Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 113: Brain Ghost Realitification Station

Introduction

< Part 112 | Part 113 | Part 114 >

Pages 6682-6749

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 3 of 4

This is the second last post featuring content released before the Gigapause, which is when I first read Homestuck.

Friendly reminder that among my creative projects, my current priority is making 8-bit covers of the entire soundtrack of Sonic Robo Blast 2 v2.2, which means my Homestuck post series is currently something I do every now and then when I want a break from that.

Also, friendly reminder that I’ve firmly divorced the masterwork that is Homestuck from the bloated mess that is Homestuck^2, so don’t expect me to talk about the latter in this post series unless it somehow becomes good. As for Pesterquest, there isn’t a whole lot I have to say about it because basically the whole thing played it as safe as possible. It’s really a shame this recent Homestuck media hasn’t been very remarkable after the horrifying yet incredibly cathartic epilogues, but that sure isn’t going to stop me from writing paragraphs upon paragraphs about Homestuck. I don’t think of it as “Homestuck 1” or even “the original Homestuck”, I just think of it as “Homestuck”.

A third friendly reminder that I soon hope to no longer use homestuck.com for my Homestuck posts, instead some offline archive or fanmade way to read the comic as originally intended. At some point, I should really get around to editing my old posts to include pages from homestuck.com because the MSPA domain has been somewhat unstable lately.

Anyway, where were we? Looks like I left off right before a panel with Gamzee restraining an aggravated Jane in a geometrically improbable position.

JANE: GET YOUR PAWS OFF ME YOU SHITFUCKING SHITFUCKER AUGH FUCK SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK FUCK.
GAMZEE: honk.
JANE: YOU SCURRILOUS FUCKSHITTING CAD. UNHAND ME SO I MAY RESURRECT MY ACCOMPLICE AT ONCE.
GAMZEE: honk honk.
JANE:
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME THIS TIME YOU DETESTABLE POO ROGERING CHARLATAN.
GAMZEE: honk.
JANE: I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANYMORE OF YOUR POTIONS. I ALREADY BOUGHT ALL THE USELESS SLOP I COULD EVER WANT FROM YOU, AND MADE A KILLING ON REDISTRIBUTION.
GAMZEE: HONK.
JANE: YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL TACTICS LEAVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. YOU ARE A DEPLORABLE BUSINESSMAN AND AN EVEN SHITTIER CLOWN. GET OFF ME.
GAMZEE: …
JANE: DID YOU JUST TOUCH MY BOOB. DON’T TOUCH MY BOOB YOU FUCKFACED DUNG HUFFING TOILET GUZZLING IDIOT QUIPSTER SHITPECKER DICKLARK.
GAMZEE: :o)

Hussie has always had a knack for writing humorously verbose insults, and it’s interesting that he’s doing it with Jane of all characters. A6A6I2 has been consistently putting a more comedic light than before on Crockertier Jane, and she’s a fairly understandable choice for someone to plug vocabulary jokes into. Jane’s always been high up on the scale of character vocabulary, not quite as high as Rose or Dirk but still up there. Reading these insults she gives Gamzee, most of the non-profane words are surprisingly in-character for Jane.

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 94: Wizardfic Nostalgification Station

Introduction / Schedule

Part 93 | Part 94 | Part 95 >


Act 6 Act 5, Part 2 of 6

Pages 5572-5634 (MSPA: 7472-7534)

“Nostalgification” is totally a real word, I swear.


Years in the future…
Minus several.


After a bunch of pages that were mostly romance drama and hints at the Condesce’s machinations, it’s time for a fun throwback. The image shown above depicts Roxy’s carapacian neighborhood on a rainy evening, just like how Rose’s house was in the early acts. This whole scene is going to be a lot of fun, I can tell.


I forgot how cute Roxy looks in her starting outfit, my god. Full disclosure: for me, a fictional girl’s cuteness is mainly determined by whether or not she wears tights.


It’s time to read Wizardy Herbert! You might already know that Wizardy Herbert is the name of one of Hussie’s pre-MSPA works. It’s an unfinished Harry Potter parody story with wild metafictional elements and overall insane nonsense. It is my understanding that Hussie in real life never cared much for wizards and decided when writing both Wizardy Herbert and Homestuck to crudely parody the fondness people have for them.

I don’t care much for wizards personally.

But this story? An absolute laugh riot that somehow doesn’t have a fanmade full version.


Oh boy, guys. I’m going to take you for a wild ride and dissect the HELL out of this story. I hope you’re ready for heaps of comparisons with the fanmade full version of Detective Pony, which I treat as canon in this post series.

“i think you were supposed to just tackle him,” beatrix said looking all kinds of put off. 

“all kinds of put off” is such a Roxy thing to say. The first sentence of this page already sets the stage for her absurd story perfectly.

wizardy herbert reached down to the body of the fictional camper he just shot and picked up the flag. “same difference.” 

“IS it?” 

“this is some lame magical version of capture the flag. the book wanted me to capture the flag from him. the flag has now been captured. anyway, hes just a kind of brainless puppet.” 

“then what are we?” she asked. 

“i dunno. brainless puppets whove spent a few years in the real world. kind of like everyone else, i suppose.” 


When you’re talking about metafiction, the “real world” can mean a lot of things. I can’t quite tell what that phrase refers to here; I assume Roxy’s story established that phrase’s meaning at some point before this page. Unlike with Detective Pony where we only saw the first few pages and got a rough description of the rest, we’re treated right away to the portion of Wizardy Herbert where the story has fallen apart and the title character is debating with his female companion about the nature of their story.

“jeez thats cynical. anyway, youre the one who said we should let the story play out the way its supposed to. im just pointing out your own rules.” 

I love how Beatrix’s reaction to Herbert’s metafictional nihilism is nothing more than “jeez thats cynical”. This is another bit that helps establish the story as a playful but earnest exploration of the nature of metafiction.

“ehhh.” herbert made a dismissive gesture with his smoking gun. “these punks were starting to get on my nerves. we’re making progress anyway. see? listen to that. russets scene is coming up. if i remember right this is the one that introduces his recurring love interest. also i guess the chief bad guy. i mean, sorta.” 

At this point, both Herbert and Beatrix are playing common roles in meta stories: Herbert as the extremely meta-aware hero/villain, and Beatrix as his loyal but oft-questioning assistant. Dirk invokes these roles both in Detective Pony and in the Meat Epilogue; the former role always with himself, and the latter role variously with Minos, Jeanne Betancourt, and Rose. In the Meat Epilogue, he takes advantage of the traits Rose has in common with him as well as her declining health so that she can play the role of the meta assistant and then get a fresh new robot body. Now that I think of it, it’s rather heteronormative of Dave at the end to think Rose and Dirk might be dating just because of these tropes. Normally he’s as woke as can be about LGBT topics; maybe he thinks Dirk’s mindset has changed simply because he’s so far up his own ass with self-importance.

/end tangent

This page of the story continues with double narration between Roxy’s usual writing and nonsensical SBaHJ-style Comic Sans writing. It’s clear that Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff cracks Roxy up just as much as the beta kids, which is very cute. The characters written SBaHJ-style are even more fake and confusing than the “normal” ones. I have no idea what’s going on now, other than that one of the Comic Sans characters is described as a handsome young man with black hair and glasses, which will soon lead to an allegorical exploration of John and Roxy’s relationship—perhaps a forewarning of what may become of it.

“why beatrix” he said with a super sly smile. “if i didnt know better, id say you were taking some enjoyment from watchin your dear pal russets smackdown.” 

“what? no!” she didnt let go of his arm. but he wouldnt quit his douchey smile. she went on. “you cant just keep offing fictional characters. its… i dunno. irresponsible.” 

“yeah yeah.” 

“besides you know the scene is supposed to play out like this. russet is supposed to get rescued. how is he supposed to get rescued if the bullies are dead? you cant just go around changing things.” 

“i guess youre right.” 

herbert holstered his gun admiring a few more choice sucker punches to russets midriff. OOF. that onell leave a mark. beatrix regained her calm. “so whos this guy thats supposed to save him?” she asked. “you say hes the villain?” 

“here he comes now.” 


Herbert’s shameless defiance against the story’s supposed rules reminds me of Caliborn, which makes sense because he and Dirk are alike in some ways, and because B2 Rose’s stories are also filled with cherub allusions.

Not understanding how sports work is something Roxy and Dave have in common.

Roxy skips ahead a few pages and now Herbert and Beatrix are dressed up to play some SPORTS. The Harry Potter satire is painfully obvious here—Quidditch is a staple of the series, even I know that—as is the fact that Hussie doesn’t like Harry Potter very much. As with Cronus’s backstory, elements everyone knows are incorporated and blatantly made fun of but none of the deeper plot seems to be referenced. I know this because if the plot of Harry Potter was deeply woven within Homestuck, then TV Tropes would be littered with comparisons between the two.

“russet! answer me!” beatrix demanded. “why the heck didnt you tell us? or tell grant for that matter?” 

herbert wasnt paying much attention. so russet was moody and cryptic and didnt tell people some stuff. what a bombshell. he worried at one of the springs poking out of his ridonkulous ball. it made a sproinging sound like a mouth harp and broke off. he wondered if the springs served any actual purpose. the springs did not serve any actual purpose. 

“how could you keep something like that from everyone? that you knew all along?” 

“i just wanted what was best for grant” he finally said. 

she had tons of questions but couldnt settle on the next one to ask. she wasnt about to let good body language go to waste so she did kinda what mimes do when they dont like something you said. how long did he know grant was from this dogshit wizardfic? howd he escape in the first place? was it really his spell that sealed them here? how long had he been planning this? she guessed that would explain why he had an absurdly obvious pseudonym. grant anonama? yeah like THATS a real name. great job bro, or should she say SLINUS. she wondered if his bogus name wasnt an anagram for something. like a clue dangled under their noses. magic bad guys do love their anagrams. they are just so damn clever and when you finally figure them out its like whoa INSTANT MINDFUCK. 


Roxy’s writing continues to be a mix of Rose and Dave, in all the opposite ways from how Dirk’s writing is. Her use of serial rhetorical questions reminds me of Rose just as much as her sarcastic commentary on narrative tropes reminds me of Dave. I’ve said before that it’s kind of funny Roxy and Dirk seem to inherit traits from both their respective ancestors when it’s technically the other way around.

Skipping a bit…

it was time to go. the narratives invisible conductor let them know with the arrival of a carriage. it was drawn by two floating, perfectly immobile wooden horses. herbert read this thing a hundred times but still couldnt understand the authors fascination with flying rigid wooden horses. 

This passage is obviously a self-deprecating jab at how much Hussie loves joking about horses, but its in-universe purpose is a bit less clear. I wonder if Roxy incorporated horses in her story to obliquely vent about her hopeless crush on Dirk? She knows very well that Dirk is a fan of horses and might even be playfully referencing Detective Pony.


