A Court of Thorns and Roses Chapters 11-15: Tamlin to the Rescue X2

Matthew and I have agreed we need to try doing four chapters instead of five next week. There is just TOO MUCH INFO HERE.

Chapter 11

So can we all just agree it’s obviously not Feyre’s father outside her window? I don’t believe that Feyre’s cynical side wouldn’t have made her doubt it was him for even a second.

My father. My father had come to take me— to save me. Whatever benefits Tamlin had given him upon my departure couldn’t be too tempting, then.

It’s sweet that Feyre really really wants her family to miss her. You could read this line as Feyre deciding that Tamlin hasn’t been providing well enough for her family, but 1) She believes Tamlin’s providing well for them because Faeries can’t lie 2) She switches from “take me” to “save me.” She doesn’t frame this as her family just wanting her back for her hunting skills, but out of concern for her well-being. She frames Tamlin’s offerings as temptations rather than necessities as well.

Maybe he had a ship prepared to take us far, far away— maybe he had somehow sold the cottage and gotten enough money to set us up in a new place, a new continent.

I could kind of see how Feyre would be vulnerable to this very obvious deception, but this line of thought makes no sense! Surely if their cottage could have been sold for enough money to buy them a ship…this was an option they would have explored sooner?

How had he even gotten here? There had to be horses nearby, then. He was hardly wearing enough clothing for the winter that would await us once we crossed the wall. But I’d layered on so much that I could spare him some items if need be.

FEYRE, THINK!

She runs outside, and Tamlin stops her and points out that this is CLEARLY a faerie who is trying to lure her away from safety to eat her.

He then asks Feyre why she wants to return to her former life. They proceed to have a real conversation that doesn’t devolve into a pointless fight where one of them storms off or Tamlin screams about how he has to protect Feyre. I’m not used to this.

Feyre explains the promise she made to her mother, and Tamlin repeatedly reassures her that he’s providing well for her family. This time it seems to really sink in, and Feyre realizes that maybe she can actually try to enjoy this life of luxury she’s been given…in return for killing a Faerie.

Tamlin opens up about he was trained to be a warrior so he could take over these lands from his father, and it’s not what he wanted for his life. I think what got us to this moment was kind of dumb, but the payoff made me go, fine, whatever, look at that foundation being laid!

Tamlin warns Feyre to be careful at night because the borders are not secure anymore thanks to the blight, and more dangerous Faeries come out at night.

After this, Feyre starts patrolling the grounds with Lucien more frequently, and she doesn’t see much of Tamlin as he hunts the Bogge. Feyre can tell Lucien is worried about the toll violence takes on Tamlin:

“You don’t hold on to power by being everyone’s friend. And among the faeries, lesser and High Fae alike, a firm hand is needed. We’re too powerful, and too bored with immortality, to be checked by anything else.”

It seemed like a cold, lonely position to have, especially when you didn’t particularly want it. I wasn’t sure why it bothered me so much.

Feyre has a nightmare about killing Andras. ARE HER FEELINGS ABOUT FAERIES BEING CHALLENGED?

Chapter 12

I carefully traced my steps, noting the windows and doors and exits, osccasionally jotting down vague sketches and Xs on the parchment. It was the best I could do, and to any literate human, my markings would have made no sense. But I couldn’t write or read more than my basic letters, and my makeshift map was better than nothing.

Regardless of literacy, a map was the best way to mark the exits of the building. Her makeshift map was better than…writing an unhelpful list of locations?

A sad Tamlin returns from the Bogge hunt with an injured hand. Feyre feels sorry for him, and he also offers her a compliment about how because she can’t read it makes sense she is so “adept” at other things. Aw.

“You can’t write, yet you learned to hunt, to survive. How?”

But you just said that this made sense. And one is not needed to learn the other. “You don’t eat chicken, and yet you eat Doritos? How?”

However, it’s nice he’s trying to get to know Feyre, and she talks about needing to protect her dumb family some more. He tells her she’s not what he expected a human to be like and then leaves the room. Bye!

The next day, Feyre overhears a vague and mysterious fight between Tamlin and Lucien that is clearly about Feyre and what Tamlin needs to do to protect his land and people. Lucien is like, “For someone with a heart of stone, yours is certainly soft these days.” Woah. Calm down, Lucien. It’s all very dramatic and confusing.

Feyre interrupts and awkwardly asks if Lucien is going on a hunt. He tells her to hang out with Tamlin, and Feyre confesses she actually hates hunting.

“You’ve been going for hunts,” Tamlin said at last, “but you really don’t have any interest in hunting.” He cast me a sidelong glance. “No wonder you two never catch anything.”

Lol, Tamlin.

Tamlin thanks Feyre for helping him yesterday. He is very impressed with her wound-binding talents. They go to the study.

