Comic 1436 - Liriel

12th Nov 2021, 8:50 AM in Ch. 43 - Liriel's Daughter
Average Rating: 5 (17 votes)
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Author Notes:

Jocelyn 12th Nov 2021, 8:50 AM edit delete
Yes, for those of you keeping track, there were three pages to the letter, so in theory, there should've been three parts. But we're skipping ahead for now. Don't mind me; I'm doing an artsy thing. Bear with me. :)

Anyway, here's another page that's been a long time coming. From talks about considering other names, to more recently with talks about passing on one's deadname to others. And yet, also like the last page, this may be a very shocking reveal.

The irony is, if everyone still calls her Rain anyway (it's pretty normal for people to choose to go by their middle name), this won't change much for most of the other characters. Maybe some folks reading will even find this development silly or arbitrary. That's fine. But for Rain - and maybe even for the late Mr. Bryer - this is everything. As with so much else I've discussed with this story lately, though, you just gotta do what you feel is right. And after what she's just read, this is what our protagonist thinks is right.

Rain, all characters and all other aspects of the story are copyright material belonging to me.

A couple weeks ago, I had three our of four of my back molars pulled. Once again, much thanks to all of you who've donated to or shared my GoFundMe to help make this possible. Unfortunately, this is still not the end. It's a big step, but my mouth still needs a lot of work. So don't forget, you can still help right here at this link.
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Laura Brosens Barros 12th Nov 2021, 9:02 AM edit delete reply
While I really like the symbolism... I fear for her when her siblings find out. Aiken may be understanding after a while, but Kellen? If she was already unreasonable before, I can't see it improving any time soon.
Phrown 12th Nov 2021, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
I don’t see Kellen reacting too harshly to the revelation in Rain’s letter. It’s possible (there’s certainly tons of evidence she would). But last we saw her she realized that she blew it with Rain and will want to make amends. Also she’s been spending time sorting out her issues by talking to Vincent.
Emily 12th Nov 2021, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
I went back and reread the chapter where Kellen meets with Vincent. I have a very strong suspicion that she already knows.
Sarah 12th Nov 2021, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
Which page is this? I seem to recall there being two parts of the story where Kellen talks to Vincent, but I could only find the most recent one where Vincent was talking to Fara. I didn't go through *all* the chapters, but I checked quite a few between the incident at the con and now.
Prezombie 12th Nov 2021, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
Kellen was showing signs of at least trying to tackle her issues, but honestly if she's not willing to accept the gesture towards her parent in the spirit it was meant, screw her.
Sarah 12th Nov 2021, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't be surprised if Kellen and Aiken get shown the letter. There may be something in the last page that asked to pass on the info.
Tara 12th Nov 2021, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
OK, I'm supposed to be working right now, but my eyes are full of tears. <3
Eva Grimm 12th Nov 2021, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Whoa. I did *not* see that coming, even after Wednesday's page. I really love the symbolism and thought, but I do worry about Kellen's reaction and (if we ever see him) Rain's 'sperm donor.' From our brief glances at Kellen's progress, she *might* be okay, but...
Guest 12th Nov 2021, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
She's using her mother's last name. That is so sweet. (Teary face emoji)
Tokuben 12th Nov 2021, 9:59 AM edit delete reply
First name, I ment to saw first and last name.
Also I forgot to add my name in the previous comment.
redbow.kimee 12th Nov 2021, 8:33 PM edit delete reply
Not to mention her Aunt's last name too.
Terra 12th Nov 2021, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
Not that this isn't warm and fuzzy, but I am not sure how much I personally like it. Personally my take on death and remembering the life of the deceased is that how they lived should be respected not changed. This sort of feels like rewriting a bibliography when the person can't state one way or the other if they agree or welcome the changes.

Rain's decision is touching, and totally something I would do in her shoes. But changing her parent's pronouns...well my own personal experience says this may not be the best. My father once cryptically told me when I came out that "I wasn't the only one who grew up wanting breasts", and his behavior towards my transition and me made me wonder more than once. But he has never acted on it despite seeing his daughter transition, and frankly I doubt if he really does feel that way it would be how he would want to be remembered. I know that he wouldn't welcome changing his pronouns to she even after passing, and probably would haunt me for it.

Also if this is the reason that Rain's siblings accept her, which I kinda suspect is the way the story is going to go, I think that would cheapen the story and Rain's arc. Also her sister's arc, unless I guess it goes that Rain has two brothers which was my other suspicion of how things would go. Either way, I feel if the siblings come back together that it should be before the letter and it's contents are revealed. Not after or because of it.
Allison (not that one) 12th Nov 2021, 10:15 AM edit delete reply
I kind of feel that way myself. I realize that Jocelyn as the creator of the comic is of course omniscient about the characters' minds, even what they would think in situations that don't happen, so she best knows what her characters want. If she says Liriel would have wanted he/him pronouns, who am I to disagree?

But, on the whole, I feel like the choice of when to switch pronouns and when to use a different name should be left to the person affected by it. There are people who feel they should have been assigned to a different gender, but for their own reasons never plan to transition, and to switch pronouns (or names) when they haven't asked for it or clearly indicated that they want them changed seems presumptuous, and kind of non-consensual. It's not just that doing so outs them. It's that doing so takes away their power to see and present themselves as they want to. Doing so after death (e.g., with historical figures) is especially unfair since the people you're regendering and renaming aren't in a position to disagree with you.

Mark 12th Nov 2021, 6:07 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, it really feels like while it should be noted there is a significant difference between fiction and reality here, characters having a touching wish-fulfillment moment where they reify and validate a dead trans person's gender in a way they are magically aware is correct is more than acceptable within the boundaries of said fiction. Heartwarming moments, especially to do with groups who so rarely get them in real life, are allowed to stretch things a little to make everything okay and happy.
Cinspawn 13th Nov 2021, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
I too find it a little hard to jump to the male pronouns for Rain's mother (? not sure if that's the correct terminology but I don't know how to differentiate from her bio dad), it feels a bit too fast and like we're filling in stuff for a deceased person like others have said, BUT, it makes sense in my head when I try to look at it from Jocelyn's perspective: those characters LIVE in her head, she knows them inside and out, and I presume she knows best. So that the pronouns are ok.
Jocelyn 12th Nov 2021, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
This might be my own fault, trying to be too artsy or something. I absolutely do see what people are saying about not assuming one's gender/pronouns - especially when the person can't speak for themself. I guess in my mind, Liriel had spoken, though. For my part, I hoped the message of the previous page would be clear enough for Rain and Fara's approach to pronouns to make sense here, but when it's laid out like this, I do see where the concerns come from.

I will reiterate from the blurb that there is another page that I'm temporarily not showing yet. And while I didn't intend to require the third page of the letter to strictly define what we're seeing here, I will definitely keep this in mind.

So, just to be clear, if it's not already, Rain and Fara are having the appropriate response. If it's not clear, I'll ensure that it will be soon enough. Thank you very much for your input. :)
Terra 12th Nov 2021, 1:08 PM edit delete reply
That's fair Jocelyn, and it's your story to tell as you want. I kinda wondered if this was meant to be something in the other pages, but only had what was presented so far. So that was my take.

To be honest this is a scenario I have never really considered or seen before in regards to a trans person, so not sure if there really is a "right" answer to this sort of situation. Joy of being trans I guess, we truly are social pioneers in every sense of the word, and doing it whether we want to or not.
abitenum 12th Nov 2021, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
I feel like the letter on the last page, including the flashback, points less to admitting to being Trans as it is admitting to being Questioning. Because of this, changing what pronouns we use feels a bit presumptuous to me.

That being said, I'm still learning about all of this, and could be very well off base with my opinion. I'll just say that, as someone who feels kind of stuck between the Questioning and Trans labels, I wouldn't want someone I come out to now to change the pronouns they use for me just yet.
TK-Dragon 12th Nov 2021, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
I kind of agree, first name when she's been Rain for so long. I know she can just go by her middle name as planned and I know people who do that, but it might cause some confusion down the road. I kind of think it would have been better to have Liriel as her new middle name. Its something common to do in the case of naming newborns. That's just my opinion on it, I still love the comic and characters.
Jocelyn 12th Nov 2021, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
"first name when she's been Rain for so long"

This, I don't agree with at all. This, to me, is like saying trans people shouldn't change their names at all, because they'd already been using their deadname for so many years because it might confuse people. People can - and should be able to - change their name to whatever they want.
TK-Dragon 12th Nov 2021, 5:10 PM edit delete reply
That's not what I was intending to say. I didn't mean to say trans people or any people shouldn't be allowed to change there name because of confusion. Confusion was the wrong word. I simply meant that she's been Rain for so long and it was really iconic, it's the name of the story. I dunno what other way to say it okay? I'm not trying to tell anyone what they can or can't do. I'm sorry if it sounded like that.
Katherine 15th Nov 2021, 2:35 AM edit delete reply
I can't guess as to what was actually meant by any subtext for the opinion being responded to, but my take would be that Rain is the name she chose. She transitioned under that name. That's who she is, who she wanted to be.

Taking the name "Liriel" feels like...guilt. Like it wasn't a part of her transition, it was a reaction to an unexpected revelation about her parent. Coupled with what people were saying about a lot of assumptions being made about that parent, it makes this whole thing just feel...I dunno, off?
Guest 12th Nov 2021, 12:28 PM edit delete reply
I somewhat agree... while I suppose Jocelyn intended it to be clear that Liriel was a trans man, from the text of the letter so far Liriel didn't actually state that he wanted he/him pronouns or a different name, so I was taken aback by Rain and Fara using he/him pronouns and also referring to "Liriel" as his "deadname."

This is definitely influenced by my own experiences though - I am nonbinary and have been going by a different name with most of my close friends for the past year, but I still love and feel connected to the name my parents gave me at birth, and if anyone referred to it as my "deadname" I would be pretty mad. That name and my past are not dead to me; just because I've grown and changed and I like a different, more gender neutral name, doesn't mean I dislike my birth name. All trans people are different and it shouldn't be assumed that someone wants to change their name or pronouns unless they tell you. Maybe Liriel expressed his wishes more clearly on the third page of the letter.
Vessyra 12th Nov 2021, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
@Guest You mentioned being influenced by your own experiences; I think the same is true of Fara and Rain. All binary trans people they know have changed their names and gone by the pronouns customary of their gender, so if the third page of the letter pretty much confirmed Liriel as a guy, then I can see why they might assume he wouldn't have wanted a typically feminine name, and would have used he/him pronouns.
Don Edwards 12th Nov 2021, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
Terra, maybe your father is genderfluid rather than transgender. And if his version of genderfluid is mostly gender-neutral (like mine) he may have never felt female strongly enough for long enough to justify doing anything about it that anyone else *could* notice - even without taking into consideration the social disapproval he would have experienced if anyone *did* notice.

Or maybe he simply knows/knew someone who's transgender.
Terra 13th Nov 2021, 8:53 AM edit delete reply
@Don Edwards I sincerely doubt that. I guess like Jocelyn I wasn't being all that clear, for while I suppose my comment could have implied a positive relationship, it very much has been negative. It took my family over 10+ years to even use my chosen name, and even now my transition is very much the pink elephant in the room.

