Chapter 42 

Tamlin approaches Feyre at the party, standing next to her, staring straight ahead. His fingers brush hers and he walks away, gesturing for her to follow. Tamlin leads her to a dark room where they kiss and begin tearing at each other’s clothes. Rhysand appears, shaming them for their behavior and questioning how Amarantha would react. Rhysand makes the smudges of Feyre’s body paint disappear from Tamlin’s clothes. Tamlin leaves, whispering to Feyre that he loves her. Feyre questions Rhysand’s interest in the situation. Rhysand, so angry his wings come out, forces a kiss on Feyre just as Amarantha and Tamlin walk in. Rhysand, covered in Feyre’s paint, drags her back to the throne room before sending her to her cell.

Hours later, Rhysand appears in the cell, telling Feyre he wants some peace and quiet. He tells Feyre she’s the only one he can talk to without risk. He reminds her that if she fails the challenge the next day, she’ll die and doom them all. Amarantha will rule forever. If Feyre succeeds, Tamlin will destroy Amarantha. Rhysand has been using Feyre to fuel Tamlin’s anger so he’s ready to attack. Rhysand tells her he only touches her arms and waist so he can claim innocence to Tamlin and protect himself. He also tells Feyre that Amarantha targeted him because his father killed Tamlin’s father and brothers, and she wanted to punish him for his father’s misdeeds. Feyre realizes how much Rhysand has helped her.  

Chapter 43 

For her third and final challenge, Feyre is dressed in her old pants and tunic. Unlike the earlier trials, the crowd remains mostly silent. Feyre tells Tamlin she loves him, but he does not react. Since Feyre hasn’t solved the riddle, it’s time for the task to begin. The guards bring in three faeries with sacks over their heads. They’re forced to kneel in front of Feyre. Servants carry in three pillows with ash daggers resting on them. Feyre’s final challenge is to stab each of the innocent faeries in the heart. At first, Feyre thinks she can’t do it, but then she changes her mind, knowing she will save Tamlin, Prythian, and the human world across the wall. Feyre apologizes as the first faerie begs and the second prays, but stabs them both. She thinks about jabbing the knife into her own heart after she stabs the third faerie. The guards remove the third faerie’s hood, revealing Tamlin. The Tamlin at Amarantha’s side is the Attor in disguise.

Feyre faces a terrible choice: Kill Tamlin and save herself and his court, or kill herself, allowing Amarantha to keep control of them all. She flashes back to Alis’s advice to listen, trying to recall something to help her discover the part of the curse they could not reveal. She remembers the encounter with the Attor in the garden and the open door when Tamlin and Lucien discussed the curse. Tamlin wanted her to overhear. She knows Amarantha desires Tamlin and wouldn’t want him dead. Feyre cycles through conversations, then remembers Lucien in the dining room telling Tamlin he had a heart of stone, a description the Attor also used in the garden. Feyre knows that if Tamlin’s heart is truly stone, even an ash wood blade won’t go through it. Feyre remembers that when she held Tamlin, she didn’t feel his heartbeat. Feyre lifts the dagger, approaches Tamlin, and stabs him in the chest.  

Chapter 44 

Tamlin cries out and his blood gushes, but the dagger hits something hard, bending the tip of the blade. Rhysand smiles. Amarantha’s face goes white. Though Amarantha said she’d free Tamlin and his court immediately if Feyre solved the riddle, that does not apply to the tasks. She says she’ll free them whenever she chooses. Amarantha attacks Feyre using her magic, slamming her into the floor and breaking her bones. She says she’ll stop if Feyre will deny her love for Tamlin. Rhysand lunges for Amarantha with an ash wood dagger, but she repels and batters him with her magic. Feyre begs Amarantha to stop, but refuses to say she does not love Tamlin. Tamlin begs Amarantha to stop the assault. Writhing in pain, Feyre thinks about the riddle. She thinks about Tamlin, her time Under the Mountain, and her sisters. Feyre announces that the answer to the riddle is love. She sees Tamlin’s eyes widen as her spine cracks. 


