doesn’t steal his blood oath.

Aelin follows a Valg soldier into the sewer and watches him talk to a creature which emerges from the water. It looks like one of the creatures carved in the clocktower by the palace, and it has the voice of the king. Aelin agrees to take Aedion to a bar to get some fresh air. On their walk home, they find Rowan. Aelin is overwhelmed with joy. The men size each other up and act territorial. Aelin drags Rowan into her room under the guise he needs a bath. They catch up while he bathes.

When they rejoin Aedion, Rowan asks who his father was. Aedion doesn’t know. Rowan can tell from his scent that it is Gavriel, another legendary warrior. Rowan mentions he’s blood-sworn to Aelin, and this infuriates Aedion. He storms out. Rowan reveals he came back to Aelin because Lorcan is nearby. Maeve probably sent him to find the Wyrdkey. Aelin wants Rowan to sleep in her bed, just like in Wendlyn. Aelin gets up the next morning to make breakfast, and Aedion returns. They make up. She tells him he can swear the blood oath, too, if he wants to. Chaol arrives to go over maps and strategies with Aelin, and he sees Rowan for the first time. He seems slightly jealous.

Aelin sneaks out of her apartment at night. Lorcan is following her. She lures him into a nest of Valg demons and leaves him for dead. But he escapes and catches up with her. They threaten each other. Rowan shows up. Lorcan says Maeve let them walk away and still has plans for their defeat. Lysandra arrives, and Rowan identifies her as a shape shifter. Aelin and Aedion are shocked. Lysandra says no one knows. She reveals she’s been stuck in this body since magic fell. She says Arobynn will call in his favor tomorrow. Aelin and Rowan catch a Valg demon to take with them.

Aelin, Rowan, and Aedion head to The Keep. Arobynn answers the door. All four take the demon down to the dungeon. Arobynn only allows Aelin in the torture room. His plan is to find out how the king controls them. The demon reveals the king slips the black stone ring on their finger, slices their skin, licks their blood, and then they are bound to him. Arobynn slices off the demon’s finger to obtain the ring and kills the demon. They join the rest of the group for dinner. The conversation is tense, and Arobynn witnesses the silent communication and close bond between Aelin and Rowan. Arobynn reveals he knows Aelin has been quietly wrecking his investments all over town. Aelin says she will stop only if he gives her the Amulet of Orynth, her family heirloom and the third Wyrdkey. Arobynn obliges. He then acts like he’s going to kiss her but slips the demon’s ring on her finger, slits her palm, and licks her blood. He thinks he now controls her. Aelin plays along until they’re away from Arobynn’s men. The ring was a fake she planted on the demon after she removed the real one.

Aelin and Rowan hide the real amulet under a loose board in her floor. Aelin goes to the roof to wait out what she knows Lysandra is up to tonight…killing Arobynn. In spite of everything, Aelin has mixed feelings about it all. Rowan joins her. Aelin touches his face and wants to get more intimate, but he tells her not to touch him that way and leaves abruptly. Lysandra lies next to Arobynn in his bed, and he is fast asleep. Because he trusts her completely, he never stirs as she reaches for the knife under his pillow and slits his throat with it.

Aelin, Rowan, and Aedion head to The Keep after word about Arobynn arrives. It is awkward between Aelin and Rowan. Arobynn’s top three men are trying to sort out what happened. Aelin asks to see the room, and it is a bloody mess. The banker arrives to read the will. Arobynn left everything to Aelin. The three men ask her to let them buy the house from her. She gives them three hours to raise the funds. Aelin, Rowan, and Aedion view Arobynn’s body. Aelin admits she switched the will. She decapitates Arobynn with her sword, just to be sure. Aelin is still being fairly cold to Rowan. He continues to fight his growing feelings toward her.

Aelin, Chaol, Aedion, and Rowan follow a tip to the catacombs under the old Shadow Market looking for hellfire. They find a temple made of the bones and confessions of sinners. They discover there is an ultimate Valg demon named Erawan. They believe the king hid him in the mountains of Morath. They also find the hellfire and re-hide it until it’s needed to destroy the clocktower.

Nesryn joins them and shares news about Morath. The king is building an army there with dark soldiers, witches, and wyverns. Lorcan appears out of the shadows and puts a knife to Aelin’s throat. He wants to know where the third Wyrdkey is. He says Brannon’s ring isn’t just sentimental to Maeve. It can grant immunity from the power of the Valg. Lorcan wants to exchange their Wyrdkey for the ring. Rowan admits how terrified he was when he thought Lorcan would hurt her. He and Aelin want to be intimate, but he says they’ll wait until they’re totally alone.

Evangeline, the girl Lysandra is caring for, arrives at the apartment. She says the king kidnapped Lysandra because Arobynn’s will spoke of her shape shifter bloodline. Chaol and Nesryn bring additional news. The king is traveling to the Oakwald Forest to meet with the leader of his wyvern cavalry.

Aelin’s group heads to Oakwald Forest. The witches are already there waiting for the king. They see the size of the wyverns. They see Manon’s grandmother arrive, and she warns Manon not to speak unless spoken to when the king arrives. The king’s group noisily approaches. Lysandra is in a prison wagon. Aelin rescues Lysandra from the prison wagon. Chaol whisks her away into the woods. Aelin and Aedion witness Manon’s grandmother slap her. Manon pleads her case about what’s going on at Morath, but her grandmother will not listen.

