homestuck-thoughts

OFF THE CUFF HOMESTUCK THOUGHTS #3: THE SELF PILE DOESN’T STOP FROM GETTING TALLER OR: THE PROBLEM OF DEAD MARIOS

DISCLAIMER

IMPORTANT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

[CHECK THE TAG FOR MORE THOUGHTS]

So, a long-ass time ago, Rose and Dave had a conversation like this:

TT: After you go, what do you think will happen to me?
TT: Will I just cease to exist?
TG: i dont know
TG: i mean your whole timeline will
TG: maybe
TT: Maybe?
TT: Is there a chance it’ll continue to exist, and I’ll just be here alone forever?
TT: I’m not sure which outcome is more unsettling.
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
TT: What do you think I should do?
TG: try going to sleep
TG: our dream selves kind of operate outside the normal time continuum i think
TG: so if part of you from this timelines going to persist thats probably the way to make it happen
TT: Ok.
TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word “self” and still understand what we’re talking about.

This is the most important sentence in Homestuck.

I am dead serious.

Well, OK, I mean, it’s pretty important for understanding some major Homestuck themes and shit or something like that.

Also, I totally should have said: Pre-Retcon Doomed Timeline Non-Dreamself Rose but ultimately about to become Dreamself Rose who semi-merged with Pre-Retcon Alpha Timeline Rose and Doomed Timeline Dave aka Davesprite AKA future Davepetasprite^2 or as we all call them around the office, Davepeta, had that conversation.

Maybe you begin to see what I’m going to talk about here.

One of the major frustrations a lot of people had with the retcon was that the characters we ended up with at the end weren’t the ones we’d come to love and know throughout the story. Was it even worth it, to lose the characters we loved to the tyranny of Game Over? The victorious kids, with the exception of John and Roxy, were other people, with other histories, other goals, and other choices.

Allow me to submit that that may be the whole point.

SBURB is cruel. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s cruel not as Caliborn is cruel, but as the cosmos is cruel, as a supernova is cruel. It wants what it wants, and doesn’t care about how that intersects with the needs of humanity. It wants to make universes through a complex game-playing method, and drags hapless, vulnerable adolescents along for the ride. And most of the time it doesn’t even succeed, leaving its champions to rot in a doomed timeline or similar! Skaia’s victory is an amoral creation myth where individual human beings are just the carved pieces on the chessboard. (I mean, the other ones. Not the carapacians.)

Again, let’s consider the theme of VIDEO GAMES vs. REAL LIFE.

Homestuck, let’s be real, is basically some postmodern horror timey-wimey Jumanji. For a generation way more familiar with pixels than cute little tokens It’s easy for teenagers and in fact, basically everyone, to fantasize about escaping their life and slipping into some game world forever, where they get to do awesome things and be a heroic person.

Homestuck makes that literal. Congratulations, everything you ever knew is dead. You will never see it again, except your internet friends, who turn out also to be your family and other important people. I mean, from a distance, SBURB sounds like an awesome game, right? You figure out who you are and get to wear a cool costume displaying that identity. You get to make anything you want and enjoy this hyperflexible mythology tailored to YOUR CHOICES. HS fans talk all the time about how cool it would be to play a real version of SBURB. That’s a big part of the appeal of SBURB fan adventures. They put you and your friends in the story. Or your favorite characters! It sounds like a fantasy come true.

The thing is, as fantastical as it is, it’s also really fucked up, and ultimately you and your friends are being used. By a giant frog to let it have its babies. By the universe. By a smug blue cloud thing that doesn’t care about you at all.

SBURB does not care about you at all.

The funny thing, SBURB features a mythology with so many layers and nuances and seemingly human motifs about growth and self that you might search for some grand ultimate meaning behind it, but it’s not even human enough to have a personality, to be something you can argue with or fight. It just is. It’s all the cruelty and power of a god without any of the dazzling personality. It’s empty. It just wants to make universes all day long, or fail trying. It is a great, weird tadpole-making machine that eats children.

One of the big ways it doesn’t care about you is its attitude toward the self. Humans and trolls and whatnot prefer not to be relentlessly duplicated. SBURB says, oh yeah, let’s make tons of copies of the player characters and use them for a lot of different purposes.

There’s the dreamself, an essential bifurcation of identity (you are now and were always the dream moon princex) that sometimes gets merged into god tier but sometimes doesn’t. There’s doomed timeline selves, who exist ultimately to augment an Alpha timeline whose Alphaness is decided very arbitrarily and frequently by Lord English. There’s the you who exists before a scratched session and the you who exists afterward, who are two different people but started as one baby in an act of ectobaby meteor duplication, your player self and your guardian self. Dead timeline yous fill up the dreambubbles made by the horrorterrors and get endlessly confused with each other. Any one of these could be the you experience being at any given moment, and which one it is entirely arbitrary. Don’t like being Dead Nepeta #47? Tough hoofbeast leavings, kiddo.

