why, in my humble opinion, act 7 had so many people disappointed
so i’ve been thinking about this a lot since i watched the upd8 and i’ve come to a few conclusions. keep in mind that i am a writer, i went to college for creative writing, so i’m examining this mostly from a storytelling perspective, though i know that comics, animations, or whatever the fuck you want to call homestuck isn’t exactly the same. anyways, i think there were a number of causes that led to act 7 being met with such confusion and negativity by a lot of the fandom, including myself:
1. we all forgot it was meant to be more of an epilogue than the actual climax/end. this was a very easy thing to forget, considering the hype that was surrounding the update and the fact that it was ~the end~ and being posted on 4/13 and everything. what i think could have remedied this is for hussie to have posted collide today instead of last week, considering that was the true climax/story end, and either post act 7 along with it or afterwards. 4/13 has always been a very significant date in the homestuck fandom and personally i think it would’ve made more sense to have posted a more significant update as far as plot goes like collide was on this day, rather than just the little wrap-up that was act 7 on its own. we were all expecting something bigger. act 7 wasn’t it.
2. lack of closure. this term has been tossed around a lot since the update, and i think it’s been misinterpreted by those both for and against the conclusion – it doesn’t mean everything has to be tied up in a neat little bow. it doesn’t mean we need to know every single thing that happens next. it’s okay to leave stories open for audience interpretation. that being said, homestuck is a bit of a special case, because there are just so many characters and almost all of them feel important, not to mention that since death has come to be such an impermanent thing in the homestuck universe, having some characters essentially fall out of the story to never be mentioned again, and some (such as vriska and especially aradia) be left with such ambiguous fates, feels almost… unfair? like, yes i’m glad that all the kids got their new world and they seem happy. but there are so many other characters who were important to both the audience and the plot for so long that didn’t get so much as a mention towards the end of the story – not just in act 7, but also the stuff leading up to it. i’m going to talk about aradia again because what happened with her hit me especially hard seeing as she’s one of my favorite characters – she’d just fallen out of the story, doing who knows what, for SO long, and appeared again at the very end to essentially do nothing and then didn’t even get to make it to the new world with everyone so she’s just what, floating around in empty space forever now? what’s the point of her even coming back into the story, then?? it doesn’t make sense, and there are other characters who didn’t even get to make it back into the story, or were created at the last minute, whose fates are even more unknown than aradia’s.
3. lord english. like i said, i see collide as more of the climax/end of the story, with the events following and act 7 itself as something of an epilogue, but the fact that lord english was such an important villain in the story and everything felt like it was leading up to a battle with him, and then not only was his defeat saved until after collide (which led at least me and probably some others to believe that we still had one last epic battle coming our way) but was ultimately really short and almost easy-feeling left a very sour taste in my mouth. i still don’t quite understand the thought process behind lord english’s demise – i mean, i understand the events that led up to it, but like i said it just felt… far too easy. it was over so quickly, particularly compared to all the other battles against all the other villains who were supposed to be even less of a threat than him. i think that’s my biggest problem with act 7, is that the biggest villain in the story was disposed of in the eleventh hour with not much consideration for how it was done.
4. overall, and i’ve thought this for a long time, i think the story and plot just sort of started to turn into a runaway train – this is the difficulty with providing content as it’s produced, particularly in very small bursts, like homestuck has always been. as a writer i know how sometimes a story can get completely derailed from where you thought it was headed and turn into something else entirely, but with something so long and complicated with so many different plotlines and characters as homestuck, of course it was going to be difficult to bring everything together in the end. for a lot of the story it’s difficult to see what the endgame will even look like, or how we’re going to get there. in retrospect, a lot of it is filler, but it doesn’t feel like filler at the time. everything feels important, especially if you’re reading it update by update rather than all in one go, so it’s difficult to tell what’s going to be relevant in the end and what isn’t, and confusing and disappointing when you thought things that would or should come up again don’t.
5. hiatuses. especially towards the end, there have been HUGE gaps between updates, and this kind of goes along with my first point – the more gaps, the more everyone was able to hype up the ending in their heads. we’d been waiting for it for so long, so it just grew and grew in our minds until it became this colossal thing that we all expected that would be near impossible to deliver. this coupled with the fact that so many people fell out of the fandom during the long pauses, only to jump back in when they realized it was finally, actually ending, just compounded on the fact that we were expecting so much and it was something of a letdown when we got what we did.
there are probably some more things that contributed to this, and i know that not everyone will agree and some people were actually quite thrilled with the update, i’ve just been thinking about this a lot since i watched the update last night and needed to put my thoughts into words. hopefully it’ll make sense and bring some reassurance to those who, like me, found themselves disappointed, or explain our feelings to those who weren’t.
i still love homestuck, don’t get me wrong. it’s a revolutionary piece of media, a powerful story that brought a lot of people together, and something that i’ll never forget.
but you don’t have to dislike a thing as a whole to dislike its ending, and personally i think the ending could’ve been handled much better. i’ll just have to keep focusing on the parts of homestuck i do like, and i guess wait for the epilogue to the epilogue that hussie mentioned (which is sort of bullshit in and of itself but this post is already long so i’m not going to get into that right now)
happy 4/13, everyone.