A Court of Mist and Fury Chapter 19: Rhysand’s Plan Totally Makes Sense

A Court of Mist and Fury: Chapter 19

Feyre and Rhysand return and report their findings to the rest of Rhysand’s inner circle.

“The Bone Carver,” Rhys said, “is a busybody gossip who likes to pry into other people’s business far too much.”

I genuinely like that, on occasion, ACOMAF has as much trouble taking ACOMAF seriously as I do.

“But,” Rhys said, “he can also be helpful, when he chooses. And it seems we need to start doing what we do best.” […]
So Rhys told them of the Cauldron, and the reason behind the temple pillagings

This was genuinely helpful, because so much disparate bullshit has happened in the first third of this book that I completely forgot that temple pillagings were even a thing that had happened. Let that sink in for a moment. We are one-third of the way into this book, and so many things have happened “off-screen” without any story to ground them that I barely remember any of it now that it’s apparently finally important.

“The King of Hybern sacked one of our temples to get a missing piece of the Cauldron. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an act of war […] This mean’s Hybern’s forces have already successfully infiltrated our lands – without detection. I plan to return the favor. […] If the Cauldron is in Hybern, then to Hybern we must go. Either to take it back… or use the Book to nullify it.”

Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s confused right now, here’s everything that people are looking for:

  1. the cauldron
  2. the three feet of the cauldron (in the temples)
  3. the two halves of the Book of Breathings (one-half in the mortal world, one-half in the immortal world)
  4. the three spiritual sto- wait, sorry, I forgot I’m writing a summary for a book, not a walkthrough for a video game
After you get the three spiritual stones you just have to find the seven sages anyway

Azriel (Rhysand’s spymaster) wants to reach out to his sources in the Summer Court and go to the human world himself to start looking for the halves of the Book of Breathings, but Rhysand doesn’t want anyone to figure out they’re looking for the Book. Instead, he has a sneakier plan.

“Since these objects are spelled to the individual High Lords, and can only be found by them— through their power … Then, in addition to her uses regarding the handling of the Book of Breathings itself, it seems we possibly have our own detector.”
Now they all looked at me.

The plan is basically “hey, Feyre is pretty much a sonic screwdriver, so she can probably magically solve this thing too.”

Rhysand explains why this new magic that totally isn’t coming out of nowhere should theoretically work.

“With your abilities, Feyre, you might be able to find the half of the Book at the Summer Court— and break the wards around it. […] You have a kernel of all our power— like having seven thumbprints. If we’ve hidden something, if we’ve made or protected it with our power, no matter where it has been concealed, you will be able to track it through that very magic.”
“You can’t know that for sure,” I tried again.
“No— but there is a way to test it.” Rhys was still smiling. […] “We’re going on another little trip. To see if you can find a valuable object of mine that I’ve been missing for a considerably long time.”

What any explanation of the rules of magic is starting to sound like in this book

Rhysand explains that there’s an “ancient, wicked creature” called the Weaver who has an old item of Rhysand’s, but High Lords aren’t allowed to interfere with her directly because magic reasons, but Feyre should be able to just take it so long as she touches nothing but the object that was taken from Rhysand because magic reasons (although it is not explained why she couldn’t use that same logic to take anything belonging to any other High Lord, but there’s probably magic reasons for that too, unless Sarah J Maas pulls a Sarah J Maas and introduced a bunch of convoluted magic rules that are actually gonna turn out to be lies for even more convoluted reasons).

I mean, seriously

Feyre has some opinions about all of this.

“The Bone Carver, the Weaver… Can’t you ever just call someone by a given name?”

Wait, that’s the part that Feyre finds ridiculous? The fact that there’s lots of creatures with nicknames? That’s where she draws the line?

Rhysand begins to explain how Feyre and Feyre alone is uniquely qualified to find the other half of the Book of Breathings too.

“Emissary to the Night Court” [Rhysand said.] “for the human realm.”
Azriel said, “There hasn’t been one for five hundred years, Rhys.”
“There also hasn’t been a human-turned-immortal since then, either.” Rhys met my gaze. “The human world must be as prepared as we are— especially if the King of Hybern plans to shatter the wall and unleash his forces upon them. We need the other half of the Book from those mortal queens— and if we can’t use magic to influence them, then they’re going to have to bring it to us. […] So we set up a base in neutral territory. In a place where humans trust us – trust you, Feyre.” […]
“My family’s estate,” I said. […] how could I bring them into this?

Feyre immediately thinks of a dumb reason why she could bring them into this.

“I know it won’t be easy, Feyre, but if there’s any way you could convince [the human] queens-”
“I’ll do it.” I said. Clare Beddor’s broken and nailed body flashed in my vision.

oooooo here’s another great example of how having shit happen away from the action all the time is bad for the story. We never met Clare Beddor. Seriously. Her dead body showed up once in the first book and Feyre was all, “Oh no! Not Clare!” and we’re doing this again? Clare Beddor is supposed to be Feyre’s motivation? Again? A character Feyre pulled out of her ass once and we never met for one second?

Not only does Feyre have no believable emotional attachment to Clare Beddor (since we never saw her interact with her ever), but this means that the reader doesn’t either. You could swap out her name with literally anything and it would have just as much relevance.

“I’ll do it.” I said. Philbert’s broken and nailed body flashed in my vision.

Literally anything.

“I’ll do it.” I said. Cheddar Scallywag the Pirate Mouse’s broken and nailed body flashed in my vision.

I’d only have, like, one extra question about what’s going on in the Cheddar Scallywag the Pirate Mouse version of this character motivation, really.

And that’s only on top of one question to begin with.

