|“||"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 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 only run in her family. Standing at an average height, Aelin’s body is finely honed and trained—as well as curvaceous—and covered in scars, including those on her back which she received from whips during her time in the Salt Mines of Endovier.
|“||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.
Even during her time as an assassin, she was meticulous in managing her appearance. She has a fixation on finery and insists on wearing fashionable clothing.
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 Skull's Bay with the help of Sam Cortland.
Powers & Abilities
Although Aelin is Demi-Fae, she has aquired all the standard abilities of the Fae, in her 'shifted' form.
Standard Fae Abilities (when shifted)
- Enhanced Hearing
- Enhanced Speed
- Enhanced Healing (than mortals)
- Presence of elongated canines
- Secondary Animal form (read below)
- Immortality/Long-Life - 1000-2000+ years long (read below)
Secondary animal form - her 'Human' form.
Her primary Fae form was sealed when Magic was banished. She was stuck in her secondary form in Erilea (not Wendlyn).
- This is the main type of magic Aelin can wield strongly
- She was able to manifest flame at an early age, although she had little to no control over it - as shown when she accidentally burnt a part of Orynth's Grand Library.
- After her extensive training at Mistward with Rowan, she now has greater control over this magic.
- She can shape her fire into shields, daggers, arrows, and even a rose.
- She was able to set Doranelle's rivers steaming, and turn a massive wave of deadly glass shards into an extensive glass wall - to save the citizens of Rifthold.
- She can burn her opponent's internal organs, burning them inside out by merely breathing at them.
- She was able to take out an army of 500 ilken with her full Fire-Bringer gifts.
- This power can be wielded weakly, due to the dimming bloodline from it's source - her great-grandmother Mab.
- She is able to manipulate water - as shown when a pebble sized droplet of water was lifted when she was with Rowan in Heir of Fire, and in Empire of Storms when she spun rivulets of water within a river in Terrasen.
- Water Affinity - inherited from Mab alongside her magic, Evalin tells Aelin that it reminds the bearer of their salvation, and their self-preservation. Aelin has inherited a drop of this magic, which can be used to heal others and herself. This healing magic is much stronger than the standard healing abilities of the Fae.
While Aelin delved deep into her Fire Magic at Skulls' Bay, she unconsiously let her magic touch the Amulet of Orynth. As a result, the Wyrdkey opened a door to another realm, from which Deanna was watching Erilea. Deanna then posessed Aelin, taking control of her body, magic, and Rowan's magic.
She proceeded to convert all of Aelin's Fire Magic to Moon-Fire. The Goddess's Moon-Fire was described as being the cold white light of the stars, light that was stolen from them, which would be so cold that it would burn.
This magic was able to easily burn through Anti-Magic physical properties, as evident when Deanna burned through the iron encasing Aelin's hand.
Aelin has learned to use wyrdmarks, with the help of the Walking Dead, a book she found in Adarlan's Castle Library. The spells generated from wyrdmarks are able to be used without Magic present, since the Wyrd governs all life. Nehemia also showed Aelin her use of wyrdmarks, and stated that wyrdmarks use the power stored in the user's blood. As in, those with magic dormant in their veins can use their power to generate wyrdmarks. There is a limit to how much power one can use in their blood, as Aelin needed Dorian's help to close a portal. As of now, Aelin is capable of using the wyrdmarks for the following spells:
- Unlocking Doors - Aelin was able to unlock even an iron door, immune to magic, with wyrdmarks chalked up to the door, when she was about to face the Valg-posessed human captive under Adarlan's Castle
- Binding Spell - When Chaol was held by Manon Blackbeak, Aelin used his blood in the grass to form a binding spell that froze the Wingleader in place for a limited amount of time.
- Protection Spell - She was able to cover her body in wyrdmarks covered in blood - to ward off the Valg, and their powerful Valg Magic (when facing Dorian and the King)
- Portal Generation - When Nehemia passed away, Aelin strived to see her friend again, and so she created a portal via a dome of wyrdmarks from her blood, near Elena's Tomb.
- Locking Spell - She was able to seal the portal to the Valg realm near Elena's tomb, using Dorian's blood.
As a Demi-Fae, Aelin is entitled to go through the Settling - which will determine whether she becomes immortal and loses/retains her magic. Maeve informs Aelin that she is "likely five years away from Settling".