To top it all off, in Terezi: Remember, we learn that every single time we thought someone changed from one self to another, was resurrected or something like that, it was another act of duplication. For every time someone’s died, there’s another version of them waiting in the Dream Bubbles, surprised that they’re not the main character anymore. And we have no way of knowing which is which. Even John, good old everyman John, may or may not be the person who died three or four times. It’s really impossible to say whether we’ve been following the same person throughout our story, or just the illusion of the same person, like a horrifying cosmic flipbook.

The retcon is a return to this same theme. Ultimately, there’s very little new in the changes John makes to reality except that they drive the point home.

John’s friends all died. John and his friends won the game. These things are both true at the same time, except those things may not have happened to the same people. There was a happy ending. Hooray! For, um, some folks who may or may not be the ones we care about. In fact, it’s very confusing, because from Rose’s perspective, Roxy is dead but came back to life, and from Roxy’s perspective Rose is dead but came back to life, except also she came back to life as a weird tentacle catgirl of pure id and self –indulgence. So there’s that. Um. Which Rose are we rooting for again?

Or wait: is it none of them, because the first Rose died in a doomed timeline, hundreds of panels and a number of years ago?

There’s a tension here which one experiences between saying it’s okay because it’s still the same people, and saying it’s not okay, because it’s not the same people at all. This tension is exactly what we’re meant to wrestle with. To put it another way, Homestuck asks if identity can work in aggregate. Are all Johns John, all Roses Rose, and do they all share in what they accomplish? Or are the final victors only accidents created by the whims and needs of the frog baby machine?

What I’m saying, basically, is that the retcon, in the sense that it pointed out our confused relationship with these characters, was already here.

In interviews and questions put to him over the years, Hussie constantly compares HS and SBURB to other video games, particularly Mario, which he frequently returns to as a baseline of comparison that most of his readers will know. One answer, from a recent Hiveswap interview, is particularly revelatory. To the question of “Why do you kill off all your characters?” Hussie replies:

[…]HS is supposedly a story that is also a game. In games, the characters die all the time. How many times did you let Mario fall in the pit before he saved the princess? Who weeps for these Marios. In games your characters die, but you keep trying and trying and rebooting and resetting until finally they make it. When you play a game this process is all very impersonal. Once you finally win, when all is said and done those deaths didn’t “count”, only the linear path of the final victorious version of the character is considered “real”. Mario never actually died, did he? Except the omniscient player knows better. HS seems to combine all the meaningless deaths of a trial-and-error game journey with the way death is treated dramatically in other media, where unlike our oblivious Mario, the characters are aware and afraid of the many deaths they must experience before finally winning the game.

The big man hass the answer.

Homestuck is the story of those dead Marios.

Other works, like Undertale, have engaged with this topic as well. But one of the major differences between Undertale and Homestuck is that in Undertale, between “lives,” one’s consciousness is preserved. In Homestuck, it’s discontinuous, and the value of the overall trial-error process is called into question by the fact that you, the player, may not even get to experience the victory. What meaning does victory hold if that is the case?

So, to put it in a nice thesis format:

One of the central themes of Homestuck is the challenge of reconciling an arbitrary and destructive pattern of growth and victory with the death and suffering you experienced along the way. Homestuck asks: is victory worthwhile if you’re not you anymore? And would you be able to know?

What even is the self? Is there such a thing?

If you were left feeling somewhat disconcerted by our heroes’ tidy victory and departure to their cosmic prize, or by how which Rose gets the spotlight is so deeply, deeply arbitrary, there’s a good reason for that. You’re supposed to be.

The philosophical problem of Wacky Cat Rose is insignificant next to the bullshit of SBURB.

And don’t forget—John and Roxy’s denizens helped them achieve the retcon. Ultimately, the victory they achieved was mediated by the same amoral system of SBURB, and was a victory over an enemy, Caliborn, whose power was created, perpetuated, and ended by that same system.

Okay, so here’s where it gets contentious. There’s an argument to be made, which I’m not sure how I feel about, that some of the character development that could have been in post-retcon Act 6 was left out precisely to push this feeling and play up this tension. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that they were deliberately badly written, but that they’re deliberately written to make us uneasy.That Hussie deliberately played with the balance between making these retconned characters feel familiar and making them feel eerily different to leave us feeling uneasy with the result.

I’m not sure I like that idea. It smacks a little too much of that “everything is perfect” thinking that comes sometimes from the far Metastuck camp. Some of the differences may also be the result of flawed writing. (See: Jane and Jake’s character arcs, which I might talk about later.) And I want to be able to critique those flaws. Ultimately, I think we still needed more time and development to figure out who these new people were—even if our goal was ultimately to compare them to their earlier selves. And again, more conscious acknowledgement of the problem from our heroes—especially John, the linchpin in this last and biggest act of duplication—might have helped drive this theme home.

Still, I think the Problem of Dead Marios is one of the most fundamental questions of Homestuck, maybe THE biggest question. It’s essential to understand it to understand what Hussie’s doing—or attempting to do— in the retcon and the ending.

