Hey there everyone! I was totally going to update IFIWT this week, but uh… dragons. These teenage dragon punks broke into my house and stole the update. So instead, you get to hear all about Green and how her concept evolved over time! That’s interesting too, right?Well *I* think it’s interesting.
With this one, we actually get to start off with some art! Behold, the first piece of character art for Green.Yes, that dress is why she's named Green.
For those of you who haven't played Bioshock, the lovely lady featured above is Rose. She's the first splicer (marker) you meet upon arriving in Rapture, who introduces you to the city by brutally murdering one of its citizens in front of you. After you narrowly escape death at her hands, she stalks you throughout the first third of the game, taunting you and leaving rose petals along your path, until she finally serves as a minor boss fight. Violently insane, she is obsessed with the loss of her beauty and youth, and constantly rambles about how gentlemen no longer court her as she's stalking you.
Though she has little plot significance, she's one of the more important characters in Bioshock, quickly and effectively establishing the splicers as twisted, murderous parodies of their past selves. She therefore seemed a natural character to import into Vision, as I could keep her thematic elements, but make up whatever I liked about her story without contracting other key elements.
In Green's first incarnation, she was a fairly straightforward import of Rose. A marker in Serpent's Wharf under Trixie's control, she's sent to save Siren and get her out of the dangerous area. While she's obviously mentally unstable and violent, Trixie's magical control compels her to do as she's told, in this case, to protect Siren. Over the course of their time together, she was going to increasingly rationalize this behavior by assuming that Siren must be some friend or relation of hers, eventually coming to believe that Siren is her daughter and Celestia' stole her. In this first incarnation, her relationship with Rarity was more openly adversarial—she blamed Rarity for failing to preserve her youth, and vowed revenge against her.
At first, this was to reinforce Siren's disgust towards markers, causing her to see Green as little more than a pet monster she was free to abuse. As the time in the story came for Siren to realize that markers have a tragic/sympathetic side, she would later discover that Trixie convinced Green to serve her by promising payback against Rarity, but that with Green's collapsing mental state, Trixie has been promising that Green will get her revenge "next month," for years now, with no intent of ever honoring the bargain. It was also going to be a lead in to an abandoned plot point, where Siren tries to convince Green she's mind controlled by pointing out that she does everything Trixie tells her, only for Green to point out that Siren does the same thing.
Siren's response: "Well... that's different."Like, whoa.
This character never made it past the first writeup of Chapter 2 however. While she had great chemistry with Siren, she didn't have a lot of depth—she felt like a vehicle for making Siren feel certain things rather than a person. This stumped me for some time, because I didn't want to alter any of the things that made her such a hit—her obsession with her looks, her slightly unhealthy relationship with Siren, the obvious madness that makes her revel in violence—but she obviously needed a big change.
Again, I got some help, this time from Ether Echoes. He suggested that Green's defining character trait not be the loss of her beauty, but the thing that drove her to seek beauty in a potion bottle in the first place. Given how accepting pony society is, what was it that made her feel she needed magic and surgery just to look good? His suggestion was alienation—judgement. Her old family and friends didn't accept her, and changing her appearance was part of rejecting them and reinventing herself. This idea came together beautifully in her interactions with Siren, particularly with the notion that the Apple family rejected her for being a unicorn. The idea that a family of rural earth ponies would be a bunch of racist bigots felt natural—Aaah! Not in the face!
To Siren! Felt natural to Siren! Playing off her racist preconceptions. Of course we, the viewers, know that's not true—we've seen firsthand how the kind and supportive Apple family actually is, leading to a moment of cognitive dissonance for the reader, and for Siren in Echo where she wonders just how much of Green's story is true.
So uh... we good, Applejack?I'm sorry I hurt your feelings but you don't have to be a jerk about it.
This big shift lead to numerous small adjustments to her character. Trixie's mental control over her was removed as a plot element, not because it caused any problems, but simply because it didn't add anything to this new version of her character. Since the loss of her beauty was no longer a key character point, she was allowed to keep her looks, though with a few telltale signs that she will lose it (and her sanity) in time. Her murderous impulses were likewise downgraded from major character trait to "a preview of coming withdrawal symptoms." All her applications of violence in Book 1 are... justified, but she's clearly enjoying it a little too much.Right, like that.
The biggest change to her character—her relationship with Rarity—actually didn't come about as a result of planning for her at all, but rather, came as a result of a rejected Rarity introduction scene:
Scene Notes, Scene 1, Chapter 10: Rarity
Scene set in slum. Ponies living in this area are obviously poor and run down—many are homeless. Rarity arrives via sky chariot with large entourage (Prince Ali style arrival), promising to do all she can to help them. Despite this, many of them seem quite subdued, even frightened. Mothers pulling foals indoors etc. Eventually, one pony asks Rarity for food and shelter, and she claps her hooves and sees him well cared for. This emboldens others, who start stepping forward and asking for things, all of which are given to them with either a clap of her hooves or in a flash of magic from her horn. Siren is impressed by Rarity's show of compassion for the ponies in need, and is about to step forward to ask her for help when she sees Green shivering with fear in the back, huddled in a corner out of Rarity's sight.
This makes Siren hesitate, and while she's sorting out her thoughts, a mare approaches Rarity and asks her to cure her brothers disease. Rarity does so, immediately, and comments that it's very generous of her to ask for something for her brother, when she could have asked for anything for herself. The mare tries to downplay the act, but Rarity insists that such a kind spirit deserves better than this lot in life—offering her a job as a model. The mare becomes increasingly nervous and tries to leave, only to be cut off by Rarity's guards. She's hustled into the sky chariot and pulled off, with Rarity talking all the while about how wonderful the Pavilion is. Abandoned, her little brother asks when she's coming back, only to be informed he'll never see her again.
This scene was cut for being as subtle as a shovel to the head, but the image of Green being so afraid of Rarity that Rarity's presence reduces her to shaking with fear stuck with me. As Rarity's character was finalized, it felt very natural for her to be one of Rarity's former models, and given her age, it was clear she had to be one of Rarity's early works. The bit about her being Rarity's first work was a relatively late addition—in the interim versions, she was one of a half dozen models who were collectively Rarity's "early work", and who fled to Trixie after Rarity hunted down and killed the other five one by one. That was cut for a variety of reasons, which I'll talk more about in Rarity's post, since they have more to do with her than Green.Uh...
There were numerous tweaks to Green throughout the various revisions, but they were mostly in the small details. While she does have her own story arc, her relationship with Siren is still her defining part in the series. Unlike Echo, whose story arc is simply something Siren happens to intersect with in interesting ways, Siren causes Green's character development, and so Green's character has changed very naturally in response to tweaks in Siren.
So, yeah! That's about all I can say about Green without spoilering the rest of her arc. Because why should a little thing like being turned to stone stop her from showing up in Daring Do, eh? Siren can just take the statue with her and... you know. Cuddle.
As always, if you have any questions, drop 'em below. Next week, you'll get a story update!
Which will not be I Forgot I Was There.I write other things too, Rarity!