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Headscratchers / Undertale - Toriel and Asgore

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Both of them


    Toriel and the ruins 

  • Toriel introduces you to the puzzles in the ruins, but when she leaves you on your own, she expects you're going to stay put until she comes back. So why bother with the explanations? (And why bother with resetting the puzzles, which apparently she did while she was on her way to check the flower bed where you fell?)
    • Many of the puzzles aren't actually dangerous; rather, it's the monsters that risk harming you. Perhaps she reset the puzzles in an attempt to bar your path so you'd stay put in the corridor where there are no random encounters.
      • Maybe she didn't want to risk you possibly killing the monsters...
    • She's also cautious to an extreme and has made her whole house child-safe. She might even be afraid of you scraping your knee while running around.
    • According to the theory about the previous six humans' personalities and deaths, the one with the teal soul died in the ruins because they were too patient or too afraid. Just before she leaves you alone, Toriel tests you by telling you to walk to the end of the room by yourself. When you reach the end, she says she was testing your independence, not how well you'd follow her instructions. There's more than a little fodder here for Alternate Character Interpretation.
    • She was preparing you to live in the Ruins. Her asking you to stand still was only temporary.
  • So, in the Genocide route, it's established that Chara was haunting/stalking/possessing you all along, right? That goes for the other routes too, since Chara is the narrator. Therefore, if Chara was stalking and following Frisk as a ghost the whole time...Why didn't Napstablook see Chara? He's a ghost too, so shouldn't he have seen Chara standing next to Frisk or something? That goes for Metatton too, since he's also a ghost.
    • But Napstablook does see Chara, or at least acknowledged them. They react to Chara's narration. As to why Mettaton didn't react to them, maybe it has to do with his robot body?
    • "Chara is the narrator" is actually only a fan theory. A very convincing one, but still not canon. And even if we don't really know what exactly Chara is while following Frisk, we don't really know how exactly ghosts work in Undertale (could be that they can't see each other while invisible)... and Napstablook does actually react to the narration at one point.
    • Are we sure that it's only a theory? I'm asking this because in the genocide run, Chara directly states and heavily implies several times to us that they ARE actually possessing Frisk (for example, when interacting with a monitor showing Frisk in Alphys's lab, the narration box will say: "It's me, Chara"). Granted, we don't know what Chara is (Ghost? Demon? Something even more horrifying?) but it's quite clear that Chara IS controlling Frisk and narrating the game(for the genocide route, at least) somehow. Plus, at the end of the route, when they speak to the player, Chara clearly knows what you've been doing during your time in the underground. If they haven't been stalking Frisk or haven't been possessing do you explain the fact that Chara knows what you've been up to?
    • Same reason you can't see Mettaton's ghost form. Chara's possessing you, albeit not strong enough to take control, so there's no reason for Napstablook to be able to see her.

    Toriel and the groceries 

  • One frog says that he saw Toriel come through a certain doorway with groceries, but if you go through the doorway, there's only a balcony. Where did Toriel get the groceries?
    • It's likely that it's the entrance to the town you see in the background of that "balcony," and it just isn't programmed in at all. Thus, just a shot of it in the background.
    • Alternatively, Toriel can fly.
    • Well... when fully powered, her son can.
    • According to one theory, the Boss Monster species is not that of a humanized goat, but instead is one of a furry dragon. This makes things make a lot more sense. What if the wings were hidden under the robe?

