I've been a lurker forever and I think your name is Nike because I see others call you that. I am sorry if it's not. I am new to the fandom and to Tumblr and I binged all the books this year and I love Elriel and their dynamic and I come on Tumblr to read all the theories and I think that Elriel is endgame but what's the one thing that gives you the most confidence in that it is? I get so nervous sometimes when I am on TikTok and see so many Gwynriels. Thank you for your blog it's awesome.
it's is Nike. :) Not after the shoe company. After the Greek goddess of Victory.
Welcome to the wild West that is the fandom.
The way the I've always looked at this is who is the voice of SJM in the books? And it's Feyre. And even to some extent, Nesta. So looking through their eyes, we can see that they both acknowledge Elriel as 'it'. There was NO REASON for SJM to include Azriel in the scene where he is with Elain in the garden, and Feyre notices them and questions them. If Elriel wasn't a thing, exactly the same conversation could've taken place between Feyre and Rhys, without Azriel--simply questioning and explaining the mate bond and the Cauldron. But it was very carefully written around Elriel, with Feyre being the first one to question the Elucien bond.
So that's the first thing.
And secondly, back in ACOMAF, when Feyre tended to Rhys's injuries, and was telling the story of the dresser, she specifically brought up Elain and Azriel. She did not, for example, bring up Nessian--because Nessian wasn't even technically supposed to have happened, as she planned Lucien and Nesta to end up together. But the one couple that Feyre saw, even then, was Elriel. With Mor as an afterthought, that kind of stood in the way of Azriel and Elain. It's also interesting that SJM used the word 'cling', which to me, implies selection and choosing. She could've said 'Elain would fall in love with him', which is a more common way of describing affection. 'Cling' isn't. Cling is finding your safety and space within one person. Cling is selecting who you'd trust and make an conscious decision to be with that person.
It was also interesting that at that time, both Azriel and Elain were unavailable to each other--she was engaged to Graysen and mortal, and he was immortal and seemingly in love with Mor. Yet Feyre sort of subconsciously shrugged off the other entanglements and saw the two of them together.
Lastly, Nesta, even without saying anything, kind of approved of Azriel with Elain from the start. And while she snarled at Lucien and wouldnt let him come close to her, when Azriel flew Elain, or took her to the garden or just spent time with her in whatever capacity, Nesta never said a word.
The Archeron sisters are ultimately the tellers of these stories. No one else. So we see the world through their eyes, through the prism of their emotions and understanding of events. And ACOTAR is a story of family--the Archerons, the Bat Boys and all other families (the Vanserras and all the people who are mixed in with them, even the Death gods family of the Bone Carver, Koschei and Stryga were still a family), etc. It will never be a story of someone else. And I honestly think that Feysand and Elriel were the 2 couples that were there from the very beginning. Even before SJM sold the additional books to BB. She was always going to write Elriel.
I couldn't tell if she was looking at his blue Siphon or at his scarred skin beneath as she breathed,
--A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J. Maas
Art by @katjazart ,commissioned by me.
✨Thank you Katja for this absolute masterpiece. I am forever grateful! Thank you for bringing to life my vision, and making it even better.
This piece is inspired by the above scene, reimagined in a future where Elain and Azriel have found their happiness together-- the triumph of choice over so-called fate.
As always, this is for my Elriels🌸🦇
reposts allowed ONLY with tagged credit to @katjazart and me
I have always wanted a forbidden love fanart for Elriel. The foreshadowing for this trope is too big to ignore, we have the mating bond with Lucien, then we got Rhysand forbidding Azriel to follow his feelings for Elain due to political reasons, the Blood Duel being brought up two times and Sarah wanting to write a broken bond story to name a few.
In the bonus chapter, Azriel confirmed they have shared small moments together, more than those we have seen mention by other characters. So my mind couldn’t stop picturing a scene were Azriel and Elain shared a secret, tender moment.
@livlochan is one of my favorite people so when she told me she would open commissions, I immediately told her my idea as I thought she would do an amazing job with it. She didn’t just bring my headcanon to life, she create a masterpiece of longing and secret love. Also can we talk about how both of them are blushing? It’s so damn cute and they both have blushed for each other in book canon!
This is for all my fellow Elriels. Don’t let the hatred bring you down.
And as Cassandra Clare once wrote 𝘽𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙗𝙞𝙙𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙠𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚. 𝙄𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙣𝙨 𝙞𝙩.
Characters belong to @therealsarahjmaas
Please treat people with kindness!
Shares are appreciated! Please provide 𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗴𝗲𝗱 credit to both artist and me 💛
not me thinking this is a perfect gif for a hurt!gwynriel scene. I'm just saying- I'm cruel and I love caretaker whump. (there I exposed myself lol)
okay- so, we have Gwyn. we have Azriel. Put them together in peril and we have Gwyn jumping infront of a poisoned ash dagger aimed at Azriel by an enemy. (Annabeth and Dobby style)
Azriel (and his shadows) losing their shit when seeing Gwyn clutching the hilt of the dagger that is embedded into her lower abdomen.
The enemy is slaughtered, Gwyn is in sort of a shock and in a lot of pain, though she manages to crack out some ridiculous banter with him. Az tells her to keep her eyes open for him. Focus on his voice.
Fast forward: Madja bandages Gwyn up in the House of Wind (she's in Nesta's old room) and Azriel is pacing.
"You're pacing." Cassian said, almost in a amused tone.
