A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 6: Fun with Reading and Shielding

nightcrawler, jake gyllenhal laughing

ACOMAF Chapter 5 ended on a pretty huge cliffhanger: Rhysand wants to teach Feyre to read. I have no idea what direction this chapter could possibly take.

A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 6:

“You’re going to be a High Lord’s wife,” Rhys said. “You’ll be expected to maintain your own correspondences, perhaps even give a speech or two.

It’s weird that none of this came up in the last book, and even weirder that Feyre doesn’t make note of this. It would be understandable if she was like, “Shit I wasn’t expecting things to be like this AT ALL. My feelings and opinions are changing!”

Rhys’ scorn for all the boring things Ianthe and Tamlin will make Feyre do as a High Lord’s wife like “Make menus for dinner parties” (which actually could be pretty fun) seems like it’s setting up a future revelation that Rhys is the fun High Lord while Tamlin is the boring, stuffy one who follows rules and tradition.

They argue about whether Rhys should teach Feyre to read and what his motivations are.

“It serves various purposes of mine, of course.”

“What. Purposes.”

“You’ll have to agree to work with me to find out, I’m afraid.”

shrug woman emoji

Oh, SJM, your sneaky misdirects are so clever! Why let Rhysand have an open, honest conversation with Feyre for once and shirk tradition of having a big reveal that all was not as it seemed. Rhysand actually wants to teach Feyre to read so she can run the Night Court’s local animal shelter which requires a high level of literacy. He just can’t tell Feyre this now because it just wouldn’t be an effective storytelling technique.

Feyre is so angry, she bends a fork in her hand. Rhys points out that she’s very strong and probably has more hidden talents thanks to the High Lords who brought her back to life. Damn. Feyre’s gonna be a super Fae.

Despite Rhys’ secret good intentions, Feyre doesn’t want him to be her tutor.

“Why? From spite? I thought you and I got past that Under the Mountain.”

“Don’t get me started on what you did to me Under the Mountain.”

Rhys went still.

As still as I’d ever seen him, as still as the death now beckoning in those eyes. Then his chest began to move, faster and faster.

Gee, now would be a great time for them to have a discussion about what happened and to clear the air. But sure! Let’s have the new leading man make it seem like the leading lady is cuhhhh-razy for not realizing what a standup dude he is after he previously drugged/humiliated/branded her (I know, I know for the greater good and reasons).

At this moment, Morrigan shows up to introduce herself. She is clearly a contender for future BFF status, and I like her better than Ianthe already. Rhys introduces her as his cousin, but it sounds like they were close family friends and not actually related.

“I needed a break, and you told me to come here whenever I liked, so what better time than now, when you brought my new friend to finally meet me?”

I blinked, realizing two things at once: one, she actually meant what she said; two, hers was the female voice I’d heard speak last night, mocking Rhys for our squabble.

But wait, you say, where was Mor when everyone was Under the Fucking Mountain? Oh, she also wasn’t there, and Rhys won’t let her say where she was. I’m starting to suspect that everyone who was Under the Mountain were just paid actors.

Mor also eats a pretty strange assortment of food during their conversation. At one point it’s “slices of tomato and pale cheese” and then its a muffin! This isn’t crucial to the plot or anything at all, but at this point I’m more invested in what Mor may or may not eat more of next than whatever is going to happen during Feyre’s reading/shielding lesson.

They fight for most of it. I’m sure it’s supposed to be lighthearted and we’re supposed to love this feisty dynamic, but it won’t stop putting me off until they have a blunt conversation about Under the Mountain.

“What, exactly, is your stake in all this? You said you’d tell me if I worked with you.”

“I didn’t specify when I’d tell you.”

nightcrawler, jake gyllenhal laughing

OH, HOW VERY AMARANTHA OF YOU.

He has her practice reading on sentences like, “You look absolutely delicious today, Feyre.” How wacky and adorable! Rhys is such a goof. He only purrs three times for the rest of the chapter, so I feel he’s showing true restraint and character growth.

He then starts in on the mind invasion.

He leaned back in his seat. As our eyes met, sharp claws caressed my mind and his voice whispered inside my head: It’s true, isn’t it?

[…]

You should be afraid. You should be afraid of this, and you should be thanking the gods-damned Cauldron that in the past three months, no one with my sorts of gifts has run into you. Now shove me out.

I couldn’t. Those claws were everywhere— digging into every thought, every piece of self. He pushed a little harder.

[…]

It’d take me forever to unhook each claw and shove the mass of his presence out that narrow opening. If I could wash it away—

I find it very confusing whether Feyre is seeing a pair (or pairs?) of disembodied claws floating around her brain or feeling claws in her mind? And then she visualises “a wall of adamant” slamming down on the claws. So all she has to do to defeat the floating claws is imagine a large rock slamming down on them? That doesn’t sound too hard.

