This is what it would be. Time after time after time. Endlessly. The
measuring of lives and loves and spirits so that they may be wagered in a
grand game. How much ransom can be afforded for the cause?How many
casualties can be tolerated for the cause?How much l o s s?
I’ve seen that quote passed off as the smoking gun that Chara was evil all along but I think there’s a lot more to that statement than what’s on the surface, and I don’t think that’s just because Asriel may have been hedging his words to be polite.
I think Asriel was being very literal when he said “the greatest person,” meaning that Asriel literally thought Chara was the greatest person ever. When you hear Asgore’s talk of Chara being “the future of humans and monsters”, history books saying monsters no longer feared humans when they moved to New Home, and Flowey suggesting that Asgore would show the souls to Chara but not him, it’s clear that Chara was a pretty big deal in the Underground.
Asriel trusted Chara implicitly, even in spite of his own conscience and common sense. As we can plainly see, this attitude is not healthy. Obviously it wasn’t healthy for Asriel, and I think most of the people familiar with this blog will agree that it wasn’t healthy for Chara either.
In the past I’ve heard rants and analyses about the “chosen one” trope in fiction and how it would be terrible to be in the shoes of someone like Harry Potter (even without the death and tragedy in his past) because everyone would have these lofty, unproven expectations of you. This would be a bad enough fate for a regular kid, but imagine how it must have eaten away at somebody like Chara.
This is one reason why I find it hard to swallow theories that call Chara a psychopath or narcissist, because a person like that would thrive in a situation where people assume they’re great and automatically trust their judgment. I can’t imagine a person like that leaving, committing suicide, or deliberately surrendering control over half of their own soul (on the near-0-percent chance that Chara knew about the split control beforehand).
When Asriel says Chara wasn’t the greatest person, one of my main takeaways is that he’s rejecting these expectations that he’s clung to for so long. Heck, he still believed Chara could solve all of his problems even when he was Flowey, and it was that desperate attachment that led to his fascination with Frisk and his desire to kill them over and over just to keep them around.
Having said that, I don’t think Asriel’s statement was completely innocuous or devoid of any lingering resentment. Chara’s situation was tragic but they still dragged Asriel into their own crusade against humanity and it cost him his life. Asriel has every right to feel betrayed and disillusioned after having his most intimate trust exploited like that.
This interpretation isn’t mutually exclusive with the idea that Chara was a tragic and misunderstood character, mind you. After all, most UT fans understand Toriel’s resentment toward Asgore while also sympathizing with Asgore’s situation. If we’re going to compare the two pairs of Dreemurrs, I’d say there’s more evidence to suggest that Asriel and Chara reconciled than there is for Toriel and Asgore.
For one thing, Asriel keeps watch over Chara’s grave in the true pacifist ending. If Asriel’s quote was meant to be an epiphany that Chara was some kind of abusive monster then I doubt he’d want to be in a place that would remind him of them. If we interpret Flowey’s true reset dialogue to be addressed to Chara then it’s clear that Flowey is at least on speaking terms with Chara and feels he can reason with them (whereas if Asriel realized Chara’s “true” evil nature then you’d think he’d try to stop them or go get help).
As much as I like to imagine these two siblings getting along and being the best of friends, I doubt that their reunion after the True Pacifist ending would’ve been all hugs and kisses. Asriel’s probably quick to forgive but I’m sure he would’ve had a lot to get off his chest. It’s likely that Chara already heard what Asriel said to Frisk and I’m sure they’d encourage him to be honest with his feelings instead of trying to be meek or polite. I don’t picture their conversation being the happiest one, but it would be therapeutic for both of them and help them get closure.
(submitted by vgfm) (*standing ovation for this post, holy cow*)
Honestly this is so well written I have nothing else to add besides mentioning how Monster Kid also goes through a similar thing of realizing that the “best person ever!!!” in their life has flaws and moves on to a new person who is “Way cooler.”
Neither of these “realizations” mean that Undyne and Chara are horrible people in the eyes of their biggest fans, but that the unmet expectations in their character damaged these two’s perception of them.