Azriel glared at his brother. "No I'm not." An outright lie. He knew he was pacing. For the past hour and a half he was stallking before the large windows. The sun was setting already. He'd tried to stop himself but for some reason... he was restless. Unfocused and shaken.
Then, Madja comes out and says that Gwyn is fine and is sleeping. But still, Azriel can't stay still. His shadows are just as restless as he was. More even.
So, the shadows check up on Gwyn to confirm that she was safe. And instead of coming back to Az, they stay with her.
Az goes to see her, encouraged by Nesta.
His shadows are swirling around her. In her sprawled out hair, sliding gently over her wound as if trying to heal it, weaving between her fingers.
Azriel, slowly drawn to her, reaches out to touch cheek but then he stops. Afraid she might wake up and be terrifyed and disgusted of his hands on her.
So, he retreats and turns his back to leave but he feels a soft yet callused hand taking his, stopping him from taking another step.
Az freezes for a moment, then turns back and finds Gwyn- eyes still closed, but a small tired smile on her beautiful face.
He goes back and sits down beside the bed.
Gwyn winces slightly, and Az panics, But the shadows sooth him and Gwyn and carefully, he takes both hands in hers and waits until she opens her eyes.
So, I came up with this theory and the Elriels over at the Gardening Tools discord and I had a good chat about it and thought that it would be nice to put it out there and see what everyone else thinks about it.
I apologize if this isn’t the best, but I’ve never done this before so a huge thank you to @mardereads19, @nialeirza, @miraculouslysurviving, @elainarcharon @stars-who-gaze and ellalynnn for their input and screenshots and everyone on the Gardening Tools discord for encouraging me to share.
Seriously, reach out to @mardereads19 if you’d like to join, as a newbie it was really easy to fall in with this group of people and feel safe sharing my thoughts and ideas. As you can see, this is literally my first post.
Did the cauldron know that in order to help defeat Koschei, maximum powers of light AND shadow would be needed?
Did the cauldron, so in love with Elain, give her a connection to BOTH as another gift to help not only her and her family but Prythian as a whole?
MATE #1 - LUCIEN
MATE #2 - AZRIEL
THE CAULDRON & THE MOTHER AS GUIDES
MATE #1 - LUCIEN
We already know that Lucien IS Elain’s mate. There isn’t any disputing it, it is fact, however you view the match.
It is also a fact that Lucien is Helion’s heir. We have seen Lucien use part of Helion’s power set before when he broke free of the leash that the King of Hybern held him down with. Feyre has also called on her own kernel of Helion's power to break through wards.
"There was a flare of light, and a scrape, and then Lucien was stalking toward Elain."
It would be fair to say that Lucien-still unaware of who his real father is, is full of untapped power he doesn’t yet know how to wield because he doesn’t realize that he possesses them.
MATE #2 - AZRIEL
You CAN dispute this pairing, but I’m presenting my “evidence” of his bond with Elain, believe what you will. These moments are probably the most memorable to the casual reader.
There are people who have done MUCH MORE IN DEPTH analysis of their possible mate bond, I will link those people/posts down below so that you can marvel and fawn over their lovely work as you should.
We see from their first meeting that Azriel feels compelled to make polite conversation with Elain, perhaps to ease the stress he feels her experiencing. We also see that Elain is put at ease by Azriel and when he seems at ease, she feels it too. This is despite her fear of the fae and everything she’s been told to fear about them. She clearly isn’t at ease with Cassian as she clutches her fork tightly like a weapon when he is seated next to her. Even Feyre notes their similarities during this encounter and later in the book, she thinks about “how handsome they would be together.”
Toward the end of this book, we also have Elain being turned fae when she is forced into the cauldron. This is an interesting moment, in which many people point out the evidence of Nesta and Cassian’s bond when he reacts to her distress, but Azriel has a similar moment when the King of Hybern orders Elain to be put into the cauldron.
Nesta’s screaming was the only sound. Cassian blindly lurched toward it—toward her, moaning in pain.
“Put the prettier one in first,” the king said, Mor already forgotten. I twisted—only to have the king’s guards grab me from behind. Rhys was instantly there, but Azriel shouted, back arching as the king’s poison worked its way in.
Feyre excuses Azriel’s pain as a reaction to the poison working its way through his body, however, she doesn’t KNOW that this is the case so her narration is unreliable. This is her interpretation, not fact.
We see Elain and Azriel gravitate towards each other more.
We are told and shown how withdrawn Elain is since being forced into the cauldron, but we are also shown how time after time she allows Azriel to escort and accompany her to the garden. This is an activity that we know is a happy, healing one for her.
We also see Azriel offering to do so on his own. Yes, it could just be an act of kindness, but with Nesta, Feyre, Nuala and Cerridwen all there, there really is no need for him to take the lead here. He clearly wants to help her be comfortable and at ease.
We also get a showing of mate behavior from Lucien snarling as Azriel leads Elain out to the garden. We get no mention of any such behavior when Elain is around Rhysand or Cassian who are also living in the townhouse with her now. Is Lucien also able to sense that there may be a connection between Elain and Azriel? Can he see it with his special eye? Can he feel that something is blocking him from developing a more substantial bond with Elain?
During the move to the townhouse, we also have Feyre once again musing about how Elain and Azriel would make a good match. Feyre questions how mates are chosen, who or what decides it and while Rhys has his own opinions, the truth is that he also doesn’t know. He DOES note the a bond can be rejected and notes that sometimes the bond is nothing more than preordained guesswork and while Rhys is referring to the cauldron working to produce the strongest offspring, it COULD be more than that.
