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Thoughts on Claire Novak

As we approach the end of the winter hiatus, I've been thinking a lot about where we were left at the end of 10.09. You'd think I'd be worried about Dean and the MoC or Sam, left to clean up Dean's mess, or even Cas, who seems to be having some sort of burgeoning vessel-awareness crisis. The one I keep thinking about though is Claire.  At first, I thought that bringing her back was to give Cas a story of his own for part of the season and although I'm not spoiled, I think she'll be important to restoring Cas's grace.  After having a couple of weeks to mull it over, I find that I've ignored that part of the story entirely and spent entirely too much time wondering how Claire's situation parallel's Sam's from the beginning of last season.  I'd like to think that the show has worked her back into the story partly for that reason.

Most of my thoughts have to do with her in light of the way a lot of us reacted to Gadreel's possession of Sam. With Sam, loss of bodily autonomy was a big deal, particularly in light of his past history. Sam's consent to becoming a vessel came through deceit. There were some comments that drew parallels between the possession and rape, particularly in terms of the language the show has used to talk about angel possession. Dean was accused of abuse because he facilitated the possession and then lied about it. We know from a few of the comments that Sam made afterward that he has memories of what Gadreel did while he was running around in Sam's body.  I'm not sure whether we came to the end of that storyline or if it will become important again at some point.  Sam seems to have put it behind him.

I guess I'm left wondering where that leaves Claire. She was a vessel for Castiel when she was a child. I don't know how old she was but I'm guessing somewhere around 11 or 12. Certainly well before any age of consent. We never did see Claire say yes to Castiel but I'm assuming it must have happened. It came after the point that she had seen and been held at knife point by a family friend possessed by a demon and then kidnapped by a demon wearing her mother. She seems like she was a kid that was probably raised to believe that angels were forces of good.  Saying yes probably seemed like the best option she had at that point. She couldn't know that Castiel had his own agenda and not her family's best interest at heart. It was certainly manipulation, if not coercion and outright deceit, that got her to say yes.  How much does the way we have interpreted what happened with Sam also apply to the situation for Claire?

Now we find out that she's been in the foster care system for years, abandoned by her mother. She's taken to trusting adults offering manipulation under the guise of caring. She's seen violence resulting in dead and bloodied bodies twice in her life now that we know of in the company of Cas and the Winchesters. And now I'm guessing she's on the run with Cas who may be trying to make amends but it's more about him than it is about her at this point. They are traveling in the company of two adult men who, however much they may care, are in a bad position to offer this girl any sort of assistance and will probably make the situation worse in short order. I don't think they are callous enough to just dump her somewhere but I'm not sure what they should do with an almost-adult that has been as battered by the supernatural as she has. I just know that having her spend much time with these guys just feels really off to me especially in light of my reaction to the whole Sam-Gadreel storyline and how Claire has reacted to the adults in her life.

I was really upset with Dean for his roll in Gadreel's using Sam as a vessel and from comments I've read, I'm not the only one.  How does what Dean and Gadreel did to Sam compare with what Cas has done to Claire?  I didn't let Dean off the hook for what he did to Sam and I can't let Cas off the hook either.  Cas isn't the character on SPN that I usually focus much energy on but I find I can't ignore his role in how screwed up this kid's life has been.  I know we know nothing about the backgrounds of any of the high school girls we saw in the Fan Fiction episode but Claire could have been any one of those girls given her age.  I've seen posts where people have commented that they hope she and Cas can have a good relationship and that he can become some sort of parental figure for her. I can't help but think that this is coming from the same impulse that makes people want to get Sam a puppy and a warm blanket. It's all about the comforting of Cas. I think it leaves the needs of Claire entirely out of the picture. I don't have the answer here about what is the best for her but to leave her in the custody of Cas at this point feels capital-W Wrong. I guess I'm surprised at the strength of my reaction to this and I'm wondering if anybody has anything else to offer.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
Yay, it's good to read someone thoughts on Claire. At the moment, given how I reacted after 10.09, I haven't given much thought at all to her. The character frustrated me terribly (mainly because angsty teenage girls just don't hold my interest that well), so in terms of the role she might play in the over all arc I haven't given it much consideration.

But I like your thoughts here. It would be cool (and bloody amazing) if she's being considered for a greater arc that making Cas feel better for what he did. If it was to parallel Sam's story in any way I would be thrilled (though, a miracle at this point). As with Sam falling in love with Amelia, not finishing the trials, being non-con possessed and dealing with all the stuff D!Dean said to him - it's been long forgotten. (I would GIVE ANYTHING to be wrong!). Considering there's not be one mention of Gadreel or his possession this season it (to me) proves it only existed to set Dean on his Mark journey.

I would like to think she's treated well in terms of her character. I feel that Hannah was, so hopefully Claire will be too. It's extremely unlikely that Claire will stick with Cas after an episode (maybe 2?) so there will have to be some resolution where she has to leave him. Maybe being able to move on in a more positive direction. It might even strengthen Cas in someone.

