I really liked She-Ra and I always wanted to propose the main character Adora. However, as she had already been proposed, I think her predecessor can count upon rethinking it. Now she doesn’t have a page yet but I will create it regardless of how this proposal goes. Without further ado, let’s discuss Mara.
What's The Work?
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a science-fantasy animated television series. The story is about Adora who is a Horde soldier fighting a war against the Rebellion on the planet Etheria who learns that the Horde is evil and defects thanks to rebel princess Glimmer and her best friend Bow. Adora gains control of a magical sword and becomes the legendary She-Ra who fights to free Etheria with her new friends from the Horde and her now ex-best friend Catra and learn the secret history of Etheria.
Who is She/What Has She Done?
Mara is the posthumous overarching protagonist of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. She was the previous She-Ra before Adora and the best friend of Light Hope and student of the elder sorceress Madame Razz. She is first mentioned by Madame Razz who mistakes Adora for Mara who promised to help her make a pie.
Mara makes her first visual appearance in the penultimate episode of season 1. Light Hope explains to Adora via hologram of Mara that 1000 years ago Mara (allegedly) went insane and turned evil by stranding Etheria from the rest of the universe and destroying all Adora’s benevolent ancestors the First Ones tech. Light Hope repeatedly tells Adora not to repeat the same mistakes Mara made and uses her to help fix the Watchtower Mara broke to restore Light Hope to full power. In the season 2 finale Bow deciphers the ancient language of the First Ones with his parents to learn that an important clue to Mara and the First One’s past was in the Crimson Wastes and head there to find out.
In season 3, after dealing with and redeeming their traitorous guide Huntara, Huntara takes the Best Friends Squad (Adora, Glimmer, and Bow) to the ruins of Mara’s ship which was the true meaning of the First One’s clue. They explore the ship and see a broken hologram of Mara in her final moments telling anyone that if hey are seeing this, they are the next She-Ra and she tells them that She-Ra’s sword is the key to the planet and begs them not to use it to create a portal to take the planet out of the Despondos and reunite with the rest of the universe for the good of everyone. She tries to explain what will happen if Etheria is reunited with the universe but the hologram then ends. The Best Friends Squad then get captured and Catra opens a portal that creates an alternate reality and nearly destroys the entire world and forces Glimmer's mom Queen Angella to sacrifice herself to save reality in the season 3 finale.
In Season 4, Light Hope is temporarily damaged and reverts to her energetic and cheerful personality, showing Adora a hologram of Mara bringing her flowers in the past and showing how Mara considered Light Hope a true friend and not just an A.I. However, once Light Hope reboots, she goes back to her stoic, emotionless personality. We see Mara's origins in episode 9 called Hero. She was a member of the First Ones who was scouting Etheria when she met Madame Razz. Although Mara initially thought Razz was an intruder, she learns that Razz is actually a good-hearted woman with extensive knowledge of magic. Mara becomes the apprentice of Razz who teaches her how to use magic to tame animals and heal the Whispering Woods. Razz tells Mara that She-Ra has existed before the First Ones and Mara begins to be conflicted between her people and the people of Etheria. It is soon revealed that Light Hope and the First Ones were evil all along and that Mara never turned evil/went insane. Mara tells Razz that she discovered the evil and genocidal nature of her people who created She-Ra and her sword to serve as a superweapon to wipe out all who oppose them. She discards her sword in the woods while screaming in pain before getting into her ship. Razz shows Adora a message from Mara telling what happened next. Mara explained that her people claimed to her that She-Ra and the Heart of Etheria were projects that would bring peace to the universe but in reality the Heart of Etheria was a superweapon that would wipe out all who opposed the imperialist First Ones with She-Ra being the key to activate the weapon. She says that she couldn't stop the weapon but she could teleport Etheria into the Despondos to make sure the weapon could not hurt anyone. Unfortunately her ship was damaged beyond repair and her last words was telling Adora that she believed in her and that she could save the world they both love before Mara's ship crashed into the Crimson Waste, killing her and stranding Light Hope, who had been reprogrammed by the First Ones into turning against Mara on Etheria. Adora then calls a meeting with the Rebellion/Princess Alliance to destroy the Heart of Etheria now that they know what it is, but Glimmer who was being manipulated by Shadow Weaver refused which caused a split in the Rebellion and Best Friends Squad. Glimmer encounters Light Hope who manipulates her into activating the weapon by connecting all the princesses to their to "free all the magic in Etheria" but in reality Light Hope planned to commit genocide on all the enemies of the First Ones to complete their plan long after their deaths. Adora tries to stop it but Light Hope is too powerful. It is only when Light Hope remembers Mara and breaks free from her programming that she redeems herself and allows Adora to destroy her sword, killing Light Hope and sealing the Heart of Etheria in the finale of Season 4
Mara makes her final appearance in the penultimate episode of Season 5. Unfortunately, the activation of the Heart of Etheria caused Etheria to be reunited with the rest of the universe and face the wrath of the true main villain of the show, Horde Prime and his Galactic Horde. Horde Prime plans to use the Heart once informed about it by Catra to conquer the universe and destroy any planets that resist and he is able to brainwash nearly the entire Rebellion. However, the Best Friends Squad along with a redeemed Catra in their ranks and what remains of the Rebellion stage a final attack with the Best Friends Squad going to the Heart while the rest try to deactivate Horde Prime's brainwashing chips. Adora sees a vision/ghost of Mara while traveling to the Heart. Mara tells Adora that she sacrificed herself so Adora wouldn't have to and told Adora that she deserves love and happiness too, telling her not to push away everyone and go about this mission alone before disappearing, marking her final appearance in the series.
