There are two sides to every story
Sorry long post ahead but I have read and seen a lot of things about Nesta and how she treated Feyre when they were poor. Nesta was mean, selfish, lazy, and stuck up. I don’t think anyone would deny the fact that Nesta definitely has a vicious streak. However, I want to shed some light on somethings that might have been over looked regarding Nesta and her relationship with Feyre. Yes this is speculation and possibly over analyzed but I still think it is something to ponder.
The sisters early life is relatively unknown. We know they were raised in extreme wealth with no brothers. Their mother was cold, distant, and all about status. The sisters weren’t relatively well educated. The father appears to be absent much of their early life, off traveling for work and had favorites, Elain and then Feyre. Elain theorized their father feared Nesta and he didn’t show Nesta much love and affection in the way she craved it until much later in life. This would all play a role in Nesta’s early childhood development.
When the family falls into ruin Nesta is 14 (almost 15?) meaning she would be about a freshman in high school. Her early years dictated by the environment she grew up in. She, out of all the Archeons, has been the most influenced and shaped by being the oldest daughter of the King of Merchants. It would be relatively easier for Feyre to adapt to the harsher environment as she had no interest in the world Nesta grew up in and her mother, who was so deeply invested in the courts and the court system, left her alone to her own devices.
I believe this would have had a damaging affect on Nesta. Nesta who grew up in a society who’s women’s main role was to look pretty, acquire a rich husband with a greater social standing, and produce males to uphold the family’s wealth/ carry out the family name. This would only be heightened by the fact she had no brothers. If their father died before her mother what would have happened to the family? What vultures would have descended to take their families fortune? What awful man would seek out to take Elain’s hand in order to save the Archeon women from such fate?
Considered the pressure Nesta must have been under to obtain a husband with a greater wealth and status then the King of Merchants coupled with the fact that Eain was gorgeous. Nesta very knowledgable in the ways of court, thanks to her mother, had to prevent her sister from being manipulated by the men at court and even from their own mother. Nesta might not have felt that pressure to protect Feyre for one, she was too young and two Nesta’s mother paid no attention to Feyre. Their mother put her hopes into Nesta and then Elain.
In ACOSF we see the fact that Nesta gets a proposal at 14 from a duke who is older. This somewhat reveals the society that Nesta grew up in. Elain comments that the wealth Nesta wears far out weighs everyone else's. She then dances with the duke offering him what could be his if he requires her: wealth and heirs. Nesta knows no one at the court really cares about her as a person. No one really sees her as a human; She is an object, a tool to possess. Perhaps her lashing out or being the snarling wolf is her way to take back a part of her freedom. While her using other people is all she knows as that is what people all her life have been doing to her. (We see her do this again with Tomas. Nesta has no dowery so how is she going to provide for her sisters as she has no power and no wealth? No bargaining chip? So she finds a man with brothers, who she could manipulate, and potentially giver her and her family some form of security. He could open doors that had been closed to her before as she is a woman in a male dominated society. Her father as already proven useless).
We see that everyone thinks Nesta is too young for the duke but throughout history we have seen those who have great wealth and status, kings and queens, setting up marriage proposals at 9. We know of woman in our history who were married too much older men at the age of 12. With that background knowledge at hand we can theorize that this is no different in Nesta’s world. We see this in the way in which the duke asks permission from her father. Clearly this is not a weird or disturbing request as he openly asks. Nesta’s father responds with she is too young even though we learn it is because Nesta has no interest in marrying the duke; age wasn’t the issue. Now we could state that yes she is too young and her father was making a good argument however, Elain explains that her father knew Nesta had no interest in marrying the duke. So her father could have easily been explaining to the duke is that she has not yet become a woman. She isn’t able to bear children yet. In history, woman married when they are first able to have children. The duke doesn’t know if she is able to or not yet. Leading me to think that if their mother hadn’t died when she did would Nesta have already been married off? Also this brings up the interesting point that Nesta could have potential been fighting off manipulative men for a while now.
This brings me to another point. Nesta’s role is to provide safety and status for her family, her sisters. I brought this up in another post so I won’t go to much detail about this but what I will say is Nesta holds her sisters’ futures in her hands. If she marries a prince like her mother wants she opens up so many doors for her sisters. They are able to work in a garden, paint, marry for love, cause who is going to try and cast out the prince’s sister-in-laws. Plus the wealth and status of Nesta, provided by her husband, would allow her sisters to potential do whatever they want within the social constraints of their society. If she is a snarling wolf what power hungry man is going to want to put up with that when seeking out Elain and Feyre’s hand?
Meaning, you know how harmful and sole crushing it must have been for Nesta when Feyre openly rejects Nesta’s world? Feyre made it no secret she didn’t like the court and the balls/gowns of the Archeon family. Feyre explores her fathers office, revels in the spices, and tries to convince her sister there is more to life than a husband. Feyre not taking an interests in her sister’s sacrifice completely discounts all the lessons, lack of freedom, and the mental and physical abuse Nesta endures by her grandmother and possibly mother. In addition, how much did it pain Nesta to know that she was raised in a cage, stripped away of the little chooses she had in life, and the freedom she could possess. If she decided to run away from the role thrust upon her what did that mean for Elain? Elain then would have to take up that sacrifice. Feyre and Elain could choose to be whatever they wanted and to be with whomever they pleased as long as Nesta did her job. Yes, Nesta calling Feyre half wild was hurtful but to Nesta, Feyre, although caged by societal pressures and expectations, was partly free to do what she wanted. She could reject the cage of captivity. Nesta did not have that luxury if she wanted to protect her sisters.
So I sort of understand Nesta’s desire to side with Elain, to pick Elain over Feyre cause, according to my understanding, Elain knew the court, understood the pressures, expectations, and lack of chooses presented to Nesta. Nesta believed Elain was the only one who understood her, saw her and the jealously, pain and anger she had do to the lack of freedom, yet the love Nesta held for her sisters to be willing to let go of her happiness for them. Nesta had to bottle up her emotions, her wants, her desires cause it would just destroy her or be used to manipulate her into make a terrible decision. Feyre choose to turn a blind eye or lived in bliss unaware of what Nesta had to give up. Nesta was never given the change to choose her own path not if she wanted to make sure that her sisters were half wild, partially free to roam the world untethered to a male dominated society. So Nesta might have been awful, hurtful, and spiteful but let’s recognize that both if not all the sisters hurt each other in one way or another yet declared there love in some way shape or form.
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Elriel month - Adoption Day 9
A/N:I have fallen in love with this duo. So please send me prompts that include Rose. I hope you enjoy!!!
Azriel was again at that dreadful Illyrian camp making his rounds with Cassian, making sure everything was still put together. Lord Devlon sometimes needs help to remember how to run the camp. Devlon still has trouble listening to Cassian about the females training daily. So now Azriel came with Cassian to make sure he didn’t kill anybody. Not that Az would really stop him……
Now that they’ve finished talking to Devlon and no one got hurt, Az decided to just walk through the camp with his stone-cold mask that the Fae fear, reminding people that he still exists. As he starts to walk through the village-part of the camp where people live, a little girl with chubby little legs wobbles over to him.
He is surprised for her to be so open to him. Most people recoil from the look at him. The shadows can make him look intimidating. But the little girl comes up to him and lifts up her little arms for him to pick her up.
He picks her up and gives her a little tilt of his lips. She just shows him a toothy grin and grabs for his shadows and laughs at them. This makes his smiles grow just a bit wider.
He says to the little girl, “Where did you come from, Little One? Where’s your Mama? She must be worried about you.”
The little girl just looks at him, and lays her head on his shoulder, a content smile on her face. It warms Azriel’s chest for her to show this affection toward him, a stranger.
He started going to the nearest people he saw, asking if they knew where she lived. Everyone he asked just told him they didn’t know where she belonged. So Azriel just started walking, hoping someone would recognize the girl in his arms so she could go back to her family.
Soon, an Illyrian woman, who had her wings clipped, came up to Azriel. “Oh thank the cauldron. Rose, I couldn’t find you anywhere. Thank you, Spymaster, for finding her.” She took Rose from Azriel’s arms.
Azriel nodded his head toward. “Call me Azriel.”
“Well Azriel, I hope she didn’t give you any trouble. I’m Amilia.”
Azriel’s lips went up a little as he looked at Rose. “None at all. She just came up to me, and wanted me to hold her. Is she your daughter?”
Amilia hesitantly said, “Oh no, she isn’t. I work at the orphanage. Her mother died giving birth, and her father got her taken away from him. So she’s been in the orphanage for about 8 months. She’s two now. She is a wild one, but as sweet as can be.”
