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Analysis: Adventure Time
What time is it? Time to do an unnecessary headache-inducing analysis of this children's cartoon! THIS ANALYSIS CONTAINS ONLY UNMARKED SPOILERS

The concept of the show

This show's plot could be reduced to "two buds hanging out in any way possible". In reality, there's no accurate way to summarize this mess.... but since this is an analysis page...

The show relies heavily on use of fantastic elements (swords, monsters, princesses) in a fantastic setting (divided into kingdoms of fire, ice, candy, etc.), and many tropes consistent with the genre of High Fantasy. It does this in an offbeat way. Many of the characters are twists on stock characters. Instead of a knight in shining armor, the show features a "twelve year old boy with strong morals". Instead of a steed saving a princess, Finn is escorted by his best friend, a magical dog. Instead of battling an evil wizard, the Ice King comes off as crazy in sympathetic ways rather than malicious ones. They save many princesses and the blatant over-abundance of princesses is perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this show, the minor princesses often providing small amounts of romantic comedy. So what we have here is a sort of "parody" of the fantasy genre, with more humor and in a laid-back and simplistic style, but the fantasy is still there, and the show's love for adventure prevalent in many episodes.

There is more to be explored, however. Although on the surface the show would seem completely fantasy element-based, there are many real-world deconstructions; the show takes fantasy and injects reality. For example, the show completely ignores Amusing Injuries, even though the simplistic style of the show implies that it would be a show that has entirely cartoon-y physics. This is not the case; injuries are treated very seriously, and often even last throughout the episode. Fun and rather dangerous adventures often turn into "Hey! Get serious! We could actually die!". There are lots of Cerebus Retcons which show up as a result of Cerebus Syndrome; rather amusing things are revealed to have more serious meaning, like Marceline's Fry Song. Characters often have stereotypical fictional personalities, that contain another characterization underneath the surface:

  • Finn: Bold, brave hero flinging a sword—revealed to be an ambiguously self-conscious teen who is really sensitive and worries about becoming the Tag Along Kid, and also someone who struggles with his own methods of heroism. His passion for life leads to the realization that he is capable of a more passionate and deeper seeded love than expected, as seen in his want for meaningful relationships. In the probable chance his feelings are not reciprocated and even denied, he becomes emotional to the point of tears.
    "Deep down he's probably really sensitive, like me."
  • Jake: Cool-shooting playboy with an ambiguous moral code, as shown in his past as a hardened criminal—revealed to be a caring individual who wished to settle down with Lady Rainicorn after she was found to be pregnant. He showed clear concern for his children following their birth and went so far as to commit a crime to save Jake Jr. Prior to his children's birth and following their quick aging, he acted as a surrogate guardian for Finn after their parent's death.
  • Ice King: Evil wizard who constantly kidnaps princesses—revealed to be an extremely sympathetic character who only kidnaps princesses because he's extremely lonely and has never known a true friend besides his penguins. This is further deconstructed when it's revealed that he was once a normal kind man who accidentally turned himself into a wizard, and his desire to capture princesses stems from his subconscious desire to see his old fiancee again, whom he called his princess.
    "I'm complicated."
  • Marceline: Cool-as-ice, level-headed Trickster vampire who is chaotic neutral, only doing things for her own amusement—revealed to be an extremely lonely girl that desprately finds fun wherever she can with no friends who would probably rather not live forever, and hides a very sad personality; she would easily cry if it wasn't so embarrasing for her, and whenever she shows her more sensitive side, she gets mad.
    "(singing) Blood red skies make tears inside that I always hide."
  • Princess Bubblegum: Benevolent, intelligent, and kind hearted individual who lives for the ultimate pleasing of her kingdom and its denizens, but who is also an introverted and pragmatic mutation of a piece of bubblegum. She has no interest in romance, in fact, her two main priorities are science and her citizens, anything else doesn't interest her.
  • Lumpy Space Princess: A party girl whose rude and self-centered nature has blessed her with popularity, a seductive nature, and a relatively care-free existence—revealed to be a confused and partially oblivious soul who wants to be appreciated. After leaving home at roughly 16, she failed to realize the world didn't revolve around her and didn't understand why people didn't pay attention to her. This led to a mental breakdown in "Apple Wedding", where her craving for attention nearly ruined a wedding. Despite her amorous intentions, she isn't capable of holding a stable relationship. This is best exemplified in "Bad Timing", when she rekindles an old flame, only to become jealous of his meeting with Princess Bubblegum and going so far as to firebomb the Candy Castle to win him back.

So, the show has the capability of subverting and/or deconstructing the fantastic feel of the elements of the show, and the characters. But what about the setting itself? Welp, turns out it was Earth All Along! That's right, the show takes place on Earth, but after an apocalypse (specifically due to a nuclear war), making one wonder just how the world can be so bright and colorful, and why the art-style is so laid-back, non-serious, and simplistic.

But of course, that doesn't mean the show can't have purely real-world plots (like the episode "Video Makers") . They'll just be viewed "through a fantastic lens" (to quote storyboarder Adam Muto).

NOTE: A lot of what is below this point is speculation.

The timeline of Adventure Time

One interesting thing I can say is that there is indeed a mapped-out timeline for Ooo's creation and any flashback hints you've seen so far match up with the timeline.
Ian Jones-Quartey, storyboard supervisor

Well, let's see how much of it we can get right. For further insight on this, visit the Adventure Time Wiki.

