i see so much of Julia Burnsides fanart revolving around the line “this chair smells like Grandma’s” and it upsets me because when i was listening to the ep i heard it as “this chair smells like grandmas”, which implies not that Magnus built a chair that reminded Julia of her grandmother but that Julia thinks lavender smells like grandmothers, in general, and honestly i think that’s a far more accurate description of a woman who would marry Magnus Burnsides
each fallen human has a specifically coloured soul associated with them. these colours can be seen on the coffins in new home, asgore’s soul containers, and the photoshop flowey boss battle. little is known about these souls, but what can be inferred is that each soul colour represents a unique trait. accessing this information requires multiple rounds of “ball game” in the snowdin forest. if the game is completed fast enough and the red flag is obtained, the following message appears.
however, red soul’s trait is never mentioned. or is it?
determination is not a trait
before exploring the red soul’s trait, it’s time to explain why determination is not the red soul’s trait. while it is a popular choice, it ultimately does not work for a few reasons. unlike the other traits, every human soul has determination.
unlike all the other traits, determination is inherently inside all humans. furthermore, “determination” is never mentioned in the ball game. it’s also never specifically linked with the red soul nor is it ever written in red text. the word “determination” is only written in white or yellow.
there is nothing that suggests determination is an exclusive trait to the red soul. it is merely a component in all the coloured human souls.
the different soul colours each represent their own positive traits according to “ball game.” the first time the red flag is achieved, the following message appears.
these are the positive traits of all the souls besides the red soul. when the ball game is won a second time in the conditions for the red flag, a new message appears.
it’s important to note that the ball game can only be played as long as snowdin is not cleared of monsters. if genocide is successful in snowdin, then the snowball will be gone, rendering the ball game useless. this is the only time the ball game cannot be played. in the neutral and pacifist routes, the game can be played even after reaching snowdin or after defeating papyrus.
from the red flag, the phrase “be yourself” is important. the idea of “being yourself” is seen repeatedly throughout the game, so long as the genocide route is not in motion. if frisk is still on the neutral route, frisk can look into the mirror in toriel’s home, and the following is said:
in new home, frisk can look into a second mirror and see the following:
this text appears in every route, except the genocide route. whether this is a reflection of frisk is up to interpretation.
in a pacifist route, after defeating asriel, frisk can look into the mirror in home once more to see this:
one of the most important elements of the pacifist route is the reveal of the protagonist’s true name, frisk. it highlights how frisk’s identity, or even their true self, is only revealed at the end of a pacifist route.
ultimately, the ball game holds the most important clue. the statement seems rather vague, until the one-word limitation is removed and the trait is seen as a phrase.
“being yourself” is seen in two ways in the context of undertale. the first is more obvious, with the phrase referring to how frisk is only themself in the neutral route and pacifist route. once the genocide route is in motion, frisk is no longer in predominant control – chara is. interestingly enough, when chara is in control during the genocide route and the snowdin forest is cleared, the ball game is unavailable, perhaps highlighting the fact that frisk is no longer truly themself.
the second way the virtue of “being yourself” is used in game is by its definition. “being oneself” means to be genuine, honest, or true to one’s character. along with determination, it is what allows frisk to keep going, especially in the pacifist route. sans alludes to this when he judges frisk in the last corridor.
“so as long as you do what’s in your heart” can be seen as another way to say “be true to yourself.” there is another reference to this trait in sans’ judgment should frisk have killed any monster.
while subtle, sans stresses the importance of being true to "yourself,” even in the face of committing a terrible crime.
“being yourself” may seem synonymous with integrity, but there is a difference. integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” while both are a quality of being honest, there is a difference to what that honesty is towards. those with integrity are righteous, fair, and of good character. however, integrity is not needed to be yourself. being yourself is to stay true to who you are, regardless of what that may be. perhaps a word for this could be “individuality,” “nonconformity,” or “sincerity.”
while the other soul virtues are clearly defined by their colour coded trait, the red soul remains much more ambiguous. perhaps this is because frisk, chara, and the player persist as such different individuals despite being intrinsically linked, therefore the common trait between them can only be just that: their individual “true” self.
How to Be a Pirate (You will be remembered, my dear)
If it is the ocean that sings to you, or the
thrill of Aztec treasure, or other kingdom’s riches, know that you cannot go
back. Once you set sail, the saltwater will haunt you even if you retire to a
desert. There will never be enough golden coins or golden islands that will
satisfy you. The life of a pirate is a thirsting life, and it is common knowledge
that saltwater does not quench.
Kiss your mother and father’s graves goodbye
before you set sail. If the ocean will not be your grave, the gallows are too
far from the churchyard to comfort your spirit. Keep your farewells frugal.
Better yet, disappear without a word. Legends are not borne out of nostalgia.