This perked Azriel’s interest. “Can I ask why she got taken away from her father?”
“Her father would hit her. One of the ladies in the village heard crying and went to find the source of it, and they saw him hitting her, she already had bruises all over her. I’m actually very surprised she came up to you to begin with. Because of it all, she is very weary to be around males. She usually tries to avoid them at all cost, but you must be different to her.” She hugged Rose a little tighter.
Azriel’s heart broke. This sweet little girl, with light brown hair and bright hazel eyes, had to go through so much in her short life. That innocent little smile she gave him weighed on his heart.Those little giggles she gave toward him meant a lot more to him than she knew.
Azriel gave them a pitying smile, “I’m sorry. That’s awful.”
“It is, but I’m proud of her. So young to go through that but still smiles like this.” the woman got a little teary eyed.
Azriel nodded goodbye to them and they both started to walk different directions. But Azriel stopped when he heard a high pitched cry. He turned around to see Rose crying in Amilia’s arms, wanting to be let down. She lets her down on the ground, and she comes as fast as she can toward Azriel. Tears still coming down her face. She hugged his legs, not going to let go.
Amilia bent down to her level. “Rose, honey, let’s go. He has to go. Do you want to say goodbye?”
Azriel bent down on his knees and gave her a fierce hug. If his heart wasn’t broken before, it melted now. Az said softly, “Goodbye. You have to go back to Amilia now.”
Rose let out a sob, “NO!”
Az patted her head, and looked to Amilia. Amilia nodded her head, and he knew what he had to do. He had to leave the two year old, sitting on the ground, crying for him. If he didn’t go now, he didn’t think he would ever have the will to leave.
He got back to the cottage that he built for Elain as her wedding present. Elain was in the beautiful garden, that she had planted and cared for, tending to some flowers.
They got married about 5 years ago. She rejected the bond with Lucien, after having enough of the “he is your mate” issue going on in her family. She didn’t want someone picked for her, she wanted to choose someone for herself. And she chose Azriel. She hopes Lucien will choose someone that makes him happy. Rhys then said after Elain rejects the bond, he may do whatever he wants with Elain as long as she doesn’t mind it. He thanked Rhys for giving him his choice back, But Rhys smiled at him and apologized for taking it. Then he told him to get the heck out of his office, and go be happy. They both hugged each other, and he left to go be with Elain.
Now five years later, he is married to his best friend. His seer. His happiness. He gets to wake up with her everyday, and go to bed with her every night. And he wouldn’t change a dang thing about it.
Elain sees him and a wide grin plasters her face, but then it falls, noticing Azriel’s tense posture. His saddened eyes. “Azriel, what is wrong?”
Az shook his head, and went up and kissed her temple. “Nothing, love. I was just thinking.”
Elain didn’t push. She never does. He would open up when he was ready. When he had all his thoughts in order, he would mention what was on his mind. And he was afraid of what she would think about it.
Azriel decided that he was just going to forget what he was thinking about. He pined over Mor for 500 years, he can surely wait another decade or so before he brings up such a topic to Elain.
But he couldn’t wait. Because there was a little girl that wouldn’t stay young forever. There was a little girl currently in an orphanage that had no family. Because there was a little girl that he fell in love with today that wanted him.
So he went to Elain who was laying in the bed, reading a book. “Elain.”
She looked up from the book she had been reading and closed it, putting it on the nightstand. “Is there something bothering you? You were rather quiet at dinner today.”
Azriel came to sit on the edge of the bed where Elain also sat. “I need to ask you something, and I want you to be honest.”
Elain nodded her head.
“Have you ever thought of adopting children?”
Elain knew she could never have children with Azriel, unless she wanted to repeat what happened to Feyre six years ago. She rather that not happen.
Elain’s eyes started to tear up, “Az, do you want to?”
Az began, voice thick with emotion, “There is this two year old girl in the orphanage at the Illyrian camp I was at today, and she came running up to me, wanting me to pick her up and hold her. I went around the camp trying to find her family, but then this woman came up to me and said she was in the orphanage. Then when I went to leave her, she started to have a full-blown tantrum about me leaving. But I had to go.”
Elain had tears running down her face now. “Why is she in the orphanage?”
“Her mother died during birth. And…… and her father beat her so she got taken away from him.”
