December 6, 2018
Dear Mrs. Maas:
I often feel as if I have to put on a mask and become someone else to be viewed as “socially acceptable.” I must toe the line between myself and diplomacy, be just nice enough, just quiet enough, to pass for another ‘normal’ person. Celaena’s character in Throne of Glass resonated with me like no character had before. Her having to hide her true talent and identity to assuage the egos of her competitors made me feel recognized. The transformation between a quiet, meek jewel thief and the bold, brassy assassin mirrored my own journey, except I remained stuck in my passive state, content to pretend I was normal. But Celaena helped me realize I am not “normal.” I am loud, and outspoken, and nerdy, and sarcastic. I listen to alternative music and dress up for school and actually try-at volleyball, at school, on projects and delight in finding the perfect present and baking and everything else. And Throne of Glass and Celaena taught me that it is okay not to be normal—that I can be fierce and unapologetic and still amazing.
I have never been in the “in crowd.” Everything I do, from not wearing enough makeup to reading to arguing about politics, makes me uncool. In the words of a classmate, I need to “be more chill.” Celaena helped me realize that being “cool” is overrated—that the popular people in my story are the helpless, hapless nobles in yours. They sit, preening, on their thrones, unaware and uncaring of the struggles of those beneath them. So why did I battle for their attention, war for their approval? Celaena’s love of Chaol and Dorian and her friendship with Nehemia showed me that I can still have people that care about me and that I care about who aren’t “popular,” who won’t betray and backstab me every chance they get like the scheming royals in Throne of Glass. My constant attempts at social climbing meant that I repelled my would-be friends, and I never had someone close to confide in. Once I renounced my attempts to fit in, I allied with an acquaintance I was chummy with, but never made a real connection with. Now, we’re thick as thieves (or assassins) and even though we are very private people, we confide everything in each other, all because of Throne of Glass.
Throne of Glass also aided me athletically. I have always been an athlete, but before reading this book, I had no motivation. I dreaded going to soccer practice and exercising or even exerting myself for any period of time. Then, Celaena’s hardships opened my eyes. She endures torture in the salt mines, Arobynn Hamel’s “training,” and the grueling preparation and consequent winning of the competition to become the king’s assassin. Who was I to complain about going to practice when Celaena has endured so much hardship and is still able to laugh and joke? So I stopped complaining about soccer, about piano, about volleyball. I began to work out on my own, and I stopped playing soccer to pursue the sport I truly loved: volleyball. Now, I am on a national-level volleyball team with teammates that I love and amazing coaches. And when the team has a particularly grueling workout and I want to quit, I just think to myself, If Celaena can survive so much, I can get through this set.
Throne of Glass has, quite literally, changed my life. I am now unabashedly myself; I am big and boisterous and brawny, and I do not care who knows it. Your book helped me make new friends, be on a better volleyball team, and have a new life for myself. I have changed from the naive, powerless Celaena in the beginning of the series to the powerful, witty warrior she transforms into at the end. Thank you for writing this book, for Throne of Glass has helped me to become the person I wished to be, the one I read about in stories. I am my own main character now.