Clarke Griffin/Lexa

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Pairing
Pairing: Clarke Griffin/Commander Lexa
Alternative name(s): Clexa, Princess Commander, Lexarke
Gender category: Femslash, F/F
Fandom: The 100
Canonical?: yes
Prevalence: popular
Archives:
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Clarke/Lexa, better known as Clexa or less commonly Lexarke, is a ship in The 100 fandom of Clarke Griffin and Commander Lexa. It is a juggernaut pairing in The 100 fandom as well as in general fandom, as the top ship in 2016's Tumblr Fandometrics and as one of only 3 femslash pairings to break AO3's Top 100 Pairings according to centreoftheselights' AO3 Ship Stats.[1]

Clexa's longterm popularity in fandom likely has something to do with a very devoted fanbase who are both active in the creation of fanworks as well as activism itself.[2] Lexa's death on the show sparked the LGBT Fans Deserve Better movement and also spawned the femslash-focused procon ClexaCon.

Canon

From The 100 Wiki:[3]

Clarke Griffin and Lexa started off as enemies as Clarke's people and Lexa's people were at war with each other for the entire first season and the first half of the second season. They officially met in "Long Into an Abyss", when Clarke approached Lexa in order to put aside their differences and create peace between their people.

The pair were shown to be alike in some ways, and they grew closer as they worked to save their people from a common enemy. They shared a mutual respect and the task of leadership over their allied clans, often making hard decisions together. They kissed in "Bodyguard of Lies"; however, Clarke was not ready for a relationship so soon after Finn's death under Lexa's orders. Their relationship became strained after "Blood Must Have Blood (Part 1)", when Lexa betrayed the Sky People by retreating from Mount Weather in order to save her own people.

They reunited in the third season, when Lexa had Clarke brought to Polis. As Lexa worked to bring peace to their people, Clarke forgave her and they became allies again and later lovers. Lexa's Flamekeeper, Titus, disapproved of their relationship and during an attempt to kill Clarke, shot Lexa by accident instead. Despite Clarke's desperate attempts to save her, Lexa's physical body died from her wound in "Thirteen". Because Lexa's consciousness was saved in the Flame, Clarke was able to summon Lexa to aid her in the City of Light in "Perverse Instantiation (Part 2)". Lexa protected Clarke from A.L.I.E.'s Cult, and Clarke declared her love for Lexa before they were forced to part ways once more.

Clarke continued to mourn Lexa long after her death. Josephine Lightbourne, for example, noted in "Nevermind" that Clarke still cried when she thought of Lexa, six years since her death. Other characters also brought Lexa up in conversations with Clarke, sometimes to try to sway her opinion or to taunt her.

In the fifth season, Clarke's adopted daughter, Madi Griffin, was given the Flame and Lexa's consciousness was thus able to communicate with Madi. In "Damocles (Part 1)," Lexa told Clarke, through Madi, that abandoning Clarke at Mount Weather was her biggest regret in an attempt to keep Clarke from making the same mistake. Lexa's message helped Clarke decide to do the right thing in the end, while also driving her to tears.

The series finale saw Clarke take a test to determine the fate of the human race. During the test, the Judge took on the form of Lexa because she was Clarke's greatest love.

Fandom

The show's introduction of Lexa as a canonical lesbian character in the second season, as well as the subsequent chemistry between her and Clarke, piqued the interest of femslash viewers. The popularity of the ship took off after their first onscreen kiss in the season 2 episode "Bodyguard of Lies".[4] Clexa quickly grew into one of the most popular ships in the fandom, drawing many new femslash fans into the show during the long hiatus before the third season. Alex Cranz wrote about the rise of The 100 within femslash fandom in their piece: The History of Femslash, the Tiny Fandom That's Taking Over the Universe.

There was also interest in the first season of The 100. The show is full of very attractive women, who have a tendency to talk to each other and not talk about men. But it was Lexa’s comment about her dead girlfriend that brought fans to the show in droves.[...] By the end of the second season the pairing, Clexa, was rapidly consuming much of the energies of the fandom, and the fan output quickly became focused around the couple. Of the 13,462 The 100 fics on Archive of Our Own, 47 percent are Clexa focused. Bellarke, the primary hetero pairing? 43 percent.

