For fanfic and rp, as I’ve done both.
I’ve seen a lot of badly written Jade. She’s hands down my favourite character in Homestuck, so I often search out fic for her. Of the four kids, she definitely has the least amount of fic, and when she is in a fic, it’s often as an offhand mention. And then even if the fic actually focuses on her, she’s mostly not written very well. So here is a list of things that I think people forget about when they write Jade, and which might help people to write her better.
This is not an argument for any ship, but I will be mentioning pairings. And yes, I have my favourites, but I won’t be any kinder to them than the others.
1. Jade Harley is extremely self-reliant.
Hey, remember that scene with Jade and her Grandpa?
I’ve seen a number of people react to this moment with confusion. Why does Jade fight with her dead Grandpa? Was he so horrible to her that even now she hates him?
The answer is no. On the very next page Jade says that he was much easier to deal with when he was alive. What she’s doing here is displacement. Jade’s been alone since she was very young, and while Bec was there to protect her, he wasn’t able to raise her. She had to do that herself. So she started projecting onto her Grandpa. It was probably quite innocent at the beginning. She had to do something she didn’t want to do, and she told herself “If I don’t do this, Grandpa will be disappointed in me.” It became a way of motivating herself, and then turned into an elaborate roleplay, because Jade is fun and creative and enjoys doing that. But at her heart, she’s the one judging herself. She’s the one worrying about the size of her gun.
And notice, Jade is much harsher on herself than her Grandpa ever was. She holds herself to an incredibly high standard.
Jade does some amazingly brave things over the course of Homestuck. She sacrifices herself for John without a second thought. She’s not afraid of dying at all, she just wants to protect the people she loves. She’s also very kind to her friends. Look at her conversation with Rose, just before Rose goes Grimdark. She really tries to reassure Rose that Rose made the best possible choices and that she doesn’t need to feel guilty. Jade is very kind. But she never shows that kindness to herself.
When Jadesprite refuses to fight Jack, Jade explodes. Because her standards for herself are so high, she can’t bear that any version of herself is failing them.
Another thing to think about: Bec shoots people twice with her bullets. He shoots her Grandpa when she’s little, and Bec Noir shoots Dave. In both cases, Jade blames herself. And it would be really easy for her not to do that! She could blame Bec, or Tavros for the first one, or the Jack Noir part of Bec Noir for the second one. But she takes the responsibility on herself, both times. She has really, really high standards for herself.
What does this mean for writing Jade?
Well she doesn’t mind accepting help, but she hates to depend on other people. She expects herself to be competent in every situation. If you’re writing, say, hurt/comfort with Jade, and she’s sick, she’s not going to be curled up in bed, wanting to be waited upon. She’s going to be up working, ignoring the fact that she’s sick. If it’s a shippy fic (and it’s hurt/comfort, so of course it is), her partner will have to drag her to bed and probably tie her down to make her stay there, and she’ll keep insisting that she’s fine.
2. Jade bottles up her negative emotions and takes them out on herself.
Here’s a secret. Jade doesn’t really have a headache in Act 5 Act 2. What’s happening is that she’s really upset (she just died, remember?), she’s being harassed by the Trolls and getting some nasty revelations as a result, she has to deal with the Horrorterrors in her dreams, and she feels like she’s really far behind the other kids.
The last one is particularly tricky for Jade, because it means she can’t be as helpful as she wants to be, but all put together this is enough to make her really miserable. And yet she remains pretty friendly and chipper. She snaps at Feferi, but then apologizes, she’s pretty rude to Eridan but she’s not mean to him, she gives Tavros the benefit of the doubt even though he was involved in her Grandpa’s death. The only person she takes that anger out on is Karkat, and she feels worse afterwards.
And then Jadesprite turns up, and she explodes. Jade quite violently slaps herself, she shouts at herself, she is furious with herself. All of the anger and rage that she’s been keeping locked up come out - but turned on Jade.
This is one of those things that I think people really don’t get about Jade. Her cheerful attitude isn’t fake - she really is a positive person who likes other people - but it is sometimes a front. It’s part of those really high standards she has. Jade always, always tries to put the best spin on things. Her optimism is something she works on. Why? Well, it was probably necessary. Growing up, she was pretty much on her own. If something went wrong, she just had to deal with it. She couldn’t ask anyone else for help. I would guess that optimism was a learned reaction for her.
