A Martyr For My Love For You

Posted by: Morgan on October 12th, 2009

Filed under: Essays and Thoughts
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And then I finally did something for me, something that I wanted. And the world didn’t end. And I have that chance again.
Haley, 2.13 – The Hero Dies in This One

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this current season of One Tree Hill and Haley’s place in it.  These thoughts have come from the fact that while I have been enjoying this season, I wish that we’d seen more interaction between Nathan and Haley as they go through this ordeal with Renee.  I thought of a conversation I had with Meaghan not long ago.  I was talking about Jamie and mentioned that Nathan and Haley did such a good job creating their first kid; they should go ahead and do it again.  Meaghan pointed out that first Haley needed to have her own life.  The comment I made was just in passing and without much thought other than Jamie was cute and surely his sibling would be as well.  But Meaghan’s comment got me thinking and after the first four episodes of the seventh season I’ve been thinking about it even more.  This got me thinking to Haley in previous seasons.

The quote I opened this entry with gets to the crux of the issue.  In The Tide That Left and Never Came Back, Chris Keller tells Lucas that to go after the music career he’s trying for and that Haley should try for you have to be selfish.  In that same episode Haley tells Lucas that she feels like she doesn’t deserve to wear her wedding ring after leaving the way she did.  Haley returns in the next episode and spends the first half of the next season attempting to atone for leaving.

And Peyton thinks I’m a martyr.
Nathan, 4.14 – Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers

As we know, Haley moves in with Brooke early in season three and that’s when their friendship really flourishes.  In How a Resurrection Really Feels, Haley is arrested along with Brooke and Peyton.  In the aftermath Haley encourages Brooke to sell her clothing designs herself and offers to help her with a website.  This is the official start of Clothes Over Bro’s – which is now a multi-million dollar company.  I say official start because Brooke did start it before that with her Suburban Filth designs.

In the fourth season Haley’s story is largely about her pregnancy, as it should be.  However, the latter parts of it also deals with the fall of Nathan’s dream and how they handle it as a couple.  Haley does what one would expect her to do – she stands by her husband.  She already made the decision to attend Duke.  Duke is a good choice, it’s a good choice for Haley.  Its undergraduate program is currently ranked 10th among national universities.  Her decision isn’t so much to attend Duke, but to stay with Nathan.  Nonetheless, Duke is a good school.  However, when Nathan’s scholarship is revoked and he starts looking for other schools that might be interested in him there isn’t a mention of Stanford.  Stanford was Haley’s dream school and with Nathan’s dream school no longer an option, Haley’s doesn’t even seem to enter the equation.  Instead they attend Gilmore Community College so that Nathan can continue to play basketball – to continue to pursue his dream.

In season five, now four years after their high school graduation, Haley is living her secondary dream and teaching high school English.  Nathan nearly achieved his dream.  He was about to be drafted and that all came to an end.  He’s now depressed, drunk and looks like hobo Jesus.  His dream seemingly came to an end when he let his temper get the best of him.  Haley is now taking care of their son (as she should) as Nathan wallows in sorrow.  She teaches.  She isn’t singing.  She isn’t writing songs.  She isn’t recording.  She isn’t even playing nights at Tric.  She’s not living her dream.

This does start to change, though.  In season five Peyton asks her to help at Red Bedroom Records and after Peyton discovers Kevin Federline, Haley discovers Mia.  She goes on to help produce a great record.  The sixth season sees further progression in this.  Haley is no longer teaching and goes full time into producing.  She is writing, she sells a song to Nick Lachey and then produces it for him.  We see her behind her piano, we see her in the studio, we see her encouraging and working with Mia.  She also supports Nathan, first as he plays slam ball and then with the Charleston Chiefs and then finally as he reaches his dream of playing in the NBA.  I don’t have a problem with this at all, I’d expect nothing less of Haley.  It’s entirely in her character and in the fabric of her being to support her loved ones.

Season seven has now begun and we’re four episodes in.  As I type this, the fifth episode is a few hours away.  Last week Haley hit Renee, the woman accusing Nathan of sleeping with her and fathering her child.  Renee had it coming, but that’s beside the point.  The point is that I really wish we’d get a story where Haley is the focus.  She’s embroiled in scandal at the moment because of Nathan’s career, his dream.  Her dream again takes a backseat.

One could argue that this is in part because she hasn’t pursued it.  She hasn’t been selfish, as Chris Keller said would be necessary for success.  Since returning from touring in the second season, Haley has let her dream step aside and has actively and enthusiastically supported everyone else’s dream.  She encouraged Brooke to start her company which is now a huge success.  She became Lucas’ unofficial editor and he is a successful novelist.  She discovered Mia and helped produce a great record for Peyton’s label.  And she has stayed with Nathan and the pursuit of his dream despite loan sharks, hit and run accidents, revoked scholarships, spinal injuries, crazy nannies, slam ball, long absences due to away games and now finally a woman claiming Nathan cheated on Haley and impregnated another woman.

In another conversation Meaghan also mentioned that perhaps Renee’s motivation has to do with Haley.  Maybe Haley is her actual target.  I’m certain that Nathan did not sleep with Renee.  I think the show has made it clear that he didn’t, specifically in his interaction with his son.  In Believe Me I’m Lying he tells Jamie that the only brother or sister Jamie will have will come from Nathan and Haley.  At the end of the episode, the look he has on his face as he watches Jamie sleep isn’t the look of a man who cheated on his wife.  Cheating on Haley wouldn’t just hurt her, but also Jamie and Nathan simply would not do that.  And yet Renee seems so sure of what she’s saying.  She seems so convinced of it.  So if it isn’t true, then what is her goal?  When this is all over and it is proven that Nathan did not father her child, what becomes of her?  She won’t have the money she tried to get and she will forever be that woman who tried to tear apart a couple who has been married for eight years and hurt their seven year-old son.

Which makes me wonder if Meaghan might be right.  Since the third season Haley has supported everyone else’s dream and hasn’t had the chance to pursue hers.  Life has just worked out that way for her.  She hasn’t pursued it as strongly as she could have, perhaps she still feels guilty for leaving on tour when she was 16.  Either way, whether she’s pursuing her dream or not I really actually hope this story ends up being more about Haley than about Nathan.  After all this time, I think she’s earned it.  Especially with Lucas and Peyton now gone, it’s time to really let Haley have the spotlight when it comes to story.

*This entry is named after a song by The White Stripes.

One Comment on “A Martyr For My Love For You”

  1. Julie says:

    I hadn’t considered it until you mentioned it, but I hope it does turn out Renee is really going after Haley. It would be much more interesting motive than just getting money from an NBA player.

    I’m also happy this post as the phrase “hobo Jesus” in it.

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