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Mr. Green writes...

Hello! I am a huge fan of your work. I was wondering, what would have happened if someone were to travel back in time, and keep Macbeth from saving Duncan from falling off the cliff in City of Stone Part Three?

Greg responds...

In the Gargoyle's Universe that isn't possible. It happened, so it happened. We had very strict rules of time travel.

Response recorded on October 02, 2017

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Titus writes...

I found this on the GargsWiki http://gargwiki.net/File:Archmage%27s_time_loop.png

Did you do that? I still don't fully understand it. How did the loop start? Did the future mage pop out of thin air?

Greg responds...

I didn't make that chart, but it looks correct. And it seems pretty clear to me. It's your question that I don't fully understand.

The "future" archmage was enchanted by himself and goes back in time. From the standpoint of the original archmage, it seemed like he emerged from a portal of fire.

Watch the episodes again.

Response recorded on May 15, 2017

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Entropy writes...

Hey Greg, I thought I'd bring up a paradox I thought of regarding YJ, not to criticize the show (I loved the show) but just for fun:

Okay so let's suppose for the sake of discussion that Impulse went back into the past solely to prevent Blue Beetle from going rogue (whether or not this was his only reason remains to be seen). So the reach fails their plan and everything is good. But, we know impulse went back into the past from a dystopic future to prevent said future from ever happening. Now let's say Impulse is able to stop the future from happening. Regardless of whether he can go back to the future or not, the timeline is altered so that the future was never dystopic to begin with, not giving Impulse any reason to go into the past in the first place. What happens to the Impulse already in the past, does he "cease?" The rabbit hole goes deeper. With the future altered, Impulse doesn't go into the past to begin with. So there's no Impulse in the past to fix the dystopic future. So the future becomes dystopic again. So the universe is indetermined. It's in a superposition of states: Dystopic future or happy future. Impulse having to go into the past or not. This is simply a rewording of the grandfather paradox by the way. Let's suppose time travel is possible in the first place (it's not, it's forbidden by the second law of thermodynamics), the ramifications on the universe could be immense, or there could be none at all depending on how the The Young Justice universe works. Just wanted your thoughts on this. Thanks!

Greg responds...

Yeah, I've explored all this in detail. The workings of Time Travel in the DC Universe don't suit my preferences. I prefer the way we did time travel in the Gargoyles Universe. But the way I see it for YJ, is that in essence, Bart came back, and his coming back, split off Earth-16 as a parallel universe. So Bart came back from - in essence - another time line.

Response recorded on April 13, 2017

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Corey writes...

Hello Greg,

My question deals with the mutability of time in the Gargoyles universe. The archives and TV series indictate that time loops are part of the timestream, there are no alternate timelines, and history cannot be changed (If I am missing anything or am being inaccurate, feel free to chastise me accordingly). However, I also remember you saying that the younger Demona could have acted differently then her future self, as could the non-Enhanced Archmage.

So then my question is if history is immutable due to the free actions of the characters or the mechanics of the universe (for want of a better term)? As you said in a previous post, freewill does not give you the ability to do whatever you want in any situation but that a character can strive for greater goals and independence (Please forgive my paraphrasing and or if I misunderstood). Characters like Demona, Xanatos, and the Archmage, knew (to varying extents) their future and (directly or indirectly) chose to act in such a way as to bring these outcomes about. If that is the case then, in theory, history could have been changed but, as it never was, it never can be. However, if reality is such that certain things must always happen as they are crucial to the integrity of the timestream, then freewill is illusory. Every action one takes will always lead them to an outcome they only believed they chose as they could not chose any other option. However, the former interpretation makes it so that, ironically, predestination is the product of life choices of living beings. If I am misunderstanding or letting my own opinions skew facts I apologize and thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

Paragraph One: No, I never said that. I may have said that the younger Demona THOUGHT she could alter her timeline. But she couldn't.

Paragraph Two: No. Free will exists. Forget time travel for a moment. Yesterday you ordered eggs and bacon for breakfast. That was your choice. No one made you do it. Looking back, you wish you had ordered oatmeal. You can't change it now. Too late, right? But that doesn't mean you didn't have free will at the time. It just means you're not omnipotent. So if one-day-older you goes back in time to convince one-day-younger you to change your order, you will fail. Because you can't alter the time stream. But that doesn't mean that (a) one-day-younger you STILL didn't exercise freewill in ordering the bacon he wanted in the time, nor does it mean (b) that one-day-older you isn't exercising free will in attempting to get you to switch to oatmeal. Free will is about choices. Not success.

