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Elfquest: Final Quest 9 (cover)

Stefan

EQFQ-9-FC-FNL-4x6-1af3f

The misfit trolls return to battle the eager Go-Backs, to the delight of Two-Edge, who forms an astonishing alliance. Meanwhile, Rayek hungers to partake of the increased magical power of those who dwell within the Palace. But Cutter’s greatest concern is Angrif Djun’s massive war fleet, which seeks to crush all elves and their allies.

Weaver

Nice one! I'm happy to have a break from the five scenes covers. Lots to chew on in the description but not too much to read in to on the cover.

Eyeshigh

It this maybe the one where Venka gets hurt? And Rayek saves her?

travelbug

I'm feeling a bit worried now. These trolls look a lot less misfit than the ones who keep lurking around Treestump and Clearbrook.


Isnt Rayek in in the Djunslands? At the end of Shards he seems to leave the palace in the same place as Ember's tribe.

lunakat

What is Two Edge's "astonishing alliance"?

manga

.Meanwhile, Rayek hungers to partake of the increased magical power of those who dwell within the Palace.


This bit worries me. If he wants to enjoy the restored Palace and High One lifestyle, well, of course! If he's just having regrets about the path his life has taken, it's to be expected. But please tell me he and Winnie aren't going to be villains again. (Well, not that she's stopped...)

lunakat

Don't worry Manga- Rayek is probably just going to have a few angsty moments before meeting up with Venka.

Embala

Trolls! Finally. And the of the dangerous kind!

And we will meet new elves. I hope some of the recent Go-Backs will become well defined characters.

RedheadEmber

Yay! New cover! :-j

Actually been looking for this for a while, but of course you got to it first.

lunakat

If those are the same misfit trolls, then this tunnel connects to both the Holt and the Sun Village.

lunakat

... and the Frozen Mountains. Are Venka and the GoBacks still in the same Frozen Mountains? Where are they trying to get to? Cutter's holt? Or did the Trolls come to them? If so, why? (Is this why Two Edge made her the shield?)

RedheadEmber

I think the entire underground of Iceholt may be filled with tunnels, after all; Two-Edge spent a few millenia walking around in his tunnels while planning the big Elf-Troll war.

jaRf

Ah, Venka-fluff! But in danger! X_X
I also welcome the once-scene cover for a change.

travelbug

The tunnels go from the Fathertree holt to the Frozen Mountains. Picknose tells Cutter and Skywise at the start of the quest, when they are captured as slaves

lunakat

Right- because the trolls from the north tunneled south- then greymung had his revolution and blocked off the passage. Until the day the northern trolls invaded and kidnapped Greymung's trolls and marched them back.

Stefan

Seems this cover Sparks a lot less speculation than the others. I wonder if it has something to do with this being a single image (instead of a compilation of images like the previous 2)

RedheadEmber

Suppose to. The cover and the explanation text are pretty clear about what's going to happen; there'll be a battle between the Go-Backs and the Misfit trolls, judging by the image in the old troll caverns where the First War took place.
However, something I'd really like to know is who does Two-Edge make that alliance with?
I don't think it'll be with the misfit trolls, rather doubt he'd do anything to even potentially harm Venka.

Embala

The misfit trolls return to battle the eager Go-Backs, to the delight of Two-Edge, who forms an astonishing alliance.

Okay, the first part hardly leaves question, even more as it is illustrated in the cover - there's combat between Go-Backs and Trolls ahead.

But WHY is this to Two-Edge's delight? Does he still follow the ieda that an fight between Trolls and Elves can settle his inner conflict and define "who he is"?
Is his mind still so twisted that he thinks he can protect "his maiden" whilehe enjoys a "battle of decision" between her tribe folk and the Trolls?
Or is it simply the delight of a mastersmith who see his weaponary needed and well used? 8-X

This astonishing alliance - what does that phrase imply? An alliance so extraordinary and surprising we would never have expected? An alliance never seen before? Or ... is it a little overemphasized to make the announcement more thrilling ... and it will not be SUCH a BIG revelation in the end? Or ... Wendy made up something beyond our imagination. !Nonna

Whether something is astonishing for me depends on my expectations and on what I think to know. Under this conditions an alliance between Two-Edge and the misfit Trolls WOULD be astonishing because I believe (think to know) that he wants to keep harm from Venka. Maybe - he becomes an ally of the Trolls in order to protect Venka? Or ... how's this: He'll actually form an alliance between Go-Back and Trolls? I'd call this astonishing \m/ - and it would be sort of a conclusion for his inner conflict as well. Coexistance.

Just playing around ;) with ideas, possibilities, craziness and ... impossibilities?
So who is around to form an alliance with - be it with Two-Edge personally or the Go-Back tribe?

There are the Misfit Trolls - they are supposed to be the villians. An alliance would be kind of a turnaround. Maybe there's a splinter group, tho ...
Are there other Trolls, too? Are there still slaves, former Holt Trolls enslaved again after Picknose was driven away? Is Two-Edge plotting with them for a while?
The Misfit Trolls have traditional gender roles, judgeing from what we've seen so far. What about the females? Are the sick of it and ready to revolt? Is Two-Edge plotting with them?

There may be Rayek and Ekuar. We know that those two and Venka will meet at some point ... and that it is likely during a battle. The elf shadow on top of the cover holds a pose I easily associate with Rayek. But he(?) wears Go-Back duds and I miss the high ponytale ... actually it could be anyone.
Would an alliance be called astonishing? I don't know. It would be likely that Rayek suppoerts his daughter. A cooperation with between Two-Edge and Ekuar, the technological mastermind and the rockshaper? Interesting ... butastonishing? Two-Edge and Ekuar were as close to friends as it could be in the beginning of KotBW.

