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  • Sabreur

    Good thing they already took care of Wrath. It’s already easy to be pissed off at Acedia, and I’m guessing it’s going to get even easier very soon.

  • Imagine Ink

    I feel like at some point Mal and Harry are going to bond over their mutual hatred of Acedia.

    • Tsapki

      I think it may be happening now. Only current hurdle is presumably Mal’s overwhelming fear of her.

  • Tyler Shelton

    No surname, grew up an orphan…it all makes sense now:

    O’Malley was named after O’Malley the alley cat all along.

    • Haha, he actually was. I pick up names from random places, they generally don’t have any deeper meaning, though- I recall picking up someone’s surname from the production credits of Deep Space Nine.

      • Tyler Shelton

        That’s great! I love it when a joke turns out to be correct!

      • Winger

        Omg. Wait. Does this mean between O’Malley and Macavity you’re admitting to a real fondness for musical cats?

        • Haha, weirdly I haven’t seen the musical Cats, I just like Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats a lot. I really should catch it at some point!

          • Winger

            This is incredible. For years I’ve had to put up with “Macavity Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity” getting stuck in my head every time I re-read and now I find out IT’S ACTUALLY AN ALLUSION.

            (The musical is ridiculous, but it’s good fun!)

            • Gwen

              He’s broken every human law! He breaks the law of gravity!

  • Winger

    Ah, the good old days when you could casually trade kids like Pokémon cards. Wasn’t expecting that tidbit about the surname! Does explain the preference for Mal, though, if it’s something he eventually got to choose for himself or at least has fonder memories attached than ‘Jack’.

  • Sapphire altera

    Aha! I was wondering how Harry was going to recognize Acedia.

    • Emily

      Me too. She and Nicola didn’t arrive until well after Acedia had left the cellar, so she’s never seen her before, but of course she would recognize the name from Henry’s story. Izzy probably told them that Acedia was the one who shot Henry, too.

  • Heylir

    Now getting to know that O’Malley isn’t real surname of Mal naturally gives a food to thoughts about possible family ties of his… and I really, really dreamed about the revelation that Ben and Mal are long-distant cousins. )))

    • Trevor Gale

      I’m putting money on him and the Barbers, myself. D’you think witchy-type power is hereditary?

      Or, uh. I guess I mean “Holts”.

      • John

        Kate said that it is not hereditary in an earlier comment.

      • Maria Gerasimova

        Holts maybe, but not Barbers, or there would be bloodline present, not just the witch, and Acedia could make all six unchaining and summoning two decades ago.

        But I’d sooooo like to see Ben and Mal relatives! :)

        • Heylir

          In fact, it is Isabelle Holt’s bloodline one needs for that, because it was her who “sealed” Deadlies with the spell. But, through her marriage with Henry Barber, “her descendants”=”offsprings of Henry Barber”. :)

          I wonder, though, if (supposed) distant relation with Holts would have been enough for breaking “the seal” or you need a direct descendant of her.

          • Trevor Gale

            Didn’t Isabelle say she was a distant descendant of the last witch of Widdershins? That’s all I was talking about.

      • Heylir

        It’s certainly more probable and plausible, and so, less of fun. :)

    • Well, THAT would be interesting!

    • Del

      Ask Kate. She might know….

      • Heylir

        I think I’d better to ask Ben and Mal what their reactions would be, in this case. :)

        I definitely prefer getting the author’s surpises and plot twists at the times they choose for us readers, not before. :)

    • Eh… I’m much happier with a Mal who’s unrelated to anybody important. While intricate family ties are fun, there’s a point when it starts to stretch belief, especially for such a long-established character, and if I’m honest I’m rather sick of the “scrappy self-made hero turns out to be the descendant of ultra-powerful family” trope. When you start thinking about it, the trope has unpleasantly classist undertones, too.

      • Ocean Burning.

        Me too. Well, mainly I just think him having no original connections with any of the other characters makes him cooler and more mysterious.

