Rose is my most controversial character.
Now I can't honestly be sure of that because I don't get, well, pretty much any significant online interaction. I'm not a very popular guy, and with a webcomic that's got a name that's only 3 letters chosen to make a symmetric logo, it sometimes feels like I never will be. Statistically that's pretty likely even given how far I've gotten over the years as an online creator.
But I digress- And besides, such pessimism doesn't suit me even when I'm in the mood to feel it.
Rose is my most controversial character, and I can think of one particular reason why.
If you don't know, first of all, perhaps you've clicked on this web page by accident- If that's the case, you can browse my other content while you're here and come back later after you've read enough that you're interested in picking the author's brain. I tend to philosophize about my work here on this blog and how it relates to the greater realms of fiction- And perhaps even reality.
Now let's put this diplomatically...
What's been “eating me” is that Rose ingests people in an entirely affectionate (or at least harmless, when it comes to Yamri being a nuisance) way and, while some people don't really understand my choices to make her a concept that exists now in the internet, some people seem to like it.
...A little “too much”.
Yeah. Thoughts like that make me think- In all religious sincerity- “My God, what have I started?”
Some days I can decide I am okay with this. Rose is after all, fluffy inside and out. To most, I feel, Rose may not be a favorite, but for all her quirkiness she is still just as approachable and huggable as the rest (Your Mileage May Vary on whether that ratio of huggable characters is too high or not), and they trust that I have greater plans for her than perpetually showcasing her strange extraterrestrial biology.
Think about it from her perspective, after all- She thinks she's normal. Prior to the events of the comic, she could go whole days not thinking about any of that, instead thinking about keeping the power on for her small colony, helping her friend Yamri with this and that and lending an ear. She'll play “horsey” with the kids, banter with the gate guard Phil, philosophize with the Red Magus from the nearby temple, and listen quietly to the reminiscing of the few old folks still alive who still remember when the colony was more crowded and less quiet. The colonists may have been surprised exactly once when someone ended up inside of her, but now they don't even blink.
Then some days I remember there are people who would not even consider any of the above for a second. She's just a pit-stop along the way on some addiction, fascination, or other form of obsession that's more important to them than any narrative I can craft with her.
I'm going to be a little blunt because I know for sure by now that people have noticed them. They know these people exist, and they know, to some slight extent, they come to Rose-Related content for it.
And that is why Rose is my most controversial character.
Now, why in the nine levels of heck would I keep her in the story, given any of this?
In no particular order, I have three reasons:
1. It's not like this kind of thing is a unique problem among creatives of any kind. As much as I don't like to think about it, characters of any amount of appeal from practically every genre have been made objects of sexual desire, paired sexually with any and every possible combination and put into any possible situation. Rule 34 of the “Rules of The Internet” famously stated “There is porn of it, no exceptions”, and as much as some might consider it an excuse or challenge (Hence Rule 35), it is my contention that it was meant to be a truism and little more. Heck, Rose even knows herself. I just shouldn't be surprised it would happen. I'm way past any childhood naivete after all.
2. She's already in good company. Not of course that there are other species that behave as she does- What would be the point of Furtums as a narrative concept if they weren't unique? But similarly curious ideas have already been added to this comic, and I can already think of at least two- Butter's hammerspace pouch for one, and the as of yet not present Aloene is a whole collection of strangeness to herself! Maybe the idea you should be getting is that I'm fond of often ridiculous levels of fluff, both in the vernacular and literal sense, but with all this in only the first arc and a half I feel anyone expecting a “normal” setting is in for a surprise.
3. Rose represents one of the fundamental things that makes VHV what it is- Odd, sometimes actually crazy and often silly ideas taken sincerely, grounded in the implications of a logically consistent setting and presented as seriously (or as playfully) as the given scenario expects. Because I've been slowly working through the series and therefore thinking about it, let's give Discworld as an example. Obviously Terry Pratchett's work differs significantly from mine and I don't dare say you are obligated to compare VHV to it in quality favorably, but for the uninitiated, Discworld takes place on a huge, flat disc in space sitting atop four gigantic elephants standing on a colossal turtle. By further example, It features talking cats and dogs, an “Oh God” of hangovers, dwarves that universally lack in sexual dimorphism and mostly prefer to keep it that way, an orangutan librarian, and most famously, Death, who becomes fascinated by the people he works with and has a couple of times grown very depressed because of the nature of the job. All these strange ideas, when you read the context given by their respective books, fall neatly into place in a not entirely serious setting which is nonetheless well crafted. It gives a guy like me hope as well as some inspiration, though I can't imagine what it's author would think if he knew I felt this way.
All this said, through some strange conflagration of ideas cropping up and being struck down again, and cropping up and being struck again, and on, and on, and on, here we are with a VHV that has Rose in it. She is a silly idea taken sincerely. Read the cast and lore pages some time if you like- I've done a lot of thinking about this setting and how it effects the story I have to tell.
And whatever I do with her, it is going to be to God's glory. I hope it is also to your entertainment and (healthy) fascination, and that VHV provides you with a bit to think about, hope for, smile about and laugh about, but I am a Christian and I've said before that I believe without God's help I would not be where I stand today, whether that includes long blog posts about warm, fluffy, mute alien creatures or no.
Sometimes I have my doubts about the characters I create, but I'm sure any author does for any kind of reason. What we do then is either have the confidence to say they fit the setting, or we fix them until we do.
I like Rose- I've worked very hard on her.
I hope you come to like her too.
...Just not “too much”.