Event Time
Abraham Lincoln survives his assassination due to immortality. He meets Hunson Abadeer and becomes the King of Mars at an unknown later date. Lincoln travels through time back to this moment to be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth after he gives his immortality to Death. April 14, 1865
Simon Petrikov is born. He grows up and, as a young man, studies to be an antiquarian. He meets his future fiancee Betty. Roughly 1,040 years before the animated short
Simon Petrikov obtains the ice crown and Enchiridion from an archeological dig. He puts on the crown as a joke but it begins to change his emotions and begins to turn him into the Ice King. During his unstable condition, Betty time travels, leaving him suddenly. Moseph Giovanni founds Mo Co. Marceline Abadeer is born with light blue skin and pointed ears to parents who also have these features. Earth is identical to ours. note  1,000+ years prior to animated short
The Mushroom War occurs, destroying large portions of the Earth and killing off all but a handful of humans. The Lich is born. Around the time of Marceline's birth.
Marceline is just a little toddler (maybe 2—3 years of physical age, but with pointed ears and fangs already) scared and alone in the ruins. She receives Hambo from Simon Petrikov, nearing his final days of humanity. During and/or just after the Mushroom war.
Marceline is 7 years old, and is under the care of Simon Petrikov, who is 47 years old. The world has been mutated enough for there to be radioactive creatures, wreckage, and no humans. Simon stops wearing glasses. The first pieces of candy begin to be mutated. The world is in ruins. 996 years prior to the events of season 5
Marceline is around 7—10 years of physical age. Hambo is tattered and is her "only friend". The Land of Ooo begins to form note . Years later
The emergence of the Hyoomen, an irradiated species of human who have turned into human-fish hybrids. Due to the fright they experienced during the Mushroom War, they retreat to a subterranean bunker. Marceline finds her father, Hunson Abadeer, after having been separated from him. At some point after the Mushroom War
Marceline's dad, eats her fries. Marceline is a teenager (probably 13—15), but has yet to get her bite marks. Many years later
Hunson Abadeer moves to the Nightosphere (or returns there?), leaving Marceline independent on Ooo. Unknown period of time later
Marceline begins writing her journal. Must be after Hunson leaves her
Princess Bubblegum begins building the Candy Kingdom, and she is dating Mr. Creampuff. There are still traces of radioactivity from the Mushroom War (such as the radioactive river PB tries to cover with candy). The Gumball Guardians are created. Shoko dies while trying to steal the Princess's magic amulet. She crawls out of the radioactive river and takes refuge near a baby tree (the Tree Fort in the past). The Ice Kingdom has not been created yet. Multiple centuries before the animated short
The Candy Kingdom is completed. The Banana Guards are instated as the primary police force. When the Banana Guards fail at their job, Bubblegum creates the Gumball Guard. They are disbanded and destroyed after they display unwarranted aggression. Rattleballs escapes the execution. The Banana Guards are reinstated. After the death of Shoko
The Tree Fort is now fully grown. Marceline moves into the tree fort with Ash. She is now an ageless adult (physically 18—21), and has her vampire bitemarks. At least 500 years after Marceline started writing her journal
Marceline moves into Ash's current house with him. Later, Ash sells Hambo to the Sky Witch Maja. After learning of this, Marceline breaks up with Ash. Maybe one or two years later
With Ice King continually bugging her, Marceline wanders Ooo like she said in "Evicted!" (and gains more territory now belonging to her). She defeats the Vampire King and claims his title. The Fire Kingdom exists by now. Probably a few years later
Magic Man is banished to earth for his crimes on Mars. 200+ years before the animated short
The Rainicorn-Dog War ends. During Lady Rainicorn's Father's lifetime, decades before the animated short
Baby-Snaps's dreams of being a princess are crushed by Princess Bubblegum. Presumably a decade or two before the animated short. note .
Finn is born to a man called Martin and an unknown woman. Flame Princess is born to the Flame King and an unknown woman. Jake is born to Joshua and Margaret shortly after the birth of Flame Princess. Twelve years before the animated short
Finn makes his hat. Jake gains his powers. note  Flame Princess is imprisoned by the Flame King and Princess Bubblegum. A little later
Finn's father is imprisoned in The Citadel. Finn is abandoned and makes a vow to never abandon others in their times of need. Joshua and Margaret find baby Finn in the forest and adopt him. Some time later
Joshua moves into the tree fort with Finn and Jake, then starts recording his holo-messages about building a dungeon 80 paces west of there. Finn and Jake are still babies.
Joshua finds that Jake knocked out his brother, Jermaine. Jake is a little boy. Years later, still years before the animated short
Joshua and Margaret die (not necessarily at the same time). Finn and Jake bury Joshua. Unknown period of time later
Unsupervised, Finn and Jake are free to travel throughout Ooo, where they visit the Candy Kingdom and meet Princess Bubblegum and Lady Rainicorn. The Ice King reveals himself and begins stealing princesses. Princess Bubblegum tasks Finn and Jake to protect her, who happily oblige. Finn becomes the Candy Kingdom's champion. Months before the origin point, the animated short

