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Mains Shaggy Verde
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I have difficulties with Ruby Forrester.

I will say that, from pre-game to the earliest bits of V5, I was a definite fan of Ruby, and I'll try to explain why as I discuss my issues with her overall. From her profile, I would guess that Ruby was created as a product of the setting, Seattle, as she does feel like an archetypal image of someone from there. She heavily skews towards to the left side of politics and has a passed-down interest of alt and grunge rock music, and generally is an outspoken individual with a lot to say. This, along with a couple other things like her orientation and appearance, does make her slide in pretty natural for the time (not that she'd be out of place in v6 or v7, mind). I feel Fiori already had a concrete idea of what he wanted Ruby to be from the start, and I'll use this little excerpt from said profile here:

upon reaching 11th grade she has began work on a novel which she has personally described as being a dark neo-noir murder mystery set during an alternate version of the 1970's with vampires.

I fell that shows a lot about Ruby just from implication, and I find that endearing. However, I will also note that a lot of problems with Ruby start with her profile, namely the latter half of her biography. About 4 paragraphs are dedicated to the relationship between Ruby and another character, Brian Zhandovich, which detail their friendship, dating period, and eventual break-up and reconciliation due to Ruby being a lesbian. The tricky dagger in this is largely the fact that Ruby and Brian are both written by Fiori, and this causes a lot of writing flubs down the line.

To start with, the entirety of Ruby's and Brian's memories section revolves around recounting their history together mentioned in their profiles, starting shortly before Ruby realizes she's gay. In light of this, a big misstep here is that we barely learn anything new here that wasn't already mentioned in one of the other's profiles, as we already know the eventual outcome of the situation. So retreading these events in 5 different episodes of rather dense pieces of text is pretty taxing. Which isn't to say there isn't anything of value here, and unsurprisingly, these come from places not laid out in the profile. I enjoyed the fact Ruby is exactly the type of person to write out her neo-noir vampire novel in a Chinese restaurant, because a coffee shop would be too obvious, clearly.

"To say that Ruby could be a somewhat critical person at times would be something of an understatement, and nowhere was this more true than when it came to her own work. To Ruby, what sounded like a cool and scary scene in her head just looked cliche and downright terrible on paper."

Writing about a writer having writing problems in a writing forum? You're alright, Fiori.

Unfortunately, these little glimpses of Ruby outside the context of this very narrowed layout we're given are very few and far between. Instead, the primary focus here it the melodrama that happens between Brian and Ruby that leads to their ensuing break-up, which establishes the dynamic they share pretty clearly - and it plays entirely to Ruby's favor. While Fiori doesn't go out of his way to make Brian the bad guy in situation, but it is obvious his problems are only secondary to how Ruby is affected by his cheating, and how her coming to terms with her sexuality is more challenging to deal with then his - at, least that's how it is portrayed in the narrative, implicitly. Anytime Brian gets his turn in the narrative, it will almost always find a way to make the after effect more important for Ruby to be play with, all so she can reap the benefits of their interaction. Which is not to mention the fact that Ruby's lack of affection for Brian is not portrayed as large as a problem as it should be, which is signs of things to come.

To little surprise, in pre-game proper, Ruby's best thread is the one where she's put outside comfort zone and interacts with characters she's not already familiar with. Besides being an interesting example of where there is an equal amount of kids who went into V5 and those who didn't, Ruby does get to show both her rash and rational sides when having to deal with a bully in her store, and not exactly come out the winner in this scenario. This mostly applies to the first half of the thread, as the second half (and later the rest of her pre-game, which includes one other thread and prom) is devoted to expanding between her relationship between her and her girlfriend, Regan Flagg.

And, if you're wondering if Regan Flagg's name is partly based on Stephen King's character Randall Flagg, the answer is probably. *

Anyway, Regan wasn't able to come onto the island due to OOC reasons involving her handler, and this is actually pretty important to Ruby's potential plotline. The impact, however is not entirely negative, and could easily be argued as a positive - Regan was pretty equal in comparison to Brian in terms of how tightly they wrapped around Ruby's character, and this really makes her feel isolated as a whole. Especially when it is evident that there was a whole lot of planning done between the two writers.

