HOMESPORK ACT 5 ACT 1: Mobius Double Plusungood, Part 3
TW: """funny""" sexual and physical assault of a child by another child, extreme bullying, extreme ableism, a very brief discussion of shipping characters outside their canon sexuality.
CHEL: We get some implications of the part of troll culture we ended on last time when a slightly baffled-looking Nepeta, watching through the viewport, updates her SHIPPING WALL. Instead of hearts, some of the hypothetical pairings she’s painted are marked with diamonds. What this means will be explained shortly.
I can’t help but feel it’s slightly creepy to hypothetically matchmake your own friends, but I’m pretty sure the other trolls know at least that the shipping wall exists if not exactly which ships they’re in, and they do live in a society in which it’s stated later that mating is mandatory, so it would indeed be helpful to have at least emergency-doable matchmaking done well in advance and they might appreciate the help.
I’d like to take a moment to note a ship at the bottom row, left of centre; GA/Tavros. Hussie, on his Formspring, later said that GA was “obviously” a lesbian, or anyway was only interested in women, which doesn’t have a specific term for it in troll culture. It’s actually hard to tell going by what’s shown in canon, because she only displays specific interest in girls except for in a complicated case we’ll discuss later, but trolls are supposed to be bi-normative, plus it’s not like the male selection here is particularly inspiring, so, yeah, the evidence we actually see isn't conclusively "obvious". The fandom, knowing this, systematically harass anyone who even muses vaguely about the possibility of shipping her with a boy, even if they don't know about that Word of God. This is why I’m wondering whether the trolls knew about the shipping wall, because if they did, we can presume GA didn’t care. For the record, I’m sex-repulsed ace and have in fact written about.my own imaginary persona fucking (admittedly fucking an opposite sex clone of herself, it was a complicated injoke) and my reaction to someone else writing it would depend on context and reason, so I can imagine her reacting similarly, but not everyone would. A similar thing with a canonically gay male character explicitly on-screen not caring about hypothetical shipping of himself with girls comes up much later; he’s not a troll, but his upbringing was troll-influenced (long story).
BRIGHT: Harassing people over the ships they make content for always baffles me. It’s not like fanart/fanfic for a ship which contradicts canon has any effect on the canon, and playing around with character dynamics (often in a pornographic manner) is a major part of fanfic.
CHEL: On top of all this, gender and sexuality are really shaky concepts to even try to apply to a species which reproduces hermaphroditically. On this side of the fourth wall it’s obviously because Hussie is a not-very-reflective cisgender heterosexual man, and didn’t think about it any further than “girls wear skirts, right?” Plenty of people fanwank up possibilities for how it could happen on the other side. I think we may have to make a “What The Fuck Is Alternian Biology And Sociology” post or two separate from the sporking at the very end.
Discourse discussion over! Next page, we see some of the relevant terminology used in troll culture, though we still don’t get any explanation of what any of the words actually mean, which is a tad annoying for new readers. The context is a discussion between Karkat and Vriska about getting her into the game.
BRIGHT: Specifically, Karkat wants Vriska to get Tavros into the game, leading to this exchange…
CG: WHY DO YOU EVEN HATE HIM, IT'S FUCKING RIDICULOUS.
CG: IF ANYTHING YOU SHOULD PITY HIM.
CG: ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU WERE THE ONE WHO PARALYZED HIM.
AG: I know. I don't really understand it.
AG: It's just a really special kind of h8! It never goes away and it doesn't make a lot of sense.
CG: THIS IS KIND OF A WEIRD TIME TO BE CONFIDING IN ME ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS OF BLACK ROMANCE BUT OK.
AG: Oh god, what?
CG: I MEAN IF YOU'RE REALLY IMPLYING TAVROS IS YOUR KISMESIS I THINK YOU'RE BRAYING UP THE WRONG FROND NUB.
CG: BOTH PARTIES HAVE TO HATE EACH OTHER EQUALLY, I MEAN LIKE TRUE HATE.
CG: MAYBE YOUR FEELINGS COME SOMEWHAT CLOSE TO FITTING THE BILL BUT I DON'T THINK HE CAN HATE ANYONE, IT'S WEIRD, HE'S KIND OF BROKEN IN THE HEAD.
Finally, our long-awaited introduction to troll romance!
And the introduction is an effective one. We now know that there’s something called ‘black romance’, that it concerns hate, and that one’s black-romantic partner is a ‘kismesis’. The conversation also flows naturally and fits the characters having it, rather than being an awkward as-you-know infodump, although brace yourselves, there’s one of those coming up. Thirteen is about right for kids starting to have romantic feelings and being confused about it, not wanting to talk about it is pretty normal, and Karkat lecturing people at a good opportunity is absolutely in character.
Karkat goes on to lecture Vriska about the emotions involved in different sorts of romantic relationships, and wow, it really says a lot about troll culture…
CG: OK, MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T HAD THEIR LOBE STEM CAUTERIZED ARE CAPABLE OF FEELING THE TWO PRIMARY EMOTIONS, HATE AND PITY.
CG: PITY IS OF COURSE JUST THE TONED DOWN VERSION OF THE CENTRAL EMOTION, HATE.
CG: AND ALL THE NUANCES OF PITY MANIFEST AS VARIOUS OTHER KINDS OF FEELINGS LIKE WHATEVER CHEMICAL REACTIONS TRIGGER MATING FONDNESS OR THE MYSTERIOUS FORCES THAT ARE BEHIND MOIRALLEGIANCE.
CHEL: It’s never really clear if this is just Karkat’s idea of it or if this is how trolls actually work biologically. Trolls do use the word “love” later on, so I always interpreted it as “pity” being a euphemistic term because “love” in such a warlike and oppressive culture could be exploited as a weakness. Fandom has played it with their love actually being based on a weird form of sympathy/seeing the other as needing protection, which is also plausible.
FAILURE ARTIST: I have played with the pity thing before but in retrospect Karkat is the only one who seems to see it that way. Maybe this is all his fake deep teenager view of romance.
BRIGHT: Vriska makes a performance of how bored she is, but Karkat’s on a roll.
CG: A WELL BALANCED PERSON IS IS GOING TO HAVE A GOOD DISTRIBUTION BETWEEN HATE AND THE VARIOUS PITY HUMORS.
CG: HAVING A GOOD BALANCE KEEPS ALL THE EMOTIONS SHARPER, SEE I THINK THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM.
AG: I hope you know I already wore out some good note-taking pens today. All the pens.
AG: All of them.
