Crown of Midnight Chapter Summary

Chapter by chapter summary (and commentary) for Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, written as I read along with my amazing book club!

ICYMI - The Throne of Glass chapter summary can be found here!

Part I

Chapter 1

Well, for those of us who wondered what it would be like for Celaena to be the assassin of the King of Adarlan, rather than Adarlan's Assassin, we begin right in the middle of an assassination assignment.

Chapter 2

Back in Riftold, Celaena presents the King with the severed head and hand of the target. Dorian and Chaol are both present, both seemingly disgusted by her new role. The King accepts her trophies as proof of her success. The new assignment is to root out all rebels in the capitol, one at a time. It comes as a surprise to our fearsome trio that there is a serious threat from the rebels so close to the heart of Adarlan, and Celaena's first target is someone she knows from her past - Archer Finn, a courtesan of high repute who Celaena grew up with during her time with the Assassin's Guild. She buys time for her assassination assignment of Archer, and the subsequent names on the list which she won't receive until after this assignment is dispatched.

After Celaena is dismissed, Dorian's internal struggles come to the surface. He is conflicted by his feelings for her and his belief in her complete change of personality. Chaol leaves to "further debrief Celaena," so at least he's still talking to her. In fact, he's genuinely concerned for her wellbeing and thought she might have been caught.

When Choal leaves her to get cleaned up and promises to come back for dinner later. Then we learn that Celaena has been lying about her assignments, having given her targets the options to die, or fake their own deaths and flee. All of her four targets so far have chosen to fake their deaths. 

Chapter 3

Celaena has a nightmare about Cain and the Ridderack, and we get another glimpse of something that Celaena is tamping down about her past. Nehemia and Celaena meet up at dawn to exercise Fleetfoot and discuss Celaena's most recent assignment. Celaena herself is ambivalent about her subterfuge, knowing that with every life she saves, she is putting her friends at risk.

Chapter 4

Chaol and Celaena go on their morning run and Chaol is growing more and more attached to Celaena. But he forces himself to continue to toe the line between them, for both of their safety. Safety is a big theme in these early chapters. At the end of their run, they run into a bunch of young ladies who gather in the park to oogle Chaol, and he's completely oblivious to their attentions.

True to form, Dorian 
interrupts Chaol and Celaena's alone time, this time with his cousin Roland in tow. Roland is a total skeeve, and clearly he and Chaol have some antipathy in their history. Roland has been appointed to the Council, which seems weird and random and totally unjustified.

Celaena apparently gets paid a lot to fake people's deaths, and she buys a lot of random crap, and also books. Dorian visits Celaena and they're super uncomfortable with each other ever since Celaena broke things off with him, despite Dorian's escalating feelings for her.

Chapter 5

Celaena is stalking Archer around Rifthold but doesn't gather much new information. Back in the palace, Celaena has taken to hanging out in Chaol's room with him. She prods Chaol about his past with Roland but he refuses to reveal anything. And in Celaena's past, she is learning about her own capture and sentencing to Endovier due to her surveillance of Archer. After revealing to Chaol the events leading up to Sam's death and her capture, he shares with her the story of the girl he thought he loved being seduced by Roland and Roland contriving to have Chaol find them together in bed. Chaol asks if Sam loved her, and she tell him that he did, very much, and she feels like she failed him. After Chaol walks her back to her room, she heads back to the library to find something she's interested in reading (didn't she just buy a bunch of books?). Outside the library she finds someone or something in a hooded cloak that the Eye of Elena reacts to. It disappears, and Celaena rushes away frightened back to her room.

Chapter 6

"Of course there's an eclipse." Celaena goes down the hidden passageway to visit Elena's tomb. She encounters the skull door knocker on the door of the tomb, Mort, which suddenly now talks to her. Magic has disappeared from the world, so she's thoroughly freaked out. But since the spell that animated Mort was old and powerful, the king's elimination of magic didn't affect him. Mort is rude and sassy, and decided to stay quiet no longer since he determines that Celaena has seen sufficient weirdness to accept him. Once inside the tomb, Celaena finds that Elena is not within, but Mort has a message for her. Naturally, it's a vague, ominous warning that some deadly evil needs to be overcome. She must discover where the King's power comes from and overcome him. Clearly the whole tact we've explored in the last few chapters about defying the king in small, safe ways isn't gonna cut it if she's to fulfill Elena's task. Mort speaks to her about her past and we're again teased with indistinct foreshadowing about her parents' mysterious deaths and her fleeing from her home.

Chapter 7

Celaena decides it's time to make a move on Archer and figure out a way to fake his death. This, ideally, will play into discovering more about the King and the source of his power. She decides to take Chaol along with her to the tearoom where Archer takes lunch every day. She literally bumps into him outside, and he remembers her. Celaena is a bit taken with him and Chaol is very standoffish towards him. Celaena invites Archer to dinner the next night, and he accepts. Chaol is super jealous which is hilarious and adorable.

Chapter 8

Chaol informs Celaena that she has been ordered to be on guard duty at a state dinner that night. Which is always a great look for Celaena, when she can't attend a party. Celaena is thinking about Dorian and how he can't possibly actually like Roland or know anything about his father's nefarious plans. Dorian notices her watching him, and watching Chaol. The way she looks at Chaol makes him furious enough to storm out. She follows him to confront him about Roland, and they end up fighting about their relationship. 

