Steve Huston is one of the best artists and teachers of our time. His advice has been helping me figure out how I should approach making art and why I create art in the first place.
In this interview, Steve Huston talks about how to grow as an artist, how to develop a unique style, how to find what calls to you, and much more. It’s a mighty 106 minute conversation filled with golden nuggets. Don’t miss this one.
Princess Shokora is a fantastic character and everything you need to know about her is right there in Wario Land 4. In this article I’ll go through every appearance she has - as chronologically as possible - and talk about the merits of the character that are evidenced through the game’s content and presentation.
#0 – 14-YEAR-OLD SPOILERS
Before I get started on anything else, something has to be established so that the rest of the article makes sense to those unfamiliar:
These three are the same person. They’re all Princess Shokora, the former two being her in her cursed state, the third being her true form. Just making sure of this now so that the rest of this article is cohesive. The Shopkeeper in the centre there is shown on-screen to turn into the cat, and the cat is shown turning into Shokora. This frees me up to explain the rest.
As for how this happened, I’ll let the game’s instruction manual explain. This is the only time in this article where I’ll use a source from outside of the game’s content itself:
“Cursed sleep” isn’t exactly correct. Princess Shokora was actually cursed to take on another form, but I take this as inaccuracy on behalf of the newspaper, who must not have known about the exact nature of the spell. Regardless, Princess Shokora was cursed by the Golden Diva. With those details out of the way, let’s proceed.
#1 - SHOKORA THE STRAY
Let’s start with the intro. Here is every shot in the skippable pre-title cutscene.
Now, for specifics…
There she is! Right off the bat, Shokora’s in the first frame in the game, appearing in an alleyway. In general, it’s worth noting that before Wario Land 4, Wario’s base environments were more fantasy-oriented, living in castles, burgling pirate islands and flying around in a small biplane. Here though, it establishes that Wario now lives in a city. What this means for Shokora is told in the next shot:
Cardboard boxes, trash cans and other stray animals such as this dog. Shokora’s been living rough! Life as an alley cat has probably worn her down, as we can tell by how angry she looks in the next shot that she’s in, after Wario begins driving his car.
This particular sprite of the black cat isn’t used anywhere else in the game, so it isn’t as if this was the only walk made for her and the expression was more justified in another circumstance. No, the angered look to her implies how she feels as a whole, given that there isn’t anybody or anything for her to interact with. Her typical mood is implied through this scene-exclusive graphic.
I’d say this demonstrates a fear of being run over by a car, but… Well, I think every living being has that, really, let’s move on.
A newspaper then blows into Shokora’s face…
…Which she then reads. If she’s able to and willing to read the article, and stops to do so, this immediately states that despite now having the body of a cat, Shokora still possesses her own human mind, and has perceived the world like that for as long as she’s been a cat, which makes her homelessness all the sadder as she would retain the memories of what her life was like before the curse. That in itself is evidenced here:
She’s shown reading the article, and two pictures are included of relevant characters. Though they aren’t named or given stated occupations, their character designs and the topic of the paper’s article set their roles. The top photograph is of Dr. Arewo Stein, and based on his comically-styled ‘mad scientist’ appearance, you can deduce that he is the man behind the pyramid’s discovery. Any inclinations of this are confirmed when players see him wandering around the Pyramid’s interior and areas with a magnifying glass.
As for the painting at the bottom, obviously coming into this article you know it’s Shokora, but even without that much, given her clothing you can piece together that whoever it is, she’s meant to be the ruler of the Pyramid that the article mentions. The fact that the article talks of the pyramid’s actual discovery tells that it’s been around for a very long time.
When you bear in mind that Shokora was the ruler of this pyramid that was only recently discovered and contains legendary treasure, and that she’s still alive, you realise that she’s spent life as a stray cat for a depressing length of time.
#2 - MS. GAME & WARIO
Here is the game’s prologue, as I suppose it can be called. This is shown after a new save file is created and isn’t skippable.
Wario begins by finding the pyramid in the jungle and celebrates his discovery. He then enters the pyramid and goes through a corridor to find the black cat.
Shokora leads him through to the next room…
…and down this hole, ensuring him that the way is safe. This friendly approach and direction assures the player that the black cat is their ally. If you know and bear in mind her true identity, it becomes apparent that Shokora doesn’t protest Wario’s exploration of the pyramid, most likely in hopes that he will help her overcome the Golden Diva, who is referenced for the first time in-game in the next shot.
Take notice of the kabuki masks on either side of the chute’s entrance. While the player won’t yet know it, these mark the first of the Diva’s recurring appearances.
Here we also get the pleasure of listening to the first of Wario’s many 'WAAAAAAH!’s whenever he’s flung to another location. Wonderful.
This next shot shows a giant wall carving with an open mouth and a large tongue…
…which acts as a safe slide for Wario to enter the pyramid’s depths. This detail is actually pretty important considering who led him here, as you’ll see later.
For now, Wario has made it inside the game’s HUB world and can begin his adventure in the Entry Passage.
So, thus far Shokora has found out that Wario’s heading for the pyramid, and has proactively made her way there to help guide him through it. This assigns her with a role wherein she’s taught Wario as a character by sharing her knowledge, but seeing as this sequence is an automated cutscene and is inevitable, this aspect to her doesn’t really concern the player.
…Except it does.
Look, there she is!
