The SADNESS of the River Person (Undertale Theory + Giveaway!) | SwankyBox

The SADNESS of the River Person (Undertale Theory + Giveaway!) | SwankyBox

Undertale: It’s hard to believe this game
came out almost two years ago! Time sure has flown by. There were so many oddities in this game that
certainly deserved the spotlight, and so many different characters that held secrets. From the likelihood of Sans being a human,
to the mysterious doctor, first child, and dog that brought this game world to its knees. However, during all of this, I glossed over
one character. One character in particular that I only referenced
seldomly… A person bound to the water of the underground… Onionsan. I mean the River Person. Sorry Oni-san. The River Person is definitely an odd character
within the realm of the underground. They act as your source of fast traveling
throughout the game and are always waiting for your return. They appear to be in a jolly mood as well,
as they hum along with the phrase “tra-la-la” when you approach. Concealed in a dark cloak, they dock at water’s
edge and happily transport you to and fro across the underground. The only person in the game to actually acknowledge
they exist though is Papyrus. No one else mentions them, and Papyrus simply
asks if they are present. Annnd this is why they are so mysterious. Characters in the game either don’t mention
this person exists, or they are simply forgotten by most. They are like a character that dwells in the
background… A face in the crowd you just skip over. In some ways I get the Snowman vibe from the
River Person. In both rooms Papyrus asks if they are still
there, but the conversation stops after that point. Undyne’s conversation is a little harder
to understand… She states “That river connects to Snowdin
and Hotland. If you need to get from one place to another,
jump in! Look, that’s all we got for public transport,
ok!?” The reason I say its harder to understand
is because I can’t tell if she’s saying “jump in the boat”, or if she’s still
referring to the river. It’d make sense if she was referring to
the river since she is a fish-like monster and can probably swim quite fast. However, public transportation can very well
be referring to the actual boat the River Person navigates with – and not the river
itself. So she’s either acknowledging this person
is here on a boat, or telling you to jump into the river because she doesn’t know
a boat is there. Anyways – back to the whole “mysterious
thing” with this person in particular. There’s a few things I want to cover. Starting off, when you first encounter the
River Person you are hit with an interesting piece of dialogue. “Tra la la. I am the riverman. Or am I the riverwoman…? It doesn’t really matter. I love to ride in my boat. Would you care to join me?” Right off the bat the River Person begins
to talk in riddles. They claim that their gender doesn’t really
matter, and that it’s quite possible that they are genderless. However, after this point, they delve into
complete nonsense from a character standpoint. From claiming the water is very dry today,
to declaring that they should have worn several million more pairs of pants. Sprinkled between these nonsensical statements,
or at least what are deemed nonsensical, is dialogue that really cranks up the mysteriousness
on this character to 99. They identify plot points in the game, character
weaknesses during battles, solutions to the puzzles of the underground, and so much more. But how do they do this? They even have knowledge of things that are
out of the realm of reality – like potential references to W.D. Gaster and other outlier characters. Why do they have this ability of foresight
and an all encompassing knowledge? The River Person definitely draws inspiration
from several legends and mythology. Or at least it seems to be that way. Many people say this character is based on
Charon, who navigates the waters of the River Styx. Charon is a ferryman in Greek Mythology who
carries the souls of those who have died across from the land of the living, to the land of
the dead. Seeing as the River Person navigates the waters
of the underground, despite not being the underworld – it seems fitting. The Grim Reaper-like cloak seems appropriate
as well since Charon’s brother was Thanatos, who was the personification of death. Another reference that I picked up on comes
from one of the River Person’s messages. “Did you ever hear the old song coming from
the sea?” A lot of people online correlate this with
the possibility that it could hinting at the Sound Test room, but my mind immediately went
elsewhere. When I think of songs coming from the sea,
I immediately think of The Odyssey. The songs that came from the sea in this tale
were that of Sirens – which would lead the listener to death by shipwreck. In other mediums, Sirens served as psychopomps,
who’s duty was to escort souls to the afterlife. I found this particularly interesting because
there is a character in the game designed after one of these creatures, and her name
is Shyren. Shyren is essentially a shy siren, except
in Undertale they are in the form of a fish and not a bird. I believe this old song of the sea is in reference
to Shyren’s singing, and I believe this is why you can get the following line of text
in battle with Shyren after certain perimeters are met: A hooded figure watches the commotion
from afar. Now, this occurs only if Papyrus is killed,
whereas the line is normally that Sans is selling tickets made out of toilet paper. Most people assume the hooded figure is Sans,
but at no point in the game does he ever have his hood up. It seems odd for him to sneak around wearing
it when he has never worn it at any other point in either timeline. Obviously this can be argued either way, but
it makes it interesting if it is the River Person acknowledging this singing – further
cementing the legend it could be derived from. But who exactly is this River Person? And why do they just linger by the water for
the entire game? Sure it’s their job… or at least it is
assumed to be, but with the ability to only transport one person at a time, just how effective
are they? And why am I struck with a lingering feeling
of sadness? Some people online like to pair the river
person romantically with Gaster, and there are quite a few interesting theories that
people have come up with. However, in my eyes I sort of have a different
outlook. A big part of Undertale is the concept of
a perpetually repeating timeline. Flowey and Sans mention the pointlessness
of it often, because if you exist in a game world, once the game ends the timeline starts
over again. I actually talked about this concept in another
video of mine, so I highly recommend checking out my video about Leaving Games Behind. Anyways, it seemed like even Chara was plagued
by this thought. Like their dialogue states at the end of a
genocide route, they became aware they are within a video game as stats aren’t something
someone would discuss in real life. With the ability to erase the world and start
anew, they are trapped in a repeating timeline as well. Then we have Gaster, who was spread across
time and space. He’s still bound to the game world, but
he was erased from existence. Finally at the top of the food chain we have
The Annoying Dog – who pretty much reigns supreme and is said to have coded the game. This is the same group of people I place the
River Person in. To me the River Person is indeed a reference
to Charon, but they don’t sail between the real world and the afterlife… They exist on the edge of the game’s logic. In my eyes they are sailing right along the
dividing line of the game world and the real one. I believe they have the power to teleport
as well, and the fact that they constantly move left on the river shows that there is
something weird about their travel. Rivers typically form high up in mountains
and most of the time flow in one direction. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t travel
in both directions on a calm river. The problem I have with the River Person going
left is that it would be making the trip way longer than it needs to be. If for some reason the rivers of the underground
connected in a circle at some point, it would still make way more sense to go to the right
and not the left. The ice cubes thrown in the river have no
problem heading to the right, so why wouldn’t the river person simply take the easier route? If teleporting was involved, it wouldn’t
matter what direction they were headed in. It’s apparent they have a connection to
the mysterious Annoying Dog too as their boat has the head of the dog on it sometimes. With the ability to sense things outside the
realm of the game, like knowing what day of the week it is in a specific location, it’s clear that their reach is even beyond Flowey’s W.D. Gaster’s, and even Chara’s. None of these characters knew what was beyond
the game walls, but may have always wondered why they were trapped there. And before someone says “Swanky it could
be Monday in the world of the Undertale too and the River Person could simply be referring
to that”, I’d want to point out that you can sleep in a variety of locations within
the game and multiple times… But, if you constantly check back, it is always Monday, or whatever day it is, when you talk to the River Person. Regardless of how much time passes in the
game, if you’re still playing on a Monday, they will refer to it as Monday… And they are the only character to reference
the outside world directly. But… Would having that knowledge drive you insane? Would knowing your existence was nothing more
than to sit at waters edge moving people to and fro for all of eternity bring you to your
wits end? I sometimes wonder if our world we live in
were to stumble upon something grand – like proof of life after death or actual planets
in the cosmos that host intelligent life… Would we feel insignificant? Would what we are doing in this very moment
seem pointless in the grand scope of everything else… And would this plaguing thought haunt us for
the rest of our days? Beyond that, if you became lost mentally and
drifted through a sea of echoing flowers, what things would you remember? Perhaps the Echo Flowers of the Underground
are what gifted the River Person some of the knowledge they have. Some of the things that seem odd for them
to know. If no one ever believed you when you tried
to share what you knew, or if an Annoying Dog intervened anytime you tried to tell people,
would flowers that hold the memories of the past become your best friends? Obviously there is an underlying element that
there are some things they certainly shouldn’t know about, but it makes me wonder if bottling
up all this taboo knowledge is what drove this character to the random state of mind
they have now. Perhaps this is why they don’t think their
name even matters to the protagonist. They feel insignificant to everything around
them… A mere grain of sand in a sea of fake stars
that they will never be able to see past. I know if it were me in the River Person’s
shoes, I’d be absolute bonkers. You’re a person trapped on a river, trapped
in the underground by a barrier dividing your fake world, trapped within a game that is
insignificant in the scope of the real world. That’s why I feel the River Person is one
of the saddest characters in the game. Flowey, Gaster and Chara tried their best
to disrupt the system that was put before them, but the River Person must carry out
their role as a simple taxi service for the main character until the end of time. And nothing about that will ever change. Buuuut, now that I’ve dumped all that on
you, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What is your theory about the River Person? Do you picture them in the same way I do – and
if you do, do you feel really sad? Let me know your thoughts in the comments
below! (You can find details of the giveaway in the
description below. Thank you for your continued support!) Thanks for tuning in to this riverside trip
in the underground! If you’d like to join me on my YouTube voyage
and continue to dive into the lore behind Undertale, then the subscribe button is just
what you’re looking for. Thanks for watching guys and gals, and until
my next video, cheers! If you liked this video, perhaps you’ll
enjoy some of my others. There’s a slew of other theories on this
channel too, so regardless, I hope you enjoy!

