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  • Ms Cunningham, a word of advice. Step one in raising the morale of Mr Thackerey – stop calling him by that humiliating derisive name.

    • TheGorram Batguy

      Well, there’s nothing inherently humiliating or derisive about it. I’d surmise, in fact, that it’s a well established dynamic between the two of them. Ben was merely embarrassed to have his family pet-name uttered in front of his professional associates as it undermined his aura of authority and professionalism. But among family he probably is quite OK with it.
      Of course, I could be wrong.

      • Heylir

        Agreed. More than that, Ben accepted Mal’s calling him in this way, I don’t think that’s a problem with Verity.

        Her protective attitude to her younger cousin is somewhat another matter, but I really think Ben accept that, too.

      • Emily

        >Ben was merely embarrassed to have his family pet-name uttered in front of his professional associates

        …one of whom he knew was going to pounce on it as something new to tease him about!

        I think you’re right that he doesn’t mind Vee calling him Benji; they were obviously close as children, and still get along well most of the time. Old nicknames tend to hang on among family long after they’ve been dropped elsewhere.

      • non_canon

        I think you’re right, especially since he knew Mal was going to pounce on that. I also think he was more upset by the fact that she literally lifted him off his feet with a hug, ruffled his hair like you would a little kid, and basically went “oh look how grown up you are” in front of his employees.

        • Emily

          And he’s sensitive about his height, so the fact that the much-taller Verity *can* pick him up off his feet didn’t help.

    • Ocean Burning.

      I should have thought, Herr Sturzkampf, that you of all people would have understood the difference between formal and informal forms of address, and the circumstances in which they variously are called for. ; )

      • Hm… I think I will take the fifth on that. Not that the 5th amendment actually applies here in Mechanicsburg.

        • Euodiachloris

          Oh, fifth amendments happen all the time! Some minions are just clumsy like that. xD

  • Maria Gerasimova

    He smiled! For just a small minute, but still! Exhausted as he is :)
    Thanks to Ve :)

  • non_canon

    I don’t know what I love more about this strip; Verity trying to pull Ben out of his funk and how she succeeds in getting him to smile, Thackerey + Cunningham family backstory, or how much they resemble each other in panel 6. I also love, in an ow, that hurts because it is good story telling way, the little character detail that is Ben’s grin not faltering while he puts himself down because (I suspect) to him he’s just stating a fact but when Verity goes to address it his whole posture/expression radiates how very much he does want to talk about this.

    Considering where this strip seems to be leading to, I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with future strips mirroring Verity trying to pull Ben out of this headspace while Harry tries to pull Mal out of his. Possibly defeating Sloth in the process.

  • Basil Sage

    It feels like he’s hiding something, and also I still want to know what Sidney told her. I just want more pages of this.

    • Doldrum

      I think he’s anxious about meeting Sloth again- very literally facing an enormous mistake he made.

      • brushtail

        While I don’t doubt that Ben blames himself for the Sloth debacle I’m not sure what exact mistake he made. Doing the summon for the evil lady was obviously bad, but that was done before itshe had done anything suspect and she had the proper forms. Botching the desummon wasn’t his fault since he was trying to do magic in a burning building while being physically attacked. Hopefully Verity will point this out.

        • Maria Gerasimova

          I think formally Ben is aware of all this you’ve just pointed out.
          The trouble is, it doesn’t work for him to make him feel better :( It’s a real psychological issue that he has.

        • non_canon

          Knowing him, he feels embarrassed he didn’t catch on to be used quicker, and about letting her being an authority figure override his better instincts about leaving a Deadly Sin summoned without following up/insisting on desummoning.

          • Heylir

            Exactly.

            Of course, if he had insisted on desummoning Sloth himself, Fairbairn would have fed him to the Deadly just then and it wouldn’t have been better for anyone.

        • a_flemish_dude

          well yeah, but he still put himself up for the task of desummoning sloth and he failed, due to factors out of his controll yes but he still failed and I think that’s a major source of ben’s angst

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Understatement of the year, Ver’

  • The Wing

    My heart is just breaking right now. :’}

  • Heylir

    Oh, Verity *may* do subtle when she wants. Such an emotional page.

    There is an interesting parallel with Barber family where we, too, see family ties between grandparents and grandchildren, not between parents and children.

    • non_canon

      Has anyone else around here seen the webshow RWBY? If not, I’d encourage you to go watch it because I have a feeling you’d like it since you like Widdershins (although this being a family friendly forum I’d encourage you to be careful in the rest of Roosterteeth’s youtube channels because some of their stuff is definitely not kid friendly). But I bring it up because I’ve always imagined the Thackery family to have a dynamic similar to the Schnee family from that show. There are points where you can see they care about each other, but overall very very formal and perfectionist and emotionally cold. The Cunninghams I see more like Verity and Ben; serious, sarcastic, and practical but still a lot of caring.

