Jack is a unit of the former Kingdom of Faq. Jillian Zamussels refers to him as a master-class FoolamancerTBFGK 107:6 and genius at distractions. She also mentions that Jack may have had a crush on her.TBFGK 107:8 His Foolamancy skills were such that he was capable of veiling an entire settlement from observation. He was able to veil the cities of Faq one after another as determined by Marie Lavraie and thus kept the location of Faq hidden for a long time.Erf-b1-p107
"May not an ass know when the cart draws the horse?"
Strengths: Understanding Others, Lateral Thinking
Weaknesses: Clarity of Speech
First Appearance: TBFGK 24
Jack frequently speaks strangely, often using metaphors or aphorisms to get his point across.
- A house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlivedFirst Intermission 36
- Fashions change, my good Lord, the taking of prisoners is passé. Skulls are the new shackles. But black still goes with anything.First Intermission 36
- "To have talent is to be in demand. I well know." ... The talent itself supplies the demandFirst Intermission 36
- Names can be important, ... and fools, and triangles, tooFirst Intermission 38
- I'm afraid I don't understand, Lord. And also afraid that I do.First Intermission 38
Jack and Wanda have known each other longer than most other units within Gobwin Knob. Both Wanda and Jack come from the Kingdom of Faq and turned to Stanley's side when he destroyed their native kingdom. While in Faq Jack and Wanda used to spend time together discussing the philosophy of magic.
One philosophical question that fascinates both Jack and Wanda is the nature of Love. Is Love a form of Natural Magic, perhaps a form of Natural Thinkamancy or Natural Hippiemancy? Jack believes that Love is a force which is far more powerful and mysterious than any form of magic. As he once told Wanda, "I suspect, love is something greater than magic itself, perhaps something even the Titans are helpless before."
Wanda and Jack's interest in this question was probably related to the fact that they were both deeply attracted to Jillian. Jack doesn't seem to have been angry or bitter that Jillian favored Wanda over him. Wanda made a point while in Faq of using Jack's full name and title, suggesting that she wished to maintain a certain degree of formality in her dealings with him.
Jack has implied that he may be aware of some of the details of Wanda's role in the fall of Faq, specifically what went on at the battle for the capital when the King was croaked.
Jack currently thinks that Wanda is a "vessel cracked worse (and repaired worse) than he," referring to Wanda's emotional and mental state, and may resent the fact that Wanda suggested allowing him to croak so that she could decrypt him. However, any concern he may have about her growing power didn't stop him from having some fun at Wanda's expense by pointing out that Jillian may now prefer Ansom over both Wanda and himself.
After Jack croaks, Wanda takes an unusually strong interest in decrypting him that seems to go beyond her usual enthusiasm for her discipline. Her interest in decrypting him stems from a contract they made with Charlie long ago, which forbade them from telling anyone Charlie's secrets, but has been broken with Jack's death. While standing over his corpse, she speaks of a game they have long played at, and wonders what they will play at next. Unlike most of the Decrypted, who call Wanda "Mistress", Jack calls her "Sister", implying that in spite of his new state, their relationship is one of equal status.
In Book One, Stanley valued Jack only as a foolamancer but could not be bothered to remember his name. When Stanley attempted to flee to Faq he took Jack to aid in his escape. Stanley became irritated when Jack failed to function properly as a foolamancer. For some reason, Jack seems intensely loyal to Stanley, refusing to turn sides when Jillian attacked Stanley.
Following the battle, Stanley seems to value Jack more, possibly because Jack saved his life in the conflict with Jillian and the ten Warlords of Transylvito. Stanley noted that he was "trying to get better about names", presumably as a result of the problems with Jack, and Jack saving his life in that battle. Stanley now attempts to refer to other units by their names and not their function.
