Study Guide

Ready Player One Friendship

By Ernest Cline


Chapter 3
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

"[We] hit it off immediately, because we shared all of the same interests." (3.9)

One of friendship's strongest foundations is shared interests. This is how online friendship—when you don't even know the other person's real name, race, or gender—is possible.

If you were a solo, you didn't want or need help, from anyone. [Wade and Aech had] both vowed to remain solos for life. (3.15)

In real life, Wade and Aech are isolated individuals, so it makes sense that the two of them would behave in a similar fashion online. Making friends is tough for the both of them, and forming a team takes a level of commitment that neither is prepared for right off the bat. But don't worry—it'll come.

Chapter 17
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I'd never had such a powerful, immediate connection with another human being before. Not even with Aech. (17.163)

Boy, by the time Art3mis comes along, Wade seems to have forgotten the "immediate" connection he said he felt with Aech back in chapter 3. What happened to the bro code?

Chapter 20
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

After [the quest], the three of us had parted as friends, if not necessarily allies, and I considered that an ample reward for my efforts. (20.30)

It's nice here that Wade/Parzival has made two new friends in Daito and Shoto, but the fact that he seems to have been shooting for an alliance in the Hunt shows that he is still placing the competition ahead of friendship.

Chapter 23
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I sent Aech a brief e-mail to say thanks. [...] I also copped to being a colossally insensitive, self-centered asshole and begged him to forgive me. (23.46)

This is one of the few un-selfish acts Wade does during the course of the book, showing us that his friendship with Aech really does mean something. That comes as a bit of a relief, because his one-track mind was starting to become a bit worrisome.

Chapter 24
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

You know you've totally screwed up your life when […] the only person you have to talk to is your system agent software. (24.25)

We guess even someone as lonely as Wade draws the line at making friends with an Artificial Intelligence. Fair enough, Wade. Fair enough.

Chapter 25
Daito and Shoto a.k.a. Akihide Karatsu and Toshiro Yoshiaki

"We were not brothers. Not in real life. Just in the OASIS. [...] We only knew each other online. I never actually met him." (25.21)

Daito and Shoto show us that online friendships aren't atypical in the world of OASIS. These two connected with each other so strongly, they call themselves brothers. And we get the feeling they would never turn their backs on each other.

Chapter 33
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

The young woman sitting in front of me was my best friend, Aech. (33.51)

Wade's friendship with Aech transcends race, even when he finds out that she's an African-American lesbian named Helen. That wins some major points for Wade in our book. Or maybe at this point he's too worried about other stuff to give a hoot about the fact that his bestie is very much not who he thought he was.

Chapter 35
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Art3mis counted to three, and we turned our keys in unison. (35.71)

By requiring three people to be present in order to open the Third Gate, the Hunt becomes Halliday's way of demonstrating the necessity of friendship. Perhaps he hoped he, Og, and Kira would have held those keys.

Chapter 36
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

"I never would have gotten this far on my own. [...] I need your help." (36.72)

In the end, Wade is able to say words that Halliday never could. Halliday never saw the value of friendship, cutting all ties with Ogden and Kira even though he (Halliday) could not have made it as far as he did without them.

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