It was the first time since Once Upon a Time that femslash stories dominated the fandom output, and the first time since Xena that such a femslash pairing was also 100 percent canon.[5]

Clexa fans often refer to themselves as Clexakru,[6] "kru" meaning "clan" in the conlang used by Lexa's people on the show. Fans on The L Chat also took to calling themselves "Leskru", meaning "lesbian clan".

Lexa's Death

After Lexa was killed in season 3 episode 7, the fandom reaction sparked an unprecedented media conversation about LGBTQ representation and showrunner involvement in fandom. The "Bury Your Gays" trope rose to a national debate, and the international fan-led initiative "LGBT Fans Deserve Better" emerged, initially dominating Twitter. The fan outcry and media discussions over Lexa's death led several screenwriters and producers to sign the Lexa Pledge, promising to treat gay and lesbian characters with consideration of their emotional and cultural impact.

The particular grievances of the Clexa fandom against Jason Rothenberg and other members of The 100 staff were chronicled on sites such as We Deserved Better. Lesbian media website Autostraddle compiled a list of dead lesbian characters that exemplified the scope of the problem and proved invaluable to the discussion, as several more lesbian and bisexual female characters died in the weeks after Lexa's death. The fandom created a fundraiser for the Trevor Project which raised more than $175,000.

ClexaCon

Main article: ClexaCon

In 2016, shortly after Lexa's death and the following cascade of queer women dying in media, Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold, and Danielle Jablonski started to plan ClexaCon, a multimedia con for LGBTQ women and allies.[7] The first ClexaCon was in March 2017 and featured a variety of panels about topics related to the representation of queer women[8] as well as a variety of industry guests from various shows.[9] It has continued to grow since then, with thousands of attendees every year, and ClexaCon 2021 scheduled for April 15 - 18.

Lexark

See More: Elyza Lex

In the wake of Lexa's death, the Clexa fandom also created and embraced an alternate universe ship for the pairing, called Lexark. Not long after Alycia Debnam-Carey's character on Fear the Walking Dead was revealed to be named Alicia Clark, the fandom began making jokes that the show should introduce another character named Elyza Lex played by Eliza Taylor. Fans only began taking the pairing seriously after Lexa's death in March 2016, and the pairing's popularity as an actual ship most likely arose from a post by Tumblr user alyciasass in March 2016, expressing a desire for Alicia Clark to get a girlfriend named Elyza Lex played by Eliza Taylor.[10] The AU ship became so popular that it became a canonical tag on AO3[11] and the fanon character of Elyza Lex features in over 300 works.[12]

Statistics

Common Tropes & Fanon

See also: Clexa au survey

Challenges & Awards

Memes

Inside jokes and memes (aka "Clexa crack") in the Clexa fandom.[20][21]

  • Clexa Pick Up Lines - Either Lexa tells a lame pick up line and Clarke is not amused, or Clarke tells the pick up line and Lexa is confused because she doesn't get the references to the modern world.
  • Lexa being extra (aka Lextra) - Crack posts making fun of Lexa's flair for overly dramatic speech and entrances/exits, usually paired with an unamused Clarke.
  • Lexa is a candle hoe - the Clexa fandom noticed the excessive amount of candles that Lexa always seemed to have in her tent and bedroom. This gave rise to crack posts often involving Clarke's reaction to Lexa's obsession with candles.
  • Fish the Dog/Clarke the Husband - The fandom's response to a Clexa text au that went viral.
  • Chip!Lexa - After her death, Lexa's mind was stored in a cybernetic chip which led to the crack ship pairing of Clarke and Chip!Lexa aka Clip.
  • Lexacoon/Clexacoon - Raccoon!Lexa because Lexa's war paint makes her look like a raccoon.
  • Decalexas - A system of measurement based on Lexa's height.[22]

Ship War

Main article: Bellarke vs Clexa

Because Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin can be considered the main characters of The 100, it's no surprise that many fans ship them. This caused considerable tension between fans of Bellarke and fans of Clexa as Clexa began gaining popularity, resulting in accusations of biphobia, homophobia and racism being thrown around and culminating in a ship war between the two pairings that many fans felt split the fandom into awkward factions.

