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At the End Commentary: Chapter 5 · 6:27am Aug 7th, 2012

This entry contains spoilers for its corresponding chapter of At the End. Be warned...

<--Previous Chapter Commentary *-* Next Chapter Commentary -->

One of the most difficult and heart-tugging themes I love in stories is lonliness. What happens when everything you know, everything you love, everything that we take for granted in everyday life is suddenly of gradually ripped away from us bit by bit until there is nothing recognizable to latch on to?

Or even worse, what would happen to a person if they weren't attached to anything to begin with? How would a person cope with life with no emotional balance or stimulation of any kind? It's the perfect situation where someone has nothing to lose, but at the same time, nothing to gain. It's a life barren of substance and spark, utterly devoid of "life" as we humans define it. The Crafer, in all his powers and skill, is nothing more than a pale and whitthered husk of a human being.

The theme of lonliness is something I always saw in the Minecraft game. You are the only meastuable sentient creature in a vast plane. You may harvest the world around you, reshape the very landscape to your whims, build monuments to your vanity and cities to house thousands; your imagination is your only limitation.

That's exactly what I felt when I started playing. I was part of an anime club and everyone was talking about a game where the built stuff and they needed to kill something called a creeper to get gunpowder. Needless to saw, I was utterly facinated. I loved the game since I started playing, but then I made a choice, both for the good and the bad: I made a server.

I am a very antisocial person and my friends number at 0, but my brother got hooked on the game as well. I started the server and invited him in. I built a house, he built a trap. He built Sauron's tower, I built a massive pirate ship. He started clearing out our mine, I started building a massive medieval city. It progressed like this, and it was fun.

But than life got in the way. We were in college and I kept having to move around a lot. And he became a dad; there's that too. We simply lost most of our time to play on my server, so I started playing single player games again. I could not describe how empty the world felt to me. I had all these great ideas to build and create, plans for fleets of ships and grand cities, but I could no longer muster myself the enthusiasm to build any of it. I had tasted companionship in the vast world of minecraft, but lost it. I was alone once more.

Only once after the beta update had I started a single player world and stayed with it. I have only that world.

But some good had some out of that experience: the tension for the Crafter in my story. Trapped worlds away from home with no recognizable hope of returning, hunted by creatures that he can neither understand nor reason with and persue with an intelligence that rivals or even surpases his own. He is not just alone anymore, he's lost. There is nothing left for him to lose, and he never had anything to gain, but now he's stuck in a place so foreign he doesn't ahve a clue what to do. It's like being mad. At least you have other voices to keep you company. Sure it sucks, but at least you have someone to talk to in your insanity. Now what would happen if those voices were stripped away?

But I supose I've talked about themes long enough; it's time to get back to the story.

I was a worried about Chapter 5 for the same reson I was worried about Chapter 3: I was retelling events already told, just from another point of view is all. Sure, I released key dialog points about the Crafter's state of mind and his trials, but the fight with Lightning Chaser had already been told. I tired to cut down the details as much as possible; the Crafter wouldn't care too much about them anyway, but the fight itself didn't matter too much in the first place.

The point of Chapter 4 was to dispel the contrivance that HiE stories 1.) Always have the human speak equestrian and 2.) tend to get along with mimimal tension. Chapter 5 was all about adaption and lonliness. The Crafter's only attachment to his world was familiarity, the sense that it was all he knew. Now that security had been stripped away, his self preservation instincts are focing him to adapt to his new, strange environment. He's experiencing all sorts of new sensations and feelings, all sorts of new wonders and threats that he never experienced before. This strange new world with talking creepers has it's merits, but it comes with a new brand of threats.

Tune in next chapter, for we are finally finished with introductions to our characters. It's time for the story to truly begin.

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Comments ( 2 )

So in the Crafter's world, the NPC 'Testificate' villagers don't speak?

That is correct. He doesn't write much about them, but you can see Chapter 2 for more details.

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