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Bark Like A Fish, Damnit!


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ursulav

The Promised Digger Thread

Spoilers. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. LOTS OF SPOILERS. If you have any thought of ever reading Digger and you don't want to know exactly what happens, DO NOT READ. SERIOUSLY.

The comic is pretty much all over but the shouting. There is a lot of shouting left to go, so it won't wrap for another few months at minimum. But if you read this, you will know what the shouting is about.

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Last chance!

















The odd thing is that I knew Ed was going to die since not long after we met him, and much of the last six or seven years of comic I spent wondering how it happened. For awhile I thought the cold servants got him, but that didn't feel quite right, and for about twenty awful minutes I thought maybe Grim Eyes did it, but that was too horrible and Oedipal and pointless, and then for a long time I thought Jhalm did it, but that would have made Jhalm totally evil instead of an obnoxious but basically good guy who needed to be slapped in the face with what he was doing, and Jhalm honestly didn't deserve that.

I figured it out in the shower one day around two years ago, and a couple months later I figured out his last words, and I admit, there was some choking up in the shower when I did. (I do a lot of the plotting for Digger in the shower.)

Then I sat on it. For TWO YEARS. I finally told Kevin, because I had to tell SOMEBODY, and at least one fan figured it out and e-mailed me a surprisingly accurate plot synopsis, and some other friends figured out much closer to the crunch, probably from my awkward silences, and my mother called and made me tell her what happened, and everybody was very good about keeping quiet about it. But I'm still glad it'd finally drawn.

I'd like to be able to tell you that I knew it was a heroic redemption story all along. Maybe other authors know what they're doing beforehand, I just keep going and hope that it all works out in the end.

"So are you worried about what the fans will do?" asked Otter some months ago.

"Err...not really. I'm hoping it's so obviously the right and proper ending that people will accept the rightness of it and be sad but...y'know." (There were vague hand gestures.)

She looked at me pityingly and said "And then you realized you were on the internet, right?"

"Um," I said.

But despite my fears, I gotta say, the readers have really impressed the heck outta me. But that said-- if you want to yell, here's a thread to do it in.

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I think I'm still in shock. :/ My brain just makes white noise every time I try to think about it.

In spite of threats to everyone I know to cry into my pillow all night, I didn't actually do that... I guess there's a rightness to it. There's a sadness, for sure, because I adored Ed intensely, but in this kind of story there are always sacrifices.

Still gonna sniffle a bit more, though.


:( I am a bad fan for not being torn up by this... maybe I just saw it coming without realizing it.

But the kingfisher spirit looks... it looks so /happy/. (Is that Ed's soul/name?)

I think it's He-is's ghost. If gods can have ghosts.

And *sniff* Ed! ;_; I was hoping his death could be avoided... but it is a good way for him to go.

Probably should make this it's own entry in my blog

alchemist

2010-11-02 03:20 pm (UTC)

Strangely enough, there are secrets that are easy to keep, and secrets that are hard to keep. And this one was both - Wanting to tell, but not wanting to spoil it for anyone. Wanting to share the burden of what is in a lot of ways a great tragedy, but also revelling in that "I know something you don't know" feeling.

Wanting to shout it from the rooftops, but knowing that it'd be death for me from multiple sources - with you first in line. *grin*

It has been a lot of fun watching the readers figure it out (or not figure it out in many cases).

That being said, I've spent a lot of time pushing back my own tears over the last few months KNOWING what was about to happen. And it didn't make it any easier - hell, if anything it's made it a lot harder, and well worth the wait.

I love and admire you for being able to execute today's comic - and the whole story - so well. Even knowing how it ends (and no, I'm still not sharing) hasn't spoiled it for me.

As an aside, I'm also glad our contingency plans for "if the readers want to kill me over this" aren't needed. Although we still have the undisclosed location on emergency standby.

Edited at 2010-11-02 03:20 pm (UTC)

I think it helps a lot knowing that you're just as hurt by it as all the readers. If you had approached it with a "Pff, I'm the creator and I do what I want!" people would likely be a lot more cranky. You're also not being patronizing and "It's JUST a fictional character, quit yer whining."

There are a lot of bad ways an author/artist/creator can handle a big moment in a story, and you handled it with as much dignity and understanding possible. I salute you.

^-- This.

Because Ed's death was not wrong (which is different from saying it was the right thing, as we all know). It was not unexpected, no matter what we might have hoped.

Don't sell yourself or your readers short. This story attracts the sort of people who hope for the best, but realize that sacrifice happens. So long as it's for good reason.

Is it wrong that I see a little Ed Spirit wafting away, pumping his fists and calling 'Worth It!' ? I'm so bad... :D

It's *right*. Sad, very, but I can't deny the rightness of it. And it was pretty clear what was likely to happen when that link broke. I think it would lessen the work to make everything come out all sunshine and roses.

Ursula,

After the reveal of how Ed's first name was eaten, I knew he was going to be the great sacrifice. The Hyenas have been without a good male model for quite some time, and the "Irredeemable Redeemed" just seemed right.