By the way, this is something that turns up on the battleship journey, as well. Over the course of A5A2, Jade learns to express herself a bit more. Her fight with her spriteself and her subsequent conversations with Karkat allow her to open up and acknowledge her feelings more than she usually does. But in A6I3, when she and John have the conversation about her breakup with Davesprite, she’s back to squashing those emotions down. She’s incredibly generous to Davesprite in that conversation. She’s aware of what he’s going through, and even though she probably didn’t want to break up, she never blames him or accuses him of doing anything wrong. Meanwhile John is being a douche (sorry John, but really you were) about the whole thing and making it all about him, but Jade never gives out to him for that, or tells him to stop. She just tries to explain what really happened.
This, plus point one, might tie in to her current state as a pawn of the Condesce. When we see the Condesce control Jade, Tavros and Vriska’s symbols appear on her forehead. What that suggests is that she used Vriska’s power to put the human part of Jade to sleep, and then used Tavros’s power to control the dog part of Jade. Except that later Jade speaks to the meteor group, and obviously knows who they are. So what’s going on?
Well Jade might have accepted the Condesce’s control if she thought it would help her friends. If the Condesce could somehow convince her that she could do more like this, she might be willing. And she wouldn’t worry about losing herself, because to Jade her emotions and her wellbeing come second to helping everyone else.. This is all speculation, but I would suggest that Jade’s arc in A6A6 will be about really accepting who she is, even if that means putting herself ahead of other people.
This is also something to bear in mind in terms of shipping. Jade’s partner, whoever that is, needs to be someone Jade is comfortable expressing anger around. It’s alright to hide your emotions with your friends, sometimes, but you can’t do that with a romantic partner. You have to be able to tell them how you really feel. In this respect, Karkat has an advantage over Dave because it’s already been shown that she feels comfortable getting angry with him. This doesn’t make JadeDave impossible, it just means that they have an issue they need to work through.
3. Jade is incredibly insightful about the people around her.
This is probably one of the things that people most often forget about Jade, and was actually what prompted me to write this list. Jade is really, really good at people. It’s interesting to compare her to Rose in this respect, actually. Rose understands people because she sees them as complex. Jade understands people in a very simple way. She cuts straight to the heart.
In her conversations with Tavros and Eridan she immediately identifies their issues - Eridan’s obsession with relationships and Tavros’s insecurity - and points them out. In her later conversations with Kanaya and Karkat she also shows that she understands them very well.
I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, expect that nobody seems to remember that it’s true. Jade is really good at people.
4. Jade doesn’t want a cute relationship, she wants an equal one.
There’s a weirdly high amount of Jade/Feferi in Homestuck fic, considering that they only meet twice. It tends to turn up in Davekat and Johnkat fic, where Jade needs to be paired with someone and she kind of gets dumped on Feferi.
And while I can see Jadefef working, it’s not an easy pairing to write. You have to convince me that they would work together, because Jade is not by nature attracted to people like herself. She has a crush on Dave, and there are shipping hints between her and Karkat, and both Dave and Karkat have very different personalities to Jade.
(And I am sorry for picking on Jadefef, I just get grumpy about it because it’s often written as a handwave pairing without taking Jade’s feelings into consideration. But I do think they would clash on the fact that Jade is very self-reliant and Feferi likes taking care of things. If you’re going to write them that needs to be taken into account. How do they get to a point where Jade is ok with being taken care of? Or how does Feferi learn to let her go?)
If you really must ship Dave and Karkat with other people (or each other), it might be worth considering JadeVris as an option. In the same way that Johnkat hits many of the same fun notes as Jadekat, JadeVris has the potential to be a really interesting relationship. Remember that Jade is very incisive - she would recognize very quickly that Vriska’s sneering attitude is often a way to reassure herself that she’s right, and Jade would very quickly call her out on that. Then let the pairing develop from there.
(Someday everyone will love JadeVris as much as I do. I swear someday I will write fic for them.)
5. Jade goes from passively seeing the future to actively making it happen.
Jade and Rose have parallel stories in Homestuck. They start out at opposite ends of the spectrum, and they both have to work towards a middle ground. At the beginning of Homestuck Rose is extremely confident. She trusts herself to get things done, to the point of being cagey and not letting anyone else in on her plans. This backfires on her when she learns of her Mom’s death. She’s been shutting everyone else out for so long that they can’t reach her, and she falls back on the only thing she knows - her own power. Her journey is about learning to rely on other people and trusting them to work with her. That’s why she’s the Seer - her growth is about giving up control and sharing her wisdom with her friends.
