My first post on Medium was not meant to be about Yiffany Longstocking Lalonde-Harley, but I’m glad that things worked out like this because I’m prepared for her to become one of my all-time favourite Homestuck characters. Ever. My first post was meant to be an analysis of epilogues Dirk that has been consigned to my drafts for a year, on pause since Homestuck² came out. It was meant to be a theory on how the denizen system works, a more recent piece much closer to seeing the light of day. Hell, it was meant to be a reimagining of Bionicle lore. Those things are still coming, but I decided that this had to come first.
From what little we know and even less we’ve seen of Yiffany, I love her. I’m one of the few fans who wasn’t all that scandalized by her parentage, so I went into Chapter 9 with my heart open, and when I finished, it was full to bursting. The bright red (#D00009 :D). The cleats. The scruffy uniform. The Strider hair. The dog ears (black!). The dog ear piercings (red! #D00009!). Clearly Homestuck-proper’s first jock — Xefros I see you, I love you too — and likely first punk. I have never been fed more in my life. All of this preamble is to say that Yiffany was wonderfully unexpected and has been floating in the forefront of my mind for months. Writing about her was not a question of if, but when. I figure ‘before she reveals any of her personality to us in a regular context’ is the perfect time!
Since Yiffany hasn’t been given much screentime yet, this is part analysis, part speculation, and (a big) part creative license. I just want to commit the ideas I’ve been having about her to paper for bragging rights in case I hit any nails on the head, and to try to speak some things into existence in case I don’t.
Brace yourself for a long post.
PURE RAGE — AND MAYBE A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD?
Usually, the first thing you analyze for a new and almost unknown character is not classpect, but Yiffany (meta-wise, as a character written inside a controlled narrative) is all about surprises. We can find our footing by analyzing the omega kids around her and working inside the negative space. This also gives us a chance to discuss the unfortunate but wildly entertaining circumstances of her birth, and how they aren’t really “out of character”— a term that many in the fandom have been throwing around willy nilly since 4/13/2019.
We can say with non-negligible confidence what three aspects Yiffany is not, given what we know about the other three omega kids: Heart, Mind, and Breath.
So there’s this panel in Harry’s room with colourful pins and fabrics. It was noted by the writers that there were things worth commenting on in this panel when the upd8 was first released, and while the pins are probably corresponding to characters in some way, let us instead draw our attention to the fabrics. These fabric colours crop up again only five pages later as the backgrounds for three of our omega kids, right before Vriska gives some pesky journos and secret service folk an expert lesson in classpect.
What I’m getting at is that there’s some classpecting to be done here, even if what we come up with is a little tenuous at this very early point in the story.
Feel free to skip the next few sections if you’re only interested in reading about Yiffany. I’m really going to milk this chance to gush about the rest of the omega kids because I already love these children so much.
Harry Anderson Egbert: Heartbound
Inner character: soul, self, persona, emotions, passion, attraction, expression, Platonic ideals — among other things.
Harry gets a dark pink background with a lighter pink exclamation bubble: Heart colours. Harry being such a shoo-in for Heart is what gives me a lot of the confidence needed to invest in this fabric business.
We have some really good info on Harry! His passion for fashion jumps out at me first. Fashion is all about expressing your internal self by changing the appearance of your external self. The (sub-)cultures that we define ourselves by are in turn defined by their clothing and vice versa. What’s more, Harry makes his own clothes, further personalizing this art of self-expression. His introduction says that his looks are “often IMITATED, but never DUPLICATED,” which is a total freebie for us: he intentionally uses fashion as a tool to experiment with how he defines himself in relation to others and the (sub-)cultures he finds relevant while still letting some of his all-important uniqueness shine through.
Most notable are his collection of shoes and bandanas — it’s the accessories that bring an outfit together, or which make the clearest statements about a person. In this regard, they play an important role in conveying the ‘personal masks’ which the Heartbound are often able to deftly switch between. Literal masks are themselves a type of accessory after all! Homestuck explored this idea with Nepeta and Dirk, Heartbound whose most defining fashion pieces were hats. Homestuck² is elaborating on that idea with Harry, who is “known to dabble in ACCESSORIZATION.” As soon as we saw Harry’s self-made bandana collection, I noted them as being analogous to those hats of yore. One of them even uses the Heart colours! Vrissy and Vriska stand next to this bandana specifically while discussing Harry. Conveniently, bandanas don’t mess up immaculately maintained hairstyles— the reason Dirk never wore any hats himself — which is another element of physical expression that Harry seems to have under control, given his coif and curl.
Exploring gender, a central element of identity, also seems to be a central element of Harry’s character. Actual interest in fashion for fashion’s own sake — beyond knowing what’s trendy to wear or staple in a given culture — is traditionally considered feminine. Cisheteronormativity decided that garment construction and sewing skills especially were ‘women’s work.’ Though we don’t know too much about Earth C’s socio-cultural landscape yet, there are probably a few held-over gender norms related to this stuff that Harry is disregarding here; we do know that a lot of Old Earth culture survived the jump to UC, and his father has been one of the most cisheteronormative characters in the story so far. His embracing of the traditionally feminine is most obvious in his pair of black pumps and the eponymous kinky boots, or his casual use of makeup. This is all very Hearty of him.