Response recorded on July 13, 2016

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Max writes...

Hey Greg! My question is in regards to the letters sent by Xanatos in Vows:
1. What details were included in the first letter? Did he just say "here is a coin" or were stock tips or other future knowledge included?
2. Who did young David think sent the letter? Could someone as intelligent as X really leave that alone for 20 years?
3. Are the letters constructs of the time stream or out of David's head? Did he read (or copy) the originals before traveling back in time?

Greg responds...

1. Just the coin, basically, as I recall. It's been a while since I've rewatched the episode.

2. He never knew. He may have searched on and off for an answer, but didn't find one until the second letter came.

3. He probably had them memorized. So the content may in fact have been born with the time stream.

Response recorded on May 06, 2016

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My CONvergence 2014 Schedule

So the #Gargoyles20 U.S. Tour continues. Stop #3 is CONvergence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Well, actually in Bloomington, Minnesota, but close enough.) http://www.convergence-con.org

This is a big one for us. It includes a number of events that we used to do at the old Gathering of the Gargoyles Conventions, which ran from 1997-2009. And I know a bunch of Gargoyles fans will be attending, so it'll also be a reunion of sorts.

My schedule for the long weekend is quite packed - which is just how I like it!

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014
2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm BUFFYVERSE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Okay, so Gargoyles ISN'T the only show celebrating an anniversary. The Buffy/Angel universe has been off the air for ten years. Let's reminisce and talk about the impact these shows have had on TV fantasy since their cancellation. Panelists: Myself, Tim Lieder, Cetius d'Raven, Madeleine Rowe, Mark Goldberg. EDINA.

7:00pm - 8:00pm OPENING CEREMONY
If it's not exactly a magical invocation, it is nonetheless our official kick-off for the convention! Join CONvergence mascot Connie as we welcome our Guests of Honor, give out some awards (including the Mark Time and Ogle winners), and get this party started. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Frank Paur, Matthew Ebel, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Rob Callahan, Windy Bowlsby, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE.

9:00pm - 10:00pm GREG WEISMAN'S FANCY BASTARD PIE COMPETITION
Geek Partnership Society is excited to host the Greg Weisman Fancy Bastard Pie Competition at CONvergence 2014! It is open to all CONvergence members who wish to participate. The goal is to make a pie that Greg Weisman, herein to be known as "Fancy Bastard", likes best. The winner will be told super-secret Young Justice spoilers. Find out [some of] what would have happened in Season 3! (But winner must swear to secrecy to claim prize.) See below for some helpful hints.* CABANA 110.

FRIDAY, JULY 4th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Last chance to audition! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

12:30pm - 1:30pm FROM TV TO COMICS
We'll discuss the TV shows that expanded into the comicverse, such as Buffy, Smallville, Young Justice and Gargoyles. Did they succeed? Were any of the comics improvements on the shows? How did canon change during the transition? Panelists: Myself (Gargoyles, Young Justice), Shawn van Briesen, Jonathan Palmer, Greg Guler (Gargoyles), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles, Bad Guys), Christopher Jones (Batman Strikes, Young Justice, Bad Guys). PLAZA 2.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself, Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Batman Strikes, Parallel Man) and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding a signing session. Both Chris and Greg always have an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. But this time I'm pretty darn prepared as well. First off, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. ;) CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm CREATING GARGOYLES
This is what we used to call (at the Gathering) the Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show. The creators of Gargoyles show clips and tell stories of how the show came to be. Lots of visual aids. Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Frank Paur ( (Supervising Producer/Director), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 6.

7:00pm - 8:00pm TIME TRAVEL THEORY
Let's assume for a moment that Time Travel is possible. This panel will explore the theories behind such technology. We'll explore quantum realities, temporal anomalies and all other challenges our theoretical time travelers will be face! [Now, I suggested this panel, but then they went and put some actual scientists on the damn thing. So I may quickly be embarrassed into silence.] ;) Panelists: Myself, Nicole Gugliucci, Jim Kakalios, G. David Nordley, Amy Berg. ATRIUM 4.

