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Literature / A Court of Thorns and Roses

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A Court of Thorns and Roses is a series by Sarah J Maas.

The series:

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
  2. A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
  3. Wings and Embers (2016, a novella and interquel)
  4. A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017)
  5. A Court of Frost and Starlight (2018)

This series contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Amarantha murders dozens of Winter Court children to punish the adults.
  • Anachronism Stew: Feyre hunts with a bow and arrow, but somehow flushing toilets simultaneously. On top of that, there are frequent occurences of a clearly anachronistic language, such as "pissy".
  • An Ice Person: Kallias, the High Lord of the Winter Court, has powerful ice magic.
  • Anything That Moves: Helion isn't too picky as to who or how many accompany him in bed.
  • Attempted Rape: Feyre stumbles upon Lucien chained to a tree as Ianthe ignores his protests and strips him.
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  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Mostly played straight in that the High Lord tends to be the strongest fae of their court by design. The only exception being Amren.
  • Bad Dreams: Feyre is pretty clearly experiencing some post-traumatic stress in A Court Of Mist and Fury. Rhys as well. See the Badass Normal and Rape as Drama entries for why.
  • Badass in Distress: During the chapters in A Court of Mist and Fury where Hybern manages to shoot down and poison Rhysand.
  • Badass Normal: Feyre establishes herself beautifully over the course of the first book. The defining moment is probably her fighting a massive, carnivorous worm while trapped in a labyrinthine maze and defeating it with only quick thinking and clever timing. People are still talking about it in the second book.
  • Becoming the Mask: Feyre and Rhys pretending to be lovers for the benefit of Amarantha, and then the Nightmare Court. The lines of real and fake get blurred pretty quickly.
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  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Nesta and Cassian have a lot of feelings for one another, with frustration being the most prominent one.
  • Big Brother Bully: Nesta, especially in book one. She gets better.
  • Broken Bird: Many of the female characters, especially Feyre.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Seemingly a favorite pasttime of everyone in Hybern.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Rhysand and the Court of Dreams.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: A running theme. Under the Mountain resembles the Capitol in its elegant brutality, and while the Autumn Court isn't evil per se, it is highly political and quite a swamp to navigate, even for a particularly scrappy human. The Nightmare Court is also this, duplicitously, so Rhys can keep up the illusion that he's a languid, hedonistic bastard.
  • Death by Origin Story: Rhysand and Tamlin's parents and siblings died in a feud between their two families.
  • Disability Immunity: Lucien's artificial eye is able to see through glamours.
  • Distressed Dude: Tamlin is Feyre's at the climax of A Court of Thorns and Roses. See the Badass Normal entry for how she handles it.
  • Domestic Abuse: Suggested to occur behind closed doors between Beron and Lucien's mom.
  • The Dragon: Rhysand to Amarantha. It's a front.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: the Suriel
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It's no exaggeration when Feyre says she destroyed herself to save Tamlin.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bryaxis is so horrible that just looking at it can make people drop dead from fright. It is also never described.
  • End of an Era: When Hybern tears down the wall.
  • Entitled to Have You:
    • Ianthe's attitude towards men in general.
    • The more Feyre slips away from him, the most Tamlin develops this attitude. At the point that it can no longer be denied that she doesn't love him anymore, he suggests that for having sheltered her and supported her family, she owed him her affection.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The King of Hybern is only referred to as The King of Hybern, despite being the main antagonist of The Court of Mist and Fury and The Court of Wings and Ruin.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After their time Under The Mountain, Feyre finds Tamlin's efforts to protect her to be controlling and emotionally neglectful. When she rejects him, he then goes so far as to hurt her friends and family trying to get her back.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Rhys kisses Feyre without her consent in the first book to protect her from Amarantha's anger.
  • Fallen Princess: Feyre the impoverished merchant's daughter.
  • Family of Choice: The Night Court's relationship with one another.
  • Fantastic Arousal: Wing-touching for Illyrians. According to Rhysand, Illyrian males can reach orgasm solely through that if it's done right.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and fae. In the fae realm the high fae also look down at lesser fae.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Amarantha.
  • Good All Along: Rhysand. Also Jurian in the third book.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The entirety of the Night Court.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Tamlin is not a pleasant ally to work with once he accepts that Feyre willingly left him for Rhysand.
  • Heel Realization: Lucien refers to himself as "the villain in [Feyre's] narrative," upon seeing how she lives in Night Court.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • Amren. She's an incredibly old being from another dimension who is somehow magically constrained, keeping her powers tamped down. Even with her powers tamped down, she's terrifying. Also she drinks blood.
    • Both the Bone Carver and the Weaver also qualify.
  • I Gave My Word: Promises are Serious Business, considering their world depends on one.
    [I]n our miserable human world—shielded only by the promise made by the High Fae five centuries ago—in our world where we'd forgotten the names of our gods, a promise was law; a promise was currency; a promise was your bond.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Nesta and Elain take it poorly when they're turned into fae.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Tamlin and Rhysand are both willing to give Feyre up if it means letting her be safe with her loved ones.
  • Immortality Inducer: A bath in the cauldron can turn a human into a high fae.
  • Immortality Seeker: The human queens ally with Hybern to gain access to the cauldron's ability to grant immortality.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Azriel. He gets better.
