Friday, May 23, 2014

Part 13: Traitors

Last time we were on our way to rendezvous with Seymour at Old Meme Temple when Tromell showed up to isolate Yuna from her guardians for reasons that were, I am sure, perfectly scrupulous. However, Kidnapping Attempt A was immediately countered by Kidnapping Attempt B from an Al Bhed motorcycle gang. Everybody jumps into the fray like it’s Christmas 1983 and Yuna is the last Cabbage Patch doll.

(Incidentally, Cabbage Patch Yuna would be the cutest thing.)

Eh, it’s an RPG. I’m sure they’ll be fine until the protagonist gets there.

Tromell tries to take advantage of the guardians distracting the Al Bhed to sneak out of there, but Yuna wrenches away from him and runs to join her friends in the fight.

I cannot stand the cute of these two buddies standing so close together in solidarity. I wonder if Tidus remembers Brother, and knows what’s at stake for Rikku here.

“I will tell Father!”
“Yuna is safe! We will guard her! She is safe!”
“You do this alone, sister!”
This is how much Rikku cares about Yuna. She’s already a member of a marginalized group, but she’s willing to travel with a group of people to whom she is an outsider, keeping her identity a secret to avoid trouble for them. Now she’s choosing to side with those people against her own family and allies just to stay close to Yuna.

Even if declaring her intention to do this blows her cover.

These two get into the age-old argument of belief vs. proof.

Here we learn that the Al Bhed, while non-Yevonites, are not anti-Yevon. They are just not content to simply follow the teachings without questioning them, and that is more likely the reason they were persecuted rather than their use of machina.

(Remember, as long as people follow the teachings and remain in fear of Sin, Yevon remains in power, so it’s actually in Yevon’s best interest that things remain the same, the cycle of summoner sacrifices goes on, and Sin remains eternal. So far we’ve seen that anyone who hasn’t followed the teachings has ended up ostracized, as the Al Bhed are, converted, as the Guado and Ronso were, or destroyed, as the Crusaders were. It’s likely only because of the discretion of his friends and his connection to a summoner, as well as his handy “Sin’s toxin” excuse that Tidus hasn’t gotten into serious trouble for his taboo-breaking yet. If they’d just turned him loose in Luca as was the plan, he probably would have ended up in jail.)

While they don’t have an explanation for Sin either, they are taking action against it, which is more than Yevon is doing. Waiting until everyone atones could take generations, if it ever happens, and people are dying now.

Auron, impatient to get this show on the road, extracts Rikku from the argument to ask if she can fix the snowmobile.

Plot twist: everyone is Al Bhed. Auron, Lulu, Kimahri, the Aurochs, the maesters of Yevon, Waffles, Chappu. WHAT NOW?

She sounds like she has her tongue firmly in her cheek when she says this. But clearly, he doesn’t know much about the Al Bhed, considering he’s been spending time with one for several days at least and never noticed. He storms off to walk to the temple by himself, for which Rikku apologizes.

Lulu, who saw how guilty and ashamed she looked when confessing her identity, quickly reassures her that she has no reason to blame herself for that.

Then it’s snowmobile time!

I dunno Waffles he seems to be doing okay. I like how Lulu doesn’t even get out of the way. Yeah just try to run me over, Mr. Blue. I dare you.

Waffles gets to ride with his current bff, assuming it’s not Yuna or Wakka. (There’s not much of a reward for befriending either of them, which is sad, considering that story-wise they seem to be his closest friends. You’d think the game would reward you for building a relationship with Yuna, at least.) You can also take this opportunity to stack the deck in favor of several ships by arranging who gets to ride with whom. ;) I love how disappointed Tidus looks if the two ladies drive off together, leaving him with Kimahri or Auron.

I ended up with Rikku but here are links to the rest of them.

With Lulu. (I could only find this in the remastered version for some reason. I guess it’s the one most people usually end up with so nobody recorded it separately from their LP. Waffles is EXTREMELY UNSUBTLE about Jecht being Sin here but Lulu doesn’t press the issue.)

Touching on Kimahri’s conversation briefly, he mentions that he can tell Rikku is not a liar. He also says earlier of Biran and Yenke that “Ronso do not lie.” It would seem that Ronso are able to detect honesty, which explains why he is so distrustful of Seymour. He can already detect that his motives are shady! Adding to the list of Things Kimahri Already Knows, But Isn’t Telling Anyone. He’s even worse than Auron about this. ;) I love how unusually gentle his voice is during this conversation too. (He has to be pretty fond of Tidus for you to get this scene, after all.) This is probably what he sounds like when he’s talking to Yuna. :)

Like several other people in this game (but notably Yuna), Rikku puts on a smile to hide her sadness. Did she learn this trick from Yuna too, I wonder? (Most likely.)

