So I’m a part of a few Facebook fan groups that are dedicated to A Court of Thorns and Roses series and they are amazing and it’s so great to see so many fans dedicated to a series and sharing their thoughts and views, art and crafts, cosplays, tattoos and just sharing the wonder that is the ACOTAR series together. One of the topics that appear regularly is Tamlin and there are mixed feelings about the character on both sides. I feel the need to talk about him.
Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, is a topic that needs to be discussed.
In ACOTAR, most of the readers warm up to Tamlin pretty quickly and are happy to see Feyre get together with him and to get her fairytale ending. I know that I was the first time, maybe even the second time that I read the first book. However, by the third time I read the book and I really started to think about Tamlin’s character I started to see the flaws that were so apparent from the beginning. Is Tamlin really the tragic hero of the series? It feels like he may actually be, set up to collapse from the beginning. Let’s take a look;
In ACOTAR, he sends his sentries into the human land to find a human girl with hate in her heart. He sends his OWN sentries to their death and does not seem to feel much remorse about such a thing. I understand that it is in an attempt to combat the blight but, really, he’s the one that has been cursed and so should he not be the one trying to find such a human? He sacrifices Andreas and countless others in the attempt, Fae who have lives and family and friends. I understand that Feyre was the one to kill him but by a third of the way through the book she feels the remorse, understands that she killed someone’s son and friend, that she took him away from life because of the hatred that shrouded her own heart. Tamlin does not appear to feel the same.
Then we consider the loophole that Tamlin opens for Feyre when he comes to claim Feyre’s life for taking Andreas which he didn’t have to do. However, by sparing her, he is using her to break the curse placed on him without her being aware of it.
Let me make this clear for you, girl: you can either come live at my home in Prythian- offer your life for the wolf’s in that way- or you can walk outside right now and be shredded to ribbons. Your choice.
And we learn very quickly that he has a strong personality, and a huge sense of independence, but struggles to talk to others and making friends. He shows a kindness towards humans, caring for Feyre’s family after she leaves without being asked. So he shows compassion where none was expected of him.
And so Feyre and Tamlin fall in love and they do fall in love. There was affection and kindness and safety and for them both and, for that time, it worked for them. He started to provide her with the time and space to paint and be herself for the first time in her life, he allowed her to relax. He gave her what she had wanted for herself but I honestly don’t believe that he was trying. He won her heart but when he did, he stopped trying.
He does try to protect her from Amarantha and Rhysand. Well, he begs but there is very little of a proactive response in regards to her safety until he eventually sends her back to the human realm, but in doing so he condemns the whole of Prythian to the terror of Amarantha’s reign. That shows the selfish side of love, doesn’t it? To condemn it all so the woman you love can live her life?
Finally, for ACOTAR, let’s look at how Tamlin was under the mountain. A long story short, he does nothing to help her. Hell, Lucien’s mother does more to help her than Tamlin. He sits beside her throne throughout all of it and does nothing and he must have known, he must have known that she would die under the mountain. And let’s face it she would have died without Rhysand. Rhysand fights for her, pushes her and keeps her from falling so far into that dark abyss that she would never pull herself out again. But it still wasn’t enough to save her. Amarantha snaps her neck and Rhysand fights, and Tamlin only retaliates when his power has been fully restored. But Feyre only lives because of Rhys. She is made immortal because of Rhys. Not Tamlin.
However, Tamlin does love Feyre.
I know that one of the big inspirations behind the story is that of Beauty and the Beast, a story most know and love, and it depends on how you look at the story. Who is the Beast? For me, the Beast was always Tamlin and not simply because of his beast form. Belle trades herself for her father’s freedom and stays with the Beast as retribution for her father stealing a rose. Much in the same way, Feyre becomes Tamlin’s prisoner because she kills Andreas to stop he family from starving. The Beast is cruel and cold in the beginning before he eventually allows the warmth of love to spread into his heart, into his life. That love is what pushes him to send her away, to her father.
