Books, Pop Culture

Obsessed With The SJM Multiverse? Here Are Our Top 5 Fan Theories For House Of Flame And Shadow

House of Flame and Shadow theories

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Hannah Yarrington. Find her on Instagram at @513hny. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Those of us who have been reading Sarah J. Maas’s books for quite some time now are very excited about her newest Crescent City book, House of Flame and Shadow. The ending of Sky and Breath left us with many questions about what this crossover could mean for the rest of the series and our beloved characters. With the easter eggs left for us throughout the novels, fans have begun to piece together different House of Flame and Shadow theories they believe could be canon for the next book. Some theories have been a little unhinged and not always the most plausible, so today, we’ve gathered our top five House of Flame and Shadow theories that could possibly become true in the next book.

This goes without saying, but if you have not read all of SJM’s books thus far (including Throne of Glass), DO NOT CONTINUE. This article is full of spoilers, so only read if you’re OK with being spoiled or are all caught up! 🙂

Title/Book Cover and TOG

When we first got the release of the book cover and the title, a lot could be dissected and learned from it regarding Aelin. Many ideas are floating around, but I noticed some things that could definitely come into play and have meaning:

1. The title “Flame and Shadow.”

Not only is this the House of the Daemonaki, Reapers, vampyrs, draki, dragons, wraiths, and necromancers, but there is also a connection to Aelin. Multiple times throughout Throne of Glass, Aelin is referred to as the Queen of Flame and Shadow, and we know Mrs. Maas does everything for a reason. Thus far, all of the Throne of Glass characters have yet to be confirmed to be in CC3, only characters from ACOTAR. So many people are taking this title as a hint toward the possible appearance of our beloved Queen.

2. The book cover

But, to solidify this theory more, there are other hints in the book cover art as well. For example:

  • The dragon on the cover could be connected to the golden dragon on the back of Aelin’s dress in Queen of Shadows (gold is also a significant color for Aelin in general).
  • The woman in the art has an eight-pointed star on her forehead, which is the mark of the star born, but also appears in both ACOTAR and TOG, with Nesta and a priestess in TOG that has explicitly the mark on her forehead.
  • And who else at one point had a mark on her forehead? Aelin with the wyrd mark of the nameless, deeming her as part of Brannon’s bloodline.
  • Also, not to mention, the woman on the cover has what could be thought of as iron teeth nails as well.

I could go on forever about all the other little things this cover and title reveal to us, but these ones were the most significant to me when it came to proving Aelin’s involvement in the next book.

Rhysand Valg Theory

When I first heard the theory that Rhysand could possibly be Valg, I thought that it was such a crazy theory, and it couldn’t possibly be true. But the more I heard and read about it, the more that it made some sense. When we compare Rhys and the most prominent Valg in TOG, Maeve, we can find a ton of similarities between the two.

  1. Their powers: Rhysand, being the most powerful high lord, comes with his ability to be able to rip into other’s minds with his Daemati powers while also being able to mind speak. His power is also described as manifesting in shadows and is described in very similar ways to that of Maeve’s powers, like the use of musical metaphors and the feeling of their power as claws. 
  2. Their looks: Both have violet, stary eyes and dark hair, and fae features

Many people are taking these details and theorizing that Rhys is related to Maeve in some distant way. However, there are some flaws in this theory, and I think it would be more plausible that because Maeve is a world-walker, she came upon Prythian at some point, saw Rhys and saw how similar their powers were, and then molded her looks to appear like his. 

But we know that the events of ACOTAR and TOG happen simultaneously, with Kingdom of Ash happening at the same time as Silver Flames because of Aelin falling between worlds and Rhys seeing her. So, because Maeve is described as extremely old, even for the fae, in TOG, it is still being determined how timelines could line up, with Rhys only being over 500 years old. But we still don’t know how old Maeve is exactly, so time travel may need to be a thing in some capacity.

Ruhn & Rhys


I personally think an ancestor of Rhys went to Midgard and he is Ruhn’s distant cousin. I just think it’s from his dad’s side of the family, not the Illyrians. Rhys didn’t get most of his powers from his Illyrian heritage, they don’t have magic like that. His signatures with Ruhn are clearly from his High Fey side. #acotar #acotartheories #crescentcity #crescentcitytheory #rhysand #ruhndanaan #booktok #fantasyreader

♬ original sound – Melissa W.

Speaking of relatives, at the end of Sky and Breath, we learn that Rhysand and Ruhn look almost identical to each other, at least enough to make Bryce believe that they are the same person at first. And Ruhn has a watered-down version of Rhys’s shadow powers. So many have thought about the idea that they may be distant relatives. The Asteri also revealed how, in order to create Midgard, they took fae from other realms through the Northern Rift and made them into Vanir, the supernatural beings in Crescent City. So, it’s conceivable that the fae related to Ruhn is the same fae that Rhys is descended from in some way. It would make sense why they look the same and have similar abilities.

Hunt & Bryce

Another unhinged theory I’ve encountered was the idea that Hunt and Bryce aren’t true mates and that Hunt is not Bryce’s endgame. Looking at the patterns shown in SJM’s writing when it comes to mates, all of the other mate pairings have never really had to discuss what to call themselves, and along with that, Feyre and Aelin both didn’t end up with the first guy they got with. But this theory has actually been debunked by SJM herself and has confirmed that they are actually mates.

However, many people have taken this same idea of him not being her endgame because they believe that Hunt is actually going to die at the end of HOFAS. I think this could be true, or at least that we are going to have a shocking death at the end of the new book in some way. With Hunt being enslaved once again, there is very little hope given to us of getting him back, making us believe that he could possibly be unsaveable or that we may even have a sort of Peeta from the Hunger Games hijacking type moment. Regardless, I think we could see something big happening to Hunt in some fashion that will inevitably lead to Bryce having to make some hard decisions.

Possible Aelin Appearance


I swear if Aelin doesnt arrive in this sort of style in CC3 then youre not doing her justice #booktok #CC3 #acotar #ToG #sjm #hausofnovels #throneofglass #lgbt #sjmaas #fyp

♬ original sound – Morgan

When it comes to Aelin and other TOG characters showing up in CC3, many people, including myself, are actually kind of on the fence about the role she could potentially play, given all the awful things she has had to endure in her own series. And given the possible time gap between Flame and Shadow, the war against the Valg didn’t end all that long ago. So my theory is, and I’m sure other people have said this as well, but I believe that Aelin will show up at the tail end of the book as some Marvel End-Game reveal, or she is going to show up briefly to offer some sort of counseling or guidance when it comes to Wrydgates or help Bryce understand her Horn powers.

Now, in full transparency, I love Aelin so much, and she is genuinely my favorite female main character I have ever read. So, though she’s been through so much, and I don’t want her to have to endure any more pain, I would love to see even just a glimpse in the next book so I can stop obsessively rereading Throne of Glass.

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Those are just a few of the massive amount of Maas theories out there (pun intended). Let us know what you think of these House of Flame and Shadow theories and the ones you’ve come up with yourself!

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