Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 8 Rewritten: Mayorly Foreshadowification Station

Introduction / Schedule

Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 >

Pages 666-758 (MSPA: 2566-2658)

Act 2, Part 5 of 5

Link to old version / Link to new version

My rewritten posts lately have alternated between me making a new post title and me keeping the old one. I’m keeping the old one here again.

Random thing about the community reread that isn’t worth putting in its entire separate post: I decided to join in again yesterday to reread John and Roxy’s first conversation, at the end of Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 1. It’s just as funny and heartening as I remember it being and is one of many things recently that made remember that they are the best ship in the comic. Look forward to me praising that ship in future posts, probably.

You are now the Wayward Vagabond.

The final portion of Act 2 is a stretch of pages focusing on the Wayward Vagabond. On this page, the book commentary explains that although Hussie already had rough ideas for this character’s story role, he decided to improvise and have fun with this arc, letting readers drive the story a bit more than before. You probably know that when John was commanded by WV, he was blocked off from being commanded by readers; playing as WV for the first time gives us a fresh start and a bit of a return to the old days. This “fresh start” idea is done even stronger in the Midnight Crew intermission, which I already covered in my rewritten posts because I skipped to that part after finishing Act 1. Once I finish Act 3, I’ll do a post recapping the intermission before I go to Act 4.


> WV: Retri…


Got em already.

No arm shenanigans here; just quickly getting this joke out of the way before any nonsense can happen. Probably meant to get readers at the time to think, “hm maybe I should be creative for once instead of reiterating the same old commands again”.


> WV: Examine rotten pumpkin.


What pumpkin?

As with the “what sword?” scene from Dave, this is a short moment that establishes the nature of Homestuck compared to the other adventures. The old MSPA gags now always have an explanation behind them. In this case, the explanation is simply that WV ate the pumpkin, as we can plainly see. A short moment of humor that reminds us that this isn’t quite Problem Sleuth.

If there’s any part of Homestuck that is quite Problem Sleuth, it’s obviously the intermission. That part brings back item/weapon duality and other weird nonsensical gimmicks. Those intermission gimmicks serve as a good way to surprise readers when we learn that the intermission was plot-relevant all along.


> WV: Captchalogue can of gravy.


Captchalogue? You have no idea what that means. It is total nonsense and you do not know what to make of it. You will not give the foolish notion a second thought.

I like how WV’s nature compared to our human heroes is shown by repeatedly subverting expectations. He doesn’t have a fetch modus, but instead just picks things up with his hands. This is an early hint at his role as an NPC, who does things that don’t necessarily match with game mechanics.

Did you ever play My Lego Network as a kid? You probably didn’t. But I had a whole phase with that game/social network when I was 9 or 10. It was kind of garbage in retrospect; there’s one aspect of it that relates to what I’m talking about here. Users in that network could only send each other preset messages, which I found annoying and empty. However, NPCs, or “Networkers” as the game called them, could send users whatever messages they wanted (which is to say, whatever they were programmed to send). I found the “freedom” NPCs had to be even more bullshit and garbage. Later of course, I got used to the concept of NPCs in games doing things that would otherwise not be allowed. But I still remember how upset I felt back then that NPCs seemed to have so much more freedom than actual users did.

In Homestuck, there are plenty of times where you can “play” as NPCs. Whenever you play as them, the story changes tone a little. In this case, the typical “freedom” NPCs have compared to playable characters—lack of bounds by player characters’ restrictions—is shown when WV picks things up instead of using a fetch modus. It brings back the “what, why can THOSE characters do what they want” feel that young children might experience. 

What, then, do we make of Spades Slick’s Problem Sleuth-style inventory? My guess is that it’s a red herring to distract us from the fact that he was originally a Sburb NPC. I’ll revisit this point, as well as any possible in-universe explanation for that inventory, in my intermission recap post.


WV is commanded to use his sharp teeth to open the can, but he actually has blunt teeth. A simple subversion of commands serves as subtle foreshadowing of his lowly rank among Dersites, compared to higher-ranking ones with sharper teeth (this is all according to the book commentary). Whether this teeth symbolism was made up in the book commentary, improvised right here, or planned all along, I cannot tell. It’s not an important detail.


> WV: Examine can of custard.


The can clearly reads “MUSTARD”, a fact of which you were perfectly well aware. 

I would say this is another improvised subversion of what readers were thinking, but given that the other cans are all salty foods it makes more sense for the can to be mustard, not custard. If a reader thought it was mustard but then Hussie decided it was custard instead, then it would be an improvised subversion.


WV’s bar code vaguely resembles a chess board and supposedly “brings back unpleasant memories”. Extremely loose foreshadowing of course.

^ placeholder text. I’m OK with this being placeholder text actually, because this barcode means much more when we see Slick wearing it.


> WV: Be the imp.


This means nothing to you. You are not an imp, you have no idea what an imp is, and you will not entertain such frivolous and childish ideas ever again. You feel stupid and hate yourself a little for even considering it.

I always love when the comic humorously debunks dumb theories, in this case that WV is an imp. It’s even a little mean to readers about that idea; WV hates himself a little for considering the thought of an “imp”.


WV’s next command is to become the Mayor of Can Town and here’s where things get interesting. You might know that this one-off command had a major impact on the story, giving birth to exiles’ affiliations and beliefs that they have strict roles. WV the mayor, PM the mail lady, AR the judge.

These exile roles give their arc so much more character than it otherwise would have had. It’s kind of weird and wonderful. They won’t stop at anything to latch onto these roles. WV will never leave a brutal king in charge. PM will never leave a package undelivered. AR will never leave a crime unpaid for. And Hussie will never bring back AR… wait, where was I going with this?

OK, authority regulators are mentioned once postmortem. It would be kind of awesome if it was more than once. Moving on.

WV has a habit of basing fantasies exclusively around his surroundings.
This king symbol looks like a chess king. Had any readers put the pieces together at this point?


You love the idea of being a mayor. You love everything about mayors, and the concept of an orderly, civil democracy. It all seems so mannerly and reasonable to you. Everyone is friendly and happy, and the city runs like clockwork. The foundation of the government is based on mutual respect between the leader and its people. It is also built on having a really great mayor that everyone loves who is totally amazing and heroic and brave.

Mayors are so much better than kings. You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way. 

God do you hate kings.

I can tell that Hussie really liked the idea of WV being a mayor. It didn’t take long for him to realize that WV being “The Mayor” fits perfectly with his backstory of rebelling against a king.


Next to the wall in WV’s station, we find four items that match up with the beta kids. Oil is a more than familiar sight now in John’s house, while the firefly trapped in amber you may remember if you think closely to Dave’s collection of dead things. We have no way yet of knowing that chalk = Rose and uranium = Jade. But four random items situated together will probably set an alarm for most readers.

The book commentary tells us that the four items were all meant to tie into the kids’ planets and their quests, but only in John’s case did it pan out. So we’re left with those four items symbolizing much weirder things instead.


WV immediately eats the uranium, independent of readers’ commands. Wait I mean the Chekhov’s uranium. This moment hints to us that Jade is the kids’ pattern breaker; I’ll revisit this point shortly.


If it’s green, WV eats it. When I first read this page, I thought it meant WV hated that color. My first read of Homestuck was embarrassing.


WV uses the amber, chalk, and oil to build and expand Can Town; this might be a symbol of the beta kids’ cooperation and firm bonds. I guess that’s the symbolism we’re left with now that the planet quests have been shafted. It’s pretty good symbolism though, don’t get me wrong. It makes sense that only the first three kids’ items are shown, because we still haven’t been introduced to Jade yet.

Unlike the other three, Jade’s item (the uranium) is used for something not quite as innocent. Or rather, by someone not quite as innocent. Just as Jade was behind the beta kids becoming friends and starting their adventure, the uranium was behind Jack Noir’s bloody hand and following rampage which cut the trolls’ victory short and caused pretty much everything else in the story to happen.

Let’s flip back a few pages (before the last one shown above) to the moment WV draws the chessboard. First, let’s look at the narration:

> WV: Lay a chalk foundation for Can Town’s civic growth.

You develop westward, settling those fertile plains and claiming them for your city. 


You section off a number of RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL ZONES for civic growth, arranged in the only logical pattern that occurs to you. 

WV’s choice of drawing a chessboard is an interesting case of the narration going along with reader commands but adding something unexpected along the way. He does indeed build a neighborhood area for Can Town, but he arranges it in a way that makes readers go “oh shit”. I say just “readers” and not “attentive readers” because the visuals accompanying Nannasprite’s story are one of the most memorable parts of Act 2.


> WV: Use your own pee for the commercial zones.


You cannot urinate because you have not had anything to drink in quite some time. You are very thirsty. 

Most of the time in Homestuck, food is glossed over and ignored. This is an odd case where WV is established to be extremely thirsty due to a gag command. It serves to set up a bit of an arc where he has to find something to drink. 

Also that is a really terrible idea and you would not consider befouling your wonderful city in that way for even a moment.

And this line, where WV says he wouldn’t use his own pee no matter what, reminds us that we’re reading Homestuck, not Problem Sleuth, and especially not Jailbreak.


After the chess board is fully painted, WV gives himself a mayor sash. He wears it for the rest of the comic and it’s, um, probably significant to a lot of things?

Why didn’t I think of placeholder text sooner? It’s a great addition to my posts. It’s way more fun than struggling to say something about a scene, or just adding “it says a lot that”, or god forbid, “I think it says a lot that” to the start.


Next, WV decides to draw a backdrop to his imaginary city. Which is to say he treats us to a nice, informative tour of the kids’ Incipisphere. With the light and dark (luminous and ominous as he calls them) planets, the quartet of planets vaguely connected to the kids’ items, and Skaia’s trademark cloud design, first-time readers might be able to make out some connection to Nanna’s stories and the kids’ game of Sburb.


WV looks at John’s command station and wonders how to turn on the other screens. A command suggests that he press Tab, a natural choice.

Is this page supposed to symbolize Prospit’s untimely destruction?

Let’s go with the intellectual’s answer, “yes”.

But what the Tab key actually does is more wordplay. It opens a box containing some delicious Tab soda!


He is elated to drink this delicious soda. I said earlier that food and drinks are usually glossed over in Homestuck, which makes the cases where characters have trademark favorite foods stand the hell out. 



The TABS are naturalized as loyal new citizens of CAN TOWN. All cans are welcome and equal in your city, regardless of can content, and whether empty or full. 

With a second type of cans added to the mix, things really start to pile up. WV is shown to believe in equality and friendship between two seemingly opposing groups. We saw a chess battle against white and black pieces during Nanna’s exposition, so one might surmise that WV believes Prospit’s and Derse’s soldiers can all be friends if they stick together. And one would be completely right!

Cropping enormous panels is another thing I wish I had thought of doing long ago.


WV goes on to view his station’s command history. Seeing a recap of his commands is useful because it makes the quirky way he writes much clearer. His style shows a bit of dissonance with itself, with esoteric vocabulary arranged into strange, childish sentence structure. After the caps lock incident, he keeps his vocabulary but switches out childish sentences with extreme politeness.

Note that the commands WV sent John during the walkaround are omitted, maybe to prevent them from having any “canonical” order.


And then we see that someone else long ago had entered a few test commands before WV showed up. Hussie’s book commentary gives a suggestion as to who that someone is:

I think of those early commands in green as some things that were entered as test cases while this station was being built. I like to picture a mild mannered carapacian in a lab coat just running through the drill, making sure the terminal checks out. Then he gives it a thumbs up, and the thing just sits in a meteor for a while, crashes into earth, and waits centuries for this bozo to show up and fuck around with the keyboard.

It raises an interesting point that we don’t see carapacians performing their usual jobs as the story intends; just the occasional brief look at things going the normal way rather than completely off the rails. I don’t really agree with the common criticism that we never quite get to see a normal Sburb session; I think those brief looks I talked about, especially during the troll session, are just enough to give us an idea of how things normally are meant to go while keeping the story engaging. It’s just that a lot of those looks at how things normally go are peeked at in the background.

I actually haven’t reread the trolls’ arc in a while. Maybe I should reread that section before I get to it in my rewritten posts, I don’t know.

WV decides to look at the other three screens, foreshadowing more stuff to us in the process. He looks at Rose’s screen and we glimpse the giant wizard statue, damaged and missing a hand. This doesn’t directly foreshadow much, but it ties into one of the things this act’s ending flash reveals; I’ll go over it when I get to that flash.


Dave’s screen teases an enormous amount to us. I’ll go through those one by one.

1. Bird prototyped into sprite

We saw that John’s kernelsprite brought back his late grandmother, and we learned in a flashback conversation that Rose will bring back her cat in her kernel. So a logical extension is that Dave will bring back something dead too, namely a bird he accidentally killed. While it is true that the bird is prototyped, we are misled into thinking his sprite will just be a brainless feathery asshole with some goofy flair, not a bird version of himself.

2. Cal destroyed

The puppet is ripped to shreds. Well, not entirely: its head is intact which might hint that the puppet has more to it than just being unsettling. I’d guess Hussie had conceptualized Caliborn at this point and maybe came up with Lord English’s other components in later acts. It’s also a clear idea that Cal would be prototyped into Dave’s sprite, which really does happen … in a bad future where John and Jade are dead. And Cal’s evil nightmare laughing overwhelms any bird personality that sprite might have, which again subverts expectations.

3. Dave’s broken shirt symbol

An extremely early hint at the Scratch. It’s not out of the question that Hussie had already planned out the alpha kids by this point; maybe the cherubs being friends with them, or that might have been a tiny bit later. This isn’t the only time we get a super early hint at the Scratch. You can tell that Hussie planned a lot, but not everything in advance.

4. Dave’s broken sword

Spoiler alert: Dave breaks swords a lot. Spoiler alert 2: Dave’s sword quest is a bunch of shitty nonsense that is really used to show Dave’s inferiority complex, especially with Davesprite. I can tell that Hussie had already planned Dave’s sword breaking to symbolize his character.

[end of list]

As for Jade’s screen:

You consider switching to SCREEN 4, but decide against it. You have a feeling that whatever’s there would just confuse you even more, and you don’t even really care all that much anyway.

WV decides not to switch to screen 4, because it would just confuse him even more. This suggests that Jade’s entry into the Medium is probably something CRAZY exciting. Why else would the story go out of its way not to show it?

I’m thinking of a page number between my buttocks…


After the screen nonsense is over, WV sees a time count down 4 hours and 13 minutes, then diminishes that number to 4 minutes and 13 seconds by making a game of chess out of his citizens and playing it to completion.


To nobody’s surprise, the white team loses. This again ties in with one of the most memorable parts of Nannasprite’s exposition, where we learned that white is always destined to lose the battle. Hopefully most readers here really got thinking at this point. A chess board with white destined to lose? Two kingdoms of light and of darkness around that world? It’s not impossible to connect the dots about WV’s drawings.


Minutes in the future (though perhaps not as few as implied by circumstance), we get a small teaser of a second exile, the Peregrine Mendicant. Quickly we see that WV’s silly commands about being a mayor paid off, because the first thing we see this exile doing is carry a bunch of mailboxes which suggests that she has some strong profession fantasy too. We have no way yet of knowing that exile is a “she” though, which confused many fans. Well, we have no way yet of knowing WV’s gender either, but Hussie had probably already referred to him by male pronouns on the forums.


WV leaves his room and looks at a touchscreen interface listing his station’s three rooms, each of which is represented with one of the comic’s three main arc symbols: the Sburb logo, the spirograph, and the triangle fractal. Or you could call them the Sburb logo, the other Sburb logo, and the secret third Sburb logo.

Someone help me, I don’t remember what’s in the spirograph room. Aren’t we shown inside that room in Act 5 Act 2?


WV can’t enter the spirograph room, but he can enter the triangle fractal room and here’s where we see more cool things.


You immediately craft a MEASURING SPEAR through possibly the most advanced form of alchemy employed thusfar. This is obviously the most important thing to do first. 

OBVIOUSLY.

I didn’t show the panel earlier where we first saw his Trusty Knife.


Or it WOULD obviously be the most important thing to do if you had remembered to bring your TRUSTY KNIFE. 

I like this method of storytelling, which shows us WV attaching his knife to his ruler but then zooms out to show a thought bubble and that WV doesn’t actually have his knife. This isn’t the only time a scene turns out to be someone’s thoughts or vision. In later acts the story is all about using thoughts, clouds, mind visions, dream bubbles, what have you, to transition scenes. Using mind visions isn’t quite as common, but it does happen twice in short succession in the Doc Scratch intermission, where [that one character]’s battle against Jack Noir turned out to be Terezi’s mind vision and Slick’s brutal murder by Quarters turned out to be Snowman’s mind vision.

You feel so insecure without your TRUSTY KNIFE, it makes you want to slit your wrists. Or at the very least, flog your carapace with some sort of measuring apparatus.

Mystery arc anyone? Obviously there’s something important about that knife, other than being an arm swingy flappy thing wrapped in a bit of cloth. It makes sense that something important is hidden in that knife because WV is an absolute pacifist and not one for weapons.

WV messes around with the appearifier and take a wild guess what’s going to show up. Anyone?


It’s a pumpkin of course! Why would it ever be anything else?

Well, it’s not just any old pumpkin.

Jade’s teaser between the last psycheout and x2 double psycheout combo was important, and this is why. This pumpkin with the dog design was shown next to Jade and will probably flash a light to readers. If you think back to the coordinates recently shown, you can spoil yourself on where Jade lives: a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.



It seems this mysterious gourd was transported (appearified!!!) from a specific time and location somewhere on this planet you are on. You wonder if the machine (APPEARIFIER!!!) will take any object that exists at whatever time and location you supply. 

This is one of those odd bits where the comic hammers in its special terminology through correcting a character’s narration, instead of just rolling with it. Makes sense again because WV is an NPC who is less bound by the game’s rules, but at the same time more bound by the game’s rules. WV doesn’t captchalogue anything and isn’t familiar with appearification and whatnot, but does strictly follow all that he is programmed to do, like wanting to a mayor and eating all that is green.

There is a symbol carved on the PUMPKIN. You don’t know what it means, and you doubt it will ever prove to be relevant in any way.

WV has a strong memory and knowledge of the mechanics of the incipisphere, but somehow can’t recognize the dog symbol (yet). I pondered for a bit why he didn’t remember dog Jack and then concluded that it’s because first guardians getting prototyped doesn’t normally happen. It isn’t part of Sburb’s rules, so it makes sense that WV wouldn’t be programmed to remember that catastrophe. Jack with the dog’s powers is way scarier than even the trolls’ black king, who had the powers of many monstrous creatures and a deadly Horrorterror.


WV presses a green button and the coordinates switch, now showing the coordinates for his facility. His face obscures all but the latitude, enticing the mystery of where he is located. It doesn’t even come across as deliberately hiding information from readers—not yet anyway. This is enough to get readers curious but not to infuriate them with information they’re denied.

More obscuring like I said above. This time, only the rightmost digits are shown.


One way to find out would be to attempt to appearify something from this facility. 

It should be easy to zero in on a location relative to the center because you have an uncanny knack for tracking precise distances you have already traversed, in whatever units you choose. 

This little passage is interesting. It gives us a small hint at something WV is programmed to do. Maybe he has the number 413,000 firmly planted in his head? Or 413 multiplied by some power of 10, it’s kind of vague how much time he spent wandering a desolate Earth. That strong memory of distances could explain how he found the command station amidst an empty desert at just the right moment.



You nudge the coordinates very slightly and bump up the elevation by 0.5 HUMAN MEASUREMENT UNITS. You make sure to keep the time approximately what it was to begin with. 

You appearify your TRUSTY KNIFE.

WV is quite the mathematician! It makes sense because he is an NPC in a video game, and video game programming involves enormous amounts of math and logic. And banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why every function is outputting zero.

Although he is clearly a sentient being, I’ve been using the word “programmed” to describe WV because it works again and again as a metaphor.


> WV: Deappearify the pumpkin.


Does this machine look like a DEAPPEARIFIER to you?? Honestly, the idea that an APPEARIFIER could both APPEARIFY and DEAPPEARIFY things is so laughably ridiculous, you would wish someone would DEAPPEARIFY your brain and REAPPEARIFY it with a brain that is more smart and less dumb.

More evidence that WV is a programmed video game character who operates through program rules rather than human rules. If you program an appearifier in a video game, you can’t just expect it to be able to deappearify (sendificate!!!) things too. Such functionality has to be tacked onto the program. WV knows this because he is (metaphorically) a program. I bet he’d do a good job teaching John how to program computers. (Take notes Hussie, the epilogue isn’t some joke.)


WV appearifies the firefly out of the amber. Good to know, I completely forgot about how she got out of there. It’s quite kindly of him to free her from this entrapment.

Serenity is one of the least “homestuck” characters in a way. As in not stuck in a home. She travels around many places, then Roxy renames *him* to Twinkly Herbert and *he* becomes a soul container for Calliope or something. Also her/his story is never quite fully elaborated; it’s filled with puzzling but harmless oddities.

Not shown: WV appearifying the grate that prevented him from leaving.


WV can’t appearify the rotten pumpkin in the past because he would later eat it. This is a neat little introduction to time paradoxes and how the comic handles them. It eases readers into how the kids were born and what can and can’t be cloned. Predestination is subtly hinted at throughout this act and gradually becomes more prominent until it becomes one of the biggest themes of Act 5 Act 2.

