You know this week I’ve heard a lot of outlandish theories and arguments against Gwynriel, against Gwyn, and even against Lucien. And obviously it comes from mostly Elriel stans--not ALL of them, but goddamn a large number of them. I can appreciate having your own views on certain characters and certain ships but goddamn at least maintain your humanity and some part of a moral compass.
First of all, we shouldn’t accuse SJM on writing or promoting pedophilia in her books. The theory that Gwyn is a child is completely invalid. She is twenty-eight and she was sexually assaulted when she twenty-six. Just because she ages differently doesn’t negate the fact that she is still an adult--and if you’ve seen any fan art or read an canon description of her you should know that she is an adult--both Azriel and her are adults and if you’re an Elriel stan trying to convince me otherwise just know Elain is younger than Gwyn. Feyre was nineteen when she fell in love with Tamlin. And Aelin was eighteen when she started to fall in love with Rowan. If there is anything, Gwyn and Azriel is one of thee most realistic ships that I’ve seen so far in the book series.
So what if Gwyn is a little childish. She isn’t the only one. In ACOSF we’ve seen childish sides from Nesta AND Emerie. That’s how a close circle of friends works and if you don’t think there are childish adults out there who are youthful and overall just chipper people than you honestly have never met Disney adults. Plus Mor is the same age as Rhys and yet also has her own childish tendencies. Hell, even the Bat Bois have their moments.
Gwyn is a playful person with a cheerful personality. Just because she sings and dances and comes off as a curious soul doesn’t mean she isn’t as mature as other characters in the series. In fact, I think it solidifies that Gwyn’s story is a parallel to the Little Mermaid because who else do we know that likes to sing, wants to dance “on those things called feet”, and is also a curious soul?
Next. I don't know who thought having friendship bracelets was stupid or unnecessary because clearly that anti didn’t read the book and didn’t realize that those bracelets were a detrimental part of the Valkyries surviving the Blood Rite. Without them they wouldn’t have found each other or maybe not even survived the Rite at all. And plus, Nesta, Emerie and Gwyn are chosen sisters. Making the bracelets was something Gwyn and Catrin did in Sangravah as a symbol of their unity. The fact that Gwyn decided to share that part of her with Nesta and Emerie speaks volumes of her relationship and feelings towards them.
Also, comparing Gwyn to Ianthe. I’m sorry, Gwyn is a sexual assault victim. Ianthe is the assaulter. Not only has she assaulted Lucien, she attempted to assault Azriel. Just because they have the same color eyes doesn’t mean ANYTHING. By that pathetic and stupid logic your telling me everyone with teal eyes is evil. Then I guess Elain is evil and is going abuse her children when she’s a mother because who else has brown eyes. Beron has brown eyes. He abuses his children and is also a tyrant. OH who also portrays these exact same traits? Keirs does. Morrigan’s father. Who also has brown eyes.
Now doesn’t that just sound so incredibly stupid?
Now, I will say that Gwyn being a lightsinger does make sense in it’s own form. But do I think SJM is going to make her a character who lures males with her feminine whiles and voice to ultimately kill them in end? No. Gosh no. In what world would she think it’s okay to make the victim the assaulter. If you’re going to make an evil-Gwyn theory make it make sense and give me actual textual evidence that can’t be overruled by other textual evidence.
Lastly, the theory that Gwyn and Lucien are invalid love interests because they are both redheads is just absolutely--like what in the fuckery shit hole head canon hell did that come from? Do gingers not deserve all in the love in the world as well? Is Lucien also not a victim in his own right? Does his story not deserve to be told?
Lucien has made mistakes. He has even owned up to them and apologized and now he works everyday to make up for what he did by acting as an Emissary to the Night Court. And everything he does for Elain is everything everyone should be wanting from a partner in their life. Yes, he yearns for her. Yes, he is protective. But he is still a respectful king. He lets her have her own boundaries. Gives her space and doesn’t enforce anything on her. Do I like the idea of Elucien? Honestly no. Until I see a little bit more spice and chemistry between them then I will reassert my position (although I do like the idea of the whole fox and fawn theory).
Guys, keep your humanity in tact. And think before you post. Actually read the words your about to write before you post. I have no doubt that whatever route SJM takes, it’s going to be written beautifully. That goes for Elucien, Gwynriel, and Elriel.
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Elriel or Gwynriel?
Gwynriel credit: @vmiae (Instagram)
Elriel credit: Redbubble https://www.redbubble.com/i/poster/Elain-and-Azriel-fanart-by-jessketchs/72216181.LVTDI
The part in Be My Mistake by The 1975 where he’s like “you do make me hard, but she makes me weak” is literally Azriel talking to Elain about Gwyn and you cannot change my mind
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Ok, I want everyone’s hot takes on what the next ACOTAR book is gonna be about... wrong or impossible ideas only...
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Ok here me out, Clotho is the lightsinger. She's always in the library where Gwyn is. She was there standing up with the Gwyn + the other priestesses when they were all singing. She was the one Az met with to hand over the necklace. Who's to say Clotho isn't a lightsinger? Oh cause she can't speak so she can't lure people? Well this is about the same amount of logic people use when they claim Gwyn is a lightsinger so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Okay but the book doesn’t actually say that lightsingers lure using their voice? Maybe they actually secrete some kind of scent or have some secret signal or body language that lures people?? All the books says is that they have friendly faces. Clotho has a face. BOOM.
So yeah, write Clotho down on the lightsinger list.