Rhysand praises her hard work, and it’s lovely that SJM is trying to portray him as very supportive, but so far it just again seems like another man has come along and told Feyre what she needs to do. Sure, this one is telling her to read and learn to use her powers, but why can’t Feyre be the one to make anything happen in the plot like she did when she decided to go fight for Tamlin in the last book.

Rhysand tells Feyre she might be “reading by Nynsar” which is a festival that hasn’t been celebrated in fifty years because “Amarantha had banned it on a whim.” I’m really glad we cleared that up so quickly. Any time a new festival or person or tradition is introduced I’m like, “But was that not in the last book because of Under the Mountain or…?”

Feyre tries to have a conversation with Rhys about their bargain and what happened Under the Mountain, but he won’t play ball:

“And will I still be bound by this bargain at Nynsar, too?”

Silence.

[…]

“By the end, I thought you were different, thought that it was all a mask, but taking me away, keeping me here … ”

[…]

His eyes darkened. “I’m not your enemy, Feyre.”

Well, that’s all I needed to hear.

“Liar,” he purred. “Did you even tell your friends about what I did to you Under the Mountain?”

So that comment at breakfast had gotten under his skin. “I don’t want to talk about anything related to that. With you or them.”

“No, because it’s so much easier to pretend it never happened and let them coddle you.”

“I don’t let them coddle me—”

“They had you wrapped up like a present yesterday. Like you were his reward.”

Not only is Rhys going to be the one to tell her she needs to learn to read and control her powers, he’s going to be the one to make her see the light about how terrible the Spring Court and Tamlin and Ianthe are. If she’s lucky, Feyre may never have to come to a conclusion on her own ever again.

I mean, I agree with Rhys 100% because I have no choice but to at this point. And he mentions that he doesn’t like Ianthe, we’re aligned on that.

Rhys goes off so Feyre can practice reading and shielding as you do, and when he returns we get this interesting nugget:

He’d appeared moments before, a healthy distance away, and if I hadn’t known better, I might have thought it was because he didn’t want to startle me. As if he’d known about the time Tamlin had crept up behind me, and panic had hit me so hard I’d knocked him on his ass with a punch to his stomach. I’d blocked it out— the shock on Tam’s face, how easy it had been to take him off his feet, the humiliation of having my stupid terror so out in the open…

Tell me more about this! Oh, nope, we’re going to look at maps instead and Rhys is going to tell Feyre that war is coming and the human realm is not safe.

 

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3 comments

  1. Amanda

    ACOMAR is starting to feel like Twilight fanfiction… actually I feel like it starts at when Feyre died and is brought back to life as High Fae and has some super Fae strength.

    At first I thought Rhysand is a delicious antagonist…he reported of Feyre whilst she was still a human in Spring Court to Amarantha because being her ‘whore’ he couldn’t keep that secret from her. Then he confuses me because apparently he could keep things from Amarantha. Is he like some sort of Faerie who can see the future? It was like he knew Feyre could set them all free and he was already attracted to her so he told Amarantha so that she could be brought to that place under the mountain (but they captured Clare Beddor instead) and Feyre found her way there and he helped her at the trials. And he branded her and held her in an agreement of one week a month even though there were no guarantee she would make it out alive at the time. Maybe I just missed some things.

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  2. Rebecca

    Feyre’s agency is such an important theme, SJM beats us over the head with it, but I’m starting to think she’s not 100% sure what agency is. Because it’s pretty lazy to create a “strong female character” and then have her get emotionally broken, only to set up the sexy male protagonist in bringing her back to life. Why can’t they work through their shit together? Why does he have to push her so she’ll be a person? I would get it if he was just upfront, like “you’re being annoying with all your pain, fucking DO something” but instead it’s like she needs him to find her way, and that’s not the character I remember. Nor was Under the Mountain so devastatingly horrible that all this bullshit makes sense. So she killed some Fae. She didn’t know them, and it was to free thousands of others. I just can’t give a shit, so this book has already failed.

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  3. Mara

    I feel like this story is misaimed. It’s trying to be about agency and psychological healing–which could be facinating, especially in a fantasy context–but instead, these characters refuse to communicate and refuse to even look at the problems that would drive the narrative in that direction. So we end up trapped in the mire of petty household politics and repetitive romance amidst constant reminders that the book would rather be about something else.

    I think part of the problem is the commitment to the Beauty and the Beast thing. In order to set up this second book, the author essentially had to tear down the first book because this is just the same thing again. But if she’d let the first book stand… maybe we could have gotten some actual character growth that didn’t feel like derailment. …But nooo–two people happily in love with each other just aren’t /interesting/. We have to tear them apart and toss in a new Forbidden Couple, because /obviously/ we can’t have a plot center around anything other than romantic angst! That’s just not possible!!

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