These inscriptions not only give the player instructions on how to play the game, but are also placed as contextual aspects of Wario’s world. This not only serves as an indication of Shokora tutoring Wario, but it’s also relevant to the player as, in the process, Shokora is also tutoring them. She doesn’t do this through dialogue or in any way that interferes with the player’s control over Wario, just simple diagrams to explain certain necessary functions that wouldn’t otherwise be self-explanatory, meaning there’s no typical tutorials in any other level in the game.
Shokora ensures that the player is armed with the knowledge to fairly step to any challenges the game presents, and this is themed through Wario being able to read messages left to him on the pyramid’s walls. This is simply brilliant. No animation is played to make Wario stop and turn to Shokora’s hieroglyphs, or anything like that. Wario’s learning happens at the same rate as the player, as their very act of interpreting the graphics equates to a character’s action in their story, and it happens seamlessly.
Of course, either from prior knowledge or the note at the start of this article, you know that it’s Shokora’s cursed state that’s conveyed in the inscriptions, but a first time player would be forgiven for it shrugging off as a simplistic character designed solely for easy tutorial conveyance, or a Mr. Game and Watch look-alike as a cute reference to Nintendo’s history.
It’s when access is granted to the Entry Passage’s boss that this teaching point becomes concrete, and it’s also where it becomes apparent that Shokora wears many hats.
#3 - PRINCESS SHOPORA
Once the Hall of Hieroglyphs is completed, the player moves Wario further into the Entry Passage, where more of the game’s core elements are shown. Here’s where we first get to see how much of a fucking badass Shokora is.
The first thing you come to next is the Mini-Game Shop, which contains three Mini-Games for you to play, as accessed by these… Rocket-robot-arcadey things. You pay coins gathered to the levels to play them, and playing well nets you Frog Medals.
Next along the corridor is the Boss door.
…With this Item Shop just before the boss’ domain, which is there to sell you items to damage the bosses before the clock starts, in exchange for Frog Medals.
Not bad, eh?
As you can see, it’s run by Shokora. This particular one is for Spoiled Rotten only, and features only the weaker four of the Items, which are all weapons with a rainbow pattern. They are the Apple Bomb, Blast Cannon, Vizorman and Bugle.
While you’re in here, Shokora can also give you a free smile.
…Which she’s delighted to do, clearly! I think this speaks for how happy she is to finally have a companion, someone aiding her in her own battle against the Golden Diva. Her enthusiastic dialogue and offer of a smile to him is a good indicator of how grateful she is for his support, which once again backs up how lonely she’s been in the past.
She even seems pretty miffed when you don’t want anything.
Sometimes, before you enter the shop, the black cat will be standing outside, and then run into the shop. Since there’s no trace of the cat once you’re inside, and the only other person in there is the shopkeeper, this is the first clue that they’re one and the same. While we’re here, about that sign…
Believe it or not, this very sign confirms many details about Shokora.
It serves as evidence that Shokora is indeed responsible for the hieroglyphs of the previous level, take note that here she’s demonstrated that she can draw a likeness of her cursed self by way of this sign. Granted, it shows that she’s capable of recreating that likeness, thus giving the hieroglyph observation some backbone.
As well as that, take note of the multiple bright colours this sign has…
…and how much it resembles the rainbow motif on these weapons in the shop. I take this as a sign that Shokora is inventing her own weaponry, as her sign and items have the same decorative theme going on and thus qualifies her as an expert technician. And that she likes rainbows.
In addition, take note of how the sign resembles this unused graphic for another sign:
As you can probably guess, this was supposed to advertise the Mini-Game Shop we saw earlier, but selecting to enter the room on the map brings you straight inside, rather than setting you along a hallway for you to then enter it through a door that this sign would be above. I think this was the only reason that this sign wasn’t used, as it had no place.
Nevertheless, the fact it’s in the exact same style as the other one implies that the Mini-Game Shop, or Game Corner, is also Shokora’s work, which then logically means she’s the creator of the Game-bots as well. In fact, let’s take another look at the room.
Notice how the dialogue box is in a similar style to the speech bubble in the Item Shop, and how the manner of speech is pretty similar to how the shopkeeper speaks. I would say that all of the robotics and inventions in the pyramid’s HUB that are outside of the levels are all Shokora’s own handiwork.
Hell, if you’d been around as long as she has, you’d have time to brush up on your skills, right?
Before we move on, just a quick note that Shokora as the black cat can also randomly appear in the pyramid’s main map HUB. You can’t interact with her when this happens, but it does help the impression along that she’s always in here with you, in the same way as Dr. Arewo Stein is, as mentioned before.
Now, let’s talk about the Shop once it’s expanded.
#4 - ENTER THE BLACK DRAGON
This is the Item Shop for every boss after Spoiled Rotten, featuring four new selections: the Black Dog, Large Lips, Big Fist and Black Dragon. What’s interesting about these is that whereas the other four are weapons, these are powerful transformations that Shokora takes on to fight the boss. As a demonstration, here’s the Black Dragon up against Cractus, guardian of the Legendary Crown.
All of the bosses have weaknesses to a particular transformation, hence why they’re all given the same price. It’s up to the player to decide which form is likely to fare best against which boss. In this case, for example, Cractus is a plant, so it makes sense that the Black Dragon’s fire breath is most effective against him.
The basic thing to take away as it that, given enough Frog Medals, Shokora can take on lethal forms and absolutely pulverize those bosses. Given that the transformations are not a physical item to be given on her behalf, I deduce that the Frog Medals themselves have magical qualities that give her the ability to shapeshift and build weapons. Frog symbols have certainly demonstrated magical capabilities in this game already, such as every time you enter or exit a level.