Okay but for real I know I’m being super super snarky rn, it’s just that people keep confusing what can be interpreted from a book and what the actual facts are. If Elain stabbed the King of Hybern in the neck, I can’t “interpret” that as her tripping and falling and catching him in the neck by accident. She stabbed the motherfucker. If the book says that Azriel couldn’t stand the scent of the elucien mating bond, I can’t “interpret” that as him being just secretly hungry for nachos and say “well it’s my interpretation ☺️”
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**not sure if i’m blocked, but my post seems to have disappeared so i figured i would post again about this post from @offtorivendell about gwyn's age being problematic when shipping gwynriel:
i’m trying very hard to understand the intent behind this. because reading this whole thing, saying that gwyn is basically a young teen in fae years, sounds like an insinuation that anyone who ships her with az is ok with child abuse/pedophilia. i get you said this take is not to be hurtful and you would be respectful, but this is how it sounds.
let’s say for arguments sake this was a genuine concern when reading. that you are just a concerned gwyn fan who doesn’t want her to be in a compromising relationship. i’ll humor this post as best as i can.
the fact that she talked about how she was not able to participate in the great rite, not because of her age, but because of her location - being remote - leads me to believe she’s old enough to be in a sexual relationship with a fae male. considering the great rite doesn’t pair people up based on their age bracket and it’s just a fun orgy for the fae one can assume she could have paired up with a 20 year old fae, an 80 year old, a 578 year old... so claiming she’s too young for this doesn’t make sense. next.
alis and her nephews are urisks. they are not high fae or river nymphs. they age at a significantly slower rate. that alis quote was pointing out how difficult it is for her species and the high fae to reproduce. it was pointing out why both covet their young. the reason tarquin is considered a young high lord is he’s the youngest one and also he hasn’t had a chance to rule since he was crowned UtM. that’s why they talk about him being idealistic, he’s not used to court politics - which he admits when with feyre. he doesn’t have the cynicism the others have due to his age and time ruling. next.
rhys himself was 28 years of age when the war started 500 years ago. that means cassian, azriel, and mor were all around the same age. they were old enough to fight and have sex. cassian and mor had sex with each other, but no one claims they were too young to be having sex. cassian was in a relationship with a valkyrie, a seasoned warrior, during the war. i haven’t seen anyone write a post about how cassian was a victim of statutory rape. 28 is not a child in their world. next.
if we are putting this creepy feel onto gwynriel, that gwyn is too young for azriel, then we most definitely need to put that title onto feysand, nessian, elriel, elucien, feylin....literally every ship in this universe aside from elain x graysen and feyre x isaac hale (her mortal barn boy in case anyone forgot). having been mortal at one time does not exclude them from the “he’s too old for her” title. they’re all younger than gwyn. wow, what pervs. next.
azriel saved gwyn so there’s a power dynamic... ok so guess that means elriel is out. feysand too since feyre saved all of prythian. guess she’ll have to go to the continent for some lovin’. cassian, sorry nesta saved you so now she holds too much power over you. do you see how bad that argument is? saving someone does not disrupt the power dynamic. especially when these characters are equals. gwyn did not train for months and complete the blood rite not to be considered an equal to azriel. next.
gwyn sounds younger than everyone... ok, but she’s not. she grew up sheltered. her only sexual experience was violent. that’s why she doesn’t read smut as easily as emerie or nesta. reading adventure books does not make her a child. it speaks to her desire to be her own hero, to be a warrior, which she now is. and sorry, but truth teller is a pretentious af name. silver majesty >>> truth teller any day lol. as for the friendship bracelets, sure that was very “tweens at summer camp” moment, but it was to signify that gwyn has found a sisterhood with nesta and emerie. if we’re gonna use this as evidence that gwyn is too young then we can also use nesta making an imaginary friend real (the house) and nesta asking said imaginary friend to make a miniature pegasus. the entire slumber party scene had the tween girl feel to it, but you’re not claiming nesta or emerie as childish...
i don’t care what people ship. you want to ship elain and koschei go for it. you want a thrupple with mor, nesta, and the bone carver fucking have fun! i just don’t think it’s appropriate to make a post to talk about a ship that implies anyone shipping it would be supporting pedophilia. because this is essentially what you are saying. that gwyn is technically a teen in fae years so shipping her with az is problematic. i will give you the benefit of the doubt and say you did not mean to imply this, but it’s a bad take. let people ship what they want in peace.
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Me loggin in to see that some of you are now in the “let’s-compare-faes-aging-system-to-dogs-and-throw-fake-accusations-of-pedophilia-around-and-make-fun-of-people-asking-questions-and-being-curious-and-liking-friendship-bracelets” stage:
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Friendly reminder, I guess, that Nesta, Emerie, AND Gwyn are all friends and it isn’t Nesta and Emerie with Gwyn tagging along to the side.
They all have trauma
They all are training to be Valkyries
They all enjoy reading smutty literature
The all took part in the blood rite
And they all have a valid part in their friendship circle
As if it wasn’t bad enough people were tearing down Gwyn as part of a ship, now we have opinions diminishing her role as a friend?!?! Not to mention all the “Gwyn is evil” theories.
Anything to make her irrelevant 🙄
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Yeah.... I saw some posts comparing Tamlin to Azriel and I was so disgusted and hurt by them :(
There’s worse😭 people were comparing Gwyn, a SA survivor, to Ianthe, a rapist. And one today trivializing pedophilia. People summarizing Elain to her capability of having children. People unable to see Gwyn past her trauma. People being assholes to Nesta even though they know she was sick. And there’s more. I’m really disgusted.
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TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️
This fandom is absolute rotten. I see people trivializing sexual assault, pedophilia, being sexist and condescending and it honestly makes me sick. If you want to validate your ship do it WITHOUT TRIGGERING PEOPLE. STOP USING SERIOUS MATTERS IRRESPONSIBLY. Really, some posts here reek to despair and fake concern. Think before you post, you might sound disrespectful.
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Why I Cannot Ship Azriel with Gwyneth Berdara
TW: SA, r*pe, assault, kidnapping, abuse, child brides, paedophilia
Please only share this post via re-blogs or the URL; do not share screenshots.
What this post is absolutely not:
This is not anti Gwyn. Gwyn has been a great character, and I wish her all the best.
This is not meant to shame anyone who currently ships Az with Gwyn, or who thinks they'll be endgame. Please don't feel attacked.
This is not an accusation against those who want to see them together, as I understand that you read her character differently than I did.
This is not suggesting, at all, that survivors of SA are not worthy or deserving of love, romance, and/or sex. If a romantic and/or sexual relationship is something that Gwyn one-day wants, I want her to have it.
