Okay, after reading Heir of Fire I developed a theory. Maybe everyone else has already discussed this and it just slipped past me, so it might not be original. But I haven’t yet seen this discussion anywhere, so if you have, please direct me to my people 😉
But I have to know, did anyone else wonder:
Was Sorscha really Yrene Towers from The Assassin’s Blade (The Assassin and the Healer)? I really feel that there is a strong case for this.
After all, they are:
(1) Both healers
(2) Both from southern Fenharrow
(3) Both ladies are timid, but they have guts
(4) Yrene and Sorscha are both described with “golden-tan skin”
(5) In TAB, it’s said of Yrene that,
“Only her eyes, a bright gold brown, gave her any source of pride.”
And Celana describes her as having “intelligent, stunning eyes.”
In chapter 6 of HoF (p. 43 in my kindle edition), Dorian thinks,
“Well, damn . Weren’t those eyes just stunning,” when he looks at Sorscha.
(7) Sorscha’s village was burned, and we know that
“the soldiers from Adarlan surrounded [Yrene’s] house, armed to the teeth and bearing torches and wood.” It might have just been the soldiers burning Yrene’s mother at the stake for her magic…or they could have burned the whole village.
The main thing that gave me pause was that Sorscha mentioned that she’d had a crush on Dorian ever since she saw him 6 years ago, which I thought implied that she’d been at the castle for 6 years. But really, she could have seen him on a royal progress or something. It’s never actually specified.
As for the name thing, it would have made perfect sense for Sorscha to take on a new name since she was a spy. What spy uses their real name?
Also, The Assassin and the Healer stands out in The Assassin’s Bladecollection. Celaena’s helping this young healer is nice, but it notably different from the rest of the novellas, all of which feature characters that we know will come back into play. Sarah J. Maas has said that we will meet Ansel and Arobynn Hamel again, and Sam may be gone, but his legacy echoes down through the whole series. The Assassin and the Healer is the only story that does not feature a secondary character that comes back in the later books…unless, of course, it does 😉
So, yeah. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. If anyone else has an opinion on it, let me know!
so theres a rant brewing in me and i need to let it out…
the five parts of Heir of Fire that destroyed my heart:
“He ripped his cold magic from the air and turned it inward, wrapping it around his heart.”
It killed me to read this because the thing about Dorian is that I never considered him to suffer. He’s the prince and yes he has a horrible father who he has to continuously fake submission to but I never really felt that his feelings suffered for it. But then this line… Dorian has a heart and now I want to protect it at all costs. And the way this book ended totally fucked Dorian over, he is in the worst state and someone needs to get their shit together in order to save him or I will slip into a miserable-feels-induced coma.
2) The burnout
While Celaena was keeping the fires going at the celebration and she nearly burned herself out- that was intense. I found myself reading that chapter so quickly but so thoroughly, I couldnt afford to skip a word but I also couldnt linger on one word for too long. When it happened it’s when I knew that Celaena and Rowan were meant to be whatever they’re meant to be. I love them so much, I can’t believe how beautifully and painfully their relationship evolved in this book.
“Like the ebb and flow of the tide, the bath froze, then melted, froze, then melted, slower each time. And each time, the cold soaked into her a bit more, numbing her, urging her body to relax.
Ice and fire. Frost and embers. Locked in a battle, pushing and pulling. Beneath it, she could almost taste Rowan’s steel will slamming against her magic- a will that refused to let the fire burn her into nothing.”
And then, obviously I went mad when he finally saw her Endovier scars and his reaction, but really it was when she was burning out and he felt the urgency of her pain and he was literally the only one who could help her that I lost my shit and knew that part would stick with me.
3) The whipping
“‘Please,’ Celaena whispered. There was a crack, and the world fragmented as Rowan bowed when the whip sliced into his back. He gritted his teeth, hissing, but did not cry out.”
This was just one of those moments while reading that I could imagine so vividly that it hurt. I just can’t read it and not think about if this were made into a movie, how awful and ugly I would look while sobbing to this scene.
4) Sorscha’s beheading
Chaol thought he had not heard it, the wind that cleaved through the air just before the guard’s sword did.
