Am I the only one who is bothered by the fact that the main antagonist of Team RNJR’s arc in Volume 4 is so Nora- and Ren-centric and the other time their lives were in danger the person responsible was after Ruby yet Miles and Kerry still insisted on handing this volume’s protagonism to Jaune?
The Nuckelavee Grimm is the most dangerous, frightening, and thematically appropriate opposing force in the entire volume, and the two characters to whom it is related so strongly and profoundly remain barely developed until the later episodes when a volume wrap-up is blatantly imminent.
Sure, there are tiny hints and little reactions between Ren and Nora that show there’s something up with them specifically in this volume, but the problem is that Ren and Nora’s significance in it is kept in the back burner way too much and for way too long. Nora and Ren clearly recognize the mark this Grimm left behind, and they still don’t bother telling Ruby and Jaune about the behemoth roaming around Anima?
“Hey, there’s a very powerful Grimm we might encounter during our travels, be on your guard.” This would have called for a more comprehensive and thorough development on Ren and Nora’s behalf. It would have prompted Team RNJR slowly bonding over each other’s hardships and it would have also made their camaraderie feel so much more organic and meaningful. But no. We only get one focus for the vast majority of the volume.
It is Jaune who reacts to things the most, it is Jaune who speaks the most, and it is Jaune’s sensibilities that are catered to the most.
And yet it is Jaune’s story that has progressed the least.
Why was Tyrian particularly interested in Jaune?
What is his Semblance?
Is there a deeper connection between his lineage and the Great War?
What is his actual role in this story?
The answer to all of these questions is “No fucking clue.” Because the Volume’s story isn’t about Jaune, yet he is still the character Miles and Kerry make the most prominent.
Don’t get me wrong, Jaune is allowed to grow and to have a spot in the narrative to act and exist. He gets to react to Pyrrha’s death. He gets to talk about it. He gets to ask why his teammate and partner had to die and why she was cornered into the situation that ended in her death in the first place. He gets to question Qrow about things he deserves to know. But the point is that he isn’t the only one who should, especially when the vast majority of the events in this volume don’t concern him, but concern a) Ruby and b) Nora and Ren.
Hell, Pyrrha isn’t just about Jaune. It was Ruby who watched her die. Ren and Nora were also her friends and teammates. The only time Ruby gets to react to anything concerning Pyrrha was when she watched Jaune grieve over her recording (without Jaune, would she have even mentioned Pyrrha at all?). That moment established a plot of Ruby and Jaune bonding over their loss of Pyrrha, but instead we get Jaune hoarding any and all mention of her and the fact that she even existed. Ren and Nora don’t even get a say about her at all. Don’t even get me started on how Ruby doesn’t get to talk about her own team, let alone her own sister who she left on Patch.
Just, why? Why is Jaune the center of this story when almost none of it is even about him?
Tyrian was about Ruby. The Nuckelavee Grimm is about Ren and Nora. Qrow and Pyrrha are about all four of these lost, heartbroken, and desperate teens.
How is this part of the story not about the people it’s supposed to be?
EDIT: Just to make it clear, I don’t hate Jaune. There’s so much about him to love. He’s extremely loyal, he cares about the people close to him so much he’s willing to stand up to anything and anyone, he does his absolute best to comfort people when they’re troubled, he has a charming sense of humor, and he’s absolutely adorable.
The point I’m trying to make is that Miles and Kerry didn’t quite get the focus of this volume on the right characters as far as Team RNJR is concerned. The Nuckelavee Grimm is tied to Ren and Nora’s past, so their development should be a little more prominent rather than push it and squeeze it into the last few episodes of the volume. Ruby is dealing with the absence of her team and her worldview and ideals being shattered by loss, adversity, and unfairness, so we should be seeing more of her react to her grief and talk about it by her own prerogative. She should react a little more to her own uncle, the man who trained her and helped raise her, using her as bait and keeping her in the dark about the danger she could and did face in the form of Tyrian. And as far as Pyrrha is concerned, Jaune does have the right to mourn her. He has to. Can you imagine what kind of failure he must feel like? Jaune was her leader, her partner. And despite all that was expected of him and all he cared about her, he couldn’t save her. That is devastating, especially for a teenager. But he’s not the only one who lost Pyrrha. He even says so himself in 4x10. But the problem manifests here: Jaune (and by extension, Miles and Kerry) acknowledges that Pyrrha’s death is something that affected everyone in Team RNJR, but Miles and Kerry make so that he’s the only one who mentions herat any given moment rather than have the other characters voice their grief as well.