Aelin will retain her full magic, her full Fae gifts, her shifting abilities and the full extended life of the Fae, due to her great-grandmother's blood flowing through her veins. Mab's line was mentioned by Maeve to run true - so that her descendants will successfully transition into Fae when Settling.
Near-unlimited depth of magic
She originally thought that her well of magic was as great as Brannon Galathynius, her ancestor. 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, as Aelin found out another 'bottom' when she delved into her power for a day - to prepare to face Maeve in Doranelle.
In Empire of Storms, she delves into her magic for three days, when preparing for a possible skirmish with the Valg at Skulls' Bay. Aelin then breaks through this barrier, when Deanna posesses her. She discovers that her magic is as great as Mala Fire-Bringer's - due to being her heir and descendant. When preparing for an inevitable encounter with either Maeve's or Erawan's forces as she sailed for the Stone Marshes, Aelin had hovered over her magic for days - still no burnout.
It was only until after she obliterated 500 ilken, that her well of magic reserves became drained - which Maeve took advantage of to leash her.
Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was born to Rhoe Galathynius and his wife, Evalin Ashryver, in Orynth. For the first eight years of her life, she lived as the Princess 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. As a child Aelin also encountered Dorian Havilliard while his parents were on a state visit to Terrasen.
The Fall of 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 rain, and woke to a maid's screams to discover the bed was filled with their blood. Her mother's dearest friend, Lady Marion Lochan, sacrificed 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 Orlon she became the sole survivor of Terrasen's royal family.
Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins, found Aelin half frozen to death on the banks of the Florine River. 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.
Aelin trained at the Assassins' 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 labor camp—and sentenced as a slave to reside there for the remainder of her life.
Aelin meets with Arobynn's inner circle of assassins late at night. Arobynn announces that Gregori's mission has failed, resulting in Gregori's capture and incarceration in the castle dungeons. Aelin 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, Aelin 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, Aelin stalks out of the room, vowing to recover her friend's body.
Two months later, Aelin 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. Aelin expresses indignation at Rolfe's tardiness and roots around Rolfe's office, much to Sam's irritation. Rolfe arrives and demands that Aelin 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 Aelin's horror—is brokering a slave trade agreement with him. Although she was unaware of the true content of the letter, Aelin acts as if she knew exactly what the message was. Rolfe sends Aelin and Sam to their lodging. Initially Rolfe plans to provide two separate rooms for them, but Aelin insists that only one room is necessary. Rolfe raises his eyebrows suggestively, prompting Aelin to clarify that she wishes for two beds in one room.
Alone in the room with Sam, Aelin turns on him, believing that Sam had prior knowledge of the contents of the letter, but he denies her accusations. Aelin 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 Aelin 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 Aelin storms off to take a bath.
Rolfe taunts Aelin 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, Aelin 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 Aelin, 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 Aelin to be wary of Sam, as he could be waiting for a chance to eliminate her. Aelin snaps at Rolfe to mind his own business.
Back in their room, Sam pokes fun at Aelin, 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 Aelin listens to his breathing as she keeps watch.
Aelin 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, Aelin 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 Aelin return together to face the wrath of Arobynn.
Following her abolition of the Skull's Bay slave trade and the severe beating by Arobynn as a result, Aelin 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 Towers notices Aelin, 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. Aelin 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 Nolan 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, Aelin 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, Aelin 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. Aelin 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, Aelin 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 Aelin something to treat the injuries on her face, but Aelin refuses, saying that they are meant to be a reminder for herself. Instead of leaving, Aelin—out of fear for Yrene's safety—offers to teach Yrene to defend herself.
Aelin coaches Yrene on the most effective self-defense moves. When Yrene murmurs that she should impart Aelin's tips to Jessa, Aelin urges Yrene to share what she has learned with any female who bothers to listen. The time for Aelin'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 Aelin has needed to use the self-defense moves before; Aelin 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 Aelin refuses to lower her weapons on threat of Yrene's death, Yrene incapacitates her attacker while Aelin quickly dispatches the others, revealing that Aelin was simply using the attack as training for Yrene. With her ship scheduled to depart in the morning, Aelin 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, Aelin boards the ship to the Red Desert.