8:30pm - 9:30pm GARGOYLES Q&A
Join the cast and creators of the "Gargoyles" series and SLG companion comic books to ask and talk about the property. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Christopher Jones (Bad Guys guest artist), Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale), Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles Guest Artist, Bad Guys Artist), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer, Gargoyles Guest Artist). MAIN STAGE.

SATURDAY, JULY 5th, 2014
9:30am - 10:30am GARGOYLES SIGNING
Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale) and Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director) will be holding a signing session. Again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

11:00am - 12:25pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY REHEARSAL
This is a closed session - for those who were cast in the Radio Play - led by Myself, Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice) & Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee). ATRIUM 6.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY PERFORMANCE
Fans and professionals - including Myself (voice of Donald Menken and Lucas "Snapper" Carr), Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice), and of course, Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi from Star Trek TNG and the voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee) - perform a LIVE, ORIGINAL Gargoyles radio play! ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES BIOLOGY AND CULTURE
A "what if" panel about the biology and culture of the Gargoyles universe. Creators and performers speculate about anything and everything going on outside the frames of the TV series. Panelists: Craig A. Finseth moderates Myself (Creator, Producer) and Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm RAIN OF THE GHOSTS
I'll be reading from and talking about the world and characters of my novel "Rain of the Ghosts" and its sequel, "Spirits of Ash and Foam," which comes out July 8th, 2014, one week after the convention! ATRIUM 3.

7:00pm - 8:00pm ONE ON ONE WITH GREG WEISMAN
Hal Bichel will moderate a one-on-one panel with Myself. PLAZA 2.

8:30pm - 9:30pm SIGNING
Once again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

10:00pm - 11:00pm BLUE MUG
Ever wonder about the sexual habits of Gargoyles? Ever wonder who was sleeping with whom among the Young Justice Team or the cast of Spectacular Spider-Man? Join us for for a late night peek at your favorite animated series. This panel will get blue! (So attendees will be carded!) Panelists: Myself, Christopher Jones, Mara Cordova (Last Tengu in Paris Artist). It is also rumored that Edmund Tsabard (an unfancy bastard and Last Tengu in Paris Writer) may make an appearance. EDINA.

SUNDAY, JULY 6th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm PROTOFEMINISTS IN SHAKESPEARE
Shakespeare portrayed several intelligent, independent, and self-aware women--Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Katharine, Beatrice, Viola, Rosalind. We'll discuss the problematic and the remarkably (for the era) fleshed-out aspects of their representation. Panelists: Myself, Elizabeth Bear, Ashley F. Miller, Joseph Erickson, Alexandra Howes. EDINA.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES FAN PANEL
It's the 20th Anniversary of Gargoyles. Come share your favorite moments from the show. As always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Daniel Mohr moderates Myself, Ryan Alexander, Robert Wagner, Maggie Schultz, Jennifer Anderson, Karine Charlebois. ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding one last signing session. Greg G. always has an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. And I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm YOUNG JUSTICE
Creative minds behind the Young Justice TV and comic book series will talk about this fan favorite. We're planning some special surprises as well. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Queen Bee), Christopher Jones (Artist YJ Comic). MAIN STAGE.

5:00pm - 6:00pm CLOSING CEREMONY
It's not over 'til the gynoid sings - or something like that. Join CONvergence mascot Connie and our Guests of Honor as we say farewell to another convention. Shenanigans may ensue. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Matthew Ebel, Frank Paur, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Windy Bowlsby, Rob Callahan, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE

SEE?!! I told you there was a lot. And that's only the stuff that I'm doing. CONvergence is jam-packed with all sorts of pop culture nutritional goodness. So stop by and say hello!!

*In the interest of Full Disclosure, Fancy Bastard would like all to know that he especially likes the following pies:
APPLE
BERRY (pretty much any kind of berry or a mix of same)
PEACH
APRICOT
PUMPKIN
BANANA CREAM (herein to be known as the funniest pie)
Combinations of some of the fruit pies can be great. Contestants are welcome to try other pies at their own risk.

Fancy Bastard does NOT especially like the following pies:
PECAN
Anything with Chocolate or Lemon or Meringue
Raisins in Apple Pie
Almost never Cherry, though he has tasted the rare exception...


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NoOneSpecial writes...

