|“||For a thousand years, they ruled, equal in power, their sons and daughters spread throughout the land to ensure their continued dominion. Until a queen appeared—her power a new, dark song in the world. Such wondrous things she could do with her power, such horrible, wondrous things...||”|
Tens of millenia ago, the realm where the Valg originated from was plagued by wars and suffering. Then came the mighty war, waged by the three Valg Kings—Orcus, Mantyx and Erawan—against whatever forces hindered true ownership of their land. As the three Kings became victorious, they turned their realm into one of eternal darkness, cold, ice and wind. A paradise for the Valg demons.
The Valg Kings ruled equally in power for the next thousand years. They bred their royalty through various lines, creating Valg Princes and Princesses to ensure their land remained conquered in their ownership. They ruled in peace until Maeve, a Valg Queen with tremendous dark power, who bore many gifts, appeared before the three Kings. They each desired the Queen for her beauty, cruelty, and power, but Maeve would only ally with one of them, despite their pursuing and wooing.
Queen Maeve married King Orcus, the oldest and strongest Valg King. But it was not enough for her, she was not content. She was restless to leave, to witness and conquer foreign realms, and to rule unchallenged. So she used her gifts to look through the world, at tears between it, separating realms; Wyrdgates. By piercing the veil, the Wyrdgate separating the Valg realm and another realm, she saw Erilea, a world full of light, green and singing. So Maeve waited in the Valg Realm for an opportunity to leave.
Queen Maeve had learned that Wyrdgates naturally open and close, at random times. So when Orcus left to see his brothers, a Wyrdgate opened in the Valg realm. Maeve left immediately and arrived in Erilea—in the Dagul Fells mountains of the southern continent. She brought the kharankui with her—her beloved handmaidens, the Stygian Spiders. After their arrival, the Wyrdgate rapidly closed. Maeve ordered the Stygian spiders to guard the mountains surrounding the vanished Wyrdgate, in case the rip between worlds ever appeared, because the Kings would arrive, and they would look for their Queen, and Maeve did not wish to go back.
Maeve left for the western continent, Wendlyn. There, she found the Fae, the oldest inhabitants of Erilea. And then Maeve saw that all the faeries, the Fae included, were ruled by two Fae Sister-Queens: the fair-haired Mab, the youngest, who bore the shape of a white swan, and cunning Mora, who bore the shape of a great hawk.
So Maeve bound her essence into a Fae body, and hid her darkness, her true Valg form, beneath her skin. She used her gifts to rip into the minds of the two Queens, and made them believe they had an older sister. She took the name of Queen Maeve of the Fae, and when the "three" sisters returned to their palace, she altered the minds of every creature she encountered, until all beings in the realm of Erilea knew that Wendlyn and Doranelle were, and always had been ruled by, the legendary three Fae Sister-Queens. Those that resisted her power, she found ways to end them.But the Valg King Orcus discovered how Maeve had left through the Wyrdgate, and used his knowledge and power to extract three slivers of the realm doorway—three Wyrdkeys, to control the opening and closing of the Wyrdgate at will. Each Valg King bore one key, and they opened the Wyrdgate, going through fruitless searches in countless realms for their Valg Queen. After ravaging those realms, they finally reached Erilea—alongside their countless armies of horrors and the Valg. Continuing their search, they only found the Fae of the continent, in Wendlyn, ruled by the three Fae Sister-Queens, to stand against the three Valg Kings. The Valg armies fought against the extensive armies Maeve and her "sisters" had collected. But the Valg Kings did not recognize Maeve—for she was disguised in a Fae body. She used her knowledge of the Valg armies, how they worked and defeated their armies.
But then Maeve learned of the Wyrdkeys, and planned to steal them from the Valg Kings, and then kill or banish them to their original realm, using the keys then as she saw fit. Accompanied by a small band of Fae, Maeve infiltrated the Valg war-camps, using her knowledge of their armies, and stole the keys. She made it seem as though the knowledge was passed by from the Spirit World which she could commune to, a lie she made those who questioned her believe. Upon stealing each Wyrdkey from the Kings, she banished Orcus and Mantyx. It was at this moment that Brannon Galathynius suspected that Maeve was not who she is —that perhaps, she was Valg — upon discovering that she feared Mala Fire-Bringer's flame, which he wielded. So Brannon stole the Wyrdkeys from her, and Maeve was unable to banish Erawan.