Conceding to her punishment by Arobynn, Aelin 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 and was often beaten for amusement by the guards. Most prisoners only survive an average of three months in the mines, and she had survived only because slaves from Eyllwe would tend to her wounds every night. Aelin was left with many scars from her imprisonment, including three stark scars down her back from being whipped. On the anniversary of Aelin's parents' deaths, she snaps and ends up going on a killing spree, killing twenty-four 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 competition to find the King's Champion, Dorian Havilliard sets out with the Captain of the Royal Guard, Chaol Westfall, to Endovier to retrieve Aelin and propose to her that she should compete. Should Aelin win, she would serve the King for four years until earning her freedom. Aelin takes the opportunity to get out of Endovier and takes the prince up on the deal. Dorian and Chaol take Aelin to the glass castle, the home of the King of Adarlan. Aelin 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 competition. The prince gives Aelin an alias to use during her stay: Lady Lillian Gordaina of Bellhaven.
Chaol is to train Aelin for the various Tests 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 Aelin and investigating these mysterious deaths. In a dream, Aelin 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. Aelin 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, Aelin, 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 Aelin what she knows about Wyrdmarks, the strange symbols that Aelin 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. Aelin 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. Aelin ends up treasuring this ring throughout the books and never parts with it. Although Chaol does not allow himself to forget that Aelin 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 Aelin has tried to avoid but can't seem to shake, and that is Kaltain Rompier, one of Queen Georgina's 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 Aelin's greatest rival for the competition, Cain. Kaltain claims that Aelin is after the prince's affections, long before Aelin begins to show interest in Dorian.
Tired of being excluded from another celebration, Aelin sneaks into the masked ball held to celebrate Yulemas. Chaol recognizes Aelin 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, Aelin 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 Aelin 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 Aelin and even goes so far as to poison Aelin with bloodbane at Duke Perrington's request during the final battle against Cain. Cain seems to know about Aelin; not only her true identity but also about events that he could not possibly have witnessed. He uses this knowledge to break Aelin's spirit. In spite of this, however, Aelin 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 Aelin's forehead during the fight, later revealed to be a Wyrdmark symbolizing her ancestor Brannon, meaning "the Nameless". Aelin eventually wins, after taking a serious beating. Cain attempts to kill Aelin anyway but then Chaol steps forward and kills Cain with his sword.
It comes to light that Kaltain poisoned Aelin with Duke Perrington claiming that he had nothing to do with it. Kaltain is thrown in the dungeons and Aelin is crowned the King's Champion. Recovering from her wounds, Aelin 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. Aelin 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 Aelin remarks that it is unusual—she is pleased that she gets to see him twice in one day. Aelin tells Chaol that she ending things with the prince. He joins her in dinner and they raise a glass, Chaol toasting Aelin.
Elena visits Aelin 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 Aelin betray him or not return from a mission, he will kill the Captain and Nehemia's family. Aelin 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.
Aelin is ordered to kill rebels by the King of Adarlan. Instead she has been warning them to flee and subsequently faking their murders. Aelin 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's life and failed to act. As a result it was Archer Finn—a courtesan and former ally of Aelin—who assassinated Nehemia to show Aelin who to trust. She finds out that Dorian has magic, and her friends discover that she is demi-Fae.
After having Aelin sent away to the eastern 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 Princess of Terrasen.
Aelin is sent to Wendlyn by Chaol and the King of Adarlan. Although she was sent there to kill the King of Wendlyn 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 Whitethorn, an immortal Fae warrior prince and servant of Queen Maeve, her great-great aunt. He takes her to meet the immortal Fae-Queen at 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, Aelin must prove herself worthy to Rowan, and Maeve commands him to train her in magic.
Rowan and Aelin train. At first Aelin had a difficult time trying to shift to her Fae form and harness her fire magic. 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 Aelin how to control her fire. They also go investigating mysterious dead remnants of bodies that are dumped. Rowan eventually tells Aelin about his mate Lyria; about how she died pregnant and he has been scarred ever since then. They decide 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 Aelin end up upholding the best platonic bond. Aelin fought and nearly died defeating the Valg princes. Finally coming to terms and accepting her destiny as the Princess of Terrasen, Aelin frees Rowan from Maeve's blood oath. She has to return to Erilea not as Aelin, but as Celaena Sardothien.
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 Faliq, 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, 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 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. 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 castle, 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, a legendary Fae 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 Assassins' 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'rere 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 Assassins' 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 a Valg king 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 Mother Blackbeak arrive. 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 the Blackbeak Matron slap her granddaughter. 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, 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 Wyrd magic. 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 takes an arrow for Aelin. 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 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 Southern Continent, where her father is from, and how the best healers in the world reside in a city there.
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 Wyrd 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 Wyrd 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 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, 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.
