Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.


The use of color to describe Prythian provides a sharp contrast to the drab world in which Feyre struggles to survive in the early chapters. The winter woods where she hunts and the cottage where she lives feature dull browns and grays. Feyre’s thoughts reveal that she once dreamed in color and she hopes to one day brighten up her cottage with paints, but color is a luxury when her primary focus is putting food on the table. The only pop of color in her life comes from Elain’s gift of three tins of paint in blue, red, and yellow. The designs of flowers, vines, and flames that Feyre creates stand in contrast to their drab cottage, even though most of the designs are chipped and peeling. The moment Feyre sees Tamlin’s manor property in Prythian, the colors overwhelm her. The colors of Prythian quite literally expand her perception of the world. She sees bright purple crocuses against the green of the forest when she rides with Lucien. The colors in the manor’s artwork show her an otherworldly beauty. Tamlin’s green eyes and golden mask offer constant sources of fascination. Feyre is often preoccupied with excitement over how to mix paints to replicate colors she sees in real life. In the faerie world of Prythian, color is not a luxury, but a vibrant part of the magical world.      


Fire appears throughout the novel on both the human and faerie sides of the wall. A fire greets Feyre as she returns to her family’s humble cottage after a hunt, showing that warmth, safety, and home exist in some small measure even in her harsh life. In Prythian, the faeries celebrate Calanmai, or Fire Night, to create magic that will sustain them throughout the year. The fires mesmerize Feyre, drawing her to the celebration even though Tamlin orders her not to attend. As Tamlin welcomes Feyre to the study, he waves his hand to light the candles, illustrating the magical properties of fire. Amarantha’s forces use fire to destroy the Beddor home, believing Clare Beddor is Feyre. Whether it offers warmth, destruction, or rebirth, fire acts as a powerful force in both the human and faerie realms.   


In the novel, humans and faeries have a long history of hating and fearing one another. They each have misconceptions about the other built on this hatred and fear. Feyre and other humans believe that faeries are vicious creatures straight out of nightmares. In her mind, faeries feel humans are little more than animals they can keep as slaves. Faeries are beautiful, vain, merciless, and wealthy to the point of greed. According to common wisdom, humans subject themselves to lifelong slavery if they accept food or wine from a faerie. Faeries can’t lie, though they can twist the truth. Feyre, her sisters, and others in the village believe faeries can be repelled by iron. Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin, Lucien, and Alis dispel these misconceptions.

Similarly, before getting to know Feyre, the faeries believe many misconceptions about humans. They believe humans to be ignorant and uncultured, little more than beasts who are driven to kill faeries. Both Lucien and Tamlin express to Feyre that she is not what they expected from a human and that she defies their misconceptions. The overcoming of these false notions by both Feyre and the faeries supports the idea that all creatures are complex individuals who cannot be reduced to stereotypes about their kind.