Polaris is William T. Spears.
William T. Spears’ Fault-Finding Habit
I’ve always thought the implication that Will was quick to blame collections for the mysterious walking corpses was odd, when he later showed up and was immediately aware and accepting that there was an outside culprit. Why and how did he find out there was an outside perpetrator to blame, when Ronald was acting like William had been looking for excuses to blame collections, including the potential of collections having been covering up demon involvement?
In retrospect, I think Will being quick to blame collections during that time (when they all were, I assume, being put under pressure by the higher-ups) and then quick to accept there was an outside culprit is possibly just because he thinks in a sort of “who is the one responsible for this bad thing?” pattern and does not like being considered the one “at fault”. (See: the way he avoids owning up to how badly he’s doing at being undercover during the circus arc).
So, when the higher-ups said “who is at fault for this walking corpse issue?”, of course William would find the easiest and most likely target to blame. It wasn’t management, so it must be collections - “don’t look at me, it must have been them”.
Then, seeing that Grelle and Ron had been beat up, the fault must shift to an outside party. Whether that was a demon or someone else doesn’t really matter. (Though it still begs the question of how he could know or guess that their being beat up had anything to do with the bizarre doll case, if we’re assuming he meant that when he said Grelle and Ron needed to write a report on the culprit).
Perpetual fault-finding would be one of his most negative character traits, even if it’s situationally useful (finding fault with the things a demon says to tempt him, for one, and he probably has a keen eye for proofreading lol), but it’s also one that makes complete sense for him to have as a grim reaper.
Reapers in the kuro universe are defined by one thing they did “wrong”. Just one mistake, that they could never have known the repercussions for. And if you’re already the sort of person who tends towards being pessimistic and fussy, then to have your existence defined by your mistakes would naturally result in those traits getting amplified over time.
A fear of making more mistakes, a fear of being held accountable for something that shouldn’t have been such a big deal, a fear of having someone else’s mistakes put on his record.
A desire to not get blamed for anything more, becoming a habit of pointing out how others are the ones to blame, snowballing into a habit of actively looking for people’s faults.
(As an aside, I would love to see the kind of extensive callout posts this man could make on tumblr if he had a blog lmfao)
Nobody is safe from his criticism; even if he won’t talk back to his superiors directly, he still complains about the tasks they give him and how unfair they are whenever he gets the chance. Subordinates, peers, and higher-ups, enemy or ally, he’s critical of them all.
Which begs the question… Does William believe he did anything wrong, when he killed himself?
If he isn’t convinced of his own moral culpability in the defining event of his life and undeath, and that’s what’s feeding his fear/hatred of ever being the one held accountable for things, then that could have serious repercussions later if it turns out (or just William himself becomes convinced) that Dispatch isn’t a morally neutral, natural part of the world order, or that their salvation and purgatory are based on false premises. If he isn’t convinced he did anything that bad to begin with, it would mean he’s already uncertain of Dispatch at its very core.
And if nobody is safe from his fault-finding, and he only avoids directly going against the higher-ups because it would harm his chances of redemption/ascension, then if something happens that (in his opinion - and it only needs to be his opinion, not the truth) disproves the very existence of those chances, I’m sure he’d have a hell of a lot to say against the higher-ups that he’s been bottling up or redirecting into his frustrations with other people.
In my heart of hearts, I wish this was true.
On the other hand, I believe that William’s “job” in the narrative is to come and collect Undertaker at the end of this arc.
I think the reason we don’t see William often is simply because… the human world? Not his division. He’s said as much; as a member of the managerial branch, he’s not supposed to do field work. When he does, it’s because something has gone seriously wrong (not enough staff, someone is breaking the rules, etc), and he hates it So Much.
There are points that support him helping UT, and points that don’t.
- William was apparently set on the idea that the bizarre dolls were the fault of collections, according to Ron, but when William arrived at the Campania he seemed to be aware there was an outside culprit without having been personally told. This is the key point.
- William and Undertaker use similar speech patterns when talking about demons. Most reapers call demons “gaijuu” (beast), but William and Undertaker say it like “gaijuu fuzei” (lowly beast). This could indicate a personal familiarity, or could simply be coincidence. They’re both using kenjougo when they do this, a speech form that humbles the speaker in relation to the person they’re talking to (this is why Undertaker’s personal-pronoun-I is shousei, literally “my humble self”) (William uses watashi - the polite standard “I”, or watakushi - business-polite kenjougo “I”) but they both use it in a sort of bitchy, ironic way. So, like student like teacher, potentially.