Miles and Kerry started off on the right track with Ruby’s nightmares, but they sort of derailed from that as they worked their way deeper and deeper into the volume.
I hope this helps clarify things. If something is still muddy or unclear, please let me know.
One of the biggest, and in my opinion most important, forms of representation in tfc is it’s portrayal of Christianity.
Now you’re probably like, “Why? Christianity is every where.”
My response would be, “No, it’s really not.”
Christianity is often portrayed to be a roadblock, something the surrounding characters believe but the Enlightened MC doesn’t. It’s often portrayed as a prejudiced religion with an angry God. A God who is mad at his children and wants to destroy the world or whatever. Fire and Brimstone. Christianity has gained a rep for being extremely bigoted, because the media no longer takes the time to differentiate between people using God as an excuse to be close minded or flat out hurt other people, and (What I call) true Christianity, That’s not what true Christianity is.
So yes, Christianity is everywhere. But it hasn’t been portrayed positively for a long time.
So it means so much to me that, not only do we have Christian characters who work to counteract those stereotypes, but Nora also take the time to differentiate between Christianity and Bigotry.
The first quote we have about it is in Ch. 6 of The Foxhole Court when Neil describes Renee:
“The Foxes’ senior goalkeeper had bright white hair cut to her chin. The bottom two inches of her hair were dyed in alternating pastel colors. It was interesting enough to warrant a second look, but downright odd when paired with her scant make-up, conservative clothes, and delicate silver cross necklace. Nicky had called her the sweetheart of the team. Neil understood why as he listened to her talk. He had no idea how she qualified for the Foxes’ halfway-house team.”
Which when I was first reading I was like “nice nice nice!”. So not only do we have a positive Christian character who is not an ass, we have subtle commentary on how people tend to view Christianity, through Neil calling her dyed hair “downright odd” when paired with her more natural looks, and wondering how she “qualified” for the team. I figured that would be the end of it.
I was wrong, and I’ve never been more happy to be in my life.
The big one for me was during the conversation with Nicky in the library:
“My parents are kind of crazy, you know? There’s religious and there’s super psychotic religious. Me and Renee, we’re the decent sort, I think. We go to different churches and have different ideas, but we respect each other anyway. We understand that religion is just an interpretation of faith. But my parents are the black-and-white crazy kind. It’s only right and wrong with them: hell-fire and damnation and judgment from on high.”
At which point I almost cried. This paragraph comes right after Nicky has been describing why he loves Eric, and how Eric makes him feel safe. And then he says that line:
“There’s religious and there’s super psychotic religious.”
One line. One line, and a stereotype destroyed. There is a huge difference between Christianity and Bigotry, and the media’s blurring of the two has led to toxic stereotypes that make Christianity seems like some awful demoralizing religion. You can be Christian and be gay. You can be Christian and not be a bigot who hates change. We are not the people who use our religion to hurt other people. At the base level, those who are of the bigoted religion are no better than the Islamic terrorists, hiding behind religion to justify there inhumane actions and making everyone else who practices the religion suffer for it.
Then it’s followed by NIcky saying, “Yeah we don’t exactly agree about every little detail, but we understand that religion is just an interpretation of faith.” There are thousands of sects of Christianity, because Christianity is about your individual relationship with God. There are thousands of religions because people choose to interpret the world differently. Just because you believe this bible verse should be interpreted this way, not that way, doesn’t mean you can’t get along. Because the core values of Christianity are the same, regardless of sect.
Which leads me to my next quote(also by NIcky):
“We cannot condone the sin,” Maria said.
“You don’t have to love the sin,“ Nicky said, "but you’re supposed to forgive and love the sinner. Isn’t that what faith is about?"