Either way, I cannot make assumptions for my father just as I wouldn't want someone to make assumptions for me. Maybe he does have transgender feelings, maybe he just went through a "phase" and doesn't have them anymore. All I know is changing pronouns of a deceased person who cannot speak for themselves to me is on the same level as someone changing my pronouns back to male after my passing and saying it was what I wanted based on some comment I may or may not have made. In my case it would definitely be false, in a deceased individual's case it's nothing but assumption unless they explicitly say otherwise.
Anonymous 15th Nov 2021, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
There is a page to the letter we haven't seen yet that may make it clearer what Rain's parent wanted. Fara also says "We'll figure everything else out later", which makes me think there was more to the letter, like Rain's parent had some kind of dying wish relating to this.
Solara 12th Nov 2021, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
Who's chopping onions?
Skydream 12th Nov 2021, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
I'll admit, back at the start of Rain this is not a thing I saw coming, but damn if I don't love it.
I do wonder if he ever had a name in mind for himself though.

Did you ever have a name for him in mind at all?

Also...Liriel Rain Bryer. I like it! But as echoed here elsewhere in comments, I do worry about how Kellen will react
LadyAnastasia 12th Nov 2021, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
I'm surprised she didn't do Liriel as the middle name.

Still. This is really cute :3
Katie 12th Nov 2021, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
I go by Katie pretty much everywhere, but my name is Jennifer Kathryn. I chose that because it sounds better than the other way around.
mio 12th Nov 2021, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
you tell them, JK!
Absentia 13th Nov 2021, 3:46 AM edit delete reply
the better JK
bgb16999 12th Nov 2021, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
Wow. I did predict the Bryer part of her name years ago. But even with the previous mention that she might change, I never expected her to pick a different first name.

I actually think Kellen might be somewhat more reasonable when she finds out the context for her upbringing. But maybe that is overley optimistic.
j-eagle12212012 12th Nov 2021, 11:40 AM edit delete reply
As a trans person
Changing your name multiple times before settling on one is common and normal
I went through several before settling on mine
Jamie Tiffany K

If I recall correctly Rain is technically the second name she chose

Liriel Rain Bryer is a wonderful name

And I am teary eyed
This page is absolutely beautiful and wonderful

Thank you Jocelyn for giving us this wonderful story

MoonWingJ 12th Nov 2021, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
This is so touching. <3
J 12th Nov 2021, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
This can give a new meaning to the chapter title “Liriel’s Daughter.”
Jocelyn 12th Nov 2021, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
Kyla 12th Nov 2021, 4:35 PM edit delete reply
Honestly while I found the idea of Rain's "mom" being trans not that shocking.
Having Rain full on change her first name to his dead name is a little to unrealistic. Like maybe if she put it as her Middle name i'd buy that but not a legal first name.

Like changing your name is a BIG deal and clearly the writer of Rain knows that because she's done it herself but come on.. I'm supposed to sit her and believe just because of a letter and her "mom" being trans and unable to transition.
Rain now just magically forgives everything to the point of legally changing her first name to his?
I just don't know. Maybe she's just more forgiving than me and that's fine.
Jocelyn 12th Nov 2021, 6:08 PM edit delete reply

"Magically forgives everything?"
Just a few pages ago, Fara said she probably could've helped Rain much, much sooner (and with the newfound context of more recent pages, probably helped a lot in other ways), had she not been dealing with her own drama at the time. Fara was beating herself up about this, but Rain not only forgave her, she basically didn't see anything to forgive. I would argue that forgiving Mr. Bryer's faults (which he is not without) is entirely in-character for her. There's nothing "magical" about Rain's reaction.

The letter shares a message that although Mr. Bryer made some poor judgments, he always meant well, he always loved and wished the best for Rain. Heck, this whole chapter has revolved around it, as well as how much he meant to Rain. And now Rain has learned this new fact about him, that connects them both on a deep emotional level. So yeah, I think it's perfectly within the realm of reason that she'd want to honor the father she loved so much.

