Asriel Dreemurr

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Character
Name: Asriel Dreemurr
Occupation:
Title/Rank: Prince
Location:
Status: Flowey
Relationships: Asgore Dreemurr (father), Toriel (mother), Chara (best friend)
Fandom: Undertale
Other:
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Asriel Dreemurr is a major character in Undertale.

Canon Overview

Asriel Dreemurr is first mentioned in the monsters' fairy tale recounted the first time the player visits New Home in a Neutral or Pacifist run, where it is described how he rescued and befriended Chara, and that he was killed after trying to lay their body to rest in a patch of golden flowers.

In the Pacifist Route-exclusive events, VHS tapes may be examined in Alphys' lab which reveal that Chara's death was a suicide, part of their and Asriel's plan to break the Barrier by first crossing it and then collecting six human souls from Chara's village. Asriel's dust was absorbed by the golden flower seeds he brought back with him to the throne room, and when Alphys used the first flower that sprouted from those seeds in her experiments, Asriel was accidentally brought back to life as Flowey. Towards the end of the Genocide/No Mercy route, Flowey describes his experiences discovering that he no longer had the ability to feel love, falling into depression, learning he was too afraid to go through with suicide, and then slowly coming to treat the Underground as a toy to relieve his boredom after using his newly high levels of Determination to reset the timeline over and over.

After Flowey's failure to defeat Frisk in a Neutral or Pacifist route, he manipulates them into gathering all the monsters together in order to stop their fight with Asgore, and then absorbs their souls as well as the six human souls in order to regain his original form as Asriel. Asriel then takes on an idealized adult form ("the Absolute GOD of Hyperdeath!") and attempts to beat Frisk, who he believes to be Chara, into submission, trying to keep them in the Underground by force to play with him forever. Using Chara's power to SAVE, Frisk reaches out to the souls of their six friends and reminds them of who they are one by one, then reaches out to Asriel himself by using Chara's memories. Asriel admits that he simply is reluctant to let go of Chara, then admits that Frisk and Chara are different people, and uses his power to destroy the Barrier before letting all the souls go. The player is given the choice whether or not to forgive him, and then a separate choice whether or not to comfort him.

During the endgame walkaround, he can be found in the Ruins at Chara's grave only if the player has not yet cleared the game (he will not be present after clearing the game and reloading). While here, he questions Frisk's reasons for climbing Mt. Ebott in light of the fact that Chara climbed it for "unhappy reasons" and provides more information about the circumstances of his death. He also admits that Chara was a flawed person, and that they hated humanity.

Asriel's name is an anagram of "SERIAL MURDERER".

Fandom

Asriel is a character near-unilaterally adored by the fandom, and beloved as a tragic figure. Charity runs of the game that play the True Pacifist route often end in crowds of viewers chanting "HUG THE GOAT" in demand that the LPer in question choose to comfort Asriel.

Fanworks often depict him as being nicknamed "Azzy" or "Az" by Chara, especially in fics where the two's relationship is portrayed as familial or platonic. Feral Phoenix popularized the nickname "Ree" as a more ship-friendly alternative.

One very popular trope in Asriel-centric fanwork is to have Frisk sacrifice themself to save him by giving him their soul, thereby allowing him to maintain his Boss Monster form and keep his ability to feel love. This type of story has received criticism from Frisk fans.

Postcanon AUs depicting Asriel continuing to exist in this form instead of turning back into a flower via various other means (scientific help from Alphys and Sans as in TheSketcherLass' "SAVE, too, is an acronym" series; soul donations from the six souls as in Ayu Ohseki's "Strange Places"; or the restoration of the parent-to-child soul power link as in Feral Phoenix's "receding into indefinite rain" and tumblr user soupery's "goat-son" ask blog; among others) are popular as well, with many focusing on the idea that just restoring his old form will not suffice to heal his psychological trauma and portraying him struggling to process or recover from said trauma.

