July 9th, 2009


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Discussion (76)¬

  1. Anke says:

    As to the topic of “is it Sweetgrass Voice or not?”, one hint might be the filename of the previous page: 2009-07-06-wombat600-sweetgrass.gif

  2. Tindi says:

    Awww Sweetgrass don’t ’splodey the Shadowchild! It’s not nice!

  3. motub says:

    Yes, SongCoyote, I get your point— but indeed that *is* the point, to a great degree.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last couple comics, it’s the fuller meaning/implication of the statement “children are innocent”.

    This child, and by implication all children, *does not know anything, one way or another (in terms of “Good” of “Evil”), until it is taught such by adults*. It may be evil “by birth” (being a demon spawn and all), but …. for example, it didn’t just eat Digger, or the Slug, or indeed anyone when if first met them, so it is not bound by its “essential (or existential, whatever) nature”. It is completely innocent, and tends towards good in the absence of knowledge — it seeks answers, and guidance, and attempts to– and cares about– following what guidance it receives correctly; remember how proud it was about being ‘very careful’ to confirm that the creatures/objects whose shadows it was eating didn’t talk.

    Furthermore, behaving in a good manner didn’t seem to be in direct conflict with its essential nature– it was *very proud* at being able to be very careful, it wasn’t angry, snarky and resistant to the very concept that it had to follow any such rules in the first place (which you’d have expected from a creature with a powerful natural impulse to evil). Even now, Shadowchild’s objection to the demon’s request is that it goes in direct contravention of the rules it has been taught by Digger, which is another indication of innocence tending naturally towards Good (cares about doing “right”) rather than intrinsic Evil.

    The demon’s counter is that “the rules don’t apply to us”, which (now that I think about it) is a pretty weak counter, since Shadowchild doesn’t know what “us” is, and therefore doesn’t know whether it’s in fact true that “the rules” don’t apply to “us” for some reason. Indeed, now that I think about it further, it doesn’t even really have any assurance that it and the Demon are indeed of the same kind “through and through”– although they share many obvious similarities of being, this essential moral (for want of a better word) schism may well make them too different to be “together”, in the same way that raising a wild animal in captivity often makes it unable to survive in the wild, even though it’s still clearly a lion just like any other, physically and in most other respects.

    It is certainly possible that the Big Demon (who is probably Sweetgrass-voice, but we don’t know for sure) is attempting to “save” a child of its “species” from what it would see as “corruption” in the only way it knows how (since it is itself Evil, it can only ‘rescue” SC in through Evil means), and that’s not necessarity “wrong” of it to attempt, objectively speaking. Indeed, since “corruption of the innocent” is a basic tenet of Evil, it would even be “the right thing” for it to do under any circumstances– the fact that Shadowchild is a youngling of its own kind just makes the matter more urgent.

    But it’s also quite possible (and, to be hoped, since generally speaking we the readers are more Good than Evil, and both like Shadowchild, and desire that Digger, Murai and Grim-eyes not get their shadows eaten) that SGV (most likely) has come just a smidge too late to the party, and this innocent is already “corrupted” too far (to Good) to be “saved” (for Evil).

    Fingers crossed…..

  4. Rowanmdm says:

    I think we’re getting to the moment Ed foreshadowed here: http://www.diggercomic.com/?p=315.

  5. wolfofsilver says:

    I agree with motub in this (btw, nicely put!). I do hope that ShadowChild doesn’t veer towards Evil With a Big “E”. If ANYTHING, it’d be nice if ShadowChild learn the term Neutral and be as such. There are no animals that Good or Evil, after all; they kill to survive, no matter what they eat (vegetables are technically alive, after all). Predator animals know to eat certain animals for food–mostly the animals that eat plants, as other Predator animals do not taste good or make them sick. It’s why we as human beings don’t eat wolves or mountain lions. Yes, in a pinch, of course we would, but not normally. Necessity is what bounds an animal, as even the male lion eats the young of another male’s pride so to further his own genes when he overtakes the pride (that was Scar’s downfall in The Lion King; didn’t have the cojones to eat Simba himself).

    So I’m crossing my fingers also, in hopes that ShadowChild doesn’t eat Digger & Co’s shadows.

  6. Alaenor says:

    No! Don’t give in to temptation! Remember what Digger taught you! :O

  7. Lucius Appaloosius says:

    What? SC being subjected to Nietzschean philosophopy after midnight? Cruel, EVIL torture!!! 7X=E

  8. D.G. says:

    Ignore SGV, Shadowchild! It of the kin of Grendel, who held Hrothgar and his thanes in fear as he ravaged Heorot. SGV must be slain as the son of Ecgthegow slew Grendel.

  9. Rags says:

    Salted and dipped in beer?

    Sounds like a pretzel…

  10. SongCoyote says:

    @motub and wolfofsilver: Thank you for considering so deeply the pennies I flung in the air. My point, however, was not at all the moral “rightness” of SGV’s actions in any absolute sense; I was just musing on how it might see the world, and how its people might lament the loss of one of their own from their perspective.