What this post will be:
This will be an honest discussion about why I, and many others, cannot consider Gwyn as a romantic possibility for Azriel, even without taking into account his current feelings for Elain, until we have more information about her age.
This will have supporting text.
This will be RESPECTFUL.
If you cannot read this in good faith, please move on.
I acknowledge that I might have misinterpreted her character, and if that is the case, I would no longer have this issue with a potential Az/Gwyn relationship.
If you must leave a comment, please remember that actual human beings are behind each account, and words affect us all. BE KIND.
Okay; here we go. Once more, if any of the above trigger warnings apply to you, please don't click to read more.
In the most recent addition to the ACOTAR series of novels, ACOSF, we met Gwyneth Berdara, a young priestess who has spent the last two years at the library under the House of Wind, which was set up by Rhys and Mor to act as a shelter for women who have experienced violence. Gwyneth Berdara's age is an extremely controversial topic in the ACOTAR fandom right now - mostly, I assume, due to the fact that some people have considered her as a potential romantic pairing for Azriel.
Full disclosure - I did not personally read any of Az and Gwyn's few in-text interactions as remotely romantic, though everyone will read and interpret a book in a slightly different manner, so please don't think I'm accusing anyone of not properly comprehending the text. I could be wrong in this; we won't know until SJM speaks out, or we get further information in the next book.
Gwyn is 28 years old and, while that would classify her as a fully-fledged adult if she were human, we have to remember that she is fae; as far as she knows, she's three quarters High Fae and one quarter river nymph.
For the record, by winter solstice in ACOSF, Feyre is 22 years old and pregnant; Elain is approximately 24 years old, and Nesta around 25 years old. They were Made into high fae at almost 20, and approximately 22 and 23 years old, respectively. For all intents and purposes, they were of legal age according to a modern, Western world, and well and truly of an age to be married in the human lands below Prythian. Elain was engaged to be married to Graysen, a young human man, and would have been, had she not been kidnapped and Made.
Rhys, Cassian and Azriel, all somewhere between 536 to 540 ish years old as of solstice in ACOSF, are somewhere around their mid to late twenties, in a human equivalent age. I would assume that this relates to both maturity and brain development, as well as physical development, with the end result being that the Bat Bros are older than the Archeron sisters, but not significantly more mature, especially Cassian to Nesta, and Azriel to Elain. For the sake of simplicity, and the purposes of this post, we will accept that "human equivalent age" is a concept for the fae-born characters, otherwise we would be reconsidering every potential Archeron sister romance in the books - except for Elain's failed engagement.
From the first book in the ACOTAR series, we are given material that suggests that, while fae may be capable of becoming pregnant when they are considered young, as any human with a uterus can once their bodies have matured enough, they are not considered to be adults until they are closer to a century old.
Alis, a "lesser" faerie living and working in Tamlin’s Spring Court estate, informed Feyre that her nephews, for whom she is a guardian, and who are at minimum 50 and 55 years old (their parents were killed 50 years before, when Amarantha first invaded), will not be considered grown until they're 75 years old. I read "grown" as equivalent to an 18 year old human.
Feyre heard them giggling as they followed her around the Spring Court - unseen, as Tamlin had hidden them for safety; when she finally turned to see who was sniffing at her, she came face to face with "a weathered statue of two merry, bounding lambs;" that's a metaphor for 50 year old children, if I've ever heard one. Feyre also noted what appeared to be children's books in the library, so, at somewhere between 55 and 75, these two boys are still young enough to be acting like human children, and reading children's books.
"Ah, some are like you [humans] and can breed as often as rabbits, but there are kinds - like me, like the High Fae - who are rarely able to produce younglings. The ones who are born age quite a bit slower. We all had a shock when my sister conceived the second one only five years later - and the eldest won't even reach adulthood until he's seventy-five." - Alis, ACOTAR
Tarquin, a High Fae who is around 80 years old - an exact age is unavailable, is mentioned as being young for a High Lord. His lack of social and political graces are noted by - and irritate - his cousins, and he is also full of a lot of what might be considered, in some societies, youthful ideals, such as compassion and a wish for equality among all Fae-kind. My interpretation is that Tarquin at 80 years old is equivalent in age to Feyre, who is still essentially a 20 year old human, having been Made for under one year at this point.
"I am a young High Lord," he said. "Barely eighty years old." So he'd been thirty when Amarantha took over. "Perhaps others might call me inexperienced or foolish, but I have seen those cruelties first hand, and known many good lesser faeries who suffered for merely being born on the wrong side of power..." - Tarquin, ACOMAF
The Lady of Autumn, another member of the High Fae, and one who sadly remains nameless - though, knowing SJM, there will be a reason for this - was married to Beron, the current High Lord of the Autumn Court, at 20 years old. We don't have an age for Helion, the High Lord of the Day Court (and the secret biological father of her youngest son, Lucien) who once loved her and, we assume, still does. We do know that he loved her before her engagement was announced to Beron, but he considered that she, at least, was too young for marriage. Whether he was also too young, we don't know; it's hard to tell, without an age range. What we do learn is that Helion believes that the Lady of Autumn was "sold" in marriage to Beron to gain power for her family, that Beron considers her his "possession," and that she was "still young" at approximately 40 years old.
"She was still young - though she'd been married to that delightful male for nearly two decades. Married too young, the marriage arranged when she was twenty." The words were clipped. And twenty - so young. Nearly as young as Mor had been when her own family tried to marry her to Eris." - Helion and Feyre, ACOWAR
Mor, who is around the same age as the Bat Bros, had only just begun her cycle a few days after she turned 17 - something that in humans begins, on average, at around 11 to 12 years old - when her family arranged her marriage to Eris, the oldest son of Beron and the Lady of Autumn. While marriage at the age of 17 is illegal in many modern countries, and would probably also be considered too young for humans in the ACOTAR universe, for a High Fae she was essentially a child bride, much like the Lady of Autumn.
It is telling, then, that the two courts - the Autumn Court, and the Court of Nightmares - who appear to accept forced marriages of people so young are also depicted as two of the most brutal and backwards in Prythian.