Now She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has a pretty high admirable standard. We got Adora who saved Etheria and the universe twice from Light Hope and then Horde Prime. We have Queen Angella who sacrificed herself to save Etheria. However, I would say Mara does more than enough to stand out anyway especially considering her extremely low screen time (she only appears in 5 out of the 52 episodes in the show and half of those appearances she doesn't even speak). Mara does some very unique and admirable things including:
- Befriended Light Hope and treated her as a true best friend unlike her people who saw Light Hope as just a tool.
- Stopped Light Hope from imprisoning Madame Razz and let Razz take sugar from her ship.
- Defended Razz from a beast in the Whispering Woods and tamed the beast.
- Healed the Whispering Woods using the skills Razz taught her.
- Formed the rebel group Grayskull to combat the First Ones once she discovered the First Ones true nature.
- Refused to let a reprogrammed Light Hope and the First Ones use her to activate the Heart of Etheria, abandoning the sword in the Whispering Woods.
- Sacrificed herself to strand Etheria in the Despondos and deactivate the Heart of Etheria, saving Etheria and the universe from annihilation.
- Her sacrifice also protected Etheria for 1000 years from Horde Prime and his genocidal Galactic Horde.
- Left a prerecorded message telling the next She-Ra (Adora) about the Heart of Etheria and the evil nature of Light Hope and the First Ones so Adora could destroy the superweapon once and for all.
- Posthumously redeemed Light Hope which allowed Adora to save the universe by killing a willing Light Hope and sealing away the Heart of Etheria.
- Advised Adora not to sacrifice herself and push everyone away and told her that she deserved love too.
For the longest time, Adora and the audience all believed Mara turned evil and insane as Light Hope told us that. However, season 4 reveals that Light Hope was the one that was evil (albeit unwillingly reprogrammed) all along and Mara never turned evil or insane, but instead sacrificed herself to save Etheria and the universe from the First Ones by stranding Etheria in the Despondos so the Heart of Etheria could never be used.
In terms of actual corrupting factors, I really can't think of anything. Yes she was technically a villain when she served under the First Ones but like Adora, she didn't know her side was evil and at least Mara figured out her side was evil on her own and defected unlike Adora who needed Bow and Glimmer to help her realize her side was wrong. She did initially hold Razz at swordpoint when she thought she was an intruder (which Razz was) but quickly befriends her and stops Light Hope from detaining her, so overall she has no real corrupting factors.
I believe she qualifies. She formed a rebel group to resist the genocidal First Ones even if the First Ones were her people. She healed the Whispering Woods and befriended Light Hope, treating her as her (closest) friend when no one else would. Best of all, she sacrificed herself to save Etheria and the entire universe by teleporting Etheria into the Despondos to make sure the Heart of Etheria was separated from the rest of the universe so it would be safe. This also protected Etheria from Horde Prime for 1000 years and Mara would posthumously save the universe again by redeeming Light Hope through Hope's memory of her which allowed Adora to save the universe in the present day from the Heart of the Etheria. Overall I say she does more than enough, especially with her very limited screen time.