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Fridge / El Goonish Shive

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Fridge Brilliance

  • Just who the heck is Ebort and what's so special about him giving a movie two thumbs up? Oh, right...
  • Uryuoms do not judge the physical attractiveness of potential mates. At first, this just seems like a hat—physical attractiveness is often a (very, very loose) measure of health, after all. But uryuoms can all shapeshift. Well, duh, of course they don't judge by appearances then.
  • On first read, this strip seems like just a silly throwaway joke. Since then, the comic has changed a lot, and several characters have gained explicit magical powers, the nature of which is determined by their actions and personalities, abilities usually awakened or enhanced by random strange events (such as getting turned into a girl, or slaying an almost-vampire, or saving a lover from a deranged mage). The training at the Anime-Style Martial Arts Dojo actually helped two of them unlock that power. All by "participating in difficult, overly complex, and fairly ridiculous activities that shouldn't yield such fantastic results yet somehow do." What looked like Lampshade Hanging on Rule of Funny now turns out to be epic foreshadowing of how the EGS magic system works, before the comic was even revealed to HAVE a magic system.
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  • When Susan was a little girl, she saw her father cheating with another woman. The reason she got up was because she wanted her dad to read her a book because she couldn't fall asleep. The book? "Sleeping Beauty". The quintessential Damsel in Distress who needs to be rescued by her man, and the type of story older Susan would despise. This just illustrates how traumatic this event was to poor Susan, since she actually liked those kinds of stories before, and now her hatred of tales like that (like The Princess Bride) is one of her main character traits.
  • The comic and LGBT+. It's pretty nice, of course, considering the Gender Bending that gets tossed around. For the LGB portion, we actually get a wide variety of relationships and sexualities, and brilliant arcs on bullying, coming out, being outed and self-discovery. Then we get to the T+ part, which is treated almost as a non-issue by the characters. If you pay attention, though, we get an even more in-depth look on what they go through. We have a character who identifies as "her" self, regardless of gender, a character who was bullied for being girly when he identifies as male and is later revealed to be genderfluid, and someone who was effectively transgendered from "birth." The whole thing, though, is never treated as a big deal. Unless they are forcibly transitioned. In its own roundabout way, after having many different expressions of transgenderism, the story finds its own unique way of saying that finding yourself the wrong gender is terrible, and that nobody should have to go through it. Thanks Tedd.
    • And now we see that played out further with a counterpart to Ellen intent on forcibly transitioning her because he, due to the pressure and rules of his society as well as his own role in her creation, genuinely believes that she can't possibly be happy female because she doesn't have the option of changing permanently, with Word of God saying he's wrong that Ellen's unhappy with being the way she is but also saying his logic isn't entirely wrong either.
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  • Sciuridae is not pronounced "Skwur-uh-dey". But Grace, like everyone else in the strip, is a Midwesterner. Of course the pronunciation of her surname has been flattened and twisted over the generations.
  • There are a lot of questions about Magus, such as why he suggests that Ellen is his daughter. But the answer lies in how Ellen was created and Magus's only current ability. Magus can boost the emotions of people, and the reason Tedd used Female Variant #5 on Elliot was a supposed surge of testosterone as he transformed back into a guy. That effect has never been observed since, and its absence has even been commented on in story. The answer is that Magus used his abilities to boost Tedd's rage. All of this was part of the plan to restore Magus to human form. He and Pandora knew how the gem worked, that Tedd would use it, that Ellen would be created, and somehow Ellen using he powers on Elliot will help Magus return. He considers himself Ellen's father because he put the events into motion that led to her "birth." Magus following Nanase around after the fight with Ellen may even tie in. He needs Ellen already upset so he can boost her anger more, so he boosted Ellen and Nanase's emotions during their fight. Had the day continued without Abe attacking the school, she would have gone home angry and he could have used those emotions to trick her into zapping Elliot.
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  • The title Hammerchlorians can seem odd at first until one realises it's a play on midichlorianes. Midichlorianes are disliked by fans because it explains the force even though nobody questioned how the force worked. Hammerchlorians explains how the hammers work despite the fact no one asked about them and everyone accepted them.
