I had to crawl out of the woodwork to ask about That Dishonored Meta or maybe you talked about it but I missed it, how do you feel bout the canon high chaos Emily in regards to the whole issue with the Outsider causing chaos in the world, especially since it ends up one marked mass murderer vs another one slightly less mass but still murderer? Or generally on high chaos Em opposing to the canon low chaos Corvo of the original?
okay, I feel there are several layers to this discussion
1. How I feel about HC Emily vs low Chaos Corvo - I prefer LC Em, but I’m okay with HC Em *in concept*. They lose me on the execution. Not even talking about her sounding like she’s trying to out-edge Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way (”I wish I had 8 arms so I could strangle 8 people at once!”) But it’s just not believable character-wise and she doesn’t have an arc, like Corvo did. Corvo lost the love of his life and his daughter was kidnapped, he was framed for that, he spent 6 MONTHS being tortured, thinking he has no one to trust or help him. It’s believable that this trauma would break him and turn him into a killer for HC. But also it’s understandable that he would rise above it in LC, because he’s a good person at heart and because he wants Emily to inherit a better city, not the chaos-ridden one. But even in LC that suppressed anger shows itself - Corvo might not kill people, but most LC takedowns are arguably more horrible than clean killing. Like, he sees Pendelton brothers grabbing and pushing Emily (in still-motion scene in Void) and cuts their tongues and sends them to slow death in the mines. He has interesting and tragic character dynamic in both LC and HC.
And Emily… just doesn’t have that? She was not tortured, Corvo wasn’t killed, she found an ally with a plan within like 20 minutes. Like, okay, everyone is different, and 6 months of torture is not a requirement for “justifiable trauma”. But Emily doesn’t sound hurt or desperate - her diaries are bummed out at best! She’s never like “Oh my god, I’m alone against everyone, I don’t know what to do, Delilah is murdering innocent people, I failed them, I don’t even know if I can save Dad”. Instead, she’s mostly “I always thought being Empress is boring, but now I think I want it back. Gotta get my throne and save father. I guess.” She writes joking letters to her lover, so it’s like “Lol remember that time I was without pants in public? Lmao good times. Ok, gotta go kill 20 people before breakfast, xoxo!” She just starts mass murdering people without showing any real distress about it (aside from her edgy comments)
It was easy to understand and even relate a bit to HC Corvo, but you have to do a lot of head-canoning to make HC Emily a believable functioning character. Not to mention, HC drops ball hard on the supposed theme of the game- Ruling Class as Parasites. I still insist that better HC ending would be Em taking Delilah’s place and usurping the Outsider’s powers for herself - becoming an ultimate parasite.
2. How I feel about HC Emily being canon in relation to Death of the Outsider - I think it makes sense to make Em canonically HC if they want to justify Daud. I don’t have much faith left in DH writers, but I don’t believe they’re really gonna use “Daud blames Outsider for his own problems!” reason that tumblr joked about in 73462 identical posts. (Again, I can’t stand Daud, but that’s just stupid) Instead, we have one eldritch abomination Empress taking place of another, and whoever wins, people of the Isles lose. Daud thought he was the baddest bitch in town, the legendary Knife of Dunwall, but turns out, he never had any imagination. Delilah takes it to the next fuckn level and takes over the Empire. And then in Karnaca, he sees Emily, who was a meh Empress, but a decent girl, turn into a monster who single-handedly murdered entire districts, and became the Butcher Empress after the Outsider gave her the mark. And Daud himself, with the Outsider’s help, sent Delilah into the Void, and there she shoved the Outsider into the locker and took his powers, which means not just that the Outsider is horrible at choosing who to mark, but also that he can’t even handle people he marked. You can easily see how he can reason that “No one should have so much power” and also “No one should be able to give so much power.” Of course, it’s all speculation at this point, but canon HC Emily makes sense from that narrative perspective.