Quick peek at WV’s coordinates and time, if you aren’t distracted by this flash’s climactic tension!


With all that out of the way, it’s time for WV’s grand climax! With his timer rapidly ticking down, he must grab all his important stuff in a pumpkin and hurry to the exit! Things are getting serious now!!!!

Just kidding, you and I know this flash is just a silly parody of Act 1’s ending flash, with WV wasting time on dumb nonsense while a mysterious countdown ticks. It even has the exact same music as that flash. Serious flashes always use new music or a new arrangement of old music. If a flash straight up reuses old music, you know it’s a joke flash and a real flash will probably come soon.


Just as WV approaches the exit, the music suddenly slows down and he falls off the ladder, with all his stuff dumped on him. This fully establishes this flash as a psycheout where we switch focus to someone else… or is it?

Hold on, hold on, hold on, can we switch the music?
We’re gonna hit it.


You attempt the rare and highly dangerous 5X CLIFFHANGER COMBO, and fail. 

We are doing it, man. 

We are making this happen.

Cliffhangers are cool and all, but you have to draw the line somewhere. And Hussie drew the line at just the right place. Five cliffhangers is too much to handle; you can’t just go ahead and switch perspective at a moment this tense. No, you must do it after the dramatic flash.

Are you ready for the comic’s very first WHOPPER FLASH? [S] WV: Ascend is Act 2’s ending flash and it holds a special place in many readers’ hearts. It’s cited again and again as the first page that blew readers away; the first page that made them realize Homestuck is no ordinary webcomic. And boy is it easy to see why that is.

When I first watched WV: Ascend, I didn’t quite know what was going on but was stunned no less; I could tell the flash was meant to establish enormous plot revelations and concluded that the flash established that WV and company were behind the game of Sburb and the kids’ story this whole time, and that they caused the meteor impacts on Earth. That conclusion isn’t true at all, but at the same time it’s in a way true. My original conclusion goes to show how impactful this flash is; even if you don’t understand it, you can tell that crazy plot stuff is kicking into high gear.

This flash opens with revisiting the very beginning of Act 2, showing WV’s location once more and what we now know about this mystery man. The moment this flash opens and you hear the first few seconds of Explore, you can tell you’re in for something special.


The zoom out from WV’s endless desert is amazingly executed. First Zazzerpan’s hand subtly shows that he lives where Rose’s home once stood. Then it turns out that the desert isn’t quite the endless expanse we thought it was; it’s a load of sand that filled up an entire crater. The desert scenes were only a small portion of the big picture!


AND THEN THE MUSIC DROPS. Tell me that your jaw didn’t drop when you first got to this moment. George Buzinkai did an amazing job composing Explore, while Michael Guy Bowman did a just as awesome job arranging it into a full-length song. It’s super special whenever a flash’s music is some form of collaboration between musicians, or one musician’s arrangement of another musician’s song.

I can’t go on without mentioning something sad: for those that don’t know, Buzinkai suffered through hard times in life since 2013 and passed away in 2018. I have been witness to very few things as heartwarming as the support Buzinkai got over those years. I recommend listening to some of Buzinkai’s music outside of Homestuck. There’s quite a bit floating around the Internet.


WV flying through the air is so goddamn awesome to see. No complaints, no jabs at Hussie. Just reminiscing over a spectacular animation. It’s nice.


One cool thing this flash does is show us the true purpose of the “but not many” arc words; these words are used to establish what time scales we’re talking about in a uniquely Homestuck way. I’ll get back to this point in a bit.


The explosion at the end of Act 1 is revisited in a brand new light. The montage following the explosion is stunning and really feels like it’s recapping a lengthy time period. The timelapse just keeps going and going: first we see the immediate result of the explosion, then the montage starts to speed up with color change from grassy green to desert yellow, then massive sands pile up just like Rose’s home, and finally a tree grows, with an apple featuring the Sburb logo underneath.


This montage is AWESOME. And that’s all there is to say on the matter. A nice touch is that near the end, the tree’s leaves cycle through seasons, establishing that the montage is slowing down once more as it reaches the “present”.

Not shown: the reveal that the “meteor” approaching PM was actually WV’s command station.


The meaning behind the poetic little phrase “but not many” is shown in full here. When those words are crossed out, it’s established in a way even more “Homestuck” than before that we’re about to see events that happened millions of years in the past, which is most certainly many years.


This scene, specifically the spirograph that the meteor is teleported from, is an important “oh shit” moment that kills two birds with one stone. This time, only the “stone” part is literal, because birds didn’t exist 413 million years ago. The “birds” in this case are two important plot revelations.

The first revelation is that meteors were created by Sburb, destroying what readers were led to believe about them before (that the countdown was just to warn them about meteors). It goes hand in hand with the prior revelation that Sburb is not about saving the world.

The second revelation is that Sburb is significant on a cosmic level, not just as some game that destroys the world. It slowly leads readers into the revelation that the goal of Sburb is to create a universe. This big shock revelation that Sburb sent a meteor millions of years into the past makes it easier for readers to realize other crazy things about the game as the story progresses.


The montage that follows this ancient meteor collision is just as awesome as the last one. It starts with the volcano erupting and forming a pit, where the frog temple is then created. After that point, the montage speeds up until we see roughly how the island looks like now. In that last frame shown above, dinosaurs are shown which establishes in a not very Homestuck way that this isn’t quite what the island currently looks like. The dinosaurs are not there to match with Homestuck’s style of narration, but to give a shout-out to Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics. The shoutout goes well with this flash though and I think it’s a good quick way to show that this is still the past.


With these montages done, this flash goes on an interlude to resolve the other characters’ cliffhangers. The scenes with Rose struggling in a flaming forest look stunning and this is still all with the early comic’s simple art style.


Rose’s mother appears, followed by a glimpse at the Skaianet lab next door. The moment you see the spirograph logo on the lab is a major “oh shit” moment. When I got to that scene when writing this post, I had a major revelation moment as if I was reading for the first time. The revelation was that this flash is the first full confirmation of the guardians’ involvement with Sburb, which was hinted at a few times in this act.


Rose’s mom enters the password to Skaianet’s lab. The cat logo is super cute and gives us a brief peek at Roxy’s true character behind (or rather, in front of) being a passive-aggressive freak.


The first time we see John’s father after being kidnapped is an important moment because it shows the same dark kingdom shown in Nanna’s stories and WV’s drawings. It might take a bit of a sharp eye to put those pieces together, but it’s still an important teaser of something we’ll learn way more about in Act 3.


Dad breaks free from his handcuffs and immediately scares the imps. Another small moment that teases a hidden truth about John’s father: he is extremely strong and thought his son would grow up to be the same.


Like Rose, Dave gets a big awesome appearance done in simple art but with shading that really brings it to life. Helps that the music gets to that really powerful final part that I don’t know how to put in words.


Bro appears in full view and now the big battle is finally ready to begin. Another stunning scene.


When WV’s frog temple arrives where Jade’s island once stood, we see that area has gone back to where it started: an uninhabited world of dust and rocks. The only differences are that the volcano is missing and an eroded frog temple is there. We don’t quite know yet why the volcano is missing, but if you pay enough attention and look at the coordinates, you just might put a few pieces together. Not nearly enough to know why the frog temple is still there though. We do know she owns a guardian dog of sorts named Bec, so maybe the sharpest of readers might be able to put it all together.


With WV arriving at his destination, this flash ends. I like how he was surrounded in mystery when he started his long flight, but when he ends his flight we now know much more about those exiles and how their story came to be.

END OF ACT 2


And so, the curtains close in on the frog temple’s location years in the future (but not many). Hussie is a master at ending acts with things that blow your mind. Almost every act ends with curtains closing in on something shocking, symbolistic, or in a few cases humorous. Acts 1-3 and the intermission all close in on something shocking; later acts go more for the symbolistic side, while some of Act 6’s subdivisions go for the humorous. My personal favorite closing image might be the end of Act 6 Act 5, which manages to be all three at once.

– – – 


Time to recap Act 2.

First, I’d like to say I have one glaring problem with this act: it’s rather slow-paced. I felt that way especially when I read Act 2 in the community reread. A lot of pages are spent on nonsense that doesn’t mean much for the plot or establish much about characters. Most of those pages I skipped over when writing my Act 2 post, so you probably couldn’t tell that I felt Act 2 was slow-paced aside from the times I outright said so.

Amidst its slow pace, Act 2 does have a lot of plot points and mysteries hyped up throughout, way more than Act 1. The exiles, the guardians’ connections to Sburb, Jade’s knowledge of the future, Jade in general, Sburb’s underlings, the light and dark kingdoms, the seven gates and Skaia, the deeper story behind all the Saw puppets, and most importantly of all, Rose’s magnetic letter W. These mysteries are enticing and the act does a decent job hyping them up so we can get shocking reveals in the next few acts.

As for characters, Act 2 places heavy emphasis on Rose and Dave. A large portion of the act is just them exploring their homes and characterizing their daily lives, with plenty of humorous moments and surprises along the way. This focus on Rose and Dave makes sense compared to Act 1, but feels a bit imbalanced and may contribute to this act’s feeling of slow pace. John mostly just goes around fighting imps and figuring out game mechanics, while Jade does nothing but plot dumps and vague teasers. The most interesting character we get to know in this act is the Wayward Vagabond, who we meet in this act’s final stretch of pages. Reading through the story from an NPC’s perspective for the first time is a fun change of pace and twists up a lot of the comic’s usual narration rules if you read closely enough.

Act 2 doesn’t have many big animations, mostly small silly ones. The minigames and walkarounds aren’t that good and serve mostly as predecessors for some really good walkarounds in later acts. The animations with Nannasprite’s story are excellent and set a fresh atmosphere; Dave: Ascend feels like the flash where shit just got real but is really just the last step before the act’s iconic ending flash. Act 2 ends with first a silly fakeout flash, then a mind-blowing whopper flash. As I said before, this is just one of many cases where Hussie ends an act with a massive surprise that blows readers away and gets them hyped to read the next act.

To conclude this post, I will say that Act 2 is flawed overall but ends with something spectacular that is only the start of many more spectacular things to come.

See you next time as I go back to the present and dissect probably some stuff involving Caliborn, for real this time. I’ll start Act 3 at some point after 4/13; read my schedule post for more information!

Next => Part 9: Air for Eclectic Fursuits

(Important fact: I fucking hate Homestuck.)

Why SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS is a fantastic video (Followup Post)

Why is “Star Light Zone” all green and gray? The answer isn’t quite what you think.


This post is a followup to a blog post I made from last year, reviewing hbomberguy’s video “SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS“.

Last night, I was in bed thinking about another Sonic related video that’s more grounded in reality and how it ties in to hbomb’s overanalysis of Sonic the Hedgehog (the first game). That video is “Square Trees?!” – A Critique of Sonic Art Styles Throughout the Series” by Triple-Q; I had seen it before watching SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS.

The section of Square Trees that relates to SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS is that on Sonic 1, starting from this timestamp. At that point, Q discusses how every zone after Green Hill looks kind of boring and monochrome. When I first saw that video, the point in that section that struck me the most was the description of Star Light Zone (shown above), whose name would suggest something awesome and spacey but is instead murky green and gray.

The most logical thing to deduce from this simplistic zone design is that the developers didn’t put too much thought into designing the levels. This is especially clear when you compare it to the next few classic Sonic games. Sonic 2, CD, and 3&K all have delightful level design; Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant Zone is one of the best designed levels in any video game I have ever played, if not the best. Many zones in the next few share similar elements to Sonic 1’s but look a lot more lively and colorful, or just have much more of their own personalities. CD’s Tidal Tempest is a version of Labyrinth that doesn’t look like ass, while 3&K’s Lava Reef is a gorgeous spin on the lava theme set by 1’s Marble. Also on the topic of CD, Stardust Speedway is what Star Light was probably always meant to be: jumpy design, iconic music, and a way cooler sounding name. Sonic 1’s bland zones are best seen as predecessors to similar but more lively zones, am I right?

– – – – – 


That idea is cool and all and makes sense, but doesn’t stop hbomb from analyzing the game how he wants; reading too much into it, if you will.

Before we go on, I’ll note the following. As I said in my prior post about SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS, hbomberguy and Eric Taxxon both taught me that there is nothing wrong with reading too much into things. It can lead to mind-blowing analysis if done right. It’s just that if done poorly, reading too much into things will make you look like a doofus. In my most recent Homestuck posts I can proudly say there’s a few points where I read “too much” into things. And a few points where I read just the “right amount” into things, so that I could decipher Hussie’s mind and predict his book commentary almost verbatim.

OK, back to where I was.

As the game progresses, Sonic 1’s art styles evolve from vibrant nature all the way to robotic dystopia. If you compare each of the zones, the general trend is that they become more robotic looking as you go through the game. I established prior that aside from the ending zones, the robotic appearance is probably just a result of overly simple design. But hbomb takes full advantage of the monochromatic appearance of the game’s zones and draws a conclusion that I already discussed in my prior post about his video.

Perhaps hbomb’s dystopian Sonic 1 analysis was inspired by Sonic CD’s bad future zones? Or perhaps it wasn’t. Either way, the cool thing is that he never talks about other Sonic games in this video (aside from a few offhand jokes) and nor does he need to. He masterfully interpreted Sonic 1 as a standalone game, without saying “oh it’s the first game, the next few do it better” or “Sonic has had a rocky history ever since its transition to 3D” or such clichés.

– – – – – 


Man writing about Sonic is pretty fun. Maybe I should do it more often; I’ve been thinking of writing about Sonic CD, the weirdest of the classic games. In a parallel universe, I’m probably working on blog posts about Sonic every day and maybe on occasion some weird webcomic called Homestuck. My next post about the weird webcomic called Homestuck probably won’t take that long to make, which is why I don’t feel guilty about making a blog post on something unrelated. See my schedule for more information.

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 7 Rewritten: What Sword?

Introduction / Schedule

Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 >

Pages 562-665 (MSPA: 2462-2565)

Act 2, Part 4 of 5

Link to old version / Link to new version

Haha… haha… ha ha … ha …….



Dave explores the rest of his living room and here’s where the creepiness factor escalates. It all starts with this moment:



> Dave: Take expensive ninja sword.


What sword?

This page is a shockingly simple way to establish the day-to-day nature of Dave’s home life.

As I said in my first rewritten post, early Homestuck has a habit of revisiting the running gags of the prior adventures and giving them a new context. Every instance of the “what pumpkin?” gag in Homestuck has some broader reason behind it, sometimes involving technology. This instance of the gag is a character establishing moment for Dave’s bro.


When I got these pages in my old posts, I was nothing short of creeped out. Maybe it’s because two pages in a row show Bro flash stepping and moving stuff around, subverting all expectations in the process.


Bro’s comic on the wall is lifted from Hussie’s old works and I think you already know how that little thing is expanded on. And boy was it worth it. The best character in Homestuck would not exist if not for that comic.


Oh god, Dave’s kitchen. Out of all parts of Dave’s home, this is probably the easiest to make Cerebus syndrome out of. There is nothing even remotely related to food in there.

It goes without saying that in Homestuck’s world that the Saw series was subconsciously inspired by Lord English.

“Without saying” as in not even Hussie has ever said it. But it’s obvious as shit, come on.


There is, however, a webcam that automatically films puppet videos. The story always calls the puppet stuff “porn” which makes me think of how Caliborn thinks people holding hands and eating cake counts as porn. I hope Hussie is reading this and thinking “oh shit, you’re right”.


Dave decapitates the Saw doll, which is more unintentional foreshadowing. Or at least I assume it’s unintentional? I assume so because nobody talks about this scene.


How does Dave do this? Dave’s big jump(?) to avoid getting decimated by shurikens is evidence that this is pre-“Cerebus syndrome”.

(It’s no secret that I’ve put countless hours into browsing TV Tropes. Like, it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a brain.)


Next is a few pages parodying computer programming. Dave’s modus, as we learn, has an option for Scrabble point values. One could see this as a way to ease the transition into Jade’s modi based on board games.

In the old version of this post, I said that Dave’s bro probably is an absolute master at Scrabble and might have trained Dave to become good at it too. It makes sense considering that Dirk has a vocabulary on par with Rose. Maybe the guy slaps his tiles onto the board at his ultra ninja speed and kicks little Dave’s ass every time they play with his obscure words calibrated to get the best possible combinations of triple score squares. <- the blue text is borrowed from the old post


You take the SKATEBOARD (6). 

Actually, no you don’t. A collision has been detected. 

You take the… uh… 

WHEELED… 

uh… 

RIDE (7). 

Man, your inventory’s nomenclature is getting lamer by the minute. 


Hussie loves coming up with strange words for everyday things. As such, Dave’s clumsy spellings of words can be seen as a predecessor to troll terminology. I thought that myself, then realized the book commentary said the same thing I just said.


You take the BATTERY PACK (8). Dammit. 

You take the BATTERY PACK (9), using the ‘Y’ as a consonant. Your sylladex reluctantly accepts. 

It’s a tactic notoriously employed by hashmap noobs, but you just don’t care about that now. Besides, it’s not like your BRO is around to see. 


“It’s not like your bro is around to see” kills two birds with one stone, which is way cooler than killing one bird with one sword. The first bird is emphasis that Bro is an expert at Sburb’s mechanics and has been preparing Dave for the game for many years. The second is emphasis that Bro is flash stepping around the whole house, so fast that Dave doesn’t notice. Actually, since the two birds are killed, maybe the birds are actually lack of emphasis of those I mentioned and the lack of emphasis is killed, thereby creating emphasis.


Good way at conveying Dave is terrified without changing his facial expression. Not enough people appreciate the little exclamation points that show up throughout the comic.


Oh god more shitty swords. 

Of course you knew these were in here. You’re not even sure why you looked. 

If you want to keep any food or beverages in this apartment, you’ve pretty much got no choice but to hide stuff away in your closet.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

Dave much later states that he had to learn the real purpose of a refrigerator from movies, which lines up surprisingly well with what we know about him so far. Also, we learn a bit more meaning behind Dave’s line about finding an unopened container of apple juice in his closet. Sometimes I’m made uncomfortable by how much Homestuck was shaped by those 80’s and 90’s movies; if there were no references to Little Monsters, Dave’s home life might not be as interesting as it is.


The ice maker hides cherry bombs. Yeah, I think I’m going to pass on deciphering this one. 


You go for the CHERRY BOMBS (9) unsuccessfully. 

After mulling it over a bit, you take the RED SPHERICAL SALUTES (1). 


“Red spherical salutes” is such a Hussie phrase, holy shit. If Homestuck wasn’t all written by one person, maybe Dave’s words to fit his modus wouldn’t seem so close to troll terminology.

It’s the hatch to the crawlspace above your apartment. BRO’S always tucking away in there when he’s busting out his rad stealth stunts. He’s so slick that dangling cord never even jostles. 

You just know he’s being ironic with these weird mind games. There’s no way anyone could be serious about aping those shitty movies.

Yes, shitty movies. There’s no connections to Lord English here or anything.

“Oh, it’s just ironic” is Dave’s favorite excuse. He likes making fun of movies and I’m sure Bro does too to a degree. But because Saw is almost certainly inspired by Lord English in Homestuck’s universe, I think we know the real reason Bro referenced that movie. That puppet did way too much to him.



> Dave: Use the turntables and cinderblocks to make a fort.

It’s a pretty sweet fort you just made and you’re pretty sure your brother would agree. Under different circumstances, you might be high-fiving over it right now. 

Another line with small hints at a positive aspect of Dave and Bro’s relationship. It should be clear by now that there are positive aspects hinted at a few times, but vastly drowned by the negative aspects.


And there we have it. The iconic moment. I’m perpetually amazed that everything Dave said in that pesterlog is true in the most literal way possible.

TG: ok wait hold on why am i getting this stupid game for you 
TG: youre the one who should be wrist deep in puppet ass 
TT: What is the specific problem? 
TG: the problem is i am up to my goddamn neck in fucking puppet dong 
TT: You know you like the mannequin dick. Accept it. 
TG: i am enrobed in chafing, wriggling god fucking damned puppet pelvis 
TG: an obscenely long, coarse kermit cock is being dragged across my anguished face 
TT: Let’s put this into perspective. You put up with the puppet prostate because you love it. 
TT: Also, coarse is a good word. 
TG: you dont seem to harbor any sympathy for the fact that ive burrowed fuck deep into lively, fluffy muppet buttock 


Also true in a literal way is that Dave is not amused at all by Rose’s jokes. We can tell here that he is upset Rose doesn’t sympathize, instead just making fun of him more.

This conversation overall reads so differently from Dave’s perspective it’s unreal.


Ah yes, this iconic note. Bro’s writing is incredibly succinct, followed by a SBaHJ reference. It doesn’t quite match with how Dirk talks, which is like Rose but with a bit more slang. But it makes sense in retrospect, because it’s emphasized that Bro is a splinter of Dirk that got nightmarishly out of hand and that Dave doesn’t even slightly know his guardian.

Act 2 is a bit too slow paced for my liking; I’ll discuss it at the end of next post.


Dave has been trained well enough to quickly slice a bunch of puppets. This is a super cool panel and a fitting point for Dave to be the other guy.


This is so much fun. 


A huge waste of time, yes. BUT SO MUCH FUN.

Important fact: boys in Homestuck love building forts.

… Wait no, Roxy loves building forts and she is a girl. So what do I say instead? The beta boys and the alpha girls? Damn it, this isn’t what I wanted.

