For me, with Raven and Clarke, it all started with Clarke seeing the ship crashing and thinking it was a shooting star. She saw Raven before Finn did and I thought that was awesome. And in that moment, Raven was crashing to earth sent down by Clarke’s mother. It just kind of felt like Clarke was getting this metaphorical gift from the sky as she was looking up there. Stars and light are kind of a symbol of hope and Raven came down and gave Clarke that hope and once she did, from that episode onward there’s sort of a change in the dynamic of the delinquents. Things start to come together. She was like a missing piece. Go back and watch the scene where Clarke and Raven are helping each other set up for the rockets. Look at the way Raven looks at Clarke and says “I’ve never seen anyone love somebody as much as she loves you.” Raven almost looks intrigued through the whole scene, like she can somehow see Clarke with the amount of love Abby does, or she wants to. Raven’s face in that scene has always held a lot of value to me. Then in the later scene in that episode, Clarke looks over when she sees the shooting star. In the moment, I think she’s supposed to be looking at Finn. It was a cheesy, CW style “girl yearning for the guy” thing, or maybe yearning for the connection Finn and Raven were having. And in that moment, Raven looks back at her and catches her eye, entirely innocent of what Clarke is thinking and she smiles. Then Clarke smiles. That moment has also always been important. It feels like when people say to you “you don’t get what you want, you get what you need.” The sky sent Clarke Raven, even when she was looking at Finn.
In the next episode, Raven and Clarke went off on that trip together. Clarke was focused and determined, taking no time to stop and enjoy the world they were in. In episode one, Clarke did this same thing with Finn, Octavia, Monty, and Jasper trailing behind her. She insisted she had no time to enjoy that stuff. And yet as Clarke is walking in episode 6, Raven is trailing behind her smiling and nearly skipping and smelling flowers. “Hurry up and save the world, right,” she says and they keep on moving.
After that, of course comes the Finn semi triangle stuff. I’ll always, always appreciate the grace with which that storyline was handled. Both Clarke and Raven had their dignity and their wits about them throughout it and were treated as real girls and not just plot devices in a love triangle. I couldn’t help, through out that but feel like Clarke cared more about Raven’s heart than Finn did. She spent a lot of that time pointing Finn toward Raven, reminding Finn that Raven cared for him. Clarke put herself and her feelings first by telling Finn no but she also put Raven first. And then later, Raven put herself first on her own by telling Finn she deserved better. It took her a little time to have that moment but she did it all on her own.
Clarke and Raven’s relationship only went upward from there. They became friends, saved the day together, relied on each other’s differences and similarities, supported each other’s skills and ideas. People talk a lot about Clarke as the head and Bellamy as the heart and maybe in ways that is right but Raven is the hands, and beyond that, I think she’s a head and a heart of her own. She brings a different kind of thought to Clarke’s logical thinking that even he doesn’t. She’s imaginative and creative. She invents and she reworks. Her heart is different too. She doesn’t rally the crowds. She isn’t the voice that Bellamy is but her heart is fire and passion and strength. It pushes forward and it’s warm. It’s home base. People say Clarke and Bellamy need each other as leaders but I think Raven is as significant in that. I think Octavia is too but that’s an explanation for another day. Raven may make things go boom, but I think she brings a steadiness to ship and a different kind of brilliance.
Raven has a moment, in episode 12 or 13 where she’s really feeling what her life has put on her. She talks about being picked first and how important that is to her. Finn didn’t pick her first and she knows that. Now she can’t use her hands to help as she usually does. It’s a low moment and Clarke says “I’d pick you first.” You could look past this line but it has so much value. It’s rare we see a girl look to another girl and say your skills, your head, who you are, what you are is important enough to me that it would be my first choice. And this isn’t just an off hand affirmation or a comforting gesture to Raven that Clarke offers. It could be, but it isn’t because it’s no where near hollow. Clarke picked Raven first when she walked away from Finn. She picked her first when she kept trying to tell Finn to listen to her and care for her. She would pick Raven first for her apocalypse team because she recognizes the value that Raven brings to it. And after that, Clarke continues to pick Raven first. When Clarke kills Finn, it’s to protect her entire people. And even if Raven hates her for it, Clarke chose Raven first. Clarke chose Raven’s safety over Finn’s. She sacrificed the possibility that Raven could hate her because Finn needed to die. It was the only way. After that, when Raven did hate her, Clarke offered her hand but she didn’t force it. She understood and once again, she backed away.
After Finn’s death, Raven lashed out at Clarke. She didn’t do that because she thinks Clarke is a terrible bitch. She lashed out at Clarke because she trusted Clarke with every single fiber in her body. She says to Abby “I know what Clarke would do.” When she first hears about Finn’s sentence, she immediately is calmed by Clarke’s promise that nothing will happen to him. She has enough faith in her to assume that the plan will work when she gives Clarke that knife. A huge amount of Raven’s sadness and heartbreak comes from the loss of Finn, her family. But I think a definitely significant amount of it also comes from the loss of her trust in Clarke. In Raven’s eyes, Clarke let her down. Clarke didn’t save Finn. Even if in our eyes or Clarke’s eyes, she did save Raven.
Now we’re nearing the end of season three and Raven is of course, grieving. She’s taking a back seat in some ways in the story because Clarke is off somewhere else and as we know, this story mostly follows Clarke. But she’s there at the radio. She’s still home base. She’s the hug before Clarke leaves, the voice when Bellamy calls, the brain of the operation back at home. That hug broke my heart. Raven is definitely a feeler, as unfeeling as she sometimes appears to want to seem. Even though Clarke broke her heart, she cares about her a lot and they need that moment. Just as important is the one before it when Clarke is panicking and they’re challenging each other and yet even though they’re doing that, Raven reminds Clarke she can still do it, just like all the times Clarke reminded Raven she could. They push each other, they challenge each other, but they still have faith in everything the other can do. No other characters in the show have shown the unwavering support for each other’s skills and choices that Clarke and Raven do, while still making sure to check them on their crap when they have to.
I will always see Raven as a sort of beacon to Clarke. She’s a light. She was the shooting star, and the beacon that brought Clarke back to Camp Jaha. She’s home base. She’s a protector. imagination, creativity, hands and heart where Clarke is courage and logic, leadership, and righteousness. She’s the one holding Clarke back to smells the flowers, hugging her before she leaves for danger with no uncertainty that she can do it and will return. But in being that, her own skills aren’t negated. She is just as valuable to the cause and Clarke values her just as much. Clarke is the person that picks Raven first, that values her skills, protects her heart. Would I love in some way to see them maybe end up together when it’s all over especially since now Clarke is bis? Oh heck yes. But even with that, I see a love story all over them. Ever since it began, I see so much between them, in symbolism and context. It’s already there and built and the love between them is super significant to me.
(I realize this definitely turned into a shipper trash ramble or something. It’s probably not ver cohesive or coherent but that’s my thoughts in a sort of long nut shell).