Augh, so sorry this took so long! I have LOTS OF FEELS about Vriska.
Perhaps this was intended for that meme thing? But I do not feel like digging it up. So instead I shall NATTER ABOUT VRISKA. Be warned that this will mention mindcontrol, noncon, child abuse, various other kinds of abuse. Also let it be known that nothing I say in here is meant to EXCUSE Vriska Serket’s actions, but rather to shed light on the motivations behind them.
So, Vriska! She is, to me, a very very intriguing character because she has one of the largest, complete character arcs in Homestuck. She *changes*, is the thing.
Vriska starts out, and continues, as essentially BLUH BLUH HUGE BITCH only nastier. She is a serial murderer, she mindcontrols various people nonconsensually, she treats everything as a power game. What separates her from e.g. Eridan among the troll “villains” is that her motive is illuminated.
Vriska, from the first, grew up part of the blueblood aristocracy. She has next to no social checks on her as long as she avoids higher-bloods, so there’s nothing to really teach her morals beyond that except Mindfang’s journal.
Mindfang was Vriska’s only role model. This, you may recall, is the same Mindfang whose only personality-informing remnant is basically her journal of rape nonfiction, which in fact GLORIFIES that rape and mindcontrol and is completely full of privilege.
And then there’s Spidermom. I do not think I really have to go into all the ways Spidermom fucked Vriska up! For one, she prevented her daughter-figure from forming more than a bare few actual bonds with other trolls, because she needed to be fed. Vriska essentially *had no hobbies*. Her FLARPing was to feed her lusus; remember (although I don’t feel up to searching canon for the log) that Terezi was annoyed at Vriska for taking *everyone* to feed Spidermom, rather than just those who “deserved” it. Vriska’s first relationship, her kismesissitude with Eridan, was for both of them based in that need to provide for someone else: Vriska got the trolls, Eridan got the lusii.
All of Vriska’s childhood was spent enforcing into her the notion that not only was she above everyone else and they deserved anything she might do to them, but that she had to wall herself off. Honest emotion wasn’t a thing Vriska could afford if she wanted to feed Spidermom.
Terezi is, of course, the exception to this. For the most part. But when it came to her sister’s wishes against Spidermom, the only guardian figure Vriska has still comes first.
What this has shaped Vriska into at the start of Hivebent is someone who flat-out cannot afford to lose, or let go, or show any sign of weakness. She is abrasive and loud and dangerous; she is afraid of being left alone.
That’s why she set off Jack, remember. Vriska Serket needed to prove that she was good enough.
Whether or not she acknowledges it, Vriska knows that what she’s done is wrong.This is something to remember all throughout Homestuck.
Time for a Tavros detour! Once again I will state that NOTHING I TYPE HERE EXCUSES VRISKA’S ACTIONS. THEY WERE REALLY REALLY AWFUL AND INTRUSIVE AND NON-CONSENSUAL, AND THAT IS NEVER OKAY.
So, all of this is completely subjective. But the way I read it, Vriska envies Tavros his weakness, his softness, his ability to choose *not* to be the best. What she *wants*, when she’s mindcontrolling him, is for him to stand up for himself and force her down. She doesn’t want to dominate him! She wants someone to force her to stop.
Tavros is kind, quite possibly one of the most openly kind trolls on Alternia. He is essentially, I think, what Vriska wishes she could have been. What she does to him is a combination of wanting to get him to force her down and, quite simply, intense jealousy. Of course Vriska hates him at times! He represents everything she never got.
And then there’s John.
John started out as a pawn in her “competition” with Terezi, a competition started in an attempt to get the Scourge Sisters back together. Remember, Vriska knows no way of reconciliation and friendship that isn’t based in confrontation. What’s different about John, and what makes him the catalyst for the completion of Vriska’s arc, is that he is a complete outsider and so they are on relatively even ground. The most Vriska can do to him, a universe away, is maybe make him fall asleep!
John can’t tell her blood color, he doesn’t know about Spidermom and Vriska’s past. She can’t really hurt him. To Vriska, he’s *safe* from her. John’s completely open and friendly, and with him Vriska can be the self she can’t be around those who evaluated based on both her past crimes and her blood color.
She opens up around John because he’s the first person to ever want the best of her and for her, no judgement attached. I think it’s very telling that she tells him about those she killed. That was a huge move for Vriska: it was accepting responsibility for everything she did, and actually feeling remorse for it. Those chatlogs with John were the most open she’d ever been in her life, and it also took an immense amount of trust in John not to cut her open the moment she was exposed.
It is also important to note the way she reacts to Terezi, directly after that! The strong front comes straight back up. Even when all Vriska really wants to do is apologize, she can’t bring herself to be “weak” even in front of her sister. The need to never expose herself is so ingrained in Vriska that, even when it would quite literally save her life, she just can’t do it.
I think it’ll have been good for her, hanging out with dead!John. Not only was he someone she hadn’t killed, it will have been a sort of a safety net. Vriska can relax even more this time! She knows that John doesn’t and won’t hate her when she gets up the courage to tell the whole story again, and this time she can spend as much time as she needs, feeling safe and loved.
Vriska is at heart just a kid, learning how to not be an adult.