alternative title : the case for joseph kavinsky’s life and death mattering to ronan lynch (which has nothing to do with the gray man, because, spoiler alert : he is irrelevant to this discussion.)
gray man murdered ronan’s dad and everyone accepts the fact that ronan
(rightfully) fucking hates his guts / kavinsky kidnapped and threatened to
murder ronan’s little brother, the person
ronan cares about above all other and people don’t understand why ronan
isn’t mourning him”
such wrote a tumblr user, priding themselves on not being one of
those kavinsky-friendly bloggers.
that comparison relevant, though, asks tumblr user rrronanlynch, a terrible
no-good kavinsky-loving blogger ? why are there people who are defensive of joseph kavinsky, but not so much of the gray man ? today, we find out! with help from #1 new york times best-selling author maggie stiefvater’s the dream thieves, and, to a lesser extent, blue lily lily blue and the raven boys.
what exactly are the similarities between the gray man and joseph kavinsky ? here, have bullet points :
the gray man killed ronan lynch’s father, in a particularly gruesome way, and purposefully so, because he was told to do so, and killing people is his job.he kills people for a living. he has killed people. joseph kavinsky kidnapped, drugged, stuffed in a car’s trunk and threatened to kill ronan lynch’s little brother matthew, because he somehow thought this would be a good way to get ronan lynch’s attention. it is also probable that he killed his father and is responsible for one of his friends’ death.
both the gray man and joseph kavinsky have shitty backstories, although we have more details about the gray man’s than joseph kavinsky’s, due to the fact that joseph kavinsky didn’t get pov chapters and is known to be a liar.
the gray man willingly chose to earn his living killing people. joseph kavinsky willingly chose to be a terrible person.
the gray man did not kidnap ronan lynch to bring him to his employer, and then lured his employer’s other employees out of town, in order to help that same ronan lynch. joseph kavinsky saved ronan lynch by killing one of his night horrors.
but are there differences between the gray man and joseph kavinsky ? yes, in fact, there are a few :
the gray man is a grown man, an adult, not a teenager. joseph kavinsky is not an adult, 17, a teenager.
the gray man is not a drug addict. joseph kavinsky is a drug addict.
the gray man is a complete stranger to everyone. joseph kavinsky is a “fellow aglionby student”, someone ronan lynch is already familiar with in the raven boys (chapter 12, [“Lynch !” the call came again. “I’m going to fuck you up !” […] “Was that Kavinsky ? Don’t tell me you’ve been racing again.” “Don’t ask me, then.”]) and with whom he spends quite a lot of time during the dream thieves.
the gray man, who originally came to henrietta to find and steal the greywaren for his employer, draws the line at kidnapping kids to hand them over to said employer who would then do heaven knows what (vivisection maybe) to them and decides to help the main characters. joseph kavinsky kills himself / lets himself die at the end of the dream thieves.
but isn’t another huge difference the way these two characters are treated by everyone else in the books ? well observed, indeed :
have a book quote about the gray man :
The Gray Man said, “He told me to kill your father as messily as I could and leave the body where your older brother would find it. So that he would confess to where the Greywaren was.” For one moment, Ronan didn’t move. It took him that long to realize that the Gray Man was saying he had killed Niall Lynch. Ronan’s mind went perfectly blank. Then he did what had to be done : he hurled himself at the Gray Man. […] “I think this is justified,” Gansey replied. […] Voice muffled by the tile pressed against his cheek, Ronan said, “No matter how much you do for me, I’ll never forgive you.”
and indeed ronan lynch does not forgive the gray man. yet in blue lily, lily blue, his friends, and blue’s extended family, have no problem whatsoever being around, even friendly, with the gray man, who, we remember, killed ronan lynch’s father, and beat up ronan lynch’s older brother, although ronan lynch himself doesn’t care about that. these people are very forgiving. also, ronan lynch may not forgive, but hangs around the gray man all the same. the gray man lives to have a blossoming love story with maura sargent and help in the quest to bring her back. it’s very nice.
have two book quotes about joseph kavinsky :
Gansey said : “The only thing that gives me any joy is imagining the used car dealership he’ll be working in by the time he’s thirty.”
[Gansey :] “You know the difference between us and Kavinsky ? We matter.”
then, as we know, joseph kavinsky commits suicide by fire dragon. in blue lily, lily blue, he is only mentioned as gansey refers to his death, to which adam is utterly indifferent, and we vaguely remember his existence when the gray man is given a white mitsubishi (the one joseph kavinsky did not leave for it to sit while ronan lynch blew richard gansey iii.) it does not seem that ronan lynch cares much about all this either.
but, tumblr user rrronanlynch, why do some people think ronan lynch mourned / should have mourned joseph kavinsky ? (there is after all about a month and a half between the dream thieves and blue lily, lily blue, and no textual evidence, i believe, against ronan lynch having indeed had thoughts about joseph kavinsky’s passing in that period of time.)
what a good question ! but first i’ll say, we are not going to say here that ronan should have forgiven joseph kavinsky, this is not the point. and now, let me give you book quotes.