This is an important conversation, as up til now, only Tamlin has expressed that the bond was not well matched for his parents. We now also have Rhysand saying the same about his parents.
If we consider the outcomes of the "poor" mating matches, we realize that without poor matches, Tamlin and Rhysand wouldn't exist. Love them or hate them, their absense in the story would change the path of everyone in the Night Court family and in Tamlin's case-No Tamlin means no Feyre Cursebreaker.
Later, we also get another Nessian/Elriel mirrored situation when Azriel and Cassian both still at the sight of the sisters as they finish breakfast and it is at this time that we again have Azriel offering to escort Elain to the garden and her accepting.
The two Illyrians paused their inspection of me long enough to note my sisters finishing up breakfast, Nesta in a pale gray gown that brought out the steel in her eyes, Elain in dusty pink. Both males went a bit still. But Azriel sketched a bow.
Elain begins getting visions and Feyre and Azriel both question her about them. Azriel studies Elain and then winnows away. Is this an indication that he feels the bond between them and has to get away quickly? We also see Mor having her own reaction to these events. Can she see the true connections there? If she did, she wouldn’t tell as she is the Queen of knowing all but keeping quiet.
I faced Azriel, exposing my palms to him. “What does that mean?”
Azriel’s hazel eyes churned as he studied my sister, her too-thin body. And without a word, he winnowed away.
Mor watched the space where he’d been standing long after he was gone.
Feyre sends for Madja, a healer, to come and examine Elain as they believe she may be going mad.
Madja can find nothing wrong with Elain, and notes that her mate should be able to find the source of the problem, but Lucien is unable to do so. It is eventually Azriel who realizes what is happening to her.
The ancient healer jerked her chin toward Lucien. “See what he can do. If anyone can sense if something is amiss, it’s a mate.”
“How.” The word was barely more than a barked command. I braced myself to warn Nesta to be polite, but Madja said to my sister, as if she were a small child, “The mating bond. It is a bridge between souls.”
The healer’s tone made my sister stiffen, but Madja was already hobbling for the front door.
She pointed at Lucien as she saw herself out. “Try sitting down with her. Just talking—sensing. See what you pick up. But don’t push.” Then she was gone.
The shadowsinger angled his head. Lucien murmured to me, eye still fixed on Elain, “Should we—does she need …?”
“She doesn’t need anything,” Azriel answered without so much as looking at Lucien.
Elain was staring at the spymaster now—unblinkingly.
“We’re the ones who need …” Azriel trailed off. “A seer,” he said, more to himself than us. “The Cauldron made you a seer.”
Does his realization intensify their connection? Is this part of the reason that Elain then seems to be freed from “whatever murky realm she’d been in”?
After this vision, Lucien decides to search for the cursed mortal Queen, Vassa. His connection to Elain guides him to his quest to find Vassa which will likely tie him to Koschei as well.
As if the understanding, our understanding … it freed her from whatever murky realm she’d been in.
When Elain is taken by the cauldron, it is Azriel who asks after her. I would also like to note that we never hear Lucien asking about this, we are never told that he felt any sort of distress from her through the bond. It is Azriel, not Feyre and not Nesta, who is determined to bring Elain back.
It is also important to note that at this point, the group has all heard Helion and Beron talk about what happened to females taken to Hybern’s camp during the previous war-it was NOT nice and that is all I will say about that.
We might assume that Azriel is doing a favor for his high lady, but we are also told that there is rage in his stare. He is angry and he knows that Nesta saw the camp but doesn’t back down when she tells him it is basically a suicide mission. He isn’t ordered to do this by his High Lord or High Lady, he is choosing to do this to help Elain.
In Hybern’s camp, Feyre and Azriel are both shaken when they hear a female screaming and again it is mentioned that there is rage coming from Azriel.
Azriel’s shadow-hand grasped my own, tugging me closer. His rage rippled off his invisible form.
Shortly after, they find Elain who again, is calm in Azriel’s presence despite the scary situation she finds herself in.
Azriel slid back the curtain—
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.
Let us also note that Elain expresses surprise that he has come for her, lest we forget, she was kidnapped before and her fiance did NOT come for her, she is kidnapped again and it is not her mate, Lucien, who comes for her, it is Azriel. Is Elain shocked that ANYONE has come for her, or is she shocked that when she called down the bond for help, that it was Azriel who heard her and came to her rescue?
As they make their escape from the camp, Elain and Azriel take turns protecting and defending one another. Azriel by carrying her when she can’t run and shielding her with the power flaring from his siphons, and Elain by following his instructions to keep quiet and kicking a beast away when it attacks Azriel-with no shoes on-just saying. Queen.
One of the hounds broke free from Tamlin in a mighty leap. I ducked, bracing for impact. But it was not aiming for me. Two bounding strides down the stone ledge and another leap—
Azriel’s roar echoed off the rocks as the hound slammed into him, dragging those shredding talons down his spine, his wings—
The girl screamed, but Elain moved. As Azriel battled to keep them airborne, keep his grip on them, my sister sent a fierce kick into the beast’s face. Its eye. Another. Another.
It bellowed, and Elain slammed her bare, muddy foot into its face again. The blow struck home. With a yelp of pain, it released its claws—and plunged into the ravine.
The king fired another arrow—two. One for me, one soaring for Elain’s exposed back. Azriel slammed both away with a blue shield.
