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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