Mor is selfless af meta
Because I made a little throwaway post a little while back but people still apparently don’t get the Mor is selfless as all hell. So I thought I would compile a long, rambling list of Reasons and Evidence as to why irreverence does not mean disregard and why taking care for and loving yourself does not mean selfishness.
Right, so, apparently people still think Mor is selfish (w h y?) which I…obviously disagree with. I don’t think that she makes a habit of putting her own needs/wants above others’ (though if she did she would be entirely entitled to, given what she’s been through/the abuse she endured) I just think she stopped letting other people rule her. I think she stopped taking the opinions and wants of other people for her as gospel and acting only on them at the expense of herself and her own wants and agency She does what she loves and she does what she needs but that doesn’t mean she acts selfishly. It just means that what’s important to her and what she wants to do she now does.
But I don’t think she puts her needs above others. There’s a thoughts vs actions distinction here - she refuses to place any more validity or weight to the opinions of others over her own - her feelings and ideas are valid and she has the right to express them and act upon them. She lets herself make the choices that she wants to make. But actually I think the choices that she makes are often very selfless and she puts the people that matter to her above her own well-being and happiness and she actually does this repeatedly.
Variety of ‘Mor being subtly selfless’ examples and analysis to follow.
“Don’t get me started on what you did to me Under the Mountain.”
Rhys went still.
As still as I’d ever seen him, as still as the death now beckoning in those eyes. Then his chest began to move, faster and faster.
Across the pillars towering behind him, I could have sworn the shadow of great wings spread.
He opened his mouth, leaning forward, and then stopped. Instantly, the shadows, the ragged breathing, the intensity were gone, the lazy grin returning. “We have company. We’ll discuss this later.”
“No, we won’t.” But quick, light footsteps sounded down the hall, and then she [Mor] appeared.
Right, listen, this scene flat out parallels Rhys’ rescue of Feyre at her wedding and I refuse to see it in any other light. Feyre suffers a panic attack, she flashes back to UtM, she needs help, she needs a way out, Rhys appears and does just that. Same thing happens here. Feyre (inadvertently) triggers a panic attack in Rhys, he flashes back to UtM, he needs help, he needs away out, Mor is there in a heartbeat. That’s as much as a coincidence as Rhys showing up exactly when Feyre needed him: ie it’s literally not a coincidence at all.
Right, so, for context, this is the first time that Feyre is at the Night Court since…well everything. At this point in time the only people know who about his and Feyre’s history as well as the fact that Rhys and Feyre are mates are Mor and Rhys. This is because the first words out of Rhys’ mouth when he saw Mor again after fifty years were ‘she’s my mate’ and he then proceeded to tell her everything. So for three months the only people who’ve known what Rhys went through and what he’s dealing with due to his bond to Feyre are Mor and Rhys. That means the only person who’s been supporting Rhys through all of this is Mor.
So when it comes to it and Feyre is there and having witnessed the shoe-throwing, less than wonderful reaction Feyre had to Rhys the night before Mor makes sure she’s nearby the next day. She makes sure that she’s around and the second that Rhys gets out of his depth she’s there to balance things and smooth them over. Which she does in spite of Rhys’ grumbling.
“You could be attending your own duties,” he said testily. I clamped my lips tighter together. I’d never seen Rhys … irked.
“And as my only remaining relative,” Rhys went on, “Mor believes she is entitled to breeze in and out of my life as she sees fit.”
“So grumpy this morning,” Mor said, plopping two muffins onto her plate.
He huffs about it but there’s no doubt that Mor’s appearance was sorely needed and that she calms him down and grounds him. Mor also goes out of her way to welcome Feyre, to make her feel like she fits in at the Court, to be a friend to her, to help her, and to encourage her to give Rhys a chance.
‘…Mor said, swirling her wine, her shoulders loosening as Azriel at last blinked, and seemed to shake off whatever memory had frozen him.
“A new bastard in the camp—and an untrained shadowsinger to boot. Not to mention he couldn’t even fly thanks to—”
Mor cut in lazily, “Stay on track, Cassian.”
Indeed, any warmth had vanished from Azriel’s face. But I quieted my own curiosity as Cassian again shrugged, not even bothering to take note of the silence that seemed to leak from the shadowsinger. Mor saw, though—even if Azriel didn’t bother to acknowledge her concerned stare, the hand that she kept looking at as if she’d touch, but thought better of it.
These both happen at the first dinner at the House of Wind. Once again Mor is monitoring things carefully and she intervenes - casually, lazily, thoughtlessly, as though she doesn’t even care/is barely noticing what she’s doing but she knows exactly what’s going on. She keeps very careful watch over Az throughout the dinner, reacting when he feels better, intervening when Cass started wandering into dangerous waters and showing such overt concern for Az that Feyre noticed it before she knew anything about either of them/their dynamic. And as with what we saw before with Rhys her actions aren’t rewarded with any kind of gratitude from the people she’s looking out for - but she does it anyway.
