(Start at the Beginning)
Celaena isn't exactly dressed for an Assassin's Competition, but she gets hauled into the throne room nonetheless. It's the first time she's seen the king before he threw her in the salt mines, where she labored- and was beaten- for a year. The throne room seems huge and it's hard to focus on the other Competitors and their sponsors (noblemen who will wager on the outcome), but she's a trained assassin.
She is Celaena Sardothien, and she will not be afraid.
The rules of the contest are laid down, the winner will be Champion to the King, the losers will return from whence they came. For most of them that is a death sentence. Twenty three men stand there, threatening Celaena with death- she wouldn't make it through the salt mines again. Yulemas will mark the end of the competition, one week later the remaining four would duel to the pain.
The prince and the captain of the guard remove her from the king's presence as soon as possible- before she has a chance to open her mouth, as usual. They let her know about their plan to keep her identity a secret and she gets to engage in a bit of political baiting with the love to hate Kaltain, which seals the deal for her. She agrees.
The next day training begins and she gets to take the true measure of Chaol. At least he can fight, since he constantly talks down to her. To her surprise he beats her at sparring- in a real fight she would have owned him. Annoyed, she grabs her knives and comes back after him...
Questions to wonder about. How did Kings used to keep their courts entertained and why? Louis the Sun King was infamous for keeping his nobles too busy to plot against him. Will Celaena's attitude get her killed? How would you present yourself if you had a decade of covert training? Would your cover really be no cover?
Pet peeves, the King recognizes Celaena and no one mentions if he has agreed to the plan to conceal her identity. Why wasn't Celaena taught manners along with her assassin's instruction- I doubt she targeted peasants. And if she's supposed to be hiding who she is, why doesn't Chaol warn her to hold back during sword practice?
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