Whatever. My point is, forts are awesome. And that’s all there is to say on the matter.

The other Lalonde would never commit such an atrocity. She would have high-fived John for making an awesome fort.


Important fact 2: girls in Homestuck hate fun.

… This isn’t true at all. Only Rose does. Rose is a monster for throwing away John’s fort. How dare her.

I skipped like 10 pages. What are you going to do about it?
… I’m not a huge fan of Act 2.

Compared to the other acts, at least.


Here’s where we finally get to see the whole alchemy system in action. First, it’s used to clone existing objects.

“dskjhsdk” is permanently ingrained in my memory.


Naturally enough, the keyboard mashing is used to generate something plot-relevant. The rocket pack with junk stuck inside is a symbol of the cooperation between the kids, as well as the cooperation between the trolls and the kids. Intracooperation and intercooperation if you will. (If you have trouble remembering which is “intra” and which is “inter”, think of interstate highways which go through many states.)


After expanding his sylladex with ten new cards, John looks behind his fetch modus so he can turn on “detect collisions”, but as computer scientists will know, data structures are never what you hope. Also it turns out that the stack modus and queue modus were interchangeable this whole time? We’ve gone straight back to the early acts’ roots of video game satire; turns out that special surprises you unlock were useless this whole time because there was an easier way to unlock it that the programmers hadn’t considered.


Inspired by a magic trick in Harry Anderson’s Wise Guy, John starts to figure out how to combine hole patterns in cards. Considering the Skaianet Systems documents, where many celebrities including Harry Anderson are related to the Harleybert family line, I guess we can reinterpret this magic book page as evidence that Anderson had some kind of awareness of Sburb. I can’t imagine how any other Sburb players from Earth would’ve figured out such obtuse things. If they did, they must have been exceptionally bright minds or otherwise lucky figures.


Through this magic trick, John alchemizes his first new object: the pogo hammer! Characters alchemizing stuff is an absolute joy, which starts for real in Act 3 then kicks to high gear in Act 4.


With this new weapon, it only makes sense that the bottom-tier enemies have a “we’re screwed” look. This is playing out actual video game tropes, not parodying them.

TT: What did you do? 
EB: i combined the cards in the lathe thingy and made this! 
EB: it is so sweet, man look at me go. 
TT: I see. 
TT: That was a really good idea, John. Nice work. 
EB: thanks! 
EB: i got the idea from harry anderson. 
TT: Who? 
EB: uh, you know the show night court? 
TT: No. 
EB: oh. 
EB: well bottom line is… 
EB: he’s awesome 
EB: that’s really all there is to say on the matter. 


In Homestuck’s universe, Harry Anderson is a just plain awesome guy, John speaks the truth.

I really love the pattern of characters in the comic (especially John) idolizing actors and celebrities that are just kind of random. I think these strange choices of celebrities fits beautifully in Homestuck canon. Harry Anderson, Matt McConaughey, Guy Fieri, and Charles Dutton are my personal favorite inclusions. Charles FUCKING Dutton, of all people????? I’d doubt even 1% of Homestuck readers had ever before heard of Dutton! It’s a true wonder.

One of the weaker parts of the comic as a whole relates to this discussion: the incorporation of household names everyone knows as celebrities. Nicolas Cage is one such case—everyone knows who he is, but Con Air is worked so deeply into the comic that “Homestuck without Cage” is just not a thing that could ever exist. In a somewhat similar vein, everyone knows who Snoop Dogg is but his presence is a reference to the trifecta which Problem Sleuth would be incomplete without—again excusable, but a bit odd to have in Homestuck. Bill Cosby was another odd but harmless inclusion based largely on his infamous movie Ghost Dad, but years later including him in the comic turned out to be a bad decision—I’ll revisit that point in Act 3, where the book commentary talks about that situation.

The incorporation of celebrities, both the kind I like and kind I don’t like as much, all culminated in the Skaianet Systems documents from the start of this year. I think that whole thing was awesome, with some wonderful insight into the deeper roots of Homestuck’s mythos. But after having reflected on it a bit, I can see that some parts are a little too wacky or just plain weird. Hitler, Chaplin, and Einstein are names everyone knows and I don’t think their inclusion quite fits the spirit of Homestuck.

… OK this was a really stupid tangent, I got way off track here. But these thoughts about celebrities in Homestuck have been budding in my head for over a month now and I think this was a good way to release them.

SWEET CATCH!


I love the “Sweet Catch” running gag. Need I say more?


Book commentary:

Oh man, some huge ogres are climbing the house. I guess shit is getting real, right?

Ha ha ha. Yeah, get back to me when the first universe blows up.

This is an accurate representation of what rereading the comic with teasers of BIG SCARY things like this feels like.


EB: hey, that was a pretty, uh… 
EB: nice… 
EB: uh… 
TT: Sweet catch? 
EB: … save. 
EB: oh, yeah. 
EB: that. 


Another short passage I love. Rose breaks the second fourth wall (or something) again, while John fails to even come near it.

EB: this is pretty comfy. 
EB: why don’t you just like, 
EB: carry the bed around with me on it? 
EB: up to the gate up there! 
TT: I can’t interact with you directly, or anything that you are touching, if it will result in moving you. 
TT: See? 
EB: oh. 
EB: lame! 
TT: The game probably regards that as a kind of cheating. 
TT: In a way, thieving you of your free will as an adventurer, and the need to advance by your own skill and ingenuity. 
TT: The server player is just a facilitator. 


Another case where Rose quickly catches onto tropes. Meanwhile, John is just plain disappointed when the game refuses to allow exploits.

In a short flash, John falls asleep. Nothing to say about it other than that I think short, simple flashes don’t get enough love. I’ll have more to say about the flash where he wakes up.


Rose tries to send John her Sburb disc through captcha codes but nope, can’t do that.


Then Rose’s generator shuts off, leading to the first FACEPALM x2 COMBO!

Facepalm x2 combo, THIS IS STUPID… seeing silly gags like this is what got me to read Homestuck in the first place. Man, that was almost five years ago now. That’s kind of unsettling. When I first read Homestuck, “five years ago” meant when I was a dumbass 10 year old.


In a rather interesting flash, John dreams of something vague and then wakes up. First we see clouds shaped like things we’ve seen in John’s arc thus far, with a fancy logo at the center that just vaguely suggests that he might be dreaming on Skaia or something.

… Oh wait. We aren’t supposed to know yet that dreams in Homestuck have a physical location. But I think we can already tell that dreams in this comic are a bit more than meets the eye.


And then John catches a silhouette of our mysterious fourth kid, followed by a split second of the Sburb loading screen and a pumpkin. This dream has an insane amount of obtuse foreshadowing that no one could possibly understand just yet. It’s most notable as the precursor to [S] Jade: Pester John, that one flash everyone sleeps on (no pun intended) for some fucking reason.


Next comes our most skeevy Jade pesterlog yet. It introduces the recurring theme of characters in the comic withholding information for no reason.

GG: hey!!!! 
EB: whoa, there you are! 
GG: how is your adventure going john? 
EB: it’s ok, i am making some progress, and rose finally connected again so she is helping me now. 
GG: thats good!! 
EB: oh but, like… 
EB: i don’t think i am actually saving the world here. 😦 
EB: i dunno what i’m really accomplishing but i guess it’s not that. 
GG: hmm well i think whatever it is it must be pretty important! 
GG: dont lose hope john i think it will all turn out for the best if you stay positive…. 
GG: just keep listening to your grandmothers advice!!! 
EB: yeah, you’re probably right. 
EB: but, um… 
EB: i don’t think i mentioned nanna to you, did i? 
GG: oh uhhh……. 
GG: i dont know didnt you??? 
EB: hmm, i dunno, maybe you talked to rose or dave about it or something. 
GG: yeah maybe that was it!! 


Jade is a really bad liar. Hussie is a master at writing lies so bad that they are an absolute pain to read. He’s also a master at writing lies so good that they aren’t technically lies. Lies in Homestuck almost always fall on one of those two extremes.

EB: they’re really weird when they talk to me about you, like they’re always trying convince me you have some spooky powers, but i’m always like no she seems like a pretty regular girl to me! 
GG: heheheh 😀 
EB: but then when i think back maybe there are times when it seems like you know some things? 
EB: like maybe you know more about a thing than you are telling me? i dunno. 

John is gullible, but not gullible enough to quite believe Jade’s attempts at lies. Maybe you could see this as a prelude to characters being much more gullible? Like John willfully doing anything trolls tell him, or characters doing anything Doc Scratch tells them.

GG: oh boy…. well…….. 
GG: it turns out i was confused about it… 
GG: really confused! o_o; 
GG: see i guess i fell asleep for a while and….. 
GG: lost track of time 
GG: that happens!! 
EB: yeah i know, tell me about it! 
EB: maybe you should like, wear an alarm clock or something. 
EB: so what was the deal with the meteor? 
GG: well….. 
GG: its hard to explain!!! 
GG: but… 
GG: i know what it is now! 
GG: and now i know everythings going to be ok!!! 


On the surface, Jade appears to be clumsily backtracking from the meteor she talked about because she thinks John isn’t supposed to know that. And it’s easy to think that when rereading too. But if you dig in just a bit deeper, you’ll find that Jade is telling the truth. She really was confused about the meteor explosion outside her house and only after waking up knew what it was, which definitely is hard to explain. Even the “lost track of time” part is likely true, because dreaming Jade is more than a little airheaded (but much more tolerable than awake Jade talking to John).

GG: oh gosh john i really want to tell you all this stuff!!! 
GG: but i cant yet 
GG: i really think you need to wake up first! 
EB: huh? 
GG: well ok not literally 
GG: well ok maybe KINDA literally!! 
EB: AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
EB: stop being so confusing!!!! 


Another thing Jade says that’s actually true. Not that readers will have any clue what that means.

About this conversation as a whole: I still don’t get why Jade couldn’t have just told John that she knows some things about the future. I can’t see him understanding how Jade knows those things any more than Dave and Rose do. This pattern with Jade and John does work narratively in a way: Jade is the first character out of many more that turns out to be a pawn of Sburb’s forces, which works as a prelude to weirder, crazier stuff.

Actually, does it really work as a prelude? Or am I just carried away by trains of thought as I dissect this comic through and through? God, this entire project is so stupid, and that’s exactly why I’m working so hard on it.


The ogres sneaking up can also be seen as a prelude to bigger, scarier things as I said earlier. Maybe I’ve gotten so caught up in this idea of preludes because I skipped to the intermission.

Oh whatever. This post is almost over. Only a few pages left. I can do this.


“[S] Dave: Ascend to the highest point of the building”, or “Dave: Ascend” for short, is an awesome flash. You can tell it’s awesome because this sequence was replicated twice, first with the trolls and then with the alpha kids. Another way you can tell it’s awesome is because these replications tie INSANELY well with symbolism and Lord English’s components.


First we get a final showing of Dave’s sylladex and ninja skills, which is the most awesome this guy has been yet.


In deep red light amidst a burning city, Dave is now ready to face his bro and kick some major ass. He doesn’t actually end up kicking ass, but this scene hypes us up for him doing so. Dave stands proud on his roof and—


Oh fuck, looks like it’s time to meet Jade instead.

This first look at her home has quite a few standouts. The flowerpots may look familiar if you think back to the rocket with junk inside that John alchemized. The flowers are wild and whimsical, complete with spirograph designs that tie in with Jade’s supposed knowledge of the future and bits of the kids’ adventure. And the pumpkin is… ok come on. Do I really have to explain to you how pumpkins are significant in Hussie’s comics??? We have to hurry up and get to know—


—the Wayward Vagabond.

On the surface, the x2 DOUBLE PSYCHEOUT COMBO!! is just a silly prank. But I think glimpsing at Jade before switching to WV is an excellent touch. If we didn’t get a teaser of Jade, the most plot-driven of the beta kids, it wouldn’t have been as enticing to follow WV’s arc with all this obtuse foreshadowing.

See you next time as we get to know the Wayward Vagabond and then conclude Act 2. After that point, I’ll pause my rewritten posts in favor of proper new posts for a few weeks, release my 4/13 project, and then maybe start Act 3.

Next => Part 8: Mayorly Foreshadowification Station

mspaintadventures.com is currently down

Remember to check my schedule post for when I’ll release my next Homestuck posts!

Also, as of 3/27/2019 MSPA is up again.

Homestuck, Problem Sleuth, and some miscellany were all hosted on mspaintadventures.com until April 2018. After that point, they were moved to homestuck.com and any URLs on mspaintadventures.com would redirect to their corresponding homestuck.com pages. 

Today the mspaintadventures.com domain went down. I trust Viz Media (or Hussie himself?) to fix this issue soon, but for now this creates lots of dead links which is of course bad news.

Thankfully, MSPA being down doesn’t affect my blog posts very much. Most of the images in my Homestuck* posts before April 2018 are hosted on cdn.mspaintadventures.com, which is still up and running. Exceptions are screencaps from flashes, which I either took from readmspa.org or grabbed myself. The only thing that is now broken would be links to pages in Homestuck*, which I didn’t do all that often. As such, I won’t bother with changing those links unless MSPA is still down after let’s say a week.

I don’t know why MSPA itself is down but the CDN subdomain is intact, but it’s certainly better than everything being down. I asked /r/homestuck about this situation; hopefully someone there will have an answer. 

* Here, “Homestuck” is shorthand for “Homestuck and Problem Sleuth”.

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 6 Rewritten: Imp Madness and Can Openers

Introduction / Schedule <- please read!

Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 >


Act 2, Part 3 of 5

Pages 429-561 (MSPA: 2329-2461)

Link to old version / Link to new version

Again, I don’t have any good ideas for a new post title so I’m using the old one.

I considered “The Can Opener Dilemma” but then I realized that’s just a discount version of the old title.



My week without writing Homestuck posts was pretty nice, now back to business. I worked on some cool projects, but not the ones I originally intended to work on. And read some books. And also wrote this post over the course of one weekend.


Oh God dammit, that’s just what you need. More baked goods.
“thats classic john though he doesnt get pissed about anything except for the absolute dumbest shit” —Dave Strider


Where we left off, John was punched cold in the face by the revelation that he is not going to save the world. This massive twist caused John to go full circle, all the way back to freaking out just because he’s a little overexposed to baked goods. Whenever John has a mental breakdown or is upset by something, he finds something mundane and takes out all his anger on it.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate what Rose is sitting on.

Let’s also take a moment to appreciate Rose in general.


Perhaps you will take this spare moment to contemplate the Nannasprite’s strange tale. 

Yeah, still have no idea how Rose heard every word of Nannasprite’s story just like John did. I guess it’s not an important detail; sprites do whatever the story wants them to.

It may also behoove you to record your thoughts on these developments in your GameFaqs walkthrough/journal. It can be hard finding time to update it. In fact, you’re not even sure where you found the time to write what’s already there!

I think it makes perfect sense in Homestuck’s world that Rose can write massive walls of text no matter what constraints she’s facing. By questioning Rose’s ability to write this much, this passage is breaking some form of the fourth wall. If I had to choose one form of fourth wall it’s breaking, it would be the second fourth wall. This system of various fourth walls isn’t actually that complicated; the only important parts are the first fourth wall (the media vs. the audience) and the second fourth wall (the kids as playable characters vs. the kids as regular people).

For more rambles: starting in Act 3, I will discuss how villains in Homestuck connect to and break the first fourth wall based on a snippet of Hussie’s book commentary. As for the second fourth wall, Rose’s character is all about screwing with that wall. Now the third fourth wall (the wall between paradox space and Hussiespace), Jade is the only character other than Hussie’s self-insert that’s connected to it at all.

… What’s that look on your face? Are you telling me there’s another character with mind control powers who also messes with multiple fourth walls? One that has a contentious relationship with Hussie’s self-insert (and pretty much everyone for that matter)? Haha, you. Let’s talk about her another time, OK? I’d rather focus on important characters.

I suspect stuffing your face with a pillow wasn’t really “Rose’s” thing just yet.


I’m reading the book commentary along with this and OH MY GOD HUSSIE DID YOU JUST READ MY MIND OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

Notice how the game engine is flexible enough to switch between speaking in first person and second person voice. It will refer to the character as “you” most of the time, but will refer to him as “John” when the guy who is typing (WV) insists on addressing John directly. At that point, the “you” becomes the one who is typing, and John is just John. This metalogic is perforating one of the walls, but it’s hard to say which one. It is perhaps a wall that is shaped like a fractal, existing somewhere between the 3rd and the 4th.

I AM HAPPY I CAN DECIPHER PRETTY MUCH ALL OF HUSSIE’S MOTIVES NOW, I HAVE MASTERED HOMESTUCK, NOW GIVE ME THE EPILOGUE ALREADY I DESERVE IT, I PROMISE I WON’T LEAK IT TO ANYONE ELSE

AAAAAAAAAAAAA YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

HUSSIE IF YOU’RE READING THIS CAN YOU MAKE JOHN AND ROXY TALK AGAIN, OR SOMETHING, SURELY YOU’RE READING MY POSTS RIGHT NOW RIGHT?


Oh hey it’s John flipping the bird at WV who was ordering him to get cookies.

Hey WV, maybe it’s not the best idea to hassle someone in the middle of a mental breakdown?

to make Karkat a good character again

please Hussie? I know you have it in there somewhere…


This breakdown transitions us to a peek at WV, who slipped his finger and accidentally turned off caps lock. I have two things to talk about here.

First off, typos in Homestuck are a funny phenomenon. Typos as in characters making typos and acknowledging them, not the occasional actual errors in the comic. In real life, when talking to people online you’ll probably slip your fingers and accidentally misspell words quite a few times. But in Homestuck, typos are only done when used for a plot point (doesn’t have to be a big one, Jegus started out as a typo on Dave’s part) or when a character is drunk. In this case, WV’s accidental pressing of caps lock brings us to the second thing I want to talk about.


The second thing I want to talk about is shown above: WV pressing caps lock opens a capsule with food inside. This is a very minor pattern that the author seems to have had fun playing with: puns based on the names of keys on the keyboard. It’s a bit similar to the kids’ fetch modi based on data structures; one can see it as that pattern being subtly replicated in the exiles’ arc, but with something that the average person is more likely to understand.

If you’re intrigued by Rose’s character, maybe give cool and new web comic a read?

There’s really no character in Homestuck quite like Rose.


This next bit of Rose’s walkthrough is more of what we had before: a gigantic wall of words that’s completely useless to anyone left on Earth but a priceless resource for a group of alien kids.

It does have some interesting bits this time around. Rose deduces that her session of Sburb isn’t just two players, but rather a quartet of players. Clues in Nanna’s exposition, both in text and in visuals, add up to that conclusion. Patient readers willing to slog through Rose’s words get rewarded with some extra clarification. And that extra clarification invites a gigantic load of questions that these more patient readers would surely brim with ideas on.


This unfinished bit at the end is so funny to me. Not sure what to say about it, other than that I can’t imagine any other work of media where such a thing could exist. “But perhaps you don’t need to know any of this” is a brilliantly constructed phrase that I couldn’t imagine in anything other than a draft of Rose’s writing. On both sides of the scratch, I like to think that drafts of Complacency of the Learned are full of oddball phrases like this.


Through asking the “player” to leave her alone, Rose again breaks the second fourth wall. Wait, maybe it’s actually just the first fourth wall. Hussie you’re reading this, right? Be glad I supplied you with an easy-to-use wall nomenclature.

… Oh who am I kidding. I’m shouting into the void here, as usual.


Moving on, next we have the very first flashback scene in the comic. It takes place months in the past, on Rose’s birthday. An unwritten rule of Homestuck storytelling goes like this: if it’s not John’s birthday, then it better be someone else’s birthday or we’re not going to show it.


Something is different about Rose’s room, and not just the lighting. Where’s her mess of purple clothes and knitting supplies? 

Hussie said in his book commentary that Rose and Jade’s text colors look weird together, and I think I agree with him.

There’s just something off-putting about a wall of purple and green text compared to, say, red and blue, or blue and green.


As shown here, Rose got knitting supplies as a birthday present from John. Not enough people appreciate how much John has done to benefit his friends. As with John’s present to Dave, this present is touched upon here and then revisited when we read John’s letter to her.

On this page, we get the first of rather few Rose/Jade pesterlogs. Some people theorize that Rose and Jade don’t actually like each other all that much, or at least have the weakest friendship out of any pair of beta kids. Those theories make a lot of sense to me and thanks to them, I buy into this idea that Rose and Jade aren’t really friends. There’s a really good Reddit post theorizing about Rose and Jade’s relationship; read that and then go on. Most of my analysis of this pesterlog is inspired by that Reddit post.

GG: hi happy birthday rose!!! ❤ 
TT: Hello, and thanks. 
GG: did you get johns present yet? 
TT: I just opened it this very moment. What a stunning coincidence you would ask about it now. I am stunned. 
GG: yeah i know!! 
GG: what will you make with it? 
TT: And who said it was something from which something else could be made? 
GG: well john did tell me what it was duh….. 
TT: I suppose I’ll take a stab at learning the craft. 
TT: It’s the least I can do in response to the subtle dig concealed in his gesture. 
TT: He often tells me I “need a new hobby” when I make perfectly reasonable analytical remarks. 
GG: oh but rose i dont think he meant anything like that by it!! 
GG: you see not everybody always means the opposite of what they say the way you and dave always do 


It’s already clear that Rose doesn’t roll off Jade well. John is easygoing around Jade, while Dave opens up an inner flirty self with her around. It’s hard to call Rose and Jade “friends” though. They both seem to find each other a bit weird and annoying. The comic doesn’t even talk much about what they think of each other; it just roughly shows them not really getting along. How little their relationship is looked at says just as much as when their relationship is looked at.