Chapter 13

Feyre wants to write a letter warning her family about the “sickness” taking over Prythian, but she only has a basic grasp on letters/writing. Feyre explains that her mother neglected her education, and then when they lost their money, her sisters didn’t bother teaching her. Why were the sisters taught and she wasn’t?

She tries to write the letter, and then takes a break. She finds a mural depicting the Fae version of the start of the world where everything begins with a cauldron. This is why everyone is always saying ‘Cauldron’ instead of ‘God’ I still find it disconcerting. I didn’t know faeries and cauldrons went together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong since Cauldrons are man-made, and I struggle to picture just like a random, lone Cauldron suddenly spurting out life.

Feyre muses about the horrors of the human/Faerie war and how much contempt for humans they have. She gives us a lot of geographical information.

Tamlin returns and offers Feyre help writing a letter to her family:

“Help? You mean a faerie is passing up the opportunity to mock an ignorant mortal?” He set the books down on the table, his jaw tight. I couldn’t read the titles glinting on the leather spines. “Why should I mock you for a shortcoming that isn’t your fault? Let me help you. I owe you for the hand.”

Feyre turns him down because she still feels weird being vulnerable around him and his use of “shortcoming” really throws her. He snarls/grows a lot during this scene as they discuss how Feyre can’t get a read on Tamlin, and he’s kind of offended that she thinks Lucien is more straight-up.

Their tempers both flare up when the human/faerie mistrust comes up. At least this seems like a justifiable reason for these two to have tension (besides the fact that Feyre has been forced to live – in complete luxury – at the Spring Court).

Tamlin feels bad that he’s offended Feyre and gives her space. She goes to brood about how dumb Tamlin must think she is and how she had thought he could understand her:

I should have let his hand bleed that night, should have known better than to think that maybe— maybe there would be someone, human or faerie or whatever, who could understand what my life— what I— had become these past few years.

Feyre decides she needs to find a loophole and go home. She seeks out Lucien, and asks him how to catch a Suriel (a creature that will tell you answers to ALL THE THINGS if you catch it. So I would definitely recommend Feyre ask how Pretty Little Liars is going to end because at this point I would just like to know.)

Chapter 14

Feyre traps the Suriel. He tells Feyre she needs to stay at the Spring Court, that Tamlin is High Lord of the Spring Court (I forgot we didn’t already know that…surprise!), that if she stays close to Tamlin she’ll be safe from the blight, that there is an eeeeeevil king who is not happy with the treaty with the humans and has been sending his deadliest warriors to infiltrate the other courts and territories. Things were going great for this king and his spies until “The Deceiver” betrayed him. Before we can find out more, EVIL FAERIES SHOW UP.

The Suriel begs Feyre to free it so it can escape and again reminds her to stay with Tamlin and everything will be a-okay.

Chapter 15

The naga are scary. For some reason Feyre does not call out for Lucien even though he told her he would be out hunting (implying he would be close enough to help her without anyone knowing he told her how to catch the Suriel.)

Feyre frees the Suriel before worrying about herself. Because she’s starting to realize #NotAllFaeries. [EDIT: THEN she calls for Lucien, but he doesn’t come.]

She manages to kill a naga, then runs to find Lucien. It is still unclear why she doesn’t shout for him a second time. Naga violently attack Feyre, but Tamlin shows up to save her.

Look, I am not inherently against Feyre needing to be saved by Tamlin. I know she is tough and capable but that she is a human up against a group of more powerful creatures. But this is still kind of annoying. I mean this JUST happened at the beginning of this post.

Tamlin explains he was hunting a bigger pack of naga, so he was nearby already. I give Maas props for giving an OK reason, but I can’t help feeling like Feyre and Tamlin could have fought back together or something more interesting here.

I pulled on Tamlin’s tunic over my own, ignoring how easily I could see the cut of his muscles beneath his white shirt, the way the blood soaking it made them stand out even more. A purebred predator, honed to kill without a second thought, without remorse.

Ug. Can we not sexualize Tamlin right now, please? He’s depicted as being super miserable when he has to hurt other living beings, so this feels extra gross.

No, he hadn’t been the only one to spill blood just now. And it wasn’t just my blood that still coated my tongue. Perhaps that made me as much of a beast as him. But he’d saved me. Killed for me. I spat onto the grass, wishing I hadn’t lost my canteen.

When I first read this, I took that moment at Feyre spitting on that whole, “Swooooon he killed for me” concept, but now I’m not so sure.

What I do really like about this scene is that rather than Tamlin freak the fuck out about Feyre putting herself in danger, they’re both just very nice to each other and head home. I think in general there’s an overuse of Tamlin growling/snarling, but I always read that more as him being cranky and stressed with all the bad things happening (and a little bit of lazy writing), but never in the same way as a Christian Grey or a Gideon Cross. I feel like this scene is the perfect contrast to those characters.

