I find it fascinating that in all of the polarizing discussion around these characters and how steadfast many fans of one are in their hatred of the other, no one is really talking about how much their characters overlap each other.
Think about it. While wildly different in the details, both have similar backgrounds. They were both groomed from a young age to give up their own lives for the sake of their people (in Bellamy’s case, protecting Octavia, in Lexa’s, the Trikru- or I guess all of the grounders in the area? I’m still confused as to what the grounder political structure looked like before she created the coalition). They both suffered a massive personal loss that shaped the way they conducted themselves in power (Bellamy lost his mother and got Octavia locked up leading to a distrust of authority and an overprotective us vs them mentality present whenever he’s in charge, Lexa lost Costia leading to her embracing Titus’ love is weakness tutelage).
Their initially presented leadership styles are similarly totalitarian and unforgiving (Bellamy in early season 1, Lexa in the latter half of season 2). They’re both driven by a deep seated need to do what they believe is best for their people, even at the cost of their humanity and personal desires. Both are receptive to Clarke showing them a better way and both radically change their way of thinking under her influence (though I would argue it was less Clarke forcing them to change and more her showing them a way to balance being in power with being who they truly are/want to be). They both come to be hugely supportive of Clarke and strive to alleviate her burdens, though their approach is different (Lexa recognizes the necessity of Clarke’s actions and tries to alleviate her burden by framing them as heroic, Bellamy recognizes the necessity of Clarke’s actions and tries to alleviate her burden by sharing it with her).
Things get a little murkier when you compare their actions, but there are still a number of parallels there too. You could make an argument that there’s an similarity to Bellamy agreeing to/participating in the massacre and Lexa sending her armies to destroy the dropship camp (both were wartime decisions made out of fear of the unknown, both were ultimately unnecessary if the one side could’ve had a successful conversation with the other, both decisions were made taking fear of future events into account- s1, the adults coming down and changing the rules, s3, Lexa going back on her word) but I’m not sure how much of an intentional parallel is there as much as the overarching themes of the show, how far will you go for your people/it’s all about perspective, coming into play. In s3, though they’ve both grown as characters, they both resort to their initial protect through control instincts when they think Clarke is putting herself in danger (Lexa having her brought to Polis against her will in 302, her knee jerk revoking of Clarke’s non-prisoner status in 305 and Bellamy handcuffing her, also in 305, when he sees Clarke is determined to move against Pike). They both betray Clarke and work at cross purposes to her when taking action they believe is right for their people’s survival (Lexa at Mt Weather, Bellamy supporting Pike).
They’re both capable of casual violence when the people they care about are threatened (Lexa kicking the ambassador out of the window when he pushed back at her decision to allow the sky people into the coalition, Bellamy shooting the messengers who delivered the bag of heads along with a threat). Obvs they aren’t the only two characters to resort to violence when crossed, but I do think it’s interesting that (unless I’m forgetting stuff) these were the two most prominent instances in s3 of almost offhand violent reactions that didn’t set off larger plot ripples than the ones already in play.
This leads me to my ultimate question, how much of this was intentional on the writers’ part and how much was an effect of the type of characters and situations the writers are exploring with the show? There’s not really anyway to know for sure (even if someone asked the writers, given everything they’ve been dealing with I don’t actually trust them to give honest, thoughtful answers about either character at this point) but given how directly paralleled Bellamy and Lexa were in the s3 finale (not to mention a number of similar character beats throughout the season, several of which are noted above), I’d argue it’s at least semi intentional.
What finale parallels you may be asking if this post hasn’t already made you incoherent with rage. Well, I find it very interesting that both of them played more or less the same role inside and out of the City of Light. They both fought to keep the enemy at bay to give Clarke the room she needed to shut down the CoL, they were both present in a way in the final moment with the lever to support Clarke’s decision (Lexa as part of the spirit of the commander present through Becca smiling approvingly over Clarke’s choice, Bellamy in Clarke’s mind, as evidenced through the script notes, a reminder that when all hope is lost they find a way to figure things out together).
This post probably leaves a lot of stuff out but oh well. I’m purposely not drawing any conclusions with this, both because I’m not totally sure if there are actually any conclusions to draw and also because I don’t want to deal with any more fallout than I’m inviting just by making these comparisons. So, what’s my point? Surprise! I don’t really have one. I see a lot of talk about how the characters are different but I think it’s super interesting how similar they are as well.
So, I had to clean up my kindle and I thought to write a new masterpost about some of the fan fictions that were inside. Enjoy!
You come beating like moth’s wings: Harry smiles. He’s only known Louis for about two hours, knows nothing about him past his first name, but he’s nice and sarcastic and helpful and so, so pretty. And Harry’s still got a few days left in Barcelona, and he thinks he wouldn’t mind spending them with Louis.Also known as, Harry takes the summer before uni to travel Europe and meets Louis in Barcelona, and they end up traveling together.
Colours of the rainbow (shine so bright): Louis’ a popular skateboarder who’s out to ruin Harry’s life, and sometimes Harry just likes to wear nail polish and panties. Or alternatively, the one where Harry absolutely does nothave a diary.
Nothing else but us right here: Louis sighs and gives himself a mental pep talk as he smooths his jumper down over his hips. He can do this. He can resist the draw of Harry Styles, because he is a responsible, mature adult, and as much as he wants to tangle his fingers in that mess of hair and map those ridiculous tattoos with his tongue, he does not want to get his daughter’s favorite teacher fired.
If only in my dreams: When a snowstorm delays their flights and strands them both at their university during the start of winter break, Harry and Louis find each other. And with a little help from their friends, they might even get to keep each other.
The years haven’t changed you: The years haven’t changed Harry much. Maybe there are laughter lines around his eyes that Louis wasn’t the cause of and maybe that upsets him a little, but if Harry hadn’t been laughing then that would have upset him more.Set four years after the band has split up and, co-incidentally, four years after Harry and Louis split up.They meet in Sainsbury’s.
Don’t look down: AU. In which Louis is a solicitor at one of London’s most prestigious law firms and Harry happens to apply for the position as his trainee. And everyone else is around, too.
Change my needs: AU. A one-night stand gone wrong. Or: it’s just Louis’ luck that the boy he wanted to take home needs stitches after a club brawl. Honestly, a precautionary trip to the emergency room isn’t Louis’ idea of a fun time - but a hospital waiting room is a good place to fall in love.
Drama, Drama (we don’t need no): It’s a bit of a thing for Louis, the whole ‘wanting what you can’t have’, that is. So when the easily most attractive guy he has ever seen moves into the apartment across from the one he shares with his best friend Zayn, Louis is not exactly surprised that he turns out to be a music student. Such a shame, really.Or the Uni!AU in which Louis studies drama and Harry studies music, and stupid, old-as-fuck rivalry means that Louis can’t have him. Good thing Harry couldn’t care less about old rules.
Your best line ever: University AU, in which Harry has a terrible job and lies about his name to drunk people, Louis is one of the drunk and has to move out of his flat, Liam shaves his hair because he fights with Zayn, Zayn protects Liam from creepy stalkers and Niall always has a solution, because he knows just about every person relevant!
The joke’s always on the on the joker, baby: It’s all about an anonymous one-night stand that turns Harry and Louis’ lives into a rom-com cliché, provides Liam with the perfect opportunity to finally approach the man of his dreams, and confirms Niall that he’s always right.