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Mira vs Wit - Really, really uncool (Spoilers & Anger)


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#41 Constanse

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 17:07

When I read the review in "Rock, Paper, Shotgun" which mentioned one scene being heatedly discussed and linked to this thread I had no idea what scene it might be, as I never found it offensive when I played the game. I thought it was a very quick and strong way of introducing Mira. Yes, she was terrible to Wit, and I believe I actually gasped when she threw something at him (Which I would find more offensive if someone did to me, than being thrown insults at). But that is why I love all the games in the saga, they actually make me feel stuff. All the feels ^^,


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#42 TalkingOak

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 17:15

I have Asperger syndrome so the line about faking autsim did give me a moment of discomfort but at the end of the day it is a character speaking and not Ragnar or Dag. There are people out there who do have that attatude but I don't think the game was promoting it at all.

 

Thanks Ragnar for your comments on the subject. I respect that you did keep the dialouge in even if it did cause me some discomfort.


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#43 somnolentsurfer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 17:20

Our squabbles got linked on RPS? Oooo... I was looking for a review there earlier but it hadn't been posted yet. Better go read it. BRB. :D



#44 virumor

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 20:31

Mira is a female version of Burns Flipper. I cannot say I dislike her.
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#45 ABx

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 20:49

I didn't see it as promoting that attitude, but unfortunately there are people that consider many of these conditions to be "fake" and just an excuse for poor behavior, and that line is very likely to make them feel that much more justified (I've seen it happen with less).

 

I thought the overall character was a little over-the-top, to the point of being unbelievable, but I can't say that it's to the point that I regret getting the game.


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#46 Veraxus

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 23:58

I have to agree with Ragnar on this. There are people like that in the real world - who are spiteful and mean by their very nature. Hell, even decent people at some point hurl words like daggers, the most horrible, hateful things they can muster... because they are angry and they mean for those words to wound.

 

If you were hurt by those words, then it means the writing achieved it's purpose. Insisting that the storytellers need to somehow dance around the issue is an immature response to a decidedly frank, adult form of storytelling. You may not like the character, and that's fine. You're not meant to, and that is the point.

 

I think the only slip-up here is that we aren't given enough time with Mira & Wit in this episode to form a better, more complete opinion of them... which is why it might seem out of place to some. But again, this is the first installment of several, and as Ragnar has pointed out, you'll have more time in the future to learn the whats and whys of Mira - a character that suffers from the real-world ailment that is unempathetic verbal vomit.


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#47 nst

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 00:22

Self-censorship in society populated by people who are proud of their phobias and complexes is the dream of the police state. It saddens me to see this thread, but i can't begin to imagine how tough it is for people who actually create works of art. Ragnar, i'm behind you 100%.


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#48 Layara

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 02:45

I wouldn't liken any of the attitudes in this thread to "people proud of their phobias and complexes". Words can be hurtful, and casual "-isms" (racism, classism, ableism, sexism, etc.) especially, since they reflect very much undercurrents of the societal standpoint at large. Finding oneself on the receiving end of one or several of such isms will generate a lot of anger and / or sadness in the victim and is incredibly oppressive.

 

However, as Ragnar has pointed out, Mira (or any of the other unpleasant characters) does not represent the creators' opinions, and their existence in books, films, computer games, and any other form of art is important, because they always also act as mirrors of our environments and times (even if they take place in a fictional universe). We need characters like Mira to question our own attitudes. To question the circumstances which made her this way.

i understand where OP is coming from. Mira's attitude can hit a little too close to home. However, I think that's exactly the reason why she should be in the game: to push us out of our comfort zone and think. Those lines need to be in the game because there's a difference between being shocked about a person's societal non-comformity (foul language), which can be defended and in some cases even admired, and being shocked about a person's verbal abuse of an innocent victim. There's just no way you can defend Mira's attitude, you can merely explain it, and good stories need characters like that too, with lots of grey in them - without crossing the threshold of being just plain evil.


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#49 aerothorn

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 02:51

For what it's worth (and I don't think it's worth a lot!) I am autistic, and so while I certainly *noticed* the comment, I was not offended by it. This is a real thing that exists in the world, this is a real thing that people say (people have said it to me!) and for me, TLJ has always been characterized by being grounded, by rejecting the heightening and removal of almost every other video game. I am heartened that the writers have the confidence to portray this, when the vast majority of games try to avoid controversies like this by pretending that prejudice doesn't exist, or by couching it in a fantasy context (for instance, how in Mass Effect there is prejudice between species, but there is no race or racism in the human sense).