Jade starts out very passive. She can see the future, and she works to make it happen. She supports her friends but rarely thinks about herself. And then her dreamself dies and suddenly she’s alone, with no visions to guide her, and all her friends are stronger than she is. Her journey is about learning to trust her own power without any visions to guide her - it’s about taking the future and shaping it with her own hands.
Also look at the A6A6 issues they’re facing. Rose has hampered her ability to see because she’s afraid. Jade has lost her agency and is being controlled by someone else. Rose still hasn’t completely learned to trust and Jade still doesn’t fully want to act on her own.
(This last point isn’t so much something people get wrong. It’s just another way to think about Jade that might help people, since Rose is a character people seem very comfortable writing, while Jade is not.)
Posts tagged les mots.
NO REALLY THOUGH
Can we talk about how Grantaire doesn’t say to Enjolras “je crois en toi,” like you would normally say to a person you believe in, in whose abilities you have faith, etc
He says “je crois à toi,” which (unless I’m getting the nuances of French expressions wrong) is the sort of phrase one uses to express that one holds to the truth of an ideal or a religion.
We get this from the context in English, but in French it’s in the actual words.
“Tu ne crois à rien.”
“Je crois à toi.”
I set my mother on this and apparently she accosted several french exchange students who were, of course, like “no duh that’s grammatically incorrect do you not teach the language why are you asking me?” and then she googled and then she went for the french text books and apparently it also could be some sort of croire+en+person and croire+à+something WHICH IF THAT’S NOT EVEN WORSE EMOTIONALLY I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE IS.
Because like, apparently, croire à is ‘to be persuaded to the existence of something’ where croire en is more of a ‘confidence in something or a person, things that you place hope and trust in.’
Which, that’s just the most depressing thing, isn’t it, because Grantaire is fully aware of the fact that he doesn’t believe that Enjolras’ cause will come true, so of course he wouldn’t say that he has confidence in Enjolras, because he ultimately believes him doomed. But at the same time, there’s the whole: I believe in you (like the concept of you, which would be sort of religious, since the example my mom gave me was saying “I believe in witches”) which is touching and tragic and well there went my feelings I’m done everyone else carry on.
Eridan and Sollux, you pick the quadrant.
Okay, nope, I am out of tragedy. I cannot do the great angsty hate-mance of Eridan and Sollux.
Listen instead they can be college professors at a small liberal arts school and Eridan teaches history and Sollux teaches computer science and they are complete and utter shits to each other. It is impossible to take history and compsci at the same time because the pre-reqs line up perfectly in order to conflict the most.
Sollux is that professor who does not understand the concept that one must shave and wear a blazer to work if one wishes to not be mistaken for a student. Eridan is the professor whose favorite students are always pretty girls with long dark hair and everyone knows he’s a skeeve. They’re awful. They have tenure. They can’t get fired.
There’s a whole section of the school newspaper devoted to tracking their epic professor hate in clever code (clever code like: Professor C reprogrammed all of the buttons in Professor A’s car this week and it took him half an hour to turn his windshield wipers off, more on page 10).
It is beautiful in every way.
#Professor Ampora is kinda balding a little#Professor Captor goes to the student cafe to buy his coffee and terrorizes the student workers #Professor Vantas teaches contemporary literature and DESPAIRS OF THESE SAD FUCKS
In an airport, waiting for my delayed flight to visit my parents back home in NYC. Perfect time to write about kids who are meant to be starship engines. Also honestly I’m blaming pT for 90% of this characterization.
- Sollux Captor, like Terezi Pyrope, has always known what he’s supposed to be. In his case: a sack of flesh supporting a walking time bomb made out of rocket fuel.
- He’s an accidental ascetic. It’s not that he doesn’t like the pleasures of this world, it’s that he hardly has time for them. Food is fuel. Sleep is barely-necessary reset time. Showers, personal grooming, etc. — all done on a schedule, efficiently, without emphasis.
- He has a wicked and vicious sense of humor, about equal parts self-deprecation and glaring arrogant observation, and he deploys it like a precision rifle.
- He is very angry.
- That anger is mostly pointed at his own lack of perfection.
- This kid wrote a virus that was meant to end the universe. It wasn’t really a joke.
- He has the focus of a high-end intellectual, and the absent-mindedness of one, too. People who can get his attention: Terezi, Aradia, and Karkat. (And Rose, but we’re into AU territory here.)
