2X05 of Frontier was great but 2X06 could to be FORMIDABLE. but answer to this. I´ve seen so many post about it, that what I thought was bizarre is now number one on my list of curiosities. Declan Harp is really in love with Grace Emberly?
Ooh, I don’t know if I am the authority on this. I could be completely wrong, but I have a pretty decided opinion regarding this. If this is a day late, just know I put a lot of thought into this because I never want to give anyone a half-assed answer if they take the courage to ask my opinion. This might be long but I answered your question to the best of my ability and I hope it is to your satisfaction. Much love.
Grace Emberly is in love with Declan. This is obvious, this we all know. It shows through her devotion, loyalty and the lengths she is willing to go through to defend, protect and aid him. She would do anything for him. From the earliest episodes, her attachment to him is clear. He has an affect on her that softens her despite her attempts to hide it.
“I respect a man whose actions are decisive.” (01x02, Little Brother War)
This she once said to Chesterfield. We can all agree that this is a trait that Declan has in spades.
Declan, on the other hand, is not in love with her. Not quite. Not yet.
However, I think it’s very complex. His relationship with Grace stands out from his relationship with everyone else. It is not the kindred spirit he finds in Michael nor the familial, brother-like love he feels for Sokanon.
He places his trust in her like no one else. He entrusts matters of business and vengeance to Sokanon or Michael. In matters of the heart, he turns to her. When he’s weak, he can lean on her. He is completely himself with no fronts, no brave faces. He is who he is and feels what he feels because Grace is not his family or his subordinate.
She is his friend.
Where everyone else views him as either family, compatriot, leader, rogue or savage, Grace looks at him as a man; a man who is strong and brilliant and broken.
I would not dare say that Declan is unaware of this. He is an intelligent man. His survival living as a fugitive on the edge of the law depends on his wits and vigilance. Harp is also extraordinarily good at reading people.
For example: When Michael Smyth comes face to face with Declan Harp, he immediately knows he is lying (despite Michael’s believable fibs).
It is my opinion that he is very aware of Grace’s feelings towards him but he can’t return them. Not while he is still obsessed with vengeance for the murder of his wife and children. It is clear that he loved his wife with all his heart. Although, he has accepted that she is gone and never coming back, his heart is still gripped by rage and anguish. To him, vengeance is all that has kept him alive, his sole purpose of existing without his family. A man blinded by vengeance sees little else but retribution.
The wound is still too fresh for him.
That being said, Declan changes when he’s with Grace. His voice softens, he is quiet and thoughtful. He watches her closely, gauging her reactions. In a way, he knows Grace’s feelings for him offer an advantage. She will never refuse his help, never betray him. He can rely on her to help him reach his goals. She is useful to him. Where we see Grace’s selflessness and sacrifice again and again, Declan rather blindly trudges this way and that, unaware of the pain he might inflict.
That isn’t to say that I think he completely disregards her feelings with a cold indifference but he does carefully avoid them.
So, he speaks softly to her, careful not to cause her any pain. Similar to the whole “friend-zone” spiel where one wishes to keep the friendship in tact despite a rejection. Although here, it is on a much greater scale and it is never spoken aloud.
He places his trust in her, cares for her and loves her to a degree of carefully monitored platonic relations. I feel like he wants to say he loves her like a sister, the same way he loves Sokanon, but I think even he would feel that was oversimplifying.
He knows he cannot return her affections although, I think a part of him really wants to.
From the first season up and until now, despite having limited screen time together, there has been a shift. I would argue that recent events have gotten the ball rolling and there could be a future where their relationship becomes a greater and ever-changing focus in the show.
It should be obvious, but I would say that the moment to really look out for the first step in this aforementioned change is in 01x06 (The Gallows) where Declan, after having been rescued from Benton by Micael and Sokanon, finds his way back to Grace.
This alone is probably the most important point I could make in this argument.