Chaol secretly goes to kill Dorian, having given up hope that Dorian has not been fully overtaken by the Valg prince demon, but The Thirteen are there to greet him. Rowan tracks Chaol by scent. Manon is surprised to see Rowan. She hasn’t seen a Fae in a long time and knows he would be a lethal opponent. She turns Chaol over and doesn’t wish to take any prisoners. Aelin says that makes her smarter than Baba Yellowlegs. The witches run toward her, only to be trapped by an invisible wall Aelin constructed using Chaol’s blood in the grass and Wyrdmagic. Aelin and her court flee.

The witches track them down at a temple in the middle of a ravine with a series of decrepit bridges connecting it to the land. Rowan gets shot in the shoulder with an arrow. Aelin and Manon fight an epic battle on the island. Asterin and Aedion want to join them, but they won’t let them. The island begins to collapse beneath them as they fight. As Manon is about to fall into the ravine, Aelin turns back to save her. She carries her over the bridge to safety. Manon owes her enemy a life debt.

Rowan is not in good shape. They take him to the only healer they might possibly trust…a midwife at Nesryn’s father’s farm. Chaol apologizes to Aelin for causing this mess when he went after Dorian.

Lysandra thanks Aelin for rescuing her. She’s surprised they did so. She gets another surprise when Aelin presents her with paperwork from her boss saying she and Evangeline are free from all debts.

Rowan is slowly recovering. One night he smells Lorcan on the roof. He goes up alone to speak to him. Lorcan offers the ring he stole from Maeve in exchange for the Amulet of Orynth. Rowan makes the exchange. Aelin is anxiously awaiting Rowan’s return inside. Their plan worked, and Lorcan didn’t realize the amulet was a fake.

Chaol and Aelin finally settle things between them. He has dreaded this conversation, but it goes well and he feels at peace. Aelin tells him Nesryn is interested in him. Later that night, Chaol and Nesryn discuss final battle plans. Nesryn leads him into a city temple. She tells him about the South Continent, where her father is from, and how the best healers in the world reside in a city there. They hope after this is all over they can figure out where to live together.

Aelin and Rowan share one kiss the night before they go into battle. The next morning, Aelin sees a message written on a banner from Manon meant for her. It says that THE HUMAN IS STILL INSIDE HIM, letting Aelin know not to kill Dorian, because he is not gone forever. Rowan and Aedion carry an urn of hellfire in the sewers below the city and the catacombs below the castle. They realize Lorcan has lied about killing all the Wyrdhounds. Some of them are waiting there to attack.

Aelin leads Chaol through the city as a prisoner. When they get to the castle, the king’s guards who have been Chaol’s spies are skewered on the castle fence. Guards escort the two of them through the castle, but no one searched them for weapons. They make it to the king, who is seated on his glass throne with Dorian beside him. Dorian recognizes their faces, but the demon snaps those thoughts away. Aelin brings the king supposed seal rings of the king and crown prince of Wendlyn. She says Chaol was waiting for her upon her return to Rifthold and she captured him when she realized he was no longer loyal to the king.

The king reveals he knows who she really is. He makes his guards leave and says to stop pretending Chaol is a captive. Aelin asks where the Wyrdkeys are. She tries to keep him talking to buy Rowan and Aedion more time to blow up the clocktower. The king says he knows she has the third Wyrdkey. He gives Dorian magic lashings. Chaol tries to help him, but the black magic prevents him. Chaol asks the king to hand over Dorian. Rowan and Aedion fight the Wyrdhounds. They know they’re behind schedule as the clocktower strikes noon. Aelin reveals her Eye of Elena necklace. The king wants it. She says to let Dorian go or she’ll destroy it and then Erawan will stay locked up forever. Aelin takes off running. The king sends Dorian after her. The king moves to follow them, but Chaol steps in his way.

Dorian chases Aelin through the castle. She climbs higher and hopes the tower is destroyed soon so she can fight his ice with her fire. She jumps to a glass-covered bridge high between two castle towers. Chaol tries to kill the king to release Dorian from his bond. The king fights with black magic, and the Wyrdmarks drawn on Chaol are failing. It appears that the king destroys him with one final blast. Aelin and Dorian continue to fight on an icy castle bridge suspended high in the sky. She tries to jog his memory, but only the demon is there. He stabs her in the side.

Aelin slipped Athril’s ring on Dorian’s finger as he stabbed her, and it is enabling him to fight the demon. The demon uses Dorian’s power to send ice daggers at Aelin, but her power has returned. She counters with fire. They continue to fight. Aelin’s wound has healed. Dorian finally sees through his own eyes and sees Aelin.