Indeed, the Frog statues are what create the warp holes to and from the Golden Pyramid. Based on this, I’d say that Shokora needs those Medals out of necessity rather than greed. Money is literally power in this game, and I’ll elaborate on that later on.
And that actually leads me onto another point about why Shokora is such an effective and important character.
It can’t be denied that she’s a total badass; she copes with living rough, builds and handles weaponry, has experience as a rocket scientist and shapeshifts into extremely powerful.forms. But here’s the distinction and what’s important to the player:
She needs you.
Let’s take a look at another boss fight to examplify this point.
This is Cuckoo Condor, the boss of the Ruby Passage and guardian of the Legendary Earrings. As you can see, he has two forms in the fight, Form 1 on the left and Form 2 on the right. They are very different from oneanother in how they’re fought and require different skills learned in the game. If one of them was included but not the other, it would make the fight a lot more shallow and a lot less engaging.
Now, if you choose to battle Cuckoo Condor without enlisting Shokora’s help, he turns from Form 1 to Form 2 when seven pegs of his health bar remain. This is exactly halfway through the fight, as he begins with fourteen pegs in total. Now, let’s take a look at what happens when you have Shokora transform into a Big Fist for the battle.
Now, that’s a massive wallop she just gave him, but what exactly did it do?
That’s right! Shokora can lay down an intense amount of hurt, but she’s never quite strong enough to finish them off. That’s your job.
Look at Cuckoo Condor; He’s left with two pegs, and remains in Form 1. Which means you still need to figure out and execute the attack on Form 1…
…before you’re given Form 2 for the final peg! Game design at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
Regardless of how much more time you have left on that clock upon your
victory, everything you learn is exactly the same as you would’ve had
you gone without Shokora’s support; You figure out the measures you must take and you put them into practice.
What this means for Shokora is that, despite how powerful she can
be, the one to make all the difference is Wario, the avatar of the
Now, just before we get to the game’s finale, I think we should discuss the Sound Room.
#5 - DJ CHOCOLAT
Music is a very important part of Wario Land 4. The soundtrack speeds up and slows down, distorts, diverges, it really does tie itself up in knots, proving to be one of the most dynamic and impressive soundtracks in the history of video games. How is it important to Shokora, though? Let’s see…
These music CDs you can find throughout the levels are WL4′s equivalent of hidden treasures from the past games, having the most in common with those of the first Wario Land. As you can probably guess, they actually function based on their form, and will give you a piece of music to listen to as a bonus if you manage to find one. You can do this by going to the game’s Sound Room, on the main map.
First of all, recognise where it’s located? That’s right! This is where Wario fell in from at the beginning of the game, having slid down the wall carving’s tongue. So, this is where Shokora led him in through, and also where you go to listen to the CDs you find… Keep that in mind.
Welcome to the Sound Room! As you can see, all the game’s CDs are lined up here in rows to represent the passages you found them in. You might think the first time around that this must simply be a Sound Test to listen to the level tracks, but you’d be mistaken. In actual fact, they’re short, experimental songs mainly dabbling in everyday sounds, reworked tracks from the game such as the Puzzle Room theme and Shokora’s boss intro, and a variety of genres. Most of them create a sort of narrative, as you listen. If you’ve never heard them before, just imagine if fever dreams were nothing but audio. They’re absolutely terrific to listen to and are one of the best takes on treasure, serving as both a trophy and an unlockable.
When you start listening to one, you are given the song’s title, album art, and a TV in the top right that plays random two-frame GIFs. Each song features its own animation of someone dressed up as Wario clowning about, and all of them share a common pool of other bizarre things.
…Such as this goofy, bobbing dog head. But the real reason I bring this up is the fact that Shokora someitmes appears in that screen…
…mixing the tracks. This detail is amazing, as it consolidates Shokora’s savviness with technology, but also demonstrates another interest of hers: Making music! If you’re to examine the two animations’ implications, and remember that this room is in the way Shokora let Wario into the pyramid, you can deduce that all the CDs are actually her own creations, not even to speak of the relevence some of the tracks hold in particular.
To properly make some points, I’m going to skip around to different parts of the game.
Wario Land 4 keeps track of high scores, in that it’ll keep a record of how many coins you’ve managed to collect on each level. If you manage to collect over 10,000 coins, you’ll earn a Gold Crown for the level.
If you manage to do this with all 18 levels, a new option will open up in the Sound Room.
Yes, Karaoke! This feature allows you to sing along with one of the game’s most memorable music tracks, Medamayaki, or Sunny Side Up. This song is actually the music played in the level, Palm Tree Paradise, and features vocals in both the level and Karaoke (though in the latter it can be switched off).
As the song plays, all 16 of the Wario cosplayer animations will play at random, and the little cat on the album art will move its mouth to sing, if you have the vocals switched on. The song is in Japanese, but I have a rough translation of it here that has it flow properly in English:
Ukulele echoes, As we roam our new home. On barefoot we go, Searching for the moon in whole, We find it split in half.
We can sketch out a map on canvas, With a drop of a rainbow, Let’s colour it in. And if we don’t return for sunrise, Stop the clocks and we’ll leave them together for good.
I want your sighs and worries to dissolve in the sea, I want your voice forever carved into in a stone. When the moon comes floating by in your bowl of soup, Hold your head up, the clouds printed like leopards will smile
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the lyrics themselves, but once more, consider that Sunny Side Up is in the Sound Room at all…
…and also that one of the CD songs, The Moon’s Lamppost is a remix of it in reverse, with a contrasting title.