100 thoughts on “The SADNESS of the River Person (Undertale Theory + Giveaway!) | SwankyBox

  1. Enter the Giveaway! ►

    Very recently the channel broke 100 video uploads. This may seem like a sort of insignificant thing, but for two years now I've been spending each week working on a video to share with the world. Often times these videos take 3 – 5 days to make and I've been doing this full time for a while now. Sometimes I'd get the video done at like 5:00 am just right before it needed to be uploaded… But every time it felt monumental. Fast forward two years and I can't believe I have done that over a hundred times. YouTube has certainly been a wild ride, and I hope you'll stick with me to see where it takes me in my future.

    Thank you so much for your support over the years everyone!

  2. I love your videos! They take me back to my favorite games, SM64, LoZ:OoT, LoZ:MM and more. Keep making the videos man, I love this!

  3. I know this is old, but I just finished the game. 2. things so far brotherman (not trying to troll, just wanna further the lore) I don't think undyne swims too often due to her heavy armor and her mentioning the use of the bird (when she claims it took an hour), and 2. I believe sans mentions the snowman in his endgame call if you carry the piece with you on a peaceful playthrough? Although that could just be a tie in to the mystery of the skeletal siblings. Third thing (sorry, I was adding as I watched), I don't think the river person is all that sad honestly? I could be wrong, but they almost strike me as a more advanced form of Sans' condition, where Sans follows and watches to see what you'll do and how he feels he should react, the river person simply sits by and even aids you at times, having accepted the futility of resisting. They know the fate of this world is up to you, and they're entirely at peace with that (whether it's because they know of other dimension's/can access them or if they simply understand causality, or maybe they believe the white dog will protect them, perhaps they understand the resetting timelines means they will never truly perish, and with endless time endless possibilities can occur, including one where theres a happy resolution?) whereas Sans hopes you'll do the right thing but still tries to step in if you pass a certain point.

