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Analysis

The Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass A Match Made In Chaotic Heaven

Peanut Butter and Jelly. Cookies and Cream. Some things are just better together. And when it comes to character tropes, no two archetypes bring out the best (and worst) in each other, quite like the Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass. If you’re new around the Fandomentals and Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass tropes, here’s the quick rundown;

The Dutiful Princess is someone who inherits or gains some kind of power or responsibility. Said power was thrust upon them. They didn’t ask for this level of responsibility, but now that it’s theirs, they’ll be damned if they don’t protect it with everything they have. They’re all about their job, often to the detriment of anything else in their life.

As for the Glorious Dumbass, the name kind of explains itself. They are chaos personified. The kind of people who when the going gets tough, they get wild. If they’re not trying to get out of trouble, they’re the ones causing it.

By their nature, Dutiful Princesses and Glorious Dumbasses contrast and complement one another. On the one hand, you have the Dutiful Princess who has had to be perfect every day of their lives and on the rare occasion they don’t exceed expectations, you can be sure they’ll be drowning in self-imposed guilt. On the other, the Glorious Dumbass hasn’t spent a day in their life worrying about expectations. It’s not that the Glorious Dumbass never has expectations placed on them. On the contrary, they often find themselves having to carry the weight of too much expectation.

The difference between them and the Dutiful Princess, is that the Glorious Dumbass doesn’t care about the expectations anyone else places on them. They set their own standard (usually at a reasonably attainable bar, unlike their Dutiful Princess counterparts). 

It’s easy to understand why the Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass have natural chemistry with one another. At first glance, they seem diametrically opposed. How can the person who shunts expectation get along with the person who’s nothing but a walking pile of responsibilities? But that right there, is why they work so well together. They can learn from one another. They help each other grow. And before any of that happens, they can of course have intense interactions fraught with tension as they struggle to understand one another.

The Dutiful Warrior and Accidental Messiah

You just need to look at the most Dutiful Princess to ever dutiful, Beatrice, and the Glorious Dumbass who was so glorious and such a dumbass we had no choice but to coin the term in the first place, Ava Silva. Throughout seasons one and two of Warrior Nun we see just how heavy of a cross (pardon the pun) they both carry. Ava was orphaned and paralyzed in one-felled-swoop. Then she was murdered. Then she came back to life and a secret guild of assassin nuns expected her to simply fall in line with their wants and orders because the thing that brought her back just happened to be their most powerful relic. Beatrice grew up thinking she was ‘improper’ for being who she was (aka, being gay). To compensate for this ‘shortcoming’ she strove to excel in everything. And I mean everything.

They were both foisted with the weight of unbearable expectations. Beatrice took it all as a personal penance. Ava, however, saw the unfair reality of it. She shouldn’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations when she asked for none of it. At first, Beatrice saw this as a rash selfishness, too much of a Dutiful Princess to comprehend that it’s a bit much, asking a woman who only just got back the use of her legs, to fight demons for the sake of the Catholic church.

On the other side of the coin, here is Ava, utterly confounded by Beatrice’s steadfast devotion to the Church and the OCS when, from Ava’s perspective, those things have only caused her pain and suffering and done the same for the long line of Warrior Nuns and Sister Warriors before her.

As they opened themselves up to one another, they grew to understand why the other’s priorities are what they were. Beatrice understood Ava wanted a chance to figure out what she wants in life before she’s asked to give it away to a supernatural war she was dragged into. Ava learns that Beatrice’s perfectionism isn’t just Beatrice being Beatrice. It’s a symptom of Beatrice’s efforts to prove her worth when she’s been told she’s ‘flawed’.

Somewhere along the way, they end up falling for one another, because really it was the most natural consequence of their situation. For Beatrice, Ava was probably the first person to address her sexuality with open acceptance. Between that and her amazing puns, Beatrice had no choice but to fall. When they’re preparing for their biggest threat, it’s Beatrice who stays by Ava’s side to teach and train her. It’s with Beatrice, Ava gets her first glimpse into a regular life in their tiny apartment hidden away in the Alps. And Beatrice is the reason why Ava’s priories change. Why she’s willing to put her life on the line.

Not that Beatrice was willing to let her do that without a fight, because she’s still a Dutiful Princess, only now, her duty lies with Ava. It’s why she leaves the OCS, the organization she was once fully committed to, at the end of season two.  Her duties have shifted, because of Ava.