Turn a blind eye to the third mate whose hair is
bunched into their hat and keeps their chest wrapped tightly under their
bleached tunic. Her hands may be small, but they will build callouses just like
yours once she scrubs the deck long enough. Bad luck is not the fault of a
stowaway woman, and the storms are not her doing—after all, the crew had thrown
Jonah into the sea to calm it. You’d be better off watching out for the storm
that is the woman. She will put you to shame when she sets fire to your enemies
to fight tooth and nail for the freedom she earned.
Treat a mermaid gently if one accidentally gets
tangled in your fishing net—comb the hooks out of his hair and don’t curse if he
bites your fingers. Offer him your hat to shield his eyes from the sun and
answer his questions when he asks in panic why his fingers are wrinkling. If
you must chuckle, try to do so silently, so that he does not think are laughing
at him. Mermaids are born singers—their egos are easily bruised.
When a man goes overboard in the midst of a
storm, throw the rope to him. If he cannot cling onto it, lower yourself in a
rowboat to help him from the bobbing waves. But remember to never jump in after
him, if he turns away and rides the waves into the deep. Do not blame yourself.
You could hold your breath forever and still cannot rescue a drowning man who
swims away from a lifesaver.
Whistle while you work. The songs that your
mother used to sing you to sleep with are not a curse just because it is from
the past. And melodic tales about purple mountains and golden cornfields will
stun your mermaid guest—he will ask you again and again how fast horses run,
and how do flowers smell like. He will test your patience, but even pirates
enjoy basking in Scheherazade’s glory. We all like to be heard other times than
when we’re shouting orders.
There is little use in envying your legendary
predecessors. Madame Ching and Blackbeard’s skin peeled under the sun just like
yours. Legends never feel like legends when their shoulders ache.
You will lose your hand along the way. Some lose
their eye, others their foot, others aren’t as lucky and lose their hope. It is
all part of chasing the impossible. When the time comes—and it will come, when
you are least prepared—there is no shame in weeping. There will never be enough
saltwater. Let your mermaid guest dress your wound and see your tears. He will
miss your tender palms, and you will miss that sense of safety. But let him
treat you; his fingers are nimble and cool to the touch.
When he sings to you the songs of his world and
people, do not be overwhelmed—there will always be a part of the ocean that you
will never see. The greatest pirates will never know what lies beneath their
hull. Most hurl a mermaid out of their sight for fear of deception, and never
lit a candle for him to see a dancing flame for the first time, cautioning him
to keep his hands to themselves.
Keep your plank short and sturdy—no one wants to
walk to their death with shaky knees. No captain can avoid a mutiny, but that
does not mean that you did not do something wrong. Which is why without a
doubt, when your second mate plunges blindfolded into the sea, your heart will
sink right down with him. But a captain is expected to root out betrayal and
never betray themselves. Careful—if you catch yourself calling him name when
you call all hands on deck, your crew might suspect that you regret it.
Buried gold can afford bejeweled, decadent hooks
for where your hand had once been. The richest of pirates can afford hooks of
pure gold and a diamond cuff whose reflection can almost replace the spark in
your dulled eyes. But they will only ever be hooks, and your mermaid will gasp
in pain every time you cut his skin, even if you try to be gentle. He knows
that you can’t help it, but don’t get cross if he shies away from you when you
come too close. Mermaids are not quite used to love which makes them bleed.
Pirates are not heroes. They kill in order to
avoid the gallows. They maroon rather than forgive. All who sail past you will
assume the worst of you, and point their cannons at your sails without
consideration. It may be easier to live up to their expectations and take up
your sword. It is far more exhausting fighting for your nobility.
Your mermaid guest cannot stay for long. The sun
scorches his skin, shrivels his scales, cracks his voice. The explosions of
your ship’s cannons and your musket rounds piercing the Royal Navy shake him to
their core. You can beg all you want, but your hook only hurts him when you try
to hold on to him. He will wait until it is nighttime to quietly throw himself
overboard. Two of your mates will hold you back from diving after him. They
know that they could not save you if you did.
Do not be alarmed when you find yourself under
the starlight missing home. Any captain of a loyal crew will be desperately
lonely when sailing alone in the wide, treacherous expanse that is one’s own
head. I’m afraid, however, that it is too late now to turn back. Your lost
hand, or cold, nimble fingers would not be there home waiting for you even if
Understand that you will never be remembered.
Even if your name is emblazoned with fear in every queen’s heart, even if the
tales of your terror make every captain shudder. They will not remember the
songs you hummed under the moonlight. They will not remember your careful
fingers loosening hooks from their hair. Legends are not borne out of love.
I love how some people seems to think Ephemera is secretly evil-succumb to darkness-related to Xehanort -type of character just because he have a silver hair lol. Can’t blame you, I thought the same when the first time seeing Ephemer, silver hair character are always look suspicious in every kingdom hearts xD
thank god he’s still a nice character (at least for now)
So, I’m taking a screenwriting class, where we’re writing a short film script. I’m writing basically a story about an RA who’s struggling through the stress of like, cyclical catching students misbehaving, writing them up, school etc. My issue is, it’s a script, and something our prof has talked about is how it’s important to actively build diversity into the story to avoid the hollywood ‘Best (white person) For The Role’ which makes a lot of sense, but on the other hand, my story idea is currently… entirely generic, i.e.