Finn is 12. Jake begins a relationship Lady Rainicorn. Finn receives his first kiss from Princess Bubblegum. During animated short
Billy retires from adventuring and ends his relationship with Canyon. Around the same time as the animated short
The events of season 1 note . Finn and Jake meet Marceline, who is exactly 1000 now. Finn obtains the Enchiridion. Finn and Jake meet Magic Man. Finn and Jake meet Billy. Billy begins a relationship with a woman Finn and Jake save. Tree Trunks is teleported to the Crystal Dimension after eating the Crystal Gem Apple. She is given the name Quartzion the Crystal Queen. Finn creates Neptr. Just after to several months after animated short
The events of season 2. note  Finn and Jake are captured by Quartzion the Crystal Queen. She reverts to Tree Trunks and returns to Ooo. Finn and Jake meet Susan Strong. Finn turns 13 and finds the Root Sword. The Lich escapes from his amber prison. Through The Ice King's carelessness, The Lich possesses Princess Bubblegum. The Lich is re-imprisoned in the snail. Princess Bubblegum reverts to Finn's age. Several months to over a year after animated short
The events of season 3. Princess Bubblegum turns 18 again. Finn and Jake discover Marceline's recent past and the Ice King's distant past. Shoko has contact with Finn for the first time. The Guild of Assassins sends an operative to murder a princess who fails but survives. Finn and Jake find the holo-messages of their dad and retrieve the Demon Blood Sword from a dungeon. Finn and Jake meet Flame Princess. Over a year to almost two years after animated short
Finn turns 14. In-between seasons
The events of season 4. The struggle for power over the Nightosphere begins and ends with Hunson Abadeer upon the throne. The Lich obtains the Enchiridion and possesses Billy offscreen. Princess Bubblegum creates Goliad and Stormo. Finn and Flame Princess begin dating. Lady Rainicorn is revealed to be pregnant. Marceline and Ice King meet for the first time in years. Finn uses the Enchiridion and the Gems of Power to open the Multiverse portal, destroying the Enchiridion in the process. Finn, Jake, and The Lich enter the Time Room through the portal. Almost two years to two years and several months after animated short
The events of season 5. Finn and Jake meet Prismo. The Lich wishes for the extinction of all life. Finn wishes that the Lich never existed, thus creating the Alternate Timeline (see Alternate Timeline). Jake meets the Cosmic Owl and wishes to negate the Lich's original wish. Finn and Jake return to Ooo as do the Gems of Power. Lady Rainicorn has five children, who soon leave home. Marceline explains to Finn and Jake her past with the Ice King (see "996 years prior to the events of Season 5"). Finn turns 15. BMO meets Moseph Giovanni and the entire MO family. Marceline reunites with Hambo, with Princess Bubblegum exchanging for the T-shirt Marceline gave her. A series of events lead to Flame Princess and Finn breaking up, the rescue of a child name Lemonhope from the Earl of Lemongrab, and a coup instated by Flame Princess and Cinnamon Bun, in which the former becomes ruler of the Fire Kingdom. Finn gives Princess Bubblegum back the amulet that was buried under the tree fort. Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig get married. Finn obtains his fourth sword, the Grass Blade. Rattleballs returns to the Candy Kingdom as the second champion. Cinnamon Bun becomes "fully baked" and thus has normal intellect; he becomes the Fire Kingdom's champion. Roughly three years since the animated short
Season 5 continued. Bella Noche is resurrected by Bufo, Laser Wizard, and Forest Wizard, thus placing the Wizard Kingdom in jeopardy. Ice King reverts to Simon Petrikov. Using ancient texts, Simon enters a time portal and brings Betty to the land of Ooo. Marceline sacrifices Hambo in the process. Betty defeats Bella Noche and travels the land using Ash's magic carpet. Simon reverts back to Ice King. Lemonhope leaves the Candy Kingdom on a quest of freedom. He returns to the Earldom of Lemons and defeats Earl Lemongrab. He vacates the position of champion and begins a quest of self-actualization. Finn turns 16. Finn meets Billy's ex-girlfriend Canyon and completes the final wishes of Billy. He conquers his fear of the ocean and learns his human father is alive and imprisoned in a facility known as the Citadel. Months after Flame Princess regains the throne
The Season 6 premiere. Finn and Jake return to the Time Room to wish their way into the Citadel. They find both Prismo and The Lich, now harmless after wasting his wish. Finn and Jake find the physical body of Prismo and return it to him in order to gain entrance to the Citadel. The Lich kills Prismo and is arrested for a cosmic crime. Finn and Jake stow away with the Lich and enter The Citadel. Once there, The Lich begins destroying the area, releasing all the criminals. Finn reunites with his dad, who escapes with other criminals. In trying to prevent his dad from escaping, Finn loses his right arm and the Grass Blade. The Lich, having bathed in the blood of the Citadel Guardians, reverts to an organic and childlike creature. Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig adopt The Lich. Shortly after the Season 5 finale
Finn's right arm is restored. Maja summons Darren using the power of Princess Bubblegum's shirt and attacks the Candy Kingdom. Root Beer Guy dies, but Maja is defeated by Finn, Jake, and the Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant. A comatose Maja is taken into the care of the Elephant, who is now free to do what he pleases. Four years after the animated short
The Ice Kingdom is destroyed. The Candy Kingdom returns to a metropolis and eventually falls to ruin. Lemonhope reclaims the throne of the Earldom of Lemon, now an abandoned society. A thousand years after Lemongrab is defeated
The Grayble society rises to prominence. The arrival of Holo-Pyramid technology, as demonstrated by Bayble Cuber. Years after the events of the entire show

On the relationship between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline

Ever since the episode "What Was Missing" was aired, the relationship between Adventure Time's two major characters, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline has been shrouded in controversy. The fanbase recently has gone to war on whether or not their relationship is platonic or if the relationship has a more romantic implication. The main issue here is subtext, but what we do know about their relationship is that Princess Bubblegum and Marceline were once friends, but had some sort of falling out before the series began, which explains the contempt they had for each other during the episode (and the attitude that Bubblegum had towards Marceline during the episode "Go With Me"). What we also know is that throughout "What Was Missing", Marceline made it very clear she wants to reconcile with the Princess and heal their relationship. Which is where we start the Flame Wars and arguments between the two camps. Here is where we start to analyze the subtext from the episode and the different explanations between each side. First, the song. It of course repeatedly hints at a past relationship, but it can be interpreted as a romantic one or platonic one. Notice how the word "friend" is never actually used:

Marceline: I'm gonna drink the red from your pretty pink face... note  I'm gonna...
Princess Bubblegum: Marceline, that's too distasteful.
Marceline: Oh... you don't like that? ...Or do you just not like ME?! note 
Sorry I donít treat you like a goddess,
Is that what you want me to do? note 
Sorry I donít treat you like youíre perfect,
Like all your little loyal subjects do, note 
Sorry I’m not made of sugar,
Am I not sweet enough for you? note 
Is that why you always avoid me? note 
That must be such an inconvenience to you well,
Iím just your problem,
Iím just your problem, note 
It's like I'm not, even a person, am I? note 
Iím just your problem
Well, I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to justify what I do note 
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to prove anything to you
Iím sorry that I exist
I forget what landed me on your blacklist, note 
But I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I shouldnít have to be the one that makes up with you, so note 
Why do I want to? Why do I want to...note note 

Later in the episode Marceline says, "Ha! Guess you're not as perfect as you thought! Guess you can't judge me anymore", to which PB responds, "I never said you had to be perfect!" further complicating things. Let's just assume PB and Marceline were just talking about the present, save for the line "Guess you're not as perfect as you thought" which hints at PB's high opinion of herself which strained their relationship.

Finally, the shirt scene. One piece of evidence which favors the romantic side is when Marceline blushes saying, "You... kept the shirt I gave you?" although it could just be general embarrassment. The romantic side, of course, assumes Marceline is thinking, "She really does love me!" or something similar. The platonic side assumes Marceline was just embarrased that her sensitive side was let out in the open like that, because the shirt obviously has sentimental value. Of course, this begs the question, what the hell does the shirt mean?! PB claims that she wears the shirt as pajamas all the time. Cue the two sides of the fandom arguing, "FRIENDS/ROMANTIC PARTNERS DO THAT ALL THE TIME!" So... yeah. It all really depends on the viewer and how they pick up on the "evidence" of their backstory. The creators are keeping their mouths shut on this.
  • Let me take the other side of this. PB has been shown to be a bit of a warrior princess who defends her hapless subjects against monsters. Marceline was making a name for herself as a monster, for self defense, until Finn decided that she was a good girl. Marceline isn't looking for loving from PB, just social respectability. The problem is that PB sees all the pranks she still pulls and so keeps her at arms length to maintain her own position. That is why she can only wear the shirt in private.
  • There's also the possibility that it's entirely one sided, since Marceline is the more emotional one about the relationship (that alone is enough to make things sour).
  • The map shows only one bridge that leads to the Candy Kingdom and Marceline resided at the one structure that guarded that bridge. So perhaps Marceline had a relationship with the former Candy Kingdom rulers much like her current relationship with the Duke Nut. She befriended a young princess then fled when young Bonnibel got too interested in necromancy. So the relationship was broken off to keep Bonnibel from causing exactly the sort of zombie plague she finally did several years later.
  • Perhaps it is worth noting that unofficial promo art by one of the episode's storyboarders/writers, Rebecca Sugar (who composed the song) appears to show PB as a significantly younger girl awed by Marceline's singing. Marceline looks the same age.
  • How exactly would MVQ and PB act differently if they were actually daughter and mother? They don't act like friends and they don't act like lovers.
  • No one ever seems to care that the show's writers have actually said, basically, "We did NOT mean to imply that PB and Marceline used to like-like each other." Remember the Frederator video which said that 'and' the fall out wherein they 'apologised' for having inferred that the episode had implied that there was a romantic relationship, and Adam Muto said the same basic thing.
    • It's starting to seem that not even the show's creators know what is going on with Bubblegum and Marceline. Adam Muto once said it was meant as subtext and on purpose. Some the cast and crew have openly supported the idea (including one of the lead character designers) while others have said that it was unintentional. Whenever fans ask Pen Ward about whether their relationship is romantic or not, the answers they recieve tend to be along the lines of "figure it out yourselves" or "I won't say". It certainly dosen't help that the creators are known to ''lie to and troll'' the fans sometimes when major plot points like romantic relationships are involved.

Now let's analysis the time they've worked together in Sky Witch The show wastes no time in cramming in as many things that can be interpreted as Les Yay as possible. As Princess Bubblegum is seen wearing that shirt in bed and using it to initially wipe her nose before taking a big whiff out of it, the next scene has her open her closet which has a picture of her and Marcy in it. From there on out, one can interpret their conversations as they might have been together, but it can also reflect regular friendships as well, but it's still obvious they had some sort of falling out. Then there's Princess Bubblegum trading her shirt to get Hambo back for Marceline, Maja (the Sky Witch) indicated it had more sentimental freshness considering Hambo was separated from Marceline for so long but Princess Bubblegum sacrificing her shirt for someone else's prized possession seems like a pretty big sacrifice for someone who only used to be a friend. Then again, this can also go both ways, as it can indicate someone who used to be a Best Friend or someone more than that.

Finn's crush on Princess Bubblegum vs. his crush on Flame Princess

A lot of people have questioned Finn's sudden shift in crushing on PB to crushing on FP (though it's unknown if he no longer has a crush on PB). There's also a prevalent Ship-to-Ship Combat. Let's examine Finn's love for them. First of all, when Finn is around PB he is mostly able to coordinate himself. He's able to hang out with her as friends, and he only acts weird when PB kisses him. He'll usually want to casually do something to impress her, but it's mostly due to Bodyguard Crush. Even when she was thirteen, Finn was willing to return her to her normal age to save the candy kingdom, sacrificing their relationship in the process. He was willing to throw away their relationship in the name of heroism.

Princess Bubblegum: If I go back to my real age, I'll be able to take back the throne.
Finn: What?! No!—Uh, I mean... You can do that?

