Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.
– Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear
Every week, I wonder if it’s humanly possible for me to fit more love for The 100 in my heart. There has got to be some capacity, a limit, right? How much can one human possibly feel?
And yet, the second half of this season especially has proven me wrong time and time, again. Either I’ve got more love in me than I thought, or the limit does not exist. Either way, bring it on. Bring it all on. This is the one time in my life I’m begging to be proven wrong, and to keep being proven wrong.
This show has really come back to what I consider it’s core themes and characters, and for that, it’s only gotten stronger. It is, above all else, a show about humanity. The politics, the brutality, the romance, the friendship, and everything in between falls into that–but it’s simply about humanity. It’s a show that has very intuitively and beautifully explored moral ambiguity, and has had you asking the same question as it’s lead characters: are there good guys?
“Maybe there are no good guys.” No good guys, no bad guys–just perspective. After all, the road to Hell was paved with good intentions–and this show has done nothing but reiterate this time and time again.
But my favorite part of it all, my favorite recurring theme?
Clarke and Bellamy offering each other forgiveness when the rest of the world doesn’t always, not as meaningfully as they do, and when they can never find it in them to forgive themselves, but they can forgive each other–that’s magic. Beyond.
And this is aside from shipping. This is about two people who push each other, who are strong on their own, but better together. The head and the heart. Each are so wonderfully developed, strong characters on their own. They’re both multifaceted and evolving, multidimensional, and I mean in no way to take away from them as individual characters. But they’ve figured it out, too–they’re just better together. They feed off each other powerfully, and they’re each other’s biggest supporters, despite occasional disagreements.
They’re doing their best, and they do it better together.
And here’s the thing, the thing I fear much of the fandom has so unfortunately forgotten.
Humans, characters–they have flaws. They are not faultless, they are not perfect, and to write them as such would be a disservice to us all. No one is perfect, they can just try their hardest. Not many love Clarke Griffin quite as much as I do, and I am quite sure of that. I’ve written about it before, and I will again, I’m sure. But I don’t love her simply because of all her wonderful traits, her willpower and brains, her resilience and survival instincts, her quick thinking, the list goes on.
I also love her despite. Despite her flaws. Clarke Griffin may carry too much of the world on her shoulders, and the guilt and the blame should by no means rest only on her–that, she does not deserve. But to say that Clarke has never done wrong, that Bellamy, Octavia, etc. have no right to ever be upset with her? That’s just not true. Feelings, first and foremost, are valid. Bellamy has every right to have been hurt and angry when she left. It didn’t mean he didn’t understand–but she left him when he needed her, as a friend. He is allowed to be hurt. Octavia is allowed to disagree with her decisions about TonDC, Lexa, etc. She is allowed to be angry and hurt with Clarke because this has never been black and white. There were reasons for Clarke to make the choices she did, but there are reasons for people to disagree, and that’s okay. Clarke is flawed. They all are.
Bellamy Blake, one of my other favorites and (for some reason) possibly the most controversial character on this show, at least this season, is also flawed. He is human (say it with me!). I love him despite, and I also love him because. There are so many strong and lovable traits that so much of this fandom were quick to write off the second Bellamy made some poor decisions–which, from his point, were understandable. Do not mistake me: I am not justifying his actions, but I am looking at his actions from his point of view and seeing where he made his decision, and where he went wrong–something he himself is going through right now. But does this mean we discount every good thing he’s done, every step towards penance that he’s made?
And why, why can we do this for some characters, but not all? Why can we forgive Lexa for those she has killed–one man was kicked off of a balcony to his death for disrespect, for daring to cross her? Why can we forgive Clarke so easily for killing everyone in Mt. Weather, or perhaps worse, doing nothing to warn anyone in TonDC? Who are they to decide who lives and dies? Why can we forgive Kane for his years of harshness and even brutality, at times? Why can we forgive Abby for her role in poor leadership, Octavia for those she has killed, etc.?
(I by no means am arguing that these characters didn’t deserve our understanding and forgiveness–I am arguing that all these characters deserve the same considerations, and that includes Bellamy Blake.)
One of my favorite parts of an amazing past few episodes overall, but especially last week’s episode “Join or Die” was Bellamy confiding in Clarke: “Forgiveness is hard for us.” He’s not sure Octavia will ever forgive him, is broken by that and blames himself as much if not more than she blames him. He’s not sure he even deserves it, and I’m not sure he’s ever thought he deserved it.
But forgiveness isn’t about what people deserve.
It’s something that will take time and a lot of healing and rebuilding, something I have confidence the Blakes can do. I may not be sure of much on this show, but for that, I do have faith.
But I don’t think that’s all Bellamy meant. Clarke didn’t either, and she at times knows him better than he knows himself.
“The question is, can you forgive yourself?”
That might be hardest of all, something he may never do–something Clarke may never do either. But the two of them have offered each other forgiveness before, and this? This felt like that. Because Clarke knew that, despite missteps, despite it having most definitely been the wrong move–she knows Bellamy better, knows that he must’ve really felt he was doing what was best for his people for him to have done that. Knows that death doesn’t sit lightly on his shoulders.
Without saying it so explicitly, she forgives him. He doesn’t need to ask for it.
And Bellamy? He’s just tired. He’s tired of being angry, specifically at her. He’s tired of being hurt and he’s ready to just move on. I like to believe he’s forgiven her, too–and maybe he had a long time ago, he just didn’t know it yet, was just too hurt and angry to see it. Maybe.
Maybe Clarke is right, maybe someday they’ll be able to forgive themselves–but for now, they can do it for each other.
I could go on–these two aren’t the only ones who have had forgiveness given and taken. We’ve seen Jasper’s journey to forgiveness, to moving forward these past few episodes, when he finally realized that Clarke does the impossible. We’ve seen Octavia offer small slivers of what might be forgiveness to Clarke numerous times this season, as well as her reluctance to give it to her brother just yet, the wounds still too fresh.
But with Clarke and Bellamy, it’s always been…heavier. It has always meant more. Like Bellamy said, it isn’t easy for him. And Clarke, who never allows herself a moment to be vulnerable in front of anyone else in the world, let’s herself admit truths to Bellamy that she would never dare whisper near anyone else.
These two respect and love (platonically or not is for you to interpret and decide) each other because of many reasons. They love each other’s strengths and they love each other’s brains and intellect, their ambition, and dedication to their people. There are maybe a hundred reasons why they love each other because.
But so much more beautifully than that? They love each other despite. They forgive. They depend on each other, and they know, deep down, who the other is. They love each other despite the fights and the mistakes, despite the moves that they can’t always understand.
Because that? That is love.
Can you imagine?
Hamilton, It’s Quiet Uptown