Okay so I have to be REALLY careful about how I ask this question. If you cant understand my meaning then its probably my own fault and for that I'm sorry, but I thought this was a very interesting concept. It's about xanatos's letter to himself.
Here we go. So in Vows, Xanatos travels back in time and sends himself the coin that he will eventually use to amass his fortune. He also sends a letter that is to be delivered to himself twenty years after the coin which explains how he has to get the coin, which as he said in the episode he received that very letter a week before the wedding. So I guess the best way I can phrase this is, is that the EXACT same letter and by same I mean the same piece of paper. The way I see it that letter is over a thousand years old and must be pretty worn(unless of course it was carefully preserved). So when xanatos gets the letter, does he just send back the same one he got or copy the information on a new piece of paper and send that back instead? If its the first one then that piece of paper must keep accumulating age to it. He sends it once, its over a thousand years old. He sends it a second time, its another thousand years old, and so on. So the piece of paper could eventually become so worn that it would be either unreadable or destroyed. So does xanatos just make a new letter every time he gets it or send back the one he received? PS loved rain of ghosts, hope you get to make all nine books.

Greg responds...

It was carefully preserved by the Illuminati.

In the past, he wrote the original. He doesn't reuse it.

Glad you liked Rain! If you haven't already, could you do me a favor and write up a review on Amazon?

Response recorded on May 13, 2014

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Because im Batman writes...

How is it possible that Impulse is still present in the 2016 timeline? he time-travelled to achieve an objective (i.e. stop the reach apocalypse) and with that objective achieved there wouldn't have been a reason for him to time-travel in the first place, thereby creating a paradox which would have erased impulse from the 2016 time line and placed him back in his own 'altered' timeline (where the reach apocalypse was prevented). Time travelling gives me a headache :(

Greg responds...

Me too sometimes. But this is basically ASKED AND ANSWERED already. Check the archives under Young Justice Invasion or Time Travel.

Response recorded on October 16, 2013

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Anonymous writes...

Since the concept of time travel has been introduced I was wondered if you view time travel as more of a circular thing (events that repeat themselves and are unchangeable) or more like J.J. Abrams Star Trek where time travel creates an alternate reality?

Greg responds...

It depends which series you're talking about. I've gone on ad nauseum about time travel in Gargoyles, and I've even answered this question vis-a-vis Young Justice. (HINT: They utilize two different theories of time travel.) Check the ASK GREG archives.

Response recorded on April 12, 2013

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Rob In Chicago writes...

Hey Greg,

Once again, you and your team are incredible. Each new episode of YJ is better than the last. I'm sure that you are bummed about the unscheduled hiatus, but I (and I'm sure everybody else who has followed you since Gargoyles) will be there Jan 5th, feeling like it is Christmas morning. Perhaps absence will make the heart grow fonder. But enough of the propers, as I've had a question that I've been wanting to ask you for months.

1) Have you seen Looper? If not I STRONGLY suggest that you do. I would imagine it is right up your ally.

2) If so, I wanted to hear your take on the time travel aspects. How does its interpretation of multi-verse/multiple timelines mesh with your working theory on Gargoyles. You have talked at length about working vs non-working paradoxes. As the movie suggests, "I don't want to talk about time travel because if we start talking about it then we're going to be here all day talking about it, making diagrams with straws." So, let's face it, it isn't an exact science.

2)Obviously, it doesn't hold true to your interpretation, based on the ending (I'm not going to spoil it for anyone here), but do you think that it implies a working or non working paradox? If you see it and are like "WTF?", there is a great piece online, where they actually lay it out with straws that I would suggest.

Just wanted to see if you had checked it out and get your spin.

Thanks once more to you and your team (and The Team) for Young Justice. I have a feeling that it is going to come back to serious fanfare and you'll be answering questions about Bibbo's blood type for years to come. At least I hope so.

Happy New Year! I know this next one will be a big one for you!

P.S. You teased something about Gargoyles a few weeks ago... anything? Just a tiny taste? A morsal for a long time fan?

Greg responds...

1. I have not.

2. (You had two question twos.) But since I haven't seen the movie, I can't respond to either.

P.S. I did? I seriously don't recall. What did I say?

Response recorded on March 12, 2013

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JAC writes...

To elaborate on my last post...if you go back & change something, then there would be no reason to go back, therefore you never did, and nothing changes...ie. Bart would have to have been from a future in which Impulse had already arrived from the future 40 years ago, and the changes he made would be a part of his own.
history.
I swear, its not as complicated as it sounds.

Greg responds...

