Alright, so for the longest time, we saw Aspects - breath, time, space - and thought they mattered only literally. And we thought the Classes in front of them barely mattered, or didn’t see the point in them (besides, perhaps, the Seer). Furthermore, we saw only token correlations between many of the trolls and their roles, thinking their failure at learning what the game’s quests were supposed to teach them denied them the heavy role associations other players seemed to achieve.
UU and Aranea have shown us otherwise. Not only are the roles meaningful, but one is expected to reflect their role even in their very nature.
Under the break, I’ll be going into the following topics:
- From the introductions of every troll in Hivebent, Andrew knew what their game role was, what it meant, and used it to shape their personalities.
- Just as Light and Heart have been shown to mean broader things than they literally imply, other aspects have unintuitive side-applications as well… ones that the players and trolls have embodied for quite some time!
- Just as Kanaya and the other trolls were dreadfully uninformed on the purposes of the Sylph, Prince, and Bard classes, even Rose might have been wrong about the general idea of the Heir class and such.
- The Knight of Blood deserves some special explanation, and the Page of Breath as well, especially with how he’s played out storywise.
This will not be boring. Click to read more. It will be long, but pony gifs have been added to ease your eyes while reading. >;]
EDIT: Added a bit at the end about the Witch role. EDIT2: And a supporting Blood quote an anon supplied.
EDIT3: If you liked this post, you might want to check out this one I derived from it. :D
Now, first off, I’m suggesting that Andrew used the roles he set up for the trolls to help build their characters, and vice versa. It wasn’t just after-the-fact assignment; for many of the roles, we have reason to believe that he had them in mind all along.
To demonstrate this, let’s look at the classes for which we now know specifics, but didn’t before: the Rogue, Bard, Prince, Sylph, Knight, and Page. We’ll be looking at their aspects too, of course, as that second bullet point.
Nepeta has always been something of a throwaway character. The definition of expendable in the dictionary, as Andrew put it. There wasn’t a whole lot in her… but the Rogue of Heart role wasn’t entirely absent. Theft and scurrying about in the background was later folded into her - though seldom selfish theft, if you note her role’s passive nature - and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have figured out by now that shipping and the idea of stealing hearts for others go hand in hand.
But for her, I’d like to note the Land of Little Cubes and Tea.
Yes, it’s a throwaway land that stands for LoLCaT. But do keep in mind, tea is commonly related to soothing the soul. The true nature of the Heart aspect was in mind all along, in other words.
Gamzee has been filling the first half of his Bard role - inviting the destruction of rage - for quite some time. Inviting imps and friends to dull their aggressive nature with soporifics, bewildering Equius with camaraderie, even inviting Eridan to slam a faygo. Readers were joking back then that he could make anyone chill out! So… who’s to say that Andrew didn’t have his role in mind the entire time?
If you think about it, were there anything Andrew would want to plan out definitively beforehand, these game roles and their meanings would be it!
I’ve heard people still say that they think he slapped them in on the fly, but hopefully further evidence will convince you otherwise. Let’s keep going, shall we?
Eridan has always been hopeless. And very early on… we got that line of foreshadowing where he specifically said he wouldn’t kill Kanaya.
Since Kanaya’s vampiric transformation was hinted from the beginning, perhaps Eridan blasting through Kanaya and her matriorb was, too? In other words, perhaps Andrew had Eridan’s Prince of Hope role in mind since he started talking?
Lately, Hope has been broadened into “belief”. This certainly makes everything Eridan said since the end of their session into a channelling of his role! Disbelieving magic, for instance? That’s not just his ‘hope’ in magic he wasn’t buying; he was disparaging belief in the future, believe in the present, their chances, magic, and even belief in his friends. But you’ve probably figured that much out already, so let’s move on.
Kanaya is a huge, huge example, of what I’m talking about. Her role never seemed to be relevant to her before, not even the Space part. Learning that Sylph meant Healer turned all of that on its head. Kanaya has been healing, even with Space, this entire time! Remember when she meticulously cleaned up Vriska’s room with the usually notoriously-unsteady game cursor, to keep her from stepping on things? Remember when she sawed off Tavros’s legs so he could get robotic replacements and walk again? Her long rationalizations to Karkat, even her auspisticizing addiction all play into the idea of a healer class. It wasn’t just an extension of the ‘grimAuxiliatrix’ handle: it was what Andrew meant by Sylph all along!
