Weiss So Serious

While I love many of the characters in RWBY, this post is a blend of an analysis and a love letter to both one particular character and the show. Also, while I have done my fair share of scrutinizing in preparation for this piece, I should mention that I did not originate all of the points raised, and I will leave links to other analyses of the character throughout the post (notable credit to KuuLightwing and ASouthernRussian). It should also be noted that my favoritism towards this character does not mean I have anything against other’s personal prized favourites, and I encourage comments on why you’re fond of whichever character(s). With that out of the way, be prepared for a very long post.


Weiss Schnee is probably my favourite character in RWBY, because she has so much character depth and I love her philosophy on life. Her appearance and demeanour are rich with character, from her combat skirt to her weapon of choice to her scar, Weiss oozes pathos. As illustrated in her White Trailer, her opponent is towering knight whom she duels in a secluded area (presumably under the pretense of self-discipline and her own resolve to train and become a huntress). Her adversary is grey, colossal and imposing, in divergence from Weiss’s white, balletic and refined conduct. Before RWBY officially starts, Weiss has already undergone quite a fair amount of progress in her character. It shows that she’s not just a spoon-fed, royal brat, but actually willing to fight monsters and protect people, with the ambition of becoming a leader someday. And it’s also refreshing to see her undisguised about it – she doesn’t hide her scar!


Her fighting; the Myrtenaster (a multi-action dust rapier/revolver – one of the coolest weapons ever) and her use of glyphs is just a pleasure to watch. Seeing her in action, with her precise and graceful movements go against bigger, brutish, and more menacing opponents – like her fight against The White Fang Lieutenant, dodging unafraid and remaining calm and focused the entire time – is such a rewarding experience. And let’s not forget her as the glue that holds Team RWBY together in combat. Her glyphs were invaluable both during the encounter with the Nevermore, and against Roman in his mech.   

And now to turn back time-Wait, what?

Well, she certainly has come along way. As she has gone through more development as a character far more so than anyone else in the show, I believe her to be the best of the four main central characters. Continuing with her skills in combat, Weiss has experienced the most failures; from getting pummeled by the Atlesian Knight, to being rendered defenseless by the Boartusk, to getting caught unguarded by The Lieutenant – she is easily the most talented and multifaceted of the bunch, and absolutely essential for the majority of their team attacks; with her use of dust and glyphs involving a diverse array functions and purposes. Having to employ various types of glyphs (and dust properties accompanying them), while simultaneously needing to calculate and position them on the fly in battle requires a stringent amount of concentration and prowess, makes her by far the most impressive of the four in terms of combat. Noteworthy moments include enabling Ruby’s slingshot move against the Nevermore; and using the rest of her glyphs to assist her assault up the cliff and decapitate the Nevermore, creating a fog and obscuring Roman’s line of sight, to freezing opponents in place, to generally enhancing her teammate in speed and agility.

She’s the fastest Schnee ALIVE!

Interestingly enough, while most of these instances concern her working in tandem with others, Weiss appears to be the only team member whose abilities involve such an immense amount of vitality, resilience, and perpetual dynamism. Her vigor and fortitude is ostensibly unrelenting, as seen in this moment here from her fight against the White Fang Lieutenant. Ruby is arguably superior when fighting Grimm (as she is a prodigy, and now supposedly more of a threat thanks to her silver eyes), but less compatible when it comes to teamwork. Blake nears Weiss in terms of flexibility, but falls short compared to her vast arsenal of instruments and techniques. Weiss’s significance cannot be overstated, as without her, most of Team RWBY’s feats would not have been possible. You can dispute that all members are equally essential, but Weiss has a superfluous prestige over the team’s general effectiveness.

Here, let me make your job 100 times easier, you’re WELCOME

Nicknamed “Ice Queen” by her peers for her icy disposition, Weiss can be egocentric, snobbish, and unresponsive at times. Personality-wise, I was cynical of her at first, believing her to be the typical harsh and self-centered rich girl (all “tsun” and no “dere”) due to her icy manner and sharp words, but became pleasantly surprised at how sudden her change in character was – already remodelling herself to be nicer, less conceited, more of a team player and more compassionate as a friend. She has shown a considerable degree of obstinacy in her beliefs; regarding herself to be more suitable for the role of team leader than Ruby, and feeling firm in her opinions on the faunus. Nevertheless, Weiss learns from both instances to forgo her own beliefs if it would help the team function better. She overcomes her own prejudices toward the faunus not long after Blake is revealed to be one. And she accepts Ruby as team leader, Blake as her teammate, and herself as a supporter and moves on.