This opens up a lot of opportunities for Ruby in-game, and she meets a lot of colorful characters throughout the game. Ruby gets a good head start in V5, and her ideals are quickly thrown shaken up as soon as SOTF gets right up in her face. In the thread where Ruby reacts to Miranda killing someone just outside the building she is in, she feels like she needs to take charge of the situation and do something about. It flies back into her face in a really neat way.

Having never fired a gun in her life, Ruby actually ends up causing more damage to herself then the person she was shooting at, and generally suffers more for it mentally as well. Not only has she betrayed her ideals concerning violence, she also did so without really thinking about it, something that's suppose to be one of her stronger traits. And after the fact, she's only left to reflect what she has done, and what that really means to her. I also just want to highlight this part from the same thread, which isn't entirely character related, but does show something really neat:

Lets see... Five clips. Fifty bullets each, so thats about two-hundred and fifty overall. Have to make sure these count.

I predict this little moment here is from Fiori's history with V4, especially with how ammo was done back in those days. I just thought it was a nice little piece of history, and a little extra to how Ruby's handling of her firearm in this instance. So yeah, it's largely a good thread.

Unfortunately, Ruby and Brian meet up in the one right after, and Brian dies after that one. Mostly because Ruby had reacted irrationally again and aggressively threatened someone else with her firearm, and Brian died trying to save her. This is where Ruby's flaws come full circle. Brian, even in his death, is made to validate Ruby's decisions up to this point and give her another push to centralize her as the protagonist in her own story. It's really weird and it the biggest example of Ruby's main problem: The narrative does not truly ever work outside of her own headspace.

It's rather odd that with the odd characters she comes across (Ami, Gavin, Zubin, and Sean), who all have some semblance of being in their own world and largely make note of that fact (even implicitly), the writing around Ruby tries really hard to paint her as main character-esque who's only reacting to the events around her when that's not really how things are. Ruby, despite having injured herself and getting her best friend killed for her actions, immediate reactions is to point her gun at whoever she perceives to be a threat at the time, sometimes even leading to even more deaths. While these actions are somewhat acknowledged as her own fault, they tend to be often downplayed when all is said and done, especially considering the death's of Brian and Sara. While is she far from being the most morally bankrupt person on the island, her selfish actions aren't properly called into question, nor is there any real attempt to develop and change.

After Sara dies in the ship scene, Ruby's storyline gets kinda wonky when it comes to pacing, though this is probably coming from real-life stuff, so I'm not gonna harp about it. It does leave her feeling displaced a lot after that, where days go by and she makes it to the top 20, but it doesn't really feel like it. I'd also partly blame the crash, as I do with many things when it comes to V5, but that's neither here or there.

Ultimately though, around the late part of her story, Ruby has remained stagnant. At this point she has killed someone, but still is very judgemental about other people who have killed like Joe Carrasco, which just comes off as plain hypocritical without any further justification. And when it comes to have her finally die, at the hand of the first friend she made on the island, she pulls out this little nugget:

"No, I don't know what you've been through the past few days, but what I do know is that several days ago I saw the boy I lost my virginity to die right before my very eyes. That's not the kind of shit you can shrug off easily."

This is a rather quizzical piece, and I feel it shows a big detachment between a writer and their character - not just in the present state, but as a whole. The fact that Ruby lost her virginity to Brian is the strangest thing to emphasize a sentence that should be a defining statement. There are multiple options that could have been used in place of that (her best friend for several years, one of the few people who knows her deepest secret, the person who literally died taking a bullet for her). And, comparatively to most people still alive at this point, Ruby has shrugged off the more messed up events that have transpired thus far and she has an active hand in. Even as she's dying, It feels like I'm being led to believe it's been Ruby against the world this whole time, when in reality she's her own worst enemy.

When it comes to Ruby, I can't really tell what is trying to be convinced the most - the reader or the writing? Majority of the time it feels like both, and the lines can get murky. I feel Ruby always had a really good outline for a character, but suffered from never wanting to draw outside those lines.


Oh so close, yet oh so very, very far.




From Ruby's interaction with Gavin:

"Sounds to me like the only reason you want us to be your friends is so that you can have your own pair of personal bodyguards you could toss aside the moment you no longer need them."

"But how am I meant to know that you won't leave me for dead the moment you get the chance, just so you could get your hands on the gun you've been coveting since the moment we met? Useful ally or not, I cannot take that risk."


(I'll take a break for a little bit~)
V7 relationship thread! Say hi to my kids!
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