‘Iron Flame’ Book Ending Explained – Why does Violet dream of the Venin?

iron flame

Iron Flame Plot Summary

The sequel to the 2023 dragon fantasy, Fourth Wing is finally out! Rebecca Yarros’ Iron Flame is the second instalment of The Empyrean series and picks up right where the first book left off. There is trouble in paradise as Xaden breaks Violet’s trust. Her dead brother is very much alive and fighting in the resistance meant to take down the venin and wyverns. 

On top of that, she needs to go back to Basgiath and pretend everything is alright while her nation keeps hiding the truth about the very real threat that is closing in on them. But the ending leaves us with more questions than answers and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to figure out the ending as much as we can till we wait for the next book.

Does Dain betray Violet?

Dain doesn’t actually read Violet’s mind every time he touches her face in Fourth Wing. The first time he does it, he says it is accidental and the only thing he sees is that the second-year Marked Ones go on unauthorized long flights. To get his father’s approval, he shares it, but he has no clue of the outcome that takes place at Athebyne. 

In Iron Flame, when Varrish brings Dain in during RSC’s interrogation session, he is almost convinced to read Violet’s mind but at the last minute, refuses when she says no. Finally, when Violet is caught for stealing Lyra’s journal, Varrish brings in Dain and claims she is planning to take down the wards. Convinced, Dain does read her mind but on learning the truth, he fatally stabs Varrish.

Why does Xaden not kill Violet initially? 

Before the events of Fourth Wing when Xaden takes responsibility for the Marked Ones, General Sorrengail adds one more clause to their deal. Very aware of the threat that the Marked Ones pose to her daughter, she makes Xaden take responsibility for Violet’s life as well – he needs to make sure that no one kills her.

In exchange, all the Marked Ones can enter the quadrant and become riders. This is partly why he does not kill Violet when he realises she is eavesdropping on his meeting with the first-year Marked Ones in the first book.

Can Xaden read minds? 

Technically no. But Xaden can read intentions that lead to the formation of the thoughts. This means that it’s more or less the same as intentions are almost always as clear as thoughts. However, he can’t read if someone’s shield is up. 

A rider can either have one powerful signet or two signets or go insane if their dragon previously bonds with a direct relative. In this case, Sgaeyl had bonded with Xaden’s grandfather. When Xaden manifests his second signet, he hides it on seeing Basgiath killing inntinnsic (mind readers). With rumours that Sgaeyl bonded with a distant uncle, he is able to hide his signets by claiming that he has one powerful signet – shadow wielding. 

He first reads Violet’s mind after she hides in the tree and chances upon his meeting with first-year Marked Ones. Apart from the deal with her mother, he also does not kill her because of her intentions – she sympathises with the Marked Ones as they are just looking after each other.

Is Andarna a black dragon?  

Initially, everyone believes that Andarna is a black dragon as she changes to a black colour after reaching adolescence. But Violet finds it odd that, unlike Tairn, Andarna keeps changing colours that shimmer on her dark wings. There are also hints that Andarna is different as she cannot fit in with the rest of the younger dragons.

But no one knows about her lineage except the elders who keep it from Tairn despite him raising her once she hatches. Tairn also did not exist when the egg consisting of Andarna was laid so he may not know about her past.

Through Lyra’s journal, Violet realises that there are 7 dragon breeds and Andarna is of the 7th kind which is a shimmering deep purple. She only pretended to be a black dragon because she wanted to be like Tairn. However, she can change colour and also camouflage to completely merge with her background. 

She also retains her memories of when her egg was formed and so knew that she was left behind so she could be used should Navarre need to rebuild the wards again. As far as we know, she is the only one left of her kind. She is the head of her den and it’s why no one questions her decision when she decides to bond.

She overhears the dragons discussing General Sorrengail sending her frail scribe of a daughter to the Rider’s Quadrant and instantly sees herself in Violet as both can be considered misfits. This is why she takes a gamble and decides to hatch so she can bond with Violet.

How are Navarre’s wards made?

First and foremost, 100s of riders are needed to imbue the wardstone but a few can also do though it will take weeks. Next, it needs dragon fire but once a dragon raises a ward, it cannot raise another ward. However, the wards at Aretia are incomplete and gradually fading as only 6 dragons are used. While Warrick hides the truth and claims 1 dragon of each of the 6 breeds is needed to raise the wards, Lyra reveals that 7 are needed as there are a total of 7 dragon breeds. 

During the final battle at Basgiath, Brennan mends the wardstone while Violet imbues it till she reaches her limit. Her mother takes her place and makes Sloane siphon all of the power from her and her dragon till the wardstone is complete. As for the 7 dragons that raise the wards, it includes Andarna and Codagh who is the only other black dragon apart from Tairn.

What is the meaning behind Xaden and Violet’s dreams?

Since Iron Flame is from Violet’s perspective, it seems that she is having nightmares about the Venin at Resson, the Sage. However, Xaden later claims that those dreams are his as the Sage has wanted him. Not only is he a powerful and seasoned warrior, but he is also the heir of Tyrrendor, so he can also be a political pawn if he’s controlled. 

However, since the lower-level venin also target Violet it seems to be a little more complicated. There are several theories. The initial dreams, which it is clearly about Violet, may just be her own nightmares, formed due to PTSD before she starts seeing Xaden’s dreams.

Her second signet may be her ability to see the future or see dreams. Another theory is that their shields are lowered when they are asleep and so because of their bond she accidentally enters Xaden’s dreams. Another is that the Sage wanted both Xaden and Violet in his ranks so he visited them with similar dreams.

One more popular theory is that the Sage is toying with and distracting Violet of his true goal by giving her the same dreams so that she thinks she is the one he wants. The lower-level venin may also have been ordered not to kill Violet so that she can be used as leverage to turn Xaden.

Why does Xaden turn into a venin?

Violet is on the verge of death due to the burnout while Xaden is battling the Sage. The Venin also happens to have him in a chokehold to prove that he is powerless. The only way for Xaden to kill the Sage and stop Violet from imbuing is to turn venin and match his power which is what he does.

He may also think that the Sage may kill him and go for Violet which is why he has no other choice. However, he says that the Sage’s dead body falls in the river so there is a chance that the venin may not actually be dead.

Why didn’t Basgiath kill Jack Barlowe?

Jack Barlowe turns venin in the first book itself when he supposedly uses his signet on Violet. He tries to cause her to burn out by imbuing her with too much power. When she drops a mountain on him, it seems that it is not enough to kill him as venin are only killed by alloy blades and lightning. He could also possibly be protected by his dragon, Baide.

His crushed body is brought to Nolon, who is the doctor equivalent in The Empyreanverse and so his values don’t allow him to kill a patient despite knowing that Jack is a venin. Once Varrish enters the picture, he pushes Nolon to his limit to completely mend Jack.

While it is not explicitly stated why, he probably wanted to learn more about venin and then control Jack. He also probably let him loose since he thought Jack was under control due to the signet-numbing serum. Nolon probably forgot to give him the signet-numbing serum after Varrish died which allowed Jack to take control of his dragon and destroy the wardstone.

Read More: Iron Flame Book Review

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