It’s whatevs, at least I’m not that shadow guy

On top of all that, Weiss has a plethora of noteworthy qualities that make her stand out from the rest. She’s a rational, meticulous thinker, able to plan and execute on strategies swiftly, even under circumstances involving teammates recklessly triggering situations, and needing to formulate plans with little to no preparation. She also doesn’t agonize over matters like the others do, such as Blake’s restless determination to find out more information about Roman, and Ruby’s concern over Blake both when she ran away and when she was gathering information about Roman. Instead, preferring to focus on what needs to be done to solve the problem.


She didn’t mope around after being turned down by Neptune, instead turning her attention to organizing and preparing for the dance instead. On that account, Weiss is also a very industrious person. She almost single-handedly prepared for the dance (with the muscle of Yang) while CVFY was missing in action and both Blake and Ruby being generally unhelpful. Lastly, Weiss is a very driven person, but unlike Blake, who is driven to fight something nebulous like injustice, she has a specific plan to become a better Schnee than her ancestors and change her family’s name in the eyes of the people.

You’re better than that, Weiss… FAR BETTER

Initially, I didn’t like Weiss because she was mean to Ruby, and the protagonist bias effect was still strong, so hating Ruby didn’t make her favorable in my eyes. But I was taken aback when she began her character development so early into the show. She was already being nice to Ruby just after one piece of wisdom from a teacher. Her willingness to accept that she was wrong and needed to improve is something that almost never happens with her type of character, and especially not as early as it did in RWBY. Her progression continues with her learning to be a team player, extending from excelling in combat to showing concern when she noticed Blake being more antisocial than usual, while Ruby and Yang remained oblivious to the fact.


When Ruby is separated from the rest, Weiss is the one to comfort Yang and tell her Ruby can take care of herself, showing that she has become more sociable and empathetic towards her friends and has confidence in Ruby. Even with this assurance in Ruby, she still appears concerned about her, indicating she would be devastated if something were to happen to Ruby. Deep down, I believe Weiss is more caring and loving then she lets on, and that the icy exterior she clothes herself in is a defense mechanism from a draconian upbringing. Her fighting style with glyphs supports and works in perfect harmony with the rest of Team RWBY, indicating potential symbolism for her future as leader.

Grade A+++++++ Material

Compared to the likes of Sun or Neptune, her clothes alone have more personality and character than them, and most of her peers. Her red underclothes accentuate the white vestments and allude to a hidden depth to the character. And her decision to not conceal her scar under makeup or clothing, shows a strong sense of self-esteem and conviction. While simultaneously communicating a reticent feeling of loneliness (her songs Mirror, Mirror and Mirror, Mirror Part II both reflect this). For a more in-depth analysis on the symbolism and meaning behind her aesthetic and mannerisms, check out this remarkable piece.

The show seems to be giving the impression that Weiss is also a talented singer, as demonstrated in both her debut trailer, and the episode Tipping Point. Which is hugely relevant to her character, as it is through her singing she is able to express a deep sorrow long suppressed.  

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, tell me something,

Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?

Mirror, tell me something,

Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?

Fear of what’s inside of me;

Tell me can a heart be turned to stone?

Mirror, mirror, what’s behind you?

Save me from the things I see!

I can keep it from the world,

Why won’t you let me hide from me?

Mirror, mirror, tell me something,

Who’s the loneliest of all?

I’m the loneliest of all.

Mirror, Mirror Part II

Who am I to complain?

My life’s been spared so much pain

Born with all that I need

My comforts all guaranteed


So what’s the problem

What’s keeping me

From moving forward

It’s hard to see


I should be free now

I should be fine

But the life I fought for

Still isn’t mine


Some believe in fairy stories

And the ghosts that they can’t see

I know that I could do so much

If I could just believe in me

Mirror mirror

Tell me something

Can I stop my fall?