In her Fae form, Maeve had never mated before. It is unknown whether she actually desired Athril, or simply wanted his protection from Silba and the ring she forged; the golden ring of Silba which would provide the bearer immunity from the Valg, their possession, and their power. Brannon took the unforged Amulet of Orynth from Mala Fire-Bringer's temple in the Fae lands, along with her sacred immortal sun stags. As he fled to Terrasen, Athril covered for Brannon, and battled Maeve. Maeve desired Silba's ring of Valg protection, for her final defence against the Valg Kings. But Athril hid the ring in Goldryn—the sword blessed by Mala—and even after Maeve killed Athril, she could not find the ring.
But Maeve still prepared for the inevitable arrival of the Valg Kings. She hoarded a stronghold of Fae healers and stationed them between the now-mortal lands of Wendlyn and Doranelle. Not to give mortals their healing salvation, but a defense against the Valg because it was Silba’s healing magic that could rid a man, woman, or Fae, from Valg possession. It could remove the demon-like an infected parasite, and then its true demonic form would wither and die in the sunlight, which they greatly fear.
In her empire's stronghold, Queen Maeve sought out the gifted Fae, bearing magic and might, and who had powerful beasts lurking beneath their Fae forms. The strongest of them she had swear the blood oath to her, so that she could command them to anything—total submission to her whims. Maeve had these Fae, her Cadre, oversee the armies she had been building. At some point in time, she had the fortress Mistward created for the Demi-Fae that wanted to cross to Doranelle. The gifted Demi-Fae who could shift, or bore strong magic, were sent to Doranelle like the other Fae. She kept an extremely gifted healer of Silba, who’s secondary Fae form is a white barn owl, as her absolute last line of defence.
After gathering her forces, Maeve retreated to Doranelle, where she built up her final defense against Aelin. The three Fae-Queens' former palace and settling was abandoned to the City of Rivers in Doranelle. She created a palace of stone smack atop a river basin, so that if Brannon's heir came after her, she would be safe. She did not search for the Wyrdkeys, because she learned through her gifts that Aelin, the heir of Mala Fire-Bringer, would lead her to them. So she took the measures to have her niece brought to her, forcing Aelin's mate Rowan to love Lyria, then breaking him by killing Lyria. This was so that when Evalin Ashryver brought Aelin to Maeve, she would at last be in her clutches, and give Maeve anything, including the Wyrdkeys, which Brannon made sure only Aelin could retrieve.A thousand years later, when Terrasen was attacked, Maeve denied help to the kingdom as punishment for keeping Aelin from her.
Crown of Midnight
Baba Yellowlegs tells Celaena the story of the Valg wars and the Wyrdkeys, she informs her of Queen Maeve, how Maeve had indeed retrieved the Wyrdkeys from the Valg Kings, and banished them to their realm. But, for all her wisdom, the Fae Queen was unable to return them to the gate, and no steel, forge, or might could destroy them.
Heir of Fire
When Celaena heads of to Wendlyn to 'do what must be done' as instructed by Elena Galathynius, she ends up in Varese. After discovering that Maeve sent Rowan Whitethorn to search for her, Celaena accompanies him to the immortal lands of Queen Maeve. They reach Mistward, and after walking throught the compound, he guides her to a small room. There she meets with her aunt. Maeve has waited a long time to meet with her, but because she does not leave Doranelle, she couldn't see Aelin herself, but she used her power to watch her. She tells Aelin that Evalin Ashryver and Rhoe Galathynius had disobeyed Maeve and eloped. She informs Aelin that the bloodlines were too volatile to be mixed, but Evalin promised to bring her to Maeve, which Maeve muses that she had forgotten in Aelin's eight years of life.
Maeve shows interest in Aelin's powers and wants Aelin to show her what had become of them. She tells her that Evalin hid her from Maeve for years, and she wanted to stifle Aelin's power when Maeve only wanted her to submit to it. She also tells Aelin that she didn't help Terrasen because Evalin did not uphold her promise but lied. Maeve comes to the point, informs her she has learned that Aelin wants answers about the Wyrdkeys. To receive them, she must train in magic and might at Mistward for a Demi-Fae like her to be deemed worthy of entering Doranelle. She promises to answer truthfully once Aelin has exerted complete mastery over her fire.
Though it takes a great deal of time for her to be able to shift between her human and Fae forms, and learn control over her gift, Aelin manages to do it. Not long after, she, along with Rowan and his Cadre, as Aelin calls it, attempt to defend Mistward against a massive Valg attack. After defeating them, Rowan joins them as carranam, saving her from a burnout.