At which point I started shrieking. This is exactly what faith is about. Exactly. This is what Christianity is about. It is not your job as a Christian to tell people their sins, or tell them how to live their lives, or punish them somehow for sinning. That is the opposite. Christianity is about helping those who need help, not about saving those who you feel need to be saved. Leave the saving up to God. That’s his job. Your job is to help those who need it without preaching scripture at them. Only if they enter your church and say, “Hey, will you tell me about Jesus?” do you have any right to go throwing your belief at them. And even then you don’t go listing their sins. You tell them the message of the bible, that Jesus died for all our sins, and here’s how they can accept Jesus into their heart, if that’s what they choose to do. It’s not that complicated.
So in one sentence she effectively points out and comments on the difference between religious and Bigotry. She calls out the Bigots, literally, “If the first step isn’t tolerance, where does a pair of bigots begin in fixing a mess like this?”, but also provides a glimpse of (ill placed) reasoning when Luther responds, “Faith is following the Lord’s creed” circling back to the idea that religion is an interpretation of faith(which is a whole ‘nother post regarding that and bigoted Christianity).
(Also stfu Luther bc I’m pretty sure sending your son to a anti-gay camp and letting someone rape your nephew and creating a toxic and unsafe home for your children/nephews is pretty damn far from the “Lord’s creed” bye.)
Then she takes it one step further with Renee. Renee is a beautiful example of what Christianity is. She is kind and nice to everyone, she gives but doesn’t expect to take, she is sweet and polite, even to the Ravens, and she is a wonderful example of Christianity in practice. The core value of Christianity is basically, try to be a decent person. Renee is someone even other Christians can look to for inspiration.
Then there is her quote:
“I am a bad person trying very hard to be a good person.”
This is so important, because never once is Renee framed in the light of her religion. She’s just a bad person trying to be good. She’s not trying to repent or convert or condemn. She’s just trying to be a good person. Like we should all aspire to be. But that’s exactly what make her such an important character from a Christian perspective. The Bible doesn’t even really ask you to be a good or perfect person, only that you try. And that’s exactly what Renee is trying to do.
This quote is then followed by the first glimpse you get into Renee’s past:
“…”I’m not,” Renee said…”I know I should be, but that’s still something I’m working on. I know I was directly responsible for the circumstances that led to their murders, but to be honest I hated them. On top of that, without my mother’s death I never would have ended up here. With my mother dead and my biological father in the wind, the courts had no choice but to release me into foster care after my year at a juvenile facility,” Renee said. “I made life as difficult as I could for my foster families and jumped eight homes in two years. Stephanie Walker found out about me from one of my foster mothers at her high school reunion. She put in a request for me, pushed it until it was approved, and moved me to North Dakota as soon as it was finalized. She gave me a new name, a new faith, and a new chance at life.”
In many ways, Renee’s story is like the ultimate Christian story. She was lost, but now she is found. She is happy, safe, and healing. She has made peace with herself and her past, and she is trying to be a good person. And that’s what Christianity is all about.
“You’re so lucky. You don’t have to think about all of those things. Heartbreak and stuff.” - Nora
This happens all the time. Person A (in this case Nora) assuming that person B (Sana) has it easier, even though person B does in fact have their own kind of problems. And it mostly happens from a higher position of power to a lower position of power (here christian/atheist to muslim).
Just like straight people, e.g. straight women will sometimes say “I wish I were gay, if I could be with another woman things sure would be easier.” Not realising that having a relationship with a women can come with just as many problems as having a relationship with a man. Plus that being in a same-sex relationship exposes you to discrimination from homophobes.
Or sexual and/or romantic people will say “I wish I were asexual and aromantic, then I wouldn’t have to worry about Sex and relationships.” Not realising, that asexual and aromantic people may have problems, maybe also related to wanting a relationship, maybe a queer platonic relationship and finding it hard to find someone who is up for that. Plus having to deal with the fact that it is hard to have a sexuality that many people dont even recognise as a sexuality. (Dont even get me started on demisexuality, a-spec orientations and so on.)
So don’t make stupid assumptions about how having another faith/sexuality will make your life easier!! Check your privilege first.
ok right away i wanna give a shout out to tea @tsukoii for the art! when i asked if i could use their older valkos art from rwby relationship week, tea immediately offered to draw some newer art of them. it was incredibly sweet ;A; this was for the rwby secret santa, where i got my friend alex @alexander-the-amazing! thanks for joining me in rarepair hell, bud.