Are there Humans? So far we have not met a human tribe so far north but we know that they could exist. An Elf/Human alliance would be rather astonishing in my opinion.

Or are there unknown Elves? Venka was worried about foreign sending ... why should she when there never was an encounter with (potientionally hostile) foreign elves?

btw: What meant Two-Edge when he said: "I am full of surprises?" in FQ #7? Anything special maybe? Is he forming this alliance already?


Meanwhile, Rayek hungers to partake of the increased magical power of those who dwell within the Palace.

This and his look on the cover of FQ #8 indicates for me that Rayek is in another part of the WoTMs than Venka ... and aims for another goal right now. He wears very differrent clothing in the teaser film when we see him with Venka - and he looks like he has regained/increased his powers. Not the worn out wanderer who struggles with Winnowill's spirit ...
Then again - the Palace could be moved back to the Frozen Mountains in order to make the Holt save for Sunstream's call ...
The Go-Backs would necessary band of protectors, backed up by selected Wolfriders. The Trolls would have a real reason to attack the Go-Backs again. And Rayek would head to the north ...

Of course it's as likely that Venka and her tribe want to visit Cutter (and the Palace), use the old Troll tunnels and run into the Troll warriors close beneeth the Holt.


But Cutter’s greatest concern is Angrif Djun’s massive war fleet, which seeks to crush all elves and their allies.
Their allies. Allies again ... Picknose's and/or Drub's Trolls? They dwell underground and not the best support on sea, I bet. Just some scattered elf-friendly Humans? Or is it about Two-Edge's "astonishing alliance" again?


For the weird note - and alliance with Winnowill's spirit would be astonishing , wouldn't it? :!!

RedheadEmber

Embala said: Or are there unknown Elves? Venka was worried about foreign sending ... why should she when there never was an encounter with (potientionally hostile) foreign elves?


I have this weird feeling that the other elves Venka was worried about were basically other Go-Backs (mainly because they're the only elf-tribe to've ever lived in the Frozen Mountains) maybe some who considered Zey to have been a rightful chief, and/or does not think a magic user should ever be chief(tess) of the Go-Backs, even/especially when that magic user is the daughter of Kahvi.



Embala said: Just some random elf-friendly Humans?


Well... there are Shuna, Shukopek, Khorbasi, Tingeh, Molli, Daboi, "Orphan Andy"... wouldn't say those are random.
However, one human I'd love to see turn up again is Padki, he'd probably have children on his own by now.

Embala

Sorry, wrong vocabulary: "scattered" Humans.

Who's Orphan Andy?

Leanan

What if Two-Edge's astonishing alliance is with Treestump? Just a thought.

Embala

Simple ... and great!

lunakat

Well... I'm guessing that Sunstream would have relocated the Palace by now. Cutter wanted him to do that in order to preserve the holt and the Wolfriders. That means, most likely, that the Wolfriders would have remained behind, in the Holt- right? At least I'm assuming- because, otherwise, what's the point of the relocation? So... maybe the Palace needs new defenders? Maybe the GoBacks are stepping up to plate and traveling there in order to be the soldiers of the Palace- like they always been.

Two Edge must have connected their lodge to the old troll tunnels and helped them journey that way.

RedheadEmber

Embala said: Who's Orphan Andy?


http://elfquest.com/orphan-boy/



lunakat said: Maybe the GoBacks are stepping up to plate and traveling there in order to be the soldiers of the Palace- like they always been.


Dunno why, but I have a feeling they might cease to refer to themselves as 'Go-Backs' not, as Rayek said during his Little... flip-out in KoBW, because they'd lost their way to go back to the Palace, but because they are already there, soldiers of the Palace as you said, so it's no longer their "goal", so to speak.

Kathleen2point0

Go Backs always kind of get the short end of the stick from the other elves, so I hope they show everyone up now, especially since they have Venka with them.

Eyeshigh

And where is Picknose? Still in "the New Land"? He is too far from the Frozen Mountains , even on another continent, to be of help or form an alliance. But will they stay or leave with the Palace? We know from future quest there are Trolls in the Palace.

EDIT: And doesn't Venka look suprised on the cover, as if she wasn't expecting the Trolls to be there....

Kathleen2point0

You really think Picknose would do anything or go anywhere if the alternative was sitting his ass down and having a long nap and some worm tarts?

Eyeshigh

Haha, no! He is too lazy to do anything!
I was just wondering which Trolls were in the Palace in the FQ. My best bet was that they are the decendents of Picknose, since they are the "kindest" among the Trolls.

Embala

Or Queen Drub's ... they are probably the most advanced ones.

But why should just the "most kind" Trolls go with the Palace? Trolls and Elves have proved already that they can co-exist and cooperate. Rembember Cutter's discussion about the Palace? Elves, Trolls, Preservers - they all have the right to be in the Palace.

The more fierce one are probably the more active and curious ones ... more likely the ones who are interested to travel with the Palace to new mining grounds.


btw: I' don't consider Picknose so lazy at all. He managed to stay King for 10,000 years. He must have done something right.

Eyeshigh

Well okay, I should have said, the ones who don't "hate" (don't know a better word!) the elfes that much, only a healthy dislike, because elfes are so much different from them. And isn't Queen Drub a descendant from Picknose?
Lazy is a big word. But I don't think he will be travelling halfway around the world, he would most likely send his family, being 10, 000 years and all.

I don't think the Misfit Trolls will be going with the elfes in the Palace........

Kathleen2point0

I think Picknose likes his comforts and there's nothing wrong with that, considering how hard he's worked for them.

RedheadEmber

Eyeshigh said: EDIT: And doesn't Venka look suprised on the cover, as if she wasn't expecting the Trolls to be there....


Well... if I am correct then the Misfit Trolls are descendants of the Frozen Mountain Trolls, of whom there (in the Frozen Mountains) are none left. Last time we saw the Misfit Trolls they were in the troll caverns under Goodtree's Rest pestering !Treestump , !Clearbrook and !Ahdri
Could also be Venka is simply surprised because the trolls are... well... misfit.

Eyeshigh

I agree, I just thought some one said she went down to fight them...... or that Two-Edge might make an alliance with them.
She wouldn't have been suprised then, right?


Venka: "They are even uglier then I remembered! And eeeew, they drool all over the place! What, no you can't have my shield! Here you can have my sword...... between your ribs!" Venka takes no prisoners!

RedheadEmber

Eyeshigh said: I agree, I just thought some one said she went down to fight them...... or that Two-Edge might make an alliance with them.
She wouldn't have been suprised then, right?


Well... the cover might show the Go-Backs' first encounter with the misfit trolls, with the battle coming afterwards.



Eyeshigh said: What, no you can't have my shield! Here you can have my sword...... between your ribs!" Venka takes no prisoners!


She is the daughter of Kahvi. >:>

sulken

Eyeshigh said: "They are even uglier then I remembered! And eeeew, they drool all over the place!"



That would be sort of rude to Two-Edge...

On a side note, without the correcting hand of recognition, could there possibly also be "Misfit-Elves"?

Tam

I don't think the misfit trolls came about because of bad breeding. They've just become especially single-minded and corrupt. And if you want to see elves thriving without the correcting hand of Recognition, just look at the Go-Backs. ;)

RedheadEmber

sulken said: That would be sort of rude to Two-Edge...


Naah. He's not misfit! 8-X
At least not in the same way the Misfit Trolls are misfit, guess you could say he's misfit in the mind.




Tam said: And if you want to see elves thriving without the correcting hand of Recognition, just look at the Go-Backs.


That's basically what I was going to post!
Especially there chieftess: >:> + :| = !Venka , no Recognition here.

Eyeshigh

I don't think Two-Edge thinks Trollmaiden are interesting to him or he might have been more with them, at least, I haven't heard he ever really spended time with Trolls, just acting like the voice in the Wall!
I don't think Trolls are ugly, but the Midfits ones sure come close to it!

Leanan

Eyeshigh said: I don't think Two-Edge thinks Trollmaiden are interesting to him or he might have been more with them, at least, I haven't heard he ever really spended time with Trolls, just acting like the voice in the Wall!
I don't think Trolls are ugly, but the Midfits ones sure come close to it!


Well he did once call Drub "my lusty wench"!

:P

Eyeshigh

He did? Totally missed that!
Can see it now!

Leanan

It was in the Shards storyline... Drub was with the elves, trying to find a way through the traps, and Two-Edge was being the annoying voice in the walls again... but still, those were the words he used. :D

Kathleen2point0

Was anyone else annoyed with the whole "Oh, Ruffel, you're getting taller and whiter" thing?

Tam

Kathleen2point0 said: Was anyone else annoyed with the whole "Oh, Ruffel, you're getting taller and whiter" thing?


Yes. I understand that the coneheads were paler, and the Sun Folk are dark because logic dictates that desert elves be such, but...yeah. It got to me. Like...it was such a HUGE deal when Elfquest was first colored and it was revealed that Leetah was dark. This groundbreaking comic, with a woman sharing the driver's seat, with an interracial couple. Regardless of whether or not there's any skin color bias in Elfquest's world, there certainly is in ours, and to see that was amazing for many readers.

Now if the Palace is making the darker elves taller and paler, does that mean we'll eventually see a tall, pale Leetah? =((

MultiFacets

I doubt it. She doesn't live there twenty-four seven.

Tam

MultiFacets said: I doubt it. She doesn't live there twenty-four seven.


Not yet.

sulken

Eyeshigh said: I don't think Trolls are ugly, but the Midfits ones sure come close to it!


Guess I got you wrong :) you "quoted" Venka saying: "they are uglier than I remembered" and since she never met the misfits, I thought it meant the original trolls ("Thank the high ones, you have at least some elf-blood in you, otherwise you would be even uglier, Two-Edge").

I thought the Misfit Trolls were the result of inbreeding and therefore it might (if they would work the same way) also happen with elves.


Seeing the Sun Folk becoming white and tall High Ones would be very weird.

Tavie

Kathleen2point0 said: Was anyone else annoyed with the whole "Oh, Ruffel, you're getting taller and whiter" thing?


Yes.

I get it makes them taller - we've seen that with Sunstream - but is "paler" necessary?

Thornbrake

Tam said: I don't think the misfit trolls came about because of bad breeding. They've just become especially single-minded and corrupt.


Yes, the Misfit Trolls weren't bred, they were created by the millennia-old pool of magic that created Madcoil and continued to linger and grw in Goodtree's Rest Holt until Sunstream destroyed it.

Remember, they were normal trolls when they discovered Ahdri's cocoon in the desert after the events of the Shards War and Forevergreen storylines. Searcher and the Sword happens just a few years later, and in just that amount of time the trolls devolved into the misfits.

Heather

Tam said: Now if the Palace is making the darker elves taller and paler, does that mean we'll eventually see a tall, pale Leetah?

It doesn't seem to be happening to all of them at the same rate. Skywise has had no change and that was specifically pointed out, which I think is important. I also think Leetah would be able to use her powers to influence any changes that happen to her, so we may not see it happen.

Thornbrake

Kathleen2point0 said: Was anyone else annoyed with the whole "Oh, Ruffel, you're getting taller and whiter" thing?


It did make me feel slightly uncomfortable, I'll admit. Not because there's not a legitimate logic to but because of the how this might come across in our real world, where racism is still alive and well. I wonder if it was necessary to call this out, when it might cause people to form assumptions about EQ without really giving it a chance, or to get distracted by a plot point that doesn't mean what they think it does.

