Hey chums! OD here, and today we’re exploring the lands of Sburb’s waking worlds. As we discussed during our video on the Medium, each planet follows a naming structure composed of two nouns. The nouns give us an idea as to the contents and feel of the planet, and often include references to the hero’s aspect. The nouns used are highly variable, and to some extent reflect the player’s mindset and worldview. There are a few hard rules for the planets to follow, but there are some extra for players with the two mandatory aspects for a successful game of Sburb: Space and Time. Every land of a Hero of Space will contain the word “frogs,” as it is part of the space player’s quest to breed the Genesis Frog. These lands will also contain a massive volcano that the game dubs the Forge. Time players don’t have a consistent noun, but they do have a scratch construct somewhere on their planet that is similarly critical to a stable session. Each land also has an associated item its underlings are made of. While Homestuck only shows us the completion of one personal quest all the way through, they generally seem to involve this associated item clogging or poisoning land in some way, and require somehow terraforming the planet. Finally, the lands of any given session might have a unifying theme. For example, the beta kids’ session is themed around the four classical elements: wind, water, fire, and earth. The alpha kids’ session is themed around four scientific elements from the periodic table, four of the noble gases: helium, neon, xenon, and krypton. Beyond the specifics of noun and aesthetic however, the lands function pretty similarly: as sorts of psychic landscapes reflecting the character’s identities, worldviews, and relationships to reality. Some characters have an obvious affinity for their lands, just as many regard theirs as mockeries of their feelings, and just as many still have more nebulous or abstract connections to theirs. But all their lands have a challenge that will be presented through their consorts and resolved with their denizens. Consorts are amphibious residents of the land in vague need of rescuing from whatever has gone wrong there. They’re nonhostile NPCs who worship the players of the session, much the like Prospitians. The Prospitians and Dersites recognize their heroes and hold information about the broader lore of the game. In contrast, the consorts will generally treat the hero as a nobody, even though their knowledge pertains specifically to the lore of their player’s land and hero title. In the Seven Sermons of the Dead, in keeping with Abraxas’ depiction as a being of married opposites and duality, Jung wrote: “It is the lord of the toads and frogs, which live in the water and go up on the land.” Perhaps because of this amphibious connection, the players’ consorts will be reptilian or amphibious in nature, each race of consort originating in a different player’s planet. And speaking of Abraxas brings us to the denizens.. These are the lords of each planet, who cause the land’s woe and commission its underlings on Derse’s behalf. Though we only see a few denizens, we see their iconography both in the lands and as each player’s browser icon. The denizen will also have the browser’s name, all references to mythological gods or monsters. The denizens we see in the story all seem to be half snake monsters with blindingly bright heads, evoking a common depiction of Yaldabaoth as a snake with the Sun for a head. Fittingly, the denizens are built up as tyrants of the land, oppressing their subjects through might. As such, they act as final bosses for each player’s personal quest. Dealing with the denizen in some way is a prerequisite for completing the game, and that can certainly be resolved by killing. But it’s not necessary, since they’re built up as evil oppressors as a trick on the game’s part. They speak in an incomprehensible language only their player can understand, though in some cases a player of the same aspect may suffice. If a player listens to them, they may find it possible to fix whatever ails the land without killing the denizen, which would come in handy, because the denizens are much more useful if one takes the time to speak with them. The denizens’ dreams draw on the same pool of possibility as Skaia, and so they act as sources of light. In that sense, they’re essentially multiversal internet browsers, connecting players to their massive multiversal context just as Chrome or Firefox connect us to our relatively puny global context. Their serpent forms take on different implications in this reading. They can also be seen as depictions of the snake from the book of Genesis, specifically in the Gnostic tradition which considered the snake a heroic figure, helping humans ascend to the light by giving them access to the world of ideas. This means the denizens are wells of deep existential insight, and