Fashion, makeup, and kinky boots bring us to his love of theatre. Theatre touches on a few aspects, but playing dress-up, inhabiting a character, and inspiring emotions with your performance are all in the domain of Heart. Judging by all the trophies on his shelf, these things seem to come quite naturally to him. He likes to spend most of his free time “devising […] various AMATEUR PRODUCTIONS,” which he makes all the costumes for. Plays need characters, and characters need the right costuming to convey coherent identities. And because plays need actors, he likes to dress up his friends. It’s dead-ringers for Heart all the way down. It’s also worth mentioning that literal masks have been as much a staple of theatre across time and culture as the metaphorical kind — the tragicomic masks, Bian Lian, and The Phantom of the Opera spring to mind.
It’s also said that he attends school “in the heart of the human kingdom,” and the first plot-relevant thing that Harry ever does is have a “heart to heart” (Vrissy capitalizes the H’s when she talks about it) with his dad. These are both normal, common phrases, but Homestuck has always been very deliberate with its use of aspect-coded language when characters are first introduced.
So Harry is totally Heart. What about his class? My first instinct was that he sits somewhere on the Serve/Steal axis as a performer and fashion imitator, but — given he likes to make his own clothes, costumes, and plays — he could just as easily be a Creation class. Being a Creation class would be very fitting for a non-traditionally masculine character, given the feminine connotations of the Maid title and the long dress of the Sylph outfit. I’m not sure whether he’s active or passive, but I’m leaning towards passive.
I think Harry is a Prospit dreamer.
Vrissy Maryam-Lalonde: Mindbound
Outer character: mind, thought, logic, choice, consequence, perception, adaptability, individual identity — among other things.
Vrissy gets a medium green background with a lighter green exclamation bubble: close to Mind colours. Infinitely closer than they are to Doom, the other primarily green aspect, anyway. Besides, Vrissy as Mind is so interesting that I can’t not read into it this way —I’m biased, being Mindbound myself.
Because Vrissy hasn’t had a classic introduction page brimming with aspectual neon signs yet, this stuff is more subtextual. Which is not to say that the evidence isn’t as numerous! So far, Vrissy has been most defined by her odd relationships: the potentially vacillating love triangle with Harry and Tavros, and her burgeoning friendship/idolatry with/of her ancestor/mentor Vriska. Plus, her goddess mothers are the super badass co-leaders of a planetary rebellion against her boyfriends’ fascist mother/aunt? Heart might seem the best equipped to deal with these things at first blush, but hold up: everybody deals with complicated interpersonal bullshit and identity problems regardless of their classpect. And Harry has already called dibs on Heart too! That’s exactly why we’re going to flip the aspectual coin and look at Mind instead.
Okay, before we go on, I lied. There is one real in-your-face gimmie for Vrissy and Mind. chapter two is all about her— her being the first officially revealed omega kid, the start of her relationship with Vriska, her serving as Candy’s point of entry for Vriska (who serves as an audience surrogate in a wildly unfamiliar timeline), her taking control of the Gamzee situation… Clown Logistics is non-stop Vrissy. And that’s just it: she has to sort out the clown logistics. Logic. Reasoning. Complex plans that Mindbound can “execute […] with unbelievable precision and grace.” As I said before, aspect-coded language is used very intentionally when a character gets introduced, and this chapter title is no exception.
Vrissy, like any teen, has a couple of messy relationships. It just so happens that they’re with her two boyfriends and quadrants are involved. She might be a bit of a Casanova, but clarity of emotion doesn’t seem to come too easily to her. Vrissy tells Vriska to stop “talking like [her] Mom” when she implies that Vrissy comes across as leaning pitch for matesprit Harry; this suggests that Vrissy’s romantic feelings vacillate so often and noticeably that Rose or Kanaya have commented on her situation, likely at length, in the past. According to Tavros, she’s also said multiple times that “feelings are for adults and babies, not real people,” which tells us everything else we need to know about her disconnection from her emotional side. This is in contrast to her strong sense of rationality and planning. For everybody’s sake, we’ll enter bullet point territory here:
- Vrissy instinctively takes control of the situation and attempts to coordinate the disposal of Gamzee’s body with Tavros (a dependable ally with resources) and Harry (a trusted plan consultant) — the aforementioned clown logistics.
- Vriska is overjoyed by the chaos they create after setting off the sprinklers with Gamzee’s ass, outing themselves to Jane as anti-state terrorists. She also feels they’ve very successfully found a hiding spot, which Vrissy notes is entirely by chance and due to “no skill of [theirs].” This is the intersection of Light and Mind: Mindbound are aware of their many choices, the likelihood of each, and the consequences of the action that they choose to take. It is a deliberate and ‘skill-based’ aspect, where you achieve things by your own means. Light is the aspect of luck and fortune. No matter how impossible something may be by regular means, manipulating the odds can achieve it. These ideologies are at odds. Despite wanting (with some conflict) to emulate Vriska (which we’ll get back to in a moment), Vrissy is unable to vibe with her irrational enthusiasm and faith in unlikely events.
- Why the hell would you throw a rock through his window when I have a key? I sneak in all the time, use your brain instead of your penchant for unnecessary violence.
- Thinks John’s half-baked ‘plan’ is “Meaningless 8ullshit,” blames him for inciting the war, calls him irresponsible, and says he doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions. All these criticisms ultimately mean ‘I don’t think there’s enough Mind here.’
- Freaks out about Vriska’s irrationality and luck-based faith again when she leaves the house to confront the reporters. Without any obvious, logical course of action, Vrissy is left “frozen and unable to act.” Leaving the house without a real plan is total madness to her (and she’s totally right).
Mind, in dealing with the literal mind, elements of identity, and what amounts to behaviour, is the aspect of psychology. Despite her emotional problems, Vrissy has a good intuition for how people will behave: she knows that Tavros will be happy to help dispose of Gamzee, no love being lost between them; that her mothers would “give [them] a Medal or Kill [them] Themselves” for involving themselves in Gamzee’s murder; and that Vriska is on some level mocking her boyfriend while trying on his bandanas, and anticipates a moment where she will have to choose sides in a conflict between their dissimilar personalities.
Some miscellaneous things:
- Vrissy takes individuality and image seriously — she’s infuriated when people cosplay as her (AKA replicate her external character) after their blunder at Harry’s school.
- Jane believes Vrissy and the rebels must have “corrupted [Tavros’] mind” to involve him in Gamzee’s murder.
- Tavros — despite being unimaginably distraught, seeing the person he hates most dead, digging up countless childhood traumas and creating a new one — somehow keeps it together. Even though he’s usually a sensitive person, he refuses to wallow in fear and grief and however many other overwhelming emotions he’s experiencing. Instead, he detaches from reality to get the important stuff (corpse disposal) out of the way first, delaying his inevitable breakdown. Perhaps this response is encouraged by being in the presence of a Mindbound? Food for thought.
So there’s all of that. Now we can talk about Vriska.
Vriska rocketing into Vrissy’s life is a real shock to her system. This living legend who just killed the cult-leading sidepiece of a fascist dictator without breaking a sweat is her namesake! Her ancestor! Potentially, her near-genetic double! That’s crazy, and Vrissy definitely feels the imposition of Vriska’s sheer canonical mass on her world and on her identity. Vrissy, as Candy!John had in the epilogues, begins to find her world — her young life — lacking when viewed from an external, ‘more canonical’ perspective. From where Vriska’s sitting, “Nothing [in Candy] M8tters,” and shouldn’t Vrissy be sitting beside her?
- Homestuck² narration
Note the focus on “choices” here. That’s essentially what Vriska just existing near Vrissy offers her: a mind-bending array of shiny new possibilities, as otherwise improbable as they come. Ways to be and do that she hadn’t thought of before. Ways to be more like Vriska. Cool-girl-action-heroine Vriska threatens Vrissy’s individuality. She kind of steals Vrissy’s self-knowledge, a Thief exploiting the junction between Light and Mind! And so Vrissy finally inherits the karmic destiny of all Serkets: ancestral roleplay.
The first substantive interaction they have is Vriska staking her claim on their shared identity, convincing Vrissy to take a new name (a really big change to an important part of her externally perceivable character — there’s a lot of power in a name and the Platonic ideals associated with it). When Vriska starts calling Harry Anderson Harry, shouldn’t Vrissy do the same? When Vriska attacks Harry for being as insipid as the timeline that birthed him, will Vrissy defend her matesprit and consequently her own life, or shouldn’t she side with someone who is for all intents and purposes herself? A better version of herself, even. When Vriska charges headlong into danger, should Vrissy not follow? Grow her hair out? Hell, Vriska leaves “pitch-black scorch marks in parts of her psyche she didn’t even know existed.”
Vrissy wants to chase Vriska, to emulate her, to earn her approval. She feels like she needs it, some evidence that who she is and what she does is worthwhile compared to this blindingly bright light of — as she externally perceives it — kickassery. She wants everyone — most importantly Vriska — to perceive her external character just as brightly. To cast her own long shadow over her own original story. A reassertion of her role in her life, a role she feels Vriska is directly competing for. Of course, the moth sees the light, not the filament that makes it. Resolution between these clashing identities will come from Vrissy brushing up on her psychology skills and taking a good, hard look at all of Vriska’s many tangled filaments. She needs to make an informed decision about whether or not the light is as “brilliant” as it appears. Until then, a Vrissy as a Vriska as an Aranea does as a Vrissy as a Vriska as an Aranea does. We’ll see how wearing a mask of somebody wearing a mask goes for her. Hopefully, her relationships with the other omega kids, especially Harry, will provide her with the clarity of Heart and Mind needed to overcome this internal and external conflict.
But then there’s the poetic deliciousness of Vriska’s descendant sharing an aspect with Terezi. How will Vriska start joining the dots? What similarities will Vrissy and Terezi have? Vrissy’s desire to join the rebellion shows a strong sense of justice, a facet of Mind related to consequences. What other parallels between Vrissy and Terezi will develop? From Vriska’s perspective, Vrissy would become the embodiment of her most important, tumultuous, unresolved relationship. A relationship that went from pale to pitch to red. This is like the lovechild she never had with Terezi, dumped on her doorstep at one of the lowest points in her life! Will that be painful for her? Will she become jealous of her, as Vrissy is of Vriska already? After having her ultimate prize (seeing the defeat of Lord English) stolen from her in an unfortunate twist of fate unbecoming of her classpect, I’m sure Vriska would love to be able to foresee the consequences of her actions. Or will she become super protective of her instead? Is Vrissy her well-adjusted enemy or her well-adjusted baby, a protege she has to dote upon? What will happen when Vrissy and Terezi finally meet? Will they be fast enemies or easy friends? How will Vrissy’s natural shades of Serket-brand Light plus the elements of her Vriska RP versus her own aspect — which is so closely tied/opposed to Light thematically and cosmically through Vriska’s relationship with Terezi — factor into all of this?
There are so many awesome questions and I can’t wait to see them answered.
As far as class goes, I don’t really have any good ideas yet. Kneejerk thought is Thief of Mind — being Vriska, the theft and counter-theft of identity arc, ego issues, it could check out. However, I think it would be cool if she was passive — another connection to Terezi instead of Vriska. We’ll see what happens.
I think Vrissy is a Prospit dreamer.
Tavros Crocker: Breathbound
Plot development: air, freedom, motion, direction, independence, detachment, individuality, reaction — among other things.
Tavros gets a medium blue background with a light blue exclamation bubble: Breath colours. This might not be the kneejerk aspect pick for Tavros, but I think it forecasts his arc and reflects on its beginnings quite well.
John — the most Breathy Breathbound in the story — has been the axis around which two of the most important moments in Tavros’ life whirled at breakneck speed. The first was John, at the lowest point of his solipsistic slump, trying to kidnap Tavros on his birthday: this was an attempt to gift Tavros freedom from what John felt at the time was a false reality, which you can think of as detachment from the physical world. The second was John providing Jake with an escape route from his marriage, offering Tavros and his father freedom from his tyrannical mother. Breath has been baked pretty thoroughly into Tavros’ narrative, which is an interesting foil to Jane, whose aspect — Life — deals with concepts related to freedom like agency versus Doom’s submission. Being a Breathbound would empower Tavros to fly away from this Life/Doom dichotomy that defines his toxic familial relationships (Blood). The only way for him to be happy and healthy is to escape all of that bullshit.
John and Tavros also share a very distinct parallel: flying cars. Cars represent freedom. Getting your license and not having to rely on a parental taxi service is, traditionally, a major developmental milestone. There have been two cars in Homestuck: Dad’s, ‘inherited’ by John, and Tavros’, given to him by Jane. Tavros’ flying car is not quite so lived in as John’s, but it’s no coincidence that they both ‘own’ one. When John’s car flies, it’s an exercise of his own abilities, of real freedom — he’s been detached from both his childhood and his father. Breath through and through. When Tavros’ car flies, it’s an exercise of Jane’s wealth, an attempt to buy her son’s affection while simultaneously stifling his own autonomy, a reminder of his oppressive familial issues — he’ll never need to fly the car with his magic wind powers, learning and growing personally as he does, because she bought him one with fancy hover wheels. He doesn’t even need to drive it himself when it comes with an autopilot. It’s less so a symbol of Breath as it is one of Blood. Both cars are also connected to parental figures, and John has kind of been the best parental figure in Tavros’ life? So… there’s a connection in there somewhere. A really sad one, but a connection nonetheless. The other noteworthy thing about the car is how Tavros uses it to give Vrissy freedom from consequence by helping her hide Gamzee’s corpse, a fun little interaction between Breath and Mind.
When Tavros sees Gamzee’s corpse and all of his complicated feelings (mostly hatred-related) come bubbling up, he screams. Most people thought this moment was Rage evidence, focusing on the expression of negative emotions. However, I focus more on the scream itself. It’s described as “reverberating” and “a 8ig attempt at breaking the sound 8arrier.” These are atmospheric effects — they require air, and a lot of force to disturb it. Screaming might be caused by negative emotions, but you’re using air to express them, to free yourself of some physical part of them. This moment is deliberately Breath coded to me. As I touched on before, Tavros reburies these emotions to detach from reality, which is a very Breathbound response — he let a big gust of wind escape his magic bag before sealing it up tighter than before and going about his business, a lot like John has done all his life.
Tavros is also soothed by “following a simple direction.” This comes up again when the corpse-smuggling trio are “invigorated with fresh direction” after he trips them. Not much to say here, just some aspect buzzwords.
Tavros is also named after the other main Breath player in Homestuck, which some might consider too on the nose under this reading, but I think is pretty fun. It’s an interesting contrast to Vrissy’s near-genetic recreation of but aspect divergence from Vriska-prime, given that Platonic idealism and karmic destiny/parallelism (visual or substantive reproductions) are linchpin physics in Homestuck’s reality. What could it mean for their arcs?
As far as class goes… my instincts are kind of pushing me towards Page? He shares enough traits with Tavros Nitram that I could see it fitting him. Again, maybe a bit too on the nose, but it might actually be cool to get our first classpect double. It’d be even better if all these connections serve to reintroduce GCATavros into the story somehow. Don’t get me wrong though, he could 100% be another class.
I think Tavros is a Derse dreamer.
So… Yiffany?: Bloodbound
Character dynamics: blood, bonds, relationships, commitment, attachment, responsibility — among other things.
Right! Back to ‘the point’ of this post. Imagine.
So everybody thinks that Yiffany is Rage. We don’t know enough about her to say that she couldn’t be Rage, but that would mess up the fabric thing which has far too much textual support for the other omega kids to be a coincidence. The fourth colour was red, not purple — Blood, not Rage. That would work out as two aspect pairs: Heart and Mind, Breath and Blood! Doesn’t get much more satisfying than that. However, Yiffany’s origins are overflowing with Rage (contrivance, confusion, negativity), so that’s definitely something worth talking about first. We’ll start with her contentious parentage. And then we’ll get to Yiffany. Eventually. I promise.
A lot of people have been claiming that Homestuck’s post-canon material has suffered from OOC writing. To speak with any brevity on the matter, I think people need to learn how to distinguish between writing choices that they disagree with, or which make them uncomfortable, and those that are genuine mischaracterization. Understanding one of Hussie’s defining writing philosophies is going to help us make that distinction a little easier.
“[writing in voice is] mostly about consistency. choosing a set of parameters and committing to them absolutely […] the advantage in being so obstinate with the profile you choose is then any deviation you make will be very noticeable. this is to your advantage, if you can control these deviations with purpose and precision. such deviations can serve as the pillars for character development.”
- Andrew Hussie
Jade caught baby fever. After years of isolation, she couldn’t bear to watch her friends pair up and start families without her. To be left behind again. She was sick of missing out on her life and the people within it — people who, without fail, have died whenever she finally had a chance to get close to them. But she couldn’t start a family with Dave or Karkat. None of them were able to bear children together, and Jade was a self-aware outsider to their painfully unaware relationship. Jade turned to Rose. Rose had just recovered from a nearly fatal illness; being burdened with a terrible choice to present to one of her closest friends that would decide the fate of the entire universe; harrowing knowledge of canonicity and the nature of reality (and choosing to embrace life ‘outside’ of it); the loss of her powers — the deific manifestations of her Platonically ideal self that she had relied on for years to guide herself and the people she loves through uncertainty (which she hates) and calamity — for reasons she does not entirely understand (frustratingly); and the violent suicide of a close relative. And after all that, Rose was faced with the prospect of a long life with Kanaya, the family and legacy they could build together, unimpeded by the arbitrariness of ‘canon.’ Jade and Rose decide to have a baby together. Rose does not consult Kanaya about this, even though Kanaya predictably confirms that she would have given them her blessing once their secret outs. Kanaya and Rose also claim that this betrayal of trust won’t sink their relationship. So, is any of this OOC?
No, not really. Jade’s desire to have a baby is contextually a logical evolution of her loneliness arc and generally speaking a common human thing that comes with adulthood. Rose was the most obvious (or only) person for Jade to turn to in this situation: Rose is a close childhood friend whom she knows can bear children and may be comfortable doing so, will understand her dilemma, and can keep a secret. Everything checks out on Jade’s side of the equation — she’s got serious abandonment issues and wanted a stable, happy, “normal life” on their paradise planet, a fantasy which none of her equally traumatized and socially dysfunctional friends were contributing to.
Quite fairly, it gets funkiest on the Rose and Kanaya side of the equation for most people. Why would Rose not tell Kanaya? Surely that’s OOC? The funny thing is, Rose doesn’t even know why “[she] made that decision” herself. I’ve got a few ideas, and they’re elements of her character that people often forget; for all the manicuring of her demeanour, Rose can be very irrational, (self-)destructive, and is the true inheritor of Dirk’s “Striderian” ‘irony.’ She thought the best way to play SBURB was to pick apart their planets with dark magic and to entertain the whims of incomprehensible, soul-eating monstrosities that whisper to you in your sleep. She dedicated her childhood to one-sided psychological warfare with her doting alcoholic mother, which involved thank you notes notarized in blood for packets of fridge magnets. She goes on suicide missions. She’s endlessly sarcastic and always teasing or antagonizing people. She thought the best way to understand a near middle-aged alcoholic was to become one at 15. When tasked with creating a new civilization to rule, she made a series of phallic and yonic beasts. Yiffany Longstocking is not outside of her wheelhouse.
Rose is clearly ashamed of the whole situation, which she describes as “an ironic game of chicken” and a long series of “progressively more terrible decisions.” But that’s not OOC, or at least, not entirely. This is two girls with some serious issues and in terrible states of mind playing right into each other’s weaknesses, unwilling and unable to stop far past the point of no return. One too-serious joke after another.
Let’s say that some small part of this doesn’t add up — and don’t get me wrong, it is a perfect storm of bullshit, so that’s a fair kneejerk opinion. Well, if this is a ‘deviation’ from Rose’s character, as her jaunt with alcoholism was, then it will serve as a ginormous pillar for ginormous character development! She’s jeopardized relations with her friends and family, and she has a secret daughter whom she has to integrate into everybody's lives. She, like Jade, will have to confront the problems that led her to make these series of awful decisions in the first place, and continue to apologize for making as many as she did. It’s the meteor all over again, but with babies instead of booze. Just like the meteor, Gamzee is also involved. That’s where the Rage (contrivance, confusion, negativity) comes in.
The circumstances that caused Jade and Rose to conceive Yiffany in secret are Ragey. Yiffany’s name, and the Carapacian bureaucracy that stopped them from changing it, are Ragey. The intended impact that all of these things have had on the fandom at large is Ragey. Yiffany’s reveal was Gamzee’s (potentially) final act as a Bard of Rage in the Candy timeline too: Gamzee allowed himself to be destroyed by Rage — the contrived circumstances of Vriska’s appearance and her following murderous anger — which led to Jane’s kidnapping of Yiffany, whose reveal threatened to destroy her relatives’ relations and the audience’s interest/faith through Rage! The nature of Yiffany’s conception and name are terribly tragicomic too. In Hussie’s bonus update ‘A Threat, Sensed,’ Meat!Dirk is afraid of Yiffany because he feels her Rage-laden existence undermines the “important and relevant” (see: canonical) Homestuck mythos he’s fighting to preserve. Rage, Rage, Rage.
But that’s all Rage surrounding her, or thrust upon her. None of it is actually coming from her directly. She’s just the eye of the storm. Yiffany has so far been most defined by Blood: bonds (both the literal and metaphorical kind), responsibility, and character dynamics. She’s revealed in chains and a collar, imprisoned by her fascist grandmother because her parents have neglected their parental responsibilities (detachment — Breath, or a lack of Blood). Her very existence threatens the relationships and disrupts the group dynamics of her relatives: how will she mesh with her immediate family? What will Rosemary look like once the dust has settled, and how integrated into their family unit will Jade become? How will Yiffany fit in with the other omega kids, and how will their current relationships — especially their romances — adjust to accommodate her? Will she even want to form connections with any of these people initially? She’s only been born, kidnapped, abused, and used as a pawn in a planetary war because of her family’s many mistakes. While this teenage punk undoubtedly has a lot of her own rage to dish out, I imagine a lot of that anger will come from abandonment issues and a difficulty connecting with others. It’s Blood all the way down.
I think some of the thematic confusion comes from two things: her being kidnapped, and her being a punk. If you’re kidnapped and tortured, you’re probably going to be pretty mad. We’ll get that out of the way. Yiffany is full of Rage right now in the same way that anybody would be in her situation. But she’s also pretty clearly a punk, and the punk subculture/philosophy is the perfect mix between Rage/Hope and Breath/Blood. It’s about seeing through the lies of an oppressive social order, being furious about it, and endeavouring to improve society for the betterment and freedom of everyone you share it with. Visionary iconoclasm and being independent together. Rage has just been the element of her punk-ness most compounded by the narrative framing so far. I think once we actually get to know her (and she’s in a healthier place physically and emotionally), the other three elements will shine through a lot clearer, especially Blood.
Obviously we don’t have anything textual to use for class theorization yet, but I see her going one of two ways: Sylph or Bard. For better or worse, she is going to make and break many relationships. I believe Yiffany will end up being the linchpin in bridging the two timelines and connecting the people within them, whether she means to or not. Something just tells me that she might become the most important character in Homestuck², and empower others, kicking and screaming, to feel like they have — or are at least worthy of — the same importance. A lot of people seem to think that Yiffany is left-field or off-colour, but I think she’s the ultimate culmination of old-Homestuck’s endless nonsense, even more so than Jasprose and Davepeta.
I think Yiffany is a Derse dreamer.