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 and is not impressed with her court. He informs her that the lords do 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 witches 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 Ilium, 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. Lysandra has suspicions about the gods' possible role in this and a use for Aelin and Dorian. Aelin, Aedion, and Lysandra defeat Ilium soldiers at the temple. Aelin burns one of the men from the inside out by merely breathing on him.
Aelin brings them to Ilium and raids the 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 like 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 Eyllwe. Aelin knows it's in retaliation for what she did at Ilium. She knows he's striking there because he knows of her love for Nehemia. Aelin asks Rolfe to send his Mycenian fleet to fight with Eyllwe. She promises to give him back Ilium 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 delves into her magic so deeply, that Deanna enters her body via the temporary wyrdgate - the Wyrdkey around her neck, and controls Aelin's body, mind and power as if it were a mask to wear. Deanna proceeds to uncover a deeper well of magic, one described as being "a core of roiling molten magic, and Mala's heart", granted by Mala Fire-Bringer's blood flowing in Aelin's veins. Deanna proceeds to convert all of Aelin's standard fire magic to Moon-fire - white light stolen from the stars themselves, being so cold that it would burn. When Deanna pivots her pulsing hand from Morath's forces to the unprotected land at Skull's Bay, Rowan throws himself infront of Aelin, so that she would snap out of Deanna's control. Aelin kicks Deanna out of her mind, body, and through the wyrdkey, back to the Goddess's realm - due to the risk of harming her true mate Rowan. Fenrys rescues her from the water, where she is re-united with Rowan.
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 the Stone Marshes. 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 ancestor) is: Mala Fire-Bringer. They take off on a ship, headed for the Stone Marshes. 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 Erawan'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 Red 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 Western 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 a sarcophagus crafted from the black mountain. She distracted Erawan with Gavin. He's injured now. She knows the Lock can only be used once. Her reckless action brings the attention of the gods themselves. Temis calls Elena a half-breed fool, who used their Lock to trap Erawan. She tells her it was supposed to be used to unite the keys, bind them back the the broken wyrdgate, holding it intact via the Lock, and sealing it forever. The gods were supposed to be sent back home before this, where they would take the Dark King Erawan to their realm. The gods' rage rattled through her bones, threatening to destroy Elena. However Mala Fire-Bringer seemed to stop, as if to remember her. Elena remembers how her mother would not remember her family, after she sacrificed her body to forge the Lock, with the help of Rhiannon Crochan - who cast Mala's essence into the small blue witch-mirror to unleash it's massive power just once. As Elena called to her mother, Mala looked away from her. Anneith orders Elena to release Erawan, to repay her betrayal and punish the mortals. Hellas calls Elena a fool for wasting their Lock to temporarily seal Erawan, when all could have been solved at once. Elena begs to let another generation inherit the war, where they will be well prepared. Farnor calls her a coward to shove the burden on another. But Mala said that since they have waited this long to return to their realm, they may wait and watch Erilea a little longer. The Three-Faced Goddess proceeds to warn Elena that they will wait, but there will be a price, and a promise. That Mala's bloodline will bleed again, and her descendant with her Fire-Bringer gifts will re-forge the Lock, send the gods back to their realm alongside Erawan and his armies, where the gods will destroy them. Once the gods leave, Mala's scion must seal the three wyrdkeys back to the wyrdgate, completing it and holding it intact forever, yielding every last drop of their life force - something Brannon was prepared to do originally. 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. Gavin knows she lied via Damaris, but they did not talk of it further.
Another memory surfaces. Nehemia approaches the chest holding the witch-mirror at the Stone Marshes - the light twin to the black sarcophagus beneath Morath. 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. Brannon is seen forging the Amulet of Orynth, where he hid one wyrdkey within, after carving the message in wyrdmarks on the amulet for Aelin - 'nameless is my price' - should the gods' ultimatum hold true. He is then seen and hiding the other two Wyrdkeys, the second in Elena's sarcophagus, where he built the door knocker for Mort - gifted by Rhiannon Crochan. She then caresses his cheek, before leaving the tomb so that he could place the wyrdkey in secrecy. The last wyrdkey, he brought to Mala's Temple - only accessible by a true Fire-Bringer, or one possessing a key, who can traverse the molten river surrounding the Temple, something Mala's priestesses could not accomplish. After placing the final key under a flagstone, Brannon walked into Mala's burning heart, the river, and did not emerge again.