Roxy skips to the end of what she has so far and oh my god, what is this. Herbert and Beatrix are freaking out and flailing their arms, but the horses’ facial expressions are blank as ever. It’s clear from this image that Roxy doesn’t have Dirk’s deep, resounding appreciation for horses. If Dirk drew this panel, the horses would be the ones freaking out.

“herbert watch where youre going!” 

“i cant. i think the book wants us to crash.” 

beatrix thought about it. she almost kicked the sides of her inert stallion to prod it along but caught herself. “do we really have to?” 


Here’s where we see Herbert suddenly had a change of mind regarding narrative rules. At first he brutally disobeyed what was meant to happen, but now to Beatrix’s surprise he’s following the rules.


herbert shrugged. another solid half minute of awkward horse advancement went by before the creaking oaken collision. herbert tumbled through the air and hit the grass pitch hard on his back. beatrix landed on top him. they founfd each other face to face. 

“is she serious with this?” she asked regarding the hella subtle way the author decided to craft this situration*. situation. is was like, popetry in motion. plus hornses(???) 

“im afaid* so. i think the story is builting romantic tension between us.” 

“it IS?” it was not a question. but a statement of major concorn. *cern 

“yeah. it it establushing* the groundwork for romance beween our characaters. its sort of the one token heroterosexual** romance in the book. we probably jush have to ride it out” 


Read this passage and tell me, TELL ME, it isn’t an accurate retelling of how John and Roxy’s relationship plays in the Candy Epilogue. Their relationship is a perfect example of a “token heterosexual romance”, so it’s only natural that it’s deconstructed to hell and back once they get back together. John is disconcerted by how easily their relationship happens but goes along with it because he thinks that’s how love is supposed to feel; Roxy is overcompensating for her grief over ruined friendships and Dirk’s death, which further hurts their relationship.

beautrix dinit* dint kno whaf*T the felling of collor red wash…. but 

she cloun*cloud*COULD swear the fleling 

she could swar 

the felling 

*FEEEEling 

ws crepping 

ontoo. herrrrrf. 

face. 

(RAAARARRAAUUUAAAAUUAGHGHGGHGGGGHHGH DOINT WRITE WHILT DRONK U LUSHEY DUMBO)


Roxy’s writing becomes more and more drunk as Herbert and Beatrix are about to have their romantic climax, which is again much like how romantic relationships in Homestuck work. Though this page of the story is mostly an allegory for John and Roxy’s relationship, this last passage most closely matches Rose and Kanaya, Homestuck’s token lesbian romance. As I’ve said in a few recent posts, these two ships have a lot of parallels that come to full light in the Candy Epilogue.


Well this sure was fun. I’m glad I got to the Wizardy Herbert section now instead of earlier, because in recent months I’ve written some metafictional stories inspired by Detective Pony and the Homestuck Epilogues that I haven’t shared with the public because they’re incredibly stupid. I can confirm that metafiction is both incredibly fun to write and incredibly easy to get carried away with. I’ll also say that although I have inserted myself into my metafictional stories, it’s always a different character who has the most meta knowledge—not because it would be too self-indulgent for my self-insert to know all the meta stuff, but because I think it’s way funnier if another character does.


Your home suddenly loses power due to the storm. Which… makes no sense? All devices in your house are powered by the portable green hubs you stole from the lab. That’s weird. 

Your laptop continues to run on battery power regardless.

This is a crazy cool throwback. It’s sure to remind readers of Rose’s story in the early acts, where a storm was causing her house to lose power and impeding her progress on starting Sburb. I must say, it’s incredibly refreshing to have a throwback arc after a bunch of annoying romance drama.


Roxy answers UU and it doesn’t take long for the conversation to diverge from whatever it was originally going to be. She realizes she isn’t drunk and that she somehow knows Calliope’s name.

Calliope says nothing but ellipses as Roxy observes the Furthest Ring’s damage. Roxy is given lots of commands in this dialogue sequence, but her responses to those commands are generally in dialogue instead of narration. Roxy’s monologuing is a substitute for second-person narration, which is done several other times in mid-to-late Act 6 like when Dave examines his old bedroom and breaks into tears about his old ironic nonsense, or during John’s entire retcon mission. I wish the Act 6 Act 6 intermissions had some amount of commanding characters like this instead of just constant [A6A6Ix] ====>; it would have livened things up quite a bit. I’m glad full-out second-person narration was brought back at the start of the epilogues.

Callback to a panel where Rose holds a crystal ball.


When Roxy finds Twinkly Herbert, Calliope starts talking in Morse code through… Herbert’s soul or consciousness or something? I’m not going to bother trying to explain this odd bit, but I will say I like how every dream bubble scene in Homestuck brings something new to the table of bizarre dream logic.


Calliope through Twinkly Herbert explains to Roxy that they both need to keep a low profile because Lord English is wreaking havoc upon the Furthest Ring in search for his dead sister.


TG: (the fuck?) 
TG: (what happened to my house) 
TG: (some stuff is different) 
TG: (i dont remember this) 
TG: (callie do you know whats going on) 
UU: -. — [no.]
UU: -… ..- – / .-.. . – .—-. … / -.- . . .–. / –. — .. -. –. [bUt let’s keep going.]
TG: (and what am i even wearing) 
TG: (what are these clothes?) 
UU: .. – / .- .–. .–. . .- .-. … / – — / -… . / – …. . / — ..- – ..-. .. – / — ..-. / .- / ..-. .- … …. .. — -. .- -… .-.. . / … -.-. .. . -. -.-. . / .– — — .- -. ? [it appears to be the oUtfit of a fashionable science woman?]
TG: (oh yeah) 
TG: (like a sexy science lady suit) 
TG: (thats p cool i guess) 


Here’s where things start to get fun. Roxy is now exploring Rose’s old house, which is even darker than it was when Rose explored it in the early acts. She’s dressed as her pre-scratch self which adds to the nostalgia and makes it feel like we’re exploring Rose’s house from her mother’s perspective. This is a rare occasion when characters in dream bubbles get to play the roles of their alternate selves, which hasn’t been explored much elsewhere aside from a few scenes with Aradia. I’ve accepted by this point that dream bubbles work in whichever way is most convenient for the scene.

It’s obvious through any scene involving the Lalondes that Hussie himself hates wizards.


Next comes a funny moment where Roxy examines one of her pre-scratch self’s wizard paintings and cracks up.

TG: (heck yes) 
TG: (hes so perf) 
TG: (callie check him out) 
UU: ..- — [Um.]
TG: (that aint even a painting) 
TG: (ahaha its so shitty) 
TG: (did someone like) 
TG: (grab a random ass low res wallpaper off the internet) 
TG: (of a jolly wizard doing what appears 2 be the worlds dumbest spell) 
TG: (and saved at low quality then just like) 
TG: (printed it way too huge) 
TG: (lmao) 
UU: —… ..- [:U]
TG: (its not even scaled proportionately) 
TG: (its stretched extra wide to fit this expensive as fuck frame) 
TG: (is that shit like) 
TG: (literal solid gold) 
TG: (ahahahahah i cant even deal) 
TG: (whoever did this was a wonderful genius) 


I like the implication that Rose’s mother wasn’t just a lunatic who freely collected all things wizard-related, but perhaps had a sense of humor about it all and took delight in the absurdity of old-timey wizard paintings.


Even though she’s mostly seen here cracking jokes about these wizards, it’s clear that Roxy truly thinks wizards are cool and badass.

This is such a great spooky panel.


Roxy sneaks by the corridor and here’s a fun callback. She catches a glimpse of the Condesce, just like Rose caught a glimpse of her mother so long ago. Calliope clarifies that the Condesce is only there through subconscious memories, which tells readers that this scene is there just for spooky flair.


Roxy makes her way to the observatory… or is it? The observatory symbol from Rose’s house is replaced with the cherub spiral, which signifies that things are going to be a bit different.

Note the candy flowers below the door. Are there meat flowers on the other side?


And HERE’S where things get extra fun. The memories transition to Calliope’s art style, which is another thing that’s never been done before. Calliope’s dream bubble scenes in her art style are a lot of fun and there’s going to be a few more in later acts.

There are totally meat flowers on the other side. It makes thematic sense and I feel like a genius for figuring it out.


Roxy exits the door and starts walking down a white spiral which is fun. This scene has lots of great art, especially that last panel above.


Calliope’s ghost’s visual appearance is a surprisingly spooky image which I think is a callback to at least five other panels.


The moment Roxy turns around, Calliope changes into her trollsona outfit. I think I now understand the point of that whole arc with Calliope’s appearance insecurities and Roxy’s sugary encouragement: it’s a counterpoint to John/Roxy, the token heterosexual romance as we all know. You could argue John and Terezi’s relationship is also a counterpoint to the token heterosexual romance, but that’s different because it’s an objectively better ship.


I’m going to be honest here. The art is by FAR the coolest thing about this sequence so far. It’s way more stunning than it has any reason to be, because all that’s happened so far is Calliope expositing about stuff we mostly already knew about Lord English and Roxy’s role as a void player. I’ll go through this exposition anyway because I’m kind of obsessed with Caliborn.

UU: on the day he foUnd a way to kill my dream self, i was done for. thoUgh to be honest, i doUbt i’d have fared mUch better regardless. 
UU: i think his half was always meant to predominate. 
UU: my will was simply not strong enoUgh to overcome his. yoU know as well as i how stUbborn he is. i don’t think he has ever had even a smidgen of doUbt in his thoUghts, or remorse for his deeds. whereas i was always plagUed by sUch feelings. 


Calliope’s talk about Caliborn reminds me of his story as an artist. We saw in his conversation with Jane that his stubbornness works in his favor when it comes to art; he starts the story incapable of producing art that is even remotely coherent, but doesn’t let doubt or remorse get in the way of becoming the best artist he can possibly be. Caliborn’s tale as an artist is so inspirational I don’t even care that he wrought eternal havoc upon paradox space. 

UU: on some level i always knew he woUld win. bUt i fooled myself. i thoUght i coUld overcome his ego by looking beyond his negative qUalities, staying optimistic, and working together with him in a game to accomplish something extraordinary. 
UU: and that in doing so, perhaps i coUld begin to help him change. to teach him to evolve beyond his hatefUl natUre. and as he changed for the better, slowly but sUrely, he woUld become more like myself. 
UU: that was how i thoUght i coUld predominate. it was how i was going to win! and really, if he grew closer to me in that way, by learning kindness and compassion, we both woUld have won. my predomination woUld not have meant his absolUte death, but oUr trUe Union. 


