Age: 6 Solar Sweeps
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Played by: Linda
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Homestuck basically addresses two main points: the concept of "rebirth" or life after death, and the most ridiculous creation myth imaginable. Of course, a variety of other themes fall under that: growing up, relationships, overcoming challenges (or not), fate, etc. But the two big ones (at least, in my opinion) are those mentioned above. Now, in order to get Karkat's background from this clusterfuck of a canon, I think it's best to examine him through three major settings: Alternia, SGRUB, and the Veil. Technically, the last two could be combined but I’m not doing that so shushhhhhhhhh don’t question me
Alternia: Let's set up ~*~*~TROLL CULTURE~*~*~. I know you're all waiting to read this for the nine bajillionth time. I'll try to be brief (spolier warning: I fail miserably).
While trolls are very humanoid in shape, their anatomy is completely different and unexplained. However, whenever one of them references their own biology, it's normally with creative names-- like bone bulge, anything+nook, chitinous windhole, etc. But we don't have much info beyond names on a lot these things. They sleep in Recuperacoons (a cocoony thing) filled with a bright green slime called Sopor Slime. It acts as sort of a "CHILL THE FUCK OUT" mechanism which allows for trolls to sleep. Just... Don't eat it (unless you're Gamzee). IN SUMMATION: they are fuckin' aliens, bro.
Now, the homeplanet of the trolls is called Alternia. It's a lovely little place with two moons and crazyass monsters roaming the lands. Only the troll youth live here, though. Once a troll comes of age and can start filling pails with genetic material (ohohonhonhonhon), they usually leave the planet and start conquering planets or being space pirates or whatever that doesn't involve them on Alternia anymore. But until then, the trolls on the planet have to look out after themselves.
After hatching from an egg lain by the Mother Grub, young trolls are "wigglers." Pretty much larvae. Pretty much the antithesis to "KAWAII DESU NEKO-CHINSSSS." From there, they find a nice, big stalactite and spin a wee petit cocoon. Unlike a caterpillar, they emerge as angry assholes, AKA little, pupated trolls with arms and legs and no longer grubbiness. They must then face several, unexplained challenges that are supposedly very very difficult. If they survive, then the troll will find a Lusus Naturae with the same colored blood and together they will emerge from the depths of Alternia as charge and guardian. Lusus are basically big monsters. So these kids are raised by big monsters. Kinda like my mom.
So, now we've got the troll/lusus combo on the surface of the planet. There, they get imperial drones to help them build hives to their design--- SOMEHOW TROLLS ARE INHERENTLY GOOD AT ARCHITECTURE?? and then they live in them. Karkat's hive is pretty average-- not too big, not too crappy or fanciful. His lusus is a massive and very grumpy crab, who DESPITE HIS MONSTER-EXISTENCE, seems like a good crabdad. I mean, you've got shitty little Karkat drawings on the refrigerator, and at one point, Karkat tells a story about how his lusus celebrated 12th Perigee's Eve (pretty much Christmas Eve) with him and how it was the last time he was really happy.
HERE COMES YOUR FAVORITE PART: TROLL ROMANCE, BABY. I know you were waiting for it.
Karkat is pretty much a professional on this stuff, you don't even know. It comes from spending his sweeps watching shitty Romantic Comedies (think When in Rome bad). So, as a mentioned above, when a troll is old enough, they'll be expected to "fill pails." WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
It means that an imperial drone with two pails will come to your door. One pail will have a ♥ and the other a ♠. It wants them filled with genetic material that a troll has produced through their sexual ♥ and ♠ relationships. If you don't have those relationships checked, you're gettin' your ass culled (read: killed).
♥ - Matespritship: Redrom. It's mating fondness. The most comparable thing to human's concept of love. At one point, during SGRUB, Karkat and Terezi exchange a brief <3 after Terezi tells Karkat he's a great leader, but whether or not those emotions still exist remains to be seen.
♠ - Kismesissitude: Blackrom. It's the exact opposite. Pure, unadulterated and monogamous hate. Karkat's convinced that he's his own kismesis after having his blackfeelings turned down by John.
There are two other types of relationships, though. These are considered to be more "pale."
♦ - Moirallegiance: Back in redrom. One half acts as a guardian/calmer-downer while the other is typically more unstable in nature. However, both provide something for the other. It's a mutual thing.
♣ - Auspistice: Back in blackrom. This is a three-way thing. An auspistice basically mediates between two who are flipping between kismesis and matesprits/disloyal kismesis/any sort of relationship problem between two other trolls. Nepeta thinks that Jade is auspisticizing between past/future Karkats. IT IS A LEGITIMATE THEORY.
