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Media Essays: Anakin vs. Claudia: Falling to the Dark Side

Title card for the essay

Written by The Wandering Fox

My my, there’s a bit of a weird comparison isn’t it? Well, not really. I’m the Wandering Fox and I’m here to give you some character discussion about these fallen heroes.

Both Star Wars and The Dragon Prince have a lot in common, with them comparing Callum to Luke, the battle of the Dark and the Light, both Darth Sideous and Aaravos are incredibly similar with their manipulations, Aikyu and Yoda being the exact same, and lastly, the fallen heroes in Anakin Skywalker and Claudia.

While The Dragon Prince has done a decent job in paying tribute to Star Wars, not all its tributes were decently done. And Claudia’s arc is a mockery of Anakin, who she’s based off of, if you want my opinion. I know, both had bad childhoods, yes both were cringe at first, yet Claudia is Anakin done badly. Here I’ll explain why Anakin worked as a hero and villain, and why Claudia doesn’t.

Traumas of Childhood

I will admit I can tell what makes them similar, both had messed up childhoods. Anakin was a slave with his mum, growing up working for Watto and long dreamt of freedom, almost dying in the pod races he was in, and leaving his mum behind to be a Jedi wasn’t an easy thing for him.

Claudia had a messed up childhood, with Soren dying as a kid, her dad then saved him, and their mum walked out on the family. Yeah, I can feel deeply sorry for Claudia there, Lissa was a horrible woman to leave her family like that after her husband helped their son get better.

Anakin and Claudia were deeply affected by their childhoods, with Anakin’s pod racing helping him become a pilot, his dreams of freedom made him rebellious, and his childhood trauma would come back to haunt him with his mum being killed by the Tusken Raiders. Claudia was deeply affected with her gaining a mentality of “My family is everything, anyone against them is my enemy”, and she became Viren’s apprentice in learning Dark Magic with her mum gone, and her trauma of her family drifting away came back in the second season with her healing Soren after he resigned himself to live as a paraplegic.

These childhood traumas did have a dark impact on them both, and while it wasn’t always there, given Anakin was a bit of a corny guy.

Anakin sand speech

But at least there was deeper context with it being related to his childhood as a slave.

Claudia was a bit cringe.

Claudia cringe

But at least it was before she lost it.

Thing was, while Anakin and Claudia had traits which made them likeable, Anakin was a bit more consistent with his descent to darkness, whereas Claudia they still made her goofy even as she began to slip which only ended up mixing badly with all she was going through. I get you want to try and have her hold a coping mechanism, but it worked better with her “There’s no synonym for cinnamon” mantra to try and calm herself down.

Anakin lost all his goofiness with his descent to the Dark Side and he didn’t begin making jokes after he killed the Tusken Raiders or the Younglings. His descent was tragic, deep and heart-breaking with all he was going through.

I come to my next bit.

Anakin got to be a hero. Claudia didn’t.

Anakin was a hero at first, first in The Phantom Menace as he helped stop the Separatist ship controlling the Battle Droids, and managed to stop Padme from being killed in the second movie. From there he became a general in the Clone Wars, a man who cares a lot about the clones he’s with and takes care of Ahsoka with her as his apprentice. Anakin does have his moments with darkness in the Clone Wars, but was true to himself and his friends, going as far as stopping Ahsoka from being killed for something she didn’t do.

Claudia didn’t do anything heroic. Yeah, she got Soren to walk again, but thing was she did it through manipulation, by lying to Ezran. You could argue she helped stop Pyrrha from burning down the town, which is fine, but compared to the heroics Anakin did, it doesn’t make her a well beloved hero.

As I’m about to tell you, Claudia was always a bad girl.

Descent to Darkness

Anakin’s darkness was better handled than Claudia’s. We had our first glimpse of it in the second story, with his mum murdered and he killed the Tusken Raiders, and then his nightmares of Padme dying and the distrust of the Jedi only had him grow closer to his eventual master Darth Sideous, who manipulated him with the Tragedy of Darth Plageius the Wise. The fear, the lack of any kind of power to help his wife and kid, and the distrust the Jedi had towards him only had Anakin turn to the Dark Side, Mace Windu didn’t help with him telling Anakin “If what you have told me is true you will have gained my trust” after he told him of Palpatine. Yeah, the distrust even after he told the Jedi of the mastermind was not gonna go well for Anakin, or how he feared for his wife haunted him with him torn over if Palpatine could even stop her from dying.

Anakin was manipulated into becoming Darth Vader. Fear, manipulation, jealousy, hatred, it all led to him becoming Darth Vader, for a tragic case, to try and keep his wife and child fine. I mentioned, her mum leaving the family didn’t help and she had the mentality of “Anyone against my family is my enemy”, but she wasn’t manipulated into being this woman. Not exactly. Yes, Viren loved her more than Soren, yes he taught her Dark Magic, but the thing is Claudia was raised with the belief elves and dragons are evil, and this has been in her since she was a little girl, and we know a lot of elves and dragons did a lot of horrid things. Yeah, she was friendly with her friends, but to her Rayla was a monster, to her dragons are evil. Anakin wasn’t taught from a young age Jedi are evil, he was manipulated by Palpatine.

