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Unlike her fancy-pants title or her fellow royal Morois, Lissa is a low-key, down-to-earth type of gal. She's innocent, sweet, and is nice to just about everybody, regardless of social class. In fact it's Lissa who cares the most about the royals abusing the feeder at the party. She thinks everyone—Moroi, dhampir, feeder, human—should be treated with respect. We can get behind that.
Our favorite princess doesn't buy into the whole royal lifestyle either. Sure, she'll go to parties and hang out with the in crowd, but she doesn't care so much about it like the other students her age. Rose notices: "every so often, though, I'd see her glance at me and smile, a tired look in her eyes. Laughing and gossiping all day with people she only sort of liked was taking its toll on her" (16.28).
Hanging out with the popular kids isn't all it's cracked up to be. Lissa feels like she has to keep up with the royals since her brother did that, but the truth is that it exhausts her. Throughout the book, Lissa is just trying to figure out where she belongs, and she's limited to what everyone thinks of her as a royal.
At first when Lissa and Christian start hanging out, Rose isn't so sure it's a good idea, but over time, she sees that Christian is actually good for the princess. Rose sees what happens to Lissa when she hangs out with the cool kids (it exhausts her), but with the mysterious goth Christian, she's totally different.
She gets to be herself. So who is the real Lissa who shares her soul with Christian? She's not so interested in the glitz and glam of popularity. A bunch of people think they know who Lissa is, but they don't have a clue—prefers the safety of hanging out with someone who doesn't care if she's a princess or what the latest rumor about her is.
It's Christian who figures out Rose and Lissa's secrets about compulsion, forbidden magic, and healing animals from the dead. He tells Lissa, "I've never seen anything like you two. Always so worried about each other. I get her thing—kind of weird guardian hang-up—but you're just the same" (18.99). This pretty much sums up how everyone thinks about Lissa and Rose. They're not just friends or guardian and Moroi; they care about each other in a way few people do. Christian can't believe how much they look out for each other—these two always have each other's backs.
In fact, when Rose died or gets hurt, Lissa is by her side. She's not just giving her the typical friend comfort of listening to her problems and providing an endless supply of ice cream, either. Nope, she's actually healing her BFF any time she gets hurt... or dies. Yikes.
But every healing comes at a cost, and Rose soon figures out that Lissa can't keep up her cycle of healing people and then cutting herself. She tells her friend, "You can heal other people… but it's killing you" (19.11). It doesn't get much clearer than this. Lissa is confined by the limits of magic, and has to stop using her powers before they destroy her.
Ultimately, Lissa is such a good friend that she doesn't really care if she hurts herself or not. She's willing to sacrifice pieces of herself to help the people she loves—Rose and Christian. In the princess, we get to see self-sacrifice and care for others that is super rare. We just wish we had a friend like her. (And not just so she could always be on standby to heal us.)