One final thing to note before moving on to SGRUB: the hemospectrum. There are a variety of bloodcolors trolls have. It's pretty much a goddamn rainbow. In order to understand the class system of Alternia, think of a reverse ROY G BIV. VIB- Violet, Indigo, Blue and everything in between are the "highbloods." Those beyond Indigo often have a mutation that allows them to live under the sea. G - Green is "okay" blood color. YOR - Yellow, orange, red and everything in between is pretty shitty.
However, Karkat's special. His blood's not even ON the spectrum. Instead, he was born with a mutation-- bright red blood. This is not good news. It basically means insta-culling if anyone of note finds out. So, understandably, he's obscenely defensive about his blood color. While trolls typically type in their blood color, Karkat uses an anonymous gray. If anyone asks, bitch gettin' raged at (there will be more on this in the personality section).
SGRUB: Alright, movin' right along. SGRUB was a game developed by Karkat's broiest of bros, Sollux, from ancient ruins found on Alternia. He was told by his deadghost friend that this game would be key to saving their civilization.
Well, that was a lie.
Instead, the game prompted meteors to completely wipe out life on Alternia. Whoops. However, this was a necessary thing due to crazy Time Shenanigans that will be described in a bit.
Each of the trolls enter the game before getting killed (except Sollux, which causes Karkat a plethora of tears; he's got extra lives, though), and find themselves on their own world. Karkat's is the Land of Pulse and Haze-- a pulsating world covered in a sea of bright red. Karkat's convinced it's a sea of his own mutant blood acting as some sort of punishment. Aided by his Sprite (Crabdad [who died earlier] and some random object combined) and Jack Noir (a stab-happy agent of Derse [will explain better in the next paragraphs], Karkat and the other trolls (with their own spites) rock the game.
Wow, that was a fucking confusing sentence. Okay, let's get a map.
Here. The Incipisphere is the world of SGRUB. It exists outside the plane of existence Alternia was on.
Let's break it down, starting right to left.
The 12 planets circling Skaia and Prospit are the planets of the trolls-- like I mentioned above, each got their own. Karkat's is the red one, the Land of Pulse and Haze.
Prospit, the golden planet, is the planet of light. Once in the game, each of the characters have two bodies-- a realself and a dreamself. Half the troll's dreamselves are on Prospit while the other half are on Derse. Karkat is a Prospit dreamer. However, during the game, he never awoke his dreamself, so he wasn't able to explore Prospit or see the future/present/past in the clouds of Skaia.
Skaia is the battle field of the game. It acts as a massive, multidimensional chessboard where the powers of Derse and Prospit fight nonstop. Looking into the clouds here will show you visions of everything ever, even Andrew Hussie kissing Rufio in the most dramatic scene of our age. Remember the meteors that destroyed Alternia? Yeah, that was Skaia's fault. A thing called The Reckoning occurs, where the forces of Derse try to destroy Skaia by sending meteors from the Veil to crush it. However, Skaia has a defense mechanism: portals to other worlds that take the meteors elsewhere--- AKA Alternia.
The Veil is a ring of meteors that separates the world of light and the world of dark. On the meteors are various laboratories that are used to produce soldiers for each side. However, it's also here that Karkat creates the 12 trolls, including himself.
What. Yeah, you heard me. Rock it, Karkat. Through a crazy, convoluted process, all of the trolls are paradox clones of themselves, send from the Veil to Alternia to grow up and create themselves in the game. So, if you're sitting there thinking "DON'T PLAY SGRUB AND THEN EVERYTHING IS OKAY," that just can't happen. Because in order for them to exist, SGRUB needs to be played.
The Veil is an important setting for the trolls later on; however, I'll get there after describing these last two areas.
Derse is the planet of darkness. Like Prospit, half the trolls are Derse dreamers. Instead of gaining knowledge through Skaian clouds, they gain knowledge by gazing into the Furthest Ring. The Black King of Derse needs to be defeated to win SGRUB, which, despite his crazyass powers, the trolls are able to do. After doing this, they try to claim their prize (access to the universe they just created), but are interrupted by a dog demon bluh bluh HUGE ASSHOLE. We'll get more on this later.
The Furthest Ring is pretty much the scariest place ever. Tentacle demon monsters are there, and if you gaze at them, they'll whisper shit to you. Bluhhhhhhhhscary.
the Veil: The last major setting. Ring of meteors. We all suddenly realize that I have been using "meteor," "meteorite," "whatever astronomical terms you want to use" completely wrong. In the words of my nine year old sister: "YOURE STUPED SOUL IS RUED AND I DONT GIVE CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Thank you for that, Lulu.
