In honor of the final leg of our journey through The Crown, I’m going to pass the intro over to a man who really knows how to make a speech.
That pretty much covers it. Not ready for the end yet? Catch up on previous sections here!
Eadlyn swooshes off to propose to Henri, and upon hearing his toddler-esque greeting of “Hello today!” for probably the thousandth time, she…giggles. Uggghhhh. Make it stop. In a stilted conversation that consists of such romantic declarations as “You like me?” and “I like you, too,” she finally gets around to popping the question. Henri “stepped back, smiling as always, but there was something in his expression [Eadlyn] couldn’t name. Disbelief? Doubt? But after a flicker of a second, it disappeared.”
Frankly, I’m just glad he’s not delusional about his own capabilities, and is appropriately surprised at winning when Kile is clearly better on every level. But then the sun starts shining again, and he says yes (of course). He picks out a ring from a box of 25 Eadlyn has so kindly provided, which frankly seems like overkill. I’m sure the public would love to hear about how much it cost to have 25 custom rings made.
Time for some reminiscing over how far she’s come, sniff sniff, via looking through the just-printed coronation pictures and any little gifts she’s gotten from The Boys. When she looks at her picture with True Love Erik, she thinks, “I realized that I had subconsciously posed us like two people in love. My hand rested on his chest as he held onto my waist, and my head was tilted slightly toward him, like his heart had a gravitational pull.” Gag. Sounds more like an awkward prom picture than throbbing hearts via inkjet. Plus, I thought it was his eyes that were the gravity wells.
The adult women lay into Eadlyn for “banishing” Kile, but at least Marlee is finally made to understand that her upper-teens son will not be living at home forever. Because, you know, adulting and all that. Apparently Marlee subconsciously felt like she couldn’t leave the palace herself in order to repay Maxon for pardoning her and Carter for technical treason a bazillion years ago (i.e. they were in love while she was in Maxon’s Selection). America informs her that’s crazy talk, and she could follow Kile if she wants, or travel the world, or do anything really. Basically what Maxon and America could have done without actually giving up their reign. Though secretly, if I were Kile, I wouldn’t want my clingy helicopter mom following me across the country. Yeah, he studied abroad before the events of The Crown, but he’s waaaaaaay overdue for a break.
LOTS of loose ends to tie up, so prepare yourself. *deep breath* Time for The Report, because where else would this all end? In a private, heart-felt moment? Heck no! Live televised special, or it didn’t happen.
Loose end #1: Josie, in keeping with her new down-to-earth-girl vibe, has dressed in such a simple, classy look that of course it attracts the attention of Eadlyn’s younger brother, Kaden. You say this series is over, Kiera Cass? I won’t hold my breath.
Loose end #2: We’re still playing that she’s marrying Henri! America sees right through it, and almost says as much to Eadlyn, but not in such a straightforward manner as to qualify as real parenting: “‘If you want to lie to me, that’s fine, but I’d suggest you stop doing it to yourself before you find you’re in a position you can’t get out of.'” Remember, Eadlyn is only 18. Her parents are well within their rights to plop their daughter down, queen or not, and say, “Look. Henri is sweet, but you’re not the actress of the century, and every time we turn around you’re practically tripping over the Blue-Eyed Swendish Fish. Let’s cut the crap, shall we?” Not an actual quote, but I dearly wish it was.
Eadlyn asks Henri if he’s ready, which could either be the biggest mistake or best move of the day, because when he returns the question she’s at a loss for words. Truth will out! She can’t even fake a “yes” now, and we’re supposed to believe this is going to be the marriage that inspires a country? And then we get the plot twist we’ve all been waiting for. If you can see it coming from a mile out, is it still a plot twist, or is it more like a long-expected bend in the road?
“‘I am slow here,” Henri said, pointing to his mouth. “Not here.” He pointed to his eyes. ‘You are love,’ he said, motioning between [Eadlyn and Erik]. When Eikko/Erik started to shake his head, Henri sighed and picked up his right hand, pointing to the signet ring. And then he picked up [Eadlyn’s], which still wore Eikko’s.”
THANK YOU, HENRI. Thank you for finally showcasing that there’s a brain behind the poor grammar skills, thank you for being so nice about it, and above all, thank you for confirming the sheer stupidity of them switching rings in the first place. They were practically begging to be found out. Let’s end this farce and get to the curtain call.
But first, angst! Henri refuses to go ahead with the engagement despite Eadlyn’s weak protests. Why would you even bother protesting? He’s handing you everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’re actually going to argue, albeit feebly? You’re the queen, for heaven’s sake, do something with your power and marry whoever you want, mostly because we are so ready for this to be over.
She runs to consult with her dad, which is a poor move for a queen, but a great move for a teenage girl. Overall, I approve. She’s babbling about loving Erik but being afraid to break the rules of the Selection, and then the proverbial bombs begin to drop. Maxon proceeds to outline every instance of technical treachery committed by the family, which encompasses pretty much everyone. If it wasn’t obvious by now, it is super easy to commit treason in Illéa. Frankly, I’m surprised they have any citizens left, and they should really take a long, hard look at their laws.
