Thanks to HolyThunderPunch for the inspiration!
Final Fantasy XIII has a lot of reading, doesn’t it? What if that’s because it’s a novel?
We could look at Final Fantasy XIII as written by Claire Farron, as an apology to her sister. She no longer has that opportunity. She writes the perfect apology in the form of a novel.
Yes, I know. I know this isn’t what the developers actually had in mind. Of course, they didn’t write it to be this way. That’s not the point. If you want the original story, read a wiki or play the game. This is an interpretation. A hypothetical as if Lightning were really Claire Farron. As if Claire Farron was a real Louis Vuitton model. If so, how the meaning behind the story of Final Fantasy XIII would change.
Claire knew she acted horribly to everyone she came in contact with. She just didn’t care. But a certain event in her life gave her a change of heart, so now she desires to make amends. The only problem is she doesn’t know how. Since Claire was an extreme introvert, she spent a lot of time in her head. As a model, walking down the runway gave her a lot of time to think. She once found that she was a gifted writer and could craft the perfect apology in her head.
A little background about Claire:
Claire’s father died when she was young, and her mother died from an unknown illness when she was fifteen. With no other family to turn to, Claire raised her younger sister, Serah. To overcome the pain of her parents’ deaths and to become an adult as quickly as possible, she changed her name from Claire Farron to “Lightning”. Despite the delusion of not needing her past, Lightning was a normal child without her parents who wanted to be loved.
So that’s the origin of the name “Lightning”; it was just an alter ego of a girl coming to age. Claire makes this confession in her novel:
Lightning: I was just like you. My parents died. I have to be strong for Serah, so I thought I needed to forget my past. And I became Lightning. I thought by changing my name, I could change who I was. I was just a kid. Lightning. It flashes bright, then fades away. It can’t protect. It only destroys. Serah tried to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen. I threatened her. The only one who believed her was Snow.
The next day, Lightning’s birthday, Serah reveals she has been branded a Pulse l’Cie, and that she and Snow are engaged. Thinking Serah is lying to give herself an excuse to wed Snow, Lightning drives her away…
So how does Claire choose to portray herself as Lightning:
determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is cold and standoffish, distancing herself from her companions.
She’s also skinny like a model and not at all like an actual sergeant. This is the real giveaway.
She only looks out for herself and doesn’t care if others are left behind. Much of her motivation is fueled from what she perceives as failing to protect Serah leading her to lash out at those she believes are responsible for that and her l’Cie fate: namely, the Sanctum, its fal’Cie and, to a point, Snow Villiers, due to his relationship with Serah and his failure to protect her as he promised.
What was she trying to protect Serah from in real life? I don’t know. But whatever it was, it led to Serah’s comatose state in real life (represented by crystal stasis in the game). Claire felt guilty but maintained a hardened exterior to mask this. Her toughness probably garnered her the nickname “sergeant”…
In actuality, on the inside, she was suffering from the five stages of grief. She was angry at God. Claire was sick of hearing all the clichés:
- “God works in mysterious ways”,
- “Everything happens for a reason”,
- “It was just her time”,
- “She did everything to do on this Earth”,
- yadda yadda yadda,
But God let this happen to her. In Claire’s story, religion is the enemy, and thoroughly satirized in the convoluted Fal’cie/L’cie concepts. Pulse sucks. She must have grew up Catholic, as the mock Pope (Barthandelus) is a representation of corruption and the main villain.
Now, all the pieces are starting to fall together. The story:
[The party members] find Serah. She urges Lightning to save Cocoon before entering crystal stasis, a crystal sleep a l’Cie enters upon fulfilling their Focus. Lightning believes Serah is dead, while Snow refuses to give up the hope she will awaken someday.
The party is transported into an otherworldly realm where the god Pulse transforms Lightning and her companions into l’Cie, showing them a dreamlike vision of their Focus involving the capital city of Eden and Ragnarok.
Now they all share Serah’s pain. This is Lightning’s attempt to empathize with her sister. Wait, who are these characters? They are people who Claire knows in real life. They don’t all have a real life connection to each other, but they do to Claire.
Serah is her biological sister, a school teacher and the reason for the novel. In real life, she probably met a horrible fate and lay in a coma. Was Serah suffering from a disease, which is why she has a stigma? Who knows?
Snow Villiers is probably not the real name of Serah’s real-life boyfriend. Snow could have been his nickname (relating to drug culture), or a name Claire made up for him. She never took a liking to him, and probably hurt her sister many times letting her know this. Maybe Snow and Serah got into a motorbike accident at one point, and Claire considers him to be very irresponsible. Snow’s friend (Lebreau, Yuj, Snow, Gadot, and Maqui) are still fighting against “the system” with no plan.
Hope is perhaps some neighborhood kid who likes Claire a lot and looks up to her. He hates Snow simply because she does. Claire probably jokes about killing “Snow” around “Hope”, even about having Hope do it! A different reason, obviously, exists. Recently, Hope’s mother died, so he’s not in the right state of mind. Claire doesn’t show the proper amount of empathy to his grief. But she occasionally roleplays as a mother to him out of amusement.
Sazh is her modeling agent currently battling for custody rights of his son Dajh. Sazh also is looking for a good mom for Dajh and chooses Vanille (another model who he agents). But…
Vanille is a lesbian. So is Fang (a punk rocker). They both go into “hiding” due to their relationship.
We know what happens in the end, the team saves the day and everyone lives. In real life, Serah awakes from her coma. “Snow” gets his girlfriend back. “Sazh” gets custody of his son. Hope gets a life. Fang and Vanille’s career, however, ends due to coming out. Their career “freezes”, but at least they are together.