It’s hard for me not to talk about what happens later when I’m discussing a lot of these scenes, but I’m really trying to focus on the book at hand rather than discussing these events in light of what happens in A Court of Mist and Fury. That being said, I can’t resist some lines about the future here or there, so I apologize.
The super sexy, mysterious High Fae is described in detail. He follows the law of Sexy Male Characters and has “violet” eyes and a “magnificent” body. Also, his voice is “a lover’s purr”, which sounds like a weird way for someone to sound during a normal conversation.
What I found most interesting, though, is that Feyre repeatedly points out the bad vibes she gets from this guy rather than falling under the spell of his good looks.
For a moment, we said nothing. Thank you didn’t seem to cover what he’d done for me, but something about the way he stood with absolute stillness, the night seeming to press in closer around him, made me hesitate to speak— made me want to run in the other direction.
“And who are your friends?” He was still smiling at me— a predator sizing up prey.
“Their names?” He prowled closer, slipping his hands into his pockets. I retreated a little more and kept my mouth shut. Had I just traded three monsters for something far worse?
“Aren’t humans usually terrified of us? And aren’t you, for that matter, supposed to keep to your side of the wall?”
I was terrified of him, but I wasn’t about to let him know.
I remember how happy I was when I read this. I thought, “Wow, what a cool misdirect here. The hottest guy around is creepy AF and Feyre isn’t falling for it.” Those were the days.
To his credit, he leaves Feyre alone pretty readily when she says she doesn’t need him to escort her anywhere. Before he goes, she confirms he’s not from the Spring Court, and he tells her “all the monsters have been let out of their cages tonight.”
Given Feyre’s close call with the naga, I don’t understand why she doesn’t take anyone’s advice and stay away from this ritual when loads of scary faeries are there.
Lucien spots Feyre, freaks out, and carries her back to the manor. He explains more about the ritual and why she should stay away:
“Fire Night signals the official start of spring— in Prythian, as well as in the mortal world,” Lucien said. While his words were calm, they trembled slightly. I leaned against the wall of the hallway, forcing myself into a casualness I didn’t feel. “Here, our crops depend upon the magic we regenerate on Calanmai— tonight.”
The magic is generated by sexy Faerie fucking of course.
“Tonight, Tam will allow … great and terrible magic to enter his body,” Lucien said, staring at the distant fires. “The magic will seize control of his mind, his body, his soul, and turn him into the Hunter. It will fill him with his sole purpose: to find the Maiden. From their coupling, magic will be released and spread to the earth, where it will regenerate life for a year to come.”
Tamlin will hunt a white stag and then go to a cave where “faerie females” will be lined up waiting for him. After Tamlin chooses, it becomes a full-on faerie orgy. Apparently, the more faeries that fuck, the better for the land! Lucien then explains that if Feyre were there, Tamlin would have chosen her but that “it wouldn’t have been Tamlin who brought [her] into that cave.”
It made me sick— the thought of Tamlin forcing me, that magic could strip away any sense of self, of right or wrong. But hearing that … that some feral part of him wanted me … My breath was painful.
I gave this a lot of thought, and I like this. If magic were not involved, this would get a very different reaction from me. I’m not going down the path of metaphor here, like ‘couldn’t magic be a metaphor for alcohol?’ because there is actually alcohol in this universe, and my reaction would be different if it was alcohol.
Tamlin is under the influence of powerful (and, retrospectively, somewhat confusing) magic that is part of an important ritual for his people, and we get no inkling that any of the participants are there against their will. I think Feyre should have gotten more information sooner, but right now Lucien is being honest with her so she can make an informed decision to stay away from Tamlin.
But then there’s this part of Feyre that is excited by the fact that, woah, Tamlin really wants her. I liked the tension here and the fact that it gets one telling line rather than pages and pages of explanation.
Feyre wakes up later wondering who Tamlin chose for the ritual, feeling a bit jealous, and starting to admit that maybe she wants Tamlin (gasp!).
Feyre leaves her room, and this leads to one of the most hotly debated scenes of the book.
Tamlin grabs Feyre as she’s having a snack (as my very British husband said, “The grabbing thing, that’s not on”, and I am also outraged he knocked a cookie out of her hand), and tells her how much he wanted he that night. Feyre tells him to let go, but he doesn’t, and she tells us how aroused she is.
I couldn’t escape. I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to.
He tells Feyre he would have been gentle with her, and she’s very sassy about how she doesn’t want someone else’s leftovers.
He grabbed my hands again and bit my neck. I cried out as his teeth clamped onto the tender spot where my neck met my shoulder.
I couldn’t move— couldn’t think, and my world narrowed to the feeling of his lips and teeth against my skin. He didn’t pierce my flesh, but rather bit to keep me pinned. The push of his body against mine, the hard and the soft, made me see red— see lightning, made me grind my hips against his. I should hate him— hate him for his stupid ritual, for the female he’d been with tonight …
His bite lightened, and his tongue caressed the places his teeth had been. He didn’t move— he just remained in that spot, kissing my neck. Intently, territorially, lazily. Heat pounded between my legs, and as he ground his body against me, against every aching spot, a moan slipped past my lips.