- William clearly hates his job, and only does as much work as is strictly necessary, according to the instructions of his superiors. You can see a reflection of this in the circus arc, when he’s asked to help fill in for the acrobats and like… he does, sort of. He gets up on the trapeze and swings around, complaining about it the entire time. If this is truly his wider pattern of behaviour when it comes to following orders (which it is, lbr), then it’s possible his allegiance is split.
- Undertaker doesn’t have access to death lists, and he doesn’t seem to get any warning when other reapers turn up to arrest him. These are both things that William could give him easily.
- There hasn’t been any really obvious foreshadowing for it. Yana likes to telegraph plot twists at least 3 years in advance. If there was foreshadowing for this, I’m sure we would have seen it by now.
- William spends a lot of time enforcing how you’re not supposed to get attached and building barriers (literal and emotional) against his peers. This is like, the opposite of Undertaker going all-in on sentimentality, covering himself in mourning jewellery, and raising the dead. We can assume, therefore, that what UT is doing right now goes directly against what William thinks is the best thing to do.
William doesn’t appear in many chapters, no, but he appears in many arcs.
Ripper: Grelle, UT, Will
Circus: UT, Will, Ron
Campania: Ron, UT, Grelle, Will
Green witch: Ludger, Sascha, UT, Grelle, Will
Blue Star/boyband (ongoing): UT, Grelle, Othello
Will and Grelle: 4
Othello, Sascha, and Ludger: 1
If Will appears at the end of the blue cult arc (which he will, lbr), that will make him the 2nd most recurring reaper after UT. William’s number of appearances seems very small, but this is because his page time tends to be short, not because he isn’t showing up. For a man who isn’t even supposed to be in the human realm, his number of appearances is kind of absurd. He’s also always there because he’s cleaning up after the mistakes or transgressions of another reaper, not because he wants to be.
The question, I think, is less whether they’re working together, and more whether they know each other.
Depending on how much is shown in cinematic records, and if UT was used to dispose of the circus crew corpses, UT could be aware of William via his time at the circus.
UT does know Will is a person who exists, because Othello mentioned him at the manor. At absolute minimum, UT knows Will = an active reaper, who told Othello what UT has been doing. I do think it’s a little odd that Othello mentioned Will only by name, rather than saying “I heard that x” or “I heard from managerial that x”, or “I heard from managerial branch’s Will that x”. He just says Will, like UT is supposed to have any idea who that is.
And he might, because we don’t know how old Will is in manga canon. Grelle is under 70, but William could be older. If he is, that means he should know UT personally, and might even have been present when UT flipped out and destroyed half of hq. William certainly has enough grievances with their reduced number of staff, he mentions it often - which could imply he’s experienced a time when they weren’t understaffed.
If they already knew each other, the question then becomes in what capacity, and how well?
If they knew each other well enough, and/or Will liked UT as much as he seemed to in anime canon, that would explain why Will both tried to pin the dolls on collections and was more than ready to believe there was an individual outside culprit- reflexively defending UT even though he knows UT is in the wrong and they are no longer in contact with each other. It would even explain why their speech patterns line up sometimes on things like demons.
But this is just theorising, and we’ll see as this arc progresses and we find out how UT as an antagonist is going to be dealt with by the plot.
Meanwhile at the Phantomhive Administration…..
Ciel is so over everyone tbh
I still don’t think Will told the full story here.
- “I cannot give information pertaining to souls to a fiend.”
- That conflicted facial expression on the lower right of page 110
- “Since you have the honour of being the greatest of evils "before I get to work”, let me warn you.“
- "This is a special case, so please refrain from interfering.”
William says he can’t give Sebastian information about the souls, then proceeds to give information. Or does he? He gave Sebastian the bare minimum, tacked on to the end of a long warning. He thought about it, too, before he started speaking, and then he told Sebastian that the number of souls was large, and that yes, this was a special case.
But he doesn’t say why it’s a special case, exactly how many souls, or where in this vicinity those souls will be.
I’ve talked before about how odd it is that this is considered a special case and worthy of investigating, when Sebastian isn’t used to seeing reapers personally investigating something, and the German reapers didn’t infiltrate the witch village despite a similar number of souls being on the line. Number of souls =/= special case.
Then there’s the “before I get to work” line. The emphasis here is odd. It’s the same quotation mark treatment that oCiel calling himself “Ciel Phantomhive” got. It’s also used after Madam Red’s funeral when Sebastian asks if he should call oCiel a “coward”, and when he quotes something oCiel said back at him.