So… let’s say that their roles were in mind all along. Sollux’s prophecies of death, Tavros being enamored with a slow-advancing, fun FLARP class, et cetera.
What does that mean about the Knight of Blood?
Karkat is a special case. His blood color, or different blood colors for trolls in general, was an afterthought as far as Andrew was concerned. And we already know what a Knight does, a powerful warrior class that exploits the flow of their aspect as a weapon.
So how the hell has Karkat Vantas exemplified that?
Let’s look from the beginning of Hivebent. What sort of theme has coursed through his entire arc, since his naming page?
You have a passion for RIDICULOUSLY TERRIBLE ROMANTIC MOVIES AND ROMCOMS.
You’ve got AMBITION. You were meant to be a bigshot. To be in charge of something huge and really important, and to be totally ruthless about it.
Well, there’s leadership…
CG: I WONDER WHAT KIND OF SHITTY THING I DID TO DESERVE SUCH AN AWFUL BEST FRIEND.
CG: FRIENDSHIP ISN’T A DISEASE SHITSPONGE.
CG: IT’S LIKE…
CG: A MISTAKE.
CG: A BIG JOKE OF NATURE.
And friendship, there…
CG: I AM A HATCHED LEADER AND YOU KNOW IT.
CG: ARE WE NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE BECAUSE OF STUFF I SAID.
TA: eheheheh you LIITERALLY a2k me that every tiime are you jokiing.
Well, would you look at that? Hmm.
Perhaps we should look at Karkat’s major accomplishments of his entire session. Let’s see:
- Forming a blood-inspired alliance with Jack Noir to overthrow the Black Queen.
- Getting the two teams to work together to advance and defeat the Black King.
CG: NO, I’M YOUR LEADER BECAUSE OF MY INCREDIBLE TACTICAL SKILLS AND MY ABILITY TO MOBILIZE AND MOTIVATE A BUNCH OF USELESS PEOPLE TOWARD A COMMON GOAL, AND BECAUSE I’M EXTREMELY AMBITIOUS AND INTREPID. ALSO BECAUSE LEADERSHIP IS IN MY BLOOD. WE’VE BEEN OVER THIS.
Remember how Light ended up meaning fortune, sight, and mental clarity? How Hope broadly meant belief?
Karkat’s role is to exploit blood as a weapon. What if Blood, rather than some stupid literal interpretation, is meant more strongly in the terms of blood bonds, blood brothers? Camaraderie, alliance? Friendship?
Crying over their corpses, worried about their team falling apart, leading them on crusades against the likes of the humans… it all makes so much more sense when you realize that Karkat is the goddamn Knight of Friendship!
Let’s take a minute to talk about the Page.
Tavros is a damaged kid. A few times in his life, he could have been said to be genuinely adventurous.
And then Vriska would cut it short.
The Page is a slow class with plenty of potential. They could eventually do great things, anything – or even everything, as old Grandpa showed us.
You are a great admirer of his, and you are not alone. Your grandfather is a WORLD RENOWNED EXPLORER-NATURALIST-TREASURE HUNTER-ARCHEOLOGIST-SCIENTIST-ADVENTURER-BIG GAME HUNTER-BILLIONAIRE EXTRAORDINAIRE. He has taught you everything you know.
So, as many have pointed out, ‘Page’ isn’t meant as a Knight in training, but rather a piece of paper… a blank slate, possibly with the potential to cover the same ground as plenty of other classes. (Even Seers, if that ‘brain ghost’ of Dirk in Jake’s head is genuine!) That’s where ‘Zephyr’ came from in Tavros’s land name, emptiness waiting to be filled.
So if Tavros is a blank page, he was eager to illustrate upon himself as a FLARPer. Then Vriska came along, frustrated with his slow drawing, and decided to tear him in half.
During the game, he recovered a bit. The Page of Breath was certainly blown around by Vriska, dragged along to progress. But at Vriska’s quest bed, she traumatized him and had him crumpled up in a ball and sleeping for the rest of his session.