Azriel carries Elain longer than necessary, even Feyre, our narrator, notes that he isn’t just carrying her, he is cradling her to his chest. He carries her all the way into camp and in fact he NEVER puts her down, it is Rhys who takes her from him so that his wounds can be tended to. Even swaying on his feet, Azriel doesn’t want to let her go and Elain makes no move to BE let down. Even as his wings are injured and he is dripping blood, his priority is to remind everyone that they need to remove the chains from Elain. Elain kisses his cheek before joining her sisters.
The gray light of morning had broken over the world, mist clinging to our ankles as we headed into that camp, Azriel still cradling Elain to his chest
Rhys lunged for Azriel, taking Elain from him and gently setting my sister down. Azriel rasped, swaying on his feet, “We need Helion to get these chains off her.” Yet Elain didn’t seem to notice them as she rose up on her toes and kissed the shadowsinger’s cheek.
TRUTH TELLER - Before the battle begins, we find Cassian trying to give Elain a weapon to defend herself. She refuses Cassian’s offer, but accepts Truth Teller when Azriel offers it to her.
We see both of them acting out of their usual character with one another. Elain accepts a weapon when she initially refuses one, and Azriel lets her use a weapon that he hasn’t let anyone touch before. Cassian’s shock is also noted here and Feyre notes that Truth Teller is a bridge of connection between Azriel and Elain, this is interesting, as the mate bond has previously been referred to as a bridge between souls by Madja when she explains that Elain’s mate should be able to detect what is “wrong” with her.
She refused the knife Cassian handed her, though. Went white as death at the sight of it.
Azriel, still limping, merely nudged aside Cassian and extended another option. “This is Truth-Teller,” he told her softly. “I won’t be using it today—so I want you to.”
Elain’s eyes widened at the obsidian-hilted blade in Azriel’s scarred hand. The runes on the dark scabbard.
“It has never failed me once,” the shadowsinger said, the midday sun 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.”
Elain weighed my words … and slowly closed her fingers around the blade. Cassian gawked at Azriel, and I wondered how often Azriel had lent out that blade—
Never, Rhys said from where he finished buckling on his own weapons against the side of the wagon. I have never once seen Azriel let another person touch that knife.
Elain looked up at Azriel, their eyes meeting, his hand still lingering on the hilt of the blade.
I saw the painting in my mind: the lovely fawn, blooming spring vibrant behind her. Standing before Death, shadows and terrors lurking over his shoulder. Light and dark, the space between their bodies a blend of the two.
The only bridge of connection … that knife.
THE REAL KINGSLAYER - When Elain stabs the King of Hybern, she steps out of a shadow and rams Truth Teller into his neck. Is this HER shadow? Did Azriel provide a shadow for her? Is she able to tap into his power as his mate?
This is the biggest moment of bravery for Elain thus far and an example of Azriel and Elain possibly working together to take down an enemy, perhaps the first but NOT last time this will happen. Let us also note that while Lucien isn’t present with Elain and Azriel, his assistance in this war was valuable. Not only does he locate Vassa but he points her and Papa Archeron in the right direction to assist in the war. Let us review: Elain’s bond with Lucien guides him to Vassa, guiding Vassa back to the Night court family where she will provide additional information on Koschei.
Elain stepped out of a shadow behind him, and rammed Truth-Teller to the hilt through the back of the king’s neck as she snarled in his ear, “Don’t you touch my sister.”
IN ACOFAS we have Feyre and Mor discussing Truth Teller, Azriel and Elain.
Mor tells her that Azriel has already given Truth-Teller to Elain, is it a mistake that she says this instead of that he “loaned” it to Elain, or does she know that he DID give it to her? Did she let a truth slip?
I’m fairly certain Azriel has a drawer full of all the daggers I’ve bought him throughout the centuries that he’s too polite to throw away, but won’t ever use.”
“You honestly think he’d ever give up Truth-Teller?”
“He gave it to Elain,” Mor said, admiring a moonstone necklace in the counter’s glass case.
“She gave it back,” I amended, failing to block out the image of the black blade piercing through the King of Hybern’s throat. But Elain had given it back—had pressed it into Azriel’s hands after the battle, just as he had pressed it into hers before. And then walked away without looking back.
Mor hummed to herself.
Later, during the family dinner, Feyre takes notice of Elain and Azriel's interactions, the same interaction causing Mor to tense beside Feyre. If Mor is aware of the bond, is she worried that Azriel may have a lapse in control when he is near elain? Does Mor sense that both Azriel AND Elain are feeling the pull in this moment and that both may act in an unpredictable way?
I felt, more than saw, my sister go still as he approached. Her throat bobbed.
But I strode to my seat—nestled between Amren and Mor—in time to see Elain say to Azriel, “Hello.”
Az said nothing. No, he just moved toward her. Mor tensed beside me. But Azriel only took Elain’s heavy dish of potatoes from her hands, his voice soft as night as he said, “Sit. I’ll take care of it.”
DURING DINNER, Elain questions Amren about how she came to choose the form that she is in. Amren tells Elain that there is no going back to a human life for her. Azriel takes this moment to make a joke, again, he does what he can to put Elain at ease in an uncomfortable situation. Feyre even notes that a light returns to Elain’s eyes.
“There’s no going back to being human, girl,” Amren said, perhaps a tad gently.
“Amren,” I warned. Elain’s face reddened further, her back straightening. But she didn’t bolt.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I’d never heard Elain’s voice so cold.
I glanced at the others. Rhys was frowning, Cassian and Mor were both grimacing, and Azriel … It was pity on his beautiful face. Pity and sorrow as he watched my sister.