So I know that the way the body responds does not mean that what’s happening is consensual. That being said, at the end of the day, I have to follow Feyre’s lead on this one, and we get every indication that she wants to be there, and giving intentional physical signs like her grinding her hips against him. Even after when Tamlin yuckily tells her not to disobey him again, and she’s telling him off for bossing her around and biting her, she tells us this:
More— I wanted the hardness of his body crushing against mine; I wanted his mouth and teeth and tongue on my bare skin, on my breasts, between my legs. Everywhere— I wanted him everywhere. I was drowning in that need.
But nothing else happens between them now, Tamlin leaves.
It would be really easy for me to just say that Tamlin is bad and this scene was wrong, but my gut just doesn’t feel that way. What bothers me is that the problematic parts of the scene aren’t addressed, which I’ll get into more in the next chapter.
The next day, Feyre cheerfully meets Lucien and Tamlin for lunch. When Lucien asks about the bruise, Feyre is like, “TAMLIN!”
What pisses me off is that Tamlin isn’t apologetic at all! He just blames Feyre for not listening to them. I get it’s annoying when you warn someone about something, they don’t listen to you, and then blame you. This is not the equivalent of, “Feyre, you shouldn’t have worn that sexy nightgown.” But couldn’t he also be CONCERNED over whether what he’d done was unwanted or not? Apologize for grabbing her?
“While I might not have been myself, Lucien and I both told you to stay in your room,” Tamlin said, so calmly that I wanted to rip out my hair.
I couldn’t help it. Didn’t even try to fight the red-hot temper that razed my senses. “Faerie pig!” I yelled, and Lucien howled, almost tipping back in his chair. At the sight of Tamlin’s growing smile, I left.
But it’s played for laughs? What?
This was an opportunity for something better here. I actually like that the scene’s complicated and makes me think, but I don’t like that it’s laughed away! I know it’s between Tamlin and Feyre, and if that’s how they interpreted what happened, okay, but that aspect feelswrong to me and like it would have made me believe in them even more if they had laughed but also had a real conversation about it. (Given the direction the second book takes, maybe this was intentional, but I stand by my point. If it was intentional, why not have Feyre just reflect on it even briefly?)
Feyre goes to paint and thinks how happy she is that Tamlin isn’t under the magical orgy spell anymore. They both apologize at dinner later, which is good, but there’s no dialogue (we’re just told by Feyre). That night she sleeps more peacefully than ever before.
This is why I’d forgotten about Tamlin’s initial reaction before this re-read. Everything transitions so quickly into fun and happiness, and I got so caught up in everything that happens later.
Feyre wears a sexy dress to dinner the next day, and Lucien quickly flees so he does not have to witness Tamlin and Feyre flirting. She then shows Tamlin her paintings, some of which are about her life before. One alludes to her and Isaac, and Tamlin expresses some jealously:
“It was the only escape I had.” Truth. I wouldn’t apologize for Isaac. Not when Tamlin had just been in the Great Rite. I didn’t hold that against him— but if he was going to be jealous of Isaac—
Tamlin must have realized it, too, for he loosed a long, controlled breath before moving to the next painting.
I love that this is how the jealousy on both sides was handled. It felt so adult!
They talk about their lives some more, and Tamlin tells her he feels she’s the only person he’s ever met who he feels can really understand what it’s like “for me to care for my people, my lands. What scars are still there, what the bad days feel like.”
That wrathful jealousy faded away like morning dew as he smiled at my painting. “This reminds me of it.”
“Of what?” I breathed.
He lowered the painting, looking right at me, right into me. “That I’m not alone.”
Shit, I got a little teary here. Yup, this was definitely why I moved on so quickly from the events of the previous chapter. It’s not perfect, but fuck these two broken people get each other.
Tamlin and Feyre spend more time together on a magical date that is very sweet. Tamlin gives Feyre some magic so she can experience the world in a richer way.
It turns out that Tamlin has also removed some sort of glamour he’d cast over Feyre so her adjustment to the Faery world was easier. She doesn’t even recognize Alis at first, and there are SHIT TONS of other Faeries around the Spring Court that were there the whole time that she couldn’t see! What the fuck? Why didn’t he just make them look different like he did with Alis rather than making them invisible? How did Feyre not bump into anyone?
It is a little hilarious when Feyre confronts Tamlin and Lucien, and they tell Feyre the night she chased after the puca and she thought no one was around, there was a huge audience. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s awful! But it’s a little funny. Tamlin also explains that anyone outside his court he couldn’t glamour…so I don’t get why he needed to glamour his court since Feyre was exposed to scary Fae from outside it anyway. I never understood what this added to the story, really.
Anyway, the chapter ends on a much more sinister note as Feyre finds a severed head stuck to a pole outside the manor. Lucien and Tamlin think it was the Lord of the Night Court. They explain that the Night Court is full of eeeeevil!
Tamlin and Feyre also have another heart to heart about how happy he was when humans were freed and how ashamed he is of how they were treated in the past. He seems like a good egg here.