A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 18:
In a startling invasion of personal space, Amren is standing over Feyre’s bed when she wakes up, unnecessarily pointing out that she smells like vomit and that Feyre’s vomit-soaked PTSD is obviously the reason she is so skinny. This is a very terrible way to begin your day.
But she comes bearing the gift of an amulet that will apparently help Feyre once she enters the prison:
“I do not give that amulet lightly. But you may borrow it, while you do what needs to be done, and return it to me when you are finished. If you keep it, I will find you, and the results won’t be pleasant. But it is yours to use in the Prison.”
I hope the amulet behaves just like one of those awful squirting flowers that awful people use as pranks. A mysterious, evil figure will lean in to tell Feyre something, and then the amulet will squirt ink in their face, thus showing them not to mess with our protagonist.
It’s more likely that Feyre will find out the amulet was useless and the power was inside her all along.
Feyre and Rhys return to the prison and begin the journey up the mountain to get to the entrance. I forget why they can’t fly, but it gives them time to give us some juicy infodump. Rhys tells us about Azriel’s tragic backstory (it would be pretty silly if he’d had a happy childhood and no discernible tragedies in his past LOL can you imagine???).
His older half-brothers, his father’s legitimate sons, tortured him and burned his hands at one point. The family also kept him locked up in a “cell with no window” and only let him out for an hour every day, which is why he can’t fly. I’m honestly surprised we’re getting this information so soon, I thought it would take awhile to find out what happened to Azriel.
Confusingly, Feyre acts like they’ve been having a conversation about what each member of Rhys’ inner circle brings to the table and not Azriel’s horrific past, because next she says, “And Mor – what does she do for you?” as though this is a natural transition in the conversation. Obviously the conversation was going to have to move on, but this was pretty abrupt.
“As my Third, Mor is my … court overseer. She looks after the dynamics between the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams, and runs both Velaris and the Hewn City. I suppose in the mortal realm, she might be considered a queen.”
Mor obviously deserves a raise as this is a ton of responsibility. Also, how could the “dynamics” between the Court of Nightmares/Dreams be anything but fucking terrible? At team meetings, is Mor just like, “So the update is that these two courts are still diametrically opposed…yup that’s it from me,”?
“And Amren?” […] “I mean— in that war where your armies fail and Cassian and Azriel are dead, and even Mor is gone.”
“If that day comes, I’ll find a way to break the spell on Amren and unleash her on the world. And ask her to end me first.”
By the Mother. “What is she?” After our chat this morning, perhaps it was stupid to ask.
“Something else. Something worse than us. And if she ever finds a way to shed her prison of flesh and bone … Cauldron save us all.”
Right away I pictured this Amren as Cthulhu and Rhysand as Cartman. I know, I know he would ask her to end him first, but my way is my headcanon now/
We find out later this chapter she’s from another dimension/realm, so it actually makes total sense!
Rhys and Feyre enter the prison, and I kind of get the impression there’s been some Fae budget cuts here:
“Where are the guards?” I managed to get out past the tightness in my lungs.
“They dwell within the rock of the mountain,” he murmured, his hand finding mine and wrapping around it as he tugged me into the immortal gloom. “They only emerge at feeding time, or to deal with restless prisoners. They are nothing but shadows of thought and an ancient spell.”
You supposedly have the worst of the freaking worst down here, and you’re going to rely on “shadows of thought” and a vague, unconvincing “ancient spell”? Something’s fishy.
Feyre can somehow sense how evil everyone is there, and she asks about how long Amren was in this horrible place. This is when Rhys explains that Amren was basically there since the dawn of time. I guess she was sentenced to eternity in this prison back in its glory days where it could afford a full-time staff.
“…there are legends that claim when the world was born, there were … rips in the fabric of the realms. That in the chaos of Forming, creatures from other worlds could walk through one of those rips and enter another world. But the rips closed at will, and the creatures could become trapped, with no way home.”
I like this! I’ve played around with writing about different dimensions in stories of my own and have always been drawn to ones that incorporate this (His Dark Materials, Buffy, Supernatural to name a few). I want to know more about these creatures from other worlds, and why Amren and other creatures like her were considered evil, whether they’re all actually evil (presumably not since Amren seems OK?), and how Amren ended up in a different body.
Rhysand reveals that The Bone Carver can appear to people as whatever he wants, so Rhys might see him one way and Feyre another. Here’s a fun question, if someone was going to manipulate you, what form would they take? You can name a real person from your life who is important but also a fictional character. I actually think if something I knew was a shapeshifter pretended to be someone I knew IRL, I’d be too freaked out to be effectively manipulated, but if the shapeshifter appeared to me as Olivia Benson, Meredith Grey, or Jane Villanueva, it would blow my mind and I’d be putty in its hands.
