100 Days of Fan Favorites: Day One

There is joy in talking about the things we love deeply, as I found when I did my Month of Love in July 2014. The ladies at MGcircles wanted to do something similar so they started 100 Days of Fan Favorites as a challenge to bloggers, artists, and anyone in fandom who would like to participate to celebrate the things we love instead of focusing on the things we don’t. This will be an ongoing project for me with things posted sporadically but I am thrilled to be taking part.

I didn’t see Clarke and Bellamy coming. I knew people loved the idea of them together and so was primed for it but I was so invested in the non-romantic aspects of the show that it wasn’t something I thought a lot about. Then this scene happened and I was done.

Clarke and Bellamy started the series as opponents, each advocating for a fundamentally different approach to leading. At the beginning of the series, Bellamy thought of Clarke as a spoiled princess. As one of the two members of the Ark’s ruling class on the ground, Clarke represented everything about the Ark that Bellamy hated. She was the rule that led to his mother’s death. The rule that led to Octavia’s imprisonment. And the rule that led to him attempting to kill a man for the chance to look out for his sister again. Bellamy was the person making Clarke’s life incredibly difficult. He was the one standing in the way of every decision she was trying to make to keep The 100 alive when they were more interested in partying than finding food. He was the one encouraging the “whatever the hell we want” philosophy that would lead to the death of everyone on the Ark. Neither thought much of the other. Neither was willing to back down.

Then Atom was caught in the acid fog and Bellamy had to make some hard realizations about both himself and Clarke. She was able to do what he couldn’t and in doing so, forced him to see her as more than the spoiled princess he wanted to believe she was. While he still doesn’t like her, he begins to respect her. This moment also marks the first time that Clarke realizes that Bellamy’s attitude is nothing more than a facade. It may be an irritating facade but Clarke sees that there is a good person (or at least someone not quite as comfortable with violence as he led people to believe) underneath. In this moment, things change. That change starts as subtle but by the end of the next episode, they are the official co-leaders of the camp. They still don’t really like each other but there is a respect and an understanding present between them that wasn’t there before.

As time went on, the trust these two had in each other continued to grow. They were still learning how to lead and survive on Earth and sometimes they messed up. Bellamy was still acting out of self-interest at least some of the time and it led to some terrible consequences. But through it all, Clarke never stops believing that Bellamy can be a good person. She sees who he really is underneath the fear and the anger. She sees the man he wants to be and never doubts that it’s possible for him to be that man. She forgives him and attempts to absolve him of some of the guilt that he’s been carrying around since Octavia’s imprisonment so he can begin to move past it and be the leadership partner she wants and needs. And that is exactly who he becomes.

Season one ended with their separation, neither knowing what became of the other. When they are finally reunited, their body language says everything. Nevermind the way Clarke literally runs to hug him, as adorable as that is. We get to see Bellamy first being shocked that Clarke is still alive and then being amazed that she’s clinging to him like she may never let him go again. Octavia may be the one to vocalize how far they’ve come but you first see it in Bellamy’s reaction. He can’t believe that Clarke, the girl he couldn’t stand when they landed on the ground, is now the person who brought back his faith that they can survive this. Before Clarke launches herself at him, Bellamy looks exhausted. The weight of everything they have been though is getting to be too much. When they finally let go, he’s standing just a little taller. He physically looks less burdened and it’s because his partner is back. They are together again and things are just a little easier. You see the same thing from Clarke’s perspective. From the way she whispers his name to her smile as she hugs him to the way she buries her face in his neck, everything about Clarke’s body language says that things are a little better now. There is relief, joy, contentment, and safety written all over her face. I’ve said before that these two are each other’s homes and it is in scenes like this that you really feel that.

Even when these two disagree, they are a team. They give each other the strength to take on the burden of leadership, knowing that they are doing it with the other by their side. They care about each other’s well-being, not just physically but mentally as well. They encourage each other to have fun while they are able and take care of each other when they are sick or hurt. They provide balance for each other and when you put them together, they are an unstoppable force. If one of them makes a difficult choice, the other gets that it was the choice that had to be made. They remind each other that they are doing the best job they know how to do. They believe in the other’s ability to get things done and take care of their people.

They have an unshakable partnership and that is why I love them. If they ever do start a romantic relationship, it’s not going to be one based on physical attraction or a sudden connection. It is a bond that has been formed over time and tested again and again. It has been a constant choice to value the other and to stand by them. It will be the recognition that they are strongest together, that love isn’t a weakness. It will be the realization that it is with each other that they feel the most secure and most capable of taking on the horrors their lives have unleashed upon them. And to me, that’s what love is. It’s the choice to be with your partner, day in and day out, through all of the ups and downs of life. It’s the knowledge that whatever comes, you will face it together. That is what Clarke and Bellamy’s relationship represents to me and while I don’t know what the future holds for these two, I know that they’ve given me a strong, powerful representation of what that love can look like.

