Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook
Swoon & Board
Wade, and we readers, know quite a bit about Art3mis before we even meet her. You see, Wade's just a smidge cyber-obsessed with her, and pores over her blog on '80s pop culture, "Arty's Missives." To Wade, she's some kind of digital goddess, which we think is appropriate, seeing as she's named herself after Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.
Art3mis is the goddess of a different kind of hunt here: the Hunt for Halliday's Easter egg. Maybe we're reading into it a little too much, but it's fun to note that Artemis (without a 3) is the goddess of female fertility, which gives the whole "hunt for an egg" thing a deeper meaning.
Also, while Art3mis may or may not be an eternal virgin like her goddess namesake, she is very independent and fiercely protective of her own feelings, which makes it a bit hard to get close to a guy.
Seriously. Wade tells her he loves her before they even meet. He even blurts it out again the first time he meets her in person. He practically throws himself at her. But you might notice that, while she admits that Wade is her best friend and her "favorite person" (39.50), she never utters that four-letter word in return. Does Samantha love Wade as more than a friend? Is she too closed off to tell him?
What Lovely Pixels You Have
We got a little ahead of ourselves up there, talking about Wade and Art3mis meeting for realskies, which doesn't happen until the final chapter. Let's back track to the first time they meet, or at least the first time their avatars meet inside the OASIS.
For Art3mis, it's not exactly love at first sight. Her first line to Wade is "who the hell are you?" (9.1). From there, the two engage in a complicated dance between friendship, romance, and rivalry. Wade is focused on romance, but Art3mis is driven more by the other two. She wants to find the Easter egg so she can use Halliday's billions to end world hunger.
But hey, at least she's honest. And in fact, she's one of the few characters in the story whose avatar looks 95% like she does in real life (minus a purple birthmark on her face that she's embarrassed about). She's also a loyal friend. Although she's reluctant to enter into an alliance with Wade and his friends, she offers the occasional hint along the way, and joins up with him and Aech at the end to unlock the Third Gate. All in all, we'd say she's not a bad girl to have in your corner.
Romance doesn't seem to be part of her vocabulary, though. Other than two chaste kisses—one virtual, one real—we can't really tell if she's interested in taking this friendship to, shall we say, the next level. Perhaps she truly is a "mission first" kind of gal. Save the world first, find love later.
Out of Alignment
Enough about what we think for now. What does Art3mis think of herself?
She tells Wade that she's "Chaotic Neutral, sugar." (9.115) Even though it's pretty much self-explanatory, if you're not a Dungeons & Dragons fan, you might not catch the reference. Chaotic Neutral is one of nine character alignments in the popular role-playing game.
But let's go back to Shmoop's take for a second. While she might think herself "Independent and Realistic," two characteristics of Chaotic Neutral, we think she's leaning more toward the Chaotic Good side. After all, according to the alignment system, a Chaotic Neutral character "will not seek to improve the community" (source). That could not be more wrong. Her whole cure-world-hunger stance is one of the biggest world improvements we can think of.