Aelin’s magic is building, and the demon inside Dorian begins fighting her again. The king shows up and says Chaol put up a good fight but is gone. Chaol’s death and the flashing ring on his hand brings Dorian fighting out of the demon’s hold. He snaps the collar from his neck. Aelin and Dorian fight together against the king. Aelin nears burnout. The two clasp hands and their magic intertwines. They fracture the king’s power. When it is drained, they hear him speak in a foreign voice…his own. He asks Aelin to kill him for all he’s done. He tells them Chaol is injured but survived. She is glad she slipped the Eye of Elena in his pocket to protect him when he stayed back to fight the king. Dorian delivers the killing blow, and Rowan saves them from death as the glass castle explodes.

Aelin moves to the edge of the castle grounds to tell the people assembled there that their king is dead but the prince lives. She says he is in mourning but will emerge as their leader soon. She makes threats to keep the city safe from looters until Dorian is ready to rule.

Aelin, Dorian, and their companions hole up in the castle to rest and recover. When Aelin awakes, she visits Dorian. He is struggling with the things he did while he wore the collar and the weight of his new responsibilities as king. Aelin says she will be there for him when he needs her. Their kingdoms will be allies.

Aelin appoints Chaol as Ambassador for Terrasen to the Southern Continent. She wants him to try to woo them to join with Terrasen and Adarlan while he’s there.

Aelin, Rowan, Aedion, and Lysandra say their goodbyes and leave the castle to begin their journey. After three weeks, they set foot on Terrasen soil. And at long last, Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was home.

Empire of Storms

Aelin, Rowan, Aedion, and Lysandra have traveled to a secret meeting area of Aedion’s. He’s called the lords he trusts to gather for a meeting. Aelin and her crew grudgingly comply to meet the men at the inn. Lords Ren, Murtaugh, and Darrow are present. Darrow is the speaker, is not impressed with her court, and does not accept Aelin as leader of Terrasen. The lords signed a document before even meeting with her, saying they do not recognize Aelin as the Queen of Terrasen. If she defies this, it will be considered an act of war.

A messenger arrives with news that the Ironteeth clan is flying to Rifthold to attack. The only one who might be able to make it in time to help is Rowan. Aelin tells him to rescue Dorian, get a boat, and go to Skull’s Bay.

Aelin, Aedion, and Lysandra get to Illium, which is the home of a monumental temple dedicated to Brannon. Aelin reveals part of her plan to her companions. They secure passage on a ship. The captain tells them about Maeve’s fleet moving now. Lysandra has suspicions about the gods’ possible role in this and a use for Aelin and Dorian. Aelin, Aedion, and Lysandra defeat Illiyum soldiers at the temple. Aelin burns one of the men from the inside out by merely breathing on him.

Aelin brings them to Illium and raids he temple at Brannon’s request. He sent a private message to her through the Little Folk of the forest. Aelin asks Brannon’s ghost how to kill Maeve. He doesn’t know. Brannon tells her to find the Lock in the Stone Marshes to put the Wyrdkeys into the door and do away with Erawan and the Valg forever.

A troop of men led by an Endovier guard appears. They battle. He says they were sent to show her what’s waiting should they make it to Morath. Erawan is hiding in him and speaks to Aelin. He knows Rowan rescued Dorian. His soldiers are tracking them. Aelin starts burning away the body Erawan is speaking from with her fire magic. He hits her but somehow misses the Amulet of Orynth around her neck by a few inches. He might’ve sensed its power had he landed a blow there. It’s the one piece of the puzzle he’s missing to open the doors to other worlds and rule.

Aelin gets to Rolfe’s office the same time as Rowan, Dorian, and two of the cadre who met them along the way looking to kill Lorcan on Maeve's orders: Gavriel, revealed to be Aedion's father, and Fenrys. She acts liked Celaena, flirts with Rowan and teases Rolfe. Rolfe commands the Fae to kill her to win his loyalty. Then Aelin introduces Rolfe to the Queen of Terrasen, which is Lysandra, who shape-shifted into Aelin as part of an elaborate prank. She soon changes into her normal human form. Aelin challenges Rolfe to join them. If he does, she will make him a Pirate King.

Gavriel demands to see his son, if he’s there. Aelin refuses to reveal where he is. Aelin, Rowan, and Dorian meet to swap information. Aelin thinks they’ll need the map on Rolfe’s hands. She still needs to convince him to work with them.Aelin and Rowan talk with Fenrys and Gavriel about Maeve, how their bond with her works, and what she might be planning. They don’t trust each other much at this point, so limited information is exchanged.

Aedion meets Gavriel at breakfast one morning. He is overcome by anger about what came of his mother when he sees his father. It doesn’t go well. Aedion and Lysandra leave to talk it over. Aedion’s afraid he may have ruined their chance to work with the two Fae. Lysandra assures him this is not the case.

Rolfe tells Aelin and Rowan that Morath’s fleet is sailing for Ellywe. Aelin knows it’s in retaliation for what she did at Illiyum. She’s knows he’s striking there because he knows of her love for Nehemia. Aelin asks Rolfe to send his Mycenian fleet to fight with Ellywe. She promises to give him back Illiyum if he complies.A warning bell sounds. Rolfe looks at the maps on his hands, showing the Valg are approaching. Rolfe thinks they are coming because they are searching for Aelin after a surge of power she sent out a few minutes ago. She denies it and gathers her group to leave instead of help in this fight unless Rolfe agrees to her plan. He finally agrees to Aelin’s plan. He wants a lord title. She will only make him a lord of this area and recognize his heirs as such.