  • You typically think that Tedd is embarrassed about his middle name just for Rule of Funny. But then again, Drew starts with the letter D. Try saying "Tedd D. Verres" 12 times without going too fast and accidentally saying "Teddy" instead. Now remember the fact that Tedd's used to getting bullied for having a girly face. Any mass realization of this fact about his name, can't be good for his issues. Also, if you say it fast enough, the V starts to sound like a B...
  • Remember how Susan thought Greg used steroids? Now: remember how magic energy can boost the size of body parts?
  • Mrs. Kitsune's semi-tolerant attitude towards her daughter Nanase being a lesbian, waving it off as 'Just a phase', is a fairly common attitude towards that sort of thing in Japan - where romantic attraction between high-school girls is often viewed as a 'safe', training-wheels relationship that gives girls a chance to practice before they're ready for PROPER relationships with men.
  • Mrs. Kitsune's attitude towards women's roles—that they must become housewives and support their family, even though her daughter is a trilingual athlete with straight-A grades—makes a lot more sense when it's stated outright that her sister abandoned Tedd and his father. She refuses to hurt her own family in the same way, and won't let her daughters even consider it as an option.
    • And it actually makes even more sense with the reveal that she is fully aware of the existence of magic, what Mr. Verres does, and that Nanase has magic herself. Mrs. Kitsune clearly expects and intends her daughter to be wife and partner to a man like Edward Verres or Agent Wolf, and for that she is very likely going to need that level of physical and mental capability.
  • Justin can't find any openly gay men in Moperville South, whereas half the men in Moperville North that Sarah asks about Ronin are openly gay. Contradiction? No. Moperville North contains Elliot. Elliot Dunkel, the kid who has a raging hatred of intolerance and knows martial arts. It's safe to come out as gay. No one dares make trouble over it lest Elliot hear. He's had that big an effect.
    • Furthermore a lot of these men were approaching Sarah at a time when rumors abounded about Elliot being gay, and she was confirmed to be Amicable Exes with him. Some of those guys probably sought her out (and/or felt comfortable outing themselves to her) because they viewed her as safe in that regard.
  • Right after Susan hammers Tony for pushing Tedd, Elliot asks, "Not that I'm complaining, but isn't the hammer only supposed to work if someone does something offensive towards a woman...?" A joke at the time, but knowing now that Tedd is genderfluid...
  • Susan mentions that she links 'Tiffany' to her father, which she isn't really on speaking terms with. But she was also raised to not hate him (her mother relied on teaching her All Men Are Perverts). And ... one of the last things her father says that we know of? 'Tiffany, listen to me. Your mother's coming home tomorrow, and you mustn't tell her of [him having another woman over].' Well, if Tiffany can't speak, Susan can ...
  • Grace at one point wonders if it's weird that while Tedd owns many skirts, she doesn't. Why would this be? The first time Grace goes shopping, it's with Sarah. And while Sarah isn't in Real Women Don't Wear Dresses territory as far as Susan, she's still likely influenced to some extent; Sarah has rarely gone for a skirt look herself, aside from the school uniform arc. It's likely that Elliot (as Cheerleadra and her disguises) and Greg (for cosplay) have worn them more often.
  • Nanase is royalty according to the griffons. Since her mother knows of magic and her aunt uses magic, it is safe to assume that this comes from her mother's side. This mean Tedd could be a Lord.
  • Agent Lavender, despite clearly being not human...makes a big deal about not being an alien. the Uryoum introduction was revealed that many Uryoums are born on Earth. She is NOT an alien! She is, however, a non-human. (It's also likely that Mr. Verres is trying to teach the agent who's saying this to STOP being Wrong Genre Savvy could get him, or an innocent, killed).
  • In one of the early comics, Grace mentions that Tedd's clothes fit her surprisingly well. This means nothing until later, when it is revealed that Tedd often spends time as a girl, and so would have female clothing in the house.
  • In the Death Sentence arc, Raven mentions "animals cannot resist magic as we can." No attention is drawn to it, so people just assumed that humans and animals were different in that way. Much later, during the Fate of Magic arc, it's mentioned that humans do not naturally have magic resistance. Humans and animals aren't different, but the magic system is set up in such a way to give humans a leg up in that area. At least until magic is public, and the Will of Magic can't help any more.
