Note: This is the Editing Blog for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link). I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process. You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking. The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention. Thanks for your interest and enjoy!
I love my quote from Les Misérable. It’s from The Attack on Rue Plumet spoken by Valjean after Thénardier and his gang try to rob them, but are repelled by his daughter Éponine’s cries. Valjean is terrified it’s actual Javert, his nemesis, antithesis, and purveyor of his greatest fear come again. Javert has been chasing Valjean his entire life, a symbol of the former convict’s inescapable past. I think it’s an appropriate and fitting quote for a fallen angel seeking redemption, but still trapped by his own past, and this chapter has a bit of exposition of the events that occurred during the game (so you non-players get some more insight on that).
(Future Narcissist here. I recently spoke to a non-player who read the first two chapters, but stopped because she felt like she was missing something, though she did like how regretful Sephiroth was. I didn’t want to feel bad about that, but I did. I had hoped that Northern Lights would be accessible and enjoyable to players and non-players alike, but I must’ve been wrong. I did let her know that there was this exposition in Chapter 3 that explained a lot of the past/foundation so I’m’ hoping she gives it another chance :\)
The original picture was this one below of Aeris comforting Seph.
Sweet and adorable, but it would be a dead giveaway for what’s happening. I wanted to go with something that encompassed the “shadows of the past” motif, and I found it in this. Dear readers, I’m thinking of just including the chapter pictures here as well. What do you think? What would it hurt? My assumption is that you’ve obviously read the story prior before coming to my rambling ridiculousness. You know what…it’s my blog and I do what I want. I’m going to include this particular picture, because it’s amazing and sad and Luciferian.
He’s laying on the floor in a seemingly empty chamber. His long black wing covers him like a cloak, and he looks like he’s in pain. Granted he’s not chained here as Satan was in (Milton’s) Hell, but he might as well be. The wing equals the shadow. It’s also a picture of him with one wing where he doesn’t really look evil. Let’s just face it: Sephiroth is the stand in for Lucifer in the world of FFVII with the major exception that he is not acting of his own free will, which is where the thread containing ASOIAF comes in with regards to inception like/meta-mind control.
I’m…pretty much convinced at this point that FFVII was inspired in some way by ASOIAF (Future Narcissist again. Not quite to that point; because I can’t prove it however, I believe both narratives pull from the same pool of paradigms. There are uncanny similarities that I’m planning to write essays on. Martin loves the mind controlling hive mind entity, and that’s what Jenova is. Some of the shared narratives are Revelations, the Lovecraft mythos, fairytales, Paradise Lost, and The Poetic Edda/Ragnarok to name a few). The whole idea of taking over peoples’ mind with the inception layer is just too strong in both narratives. I don’t see how this is possible though. The first installment A Game of Thrones was published in 1996 and FFVII came out in 1997. I just don’t see how it could happen, but their similarities lend itself to the idea of the collective unconscious and ideas floating through the zeitgeist, which…is also kind of a hive mind thing in and of itself (happy meta time). The Paradise Lost thing could be coincidental; Milton’s epic is very popular and FFVII already has the Revelations allegory going for it so PL is not that far of a stretch, but the other things: the usurper/dispossessed, master manipulator/inception mind control, Oedipal Complex/incest, etc. I don’t know dear readers. What do you think? The similarities definitely exist, but how they came into being is anyone’s guess. Martin has been writing for quite a long time so it’s quite possible the game’s creators were inspired by his ideas (?) There’s a story called A Song for Lya, which he wrote in 1974 that presents the same idea of collective consciousness that’s given in respect to the weirwood trees and greenseers. This was mentioned in James Johnson’s video (conveniently) entitled Collective Consciousness and the Afterlife (I’m just going to start calling him and his mom the Ice and Fire Gurus seriously…that’s what they are). In Lya the entity seems far more benign than it does in ASOIAF as it’s not controlling murderous ice zombies, but rather is a chosen religion, but then again, we don’t know what it’s true motivations are, and since it’s feeding off the bodies of the “faithful,” it’s anyone’s guess, but it does give them an amazing shared consciousness experience so maybe quid pro quo?. Again as warned before do not watch the below unless you’ve read all of the novels, don’t mind serious speculation, and/or want to have your mind blown.
Random first chapter flashback revelation: starting with the cat eyes because he has cat eyes. It’s a little foreshadowing. Oh and speaking of cats I swear to God cats can just disappear at will. Yesterday I was trying to find my Cid (here he is again in case you forgot).
I should put a picture of Kin-mei, too, so he doesn’t get jealous…
and he was nowhere to be found. I looked throughout my whole apartment, which isn’t that big, checking every place a cat could hide. I had just finished looking under the bed for the second time when Cid just comes sauntering in from I don’t even know where! I had looked in the front room and bathroom (he’s kind of toilet kitten. I should’ve named him Watches You Pee), and he was nowhere to be found. I came to the conclusion that cats use their sliver thin pupils to rip holes in the fabric of space-time/reality and move between the panes of existence (…which is how I’m explaining how Sephiroth does it…in my head canon). I’m pretty sure Constantine said something about cats being “half in half out” or “neutral.” I’m so on board with that. They’re kind of the gatekeepers. Oh speaking of Constantine, I created a picture for that for my Totally Looks Like board. Yeah…weird huh? It’s got the “bad angel” paradigm, too, doesn’t it though?
Let me just post this video.
Screw the link.
…bad puns will never die, but seriously again if you’ve read all of the books (or in this case just seen the show) watch it. It gives away some information about *spoiler* the Hound after his “death,” *end spoiler* but I read that the show wasn’t going to go that direction *spoiler* same with Catelyn/Lady Stoneheart grrrrrrrr! I wanted to see the dark mother’s vengeance… *end spoiler* so I don’t feel bad talking about them so long as you’re caught up. I believe LaDonna mentions the missing/dead mother paradigm that pervades ASOIAF. Guess what other narrative has that?!?!?? Granted, I know why FFVII has this.
Yup, enjoy your feels. I posted that on the Caffeine Crew blog on 9/7/14 for FFVII’s 17th anniversary release in North America. I’m not going to get into it here (saving that for the preamble), but finding out that information had a huge impact on me. I think I saw that video only a few years ago so quite a long time after I originally played the game, and everything just made sense. It completely shuts down any dumbass who starts braying about “phoenix down” and that bullshit, because it only shows how much you missed the point. There are things that death cannot conquer.
ASOIAF is also filled with missing and dead mothers: Joanna Lannister, Lyanna Stark, *spoiler* Catelyn Stark, *end spoiler* Rhaella Targaryen, Minisa Whent (Catelyn and Lysa’s mother), *spoiler* Lysa Arryn, *end spoiler* Elia Martell, and the unknown Clegane mother, Brienne’s mother (spoilers are marked in case you haven’t read the books/seen the show. All the rest were dead prior to the narrative). Those are the ones I can think of off the top off my head although I’m sure there are more. Now mothers dying in ASOIAF is not that farfetched considering the time (and the fact that “all (wo)men must die”). The majority of the ones above found their quietus in childbirth, but it is an interesting pattern.
By the opinion of the Ice and Fire Gurus Sandor Clegane aka the Hound is the truest knight in Westeros, but he has to hide himself behind both his face and his mask and I specifically said those two things. His face is the burned one given to him by his brother and the mask is what he has to wear to protect himself. All throughout the novels Martin is telling us how terrible a person the Hound is, but everything we’re shown is utterly different. The only bad thing the hound does is *spoiler* kill Arya’s friend Mycah, the butcher’s boy, *end spoiler* and he does that per orders. This doesn’t make it okay; however, he does not participate in the rest of the Kingsguard’s atrocity of beating poor Sansa, and in all honesty, is her protector before becoming Arya’s. ASOIAF is all about skewed paradigms, and the Hound is the skewed paradigm of the knight.
