Fourth Wing – Ending Explained 

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Like all other Fantasy book lovers, I’ve jumped on the Fourth Wing bandwagon and don’t plan on looking back!

This book really scratched that ACOTAR itch for me, and as a now grown-up dragon kid (like a horse girl but with dragons), this book checked all the right boxes.

I’m also guilty of skimming or speed reading when I get really excited, and I must have been VERY excited at the end of this book because I finished it and went “wait…what?!

Well my little dragon riders, I’ve done a deep dive into the ending of Fourth Wing, and I’m here to lay it all out for you!

And WHAT an ending, right? I’m so excited for the next book, Iron Flame, to come out on November 7th, 2023.  

As I will be summarizing the end of the book…SPOILERS AHEAD! 

Anyways, let’s start in Chapter 33!

Fourth Wing – Chapter 33

Violet had just snuck away from the Reunification Day celebration to find Xaden on top of the parapet.

Violet didn’t think of how Reunification Day would feel for those who were marked as rebels and that they were basically celebrating their parents’ deaths.

A great heart-to-heart leads to a steamy hookup in Xaden’s room (check out chapter 32; it’s great fun 😉 ), when they’re startled by a pounding on the door.

Garrick tells them that they’re under attack!

All the riders get into formation, and when they’re all in place, Violet sees Xaden again. He informs her via their telepathic mind bond that it’s all just part of the war games.

And he is beyond pissed

This little under-attack ruse is actually the official start of the yearly war games.

Dain’s father tells them the attack scenario, which they will act out as a battle-ready force.

In this scenario, the wards (which keep everyone safe and keep the gryphons out) are on their way to being broken down. There is an attack at the border, and the villages are “under siege from drifts of gryphon riders”.

There are also reports of many casualties. Dain’s dad says that they are sending each different wing to a different spot and reinforcing that area of the border, and the squads will each pick a place within that spot to protect.

HOWEVER, the Wingleaders cannot choose where their squads are placed “because it will be used as headquarters.” Let’s be real, though; it’s so they can control where Xaden goes!

Xaden is told to set his headquarters up in Athebyne. This place is not only beyond the wards, but it is also where Xaden flew his secretive mission. Violet, however, thinks this is a little fishy… 

They all set off with their squads to get ready for the departure into “battle,” and when Violet comes outside, she sees all the dragons lined up and ready for flight.

Andarna is tucked under Tairn’s wing, and Violet is immediately concerned with Andarna’s ability to keep up with the other dragons.

Violet is in her feels about saying goodbye to Xaden in front of everyone when Xaden comes over and tells her (in front of Dain, I might add) that he needs her to come with his squad and not Dain’s because Tairn and Sgaeyl cannot be separated.

Dain is PISSED off, but he is out-ranked (he is also the WoOooOrst), and though he tries to talk Violet out of it, she tells Dain that she trusts Xaden and that she’s going.

Dain calls her out for choosing Xaden and whispers in her ear, “I’ll miss you, Violet,” and then leaves.

Fourth Wing – Chapter 34

Xaden and Violet fly all day, and when they pass the wards, Violet feels a pulling sensation in her chest. She can feel the wildness of magic beyond the wards.

The whole squad lands to rest and hydrate, and they’re about twenty minutes away from their station in Athebyne. 

Liam and Violet are chatting, and Liam asks her about the situation between her and Xaden in a warning tone. Violet is confused by this because Liam says that he owes his whole life to Xaden. Liam tells her, “It’s not that…It’s just I know his priorities.”

Xaden comes over and does a little PDA, which leaves Violet shocked because he is breaking his own rules. Xaden says he trusts everyone in this squad, and no one will say a word about their relationship.

They make out for a bit and tell each other, “You’re mine,” and it’s gross and cute. However, their gross cuteness is abruptly ended when Xaden goes ridged.

Xaden tries to use his shadow magic to hide Violet, but a voice calls out, “Silly to hide what’s already been seen…”, and who does the voice belong to other than a pair of Gryphon riders!

Violet calls for Tairn, and when he lands, the Gryphon riders are surprised by his size. Xaden pleads for Violet to trust him, but she feels betrayed by his working with the supposed enemies.

She breaks free from Liam, who had been holding her back from Xaden, and she turns towards Xaden, who talks to the riders, “You’re fucking early.” Violet’s heart falls from her chest out her butt (not really, but you get the feeling).