Chapter 9

Celaena visits Kaltain in the dungeons to interrogate her about Roland. Kaltain has been very poorly treated and she reveals that Perrington visits and beats her. Celaena begins to pity the other girl and gives her a cloak to keep her warm in the freezing dungeon. Kaltain finally reveals some information, but it's just crazy ramblings that make no sense.

Celaena's plans to surveil Archer and run with Chaol were canceled due to a sudden snowstorm, so she invites Nehemia to breakfast with her. Nehemia is outraged when Celaena shares the news of Kaltain's treatment in the dungeons and Celaena says she told Chaol about it and he took care of it. Nehemia speculates that once people followed their leaders because they loved and respected them, and wonders if such a court would ever be possible again someday. She believes that Terrasen could be such a place, and Celaena deflects and changes the subject. 

Chapter 10

Dorian and Chaol are in the kennels, avoiding Dorian's little brother Hollin who is the literal worst. He's ten years old and a holy terror. Chaol mentions his own little brother, and we learn that Chaol abdicated his title as Lord of Annielle to come to Rifthold and be the Captain of the Guard. He's alienated from his family, primarily his father, who refuses to even acknowledge him when he comes to court. Chaol also mentions that Celaena is going on a date with Archer that night, and Chaol shows his jealousy. Dorian bristles because it's obvious that Chaol and Celaena want each other, despite all their denials to the contrary.

Celaena dresses is a super vampy dress to meet with Archer, and when she runs into Chaol on the way out, he gets all proprietary and weird on her. Again, jealous. And protective, telling her to be careful. She gets defensive and tells him she'll see him tomorrow, which just riles him up even more.

She meets with Archer, flirt flirt flirt, needle for information. At the end of the evening, he invites her into his home speaking to her of choice. Both of them are trapped in their lives without freedom or choice, and speaking frankly, she decides to finally tell him that the King sent her to kill him.

Chapter 11

Archer tries to bargain for his life and spill his secrets. He says he's heard talk of a group who are working to restore Aelin Galathynius - the lost heir of Terrasen - to the throne. Celaena insists that Aelin is dead, and wonders why, if these rumors are true, Nehemia did not speak to her of this plan before. She tells Archer that she doesn't intend to kill him, and he can either fake his death and leave this night, or he can have 4 weeks to get his affairs in order and in the meantime continue to be her informant. At the end of that time, though, he must fake his death and leave Rifthold forever. Archer agrees to the four weeks, saying it will take time to get to his money, and notes it's a blessing in disguise to get out from under the thumb of his Madame. Archer tells her about a ball the next night at a client's house where she might be able to gather more information about the rebels and traitors. 

Upon returning to the castle, Celaena stops into Chaol's room to make sure he knows she came back that night. She tells him the information that Archer gave her, including about the ball the next night. Chaol keeps telling her to be careful, which she interprets as him not having faith in her to handle her shit, but he tells her it's because he will always care what happens to her.

Chapter 12

At the ball, Archer is helping Celaena with her spying. He gets her into the host's office and she finds a book on Wyrdmarks on his shelf. On the inside of the back cover, she finds a riddle, "It is only with the Eye that one can see rightly." She is discovered by the host, and she pretends to be a weeping woman seeking solitude to try to escape. He grabs her on the way out, giving her a shallow cut with a dagger coated in gloriella, a poison that paralyzes the victim. As the poison works its way into her system, she messily kills him, and flees the house. She races back to the castle, and is faltering on the road back up to castle. She enters through the barracks, making a beeline to Chaol's room. She just makes it to his room, manages to tell him the poison that was used on her, right before she passes out.

Chapter 13

Chaol takes care of Celaena and sends guards into the city to find out what happened. When Celaena awakes after the gloriella wore off, Chaol tells her he won't turn her in for killing Davis, but he will throw her in the dungeon if she ever scares him like that again.

Chapter 14

Celaena finally returns to the library after her previous scare, intending to research what she found in Davis' office. Remembering a story Chaol once told her about a secret hidden library beneath the main one, she goes in search of the secret place where the terrifying thing that was haunting the library last time she was there might be hiding. 

Dorian awakes from a nightmare, his rooms cold enough to make his breath visible. Like Chaol, he was worried about Celaena in her exploits the night before, and lost sleep over it.

Back in the library, Celaena has found another tapestry hiding a secret door on the back wall of the library. After lighting the oil well built into the wall, she descends an ornately decorated stairwell. She finds a room of castle records, but finds another winding staircase decorated by paintings of fae. She knew this stairwell must be unbelievably old and completely unknown to the King and his cronies, otherwise it would have been destroyed. At the end of the stairwell she finds an solid iron door, which of course she tries to open. The door is locked, but when she turns to leave, the Eye of Elena flares in warning. Celaena flattens herself against the ground and uses her dagger to catch a reflection under the door. She sees a pair of eyes looking back at her, but when she looks again they are gone.

Chapter 15

Celaena decides to dine in the great hall that evening because renowned singer Rena Goldsmith was performing in honor of Hollin's return. Relegated to a table of lesser nobles and guards, Celaena finds Chaol sitting with her for dinner. Chatting and teasing among the men, Celaena and Chaol have a comfortable rapport. Rena enters onto the stage and the first song she sings is one that is in blatant defiance of the King, about a fae woman who is used for her power until she falls in love with a knight. Chaol holds her hand under the table as she is overcome with emotion.

