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Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1923 (38460%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Seven Years
[hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"
Title text: [hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: May require explaining the activities shown, as in the explanation for 1141: Two Years.

Randall's wife was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010, a matter he has discussed in the comic multiple times before. Here, motivated by the seven-year period between the American solar eclipses of 2017 and 2024, we see them reminiscing the seven years prior to the first eclipse, leaving an open question to what the next seven years will bring.

This comic is a continuation of 1141: Two Years, which is shown as the first eight panels, slightly grayed out.

Some explanations:

  • Panels 1–8: See 1141: Two Years
  • Panel 9: Randall and Randall's wife (with her hair noticeably longer than it was at the end of 1141) are walking through a forest.
  • Panel 10: Randall's wife is sitting down, not in the forest anymore. She is concerned because she has pain in her toe and worries that this is an early sign of her cancer spreading again. Randall points out the simpler explanation- that she stubbed her toe the previous day, and the pain is likely a result of that. This panel shows the paranoia that comes from cancer remission, as earlier explained in 931: Lanes.
  • Panel 11: Randall and his wife are going spelunking. The guide is gesturing deeper into the cave while Randall and his wife are climbing down.
  • Panel 12: Randall's wife stands on a rock above an alligator in a swamp, photographing the alligator. Randall, on a balcony behind safety railings, observes that medical predictions about the odds of someone surviving cancer generally assume that the cancer patient doesn't risk something else killing them first.
  • Panel 13: Randall's wife sits on an examination bed, listening to a doctor holding a clipboard. The doctor talks about an issue which is "probably nothing" but might be the cancer -- again showing the paranoia that comes with cancer.
  • Panel 14: Randall and his wife stand above a deep pond full of fish and other objects. Randall's wife is piloting a wired underwater camera with lights. Randall shared pictures of his underwater ROV before.
  • Panel 15: Randall and his wife are standing next to each other. Randall's wife has shoulder-length hair covering most of her face, and observes that, despite the chemotherapy robbing her of most of her hair six years ago, it is now growing enough to obscure her face. "The little girl from The Ring" refers to Sadako Yamamura, the antagonist of the Ring series by Koji Suzuki, and popularized in a 2002 movie.
  • Panel 16: A line of six people, including Randall and his wife, stand and watch the total solar eclipse of 2017, of which there have been several comics already.
  • Panel 17: The sky has been brightened, and the eclipse is over. As the eclipse is cool to see in person, the onlookers are left with little more than exclamations of amazement.
  • Panel 18: Randall and his wife are walking together and holding hands. When his wife inquires about the next total eclipse, Randall replies that the next one is in seven years, and asks whether they should go to see it.
  • Panel 19: Still walking, Randall and his wife think together about a timeline. Seven years have passed since 2010, represented with a solid line from the past to 2017; seven years in the future will be 2024, represented with a dotted line into the future and surrounded by three question marks. This is reflective of Panel 6, where "next year" is not guaranteed to be a thing.
  • Panel 20: The pair keeps walking, optimistically agreeing to make their every effort to see the next eclipse.

The title text is most likely a continuation to panel 15 concerning hair regrowth, in which she references the horror movie The Ring. Specifically, watching the video tape in The Ring is supposed to kill a person in seven days, but the title text instead says "seven years".

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[The first eight panels, used earlier in the comic 1141: Two Years, are in gray color.]
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit on a bed, Randall's fiancée is talking on the phone. The person she is talking to, a doctor holding a clipboard, is shown inset.]
Randall's fiancée: Oh god.
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit together while Randall's fiancée, now bald, is receiving chemotherapy. They are both on their laptops.]
IV pump: ... Beeep ... Beeep ... Beeep ...
[Randall and Randall's fiancée (who is wearing a knit cap) are paddling a kayak against a scenic mountain backdrop.]
[Randall and Randall's fiancée sit at a table, staring at a cell phone. There is a clock on the wall. Her head is stubbly.]
Randall's fiancée: How long can it take to read a scan!?
[Randall and Randall's fiancée are back at the hospital again, Randall's fiancée receiving chemo. They are playing Scrabble.]
Randall: "Zarg" isn't a word.
Randall's fiancée: But caaaancer.
Randall: ...Ok, fine.
[Randall and Randall's fiancée (wearing a knit cap) are listening to a Cueball-like friend. A large thought bubble is above their heads and it obscures the friends talk. The text below, split in three is the only part there can be no doubt about:]
Friend: So next year you should come visit us up in the mounta
a
and
Randall and Randall's fiancée (thinking): "Next year"
[Randall and Randall's fiancée are getting married, with a heart above their heads. Randall's wife's hair is growing back.]
[Randall and Randall's wife (wearing a knit cap) stand on a beach, watching a whale jump out of water. This is the last gray panel, with an additional label in normal black color.]
Fwoosh
Label: Two years
[Randall and Randall's wife (with her hair noticably longer) are walking through a forest.]
[Randall's wife is sitting down, not in the forest anymore.]
Randall's wife: My toe hurts and I found a report of a case in which toe pain was an early sign of cancer spreading.
Randall: Wait—didn’t you stub your toe yesterday?
Randall's wife: Yes, but what if this is unrelated?
[Randall and his wife are going spelunking. The guide is gesturing deeper into the cave while Randall and his wife are climbing down.]
[Randall's wife stands on a rock above an alligator in a swamp, photographing the alligator. Randall is on a balcony behind safety railings.]
Randall: When they estimated your survival odds, I think they made some optimistic assumptions about your hobbies.
[Randall's wife sits on an examination bed, listening to a doctor holding a clipboard.]
Doctor: This is probably nothing.
Doctor: But given your history, we should do a full scan.
Doctor: We'll call with the results in a few days. Try not to worry about it until then!
[Randall and his wife stand above a deep pond full of fish and other objects. Randall's wife is piloting a wired underwater camera with lights.]
[Randall and his wife are standing next to each other. Randall's wife has shoulder-length hair covering most of her face.]
Randall's wife: Hard to believe—six years ago, I was bald. But today, after a long struggle, I finally look like the little girl from The Ring.
Randall: That's, uhh... good?
Randall's wife: Hissssss
[A line of six people, including Randall and his wife, stand and watch the solar eclipse.]
[The sky has been brightened.]
Figure with blonde hair: Wow.
Randall's wife: Yeah.
[Randall and his wife are walking together and holding hands.]
Randall's wife: That was incredible.
Randall's wife: When's the next one?
Randall: In seven years.
Randall: Wanna go see it?
[Still walking, Randall and his wife think together about a timeline. Seven years have passed since 2010, represented with a solid line from the past to 2017; seven years in the future will be 2024, represented with a dotted line into the future and surrounded by three question marks.]
[The pair keeps walking.]
Randall's wife: Yeah.
Randall's wife: I'll do my best.
Randall: It's a date!


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