May 20th, 2010


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Discussion (40)¬

  1. Faranior says:

    Great comic, not only does it keep the tension high but it also increases it.

  2. Seaspray says:

    The… the.. the BASTARD!!!

  3. Tindi says:

    Is this going to be another part where I hate Jhalm because I can totally see where he’s coming from? Mind you, Murai’s not giggling enough to be having one of her “episodes,” in my opinion, but he might genuinely think she’s not got all the engines powered up just now. Given Murai’s history, I can’t say I 100% blame him.

  4. Sondre says:

    Oh no he didn’t!
    Noone said it, so: vote! All the cool kids do it, including me!

  5. BarGamer says:

    Ah, so he’s going with “deliberately provoke an episode.” That’s better than my other idea of “Jhalm sidesteps to the right so quickly that Murai forgets about her arm and accidentally bangs it against the doorframe.” Hey Statue, would it be beneath your dignity to raise your voice and warn Murai against any Jhalm-trickery?

  6. Carapace says:

    Oooh, Jhalm. You know, I feel *actually* sorry for him, right now, because he is so much doing what he thinks is right– and I can totally see why he thinks it’s right!– and it’s obvious he really is concerned about Murai, and yet he is pulling that incredibly aggravating Healthy Person Thing of assuming everything someone with instabilities does that disagrees with him must be because of the instability. So, Jhalm: My sympathies, but please combust now.

  7. Cameoflage says:

    …Yeah, Carapace pretty much said everything I could have said.

  8. Quizt says:

    I think in fact it’s the even more incredibly aggravating thing of assuming that everything that someone else does that fails to agree with him must be because said someone else is unstable. A normal person’s reaction to this gambit is indignation – but of course if Murai reacts normally, that will be chalked up to her instability, and if she *doesn’t* react normally, it will be chalked up to her instability anyway. And in either case Jhalm has “proof” of what he already believes.

  9. Lindale says:

    *points up* what Carapace said.

    I was going to type something similar about calling someone with an invisible illness a hypochondriac, and then trying to ‘help’ by telling them that it’s all in their head. Which road is the one paved with good intentions again…? :/

  10. JewelWolf says:

    I don’t know WHAT you guys are talking about. Normally, I tend to agree with all of you, but in this case, I just can’t. I can’t see where Jhalm is coming from right now. He knows exactly how Murai behaves during one of her episodes, and this is nothing like it! It’s not like he just heard about her episodes because a friend of his heard it from another friend. He’s seen this stuff, and he knows what goes on.

  11. Barry says:

    Anyone ever see the Dave Chappelle interview on “Inside the Actor’s Studio”?

    The most dismissive thing you can do to anybody is call them crazy, just because they aren’t looking at things the way you do. It gives you an excuse and permission to entirely ignore everything valuable that the person might be able to provide, and ignore the perfect rationality of everything they’re trying to do, just because it’s not what you want.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’ve had several friends who have been committed to psych wards over the years, and in some cases, “crazy” is appropriate. But to automatically dismiss everything that a person says without examination just because the “crazy” label may be appropriate at times is, uh, crazy.

    Go vote.

  12. Madam Atom says:

    Happy birthday, Ursula! Here’s my “fan art” of a sort. I wish I could sing it for everyone here, but I can’t even find the tune online anywhere to share. Oh well.

    The Creative Commons license, in plain English: Distribute however you like, but please keep my name on it and don’t make anyone pay for it.


    May be sung to the tune of “Womanchild,” original words and music (c) 1986 by Judy Polan. New lyrics (c) 2010 by M’liss Garber. Rights reserved under the Creative Commons “Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike” license, version 3.0.

    You called to me out from the leaves and asked what you might be;
    Your shape was just a silhouette–no body there to see.
    I didn’t know you’d come to seem like my own kin to me,

    The Veiled call you a demon and the slug calls you a friend,
    And those with shadows on their hearts call you their bitter end–
    But although the world’s confusing, to be good’s what you intend,

    I know that growing’s painful, but I hope I’ve eased your way;
    And I know why you have to go, but please come back someday,

    You ask so many questions, and I tell you what I know.
    I turn–you’re gone again! Can’t even guess where you might go;
    And I try not to be frightened by the facets that you show,

    I know that growing’s painful, but I hope I’ve eased your way;
    And I know why you have to go, but please come back someday,

    Now you alone of all your race were found by someone kind.
    I’ve taught you all I can, and now you’re leaving me behind.
    Please know that I could never hope a better friend to find,

    I know that growing’s painful, but I hope I’ve eased your way;
    And I know why you have to go, but please come back someday,
    And please know I meant it when I said your friend I’d always stay,

  13. Emma says:

    No… but it will probably be one heck of an episode in a minute.

