In the previous lecture, Prof. Stuart gave us an overview of the Black Death, and the concept of danse macabre.
Being the nerd that I am, my brain went immediately into thinking about a certain group of 4 jolly f(r)iends, who, in the SMT series, are depicted as skeletons.
- “Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.“
- —Revelations 6:1-2
- SMT’s White Rider is clearly meant to be Conquest, the first horseman of the apocalypse. Many people today know him as Pestilence, but that connotation is something that popped up later, perhaps as conquest became less of a deal in the more modern era.
- While him being called “Pestilence” is more of a modern deal, it certainly feels as if it’s something that should tie into the Black Death, as the disease wiped out much of Europe’s population.
The Four Horsemen were mentioned in the Book of Revelations. Conquest’s white horse is usually said to represent one of two things: the conquest brought on via the spread of Christianity, or the Anti-Christ, who deceives all the pious and faithful Christians.
(Personally, I believe that the second meaning is something Christians made in order to feel better because of some of the first meaning’s connotations.)
Now, design-wise, White Rider himself resembles the typical Grim Reaper quite a lot. He’s got the full-body black cloak, and has a skeletal visage. The horse with eyes all over its body, though, is something I think is unique to SMT, and not typical of White Rider or any of the other 4 horsemen.
What I like about White Rider (and the other 3 riders, but they’ll get their time later) is his pose. In this piece of official art by Kazuma Kaneko, he appears to be staring into the distance, perhaps surveying the lands he has conquered, or those about to be conquered. Although his horse is galloping, he seems to be calm and collected, without a care for the mortal lives he has wreaked havoc on.