Dorian knows Aelin lied. Her power surge is what called the Valg to Skull’s Bay. They make plans to save it. Aelin will sail into the fleet’s centre. Lysandra shifts into a sea dragon. Aelin and Rowan join their power on the boat. She reaches so deep that she somehow changes into Deanna through the Wyrdkey. Aelin throws her out of her mind and body. Fenrys rescues her from the water.

Lysandra fights off sea wyverns. The last one escapes and swims toward Aelin and the men. Lysandra gets a mental message from Aelin to swim away. Three adult sea wyverns are swimming toward her. Aedion kills the last one to save her life. Aedion makes it to her first and promises to marry her someday. She can’t respond because she’s still in her sea dragon form.Aelin and Rowan meet with Rolfe. They discover the cost of the map tattoos was something he didn’t realize he was bargaining for - the lives of his mother and sister.Aelin needs to get out of town for just a little while to try to face what she's done. Rowan follows her, and they are finally intimate on the beach.

When the group is assembled together, Elena appears to them. She tells them the lock is in the center of a temple in a marsh. Her mother gave her life to preserve it. Gavin and Elena used it years ago to seal Erawan up (when they claimed they had killed him). Elena also shares who her mother (and thus Aelin’s relative) is…Mala Fire-Bringer. They take off on a ship, headed for the marsh. They see Manon riding toward them on Abraxos. She is unconscious and falls off the wyvern and into the sea.

Manon awakes on a ship with Aelin watching over her. Aelin warns her not to run away or hurt anyone. Dorian asks Aelin to unchain her and let her roam free on the ship, and she is extremely disapproving at the prospect of Dorian being attracted to Manon. They go down to unchain her. There is an imposter, one of Earwax’s minions, the Bloodhound, sent for Manon, posing as Fenrys. He reveals her as a Crochan queen. Dorian kills him.

Manon is furious but rushes up to the deck because they hear more demons landing. They’re attacking the other pirate ships. One of the creatures reveals to Aelin that Erawan knows she has a wyrdkey. Many of them are injured, Fenrys the worst. Aelin heals him.Something Fenrys says sparks a memory. She runs away, locks herself in the bathroom, and is sick over and over again. Rowan is worried. Aelin asks him to get Lysandra.

Aedion questions Aelin’s shows of power and lack of consultation with him and others. Rowan says they have to plan, so the Fae males begin. Aelin wants the first shot at their enemy, so she goes ahead of the others. When Lorcan and Elide arrive, he senses the immensity of Aelin’s power. He throws a magical shield over the two of them. Her power easily overwhelms the demons. Lorcan has never seen anything like it.

Elide gives Aelin the stone from Kaltain. Manon introduces Dorian as the King of Adarlan. Aelin thanks Lorcan for bringing Elide and tells Manon she claims her. Rowan notices a difference in Lorcan. Dorian wonders if the gods guided them all here for a reason. Aelin opens the chest. No lock is inside. It’s an ancient mirror with the eye of Elena on the corner. Manon tells them about witch mirrors’ powers and the witch towers, which use the mirror weapons and could destroy them in a couple of blasts.

The Fae males carry the mirror between them. Everyone is exhausted. When they return to the coast, they see hundreds of ships - it's Melisande’s fleet. Soldiers are already on shore. Aelin surprises everyone by striding directly toward them. The leader of the troops is Ansel of Briarcliff, who Aelin met years ago in the desert. Ansel brought these ships and warriors at Aelin’s request to repay the life debt she owes her. Ansel and her army from The Wastes sacked Melisande’s army and brought them to Aelin. Ansel says it’s Maeve, not Erawan, who had been setting the fires, trying to make it look like it’s Aelin. Rowan talks about the armies Aelin’s assembled and how he loves it when she surprises him.

Dorian takes Aelin and Manon down to the mirror stowed below deck to show them something. He thinks Deanna’s riddle about it suggests that Aelin and Manon can use it to see the future, determine how to defeat Maeve, and use the keys. The two join hands, press them to the mirror, and disappear.

Aelin and Manon are in the past, seeing Gavin and Elena. They see Elena use the stone in the eye of Elena and know it’s the lock. She used it to seal Erawan in that mountain. She distracted Erawan with Gavin. He’s injured now. She knows the lock can only be used once. The gods tell Elena she was foolish to use the Lock to trap Erawan. Instead, it was supposed to be used to unite the keys and eventually send them all back home. She says she will give them anything to undo what she’s done, to give someone who’s more prepared someday to end this using the stone for the right purpose.

The demons look at Gavin. They say she will have to lead Mala’s bloodline to bleed again and use Mala’s gifts to forge the lock again, with Elena leading them. They will have to give every drop of their life force to do it, to send them home and eternally seal the lock between the worlds. Gavin only heard her words and ask what deal she struck when they are gone. Elena says the deal will be paid in the future.

Nehemia, the princess of Ellywe, approaches the chest. Elena greets her. Nehemia thinks she’s there to pay the price to save them. Elena says it’s not her. She says its Mala’s bloodline who must pay. She says it must be one of two…Dorian or Aelin.  She tells her to go north because these two houses will converge there. Elena tells her it’s necessary, but the price will be her life.

