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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    Now this doesn't mean you have to think what happened as good writing. But this was as much a retcon as Julio showing up was a Dues ex Machina.
    Isn't that when you get your paycheck from an ATM? What does that have to do with Julio showing up? Was it payday?
    Farewell Durkon! May you merit to enter Valhalla and share a drink with your pa!

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    Isn't that when you get your paycheck from an ATM? What does that have to do with Julio showing up? Was it payday?
    I thought snarky comments about obvious spelling mistakes was more Kish's shtick.

    Went back and edited post for you.
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    Isn't that when you get your paycheck from an ATM? What does that have to do with Julio showing up? Was it payday?
    No, Dues Ex Machina is taxes.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    Whoa there, I think you have some reading to do on the subject of a retcon.

    A reinterpretation or clarification of an event is not a retcon. A retcon is the changing of past events, or the nullification of previously established events.
    A reinterpretation absolutely can be a retcon, which is what I perceive to have happened in #943. You have to realize that there's a very blurry distinction between changing a past event, and reinterpreting it so that the new interpretation is what had happened all along. A quick perusal of the relevant TV Tropes page reveals a plethora of narrative reinterpretations that are entirely consistent with events as originally portrayed, but add new information that frames those events in an entirely different light.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    A quick perusal of the relevant TV Tropes page reveals a plethora of narrative reinterpretations that are entirely consistent with events as originally portrayed, but add new information that frames those events in an entirely different light.
    Again, TV Tropes should NOT be taken as gospel when it comes to writing techniques.

    It's fun. It's entertaining. It might even be useful. But when it comes to defining the difference between 'retcon' and 'reinterpretation'?

    Well, to use the parlance of that site: No. Just no.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    A reinterpretation absolutely can be a retcon, which is what I perceive to have happened in #943. You have to realize that there's a very blurry distinction between changing a past event, and reinterpreting it so that the new interpretation is what had happened all along. A quick perusal of the relevant TV Tropes page reveals a plethora of narrative reinterpretations that are entirely consistent with events as originally portrayed, but add new information that frames those events in an entirely different light.
    Eh, not really. an interpretation is up to the viewer/reader. If at any point you notice some minutiae that you missed before, you might see the scene in a whole different light without it changing the actual event at all. A retcon is blatantly altering something, IE: "Character X came in from out of town to deal with the monster." becomes "Character X is a local who just never stays there." or more blatantly, something like "Xykon was actually a quarter elven, that's why he lived so long." even though its been stated he was a human.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    A reinterpretation absolutely can be a retcon, which is what I perceive to have happened in #943. You have to realize that there's a very blurry distinction between changing a past event, and reinterpreting it so that the new interpretation is what had happened all along. A quick perusal of the relevant TV Tropes page reveals a plethora of narrative reinterpretations that are entirely consistent with events as originally portrayed, but add new information that frames those events in an entirely different light.
    That's pretty much what happened in #943. We know have more information about that scene in Sandsedge. Nothing in #943 contradicts #674, it merely shows that in #674 Haley was Bluffing Vaarsuvius by playing along with Roy. So basically we can go back and reread #674 in a new light: Haley, who knows exactly who Blackwing is, plays along with Roy, while Elan was genuinely clueless, despite the fact that he arranged for Blackwing to sit next to Banjo at the tea party in the inn.
    Farewell Durkon! May you merit to enter Valhalla and share a drink with your pa!

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    As much as I like it, TV Tropes isn't an authority on How To Write.

    Also, if you look at the qualifier, it said "As the number of twists and misdirections in a story becomes higher, it becomes more difficult to tell whether an event actually is a retcon or a misdirection".

    Now while Rich may surprise, he isn't pulling twists and misdirections left and right like shows like LOST and the like.

    No, a misdirection is a misdirection. And when getting into character motivations, the bar for retcon becomes pretty darn high.

    Now this doesn't mean you have to think what happened as good writing. But this was as much a retcon as Julio showing up was a Deus ex Machina.
    That's fair. Whether this was a true retcon or an originally intended misdirection is beside the point in any case, and both are valid interpretations. Rich being as good a writer as he is, I'm more inclined to interpret events as having been planned ahead of time. My point is that #943 serves as a post hoc explanation to justify a contradiction introduced in #674, which to my mind undermines the argument that #674 was just a joke and nothing else. I called it a retcon because, on the face of it, that's what it looks like ("Haley was just kidding all along!").