"But then I began bleeding a few days after I turned seventeen. And the moment my first blood came, my power awoke in full force, and even that gods-damned mountain trembled around us. But instead of being horified, every single ruling family in the Hewn City saw me as a prize mare. Saw that power and wanted it bred into their bloodline, over and over again." - Morrigan, ACOMAF
This fits with the evidence that both the Autumn Court and the Court of Nightmares treat women (females) as chattel; possessions who can be bartered for political and/or magical power. The fact that Mor and the Lady of Autumn were to be married at such young ages cements the fact that their home courts behaved abominably, not that they were actually mature enough to consent to marriage, either mentally or physically.
Rhys even questions his own relationship with Feyre in ACOFAS, when he acknowledged how young she was.
“She’s turning twenty-one. Twenty-one, Cassian.” “So? Your mother was eighteen to your father’s nine hundred.” “And she was miserable.” “Feyre is not your mother. And you are not your father.” - Rhys and Cassian, ACOFAS
Now, back to Gwyn, who we remember is, apparently, three quarters High Fae and one quarter river nymph. Given her lack of river nymph features (the webbed fingers/toes and moon-pale skin that her fraternal twin, Catrin had been described as having), we will assume that she ages at a similar rate to High Fae such as Mor, and the Lady of Autumn. The following will comprise a discussion of the textual evidence that makes me, personally - and other people, too - uncomfortable with the idea of a romantic relationship between Azriel and Gwyn, as I read her as having a human equivalent age of around 15 to 16 years old.
Two years prior to ACOSF, a 26 year old Gwyn was considered too young to take part in the Great Rite (Calanmai), a festival that is based around fertility and sex, at her temple in Sangravah.
“I hadn’t yet participated in the Great Rite, and we were so remote up there that I never had the chance to lie with a male... - Gwyn, ACOSF
The latter portion of that quote, that they were remote, so she hadn't yet "had the chance to lie with a male" could be - and has been - interpreted as meaning that she was old enough to consent, but many real-world countries have differing levels of legality and consent when it comes to minors having sex with minors, as opposed to minors having sex with grown adults. Most people tend to stick with similarly-aged partners, at least when they first start out; if Gwyn is, in fact, comparable to a human 16 year old, Azriel absolutely does not fit into this category, even if we take him back to his human equivalent age of being mid to late twenties.
Aside from a direct comparison to earlier descriptions of how the High Fae - and some races of lesser faeries - age, further evidence for interpreting Gwyn's age as equivalent to a human 15 to 16 year old is provided in the way Nesta (and Cassian) described her as young, multiple times, throughout ACOSF.
She was young—almost coltish, with her slender, elegant limbs. - Nesta, ACOSF
“Gwyn’s doing well,” Cassian said, nodding to the archway where the priestess had disappeared. “She’s a nice girl.” Nesta had learned that Gwyn was twenty-eight—indeed, just a girl to him. - Cassian and Nesta, ACOSF
The second quote, that Gwyn was "just a girl" to Cassian, was the main reason I was so surprised to learn that people were considering Gwyn and Az as a potential romantic pairing. Once again, Azriel is a year older than Cassian, with an apparent human equivalent age in his mid to late twenties; Cassian had said Gwyn was a "girl," not a "female," (the way in which fae refer to adult women), and I had read Gwyn as equivalent to being in her mid teens.
Furthermore, Gwyn's words and behaviour often suggest that she is younger/less mature than Emerie or Nesta - and I do not mean this in a bad way, she'll get there! Nesta and Emerie seemed to be peers, while I read Gwyn as a sort of younger sister to them both. Here she is shown as responding to a question that wasn't directed at her, with an answer that is something I would have thought up in my mid-teens - one I might have thought was inspired but, looking back, sounds contrived. Anyone who's ever written anything knows the embarrassment of finding your work again, even a couple of years later, and realising how far you have come, precisely because you had matured in the meantime.
But he [Cassian] just said to her, “If you were to name a sword, what would you call it?” Gwyn answered, though she hadn’t been asked, “Silver Majesty.” Emerie snorted. “Really?” Gwyn demanded, “What would you call it?” Emerie considered. “Foe Slayer, or something. Something intimidating.” “That’s no better!” - Cassian, Gwyn, and Emerie, ACOSF
Gwyn is written as a little louder, and more excitable in general, than any of the Archeron sisters, Emerie or even Mor, who epitomises bright and cheerful. This could just be Gwyn's personality, but when read in the context of the rest of her character, and what we have previously learnt about ageing among the High Fae, she once again appears "young" to me.
Gwyn whispered to the room, “What’s your favorite book?” One thumped on the table beside Emerie’s cake, and Gwyn squawked in surprise. But then rubbed her hands together. “Oh, this is delightful.” “That smile means trouble,” Emerie said. Gwyn’s grin just widened. - Gwyn, ACOSF
Gwyn also mentioned that she and her sister, Catrin, used to make friendship bracelets; the last time I made one, I was definitely under the age of 14... my friends and I went through that phase at maybe 12 years old, though of course others may have been different. Not only that, but the act of wishing on the charm, and believing it would come true once it fell off, also seems childish, even in this world of fae and magic.
“My sister and I used to braid bracelets and put these little charms on them full of wishes for each other.” She lifted a sack, dumping a few silver coins into her palm. They were no larger than her pinkie nail, and as thin as a wafer. Her voice grew soft. “We believed that the wish would come true once the bracelet fell off.” - Gwyn, ACOSF
When Nesta and Emerie are bonding over their love of smutty romance novels, Gwyn mentioned her love of adventure and mystery novels, which took me right back to my love of Tamora Pierce's books from around 13 years old. Romance novels weren't even on my radar, I wanted to read about Lady Knights and Wild Mages... and I still do, if I'm honest! Emerie appeared to know this, too, and offered to bring a "milder" romance for Gwyn to read, before winking at Nesta. This read to me as a two friends (Emerie and Nesta) acknowledging Gwyn's younger age.