  14. griffinguy24 says:

    Ursula, you are a genius. While that has been said before, it bears repeating now. Jhalm is currently causing an enormous amount of emotional torque to me right now that I honestly don’t know where to start. Though, I do know where to END, and that’s with him getting eaten by something large and chthonian.

    Making an antagonist this complex is a rare feat and it is rarer to see it done so excellently. More often, the attempts in doing so leave the audience more sympathetic to the antagonist than the protagonist, or, more commonly, depicting a mass-murdering sociopath occasionally stopping to give a lollipop and a pat on the head to an adorable street urchin. Making Jhalm sympathetic while simultaneously being absolutely wrong is just awesome

  15. Hawk says:

    Everything Carapace said. Also what Jewel Wolf said, because the two views aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Jhalm might be trying to provoke Murai into a “real” episode, by treating her in this manner. He might also be reacting like someone trying to talk a jumper down.

    I have to wonder how much of her episodes he has personally seen. Usually, it’s the shaking and the crying and the begging for Black Mother to hide her face.

    But recall the one time Murai screeched “SHOW YOUR FACE” …? She kicked some fairly serious butt after that. Wonder if Jhalm knows about THAT facet of her “instability.”

    Also, breakdowns aside, Murai deals with her experiences and trauma far better than the average young person, I think. She’s a pretty tough cookie. Jhalm does NOT know what he’s getting into, that I am sure of.

    And if he does start a fight…what effect on morale will it have for the other Veiled to see Jhalm attacking an already-injured Murai?

  16. Mani says:

    I think what makes this page so awesome is NOT that Jhalm is “chalking everything up to Murai’s instability” – but that he is raising a legitimate question.

    He is asking Murai how she knows she can trust herself, and her decisions, in this situation. It’s just as much, if not more, a practical question as a philosophical one.

    After all, what was the specific thing Murai was sent to do, that broke her mind the first time?

    Kill a god.

  17. Brenda says:

    Mani – was she sent to kill a god? I thought she was just sent to find out what the god was that was suddenly showing up.

  18. TekServer says:

    Yeah, Murai wasn’t sent in to kill anyone; she was sent to gain the trust of the children in [archive dive]Saltlace[/archive dive], so as to learn the new mythology they were generating.
    The beginning of here story is HERE.
    The description of her mission is HERE.
    There’s a totally unrelated picture of a wombat HERE. (Those of us not regularly familiar with this species might sometimes forget how accurate Ursula’s portrayal is … )

    Anyway, enjoy; at least whenever all those links finally pass the spam filter …

  19. TekServer says:

    Sorry for the double-post, but I forgot to say “Nicely done!” to Madam Atom.


  20. Karyl says:

    Can’t add any more analysis as you have all covered it quite well–just add that I hope Murai has gained the wherewithal to rebut him now in a way that makes him at least question his self-selected mission.

  21. Ulrike says:

    It may be a legitimate question, but I can feel the condescension from here.

  22. Jewelwolf says:

    Madam Atom, that is absolutly wonderful. I love it. As soon as I get a chance, (as soon as I get home from school) I’m looking up that tune and singing the song. There is one itty bitty little thing I’d like to mention though. I said, “I say we celebrate NEXT Thursday.” Her birthday is on the 28th.
    …Sorry. Great song though.

  23. Glenn (a different one) says:

    What gets me is that Jhalm likely knows that a REALLY-and-for-truly crazy person can’t really doubt themselves or their actions…and so he’s using that against Murai, since she’s damaged, but not crazy by that definition. But in Jhalm’s mind, I suppose, the end does justify the means.

    Unfortunately, now I have background music playing in my head–the theme from “What’s Opera, Doc?”, where Elmer is dancing around the rabbit hole jabbing a spear therein, singing “Kill the Wabbit!”. But the words have inexplicably morphed in my head to “Stop the Wombat!”

    Another thought–what if Jhalm is getting the urge to stop Digger and party from an EXTERNAL source? He seems quite reasonable in all other ways, after all.

    And last…Ursula, I’d like to add my thanks also. I haven’t had THIS good of a “villain” (and I use that in quotes because I understand him too well, I think), since Daniel Keys Moran’s “Mohammed Vance” in The Long Run (and other books). And that’s been a while.

  24. Exindiv says:

    Because she’s so lovable and possessed of a unique brand of sanity, I forget that Murai is one of the veiled. I also wonder if she is going to respond with the classic “Do I look like I’m crazy to you?”