I don’t know that Homestuck offers us a clear answer to that question. There are some confusions around the issue, too. Where do merged selves fit in, exactly? Clearly they’re a big part of the discussion, because Hussie spends some time in Act 6, especially near the end bringing the identity-merging powers of the Sprites to the forefront. (See also: the identity-merged nightmare that is Lord English.)  Can we even come up with a clear answer to what it means when a dead Mario returns to life grotesquely fused with Toad? How does he beat the game? Does he tell himself that the princess is in another castle? Or what if he merges with Peach? Are they their own princess? How do they know if they’re in the right castle?

Um. Anyway—

Interestingly, it’s not all grotesque—spritesplosions suggest that personalities that are too different don’t stay together long, so a fusion might rely on some inherent compatibility between the two players. Erisol’s self-loathing, sure, but also Fefeta’s cheerfulness. Davepeta seems to be a way of bringing out the best in their players, a way of getting Davesprite past his angst and Nepeta past her fear. Honestly, I know a lot of people don’t like Davepeta as the ending of these two characters’ arcs, but I can’t help but love it. They’re the ultimate coolkid. Cool enough to know they don’t have to be cool. Regular Dave got there, too, of course. But was his retcon assist from John ultimately any different?

Then, of course, we come to Davepeta’s speech to Jade in one of the last few updates before Collide. Davepeta suggests that there is such a thing as an ultimate self beyond the many different selves one piles up throughout the cosmos. A set of principles that describes who you are that’s larger than any individual instance of you. Your inherent Mariohood. (Maybe this is comparable to your Classpect identity, which attempts to describe who you are?) Davepeta even tells Jade, strikingly, that one might learn to see beyond the barriers between selves. Be the ur-self, in practice, rather than theory. This would be incredible news for Jade, who wrestles with the issue of different selves perhaps more than any other character. (There’s a lot to say about Jade.)

Honestly, I wish this ur-self idea had been developed more, and I honestly expected it to be. It doesn’t fully come to fruition, I feel. (Same goes for Davepeta’s character. Ohhhh, ZING!) I’m not sure it entirely makes philosophical sense, especially with fusion—I mean, doesn’t Davepeta themself disprove it? Or at least complicate it? Like, are they part of the ur-Dave or the ur-Nepeta? They seem to imply they’re BOTH? Does that even work? Does that mean that Marieach is all the Peaches and Marios at once?

(In fact, Bowser/Peach/Mario are but the three manifestations of one eternal principle. Also, Bowser/Peach are the true power couple. Read my fanfiction plz.)

And what, say, of Dirk, who ultimately ends up rejecting aspects of his other selves? It feels like there’s a lot more you could say here, and I wonder if Hussie would have said more, if he’d had time. What’s weird is, none of our victorious kids never reach an ur-self (though to their descendants, they become archetypal to some degree), which one might have expected. They’re just individual selves who happened to get lucky. Does that make them representative of the whole? It feels like something’s missing here, or like something got dropped at the last minute.

Same goes for the idea of the Ultimate Riddle. You’d be forgiven for missing it, but there’s been this riddle in the background lore of SBURB that seems to have something to do with personal agency in this overwhelming, overarching system. Karkat called it predestination, saying something like “ANY HOPE YOU HAD OF DOING THINGS OTHERWISE WAS JUST A RUSE.” But others have interpreted it more positively. My favorite interpretation, from bladekindeyewear: the answer to the Riddle is that YOU shape the timeline through your existence, personality, and choices, even when it looks like it’s all predestination. Ultimately it’s your predestination, your set of events, based deeply on your nature, that you are creating. Someone like Caliborn can use his innate personality to achieve power; someone like John might be able to use it to achieve freedom.

I definitely expected something like that to be expressed more explicitly. Like, a big ah-ha moment that helps John or Jade or whoever understand how to escape Caliborn’s system. Something like that would have been very helpful for a lot of our heroes, actually, who’ve been pushed around by Skaia and SBURB together, in finding a cathartic ending.  Once again, I wonder if something was dropped or rushed because there wasn’t time to put it all in. There’s places where you can see hints of that Answer being implied, maybe? But it’s kind of ambiguous.

You can see how the Answer to the Ultimate Riddle ties into some of Davepeta’s ideas. If your personality, the rules of your behavior are a fundamental archetype that goes beyond each individual self, then the answer to whether it matters if one self of yours makes it through to victory is an emphatic YES. You are all of those people, and by winning one round with Skaia, you’ve won the whole game, despite all the arbitrary challenges and deaths it heaps upon you along the way.

This may strike some as too positive for Skaia’s brutality, or again, some way of excusing flaws in many characters’ arcs, or unfair things that happen to them. To be fair, I don’t know that Davepeta’s necessarily meant to be taken as authoritative or the voice of Hussie. They may simply be offering a purrspective.