Aelin and Manon then see glimpses of what happened afterward: Elena’s fight with her father over what she had done, her choice to live out her life as a mortal with Gavin, and Brannon forging and hiding the three Wyrdkeys, labeling them and the room with Wyrdmarks, hiding the third and final Wyrdkey in Mala’s temple, and then descending into the fiery abyss for eternity. The last Crochan Queen helps, too, as she is a close friend of Brannon's.

Elena appears and apologizes to Aelin, as she is the one who must now pay for her mistakes. Aelin realizes Elena saved her that night when she should’ve died years ago so she could die later on. She had enough strength back then, but Elena couldn’t bear to let her die just yet. She revives Aelin and awakes Arobynn Hamel from his nearby home to come rescue her. Elena pays for this with her soul. She will not get to spend eternity with her husband or her children. Aelin asks why. Elena wanted her to grow up, be strong, and experience love, even briefly, with the man who had unknowingly been waiting for her for so long in Wendlyn. Elena says the mirror’s power and her power is almost expired, but she will tell them what they need to do and will be with them all the way to the end.

Aelin and Manon crash back into the real world. They land near Maeve, who has Elide on her knees with a knife to her throat. Maeve reveals that she planned each thing Aelin has recently encountered to deplete her magic. She waited until it was on very low reserve to attack. Fire explodes around them as Aelin attacks Maeve. Lorcan uses the opportunity to kill the guards and rescue Elide. He wants her to run. She doesn’t want to be a coward. Maeve’s darkness lashes at Aelin. Maeve only stands a chance because Aelin’s magic is depleted. Elide begs Manon to help Aelin as Maeve gains the upper hand. Fenrys and Gavriel arrive. All of Aelin’s magic is gone. The distant battle is quiet. Maeve tells Manon she’s free to go if she stays out of this fight.

Manon agrees. Gavriel begs Maeve to leave Aelin alone and let them return home. Maeve scolds him for not killing Lorcan on sight, as they were ordered to. Gavriel asks her to punish him instead of Aelin, but Maeve refuses. Maeve tells Aelin she knew she would lead her to all three Wyrdkeys. She saw it all. She saw her mate, Rowan. She knew their children would be powerful enough to rule the world. She knew how to get her to hand over the keys when she was strong enough to get them all. Maeve tricked Rowan into believing Lyria was his true mate - she let him fall in love, let her get pregnant, and then killed her while she was with child. She ensured their paths would cross when Aelin was of age. She knew Aelin would give her whatever if she pulled the right strings.

Maeve explains that when they met, they were both so broken they didn’t immediately recognize each other as mates. Aelin has known it since the battle with Manon at Temis's temple months ago. She kept it from Rowan since then. She tells Aelin she would’ve had 1,000 years with him and she’s probably five years from settling into her immortal Fae form. Maeve calls for Cairn. Maeve says Aelin must come willingly. If she struggles, she’ll bring Elide along with them, too. Maeve orders Lorcan and Fenrys to be perfectly still through the blood oath. Aelin surrenders. She gives Elide messages to give to Aedion and Rowan. Maeve makes Aelin bow before her and take off her shirt for Cairn to give her ten lashes. She orders Aelin to count each lash. Aelin refuses. Maeve starts the ten lashes over and over again. They hear others approaching, so they stop the beating to leave. The put Aelin in a metal box, chain her with iron, and put an iron mask over her face. Aelin slipped the Wyrdkeys into Manon’s pocket as she walked past her. Manon knows she needed to get them and Elide far away from Maeve. They carry the box towards Maeve’s boat. Maeve orders Fenrys to follow them. Maeve’s boat disappears, just as Rowan and everyone else finally arrive as backup. She has left without the Wyrdkeys, because she assume they are in Aelin's possession.

It turns out that Aelin had planned for this, and all Aelin's allies that she told no one about show up after it's too late to rescue her. Aelin had told Lysandra to impersonate her to command their armies, and if Aelin were to die, Lysandra was to sire heirs with Aedion. Rowan kneels on the beach in the pools of Aelin's blood for a long time, before swearing to Aedion that he will find her, shifting into his hawk form, and flying into the horizon.

Relationships

Rowan Whitethorn

And he’d returned to Celaena with chocolates, since he claimed to be insulted that she considered his absence a proper birthday present. She tried to embrace him, but he would have none of that, and told her as much. Still the next time she used the bathing room, she’d snuck behind his chair at the worktable and planted a great smacking kiss on his cheek. He’d waved her off and wiped his face with a snarl, but she had a suspicion that he’d let her get past his defenses.

Heir of Fire

Project rowaelin

Art by Project Nelm.

Rowan and Aelin first meet in Wendlyn in Heir of Fire when he is given the orders from the immortal Queen Maeve to take Aelin to see her. Upon meeting in Mistward, Maeve gives him the order to oversee Aelin's training before she is allowed into Maeve's realm in Doranelle.

