how do you make an unsympathetic character, a villian really, someone to root for? in fairest, meyer gave us a deeper understanding of what the lunatic lunar queen's issues were, but didn't really make her someone we ever really wanted to root for. it's different with cath. even knowing how she ends up, you still root for a different outcome. and why she so fully becomes the queen of hearts with a penchant for offing people's heads makes so much sense after you read this story.
the wonderful thing about lewis carroll's alice's adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass is that they are an embarrassment of riches in the source material department. and meyer also adds in a dash of poe's the raven, and that darkness really works here. the wonderful thing about literature is that everything is connected, you look at things in a new way and you discover new meanings. by taking carroll's characters in the time before alice tumbles through the looking glass we get to see why it is they end up becoming who we know them as. this world that is at once familiar and unfamiliar allows us to understand these characters more fully. we already know them, but this is a way to learn them anew. really it's quite wonderful.
and the tragic love story. the appeal of jest and how cath gives her heart to him, for him. it's all so swoonworthy and just so well done. of course she has no choice but become the queen of hearts. in spite of everything, this is where she is meant to end up. and that inevitability is probably the ultimate tragedy in this story. she tries so hard, she fights the good fight, and even as her choices doom her, there isn't really a different choice to make. if she doesn't go through the door she fails herself too. she loses either way. by the end, we see a cath that becomes the person she feared becoming--a caricature of her mother, except now she has all the power.