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    That's fair. Whether this was a true retcon or an originally intended misdirection is beside the point in any case, and both are valid interpretations. Rich being as good a writer as he is, I'm more inclined to interpret events as having been planned ahead of time. My point is that #943 serves as a post hoc explanation to justify a contradiction introduced in #674, which to my mind undermines the argument that #674 was just a joke and nothing else. I called it a retcon because, on the face of it, that's what it looks like ("Haley was just kidding all along!").
    Actually, that's different from a retcon too. That's a handwave, included in this case so that Haley can interact with Blackwing as a character without retconning anything.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    Again, TV Tropes should NOT be taken as gospel when it comes to writing techniques.

    It's fun. It's entertaining. It might even be useful. But when it comes to defining the difference between 'retcon' and 'reinterpretation'?

    Well, to use the parlance of that site: No. Just no.
    I don't think that continuing to argue the definition of a retcon is particularly productive, and labeling #943 as a reinterpretation rather than a retcon makes no difference to my overall point. But regarding the use of TV Tropes, would you then prefer Wikipedia?

    Some retcons do not necessarily directly contradict previously established facts but instead fill in missing background details, usually to support current plot points. Thomas referred to "retroactive continuity" in this sense, as a purely additive process that did not undo any previous work; such additions were common in All-Star Squadron. Kurt Busiek took a similar approach with Untold Tales of Spider-Man, a series which told stories that specifically fit between issues of the original The Amazing Spider-Man series, sometimes explaining discontinuities between those earlier stories. John Byrne utilized a similar structure with X-Men: The Hidden Years. In The Godfather: Part II, the character Frank Pentangeli is introduced as an old friend of the family though he is not referenced in the first movie; similarly Don Altobello is one of the "old time" Dons, though he is not mentioned until Godfather: Part III. Neither addition affects the plot line of the previous films.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    An example of the first is in the Wheel of Time series where the main character Balefires someone responsible for the deaths of a major character and the main character's lover (and another guy). All three are restored to life as a result and their deaths never happened. That's a retcon.
    Off-topic nitpick: I don't think previous events being changed in-universe can really be called a retcon.
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    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Eh, not really. an interpretation is up to the viewer/reader.
    Hence the occasionally difficulty of telling whether an event is a retcon or not. It usually hinges on the perception of whether or not the authors planned the new interpretation all along.

    If at any point you notice some minutiae that you missed before, you might see the scene in a whole different light without it changing the actual event at all. A retcon is blatantly altering something, IE: "Character X came in from out of town to deal with the monster." becomes "Character X is a local who just never stays there." or more blatantly, something like "Xykon was actually a quarter elven, that's why he lived so long." even though its been stated he was a human.
    See my Wikipedia quote above.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    would you then prefer Wikipedia?
    The problem then is, the negative connotation that retroactive continuity has isn't when they fill in missing gaps (though in some fandoms, there is a tsk tsk at the desire to do that), but because they change things. If the term 'retcon' was more often in the prior sense, then it wouldn't have the reputation as being WongBadDon'tDo as it does.

    Either way, you yourself note that it's the explanation that bugged you, not whatever technical literary term is used to describe what happened.

    Which is fair enuf, as I have noted on more than one occasion when these things crop up.
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    A reinterpretation absolutely can be a retcon, which is what I perceive to have happened in #943. You have to realize that there's a very blurry distinction between changing a past event, and reinterpreting it so that the new interpretation is what had happened all along. A quick perusal of the relevant TV Tropes page reveals a plethora of narrative reinterpretations that are entirely consistent with events as originally portrayed, but add new information that frames those events in an entirely different light.
    It isn't blurry at all.

    A retcon is a change of past events or making it so those events never happened.

    Haley's explanation in 943 doesn't change a past event. It still happened, and it still happened exactly as was stated.

    There's now a new motivation for that event, but the event itself is unchanged. Therefore no retcon.

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    This is a retcon:
    Luke: "Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
    Obi-Wan: "Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true, from a certain point of view."
    This is also a retcon:
    Blackwing: "Hey! You remember me now?"
    Haley: "Shyeah. I'm the one who named you! I was just busting V's chops before."
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    It isn't blurry at all.