Azriel just shook his head. “I’ll go. The Prison sentries know me—what I am.”
I wondered if the shadowsinger was usually the first to throw himself into danger. Mor’s fingers stilled on the stem of her wineglass, her eyes narrowing on Amren.
“Here we go,” Cassian grumbled. Mor gave Azriel a warning glare to tell him not to volunteer this time. The spymaster just gave her an incredulous look in return.
Azriel: *is first to volunteer to go into dangerous situations likely due to his own disregard for his personal safety and the way he prioritises others over himself* Mor: *reproves him for doing this because he does matter. twice.* Fandom: *oh but she’s so selfish, she doesn’t care about Az at all! She doesn’t show any regard for him/love towards him/anything at all until the very end of the book when he gets shot* Me: -_- A N Y W A Y.
She stared and stared at the Book—as if it were a ghost, as if it were a miracle—and said, “It is the Leshon Hakodesh. The Holy Tongue.” Those quicksilver eyes shifted to Rhysand, and I realized she’d understood, too, why she’d gone.
Rhysand said, “I heard a legend that it was written in a tongue of mighty beings who feared the Cauldron’s power and made the Book to combat it. Mighty beings who were here … and then vanished. You are the only one who can uncode it.”
It was Mor who warned, “Don’t play those sorts of games, Rhysand.”
Oh look, it’s Mor watching out for Amren’s well-being as well as Rhys and Azriel’s. It’s almost as though….There’s a theme here. Shocking. Even though Amren is one of the most powerful beings in the world Mor still has her back and still looks out for her. It’s almost as though she deeply loves and cares for her little found family and wants to protect them, even from small things. Incredible.
And just in case anyone was doubting (since this relationship falls under a lot of scrutiny from Mor’s side) she also puts herself out there for Cassian’s sake too :)
“Cassian helped Rhys get me out. Before either had the real rank to do so. For Rhys, getting caught would have been a mild punishment, perhaps a bit of social shunning. But Cassian … he risked everything to make sure I stayed out of that court. And he laughs about it, but he believes he’s a low-born bastard, not worthy of his rank or life here. He has no idea that he’s worth more than any other male I met in that court—and outside of it. Him and Azriel, that is.”
Against the popular fandom belief that Cass still feels guilty about what happened with the Incident and that Mor somehow encourages this/benefits from it in some way I give you this. Actual canon. Because the only response that Mor ever shows to Cassian’s part in her past is gratitude. She is grateful. She is grateful that he was kind and good and gave her a choice. She is grateful that he rescued her from her abusive situation. It’s been five hundred years and she is still grateful to him for risking himself to get her out of there. And she considers him to be worth more than any other male she’s ever met aside from Rhys.
Mor, on her knees beside Cassian, hurtled for the king with a cry of pure wrath.
He sent a punch of power to her. She dodged, a knife angled in her hand, and—
Azriel cried out in pain.
She froze. Stopped a foot from the throne. Her knife clattered to the floor.
To be entirely clear about what happens here, okay: the king shreds Cassian’s wings with half thought and Mor, with absolutely no magic, with nothing to defend herself, with no ability to protect herself and with nothing but a single, solitary knife in her hand against a centuries old king strong enough to strip the magic from the two most powerful Illyrian warriors in history, the most powerful High Lord in history, and Feyre who has the power of all seven high lords in her veins at the same time launches herself at the king to punish him for what he’s done to her friend. And the only reason that she stops her attack is not because of the magic he tries to hit her with - but Azriel, because if she’d hurt the king then Azriel would have died but at no point is her own safety a concern or a consideration here. But…Yeah, sure, Mor doesn’t care about Cass that’s…just. yeah.
But Mor hopped off the bed, opened the door for me, and said, “There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”
I’m using this as a kind of catch-all quote for a couple of points. First of all I think a lot of people seem to think Mor is ‘over’ what happened to her? Or there’s certainly a lot of talk about how ‘jfc it was 500 years ago move on’ when it comes to Mor…yet we frequently discuss Cassian, Azriel and Rhys’s childhoods (funny that) Anyway, the point is that Mor is not just magically better/never suffers for her trauma. She still has hard days. She just doesn’t let them win. But that means that all of that aloofness, all of that irreverence, all of that brightness and light and hope is something that she fights for. Constantly. Trauma does not have an expiry date, it doesn’t just up and leave one day, it still affects her, it still hurts her, she just refuses to let it beat her. And that makes her strong af but anyway.
Second thing I want to talk about is how much Mor opens up for Feyre’s benefit. I’m just using this quote for that because it happens several times throughout the book and we’d be here all day if I quoted them all and they’re well enough known I think that I don’t need them. But Mor rips open old wounds of hers over and over and over again for Feyre. She tells her what happened in grim, explicit detail, she tells her how it affected her, she rips open those wounds again to show Feyre that it is possible to heal from them. It’s possible to endure the dark horrors that she, that they both, have endured and still come out able to love and trust and be bright and warm and friendly and selfless.