A lot have tried to excuse Claudia as being manipulated by Aaravos, but the thing is, Claudia lost it before she met him. How? Callum, Ezran and Soren.

Claudia was always manipulative. She lured Callum to a date and tried to gain his trust by letting him almost kiss her. At least she stopped and told him the truth and she had a soft spot for him. It makes you wonder what she thinks of him? Does she think of him as a little boy to manipulate? She knows he crushed on her and while she regretted manipulating him, she still did it. Then Claudia had a deep talk with Ezran in the penultimate episode of the second season with her telling him of her mum leaving the family, and it was deep and touching, but Claudia was manipulating him, with her finding the baby deer and killing the deer to help Soren walk. Claudia had this side to her. It was there. Let’s not forget how she thanked Ezran for sparing her from the dungeon with her unbothered by him being in the dungeon instead, or how she tried to kill him in season 3’s finale.

What? She did try killing Ezran. Yeah, the Viren was an illusion, but thing is, illusions in the Dragon Prince can be felt. She almost killed Ezran, a ten year old (or nine given Season 4 buggered up his age), then has the nerve to ask Soren “How could you?” After he killed the illusion. Girl, you tried killing a little boy, I think anyone there would have killed the man trying to kill the boy. If Soren didn’t, then Ezran would have had the staff sticking out of his chest! Being manipulative! Traumatised Soren into thinking he killed his dad. Manipulative!

Evil Claudia

You want us to feel any sympathy for the girl who tried to kill a tiny kid?

All this makes you think back to her earlier interactions with Ezran. And Callum. I think she SLIGHTLY cared about Callum a little more. Ezran? I don’t think she cared at all. Claudia doesn’t have Anakin’s tragic arc of being manipulated into killing others. She did herself.

Doesn’t help Anakin acknowledges what he’s doing is wrong. Crying after killing the Separatists and the Younglings, you know he hated it. Claudia? She’s dumb enough to not understand Kasef’s fate could’ve been Soren’s, yeah, what were you to do of he became a mindless monster killed in the fight, Claudia?

Then we come to Season 4.

Embracing the Darkness

Claudia Poster

What we wanted. An angry, cruel, dark hearted woman who wants to kill all elves and dragons.

Claudia and Terry

What we got. A goofy woman who smells her boyfriend’s farts, wiggles her bum in her dad’s face, and mixes back and forth in being goofy and cruel…and likes a elf.

Anakin was so messed up from killing the younglings and the Separatists he couldn’t grasp why Padme wouldn’t be okay with all this. He had his wife and child alright. He thinks if he kills Darth Sideous all will be okay. Yet once it’s all learnt by his wife of what he’s done, and to make it worse, Darth Vader takes over once Padme is afraid. Through Revenge of the Sith, Anakin became jealous of Obi Wan with him taking the mission to Utapau, and was suspicious of him talking to Padme. And what did Padme do? Mentioned Obi Wan. All it did was anger Vader, who doesn’t want to be known as the slave boy trained by Obi Wan and feeling weaker than him, he is angry as he thinks Obi Wan manipulated her against him, and thinks she bought Obi Wan to kill him. And he strangles her with the Force. And with Obi Wan bluntly being against him, Darth Vader takes over.

Only one little bit of Anakin was left at the end. Once in the suit, he asks Darth Sideous where Padme is. Sideous lies to him, telling him he killed hero. Anakin died then and there, thinking he killed his wife and kid. All he had left then and there was to be Sideous’s henchman.

Darth Vader

Claudia though, she fell to darkness long before Viren was killed. The problem is once she brings him back, she behaves all guilty “I…did things!” Uhhhhh, yeah, I don’t feel sorry for you with how you tried killing Ezran. I’m confused as to why they are saying Aaravos is behind this, he did manipulate her, but it was after Viren died.

And the idiotic thing is, we don’t get to see what Claudia did, how Aaravos manipulated her, how she met Terry or what this has done to her. In fact, Claudia is flip flopping between goofy and cruel. We know the writers planned this as back as 2020, obviously trying to give her a Harley Quinn kind of behaviour, but the balance is out of whack, they can’t tell if she oughta be goofy or cruel. One second it’d be her bitch slapping her dad after he wants to die, second later and she basically admits she smells Terry’s ass and wiggles her bum in her dad’s face! Okay, had Darth Vader begin joking about his suit stinking of shit? Did he wiggle his bum on his wife’s grave? No.

Claudia is only made cruel once the plot demands it, yet before she was all goofy and dumb, then she’s cruel. I find her hard to believe as a villain if she’s gonna be geeking about the magical creatures or wiggling her bum, then be cruel towards Rayla and a dragon.