One blow from that mighty sword.
That was all it took to sever Sorscha’s head.
The scream that erupted out of Dorian was the worst sound that Chaol had ever heard.”
This was just the most unexpected, brutal, devastating part of this book. Like. JESUS CHRIST. I was in love with Sorscha. She was incredible and silently strong and so important. And she was so good for Dorian. Not anymore *cries*
5) I love you
“Chaol stared at Dorian in mute horror as his friend’s eyes glowed a deep, raging blue, and the prince snarled at the king, ‘Don’t you touch him.’…[Chaol] looked at his friend, perhaps for the last time, and said what he had always known, from the moment they’d met, when he’d understood that the prince was his brother in soul. ‘I love you.’”
I feel like this is something that not many authors would do. It’s a line that’s not really ever crossed. “I love you” is hardly ever said in such a serious and emotional manner between two people that aren’t romantically involved and that aren’t of opposite sex. There’s so much love between Chaol and Dorian and i’m astonished and greatful at how starkly it is expressed.
Throughout the entire book, Chaol had this huge flaw of not choosing sides and not making up his mind and I wasn’t sure if I felt the same about him anymore until he said that to Dorian. Because now I know for sure where he stands and it gives me hope that if he can freely love Dorian and his magic, then he can freely love Celaena even if she’s also Aelin.
Diversity in Throne of Glass
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and talking with may12324 gave me the motivation to type up my thoughts.
So here’s a bit of an essay/rant about diversity in Throne of Glass. There are some things this series does really well (which should be acknowledged and celebrated), and other things that I think are problematic, and I believe it’s important to discuss both these things.
Under the cut for more (this contains spoilers for the series so far).
If you’re not in the mood for reading critical discussion about your favourite books then feel free to ignore this post, and maybe come back to it at a time when you’re in the mood for something like this 🙂
I’ve divided this discussion by book (I haven’t discussed the Assassin’s Blade because I don’t remember it in detail, I think I’m due for a re-read). I’ve also included a section on the fandom because this fandom is awesome about diversity I love you guys ❤
- I’m quite critical in some of the discussion below, but this doesn’t mean I don’t like Throne of Glass. I LOVE THRONE OF GLASS. It is one of my favourite series and I’m so emotionally attached to the characters and it’s so epic and amazing and asldfkasldfasdf I LOVE IT. But I think that when you love something it’s really important to be able to discuss it critically which is what I’ve done here.
- I have significant white passing and straight passing privilege. The chances are I screwed up somewhere, please call me out if I did 🙂
- In this discussion I’m not looking to critique things that are problematic within the world of ToG. What I want to discuss are things in ToG that are relevant to diversity within the context of the world we live in and the stories we are surrounded by.
- Good: We meet Nehemia in book 1 and she’s amazing. She’s got her own goals, she’s clever and competent and determined, and she actively deals with racism and rises above it. She’s fighting a rebellion against an empire that enslaves the countries it conquers, and often when books deal with this sort of plot they have it as white people vs. white people, so it’s great seeing a WoC leading the fight against her country’s oppressors as this mirrors the way that PoC have, for hundreds of years, had to fight against colonisation and slavery.
- Good: Nehemia is aware that there are racist stereotypes about her and instead of allowing herself to be hurt by these stereotypes she uses them and pretends that she can’t speak language of Ardalan and she is a super awesome spy because of this. You go girl!
- Good: Everyone falls for Nehemia’s act. Not just the villains, but also the heroes. Even Celaena – who respects Nehemia, who knows she’s probably here to spy, who knows she’s intelligent and cunning – never once suspects that Nehemia might speak the language of Ardalan. Celaena – our heroine – made an assumption about Nehemia based on Nehemia’s ethnicity. Celaena was a little bit racist in her assumption (which isn’t Celaena’s fault, Nehemia did a good job tricking everyone) and I think it’s so so very important for books to show how easy it is for good people to be racist when they live in racist societies. This is hands down one of my favourite moments in the series.