  4. I think they are the most stable piece of gaster. Still unstable as they are bound to the river. Right above the code itself but never able to touch it. Knowing that you are so close to the fabric of reality and possibly the rest of you but it is just out of reach would likely turn anyone insane.

  5. Μy theory of the river person is that he participated in the core projeckt and as sans he survived and continued living remembering things

  6. What I think of the real world is: "We're all pointless in the grand space, no matter what we do. We will all die, be alone, be pointless, and… Never reach what we really want. Sometimes we have to let go of our beliefs and think… 'What are we doing? Does what we do make a Diffrence?' … Sometimes I cry, alone. In the corner. Where none could care about me, see me, or really… Have no thoughts about me." My Sadness is crawling up my back, waiting to see an emotional error to peel itself inside, and take me over. So i'm an endless whirl of negativity… Think deep… Live your life as you can.

    Before we all die alone… And bury our mother.

  7. I believe that the river person is gaster and I have some proof for that
    1. You find them both in waterfall
    2. Your body shape is very similar
    3. How could the River person know that gaster exist unless the river person is gaster because gaster was wiped from the timeline

  8. Or maybe he's just a funny character Toby made so you'll gain tips and funny puns when you transport from place to place?
    Just a theory tho

  9. I started thinking this through while thinking up on the character for a fanfiction story, and I came to a similar conclusion. S/He knows. especially the part about the loop.

    Riverperson fascinates me really, I consider them a bit of a missing link, and definitely feels like they know more than most. Probably more than Flowey and Sans, who seem to sense things and carry those perceptions into a theoretical level (Gaster and [chara] are difficult to gauge). But I don't know if sadness is the feel I get from them. It's something else… like I said, a sort of missing link there.

  10. this might sound stupid but what if the river person was dating gaster and when gaster vanished the river person got really lonely and depressed

  11. I'm not exactly sure how true this is but if they do truly have knowledge of other worlds, yet continue to simply live a boring, normal life with no meaning at all, shouldn't they be glad they have this life over the lives others are forced to face?

    Think about it… They were gifted with knowledge that allowed them to be prepared for anything no matter what happens just like Sans or Flowey… Sans lives a depressed life due to this knowledge, simply trying his best to live a normal life despite what could happen to him and his family… Flowey has nothing to loose, unlike Sans, so he's decided simply to have fun tearing the world to pieces just to put the puzzle back together again over and over… A lot like many of us, the players do as well… The river person, however, got the freedom of simply sitting out, on the edge of reality, safe from any harm and knowing that no matter what happens, somewhere out there, there's a world where everything is perfect… And a world where everything is destroyed… They aren't affected either way, they've learned that they don't NEED to be with everyone else to be happy in life, they're not sad, they're simply content the way they are… And their lack of communication with the outside world is what's caused them to talk so strangely, they know everything they want to say, they're just not sure how to word it right because although THEY understand why their world is this way… Why it can be so cruel… So lonely… So empty… And had to leave them with such a 'sad', almost pointless job… No one ELSE ever would… Perhaps they can talk to others, perhaps they can't… But either way, no one will ever understand them enough to help them grow on what they know or put it all into words… But they don't really seem to care either way… If they wanted anything more, they'd leave… But they don't… And that's why I don't believe it's sad… Lonely, maybe… But it's not sad… They simply chose to continue living a pointless life even as they learned the truth about their existence because even if you COULD choose to have a more meaningful life and go down in history for doing something truly amazing… Would you really even bother to do it? Would you honestly change your entire life just because you understand your world a little better?

  12. I think the river person was once human but is now a husk and even more so I think they're one of the main components that make up Sans and papyrus as in they were used in the experiment by doctor gaster to create Sans and papyrus which if that is the case the river person would be like their mother

  13. I know that this video was released way before Deltarune was, but I have a theory that probably doesn't make sense >^<

    Personally I think that The river person is Ralsei gone mad. In deltarune, he's taking off his cloak because finally he matters.
    River person doesn't matter to frisk but only matters to kris. Instead of like Jevil, ralsei is just in a depressed sadness state. And that he is the branch between Undertale and Deltarune.

