Disclaimer: I don't own Legend of the Seeker. But I do enjoy watching it! :)
Author's Note: This piece is about Cara and her views on the theme of family. Contains spoilers for Perdition. Enjoy!
It was a strange word, family. Easy to say, but hard to define. It seemed that the more Cara learned about it, the more complicated it became.
When she was a child, family had meant Father and Mother and Grace. The people who lived with her and cared for her, the people who were related to her by blood. Family was something warm and beautiful and safe.
Then the Mord'Sith came. They proved that families didn't have to be related by blood. And they showed her just how weak the bond of a common, blood-related family truly was. That even people in your own family, even fathers that you trusted, could betray you. But they also showed her that a true family, like the Sisters of the Agiel, formed a strong, unbreakable bond. A true family worked together, guarded each other's backs. A true family shared a common goal and fought alongside each other to achieve it. People in a true family helped each other by getting rid of weaknesses, like grief and love. They were truly strong. And they would never betray each other.
And then she went to the future with the Seeker. She learned that sometimes the only way to protect your family was to betray it, to do things your family didn't understand. So she let Richard live. And Lord Rahl died. Her sisters never truly understood why.
In the end, they matched her betrayal with one of their own. They showed her that even the strongest bonds could be broken in the name of loyalty, that a fellow sister could be betrayed and left for dead if she didn't stand with the others. You were either with them or against them. They showed her that families were not always as tight as they appeared, and that just because you wore the same clothes did not necessarily make you one of them.
When the Seeker found her, she expected him to kill her. But he didn't. And as she fought beside him and watched her former sisters fall, she learned another lesson. Alliances to families were not permanent. They could shift. And when those ties broke, the strongest of sisters became the fiercest of enemies. The reaction of Richard Rahl's companions when she pledged her loyalty to him also taught her a lesson. Just because you were loyal to a family did not necessarily mean you were a part of it.
After the Mother Confessor learned of her sister's death, Cara fled to her old hometown. It was there that Grace showed her that some family bonds were strong enough to withstand anything, even time itself. And Sirion, her husband, proved that it was also possible for someone to join your family and still see you as the enemy. But it was from her long-dead father that she learned the greatest lesson that day. The strongest family ties never broke. Not even under the torture of the agiel. Not even when the person holding the agiel was your own daughter.
Traveling with Richard Rahl and his companions also taught Cara other lessons. Family bonds didn't have to be forged by blood or fighting together or being inducted into an order. Families could be made of people who had absolutely nothing in common except a shared goal and a love for each other. And despite the Mord'Sith belief that love was for weaklings, Cara was quickly coming to realize that it was the families forged from the bond of love, not blood or a sisterhood, were in fact the strongest.
Cara also learned another lesson from Kahlan and Zedd. It was possible to spend every day of your life with a family, to eat and sleep and fight and live beside them every day for days on end, and still be the outsider. Families were close-knit. You couldn't just walk into one and join. You had to prove yourself first and wait to be let in.
When Richard left for the Palace of the Prophets, Cara learned another lesson from watching Kahlan. Families were always together, even when they were apart. Nothing could ever truly separate them. Their love held them together through it all.
Leo also taught her a lesson. Sometimes you chose your family, and sometimes it chose you. Either way, that bond could make you stronger. But, as his death also showed, families didn't last forever. They could be torn apart in the cruelest way possible, leaving a gaping void in the hearts of those left behind. It seemed the bond of family could become a double-edged sword.
His death, however, had opened a door to a new family. Suddenly Kahlan and Zedd were welcoming her into their inner circle. Well, maybe welcoming wasn't the right word. But things changed. Zedd no longer slept with a knife under his pillow. Kahlan didn't watch Cara suspiciously out of the corner of her eye every time she got too close to Richard. It was not that they had been unkind, exactly. She knew she had been growing on them. But there was something different now, something more open. Somehow in losing Leo she had done whatever proving she needed to do. The circle had opened, and they were holding out their hands. She was one of them.
Cara had always believed the Mord'Sith to be her family. But now she was beginning to see just how false that was. Kahlan and Richard and Zedd had shown her over the weeks and months what a true family was like. True families took care of each other. They worked together and played together and shared what little they had, whether it be food or clothes, joy or sorrow. They laughed together and fought together, talked together and cried together. They were always there for each other, no matter what. Even if it meant putting their own lives on the line. Since becoming a Mord'Sith Cara had never been around a family like that long enough to study it, much less understand it. And it had been many years, almost out of memory, since she had been a part of one.
That was when Cara learned the most important lesson of all. A family was not necessarily a group related by blood. No, a family was a group of people who, for whatever reason, were willing to live and die for each other. And that bond trumped all other bonds. So much so that it was even possible for bitter enemies to come together as one. Richard and Kahlan and Zedd had proved that when they let Cara in. They were all in this together, and the three of them were willing to wipe clean the slate, to erase the past and start over. That idea left Cara speechless every time she thought about it. If they were willing to do that, then she was willing to give them her undivided loyalty.
Yes, Cara had learned a lot about families over the years. She had seen them at their best and at their worst, seen them in the simplest form and in all of their complexities. After all that she had seen, most people would have decided that "family" was far too difficult a concept to define, much less understand. But for Cara, it was simple. For her, family could be defined in three words: Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd.
What do you guys think? I have a few ideas for themes for the other characters, but feel free to suggest some. Especially for Richard. And while you're at it, how about reviewing? :D