- He is surprised, hugely and uncomfortably, by how much he genuinely likes Feferi Peixes.
- (He would not have ever thought about Eridan Ampora except that Eridan thought about him, first.)
- The duality thing started out as a familiar habit, turned into a social process — something to use so that he had a pattern to follow in casual social situations — and is now second (eheh) nature.
- In many ways, being hooked up to a starship would be a relief. He would stop waiting for it.
Oddly proud to be part of “the greatest offensive Satan has ever mounted against the church”.
I am too busy and too ill to be on Tumblr but EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS TRYING TO TALK ABOUT TEXT JUST AMUSES ME ON SO MANY LEVELS
A footsoldier of Satan responds:
1 A. This is awful. Now the pastor’s going to have to compare the different translations, discuss them from the pulpit, and explain their relative merits to his congregation. People are going to learn all sorts of shit which will bring them to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of their faith.
1 B. Dude, what? Did you honestly just argue that thinking opens the doorway to Satan? I’m going to need a cup of tea for this, hang on.
1 C. Okay I’m back. I am basically amazingly charmed by this idea: as the service proceeds the congregation forms embittered, suspicious factions based on Bible translation. The KJV Massive stakes out its turf in the front three pews, which is a pretty sweet spot, but the New Internationals make a smart tactical foray and end up in control of the font. By the end of the sermon the pastor is shouting unheeded above the rattle of small-arms fire and the dull crump of grenades. ALTERNATIVE ENDING: the pastor puts a notice in the newsletter announcing the translation he’ll be using in his sermons; most people just bring that version because life’s too short.
1 D. This one’s pretty fascinating. The original hymn was in Latin, and began Surrexit Christus hodie, ‘Christ is risen today’. The first English translation appeared in 1708, and translated only the first, third, and fifth verses (out of five total). In 1749 a new version appeared, which used a slightly adapted version of the first verse and then two totally new verses: these have no connection to the Latin at all except that you can sing them to the same tune. Both the 1708 and 1749 versions began ‘Jesus Christ is risen today’. Meanwhile, in 1739, Charles Wesley wrote another, longer hymn to be sung to the same tune, which began ‘Christ the Lord is risen today’. Everything else about it was different both from the original Latin and from the subsequent 1749 version. They are totally different hymns. Confusion only arose because a lot of modern hymnals now print a kind of amalgamated version, with Wesley’s hymn as verse 1-7 and the 1749 version as verses 8-10. You can see the whole thing here. Only that last verse, the one beginning ‘Jesus Christ is risen today’, was ever intended as anything to do with Latin, and I can tell you for free that it does not particularly resemble what the Latin says. No-one, to my knowledge, is suggesting that ‘Jesus Christ is risen today’ is the ‘correct version’ of Wesley’s hymn. Wesley’s hymn isn’t a translation of anything, he wrote it all by himself.
You see? Now, if somebody tries to tell you that you should be singing ‘Jesus Christ’ not ‘Christ the Lord’, you can explain to them (politely) why they are wrong! Textual criticism. I mean, fucking the Devil
2. You say havoc, I say critical thinking. We may have to agree to disagree on this one. Don’t worry, though - lots of famous people in history have come down on your side of that distinction, people like oh no, God, I can’t do it, it’d be like kicking a really stupid puppy whose bite is infectious and causes aggravated stupidity
3. SATAN’S ENGINEERS. This is my new job title. I’m having business cards made. Anyway, yeah, I hate it when my Bible Studies group gets derailed and everyone present ends up studying the Bible.
4. UNDERSTANDING?? AW FUCK SON, POUND THE ALARM
5. Please bear with me as I will explain this only once.
You are absolutely right. When translations of religious texts change, it raises all sorts of difficult questions about veracity. If you have a text that is guaranteed 100% true, and then someone comes along and fiddles with the words, then presumably you end up with something that is only 98% true. If this happens enough times you’re going to be looking at, like, 65% truth, and no-one wants that.
Where you and I - or, as I will elide here to save time, you and rational thought - part company is that you believe the only way to be sure we have the 100% undiluted word of God is to use the King James Version. Which was, as you quite correctly point out, written in 1611 AD.
We reckon Jesus was crucified around 33 AD.
Would you like to get back to me with some thoughts on the intervening 1,578 years? A lot of stuff happened.