Many trans people choose their names out of love. I know a lot of people who chose their names based on someone who helped them, or even characters that are like goals for them. First names, middle names, last names. I've seen it all. And what may sound like a trivial choice to others, is an incredibly important and profound choice for them that I wouldn't want to take from them. You don't have to "sit there and believe" anything. You don't even have to like it. But she chose the name she thought was right for her because it belonged to someone she loved, so I think it'd be nice if we could respect her choice. :)
Kyla 12th Nov 2021, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
I respect her for it and it's her choice 🙂

Just kind of strange to me 😜 idk maybe because I just never had that for me or when I changed my name is was more about just getting away from my old life. I didn't pick mine based off anything really other than I liked how it sounded and easy to spell 😂
Kyla 13th Nov 2021, 2:16 PM edit delete reply
I've also never heard that name before till this comic so I've been trying to understand how it's pronounced.

Google says there is like 5 different ways. 😳
Oz 13th Nov 2021, 5:34 PM edit delete reply
i ve been pronouncng it the french way lol, lee-ree-el
j-eagle12212012 13th Nov 2021, 6:04 PM edit delete reply
I don't know about others but I pronounce it
j-eagle12212012 13th Nov 2021, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
My girlfriend who is also trans got her last name from someone who was more of a mother to her then her biological parent

My chosen name is inspired by the many awesome Jamie's I've known

It is very common as Jocelyn said
Oz 14th Nov 2021, 2:23 AM edit delete reply
my name come from a fictional character, through role playing him i met a lit if people that I love and that treated me with the respect i never got from my bio parents. I tried different name before chosing this one, it was hard to find a name that fit as much as Oz
Absentia 15th Nov 2021, 2:10 AM edit delete reply
Ozpin from RWBY?
Pineapple 12th Nov 2021, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
A friend linked me to this part of the comic (1433 to 1437), and... WOW.

Two thoughts come to mind:

1: No-one is truly dead while their name is still spoken. To that end, I feel that it is incredibly fitting for Rain to take that name as her own... to let her memories of someone close to her live on.

2: I don't know if you planned this, but it feels _incredibly_ fitting that you've reached this moment at comic number 1437, when that number is often used to mean "I love you forever" (based on the lengths of each word).
abitenum 12th Nov 2021, 4:46 PM edit delete reply
I think this is really sweet, and I completely get why Rain would choose to do this. However, I've always gotten the impression that choosing a first name that's different from what you expect people to say will result in a lot of confusion. I'm reminded of that old Vlogbrothers video where Hank complains how his parents legally named him William, but otherwise used and named him Hank. If Rain wants to do this, then it's her choice, but that doesn't mean I don't worry about this making things harder for her in the future.
someone_else 13th Nov 2021, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
I agree – I’m going by my chosen middle name, while I use my full (first-middle-last) name in public communication, and people who don’t know me of course use my first name (even if I signed with my middle name, which I find a bit impolite).
Vessyra 12th Nov 2021, 4:57 PM edit delete reply
It IS definitely quite a shock. I'd wondered whether Rain might change her name to "Love", what with it having been capitalised à la first names, but I did not at all expect her to take on Liriel's name (or dead name, I suppose).
Liriel Rain Bryer... it flows of the tongue so beautifully
Em (formerly Emily) 14th Nov 2021, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
I think "Love" was capitalized and used as a name because, while Rain's good-dad didn't know what her real name would BE at this point, he didn't want to deadname her.

And also because he loved her. And he wanted her to know that above all else, to him, she was "Love," she was beloved.

It's all so beautiful and pure that my chest aches lol
SureenInk 12th Nov 2021, 5:40 PM edit delete reply
Okay... that was too freaking cute and wholesome.
Jasmine 12th Nov 2021, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
Wait, so, were the comic panels actually drawn on the letter? I assumed they were a flashback for us as the readers, but it seems like Rain is reacting to information that was in those panels but not in the text of the letter?
Vikki McD 12th Nov 2021, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
There's still a third page that we haven't seen yet; it's possible the information in question was explicitly laid out on page three.
Lexilou 12th Nov 2021, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
It's Rains choice but I would go with Rain Liriel Bryer. That way there is no rifts in the family and Rain still gets to feel close with her Mum by having the name as part of hers.

