First impression- I actually can’t remember having much of a first impression on Cass actually, I didn’t think about him that much, which isn’t surprising because he’s not what I’d typically describe as my ‘type’ of character.
Impression now- Cassian is a character that I shouldn’t be this deeply in love with but I am. He’s got that typical hulking, muscular, greatest warrior ever blah blah blah exterior but the interior is all heart and emotion. He’s incredible compassionate, emotionally sensitive, self-aware, supportive, loyal and committed.
Also, fandom talks a lot about Rhys’ feminism but I actually think Cassian would make a more interesting argument on that front. Cassian doesn’t give the women around him titles and empty gestures and the illusion of power that he ultimately still controls. Cassian trains them, teaches them how to defend themselves and fight for themselves and doesn’t make them reliant on him but shows them how they can rely on themselves.
One of the first things Cassian does for Feyre is to tell her that she’s found herself a teacher if she wants one. No mess, no fuss, just, I see what you’ve been through, I see how you’ve suffered, I see why, I’m going to give you the ability to make sure that never happens to you again
Same with Nesta - he gives her a blade and gives her basic self-defence tips to take care of herself. He affirms her agency and her power and how she is in control and how she chooses, and not through a middle-man. If she doesn’t want a man to touch her, she dictates that. He doesn’t offer to be her shield, he puts a blade in her hand and tells her she can damn well look after herself) He supports and empowers without smothering or directing, he’s a pillar, not a pedestal and that’s important.
Favourite moment- He studied Nesta for a long moment. She was still glaring at the
queens, her eyes lined with tears—tears of rage and despair, from that fire
that burned her so violently from within. When she finally noticed Cassian, she
looked up at him. His voice was
rough as he said, “Five hundred years ago, I fought on battlefields not far
from this house. I fought beside human and faerie alike, bled beside them. I
will stand on that battlefield again, Nesta Archeron, to protect this
house—your people. I can think of no better way to end my existence than to
defend those who need it most.”
The nessian content is good but from a Cassian point of view I think this just embodies who he is. Because this actually is not about Nesta in the sense that Cassian is not standing there saying he will protect her, at no point does he ever say that to her, he promises to protect her house, her people, people who cannot protect themselves. This is for Nesta in the sense that it mirrors her ideals and it mirrors what she wanted and argued for a few moments before but it’s bigger than her.
This is the heart of Cassian - protecting those who cannot protect themselves - is what his character embodies. The warrior who fights without expectation of glory or riches or power but because there is a frightened child behind him that he will give his life to defend.
Same kind of idea in the “I know” scene with Feyre and the scene where he supports Mor in ACOWAR after the CoN travesty.
Idea for a story- I might actually want to take Cassian’s wings from him and see how he copes and what he does, how it changes him and how he stays the same in spite of that. Cassian has, I think, a deeper connection to his Illyrian heritage than either Azriel or Rhys. I don’t think it’s blind, I think there’s condemnation and awareness in there, but there’s a bit of pride as well.
I also think this could have made an interesting and powerful statement with regards to the female Illyrians. Hundreds, probably thousands of those women have had their wings clipped and mutilated to prevent them ever flying again. Where’s the outcry for them? People lost their minds when Cassian’s wings were threatened, when he might not be able to fly again, but all of those women have their wings clipped and are not allowed to fly, are forced to breed.
I want a narrative where Cassian loses his wings and can’t fly anymore and he returns to the camps and gets a very serious reality shock from the thousands of women who still have their wings, who were not allowed to sacrifice them to shield a loved one, who there was no outrage and agony over and so he forms a new legion - the Illyrians who cannot fly but who can still fight. The females with clipped wings, the Illyrians born with deformities, the Illyrians who lost their wings to battle scars or infection. Cassian trains them and rallies them and rediscovers purpose in himself.
The female Illyrians who can fly stand with their clipped sisters and join this legion too. Cassian appoints a young daemati female soldier to his command and uses her and the other females who are more fierce and loyal than any others he’s ever worked with, to command and direct his aerial troops.
Unpopular opinion- Erm…I don’t think I have one?? Maybe ‘Cassian is a more interesting feminist study than Rhys’ but idk.
Favourite relationship- Nessian intrigues me and delights me a hell of a lot. But I think his relationship with Az is something that should get more attention - there’s a definite ‘two sides of the same coin’ kind of yin and yang between them and comparing and contrasting them is really interesting tbh. Also Cassian/Mor (even though I have some minor regards with how this was handled in regards to ACOWAR and Moriel) it is Good and Pure and there’s a lot of supportive unconditional love there that I’m here for.
Favourite headcanon- Cassian designs and personally gives his soldiers their Illyrian tattoos. The Inner Circle all have a variation of the Night Court insignia specific to the Court of Dreams somewhere on their bodies. After the war he adds it to Feyre’s spinal tattoo. He and Nesta have matching tattoo designs inked onto their bodies to mark their mating bond acceptance. Nesta saw the designs doodled at the side of one of his reports and announced that she wanted them. Cassian was shocked but didn’t argue. He gave her hers; she gave him his.