Dorian, of course, is watching Celaena and Chaol looking into each other's eyes admiringly.

Later, after the performance, the King and Perrington are present as guards execute Rena Goldsmith for the offense of singing about forbidden magics. Rena reveals that she worked for years to become famous enough to earn an audience with the King, so she could humiliate him in retribution for those she loved who were killed.

Chapter 16

The next morning, Nehemia and Celaena are fighting over Celaena's role as the King's Champion. She was still maintaining her ruse of obeying the King's orders, but finally reveals to Nehemia that she had faked the deaths of those she was ordered to kill. She also tells her about the hidden passageway and takes her to Elena's tomb, telling her about all her interactions with the long-dead queen. While exploring the tomb, they find constellations on the floor, and the Stag, the Lord of the North, is looking at an eye which is a hole in the wall of the room. Looking through the hole, though all she sees is a blank wall on the other side. Looking around at the wyrdmarks, she asks Nehemia if she'll teach her how to read them, and Nehemia agrees. They discuss the mystery of the book in Davis' office, and Archer's promise of information. Phillipa delivers a letter from Archer, with the very information they were discussing. After a day of hunting down more information and surveilling the men from Archer's note in the city, she returns to her rooms to a note from Chaol informing her that she once again has guard duty that night for a royal ball.

Chapter 17

Celaena is in a mood, so Chaol positions her out of sight and keeps an eye on her to make sure she doesn't do anything too reckless. Dorian spends the ball dancing with whatever lady demands his attention. Glancing around for Celaena, Chaol realizes she has left her post. Going after her, he sees her on the balcony, dancing. Getting defensive, Celaena is sputtering and rambling. Chaol finally responds by asking her to dance with him. They share an extremely romantic dance, and once again Dorian is watching them like a creeper. Nehemia comes up next to him while watching, and she warns him not to cause trouble for them. Dorian told her that he had already planned to move on. After this, Nehemia moves on to discussing plans to expand the number of prisoners at Calaculla. She implores him to advocate to shut down the prison camp, and he says he can't do it. As she leaves him, she tells him he has a great power within him, that is sleeping. Dorian is puzzled by her words and the reaction he felt within himself as though something were awaking.

Chapter 18

Celaena visits Archer at his home, coming to ask him for more information. He asks for more time, which she can't give. He also confronts her about her relationship with both the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard, which riles her up enough that she storms out with an ultimatum for him to give her more information at the end of the week.

In the Council meeting, Dorian is appalled by the number of slaves at Calaculla. Evidently the prison cannot support the numbers, so there is a proposal to expand the prison camp to a new mine slightly to the north. He notices that Roland, Perrington, and the King all wear the same black rings. Dorian finds his rage growing and speaks out against the plan, asking if the plan for conquering the world is to just put everyone in Endovier and Calaculla until no one remains. He storms out (super effective!) and tells them his vote is no. Finding himself in an abandoned hall in the stone castle, he punches the wall, which causes the stone to crack and a nearby window to explode. The hit is of course not possible for a mere mortal, and his hand was completely uninjured from the hit. He also has a ring around himself where the glass from the shattered window failed to reach him. But magic can't exist in Adarlan, right?

Back in Chaol's room, Celaena has made herself completely comfortable. These two are so stinking adorable. He teases her for her sweet tooth, and she retorts that she has earned the right to eat whatever she wants. So he brings her a chocolate cake. My heart!

When she leaves Chaol's room, she finds Dorian waiting outside her room. He said he was looking for Nehemia, and won't talk to Celaena about what is bothering him.

Chapter 19

Chaol is giving report the next day to the King and dwelling on how Celaena had made him feel the night before. Chaol describes the security plans for a carnival coming today for Hollin. The King tells Chaol he needs to watch Nehemia, ostensibly for her own safety due to threats received against the princess. He also decides not to tell Nehemia or Celaena about these threats.

Dorian is sparring with the guards, trying to exhaust himself into distraction and sleep. Roland shows up and offers to take him on, and they end up discussing the results of the Council meeting the day before. Roland is trying to position himself as an ally to Dorian, and Dorian seems to be falling for it (ugh). He then goes by the carnival to check it out and runs into Chaol and Celaena also exploring the carnival early. They go by a wagon outside of which sits an old crone with iron claws for nails, offering to tell their fortunes. She is one of the Ironteeth witches named Baba Yellowlegs. Chaol postures and threatens Baba Yellowlegs, which is completely ineffectual, but he felt the need to defend Celaena who was terrified by the witch. 

Dorian leads them to the stables to give Chaol an early birthday present - an Asterion stallion. Celaena tells the boys that she once had an Asterion mare named Kasida that she stole from the Lord of Xandria. She just loves shocking those boys. Dorian asks Chaol what he is doing for his birthday, and Celaena clips out, "We have plans," which immediately puts Dorian back on edge. 

Chapter 20

Celaena decides to go back to the tomb without Nehemia, to see if the amulet will fit into the eyehole in the wall of the tomb. It sort of fits, but it doesn't do anything. Then she throws a fit about stupid riddles and Mort tells her she still hasn't asked the right questions.

Celaena dreams that night of the Lord of the North as she saw him on her way to Endovier. When she awakens, she decides to leave the castle before dawn. Chaol waits for Celaena to join him for their run, and when she doesn't come, he goes up to her room to find her. Instead, Nehemia is there and she tells him that Celaena has taken the day off and has likely left the city entirely. When Chaol asks why, she tells him that it is the tenth anniversary of her parents' death.