  • After Pandora is forcefully reset, Tedd takes it hard, until the Will of Magic explains that she will still remember him and be family. There were some complaints that a Sentient Cosmic Force was taking the time to reassure Tedd of something, when it normally operates on Blue and Orange Morality. But we also know that Magic perceives the world through magic and uses dramatic events to communicate. So Pandora casting a massive spell out of love for her family is exactly the kind of thing that Magic would understand perfectly.
  • Nanase has trouble making a fairy doll for Elliot when he's in Cheerleadra form. Of course; she's a super hero. If Cheerleadra's secret identity could be blown any time someone tried to use magic to contact Elliot, she'd be in serious trouble.
  • Dan talks about Grace's sexuality in The Rant of this strip and mentions that "There are those who would say she's demisexual." He goes on to say ""Grace is Grace" became my most common answer when people would ask about what word I would use to describe her sexuality." The interesting thing about this is that demisexuality is considered part of the gray asexuality spectrum and individuals who identify with gray asexuality can be referred to as being a gray ace or a grace. With this in mind, the phrase "Grace is Grace" may be interpreted as meaning "Grace is a grace" that is, she identifies with gray asexuality. On the other hand, it's more likely that Dan probably just meant something along the lines of "the word one chooses for Grace's sexuality is irrelevant" and being able to interpret it as wordplay is coincidental.
  • As mentioned below, the contrast between Jerry and Zeus seems pretty severe, given that they're meant to be the same person. But while Jerry was introduced as a jolly and concerned Santa-like figure, that was near the end of his "life". Earlier, he was the sort of person who set up a powerful magical artefact for the specific purpose of encouraging inappropriate comments to women. It makes sense that a version of him who lacks his life-experience would revert to being something of a jerk.
  • In the "Hammerchlorians" arc, Jerry states that Sarah doesn't have any particular magic affinity, but Box would later state that she could only give Sarah her "simulation" spell because of a bloodline affinity. The discrepancy is noticed on, and it's theorized that Jerry could have simply missed the affinity, especially with already being in the process of resetting. However, it's also mentioned that Sarah doesn't yet have enough power to cast the spell without the high energy levels around Moperville, and the hammer cave is well outside that sphere. So it's possible Jerry did detect the affinity but also detected that Sarah didn't have the strength to fuel that spell, and felt it would be even crueler to explain that to her than to just say that he couldn't grant her any spells.
  • Sirleck mentions that he has no desire to get anywhere near an immortal, and that they have a special loathing for body-snatchers, over and above even what they already feel about aberrations. Thing is, Sirleck (and presumably other body-snatchers) apparently exists on the spiritual plane when possessing a host, and we know from what the immortals did to Magus that those on that plane are not protected by the "guide and empower" limits in immortal law. So it may be less that immortals have a specific loathing of body-snatchers, and more that those are the only aberrations immortals are free to deal with directly.
  • Voltaire's scheme (or at least the first half of it), was doomed from the get-go. He believed that if he could force magic to change, it would leave humanity defenseless for a long time against him and his suddenly liberated fellow fae. But unbeknownst to him, there are upwards of a thousand seers on the planet, all of whom would intuitively know how the new system of magic worked and how to initiate others into it. Even if Tedd was wrong and another full-on blowout could be averted, magic use among humans would be up to at least pre-change levels in no time flat. We'd still be horribly vulnerable, but we wouldn't be completely helpless.
  • In this strip, we learn that Mr. Verres has decided to accept Lavender's advances. Now, while Lavender can presumably shapeshift up the appropriate anatomy should things go that far, as a pure Uryom she cannot get pregnant via internal fertilization (except possibly in a human clone form). The absence of that particular risk may well have played a part in Mr. Verres' decision.
  • It's been noted that Elliot/Ellen and Tedd/Tess/Terra will end up involved in any universe where genders and sexual orientations align correctly. In the universe of the main characters, of course, these factors are not properly aligned and so neither Elliot nor Ellen is interested in a romantic relationship with Tedd. However, the only two women that either of them has exhibited any serious romantic interest in are Nanase (who's Tedd's cousin) and Ashley (who is similar to Tedd in height, build, and general features, enough so that Elliot mistook Ashley for the "Tess" from his dream).
