Special Thanks To KarmaChimera For Originally Sending Me The Link.
ClNDERFALL Fall Maiden of Remnant
Before we begin:
No, I won't stop defending Cinder anytime soon, so don't ask me to. I've never said she was a good person but at this point we know more about Salem & even Ozpin than we do about Cinder. Or do we? We know that all of the characters in RWBY are based on a fairy tale or fable & it's been confirmed that Cinder is based off of "Cinderella". Well, they could have chosen anyone as a template & other than a slight nod to the source material in Volume II — well, let's just say that Cinderella seems like an odd choice.
Unless you want to create a past for someone.
Heartbreak, physical & mental abuse. Hell, I'm just using the Disney version as a template. Modern psychology even has two distinct syndromes known as "the Cinderella Complex" & "the Cinderella Effect".
"I want to be strong. I want to be feared. I want to be powerful."
Really? And for what reason does Cinder want that? If I was to hazard a guess it was because she was weak. She was afraid. She wasn't the one in control. Naturally, unless we get confirmation this will all be speculation.
"Two children you've tricked into following you, a disgraced Atlesian scientist, and a Fall Maiden with a surname so appropriate, she probably picked it herself."
Wait — Fall isn't her real last name?
"Technically I was also a doctor, but I must say the rest was spot on."
Is her name even Cinder?
So a new identity & a desire for power. I mean, I've only got a minor in psychology but to me it sounds like she's running.
"It's not about overpowering an enemy. It's about taking away what power they have."
There we go again with speeches about power. But this particular quote is rather telling. Again, we have to do some speculation but I wouldn't doubt that Cinder was on the receiving end of many horrible acts. Then there's the company that Salem — yes, Salem — keeps. Everyone is broken in some way. Disgraced & lost.
Cinder being a victim fits all too well into the type of person Salem preys upon.
I get asked this a lot — why do I stick up for Cinder & what's my fascination with her?
To be honest, it's nothing extraordinary. In fact, if you simply take a casual glance through popular fiction, you'll find that stories of villains redeeming themselves is a rather common trope. People love a good redemption story.
Just off the top of my head, I can name these villains — yes, they were all villains — who somehow found redemption.
Jaime Lannister - A Song of Ice & Fire
Satan - Paradise Lost
Severus Snape - Harry Potter
Miranda Priestly - The Devil Wears Prada
Darth Vader - Return of the Jedi
Inspector Renault - Casablanca
Prince Zuko - The Last Airbender
Sunset Shimmer - MLP: Equestria Girls
Starlight Glimmer - My Little Pony
Trixie - My Little Pony
Discord - My Little Pony
The Green Ranger - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
Xena: Warrior Princess
Cammy - Super Street Fighter II
Isabella Valentine - Soul Calibur
Kitana - Mortal Kombat II
Locus - Red vs Blue
Carolina - Red vs Blue
Ken Marinaris - ZOE: The 2nd Runner
Vegeta - Dragonball Z
That's just off the top of my head. Oh, you like comic books? I've got you covered with these former villains:
The Scarlet Witch
Again — that's just off the top of my head & already those are some pretty heavy hitters. My point is that it's pretty clear that redemption sells — maybe it's because the creators don't want to lose all the effort they put into a character. It could be that simple. I however, think that we want characters to find redemption. If the worst of the worst can find acceptance within society — then it means we can too.
That's right. I'm suggesting Cinder doesn't have a choice. I'm not suggesting that she's a good person who is being forced to commit evil deeds — she's not. But it's pretty clear that she didn't know the extent of what she was getting into. By now, we all know about Cinder's horrible left arm & why it's constantly covered. In fact, having re-watched some of Volume IV, it's pretty clear that the arm is present from the first episode.
"Your newfound strength brings with it a crippling weakness."
References are constantly made to Cinder's new strength or "gift." We always assumed Salem & Watts were speaking about the Maiden's Power. Now we know they were speaking about the upgrades they made to Cinder. Which makes me think — how much free will does Cinder have? We know that Salem is the leader of the Grimm according to Raven. Does having a Grimm arm make her more compliant to Salem's wishes?
Please bear in mind, I am not trying to absolve Cinder. This is more of a thought experiment than anything. Still, it's one that I feel has merit. I don't believe Cinder is a good person. We know so little about her an argument can be made that she isn't human, to begin with.
With that, I ask the readers to give their thoughts. I know many of you want Cinder to burn but please keep it civil & on-topic.
So at the end of Episode 12 of Volume V, we get several major reveals — I'm focusing on one.
Cinder's left arm since the beginning of Volume IV has been covered up. In fact, some argued that there was something wrong with it. That was of course, an understatement. Apparently, her left arm is now a Grimm arm — similar to that of the Nuckalavee from Volume IV. We're also told that Ruby took her left eye & for most of that volume, Cinder was unable to speak as she recovered.
After watching Episodes 11 & 12 of Volume V, I have to wonder — did Ruby actually do anything? Cinder gets blasted by the Silver Eyes in Episode 11 & while it does bring her to her knees, there is no damage done — not even to the Grimm portions of her. I have no doubt that the Silver Eyes bring Cinder pain, but there's a difference between pain & having to replace major portions of your body. All on the left, I might add.
When Cinder stole the Fall Maiden's power back in Volume III, the hand she used was her right — the uninjured one. So I don't believe that comes into play otherwise she would be forced into using her left hand. So, where did the damage come from? The big, bad dragon is merely frozen atop Beacon Tower — but Cinder loses an eye & her arm? This sounds a lot like Salem getting to Cinder while she was knocked out — or even frozen by the Silver Eyes — & having someone like Watts operate on her in an attempt to salvage their Fall Maiden. Then she wakes up & Ruby becomes their scapegoat.
Maybe it's just me, but I was always doubtful when Tyrian said:
"Well, she took your eye."
Even if Ruby had awoken before Cinder while they were both on top of Beacon Tower — I don't see Ruby being the type of person who would walk over to a helpless individual and carve them up. In my opinion, Salem is manipulating Cinder through anger, hatred & a need for revenge.
I know most people want Cinder's head on a pike so I don't expect this to be a popular thread, but humor me. Is she really evil? If I think back on everything that she's done I can literally count the people that she's killed on one hand. I'm not saying that she's a good person by any stretch of the imagination, but she doesn't seem to fit the typical villain mold & there are several reasons for this:
1). When Cinder infiltrates the Cross Continental Transit Tower in Volume II, she doesn't kill any of the guards even though it may have been in her best interest to do so. She definitely makes their day a lot worse but they live.
2). Cinder is in control of the fights during the Vytal Festival & yet there is a surprising lack of carnage. Yang was eliminated from the tournament with little more than a wounded ego while Mercury wasn't even injured to begin. The only casualty of the Vytal Festival — was a robot.
3). In Volume IV, Cinder is being written very sympathetically, which is not what someone would expect from a villain character. After we discovered Torchwick was little more than hired help at the end of Volume I — his writing remained consistent because that's who his character always was. He never acted any different than he should. Cinder, on the other hand, has a lot to hide it seems & she is being played as someone who is easy to empathize with. Her motives are still unclear but she is a far cry from the smirking and confident villain of Volumes II & III.
4). This is all conjecture of course, but there is another interesting point. When Pyrrha is killed at the end of Volume III, Cinder — for lack of a better word — disintegrates her. Everything but her crown. This may simply be an artistic choice from Rooster Teeth but if the rest of her armor disintegrated — along with her body — why would the crown remain?
In conclusion, I don't think Cinder is an evil person. I don't think she's a good person either but at this point we know so little about her it's hard to draw a final conclusion. I would classify her as an anti-hero — someone who does bad things for what they believe is a good cause. I could be 1000% wrong about this —
— but if I am right, I totally called it and you should build a statue in my honor. Something cool like me on a horse — no! A motorcycle!
Major — Culinary Arts
Minor — Psychology
Minor — Criminal Psychology
Minor — History
Minor — English