I relistened to everything while getting hyped for the finale and I have a lot of things to say about Lucretia. Lucretia’s character arc is my absolute favorite on this show because she winds up so far from how she started, but everything fits perfectly with the person she already was. I took note of some of my favorite parts of her development, mainly her parallels to Magnus and the way her experiences shape her decisions. Most of all I’m just so fascinated with how she began as a character who simply chronicled events without any agency in them, but her choices wind up becoming the driving force of the entire plot.
Like, at the press conference that the Stolen Century starts with, the chronological beginning of everyone’s story, the moment she introduces herself made me laugh.
I fucking LAUGHED. I realized the reason why I found it strangely funny is because Lucretia has more influence on the plot than any other character. The story is almost entirely driven by her. Lucretia’s decisions are why The Adventure Zone happens and she has her hand on every single plot point in the show. TAZ, from beginning to end, is the story of her failing redemption arc. Her character development as a friend and an antagonist is so complex and slow-burning and so deeply satisfying.
I love Lucretia more than my own life and I would have died if she didn’t get a happy ending with her family. But still, I don’t overlook the wrongs she has done. She didn’t begin as a bad person nor did she end as one, but she has been an antihero in the story. I actually think her character arc is written to directly parallel Magnus as a hero. Their actions mirror each other’s almost constantly. They both gained the voidfish’s trust; Lucretia used it to take away knowledge and Magnus used it to give it back to everyone in Story and Song. Even Magnus’ lessons in strength that Griffin kept flashing back to at the climax directly apply to Lucretia (more on that in a bit). They both want to be protectors and they want to shoulder pain so that their friends don’t have to.
Another thing from Lucretia’s first appearance in the Stolen Century that I like is when she introduces herself as a ghostwriter for other people’s biographies.
It’s a brilliant backstory for Griffin to give her, because it explains perfectly how easily she could erase everyone’s life and write a new story for them. She had been rewriting and editing people’s lives for a living once, without anyone knowing it was her. It’s interesting the way Griffin describes her plan to void their memories exactly like what her previous life’s work had been.
It’s just a wildly good twist on the aspect of her character that kept Lucretia as a passive observer at the beginning of the story! In the Stolen Century, Merle suggested to her that she had leadership qualities and Lucretia laughed it off; she told merle she was happy to sit and watch. This gets turned on its head and she uses that skill against her loved ones and the entire world, now she is making them passive characters in the narrative she is driving.
Lucretia used to rely entirely on others to the point where she didn’t want to take action, or didn’t think she needed to. The turning point for this, obviously, is the year she faced alone. She stopped observing her friends save the world and started participating in it with them.
The motive for her character’s turning point in the Stolen Century mirrors Magnus’ motives. She wants to be a protector, but she doesn’t know how. Like Magnus, she needed to learn to ask for help. But she learned the wrong lesson.
The year when the judges and their officers pursued her, the one that carved her into the person she is now—It taught her that she didn’t need help to protect her friends. She could struggle through it alone, without anyone’s support, and come out of it stronger. Lucretia fixed everyone’s mistake and none of them suffered for it.
And this year explains why she thought erasing her friends’ memories could be redeemable. She carries with her a trauma and a complex that shaped her into believing she has to suffer alone for the good of her friends to save them—She did it once, she could do it again. Lucretia learning to be a protector was a case where no one was there to help her and she had to take on everything by herself, so she thinks she can keep her friends safe by cutting them off. From her, from each other, from their past. She wanted everyone to just wake up and find that everything was okay now because of Lucretia, again.
Contrast it with Magnus, whose only flaw is that he’s totally willing to sacrifice his life for his friends. He doesn’t think his friends are strong enough, so he must be the one to “take the big hit” for them.
I’m pretty sure Lucretia shadows this. Her first priority is preservation, whereas Magnus’ is sacrifice, but they’re both too ambitious and think they can take on more than they should. In her mind taking the big hit = shouldering the knowledge of what they’d done to this word and responsibility of repairing their mistakes on her own. She thought it was allowing everyone to live safely and free of guilt while she went through the hardship of absolving them. I think maybe it’s why Magnus forgives her without thinking. He understands this.
That’s why I referred to TAZ earlier as secretly being the story of her failing redemption arc. She betrayed everyone she loved with certainty that recovering the relics and locking out the hunger would vindicate her in their eyes. And it didn’t work. She didn’t mean to draw her plan out as long as she did, but she was afraid to back out or else she’s just left with the consequences of a horrible thing she did and no end to justify the means.
But she didn’t need to. Like Magnus didn’t think to ask for help because it was just too simple, Lucretia didn’t think she could just ask for forgiveness and it would come.