CG: SEE, MY HATE IS LIKE A FINELY TUNED INSTRUMENT BECAUSE I'M AWARE OF THESE PRINCIPLES.
CG: I COULD HATE A HOLE IN PARADOX SPACE ITSELF, STRAIGHT THROUGH TO A NEW REALITY FRESH FOR THE HATING.
AG: Hahahahahahahaha, you don't even know how much I'm laughing at this.
CG: BUT SEE, YOU'RE TOO HEAVY ON THE HATE SIDE, OR AT LEAST YOU PRETEND TO BE WHICH IS MAYBE WORSE.
AG: You aren't reading anything I say are you? You just want to talk and talk and talk.
CG: AND YOU THINK YOU'RE HATING UP EVERYONE HARD WHEN YOU'RE REALLY JUST BURNING OUT THAT ENTIRE EMOTIONAL HEMISPHERE.
CG: IT'S LIKE LUKEWARM HATE. PRETENDER'S HATE, WITH NO COUNTERPOINT AT ALL.
CG: AS SUCH THERE'S NO REAL SUBSTANCE TO YOUR HATE, IT'S LIKE A CARDBOARD MOVIE PROP.
CG: WHICH IS WHY YOUR BRAIN IS BROKEN, KIND OF LIKE TAVROS'S BUT ON THE OPPOSITE HEMISPHERE I GUESS.
CG: OR MAYBE YOUR BROKEN BRAIN LED TO THE IMBALANCE IN THE FIRST PLACE, I DON'T KNOW.
CG: WHATEVER THE CASE IS, YOU'RE KIND OF EMOTIONALLY SCREWED, SORRY TO SAY.
CG: YOUR HATE'S TOO DULL FOR A PROPER KISMESIS, IN MY OPINION.
CG: AND I DON'T SEE ANYONE CHOMPING AT THE BIT TO BE YOUR MOIRAIL HONESTLY, UNLESS THERE'S SOMEONE OUT THERE WHO WOULD ACTUALLY BOTHER PITYING YOU.
CG: AND LANDING A MATESPRIT? HAHAHAHA!
CG: SERIOUSLY, LIKE THAT WOULD EVEN INTEREST YOU.
CG: BASICALLY ANY FEATURE OF YOUR EMOTIONAL PROFILE THAT USUALLY MAKES SOMEONE VIABLE IN THE REDROM DEPARTMENT MUST BE TOTALLY FRIED.
CG: YOUR BLACKROM POTENTIAL'S PROBABLY TOAST TOO.
So now we have ‘kismesis’, ‘moirail’, and ‘matesprit’ as terms for romantic partners, as well as the concepts of black romance, red romance, and ‘moirallegiance’ as the relationship one has with a moirail. Troll romance is not going to get any less confusing for a while.
If Karkat’s grasp of psychology strikes you as amateurish, there’s a reason for that: He gets all his knowledge from romance movies.
AG: Hey asshole, stop watching movies for girls.
I think that’s another strike against the ‘girls are the dangerous ones on Alternia’ argument. Romance movies, per this exchange, are both female-coded and seen as inferior -- Karkat defends his viewing choices by saying they’re INTRIGUING SOCIOLOGICALLY, but Vriska isn’t buying it.
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 42
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 33
CHEL: I’m not sure an interest in the workings of romance should be a socially gendered thing in a society where, as it turns out, you have to have an acceptable romantic partner by a certain time or die. You’d think most kids would be trying as hard as they could to learn and put into practice everything they could about it, and you’d also think there’d be better information for them than romcoms.
BRIGHT: Has the mate-or-die part come up yet? I’m not sure when Hussie thought of it.
CHEL: I don’t know if he’d thought of it yet, but it does come up very soon.
BRIGHT: Karkat then moves on to the original reason he contacted Vriska -- he needs her and her mind powers in the game, because he’s just run into a double agent called Jack.
Over on the next panel, Karkat is still talking to Vriska, but he’s glancing back over his shoulder at Jack Noir. His hand is covered in blood, which keeps cycling through a range of colours. The blood, it transpires, is because Jack stabbed him. Karkat is amazingly calm about this.
CG: HE'S COOL, IT'S FINE I DON'T REALLY MIND THE STABBING, IT WAS ALL A MISUNDERSTANDING.
CG: WELL OK I'M PRETTY SURE HE MEANT TO STAB ME.
CG: BUT I KIND OF THINK THAT'S LIKE
CG: THE WAY HE GREETS PEOPLE?
AG: This game is so stupid.
CG: IN ANY CASE I THINK HE'S PROBABLY ALL STABBED OUT.
This would be ridiculously chill even from someone who isn’t extremely cagey about his blood colour -- and it’s not that Karkat suddenly doesn’t care any more, because as soon as Vriska says she’ll ask Terezi or Jack what colour he’s bleeding, he tells her that he’s out of Terezi’s range, Jack is sworn to secrecy, and Sollux (who’s incommunicado) is the only one who knows how to make Trollian’s viewport feature work. (Given we saw how easy it is to use earlier, I’m surprised Vriska doesn’t try to figure it out herself.)
Over on the next panel, the viewer is now Jack, a few minutes prior to this conversation. Contrary to Karkat’s protestations, Jack stabs him because He's got a pretty sharp tongue and can't seem to keep it sheathed. He is curious when Karkat cares less about the wound and more about Jack seeing his blood colour, which is apparently some freakish mutation. Jack looks at his knife…
CHEL: While it’s not a realistic depiction of the colour, recall that this is the shade of red used in-comic to depict human blood. This reveal probably isn’t a surprise to anyone by now, if you’ve encountered fanart, and honestly it wasn’t a huge mindblowing revelation on my first read before I knew, but I do think it’s a clever little “aha, THAT’S why!” moment. Skilfully done.
It seems he's the only one of his kind with this mutant candy-red blood. An outcast. He thinks he was put on this planet covered in an ocean of his own blood to be taunted. Punished for something.
Saddest story you ever heard. Got to do something to shut him up.
BRIGHT: Awww. That’s kind of sweet.
This little interchange gave rise to the ‘Stabdads’ fandom phenomenon, where Spades Slick is envisaged as Karkat’s father-figure. In Homestuck canon, it’s dubious how much affection Slick has for Karkat. He seems more irritated by him than anything else, but that’s about on par for how he treats the rest of the Midnight Crew. On the other hand, it clearly makes a massive impact on Karkat. We’ve seen how important blood colour is on Alternia and how insecure he is about his own; his sudden rush of fellow-feeling towards Jack is understandable, even if it does make him way too forgiving about having been stabbed.