What Calliope is saying here is that the reason her brother predominated is because she succumbed to the human emotion of “friendship”. This makes a lot of sense if you think about the timeline where Calliope predominated. The way god tier Calliope talks about her brother in the Meat Epilogue suggests she was just as good at catching his weak spots as god tier Caliborn was at catching his sister’s weak spots.

UU: bUt sadly, i Underestimated how consUmed he was with the need to destroy me. 
UU: now he is completely obsessed with finding my soUl and wiping me oUt for good, even if it means tearing apart the reality that sUrroUnds Us. 
UU: he will never feel he has won Until all traces of me are gone. 
TG: uuuugh 
TG: hearing all that just makes me so unreasonably mad 
TG: FUCK that shitlord 


Hearing all that makes me unreasonably sad. I think Caliborn’s brain became kind of broken when he ascended to his final form and now he’s nothing more than a demon who’s out destroying everything in search for his sister.

UU: i have reason to sUspect there may be another iteration of myself oUt here. 
UU: one from a doomed timeline, who has kept hidden for a long time, jUst like i have. 
UU: bUt Unlike me, she sUpposedly came from a reality where she predominated instead of my brother. 
UU: and not by the means which i described. hers was not a mild Union of reconciliation. 
UU: amazingly, her predomination was absolUte! a major feat of will, jUst as his was with me. 
UU: as sUch, she went on to play the game, and… 
UU: well, i cannot even imagine what followed, aside from the fact that she eventUally mUst have died for existing in an offshoot reality. 
UU: if she exists, i woUld be eager to meet her. it woUld be a chance to get to know a version of myself who was strong enoUgh to override the will of my brother. 
UU: someone i might have become if i had a little more coUrage. u_u 
UU: and if she is sUch a person, then i really believe all i have heard mUst be trUe. i believe she is the key to defeating him. 
UU: so i have no choice. 
UU: i mUst go in search of myself. 


Calliope clarifies a mystery about the lost cherub plan: the cherub who can be used to defeat Lord English is an alternate ghost of herself who predominated over Caliborn. I didn’t realize alt Calliope was introduced this early; I thought it wasn’t until A6A6I4 when she was first brought up. I assume Calliope knows about her alternate self simply through her usual method of theorizing, which is good here because it turns the boring lost cherub mission into an enticing mystery arc.

Oh hell yes. I’m LOVING this outer spacey art.


TG: you sound like a real popular lady out here 
TG: even you are looking for you! 


Roxy and Calliope’s interactions have occasional good moments like this—emphasis on “occasional”. I’m starting to think it was the author’s intent to make them deliberately too sugary, as a counterpoint to the token heterosexual romance I talked about earlier.

UU: indeed. 
TG: well i hope you can find her 
TG: but 
TG: if thats your job 
TG: to find bizarro calliope and go wollop ur bro 
TG: then what is our heroic biz? 
UU: it’s the same as it always was. 
UU: to win the game. 
TG: oh yeah 
TG: duh 
UU: it is as i once told jane. 
UU: with victory yoU may finally exit this vast whirling storm.
UU: by claiming yoUr reward yoU woUld bring closUre to a very wide coil of caUsality, one not tracing a continUoUs path like a snake, bUt intricately woven like a wreath. 
UU: a ring of coUntless little rises and falls, ascents and descents, on its way Up and down a pair of mUch bigger ones itself. 
UU: from alpha to beta, then beta to alpha, as if a moUntain to be scaled and then climbed back down. its peak toUches the eye of a storm which cannot end Until the moment yoU all walk throUgh that door. 
UU: only then will there be calm. 
TG: ._. 
UU: ah, bUgger. forgive me, sometimes i forget myself and begin speaking in riddles. 
UU: it’s jUst a habit that is in the natUre of my people. 
TG: yeah i know 
TG: at least yours r better than your bros stupid games 
UU: don’t remind me. in my opinion they do not qUalify as anything of the sort, mUch the same as his “shitty twists”. >:u


Speaking in poetry definitely runs in the cherub family. Calliope, Caliborn, and the other Calliope all have a fixation on poetically retelling the events of Act 7, which is the grand culmination of all their artistic ambitions.

UU: as the one who provoked the breach in paradox space which i jUst coloUrfUlly described, he has always exerted his inflUence on yoUr realities from afar, and from many different angles. throUgh Unwitting sUrrogates, oUtsoUrced manipUlation, oUtright enslavement, and even petty harassment. bUt most of all, he prevails throUgh the simple inertia of inevitability that has always been on his side, as a lord of time. 
UU: and as the one who is to blame for foolishly allowing him access to sUch power, it’s only proper that i take responsibility for finding a way to defeat him. 
UU: bUt even thoUgh his methods of inflUencing yoUr session are indirect, they are still formidable. 
UU: there will be a nUmber of powerfUl foes who stand between yoU and victory. 
UU: tomorrow, a terrific battle will take place. 
UU: when yoU wake Up, i sUggest yoU begin to prepare. 


Why is it so surprising to me that ending Homestuck with Collide and Act 7 seems to have been planned this early? The battle against all the villains directly or indirectly affiliated with Lord English is indeed what stands between the kids and victory, and once the retcon is executed it all sort of… happens without a hitch??? Homestuck proper’s ending is a farce beyond farces and now that the epilogues are out I can’t help but love that.

TG: ummmm ok 
TG: how 
TG: like make more sick gear 
TG: i could hustle up another batch of illwicked guns 
TG: just a big ol pile of guns 
TG: jake can have the wimpy smaller ones 
TG: make jane like a fancy new fork or spoon or such 
TG: like an elite endgame spoon 
TG: whatever that is 
TG: like uh 
TG: the chowderfucker 5000 
TG: janey be flippin her godspoon round bopping monsters doing like 
TG: CUCKOO damage 
TG: wont bother make nothin 4 dirk since hes basically married to his boring anime sword 
TG: like u could even pry that thing from his rad dead cadaver 


Roxy knows a surprising amount about the alpha kids’ natures, as any good leader would. She’s completely right that while the other kids all get fancier weapons as their game progresses, Dirk is eternally inseparable from the same old anime sword.

UU: yes, i’m sUre new eqUipment woUld come in handy. 
UU: now that yoU mention it, well before i died or even realized i woUld not live to play, i made special exception to my rUle of staying linear with conversation. i messaged jane a birthday gift. 
UU: yoU see, i had a brief vision from skaia which sUggested to me she coUld Use a boost in morale on this special day, so i offered her something very dear to me. jUst a little token to show appreciation for her friendship. 
UU: i hope it will cheer her Up, and moreover that it will prove at least somewhat UsefUl to yoUr party. 
UU: bUt really, at this stage if yoU wish to prevail against sUch stacked odds, collecting boons sUch as new weapons and treasUres will only go so far. 
UU: i think yoU will need to embrace a far more sUbstantive gambit. 


Imagine me making queasy disgruntled noises with my mouth. That’s how I feel about this passage right now. I am sort of freaking out imagining a huge mess of pink and green emerging from my computer screen, accompanied by cupcake Jane’s enormous smile and beige skin.

TG: like what 
TG: omg are we gonna have to enlist fefeta 
TG: is fefeta the secret weapon 
TG: its fefeta isnt it 
TG: poor, sweet, dear, precious fefeta 😦 


You’re so close, Roxy! YOU’RE SO CLOSE!!!!! I wonder if Hussie at this point had already planned to connect Nepeta and Lord English just like fans joked about so long ago. Maybe that was one of those things he figured out naturally as the comic progressed and that’s how Davepetasprite^2 came to be?

UU: it is not fefeta!!! 
UU: i am sUggesting a measUre that is mUch more extreme. 
UU: i believe yoU shoUld all strongly consider ascending to the god tiers. 
TG: oh 
TG: ok that sounds cool what do we do 
UU: well of coUrse it soUnds cool! bUt it’s not necessarily as easy as it soUnds, steeling oneself for death. believe me. 
UU: bUt if yoU can find the resolve, then here is what yoU mUst do. 
UU: since none of yoU have any dream selves left, it won’t do any good to sacrifice yoUrselves on the qUest beds foUnd on yoUr respective planets. 
UU: and even if yoU did, there is not even a battlefield from which to rise anew. no, yoUr void session had only one path to ascension all along. 
UU: yoU mUst travel to the centre of the moons of prospit and derse, and there in the crypt yoU will find yoUr sacrificial slabs. yoU mUst lie on them, and then… 
UU: then yoU all mUst die. one way or another. u_u 


This bit is pretty cool because it finally gives an official name to the alternative to quest beds that allowed Aradia, Rose, and Dave to reach god tier. I feel that a proper exposition on sacrificial slabs was long overdue; Aradia’s ascension to god tier is especially confusing to first-time readers. Calliope is the perfect character to talk about this topic, and now is a good time for her to do so.


Calliope goes on to foreshadow and hint at more plot stuff I don’t have much to say about. She talks more about Lord English and the Condesce and implies through mention of multiple villains that there’s another unmentioned villain under English’s command; readers are likely to think of the alpha kids’ Jack Noir, who we saw some suspicious images of not long ago.


After a few more moments where Roxy and Calliope talk about how much they trust each other, Calliope suddenly freaks out about something.


UU: WHAT IS *SHE* DOING HERE??? 

After Calliope fed readers a whole bunch of juicy meat, it’s time for Rose’s appearance to dangle some delicious candy just too far away from readers to reach.


ROSE: Mom? ROXY: mom? 

This moment, holy shit. It’s so sweet and must be surreal for both Lalondes.

Just look at Rose and Roxy’s smiles. Cuteness that transcends words.


CALLIOPE: NO NO NO NO NO! THIS WON’T DO AT ALL! 
CALLIOPE: A LIGHT PLAYER? A LIGHT PLAYER??? 
CALLIOPE: HAVE YOU GONE MENTAL? WHY DON’T WE JUST BURN A BLOODY BONFIRE IN HERE! 
CALLIOPE: HE’LL SPOT US ANY MINUTE! ASSUMING HE ISN’T ALREADY ON HIS WAY TO BLOW US ALL TO KINGDOM COME!!! 


But not so much for Calliope, who FREAKS THE FUCK OUT at the sight of a light player. If you take a moment to think about who else is a light player, you’ll probably either fear the worst for Vriska and company who are also looking for Lord English, or look at Calliope funny for being so concerned with players’ classpects.


Poor Roxy and Rose. This is the second time a reunion between them is cut short, and it won’t be the last (or the saddest).

Alternian text: YOURE WELCOME


Roxy wakes up in her jail cell and notices a folder from the Condesce. It’s one of many times in this act where the witch is portrayed in a more humorous light. Just look at the fuchsia lip markings, GIFs of her deceased clown presidents dancing, flashing boondollars, and decoration with sea creatures.

Roxy is the best at “done with your shit” faces.