Got beat just like Az did, Elain thought. This is why she means so much to him.
He continued, “They said that she is very skeptical about males because of what happened to her, but she wasn’t shy to me at all. She was comfortable, at ease.” He paused. “I just feel like she is meant to be with us. I feel like we are supposed to be her parents. But I understand..”
Elain stopped him, “Yes.”
His eyes snapped to hers.
“Yes, Azriel. I want to be a parent with you. I want to go tomorrow and pick up this little girl, and I want to change her whole world. I’m going to love her like she deserves. I’m going to hold her and tell her how beautiful she is.” She raised her hand to Azriel’s cheek, voice barely audible through her tears. “I’m going to tell her how great her daddy is. How much he loves her. So yes, Az, I do want to adopt her.”
Az smiled while tears leaked from his eyes. He engulfed Elain in his arms, kissing her face over and over again.
“We are going to be parents tomorrow.” Az said in disbelief.
Elain shook her head, excitedly. “I can’t wait to start this journey with you. There’s nobody I would rather parent with than you.”
They kissed. And kissed for a very long time.
They could barely contain their excitement the following morning. Elain has never seen Azriel show so much excitement in all the time she has known him, not that she can’t say she wasn’t feeling the same way.
They decided not to tell their family yet. Would it be weird for them to show up with a toddler one day out of the blue? Yes. But they know once their family knows, Rose will be peppered with their love so they want her to have time to settle in a bit.
Azriel and Elain walk hand in hand through the Illyrian camp, all the way to the front doors of the orphanage. He knocked at the front doors, and Amilia opened it with a surprised smile, “Oh hello, Spymaster, I mean Azriel. What can I do for you?”
Azriel looked to Elain, smiled and said, “I think there is a two year old girl here that needs a family, am I right?”
Amilia gave him a knowing look. “Yes, I think there is.” She looks to Elain. “And you must be Elain. Nice to meet you. I know Rose is going to love you two.”
Amilia brings them to a private room so she can go get Rose, and they can see her without prying eyes. They sit beside each other on a brown couch with their hands linked together.
Their thoughts venture to “what if she doesn’t want to come with us?”, “what if she doesn’t feel comfortable with us?”, “what if I fail her?”. But all those thoughts leave once Amilia brings Rose in and she sees Azriel. She puts a big toothy grin on and runs as fast as her legs can go to him.
Azriel, with a smile identical to hers, picks her up and sets her on his lap, facing her toward Elain. Elain already has tears in her eyes. She speaks up first, “Hi, baby.You’re so beautiful.” Elain runs her fingers down the side of Rose’s cheek. She just giggled at Elain, not knowing what to do.
Amilia sits on the chair across from them on the couch and begins to talk with Rose. “Rose, do you want to go with them?”
She gets tense and grabs one of Azriel’s arms and one of Elain’s, and says, “No go.” Amilia seems to know what she means.
“No, honey, they're not going away. You want to go with them?”
It takes a couple of minutes to register in her young brain, but once it does she nods excitingly.
Amilia smiles at Azriel and Elain. “Well Rose has made her decision. Let me go get the paperwork, and you can bring your little girl home.”
While Amilia is gone, Rose goes to sit on Elain’s lap. When she sits, she looks at Elain and points to her, then raises her arms in a “w” shape.
Elain and Azriel ask her a couple of times what she means, but the little girl doesn’t get her point across very well. Amilia walks in with a folder of paperwork, and Elain asks Amilia what Rose is trying to say.
“She wants to know your name. So I guess this might be a good time to figure out what you want her to call you both.”
Azriel and Elain smile at each other, and Azriel tells Rose, “Rose, this is mama.”
Rose repeats it, “Mama.” She then does the pointing and the “w” shape to Azriel. Elain tells her, “This is Da-Da, Rose.” Rose again repeats it to herself, “Da-Da.”
Amilia speaks up, “She doesn’t talk much. She does a lot of baby sign language and pointing. Because of her past, she doesn’t like to speak much, but I think you two might be the only people to break into her timidness.”
She gives Azriel the paperwork and he begins to fill out the adoption documents. When it’s time to put Rose’s name down, Azriel asked Amilia, “What is Rose’s middle name?”
“She was only given a first name at birth. You can give her one or leave it empty.”
