On CoHF, Sailor Moon R: The Promise of the Rose, and the trials of love.
In case you couldn’t guess, massive COHF spoilers abound. In case you actually care, Sailor Moon spoilers as well.
You. Yes, you, the devoted Shadowhutner Chronicle fan who doesn’t care to read the unnecessary meta. Too bad, read this one anyway. Sit your self down, buckle your seat-belts, nail on your helmets and mentally prepare for the exploration of love and devotion in two not so unrelated works — City of Heavenly Fire and The Promise of the Rose.
City of Heavenly Fire’s plot, when simmered down, is roughly as follows; the Antagonist, being Sebastian, is in ‘love’ with Clary. He does not understand love, due to the artificial corrupting force inside of him - demonic blood. The blood, and it’s connections, gives him the ability to have his own world, and the will to destroy the one we live in. He kidnaps Clary’s loved ones, and Clary and her posse mosey on down to hell to save said loved ones and kill Sebastian. They end up slaying the evil inside him instead, and Sebastian, now capable of love and empathy, ceases to be the villain. However, they’re still in a really rough spot, being stuck in hell. Simon, in an act of love for his friends, sacrifices his memories and immortality to save the day. After the fact, his friends bring back these memories out of love for him.
Most of you probably haven’t watched The Promise of the Rose. Here’s the rundown. The Antagonist, being Fiore, is in ‘love’ with Mamoru. He barely knows him, having had to leave him years ago, and no longer understands love due to the artificial corrupting force controlling him - the Xenian flower. This flower gives him the idea that he can destroy Earth with it’s floral evils, and that he and Mamoru can live there afterwards. He kidnaps Mamoru, so Usagi and her sailor scout posse mosey on over to the asteroid they’ve run off to in order to save Mamoru. (For the record, to those who don’t know, Mamoru would be Usagi’s boyfriend.) They kill Xenian, and Fiore realizes he’s done wrong and understands love and empathy. He ceases to be the Antagonist. Usagi, out of love for mankind and her friends, uses all of her silver crystal to stop the asteroid from hitting earth. This kills her. However, a kiss from Mamoru brings her back to life.
There are clear differences here. Audience, for one; CoHF is YA, tPotR is a children’s film. But the overarching plot elements are so similar for a reason. Each piece examines how we should and shouldn’t love, what love is, and what it isn’t.
We’re given a villain who, at their core, has humanity. They have a capacity for love and connection. Their villainy comes from the corruption they’re smeared with. This evil is so smothering that their humanity is warped out of focus, but this humanity, as humanity tends to be, was so strong that it motivated the most cruel of actions. Both antagonists craved the love of another person, someone they decided for one reason or another was like them somehow. But it was a selfish love, one without any regard for the wants of the other party.
Then, we see healthy love. Our protagonist does something sacrificing, something scary to save the people they love. Simon’s memory. Usagi’s life. They do it without a second thought. And the people who watched them make that sacrifice, the people who love them, they in turn pull them back on their feet.
Good vs. Evil is timeless and tired. No one frankly cares, when it’s presented as flatly as that. But love is one of the more interesting things in the goddamned universe, and thus, the examination of it is fascinating. We’re intrigued by bad love, because we know it’s wrong. We want to see where it’s going, and to an extent, we sympathize, because that’s the villain looking for the same fucking thing a lot of us are. And we root for the healthy love, the love of friends or of a partner, and the selfless power it provides. Whether it’s Usagi or Clary, ladies and their friends paving the way to justice by the power of love is something I at least don’t get tired of.