The folder has instructions for Roxy to do something “stupid and impossible”, so she throws it aside. As she talked about with Calliope in a part I skipped over in this post, she doesn’t want to use her void powers when it’s to serve a genocidal alien queen. This little stretch of pages establishes that Roxy despises the Condesce the most of the alpha kids, which suggests that at this point Hussie had already planned for her to be the one to kill the empress.


Roxy then gets some gifts from the Droll: Dad Crocker’s PDA and a magic ring. She’s confused by all these, and readers probably will be as well.


The Droll is dressed like his Midnight Crew counterpart too, except he’s more free to demonstrate his love for ridiculous hats. I can only imagine him begging his superiors to let him wear a ridiculous hat; after some negotiating, the Dignitary probably let this one slide.

Yet another perfect crime successfully perpetrated. And by crime, you guess you mean order from a superior. In your experience, the best crimes are the ones which are totally legal. 

You are so satisfied with your accomplishment, you cannot contain your exuberance for another second. You have no choice. You absolutely must do the happy umbrella dance, professional protocol be damned. 

Oh shoot. It seems you have misplaced your BULL PENIS UMBRELLA. There will be no dancing today. Now you’re sad.

The callback to Clubs Deuce’s bull penis cane is much funnier if you know the story behind it. As Homestuck Book 2’s commentary states, Deuce in the Midnight Crew intermission used a cane for one purpose or another, then Hussie realized that the picture he found was a bull penis cane, so he made a panel where Clubs Deuce realizes the same and freaks out. It’s clear that Hussie found that incident just as funny a few years later and took the opportunity to call back to it in a line that makes spectacularly little sense out of context.

I’m stopping here, right before Roxy pesters Dirk. This post was a lot of fun to write! See you next time as Dirk, Dirk, and Dirk have an existential confrontation that ends up bringing one of the funniest characters in Homestuck into existence.

>> Part 95: The Bodybuilder’s Triumphant Return

Cookie Fonster Dissects Homestuck Part 89: Return of the Egbert-Serket Chronicles

Introduction

Part 88 | Part 89 | Part 90 >


Act 6 Intermission 3, Part 4 of 6

Pages 5309-5397 (MSPA: 7209-7297)

I hope you like lengthy rants about Vriska.

July 2019 has been the most productive month for this post series in a very long time! School starts again in a few weeks and it’ll probably slow down my posting speed just a tad. During fall semester I’ll probably go back to releasing Homestuck posts every Friday morning.

Rufio, is that you???



After, what… another hour? Another hour of bumbling through the afterlife with very little to show for your efforts, you decide to pause the game again. You can only spend so long powering through the dead troll equivalent of an unpleasant high school reunion without making a trip to the load gaper, or fixing yourself a little snack from the hunger trunk. 

Just like last time, Openbound Part 2 is followed by a pause page that was most useful for serial readers at the time. But this time, the pause page has a small teaser of what will come next: Rufioh standing next to Meenah, with wings that suggest he’s a god tier. This teaser probably got readers excited for two things: meeting the homage character to Dante Basco, and Meenah finally finding someone useful for her army.

There’s definitely someone else we should be checking in with right now. Someone we are all desperate for an update on. And that someone is…


THIS GUY! 

This is the guy who you are now being.

The sudden focus on the beta kids’ Jack Noir is an interesting surprise. I can tell Hussie felt bad for neglecting this once mighty villain for so long and decided to remedy that. And my god, what a glorious remedy it is (at least according to my memory).


The feisty mailwoman is still chasing you. Unbelievable. She hardly seems to care at all that something is causing reality to shatter around you. For a moment, you thought you and she might be able to reach an uneasy truce. To stand together if only for a moment and assess the ominous cracks spreading through the void. Maybe even take some time to get to know each other a little, and try to bury the hatchet? You are so tired of running. 

But no. She is as furious as ever. What did you even do? Just a couple of routine murders, which was TWO YEARS AGO already. The ring hath no fury, you swear. She is never going to stop. Her delivery is justice, and as you know all too well, nothing stops the mail. 

You need to find somewhere to hide and rest for a while.

The narration here surprisingly makes us feel bad for Jack. His role as an unstoppable dog monster has been usurped by the mighty Prospitian Monarch, vengeful as ever after two years. With his role usurped, it’s only natural that Noir wants to take a rest after witnessing the Furthest Ring’s calamity.


Jack enters a dream bubble. One word: nostalgia.

PM in the background is just as scary as Jack was back then.

Remember all the carapacian soldiers Jack killed so long ago? Skaia’s bruise by the fiery remains of Prospit? Can you believe all that was before he even became a dog??? You can see that this guy is reflecting on his mass destruction from so long ago.


Remember Grimdark Rose? What a goddamn joke. She never even blew up a single universe.

PM again looks just as scary as Jack once did.


Remember when John explored a Skaian castle, searching for his father and avoiding Jack? Now it’s Jack’s turn to explore a memory of a Skaian castle, searching for a place to hide and avoiding the Monarch.

Poor Jade, shafted again and again throughout Act 6. And in the epilogues.


Remember when Jack zoomed around the Medium, destroying everything he touched except Jade??? Yeah, those were fun times. Jack probably forgot Jade existed until he looked at the memory of the space symbol just now.


The moment you see the Genesis Frog’s severed hand, you’ll remember that all this chaotic destruction we just revisited was only the first half of Jack’s crimes.

This is a gorgeous image that successfully blends at least three different art styles.


The second half started the moment the Droll killed Jade, and it’s so much worse than the first half. Jack killed the Droll, went to Earth, killed most of the exiles, went to the trolls’ session, destroyed fourteen planets, and finally destroyed the entire human universe.


In the chest, Jack finds John’s Pop-a-matic Vrillyhoo Hammer! That’s a bit of a red flag that this is all memories, because John didn’t make that thing until after he came back from a neutral death.

Get ready for John to take out his fury at Davesprite on someone else with the same wings…


Turns out John’s corpse wasn’t just an empty memory; it was a vessel for John’s dream phantom to appear and START KICKING ASS.

It’s been too long since the last SWEET CATCH. This one has fancy effects and everything!


John’s fury at Davesprite is taken out at the best person possible. He wanted to beat up the guy who mocked his father, but ended up waking in a dream bubble to beat up the guy who killed his father!


We thought so long ago that Vriska in a mind vision was the only person who could put up a fight against Jack. And we thought wrong.

Did Jack just lose his sword? He’s never seen without that thing!


Now THIS is how you do a sequence of pure visuals. No one says a word, and no one has any reason to. It’s kind of cool seeing it all as a drawn-out sequence instead of a flash. Though flashes understandably get all the attention, there’s quite a few purely visual scenes like this that are just as good. I’m especially looking forward to going through the split-screen part where the alpha kids ascend to god tier.

Jack’s tentacles didn’t stop being a thing or anything.


Suddenly, Jack reminds us that he’s still a scary first guardian and has John in a headlock. For the first time in quite a while, he looks intimidating and ready to stab John.


Fortunately, John has sweet new powers as a god tier that Jack has never dealt with before, plus a cool Vrillyhoo hammer. He has the upper hand once more and is ready to beat Jack on the head.


… or is he? What is Rose doing here?

Rose moving her eyebrows up and down is funnier it has any right to be.


Rose takes full advantage of her newfound teenage flirtiness and does her coy eyebrow thing in front of John and Jack.

Love the scribble renditions of angry John and flirty Rose.


Just like any iteration of Jack, Bec Noir doesn’t think his murders through and is confused to see people he killed turn up alive.

distaction


I don’t know about you, but if I see someone I haven’t seen in years show up out of nowhere, wink, and disappear, I would stand in awe for at least ten minutes.


Luckily, John is not that type, or at least not when he has a murderous dog to beat up.

I love how Vriska’s dice options now show John’s interests rather than hers.

John doesn’t have ALLLLLLLL the luck like Vriska does, so his dice merely roll “RIDICULOUS HAT”.

The Droll would kill for a hat like this.


This is the funniest throwback we’ve seen in a long time. John says “hehe…”, appropriately enough.


With Noir distracted by his Bunny Sassacre Fedora, the Monarch catches up with him once more, leading to a FACEPAW x1 COMBO!


Jack flies away, PM flies away, and the curtains close in on…


… no wait, the curtains don’t close in on anything. Tempting as it may be to end things here, we still have a lot left in this act.


And so, we zoom back in to the dream bubble to find John watching in confusion as the Bunny Sassacre Fedora falls.


John explores memories of Skaia until the scenery starts changing. What could this be?


The memory of his dad’s spare car is a nice touch. Kind of fun to reflect the trilogy of Dad’s cars and the fates they all meet. The first was driven by a father; the second flown by a young man with a loyal mayor in search for his father; the third flown by a somewhat less young man with a loyal troll, to be found by his alternate self who became a father.

The ever-shifting scenery in dream bubbles never gets old.


I can’t go on too long reflecting on John’s steamy troll/human sloppy makeouts though. What follows is a series of short flashes where John walks through an empty desert filled with horses, calling back to the memorable Death of the Author sequence that ended Act 6 Intermission 2.


But the horses don’t lead us to Hussie’s self-insert this time. Instead, he encounters Tavros of all people sleeping in the ground? I guess this is supposed to be a confusing surprise.


TAVROS: i SAW IT FIRST, 


JOHN: huh? 
TAVROS: gIVE IT TO ME, 
JOHN: what… the ring? 
TAVROS: yES, iT’S MINE, 
JOHN: who are you? 
TAVROS: i’M, yOUR WORST BAD DREAM, iF YOU DON’T RETURN MY TREASURE, 
TAVROS: i FOUND IT, sNUGGLED IN THE SAND, bEING PRETTY AND GOLD AND BY ITSELF, aND i WANT IT BACK, 
JOHN: so you found it here, like exactly where i just found it… but then instead of picking it up, you fell asleep? 
TAVROS: wHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY, i SOUND STUPID, 
TAVROS: bUT, yES, 


Tavros is being weird and confusing. Well, even more so than usual. Apparently he wants to use this ring to propose to Vriska, who is now his girlfriend again? Yeah, I have no idea why that could be.


VRISKA: TAAAAAAAAVR…….. Oh! 
VRISKA: Hi John. 
VRISKA: Tavros, I didn’t know you were hanging out with John. You should have come told me. 
TAVROS: bUT, i JUST WOKE UP FROM THE SAND PILE, aND FOUND HIM HERE, 
TAVROS: i HAD LITERALLY NO TIME TO GO TELL YOU, bECAUSE OF AN ARGUMENT, 
VRISKA: What? What were you arguing a8out? 
TAVROS: uHHH, 
VRISKA: W8…….. what do you mean woke up? Why were you asleep? 
TAVROS: uHHH, 
VRISKA: Dammit, Tavros. You can’t 8e slacking off like that. 
VRISKA: I told you, we aren’t fucking around anymore. This is serious 8usiness. 
JOHN: hey… 
JOHN: excuse me, but 
JOHN: are you… 
JOHN: vriska? 