Knights and angels are very similar. A knight pledges himself to a lord or higher power and vows to protect the weak and helpless, but they are also soldiers who go to battle if the need does arise. They usually follow orders without question (case in point the Kingsguard and Sansa), but can also be corrupt e.g. Sandor’s brother Gregor. Sandor fits more in with my definition of a dark angel (mentioned in prior post) where he makes his own decisions (i.e. has free will) and even though he’s a “dog” who should obey orders, he’s not just a mindless beast. Therefore he’ll keep *spoiler* Sansa from pushing Joffrey off a tower, *end spoiler* but he won’t hit her. Joffrey never asked him to either, as though the brat king knew he wouldn’t follow his command. That’s interesting as Joffrey never needed much of an excuse to punish/execute someone so it’s a wonder that he didn’t push the issue. The Hound has a knight’s powers/strength/abilities, but not the title or responsibility. He’s a bit of a free agent. Gregor is a demon. He’s not even a fallen angel because he was never elevated. He never fulfills his title of knight; it’s all a sham and the reason Sandor doesn’t respect the institution and wants nothing to do with it. It could be argued (and is in James and LaDonna’s video) that Sandor at one point did want to be a knight, but those dreams were torn out of him when his brother burned him and their father looked the other way. The Hound could’ve been as idealistic as Sansa at one point as all cynics generally are, but he has life and horror to twist him far more than the fire ever did.
Winter is coming…the only house motto that is a warning instead of a boast. Could these words imply an environmental parable? One of the many questions presented in the story is whether or not the Others bring the cold or vice versa. Are the Others moving because their environment is changing, and they can’t live without winter, or are they moving the cold with them? Oh and the word “cetera” in Latin translates in to “other.” Huh, isn’t there another word that looks a lot like that?
And with that I bring it back to Northern Lights and begin my edit of Chapter 3. This is a longer installment with lot of information, so it may take me a few days a lot of coffee to get through.
I go back to his picture…
it looks like he’s wearing a black feathered cloak. The other wing is only bone (to parallel Jenova) and melted bone at that. He was never once whole…forever broken. What else could he do but fall?
I’m not really trying to mimic Milton seeing as I know I’m making “Lucifer/Satan” sympathetic whereas our blind poet epic didn’t intend such. Does that make me a bad person?? Where my drunken ramblings correct? I can’t deal with that right now. It’s odd/funny that I found the Paradise Lost connection at the start of this edit along with and due to the Ice and Fire similarities. Paradise Lost, FFVII, and ASOIAF. So many stories and how they entwine like the hands of young lovers in joy…
“The candles were not even smoking and the room would shame mourning with black.” I love this opening line. The play on “mourning,” which is of course a homophone of “morning.”
“Twin shafts of green light pierced her…” Holy fuck, how terrifying is that? It’s utterly dark and then she’s “pierced” by him/his light.
“’I just never leave myself in complete darkness.’” I pondered this line for a while. How sensible is it to leave a light on while you’re sleeping if roving gangs roam the night? Better to leave yourself in complete darkness and trust it will be your friend. Well in the basement though with no windows no one could really see…unless they entered her house. Her basement terrifies me by the way. Most of them do, but hers has that creepy crack in the wall. I would hate to be trapped in the slums of Midgar. I can barely deal with the subway.
Like all my angelic characters, Sephiroth doesn’t blink. It’s my little homage to Doctor Who, and of course like all romance story heroes, he has incredibly long eyelashes. I put this in actually more due to the fact that he does indeed have long eyelashes and this is per canon!
Now I’ve already established numerous times that he’s an expy of Lucifer who was the most beautiful and the best, and long eyelashes are quintessential for beauty. I had no idea though that that was a romance hero trope, and I did forget to add it to my prior entry on angel head canon. Angels just have long eyelashes. It’s an indisputable fact. Oddly though, he has black eyelashes but silver hair. Aeris remarks on this later, but it’s not completely uncommon or necessarily due to eugenics. My friend Andrew is blond and he has stupid long, black eyelashes (he has green eyes, too, ughhhh so unfair!). Like ridiculously long to the point where I’m jealous and I have pretty long eyelashes myself. He might be an angel…I need to do more research. Hm, he is a Jesuit…like the Pope :O
Of course Aeris says that his eyelashes are beautiful, regardless of what she thinks about his eyes themselves, the Cetra can’t deny this fact. She’s also an incredibly genuine person without a hint of guile. This attribute is a huge draw for him because his life prior has been nothing but lies and deceit.