Even though she's the one protecting her, Rikku looks up to Yuna. The way that she hopes others perceive her as being like her cousin is really endearing. (And a little bit sad.) She's fifteen and uncomfortable with herself, trying to find her place in her new band of friends, and looking to the other girls in the party for guidance. At different times she mentions a wish to emulate both Yuna, who is beloved, and Lulu, who is respected and mature. But several other people express the opinion that they like her the way she is, and that she should remain true to herself.

So, does Rikku know that Tidus doesn’t know what happens to summoners? It sounds here like she’s testing the waters to see how much he’s been told since she saw him last. I think she realizes that he doesn’t, because she deliberately avoids telling him when she has to clarify what she means by “sacrifice.” It hurts to hear him ignorantly support the very thing she’s fighting so hard to prevent, and even more to remind herself that really, it’s what Yuna wants.

Macalania is my favorite temple. I love ice-themed areas.

At the door we are stopped by a monk, who, unlike Wakka, is able to recognize an Al Bhed on sight. As we’ll see when I start picking up more of the Jecht Spheres, Auron was frequently (and rightfully) critical of Braska’s other guardian, but in the end Jecht, for all his faults, was sincere, and more importantly, he was the one who volunteered to give his life for Braska to defeat Sin. The experience has made him more willing to accept that guardians can come from unlikely places. And, knowing what he does about Yevon, he might welcome the outside perspective the two non-Yevonites are bringing to the team.

“Relax, man. It’s not like we’re going to kill the maester and upend the government or anything.”

Facebook relationship status: It’s complicated.

But look at this setup. As far as Seymour knows, Yuna has not yet accepted his proposal, but he’s got a wedding already in the works. There’s musicians and guests and a party going on and everything, and this had to have already gotten started before Tromell got back with Yuna. News of the engagement was spread all over Spira before Yuna had made up her mind. And he made her come all the way out here to deliver her response, so she’d have to run the gauntlet of all these happy, expectant people with their hearts set on a wedding if she intended to say no. When he said “I await your favorable reply,” he wasn’t leaving her with a choice.

On a side note, I never got to notice how cute Shelinda is before I started playing on an emulator.

I mean really just look at this place. I love the floor and the flower petal fountains.


Okay well. The Guado are kind of treelike so I can imagine him having a kind of woodsy or floral natural scent, or maybe he’s just into fancy perfumes, but I had to conjecture that on my own. It is not stated anywhere; all the game is telling me is that this little girl knows what Seymour personally smells like. O.o

I like how this drunken reveler in the temple is the compendium of Seymour knowledge. Somehow I can’t picture Tidus patiently sitting through all of this. But he gives us an abbreviated, Disneyfied history of his life, telling of how his mixed heritage caused him grief as a child but now he aspires to “bring the Guado and humans together in friendship,” how he became a monk at the temple after Jyscal was ordained a Maester at the beginning of Braska’s Calm, how he rose to his high position on his own, and how, although he is a peerless summoner, he has never undertaken the pilgrimage.

It seems there’s a tidied-up propaganda version of Seymour’s story being passed around to the public, and this guy, who claims to have guarded Seymour since he was a “wee lad,” is knowingly lying, because several of these details are false. He omits the fact that Seymour spent his childhood in exile at Baaj Temple, because his presence was a constant reminder of his father’s indiscretion and a potential source of strife between humans and the Guado. The exile was not revoked until after Jyscal had improved relations between the two races by converting the Guado to Yevon, (although we never do find out if the Guado put up resistance to having their old way of life subjugated by the church) and Seymour was summoned back to Guadosalam to become a priest. He was eighteen when this happened, so nobody was protecting him for the remainder of his childhood after his mother became a fayth, let alone this human guy. And, significantly, he does not mention that Seymour actually did complete the pilgrimage. It could be that his followers are keeping it a secret, but I think it’s more likely that most people, apart from possibly the inner circle of Yevon (and anyone whom Seymour and his mother may have met 18 years ago while they were on the pilgrimage, taking into account that summoners tend to create a stir wherever they go) don’t know about it.

