i guess why i find loving the idea of Cas falling so easy, as long as it was a choice Cas made for himself conscientiously, is because in my understanding of it, it’s not something that requires some fundamental change of being to happen first, and this is what i mean by that:
the sticking point for me i guess is that i don’t think fallen!Cas and angel!Cas as distinct “states” suggest any actual different facet of his character, that is to say, i don’t love fallen!Cas as a version of Castiel’s characterisation, because it’s all just Castiel to me. i don’t really understand the idea that Castiel at his full capacity as an angel is more fundamentally “himself,” because while i agree that Castiel would feel more easily comfortable in his capacities as an angel in initial comparison, because that’s simply how he’s existed for millenia, i don’t think it’s an inherently “truer” state for him?
the thing when talking about Castiel re: angels and humans, especially with an angel who has occupied a human vessel for so long and undergone already such transformative experiences within it, and that context can’t be forgotten, is that a fall for Castiel would not be the same process as it was for, say, Anna. for one, when i foresee Castiel falling, it’s also not so much about rejecting being an angel in favour of being human, because i would really eagerly argue that Castiel as an angel right now has already psychologically become very humanised while still existing in his full angelic state, so that line is pretty blurry, and one of the very reasons i find Castiel so endlessly fascinating is that he really subverts that binary between then supernatural other and the human.
so then where does the fallen!Cas and angel!Cas endgame debate lie for me? because if Castiel were to fall there would still be something very distinctly “angelic” about him in the way living now as an angel i find something very distinctly ”human” about him, so why do i think Castiel choosing to fall would be a good choice if his relative humanity has grown, and continues to grow, with his current be-powered state?
at the heart of it, then, the reason is because you’re right.
you’re right that one of Castiel’s strongest attachments to his angelic status, even in the face of his relationship to his angelic family at its most frayed and compromised (this is not saying i don’t think his family connects him to his angelic status, more that i think that connection can exist regardless of how powerful he is—that is to say, i think there is possibility for him to maintain a relationship among angels without having the status of being an angel), is the ability it gives him to help people and to protect people. one of the bigger reasons i think for his spiral in season 5 when he began to lose powers (among it also not being explicitly his choice to fall; his choice to rebel was never made in the conscientious want of that), was that he linked his powers to his ability to be useful, and he linked that directly to the worthiness of his own existence, and thus the futility of life without them.
even when he regains his powers, “new and improved,” for season 6, this is still one of his main struggles, negotiating his ability to save the earth from Raphael and protect Dean with the very difficult realities of whether or not he was actually able to do so, and he really wrestled with compromises he felt compelled to make in order to achieve that. when he aspired to godhood at the beginning of season 7, it was in a desire to exert the most potent and efficient forces possible to bring about a better world, to help, essentially. obviously that manifested in a very dangerous way, and that impulse and that power got taken too far, which brought him to where he is now, mired by guilt and desperate to atone for it.
the thing is though he doesn’t need angelic power to help people. and humanity, despite the bad it can do, is proof of that. also his worth as an independent being shouldn’t be solely dependent on how well and efficiently he can help others, but that’s a frame of mind he’s been entrenched in more than ever, especially in the face of his failures. it’s why the question posed last week, “how do you reconcile what you are with what you do?” is really relevant to Castiel’s position right now, i think, because he is very much in the frame of mind, that what he does defines what he is, that it defines his value inherently. “I didn’t deserve to be out,” he says of his experience in purgatory in 8.07, that he didn’t deserve life when he had caused so much death, and that’s touched upon as a very worrying thought indeed.
so when i say i want Casitel to fall, it’s definitely not driven by a championing of humanity as preferential to being an angel, as being better, because obviously earth is just as fucked up as heaven, and i’d object to the reverse statement being made, too. what i do think living as a human would do for Castiel, then, is place his character on a path that in a very immediate and transformative way would help him build for himself the tools to value himself again, to learn that physical power does not correlate inherently to personal power, i.e. personal agency and the ability to pursue happiness and self-fulfillment. it’s not that humanity is more valuable, and not that Castiel the angel is less, because neither is true, but because i firmly believes Castiel as an individual would learn and grow the most from such an experience in which he found himself in a position to need to build new and better tools to negotiate that reconciliation between what you are and what you do, between sin and redemption, in the way humans have to, if he was grounded in order to learn how to fly again.
it’s about a journey that would help shape him as a character (and i do think the choice to take that journey is very believably desirable to Castiel), but would indeed not define him anymore than “angel” entirely defines him, and it doesn’t. he’s a multitude of things and definitions and they are always changing both with—but also despite—the relative state his atoms exist in.
so yeah obviously i don’t think Castiel falling is the only narrative way this development could potentially happen for him, but it is the most tangible one for me, and i think the most realistic one considering the constraints of the show. i’m not opposed to the idea of Castiel never falling! i just really worry about what we, and by that i mean he, might stand to miss if he doesn’t.
so while there are really desirable practical advantages to Castiel falling, like not having to invent a new reason why Castiel can’t swoop in and save the Winchesters every week (and so the writers have more excuse to include him in case-based episodes!), and also broad creative advantages in that it frees up a whole wealth of new story potential previously left pretty untapped (because Castiel’s personal development has always been way more inextricably tied to overarching mytharc events than Dean or Sam, who though obviously feel the drive of the myth plot too, experience a more diverse and varied context for their development), it’s still first and foremost about him for me, and how i think the experience would help further enrich already the richest character i know :’)
god i hope that makes sense!!