    A retcon is a change of past events or making it so those events never happened.

    Haley's explanation in 943 doesn't change a past event. It still happened, and it still happened exactly as was stated.

    There's now a new motivation for that event, but the event itself is unchanged. Therefore no retcon.
    I've cited two sources that contradict your restrictive definition (whereas you've cited none). I don't know what else I can say to convince you.

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    It isn't blurry at all.

    A retcon is a change of past events or making it so those events never happened.
    What you said is an internal inconsistency, not a retcon.
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  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    And in both cases she's using her Bluff score to get what she wants. That's what a really good con artist does, and Haley learned at the feet of the master: her Uncle Geoff. (What you think it was her dad? Her dad's just paranoid, yet Geoff managed to trick him for three years!)
    But we know from Haley that Bluff only works on things that aren't true.

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    What you said is an internal inconsistency, not a retcon.
    the term retcon is almost never used to mean anything other than a story jumping from one internal consistency to another, to the point where it needs to be spelled out when its being used for any other purpose. Citing a technical definition that nobody uses is simply an attempt to make a poor argument look better.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    the term retcon is almost never used to mean anything other than a story jumping from one internal consistency to another, to the point where it needs to be spelled out when its being used for any other purpose. Citing a technical definition that nobody uses is simply an attempt to make a poor argument look better.
    You can say same thing for "deus ex machina". But that doesn't change the real meaning.
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  21. - Top - End - #201
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    You can say same thing for "deus ex machina". But that doesn't change the real meaning.
    Perhaps, but the responsibility of clarity is on the shoulders of the one typing. If youre going to use an uncommon meaning for something, make it clear.

    Don't argue that "Xykon killing all the goblins by throwing them into the gate was Cool" then try and save face by saying you meant "cool, as in cold, uncaring."
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion
    There's different explanations behind why the party does anything. Belkar helped Roy get the starmetal because he thought there'd be ogres. Haley did it because she thought there'd be riches. Vaarsuvius did it because she thought she could use Starmetal for something herself. Durkon did it because he had nothing better to do than help a friend. Elan just wanted to help.
    But there is no mystery here. Only a varied set of difficulties Roy must overcome. With 674, we have mystery, why did all of these people forget? And in that case, several exclamations are grossly inferior to one. The extra exclamations just take up space.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion
    So yes, the idea that Haley saw her party members forgetting about Blackwing and decided to confuse Vaarsuvius further -- in itself, that shouldn't be unfathomable.
    [/QUOTE]
    It's not unfathomable, just inferior and unlikely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    Speaking of that Bluff, when the party arrives at the cave, Roy goes to apologize to Belkar about the Bluff. But Belkar's forgotten that Roy told them there would be Giants guarding the Starmetal, so he accuses Roy of lying to him about lying about Giants.
    Belkar says he doesn't remember, but Belkar is a frequent liar, particularly when that allows him to jerk Roy's chain. So this strip does not require Belkar to forget anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    (This actually plays a part in the climax to NCftPB.) So we now have evidence that Belkar forgets things all the time.
    One time does not make all the time, particularly when that one may be none.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    In NCftPB he forgot why he agreed to come with Roy to the cave with the Starmetal. In Book Five he forgot (multiple times) about Blackwing.
    Cite pages please. Also note that book 5 comes after we are noticing the memory problem. That is when the rift theory says Belkar would forget. [Of course, it seems you are confusing "ignoring" with "forgetting" here.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    And that's not even going into all the things Elan forgets. Elan forgets seven important things before most people have eaten breakfast.
    Again cite cases. As near as I can quickly tell, Elan forgets little or nothing. His stupidity is drawing the wrong conclusions from the facts, a good number of which are his fantasies. It is the MIDT who always forgets things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    So it is completely consistent that Belkar wouldn't notice Blackwing unless he was speaking (and sometimes not even then).
    But again, this is after 674, and thus after any rift effect. It is not evidence that Belkar never had any memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    How about we just put this discussion to bed. It was a joke, and not everyone got it, and not everyone who got it found it funny. Humor is subjective.
    Please explain how it was a joke. Even how it was a lousy joke. I have already mentioned how 943 is not fitting the model of a brick joke. So how is it a joke? and not a simple factual statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    The idea that this party of 6 acts the same in all situations and always has the same motivations isn't practical. It's absurd.
    Once again the addition of absolutes. You seem to have this idea that if a theory is only 99% right, it is 100% wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    He's told about a familiar he's never seen except once (the trial), and Roy's points in 674 are that the bird hasn't been hanging around and he's never seen it involved in the party's adventures. Both are true.
    Here again we see a claim that if Roy is not shown directly looking at Blackwing, he never saw him. But context tells us he saw the bird several times, maybe too high to count. In both the woods and the Oracle, the two are only a short distance apart and Roy would have done some gymnastics to avoid seeing Blackwing.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    He never saw Blackwing at the hotel, so there goes that.
    Elan arranged the animal dinner where the raven was at. It may be possible for Blackwing to get an invite without Elan physically seeing him, but Elan had to be thinking of him, and thinking he was a "member" of the party.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    The point is that whether something exists elsewhere in one story is not evidence or support of it existing in another story.
    Quite the contrary. It is usually not powerful evidence, but it is evidence, and quite strong when we are merely trying to establish a possibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    Lying and tricking was exactly what she was doing in 674 by her explanation in 943, so that fits just fine. End of book scenes are for clarifications, explanations and finishing touches, anyway, so it really doesn't make sense for Haley to be lying here.
    We are in a multi-book series, which means end of book scene is also for making things confused, so as to get readers for the next book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    It's in character for Haley to lightly rib Vaarsuvius,
    Please cite examples.