I do wonder why no one seems to question his scary, ultra-powerful aeon that no one has ever seen before and clearly does not belong to any of the known temples, especially since the other Maesters, who may know the secret behind the Final Summoning – Mika almost certainly does, at least – must have figured out where she came from and that she is a Final Aeon not being used for its intended purpose. It seems strange that he’d be able to rise to the position of Maester having obviously forsaken his most essential duty as a summoner, but, as I have mentioned before, Yevon is deeply messed up and actually very interested in keeping Sin alive, so they were probably not much bothered by his breaking tradition, as long as people don’t know about his pilgrimage. They even might have feared such a powerful summoner attempting to defeat Sin, just in case he somehow managed to defeat it permanently. It’s even possible that his powerful aeon, as proof of his strength as a summoner, was what made him an attractive prospect as a Maester. Yevon has a history of assimilating its opponents, and better to have that kind of power working for Yevon than against it.

The party atmosphere takes a nosedive when a nun who was apparently snooping through Yuna’s stuff finds Jyscal’s sphere. (For something so imperatively secret she really does not keep track of that thing very well. Maybe you’re not allowed to take any extraneous spheres into the Cloister of Trials, I dunno. But if she was intending to confront Seymour with it you’d think she might have brought it with her.)

I’ve wondered in what way Seymour killed his father that gave him time to record this message. My guess is a slow-acting poison or repeated small doses of one accumulating over a long period of time.

Also, it’s possible that Jyscal was speaking figuratively, but does this suggest that the Maesters, or maybe the Guado, can intuit the thoughts and feelings of others? Perhaps they are simply very good at reading people. (Seymour seems pretty surprised by some things that Yuna does later, after all.)

“This day just keeps getting better and better.”

I like how Auron’s the one leading the “Let’s go save Yuna, again” charge this time. He may be gruff with her (and pushing her towards an inevitable death), but he does care, and he seems to have a better sense than the others do of the kind of danger she’s in. Auron, Tidus, and Kimahri have all expressed distrust of Seymour, but of the three of them Auron has also guessed with the most accuracy what Yuna plans to do, so he has an idea of how this is going to go. (Not well.)

If you stick around and try to talk to this cat it gets annoyed and runs away from you, probably skittish of being trodden on by Waffles’s outrageous footwear.

This guy was up near the door earlier. Kimahri straight up tossed a monk down the stairs and we didn’t get to see it.

This is, in fact, his plan.

It’s a lot easier for Lulu to say “Hell with Seymour!” than it is for Wakka. For her, it’s simply a matter of choosing whether to side with Yevon or with Yuna, and she is on Team Yuna until the very end of the world. I noted earlier that she is faithful to the teachings, but she isn’t as devout as Wakka is. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about Yuna, just that he’s having a more difficult crisis of faith here. For him, Yevon is Spira, it is home and hope and security, and turning against a maester will mean turning against all of that.

I guess he does not know about Waffles’s proud history of creating a ruckus outside the Chamber of the Fayth while Yuna is trying to pray. You can’t see them in most of these pictures, but Seymour’s two bodyguards are here the entire time, so Yuna was at an even greater disadvantage from the start.

On a side note I like the way the shape of his hair echoes the shape of the arch over the doorframe there heehee.

Seymour may be the best negotiator but Waffles is clearly the master of the witty repartee. Just give up now, Seymour.

Also amazing: that the framing of this shot is underneath his antlers.

This face hahaha. There is too much sass in this temple right now.

Shiva was apparently the most accommodating of the aeons because presently the door opens and Yuna emerges, much steadier and less exhausted than usual. I like to think that her fayth was aware that something was about to go down outside and was quick to pledge her support. Yuna, however, is dismayed that her friends have put themselves in danger for her sake.

You have to love how honest Seymour is about all of his shadery. He doesn’t call attention to it but he doesn’t try to hide it either, and when people accuse him of being less than an exemplary fugleman for everyone he is just like “So what?” Because he knows that Yevon is actually a festering morass of treachery, corruption, and death, so he is behaving as a true representative of the church.

For a fleeting moment he looks genuinely pained when she says this, but then, like some others we could mention, covers it up before facing them and resuming his usual sarcasm. He still had a faint hope that she’d really take his side, in spite of everything.

But when he holds out his hand to her, she backs away and rejoins her friends, drawing the battle lines. There's another very subtle change in emotion readable on his face before he steadies it. You can see his expression very briefly flicker to anger and menace before smoothing again.

The irony dripping from his voice when he says this makes it clear what he thinks of the Code of the Guardian. He only had one, and she made the ultimate guardian’s sacrifice for him, from which he never really recovered. With the exception of Auron, none of them know what is really going to be asked of them as guardians, and he has evident contempt – maybe a bit of pity – for their ignorance.