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 depleted, 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 a thousand 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. A distraught Rowan reveals that they were now married. Aelin had told Lysandra to impersonate her to command their armies, and if Aelin were to die, Lysandra was to produce 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.
|“||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.||”|
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 even remarks 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. Rowan even proves his complete loyalty to Aelin when he swore the blood oath to her, after Maeve freed him from her blood oath to her 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 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".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.
|“||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
After the events at Skull's Bay, Aelin 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. Aelin convinces him to stay only after having confessed that she loves him and they kiss for the first time in the sewers beneath Rifthold. After paying off Sam's debts, he and Aelin move into their new apartment and live a peaceful life together.
After a month, they realize 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 Aelin 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 Aelin in immense pain. After his death, Aelin 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, Aelin 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 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 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.
|“||I will always be your friend.||”|
–Aelin Ashryver Galathynius to Dorian Havilliard, Queen of Shadows
Although Dorian intends her to be his Champion in his father's competition, Dorian can't help but be intrigued by Adarlan's Assassin. Aelin 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 catches Aelin playing the pianoforte and although she is embarrassed, they begin to open up to each other. Dorian then sees Aelin 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 Aelin with a puppy she names Fleetfoot, who would have otherwise been killed as the runt of the mutt litter. Dorian befriends Aelin and following the Yulemas ball, they even share a kiss.
Aelin recognizes that it is not smart to get involved with the prince, nonetheless she continues to let him call on her. Aelin and Dorian share chaste kisses for some time. After the final task of defeating Cain, Aelin decides that it would be inappropriate for the Crown 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, Aelin'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, Aelin 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 Aelin being in danger. Dorian exposes his powers of raw magic and is surprised when Aelin does not recoil from him. Instead she offers to keep his secret and for that, Dorian is grateful. After Aelin 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.
At the end of Queen of Shadows, 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,” 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 Aelin have a love-hate relationship—Chaol 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 Aelin and Dorian are together. Finally, in Crown of Midnight, they finally admit their true feelings toward each other and they become lovers.
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 Aelin to safety.
In Queen of Shadows, Chaol and Aelin officially declare to each other that "there is no we" anymore. Chaol thought of Aelin as a monster due to her killing drive. Over halfway throughout the novel, he didn't have a tug of jealousy when he noticed that Aelin had Rowan.
Arobynn Hamel found Aelin at the banks of the Florine 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. Aelin remembers Arobynn as someone very strict who 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 doesn't 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 Aelin abandoning him for Sam, and to get her to return to him.
Ansel and Aelin 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. However, Ansel was Berick's spy, and wanting to avoid Aelin getting killed in the slaughter, she had put her to sleep with a sleeping potion and abandoned her in the middle of the Red Desert with a fake letter from their master. Aelin, however, returned to the fortress and found out the truth about Ansel—Ansel had given her a chance to escape. Because of Ansel's treachery, Aelin promised that she would shoot an arrow after twenty minutes, giving Ansel a chance to escape. Aelin actually fired the arrow after twenty-one minutes, as otherwise, she would have killed Ansel. In Empire of Storms, Ansel has become the Queen of the Western Wastes and supports Aelin in her campaign to conquer the throne of Terrasen, offering troops and aid.
|“||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 Aelin's bitter rivalry commenced when Lysandra wrested a fan from Aelin's hands; they were about ten. Aelin 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 Aelin. Their resentment of each other deepened after Arobynn used Aelin's payment to win the bid for Lysandra's virginity and Aelin launched a dagger at her and threatened to kill her.
When Aelin returned to Rifthold, 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.
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.||”|
The story's teenage heroine, Aelin Galathynius, 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." Maas ultimately designed Aelin 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 Aelin would grow while adjusting to her new role. In addition to Aelin'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."
- In Queen of Glass Celaena ends up marrying Dorian
- 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 Aelin includes in her money pouch to Yrene was gifted to her by Arobynn Hamel for her sixteenth birthday.
- 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.
- When she was young, she was infatuated with Ben, Arobynn's second-in-command, and Archer Finn, a courtesan, whom she later kills.
- She purposely broke her right hand at the age of twelve 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.
- She bears the mark of 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, books, chocolate and shoes.
- Aelin killed her first overseer by gutting him with a pickax when he pushed her too hard.
- ↑ The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, Chapter Three
- ↑ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Chapter 1, pg. 1
- ↑ The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 86
- ↑ The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 11
- ↑ The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 145
- ↑ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Chapter 14, pg. 112