After they've won the battle at Mistward, Aelin and Rowan head to Doranelle for the answers she claims from Maeve. Maeve does hold up her end of the deal, telling her that the Wyrdkeys can not be destroyed, rather, they must be sealed back to the Wyrdgate. Should Erawan possess all three of the keys, he'd wield insurmountable power, though he only possesses one or two.
Maeve suspects that Aelin may know where the third key is, and she begins to have the cadre whip Rowan to force Aelin to divulge the information. She only halts when Aelin calls on her power to encircle the city, stating that even if it is made of stone, its people aren't. She then bargains with Maeve: A ring from a long-dead lover then traitor—Athril—in exchange for Rowan's freedom from his blood oath. Aelin does not realize at the time the ring's true power, and Maeve accepts the offer. Once Rowan is released, he swears a new oath to Aelin.
Lorcan Salvaterre then steals Silba's ring from Maeve, and swiftly arrives in Rifthold, to hunt down the Wyrdkeys. He was obeying the blood oath in the sense of saving Maeve from destroying herself, from the threat of the Wyrdkeys. Meanwhile, Queen Maeve replaces Rowan Whitethorn with Cairn, a sadistic Fae male.
Empire of Storms
Maeve sends Gavriel and Fenrys to the continent to kill Lorcan for stealing Athril's ring from her. She amasses her armada soon after, and orders them to set fires on Eyllwe's coast, supposedly to blame Aelin for it, but also to tire her out. Maeve also informs Erawan where Aelin is, to trick him into sending an army of Ilken to tire Aelin even further.
Lorcan's summoning gives Maeve Aelin's location, while Aelin and Manon enter the Witch Mirror. As they witness Elena's memories and past, the Dark Queen's armada attacks their army. Maeve summons Gavriel and Fenrys, then captures Elide Lochan while Aelin speaks with Elena Galathynius, with Manon Blackbeak. Once they emerge from the Witch Mirror, Maeve manages to transport them both before her. She forces Lorcan to hold Elide, and overpowers her enemy in a duel of magic. Aelin's magic was depleted from putting out the fires and destroying the ilken, so she has almost nothing left.
After Gavriel and Fenrys return to their queen, Gavriel offers to take Aelin's punishment, but Maeve refuses. Since he failed to kill Lorcan, she strips him of the blood oath for dishonor, severely weakening him. She magically disarms Aelin and reveals that she knew about Gavriel's son, and the Lock Aelin must die to recreate. Maeve has no intention of letting that happen because she wants the Wyrdkeys for herself. The Valg Queen also reveals that she saw Aelin and Rowan as mates in the future and decided to leash them to her. Maeve used her powers to make Rowan fall in love with Lyria, and then she orchestrated Lyria's death. Maeve let Aelin escape Doranelle so the young Heir of Fire could lead her to the keys.
She summons Cairn, giving Aelin a choice: come willingly or be taken anyway with Elide in tow. When Aelin agrees, she gives messages for her friends. Maeve forces Aelin to bow, then take off her shirt, which she does. The Dark Queen orders Cairn to whip Aelin but orders Aelin to count. Cairn starts over repeatedly at Maeve's command, stopping only when one of the Fae warriors holding Aelin spots Rowan approaching. Maeve straps an iron to Aelin's face, and her warriors chain the assassin and put her in an iron box.
After Aelin is taken away, Maeve sends Fenrys to her ship and speaks with Lorcan. Despite claiming that he stole the ring and betrayed Aelin all for Maeve, the queen states she has no use for a warrior she can't trust. She takes back her kill order but also strips him of the blood oath without honor. She departs afterward, and her ship vanishes.
Tower of Dawn
Maeve's true nature and form is revealed by the kharankui of the Dagul Fells mountains in the southern continent - when a Valg Stygian Spider captures Nesryn Faliq and Sartaq. The spider explains Maeve's past with the three Valg Kings, her escape to Erilea, and her history with the Fae and their two Sister-Queens, Mora and Mab. The members of the khagan family also inform Chaol of Aelin's skirmish with Maeve, and her victorious battle with the Fae Queen's armada, at the northern continent's coast near Eyllwe.
The last chapter sets the scene with Aelin and Maeve, following the former's confinement. It is the only part of the book where Maeve is shown in person. While Aelin was entombed in her iron sarcophagus, Maeve cleverly diffused sweet smoke inside to force Aelin to sleep.
