6:30 pm EDT, July 14, 2016

Hanna and Mona: The ‘Pretty Little Liars’ friendship that endures all

From jello shots to mugshots, Hanna and Mona have been through it all on Pretty Little Liars.

There are so many strong and interesting friendships on Pretty Little Liars, but the relationship that Hanna and Mona share is one of the most complex and durable of them all. Unfortunately, due to the events of the past and the fact that the show’s primary focus is the main four Liars, many people overlook them. I’m here to tell you that’s a huge mistake.

I won’t pretend that these girls haven’t had some pretty significant rough patches. When your friend intentionally runs you over with her car, it’s not exactly something you can laugh off over a few drinks. In fact, it’d be pretty near impossible to ever look that friend in the face again. I’d say in 99.9% of cases, forgiveness would be completely off the table. That’s why I love Hanna and Mona. They’re the face of the 0.1%.

After Mona revealed herself, Hanna genuinely sought to understand why she would put her through what she did. Hanna was definitely incredibly hurt by Mona’s actions, but she also understood that they were brought on by mental illness. She didn’t dismiss her or further tarnish her name amongst her friends and classmates. She visited her, she cared for her (as much as she could), and she mourned the apparent loss of her friend.

On Pretty Little Liars, Mona once told Hanna that she was her “first friend.” In a way, the same is true for Hanna. Alison assembled a squad that she could manipulate. Hanna was included because of her deep admiration for Alison and the fact that she so desperately wanted to be everything that Alison was: Pretty, popular and charismatic. All of the girls hung out together, but Alison made sure that their true allegiance was to her alone.

After Alison’s disappearance, the Liars fell apart. Pretty Little Liars began with Alison’s funeral, when the girls were finally brought back together. Before that, poor “Hefty Hanna” was lost and trying to find another place where she could belong when “Loser Mona” walked in and changed everything. Together, they changed everyone’s perception of them, and in doing so, changed their perception of themselves. Even though Hanna looked like she was included in Alison’s posse, she was really just being bullied in a different way than Mona. When they joined forces, they found their true selves and real friendship for the first time.

Of course, mutual popularity does not an unbreakable bond make. It can be easy to dismiss their friendship as shallow and one that was built out of a need for acceptance. However, rest assured that stolen handbags and lipstick were not the bricks and mortar of this friendship. Even though they got a little too caught up in their own hype sometimes (shoplifting isn’t a good look on anyone), they were, and are, made of so much more than that.

Mona didn’t choose Hanna because she was the closest thing to an Alison doppelganger, she chose her because she saw her for who she was and aspired to be more like her. Mona knew she wanted to be Hanna’s friend when she was able to fight off her tormentors after an unfortunate trampoline vomit incident (happens to everyone, right?). Mona recognized Hanna’s power right then and there and from that moment forward, Mona has always seen Hanna the most clearly.

One thing that Hanna’s known for is her less than intelligent remarks. Hanna is a smart girl who says some stupid things, but I love that about her. Why would she have the same eloquent speech as Spencer, who spent her entire high school career trying to live up to the façade of the Hastings name, or Aria, who is literally a soon-to-be published author. So what if Hanna spent more time flirting with Sean than studying her vocabulary? Hanna is smart where it counts. Is it more important to know how cells divide or to be able to read someone based on what shoes they’re wearing?

While the Liars sometimes punish Hanna for her perceived lack of intelligence, Mona never does. Despite the fact that Mona is the smartest person in literally any room, she is able to recognize Hanna’s intelligence as being equally valuable to her own. She never speaks condescendingly to her as the other girls often do. She sees her, she values her, and she seeks to elevate her, rather than bring her down.

This is a trait that they both share. Hanna has always been able to see people’s worth beyond their exterior. Caleb was a criminal, but she saw that his heart was good and took him in. Lucas was a social pariah, but she recognized that he had cool and useful skills and she began a true friendship with him. Mona really, really screwed up, but Hanna granted her the forgiveness she needed and still cares about her. Even though they seem so different, their cores are the same.

http://lucvhale.tumblr.com/post/147326001250/vandermarin

Their relationship is nowhere near where it used to be, but maybe it could be in the near future. Since Mona’s game ended, she has gone above and beyond to prove herself to the Liars. Frankly, they’d be pretty screwed without her at this point. She confessed to a murder she didn’t commit to save Hanna’s mother, she planned to fake her own death to take A down, she helped free them from the dollhouse, and she is now helping them cover up a murder she had nothing to do with.

How often on Pretty Little Liars do you want to scream at the girls for focusing on anything but the task at hand? Sometimes the Liars are seriously lacking in their sense of urgency. Never Mona, though. Her head is always in the game and she is always ready with a plan.

Many of her actions stem from her need for knowledge and validation, but so many are also centered on her true love for Hanna. Though the other Liars may never fully come around to Mona, it’s obvious that Hanna still trusts her. She told Mona that she broke up with Jordan when she lied about it to the other Liars, and she could count on Mona to help her when everyone else had their own agenda.

Related: Pretty Little Liars 7×04 review: The ladies Macbeth

Despite Mona’s involvement in the A game, Hanna is still holding on, and despite being rejected and disbelieved by the Liars at every turn, Mona is still holding on. No matter what happens, they keep coming back to each other, because their friendship with the other is absolutely integral to who they are.

Because of Mona, Hanna is now a person who believes that she deserves love and happiness. Mona’s continued support of Hanna through everything keeps validating that within her. Mona hasn’t quite realized that about herself yet, but with Hanna’s friendship I have faith that she eventually will. Now that the events of high school are behind them, there’s nothing in the way of these girls becoming as close as they once were, and helping each other grow even more.

#Vandermarin for life.

What’s your favorite thing about Hanna and Mona’s friendship on ‘Pretty Little Liars’?

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