A Court of Mist and Fury Chapters 9 and 10: Tamlin Gets His Christian Grey On

Not in a sexy way. You read this blog, you know what Fifty Shades is really about.

A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 9

Alis talks with Feyre about the events of the last chapter.

“You gave your jewels to a water-wraith,” Alis mused […] “They’re a slippery sort.”
“She said they were starving— that they had no food,” I murmured. […]
“Not one faerie in that line today would have given her the money. Not one would have dared. Too many have gone to a watery grave because of their hunger. Insatiable appetite— it is their curse. Your jewels won’t last her a week.”
I tapped a foot on the floor.
“But,” Alis went on […] “She will never forget it. […] Too many faeries have tasted hunger these past fifty years. Don’t think word of this won’t spread.”
I was afraid of that more than anything.

Is anyone else having trouble keeping track of all the moving pieces we’re supposed to be keeping track of? There’s gonna be a wedding, but there might not be a wedding, there’s gonna be an invasion, but there might not be an invasion, there’s murderous rogue faeries in the Night Court, water-wraiths are maybe gonna be important too… so much shit is going on, it’s like an episode of Arrested Development up in here, except it’s season four Arrested Development when the writers couldn’t keep anyone’s characterization consistent anymore. I’m not even sure that’s a comprehensive list, but it was still easier to put together than a summary of what’s actually happened in ACOFAM so far. Where’s anything even going?

Tamlin and Feyre make amends. Tamlin admits he doesn’t know what it’s like to be starving, and feels he owes her an apology for what he said. And nothing says “I’m sorry we had a fight over my socioeconomic privilege and how I don’t understand inequality and I totally get it now” like “so I got you a present!”

Please not a crown.

Wait, why wouldn’t Feyre get a crown? Why are we supposed to assume that a crown would be one thing too many for the heroine in our fantasy royalty romance?

I unlatched the small brass lock and flipped open the broad lid.
It was worse than a crown, actually.

Tamlin gifts Feyre with a painting kit, which immediately stresses Feyre out, because Tamlin just does not get that her PTSD caused her to abandon this hobby, or that his gesture is really a half-measure for the root of the problems he’s causing…

“Tamlin— Tamlin, I can’t … I can’t live my life with guards around me day and night. I can’t live with that … suffocation. Just let me help you— let me work with you.”
“You’ve given enough, Feyre.” […]
“I’m harder to kill now. I’m faster, stronger—”
“My family was faster and stronger than you. And they were murdered quite easily.”
“Then marry someone who can put up with this.”
He blinked. Slowly. Then he said with terrible softness, “Do you not want to marry me, then?”

One of my least favorite scenes to critique on this blog is the “lovers have an argument (again)” scene. Yeah, people in real life have trouble making sense when they’re angry, rational complaints can escalate in irrational ways, and so on and so on. But I’m just staring at this dialogue and wondering how we got from “yeah, but my family died, soooo” to “marry someone who can put up with this”… because the way this flows, what is “this”? Is she telling Tamlin to marry someone who can put up with… him being affected by his family dying? Is this Feyre being tactless? Is this ACOFAM being tactless? Who knows.

“I am drowning. And the more you do this, the more guards … You might as well be shoving my head under the water.”

Then the room vaguely explodes as Tamlin unleashes like a burst of energy or something? I don’t know. It’s not very specific. All that matters is that the paint kit “exploded into dust and glass and wood” because symbolism.

A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 10

Ugh, I bet nothing funny happens in this chapter either.

Tamlin was panting, the ragged breaths almost like sobs. […] There was devastation on that face. And pain. And fear. And grief.
Around me, no debris had fallen – as if he had shielded me.

But Tamlin tries to step towards Feyre and she realizes that she’s doing that shield. She guesses this is another High Lord’s powers she’s apparently adopted. She lets the shield down and Tamlin tries to explain.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
I couldn’t stop trembling.
“I’ll try,” he breathed. “I’ll try to be better. I don’t … I can’t control it sometimes. The rage.”

