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Kudzu Roots 20/35

Kudzu Roots 20/35 published on 13 Comments on Kudzu Roots 20/35


Kale: . . . Nobody mind-controlled me into any of it. Someone scanned for that, once I was in custody. They ruled it out.

[crunch]

And Northwind never threatened me, or my family. Not directly. I can’t use that as an excuse. I knew things would go bad for them if I stepped out of line . . . But mostly, they made things so good for us — I could tell myself that anything they ordered must be good too.

Thorn: . . . and did you believe it? Did Northwind warp your sense of reality that badly? Or did you still know, deep down, that this was horribly wrong?

Kale: . . . if I ever finish unpacking that with my therapist, I’ll let you know. Why? Which version do you think would be worse?

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13 Comments

Second option. Definitely the second option.

Let’s try asking a slightly different question, then…

Which is worse: A city that’s been overwhelmed by an oppressive outside force, but still has a scrappy band of resisters, who know they’re losing badly and don’t have the power to turn things around, but still refuse to give in and submit? Or a city that has completely surrendered to the beliefs imposed by their oppressors, and has no resistance at all?

I’m just gonna quote Lars here: “dude, at this point, *everything* is awful”

Yeah, same. Kale asking “which option is worse” is part of him trying to make sense of his world, trying to figure out what the “right answer” and “wrong answer” are in situations that don’t actually have clear-cut right and wrong answers. Personally, I think both situations are beyond the point where the question of “which is worse” is relevant anymore.

And I think he’s also trying to prepare himself for the worst by knowing which option would be the worst, so if that one turns out to be the reality of it, he knows everything’s going to blow up in his face before it blows up in his face. (Which is not a comment on whether or not his friendship with Thorn would, in fact, blow up in his face at all. But he sure expects it to, and I think he wants to know which straw is going to be the last one before he puts it on the table.)

Maybe it’s me, but I still say the second option is the worse in that situation. The first might not be changing anything. They’re still fighting.

That’s what I figured you’d say!

…so did you notice that you switched positions? “A tiny part is still resisting, even if it’s losing” went from the worse option to the better one.

Obviously he wasn’t mind-controlled but I do think he was brain-washed… It’s a cult and that can be hard to mentally work yourself out of.

I also think there was enough of a threat that even if he had started to feel uneasy he actively worked on pushing those thoughts away. I think he just thoroughly convinced himself that what he was doing was good because if not then why was he doing this? Danger- no these are the GOOD guys…

I dunno that I’d consider one to be worse than the other. Which may sound odd, but let me explain:

On the first point, Northwind took advantage of him and his situation to effectively make him their personal lap dog- they were his only real authority figures, so he was unable to make educated choices thanks to their own malice in not properly educating him about the things he was doing, and their own malicious manipulation of how they directed his control. If they have such control over the town, and they were basically the best thing that had happened to him up until that point, then he’d be fully willing to help them even if the stuff they did was kinda shady, if he even realized it was shady. Plenty of abusers in abusive relationships sustain a form of control over their targets by giving them inaccurate info; keeping them in the dark about the truth and using their ignorance to control their actions.

On the second point… what would have happened if he’d left? He’d have lost any way of supporting his family. Northwind controlled his entire town, and as far as he was aware there were no reasonable medical alternatives that he could get even if he were somehow able to get his family – with their many medical issues – out of town. Even if he knew what he was doing was awful, if he left then he’d be leaving the people he cares about without medical attention, proper funds, that sort of thing. His work as a Magical Boy was all that he knew how to do- and if he did quit, then there’s a high likelihood that they’d send more people after him; ones better suited to combat him, now that they know what he’s capable of on a more intimate level.

Whichever one it winds up being, Kale was in a hopeless situation. They’re both pretty bad- but they’re the fault of Northwind, not Kale. Kale needs a cup of hot chocolate, a warm blanket, and a hug.

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