Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery.

Pretty Little Liars is based on the series of books by Sara Shepard and debuted in 2010. It centres around four teenage friends who are brought back together when the remains of their missing friend are found. The series follows them as they try to solve the mystery of who killed her, all while dealing with the mysterious ‘A’ that torments them throughout the series. The series ran for seven years and the character profiles contain spoilers.

Aria Montgomery
For the vast majority of the seven seasons the show ran, Aria’s relationship was her main priority. This is normal for a teenage girl. What’s not normal, however, is that her relationship was with her high school English teacher. They kept the relationship secret for many months before she was forced to tell her family by ‘A’. They obviously did not approve and the couple are forced to break up. They were on-again, off-again for the duration of the show but eventually ended up marrying.

As the show is told from the perspective of the girls, Aria‚Äôs relationship is told as a love story and not as the abuse of power it actually is. She fights for her relationship against the wishes of her family and despite the best efforts of ‚ÄòA‚Äô. We find out in season 4 episode 20 (“Free Fall”) that the only reason Ezra pursued Aria in the first place was because he was writing a true crime book about the disappearance of Ali. This news forces Aria to end their relationship for a time.

While a student/teacher relationship is not a new concept, the way it runs throughout the show is problematic. Aria becomes defined by her relationship almost immediately and places its importance above almost everything else. If this was real life Ezra would be branded a predator and sent to jail; instead, the couple had a legion of impressionable teenage shippers who adored the couple. They view the relationship the same way Aria does, and not the way adult viewers do.

Away from Ezra, Aria was well-known for her “out-there” fashion sense (she wore feathers in her ears more than once). She was also creative in other areas, and often used writing as a source of therapy. She fulfilled her dream of becoming an author in the seventh season, co-writing a novel with Ezra.

A popular fan theory was that she was ‘A’ because she was didn’t suffer as much as the other girls. I was a big fan of this theory but alas Aria was not revealed to be the big bad, but instead got the happy ending she always wanted.

-Michelle O’Brien
Contributing Writer
Girl Museum Inc.

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