“You must read her books. You must. I’ll bring the first one tomorrow. You’ll stay up all night reading it, I swear.” “Smut?” Gwyn asked, catching Cassian’s muttered words. There was enough hesitation in her voice to make Nesta draw up straight. Nesta glanced at Emerie, realizing the female didn’t know about Gwyn—her history, or why the priestesses lived in the library. But Emerie asked, “What do you read?” “Adventure, sometimes mysteries. But mostly I have to read whatever Merrill, the priestess I work with, has written that day. Not as exciting as romance, not by a long shot.” Emerie said casually, “I can bring one of Drake’s books for you, too—one of her milder ones. An introduction to the wonders of romance.” Emerie winked at Nesta. - Emerie, Gwyn and Nesta, ACOSF
Finally, aside from the fact that Gwyn's character can be validly interpreted as much too young for Azriel, Az himself holds a position of responsibility over a group of women who have experienced violence, as he helps them to regain a sense of power in their lives. If one of his adult students was to leave the library, and they revisited a potential relationship at some point down the road after their dynamic had balanced, that's one thing, but it would be beyond terrible, in my humble opinion, for him to take advantage of his role as it stands. Gwyn canonically returned to the library at the end of ACOSF, which can be interpreted as her not being ready - yet - for life in the "real world," as Nesta put it. And honestly, after what happened to them in Illyria, I don't blame her. You could argue - and people have - that Cassian was in a similar position of power with Nesta; the only thing that saved their relationship, in terms of a power imbalance, is that their feelings for each other predate the events of ACOSF by a good two years.
My prediction, for what it's worth, is that Gwyn could find a potential love interest in Balthazar, the young Illyrian who helped Nesta save Emerie during the Blood Rite. Gwyn never met him, so a "meet cute" could happen in one of the next books, when she's not dealing with being kidnapped and thrown into a Battle Royale. He was also described as having a "boyishly charming face." SJM loves her parallels, so it could very well be intentional that Gwyn was described as a girl, and Balthazar a boy.
So, that's it! Thank you for keeping an open mind while you read this. Once again, no hate was intended, either towards Gwyn or people who want her to have a romance with Azriel. The whole point of reading fiction, to me, is for fun, so ship whomever you like. This was purely an attempt to put into words why that particular relationship combination makes me uncomfortable, and not meant to insinuate that Gwyn doesn't deserve love. She does. Everyone does.
A huge thank you goes out to @chthonicgardens and @silverlinedeyes for their help with this, I appreciate it! Xo
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I was reading @bookofmirth's post about fate in the ACOTAR series and Clotho came to my mind.
Bear with me.
We know Sarah likes to play with names, and in Greek Mythology Clotho was one of the three Fates. She and her sisters determined life from birth to death—Clotho spun the thread of life.
I believe Clotho’s presence in Azriel’s chapter wasn’t unintentional. Rereading the scene, I noticed how Clotho compliments the necklace... but she never opens the box.
The words she uses are these : “She deserves something as beautiful as this. I thank you for the joy it shall bring to her.” Which are a little vague. I always assumed “something as beautiful as this” referred to necklace, but she clearly hasn’t seen the gift and doesn’t know what it is or what it looks like, so it can’t be.
And the second phrase “I thank you for the joy it shall bring to her” is kind of strange to just throw in there after he basically said he did not care who would receive the gift—he simply did not want it anymore.
So my question is, could she be referring to something else? She saw through Azriel’s lie, she noticed his sad eyes—could she have noticed something more? A possible connection between the Gwyn and Az, that connection is what will bring such joy to Gwyn. That is what Gwyn deserves. Because it’s clear that with the phrase “She deserves something as beautiful as this” she did not mean a regifted gift. And she may not know it’s regifted, but Azriel made it clear it wasn’t intended for her.
He slid a small box across her desk. "If you see Gwyn, would you give this to her?"
Clotho angled her hooded head, and her enchanted pen wrote on a piece of paper, A Solstice gift from you?
Azriel shrugged. "Don't tell her it came from me."
"Does she need to know? Just tell her it was a gift from Rhys."
That would be a lie.
“Look, I…” Az searched for the words, his voice becoming quiet. “If there’s another priestess here who might appreciate it, give it to them. But I’m not taking that necklace with me when I leave.”
He waited for Clotho's pen to finish writing. Your eyes are sad, Shadowsinger.
He offered her a grim smile. "I lost the snowball fight today."
Clotho was smart enough to see through his deflection. She wrote, I’ll give it to Gwyneth, Tell her a friend left it for her.
He wouldn't go so far as to call Gwyn a friend, but... "Fine. Thank you."
Clotho's pen moved once more. She deserves something as beautiful as this. I thank you for the joy it shall bring to her.
I could totally be reading to much into this, but I thought it was worth noting!
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To be honest, I would much rather see Emerie and her girlfriend Mor deal with the Illyrian reform plotline. And of course, the Valkyrie would be right there with her.
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Under the stars (Gwynriel Fanfic)
It’s Azriel’s birthday, and Gwyn plans a little something special for him. Warning - Very fluffy :)
One shot from my Fanfic ‘Interruptions’. Read it here on AO3 - https://archiveofourown.org/works/30307776/chapters/74703369#workskin
Word count - 3.5k
It was going to be his birthday soon. And Gwyn wanted to do something special.
Last year it had all been so new, this thing between them. Nonetheless, she had gotten him a gift and gone to their family meal, which Nesta had insisted on throwing for him since it was the first time, she could celebrate with him. He’d graciously accepted even though it wasn’t the kind of thing he’d wanted and had spent the whole night close to Gwyn.
Last year it had been so new, but it had also been kind of a secret. They didn’t go out of their way to hide things and of course her sisters and Cassian knew but they weren’t at the ‘screaming it from rooftops stage’.
This year, Gwyn got Azriel all to herself. Months ago, she’d asked his brothers if she could have him for the night. They’d been reluctant and Cassian had mumbled something along the lines of ‘You get him every night already’. Rhys had finally relented and recognised that it was a special day for the couple.