To this day, I find it kind of incredible that John immediately recognizes Vriska despite having never seen her face. Their testy dynamic is truly something else.


VRISKA: Yeah! 
VRISKA: Oh, sorry. I really should have introduced myself. I guess I forgot I technically never met this version of you. 
JOHN: uh. that’s alright. nice to meet you. 
JOHN: wait… 
JOHN: are you a ghost too? 
VRISKA: Yep. 
JOHN: so… you’re dead? 
VRISKA: Yes, John. That’s what 8eing a ghost means. 
JOHN: ok, i’m still confused though… 
JOHN: sorry if i sound dumb, but dream bubbles are still kind of baffling to me. 
JOHN: you’re, uh… “REALLY” dead? 
JOHN: as in, the real you? i mean… dang, what the hell am i even trying to ask here… 
VRISKA: No, I get what you’re asking. 
VRISKA: Yes, the real me. The actual, legit, fully authentic alpha timeline Vriska. Dead. Gone. Fuckin’ toast. 


It’s also kind of incredible that only now did John learn Vriska died. When Jade showed him all the trolls gathered on the meteor through first guardian powers, John could immediately tell which were Karkat and Terezi, but not which was Vriska. I am sure he would have immediately identified Vriska if she was there. Though he does know some trolls were killed before they could meet up with Dave and Rose, as the airheaded optimist he is he didn’t stop to think Vriska may have died until she says it to his face.

JOHN: oh. 
JOHN: so when i meet up with everyone on your troll meteor in a year, that means… 
JOHN: you’ll be… 
VRISKA: A corpse!!!!!!!! 
VRISKA: That’s assuming my 8ody was sufficiently preserved during the trip. 
VRISKA: Which, now that I think a8out it, I guess it was? It must have 8een, 8ecause otherwise that unspeaka8le prototyping atrocity couldn’t have happened. 
VRISKA: That piece of shit clown. I still have no idea what the deal with that was! He’s completely lost his mind. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. 


This bit is rather ironic in retrospect. After the retcon, Vriska was the one who preserved all the dead bodies while Gamzee was closely monitored at all times and then stuffed into a refrigerator. Kind of goes to show that the retcon was clumsily handled in a lot of ways and mostly done because Hussie wrote himself into a corner.

VRISKA: Honestly, I’m surprised you hadn’t already heard I was dead, one way or another. It’s kind of old news? 
VRISKA: Then again, these things are all relative. So who knows. 
JOHN: … 
VRISKA: Are you ok? You seem sad. 
JOHN: well, 
JOHN: yeah. 
JOHN: it’s always sad to hear a friend died. even if you find out about it from their ghost. 
VRISKA: I guess so. 
JOHN: also, i had kind of thought that when we all arrived at the new session, that… 
JOHN: we were going to like… hang out. or something. 


Remember when John talked to Jade about the trolls on his fourteenth birthday? He looked forward to seeing Karkat again but didn’t seem to care much for Vriska and didn’t even refer to her by name. But now it’s clear that either he changed his mind about Vriska or was in denial about anything positive he felt about her. Normally I’d say he was in denial knowing John, but since this is Vriska we’re talking about it could easily be a mix of both.

VRISKA: Oh yeah! That’s right. We were. 
VRISKA: 8ut then I got sta88ed through the 8ack. Which to 8e fair, was for the good of the party, so the meteor could make the trip in the first place, and keep this whole crazy sequence of events intact. 


It goes without saying that this line reads differently in retrospect after Vriska was retconned back to life. But what maybe doesn’t go without saying is that I find the whole “third option” motif in the retcon arc to be terrifyingly foolproof. I can’t think of a single dilemma someone went through in the comic that couldn’t have been resolved through retcon powers giving a third option. Say what you will about the retcon and what it meant for a good chunk of Act 6, but I find a lot of merit in the third option motif.

VRISKA: A lot has happened since I died. John, did you know the little rendezvous we planned sort of already happened? I mean, in a way. 
JOHN: what? it did? 
VRISKA: Yes. With your ghost. 
JOHN: huh?? 
VRISKA: I mean, the ghost of one of your altern8te selves, who died along the way doing some stupid thing. 
VRISKA: Actually, he and I d8ted for a little while. 



Vriska x Doomed John is the second ship in this act (barring the Beforan trolls) that’s canonized and sunk in the same line. But the outcome is much more tragic this time, as we see shortly.

TAVROS: wHOA, hOLD ON, 
TAVROS: wHAT’S THIS, aBOUT DATING WHO? 
VRISKA: Groan. Here we go. 
TAVROS: wHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME, aBOUT THAT, 
VRISKA: Tavros, I have led a rich and complic8ted life and death. I can hardly 8e expected to tell you a8out every little thing that I’ve 8een through. 
VRISKA: 8esides, you should have already known this a8out me. 
TAVROS: wHY, 
VRISKA: 8ecause we shared a sprite 8ody once!!!!!!!! We 8riefly had access to all each others memories and feelings. 
VRISKA: So if you didn’t take the chance to dig that out of my memory, you only have yourself to 8lame. 
TAVROS: nO, bUT, tHAT HARDLY LASTED ANY TIME AT ALL, 
TAVROS: aND THERE WERE A LOT, oF OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCES ALL HAPPENING AT ONCE, 
TAVROS: hOW COULD i TRY TO REMEMBER ALL YOUR MEMORIES BEFORE WE EXPLODED, 
VRISKA: Well, all I can say is, I managed! I took the opportunity to remem8er pretty much all YOUR memories. 
VRISKA: I was in and out like a 8andit, and now all your life experiences are mine. 
TAVROS: tHAT’S NOT FAIR, 
TAVROS: bECAUSE, yOU’RE SMARTER THAN ME, aND MORE CUNNING, 
VRISKA: Them’s the 8r8ks!!!!!!!! 


It’s sometimes speculated that Tavros and Vriska gaining each others’ memories caused their personalities to gradually invert, with Tavros becoming a mighty leader and Vriska becoming, uh, (Vriska). It’s a fun theory, but I don’t think this passage supports it very well. But to be fair, this stretch of pages was probably long before the retcon arc was even conceived.

JOHN: wait, i’m with tavros here, i think we should back this up a bit. 
JOHN: so, my alternate reality ghost dated you? 

VRISKA: Yes. 
JOHN: that… 
JOHN: but… 
VRISKA: What? 
JOHN: vriska, this is a very bizarre and unsettling fact to me!
VRISKA: Why? 
JOHN: because… 
JOHN: man, i don’t know, it just is! 
JOHN: you say we dated for a while, but like, i don’t even get to remember doing that? 
JOHN: i think that’s mostly what’s weird about it. 


Note that John said “i don’t even get to remember doing that”, not just “i don’t even remember doing that”. Those two words, “get to”, leak out that John still has lots of unresolved feelings regarding Vriska despite what he may have said to Jade back then.

VRISKA: Hey, we apparently don’t get to remem8er the results of a lot of choices we didn’t actually make! 
VRISKA: Again, see: the 8r8ks. 
JOHN: well… 
JOHN: can you at least tell me what happened there? like, how did that go? 
VRISKA: It was fine. For a while. 
VRISKA: It didn’t really work out. 
JOHN: oh. 
VRISKA: We crossed paths every now and then after that. 
VRISKA: Things stayed pretty friendly 8etween us. 
VRISKA: Until he died. 
JOHN: what?? 
JOHN: what do you mean he died? 
VRISKA: He was murdered. 
JOHN: you mean… his GHOST died? 
VRISKA: Yes. 
JOHN: as in, he just doesn’t exist at all anymore? like DEAD dead? 
VRISKA: Yes! Dead dead. For good. 


And here’s the tragic outcome of the subplot with doomed John and Vriska. John’s ghost was double killed as we saw in [S] Caliborn: Enter, a flash Vriska is recapping as we speak.

VRISKA: Yes! Dead dead. For good. 
JOHN: i don’t… how does that even… 
JOHN: who killed him??? 
JOHN: was it jack? 
VRISKA: Jack? Are you kidding? No, John. 
VRISKA: Jack is 8arely in the picture as a threat anymore. He’s just more old news. 
JOHN: he is not old news though! 
JOHN: he’s still as strong and menacing as ever. 
JOHN: i just had an awesome battle with him in this very dream bubble! 
VRISKA: You did? 
JOHN: yeah. i found him skulking around a memory of my dead dad, and i got pissed off, so i really let him have it. 
JOHN: oh, i even used the cool hammer you helped me make. remember that? 
VRISKA: Oh yeah! 
VRISKA: Those were good times, when I helped you 8e gr8. ::::) 

JOHN: yes. 
JOHN: the last time i faced him was kind of embarrassing. i let him get the drop on me, and he just stabbed me right away. 
JOHN: but this time i think i held my own pretty well. i even got in one good hit against him! 
JOHN: i gave him a solid bop on the head, and the dice roll made him wear a silly hat. 
VRISKA: That’s awesome!!!!!!!! 
VRISKA: One time in an altern8te reality, I came pretty close to killing him apparently. 
JOHN: oh really? 
VRISKA: You 8et. Too 8ad that was in a timeline that didn’t really count. 8ut it’s always reassuring to know you can put up a good fight against a strong adversary if you ever needed to. Now I guess you know you can too. 


John and Vriska’s bonding is legitimately heartwarming, probably more than ever before. It makes it easy to forget the more negative things John has said about or to Vriska at various points.

JOHN: whatever jack’s doing out here in dream bubble land, he seems to have his hands full with her on his tail. 
JOHN: but as you can see, he is FAR from out of the picture. 
VRISKA: Ok, that may 8e, 8ut it sure wasn’t Jack who killed a whole shitload of ghosts out here, including one of yours. 
VRISKA: I really dou8t Jack can even kill ghosts. In fact, I don’t think anyone can except for this guy. 
JOHN: what guy? 
VRISKA: Lord English. 
JOHN: who?? 
VRISKA: Wow, John. Really? 
VRISKA: Wow. 
VRISKA: Time to get a clue! 


It’s kind of crazy that John has been so out of the loop on the story’s plot lately—certainly more than the meteor crew and dream bubble inhabitants are. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the comic’s protagonist being sent to Hussiespace of all places. A fortunate(?) side effect of John’s shafting is that it gives more reason for him to interact with Vriska, who gets him up to speed on recent plot events.