      • Maria Gerasimova

        I’d agree this trope become actually a bit too… tropical :)
        But I think something will be almost inevitably revealed concerning Mal’s ancestry, by the laws of Narrativium and Chekhov’s gun :) Otherwise Mal’s lost surname wouldn’t have been mentioned here :)
        And it won’t necessarily be “tropical” information, on the contrary, it may be something very unexpected :)
        And Mal and Ben are nearly absolutely improbable to be relatives…
        But..
        But just the image of their both faces if it turns out suddenly that they are relatives… Oooh! I’d like to admire such a sight! :D

    • JWLM

      According to Kate, Mal is an Irish Traveller, so he’s not related to anyone else in the comic.

      • Heylir

        What I remembered with the words “Irish Traveller” were Kate’s words in Tumbler: “He [Mal] has no idea what his own accent is. Seriously! It’s actually very diluted Irish traveller, but he really couldn’t tell you that himself. Gasp, mysteries, etc.”

        It’s info about Mal’s accent, not himself. I got the impression from these words that he had been travelling for a while with Irishmen, though it doesn’t really explain “couldn’t tell you” part.

        Still, I’d be quite happy with “not related to anyone else” variant. :) But I’d very happy with anything Kate’s writing, I’m sure. :)

  • Lee Man Feng Michael

    So, this is the source of Mal’s dislike of going back to Widdershins. Interesting.

  • The Wing

    Bad touch! Bad touch! No little Mal! :(

  • jumjumlp

    Wait.. In panel 3 Acedia grabs Mal’s right shoulder, yet her hand is on his left shoulder in panel 4.

    • AJ

      Panel three, she pulled him forward. Panel 3.5 she let go while he was still stumbling, spun around, and grabbed his other shoulder. She’s actually catching him before he falls on his face in panel 4.

      #makingituponthefly #worksthough

  • Ghostdanser

    Harry manages to say the word “HER” and make it sound like a curse…color me suitably impressed.

    • AJ

      She’s ready to strangle her *here* and *now* and end it… But this is a vision.

    • Nightsbridge

      You know she’s miffed when she can’t express herself through various kinds of ‘hmph.’

  • Phlebas

    Hmm. Could struggling to move on from the past be considered an expression of Sloth?

    • Tsapki

      Possibly. My understanding is that the classical meaning behind Sloth was the inability or unwillingness to love God, maybe signified by not engaging in prayer, which may have later translated into basic laziness. Not caring or being unwilling to do something because it seems too hard or daunting could fit under that umbrella.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Wonder if he got his white hair following an event involving her. He doesn’t look that old, nor by default the type to bother doing much of anything with his hair (especially since he can’t see colours)

    • Heylir

      There was a Q&A page ( http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/character-questions-2/ ) where Mal’s reaction’s supposed he didn’t know about that. Though it might be pretending to put off unwanted questions, of course.

      • Ocean Burning.

        I think that was a genuinely shocked reaction, haha!

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        Oh-ho.

      • Well, he hates mirrors, so he might not know he’s greying! I guess unless when they were longer those greying tails ended up in his eyes at some point, how would he know?

    • CountSessine

      I don’t think so, since he had no white hair when he and Wolfe met, and the two have supposedly been roaming together ever since. Most likely he just went white at the temples early. Some people do.

    • TheGorram Batguy

      It’s common to start going gray in one’s early 30s, and for some folks this starts earlier. I knew a guy who had a white patch in his hair already at 21. (And some guys are already bald by then.)

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        Wouldn’t know, at this rate I’ll lose most of them before they have a chance to gray out [/35]

  • Emily

    “Lost the surname” – intriguing! I wonder at what point he (or someone else) chose O’Malley as his surname. It’s especially interesting because he’s shown a preference for being called O’Malley or Mal over Jack, even though that’s the “real” part of his name. Maybe it’s because he would have been called Jack during his (obviously less than pleasant) childhood, so it has associations for him.

    This also brings up a long-standing question of mine – seeing as Wolfe is the only person in-comic who calls Mal by his nickname, is he the one who came up with it in the first place, or did Mal choose it himself?

    • Wolfe came up with it to gently chide Mal for not pronouncing his name correctly, and it stuck.

      • Del

        Hmphf.

        Is there anything else that you haven’t told us?

        • Plenty, but isn’t that why you’re still reading? :)

      • Emily

        I.e. pronouncing it “Wolfe” with a W instead of “Volfe”? I had wondered about that once I realized the proper pronunciation of Wolfe’s name – Mal’s probably picked up some German in the time they’ve been together, but he doesn’t seem like the type to bother about nuances.