CHEL: Karkat and Jack shake hands, and proceed to be in cahoots. Cahoooooooots. Doodling on the defaced parking ticket from earlier, they draft OPERATION REGISURP.
Your whole team executes the plan along the course of its journey, employing espionage, mind control tactics, political sabotage, vicious interrogations and cold blooded assassinations. Everyone does their part and you begin to learn the true meaning of teamwork, as well as this troll disease called friendship.
Yeah, it actually happening is skipped over with one paragraph, but that’s probably a good thing with all the complexity already going on, and we do hear more details about it. First, we’re reminded of the existence and functions of the Queens’ Rings, the magic rings the queens of Derse and Prospit have which give them traits and powers from whatever the players put in their sprites. The trolls have put their lusii in their sprites, except for Aradia, whose lusus died long ago, so she got in the sprite herself. The Queen could put up with getting bits and pieces from eleven hideous monsters (well, ten hideous monsters and one adowable little fairybull thing oh my gosh it’s cuuuute) tacked onto her, but what she absolutely won’t stand for is the other thing Aradia put in her sprite…
She could not stand bearing the visage of the most loathsome creature known to existence. So vile is its appearance, so contemptible its purpose, all depictions of the creature let alone members of its population are permanently banned from any jurisdiction in the reach of her agents. Those of its kind go by many names, and so does the reviled patron god they herald - THE GREAT DETESTATION, KING PONDSQUATTER, SPEAKER OF THE VAST JOKE, or most commonly, BILIOUS SLICK.
Recall that AR thought of the hieroglyphs in the Frog Temple as “illegal pictography”. We’ll find out later why the Black Queen has such a revulsion for frogs, it’s important. But the important part right now is that she took the ring off. At the time of planning it’s in the ROYAL VAULT.
We briefly see a moment in the future of the Black Queen wrapped in rags, just like the human sessions’ White Queen, wandering the desert as the BANISHED QUASIROYAL, and the caption notes the plan was a success.
However, Doc Scratch appears in the desert in front of her, and it’s noted she was given a new purpose. This, it seems, is the origin of Snowman.
FAILURE ARTIST: I would like if there was some canon Homestuck material expanding on this REGISURP plot.
BRIGHT: Same! It sounds really interesting. One example of Homestuck’s idiosyncratic pacing, I suppose -- we spend pages and pages on trivial alchimeter nonsense, but skip over something more meaty.
CHEL: The Red Team work on that, while the Blue Team battle their own session… or so they think. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve all already figured it out, but the trolls hadn’t just yet. They note that their prototypes are affecting the opposite team’s underlings, and the readers are shown Alternia’s two Frog Temples, one near Aradia’s home and the other near Kanaya’s, each with six pillars outside (one seems to have five, but the sixth is hidden behind the building). Superimposed on each other, the pillars make a full ring of twelve.
The truth was it had always been the same session all along. That your teams were not competing, but cooperating toward a common goal.
In the more drawn out form of this adventure's narrative, figuring this out would have been a huge deal. We would have been completely blown away by this stunning revelation.
Wow. Same session all along. Really?
This is what Aradia’s been so mysterious about. She knew. We’re provided with a handy diagram, in case we haven’t been able to keep up.
After watching the phrases MOBIUS DOUBLE and REACH AROUND toggle for a few minutes while in a sort of stupor, you finally snap out of it.
(I just noticed, the Blue Team are the Derse dreamers and the Red Team are the Prospit dreamers. Neat!)
The reader’s attention is drawn instead to the Aquarius and Pisces symbols in the top left, belonging to characters we haven’t met yet, and the narration promises we’ll learn about them soon. Drawing attention again to GA’s Virgo symbol, the narration muses about her.
It will probably be quite some time before you get to be her. It could very well be pages and pages and pages.
Naturally, we jump right back to her.
GA’s intro is long, so we’ll take it piece by piece.
Your name is KANAYA MARYAM.
The Sanskrit name for Virgo is “Kanya”, and it’s also the name of a town in Japan. “Maryam” is the Arabic version of “Mary”, as in Jesus’ mother. It may also be a reference to Marya Zaleska, the title character of the movie “Dracula’s Daughter”.
You are one of the few of your kind who can withstand the BLISTERING ALTERNIAN SUN, and perhaps the only who enjoys the feel of its rays. As such, you are one of the few of your kind who has taken a shining to LANDSCAPING. You have cultivated a lush oasis around your hive, and in particular, you have honed your craft through the art of TOPIARY, sculpting your trees to match the PUFFY ORACLES from your dreams. You have embraced the tool of this trade, which conveniently is the weapon of choice for those who would hunt the HEINOUS BROODS OF THE UNDEAD which crawl from the sand at sunrise to feast on the light and the living.
Couple things established here; trolls are not only nocturnal but actively harmed by their planet’s sun, and undead beings other than ghosts exist. Said traditional weapon for hunting them is a chainsaw, which we can see lying against her bookshelf, a reference to the Evil Dead movies.
It would be convenient if you actually hunted them, but it is of course far too dangerous, every bit as suicidal as attempting to poach the terrible MUSCLEBEASTS who roam at night. So you indulge in your bright fascination with the grim through literature. Just before the sun goes down and you join your flora in rest, you immerse yourself in tales of RAINBOW DRINKERS and SHADOW DROPPERS and FORBIDDEN PASSION.
Rainbow drinkers are, as discussed later on, troll vampires. I don’t think shadow droppers are ever expanded on, but they might be zombies or werebeasts. Troll goths, apparently, are the reverse of human goths, dressing in bright colours and staying up in the daytime, which makes sense for a species who can only safely go out at night.
You are one of the few of your kind with JADE GREEN BLOOD. As such you are one of the few who could be selected and raised by a VIRGIN MOTHER GRUB, an event so rare as to elude documented precedent. She would defend you from desert threats, and though her life would be short, in time you would assure her of progeny.
Recall that the Mother Grub is required for troll reproduction.
You are a SEAMSTRESS or a RAGRIPPER or a TREETRIMMER or a LUMBERJACK, whichever you care to be, and your unique hive is equipped with a great supply of advanced technology to accommodate your interests. The technology and indeed the hive itself were all recovered from the ruins nearby when you were very young. The seed of your hive was deployed on the volcanic rocks beneath the sand with the assistance of your lusus and her remarkable burrowing skills, and you have lived there happily together since.
You know the ruins and the hive and everything here that is not sand and rock originated from the world of your dreams. You also know that one day you will visit this world while you are awake. That day is today.
