The downfall of Grayson Hawthorne

October 12, 2022

From family drama to family trauma, The Inheritance Games trilogy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes has it all. 

*Spoilers Below*

Grayson Davenport Hawthorne initially introduced as a cold-hearted, cunning older brother— later revealed to have a soft side hidden beneath his icy demeanour— is one of BookTok’s highly favoured fictional characters.

The initial debate regarding his character was regarding whether or not he was a good fit for Avery Kylie Grambs, the 17-year-old who essentially stole Grayson’s entire family’s inheritance from the heir-apparent (Grayson himself), or if his charming younger brother Jameson was more ideal for her. The battle of the Hawthorne brothers sparked a large debate within the BookTok community, as they slowly forgot the main idea of the story. The novels tackle grief and emotional trauma while the characters learn how to deal with large changes in their lives.

“Throughout the series, I think Grayson’s character was very consistent in the first two books.” avid reader and RH King student, Opshori Banik, says. Grayson had been doing a perfect job filling the role of the charming older brother until the end of Hawthorne Legacy, book 2 of the series, where he stands in shock as Avery meets the effects of an airplane explosion in her midst. This would be his first major screw-up, slowly leading to his impending doom.

The Final Gambit, the last book in the trilogy, released on August 30th, brings forth a unique and unexpected plot to tie together the series.

“In the third book, though, [Grayson] became incredibly annoying… it still made sense with his character. Grayson had trauma from Emily and at that point, he still hadn’t healed.” Banik adds. Emily, being the girl he and Jameson dated who was not only the life of the party but the source of family drama. Emily had been dating both the brothers at the same time, without their knowledge, and the day Jameson found out and called quits was the day she ultimately died- quite literally. Emily went cliff jumping with Grayson and the adrenaline of it all set off her already heart condition, killing her. While Jameson found a way to deal with his trauma from this, Grayson did not. He still blamed himself for her death and could not move on.

Thus when Eve, Grayson’s cousin (not blood-related – it’s a long story) shows up, things do not bode well- seeing as she looks like a carbon copy of Emily. Some fans believe that his behaviour in The Final Gambit was out of character for him but Banik and Nandakumaar believe otherwise.

“So for me,” Banik continues, “his reaction to Eve in the third book, though aggravating, still aligned with his character and his trauma.” Grayson stuck to Eve like glue even when all signs were pointing to the fact that she was an antagonist. 

Although Grayson was trying to recover from his traumatic past, he was never fully able to.

— Triscia Nandakumaar, RH King Student

“Although Grayson was trying to recover from his traumatic past, he was never fully able to.” Triscia Nandakumaar, another RH King student, says. “After meeting Eve, he let his guard down, causing him to constantly screw up. He was blindly trusting Eve while hurting his brothers and Avery.”

“Many say these actions were out of character for him, but I believe they’re not. Even though Grayson was making progress, we saw how he never completely recovered. So him prioritizing Eve made complete sense.” Nandakumaar states. Grayson said many harsh things and betrayed the trust of his family just to find out that Eve was corrupt the whole time. This was the downfall of Grayson Hawthorne. 

He was unable to deal with his past and it came to haunt him, the difference between him and his brother, Jameson, is the fact that Jameson stuck by Avery’s side the entire time while Grayson just resorted to old habits. Emily was still causing family drama a year after she had died, mission accomplished.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes has recently announced 3 new books set in the world of The Inheritance Games to release in the upcoming years. A standalone called The Brothers Hawthorne is set to release on August 29, 2023. The novel will follow Grayson and Jameson after the events of The Final Gambit. There will also be a duology to release, titles currently unknown, also set in the same universe.

Grayson Hawthorne may have lived through his downfall, but is the future of his character still salvageable?


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