        • It should be pronounced like ‘vulf-eh’ but yeah, Mal just says it like the animal. As you say, he is not a fellow of nuances.

          • Ocean Burning.

            It’s interesting, Wolfe must have told O’Malley at some point that this was the meaning of his name. Otherwise, Mal, being illiterate and never seeing Wolfe written down, might never even have made the connection based on the pronunciation.

            • Emily

              Oh, good point! I hadn’t thought about that aspect of it.

            • AJ

              Well that final vowel is going to sound a bit like an afterthought, so I can see him dropping it in his laziness. The V -> W, though, is not so obvious, unless it just sort of slid in gradually.

              • non_canon

                I could see them having some money and spending it on a night at an inn or something similar where they have to give their names, Wolfe tells the person that to spell it like the animal, and Mal runs with it from there.

              • Phlebas

                Hypercorrection? Someone speaking with a stereotypical German accent might turn a W into a V, so someone hearing a V sound with a German accent might assume it should have been a W.

            • The lengths a non-bilingual English speaker will go to to avoid phoneme pairings they’re unfamiliar with can be pretty extraordinary! We’re a linguistically lazy people.

              • Ocean Burning.

                I believe you, haha! Let me show you Chinese kids though… *bangs head against wall*

              • Maria Gerasimova

                But Wolfe himself was aware of the meaning of the word “mal”? That’s why he used it for his chiding, I guess? To make it clearer for Jack?
                :)

                • Ocean Burning.

                  ‘Mal’ isn’t a word in English, though, Maria. Although it is fairly similar to ‘mall’, which is a word in English. : )

                  • Maria Gerasimova

                    I know it’s not a separate word in English, but it’s a common part of words meaning smth not good – malfunction, maladaptation, malaise, maladjustment, maladresse, etc. In French it means simply “bad” and sometimes even “evil”.
                    And I think it’s not a coincidence the chapter tellin us Mal and Wolfe (“Bad” and “Wolf’) came to the town is titled “No Rest for the Wicked“. It makes associations :)
                    Get me right: I don’t want to say they are any bad. Quite the contrary, the both are amazingly good.
                    What I DO want to say is: I think Kate did there and then a deliberate play on words aimed to make us wonder: what are they really?

                    • Ocean Burning.

                      Oh, I agree with you that it’s a play on words based on their root meanings, I love it. I’m just not sure if the Latin root meaning would occur to Mal, since he’s not very well educated. Then again, I wonder if he’s more educated than we think, if Acedia ever tried to train him to be a witch. Hmm…

                    • TheGorram Batguy

                      Well, I assume we’ll find out shortly, but my guess is she wasn’t training him to be a witch but rather quite the opposite. She wanted to make sure O’Malley would never take on the mantle of the Widdershins witch, for his doing so would mean at the very least that there is somebody with the power to unmake Luxuria’s physical form and completely dash the deadly spirits’ Earthly plans. Maybe she even made a point of forcing highly negative associations with the town for him in an attempt to motivate him never to come back, a process that had worked and would have continued doing so if not for the charming Wolfe.

                    • Ocean Burning.

                      Well, that is an interesting theory. Seems like “corrupting him to evil” would be more standard villain practice, though…

                    • Heylir

                      And it goes well with Mal’s words to Wolfe (quoted by memory) “Witches are evil, if I’m witch, why I should care?”, as well as his stubborn denial of being a witch and his fierce reaction at Envy’s remark about him having no choice.

                    • AJ

                      …Wait. Bad Wolf? How did I not catch that earlier?

                      …..Nah. Couldn’t be.

                    • John

                      And now I have incidental music from Dr. Who running through my head.

                    • AJ

                      Spoiler alert: The end of the story is that Mal finds the heart of the TARDIS inside witch-space (he went through a blue door, remember) and merges with the time vortex, using the power to destroy all the Sins, heal or resurrect Henry, and warn his child self to stay away from Widdershins, because all this doing all the work is rotten.

              • Matt [in Middletown]

                “There are starving children who could have eaten those phenome pairings!”
                For some reason the parental admonishment of “starving children could have eaten that” came to mind.