The relationship between Rowan and Aelin in the beginning is strained, to the point of getting into fistfights and beating each other to a pulp. However, after going through a lot together; such as fighting to get rid of Skinwalkers, and hunting for dead bodies which were washed up on shores, a slow understanding starts to develop between them both. They soon start building a relationship as friends and Aelin/Celaena even remarks in her POV that she ' had loathed him', because she felt that she was looking at a 'mirror image' of herself. Rowan and Aelin's relationship grows even more, they became more than friends but less than lovers, when they became Carranam, during the battle of Mistward; thus 'claiming' each other. Rowan even proves his complete loyalty to whatever endto Aelin when he swore the blood oath to her, after Maeve, freed him from her blood oath due to Aelin forcing her hand.

They have some parallels in their lives, such as their respective lovers being killed in a gruesome manners and that 'collecting scars' was a result of self-inflicted 'punishment for (their) sins' due to their inability to protect others from themselves. They both share similar tattoos, Rowan's one stretching from the left side of his face to his torso; and Aelin's on her back, over her three main scars she received during her time as a slave in the Salt Mines of Endovier.

In Queen of Shadows, Rowan's relationship with Aelin grows very quickly. He is shown to develop feelings for her, but tries to keep them contained. When they see each other after being months apart, Aelin embraces him and starts to cry, stating how much she had missed him. She later bathes him and contemplates about their relationship, how "the lines have always been blurred for them".
Rowaelin
Their relationship becomes decidedly romantic in Queen of Shadows when they share a kiss in Aelin's apartment.

In Empire of Storms, Rowan and Aelin have sex in various places. It is revealed that Maeve led Rowan to believe that Lyria was his mate, and then had her and their unborn child killed to 'break' him. His real mate is Aelin, and they were married discretely by Lysandra and the captain of the ship. He now seeks to find a way to free her from Maeve.

Sam Cortland

I miss you. Every day, I miss you. And I wonder what you would have made of all of this. Made of me. I think - I think you would have been a wonderful king. I think they would have liked you more than me, actually. I never told you - how I felt. But I loved you, and I think a part of me might always love you. Maybe you were my mate, and I never knew it. Maybe I'll spend the rest of my life wondering about it. Maybe I'll see you again in the Afterworld, and then I'll know for sure. But until then... until then, I'll miss you, and I'll wish you were here.

–Aelin Ashryver Galathynius at Sam Cortland's grave, Queen of Shadows

Sam celaena
Sam and Celaena have known each other ever since Arobynn rescued her from the lake ice and took her to the Assassins' Keep to train her. Their rivalry begins after Celaena is chosen in place of Sam as the favourite and heir of Arobynn. Since then, they have remained bitter enemies and regard each other with mutual hostility. After the death of Ben (Arobynn's Second), Celaena and Sam are sent to Skulls' Bay on Arobynn's orders. After learning of the real plan of their mentor, they team up to ruin Arobynn's slave deal with the Pirate Lord, Rolfe. When they go back to the Keep and tell Arobynn, they Celaena receives a beating, and Sam is forced to watch. During this scene, Sam screams at Arobynn to stop amd threatens to kill him. After that experience, they seem to learn to care for another and their relationship turns into an awkward friendship.

After the events at Skulls' Bay, Celaena is sent to the Red Desert as punishment for what happened, and she begins to miss her companion and wonders about what has happened to him. The turning point comes when she returns to Rifthold and finds out what Arobynn had done to Sam and he reveals that after the newest mission that the mentor has given him, he will go to Banjali and never return. Celaena convinces him to stay only after having confessed that she loves him and they kiss for the first time in the sewers beneath Rifthold. Even after paying off Sam's debts, he and Celaena move into her new apartment and live a peaceful life together.

After a month, they realise that to be free of their former mentor, they need to leave Rifthold and so they go to seek Arobynn's permission to do so. He allows it only after they are to pay their final debt to him, a debt which, if they pay the full amount, could leave Celaena and Sam broke. Sam manages to find a mission or two which allowed them to live in luxury even after they move out of the Keep. But when Sam goes on a mission to kill Rourke Farran, he is brutally tortured and murdered by the crime lord, leaving Celaena in immense pain. Hearing Arobynn, Tern and Harding speak of a plan to kill Jayne and Farran, Celaena sneaks out of her room in the Keep to seek revenge. But after killing Jayne, she realises it is a trap and she is captured by Farran, who hands her over to the royal guards and sentenced to imprisonment in Endovier. After his death, Celaena thinks a lot about Sam and tries to imagine what he would think if he saw her race for freedom, and longs that he come back to her. After winning the competition to be the King's Champion, Celaena looks for information on the movements of Archer Finn. When she discovers that Farran was a customer of Archer's at the time of his capture, in a desperate cry she tells Chaol about Sam and what his loss meant to her. When she learns Archer's betrayal, he reveals to her the hidden details of the night Sam died and how Arobynn had betrayed Sam and herself.

During the attack on the Fortress of Mistward, the Valg princes play with her memories of Sam and he is shown to be cruel and cold in her visions. Later, the same Sam tries to encourage her to fight back against the Valg princes. After Celaena - now using her true name, Aelin - leaves Doranelle with Rowan, she asks him to draw a set of tattoos in her back that bear the names of her beloved dead, which include Sam.

Dorian Havilliard

I will always be your friend.

