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!
Good day loyal readers of my editing blog. You are still here and I appreciate that greatly. You seem to like my ramblings, and so I shall give you more. I’m currently reading Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear, the second book in his Kingkiller Chronicle Series following the adventures of Kvothe, an innkeeper more than what he seems. Sidenote: I am here on Goodreads if you ever wish to peruse my bookshelves or make a friend 🙂
Obviously, I enjoyed the first book The Name of the Wind enough to pick up the second as I do not waste my time with frivolous things.
I noticed this paradigm years ago with V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic Series (wanna talk about messed up flower paradigms, here you go)
Compared to the US version:
And then look at the French one!
Um…why can’t we get the good stuff in the states? The French one is also more accurate, whereas the American one is far more cutesy, but that’s typical I suppose. I’ve seen my fair scattering of foreign films, and they have a different vibe than their American counterparts. One of the best examples is Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno or The Labyrinth of the Faun).
Weird English translation there. I suppose they figured “Pan” and “Faun” were interchangeable. Fantastic movie by the way, but don’t go into it with American expectations; you will not be pleased with what you get. Non-American films tend to push limits that make domestic audiences a bit squeamish. I remember we watched this film in one of my French classes many, many years ago called Toto the Hero where the main character becomes obsessed with a woman who looks like his sister (huh, bit of a character unknown similarity with Northern Lights, n’est-ce pas? And a definite similarity to be second beloved ASOIAF), and it’s not really treated as overly aberrant. This is not to say that obviously it wouldn’t be, but it’s not made into as big of a gross out, ew deal as American audiences would be inclined to do. It’s just a different way of handling things, and the main character Thomas is an insanely unreliable narrator who’s obsessed with the idea of dispossession (I only actually remembered the sister look alike part and had to look up the rest, don’t judge!).
Oh man royal tangent much? My opening was supposed to start with an idea present in Rothfuss’s second novel, and I just found a separate branch and kept running along it to a completely different tree.
Not THAT tree, ugh…okay, it’s always about that tree, but gah, back to what I was trying to say. So Rothfuss’s main character Kvothe (which is pronounced similar to “quote,” one syllable and all) ends up having a particularly fortunate windfall with the chance to earn the patronage of a very powerful man the Maer Alveron who could be considered a king in his own right. While walking through his gardens, the Maer explains to Kvothe that there are two types of power: inherent and granted. Inherent power is the power one just has: strength, intelligence, attractiveness, etc. According to the Maer, it’s a power that can’t be taken away by anyone (per se), but it’s a power that’s almost limited because one can only do so much with it. Granted power is the power that derives from a higher source, and here is where I became interested. Kvothe believes inherent power is the better of the two because it can never be taken (being an absolute of sorts. Already had a discussion prior about that though…); however, the Maer insists that granted power is far greater as it can be inexhaustible so long as you don’t over tap the source. Example, if someone steals from you and you are unable to best him in strength/cunning to retrieve your property (inherent power), you could call upon a higher authority in order to aid you (granted power).
This paradigm falls apart once you begin to question whence comes intelligence, strength, and cunning. If you throw any kind of deity system into the mix then all power becomes granted by a higher authority. This comes from Chapter 6, but it illustrates my point:
“You attribute everything to your ‘creators,’ and never to yourself.”
“I have nothing to attribute, child, save for pain and death.”
Seph in this narrative realizes that all of his power and abilities come from, well I won’t say higher source, but from somewhere else. He attributes nothing to himself inherently, because for all intents and purposes, he was created in a lab. Everything he has he was given for better or for worse. We could say this for all angelic beings or for all beings in general. How many times have you heard the phrase “God given” whatever in regards to some particular talent? Inherent ability could just be something granted from a higher source. Then I grew more theological, metaphysical, and possibly blasphemous, because I then I started thinking does God’s power have a source? And if so does that source have a source? What is the end all be all absolute source? What is the absolute?
Fuck…I was talking about that, wasn’t I? But even still where does the absolute originate? Is it from this universe or another? And does any mere mortal dare ponder such things? Can any mere mortal ponder such? I don’t think it’s within the realms of my understanding.
“It is the Concealed of the Concealed, the Inscrutable Height, the Head which is not…so it is with Kether; its mode of existence is not manifested, but the cause of manifestation.” – Dion Fortune “The Mystical Qabalah”
Kether is the highest of the Sephiroth and we can know nothing about the root from which it springs, which is probably good, because I don’t think human brains are equipped to hold such knowledge.
Alright, now that I’m a bit freaked out and shaking (esoteric knowledge always riles me up), I think I’m going to leave off being meta for a bit. I’ll definitely be back to the Sephirotic Tree of Life since, well, without that neither Northern Lights nor FFVII (in the form it is) would exist. It’s the source of the source, and apparently I am NOT done with being meta. I do often wonder when stories stopped being original. I think it was long before the advent of the internet or long distance communication. Somehow I believe certain tides run through all human narratives, tying them together within a collective unconscious that I’ve mentioned many times before.
A long introduction for a short editing section. The reedit of Chapter 5 is not even a page. If I can keep my eyes open, I may be able to start the reedit of Chapter 6 tonight, but tomorrow (10/7) is my anniversary, and I need to make time to jog and blah blah blah, so who knows what I might do. On to the editing, dear readers, if you are still with me.
“Slum girls were easy to buy. This sector was only a layer away from the true city above. Even the destitute and poor have hierarchy, and Aeris flinched at another harsh glare.” Ah judgments. No matter how lowly your position, you can always look down on someone else. Microcosm/macrocosm…they are all one and the same. How high the ladder goes is as unanswerable a question as how low. They are truly the same question and both equally unknowable.
“’Below it’s just residual power, what trickles down from above.’” I could post a picture of the Tree of Life again, but I won’t. Merely mentioning it should drive the point home, and it’s Sephiroth saying this, so yay meta reference! Not the big one…that runs a thread throughout the whole story. I should probably talk about that soon.
“All of her focus tangled away in hair spun from the threads of the moon, and the face it framed stole the breath from her throat as it quickened the pulse in her ears.” Seph has absolutely no clue why Aeris’s heart rate has jumped when she’s not frightened. He really doesn’t think of himself as beautiful. He knows what he looks like, but with the weight of the past on his soul, could never see himself as Aeris is starting to.
“’Do you know me?’ Sephiroth asked staring down hard with neon cold as sleet.” Eh, it’s kind of a weather reference, isn’t it? I was trying to avoid using those casually since, well, there’s no weather beneath the plate, but I think I’ll keep this one. I like it and it’s fitting for him. I would not want him glaring at me like that.
“’Let it rot in the shadows until it finally decays into light.’”
“’You know darkness doesn’t work like that.’” This. This right here speaks of the happier ending, because that’s exactly what happens.
And that’s it. Did I prevaricate? I did not nor would I speak falsehood and let lies echo in the silence.
I thank you as always my dear, dear readers. I never know what I shall write. I go into these blog posts mostly blind with ideas to wrinkle the edges. I have a list of topics I want to touch on, but as I write, I usually think of others to traverse. Today was the “inherent vs. granted power” as I just read about that paradigm, but I had no idea how far it would go. Well my eyes are raw and running, so I shall bid you fond adieu.