THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Alt-Universe Wash » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:14 pm

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I really like Vriska as a character. She can be an insufferable asshole, and she did some truly terrible things (some of which are slightly less-terrible in a world where resurrection, retcon, and ghosts/the afterlife are all definitely things... but still), but she also has a lot of potential depth and interesting story-stuff to latch onto.

She did a shit-ton of things wrong, for various reasons. Some were good reasons (if misguided, perhaps), many were bad reasons. She also seems to demonstrate (eventually) genuine remorse for the bad things she did, and a desire to try to make things as right as possible.

Ultimately she strikes me as a person who is committed to Action(TM) without necessarily considering the long-term consequences or effect on others, even when they're people she cares about. That, combined with a really hostile environment to be raised in has had some not-fantastic results in the past. I wouldn't say she's in "got her shit together" territory yet, but she seems to be on a positive track overall.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Alt-Universe Wash » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:42 pm

So, after playing Vriska's route in Pesterquest I had some additional thoughts on her motivations and why I like her as a character.

Vriska reminds me of myself as a survivor of domestic abuse and violence. Now, granted, I didn't have a giant fucking spider screaming in my head unless I fed it people, but I spent a lot of time in an abusive relationship that got really nasty and basically swallowed a decade of my life... and you find yourself making stupid and irrational decisions all the time in order to survive. You cut people out of your life because you're so focused on the abuser's feelings, and you do things that're stupid AF because you literally can't think straight when you're using all your energy trying to get through every single day intact.

And I think between her lusis and the general shitastical nature of Alternian society, that explains a lot about how she thinks and acts. The excessive self-reliance, the reluctance to trust others, shutting people out, over-compensating self-confidence, lashing out in anger. Even her confidence that she could take on Bec Noir and save everyone. The way she (well, a version of her) latched so quickly onto a relationship with Meenah despite signs that it wasn't really working out.

It also tracks with how she seems to want to do better and make things better, but sometimes ends up not knowing how to actually accomplish that. Again, from personal experience, when you spend enough time in a warped, fucked-up situation that becomes your "normal" and re-adjusting to life after surviving the abusive relationship is a learning process. It takes time and you make a lot of mistakes - sometimes those mistakes hurt people or yourself. But your choices are either "give up" or "keep trying to do better."

Of course, a lot of this could be completely unintentional or the result of me reading my own interpretations into things from personal experience and selective reading (and having Pesterquest fresh in my mind, which has its own particular take on things), but it feels like it rings pretty true to me. Probably the reason why Vriska had such an emotional impact on me as a character - her internal dialog reflected my own moreso than many of the other characters as someone who'd been through some shit and came out the other side still willing to fight to try to salvage some kind of a life as a survivor.

So apparently this sparked a bit of lightbulb in my brain and I could go on for several more pages now, but I'ma just leave it here for now.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by calamityCons » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:39 pm

As an abuse survivor myself, I have the opposite reaction to Vriska’s portrayals. Vriska reminds me very much of my own abuser, their tactics, their shallow attempts at remorse, their despicable harm done to those around them to be immediately “countered” by insincere apologies (giving Tavros the cheapest and least effective type of wheelchair after SHE threw him off a cliff) or clearly coerced apologies (Kanaya stopping Vriska from tormenting Tavros any further with the threat of a toilet being upended and then Vriska claiming she was “gonna give Tavros the rockets ANYWAY”). It hits far, far too close to home for me.

I cannot forgive Vriska’s actions or claim to want to see her succeed because regardless of her own struggles and pains it is not at all okay for her to cripple Tavros. And her treatment of him afterwards is truly despicable and unacceptable abuse of a disabled person. Using Sollux to murder Aradia outright is fucking horrible, and I don’t accept “Alternia is a hell world” as an excuse, nor do I think her background is at all relevant. It’s illuminating and explains a lot, but SHE STILL FUCKING CREATED BEC NOIR and she’s really just, an awful person whom I do not like and never will.

But she is absolutely a wonderful character for all of these same reasons. She is a beautiful Anti-Villain, and it’s suitably gut punching and disgusting to watch this broken and deeply damaged girl become the monster she never wanted to be and causing everyone around her so much misery while still playing Extreme Dungeons and Dragons in her head.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Alt-Universe Wash » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:53 pm

I can definitely see that view of things - and I think my POV probably has a lot to do with what I focused on, remembered from the comic, and the slightly different viewpoint that Pesterquest takes toward her background. Not to mention all the fanon that gets thrown into the mix that changes elements of the character.

