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"Once upon a time," she said to him, to the world, to herself, "in a kingdom long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom.....very much."

Heir of Fire, Aelin to Rowan

Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, also known as Celaena Sardothien, is the lost princess and Queen of Terrasen, and the last surviving member of the Galathynius line.

Biography

Early Life

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius was born to Rhoe Galathynius and his wife, Evalin Ashryver, in Orynth. For the first eight years of her life, she lived as the Princess of Terrasen. While some people expected her to marry Aedion Ashryver, her cousin and confidante, to solidify the family's claim to the throne, Aelin found the idea laughable as she considered Aedion to be her brother. Aelin's Fae heritage manifested itself at an early age. She could shift between forms quite easily, though her fire control was less than exemplary. Her lack of control led to a deep-seated fear of her own powers, which was so intense that she considered it a relief when magic fell and she no longer had to fear herself. As a child Aelin also encountered Dorian Havilliard while his parents were on a state visit to Terrasen.

The Fall of Terrasen

One night, the King of Adarlan decided to overthrow one of his major political opponents—the royal family of Terrasen. Aelin discovered the deaths of her parents when she climbed into their bed thinking the wetness of the bed was due to rain and woke to a maid's screams to discover the bed was filled with their blood. Her mother's dearest friend, Lady Marion Lochan, sacrificed herself to allow Aelin to escape and survive the massacre of her family and bide her time. The King cemented his rule over Erilea by promoting across the country the deaths of the Terrasen nobility, all the while unaware of the survival of Aelin. After the death of her parents and Orlon, she became the sole survivor of Terrasen's royal family.

Arobynn Hamel, King of the Assassins, found Aelin half frozen to death on the banks of the Florine River. He offered her a choice; to stay with him and be trained as an assassin, or to be cast off in the streets. Aelin chose the former and became an assassin, killing her first target at the age of nine. She was restyled as Celaena Sardothien to hide her true identity. 

Aelin trained at the Assassins' Keep in Rifthold, and it was here that she spent the majority of her life following the deaths of her parents. However, she was captured after attempting to exact revenge on Ioan Jayne and Rourke Farran for murdering her lover Sam Cortland. As a result, she was sent to the Salt Mines of Endovier—a labor camp—and sentenced as a slave to reside there for the remainder of her life.

The Assassin’s Blade

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Celaena Sardothien by Morgana0anagrom

Aelin as Celaena Sardothien (Art by Morgana0anagrom)

Aelin meets with Arobynn's inner circle of assassins late at night. Arobynn announces that Gregori's mission has failed, resulting in his capture and incarceration in the castle dungeons. Aelin suggests that the assassins poison him before he leaks any information to the authorities, as per protocol, but Sam expresses horror to this proposal. She then inquires about Ben, as she has noticed that he is not present, and Arobynn reveals that Ben was killed during the mission. Outraged, Aelin demands why the others did not retrieve his body; Sam replies that there were too many guards and that the retrieval could potentially lead the guards to the Assassins' Keep. Furious, Aelin stalks out of the room, vowing to recover her friend's body.

Two months later, Aelin and Sam travel to Skull's Bay to meet with Rolfe as Arobynn's emissaries, in order to exact retribution from the Lord of Pirates for the murders of three other assassins by pirates. Aelin expresses indignation at Rolfe's tardiness and roots around his office, much to Sam's irritation. Rolfe arrives and demands that Aelin remove herself from his chair.

She rises, sits beside Sam, and then accuses Rolfe of being involved in Gregori's capture and Ben's death, citing the tattoos that were spotted on the attackers. The Pirate Lord argues that the tattoos would only have been visible during a full moon, but the incident did not occur during a full moon. She and Sam hand Arobynn's letter to Rolfe; he finishes reading it, then reveals that he will not be compensating Arobynn in gold, but rather—much to Aelin's horror—is brokering a slave trade agreement with him. Although she was unaware of the true content of the letter, Aelin acts as if she knew exactly what the message was.

Rolfe sends Aelin and Sam to their lodging. Initially, Rolfe plans to provide two separate rooms for them, but Aelin insists that only one room is necessary. Rolfe raises his eyebrows suggestively, prompting Aelin to clarify that she wishes for two beds in one room.

Alone in the room with Sam, Aelin turns on him, believing that he had prior knowledge of the contents of the letter, but he denies her accusations. Aelin rants, baffled as to why Arobynn would deceive them and dispatch them to reprove Rolfe for a crime he was not involved in. Sam says that Arobynn has his reasons, but Aelin presses on, expressing disgust at the idea of trading slaves. She asserts that the guild does not need the money, but she wonders if Arobynn is not as wealthy as she believes and has been spending money that he does not have, or if he simply wishes to become more affluent. Sam asks if she is going to bathe or if he can go first, and Aelin storms off to take a bath.

Rolfe taunts Aelin at dinner, urging her to remove her mask so she can partake in the meal, but she refuses. When he questions her about her past, Aelin shoots back a gibe about the map tattoo, implying that Rolfe did not work for his position as she did for hers. Rolfe then tells her that the map has been immutable for the past eight years, which unnerves Aelin, and that he did have to toil and kill to earn his title. Once again, Rolfe remarks on her arrogance and cites Sam as an example for discretion in terms of choosing when to speak. He warns Aelin to be wary of Sam, as he could be waiting for a chance to eliminate her. Aelin snaps at Rolfe to mind his own business.

Back in their room, Sam pokes fun at Aelin, who threateningly suggests that perhaps he should not sleep that night. He asks if she really cannot tolerate teasing, to which she replies that she cannot when it involves her life. He nervously asks if he should be concerned about sleeping that night, but she laughs to herself and reassures him that he need not worry—for tonight, at least. He falls asleep, and Aelin listens to his breathing as she keeps watch.[2] Aelin does not sleep well that night because the situation with the slave trade nettles her. She thinks to herself that Ben would be appalled by the deal too because he was the kindest person she knew. Disgusted with the immorality of slaving and Arobynn's choice to involve her in his deal, Aelin decides to rescue the slaves.

After disarming the guards of the two slave ships, disabling seven other ships, and starting a city-wide brawl, the two assassins successfully help the two hundred slaves escape and secure a contractual agreement with Rolfe, effectively ending both Arobynn's and Rolfe's involvement in the slave trade and establishing Skull's Bay as a safe haven for escaped slaves. Their collaboration blossoms into a tentative—if somewhat awkward—friendship between the rival assassins and they return together to face the wrath of Arobynn.

Upon their return to Rifthold, Arobynn's anger is undeniably great, deadly and raging. Restraining Sam, he beats Aelin mercilessly until she loses consciousness, forcing Sam to watch.

The Assassin and the Healer

Following her abolition of the Skull's Bay slave trade and the severe beating by Arobynn as a result, Aelin is sent to train with the Silent Assassins as further punishment. After spending two days waiting for her ship to the Red Desert, she is in a combative mood and expresses some disappointment that no one has attempted to rob her. Yrene Towers notices Aelin, although she does not know her by name. She observes that the mysterious girl can drink quite a bit and keeps to the shadows. When she brings dinner to the girl's table and the girl speaks to her, Yrene notes her manner of speaking, which marks her as an educated person, and remarks mentally that she is wise to eschew the stew. Aelin watches Yrene move about the White Pig, admiring her deft avoidance of the grasps of handsy customers. Her thoughts turn to her own restlessness, as the room she rented from Nolan is foul, the town is too isolated to offer any decent entertainment, and she has already read her book more than once.

Itching for a fight, Aelin sneaks into the alley behind the inn after closing only to find four mercenaries attack Yrene in the hopes of stealing her meager earnings. After killing three of the four men, Aelin allows a shaken but grateful Yrene to treat her wounds while the young woman shares her heart-wrenching story, revealing her past as a gifted healer. Aelin gruffly questions Yrene as to why she, the daughter of a healer, is in Innish working as a barmaid; she admonishes her for not pressing on and at least being penniless in Antica near Torre Cesme instead of miserable in Innish and criticizes her for allowing herself to waste away in the awful town for the sake of a clean conscience. When Yrene doesn't answer, Aelin asks how long it has been since her mother died and acknowledges the hardship of being a gifted healer—especially one from Fenharrow—during that time, before inquiring what she would do if she attended Torre Cesme. Yrene replies that she would return to Erilea to help those in need of healers. The barmaid tries to offer Aelin something to treat the injuries on her face, but Aelin refuses, saying that they are meant to be a reminder for herself. Instead of leaving, Aelin—out of fear for Yrene's safety—offers to teach her to defend herself.

Aelin coaches Yrene on the most effective self-defense moves. When Yrene murmurs that she should impart Aelin's tips to Jessa, Aelin urges Yrene to share what she has learned with any female who bothers to listen. The time for Aelin's departure nears, and she realizes that she does not want to remain in one place out of uncertainty and resignation like Yrene. Yrene inquires whether Aelin has needed to use the self-defense moves before; Aelin admits that she has—usually as the hunter.