Like Jade, Kanaya has been awake on Prospit for years, and the technology in question is Skaian in origin, so that’s how she knows what’s going on with the game.
Kanaya is prompted to equip her chainsaw, which promptly turns into a lipstick in a Problem Sleuth reference. Like Jade, she has a Wardrobifier, set to randomise, which suddenly turns her black shirt and red skirt into a red leaf-print dress. She takes out the lipstick.
You can choose between your trademark jade or black. Even though a troll's lips are naturally black.
But they can always be blacker, and a lady with a true sense of style knows this.
She goes with green, her dress turns into a blue kimono, and she’s messaged by someone with a fuschia Pisces symbol. This person, named cuttlefishCuller, turns out to be rather excitable, greeting her in all caps and following it up with Glub glub glub glub glub!
BRIGHT: This conversation is pretty sweet, with some friendly joking about CC’s quirk (they stick hyphens in front of their capital Es) and mention of their Collapsing And Expanding Bladder Based Aquatic Vascular System. There’s another mention of moirails, with CC saying they’ll have to join the game late to keep an eye on theirs.
It also turns out both CC and Kanaya are having some premonitions of what’s to come! Kanaya is seeing visions in the clouds of Skaia, the same way Jade does, but CC hears whispers from a mysterious ‘she’ who needs her voice keeping down. It’s implied to be CC’s lusus, as both Kanaya and CC are aware their lusii are going to die soon.
Kanaya hopes to be with her lusus as she dies, but looks out of the window to find the Virgin Mother Grub has already passed away, apparently of natural causes.
CHEL: The Mother Grub was seen briefly before; it’s a moth-like creature with a huge fat body the size of a bus, with wings too small to ever lift it, horns the same shape as Kanaya’s, and a skull-like head with big lips. The skull on Terezi’s Doomsday Scale was, we can tell now, a Mother Grub, except quite a lot bigger - presumably a breeding Grub.
BRIGHT: Kanaya changes back into her original outfit, and goes down to live up to her end of the bargain… which entails slicing a hole in her lusus with her chainsaw and pulling out a round object covered in spikes the colour of trolls’ horns, called a Matriorb. Kanaya stores it in her sylladex; she’s using a CHASTITY MODUS, which locks each card away, and the key will serendipitously be discovered when it’s time for the card to be unlocked. These modii are getting more and more esoteric.
Kanaya proceeds to have a conversation with her own moirail, Vriska, which we already read earlier.
You then proceed to have the rest of this conversation we already read, bugging and fussing and meddling through the special and magical union one can only describe as being in moirallegiance with another.
At least, you guess that's how you would describe it. Maybe.
Troll romance sure is confusing!
Yes, yes it is. (Spoiler: It’s not that confusing once it’s explained.)
Kanaya doesn’t have long to dwell on the conversation, as she’s contacted by caligulasAquarium, someone with a violet Aquarius symbol who she doesn’t seem to think highly of. It rapidly becomes apparent why.
CA: kan make her talk to me do somethin
CA: your no good connivvin fuckin backstabbin girl crush thats wwho
CHEL: Trolls are supposed to come bi/pan as standard, so why does he need to specify “girl crush”? I wonder if Hussie hadn’t decided that yet when he wrote this part, but I’m not sure.
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 34
CA’s gender hasn’t been revealed, but let’s not kid ourselves, we know from how he’s talking that he’s a dude. Nice Girls certainly exist but they don’t tend to get portrayed as so whiny in fiction, plus CC comes off as very girly, and that leaves us with six boy and six girl trolls. Balance and opposites and counterparts are a running theme throughout Homestuck. Not that there can’t be nonbinary characters, as some show up in Hiveswap; just that there would most likely have to be an even number of them, split evenly between the groups of players. Fine by me as a nonbinary person with a thing for balance and even numbers of my own.
Also, note that we’ve seen this guy, or at least his hand and foot, before. This is the litter-hater in the bowling shoes.
GA: Overstating Our Relationship Wont Make Me Feel Very Cooperative
GA: Its Paler Red Than That Ok
CA: pshhhhhh that is a fuckin laugh and you knoww it evveryone does
CA: so help me out tell her to talk to me i think she blocked me you got to
GA: Why Do I Got To
GA: I Dont Got To And Every Time You Take My Help For Granted I Feel Like I Got To A Little Less
CA: wwhatEVVER you are so the vvillage twwo wwheel devvice wwhen it comes to auspisticing
CA: you cant let a grudge go by you wwont stick your busy stem betwwixt so get wwith the program fussyfangs
BRIGHT: Oh hey, another troll romance term! ‘Auspisticing’ is the last of the lot, don’t worry.
CA: wwho givves a shit wwhy she blocked me or about my fuckin manners come on youvve got a wway wwith her
CA: i figure if youre going to auspisticize any twwo brinesuckers wwho sneer at each other a funny wway you might as wwell make it official and be ours right
GA: Your Black Solicitation Just Seems Really Indecent
Funny words aside, Hussie does a good job at laying down context for what auspisticism is here; we now know that it involves mediating between two parties who dislike each other and that it’s a form of black romance. Meshing worldbuilding naturally into the dialogue is something Homestuck does really well at times.
Anyway, CA is trying to get in contact with Vriska because he asked her to make something for him and now she’s blowing him off.
GA: What Is It
CA: kan stupid wwhat do you think its a fuckin gizmo to bloww up the wworld or somethin
CA: ok wwell not that obvviously
CA: but somethin thatll kill all land dwwellers wwhat else wwould i be after
GA: Can You Just For A Moment Entertain The Thoughts Of One Untouched By Megalomaniacal Derangement And Tell Me Why Id Want To Assist You With That
CA: im not goin to vvery wwell kill you am i that wwould be fuckin unconscionable
CA: wwhat kind of friend wwould i be
While CA is obviously a douche, there’s something funny about how over-the-top he is about it and how utterly oblivious he is to the idea that Kanaya might have a problem with a device that would kill all landdwellers, although the humour is inversely proportionate to how likely he is to pull it off.
CHEL: Maybe I’m strange, but I think he’s adorable. I get the impression of a small kid trying to puff himself up to adult size.
