Let’s talk about book characters, shall we.
I’m going to straight up spoil all of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, so ye be warned.
Ronan Lynch is hands down my favorite Raven boy. Here are some of the things Ronan has to worry about:
- His father was murdered and Ronan was the one to find the body
- He’s been banished from his childhood home and forbidden from seeing his mother
- He’s plagued by nightmares and has the power to bring the creatures in his dreams back with him
- His older brother hates him and is always on his case
If that wasn’t enough angst for one, person
- He’s gay, in love with his presumed enemy, and harassed by a homophobic acquaintance
I might be in love with Ronan’s pain. I identify with characters who have a lot of self-loathing. Ronan perfectly embodies what it’s like to carry this guilt and self-hatred without coming across as whiny. He’s also brutally honest and really funny – the series’ best scenes have something to do with him.
The following is a scene from The Dream Thieves that made me cheer when I read it. After Ronan’s younger brother is kidnapped, Ronan tries to bring back a dream creature capable of defeating the unstable Kavinsky. My favorite lines are in bold.
He closed his eyes in relief.
It would be all right. They would give him a weapon, and he would wake and destroy this dragon of Kavinsky’s before anything else happened.
In the blackness of his closed lids, he heard: tck-tck-tck-tck.
No, thought Ronan. Not night horrors.
But there was the rattle of their claws. The chatter of their beaks.
Dream to nightmare, just like that.
There was no real fear, just dread. Anticipation. It took so long to kill him in a dream.
“This won’t help,” he told the trees. He knelt down, bracing his fingers in the soft soil. Even though he knew he couldn’t save himself, he couldn’t ever seem to convince himself to stop fighting. “This won’t save anyone.”
The trees whispered, Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est.
(A sword is never a killer; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.)
But the night horrors were not a weapon Ronan could wield.
“I can’t control them!” he shouted. “They only want to hurt me!”
A night horror appeared. It surged over the trees, blocking out the sky. It was like nothing he had dreamt before. Three times the size of the others. Reeking of ammonia. Glacially white. The claws were yellowed and translucent, darkening to red tips. Pink veins stood out on the tattered rag wings. Its red albino eyes were tiny and furious in its wrinkled head. And instead of one ferocious beak, there were two, side by side, screaming in unison.
On the other side of the lake, Adam held up his hands, pointing at the sky. He was an alien version of himself. A dream version of himself. Lightning struck the stone beside him.
Like a heart, the ley line jerked and spasmed to life.
Cabeswater was alive.
“Now!” Adam shouted. “Ronan, now!”
The night horror hissed a scream.
“It’s only you,” whispered Orphan Girl. She was holding his hand, crouched down next to him. “Why do you hate you?”
Ronan thought about it.
The albino terror swept in, talons opening.
Ronan stood up, stretching out his arm like he would to Chainsaw.
“I don’t,” he said.
And he woke up.
Need cheering up?
Ronan has a pet raven named Chainsaw and it is adorable.
Also, this happened:
Ronan’s bedroom door burst open. Hanging on the door frame, Ronan leaned out to peer past Gansey. He was doing that thing where he looked like both the dangerous Ronan he was now and the cheerier Ronan he had been when Gansey first met him.
“Hold on,” Gansey told Adam. Then, to Ronan: “Why would he be?”
“No reason. Just no reason.” Ronan slammed his door.
Gansey asked Adam, “Sorry. You still have that suit for the party?”
Adam’s response was buried in the sound of the second-story door falling open. Noah slouched in. In a wounded tone, he said, “He threw me out the window!”
Ronan’s voice sang out from behind his closed door: “You’re already dead!