13 Reasons Why: Impact, Heartwrenching and Powerful

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We all have seen the impact Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” has had on its viewers. I know that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, days after finishing it. The show took me just two days to finish, despite having 13 episodes. I really wanted to mark the impact the show had on me personally in some way but I couldn’t think of how for some time. So, then I decided to talk about the character themselves, what each one meant to me and why they contributed to my experience of the show. It was the music, the words, the expressions and story that captured my attention, but each character made me think about myself and about society. It seems each character had something to teach us.

**** SPOILERS and TRIGGERING TOPICS ****



1. Skye 


Skye was a character I found hard to read at first, I did not know what her intentions towards Clay were for some time within the show. She seemed agressive, and I couldn't understand why. Once I figured out what she was all about I really started thinking about her. She is obviously someone in a lot of pain and is not sure how to cope with it. In the closing minutes of the final episode Clay decides to reach out to her and it's almost his way of doing what he was not able to do for Hannah, to help her. Skye for me was someone I could relate to, someone all of us have either been or someone we have known, a person going through a great struggle. But it's important to know that you're not alone and though you may feel that you are, there ARE in fact, people, resources and other ways to get help for yourself.

2. Jeff


Jeff, despite not being a major character was actually someone I found myself liking quite a lot. Not even because he's gorgeous, but because of the way he treated Clay during his time in the show. It really made me think of society. Very often we see people who are privileged look down on those who may be in a worse off position. In this case, Jeff seems to be quite popular and in a position of influence, yet he decides to help Clay out with a variety of predicaments, namely his failure to reveal to Hannah how he feels. Even if it was a word of encouragement, it helped Clay out. I found it interesting because it just shows, if you have power, you should use it for good. That's what Jeff seemed to do and I was very sorry when he died in the show.

3. Sheri



Sheri was a character whose plot line had me thinking about myself and need for honesty. I wondered what I would have done in her situation, I like to think I would have phoned the police about the stop sign. But it's hard to know, having never been in a situation like that, whether or not you would do what was right. When you're young, you make impulse decisions and they may come back to haunt you as time goes on. This we see in the show with Sheri, but I am so glad that she pulls through in the final episodes of the show and confesses to the police about the stop sign and Jeff's death. Honesty really is the best policy is some cases, despite it being the hardest thing in the world sometimes. 


4. Courtney


Courtney was someone I found intriguing, because she almost orchestrated her own demise. True, the way she acted was linked to fear, fear of her sexuality being out in the open. She really did have the opportunity to be a friend to Hannah, but it's interesting how one little action i.e. something simple like daring someone to kiss them, had a domino effect on everything else. I do hope that I wouldn't sabotage someone just to save my own skin, but we're only human. Sometimes self preservation takes over, just like in Courtney's case and it had an effect on someone else's life. 


5. Tyler


Tyler was someone I did not understand at all. I don't understand how, or why someone would think it's okay to take photos of someone. Even if you liked that person, I am not sure why you'd think it was appropriate to do that. Tyler's character played a huge part in pushing Hannah further into despair but I am also not sure that he meant to do so. In our society it's a well known fact that guys share photos, often intimate photos of girls they like with their friends. This action often spirals out of control and can get released to the public i.e. Courtney and Hannah kissing. I just hate the idea of people having the audacity to share private photos to the public, I find it despicable, hence why I don't have much sympathy for Tyler.


6. Zach



Zach was a character that I understood to an extent. I do believe he had good intentions from the beginning, by asking Hannah out. I think Hannah was almost conditioned to believe everyone was against her by this point. People do have a tendency to act out when they get hurt, sometimes even just as a way of self defense without even thinking about it. Zach should not have done what he did, taking the notes out of Hannah's lunch bag was a bad idea, but if your pride is hurt sometimes you end up doing petty things. Humans are funny beings, and I myself am no exception.

7. Alex


Poor Alex had the opportunity to be a friend to Hannah too, but I feel, like most people on the outskirts of society, you just want to fit in. Alex did what he did to Hannah and also Jessica, because he was angry but also he wanted the popular guys i.e. those at the top in the high school such as Justin and Bryce, to accept him. This comes back to haunt him again and again throughout the show and it really shows that hurting your friends in ordering to climb up the social ladder is not the way to go. You can really see Alex's guilt throughout the show, he really regrets what he did to Hannah and it comes back to bite him in the end. I do feel that Alex made one mistake and had to pay dearly for it.

8. Bryce


Dear God where do I begin with Bryce? Bryce represents the type of men that do exist in our society that I find absolutely repulsive. The type of guys that feel that the world owes them something and that they can do whatever they like with the people around them. Bryce, for some twisted reason feels no guilt for raping Jessica AND Hannah. It reminds me of the Brock Turner case that hit world headlines, which detailed a young man who felt he did no wrong and blamed anything but himself for what had happened. Justin Prentice played the character convincingly, but makes a strong case against the character in many of the behind the scenes footage. I do think it is important to highlight that these type of people exist, both men and women.

