@surfalldaybaby asked for more about how cassian’s devotion to the ic isn’t reciprocated, and since it’s an issue that’s been around the whole series instead of popping up in acosf it actually doesn’t bother me as much as ranting does, so i don’t mind talking about it.
comparing acomaf and acosf alone, we know that there’s a hierarchy in the ic even though they all pretend to be equals, and we know cassian is at the bottom of that hierarchy. his opinion is tended to be taken less seriously than anyone else’s (azriel’s disbelief anytime he has to follow orders shows that he’s not used to not being listened to in the same way as cassian) and cassian’s character is repeatedly relegated to comic relief and dumb jock in the friend group (there’s a few times that feyre notes there’s more to him than that, but nothing is ever really done with that fact). despite all of this, cassian seems to have zero identity issues when it comes to the ic. instead he defends mor and rhys with his life to a point that it almost gives you whiplash when you see one of these characters do a terrible thing and then have to read about how beautiful and perfect they are from cassian’s pov. i feel like the most obvious example of this imbalance is how in acomaf, rhys says cassian would gladly fuck feyre if she wanted him to (and it’s a serious offer too, like he just assumes his brother will be up for the task if feyre decides she wants him like he’s cassian’s pimp or something). meanwhile in acosf, cassian is spewing hateful things at his own mate for even suggesting that rhys is less than perfect.
the rest of the ic members seem to have no problem starting fights or calling others out when they’re upset. meanwhile, cassian’s constant train of “my friends are flawless people that are too good for this world” is only ever interrupted very briefly when he feels the need to defend nesta—but this anger never ever lasts or turns into something meaningful. in less than two seconds, he’s either apologizing for being too harsh or laughing the whole thing off with the ic, as if he was never mad at them in the first place (even though the root of his anger—nesta being disrespected, doesn’t disappear). and there’s the whole issue about how literally everyone knows about cassian’s feelings for nesta, and yet nobody seems to think this makes nesta worthy of attention or respect. when rhys introduced feyre to the group, they didn’t even need to know her before they were ready to accept her with welcoming arms. there was never the question of “but does she deserve rhys?” even though she was engaged to rhys’s mortal enemy like two days before. they walked on eggshells around her depression and were more than understanding when she wasn’t in the mood to do something. nesta gets basically the complete opposite treatment; it’s awkward in acowar when she’s more of her true self, but it turns outright hostile in acosf when she’s in the depths of her ptsd. everyone constantly makes her feel like shit/undeserving of her own cauldron-granted mate, and cassian’s near-blindness to the whole thing reads like straight up brainwashing. tbh the whole high king scene felt so out of character for cassian, it’s like a switch had been flipped in his brain and he became some sort of propaganda machine for feysand—that was the only scene that made me think “if this isn’t brainwashing idk what is”.
anyway that’s all i can think of for now i hope it makes sense?? thanks for reading
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