Hussie not choosing to come right out and engage with the Ultimate Riddle leaves the question of Dead Marios and what they mean for the victorious versions of our cast very open. I like that in some ways—let the reader decide—but I can’t help but wish we had more to work with in making that decision. Plus, it might have brought the thematic messages of Homestuck all the way home to tie them more closely to our characters and their experiences—character development being one of the things most people found most lacking in the ending.

NEXT TIME: All that wacky gnostic stuff probably

characterization, filters, and characterization to be found in the lack of filters

Talking about Jane earlier got me thinking, you know, Jane is not at all the only character that uses this device to show off the less desirable traits lurking in the psyche of all these damaged teens. Like. So many characters have these lurking deep seated issues that stay hidden deep down because the characters are pretty good at projecting a less damaged and more together version of themselves. 

If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s a fucking outrageously relatable quality and part of what makes the Homestuck characters RESONATE so much. Why they feel like they have all this dimension and depth that makes us grab on to them and never want to let go. 

I’m just going to run through some examples here while I’m thinking about it. The first OBVIOUSLY since thinking about her is what got me going on this – Jane. Crockertier Jane removing the layers of self-imposed filter on Jane’s festering insecurity, entitlement issues, jealousy and so on. I’ve already talked enough about that today.

Grimbark Jade! You notice Jade says what she’s thinking WAY more easily while she’s mind controlled, and she still sounds like herself – she sounds kinda like she does when she’s owning Karkat repeatedly, doesn’t she? Because angry Jade has that same effect of pushing her nice girl filter aside and letting the angry witch (not a cutesy slur, her literal witch class) within fly free. Grimbark Jade tells us that behind that nice girl front Jade Harley actually thinks some pretty uncharitable thoughts sometimes, she just keeps a tight fucking lid on it because – well, don’t most people? Relatable as fuck. 

Jadesprite! Since we’re talking about Jade anyway. Jade likes to think she has everything together, that her visions from Skaia and her scientific prowess and the tools her Grandpa left her are more than enough to handle everything that comes her way, she’s independent, she’s capable, she’s certainly never LONELY oh no of course not certainly never CRUSHINGLY OVERWHELMED by the responsibility of her own existence nah those are weak feelings for weak girls who aren’t as awesome as Jade! And then – Jadesprite. Why do you think Jade got SO ANGRY at Jadesprite? Because she was being confronted with something she knew deep down was a reflection of weaknesses in herself (totally normal ones that her later arc reinforced were a mistake to pretend weren’t there – Loneliness and fear and regret are all tied in with Jade’s character progression and learning how to deal with those things is where I imagine her arc would have gone if Homstuck’s ending hadn’t been the literary equivalent of chopping off a limb and cauterizing the wound.) Jadesprite is Jade without the filter of implacable strength Jade imposes on herself to fuckin cope with living on a hell island with the stuffed corpse of her grandpa who she grew up thinking literally killed himself at BEST.  god damn

Davesprite. Dave Strider with a slow long agonizing depressing arc wherein he realizes his coolkid persona won’t make anyone think of him as their best friend anymore, and in the absence of the security that persona afforded him when he was The Real Dave he has no idea what to do with himself. He’s lost, he feels aimless, untethered, incapable of being happy – and yes, Davesprite is his own character, but you can still infer a lot from Dave’s character about him – for instance, how he completely ties his self worth up in how useful he is to his friends or how worthwhile they find him and has no idea how to even BEGIN the hard journey of looking within for worth instead of relying eternally on changeable external sources. Davesprite is Dave not WITHOUT a filter but certainly with a VERY DIFFERENT one.

Homestuck does this with almost every single damn character on its roster at some point. Shows a version of them with a different or lesser or completely missing filter to highlight flaws and issues and internal struggles of all kinds. 

Homestuck is a damn deep dive into an exercise about analyzing nature vs nurture and what we’re predisposed to do and what comes from within and what is put upon us by forces out of our control, and how that line is blurry and messy and everyone has the potential to be either the worst or best version of themselves. Even Caliborn was given a choice. Hussie-The-Character explained it to him at great painstaking length. 

There are so many other examples. Jasprose is Rose without a filter, and the way Jasprose goes around gleefully calling every hot girl she sees hot and delighting smugly in knowing more than just about anyone else and lording over the information and playing smarter-than-thou games – that tells us a LOT about Rose! A LOT about what sort of urges Rose tamps down on every day in an effort to just be fucking cool! 

I bet you have things like this with yourself, right? Doesn’t everyone?

Tricksters! Look at how they act. They’re not themselves but there is plenty to glean from them. Jane immediately goes for Jake, the object of her desire, to pursue an exaggerated version of her idealized future. Trickster Jake is a passive fucking ragdoll who immediately acquiesces to everything everyone demands of him because their happiness becomes his happiness – Jake hates confrontation, so Trickster Jake is just a fucking doormat. Roxy goes for Jake AND Dirk because divorced from the guilt she normally feels for harboring desire toward either one of them she knows exactly what she wants! ETC ETC. Of course they would never do any of this shit if they weren’t high as balls and incapable of understanding the meaning of the word “consequence.” That’s the point. Seeing what they do in this situation is an interesting window in!