Declan finds his way back to the Ale, back to Grace. Despite all the danger, despite the trauma, despite being half dead, he needs to talk to Grace. Needs to see her. Needs her help, needs to pour out all the heartache in his tortured soul because he knows that Grace with accept it. There is no obligation to be strong, no need to put on a tough front. She sees through him and all his gruffness (because God knows, she is just the same).
It’s a cry for help, he goes to her because he needs comfort. He needs to feel comfort and warmth and a type of unconditional love waiting for him in her arms. He needs her love and tenderness. He wants it.
I think the people that we turn to first in our greatest time of need is telling. Of anyone he could have talked to, he risked his life to go see Grace because he chose her.
And as she tends to his wounds and he is overcome with emotion for all that he has lost, there is a moment while he holds him and comforts him, a certain look passes in his life. As I interpret it, it’s the moment he realizes “Yes, I could love her”.
In a moment where we as an audience are closest to seeing what lies in Grace Emberly’s heart, is the moment she begs Declan to stay. Grace knows that if he leaves, it is almost certain that he will die. She can’t bare to lose him.
“You promised me you’d change your plan. I’ve waited so long for you. You cannot leave me now. Not like this.”
He looks at her calmly, resolutely but his eyes apologize for so much more than his actions and all he is about to do.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs sadly, “I have to do this.” With that, he leaves. His heart is steadied and his focus on retribution is restored. Crestfallen, Grace watches him go. Looking after the man she loves while purposefully strides towards what seems to be his impending doom.
“In another life, I could love her”–it is my firmest belief that this is the unspoken truth that lies Declan Harp’s heart and mind.
I think that Harp has accepted that one way or another, he will die on his quest for vengeance. Whether he is victorious, whether he fails or dies trying, he doesn’t believe that there is anything more for him in this life. With his family gone and purpose fulfilled, he might be content to die.
Like most men, Declan can be a stubborn fool.
However, I don’t think hope is completely lost. He clearly cares for Grace, loves Grace in a tragic and faltering sort of way. Much like Edmond Dantes in the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, he is too blinded by vengeance to see that there is hope for a new life with the woman who loves him dearly. He doesn’t always realize that he is acting selfishly, doesn’t always care.
However, when Declan learns that Grace married Chesterfield for him, he kind of loses his shit just a little bit.
His reaction is immediate. He is angry–at her or himself, is the real question. He knows Grace. He knows that there is nothing more that she values more than her independence. That is, except for him. If her love for him wasn’t apparent enough before, it is now.
He can’t truly ask her why she did it. He knows the reason. And what can he do? He knows he can’t return her affections and he knows she is suffering for it. The knowledge alone, gnaws at him.
In summary, I believe that Jason Momoa said it best: “He’s basically a deadman–he doesn’t care about himself at all.”
Although he is still very much consumed by vengeance, his character is evolving episode by episode. With only 11 (soon to be 12) episodes so far, we have learned a lot about Declan. At the very beginning of season 2, when Declan is saved by an Inuit man and his child, we see a change however small.
A longing for peace that is unspoken. A reprieve from bloodshed and anger. The man also tells his young daughter a cautionary tale of vengeance and it’s destruction. The only way to free one’s self from the death grip of grudges and vendettas is to let go and forgive. If left burning, like a wildfire, it will consume all in its path and leave nothing but destruction in its wake.
If he ever manages to let go, I think he will very easily find that Grace can offer him the peace his tortured soul desires.
I wouldn’t get my hopes up to high just yet.
Although I have a feeling we’ll see something groundbreaking in regards to Declan and Grace next week in the season finale so fingers crossed!
After all, if he gave up so quick, where would the fun in that be? Let’s just pray that he can somehow manage to achieve retribution through vengeance without completely destroying himself or paying the ultimate price.
So, is Declan Harp in love with Grace Emberly?
Presently, Declan is still too consumed by bloodlust and rage to ever fully commit to loving Grace, let alone to ever find peace. If he ever managed to let the past go, there might be a chance for him. It’s a tragic story, but not one without hope.
Thank you for the ask, anon.