STH COMMENTARY: ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
On the surface it seems like a no-brainer; of course one would wield a weapon that would not “…fail its wielder or lead her [or him] astray.” Why wouldn’t you make use of a weapon that could curb tragedies or serious mistakes?
But to counterpoint and grossly paraphrase the great Captain Kirk: I don’t want my mistakes taken away! I need my mistakes! They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves.
It would be a deep philosophical question for me…do I rely on something that could be correcting my decisions for the sake of a greater good I can’t fully fathom, or push forward knowing that if I make mistakes at least I know I made them of my own choosing and free will?
In addition to that, I’m not even a swordsman or trained in the use of any weapon, but I would be very wary of using a sword that could defy my actions at any moment, regardless of the weapon’s good intentions.
Wielding the North Wind without knowing what it does is one thing, but once you knew what it was doing…would you still use it? For me it comes down to the question of choosing between the imperfect path that is wholly of my choosing, or a path that is objectively better but lacking the satisfaction of knowing I forged it on my own. Both appeal to different parts of me.
What would you do?
Recently on Exiern, I starting pulling the threads together on a story line that my predecessor Drowemos started early in the strip’s development. Tiffany (Typhon-Knee’s) sexuality and preference was frequently hinted at, toyed with, teased, and skirted around. At this point, it’s now clear, and I’m ready to discuss it in more detail.
From the beginning, my interpretation of Tiffany’s actions was of a repressed homosexual in denial. I never liked the idea of Faden’s “curse” changing Tiffany in any fundamentally mental or emotional way. This is labeled as a “cop out” by some. To be honest, I felt the “cop out” was to alter her mind along with her body. To me, that makes the change too neat; too clean. The curse then becomes a clean break from what Tiffany was and what she now is.
The thrust of this “Wild North” storyline is to pressure Tiffany into accepting what changed and what didn’t, forcing her to confront her past so that she can move forward with her life. It doesn’t entirely resolve the issues she has with her identity (in fact, I could argue the disconnect between her and her body is worse than it was), but it’s the first of many steps Tiffany will make in coming to terms with her place between two cultures, two ways of life, and where her life goes from here. The events that led to her exile had haunted her, and the guilt is still building. This is just the beginning of her resolution.
Does that mean there weren’t other valid interpretations? No; of course there was. There’s no doubt many more complex and interesting roads that could have been taken. But to me, her sexuality and/or her gender identity is not the twist in this tale. That she wasn’t “normal” in some fashion was rather obvious. This “reveal” is the context for the real “twist” that’s coming next week. Remember those recollections into the death of Raviner-Behr and the boy’s exile? This reveal is what pushes Tiffany to finally set the record straight on what she saw that fateful day.
The reveal is for the sake of the story; the story is not for the sake of the reveal.
I do apologize if this element of the story disappoints some of you. I apologize if the part of the story that most engaged you was not the primary motivation for the story I am trying to tell. I can only hope that you do find that story to at least dampen that disappointment.
Thank you for listening; and thank you all for reading.
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Written by Scott T. Hicken
Illustrated by Shipeng Lee
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