Azriel looks to Elain. She smiles at him and says, “Rose Eleanor Archeron.”
“I love it.” Azriel bent over and kissed both of his girls cheeks.
Rose didn’t have any belongings rather than a stuffed rabbit and a worn out blanket she had to sleep with. So they got her stuff and said goodbye to the people who have been taking care of her.
Azriel held Rose as he tucked Elain into his side. He used his shadows to winnow in front of their cottage. Rose was very confused at the change of her surroundings. She held onto Azriel a little tighter. Azriel just rubbed her back, assuring her everything was okay.
Azriel and Elain decided to go clean out a room and then take her to the shops to allow her to pick what she wanted.
Rose couldn’t believe what she saw. Her eyes were wide, her little body trembled with the amount of people she saw. But her parents brought her to a shop with lots of toys, and she soon forgot her fears.
She had a toy in her hand, and Azriel bent down and asked, “Do you want that?”
She looked at him and then the toy and nodded. This continued for a while until Elain deemed that she had enough toys for now.
Next, they went and got her a toddler bed. But not just any toddler bed, a princess bed. She absolutely loved it, squealed so loud when she saw it.
Azriel bought everything, let the shadows bring them to the cottage and put everything in her room. She had a room that any two year old would want.
Elain cooked dinner, and it was surreal as they watched their daughter pick at mac-and-cheese. Her big hazel eyes lighting up at the different food she had.
Soon Elain gave her a bubble bath, with which she was astonished by the bubbles. Then her and Azriel tucked her into bed. She picked out a book she got earlier for them to read. After Azriel finished the book, he leaned down and pressed a kiss to the top of her head, saying, “Goodnight, baby girl. I love you.” Elain did the same.
Just when they thought their hearts couldn’t get any bigger, Rose said to them as they left, “Goow nigh, Mama and Dada. I wuv yoo.”
Tears gathered in their eyes, as they looked at her and smiled. This was their life. Their happiness. They didn’t believe they would ever have this, but the mother had different plans. And it all started with little Rose.
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Stormy Weather [Tamlin x OC]
WARNING; mentions of the winter court killings, but otherwise pure fluff, slight spoilers for my lye and tam fic but fuck it this is cute
The rain beat down on the roof of Rose Hall with a steady thud, thud, thud. It would have been calming had it not been for the cracks of lightning and the pearls of thunder that had been brought along. The noise was unlike anything that she had ever sat through in the Winter Court. It was like the world was coming down around her. There was absolutely nothing that she could do in order to stop it.
It had been nearly two hundred years since that horrible day. When Amarantha had punished them by killing so many of their younglings. Lyriel could still hear the screams whenever she closed her eyes. She could smell the blood as it ran down the streets.
The storms of the Spring Court always reminded her of that day. Her world had fallen apart that day. She had not been able to fix it. She had not been able to protect anyone. She hated herself for it every minute of every day.
Lightning broke through the sky, showing the world in a shocking shade of bright yellow-blue light. Her spine stiffened.
An arm wrapped tightly around her hips. It would have been crushing had he not released the pressure after a moment. Tamlin had always forgotten how strong he was. When Lyriel was scared, his base instincts took over. They always had. She had hated him for it when they had first met but now ... Now she had come to tolerate it.
"S'okay," sleep made him slur. His voice was not the light pearls of laughter nor the gruff annoyance that she had grown accustomed to in the years of them being together. It was nicer. More real in a way that she could not explain. "I'm here."
Lyriel allowed Tamlin to pull her closer to his chest, her head resting on his left shoulder. She focused on his heartbeat. Focused on the way his chest rose and fell with each breath that he took. She knew that this whole thing was silly. A trained assassin shouldn't have been afraid of storms. She had faced much worse.
Hybern had been worse than a Spring Court storm. Yet she had faced their armies without a hint of fear in her eyes. She had stood beside Tamlin when the rest of the Courts had turned their backs on him. She had walked through hell and back. Yet it all seemed worthless when she was faced with a stupid storm.
The wind rattled the shutters on their bedroom windows. The banging made it sound as though they were being torn from their very hinges. Lyriel found herself curling closer to Tamlin in that moment.
"D'you remember when you first slipped into my bed?" Tamlin was more awake by that point. Lyriel's fear radiated through their bond. It nearly caused him to fall into an anxiety of his own.