Wow. I'm sure you don't mean to sound as condescending as you're coming across. I totally understood what you were getting at. And again, it's the way I prefer to handle time travel stories. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT'S STILL A FICTIONAL CONCEIT. As long as we're being internally consistent about the rules of time travel on Young Justice, then I think we're fine.

Response recorded on November 06, 2012

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MacLeod writes...

Hey Greg,

Ok so in Gargoyles the Archmage fell into that chasm in 984 and was supposed to die, but didn't. How was it possible for him to save himself? I understand the "future Archmage" came and saved himself in 984, but the Archmage from 984 must have conjured his future incarnation to begin with while he was falling down that chasm, I'm I close? Thanks!!!

Greg responds...

No, you're not. Didn't you JUST ask this question recently? If not you, someone else did. Anyway, "ASKED AND ANSWERED." Check the archives.

Response recorded on May 05, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

Greg: "The Archmage's ENTIRE LOOP was part of the timestream. [..]

The Archmage NEVER died in that cavern. In ANY incarnation.

[...] it's a WORKING paradox. It does have logic. I did a panel on this at a Gathering once, and it's easier to explain with a chalkboard. But it works. Trust me."

If he never died in the cavern then how did the time loop begin? Just out of the blue future archmage shows up to save his past self? Isn't that Deus Ex Machina?

I'm not trying to provoke you or anything, I just really wish to understand this paradox, especially the part that makes it work. Would it be too much to ask you to doodle that panel and upload it to GargWiki or something? I CAN'T be the only one not understanding this...

Greg responds...

If you want to call it Deus ex Machina, you can. In other words, you can fault the storytelling but not the integrity of the time-loop. ;)

But I don't think it IS Deus ex Machina, except by technicality, BECAUSE of the time-loop. It was inherent in who the Archmage was.

I have no ability to upload a doodle anywhere, I'm afraid.

Response recorded on March 31, 2011

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Jurgan writes...

"Xander writes...

Can you tell us who was the first (a) person, (b) being and (c) entity to figure out how to work the Phoenix Gate?
Greg responds...

Yes, I can."

Really, you can? I wouldn't think the term "first" could apply to the Phoenix Gate. And I'm not even being sarcastic (well, maybe just a little), but how can something in an infinite loop ever be said to have a beginning or end? Perhaps there's an earliest time it appeared, but odds are it was taken there by someone else, who may have taught this "earliest" person how to use it- in which case, could (s)he really be said to be the first person to have used it? I'm interested in this- do you think of there being a beginning to something like the Phoenix Gate? Or am I just reading way too much into an off-the-cuff smartass remark?

Greg responds...

Mostly, yeah, you're reading too much into it...

BUT.. haven't I already answered this? The first entity to figure out how to work the Gate was the entity that bound the Phoenix IN the Gate.

Response recorded on February 25, 2011

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Anonymous writes...

I’d like a clarification on the only thing I don’t understand about Gargoyles: Archmage’s time loop.

So, the Archmage didn’t die when he plunged down the chasm because he was saved by his future self, thus changing his inevitable outcome: death. But, the future Archmage could not have travelled back in time to save his past-self in the first place unless the latter had survived naturally, only to age and get the talismans and then travel back and begin the loop. The future Archmage saving his past-self from certain death doesn’t go against the show’s premise of time being immutable? The future Archmage could not have saved his past-self without changing history...

Is this confusing? So is this paradox, but even paradoxes make sense when they adhere to an internal logic, but I can’t find this one. A clarification would make wonders for the throbbing headaches this time loop gives me.

Thanks.

Greg responds...

The Archmage's ENTIRE LOOP was part of the timestream. It changed nothing. It always was. (You're viewing the timestream linearly instead of viewing it as a whole.)

The Archmage NEVER died in that cavern. In ANY incarnation.

And yes, this is a paradox, but it's a WORKING paradox. It does have logic. I did a panel on this at a Gathering once, and it's easier to explain with a chalkboard. But it works. Trust me.

Response recorded on February 09, 2011

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

Greg:
In response to Matthew and also to your answer earlier concerning "All You Zombies," doesn't changing what he did (let alone preventing his own birth) also change history? It is part of the past that the character said certain words in a certain order, and not other words. If he chooses to change the words, he must change history also. Isn't this true of Demona in Vows as well? But in Gargoyles, history cannot be changed.