Maester Seymour is: Lord of the Dance!

“I will fight you, too!”

“Now let it be war upon you both!”

Stop trying to girlfriend-zone her, Seymour. It’s not going to happen. In fact I’m pretty sure you were just . . . maester-zoned.

Epic sass battle commencing.

I love how his best insult to Seymour is frequently his own name. When a guy named Waffles thinks you have a dorky name, you are in trouble.

Actually both characters in the main lineup who have standard, if somewhat uncommon, English-language names both ended up with really goofy names unsuited to the seriousness of their characters. (But well-suited to a four-year-old or possibly a mop dog, and the nerdy guy from Little Shop of Horrors, respectively.)

If you try to have Wakka talk to him, making a last-ditch attempt to smooth things over before they really get ugly, Seymour is literally just like “. . .”

I have really fond memories of this battle. I was stuck on it for a long time for some reason (I think his multi-blizzara etc. spells were giving me trouble or something) so a friend of mine who had played the game before had me bring over my memory card and he talked me through it and everybody watched and cheered when we finally beat him. I still remember and use the strategy he taught me.

What the heck is a Shremedy? I’ve never seen this before. Is it some kind of status effect bomb mushroom native to Guadosalam? It didn’t do anything when it hit Auron.

Uh oh.

Seymour finally meets a nice girl and brings her home to meet his parents and this is what happens.

Shiva has the prettiest summoning sequence. There’s some similarities in the way other summoners call aeons but Yuna’s have these little flourishes. Probably just to be economical with time and animation, but I like that the way she pets Valefor and Yojimbo’s dog and sits on Ifrit’s shoulder suggests a more personal, friendly bond with her aeons than some summoners have.

And then there’s Shiva. “Here, love, catch!”

She shares a name with the Hindu god, but there is very little similarity between them (the Hindu Shiva is neither female nor associated with ice, although he is sometimes blue) so I wonder if there is some false etymology here.


I like how Seymour’s battle stance involves him continually flipping his bangs out of the way. First time I’ve seen a Final Fantasy character suggest that their hairdo is impractical for daily life.

Shouldn’t he already have Shiva? Considering he’s already been on a complete pilgrimage and is the high priest of this exact temple. Unless by that power he means Yuna, but it’s not like she’s the one who’s going to become an aeon.

Amusingly, the game doesn’t force you to summon another aeon if Shiva gets defeated (or even summon her at all) so you can actually mop up the rest of the battle with regular characters and he’ll still say this. I’m pretty sure that I’ve had the “power that defeated Anima” comment directed at Auron before.

I replayed it again to get caps of Anima’s HOLY FLUFFING TERRIFYING overdrive, Oblivion.

The dramatic blood-filtered pov shot of the ceiling lets us know he’s really dying.

She may not love him, but she does have empathy and compassion for him.

Seymour’s last living act is to arrange his corpse in the most theatrical fashion possible. That is true commitment to drama. I feel like there’s some symbolism being invoked here but I can’t quite figure out what it is. ;) (This is one of my favorite shots in the game.)

Okay so when I made the Lord of the Dance comment earlier I was drawing from my memory of having seen the Riverdance show on PBS as a kid (and, more importantly, the MST3K parody) and I had no idea until I looked it up just recently that the song it’s based on is actually about Jesus. This just got 10x funnier.

So I mentioned a long time ago that Yuna’s not the only person carrying around Messiah symbolism. The trope is spread out among three characters like a holy trinity. Yuna heals others, walks on water, sends the dead to rest, and is prepared to die for the sins of mankind. Seymour dies in a crucifix pose and then later rises from the dead, believing he is going to be the savior of Spira. But in the end, the one who sacrifices himself and takes away the sins of the world is Tidus.

I would have liked if they had developed Seymour’s false messiah/antichrist plot arc a little more and had him break away from Yevon and start gathering a cult following preaching his perspective of Sin worship and redemption through death, but after he resurrects himself he kind of just goes off alone with his crazy. It would have been interesting to see more conflict between Yevon and Seymour (with Team Yuna caught in the middle) once he goes off the rails.

*adds to file of AU Fanfics I Don’t Have Time to Write*

Another indicator that he is really dead. Also, those are some long eyelashes Seymour has.

“Our production of Jesus Christ Superstar kind of got out of hand we're so sorry!!