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4 thoughts on “100 Days of Fan Favorites: Day One

  1. I couldn’t get into The 100, but this is such an engaging and well written article that is making me actually root for them and hope that just as a lot of my fellow friends want them together, they will be. So unbelievably excited to see the rest of your list. This is awesome.

  2. Excuse me, you just reignited all of my feelings. (Apologies for the essay lol.)

    I agree with you on everything you’re saying about these two here, and the show truly has done a masterful job of crafting that relationship, and developing both of the characters themselves as well. This relationship never would have worked for me if the show hadn’t done an amazing job with Bellamy’s character. At the beginning, you hate him. He’s arrogant, he’s rude, he seems to not care about anything except getting his way or (over)protecting his sister. But the show reveals, especially effectively through the flashback episode, that Bellamy is actually just a terrified, stubborn, angry kid. All he’s done for most of his life is look out for his sister and try to avoid the authorities, a situation which is actually worse than many of The 100 (that we know) had to deal with in their childhoods, and in his mind he completely failed to keep his sister safe. Combine that with the fact that the only way available to him to stay with his sister meant that he had just shot and possibly killed the Chancellor, and he’s terrified for himself and for his sister, so he puts on a confident, stubborn, angry front to hide his fear. And that mask he wears is where we first meet him. But because the show fairly quickly starts to reveal to you that it is a mask, as you move through 1×06, 1×07, and 1×08, you see that mask drop and you see the emotions underneath. You see his guilt, you see his self-loathing, you see his recognition that he’s not doing good with his actions. It doesn’t always work for me, when a show takes a character and makes you hate them and then tries to change your view of them, but if a show does it right – if they don’t have you hate them for a long stretch of time, and if they slowly reveal more and more of the underlying emotions and understandable circumstances – then it works wonderfully. In my opinion that is one of The 100’s specialties, the ability to have well written character growth. Since it was written so well, it worked for me with Bellamy, and now he’s one of my top 3 favorite characters on the show.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to become a “The Evolution of Bellamy Blake” comment lol.

    So anyway, you start to understand Bellamy more, and you see Clarke start to understand Bellamy more, and you see Bellamy start to respect Clarke and vice versa. They begin to realize that they need to lead together because they make the best decisions for their people together. Bellamy needs Clarke’s level-headedness to reign him in and her optimism to remind him that not all hope is lost, and Clarke needs Bellamy’s belief in her to help keep her steady when she falters, and his practicality and experience with the world to remind her of the potential outcomes she cannot always see because she tends to see the good in people first. Their relationship continues to build into this friendship based on trust they’ve gained by experiencing these difficult situations together and by having each other’s backs, by supporting each other and each saving the other’s life, and by sharing the burden of leadership and having to essentially reinvent their society in an unknown, strange world.

    So by the time you get to 2×05 and Clarke runs across camp to hug Bellamy, it may feel a tiny bit surprising as a viewer but it also feels right. I have a thousand feelings about that hug, a lot of which you said in your post already, but I have to add that the exhale Bellamy gives after Octavia’s line “Now there’s something I thought I’d never see” just kills me, because it looks like the moment he fully sinks into the hug, it’s a sigh of relief, it’s like he just allows himself to crumble for a moment in Clarke’s arms, and that makes me so emotional. He’s letting himself be vulnerable with her, and the way you can so clearly see the comfort they get from one another is one of my favorite things.

    I’ve talked about this with you a little bit already, but I think what truly makes their relationship one of my favorites is perfectly exemplified in the ending arc of S2. They have a lot of faith in each other, but they are separated. Clarke is so alone at that point – Raven is still resentful over Finn, Octavia hates her for Tondc, her own mother refuses to acknowledge that her daughter is no longer a little kid and is now a leader who has had to make hard choices, and Lexa has betrayed her. Clarke has no one to confide in, no one to support her, and she’s having to make increasingly difficult and dark choices. And in the moment where she has to make yet another impossible choice between two terrible options, Bellamy says “together.” He won’t make Clarke do this alone, and he understands the choice she is making, knowing that it horrifies them both, but at least he will be there to share the burden with her. Ever since they truly became co-leaders Bellamy has had her back, no matter how much they argued or disagreed. He’s the one person by the end of the season that trusts her, that truly listens, that won’t judge her because they’ve both done terrible things and he offers (almost begs her) to go through that struggle together. And the parallel in the echo of “if you need forgiveness, I’ll give it to you” in the S2 finale is just such a beautiful way to show how their relationship has evolved in a sort of full circle way, and how much they care about one another. I can’t wait for more development (and hopefully more hugs) in S3.

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