IT’S ROMSPEC TIME!
Okay so I said that I was working on an analysis of John, Rose, Vriska, and Kanaya’s romantic interactions. But between classes, work, and home life it took me longer than I thought to find the time. In an effort to remain productive in my normal day-to-day life and still get my Homestuck on I have decided to break up my analysis into individual pairs that I will post when I get a free moment. So here’s the first one (just to warn you it’s kinda big so I’ve put it under the cut):
KANAYA X ROSE:
Kanaya x Rose is probably the weakest of the four kid/troll ships. While it is true that Rose shares a lot of imagery with Kanaya, the same can be said of Rose and John, or Kanaya and Vriska, or really any of the major romantic pairings. From here I’ll break it into the perspective of Rose and Kanaya individually, while including the things they get out of the relationship, as well as things that hinder the relationship for them.
Rose does not get anything out of this relationship. No seriously, Kanaya has nothing to offer Rose that she doesn’t already have, or have the ability to get from somewhere else. Nor does Rose have any serious obstacles to entering a relationship with Kanaya, save perhaps her own motivations.
Kanaya gets two things specifically in a relationship with Rose, both of them emotional. First of all, she would be pairing with someone she has idolized since entering the game, which would in a way vindicate her faith in Rose’s walkthrough. Second, it would also validate the way she has approached romance up to this point in the story.
Unlike Rose, Kanaya has many obstacles to overcome before a relationship with Rose would be possible. I’ll leave out the potential for Rose to be heterosexual or homosexual and consider her bisexual for the purpose of analyzing John and Kanaya’s potential as suitors on an even playing field. That said all of Rose’s narrative ‘energy’ subtly points towards John, not Kanaya. In truth Rose has shown no, or possibly even negative, interest in Kanaya romantically by this point in the story; so far Kanaya’s interactions with Rose have been incredibly one sided in more than one way. There is the emotional element, which is all Kanaya; Rose has shown no emotional attachment to Kanaya at all, where Kanaya has been presented to us in a way that makes her seem obsessive over Rose. Then there is the intellectual element, which Rose dominates. Despite what Kanaya may think, there has never been a moment in the story where she held the intellectual upper hand against Rose in conversation and Rose knows this. Because Rose has always been in a postition of knowing more than her patron troll in regards to their conversations as well as the world around them, it becomes difficult for her to take Kanaya seriously. This shows in Rose’s convesation with John, during which she refers to Kanaya’s interest as an ‘infatuation’ (she’s technically referring to all of the patron trolls, but since Kanaya is her’s she bears special relevance here). Infatuation is a negative word that is most often used to describe unwanted romantic attention specifically. This tells us a few things about Rose’s position. First that Rose doesn’t respect Kanaya as an equal, and second that Rose tolerates conversation with Kanaya despite not being romantically interested in her. In fact, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that Rose is using Kanaya as a source of information regarding the game and little else, which is actually worse than the reason Kanaya lost interest in Vriska. This is where Kanaya’s biggest
romantic hurdle appears. In order for Kanaya to get Rose to take her seriously as an individual, let alone as a romantic interest, she has to be much more assertive and cognisent when interacting with Rose than we’ve seen so far. The problem with this is that Kanaya has had no major impetus to search her soul in order to discover this flaw, and I see no event in the near future that would cause her to do so.
This brings us to the mechanical problems I see with the Rose x Kanaya ship, namely that such a romance as it is now would run strongly against both of their character arcs. I’ll split this up between the two of them again.
Kanaya’s arc has been about learning how to be a better judge of character as well as avoiding co-dependancy on others. She has failed both of these lessons spectacularly so far. Not only does she begin to latch onto Rose fairly soon after becoming disallusioned with Vriska, she also consistently humors and helps Eridan throughout the entire story despite the warning signs that she shouldn’t! Concerning Vriska this means that Kanaya kept her desires to herself, expected Vriska to reciprocate eventually, and then denied the reality that Vriska wasn’t even aware of Kanaya’s flushed feelings towards her. She actually acts betrayed by Vriska after the scene with Tavros, and Vriska didn’t even realize that she had done anything wrong! This culminates with Kanaya brushing Vriska off vindictively for the rest of the story without even giving her a chance to rectify the situation that she doesn’t even know exists. All of this is mirrored in her current infatuation with Rose, only it’s worse. Vriska ‘used’ Kanaya very unintentionally, where Rose is doing it deliberately! All this means is that Kanaya defines herself by who she’s with, relying on Vriska and then Rose to provide a sense of personal definition that she would otherwise lack, and when it is reveiled to her that Vriska and Rose are not capable of living up to the actions Kanaya expects of them in her head, Kanaya shuns them as though they have personally attacked her (note this hasn’t happened to Rose yet, but very well could). If Kanaya were to win Rose over without serious introspection and change (spured by who knows what) it would send her the message that her past behaviour was acceptable, denying her the chance for personal growth and maturation. Now if Kanaya did change, that would make this situation very different. The problem is that right now nothing indicates to her that she needs to change, and I can’t think of anything that has even been hinted at happening in the future which would do so, save for being rejected by Rose.
Rose’s arc has been about learning who to trust, or more specifically learning how to place trust in the people who trust her. Kanaya does not conflict with this at first glance, but that changes under scrutiny. It’s easy to put stock in someone who doesn’t lie. For Rose to truely succeed in her character arc she has to place her trust in someone without the guarantee that it will not be betrayed. John fits the bill for this, as Rose’s letter reeks of the fear of betrayal, but Kanaya does not. Despite her occaisional unconcious duplicity, Kanaya is, normally, extremely predictable in her behaviour. Rose knows Kanaya is telling her the truth because Kanaya sucks at lying. This would seem like a good thing, but what it ultimately means is that confiding in Kanaya is a risk-free course of action for Rose that does not actually address her trust issues.
What I think will happen:
I do not think Rose x Kanaya is going to pan out. I think it is far more likely that they will reach a tipping point and that Rose will inadverdently or actively reject Kanaya, forcing her to reflect and learn how to deal with people better. This would also coincide with Rose deciding to actively compete with Vriska for John’s affection, which I think has far more potential material for a writer to work with than the alternative. This last bit is just speculation though.
IT’S ROMSPEC TIME!