    I am actually in general agreement with what you both mused about all this, except that I question one particular statement motub made: “…another indication of innocence tending naturally towards Good (cares about doing “right”) rather than intrinsic Evil” I disagree on a basic level that innocence tends toward intrinsic Good or Evil; that is, to me, the definition of Innocence. ShadowChild is an archetypal Child that has already been taught a particular path as being “right” – one which most of us viewers would agree is Good. Its current struggle is between one set of offered rules and another, and how much its Nature is influenced by its Nurture may well be revealed soon… or we may never know, and will simply continue to be required to make our own decisions about what we see of SC’s story… as always affected by our own learning and biases.

    All of which does not in any way detract (in my mind) from the inherent beauty and depth of the story (and art) itself, nor from the parables and archetypes – expressed, implied, or inferred – displayed therein and thereby. I continue to adore Digger and pretty much everything else Ursula creates, and thank her for continuing to do so.

    And for putting up with an old Coyote’s ramblings.

    Light and laughter,

  11. fatuncle says:


    Actually, I was thinking that SGV’s idea was to have ShadowChild eat everyone else’s shadows – and then to eat ShadowChild.

  12. Domino says:

    O.O! >.< / [Go team Shadowchild!] \o/ Team Shadowchild ftw!!

  13. Zat says:

    My personal guess as to the motives of SGV is self preservation. It most likely knows their coming to kill it, but if there dead they can’t very well do that. It was mentioned that SGV is very stretched just to communicate with SC, so it probobly cant eat their shadows It’s self. So it comes down to manipulating the poor kid into doing it :/ I dont think SC will be swayed. The values your taught while ya grow up tend to stick with you for the rest of your life, and it’s very hard to change them. I think SC will stick with what he was taught first, especially given that he would have to kill someone who he enjoys the company of.

  14. Adder says:

    I just figured out why I can’t take the demon shadow seriously. He reminds me of T-Rex from qwantz.com

    The little arm and cheesy grin… Man, why does this always happen to villains. D:

  15. Mani says:

    Re: All this discussion about innocence trending towards good, and Shadowchild, and Digger’s rules – all I can think of is that moment where he says he won’t eat her shadow “probably” and just because he likes her.

  16. Squeegy says:

    You know, I was thinking. For someone so blunt, Digger sure is awful bad at being straight with Shadowchild. It seems to have never occurred to her to tell Shadowchild that it is hard to teach her things.

  17. Vera says:

    @Rags… That’s kinda what Herne said when he heard the slug’s prophecy: “We’ll all be turned into bar food?” Salted (whether dipped in beer or not) is a pretty horrible way to die if you’re a slug, so I presume what the slug meant by it was that everyone would die horribly if Shadowchild didn’t accompany the expedition (bless its shadowy ickle heart, or whatever).

  18. TekServer says:

    I’m caught up! Three days … 8 – 10 hours actual reading time, including most of the commentary … I think I’m going to go salt my head and soak it in beer now …

  19. R.A. says:

    Um, would this be the time to suggest cannibalism?

  20. Worgen says:

    stupid bible giving anything snake like a bad name and thus making it always some kind of bad guy

  21. BunnyRock says:

    @SongCoyote. Heh, you were on the old site, that’s noting compared to the damage i did with a careless Italics tag. Its nice to see an alternate opinion, but somehow i cant see SGV having any intentions other than those that befit it. It may not be necessarily evil, it may not understand the concept, but i somehow, and this is just gut instinct, that fickle thing so easy swayed by expectations, symbols and cultural conditioning, i cant see SGV as telling the Shadowchild to eat their shadows unless it is unable to do so it self and wants them out of the way so it can continue is various nefarious schemes uninterrupted.

    However I could be dead wrong. Its not always nice, but it healthy for that point to be pointed out to you every now and then.

  22. TekServer says:

    Must find a way to use the phrase “various nefarious schemes” in a sentence today …


  23. Kisame says:

    Shadowchilds first moral dilema. Eat shadows of friends for anwers and same kind of creature, or don’t eat shadows of friends, and maybe never get answers for questions, and most of shadowchilds life were asking questions, so it’s Gonna be a realy hard decision

  24. JET73L says:

    It looks like Shadowchild is gearing up for a Limit Break. Super Saiyan rage mode (or better, Super Saiyan I Don’t Want To Deal With This mode) might be a better interpetation of what I think is about to happen, actually.

    Interesting tactic. Instead of being duplicitous, just ask “why not?” to Shadowchild’s “why?”s and “so?” in respone to its answers, and make it look like Digger is the one perverting the balance of what should be.

  25. JET73L says:

    This is why it is so much easier to have a moral code that everyone is selfish (individually, for the most part, but sometimes for the species), and that “because I like Digger, and Digger won’t be around if I eat her shadow” (plus a healthy dose of “what if your places serene reversed? Don’t expect people to be better to you than you are to them”) is a good enough reason.