In A World Full of Mediocre Characters, be a Rose

If you haven’t read the Vampire Academy novels, you might want to look away.

Have you looked away? I assume not because you are still scanning this page.

Well, I hope you have read them, because I am about to examine the character that is Rose Hathaway.

Rose Hathaway is one of the most, perhaps, in my isolated opinion, profoundly interesting characters I have ever had the joy of experiencing on a page. What is interesting about her is not her, for lack of a better phrase, outrageous beauty that us mere mortals can only dream of possessing, nor her unobtainable fighting skills. Rather, what makes her interesting is her flaws.

When I experience a character, I want them to be flawed. There is no joy for me in reading about a character that is holier-than-holy, outlandishly good, or even unspeakably mediocre in their actions. I want their dual passionate nature and their wit, coupled with a lack of impulse control, twinged with selfish tendencies.

That is what it is to be human, right? No one is truly exceptional in every way. We are all entirely flawed, and I want my characters to be flawed too. Perhaps that’s why I like Rose so much. She’s about as flawed as you can be, whilst still being a remarkable human. Scratch that. Half-human, half-moroi.

What I interpret about her character is her sense of duty, her unflinching ability to protect her best friend, Lissa, coupled with her more childish tendencies in the beginning of the series. Namely, her utter disregard for the rules and, in some later cases, the law.

Disregard for dorm mingling policies? You bet.

Disregard for curfew? Sure.

Disregard for accepting things with grace? Intensely so.

Throughout the series, one thing remains static, and that is her desire to protect those she loves, whatever the personal cost. It’s a truly noble thing, to be sure, and one worthy of applause. Where she flexes her dynamic tendencies is where she is, in my eyes, most interesting. In the beginning of the series she might be considered childish at times, reckless, but it is always underlined with her inflexible sense of duty towards Lissa, Dimitri, her friends, and the whole of the Moroi.

Her sense of duty grows over the course of the books, even as many of her childish, tendencies decay, and even as her reckless tendencies are amplified as well.

Breaking into a prison? Definitely reckless.

Running away to Russia? Probably.

Aiding fugitives? Certainly.

She never fully shakes that aspect of herself that is, frankly, flawed and wonderful. Many authors take their character arcs and borderline transform their characters so that they are practically unrecognizable from back one to page three hundred. Morally questionable to outstanding citizens, or painfully sweet to depressingly evil. So the fact that she is consistently so strong and determined and loving is admirable, but her persistent brash attitude and stubborn recklessness make her exceptional.

The perfect character doesn’t exist, but Rose comes pretty close.

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