BRIGHT: There’s also more romance talk, and this next bit is one I find interesting:
CA: you could either play along as our auspistice and do a little mediating like you wwere fuckin hatched to
CA: or wwatch she and me devvolvve into fuckin full fledged kismesisses the kind like you dont get once in ten thousand swweeps
CA: you knoww thats wwhat it wwould be there wwould be rainboww rivvers runnin through star systems and all nebulizin like liquid firewworks
CA: it wwill be beautiful and heartbreaking all at once
CA: you should read up on your history instead of poring through that godawwfull sunny rubbish
I’m going to take a step back from Homestuck itself for a moment and talk about kismessitude as it’s portrayed in fandom. People tend to envision it in a variety of ways -- some see it as a BDSM relationship, some as a way of pushing a rival to be better, some as just straight-up hate-sex -- but most depictions show it as something that only affects the two people involved.
Here, though? CA’s talking about kismessitude as something that’s potentially really damn dangerous, to other people besides those involved, and cites history as a backup -- implying it can really be that dangerous, and it’s not just a teenager’s flight of fancy. (Although, that said, CA is clearly using this to try and get Kanaya in a relationship with him, so how sincere he is is questionable.)
CHEL: Later on we do see a little bit of one of the historical cases he might have been citing. We’ll discuss it more then. Also, I do like him saying “sunny” instead of “gloomy”. Makes sense!
Kanaya tells CA none of this matters, and he sneers about the “purity of the bloodline”. That’s an… uncomfortable turn of phrase, especially since he’s speaking to someone not covered by the “purity” standard, but since it applies to aliens and it’s in a society where that’s hammered into its inhabitants it’s not a Problematykks issue. Kanaya tells him it still won’t matter because their race will be wiped out entirely, and his reaction is remarkably understated:
CA: wwell ok
HURRY UP AND DO NOTHING: 11
CA says he knows Kanaya doesn’t lie except to herself, surprisingly perceptive for one so puffed-up otherwise. CA might be smarter than he’s letting on? He asks if her clouds told her that; that was the reader’s assumption too, but she says no, she has a different source. Uh-oh. We know what the last source of information was, and it cost Vriska an arm and an eye-sevenfold. CA’s own clouds “hide nothin but misfortune and monstrosities”, so we can guess she’s Prospit and he’s Derse. He goes back to nagging her to tell Vriska to talk to him, and when she continues to refuse he poutily steps off.
CA: you dont wwant to be our auspistice cause you dont wwant to get locked into that sort of relation wwith her i can respect that
Kanaya denies this, and CA says everyone knows, including Karkat.
GA: Its Unbelievable
GA: Her Patience
CA: wwhoa wwait wwho
GA: Never Mind
CA: ok wwait did she talk to you today
CA: wwhat did she say
CA: or glub or wwhatevver
They’re talking about CC, if it wasn’t clear. Kanaya, in a callback to John’s comment to Terezi, facetiously tells him that she talked about Longing To Touch You Indiscretely and That Shes Basically In The Scarlet Throes For You. CA, flustered, picks up that she’s teasing him, and she tells him the truth, that CC’s just concerned as a moirail.
CA: if youre not savvvvy about howw you define yourself to people
CA: you can just splash into the moirail zone before you knoww wwhich wways upwward
I’m going to comment on this attitude in a bit more detail when we get a clearer explanation of what moirallegiance actually is. CA leaves her with some arc words.
CA: being a kid and growwing up
CA: its hard and nobody understands
Kanaya heads back to her room, planning to emphatically not meddle but help her friends, and consults her source; it’s fortunately not a Doc Scratch-related one at all. It is, in fact, Rose’s long-forgotten GameFAQ, saved on a server floating in the Furthest Ring, to which Prospit’s clouds directed her. I have to show you the panel for a moment though…
I’m sure there was a way we could see the screen without having it facing away from Kanaya who’s supposed to be reading it.
You can only assume this took place a long time ago. This race is likely ancient, preceding yours by millions of sweeps. Maybe billions! You like to try to imagine the adventures of these players. Were they successful in repopulating their race? Did they manage to protect their matriorb and hatch a new mother grub? Could they hold it together, or were they torn apart by the complex social dynamics, the matespritships and moirallegiences and auspisticisms and kismesissitudes that will surely plague your group along the way?
You have little doubt they succeeded with flying colors.
Oh dear, dramatic irony. Kanaya fantasises about a troll version of Rose, thinking she must have been the leader of this supposedly long-ago group.
And yet they appear to have been the only of their kind to have risen to the challenge in a session stacked heavily against them.
Huh. So is this just because Kanaya can’t find more information, or are the four kids in fact the only humans who successfully got into the game? Picking four specifically white-coded kids to be the last of the human race due to supposedly their own competence is… not a good choice. And why the hell couldn’t other people succeed? This strikes me as more of the whole theme of “nobody matters except the people we’re focusing on”. A good lampshading of video game tropes, but in a literary story, that’s the opposite message to everything I’ve ever read, and it’s a creepy one.
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 43
HURRY UP AND DO NOTHING: 12
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 35
BRIGHT: I thiiiiiiiink it’s at least implied later on that there are other sessions going, it’s just that each session is a closed loop of players so we don’t see the others...although if that’s the case, does that mean Earth’s getting hit with meteors from multiple Skaias?
CHEL: That over with for the moment, we cut to Tavros’ house as you take your place as the PAGE OF BREATH in the LAND OF SAND AND ZEPHYR. Vriska, his server player, gets down to the business of building up his house towards the Gate…
… entirely out of staircases.
AT: i THINK THIS, iS,
AT: pROBABLY MEANT TO ANTAGONIZE ME,
Okay, this probably makes me a bad person, but I’m crying with laughter at his expression and that line.
It’s more disability slapstick, but here the point of the joke comes off as being more that Vriska is a jerk and Tavros’ reaction is really understated than any reasonable person being supposed to assume Tavros is wrong for not being able to climb stairs. Emphasis on “comes off as”, unfortunately. I’m still gonna give a Problematykks point, and further experience with Hussie’s attitude to disability has soured the joke somewhat, even in just the next couple of pages.
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 44
BRIGHT: Vriska tries to get Tavros to crawl up the stairs, first by telling him that he promised not to be boring anymore and then by saying that she’s trying to help him get stronger. She caps off the rant by demanding that he apologise.
AT: tHANKS, i GUESS,
AT: sORRY FOR WHAT,
AG: For 8eing crippled, you ass!
AT: yOU WANT ME TO APOLOGIZE,
AT: fOR BEING PARALYZED,
AG: Say you're sorry.
AT: i DON'T MEAN TO BE RUDE, oR bORING,
AT: bUT THAT'S RIDICULOUS, gIVEN,
AT: uH, tHE CIRCUMSTANCES,
AG: It's something called 8asic decency and civility you fudge8looded 8oor.
AG: Now get down on your useless wo88ly knees and apologize.
