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Auron: a fanfic writer's biggest dilemma

Spoilers to end of game follow.

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SO. Auron. Lulu is only loved by some, but by most accounts Auron is the best-loved character of FFX, and rightly so: he carries the archetype of ronin, wise elder, and tragic figure so well.

Almost any Auron fan wishes he weren't dead, or at least that he weren't Sent at the end of the story. It's a natural instinct to want to pen a story bringing him back, giving him a second chance, raging against that horrible moment when Yunalesca robbed him of his life. He was only what, 25?

Here is the dilemma. It is so tempting to want to give him that second chance, bring him back from the dead. We hate it when good characters die.

Yet part of the appeal of Sir Auron is that he's doomed and faces his fate calmly. "That is my story." "Don't stop. It's been long enough. This is your world now." Would we find him interesting if he weren't Unsent, if he survived the quest and retired to open a swordsmanship training school for disaffected monks? Probably we'd still like him, but it loses much of the tragic and romantic aspect of the character. It's like Boromir coming back in book three and saying, "psyche, it was only a flesh wound!"

Or, to put it in more general terms: one of the most common moves in fanfic is to resurrect well-loved characters who died in canon. Does that ever work? Or is it one of those mistakes like Mary Sue that one should resist?

 

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
pyrefly_sky
Mar. 28th, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
His whole story is a broken beautiful tragedy. I wouldn't have it any other way.

At 25 he believes he is doing right by everyone in aiding Braska. He comes to find only two people he holds genuine affection for, knowing full well that one of them is destined to die. However hard this is for him to accept it obviously becomes harder as the journey goes on. Then it's most likey (IMO) that he and Jecht would have become very close because they thought they'd only have each other left after the pilgrimage. Then Yunalesca robs him of even that and while Jecht makes the ultimate sacrifice, that in many ways most likely hurt him more.

1) Jecht wasn't even from Spira but gave himself up for the greater cause, where Auron was selfish for the first time in wanting Braska to stay. (Took his eye off the prize so to speak!)
2) Did Jecht do that simply so Auron would live?

So anyway, tragic as it is he is robbed of the only two people that have ever had a hold of him, gets enraged (understandably) and gets killed. Then just to top that off his obligations then stay as he has to look after Jechts son alone, watching a shadow of his closest companion grow up and constantly bickering about how much he hates his father. And Auron is obviously unable to find a way to explain what happen to Tidus without ruining his childhood. So again he's trapped with his grief (guilt?) and fully unable to express it.

Then the game starts and he is forced to re-live the whole miserable experience again only this time knowing what was up ahead (thats he has to kill Jecht) and watching the children of his companions live it out again. Also because he knows about what Tidus is, it must also have been painful watching Tidus and Yuna grow close knowing that it would never happen and that they too would be denied that happiness.

Luckily because of all those years he's had to brood on things and with Jechts help they can end it. Freeing them both. It must have been the most wonderful form of release after feeling so leashed for so many years. Keeping Auron alive at the end of the game would have been another kick in the teeth for the poor guy. There is no way that should happen, it would rip apart his entire story and make it so close to worthless! He's far to duty bound for that... and I adore him, it's sort of like putting an animal down when it's ill. Best for it but makes everyone else sad.

Crikey I went on... sorry I never have anyone to discuss this with!
wired_lizard
Mar. 28th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
As I don't know FF and you don't know the example I'd make, I'll just say in general: if the death was well-done, well-timed, and well-characterized, then it's disrespectful, as it were, to make an end run around it. (Particularly in a resurrection fic per se; AU's are more free to play around without messing things up, as it's not really canon as we know it anyway.) But if, in canon, it was kinda botched, not done particularly well, or especially if the death reeked of the writers getting a character out of the way for one reason or the other that had nothing to do with the actual story...then go for it. I say this because I've written a resurrection fic myself, albeit with some guilt--started writing it because the idea came insistently to me, because that's how I worked, but continued writing it (still haven't finished -.-;;;) because I realized that it allowed me to get right at the heart of a moral and characterization dilemma that the writers had chickened out of by killing off the character, which they did for a combination of story/continuity reasons and a moment of rather badly played tragedy.
mneme_forgets
Mar. 28th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
I think it's better to resist such an impulse unless one has very good reason, because it's easy enough to 'resurrect' a character by simply writing about their earlier life, instead of changing the story.

I was personally not at all sad when Auron died. He chose his 'second death' and all of us knew he was going to the Farplane, which honestly doesn't look like such an awful place if you ask me. He was going back with his friends.

The first time he died he went out with a bang attacking Yunalesca for a great injustice. If you take that away from him you take away half his character. I mean, he wouldn't really be the same Auron anymore. It would be irresponsible to try to change his past and still write him as the same character.

The only way I can see it is in a complete AU and even then the author had better have a damned good reason for Auron's gruffness and sober attitude. He is a character who has to endure great tragedies to stay the same. It's what made him the way he is.
trekqueen
Mar. 28th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
I think everyone else made great points on resurrecting a dead characters such that as Auron. Though that got me thinking...

****Spoilers for FFX-2****

If that is so, then SquareEnix dropped the ball with allowing Tidus to return in the "perfect" finish at the end of FFX-2. His "death" was tragic as well because despite saving the world and letting Yuna live after defeating Sin and Yu Yevon, he must still leave her. Not quite the same as Auron's tragedy but still heartrending in its essence. So rewarding Yuna with his return (without much explanation either) seems like cheating too if we follow the logic we have discussed.

