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Wickerbottom Lore Teaser - What We Already Know


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So uh, hey y'all. Fridge here, back from the depths to share his findings (in collaboration with memetea35 on the Mighty Beard discord).

 

So. The Wickerbottom short. Or the teaser of it, anyway.

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This is, most likely, the New York State Capital Library. At night, too. Though I'll come back to that later.

Some of you may remember a library being mentioned in the Winona short, as well as the following from a dev stream way back when:

Spoiler

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In case you can't tell, that's Wickerbottom linked to the headline of the library fire, as well as WX, for some reason. Ignorning the WX bit, this tells us that Wickerbottom likely worked at this library in some capacity.

This library actually exists, and, more importantly, burned to the ground in 1911. March 29th, specifically. 1911 New York State Capitol fire - Wikipedia. Of note there is that this neatly falls in our 1906-1921 timeline of when the original cast of DS was captured.

No cause of the fire was discovered, but it was stated to likely have been caused by accident, due to a dropped cigarette or faulty wiring or something like that.

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Wickerbottom is stated to live for the pursuit of knowledge. This is not limited to mere science either. She is clearly partial to arcane knowledge as well. With magic, however, there is always a risk involved.

Now, Wickerbottom has a few new books in the upcoming update. Naturally, these books have quotes. I'd like to bring your attention to one book in particular: Pyrokinetics Explained.

Spoiler

 

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Given the fact that the library caught fire overnight, the newspaper headline, and these two quotes, there seem to be some very strong suggestions that Wickerbottom was, somehow, directly involved with the New York Library fire. Perhaps she's even the cause of it?

Sorry if this is wholly disjointed and/or nonsensical, I am tired and just wanted to get this out there

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8 minutes ago, __IvoCZE__ said:

She is linked to the library in the animatic, and she is also a part of the first wave of characters joining Constant.
There's not much else you can pinpoint or know right now.

The library exists, though. The picture I provided shows a very close likeness. We also know that the library burned down, and we have those two quotes that clearly hint at some "mistake" related to fire. Since the actual cause of the fire is unknown, it's entirely possible our characters have something do with it (in universe, anyway). Also, with no other reference to any libary, I honestly find it hard to say it's not related.

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Her quoting points towards she was the culprit of the fire, maybe she was already slightly delving into magic, she could very much have caused a spark or used "catch flame" to an amateur extent, things got out of control and started to burn down. Maxwell caught a glimpse of her potential, offered her a way to control magic and leave the library "unharmed". Who wouldn't accept such offer. And of course with the Librarian disappearance people wouldn't be able to tell how the fire started, magic would be absolutely out of question.

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3 hours ago, sudoku said:

I hope the short touches on why she cant sleep, thats the most interesting thing about her character. What dark secret prevents her from being able to sleep at night?

I don’t know but after watching the horror movie “Awake” last night.. Not being able to sleep AT ALL would be about like watching that movie. You start seeing things that aren’t there and acting strangely, Surely she has to sleep at some point.. right? Unless-

She fell asleep from exhaustion/boredom at her job and the library caught fire, so Maxwells “Deal” with her was his promise that if she comes to his world she will never have to sleep again.

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The fact that Ms. Wickerbottom has insomnia ties in well with how the library fire occurred at 2AM in the morning. She was probably indulging herself with some "interesting" books after her day shift at the library to pass the time from her insomnia. And maybe she was hoping to pursue more knowledge about these peculiar books at a time when most if not all people were asleep and a certain someone saw the opportunity to strike while the iron was hot to answer the burning questions this librarian had.

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Her compendium makes it seem like her books are tied to the occult, like she practices witchcraft during the late night hours. I wonder if she summomed Maxwell or some other demonic being and that resulted in the fire

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 According to an unimplemented Wagstaff quote, her books are written with nightmare-infused ink.

Quote

"Is this ink imbued with dark fuel?! Fascinating!"
Wagstaff, examining Sleepytime Stories (unimplemented)

We know that artifacts from the constant have made their way to Earth such as the Codex Umbra. But if Wagstaff's observations are true, then it means that Wickerbottom had access to nightmare fuel—or had books infused with nightmare fuel—outside of the constant. Heck, it's possible that she even wrote some of the books with nightmare fuel, which would certainly attract Their eyes.
 

Quote

Her quoting points towards she was the culprit of the fire, maybe she was already slightly delving into magic, she could very much have caused a spark or used "catch flame" to an amateur extent, things got out of control and started to burn down.