  • Impractically Fancy Clothes: Feyre's Pimped-Out Dress in A Court of Mist and Fury.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Many of the Fae are depicted as such, especially the High Fae.
  • Interspecies Romance: All over the place between humans ad various fae.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucien makes it no secret that he despised Feyre and wouldn't mind her getting killed when she first comes to live in Prythian, in no small part due to the feeling being mutual. However, he later grows to genuinely care for her and tries to be a good friend.
  • Land of Faerie: Prythian is separated from the human realm by a magical barrier. The land is broken into various courts, ruled over by fae High Lords.
  • Magitek: Lucien's eye and Nuan's hand.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Lucien takes after his mother in enough ways that it's not immediately obvious whether he's the son of her husband, or the man she was having an affair with at the time.
  • May–December Romance: Feyre to either Tamlin or Rhysand.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Feyre Archeron. By the end of book one, she's become one of the High Fae, and by the end of book two, she is the High Lady of the Night Court. "Acheron" was one of the five rivers of the underworld in Greek mythology.
    • Tamlin himself shares the name of the eponymous Tam Lin of Scottish folk tales, also one of The Fair Folk who falls in love with a human and fears retribution from a fae queen.
    • Morrigan, noted to have fought with humanity and have powers of truth, shares the name of Irish Mythology figures associated with battle, fate and truth.
    • Lucien's name comes from the Roman name "Lucius" which means "light". Fittingly, he is likely the product of an affair between his mother and the high lord of the Day Court, Helion.
  • Mind Rape: How Feyre responds to the situation when she catches Ianthe about to actually rape Lucien.
  • The Mole :
    • Rhysand looks for ways to take Amarantha down from within while forced to serve her.
    • Feyre, after Tamlin's betrayal. She pretends to still be in love with him while manipulating events to turn Tamlin's followers against him and spark a civil war.
    • Tamlin and Jurian both pretend to ally with Hybern over obsession for lovers who jilted them in order to spy and weaken him from within.
  • Never Learned to Read: Feyre is borderline literate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Feyre masterfully devolves Tamlin's court into a civil war after he hurts her family and allies with Hybern. Too bad Tamlin was still on their side in the war and was only acting as The Mole. His men turning against him makes Spring Court fall immediately to Hybern's forces, and his court just happens to be the one to share its border with the wall Hybern wants to bring down.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Many of the High Lords, who govern and protect their lands.
  • Oh My Gods!: Characters regularly exclaim "by the Cauldron!" or refer to "the Mother".
  • Parental Abandonment: Feyre's mother intrusted her with taking care of the family on her death bed. A wise choice, since her father shuts down after losing his fortune and does nothing to provide for his children.
  • Phantasy Spelling: "faerie"/"fae".
  • Playing with Fire: Lucien, as well as the rest of his family.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: By killing Andras in the first chapter, Feyre meets the qualification to break Tamlin's curse. He wastes no time in whisking her away to his court.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Illyrians. Childhood in that legacy is....rough, to say the least.
  • Purple Eyes: Rhys has violet/blue eyes that are often remarked upon as unique and striking. He is also noted to be the most powerful High Lord in history, and the first who isn't of "pure" High Fae blood.
  • Questionable Consent: Lucien willingly participates in Calanmai with Ianthe, but only out of a sense of duty towards Spring Court. Everything about his attitude towards her and the incident suggests that he didn't want any part in it.
  • Rape as Drama: Rhys and Amarantha's arrangement. That lasted decades. Despite Amarantha's beauty, it's made abundantly clear that it wasn't an enjoyable experience for him. In A Court of Mist and Fury, he confesses that almost all his nightmares are about her, either that he's back in her bed, or one of his friends is, and he's powerless to help. Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male, SJM has no time for you.
  • Really 700 Years Old: As a rule, the High Fae tend to look like young adults. All of the High Fae who appear in the series, with the exception of Feyre, Tarquin, Nesta, and Elain are all actually centuries old.
  • Redemption Demotion: Lucien goes from being Tamlin's right-hand man to a freeloader in Night Court eager to find some way to make himself useful.
  • Romantic False Lead: Tamlin in the first book.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Tamlin. Rhys is especially devoted to the well-being of his land.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Happens to Rhys a few times.
  • Shapeshifter: Tamlin's main power.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Rhys is frequently mentioned to be smartly dressed, making him the time period equivalent of this trope.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Multiple female characters, but most prominently Nesta and Mor.
  • Ship Sinking: If Feyre becoming Rhysand's mate and acknowledging that her love with Tamlin turned toxic isn't enough, Tamlin allying with Hybern and inadvertently getting her sisters abducted certainly cements that he's no longer a romantic option.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Rhys and his "Feyre darling". Later becomes an actual term of endearment.
  • Token Minority: Mor, Helion, Thesan, Nephelle and her wife, and the two unnamed Mortal Queens are the only non-straight characters in the series.
  • That Man Is Dead: Feyre declares that the girl she was in the first book died Beneath The Mountain.
  • Tranquil Fury: Most of the characters tend to express anger in this fashion.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The fate of Brannagh and Dagdan in The Court of Wings and Ruin.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Feyre doesn't put any thought into who else she'll hurt in her quest for revenge against Tamlin, which both Tamlin and Lucien are quick to call her on.
  • Whole Plot Reference: A Court of Thorns and Roses is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and later Cupid and Psyche, A Court of Mist and Fury by Persephone, and A Court of Wings and Ruin by Snow White.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Feyre deliberately provokes Tamlin to the point of lashing out at her in A Court of Wings and Ruin in order to gain Lucien's (and the rest of Spring Court's) sympathy against him.
  • You Are Too Late: With a book and a half spent trying to prevent the wall from falling, it collapses days before the cast would have been ready to reinforce it.

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