Brain Ghost Dirk is a version of Jake (yes, of Jake, not Dirk) without a specific filter Jake runs his own personality through before he’s comfortable presenting it to others, and you’ll notice, it’s EXTREMELY biting and critical sometimes. Jake knows what he’s about. He just buries it most of the time because that’s easier than dealing with it. 

I could seriously keep going. 

Homestuck loves to show us what our favorites do and say and ARE when basic filters go out the window. Those filters that most of us employ to make other people believe we don’t all have intrusive thoughts or bad desires or just plain old weaknesses we’re ashamed of and want to keep hidding at costs – or that we occasionally think things or think about doing things we would never ever ever do in real life are demolished or changed or temporarily suspended. 

It’s brilliant tbh. It lets us see facets of characters that would normally never really get full spotlight reveals by their very nature, especially with protagonists. 

Vriska vs (Vriska) – (Vriska) is just Vriska with some more self awareness and more willingness to let down her self-imposed filter and actually examine the shit she wants and why because watching Aranea fuck the timeline over out of motivations eerily similar to her own hardcore shook her enough to develop in that direction. (which makes sense since HER original motivations are copying Mindfang who IS alt-aranea lmao I love Homestuck)  (Vriska) is still Vriska, it’s just a very very different lens through which to view her character. 

blah blah blah blah etc there are so many examples

anyway I love Homestuck and good character writing what up

Act 1 on Reality

John expects reality to conform with his symbol language. A tree in a kid’s yard MUST have a tire swing to be authentic (1927). “A fire BELONGS in a FIREPLACE” (1950).  “ A father without a pipe is like a strapping roughneck without a toothpick. That is to say, HE IS A RATHER PISS-POOR EXCUSE FOR A ROUGHNECK IF YOU ASK ME.” (1970)

The meta-textual winking in the comic is a distraction. When John knocks over his Nana’s ashes, John understands his mistake to be a “virtual certainty” (1953) because he views the event to be the actualization of a cinematic trope. That is a character moment. That is how John sees the world.

TANGENTIAL: In the living rooom, John comments that he should “exhaust all possibilities before plunging into a DAD encounter” (1979). This is the attitude of a gamer finishing every quest in the game before facing the final boss. Earlier, John took the time to inform us that pipes are his dad symbol. So when the final boss on LOWAS is in a lair covered in pipes, we can see that John’s very concept of ultimate conflict involves confronting his dad.

This attitude is stated most concisely at the fireplace: “As domestic myth of unaccountable origin holds, a home borrows the spirit of the flame for as long as it makes a guest of it” (1950). For John, there is an essence of flame, an idea of flame, that is eternal. Every fire John has seen is simply an instance of an ideal fire-object burning away in the elsewhere. This is essential Plato’s theory of forms, but in the language of a kid who thinks movies reveal that higher reality.


I’m grappling with what this implies about putting the bunny back in the box. Dave’s gift introduces the word “authenticity” into the story, and putting the bunny back in the box clearly takes on a ritual significance for John. I don’t know what the ritual means though.

The boxes themselves tell part of the story. Jade sends her rabbit in a green box – a dead ringer for the Perfect Generic Object, marking its contents as a fundamental idea, an indivisible unit of reality. Yet Jade’s package contains the most complicated version of the rabbit, augmented through several iterations.

Is the augmented rabbit closer to it’s essential symbolic reality? Does it mean a complex idea becomes basic over time? Not sure, but I’ll keep an eye out.

OTCHS FOLLOW-UP #1: HEARTS AND MINDS

So, Tumblr seems to have eaten the message, but re: my last post about the nature of the self, someone messaged me pointing out that I completely neglected to mention the Heart aspect, which basically represents the very thing I was talking about: the ur-Self! Which inspired some great reflections, so let’s touch on that before I drop eleven pages of Gnosticism on you later tonight. If that was you, please let me know so I can give you credit!

EDIT: Ah, I figured it out! It was homeschool-winner! Thank you for the terrific message! :)

So, in the past I wasn’t much for classpect analysis ‘cause I kinda saw people trying to use them predicatively, like “this will happen because Character X has Y classpect,” and there was always just such a wide range of interpretations available that any claim to certainty seemed a bit dubious. But now that Homestuck’s over, I find I’m fond of them, not as predictors but as tools for understanding all the weird symbols in Homestuck’s hyperflexible mythology.

I totally agree that Heart represents the Ur-Self. It clearly represents the soul, as Calliope tells us, and we see it on full display with Dirk’s ability to suck out souls (and put them in something else). He’s the Destroyer of Souls, and possibly also a destroyer by means of souls (by accidentally creating the Calsoul and thus Lord English? By duplicating his soul in the form of AR/Hal, whose soul is real enough to be part of a kernelsprite and the Calsoul?) Dirk fucks things up with/for souls. That’s pretty clear.

