In a nightmare, Feyre relives what she was forced to do Under the Mountain—stab two innocent High Fae. The guards pull a female prisoner’s hood off, and Feyre recognizes herself. Grabbing the prisoner’s shoulder, Feyre stabs her through the heart.  

Chapter 1 

Feyre vomits after the nightmare and looks at the tattoo on her hand, a symbol of the bargain she struck with Rhysand to save her own life. Feyre promised to spend one week with him every month in return for saving her life. She goes back to bed with Tamlin, the High Lord she was willing to sacrifice herself for Under the Mountain. Tamlin also has nightmares, but when Feyre once tried to help him, he shifted into his beast form, rejecting her help.  

Chapter 2 

Feyre wants to go to the village to help rebuild it, but Tamlin won’t let her leave the manor house because dangerous creatures have slipped through the protective wards. Tamlin asks Feyre to find something to do in the house, such as painting, but she doesn’t enjoy painting anymore. She is disappointed with many of the choices Tamlin, now her fiancé, has made for her, including the colorful dresses he has bought to replace her tunics and pants.  

In the run-up to her wedding, Feyre is happy to be guided by Ianthe, a High Priestess and Tamlin’s friend. Ianthe helps her with flowers, the guest list, and the seating chart. The wedding is significant to the community, so Feyre and Tamlin put their trust in Ianthe’s judgment. Feyre agrees to wear the wedding dress Ianthe chose, even though she and Tamlin hate it. That night, when Tamlin returns, he and Feyre make love, and he apologizes for being so protective. After the wedding, he promises, things will be different. Feyre asks if she will be called High Lady after they are married, and Tamlin tells her there is no such title.  

Chapter 3 

The next day, Lucien takes Feyre to the village. On the way, they discuss Tamlin and why he no longer lets Feyre roam freely. Lucien says that Tamlin cares for her so much he can’t take the risk of anything happening to her and that Tamlin’s enemies know that capturing Feyre would give them a huge advantage over him. Lucien says she needs to give Tamlin time and tells her about the Tithe, when every member of the Spring Court must pay a tax or be hunted down by Tamlin. To help Feyre understand Tamlin’s protectiveness, he reminds her that he was forced to watch his father murder his love. When they arrive at the village, the villagers all reject Feyre’s help, which leads her to feel overwhelmed by the thought of living forever without a way to occupy herself. 

Chapter 4 

As the wedding guests arrive, Feyre is glad she doesn’t have to take responsibility for the organizing. The night before the wedding, Feyre and Ianthe talk to some guests, but Feyre feels uncomfortable around Tamlin’s friends. That night, Feyre has another nightmare of being Under the Mountain. She wakes and reassures herself she’ll have her happy ending once she is married. Dressed in the wedding gown she hates, she walks toward Tamlin, and then notices the red petals among the white flowers on the path. She stops and silently begs for help, feeling undeserving and not ready to be married. Thunder cracks, and Rhysand appears. 


A Court of Mist and Fury begins with the main character, Feyre, embarking on the kind of happy ending that all fairy tales offer, only to find that the ending may not be right for her. Lucien describes a traditional fairy tale ending when he says that most mortals dream of marrying a handsome lord and having an easy, domestic life. Instead, Feyre feels trapped in the manor and longs for independence and adventure rather than protection and pretty things. This is partially because of the role Feyre played in her love story with Tamlin: she was not the damsel in distress but rather the savior. In this unconventional role, she had to make difficult choices and even commit murder to save Tamlin and reach the happy ending. This inversion in traditional fairy-tale roles complicates Feyre and Tamlin’s ideas of themselves and their relationship.  

A heroic storyline like Feyre’s is usually reserved for male characters in folk tales and myths. Now, confined to a tame life in Tamlin’s manor house, Feyre defies traditional gender expectations by refusing to be satisfied with a passive role at home. It isn’t surprising that Feyre resists when her independence is taken away by the very male she saved. In this, Feyre challenges the fairy-tale tradition that a woman’s story ends when she finds her man. Tamlin’s overprotective nature prevents Feyre from being her true self and hampers her efforts to process her own trauma. Her instinct to heal herself by doing something active and productive, namely going out and helping Tamlin’s people rebuild, is thwarted by Tamlin’s compulsion to keep her safe within the grounds of his manor house at all times. Ironically, Tamlin’s need to protect her is a reaction to the passive role he was forced to play in breaking Amarantha’s curse.  

In these chapters, Feyre allows Ianthe to take over the role of powerful and influential female at the Spring Court. This willing transfer of power happens in part because Ianthe relishes the domestic role that Feyre has no real interest in and because she understands the diplomatic and symbolic aspects of the wedding. It also happens because Feyre is not only processing trauma, but also adapting to her new existence, which includes an unfamiliar social world and a brand-new body. Feeling trapped and uncertain, she envies Ianthe’s freedom and self-confidence. Feyre adopts an uncharacteristically passive role when she relies on Ianthe in the matters of court etiquette that she struggles to navigate. When Ianthe, against Feyre’s wishes, strews the bridal path with red petals, the gesture is ominous and opens questions about whether or not Ianthe is always acting in Tamlin and Feyre’s best interests. The petals not only remind readers and wedding guests of the bloodshed that brought Feyre and Tamlin together, but they also foreshadow dangerous challenges for the couple, including Ianthe’s potential to usurp Feyre’s position. 

Although Feyre is passive in her domestic role at the Spring Court, handing wedding decisions over to Ianthe, she desires an active role in areas that are seen as traditionally male. She wants to be of physical assistance to Tamlin’s people, begging to be allowed to help them rebuild. When Tamlin’s friend Lucien humors her by taking her out to offer help in the village one day, it indicates that the larger community in the Spring Court is conspiring to keep Feyre in a passive role by refusing her assistance. This is ironic, given that she proved her strength and resourcefulness when she defeated Amarantha Under the Mountain. Now, Tamlin seeks to regain the dominant role in the Spring Court and in his relationship with Feyre. Since Tamlin affirms his power and self-worth by being a protector, Feyre is forced into the role of a helpless damsel. Moreover, Tamlin believes there is no such thing as a High Lady, only a High Lord. Just as Feyre is about to hand over all her personal agency by marrying him, her mind and body rebel, preventing her from joining him at the wedding altar. For Feyre, happily-ever-after does not involve giving up her freedom and becoming somebody’s possession, and her rebellion hints that she has what it takes to be a High Lady, an equal to Tamlin.