- Good Nehemia continues to be awesome. There’s tension between her and Celaena – Celaena doesn’t want to fight, but Nehemia will never give up. The narrative makes it clear that Nehemia is 100% in the right here. Even if you’re scared of dying – even if you’re scared that people you love will die – you can’t stop fighting for your freedom. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. There’s this trope I hate that often appears in media where PoC are fighting for freedom against white oppressors, where the PoC are told they have to compromise and they can’t kill people because killing is bad. There are certain books I won’t name where the PoC who fight against the white oppressors who have decimated their people are treated as villains for being too ruthless in their rebellion. THIS NEVER happened to Nehemia. The narrative never told Nehemia she was fighting too hard, the narrative never told Nehemia to compromise, the narrative told Nehemia that she was right to rebel. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
- Problematic Nehemia died. The only named PoC in the series died for the purpose of furthering the character development of the white female lead. In fact, Nehemia explicitly chooses to die for this purpose, implying that her life is worth less than Celaena’s. It is deeply problematic for a PoC to decide that they are worth less than a white person, even if within the context of the story it makes perfect sense (since Celaena has Brannon’s mark she’s probably the most important person alive as she’s the world’s best hope against the Valg). Also please note that this is not Nehemia’s fault, as a kind anon pointed out to me, characters ultimately do not control their stories, authors are the ones in charge.
Now, I get why, from a plot point of view, Nehemia’s death had to happen. I also think from a storytelling point of view it was a great thing to happen, I doubt any character’s death will ever hit me as hard as Nehemia’s death, this was an absolutely amazing bit of storytelling ;____; But when I take a step back and think logically about the implications of Nehemia’s death in the context of the type of stories we most often see in books/movies/etc. it’s definitely problematic (see this wikipedia article for more). Nevertheless, Crown of Midnight ended with Celaena off to meet a whole new continent and a whole new race (the fae). So I was pretty hopefully that we might meet more PoC and get more diversity in the series 🙂
- Good We meet a new WoC she’s such a cutie-patootie and she has secrets and she’s a point of view character. Diversity, yay! Sorscha, yay!
- Good We meet an older gay couple (or possibly bisexual couple?) and nobody is the slightest bit bothered by this. THIS IS SUCH A BIG DEAL. Usually when gay characters are included in fiction (especially YA fiction) they are young and hot. We see them angst, we see them have problems. We hardly ever see them grow old and happy together. It’s so important for young queer people to see people like them who have grown old and happy with the people they love. THIS IS IMPORTANT. YAY.
- Problematic Celaena arrives on a new continent and the story introduces us to two new races (the witches and the fae) and as far as I can tell everyone on this continent and in these races is white (if I’m wrong about this please correct me). (ETA: Apparently the witches are a range of ethnicities which is good! Buuuuut, all the important witches appear to be white and all the PoC witches we’ve seen appear to be really nasty people. I don’t think we’ve met any PoC Crochan witches. As far as I can tell the only PoC witches we’ve seen are unimportant villains, which isn’t particularly good representation)
It’s also problematic for the fae to only be white (at least, as far as we know). What, so PoC can’t be super-powerful and magical? The world of Throne of Glass is a very white world (even more white than earth from what we’ve seen so far) and while I’m not saying that authors can’t write about white people and base their stories on white folklore/mythology, diversity is very important and I think it’s problematic for people to create new worlds which appear to be whiter than our own.
- Problematic Remember how I talked about why it was problematic that the only named PoC died leaving an all-white cast? Well, look, it happened again 😦 For this to happen two books in a row is deeply problematic, it creates the impression that the only reason to have PoC in a series is to kill them off for white character development, and that only white characters are strong enough to survive (I’m not saying that this is intentional, I’m sure it’s not. It’s most likely that nothing I’ve discussed so far is intentional. But intentional or not these are things that should be discussed).