There’s potentially something more to this, then, too. And William isn’t quoting something Sebastian has said back to him. So, most likely, something about the statement “before I get to work” is significant.
Is there an anticipated evil during or after Will gets to work? What is it? Or is this not really the before-work time, was this “special case” already set in motion long ago? It’s a strange thing to put quotation-mark stress on, for sure.
Then, we have the definition of a special case. He gives us nothing in regards to this. Not a single hint as to what makes this lot of souls special enough for him to personally infiltrate them and “pretend to be human”. Humans can’t normally see reapers unless reapers make themselves visible on purpose, so there’s no reason for William to have personally interacted with them unless he wanted to or he was instructed to. And why did he have to observe them personally before the reap began? For a whole month? He says it, right here. Reapers judge whether someone should live or die based on their cinematic records, not based on whether or not that person makes a good enough social impression on said reaper in the month leading up to their death.
In short, William appeased Sebastian, but he told him nothing he couldn’t already guess.
Sebastian had already surmised there were special circumstances at play. The only new information was there would be “many” souls, but with the number of people Sebastian kills on the regular, that’s not unusual either.
And this leads us to another question about William himself…
Will can hide things and skip over key information just fine, when he wants to or thinks it’s important to do so.
Which means, on the flipside, he either didn’t think it important or didn’t want to hide the fact that he was a grim reaper evaluating everybody’s souls from the circus crew.
There are plenty of potential reasons.
- A self-defence mechanism, whereby he actively others himself and stops himself from getting too personally involved with them. This would protect him emotionally, but comes at the cost of a natural investigation.
- He’s actively self-sabotaging, in a way that doesn’t put the souls at risk, but makes it less likely for the higher-ups to put him on covert investigations in the future.
- He wants to test fate, indirectly. By making his presence known, he “warns” the circus crew that their time is near. Thus, he may change their fate, if they heed his warning and save themselves. They don’t, of course, because they don’t believe him. His motives may be related to empathy for the circus crew and a desire to protect them, or something more scientific like Undertaker’s curiosity for what would happen if the cinematic record started to play again. As a character who has been dealt a very clear fate, trapped in purgatory and subject to the whims of the higher-ups, testing the boundaries of what can be changed and what is set is stone is a very natural response.
- He simply doesn’t care if they know, and there’s no rule against it. He’s very blatant about what he is simply because he can be. This still implies, however, that he didn’t want to hide it, that he didn’t want to fit in. That he was okay with giving indirect warnings.
It’s not because he’s incapable of lying. It’s not because he’s incapable of withholding information.
It’s also worth noting, when oCiel tells him off for his obviousness, he never defends himself for it. He’s annoyed at being called worse than Grelle, but he doesn’t say anything. And when oCiel says he “[doesn’t] want to hear it from Specs, who can’t even handle a covert investigation properly”, William doesn’t deny it. He just corrects the stage name.
He tones it down after that, too, but he’s still carrying his scythe around. He’s not hiding anything. He doesn’t go to the circus crew and say “sorry, I was only joking after all”.
William is the sort of character who doesn’t like admitting his own faults, he shifts the blame for things and actively looks for faults in other people. If he had a legitimate excuse, surely he’d use it? If he had a defense like “there’s no reason to hide my nature, it’s not important”, and he believed it, he’d surely say it? He loves to cite what Dispatch is about and how reapers should behave, he’s the pinnacle of plot exposition in this regard. But he doesn’t, here.
He’s most certainly old enough and been a reaper long enough to understand that you’re supposed to be secretive during a secret mission. He’s fully aware of himself, and what he’s doing.
He knows that it goes against the reaper aesthetic, that he’s technically in the wrong.
He did it because he can, and he wanted to.
I’m not far into the Book of the Circus, but it’s my headcanon that most of the performers think Spears and Sebastian are exes.
Sebastian is such a petty bitch in book of circus and I love it
hey, so i just started getting back into kuroshitsuji after 6 years, and i’m finally caught up with the manga. and all i gotta say is
what the fuck
Alright so after a mini hiatus I’m back doing word writing again. I just uploaded the 4th Chapter of Hand Me Down My Suit and Tie which is a fic that I have no easy way of summarizing but it’s about Grelle and she’s married to William in 1918.
This chapter has:
Grelliam fluffy park dates~
Grelle trying to talk to Mey-Rin about womanhood and not getting a lot out of it because she’s not applying herself
Check it out!