Princess Bubblegum: My people need me, and that comes first.
Finn: (begrudgingly) Yeeeeeeaaaaaah....

With Flame Princess, Finn claims that his brain "goes stupid" whenever he's around her. He even went on to claim that he's never felt this way before. As soon as he saw her, he developed a crush. This can probably be chalked up to Love at First Sight. Other options are that he'll fall for any humanoid girl his age, since there probably aren't a lot of them around; or that he just fell for her purely because of her appearance. These options are probably a little less likely, though. When Flame Princess begins to head towards the goblin kingdom, Jake asks Finn what's more important: his love for FP or being a hero. When the options are spelled out for him, he's cerebrally able to make the right choice that coincides with who he's supposed to be: a hero. However, in the heat of things, when FP is burning the kingdom down, he's only able to think with his emotions. He isn't willing to hurt her. He was willing to sacrifice heroism to save their possible relationship. So, the situation is completely reversed from his situation with PB, and it provides evidence that his love for FP is stronger than his love for PB (sorry, Fubblegum shippers). He's never able to do it, either. Finn's heroic conflict only makes him break down and cry, which makes Flame Princess put away the flames herself, and you know the rest. Jake is the one who gets everyone out in time, so this is likely a recurring conflict for Finn.

One could argue Finn is able to sacrifice his relationship with PB in the name of his character as a hero, but not his relationship with FP. Therefore Finn's love for FP could be stronger. It's hard to directly compare, since there's no instances where Finn's heroism would physically harm/pain PB. Willfully harming the 13 year old FP could hardly be seen as heroic, and leads to his break down in the face of no good option.

Is Flame Princess "evil"?

  • FP is not a killer. How do you burn down a city without hurting a single inhabitant? An evil and destructive princess indeed. It's assumed that FP has lived in the Fire Kingdom her entire life and has no idea that others cannot live with fire in the way she can. She stated she wanted to make the Goblin Kingdom "her Fire Kingdom." She wasn't being intentionally destructive and vicious. FP's also in a strange, new land with very little fire and probably a long way from home, considering she rushed out of the Fire Kingdom to track down Jake. And to top it all off, she's being followed by Finn, who (from her POV) has done nothing but hurt her. She's a lost and frightened, sheltered 13-year-old princess with little sense of right and wrong and a fiery personality, not evil or vicious.
    • So she's much much closer to Natsume Hyuuga than Roy Mustang on the scale of living flamethrowers.
  • It is noted the Flame King states shortly after her birth, he was worried that her intense powers she exhibited would be the catalyst to overthrow him as ruler of the Fire Kingdom. He abandoned Flame Princess, knowing she would die in the forrest, only to be surprised when she returned to him through Princess Bubblegum's caring attitude. He and Princess Bubblegum agreed to seal Flame Princess in her chamber until her elemental matrix stabilized. In short, she was born with powers beyond her control, if only through her emotions. As Finn puts it, she falls under the Chaotic Neutral category. She wishes no ill will but can't help herself.

The map

The events of the series seem to be based on the black and white map, of which a small part is shown in a slightly modified form in The Other Tarts.

There appears to be days, nights and seasons not too different from what Earth currently has and if the sun rises in the east and sets in the west then the map has up being north. The general features of the map are consistent with a northern hemisphere placement of the Ooo continent with colder regions and conifer trees towards the north side, deciduous trees along the middle latitudes and palm trees in the south.

The opening sequence seems to be a sweep through western Ooo. The atom bomb looks to be in The Unknown Lands, the Ice King is south of there in the Ice Kingdom, then it's southwest to the Candy Kingdom and further south to the Mountain Kingdom (with Marceline) then north east through the grasslands (with the Ice Kingdom in the distance) to the treehouse and inside that for Finn and Jake's fist bump.

Place Location
Jake and Finn's treehouse Just north of center
Candy Kingdom West of the treehouse
Hyoomen caves / Beautopia Under the Candy Kingdom
Ice Kingdom North of the treehouse
Mountain Kingdom South of the Candy Kingdom
Fire Kingdom Southwest of the treehouse
Goblin Kingdom Not far east of the treehouse, still in the grasslands
Library of the Turtle Princess Also somewhere east of the treehouse in the grasslands.
Missing chunk of the Earth NE of Ooo.

Location Known residents
Candy Kingdom The Candy Castle and the candy people in general, Choose Goose, Tree Trunks, Lemongrab, Duchy of Nuts
Grasslands Finn and Jake, Banana space man, Turtle Princess, Goblin city, Donny and the village people
Mountain Kingdom Marceline's current cave, village of the marauders.

The treehouse proper has an annex built onto the west side with stepping stones that go off to the southwest. South of that path lies the pond, which the Nymphs visited in "Power Animal". To the north of the annex is the well that was also used in the same episode.

The boat gives the highest vantage point on the treehouse and it points north towards the Ice Kingdom (for spying on somebody?) And utility lines go from the southeast of the treehouse. These at least provide for phone service and possibly electricity.

Humanity

Humanity is clearly rare, as seen in Her Parents and Susan Strong. Given PB's comments in SS, we can conclude that she does not know of any human relatives of herself, and so the previous comments that she was half-human must now be considered to be non-canonical.
  • Susan may or may not be purely human or perhaps even half-human.
  • Finn's pure human status may be incorrect or he may spring from a hidden group.
    • Pendleton Ward's FAQ page mentions even Finn is mutated.
  • Marceline had inhuman features such as pointed ears and blue skin at birth, around the time of the fall and years before she became a vampire.
    • Jake the Dog reveals Marceline was born a half-demon.
  • Simon has been mutated to closely match the majority of the humanoid population. His contributions to the gene pool over the thousand years since are unclear.
  • Moseph Giovanni is the first confirmed human to have survived without mutation. However, one thousand years made him more into a cyborg who is dependent on life support.
  • Via Time Travel, Simon's fiancee Betty enters present-day Ooo.

