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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: 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
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: 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: 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!
GG: and i think mine came too
TG: so uh
TG: i guess you want to know if he likes it or something?
GG: he will not open it
GG: he will lose it!!!
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: if i were you i would just take that fucking devilbeast out behind the woodshed and blow its head off
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: say hi to your grand dad for me too ok
GG: yes i guess an encounter with him is almost certain
GG: it is usually……..
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
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: 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.
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: oh god.
EB: SO LAME.
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.
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.
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: 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
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!
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