“You’re free," Mor said tightly. "You’re free. Not safe. Not protected. Free.”

Mor says these words to Feyre after she rescues her from the Spring Court in Chapter 12. Leading up to the rescue, Feyre begs Tamlin to let her accompany him on an expedition, but he not only forbids her to go, he also traps her in his manor house with a shield of hard air. For Feyre, this is a triggering event as she suffers claustrophobia due to her time spent imprisoned and tortured underground by Amarantha. The trauma of being locked up causes Feyre to draw on her magical powers, but since she is untrained, she is unable to escape the house. Instead, she finds herself in a cocoon of darkness, fire, ice, and wind until Mor appears and carries her out. This quote raises the idea that Feyre would rather face mortal danger than be caged or locked up. Her need for independence rather than protection is one of the driving forces of the narrative

“There are different kinds of darkness," Rhys said … "There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful." I pictured each. "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.”

In this quotation from Chapter 30, Rhysand is explaining the complexity of darkness to Feyre as he tries to coach her into summoning it. She is in an emotional state after saying out loud the thing that haunts her most: that she killed two innocent faeries Under the Mountain. Rhysand comforts her, cocooning her with his wings, and when she has calmed down, he suggests she practice her powers. However, his description of darkness, which is his elemental gift, says as much about his character as it does about the properties of the night. Like darkness, Rhysand can be frightening or comforting. Like darkness, he is neither wholly good nor wholly bad. As Rhysand explains darkness to Feyre, he is also trying to explain himself. Like many of the characters in the book, including Feyre, Rhysand has a capacity for both good and evil.

“I am the dark lord, who stole away the bride of spring. I am a demon, and a nightmare, and I will meet a bad end. He is the golden prince—the hero who will get to keep you as his reward for not dying of stupidity and arrogance."

In this quotation from Chapter 43, Rhysand tells Feyre that he knows how their story will be recounted in the future. Rhysand and Feyre have just come from the Court of Nightmares, where Feyre took the role of Rhysand’s plaything to help maintain his mask of wickedness and depravity. When Keir, Steward of the Night Court, calls Feyre a whore, Rhysand loses his temper, partly because he is often called that himself, and breaks the bones in Keir’s arm. Now, he has taken Feyre to a lake to apologize for subjecting her to the persona he adopts outside of the Court of Dreams. Rhysand understands that he will be misunderstood in the greater world, and that Tamlin will be seen as the one who deserves to win the heart of the fair maiden. Even their physical appearances feed into the conventional narrative of villain and hero. The quotation underlines the theme that appearances can be deceptive, and things are not always as they seem on the surface