So I was just thinking about Lance and Jinfeng and how they actually have a pretty neat duality
I was kind of aware of it back in the DCS days, realising that while Lance was a Knight of Blood (ow the edge) Jinfeng was a good ally as a Maid of Hope

But actually thinking about Stablehand and the gamebook format has made me realise some more things about them. Lance and his mother Stars Reims are highly associated with death and moody polar imagery. But Jinfeng and Jinhuang* are highly associated with life and revival.

I had that thing where Lance’s ‘stories’ are a nod to early gamebooks where you’d die a lot for no good reason leaving a pretty silly story on its own

I just realised that might be funny if, like, in Lance’s story it’s made abundantly clear that he’s weirdly obsessed with death and blood and stuff, but yet even though he gets into a whole lot of circumstances that look really bad and like you’re gonna die if you do the wrong thing, you actually have to really go out of your way to get him killed—like, one obvious way would be going all the way to find Quietus and fighting him without being prepared.

But in Jinfeng’s story, there are a million ways that… not necessarily she dies but that her story ends prematurely in an undesirable outcome, at any rate. And every single time you get this elaborate-ish game over sequence where Jinhuang appears and reassures her while reverting her back to a suitable previous point. (I started actually writing a song for this, that would be like any of the other song amv-things in Stablehand but highly skippable, like there’s a simple continue screen with Jinhuang every time but you just get an optional link to play the song after the first time.)

I dunno, I just weirdly like the idea of a game having this unnecessarily elaborate and motivational game over song. Particularly if the first few circumstances in which you can hear it are totally anticlimactic or even “beginner’s mistake” type things, and you’re just like jeez what is this, but then later on things actually get rather hard, and then it comes up, and you’re like, y’know what, I actually kinda needed that. thank you weird random game over song, I guess I’ll stay motivated.