Fourth Wing – Chapter 35

Xaden tells the woman that he doesn’t have a full shipment, which she says is not the current issue.

Violet is very shocked by the whole interaction and confused about what he could mean by shipment. The two Gryphon rides are actually there to warn Xaden and his squad about a horde of Venin that took out a whole village close by

Now, this is where it can be easy for readers to get confused! Venin are mentioned previously in the story, but they’re believed by our protagonist to be myths.

Violet’s father told her stories and read to her from The Fables of the Barr, which had stories of both Venin and wyverns. Turns out the myths are not just myths!

It is also important to know that wyverns and dragons are different! Here is what Violet says about wyverns on page 453,

The Gryphon riders, after giving their warning, prepare to fly back to defend their people but first get a quick jab in at Violet.

Violet now knows that Xaden is working with the enemy and that Venin are real.

She quickly does a look around at the other people in the group to come to the realization that everyone has a rebel relic and they are all children of Separatists.

She also realizes that they’re all still traitors. She tells all this to her dragon, Tairn, and his only response is “Yes. They are.” So, not only did Xaden withhold information from her, but so did her dragons! 

Xaden and Violet start to fight, and Xaden tries to explain his side everything by telling Violet that she’s fighting on the wrong side of the war.

Xaden tells her that the “shipments” he’s been giving the Gryphon fliers are weapons, not to kill dragons and their riders, but the Venin.

The reason that the Venin never attacked Navarre is because the wards that Navarre has keep all non-dragon magic out of the borders.

Violet can see the logic behind this but realllllly doesn’t want to…

This also means that Navarre knows that other places are being attacked by dark magic but is choosing to keep only their own borders safe. 

Xaden tells Violet that the reason the Navarre and their armies do nothing about this is because the magic that powers their wards is the same and is the only thing that will kill the Venin.

Also, it’s the reason for the raids at the borders of Navarre. People were looking for supplies to defend themselves, not attack Navarre!

Xaden gives Violet a Venin-killin’ dagger, as well as his explanation for withholding all this information.

Xaden’s main concern is that if Violet had known this, Dain would be able to see her memories and tell his father everything.

(Remember, Dain’s super special dragon power is that he can see people’s memories when he touches them!)

Violet thinks back to the book (aka tome) that her dad gave her, The Fables of the Barr, and how she wasn’t able to find any other copies of it when she looked at the Archives.

After all this, they arrive at their post, and Xaden tells Violet to stay near him as he doesn’t think this is just a War Game.

They find the whole valley, even the trading post, abandoned. Xaden asks what exactly Dain said to her before they left. 

Xaden asks is Dain touched Voilet when he spoke to her, and she tells him that he did, but in the same way he always does. She doesn’t think that Dain would take her memories.

Weeeeeeelllll, he definitely did, and he def told his dad… 

Garrick comes over to Xaden, handing him a letter addressed “War Games for Xaden Riorson, Wingleader of Fourth Wing”. Violet recognizes that the handwriting is Colonel Aetos (Dain’s dad). 

The letter says their mission is “to survive if they can.” 

Violet knows now that Dain did look into her memories and told his dad where Xaden had been meeting. Turns out Violet did a little betraying of her own, even though she didn’t know it.

They were all sent there to die! 

Fourth Wing – Chapter 36

Okay, so it turns out to also be a test of loyalty.

Xaden and the other marked rebels must choose to either leave to make a new location for their headquarters or stay and defend the trading post of Resson and its people from the Venin.

Unfortunately, they don’t have time to do both!

There are four Venin and ten riders, and several Gryphon fliers land among the riders and tell Xaden and the rest of his squad to leave.

Four Venin is a death sentence, and the fliers are already making peace with their deaths through their own gods. 

Violet thinks to herself of the people that they’re leaving to die and knows that they “can live as cowards or die as riders.”

Xaden and his dragon Sgaeyl decide that they are going to stay and fight, but Xaden tells his squad that he isn’t asking anyone to stay with him.

The others all tell Xaden that he’s the one who has saved each of them and that they are going to fight alongside him. 

Violet watches them all come together and thinks of the difference between their parents and her own.

She always watches them one by one agree to fight with Xaden till it’s just her. She calls out to her dragon, and he tells her that they “will feast on the bones” of the Venin, and Violet’s all in! 