However, in the presence of love does it change the story? Tidus and Yuna were in love and it crossed the boundaries of death and dream so that he was able to come back. Auron didn't have anyone in the game per se, but what if one were to write an Aulu fic that involved the love aspect... would that still be the same as the Tidus/Yuna story or would both of them still be cheating the others out of a dignified and great story telling end?
mneme_forgets
Mar. 28th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
The difference however lies in the fact that Tidus didn't die and he didn't die hurling defiance at Yevon.

I think that Auron's death is something that affects his character. If you make it so that never happened to Auron, it changes the sort of person he is. If you bring Auron back from the dead, on the other hand, supposing that he still died once and was sent once, just like in the game, it's still different than Tidus, who was, potentially, never alive in the first place.

I mean, I don't understand any more than anyone else how Tidus *does* come back when apparently the fayth have stopped dreaming him. I really don't understand why he ended up on the Farplane in the first place if he was never really real. But the circumstances of his disappearance are more mysterious than Auron's. Resurrecting a character who actually died would be a difficult thing to do, I think, without it just seeming silly. I don't think that doing so would cheat anyone or 'ruin the pre-existing story.' It's just more a matter of could anyone write it sensibly and believably.
pyrefly_sky
Mar. 28th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
Also on that Tidus point...

Does anyone else find it sickening that the person he fell in love with was a totally different Yuna, yet at the end of FFX2 (don't get me started on that ending...) he was fully able to accept the completely different person she'd become? Doesn't sound that likely to me, he for all intents and purposes fell in love with the younger Yuna, the innocent one not the newer confident Yuna. But no they walk happily off together. *frowns*

I already did my Auron character dissection above... see! :p
mneme_forgets
Mar. 29th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC)
I have a much harder time accepting Wakka and Lulu, who while they were civil to one another during the game, weren't exactly enamoured either.

It's not like Tidus sticks his tongue down Yuna's throat. I don't think he'd do anything but give a big hug to his friend who he hasn't seen for years while he was in the afterlife somewhere.

Also, I could see him having a relationship with her even if he was disconcerted by the changes in her even out of a sense of feeling beholden to her - I mean, potentially the fayth gave Tidus the heads up on Yuna being the one who wanted him back. I would definitely feel like I owed her one.
trekqueen
Mar. 29th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
Same here on the Wakka Lulu relationship. When I first saw the clip from the end of FFX (international version) that gave the sneak peak as to what was in store for FFX-2.. I was thinking geh! Lu would never do that!!!! I almost cried, she wouldn't give in that easily!
trekqueen
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:11 am (UTC)
Another note on something I just came across...

There's a quote from the young fayth of Bahamuth who always seems to be following Tidus around. He says to Tidus: "You have been touched by Sin... you're more than just dreams now." Could this possibly mean he is more of a spirit of sorts, not so much alive, but more of an existance?
mneme_forgets
Mar. 29th, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
Could be. All's I'm saying is Auron is quite certainly dead, whereas with Tidus it's all up in the air. As soon as I saw there WAS an FFX2 I so knew he was going to make a comeback, didn't you?

I do think that any possible storyline does have a possibility to be done well by the right author however. So if someone awesomely skilled wrote that Auron came back to life for Lulu I might just believe it and enjoy it.
auronlu
Mar. 29th, 2006 08:20 am (UTC)
Don't tempt me. However, it's clear that I need to play X-2 and get the rest of canon firmly lodged in my skull before I inflict this drek on anyone other than Trekqueen, who's far too patient with my bad habits.

*eyes the horribly angst-overdone fragment I wrote shortly after Send Off, before I had the foggiest clue what happened to all the surviving characters in canon*

I might rewrite and post it someday. Auron is dead. For me, there is no question that one could ever bring him to life again. However, I am unable to ignore the fact that Seymour, Mika, Belgemene and various other Unsent managed to stick around quite awhile. Each one had a danged good reason (or a bad but compelling one.)

However, the wiser part of me thinks that pyrefly_sky is on target, and Auron was so very ready to be Sent that it would be cruel to him to make him "play at life" for any reason, ever again. Meh. We'll see. I've got a lot of other stuff to write first, and research and moderator duties keep me verra busy!
pyrefly_sky
Mar. 29th, 2006 10:23 am (UTC)
Auron is dead. For me, there is no question that one could ever bring him to life again. However, I am unable to ignore the fact that Seymour, Mika, Belgemene and various other Unsent managed to stick around quite awhile.

Auron already stuck around for Ten years, he trumped all of them! ~_^

odd sidenote: he must have had great focus to not become a fiend in that time.
trekqueen
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
I dont want to ruin it for anyone but there's a side character who has beaten them all for being an Unsent running around. We find out his truth in FFX-2 and that he's been around since the downfall and destruction of Zanarkand.
pyrefly_sky
Mar. 30th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
I really need to finish that game now... ^_^
trekqueen
Mar. 29th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
Yea most were sad that Tidus left at the end of FFX so I guess the developers thought it would be fine and dandy to bring him back. I didn't really have a problem with it as long as they made sense in why he came back.

Just as you say with the right author and story Auron could come back. There's always that possibility out there since I've come across some in other fic genres.
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