The Bat and the (Reformed) Crow

Wildmoore

Since the Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass usually begin their relationship from places of opposing understanding, their dynamic lends itself naturally to a ‘enemies to lovers’ arc. No enemies to lovers hits as hard as Wildmoore. Ryan Wilder and Sophie Moore. Batwoman and the Crow. Ryan and Sophie have always had the same goal, to make Gotham better. But because of their differing ideologies, it made it impossible for them to see eye to eye. Their ‘enemies’ phase.

They are both queer black women, who grew up poor and faced heavy systemic obstacles because of it. They both wanted to help their community. But the ways they choose to do that ended up being drastically different.

Ever the Dutiful Princess, when asked to make a choice between her first love and a career that would benefit herself and her family, Sophie choose the latter. That choice led to her becoming the second in command of the Crows, a for-profit security company that claimed to protect all of Gotham, but when it came to it their best resources were always used those with the fattest checkbooks. Sophie wasn’t blind to this disparity, but she truly believed she could make the system better. She saw the potential for the system to actually protect everyone equally and she made it her responsibility to make that a reality.

Then, there’s Ryan Wilder, the Glorious Dumbass, who, when the Bat suit literally fell out of the sky in front of her, decides to try cleaning up her city and maybe get some justice for her adoptive mother along the way. When she realizes the full responsibility of wearing the cowl, she doesn’t shy away from it. But she also makes damn sure everyone knows that she won’t just be walking in the shadow of the previous Bats. Ryan is going to be Gotham’s protector and she’s going to look fly doing it. She makes the suit and the Batwoman moniker her own, holding herself and the rest of the Bat team to a higher level of accountability.

Something she also extended to Sophie, because no matter how genuine Sophie’s intentions to help Gotham were, Ryan couldn’t ignore the corrupt elements of the Crows. She wouldn’t let Sophie ignore it either. Ryan pushes Sophie to be better and helped her see that no matter how altruistic her intentions might be, they’d always be tainted inside a corrupt system. When Sophie ultimately decides to walk away from the Crows, Ryan fully supports her decision.

Ryan constantly pushes Sophie to be better. Sophie gets to return the favor when Ryan learns her biological family are more alive than she realized and that they’re not really the good guys. This is where is the ‘lovers’ part of that ‘enemies to lovers’ comes in.

Sheriff Haught-Stuff and the MotherF-ing Earp Heir

Wynaught

Glorious Dumbass and Dutiful Princess duos don’t just come in romantic pairings. Sometimes they’re chaotic sisters-in-law who annoy each other to the ends of the earth and back. Wynonna Earp and Nicole Haught take the dimensions of the Glorious Dumbass and Dutiful Princess relationship being fraught with tension to new heights.

Really, they shouldn’t get along. Nicole is a bit of a stickler for the rules, likes things in their place, and is dutiful to a fault. Wynonna has never met a rule she couldn’t break, would probably lose her head if it wasn’t attached, and has a proclivity to giving anyone in authority the double birds. Nicole is the out-of-towner who didn’t really fit in at first. Wynonna is the local girl with too much history. The only thing they have in common is they’d do anything for Waverly Earp.

Yet, somehow, they’re each others’ best friend. Begrudgingly so. If Wynonna needs a punch in the face for something she did, you can bet your bottom dollar Nicole would be the first one in line to dish it out. And if Nicole needs a kick in the behind to dislodge the stick she’s got up there, well you know Wynonna would volunteer. They help keep each other in check. Balance each other out. Or at the very least, they’ll bicker constantly as they try to get out of whatever trouble they’ve gotten into (trouble that Wynonna got them into).

It’s a dynamic where they help each other become their best selves. The Glorious Dumbass helps their Dutiful Princess let go of some of those overbearing responsibilities. And the Dutiful Princess helps reign in their Glorious Dumbass’s chaos. Or at the very least they’re able to aim said chaos in the right direction. They’re the best elements of ‘opposites attract’ and ‘they might be a disaster, but they’re my disaster’ all rolled into one. Be them nuns, cowled heroes, or western gunslingers, the Dutiful Princess and Glorious Dumbass always make the best pairs.

Images courtesy of the CW, Netflix, and SyFy.

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Author

  • Dayana

    Proud Trinidadian. Writer, poet and game writer when she isn't busy dissecting fictional worlds or galavanting through the latest video game.

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