But it does make sense within the story. The Sun Folk, living inside the Palace, don't need dark skin to protect them from the sun's rays anymore, just like they don't need small bodies to hide and survive on "scarce meat" (as Timmain put it). That, coupled with the fact that these are magical beings who have extremely malleable forms and for whom adaptation and evolution happen at the individual level rather than it happening slowly over many generations, and whose innate shelf-shaping magic is enhanced and greatly sped up by the Palace, make it understandable that this could happen within the story. The big takeaway from this, for me, is that what might take thousands of years of evolution in humans, or even for elves not living in the Palace, is now happening to the Sun Folk in the space of a few decades. The plot point is meant to emphasize this extreme effect of the Palace, not to make any social commentary on events in the real world.

Eyeshigh

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Ahdri flee with the little Palace during the war with the Go-Backs? She wanted to hide it behind the SunSymbol at the Bridge of Destiny, got shot and fell into the hole herself.... I have read New Blood only once or twice, so I could be wrong ofcourse. But that took place during the long sleep I thought....

RedheadEmber

No, Ahdri flet with the Little Palace, and ended up in a cocoon behind the Sun Symbol, during the war with the humans.

Eyeshigh

Ah, ok. Sound better! Couldn't place it, because she found her magic during the great sleep, after the Go-Back war.......?

RedheadEmber

She found her magic not long after the Palace left for the New Land, but she probably wasn't that trained.

Eyeshigh

Thx.... think I will read new blood again. It has been a long time....;) :)

lunakat

When did the GoBack attack happen?

RichardPini

manga said: But please tell me he and Winnie aren't going to be villains again.


To paraphrase Suntop, he'll be what he'll be.

(Hey, you made that one easy!)

RichardPini

Tavie said: I get it makes them taller - we've seen that with Sunstream - but is "paler" necessary?


Necessary in what sense? To be mentioned in the context of the narrative? If it is happening and if its happening is an integral part of the story, then why wouldn't someone point it out?

Or is the question actually, "is it necessary that this aspect of change happen at all, because it might threaten, somehow, to corrupt the perception of Elfquest as (partly) a multicultural, multiethnic parable?

Discuss...

lunakat

RichardPini said: Or is the question actually, "is it necessary that this aspect of change happen at all, because it might threaten, somehow, to corrupt the perception of Elfquest as (partly) a multicultural, multiethnic parable?


Yes- that. And that's actually valid.

Kathleen2point0

There are a lot of things a creator needn't explain to an audience. Otoh, if something one puts out garners a reaction like that, it's worth examining, at the very least. You seem to think that it's not worth criticizing?

People coming into Elfquest for the first time might start with the Final Quest, picking it up randomly in a bookshop. That line might be the line that completely alienates them, or, worse, it might be the line that confirms for their subconscious, already operating within the framework of an already white supremacist society, that "pale skin" is a sign of superiority and evolution.

Characters and stories might exist in the framework of their own worlds, but their audiences exist in this one, and that is something all creators must constantly bear in mind. Your audience will, if your work is any good, take the things you say into their hearts and minds, and out into the wider world, where it will affect the people around them. That's something you've known since you first started publishing, so it's difficult to understand why it's seemingly being ignored now.

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: When did the GoBack attack happen?


During the Long Sleep (or very shortly before.)

lunakat

Okay... I think the thing about it is...

Elfquest never tried to be a fictional work that had no connection to or didn't attempt to comment on our world. It sort of set itself up as a form of commentary.

Wendy herself said in an interview that she and her husband "believe that the purpose of fantasy is to symbolically make a comment on the human condition." And Elfquest has always done that. It doesn't exist in a fantasy bubble- it never attempted to. Shuna's story is a comment on domestic violence. Surge was a comment on how attempting to control the people you love is an expression of fear, not love- and doesn't lead to good things. And the Original Quest was a good analysis of the nature and origins of prejudices.

Wendy also explicitly states, in the same interview, that Elfquest "tackles themes of racial prejudice" using the elves as examples. So when the Wolfriders meet the Sunfolk, and judge them immediately according to their skin color- I can't think that's a coincidence. And when it turns out that the dark skinned characters are the peaceful, civilized, good guys- and the pale people are the "barbarians"- I can't assume that's anything but a deliberate subversion of stereotypes.

And that was great! And it was a good thing that one of the three main characters and about half the supporting cast had dark skin. I think that is something that your readers have always liked- because it does express the "liberal values" that Wendy (in the same interview) says you guys hold and want to express in your comic.

So what's wrong with making the dark characters turn pale? Well.. the elves aren't the only dark skinned characters. You also have the humans. By and large, the humans are collectively bad guys. A couple of them were not too bad- Shuna, for example, and Nonna were elf allies. And yes, I noticed, even as a kid, that Nonna was lighter than Adar and his people. Shuna has blond hair and blue eyes. She walks into the tribe of insect people (who are darker) and schools them on how to treat their women. I overlooked that as an issue, because I knew, based on the fact that the Sunfolk were dark, that Elfquest was very pro multiethnicity. (And also, cus... man, they treated their women bad!)

But now, by making the Sunfolk get paler, you are pretty much setting up a fictional world in which most (if not all) of the good guys are going to be pale, and most of the bad guys are going to be dark. And, it's like Kathleen said, the story doesn't exist in a bubble. It interacts with readers who are a part of this world we live in, and bring real life experiences and viewpoints to their understanding of the story.

