Thinking about Papyrus a lot lately and I actually feel bad for him. He seems like a character – perhaps the only character – you don’t need to feel bad for. He’s so lively and it takes so little to make him happy. But then he has moments like saying that no one else has ever liked his spaghetti when you claim you’ve eaten it, or referring to making a friend by giving them “terrible puzzles”.
I’ve half convinced myself he is amnesiac – there’s definitely something anyway, because he’s not incapable of learning but he barely knows anything. Even with the spaghetti the problem is who he’s learning from.
I don’t think he wants to give people terrible spaghetti, precisely, he just… doesn’t have anything else to give (except kindness, optimism and support but he gives them constantly and doesn’t value what he’s giving). And he wants so desperately to give something.
Some of the endings are interesting, for the insight into his character.
The King Papyrus one most obviously, where he’s not only uncertain of himself but makes sure Sans is out of the room before admitting it.
But also the one where Undyne winds up on their couch. He’s so quick to assure you he’s totally fine, even if he doesn’t know what to do with his life, he’s just worried about Undyne. But he’s probably having a bit of an identity crisis (how much of his life was based around trying to get into the royal guard?) at the same time as now dealing with two depressed monsters sharing his home.
And then there’s the one where Toriel is exiled back to the ruins and Sans and Papyrus befriend her and visit a lot. They convince her to leave if someone watches for humans and Papyrus loves it. It’s cute, and also kind of interesting, that this apparently replaces his ambitions for the royal guard. He doesn’t really mind whether he’s protecting humans from monsters or monsters from humans he just wants to protect someone from something.
Post-pacifist fics tend to have him remain very much the same, and yet he’s maybe the character I’d expect to change most, because so much of his character seems to be rooted in what he doesn’t know. Learning about the world, learning things from someone other than Undyne… I don’t think he’s going to be obsessed with spaghetti and the royal guard forever, although he’ll probably always want to nurture and protect people.