9. Justin




Justin was a character that without meaning to, got sucked up into the whirlwind of Hannah's death. Like a lot of men in our society, he wanted intimate photos of Hannah and unfortunately due to his actions the photo he took was released to the public. I can't pretend I understand why Justin allowed Bryce to rape his unconscious girlfriend, but the guilt is clearly tormenting him throughout the show and he is a shell of his former self by the final episodes. It was interesting watching the alpha male being reduced to a nervous, tortured person. 

10. Jessica


Jessica's character represents a lot of girls today. People tend to get upset when their ex breaks up with them or moves on. Girls also have a tendency to make impulsive decisions. It was sad to watch how Alex's act of placing both Jessica and Hannah's names into "The List" destroyed their friendship. I do think insecurity had a part to play in why Jessica reacted the way she did. It was hard during the show when it is revealed that Bryce raped her and her boyfriend, the man supposed to protect her, allowed it to happen. What happened is clearly in her subconscious as we see her resort to drinking, being drunk all the time to act normal. It was interesting to see how our subconscious remembers things that we ourselves may not.  
11. Tony


I have a lot of respect for the character of Tony. He had a huge burden to bear throughout the show and I feel he bore it pretty well, or as best he could. His concern for Clay throughout the show was heartwarming to me and I've come to the conclusion that he wanted to prevent Clay, his friend from repeating the same actions as Hannah Baker. When you're that young, it's hard to know what to do, so Tony keeps the tapes from Hannah's parents. I can't imagine how much those tapes would have weighed on Tony's mind. But I know I respected him even more when he stayed with Clay when he heard his own tape and when he finally gave Hannah's parents the tapes and confessed to everything. It really showed a strength of character and I hope that I could do the right thing if I ended up in a situation similar to that.

12. Clay


Clay as a character broke my heart because he reacted quite similarly to me in a lot of ways. I can imagine to some extent what it must be like to love someone who is no longer around. At least I used to. The situation overwhelms him from time to time throughout the show. How could it not? The girl he had strong feelings for is dead and only now is he realizing that she also had feelings for him too. That missed opportunity, one he can never get back is torturing him. I understand for the most part why he acted the way he did throughout the show. I especially respected him for reaching out to Skye in the closing of the final episode, to me it was almost a way for him to benefit from what he learned in Hannah's tapes, that you never know what someone is going through. That by reaching out to someone you may save their lives. He does represent someone who didn't really find their way for quite some time, his inability to convey his feelings to Hannah while she was alive was endearing, frustrating and heartwrenching all at once. Humans are being of many feeling and Clay did the best he could at the time, but his inability to act will always haunt him and it's an important lesson to learn, I feel.

13. Hannah 


Hannah, Hannah, Hannah. What an interesting character. She was the character that reminded me of myself the most. The way she acted in certain cases, especially her way of dealing with pain, to shut herself off and not tell anyone. It was painful to watch her story play out, because at times, the way she reacted was not the right way to react, but humans are fickle beings. Sometimes it's hard to know how to react and we are emotional beings. I certainly don't think suicide is an option myself but one of the show's lines impacted me "The little things matter. It is interesting how the things that happened to Hannah all piled up on top of her until she could take it no more. The scene in the final episodes with Mr Porter the counsellor were frustrating and emotional. She was so close and yet so far and I don't particularly understand why she could not make that leap and speak. I do know that sometimes speaking the truth is harder than not saying anything, so again it just highlighted the impact of depression and the bewildering nature of mental illness. 

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I needed to mention Ryan Shaver separately because the whole topic of writing is extremely important to me. I do think what Ryan did was wrong, though he thought he was doing Hannah a favour. The thing about writing is, is that people can interpret wrongly what you meant by certain things in your words. This upset me a lot when I watched it on the show because it has happened more than once where my words were taken out of context and caused trouble for me. That is the interesting thing though, everyone is different and words mean different things to people. What Hannah wrote was beautiful but people did not understand. That is part and parcel of writing, and I just thought that particular episode was really interesting.

13 Reasons Why was not a perfect show, but it has gotten people talking about mental health and suicide, which I think is so so important. Mental Health is still a taboo topic in 2017 Ireland sadly, though there has been improvements, there still is not enough awareness of it. To those suffering, you really ARE NOT alone. Please please speak up, suicide does not solve anything. I know this is easier said than done. If you've been affected by any of these issues mentioned in my blog, here are some places you can go to:



I hope that I haven't upset anyone and thank you for reading my opinion on the show and the characters. Please do avail of the services available if you are struggling. You do not have to suffer in silence.

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