"You told me to leave," her voice was soft. She was trying to keep the fear out of it. She hated for him to hear it when her voice shook. Hated it when he saw her at her most vulnerable.
"Yes, and you ignored me." Tamlin lightly kissed the top of her head, his thumb tracing comforting designs on the bare flesh of her hip. "You told me then that you felt safer when I was around."
"I still regret saying it," she shivered slightly. She did not know if it was because there had been another peal of thunder or if it had to do with Tamlin's thumb.
"I don't," he mused, keeping his attention on her instead of the world falling apart outside. "Two weeks at the Spring Court and you had already made such an impact. You actually thought that you would be able to slip into my bed without me saying anything."
"I thought you'd force me out." She had never told him this. Never told him she had been terrified of the thought of him rejecting her. But she had been. She had always been terrified that he would pick Feyre over her.
"I thought about it," Tamlin admitted, his gaze falling to her cheeks and the way her eyelashes fluttered against her cheekbones whenever she began to calm down.
"Why didn't you?"
"I knew you needed me. As much as I didn't want you to be there, I knew I didn't want you anywhere else."
"That makes absolutely no sense," Lyriel laughed. The laugh that made Tamlin's heart race. The laugh that showed she was focusing more on him than the storm that raged outside.
"No, I suppose it didn't," he gave her a slight smile. "Nothing I did made any sense back then."
"So you make sense now?" One of her eyebrows rose.
"Not at all. You're the sense maker in this damned Court," Tamlin moved to press a kiss to her forehead, smoothing out the wrinkle in her brow.
"Now we know you're wrong," Lyriel murmured.
Tamlin gave her an amused smile, one that had once been marred with scorn or annoyance. They had come far in the years they had known each other. Things still weren't perfect. They never would be. But perfect was overrated. They had both learned that the hard way. "I'm never wrong."
"You're constantly wrong." A soft yawn escaped the woman's lips.
Tamlin leaned down, pressing a kiss against the lips that so often teased him. "And you're constantly tired. I'm not having you pass out during tomorrow's meeting."
Lyriel went to protest but another yawn cut her off. She looked rather annoyed that her own body had betrayed her by proving Tamlin's point.
"I won't let anything happen to you, Lyriel. I promise. I'll find a way to change the weather if that would make this easier for you." He spoke softly, lulling her to a feeling of safety and peacefulness.
"Just don't leave me." Lyriel's eyes had closed and she was falling into sleep before the words had fully registered in Tamlin's mind.
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So I’m going to be completely honest. Before I read Azriel’s bonus chapter in ACOSF I didn’t actually read ACOSF yet—I didn’t even have the book yet. Like a lot of people I read it online or on Tumblr where you find the book pages posted so you could read it. From the start I wasn’t an avid supporter for e//riel only because I just could not see it happening. Like it felt so...perfect? No not perfect. Boring. But perfect. Like it’s one of those things where if they got together the story would kinda just seem bland. Like there would be no flavor, no story—they would just simply exist together as a couple.
In my honest opinion I didn’t think Elain would challenge him and I thought Azriel would coddle her. Which doesn’t make for a good story or plot for either of them.
Like at all.
So when I read the bonus chapter and actually started to skim over the e//riel scene during solstice (trying my best not roll me eyes) I was kinda sitting there thinking, “well I guess this is gonna happen”. I was so unenthusiastic about the ship and scene and literally was over it the moment it began.
You know in leading up to the book with so much excitement about ACOSF and Azriel’s bonus chapter I did a lot of thinking over Az’s character. I never really did before because my favorites were always Rhysand, Cassian, and Lucien—I love Azriel but I felt like I never knew him like I did the other characters because he wasn’t given as much spotlight. But then I thought of who his love interest would be and...Elain? It all felt too easy for it to be Elain. In imagining his love interest I always imagined them to be someone who was badass and kept him on his toes. Elain just didn’t come off as that type of character to me seeing how the most interactions we got from the pair were glances and blushes—literally that’s all. In fact I even contemplated that people who shipped him and Lucien together are on to something.
Then, when I continued skimming the chapter I was convinced that Azriel’s and Elain’s story would merge into a forbidden love trope and honestly it was just so...stupid. It felt so stupid to me. Like they addressed the problems that e//riel was to have during the scene with Rhysand and not only that but I was picking up some major red flags from Azriel during this chapter with the specific wording used during his interaction with Elain and his conversation with Rhysand. And for a second I was thinking that the next book would be like a fifty shades of gray type of book with SJM admitting that Az was a freak and all and that he and Elain would adventure into the world of BSDM or something after caving into their sexual attraction to each other.