Some time later, Maeve and her entourage landed in an unknown place, fresh with rain, wind and in the daytime - likely far away from the Valg. Cairn hauls the lid of the iron sarcophagus aside. Maeve approaches Aelin, peers down, and smiles at her, saying, "You're awake. Good." Cairn then lifts Aelin out of her coffin and brings her towards the queen, holding her still. Maeve smiles at Aelin, and says "Let's begin".
Kingdom of Ash
Maeve and her entourage bring Aelin to an island in the heart of a river. Aelin, still entombed within her coffin, has been positioned on a stone slab within the centre of the island. There, she has been tortured for a long time, under Maeve's administrations. While Aelin is tortured by Cairn, Maeve forces Fenrys to witness the act, bound by invisible chains. Maeve has also mentally tortued Aelin, but failed to break her.
During this time, Aelin was tortured so badly that Maeve's healers eventually completely replaced old skin with new skin over a period of time. (Despite this, Aelin is not permanently physically scarred.)
Rowan, Lorcan, Gavriel, and Elide continue looking for Aelin and eventually track Maeve down to Doranelle. Spreading false rumors out about an incoming Valg invasion, Maeve tells Aelin she will leave to find a collar to put on Aelin. The ruse successfully working, Maeve leaves Aelin alone with Cairn, Fenrys, and healers.
Cairn decides to burn Aelin alive (without killing her), but Fenrys successfully breaks free of his blood oath to Maeve and fights Cairn until Rowan arrives. Cairn, unconscious at the time, is awakened by Lorcan and Rowan. Lorcan leaves while Rowan skins Cairn alive and burns him over a few hours.
Maeve flees to Morath, feigning an alliance with Erawan, and summons the kharankui to her side once more. Dorian, also at Morath, in an attempt to find the final Wyrdkey, allies with Maeve, who both agree to rule Adarlan together and find the last Wyrdkey. Due to Dorian's newfound abilities to shift, he is the only one who could sneak into places unnoticed. Unbeknownst to Dorian, Maeve begins sneaking into his mind in an attempt to take over him.
Both come to the conclusion the final key is in Erawan's bedroom. Maeve first attempts to seduce Erawan to sleeping with her, though Erawan declines, with respect for his brother, Orcus. Maeve then promises Erawan to show him a short glimpse of his two brothers. This time, he accepts. While Maeve shows Erawan his two brothers (though it is later revealed this was an illusion), Dorian finds the third Wyrdkey.
Maeve then enters the room, closes in on Dorian with mental claws, and demands the Wyrdkey. Dorian, having anticipated this seen his first encounter with her, had actually, in a way, shifted his mind and given Maeve what she had wanted to see. Dorian manages to then paralyze Maeve temporarily, and before shifting and flying away with the final key, destroys her ability to travel between worlds and much of Morath.
During the Battle of Orynth, Maeve and Erawan personally come and are confronted by Aelin. Aelin tells Erawan Maeve is simply using him to get the Wyrdkeys and reveals the many healers in the castle, which Erawan is afraid of. Angered, Erawan leaves to confront Yrene while Maeve and Aelin begin to fight.
Aelin is quickly defeated, but before Maeve breaks her and forces Aelin to swear herself to her, Rowan, Lorcan, and Fenrys arrive to help her. Maeve manages to mentally incapacitate all of them, but all of them break free. Aelin stabs Maeve with Goldryn and burns her to death.
Personality and traits
The Queen of the Valg is a spider, who has used her long immortal life to create a web of traps for her enemies. Maeve is the kind of person to pull strings from the shadows, with plans that are far reaching. She's intelligent, vicious, deceptive, manipulative and extremely dangerous. She seems to love toying with those she deems inferior to her. In Empire of Storms it is revealed that she is also very cruel, and has no qualms against very brutal punishments.
She will never face her enemies in their full strength, but have them laboured, broken, and drained from battling other forces. She did this with the three Valg Kings, by using Mab and Mora's armies to drive the Valg legions out, and then strike the Kings when they were weakest—and steal the Wyrdkeys.
She also did this with Aelin Galathynius, making her put out the fires she started in Eyllwe, using her Fae Armarda as potential kindling, and then going as far as to whisper of Aelin's location to Erawan, so that she could be fully drained by eradicating 500 ilken. Only when she was fully drained, when Maeve had the full advantage, did she strike.