I have a slightly different take on that. The only books she could've used to set the library ablaze would be The End is Nigh (which conjures up the cool image of 16 lightning strikes decimating the library, which obviously didn't happen in the real event) or the Fire Pen she made with Pyrotechnics Explained (if it even existed at that point; Wicker's quote implies that she made the book in response to what happened that night, so it's likely that she created it while in the constant)

To me, this makes it seem like she feels responsible for the fire even though she didn't cause it. (Willow is right there, and her more simple means of arson by lighter, rather than lightning, more closely line up with the more vague "faulty wiring" explanation.) This could mean that Maxwell's deal exploited her wish to save the books of the library and the knowledge within. If she was given a means to escape the fire while also keeping precious knowledge—and magic—safe, I think she would.

 

Spoiler

In regards to the actual event...

I remember doing my own research and independently finding out about the NY State Library fire connection (which felt GOOD), and I found one article that mentioned the following:

The worst part of the real NYSL fire was the loss of hundreds of books and manuscripts, but several people were key in saving a good portion. One such person was Joseph Gavit, Superintendent of the Stacks, who could recognize many books that were beyond repair. This section in particular stood out to me...

An example of the damage done to library holdings. [Picture of a large pile of irrevocably destroyed books.] Believe it or not, Joseph Gavit was able to recognize this stack right away, as the Library's folio prints of Audubon's "Birds of America."

[You can check it out here]

This is likely just a coincidence, but it is a very fitting coincidence. It would be very cute if this was referenced somehow!

 

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8 minutes ago, Castaccio said:

snippery snip

Maybe she came up with the idea for Pyrokinetics Explained, some time after that the fire occured and she was desperately writing it to try and stop it  but couldn't do it in time? So maxwell used that opportunity to get her into the constant? Idk just adding onto funny big big idea big!

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4 hours ago, Castaccio said:

According to an unimplemented Wagstaff quote, her books are written with nightmare-infused ink.

Interesting, as the only other person we know that has access to nightmare fuel in the universe outside of Constant is Wanda, inside her clockworks.

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4 hours ago, __IvoCZE__ said:

Interesting, as the only other person we know that has access to nightmare fuel in the universe outside of Constant is Wanda, inside her clockworks.

Grannies are too OP

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8 hours ago, __IvoCZE__ said:

Interesting, as the only other person we know that has access to nightmare fuel in the universe outside of Constant is Wanda, inside her clockworks.

And Willow, in her short.

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13 hours ago, Castaccio said:

According to an unimplemented Wagstaff quote, her books are written with nightmare-infused ink.

This might be just about Sleepytime Stories specifically, as it actually has Nightmare Fuel as an ingredient. The other books don't, and I very much doubt the Lunar Grimoire would be using shadow magic.

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Something that i find strange is that right next to the new york library burning poster is the poster for "exposition universelle 1910" which is put ¨coincidentally¨ right next to the library poster. Why does it matter? Well, according to the wikipedia page of brussels international exposition in 1910 it suffered a big fire. Another fire a year before the fire that happened at Wickerbottom's library. 

Now this could lead up to something bigger or nothing at all and isn't essentially a part of Wickerbottom's lore, plus this happened in Belgium and idk how that would tie into anything (And i certainly don't expect Willow to be in Belgium). But could it be a coincidence that Wicker might've a caused another fire somewhere else and isn't necessarily meant to be the library? 

 

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2 hours ago, Nino123 said:

And Willow, in her short.

I had the idea that Willow probably got the fire powers cause of the nightmare that attacked her. Similar to Webber who mutated by fusing with a spider, Willow likely somehow got infused with nightmarefuel via Terrorbeak to make her both have a mania for fire (explains low sanity) and fire immunity itself. Wicker and Wanda likely had other means by getting fuel. Assuming by slaying them somehow or harvesting.

Klei never really explained how that works in their world but it's a safer solution to say grannies go slay them nightmares yaaas queens slaaay and got their magic.

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4 hours ago, Nino123 said:

And Willow, in her short.

Not really, personally I interpretted her abilities get triggered by a crawling horror.

Bernie is also a direct force against the horrors.

2 hours ago, PunkShark said:

"exposition universelle 1910"

This is seemingly only fits for Wes, given his european and artist status.

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My working theory is that Wickerbottom and Maxwell were an item, and she found the Codex in the depths of the library.  She either gave it to Maxwell or he took it from her, and they broke up.  Her close relationship with Maxwell is why she's one of the first in the Constant.

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