“Roza…” – Vampire Academy TV Show Review, Part 3

Lily Daher, Scarlet Staff

Trigger Warning: Mentions of Sex and Abuse

It always has to be about Rose Hathaway, doesn’t it? After all, she is the focus of Peacock’s new adaptation of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. First, I would love to compare the book’s version of Rose to the television’s adaptation of the character. 

Rose in the novels is stubborn, impulsive, and reckless, amongst many other things. Yet, despite being irresponsible and having a two-year absence from school, she is one of the most promising novices in her year. However, Rose’s character in the show is a little different. She is less impulsive and is a little more by the book in terms of following rules. She is considered more of a nuisance in the show rather than her loud-mouthed book counterpart. In both the book and TV, Rose realizes that the only way she would become Lissa’s guardian is if she took training seriously. She also has to prove herself more than the other guardians because of her infamous track record. Although the guardians challenge throughout her training in both the book and the show, her relationship with the guardians in the novel is different than on screen. Their relationship in the show is more bitter, rather than the bittersweet one present in the books.

The three guardians in the show that Rose has close ties with are Mikhail Tanner, Dimitri Belikov, and her mother, Janine Hathaway. In both the books and the television series, she has a bad attitude toward her mom and frequently complains to Dimitri about her mother’s actions. In the books, Rose is more outspoken about how she dislikes her mother, while in the novel, their troubled relationship is known only by her close friends and she is more subtle about expressing her distaste. However, her silence speaks volumes about her maturity, especially since her resentment towards her mother forms from her mother’s abandonment for the sake of her job, as well as the constant feeling that Janine did not care for her. Janine Hathaway is only present for a little while in the show, but Rose is frequently compared to her guardian legend mother. Despite Rose’s relationship with Mikhail Tanner not being frequently displayed on screen, it is obvious from what has been shown that the two are very friendly and overall have a wholesome relationship. In the books, Rose has a similar relationship to Mikhail. Mikhail is a guardian whose reputation is shot after he leaves his work to try and find his former girlfriend who turned Strigoi. Lastly, Rose has a close relationship with her mentor Dimitri Belikov. In the novels, Dimitri and Rose meet when he tracks her and Lissa down and brings them back to St. Vladimir’s Academy. After Dimitri advocates for Rose saying that she should be given a second chance, he is required to give her extra training sessions due to her lack of training over the past two years. Although the two start off frequently bickering, Rose’s lessons with Dimitri quickly result in the pair catching feelings for one another. In the show adaptation, Dimitri falls for Rose particularly when the Dhampirs have their own version of the Death Watch. This involves going to a Dhampir bar, where all the guardians and novices drink and honor their fallen friends. Yet, in the books, Rose falls for Dimitri first and he reciprocates her feelings. In both the show and movie adaptation, Dimitri uses the name “Roza” as a pet name for Rose, usually when he’s feeling affectionate or worried. However, this catches the eyes of Rose’s friend, Mason Ashford.

Mason is another Dhampir who has strong feelings for Rose. He is flirty with her in both the books and the show, though he is much more forward with his feelings in the show. Book Mason often does his best to impress Rose especially when she doubts him, while TV Mason feels frustrated with Rose. In the books, particularly the first one, Rose was only interested in Mason as a friend. Additionally, book Mason would never have been as thick-headed as to believe that Rose would intentionally hurt his ranking if he was a better guardian than her. Mason had a lot more patience with Rose in the books. He grew frustrated with her at times, but their problems were easily resolvable. However, in both the book and the show, Mason began getting frustrated with Rose when she got involved with men that could bring her down. Although neither Rose did anything with them, there were a couple of Moroi who tried to make life difficult for Rose and Lissa after their return to St. Vladimir’s in the books. Those two Moroi are Mia Rinaldi and Jesse Zeklos.

Mia Rinaldi, remade into the character Mia Karp in the shows, is a non-Royal Moroi at St. Vladimir’s who has it out for Rose and Lissa. In the novels, Mia had been involved with Lissa’s brother, Andre, behind closed doors. After he treated Mia poorly, Mia decided to make Lissa’s life miserable upon her return. In the show, Mia Karp was openly involved with Andre and moved on without wanting to make Lissa’s life miserable. Mia and Lissa have little to no interactions in the show. Mia was a small but powerful presence in the books, while in the show, Mia seems to have her own subplot, but it is uncertain as of right now if Mia will have a bigger presence later on. 

Onto Jesse Zeklos. In the books, Jesse was a sore subject between Rose and Mason, particularly because after Jesse and Rose made out, Jesse spread a nasty rumor that Rose let him drink from her as they had sex. He even went as far as to say that she not only slept with him but with his friend Ray as well, who is nonexistent in the novels. That being said, Jesse’s relevance in the show is more powerful than his presence in the novels. Jesse is seen around more in the show and receives more background information, including a storyline where his father is abusive. We actually know nothing about Jesse’s background in the books beyond that he is a Zeklos. Jesse’s relevance is growing, and it seems that we will see him be a larger presence in the show as it continues. Even though everyone in the show is exasperated with Jesse, is there wiggle room to make him a better person? Maybe the tensions between him and Rose will soften as well. 

The show is changing and developing smaller characters and trying to make them into larger presences, however, what will happen to the characters that we see and love in the novels? Will they make the cut? Let’s watch and find out.