Years of scorn will leave you cold

‘Forget your dreams do what you’re told’

When disapproval’s all you’re shown

The safest place becomes alone


And isolation’s

The price you pay

And every friendship

Is pushed away


But bit by bit now

A step each day

I’m slowly starting

To find my way


Some believe in fairy stories

And the ghosts that they can’t see

I know that I could do so much

If I could just believe in me

Mirror mirror

I’ll tell you something

I think I might change it all


She sees herself as lonely even when surrounded by her family, and friends, implying an extreme disconnect from others. In addition to this, her introspection is taken a step further and reveals that she is fearful of her detachment with others, making her heart feel lifeless like a stone. She also doesn’t like the change that she sees transpiring in herself. So, she chooses to hide her inner turmoil from the rest of the world, but still unable to hide from herself (hence, reflecting against a mirror).


Out of almost all of the characters, she has undergone the most development in her character and is the closest to evolving. And while it is implied that she’s been developing as a character since her White Trailer (before the show started), there is one key factor as to why she has changed so much since Volume 1 – Ruby Rose. Ruby has a way of mellowing people out, even if she herself is socially awkward. I mean how could you not become softer around someone with a personality like hers? Plus, think about the phases Weiss goes through before accepting Ruby: their meeting involved an explosion and Weiss berating her, then their meeting again in the forest – Weiss chose Ruby over Jaune (so beginning to tolerate her), her disapproval of Ruby as team leader, and then the literal warming up to Ruby with coffee (“Cream and five sugars!”) in bed. The moment she accepts Ruby as team leader is one of the most pivotal parts of her development, as she is starting to learn that it’s not all about her or her family. And as a result, Weiss tries to be nicer, more accommodating, and more of a team player, while respecting Ruby’s hardwork and efforts to be a better leader. And let’s not forget their bonding over combat skirts.

Combat skirts, am I right?

Skip to Volume 3, we see her smile more, and excited when she hears her sister, Winter is unexpectedly arriving at Beacon. Upon their reunion, Weiss begins to express eagerness and noticeable pining to confide in Winter, calling her name, dashing after her and explicitly stating “I’m so happy to see you!”. But then holds back after remembering her courtesies, adjusting her behaviour by bowing and saying “Your presence honors us.” Moreover, she has a great deal of reverence toward her sister, as indicated by her embarrassment of Ruby, and Winter’s presence grabbing her full attention. As we soon discover, Weiss is underdeveloped in her summoning ability, which she remarks as being “the one thing [she’s] having trouble with”]. Winter’s response to this is a gentle, nurturing and encouraging demonstration in summoning. But, during their training session she is more forthright, acting curt and condescending to incite Weiss, seemingly believing her to be more capable when spiteful. It’s no wonder Weiss looks up to Winter. She’s able to recognize when something’s bothering Weiss, help remind her of her worth, as well as guide her to perfection, and serve as a shining example for Weiss to follow suit.

Believe in your dreams
Enjoy this tender moment, for they are scarce

Now, in Volume 4, we see the full thrust of Weiss’s familial troubles, and the inhospitable and contentious environment she grew up in. While luxuriously polished, decorative and ornate in its sleek design, once you see the spacious interior of the mansion, vacant, you get the picture. Weiss wandering the unoccupied halls silent, and devoid of any contact; no one to pass or confide in, just a dismal stillness and lonesomeness reinforces her estranged feelings and exacerbates a hollowness inside her. That is until Klein enters the picture, and manages to bring some of Weiss’s joy to the surface, if even only for a moment.

Oh, Klein you clown (please “take care” of my dad for me)

While Weiss has made many strides over the past couple of volumes, her character has yet to be fully realized. She’s still not ready to be a leader or heiress to the Schnee family, and isn’t entirely honest with her feelings or open to her friends about them. Moreover, although she has been making advancement towards full independence, she continues to tolerate her father’s abusive behaviour, allowing him to impose his dominion over her to keep her restrained. Until she breaks free from the shackles of the Schnee family, and open up to her friends, she has not reached her full potential. And I have no doubt that she’ll be packing her bags soon enough; it’s just a matter of when.


Weiss in a situation where she can take all she’s learned from Ruby (and the others) and if she uses puts those lessons into practice she will have taken an even bigger step as a character, and potentially completed her character arc. There’s more moments and symbolism surrounding Weiss in the show about her struggles and change, but right now I’m more focused on where things will go next. Right now, Weiss’s character is teetering on the edge of development from a leashed and isolated dutiful daughter barely being able to tolerate her totalitarian father… Into a more independent and liberated princess whose bubble is about to burst. And I look forward to seeing her grow more as a character, especially over the course of the next volume.


~ Ace

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