This character analysis is based on the season one of Tower of God (both the manhwa and the anime). Rachel’s actions in season 2 and 3 of the manhwa have not been considered in this post!
If Tower of God were a story focusing about how a weak girl had to plot and scheme so that she could climb the Tower, Rachel’s name would have been taken in the same vein as Light Yagami or even Shogo Makishima. Instead, the protagonist we have is a naive and good natured simp, who got betrayed by one of the most well written characters of the series. Welcome to Tower of God and its fandom of unrelenting Rachel haters!!
We are not trying to make you love Rachel’s actions or motives here. Without a doubt, they are meant to make your insides turn and question her mindset. However, it is totally wrong to hate Rachel as a character, because there are very few who are as humane and relatable as her in the series. While is certainly not the heroine of Tower of God, SIU has mentioned that she indeed is a protagonist in the story. She is also his favourite character from the series!
A few thoughts about Rachel’s character in Tower of God:
How does a girl with absolutely no special powers or overwhelming beauty (read Endorsi Jahad) to woo men to her side survive the daunting tests of the Tower. Should she have given up without even trying? Rachel’s dream is not world domination or the ruthless subjugation of cross universe species. All she wanted to do was to gaze at the stars from atop the Tower, which is in fact related to her unsurmountable fear of the night (Darkness? Bam?). It is a harmless and relatively small ambition when you compare it to that of the other contenders who are climbing the Tower.
But, Rachel’s progress inside the Tower is almost immediately hindered by her lack of physical and superhuman abilities (Shinsu control, yada yada yada). And while her dreams slowly slip away from her, she sees Bam ace the test she couldn’t even muster the courage to take.
From Rachel’s point of view, Bam came to the Tower in search of her. And here he was, stealing her thunder right from the get-go. Bam might have been the only friend Rachel had. But that did not stop her from feeling jealous. Who wouldn’t? To Rachel, the Tower is her ‘Isekai’. She wants to be the star of this new world and leaves behind everything she had in order to do so. Her dreams and ambitions are indisputably self-centred (at least from what we have seen in Season 1). And for a self centred person, it is extremely hard to see anyone, let alone their underling, upstage them. Add Headon’s ridiculing remarks about her weakness into the mix and it’s easy to understand the kind of situation that Rachel was in.
Rachel is not an embodiment of virtuous thoughts and personality. Her character is the perfect personification of a desperate person clinging on to their dreams. When she felt that everything that was meant to be hers was being taken away, Rachel reluctantly accepted the situation she is in. But instead of giving up, she swallows what little pride was left in her to beg for a chance. She promises Headon to do anything asked of her if given an opportunity to ascend the Tower.
And thus begins the conflicting story of a trivial girl who would stop at nothing to achieve her dreams.
When Headon asks her to kill Bam as part of their deal, Rachel convinces herself that this was the only way forward. But her actions clearly speak differently. Deep down she felt guilty for what she was about to do to Bam. Her self-righteous character stems from this inner guilt, as she adamantly refuses to accept that she was wrong. This points to the fact that Rachel isn’t psychologically strong either. Her behaviour still reeks of cowardice. Instead of facing the consequences of her decision, she tries to cover it up and comes to despise herself. The question is whether she despises her actions or the fact that she turned out to be so weak and petty. Because, it is this very weakness that was exploited by the higher ups (Hansung Yu, Hwa Ryun & Headon) to make her do their dirty work (betraying Bam).
Rachel comes to the conclusion that the only way she could catapult herself to the top is by similarly leveraging the others. Fuelled by her dreams and her envy of those who had it better, she begins using anything and everything in her path to her benefit, even going to the extent of sacrificing people to achieve her goals.
It’s not that she didn’t care about the people around her. We see Rachel struggling a lot initially to come to terms with the task she was assigned to. Even after knowing that there’s no way out, she hesitates to kill Bam, wishing that someone else would take care of this dirty job for her. She even thinks of ways to climb the tower without hurting him.
However, she gave more precedence to her dreams. Were her actions justified? Even though it’s debatable in the universe of Tower of God, they are something that would undoubtedly draw hate from viewers. Rachel is not misled into taking these dire actions. She is aware that there would be no going back from the path she is on, and even hates herself for choosing it. But by the end of season one, her personality has become a complex mixture of jealousy, resentment for others and self depreciation.
In the end, when she betrayed Bam, there was no villainous laugh, no signs of happiness, just a guilty sigh of relief. Rachel had carried out her end of the deal. Her maniacal laughs in the final scenes of the Tower of God episode 13 suggest that she had a complete mental breakdown. Was this because she felt guilty for deceiving Bam? Rachel was never privy to the entire plan which involved him, so we assume that there is no way she’d know that he survived. But these are questions that will only be answered in the second season of Tower of God!
What are your thoughts about Rachel’s character from the first season of Tower of God, let us know in the comments section!!