Jack and Parson seem to be quite cordial. They haven't been seen having much interaction until recently. Parson seems to understand about two thirds of Jacks witticisms, which is more than most people. They have worked together to develop new tactical concepts, with Jack using his Foolamancy to visually simulate the movement of units and outcomes of battles as calculated by Parson's Mathamancy bracer. Since they started the simulations, Jack's opinion of Parson has risen dramatically. At one point he muses that Parson explaining the phrase "lateral thinking" to him is enough for him to consider himself forever in the warlord's debt.
Jack and Jill(ian) seem to be long acquainted with each other. Jillian indicates that she believed he had a crush on her. Jillian on her part seems at least fond of Jack and considers him to be a genius Foolamancer. However, she rejected his attempt to form a romantic relationship with her.
Even though she had no romantic interest in him, Jillian still considered Jack to be her best friend, and desired to repair their relationship. But it is likely that the damage caused to her mind by Charlie and Betsy removing the bits they didn't like made her forget the fact that their relationship had even been harmed in the first place.
When the two met in battle both seemed to be deeply affected; Seeing Jillian and hearing her speak his name appears to have largely cured Jack of the insanity caused by an improperly broken caster link. Jillian has offered to accept Jack to her side both times they have encountered each other within the comic. Both times however, Jack has declined the offer. Because of his painfully unrequited crush on her and his admiration of Parson's skill at "lateral thinking", he has thus far chosen to remain Gobwin Knob.
His sanity was severely harmed either by being linked up with Misty and Maggie during Stanley the Tool's experiments into Caster Links or by Maggie severing the link and allowing the other two casters to take all the damageErf-b1-p084. He recovered after Jillian addressed him by name, despite the fact that being called by name by Parson had had little if any effect.Erf-b1-p108Erf-b1-p113
Jack, like Wanda Firebaugh, seems to be extremely loyal to Lord Stanley, although for him this may be due to loyalty spells.
Jack's appearance, manner of speech, and frequent playing of the Fool as well as Foolamancer gives him a Shakespearean feel.
Ironically Jill(ian) could arguably be the one who fixed Jack's 'crown' that is to say, she helped recompose his mind.
Jack has been described as carrying a staff with a Magic Eight Ball on top. This is a reference to how this toy speaks cryptically. Also, the webcomic Order of the Stick, which has had a close relationship with Erfworld, has had its character Elan carrying a similar staff.
Real World References
- Jack Snipe's crush on Jillian is possibly related to the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill."
- A snipe hunt is a fool's errand inflicted on a gullible person - for example, the act of sending an industrial apprentice to look for a left handed spanner or a bag of half-inch holes. (Or headlight fluid and elbow grease.)(Or down to the Q-store for "a long weight"...)
- Jack's appearance and name may also be a reference to the actor Jack Nicholson.
- Jack's behavior and looks might also be a reference to "The Joker," the comic book villain from the Batman universe. The Joker was famously portrayed by Jack Nicholson (whose pre-Joker identity was named "Jack Napier" which is a pun on the word jackanape, meaning an impudent person, or a saucy and mischievous child). This connection is underlined in the first Summer Update First_Intermission_36 and in Love is a Battlefield Erf-b2-p004, where Jack is revealed to be wearing a raiment very much akin to Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker.
- Jack's name and behavior is also said to be a reference to the Jack Snipe, a European migratory wading bird. The Jack Snipe is known for its natural camouflage in it's natural environment, and the difficulty in spotting it without specific technique.
- While Jack is suffering from the mental effects of the breaking of the link, much of his dialogue is drawn from or inspired by the Fool in King Lear, including such gems as "may not an ass know when the cart draws the horse" and referring to Stanley as "nuncle".Erf-b1-p081
- Jack makes frequent quotation of real world literature concerning clowns, fools, or related characters. In addition to the aforementioned references to the Fool from King Lear Jack is seen to quote Caliban from The Tempest and Pennywise from the Stephen King novel It.
- Additionally, most of his dialogue while insane is quotes from Shakespeare's works, including "Tempt not a desperate man" from Romeo and Juliet and "Oh, Woe is me, to have seen what I have seen. See what I see!" from Hamlet.
- A jacksnipe is a kind of boat. How this relates to the character, if at all, is unclear.