  • Sarah being upset that she and Elliot are still virgins makes more sense when we note that his relationships with Nanase and Ashley were/are a lot more physical. Sarah saw how Elliot acted towards Nanase, and given that they apparently grew up together, she would presumably have seen him act this way towards any crushes he had before Nanase. So she'd know that the way Elliot was acting towards her was distinctly out of character for him, and she'd have reason to be worried about his feelings towards her.
  • In the Squirrel Prophet arc, Luke tries to use a magic analysis spell on Tedd, and gets a Poke in the Third Eye. Several years later, we learn that Tedd possesses such powerful spell resistance that he gave a false negative to the loud scary magic analysis wand.
  • There has been a lot of discussion of the effect on Susan of having to kill the vampire-aberration as a young teen, and how her various issues (especially at the beginning of the comic) stem in part from the trauma of that experience. But Nanase was there for that fight as well, and while she didn't strike the fatal blow she did directly and intentionally contribute to the thing's death. How many of her issues spring from that trauma?
    • In particular, note that when Nanase and Susan tried to tell others about the vampire attack,they were dismissed as "stupid freshmen making stuff up", and Demetrius and Helena apparently gave them to understand that they and they alone had the power to stop it, that they couldn't ask for help or tell anyone about the monster. How much of Nanase's pre-Abraham fears of revealing her true self to her parents came from that one event?

Fridge Horror

  • During this episode, Sarah was a bit bummed out about missing out on getting magic, but according to what was established in this strip, she also missed out on a chance to never need birth control ever!
  • Giving people magic marks and initiating their Dreaming without their knowledge. Ok, not that Fridgey, since the horror is mentioned in-comic, but it still deserves a mention. Dex, Justin, and Rhoda all get their marks without their knowledge and without their consent. That leads to things like, say, Rhoda accidentally enchanting a boar and making it massive If it's happened to these three, think of how many other people it could happen to. It's actually pretty terrifying if you think about it, giving people strong, unbelievable powers without their permission and without them even knowing about it. Remember this comic? Oh, Crap!.
  • Take a look at Guineas' two different forms. Underneath his short fur it is pretty clear to see that he has a decent amount of muscle bulk, which considering how strong he is supposed to be makes sense, but the anatomy is off if we don't account for the layers of fat to fill him out. Most noticeable being his gut. Then look at his six-pack; gut meet six-pack. Man has not nearly enough fat to his name. Depending on how magical we want to define this issue, it's fairly reasonable to guess that his transformations actually burn away large amounts of fat from his body faster than some TV weight loss program, in a way that is both unhealthy and horribly, horribly painful. Vlad, of course, has it worse.
  • At first calling immortals resetting death seems like an exaggeration. They still have their core personality, it's just some of their outer aspects that change. However, consider the fact that they keep almost none of their memories, and those they do keep feel like being read secondhand from a book. The new immortal is for all intents and purposes a completely different person. Is it any wonder Pandora refused to reset?
    • Made more explicit, with Jerry. The "New" him has no sense of the honor, and kindness that the "Old" him had.
  • Sirleck complains in passing that he "can't even take a break from this brain dead heap" because he's keeping the body of his current host alive...implying that he DOES take breaks from his hosts under normal circumstances, and that they're conscious. The horror hits when you realize this would entail leaving the person he possessed trapped somewhere, temporarily free but helpless and KNOWING he'd just come back for them when he felt like it. That or just leave them to starve to death if he'd gotten bored.
  • Diane has the potential to be an extremely powerful and threatening vampire hunter. When Nanase, worried for her safety after the vampire attack the griffin knights thwarted, asks her uncle if he can give her a bodyguard, he tells her he can't really do much and explains that it's not completely necessary anyway since most vampires wouldn't be able to tell she's not a threat and would therefore avoid her and anyone associated with her. However as Nanase points out, that means that the vampires that will go after her are the most intelligent, the strongest, the deadliest and the all-around best in the field that also have access to magic.
