|“||But I'm not going to take the chance and let them starve, because of some ridiculous rule that your ancestors invented.||”|
The Tithe is a biannual event occurring in the Spring Court. During the event, every faerie in the Spring Court is expected to give its High Lord a gift. The gift they give is dependent on their income and status. In exchange, the High Lord promises to protect them and help them when he can.
The gifts that the Spring Court receives are used to keep the High Lord's estate functioning. It is used to pay for sentries, food, and servants.
If a faerie is unable to pay the Tithe, then they will get a grace period of three days to gather the funds owed. After that, if the faerie is still unable to pay, then they have the choice of offering to pay double at the next Tithe or the High Lord of the Spring Court is expected to hunt them down and impose judgment.
The Tithe is an ancient event that occurs within the Spring Court twice a year. Tamlin's father and grandfather both enacted the Tithe on the citizens in the Court, during their respective time in power. However, during Amarantha's control over Prythian, Tamlin refused to hold the Tithe, and thus the citizens of the Spring Court did not pay their taxes.
Several months after the events Under the Mountain, Tamlin announced that the Tithe will be occurring. Tamlin, however, decides to grant the Court an extra month to celebrate Amarantha's defeat and to gather funds for the upcoming Tithe.
The Tithe finally occurs a week after Feyre returns from her first week at the Night Court. Due to Feyre's relationship with Tamlin, she is expected to sit beside Tamlin and observe. Lucien's role is to keep track of who pays their Tithe and who doesn't. Tamlin is the High Lord, and thus expected to hunt down any faerie who doesn't pay the Tithe. The event occurs within the receiving room, a large room that appears identical to a throne room.
During the Tithe, both Lesser Faeries and High Fae visit the receiving room to give payment. Tamlin receives multiple gifts including gold, jewels, chickens, crops, mushrooms, a golden fleece, and a jar of jam. A water-wraith enters the room and explains to Tamlin that she is unable to pay her Tithe, as there are no fish within the lake. She pleads with him to make an exception, but Tamlin refuses. He angrily tells her that she must pay, otherwise she will have to face the consequence.
Feyre watches the proceedings and is deeply offended by Tamlin's actions. Unlike the High Lord, she is sympathetic towards the water-wraith. Feyre has suffered from poverty herself and understands what it is like to go without food. Thus, she urges Tamlin to make an exception. She explains that the gifts they receive are unnecessary, but Tamlin refuses.
Angrily, Feyre storms away and meets with the water-wraith. She gives her all the jewelry she has in her possession, allowing the water-wraith to pay her Tithe. The water-wraith asks what she wants in return, but Feyre clarifies that she wants nothing. In spite of this, the water-wraith tells her that she and her sisters will never forget the kindness.
Once he finds out about her interaction with the water-wraith, Tamlin is outraged as he believes that she undermined the rules of the Court. Feyre tells Tamlin how it felt when she suffered from poverty, and why she gave the jewelry to the water-wraith. Tamlin ignores her reasons and is still deeply outraged at her actions.
After returning to the Spring Court, Feyre began working on a strategy to bring it down from within.
The day after Tamlin whipped a Spring Court Sentry for having "lost" the key to the gates of the manor (actually stolen by Feyre, who implanted a memory in the head of the sentry so he believed it was Ianthe) and the manor suffered an attack from the naga, his other sentries began to hold a grudge towards him for blindly believing Ianthe and not taking into account their versions of the story.
During the last expedition to the Wall, Feyre used her daemati powers to get inside Ianthe's head and make her crush her hand with a rock repeatedly so that she couldn't touch anyone else against their will. She then had a confrontation with the princes of Hybern, Dagdan and Brannagh, where they were killed and then Feyre made the sentries who had accompanied them tell everyone that she had to flee because Tamlin and Ianthe had done nothing to stop them, so the court stirred up and rumors of rebellion spread everywhere.
Half of the citizens refused to appear at the next Tithe and many were thinking of moving to other courts.
- The High Priestesses grant sacred hunting rights for the Tithe. Ianthe is one of the priestesses who is able to do this.
- Though some citizens in the Night Court have to pay taxes, there is no equivalent of the Tithe in this Court.
- In the real world, a tithe is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory tax to the government. Traditional Jewish law and practice have included various forms of tithing since ancient times.