Q&A Jem and Emma
sarahalavi322 said:Hey Cassie, I was wondering why Jessa did not ever come visit the blackthorns/Emma. I know Jem sent little gifts and they were looking for kit, but 5 years of not seeing someone after you say you want to be there is a long time. Is there a reason why they are so distant besides searching for kit or warlock sickness? No one able to remember their wedding is throwing me off and it doesn’t add up. Jem is my fav character. I wish that he could be there for Emma more and it’s sad that he isn’t 😢
It is sad. Sometimes people are separated for reasons they can’t control, and sometimes misunderstandings play into that, as they did here.
Your timing is a bit off — Jem didn’t tell Emma he wanted to be there for her five years before he saw her again. He only saw her and introduced himself to her at her parabatai ceremony — two years before he saw her again (aside from a wedding none of the Blackthorns or Emma remembers, which is not a meeting). And unless I’m remembering incorrectly, he’s pretty clear then that he and Tessa are in the middle of a dangerous search, and I don’t think he intends or tries to get Emma’s hopes up that he’ll be there a lot — he knows he has to find the Lost Herondale first.
[Yep, updated to add:
““But I don’t know when I can be with you again,” he said. “Tessa and I, we have to find something. Something important.” He hesitated. “It will be dangerous looking for it, but once it’s found I’d like to be part of your life once more. Like a sort of uncle.””
That couldn’t be clearer. Once it’s found, I’d like to be part of your life. In no way is he suggesting he’s going to be there for Emma as an uncle/friend before Kit’s life is saved, which are exactly the priorities anyone who knows and loves Tessa and Jem would expect them to have.]
Now, we may know that Emma lives in a precarious situation with an unfit guardian. But Jem doesn’t — he doesn’t live anywhere near Los Angeles, or in fact have any permanent home, since he’s engaged in a worldwide search for Kit! As far as he knows, the kids all live a happy life with their uncle and their wonderful tutor, Diana. They lost their parents tragically, but so did he — and he didn’t need someone to swoop in and rescue him from his life with Will and Henry and Charlotte (who he considered as his real family — Jem would never think blood and a matching last name made people family; he would always think love and caring was the important aspect). Elias never really visited and Jem didn’t mind (more on Elias in TLH). As far as Jem is concerned, he’s something of an extra relative, and he’s not even sure how much Emma would want to see him and how much she’d think it was a kind of annoying visit from a distant relation. (She would love to see him, but Jem isn’t the sort to assume that.) Plus, Jem is only barely adjusting to life as a non-Silent Brother and probably doesn’t think of himself as a fit mentor for anyone. Now, I think he’d probably be great, but that doesn’t mean he thinks it. We can’t expect characters to view themselves the way we view them (”I am a popular character and will surely be welcome wherever I go!”) They’re going to have insecurities, and complicated feelings.
Lastly, looking for the Lost Herondale isn’t just because Jem and Tessa like Herondales. Kit isn’t even descended from Will. It’s partly because of a duty to the family, but partly because Kit is more than a Herondale: his heritage on his mother’s side makes him very important in the upcoming situations of TDA and TWP. Tessa and Jem knew they were racing against the clock to save Kit’s life before someone else figured that out: Jem didn’t think he had to race the clock to save Emma’s.
(Also a lot of times we wish that characters could be there to help other characters, but from a purely writing perspective, it would destroy the story. Julian and Emma’s story only works because there was no responsible adult around for five years except Diana, and she was forced to keep secrets that prevented her from changing the situation. It would have been nice to have Aline and Helen around, too* — it would have made for much happier characters, but unfortunately totally wrecked the story I had to tell about the consequences of prejudice and the results of growing up parented by a sibling. It’s not that no YA story can survive responsible adults blocking the kids’ attempts at agency at every turn, but this one couldn’t.)
*On the plus side, one of the fun things about writing Eldest Curses is being able to go back in time, so we’ll see Helen and Aline meet and fall in love in TEC.