It’s time for the third trial. Feyre is taken to the throne room, and it finally becomes clear that everyone is rooting for her but was putting on a show for Amarantha to pretend they supported her and wanted Feyre to fail in her trials.
Amarantha asks if she has any last words:
I came up with a plethora of curses, but I instead looked at Tamlin. He didn’t react— his features were like stone. I wished that I could glimpse his face— if only for a moment. But all I needed to see were those green eyes.
“I love you,” I said. “No matter what she says about it, no matter if it’s only with my insignificant human heart. Even when they burn my body, I’ll love you.”
I wonder now if I was more in love with Feyre’s love for Tamlin. There is just something so pure and lovely about it. It broke my heart when she thought he was under a spell when he remained quiet, and it breaks my heart now how simple and sweet her words are now. The Feyre from the start who was so closed off and hateful has again been put through hell, but she’s managed to hold onto her hope and love. Whatever happens with Tamlin in the next book, this was important.
He didn’t react— he didn’t even grip the arms of his throne. I supposed that was his way of enduring it, even if it made my chest cave in. Even if his silence killed me.
Amarantha propped her chin on a hand. “You never figured out my riddle, did you?” I didn’t respond, and she smiled. “Pity. The answer is so lovely.”
It’s love, okay? We get it, it’s love.
Because Feyre still hasn’t figured out the answer to the world’s most obvious riddle, she is tasked with stabbing three faeries in the heart. That is some pretty fucked up shit.
It’s an agonising decision, but Feyre comes to the conclusion that to save everyone, she’ll need to do this. It’s just going to be really, really hard:
It was a handsome High Fae youth. I didn’t know him, I’d never seen him, but his blue eyes were pleading. “That’s better,” Amarantha said, waving her hand again. “Proceed, Feyre, dear. Enjoy it.”
His eyes were the color of a sky I’d never see again if I refused to kill him, a color I’d never get out of my mind, never forget no matter how many times I painted it. He shook his head, those eyes growing so large that white showed all around. He would never see that sky, either. And neither would these people, if I failed.
It’s terrible, but Feyre manages to kill the first two Fae. At this point the reader and Feyre are both wondering why this is the hardest and easiest trial ever. Because once Feyre makes up her mind, let’s face it, it’s heartbreaking but pretty straightforward to just kill the third Fae once she’s already managed it twice.
It turns out the Tamlin Feyre professed her love to earlier was the Attor in disguise, and the real Tamlin is in front of Feyre. Suddenly, Feyre figures some shit out:
Alis— Alis had said something … something to help me. A final part of the curse, a part they couldn’t tell me, a part that would aid me … And all she’d been able to do was tell me to listen. To listen to what I’d heard— as if I’d already learned everything I needed.
She flashes back to conversations she overheard that she now understands were staged for her benefit.
Milady makes no bargains that are not advantageous to her.
She would never kill what she desired most— not when she wanted Tamlin as much as I did.
“For someone with a heart of stone, yours is certainly soft these days.”
“Though you have a heart of stone, Tamlin,” the Attor said, “you certainly keep a host of fear inside it.”
I still don’t understand why Amarantha went with this task or why she gave Tamlin a heart of stone in the first place (besides the fact that Blonde already snatched up Heart of Glass), but go Feyre for putting the pieces together!
Feyre also then recalls every time she was close to Tamlin she never felt his heartbeat! I can tell you with 100% certainty that I can’t remember if I’ve ever heard my husbands heartbeat, so it’s pretty amazing that she never noticed this before but can specifically recall that fact. I watch and enjoy Once Upon a Time for some reason, so I’m very forgiving of hearts behaving in anatomically ridiculous ways, so I won’t focus on the heart of stone thing.
Feyre stabs Tamlin as she tells him she loves him.
Feyre was correct and has clearly completed the third trial, but she quickly realizes that Tamlin and friends are not free.
“You assumed that when I said instantaneous freedom regarding the riddle, it applied to the trials, too, didn’t you? Foolish, stupid human.”
Damn it, Feyre, that’s why you always clarify the rules of these fakakta bargains!
Amarantha who is beside herself with fury – probably aimed at herself because of how shitty she is at designing trials – starts shattering Feyre’s bones.
“Admit you don’t really love him, and I’ll spare you,” Amarantha breathed, and through my fractured vision, I saw her prowl toward me. “Admit what a cowardly, lying, inconstant bit of human garbage you are.”
Rhysand starts shouting for Feyre, and it’s probably the mark of their true love that it’s not Tamlin shouting her name and he tries to throw a knife at Amarantha…it was totally ineffective.
Her magic sent him sprawling, and it then hurled into Rhysand again— so hard that his head cracked against the stones and the knife dropped from his splayed fingers.
At least he tried! I’ll give him that. At this point in the story, I was still shippin’ Tamlin/Feyre but I was on board for Rhysand to be a potential ally, and I was saddened by his pain.
Somehow through their magical tattoo bond, Feyre switches between her perspective and his and can see herself being beaten to death by Amarantha. It’s hella dark!
But then Feyre goes back to her own body and has another series of flashbacks. Now, I know the flashbacks were JUST how she solved her problem, and I know the life-flashing-before-your-eyes thing has been done before (I loved how Supernatural did it to give Sam the strength he needed to fight Lucifer), but this scene actually worked for me.
Feyre sees her whole life, and then realizes that SUPER MEGA DUH the riddle’s answer is “love” and as she dies she frees everybody because she still has the strength to solve the dumb riddle thank god.
Worth noting that while this is going down, Tamlin does finally beg for Amarantha to stop and spare Feyre, and he apologizes for being mean about her sister all those years ago. Too little, too late, buddy.
Tamlin’s eyes went wide before something forever cracked in my spine.
OH SHIT! But it’s obviously not a Divergent ending because we still have a lot of books left in this series.