But these souls also seem to carry enough of their person’s qualities to represent their Ur-Self. LE certainly has qualities of all the people in the Calsoul. It seems pretty reasonable to interpret Heart as relating to people’s Self. That would make Dirk someone who destroys or suppresses Selfhood. Makes sense; Bro was certainly able to suppress Dave’s self, as we see it emerging by the ending. And LE’s Hal definitely comes out in Doc Scratch’s manipulations, which serve to rob others of their agency. So it checks out.

I really love the way souls are represented in the SBURB Glitch FAQ/Replay Value AU (which is an awesome AU, btw, y’all should check it out), where they’re nicknamed shinies, and basically everything has one. They’re the code for rocks or grass or game objects or people, and Heart Players can mess with them as one of their means of exploiting the game engine to compensate for bugs like the debug menu in a Bethesda Game. It’s awesome.

Imagine a game engine that calls up individual manifestations of you, which behave like different entities but they’re all called from one base file that’s copied and modified for different circumstances. That might be the kind of game we’re working with here.

But no classpect is ever just one thing, right? That’s what’s fascinating about them, they’re often multiple meanings fused fluidly together. Light is Luck, but also Information, Knowledge. Even Time and Space have subtler qualities. So I think we need to look at the Leijons as well.

When we first hear about Heart, it seems like it might be a silly, power of heart aspect, right? Because we (all too easily) dismiss Nepeta, and see Heart as just meaning love, meaning Nepeta’s shipping.

But I’m gonna say that Shipping, Self, and Agency all roll together into one concept called Heart. By pairing people up, Nepeta is exploring compatibilities among archetypal versions of people. Terezi fits with Dave in some ways, and Vriska in others. A Rogue of Heart might be able to move people around to their benefit to find better combinations. (A Thief of Heart would of course ship people for her own benefit rather than theirs, a classic seducer and heartbreaker…but maybe she’d also be someone who could steal a literal soul.) Meulin does this too, but more directly, as matchmaker more than shipper (the Mage at work). Heck, I think Davepeta’s very existence is a strong argument for this, right? The fusion of Nepeta and Davesprite’s souls created one hell of a positive, affirming combination. Like a bird and cat-themed Garnet. Meanwhile LE’s souls amplify a monster.

So yeah, in Homestuck Heart means: Soul + Self + Agency over Events+ Compatibility + Love.

Thinking about Heart also got me thinking, interestingly, about Mind. They’re an obvious aspect pair, right? One is the soul and one is the brain, duh. But I was never able to explain them on a larger level than that.

And then just now I got it. Because Mind in Homestuck means Choice. We see this everywhere in Homestuck. Terezi’s Mind abilities allow her to see what choices people will make and how to get the best results from them, to the point where she can use people’s choices to defy luck. Her retcon arc (which I will talk about in so, so much depth later) is about rewriting her own choices, or really giving herself the freedom to make new ones. Meanwhile, Latula uses her own choices as a shield but can easily interpret the choices her peers made as the Ancestors.

So, like Time and Space, Light and Void, and so on, Heart and Mind are a balanced pair where the further you go from one, the closer you move into the other. Heart is your Self and your role in the cosmos altogether. Mind is the individual choices you make to differentiate yourself from all your other selves! Heart is what’s consistent across all timelines, Mind is what makes individual timelines exist! Heart is Dave-ness; Mind is the difference between Doomed Dave, Dave, and Davesprite. Heart is what’s unchangable about you; Mind is what’s changing. Every self matters, but so, too, does the eternal Self

You could almost think of it as if Heart’s your base stats in a video game, and Mind’s the stat boosts you gain a long the way. Say, Pokemon. I bet Terezi would be really good at EV training. >:)

Hell, this even gets spelled out for us! Remember how Karkat introduced the concept of different game sessions to us?

CG: TRY TO THINK MORE ABSTRACTLY.
CG: THINK ABOUT VIDEO GAMES.
CG: WHAT’S AN EARTH GAME YOU LIKED TO PLAY?
CG: NAME ONE.
EB: ummmm…
EB: crash bandicoot?
CG: OK I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS, BUT I HAVE A FEELING IT’S A REALLY LAME EXAMPLE, BUT THAT’S FINE, IT’S NOT THE POINT.
CG: SO LET’S SAY YOU PLAY YOUR BANDICOOT AND I PLAY MY BANDICOOT.
CG: THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME BANDICOOT, SAME APPEARANCE AND DESIGN AND BEHAVIORS.
CG: BUT THEY ARE STILL COMPLETELY SEPARATE BANDICOOTS ON SEPARATE SCREENS.
CG: SO WE BOTH HAVE OUR OWN ASS BANDICOOTS TO OURSELVES, THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT.
CG: OUR JACKS ARE THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT TOO.
CG: SAME GUY, DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES AND OUTCOMES.

