In an interview featured on the HowlerPod podcast, Red Rising trilogy author Pierce Brown noted main character Darrow’s trait of not caring about what other characters think.
By the end of the trilogy (and still after fourth installment Iron Gold), it is undeniable that Darrow has earned almost unanimous respect of the universe’s various inhabitants. For the pioneering theorist of self-actualization Abraham H. Maslow, esteem follows from love as a universal human need.
If Darrow has achieved love by the end of the trilogy and respect after Iron Gold, has his character in fifth Red Rising novel Dark Age moved on to fulfilling his self-actualization needs (which come immediately after esteem in Maslow’s hierarchy)?
Whether Darrow is in the process of self-actualizing by Dark Age or not would require analysis of his actions and comparison with the traits of self-actualizing figures. Some of the latter’s traits include having a non-hostile, philosophical sense of humor as well as superior perceptions of reality.
Probably the easiest self-actualizing trait to relate Darrow with is autonomy. In his efforts to preserve “the Rising” of his “Red” social class (primarily made up of miners), Darrow has come to develop a highly independent conscience. He has become the kind of hero who sees what must be done for the cause he and his team have fought for over more than a decade–even when certain members of said team might not understand themselves.
It doesn’t matter for the Rising if a few of its proponents have strayed from the core of its project, which is to break the chains of slaves everywhere. Darrow is the heart of the revolution, and to keep its flame lit, it may be that he must self-actualize in certain ways.