Hi everybody! This is my first fanfic, and I'm not sure it really counts as that, because this was a paper I had to write for a Greek lit. class. Enjoy!
Persons of the Dialogue
Socrates, Fred Weasley, the (11th) Doctor, and Percy Jackson
A small coffee shop somewhere in town
Socrates: What a delightful little place, this coffee shop. The quiet atmosphere and heartwarming aroma allows one to easily clear the mind and ponder the mysteries of the day.
Percy Jackson: Yeah…and drink the coffee. Fred, pass me a sugar? Thanks.
The Doctor: Ahhh, yes, the wonderful smell of fresh coffee in the morning. Did you know, I was there when coffee beans were first brought to earth? Actually, I was the one who—
Fred Weasley: Yeah, sounds real interesting, mate. Now would someone mind telling me exactly what we're doing? I'm supposed to be dead, you know. Not exactly something I fancy celebrating over a cup of American coffee.
Percy: Trust me, man, I've been to the Underworld. Drink all the coffee you can now, before it's too late. You don't get many chances down there.
Soc: The Underworld? The one ruled by the god Hades?
Percy: The same. Why?
Soc: Because I myself will be taking residence down there in just a few hours, once the Doctor returns me to my own time, and my execution takes place.
Fred: You're waiting for your execution? Looks like you're in the same boat as me, mate.
Percy: You're both about to die? What, did the Fates pay you a visit? How do you know?
Dr.: The fourth wall, of course!
Percy: The what?
Fred: The fourth wall, mate, weren't you listening? It's how our separate universes allowed us to temporarily merge together so we can have this delightful conversation before popping back to our own worlds in time for tea. Or death, I suppose.
Percy: Oh, that? Please. There's no way it actually exists.
Soc: Why is that?
Percy: Because…uh…because I exist, you know, in real life, and not inside some story.
Dr.: I exist in a Television show that I helped to write! And I show up in The Simpsons, and am even mentioned in your books, Percy. And let's not forget my brief time in Eragon! Or—
Fred: Yeah mate, think about it. The Harry Potter books are mentioned in Doctor Who. Aren't they, Doctor?
Dr.: Just wait 'til you read the seventh book. Oh, I cried.
Fred: I died in that book, you quack! You'd better have cried!
Percy: So…you're saying that since we're all sitting here together, and we know we all come from stories in each other's worlds, that means that we don't actually exist?
Dr.: That's right, young man! Very right indeed.
Percy: You do know that my dad is a myth, right? I mean, a myth is just a story, but he's still real. And if this is true, he doesn't exist?
Soc: The gods of your world are an excellent example. If enough people do not believe in them, the gods no longer exist, is that true?
Percy: Yeah…they fade if they lose too much of their realm, or if they lose too many followers. So you're saying that if I lose my fan clubs I won't exist anymore?
Dr.: I have fan clubs. They usually try to kill me.
Fred: Okay…well, I die, right? So, for example, if enough people refused to believe that I actually die, does that mean that the story changes, and I survive? I think I see a famous Weasley twin plan coming up!
Soc: Perhaps. But I could not do that; I am to die, no matter how many people refuse to believe in my death. Thinking any different would be futile and helpless. How is my world any different than yours? So if I am to die, no matter what the largest percentage of people believe, will you?
Fred: Good point.
Percy: So…does that mean that the gods won't fade if people stop believing in them? That's not true, I've seen it happen.
Dr.: No, no, the gods are different. They are beings that need human belief to exist. We, on the other hand, exist just so long as the people who created us build up our characters enough. Although we can be influenced by the outside belief of otherworldly fans, it won't change our storyline completely.
Percy: But what about the gods, then? They're characters too, but wouldn't the belief of outsiders count just as much as the characters? I mean, belief is belief, no matter who it comes from.
Soc: They are characters just as you are, from the same story world as you are, and yet their existence relies upon the belief and worship of the citizens of your world. Does that mean that they are also subject to the beliefs of the audiences? Will they cease to exist if the audience does not believe in them? Will they rise to power if the audience does indeed believe in them? We can easily reason that since they are characters, the beliefs of the audiences would only affect them minimally, if at all, and certainly no more than it would you or me. Even though it stands to reason that the audience is people, and that the belief of people is what makes the gods strong, it is only the belief of the other characters in a story that will give them power. Even if the gods did stand to gain power through the audience, they would not receive much, as I am under the impression that most of the audience does not actually believe in what they read or watch, therefore robbing any influence they might have on the gods.
Percy: I have a headache…
Fred: Okay…but what if the readers simply refuse to believe that something actually happened? Like my death, or Percy here refusing immortality.
Dr.: He did what?
Percy: I'm not even going to ask how you know about that…
Fred: I mean, believing in something is different than knowing about something and approving of it or not. For example, I know that Harry is going to get with my sister, but it doesn't mean I approve. On the other hand, my refusing to acknowledge that they've already dated before won't mean it never happened.
Dr.: You're right; the viewers simply refusing to believe that something happened would have no effect on the show itself, but if enough people complained, the writer may well be compelled to change the actual storyline. Then what would happen? Would our timeline simply cease to exist? Would we co-exist within both? Would time erase itself and we all just forget about what happened previously in the future? Would our version of the story simply be cast off? Will I finally be ginger?
Percy: Only a time traveler could use the past tense for the future so easily…
Fred: Ginger and proud…anyone want another cappuccino?
Soc: I'll take the pumpkin one. I imagine that our timeline would not simply erase itself, as it would still exist, just in the author's mind and not amongst the general public. I highly doubt we would co-exist between both, as then we would have to be aware of the fourth wall in the story, and that is forbidden—
Percy: Unless you're a cartoon.
Dr.: I'm in cartoons!
Soc: And while our timeline could be cast-off, that would amount to much the same thing as ceasing to exist. I therefore believe that we would end up somewhere between the lines of forgetting the past timeline and living in the corrected one.
Dr.: However, messing with time is very, very dangerous and ill-advised. It takes a real professional to do it properly, like me. Wouldn't changing a story be the same way?
Soc: The story can only expand as much as the author allows, leading me to consider that nothing will happen in the story that the author is not aware of.
Fred: But what if the author can't keep a whole world in their head? And if a world can't expand, then how do you explain all the things happening here? Or the existence of the fourth wall?
Percy: What if there is more than one author? The world could expand in every direction, and flat out contradict itself!
Soc: I'm…not sure. I suppose—
Dr.: Oh well, time's up. Nice chatting with you, but it's time we got ole' Socrates here back to his execution.