It’s been established by TPN that cloning is a tool demons use to produce their cheaper-end human livestock. This takes a look at who precisely Norman is in regards to that, and why he’s likely still alive.
tl;dr Norman is a clone who shares the same genetics with the factory livestock, the scientist(s), and quite possibly ‘William Minerva’.
We need to first justify the demons using clones.
Human children; all Caucasian, all light-haired, with the same hair-style and who look startlingly similar to Norman.
It makes sense for demons to mass-produce livestock with the greatest potential for intelligence- the demons take ‘score’ into consideration of quality on Grace Field, the ones with the highest intellect are the highest scorers, who are in turn the more quality livestock. Cloning is a simple method for this; even disregarding Norman, these children are all likely genetic clones.
No matter how potential the brain has, it can’t be unlocked by a child neglected from birth. Input stimulates neural activity. In the manner that using an acquired talent strengthens our skill in it, a young child only needs input from their environment to strengthen their ability in various parts of the brain. A child never taught how to be human will already be irreparably damaged by the age of five. Therefore this kind of produce will always be of less quality than ones on plantations like Grace Field and Glory Bell.
But Norman looks inconceivably similar, to the point of sharing the same kind of hair. But this will make. The clones have a certain potential. Sungjoo’s words regarding these livestock are telling; ‘They most certainly couldn’t conceive of escaping. Even if they did, they’d get nowhere.’ And we have a visual of two of them indeed making the attempt to run.
As with crops in our world, human livestock are pruned to be the best they can, considering they’re factory-farmed. Factory-farmed children with capacities for extremely high intelligence are an improvement from factory-farmed children with normal IQ.
And despite their upbringing some of these factory children are self-aware to the point of being able to stage an escape. This, by any standard, should be abnormal- and is likely due to the original potential of the clones.
Shown by Norman. It makes sense for Norman and these factory children to have been cloned from the same source.
So returning to Norman, he’s
the highest scorer in GFH (Grace Field House)- obtaining the top score in all the tests, and always winning in the children’s games of tag.
Norman is likely alive.
It’s been suggested before that the highest scoring males are taken to become scientists, while the highest scoring females are selected to be Mama candidates.
Note the ceremonial demon’s words in chapter 7; ‘the meal we present to “|κλών” must be of the uppermost quality. Unlike ours.’
Without the ‘higher-ups’ being aware of any iffy goings-on in GFH, Norman is sent for early, before Emma and Ray. Isabella is implied to regard this as an unexpected development;. Together with Norman’s scores, it is implied that he will be the ‘meal’ presented to
|κλών- something of the ‘uppermost quality’ (Emma and Ray being the leftovers meant for the table of demons).
Despite being resigned to his fate, and prepared for the demons and for death, the last panel we see of Norman is of his surprise and his question- ‘what?’. Chapter 30. He’s seen something unexpected, something shocking. I believe it would take a concept or idea completely foreign to Norman’s previous experience with the demons (the farm, livestock), to affect him in this way.
There’s light inside the room- there wouldn’t need to be light if it was empty; Isabella could light it afterwards for Norman to ‘wait’ in. Light suggests someone or several people are already there- human-sized ‘someones’ from the size of the door. Ergo, Norman hasn’t been taken to be killed at all, but rather for a completely different purpose- the meal for ‘κλών’, except ‘meal’ is figurative, and ‘κλών’ is likely not a demon; Norman will not be eaten.
If we connect this ‘meal’ with becoming one of the scientists of the facility; here’s a scientist.
The only other visual we have of him obscures his face; both because Krone likely never sees it and possibly because it’s somehow relevant and currently redacted for plot.
It’s been commented before that the scientist looks similar to Norman- we can guess that Norman’s build would be similar to the scientist if he became an adult. Caucasian, light hair, slum build. Which all matches up to Norman. As well as the factory children.
My theory is that select children- all of them the same type of clone as Norman is- become scientists upon graduating GFH. They are given no choice in the matter- as Norman will not be. They have a semblance of greater freedom because they are under ‘κλών’s’ control, rather than the demon’s. This would explain why the demons treat them as equal and respect them- this κλών has already been suggested as an entity completely separate from the demons.
But the one scientist we are shown is nevertheless collaborating with ‘W.M’, or he is ‘W.M’, he doesn’t have the freedom to do anything openly- only drops a pen for Krone to pick up- so it’s already shown that this mysterious person wants to help children to escape from the plantations, but has limited options for directly helping.
Lastly. William Minerva. I believe that this elusive figure is the source code for all of the clones- the scientist, Norman, the factory livestock. The one visual we have of William Minerva is from a spread on the official TPN website. A man with a slim build and who appears Caucasian- a slim face-shape and no distinguishing features.
By this point William Minerva as a figure seems to be somewhat mythical, less a person and more an ideal.
Is it possible that ‘W.M’ is an inherited title? A moniker by one clone after the other, through the years- back to the original William Minerva. The clones need to source their genetic code from someone- and this is likely going to be someone important to the plot.
CONNECTED TO : everyone’s a clone (or: why sungjoo is obsessed with ‘all-natural’), the word ‘κλών’ (or: go back to greek basics), william minerva (or: owls are evil).
“I have a female friend who lives alone and she has BTS songs in her playlist, so I asked if she was their fan. “Oh, that’s for turning on when I go pick up the delivery,” she said. I asked her what she meant, and she told me they’re actually not songs but recorded conversations of the members called “skit”. You can see which skit it is in the photo below.
She said “Want to hear it?” and played the skit on on her computer’s speaker. It sounded like there were people inside when hearing from the doorway, and it became an even more plausible disguise with two pairs of dirty men’s sneakers on the shoe rack. I was heartbroken.
My friend started joining a hip hop club after she moved out to live on her own, and she learned a survival tip (?) when living alone from a senior member there, which was to turn on skits when picking up delivery. She said after looking through various skits, that group’s skits were the most natural-sounding.
My friend turned off the speaker and said, “I’m really thankful to them~ I think I’m gonna buy their album, to repay them~”. It’s just… It’s not like they did anything directly, but I’m kind of thankful to them too. They eased the anxiety of a girl living alone, even if it’s just for a while.
Sometimes when I listen to skits, I think “Why did they put these in?”. I just feel so bitter that someone is using them this way. Anyway, since this seems like a good method, I’m posting this to share with other people. The world is sad.“
Keith and Shiro decide to go to the beach. During the day, Keith gets a spider-man popsicle (because is nerd af) with temporary tattoos in it. Shiro suggests to use them, he loves his boyfriend so much.
Me seeing Beth Smith finally get positive development, interesting interactions with her father, and a thought provoking ending to her character growth after practically begging the RaM writers on my knees for it all season: