Good evening. I’ve heard a lot about Aspect Inversion lately, in both the Tumblr and Reddit Homestuck communities. It seems a lot of people are super gung ho to the max about this theory and its implications for our non-God-tiered players, but I feel that a lot has been taken out of context and built upon nothing more than (innocently) mistaken supposition.
For those who don’t know, the theory of Aspect Inversion is one in which a character switches their mythological role through various circumstances. It was hinted at in the comic itself here:
UU: it is certainly possible that we may have common groUnd with oUr ancestors when it comes to oUr aspects, and the way oUr abilities reveal themselves to Us. i coUld not rUle this oUt.
UU: bUt there is always more to examine.
UU: for instance, a hero of life and a hero of doom have aspects as different as can be.
UU: bUt if their classes are different enoUgh as well, that is, one active and the other passive, remarkably there is a chance they coUld end Up with very similar abilities!
UU: player abilities may also manifest in ways in defiance with their aspects if they are heavily resistant to their trUe calling. or, if corrUpted in some way by an oUtside inflUence.
Kind of vague, isn’t it? But so very, very tantalizing. The implications are quite profound, and many of them are explored thoroughly in bladeKindEyewear’s own theory blog. You can’t navigate his site for less than a few moments before stumbling upon an extensive and thought-provoking analysis of Aspects, Aspect Inversion, and their potential role in the story.
Indeed, it is from bladekindEyewear that I find the inspiration to write this article myself. See reblog. You see, while he is a talented and passionate theorist, I don’t think he’s necessarily going down the right track.
The lynchpin of the “Bladekind Aspect Theory” is the line from the aforepasted dialogue wherein Calliope implies that a player’s powers can manifest in defiance of their aspects if they are heavily resistant to their true calling, or if corrupted by an outside influence. The prime example used by Bladekind is the supposed inversion of Rose when she went “grimdark.”
According to Bladekind, because Rose was both heavily resistant to her true calling and influenced by the Horror Terrors, she inverted her class from a Light player to a Void player. This is backed up with the fact that any who attempted to spy on her via Trollian found her blacked out, similar to any who try to spy on Roxy.
With this example taking the lead, it’s logical to assume that each Aspect has an opposite pole, and that perhaps even their Classes have opposites of their own. This is further backed up by another tidbit leaked by Calliope when she discussed Active and Passive classes.
But is this really what happened? Is it truly so simple? Does it take such little effort for a character turn from a Seer of Light to a Mage of Void?
I think that this is a very linear way of thinking for too nuanced a concept. One has to understand that these Classes and Aspects are a matter of fate. They are not just the determining factor of one’s abilities in Sburb, they are the definition of that player’s role in the perpetuation of existence; chosen before their reality came into being by the temporally cyclical providence of Paradox Space; etched not just in stone, but in the very fabric of their Universe. This is not something that is idly switched back and forth depending on how a character feels emotionally.
Consider Rose, who is the only character to have “inverted” in the entire comic. As a Seer of Light, her powers are thus:
ARADIA: as a knower of all fortune she can see the circuitous path that will lead to the most favorable outcome for everyone
Rose Lalonde is, was, and always will be, a Seer of Light—this is her role, her destiny, and there is no changing what is already woven into the fabric of Paradox Space.
When she went grimdark, her powers were clearly manifested in defiance of her Role—take note my labor to avoid saying “inverted”—due to the influence of the Horror Terrors. She did not become a Mage of Void when entering into contract with the Horror Terrors. She was still a Seer of Light. But her powers were twisted and mutated by the dark pact to which she agreed and instead of seeing all fortune, she became blinded to it, and in so doing blinded others to the same. This also led to the near downfall of their entire party. After all, she, John, and Dave all died around this time. This is less an inversion and instead a total shut down of a fundamental aspect of her being.
That’s aspect with a lowercase a.
This is all just as Calliope said. A player’s powers can often manifest in ways that are similar to another Class and Aspect. Rose was a Seer who, if you’ll pardon the hyperbole, closed her eyes. The Light went out. This can easily be interpreted as a power of Void, but it wasn’t. Not really. A dim light is still light, indeed. Nothing about Rose’s destiny changed.
As for the black tentacle spooky bullshit that was coming out of her wands? That is easily attributed the inherited powers of the Horror Terrors, which are as mysterious as they are magical. This has nothing to do with her Aspect or Class. This was just regular ol’ magic, which is clearly real and always has been.
I will stress this again. The only part of Rose’s “inversion” that was related to her Aspect was the inability for others to see her, similar to a Void player. And yet still it was the power of Light, however corrupted, that manifested during this change.
Besides, “going grimdark” is not a common event. It is not a game mechanic in Sburb. Rose’s case was special. In fact, any case in which a player may find themselves resisting their role could be considered a special case. That’s the beauty of the mythology of Homestuck. Each adventure is unique despite sharing a common template, and the ascent to one’s realizing their full potential is rife with struggles and doubt. It would ruin the importance of their personal destiny if they switched sides every time things turned bleak.
Aspect Inversion is a cool idea, don’t get me wrong. It’s certainly fun to think about and it’s cool to think of what would happen to our heroes if they ended up turning into badguys. But it simply does not jive. On technical level, it is grossly misinterpreted from the source material and is in no way supported by anything shown in the comic thus far.
On a philosophical level, it defies everything we have learned about our heroes as individuals. “Classes” and “Aspects” are too integral to who they are and who they are meant to be. The strength of a player may waver, and their faith may wan, but who they are as a person will never change.
It’s actually a pretty heart warming message. Let’s all contemplate it.