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Name: Rav-T
Age: 28
Personal Journal: N/A
AIM/MSN/etc: AIM: hiddenkrypt, STEAM: hiddenkrypt, PLURK: [ profile] hiddenKrypt

Name: Kanaya Maryam
Canon: Homestuck
Age: ~7 1/2 sweeps, 16-17 years.
Timeline: GigaPause aka as up-to-date as possible.
If playing another character from the same canon, how will you deal with this?: n/a

Kanaya is a passionate aesthete, spending much of her free time on fashion and interior design, as well as gardening when she has the opportunity. She loves horror and romance novels, with a particular weakness to trashy vampire erotica. Her no-nonsense attitude and calm demeanor make her seem somewhat humorless, but that's only because her humor specializes in the sarcastic and acerbic. She'd detail oriented, and speaks in a precise manner enhanced by her wide vocabulary. When she uses large or rare words, it's not in an attempt to seem smart, but because those words carry the precise meaning she wishes to convey. She's a worrier to a fault, and has made a bad habit out of butting into other people's business if she thinks she can help. Helping people is something of an obsession for her, really.

That's a nice short synopsis of some of her personality traits, but far from a sufficient exploration of her character. Here I'm going to break this down to three major sections: The reoccurring themes attached to this character, the symbolism that occurs around her in her canon, and a section on her sexuality and relationships. For most characters I wouldn't think that I'd need to go into much detail regarding those last traits, but they do add a interesting dimension to Kanaya's character, and the potential for flame wars (and what I do to prevent them) is something that I think and game mods would like to know.


Uniqueness : The phrase 'you are one of the few' is mentioned six times in Kanaya's second person introduction. Constantly, Kanaya is marked as being a bit different from other trolls, either by actions, by accident, or by personality. Obviously it's this last point we should focus on for this personality section. Unlike most trolls, Kanaya:
- Cares about appearances instead of just function ("an affection for the aesthetic")
- Has an expressed interest in one gender over the other
- Enjoys the feel of the harsh Alternian sun
- Has little to no interest in politics, personal power, or killing for fun
- Was granted the unprecedented honor of having a mother grub for a lusus

Purity: Kanaya's personal symbol is the zodiac sign for Virgo, the virgin. This isn't just a crack about her love life, but rather a reoccurring part of her character. While she never shies away from necessary bloodshed, she is far less violent than many trolls. Her motives in killing Eridan, hunting Gamzee, and even taking Vriska as a moirail have always been based in protecting others, and providing a calming effect to her friends. The homestuck Tarot card collection even has Kanaya on the Strength [VIII] card. The card's design shows Kanaya holding down an enraged Gamzee. This is based on the classic Rider tarot design of a woman holding a lion. It's an image of the strength of purity and serenity. Kanaya's name is even a Sanskrit word for the constellation Virgo. While most of the trolls aren't very well connected to the zodiac symbols they represent, this descriptiuon of the Virgo star sign is almost a perfect description of Kanaya, to the point where I would be tempted to just use that as a personality section some time, just to see if it would work.

Motherhood: This theme is brought in from her connections to her Ancestor, the literally matronly Dolorosa. Kanaya's last name, Maryam, is one that she shares with the Dolorosa and Porrim, and it's a Arabic form of the name 'Mary', as in the virgin Mary. Fitting of course, as the Signless is a pretty blatant Jesus analogue. Motherhood is a strange theme for a troll, as they don't really have the concept. Their reproductive cycle means that Trolls never care for their young, and cannot usually trace their lineage. Your average troll is violent and self-centered. The fact that Kanaya cares about her friends and wants to protect them is strange to begin with. On top of that, she's literally connected with the concept of motherhood. Her lusus gave her the task of restarting the troll race after it's destruction. She was literally raised by a mother grub, one of the creatures responsible for the birthing of all trolls. The Jade blood caste traditionally served the Mother grubs, providing a part of the process at the core of troll reproduction. For a while Kanaya avoided her duties, but she had promised her lusus she would try. After Eridan destroyed the matriorb, Kanaya wasn't sure she'd be able to fulfill that promise, but recently she's actually been somewhat hopeful. We've seen that the Batterwitch has her own plan to acquire a new matriorb, so it may be possible for Kanaya to finally do what she promised.

------Literary symbolism------

Hussie is a huge fan of using symbolic hints and Easter eggs throughout his work as a way of providing more information about the world and his characters. Some of this is evident in the themes explored above, such as the meaning behind Kanaya's name. Like most of the trolls, there are two good sources for this sort of indirect examination of the character: Their trollhandles, and their Ancestors.

Kanaya's chat handle is "grimAuxiliatrix". Auxiliatrix is Latin for a "helpful woman", something we've discussed quite a bit already. The grim aspect is reflected in her willingness to do whatever she needs to, and how little she flinches at necessary tasks. In this way she is a fairly typical troll, unfazed by violence. She killed Eridan pretty much entirely out of revenge and in a horrifically violent manner. She has shown little thought or remorse for this act. She may seem like a nice person but under the right circumstances she has no problems with killing, something that may be off putting to any members of other cultures should they find out about her history. Besides the normal violence inherent in Trolls and Alternian society in general, Kanaya's grim nature may be a result of her time spent gardening and landscaping around her hive. To have maintained such a lush and well grown area in the middle of what seems like arid desert would take quite a dedication the craft of agriculture. Such skills often lead to necessarily but unfortunate decisions, a form of triage being necessary to decide what plants will not be able to grow properly. In a way Kanaya has likely been culling the weak to protect what she can for a while and this attitude for plants matches in some ways her attitude in other unfortunate circumstances. Her willingness to kill is not a symptom of evil, but of utilitarianism. She does not have any problem doing whatever it takes to protect those she cares about.

The life of Kanaya's ancestor provides some interesting insight as well, reflecting in a way what Kanaya had to go through herself. The Dolorosa raised Signless as his mother, while Kanaya had quite a close friendship with Signless's descendant, Karkat. The Dancestors Porrim and Kankri seem to be somewhere between these two: Porrim mothers on Kankri a bit, but they are similar in age and do not have a relationship as analogous to the Dolorosa and Signless. The Dolorosa was romantically involved with Mindfang, though it's implied that the Dolorosa had no choice in the matter. This reflects into Kanaya's unrequited flush for Mindfang's Descendant, Vriska. The situation is similar, but reversed. So too is the fate of the Dolorosa. She was murdered either directly by, or on the orders of Dualscar. Kanaya was murdered by his descendant, Eridan. But when Kanaya died, she rose back up as a rainbow drinker. She then hunted for Ampora, and killed him in return. In that moment, it's as if Kanaya was getting revenge for herself as well as her ancestor who didn't have the same second chance Kanaya got.

Kanaya's title in the game of Sgrub is the "sylph of space". For the most part she never really explored her role, and it's quite unclear in the comic what a sylph of space is or does. However, as a space player she was responsible for the 'breeding duties' of the game, breeding frogs together to solve the puzzle at the heart of the whole game. This has an interesting duality with the traditional role of her caste, a role she never got to fulfill in her time, the same role her ancestor cast aside.

------Sexuality and Relationships------

Let's start with the elephant in the room. Trolls are inherently bisexual. They have no concept of homosexuality or heterosexuality. Kanaya, however, has only ever shown attraction to women. The fan-arguments here have been legendary. Finally, someone got the creator to answer a question about it. His response was long and somewhat vague, but it ended with the line "From a human perspective, she's an unmistakably gay character." This... really didn't solve any of the flamewars, and for a while they actually got worse. Because Hussie included some detail about the troll's cultural view on sexuality, the argument is that the phrase "from a human perspective" changes the result. This line of argument usually claims that Kanaya is bi like most trolls, but she has a "gay kink" or "female kink", and that such things happen sometimes with trolls. These arguments have mostly settled down, but every now and then they flare back up. As such, I try not to claim that my opinion is the "right" answer. I play Kanaya as a lesbian, only interested in women. As a troll, she has no concept of homosexuality, so if someone identifies her as such she would just get confused. If someone pointed out that she's only ever interested in females, her response would be something like "Oh. That's true, isn't it? I never really thought about it." If hit on by males, she'd most likely turn them down with some variant of "not interested". Because I state this as it being my choice to play her this way, rather than saying that this is what is canon, I've been able to avoid any sort of arguments that I've seen crop up when this topic is broached. I've been playing Kanaya for over two years without once being the cause of a fight over her sexuality, and I'd love to keep that record going.

In general, Kanaya is horribly attracted to dangerous women. This isn't because she's a submissive sort, drawn to dominating types, but that the danger adds a certain thrill... not to mention her natural inclination to try and curb the more hazardous traits of others. Her initial attraction to Vriska was built around Vriska's propensity for violence, and she notes to Jade that she seems to be falling into the same pattern again when she started to develop her crush on Rose. Kanaya can't really help but try and protect others by getting close to these hazards and trying to convince them to be less dangerous.

At the canon point I'm taking her from, Kanaya is in a Matespritship (a romantic relationship fairly analogous to human romance) with Rose Lalonde. This relationship has been a bit rocky, as her girlfriend has been suffering from alcoholism. Kanaya really didn't know what to do about that. As a non-human, she wasn't sure it was her place to comment on the addiction. Rose continued to tell her that it was fine, so she trusted her. Shortly before arriving in the alpha session Kanaya started to suspect that Rose wasn't being truthful, and while she did confront Rose about her problem, arrival in the new session meant that things were suddenly too chaotic for there to be any resolution.

Fan Wiki link

Kanaya is a skilled landscaper, growing an oasis in the desert. Granted, she was assisted by advanced technology, but gardening, agriculture, and topiary are all hobbies she enjoys a decent level of skill in. She's also a talented seamstress, making a majority of her own clothing. She often offers to make clothes for friends as well. She can work almost any creation out of cloth, needle, and thread. Tailoring, repair, and custom creations are all within her purview.

Kanaya is a rainbow drinker, a sort of alien vampire. In canon we know this gives her super speed, described at one point as "drinker fastness". There is evidence that she also has increased physical resilience and strength. The extent of rainbow drinker powers is not really explored in canon. I have a list of my own headcanons and theories that I like to use in games, including facts from canon to back them up wherever appropriate. Some of the claims I make are a bit sketchy, but that's to be expected when the canon provides so very little explicit information to go on, and a good deal of hints. If anybody else is playing a rainbow drinker in the game (Porrim, the Dolorosa), I'm perfectly willing to discuss and adjust my headcanons here in whatever way pleases people.

Rainbow Drinker TL:DR; Vampire. Super speed, strength, stamina. Needs to drink blood; otherwise things get weird, then dangerous. Enjoys sunlight. Can't make other people into vampires. Doesn't need normal food/drink, but can enjoy it.

Kanaya is a "Sylph of Space", but not god tier. While some Homestuck characters have displayed elements of their power from their title before going god-tier, Kanaya has never done anything to indicate that her title has given her any sort of special abilities. We're not even really sure what those powers might be like, beyond the vague concept that it has something to do with 'healing space'.

Psychologically Kanaya is a very resilient and stable person. She is not easily frightened or startled, and she doesn't have any problem with sudden scenes of gore or violence. It's very unlikely that she would ever scream in fear or surprise. This may make her seem a little cold and detached, but really it's her compassion for others that drives this. If disaster strikes, she needs to help, and that means not losing her head. It would make sense for her to possess rudimentary first aid skills, if not for the fact that she comes from a planet where such skills are unlikely. It's something that I think she would be interested in picking up, given a chance to do so.

Here's a sample of action/bracketspam/firstperson from your December test drive meme.

The sight of an imperial battleship was bad enough without knowing who that was standing on its bow. As always, just when Kanaya was certain things couldn't get much worse reality had to step in an remind her how pitifully insignificant her imagination is compared to the nigh infinite ways that reality could conspire to further fuck her and her friends over. It’s not fair really. When you’re trapped between a pit of lava and a forest fire powered by three gods, watching a psychotic murderclown you've unsuccessfully been able to hunt for the last three years as he beats the ever-loving shit out of one of your friends, and your alien girlfriend is stuck on the far side of the lava pit, and who knows what happened to your good friend-turned-evil-god-dog, things aren't supposed to be able to get any worse.

But Her Imperious Condescension has arrived, and time seems to stand still. Time seems to have stood still for quite a while actually. Wow. I mean ages are passing, and nothing is happening. The lull in action caused by her arrival is insane, perhaps even reaching kilo… nay, mega proportions.

This is getting rather silly. I’ll stop now.

Kanaya, along with everybody else aside from the gods running around with Dave in hot pursuit, stops and stares at the new arrival to the scene, waiting for something to happen. She's not really sure what she expects, some sort of attack, or a psychic assault. It certainly wasn't blacking out and appearing alone in some sort of moving vehicle quite unlike any she’s ever seen.
Immediately Kanaya starts to take in the situation. Obviously the Condesce has transported her somewhere. This vehicle seems to be ground bound, and moving at a pace a bit fast to consider jumping as a means of escape. She seems to be alone, though she can’t shake the feeling that she's being watched…

"Is there anybody else here?" she asks aloud, as a prelude to actually searching the cabin. Kanaya checks each seat to make sure she’s alone before taking in the view from the windows. A strange, alien landscape. Great. There seems to be some sort of light up ahead, but it's hard to see where this vehicle is taking her without opening a window and sticking her head out. First she gives the doors at the rear and front a try, finding them locked with no surprise. She does attempt to open the windows as well, fully expecting to find her efforts equally wasted, when the vista before her changes suddenly. The train has entered the city, and is slowing down noticeably.

It’s obviously a population center of some sort. The architecture is not completely unfamiliar, matching depictions of some human cities from Rose’s fictional media. As the brakes of the train begin to squeal, Kanaya figures this must be her destination. She exits cautiously once the doors open, and begins to read the posters. Perhaps this isn't the work of Her Imperious Condescension after all, but something else entirely. She checks her inventory and sure enough, finds the watch mentioned. Well, if she’s going to find a way out of here, she might as well start by getting ahold of any of her fellow captives.


sylphauxiliatrix: (Default)Kanaya Maryam

March 2017

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