The reason I focused on whether or not the character remembers the words spoken to their past selves is this: when Demona shows up with the Phoenix Gate, the events of her encounter with herself have not actually happened yet. So they appear not to be predetermined. But she remembers what she her future self said to her when she was on the receiving end, and she remembers watching her future self kick Goliath. The events are already in her memory, and therefore part of the history she has already participated in. If she remembers the events, then either her memories are wrong (and were wrong all along) or else the events were part of history. The other possibility I can think of is that when she went back in time, she temporarily forgot her previous encounter with her future self and was free to make it up from scratch.

What I don't follow is how she (or Heinlein's protagonist) can choose not to play along without altering history.

Greg responds...

Nothing prevents you from TRYING to change history. Succeeding is something else. Nothing prevents you from trying to jump off a cliff in order to fly under your own power. Succeeding at flying under your own power is something else.

Again, free will is NOT the same as sudden control over things you never had control over.

There's no forgetting in a mystic sense going on with Demona. (No making it up from scratch.) But it has been a thousand plus years. Her memory is good, but not photographic. She tries to make some changes, and no changes are made. They can CHOOSE not to play along. But they DIDN'T choose not to play along. It's a loop. The fact that the CHOICE itself is part of the loop doesn't negate the choice.

If you're falling off that cliff (not flying) and AT THAT POINT choose not to jump... well, it's a little late. But the fact that you can't change it halfway down the mountain doesn't negate the fact that you made a choice in the first place.

Response recorded on October 02, 2010

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Matthew writes...

In an earlier post the discussion was about Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies..." and whether the protagonist had free will or was predestined to carry out his actions in the story. You said he could have chosen to do otherwise. I agree, but I'd like to point out that it wasn't much of choice. If he did not he would not have been born. So whether not he had free will, he had to do what he did to ensure his own existence.

Greg responds...

If existence mattered that much to him. Like any of us, sometimes the choices we're presented with aren't particularly appealing. You're in a burning building. You can jump to your death or burn to death! Choose! (Yeah, not fun. But you get the idea.) Having free will doesn't make you omnipotent in real life, so why would it make you omnipotent in a time travel story?

Response recorded on October 02, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

I read "All You Zombies" by Heinlein a while ago, based on your recommendation that it demonstrated working paradoxes in time travel, and although it was not recent I decided to finally type up and share what I thought from reading it. First of all, the story creeped me out!

But what I'm writing to you about is free will. Did the main character of that story have free will? On the surface at least, it appears to me that he did not for much of the story. He clearly remembered everything that had happened to him, yet he did not have to option not to seduce himself, or not to catch take past self back in the time machine, nor could he choose to change what he said and did in that bar when he was the bartender. When interacting with his past self, I think he had no choice but to say and do exactly what he remembered seeing his future self doing and hearing his future self saying.

He did have options regarding abducting the baby, mainly because he didn't remember being abducted, but one way or another he had to abduct that baby or get someone else to abduct her: he only had options in how he did it. This is comparable to Goliath time-travelling with Griff in M.I.A. Goliath could not possibly get Griff back to his clan in the 1940s, but he had plenty of options of what he could do instead. In that situation Goliath had far more options than the character in "All You Zombies" had when abducting the baby, but still this is a situation with free will.

But what options does a character really have when meeting their past self, if they DO remember the entire encounter? This is apparently what happened to Demona in Vows. She remembered Goliath's "little speech" (or maybe she was lying to him or to herself, but let's assume she was telling the truth this time) and so she must have remembered what her future self said and did. Does that mean she had no free will to change the encounter with her past self when she went back in time? For example, did she really have free will to change what words she said, or not to kick Goliath? It appears to me that this is a situation where she didn't have free will. When the Archmage(+) told his past self that the future is a place of science, not superstition, and that Demona and Macbeth were only "cannon fodder" he couldn't even have understood what he was saying, let alone invented it himself. In fact his entire bizarre mini-timedance seems to abrogate his free will, because as he said "I should (know what to do), I watched you do it."

Demona's PAST self certainly had free will in Vows, since she did not yet remember the encounter. Likewise, the Archmage clearly had free will during his first pass through his time loop. I would think that any time a character is in a stable time loop, they have free will as long as they are unaware of what "already happened." But when they do remember what happened because their past self is there at the scene, they don't have the option to change what already happened. They already KNOW what happened. If they already know what words they spoke to their past self, then those words are something they remember, not something they are thinking up freely, and they don’t have the option of saying anything different from what they remember.

