Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Rift Opens...

...but not the type where you need to suppress evil plans and destroy monsters that pour forth from portals that have metallic tentacles hovering above.  I'm talking about the one like Maya Lin's Vietnam Veteran Memorial:

Here is a quote from Wikipedia that I've condensed, though you can find much more detailed information elsewhere:

"The Memorial Wall, designed by Maya Lin, is made up of two...walls....  The walls are sunk into the ground, with the earth behind them.... Stone for the wall...was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality...." 
"When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. There is a pathway along the base of the Wall, where visitors may walk, read the names, make a pencil rubbing of a particular name, or pray."

No, thousands of lives were not lost in this case, respectively.  Not even one, actually.  Instead, a permanent mark has been left; one that many visitors, like those people in the picture above, will come to visit and appreciate, even if they've never had any connection with the names (or words, in this case), the artist (or author, in this case), or know of the overall significance.  But, like "the Wall," this massive Wizard101-based Blog in question is indeed "reflective" and powerful in its impact on the Wizard101 Community.  For those of us who have become acquainted or great friends with Thomas Lionblood (aka "stingite"): we know that, surely, his work, energy, and passion will ring throughout the present and future just as it had in the past like a staple that "bring[s]" these times "together."  Funnily enough, the black background and silver font drives the resemblances further, matching that of the black marble and discolored, white etchings of Maya Lin's creation.  Want to know the history of Wizard101 as it developed?  Want to understand the culture of the community throughout the beginnings and current life of the game?  Need a good laugh -- or even a small smile -- when you're having a bad day?  What about some serious down time to relax?  Searching for enlightenment, in relation to the game?  Not sure about what you want to do next?  Then, check out The Friendly Necromancer.

To elaborate what others have pointed out, the person behind the "words" is not completely gone, and neither is his -- what I call -- work of art.  He's made it clear that it will structurally change, and his writing will still continue; he's "just on a break."  Things will be all right.  Yet, I couldn't help but drop into another realm of thought as soon as my eyes laid upon some interesting words.  I came across a comment on my last post, and read through a couple of blogs today, finding a minuscule reverberation of said comment in Shadowthistle's post.  I mean not to take each out of their own context, but there's a nagging, begging question hopping up and down in the back of my head: "What if Friendly truly was gone (as a Wizard101 blogger)?"

Before writing this, I tried to grasp upon a symbol that would be fitting enough to use as a response to the posed question.  At first, I thought of a candle: each blogger burns a light of their own, sports a unique thickness, and melts their wax in different ways.  But, a candle can be replaceable, or substituted.  When one burns out, other candles will be the source of light.  Also, candles have a finite amount of life.  That's not what TFN is...at all.  So, the "rift" was chosen.  What better way to suit a Necromancer than a metaphor referring to a chasm or a downward split into the ground?

TFN is a ballpark of its own -- almost monumental -- in the sense that no one could ever "step in."  Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Frost may have passed away (thus, their work discontinued), and there may be future imitators, but no one (even if they tried) could ever wear Tom's shoes.  Kestrel mentioned that someone "must take the wheel," in terms of driving this community as Tom has done (and continue to do, I believe). You know what?  I think that we (his readers, contemporaries, colleagues, friends, inspired writers, etc.) all have that responsibility, as a whole, single unit.  Alric Ravensinger points out that "all you have to do is keep talking."  In the spirit of Tom, that could also mean singing (click it...it's WORTH it!), drawing, cartooning, theory-craftingguiding, inventing, screenshotting, celebratingmore theory-crafting, Vlogging, broadcasting, PVPing, reflecting, Tweeting, and, of course, Blogging.

TFN may slow down in posting rates, but that doesn't mean that we have to, either.  Take that gift of his inspiration and make something of it.  That's what Wizard101 has been about, for us crazy, loyal fans: going above and beyond our expectations.  Friendly did it.  We can -- and will -- too, for the many new players that will join the Spiral, from April 2011 and on.  When those newbies ask us how we got here, let them know that it all began with the words, "Hi! My name is Thomas Lionblood! I call myself the friendly necromancer and this is my blog about a brand new family-oriented MMORPG called Wizard101..."


  1. There is no one who could even begin to fill Friendly's shoes. The original and always the best Wizard101 blog. Every Wizard101 blog/fansite will always be compared to Friendly's by anyone who has followed it. Wherever he decides to turn his attention - that game/cause will have a bonanza of talent and followers who are loyal to Friendly. I know I will be.

  2. Agreed, 100% Kevin! Beautifully written.

    No *one* person can shoulder the Atlas-like shadow that TFN casts over the Spiral&Sphere, it is a Collective Spirit of Community. That's the "Friendly Buff" he cast for all of us. Leading by example, not mandate.

    No one can 'replace' Thomas, *ever*, but collectively, as a Unified Community, we can keep his Guiding Example, and his Legacy, alive and well.

    Hail to The GreatFather, Thomas Lionblood! Forever may he reign!

  3. Though I have never had a chance to work with Friendly in game, I have enjoyed reading his blog. And you are right, no one will replace TFN, but I hope he lets us know what he will be doing in the future.

    TFN will be missed if he stops blogging for good, but we CAN remember all that he has given us. Kevin Battleblood - you have chosen a perfect way to "memorialize" TFN. Thanks.

  4. Friendly's work will continue to influence wizards everywhere. Very good thought provoking posts as always Kevin.

  5. Wow, LOL.

    Well, thanks, KBB. I'm speechless, which is saying something for me. And thank you all for the kind comments as well.

    I appreciate everything you've said here, Kevin, and I appreciate your tireless efforts within the Wizard101 community. I could easily say the same about you. Keep up the good work (and the glowsticking and pvp yo ;)).


  6. I agree completely with you KBB. Friendly always is like the center of the spiral, keeping us together and showing us what to do in game. He will always be remembered.


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