I’m going to Atlanta for the first time today! Apparently my family lives there now? It’s a long story. Any Atlanta readers out there who can tell me some cool shit to do so I can confuse my parents about how I know Atlanta stuff? This’ll be a victory for all of us in the BBGT community.
A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 5
Rhysand’s crashed Feyre and Tamlin’s wedding to apparently finally make good on the deal he made with her during Amarantha’s trials – for her to spend one week per month with him in the Night Court. Feyre reminds the reader that Rhysand considers “pissing off Tamlin to be an art form”, which I think officially gives Rhysand more character motivation than literally any other character in the sequel so far.
“Get the hell out,” growled Tamlin, stalking toward us. Claws ripped from his knuckles.
Rhys clicked his tongue again. “Oh, I don’t think so. Not when I need to call in my bargain with Feyre darling.”
My stomach hollowed out. No— no, not now.
“You try to break the bargain, and you know what will happen,” Rhys went on
This sounds more menacing before you realize that at no point in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series have the consequences for anything ever been explained beforehand.
Rhysand continues to not be subtle.
“Was I interrupting? I thought it was over.” Rhys gave me a smile dripping with venom. He knew— through that bond, through whatever magic was between us, he’d known I was about to say no. “At least, Feyre seemed to think so.”
Like “WE GET IT”-level not subtle.
Tamlin snarled, “Let us finish the ceremony—”
“Your High Priestess,” Rhys said, “seems to think it’s over, too.”
Tamlin snarls and stiffens and everything you’d expect before Rhysand tells him not to bother bargaining and he accepts there’s nothing he can do so the story can move on. He simply snarls (again) at Rhysand “If you hurt her…” before Rhsyand says he’ll return Feyre in a week and then grabs her and teleports to the Night Court.
“Welcome to the Night Court,” was all Rhys said.
It was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen.
I’m gonna not summarize the next few pages describing Rhysand’s furniture if that’s cool with you guys.
“You’re welcome, you know.”
Rhys paused less than a foot away, sliding his hands into his pockets. […] “For saving you when asked.”
I stiffened. “I didn’t ask for anything.”
His stare dipped to my left hand. […] “I heard you begging someone, anyone, to rescue you, to rescue you, to get you out. I heard you say no.”
Soooooo… obviously… this is a thing. Rhysand’s thing is being a dick but ostensibly for some kind of greater good. And now we’ve got a fun new twist on that: without the “beneficiary’s” consent. (By “fun”, I of course mean “I’m getting a dozen reader comments about Rhysand every day for the next few months, huh.”)
“Take me back. Now. I didn’t want to be stolen away.”
He shrugged. “What better time to take you here? Maybe Tamlin didn’t notice you were about to reject him in front of his entire court – maybe you can now simply blame it on me.”
“You’re a bastard. You made it clear enough that I had… reservations.”
But you know what I think is a much more important criticism at this point in the sequel? Not whether Rhysand is a good person or not, or a terrible love interest or not. Not yet. I’m more interested in how this is a super obvious contrived circumstance to reuse the exact same Beauty and the Beast, Stockholm Syndrome plot that the first book had.
“Take the stairs on the right, one level down. Your room is the first door.”
“Not a dungeon cell?” Perhaps it was foolish to reveal that fear, to suggest it to him.
But Rhys half turned, brows lifting. “You are not a prisoner, Feyre. You made a bargain, and I am calling it in. You will be my guest here, with the privileges of a member of my household. None of my subjects are going to touch you, hurt you, or so much as think ill of you here.”
Feyre is trapped in a supernatural creature’s home! But, wait, he’s going to treat her well! And they’ll come to have feelings for each other! Gosh, where have I seen this story before?
Feyre is still (understandably) furious with Rhysand and throws a shoe at him with supernatural strength. The book makes a very big deal about this.
One heartbeat, I was staring after him— the next, I had my shoe in a hand.
I hurled it at him with all my strength.
All my considerable, immortal strength.
Feyre leaves to go to her room, and she overhears an unknown “amused female voice” telling Rhysand “So, that went well”. Hi, Not-Lucien.
Alone in her new room (again, I’m not summarizing three pages of Feyre describing furniture), Feyre ruminates on the shit she’s in.
Rhys was the least of my concerns. Tamlin had seen the hesitation, but had he understood that I was about to say no? Had Ianthe? I had to tell him. Had to explain that there couldn’t be a wedding, not for a while yet […] until I knew for sure it couldn’t be some mistake, that … that I was worthy of him. [Or until he] relaxed his grip on things a bit. On me. Even if I understood his need to protect, that fear of losing me…
But there’s not much we can actually do about that now, so it’s time for an A Court of Thorns and Roses classic: infodumping!
“This is my home, and the court beneath it is my… occupation, as you mortals call it. I do not like for the two to overlap very often.” […]
“I thought it’d always be dark here” […]
“We’re in one of the three Solar Courts,” he said, motioning for me to sit with a graceful twist of his wrist. “Our nights are far more beautiful, and our sunsets and dawns are exquisite, but we do adhere to the laws of nature.” […]
“And do the other courts choose not to?”
“The nature of the Seasonal Courts,” he said, “is linked to their High Lords, whose magic and will keeps them in eternal spring, or winter, or fall, or summer. It has always been like that – some sort of strange stagnation. But the Solar Courts – Day, Dawn, and Night – are of a more… symbolic nature.”
“We might be powerful, but even we cannot alter the sun’s path or strength.”
OK OK HOLD THE FUCK UP.
Is this book saying that day, dawn, and night are caused by the sun moving through the sky? And by, like, turning on and off? And not because the earth moves/rotates/tilts, which – incidentally – is also how… you know… the seasons work. Even though magic evidently can affect the seasons?
Feyre also asks Rhysand about their magical bond that allows him to see into her head. He explains that it both causes her to unwittingly send things to him when her emotional guard is now, but also that he can observe her himself if he really wants. It’s a type of bond that’s especially effective against humans, but Rhysand also happens to be particularly gifted at mind-reading-type stuff, so he can still do this to Feyre even now that she’s faerie. Although he tells her that she could train to to shield her mind against him, as well as others with similar magic. (Until, presumably, there’s a good plot reason for magic to work differently, like with the spring and night courts, I guess.)
Feyre still isn’t sure what the plot of this sequel is.
“You could train, though— learn how to shield against someone like me, even with the bond bridging our minds and my own abilities.”
I ignored the offer. Agreeing to do anything with him felt too permanent, too accepting of the bargain between us. “What do you want with me? You said you’d tell me here. So tell me.”
Rhys leaned back in his chair, folding powerful arms that even the fine clothes couldn’t hide. “For this week? I want you to learn how to read.”
Seriously, this is the same book.