- Ahren: for running off to France
- America: for conspiring with the Italians to fund the rebels in the first 3 Selection books
- Maxon: for keeping a bastard royal alive, a.k.a Lady Brice. Apparently in addition to being a giant jerk, his deceased father had a long-standing affair, and half-royals are a threat to the pureblood line or something like that.Anyway, I have a few issues with Maxon’s “treason.” First, I feel like it was concocted specifically to make him part of this grand list of criminals, or the entire effect is ruined. Second, it adds an alternative reason for Lady Brice to have been so helpful and supportive of Eadlyn this whole book, but that’s not actually a good thing here. The whole problem is that no one outside Eadlyn’s family/close friends thinks she’s a nice person. Then along came Lady Brice, who did! Huzzah for an outside opinion! Oh wait they’re actually family never mind. We need to see people who aren’t attached at the hip to the royal family supporting Eadlyn, but we get very little of that.
Of course, every example but Ahren’s is a complete shocker to Eadlyn, thus solidifying the notion that she knows absolutely nothing about how her parents came together. And yet, from day one she has secretly wished that she could have a fairy tale like theirs. News flash: it wasn’t a fairy tale. She threw Fox out specifically because his view of their relationship didn’t match up with reality, when she’s been doing the exact same thing.
Moral of the story is, if the entire royal family is already throwing the rules out the window, Eadlyn should join in the fun! Nothing gives you an adrenaline rush quite like flaunting the justice system! Maxon gets a point for bluntly saying what America only dodged around:
“Break the stupid rule, Eadlyn. Marry the man you love. If he’s good enough for you to approve of, then I certainly do. And if the people don’t, that can be their problem.”
Finally, some common sense – someone speaking out of what’s best for Eadlyn rather than what the public will approve of, who has the highest ratings, blah blah blah. Then we get Eadlyn’s power quote: “‘I’m Eadlyn Schreave, and no one in the world is as powerful as me.'” Which, while it sounds grand and staunchly feminist, has been anything but true this entire book. Every time she worried more about the public than herself (which was every moment of every day), she made everyone in Illéa more powerful than her. Hopefully this time she lives up to it.
BAM! Back onto the set of The Report with seconds to spare! She pours out her heart to the camera, professing Erik as her True Love and proposing while broadcasting live to the entire nation. Like I said, TV or it didn’t happen. He accepts, of course, blah blah blah happiness abounds, but we’re not quite done. She gives a little blip about how the past two months have changed her (has it only been that long? Feels like years), including this gem: “Before the Selection I lived my life within a small circle of acquaintances.”
If the town hall from hell wasn’t enough proof, here’s the final nail in the coffin of bad royal decisions. Though it is perfectly acceptable for Eadlyn to have a non-flowery personality, it is not acceptable for the ruler of an entire continent to be closed off in actuality. She knows nothing about her people. She claims to be the most powerful person in the world, yet has a “small circle of acquaintances?” She should know tons and tons of people at home and abroad, yet she remains safely shut behind the palace walls. -1000000 points.
But now she’s had this grand change of heart, and gleans her next stellar move from that one town hall with that one handful of people. Illéa…will become a constitutional monarchy.
Let’s break it down. I understand the gesture – the people want more say, Eadlyn realizes she has no clue how they’re actually living, let’s share the power and it’ll all be hunky dory. But the implementation leaves me questioning. You’re going to just drop on everyone that the government is changing, surprise, hope you like it, and pray that it doesn’t erupt into a real revolution? NO! I’m sorry, but no.
We can only hope that Eadlyn discussed this with at least a few people beforehand (perhaps not shown to us for the surprise factor), but judging by the “gasps and murmurs around the room,” I’m not sure she did. Terrible terrible terrible methodology. When Sweden changed from driving on the left side of the road to the right, there was a four year education process to get people ready. This is a real fact – google Dagen H. And that was just for driving!
She also says that continuing as a straight monarchy would be “far too great for anyone, as has been shown by the young deaths and health issues of my predecessors.” Or maybe the real issue is that you keep ascending people to the throne when they’re 18, the stress of which is bound to knock a few years off the ‘ol lifespan. If we could expand the line of succession so they didn’t rule until actual adulthood, maybe the royals wouldn’t be dropping like flies.
Eadlyn asks Lady Brice to be interim prime minister, thus confirming that few people outside of Eadlyn knew about this announcement in advance, if any. Marid calls on the phone and is suitably ticked off. Everyone’s in love with Erik, probably because of his eyes. She’s going to give Ahren a call. And…scene.
We made it! I didn’t have the edition with the bonus chapter, which is probably a good thing because I’m not sure I could’ve handled that. My epilogue was only three paragraphs about never knowing where you might find happiness, so I’m going to interject a few sum-up thoughts of my own. First, thanks for following along! These posts got longer as the book got crazier, but we dragged each other across the finish line. I definitely don’t talk about my marriage nearly as much in my other posts, though my family and Husband Unit do make regular appearances. Reading a YA romance through the lens of marriage is a hilarious and enlightening thing. I hope it cracks you up as much as it did me. As a send-off, here’s an image from one of my favorite farewells, one that had all of the bone-deep, poignant friendship and teary feels that this book lacked. See you around!