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!
I return, dear readers, to this labor of love, this fairytale I cannot forsake. Fairytales…FFVII has quite a few similar tropes to les conte de fées, n’est-ce pas?
Hey, Future Narcissist here, I apologize to any of my French speaking readers if I’ve butchered your lovely language. I decided to study it because my first name is French so I figured I should learn more about it. I loved it immensely and miss it profusely.
I don’t know why I keep throwing random French around. It’s been happening a lot lately. I studied in high school, and grew so adept that I actually had diary entries in the tongue. I am far less fluent now and have no clue what the hell I was talking about. I’m sure it’s all teenage angst and fancy. In fact, I know what it is, and I’d rather not relive painful memories, but I miss rolling French around my tongue. It’s such a gorgeous language, liquid in its tones with its swallowed R’s and nasal vowels, but the vowels aren’t nasal like the awful Pennsylvania ones I hear (and admittedly speak) all the time. The ones that my choir teachers would constantly chide us for, because singing with a Pennsylvania vowel is just awful. It’s probably why I sing classically with an English accent; their vowels are far better. Far above I mentioned Final Fantasy and fairytale tropes, and I meant to elaborate on that before I started talking about my French. Ah F’s populate my life, don’t they?
Fairytales present with a particular set of rules and devices, one of which is the enchanted forest or lost woods, where the maiden will invariably enter much to her peril, but the hero will rescue her and save the day, right?
Not when the trope is twisted and the maiden must die in order to save the world, nor when the forest is the gateway to a forgotten city. Go into the forest and out of the world as you know it. Lovelies, my brain is quite addled today. This was the second day of a challenge I set for myself to run (at least) a mile per day for the entire month. I was awake at dawn to do that. Then I went to work; then I went to my jazzercise class; then I finally came home. I’m surprised I’m this coherent. I thought of loads of things to convey to you today. Things such as how Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” is one of the best examples of Death of the Author vs. Word of God, and I often use it in my discussions about such, but alas I’m far too tired to do so now. I’ll be lucky if I can get through the edit. It’s the finale to the first edit of Chapter 6, and the entry is loooooooong.
I just spent about five minutes looking at memes of Longcat and laughing uproariously at the utter stupidity. Omg guys, it should NOT be this funny. Ah, I need to sleep.
I wish I could say I’m not still amused by this, but me and my BFF spent about a month sending each other pictures of Longcat and trying to see how many o’s’ we could put onto the word “long.” Oh the internet…
Alright, let’s attempt to get through this entry. I promise that you won’t know if I don’t. Or maybe you will. Maybe I’ll feel magnanimous and tell you.
“’Your…’ She cleared her throat. ‘Your hair…the bangs are similar to mine.’ She smiled at him through her own.” Oh man, their crazy hair. Originally, I mentioned hair gel and such nonsense since their locks are clearly defying gravity, but I decided against it. Seph’s is definitely bending physics in Crisis Core and the OS, but not so much in Advent.
Actually…on second look it kind of still is; it’s just less drastic than it is in the OS. I’d say maybe it looked more gravity defying because of the graphic limitations of the OS, but even the official artwork of him and Aeris have hair that either ignores the laws of physics or is treated with the best hair gel ever invented. You know what…if he can fly with one wing, his hair can freaking defy gravity just like he does, and Aeris…well, she’s a Cetra, so Ancient magic. Whatevs, I don’t even care, wolf.
“’I always brushed it myself,’ he remembered. ‘I would suffer no other’s touch.’”
‘But…I was just touching it,’ Aeris reminded and she thought his lip twitched slightly up.
‘That’s different,’ he said offering a hand to help her over what once was a bridge. ’You’re not just anyone, Aeris,’ he told her, ‘and I don’t mind you touching my hair…'” He already sees as different, as “other,” but in a good way since he’s “other” himself. It bears mentioning again that “Cetra” probably comes from the Latin “cetera,” which means “other.” Now he is “other,” too, but not the same kind of “other” despite what he’d been led to believe before. They thought that Jenova was a Cetra (or it convinced them that it was), but we know that to be a lie. Sephiroth is “other” in a more literal alien way.