Keep at it and write bravely.


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#50 nst

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:46

However, as Ragnar has pointed out, Mira (or any of the other unpleasant characters) does not represent the creators' opinions

It does represent someone's opinion in the real world, though. And it can represent creator's opinion just as well. There is no need to censor yourself because someone's feelings can get hurt. It is a toxic attitude of modern society to feel entitled to intrude on other's person creation and demand censorship. You can criticize it of course, but not censor. And lets be honest here, most people who complain about stuff like this actually want this type of language\opinions\political views out of their lives, no matter the cost. A bit narcissistic if you ask me. Besides,

Those lines need to be in the game because there's a difference between being shocked about a person's societal non-comformity (foul language), which can be defended and in some cases even admired, and being shocked about a person's verbal abuse of an innocent victim. There's just no way you can defend Mira's attitude, you can merely explain it, and good stories need characters like that too, with lots of grey in them - without crossing the threshold of being just plain evil.

Wit is not a victim, he is her friend. And you can defend her attitude, writers did it right there in that scene. They established that they have intimate, a bit weird, but friendly relationship. Zoe said that Wit would do anything for Mira. It the case of this scene the writing was more about establishing the temper of Mira's character, not her views on ableism or anything like that. And everyone who posts in this thread probably knows that. So the only reason for this topic to exist, realistically, to just point out that certain words can trigger some people and that writers should avoid using them, sad state of affairs. 


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#51 Ragnar

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 07:53

i understand where OP is coming from. Mira's attitude can hit a little too close to home. However, I think that's exactly the reason why she should be in the game: to push us out of our comfort zone and think. Those lines need to be in the game because there's a difference between being shocked about a person's societal non-comformity (foul language), which can be defended and in some cases even admired, and being shocked about a person's verbal abuse of an innocent victim. There's just no way you can defend Mira's attitude, you can merely explain it, and good stories need characters like that too, with lots of grey in them - without crossing the threshold of being just plain evil.

 

That is incredibly well put. I wish those were my words.

 

Mira's words can never be defended, but you will begin to understand her more — why she is the way she is, and what her relationship with Wit is like — and maybe, hopefully, even find yourself in the very uncomfortable position of liking her a bit.

 

There are people like Mira out there. In fact, Mira couldn't be anyone but Mira. There are no other words she could have spoken. Changing the things she said would have changed the character, and she is the way she is. When you write, you give characters life, but they are like children: at some point, they take on a life of their own and all you can do is try and keep up.

 

I'm happy there's a debate about this. I'm happy there are opinions on both sides. And I'm happy people are giving the rest of the game a shot even if they vehemently disagree with our choice to include Mira.


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#52 TalkingOak

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:33

Plus think of it this way. Wit is the one who is the one we sympathize with not Mira. He is being portrayed as an intelligent guy not the monster many Autistic people get painted as. And he gets bullied... Autistic people do get bullied and even get stupid comments about it from people who are supposed to be their freinds. Its a realistic portayal of what happens in real life and I'm glad RTG put it in for that reason.

 

Yes it made me uncomfortable because I know what being on the other end of the bullying is like but I would never say that someone can't portray that kind of situation in fiction. Just treat it with respect and I think RTG did a good job with that.


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#53 DollyDagger

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:43

Just thought I'd post my own initial reaction to that scene, for Something Different: I saw love. Everyone focuses on Mira, but what about Wit? Judging by his (complete lack of) reaction, there is no offense intended or felt here. It's not my place to get offended on his behalf, having seen ten seconds of their life-long relationship. Of course, I'm still gonna make assumptions - and my assumptions were that these people are utterly comfortable with one another, and can completely trust each other.

 

It might just be because I'm Australian, and rudest of all to my nearest and dearest. There are things you could never say to a stranger, but when you know what words would actually hurt a person and what definitely won't, you can say things that would sound awful to an outsider but are actually just a running joke and affirmation of how close you are to someone.

 

I got the impression that if Mira ever STOPPED shouting abuse, things might actually be wrong and Wit might actually get upset. But he seemed to be in his happy place, and she seemed to be a small healthy tornado of perpetual anger - two broken yet functional people who couldn't possibly have any friends apart from each other. I already love them both and can't wait to get to know them better. And if Mira ever starts shouting rude personal remarks at me, I'll know I've become one of the family.