“Try to keep up, Lynch,” Kavinsky said. He withdrew into the car, and for a moment, Ronan was worried that he was leaving. Kavinsky was no ally, but he was human, and he was alive, and he had just saved Ronan’s life, and that was something.
and then we have the break-up scene, about which one could alternatively argue that (a) ronan lynch is the most oblivious book character of all time, or, (b) ronan lynch was very harsh in rejecting joseph kavinsky unequivocally now that joseph kavinsky had helped him do what he wanted to do. tumblr user rrronanlynch would say that ronan lynch was a dick in this instance, which is not unusual for ronan lynch. [i wish i didn’t have to do this and could count on people’s good faith,
but here i insert a disclaimer : ronan lynch didn’t owe joseph kavinsky feelings. ronan lynch’s dickishness
doesn’t excuse joseph kavinsky’s actions. this is obvious.]
He rolled down the window. “I’m going.” For a moment, Kavinsky’s face was perfectly blank, and then Kavinsky flicked back on to it. He said, “You’re shitting me.” “I’ll send flowers.” Ronan revved the engine. […] Kavinsky threw up a hand like he was going to hit something, but there was nothing but air. “You are shitting me.” “I never lie,” Ronan said. He frowned disbelievingly. This felt like a more bizarre scenario than anything that had happened to this point. “Wait. You thought — it was never gonna be you and me. Is that what you thought ?” Kavinsky’s expression was scorched. “There’s only with me or against me.” Which was ludicrous. It has always been Ronan against Kavinsky. There was never any possibility of with. “It was never going to be you and me.” “I will burn you down,” Kavinsky said.
later on, at the 4th of july party,
“He’s dreaming,” Ronan said. “Who knows what he’s gone to get. Nothing good. Shit, Kavinsky !” “Can we stop him ?” Gansey asked. “Only if you kill him,” Ronan replied.
“What’s here, K ? Nothing ! No one !” “Just us.” There was a heavy understanding in that statement, amplified by the dream. I know what you are, Kavinsky had said. “It’s not enough,” Ronan replied.
Gansey shouted, “Do something !” Ronan could kill Kavinsky. If he stopped Kavinsky, the dragon stopped. But it was one thing to know this solution. It was a very different thing to look at Kavinsky, his arms stretched over his head, and think : I could kill him. And most important, it wasn’t true.
and now please give your undivided attention to this quote :
Ronan could smell the fire dragon, all carbon and sulphur. Ronan dived for his brother. He dragged him away from the car. He shouted to Kavinsky, “Get down !” But Kavinsky didn’t look away from the two creatures. He said, “The world’s a nightmare.” Horror clawed its way up inside Ronan. It was precisely the feeling he’d had when he realized Kavinsky was going to blow up the Mitsubishi at the substance party. Dust swirled up from the dragon’s wings; Furious, Ronan shouted, “Come down, you bastard !” Kavinsky didn’t answer. There was that whoof he’d heard in the dream, that clap of wings against air. Like an explosion taking all the oxygen from a room. Ronan wrapped his arms around Matthew and ducked his head. A second later, the fire dragon exploded into Kavinsky. It went straight through him, flame around an object. Kavinsky fell. Not as if he was struck, though. Just like when he’d taken the green pill. He crumpled to his knees and then slumped gracelessly off the car. Non mortem, somni fratrem.
did you see ronan lynch trying to get this desperate kid to save himself ? did you see ronan lynch horrified by what was happening before his eyes ? surely that should be something he would remember, and maybe think about every once in a while.
perhaps now you see how the gray man and joseph kavinsky have completely different relationships with ronan lynch and it therefore makes absolutely zero sense to compare them in that regard ! perhaps now you see why people don’t feel about joseph kavinsky the way they feel about the gray man ! perhaps you see that people are defensive about joseph kavinsky because not once is he treated in a decent way by anyone in the books, while everyone likes the gray man just fine ! that would be a-ma-zing.
sometimes he would try and think back to the moment in time when he fell in love - he would try to pinpoint the day that he felt those butterflies and the world turned gold. but he couldn’t find what he was looking for. instead he found moments - snapshots. they didn’t seem like much - the day they laughed too hard, the one time they stayed up till three, that six hour drive to nowhere - but he realized this was what he was searching for. these moments, they were golden and filled with butterflies.