The Enchiridion

A tome of power, the Enchiridion (from the Ancient Greek ἐγχειριδιον: "dagger" or "manual"note ) is "the hero's handbook". Everything you want to know about becoming a hero is in there, from saving the day to kissing the princess. Revealed in the Season 1 episode "The Enchiridion!". Though it appears throughout the series, it only plays a few episodes. The second episode it appeared in was "In His Footsteps" in which Finn gives the book to a bear who wishes to imitate him. This turns out to be a ruse by The Lich, who now controls the book. In "I Remember You", a quick look at the newspaper clipping reveals Simon Petrikov, pre-crown effects, was the man who discovered the book. Season 4's finale, "The Lich", finally told the real reason of the Enchiridion. Soon after "In His Footsteps", The Lich attacked and possessed the one man who could beat him, Billy. Haunting the nightmares of Finn, he made sure Finn and Jake hunted down the gems of power. In a moment of quiet, The Enchiridion reveals it's power through a hologram spouting an Info Dump. In short, when combined with the gems of all the crowns of Ooo, it can create portals to the Multiverse, a space where all universes exist. At the end, Finn destroys the book so The Lich cannot use it only to create the portal. The portal sucks Finn, Jake, and The Lich in, depositing them into the Multiverse.

Ecology

The grasslands around the tree house are cut short, like a lawn rather than a wilderness. These same grasslands are also home to giant snails, which presumably act as grazers. The northern forests might be too cold for the snails, the deserts too dry and the Candy Kingdom keeps the snails away from their fruit trees.

Kings

Most male royalty with presumably humanoid origins have had a magical artifact of some kind. While the Ice King's (formerly Simon Petrikov) crown is the most well-known, it was also given to him by a person in a sterotypicaly cold area. However, note that such mind-bending items have been in existence for quite some time, if the words of Hunson Abadeer are true (notably, the necklace he has might be an indication that such magical items have their own wills and goals, and use their hosts as a sort of interface to interact with the universe). Also of note are the Fight and Thief Kings, one of which was immortal and had a magical sword, while the other was capible of some sort of magic but died a mortal death. The exact status of the Flame King is unknown, but if his daughter is any indication, humanoid traits coming from lines created by former humans might not be a chance occurance. Presumably, the former Candy/Cloud/Water/Etc. kingdom rulers were also bearers of an elemental artifact.

The Lich (King) is a interesting occurrence because there is no direct evidence that he has a magical artifact of any sort (with his crown being of little importance, and no visable magical rings or such taking up any space on his body). That, combined with his sheer size and body shape (resembling the Ice King's bulky look with his robe on) makes some speculate that he was never bonded to a artifact at all, or he is the result of a artifact completely merging with its wielder.

The Lich

The Lich appears to have abilities that allow him to destroy almost anything in his path. In fact, when he crosses over Ice Berg Lake the water near him turns black and oily and Jake complains of a smell, implying that the fish in the water have died. This along with the fact that he gets his power from a toxic substance (composed of bleach, ammonia, and lighter fluid) makes it seem that the Lich is a nuke personified, which was confirmed in "Jake the Dog". He also raises the dead in his lair and it requires an extreme amount of damage (Finn blasting one at point blank range with Billy's Gauntlet) to defeat him. The Lich is capable of possessing bodies as well, bodysurfing into the Snail following his defeat. He did not appear in Season 3 but returned in Season 4, as the Snail and as Billy in "The Lich". He tricks Finn into using The Enchiridion's power (see The Enichridion) and as of Season 5 is in the Multiverse with Finn and Jake. The Season 5 premiere gives the origin story. He is the embodiment of a nuke that exploded during the war. In Season 6, it is revealed he was imprisoned in the Time Room after failing to erase life. However, he eventually broke his bondage and killed Prismo. His sentence was imprisonment in the Citadel. However, he freed himself and the other prisoners. Attempting to kill Finn, he came in contact with Citadel Guardian blood, and reverted to a metazoa form with a similar structure to that of a human.

Alternate Timeline

Episode: "Finn the Human"

Earth was once a quieter place than the brightly florescent Ooo. As explored in Season 5's premiere, there is an alternate universe existing as another Earth. In this world, Finn appears as the mirror Finn from "King Worm", Jake is a normal bulldog, and Finn's mother and father are alive, along with a sibling of indeterminate gender (and not named in the episode). They appear to live in an economically depressed, low-tech rural area (low-tech that is, except for alternate Finn's robot arm, which is never explained). Finn is the son of a farmer being tortured by the Destiny Gang who are looking for protection money. Finn's mother asks Finn to sell the family mule Bartran (or Bar-bar) in exchange for the money. Before he reaches town, he meets an older Marceline and the skeleton of Simon Petrikov. She tells Finn how Simon prevented the Mushroom War by sacrificing his life. The crown then froze the earth for 400 years. Finn doesn't believe her and takes the crown. In town, Barbar and the crown are stolen by the gang's leader, Big Destiny and Finn must save them by using a blade, given to him by Choose Bruce (alternate timeline Choose Goose). Before Finn can deliver the final blow to Big Destiny, the town and Finn's home are set on fire. Finn uses the crown, becoming the Ice King in the process.

