One of the reasons I love Rayla — and one of the reasons she gets me so emotional — is because Rayla is a character who is constantly embroiled in conflict. Like for the rest of the main cast (Ezran, Soren, Claudia, Harrow, Viren, Callum, etc.) we see their Ordinary Life before the Plot — for them — really starts. Rayla is immediately dropped into a massive ethical and emotional conflict, she immediately 'fails' and has to grapple with it. She is immediately grieving what she thought of herself and her life, and spends so much of the next three seasons just trying to chase her perception of her purpose in life & catch up with her perception of herself. Her life changing, grief induced altering of herself, happened four months before the start of the show.
And like I also always make a point of like, s2 is a really rough season for Callum — nothing ever goes his way until the very end, and it's loss after loss, in a lot of ways; losing magic, then his dad, then his childhood friends, then almost dying in the storm, then worrying over Rayla, then almost dying from dark magic, then having Ezran walk away, which is why him unlocking sky magic feels like Such a win, bc it's the first one he's had in so long. And bad or sad things still happen to Callum in s1 and s3!
But Rayla arguably never gets any sort of reprieve. 1x01-1x03 is intense and radical and emotional, she already knows what she's signing herself up for with derailing her mission and to a degree of what standing against Runaan entails. 1x04 is humiliating and scary, 1x05 is emotional and uncomfortable, she struggles her way through 1x06, by 1x07-1x09 her hand is in worse shape than ever and nothing is working. Then in season two she's worried about the lies and protecting the boys, she's repeatedly terrified of losing Callum for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. She gets 3x02 as a reprieve and then the rest of the season from 3x03 onwards has an underlying current of grief and processing, punctured by moments of happiness — but nothing that can fix her turmoil, because it’s her. The conflict is her.
Even the closest we get to total happiness, in 3x09, is after she narrowly avoids death that she was fully prepared to meet, without even the hope of survival that Callum had, and we know from TTM that it’s temporary, that it doesn’t last. Not even a little bit
It's why the line from "Peace" by Taylor Swift always gets me, and why I always ascribe it to Rayla, because it describes her so well: "And it's just around the corner, darling / 'Cause it lives in me / No, I could never give you peace"
And I think that's why s4 is going to have so much catharsis for her, because arguably for the first time in the whole show (except for Maybe the very end of 3x09, but even then) we'll actually, hopefully, get to see Rayla just Breathe
And I can’t wait to see it, because by god this child needs it
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