Azriel looks to the camera: it was a pretty chill day. I went on a walk. Feyre was painting. Rhys was watching Feyre paint. I don't think Feyre noticed tho. Amren was attempting to eat normal food since she used to only drink blood. It didn't go so well for the chef. Nesta and Cassian were doing the usual. Fucking and arguing. Mor went shopping and was being really friendly to the girl who helped her out. Wonder what that was about? Elain baked some cookies. Lucien was talking to her, so I punched him. Then he went to his room cause he was in pain. So then I helped Elain in her garden. And when we went to drink tea on the porch, we heard Rhys and Feyre banging, so I took her to my special quiet spot by a lake. Like I said, pretty chill day.
Why Elriel is most definitely a Sleeping Beauty Retelling!
Since this was brought up a few days ago I cannot get the idea out my head that Sarah is basing Elriel’s story on Sleeping Beauty, and now we know she hid crumbs in her other books, alongside a quick browse of her pinterest boards it seems more and more likely! Especially since she loves her retellings.
A daughter was born, and they called her Aurora. Yes, they named her after the dawn for she filled their lives with sunshine.
Listen well, all of you. The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who know her. She'll walk in springtime wherever she goes!
There are so many parallels between Elain and Aurora, they are both beloved by all, kind creatures who thrive in springtime. Aurora is named for after the dawn because she filled their lives with sunshine, A) tell me this isn’t Elain and B) the meaning of her name;
Elaine as a girl's name is of Greek origin meaning "sun ray or shining light".
Yet another parallel is Aurora believing they still treat her as a child, who does that remind you of?
Oh, dear. Why do they still treat me like a child?
Even if love is full of thorns, I’d still embrace it. I know that in between those thorns there is a rose worth all the pain.
Could this be any more spot on? We have spoken extensively about Elains, not only willingness to get her hands dirty but the pleasure she derives from creating something beautiful from her labour. If this isn’t a metaphor for Azriel and their future situation I don’t know what is...
This is very important, it keeps getting brought back up in text to show us Elain is going to fight through the bad to get to what she wants. Her hands might bruise and bloody in the process but she will to do it to enjoy the fruits of her labour.
Which leads me to why even further than a Sleeping Beauty retelling I think it will be Elain saving Azriel and breaking a curse/spell. Let us look to SJM’s pinterest board shall we!
These are just a few of the SB reminiscent pins she has saved, one of the more recent ones in the bottom right. Notice it is the girl saving the man, tell me you do not get immediate Elriel vibes from that, the roses, the colours.
There also seems to be a lot of cursed/chained art too, I definitely think something is going to happen to Azriel that Elain has to save him from, my best guess would be Koschei.
Elain’s story thus far has heavily emphasised on choice, as we have seen through her interactions with Lucien and their bond overall, hence why I think it will be her making the choice to save him rather than him coming for her.
He has already saved her, it is time for her to shine. It would also grant her the opportunity to explore her own agency, and not what is expected of her.
A ray of hope there still may be in this, the gift I give to thee. Not in death, but just in sleep, the fateful prophecy you’ll keep, and from this slumber you shall wake, when true love’s kiss, the spell shall break.
I think that it is interesting considering she is a seer, that Sleeping Beauty has so many references to visions, fate and so on, after the Azriel POV where we are shown he clearly believes it is fate that three sisters would all fall for three bothers.
Almost like it is... Fate.
This will be the ultimate moment where Elain gets to decide her future and potentially follow her own fate. Not to mention we know the Cauldron loves Elain and gifted her with her abilities, could this be another tie-in, gifting her the ability to wake/heal Azriel?
But see the gracious whim of fate - why, 'tis the self-same peasant maid, who won the heart of our noble prince but yesterday. She is indeed, most wondrous fair, gold of sunshine in her hair, Lips that shame the red rose, in ageless sleep, she finds repose. The years roll by, but a hundred years to a steadfast heart, are but a day. And now, the gates of a dungeon part, and our prince is free to go his way. Off he rides, on his noble steed, a valiant figure, straight and tall! To wake his love, with love's first kiss, and prove that true love conquers all!
