Learn what inspired Sarah J. Maas’ latest book in this Q&A!
Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series, released the second book to A Court of Thorns and Roses this past May. In a recent interview with Bookish, Maas discusses what led to her writing the book, called A Court of Mist and Fury, as well as what readers can expect from future books.
Bookish: You’ve mentioned that this book was loosely inspired by the story of Hades and Persephone. But I read it as an homage to Howl’s Moving Castle: a powerful and seemingly dangerous man with a soft heart, the girl who undergoes a transformation and finds strength/magic within herself, the magical worlds that he takes her to. Was this intentional? What else served as inspiration for this book?
Sarah J. Maas: Oh man, I never even thought of the HMC comparison! So, obviously my answer to your first question is no, but now I kinda want to tell people that HMC inspired it. 😛 (HMC is literally my number one comfort movie—though The Secret of NIMH is a close second.) In terms of other inspiration beyond Hades and Persephone… I’d say this book was 90% original stuff. But there were moments that were inspired by other fairy tales/folklore/legends. The Weaver, for example, was loosely inspired by “Hansel & Gretel” (combined with whatever awful things were floating in the back of my imagination). Then some of the ancient history with Miryam and Drakon was inspired by the story of Exodus (random, I know). But that’s part of why I have so much fun writing this series: I can draw inspiration from so many world mythologies and make them my own.
Bookish: You’re a ballet fan and I know that Swan Lake helped to inspire a major moment in Queen of Shadows. Ballet requires grace, strength, and control—something I see mirrored in the members of the Night Court and their fighting and flying styles. Do you intentionally write your warriors and war scenes like a choreographer might orchestrate a ballet?
Sarah J. Maas: Ha! I wouldn’t go so far as to say I choreograph my fight scenes in that kind of detail, but I’m so flattered you made the comparison! I think the key to good action scenes (and intimate scenes, to be honest) is clarity—not just in terms of the physical parts that are in play (limbs, weapons, geography), but also the emotional stakes leading up to and at work in the scene. As a rabid fangirl of like 2,000 fandoms, when I think of the action scenes that really stuck with me, and really made me cry/flail/freak out, it’s usually the moments when the emotional stakes are at their highest as well (i.e. the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in Return of the King, which will never fail to make me cry like a baby). So, when it comes to the action in my own books, I try to weave in the emotional build-up into the physical stuff—to give the action some sense of meaning and weight.
Bookish: Speaking of intimate scenes, this book is far more erotic than the previous installment. Can readers expect it to get even steamier in the next book?
Sarah J. Maas: I feel like it miiiight be a slight spoiler to confirm or deny this (since Feyre and Rhys are now at different courts), but… there will definitely be steamy times in the next book.
Bookish: This also may be too big of a spoiler to give away, but will Tamlin get a shot at redemption?
Sarah J. Maas: You’ll have to wait until book three to see, but… Tamlin still has his own journey ahead in this world. 🙂
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