Later, in private, Feyre asks Rhysand about how none of this is actually new information to him – all that’s changed is that his suspicions about the king, the cauldron, and the book were just confirmed. She realizes that the Book of Breathings is probably even why Rhysand was so determined to teach her how to read.

“Had you agreed to work with me two months ago, I would have told you why. […] You should have learned to read no matter what. But yes, when I told you it served my purposes – it was because of this. Do you blame me for it?”
“No,” I said, and meant it. “But I’d prefer to be notified of any future schemes.”
“Duly noted.” Rhys yanked open the drawers and pulled out my undergarments.

Wait, what the fuck?

He dangled the bits of midnight lace and chuckled. “I’m surprised you didn’t demand Nuala and Cerridwen buy you something else.”

Rhysand opening Feyre’s underwear drawer mid-conversation about the plot for no reason whatso-fucking-ever is actually kind of a perfect, unintentional metaphor for ACOMAF‘s attention span, if you think about it. We’re looking for a cauldron, three cauldron feet, two halves of a book, six horcruxes, three sacred stones, the two bells of awakening, the S-K-A-T-E letters, and a six-fingered man, and we’re gonna do it in the name of Cheddar Scallywag the Pirate Mouse who we never met, just as soon as Rhysand learns what Feyre’s panties are like.

That’s all it took to make you more emotionally invested in Cheddar Scallywag the Pirate Mouse than you were in Clare Beddor. Don’t ask how long I spent making this.
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13 comments

  1. 22aer22 Reply

    “although it is not explained why she couldn’t use that same logic to take anything belonging to any other High Lord” THANK YOU!!! I thought the same thing when I read this bit, and was hoping you’d bring it up. At least they sort of try to explain why, by the same logic, Rhys couldn’t go in and just get his item back himself. I mean, the explanation was also “because magic things” but still.

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  2. Andreas Reply

    Feyre: “Can’t you ever just call someone by a given name?”
    Rhysand: “The Weavers given name is …”
    As he opened his mouth to speak, an unbearable sound came forth, inflicting agony on Feyre as if her bare heart was grinded in gravel, the walls around them started to wail and weep blood and a dead bird fell from the sky before instantly bursting into flames, the smoke painting blasphemous runes in the air.
    Rhysand: “That’s why we prefer ‘The Weaver’.”
    Feyre: “O~kay.”

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  3. Rebecca Reply

    Love the Zelda reference! At least all those tasks had a definitive purpose outside magic reasons lol

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Come to think of it, the “actually we have to collect this other thing instead now” switch in Ocarina of Time was way better than any switcheroo we’ve gotten in ACOMAF yet

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  4. Krista B Reply

    As I’ve ranted before, I hate all the side diversions in this book. I want them to focus on what they have to do. Not run around doing other things that are sort of related. Once you find out why Rhysand really wants her to go to the Weaver… well, it’s infuriating.

    With regard to Clare Beddor, I don’t think it’s a great reason for getting her sisters involved and I agree the story could have been better if her torture and knowing Feyre wasn’t off-screen. That said, I will buy that Feyre has a huge amount of guilt about what happened to Clare. I actually come away thinking they weren’t ever friends and they didn’t really interact. It’s not that Feyre cares about her because they knew each other. Feyre cares because she got the girl tortured and killed without meaning to. I find it believable that she would care about that.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      This is true, her guilt resonates, but this still feels like a huge missed opportunity. I’m not saying she had to give a fake name that resulted in her best friend’s death or something, but a total stranger feels very empty to me. Consider if she had instead said the name of the woman who married that guy she used to hook up with. Neither of them ever appeared on-screen or had dialogue, but she’s still a stranger, one whose death the story wouldn’t have had to beg us to care about. The story would have earned that kind of guilt. What bothers me is that it would have taken so little extra effort to earn this pathos but instead it’s begging for it.

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      • Dana Reply

        I feel this way about all of Feyre’s guilt and PTSD stuff. I appreciate what SJM is attempting to do with the plot in this regard, but all of it comes off as so very hollow and superficial to me, despite Feyre’s constant heavy handed whining. I feel the same way about the fae she killed as I do about Clare Beddor. None of them were characters or even people, as far the story’s concerned. They were convenient, faceless plot devices that exist in no greater meaningful context (such as even something small, like being Isaac’s wife like you suggested). Killing them involves no sacrifice, no emotional impact for the reader, and no further impact on Feyre beyond the killing itself.

        Sure, in real life, killing any human being, even one you never knew a thing about, would fuck you up. I totally buy that. But good stories are different from real life. For the reader to be engaged, and the plot to be emotionally resonant, we need something more to go on.

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        • matthewjulius Post authorReply

          I like this point a lot. The biggest issue I totally overlooked is that all these background randos get killed off only to make Feyre feel something. It’s like the woman in the refrigerator trope without the misogyny.

          I made this point a few chapters ago to complain about what an obvious sacrificial lamb the secret hidden city is set up to be: it’s super obvious that it’s gonna get destroyed, and we’re never gonna meet any regular people living in it, so their deaths will only matter as a way to make the reader feel for Rhsyand. Rather than, say, the however many hundreds or thousands of people who’ll die.

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      • Krista B Reply

        Oh, I really like the idea of her turning in the wife’s name!

        It is interesting because I care more about Clare Beddor than the two fae she actually killed. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe just because Clare has a name? I hadn’t thought about this until I read Dana’s comment, but I don’t care that much about the two fae, but I actually kind of do care about Clare.

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        • matthewjulius Post authorReply

          Same! I keep forgetting about the two fae, even though that was such a crazy visceral scene. I’m actually not sure why that didn’t work?

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  5. Pingback: A Court of Mist and Fury Chapters 20 & 21: The Bone Weaver is Actually the Victim - Bad Books, Good Times

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