a willing player may benefit from that insight in the form of The Choice. In most cases, the choice seems to involve facing one’s mortality, and even choosing death, but unlike the Horrorterrors whose influence seems to lead players to embrace death for its own sake, a denizen demands that a hero be willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves. They may also demand tasks that seem outright impossible, but if a player refuses The Choice, the denizen will demand a battle to the death. If the player lives, they’ll achieve the basic requirement for completing the game regardless. All they have to lose is the denizen’s guidance and advice. But the denizens’ final and perhaps most interesting use is as symbols for their heroes rather than guides. Cetis, the denizen for Rose and Vriska, has some strong void coding. She’s a sea monster hiding in the darkness and causing absence or misfortune on the lands she rules over. Fittingly, both heroes of light start their lives surrounded by void. Rose in the form of literal darkness and the incomprehensibility of her mother’s actions, Vriska in the form of bad luck. Both players’ journeys involved rising above the darkness of their early lives to find the light within their worlds and themselves. Echidna, the denizen assigned to Space players, is named as the mother of all monsters, and every player that agrees to her terms is at some point linked to the creation of a monster themselves. Jade and Calliope in particular are both linked to the creation of invincible demons. Yaldabaoth is the denizen given to Caliborn, the character who eventually becomes Lord English. The denizen Yaldabaoth is used as a symbol, serving to mark the central antagonist of the story as a demiurge. Like Yaldabaoth, Caliborn’s path to godhood is caused by a Sophia figure, and born from the void or nothingness of a black hole. Caliborn’s journey even leads him to warping his eyes, echoing Yaldabaoth as a blind god. Like Yaldabaoth, Caliborn is a flawed creator who creates flawed worlds. He’s a tortured artist, convinced of his own misunderstood greatness even though pretty much everything he makes is absolute garbage that makes everyone exposed to it miserable, including the reality of Homestuck itself. And most importantly, Yaldabaoth ultimately owes his existence to Abraxas, the true God of Gnostic spirituality and embodiment of the Gnostic pleroma. Similarly, Caliborn owes a large part of his identity as Lord English to the representative of Abraxas, Jake English, from whom Lord English takes his name. Abraxas is a denizen we never actually see. Instead its importance to the story is largely symbolic, perhaps fitting for a god who mythologically resides only in the world of ideas. In Jung’s Seven Sermons, Abraxas is described as a coiled knot of winged serpents and Jake is known to manifest an orb that emanates winged snakes called angels. He also comes to rule a kingdom of the consorts, marking him as a lord of frogs and toads himself. Reflecting Abraxas’ connection to the process and interconnectedness of all things, Jake is implied to have a subconscious understanding of Homestuck’s events far beyond what should be humanly possible. And reflecting the two snakes making up Abraxas’ legs, Jake is connected to a pair of snake-like aliens, which brings us back to Caliborn and his sister Calliope. We’ve discussed the two different interpretations of denizens in Sburb’s mythology. We can understand them as versions of Yaldabaoth, or we can understand them as snakes of gnosis. The two cherubs each take one of these interpretations for themselves. Caliborn is a depiction of the former, his sister Calliope is a depiction of the latter. She loves and is loved by her human friends, and gives them knowledge and guidance at every opportunity. But both cherub siblings craft parts of their identities from the mold of Jake English. We established Lord English’s connection to Jake, but Calliope speaks in a faux British accent, echoing the English surname in her manner of speaking. On top of that, Jake’s shirt icon is a skull with black eyes, echoing Calliope’s ghost form. These two characters define absolutely every single event in Homestuck, beginning to end, so the fact that they’re both so strongly influenced by Jake speaks to his far-reaching symbolic importance. For now, I think that about does it on the lands, consorts and denizens. If you have an idea for what nouns your planets would be named after, or what your consorts or denizen would be, let’s jam about it in the comments. I hope you came away with a deeper understanding of Homestuck, or at the very least that you had some fun following along. This video exists thanks to the support of my wise cohort of patrons. if you’d like to summon more videos like this onto your screen, then you can join them. 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