Think of all the Dersites and Prospitians, and all the different roles they take on. Jack and all his gang and even WV and PM at different points in their history. Funnily enough, in many ways the players of the Game have a lot in common with its NPCs.

We are all our own individual Bandicoot, yet still part of the much larger Bandicoot that makes us who we are.

Which means that Heart and Mind aren’t just any other aspects. They tie very directly into one of the biggest thematic concerns of Homestuck itself!

That’s so freaking cool!

So yeah, thanks so much for this insight! :D

(PS: Also, I really dug the point that the ur-Self could be described as the Platonic Self, that the “archetypes” I keep talking about really resemble Plato’s theory of Forms. A connection that’s worth checking out, especially when Dirk, Prince of Heart  has the username timaeustestified, a reference to a major Platonic Dialogue. Dirk is the Platonic Form. It’s him. Thanks for that insight, too!)

Alrighty so me and my love are watching an Act 6 Intermission 3 of homestuck. (As a memory refreshers we’re where you travel as Meenah)
Specifically we are watching Kankri go on and on to Karkat, and honestly

He has valid points. I find his entire conversation (so far) entirely true. He goes overboard with the worry of triggers (and that’s coming from me) but he has valid reasoning.

The microagressions from the beforus trolls did manifest into the Alternian trolls in many ways. That’s how the history of Alternia really came to be. If you skipped the conversation (or forgot/glance through it) so it’s bringing up valid points how the higher up you go on spectrum the more privilege they had and how they could abuse their lifespans to shape society how they wished to.

I don’t know, I just find it very interesting how it all works. Hell, I can’t help but find how he’s right on how problematic it could be to refer to trolls as “mutants”, “rustbloods” or other slang terms. It makes me think of how in their society these microagressions are more likely to impact then I realized at first.

I’ll probably follow up with more thoughts later but hey, this is why I don’t mind Kankri. Pushing pass his (sometimes really annoying) flaws, he’s an intelligent being capable of seeing and understanding the society around him.

laeranu  asked:

Could you do an analysis of the Heir of Light, please?

Ahhh! I’m so excited for this one, it has some of THE MOST AWESOME POWERS EVER! And I actually know an Heir of Light in person (but he’s an asshole).

Heirs become, inherit, and protect with their Aspect and are protected by it. John, as the Heir of Breath, becomes Breath/wind quite frequently in the story line once he figures out how to do it. He uses it to escape Bec Noir and Grimbark Jade primarily and this also ties into the protect part of Heirs. Not only do they purposely defend themselves with their Aspect, like John does by turning into wind, but they tend to be protected by their Aspect of its own volition. Example, the gust of wind that blew out the Consort village fire conveniently on John’s planet. As for inheriting, John inherits freedom, a part of Breath, from the story line by getting his retcon powers.

Light is about knowledge and luck or fortune, as well as actual light of course. This also happens to be an Aspect that I have oft looked upon with a touch of jealousy, being a knowledge-obsessed Sylph. (It also happens in a beautiful contrivance of coincidence that the first person I ever fell in love with was a Seer of Light, just like my God Tier namesake, Kanaya.)
That aside, with three prominent Light players to work from, we have a very comprehensive view of this Aspect, which in and of itself is a beautiful expression of the essence of Light! A great similarity of all Light players is their determination to be visible and listened to. Vriska with her (frankly annoying) obsessive clawing back to plot relevance, Aranea with trying to take control of the entire plot and become alive once more (though you could argue this as Serket Spotlight Obsessive Disorder), and last but not least Rose with her preaching at people concerning complex topics. Also, all three of them exhibited a great interest in history, even Vriska with Mindfang’s journals, despite being the least-scholarly of the Light players. It should also be noted that both Vriska and Rose could see within the white cue ball, which I think is at least partially attributable to their Aspect, even if Vriska had Vision Eightfold and Rose was a Seer. I think those facts simply back up their strong connection to Light since all SBURB players are fated to play the game, and as such, have many facets in their life that relate to the game, even before they knew it existed.
But to speak more broadly of Light, it covers everything to do with fortune as well as knowledge and where those two concepts overlap. In games is where the overlap can be most easily seen, since people are long-arguing over how much of any given game is luck and how much is skill or knowledge.

As such, an Heir of Light would become, inherit, and protect with Light as well as be protected by Light. Sounds downright awe inspiring to me.
On a literal level, an Heir of Light could summon light, like making the sun break through the clouds on a stormy day, as well as wield it in an truly awesome fashion…light bending. The Heir of Light could blind or seriously burn enemies or objects with concentrated beams of light, also just deflect it in a manner so as to cause their enemies confusion, or simply bounce off reflective surfaces to entertain their cat. As for becoming Light, the Heir of Light could shape shift into a burning supernova that could blind or burn to dust anyone in a near vicinity or streak around like a supersonic firefly/fairy-like zip of Light. I always have an image in my head of an Heir of Light lighting up like Aang in Avatar; glowing eyes and a glowing mouth as they turn into a dangerous radiance. Whether the Heir could become different types of light, say black light, I don’t know. I think it wouldn’t be very likely since the symbol for Light is the sun. I’d restrict it to sunlight/UV and MAYBE pure white light. But white light might be too close to looking like Hope.
But practically and as far as passive effects and being surrounded by their Aspect, lightbulbs might have abnormally long lifespans around the Heir, days may be disproportionately sunny or there might just be few stormy days; they would very likely live somewhere tropical or with year-round sunlight. Also, they might just never get sunburnt, maybe even be able to look at the sun a fraction longer than most people before being in pain. I could even see them liking mirrors inexplicably or other reflective/shiny things, because of their natural tendency toward their Aspect. A magpie would be a cool pet/Sprite/Lusus for an Heir of Light.