Episode: "Jake the Dog"

Finn extinguishes the flames only to set off the nuke Simon originally prevented. In his manic state, Finn saves his family and viciously attacks the Destiny Gang. Alternate timeline Jake is caught in the radioactive slime and turns into the Lich. At this point, magic dog Jake uses his wish to alter the Lich's wish, made in the beginning of "Finn the Human". This should in turn theoretically eliminate the possibility of the alternate timeline, though it doesn't explain the appearance of Alternate Finn in "King Worm".

Episode: "Puhoy"

Around the end of "Puhoy", Elderly Finn has a pillow version of the mechanical arm that Alternate Finn had. This could lead to two possible consequences. One is that Finn will have to accept the burden of a mechanical arm at some point during the existence of any reality. The second is when Finn disrupts the flow of time after jumping through several universes, he triggers the mechanical arm to exist in every reality (see Steins;Gate regarding "world lines").

Episode: "The Vault"

The character of Shoko, a previous reincarnation of Finn, is seen with no right arm throughout the majority of the episode. When Princess Bubblegum presents her with a mechanical arm, it is the first instance in which one of Finn's alternate realities is seen receiving the mechanical arm. This furthers the idea that each incarnation of Finn must at one point sacrifice their arm, leading to a very grim future in which Finn must lose his arm at some point.

Episode: "Dungeon Train"

Once again we see a possible future version of Finn. Through the future orb however, he has chosen to remain on the train until he is an old man. Careful viewing reveals that his right arm has been however, been replaced by additional weaponry. This supports the theory that Finn must always lose his arm. But it might not be in the same way each time. Is it possible he willingly cut off his arm so that he could equip a cooler replacement he picked up on the train? Since this alternate spent his whole life fighting low level monsters, it seems likely.

The Ice King as a metaphor for dementia.

Dementia, meaning "without mind", historically was synonimous with madness, but nowadays it is considered to be a specific type of severe mental disorder, characterised by losing much of the coognitive capacity (on other words, losing the ability to think rationally). Dementia is distinguished from other types of insanity by this; dementia is basically the anihilation of sapience. Alzheimer's is the most common variety of dementia.

Common symptoms of dementia include:

  • - Memory loss and thought pattern loss
  • - Disorganised behaviour and lack of a sense of order
  • - Depression
  • - Sociopathic symptoms (loss of empathy, bursts of basic emotions like anger, lack of social cues)
  • - Paranoia and seeing things.

Anyone remotely familiar with the show pretty much can see all of these in the Ice King. In particular, his mentality and behaviour is eerily similar to those of victims of Vascular Dementia, especially considering his backstory: a single event (putting on the crown for Simon, a specific act that ensures erratic blood pressure and distribution on the brain for a victim of Vascular Dementia), that progressive escalates into full blown madness, with little hope for the victim to do anything other than to stall the progression.

More obviously, Marceline's way of coping with Simon's condition is pretty familiar to anyone with relatives affected by dementia: avoidance and grief for the person that was once in that body and mind.

The Fionna and Cake episodes can be analyzed to understand the opinions of the storyteller.

In the Fionna and Cake stories, how the alternate gender characters behave and live is reflective of the way the storyteller sees them. The characters in the Fionna and Cake universe do not seem to be exact copies of their Ooo counterparts. Now consider the first Fionna and Cake episode, where the story was told by Ice King:

  • The Ice Queen is more attractive, as well as more threatening and competent, than Ice King is. This is probably a reflection of how he sees himself, he really imagines himself that way.
  • Ice King seems to think that Finn has this perfect, wonderful life and this is reflected in his Fionna and Cake story. Fionna is a bit more successful in her romantic exploits than Finn is, in that she's actually able to get Prince Gumball to want to date her. Compare this to Finn, who was rejected by Princess Bubblegum for being too young.

The second Fionna and Cake episode was told by Marceline, and it continues the trend:

  • Prince Gumball in Marceline's story is a lot prissier than Princess Bubblegum, (Princess Bubblegum would never make Finn carry her like that) and is more hostile to Marshall Lee upon running into him.
  • Cake is shown to be egotistical (as indicated when she takes over the song to sing about how hot she is) but still good. This reflects Marceline's relationship with Jake; while they aren't close friends, she still recognizes him as a good guy.
  • Fionna is shown to be a heroic, honest, nice person who can't be easily corrupted. It's been shown that Marceline views Finn this way.

By taking what we do know, we are able to analyze that the storyteller of the Fionna and Cake episode projects his or her own feelings and views on the people of Ooo into the story. With this knowledge, we can look at other aspects of the story and find out what else the storyteller knows, as well as how they view characters they aren't usually seen interacting with. This brings up several implications:

  • In the first Fionna and Cake episode, Cake briefly wears the Ice Queen's tiara and Fionna tells Cake to take it off because "she'll catch her (Ice Queen's) crazy". A later episode revealed that Ice King used to be a man named Simon Petrikov, who was transformed by his magic crown and driven insane until he didn't know who he was. That one line serves as evidence that Ice King remembers who he is on some subconscious level.
  • In the second episode, where the story is told by Marceline, her gender reversed counterpart Marshall Lee goes on and on about how he's inherently evil. This might indicate that Marceline views herself this way.
    • On the other hand, Fionna makes a point during the song sequence of telling Marshall Lee that he's "not so bad." Marceline may view herself as bad, but wants Finn to tell her she's wrong.
      • Makes sense. Marceline was quite a bit meaner in her earlier appearances, albeit in a playful way, and mellowed out some as her friendship with Finn grew stronger. She sees Finn as this heroic good guy type who can't be corrupted, yet he chooses to hang out with her anyway and he thinks she's cool. She might see that as proof that she really isn't totally evil, after all, someone like Finn wouldn't be friends with an evil monster.
  • Also in the second episode: Fionna is extremely protective towards Cake, to which Marshall Lee reacts with direct provocation and threats. This is probably a reflection of some inherent jealousy Marceline feels for Finn and Jake's tight bond, because that's the kind of bond she used to have (with Simon Petrikov, or perhaps even with her father before their fallout) before she became a loner.

