Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.  


Wings are a symbol of power and freedom, but Rhysand frequently makes his own wings disappear to hide his true identity. For Rhysand, wings are a reminder of his mother’s legacy and her commitment to bravery, freedom, and equality. They are also evidence of his status as a half-breed among the High Fae, who are particularly class-conscious. In certain contexts, wings can also symbolize vulnerability and intimacy. They are highly sensitive to the touch and can be easily disabled. When Cassian’s wings are damaged, Rhysand worries that his friend would rather die than live without them. Illyrian girls have their wings clipped to make them compliant and docile wives, a tradition that represents the oppression of Prythian women. When Feyre uses her shape-shifting power to grow Illyrian wings, she is showing Rhysand how much she identifies with him. When Rhysand and Feyre make love, he makes his wings visible to show her that he trusts her and can be his true self with her.   


Rings are important symbols of key relationships as they change across the narrative. When the story begins, the emerald ring Feyre wears symbolizes her love for Tamlin and her commitment to marrying him. By the time she leaves the Spring Court, the same ring has come to symbolize her captivity and lack of freedom. She melts it off her finger in a show of personal power. The ring Rhysand presents to Feyre near the end of the book is the one she stole from the Weaver’s cottage. It symbolizes Rhysand’s love as well as Feyre’s power and skill in tracking down the ring and escaping with it. It also connects her to Rhysand’s mother, who set a test for his future bride. The fact that Rhysand gives her the choice of whether to wear the ring symbolizes his respect for her independence and agency. The contrast between the two rings symbolizes the contrast between the two relationships: one based on male dominance and the other on equality.  


Tattoos are powerful symbols of allegiance and obligation throughout the narrative. In the early chapters, the tattoo on Feyre’s left hand symbolizes the bargain she made with Rhysand, which she considers an invasive interference in her new life with Tamlin. The eye in the center of her palm seems to watch her, and she regards this tattoo with fear and loathing. Various faeries wear tattoos to symbolize their commitment to a cause, profession, or group. Ianthe has a tattoo of the moon’s cycle on her brow, symbolizing her status as a High Priestess. Rhysand, Cassian, and Azriel have tattoos that represent their initiation as Illyrian warriors and are meant to grant them luck and glory on the battlefield. The difference is that Feyre did not choose her tattoo and only made her bargain with Rhysand under duress. The tattooed stars and mountains on Rhysand’s knees symbolize that he will never bow before anyone but his crown, but he bows to Feyre as his mate and his equal. At the end of the book, the disappearance of the tattoo on Feyre’s left hand symbolizes that the King of Hybern has managed to break the bargain between Feyre and Rhysand. However, Feyre is concealing a twin tattoo on her right hand that symbolizes her status as High Lady of the Night Court, which she chose voluntarily.