Love’s first kiss? Could this be why she didn’t allow them to kiss in the hallway... Anything is possible but the parallels are certainly interesting at this point you can’t deny!
Also here are a few more little crumbs she could have been planting through the series, the colours we most see Elain in are pinks and blues and the most run along joke through the movie is her dress being changed from one colour to the other... Nothing major but certainly interesting.
These were by no means the only references to her wearing those colours I am just trying to be brief.
Not to mention Roses really took a bigger role in ACOSF in regards to associating them with Elain, while she certainly had past references to them before but adding in her fathers gifts and Azriels gift both being roses. Hmmmmmmm.
There was a few more little things but I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts!!!! If not SB what retelling would you think? I am a die hard Hades/Persephone fan so I am sad that is already been done because LBR they are perfect for it hahah
“This is Truth-Teller,” Azriel told Elain. Elain’s eyes widened at the obsidian-hilted blade in his scarred hand. The runes on the dark scabbard. “It has never failed me once,” the shadowsinger said, the midday sun seeming to be devoured by the dark blade. “Some people say it is magic and will always strike true.” He gently took her hand and pressed the hilt of the legendary blade into it. “It will serve you well.”
“Azriel?” Elain said into the darkness. Her breath was warm on his chest.
“You live alone.” It wasn’t a question, but he hummed a yes. “Sometimes I feel as if I live alone.”
She was lying on the floor beside him, tucked into his arm. He’d been ready to let her sleep on his bed, had made himself a place to sleep on the couch, but she’d refused. She’d said the couch would be too small for him and that she wouldn’t feel right taking his bed. He’d allowed it.
But then he’d gotten to his barren room. The mattress low to the floor on a wooden frame he’d made all those years ago. He’d taken one look at it and had pulled the sheets, dragging them to the living room where he’d decided to sleep on the floor.
He’d told himself it wasn’t because he hated sleeping alone, or because he thought Elain needed a friend, or because there was nowhere he’d rather be than next to her…
They’d laid in silence, both staring at the ceiling. A ray of moonlight illuminated the place where Elain had laid. Her skin—the only thing glowing in the night-dark room. He’d watched her from the shadows, from the floor, from the corner of his eye.
So close, and so far.
He’d not known why, but he’d said, “When I first got to the Illyrian camps, I was a novelty, a rarity. I wasn’t Illyrian enough to be one of them, and as shadowsinger, I was too valuable to be wasted or left to fall into the hands of another court. Rhys’s mom took me in as a favor to my mother. Living with them, my brothers, wasn’t easy. For a long time, I expected them to treat me the way my father’s sons had. I expected their kindness to run out and end with me locked back in the darkness. I’d spent so long believing that I would live and die in my father’s house, that I’d become unable to see my life turning out any differently.”
She’d taken an unsteady breath then.
“When I finally realized that my life would be different… I felt guilty. I didn’t think I deserved to have a real family, or to fly, or live by my own rules—free of the restrictions my previous life had imposed upon me. Sometimes it’s still hard. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m not that person anymore, that my life turned out differently.”
She’d reached down then and slipped her hand into his. He’d stilled, only able to stare at their joined hands, then up at her tear stained face. She’d closed her eyes, trying to breathe deeply.
He’d rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. “You don’t have to pretend, Elain,” he’d said. “You’re my friend, we’re friends.”
A sob had worked it’s way out of her throat, and she’d crawled down to the floor and laid in the shadows next to Azriel.
At first, he hadn’t known what to do. But then he’d felt the wet of her tears on his skin and had just responded, wrapping an arm around her and tucking her in close.
They hadn’t moved since.
Azriel squeezed Elain’s hand, clasped in his over his chest. “For a very long time, I felt as if I lived alone, too.” Part of her shoulder brushed his wing as she shifted, but he didn’t mind. Friend, she was his friend, and he love her.
“This sounds so stupid.” There were tears in her voice. “But when I was eleven, my father took me to see a garden in the city. It was big and fancy, and we had to pay a fee just to see it. We spent the whole day together, and I remember every second. And every year after that, on the same day, I rememberer. And t-today…”
“Today was that day wasn’t it?”