6. This is a poser, alright. There’s a thing called faith you could try? Some folk swear by it.
7. I’m not sure you understand what the word prostitute means, but anyway, are you worried because bringing someone the word of God now involves having prolonged face-to-face discussion with them, rather than lobbing a book at their head and thundering READ THIS AND YE SHALL BE SAVED like in the good old days? Hm.
8. If I touch this one I will explode into a thousand fragments of pure rage, so I’m going to move gracefully on. Dr Matto, the only weak, confused, and deceitful thing I see around here is what you’ve got masquerading as reasoned argument. Sorry, I really am just leaving, my scarf got caught
9. I know! It’s sickening the way some versions of the Bible dilute and pervert the basic message of Christ, which was, as I recall, ‘slaughter thy foes without mercy or remorse’. The NIV translates that as ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ or some weaksauce shit.
10. Okay, you’re drifting away, Major, I’m not going to be able to maintain the radio link for much longer. You do realise that ‘Thus saith the LORD’ and ‘This is what the Lord says’ are literally semantically identical? Personally, I agree that the KJV version is more weighty and impressive, but that’s a matter of sentence rhythm and the judicious use of capitals. I don’t think even the NIV has opted for ‘So then the Lord was like, yo’ in this instance.
11. Ken Taylor’s dead; requiescat in pace. I wouldn’t presume to know where he is now, but the man tried to produce an easy-to-read version of the Bible because his kids were having trouble understanding the KJV’s archaisms, and then when it became the best-selling book in America he made sure all the profits went to charity. I figure that’s got to stack up a good few plus points somewhere, although I guess it wouldn’t seem that way to someone who believed that understanding one’s religion was a bad thing.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some sinners to pitchfork.
socially clingy, people-using Nice Guy misanthrope eridan and antagonistically reclusive, emotion-guarding sarcastic misanthrope sollux all mixed together in one horrible, horrible package. i can’t get enough.
i think eridan’s side is the one that actually approaches jake, albeit with sollux’s surly fuck-you attitude. eridan’s the one giving the advice, and sollux makes it bitchy and unpleasant.
this particular blend of publicly announced self-loathing and fatalism is all sollux, but i think the “meh” that keeps them from sploding might be eridan, mostly because sollux is all about dying young and leaving a gooey corpse and eridan’s got that life-at-all-costs thing.
and i notice the sprite varies between single statements that sound very eridan and sollux’s classic “two sentences in one line separated by a comma” complaints.
i want to know more about this miscarriage of an afterlife, and i hope to god after they spritesplode they end up in a dreambubble together where they can bitch each other out for all eternity until lord english barfs a rainbow at them.
Okay, so, Eridan.
My problem with canon!Eridan (as opposed to the various wonderful Eridans I have met and loved in fanworks, such as Hemostuck Eridan and Hamstuck Eridan) is that he has two quite different sides: the pathetically desperate but sadly lovable idiot, ‘Alterniabound Eridan’, who chews on his scarf and tries to get in a quadrant with anything that moves; and the Eridan who HOPESPLODES the Matriorb, who is - and I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude about anyone’s favourite character, but the fact remains - a selfish, arrogant, dangerous asshole.
A lot of fanstuff runs with Eridan 1 and basically ignores Eridan 2, which is good and right, because Eridan 1 is a much funnier and more sympathetic character (wweh). When I wrote Strider’s Edge I ignored E1 and ran with E2. Getting them both at the same time is hard, and this (for me) extends into shipping. Dave/E1/Rose would be brilliant, because they’d run rings around him, and the whole thing would devolve into a twin-off as to who could get Eridan to undertake the most ridiculous action by convincing him it was a normal part of human courtship (along the lines of Team Ectobiology’s very funny collab entry for the HSO, Sail Your Ships). Dave/E2/Rose would be an utter disaster, because they’d push him off a balcony on the first date and then curl up à deux to watch Wild Things. Similarly, E1<3<Rose would depend largely on how long Rose was prepared to play the game before getting bored; kismesis depends on satisfying rivalry, not just strong dislike, and E1 is nowhere near a match for Rose. E2<3<Rose, on the other hand, could be really nasty, which is where the Darque Feelings come in. Those two could honestly hate each other, and not in a funny way - particularly if the Rose in question was Grimdark Rose. I don’t want to say too much because as far as I know a fic of this sort is In Progress somewhere on the Internet, but let’s just say it’s a thing I’d like to see.