Chapter 21

Chaol asks Nehemia if Celaena had told her about her parents, and Nehemia said, no, she didn't tell her, but that she nevertheless knows. She doesn't share with him how she knows though. Chaol leaves to go on his run without her.

Celaena thinks back on previous anniversaries, including the day that she went wild at Endovier and tried to escape. Or rather, when she tried to commit suicide by guard while taking out as many of them as possible.

She returns to her room after midnight to find Chaol waiting for her. She told him not to try to talk to or comfort her, but he asks if he can just stay with her. She softens when she sees that he brought her chocolate cake, and he holds her close, fighting his desire for her.

Chapter 22

Dorian is in the library searching genealogies for other Havilliards with magic. While there had been gifted people marrying into the bloodline, their children did not have magic. But all the way at the top of the family tree is Gavin Havilliard and his bride Elena, the half-fae daughter of Brannon. He then found a book he assumed had been destroyed, a history of the Galathynius line, rife with magic. He then starts thinking of the time he met Aelin Galathynius, when they were both very young. Coming out of his reverie, he decides he should go visit Chaol since it is his birthday, before Celaena whisked him away for their plans. Then he starts telling himself that he is in fact going to let Celaena go and not let this Chaol thing bother him, until suddenly he is surrounded by books flying of their shelves in a rage. He rushes to return the books to their shelves and runs from the library. Then he wisely (uhhh) decides maybe he can find answers from Baba Yellowlegs. As Hermione would say, "What an idiot."

Celaena is getting all nervous about her plans for Chaol's birthday. She meets him in the entrance hall and takes him out to a waiting carriage. When they arrive at their destination, she takes him to a rooftop greenhouse that she had set up for a private, romantic dinner composed of Chaol's favorite dishes. After dinner, they stand at the balcony. Celaena tells Chaol that she has been faking the deaths of the people she is commanded to assassinate. 

Chapter 23

Chaol freaks out on her because he's so afraid of the retribution if the King finds out. She reveals that her eventual intention is to flee the city, and he begins to fear that she would leave him and he'd never see her again. And so he offers to go with her when she leaves. They have their first kiss...and a bit more. She takes him back to her room, and she has her first time with Chaol. These two are so freaking adorable.

Chapter 24

Dorian decided that after chickening out the day before, he finally would go to see Baba Yellowlegs to ask about his magic. Before asking questions about his own fate, however, he asks about the witches' history. Baba Yellowlegs tells him that witches are descendants of the Fae and Valg, a race of demons from another world. Then Dorian gets on to asking about magic in general, and whether one person could be the exception to the rule that magic is gone from the land. She says the real question is why magic is only gone from Adarlan, when there are rumors that it persists in other lands. If one could discover why magic left in the first place, it could illuminate why one person may be the exception.

Celaena tracked the targets that Archer had given her, only to find that the one she had been tailing had led her to the rest of them all escaping on a ship together. Archer sneaks up on her, apologizing for having warned them and leading to their escape. She susses out from something Archer mentioned that he knows of a leader of the rebel group. She demands new information by the next day, or she will present Archer's head to the King. Then she wonders to herself if this group is really well organized, and if they were in fact gathering in Aelin Galathynius' name.

Chaol and Celaena have spent every spare moment together in the four days since his birthday, and reminiscing on their time together has been distracting him from his duties. When she interrupts a meeting and gives him an excuse to exit to be with her, he tells her he doesn't have enough time to make it to her room and back in time for his next meeting, so they find a convenient broom closet to do it in. Bahahahaha. She totally dishes to Nehemia afterwards too. After girl talk, Nehemia shares that the King has demanded that she speak to the rebels to convince them to back down, or he'll butcher them all. She's torn about going back to Eyllwe or staying on in the castle, saying that there are things she needs to do in Rifthold. Nehemia asks her friend to promise her that she will help to free Eyllwe. Celaena is terrified that the King will destroy her friend and her people if they tried, and she refuses. Nehemia accuses her of being selfish and standing for nothing; Celaena retorts that he destroyed her country already, and he would do the same to Eyllwe if they fought. Nehemia tells her she is gods blessed, chosen by Elena, and she must stand up for those who need her. She speaks of her visions and dreams of the horrible things to come, the powers that the King is gathering. Nehemia finally tells Celaena that she selfish and a coward, and storms from the room.

Chapter 25

Cryptic scene with a Queen and a Princess that will make sense when you re-read this series after its conclusion.

Chapter 26

Chaol is out hunting with the King, Perrington, Roland, and Dorian, along with other various lords. The King singles Chaol out to tell him that he is going to interrogate Nehemia and wants Chaol to post guards and keep Celaena away. Dorian comes up to Chaol after and tells him to treat Celaena well. So much for keeping it a secret from him (duh). Chaol didn't tell Celaena what the King said to him, which is obviously going to set up their relationship for some rocky situations going forward. Chaol wonders if perhaps it's a test from the King to see if he'll tell her. Leaving Celaena in his bed, Chaol walks the halls fantasizing about a future with her in which they are married and raising a bunch of hellion children who are too smart and capable for their own good, and he doesn't notice when someone sneaks up behind him and chloroforms him.