AT: nO, i DON'T WANT TO,
Vriska, what the fuck.
Tavros is really great here. He’s obviously not comfortable fighting with Vriska, and repeatedly tries to redirect her into building him ramps instead of engaging. But, at the same time, he holds his ground and doesn’t let her push him around, and won’t let go of solid hard reality in the face of Vriska trying to emotionally manipulate him.
FAILURE ARTIST: And yet people still call him a wimp.
BRIGHT: Vriska retaliates, because of course she does, by grabbing his wheelchair with her cursor and shaking it about. If Hussie left it at that, everything would be unobjectionable, at least in terms of narrative voice. Instead, well…
Now she's done it. She has awoken the mighty inner fury that is...
CHEL: It just occurred to me to mention that the name Rufio comes from a character in the movie Hook, the leader of the Lost Boys after Peter Pan left, played by Dante Basco. Tavros’ mental image of him is a reference to that character.
FAILURE ARTIST: Dante Basco did read Homestuck, with hilarious results as we will see.
But unfortunately, Rufio is not real. He's imaginary. A fake. Like a made up friend, the way fairies are.
You continue to be sad and alone.
Let me be clear: Tavros having no further recourse to deal with Vriska’s abuse beyond his visualised self-esteem is a problem for the character, but it’s not necessarily a narrative problem per se. Escapism is a thing. You could get a decent character arc out of Tavros learning better ways to deal with harassment he can’t escape. It is a narrative problem when the narrator mocks it and makes him out to be pathetic for even trying it.
CHEL: I’d consider this to be just Tavros’ own thought process, but, sadly, this kind of narrative sneering at him carries on throughout Tavros’ presence in the comic and the fandom seems to buy into it. Tavros gets a lot of hate for reasons which mostly boil down to him being a male abuse victim; there’s a feeling that he should “try harder” to fight back, despite him being physically disabled and a member of a caste out of sight beneath her on the social ladder and legally permitted to be killed by her on a whim. Might that count as a point for WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM, for Huss and the fandom not taking the social dynamics into account for why Tavros can’t defend himself?
BRIGHT: I don’t know if it’s fair to count against the fandom when we’re reviewing Homestuck proper, but we can definitely count against Hussie!
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 36
CHEL: It’s also notable that the common fandom interpretation of Tavros is as Hispanic-coded, at least partly due to his Spanish username, and of Vriska as white-coded. That’s probably not helping.
Since Hussie appears to expect us to agree with Vriska that this is funny, I’m adding another to these as well.
ALL THE LUCK: 2
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 45
IN HATE WITH MY CREATION: 3
BRIGHT: What’s weird about this whole mess is that Hussie doesn’t — yet — try to say that Tavros should be trying to get stronger; his disability is fully acknowledged. I feel like this kind of mockery is usually accompanied by the attitude that disabled people should just get over their disability, but Hussie’s clear that Tavros can’t. Which means he should do...what, exactly?
CHEL: Not have let Vriska disable him in the first place, presumably. Never mind that, you know, she has mind control powers so he didn’t really have a choice in that either. That is, however, an argument Vriska fans actually make. Apparently some of them actually blame him for not flying when she threw him off the cliff, which… well, unpowered flight is a thing that can happen in the comic but he certainly couldn’t do it then.
BRIGHT: ...Apparently I retain the capacity for surprise at how awful people can be. The fuck?
Back in the comic, Tavros fortunately does have one other means of recourse. Back in her hive, Vriska is suddenly prodded in the back with a flying toilet, courtesy of Kanaya.
GA: Just Presenting A Floating Reminder That Tavros Will Need Plenty Of Inclined Surfaces For His Ascent
AG: That's silly. I made so many ramps, you wouldn't even 8elieve it.
AG: I specifically decided I wanted to 8uild something ugly and 8oring. It is now the land of ramps and yawns.
GA: Hes Reported Otherwise
AG: That lousy snitch! May8e I should take his computer away so he can't go crying to fussyfangs anymore.
GA: Maybe I Should Upend This Load Gaper Over Your Head
AG: No, don't!
GA: Im Still Learning The Interface
GA: It Could Happen Accidentally At Any Moment
AG: I'm only trying to help him. ::::(
GA: Think Of Another Way To Help
CHEL: Did I mention Kanaya is my zodiac troll? I can only long to reach her heights of awesome. Of course the ability to levitate toilets would kinda help.
BRIGHT: Vriska heads down to her treasure vault and retrieves a pair of ROCKET SHOES. The captchalogue code for these is ‘PSHOOOES’, which amuses me greatly. Vriska sends the code to Tavros, who combines it with the code for his wheelchair to create a flying wheelchair. Now that is a good use of alchemising!
Tavros flies up to the Gate, and we cut back to him later on, leading an entourage of communed-with imps and ogres to move obstacles and help him solve puzzles. Using his skills well, I see! In another set of ruins the imps load jigsaw pieces of rock into a frog-shaped alcove,
Things, however, don’t continue to go so well, because Hussie hates this poor kid. I do not mean that facetiously. Statements he’s made elsewhere imply he has a hell of a lot of contempt for several of the characters he created, which I don’t understand at all. We’ll go into this after Act 7, but I get the sensation that the characters are merely tools to show off the complexity and meta references, which are the parts he really cares about.
BRIGHT: It’s not unknown for authors to dislike characters they wrote; the great Terry Pratchett reputedly hated his character Rincewind. The key difference is that in Pratchett’s case, the audience couldn’t tell. Hussie, on the other hand, tends to make his disdain pretty obvious, to the detriment of the story.
CHEL: That’s a point. Conan Doyle grew to hate Sherlock Holmes, too. He didn’t, however, set up situations solely to shit on Holmes in his books.
BRIGHT: I think that’s the key. I’ll forgive a multitude of failings as long as the author seems to be treating the characters fairly. That doesn’t mean that good things have to happen to them — plenty of bad things can happen and I’ll enjoy it — it just means that the author has to...respect how the character feels and would behave, I guess.
Of course, respect is Hussie’s antithesis, so.
Also, nothing so far has shown Vriska to be anything other than a (granted, entertaining) bully. I wasn’t around while Homestuck was updating, so I’m not sure when her fandom took off, but it has to be later than this, surely?
CHEL: I don’t know. I wasn’t around till about mid-Act 6.
What was I on about? Oh yes. Tavros is interrupted by Vriska again, who bitches him out for doing things the boring way and seeking the boring lore.
AG: The minds of your consorts are very soft and impressiona8le.
AG: As easily manipul8ed as all those imps you've 8een 8ossing around.
