Pride Month Character Spotlight: Clarke Griffin
Welcome to the twenty fifth article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
Clarke Griffin does not have much time for romance, let alone queer romance.
As the leader of a hundred criminally charged minors who were flown down to Earth from a space station to see if it was liveable after a nuclear apocalypse 97 years ago (aka the premise of The 100) Clarke has a lot to worry about, particularly in the first season. Dropped on the planet with little to no supplies, they fight to survive while everything from the environment to survivors on the ground (or Grounders) try to kill them.
Clarke is the daughter of the Chief Medical Officer and a member of the governing Council on the Ark, the space station where the (believed to be) last surviving humans are living. As the daughter of a leader, she naturally takes a leadership role and helps to keep as many of the teens alive as possible. But these teens are not inclined to listen to her and therefore her job is tough. She does not take very much time for herself, although in the first two seasons she develops a relationship with fellow “hundred” member Finn Collins. But their relationship is cut short when his Ark-girlfriend, Raven Reyes, comes down to Earth shortly after. Talk about awkward. Throughout the next two seasons, Clarke continues to grow as a leader as she faces more challenges, but also grows as a person. Much of this growth comes from her best friend Bellamy as well as leader of the Grounders and future love interest, Lexa.
Introduced halfway through season 2, Lexa is the “Heda,” or Commander of the 12 Grounder clans. Though she is young, she won the bloody Conclave ritual when the last Commander died and therefore was given the throne and control of the army. Lexa and Clarke work together in season 2 to fight the “Mountain Men,” a group living in a bunker performing experiments and killing grounders for their radiation-protected blood. Even after betrayal, the two refuse to allow their groups to devolve into war – and a lot of that has to do with their attraction to each other.
Lexa initiates it, and divulged to Clarke earlier that there was a member of her Conclave named Costia whom Lexa had a relationship with. Sadly, she was killed by an enemy clan to learn secrets about Lexa. Towards the climax of the second season, Lexa kisses Clarke, but stakes are so high that she does not return the affection. It is not until the middle of the third season that they finally get together. But when they do, it is beautiful. Lexa finally lets her hair down, Clarke lets her guard down, and they are able to have a night filled with love and light.
Frustratingly, Lexa meets a similar fate to Tara’s on Buffy the Vampire Slayer fourteen years prior. Shortly after their night of bliss, a government official attempts to shoot and kill Clarke, but shoots Lexa instead. Lexa dies in Clarke’s arms, and not only do the 12 clans lose their leader, but Clarke loses her love. Another member on the list of gays buried on TV, Lexa did not deserve this fate. Killing off LGBTQ+ representation for the sake of plot is unnecessary and poor writing.
Clarke’s romantic fate has yet to be sealed since then. She has had the occasional hookup with a woman named Nyla, but the ever-growing list of life-threatening situations and still being in love with Lexa have kept her from moving on. Perhaps if the world can stop ending for five minutes, Clarke may find different, but still great, true love.
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