Am I missing something?

Greg responds...

I tend to disagree with you about the free will thing. Heinlein's character could have chosen NOT to cooperate with his memories. Either because he liked the end result or because he felt oppressed by the inevitability of it all (or some other reason I can't think of at this moment), he CHOSE to play along.

Again, Free Will doesn't mean you get to live the life you want to lead. It means that at best you have the option of STRIVING for the life you want to lead. But some people use their free will to conform. Doesn't mean it's not a choice.

Now, that raises the obvious question: what would have happened to Heinlein's character, to Demona, to the Archmage had they chosen NOT to play along. We'll never know.

Response recorded on September 17, 2010

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Brian Bartoccini writes...

Hello Mr. Weisman it is me again; 3 days ago I saw Avalon, they are very exiting and interesting episodes but I don't understand how the Archmage survived after the battle in "Long away to morning", can you explain that to me in detail?
Well, I hope again my english it is understandable.
Goodbye Mr. Weisman

Greg responds...

This is in the archives, but BRIEFLY, he was rescued by his future self, who caught him before he hit bottom.

What else do you need to know?

Response recorded on August 18, 2010

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JANUARY 23

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

January 23rd...

1996
The travelers immediately depart Avalon again, landing in London, where they meet Leo and Una, who remember Goliath from 1940 and blame him for the death of Griff. Goliath is mystified, and uses the Phoenix Gate to travel back in time to 1940, in an attempt to learn the truth and save Griff. He and Griff return to 1996, reuniting Griff with Leo and Una.


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DECEMBER 30

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

December 30th...

1995
Macbeth and Demona attack the humans and gargoyles at Oberon's Palace, while the Magus faces off against the Weird Sisters at the Hollow Hill, and Goliath and Angela seek out the Archmage at the Grotto. At first things look grim, but Princess Katharine defeats Demona with help from Ophelia, the Guardian, Elisa Maza, Gabriel, Bronx and Boudicca. King Arthur Pendragon also defeats Macbeth, and the Magus captures the Weird Sisters, though it fatally weakens him. Goliath battles the Archmage, who uses the Phoenix Gate to bounce them around through Time and Space. But the Archmage cannot shake Goliath, and returns to the present, where Goliath succeeds in removing the Eye of Odin from his brow. Without the Eye, the energy from the Grimorum Arcanorum burns the Archmage to death from the inside out. The battle is over.


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NOVEMBER 6

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

November 5th...

1994
Owen tells Xanatos the results of his Gargoyles vs. The Pack experiment. With Fox and Wolf under arrest, The Pack television series is quickly cancelled. Dingo flees to Europe.

1995
Fox arrives at the Eyrie with Xanatos' father, Petros. That night, Goliath decides to attend the wedding. He brings his half of the Phoenix Gate along. Fox and David are married. Demona tricks Goliath into giving her his half of the Gate. She then uses it to travel back in time to the year 975. Goliath, David, Fox and Petros Xanatos go too. Seconds later, they return, having fulfilled their roles in the time-stream. That same night, Thailog, who had intentionally been kept hidden from Goliath, initiates his plan to steal $20 million from Xanatos.

1996
5:32am EST - [withheld]

6:00am EST - [withheld]


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NOVEMBER 1

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

November 1st...

975
Using the Phoenix Gate, Goliath, Demona, David Xanatos, Petros Xanatos and Fox come back in time from the year 1995. Demona immediately uses the Gate to disappear again. Xanatos saves the life of Princess Elena of Normandy. He is rewarded with a coin, which he gives to the Norman Ambassador, a fellow member of the Illuminati Society. The 1995 Goliath encounters the 975 Hudson. The 975 Demona is studying under the Archmage as his apprentice. He instructs her to steal the Phoenix Gate from Princess Elena, which she does. But then she is confronted by the 1995 Demona and Goliath. After a brief trip for all three to 994, the 975 Demona returns them to her time and winds up on the outs with the Archmage. She breaks the Phoenix Gate in two and gives half of it to the 975 Goliath at the wedding of Malcolm and Elena. Meanwhile, all the 1995 participants return to their own time.

1975
David Xanatos receives an anonymous gift of a medieval coin worth $20 grand. It is the start of his fortune, and was actually sent to David by his 1995 counterpart, via the Illuminati Society from the year 975.