Chapter 27

When Celaena wakes up to Chaol having left her in his bed, she goes about her morning as usual. She receives a note from Archer with more intel, and Nehemia doesn't show up for their wyrdmark lesson. She spends the day following up on the names she received from Archer, and when she returned to the castle, Chaol still hasn't shown up. As the night wore on, she gets more and more nervous that he's missing, and she rushes to his room to find a note addressed to her from the rebels, saying they were holding Chaol captive. 

At the warehouse where Chaol is being held captive, he realizes that he is being held ransom to blackmail Celaena into coming for him. He also realizes that the rebels have severely underestimated Celaena.

Chapter 28

Wrapped up in the killing calm, Celaena prepares to attack the warehouse. She takes the captors by storm, killing almost all of them before they can even gather breath. Even Chaol is aghast at her prowess. An old man with the rebels comes forward to halt the massacre, but not all of the rebels agree. One charges her and the fighting begins anew. Archer takes an arrow for Celaena, but she realizes that he is there with the rebels. Finally Archer is able to get through to her, or at least to get her to stop long enough to listen to him. They unchain Chaol and Celaena gives Archer one sentence to convince her not to kill them all. He says, "I have been working with Nehemia to lead these people for the past six months," which is enough to give Celaena pause. Archer sends the other rebels away and gives Celaena more details about the movement in Rifthold. Celaena asks why Nehemia isn't there with them if she's the leader of the group, and Archer tells her to ask Chaol where she is. Archer said that Chaol has known of a threat to Nehemia's life for over a week and hadn't told Celaena, and that he was also ordered to question Nehemia about the rebels. Chaol denies the questioning, but admits to the other accusations, and that the King would be interrogating the Princess. Celaena heartbroken by Chaol's betrayal.

Chapter 29

As Celaena runs back to the castle to save Nehemia before she is tortured to death, she realizes her friend is the one in danger like Sam, not Chaol. Entering through the barracks, she rushes by Dorian in a throng of guards. She's rushing to Nehemia's room, but when she bursts in, all the guards are dead, and Nehemia is lying dead on her bed.

Part II

Chapter 30

Dorian followed Celaena into Nehemia's room, Chaol not far behind him. Realizing that Chaol knew that they were going to do this to her friend, she attacks Chaol. He tries to get through to her, keeping the other guards in the room from intervening, and when he says he is her friend, she responds that he will always be her enemy. Wracked by the vitriol in her statement, he looses control of the hand that holds her dagger, and Celaena very nearly stabs him. But her hand stops as Dorian uses his magic to save his friend, which is dangerous on a whole different level. Another guard comes up behind her and knocks her out.

Chapter 31

Chaol carries Celaena down to the dungeon, Dorian following behind. After they leave, Chaol tells Dorian the whole tale of the betrayal and subterfuge. Dorian tells Chaol that his father had plans to speak to her after dinner, and that he had been in the hall at the time that Nehemia must have been killed. 

Celaena awakens in the dungeon and Kaltain is there taunting her. Celaena realizes that the King isn't the one who killed Nehemia, but she still blames Chaol for not telling her about the threat to Nehemia. She tells Kaltain that they killed Nehemia, and Kaltain responds that she is being forced to accompany Perrington to Morath as his bride, or die. Kaltain tells Celaena that her food and drink are drugged with a sedative, and Celaena takes it willingly. After three days pass, Chaol comes for Celaena. In the past few days, Chaol has been searching for Nehemia's murderer, and although the King wasn't the perpetrator, his blasĂ© attitude towards her death repulses Chaol. When he asks the King what he should do about Celaena, he simply tells him to get her in line. So he takes her to her own rooms, recognizing the impossibility of fixing Celaena and fixing their relationship. 

Chapter 32

Celaena awakens in her own bed, but having missed Nehemia's funeral, she can't rouse herself from her bed. In fact it is several days that Celaena just says in bed, grieving.

Chapter 33

In Calaculla, a slave girl is holding on in the knowledge that Nehemia is fighting in Rifthold for their freedom. As the news passed through the mines that Nehemia is dead, the slaves turn on their overseers. The slave girl among them swings her pickaxe into the gut of the nearest guard.

Chapter 34

Ress reports to Chaol that Celaena has finally gotten out of bed, and is now just sitting in front of the fire all day, then goes back to bed. Ress suggests the same thing Phillipa did, that Chaol should try to talk to her. But he insists on giving her the space she needs, and guarding her in the meantime. Meanwhile, debate continues among the Council about how to handle the escalating situation in Eyllwe following Nehemiah's death. So dire is the situation that the King has called all his Lords and advisors to Rifthold, including Chaol's estranged father.

Dorian is being followed around by guards everywhere he went, and the Queen and Hollin were sequestered in her rooms. Many nobles had fled Rifthold now that the castle had been proven not to be impregnable, but Roland remained behind to supposedly support Dorian. In Council meetings, Roland supported every motion Dorian made, including one that they should publicly apologize to Nehemia's parents for her death. While that last suggestion was rejected, Dorian still wrote to them with condolences, in direct defiance of his father's wishes. In fact, Dorian finds himself defying his father more and more, and it seems to correlate with the growth of his power. However, he realizes that every use of his power had been tied to great emotion and he can't control it. Too bad the one person who may have been able to help him had just been killed.