Gwyn liked to think she knew Azriel well. That maybe she even knew him in a different way to how his brothers knew him, but birthday planning had not been her forte. The only person she’d ever been close enough to want to throw a birthday for had been her sister and they’d shared a birthday, so they’d always planned things together. She knew she wanted to do something lowkey, something for just the two of them but still special enough to mark the day. Cooking for him was also off the table unless she wanted to accept the bond tonight.
Gwyn knew in her heart that they were going to accept the bond one day. Tonight, just wasn’t the night.
Once she’d decided what she was going to do she started to set her plan in motion. It wouldn’t require too much work, but she wanted to make sure it was all perfect.
The morning of Azriel’s birthday, she’d woken in his bed like she had for the past few weeks and turned in his arms to face him. She’d woken before him, which was incredibly rare, but she took the opportunity to start peppering his face with gentle kisses. The shadows that had fallen asleep on top of them stirred and danced around the crown of his head as his eyes began to peel open.
“Happy Birthday.” she mumbled onto his lips. His eyes shot open.
“Can we just go back to sleep for the rest of the day and wake up when it’s not my birthday anymore?” He said sleepily,
“But then you won’t get to see what I have planned tonight…” She kissed him again, but he didn’t seem so enthusiastic about what she’d said, “What’s wrong?” she asked,
“Nothing, I’m sure whatever you’ve planned is lovely…”
“But…” she goaded him on,
“But nothing,” a lie.
She raised an eyebrow,
“Fine,” he said, “I’ve just never really enjoyed my birthday.”
“Well, I hope you enjoy today.”
“I will, so long as I get to spend it with you.” He started to kiss her back now. A small kiss to the tip of her nose, then her forehead, and finally her lips.
They stayed in that little bliss, wrapped in each other for a little while, until Azriel’s shadows pulled the curtains apart letting Gwyn know it was time to go.
“I have to get ready for the morning service.” She said placing a kiss to his head. She moved away but he held onto her hand,
“I’ll miss you.” He said, brushing his lips over the back of her hand,
“Don’t let Nesta hear you say things like that, she’d tease you endlessly.”
He only rolled his eyes in response.
Azriel wondered what might be in store for him tonight. He felt honoured to have someone care about his birthday at all, but he feared he would be subject to an evening of attention on him. He loved family dinners and their small gatherings but an event where everyone might be staring at him might be too much. However, throughout the day Azriel had become increasingly confused about what Gwyn had planned for his birthday.
At training he’d overheard Nesta pester his mate about what she’d been planning. That had confused him. If Nesta didn’t know, did that mean it was a surprise to everyone? Had Gwyn orchestrated a surprise party so secretive that even the guests hadn’t known it was happening? Or had she kept Nesta out of planning it based on the shambles of last year?
Azriel loved Nesta like a sister but his birthday last year had just been crazy. Nesta had planned a lavish party for him which had been lovely but the combination of Feyre being able to drink again and Cassian with the bottles of wine in the cupboards of the house of wind hadn’t made it a peaceful party. The pair had been causing chaos and around 11pm they were found about to jump from the balcony of the house of wind, their wings already spread wide. Rhys had caught Feyre just as she jumped, and Cassian had fallen on his face before he could take off.
Azriel imagined that keeping anyone out of the party planning would have been a good shout.
Apart from the little Happy Birthdays the Valkyries wished him and the bone crushing hug Cassian had given him before breakfast, everything else seemed to be pretty much normal. Training had been lovely; They’d let him pick the drills they did today, and he delighted in watching Gwyn annihilate everyone in hand-to-hand combat. Gwyn had joined him for a small lunch before going to work in the library and then he’d had the afternoon to himself. He’d decided to go flying and then spent the rest of his time in his bedroom, reading or letting his finger graze over a few notes on the piano that Gwyn had dragged in from another suite in the house.
Gwyn had been cryptic to say the least with the plans she’d made, all he knew was that something was happening tonight. She’d given him no time frame either just told him to be ready for when she finished work in the library.
He tried his hardest to be excited. And he was excited but being so unsure about what was going to happen set him on edge. He was almost sure Gwyn had even asked his shadows to not divulge any extra information as they were strangely quiet around him.
Azriel must admit though for all his nervousness of what might come he had enjoyed the quiet day he’d spent. Had enjoyed just spending some time to himself to read a play piano and the thought of seeing Gwyn soon had his heart erupting into butterflies.
He had fallen hard for her, which was fortunate and almost predictable given they were mates, but he was so grateful that she’d wanted to take this slow. It certainly wasn’t the conventional thing, but it seemed so right for them. To just take the time to be a couple and learn about each other.
Azriel knew in his heart that he was going to spend the rest of his life with her, if she’d let him. Until then he was happy to just be with her.
Around Seven O’clock a soft knock sounded on his bedroom door. It almost made him laugh because Gwyn had been sleeping in his room every night for the past few weeks, she’d even started keeping a few of her essentials in a little draw on, what was becoming, her side of the bed. Yet she still treated it like it was his room and she was just a passing guest.
Nonetheless, he walked to the door and saw his beautiful Gwyn standing on the other side.
“Are you ready?” She asked with a sweet smile,
“Well, considering I don’t know what’s going to happen, I didn’t know what to wear.” He glanced down at his outfit, which had been a pair of comfier trousers paired with a smart black sweater.
“It’s perfect.” She spoke. He looked down to see what she was wearing and was happy to see she’d dressed equally casually with a pair of leggings and a nice chunky cardigan.
Gwyn held up a blindfold, “May I?”. Oh, okay so definitely some kind of surprise party. Why else would she blindfold him? He only turned and ducked so she might be able to reach around his head and tie it over his eyes.
Azriel wasn’t frightened for two reasons. The first was that he was sure he could navigate Velaris in a blindfold and second was because he was with Gwyn. He doubted he would be so calm about someone else trying to blindfold him.
She brushed the back of her hand against his knuckles. They’re slight asking for permission to hold the others hand and he placed his hand in hers in an instant. He felt the shadows dance around him now, they were excited about what was to come.
She silently led him out of his rooms and through the corridor. He knew this house like the back of his hand. And she led him right onto the patio.
She tugged on the tie on the back of his head.