Long story short, there’s plenty to indicate that Shokora is the DJ behind everything in this musical room, but I could still use some evidence linking a song directly to her, and not just her cursed shopkeeper form, if we’re being picky. Once again, bank that for the time being.
For now, with all this talk of music, I’d like to briefly return to the intro cutscene, and the song that I neglected to mention the first time around. It too features vocals, and these lyrics are in English. You can hear the song here.
The important lyrics here are the first ones, as put by the female vocalist:
You wanna test it now?
Your time is over, I’ve had enough. Here I come, Look out, here I come!
Now, what could that be referring to? Well, time to find out!
#6 - THE SHOWDOWN
I’m going to go into a lot of detail about the final part of the game, so buckle up.
The point of beating all of the bosses is to nab the treasure that they guard, each a piece of royal jewellery. Given that I’ve been talking about a princess the whole time, I think you can immediately understand the significance of this, regardless if you’ve played the game or not.
Here’s what happens each time you beat one of the bosses:
The boss’ treasure levitates before you, alongside however many chests you managed to save, based on how quickly you beat the boss. They then fly into the the central pyramid, and light up the corner of the passage you just completed.
When you manage this with all four passage bosses, this will happen:
The central pyramid will rise, and reveal an entrance, leading to the Golden Passage, a final level that puts all of your skills to the test. This helps to further establish that the treasure has some real power behind it, in this case the ability to raise a crypt. This broadens the ‘money is power’ motif that the game has set in place, which is the main reason Wario feels so at-home in the scenario the game presents.
Once the Golden Passage is completed, it’s time to face off against the evil one behind Shokora’s curse, the selfish hoarder of the legendary treasure, the Golden Diva herself.
Right away, with the boss icon the recurring kabuki mask that’s been seen throughout the game on the Jewel chests now makes sense.
It’s also the same that was featured on Shokora’s entrance to the pyramid, too.
Now, for the fight, I’ve enlisted Shokora’s help, having her use the Black Dog transformation, because this will confirm something I’ve seen mislabelled as speculation.
This is it. This is what the intro song was referring to: The Golden Diva’s time is over and Shokora’s had enough. This is the confrontation that could only happen with Wario’s help. Wario was Shokora’s chance to finally make things right.
The Diva enters through a shroud of mist, in a room full of gold, jewels and the treasure chests salvaged from the other boss rooms. She’s wearing all the treasures of the bosses, too.
Shokora strides in and stares her enemy down, as usual.
She becomes the Black Dog…
…and starts chomping away at the Diva’s face. The Golden Diva’s mask changes whenever she takes damage, to explain the change.
However, instead of leaving after her attack, she stands beside Wario, still as the Black Dog.
…But the Diva transforms her back into the much weaker cat.
This is important, as it proves for certain that the shopkeeper, black cat and Shokora are all the same, without any need for theory or interpretation. It might’ve been implied earlier on, but here is where the fact is made concrete. Regardless…
Even when reverted to her powerless form, Shokora’s still up for the fight.
She tries one last attack…
But it proves ineffective, and she’s captured inside the Diva’s lips, after which the fight begins. This scene is genius in how it’s constructed, with the Diva differing from the other bosses by being the only one to harm Shokora. Hell, let alone harm her, she completely imprisons her! Being shown all of this provides a greater incentive to overcome the Golden Diva and serves as fantastic character development for Wario. The story to begin with was that Wario was only in on this adventure for the sake of graverobbing, and up until now, that was the only incentive he had. Each boss gives you treasure, and nobody’s really been threatened. But this scene changes things.
This little black cat has been the player’s guide and partner throughout the game, and now, out of nowhere, they’ve been put in grave danger. Even with the vast amount of treasure that’s at stake, seen in the background, the fact that a friendly character is put at risk gives the player, and Wario by association, much more to fight for. Not only is this gaseous horror in the way of the treasure you’ve fought for, but now they’ve taken your buddy captive.
This change happens to Wario because it happens to you.
The player then battles the Diva and her vast array of tricks. Notice the look of complete worry on the second mask.
…And eventually, her final mask breaks off, revealing her true appearance. This is where her patience evidently begins to wane, as instead of weaponry, the Diva starts slamming into the ground to break it. This illustrates that she’s beginning to comprehend exactly what’s happening. After years and years of reigning over little else than this single, isolated room in the pyramid, all alone with her gold, her time is coming to an end, and in the name of the one she was so desperate to keep held down, no less.
Fantastic storytelling via simple animations. Take notes.
Once the player hits her head enough times, her treasure will float into the air as she bursts, leaving nothing but her lips, where Shokora was held. Wario gives her a final attack, and seals her fate once and for all.
#7 - SHOKORA IS FREE
Now, the beginning of the ending sequence is something I find very interesting. Just after all the chests are counted in, and Wario poses in celebration, the pyramid begins to fall apart. Arewo Stein drops in from the ceiling and Shokora seems adamant on them getting the hell out. The way that the screen fades to black gives the impression that Wario is faced with a dilemma…
…Being Wario, though, he negotiates the situation through an insane display of power! Given her expression, Shokora here’s either determined to escape, or questioning to herself if he’s out of his mind.
Shokora expresses concern for Wario, and Stein gets his own back before running off. Shokora scolds him for this and keeps waiting for Wario. Just as she did in the beginning, once he catches up to her she leads him right back out.
Wario and Shokora manage to escape the pyramid, just before it crumbles into the ground…
…and together, they share a hearty laugh, probably just happy to still be alive.