TT: So, shall I expect a green package dropped to my house via airmail from whatever screwball cranny of the globe you’re tucked into? 
GG: err……. 
GG: no 😦 
GG: sorry but you are sort of hard shop for <_< 


Jade mostly acts the same to Rose as she does to John and Dave, but this line that Rose is “hard [to] shop for” shows that she doesn’t know Rose as well as she does the other two. Just a tiny hint at this lack of friendship from Jade’s perspective.

GG: besides i have something for you today that i think you will like better than some thing in a box! 
TT: Oh? 
GG: it is a tip!!!! 
TT: This is already intriguing enough to compensate for the grave scarcity of lavish gifts parachuting from the sky. Please go on. 
GG: did you have a pet a long time ago that died? 
TT: Yes. 
GG: ok well how did you feel about your cat, did you love him a lot? 
TT: “ok well”, I didn’t mention it was a cat, or that it was a male. Let’s pretend I’m surprised and you’re embarrassed and move on. 


Rose would never mockingly say “ok well” to John or Dave. Also, she seems to be long over playing along with Jade’s confusing nonsense. At this point, she sees Jade as just a confusing kid who tells her confusing things.

“ok well”, in all fairness this scene is a flashback, before Rose became a passionate knitter. One could speculate that Rose and Jade’s friendship improved past this point and this flashback scene is just back before they could be called “friends”. But their further conversations are just as cold as this one. If I notice any differences in Rose and Jade’s later conversations, I’ll be sure to compare them against this one.

TT: To answer your question, I would describe my feelings toward the animal as lukewarm. 
GG: ummmmm ok…. 
GG: thats fine!!! 
GG: it doesnt really matter i think, just….. 


Rose gives a characteristically cold response to Jade’s question and she is taken aback, stuttering for a moment before her next point. That’s another thing Rose is much less likely to do around John or Dave. She’s formed a deeper friendship with those two beyond her cold exterior, but not with Jade. It’s very unusual for Jade to be caught off guard like this when giving her friends bits of advice.

With this Rose/Jade relationship analysis mostly done, I can now analyze the wham line that immediately follows:

GG: what if someone told you you could play a game that would bring him back to life? 

This line alone carries a great deal of importance to the story. It is our very first indication that Jade isn’t just some goofy kid that knows the future: she is behind much more than we had realized. I’ve said plenty in prior posts that a common theme of the early acts is that the kids are all stuck in their little bubbles rather than the outside world. It only makes sense that Jade, the oddball among their group of friends, is behind how they started this whole adventure; their story confines everything to those four whenever possible. I’ll revisit this thought when we learn though a letter from John that Jade is the one who got their group of friends together.

TT: If someone told me that, I would regard the remark with a great deal of skepticism. 
TT: If that someone was you, on the other hand, then I would have to ask preemptively: 
TT: Is that someone you? 
GG: yes that someone is me!!!!!!!! 
GG: i just thought you might find it interesting 
TT: So what is this game? 
GG: oh i dont know 
GG: im just saying is all 
GG: i think youll hear about it later and maybe you can talk to john and dave about it 
GG: they are way more into all that stuff than i am!!!! 
TT: I’ll see what the word on the street is about it. In due time. 


This conversation shows an early hint at how predestination tends to work in Homestuck. When something is predestined, the story’s forces nudge things in the right direction; just barely enough to fulfill what’s supposed to happen. The subtlety of predestination’s forces helps make the story more engaging and complex, even if it might make more sense for predestination to be straightforward.

TT: For now I should probably order a copy of Knitting for Assholes. It would be a shame if I ran late with John’s present. 

This last line is one last indication that Rose and Jade don’t mesh well. Dave would snark about how horrible the “for Assholes” books are, while John would chat about his programming books in that series. Jade just doesn’t have anything she can add to that.

It’s also an indication that whatever Rose’s present to John is, it involves some form of knitting.

Only in Homestuck could there be a logical reason Snoop Dogg lyrics would be attributed to English romantic poet John Keats.


After this flashback we switch back to Dave, and his “stepping outside with vivid poetry and a misattributed quote” flash is really worth analyzing. His location is purportedly Houston, Texas but only marginally resembles what it looks like in real life. The title of Homestuck is more obvious than ever here: as far as Dave’s concerned, he doesn’t live in an awesome, bustling city, just a sea of generic apartments that look exactly like his.

This discussion reminds me of Sollux’s home, which is a troll replication of Dave’s complete with a city of identical buildings. Maybe Sollux’s hometown is an accurate representation of how Dave perceives the city of Houston? Or maybe it’s actually a colorful city and Sollux just can’t see it that way? Hiveswap definitely seems to give us a more colorful representation of Alternia than the comic proper does.


Next we see this orange swirly arc symbol, reflected in Dave’s shades. Unlike John and Rose’s meteor pictures, this is an arc symbol that expands way beyond the early acts; it’s mirrored in the trolls’ and cherubs’ storylines.

The opposite of irony, summarized in one picture.


What’s the first thing we see when Dave enters his living room? It’s uh…

What the hell is that?


Oh, haha, that’s right! It’s just a cute and silly little Mr. T puppet! It’s even handcuffed to an equally cute and silly Chuck Norris puppet!!!

The escalation in weirdness is obvious once again. John entering his living room was simple, Rose entering her living room was more unusual with a sudden appearance of a giant wizard statue, and Dave’s living room throws away everything we thought we knew by with whatever the hell these puppets are supposed to be. They’re ten levels of irony or something? Dave’s bro definitely doesn’t have any sort of strange problem or fetish.

Keep in mind that Bro Strider really is obsessed with being ironic, as Dirk’s character indicates. Just not quite in the way Dave thinks. And his puppets are completely unironic.


As Dave explores further, we see a mess of video game controllers, wires, Game Bro magazines, and some nude puppets. The way the guardians’ collections are distributed get more and more extreme for each of the beta kids. Puppets are littered all around this guy’s house for some reason.

Note the wizard puppet on the top right.

Were Roxy and Dirk longtime friends in this universe?


The video game pause screen on Dave’s TV can be seen as a callback to the Hi-C commercial that played on John’s TV. Again, the TV shows something more eccentric and over the top this time around.


Lil’ Cal suddenly appears! Dave is caught off guard but immediately convinces himself everything’s cool. His guardian’s entrance is yet another thing done in the strangest way that isn’t an outright pattern breaker.

Most of the video games I played as a kid were just as garbage as this.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Who needs Mario and Zelda???


Every so often, the story will take a moment to parody video games through in-story video games (Sburb doesn’t count), not the comic’s usual interface. And those scenes are quite the treasure. It’s so funny seeing Hussie show his perception of what old mediocre video games are like, just like with old mediocre movies. I connect to being inundated in old mediocre video games on a very personal level. Well, old mediocre video games and Sonic 2.


Dave takes a moment to give Cal a fistbump, and this panel somehow looks a bit endearing. Out of context it could be seen as him genuinely looking up to these wacky puppets.


Dave logs onto Bro’s computer, entering the password “lilcal”.

On the desktop is a hodgepodge of unnamed folders to store all the stuff he’s working on. No one can decipher his organization system but him. 

I think these folders might be a metaphor for how Dave perceives Bro vs. how he actually is. Dave thinks his guardian is ironic again and deliberately overcomplicates things, but my guess is that all these unnamed folders show that Bro is buried deep within his weird computer projects and doesn’t take care to organize things like a normal person. He can remember where everything is on his computer because he’s just that obsessive with maintaining his projects.

I miss the old Internet.

Well, who doesn’t?


The Complete Bullshit application is certainly a product of its time. Everything here screams 2009 Internet. Today everything’s so much more confined to chat clients and social media sites.

Most of the websites in this window are about puppets and video games. The odd one out here is Skaianet’s website. It’s an early hint for attentive readers that the guardians know more than they let on and were secretly involved with Sburb, which is expanded on when Rose explores the Skaianet lab.


Interestingly, some of the Complete Bullshit tabs relate to SBaHJ and Dave’s other work, as shown here. It’s stated that Dave and Bro keeps tabs on each other’s creative work; Bro might even show a bit of fondness for Dave’s work. If the comic went just a tad different, more positive aspects of Dave and Bro’s relationship could have been explored and reflected on. There’s just a few hints that adult Dirk might even be proud of his son/brother, shown in obtuse ways. But rather than expanding on this idea directly, any hints of proudness are taken away from adult Dirk and moved into teenage Dirk. And this method of transferring characters actually works well and makes for good scenes, even if it neglects hints of positivity on Dave’s side of things.

The chatbots mirror the businessmen in Dad Egbert’s Serious Business app.

It’s only natural that in Dave’s case, they aren’t real people.


When we check out one of Bro’s websites, it’s clear that he puts unfathomable amounts of work into making money from these puppets. He programs chatbots and puts together elaborate videos, all to get people mysteriously transfixed on puppet ass. Business as usual in the Homestuck world, yeah it makes perfect sense.

The bucket on top of the door is the most efficient way possible to establish what point in time we’re at.


Dave gets creeped out a bit by these puppets, so he pesters John to ease his nerves, saying that puppets are cool and awesome as usual. Poor John is on the receiving end of Dave’s hidden nervous breakdown, all just because Dave loves him. Or he would be if he wasn’t totally distracted by a bucket.


Dave and Rose’s conversation about puppets doesn’t read much differently from Dave’s perspective. It’s a foregone conclusion that Dave is in denial about the puppets, and now we see firsthand that Dave will freely disclose the truth to Rose but not to John.

TG: i mean dont get me wrong i think its cool and all 
TG: the semi-ironic puppet thing or whatever 
TG: or semi-semi ironic 
TG: man i dont even know 
TG: im just starting to think some of this shit is going a little far and its kind of fucked up 
TT: I’ve seen his websites. 
TT: I like them. 
TG: haha yeah well YOU WOULD 


Oh yeah, this passage still exists. It’s now more clear than ever that Rose would have loved to be raised by this weirdo just as much as Dave would like to have a mother. The book commentary even remarks as such:

Rose likes bro’s puppet porn sites. It’s almost like they would have similar styles and would get along pretty well if bro was her age. Oh well, that’s the end of that fruitless hypothetical reverie.

The Acts 1-3 books were made before Homestuck ended, and as such a few of Hussie’s plans that didn’t come to be leak out a bit. It’s so obvious that he intended Rose and Dirk to have a conversation but sort of canned it near the end, after the retcon happened and after he decided not to have any more dialogue after Collide.

… Please tell me Hussie still remembers how to write these characters. Not like how painfully out-of-character Karkat was near the end. I need my Rose/Dirk conversation already!!!

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that 
TG: with those dead eyes jesus 
TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 


This bit of information about Dave’s dreams could have been easily written as narration rather than a pesterlog. It’s a surprisingly good choice to put it in a pesterlog, emphasizing that he’s leaking things to Rose that we aren’t supposed to know yet. But now we know and there’s no going back.

“Seconds in the future, but not many…” establishes that Dave is almost caught up with the present.


Rose deploys the Punch Designix and I’m still burnt out on discussing Sburb mechanics. I’ve already gone over the important stuff anyway.

The imp pogo ride is another one of those early attempts at interactive pages that doesn’t accomplish much.

As before, it’s a necessary part of Hussie finding a form of interactive pages that works with the story.


After a short weird mini-game where we play as an imp on John’s pogo ride, Rose drops the piano and kills the imp. I’ve always found the piano’s destruction to be a deeply upsetting scene, especially with John’s reaction.

TT: You’ll need to pick up the spoils in person. I can’t interact with the grist. 
EB: so… 
EB: that means i have to go out the back door? 
TT: Yes. Is there a problem? 
EB: well it may sound dumb, but i was hoping to avoid nanna and her spooky ghost cookies. 
TT: You’re right, that does sound dumb. 


Towards the end of Act 1, Rose tries to decipher John’s motives when he snuck around and carelessly messed with his dad’s possessions, leading to some very strange pesterlogs. This idea returns here, but this time John too admits it sounds dumb to sneak around to avoid baked goods. Or maybe he only knows Rose thinks it’s dumb. Unlike Jade, John has an unbreakably strong bond with Rose.


Since Rose isn’t a force of predestination, she understands and caters to John’s strange issues. This leads to creative uses of Sburb mechanics which I always love.

EB: well, what are you building? 
TT: Stairs. 
TT: They are fairly expensive actually. 
EB: oh man… 
EB: i could have warned you about stairs, rose! 


Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The first ever SBaHJ reference used in-comic. I discussed the role of SBaHJ in the story last post, but I think I have some new insight to share. John is the obvious uniting force of the kids through seeing the best in everyone despite their weirdnesses, while Dave is another strong uniting force because all three enjoy making memes out of his comics. John and Dave both know how to get along with everyone. I think it makes sense that Rose and Jade, the only pair of characters that doesn’t involve the “uniting force” characters, don’t have anything resembling a strong relationship.

TT: Consider me fully briefed on the matter of stairs. 
TT: Now if you don’t mind, it’s hard enough to concentrate on this without immersing ourselves in Strider’s non sequitur. 
EB: did you know he thinks puppets are cool? 
TT: Does he? 
EB: he’s so dumb!! 


John is actually aware Dave is in denial. He just doesn’t know that he’s aware. Just one of many cases where John doesn’t fully know something about himself.


John looks under his sink, which hasn’t been done before. It’s probably a bit unexpected that under there are no hilarious clowns, just a bunch of shaving cream. I’m not sure to what degree this is an intentional hint at his dad’s true nature; shaving cream is a running gag in the comic after all. This page definitely establishes the shaving cream gag and may or may not establish his father’s hidden depths.

I already explained last post that sprite powers are whatever the story wants. No need to repeat that.


John’s living room is now a giant mess of imps. Not much to say about this and probably most of the fighting scenes, other than that I find the crazy art with imps messing around to be very fun and charming.


John fighting the imps in his room is super fun and goofy. Maybe I’ll have more to say about it as he alchemizes cooler weapons.



> well done, john. polite congratulations.

For some reason you feel a sense of positive reinforcement. Wherever that feeling is coming from, it sure is a welcome change from your erratic moods earlier.

Through this time, WV has given John polite lowercase commands thanks to his book of human etiquette. These commands are phrased strangely, with terms like “sir boy”. But the etiquette WV learned worked perfectly! Hussie speculates in his book commentary that the etiquette book was written by a carapacian, which makes sense because this method of politeness is mechanical but does exactly what it needs to.

More creative use of game mechanics. Lifting the safe up his high really catches you by surprise.



In a small funny moment, WV’s commands lead John to wonder where he can find a can opener. Exile commands messing with people’s heads is so much fun, I wish it was done more often. It culminates in the scene with AR commanding Dave, which is one of the most side-splitting parts of the entire comic.


When we peek into WV’s book on politeness, I can see why Hussie imagined a carapacian wrote it. It’s the most obtuse and technical thing we’ve seen yet.


Rose’s walkthrough continues with a series of screencaps. A few of them have interesting bits:


This screencap is useful to those that may not have explored every nook and cranny of the walkaround game. It answers the question of how John still has electricity in a way slightly more explicit than before. It’s interesting that the author felt the need to clarify how John’s house is still powered.

Most of the other screencaps are recapping what we saw from John’s perspective, but narrated in Rose’s style. This one above is odd though. It teases the mystery of John’s father and touches on narrative weirdness, where Rose is only allowed to see what John has seen. Rose is crazy quick to catch that their game is playing off of narrative tropes and what’s logical in a story. And boy does she screw with everything about that idea.


At this point the pattern’s obvious: Rose drops John’s possessions around the house to kill imps. These two panels take advantage of how obvious it is: we don’t need to see the Sburb cursor drop the shelf of clowns, and as an added bonus, this lack of cursor conveys that John is distracted by can opener antics.

The velvet pillow is under Rose’s chin now.

How endearing.


Dave isn’t quite caught up with the present yet. We’re at another pesterlog which makes no sense out of context. Hilarious from one side, horrifying from the other. It makes sense that it’s hilarious the first time around because it’s the second pesterlog lifted from Hussie’s real-life conversations.

TG: ok wait hold on why am i getting this stupid game for you 
TG: youre the one who should be wrist deep in puppet ass 
TT: What is the specific problem? 
TG: the problem is i am up to my goddamn neck in fucking puppet dong 
TT: You know you like the mannequin dick. Accept it. 
TG: i am enrobed in chafing, wriggling god fucking damned puppet pelvis 
TG: an obscenely long, coarse kermit cock is being dragged across my anguished face 
TT: Let’s put this into perspective. You put up with the puppet prostate because you love it. 
TT: Also, coarse is a good word. 
TG: you dont seem to harbor any sympathy for the fact that ive burrowed fuck deep into lively, fluffy muppet buttock 


This is gold. I have no idea how Hussie could have possibly had the idea to take some real conversation where he wrote down lengthy metaphors about puppet ass and then use his comic to make that conversation literal. It’s one of the most genius things he’s ever done.

TG: im whirling in the terrible cyclone at the epicenter of my own personal holocaust of twitching foam noses 
TG: its like a fucking apocalypse of perky proboscis here 
TG: like 
TG: the proboscalypse i guess 
TT: Are you going to start rapping about this? 
TG: what no 
TG: no listen 
TT: Prong of flesh bereft of home 
TT: Found solace ‘twixt a cleft of foam. 
TG: no oh jesus 
TT: Of apocalypse your thoughts eclipse 
TT: A painted pair of parted lips 
TT: That dare through kiss to stir the air 
TT: That teases tufts of orange hair. 
TT: And though faces flush in lovers’ fits, 
TT: Hands snug in plush as gloves befit. 


The humor is cranked up even more when Rose takes the role of the rapper. How could I have possibly forgotten that this is one of the best pesterlogs in all of Homestuck? It’s a great feeling when a character grows on you when rereading something, as is going on for me with Rose.

TG: ok dickinson if you can shut your perfumey trap for a half second 
TG: this is serious 
TG: i am just saying 
TG: if i see one more soft bulbous bottom being like 
TG: kind of jutting out and impudent or whatever 
TG: im gonna fly off the handle 
TG: im gonna do some sort of acrobatic fucking PIROUETTE off the handle and win like a medal or some shit 
TT: Then let’s hope there will be a squishy derriere somewhere below the handle to break your fall. 


And here’s the birth of the “acrobatic fucking pirouette” running gag. Every use of this gag from here on out isn’t there just for fun; it’s to deliberately call back to this moment and toy with it. Every time this moment is toyed with is worthy of its own merit.

Another case where Homestuck is a product of its time.

I’m glad warped text captchas aren’t much of a thing anymore. Though I fucking hate “select all images that contain ___” with a passion.


Here’s where we revisit captchalogue cards, specifically the “captcha” part. Many readers probably wonder why it’s called “captchalogue” at first and forget about it, but are then surprised to find the real reason for that word. I’m not surprised that according to the book commentary, Hussie planned the captcha feature from the start.


John may be airheaded sometimes, but he’s far from stupid. He quickly learns that this captcha mechanic is useful. I might even say he’s pretty good with computers but a little misguided in learning to code. Now when is he going to talk about programming with Roxy like Dave said he would? Come on Hussie, fulfilling these promises isn’t that hard.


Here’s a bit of book commentary I have something interesting to say about:

And now his Cirque du Soleil poster got creamed by a bathtub? That’s it, he’s grounded for life.

The first few Homestuck books were originally released around 2013, some point in early to mid Act 6. Hussie saying that John would be grounded for life reminds me of how Jane is grounded after messing with her house. I’ve already talked a lot about how Act 6 Act 1 is something of a modernized version of Act 1; considering Hussie’s use of the phrase “grounded for life”, I really think he modernized Act 1 largely on an unconscious level.

TG: PUPPETS 
TG: AWESOME 
TG: THATS REALLY ALL THERE IS TO SAY ON THE MATTER 
— turntechGodhead [TG] changed his mood to RANCOROUS — 

TT: John, I’m about to throw a bath tub through your wall. 
TT: Watch out. 


Both Dave and Rose go a bit off the rails if they go long enough without talking to John.


This image above is interesting. It shows the hole in Dad’s room above the hole in John’s study. The gray colored area probably looks like simple shading at a glance, but if you look closely having reread the comic you can tell that the gray color hints more at what’s really inside that room. John and Rose discuss that mysterious room accordingly, with John unaware of what he’s in for.


It’s another copy of COLONEL SASSACRE’S DAUNTING TEXT OF MAGICAL FRIVOLITY AND PRACTICAL JAPERY. This one looks really old, perhaps an original printing. Could it be the same one involved with your grandmother’s unfortunate accident on that fateful day? DAD would never speak a word about it, but maybe NANNA wouldn’t be so tight-lipped?

You give it a cursory perusal. It appears to be similar to your reprinting, listing all the japes and chicanery you have come to know and love. You captchalogue it, thinking you may give it a closer look later. 

As with Bro’s Skaianet website, we get another hint that the guardians know more than they let on. We don’t know the story behind this book yet, but the narration slightly hints that some time travel is involved. A very subtle hint when reading for the first time; a slightly clearer hint when rereading.