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#54 WyredTail

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:55

This seems all very political, and to a lesser extent, philosophical. I can't speak to that, really, so I won't. All I can do is offer my anecdotal perceptions and feelings, which I think are actually more relevant in this case.

 

As we move into a new era, it's becoming more and more taboo to speak in a derogatory way about women or persons of a minority ethnicity. As a rights activist myself, I support that, and it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I want humanity to be in a better place, and I'd like to not think of us as always being monsters, with that situation never improving. In some cases, I like what I see, and in others I don't. I feel that #gamergate is a woeful example of how far we can sink, as there are still misanthropes out there with such a negative view of an entire gender.

 

I empathise with that because I feel the same way. I'm not a woman. I'm ASD. And I feel the same. I feel worse. I feel that most minorities have those who'll speak out for them, and as such, negative depictions of women in the media are slowly decreasing, and for the most part, derogatory attacks against them are too. I wish that was the case for mentally disabled people.

 

Just hit up 'i hate mentally disabled people' on Google. That's my life. I have massive trust issues thanks to this, and I'm very wary of every person I meet, I have overbearing social anxieties, and I live a very introverted life simply because being ASD leaves me incompatible with a lot of people. And they don't really care to try to meet me half way, even if I'm the first to extend the olive branch. You see, because it's my fault that I'm mentally disabled, I have to be the one to 'fix myself.'

 

I'm not sure 'physician, heal thyself' can be applied if one is not actually a physician, though.

 

So, yes, Mira made me sigh a bitter little sigh. You'd think that, perhaps, after all that time we wouldn't still be throwing around a word like 'retard.' I want to be optimistic, yet that leaves me feeling incredibly cynical -- and of the work in question. I can't help but feel that way. I'm... not sure why I should apologise for that, but we're often expected to, so I'll say I'm sorry. I was about to do that without even thinking about it because it's become second nature to apologise for it.

 

The end result is that I can't play DFC.

 

1.) I can look at it as though it's realistic. But if I do, I become depressed, and I end up disliking Zoe for not speaking out in favour of disabled people. I can't help feeling this way.

 

2.) I can believe we'll be better centuries from now, and thus my suspension of disbelief is shattered.

 

This is from the perspective of someone who has suffered because of discrimination. The kind of discrimination that -- I'm sorry, Ragnar -- you can't even begin to imagine. There are things people think they can get away with with disabled people just because they're disabled. And really, very few people actually bother to speak out for us in any meaningful way, so I've had to speak for myself. I guess this will be seen as being political after all, even though I hadn't intended for it to be, but intentions aren't really as valid as the end result. My motivation, however, was to offer a window into the life of a person who's old enough to have been put through the wringer by discrimination.

 

And that's not even mentioning that I'm gay. That's a whole new kind of fun when you combine those two.

 

I suppose what I'm saying is that if the game were set in modern day, I could accept that Zoe wouldn't have said anything. I want to believe, however, that after all that time has passed, most people will be educated enough to speak up against discrimination against the mentally disabled. I do, personally, feel that it was a poorly written scene because of that, and that it was there more to be controversial rather than for the sake of strong character building. Again, those are my feelings, and I can't help my feelings. I don't intend to offend with them.

 

Just try and see things from my perspective, if you have the empathy to do so. We're here, us mentally disabled people, and we're always listening in on how crazy, psychopathic, and stupid the average person thinks we are. It's a laugh riot, it is.

 

And I will admit that this is weighing even heavier on me since one of my favourite game developers pulled this kind of thing right after one of my favourite webcomic authors did. If this is really the future, are we genuinely still that bad? I want to be able to like at least one character in a story. If I end up disliking the protagonist so much, then there's really no point in continuing to play, or buy.

 

It's up to all of you how you take this. It's not an attack. It's a perspective. Just one that's likely alien enough to you to chafe.


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#55 pazzer

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 09:35

While Mira's words made me uncomfortable based on Wit's reaction it seems to be a regular occurrence. Which lead me to believe Mira is someone who doesn't deal with stress well and Wit is ok with providing an outlet for her.



