Between AT6-7.1


There ARE protocols in place for dealing with individuals who are dangerous/destructive/evil enough to be Birdcaged, but cannot be realistically captured or contained long enough to bring them there, let alone keep them there. However, giving you details might be considered a spoiler in the right light, so I’m going to err on the side of safety and just say: yeah, Wildbow thought of that, too.

Ah, yes, of course he did.

Wildbow is like the Lord English of thinking about stuff. Wherever you go, whatever you question, he’s already thought about it.

(#he’s already here)

In extreme contrast to that other anon, “mid-chapter theorizing” is a major point of your liveblog, and anyone who wants to do away with it is not in your target audience.

Yeah, pretty much.

Personally, I like the theories that are immediately shot down (or confirmed). That’s part of the fun! It’s dramatic irony at its best.

Honestly, I love when my theories get dunked on sometimes, simply because that’s something I enjoy in liveblogs I read, so I sit here knowing that I’d be loving it if I were one of you guys, which makes me feel like I’m doing a good job entertaining you, even if I’m doing a shitty job at theorizing correctly. Now, obviously, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, as the ask that prompted this proves, but still. All I can strive to do is make something I’d be happy with, and that I think many of you would be happy with.

There’s also the way I can look back and go “ahaha I was so wrong”, like… retroactive dramatic irony, or something. Sometimes it’s just really funny to find out how wrong you were. 🙂

[…it is, yeah, though it’s also frustrating to see just how stupid I was sometimes. :P]


Really enjoying the liveblog so far! I think Dragon told them about a little of the birdcage’s security so that the prisoners don’t kill themselves trying to tunnel out or something.

Glad you like it! And yeah, seems that way.


The whole “Birdcage doesn’t seem that secure what about THIS (super overpowered parahuman) were to be locked inside?” question is very very common. I think the question itself isn’t very valid since it doesn’t consider the fact that there are intelligent enough people running the prison. IF a teleportation power or multidimensional power or sufficiently op whatever power existed, they probably wouldn’t put that person in the birdcage. Hell they probably wouldn’t be able to capture them.

True, but if they were able to capture someone and put them in, but decided not to because their power posed a significant security risk, what would they do with them instead? Straight-up death sentence, maybe?

The first ask in this batch did tell me that Wildbow had thought of that, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Romantic and/or platonic entanglement works for the arc’s title, but there is another possible meaning: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave… when first we practice to deceive.” “Tangle” conveys through this quote the idea of a complicated web of lies, which Taylor has been telling her father, the Undersiders, and most importantly herself. This is the arc when Taylor becomes aware of the degree of self-deception she has been practicing and the web of lies comes crashing down

Ooh, yes, I like this. Especially the way it ties the Danny confrontation and the concurrent Decision even more together via the themes of “web of lies”… oh, and there’s the connection to bugs that most if not all Arc titles have, too: a spider’s web of lies.


Tangle could be for Taylor the way she was getting tangled up in a lot of what she was supposedly trying to avoid. She knows Coil’s plans, she is further apart from her father, from school life, away from the life of a normal teenager and deeper into life as a villain. Taylor enabled and was enabled to do bad things in the name of her now boss, Coil a.k.a Mastermind McSnakeman. As for the Interlude, Paige and life in the Birdcage in general is a mess for anyone in it, be them bad or innocent

This works too. She’s gotten ensnared, tangled up in the villainous life…


I think “untangled” would’ve been a better arc title for this, considering it’s all about her cutting out the non-undersiders parts of her life.

Hm… I suppose. I like Tangle better just because of how the word sounds, and how it fits into the pattern we’ve got going with the Arc titles (for one thing, they’re all nouns so far), but you could tie the connotations of “Untangled” into that by having the title refer to the Tangle she’s getting out of.

What do you think of the PRT power designations mentioned so far?

“Tinker” is pretty cool – we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that one. Establishing that term early was a good move on Wildbow’s part.

“Brute” is descriptive but not very specific. “Blaster” is evocative, though it seems to be a bit wider than one might assume, since Lung can do quite a bit more with fire than “blast” it – that or Lung’s fire control only partially falls in the category.

“Master” is another good one. Pretty straightforward, but it’s a good term for mind controllers like Paige.

[essay in 6-part ask form]

What happened to Paige in this interlude was pretty infuriating, but it also raises an interesting question, which feels like one of the broader themes of the story. Our modern society and rule of law is really built on the assumption that everyone is equal. Does all of that really still work in a world where people literally aren’t equal? Can we really still have a functioning democracy when there are people who can shoot lasers out of their eyes, or make anybody go fuck themselves?

Paige’s sentence was definitely an overreaction, but overreacting is exactly what societies do when they’re scared. This isn’t just on the judge and jury. It’s sort of hard to tell what the right thing to do with Paige would have been. What she did was clearly an accident, but she probably permanently injured that guy. Should we let her off the hook for making potentially deadly mistakes, just because it’s so easy for her to make such a mistake? She clearly deserves some sort of punishment.

Her trial was definitely unfair, but can you really give her a fair one? She should be allowed to speak at her own trial, but can you really let her? What if she just asks the jury to vote “not guilty”? Or tells everyone in the court to go fuck themselves? Maybe they can just try to prevent her from singing, but they only have her word that the singing is really necessary for the mind control part of her power.

She doesn’t deserve a life sentence in the Birdcage, but what should they do with her? If they put her in a regular prison, she could just ask the guards to release her. She has to get a life sentence, because prisons like the Birdcage can only work if there’s no way to release the prisoners. You can try to give her a lesser sentence, which is probably the right thing to do, but that really only works if she agrees to play along.

So basically, you’re left with the choice of being unfairly harsh to her, or admitting that democracy and the rule of law only work because parahumans have decided to let them work (for the time being). Which is… completely true, but not something that people are really comfortable with admitting. Hence why people are so scared, and okay with a few people getting screwed over if it gives them the illusion of security.

People are probably especially scared of Paige because of how much worse it could have been. Imagine if she’d put a line like “now everyone go fuck themselves” in one of her songs? Or what if she’d decided to run for president, and asked everyone to vote for her? I’m also guessing she didn’t really tell all of the people going to her concerts about the mind control portion of her power. Her power is pretty terrifying, and people won’t ever really feel safe with her around.

There’s a thing Worm keeps doing where it puts forth situations that are terribly fucked up, but you still have a hard time coming up with a better way to go about it. This is definitely one of them – as you and others, and even I, have pointed out, there weren’t exactly any better options for the court here.

I really like the suggested theme being put forth in part 1/6. Worm, a study of a world where suddenly, we are not born equal, and people are so diverse that it’s literally impossible to build a prison, or a justice system, or even a form of government that can withstand all this variation. If it continues being this prominent, I’ll have to consider putting “does modern society function in a world with powers” over on the themes bench next to “knowledge is power” and “parahumans were, after all, people with powers, and people are flawed at their core”.

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