Fanatic theory

Disclaimer: I am not a Christian, or any other type of religious person. I’m going to say everything I say here from a perspective of a non-believer; feel free not to read my atheistic thoughts if doing so would upset you.

So, spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t listened to the Fanatic podcast episode, but that episode revealed the truth of what, who, how and why (and certain salient examples of where and when) Fanatic is. I’ll assume you’ve heard all about that. I didn’t especially like Fanatic as a character before I learned all this, and I had kind of assumed that she came out of Christian-authored comic books, such as those which actually exist in real life (“Battle Pope” being one of the better-known examples), effectively religious propaganda pieces created in a modern art media, to serve the same purpose as the various Renaissance frescoes depicting bible scenes, on the sides of cathedrals and other public buildings all over Europe. A character who is portrayed as literally being an avenging angel who actually exists and smites actual demons with the power of an unquestionably real God is not only rather boring to my non-believing self, but also undermines the entire concept of having faith, which is something a lot of religious types have said is important to them…they wouldn’t want God to prove his existence by sending an angelic messenger to wreak his will upon the world with holy power, because that would somehow cheapen the relationship they believe they have with God now. So, whether you’re one of those blindly-faithful types or an atheist like me, you could see why a character like Fanatic would feel kinda cheap, if the surface presentation of her was actually what she was. When the truth came out during her podcast episode, though, I thought it was a brilliant backstory, and made me significantly more fond of her (she’s still not really a favorite character of mine, but she was closer to the bottom before, and is now pretty solidly in the middle).

That was your last chance to avoid spoilers, so I’m going to move on talking about the Host as we learned about them, with no further consideration. In the podcast we find out that these spirit-beings called the Host exist, and Fanatic isn’t actually an angel, at least no more than Ra is an actual god (spoilers again, for one of the other podcasts, where it’s revealed that of all the mythic pantheons of history, only the Egyptian one truly exists in the SCU, and the Egyptian gods are only “gods” in the sense of being powerful entities who can store their life-essence in artifacts and then reincarnate when those artifacts are wielded by new mortals). Like I said, I enjoyed that reveal, and I recently had a few deeper thoughts related to it.

This information raises a lot of very interesting questions about the Host which have never really been explained. We don’t know for sure how many Host entities there are, or what they’re normally capable of doing, but we do know that they don’t usually choose to do very much. As best we can tell from what Helena and Bezaliel ended up doing, after their experiences effectively transformed them into slightly different versions of a Host-human hybrid, being a member of the Host effectively allows access to limitless power, but this power either cannot be applied outside of very limited contexts, or the Host spirits simply choose not to do much of anything with this power. If they constantly ran around using their arbitrary transformative powers all the time, no trace of what we currently consider “normality” could survive, so presumably they’re usually inclined not to mess with much of anything.

The thing that I really wanted to add to the discussion today was about the idea that what Fanatic is, or more specifically what the Host spirit of Judgment who became Fanatic would end up becoming, actually directly comes from what she/it is. Now, lots of little girls have chased a ball into a street for lots of reasons at lots of points in history, and the number of those girls which have been struck by a car and killed after such an action is probably at least in the double digits throughout all of history, so obviously there usually isn’t a Host spirit involved, or if there is, nothing happens as a result. But for whatever reason, in this specific instance, it was a Judgment spirit which got involved, and my belief as to why is that in the split-second choice of whether the little Peruvian girl wanted to chase the ball or not, she made the choice on a moral basis, a decision to try and help someone else (whoever had lost their ball, and was going to be sad about it), regardless of the danger to herself. Somehow, somewhy, when that girl weighed the pros and cons of risking her life for a stranger’s benefit, and chose in favor of doing so, and was “punished” by the unforgiving whim of random chance for that action, the Judgment spirit was like “oh no way” and defied whatever arbitrary limits they usually observe, whether by deliberate choice or as their very nature.

So you’ve got this former Spirit of Judgment (we’ve never gotten a name for that being, even though we know from Bezaliel that host spirits can have names if they feel like it - maybe the truth is that host spirits never have names, and the deception spirit was only able to say “my name is Bezaliel” because that was a lie and he was a spirit of lies, but whatever). Having “broken the rules” of normal Host behavior by doing more than just passively inhabiting a human who’s feeling its associated experience, this entity is capable of doing basically anything it wants. My atheistic theory about these beings is that they exist in a higher spatial dimension, and thus they relate to three-dimensional human beings in somewhat the same way that a human being relates to a tattoo on his or her own bodily surface. The human is real to the tattoo, while the tattoo is not real to the human; the human can stab the tattoo with a knife and cut half of it away from the other half, and the tattoo can’t do a thing about it. Likewise, Host spirits are “more real” than human beings, and while they normally have no interest in messing with us, when they choose to do so, they have basically limitless ability to do it; they can alter atoms and molecules and so forth with no real effort at all, because our entire universe is just a childishly-simple abstraction from their perspective. Thusly, this Judgment spirit inhabited Helena, and it was able to heal Helena’s body of lethal wounds, because it lacked any definition which would say that it couldn’t do that. It then continued to exist as this human being, and ceased to perceive any separation between the human body and itself. She grew up reading scripture and imagining the related concepts, including the image of an angel as a winged humanoid being wreathed in light, and so her “subconscious” mind, for lack of a better term, accessed the limitless-but-unfocused power of the Host, and gradually transformed the physical flesh of the body in a way that it normally cannot function, but Host-power allowed for any and all scientific processes to be bent however far out of shape was necessary in order to accomplish the end goal. Whatever Fanatic wants to do, if she wants it sincerely enough and genuinely believes she can do it (which somewhat limits this otherwise-theoretically-infinite power source, since the more her mind boggles at the implications of being able to do literally anything, the more her actual ability pool shrinks), then she can.

I would further speculate that Bezaliel, the actual Deception-spirit who intentionally followed the former Judgment-spirit (which was now a mostly-human woman named Helena) into the human world, only had the ability to do what he did specifically because Helena had “opened the way” for him. He’s certainly ambitious enough to have wanted to subjugate all of humanity before, but he never tried to, because he never had a motivation to do it; they’re just tattoos, after all, why would a “real person” care about some dumb “picture” that isn’t really a person at all. But when a person decided to turn into a tattoo, and actually DID, Bezaliel kind of went “wh-wh…what? We can’t do that! Can we?” And, because it had now been proven that this sort of thing was possible, he decided to go do it. But, having not done the same thing (let alone for the same reason) as the Judgment-spirit, he got a similar but different result.

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What more does it take to be a God than immense power?

Cool theory overall, but my problem with this bit is, if these spirits exist on such a higher plane, then why can they only experience one emotion/do one action, e.g. judging or deceiving?

That is a LONG conversation, which is probably going to get a little too political for this forum, but I’d be happy to discuss it with you if you send me a PM. I have tons to say on these sorts of subjects, but it can get a little salty for some people’s preferences.

Well only C&A can answer that for sure, but my best guess is that the single emotion in question is the very essence of what the Host spirit IS, and thus they don’t have a mind in the sense that we do, they just have a single identity which makes up their entire being. (Indeed, the Judgment spirit is probably highly unusual among this species, because an Anger spirit is just a single constant state of rage, and likewise for most of the others, but Judgment inherently has duality and choice built into it as an experience, so it inevitably can’t be quite as one-note as the others probably must.) Just because a being is vast doesn’t mean it has to be complex; they could be multiversal beings far beyond our understanding, yet still have little more mental sophistication than an earthworm.