  • Magus in the most recent arc comes from a world where magical means of transitioning are easily accessible and even permanent but it's not all sunshine and roses. He is transgender and had to be to become a battle mage because science in his world states that the flow of magic in the different genders would prevent a female battle mage from being at their full power, something that appears to be true given his thoughts on Terra, his version of Tedd who became a battle mage without changing her birth gender in spite of society's rules. Not only that but Magus manages a perfectly reasonable (if wrong) explanation for how the main cast is abusing Ellen by forcing her to stay female because there can't be two Elliots and have brow-beaten her into liking being female by making it her only option. Suddenly Tedd's research into easy-access gender-shift magic seems a lot more complicated...
  • Susan having to kill the vampire-aberration would be horrifically traumatizing under any circumstances, but to make matters worse, the Masquerade meant that she couldn't tell anyone, not even her own mother or her friends, and she certainly couldn't get any kind of counseling or therapy to help her recover from the trauma.
  • While Pandora's last spell killed upwards of 99% of the existing aberrations, that hasn't removed their threat. Aberrations are made, not born, and we have no reason to suppose that you need the help of an existing aberration to become one yourself. With the upswing in those who know of and can use magic, there may soon be more aberrations around than there were before Pandora's spell.
  • So the Will of Magic has decided to accommodate a reveal, and both layers of the Masquerade are coming down. Magic will soon be known to the world. Yay! Except... Mr. Verres was not wrong about the dangers that would come with magic being widely known, and the un-change has resulted in the common man losing what little defense they did have against the abuse of magic.
    • And the way the reveal happened was about the worst possible from the perspective of keeping magic use under some level of control. If the reveal had been planned in advance, then steps could have been taken to prepare for it. More magic-using agents could have been recruited in advance to police the ballooning number of spellcasters, information could have been released piecemeal to minimize the shock to people's worldviews, public opinion could have been shaped and monitored and the optimal times selected for each stage of an unmasking. As it is, everything is hitting at once, and there are going to be God alone knows how many new spellcasters experimenting with new powers, convinced that they are now gods and nobody is going to call them to account or simply messing with forces they don't at all understand.
      • On a more positive, they will also be plenty of people who will seek to use their newfound magic for more heroic intentions (due to either a sense of honor/duty or desiring the recognition) and the existence of a magic-policing organization (once events cause them to become officially recognized) will discourage crime with the threat of highly trained and organized magic users are there to punish transgressions, especially when they have no idea if they are being watched through some form of scrying magic. So any upsurge in magic crime will have a good chance to only be temporary as people recognize the new status quo.
  • Whenever someone is arguing against making magic public, the first thing that gets brought up is always how incredibly user-friendly and personalized this magic system is. Under a different system of magic, one where magic is tied to incantations or formulae that have to be learned or where it requires props and components that must be acquired, it might be possible to make beneficial or useful spells freely available while still keeping dangerous magic somewhat restricted. And if Arthur and Tedd had not talked the Will of Magic out of changing, then when the Will finally realized the futility of trying to hide the default system of magic might have been something not so easily abused. Given the circumstances, it's not too surprising that nobody thought of this at the time, but sooner or later Arthur will realize the missed opportunity, and there will probably be major angsting.
    • Counterpoint this comic mentions that previous systems will become active as part of the non-change. Granted, given that the previous magic change happened a long time ago, not a lot of people will be aware of the old systems and how to use them, although there is evidence that some people do know and that that will be a problem. If magic had changed, and awareness spread fast enough for magic to accommodate a reveal, it likely would have happened quickly enough for most of the people who knew how the old system worked to still be around. The current system would become almost as common as the new system very quickly, and the point would be pretty much mute.
  • According to Mr. Verres, an immortal who manages to irrevocably break a vow will be subjected to a continuous barrage of intrusive thoughts reminding them of their broken vow from that point on, with no way to get rid of them or stop them coming. That's horrifying enough, but we see here that immortal vows can hold across reincarnations, and as far as we know there is no way for an immortal to actually and permanently die. So with the wrong vow, an immortal could theoretically end up being tormented by a never-ending assault of intrusive thoughts, forever, with no possible escape.

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