But then finally I met Gwyn. Again, I didn’t read the book yet so I didn’t know new characters were going to be introduced. The interaction was brief but come on...HIS SHADOWS DANCED WITH HER BREATH LIKE WHAT? When I read that I was so confused. I didn’t read the book. Didn’t know who Gwyn was or what role she played. But here she is, the curious little weirdo 😚, asking him questions and making him all caught of guard. The way she immediately put his mind at ease with just a brief conversation. How he described her smile at the end of the chapter as a thing of secret lovely beauty. (Though he’s an ass for regifting the necklace)
Then I finally read the book, finally bought a copy at my local Target. Then I read about Nesta’s journey, Cassian’s journey. I got to know who the Valkyries were and what their role was and the potential plot lines for the next books in the series.
And by the way, the way Elain invalidates Nesta’s trauma? Like when I read that, that’s when I knew I didn’t ship her with Azriel. It just seems like he’s so scarred and so traumatized and I feel like that in order to keep things the way they are, Elain would just ignore it like how she did Nesta and she would tell him to cope in a way that isn’t healthy, like ignore it or push it down. In my honest opinion I think Azriel￼ needs someone who would put him straight, and tell him when he’s wrong, and tell him that he needs help and that they were going to help him.
When I met Gwyn, ngl she was super arrogant, but I think that was a reaction she had to Nesta’s attitude when they first met.￼￼￼￼￼ But then when we see her more in the book and she’s kind of just doing her own thing like she’s skipping around the library and she’s dancing and singing to herself I think it is the most adorable thing in the world￼. She helps Nesta, she becomes her friend and then joins her in training (LITERALLY I SCREAMED WHEN NESTA FOUND GWYN’S NAME WRITTEN ON THE SIGN UP SHEET)￼ and then when she meets Emerie she just immediately right off the bat shoots questions at her and honestly their whole interaction was just so wholesome because at first I saw Emerie as this prickly hard-shelled person who was being questioned by this curious little softie (then by the end of the book we realize that when Em gets close to people she shows this side where she’s that kind of friend who is reliable, sweet, and open (especially when she opened her doors to Nesta after her fight with Cassian), while with Gwyn we see her ambition, strength, and competitive side).
Finally, Azriel joins training. And I found it extremely odd how SJM was putting specific little moments between Azriel and Gwyn￼. Like during training she would sometimes peers over at him and gazes at him, or she would stand next to him, or sometimes it was mentioned that he would do extra training with her.￼ like when I read those passages, I felt like they were planting seeds for a potential ship. Which then made the Azriel bonus chapter make much more sense if Sarah was planning to make them a couple in one of her future books.￼
But the moment I was completely sold on Gwynriel was when the Valkyries were at the base of the mountain and Gwyn was finally opening up about her backstory and her trauma before she was at the library.￼￼ these two have history, and I think in Gwyn’s story, Azriel will play a large part because he’s already seen her at her lowest point and he can help her rise up into a newer, stronger, and better person. As for the other way around, I think Gwyn will really challenge Azriel in a way that not many people do because a lot of people are just scared of him, and I think he needs someone who’s going to call him on his shit and who’s going to really stand up to him. ￼￼￼ Gwyn, from what we know is an outspoken character￼ and I feel like when she gets close to Azriel she isn’t going to give him the space he wants because leaving him alone is what leads to these moments in the shadows or in the dark where he is brooding or where he is training because he’s just so frustrated not only at the world but also at himself. I feel like she would stay in those moments, she wouldn’t give him that space and she would help him through the darkness. We’ve seen in ACOSF that she’s going to be there for her friends in their moment of need, which is why she took a big step by leaving the library and going to Illyria to be there for Nesta￼￼.
So by now, I am literally in love with Azriel. My list is topped with Lucien, Azriel is my runner up then it’s Rhys and Cassian . But I’m so invested in Gwyn’s story because we don’t get a lot of characters like her with her little quirks and bright personality. I’m definitely￼ pegging their story as a friends to lover type of deal and am so excited to see what SJM has planned for these characters in the future. ￼￼￼￼
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