I also like the idea that she'll help Cas restore his grace. I suppose it depends on how much they plan on keeping her around. I'm curious to find out. :)
Jan. 20th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
I do hope they treat Claire well from this point on as a character while avoiding the after school special angst. I thought Hannah came out of everything pretty well (rather pointless naked scene aside) and I was pretty worried about how that would go. I keep thinking with all the people floating around now who were angel vessels, there must be some sort of support group. Angels Anonymous or something.

I don't really see a lot of Sam's storylines ever coming back around but you never know. Are they ever going to come back to whatever he did to find Dean that was so off the charts horrible or was the stuff with the demon deal it?

I have to say overall, I'm doing better with this season than S9.
Jan. 20th, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
I don't know that I really have any thoughts on Claire, other than I'm sick of everyone complaining about her existence, so it's nice to find someone who's taking her character seriously.

I guess I really like the potential of bringing in someone who's had to deal with the aftereffects of the Winchesters' war and to live with those effects. I'm just afraid the writers don't care enough to make that potential come to pass. :(
Jan. 20th, 2015 06:48 am (UTC)
I'm hoping they'll handle her story with care and not just make her a way to show what a great guy Cas's turning out to be or to play up how much of a victim Cas has been. I'm all for his character growth but not at her expense. I guess I feel like some of us (me) made a pretty loud noise about how awful it was for Sam to be a vessel and Claire was a kid when it happened to her and then she lost everything to boot. I guess I'm concerned that they are going to try to have Cas fill some kind of parent role and she needs more than that and from someone else. I think there are ways interaction between them could be good for them both but I don't know if that will get written.
Jan. 20th, 2015 03:50 pm (UTC)
SPN has really gotten appallingly squicky, hasn't it? According to the latest spoilers, Cas is going to ~learn to be a father~ to Claire. (Admittedly I've become prone to put off watching forever and I haven't actually seen the Hannah departs ep, but from what I've heard, though I'm thrilled that an angel did consider the vessel issue and say no, the damage to Hannah's vessel was still very much framed in terms of relationship and family, rather than the individual's stake in their own autonomy of mind and body. I think that's a real blind spot of SPN, though the show is also in its own way aware that 'family' is a locus for a lot of ethical horror in its narrative, even while it's also weirdly idealized.

For me, I guess it's a matter of accepting (for both this and the Gadreel thing) that this narrative is absolutely flat-out horrifying, and not necessarily in a self-aware way? I'm not sure it matters decisively what the writers' view of the message is (though of course it determines narrative developments; I think we have to accept that there will be squicky resolutions to squicky problems). I think of it as reading SPN these days more the way I read medieval texts; no Doyle-level author or Watson-level character in a 1th-century saint's life is going to be thinking in terms of "this text is about the way an England traumatized by the Norman invasion violently constructed the Jews as an Other as a way of reforging a new English identity," but that doesn't mean that that's not a valid and true reading of the text. I don't think SPN is ever going to confront or analyze the twistedness of a lot of what it does with family, body, self, consent, and so on, but that doesn't mean it's not a powerful text about those issues in its way, and worth analyzing. And it is fascinating how obsessively the narrative returns to those themes.

It's become a weird mixture of a lot more intensely personal and a lot more abstract for me than it used to be, I guess.
Jan. 20th, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one finding this to be squicky. I agree with your take on the horror and that it's not necessarily written to be that way but it doesn't mean that it isn't. I seem to be stuck at the spot where now that I've seen something, I can't unsee it. I keep trying to apply real world emotions to these characters and have to remember that they aren't real and a gaping psych wound can be healed with the same kind of magical story healing that allows a cure for becoming a vampire or for Sam and Dean to be nearly physically scar free.

I don't think SPN is ever going to confront or analyze the twistedness of a lot of what it does with family, body, self, consent, and so on, but that doesn't mean it's not a powerful text about those issues in its way, and worth analyzing. And it is fascinating how obsessively the narrative returns to those themes.

I completely agree and you've articulated some things I've been feeling about the show for a while and reading your comment helped me really get at it. I have to wonder how much of the narrative returning to these themes is deliberate on the part of the creative staff or if in some way, this is a story that is maybe playing off some larger body of emotion out there that it responds to because it is something that needs to be looked at by storytellers and philosophers alike and subconsciously we really need to explore it.
Jan. 20th, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
*add me to the list of people who hasn't given much thought to Claire*

I like the parallels you draw between Cas&Claire and Sam&Dean. Although Claire was originally drawn into the mix by demons, Cas did possess her and she ended up seeing things a kid shouldn't see. Sam at least was an adult used to seeing messed up stuff and it wasn't the first time he was a vessel to a supernatural creature. I'm not sure if Cas will travel with Claire; if Cas cares about her at all, he won't take her with him. Her mom is alive, so maybe Cas could help her make sense of things and leave Claire with her. That would allow Cas to make amends and Claire would have a safer place to stay.
Jan. 20th, 2015 10:28 pm (UTC)
I hope they find someplace for her to be where she's being looked after and helped by someone besides TFW. It seems like at this point there is a whole group of people who have been badly impacted by the neverending battle between Heaven and Hell and there should be a whole branch of psychology devoted to helping former vessels and the possessed.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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