“Pick on someone your own size,” Cassian said to Amren, shoveling roast chicken into his mouth.
“I’d feel bad for the mice,” Azriel muttered.
Mor and Cassian howled, earning a blush from Azriel and a grateful smile from Elain—and no shortage of scowling from Amren. But something in me eased at that laughter, at the light that returned to Elain’s eyes.
We find out that Cassian and Azriel are sleeping over and it is pointed out that Azriel makes his way to the window of their room and peers into the garden below. During this short conversation, Azriel’s interest in what he sees through the window is pointed out multiple times. Is Elain in the garden? Is that why he can’t tear himself away?
1. Azriel strode to the lone window at the end of the room and peered into the garden below. “I’ve never stayed in this room.” His midnight voice filled the space.
2. “No,” Azriel said, not turning from the window.
3. Azriel remained at the window. “Will Nesta stay here if she comes?”
4. “I’d still be surprised if they remember once the storm clears,” Azriel said, turning from the garden window at last.
WINTER SOLSTICE - Elain gives Azriel a gift for solstice, not just ANY gift, but a thoughtful one to help him, to soothe him and make him feel better. The gift causes Azriel to laugh as Feyre has never heard before.
Elain turned from where she’d been speaking to Nesta. “Oh, that’s from me.” Azriel’s face didn’t so much as shift at the words. Not even a smile as he opened the present and revealed
“I had Madja make it for me,” Elain explained. Azriel’s brows narrowed at the mention of the family’s preferred healer.
“It’s a powder to mix in with any drink.” Silence.
Elain bit her lip and then smiled sheepishly. “It’s for the headaches everyone always gives you. Since you rub your temples so often.”
Silence again. Then Azriel tipped his head back and laughed. I’d never heard such a sound, deep and joyous.
Azriel mastered himself enough to say, “Thank you.” I’d never seen his hazel eyes so bright, the hues of green amid the brown and gray like veins of emerald. “This will be invaluable.”
We are shown again that Azriel gravitates towards Elain, even when both of her sisters are present to keep her company.
Elain enjoys his company. Feyre also catches him stealing a glance at Elain while standing by the fire.
I found Elain studying it, beautiful in her amethyst-colored gown. I made to move toward her, but someone beat me to it.
The shadowsinger was clad in a black jacket and pants similar to Rhysand’s—the fabric immaculately tailored and built to fit his wings. He still wore his Siphons atop either hand, and shadows trailed his footsteps, curling like swirled embers, but there was little sign of the warrior otherwise.
Especially as he gently said to my sister, “Happy Solstice.”
Elain turned from the snow falling in the darkness beyond and smiled slightly. “I’ve never participated in one of these.”
After the gift giving, we’re told that Elain and Azriel spend time together as she shows him the plans that she has for expanding her garden. Feyre asks herself if Azriel cares about such things, she has no idea. He either cares about gardening or cares about spending time with Elain while she discusses something that brings her joy, you decide which.
It was three by the time the others went to bed.
Azriel and Elain remained in the sitting room, my sister showing him the plans she’d sketched to expand the garden in the back of the town house, using the seeds and tools my family had given her tonight.
Whether he cared about such things, I had no idea, but I sent him a silent prayer of thanks for his kindness before Rhys and I slipped upstairs.
THE CAULDRON, THE MOTHER AND TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
We hear many opinions on why the cauldron does what it does, but the truth is that nobody has the instruction manual, nobody REALLY knows.
The same can be said of the mother. They do what they want, when they want and for reasons only they know.
In ACOTAR, we have these quotes from Amarantha:
In ACOSF, It is mentioned that the Mother has left Nesta with powers and “guided her”. She notes that it is a familiar voice, perhaps the Mother has been guiding the Archeron sisters for longer than we know.
It is possible that the Mother is also using Lucien’s mating bond to guide him to where HE is needed, first to Elain and then to the Night court which then leads him to Vassa.
In this book, Nesta finds some of her father’s carvings, one, a Rose, representative of Elain is half hidden in shadows, the second, a female figure that Nesta believes may be the mother holding a moon.
This could show us not only the connection that the mother has to Elain, but the connection that Elain has to her two mates that represent light and shadows. Is the moon in the mother’s hands telling us that she is guiding the group where they need to be for their next challenge?
We already know that Koschei has shadows of his own and that Azriel will likely help fight him, but Lucien’s untapped power from Helion will also likely be needed to help cleave the spell that Koschei has over Vassa and the rest of the women he holds captive.
So did the cauldron and the mother conspire to guide people into Elain's life that could help her and the Night Court family defeat Koschei and finally free the women trapped at his lake?
I think so. Busybodies.
For more Elriel mate theories and more, please check out the following posts and people, they are amazing!
Dusk Court / Fourth Dread Trove Object Foreshadowing by @mardereads19
More on the possible Elriel mates theory by @mrspettyferr
Elriel mates by @silver-flames
Elriel Mate Behaviour by @echotzzz
Azriel and Elain… Maybe something else? by @demonlovesangel
Elain and Azriel holding hands also by @demonlovesangel
“There are different kinds of darkness. There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful. There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”
Rhysand, proud and arrogant and grinning. The Lord of Night, Death Incarnate, Night Triumphant. A male who donned the mask of a monster to save his home, who fought for his family with his final breath, who whispered to his unknowing mate, “You are my salvation.”
Rhys gave the dregs of himself away; his body to the lady of the mountain, his power to a city shrouded in the night, his heart to a female with stubborn blue eyes.