I suppose it would be more accurate to say I see elements of a survivor's story in elements of her background. There's a lot of meat there, and you can create some very interesting derivations of the character using elements of it as a basis. I'm writing a TTRPG setting that lifts some of the Homestuck trolls as kind of alt-universe versions of themselves and uses a considerably more sympathetic version of Vriska as basically a counterpart of Bigby Wolf of the Fables setting - people that have done bad things in their past for reasons that aren't even 100% clear to them anymore and genuinely want to do better and protect the people around them. That's not really Vriska from the comics, not until the very end - but the seeds of that kind of character are in there to work with when building a setting.

Her treatment of Tavros really was disgusting, and hand-waving it with "well, she was young" or "Alternia is horrible" (which, to be fair, is how what I wrote does come across as) feels wrong. I think your description of her as broken and damaged is appropriate - she needed to deal with her trauma much earlier than she did. She didn't, and let it consume her and turn her into something twisted.

It almost feels like a "cycle of abuse" thing where a victim learns to use the same kind of violence against others because they were never taught how to NOT do that. That's one case where I feel like her age/lack of maturity does matter.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Alt-Universe Wash » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:21 pm

Also, want to say real quick that if what I wrote made you feel invalidated as a fellow survivor or brought up unpleasant memories of what you went through, I sincerely apologize.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by TH4NK YOU B3N » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:07 pm

Vriska is the abuser that lives in a victim's head. She's an abuser, so she sucks, but she lives in your head, which means she is a part of you. She's a child raised on the kidmurder planet who knows she's done wrong, because people are mad at her, but doesn't know why the thing she did was wrong. She's abusive because she's internalized the teachings of her awful, shitty parental figures (Spidermom and Mindfang), and learning how to treat people well is hard and nobody understands. Life isn't fair to her. Terezi accuses her of made-up crimes that she wasn't involved in and then she kills Vriska. The God Tier clock breaks to inconvenience her in particular. It's kind of like Doc Scratch knew that (in that particular moment) she did nothing wrong, so he made sure to invite a clock-hater into his parlor. I mean, Vriska is annoying and nobody likes her, so it's not like anyone's going to seriously object, right?

I personally have to forgive her for acting out because I'd like to live with myself.

I think she's written more like an anti-hero than an anti-villain, though. It's nothing to do with her personality, but the role she plays. She's facing off against Lord English, the cherub who was raised by the most important character in Homestuck, Gamzee. Gamzee, the troll who tried to orchestrate her death. Where Vriska was abusive because she was a stupid child, Gamzee is going out of his way to be terrible. He's spent years doing inscrutable clown things to achieve his goal. Is his motivation to get back at Vriska for killing Tavros? He probably has a bunch of weird little motivations, but I'd say that's likely among them.

And then Lord English kills Tavros's ghost. Great going, shithead!
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by BrobyDDark » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm

Honestly fuck Gamzee, but specifically fuck the Gamzee that he became after Murderstuck.

This whole thing with Dave, Gamzee, Vriska, English... Is just one big loop of people being shitty to eachother. If just one of them stopped, the whole loop wouldn't have even happened.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by calamityCons » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:32 pm

BrobyDDark wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
Honestly fuck Gamzee, but specifically fuck the Gamzee that he became after Murderstuck.
An excellent sentiment and I agree wholeheartedly.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Guy-Rocketram » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:53 am

ok guys so like, why do you even care? like i'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just genuinely curious. why do the ethics of a fictional anti-hero mean this much to you?
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by BrobyDDark » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:08 pm

Because its a way to further invest ourselves into the story, and its fun to discuss.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by calamityCons » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:19 pm

Guy-Rocketram wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:53 am
ok guys so like, why do you even care? like i'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just genuinely curious. why do the ethics of a fictional anti-hero mean this much to you?
I care because I genuinely enjoy Homestuck Acts 1-5. I care because the introduction of Vriska as a Villain made me really nauseous, her treatment of Tavros was very similar to the treatment I received from my own abuser, and I was holding on to hope that Vriska would get her ultimate comeuppance eventually. And she did, when Terezi stabbed Vriska in the back for everything she did, and her death was considered Just. It was a cathartic and powerful moment for me, and I found it a betrayal of my investment in the story when the worst possible Vriska was able to become the main character of Homestuck and fix everything in the last acts of Act 6.

I care because I like Homestuck, and I wish I could like it more, but Vriska's despicable behavior being rewarded by the story makes me really mad. I can't help but care, and think deeply about things, and the story is just so damn blase and callous about how much it wants me to NOT care, how hard this story direction seems to be hammering in the idea that I'm an idiot for caring, for ever thinking this was NOT going to be the way it was going to go... I thought Vriska's ultimate doom of becoming irrelevant forever and never again having influence in the story was going to be the end of her narrative, that she was going to fix her shit in the afterlife and become a better version of herself where she won't hurt the people she's traumatized anymore.

But no. Instead we get Tavros doing a facetious SATISFYING CHARACTER ARC SHUFFLE when we saw absolutely none of his development, and none of his character improvement or the story of how he became the organizer of an army. (Vriska) gets absolutely verbally demolished by Vriska, Meenah abandons (Vriska) because she's bored, and Terezi uses her ability to see the effects of everyone's decisions to boss John around until he revives her girlfriend.

I was emotionally affected by Homestuck. I had a pit of dread in my stomach every time Vriska did her thing and ruined everyone's day for her own fragile ego, because I was immersed in the story, and I was enjoying Andrew Hussie's Wild Ride. But over time it became clear that my emotions were not going to be fulfilled by Homestuck itself, and it's a relief to be able to talk about it sometimes.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by egg » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 am

Guy-Rocketram wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:53 am
ok guys so like, why do you even care? like i'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just genuinely curious. why do the ethics of a fictional anti-hero mean this much to you?
I don't. I don't really care about Vriska herself, I care about how the narrative treats her, and people who police others based on whether or not they like her. The audience shouldn't be punished for wanting a character who does nothing but treat others like dirt to remain dead and only influence the story if she learns how to be a better person, and I shouldn't have to deal with people who say I'm a bad person for thinking Vriska is a bad person.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by ThePungeonMaster » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:37 pm

Vriska has always been an interesting case, but something that I think a lot of people forget is that it shouldn't come down to a debate about whether or not what she did was wrong, because killing and abusing Tavros, blinding Terezi, creating Bec Noir, and just generally being a bitch, are objectively wrong, awful, things, Alternia or no Alternia. I think it's more about whether or not she should be forgiven for what she has done, and such will vary from person to person, based on your own set of personal beliefs, morals, and personal experiences which are by their nature impossible to argue. Let me make an extreme example: It's like having a debate on Abortion. Bring up all the scientific evidence you want, but it will invariably vary from person to person whether or not aborting a fetus is morally justifiable, and people feel very strongly both ways.

Hell, there are characters that, in my honest opinion, have done worse that get even better treatment in the fandom than Vriska. If I may, let's get a bit tangential and look at Ultimate Dirk. He has done objectively wrong things onto people he considered his friends, overriding their mental autonomy and sense of reality itself. That in my mind is worse than if Vriska killed every God-forsaken troll in Hivebent. Overriding someone's sense of physical autonomy and memory is like burning books to a library. It is the ultimate disrespect. And in fact, now that I think about it, Vriska's ability of mind control isn't much different, but I would say that Dirk's is worse. It isn't simply doing a bad thing yourself using someone else's body, it's making them believe that they instead have done this thing, absolving yourself of the guilt and placing it onto them. And yet, while I don't follow Dirkcourse much, I hear much less bitching about all the things Dirk has done wrong, and I think it's because we have learned to believe Dirk is the Protagonist; or at least an antihero. We know that no matter how perverted his outlook may become, there is a good Dirk out there that we know, and have come to love. Vriska gets no such luxury. And I think providing an outlook in which she learns from her mistakes, or isn't forced to make her mistakes in the first place is the reason why we are shown (Vriska) and Vrissy, to remind us that within Vriska lies a good person.

Vriska has done many bad things, and Dirk has done even worse things. But I still chose to forgive them for what they have done, because I know that while they have done bad things, there is a core desire to do good laying within their souls. All humans are prone to flaws, mistakes; lapses in judgement. I wasn't really sure what to think of Vriska up until her speech in Act 6. Sure she had displayed some regret after killing Tavros, and her relationship with John brought out the best in her, but I still considered what she had done to be awful, maybe even unforgivable. But the sentiment that Vriska was trying to do abject good, and that her abusive, egotistic tendencies are an unfortunate flaw she has to overcome due to her upbringing and natural tendencies, and something she works to overcome in order to do what she thinks is right elevated her from a villain to a tragic hero.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by egg » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:42 pm

ThePungeonMaster wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:37 pm
And yet, while I don't follow Dirkcourse much, I hear much less bitching about all the things Dirk has done wrong, and I think it's because we have learned to believe Dirk is the Protagonist; or at least an antihero.
I agree with most of your post, but I think the core difference here is that the audience isn't expected to be divisive about Dirk. Vriska was written to be a divisive character - 'the ultimate troll', as per the book commentary - and as such her actions reflect this. At times, she acts completely repulsive, and at others, she's made out to be sympathetic and vulnerable. These are both sides of Vriska, because she's a complex character. At the same time, Epilogue Dirk isn't made out this way, his actions are painted in a completely negative light. He's made to be a transphobe, we don't get to see him be vulnerable, and very little of what he does seems to have even a droplet of positivity, as despite his rhetoric of it 'being necessary for the narrative', it's all uniquely self-serving. Whereas Vriska is canonically vulnerable and sympathetic, all the sympathy people for Epilogue Dirk comes from theories and speculation.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Dirk. But there's a difference between a character that's supposed to rile you up and a character that's written to be unambiguously villainous, at the very least in the Epilogues specifically. And maybe that'll change as Homestuck 2 continues, but that'll probably take a while. People are both supposed to like and hate Vriska, I've seen nothing about Dirk's writing post-Act 7 that indicates we're supposed to find him even remotely personable in some way.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by ThePungeonMaster » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:19 pm

egg wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:42 pm
Now don't get me wrong, I love Dirk. But there's a difference between a character that's supposed to rile you up and a character that's written to be unambiguously villainous, at the very least in the Epilogues specifically. And maybe that'll change as Homestuck 2 continues, but that'll probably take a while. People are both supposed to like and hate Vriska, I've seen nothing about Dirk's writing post-Act 7 that indicates we're supposed to find him even remotely personable in some way.
In my post I meant to refer to Dirk as in Homestuck act 7 and prior. Even if Ultimate Dirk is different in many ways from Dirk acts 1-7, he is still, fundamentally the same person. The hero Dirk is still in there, but now he has to share bunks with the villain Dirk. Regardless, we'll likely find out more about Ultimate Dirk's motivations as the story progresses.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by TH4NK YOU B3N » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:42 am

Guy-Rocketram wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:53 am
ok guys so like, why do you even care? like i'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just genuinely curious. why do the ethics of a fictional anti-hero mean this much to you?
I just wanted to say that she's written as a hero. That's all. That has nothing to do with my personal ethics.

I think I tend to "rate" characters depending on how good they are at achieving their goals, rather than morality. That's why I lean towards calling Vriska a dumbass rather than mean. In the end, it translates to the same thing: Sucks.

But I think failure is funny so it doesn't mean I dislike her.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by Drinosi » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:13 am

Vriska has always been a really interesting character to me. She screwed up...A LOT! A lot of people say that it's because of spidermom and what she was forced to do and such and the whole nature versus nurture. However, it also has a lot to do with the people around you. So, I'm gonna compare some stuff to real world situations. I grew up in a really terrible situation. I mean, totally awful to the likes I'd rather not discuss here. I should be a totally fucked up head case who went down a completely different path and would probably still be stuck in that hell. However, from early on, I realized it was wrong, I hated it, and I would do whatever I could to break myself free from it. So, there's a little thing called rebelling. I did what I had to do. I escaped that hell at an early age and never looked back. However, I did have help. I couldn't have escaped on my own. I had to have the means to do so. I had to have people who genuinely cared enough to help me escape from that hell. Got away, life became good. But, just because I escaped, doesn't mean I have the power to forget. Those things have shaped who I am now.

So back to Vriska. She most likely knew that a lot of stuff was wrong. However, there was no one there to bust her out of her own personal hell. She just had to keep on surviving the best way she knew how. And the more she 'survived' the more she isolated herself from the few people who could have possibly been willing to help her. She built up a wall and shut people out from the truth. She put on an act that she was this horrible person, when in fact, she was actually really cool and I would have totally wanted to flarp with her in real life.

Had she gone down a different path or had someone there to help her escape, things would have been different. But, maybe it would have been worse. Had she not gone through what she did, she would be very different. Sometimes it can be an awful past that makes a person a hero because only someone who has battled hell and survived is capable of leading others to victory.

I think she's a really kick-ass character and it's the things that she had to do in her past that makes her so brave and willing to do whatever it takes. When some go running from trouble, she runs toward it, because life has taught her not to be scared.

So, it's because of the way she is and the way she has always acted that makes her who she is. For better or worse, she gets the job done.

I think she's both a hero and a villain. She's the perfect balance of both, which is what makes her so important.

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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by sigmatic » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:49 pm

Drinosi wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:13 am
I think she's both a hero and a villain. She's the perfect balance of both, which is what makes her so important.
Definitely agree with this: imo Vriska did some things wrong, but for the right reasons. She's a bluh bluh huge bitch but she also brings this energy into every scene she's in which makes for a very cool and entertaining character
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by TH4NK YOU B3N » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:12 am

People will see Vriska recreate Arquiusprite because she is horny and they will call her a lesbian.
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Re: THE VRISCOURSE THREAD

Post by eddie_morton » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:13 am

i hope this hasn't been said already !! but vriska's like...a very lovely example of how good intentions pave the road to hell. all (or most? i'm setting the flarp stuff aside for this) she did was for the sake of saving people! for making the world a better place. she just happened to do this in, y'know, rough and less-than-holy ways. girl's metal as hell. i faintly remember a line from her in the og comic that was all "so long as you're true to yourself you can be a hero no matter what" which is ?? an incredibly badass thing to say

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