And the frustrating thing about Sorscha’s death is that it didn’t need to leave us with an only white cast. It would have been so easy to introduce more PoC in this book. The only new character who had to be white was Aedion and Rowan already has dark skin – if it was natural instead of a tan then Sorscha’s death wouldn’t have been as problematic because we would have also seen a PoC survive this book. There are still at least three more books in this series so I’m hoping that we might get a to meet an important PoC who, you know, doesn’t die, but right now I’m a bit disappointed 😦
- Good THIS FANDOM IS GREAT. I have already seen quite a few people point out how awesome Emrys and Malakai are ❤
- Good The fandom also tends to call out Celaena when she slut shames and victim blames which is great 😀
- Good I’ve seen lots of racebent edits and art with both Dorian and Chaol as PoC which is super cool 😀
- Off topic: Let me talk a bit more about the possibility of Chaol as a PoC because actually this makes so much sense. Who remembers Yrene from Assassin and the Healer? When Celaena meets Yrene she picks out Yrene’s ethnicity instantly (I’ve forgotten what this ethnicity is, sorry, I suck, and I’m too lazy to look it up). Since Yrene is dressed in rags and covered in muck this implies that Yrene possibly isn’t white (though as most people don’t notice her ethnicity she’s probably close in appearance to white). Yrene’s appearance is described in very similar language to Chaol’s appearance (golden tan skin, golden brown eyes, brown hair etc.) We also know that Chaol’s dad hates his mum, and most of the nobility don’t think much of Chaol. It’s entirely possible that Chaol’s mum is from the same place as Yrene, and Chaol’s dad married her for political reasons and the hate that both Chaol and his mum get is partially racism? Who knows. This is just speculation on my part..
ETA: Looking at Sarah’s pinterest page, Yrene does seem to be a WoC! YAY
I think that’s it. Anyway, I want to say again that I LOVE Throne of Glass (I dooooo, so much <3) and I’m sorry for how long this got, thank you for everyone who reads through this, I hope you will think critically about some of the points I brought up. And if I made mistakes, please call me out 🙂
If all went right for Yrene Towers, she should have fled Innish (by the aid of Celaena’s gold + Arobynn’s ruby brooch) and arrived in Antica to study at the Torre Cesme.
We don’t know much about her backstory other than that her mother had been a notorious healer in her village and didn’t require payment for her work because “she believed it was wrong to charge people what she had been given for free by Silba (the goddess of healing).” Not that there are may who don’t already fear/ hate Adarlan, but Yrene especially should harbor a deep rooted malice towards the country (considering it was Adarlanian soldiers who had burned her mother alive).
Upon noticing Celaena at the White Pig Inn, one of her first thoughts was whether Celaena was capable of using the blades she carried. Later on in the story, Yrene is taught by Celaena how to use said blades. It was also mentioned prior by Celaena that she admired Yrene’s attentiveness and thought it to be a good characteristic for an assassin.
Here’s where she’ll come back in:
Yrene hailed from a small village in Southern Fenharrow―a country that had been sieged by Adarlan. Living in a small village with such a powerful healer as a mother, surely her family was well known. It was later mentioned in Heir of Fire that Sorscha ALSO resided in a non-notable village in Fenharrow. This has led me to believe that they probably grew up together, considering Sorscha was the same age as Celaena and Yrene was only 2-3 years older than Celaena. Sorscha had also been studying to become a healer, so she must have had close acquaintances with Yrene and her mother.
Going back to Yrene’s newfound training (thanks to Celaena) she may have also acquired a taste for bloodlust in the short time she had been around the assassin. She may have even been inspired to be a bit more….shall we say,rebellious? It’s very possible that she wants to not only help heal, but also be a part of a greater cause….Perhaps, Ren’s rebel group?
It’s a bit of a stretch, but if she did in fact known Sorscha, then she might have kept in contact with her and, not forgoing her encounter with the assassin whom had forced her out of her comfort-shell, decided to join the rebellion. At some point, she will either arrive in Adarlan to find out what became of her friend or due to Ren sending word for aid.
As to what she will do from then on….that’s all a mystery. But I have no doubt that when she recognizes Celaena, she will most definitely take a place by her side as either a loyal subject to the Queen of Terrasen, or a part of the court that will change the world. She cant go back to Fenharrow because there is no one left for her there. But she can stay with Aelin and Ren, and help build a new world.
I dunno about you guys, but I love Sorscha. She is so sweet and that you can’t help protect!
And the moments with her and Dorian…the fluff!!! Omg. I can’t keep my fangirl feels going out of control with all the fluff!
I just love them together. ❤💙💚💛💜💕💖💗💘💝💞💟💓