I’m at that point where I have to make a decision about whether it would be fruitful to specify the race/ethnicities of certain characters. But my problem is, some of the characters speak very little, and most of them say things basically any student would say in the same situation. Even my main character speaks mostly in a professional context using basic RA lines like ‘hand over your IDs.’
Because it’s a script, it seems really weird to me to say, okay this character is asian, but then there’s no real reason for them to be or not to be, say, black, or latina, or mixed, etc.? At this point, I have to decide moving forward whether to build my characters to incorporate some indicators of specific racial/ethnic background (linguistic quirks, etc.), but I don’t know a) whether I should or not because it seems necessary only because of trying to subvert an all white cast, and b) how I might even go about this, again, seemingly arbitrary process.
So how can I build diversity into a script that’s relatively generic without it feeling arbitrary or canned? Or without specifically indicating race/ethnicity in a context in which it wouldn’t really be addressed outwardly?
[Redacted for readability]
Your professor is correct. It’s time to normalize People of Color in scripts, stories, in all forms of media. White is still very much the default for Hollywood and clearly your script as you struggle to place us just existing without it feeling unnatural or obtrusive. You question whether it is fruitful to specify race where race won’t be addressed. I say it is. This is exactly what many of us want, just a story where we’re included and treated as human beings doing things, with agency, and not table settings and decorations for white characters to interact with.
It seems unnatural or unnecessary to specify race to you because you’re used to the default being white people who don’t need an introduction of race. It’s time to just stop feeling the need to have to explain our existence and just let us be there. Let us exist.
At this point, I have to decide moving forward whether to build my characters to incorporate some indicators of specific racial/ethnic background (linguistic quirks, etc.), but I don’t know a) whether I should or not because it seems necessary only because of trying to subvert an all white cast, and b) how I might even go about this, again, seemingly arbitrary process.
Why not add cultural and personal details, though? Even in the small ways? Honestly, if people are only speaking in professional terms and doing generic actions void of much emotion and personality, your story may come off as bland and the characters undeveloped and unmemorable. Perhaps I don’t have a full understanding of what you’re doing with this script, though.
The way people speak and the words they say, the way they react to things, it’s all informed by where we come from and who we are. You could show culture with a name, from the lunch they eat, the words they mumble in their native tongue in frustration…and those things come off as much more engaging to me than just White/Generic/Everyman does generic/ professional things.
I agree. We’d love stories where we’re the protags, but there isn’t a lot of hullaballoo about our identity. But that doesn’t mean wiping the slate completely.
(I’m thinking of a recent video featuring Martellus Bennett of the NE Patriots and how he actually has a book series with a Black protag going on adventures, and how he talked about the importance of having Black characters having their own stories that weren’t just about their identities.)
How to solve your problem: backstory.
Any generic script can be modified to PoC, depending on your definition of “generic.” If by “generic” you mean “ethnically uncoded"— well, you’re wrong. Generic is very ethnically coded. It’s white coded. You just don’t notice it because it’s the same markers in your life. If you watch something like Black-ish or Fresh Off the Boat, you’ll see the differences in ethnic coding in a family suburban sitcom.
If by “generic” you mean “uses archetypes familiar to the genre”, then you’re dealing with a situation where there really genuinely isn’t any race marker. As I mentioned— Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat are family suburban sitcoms. These are generic plots, made different by asking: what would this ethnic group experience in this context?
You don’t seem to know enough about diverse ethnic groups in order to insert them into the narrative. Black people, for example, tend to dress more professionally than is required. This is because the markers of “casual and cool” for a white person (jeans, t-shirt, sneakers) are seen as “slob and inexperienced” for a black person. There are hundreds of examples like this, if you start looking.
As Colette said: you’re used to the default being white people. All of us are! This is something you have to actively unlearn. But the way to unlearn it is to ask the same questions you do in general character building.
- How does this character’s background impact their behaviour?
- How do others see them? (Note- cultural markers like the above dressing professionally example heavily influence this)
- How did their parents push them?
- How do they want to be seen?
In order to build race into your characters, you have to get out of your all-white box and start to understand our perspectives. Just like you learn to write a whole bunch of different white people in writing, learn to write a whole bunch of Black, or Latinx, or East Asian, or South Asian people. We’re all still people, but our experiences have shaped us for who we are— just like white people. When building characters, you have to ask yourself all of the questions about who they are and how they’re seen in order to write anything good. These are the steps for any character building, so if you’re thinking there’s too much work involved… well, sorry, no, there really isn’t. Not in this industry.
You live and die by your ability to create relatable characters, and in order to do that, you have to build backstory. And in order to build diversity in, you have to learn how to craft a PoC backstories that have just as much nuance and variety as white backstories.