However, they are soon interrupted by the fourth mercenary who returns with his comrades to exact revenge. When Aelin refuses to lower her weapons on threat of Yrene's death, Yrene incapacitates her attacker while Aelin quickly dispatches the others, revealing that Aelin was simply using the attack as training for Yrene. With her ship scheduled to depart in the morning, Aelin feels a tug of fate toward the healer and leaves her money and a ruby brooch in the hopes that Yrene can finally afford to travel to the southern continent to train as a healer. Without another word, Aelin boards the ship to the Red Desert.

The Assassin and the Desert

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Conceding to her punishment by Arobynn, Aelin journeys through the crimson dunes of the Red Desert to the fortress of the Silent Assassins, to train with the Mute Master and gain his approval within a month's time. Upon arrival at the fortress, her skills are tested but she is deemed worthy enough to train with the other acolytes, among them Ilias, the son of the Mute Master, and Ansel of Briarcliff, who becomes a fast friend. Training vigorously with the other acolytes and running daily to the oasis, she aids in the defense of the fortress against the silent attack of Lord Berick's men, scaring them off by igniting an oil-drenched ridge.

The Assassin and the Underworld

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The Assassin and the Empire

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for a more complete biography, please see this page

Personality

My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name's Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I'd still beat you, no matter what you call me.

Aelin is very passionate about many things, and especially so with the people whom she loves. When she cares for someone, she cares for them deeply, and has experienced enough loss in her life to never want to feel it again. Aelin's passionate nature also often extends to her interests, which include books, sweets, and music. Aelin can often be called rude or even evil, but it is obvious that she loves her homeland and her friends very much

Aelin feels things both strongly and deeply. While she is often teasing, witty, and carefree when she is happy, Aelin's most immediate reaction when angry or sad is to channel her darker emotions into a barely-contained rage or killing calm. This gets her into trouble more often than not, such as when she is captured due to her rash actions and desire for vengeance after the murder of Sam Cortland.

Even during her time as an assassin, she was meticulous in managing her appearance. She has a fixation on finery and insists on wearing fashionable clothing.

Aelin also has a strong moral compass. Though she often tries to suppress the memories of her tumultuous past, her experiences have shaped her into the woman she is, and that is a woman who does not tolerate injustices. Aelin absolutely loathes slavery and unnecessary cruelty, as is evidenced when she allows her contracted targets to go free while acting as the King's Champion and when she freed the slaves at Skull's Bay with the help of Sam Cortland.

Physical description

Aelin is described as being particularly beautiful, with long golden hair that shines in the sunlight, her hair is quite long because the healers at Doranelle left it to grow and her hair has grown down to her navel as a result. She also possesses Ashryver eyes—bright turquoise eyes with golden rings around the pupils, which serves as the major giveaway to her true identity since they are so distinctive and only run in her family. Standing at 5'7" Aelin’s body is lithe and toned, netherless she is blessed with impressive curves and well-formed breasts. She has many scars, including those on her back which she received from whips during her time in the Salt Mines of Endovier. All her scars later disappeared in Kingdom of Ash because of Doranelle's healers ministrations. In Queen of Shadows, she dyed her hair red for a while as a cover to become less recognizable, fortunately, it worked. Nesryn admitted she would find Aelin earlier if her hair appeared golden.

Powers & Abilities

  • Enhanced Hearing
  • Enhanced Speed
  • Enhanced Healing (than mortals)
  • Presence of elongated canines
  • Secondary Animal form:Due to her Fae heritage, Aelin is able to shift between two different forms. Her first form is her Fae form, and her secondary form is her human body, which acts as her animal form.
  • Immortality/Long-Life: As a Demi-Fae, Aelin is entitled to go through the Settling - which will determine whether she becomes immortal and loses/retains her magic. Maeve informs Aelin that she is "likely five years away from Settling". Aelin will retain her full magic, her full Fae gifts, her shifting abilities and the full extended life of the Fae, due to her great-grandmother's blood flowing through her veins. Mab's line was mentioned by Maeve to run true - so that her descendants will successfully transition into Fae when Settling.

  • This is the main type of magic Aelin can wield strongly
  • She was able to manifest flame at an early age, although she had little to no control over it - as shown when she accidentally burnt a part of Orynth's Grand Library.
  • After her extensive training at Mistward with Rowan, she now has greater control over this magic.
  • She can shape her fire into shields, daggers, arrows, and even a rose.
  • She was able to set Doranelle's rivers steaming, and turn a massive wave of deadly glass shards into an extensive glass wall - to save the citizens of Rifthold.
  • She can burn her opponent's internal organs, burning them inside out by merely breathing at them.
  • She was able to take out an army of 500 ilken with her full Fire-Bringer gifts.