EDIT: I’m finishing up this post on 16/09, 25 minutes after Ch. 13: The Funeral released! I’ve had all of these ideas about Yiffany written down in different places for months — this is just me collecting them and putting them out into the world for everyone to see in a more ordered fashion. It’s a good thing that I waited an extra day or two to tie up these ideas because this upd8 almost makes some of my speculations look a little bit prophetic (and gives me a few extra pictures to use :p — IRT to that, TW for child abuse)! Here’s what we got:
- Jane emphasizes Yiffany’s conception as a joke Rose and Jade took too far (which is part of the reason she chose to help them cover it up — “[she does] love a good jape”) and her existence as unimportant. She’s just a ‘footnote,’ she ‘doesn’t matter.’ Nobody is going to bother saving her, and she can’t save herself. Once all of the villains have totally written off the hero (Meat!Dirk and Candy!Jane have both done it now), you know that they’re going to end up being one of, if not the most, important and relevant characters. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme. Yiffany will have them eating their words eventually.
- Jane is convinced that Yiffany has no worldly connections willing to rescue her from her incredibly unhealthy position: a Blood player untethered from or straight up lacking relations, those things which should give them great power, and upon which they should be able to rely.
- Yiffany’s first instinct isn’t to make a break for it (Breath), it’s to make a scene. To defile the funerary rites of awful people. To embarrass Jane. To flip off the man and express her anger. Proper punk shit — a commitment to her ideals and to getting her own back at the people who’ve wronged her (Blood). Revenge is a very Bloody thing: it comes from rivalry or conflict, from betrayal, or to honour somebody/some set of socially relevant principles. It’s also Mind and Rage! Karma and consequences, actions inspired by anger and misery.
- Jake and I share the instinct that Yiffany would get on really well with Tavros! For all of his convenient social ignorance, Jake can get a pretty good read on people, so I’m willing to trust him on this one.
- My friend Wakraya pointed out that Yiffany hasn’t said a word yet, choosing to growl instead. This lack of voice is a stark contrast to Tavros’ scream — there’s no Breath here.
Just some cool stuff to point out!
EDIT 2: I did not get to finish this post on 16/09 because I was entirely blindsided by multiple tests and reports, so I’m having to come back to this a month later. Oops. There’s more to say about Vrissy & Vriska from the most recent updates, but I’ll hold back for now.
I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
That’s about it for the strict textual analysis! This part is (basically) pure speculation and headcanon.
First of all, she has her own room on the top floor of the school boarding house, reminiscent of her mother’s lonely tower. Jane felt it best to keep Yiffany as isolated as possible, in the interest of her agreed-upon discretion. Though she has her lonely moments, Yiffany ultimately doesn’t mind this arrangement, awake at all hours and decorating her space however she wants with no — or at least, minimal — complaints. She’ll often take her dinners to her room, shutting herself away from her peers. On weekends, she shares her company with desserts hand-crafted by Jane. All manner of buns, cakes, cookies, pastries, scones, crumbles, pies, ice-creams, sorbets, parfaits, jellies… As much as she resents her grandmother, Yiffany is unable to deny her artisanal talent. Though made under disingenuously polite and self-satisfying pretences, she’s grown to anticipate these sweet treats, especially anything with peanut butter; thankfully and against all odds, she avoided inheriting her family’s nut allergy and stashes jars of peanut butter to be eaten by the spoonful in multiple places in her room. She keeps her favourite jar in a box of special things tucked away beneath her bed. Among other knick-knacks, its contents include a series of teddy bears in various states of distress from her childhood and the birthday presents that her mothers get her every year. She loves plush toys, and while she might have a complicated relationship with her parents, she still loves them (for the most part — she may never entirely forgive them for leaving her in Jane’s “care” for a full 15 years).
Yiffany is a jock. She enjoys most sports casually but takes a competitive interest in soccer and athletics, which have been her favourite sports since childhood. Her best position in soccer is attacking midfielder, and her favourite athletics activities are track and hurdles. Due to her doggy DNA, her natural athletic abilities are unmatched, and she’s spent most of her life running the gamut of exercise to develop them even further. She is immensely proud of her dedication and few things infuriate her like the suggestion that her skill is all genetic luck. Those skills are quietly idolized as much as they are envied by anybody at school that takes sport seriously. Yiffany’s teammates praise her clutch playmaking in one breath and bemoan her ‘unfair’ genes the next, usually behind her back — most people are unwilling to start a fight with Yiffany directly, content instead to grumble under their breath.
