Collection: Consensus on Bro Strider

This feels like writing an obituary.

I must confess, that Homestuck is my favorite canon. I discovered it as most do; crawling through the depths of the Internet, stumbling upon technicolor children, candy corn horns and fractured houses, curious. Too curious for our own good, really. Homestuck doesn’t advertise itself. It’s an invasive work, traveling on the lips and keyboards of Internet natives, a transcendent singularity. It has always been something odd, something special.

But it was not immortal. As much as I wish it wasn’t so, Homestuck updated its last this year. And although only three months have passed, already it seems an eternity, and the community that had gathered for its funeral already seems to have gone. Watching a fandom decay is a remarkable and sad thing.

So this is a farewell to my dear friend Homestuck, but also a farewell to many of the ideas that tend to spring up in the midst of an unfinished work. In life, Homestuck was always open to speculation. In fact, it was open to pretty much anything at the start – Andrew Hussie, the author, raked in commands from his fans for what his characters should do, and dutifully carried the suggestions out. Eventually, he got into his stride for the series, and orchestrated a coup of the MS Paint Adventures readers. We found ourselves at his bizarrely metaphysical mercy. And since that moment, Homestuck has been an ever-evasive work, dodging theories and logic like a gazelle bounding away from a confused reader’s shots in the dark. We may have been Hussie’s followers, but we could never claim to know our creator, and certainly not to have his support. Nevertheless, we pressed onwards with all bravado and tried our damnedest to understand. And in the process, we came upon some revelations and conflicts. Let it never be said that a fandom is a united community.

An argument that went on for some time within Hussie’s following concerned a particular character, one who had no dialogue, barely any screen time, and was never really named. The character was known simply as Bro. Dave Strider’s Bro, to be exact. As my description might lead you to believe, Bro was a distant character. And yet, he was also vital, in that way that parental figures are to developing children. In the earliest parts of Homestuck, the four main characters (all children, 13 years of age) were treated with some callousness by their author. What would in real life be considered abuse became a joke in his hands. And we faithful readers, we took it as he gave it; a joke it was. There was no need to worry about these children; they were strangers to us, and, as characters, they existed only for our entertainment. But as the years went by, we grew closer to these children, as they aged with us, and learned with us that the way they were portrayed was not right. The childhood of Dave, in particular, began to stand out as something truly alarming.

So a debate began: did Dave’s cherished Bro abuse him? The hard evidence suggested Yes, that Dave had been trapped in a consistently dangerous, abusive, and generally unfit environment for any child. But the spoken evidence said No. Dave was quick to his brother’s defense, sure that the strange behaviors were masking a deeper affection, and more importantly, an outrageous cool factor. The conflicting views formed the battlefield for a fandom-wide war. For years, readers quarreled over Bro Strider’s soul, and whether he possessed one at all. Fanfictions were written for both sides, and the fanfiction reader’s understanding of Bro was jarred violently with each story.

That is, until Hussie himself seemed to have a revelation about his own story. He rewound some of the plot, and played it over again, adding new details, changing minor events. The result was a different world, a more aware world. And at last, the contradictory evidence was finally, gruesomely united, when Dave confessed just how much his Bro had ruined him, and just how long it had taken Dave to realize: http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=009649

Canon may have united opinion of the character, but because of his fractured history, I must present you several works. It will be difficult to do them all justice in such close succession, and I already lament that they will not receive the same attention as the independent fanfictions I had recommended earlier. I will give them an average rating. Their introduction will be brief, but I encourage you to give each of them the same (perhaps dismissive) attention that you have given my previous recommendations. Bear in mind that the following are NOT ordered by quality, but by increasing author’s distaste of Bro Strider.

Just a Dream – Santhe : http://archiveofourown.org/works/1151653

Hold Your Colour – lantadyme : http://archiveofourown.org/works/172051

Fight the Setting Sun – notacorpse : http://archiveofourown.org/works/1566293

More Cowbell, Please – Newtavore : http://archiveofourown.org/works/4441853

Sinking Fear In Quiet Steps – roachpatrol : http://archiveofourown.org/works/5817790

I admit, these come from my Archives, and are tailored to my own likings. I have a soft spot for angst, so the selection leans morosely. In a typically inverse relationship, fluff is scarce. And these are all, quite deliberately, G-rated.

Without further ado, here are the ratings for the collection:

Fluff: ++

Angst: +++++

Smut: +

Overall Rating: +++

I have offered you five separate works for your perusal. This means that my ratings are diluted by the mass they are trying to convey. It is therefore unlikely that any fanfiction herein will match with my pluses. But that’s really the point of this collection: variety in similar subjects.

There are a couple of works in here that in my ever-subjective opinion are so-so, that I am introducing to you so that you may compare them with their fellows. There are a couple works that are great, that I am introducing to you for the same reason. And then there’s the odd one that remains, which could be the best, the worst, the most mediocre. Alas, this time, it shall be your job to determine which is which. I very much hope that the lists we exchange are different. However, a fair warning: there are many things in these works that will be difficult to understand without knowledge of Homestuck canon. I wish I could explain every detail, but honestly, the best I can do for you is to recommend another work.

Read it here: http://www.mspaintadventures.com/

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