Those who live in the court Under the Mountain constantly experience the threat of death by Amarantha’s hand, so the night before the final trial is a night like any other for them, as demonstrated by the party that takes place. The fae find joy in spite of the ever-present threat. Though she will risk everything for them, Feyre, stands isolated from the crowd, suggesting she does not feel like one of them. Feyre believes she and the fae do share one thing in common: they all feel that Feyre will die during this last challenge. While she seems resigned to her fate, Feyre still finds love and joy in Tamlin’s touch, highlighted by her happiness at these last moments with him. She may not be so different from the faeries after all. Feyre risked her life each day in the human world, yet still found small moments of pleasure in time with Isaac and her painted designs. Even as the danger grew in Prythian, so did her love of life with Tamlin. Life itself is joy in spite of risk, and as the fae gather for the final challenge, she takes their silence as a sign of respect and community. Knowing she’s part of their world and she won’t die alone gives her courage to face the danger.     

When Feyre sneaks off for a few stolen moments with Tamlin, it shows that he is exactly the reason she fights. His scent creates a physical reaction in her, like a predator catching a hint of its prey. In the darkness, Feyre sees only the green and gold of him, suggesting that he brings color to her world, even in the bleakest moments. The mere touch of his hand makes her life beautiful. Feyre doesn’t want to waste a second of this time, showing if this is the last of the time she’ll have together, she wants to make the most of it. Feyre has not been used to life being gentle, and she does not want Tamlin to be gentle with her now, suggesting her need for pure, physical connection, supported by love. With their reunion interrupted by Rhysand, Tamlin’s love will have to sustain her. Though Rhysand orders Tamlin away, when he disappears Feyre’s body paint from Tamlin, it suggests that exposure and punishment is not what Rhysand has in mind. With Tamlin still alive, Feyre has reason to go on. 

The connection between Rhysand and Feyre grows, revealing that the two may not be so different after all. Rhysand appears in Feyre’s cell, absent his usual arrogance, with an admission that he’s tired and lonely, showing that he feels her cell is a safer space than court. Beyond that, his revelation that Amarantha is running him ragged and use of less-than-flattering language to describe the queen shows that he trusts Feyre. He demonstrates the depth of this trust when he reveals the point of his game to her, toying with Feyre to make Tamlin so angry that he’ll destroy Amarantha when Feyre beats the final challenge. Rhysand remains careful not to cross the line with Feyre, showing he understands Tamlin’s power and would prefer to avoid his fearsome anger. Rhysand has bet on Feyre since the beginning in more ways than one, showing that she’s the best, if not only, hope to save the fae from Amarantha’s rule. As Rhysand reveals that his purpose is to protect his people, it shows that he and Feyre have that goal in common and enhances their connection.   

Though she may not know it, Feyre only needs to be herself and use the skills she has already built to succeed. As she prepares for the challenge, Feyre has to put on her old pants and tunic, even if they are smelly and covered in dirt. When she puts on these old costumes, it shows she doesn’t need the finery of Tamlin’s court, the revealing dresses Rhysand gives her, or any faerie magic at all. Feyre taught herself to hunt, but the fact that she still remembers the first rabbit she killed shows she values life. She’s already faced challenges in her home realm, in Prythian, and Under the Mountain, displaying great bravery. As Feyre prepares for Amarantha’s third and final task, she finally finds the courage to tell Tamlin she loves him. Even when Amarantha gives her the option to spare herself further pain and suffering if she says she does not love Tamlin, Feyre chooses to live or die by her truth. Throughout every challenge she faces, Feyre survives by being her authentic self.  

In spite of Amarantha’s great magic and power, arrogance and prejudice combine to cause her downfall. Based on the faerie queen’s past experience with people, she says they’re foolish, stupid, inconstant, cowardly, lying, insolent, worm meat and scheming, showing she believes all humans to be the same. The fact that Amarantha believes Feyre is no more than a filthy pig shows that the queen underestimates her abilities. Amarantha doesn’t think that Feyre could possibly figure out the trick behind the final challenge or the answer to the riddle, highlighting her belief that all humans are below her. Feyre defies traditional expectations in her home world, keeping her family together and alive. She surprises Tamlin and Lucien at the manor, showing them she’s no mere silly mortal girl. Rhysand bets on Feyre from the first challenge, suggesting he believes in her potential. Amarantha, for all her knowledge, power, and experience, cannot see past the fact that Feyre’s a human, displaying a weakness in her reasoning that leads to her destruction.