“The problem with wanting…is that it makes us weak.” 

This quote is an admission made by the Darkling to Alina in Chapter 14 while they kiss during the winter fete at the Grand Palace. This moment is one of the first times that Alina sees anything other than the carefully constructed persona that the Darkling wants her to see in him. The Darkling recognizes that his desire for Alina is something that weakens him because it induces him to act in a way that he would not normally act. But the statement isn’t limited to his physical desire for her as a potential sexual partner, but a general statement about the way wanting anything exposes a person’s vulnerabilities. This is illustrated perfectly through the dynamics of Alina’s relationship with the Darkling at this stage of the novel. Because the Darkling wants Alina, he is more vulnerable to her than he would normally be and he underestimates her. And becayse Alina yearns for his approval and his desire, she is vulnerable to his manipulations.