#56 DollyDagger

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 09:46

WyredTail - Just wanted to say thanks for sharing that. You've nothing to apologise for. I would suggest though, that the way this scene has hit so many people close to the bone is evidence that it's NOT just being controversial as a crutch for real character development. If Wit is actually autistic, then he's been through a lot of the same things as you. And Mira, who has always protected him, has witnessed this. I don't think she would ever speak this way to anyone else, or tolerate anyone else speaking this way to Wit. It is, however, a painful reminder of people who genuinely believe that mental illness or disability is something to be made light of. I just don't believe that the game studio is blithely endorsing this attitude AT ALL. This is the history of those characters and what they've been through, not just throw-away "offensive remark #17" rolled out to impress us with how abrasive Mira is, at the expense of people who genuinely suffer. And the number of people who are being vocal about how uncomfortable this made them, here irl, is enouraging.

 

Again, I appreciated hearing your perspective on this. More valid insights always welcome.


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#57 Suro

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 09:48

Thank you a lot for sharing this window!

I can (sadly?) not really relate to that, having never experience something truly life scaring, other then being bullied in school (being an introverted kid who likes games. You do the math). But I can totally see where you are coming from.

Similar, but not the same (bear with me please):

I had 2 accidents with my knee (called cruciate rupture in english according to google). Right now, my knee is healing up all nice and dandy, but two things are constantly on my mind since then.

 

1.) I am afraid to do the sports I used to do since I have a vivid memory of that moment and that pain
2.) Everytime I see a movie, a game or a photo where a knee/leg-injury is so much as hinted towards to, I cringe like hell.

Basically, I am remembering memories of my knee being effed up.

Now, I'm not saying that this is as bad as what was/is happening to you. But I think the "path" is similar. Path, as in bad experiences in the past, leave a vivid memory of what happened, and jumping into your conscience when you experience/see/hear something that is VERY similar or reminds you of that.
Traumatic experiences, to bring it down to the simplest word.

That being said, what would need to happen to change your mind about the game?

Please don't think I'm trying to attack you with a snarky "Oh yeah? Do it better!". I'm really interested in your input on this.
What if (and I don't know this, I'm just thinking out loud) Mira herself has some kind of condition and Wit is just quiet and takes it because he can? Because he knows that, if he wouldn't just take it, Mira would find an outlet on someone else who would be offended?

We don't even know if Wit even has Autism or not. Could be that Mira was just being a jerk because of something else.

 

Now, I know that tourette doesn't work like this, but it is only a "what if" anyways. It just shows that maybe, just maybe there is a lot more to this than it seems.

Again, thank you for sharing!


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#58 urzagc13

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 10:48

@WyredTail: I also thank you for sharing your perspective on this, it is really eye-opening for many of us. Personally, I tick practically all the "checkboxes" of privilege (straight, white, male) and though there have been times where I felt like a "social outcast" (because I usually don't follow the norm/what is "expected behavior" for people like me) I agree that we cannot possibly put ourselves in your position and it would be presumptuous of us to claim something like that.

I also happen to be a person that absolutely NEVER swears. In my native tongue (Greek) I cannot even bring myself to utter a swear word under ANY circumstances (even, for example, when in school I had to read out loud from a literature piece that contained swears I "mumbled" the swears, I couldn't bring myself to pronounce them). Funnily, in English, I can read out loud swears that others have written, but I still would never utter one myself.

However, I do have some points that I'd like you to consider. You don't have to agree with any of them, but only to give my words a chance:

- Unlike my personal close circle of friends (and family), where my "no insulting/swearing" rule is also the norm, I have been witness to many cases where both friends and family members are being ridiculously insulting to each other, crossing verbal boundaries I wouldn't begin to imagine that could be crossed, while at same time they are genuinely more closer to each other than I've ever been with my friends/family. They care about each other to the point of self-sacrifice and at the same time talk to each other with language worse than one would use for his worse enemy. It's buffling, it really is, but it is also something that is happening, and quite often I may add. And this I think is the vital point that many of us are missing: Mira isn't insulting a stranger, but the very person she loves and cares the most in the world! And that person loves her back just as much, not because of some weird Stockholme syndrome-like condition, but because he knows her so well to understand that her words mean absolutely nothing and that there is no thing in the world (including her own life) that Mira wouldn't give for him in return as well. I'm dead certain that if anyone else had thrown these exact same insults at Wit, Mirra would flay the skin from their bones. I also speculate that:

Spoiler
.
As a side-note, that's exactly what Zoe herself says: if you attempt to talk to Wit, Zoe says that it's so horrible how Mirra talks to him but it's also obvious how much she loves him and Zoe doesn't feel "qualified" to interfere in their relationship, without knowing much about their long history together. So, Zoe, the main character and audience surrogate, does express disgust at Wit's treatment, but also recognizes that it may not be exactly what it seems.

