Ugh, the current scene feels very … and lo, in a shocking twist, the other teenage girls turn out to be catty and/or self-absorbed!
I mean, there’s a reason–their bullying of the most vulnerable of the major characters sets off significant character/plot issues.
There’s even a justification, of sorts. They’re a group of aristocratic girls in a matriarchal society, shut up together in an enclosed underground sanctuary for years on end. It’s not some Lord of the Flies scenario–it’s part of a highly structured academy, with plenty of teachers and masters regulating it all. But nevertheless, it’s an intense and stifling environment drenched in privilege. Most of them aren’t malicious and will turn out fine. (In fact, it’s setting up some relationships that are currently indifferent/adversarial but will become important friendships later on.)
But still, it’s the sort of stereotypical dynamic I’ve been trying to avoid. :