Time Travel is a means of changing the future by transporting oneself into the past. The series has acknowledged conventional time travel tropes in popular culture, but has its own concept.
Time Travel in Morning Glories
Back to the Future.
The mechanisms of time travel in this series is similar to, but supposedly separate from our conventional time travel tropes.
We're taught that things progress in a straight line. That there's a yesterday, a today, and a tomorrow. This is one of the many illusions the evil ones use to keep us enslaved. The past isn't something behind you. It waits for you. You can shape it to be what you need it to be. This is the gift your mother gave you. The cave exists to show you how to use it.
Dr. Ellsworth later tells Hunter
Now think of your school friends as the ones playing the game. And the rules are whatever concepts or beliefs systems you might need to determine things like the where and when and how of everything around you. When they moved from their point to this point? Those rules went out the window. And now they might be back in their old place on the board, but-- they're still playing a different game, They can do and move and change things however they see fit.
implying that it may not be as consequence-free as Hodge suggested.
As Nick Spencer says:
I've very much viewed this series – and this is the biggest issue where this has been made clear, although issues like #10 do it as well – where I'm very aware of the fact that the audience is a pretty sophisticated one in terms of the pop culture interpretations of time travel. One of the first things I wanted to do with this book was say, "Okay, let's presume that that's stuff is your four-year degree in pop culture. What does the Masters program look like? What's a PhD look like?" Now that we've been exposed to 20, 30, 40 years of these sorts of popular conceptions of time travel and paradoxes that come with it – and seeing as this is a comic, I think the audience is probably very savvy in terms of that stuff...
Note: This only includes examples of physical movements of bodies through time and does not include the examples of "future-sight" also observed in the series.
Examples of time travel
Time travel is seen several times in the series:
- Lara Hodge and Casey Blevins travel back into Casey's past using The Cave.
- The Truants bring all the Woodrun students (except Ike and Jade who were in The Cave) into the future with The Tower.
- Vanessa travels back into Lara Hodge's past to teach her how to use The Cave.
- The Truants and Hunter travel back to ancient Sumeria inside The Tower.
- Hunter and Dr. Ellsworth send everybody back in time using Hunter's office.
- Lara Hodge and Vanessa Richmond travel back to the day of the Rescue attempt with the The Walled Garden so that Vanessa can say goodbye to Brendan.
Characteristics of time travel
While all the examples of time travel differ slightly, there are a few common aspects (except for the Truant's Woodrun event):
The time manipulator is often seen to be bathed in a bright white light. Sometimes it is so bright as to bleach color (e.g. the stairs to the Sumerian tower, Vanessa and the walled garden, Hunter in his office).
Hisao is shown to be bathed in a similar light prior to switching bodies with his brother. Jade is also bathed in a bleaching white light when praying to god for her mother to get up after the car accident.
Streaks of light
On several occasions, streaks of white light have been associated with time travel events:
- When Casey and Lara use the Cave to travel back in time, the lower area fills with these streaks.
Similar streaks were mentioned by Descartes' writings and seen by Hunter when he was travelling with Dr. Ellsworth.
Methods of time travel
There are several objects that appear to facilitate time travel in the series:
- The Cave allows someone (with the right gifts) to travel back into their own past. It takes several people to operate: at least one up above casting shadows on the wall, and one below who actually experiences the travel. The smoothness and specificity of the travel appears to be dependent on the people casting the shadows since Hodge had wanted Hunter, but had to make do with Ike.
- The Tower seems to allow for the transport of several people, even those outside its walls. However, it requires a sacrifice. Without the sacrifice, the return in time becomes unpredictable. ("If the sacrifice didn't happen-- The change in time--we can't know when we'll go back to--" -Guillaume).
- Hunter's office can send everybody back to their own time by Hunter stepping into the circle.
- The Walled Garden can be used to bring multiple people back into the past. Unlike the cave, it does not seem to require additional people to operate. Lara implies that the moment you're thinking of determines your destination
The Cave, the Tower, and the Walled garden are referred to as "Shrines" or "instruction sites".
Vanessa refers to Irina “picking off guards and blowing up shrines” during the planning of the rescue attempt.
- Morning Glories #22. October 10, 2012.
- Morning Glories #13. October 12, 2011.
- Morning Glories #20. July 4, 2012.
- Morning Glories #27. May 29, 2013.
- Morning Glories Days:Time Traveling Daddy Issues
- Morning Glories #14. November 16, 2011.
- Morning Glories #25. March 27, 2013.
- Morning Glories #32. October 2, 2013.
- Morning Glories #33. October 16, 2013.
- Morning Glories #34. October 30, 2013.
- Morning Glories #28. June 26, 2013.
- Morning Glories #23. November 28, 2012.