On the other side of the scratch, Jane’s copy of Sassacre’s is abridged and clearly different from the copy John was born with. Helps her avoid coming to any conclusion that they are the same book or that any broader time travel is involved.

Can we stop and appreciate that in the Homestuck universe, giant books about shaving are a normal thing that exists?


The Fatherly Gent’s Shaving Almanac is locked inside that safe, which is all that’s needed to establish that John was meant to open this safe as a celebration of adulthood. Just because Mr. Egbert planned things out in advance doesn’t mean he knew anything close to the full picture.


It seems he has been collecting scraps from the news over the years. These articles go back decades.

Now THIS is a strong hint that Dad Egbert knows more than he lets on. If you’re rereading, you’ll quickly catch a pattern that the guardians all know bits and pieces of stuff about the game.

The most interesting part of these papers is the date on top: April 13, 199X. The date is enough to hint that these meteors relate to the game’s broader story, but not enough for us to know for a fact the story of John’s birth and Nanna’s death. One could say the same about the “[Betty] Crocker Facility Leveled” headline; a small hint that Crocker has broader relevance to the story beyond being a company John hates. All this foreshadows stuff the author had surely planned by this point. I’d guess that this was also around the time he planned out the kids’ family tree.


The note on the side of the wall tells us once again that John’s father knew secrets related to the story behind Sburb, but not everything about its true purpose. He probably read his mother’s note in the book and concluded from it that his son was meant to read it the moment he hit adulthood. As such, he added in newspapers explaining the story behind Nanna’s death, and also a shaving almanac. Dad’s idea that John would grow up to be strong enough to lift a heavy safe doesn’t make any sense until we see him easily lift a heavy safe. After that point, if you think back to John’s safe it’s clearer than ever that Dad Egbert had the strange idea that his son would grow up to be just like him.

Now the blank captchalogue card on the floor, I don’t think has much of a deep story behind it. If anything, I’d imagine it returns to the comic’s roots in riffing off of adventure games, hiding free blank cards in unexpected places with no explanation.

After the copy of Sassacre’s slays the imp, we get more RPG exaggerations in a series of three entities gaining levels: Colonel Sassacre levels up, the bathtub levels up, and the slain safe is carried to Vaulthalla. These are all very silly and I can tell Hussie had fun coming up with rung names. If you’ve ever wasted hours on TV Tropes, you’d know that the bit with Vaulthalla would qualify as a “big-lipped alligator moment”. But as the book commentary suggests, Vaulthalla doesn’t completely go to waste; this art style is quite clearly a proto-Alternia, which may or may not have been on a conscious level. 


Next a brand new teaser emerges: a creature much bigger and more fearsome than imps. I’m going to stop here.

See you next time as an obscenely long, coarse Kermit cock is dragged across Dave’s anguished face.

Next => Part 7: What Sword?

New schedule for Homestuck posts! + miscellaneous rambling + other updates

I’ve finally decided on a schedule for my Homestuck posts again! If I’m going to commit to it for a good stretch of time again, I might as well have a proper schedule. This new schedule is: new Homestuck posts every Friday morning. These new posts could be either rewrites of old posts or new posts and I have a full out plan for the next month, followed by a rough plan after that.

The schedule isn’t exactly “new”; it’s a pattern I’ve been following for the past few weeks. I just decided to make it an official schedule.

Here’s my current schedule in calendar form. Dates italicized are not Fridays and deviate from the schedule. I’ll also use this schedule to give progress updates.

02/25/2019 – Part 4 rewritten [done!]
03/01/2019 – Part 83 [done!]
03/08/2019 – Part 5 rewritten [done!]
03/15/2019 – (schedule announcement) [YOU ARE HERE]
03/22/2019 – Part 6 rewritten
03/29/2019 – Part 7 rewritten

04/03/2019 – Part 8 rewritten*
04/06/2019 – Part 84 <- OUTDATED, now shifted ahead
03/18/2019 – Part 6 rewritten [done!]
03/22/2019 – Part 7 rewritten [done!, delayed one day]
03/29/2019 – Part 8 rewritten [done!]
04/05/2019 – Part 84
04/12/2019 – Part 85** <- shifted ahead again
04/02/2019 – Part 84 [done!]
04/06/2019 – Part 85 [possibly later?]
04/13/2019 – Secret mystery project
04/19/2019 – Part 85

* Part 8 rewritten covers WV’s portion of Act 2; Part 84 covers mostly Caliborn gloating and Dirk confusing everyone. Both probably won’t take all that long so I moved them around like this. EDIT: I changed things up anyway.

** Part 85 was originally going to be for 4/13 but I moved it ahead a day so as not to overwhelm myself with releases. 

After my project for 4/13 is released, the weekly posts are a bit more up in the air. I’ll probably decide on a whim whether each weekly post is a brand new post or a rewrite of an old one. I like this idea because if I hit a roadblock on a new Homestuck post I’ll rewrite an old post instead, and vice versa. It’s just like the days when I worked on both Homestuck and Problem Sleuth posts; maybe if I’m feeling up to it one of my weekly posts might even be a Problem Sleuth post? Don’t count on anything yet, just know that bringing back Problem Sleuth posts is a distinct possibility.

Everything below this text is either rambling or other random updates (or both). This post is going to me my dumping ground for such updates for a while.

4/20/2019: nope never mind fuck everything back to hiatus for a long time probably

4/19/2019: Part 9 rewritten is out! And apparently the entire rest of the epilogue is coming tomorrow???? I have a burning suspicion V is hiding something and that isn’t quite all of it, but I’ve prepared for the worst and taken measures to avoid spoilers; I’m way too busy this weekend to read any Homestuck stuff, especially of this length. Maybe I could finish post 85 for real this time next Friday, as I blissfully avoid spoilers through next week. Yes you read that right: part 85 is planned for 4/26.

4/13/2019: The big day!!!

4/12/2019: Wrote up thoughts on V’s tweets.

4/7/2019: Just had a big discussion on hopes and worries for the Homestuck epilogue, as well as all the stuff vfromhomestuck has been teasing. I am now more cautious and nervous about it than ever before; maybe I’ll write a blog post about my epilogue fears. Also I just ordered a copy of Homestuck Book 3 (Act 4).

4/6/2019: That one anime I mentioned is an absolute blast to watch, holy shit.

4/5/2019: Made a longer announcement post. The most important part I haven’t said in this post yet: I will make a point of going through Act 5 Act 1 without book commentary.

4/3/2019 (my birthday!): Yeah, I think I’m going to delay post 85 to 4/19 for the time being. I am very busy watching a certain anime; one that will let me fully grasp the notion that fun things are fun. Please note that I don’t normally watch anime; please also note that “weeb” is a stupid word that should not exist.

4/2/2019 [2]: Maybe it’ll be a bit too tight of a squeeze to both release part 85 before 4/13 and get what I wanted to done for the 4/13 project. Or maybe it won’t be too tight, we’ll see what happens. I estimate a 25% chance that part 85 will be delayed, either to before or after 4/13. If it’s delayed to after 4/13, it’ll come out on let’s say 4/19, sticking to my plan of posts on Fridays.

4/2/2019: Part 84 is out! Hopefully soon enough I can start part 85; it may be a tight squeeze!

3/29/2019: Part 8 rewritten is now out! I’m pushing posts 84 and 85 ahead a bit, to encourage myself to work on my 4/13 project after that. I’ll start 84 this weekend; it probably won’t take long.

3/26/2019: Part 8 rewritten is already close to done! Which is good, gives me more time to work on my 4/13 project and maybe other things. Keep in mind that by 4/13, I plan to be finished with Act 6 Act 3 in my normal posts and Act 2 in my rewritten posts and not start the next acts until after that date.

Also on this topic, my next rewritten posts will be four posts for Act 3, an intermission recap post, and then I won’t start Act 4 until I have a physical copy of the book. This is because that act is where flashes and pesterlogs get long and Homestuck Companion (browser extension I’ve been using) isn’t totally convenient for reading long commentary.

To my knowledge, Homestuck Companion is the best way to digitally read Homestuck. You can read with book commentary if you want and it contains some handy notes about broken links and removed content. Also makes pesterlogs only openable with right CTRL key, fixing an annoyance I had with writing these posts.

3/18/2019: Part 6 rewritten is now out!  On Monday instead of Friday. I think it’s polished enough already. Other posts have been pushed forward so the weekly Friday posts are still intact, they didn’t go anywhere. Actually the weekly Friday posts are now more intact than they were before; previously there were some off-schedule but now those are moved to Fridays.

Why am I so awful at sticking to a schedule? Either I’m way too fast or way too slow. But I’ll try to stick to Fridays anyway; Part 7 rewritten is scheduled for this Friday.

3/17/2019: Part 6 rewritten is finished already, oops. The good news is, by “finished” I simply mean I got to the last page of that post’s stretch of pages, which means I’ll have plenty of time the next few days to revise and polish it.

3/16/2019: Today I worked a bit more on the 4/13 project! Not much so far but I roughly know how I’ll go about the whole thing.

3/15/2019: Here’s some miscellaneous rambling. The more I look at any of my old Homestuck posts before Part 80, the more I want to rewrite or make updated versions of all of them. Almost all of those posts have some major revisions I want to make, which makes me not want to cut that project short at just rewriting the first 27 posts. I don’t want to get too carried away, so I’ll just say: we’ll see what happens after I finish Part 27 rewritten.

An additional benefit to working on new posts and rewrites of old posts in tandem is that after Act 6 Act 3, I’ll have to go through the Openbound trilogy. You know, the long and rambly walkaround games featuring the pre-scratch trolls. I have no idea how long it’ll take me to write those posts, so it’s good to have some other blog post content to output alongside that.

Homestuck Mini(?)-Post: In Defense of Act 6 Act 1

This isn’t really a mini-post at all; it’s pretty much a full blown essay. My Homestuck posts are still on a short pause, but I have an announcement post planned for Friday!

Late in Act 4 I fell behind in the Homestuck community reread and made my own blog posts instead. But in the past few days, when the reread went through Act 6 Act 1, I decided to join in again and share my thoughts.

It’s no secret that the early Act 6 acts with the alpha kids are polarizing. Some people like those acts, some people can’t stand them. Rereading the first of those acts, my feelings are more positive than negative but I do have some issues. What follows is a rundown of my thoughts on this act; skip to the end if you want it briefly summarized.

Note in advance: I still stand by most of what I said in my Act 6 Act 1 posts from 2016 (Part 60 / Part 61 / Part 62 / Part 63). Feel free to refer back to those for more detail. 

– – – 


INTRO

Overall, Act 6 Act 1 is a remix of Act 1 done a bit more in the style of Act 5 Act 2. While Homestuck itself opened with a single introductory page, Act 6 opens with a big flash teasing our four new heroes and their new alien friend; I absolutely love that flash and it still gives me chills. After Jane and Jake are introduced we get a character select screen, where you can start with Jane or start with Jake. This time I started with Jane, then did Jake. 

SELECTION SCREEN: JANE

Jane’s half of the selection screen is a bit like John exploring his bedroom, but without any of the captchalogue nonsense and modernized in many other ways. A whole different kind of nonsense is shown in Jane’s half: she is shown to be badly brainwashed by the Condesce, who has led her to believe Betty Crocker is just a friendly company that makes super awesome technology and the hyped up game of Sburb.

Jane has three pesterlogs in her selection screen:

  • One with Jake which is mostly filler and some hints at plot stuff. Kind of boring and reads way better from Jake’s perspective.
  • One with Calliope which is also mostly filler and some hints at plot stuff. Again a little boring but it works because it’s a brand new character’s debut.
  • One with Roxy which is incredibly fun and hilarious, setting us up for a brand new character readers will surely be excited to meet and with some actually exciting plot stuff. Is it any wonder Roxy is everyone’s waifu?
General thoughts on these pesterlogs: My biggest issue with the Act 6 Act 1 pesterlogs is that they tend to start with a bunch of general nonsense, setting the rough tone of the characters’ personalities. It wasn’t really much of a problem that the Act 1 pesterlogs were short; the characters were set up in a perfectly fine and enjoyable way. And this is a case where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

SELECTION SCREEN: JAKE

Jake’s half of the selection screen is more interesting than Jane’s (who would have guessed?). We get a much more subdued and lonely spin on Jade’s magical home life and it’s surprisingly well done. The narration also doesn’t take long to establish how the bunny mission goes from Jake’s perspective, which also works really well. I’m pretty happy the story gets that arc out of the way early on; it only makes sense to do it now rather than pretending it’s a big mystery.

Jake has four pesterlogs in his selection screen:

  • One with Calliope which gets a lot of nonsense out of the way fast and has more plot hints. Still does get kind of rambly though.
  • One with Dirk, no wait, his auto-responder. Probably the most stupidly rambly of them all, mostly tolerable because the whole pesterlog is pretty much a ruse.
  • One with Jane that we already saw from Jane’s perspective. As I said before, it reads better from Jake’s perspective because the rambly opening seems a bit less out of place and it’s a little more enticing seeing Jane vaguely describe mysteries from Jake’s perspective rather than her own perspective.
  • A second one with Dirk’s responder. This time it’s actually useful to the plot and interesting to read. It also shows some parallels between Dave’s relationship with Bro and Jake’s relationships with Dirk’s splinters.
In this short reread, I wanted to see if Act 6 Act 1 read better from Jane’s perspective first instead of Jake’s perspective. Now I know that the answer is Jake. Jake’s pages give Act 6 a strong start with some plot stuff tying back to earlier acts and ruses involving Dirk; Jane’s pages are more laid back and seem harmless after reading Jake’s. If you start with Jane, you’re more likely to think “oh my god this is so boring” in her half. 

General thoughts on the guardian traits: A lot of what we learn about the alpha kids and their ancestors is extrapolations from the beta kids’ guardians and their traits. Act 6 Act 1 is weird in that regard, both in Jane and Jake’s parts; it’s loaded up with early installment weirdness. In those pages, the author chooses guardian and beta kid traits to call back to, and some of them work while others don’t. If you want specific examples, just reread the act yourself. I don’t want this post to get even more rambly than it already is.

THE FOREBODING DREAM

The next big thing that happens is a pesterlog between Jane and Jake, where she recounts a foreboding dream where Prospitians gathered around holding a funeral for Jake’s dream self. The surprise factor in this scene, as well as the message it gives, is worth analyzing.

A player’s dream self being dead in advance isn’t normally something that just happens. You can’t do that, you just can’t. Prospit and Derse both follow strict rules which are always followed without questioning. What factor could have possibly caused these rules to be thrown out the window?

I bet many readers did not expect the Condesce to be behind these rules getting broken. Jack Noir is the one carapacian who isn’t afraid to break rules, but is always held in check by the black queen. With the queen usurped, everything breaks loose; for more discussion on this topic, check out this post.

Jane thinks the dream was supposed to warn her of something, but she wasn’t sure what. It’s our very first clue to readers that things are going to go even more off the rails than ever before.

SETTING THE STAGE ON JAKE’S ISLAND

As Jake explores his island, everything we knew about Jade’s home life is beautifully subverted. His house was destroyed, with only his room and the small area below remaining; his island is a dark forested area, filled with replications of the trolls’ lusii. I think these scenes are a highlight of this act: it puts a new twist on Jade’s magical life on an island and brings back the lusii in a magnificently unusal way. 

Jake’s following conversation with Roxy is pretty cool too; a decent mix of character stuff and plot stuff. Roxy’s use of troll terminology is a subtle hint that she lives in the future, which I kind of wish was done more often rather than coming across as early installment weirdness here.

JANE’S FINAL(?) MOMENTS

Jane and Jake both have robot pseudo-guardians that I consider to count as Dirk’s splinters. Jake has Brobot who does much more later on. Jane has Lil’ Sebastian who creates a mess in the house. Jane’s conversation with Dirk (finally, the actual Dirk!) is super fun and balances characterization with plot discussion, plus a quick look into Dave’s adult self; a very strong start for Dirk’s character.

Jane’s echo of the nonsense where John (with Rose’s help) messes up his house is quite an oddity. The antics in the early acts were just the kids playing Sburb, but the antics in this act are Jane making a fool of herself trying to leave her home. It’s a much more literal interpretation of the title “Homestuck” than before.

The end of this act is super interesting to me. It’s an echo of the end of Act 1 in a way as direct as possible: a surprise explosion that, to our knowledge, would kill our new hero. In both cases, we have no idea how the victim could possibly have survived.

The Hussiebot interlude following this act is just as hilarious as I remember it being but I’d count it more as Act 6 Intermission 1 so I won’t talk about it here.

– – – 

Strong points: Three of the four protagonists are engaging to read and follow.* The twists upon the early acts are surprising and subvert many expectations. And lots of cool mysteries are teased.

Weak points: The pesterlogs spend too much time with lengthy greetings and closings. Some of the guardian callbacks are forced and then left in the dust due to early installment weirdness. One of the four protagonists is not that engaging to read and follow.

* This also holds for the beta kids in the first two acts. Jade in the early acts is kind of a shit character.

Overall: Act 6 Act 1 isn’t as bad as people say but is certainly flawed in its presentation. I can understand people’s annoyances with it, but the positive aspects often aren’t appreciated.

One-week hiatus for Homestuck posts

I’m pausing Homestuck posts for about a week (spring break week to be specific), just to work on other stuff during this time. In the mean time for this blog, I’ll work on adding the homestuck.com page numbers to the rest of my posts and I may or may not work on my secret 4/13 project as well. As of today, I’ve done it up to post 66 and will do the rest tomorrow.

Funny that in spring break 2016 I tried to speed up Homestuck posts but this year (2019) I just decided to put them on hiatus instead. Don’t be too surprised if I change my mind and pump out a Homestuck post anyway, it’s just that there’s some other things I’d like to work on over the next week.

While these posts are paused, I’ll remind you guys that much of the content in my old posts, even those after the end of Act 5 Act 1, is outdated and does not reflect my current views. I definitely have plans to update those posts (as new posts, not editing the old ones), but I’m not sure how I’ll go about it after the first 27 posts. Well OK, how I go about is obvious, it’s more a question of when I’ll do it and what blog posts to prioritize.

3/11/2019: All my Homestuck and Problem Sleuth now have both homestuck.com and MSPA page numbers! I even fixed a few mistakes in those numbers.

3/11/2019 (2): I fell behind on the community reread near the end of Act 4, so now I’m skipping all the way to Act 6 Act 1 which is where it’s at too. I may or may not write down a small post covering my feelings about the early alpha kid acts in the next few days.

Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck Part 5 Rewritten: The Crutch of Cinematic Troglodytes

Introduction

Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 >

Act 2, Part 2 of 5

Pages 358-428 (MSPA: 2258-2328)

Link to old version / Link to new version

I was originally going to call this post “Grandmotherly Expositation Station (ft. wizards)”.

Then I was going to call this post “The Motherly Miniboss (who hates wizards)”.

But now I’ve settled on an actually good title. I need to name more posts after Dave lines.


Let’s be real here, the content covered in this post has far more focus on Rose than grandmotherly expositation. And all title pictures prior to this were from scenes focused on John so I wanted to change things up.

Another note: I’ll be referencing the old version of this post quite a bit in this one, because I’ve realized many new things related to what I talked about in that post.

Irony, summarized in one picture.


What’s the first thing we see when Rose enters her living room? An enormous wizard statue. I touched upon the kids’ pattern of guardian interests in my rewrite of post 3 and I’ll go over this pattern more as we go along.

Just look at that mystical gaze. To peer into those aloof, glassen eyes is to arrest the curiosity of any mortal. To behold the wisdom concealed in the furrows of that venerable face is to know the ceaseless joys of bewonderment itself. Any man so fortunate as to catch askance his merry twinkle or twitch of whisker shall surely have all his dreams fulfilled.

You find this grisly abomination utterly detestable.

If you read this narration closely enough, it comes across as an inversion of the narration’s ridiculously dark and gloomy descriptions of the Horrorterrors (1, 2, 3). And if you read it that way, at a glance it seems like Rose just loves dark things and hates bright and sunny things. This interpretation isn’t even close to true: as I established at the start of my rewrite of post 4, what Rose has an affinity for is the complex and unknowable, which includes the Horrorterrors just as much as it includes wizards. I like how this passage still makes sense knowing that Rose likes wizards but dislikes the way her mother uses wizards to spite her, which as you know is all in her head; it’s something of a red herring for the story to imply she hates wizards.

Also on this topic, in the old version of this post I was confused about why Rose understood her friends’ inner motives and feelings but not her mother’s love of wizards. I even speculated that her mother formed a void (haha epic classpect speculation) in Rose’s knowledge. I think I know why now: Rose can easily pick apart anything complicated but won’t accept anything simple and straightforward.



> Rose: Psychoanalyze mother’s love of wizards.

There is nothing to psychoanalyze. Your mother clearly has no real affinity for these damnable things. She only collects them to spite you. 


If anything, she finds them even more repellent than you do. She’s just a committed woman.

The line “there is nothing to psychoanalyze” shows that Rose is buried deep in her mind with how she perceives her mother. She thinks these are obvious facts and thus don’t qualify as psychoanalysis. I’m going to borrow from an earlier post again, to discuss the contrast between the ways John and Rose interpret their guardians. Here goes:

Both of [John and Rose’s] perceptions of their guardians could not be further from the truth and the ways they are far from the truth could not be more different. Rose’s perception of her mother inverts John’s perception of his father in every way. John thinks his father loves clowns though he is really just pretending, while Rose thinks her mother pretends to love wizards even though she really does love them.