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Frankly, from where I'm standing the only reason anyone would think of this as a retcon would be if they thought there was something more to the Order "not remembering" Blackwing in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Also, as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself defending your inalienable right to make someone else feel like garbage, you're on the wrong side of the argument.
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    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Perhaps, but the responsibility of clarity is on the shoulders of the one typing. If youre going to use an uncommon meaning for something, make it clear.
    1. It's not uncommon.
    2. I will stick to the true meaning, thank you.
    3. Nice straw man in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    Frankly, from where I'm standing the only reason anyone would think of this as a retcon would be if they thought there was something more to the Order "not remembering" Blackwing in the first place.
    When the first strip is uploaded, everyone thought that Haley really forgot about Blackwing's existence. This revealed to be not the case, by a retcon.
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    I've cited two sources that contradict your restrictive definition (whereas you've cited none). I don't know what else I can say to convince you.
    The Wikipedia entry involves stories that are added in after the fact (sometimes to SOLVE retcons).

    Since there's no story being added here that's totally irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    What you said is an internal inconsistency, not a retcon.
    That's what a retcon IS - an altering of internal consistency.

    Carlo's definition of a retcon is far too broad. Under it, there are dozens of retcons in any story of appreciable length.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Argall View Post
    Once again the addition of absolutes. You seem to have this idea that if a theory is only 99% right, it is 100% wrong.
    Considering you can't say this theory is even 1% right, I'm not sure what that summary has to do with anything.

    Here again we see a claim that if Roy is not shown directly looking at Blackwing, he never saw him. But context tells us he saw the bird several times, maybe too high to count. In both the woods and the Oracle, the two are only a short distance apart and Roy would have done some gymnastics to avoid seeing Blackwing.
    The Oracle actually does wipe memories. I'm literally laughing at the irony here - the one time a memory wipe is confirmed to have occurred in the comic you're flat out ignoring it. It's baffling.

    If by "gymnastics" you mean "not turn around," then yes, Roy would have had to do that to avoid seeing him in the woods. Roy was talking to Haley when Blackwing appeared and then the comic ends. Next one starts with V taking shelter under Roy and, again, Blackwing is behind him. There's no indication of how much time passed or in what direction(s) they went.

    Elan arranged the animal dinner where the raven was at. It may be possible for Blackwing to get an invite without Elan physically seeing him, but Elan had to be thinking of him, and thinking he was a "member" of the party.
    How? Elan wasn't there in comic #3, he was tied in a tent when Blackwing was scouting the bandit camp, and he wasn't on panel at any point in 178 or 179 while V was a lizard. And the party was basically ignoring V while he was a lizard and Elan isn't smart so it's highly dubious to think he'd have made the connection between V and the raven.