And once the session was over, it didn’t take long for her to put a hole through him and throw him away. She just didn’t have the patience for slow classes.
AG: I used to really like him and always wanted to help him get stronger, so that he might stand a fucking chance to actually make it on our world.
AG: 8ut he was just soooooooo weak and indecisive. He wouldn’t change!
AG: And when he tried to change, it was too little and too l8. Always l8. L8ey L8ey L88888888.
AG: Too l8 to kiss me.
AG: Too l8 to kill me.
In comparison, Mindfang was willing to wait for the Summoner to ascend to greatness. In fact, she was willing to wait a century for him to even exist!
Given how Aranea tied Light to mental clarity, understanding, it’s unsurprising that a Thief of Light damaged and blinded his psyche into one who thought Vriska’s false brand of confidence was something to imitate.
I suppose with Jake, we’ll see what a Page can do given time and motivation to develop his role.
A last thing about these various aspects. It seems that each aspect covers a broad range of things, and a master of them gains a measure of dominion over all of them to some extent. So, what do some of these specific-sounding aspects actually broadly cover? I have a few thoughts:
- Rage seems to deal not only with anger, but also the perverse enjoyment of others’ misfortune, from my point of view. Hence Gamzee’s planet, the Land of Tents and Mirth, and the facepaint-like symbol that seems to represent a smiling form of anger. There’s a theory I subscribe to that each aspect has an opposite, like Void to Light (channelled by Rose when she went grimdark, possibly; even her speech was obscured!), and obviously Doom to Light. What is Rage’s opposite, if this is the case? Hope perhaps? Breath?
- You’ve heard my spiel on Blood already. It’s interesting how enthralled and disgusted Karkat was with friendship, how traumatized he became by the idea of sloppy interspecies makeouts… perhaps lately, uu has been channeling the same with his ‘pornography’ demands, his fetishization of his own disgust with the concept? What if uu is a Prince of Blood?
- Doom is supposedly associated with death, but Sollux seemed to have extra lives and half-deaths aplenty. Perhaps the denial or evasion of death is part of the role as well? (Jane, the Maid of Life, is set to invert his role, likely playing a part in the creation of the immortal Lord English, for instance…) Furthermore, with all Sollux’s failed proselytizing about everyone’s deaths, I’ve wondered if perhaps the Mage is a passive(/active?) counterpart to the Seer, one who brings understanding of his aspect to others. If that’s the case, perhaps the Sufferer’s pre-scratch role was a Mage of Blood?
- Breath implies not only wind, but I believe direction. Take the parcel pyxis system on John’s world, and the Breeze, both delivering things in directions they need to go. Note that John Egbert has never once been at a loss as to what to do next; at every moment, via coincidence or otherwise, he’s had a sure direction of exactly where to go and how to move forward toward his goals. An Heir of Direction.
But, perhaps Heir doesn’t mean what we thought, either? Some have speculated that the Heir is the active(/passive?) counterpart to the Sylph, using their aspect to heal as they see fit. After all, John extracted a Tumor from his session’s battlefield with his abilities, metaphorically healing the battlefield and universe to be viable post-Scratch. Equius, for instance, crafted an intricate robot to help his crush regain physical existence and emotion… perhaps that was an exercise in healing, as well? :)
Their lands are probably related to the true meaning of Heir, though. In the Land of Wind and Shade, Wind pertains to Breath while Shade somehow pertains to the Heir role, presumably. In the Land of Caves and Silence, Silence is Void, the destruction of information… so Caves are related to the Heir. Being enclosed, enveloped in shadow… perhaps one’s meant to fill that or enlighten it, clear it or break through? Or perhaps it means something similar to Zephyr, emptiness waiting to be filled, the Page role’s (active or passive) counterpart? Hmm.
I’m not sure, I guess.
Wow, that took forever. Guess that’s all I’ve got, for now! :D
EDIT: FUCK I forgot about Witches.
It seems to me that maybe the Witch is meant to serve as a guide and transport to others, leading them over metaphorical or literal distances and bringing them together. Jade used Skaia’s clouds to shuttle things to the right spaces and times, brought her friends together over pesterchum, and eventually led John and all their planets through broken glass. Feferi, the Witch of Life, actually brought everyone together in death by setting up the shared dream bubbles!
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