AG: I have picked apart their tiny little lizard 8rains and seen through all the smoke and mirrors of their riddles.
AG: I have gotten to the truth they are guarding. The great 8ig mystery 8ehind this planet. And you know what it is, Tavros?
AG: It's 8ullshit!
AG: Meaningless, 8oring, fanciful 8ullshit wrapped in flowery poems to keep you guessing.
AG: It all leads to one thing anyway, and that's what we should put our attention on.
AG: Real gamers cut to the chase. They power through all the nonsense and go for the gold.
AG: They cheat, Tavros.
AG: It is time you learned to start cheating.
Interesting theory. Tavros thinks befriending his monsters instead of killing them is cheating, and Vriska grudgingly agrees but is annoyed he isn’t killing anything. She claims to have designed a better and more challenging quest for him; he asks after her own quest, and she says she has time because Kanaya’s busy.
AG: Which is just as well 8ecause I was starting to get nannied HARD.
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 37
Strange word choice for a species raised by animals, but okay. Vriska sends Tavros a map to the next Gate, and he sets off in his little rocket chair. Little does he know.
You proceed through what seems to be your second gate, into the LAND OF MAPS AND TREASURE. The THIEF OF LIGHT lies in wait.
In a callback to our last meeting of Breath and Light players, Tavros crashes through Vriska’s wall and is left hanging upside-down in the rocket chair from the large cobwebs across the room, while Vriska sleeps on a pile of broken eight-balls. Doesn’t look comfortable, but trolls rest in worse places later. Vriska wakes, and Tavros falls head-first onto the floor.
Here is where it gets incredibly uncomfortable, and we have to show it in detail to assign points properly and so that there’s no ambiguity about what’s happening, so if you have any sexual assault, ableism, underage, mind control, or victim-blaming triggers you may want to skip this part. No clothing is removed but it’s very unpleasant to read and the attitude toward it is worse. Seriously, this is Taklamakan Zoo levels of bad.
(This heading below’s not part of the comic, I just put it there so you can skip. The sequence ends with the piece of fanart of Kanaya looking at the sideways screen.)
~*THE ASSAULT STARTS HERE*~
Vriska sits up. She’s wearing a very short strappy white Tinkerbell dress with her sign on it, and what look like over-the-knee socks, a commonly fetishised style of clothing. I remind you these characters are supposed to be thirteen years old. The dress is also the same as the one worn by the fairy in the artwork on Tavros’ desktop background. I don’t know if Vriska had seen that or not.
To be fair she’s just in an actually-more-modest version of what Peter Pan’s sidekick/love interest wears and the socks come off as more dorky than sexy.
It appears Pupa Pan himself has flown through your window while you were asleep. How exciting! Surely he is here to take you away on the adventure of a lifetime. He is more dreamy and heroic than you ever imagined.
But what's this?? It seems the legendary Boy-Skylark has misplaced his shadow. He is looking EVERYWHERE for it, to no avail. He is having a devil of a time, what with being paralyzed from the waist down and all. He clearly needs your help.
CHEL: Vriska is prompted to Help Pupa find shadow, and approaches Tavros with a nasty-looking grin on her face, while he lies on the floor, gritting his teeth in noticeable pain.
Pupa! You truly are a silly goose. Your shadow has been trapped underneath your useless torso the whole time! Honestly, where else would it be you stupid sack of shit?
Charming. Vriska proceeds to kick him in the head, or at least nudge him with her foot, while he lies unresponsive.
Of course, the secret to reuniting with your shadow is to get up and walk around. And play and dance and frolic! Your shadow will surely join in your gaiety.
But it appears Pupa has lost the use of his legs. There will be no frolicking in this young man's future. ::::(
Everyone knows that just a pinch of SPECIAL STARDUST along with a happy thought will allow any boy to get up and walk again. Everyone knows this because it is in the classic tale, PUPA PAN. Young Pupa flies through the window of a fairy girl's respiteblock, falls on the floor, and has trouble getting up like an enormous pansy. The fairy girl then helps him walk again, and in return, he teaches her to fly, even though she probably already knows how to fly. Because she's a fairy. They fly out of her window together, and have magical adventures for many sweeps thereafter.
To be honest, you hardly know a damn thing about Pupa Pan. But you do not care.
Pupa remains as pathetic and useless as ever.
FAILURE ARTIST: The story just keeps mocking Tavros for being disabled.
CHEL: Not to mention for being interested in fairies. Because how dare a boy have a gender-nonstandard interest, or a young teenager enjoy whimsical escapism from an increasingly horrible and guaranteed-to-be-short life.
WHITE SBURB POSTMODERNISM: 39
I might be projecting because the fandom has made me loathe her, but it honestly comes off like Vriska dressed up like this in the first place less to seduce Tavros and more to make sure she thoroughly ruined his favourite thing to hurt him further, especially if the narration is supposed to be things she’s actually saying to him.
The stardust did nothing! Probably because it is just glittery powder with no magical properties whatsoever and is basically bullshit. Because in case it wasn't clear, magic isn't real, and neither are miracles.
It could just be that Pupa has failed to have a happy thought!
Your duty is clear. You will have to MAKE him have happy thoughts.
Vriska: Make Pupa have happy thoughts.
He certainly doesn’t seem to be having happy thoughts now. Notice his expression, what we can see of it, looks terrified, he’s trembling, and let’s recall that he’s paralysed from the waist down. Even if he wasn’t, she’s of a far, far higher caste than him, legally permitted to do whatever she wants to him, including killing him if he tries to resist. It’s kind of gone back and forth on, but higher bloods are a few times stated to be a lot stronger than lower bloods, and if they work like humans, they’re in puberty right now, a time at which human girls tend to get taller and stronger sooner than boys. Again, it’s gone back and forth on, but a common interpretation is that female trolls are stronger than male trolls in general and/or have the social power advantage. Let’s also remember that, even if none of those factors apply, Vriska has mind control powers. There is no point here at which Tavros has the advantage, nothing he can use as leverage on her. She can do whatever the hell she wants, and she does.
BRIGHT: We’ve also been explicitly shown that Vriska has little to no respect for anyone else’s autonomy if she finds it inconvenient, and that Tavros is her favourite punching bag, and that his ability to stand up for himself when she gets going is extremely limited.
CHEL: Despite the odds stacked against him, Tavros struggles against the kiss forced on him, and when Vriska pushes him back, doesn’t respond with anything but a look of horror, though she appears to expect him to, as a flickering heart-spade with a question mark over it appears between them. I’m not sure whether that’s supposed to be the thought process of him or her or both.