    The better explanation is that Blackwing went to enjoy the tea party by himself, possibly because he was feeling ignored. Also, there's no evidence that Blackwing appears when other party members remember him. Only when V remembers him.

    Quite the contrary. It is usually not powerful evidence, but it is evidence, and quite strong when we are merely trying to establish a possibility.
    It is not "evidence" to say that an ongoing story will have an element at some point from the billions of other stories that have been written.

    We are in a multi-book series, which means end of book scene is also for making things confused, so as to get readers for the next book.
    The "book" will already be online before it's printed.
    Last edited by orrion; 2014-02-10 at 06:26 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #206
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    I thought snarky comments about obvious spelling mistakes was more Kish's shtick.
    I own ALL the snark.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  27. - Top - End - #207
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    HalflingRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    The Wikipedia entry involves stories that are added in after the fact (sometimes to SOLVE retcons).

    Since there's no story being added here that's totally irrelevant.
    Here's what you said earlier:

    Haley's explanation in 943 doesn't change a past event. It still happened, and it still happened exactly as was stated.

    There's now a new motivation for that event, but the event itself is unchanged. Therefore no retcon.
    (emphasis mine)

    A new element to the story was added that put a previous event, though unchanged, in a new light. This was your argument. Unless you want to argue that character motivations aren't part of the story?

  28. - Top - End - #208
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post

    A new element to the story was added that put a previous event, though unchanged, in a new light. This was your argument. Unless you want to argue that character motivations aren't part of the story?
    ... A new element was added. A new story was not added.

    While we're on the subject of character motivation, it was entirely in character for Haley to do what she did in 674.

    Every revealed lie, however, is not a retcon.

    Every broadening of a story is not a retcon.

    Every revelation is not a retcon.
    Last edited by orrion; 2014-02-10 at 07:01 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #209
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    HalflingRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by orrion View Post
    ... A new element was added. A new story was not added.
    Please cite any source that claims that a new story must be added to qualify as a retcon.

    While we're on the subject of character motivation, it was entirely in character for Haley to do what she did in 674.
    I disagree. When else has Haley "busted V's chops" like that?

    Every revealed lie, however, is not a retcon.

    Every broadening of a story is not a retcon.

    Every revelation is not a retcon.
    I never claimed any such thing, nor did any of the sources I cited.

  30. - Top - End - #210
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Blackwing's exposure to the rift

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    A new element to the story was added that put a previous event, though unchanged, in a new light. This was your argument. Unless you want to argue that character motivations aren't part of the story?
    Are you saying that that's a retcon? That's overly broad. The ending of The Sixth Sense is not a retcon.

    What determines whether a retcon is a retcon is authorial planning. If the author presents us with a hawk on page 50, and on page 200 they tell us that it was actually a polymorphed handsaw, it is only a retcon if the author didn't know on page 50 that it was going to be a handsaw. If the audience is lucky, they can turn back to page 50 and find the subtle clues that it was intentional—say, a character says "Well, I never saw such a hawk!" or there's a Hamlet reference on the page. If, on the other hand, it's a (bad) retcon, it might create inconsistencies that the audience can point to. Often, there's just not enough evidence on either side, and it all comes down to how much you trust the author. If you're doing "death of the author" analysis, it can be very tough to build a case for retroactive continuity.

    In this case, I suspect Rich didn't plan this particular bit this far ahead, but not because I mistrust him—it's because it doesn't matter. The invisible familiar bit was a running gag, and Rich decided at some point to give the gag a bit of story weight by using it to mark Vaarsuvius's development. Now, the gag has run its course and become a distraction, so Rich is giving the audience a nod that the gag is over and Blackwing will be a regular character from here on out. It doesn't matter whether Haley's revelation is a retcon or not, because to this point Blackwing only had story significance for Vaarsuvius; everybody else's interactions with him were just further iterations of the running gag. Because it was a running gag, with people remembering or forgetting Blackwing as the comedy dictated, Haley's revelation can't create contradictions. Contradictions are only an issue for matters of story significance; comedy absorbs, ignores, or thrives on them. You get a "Wah wah wahhh" from the trumpet and move on.

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