    Toriel fighting to the death 
  • Why does Toriel allow you to kill her, when Asgore, who is explicitly suicidal, holds on after a similar Critical Hit?
    • Toriel wants you to prove you're strong enough to survive outside the ruins, and even if you're willing to wound, that only makes a few enemies back off, she wants you to prove you can kill if you must. As for Asgore, he's going to die anyway after the final blow, so he chooses to hold on so that he can tell you that you can take his soul so you can leave before it disappears; he isn't expecting mercy.
    • That...seems really extreme, especially since the monsters aren't nearly that violent and tenacious. It's odd that she's willing to kill herself just to prove a point, especially since the trauma it would inflict on a small child almost certainly outweighs any benefit to survival. As for Asgore, he kills himself if you go back after killing Flowey, which implies he would have survived otherwise. So, again, even if she was as suicidal as Asgore, it's inconsistent that he clings to life but she doesn't, especially when she has a lot more to live for than he does.
    • It's possible that Toriel simply has some skewed visions on how the rest of the underground works. She had exiled herself to the ruins for years and is aware that all the humans to fall into the underground before were killed after leaving the ruins.
    • Another possibility could be that the difference between Toriel and Asgore surviving isn't due to their differences, but because of the child's/player's emotions at the time. Assuming they're not on No Mercy and killing them in one hit, then you're likely trying to spare them by weakening them with necessary force. With Toriel being the first major boss, no matter how weak she gets, she shows no sign of giving in. Combined with the player likely not wanting to fight her in the first place, wondering why she doesn't just give up leads to a moment of desperation and rage which, because monsters are susceptible to the emotions of their assailants, causes the suddenly fatal strike that ends her life. For Asgore, on the other hand, because it's the end of the game, you are far more experienced and in control of yourself, even if you haven't killed anyone. You know what's at stake now and are more able to control yourself than when you fought Toriel, meaning you are successfully able to hold back within an inch of their life now unlike before.
    • Toriel might just not be as tough/determined as Asgore. Badass as she is, Toriel hardly seems to have used her skills since isolating herself, except to cook and start fires (in the fireplace, of course), whereas Asgore likely trains with his royal guard and has proven to be better than Undyne. Asgore also has very good reasons not to die and is clearly a very dedicated individual, whereas Toriel already seems to have near given up on a lot of things.
    • Toriel's dialog during the fight implies that she's nearly a Death Seeker at that point due to her failure to save the previous six children; discovering that she can't even save you is enough to push her over the edge. Also, she does linger on for a short while, long enough to give a few final words... but it seems likely that she didn't want to survive after letting the final child go to what she believes to be certain death.

     Toriel being mad at Asgore 
  • Toriel's reasons for being mad at Asgore seem somewhat hypocritical. She hates how vengeful he was for declaring war on humanity, but also hates him for not wanting to get his hands dirty by killing 6 humans. Question is: why didn't SHE take the first human soul, cross the barrier and kill 6 humans herself? She's the Queen of the Underground; even divorced from Asgore, she's still a powerful Boss Monster that's perfectly capable of breaking the barrier on her own to save her people. Did she not want to get her hands dirty? If so, then why insult Asgore for not doing the same thing?
    • It's not uncommon for the death of any child to utterly destroy a marriage in real life, much less the death of both your children at the same time. She was fed up with Asgore after the loss of both her children and searching for reasons to be angry with him, she just happened to also be right. She wouldn't have been satisfied either way.
    • When I got to that part, I interpreted it as wanting Asgore to kill 6 bad humans, the same way that Undyne says that she'll let you go, and wait for some mean human to fall so she can take their soul instead. I don't think anyone would've minded if Asgore had taken a human SOUL and used its power to hunt down 6 serial killers, for example.
  • Instead, she hides away in the ruins and TAKES CARE of the humans that fall down into the Underground. Why not kill them herself, if she wants to get out that badly?
  • I think her point was that she didn't want to leave if it meant killing others, and that she knew Asgore didn't want to do so either — because if he had, he would have done it the easy way that she mentions. He just didn't have the guts to tell his subjects that they were going to have to stay in the underground forever because the only alternative was killing seven humans, so he tried to do the killing in a way that made him feel less responsible for it. In the neutral endings in which Toriel takes over the leadership of the underground, she shows her actual viewpoint on the matter by immediately declaring an end to the killing of humans.
    • Basically, the choice was between "kill seven now and we go free immediately" or "kill seven slowly over a drawn out period while stringing everyone in the underground along on a promise of eventual escape (maybe-someday?)" . If he was going to do something so horrible as serial murder, then he should've done it right away instead of letting everyone live in the dark (literally and metaphorically) for millennia. Toriel considered this cowardice on Asgore's part.
      • What she didn't realize, though, is that Asgore's plan had long ceased to be about destroying humanity the most efficient way. It was about keeping morale. While initially he declared war in an outburst of grief and rage, what made him stick to the plan was the nearly unanimous support of the monsters. Meanwhile, he had Alphys look into alternatives to break the barrier, the same Toriel does as a queen. It's telling that some violent Neutral endings have Toriel deposed for supporting the humans, or show the monsters hopeless as society falls apart.
      • Of course, Asgore's plan for 'keeping up morale' wouldn't have been necessary if he'd committed the seven murders that he claimed he would at the beginning (granted, that would possibly have led them right back into the same war with humans they had just ended, so maybe not the best plan straight away, but even so...)
  • But that's the thing: Toriel's idea would have (according to Asriel) started yet another war with humanity and led to genocide. Not to mention the fact that frankly she just seems to be lashing out. As Rhysellin points out here "Toriel accuses Asgore of being simultaneously too meek and too violent. She says that he is a “miserable cretin” for trying to harm Frisk, but also a “meek coward” for not immediately slaughtering humans when he had the chance. It seems to me that her standards for acceptable behavior from Asgore are impossible to meet. ". Just seems like they both were in a no win scenario.
    • I honestly saw that scene as Toriel reacting to Asgore trying to justify his actions from the perspective of freeing monsterkind (and exterminating the human race) by saying "Oh cut the crap, Asgore, if you really wanted to end monsterkind's suffering, you could've done it by now! Don't dress up what you're doing as anything noble!"
      • Essentially, this isn't about him meeting her "standards" by doing or not doing what she would approve of. it looks like a no win situation because it is one. Toriel's anger began the moment Asgore decided to kill a bunch of humans out of vengeance in the first place — how he intended to kill seven humans was irrelevant. It was just the lesser of two evils in her eyes to do it as quickly as possible to limit monsterkind's suffering.
      • ...or did it? There is much to suggest that her anger at Asgore began the moment Asriel was killed (a toxic grieving pattern which is often observed amongst couples whose child died unnaturally and sometimes even natural deaths is one partner blaming the other for the child's death as a coping mechanism). It's possible that on some level, the real root of her anger is an emotional need to punish someone for Asriel's death, and she seems to be focusing that emotional energy on Asgore.
      • What is this "much" you speak of? It seems far more likely to me that she's simply disgusted with Asgore issuing an edict of child murder and genocide out of rage and then being too in thrall to public opinion to correct his mistake. That's easily grounds to leave somebody in any universe.
      • A lot of her dialog seems to point to someone fixated on a pre-existing guilt complex and an obsession with children (even when it is questionable if the subject in question was, by any legal definition, a child). Furthermore, her speech to Asgore suggests that the war was merely one such reason, not the primary reason. Also, given that some of the endings have her doing much of what Asgore did as a 'solution' (hoping for a scientific solution but otherwise effectively sitting on her hands), one questions just what cheesed her off.
      • I can't deny the theory, but I think it's just as, if not more, plausible that Asgore routinely murdering every child that came through after is probably a more believable root for her anger than the death of a child in a manner neither of them could prevent -Toriel seems a fairly rational person at the end when she says "it's not fair to kill someone just to let someone leave", (or indeed when she realises at the start of the game that it's wrong to keep you there against your will) so while she might have a toxic grieving pattern going on, Asgore has done plenty more to actually gain her ire since.
      • That's the thing though....we only know for sure that ONE of the humans who died was a child (toy knife/faded ribbon), who may have actually fallen to their death given the positioning of the items. Toby has gone out of his way to refer to them as the HUMANS and judging by the items and their descriptions, most would be late teens or adults (especially the bearer of the gun and cowboy hat).
      • On top of that several of the items are covered in monster dust and have really murdery sounding descriptions, suggesting that the users were killing monsters and had to be stopped. Furthermore, 'rationality' is often not at play when it comes to traumatic events. The forefront of this would be avoiding reliving that pain. In the above example, the parent will attempt to put blame on the other parent to cope. Given her judgement on humans some of whom ended up being quite dangerous, I find the source of that ire questionable.
      • I don't see why the actions of the humans who fell should affect Toriel's anger towards their killer. She clearly doesn't believe in "an eye for an eye" given her efforts to protect the humans, (whatever their ages, it's not really relevant), even is they actively try to harm her. This may be indicative of a guilt complex on her part, sure, but Toriel clearly didn't want anybody to be killed. So Asgore, again, routinely killing six people, could still anger her regardless of those person's intent. If all the humans since Chara had behaved like Chara -aka routinely slaughtering everyone- then Toriel's mercy towards them, and her being angry at their killer, would make less sense, sure... But we have no particularly solid evidence to suggest that the Fallen Humans were all violent and attacked monsters on sight, or even that those who did acted in anything but self defence. Toriel perhaps doesn't see them as deadly creatures so much as confused and frightened (which they would be, and rightfully so -they just fell into a world of monsters from legend that their ancestors locked beneath the earth and then spent centuries spinning horror stories about). Toriel sympathises with them, and believes they were worth saving - Asgore destroyed their potential by killing them. (And yes, you can raise the point that some weapon descriptions sound murdery" but do they really sound that bad? The ballet shoes, perhaps, and the tutu is implied to have monster remains on it. But the descriptions are mostly straightforward or interpretable -the gun, easily the most outwardly violent tool, is simply described as a gun without bullets and gives it's stats.)
      • ...and trying to keep them locked up in her house also destroys their potential. Furthermore, her need to 'mother' even psychotic murderers also points to a guilt complex, perhaps even to the point of projecting their actions and tendencies onto Asgore. Also, bear in mind those descriptions, far from being straightforward,seem to hint at the nature of their former masters (the gun is empty, with one of said bullets possibly being the cause of Undyne's lost eye given hints in game, and the connected hat sounds as if it belonged to worn and battle hardened gunslinger). Far from fearful children, some of these descriptions point to some tough individuals far and away deadlier than Frisk. Leading me to doubt the 'panicked self defense claim'. You'll also note, I never said "ALL" humans. My point was is if even two or three of them were deadly genocidal maniacs, then it brings into question exactly where her anger comes from, and there is considerable evidence to suggest that.
      • What evidence, though? All I can think of are a few pieces of clothing that have darkish descriptions? Mentions of Dust on a tutu and dangerous ballet slippers (if that wasn't just a joke in the first place because what under earth is dangerous about ballet shoes -unless you could the risk to the muscle structure of the people wearing them?) We have barely any other evidence of what was going on in the underground during the time the other six humans were wandering about, but we just don't have the evidence to say they were genocidal or even murderous (re: the Undyne's eye theory. She says at one point in pacifist that she "used to think humans were cool [before meeting Frisk]" which I doubt she'd think if one of them were responsible for blinding her in one eye.) The attitudes of those who figure out Frisk is a human (Papyrus, Monster Kid, Alphys, even Undyne who is the most passionate about hunting you down, can't really think of much to say about how bad you are) don't seem to imply that any of the previous humans to fall were especially malicious or violent. Also Hypocritical =/= Having no right to be angry with someone for doing really bad stuff. Whatever Asgore's reasons -and I think he has as good a reason as it's possible to have- it was still murder and attempted murder, and whatever Toriel's guilt complexes or physiological issues or hypocrisies, her anger still seems perfectly well founded. Both of them have flaws and hypocritical behaviour, doesn't mean either of them are entirely in the wrong.
  • The simple solution is that Toriel didn't want him to kill anyone. Human souls linger after death, and unlike monsters, they die of natural causes normally. It makes no sense for her to want her husband to just go around murdering random people because that's just not her character, but there's no reason that collecting six human souls from the surface means killing six people. Asgore could have walked through a graveyard and got the job done, but it's mentioned in a few places that Toriel is the brains of the outfit; it probably never occurred to him.
  • Toriel saw what humans were capable of during the war before the monsters were forced underground and sealed in. She just doesn't believe all humans, least of all children are evil by default or should be made to suffer or blamed for the actions of others, much less die. Her lingering anger at Asgore even after he shows remorse seems harsh but look at it from her viewpoint Even after the war they set up New Home, rebuilt their lives, she and Asgore were happily married, and had a child, it doesn't seem like life Underground was so terrible even if it wasn't ideal they seemed content. One day a human child falls into the underground and they wind up adopting said child and loving him or her as their own. They're all happy for awhile, until both their children die on the same day, unknown to her or Asgore one is a case of suicide (they think it was just illness),while the other was more obviously murdered. Asgore in a rage declares war on all humans and orders that any future human children that fall into the Underground are to be killed, ignoring the fact that their own adopted child fell from the surface and was human, Toriel, grieving and reeling the loss herself, still tries to dissuade him and drag him out of his vengeful mindset, and when he refuses, Toriel unable to bring herself to go along with such a plan leaves him in disgust. Possibly she was also disheartened by how fast the other monsters would cheer on such a plan too, considering Chara whether evil or not, did seem to be well liked among the monsters in general while he or she was alive, and she had loved them as her own child. So she goes to the Ruins, sets up a home, and locks herself in.
    • The first couple of children she maybe just cares for and allows to rest and recover from the fall, maybe explains a bit about the world, but lets them go when they ask, but then they die. Saddened but determined after their deaths, she sets up puzzles, training dummies, and tries to more actively teach and train all future children to fall how to survive, but still they die. Meantime she is developing her friendship with Sans, one day after a child has died she is really upset and Sans notices she's not really responding to his jokes and asks her what's wrong. She asks him to promise to not kill any humans who go through the door, and he agrees. The children do get further, but still die, Toriel cannot take losing yet another child, which is why she decides when Frisk falls the only way to save them is to keep them with her and block of the exit to the ruins forever, even if that would mean isolating herself even further too, its not that she wants to force you to stay, its a last resort, because to her, why would she trust that Frisk stood any chance of surviving at all when none of the other children did?
    • She probably knew all of the previous fallen children personally and likely grew to care for each to some degree, plus consider her compassionate and nurturing nature, and the fact Asgores law, whatever his reasons or regret, effectively caused her to relive the deaths of her own children over and over again....I think she has every reason to feel deeply hurt and angry. And forgiveness and for something like that would take time, not be the instant result of an apology, even then expecting the relationship to ever go back to the way it was before the damage was done isn't realistic or fair to expect, sometimes what we break can never be fully repaired.
    • Toriel was right and her plan could have been carried out non-violently. Asgore didn't need to kill six potentially seven times to break the barrier, or need to kill at all, humans have shorter lifespans than monsters anyway, they could use the soul of a person who died naturally to get to the surface — obtain the souls of people who are about to die anyway, and then use those to break the barrier, after which all the souls are released, and the monsters freed. Murder and violence was never necessary. Toriel would have acted to free the monsters herself if given the chance to do so peacefully, but was not willing to do so by force or at the cost of innocent lives.

     Toriel and Sans (SPOILERS) 
  • It is mentioned throughout the game that Toriel and Sans were talking to each other through the door leading back to the Ruins and in the pacifist ending, the two of them meet face to face for the first time. What I don't understand is why did Toriel choose to talk to Sans through the door and not step out to see him? Or at the very least, couldn't she invite him to the Ruins to have a friendly face to face conversation?
    • She may have been too timid, or afraid her new 'friend' might report back to Asgore.
    • Pretty much, she's in self-exile so she doesn't want anyone to know who she is because she doesn't want people seeking out the former queen for any reason. Telling jokes through a door is a lot different from trusting someone with her face, especially since Boss Monsters are very distinct and she could be easily connected to Asgore. Note that she doesn't have any hesitation in letting Sans join her in self-exile in a neutral ending where she lives but the Underground goes into Anarchy.

     Toriel's soul 
  • A human who absorbs the soul of a boss monster gains godlike power. Yet if you kill Toriel, her soul always shatters; you never get a chance to absorb it (not even if you're on a No Mercy run, where you'd expect your character to grab as much power as possible as a matter of course.) With Asgore, Flowey always prevents you from grabbing his soul, but there's no explanation why you were unable to get Toriel's.
    • Because at that point in time, your character doesn't know that, you don't learn it's a thing that's possible until you start reading the glyphs in Waterfall.
    • But you have determination, so you can reset and keep your knowledge (we know that this is an in-setting thing you're capable of doing because it's necessary in order to get the key to Sans' room, as well as affecting eg. some dialog with Toriel if you killed her previously.) So after reading the glyphs in the waterfall, nothing stops you from resetting back to before Toriel was killed, killing her, and taking her soul with that knowledge.
    • The glyphs in the ruins never specify how the process of absorbing a soul actually works, nor does anything else in the game. For all we know, it's a lot more complicated than just "touch the floating heart thingy." Plus, we do know from the Photoshop Flowey battle that souls are still autonomous when outside the body, and if they really don't want to be absorbed by somebody, they can rebel. Call me a pessimist, but I highly doubt Toriel would have any interest in being absorbed by the protagonist at that point.
    • That's also a really strong point. On Pacifist, Toriel is alive, on Neutral, Frisk is probably still too kind at heart by that point to force another creature to serve them by absorbing their SOUL. And even on the Genocide run, Chara definitely wouldn't try to take her SOUL because they know from personal experience how two SOULs sharing a body can lead to conflicting interests, since that's what got Asriel and them killed.
    • They CAN persist after death. But monster souls are still magical and respond to their emotions; Toriel simply wanted to die. Her soul shattered before, REASONABLY, the player had time to do anything with it.

     Toriel and the Sock Drawer 
So why DOES she have a drawer full of socks?
  • Think about it. Most children wear shoes when climbing mountains. What do people wear with shoes? Socks.
  • It's possible she simply likes and collects them. Papyrus says that Sans has started a sock collection "recently" — and "recently" is the code word the game always uses for ways in which Toriel and Sans influence each other. Has she got him excited about the merits of sock collecting?

     Toriel destroying a door 
  • How would 'destroying' a door stop the player from moving forward? This is a literal door that she and Sans knock on to tell jokes with, not a dimensional warp. Wouldn't 'destroying' it just open a hole between Snowdin and the Ruins, subverting the entire point of all that effort? Why not just...leave it locked or seal it shut? The average child is not capable of taking down a thick wooden door like that one, especially without being able to use magic.
    • The implication is that she's also destroying the doorway—most likely bringing down rocks to seal the passageway, destroying the door and the opening into Snowdin.