Vriska hurls him onto the floor with some force...
… and activates her mind control, causing little hearts to light up in Tavros’ eyes.
BRIGHT: Vriska has used her mind-control powers on Tavros before, and when it happened she walked him off a cliff. There is basically no way that her doing it again isn’t going to be a traumatic experience for him, above and beyond the inherent horror of losing control over one’s body.
I’m inclined to think that forcibly altering his emotions is worse, though. Being paralysed was bad enough, but Tavros knows what happened and he knows how he feels about it. Making him fall in love with her is just…on one level, it’s a horrible assault on his autonomy as a person, and on another level, it’s tailor-made to make him doubt himself and believe the encounter was something he wanted.
FAILURE ARTIST: I hadn’t thought that he might now consider the encounter as consensual, which would explain his later reaction.
CHEL: Tavros paws at her legs, making kissy faces, and she looks vaguely concerned. Note the background still depicts wavy blue rays coming off her, showing her power is still active.
Looking defeated, she drops the control and dumps him on the floor again.
I’m not sure what she’s supposed to be thinking in this last panel. Is she feeling guilty? Is she disappointed that he didn’t like her under his own power? Has she just decided he’s too useless to be worth the effort? Any could be true.
BRIGHT: I read that as disappointment that even when he ‘liked’ her, he didn’t act the way she wanted. (And the way Tavros acted is kind of disturbing. ‘Mindlessly pawing at someone’ is not what I’d expect from him if he was legitimately attracted to someone.)
FAILURE ARTIST: The common interpretation these days was she was realizing she wasn’t into boys which okay that’s good for her but she should feel more bad about molesting him.
CHEL: That also makes no sense, because she shows interest in multiple boys later.
I’m also not entirely sure if Vriska had the intention of actually raping Tavros here (in the standard way, I mean, as one could argue that mind control is a form of rape), or just making out with him. The fact that she dressed up in vaguely fetishy clothing isn’t making it look good, though. Yes, she’s very young, but traumatised kids in particular have been known to lash out sexually like that. It’s a way of reasserting personal power, and I imagine it would be more prevalent in a society with no sapient adult supervision. While there are mitigating circumstances involved in their social situation and Vriska not really having ever had a chance to learn better, that doesn’t make this not a horrible thing to do, or not traumatising for Tavros.
BRIGHT: The clothing could potentially be down to Vriska wanting to look ‘adult’ without fully understanding why it looks adult. That does come up sometimes with teens — they want to experiment with clothing because that’s how adults dress, not because they want to look sexy, or they might dress a certain way for dates because that’s the social model they have for How Dates Work.
And if I read it like that, this basically looks like Vriska having the date equivalent of a dolls’ tea party. Which says volumes about how she views Tavros’s autonomy.
CHEL: Good point. Though honestly it would say volumes about same either way!
BRIGHT: I said earlier that Vriska is better than Equius at recognising when other people’s desires conflict with hers, and she is, but that doesn’t mean she respects those differences. She just recognises that they’re there, and overrides them. This is a prime example of Vriska viewing Tavros as something between a chew-toy and a prop. First she kicks him around and terrifies him, then she expects him to be able to get over those emotions at the drop of a hat and respond to her advances — and, moreover, she wants him to respond in a certain way, which Tavros has zero way of knowing. This is the first time she’s shown that sort of interest in him, unless her earlier behaviour was the Alternian equivalent of pigtail-pulling.
...I think maybe that was in fact Alternian pigtail-pulling. Or at least Vriska’s version of pigtail-pulling.
CHEL: That’ll actually make more sense, once we explain what the spade symbol means.
Okay, how many counts does this cover?
ALL THE LUCK: 12
ARE YOU TRYING TO BE FUNNY?: 31
CALL CPA PLEASE: 26
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 55
IN HATE WITH MY CREATION: 13
It also occurred to me during this sequence to think again about how Karkat contemptuously swears at and hangs up the phone on the injured Tavros. This, at first glance, seems to be very much at odds with the “cranky but caring” impression we’re supposed to have of Karkat… but it fits precisely with Hussie’s opinion of Tavros and how pathetic he is for allowing a much more powerful person to permanently disable him. I know at the moment it looks like I’m not separating the character from the author, but it’ll become clear as we go that that is what he thinks.
IN HATE WITH MY CREATION: 14
Why didn’t we start a FUCK YOU, HUSSIE count?
BRIGHT: It would have ended up longer than all the other counts combined.
CHEL: The actual assault is over now, but there’s one more picture of it. The ramifications must continue to be discussed, so tread cautiously. The actual act is over now, though.
Said ramifications come pretty quickly. Kanaya, having dealt with getting herself into the game and prototyped her own lususprite, decides to check on Vriska.
Ideally she has not gotten herself into too much trouble.
And ideally the dramatic irony has not gotten so thick you could draw a dotted line on it with a tube of lipstick and cut it in half with a chainsaw.
Of course, she sees the exact moment Vriska kisses Tavros.
(Fanart source has now been deleted, sadly.)
~*THE ASSAULT ENDS HERE*~
Humorous art aside over, let’s watch Kanaya’s reaction in more detail. She angrily looks at a copy of the Tinkerbell dress, which she presumably sent the alchemiter code for rather than the actual item to Vriska, hence why she still has it.
So THAT'S why she had you make this dress for her???
And you just went along with it like a sucker.
Argh, you are such an IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Like Karkat, Kanaya is presented as the caring one, the protective one. The “mom friend” of the group. And yet, she looks at this, in which Tavros is clearly frightened and struggling, and her reaction is to be mad that Vriska didn’t want to wear the dress for a date with her. I’m not sure whether this says more about Hussie’s opinion of Tavros or the social system of Alternia or both, but it certainly says a lot.
CLOCKWORK PROBLEMATYKKS: 56
HURRY UP AND DO NOTHING: 13
IN HATE WITH MY CREATION: 15
BRIGHT: Kanaya has had to corral Vriska on Tavros’s behalf already! Possibly more than once! She has all the information to realise that this is abusive, even leaving aside Tavros’s reaction! Sure, teens can be self-centred, but even so this is egregious.
CHEL: Kanaya’s Grubsprite comforts her and she throws the dress out the window.
Being a kid and growing up.
It's hard and nobody understands.
Yes, I’m sure Tavros thinks so too.
Charles: "I know Sir can be prickly, but you have to understand he had a very terrible childhood."
Klaus: "I understand. I'm having a very terrible childhood right now."
-A Series of Unfortunate Events