Though beloved dearly by his Inner Circle, Rhys views himself as a monster worthy of only hatred. He has not bothered to conceal the bitter edge to his nature, the creature dwelling beneath his skin. Time and time again, he has said he is unworthy of affection, said he does not deserve his fortune. He has claimed himself a beast.
From the start, we knew Rhys would do anything for our Feyre. They saved each other, not just from blades and curses, but from a darkness that was very different from night. His devotion to her went beyond words, and he made it no secret he would raze the earth for her.
And it’s not just our High Lady. Rhys surrendered his sanity, his pride, his own safety for the family he left back home.
His city, the townhouse tucked within, a maelstrom of light and laughter and teasing. Rhys must have risen every morning, still shaking from his ordeal the previous night, and thought of his Inner Circle. He must have recalled their messy breakfast, a collection of sweets and eggs and toast and tea and whisky. He must have dressed, the memory of Mor lingering in his mind, how she would stride into his room and leap on his bed like a child.
He loved his family, so, so much. His first thought was always of their safety, their comfort. Sometimes it was the little things, like tucking a blanket over Amren nervously, or tending to one of Cas’s sparring wounds; sometimes it was giving up himself so they might live, and know peace within that sheltered city.
Should Rhys have protected as many lands as he could? Yes, of course.
But you all forget Rhys cast that enchantment hastily, with barely seconds to think. In that moment, he wasn’t a seasoned High Lord. He was a terrified brother and friend and cousin. He was human.
Under the Mountain, when Feyre Archeron made herself, did he have any right to give her the faerie wine? No. It was wrong, and it doesn’t matter if it was for her benefit.
But, for fuck’s sake, Rhys never said it was right. You are allowed to think this was off-putting, but know Rhys never brushed it aside. He never insisted it was for her own good. Rhys, even though he couldn’t have cared less for Feyre, was always mindful never to touch her beyond her arms and hips. I am not making his excuses: I am simply pointing out Feyre was not unwilling, and we should know, as we were inside her head. She looked to numb herself with the wine, sought the haze of intoxication.
Rhys never claimed to be a saint. He never called himself god. He was a male struggling to climb out of his trauma, and he made a poor choice, but not an unforgivable one.
Then came Nesta Archeron, who truly turned the fandom against our Rhys. She hated him, he hated her.
Did it begin this way? No.
Most people fail to recall the Inner Circle extended their hands to Nesta, when they first met.
Amren was civil and brutally honest.
Mor complimented her dress, and she was shamed for her own in return.
Cassian tried laughter and banter, his way of saying “I’m friendly, I won’t hurt you.”
Rhys tried to be civil to the woman who had abused his mate, to the woman who detested his kind. He was forced to watch as his family was cut down swiftly.
Nesta’s “talent” is finding weak spots and exploiting them. So she slut-shamed Mor, ridiculed Cassian’s status, showed Feyre nothing but scorn. Nesta was not trauma-ridden, back then. She was just cruel.
So, how am I supposed to hate Rhys for defending his family?
He is allowed to feel fury as Nesta does without being detested. He is allowed to try and protect his Inner Circle. He is allowed to hate the female who made fun of his brother, abused his wife, shamed his cousin, hurt his friend.
Is Nesta entirely in the wrong? No.
Is Rhys entirely in the wrong? Absolutely not.
Even when he kept the secret of Feyre’s pregnancy from her, he was not so at fault. It was bitter of him to keep such a danger from his mate, but I can understand why he did so. He was trying to keep her happy and carefree. As we know Fae pregnancies are delicate, so why would he want Feyre to feel so much stress and terror and misery when that could risk the child’s life? I do think he should have told her, but again, it’s not impossible to get why he didn’t.
If we are going to blame Rhys for keeping Feyre’s risk quiet, why not blame the others in on it? What about Amren and Cassian and Azriel and Nesta? They are as equally responsible. Even if it was a bad choice, that’s okay. Everyone detested Rhys for being the “perfect” character, and now we hate him for fucking up. He is allowed to make mistakes. I don’t know who told you he can never do wrong.
Rhys is a monster, the unforgiving darkness and the merciless cold. He has never claimed otherwise. He has done awful things, yes, but he aspires to be better. He cares about working through his trauma, because he wants to be a good male for Feyre, for his family, for his son.
He was betrayed and raped. His little sister was brutally slaughtered by an old friend. His mother was tortured. His mate was killed, and his Inner Circle hurt time and time again, and he has never known a moment’s peace.
He isn’t perfect, but he’s learning. He’s learning and working every day.
Rhys may be the Lord of Darkness, but he is not incapable of light.
Elain is the only person that Azriel voluntarily seeks out.
I realised that in the span of 5 books, Azriel’s never sought out any company, except for Elain’s. Ever.
He joins family gatherings, he volunteers for missions, he agrees to train (Feyre to fly, the priestesses to train), he comes to Solstice celebrations, he follows Mor and the gang to Rita’s.
Yet, he never makes any moves to seek anyone’s company (he and Cassian live together, so they have conversations, but even in ACOSF it’s mentioned twice how Azriel wanted Cassian to be aware that he is at HoW, but did not come to talk). But he’s never shown to seek out Mor (his supposed love of 500 years) alone, or even his brothers, though obviously his relationship with Cassian is quite close.
With Elain though...
“Would you like me to show you the garden?”
Unprompted, he steps in himself, and whisks her away. Their first interaction after she’s been Made. Also, offers her his arm. Does he ever offer anyone his arm? Nope. Here, he actually seeks physical contact with her.