A major point with the guardians is that they are twisted around a lot from how they would ideally be. John, Rose, and Dave all understand each other’s guardians better than they do their own and I think it’s quite depressing it turned out this way. A rough idea this leads to is that Rose and Dave would have been better off with their guardians swapped; I wouldn’t be surprised if this contrast is part of what inspired Hussie to devise the kids’ ectobiological family tree.

This inversion (not classpect inversion you dumbass) has important implications about the kids’ friendships. It really seems like they would be incomplete or just flat out not understand the world without each each other by their sides. And it takes seeing each other’s lives firsthand through Sburb for them to realize these connections and truths about their guardians.


Comparing it to John’s ordinary living room filled with a collection of clowns, it’s no surprise that Rose’s living room houses a giant swath of wizards in a setting a bit more eccentric than before. The two things that are likely to stick out to readers—the bronze vacuum cleaner and the squid princess doll—are explained shortly, so I’ll go over them as I go along.


You descend to the living room area of your home’s expansive open layout. There is the sound of rushing water beneath the floor. It tends to strike guests as a strange presence in a living space, but it’s become hardly audible to you through familiarity. 

This small paragraph briefly mentions guests who apparently visits Rose’s house and after all this time, it’s still an ENORMOUS oddball. In the old version of this post, I brought up this bit of text and though I didn’t point out how out of place it was to suddenly mention houseguests, it was clear based on how much I analyzed it and tried to speculate that it really stuck out to me then. And it sticks out to me just as much now.

Over the years, the human Prospit dreamers’ adult selves have had their backstories slowly but surely demystified: first through elaboration in Dirk’s exposition sequences, then through Hiveswap, and then through the Skaianet Systems documents. But the Derse dreamers’ adult selves are the opposite: over time they have almost gotten more mysterious. Dave and Dirk’s conversations go in depth on how much is unknown about their adult selves, and Roxy’s adult self is almost as mysterious as they are (though we do know now she was Joey and Jude’s babysitter). The brief mention of houseguests really does seem like a random one-off for the sake of poetic narration, but I can’t help but dwell on it and imagine what sort of deeper backstory the author might have intended for Rose’s mother. If it weren’t for Dave bias, maybe there could have been some in-comic speculation about the Lalondes’ adult selves like there was with the Striders.

There’s the front door. But hopefully there’s no need to make the long trek around the house in the rain. You might as well see if you can slip through the kitchen and out the back unnoticed.

And here’s where Rose proves herself to be just as childish with her guardian as John is with his.


A while ago you gave this as an ironic gift to your MOM for mother’s day. You even customized it with a drink holder to support one of her ubiquitous ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. 

She “liked” the gift so much, she had it bronzed and put on this pedestal. She even left it plugged in so it can still be turned on now and then. But never to do any cleaning. It never leaves this display. 


Sometimes at night when you are in your room, you can hear it wailing from downstairs. She MUST know you can hear it. She’s completely deranged.

Ah, this odd little thing. When you reread, it’s clear that Rose’s mother will dramatize anything Rose does because she’s slobbery and overly affectionate. This is interesting to read considering that I just recently wrote a post going through Roxy acting that way to Calliope. Reading this part makes it especially clear that Roxy expands on her adult self’s hidden trait of extreme affection.

The alpha kids’ character traits and interests are largely expansions upon what we know about the guardians. Usually, I think those expansions of traits work really well and make for enjoyable characters! Even with Jane to an extent, despite the criticism her character so often gets. Roxy’s super-affectionate side is generally worked well into the story too, making for some insightful and/or hilarious storytelling. But I think this trait of Roxy’s falls flat sometimes, especially during BULLSHIT: The Act, which is sometimes referred to by peasants as “Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5”. Even before BULLSHIT: The Act, Roxy’s affectionate trait has always fallen flat on its face any time she conversed with Calliope. If you want a full discussion on the problems I have with this sort of thing, read pretty much all of this post.

Obligatory reminder that Rose’s interest in knitting was all John’s doing.


The PRETTY PRINCESS DOLL has been sitting there for months, ever since your mother got this abomination for your birthday as a totally PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE gesture.


You decided to make it much less abominable by knitting Her Majesty a new head and new arms. Now it brings a mischievous smile to your face whenever you walk by. Your mother hasn’t removed the doll yet, and probably never will. She would never be the one to blink first.

Rose’s counterpart to John’s harlequin doll is a little interesting. Rather than getting a doll similar to John’s as the story progresses, she already got one for her birthday back in December. And it shows how long ago she got it because she carefully knitted onto it a squid decoration. I take the way Rose’s doll is decorated as a hint at her silly side, considering that it always brings a mischievous smile to her face.

 


Next Rose goes into her kitchen and we learn about quite a few passive-aggressive battles between Rose and her mother.

The LIQUOR BOTTLES are out in full force. MOM is surely nearby.

Oh yeah, Rose’s mother is an extreme alcoholic. If it weren’t for the retcon fixing Rose’s alcohol issues in advance by the time she enters the merged session, surely her reunion with Roxy would have been more on the sad side like Dave’s guardian reunion was.

… Oh fuck I should really shut my lid on retcon complaints, not to mention Dave bias complaints. The last thing I want to do is end up starting another rant about you-know-who. I’ll also say that despite bias complaints, Rose’s guardian reunion was a good heartwarming scene and I’m happy enough with the way it occurred.

As we go down the refrigerator, we go through examples how Rose and her mother function together. 

This was a drawing you did of your cat JASPERS when you were younger, along with a poem about him. Your mother bought this ostentatious $15,000 frame for it, and had it welded to the door.
The top part of the fridge gives an example of Rose’s guardian dynamic when she was younger, back in its formative days. I think I’ve said enough times now that adult Roxy is crazy affectionate.
Out of all words Rose could have come up with, she wrote “shrew”?

Probably a good summary of her character.

The bulk of the fridge shows us where this dynamic is now. It narrates a complex relationship out of the strangest, most trivial things imaginable.

Using the colorful MAGNET LETTERS, you recently left a succinct message, which may or may not have been directed toward anyone in particular. But you couldn’t find the letter W, so you just stuck two V’s together.

And now I’m going to analyze one of the strangest, most trivial things imaginable. It’s obvious at this point that Rose takes a passion in doing anything strange and overly complicated and tends to exert that passion by doing, uh, something to her mother that I don’t think anyone can really understand. Maybe her spelling with magnetic letters was an attempt at working with a new art form. She clearly struggled with writing that way, as the word spelled out on the fridge shows.
Rose and Dirk conversation when?

Rose’s mother responded by purchasing a pack of twelve magnetic W’s. I think I’ve said the same thing enough times about adult Roxy now, so this time I’ll say a different thing: I don’t think Rose as the child and Roxy as the mother led to a very good relationship. Is it any wonder that Dave started to think of Roxy as a mother figure as soon as he saw her while Rose decided not to think of her that way? Not out of malice or dislike of her guardian, just that she’d rather know her simply as “Roxy”.

The birth of the velvet pillow, one of the best running gags in all of Homestuck.


Rose left a signed, watermarked thank you note with a drop of blood. Her mother put a pillow below it because the note was partially touching the floor. This hammers in the contrast between mother and daughter.

It’s hard to resist getting a little silly sometimes. Especially when you are absolutely positive no one is watching.


Now that Rose is done examining her fridge, her silly side blows full force. This moment needs no explanation or commentary whatsoever, but omitting it from this post would be a heinous crime.


After a few more antics, Rose’s mother suddenly appears!!! More of Rose being just as childish as John.

You don’t know how she does that. You’re never safe in this house. 


And of all things to be doing during a power outage. She’s up to her IRONIC HOUSEWIFE routine again. That mop bucket doesn’t even have any water in it! What an absolute madwoman.

Housewife you say?

I wouldn’t doubt that Rose’s mother is a bit lonely raising just one kid. Maybe she does things married women would stereotypically do to fill such gaps before she meets up again with her true love.

Rose youth rolls to avoid her mom and then…

Lousy goddamn stupid wizards.


This line is somehow a fitting point to switch to someone else. I can’t really place why.

Dave Strider, your neighborhood window repair expert.

(I still think that joke is funny.)


HE’S SMILING, HOLY SHIT

(yes I know it’s technically three pixels not one)


Have I ever said that I fucking love the whole notion that one pixel could serve as immense shipping fuel? There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the author did this only to prove a point. And who would’ve guessed, the point was proven.

GG: hi dave!! 
TG: hey sup 
GG: not much sup with you!! 
GG: bro! hehehe 
TG: haha 
TG: good one 
TG: s’alright being chill i guess you know how it goes 
GG: great! feeling cool today? 
GG: mr cool guy? 
TG: oh man you know it 
GG: sooooo cooooooool!!! 
TG: you know shit is ice cold up in here 
TG: shit is wicked bananas i am telling you 
GG: 😀 


I talked about Dave and Jade as a romantic pairing in the old version of this post, but in a really boring and matter-of-fact way. This time I’ll talk about it in a slightly less boring, slightly more matter-of-fact way.

Of all the pairings between the beta kids, Dave and Jade are ship teased by far the most. All other pairings between them are at most vaguely hinted at, but those two being teased is a universal constant. It’s a little weird and forced when we first see them converse, but after that it’s pretty fun for the most part with a lot of very silly or heartwarming conversations. Jade and Davesprite’s relationship in particular gives some insight into both characters that is kind of untouched in a lot of ways because Jade is shafted throughout Act 6, especially near the end.

The rest of this pesterlog is mostly just Jade revealing clues about herself. All of these clues are true but not in the way you would expect; you can tell the author had fun writing in such a misleading way.

GG: so have you talked to john today??? 
TG: yeah we were just talking a while ago about how he sucks at his sylladex 
TG: can you believe he uses stack that kid is ridiculous 
GG: lol 
GG: well that doesnt sound like much fun! 
TG: what was it you use again… 
TG: wait nm 
TG: i forgot whenever we talk about your goofy modusses i get a migrane. what do you want with john 


The “goofy modusses” part is true but not in the way one would expect. It’s also not the way you would expect something to be “true but not in the way one would expect”. Readers at this point assume that all the kids’ fetch modi are based on types of data structures and will probably be surprised to find that Jade’s are all based on board games instead. I’ll talk more about all the pattern breaking when we meet Jade in person.

GG: 🙂 
GG: i want to tell him happy birthday and ask him about his birthday package! 
TG: oh yeah 
TG: i was being sort of cagey and told him to check the mail cause i was wondering if mine came yet 
GG: i think it did! 
TG: yeah? 
GG: and i think mine came too 
TG: so uh 
TG: i guess you want to know if he likes it or something? 
GG: no!!!!!!! 
GG: he will not open it 
GG: he will lose it!!! 
TG: oh 
TG: uh 
TG: wow sorry to hear that i guess? 
GG: no its good actually! 
GG: because he will find it again later when he really needs it
GG: which of course is why i sent it in the first place! 
TG: see like 
TG: i never get how you know these things 
GG: i dont know 
GG: i just know that i know! 
TG: hmm alright 


This of course is where we learn that Jade knows things about the future. How does she know that? Let’s not dwell on it, shall we?

I have already talked about my grievances with Jade’s character in my early acts before; there’s another Jade pesterlog later where I plan to rant about these grievances. These annoyances are somewhat made for by the wonder that is Act 5 Jade and the gorgeous flash where the truth is all revealed (NOBODY TALKS ABOUT [S] JADE: PESTER JOHN COME ON YOU COWARDS), but not enough that I don’t still see her early character as a bit of a weak spot.

GG: anyway i have to go! 
GG: i have to feed bec which is always a bit of an undertaking 
TG: man 
TG: if i were you i would just take that fucking devilbeast out behind the woodshed and blow its head off 
GG: heheheh! 
GG: i dont think i could if i tried!!! 


The descriptions of this “Bec” are true in a surprisingly literal way. This passage seems like a silly joke but when you reread this passage there’s nothing even remotely false or exaggerated in it.

TG: yeah 
TG: say hi to your grand dad for me too ok 
GG: ._. 
GG: yes i guess an encounter with him is almost certain 
GG: it is usually…….. 
GG: intense!!! 
TG: well yeah isnt it always with family 
TG: but he sounds like a total badass 
GG: yeah he totally is!!! 
GG: anyway gotta go! 
TG: see ya 
GG: ❤ 


John has a dad, Rose has a mom, Dave has a bro, so Jade definitely has a grandpa, right?

Jade’s perception of her grandfather and how she pretends he is alive is still an odd bit after all this time. We only get just some small hints every now and then that she is isolated from society, such as the one-off jokes where she cleans Dave’s towel with toilet water and where she secretly wondered whether her grandpa was Iron Man.

God, I can’t imagine what it would be like if Dave and Jade switched places in how much the late comic cares about them. Even without the battleship journey where John and Davesprite brutally died, Jade could have had some scenes just as sad as those with Dave if the story actually gave her even half as much attention as Dave got.


TG: alright 
TG: im out of my room now looking for my bros game 
EB: oh, good! 
EB: yeah, there is no sign of rose yet, i hope she is ok 
TG: well if she comes back ill be ready 
TG: you better know what youre talking about cause this could get ugly 
TG: brought my phone and i also took my awesome katana with me in case things get too hot to handle 
TG: and they always do 


Switching back to John, we skip a bit forward in Dave’s story. This pesterlog does a surprisingly good job at establishing timeframes. It kind of reminds me of how I kind of have two Homestuck post series going on at the same time, my “classic” posts and my rewritten posts.

EB: i’m in my room again, i really think there’s someone else in this house. 
EB: like monsters or something. 
TG: howie??? 
EB: haha I WISH. 
TG: dude monsters arent real 
TG: thats stupid kids stuff for stupid babies 
EB: maybe. yeah you’re right. 
TG: what are you an idiot 
TG: of course there are monsters in your house 
TG: youre in some weird evil monster dimension come on 
TG: skepticism is the crutch of cinematic troglodytes 
TG: like hey mom dad theres a dinosaur or a ghost or whatever in my room. “yeah right junior go back to bed” 
TG: fuck you mom and dad how many times are we going to watch this trope unfold it wasnt goddamn funny the first time i saw it 
TG: just once id like to see dad crap his pants when a kid says theres a vampire in his closet 
TG: “OH SHIT EVERYONE IN THE MINIVAN” 
TG: be fuckin dad of the year right there 



I’ve said two things about Dave’s trope dissection in the early acts and I’ll say these two things again: (1) Dave’s trope dissection is absolute gold and (2) I consider it to be the predecessor to Dave’s meta-commentary on the comic itself, which is even more gold.

EB: how’s it going there? 
TG: im out in the living room hes usually here 
TG: but i dont see him 
TG: might be playing his mind games hes always pulling this ninja shit 
TG: all i see is lil cal over there so i guess he cant be far 
EB: hahaha. 
EB: oh god. 
EB: SO LAME. 
TG: what 
EB: see… 
EB: i just don’t know why you think it’s cool. 
EB: his ventriloquist rapping thing. 


Here John digs a bit into Dave and the stuff he keeps telling himself is true. He knows that it makes no sense for Dave to think that puppet is cool and that he only keeps telling himself he likes puppets. John tells Dave this in a rather subtle way.

TG: oh lil cal? no man 
TG: lil cal is the shit 


This line is one of these times which reads differently if you consider who repeats it in the future. Dirk says the exact same line about his puppet later on. That callback isn’t just there to exist; rather, it tells us how Bro repressed Dave into thinking (or rather, telling himself) the exact same thoughts as him.

EB: that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion, i am just saying that being a white guy who is a rapper with a ventriloquist doll is not cool by any stretch of the imagination or by any definition of word cool, ironic or otherwise. that’s all i’m saying. 

John speaks the truth. Especially with the word “ironic”. That word is the epitome of things Dave keeps telling himself that he knows aren’t true. Dear god is he wrapped up in nonsense.

TG: yeah bullshit 
TG: cal is dope 
TG: puppets are awesome 
TG: john egbert blows 
TG: the end 
EB: yeah, more like the opposite of all those things is the thing that is true! 
EB: i’m going to read. 
EB: good luck with your bro. 


Dave speaks blatant lies. Especially with the phrase “john egbert blows”.


Rose has an interactive strife with her mother which is mostly an expansion upon John’s strife flash. It’s full of silly moments and callbacks to the “Auto-Parry” from Problem Sleuth. Some of the scenes in this flash are called back to, either in equally silly scenes or surprisingly dark scenes. “Silly scenes” refers to the many humorous moments in the Oppa Toby Style section of Collide, especially with Roxy’s attacks; “surprisingly dark scenes” refers to Damara’s strife with Doc Scratch. 

Not shown: this pony’s debut in Rose’s strife flash.


You can’t be this stupid pony, and frankly you can’t imagine why anyone would want to! 

But you give the pony a begrudging pat on the snout anyway. 


Her name is MAPLEHOOF.

Rose’s hate for sappy, sugary things continues in full force.


When John reads a portion of Data Structures for Assholes, proto-Karkat is revisited. I think that Karkat’s character was mostly subconsciously inspired by this book, whose writer has the same general archetype as him.

These next few pages I’m going to cover in a similar way to the old version of the post: John’s scenes in one paragraph, Rose’s scenes in another paragraph. In reality, these pages alternate between the two and I decided to change things up for easier formatting. Wait no, that’s a lie, I didn’t actually end up doing that.

Would  any scene from Con Air be even remotely considered iconic if not for Homestuck?


John strifes with an imp over the course of three interactive flashes. The first is a simple reenactment of the iconic “don’t move or the bunny gets it” scene. The second is a bit more complex, with a short walkaround and battle system where John hits the imp a few times until he gets hurt. I have to say that although walkarounds in the comic’s usual sprite mode style look super cool, they aren’t all that fun to go through; switching to 16-bit art and talksprites was absolutely worth the trade.

Rose makes her way to the mausoleum and damn this fire art looks cool.

I’m kind of burnt out on discussing the Sburb video game mechanics at this point.

Unless something super interesting crops up.
The victory fanfare playing every time John collects grist is another thing the homestuck.com flash messed up.

Use this link if you want that fixed.


The last of John’s imp strife pages features him weaponizing his sylladex, then collecting all his grist. It’s kind of cool seeing him make good use of those sylladex mishaps.

Whenever John is triumphant or emotional in the early acts, he takes out those emotions by reenacting a scene from Con Air.


The echeladder is a very silly parody of needlessly complicated leveling systems in RPGs. It combines two of the most fun things about the early acts: strange video game systems and big lists of absurd names.

John’s victory dances are great, I could stare at them for hours.

For old time’s sake, I very much appreciate that Roxy reiterates John’s victory scenes many acts later.


Page 413!


Skipping several pages, the next interesting that happens is when Rose enters her cat’s mausoleum. Jaspers’ resting place is a bit comparable to Nanna’s jar of ashes; considering how Rose’s home is generally a bit stranger than John’s, it makes sense that Jaspers’ coffin is in a more eccentric setting than John’s dead family member.


And this parallel is made clearer when Rose knocks her cat’s tomb out of the way. It’s reminiscent of John knocking down his grandmother’s ashes. The pattern of dead family members that get prototyped is one of those patterns that only occurs with John and Rose. That pattern’s lack of full execution is addressed in-comic when Jade says that Dave is too cool to have any dead family members. It makes sense that pattern is toyed with so much because Dave’s and Jade’s sprites both wonderfully subvert expectations.

Sorry, Jaspers. Have to make space for the LAPTOP. 


Besides, your final resting place is already a mockery. You should have decomposed years ago under a bed of petunias like a normal cat. Not given to a taxidermist and fitted with a tiny, custom-tailored suit, and then stuffed in a coffin built for infants.

A taxidermist you say?

I take this line as a subtle early clue that the kids’ guardians know more than they let on, or at least that they’re all connected in some way. Jade’s grandpa is a proud longtime stuffer of corpses and I’d bet he was the taxidermist the narration mentioned.

There’s a bit of a continuity error in the narration, which the book commentary addresses:

Rose, you are being disingenuous. He was fitted with a tiny, custom tailored suit well before he died. It was his standard day-to-day ensemble. You are just grasping at straws for ways to criticize your poor mother.

My favorite part of the book commentary might be silly bits like this, where continuity errors or moments that don’t make sense are addressed. In this case, a quick tongue-in-cheek explanation is devised for why the narration said something that doesn’t match with what we see later.

I find it interesting that this page is in the same orientation as the first page of Homestuck.

Though that orientation is probably just meant to make Nanna’s dramatic entrance more clear, it doubles as a quick indicator of John’s room then vs. now.


John notices something amiss with his door, leading to another one of Homestuck’s most common pranks: the water bucket on the head. Pranks really do seem to be a simple archetype in the comic, done by anyone under the Egbert name. Or is more accurate to say anyone under the Twain name? Under the Crocker name? Oh whatever, you know what I mean.


Turns out this is a character establishing moment for Nannasprite. The whole notion of “pranks” in John’s family line is a strange metaphor for things that run in the family and it somehow works pretty well. Nanna is no doubt a highly experienced prankstress.


Rose catches up with Dave (or rather, reveals what Dave will be up to in the future) and then we get this interesting bit:

TG: hey 
TG: dont tell john this but i think he might have been right about the puppets 
TG: theyre sort of starting to freak me out a little 


“Don’t tell John” is something of a recurring pattern among the kids. They all think he’s too innocent to know harsh truths. Pretty much anything that’s hidden from him is hidden for no good reason. Well OK, in this case Dave just doesn’t want John to know that he was right and instead banter with him as usual. He likes Rose, but he loves John—too much for his own good. He’s scared to change anything about his relationship with John.