Recognise it? Indeed, Shokora’s theme in her final moments is none other than Sunny Side Up, reworked into a triumphant and beautiful arrangement.
The four boss treasures are returned to the little black cat, and this twist I’ve rumbled throughout the article finally occurs…
…as she begins to take on human form. The black cat and the shopkeeper are both Princess Shokora.
She was with you the whole time.
After she has transformed, Shokora kisses Wario and thanks him, her compassion expressed through a little heart.
To this day, this scene brings a smile to my face.
Probably the most well-known aspect to Shokora is her four different possible forms, one of which she takes on depending on how many chests you managed to recover during the fight with the Golden Diva. Granted, this features works well to reward those who played well and poke fun at those who didn’t, but what’s particularly interesting is what’s her true form. Remember the newspaper article?
This picture (presumably a painting from her own time) features Shokora as she appears in the standard Good ending, the second-best that’s possible. So why then is her true, Best ending form not shown? Well, there’s nothing that can pinpoint the reason other than not spoiling the surprise of the Best ending, but I do have a plausible explanation.
This picture is of Shokora as she was last known, before the curse was placed upon her by the Golden Diva. When you consider the other forms, and the order they’re in, with her as a baby being the Worst ending, I theorise that these forms showcase her appearance at different ages. As for the Best ending’s form, I will explain that shortly, but first…
Moments after expressing her gratitude, Shokora’s spirit ascends into heaven, so that at long last, she may finally rest in peace.
Once Shokora has departed, Wario lays there for a while, in awe of what just happened.
Soon though, he stands up, looking invigorated…
…and leaves, with his treasure in tow.
Shokora’s treasure? No, Wario’s. Not even Wario’s, really… yours.
#8 - MEMORIES
Princess Shokora is not just a damsel in distress, nor is she the means to an excuse plot. She’s not a parody or a joke, and she’s not even the things I mentioned, such as a tutor, a robotician or a musician.
No, Princess Shokora is an incredible character, and far, far more than the sum of her parts.
This is something you can truely realise when you know what’s inside of those chests.
These aren’t treasures because they’re made from gold and jewels, and have a value in currency. These are treasures because, long ago, they held significance in somebody‘s life, and that person is Princess Shokora. The more of these you manage to recover, the more of Shokora’s life can be remembered, hence how progressively grown she is shown to be.
But if the picture in the newspaper shows the latest account of her in life, would that not make her true form?
Through your ability as the player, you become the sum of Shokora’s efforts. The form she takes on in the game’s Best ending, accessed only by recovering every single chest, stands for all the time she’s spent under the Golden Diva’s curse. All the time she’s spent on the city streets as a stray cat, learning to make music from her surroundings and preparing herself to battle her captor alongside you as an ally, that is what makes this version of Shokora the true one. It’s your capability to learn from what she taught in the very first level and succeed where she could not.It’s your ability to master the game.
Wario and the player are what complete her.
Shokora’s memories are sealed inside those golden treasures, so why did she accept a successor so willingly? Why did she allow and even assist Wario in taking every treasure, that she’s only just rightfully gotten back?
Well, it’s because Shokora must understand what a phenomenal video game is bound to do.
1/1Hola, eres española ¿verdad? Yo soy una de las que tiene que pasar las páginas por el traductor para entender todo lo que se dice por estos universos jajajaja. Sólo apoyarte en tus pensamientos, no eres la única y, por lo que estoy leyendo en los comentarios, bastantes piensan igual: Se ha manipulado una imagen para mostrar cuan equivocados estamos. Son dos chicos diferentes y, si se comparan las fotos, estará más que demostrado...
1/1 Hi, you are spanish right? I’m one of those that need to translate to understand what’s going on in these universes hahaha. I agree, you are not alone and by what I am reading more people think so: the image has been manipulated to prove we are all wrong. It’s two different guys, if you compare the pictures it’s very obvious…
Siii! como lo has sabido? Por el acento??!! Me cachis, tengo que practicar más!! jaja Vaya lata con lo de la traducción, pero al menos te sirve para manejarte aqui y enterarte del cotarro. A que es super raro todo? Teniendo en cuenta lo que ha pasado ya desde el desfile, que lo publiquen justo ahora, y el tio que parezca otro dependiendo de donde mires…es todo muy sospechoso.
Yesss! How did you know? was it my accent??! Damn it, I need to practise LOL What a pain all the translating thing, but as long as you manage to find out what’s going on it’s good. It is all very weird right? Taking into account it’s been two months since the show took place, that the guy looks like a different one depending on where you look at him…it’s all very suspicious.
While disgust is arguably the primary motivation behind most homophobia when you get down to it, I think there are two more important reasons why conservative evangelicals in particular are so unwilling to change their minds about The Gay Issue™ no matter how obvious it is that they’re wrong.
Firstly, while atheists and secularists often contrast secular humanist morality (which is centrally concerned with human wellbeing/flourishing and harm reduction) with religious morality (which they describe in terms of something like divine command theory), evangelicals are, at least ostensibly, concerned with human wellbeing/flourishing as well.
Since they understand God to be loving, they usually won’t just say, “God said it so that settles it,” but rather that God “wants what’s best for us” and that the Bible is “God’s instruction book for a good/happy life” (barf).
But the thing is…wellbeing and harm are objective things that can be measured. And, well,
“If same-sex relationships are really sinful, then why do they so often produce good fruit—loving families, open homes, self-sacrifice, commitment, faithfulness, joy? And if conservative Christians are really right in their response to same-sex relationships, then why does that response often produce bad fruit—secrets, shame, depression, loneliness, broken families, and fear?”