Celaena only moved to the chair from the bed so that Phillipa could change her sheets and remove the last traces of Chaol in her room. As she sits in front of the fire for so many days, she begins to draw conclusions about Nehemia's killer. She believes that one of the champions from the contest that she so recently won, Grave, was the assassin hired to murder Nehemia. She recognizes his style, and his familiarity with the castle and his target would have made infiltration easier. 

Chapter 35

Deciding to go after Grave, she goes through the hidden tunnels to retrieve weapons, including Damaris from Elena's tomb. Then she leaves the castle through the sewer tunnel she previously found, going down into Rifthold to track Grave. She goes to the Vaults, a centralized underworld know for fighting pits, criminal havens, gambling, drinking, and brothels. 

Going to the bar in the Vaults, the barkeep recognizes Celaena and asks her how she escaped from Endovier. She asks about Grave, and when she finds him at a tavern, he flees from her. Still somehow thinking he will be able to get the best of her, Grave manages to back himself into a dead end alley. Unsurprisingly, she kicks his ass, tortures him, and questions him about who hired him to kill Nehemia.

Chapter 36

Celaena returns to the castle to return Grave's head to the minister who hired him, witnessed by the King, Dorian, and Chaol along with the rest of the Council. She also provided the King with a list of names of rebels that Archer provided to her. Both Dorian and Chaol are horrified by her behavior and seeming change of personality, as she leaves the council chambers.

Celaena has one more person to see before she can be finished with her revenge, and so she visits Archer's home. She confronts him about why he kidnapped Chaol, and he said he needed her to hear from him how he had betrayed her. Celaena confirms that the names on the list that she gave the king were all dead, slain by her own hand. Archer tries to convince Celaena to take Nehemia's place as the head of the rebellion. But she refuses, saying that Archer has 5 days to finalize his plans to leave the capitol. She still blames him, saying if he hadn't pulled the stunt with Chaol, she would have been there to protect Nehemia.

Chaol is facing his father for the first time in five years, and it's just about as horrible as you would expect. The Lord of Anielle is a Class A Asshat™. He makes snide comments about Chaol's mother, brother, lover, and position as Captain of the Guard. In less than five minutes, Chaol is storming out of the meeting.

Chapter 37

Celaena goes to Nehemia's room to pack up her belongings. Proceeding to Nehemia's desk, she finds stacks of papers and books covered in wyrdmarks and notes in Eyllwe. One of the books she finds is the same book she found in Davis' office, with the same riddle in the back cover. Feeling betrayed again, she realizes that Nehemia had lied to her about not knowing what the riddle meant, and lied to her about her involvement with the rebel group to which Davis belonged. Finally, she understands something from the riddle and proceeds post haste to the tomb.

The eye from the riddle was the one on Damaris' pommel. As she holds it up to the hole in the tomb wall and sees a poem there. Oh goody, more riddles. This one describes the hiding place of three powerful objects. In discussing it with Mort, he lets slip that Nehemia knew about the tomb before Celaena took her down there. She is beginning to realize that her friend kept a great many important facts from her, despite her vow to have no more secrets between them.

Elena visits Celaena to comfort her in her mourning for Nehemia. There was one last thing for Celaena to do to grieve her friend. She goes to Nehemia's grave and sings the ancient songs of mourning from Terrasin to honor her fallen friend. Chaol had followed her, and approached her after her song was finished. When she didn't respond, he accepted her silence and condemnation, and quietly retreated. 

Chapter 38

Celaena and Fleetfoot go on their morning walk without Nehemia, and she has to tell her dog that her friend is never coming back.

Dorian is still searching for information about his magic, to no avail. Celaena comes upon him in the library and amid their awkward conversation, Fleetfoot interrupts having stolen a scroll from a librarian. Celaena apologizes to Dorian for her behavior of late.

Chaol is also hiding in the library, and he comes upon Celaena and Dorian talking in the library. He's torn, happy that she's talking, but upset that she isn't talking to him. A librarian who finds him wandering complains about Fleetfoot stealing his personal letter. Chaol asks how to look up funeral dirges in the library, intending to figure out what Celaena sang at the cemetery. The librarian mentioned that in the high court of Terrasen, they used to sing their dirges in the language of the fae. Chaol deduces that Celaena must be of noble Terrasen blood.

Chapter 39

Celaena goes to surveil Archer's townhouse, where the remaining rebels are meeting. After observing for awhile, she decides not to follow any of them as they leave, deciding she doesn't care enough.

Returning to the castle, Celaena is debating whether to accept Dorian's invitation to dinner. She decides to go, visiting his tower for the first time. She's impressed by the casual setting, covered in books and a bit of a mess. Dorian asked why she decided to come, after having been so cold to him, and she says she had nowhere else to go.

Going to the tomb the next day, Celaena is frustrated by the riddle still. She speculates that perhaps there are other ancient beings besides Mort out there, one of which may be able to help her decipher the clues.

Chapter 40

Celaena decides to seek out Baba Yellowlegs to ask about the riddle. Great idea, Celaena, sheesh. Yellowlegs scoffs at the offered coin, but offers to sell Dorian's questions along with the answers to her own. Instead, she offers to double the price in exchange for the witch's silence about Dorian's secrets.