After Kingdom of Ash she is left with only an ember of her fire magic.

  • She is able to manipulate water - as shown when a pebble sized droplet of water was lifted when she was with Rowan in Heir of Fire, and in Empire of Storms when she spun rivulets of water within a river in Terrasen.
  • This power can be wielded weakly, due to the dimming bloodline from it's source - her great-grandmother Mab. 
  • Water Affinity - inherited from Mab alongside her magic, Evalin tells Aelin that it reminds the bearer of their salvation, and their self-preservation. Aelin has inherited a drop of this magic, which can be used to heal others and herself. This healing magic is much stronger than the standard healing abilities of the Fae.  

While Aelin delved deep into her Fire Magic at Skulls' Bay, she unconsiously let her magic touch the Amulet of Orynth. As a result, the Wyrdkey opened a door to another realm, from which Deanna was watching Erilea. Deanna then posessed Aelin, taking control of her body, magic, and Rowan's magic.

She proceeded to convert all of Aelin's Fire Magic to Moon-Fire. The Goddess's Moon-Fire was described as being the cold white light of the stars, light that was stolen from them, which would be so cold that it would burn.

This magic was able to easily burn through Anti-Magic physical properties, as evident when Deanna burned through the iron encasing Aelin's hand.

Aelin has learned to use wyrdmarks, with the help of the Walking Dead, a book she found in Adarlan's Castle Library. The spells generated from wyrdmarks are able to be used without Magic present, since the Wyrd governs all life. Nehemia also showed Aelin her use of wyrdmarks, and stated that wyrdmarks use the power stored in the user's blood. As in, those with magic dormant in their veins can use their power to generate wyrdmarks. There is a limit to how much power one can use in their blood, as Aelin needed Dorian's help to close a portal. As of now, Aelin is capable of using the wyrdmarks for the following spells:

  • Unlocking Doors - Aelin was able to unlock even an iron door, immune to magic, with wyrdmarks chalked up to the door, when she was about to face the Valg-posessed human captive under Adarlan's Castle
  • Binding Spell - When Chaol was held by Manon Blackbeak, Aelin used his blood in the grass to form a binding spell that froze the Wingleader in place for a limited amount of time.
  • Protection Spell - She was able to cover her body in wyrdmarks covered in blood - to ward off the Valg, and their powerful Valg Magic (when facing Dorian and the King)
  • Portal Generation - When Nehemia passed away, Aelin strived to see her friend again, and so she created a portal via a dome of wyrdmarks from her blood, near Elena's Tomb.
  • Locking Spell - She was able to seal the portal to the Valg realm near Elena's tomb, using Dorian's blood.

She originally thought that her well of magic was as great as Brannon Galathynius, her ancestor. In Heir of Fire, during the Battle of Mistward, while fighting Valg princes, she discovers what seems to be the bottom of her chamber of magic.

However, this is later proved to be just a threshold, as Aelin found out another 'bottom' when she delved into her power for a day - to prepare to face Maeve in Doranelle.

In Empire of Storms, she delves into her magic for three days, when preparing for a possible skirmish with the Valg at Skulls' Bay. Aelin then breaks through this barrier, when Deanna posesses her. She discovers that her magic is as great as Mala Fire-Bringer's - due to being her heir and descendant. When preparing for an inevitable encounter with either Maeve's or Erawan's forces as she sailed for the Stone Marshes, Aelin had hovered over her magic for days - still no burnout.

It was only until after she obliterated 500 ilken, that her well of magic reserves became drained - which Maeve took advantage of to leash her.

In Kingdom of Ash Aelin has been delving into her power for three months to face and kill Maeve. Instead she uses that power to stop a giant tidal wave from destroying Anielle.

When she forges the Lock later in the book, she loses her mortal body and her fire magic, and is left only with her drop of water magic and a Fae body. When Aelin is about to send the Gods back to their realm, Mala Fire-Bringer gifts her an ember of fire magic, as thanks for trying to save her daughter Elena.

Appearances

Gallery

See more here

Development

In an interview prior to the series' debut, Maas discussed the process of creating her protagonist:

I grew up reading books like Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown and Garth Nix's Sabriel—both of which feature strong heroines, and both of which profoundly shaped my identity and empowered me. I started writing knowing I wanted to create books like that—mostly because that's what interests me and where my passion lies, but also because I'd love for some young woman to read [Throne of Glass] and feel empowered, too.