VRISKA: Hasn’t it ever occurred to you to wonder who the ultim8 8ad guy of this adventure was going to 8e? 
JOHN: ultimate bad guy? 
JOHN: you mean like the last boss? 
VRISKA: Man, even that way of putting it is a little too pedestrian. 
VRISKA: I mean, I already 8eat a last 8oss! The 8lack king was the officially sanctioned last 8oss of our session, and I killed him. This is different. 


Vriska says that she killed the black king, which is technically true but the way she phrases it shows that she hasn’t quite gotten over her self-importance despite all her character development.

VRISKA: There’s always someone stronger w8ing to 8e revealed. Jack showed up shortly after that, and he was MUCH stronger. 
VRISKA: Eventually the curtains get pulled 8ack, and you find out who was 8ehind every terri8le thing that happened all along. Someone who is invaria8ly stronger than all other adversaries 8y a wide margin. The supreme villain! 
VRISKA: To 8e honest, I was always kind of w8ing for that guy to show up, whoever he was. For the other shoe to drop, you know? There’s always a 8ig 8ad 8ehind everything. A true gamer sees stuff like this coming a mile away. 
JOHN: ok. if you say so. 
JOHN: i always kind of thought jack was evil and strong enough to be our main antagonist. but if you say there is someone even stronger and more evil, then… wow. 
VRISKA: Yes, I’ll admit, I was fooled 8y Jack 8riefly. 
VRISKA: For a little while, I thought he was the supreme menace, and I would have to face him in a final showdown. 
VRISKA: 8ut it turned out that was just a 8it of standard misdirection. He was just another step up in a typical pattern of escal8tion involving increasingly “insurmounta8le” threats, which legendary heroes like us have to overcome to achieve total victory over everything. 
VRISKA: Also, let’s face it. I don’t think Jack is all that evil, so much as he’s just a murderous asshole. Trust me, I know the type. 
VRISKA: 8ut English, that guy is as evil as they come. He’s the real deal!!!!!!!! 


Wait, let me correct myself. Vriska hasn’t even come close to getting over her self-importance. All Vriska ever wants to do is deal the final blow on the final boss, and she gets incredibly deluded by these fantasies. First with the black king, then with Jack Noir, and now with Lord English. John knows this trait of Vriska’s far better than she does. In Act 5 Act 2, John claimed that Vriska’s plan to create and defeat Bec Noir was how villains have their downfalls; in the Candy Epilogue, John disagrees with Rose’s claim that Vriska defeated Lord English because it feels so wrong to him.

The only way Vriska can get over those fantasies of defeating the ultimate villain is by becoming (Vriska). First dead Vriska Serket is usurped by alive Vriska Serket, then alive Vriska Serket is usurped by Vriska Lalonde. Vriska Lalonde has the exact same ambitious mindset as all the other Vriskas we’ve known; she’s extremely excited to join the troll rebellion and face off against the final boss, who to her knowledge is Jane. Meanwhile at the end of Candy, (Vriska) has moved past wanting to face a final boss and simply wants to get in touch with Terezi.

(I think I have a bit of a problem with writing essays about Vriska.)

TAVROS: oKAY, cAN i JUST SAY SOMETHING, 
TAVROS: i STILL DON’T KNOW WHY YOU’RE SO SURE, hE’S THE FINAL VILLAIN, 
TAVROS: bECAUSE, yOU YOURSELF SAID, tHERE’S ALWAYS SOMEONE STRONGER, rIGHT, 
TAVROS: sO, i’M PERCEIVING A CONTRADICTION ABOUT YOUR FACTS, 
VRISKA: Tavros, come on. We’ve already talked a8out this ad nauseum. 
VRISKA: He’s the 8ig 8ad!!!!!!!! It’s so o8vious. I mean, MAY8E there’s someone stronger out there in paradox space? Who knows.
VRISKA: 8ut whoever that is has nothing to fucking do with this massive extended multiverse-spanning campaign!!!!!!!! 
VRISKA: English was the guy who stacked the whole deck against us from the start, rigging shit to go haywire, wiping out our race, 8lowing up universes, exterimin8ting ghosts, slaughtering dark gods, and shattering reality itself. Pretty sure we reached the top floor, 8uddy! 
TAVROS: oKAY, bUT ALL i’M SAYING IS, wHAT IF, 
TAVROS: tHERE’S SOMEONE EVEN WORSE THAN THAT, dUE TO SPECULATION, 

VRISKA: Un8elieva8le. 
VRISKA: John, just ignore him. He tends to 8e contrary just for the sake of 8eing contrary. It’s just what he does these days. 
VRISKA: He seems to think it’s how you show confidence and assertiveness. The key to high self esteem is apparently just saying “nuh uh!” all the time. 


Tavros questions Vriska’s insistence that Lord English is the final boss and claims there’s probably someone even stronger behind English; Vriska dismisses Tavros as being contrarian just for the sake of it. Though Homestuck never shows us a bigger villain behind Lord English, you probably know that this foreshadowing comes true in the epilogues, and that the villain behind Lord English turns out to be Dirk Strider (or god tier Calliope, depending how you look at things).* Regardless of what I think of Dirk’s villainous turn, I am extremely glad this foreshadowing came true because it would be absolute bullshit if it didn’t. I can only say here that as of this page, Vriska obviously still hasn’t gotten over her villain defeat mindset.

* Before you call me a buffoon, tell me which of the two brutally destroyed Meat Jade’s hope for a character arc???? Jade deserves better than this.

TAVROS: nO, tHAT’S NOT TRUE, 
VRISKA: See? 
VRISKA: This was apparently the 8ig lesson he learned from sharing a 8rain with me for a few minutes. In order to feel good a8out yourself, just 8e a constant pain in the ass!!!!!!!!
TAVROS: nO, tHAT’S NOT WHAT i LEARNED, 
JOHN: haha. 
JOHN: i see what you mean. 
TAVROS: nO, 
TAVROS: nO, 
TAVROS: nO, oKAY, i REALIZE ALL i’M SAYING IS NO, WHICH IS JUST HELPING MAKE YOU LOOK AS RIGHT AS POSSIBLE ABOUT MAKING FUN OF ME, 
TAVROS: bUT i LEARNED IN YOUR BRAIN THAT YOU AREN’T ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, 
TAVROS: yOU WERE WRONG ABOUT LOTS OF THINGS, 
TAVROS: yOU WERE WRONG ABOUT RUFIO! 
TAVROS: rUFIO WAS REAL ALL ALONG, }:D 
VRISKA: Alright, granted, there did in fact exist a person 8y that name. 
VRISKA: You aren’t spelling it right, though. 
TAVROS: hOW DO YOU KNOW HOW i’M SPELLING IT, wHEN i’M JUST TALKING, iNSTEAD OF USING LETTERS, 
VRISKA: 8ecause that’s how you spelled it when we used to chat online, dum8ass!!!!!!!! You weren’t using enough letters. 
TAVROS: sO, 
VRISKA: And in any case, he doesn’t actually represent your self esteem. He’s just some dude. 
TAVROS: bUT, hE MAKES ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF wHEN i THINK OF HIM, sO THE REALITY IS EFFECTIVELY EQUIVALENT TO MY FRAUDULENT CHILDHOOD SUPERSTITION, 


I’m not sure if gaining Tavros’s memories caused ghost Vriska to gradually change as a person, but gaining Vriska’s memories definitely caused Tavros to change in the best possible way. He’s laying his contrarianism a bit thick right now, but it’s an extremely positive change that he now realizes Vriska isn’t always right. He demonstrates this new mindset by talking about Rufioh, which is a rather silly example but a good start.


JOHN: i take it you were pretty good friends back on your planet? 
VRISKA: You could say that. 
VRISKA: There’s a pretty loaded history 8etween us. It’s pro8a8ly 8est not to get into it. 
VRISKA: None of that matters anymore anyway, it was so long ago. You know how it is. 
JOHN: um. sure? 
VRISKA: Issues 8etween people seem like such a 8ig deal when they’re happening. 8ut then you die, and time just goes on, and on…….. then on some more. 
VRISKA: If enough time passes, shit that used to 8e a 8ig deal kind of stops mattering. 


A year into the battleship journey, John talked to Jade about how all the stuff they went through with the trolls seemed like a much bigger deal back then than it really was. Vriska is talking about the exact same thing here, but now John isn’t quite sure if he agrees. Maybe John’s opinion on events of the past correlates to his opinion on Vriska.

VRISKA: Ok, full disclosure. I used to do a lot of terri8le things to Tavros. 
VRISKA: Once I launched him off a cliff and paralyzed him. And if that wasn’t 8ad enough, I spent sweeps mocking him for the disa8ility I caused! Haha. 
VRISKA: Oh yeah. Then I killed him. 
JOHN: oh, right. i remember you said you killed someone that you cared about. i guess this is him? 
VRISKA: Mm hm. 
VRISKA: 8ut like I said, that’s suuuuuuuuch old news now, it might as well not have even happened. 
VRISKA: Tavros doesn’t give a shit a8out that stuff anymore. 

TAVROS: hEY, wAIT, mAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T, SPEAK FOR ME? 
TAVROS: i STILL KIND OF THINK THAT STUFF WAS ALL PRETTY MEAN, eVEN THOUGH IT WAS FOREVER AGO, 
TAVROS: iT’S JUST, i HAVE CHOSEN TO BE THE BIGGER MAN, aND NOT HOLD IT AGAINST LIKING YOU, 
VRISKA: Hahahaha! John, can you 8elieve this guy? 
VRISKA: This is the kind of shit I have to deal with all the time. 
TAVROS: oH GOD, 
TAVROS: nO, tIME OUT, i’M FLAGGING THIS, vRISKA, aS TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR, 
VRISKA: Tavros, the 8igger man is only ACTUALLY the 8igger man if he doesn’t refer to himself as the 8igger man. That’s kind of the point? 
VRISKA: Unless the intent is to produce some form of socially awkward comic relief, which let’s face it, is what you’re all a8out. 
VRISKA: 8ut that’s what I like a8out you. 
TAVROS: yES, }:) 
JOHN: hmm, i feel like… maybe we got sidetracked there? 


John seems a bit uncomfortable hearing Vriska talk about her romance with Tavros. This either demonstrates that he’s squeamish about romance in general or that he still has unresolved feelings for Vriska.

JOHN: maybe you should tell me more about this english guy. 
JOHN: frankly, it seems like i’m usually one of the last people to learn about stuff like this, and it’s starting to make me feel like a bit of a tool. 


This line reminds me of when Vriska complained about lack of narrative relevance the last time we heard from her. I’m a bit surprised this line doesn’t lead Vriska to bond with John about that.


VRISKA: He’s just some huge overpowered green freak. A time traveling monster, supposedly invinci8le. 
VRISKA: Who he is, what he is, where he came from, none of that really matters. 
VRISKA: What matters is how we’re going to defeat him. 


