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


Masks feature prominently in the novel as symbols for concealment. The permanent masks all the members of the Spring Court wear as a result of Amarantha’s curse to prevent them from revealing their true selves. The masks are also metaphorical muzzles that symbolize the Spring Court faeries' inability to speak openly about the curse to Feyre. Because of the curse, the masks also symbolize Amarantha’s power and control over Tamlin and his people. Though Amarantha intends the masks as an obstacle to the love Tamlin must earn from a human woman, she underestimates Feyre’s ability to perceive what lies beneath.  


For Feyre, art symbolizes both self-expression and privilege. Living in poverty means that Feyre’s preferred creative outlet of painting is inaccessible to her most of the time. The summer Feyre paints vines, flowers, and flames on the family cottage marks the last time the family experiences any kind of abundance. Her faded, chipped artwork symbolizes the erosion of her individuality. In contrast, Feyre lives a life of abundance and leisure in Prythian and is free to paint to her heart’s contentment. The magic-imbued paintings in Tamlin’s gallery spark her creative drive. Tamlin’s gallery provides voices for the artists who created the paintings, granting them a type of immortality. Feyre finds her voice through painting as well, inspired by the landscape, her memories, and the ones she loves. She never forgets where came from and the privilege that allows her to paint.   


Throughout the novel, flowers symbolize hope and love. Elain, the epitome of hope and joy, is nearly always gardening or decorating with flowers. The seeds Feyre gifts Elain when the family is struggling financially symbolize her love for her sister. The seeds also symbolizes hope because of Elain’s sincere belief in a better, more beautiful life beyond their bleak existence. With the wealth Tamlin provides to care for the family, Elain expands her gardens, allowing her hopeful nature to truly shine. In the Spring Court, the beautiful rose garden was a mating gift from Tamlin’s father to his mother and a symbol of their love. Later, Tamlin gifts Feyre with some of these roses to apologize for his treatment of her on Fire Night, a symbol of his burgeoning love for her. Ironically, Amarantha is referred to as the “Never Fading Flower” by the rest of the fae. Amarantha represents an inversion of the flower symbol as her primary role is to suck hope and love from everyone in Prythian. 


In the novel, forests represent danger and the unknown. Though her life in the village is harsh, Feyre is forced to hunt in the forest where she’s in danger from wolves, strangers, and faeries. In Prythian, she’s only safe in the forest while in Tamlin’s or Lucien’s company. Alone, she faces dangerous faeries, such as the Suriel and the naga. When Feyre rides through the forest to rescue Tamlin, she is completely exposed to its danger. Her love for Tamlin outweighs the risk to her life, but the scene is charged with her fear. Though the forest represents danger, it’s also an area Feyre is intimately familiar with as a huntress. Her confidence in the forest parallels her willingness to face danger if the stakes are high enough. At Amarantha’s court, Feyre internally compares the court to another forest or hunting ground. By creating a parallel in her mind between the court and the forest, she is able to reframe the danger she faces and draw on her skills as a huntress for strength.