Emotions are really high right now but picking names are a very important step so it needs a clear mind.
Tokuben 12th Nov 2021, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
I just thought of something now. Now the baby's name would be Lydia Winn Bryre. Now that surname is not cursed.
redbow.kimee 12th Nov 2021, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
Wouldn't the baby still be named Caston (Emily's surname)?
Pseudonym 12th Nov 2021, 7:47 PM edit delete reply
Rain has exquisite handwriting. Is there a full name she would've used if not for the letter?
Microraptor 12th Nov 2021, 8:35 PM edit delete reply


malkavcandy 12th Nov 2021, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
i love this so much 🖤
Jessica 13th Nov 2021, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Clerk: Alright, and what is the reason for your change of name?
Rain: I am trans, like my father before me.
Absentia 13th Nov 2021, 3:49 AM edit delete reply
i swear to the gods, if Kellen tries anything i will personally invent interdimensional travel and jump into the comic to kick her ass!!! same goes with Rain's dad! neither of them are allowed to spoil this moment!
Someone Else 13th Nov 2021, 5:28 AM edit delete reply
Oz 13th Nov 2021, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
If Liriel is hia deadname he muat have stated that he want to go by another name in the letter I can t wait to read that last part. I was also taken abacj by changing Rain s name as it is the name of the comic, but I totally understand why Rain want to do it. I rhink that Kellen might be accepting finakly of ahe read that letter, i don t think she would go to hard against the wishes of her late father..
masterbladero 13th Nov 2021, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
The two of them certainly having the same reactions we did going by 2nd panel.

Rain being a really good child here. Any children she ends up looking after got someone who truly lives up to the standard of a human.

And while picking Liriel as a middle name instead would be better for ease of use its both more distant and given middle names occasionally being used for relative names, like both of mine, someone might end up asking what female relative was it named after more often than first name mainly being "So why was it chosen" unless its jr. So its taking a more cumbersome approach with more respect given than the easy road. And not going by strict legal first name is already fairly common even if its just a variation or shortening, like Rain had already been doing it before this anyway.

The letter text we have seen so far wouldn't be enough for use of he/him, being below the standard of letters normally used to assume someone historically not straight (trans more rarely) and most declarations or implications supposedly came from the person's mouth (and its often prone to at time culture's throwing insults at someone they don't like, such as Elagabalus who could be seen as Transgender, Genderfluid or having the typical Emperor thing of a unliked one getting what are seen as insults added to exaggerate something, though unlikely to be Nero tier of being worth throwing out entirely), the images we saw and especially Author intent would make it accurate to use those kind of pronouns. Though preference for hearing it from Horse's mouth, or pen, would make They effective like I did last page.
Em (formerly Emily) 14th Nov 2021, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh God.

"It feels right to pass it on," Rain said, to Ryan.

And now she's letting her father (the good one I mean) pass *his* on, and in a way transform its meaning in the process, just like she passed hers on just recently.

invisibro1 14th Nov 2021, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
Stop makin me cry alla time
Sanguich 14th Nov 2021, 8:13 PM edit delete reply
I've been reading for years and while I have been emotionally invested many times (the haircut storyline was particularly upsetting) I've never actually cried at one of these comics.

Until today. Bravo.
S7unn1ng 14th Nov 2021, 8:32 PM edit delete reply
I got friend who hasn't changed his name but still uses his middle name as his first name to communicate wigh

So prople like me say him to 'hi [myddle name]' instead. So in this case she can still be called 'rain', heck even without it being a middle name, like a nickname (eg dick for richard, dom for dominic)
Kristine 15th Nov 2021, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Dang it. How dare a web comic make me ugly cry.

Im transitioning in my 30s and even now my mom (only living parent) not accepting me hurts.. These last few pages just hit me right

Morrigan Eldritch 31st May 2022, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
I'm binging these and the letters didn't break me, but this did, it's hard to break me, but this did
JustRaining 12th Aug 2022, 2:23 PM edit delete reply
Even if it already was foreshadowing in the first page of this two-pager, the tear train just got me when seeing it written down! Beautiful done!
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