Once Gwyn had decided what she’d wanted to do it actually hadn’t taken that long to set up. But she’d left Azriel to his own devices today largely for his sake. She guessed that might be part of her surprise, giving him some space today, as well as asking the others to keep the day rather lowkey.
They would have family dinner tomorrow night at the river house, but she knew that on the actual day of his birthday it might be too much to handle.
It didn’t make her any less nervous about what she’d planned though. What if he secretly loved big parties? What if he was getting sick of her? He might at least want his brothers. But Gwyn pushed the thoughts down and prayed he would like it.
“Surprise.” She said pulling the blindfold away.
It was beautiful.
Gwyn had set up the patio into a comfy lounging area with blankets sprawled over the floor, big plush cushions scattered around. A chain of fae orbs lightly glowed along the walls of the patio illuminating the area and a picnic basket sat in the middle of the blanketed floor space.
“It’s not much…”
“Gwyn,” he said stopping her, “Are we going to stargaze?”
“All night if you want to.”
He stood unmoving. Oh no. Maybe he didn’t like it, maybe she should have done more.
“I know it’s a little cheesy to stargaze in the night court, but we’ve never done it before, and I got dinner for us and me…”
He couldn’t stop himself from kissing her. What she’d done. This was perfect. Just to spend the evening alone with her. And the kiss told her as much. She felt every ounce of gratitude; Especially when she felt his rest his forehead against hers.
“Come this way.” She said through the haze of the kiss as she held his hand and led him to the blanket, in the centre of the floor.
“When did you do all of this?” he asked taking in the gorgeous area she’d created,
“Merril let me off work an hour early and it took all my stealth for you to not hear me lugging blankets through the house.”
“It looks like our little stealth lessons are paying off.” He said with nothing but pride in his eyes. Yes, it was worrying Gwyn had gotten past him, but it was delightful all the same.
“I did persuade your shadows to keep it a secret.”
“My own shadows.” He said feigning the look of betrayal.
Gwyn sat down first gesturing for Azriel to sit opposite her. He sat with grace on the floor and his wings spread to one side in order to be comfortable for him while they sat. In his next breath he inhaled the scent of the food that was sitting in the basket.
“I requested a special delivery from your favourite little cafe from along the sidra.”
“Bluebells!” He said with his eyes lighting up,
“Yes,” she smiled as she pointed into the basket, “I got some of those pastries you adore as well as some other little bites and maybe later there will be some lemon cake.”
“Gwyn…” he said tentatively, and she knew why he was hesitant,
“This isn’t me… accepting the bond. Although considering how your face lit up at the thought of Bluebells, it’s certainly given me some ideas.”
He cupped her cheek.
“I haven’t touched any of the food,” She continued, “I don’t quite know how it works or the rules, but I imagine if you help yourself, then I haven’t exactly offered it to you so…”
“It’s perfect,” He replied, “You’re perfect.” She smiled brightly before pressing a kiss to the palm of his hand,
“Eat, or it will get cold.”
Azriel never thought of himself as much of a foodie. He grew up with the idea that just bare scraps were a luxury but when he’d stumbled across Bluebells a few centuries ago it’d been the first time he understood the fascination behind good food. Gwyn had been the first person he’d told about it when he’d taken her round Velaris and he was happy that she’d liked the little macaroons as much as he did.
Their little picnic was beautiful, and Gwyn had gotten him all his favourite items. He’d loved sharing it with her and how her eyes had lit up when he’d fed her his favourite sandwich.
After they’d finished and were completley full Azriel fell back onto the blankets surrounded by the pillows, “I’m impressed by your keen observation skills, Berdara.”
“What do you mean?” She said as she curled into his side. His arms circling her waist as her hand rested over his heart,
“I mean, you got every single thing that I love. We’ve only been to bluebells a handful of times, yet you knew exactly what to get.”
“Well, I’m no Shadowsinger,” she said with a smile, “but I know how to keep my male happy.”
He pressed a kiss to her nose.
“This day has been perfect.”
“I was worried it wouldn’t be enough.”
“Well, I know you don’t love big crowds, but I thought you might miss being around your family.”
“We have family dinner tomorrow; I’ll see them then.”
“In addition, to selfishly wanting you to myself, I don’t have Nesta’s natural aptitude to plan parties either.” She said with a smirk that had him huffing a laugh,
“Sometimes our greatest weaknesses turn out to be our greatest strengths.” He said placing a kiss on her forehead,
“The Nephelle Philosophy.” Gwyn smiled,
“How do- You know about Nephelle?”
This had Gwyn rising from her position and grabbing a little package that he’d completley glossed over. She handed him the present wrapped in brown paper. Azriel sitting once more. It was just a touch larger than the size of a book, but delicate beneath his fingers.
“Happy Birthday.” She said as he looked at it with confusion,
“This wasn’t my present?” He said gesturing to the outdoor patio area and the picnic basket. She shook her head.
Azriel couldn’t breathe. This was too much.
“Is this…” he started
“Nephelle’s own diary entry of rescuing Miryam.” For now, Azriel held a framed piece of parchment that had words written in Nephelle’s own hand the account of that day.
“How did you know?”
“Feyre may have mentioned that you loved her story.”
“I- How did you get this?” Azriel could barely get the words out.
“I wrote to her,” Gwyn said, “I told her that my mate admired her story and she responded with this. Along with a beautiful letter in which she spoke of how you inspire others too.”
“I hope you like it.”
“Gwyn, this is perfect.” He smiled, silver lining his eyes, “You’re perfect.”
That had Gwyn crying too. She shuffled closer to him and his lips brushed against hers. Her hand resting on the back of his neck.
“I thought you could put it in your room, on top of the dresser maybe?” She said only a breath away from him,
“Our room,” He said suddenly, “Gwyn, will you move in with me?”
“To the house?”
“You don’t have to say Yes, or if you don’t like my room, we can find another one in the house that we like, but I would be honoured beyond reason to know I get to wake up next to you every day.”
She considered it for a second, “I guess it would make things easier,” Azriel hummed, “Nesta might like to live with another female,” she sighed, “And I sleep there every night already.”