And about the fourth arc of the series, I can tell you Padme is better than Terry. You could argue Anakin killing the Tusken Raiders was a thing Padme handled given their relationship matches Claudia meeting Terry and being sympathetic with her, thing is Anakin and Padme knew each other before and she knew what being a slave was to him. Yes, the Earthblood elves were not happy humans were exiled and you could have that be a reason why Terry was a friendly guy to her, but the thing is it was covered in other story material of The Dragon Prince not everyone is going to read, we’re left wondering “How did Terry and Claudia meet? How is he okay with her doing Dark Magic?”.

Terry is a character we only met last year, as Claudia’s boyfriend but…we don’t know anything about him other than his fellow Earthblood elves treated him like garbage. Yeah, I feel him there, but it isn’t enough to make me care about him, or him being with Claudia, who hates elves. I know one of the show runners told us “Oh, Terry’s different”…yeah, could you do a flashback of how they met which might help us understand why Claudia doesn’t hate Terry? You gonna do another short story to own up to your mistake, as in how Soren and Viren interacted in a short story in season 4 after you told us “It wasn’t visually interesting”.

All Terry has done is stop Viren from falling to his death, kill Ibis, be a hostage, and steer the boat. Other than that, he has a gassy bum, wiggled his bum with Claudia in the face of her comatose dad, a magic geek, and it’s about it. Then you have Padme….you know, the Queen of Naboo, can blend in anywhere, met Anakin in their younger years, fights Battle Droids. Yeah, I think I know who I like out of Terry and Padme.

Lack of Consistency

Anakin turned out better than Claudia thanks to his story being more consistent. And his redemption was a heart-breaking one as he finally did the one thing he couldn’t with his mum and wife, he saved his son. It doesn’t excuse what he did, but him saving Luke was enough for both father and son. His story was tragic. A boy who dreamt of being a Jedi to free his mum and slaves, only to fail, then married his wife and became a general in the Clone Wars, becoming disillusioned with the Jedi, being manipulated by Darth Sideous, and losing everything before meeting his son and redeeming himself was a deep story to tell.

Claudia? There’s no consistency. You have her be manipulative before season 3, you introduce a character who takes away the drama with his farts and bum wiggling, Claudia is either a goofball or a cruel woman. We don’t have her interact with Aaravos, her talk with Soren was bad, her talks with Callum and Ezran don’t give us anything, and we’re meant to feel sorry for her losing at the end of the fifth arc? Uh, yeah, feel sorry for the woman who manipulated Callum and Ezran, is okay with Soren being a monster, tried to kill Ezran and traumatised Soren into thinking he killed their dad? And then tries crushing Ezran underwater? I don’t feel sorry for her.

Callum might be the Luke of The Dragon Prince, but Claudia is a trash can of Darth Vader.

In fact, Claudia is one of the biggest problems Dragon Prince has right now, the cringe comedy, the lack of character in Ezran and Soren, the dumb characters, forcing drama between Callum and Rayla.

Claudia the Bad Guy

If I did Claudia as a bad guy, I think I’d have to try and explain why she tried to kill Ezran. Was it her belief in her family and Ezran was the enemy? I have her explain it. Then there’s the aftermath of Viren’s death, actually have Claudia and Aaravos interact with him telling her of how he died and how Claudia grows to hate Callum and Rayla, have her become a dark and angry woman who wants only to kill her old friends and to bring her dad back.

If you want her to be a bad guy with a bit of humour, then give her dark humour, give her a moment in which she has caught a elf, maybe Rayla, maybe Janai, have her go “I got a question. If you don’t drink human blood, would a human drink yours and gain your magic? I mean, I could do with being invisible, it'd make my job murdering elves much easier.“

The loss of her leg does give her some form of being a darker character, but I think they will screw that up. The loss of her leg only drives Claudia to hate both her old friend more, she confronts him, with the wooden leg giving her armour.

“I thought we understood each other! I lost my mom, you lost yours! It’s why I cared a bit more about you, you knew the agony! But you sided with the elves! You’re with the one who killed my dad! You are a betrayer!”

If you want to give her a heroic goodbye like Darth Vader, then don’t have her be a hero for all of Xadia, have her maybe sacrifice herself for Soren, she could tell us “IM ONLY DOING THIS FOR SOREN! I was lied to, and I don’t want Soren to die, I’m doing this for him”. You have her be killed by him and she dies in Soren’s hands. Because family is what matters to her. It won’t excuse what had been done, but she dies for him.

Bad Writing

Aaron Ehasz, no offence mate, but you wrote all of this in 2020, you were at home, you had enough time to talk with your friends and go “Uhhhh, does Through the Moon work? Does Claudia work as a goofy woman or a cruel woman? Do Ezran and Soren improve as characters? Do we focus on the other human kingdoms or do we focus on Rayla looking for a dead body for years then comes back acting like she didn’t do anything?” Mate, you should’ve stopped and thought twice about what you were doing, and what we got is a mediocre cringe comedy of The Empire Strikes Back.

Claudia, go to the dungeon, you’re no Anakin. Claudia Cringewalker.

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