Were you blown away by the shocking conclusion of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros?
In this guide to the Iron Flame ending, I’ll unpack the plot twists that unfolded on the final pages of the much-anticipated sequel to Fourth Wing. You’ll get details and clarity to help you better understand what went down on The Continent, so you can prepare for book three in the Empyrean series next. So, let’s “fire” things up!
Iron Flame is a very long and very detailed fantasy sequel in the Fourth Wing book series that takes a lot of time and attention to devour and understand. I spent about two weeks reading and annotating it (including a second re-reading of the final 100 pages), and I took nearly 700 notes on this multi-hundred-page novel!
SO MUCH HAPPENS in this book. Honestly, I think more happens in Iron Flame than in any book I have read. So, here, I will just explain the Iron Flame ending in detail for those left with a book hangover and needing or wanting more to dive even deeper into what’s going on and what to theorize will happen next in the Empyrean book 3.
Iron Flame Ending
While I had an inkling about some of what would happen (it just made sense once I really thought about it), most readers were surprised!
Iron Flame Ending Explained
“The breath of life of the six and the one combined and set the stone ablaze in an iron flame.”
The ending of Iron Flame more or less begins with the final battle at Basgiath War College in Navarre.
First, in chapter 57, the Assembly meets with General Melgren at Athebyne about a future successful attack on the solstice at the Samara outpost in Navarre, for which he seeks to negotiate for their assistance.
Joining him, General Lilith Sorrengail also sees that her son (Violet’s brother), Brennan, is alive, and, stating that her greatest wish is for her children to live, she gives Violet the leather notebook of Lyra, one of the First Six riders. It’s in Moranian, a dead language, but Jesinia can translate it in the hope of learning how to power the wards.
Violet finally communicates her unconditional love to Xaden (chapter 57) and, in return, Xaden is willing to reveal more of his back story, including the fact that his mother permanently left him when he was ten and her marriage contract expired. He also reveals that he has a secretive second signet (inntinnsic — reading intent), for which he can be killed.
In Chapter 58, as the solstice approaches, Violet realizes that Basgiath will undoubtedly be attacked first. She comes to this conclusion because, while General Melgren can see the outcome of battles, relics can mask his signet when they are in groups of three or more, so he hadn’t foreseen this attack, where several of those marked with relics would be present.
And this battle will necessarily occur first in order to destroy Navarre’s wards. This is also where the dragon hatchling grounds are, so, Violet and the revolutionaries head to Basgiath prepared to fight, but Brennan, the first years, and the fliers decide it’s risky and stay back.
At Basgiath, Violet explains the situation and asks her mother to take them to the wards.
There, they find Jack Barlowe, who has become venin. (This explains a lot, like why he didn’t die when a mountain crushed him, and why Nolon was in so much distress when trying to heal Jack.)
A red-eyed Jack shockingly kills his own bonded dragon, Baide, which destroys the wards. After a struggle, Nolon is able to get serum into Jack to gain control over him, and he crumbles to the ground.
They all realize that, since most of Basgiath’s personnel are at Samara where Melgren foresaw a losing battle, there aren’t enough fighters present at Basgiath, and there are only about ten hours of time left before they are all dead during “the darkest hour on the longest night of the year.” So, the group begins to strategize.
In chapter 61, on rest before the big battle, Violet and Xaden have a romantic moment together until they are interrupted by the surprise arrival of Brennan, some first-year riders (including Sloane, Liam’s sister) and the second and third year fliers, as Brennan realized he didn’t want to leave Violet and Mira to fight without him for a second time.
General Sorrengail agrees to let Brennan attempt to mend the wardstone, which can effectively kill the wyvern.
The battle against the wyvern, who, by the way, never even stop at Samara, begins. Sawyer takes the brunt of the fight, but Violet is able to help him survive, though he does lose a leg.
In chapter 62, Cat fights a venin, and Violet attempts to help. The venin eerily tells her that he’s under direct orders not to kill her. The venins words hearken to Violet’s repeated nightmares about the Sage. Cat uses her power to amplify the venin’s emotions of greed towards Violet, and Violet draws a lightning strike. The venin collapses. Then, Andarna arrives and burns the venin with her dragon fire.
In chapter 63, Jesinia reveals she’s uncovered the difference between the two journals she’s been studying. She believes that it is seven, not six, dragons that “set the stone ablaze in an iron flame.” This confuses Violet, as there are six dragon breeds (and she has already concluded that “the six” are dragons, not riders).
As the enemy of the leader arrives, Xaden sends Violet to help Brennan mend the wards. Violet then realizes Andarna’s seemingly black scales are “shifting from midnight black to a shimmering dark purple” and “taking on the greyish hue of the stone” in chapter 64. Andarna is the seventh breed of dragon — the number seven which Jesinia had said would be necessary to permanently power the wards.
Importantly, Andarna says that she waited 650 years to hatch during Violet’s 18th year of life. She says, “[W]hen I hear our elders talk of the weakling daughter of their general, the girl forecasted to become the head of the scribes, and I knew. You would have the mind of the scribe and the heart of a rider. You would be mine.”
(This is important because it leaves open-ended big questions, such as why? And what will Violet’s second signet be given this long-awaited bond?)
Since the only chance of survival in the short term is to temporarily activate the wards, Brennan works on mending, and Violet imbues the wards until she burns out.
General Sorrengail (who, remember, wants nothing more than to see her children survive) then steps in and has Sloane siphon all of her powers until she dies. That being said, her sacrifice has successfully powered the wardstone and saved everyone else in Navarre. In one of the most powerful lines Violet says, the title is referenced in her honor:
“When Andarna moves, my gaze wanders up the mended wardstone to the iron flame that burns black on top. It’s all that’s left of my mother.”-Chapter 64
Of course, the wyvern, too, have fallen.
Violet is summoned to Xaden, who is struggling to battle the Sage venin. Violet recounts all that’s happened, but Xaden acts strangely in response and tells Violet she should be afraid of him. When Violet looks him in the eyes, she sees they have red rings. Xaden has turned venin.
It turns out that the only way for Xaden to kill the venin he was battling and save both himself and Violet would be to turn venin. So, he made that choice.
Lastly, Xaden sees Jack Barlowe in a cell, and Jack tells him there is no cure for turning venin. He is now a villain to Violet and Jack’s “brother.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros ends with General Lilith Sorrengail sacrificing her life to re-power the fallen wards and protect Navarre. Meanwhile, Xaden has turned venin in order to save his and Violet’s lives.
At the end of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, Xaden has turned venin (a dark wielder and the enemy), and Jack Barlowe tells him it’s incurable.
No, at the end of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros, Xaden is still alive.
Several characters die in Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros; however, the most shocking death at the end is that of General Lilith Sorrengail, who sacrifices her life to re-power the fallen wards and protect Navarre.
The Iron Flame ending is an epic finale to a long and epic sequel. There is an epic battle, shocking deaths, new revelations, and one very massive plot twist. Most notably, Violet’s mother sacrifices her life for Navarre and Xaden turns venin to save Violet. The reader also learns that Andarna is a special seventh breed of dragon.