    • Emily

      And now I want to know more about “Grandma”. Who did Victor marry?

      • Maria Gerasimova

        :)
        I’ve just said Heylir privately: It’s interesting, who was this Grandma, who could keep up with lanky sportive Victor during long walks?

        • Emily

          Maybe she’s a tall lady like Izzy!

  • Emily

    The power of cousin bonding! It’s good to see Ben with a natural, relaxed stance and expression for a few panels instead of the arms-folded, shoulders-hunched, not-looking-at-anybody pose he’s been in for the last however-many pages. (Nice detail with his legs shaking a little in panel 2, btw.)

  • Del

    Kate got tired of drawing pages full of many characters. So much work.

    • rainycity1
  • Ocean Burning.

    Wow, Verity finally managed to actually impress me, good going Vee! : D : D

    So many warm fuzzy feelings all over this page! <3 <3 <3 (It makes for a nice change from the last page…)

  • Maria Gerasimova

    I love Ben’s smile. Always.
    He smiles very seldom, only when accidentally forgets to be dull Jack from the saying.
    And when he does… It’s a warm sincere open smile of a child… Not Mal-like smirk at all.
    So far we’ve seen him smiling twice. If I am not mistaken.
    Here – and there: http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/december-16th-2014/
    I think it tells us a lot about Ben…

    It’s interesting to note both cases occur in direst circumstances. What reminds “Sid’s danger mode” a bit :)

    • Emily

      There’s another Ben smile in the last panel here, which seems to confirm your point about dire circumstances: http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/september-16th-2016/

      • Maria Gerasimova

        Yeah, and I’ve forgotten his triumphant smile after they tied Ira with Mal.
        “We are fantastic!”

        So, I was mistaken :) (About only two occasions.)

        • Emily

          Ooh, I forgot about that one too! That was a good smile.

          • Maria Gerasimova

            I cherish them :) Like rarities.

            • The Wing
              • Maria Gerasimova

                :)
                Ow… I think, ermmm… anatomically you are right :) I missed them too.

                • The Wing

                  Haha, as you can see, I treasure them too. :) His and Mal’s smiles are really precious.

                  • Maria Gerasimova

                    :)
                    If I am not mistaken, I’ve seen the other day your comment about the OCD of somebody named Ezra :)
                    Do you think Ben has something like it too?

                    • The Wing

                      What the?? How did?? Do you read Runewriters as well?

                      From what little I know of OCD and what I know of Ben, I’d say no, Ben doesn’t have it or any other mental disorder. I feel like his neatness is more a nervous impulse rather than an irrational one. When you’re young and grow up feeling like you can’t do anything right, there are only a few things you feel like you can control. Manners and cleanliness are a couple of them. And if your parents or other guardian figures are constantly disappointed in you, or you’re constantly disappointed in yourself, and you’re the kind of person who just wants to do things right for once, that can develop into a NEED to do the few things you can do.

                      Maybe his family was wonderful, even. I’ve had an upbringing where I don’t think my parents have ever once been disappointed in me. They’re amazing people. But I was always disappointed in myself – in large part because I felt like I HAD to live up to what they were. I HAD to be as good as them, or what good was I? I always wanted to do BETTER, and be better than everyone else. I wanted to be the smartest, the one who knew right from wrong, the kind of person people could rely on. I had such high expectations of myself that I just became a cynical, pessimistic, bossy grump. And I have problems with being touched, too. Not handshakes, but my shoulders are completely off-limits.

                      That’s not the same as being a neat freak, I know, but they’re two manifestations of similar upbringings. I’m not neat by any stretch of the imagination, but I do get uncomfortable by asymmetry the longer I pay attention to it. And dirty horizontal surfaces.

                      OCD is much different. It’s irrational and sometimes frightening, sometimes maddening. You can’t step on the cracks between tiles because that’s wrong, and you can’t do things that are wrong. You have to check you’ve turned off the sink five times because how can you be sure you’ve done it properly? You pass a stranger on the street and suddenly have the urge to punch them so you pinch yourself over and over again as punishment, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s what you know works. You’re terrified of getting it wrong. You know it’s illogical, it doesn’t make sense, but you can’t STOP because the feelings don’t GO AWAY.

                    • Yeah, this! I’ve never written it as OCD, he’s neat as a quirk rather than a compulsion.

                    • The Wing

                      Boo-yah! Taking Psychology PAYS. OFF.

                      Erm, I mean: Wow, I actually got it right, I totally don’t think about this a lot and about almost every person I meet.

                    • Ocean Burning.