Lexa's "Return"

See also: God!Lexa

The series finale return of "Lexa" (technically a godlike being who took on Lexa's form because she is Clarke's greatest love[23]) was met with mostly positive reactions from the Clexa fandom.

Although it was not technically Lexa, many in the fandom felt that it offered them closure and one last chance to see Alycia Debnam-Carey as "Lexa".

For me and for everybody, I think, seeing Alycia in Lexa's costume again after years was like heaven. Our last memory of her was her death, now we have something a little less sad to remember and also she had the last line of the show...Powerful.[24]
She might have been the guest star, but Lexa became the heart of The 100. Clarke and Lexa's love is perhaps one of the greatest tales we've seen; the girl from the sky falling in love with the girl from the ground. It doesn't make up for 307, but it was the closure we needed. I know it's not the ending that we all wanted, but seeing Lexa one final time and having her be Clarke's one true love certainly feels satisfying.[25][26]

The 2016-me feels slightly lighter now, more at peace

Still, I would like to just - never let it go.

Seeing Lexa on the screen after all this time brought everything back to me. All of the emotions, the love I felt for her, the excitement which permeated my muscles whenever an episode in which she appeared was about to start, the feeling of utmost tenderness that blossomed in me while witnessing her fall in love with Clarke, the visceral pain I felt when she died, the hours I spent crying feeling like a part of my heart had just been ripped out of me, leaving behind a weight which made itself at home on my chest and never left me.

I am happy though, I am feeling better.

Now I have the certainty that Lexa was the love of Clarke's life and that she will live on in her, in the heart and mind of that sky girl who she truly loved.

She never was just a fictional character, not only to me but to all of those people who felt connected to her thanks to the terrific representation she gifted us with.

And I am so grateful I get to keep her close to my heart and treasure her memory forever.[27]

Fans also took the confirmation that Lexa is the greatest love of Clarke's life to mean that Clexa are indeed soulmates and thus endgame.

i don't think i really processed that we just got clexa endgame... like we actually got clexa endgame in canon no argument about afterlife shit clarke really just chose lexa as her greatest love when she saw her in the test[28]
Clarke and Lexa were soulmates and even mysterious godlike aliens that consume or destroy every race in the galaxy know it.[29]
IM SORRY BUT DO YOU ALL UNDERSTAND THAT CLEXA ARE CANON SOULMATES LIKE CLEXAS WE REALLY DID WIN AFTER 4 FUCKING YEARS WE WON WE REALLY WON???????[30]

Did anyone have Clexa become canonically soulmates on their 2020 apocalypse bingo?[31]

Fanwork Examples

Fics

See more: Category:Clexa Fanfiction

Some of the most-recced fandom classics include:

Canonverse

  • this heart, fossilized and silent (once was tender and once was violent) by Chrmdpoet, Clarke is only three days into being a runaway when she realizes that she did not fully think this through. When she walked away from Camp Jaha, she took only herself, a handgun with limited ammunition, and the gnawing guilt inside her. Three days without food, water, fresh clothing, or bedding of any kind, however, and she is painfully aware of how foolish that decision had been. (Canon Divergent from 2x16)
  • they take their shots but we're bulletproof by nightshifted, "Our winters are harsh," Lexa tells her. "You must have adequate shelter to survive them." "I survived you," Clarke says lowly. "I'll survive anything." (One-Shot, Canon Divergent from 2x16)
  • The White Queen Running by KL_Morgan, Clarke wakes up wearing the tattoos of the Ice Nation. (OR: Soulmates, parallel worlds, and Ice Queen Clarke; oh my. Canon divergent from 2x16.)
  • Within Me An Invincible Summer by thrace, Clarke spends the winter resenting Lexa. But seasons change, and so do people. (Canon Divergent from 2x16)
  • Lightning Only Strikes Once by fiona_249, Consumed by grief, Clarke climbs Lexa's tower, not really thinking through what she plans to do. But any plans get taken away when she's struck by lightning, mysteriously transporting her back to before any of it happens. Back in her cell on the Ark, Clarke remembers exactly what went wrong - and mysteriously, so does Lexa among her people on the ground. Between the two of them, can they get back to each other? Can they find a way to save both of their people and themselves? Or is the hatred surrounding them too strong? (Time Travel, Canon Divergent from 3x7)
  • Abby Doesn't Ask by onlyasdark, The four times Abby doesn't ask about the nature of Clarke and Lexa's relationship and the one time she doesn't have to (or the evolution of Clarke and Lexa after the dust settles, as seen through Abby's eyes.) (One-Shot, Five Times, Canon Divergent from 3x7)
  • I have lost my pain by thrace, Clarke Griffin has a perfect life: perfect job, perfect girlfriend, perfect friends and family. Maybe. (Canon AU set in S3)
  • Love on the Ground by hedaswolf, Clarke can’t meet Lexa’s eyes when she presses the dagger to her throat. She’s not the one Clarke wants to hurt and she knows it, deep down, beneath the bits of her that are ripped to shreds, that will never be stitched back together. Clarke comes to Polis to kill Lexa and stays because it's the path of least resistance, or at least that's what she tells herself. This fic starts at the knife scene in the season 3 trailer and then takes on a life of its own from there. (Happy ending included.) (Canon AU set in S3)
  • This War of Needs by N1ghtWr1ter and RaeDMagdon, All Clarke Griffin wants is to stop a war (and maybe get through her heat without suffering too much). All Commander Lexa wants is to protect her people (and maybe forget the tragic death of her mate for a few days). When a sudden burst of acid fog leaves them stranded together in an isolated bunker, the two of them will have to find a way to deal with each other—and with their very inconvenient desires. (Omegaverse, Locked in a Room, Canon AU set in S1)

Modern AU

  • She by thefooliam, Her roommate looks at her sometimes and Clarke is never sure if they’re going to kill or kiss each other. When Clarke Griffin forgets to complete her sophomore year residency application, she returns to college to find that they’ve paired her with the last roommate she ever expected to get. (Roommates AU, College AU)
  • blood rush in the hazy glow by firetestsgold, "The locals aren't fans of college kids. This is their neighborhood bar. They can get...territorial." Clarke studies the girl who stopped the fight before it began. Leaning back in her chair in the back of the bar, she's all dark hair and dark eyeliner and dark alcohol. Clarke can see what he's saying: the glare etched into her face is a clear warning for anyone who might step forward to her. But the vodka has thinned Clarke's blood; she's always been brazen and right now she can't take that warning as anything less than a challenge. She grabs Octavia’s wrist and pulls her forward. "C'mon."
  • in love and war and politics by centuriesofexistence, It's the most watched Senate race around the country, and Clarke Griffin is running one hell of an underdog campaign against the favored Cage Wallace. But she has a secret weapon that might save the campaign--and a secret that might ruin it. And both are named Lexa Ward.
  • Mystic Coffee by blindwire, Lexa is 95% certain that the girl that comes into her coffee shop each morning is a witch. Whether it's the tattoos that she swears move when she sees them out of the corner of her eye or the way the girl's hair changes color if she looks long enough (not that she’s staring), Lexa is positive something strange is going on. (Coffee Shop AU)
  • The Library by ethiobird, You certainly come across intriguing personalities every so often when you tend bar. None quite so intriguing as the lone girl with cascading chestnut hair sitting at the end of the bar, drinking a whiskey neat and reading a book, however. Except, wait, that's your new co-worker. (or The College Bar AU in which Clarke is the Mom Friend bartender, Lexa is the new hire, and everyone is really just a hot damn mess. Shot of Jameson, anyone?)
  • More Women than Warriors by steklir (SilentStars), 'Before you,' he said, 'you can see more women than warriors. Cowardly, unarmed, they will give up the moment they see the weapons and bravery of their conquerors who have given them such a drubbing so many times before.' (Tacitus, Annals XIV.36) The first time Clarke sees the Head Girl she’s sitting on a throne, presiding over her dominion with a piercing stare and a crown of braids in her hair. Her warriors are spread at her feet, a multitude of them, all long-haired and wild and clad in identical brown regalia. There’s something of the sacred about her, like the crimson cloak draped across her shoulders and her divinity are one and the same. Or at least it feels that way. British girls' boarding school AU. Obviously.
  • What heart's ease must queens neglect by thrace, Lexa is going to drag her country into the modern age kicking and screaming if she has to. Enter Clarke Griffin, United Nations election observer. (Modern Royalty AU)
  • Catch Me, I'm Falling by EffortlesslyOpulent and sam_kom_trashkru, The HSAU where Aden plays cupid with Clarke, Lexa, and all of their friends, and ends up watching practically all of them fall for each other. (High School AU)
  • possibility days by adreamaloud, Lexa is in love with her co-star. Of course, it's a disaster. Yet another clexa celeb au. (Celebrity AU)
  • You See the Smile That's On My Mouth (it's hiding the words that don't come out) by heartshapedcandy, It takes Clarke and Lexa about five seconds to fall in love, but it takes them way too long to realize it. This is that way-too-long. (or a story in which Clarke and Lexa kiss too much and communicate too little)