They all prepare to take off with their dragons, but Voilet tells Andarna to stay back and hide despite her pleas to join in the battle, but she’s just a wittle baby!!

Off in the distance, they think they see another riot of dragons only to realize that in fact, it is Wvyerns and that their impending death is now even more likely. But they stay brave and mount up anyway!

Before they leave, Xaden gives Violet one more of the Venin-killin’ daggers.

He also tells her that despite General Melgren’s power of being able to see the outcome of a battle, his rebellion relic makes it so that Melgren cannot see what Xaden is doing.

So, Melgren won’t know the outcome of their approaching battle against the Venin until it’s over and news reaches him. Violet tells Xaden…

So it’s not really over yet for our love birds!

They fly into the village and see the Venin up close, and they’re even creepier than Violet thought they would be. And now the battle begins! 

All the dragons can feel there is something inside the trading post. There’s a Venin standing at the top of a clock tower, and Tairn and Violet go to attack him.

However, the dragon’s fire does not work on them. The only way to kill them is with the daggers. 

Liam, Garrick, and their dragon are working to evacuate the townspeople, and Violet and Tairn are set to pull attention away from them so they can get people out.

Violet tries to use her lightning power to attack the Wyvrns to keep them away from the people escaping. The Venin is beginning to channel power, and the plants and hillside around them begin to wither and crumble.

The Venin kills Soleil with magic and is now even more powerful. Tairn uses his fire on a building full of unstable materials and creates a huge explosion.

Things are starting to look more hopeful! One wyvern is dead, and most of the townspeople are evacuated.

However, that hope doesn’t last long when they see that there are six wyverns following them. Violet channels power from Tairn to create lightning to strike at the wyvern.

She kills two and is able to distract a few others. There are also some epic dragon-on-wyvern fights, but really, you need to read the book to see how sick they are!

A wyvern drops from out of nowhere and drives straight for Tairn, but Deigh (Laim’s dragon) interferes just in the nick of time for this attack. Liam loses his mount and falls, but Violet catches him by his arm.

Deigh screams as he is locked into a fight with a wyvern. Tairn tries to save Deigh but doesn’t get there in time, and the wyvern pulls Deigh down to his death.

Liam begins to die, and Violet tries to get Liam to his dead dragon, but it’s too late. Liam asks Violet to take care of his sister, asks her to hear out Xaden, and tells her that Xaden needs her more than she knows.

Xaden lands and rushes to Liam, picks him up, and carries him to his dead dragon. Liam dies, and honestly, out of all the characters she could have killed off, this one got me right in the heart!

Liam was such a sweetie, and I am BIG sad about his death 💔

Violet is the only one who can kill the wyverns, which leaves Xaden to be the one to hold the others off. It will kill Violet to wield so many times and likely kill Xaden to fight all the other wyverns. 

Fourth Wing – Chapter 37

As Violet and Tairn fly up to begin their attack, Tairn roars out in pain. A Venin has climbed onto Tairn’s back and is stabbing him all over.

The Venin tries to get Violet to kill her, but Violet starts using her big brain and gets out of her saddle with a new plan to kill the Venin!

She starts hand-to-hand combat with the Venin. Violet is quickly on the defensive, and the Venin threatens to hand Violet over to her Sage. 

Violet uses her lightning to disorient the Venin and stabs her in the ribs, killing her. After she dies, three wyverns fall from the sky.

Violet now sees what’s up! She realizes that when a Venin dies, the wyvern also dies. If they can kill the Venin, they might just be able to win this thing. 

There are two Venin left, but unfortunately, one of them is the “Sage” and therefore the most powerful Venin. Violet is very unwell, but she decides to take the last Venin rider out with her power.

Andarna is a little snot and just shows up to watch even though Violet told her to hide. However, Violet needs a little extra power, so kinda good that Andarna decided not to listen after all! 

Violet wields power from both Andarna and Tairn, and she uses her power to kill the last Venin rider. The wyverns start to fall from the sky, and Violet loses her strength and falls off Tairn’s back.

Fourth Wing – Chapter 38

Violet is falling from the sky, and it reminds me of that scene from Spy Kids 2 where they fall down the volcano, but it takes forever. 

Andarna stops time and slows Violet’s fall. After slow falling for a bit, she lands in Xaden’s arms and then passes OUT.

Violet wakes and is in mondo pain from her stab wound. She overhears the others talking about how her wound is poisoned, and she needs help quickly, or she will die.