Elain nodded into his shoulder. “And it’s n-not about Graysen,” she said. “I don’t care about him—haven’t thought about him in months and months. But today, when I remembered… all I could think about was how m-my father was dead, and how we’d never get to go to that garden again. And how if things had been different, if I’d still married Graysen, if the war never happened, he’d still be alive. And all day I thought about him. And no one cared because no one knew. I felt invisible and stupid and sentimental.” She wiped her face. “But then Feyre and Rhys left the house, and they’re married, and Feyre never cared for such things, but all I could think was that m-my father would n-never give me away when I married.”
Azriel knew then why he’d brought her to his house and not back to the townhouse. What he’d seen in her eyes and in the movement of her body these past few weeks, what he’d heard in the space between her words and breaths…
“You’re father loved you, Elain.” His voice was a whisper of darkness, but it was unyielding, sturdy. “He loved you so much he raised an army to save you.”
“And he did,” she sobbed.
Azriel nodded. “That he did.”
They lay there in the darkness for hours. Listening to the owls and the night waking creatures in the hillside. To the distant crash of waves against the cliffs. And sometimes Elain talked, and sometimes he did. And sometimes Elain cried, and sometime she was silent.
Azriel held her. They held each other.
Just before they drifted off to sleep, she said, “I think I’m scared of what happens if I move on. Where do I put him, where is his place in my life when he is no longer here?”
“I don’t think the ones we’ve lost ever leave us. Not really. I think we carry them with us, always.”
Elain squeezed his hand and pulled it to her lips, whispering, “Thank you. For listening to me, for seeing me.” She pressed a kiss to the back of his scarred hand just below his siphon. Her lips were soft, full. Her breath warm in the cooling darkness.
He wasn’t sure anyone had ever been that gentle with him.
And no one noticed the blush that bloomed across his cheeks as Elain nestled back into the crook of his arm and fell asleep.
[End Watercliff part 4 - stay tuned] part 1, 2, 3, 5
Before we get into everything, I would just like to thank @silver-flames (and an abundance of other Elriel blogs as well) for keeping me sane these last few days with all of their amazing posts. 💜
Disclaimer: Please remember that this is just a theory post of mine ! Sarah hasn’t confirmed anything as of yet, so please take everything that I say in this post with a grain of salt !
First of all, let’s just acknowledge that we’ve finally gotten confirmation that Elain will in fact have a book sometime in the future !! This doesn’t come as a surprise to many of us, but the confirmation still feels good to have. :))
Recently, there have been an abundance of discussions happening in regards to the possible leads for the upcoming ACOTAR spin-off books. Because of this, I decided to go back and rewatch some of Sarah’s interviews and things from 2017-ish where she’s discussing the spin-offs and all that they entail. Here is what I found:
I advise you to watch this clip from Sarah’s ACOWAR tour because I will be referencing it throughout this post !
I won’t spend too much time discussing Sarah’s statement regarding the time period of the novels because at this point we don’t have much insight on what the pre-ACOWAR novels might entail (possibly Miryam + Drakon’s story ?). I do think that this is important to keep in mind though because everyone is assuming that the rest of the spin-off series will focus characters that we already know and will take place during the same time period, but that might not be the case !!
In the interview above, Sarah states that she already knows what the first two books in the spin-off series will be about. While it’s possible that she’s referencing ACOFAS + ACOSF, I don’t believe that this is the case considering that she mentions having three novels in the series right after that statement. So, it seems as though she was saying that she already knew what the first two novels in the series would be about (I could be wrong though !!)
Adding onto this, during Sarah’s livestream today she was asked if she “always planned to address Nesta + Elain’s stories” / “always planned to do a book about another one of the sisters”. Her answer to this was “yes”, and she even went on to say that “as soon as Nesta and Elain came back onto the page in A Court of Mist and Fury”, she “knew that they would have journeys beyond what the readers were seeing...that they were in the middle of their own journeys”.
So, according to Sarah’s answer, it sounds as though she always had the intent to write Nesta + Elain’s stories. This would mean that the second novel that she was referencing in the ACOWAR interview with Steph would be Elain’s novel, right? Since the intent was there since ACOMAF.