Sarah J. Maas

The story's teenage heroine, Aelin Galathynius, is introduced as an orphan who was raised and trained by an assassin. She is largely characterized as skilled, arrogant, and witty. While shaping her protagonist, Maas was inspired by the heroism of Arwen from The Lord of the Rings, and by the characterization of Velma Kelly from Chicago. Maas has stated that the latter's "arrogance and fierceness made me want to write about a woman like her—about a woman who never once said sorry for being talented and determined and utterly in love with herself." Maas ultimately designed Aelin as a highly capable character whose talents also form a basis for numerous faults. In interviews preceding the series' release, Maas noted her heroine's issues with "impatience" and "vanity". She also suggested that Aelin would grow while adjusting to her new role. In addition to Aelin's skills as an assassin, Maas wanted the character to have several traits and hobbies befitting her age, including a fondness for "shopping, books, and fine dining", as well as a "penchant for getting into trouble."

Relation to Rowan Whitethorn

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Brannon G.
   
   
Mala
   
   
Mab
   
   
   
   
   
   
Mora
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
House Galathynius
   
   
   
   
   
   
House Ashryver
   
   
   
   
   
   
House Whitethorn
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Rhoe G.
   
   
   
   
   
   
Evalin A.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Aelin G.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Rowan W.

Note: The lineages of the Galathyniuses, Ashryvers and Whitethorns date back almost a thousand years to their respective founders. Any relation between the Galathynius and Whitethorn bloodlines is centuries old and very distant, weakened by intermarriages and time. While Aelin may be maternally related to the Whitethorns through the Ashryver line, the relation is not at all direct.

For a more detailed family tree, see the respective pages for each house.

Trivia

  • In Queen of Glass Celaena ends up marrying Dorian
  • Celaena is a name derived from Celaeno, which means "dark one" and is also a star in the constellation of Taurus and a member of the Pleiades.
  • Sarah J. Maas said that Aelin's birthday is on the 3rd of May.
  • The ornate ruby brooch that Aelin includes in her money pouch to Yrene was gifted to her by Arobynn Hamel for her sixteenth birthday.[3]
  • Her identity as Celaena Sardothien was so carefully protected that very few people had ever seen what she actually looked like; when meeting clients, she always wore a mask, gloves, and black clothing, which revealed only her gender.[4] Because of this Arobynn used to introduce her to clients as his niece, Dianna Brackyn.
  • When she was young, she was infatuated with Ben, Arobynn's second-in-command, and Archer Finn, a courtesan, whom she later kills.[5]
  • She purposely broke her right hand at the age of twelve by slamming it in a door frame; Arobynn decided she needed to be more skilled at swordsplay with her left hand and had offered to break it for her.[6]
  • She'd learned to play the pianoforte when she was ten, under Arobynn's order that she finds at least one refined skill other than ending lives- and had fallen in love immediately.
  • Archer Finn used to call her by the nickname "Laena", which Celaena absolutely hated.
  • She was 10 the first time she killed a man under Arobynn's order.
  • Sarah J. Maas said that Aelin favorite book genre is romance.
  • Sarah J. Maas said that if Aelin was a writer she would write smut and joked that she would also be the “Ultimate smut master”.
  • In an interview with Sarah J. Maas, Maas stated that in present time, Aelin would be a fan of the Outlander Series.
  • She bears the mark of the Nameless from her ancestor Brannon.
  • Aelin thinks that in another life, she would be friends with Manon Blackbeak. Aelin admires Manon for her abilities in combat and analysis.
  • She adores extravagant clothes, expensive perfume, books, chocolate, and shoes.
  • She claimed to hate the smell and taste of fish, but Rowan proved her wrong in Queen of Shadows by convincing her to try pan-fried trout, which she greatly enjoyed.
  • She believed and tried to convince herself that her favorite color was blue but as the time passed by, Aelin admitted to herself it was actually red.
  • Aelin killed her first overseer by gutting him with a pickax when he pushed her too hard.
  • AAG, Aelin's initials, is "Fire" in Hindi.
  • The name 'Aelin' might be derived from the Turkish name 'Aylin', which means 'of the moon', which is proven in Empire of Storms when Deanna, goddess of the moon, possess the body of Aelin to remind her that she belonged to the gods. It also may come from Irish 'Ailin' which means noble.
  • ’Aelin’ could also be derived from the Sindarin Language from the Tolkien works(which Throne of Glass is known to pull inspiration from) which means ‘lake’, most likely paying homage to the water magic of her mother that she inherits a drop of. Both share the exact same spelling.
  • Rowan states in Kingdom of Ash that her scent smells like jasmine, lemon verbena, and crackling embers.

References 

  1. ToG character heights
  2. The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, Chapter Three
  3. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Healer by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 86
  4. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 11
  5. The Assassin's Blade: The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas, pg. 145
  6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Chapter 14, pg. 112
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