(Sidenote: the fic I’ve read that does the most interesting things with Eridan and Rose simply as a pair of characters, rather than as a ship per se, is still Conscience of Eurydice; I think, in the end, that’s closest to how I imagine them getting along with each other. Ceaseless irritation, partly based on a kind of horrible mutual recognition.)
A really excellent write up of the kind of complicated problem of liking Eridan as character and a person. I wanna just run with this for a sec because I am the Wild Banshee Queen of Having Too Many Feelings For Eridan.
One of my problems has always been not with people who prefer E1 (great term, by the way), but with interpretations that don’t take into account how completely logical the transition between E1 and E2 is: that E2 is probably, if nothing much changes, always going to be lurking around as a distinct transitional possibility for E1.
Eridan is the Prince of Hope, and while he seems to be pretty fucking bad at his duties, whatever they were, hope really could be taken to define his whole character. E1 is how he behaves when he thinks he’s got any kind of chance. E2 is when he’s concluded he doesn’t— and woe fucking betide anyone still sticking around after the split.
Before the split he’s desperate for attention, desperate for recognition, desperate for any scrap of validation, and yet so arrogantly obnoxious no one will give him the time of day because they are all so fed up with his constant self-aggrandizing bullshit, which is apparently only way he has ever learned to communicate. The split is when he comes to terms with the notion that no one is ever going to treat him like he wants them to. Then he acts completely different because he is lashing out in a great big nilhistic display of wrath and despair, punishing the whole world, flipping the fucking table over on this chess game. It’s an extension of and a direct response to his earlier behavior, not a complete break from it.
I think with a boy so spoiled and desperate as Eridan— so entitled and so eternally disappointed— a tantrum is always going to be in the cards. And with a boy given as much power as Eridan gets, that tantrum is going to have really awful consequences. You can strip away a lot of his power to enact harm, like we do in Hemostuck, but I think it would be a much larger change to his character to strip away his inclination to.
The tricky thing about writing Eridan in relationships is that we don’t really get to see him in relationships, that’s the whole joke of his character in Homestuck. And while it does seem like E1 would be tenderly adoring of anyone who game him a chance, it might be easy to take E2 and conclude oh, definitely an abusive rapetruck. And again, we mostly only have human tropes of loneliness and abuse to draw from as models— and whichever model we chose to roll with, probably someone else would have a different take. And probably that person is more than happy to tell you that you’ve gone too far, you’re writing him too nice, too horrible, he’s not smothering his partner enough, or he’s too clingy, and you’re a terrible writer because you’re not writing the right Eridan, which is their own personal Eridan. I guess ultimately it’s best to conclude that everyone’s got some good and bad in them, and that flattening any character out to all sweet or all sour is a huge disservice to the nuanced and complex stories that could be told with a more holistic approach.
I am collecting all the feelings about Eridan.
Partially in utter terror of the fact that I am apparently occupied in writing a story about Eridan<3<Rose. (oh god, artillie, what are we doing.) And in recognition that Eridan causes me to have distressing moments of both fascination and horror. I like this distinction between E1 and E2 Eridan, especially what Roach is pointing out — the break here is when Eridan decides that he’s never going to have what he wants, and gogdamnit, then neither is anyone else.
(By the way, I think that that neither is anyone else explains a whole lot about Strider’s Edge!Eridan, too — particularly what he does to Terezi — and damn, Matt, that’s some elegant extrapolation from canon that you’ve done.)
He’s incredibly isolated, Eridan is — both in his E1 and his E2 incarnations. Isolated and aware of it and desperate for attention and validation; the switch in the E2 part is that he stops looking for positive validation and instead will forcibly acquire negative attention. He’s going to take the whole world down with him and no one is going to be able to look away.
He’s the sort of boy who would become a Dark Lord if it meant that someone would pay attention to his feelings —
and aha, I have just figured out why I am interested in him.
My, do I ever like falls from heaven.
Dirk’s low opinion of himself is a marker of how much he distrusts the judgment of people who aren’t him, right, like he knows his friends like him and think he’s great, but he hides so much from them that he thinks he can’t trust their opinion on that. he’s so wrapped up in himself that he thinks he’s the only one who really knows what he’s like, and he makes his own internal judgments and doesn’t trust external validation.
(and I think part of why he keeps AR around is actually because AR gets him on a level no one else does, but that’s a whole different post. and because AR is Dirk at heart, he only confirms Dirk’s own opinions of himself.)
so basically Dirk’s self-loathing is Dirk assuming he knows better than everyone else does
which means that his crippling insecurity, which drives a lot of his controlling and needy behavior, is actually just an expression of his arrogance
what a disaster of a person
i’ve talked about this before, but this is honestly one of my absolute favorite alpha kids interactions, for so many reasons.