Season Five Is About Relationships.

It strikes me that a good many of the episodes in Season Five are dealing with relationships. Characters are getting new relationships, or rekindling old ones. Or in some cases damaging existing ones. Now I may simply be reading too much into things here, but I can see some trends forming for the main characters. Spoilers abound, so be warned.
  • Jake has to deal with his new relationship with his children. However this is not played as it would normally. Due to the rate at which Rainicorn/Dog hybrids mature, his relationship with them as the father of young children is over as soon as it began. At the same time this has opened up his relationship with his now adult children. As seen in 'One Last Job' Jake Jr. at least is interested in having a relationship with her father. So although one relationship was quickly ended, another new one has formed for Jake.
  • Marceline is rebuilding old relationships. As we see she is reconnecting with Simon. Even though as the Ice King he can't remember how their friendship started, and he is a shell of what he was, Marcy is still reconnecting to her father figure. In 'Simon And Marcy' she has even admitted she loves him. A far cry from her avoiding him as much as possible. And 'Sky Witch' shows evidence that she is attempting to restore her relationship with Princess Bubblegum. She brings Bubblegum with her on her quest to retrieve her most prized possesion. Although this may have been influenced by Bubblegum's usefulness in the situation, she still has stopped avoiding her completely. Near the end of the season, Marceline briefly reunites with Simon and her sacrifice of Hambo is what gives Simon the chance to repair his relationship with Betty...or more precisely, it's what gives Betty the chance to repair her relationship with Simon.
  • Princess Bubblegum has been giving to others in her relationships, even if their affections are unwanted. She creates a copy in order to make Braco happy, even though she has no romantic interest in him. Indeed, Bubblegum states several times how Braco's infatuation means he doesn't know her at all, and thus no romantic relationship could ever exist. Later in 'Sky Witch' she gives up a prized physical possession in order to retrieve Hambo for Marceline. In short she sacrificed something she loved for the sake of an important person to her. However she acted on her own in this choice, and does what she thinks is best, without actually consulting Marceline. This tendency to act unilaterally in her relationships is also seen in her actions with Braco.
  • Finn has been about damaging relationships this season. He has hurt people he cares about both physically and mentally due to not considering that his actions might cause them pain. 'Jake Suit' is driven by the fact that Finn was uncaring that his actions had caused Jake pain. Although it seems that in the end no harm came of it, Finn did not learn to empathize with others, or that his actions could cause significant harm due to Jake's giving up. Perhaps if he had realized that he could hurt others, and that they may not feel the same way about his actions the later, more severe damage he does to his relationship with Flame Princess could have been avoided. In 'Frost & Fire' Finn causes significant physical suffering to both Ice King and Flame Princess, and even more severe emotional pain to Flame Princess. Due to his insensitivity, and desire to re-experience his dream he provokes the second fight between Flame Princess and Ice King. As a result Flame Princess is injured. Even then Finn does not realize the depth of his selfishness and how uncaring he is being to Flame Princess, it is not until later that he sees the consequences of his actions as Flame Princess destroys the Ice Kingdom. And it is after admitting his actions that Finn must deal with the aftermath of his manipulating her, and acting inconsiderately of others. His romantic relationship with Flame Princess is ruined, possibly irreparably and he is forced to learn that saying you are sorry cannot fix the truly severe mistakes.

Marceline's personality

An extensive analysis of Marceline's past and personality has shown that she might have Borderline Personality Disorder. She fits most of the DSM criteria for the disorder and her past suggests that she may have been conditioned towards it.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by a constant fear of abandonment, which Marceline openly exhibited in Issue 25 of the comic where it was revealed that her fallout with PB was caused by PB's creation of Mr. Creampuff, which Marceline perceived as abandonment. She may also have been quite literally abandoned by her parents after the apocalypse, and Simon going crazy certainly didn't help her feelings of being all alone. Her dad eating her fries could also have sparked this.
  • BPD is also characterized by a feeling of emptiness within oneself, a hatred of oneself, and a tendency to self-mutilate. While not all people with BPD exhibit self-mutilating behaviors, Marceline has mentioned that she enjoys having the damaging sun on her skin because she "kind of likes" the pain. She also has been seen (in her song in "Marceline's Closet") to feel as though she has no friends, which could constitute feelings of self-inadequacy, which often leads to self-hatred.
  • People with BPD have often been described as "rejecting others before they reject me", which Marceline has openly admitted to doing.
  • Another characteristic of the disorder is sudden violent tendencies towards loved ones (or not-so-loved ones...). Marceline in "Go With Me" seemed to enjoy the wrestling and roughhousing she engaged in with Finn, and has been seen to consider that "fun" She seemed to be quite happy while fighting Finn in "Evicted" and was very willing to hurt her father and Ash in later episodes.

The Ice King and The Lord of the Rings

The Ice king might be inspired by Gollum, let us look at the facts:
  • The crown is extremely powerful but was able to drive him mad like the master ring did.
  • The Ice king hardly recognizes his old human self and who can blame him judging from his enormous change over years. Likewise, Gollum is in no way a hobbit anymore.
  • The Ice king is over 1000 years old, that is ten times as much as a normal human.
  • Like Gollum, The Ice King has a divided mind, on one hand there's his crazy childlike personality and on the other hand, he clings to his old self and the loneliness over the loss of his true love, like Gollum's brother. The thing his personalities can agree on is princesses, because of the nickname of his old love was "Princess".


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