1995
A fully-grown Thailog is released from his maturation chamber and takes up residence at the Eyrie Building. Xanatos receives a letter from the Illuminati Society. It is from himself, sent in the year 975. It explains that he sent himself the medieval coin that was the basis of all his wealth. The letter also explains how he set this all up by turning his wedding to Fox into a time travel excursion to 975.

1996
Xanatos gets a new assignment from Quincy and the Illuminati. Hudson confirms he is a gargoyle to Robbins. Thailog and the clones fight the Manhattan Clan. During the battle, Thailog gets DNA samples from Goliath, Angela, Broadway, Lexington, Elisa, Brooklyn, Hudson and Bronx. Delilah, Malibu, Burbank and Hollywood reject Thailog, but Brentwood chooses to depart with him. Thailog gives the DNA to Sevarius and gains a new personal assistant, Shari. Doctor Sato treats Goliath. Goliath and Elisa declare their love for each other.


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OCTOBER 1

This day in Gargoyles' Universe History....

October 1st...

994
Just before dawn, Goliath and Hudson discover that they have been following only a small contingent of Vikings; the rest must be preparing to attack the castle. The two gargoyles turn to stone before they can get back. Simultaneously, Demona nearly warns Othello and Desdemona, but changes her mind as she sees the Vikings approach. Instead, she hides at the foot of Wyvern cliff, where she turns to stone as the sun rises. Hakon attacks. The archers' sabotaged bows are useless, and the Captain opens the main gate, allowing the Vikings to enter Castle Wyvern, which is sacked. The humans, including Katharine, the Magus, Mary and Tom are led away bound. Hakon then sets about to destroy the gargoyles, including Othello, Desdemona, Iago and Hyppolyta. The Captain is "unable" to stop him. When the sun goes down again, Demona awakens to discover that the Wyvern Clan have been massacred. When she sees Goliath and Hudson returning, she cannot face them and flees before they can discover the massacre. The only other survivors seem to be the Trio and Bronx, who were in the Rookery. The survivors head for the Viking camp to take their revenge. When Hakon and the Captain hear the gargoyles approaching, they take Katharine as a hostage. The Magus mistakenly assumes that the Princess is dead. Blaming the gargoyles, he casts a spell on all but Goliath putting them to sleep "until the castle rises above the clouds." Meanwhile, Goliath confronts the Captain and Hakon atop a cliff. He rescues the Princess, and the two villains fall to their deaths. But when Goliath discovers that the rest of his clan has been turned to stone, he asks the Princess to watch over the eggs in the Rookery and asks the Magus to cast his spell one more time. Goliath is turned to stone with the others and placed atop Castle Wyvern. Demona later returns to the castle to find Goliath frozen in stone. She watches the Magus, Tom and Princess Katharine removing the eggs from Wyvern. She departs for good. Katharine dubs Tom the Guardian of the Gargoyle Eggs. Katharine, the Magus, Tom, Mary and the rest of Wyvern's human inhabitants take the eggs and leave the cursed castle to live under the protection of Katharine's uncle, King Kenneth II. Seconds later, three time travelers arrive in 994: the Demona of 1995 has brought the Demona of 975 along with the Goliath of 1995 to see the results of the massacre. But the 1995 Demona fails to convince the 975 Demona to take up her evil cause. The time travelers depart, returning to 975.

1995
Xanatos proposes to Fox and gives her the Eye of Odin as an engagement gift. She accepts both his proposal and the Eye. Alexander Fox Xanatos is most likely conceived on this night.


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Dan writes...

Hi Greg. Wanna thank you for doing Ask Greg, so few people are willing to take time to discuss their series like this (and I enjoy reading the Gathering write-ups you do). If only Invasion America got that treatment... Books never finished the series. I digress. I have two questions I was hoping you could answer.

1. Since the phoenix gate has a cyclical existence throughout history, it only goes so far back in time and only up to a certain date in the future (which would be whenever Brooklyn was leaving the latest date he traveled to I suppose). Is there a reason that the gate is constricted to a specific time range?

2. While Brooklyn traveled to times in his future did he try to avoid learning about events that affected his clan? After returning home it might be kind of awkward to know exactly how your friends will die and what events will claim them...

Thanks.

Greg responds...

1. I don't know how to answer this without confirming parts of your question which are not confirmable and/or not correct and/or I don't want to confirm.

2. Yes.

Response recorded on June 28, 2007


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