- In addition to the above, I'd like to add that The Longest Journey universe has always been like this, from the very first game. Burns Flipper, one of the more beloved characters of the franchise, is a raging mysoginist, and his pottymouth is ten times as vulgar as Mirra's (thus far, she may get worse). Flipper even sexually insults a total stranger, not a friend/family member that knows him well and knows that he probably doesn't mean it. Now, I'm not saying that what Flipper does is ok, but that if you didn't have a problem with Flipper back in TLJ, why should this particular situation be more "problematic"? (I repeat, the difference between insulting a stranger and a beloved person is very important)

- Finally, I would like to practically beg you to give the next episodes of Dreamfall: Chapters a chance to convince you , and give Ragnar Tornquist the benefit of the doubt that he is actually trying to "highlight" the problem and thus change our society for the best instead of perpetuating the cycle of discrimination and abuse. If no one (in fiction as well) talks about discrimination, if no one addresses it and everyone pretends it doesn't exist, THEN it is when our society will never progress towards eliminating it.

My heart breaks in the idea that you may miss on such a powerful emotional experience because of what (from my very biased perspective) I consider mostly as a "misunderstanding" of Ragnar's intentions and reasons for going towards this path. I hope that my words can reach you even in a small way, and thank you for giving me the chance to look inside myself through writing this, it's been a very humbling experience.


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#59 Silvirish4ever

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 11:04

I also would like to add that, while it saddens me that some people feel personally hurt by all of this, the whole thing has been compared to women being treated more "respectfully" (in the media, generally speaking, I guess, but let us focus on the game).

 

However, the warden at the prison talks about his wife in derogatory terms, she is "just a woman", lacks the "moral fortitude" and blah blah blah.

 

Well, okay, Mira was wayyyy harsher. But in any case, I didn't like the warden's words either. On the other side, we have strong female characters and male characters who respect women in the game, too. I am completely sure that Wit, and possibly other people with other conditions and circumstances, are/will be in the game for a reason, and that is not to be insulted or treated like objects, but probably to prove a point and to make a stand. 

 

Soooo pretty much what the previous poster said. Sorry for repeating the point, I just caught your post :D

 

We are only on Book 1, I think it is too early to judge. But if you don't continue playing, you'll never know, and that IS sad.


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#60 Mowseler

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 11:39

I don't like Mira. I think she's foul, abrasive, and disgusting. Her line about autism made me cringe.

 

But I think that's great.

 

I love that I hate her, and I love that the storytelling in this game can evoke those kind of emotions from me.

 

Even Zoe does not like her much - finding herself in a love/hate relationship with her. As others have said, she does remark that there is more to it, and that Mira obviously cares a lot about Wit.

 

There is clearly more to the two characters than we were able to see in this brief glimpse. Mira strikes me as a character who has seen a lot of pain and so she throws up this rough exterior to protect herself from being hurt - including her insults and ranting. I've known people who are like this. When they stop swearing and insulting you, you know something is actually serious. It's a coping mechanism. Not defending the behavior, just hoping to explain some of the possible reasons. Maybe it was just me, but I felt from that short encounter that Mira would kill someone for Wit, especially if they were to say anything along those lines to him. And I doubt she even means any of those things.

 

I think the issue is less about the fact that she is intentionally offensive, and more that the line itself could just be a trigger for people who can relate to that line of abuse. And I totally get that.

 

And I really do hope Wit is autistic. I hope he is autistic, and the writing highlights him as a kind, and intelligent, loving human being. The definition of Wit is not through Mira's insults, but through his actions. He wasn't upset by anything she said. He knows her noise is just misdirected anger, and he likely lets himself be her dartboard so that she doesn't hurt anyone else. We only saw him toiling away, keeping busy, but I highly doubt he will only be a backdrop to a perfect opportunity to dispel the illusions most people have about mental illness.

 

I have no doubt that RTG knows what they are doing and will deliver. The only thing I am disappointed in is that the book is over.


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