Oh, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot. I fell in love with this poem as one falls asleep…slowly and then all at once after seeing it so featured in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which I’m sure I linked before, but I don’t care; I’m linking again. If you have not you need to read this book. I wrote a non-spoilery review, and it…well it’s amazing (the book not the review although I’m pretty proud of that). A definite inspiration for Northern Lights not only with the Prufrock poem but elsewhere in terms of grief, love, and memory. That’s what it’s about…memory like this story, like FFVII, like A Song of Ice and Fire. Stories about memory resonate with me, because in the end, they’re all you have.
“We have lingered in the chambers of the sea,
By sea girls wreathed in seaweed red and brown.
‘Til human voices wake us and we drown.”
Not…the best line to use Seph especially not long after meeting your, well, murder victim. She understandably shudders for they both know that she didn’t really drown. I don’t give a shit what The Game Theorists purport. There’s only one thing to say to such nonsense and that’s:
(Future Narcissist again. I’m actually starting to rethink the whole drowning thing, because FFVII definitely has a major drowning motif going, but there are still some holes in the evidence presented by the Game Theorists. I suppose we’ll have to see what happens with the remake, n’est-ce pas? My biggest argument is that Sephiroth would’ve thrown it into Cloud’s face in Advent if he hadn’t actually killed Aeris himself and had instead allowed her so-called protector to drown her, and I say this because I’ve written similar motifs in original stories. What’s worse than watching the person you love die in front of you? Killing them yourself…Van Helsing might be overly dramatic, but at least they got that part right.)
Obviously, FFVII takes place in a world alternative to our own, but out of all of them, it’s the closest. It carries the most similar issues to what we’re experiencing: environmental disaster at the hands of humanity, scientific ethics, social hierarchy/injustice, among others. It’s a sort of twenty minutes into the future type of deal, but not really. You can see all of this stuff happening right now. I’m no conspiracy theorists, but you know that super soldier stuff is not that far off (if it’s not already here and we just don’t know about it…), and the “black labs” that I mention later actually come from what they were called in Germany during the World Wars. Yeah…there are some pretty disturbing similarities between FFVII and that time. The tattoos, genetically enhanced humans, human experimentation, lack of ethics in experimentation/means to an end thinking, and there’s even a cave in the game called Dachau (I’m probably spelling it wrong in terms of the game)…and it’s on fire. Sooooo a Holocaust reference in a video game…about super soldiers. Right. I have an essay planned for this of course, working title “The Way to Power.” Looking forward to researching the Third Reich. Hooray.
FFVII actually does take place ten years into the future. It came out in 1997 and is set in 2007 (I did maths based on Aeris’s birth date and death age. 1985+22=2007. Huh…that means Northern Lights takes place circa 2109). I’d like to think that though it’s an alternative world (or a world that went in a different direction than our old or, fuck it, even a multiverse why the hell not? The title comes from a story that’s all about that anyway)
poets like Eliot still do exist.
“I apologize,” he said quickly, closing the book on the table now. “I didn’t mean to remind you of your death.”
“It’s alright,” she said quietly. “I…didn’t really drown, you know.”
“Yes, child…I do.” I really hope those words convey what lies between. I like how she changes the subject afterwards when she gets something she totally did NOT expect aka her murderer kneeling at her feet.
“Moonlight and ashes…” I LOVE that description of his hair. I wish I had good cause or reason to name a chapter that. (Future Narcissist found one!)