Before Yuna can send Seymour and solve a lot of future problems, Tromell’s attendants drag him away. The Guado likely have their own pre-Yevon funeral rites that they prefer to adhere to, especially since Seymour was their only summoner, but the way they are so possessive of his dead body always came across to me as a little sinister and disturbing. Like they had some plan for it. I really was not surprised to see him still around later. (And that was even before I learned how common unsent are.)

The enormity of what she’s done, and its possible consequences, only just now sinks in. At best, she’ll be excommunicated from Yevon and, as far as she knows, unable to continue her pilgrimage. At worst, they’ll all be caught and executed for treason, and she’ll hold herself responsible, because it was her idea to confront Seymour in the first place.

Yeah we’ll see how well your “Seymour is a bad guy,” defense flies in court, Waffles.

The first good idea anybody has had all day.

I wonder if the version I’m playing now is different than the one I own for PS2 because I’m used to getting a Black Magic Sphere here too. This is the first time I’ve noticed a difference.

My friend was still coaching me during my first playthrough and he told me to use that to teach Fira to Yuna. We ran outside the temple and tried it out in the first battle and I was like “!!!!!!” and he was like “Yeah, Yuna turns into a freaking cannon.” To this day I remember it as one of the best moments of my gaming career.

“Snow Queen” wouldn’t fit, alas.

This is a very fitting ability for Lulu.

You thought you could get out of here without a sphere puzzle? Haha. Somehow the police never catch up with us in the time it takes us to figure it out. Maybe they thought we’d just get stuck in here forever.

Whatever you do, don’t step on this after you’ve rebuilt the bridge. You will have to do it all over again and you will be sad. (Not that I’m speaking from experience, or anything . . .)

Tromell and the Guado guards are patiently waiting outside to take us into custody. Some of the more optimistic members of our party are still holding on to the idea that if we can just explain the truth to everyone, everything will be okay.

Not so. We're starting to learn that the people in power aren't concerned so much with "the truth" as "what keeps people from asking too many questions."

(Also haha wow look at this Lingerie Model Yunalesca statue they have here. That’s one way to get people to come to prayer.)

Everybody finally decides to take Auron’s advice and just get the heck out of here, knocking over the guards as they go.

Some time ago on tumblr I suggested that save spheres, the sphere grid, and other more mechanical, esoteric aspects of the game might not actually exist in the real world of Spira but it was pointed out to me that you do see other people interacting with save spheres. And sure enough, here’s O’aka using one to teleport. I assume they are some kind of Al Bhed invention, (since everything that defies explanation in this game can usually be handwaved as either “mysterious pyreflies” or “wacky Al Bhed science”) and therefore people are reluctant to use them because you’d think if a civilization had something as handy as TELEPORTERS they’d get more use out of them.

During these fights, the Guado appear to conjure fiends out of thin air, maybe forcing the ambient pyreflies to manifest. They may be new to Yevon, but this would suggest that the Guado have some inherent skill at summoning or pyrefly manipulation, which could explain Seymour’s prodigious strength as a summoner.

They look so cold. :( (And one of the stages of hypothermia is confusion, haha.) I like the way their hair and clothes fly around in the wind in this area though. It’s a nice touch.

The Guado finally catch up with us, along with this grumpy guy. In Algonquian and Canadian folklore, a wendigo is a human transformed into a perpetually-ravenous monster after indulging in cannibalism. They are associated with winter, hardship, famine, and starvation. In some versions of the myth they grow to be giants, always hungry, which is the portrayal of them that often appears in fiction. (Including here.)

He’s a sore loser, too. Deprived of the opportunity to eat the delicious-looking party, he smashes the thick sheet of ice covering the lake and plunges them all into the frigid water to drown horribly.

Just kidding they’re all fine.

The structure of this lake makes no sense. There’s a solid crust of ice up top, then some kind of gigantic air bubble containing the ruins of a sunken city, and then only like a foot of water at the bottom. But the reason this region is frozen is said to be the temple fayth, so I suppose Shiva can do what she wants with her ice sculptures.

ADDENDUM: It was pointed out to me by a sharp-eyed Anon in the comments that they're actually all on top of Sin. I just assumed that the ruins were like the other sunken ruins we see throughout the game - off the Djose shore and underneath the Moonflow, etc - and didn't think much of there being old structures at the bottom of the lake. But I fiddled with the brightness settings on that screenshot and what I took for rocks and such actually appear to be Sin's fins and other bumpy bits. I'd never noticed this before!