I didn’t detect a trace of triumph in him, but rather a deep, unending sort of shame and defeat.

SEE THIS IS WHY IT WAS GROSS WHEN IT WAS TRYING TO MAKE HIM SEXY! It’s so much more effective to see how Feyre and Tamlin would be drawn together as people who have been forced into these violent lives out of familial duty and the damage it does to them. I already know Tamlin is hot, I got that.

Oh my god, though…what if that wasn’t supposed to be a sexy description at all and I’m just ruined from all the times Walking Disaster/Crossfire/Fifty Shades used these descriptors as a Sexy Signifier. I felt like Feyre “ignoring” his muscles were her trying not to admit her attraction, but maybe it was out of fear or a general observation. What do you guys think?

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7 comments

  1. Rebecca Reply

    Alright, so…I think she thinks Tamlin is sexy when he murders BECAUSE he hates it. It’s super gross that she sexualizes him in that situation, for sure, but there’s this thread that gets deeper and deeper in Feyre that’s like “he’s broken and he makes terrible sacrifices, hot.” She is really into men that have to make hard choices and hurt people to save something they love passionately. I keep thinking she’s like the trope of woman thinking she can fix a bad boy. It could be more nuanced than that–she could be drawn to him for exactly the reasons you said, understanding sacrifice, unintentional violence, etc. But that’s not quite how it’s written. And I think it was very unintentionally revealing of that sort of pervasive attitude in bad romance, about men needing to be fixed and woman sexualizing actual serious emotional wounds.

    And wouldn’t you know it, I also couldn’t take the cauldron seriously as a thing. WHO MADE THE CAULDRON? WHY IS IT JUST FALLING OVER?

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  2. Meg Reply

    “I didn’t know faeries and cauldrons went together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong since Cauldrons are man-made”

    I wonder if the author isn’t maybe referencing the Cauldron of Rebirth of Welsh myth that brought the living back to the dead? I haven’t read this book outside this blog so I’m not sure If I’m reading it right or not but it’s a concept that does pop up in fey based fantasy from time to time.

    It does seem pretty clearly like the author is sexualizing Tamlin after and injury/murder rampage which, given we know he hates doing that, does seem really icky.

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  3. Anne Reply

    My problem with Tamlin having to save her is that the whole event is a lazy way to create tension. Feyre can fight, but comes across something that she cannot possibly beat. If she discovered a clever way to escape from them it would allow her to grow or show of her skill, but instead she is saved and aside from Tamlin having to kill for her it does nothing to forward the plot, and even the Tamlin part only matters if it gets brought up later in the story.

    The entire event could have been skipped, and if some tension was necessary at this moment, then why couldn’t trapping a Suriel be some kind of a taboo. Feyre is human, so it would make sense that the faeries don’t want her to do certain things because as a lowly human she is not worthy to talk to the Suriel. Lucien helps her, because he likes her, but if the other faeries find out she could be in trouble. In this case Feyre would have some control over the situation and would not be forced to be rescued by someone.

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  4. Ana Beatriz Monteiro Reply

    I thought Feyte was the older sister, so I really don’t see why her sisters would know how to read and she not. But maybe she’s not the older, and then I could understand that maybe her mother would teach her in the future, I thought her sisters would so? I don’t know.

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  5. callmeIndigo Reply

    Yeah that line about his muscles or whatever is definitely a ~sexy~ description. It’s extra weird because it seems to be implying that he’s even more sexy because he’s covered in blood, which, I am not sure there is a way for that not to be gross.

    I feel like I should say something nice because this book is definitely not Bad as far as I can tell, it just has some poorly-considered elements. Uh. Honestly I read Feyre falling for the super obvious deception as a demonstration of the extent of her wishful thinking, like, the fact that it seems strange for her is a sign of how desperate she is for her family to want her back, but I suppose that depends on how consistently she’s written the rest of the time.

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  6. Krista B Reply

    I’m still confused about Lucien’s motives in all this. Was he trying to get her hurt and then felt bad later? Alis says later that they way he told Feyre to catch the Suriel wasn’t even necessary. Was that part of the ruse? I don’t know.

    The muscle comment is definitely for sexualization.

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  7. Judy F. Reply

    Too much growling and snarling, Tamlin coming to the rescue in the nick of time really put me off. They should have fought together. The author hitting us over the head with his sexiness made me roll my eyes, so many cliches. And I am soooo sick of Feyre’s family even though I should feel more sympathy for her feelings of guilt and duty to them. Also,in most stories her saving the Suriel would somehow benefit her in the future, with him helping her out of some pickle.

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