Anyway, for some reason The Bone Carver appears to Feyre as a small child. I hope this is explained later because it makes no sense to me. Is it just because he thinks Feyre will trust him more as an unsettling child? I mean, she specifically tells us he’s pretty un-childlike despite the appearance. He doesn’t seem to have taken the form of someone she knows. In fact, The Bone Carver being a shapeshifter ultimately adds nothing to this chapter! We find out at the end he appears to Rhys as Jurian, but so what?
Like many other ancient creatures, The Bone Carver demands a question for a question. Also, he really likes bones with a cool backstory.
Rhys reached into a bag I hadn’t realized he’d been carrying— no, one he’d summoned from whatever pocket between realms he used for storage.
Um, that sounds amazing. If Rhys launched his own startup, it would be so disruptive to the storage industry.
“The calf-bone that made the final kill when Feyre slew the Middengard Wyrm,” Rhys said.
My very blood stilled. There had been many bones that I’d laid in my trap— I hadn’t noticed which had ended the Wyrm. Or thought anyone would.
I can’t believe he gave away their special bone!
The Bone Carver is very interested in where Feyre went when she died. She gives a really long description of what she was thinking when she died, how she saw through Rhys’ eyes, and how she had to make the choice to come back to her body. He kind of thinks this answer is useful, but he obviously was hoping death was his ticket back to another realm.
It’s also pretty clear that the answers and secrets Feyre tells The Bone Carver are there to get readers to swoon over how much Rhys clearly cares about how broken Feyre is. A smash cut from the whole chapter:
“I heard the crack,” I said. Rhys’s head whipped toward me. “I heard the crack when she broke my neck.
Rhysand’s face had gone pale, his mouth a tight line.
The carver said nothing more. Waiting for another truth. So I offered up another shattered piece of me. “When Amarantha made me kill those two faeries, if the third hadn’t been Tamlin, I would have put the dagger in my own heart at the end.”
Rhys went still.
I dared a glance at Rhys, and there was something like devastation on his beautiful face.
Rhys’s voice was hoarse as he said, “Don’t offer him one more—”
I didn’t bother saying thank you. Not with the information he’d told us. Not when I’d been forced to say those things— and could still feel Rhys’s lingering attention. As if he’d suspected, but never believed just how badly I’d broken in that moment with Amarantha.
What gets me the most is that Rhys offers one, goofy secret about how his knee hurts when it rains from an old injury, which The Bone Carver finds hilarious.
Also, I don’t get why Rhys tells Feyre not to share any more secrets with The Bone Carver. I mean, this guy is offering them super valuable intel in exchange for some pretty obvious secrets, and it’s nice that Feyre has an excuse to say these things aloud finally.
Okay, okay, in exchange for Feyre’s DUH secrets about how Amarantha broke her, The Bone Carver gives the most convoluted fucking backstory ever. I am going to try to summarize it, I’m sorry.
- The Cauldron created life and was powerful.
- “The three feet on which it stands” were broken so it wouldn’t be as powerful. Then it was hidden at the bottom of a lake, but now it’s not at the bottom of the lake. The Bone Carver doesn’t know where it is now despite knowing every other piece of information ever.
- The legs were in temples, and now the King of Hybern had people ransack the temples to get the legs back.
- Confirmed the King of Hybern is up to no good and can use the Caldron to bring Jurian back.
- BUT WAIT. There was a book with a stupid name called The Book of Breathings. Every time I make fun of a dumb name or concept in this story, everyone chimes in to tell me it’s based on mythology/folk tales/fairy tales/stories passed down from one generation to the next. I’m here to tell you, I don’t care. I don’t care if since the dawn of time people have been telling stories about The Book of Breathings, I think it’s a stupid name.
- The Book of Breathings *sigh* HAS BEEN SPLIT IN TWO and the humans have one half and the Fae have the other.
- “They used our own kind to spell the Book, to bind it— so that if it were ever stolen, if, let’s say, a High Lord were to winnow into their castle to steal it … the Book would melt into ore and be lost. It must be freely given by a mortal queen, with no trickery, no magic involved.”
- This book contains spells that could stop the Cauldron from reviving Jurian and save the day.
- It is still unclear why Jurian is needed for this. Maybe his revival will inspire humans so much, they’ll engage in a war with the Fae…ug I don’t get it. The king can apparently use the Cauldron to break down the wall between the human and Fae world, so he could just go in and slaughter all the humans without reviving one of their previous leaders?
Rhys holds Feyre’s hand when they leave. Aw.