The Veil is where the trolls are located for most of the storyline of Homestuck. Hiding away in the lab they were all created in. Waiting to be killed by the master of random teleportation murders, Jack Noir, who is also the one that ruined their SGRUB session. IRONY?????
Here, through the use of Trollian (an AIM like device that is Time Shenanigans manifest), the trolls watch the universe they created and lost by beating SGRUB. Which means they watch Rose, John, Dave, and Jade grow up. And, by the orders of Karkat, the trolls troll the fuck out of them. Until they realize that helping the humans will probably help themselves.
The first trait that comes to mind when describing our precious, nubby-horned troll is rage. Pure, unadulterated rage. Nonstop. All the time. There is no escape. Rage at the humans for fucking up the troll's session-- rage at the troll's crazy antics. It's always there. However, things get interesting when one asks WHY?
There are a few things to look at while answering this question:
1) Karkat's position in society. As described above, trolls sure are weird. And Karkat, due to his weird mutation in blood color, is the weirdest. Because of this, there are certain (obvious) aspects of himself that he must keep secret. One of the key defining features is blood, and he can’t reveal his own for his own protection. Rage acts as a cover—if someone so much as HINTS at wanting to know the color of his blood, he does a backwards pirouette flip right off the handle before landing a perfect ten and winning the Beijing Olympics. Rather than continue pressing him for information, the inquirer is now dazed and astonished at his rage acrobatics. It’s the perfect crime. This rage-secrecy DOUBLE COMBO contributes to...
2) His self loathing. Admittedly, Karkat’s an inherently crabby guy. Even when he begins opening up to Jade a little more (in the conversation where he and his currentself argue while Jade furiously introduces her head to a desk), he’s still a big grump. However, that inherent trait extends further when coupled with the fact that he fucking hates himself more than anyone else. He hates himself to the point where he believes that he’s his own kisemsis, since no one else can keep up with him (including John—IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BEEEEE). We see his self loathing a lot when shit goes bad—the prime example being one of his more recent conversations with John. Trolls are dying, and Karkat blames himself for not keeping the team together, despite the fact that a troll’s typical disposition is towards violence. Moments like these are where he drops...
3) His tough guy attitude. Because of his weird position in society AND his self loathing, Karkat feels the need to overcompensate. Like, look “short guy syndrome” up in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of Karkat scribbled over a picture of Napoleon Bonaparte. In fact, I feel the need to do this RIGHT NOW. Okay, got that out of my system. Let’s continue here.
For most of his position in the comic, Karkat acts either as a bully or a big, fat jerk. He’s constantly harassing Jade, even after she blocks him a million times. Even after they’re friends, she describes him as “the douchiest of crabby crabs who ever douched a big douchey crab.” He harasses John every chance he gets, even going as far as developing a hatecrush on him. Which is instantly shot down due to John’s “NO HOMO” stance. In revenge, the reign of backward trolling begins (where Karkat’s first convo with John is one of the more recent ones, and Karkat’s more recent convos with John are John’s first), which really only results in a big pile of stupid and confusion for all parties involved. Karkat didn’t really think that one through, which he’s admitted. But in his goal of remaining the human’s “ANGRY GOD,” he keeps it up, for most of the series, because he’s too damn stubborn to admit to hate-hitting on John. Though, admittedly, this tough guy attitude will drop when his selfloating overcomes his blaming of others/SHIT HITS THE FAN (aka, when Kanaya and Feferi are killed right in front of him and Gamzee goes off the deep end; arguments with Sollux where, after them, Karkat asks if they're still friends). But, for most of the time, his attitude leads to the fact that Karkat is generally...
4) Fuckin’ unpleasant. While, sure, he grew some (especially as a leader) during SGRUB, he still acts like a big douchenozzle most of the time. His first action when finding out about the humans is to not give a damn. However, after being told that they were somehow involved in the ruination of his session, his next action is to order everyone ever to troll the shit out of them. He continues to blame them, despite the knowledge that paradox space likes to make things as connected and convoluted as possible. And, well, he blames them until he (begrudgingly) figures that they need to work together to survive. Which shows that, yes...
5) He actually cares. It’s shown time and time again that, despite his angry capslock rage, he actually cares about his team and them surviving. One of the prime examples of this is KARKAT RELATIONSHIP HOUR—multiple chats that are comparable to watching Dr. Phil. Basically, everyone ever comes to Karkat for relationship advice. Even in public places, like his memos. Due to his love of romantic comedies, Karkat probably knows more than anyone about troll romance, how it works, what ones will fail/succeed, and everytroll knows this. So, that means he’s getting Eridan whining at him, Tavros worrying about Vriska kissing him, and everything in between. And, well, he helps as best as he can. Another example of his caring is the fact that they were generally successful in their SGRUB game—until shit went down, of course. He, himself, called it a perfect game, completed in only about a month. He got both teams working together (red and blue), which (as Vriska later reflects) might not have been the intention of the game after all, due to the unnatural behavior of trolls working together. He also finds it necessary to relay messages from his future self to Jade, despite not really knowing what’s going on and easily being enraged by Jade. He worries about his team, especially when they all wander off in their little space meteor, and decides that it’s his duty to stay put as a center for them to regroup (he only leaves when he realizes that Gamzee will probably kill him). He even feels regret for making Terezi cry, despite being jealous as fuck towards Dave. HE CRIES RED WEE PETIT BABBY TEARS WHILE CORPSESMOOCHING KANAYA IN AN ATTEMPT TO REVIVE HER. All of this caring, worry, and guilt leads to the fact that Karkat is...
6) Rather obsessive. It’s mentioned that during the month of SGRUB, one of the main reasons Karkat never woke on Prospit during their adventure is because he barely slept. He was too busy plowing through the game and getting everyone to work together to take care of himself and participate in a vital part of the game. However, more importantly and relevant, is Karkat’s obsession with arguing with himself. Throughout their game and their time in the Veil, Karkat sets up memos to inform the team. These memos almost always result in Karkat arguing with himself from various timelines, which are pretty much the most hilarious things ever. Instead of, say, in the future deciding not to respond to a memo due to the humiliation it caused him in the past, Karkat responds anyway, feeling the need to tell his pastself that he is fucking stupid. This results in an endless cycle of selftrolling, which continues to the point where Karkat tends to blame his otherselves (past and future, regardless if they are only two minutes apart) for various failures. It takes Jade calling him out on it and some serious apology-action for him to finally admit that, yes, his pastself is also him. As is the future self. But he still often insists that they’re both bigger douchebags than he is.
Despite all of these traits, Karkat still has...
7) Spectacularly questionable leadership skills. These are the most questionably questionable leadership skills since Frederick the Great rocked onto the scene in 1740. Suddenly, we realize I'm a Prussian historian. Whoops. Like dear ol' Fritz, Karkat has respect of those following him. Unlike Fritz, this wasn't gained through his bloodline position or amiable personality AND LAUGHING AT CHAMPION AUSTRIAN FENCERS TRYING TO ASSASSINATE HIS ASS. Instead, it was gained by completely ignoring the blood-based caste system and shouting at everyone until they followed his orders. Equally. Best plan. Surprisingly, it worked. It's questionable whether such tactics would work in a nontroll situation; however, by the fact that all the trolls are alive (shut up, Aradiabot counts) by the time they reach the Veil, he can be considered pretty damn successful.
Suddenly, asking “Y SO SRS, KARKAT” turns into my entire personality section.
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
Like the other trolls, he's gained all the levels (minus god tier), so he knows what he's doing in a fight. It seems trolls are hardier than humans; we've seen this through their violent culture, crazyass feats of strength (STRONG jump, anyone?), and being able to take heavier wounds with less dire consequences. Hell, when stabbed, Karkat's first response is to panic about his blood showing, not to flip tables over being fucking STABBED. Despite this, we know that Karkat is no where near the strongest of the trolls-- in fact, they kind of all have really wonky power levels in comparison to each other (did i seriously just use the phrase "power levels" oh my god).
Basically, if a bunch of Looney Toons had to form a basketball team to protect themselves from being enslaved on an alien theme park, and they had one opening on their team, they would be wise if they chose a troll. Perhaps troll Michael Jordan. Come on and slam, troll Michael Jordan. Welcome to the jam.
A lot of his personality traits described above can also double as weaknesses/strengths.
Strength-wise, we see his leadership skills and obsession; however, both can work against them (and they do, especially the second). While he got the trolls through the game alive and to work as a team, he did so by being crabby and unpleasant. His obsession with getting everyone working together means that he only woke up on Prospit just as it was being destroyed. Another strength/weakness is his anger. While it gives him the fuel to begin trolling the humans in the first place, it also alienates the trolls from them—so that it’s difficult to get the humans the information they need when they need it. In fact, when speaking to Aradiabot, she calls him out on it, explaining how that rage fits into the all-encompassing metanarrative of their inevitable failure. It means that, while he can be a logical guy some of the time, in anger, he’ll make rash choices which can potentially fuck things up for everyone else.
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