when you have time, would you ever be willing to talk about how you think ronan and renee each view religion? like what it means for them/what they get out of it/why they choose to follow it when so many other people (esp their age) don't seem to?
you betcha babe, I’m gonna give a little of my experience for ref, if that’s okay?
There are only three things that lodge in my mind about the ten years of my life I spent going to church every Sunday:
1. I got to dress up, Sunday best, pinched cheeks as my accessory. If I was lucky they’d let me and one of my brothers carry the candle and bible to the front, and I’d have a staring contest with the flame while we trailed after the choir procession. Everyone watched, endeared by the children symbolically carrying protestantism in their chubby hands. I liked that church was gaudy. I liked that there was a script, and that I got to sing and shake hands with strangers.
2. If there’s a God, I thought he belonged to me. He was the helpline that was always open. Religion was offered up to me like a wish-granting factory. Believing in something is hard work, and it kept me entertained, for a while. If I was in trouble, or if I really, really wanted something, I dialled God’s number. I had private fights with God. I wished on him and hated him and forgot him.
3. My brother and I used to sneak off and explore the church before service started. I vividly remember sneaking through the supply cupboard down what we thought were “secret” stairs. My brother is older, and I would’ve followed him even if he lead me straight past the floorboards of the musty church to hell. We found something new every week. It’s amazing what can feel like an endless gothic castle when you’re seven. Sometimes I think of my brother as he was then, clever and funny and absolutely everything I wanted to be, and I ache to be in the quiet of the church basement, asking him about the dusty props in the corner, spinning in my pretty red dress for the wall to wall mirrors, happily lied to about the secrets and magic and God all around us.
I think Renee sits somewhere around a more dedicated number two, and Ronan is a 1-2-3 — heavy on the three.
Renee wants to keep her hands busy. She tried carving herself a new future and it turned out to be a double-sided knife, slicing her hands in the process. God is more than a second chance for her, he is something to constantly, relentlessly pursue. When Renee says she’s trying very hard to be a good person, she means it. Believing in God is a struggle for her. The world is cruel (or like. the people in it, Neil, okay, same diff), and scrubbing the blood away so she can look God in the face is almost impossible when it keeps welling up (taking her friends, throwing her prayers away).
Renee needs that prayerful helpline on speed-dial. She needs the hard work or she might fade away. Religion is her new talisman, the handle of a new, sturdy weapon, and she keeps it as her defence, something to learn and use and put away when she needs to.
She’s not casually religious, she’s putting all her money on God. Christianity is really and truly all she had before she met the foxes.
It’s gruelling, being a “bad person” and believing in God, trying to understand A) what you are, B) why you’ve been made only to be treated so poorly, C) How you’re supposed to lever your burden up and keep believing, how to make amends
—which is where Ronan comes in.
please God what am I, tell me what I am
Sometimes I think Renee and Ronan would respect each other too much to be friends.
Ronan is in a self-loathing depression a mile wide when we meet him, and he sees himself as a bad person trying to be a bad person (until the day that he fights some demons, gets some help, digs himself free, and actively tries to be good)
His life is a shitshow of loss and longing, and he’s absolutely ravenous for answers. He doesn’t even doubt God, he just wants to brawl with him for a while there, call the bastard down and piss in his cornflakes, you know
Religion isn’t hard for Ronan. It’s the number 1 I mentioned before, something he can perfect and impress with. I bet he even liked how good he looked in his crisp shirt before everything went down, unbuttoned at the collar like his father’s. He likes an honest, unrepentant performance.
I bet he was determined to believe in God that little bit more than everyone else, memorize the bible verses (he likes learning niall’s languages, and those were largely latin, holy, or slurred and drunk)
He also called passages out like his father did for being “rubbish” whenever things got too close to condemning their magic, their Otherness. He’s a selective Catholic in a lot of ways, hand-picking the good stuff because he knows that religion belongs to him, that it’s exactly what he makes it.
His dad taught him that what was in his head was the only real thing other than God. Ronan negotiates the two. When he’s brave enough, and okay enough, he pins his sexuality to God’s forehead and dares him to have a problem with it.
Renee goes to church to think, and so does Ronan. When everything gets a bit much, and gore fills their heads up, the church is their sanctuary.
Where it’s a puzzle for Renee though, it’s easy for Ronan. Old hat. He walks into the church and he feels the incense and dust fold around him like his mother’s dreamy embrace. He asks questions to the empty pews like he’s talking to his dead father. Renee walks in feeling unworthy, feeling too big for the vaulted ceilings, and she gropes for God’s hand in the dark. (The first time she prays and she feels like she’s being heard, she cries. She goes home to her new mother and cries some more, her past in tatters, her future tasting of sacramental wine.)
More than anything though, Ronan is lost in number 3′s nostalgia
As you may have gathered, Catholicism IS Ronan’s father, wow, nifty,
He goes to church for the comfort and the sting, just like visiting Niall’s grave. His religion is a relic from his childhood, when they were so arrogant about how their lives would play out.
I’ll bet you anything that Ronan walks into church, breathes in, and tastes his first swig of alcohol under his father’s watchful eye, not flinching because he wouldn’t. He sees Declan-Ronan-Matthew, heads bowed over abridged Sunday school bibles, Matthew pleasantly not following along, Declan pointing out the bad illustrations so that Ronan snorts. His mother smiling placidly and combing her hand through his hair until he focuses enough to sing hymns with the rest of the crowd. His father boasted the largest voice in the room. Declan was embarrassed. Matthew and Aurora delighted. Ronan’s mouth curled like dead leaves because his father could make a scene like no one else.
Ronan’s relationship with God can’t be snipped because it was cast in iron, welded in place by Niall Lynch when he burnt his way out of Ronan’s atmosphere.
Renee’s faith can’t be stomped out because she’s shielding it with absolutely everything she has. (Andrew understands her faith because he gets what it’s like to protect your hope even if parts of you have to die.)
End of the day, foxes or ravens, their friends aren’t religious for a lot of reasons — not raised with it, hurts too much, they need proof, etc, etc
but they all understand the way it sits with Renee/Ronan
they know that religion is a pattern that holds them together, a someone when there’s absolutely no one, a lil flickering reminder of the things they’ve lost & hurt for
I think I lost my religious inclinations because I wasn’t willing to fight for it tbh
but man Ronan and Renee are nothing if not fighters