–Aelin Ashryver Galathynius to Dorian Havilliard, Queen of Shadows

Although the Prince intends her to be his Champion in his father's competition, Dorian can't help but be intrigued by Adarlan's Assassin. Celaena herself finds the Crown Prince attractive and although she is warned about the prince's habits with young, pretty girls, she can't stay away.

Dorian and celaena

Dorian catches Celaena playing the pianoforte and although she is embarrassed, they begin to open up to each other. Dorian then sees Celaena trying to play cube, and realizing her trouble with the game, begins to teach her how to play. They are shown playing games of chess and eating lunch together afterwards. They bond over their mutual love of books and dogs, and Dorian later gifts Celaena with a puppy she names Fleetfoot, who would have otherwise been killed as the runt of the mutt litter. Dorian befriends Celaena and following the Yulemas ball, they even share a kiss.

Celaena recognizes that it is not smart to get involved with the prince, nonetheless she continues to let him call on her. Celaena and Prince Dorian share chaste kisses for some time. After the final task of defeating Cain, Celaena decides that it would be inappropriate for the Prince and the King's Champion to maintain a relationship. She ultimately ends things with him but they agree to remain friends.

In Crown of Midnight, Celaena's friendship with Dorian is not quite as it was. She tries to avoid him at all costs, particularly when she is with Chaol. However, when it can't be helped, she maintains a cordial front. Upon meeting Dorian's cousin, Roland Havilliard, Celaena does show some concern for Dorian's well being, particularly after hearing from Chaol why he despises the prince's cousin, and she attempts to warn him. Dorian responds bitterly and the conversation doesn't end well.

Dorian still pines over her, going so far as to ask if she wants him to fight for her, but eventually he wills himself to let her go. He respectfully bows out when he learns just how much his friend has grown to care for Adarlan's Assassin.

Dorian pretty much keeps to himself until he has a mysterious dream about Celaena being in danger. Dorian exposes his powers of raw magic and is surprised when Celaena does not recoil from him. Instead she offers to keep his secret and for that, Dorian is grateful. After Celaena receives the news that she is to be sent on a mission to Wendlyn, she asks Dorian to take care of Fleetfoot in her stead. Dorian agrees that he will treat the dog well. She tells him that she will come back for him.

In Heir of Fire, Celaena spends the entirety of the book away from Rifthold. However that does not mean she has forgotten about her friend. as she worries for him and his raw magic.

At the end of Queen of Shadows, Celaena - hereafter known as Aelin - tries to save Dorian from the Valg prince taking possession of his body, and they join their magic together, resulting in the destruction of the castle and the death of Dorian's father. Following these events, Dorian is proclaimed King of Adarlan, and Aelin decided that she would work things out with Dorian, and in the end she tells him, "I will always be your friend".

Chaol Westfall

“Chaol,” she said, grabbing his hand and whirling him to face her. She only saw the haunted gleam in his eyes before she threw her arms around his neck and held him tightly. He straightened, but she crushed her body into his, even though it still aggravated her wounds to do so. Then, after a moment, his arms wrapped around her, keeping her close to him, so close that as she shut her eyes and breathed him in, she couldn’t tell where he ended, and she began.

–Throne of Glass

In Throne of Glass, Chaol and Celaena have a love-hate relationship - Westfall does not trust the assassin, even if he starts to feel sympathetic towards her and grows closer. There are scenes where he is portrayed jealous as Celaena and Dorian are together. Finally, in Crown of Midnight, they finally admit their true feelings toward each other and they become a more romantic couple. They end in sleeping the the same bed and the book implies that they have sex in various places.

Chaolaena bc i care

When Nehemia is killed, she is infuriated with him because of his inaction despite knowing of the threat on Nehemia's life. In her rage, she tries to kill Chaol, and gouges four lines across his face with just her nails. However, by the end of the book, she acknowledges that even though she still loves him, she no longer trusts him and the relationship she had with him is irreparably damaged. Chaol still loves her and agrees to return to Anielle in order to get Celaena to safety.

In Heir of Fire, he is confused about his feelings after he discovers her true identity at the end of Crown of Midnight as Aelin Galathynius, rightful Queen of Terrasen.

In Queen of Shadows, Chaol and Aelin officially declared to each other that "there is no we" anymore. Chaol thought of Aelin as a monster due to her fae heritage and killing drive. Over halfway throughout the novel, he didn't have a tug of jealousy when he noticed that Aelin had Rowan. Also, Chaol realised how foolish it was to call her a monster weeks ago, especially when he finally saw the Queen in her.

Arobynn Hamel

Arobynn Hamel found Aelin at the banks of the Avery River, and offered her a chance to train with him to be an assassin . Aelin agreed only because she knew that he was her only chance to gain a new life - and if she refused, he would return her to the people who wanted her dead. Under Arobynn's tutelage, Aelin is restyled as Celaena Sardothien. Celaena tells us that Arobynn was very strict, and never tried to act as a father figure to her. After he finished training her, he demanded her to return the costs of living he put into her. After paying him off, she also pays off Sam's debt, her current lover. Arobynn later goes to their apartment and tell her that he loves her and doesnt want her to flee the country with Sam. He later is shown as the one who planned the death of Sam Cortland with Rourke Farran out of spite for Celaena abandoning him for Sam, and to get her to return to him. In Queen of Shadows, Aelin, as Celaena for the last time, organizes and executes Arobynn's death. His original will only included the Amulet of Orynth for Aelin, but she changed it, giving her full control of all his assets.