Maeve is depicted as a raven-haired beauty, who is regal and stunning. She is described as the dark sister, to the fair-haired Mab. She has moon-white skin, long fingers, and long nails. She was originally thought to have black, depthless, obsidian eyes, but it was soon revealed that she has deep violet eyes. No crown adorns her head, and she does not need one, for she made sure all beings in every realm knew her as the Queen of the Fae.
Powers and abilities
- She was able to alter the minds of Mab and Mora, the two Fae Sister-Queens, and every other being in her realm, to believe that Maeve had always been a Fae Queen, the older sister to Mab and Mora.
- She was also able to infiltrate Aelin's mind, until Aelin tried fighting back.
- When Brannon stole the Wyrdkeys from Maeve, and then mated with Mala Fire-Bringer, spreading the fiery power down his bloodline, Maeve saw a glimmer of the future. When Mala's heir would be born, they would lead her to the keys. She saw who Aelin was, what she was, who she loved, and who her mate would be; Rowan Whitethorn.
- She also saw that Mab's bloodline ran true, that her descendants who went through the Settling would gain the full powers, shifting abilities and the immortality of the Fae.
- She tugged on the right psychic thread the day Rowan met Lyria in Doranelle's market. She forced his fate to change, and gave Aelin's mate to Lyria, so that she could break him, and then he would swear the blood oath to her.
- Wall of Darkness: She used this to battle with Aelin against her fire, until the Darkness engulfed Aelin and her flame.
- Whip of Darkness: She used this to slice into Aelin, making her fall onto her knees.
- Dark Energy: She poured her darkness onto Aelin over and over again, like a hammer on an anvil, breaking her.
- Dark Coil: To latch onto Aelin's neck, and then she encompassed Aelin within that darkness and pain, squeezing and constricting her, causing Aelin to scream in unfathomable agony.
- She used this in the form of "invisible hands", similar to Dorian Havilliard's raw magic. She controlled Aelin's body, pulled her upright, and then cut the tethers on her sword belt, disarming Aelin with brutal efficiency.
- True Immortality: As a Valg Queen, she seems to have an extremely long lifespan - like Erawan, Mantyx and Orcus. Alike the Gods and Goddesses of Erilea, she possibly bears true Immortality.
- Enhanced Speed
- Enhanced Hearing
- Enhanced Healing
- Elongated canines
- Secondary Form: She does not have a true Fae secondary form, but her true form is that of a Valg Queen. Perhaps in this way, her secondary form is a Valg Being of shadows, claws, and a darkness to devour souls, and her Fae form is her primary form.
- Fire: Maeve is particularly weak to fire and fears Aelin because when Aelin is at the height of her power, she can destroy Maeve.
- Crown of Midnight (mentioned only)
- Heir of Fire (first appearance)
- Queen of Shadows (mentioned only)
- Empire of Storms
- Tower of Dawn
- Kingdom of Ash
- Upon being summoned by his heir in the Temple of Stone in Ilium, Brannon admits to Aelin that he doesn't know whether Maeve will die if her heart were pierced by a blade. Additionally, he confesses to her being old when he was a child.
- Because Maeve is Valg, her blood is black. It is revealed in Kingdom of Ash that she has black blood, and she uses her Mind Manipulation abilities to make her blood taste, look, and smell normal. This even fools someone taking the Blood Oath.
- However, like all true Valg, Maeve is deathly afraid of fire - specifically Mala Fire-Bringer's magic, which Brannon Galathynius was able to wield, and now which Aelin Galathynius is blessed with, being the Goddess's true heir.
- Perhaps Maeve's true reason to control Aelin, was to keep her as another defence against the Valg Kings. Of course, not as a sacrifice to return the Wyrdkeys back to the Wyrdgate; but a weapon.
- Upon retrieving the Wyrdkeys, she would likely have Aelin wield her flame against the Valg Kings, alongside Maeve and the Wyrdkeys' power.
- Or she may attempt to forcibly utilise Aelin's near-unlimited reserves of power, in the methods described as Rowan in Heir of Fire: how rogue Fae would torture magically compatible Fae, and steal their magic to wield in their form.
- Some say that the healer Maeve keeps is Athril, whose secondary form was an owl, and who was enslaved by Queen Maeve and forced to live(citation needed). Although this is likely not true, since standard Fae return to the afterlife after 1000 - 2000 years.
- Ironically, she was killed by her beloved's ring and sword.