(And aside from Feyre’s storyline and what this does for her this is an incredibly important message for abuse survivors in an audience as well. Because it’s a fairly frequent thing that we see- especially female characters- suffer some form of abuse or hurt (usually at the hands of men) and as a result they become acerbic and cold and withdrawn and mistrustful. I am not in anyway saying that this is a ‘bad’ response to trauma or pain. It happens. It’s real. But in terms of media portrayal seeing something that actively goes against that is I think incredibly important. Because that’s not what has to happen. Mor came out of what she endured and she came out of it soft and warm and selfless and loving and that’s a perfectly valid endpoint of recovery too. Dark days don’t have to lead to more darkness. They can lead to bright, warm sunshine too. and that’s important.)
This also leads me on to the role Mor plays in the Court of Dreams. I’ve talked before about her position in the Court of Nightmares being empowering (and a perfect counterpoint to the Tamlin/Lucien dynamic when it comes to thinking about her and Rhys and how they respond/react to her being forced to return to the site of her abuse/trauma) And it is. She is given power over her abusers. Her father is reduced to a steward and she is given not only authority over him but she is given his authority. She rules the place that tormented her and that is so incredibly important but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect her, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t performing a selfless act for the sake of her court and it doesn’t mean that it’s easy for her (hint: it’s not)
Maybe I should have asked Mor to come. But she’d left after dinner, pale-faced and jumpy, ignoring Cassian’s attempt to speak with her.
“How was your visit to the Court of Nightmares?”
She paused, her face going uncharacteristically pale. “Fine. It’s always a delight to see my parents. As you might guess.”
“I’m sorry—for all that you endured.”
“Thank you,” she said, coming over to watch me. “Visiting them always leaves me raw.”
All of these are Mor’s direct responses either facing a trip to the CoN (the first quote) or after visiting them (the second). Yes Mor is in a position of power over her abusers. Yes that is, in a sense, empowering and likely helpful in terms of her recovery. But the fact is that she does, and has for centuries, returned to the place that she was abused and tortured and traumatised. It’s like what Feyre does at the end of ACOMAF - returning to the Spring Court with Tamlin for the good of her court. Except Mor has been doing this for hundreds of years, even though it leaves her raw, even though it can still make her panicky and upset. She does it. Which makes her brave and selfless as all hell I will fight you on this point.
Cassian realized I was in one piece and hurtled for Rhys, who was struggling to rise, mud covering his bare skin, but Mor—Mor saw my face.
I went up to her, cold and hollow. “I want you to take me somewhere far away,” I said. “Right now.” I needed to get away—needed to think, to have space and quiet and calm.
Mor looked between us, biting her lip.
“Please,” I said, and my voice broke on the word.
Behind me, Rhys moaned my name again.
Mor scanned my face once more, and gripped my hand.
We vanished into wind and night.
“Still recovering, but fine. Pissed at me, of course, but he can shove it.”
I combined Mor’s yellow gold with the red I’d used for the Illyrian wings, and blended until vibrant orange emerged. “Thank you—for not telling him I was here.”
Again Mor puts other people’s needs over own. She took Feyre away from Rhys - knowing it would hurt Rhys, knowing it would upset him, knowing that Feyre was forcing her to choose a side but choosing it anyway. Then she dismisses Rhys being angry with her and Feyre’s thanks for what it cost her to help her and keep her location from Rhys (I’m pretty sure Rhys didn’t just politely ask her this once over a cup of tea and then let the matter drop. Not if Mor describes him as being pissed at her)
Even more evidence:
It was satisfactory enough to my mate—who at last looked at Mor.
She nodded once, but said, “I know my orders.”
I wondered what those might be—why I hadn’t been told—but she gripped my hand.
Mor kept at my side, constantly monitoring. The last line of defense.
If Cassian and Azriel were hurt, I realized, she was to make sure I got out by whatever means. Then return.
Right to make this part even more explicit, because I think the difficulty here of what Mor has to do is possible to be underrated and I want there to be no doubt: before they went to infiltrate Hybern Rhys ordered Mor to leave Cassian and Azriel, two of the people she loves most in the world, behind if they were injured in order to get Feyre to safety. And this is something that Mor agreed to and acknowledged and I have no doubt would have done if the need had arisen. And then, once she had gotten Feyre to safety, she herself would have returned and put herself in an incredible amount of danger to get them back.
This is like….the dictionary definition of selflessness idk what to tell you any more okay.
Is this enough? Do I need to say more? Or can we just, like re-read ACOMAF and remind ourselves what an incredible specimen of pure selfless goodness Morrigan is?
TL;DR: Mor is selfless af and I will fight you on this point. That is all.