This pattern of not telling John things could have been made into a serious arc near the end. It is revisited near the end in a very silly way: Dave thinks John shouldn’t be told who Betty Crocker’s true identity is because he’ll have a mental breakdown, but when John learns it he surprisingly handles it like a mature person.

I’m also going to borrow something from the old version of this post: Dave even remarks that maybe John was right about the puppets; this is an early example of John’s specialty in convincing people of things and leading them in the right direction, commonly speculated to tie in to his role as a breath player. I think this statement is good insight and makes sense but I might have ripped off this idea from someone else’s analysis, I don’t remember.

Interestingly, I’m at a point now in these rewritten posts where it’s beneficial to look back my current post’s old version for reasons other than laughing at it. The old version of this post was mostly boring garbage, but I did say a few insightful things in it.

TG: i mean dont get me wrong i think its cool and all 
TG: the semi-ironic puppet thing or whatever 
TG: or semi-semi ironic 



“Semi-semi ironic” indicates that Dave is 75% of the way to realizing the truth. Keep going buddy, you’ve almost got it.

TG: man i dont even know 
TG: im just starting to think some of this shit is going a little far and its kind of fucked up 


I’ve long criticized the alpha kids’ storyline for completely changing their dynamics all over the course of one day, especially with how they all acted completely happy and friendly with each other at the start. This is an instance of something similar happening with the beta kids: apparently, only this day does Dave start to confess he’s unsettled by his guardian. There’s a pretty fair excuse for this one: today’s the day where he has his biggest, most brutal swordfight of all. By “excuse” I mean narratively, not an excuse for his guardian’s actions of course.

TT: I’ve seen his websites. 
TT: I like them. 
TG: haha yeah well YOU WOULD 



This line says way way way more than most people realize. I’ve talked before about the recurring theme that the kids (or at least Dave and Rose) would be better off with guardians swapped; this is the biggest instance in Rose’s case. In Dave’s case it’s made very obvious as the story progresses, but in Rose’s case it’s only mentioned briefly at a few points. As I say this, I know Bro Strider is kind of a puppet lunatic but if he and Rose both communicated in equally obtuse and complicated ways then maybe they would have come to an understanding and both cut down on their weirdnesses.

Another thing this hints at is that a Rose/Dirk conversation would be an absolute godsend and Hussie is a hack for not giving it to us.

TG: oh man i wish lil cal wouldnt look at me like that 
TG: with those dead eyes jesus 
TG: sometimes i dream that hes real and hes talking to me and i wake up in a cold sweat and basically flip the fuck out 
TT: Interesting… 
TG: oh god why did i just tell you my dream 
TG: youre going to have a field day with that 
TT: I am currently scrawling notes furiously into one of the many psychoanalysis journals I maintain for you. Published papers forthcoming. 
TT: Because, you know, it’s not like either of us have anything better to do at the moment than to evaluate each other’s radically debilitating pathologies. 


As he goes through his mental breakdown, Dave leaks out a bit that we aren’t supposed to know yet. In just a few pages we’ll see bits of Prospit and Derse, but not until much later will we see how much it all ties together.

Rose mentions Nannasprite and then parts ways with Dave.


Let’s talk about sprites.

In Sburb, the role of sprites is simple: a guide character through the early stages of the player’s game, both in exposition and powers. But in narrative role, sprites are one of the oddest and least consistent sets of characters. They all start up purported as exposition guides but lose that role as the story goes along and as the kids’ session goes off the rails, so only Nannasprite serves the exposition role and the other sprites’ roles are very different.

Jaspersprite is a symbol of Rose’s innocence and how far she has gone since starting the game, Davesprite is a second Dave who gets to do a lot of things the “real” Dave doesn’t, and Jadesprite is a subversion of basically everything about sprites. The trolls’ lusus sprites seem to play it straight but are mostly glossed over, with just a few things said about them. And the alpha kids’ sprites are just excuses to make amalgamations of characters, also did I mention that Hussie is a hack for not making Fefetasprite talk ever?

Sprites seem to be the general “whatever the story wants” characters. This is shown in their varied set of abilities, which I had listed in detail in a very old post (the old version of post 6, not the old version of this post). Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to kindly borrow material from my past self.

What sprite powers are there exactly? Besides her eye beam attack shown above, Nannasprite is able to heal people’s health (ties in with her post-scratch self’s aspect), write using eye beams, and even conjure objects like a ghost bed and oven; there’s also Calsprite’s puppet attacks, Davesprite’s ability to deface posters, Jaspersprite’s far-reaching tentacles (which come from the princess doll), Becsprite’s amplified first guardian powers used to shatter the giant meteor; not to mention the powers squared sprites get, like memories of alternate versions of their components, teleportation by summoning fenestrated walls, and other random knowledge like Jasprosesprite^2’s knowledge of Nepeta, or Davepetasprite^2’s urge to fight Lord English … I don’t think there’s really a set rule for what powers sprites get, maybe it’s just new powers as the plot demands.

This “whatever the story wants” role is kind of shafted in later acts, but it’s brought to full force with the squared sprites as I just said. When the squared sprites become a thing many many pages later, Rose bonks on her head with a pillow and boy can I not blame her.


NANNASPRITE: Your father was kidnapped! 
JOHN: oh no! 
NANNASPRITE: When you crossed over to The Medium, he was apprehended by the very forces of darkness which your presence here has awakened. 


It’s only natural that this sprite exposition sequence is filled with early installment weirdness. I’ve talked plenty about stuff the author planned in advance, but not so much about stuff the author planned that doesn’t happen. I’m not talking about BULLSHIT: The Act; rather, I’m talking about early installment weirdness and the hints at things that weren’t fated to be.

It seems like at this point, Hussie had lots of wild ideas for underlings being affiliated with Derse, connected with agents and denizens and whatnot. But those ideas didn’t really go many places after this introduction sequence. The agents—all of the named Prospitians and Dersites really (I’m not even sure which are and aren’t “agents”?)—are much more of their own set of characters with their own stories than a gear in the machine of Sburb’s forces. We do sometimes see those characters doing required, predestined things but it’s all very much in the background. It doesn’t help that at this point WV is the only carapacian character we’ve seen so far and we don’t yet know anything about his backstory.

JOHN: what? ok, so what is the medium you are talking about? 
NANNASPRITE: It is where we are now! A realm that is a ring of pure void, dividing light and darkness. It turns in the thick of The Incipisphere, a place untouched by the flow of time in your universe. 
JOHN: you mean because we are inside a computer, or in the game software or something? 


I still maintain that John was so excited for Sburb that he completely forgot what it was about. That’s the best explanation for why he wasn’t surprised that objects could be moved around his house. It’s also why he thinks he’s inside a computer or whatever.

… Actually, maybe this whole time he thought he was going to be inside a computer. I’m sure he’s seen plenty of awesome movies of this type. He mentions liking Japanese mangas at one point; perhaps he’s a fan of Sword Art Online? (I know fucking nothing about anime/manga, feel free to make fun of me for mentioning that one.)

NANNASPRITE: A computer? Why, what is that, dear? Some new fangled contraption, like the horseless auto-boxcar? 
JOHN: well, uh, it’s like this machine that, uh… 
NANNASPRITE: Hoo hoo hoo! Of course I know what a computer is, John! I was just pulling your leg! Hoo hoo hoo! 
JOHN: oh, ok. 


More indication that Nanna is a longtime expert at pranks. She knows her way around them incredibly well.


A cool little flash plays introducing us the world of Skaia, with music that gives a sense of intrigue and wonder. I don’t have anything to say on Nannasprite’s exposition on this topic, but I do have something to say about part of the book commentary:

Ultimately there are a lot of guides in HS, not just game-supplied ones. Characters who know more than others, and fill in details such as this, either specifically to be helpful, or just in passing conversation, or outright begrudgingly. That is, it continues to be like an RPG. The player keeps gathering information about the quest from many different sources.

This is actually a completely fair excuse for why sprite roles are subverted and shafted as the story progresses. It’s not any different from how RPGs tend to do things.


Next we revisit the sequence where John’s kernelsprite split up. It’s one of those times where we look at an old scene from a new perspective, with the player/reader’s knowledge broadened thanks to Nannasprite’s knowledge. Many works of media sometimes look at old scenes from new perspectives, but the way Homestuck does it feels like a special kind of storytelling. Though it’s probably my fault for being this obsessed with Homestuck.



These images above show some of the changes that happened when the sprite reached Prospit and Derse. It caused all constructs in this world to be clown themed—basically all the carapacians and imps. I almost kind of understand the misconception that WV is an imp now. Also I want to say these chess designs look super cool.

Nannasprite reveals a twist to the game: the forces of light are always destined to lose, not that readers have any idea what that means yet. John learns that his first goal is to build his house up to the first gate and then comes to a very “John” conclusion:

I could stare at this dance for hours too.


JOHN: ok, i think i get it now! 
JOHN: so i guess the battle against good and evil is sort of irrelevant? well, i don’t know, that all sounds kind of weird, but in any case, we build the house to get to these gates, and then i can save my dad! 
NANNASPRITE: Yes, John! 
JOHN: and then after that, we solve this ultimate riddle thing and save earth from destruction!!! 


John doesn’t understand any of this at all; he just pieces together what he can about things heroes in video games typically are meant to do and concludes he has to save his father and then save the whole world. 

NANNASPRITE: Oh no, I’m afraid not! 


… And there’s the punchline. Punch as in John feels like he just got punched cold in the face. The animation in the panel above is beautiful, please take a moment to appreciate it. 

NANNASPRITE: Your planet is done for, dear! There is nothing you can do about that! 
JOHN: oh… 
NANNASPRITE: Your purpose is so much more important than saving that silly old planet, though! 
JOHN: and that is? 
NANNASPRITE: HOO HOO HOO HOO HOO! 


Nannasprite leaves to bake John some cookies and he goes full circle to where he started: annoyance at overexposure to baked goods. It’s only natural that I end this post here, just like I did with the old version of this post.

See you next time as some stuff happens, I think? I don’t really remember what, Act 2 is a little boring after this point.

Next => Part 6: Imp Madness and Can Openers

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 83: A Cherubic Reminisce on the Fun of Fun Things

Introduction

Part 82 | Part 83 | Part 84 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 9 of 11 (yes 11 not 10, at least 95% sure of this)

Pages 5085-5136 (MSPA: 6985-7036)

I will watch K-On before this post series is finished. Mark my words.

EDIT (7/9/2019): Yui Hirasawa is best girl and that’s really all there is to say on the matter.

3/2/2019: Every post up to number 59 (end of Act 5) now has homestuck.com page numbers alongside the MSPA numbers. Only about 20 posts to go! I also just did the same with my Problem Sleuth posts.

3/5/2019: Post 5 rewritten is still in progress! Tentative date for it is March 8. I’m over halfway done and have been doing it at a relaxed pace. A few more rewritten posts this month too. More tentative dates: April 6 for post 84, April 13 for post 85 plus something secret.

Good time for us to be reminded that CotL exists.

We saw those same chess pieces earlier in the cherubs’ chess game, so this poster entices the mystery of who those two really are. (We don’t know they’re cherubs yet, shhhhhhh!)

Now that we’re done with the character select screen, it’s time to see what Roxy is up to, again.

The fenestrated wall showing what the alpha kids are up to is a nice touch, matching with the whole fourth wall visual metaphor. It seems like a transition device more than anything, but I have to wonder if this is what the wall would’ve actually shown if it was turned on, just like with Hussie’s self-insert scenes.

You quickly put everyone on bucket duty to douse the flames. Now you guess you understand why your mom left all these buckets in the house? You always thought it was a passive aggressive reminder for you to keep up with the housework.

At the behest of their roguish leader, the loyal band of Merry Men go straight to work in getting the fires under control. The Robin Hood reference is lost on them. Also lost on everybody is the sordid spectacle this appears to resemble from an alien perspective, with all these buckets sloshing around and whatnot. Your void powers cannot black out this graphic debauchery soon enough.

Bucket jokes are a little old by now, but sure, we’ll take it. It makes enough sense that Rose in this universe knew of little details like this, to give Roxy a slight boost in time to get into the game. The detail’s just a little oddly specific though.

Jake’s volcano erupts, which is a surprising thing we don’t normally see happen; this exception is probably because Jade’s volcano already entered the kids’ combined session. Seems like all the fires around are the alpha kids’ replacement for meteors as a reminder to get things going.

You run the server program which auto-connects with Jake and a viewport of his old house just pops right open. This is going to be so easy. You can already tell, compared to you, everyone else sucks so bad at this game, not to mention at computers in general.

Oh yeah, Roxy’s narration also says some silly hacker related things I guess. I take this as a bit more foreshadowing that she’s the alpha kids’ true leader. Sorry to any Jane apologists reading this, I’m just stating facts.

Just a heads up: normally I’d sidestep any discussion of Roxy and Calliope as a ship but in this pesterlog I have a very good reason to talk about it.

uranianUmbra [UU] began cheering tipsyGnostalgic [TG] 
UU: i can’t see yoU, bUt yoU mUst be back by now, yes? 
TG: y 
TG: and i am how haxxing up storm 
TG: p stank by 
TG: *stand 
UU: haxxing? :u 
TG: u dont even no 
TG: my fingers are the mean lil beaks 
TG: of furirus woodpeckers 
TG: and my keyboard 
TG: is a pitiful plank of cruddy wood 
TG: guarding a trove of tasty bungs 
TG: it is guarding them i might add 
TG: moist fucking unsuccessfully 
UU: u~u 
TG: as my digits rain danger 
TG: on this hapless lamptop 
TG: the result of my tappy onslaught 
TG: is line after wicked line 
TG: of leetfilthy codes 
TG: aka.. 
TG: the governments worst nightmare 
UU: Um……….. 
TG: i will be in an out 
TG: of the systerm 
TG: before breakfast knows what ate it 
TG: JACKPOP BABBY 
TG: im am ur cryptogodress 8) 
UU: roxy? 
TG: it is womon verse machine 
TG: a struggle old as stuff itself 
TG: she will bring sburb to its knees 
TG: and then turn 
TG: with her shitwreckingest face 
TG: and stare 
TG: into the void 
TG: and the void 
TG: will wonk first 
TG: ;3

Roxy continues the Derse dreamers’ pattern of saying vaguely silly and flirty things to her friends. Dave has a habit of doing the same thing with Jade. I don’t think Roxy is even flirting with Calliope in particular, just dumping this nonsense into any old chat window because why not. Not to mention she’s kind of hung over?

TG: what were you going to give me back there? ;D 
UU: right! 
UU: it’s a present i made for yoU. 
TG: ooh! 
UU: it coUld be… 
UU: a farewell gift actUally. 
TG: huh? 
TG: are u leaving 
UU: maybe. 
UU: i am aboUt to go to sleep one last time before oUr schedUled entry. 
UU: and there is a very real possibility that i will never wake Up. 
TG: oh no! 
TG: why!!! 
UU: it is complicated. 
UU: there is mUch to say aboUt it which i have never told yoU, dUe to my adherence to the rUles. 
UU: some of which i am aboUt to break now, in order to give myself a fighting chance.

It’s only fitting that when Calliope, the perfect rule-follower, is under such tension, she has to break rules as a last resort. I talked about Calliope and Caliborn’s duality with following vs. bending rules in my last post featuring the cherubs (post 82), which makes me wonder: in the timeline where Calliope predominated, did Caliborn start feeling the need to break the rules? I think the answer is yes. The Caliborn from that timeline is shrouded in mystery, but it only makes sense that when bending rules did him no good, he had no choice but to shed his dignity and break them.

Maybe in those two’s chess game, Calliope learned to play chess like Bobby Fischer and could tell that something was fis(c)hy with the way her brother moved his king and queen. And she was the one who uncovered his crowns, much to Caliborn’s shock. Now that’s an interesting alternate universe story!

UU: bUt before i go down that serpentine path with yoU, here. 
UU: one last bit of artwork from an admirer. something to remember me by, shoUld we never speak again. 
UU: http://tinyurl.com/roxyisthisyoU (link to the picture shown above)
TG: !!!!! 
TG: ssdlkjfs;lkfjdlskfj

If you’re a real savant in MSPA trivia, Calliope’s drawing of Roxy will remind you of John’s Trickster Mode rendition, back when “Trickster Mode” was just an easter egg in flashes and in only one case made anyone colorful and candy-themed. It makes sense that Calliope, the in-universe “person who obsesses over Homestuck but doesn’t truly understand it”, would speculate based on such obscure things. And Rose’s tome, as we’ll see soon enough, is the in-universe MSPA wiki.

TG: ohhhly SHIT 
TG: *hooooooly 
TG: holiest of shits 
TG: the shit….. 
TG: is down right 
TG: SACROSANCT 
TG: omgogmogmomog 
TG: this owns 
TG: my bones 
UU: ^U^ 
TG: look at my outfit 
TG: want 2 wear that outfit 
TG: want 2 kiss + marry that outfist 
TG: look 
TG: at that lollipop 
TG: that fuckin LOLLIPOP 
TG: hehhe look at me goin in 4 a lick 
TG: like im the queen of fuckall yall 
TG: what is that in my hair 
TG: is that 
TG: COTTONE CANDY???? 
UU: indeed it is! 
TG: say helloes to new phone wallpp 
TG: sry baby eatin jake husband u r out 
TG: /DIVORCE’D 
TG: yes perfection 
TG: more like 
TG: perferection 
TG: is what is givin me 
TG: am getting the perfbonerz up in here

And here Roxy goes back to ambiguously flirting with everyone she sees. This time, including herself. Calliope is but one of those people she’s that way with.

UU: i really enjoy drawing yoU. it is a treat. 
UU: yoU are jUst so pretty. :u 
TG: awwwwwwwwww 
TG: <3<3<#<#<## 
TG: hearts n hashes 
UU: anyway, i am very pleased that yoU like my drawing. ~u~

Calliope seems to be referencing that Roxy is a fan favorite of the kids.

TG: i love it 
TG: i love U 
TG: U x2 combot 
UU: yoU do? 
UU: really?? 
TG: yes 
TG: fo rillies 
UU: :U 
UU: blimey. 
UU: this comes as qUite a sUrprise. 
TG: well i mean 
TG: not like lets got get space married love 
TG: more like ur the best and i like you a lot love 
UU: oh. 
UU: then the conciliatory type. i Understand. 
TG: wait 
TG: i didnt mean to jerk you around… 
TG: did u feel that way about me 
TG: aww shit im sorry 😦 
UU: no! don’t be. 
UU: trUst me, that is not how i feel aboUt yoU. or anyone. 
UU: thoUgh i trUly wish i were capable of those feelings.

Time for a ~~~~~~SHIPPING TANGENT~~~~~~

THE TEXT BELOW IS KIND OF RAMBLY AND DISCONNECTED FROM THE REST OF THIS POST FEEL FREE TO IGNORE

This is, dare I say, fitting buildup for Roxy and Calliope as a real red ship? Some people argue that them as a ship makes sense considering the late comic’s theme of abandoning social norms or what people are told is true, similar to Karkat’s idea that John has black feelings for Terezi.

And… fuck man. This is really weird to say, but those people aren’t wrong. They aren’t wrong at all! They raise a really good and fascinating point!!!!!!

But there’s one big caveat: as I established in my rewrite of post 4, those two as a ship aren’t presented well at all, especially after Calliope is brought back. Their conversations are just kind of super-positive and sugary fluff. And it doesn’t help that those two immediately follow buildup for a ship that’s still special to me after all this time and is, in many ways, the opposite of this ship. John and Roxy as a pairing are a bit weird narrative-wise, considering they crush hard on each other after a very short timeframe. But those two are pretty much the cutest duo in the whole comic, yes I just said that, it’s a fact, you can’t fight me.

Basically what I’m saying is: have Roxy and Calliope had a deep, resonant friendship that one could argue has potential to develop into something greater? The answer is hell yes. But did Calliope ever say anything like “what did ur monster say?” only to promptly correct herself? The answer is hell no. I don’t know about you, but I think I prefer fun things over things that might make more sense in the broader narrative.

The bottom line is: fun things are fun.* End shipping tangent.

—Maki Nishikino, probably.

Time to go back to talking about things like a kind of normal person, maybe. As much as dissecting Homestuck endlessly for 3+ years can qualify as “normal”.

UU: perhaps the fact that i am not is why the topic fascinates me so. 
UU: and why i have been prone do indUlge in sUch… 
UU: fancifUl visUalizations. 
UU: of yoUr people’s lovely bright red relationships. 
UU: they mUst be nice. u_u

Wait a minute, wasn’t Calliope supposed to be a troll? I think this passage is lead-in to the grand reveal that she isn’t one, with her discussing romance in a way completely unlike trolls.

(Though really, the writing was on the wall from day one. Why would a troll “cheer” or “jeer” people instead of trolling them?)

TG: lol well its not like i would know either way 
TG: but thats cool i didnt know that about you 
TG: i dont know ANYTHING about u but i wish i did 
TG: cant you at least tell me your name bfore you uh 
TG: maybe go ways 4 ever? ;( 
UU: yes, as a matter of fact. 
UU: that is actUally the reason i am contacting yoU. 
UU: it is one rUle i have decided to break. 
TG: oh fuck! 
TG: what is it!!!!!!! 
UU: my name is calliope. 
TG: 😮 
TG: ….. 
TG: ilike it :3 
UU: it feels so strange to type that! 
UU: bUt also good, actUally.