    (If you can't understand, just ask me!)

  14. My theory is that the river person was happy until something happened to him. over the course of the adventure he Warns you about Gaster's existence. he doesn't seem like he's "following Gaster. in fact, it's like he's met him. he doesn't talk about leaving the underground because it doesn't matter. Why leave if no one will recognize or remember you? the only other person who knows about you questions why he is there. He tries to get your attention by saying to eat mushrooms everyday. hey, even frisk doesn't try to talk to him. when it asks you to ride in the boat it doesn't acknowledge him at all. he is like the other gaster followers, but doesn't follow. he is lost to the universe and by now is never going to come back. I also have a theory on the ghosts, bu i'll save it for an episode on them.

  15. The nature of life and how things are make one both feel as not all encompassingly important but vital in one's own unique role in God's Creation. I do mattee, but I am not all that matters.

  16. She is talking about the boat because she says WE and undying and shyrn but and it is probably to cold to swim in and why would she say that if it is not connected with papyrus and if you say ShE wIlL aLwAyS tAlK cUz ShE iS wItH pApYrUs yea you are right but I don't know I may not be right I think she was.talking about undying :/

  17. “Several million more pairs of pants” could suggest they’re one of those characters that exist across all playthroughs and are aware of it like sans and flowie.

    Essentially, he needs a pair of pants for every time this game has been played through by someone.

  18. I mean, if the Riverperson is sad. Shouldn't like every character become sad? Like Chara was bullied at school so was sad to. I just see the Riverperson's story sad like any character can be.

  19. Here’s another theory:The river person could possibly be a Gaster follower because he is one of the few characters to have lost their mind and he acts like a Gaster follower


  21. I think I would feel insignificant if I found out if we were alone in this universe…. or multiverse. …. I also like to believe that once a game is finished on the happy route and not played again- ie all said and done, that their "world" does not reset but gets left off in happieness where it ended. (until you press the delete file or reset everything….to which, booo….) lol.

  22. the latter part of this video sounds earilly similar to Jevil. Eventhough Deltarune hadn't come out yet at this time.

  23. This is probably what DeltaRune's entire premise is going to be. The most reoccurring themes throughout both games are regarding existential crisis, life purpose and free will. Additional symbolism like the church, the "Angel's heaven" , Gaster's cult and Jevil already set up for this.

    I wonder if the "calamity" that is going to happen will be about the lightners collectively realizing they are in a game as well, and go crazy over it.

  24. I thought lets look in the coments after deltarune came out.

    Most are oh they are ralsei.
    No offense sorry if it comes over as offensive but i don't mean to be mean.

    But ralsei is much, much younger and smaller than the river person.

  25. This riverman reminds me of Ralsei from the beginning of deltarune ( where he tells the prophecy without revealing hiself )

  26. If I were the one making this vid I would refer to riverperson as male cuz he gives off that reaper vibe and only males can be reapers

  27. Watching this post-DELTARUNE, the Riverman/woman reminds of Jevil. Perhaps they gained their knowledge in a similar way?

    Seam says this about Jevil:
    "He started saying bizarre things that didn't completely make sense –

    But didn't completely not make sense, either."

    That sounds like a description of the Riverman/woman too, doesn't it?

  28. I agree with ur theory, but take this, if gaster in lore is sans's dad, and the river person is also part of space and time, what if the river person is gasters spouse

    (It could also be a small bit of Chara's soul)

  29. Your words at the end. I feel ya there. Everyone is so nice and really awsome and helpful. But it seems almost impossible to return it fully. I feel u

    Tho i dont have nearly as manny subs as u. But thats fine! Cuz this is an awsome chanle

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