Adding onto this, in an interview that was included in the paperback version of ACOFAS, Sarah also mentions doing research for Elain’s book (photo credit to @velariscity ) :
Back to Sarah’s ACOWAR interview, she says that she “deliberately left a lot of the threads open” because she wanted to “set some of these things up”.
So, since Sarah was setting things up for the spin-off novels in ACOWAR, let’s revisit some of the big Elain + Azriel moments that took place during those 700-ish pages. (Shoutout to @aelinfeyreisa because I’m currently using their Elriel masterlist to help with this portion of the post!!) Unfortunately Tumblr has a limit on how many photos you’re allowed to include within a post, so I won’t be able to provide photos for all of these !
Chapter 24 - Elain calls Azriel’s siphons / hands “beautiful”, which causes him to blush. (It’s also important to note that Elain was “unresponsive” right before this. Once she sees Azriel’s hands / siphons she awakens enough to compliment them. )
Chapter 24 - Feyre asks Rhys why the Cauldron didn’t make Elain + Azriel mates. (Rhys + Feyre also discuss what rejecting a bond entails, sometimes the bond is a mere tool used to create strong offspring, etc.)
Chapter 27 - Elain goes downstairs while the IC are having their meeting. She says that she’s “always dreaming these days”, Azriel “studies” Elain then winnows away. “Mor watched the space where he’d been standing long after he was gone”.
Chapter 30 - Cassian + Azriel show up to the town house while Nesta + Elain are having breakfast. Both males go a “bit still” upon seeing the sisters. Azriel takes Elain to the garden, Feyre notes that there are “no shadows at his ear, no darkness ringing his fingers as he extended a hand”.
Chapter 32 - Azriel announces to the IC + Lucien that the Cauldron made Elain a Seer. Plus the “she doesn’t need anything” comment. 👀
Chapter 33 - Feyre discusses Azriel’s revelation. “It made sense, I supposed, that Azriel alone had listened to her. The male who heard things others could not … Perhaps he, too, had suffered as Elain had before he understood what gift he possessed.”
Chapter 50 - Azriel takes Elain’s hand. “Then Azriel, gently taking Elain’s hand in his own, as if afraid his scars would hurt her”. After getting his POV in ACOSF and hearing him voice his thoughts on his scarred hands touching her this quote makes me sob.
Chapter 63 - Azriel is the first to notice that Elain is missing. “But Azriel asked softly, “What about Elain?” Something cold went through me.”
Chapter 64 - Azriel announces that he’s getting Elain back. “From the shadows near the entrance to the tent, Azriel said, as if in answer to some unspoken debate, “I’m getting her back.” Nesta slid her gaze to the shadowsinger. Azriel’s hazel eyes glowed golden in the shadows. Nesta said, “Then you will die.” Azriel only repeated, rage glazing that stare, “I’m getting her back.”
Chapter 65 - Azriel finds Elain, she “devours the sight of him”. “Elain was in her nightgown. Gagged, wrists wrapped in steel that glowed violet. Her eyes went wide as she saw us—Azriel and me— I shifted my face back into my own, raising a hand to my lips as Azriel knelt before her. I kept up my litany of praying, beseeching the Cauldron to make my womb fruitful, on and on— Azriel gently removed the gag from her mouth. “Are you hurt?” She shook her head, devouring the sight of him as if not quite believing it. “You came for me.” The shadowsinger only inclined his head.” (might wanna add that to your post about all of the boys kneeling ! @silver-flames ;))
Chapter 65 - Azriel is cradling Elain to his chest whilst being injured. Elain kisses Azriel’s cheek. 🥺
Chapter 69 - Azriel gifts Elain Truth-Teller. Elain refuses the knife that Cassian offers her, but accepts Truth-Teller from Azriel. Feyre mentions wanting to paint the scene.
Those are all of the “big” Elain + Azriel moments that took place in ACOWAR, the book that SJM said that she was using to “set some things up” for future novels. I could include moments from ACOFAS + ACOSF as well, but I feel as though I’ve made my point (or at least I hope that I have).
P. S. If you’re still reading, thank you !! I spent quite a bit of time on this post (even though it might not seem like it), so I appreciate you sticking with me until the end. 🥺💜
TLDR; Elriel is endgame. That’s all you need to know. ;)