                      Lol! Well, neatness can just be an inherent personality trait as well, perhaps even despite one’s upbringing… For example, everyone in my family is messy, and usually no one (besides me) is too bothered by it. Then there’s me, who cleans out desks (or anything, really) for enjoyment. I’m sure it surprised my mother a bit when I was about six or seven and announced that I had been scrubbing the bathroom walls, just to see how clean I could get them. I just love to see things clean, that’s all! XD

                    • The Wing

                      True that. Still, it’s also a matter of perspective. I’m a strong supporter of psychodynamic and developmental theories in psychology, so I tend to believe that most inherent personality traits do develop as a response to behaviour observed and events experienced during childhood.

                      My parents aren’t neat, but when I was young (like five-year-old young), my mum would find me pulling all of the clothes out of the drawers and then meticulously refolding them and putting them back in. I have no memory of that at all; I pretty much crumple my clothes up and chuck them in a cupboard now. So I get that some people just break the mould! But as a teenager looking back on a (fairly mundane) childhood, I can see all the ways I took the attitudes and lessons of my parents, siblings, teachers and friends and combined them to form what I am now. I couldn’t say how much of my personality would still exist if I had grown up in entirely different circumstances and surrounded by entirely different people!

                      My mother is obsessed with planning and direction, life goals, striving toward a purpose and always knowing what she’s doing to get there. That stuff scares the ever-loving heck out of me. But I sprouted a different branch of planning – obsessively planning out every conversation I intend to initiate before I initiate it, accounting for all possible responses I can think of. And then not actually initiating the conversation at all. I’m excessively punctual like my mother but I can’t do schedules and spend half my day procrastinating. And my parents are both boringly bereft of imagination, creativity and passion for science, yet my brother loves Physics and is on his way to becoming a guitarist, my sister loves Biology and is on her way to becoming a painter and I love both Biology and Psychology and am on my way to becoming a writer.

                      So I relate to your deviance from the familial norm. :) And still manage to believe that childhood shapes most of who we are!

                    • Euodiachloris

                      Always! High Five! xD
                      (Thank you, occipital cortices for being able to process the words, concepts and word order behind the combination of “high” and “five” in every meaningful way. Am grateful for the support of the retinas, optic nerves and visual cortices — but, wish the temporal ones would butt out: I don’t need the hockey-related emotional baggage, thanks.) ;P

                    • Maria Gerasimova

                      Thank you! It’s rather… reassuring :)

                  • Emily

                    My favorite Mal smile is in the third panel on this page: http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/august-8th-2014/

      • Ocean Burning.

        A self-deprecating sense of humor goes a long way! ; ) See also here:

        http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/july-7th-2017/

  • Sanjay Merchant

    D’awww, she really does care about him after all.

  • rainycity1

    It is so nice to have you back! Hope your fall is going well. <3

  • Dshim

    Is it bad I relate to Ben too much?

  • Michael Brewer

    Honestly, I suspect that Verity feels much like Ben does. Victor Cunningham is/was an accomplished Wizard and Engineer. The Twins are both accomplished Wizards. Even Ben was born with the wizard talent. Verity, I’m guessing, not so much.

    Her line to Harry when she first showed up “You replaced ME with a Wizard!” says a lot about how she feels about them. And now it seems like she grew up with three of them and learned much of her engineering from Victor…but couldn’t do everything he did or even everything else that the other children did.

    It explains a lot about why she acts so superior and confident. It masks her inner insecurities…insecurities which mean she might be partially responsible for Ben’s current issues as well, since he seems like he’d make a good emotional punching bag for young Verity when she was feeling bad.

    • Maria Gerasimova

      === she might be partially responsible for Ben’s current issues as well, since he seems like he’d make a good emotional punching bag for young Verity when she was feeling bad. ===

      I think she was rather protective to Ben, protecting him (as well as herself) from the cocky brilliant Twins, wich probably often boast before their less gifted brother and their completely devoid of wizard talent cousin. And always backed one another too, as it befitted to twins.

      • Emily

        Agreed. It seems like Ben has always been the cousin she’s closest to, even though I suspect she’s nearer the twins’ age than his.

    • Emily

      You have a good point here. I’ve been having a little trouble squaring Vee’s obvious dislike of wizards with her equally obvious fondness for her little cousin Benji, but I hadn’t thought about her being the only one of Victor’s grandchildren without magical talent. That does explain a lot.

  • billydaking

    Love the small hesitation in that last panel. Verity knows she stepping into raw nerve territory.

  • Doldrum

    “Just like our childhood hikes. The endless walking, the others wandering out of sight, the constant threat of being eaten by a gigant walrus…”

  • JWLM

    I can almost hear the exasperation in Verity’s voice in that last panel.

    • CountSessine

      I don’t hear her as exasperated there. More… concerned about Ben, and wanting to broach a touchy subject without triggering his usual defense shields.

  • JWLM

    I wonder if the family is going to think more of Vee and Ben after they save the world.

    • MarriStenberg

      I hope so.

  • theophenes

    The “tired eyes” both of them have on this page is a great touch. Nothing really clever in mind, just wanted to add that.

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