Compare to this screenshot we saw of him earlier in the game:

It still doesn't explain why there's such a huge gap between the water and the top of the lake but it does explain why it's so shallow where they are. Whether by accident or design, Sin caught them when they fell. Thanks, giant whale dad!

This also explains the CONSTANT SNORING SOUND you hear throughout the scene. It's Sin, peacefully snoozing to the Hymn of the Fayth.

“I need to make new business cards.”

“What now?” Auron wonders, which upsets Waffles, who has always looked to him as the party leader even when he was reluctant to follow him. If Auron doesn’t know what to do next, they must really be in trouble.

But Auron doesn’t see himself as the leader. He has been letting Yuna make her own decisions, as long as she remains committed to her pilgrimage, even when he doesn’t approve. I don’t think he’s comfortable having everyone else defer to his seniority.

“But you can’t expect someone to protect you all the time. You would do well to remember that.”
The person he’d really like to say this to is Yuna, but he probably can’t do it without upsetting her or making her closer guardians defensive. She tried to handle her Seymour problems on her own, without the support of her friends, and now they’re all at the bottom of a lake.

I’m pretty sure it’s just Yuna. Sweet, mild, sunny Yuna, walking disaster.

Wakka is taking this the hardest because Yevon was such a major part of his identity. He shakes his fist angrily at Rikku, lashing out at the nearest culpable target, even though it’s not her fault. She’s just been along for the ride during the whole bachelor party debacle, but, we’ve seen before, he’s looking for a way to rationalize what happened, even if it doesn’t make sense. Maybe if we hadn’t let an Al Bhed lead us astray from Yevon, this wouldn’t have happened.

It’s nice that you found time for a relaxing nap, Yuna.

I like how he softens “blaming you for the fact that we’ve been outcast from society” to “in shock” for her benefit.

And then she makes this gesture to convey exactly how she hopes to grow up to be like Lulu. (Although from this conversation and other ones we can see that she admires Lulu’s maturity and self-possession as well.) Waffles, realizing he has entered dangerous territory, tries to talk to Kimahri instead.

Kimahri knows Lulu well enough to know that he doesn’t want two of them around. I like to think that he enjoys Rikku’s honesty and cheerfulness, even if he doesn’t show it, and more importantly, the uplifting influence she has on Yuna.

(Meanwhile, the commotion they’re making wakes up Yuna.)

“I wanted to convince him to turn himself in to Yevon’s judgment.”

Something about the way she says this makes this small line come across as chilling. The little hesitation in “He didn’t . . . say anything.” What did he do, then? Smirk at her disconcertingly? Indulge in an evil laugh? And then he accompanied her to the Chamber of the Fayth like it was no big deal.

Auron has wasted enough of his own time on regrets. Now he’s concerned that the trouble caused by Yuna’s dealings with Seymour – which he did not support in the first place, especially the fact that she insisted on keeping it to herself – is going to make her pilgrimage difficult to complete if they have become enemies of the government. But not impossible, as the others have been fearing.

Yuna’s father was cast out of Yevon as a heretic for marrying an Al Bhed woman (and possibly, for trying to further peace with the Al Bhed rather than simply converting them.) Seymour was also an outcast when he made his pilgrimage. Lady Yocun, the High Summoner before Braska, was a Crusader. Lady Yunalesca herself was an enemy of Bevelle. History doesn’t remember them that way, but some of the best summoners have come from outside Yevon.

Interesting that the two non-Yevonites react the most strongly to this. (Although it does warrant a rare “!?” from Lulu.)

But the general consensus among the devout is that we should all face the music and turn ourselves in. Yuna still naively wants to believe that the people in charge must be reasonable and just, because otherwise her lifelong faith in Yevon will be in vain. Auron isn’t happy with this, but he agrees to come with them.

A true friend is one who sticks with you after you accidentally murder a high-ranking government official.

During the next round of conversations you can see Rikku running around to keep warm and Yuna repeatedly wiping her runny nose.

Lulu, Wakka, and Kimahri all comment that they can feel something amiss, but Kimahri says that he senses no danger. Sin is nearby, but this time it isn’t hostile or destructive, being drawn to and soothed by the Hymn of the Fayth.

