I don’t get people who think Thancred’s an abuser and/or a shitty dad like once again I feel like I played a different expansion than everyone else
Like, okay, you have a best friend who is the person you love most in the world, and she has a little sister. Your best friend went away for school or work or something and the circumstances were that you’d probably never see her again, but you both said your goodbyes and got closure. It hurts and you’re still grieving, but you try working through it
In the interim you started babysitting her little sister, and you like this kid, you want to take care of this kid, ‘cause her life isn’t great and you’d like to be something good for her
Then she gets, like, terminally ill, and her sister–your best friend–shows up out of the blue to say “If my little sister says she wants this, then I plan to die for her” no ifs ands or buts about it, your best friend who you love more than anything just came back into your life–making you so, so happy–and then thirty seconds later told you she’s planning to die for her kid sister who you care about, but don’t have nearly the same depth of relationship with yet, so you’re stuck trying to make peace with the worst news you’ve ever heard and you have No One to talk to about it, bc your best friend fucked off again, you can’t put that kind of pressure on her kid sister, and literally nobody else is involved
How the hell are you supposed to cope with that?
(This is in no way meant to come across as snarky or attacking, more as a reply for how people came to the conclusion that he didn’t treat Mini-filia right, just wanted to preface that my tone is discussion, not condescension bc I get anxious about the tone of text etc)
It’s not that Thancred’s position isn’t sympathetic- considering that he had, more or less, gotten his closure in Heavensward, or at least, as much as he was going to, he’s in a particularly unenviable position. He has to take care of and protect a girl that sometimes channels his dead friend’s soul just long enough to be told, “if she wants to live, I’ll die for real this time to make that happen.” And that’s…rough.
But so is his treatment of Mini-filia (I’m calling her that to separate from when she gets her own name, for clarity.) It’s not that he doesn’t care about her- he clearly does. But he lets her think she’s not deserving of being alive, hears her say, “I’m not good enough, I’m not deserving, it would be better if I wasn’t around,” and even after he’s inarguably heard her say it, out loud in 5.0 and the Scions urge him to say something, he lets her continue thinking that.
Even after everything is said and done with Ranjit and he’s finally out of the picture, Thancred doesn’t elaborate on his “apology,” of, “I’m sorry I didn’t say everything that I should have,” which he needed to do. She deserved that, at the very least. In the context of the story, he let a little girl feel like she was better off dead and that he specifically hated her for who she wasn’t, and put the emotional labor of supporting her up to Uriangier and those around them.
I’ll say that Thancred does take steps to rectify that when Ryne comes into her own, and has been a steadfast support for her ever since. He finally lets them both help each other heal. I don’t think he’s a bad person, or someone who deserves to die in the story or anything so awful. It was just rough to watch him act like an emotionally neglectful guardian, see how deeply and horribly it affected her, and no one but Y'Shtola really call him out on it. I’m glad he’s better, but it was rough to watch because a lot of kids, myself included, lived through parents like that, that weren’t inherently bad people but were just emotionally neglectful and either didn’t know how or care to support their kids’ mental health.
Yeah, as a Thancred fan, watching him be harsh and emotionally distant and handling poorly everything with Ryne was difficult and made me want to shake him.
Thancred was an orphan with no context for how family works. He’s still a naturally good, caring man, and his relationship with Minfilia and the other Scions went a long way but didn’t mean he was entirely well-adjusted; one of Thancred’s hallmarks is his emotional issues, leading to his possession in ARR and then his depression in HW when Minfilia’s gone.
He wanted to do better than he did when Minfilia was young. He meant to. He didn’t know how. Intent is good, but actions are worth more. So he was harsh when he didn’t need to be, and refrained from saying what he should. In trying to respect Minfilia’s wish and let Ryne decide, he went too far the other way and almost influenced her into thinking she wasn’t worth saving.
I’d argue much of that came from Ran’jit originally, given how he always addressed her as A Minfilia, never her own person. Thancred, with his own well-documented self-esteem issues, had no way to navigate that and made it worse.
I also argue the Scions, like Y’shtola’s callout, didn’t entirely have Thancred figured out either, but as he wasn’t actually talking to anyone, there were assumptions all around.
Thancred cared about Ryne as her own person; his arguments with Ran’jit are about that, and allowing her her freedom and choice—he was again, terrible at telling/showing her that was his wish. He showed her affection plenty of times, and it’s not in his nature to be intentionally abusive and cruel. But he was bad at taking care of a young teen with her own issues and how they intersected with his own.
Ryne’s own attitude early on is a child who desperately wants acknowledgment and affection from her guardian. It’s common with kids in her position. She feels worthless and like a backup plan and not “really Minfilia” and if Thancred would just say one way or another she could have an answer.
She finds it on her own thanks to the rest of the Scions and her own experiences, and does get to live that fantasy of having her beloved guardian acknowledge her and admit all. Almost too late, as by the time the trolley happens, Thancred’s feelings are obvious (Emet-Selch even calls him out on his love for the kid and his fear for her choice) he’s just unable to say it cuz he’s a stubborn, emotionally stunted fool still.
I did expect and was bracing myself for Thancred to die in 5.0, and they certainly gave us every anime trope in the book. But narratively, it wouldn’t have worked. The resolution of the Thancred/Minfilia/Ryne emotional triangle doesn’t happen with his death, even in her defense, with their feelings unsaid. It resolves with Ryne coming into her own and Thancred making it up to her and getting his own emotional growth/turning point finally. It’s much more satisfying from a purely storytelling perspective, and fits the hopeful, redemptive themes of Shadowbringers much better than the expected grimdark trope option.
I also find acknowledging Thancred made terrible mistakes with this child, that he was wrong, that the WoL has good reason to be angry with him for it all, to be far more interesting than glossing over his actions just because he’s a favorite. It makes him a more interesting character and is far more interesting story, before and after.
Also no lie I feel weird having just posted a story about Thanced and Ryne and suddenly Hot Takes are popping up claiming he’s either a wooby who did no wrong or an abusive monser who should die, with little in between, and I guess it’s just that time in the patch lull.