Technically... sure, you can make it fit. If it were a necessary thing, intrinsic to the plot and important to moving the story forward, I'd totally go with it. But it really, honestly doesn't seem necessary. Granted, I don't know for certain where you guys are going with this (since I'm not the author)- but I'm guessing the elves are turning back into high ones. So they are probably regaining their original conehead shape. Which means, I guess, getting taller and paler. But why paler? They don't need to get get paler to get that point across. You could have dark coneheads or high ones. It would still fit with the story. There's no reason they have to get paler to get the point across that they are turning back into high ones. Taller is enough to communicate that.

So it's unnecessary, has negative connotations for readers, and sets up a problematic dynamic inside the story. That's my $0.02.

Here's the interview I was referring to:
https://archive.org/details/SFGTV2_20110228_183000#start/1140/end/1200

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: So when the Wolfriders meet the Sunfolk, and judge them immediately according to their skin color- I can't think that's a coincidence.


Did they though? Judge the Sunfolk according to their skin colour? I thought it was more the "They're out in broad day-light, like humans!" thing the Wolfriders were judging.



lunakat said: and most of the bad guys are going to be dark


Are they? The bad guys I can think of right now are Angrif, who has a rather light complexion, and the Misfit Trolls, who are more like... green.




lunakat said: So they are probably regaining their original conehead shape.


Am I the only one who'd have a hard time telling everyone apart if that happened?

lunakat

RedheadEmber said: Did they though? Judge the Sunfolk according to their skin colour? I thought it was more the "They're out in broad day-light, like humans!" thing the Wolfriders were judgin


In the novel, I'm pretty sure I remember that they go on about skin color.

lunakat

RedheadEmber said: Are they? The bad guys I can think of right now are Angrif, who has a rather light complexion, and the Misfit Trolls, who are more like... green.


He goes back and forth
http://www.previewsworld.com/Home/1/1/71/914?stockItemID=MAY140083

lunakat

I think you are kind of missing the point that whitewashing the Sunfolk takes Elquest from being a comic book with a multiethnic looking main cast to a comic book with a predominantly white-looking main cast. Awkward.

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: He goes back and forth
http://www.previewsworld.com/Home/1/1/71/914?stockItemID=MAY140083


That's just coz he's red in the face from being angry.
Or constipated...



lunakat said: I think you are kind of missing the point that whitewashing the Sunfolk takes Elquest from being a comic book with a multiethnic looking main cast to a comic book with a predominantly white-looking main cast


But does it really? The Sunfolk are living inside the Palace now, so it makes sense of them to stop being tanned. There are several other dark skinned characters who won't get paler: Teir, Venka, Rayek, Shenshen, probably Leetah, maybe Ahdri as well (though she seem to spend most of her time underground)
Heck, for all we know the Go-Backs (and Aroree) might end up getting tanned. If they become the Guardians of The Palace and the Palace is removed to somewhere where being tanned is a good thing.

lunakat

Oh sure- you can totally justify it. I'm just saying, it's an unnecessary change that doesn't reflect well in the larger context.

Sure, you can say technically, that the palace is changing them. For it to make sense, the change would have to be caused by the palace itself- because simply not being in sun doesn't seem to change characters in that way. Venka (since you brought her up) was born in the snow, raised in the forest and ended up leading her people through the snow again. She never got less dark for all that. And Suntop and Ember spent most of their lives in a shaded forest. They also didn't lose their tan. And as far as the Sunfolk themselves are concerned- I believe they spent a good deal of time living underground before they were rescued by the Palace, with very little natural light available. None of them got lighter because of that. The only way for this to make sense is if the Palace is creating the change.

I'm just saying- it's a pointless, unnecessary and conceptually problematic change. It's an element that didn't need to be there to get the point across. And it's sort of uncomfortable- and not in that good kind of way.

RedheadEmber

Actually, I'm not even sure that conversation between Skywise, Sun-Toucher and Ruffel indicates that the Sunfolk are getting paler, as much as it says they're getting taller.
Skywise seems less sure about Ruffel getting paler than about her getting taller. Again; getting a bit paler when you go from living in a desert to living indoors is pretty normal, having a sudden growth-spurt when you're well over 10,000 years old (assuming Ruffel didn't sleep during the Long Wait) is... a bit more unusual.
Sun-Toucher says that the Sunfolk will go from looking like Skywise, who is short and pale, to looking like Savah, who is tall and tanned.
Ruffel tells Skywise that he should not wait too long with changing.
Also, the change has already happened to Sunstream, and he's still tanned. (Not counting the time he spent as a rainbow coloured fish)...

lunakat said: And Suntop and Ember spent most of their lives in a shaded forest


... which is actually what Sunstream has spent most of his life as...

(BTW, am I the only one who first thought Sunstream getting taller was simply so he wouldn't be shorter than Brill?)



lunakat said: And as far as the Sunfolk themselves are concerned- I believe they spent a good deal of time living underground before they were rescued by the Palace, with very little natural light available.


They went underground at the same time as the Shards War, and got rescued right after.

lunakat

RedheadEmber said: (BTW, am I the only one who first thought Sunstream getting taller was simply so he wouldn't be shorter than Brill?)


I also got the solid impression he did that deliberately. He's the only one that shot up really tall over a short period of time. He grew that tall in two years- and the rest of them have been there more than twenty years.

RedheadEmber said: Skywise seems less sure about Ruffel getting paler than about her getting taller. Again; getting a bit paler when you go from living in a desert to living indoors is pretty normal, having a sudden growth-spurt when you're well over 10,000 years old (assuming Ruffel didn't sleep during the Long Wait) is... a bit more unusual.

Uh- no. You don't mention something like that that way if you don't want to make a point of it... as an author at least. I think, if it hadn't been intended that way- we wouldn't have all read it that way. Did anyone not read it that way?

RedheadEmber said: Actually, I'm not even sure that conversation between Skywise, Sun-Toucher and Ruffel indicates that the Sunfolk are getting paler, as much as it says they're getting taller.