And then we eavesdrop on Waffles’s memories, haha. There’s some slight fourth wall breaking here since Auron and Tidus talk over this like they can see the memory we’re looking at too. A little while ago somebody on tumblr asked me how I think Jecht and Tidus are able to know the Hymn of the Fayth, since there are no fayth in Dream Zanarkand. I replied with this:

“If you find Maechen near the end of the game (he’s hanging around Mt. Gagazet before you go to defeat Sin), he tells you a bit about the history of the Hymn:

“Let me tell you about the Hymn of the Fayth. It was once a Zanarkand song, sung in defiance of Bevelle! Of course, the Yevon clergy of Bevelle forbade it. Then, as these things often go, those who disliked Yevon began to sing it. The Al Bhed, for instance. The Hymn of the Fayth became the symbol of defiance against Yevon. Yevon could do nothing but capitulate. They lifted the ban on the song, and spread a new story. They said the hymn was a song sung to soothe the souls of the dead. And so saying, they took the song and made it scripture. That’s why today, the hymn is sung all over Spira. You could say that, though Zanarkand is gone from this world, it lives on in the song.”

It’s likely that the memory of it was preserved by the Zanarkand fayth in their dream but stripped of its religious meaning, the way the prayer gesture became known to Dream Zanarkanders as a blitzball gesture. They might just have known the tune without knowing the words or their meaning.
Since Jecht and Tidus’s Zanarkand is a dream of many fayth, I would guess that the hymn could also be ambient in Dream Zanarkand, the way it is inside a temple in proximity to the fayth. Maybe not everywhere, but with so many fayth singing it could be that there are places in Dream Zanarkand where they could hear it.”

Some other people weighed in with their own opinions in the comments too, suggesting that it was originally secular but became imbued with religious meaning over the past millennium, or that it was even the Zanarkand anthem.

I’m not sure where Sin is supposed to be here, since the water isn’t very deep and I wouldn’t think the lake would be big enough to contain him, anyway. Maybe the party is standing in a shallow part and he’s off in the deep end. 

Mystery solved above. ;) He was there all along, but woke up when the singing stopped.

Also, this is all assuming that Sin is somehow able to travel between even isolated bodies of water – we’ve seen him in the ocean before, but he appears in the lake here and drops Tidus off in the Bikanel Island oasis.

I love Wakka and Rikku gravitating towards each other for reassurance during what they assume is going to be another Sin attack. He’s still antagonistic towards her, but over the next plot arc we see major development in his character as their relationship improves.

Everybody gets hauled aboard Sin like the Magic School Bus and space-whaled off into the unknown. Temporarily calmed by the Hymn of the Fayth, Jecht has enough control of himself to try to communicate with Tidus through a hazy, dreamlike chain of images.

We see Mini-Waffles, and Tidus gently reminds his father that he’s older now, not the child he remembers. I noticed that whenever we see Tidus from Jecht’s point of view, he’s facing away from him, as though he can’t quite remember what he looked like. :(

Next time: I hope somebody packed some sunscreen.


  1. That fmv cutscene of sin is a bit confusing, because the "city" they are on is actually Sin's back (: compare some buildings with concept arts of Sin. Or watch the HD version of the Sin fight where you fight him on the airship for the last before you can go in his mouth. The city is pretty clear there.

    1. Oh! I knew about the city-like structure on top of Sin (I think I mentioned it before during the Operation Mi'ihen chapter) but it didn't occur to me that that could be where they landed when they fell through the ice! That's an interesting idea. There are lots of other underwater ruins throughout Spira so I thought it was something like that here.

    2. Oh my, that's true! I never noticed they were on top of Sin that whole time (so much for Lulu's "the toxin! Watch out!".

    3. OMG, that screen capture after Lulu says "We're under the lake ice, aren't we?" looks VERY much like the top of Sin. Yikes!

    4. I fiddled with the brightness and contrast on that screenshot to get a better look and it's true! What I took for rocks and such look like they could be its fins. I never noticed it before! That explains a few things about this scene.

  2. Your Let's Plays continue to be one of my favorite things, you always make me laugh and discover something new. For example, I didn't know Seymour had completed his pilgrimage AND given up his mom as his final summon, I thought the process had ocurred within Baaj Temple in the old-fashioned way. You think the people of Spira still know how to create fayth statues? Maybe Yunalesca's way isn't special at all, just done at a time when bonds are stronger.

    Guado are very good with pyreflies, remember how the Farplane is all out of balance once they leave in X-2? Maybe they do have senses that surpass those of humans because of their close relationship with the Farplane. It'd be interesting to see if they have different methods for sending...since they just recently converted, I doubt they relied on summoners to do the sending, don't you think?
    (Another thought: You mentioned the Thunder Plains were deadly but a necessary passage for you think that before the Guado converted there was a longer route for the pilgrimage as to avoid the "heathen" village?)