—Rachel Held Evans, “God and the Gay Christian Discussion, Week 1” (The Rachel Held Evans Blog)
“[T]he idea that [gay relationships] ‘could never bring about happiness’ simply flies in the face of overwhelming evidence. I know that [the evangelicals] would say that, even though the growing number of out-and-proud same-sex couples in this country seem happy, deep down they’re really not. [The evangelicals] would say it, but fewer and fewer Americans would believe it, and rightly so. It’s not just because they defer to individuals as the experts on their own happiness. (People can delude themselves, after all.) It’s because they see the positive fruits such relationships bear.”
—John Corvino, “Against Obsessive Celibacy: Debating Social Constructions and Sexual Orientation” (Commonweal)
Gay relationships can bear good fruit and they aren’t inherently harmful in any way, and there’s no good reason to think that there’s anything wrong with gay people or their orientation. That statement isn’t an emotional wish or ideological assertion—it’s an empirical statement of fact that’s based on observation. Evangelicals are just factually, objectively wrong on this issue.
But they can’t just admit that they’re wrong, change their minds about the issue, and become more liberal christians or whatever. Why? Well, because they’ve built up a narrative over the years which says that their version of christianity is the only “true” one and that any christian who doesn’t agree with them on absolutely every little thing is a “fake” christian who’d might as well be an atheist. To the evangelicals, it’s black and white, all or nothing.
They can’t become those wishy-washy liberal (read: not dogmatic fundamentalist) christians who they’ve spent so many years trashing.
And they obviously aren’t going to become atheists, which in their mind is the only other option.
There is a kind of logic to it. If you describe God as both all-loving (that is: perfectly concerned with our wellbeing/happiness) AND morally opposed to gay relationships, but then you acknowledge that gay relationships are good for people and not harmful, then you have to face the fact that that God either 1.) doesn’t exist or 2.) does exist but is cruel—and is, either way, undeserving of worship.
Put plainly, if evangelicals entertain the thought that they might be wrong about this one issue, they’ll have to question everything that they believe in. And they don’t want to do that.
The second reason why evangelicals are so unwilling to acknowledge the evidence and change their minds on the issue is that if they did, they’d have to acknowledge that they’ve been cruel, oppressive, and often violent toward gay people for no good reason.
They’d have to sit and think about all the pain, torture, discrimination, loneliness, misery and death that they and their ideology have put gay people through…and realize that it was all for nothing. That there was no end to justify those means. That it was just random, senseless cruelty that they inflicted on others.
They wouldn’t be able to say, “I know I seem mean, but I have nothing against you. It’s just that God says…” They wouldn’t be able to say, “I know this is hard, but it’s for your spiritual wellbeing in the long-run!”
They’d have to acknowledge that it wasn’t God, but themselves.
Just think about what the rest of the universe would think of the Internet.
It’s a place that literally has information about EVERYTHING besides the most secret military secrets and what would probably be the most shocking to all the aliens is that all of that information is accessible to ANYONE who would bother to look. It contains things ranging from children’s books to instructions on how to build f-ing atomic bombs and everything in between.
Of course, if we’re talking about the internet, we can’t leave out the weird parts. Even us, who grew up alongside the internet and all of it’s glorious weirdness decide that some things are better left unseen, and on the occasions that we DO check it out despite our better judgement, we are often left scarred for life. So just imagine how a bunch of innocent aliens would react if they see something like that?
And what about viruses? There are countless viruses floating around the internet for the sole purpose of destruction and there are many more made everyday. We are probably the only civilization crazy enough to actively try to destroy ourselves with such passion, so the aliens would be absolutely terrified of having any of our technology coming into contact theirs.
After a while, a myth would be born among the stars that if you manage to survive all the horrors of the Internet you would be rewarded with the answer to life itself (it’s 42).
hello! if you’re not too busy with requests could you do a Draco x reader where reader is extremely shy and Draco thinks it’s adorable
I had no Idea how to end this… Whoops!
“Draco Malfoy and (Y/N) (L/N)”
Draco glanced around for his potions partner for this class, he didn’t recognize the name Snape had called.
He watched a timid looking girl hesitantly stepped towards him, now that he saw her he realized he knew who she was. She was that girl who always sat alone in classes, in the dining hall, and never really talked to anyone. If he remembered correctly, she always seemed to have her nose in a book, just like Granger.
She pulled out the seat next to him and sat down, placing the book she had been reading earlier on the desk, while avoiding all eye contact with Draco.
He tossed a few sideways glances at the girl, (Y/N), as Professor Snape explained the assignment.
“Get to work.” Snape commanded, and suddenly the classroom filled with the noises of students chatting, pages flipping, and cauldrons bubbling.
Draco turned, once again, to (Y/N) who seemed much more interested in her desk than anything going on around her.
“Well?” He snapped expectantly.
“Sorry.” She muttered as she grabbed her potions book and flipped it open to the page they were on. Draco did the same.
The class was mainly uneventful as the girl seemed too shy to talk to Draco. It wasn’t like he wanted to talk to her either, though, he had to admit, there was something about the timid girl that intrigued him.
When she finally spoke it surprised him, but what surprised him even more is what she said.
“Erm… you’re doing that wrong.” Draco, who was at first startled, fixed his gaze back into his regular glare.
“What?” He asked harshly which made the girl recoil.
She just pointed at the instructions in the book. He glanced down and looked back up to finally see that she had followed the book exactly how had asked. He wanted to hate her for proving him wrong, but for some reason he couldn’t.