                • Ocean Burning.

                  I suppose it’s easier to eat phenomes than phonemes, lol

              • TheGorram Batguy

                “We’re a linguistically lazy people.”
                Eh. I think this is true of every people in every language group. Nearly everything gets repackaged according to local linguistic patterns.

              • JWLM

                For what it’s worth, the same thing is true of at least one quadralingual native English. But what do I know: Americans are even lazier speakers of English than anyone else. We’re so lazy that we don’t even use all the letters other speakers do when we write.

          • Emily

            Question is, how does Ben pronounce it? He’s all about accuracy and precision, so he’d probably make an effort to get it right, but it might be hard to keep from slipping into the incorrect pronunciation just from hearing Mal use it all the time.

            • non_canon

              I hadn’t thought of it before, but now my headcanon is that he says it right exactly for the reasons you stated above.

    • It could also be that Mal remembers his last name but is as unhelpful to authority figures as always and didn’t correct someone who said it was unknown, but either way it’d make his last name something more his own, so!

      • Emily

        I like this theory.

      • Killersquirrel66

        Either that or he did try to correct them, and they didn’t listen/kept forgetting. I get the impression he’s used to people not taking notice of what he says; could be he just gave up.

        I wonder if there’s some anti-Irish to that aspect, as well. Having a “weird”, “un-English” name might have singled him out even more, encouraging him to drop it. Just having the sight has plainly caused him enough problems as it is. Ugh, this whole scene is heartbreaking on so many levels, and only get more so as I think about it. :(

        • Maria Gerasimova

          Sorry, but we have there in Widdershins at least an Indian and some people with dark skin – and nobody cares, thankfully.
          So do you think having an Irish name would be too important in these circumstances?
          :)

          • Killersquirrel66

            I’m never sure how close Widdershin’s England is supposed to be to Victorian England, basically. My understanding is that there was about every racist element you could get going strong, alongside all the nasty classist elements, and we’ve seen both eluded to. So while I would be very happy to be proven wrong, I could easily see the name “O’Malley” being another source of problems for the tyke.

    • CountSessine

      This made me want to reread their meeting, in the flashback at the beginning of Green-Eyed Monster. Here’s the page where the two exchange names: http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/april-30th-2014/

  • Ocean Burning.

    Acedia’s aura looks like a cloud of poisonous smoke. Usually I love colors that are a mix of blue and green… but not on this page!

    • Tsapki

      And now I have Toxic Love playing in my head.

  • Sarah Hardister

    Right. Villains like this really grind my core. I can’t explain it. Kids. Manipulation. Vulnerability. Powerlessness. Scenes like this, stories like Mal’s, these things are why we want heroes to STORM in to the rescue. Follow her, Harry. Follow her and crush her into the filthy, filthy dirt.

    • Dud

      Tricky – she’s got a twenty year start. But hey, this *is* a story.

  • Emily

    Harry’s lucky – she’s seeing through Mal’s eyes here, but doesn’t actually have the Sight herself, so she gets a glimpse of how things look to him (the colorblindness and the auras) without the full immersive knock-you-over-when-you-walk-into-a-crowded-room experience that Ben had.

  • Tsapki

    The shifting mood of the male caretaker caught my eye rather quickly.

    He’s clearly uncomfortable with this situation, but he’s willing to go along because it seems like the best of a choice of bad options. His earlier dialogue indicates fairly clearly that his main concern seems to be the children and the fact that Jack’s sight is scaring them.

    It doesn’t necessarily excuse his conduct, but it gives it a deeper context beyond just pawning off a troublesome child on a willing party.

    • non_canon

      The thing that gets me is on the last page he says “someone said you were asking the wizards” instead of “the wizards said” which indicates to me that he never actually talked to them for help. Which makes me appreciate Ben trying to teach Mal magic all the more, because as awkwardly as he went about it I think it may be the first time anyone besides Accdia made an attempt to do so and probably the first to do so without nay motive other than trying to be nice.

      • Heylir

        Mal implied that Ben tried to do it for cutting down their expenses. ;)

  • MarriStenberg

    Accedia’s aura looks like it’s to tired to even cling to her. Everyone else’s auras are either tight to them or above them, but her’s is dragging on the ground.

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