They said both.

RedheadEmber said: They went underground at the same time as the Shards War, and got rescued right after.

So of the handful of examples I chose, that's the one that may not be completely the strongest. The others all stand.

I still think you missed my point. I mean- can we all agree that this is just an awkward thing to throw into the story? Sure you can say that, technically it fits. Sure, you can hedge it and say "maybe even though a character said it's happening it's not happening because, who knows, maybe that character has perception problems suddenly" or "of the three examples you chose, one doesn't exactly pertain because of z" ... But that still doesn't in any way discount that this is just an awkward element to throw in, given the larger context. And it's something that doesn't really have to be there. That's all I'm saying.

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: Uh- no. You don't mention something like that that way if you don't want to make a point of it... as an author at least. I think, if it hadn't been intended that way- we wouldn't have all read it that way. Did anyone not read it that way?


But maybe it's being mentioned because it's so vague that it's not even gonna be shown, and definitely not with Ruffel.
So that when continuing with the story readers will be like "did they say the Sunfolk were getting paler? They ain't."
After all; Wendy and Richard aren't above throwing in a few red herrings.




lunakat said: They said both.


But they were mostly focused on the getting taller part.

Embala

lunakat said: I also got the solid impression he did that deliberately. He's the only one that shot up really tall over a short period of time. He grew that tall in two years- and the rest of them have been there more than twenty years.
Not necessarily. Sunstream's situation was unique. He went into wrapstuff to develope his special ability and learn how to manage it. Guess he also studied the Palace and it's magic like the Sunfolk just in another way, by other methods.

During this time he was fully exposed to the influence of the Palace. While his mind was learning his body has nothing else to do but to follow growth impulse triggered by the Palace magic.
In backview it makes sense that he had growth spurt during these three years. Both psychical and physical growth were optimated by chosen method. No distraction of mind. No practical needs for the body.

Of course it was a "nice side effect" ^^ that his size matches his lovemate now.

RedheadEmber

@lunakat: I think what's happening with our Little misunderstanding is that you seem to think that "it's mentioned, so it definitely matters to the story!" Whereas I'm more like "It's probably just a random throw-in line, it's not really gonna matter."

manga

Lunakat, I share your concerns. I feel like "Elfquest" would lose something that has been central to its inner beauty if the elves all became white. But Suntoucher's words in response to Skywise's comment on Ruffel's appearance says the Sun Folk are becoming like Savah and Timmain. Savah is still dark. So perhaps what Skywise is seeing is Ruffel no longer being as dark as she was but it's only that she is no longer tanned ON TOP of being dark-skinned. So she's paler but not actually becoming pale, if you see what I mean.

jeb

I am glad to know that I wasn't the only one that was kind of put-off by that statement. I do think that it kind of translates into the lighter skin=better mindset, and I hate for that to have any part of this story. Maybe it is necessary to show the evolution of the elves back to their former selves. But then the coneheads were shape-changers "with no true form" of their own, so why would color matter?

But, if we look at the world of Elfquest, which previously seemed to support multiethnic harmony, and assuming the Pini's haven't had an about-face in their own personal values, I wonder if the palace will be shown to be a malignant agent that is changing the elves as part of its own agenda or programming. Having it go against the established value system is a foreshadowing of it's amorality. It makes me think of those robots in stories that end up imprisoning their masters in order to protect them, because life is inherently dangerous. I think it is this realization of what the palace is doing to them that freaks Cutter out ("be careful what you wish for") and leads to the final separation of the elven population and the decision to take the palace somewhere far away so Abode is beyond the huge sphere if it's influence.

lunakat

I'm with Jeb and Manga- and they said it better than I can.

@Ember- that sort of thing doesn't really make sense as a red herring.

@Embala- I think Sunstream did it deliberately. He was fully aware of how tall he was going to be when he got out of that cocoon. He sent his measurements to Moonshade! I don't think the Palace just did it to him randomly. But I guess we may never know for sure.

RedheadEmber

lunakat said: @Ember- that sort of thing doesn't really make sense as a red herring


Maybe red herring was a wrong term. More like something that's just thrown in without really mattering and probably not being mentioned again.

Leanan

I'm with Luna on this one. It may not be a big part of the story, now or in the future - which is why it should have been omitted for the sake of reader sensibilities.

RedheadEmber

Honestly, I think most readers are gonna forget it once the story really gets going. Who cares what colour skin somebody has? :P

lunakat

RedheadEmber said: Honestly, I think most readers are gonna forget it once the story really gets going. Who cares what colour skin somebody has?


Spoken like a true European! We have a complex history and relationship with skin color here in the United States.

I hope it's like you said- and just some toss-away line that they aren't going to follow much further.

jeb

It is probably true that it's mostly Americans having this response and taking it more emotionally than maybe other nationalities might. I mean, no one seems to be decrying the height-ism of taller=better. So maybe it is just a statement of what's observed to be happening.

But I still get ticked-off at the idea of everything evolving to some uniform, homogenous ideal. If that's what's going on, I hope to see the elves rebel against it.

lunakat

jeb said: It is probably true that it's mostly Americans having this response and taking it more emotionally than maybe other nationalities might. I mean, no one seems to be decrying the height-ism of taller=better. So maybe it is just a statement of what's observed to be happening.


We don't have a long history of discriminating against people based on height.

lunakat

It just a matter of the larger context. Did anyone notice anything odd about the Oscars this year?

Tam

lunakat said: Did anyone notice anything odd about the Oscars this year?


You mean the award show to honor Hollywood's "best and whitest?" (thank you, NPH!)

Stormcatcher

RedheadEmber said: Maybe red herring was a wrong term. More like something that's just thrown in without really mattering and probably not being mentioned again.