You know, as weird as it is that we didn’t really see any of this part of Tamlin’s personality in the first book, I kind of don’t hate how finally one book we’re reading for this blog is about how it’s a really dumb idea to marry someone you’ve only known for two or three months.

Not even limited to books, really.

“Today was just… today was bad. With the Tithe, with all of it. […] Please – give me more time. Let me… let me get through this. Please.”
Get through what? I wanted to ask.

PRO WRITING TIP: If the main character is asking the same questions the reader has, and the questions are basically “what is the story?”, you can totally spare to give out a little more info.

Feyre tells us that over the next few days, Tamlin did indeed dial back the guards around Feyre. And that their sex life is fine.

Tamlin didn’t stop apologizing for days. He made love to me, morning and night.

Good to know.

But then Tamlin starts traveling more and doesn’t tell Feyre anything about where he’s going or what he’s doing, and Feyre spends her solitude practicing reading. Then it’s that time of the month. Where Rhysand shows up for Feyre. Yeah, there’s so little happening in this story right now, I saw the opportunity for a period joke and thought, “Yep, that’s the best I can do with this material.”

Rhysand teases the two about how they should check their wards since he was just able to show up (for everyone wondering why magic is so inconsistent in this book… there you go, I guess) and about how his psychic connection with Feyre lets him see glimpses of their sex life. What a delightful character who rounds out the love triangle. How can a girl choose between angry dude and “lol I saw your boobs” dude?

Feyre makes some good points:

“If war is coming, maybe we’d be better served trying to mend things.” […]
“I’ll start mending things the day he releases you from your bargain.”
“Maybe he’s keeping the bargain so that you’ll attempt to listen to him.” […]
“Feyre,” he said, reaching for me, but I stepped out of range. “Why do you need to know these things?”

This story is putting so little work into Tamlin and Feyre drifting apart that now Tamlin’s basically just that dude who doesn’t have the nerve to break up with his girlfriend so he just starts acting like a dick until she does it for him.

“Is it not enough for you to recover in peace?”

TAMLIN, READ A BOOK. THIS BOOK, SPECIFICALLY. IT’S NOT BEEN SUBTLE ABOUT THIS.

“You end her bargain right here, right now, and I’ll give you anything you want. Anything.”
Rhysand merely raised a brow. “I already have everything I want.”

Tune in next week for more of Feyre arguing with a dude about her agency. Again.

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6 comments

  1. Rebecca Reply

    I just don’t get how Tamlin goes from letting her have all this freedom when she was a human and could end up dead pretty easily to an abusive asshole who won’t let her do anything and has no control over his rage when she tries to talk about her problems.

    Although I do agree that not marrying someone you barely know is at least partially represented here. It’d be super cool if they’d talk about the wedding, of course.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      “I just don’t know how Tamlin goes from…” oh, the book’s got this. It’s because love! It just doesn’t have a GOOD reason.

      I’m still uncertain whether it’s doing the “don’t marry someone you barely know” thing intentionally or if this is just an obvious accident.

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      • Rebecca Reply

        Yeah I’m just confused because in the first book there were these kind of powerful instances in the first book in which Tamlin would SHOW he much he loves Feyre, like bowing to Rhysand in the dining room instead of upholding his pride, and sending her away to be safe even though she could save them all…but then we get “but he ACTUALLY loves you now and that’s apparently abusive.”

        So I guess, with all this in mind, I imagine SJM’s writing process as a sort of “flailing around to make everything fit together no matter the cost” kind of process.

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  2. Krista B Reply

    Yeah, I was so confused. He actually loves Feyre now and so he doesn’t want her to die. He didn’t want her to die before because a) he wasn’t awful before and b) she was the only thing that could bring down Amarantha’s curse. He let her run around hunting with Lucien and catching Suriel last book – no problem. This book she has these great powers and she’s stuck at home. So confusing.

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  3. Ana Reply

    It would be interesting if he was doing this not to protect her, but to protect others from her. Like, as if at some point was revealed that they are all concerned with her powers and that she could threaten all their lives (like because of a prophecy or something). It still wouldn’t be cool if Tamlin, but it would be an interesting twist and a better motivation than “love”

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