“Well done Mr. Malfoy and Ms. (L/N).” Snape congratulated them once they had finished. “At least some people in this class respect the true art of position making.“
As class ended Draco noticed that (Y/N) had already finished packing her things, and she had already begun heading out the door. He looked back down at the table and noticed she had left her book. He picked it up and studied the cover, it wasn’t anything he recognized.
He quickly turned around and yelled, “Wait!” but she was already gone.
You forgot your book.
It had only been four days since (Y/N) had left her book in potions and Draco had already read it twice.
Once he got back from the class he only had to glance at it to realize it was a muggle book, and once he did, he shoved it onto his bedside table and glared at it in disgust.
The next day once he got back to his room, he was feeling a little bored so he picked it up again, read the back and flipped through a couple pages. He almost found the plot interesting before he remembered who exactly he was and tossed it back, hoping to forget about it.
The next day he couldn’t stop thinking about it so he decided that when he got back to his room he would read the first page, and it would be horrible so he wouldn’t have to be bothered anymore. That’s what he though what happened, it started with one page, and then became one chapter, and before he knew it he had finished the whole thing, and he wasn’t even ashamed to say he loved it. So he read it again.
The library was almost silent, and smelled of old books.
Draco was there, picking up a book, when he saw (Y/N) sitting at a table reading ‘advanced transfiguration’, probably for the upcoming test.
He made his way over to (Y/N)’s table and sat down across from her. He could tell she noticed because she stiffened a little, and brought her book closer to her face.
He grabbed her book from his bag, and set it down next to her.
“Here, you left this in potions.”
Her eyes widened as she glanced up, quickly grabbed the book, and put it into her own bag, before meekly smiling at him. Which, he assumed, was her way of saying thank you. She turned back to her transfiguration book, and it seemed like she was expecting him to leave, and honestly he was expecting it too, but what he wasn’t expecting was the fact that he didn’t want too.
“It was really good.”
She smiled lightly again and nodded and looked back down at her book, but then she frowned and glanced back up at him.
“Really?” She asked skeptically.
“What? You didn’t think it was?”
“Well… no, never mind.”
It was too late for her too back out, Draco was already interested in what she had to say. Which was rare, as usually he didn’t care about anyone’s opinion except his own.
“No! What is it?”
She glanced back up at him. “Well, it was kind of boring and predictable.”
“I mean I’ve read better,” she continued, “but it’s good that you liked it.”
She looked back down, and the conversation seemed to have ended, but Draco desperately didn’t want it too.
“What would you recommend instead?” He asked, almost desperately.
She hesitated, wondering if he was serious or if it was all just some weird joke.
She reached into her bag. “I like this one a lot.” She hesitated as she pulled it out before shyly glancing back at him.
“What is it?” He asked.
She glanced back down at the table. “I just… didn’t think you were like this, I didn’t think you liked muggle things.”
He hesitated before deciding to be honest. “I usually don’t, well not that I’ve ever really tried muggle things before, other than that book of course.” She glanced up at him, “I guess I’ve been trying new things lately.” She blushed awkwardly.
(Y/N) quickly passed him her book and muttered something about having to be somewhere before she scooted out of her seat and walked away
As she left Draco thought something that he had never remembered thinking before. Something about her shyness and awkwardness, something about just her in general, Draco found… Cute.
“Brilliant.” Draco said as he slammed (Y/N)’s book down next to her on the the dining hall table. The loud noise made (Y/N) jump and look up from her dinner.
Once Draco had finished reading, he had ran down to the dining room, and spotted her eating alone, like always.
“You were definitely right, this one is so much better than the last.” He said as he slid into the empty spot next to her, and tried desperately to ignore her look of general discomfort that he had caused her just by sitting next to her.
“Well I’m glad you like it.” She said while sliding it it into her bag.
“I just have one question… what’s a telephone?”
Ever since the shared book the two would talk occasionally, though (Y/N) would never initiate the conversations.
Quidditch season had picked up, and Draco and his team were busy preparing for the match against Gryffindor. He had brought it up to (Y/N), but tried not to too much as, whenever he did, she seemed uninterested.
As for his friends, they had started to notice the strange girl he had begun to talk to, and were extremely put off by it. All of his friends, especially Pansy, would incessantly tease her behind her back and to her face. And the worst part was, Draco never defended her.
Draco could feel himself start to lose contact with (Y/N) especially with his big quidditch match fast approaching. His training took up most of his time which left him with hardly any time to himself.
In fact, he had been training so much that most of the practices had blended together, but there was one in particular that stuck out to him.
Halfway through a particularly draining practice his teammate flew right next to him and said; “You’re weird friend is watching you.”
Immediately confused Draco turned around to see (Y/N) sitting in the stands, watching him. Her book tucked away in her ever present bag, and her chin rested in her palms.
Once she realized he had caught her, she quickly picked up her bag and darted away, her cheeks practically glowing red.
Draco couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the practice. That was when he realized how much he liked her.
Right after practice Draco quickly got changed the ran out the doors, searching for the shy girl, in hopes of telling her his feelings. He wanted to do it right now, because he knew if he didn’t do it right away his pride would get the best of him and he wouldn’t end up doing it at all.
He spotted her out on the grounds, sitting down and reading a book. He couldn’t tell if she noticed him or not, but once he got closer, she stood up, and started walking away.
“(Y/N)!” He yelled as he started to chase her down. “(Y/N)!”
He finally caught up to her, though he was gasping for air, and slowed down his pace so that he was waking by her side.