Yellowlegs takes her inside the caravan, which is covered in mirrors and bigger on the inside. They reach a hearth where the witch invites her to ask her questions. Celaena reads the riddle, and the witch immediately recognized it. She says the riddle is about wyrdkeys, to open the wyrdgate. When she doesn't expound on the answer, Celaena asks her to name her price. "Nameless is my price," but gold will suffice. She goes on to describe the Wyrd, the foundation of the world, of other worlds. Gates allow brings from other worlds to pass through. She describes the Valg coming through to fight against the fae. How the Valg created the 3 keys, and the fae retrieved the keys. But there was no way for Maeve, the fae queen, to destroy the keys, and so she had them separated and hidden by Brandon Galathynius. The keys are sought by many - Nehemiah and her rebels, the King of Adarlan, and who knows how many others. Even one key would give immense and dangerous power, but possessing all three would make the bearer catastrophic.

Celaena suspects that the King already possessed at least one key, which have him the power to banish magic and conquer kingdoms. Having gotten the information she sought, Celaena plans to kill Yellowlegs to protect Dorian's secrets.

Chapter 41

Chaol and Dorian stand watching the carnival being disbanded. Chaol had made a list of noble houses of Terrasen, speculating on which Celaena might belong to. Dorian forces Chaol to ask what's on his mind, and he of course asks how Celaena is doing. Dorian says she is coping, and admits he started pursuing her partly because he noticed right away how Chaol felt about her. He says she is capable of making up her own mind, and she did. About both of them. Chaol and Dorian agree that it would be best to get Celaena out of Adarlan if at all possible.

After an extensive fight in which Yellowlegs disarms Celaena and uses the creepy mirrors to her advantage, Celaena eventually manages to kill the witch by beheading her with her own axe.

Chapter 42

As soon as she enters the tomb, Mort knows that Celaena killed Baba Yellowlegs. He warns her that she has made an enemy of the Ironteeth witches. Thinking of the wyrdkeys, Celaena plans to find The Walking Dead, the book that could give her the unlocking spell she needs to open the door at the bottom of the secret staircase.

Chaol goes to visit Celaena but she's not in her room. He sees the wyrdmarks on some papers and is drawn in to investigate, and in the process  he sees an updated copy of Celaena's will, signed two days before Nehemia's death, in which she named Chaol her beneficiary. She comes in to catch him looking at it, and she tells him she's not going to change it. He also takes the will as proof not only of her feelings for him, but also that she never intended to betray the King, for if she died a traitor all of her belongings would default to the crown. With that realization, his suspicion of her disappears and the emotion of his loss overwhelms him.

Chapter 43

After Chaol leaves, Celaena is left alone in front of her pianoforte, but she does not play.

An hour later she goes to the secret hidden staircase, having found The Walking Dead and the spell to unlock the door almost immediately upon entering the library. She unlocks the door at the bottom of the staircase, and finds...another staircase. At the bottom, a hallway lined with doors to cells greets her, with another solid iron door at the end, facing her. Ninty-nine numbered cells line this dungeon hall. She opens this door with the same spell,  another staircase, another hallway, this time with sixty-six cells and another passage to another hallway. The third hallway has thirty-three cells, the fourth has twenty-two, constantly turning righ in an ever descending spiral, eleven cells, then nine, then three. In this last hall, doors have been blown apart and open, as though something had escaped. The last door forward had only one door and a spiral staircase that leads upward. The further into the dungeon she descends the more her head pounds, and here at the center it is the worst. She ascends the spiral staircase and her headache increases, and she realizes she is in the clocktower from the courtyard and the building is made of the same stone as the rings that the King, Perrington, and Roland wear.

Chapter 44

Dorian had followed her into the library's catacombs and secret dungeons. His magic is screaming at him to get out and he tries to cry out for Celaena to get her out. Celaena for her part is retreating from the hideous clocktower and realizes she isn't alone. The Eye of Elena is glowing, warning her of nearby danger.

Celaena strikes out at the creature stalking her, then sprints away as it follows her. She realizes that the creature can use wyrdmarks and that nothing would be able to contain it.

Celaena encounters Dorian as she's fleeing and they run away together. They barricade the final door, and Dorian's magic seals the door. Dorian nearly burns out trying to weld the door closed, and Celaena realizes that Dorian's magic defies everything she thought she knew. Celaena sends Dorian to retrieve The Walking Dead, and she searches for a spell for binding. They open the door to allow the creature out to bind and decapitate it. Then Celaena does some overkill and shoves the head and body down the staircase.

Back in the tower, Celaena explains herself first while Dorian changes his bloody clothes. Celaena suspects the king used the keys to create the tower and creature, since the monster had a human heart. When it's Dorian's turn, he doesn't have much to share. Other than the fact that it seems to come out when he's extremely emotional and he has little to no control over it.

Chapter 45

Celaena goes to see Kaltain in the dungeons, since the Rompier family was one of those listed in Dorian's research with a legacy of magic. But when she gets there, Kaltain is gone, taken by Perrington to Morath.

Celaena tests the door and finds is still sturdy and locked. She devises a plan to be sent abroad on a mission which would serve as cover for her search for the wyrdkeys.

Chapter 46

Celaena realizes the inscription on Elena's tomb is an anagram, "I am the first," referring to the first wyrdkey. Unfortunately, this happens to be the first key that the King found as well. She realizes that this is how the King stifled magic all those years ago as well. Mort speculates that he likely couldn't suppress all magic with just one key, so he likely has two.

Desiring to speak with Nehemia about what she knew, what her plans were, and to say a final goodbye, Celaena decides to open a portal to speak to her late friend. Super good idea.

Dorian dreams of Gavin, warning him that Celaena is about to do something really stupid. Dorian wakes up and rushes to the secret passageways to stop her.

Chapter 47

Celaena is drawing the wyrdmarks for the portal, then reads the hateful spell aloud. Nehemia appears in the gate, and chides her for opening the portal and warns her against opening it again. Then she says that she knew she was going to die and that the accepted her fate. Suddenly, Archer arrives.

Chapter 48

Nehemia told Archer about the hidden tunnels, and he had been watching them since the night of Nehemia's death. Archer is greedy for the magic and the spells in the Walking Dead, and wants to use the wyrdkeys rather than destroying them or putting them back in the gate. Leading Archer down his self-serving path, she gets him to admit that Nehemia left the movement a week before her death, and that he was the one who hired Grave to kill Nehemia, posing as the Councilor. He admits that he kidnapped Chaol to get her away from the castle, and he planted the threat against Nehemia's life to undercut her faith in Chaol. He even admits that Arobyn confided in him her true identity. Having heard all she needs to, she attacks Archer, but he deflects at the last minute. Then they hear something coming out of the portal from behind them.

Chaol decides he needs to speak to Celaena, and as he gets ready to leave, Dorian arrives and rushes them both off to her rooms. Dorian tells Chaol about his dream, and when they enter her rooms, they see the hidden door standing open. Hearing an inhuman growl and a very human scream, both men rush to her aid. They arrive at the gate, with an unbelievable scene before them - a portal to another world, a monster, Celaena on the ground, and Archer reading from the Walking Dead.

Chapter 49

Awakening from being knocked out by the creature, Celaena finds Chaol fighting the monster, Archer chanting a spell form the book, and Dorian helping her. Archer sprints away with the book, but Celaena doesn't want to leave Chaol to fight the monster alone. But then the monster turned on Fleetfoot, dragging her into the portal. Chaol immediately followed to protect the dog. Celaena follows them in and she transforms into her fae form, as her magic is no longer bound in this other land. 

Chapter 50

Suddenly having access to her powers, she throws her fire at the creature. She stands between Chaol, protecting Fleetfoot, and the monster. Telling Chaol to leave through the portal, Celaena stands to fight the creature. She feeds her fire into the sword and stabs Damaris into the earth to create a giant fissure. The expenditure of magic knocks her back into her human form and Chaol drags her back through the portal. Celana's magic is spent, but she turns to Dorian to have him close the portal. She uses his blood to draw the sealing spell, closing the portal, and indicating to Chaol that both of his friends have magic in their blood.

Celaena goes after Archer to the exit through the sewer tunnel.

Chapter 51

Coming upon him, she finds he's trapped by the sewer grate having closed him in. They fight, sparring physically and verbally. When she has him entirely at a disadvantage, she decides to let him leave with his life. He taunts her one last time, and she turns and runs him through.

Chapter 52

Chaol witnesses Celaena killing Archer, and he once again begins to doubt the woman he knew and loved. Back in Celaena's rooms, a healer tends to Fleetfoot and the three sort-of-friends. After all three had been helped, Celaena sends Dorian away so she could talk to Chaol alone. 

Celaena tells Chaol about her ancestry, and what her magic was like before it disappeared ten years before. Chaol tells her he won't give her away. She tells him that Archer admitted his plot to have Nehemia killed, but she still can't quite trust him. Chaol is almost ready to reconcile with her when she withdraws again, and says she has to get Archer's body to give him to the King.

Chaol goes to his father to enlist him in his plan to send Celaena to Wendlyn, in exchange for him returning to Annielle with his father.

Chapter 53

Celaena goes to Dorian's tower to tell him the story of what happened with Archer. She also understands at last that Dorian is nothing like his father, and would make a valuable ally in her dream of a better world.

Chaol presents his plan to the King and he sees the merits of sending his champion abroad. Dorian seems angry with Chaol for this proposition. When Celaena is summoned she accepts the mission, and she will leave the next day.

Celaena goes back to the tomb, where Elena meets her and tells her she should go to Wendlyn to visit Doranelle and the fae. Chaol is trying to save her the only way he knows how.

Chapter 54

Dorian confronts Chaol about his plan, and Chaol makes him think that he wants Celaena gone to protect the King, not to protect Celaena. This has the added bonus of making Dorian angry enough not to fight to keep Chaol there when he has to return to Anielle.

Celaena goes to Nehemia's grave and promises to avenge her and restore her kingdom.

Chapter 55

Dorian goes to Celaena's room to say goodbye, and they have finally reconciled as friends. Celaena promises that she'll come back for him, to save him from his father's court. Celaena also has to leave Fleetfoot behind, injured as she is. She doesn't stop to say goodbye to Chaol, but he comes to the docks to see her off. She tells him that she has to return eventually, otherwise the King will kill him. She tells him the entire story of the wyrdkeys and that the king has one of them. She gives him the Eye of Elena for protection. She gives him a clue to his identity and tells him that she would always have chosen him. He tells her he loves her as she rushes to board the ship and it pushes off. 

Chapter 56

The clue that Celaena gave Chaol about her past was the date of her parent's death. Looking through the Chronicles of the royal houses of Terrasen, he finds the date refers to the death of the King and Queen of Terrasen, then he sees the family tree showing that Aelin Galathynius's great grandmother was the fae Queen Mab. Finally he puts it together that Celaena is Aelin Galathynius, and he just sent her to her closest allies in Wendlyn.

The End