“I am getting her back.” No explanation needed.
Comes over and offers her Truth-Teller himself. Then, “he gently took her hand and pressed the hilt of the legendary dagger into it.”
“And Azriel just moved...” (Twice. Feyre notices twice that Azriel moves on his own accord towards Elain. First, when she looks out the window on Solstice and he approaches her on his own. Then, when she is carrying the potato dish.
Even without physical contact, all that looking out the windows--he is looking for her.
“What about Elain?” first thought when she was kidnapped.
“What happened to Elain?” first thought when he heard of hers and Nesta’s fight.
Elain, by contrast, is typically fairly passive. It’s Azriel who always makes moves towards her, and she is always, always receptive. Until...
until that Solstice, where she basically made every move.
He wants her and yearns for her, yet he still struggles.
There have been a lot of posts and discussion recently about Azriel, and his trauma, and what that means for certain ships and even future books. And I wanted to add my thoughts to the mix.
SJM’s books often focus on MCs overcoming trauma
In ACOTAR, Nesta and Feyre both have overcome great trauma in their respective books to get their HEA. And they both did it at the same time as falling in love and getting into a relationship.
Nesta in particular was dealing with extreme unaddressed trauma. She was completely self-destructive at the beginning of ACOSF. Yet she was able to address her trauma and heal, in part because she had the support of Cassian, someone who loves her unconditionally.
From what we know, Az is not nearly as self-destructive as Nesta. He’s functioning just fine for the most part. So if Nesta still got a book and her HEA given how deep in her trauma and self-destructive she was, why are we saying Az can’t get that now?
What we know about Azriel
Not very much!!
We know he does have unaddressed trauma because of his childhood. And we know he has a lot of self-worth issues (as in, he doesn’t see himself as worthy or deserving). And we know he loved Mor for 500 years (and that it was unrequited, but it’s unclear if Azriel knew that, and that his love might have been obsessive, but we don’t really know). And that’s he’s a shadowsinger of course.
That’s about it! And then we saw into his head for a very brief period of time in the bonus chapter.
And we learned that he has some pretty strong feelings for Elain, and that he wishes he were her mate instead of Lucien, and that he’s willing to say fuck everything including the fragile political structure to be with her.
Assumptions about Az
I want to go back to my point that we only saw into Az’s head for a very brief period of time in the bonus.
People are making a lot of assumptions about Az based on approximately 10 pages, and really about the 6 that focused on Elain.
But you have to remember—we’re thrown into Az’s head here with no context (other than what we’ve been shown from others’ perspectives in the books). We don’t know how he’s thought or felt the last 3.5 books. So forming any big, concrete opinions about how Az thinks, or that he’s toxic, or what Az feels about Elain based just on these 6 pages is...a choice.
If you’re going to form any big concrete opinions about Az based on these pages, you have to at least take into consideration what we’ve seen of Az with regards to Elain in the previous 3.5 books. Failing to do so is negligent in my opinion.
Saying that Az projects his trauma onto Mor and Elain is not supported by the text from what I’ve seen (and honestly I’m not even sure what this means in this context). And Elain seems to be a healthy choice for Az—despite the mating bond, she’s actually attainable. He knows she doesn’t want the bond! And she wants him! What’s wrong with him wanting that?
Also, one more thing. Saying Az was OOC in the bonus or that it was odd is projecting your head canon of Az onto him. This is the first time we’ve gotten in his head. And we were actually IN HIS HEAD. It wasn’t OOC. It seems to me that a lot people are projecting their own biases and thoughts and hopes onto Az...
What I think the bonus chapter objectively showed us about Az
He has very strong romantic feelings towards Elain
He still doesn’t think he deserves her
But he wants to be with her
He doesn’t understand why his brothers are mated to the women they love, who are sisters to the woman Az maybe loves, but Az isn’t
He knows Elain doesn’t want to be with Lucien, her mate
He’s not making plans to be with Elain because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of her and maybe because he doesn’t want to set himself up for heartbreak!
He cares so much about Elain that he’s willing to risk war and himself to be with her
That’s it!! Anything beyond that is making assumptions or inferences based on very limited incomplete information. Which is fine (and maybe your assumptions/inferences/interpretation will end up being correct!), but at least acknowledge you’re making assumptions or inferences rather than stating things as fact.
(Though to be fair, I think Sarah purposefully made the bonus ambiguous and confusing and open to interpretation because she wants to keep anticipation up for the next book.)
The Next Book
The way I see it, Az’s book is certainly next. (By this, I mean Az will be one part of the couple, and will have a POV, not that it’ll be “his” book necessarily.) And it’s either going to be with Elain, or it’s going to be with Gwyn. Period. There’s just no way Gwynriel are closing out the trilogy.
So either way, Az’s love story is coming next!! Yay! Sorry for the haters, but it’s happening. So using Az’s trauma and mental state to advocate against Elriel and for Gwynriel under these circumstances is...also a choice.
And whether it’s with Elain (I’ve made my own posts about why I think this is nearly certain) or Gwyn, Az is going to need to do some healing in his book before he gets his HEA, and he’s going to have to wrestle his demons.
Just like Nesta.
I’m not expecting Elain to heal him, just like I wouldn’t expect that of Gwyn. Az needs to grapple with his own trauma, and heal himself. BUT my dude has had 500 years to try to heal on his own. It hasn’t worked. I think he needs the unconditional love and support of a partner to help him on this journey, just like Nesta needed Cassian to help her on hers. Az needs to know he is loved and worthy of being loved.