    I always laugh when I see how slow the snow vehicles are...useful for the plot but I can totally see why Rikku didn't bring one of those along for the pilgrimage.

    1. Yup, Anima is his Final Aeon. (He didn't exactly give her up willingly; we'll see what happened to him when we get to Zanarkand.) He had her statue housed in Baaj sometime after his pilgrimage, although it's a mystery how he got it there.

      I think people still do know how to create fayth statues, or at least the basics of how it's done, since Lulu is able to explain it to Tidus, but it hasn't been done recently so apart from the guardians chosen for the Final Summoning (which most people don't know about) there haven't been any new fayth. I answered a question about fayth statues on tumblr a while back (this LP is kind of taking place on two different sites haha). My theory is that there is a difficult ritual to remove someone's soul and create the fayth statue, performed by and known only to summoners, so the exact method of how to do it isn't commonly known.

      And yeah I do think the different cultures (Ronso, Guado, and Al Bhed) have their own funeral customs and ways of sending the departed to the Farplane from before they were converted to Yevon. The Ronso might be brought up to accept their deaths beforehand and go to them with honor, but since the Guado are attuned to pyreflies and the Farplane it seems likely that they'd have some method of performing a sending.

      Guadosalam actually isn't part of the pilgrimage route even in the present. When you're there somebody - I'm pretty sure it's Lulu the Exposition Lady - mentions that not many summoner parties bother to come through there since there's no temple, so there must be another road around it that we just don't see because it's not important to the game. If you look at a map of Spira you can see the Thunder Plains are actually huge and cover the width of the continent so there must be a few roads leading into it. Summoners (and other travelers to Bevelle, etc.) could also travel by boat but that might take longer.

  3. Love your analysis, keeps it fun whilst informative. Only thing I wanted to mention is that when Seymour says 'Please be silent, Lady Yuna prays to the fayth', she's nowhere nearby. If you come back in the postgame, beat Dark Shiva, and come back to this room and head through that door, there's a little ice path that leads below, which is then followed by a door where she prays.

    I both love this extra isolation she is given after Seymour walks her most the way, and also because of her general post-fayth unsteadiness, he forces her to walk this path back, probably stumbling on her knees, to find her friends trying to save her as she is not fully conscious of what's happening. I don't know what it is, but the implications of that little path seem huge in the context of the scene, and in exacerbated Yuna's isolation up to this point.

    1. Oh wow I'd forgotten about that! I'd found the ice path before when I went back to talk to Shiva's fayth on a previous save but I didn't think about it in this context. (The temples really don't make it easy for summoners coming out of there all weak and disoriented, do they?) That is a very poignant detail about him making her walk all the way back on her own. What a guy.

      Good catch!

  4. Something I'm wondering about those final screenshots is which chamber of fayth door is Jecht standing in front of? Is it the final aeon chamber? It's been a long time the last time I played this game and I don't quite remember.

    1. Oh I thought he was on his houseboat in Dream Zanarkand since that's where the rest of the vision is taking place. But it's hard to tell since everything is fuzzy. I don't think it's the Final Aeon chamber though.

  5. I like this sequence NOT just because Seymour gets a smack-down, but because Yuna's companions all get to show how much they care for her. As a 'game play' bit of coolness, it's neat that everyone who gets a dialogue option with Seymour then gets a permanent statistic add. ^_^

    And I feel sorry for Anima. Sure, Seymour's mom was out of her mind crazy [which is likely where Seymour got a lot of his crazy from] - and dragged her child to Zandarkand so she could die in front of him and become the Fayth of the final summoning - but then she doesn't get used. I can even feel sorry for Seymour. His mom was a mental case and raised him, alone, filling him with her crazy. I can sympathize with him NOT trying to take on Sin because it would be letting her die a 2nd time.

    All in all, it's kind of astonishing how sane Seymour appears to be after all that.

    1. Oh neat I didn't know the stat bonus was permanent.

      Yeah I can't imagine raising a child in complete isolation from society benefited the sanity of either of them. Not only did she choose to die in front of him, knowing she was the only thing he cared about in the world, she dragged him on a dangerous journey across the world knowing that HE was going to die at the end of it, and believing that it was the only way to make people love him. (There is some A+ parenting in this game.) She did it with good, albeit badly flawed, intentions, but it's not really a surprise that her aeon is this horrible twisted monster thing. And now she's been trapped in a statue for years watching her son turn evil and her tortured aeon being put to misuse.

      Good times were had by none.