Calliope’s name reveal is more lead-in to her truth. It’s kind of another case where the story holds the reader’s hand leading up to the mystery, but to be fair those are only hints that she’s not a troll rather than what she is. Probably not likely people will pay enough attention to glean something from her name’s first three letters.

Roxy talks to John right after this, right?

… She doesn’t, but telling myself that will make it a little less fake.

TG: well ty for finally confiding in me calilope 
TG: *calliope sorrey 
UU: yoU’re welcome. it is good to get it off my chest. 
UU: bUt i am primarily telling yoU this as a last resort, in hopes of saving myself. 
UU: yoU see, this rUle between me and my brother is a kind of trUce. 
UU: we have both agreed not to say oUr names to anyone so that things will not get oUt of hand, and so it became one of the rUles. 
UU: if anyone were to say his name to me, i woUld immediately fall asleep, and he woUld wake Up.

Man I sure love that saying a cherub’s name as a wake-up call is never used for anything, ever. It seems like the author just brought it up as a plot point for us to reveal her name then it vanished into the void. No, not that kind of void, just the regular goddamn void. I guess he just didn’t know where to make that thing useful so it remains only used as a way for us to learn the UU alien’s name.

UU: oh bUgger. this is so embarrassing to have to admit. 
UU: i am sorry for saying things which may have reasonably led yoU to believe this. 
UU: probably way too many things. u_u; 
UU: bUt i am not actUally a troll. 
TG: o 
TG: rrrrrelay 
UU: i have never actUally claimed to be. bUt i’m sUre i have implied it, probably dUe to wishfUl thinking.

THE BIG REVEAL.

It only makes sense that Calliope would accidentally lie through omission, as she says here. And it’s a little interesting she recognizes she unintentionally misled people about it and the most likely reason she did it. I commend Hussie for being able to work the misleading exposition dump fangirl into the story in a way that kind of makes sense. Homestuck may be whimsical at its core, but sometimes things do need an in-universe reason to exist.

UU: i have spent so mUch time wishing i coUld be one. 
UU: trolls are a remarkable and fascinating race. 
UU: hUmans are too, please don’t get me wrong! 
UU: bUt i am oUt and oUt smitten with trolls and their history and ways. 
UU: they have sUch amazing, coloUrfUl social dynamics that soUnd like so mUch fUn to be a part of. 
UU: and they are so beaUtifUl.

It is at this point that readers slap themselves on their heads for having though Calliope was a troll, and rightfully so. Of COURSE the fangirl character would obsess over everything about trolls!!! To be fair, Karkat is a troll and has talked in depth about his own race’s romance so maybe it’s not completely out of the question Calliope would as well.

Oh yeah Calliope has an arc of low self-esteem about her appearance or something? Snore.

TG: then what kinda alien are you 
TG: wait dont tell me youre ACUTALLY from urnanus?? 
UU: heehee. no. 
UU: that jUst happened to be a planet from yoUr system i thoUght was lovely. 
UU: i was particUlarly strUck by its UniqUe rotation. 
UU: it has very nice… 
UU: bollocks, what’s the word. 
UU: the term that refers to a ball’s topspin? 
TG: ??? 
UU: it doesn’t matter.

Hey this moment is pretty funny and silly. If only the rest of those two’s interactions were like this. I’m going to expand on this train of thought before I continue with Calliope’s exposition.

Sburb stuff is happening in the background here, I forgot to say that.

Efficient storytelling, probably.

Let’s talk a bit about how Calliope could be a better character.

Calliope’s dynamics with the other alpha kids are mostly pretty similar to with Roxy; they treat her as the mysterious friendly troll and it’s not really super fleshed out. It kind of sucks a little that her dynamics with the other three aren’t really expanded beyond her being the exposition character; I can’t even imagine how she’d be improved in that aspect.

There is one character whose interactions with Calliope I surprisingly really enjoy and can’t place why. That character is Jade Harley! Her dream bubble scenes with Calliope are a super fun change of pace from what we had in the comic prior, with a lot of storytelling style and scene design we’d never seen before. I think Hussie succeeded at making the human and cherub space players, two of the most openly friendly characters, bounce off each other well while being more than just sappy fluff (or sappy fluff ft. a few stories told along the way). As I’ve said before, not everything about late Homestuck is bad, just the bad aspects stick out a lot by nature.

This is not to say that Jade is the only character who could possibly have conversations with Calliope that are actually fun to read. Roxy and Calliope’s interactions have a lot of potential to be better if maybe just a bit more humor was inserted into them. I’m just kind of bleh about this whole thing.

Calliope goes on to explain several more things.

(1) she is a cherub and her race only ever meets others of its kind through violent hate-sex;

(2) her Sburb session with Caliborn was really only a one-player session with BAD consequences, which I’ll say something about:

UU: this was always meant to be a session of one. 
UU: and i am finally starting to Understand… 
UU: the reality of that coUld have conseqUences more horrifying than we coUld begin to imagine. 
TG: um 
TG: how 
UU: the thing is, yoU don’t know him like i do. 
UU: as hard as it may be to believe, he is even worse than yoU think.

I’m glad I started working on my rewritten posts recently! When I got to, well, skipped to, the intermission in those, I noticed the way Lord English was described as an enormous, mysterious danger that nobody fully understands. Calliope’s lines strongly hint that her brother is the young Lord English, simply through describing how dangerous he is.

(3) she and Caliborn are both super-powerful master classes, the Muse of Space and the ???? of Time respectively:

UU: well, i was always led to believe i woUld be an extraordinary type of player. 
UU: both of Us woUld be. we are both assigned extremely rare and powerfUl classes. 
UU: they are the two master classes! 
TG: oh yeh? 
TG: what is urs 
UU: mine is the most passive on the scale. a class designated for females only. 
UU: i am the mUse of space. ^u^ 
TG: sounds p cool 
TG: whats a muse do 
UU: i’m not entirely sUre. i was hoping to discover that on my joUrney. 
UU: anyway, his is the other master class. 
UU: the most active class of all, reserved for male players.

Let’s talk about god tier Calliope again.

We now know that Calliope’s alternate timeline self is the one who fully realized her role as the Muse of Space. There was this whole thing where the Calliope we’ve been following since the start of Act 6 didn’t have to do anything similarly big, just function as a normal person. The reason I say “there was this whole thing” at the start of that sentence is because we don’t see her functioning as a normal person that much, other than continuing the saga of sugar overload interactions with Roxy. This brings to mind the two photo montage sections of Homestuck and what all could have been done in those.

“Vriskagram.” The name alone brings back upsetting memories for many readers. The meteor crew’s journey, which we followed in great detail before the retcon, is now just a photo montage that feels a lot more fake, not to mention every problem is apparently solved by, uh, Vriska. And we’re now supposed to care about and be invested in these brand new changed versions of the characters we knew and loved who are now dead! Not to mention that characters seem to hang out in exclusive pairs most of the time, which was a really unhealthy thing that happened in the tail end of the journey before the retcon but now is completely normal and happy???

The credits flash is another photo montage, in many ways an upgrade to Vriskagram. We get a lot more detail than before and it does have some dialogue and plenty of silly moments. I’d almost say the credits would be an ideal conclusion if Homestuck actually felt like it ended after Act 7. But either way, one big problem from Vriskagram carries over to the credits: that shitty buddy system is back in full force! The number of people in each group has increased from 2 to 3-4, which is a little better I guess but still kind of dumb. We don’t even get to see Calliope as a regular friend of the kids, just Roxy’s sidekick as usual. That of course isn’t helped by the problem that there never was a “final dialogue dump” or anything where every character gets a cool moment or an engaging conversation. If there was, maybe all those problems would have been solved!

I got off track, again. What did you expect from me? Anyway my point is, it makes sense for this version of Calliope just to be a regular friend of the kids but her character just isn’t fleshed out enough after being brought back to life for that idea to feel like it means anything.

Calliope ends the conversation going back to your usual “finish what you have to do, see you soon!” and then we get the BIG reveal.

I like how the reveal starts with a reminder that Calliope has troll horns. If you’ve been to a lot of conventions with troll cosplayers then you can definitely see where this is going. Whether or not you have, it’s a fun way to see how badly the author pranked readers.

The moment we see Calliope has green hands, attentive readers will likely connect the dots as to who her brother is. Funny enough, this is done concurrently with the reveal that she owns gray face paint just so she can pretend to be a troll.

When we see Calliope in full, it turns out that she was wearing cosplay horns this whole time (hence the myserty). A good metaphor for how readers probably feel about her big reveal; it makes them angry that they were misled, but it also makes a lot of sense. Oh yeah she looks like Lord English, that’s a thing.

You are now Calliope.

This picture of Calliope’s room has a LOT to unpack. A really, really huge amount. To my recollection, Calliope examines most of this stuff as we go on so I won’t cover everything here at once. I imagine the things that stick out to readers the most might be the shackle on her leg with Caliborn’s symbol, Karkat’s ~ATH book, and Doc Scratch’s gun. All some interesting hints right away at her identity and backstory. Each of the things I mentioned hints at a different part of that backstory. The book hints at where her room originally was, Doc Scratch’s gun hints that her brother is Lord English, and her shackle hints at the true nature of cherubs.

When Calliope takes off her horns and lays them on top of her white wig, things look REALLY familiar. We now know what Complacency of the Learned was foreshadowing, in a really obtuse and twisted around way. When that story was described and peeked at in Roxy’s narration pages, it probably doesn’t make sense to first-time readers, but when rereading, everything almost falls into place. By “almost”, I mean that it’s not a precise retelling, but twisted and remixed to the point of confusion.

Also now that we know as much about the Condesce as we do—that she was watched over and nudged by Calliope and Caliborn’s mother this whole time—it makes even more sense than before that she would be intimidated by those stories, with strange twisted retellings of the cherubs’ lives.

You have many fond memories of solo-cosplay in your room. It’s a lot of fun and alarmingly comfortable to just lounge around your room in-character.

This is a rather interesting passage. It has some odd implications about Calliope’s character and suggests she might genuinely “identify” as a troll, if that’s the right word. Maybe her getting over that obsession makes sense with the idea that Homestuck is partly a story about growing up, but it doesn’t totally sit well with me how much this is forgotten, especially in the credits where she is among the rulers of the carapace kingdom (not the troll kingdom) due to the workings of the dumb stupid dumb stupid dumb stupid buddy system.

These are just a few of the many drawings you have done over the years celebrating your absolute all-time favorite characters. Er… you mean friends.

Calliope: *says things like the narration above*
Roxy: ur pretty

Deep friendship right there.

… OK that joke was a little mean I admit. All exaggerations aside, Calliope definitely has some issues. It’s just one of many things that the story kind of weirdly abandons near the end.

Calliope ships Jake x Dirk, that’s still my headcanon.

Or a word that makes me sound like less of a dork than “headcanon”.

You often like to draw your TROLLSONA too, CALLIE OHPEEE. Yes, you suppose that’s a stretch, fitting your name into the 6/6 letter format like that. That’s ok, though. The limebloods reportedly had some unusual names. And they sure weren’t very popular. You like to believe you’d have fit right in.

You’ve written endlessly about her, and nearly filled a hard drive with related artwork. You have wished for nothing more in your life than to be her. Alas, you are resigned to living out the rest of your days as a little green skull monster. It really sucks!

Calliope is quite adorably clumsy at making a self-insert fantroll. I would say more about how the story is less adorably clumsy at handling her as a character outside of that aspect but I’ve done that so much already.

To the left is a drawing of nothing in particular. Nothing you understand, at least. This is a symbol which has haunted your visions for as long as you can remember.

Mmmmm, juicy foreshadowing. This seems like a case where readers are supposed to take a stab at what this could possibly represent and then get surprised. We do already know that the spiral is an arc symbol of the cherubs so that rules out a lot of possibilities.

You stow the delicious mess in your sylladex. You might be inclined to snack on it now, but due to the nature of your JUJU MODUS, you cannot access it. Once you captchalogue something, only your brother can use it. And vice versa. 

By this point, when we see a new character’s fetch modus it’s mostly just a one-off indication of the character’s general nature or a major trait. In this case, it hints that Calliope and Caliborn share a body.

The special stardust is a hint that Gamzee raised the cherubs. I probably could have mentioned it in our first peek at Calliope’s room but whatever. It was never totally clear what that thing does, but now it makes sense that Gamzee, the resident plot armor guy, would be affiliated with that substance. It has no bearing on the plot other than signifying that Gamzee is up and about. EDIT (3/18/2020): Wow, I sure forgot that Caliborn would later use this stardust to clog the Act 6 Act 6 cartridge, didn’t I.

Calliope checks out what Caliborn has captchalogued for her and OH MY GOD GOOD PROBLEM SLEUTH REFERENCE. It is excellently worked into the story and even referred to as “unpleasant notes”.

Caliborn x Problem Sleuth is a GOOD COMBINATION. Need I say more?

The Caliborn spin on Ace Dick’s unpleasant notes, aaaaaa so good

In this last note, Caliborn spoils a lot of the future. He hints at his identity as Lord English once again, referencing the time English spoke in green and the green color scheme of the Midnight Crew Intermission’s world.

Next up, Calliope takes a look at Rose’s Sburb journal from the meteor

I very much appreciate that this is the same RL lettering that appears on Rose’s walkthrough. Indicates how similar those two are, both in and out of story.

Whenever Rose writes something lengthy and detailed, you can guarantee it falls into just the right hands for it to be indirectly responsible for pretty much everything ever.

Of course Calliope didn’t discuss this discovery with Rose like Kanaya did with her discovery, because being sappy with Roxy and nobody else is more important than any of that nonsense.

Did he arrive when this was being written? Or was he already there, somehow? He is supposedly an exceptionally advanced Hero of Time, after all. Could it be that your horrible stupid brother of all people has been inextricably involved in your beloved epic all along? For the first time ever, you have just uncovered compelling evidence that this might be true. 

[…] But now that you think about it, maybe your theory is just too far fetched. Actually, it is completely preposterous, and you don’t even know what you were thinking there. You’re sure he would get a kick out of the idea though, what with his megalomaniacal view of himself as some sort of lethal puzzlemaster, always boasting that red herrings swim through his veins and such. Which is just about the biggest crock of shit you’ve ever heard.

How exactly does Calliope know that her brother really is dangerous if she didn’t have any idea before? Is it just an inference based on the fact that a master class player will be doing a one-player session? Maybe it’s better if I don’t dwell too much on this silly bit and move on, because it’s mostly meant just to establish that the cherubs live on the trolls’ meteor after they left it behind

Why is every character in the comic so bad at detecting Gamzee is behind things?

Gamzee doesn’t need to be particularly clever to mislead people. He just magically turns everyone into idiots when he’s around.

Yeah, see here?

These are the dark spots you were referring to. Little tidbits here and there have been redacted by some fool with no respect for history. Looks like he used some kind of peculiar indigo ink.

Frustratingly enough, most of the redactions target any piece of information about the indestructible demon who was either directly or indirectly behind every terrible event in the story. Everything about him, like where he came from, information about his manipulative right hand man, his agenda, his abilities, his name… all of it has been voided out.

This is probably the most obtuse way possible to reference a character’s god tier title; specifically, Equius’s role as a void player. Only the most attentive readers could ever catch this on their own: the void player’s blood is the one used to black out information. A brilliantly subtle touch that makes the story just a tinge more convoluted than it already is.

Most of the other blot-outs seem to target one member of the post-scratch troll group. Some guy who drinks a lot of soda? These omissions strike you as much less consequential. Frivolous, even. Whoever that guy was, he sounds like he was easily the least important character in the entire story.

And this is of course where Calliope falls short on speculation. She can’t figure out that the guy who drinks a lot of soda is probably connected to that indestructible demon, even though were clearly redacted by the same person.

It’s some sort of programming book. You don’t care much for programming, but you’ve adapted it as a FANFICTION JOURNAL. You’ve filled it up completely with your most colorful headcanons and romfics. You’ve also pasted in some of your artwork, turning a rather dreary manual on some morbid, tilde-heavy language into a lively scrapbook. Many of the stories involve Callie, and all of them involve heavy themes of romance. Particularly the other three quadrants which are completely alien to you, and therefore especially titillating.

I wonder which other character finds regular simple human romance to be sexually arousing? And which other character keeps this fascination a deep secret, especially from their sibling?

That’s right, Caliborn is scarily similar to Calliope in this regard. It’s a known fact that people who obsessively love something and people who obsessively hate it have a LOT in common that they will never admit. And the two cherubs match this analogy hilariously perfectly.

> Calliope: Open it.

Er, no. You’d rather not. Down that road lies only endless embarrassments. THE THINGS YOU MADE SWEET, INNOCENT CALLIE DO.

Holding hands and eating cake, am I right??? There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that her stories go no more explicit than characters occasionally holding hands and smiling and that qualifies as dirty and smutty to her.

Hopefully this reminds readers of Hussie’s duel with Lord English now.

Calliope’s strife specibus is another little pattern that at this point is just an indicator or hint at the cherubs’ nature and overarching themes.

“Why don’t we stop wasting everyone’s time, shut the lid on this lousy MacGuffin, and get on with it.”

Makes me a little upset but matches what I’m doing with discussing this page.

Calliope opens her juju chest or whatever that is and the narration lampshades that we aren’t going to see it for a while and it’s probably not that great or exciting, which is a funny thing to read in retrospect considering how—NO FUCK THIS I’M NOT GOING TO WASTE TIME RANTING ABOUT ACT 7 AGAIN.

I don’t think I’ve said before that the shackles are a rather literal way to incorporate the comic’s title into the story; it makes the cherubs stuck inside their homes and unable to explore much of the outside world. What’s interesting about this instance of characters being “homestuck” is that the outside world isn’t an alien land the story never explains; rather, it is the world of the comic’s great mysteries, which Caliborn explores after he bites his leg off. Gamzee made the cherubs forcibly stuck inside their own home, rather than just metaphorically stuck like the kids and trolls generally are.

This is the chain you shackle to your other leg when you’re about to go to sleep. You are the only one who is able to unlock it.

[…]

Sleeping with shackled legs doesn’t make for very comfy slumber. Still, it’s advisable to stay in the habit, unless you want all your belongings to get messed with.

This bit is pretty interesting, because it suggests that the cherubs are kept in check by both sleeping with shackled legs. And the reason they keep themselves in check is, amusingly enough, just that they both don’t want the other to touch their belongings. But that premise works well and completely makes sense as an explanation to why they’re locked inside their home.

Frustratingly, Caliborn’s half of the room is kept a mystery throughout the whole comic.

But it’s made up for by the fact that he is the best character in all of Homestuck so it’s hard to feel all that broken up by it.

Like you said, you don’t have a bed.

You have a SARSWAPAGUS.

Every time you wake up, you are always sure to put the lid back on neatly.

Considering you virtually always find it exactly where you left it, you doubt your brother is anywhere near as diligent about making the bed. Wait, you mean sarswapagus. 

But the fact that he’s a slob was never exactly breaking news to anyone. 

I like the thrown-in reference to the pattern that Prospit dreamers always make their beds while Derse dreamers never do. It’s just about the best way to do it without revealing exactly who Caliborn is.

Neither is the fact that you both share a body.

I mean come on.

Out of all the ways the story could have revealed that Calliope and Caliborn share a body…

Well it kind of makes sense that it’s done this way. I can’t imagine any way that would be outright stated in narration without feeling shoehorned in so it makes sense to reveal it in a comedic way, basically saying “this is canon now but come on you already knew that”. The same is done for a few other revelations about cherubs later on, including the whopper one (Caliborn is Lord English, who would have guessed????) and then a few in Caliborn’s conversations with Hussie’s self-insert.

Next, Calliope looks outside to see the sun and through visual callbacks—if memory serves me, to Terezi’s blinding in [S] Make her pay—which I think are meant to establish that the sun outside is shining really bright. It’s supposedly a red supergiant on the verge of death.

A zoom out reveals a familiar image. The trolls’ meteor is still a thing that exists, just situated on a barren future world now. Another thing that is obvious at this point but good to confirm because it makes a huge amount of sense in retrospect.

The next thing we see outside is a funny moment: the world she lives on has a JPEG Statue of Liberty, somehow. It seems like a silly one-off, but Hussie’s self-insert later tells Caliborn (and with it, many readers) “this means that this was Earth the whole time and you’re supposed to have a mental breakdown you dumbass”. Both an advantage and a disadvantage of the spirit of Homestuck. Advantage because it’s a clever spin on the usual realization; disadvantage because it may come off as just a stupid joke.

This is a thing Calliope could have discussed with Dave but didn’t because as before, Hussie was too busy writing his 50th goddamn Roxy/Calliope friendship conversation.

Wait that isn’t just one Statue of Liberty. Calliope’s narration gives us another hint at where she truly lives:

You have always had the feeling that whoever used to live on this planet had a really strange sense of humor.

Who could this person possibly be? I already explained before that the revelation that she lives on Earth is shown in a slightly strange way, which the author full-out lampshades.

As promised, I’m stopping this post here before the selection screen narrated (yes yes I know it’s really just pesterlogs) completely by Caliborn. See you next time as everyone fucking dies, probably. And dream Dirk confuses everybody.

>> Part 84: Cherubic Gloats and Confused Glances