Published Novels

Several Clexa modern AUs have been published as original fiction with the serial numbers filed off.[32] Most of these fics have since been deleted.

Some examples:

Art

Vids

Edits

Meta

Other

Archives & Fannish Links

Tumblr

Recs

Resources

References

  1. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2019 by centreoftheselights. Posted 24 Jul 2019. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  2. ^ Clexakru- Fandom of the Decade, Tumblr post by dontwantthenextcommanderiwantyou.
  3. ^ "Clarke and Lexa" page on The 100 Wiki.
  4. ^ The 100 Season 2 Episode 14 "Bodyguard of Lies"
  5. ^ The History of Femslash, the Tiny Fandom That's Taking Over the Universe
  6. ^ "LISTEN UP CLEXA FANS!", Tumblr post by unaligned-valkyrie. November 12, 2015. Archived version.
  7. ^ Our Stories Matter: An Interview with ClexaCon. Posted 24 Fec 2017. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  8. ^ 2017 Panels & Workshops. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  9. ^ 2017 Featured Guests. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  10. ^ Posted from alyciasass. Posted 5 Mar 2016. Archived 24 Mar 2016. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  11. ^ "Alicia Clark/Elyza Lex" tag on AO3. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  12. ^ "Elyza Lex" tag on AO3. Accessed 22 Dec 2019.
  13. ^ Tumblr 2015 Year in Review: Most Reblogged Ships.
  14. ^ 2016's Top Ships
  15. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2015
  16. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2016
  17. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2017
  18. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2019
  19. ^ AO3 Ship Stats 2016
  20. ^ Tumblr post by jean-isabelle-granger-delacour. March 10, 2016. Archived version.
  21. ^ Tumblr post by 100hearteyes. November 30, 2015. Archived version.
  22. ^ Tumblr post by jeaspinchy via the Wayback Machine. January 29, 2016.
  23. ^ "'The 100' Showrunner on the Series Finale's Big Events and Surprise Appearances". Archived from the original on 2020-10-03. 
  24. ^ Tweet by @zwanheda. Archived version.
  25. ^ Tweet by @seriesfus (1/2). Archived version.
  26. ^ Tweet by @seriesfus (2/2). Archived version.
  27. ^ Tumblr post by prstife. Archived version.
  28. ^ Tweet by @dykewoods. Archived version.
  29. ^ Samantha's Top 10 TV Couples of 2020 by Tell-Tale TV.
  30. ^ Tweet by @debnamsdyke. Archived version.
  31. ^ Tumblr post by itsyouitsmeitslesbians. Archived version.
  32. ^ Clexa Books on Goodreads.