-dirk’s characterization of jane and roxy’s friendship implies that this is normal for them and their dynamic is regularly this fucked up. that is so interesting to me and it annoys me when people write jane/roxy as just like cute best friends who cuddle. although i’ll read that too because that shit’s adorable. just sometimes we should also acknowledge that there’s some really interesting stuff going on there in terms of power.
-this is how dirk sees the alpha kids: jane and roxy running around having all kinds of drama and power struggles, and he and jake sitting out just watching all that hullabaloo and HIGH-FIVING. THAT’S HOW DIRK THINKS HIS FRIEND GROUP WORKS!!
-“from under the bleachers” don’t think i didn’t notice that dirk. i did.
-jane’s responses to dirk being dirk are always so perfect. “sure dirk. okay.” “yes.” haha god he’s always just like. okay sorry jane i’ll stop talking now. their friendship is so good.
Ok, this kind of breaks my heart, and I feel like it’s exemplary of something that I think is one of Hussie’s greatest strengths as a writer. Well, two things.
The first thing is that he has this incredibly strong grasp on the fact that for the people sad things are actually happening to, they are not dramatically resonant or bittersweet or poetic. They are just sad.
When Vriska and John meet in dream-bubbles, Vriska doesn’t consciously think about how heart-wrenching it is that, in death, she’s meeting the one person that she kind of tied her hopes of redemption to, only for him not to remember any of the stuff they shared that she remembers as meaningful. She’s just a little sad about it, and a little unsure, and trying to make the best of it all.
And just recently when Dave sees Dirk for the first time and we all went batshit trying to figure out what tender, tragic things might be going through his head, and then his reaction is basically “DO NOT WANT.” He’s not thinking about the godforsaken tragedy of it all, he’s thinking that he’s upset and wishes he wasn’t. Like real people do tend to react to stuff at first.
Which kind of brings me to the other thing I wanted to talk about. Which is that Hussie completely and totally gets that he doesn’t need to spell out what a character is feeling. He understands the power of audience empathy and he uses it to his advantage. When presented with an opportunity to make it crystal clear to us what a character is feeling, he will leave it vague almost every time.
And not only that, but when he does tell us how a character feels (as above) he keeps it general. He understands that he can tell us that WV feels sad, and we understand immediately that sad is a severe understatement of how WV must be feeling, without needing to be explicitly told. Hussie implies, rather than states, and he leaves it up to us to understand and imagine based on our comprehension of the characters involved and the situations they’re in.
What he expects of us is to fill in the blanks and flesh out the story with our own emotional reactions and with our empathy. He asks us to participate on an individual level in constructing the emotional resonance of the story, by embellishing it for ourselves as we go.
I’m really worried about Dirk, to be honest.
I mean, for Dave this actually has the potential to be really cathartic and good. This could be a legitimately healing thing for him. To see his brother as just a person, just a kid with frailties and strengths like everyone, and to see how much Dirk has idolized him in turn. Dirk hasn’t got a bad thing to say about Dave. Dirk hasn’t sustained damage.
But Dave. Dave has shit that needs healing. Dave is angry and he’s got a right to be. And for Dirk, that could be really, really fucking terrible.
Just cause Dirk is destructive by nature in ways Dave really isn’t. (I won’t rehash how/why, post about that here) And if his remark to Roxy about “having no business bringing up anybody” is any evidence, he probably knows it.
And ugh I’m not sure if I want to him to have to see the damage he’s capable of doing to another person, because I don’t know that he’ll know how to deal with it or fix it. And everything will be awful and sadX10000.