“Hi Draco…” she muttered.
“Hey.” He replied.
He decided not to mention her surprise visit earlier today, deciding it would only make her uncomfortable.
The two walked and found a comfortable silence settle around them, and Draco couldn’t help but notice every time their hands brushed.
“This is my stop.” She said after abruptly pausing next to the entrance to the library.
She waved slight and turned away, before Draco reached out and grabbed her hand.
She quickly turned around and stared at him with wide eyes and red cheeks.
“Erm… (Y/N)?” She nodded, “I was wondering if you wanted to go to Hogsmede with me?”
She blinked, processing the question, before softly smiling.
So, I love how everyone is getting all into the eldritch horror visibly fae knowingly magical encounters. The descriptions are SO COOL.
But I’ve been thinking about how our understandings of the Fair Folk originated not with people who had these super obvious encounters with this visible magic figure. Instead, they come from people attuned to the ways in which this world as it is, is magical and frightening and overwhelming, and decided that eldritch monsters were the most logical and comforting explanation. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about how so many interactions with the fair folx could happen without the student knowing it….how many of these interactions and deals may have happened already. A few true stories:
My roommate joined ROTC her freshman year. Four years of university for free, for five years of military service. Don’t tell me that there is just flesh and bone under the glamour of a military uniform, under the medals worn by those who watched her sign her contract. The Fair Folk have always loved games, and to gamble your life in the future of uncertain war is certainly worth $60,000 tuition per year for four years, plus a monthly stipend.
I have a friend whose financial aid is paid by a grant from some folks from New York City. In exchange, once a year she dresses up, takes out her piercings, and goes to dinner with them.
Sit with us, tell us the stories of your studies, sing for us. Oh, you don’t sing anymore? But you sing so lovely. Sing.
At these dinners, she does not let her smile drop.
I worked with a senior who would be Successful. They did everything, could not say no, every opportunity bigger than the last and they could Do It All. Directing a musical with a full orchestra in the biggest theater, performing across town themself in a different show each weekend for months on end, five classes and a thesis. One night, drunk and at 2am, a time were the glamour drops and world blurs into honesty, they said “I am so fucking lonely.” That is a powerful trade: love as fair as can be, a beating heart, community. But they wanted to be able To Do It All and they did.
A few years ago, the school was raising money for the endowment (the school is always raising money for the endowment). They were holding a fundraising dinner, with Big Important People who must be Inspired by Students Like You in order to donate. They gathered together the most talented performers of the whole university. Dancers whose bodies defied physics, pianists who seemed to play with extra hands, singer whose voices rang inhuman. Maybe there is a reason we already had those skills, it’s hard to know. We’ve all made so many sacrifices already to end up at a school where we can get not a single credit for our talents. Maybe something is already taking its due. Still. They gathered us, and planted us through the field to mime silent excitement as the Big Important People entered the tent in a procession. They had us perform for them – but never in the way we do best. Bottle up your talent, make it look like this. Dressed us all head to toe in white. Gave clear instructions.
Hand them this book. Collect these cards. They will write a wish. If they speak to you, just smile. Do not speak back.
They had us wait behind the kitchen.
Whatever you do, do not eat the food.
The university knows how to make a deal. They know what a little Talent and a little Dignity is worth. And we already owe them so much…why not this too?
In the morning I went back to where the tent had been, only to find an empty football field.
I feel like I have to add that the last story is literally 100% true. The others I have taken small creative liberties with (mostly the ‘lonely’ one cause I don’t want that person to be identifiable). But this one is hundo percent reality. Nothing I could add about it would make it sound less weird. They set up this crazy huge tent for it and thousands of dollars of lights and projection equipment, and the next morning had taken down the entire thing. They had this whole projection thing that took up a side of the stadium with a video about how great the university is, except I’d never even HEARD OF most of the professors or programs they interviewed or discussed in it (like its a big uni but still). Went to go look them up the next day, but couldn’t remember the names. They had us count a specific number of steps from one section to another. They had us do a weird running pattern on the stadium stairs that was supposed to look cool but I think just opened a portal in to my own personal hell. I still have the white sneakers and sweatshirt they gave us but I legit have not worn them since that night; I’m slightly scared to wear them but somehow can’t throw them out. When the donors walked in to the tent, we literally just stood around the field jumping up and down with excitement (silently) and waving flags (silently) and for the first time I understood Artaudian horror. They had cards at their table that they were supposed to write these messages on, and then we would collect them in these books, and honestly the whole night is pretty hazy but it was weird. The whole thing was directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (I swear to you this is true). Guys I’m low key pretty sure I’ve been to a revel and let me tell you, you are not a participant. You are there, but at best you are quaint entertainment, to be hidden in the corner when you’re not amusing them. You will do what they ask you (tell you). And there will be a part of you sitting on your shoulder saying, are you really doing that? And the answer will be yes, and it won’t be until after you leave that the wave will crash over you, nearly drowning you in the question, as you sputter awake asking, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK JUST HAPPENED?
Hey there, big fan of your work! You're incredibly skilled. I'm curious if you'd share how you learned to make your figures so dynamic and fluid. Is it from observing and studying other artists, do you do certain drawing exercises? Are there any instructional books/tutorials you'd recommend on the subject or in general? Thanks so much!
Thank you! I’ve done a combination of both. I already gave out some figure drawing resources onthis post, though those focus on studies from actual models. I also closely look at the way my favourite artists do stuff and try to learn the best of each of them. Heres a short list of a few i think are great at it: