By: Casea Smith | @coffeewithkrow
While the Remarried Empress has been on a well-deserved hiatus, I’ve been reading it over again. I find that re-reading is always interesting because it gives you the chance to see if you might come out with a different opinion or point of view, especially now that you have had some foresight into future events. While I’ve reconsidered my thoughts and feelings on some things in my latest re-read, one thing hasn’t changed and that’s my opinion of Rashta.
Oh, Rashta. The most hated female character in the entire webcomic. Reading the comments wherein she’s often nicknamed “Trashta,” you may be convinced she’s the most hated female character in general. I do understand the criticisms directed at her, however I find it errs toward vitriol and I simply cannot bring myself to the same boiling point when I see her to be a misunderstood victim of her circumstances
Am I saying Rashat is perfect? No.
She most certainly isn’t. Rashta is very flawed. However, she was a slave who came from nothing. Blessed with beauty, the Emperor looked upon her as a diamond in the rough as she was fleeing from slavery. Rashta was then swept off her feet and rescued by this “Prince Charming.”
The makings of a fairytale became a reality for her. Though I don’t believe she truly loves Sovieshu, the Emperor, love isn’t required in order for her to have been sold on this fantasy. Keep all of this in mind as I believe her character flaws stem from this very point.
Rashta has many character flaws, she certainly puts the “Rash” in her name by making quick decisions without thinking about the consequences of her actions. She’ll impulsively lie and be deceptive for reasons that can be vexing for most. She also puts a lot of stock in what people think of her, often leaning into paranoia rather than self-reflection. Moreover, she will position herself to be pitied and doted on by the Emperor.
Petty and annoying things, assuredly. However I don’t believe that these flaws are worthy of such strong disdain, particularly in the beginning episodes of the webcomic.
Rashta was rather inconsequential in the beginning of the comic–even Navier, the Empress, didn’t think much of her at the time, choosing to ignore her as best she could. Yes, Rashta would paint herself as the victim in some encounters with Navier, as well as lying about Navier giving her a gift upon arrival, making it seem as though Rashta was welcomed with open arms. However, I fully blame Sovieshu for her trifling acts against the Empress.
He actively pitted Rashta against the Empress as he would make a scene over every small thing Navier did. He painted it as though the Empress despised Rashta and was scheming to get rid of her from the start. I believe this caused Rashta to feel the need to lie about Navier’s acceptance of her to save face with the nobles, as well as paint the Empress as a villain to Sovieshu.
This brings me to my next point: Threats, perceived or otherwise. Rashta acts solely on instinct, like a wild animal whose food may be taken away at any moment. All in response to threats to her position of safety and comfort, such as the Empress not accepting her or people finding out about her past. Through visions of her trauma, she believes that it is all or nothing. She either lives in the royal palace with the Emperor or goes back to being a slave.
Anything she perceives as a risk, no matter how benign it may look on the surface, is detrimental to her well-being, not just a minor concern that can be overlooked. You can find examples of this behavior in Chapters 17 and 18. Viscount Lotteshu, who used to own Rashta, threatened his way into meeting with her after making a scene at the party about her origins.
Though Viscount Lotteshu owned Rashta at one point he continues to treat her as if he still does. He even threatens her with the child she had with the Viscount’s son when she was still a slave, however he initially made her think the infant was dead. She didn’t even get the chance to see the sex of the newborn before it was whisked away from her, creating the mindset that everything given, especially the things that make her life worth living, can be taken away.
Through her experiences as a slave and how she is treated thereafter, I believe this is what shapes her opinion of how nobles and royalty behave. They are either sickeningly sweet or horrendously wicked. They may dote on her one moment and the next be plotting for her downfall–and, for Rashta, it is a very steep fall. She is nearly powerless to her circumstance as she is in a constant state of potentially losing everything.
Yes, Rashta lies. Yes, she’ll do petty things to Navier. Yes, she schemes in order to keep herself in her position. However, she is tortuously navigating her way through a world she had lucked into, a world she was never prepared to enter.
Navier, in stark contrast to Rashta, was raised for the sole purpose of being an Empress. She was taught and prepared to handle issues with a level of decorum and intention behind everything she does. Meanwhile, Rashta never had such training and possibly can’t even begin to grasp these concepts as she attempts to, essentially, cosplay the role of a noble that’s been thrust upon her by current circumstances.
If Navier committed the same actions as Rashta simply out of spite, I don’t think the fanbase would think ill of her. In fact, I’m sure some would encourage it as they would believe Navier has every right to do so. She would be protecting what is hers, after all. So, why can’t Rashta be given any grace as she attempts to protect her own well-being and what is newly hers?
Rashta is blinded by her suffering as she impulsively does dishonest and questionable things. Her actions and the actions of Sovieshu are all adding up, plummeting her into a downward spiral in later chapters. Though she never had tact to begin with, her means of avoiding trauma become even more careless and messy. This is a type of hell all on its own, as her attempts to run away from her pain are causing her to careen right toward it. Yet, that’s why I like her as a character, because she is an example of there being no such thing as a “perfect victim.”
Rashta may be flawed, but that doesn’t make her any less of a victim. She has no right to be absolved from any consequences, but I do believe she deserves a little more empathy from readers than what she garners now.
One thought on “[Analysis] The Remarried Empress: A Victim Of Circumstance”
Hmm, I think many fans have some really harsh feelings toward Rashta because so many people have met someone like Rashta. The manipulative new person that pretends to be friendly only to take control of your group of friends and then exclude you, that one team member that ends up looking like the winner only because they didn’t play by the rules, the spoiled younger sibling that plays the victim (throwing you under the bus) to get favoritism from your parents. Rashta is all of those people in one, so she pushes everyone’s buttons.
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