Anyway, after that mind-blowing paragraph of incredible powers, we get to the knowledge and fortune side of Light. But that’s not to belittle this part of Light, it has its own great perks, too.

To start with inheriting, a way the Heir could inherit knowledge is by inheriting or living in a residence with a substantial library of books on a wide variety of topics, regardless of the state of the rest of the house. Also, it could be a computer or hard drive or memory stick with an ancestor or deceased guardian’s extensive life work of studying something. As for fortune, if you’re a fan of puns (like me) the Heir could literally /inherit a fortune/, as in money or artifacts/items worth a great deal of wealth. It could even be a profitable business. This would also count partially as being surrounded by knowledge and/or fortune.
More importantly, the Heir of Light would have impeccable luck, they really ought to take up gambling, because Light will protect them as well as the fact that they have the benefit of being naturally surrounded by luck since they’re an Heir. They would never get hit by falling things, somehow they would always miss the Heir, even if it seemed to be a head-on collision course. I could see this being incredibly useful in combat, making it nigh impossible for any harm to come to the Heir. And the passive effects of this good luck field, as well as deliberate protection by the Heir, would extend to the Heir’s team, making SBURB all that much safer. And of course, the Heir of Light would probably sail through their Land’s quest with relative ease, except for any parts designed specifically to challenge the Heir or teach them an important lesson. I could especially see something of that nature being part of a particularly arrogant Heir of Light’s Land. While most Heirs are generally unaware of the passive effects of their Aspect, an Heir of Light would be abnormally inclined to realize their auspicious good fortune and become quite cocky about it.
As for protection by/with knowledge, the Heir of Light might read a book or article on how to bandage wounds efficiently just on a whim one day and then happen across someone who’s been in an accident and needs that very knowledge later. They also might just be one of those people who just know something about almost everything, a renaissance person of sorts so they’d be good to have in a lot of situations just because of the off chance that they’ll know something useful, this is how they’d be protected by knowledge. Knowledge they’d need in the future might even seek them out so the Heir would learn it without them realizing that knowledge tends to come to them. I think they’d find a lot of lost book or flash drives or other such items.

That’s pretty much it for an Heir of Light! Their combat abilities would be mostly literal Light-based, as I mentioned above. But in conjunction with Heirs having parent/Dad problems, I could see them having very intense and frustrating discussions or even arguments with their parental unit on theoretical or other knowldge-centered topics, like professors arguing over theories.

Well, that’s all for this one! I really liked this analysis and I hope you all enjoy it and find it helpful. Have a lovely day!

~Sylph of Space

So I was watching this with my girlfriend: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mqwyLKCET98

And I started thinking on how rough everyone got it and I said out loud “Why can’t they just be happy?” And actually started to tear up thinking about how rough everyone’s life was

Rose was talked into committing suicide and and being controlled by tentacled demons hijacking her mental state

Dirk committed suicide via chopping off his head. He did it for his friends without a second thought. It was probably a mix of protecting them and his own incredible self hate that made it so easy

Davesprite and Lil Hal have it so rough. They woke up one day and suddenly they weren’t the “real” Dave or Dirk
Davesprite spent 3 months in Sburb with 2 friends dead. He went through with a plan where his sister and only friend would stop existing. He is from a doomed timeline and “dead Daves are the enemy”. He is all alone and feels like he was a mistake, that he shouldn’t exist

Lil Hal was Dirk who woke up in a deprivation chamber and never got out. Nobody treated him like he was his own person, they wanted the “real” Dirk, not the Dirk who actually had time for them

Fuck, man, sadstuck is harsh

hey guys heres a terrifying thought

homestuck, john dies at the end, and the adventure zone all have weirdly similar fanbases that are, in some cases, nearly impossible to tell apart

fanon dirk 1: hypermasculine supercool dude, always in control, always composed, probably drawn muscular, may or may not be an abuser
fanon dirk 2: soft, delicate, sweet boy who flinches at loud noises and just wants to grow plants, probably drawn with droopy eyelashes, may or may not be mute
fanon dirk 3: bites into an orange whole, tries to eat grass and become a horse, just check the dirkjohn tag, that’s the dirk i’m talking about
canon dirk: at this point i just do not know.