“What do you say?” He asked again, his forehead meeting hers,
“Yes,” she whispered, “Yes. Yes. Of course!” She said getting louder. She peppered kisses all over his face before her lips connected with his once more.
It didn’t take long for their kiss to turn heated. Azriel’s hands trailing down her back before lowering her to the blankets and cushion on the floor. Their kiss was exploring and unhurried and driving Gwyn completley out of her mind. She wasn’t in control of her hands as they found there was to his hair that had slightly curled and pulled very gently. He moaned into her mouth and Gwyn forgot where she was only that it was her and Azriel. Her and Azriel forever. This was just the start.
“I love you so much.” She said, utterly breathless,
“I love you too.” He replied.
He lent in once more to kiss her again but stopped a breath away from her. She raised a brow, knowing the look in his eyes. His shadows were talking to him.
“Nesta and Cassian are coming.” He told her. And indeed, when Gwyn turned her head, she saw the mated couple walking onto the balcony with their own blankets and pillows bundled in their arms.
“I can see why you didn’t tell anyone your plans, Gwyn,” Nesta said with a smile, looking at the couple who had been caught in quite a comprising position,
“Hello, Nesta.” Gwyn said with a smile, while also raising her eyebrows as if trying to signal something to her sister,
“Happy Birthday, Az.” Nesta said with a bright smile,
“I tried to stop her.” Cassian said from behind his mate,
“Yeah, we were kind of…” Gwyn started, but didn’t know how to finish,
“You’re welcome to join us,” Azriel said, a bright smile on his face as he rolled off of Gwyn, she sat up to make room for his wings, “If that’s okay with you.” He said to Gwyn,
“It’s your birthday,” Gwyn said. And that was all Nesta needed to hear before setting up their own little blanket area on the patio. Cassian kept looking over trying to seem apologetic for the night they’d interrupted. Gwyn couldn’t hide she was slightly upset for him.
“It’s okay, my love.” Azriel whispered, sitting up, quiet enough that only she could hear,
“Yeah?” She breathed back,
“Well, I was immensely enjoying our evening so far,” he smiled, kissing her nose, “but, I guess we’ll just have to continue where we left off when we get back to our room.”
Those words alone had Gwyn forgetting the couple who had joined them as she took his face in her hands and kissed him like no one was there.
They were shortly interrupted by Nesta saying, “Get a room, you two.” But when Gwyn turned around, she saw the light dancing in Nesta and Cassian’s eyes, they were truly happy for them.
Gwyn still flipped them off.
Cassian let out a loud laugh at that. Surprised to see the priestess act so crudely, perhaps she’d spent too much time around them.
After that they settled into light conversation, Azriel pointing out constellations in the sky while Nesta nuzzled into Cassian’s side. It turned out to be quite lovely. Nesta and Cassian squirreled into the basket to find some of the left-over lemon cake, and Gwyn smiled when Nesta fed it to Cassian. So simple and casual but Gwyn was excited for the day she’d be able to do that with Azriel.
At some point she drifted off, the vibrations of Azriel’s low voice, singing her to sleep. But when she awoke the next morning she was in a large comfy bed. Her bed, she now realised. With her mate’s arms and wings wrapped around her.
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Are people seriously saying that Gwyn is evil because of her eyes??? Her eyes are described that way because she's part nymph, that's why they look different. Nymphs obviously don't have the same appearence as fae, and both Gwyn and Catrin inherited some of their grandmothers traits. Catrin had the webbed fingers of the nymphs, and Gwyneth got their eyes. Gwyn herself pointed that out while talking to Nesta. It's literally part of her heritage.
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IF GWYN IS A LIGHTSINGER, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR AZRIEL?? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR EMERIE??? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE OTHER PRIESTESSES??????? I CANT SLEEP BECAUSE I CANT STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS!!
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I just realized that I made you love Gwynriel in some way even before the book's official release and I can't help but patting on my back 'CAUSE I DID GOD'S WORK. THEY DESERVE THE HYPE.
And I'm happy you loved them.
(Also, THANK YOU FOR STILL LOVING THAT PLAYLIST. IT MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY💕)
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Me when Gwynriel takes over the Nessian tag:
Me when Elriel takes over the Nessian tag: ￼
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i want to write a gwynriel one shot but i can’t think of anything specific, anyone have any prompts or ideas?
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You shared a thing about Gwyn being evil because teal eyes. But you are wrong.
It’s because she’s GINGER. So is Lucien!!! They’re both eViL because red hair=fire=the fires of 🔥HELL.🔥 So any ship with these two is EVIL. Elucien? NO. Gwynriel? ALSO NO.
SJM is a GOD at leaving us BREADCRUMBS in her stories. She leaves hints for the future. What she’s hinting at now?? Gwyn and Lucien are EVIL because they are redheads. Don’t let yourself be FOOLED!! They are evil because they have physical attributes (that they cannot physically alter nor have any actual bearing to the story other than to characterize what they look like) that MAKE them EVIL!! I just want what’s best for Elain who deserves better than SATAN HAIR. I just don’t think Gwyn is good because her eyes are the color of that one character BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY SHE HAS DEVIL HAIR.
I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, but it’s my civic duty in the fandom 😔😔🤚🤚😢😢 #Ariel4lyfe #noDEVILhairHERE🔥
(This is satire. I do not think this. I literally just thought of this because it’s in the same vein as “teal eyes means eVIL!!” Lol. Thought I could give you a nice laugh)
Holy sh*t, Nonnie! You're unto something!
Wait...wait... perhaps if you put two gingers together then it cancels it! So like...we could...put Lucien and Gwyn together even if they're most likely related somewhere! And then boom, babies!
Okay but for real! Thanks for the good laugh but you know what's worse? I wasn't even 300% it was satire until you wrote it at the end. That's how bad this fandom has fallen.
The things I have read about Lucien and Gwyn on Twitter... The ginger jokes that can only make 7 years old laugh... and I'm not even going to start with the fact that 99% of the people who hate Lucien are also oddly obsessed with his d*ck?
But anyway, I love them. They deserve better than being used as plot and angst devices with no promise of a future whatsoever.
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