"The Gray Painter" discussion (spoilers galore!)

I AM DEEPLY SHOOK

what was THIS BOOK DUDE?!?!

ok ok I wanna start things off saying that I simply loved this one, the writing is amazing and William Loman captured the feeling of fragmented memories PERFECTLY. I started reading this one exactly 7 hours ago (as of writing this Topic) and just finished it… I knew I would fall in love with it by the cover alone and im glad I was right, it spoke to me in a personal level and its such a wonderful, perfectly crafted adult drama with a delicious mystery that kept me on edge all the while reading it, thinking the details would matter but… it didn’t! I just can’t believe that nothing happened in the end like… ASH MADE IT OU ALIVE??? WHAT THE DUCK ACTUALLY HAPPENED?! I remembered so many little details just to have some “aha! gotcha you ugly monster!” that never came and I found myself screenshotting the moments that gave me goosebumps, like Slate (my memory is bad I might type out wrong their names) poems and Blaire’s jokes…

OK, SO, WHAT HAPPENED?
I got the ending where… well, the group disbanded but I stayed with Harper. So I literally don’t know anything that happened with them, I ask myself what the deal with the ravens and crows were and what was wrong with Gabrielle… I knew something was wrong with that group, I just don’t understand what, why did things seem to go downhill only after Ash joined? When it looked like I was about to get an explanation things just ended, so fast and hard (in a good way). Was it a good idea for me to disband the group? it did feel like people started to die after they left so I was wondering if I should make them stay but it was too late at that point… it all felt so real and personal I still am in disbelief… im not forgetting that story so soon.

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Agreed this good story. It’s pretty rare for me recently being invested on cog game like this

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@EvaSugar you have GOT to play the hidden chapter, seems like you haven’t??

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@will, I have a question that won’t leave me alone, and since this is a thread for spoilers… When you go to the meditation retreat and you agree to have sex with Harper something moves in the darkness. That, AND the massage therapist knows MC’s name… Is something supernatural going on here? Is the gray painter watching from the shadows and/or taking the form of the therapist?

Also obviously it’s not my place to decide on things like this, but I thought being able to keep everyone besides the first victim alive was very nice material for a hidden achievement.

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That’s not a hidden achievement, to clarify! I did originally have that as an achievement but I didn’t want the characters’ lives to be treated like a game to win. Save them because you want to, not because you have to.

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Oh, yeah, I knew it wasn’t an actual achievement but was wondering why. Your reply makes a lot of sense. You certainly gave me something to think about. Thanks!

oh I have not, chapter 20 yeah? it didnt show up, how do I get it?

Yes! initially I thought that there was no way to “save” them but then I just figured out that the “relationship bar” of each character is just hidden, I really loved that! This book is the first one where I did not look at “stats” after every seemly important choice and it helped me so much to immerse myself in it

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so this “gray painter” is the… thing that’s manipulating Gabrielle and influenting the others? that memory breaking was its doing wasnt it?

Since this is a topic for spoilers, I’ll just say it outright. Gabrielle is a skinwalker. There are some memory moments I don’t quite understand either, but yeah. She is the one manipulating the ravens and they basically are her spies. The ravens are also her cleanup crew.

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I KNEW IT! She was acting very much different ALL of the sudden… I do wonder if Ash can do anything about it?

Yes and no. As far as I know, the good news is that you can do something about it. The bad news is that it doesn’t seem like you can do something about it while keeping your humanity at the same time. Still waiting and hoping for someone to prove me wrong on that.

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Oh and to answer your first question, when the game is finished, play it again. For the second playthrough, you will see that there is a new option under start a new game. From there, you will be able to continue your story and find out what happened.

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oh, I didnt know it wasnt finished, when it is expected to launch?

It’s already available. You simply unlock it with your first playthrough. When you restart, you will see a new option that says: “Find out what happened to Blaine.”

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There are a few things I don’t really understand. Both Ash and Gabrielle are gray painters, which kind of explains the Prologue, so I’m assuming the memories from France are previous victims of Ash. As you progress through the game and finish it for the first time, you get eaten by the gray painter in Gabrielle and from that point, you see their fragmented memories, which inclines me to believe that Ash was eaten by “Gabrielle’s” gray painter from the very beginning and you are just playing back the memories about what happened. And in this timeline, you see Harper’s memories as well. When you replay the “true ending”, Ash kind of figures out they are a gray painter as well and there is a piece of dialog where Harper describes their encounter with Gabrielle and it is implied that they are not the real Harper.

My questions are:

  • When you reset the game, are you resetting the game in a game sense, or are you going back in time while keeping your memories?
  • Is Harper the real Harper during the whole game? Or is there a point where they turn into a gray painter as well?
  • Why is Ash not aware that they are a gray painter from the start and why aren’t they sludging the bed every morning?
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I don’t think I’m ‘done’ done yet, I got eaten by Gabby so I think there’s still another playthrough? So I might be missing context but DAMN what a game! Really leans into what interactive fiction can be.

As of now I’m thinking Ash becomes a Gray Painter rather than being one from the start. But I’m not sure. Gabby seems to be influencing the group through proximity since they start dreaming about ravens and such too. Maybe everyone will become Gray Painters given enough time but some people have more of a predisposition to it?

I still have a lot of loose questions like is it possible to save everyone, does Gabby always wind up alone, what are the outcomes with your relationship with Harper etc.

Beyond just how interesting ferreting out all the variables and secrets are it’s also just really really well written. I care about all the characters, it didn’t feel too short (even without the looping) and there’s probably a very fun thematic analysis to be done wrt authenticity vs artifice, loneliness, confidence and monstrosity.

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Because first off, I don’t think that what happened in France has anything to do with Ash. Ash is clearly a modern day human living in 2012 New Jersey. Whatever happened in France was 1920 something. Secondly, Ash gets turned into a gray painter by Gabrielle. Finally, when you restore the game, you get to have some vague memories, more like déjà vu. Other than that, there are quite a few things I don’t get either. I personally believe that whatever happened in France was the beginning of a trail of destruction by the gray painter, leading up to Henry and Gabrielle’s mum and eventually, Gabrielle herself.

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As far as I know, you can save everyone except Blane who has a scripted death.

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I think I missed the part where Gabrielle turns Ash into a gray painter, when does that happen exactly? Also, what happens in 1920 in France can be connected to what is happening in game since gray painters have flashes of memories of the people’s skin their wearing. That’s why I’m inclined to believe, it’s either Ash or Gabrielle’s memories