So, I'm legitimately curious: What did you think of Kuron? I mean, I have my own AU ideas about him, and one I'm trying to write right now about how he can 'survive' the whole fiasco of his fate in V6, but I'm curious to know other opinions. :)
I’m happy you asked! The clone arc spawns so much fandom creativity. Though I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this. Mostly because my feelings about Kuron aren’t informed so much by Kuron himself as by where I was at mentally and emotionally when season 3 dropped.
When I first got into Voltron, I was a young twenty-something in grad school, overwhelmed by adult and personal life, no idea what I was doing, far away from my family, and terrified that I was replaceable and forgettable to the people I loved most as well not even cut out for the career that I was going into debt for. (I’m glad I did it, but grad school kind of completely destroyed my mental health and only that I’m writing this now am I realizing exactly how bad it was).
In the midst of all this, I met Shiro. Here’s was another young twenty-something, completely out of his depth, trying so hard and so scared of failure. I especially remember realizing that Shiro was scared of being rejected and replaced by the people he loved and sacrificed for. But he was Shiro. He was competent and strong and so, so good. Obviously HE deserved his team and family and every good thing in the world. And he had a team that (I thought) recognized that in him. So I told myself, if Shiro can handle being responsible for Voltron and the entire universe, I can survive grad school. And if even Shiro doubts his worth to his friends and family when he’s Shiro, then my own fears about my loved ones were unfounded too.
And then season 3 hit, and I have to hand it to them, I don’t think they could have triggered every single one of my worst fears better if they had tried. Yes, no one will really care if you’re gone. Yes, all your loved ones will just move on if you disappeared. No, you aren’t capable or worthy of what you want to do. You are literally replaceable.
And Kuron was a big part of that. I pegged immediately that he wasn’t the same Shiro I had fallen in love with in the earlier seasons, and although I never hated him or thought he was at all at fault for whatever Hagar had planned for him, I could never get over the feeling that I was being lied to. That was not my Shiro, but the story kept trying to convince me it was and it wasn’t. And I was projecting HARD onto Shiro, so I didn’t just react to Kuron as the clone of my favorite character but like if Kuron were a clone of ME that was taking my place in MY family and everything was trying to convince me it didn’t make a difference. Your family still gets a version of you (and maybe even, less deep and struggling version of you, one that’s a little less in all the ways that just make you palatable), so why should you have a problem with it? They’re good, possibly even better, and so they never needed you, right?
Meanwhile, I felt so guilty about reacting like that. Because for all that I hated everything Kuron represented and seemed to say about me, I also knew he was a victim. I could see how hard he tried and that he was also struggling in an impossible situation he didn’t even understand. Kuron deserved love and support and a family just as much as Shiro did. But for Kuron to get the things he so desperately wanted, it seemed Shiro would have to lose those exact same things, and I couldn’t figure out a way to get out of the zero sum game. Particularly because they both needed so much intense personal and emotional support from their team. And as much as it isn’t fair, I knew from long personal experience that emotional resources are not infinite, and if you can fake being reasonably okay, the people with the most obvious emotional needs will always be taken care of first. And I couldn’t see in such a situation, and with Shiro being the self-sacrificing person that he is, Kuron not winning that unspoken competition. Meanwhile, if I tried just putting Shiro first anyway, I felt so guilty because Kuron deserved all the love and support too.
Which isn’t to say that a story can’t manage to be fair to both of them. I think a few fics have even managed to do it (The Monster in the Mirror by squirenonny is perhaps the most satisfying one I’ve found, and I continue to be astounded by how it manages to cover so much while also staying relatively short. How???! What did you have to sell???). There are also plenty of fics that are still good, and some that even enjoyed, even if they don’t strike the balance that I really want. I’ve just never managed to find the balance I feel like I can write. I still feel some guilt about that because Kuron deserved so much better, but I’ve also accepted that fanfic for me is self-indulgent and about writing the stories I need. So, for instance, there is no clone or clone arc in Stars From Me which is 100% a story that I needed to tell for me.
I will say, that until they killed Kuron off in a move I did not see coming at all, I fully expected to embrace Kuron once the truth came to life and I was able to interact with him as himself instead Not Shiro (Stop Lying!). But that never happened, and he was never given that chance. I’m...honestly still shocked that didn’t happen. (I also have gripes about how the clone arc makes no sense from the Galra/Hagar POV, but that’s for another post and also assumes Voltron was trying to have a coherent plot at that point which is demonstrably false.)
Anyway, all that is probably WAY more personal information than you were hoping for. The TL;DR version is I think Kuron is a good character (and a good person) who tried so, so hard in circumstances that, narratively speaking, are extremely interesting. I just never managed to latch onto him the way I did with the rest of Team Voltron, and there’s a little part of my that irrationally and unfairly resents his existence. I am even sometimes very interested Kuron stories, but I am very, very picky. And I’ve had to quit some otherwise good stories because they inadvertently threw me into a bad headspace.
So how’s that for an answer? XD
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I coughed up blood, feeling very much like a Victorian orphan dying of consumption in a cold grey alleyway in London. I raised a trembling hand, wishing to touch his face one last time, to brush my fingers against his lips and remind myself of a time where I felt alive.
“If you get blood on my new suit, I’ll personally send you to hell,” he snapped, handing me a wad of tissue. “Clean yourself up.”
I scowled at him. “I was having a moment.”
“You had a moment. When you insulted the mob boss and got beat up and dumped on my doorsteps the morning of my wedding. I think you’ve had enough moments.”
I stared at him through the mirror. “You look good. What a lucky bride.”
His jaw tightened. “Clean your face.”
I cupped a handful of water and splashed my face but one look at my reflection told me I’d need more than water to salvage my face. “I guess I won’t be attending your wedding, dear. I look a mess.”
He circled his hand around my wrist and spun me around, his hand gently cupping my face. “You have managed to ruin everything nice about weddings and yet, I put up with it. Now get into your dress and I’ll send the stylist over. I’ll meet you at the altar.”
I laughed. “I’ll be the one in white.”