Welcome back to Lunarthon! This week, we’re reading chapters 33-65 of Winter and discussing the friendships and romantic pairings of The Lunar Chronicles.
Cinder’s revolution is underway, but things aren’t looking too good for our protagonists. With Kai now married to Levana, Cinder’s cybernetics damaged, Wolf subjected to more genetic modifications, Iko’s new body riddled with bullet holes, Scarlet infected with Letumosis, and Winter being kept alive only by a suspended-animation tank, Team Cinder are at their weakest point yet. But once again, these unlikely friends manage to find and help each other in their time of need – from Scarlet and Winter gathering an army for Cinder, to Thorne, Cress, Iko and Jacin taking care of Cinder after her daring escape from Levana’s clutches.
Thorne turned to Cinder. “You’ll think more clearly after a nap.”
She ignored him, staring at the counter. There was a dejected slump to her shoulders, a hollowness in her gaze.
“I don’t think a nap is going to fix this,” she said, lifting her cyborg hand. It hung limply from her wrist, a hole where one finger had been removed. “I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t fight like this, or start a revolution, or be a queen. I can’t do anything like this. I’m broken. I’m literally broken.”
Iko settled a hand on Cinder’s shoulder. “Yeah, but broken isn’t the same as unfixable.”
That the friendships of The Lunar Chronicles have always been given just as much page time as the romantic relationships is a large part of what makes this series so fun to read – and what makes the Lunar Chronicles fandom so much fun to be part of. In the years I’ve been involved in the Lunar Chronicles fandom, I’ve seen nothing but support and enthusiasm for the friendships in this series, and an equal amount of enthusiasm for every romantic ship imaginable – from the four major canon pairings to all possible combinations of the eight protagonists.
With the series coming to a close, we’ve read a lot of romantic scenes between Kai and Cinder, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin. I adore the canon pairings of the Lunar Chronicles, but if there’s one major problem I have with the relationships in this series, it’s the heteronormativity of the cast – every main character, even Iko, who wasn’t programmed to feel romantic attraction, is given a heterosexual romance, while Torin, the one character confirmed by Meyer on Twitter to be gay, gives no indication of his sexuality in the books – not even a passing reference to a husband or boyfriend back in New Beijing. But even in this aspect, the Lunar Chronicles fandom pulls through, with the most popular non-canon romantic pairing in the fandom, Winter/Scarlet (winlet), inspiring just as many fanworks as the canon pairings of the series.
Winter’s eyes sparkled. There were times when Scarlet felt like she’d hardened her heart to the girl’s impeccable beauty – her thick hair and warm brown skin, her gold-tinged eyes and rosy lips. But then the princess would give her a look like that and Scarlet’s heart would skip and she would once again wonder how it was possible this wasn’t a glamour.
Winter has plenty of swoon-worthy moments between fan favourite pairings, but the constant action and movement of Meyer’s characters also lends us even more opportunity than before to see new friendships formed between the unlikeliest pairings. And it’s a testament to Meyer’s fantastic characterisation that no matter what combination of characters we’re presented with – be it Cress and Wolf, or Cinder and Iko, or Thorne and Jacin – their interaction is always heart-warming and entertaining.
Which Lunar Chronicles ship – romantic or platonic, canon or otherwise! – is your favourite? Sound off in the comments below, and don’t forget to come back next week, when we’ll be reading the very last chapters of Winter!