You mean anything like a MacGuffin? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGuffin

manga

Lunakat said: We don't have a long history of discriminating against people based on height.

All 5'1" inch of me disagrees with that a bit and I think the Little People (the name I've heard they prefer, though apologies if I'm wrong) would disagree more.

RichardPini

Leanan said: ...which is why it should have been omitted for the sake of reader sensibilities.


Excuse me? Did I really hear you - singular or plural - telling us what we should or should not say, or how we should or should not tell our story?

Tam

I would never presume to tell an artist how they should develop, express, or generally work their craft, but I hope that my questions have not been offensive to anyone in any way. For my part, it was simply a question.



manga said: All 5'1" inch of me disagrees with that a bit and I think the Little People (the name I've heard they prefer, though apologies if I'm wrong) would disagree more.


But you have to admit that it's not as socially visceral as racism. Not that discriminating against people for height differences is right (I'm quite short myself), but I think it is a bit like paper cuts and broken arms here.

manga

Well, why not, Richard? You've responded to reader opinions in the past. We all know you will do what you will do but we can hope that if we raise a point, you may take note. As Wendy plans to do with the same-sex elf pairing she has announced.

RichardPini

manga said: You've responded to reader opinions in the past.


Responded to opinions, yes, perhaps to agree, perhaps to disagree. Let reader opinion alter our course? No. Done what readers say we "should" do? Or hope we do? Or wish we'd do? Never. And never will.

manga said: As Wendy plans to do with the same-sex elf pairing she has announced.


She's going to handle this as she has always intended, which has in no way been influenced by any of the speculation here or elsewhere. (No, she doesn't read the EQ Forums, but the conjecture on Facebook is just as unchecked and, in some cases, aggressive.)

Kathleen2point0

Mr. Pini, your story is often unofficially marketed to people as a progressive story. When people talk about how they're tired of the tall, all white, ethereal, snobby elves in common fantasy, Elfquest is usually brought up as an alternative, THE alternative. When people complain about how fantasy doesn't show POC, or women, or gay people, someone has your book in their metaphorical back pocket.

No one is telling you how to write.

What is being said here is that what you write has an affect on the people who read your works, and that that affect is not always simply down to "how people read it" but what is actually said and written.

You and Mrs. Pini created a wonderful world of fully realized people, interracial couples, mixed race children who had to make decisions about who they were and how they wanted to identify, gay people, children with abusive parents who decided to make things better for the next generation. You explored the affect that abuse has on not only the victim, but the abuser. Disabled people played a main part in your stories, not just as hapless victims or angels, but as fully realized individuals. You made it clear that everyone had a story, a reason for their actions, but that they were also responsible for how those actions impacted the people around them.

Yet, within this world, your main male POC character for decades was an antagonist, at best, and an outright villain at worst. People who were clearly intended to be seen as Indigenous Americans were split evenly down the middle as either worshipful innocents, or brute savages, with a minimal, short-lived middle ground. And now I open a book to find that apparently the true, magical home of the elves is altering the only elfin POC nation in the entire saga, so that they more resemble the tall, white elves that we opened the first pages on, the "idealized elves" of Tolkein, etc.

If this were any other book, any other form of media, those of us who find the line distasteful probably wouldn't care about it. We'd put it down, never pick it up again, never give it a second glance.

But you were part of the process that made us into people who asked better, of OURSELVES, as well as everyone else. How can you be surprised when we act as the just, conscious individuals you helped make us into? Wasn't that your intention from the start?

There's a book in the back pocket of my mind, worn to pieces with reading, alive, colourful and vibrant with childhood magic. Tell me, the next time someone complains about a lack of diversity in fantasy, I can take it out, and show it to them, make that wonderful, crazy world come alive again with them.

RedheadEmber

I just don't see why one line should matter so much.
If it had been pointed out in the naration then maybe I could've seen your concern, but it wasn't, it was spoken by a character, who wasn't even completely sure Ruffel had gone paler. I guess that just like humans sometimes say things that maybe shouldn't have been said and really didn't make sense, so do elves.

lunakat said: Spoken like a true European! We have a complex history and relationship with skin color here in the United States.


But the elves don't. Imagine if instead of "Maybe a bit paler." Skywise had said "Maybe a bit purpler."

Also, some of the concern at least seem to be that now the majority of characters will be light-skinned but as I already mentioned:
1: There are several characters who won't change.
2: The Go-Backs might end up somewhere where they would benefit from being tanned. I'm thinking if the Palace got removed to that Island... and the Go-Backs became guardians of the Palace. It seems the Island is pretty southishy in location.

Talking about the Go-Backs becoming guardians of the Palace (again) and thus indirectly guardians of the Sunfolk. Am I the only one who think that would be really cool? It would be the ultimate 'making up' to the Sunfolk for what happened.



Leanan

RichardPini said: Excuse me? Did I really hear you - singular or plural - telling us what we should or should not say, or how we should or should not tell our story?


You heard me speak my opinion. Perhaps "should" was the wrong word to use, and I'm sorry for that. I am still not used to your active presence on this forum. On most fandom forums, users can only fantasize about interacting with the creators. (Don't get me wrong, it's great to have you here!)

I was not speaking to you at all. I would not presume to tell you how to do your work. I was speaking to the other fans here, and saying I agree with Luna (and several others.)

I think Kathleen's previous post explained my feelings perfectly.

Rob

Perhaps there's a reason this line concerns minor characters off-screen, Sun Folk in the palace -- as opposed to Leetah, Shenshen, Rayek, Ahdri, Savah, etc.

The Whitening, if it even shows up, could be presented negatively in the course of the story, as a symbolic loss. Maybe it illustrates the Palace's control over the elves, and its willingness to muck with them, acting on its own mysterious notions of consent and purity -- and the willingness of some to give themselves up to it.