It’s only fitting that Vriska doesn’t care one bit about who Lord English is or what his motives are. She just sees big tough green guy and decides to kill big tough green guy. Later in the comic we get a very interesting sequence where Dave argues that Lord English barely did anything to our heroes and there’s no reason to care about him, which cements that English is sort of a deconstruction of the concept of final bosses. (Man, all this villain talk is making me thirsty for a continuation to the epilogues.)

VRISKA: That’s what Tavros and I have 8een working on here for some time now. 
JOHN: working on what? 
VRISKA: Treasure hunting! 
JOHN: oh yeah? 
JOHN: what treasure? 
VRISKA: Yes. Ok, I should explain. 
VRISKA: There’s sort of a plan in motion to 8eat English. It’s a three pronged approach. 


Three pronged, you say? This plan to fight Lord English has Meenah written all over it. Makes sense because Meenah doesn’t want to fight English out of self-importance, but simply out of Alternian fighting spirit.

VRISKA: A num8er of people out here in the furthest ring are working on different prongs of the strategy independently. 
VRISKA: The first is a quest to find the lost ghost of some alien girl. She’s said to 8e one of the keys to defeating him in some way. 
VRISKA: Other people are allegedly out there working on that right now. If you ask me, it sounds like a really 8oring approach to defeating him. Who knows if it’s even true. 


I have to agree with Vriska here. The lost cherub plan is a massive red herring that’s brought up a few times and then forgotten until we meet the real lost cherub, who already knows damn well what she’s doing.

TAVROS: (gIVe it tO me,) 
JOHN: (stop that!) 
JOHN: (keep your hands to yourself.) 


Unfortunately, John and Tavros aren’t listening because they’re busy fighting over the ring. Both seem to be mysteriously drawn to it even though we have no idea what it does.

VRISKA: The second is a quest to raise an army of ghosts to challenge him directly in some kind of huge 8attle royale, I guess. 
VRISKA: From what I understand, some yahoo out there is 8usy rounding people up. I really have no idea how that’s going. I usually just hear stuff through the grapevine. 
VRISKA: That approach doesn’t really interest me either. Gonna file it under “8oring” as well. Seems a little heavy handed, not to mention too slow. 


I can see why Vriska isn’t a fan of this approach either. A glory hound like her wouldn’t be one for teamwork. It’s the same reason why after the retcon, alive Vriska went by herself to kill Lord English instead of joining any of the fighting teams.

TAVROS: (gIve Me thE riNG,) 
JOHN: (no!) 
TAVROS: (yes, yOu ASs,) 
JOHN: (dude, you suck at whispering!) 
TAVROS: (you sAiD you’D GIve it to me,) 
JOHN: (i changed my mind!) 


John and Tavros still aren’t listening. Helps make Vriska’s self-important lecture on Lord English harder to take seriously.

VRISKA: The third prong is what Tavros and I are 8usy with. The aforementioned treasure hunt. 
VRISKA: The legend says there’s some mystical ancient treasure hidden somewhere out here in the furthest ring. 
VRISKA: I’m assuming it’s some kind of weapon. It’s said that if you use it, or like, activ8te it in some way, he can 8e defeated forever. 
VRISKA: The nature of the treasure is pretty vague, actually. 8ut the first rule of treasure hunting, which I’m admittedly just making up now, is that it doesn’t fucking matter what the treasure is. 


A one-use weapon that you can activate right in front of English? A mysterious treasure whose hunt is just like your childhood pirate fantasies?? Now THAT is right up Vriska’s alley. I’d go so far as to say Vriska is the only character in the comic who would focus on this part of the plan. It’s so straightforward and simple, such obvious glory bait. Exactly the sort of thing (Vriska) wouldn’t concern herself with. Vriska and (Vriska) are two very different identities, held by different versions of Vriska at different parts of the comic.

TAVROS: (wE had a deAl,) 
JOHN: (quit it!) 
TAVROS: (why Are you sUcH a liar,) 
JOHN: (shut up. i’m keeping it.) 
TAVROS: (thiS is noT cOOl,) 
TAVROS: (you’re PrevenTing joYful human sTYled matrimonY frOM happEning,) 
JOHN: (yeah right. like she would even say yes.) 
JOHN: (i don’t even think she’s really your girlfriend. i think you made that up!) 
TAVROS: (wow, no, wOw,) 
TAVROS: (you wEnt thERE,) 

Seems like John wants to keep the ring just as badly as Tavros does. This is starting to hint that John has been feeling romantically lonely, especially after Jade broke up with Davesprite. 

TAVROS: (unhAnd the treasurE,) 
TAVROS: (it’s prEcious to Me, jUst liKe, My beautiful GIRLFRIEND,) 
JOHN: (you are so full of shit!) 
TAVROS: (we’re in LOVE toGetHEr, aSSHole,) 
JOHN: (there’s no way you’re getting this ring.) 
TAVROS: (fUCk, YoU,) 


I think it’s clear at this point that John may have suspected himself to be aromantic before, but clearly turned out not to be. As I said two posts ago, I greatly appreciate the way Homestuck handles identity questioning, probably more than the way it handles queer orientations and identities in the first place. I particularly think Roxy’s gender detransition in the Candy Epilogue was handled very tastefully, which is rather impressive.

VRISKA: Not that I’d have it any other way. This just sounds like the 8est plan to me. Why 8other messing around with an army of ghostly dipshits, or some shy magic alien when you can go str8 for the ultim8 weapon? 
VRISKA: Hell, may8e I’ll just walk right up to him, one-shot the guy and end it all right there. 
VRISKA: That’s how a real pro goes a8out 8usiness. You take any shortcut you find. 


After Act 7 came out, these lines must have been an absolute pain to reread. Why would the story end with alive Vriska doing exactly that, without any subversion??? The epilogues redeemed my Vriska salt in the stupidest but most brilliant way possible: she’s hit by a fragment of spacetime right before the chest opens and sent hurling into a black hole, then lands on Earth C and winds up having a heart-to-heart with her clone that I love every word of.

JOHN: (i am going to wish as super hard as i can that i wake up with this ring.) 
JOHN: (it’s probably magic, so i bet it makes my wish come true!) 
TAVROS: (i doubT that From happeNing,) 
JOHN: (if i wish hard enough, that will make it slightly less impossible!) 
TAVROS: (oh, you bastARD, you arE gOOd,) 
JOHN: (i think some day i will use it to propose to *MY* girlfriend. what do you think about THAT, wise guy?) 


This is the second time in this act that John mentions his nonexistent girlfriend. The Roxy foreshadowing is obvious, as is the implication that John is probably just as romantically oriented as his friends but never got the opportunity to start a relationship with anyone. I think this romantic isolation for the first sixteen years of his life instead of just the first thirteen made him so weird when it comes to romance. Same goes for Jade in the epilogues, regrettably enough.

TAVROS: (noOO!!!) 
TAVROS: (gIMme,) 
JOHN: (this is pathetic.) 
JOHN: (stop grabbing at me! we’re missing what she’s saying!) 
JOHN: (she’s going to think we’re idiots, won’t you STOP?) 
VRISKA: Are you fuckers even listening to me???????? God DAMN it. 
JOHN: yes! 
VRISKA: No you’re not. You’re squa88ling with Tavros and his loud shitty whispering a8out some 8ullshit. 
VRISKA: Come on, guys. Am I really 8eing that 8oring? 
VRISKA: I’m really starting to understand how my ancestor must have felt sometimes. No8ody ever respects an important explan8tion!!!!!!!! 


As the story progresses, it only becomes more obvious that Vriska and Aranea aren’t as different as one may think. Aranea’s self-importance is much better hidden than Vriska’s at this point, but it’s certainly visible.

I’ve seen a lot of meme edits with this image. Not surprising—Vriska holding a blank map is just asking to be memed.


Upon Vriska’s command, Tavros gets out all the treasure maps and Vriska explains some interesting stuff. First she shows us a blank map, which demonstrates how horribly stupid navigating the Furthest Ring normally is. I suppose we are to assume that Vriska’s Sburb planet, the Land of Maps and Treasure, had magical maps of the planet abound? As in maps that automatically update whenever circumstances change. That is the best explanation I can think why these maps show pure void.


VRISKA: The guy who’s 8een fucking shit up is the 8ig 8ad himself! 
VRISKA: Every time he destroys another dream 8u88le, he does a little more damage to the furthest ring, inexplica8ly shattering the essence of all-encompassing nothingness. 
VRISKA: As the cracks spread across the void, new points of reference show up on our maps! 
VRISKA: Then we look at the angles and intersections and all the shapes formed 8y the cracks, and compare them to our notes from the various riddles and clues we’ve discovered a8out the path to the treasure. 


Or rather, they showed pure void until Lord English came along. Vriska’s been putting a lot of work into the treasure hunt mission, which kind of redeems her self-importance because she’s actually doing something. It’s only fitting that after alive Vriska steals the chest standing right in front of her, she is brutally taken out of the spotlight because she didn’t even do anything to deserve being the one to kill Lord English.

VRISKA: It’s actually a little like how in old times on Alternia, pir8s used to navig8 8y shapes the stars made. Constell8tions used to have a lot of significance in our culture, not just guiding explorers on their journeys to physical destin8tions, 8ut guiding them on the choices they made in life, pertaining to f8 and all that. Not that humans would really understand anything like that. 

The way Vriska describes astrology and horoscopes, it really does sound kind of alien. I love jokes like this where trolls think they’re more different from humans than they really are.

VRISKA: I actually find the situ8tion to 8e pretty funny. This guy’s ego must 8e astronomical. Classic case of unchecked hu8ris paving the way for his own downfall. 
VRISKA: I didn’t even need to 8uild a we8 to trap him. He just went ahead and started 8uilding his own. 
VRISKA: Talk a8out a lucky 8r8k!!!!!!!! 


Though Vriska is every bit as self-important as she was when she was alive, she did seem to learn a lesson or two from being killed. She can now recognize cases where hubris leads to downfall and accurately describes Lord English’s situation that way.


JOHN: that is pretty neat. 
JOHN: so does that mean you know where the treasure is now? 
VRISKA: No, 8ecause the map isn’t complete yet! 
VRISKA: Needs more cracks so we can plot the rest of the course. All we’re a8le to do now is head in the right general direction. 
VRISKA: So ironically in order to prevent reality from 8eing destroyed, we need to w8 for it to 8e damaged further. In fact, we’re 8etter off encouraging it! 
JOHN: encouraging it? 
JOHN: what, you mean like, making him mad so he breaks more… uh… 
JOHN: nothingness? 
VRISKA: Yes, 8ut it has to 8e strategic. We have to somehow lead him in the direction of the places we want him to damage. 
VRISKA: Specifically, the places where the route dead-ends. Wherever we need new points of reference to keep going. 


