“My power slid back into my hands. Once more, I stood in Baghra’s hut, calling the light for the first time, feeling it rush toward me, taking possession of what was rightfully mine. This was what I had been born for. I would never let anyone separate me from it again.” 

This quote appears in a section of narration in Chapter 22, just after Alina realizes the Darkling no longer has power over her. Following a tumultuous scene on the Darkling’s sandskiff, Alina understands that she has just as much control over the amplifier as the Darkling because she spared the stag’s life. In so doing, Alina quite literally takes full possession of her power, wrenching it back from the Darkling’s clutches. While the quote is referencing her power in particular, Alina’s vow that she would never let anyone separate her from it again also speaks to her conviction to retain control over her life. Whereas much of her life had been shaped by the way other people controlled her up until this point, Alina commits to a future where she is at the helm of her own existence.  

“Another command echoed through me: More. A fresh surge of power roared through my body, wilder and stronger than anything I had ever felt... The control I’d learned, the understanding I’d gained collapsed before it—houses I’d built, fragile and imperfect, smashed to kindling in the oncoming flood that was the power of the stag.” 

Alina narrates the feeling of the Darkling taking control of her powers in Chapter 19. This takes place directly after the Darkling forces Alina to wear the stag’s antlers, which allows him to wield her power as though it was his own. This experience is much different for Alina than the times that he or Baghra acted as amplifiers for her because she is unable to resist. For Alina, this robs her of any sense of control she’d had over herself and leaves her up to the whim of the Darkling. With the addition of the stag’s magic, the Darkling is able to drag her beyond what she thought was even possible before then. In this moment, the Darkling’s control over her is so profound that she loses sense of herself almost completely.  

“I felt a call ring through me and, to my surprise, I felt something in me rise up to answer. I pushed it away, pushing it down. Somehow I knew that if that thing got free, it would destroy me… And to my relief, that struggling thing inside me seemed to lie back down, leaving the Darkling’s call unanswered.” 

Alina narrates her reaction to the Darkling trying to call to her power in Chapter 3. One of the most poignant examples of self-control in the novel is Alina’s ability to suppress her power. That she is able to do this in the first place is significant, but that she’s able to defy the Darkling’s pull as an amplifier is remarkable. While we later learn that her act of pushing her power down took a physical toll on her, the fact that she’s able to do it in the first place demonstrates just how strong she is in the first place. Her fear of being destroyed by the power being freed also speaks to the persistent anxiety that surrounds the concept of losing control of oneself in the book.