Must remember the tattoo. Actually fuck it; I’m not doing it. According to the internets he may or may not have had one (there’s a bit of a discussing on the site), so I’m going to leave it that he does not have a tattoo since he’s the original one, and what I read about him here more solidifies the Ice and Fire connection with the three eyed crow. Alright…here’s the theory and I can see it. Cloud kills Sephiroth in Nibelheim after he goes crazy because of the Jenova incident (more on that later). He winds up in the Lifestream, which (apparently?) heals his wound. I’m not sure about that. I think he just got caught there and similar to Cloud was in a (not so) heroic blue screen of death, which would give Jenova more access to his mind and through him control Cloud and the clones. He’d be understandably pissed at Cloud for what happened, and fueled by the rage after Jenova’s awakening want revenge, but I feel the foundation of the revenge is Jenova’s wants/desires and not Seph’s. Again it comes back to who is holding the puppet strings. This connects to ASOIAF because the Gurus really believe that the Night’s King is actually warging (mind controlling) the three-eyed crow and the White Walkers/Others. The three-eyed crow can see through all of the weirwoods and talk to other greenseers (Bran and Jojen), and the White Walkers/Others control the wights. So we have layers of control and when you start talking about layers I can’t help but think of the Tree of Life/Sephiroth, which is holy meta batman. The degree to which the manipulation/control trickles down is mind-boggling and not easy to keep track of. The implication of Ice and Fire is that the Night’s King is mentally powerful enough to control all of these other people…sort of like Martin himself who is keeping all of these plot threads twist in the air……………I think my brain just exploded.
So Jenova was the catalyst. It started the entire thing. The false mother and the good son. We know Jenova is a manipulative eldritch abomination. It’s been doing it for over two thousand years if not more. This may not be the first planet that it’s consumed in its endless quest/desire/need for sustenance. We don’t know where it comes from (though Future Narcissist has a theory on that she’s working on); it’s just a cosmic horror. This cycle could’ve been repeated numerous time throughout the epochs, the implications of which make the tale even more horrifying. If any Final Fantasy would make a good horror story, it would be FFVII. Sephiroth being the master of puppets doesn’t make any sense if we look at Jenova’s nature and history. It decimated the Cetra, drove them insane and killed most of them. It makes so much sense for the one-winged angel to be under the control of such a being and that control filters down into the rest.
The emanations flow from the godhead, downward into “his” creation. Sephiroth is a “creation” of Jenova on a cellular level; he was made what he is by its cells. I’ve heard the argument that he had the stronger will, but again that’s an invalid point, because his will was twisted by an alien desire. At no point prior to the Nibelheim incident did he show any indication of megalomania or desired apotheosis. He was a general who was sick of his employer’s corruption. Then on his last mission, the worse corruption of all found him. I believe if he had been told the truth about his parentage, the story would not be what it is. If he knew that his true mother was Lucrecia, Jenova wouldn’t have been able to get to him or it would’ve been more difficult, because he’d have that truth. Without such information he only had the lies Hojo told him. He had nothing else so what reason would he have not to believe? I wouldn’t wish what he went through on my worst enemy. Being mortally wounded and unable to die, then dwelling in a sort of hellish stasis while a cosmic monster invades your mind and you’re aware of it all? Fuck. That. If you don’t see him as a sympathetic character, you either lack empathy or didn’t pay attention. Yes, I admit that I’m a fangirl and he is hot as fuck (yup it’s his picture for the trope), and I don’t care that he’s a bit of a fixer upper, but I’m more than just running around with a squee on my lips. The elements have been examined; the narrative has been torn apart, the historical/symbolic/allegorical/religious contexts have been compared. Also as an added coda, angels were created to be higher servants/messengers. Despite the fact some of them display free will, they almost always end up as cosmic playthings even more so than mere mortals. As I said in my last post, angels aren’t precious moments nonsense; they’re soldiers, and soldiers do what they’re told.
Alrighty…that’s enough for now. I’ve run through quite an array of emotions: sadness to the point of almost tears, elation, revelation/realization, and vehement defense of a point. Exhaustion has nearly claimed me and I still need to continue the edit of chapter 3.
I’ll bid you farewell for now and there may be another entry later, but I promise nothing. Farewell, goodnight and may be you #blessed.