Despite all of the attention she gets, people tend to keep to themselves whenever she’s around. She’s never been very popular but she has always intimidated people. Her canine features are an oddity, even on the xenobiologically cosmopolitan New Earth; her connection to the headmaster is evident yet its nature is unknown; she herself is shrouded in mystery, often quiet when off the field and unwilling to discuss her family much; her physical prowess is something to celebrate and fear in equal measure; she’s a no-nonsense punk through and through; and no student comes close to sharing her storied history with the school nurse or headmaster’s offices — though she never goes out of her way to start fights, she always ends them (especially in defence of some other outsider getting bullied). She’s made acquaintances out of every wallflower, outcast, and iconoclast at school, but hasn’t kept many true friends over the years. Part of this is her total intolerance for bullshit or shallow social trappings of any kind. Another part is the infamy she cultivated over the years. Another part still is not allowing herself to grow too close to anyone. Vulnerability, or worse, sharing too much about her family, feels dangerous.
Yiffany is a punk. She hates Jane, her school, and the Old-Earth-American-dream/tradfemininity-meets-New-Earth-clown-occultism that these two things are defined by. She has never made an attempt to disguise these feelings and is, whenever politics comes up, vocally pro-rebellion. She has problems with most authority but doesn’t go out of her way to make trouble for her teachers because she’s not an asshole; she does spend most of her time in class rolling her eyes, snoozing, staring out the window, or reading her own book. Everyone has become so used to this disobedience that she doesn’t feel the need to hide it. Staff let it slide knowing she has ‘issues’ and, usually, the best grades in her classes. Most of the time she’s fairly reserved with a bad case of resting bitch face, but this belies the deep well of passion which spills over if you rile her up, at which point her delinquent side comes out in full force.
Her second and third loves after sports are music and Old Earth history/culture, combining to form an obsession with Old Earth music (most, if not all, of Old Earth’s culture was recovered from the alphaverse by the kids and New Earth historians): she feels the sound and lyrics represent her better. It’s alternative from a New Earth perspective — she strives to be nothing if not alternative — and though she knows a futch queer girl with dog features wouldn’t have been accepted on Old Earth, she doesn’t really feel like she belongs on New Earth either. Her favourite genres are (indie/alternative) rock, (pop-)punk, emo, heavy/nu metal, grunge, electropop, and hip hop, or contemporary soul and folk music if she’s feeling a little more low-key, but she’ll listen to anything — she has a soft spot for indie pop that few people know about because it doesn’t exactly fit with her image. Her favourite Old Earth band is My Chemical Romance and she’s an absolute Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge stan (I mean… look at her). As a dedicated music fan, she likes to know the history of the band or singer, the cultural context of their work, and to analyze their lyrics with that knowledge. Her favourite instruments are the guitar (electric and bass) and drums, which she plays fantastically. She also writes her own songs, inheriting Rose’s love of language, but she doesn’t share these with anyone, much as she might like to sometimes.
She’s interested in Old Earth religions and has a certain fondness for songs and poetry inspired by faith. She doesn’t really put much stock in any of them, knowing and being related to the creators of Old and New Earth, but she’s so distanced from her family — besides the one relation that she despises, whom she’s forced to endure regularly — that imagining a world divorced from the influence of that family feels like another form of rebellion. Certainly, it’s two big middle fingers to Jane and the Human State’s ridiculous clown bullshit. She does believe that there’s something greater than her parents at work in Paradox Space but she doesn’t know who or what it is (Hussie), so she thinks about all of these things rather agnostically.
For better or worse, Yiffany is the spiritual successor to Jade’s funky sleeping patterns. She has a very inconsistent sleep schedule and has been seen practising kicks on the field or heard strumming any one of her guitars at 4 AM. Come exam week, she’s notorious for pulling all-nighters, recovering afterwards with a week of hibernation. Though she tries to play it calm, cool, and a little bit cold day-to-day, she is in no way immune to Doggy Silly Time Disease every now and then. Near limitless energy keeps her up for anything at any time.
She’s pansexual with a preference for girls. The rough-edged awkwardness she deals with interacting with anybody is dialled up to eleven when talking to someone she likes.
I think of all the omega kids, Yiffany’ll get on best with the gentle, awkward, emotionally honest Tavros. Certainly, they’ll bond over parental bullshit and how awful Jane is. She’ll butt heads with Vrissy, or at the very least, Vrissy will try to butt heads with her: from Vrissy’s perspective, Yiffany is a threat to her parents’ relationship and their familial dynamic. From Yiffany’s perspective, Vrissy is a rude and image-obsessed Vriska wannabe. They’ll get on in the end though, bonding over a love of mischief and sticking it to authority. I’m not sure what she’ll make of the charmed Harry Anderson at first, probably envying the relative stability of his family life, but they’ll bond over musicals and shameless self-expression (Harry being the most encouraging/respectful of her name). One day they’ll write a Black Parade musical together.
And that’s really all there is I have to say about Yiffany right now! I can’t wait to see more of her and the rest of the omega kids in the future — hopefully, they’ll end up in a three-way SBURB session with Dirk’s satyrs and Rose’s illithids, bridging the Meat and Candy timelines to create a Universe D totally free of the cherubs’ influence, where everyone can finally sort their shit out and be happy. We’ll just wait and see what happens when we get there ;).
Thanks for reading! Happy 10/25!