  25. I don’t think Jhalm thinks Murai is having one of her episodes. I think he’s trying to rattle her cage. Maybe make her doubt her abilities. Maybe even force a crazy moment in order to slip past her.

    @Jewelwolf The 27th is a good day for celebrating. Oh maybe we can post, reference, something about our very favorite Digger moments.

    @Madam Atom I’ve never heard the song before, but now I must go find it. Great job on the poem itself.

  26. Madam Atom says:

    Thanks, all! Good luck finding the original. I’ve got it on a cassette tape bought from the artist in I-think-it-was-1988. My best try at an Internet search turned up the CD for sale on a site that might or might not still be alive, but not the song itself posted anywhere.

    @JewelWolf: Whoops! Over-eager! *blush*

    Oh well. Happy week-before-birthday, Ursula!

  27. Hunter says:

    I was going to ask if he was talking about Ed or Grim Eyes when he said “Demon”, but I just remembered that he doesn’t know Shadow is gone…

  28. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The ShadowChild Knows duh, duh, duh!

  29. AlpineBob says:

    Jhalm: “you have been left to keep us from interfering.”
    Murai: “It’s not like that.”
    Actually, it is EXACTLY like that. Of course, keeping Jhalm from mucking up the works is important, so perhaps Murai is being disingenuous to throw Jhalm off…

    Jhalm is probably just trying to throw some self-doubt into Murai after that, since he believes her to be misguided. Possibly he wonders if her condition has worsened enough that it affects her even when she is not having an obvious episode. If she wonders as well, that might give him some leverage.

  30. Rags says:


    Check out this video, at 2:41 there’s a great game for Digger fans. Too bad it’s fake…

  31. @Rags “Mortal Wombat!!!” Can you hear hear the echo? Too cool for words. I think that Digger would lend itself better to a standard RPG type of game though. Of course seeing the veiled and the hyenas square off would be pretty cool.

  32. TekServer says:

    Well, now, if you really want to see the veiled and the hyenas square off against each other, you really need a big RTS platform to do it properly …


  33. Lucius Appaloosius says:

    I think that, after having her Destiny explained to her, Murai has grown enough not to fall for this line of argument……… I hope. 7@=e

  34. woggie says:

    Huh. Okay, the psychological approach of breaking the Guardian.
    But does it ultimately make more sense for Jhalm to go down the passageway Digger went in order to confront ‘teh Evil’ at it’s source, or does it make just as much sense to collapse the passageway so that ‘teh Evil’ can’t enter the world?
    Given the option between the more dangerous and the lesser, and given the sort of person Jhalm is, I suspect he will go down the passageway to be confrontatory. And that’s when the Feces really will impact with the Rotary Ocillator.

  35. The Occupant says:

    I honestly don’t blame him for taking this stance. He knows as well as we do Murai is a good person. He also knows she is can be a few bricks short of a hod at times. Convinced of his rightitude, the only other possibility, to him, is that she may be having one of her off spells. The fact that it plays on her insecurities probably (hopefully) doesn’t enter into it for him. He is merely following a logic chain to it’s fullest, but one based on a faulty premise, his rightitude.

  36. Madam Atom says:

    Whether Jhalm’s being manipulative or just sincerely concerned, I’m expecting the statue and/or the oracle to come to Murai’s defense right about now.

  37. Cameoflage says:

    This is off-topic and probably a lot of you have already heard about it from Neil Gaiman’s Twitter, but I thought you guys would like to know about it anyways:

    http://community.livejournal.com/debsliverlovers/profile Not be getting far without liver!

  38. kat says:

    Yeah, I also don’t get the sympathy for Jhalm. I think he comes off as *incredibly* patronizing here.

  39. BunnyRock says:

    @Madam Atom: Wow. two thumbs up from me old gel/young chapess/ male or any age with an odd taste in screen names and yes I’m aware of the irony/ delete where inappropriate. Once again you’re making me wish had any talents in any art form other than narrative prose.

    And again, pragmatically it doesn’t matter what his intent is, the effects are the same. If he’s trying to talk her down or wind her up, the end result will be she gets would up and they end up fighting hammer-and-tongs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know which it is, I’d like to hear his tone of voice as he speaks and gauge it. I’d want to know if he’s being a smug bastard or a stupid bastard, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. In the end, he’s pushing her and it’s not going to end well. Never mind if he means the best or the worse, please lord let diggers concerns about the temple not having enough bracing be true and let the buildings overhanging eves fall on him.

  40. Brave Horatio says:

    So, I posted a comment here seven months ago, and now on my second read through I see it’s still “awaiting moderation” – anyone know what’s up with that?