Vriska’s morality starts to get a bit questionable here. She’s started to encourage destruction for what she sees as the greater good (Lord English’s defeat). At the end of the comic, the Furthest Ring is completely destroyed and I’d argue it’s partly Vriska’s fault things turn out that way. Because of the Furthest Ring’s annihilation, I think that though the intended purpose of Tavros’s ghost army was to fight Lord English, the true purpose it ended up serving was to gather as many troll ghosts as possible in one place so that they could survive the destruction and end up on Earth C. I can only assume the ghosts are competent fighters this time around when they join Karkat and Meenah’s army—lots of powerful god tier trolls and quite a few with high strength attributes. Or at least, I sure hope they are.

JOHN: so that means you have to piss him off i guess. 
VRISKA: Not really. He’s already pissed off. I think he’s just permanently that way? 
VRISKA: It’s more a8out getting his attention. Using the right 88! Like going fishing. 
VRISKA: 8ut to do that, you gotta know what he really wants. Like what motiv8tes him. I mean, 8esides indiscrimin8tely killing dead children and huge tentacle monsters. 
JOHN: i am guessing you have an idea what that might be? 
VRISKA: Sure. The rumor is he’s trying to find that dead alien girl I mentioned, and kill her ghost for good. 


Here Vriska tries her best to guess what Lord English’s motives are, which is of course rather difficult. Vriska’s speculation is making me think of English as a bit of a tragic figure who’s trapped himself in a shameful existence doing nothing but destroying everything now that he’s achieved his ultimate power form. Caliborn was so much cooler, why did it have to come down to this.

VRISKA: If he catches on to the fact that some of us are looking for her too, and thinks we’re hot on her trail, he’ll pro8a8ly start following us around and wreaking havoc wherever we go. 
VRISKA: We just have to make sure we’re in the right place when he tries to kill us. Oh, also try not to actually die again while we’re at it. Haha. 
JOHN: so the bait is really you. 
VRISKA: Sort of! It’s actually more the 8ogus idea that we’ll lead him to the cheru8, 8ecause we’re looking for her too. Which we’re o8viously not. 
VRISKA: There’s some manipul8tion involved. 


Vriska is taking advantage of the part of the plan she sees as boring and using it as a distraction against Lord English. It’s kind of clever, but unfortunately Lord English isn’t very smart and probably doesn’t think that far ahead. It’s an admirable idea though.


JOHN: well… 
JOHN: cool! 
JOHN: that was actually a very interesting story, vriska. 
JOHN: you’re a pretty good story teller! 
VRISKA: You think so? 
TAVROS: oH, yES, i THINK SO TOO, 
TAVROS: sHE’S GOTTEN MUCH BETTER AT STORIES, aS A RECREATIONAL LONG TERM DEATH HOBBY, 
JOHN: oh yeah? 
TAVROS: sURE, wE’VE BOTH LOOKED AT LESSONS FROM OUR ANCESTORS, tO IMPROVE OUR SOULS, 
TAVROS: hER ANCESTRAL AWAKENING HAS TO DO WITH UNDERSTANDING HER DESTINY, tO TELL LONG STORIES TO PEOPLE, aND MAKE THEM LISTEN TO ALL THE WORDS IRREGARDLESS OF THEIR INTEREST, bY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, 
TAVROS: tHE ART OF SAYING OPTIMAL TALES BY MY UNDERSTANDING, iS TO CHARGE THROUGH ALL CONCEIVABLE DETAILS AND EXCESSIVE MINUTIA, uNTIL THEY ARE EXHAUSTED COMPLETELY, mUCH LIKE IT IS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE, aND EXTRANEOUS INFORMATION IS TREATED LIKE THE RELIGIOUS WORDS YOU SAY OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL BRAIN PEACE HAPPENS, 


The first John/Vriska scene in Act 6 wraps up on a reasonably positive note. John compliments Vriska’s story and Tavros pokes a bit of fun at her.

JOHN: that’s… one way of looking at it. 
JOHN: i don’t know about excessive minutia or brain peace, but i was hanging on every word! 
VRISKA: Aw, you guys. You’re making me 8lush. 
JOHN: i wish i could hang out with you longer and maybe even help you with your treasure hunt. 
JOHN: but i just know i’m gonna be waking up soon. 
JOHN: darn. who even knows how long it will be before we meet again in another bubble? 
TAVROS: yEAH, wELL, 
TAVROS: tHEM’S THE BREAKS, aHA, aHA, 
TAVROS: (soOn, iT wilL be MIne,) 
VRISKA: Don’t mind him, John. He’s just 8eing weird and tooly again. 
VRISKA: It was nice to see you and catch up like this. If we don’t meet in another dream soon, don’t worry. 
VRISKA: I have a feeling we’ll 8e crossing paths again 8efore this is all over! 


This scene ends with Vriska telling us this won’t be the last time she and John meet, which is basically a “see you next time” sort of deal. Readers probably expected John and Vriska’s next meeting to be much testier than this one, and they were unsurprisingly right.

Speaking of “see you next time” sort of deals, the next page after this is Openbound Part 3, so I’m concluding this post here. See you next time as we meet the last three Beforan trolls, who have a backstory considerably more anime than the rest. I wonder how different that part will read now that I have actually seen some amount of anime? (I still haven’t seen very much anime, don’t be misled.)

>> Part 90: Tsundere Vacillation Station

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 77: What Is "Actuality?"

Introduction

Part 76 | Part 77 | Part 78 >

Act 6 Act 3, Part 3 of 8 or so I hope but I really don’t know

Pages 4862-4877 (MSPA: 6762-6777)

I couldn’t resist having philosophy bullshit for a post title

Why did I have to stop in the middle of this exposition sequence? I’m sorry everyone.
Also as you probably haven’t noticed I’ve taken a bit of liberty ordering text and images.

Take a moment to appreciate this panel. Not enough people do.

TT: My bro did this too with his many fine films.
TT: Practically everything was a symbol for something. Either in mockery of the batterwitch, or conveying some hidden message to its audience. Each film was always rigorously picked apart for its head-scratching symbolic meaning.
TT: But he managed to accomplish all that without ever compromising the purity of his ironic vision, which I think was admirable.

Last post pretty much ended with me discussing the supposed symbolism in Rose’s books. Now we learn that Dave’s movies also had a crazy symbolism thing going on, but I guess we’re supposed to infer for ourselves what lies in there? Or maybe it’s more like how Homestuck references those comics and it’s probably intertwined with that.

GT: Your forebears are certainly entrepreneurial if nothing else.
GT: I can get behind the idea of making a killing if it means i also get to be as good at doing adventures as i hope to be.
GT: Did they ever bring the battle to the witchs doorstep or were the blows dealt strictly through public masquerades and theatrics?
TT: Yeah, they got pretty deep into the shit eventually.
TT: They were both very skilled combatants. I’m pretty sure she had some weird powers too.
GT: Powers you say?
TT: Communion with occult forces. Something like that.
TT: She knew things. Had visions. It’s why she was able to write those books, and more importantly, why Roxy and I were able to survive here. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Rose in the scratched universe had the exact same whole crazy knowledge thing going on as her other self. The explanation almost feels like handwaving stuff but given what previous stuff we’ve seen with the trolls and their ancestors’ abilities it kind of works fine, makes sense even.

Continue reading

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 74: Dawn of the Other Twelve

Introduction

Part 73 | Part 74 | Part 75 >

Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 3 of 3

Pages 4741-4819 (MSPA: 6641-6719)

NOTE: I’m not going to pretend this isn’t just filler text again.

2019 NOTE: Actually I don’t need filler text anymore, I can have actual text here because I have something to say as a disclaimer! In the interest of dramatic irony, I will be keeping everything I said in this post about John and Roxy’s relationship completely unedited. I’m doing this because I believe Hussie intended readers’ massive confusion at them not getting together in the credits to be part of the “experience” and I’d rather not taint my expression of my reaction with the usual “holy shit this reads differently after the epilogues”.

John wakes up in a dream bubble and oh hey it’s another 2x callback combo: to Jake waking up to see Aranea, and to Karkat getting hit in the face by a bucket.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 55: Scrapbook Examination Station (SBES) Volume I

Introduction

Part 54 | Part 55 | Part 56 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 28 of 32

Doc Scratch Intermission, Part 3 of 6

Pages 3874-3935 (MSPA: 5774-5835) (not in order)

NOTE: Remember, no new posts until after the 23rd because of vacation.

Here’s how this whole 250-ish-page scrapbook section is going to work. I said a while back that I will always avoid doing the selection screens in the normal order. The scrapbook pages, which are in fact the first selection screens, are an exception, not because I will do them in the normal order, but because there is no normal order; from what I can tell, readers do them in various orders. To spice it up regardless, for each of those selection screens, I will go by a different rule for which order to read the scenes.

There are six such selection screens total, each directly following the previous. This post and the next two will each go through two of those selection screens. I was originally going to do something different so that I’d be sure it’s all split evenly since some selection screens take up more pages total than others, but I figured it’s easiest to just split it like that.

For the first selection of scrapbook scenes, shown above, I will do them in order of smallest to biggest picture. This means I’ll start with the one on the bottom left, the Dersite battleship.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 48: Bored Superdogs and Memory Revelations

Introduction

Part 47 | Part 48 | Part 49 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 21 of 32

Pages 3546-3613 (MSPA: 5446-5513)

Only in Homestuck could this picture make any sort of sense. Even then…

NOTE: I’m really blitzing through Act 5 now (by which I mean going about 30% faster), and boy am I proud of that.

NOTE 2: As school is ending, I have a big project over the next few weeks which I have to work a lot on. This means that I’m slowing down posts somewhat, with the next three posts weekly instead of every five days. Next post coming Sunday.

: (

We now focus on what Jack Noir is up to. He just killed Dad and Mom offscreen. As with Nepeta, it’s a bit of a relief we didn’t have to see them die onscreen; showing a guy killing two loving parents of main characters in love together would obviously be even more heartwrenching than anything we’ve seen so far. Compare this to Bro, who got an onscreen death scene. This is probably not because he is (arguably) not as likable as the other guardians, rather because his death was the culmination of a fight, while the other two were just on a date when it was suddenly interrupted. If John’s dad was in a fistfight with Jack and lost when Jack became more powerful, he would no doubt get a full death scene.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 47: Fairy Psychopomps and Sudden Vampires

Introduction

Part 46 | Part 47 | Part 48 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 20 of 32

Pages 3479-3545 (MSPA: 5379-5445)

And wordy journals.

Terezi just went missing after having caught up with Sollux when all of a sudden, we’re back to a flashback of Dave fooling around on his bro’s Xbox gaming system. One hell of a mood whiplash alright.

The puppets are all like, haha did you miss me?

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