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So, I've added the links that nidrig gave us on aulu. These are translations from an official guide to FFX put out by Square, so they are canon.

Spiran Timeline
Auron's story
Lulu's story

I notice that both characters' official backstory are under the influence of the Broken Inside archetype.

That contrasts slightly with their in-game manner: Auron's "are you going to sit here listening to her regrets?' and Lulu's "it's sad and pointless to think about it" (dwelling on past losses). I'm having trouble putting it into words, but in a way, I felt that these two characters differed from Wakka and Tidus in that they didn't angst so much about what couldn't be changed. Auron is very complicated, mind you; he certainly does show regrets in Zanarkand. Lulu takes a deep breath before they enter Ginnem's cave but finds that she is "getting used to goodbyes." She seems fairly unflappable-- "so together", as Rikku observes jealously.

One of my ongoing flaws as a writer is that I tend to put people in incredibly vulnerable situations and make them seem vulnerable and a little too fragile. It is a bad habit, allowing me to work out my own fears/issues in a sort of lab experiment, but I'm always concerned that I'm doing injustice to the characters. It's fun because it lets us have "hurt/comfort" scenes where we go "awwww" and mentally comfort these characters we like. And yet. It's... better as fanfiction than as canon. I'm doubtful about this official guidebook, which seems to emphasize their uncertainty, and makes their aura of authority and self-control out to be nothing but a false front, bravado. This is both intriguing and... disappointing, especially for Lulu. I complained about this on aulu. Why is it so hard for game designers and writers to have female characters who are strong-willed and/or sharp-tongued just because that is who they are?

If female characters are strong and sharp-tongued, designers seem to have to have it due to past trauma or some inner difficulty. Apparently it can't just be because they are self-confident and powerful. Furthermore, these traits, which are presented as endearing in characters like Cid (I'm thinking more VII than X) or Auron, tend to be "ice bitch" traits for women, a slightly negative trait. "Scaaary." "Grumpy."

I'm preaching to the crowd here, but gosh, isn't it ingrained? Lara Croft was the one exception, and then the film designers had to go and turn her into "daddy's girl" and make out that the whole reason that she's tough, independent, and cocky is because...er... she misses her daddy? That was very odd. :)



[[EDIT: Hmmmm. I may have argued this case too strongly. It is a nuanced issue. I like Lulu's slight vulnerability, and I really like the portrait of Auron as a tortured soul determined to win a battle he already lost. The Auron chapter is especially insightful. The Lulu chapter also confirms my suspicions that Lulu started her career as Guardian hoping to protect Yuna by getting another Summoner to Zanarkand first. That's neat. There are many things about this guide that are good. I just have mixed feelings about some of it. ]]

 

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
owlmoose
May. 3rd, 2006 07:29 am (UTC)
I have never liked the Ultimania timeline. I know it's "canon" (or at the very least supplemental canon) but there are too many bits and pieces that don't fit with the world as it's presented. Lulu's age is off, for one thing -- it's strongly implied in conversation that she was older than Wakka when their parents died. And something seems very wrong to me about the idea that there have only been four High Summoners. I tend to not pay it much mind. If that means some people disregard my writing as AU, so be it. Anyway.

I also agree with you about giving Lulu a "reason" to be tough and somewhat abrasive. There are women who are like that in real life without some trauma at the core; why not Lulu? Maybe it would be less bothersome if it were less "oh, yeah, that again", but the cultural context is there.
auronlu
May. 3rd, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
The four summoners does seem odd, though I was always puzzled in the game why there were so few statues in the temple.

Lulu's age is another thing that puzzles me. Her comment in the game is that she was five when she lost her parents, so she can still remember them a little. Wakka says "yes ma'am" to her on more than one occasion. Yet on Square's official gamesite and everywhere I've seen, Lulu is supposed to be a year younger than Wakka. I would've pegged her at about 26 and him at about 20 or slightly older. I suppose there's also a prejudice against single women close to thirty, an assumption that it's not normal.

The only thing I can figure is that Lulu's parents weren't killed in the same catastrohe as Wakka's.

The "childhood trama" is a trope of fantasy for both male and female characters -- witness Tidus. So I don't really mind saying that Lulu is tough and abrasive partly because of a difficult life. That often happens. She's had a very difficult life indeed. Where I drew the line is that the "Lulu's Story" page seems to describe her as very insecure, vulnerable, and afraid, and makes her hardnosed manner out to be a false front, rather than the outward sign of her inner strength and ability to face difficult traumas and survive. Or, there is a different way of looking at it: that toughness was innate, and that's why she seems "so together" (as Rikku put it) no matter what happens. The Square guide removes that angle.

There's a good fanfic out there-- *rummages* here, called "Survivors", which captures a better portrait. I always thought that Lulu's stoicism the key point of irreconciliable difference between her and Wakka: she sternly doesn't let herself dwell on the past too much, and tries as much as possible to keep going forward.
owlmoose
May. 4th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
I had figured the statues in the temple were of important High Summoners, not necessarily all of them. And we never see that part of St. Bevelle, so who knows what's in there? Rather like there have been hundreds of popes, but the average person can only name a few of the more famous. Anyway. It just doesn't sit right. If the defeat and return of Sin has happened five times in a thousand years, that's not much of a spiral. And if Sin really did roam around unchecked most of the time, I have a hard time believing that there'd be much civilization left. Yet they endure. I really wonder whether the game designers completely thought that through.

And yes, I don't find that Lulu as younger than Wakka suits the way the characters are portrayed. Wakka being 23 is one of only two rock-solid canonical ages (Yuna's being the other), so I always had that pretty firmly settled, but I had pegged Lulu as a year or two older even before the comment about being able to remember her parents. A puzzlement indeed.

makes her hardnosed manner out to be a false front

I see what you're saying now, and I agree. The Ultimania profile does undercut her character, and I much prefer the vision of her as simply a strong person, who like everyone in Spira has been through a lot but carries on in her own way.

I think I may have read that fic before but thanks for the pointer -- it's a good one. It's true that Lulu is very disciplined about not thinking about the past, but I suspect that it was her own form of denial, sort of the opposite approach from Wakka's stubborn belief that his brother might still be alive somewhere. For both of them, it took the visit to the Farplane to truly put Chappu's death behind them, to acknowledge it and then move on, each in their own way.

Anyway. Sorry to talk your ear off about all this! ;) Most of my friends in fandom have moved on from discussing FFX, but even though I first played it years ago I am still very keen to explore it further -- Spira is such a rich world and populated with complex characters, and I feel like I've only scratched the surface. :) Also, I've friended you; hope you don't mind.
auronlu
May. 4th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
Don't apologize for talking my ear off! I have only just begun to sink into this world, and it saddens me to be coming to it years after most people have moved on. I certainly don't mind being friended. I love pondering things like this.

I think you're right about the denial. Both Lulu and Auron make a certain amount of noise about "It's over! It's done with! Useless to dwell on the past!" yet they are clearly shaped by theirs; if Auron weren't still obsessed over his he wouldn't even be around. Lulu's laughter on the Farplane, when she says, "I don't know what I'm saying," seems to me to be the first time that she really [i]does[/i] put Chappu behind her.
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