I choked up pretty hard today anyway, as I loved Ed a lot. He was a survivor, but never was less than loving. It's a hard thing to keep open and loving after a tragedy like his.

Also, the fact that he has my name made it just a little more... personal.

Also, the fact that he has my name made it just a little more... personal.

Same here.

Ed being the "hero" of this tale was the only right way to end it, at least in my feelings. Having it go any other way would just seem like grasping at straws just to make the story seem different than any other "Heroic redemption" story. Instead of a well told and well drawn one.

Thank you for giving Ed the heroic moment of standing up to Sweetgrass Voice and claiming his name. Having had that happen, today's comic seemed right.

this shall be your world. may your laments to the gods fall upon the ears of the deafened pigeon that would have carry your cries of remorse and repent to the one true hyena that could have saved you from your fate.

i curse you.

i curse your household.

may every bird you see wear a coat of brown and flash white and black tail feathers in your midst.

oh yes. this shall be your world.


You deserved to have you egret stolen!

The note below the comic has a typo. "(The writer is often not nearly so in charge of the story as you might thing.)" - that should be "think" at the end, I guess.

Ed being dead right now is more of a , "huh. Bummer" thing to me. Need to see the shouting first.

Actually, this is how I feel. Not uber-emotional, not flippant. Somewhere in the middle. Maybe it's the update schedule, maybe it's that my personal life made a left turn at Albuquerque not too long ago and I'm picking up the pieces.

But it was a great, gutsy call, and I'm glad you made it.

Also, how high up were they?

You did this right and well.

I will now vanish back to the land of resisting various "heart attack" jokes.

timprov wins.

Also, ye gods this is a sad part. :(

I'm going to take you up on that offer of yelling. Not at you, I understand why it had to be this way, and I respect your handling of it. But just in general:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGG
GGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, it's Ed! The most loving and peaceful character in the world Digger-world! I mean, if it had been just about anyone else, I would have been incredibly sad, but not THIS level of broken up. ED! That just tears at my soul in a way very very few things ever have.

I understand why it had to be this way, and you gave him the best death possible. But oh, how I wish it could have been different...

And it's a huge credit to you to make me feel this way about a fictional character.

(Sidenote: Digger's quiet "Oh, Ed" was the perfect reaction. She also knew it had to be that way.)

maybe Grim Eyes did it, but that was too horrible and Oedipal and pointless

Ooooh! Is this official confirmation of the relationship between Grim Eyes and Ed?

Ed, who was only ever your maternal grandma who'd bake you cookies, in slightly crazed male hyena warrior form!

No yelling. I'll just sniffle for a bit.

Sigh. Between you and Lois McMaster Bujold, this has been a rather rough month for me when it comes to Beloved Characters. :(

I was expecting Ed to wind up apotheosizing, myself.

But then I'm like that.

-- Graydon

Given the scale and who he actually wound up dealing with back there, I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Being dead is hardly a disqualification.

Funnily, I NEVER foresaw "NAME-IS ED!", but totally did foresee this. Still wondering what the sequel will be (what WILL Grim Eyes say?).
I imagine Ed's spirit would go into the great beyond as he lived the last years of his life: sad, but hopeful.

(what WILL Grim Eyes say?)

I somehow foresee the majority of the tribe declaring it changes nothing, promptly followed by some combination of Digger, Boneclaw Mother, Owl Caller, and/or Grim Eyes tearing the naysayers a new one.

Possibly several new ones.

There may be livers.

Odd question, but is there any chance we could get an Ed plushie?

I need something to commemoratively snuggle and sob over.

Yeah, I didn't see it coming, but... it's right. Ed isn't the type of character who gets a survival ending. It'd feel... loose? Not woven in. This hurts, but it's RIGHT. This does not stop my sniffling, though.

Chuck Jones (he of Bugs Bunny) said that the simple way to tell the false from the true is that the false is sweet, and the true is bitter.

There is always a price. Ed paid in full. Digger's going to be paying in guilt-edged bonds for the rest of her life.

A hero doesn't have to be heroic. As often as not, a hero is someone who's scared and tired and just wants it to be over with.

Thank you for giving us Ed.

Given the kind of story, I knew not everyone was going to make it out alive...but I didn't think of Ed. given his history I suppose that was silly of me, but he never *acted* like he had a past.

My thoughts:
"Well, that was disappointingly conventional. It's like killing off the black guy in disaster movies."

Nah, I disagree. I think it was built into Ed, like survival is built into Digger.

Unless you think the whole story is too conventional, in which case you're really coming from a really different convention from mine...

(Deleted comment)
I wouldn't say Ed had a neon sign flashing "DON'T GET ATTACHED" over his head, but it became increasingly hard to imagine any sort of happy ending for him. I think the big OH NO moment for me was when he volunteered to go back into the tunnels with Digger -- for whatever it's worth, I think you handled the panels leading up to his death and revealing it with grace. Like you do.

Kingfisher ghosts. <3


Poor Ed always felt like a goner to me. I'm glad he thought of himself as someone other than an outcast before the end.

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