ohgod i have the same feels about dirk
the same exact feels
he’s gonna meet dave and the first thing he’s gonna think is “what did i do to make him hate me”
and yeah he thinks he’s doing the right thing most of the time but he knows he can be a manipulative ass who treats his friends like shit and i headcanon him as worrying a lot more about that than we’ve seen, but doing it anyways because he rationalizes it as being for their own good, he has to both control them and toughen them up to protect them, he tells himself that because admitting he’s wrong would be admitting he has to stop and he’s not sure he knows how, and sometimes he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it until the situation is such a tangled web of flaming irons that he has to press it even harder to feel like he’s keeping everyone safe
he is so depressingly self-aware and the only explanation he’s going to be able to come up with for growing up in such vastly different circumstances as his pre-scratch self and still being that same basic person is that there is something intrinsically and irreparably wrong with him
and this is why he’s my favorite character and agh dirk feels someone hold me
god it is so sad though with Dirk and Roxy
Dirk is so sad
that he’s not in love with her
like this is honestly the reason my headcanon about dirk is that he’s not interested in girls romantically at all
because when the subject of him and roxy not dating comes up with him
it is not like… “yeah i totally could date her but i don’t want to”
like… there is some grief there
the AR even called him out on it and impossible to read though he may be that thing does not say stuff for no reason
and the way i read it is like
for the longest time dirk and roxy were one anothers Most Important Person, and to some extent they still are
and its like they grew up feeling like they belonged to one another. like expecting to and assuming they’d fall in love at some point.
Cause he is hers and she is his. How could it be any other way when they grew up the way they did, you know?
and then for dirk it just stayed platonic (in my headcanon because welp girls, although it doesn’t actually matter) but he still loves her so much??? and she’s still his and he’s still hers in a weird way? and there’s so much intimacy between the two of them
and i think it makes him really sad that she has feelings for him he can’t reciprocate
i think it makes him really sad to make her unhappy for any reason. or to… not give her something she needs
this has been a 4:30 am about character feelings/headcanons. i am very sorry.
So I think the ‘Wow Kankri’s a self absorbed twit what an asshole’ posts and the ‘Wow poor Karkat is so fucking lonely how could his friends ditch him like that’ posts all have kind of a common source?
And that is that both Vantases seem to consistently let their good intentions get subsumed by their self-absorbed, desperate need for validation. To be admired, even revered. They need to be the best, and have people acknowledge that, to the point that their sincere desire to help people out gets lost in how they blindly steamroller over what people actually want from them.
Like, Kankri’s gotta be this relentless torrent of Beforian coddling at everyone, the perfect shepherd. Karkat has to be this hyperaggressive Alternian badass of a warlord: the thresh prince, a hatched leader, as furious and indomitable as Kankri is trying to be tolerant and understanding. They’re both performing their own culture’s ideal leader at everyone who comes in earshot to the point that no one wants to.
And so they’re alone. It’s equal parts hilarious and heart-breaking to watch.
imagine gamzee started hating terezi because karkat kept saying he wanted her in all the quadrants and it made him feel like shit
and it was simple platonic hate/ jealousy at first
SO HE FUCKED AROUND being a jackass in the vents playin tag-ur-it in a mean way with her or taunting her and running around like a rat
then he realized wow
what a stank ass bitch i do sure hate her
and then real hate blossomed like an ugly wasp
now when karkat says he wants her in all the quadrants he gets jealousy from both sides
dats my kismesis
excuse u i am your palemate
I love how in the Homestuck fandom we are constantly having to remind each other both of how young and doofy and inept our protagonists are, and of how complex and dramatic and awesome they are.
You know, like people who rail against Rose and Kanaya being portrayed as classy and elegant 24/7. Or complaints about how the fandom forgets how sweet and dorky Aradia is sometimes. Or yes, even “Dave isn’t actually cool” stuff.
And on the other hand how people who care about Eridan will be quick to tell you that he has an actual dramatic arc under all that comic relief, and it’s depressing as fuck. And some will be ready and willing to lament the darker aspects of Terezi’s character getting glossed over by fandom.
And I kind of love that because one of my favorite things about Homestuck is that they are both. They are both dramatic, archetypal and complex dynamic characters, and ridiculous, bumbling little dorks.
Karkat is a tragic self-destructive personality with a messianic legacy whose simultaneous burden and salvation is his love for other people, but he’s also a loudmouthed little brat who makes things harder than he needs to for himself and fucks up his relationships with people by being an asshole.
Rose is both a snippy pre-teen girl who collects alien porn and flirts like it’s going out of style, and a very sophisticated and psychologically tormented anti-hero on the edge of surrendering to her demons.
Not only are they multi-dimensional, in the comic none of these aspects of their characters are contradictory. And I really like that. I really like that inherent in the way Homestuck is written, is the idea that these quirky little 13-year-olds are really worth something to the audience, worth our time and attention and emotional investment. I feel like in a lot of media the nerdy middle school student is probably not the protagonist. But the protagonists of Homestuck are, and the protagonists of Homestuck are also pretty much all fucking incredible characters.