The "Absolute GOD of Hyperdeath", Asriel's adult form from his boss battle, is the subject of a great deal of fannish swooning and furry awakenings--so much so that in the Undertale artbook, Toby joked that "every time someone calls final-boss Asriel hot an angel gets its wings".[1] The Absolute GOD of Hyperdeath is often used as a basis for aged-up fan designs of Asriel, with some small differences (mostly the color of the stripes on his face; some fans draw them as black markings and some as blond facial hair) due to the boss sprite only being shown in black and white. Some fan designs for an adult Asriel give him a full mane or head of hair like his father; Toby compared this design trend to a scrapped concept of the Absolute GOD of Hyperdeath having "boyband hair" and remarked that he is "glad in the end I was able to communicate he was this kind of character anyway".[2]

Fan Theories

Asriel's name is generally theorized to have been intended by Asgore and Toriel as a mashup of their names (As + riel), similar to a shipping portmanteau. General fan consensus is that Asgore, who is canonically "bad at names" as acknowledged by the monsters, probably named him.

It has also been noted by fans that the name "Asriel" is a common corruption of the name Azrael, which in Islam and Judaism is the name of the Angel of Death that appears in the story of Moses. (See His Dark Materials for another Asriel named after the same angel.) Asriel is generally interpreted to be the subject of the Delta Rune prophecy, where an "angel" who has seen the surface is supposed to return and set the monsters free, describing the events of the True Pacifist ending. The darker interpretation of the prophecy, than an "angel of death" will appear to kill all the monsters, is generally ascribed to Chara, but may still refer to Asriel's actions as Flowey during his many resets, as he admits in a No Mercy run to having killed everyone in the Underground many times before out of curiosity.

Common Pairings

Wank

Due to the strong presence of anti-shippers in Undertale fandom, Asriel is the subject of a great deal of shipping wank. First, many antis proclaim that Asriel should not be shipped at all because he is a child, and some fans portray him as young as 5 or 6 years old, while others portray him as an older child or preteen. Additionally, many antis argue that Asriel should not be shipped with Frisk or Chara, because portraying the three of them as adopted siblings is a popular headcanon in some circles.

Chara/Asriel is extra contentious due to ship warring: Frisk/Asriel shippers, especially those who headcanon Chara as evil, often push the idea that Chara/Asriel is an ideologically impure ship because Chara must have been abusive, and therefore Chara/Asriel shippers are abuse apologists. Chara/Frisk fans, including many BNFs such as truereset (formerly beforuskanaya), tend to aggressively push the portrayal of Chara and Asriel as siblings so as to remove Asriel from the running as a romantic rival to Frisk, and to assert that Chara/Asriel is incest and therefore bad.

Fans who headcanon Chara and Asriel as siblings argue their case with the evidence that the monsters' fairy tale describes Chara and Asriel has having become "like siblings" to explain their closeness, and that while relating stories of Asgore and Toriel's past, Gerson the shopkeeper mentions them embarrassing their "children" plural, likely including Chara as their child. Fans who ship Chara/Asriel and do not headcanon them as siblings argue that none of the Dreemurrs ever refer to Chara as family, and that Asriel especially only ever calls them his "best friend"; nor does Chara, who is implied to be the game's narrator, ever refer to the Dreemurrs as their family.

Because the overall fandom concept of Asriel as a sad, cute, lovable victim is so widespread, fans who portray Asriel as having serious flaws (especially those who believe that Flowey is a trauma-induced magnification of Asriel's flaws) are often accused of bastardization and abuse apologism.

Fans who depict Chara's reactions to Asriel's candid opinions on them from the secret endgame conversation are also often accused of abuse apologism, under the principle that not only did Asriel not know that Chara is listening, but that his feelings matter more than theirs because it is still their fault that he was hurt, and he deserves the opportunity to vent. Such fans who show more sympathy to Chara are often sent hate mail and suicide baiting, in addition to libel being posted about them.

Fanworks

Fanfic

Fanart

Voice Acting

Meta

Archives and Fannish Links

References

  1. Undertale artbook, page 151
  2. Undertale artbook, page 150