Maybe the palace is a NAZI.

RichardPini

Kathleen2point0 said: But you were part of the process that made us into people who asked better, of OURSELVES, as well as everyone else. How can you be surprised when we act as the just, conscious individuals you helped make us into? Wasn't that your intention from the start?


Truthfully, no. (Thank you for your calm and reasoned response, by the way.) Our intention from the beginning was - and we have said this often - to tell the best story we can, to put forth a vision of a world not of the world as it is, but as we would like it to be. Not a perfect world, but one at least in which characters try to operate from their higher, rather than their baser, impulses. We are eternally grateful that some, maybe many, people have taken Elfquest to heart and been transformed by it. But that was never our intention in the creation and continuation of this long, long work.

Leanan said: You heard me speak my opinion. Perhaps "should" was the wrong word to use, and I'm sorry for that.


Apology accepted. It would be very nice if humans could "send" like the elves, but we can't, so Wendy and I do our very best to make words - the only possible expression of one's inner self on paper or online - as clear as we can. "Should" is a red-button word and concept, tricky and dangerous especially as casually tossed about these days. It implies obligation or correctness (rather, one person's notion of those things, as expressed to another). Having spent more than half our lives fighting to maintain our vision in an ever-changing, increasingly-chaotic and me-me-me social milieu, you may imagine we won't react well to fan - or professional - expressions of "you should..." or "you owe..."

All that said...

RedheadEmber said: I just don't see why one line should matter so much.


I have to agree. Wendy and I understand - as best we can - where those who have fastened upon that line may be coming from. We understand - as best we can - that they are speaking perhaps on behalf of themselves, perhaps on behalf of others who they think may read that line and react the same as they have. But they're doing two things that, in reality, have no basis. One, they're taking a single line of dialog out of the larger, as-yet-unknown context, and spinning a massive, unwieldly, and to be frank, totally subjective what-if out of it. By itself, playing in a what-if world is the very basis of all speculative fiction, and that's fine. But here's number two: They then expect that their "what-if" concern will ripple outward to negatively affect others - and then chide us for an imagined unhappy outcome. That's just presumptuous. There's a world of difference between "I'm not happy with what you did and here's how and why I feel that way" and "I'm not happy with what you did and I'm saying that you should have done it different or better."

RedheadEmber

Rob said: Perhaps there's a reason this line concerns minor characters off-screen, Sun Folk in the palace -- as opposed to Leetah, Shenshen, Rayek, Ahdri, Savah, etc.


One, I'm pretty sure Savah spends most of her time in the Palace, she has her own throne chamber! *-:)
Two, I wouldn't be too surprised if Leetah subconsciously "maintained" her tan, so to speak. (And maybe others could too, with the minor shape-changing abilities all elves must have)

Weaver

I guess this is what happens when the cover isn't broken up into multiple vignettes, less speculation on the story and more nitty gritty analysis over wording from issues WAaaay past. I was hoping this thread would be more about the speculation in issue 9...wishful thinking I suppose. Not to say this conversation hasn't been interesting to follow but every time I see a flurry of posts I click in hoping to see it back on topic only to be disappointed that we're still on this line of speculation.

So the call has gone out, are the Go-backs trying to take the tunnels to the palace. Maybe that's simply why Two-edge partnered with the misfit trolls, to keep Venka on Abode with him. Why wouldn't he want to go in the palace? I wonder if he and Reef will ever cross paths. Seems like they're brothers in a way given how Winowill has touched them her own special way.

Kathleen2point0

RedheadEmber said: I just don't see why one line should matter so much.
If it had been pointed out in the naration then maybe I could've seen your concern, but it wasn't, it was spoken by a character, who wasn't even completely sure Ruffel had gone paler. I guess that just like humans sometimes say things that maybe shouldn't have been said and really didn't make sense, so do elves.


It's one line and an entire history, spanning back centuries, all over the world, wherein people with lighter skin, even in POC communities, are privileged over people with darker skin.

And it's not awkward in the story. They have an entire conversation based on that line, a conversation that would have made just as much sense, and not had the negative connotations, if it were only about Ruffel getting taller.

Leanan

RichardPini said: Apology accepted. It would be very nice if humans could "send" like the elves, but we can't, so Wendy and I do our very best to make words - the only possible expression of one's inner self on paper or online - as clear as we can. "Should" is a red-button word and concept, tricky and dangerous especially as casually tossed about these days. It implies obligation or correctness (rather, one person's notion of those things, as expressed to another). Having spent more than half our lives fighting to maintain our vision in an ever-changing, increasingly-chaotic and me-me-me social milieu, you may imagine we won't react well to fan - or professional - expressions of "you should..." or "you owe..."


I'm an idiot. Of course it was the wrong word to use. I should have said something along the lines of "if I was writing this story, I would have written something else." Obviously I am not writing this story, you guys are, and you're doing a great job. My apologies again.

Eyeshigh

I can understand why people react to this line, although I totally missed it as being discriminating. I thought it was just another effect that the Palace had on every elf. Getting taller etc.
To be blunt.... I compaired it with stretching something, when you stretch a rubber band, it is also getting lighter..... I know :\"> ... I just didn't right away thought of any kind of discrimination. Maybe it is something European, I don't know, maybe my upbringing...

I just hope...
I don't know what I hope, but all I want to say is: Keep believing in Wendy and Richard, they want to give us a wonderfull story, full of lessons (intentional or not) and want to show us a world where everything is possible, (with different values, different believes and with, I like to believe myself, no judging, just a trying to understand each other,) but some how this world looks like a world we could live in!

One day....

lunakat

It's only "just a line" if it doesn't happen.

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