They cannot take her to Basgiath because it is too far, and Xaden suggests that there is “somewhere else” they can take her.

However, the others think that it’s too much of a risk and that it may “ruin everything”. But, Xaden says, “They have to get her to him,” as  Violet falls back asleep. 

Violet wakes again, and she can feel that she is on the back of a dragon. She sees the Cliffs of Dralor, and now she knows that they are in Tyrrish (where the Tyrrish Rebellion originated).

She’s in so much pain and can feel that she is very close to death, and she passes out.

Then, she wakes again and starts to wish she was dead from how much pain she is in!

She hears Imogen asking Xaden if he is “sure about this?” and is met with a response from Garrick that “He made his decision” and “When you have a hundred and seven scars on your back, then you get to make the fucking decisions.” 

The “hundred and seven scars” is a reference to Xaden making a deal for all the children of the rebellion and getting a scar for each of them.

Xaden agreed to take responsibility for the loyalty of each of the children of the rebellion. They would be given the chance to fight for their lives in the Riders Quadrant, but if any of them rebelled, Xaden would suffer the consequences. 

Xaden tells Violet that she has to fight if she is going to live.

Violet “almost believes him,”  but she’s working through some trust issues with the whole Xaden lying to her thing and thinks that he only cares because their lives are tied to each other. But COME ON, he has to care, right?!

Violet hears a familiar voice call out Xaden’s name, but she can’t quite place it. 

Fourth Wing – Chapter 39

Xaden is worried out of his mind as three days pass and Violet hasn’t woken up.

He feels a lot of guilt about lying to Violet, Liam dying, Violet getting hurt, and not seeing the trap at Athebyne.

He wishes that he just held on to her and didn’t try to fight the way he felt for her.

Violet wakes up, and Xaden is relieved to see her wound healed. Xaden kisses her forehead, and Violet kisses him back on the mouth.

Xaden feels relieved that she’s not mad at him, and he tells her that he will “make it up to her,” which confuses her and brings her back to what’s really going on.

Violet gets out of bed and looks out the window to see that they’re in Aretia, which Violet’s mother told her had been burned to the ground. She asks Xaden if it was never burnt or being rebuilt, and not to lie to her again.

Violet realizes that she hasn’t heard of this place being built again because Melgren can’t see an outcome when more than three rebels are together (which is also the reason why they cannot be in groups larger than three).

Xaden tells himself that he will fight for Violet to be his again and try to convince her that his interest in her well being isn’t just because of his own life.

Violet changes and, once out of bed, emerges from Xaden’s room to invite him in. Xaden asks Violet if she’s in and willing to join their fight, and Violet says that she is in.

Xaden goes to embrace her, but she quickly stops him from that, telling him that she trusts him to fight with him but doesn’t trust him with her heart. He apologizes for keeping secrets and tells her that he will earn back her trust. 

Someone knocks at the door, and you’ll never guess who it is! Violet’s thought-to-be-dead brother, Brennan!

Brennan is the one who mended Violet from the poison, and Violet is shocked that he is alive. The book ends with Brennan opening his arms to his little sister and saying, “Welcome to the revolution, Violet.” 

What an ending, am I right?!

I know I cannot wait to get my hands on Iron Flame and see where this story goes next.

Personally, I’m here for shadow daddy Xaden to be endgame. I’ve seen the theories online that because this is a five-book long series, Xaden might not be endgame, but I cannot accept that

Fourth Wing – Ending Explained

Okay, so here are the things that you need to know to understand the ending of Fourth Wing.

The big one is Navarre has lied about a LOT.

They lied about the Venin and wyverns being real and instead chose to protect their own borders and set up wards to keep everything out but not help defeat the Venin.

Gryphons and their fliers are not inherently evil but are at odds with the dragon riders of Navarre because of their refusal to help and keep all their magic to themselves.

The rebellion was actually about not covering up the truth and fighting for what is right.

It’s also important to know that the leaders of Basgiath War College set up Xaden and the other riders with rebel relics.

This is because they found out that Xaden had been secretly meeting up with more than three rebels and sneaking off, which they learned from Dain looking into Violet’s memories. 

What were your favorite parts of this book? I personally loved any scene Xaden was in! 😍

Happy reading <3

-Paisley

Other Articles From PaisleyReads: Is The Secret History Hard to Read?

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