And personally, I think Elain is going to be the one to help him through this. Elain who has a backbone of steel despite her soft exterior. Elain who finds him beautiful despite his scars. Elain who sees the good in everything. Elain who is loyal and kind and who wants him. Elain who isn’t afraid to get hurt or get her hands dirty. Elain who also seems to have a darker side, and who has talents and abilities that seem to compliment Az—seeing, and stealth.
In a few day it marks 5 months since ACOSF was released, a LOT has happened since then in the fandom. I have received threats, hate and bad words for the simple fact of shipping Elriel. Thankfully I found a family of friends that became my safe heaven were hatred doesn’t exists. So I wanted to gift this to them, you know who you are, this gift is for all of you, but also to the entire ELRIEL FAMILY.
I have always wanted a fanart of Elriel dancing and happy so this is Elriel first Starfall as a couple. The talented and amazing human soul that is @mellendraws was on board with my personal commission! She’s truly talented and every day I am in love with her talent
Love you all!
Elain’s dress is by Teuta Matoshi.
If you want to repost it please give credit to the artist and me!
Both Elain and Azriel had moved on from their failed first love
How do we know?
Cassian said that there is a change in both Azriel and Mor
Cassian couldn’t think why
And for Cassian ( bless his soul) couldn’t think of why Azriel had done so and IMO this is the direct word from SJM that she want the readers instead to have their own little thinking for the answer.
So me and everyone that read this, lets have a moment to think a little bit, shall we
Ok, Remember in ACOMAF, Feyre said this
I smiled at the thought—at how handsome they (Elain &Azriel) would be together.
If the warrior ever stopped quietly loving Mor. I doubted it. Azriel would likely love Mor until he was a whisper of darkness between the stars.
She said that, there is possibility that Elain and Azriel could be together IF AND ONLY IF Azriel would stopped loving Mor. Feyre doubt it and claim that Az will forever in love with Mor until he was a whisper of darkness. But is it true?
Azriel longing glances towards Mor had become few and far between. As if he’d given up after 500 years
And Mor for some reason maybe she see that Azriel had stopped pining on her, no longer use Cassian to make Azriel jealous
Mor no longer sat beside Cassian, draped herself over him,
Rhysand blinked. "What of Mor, Az?"
Azriel ignored the question.
Let me remind you that Mor’s power is called truth. Maybe she saw and understood Azriel’s recent behaviour. Let me show you
“You honestly think he’d ever give up Truth-Teller?”[…]“He gave it to Elain,” Mor said,
But I strode to my seat—nestled between Amren and Mor—in time to see Elain say to Azriel, “Hello.”
Az said nothing.
No, he just moved toward her.
Mor tensed beside me.
So the question is what or who made Az stopped loving Mor?? What is Azriel’s secret?
Shadows darkened his eyes, full of enough pain that she couldn’t stop herself from touching his shoulder. Letting him see that she understood why he stood in the doorway, why he wouldn’t go near the fire. His secret to tell, never hers.
He left the rest unspoken. Because her mate was here, sleeping a level up. Because her mate had been in the family room and Azriel had needed to stay by the door the whole time because he couldn't stand the sight of it, the scent of their mating bond, and needed to have the option of leaving if it became too much. = 🌸
And for Elain 🌸
So from the text, we can conclude that before this, everytime Graysen name were mentioned, Elain will shed some tears. And for some reason, Nesta stated that Elain had stopped to do so
Character development? YES.. To show that some woman do stop being sad post breakup?? Also yes..But the question is how or what made her moved on from Graysen?
Elain haven’t got her own pov yet but still her action speaks louder than words
Elain bit her lip and then smiled sheepishly. “It’s for the headaches everyone always gives you. Since you rub your temples so often.”
Bit her lip and smile sheepishly!! are u kidding me Elain is so me in front of my crush
She halted, her breath catching in her throat.
She extended the wrapped gift, her hand shaking. "Here."
Elain shivered, and he took a damn long time fastening the clasp.
"I should go," Elain said, but made no move to leave.
Elain was so cute in this chapter, she literally shaking and nervous as hell to gave Az his present.. i can totally relate to her🤣
But notice that, even if she was shy and nervous, she still being the one that initiated those moves (closing their distance, pivoted into Az’s touch and being aroused😉). It always the quiet one that are the wildest
To end this post, I would like to say that, Azriel will not jump to another person just because Rhys forbade him and this is not a feyre/tamlin situation.
Feyre and Tamlin ended because of internal issue. They already have their romance but it failed because Tamlin decided to be an asshole. Same like what happens with Elain/Greysen and Azriel/Mor. Those were because of internal issues.
It make sense for Az to jump to Gwyn if he felt the relationship with Elain was not fruitful but the thing is Elain and Azriel haven’t start ANYTHING YET. They actually haven’t even kiss. In order to make them split up, they need to be together first but since its 1 book 1 couple i highly doubt so
All the thing that prevent Elriel for being together are EXTERNAL FORCE. And since this is a romance book there is a high chance that Elriel would say fuck it let do this fuck Rhys and fuck the mating bond.
azriel letting elain pin him to the bed and just... letting her have her way with him. using his cock to chase her own pleasure. azriel helping elain ride his cock, because her thick thighs start to shake when he fucks her--just like that.
I don’t usually like the idea of Azriel being dom’ed, but I think deep, deep down Azriel is a switch.