In ACOMAF, it doesn’t get better. He proposes to Feyre between ACOTAR and ACOMAF and it appears that is it an easy fix to settle the Spring Court inhabitants, to give them love and happiness and healing in a time when Prythian needs it most. However, as we move through the first part of the book, we see that it is actually a means to an end, that a lot of the wedding isn’t for love but instead is for appearance to show a strong and unified Court. But just as in ACOTAR, he smothers her with materialistic things in a hope to placate her, to soothe and settle a troubled and damaged heart. He does not understand his lover. He does not comfort her after she wakes to throw up her guts from nightmares, does not allow her comfort him when his nightmares shake him so terribly. honestly, how could he expect her to walk away from that experience with no damage to her heart or soul?
A Court of Mist and Fury really defines Tamlins outrageous need for control. He pushes her away from everything of importance after she shows that she is capable of helping after she saves his damn court. He locks her in that spring gilded Manor. He watches her break and crack and still does not seem to understand that she would have left him anyway had the Night Court not saved her.
I mean, a lot of this overlooks the obvious internal struggles that he faces on a regular basis. Just like Feyre, he is plagued by nightmares and fears and these demons have wormed their way into Tamlin’s attitudes and actions towards people. He was forced into the role of High Lord through some horrible events, as was Rhysand. However, they both show the different ways of coping. Everyone deals with their demons in different ways but the ways that Tamlin acts isn’t an acceptable way to treat others.
“I’m thinking that I was a lonely, hopeless person, and I might have fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety.”
And Tamlins need for control goes further, his need to control Feyre. Even though she tells him that she left him, that she was safe and well but would not be returning to the Spring Court, he still refuses to believe. He sends Lucien to find her and even when she tells him, points an arrow at his throat, Tamlin still refuses to accept.
And to wrap up ACOMAF, we have Hybern. Where to start? Allying with the enemy? Opening his borders to allow the humans to be massacred? Betraying his own kind? Selling out his ex-lovers family? Refusing to accept a mating bond? And then after all of this his belief that Feyre is his, that he sold out everyone to reclaim a lover that did not want to be reclaimed? Tamlin is setting himself up to be our tragic hero, he is setting himself up to fall. And fall he does.
In ACOWAR, we might feel slight sympathy for Feyre setting up the Spring Court to fall but it doesn’t overlook the fact that he has been nothing short of insufferable and selfish. He allows Hybern into his land, allows Ianthe back after everything and still believes that the ones not to be trusted are Rhysand and his court.
Even Feyre, who has been betrayed and stolen away from her mate even shows compassion and mercy, regardless of the wrongdoings played against her. She reaches back for Lucien regardless of how he allowed her to be locked up by Tamlin. It just continues to show that Tamlin continuously misses the opportunities to do the right thing.
We also learn that Tamlin refused to participate in the Great Rite on Calanmai after Feyre leaves the Spring Court, which is fair because he loved Feyre (he did). He believed her to have been abducted by the Night Court. However, we learn that, because of this refusal to participate in the Great Rite, Lucien takes his place and Ianthe had insisted that it should be her that he performed the Rite with (who better to take part with than a priestess, right?). Because of such actions, it gave Ianthe the feeling of entitlement to Lucien afterwards, which almost resulted in Ianthe taking Lucien against his will after binding him to a tree had Feyre not intervened. Tamlin did not consider the consequences of his actions and, although Tamlin would not have considered such an outcome, he did not consider the effect of not performing the Rite would have on his Court.
Alice informs Feyre that he kills the sentries working the day ay Feyre left the Spring Court. This would never have happened had Tamlin realised that Feyre needed space, something which she told him and was met with physical resistance every time.
For the majority of the final book, he acts like a scorned, bitter child. Looking at the gathering of the High Lords, even Beron was more accommodating than Tamlin was at that point. And he ends up sneaking back into Hybern’s skirts anyway.
It was only at the very, very last moment does he begin to redeem himself when he allows Az and Feyre to escape Hybern’s camp and then again when he shows up at the battle and gives a kernel of his power to save Rhysand to give Feyre the love and happiness that she has been fighting for so desperately. By the very end, he realises that she loves Rhysand and tells her to be happy.
Is it enough to rewrite all the wrongs? It’s a start. He has a lot of wrongs to fix and it has taken countless hurdles along his path for him to finally trip only to realise that he has been overlooking the important things in life. I hope that in the novellas to come that we hear about Tamlin and I hope that when we do that we see healing and mending because he isn’t irredeemable, there is good in him.
So let me know what you think in the comments below, and tell me of any other points you think I might have missed!