Ansel of Briarcliff

Ansel and Celaena had briefly been friends two years prior to the series, and met in the Red Desert, in the fortress of the silent assassins. The two girls had a great sympathy for each other, since both had been victims of treachery and were forced to escape their homelands. Actually, Ansel was Berick's spy, and wanting to avoid Celaena getting killed in the slaughter, she had put her to sleep with a sleeping potion and abandoned her in the middle of the desert with a fake letter from their master. Celaena, however, returned to the keep and found out the truth about Ansel - Ansel had given her a chance to escape. Because of Ansel's treachery, Celaena promised that she will shoot an arrow after twenty minutes, giving Ansel a chance to escape. Celaena actually fired the arrow after twenty-one minutes, as otherwise, she would have killed Ansel. In Empire of Storms, Ansel later becomes the Queen of the Western Wastelands and supports Sardothien in her campaign to regain the throne of Terrasen, offering troops and aid.

Lysandra

We were both young and stupid, and should have seen each other as allies. But there's nothing to prevent us from seeing each other that way now. If you're in, I'm in.

–Lysandra offering her friendship to Aelin, Queen of Shadows

Lysandra and Celaena's bitter rivalry commenced when Lysandra wrested a fan from Celaena's hands; they were about ten. Celaena held Lysandra in disdain for the other girl's lack of manners. They were also competitors for Sam Cortland's affections, although Sam had always loved Celaena. Their resentment of each other deepened after Arobynn used Celaena's payment to win the bid for Lysandra's virginity and Celaena launched a dagger at her and threatened to kill her.

When Celaena returned to Rifthold as Aelin, Lysandra visited Aelin's apartment and presented her with a letter from Wesley that detailed the foul play surrounding Sam's death and Wesley's quest for vengeance. Aelin was taken aback by Lysandra's revelations, but she did not trust her and ejected her from the apartment. Evangeline, however, testified in Lysandra's defense, changing Aelin's opinion of Lysandra and prompting her to halt her before she could leave. They formed a bond commiserating over their deceased lovers and plotting revenge on Arobynn. Realizing how heinously they treated one another before, they apologized to each other and became friends. At the end of Queen of Shadows, Aelin named Lysandra a lady of her court and allocated a piece of land to her.

Development

In an interview prior to the series' debut, Maas discussed the process of creating her protagonist:

I grew up reading books like Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown and Garth Nix's Sabriel—both of which feature strong heroines, and both of which profoundly shaped my identity and empowered me. I started writing knowing I wanted to create books like that—mostly because that's what interests me and where my passion lies, but also because I'd love for some young woman to read [Throne of Glass] and feel empowered, too.

Sarah J. Maas

The story's teenage heroine, Celaena Sardothien, is introduced as an orphan who was raised and trained by an assassin. She is largely characterized as skilled, arrogant, and witty. While shaping her protagonist, Maas was inspired by the heroism of Arwen from The Lord of the Rings, and by the characterization of Velma Kelly from Chicago. Maas has stated that the latter's "arrogance and fierceness made me want to write about a woman like her—about a woman who never once said sorry for being talented and determined and utterly in love with herself." The author ultimately designed Celaena as a highly capable character whose talents also form a basis for numerous faults. In interviews preceding the series' release, Maas noted her heroine's issues with "impatience" and "vanity". She also suggested that Celaena would grow while adjusting to her new role. In addition to Celaena's skills as an assassin, Maas wanted the character to have several traits and hobbies befitting her age, including a fondness for "shopping, books, and fine dining", as well as a "penchant for getting into trouble."

Trivia

  • Celaena is a name derived from Celaeno, a star in the constellation of Taurus and a member of the pleiades. Theon the Younger called it the "Lost Pleiad".
  • The ornate ruby brooch that Celaena includes in her money pouch to Yrene was gifted to her by Arobynn Hamel for her sixteenth birthday.[3]
  • Her identity as Celaena Sardothien was so carefully protected that very few people had ever seen what she actually looked like; when meeting clients, she always wore a mask, gloves, and black clothing, which revealed only her gender.[4]
  • When she was young, she was infatuated with Ben, Arobynn's Second-in-Command, and Archer Finn, a courtesan, who she later kills.[5]
  • She purposely broke her right hand at the age of 12 by slamming it in a door frame; Arobynn decided she needed to be more skilled at swordsplay with her left hand and had offered to break it for her.[6]
  • She bears the mark of the "Unwanted child/The Nameless" from her ancestor Brannon.
  • Aelin thinks that in another life, she would be friends with Manon Blackbeak. Aelin admires Manon for her abilities in combat and analysis.
  • She adores extravagant clothes, expensive perfume and shoes.
  • Celaena killed her first Overseer by gutting him with a pickax when he pushed her too hard.

References

  1. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, Chapter Three
  2. 2.0 2.1 Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Chapter 1, pg. 1
  3. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 86
  4. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 11
  5. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 145
  6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Chapter 14, pg. 112

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