Future Narcissist again. It’s funny that I’m having/writing this conversation for a third time. My husband and I were arguing about Sephiroth’s alien nature a few days ago, because he (the husband) considers him to be a human/alien hybrid. I’m…kinda on the fence about that since both of his parents are (genetically) human (I find it both difficult and distasteful to even think of his dickhead father as remotely human, but genetically he is), but he was imbued with alien cells/DNA. He was infected with “the virus” even before he was born, and maybe the genetic mutation made him something different. than human (“Forty Six and 2” anyone?).. I think of him as human plus myself. You know what…I feel like a random poll.
So Sephiroth could be considered a human/alien hybrid, which…is okay and arguable I guess, but like I said above both his parents are human so I don’t think the terminology is right. It’s a semantic issue for me. Shocking that someone who studied English would be concerned with semantics.
He’s human plus alien cells and Mako infusions, which is more what I think. I also love the fore mentioned term “human plus.” I and my friends coined that back in college while watching Lord of the Rings. One person pseudo-jokingly asked what wizards were and the answer given was, “Human plus.” “Plus what?”
“A pointy hat!”
The conversation devolved from there, but the “human plus” idea always stuck around for me..
He WAS human at one point, but all that was human about him died in Nibelheim leaving only the abomination. He’s pretty much a revenant aaaaaand that got really creepy really fast. As horrifying as this is, I can’t say there isn’t some truth to it.. There is some strong evidence that Cloud
did kill him in Nibelheim and what you see afterwards is
not Sephiroth. One of my favorite bloggers for ASOIAF Daendrew (who no longer updates his blog Endgame of Thrones so sad) uses the prefix “un” in front of undead character names as practical or theoretical. So he’ll talk about how the*spoiler* Jon Snow that will come back after stabbing as the UnJon *end spoiler* or he’ll talk about *spoiler* Lady Stoneheart as the UnCatelyn. *end spoiler* So I think it’s possible that the Sephiroth you see afterwards is really an UnSephiroth, and because he died with such hurt, rage, and despair (which I believe is the foundation of it all…you can’t give what you don’t have) in him, everything else he was was erased. So he was just this burning wrath with the cells of this known manipulative abomination that he believed was his mother and it’s too fucking late to be writing about this kind of stuff.
“With her feet on the ground he kept his hands still as green light illumined his lashes.” That’s quite pretty.
“She wet her lips and he lifted one finger to tilt her chin in the air.” Holy shit, this is another almost kiss moment even more so than the last with her on his back.
“Creatures that may have once been dogs turned monstrous by Mako mutation.” They make me think of the mutations from the Hunger Games. What the hell did they call them now? It was “mutts,” the truncation for “muttation” (accidental rhyme!). That part was seriously fucked up…they had the eyes and numbers of the murdered tributes they were based on. The Capitol could give the most extreme terror group some lessons in how to bring horror to life. The eye thing is per the book; they didn’t do that in the movie, which is quite a shame, but I can see how that would be difficult to pull off, and most people probably wouldn’t pick it up anyway. This is another example of things that work in written narrative that don’t translate well to film. I don’t know if I was directly thinking of Hunger Games at this part, but it definitely figures into a major inspiration later.
“Even after a hundred years, the horrors of the past still slunk, and he frowned in the gleam of the Masamune, shivering gaze away from his face.” Sephiroth “realizes” (rather thinks) that he’s a “horror from the past,” too, just wearing an angel’s skin.
“’I owe you so much, little flower. More than can be repaid. Even if I had this life and the last, my soul could never be cleaned. This small thing…this little promise is nothing to praise me for.’” His pain for this is near unbearable. I hope I’m capturing that.
“’It’s everything.’ Her voice broke and she lifted her hands to his chest. ’Can’t you see that? Can’t you see what it means?’” The small things are what matter, and this is nowhere near a small thing. He made a promise and kept it. Her murderer promised to protect her and take her out of the city, and he held true to that. He’s the first person since her resurrection that she’s been able to trust. That says a great deal.
I was going to have Seph take off his gloves and put a quote about how Aeris didn’t even flinch when he did because she’s no longer afraid of him, but then I realized he wouldn’t take them off now when he still has a “job” to do: getting her through the wasteland, the worst urban sprawl ever. Btw I was just listening to “Beyond the Wasteland” from Advent.
In the beginning of the song you hear that beating heart…and I never realize why until now *shivers*
Ugh, not doing more with that tonight. I have the house to myself since my husband is currently over a friends doing the Extra Life event. A good rule of thumb is to not delve too deeply into cosmic horrors or eldritch abominations late at night when one is alone else the lights will be staying on and sleep may still not be savored.
“She opened her eyes and there he was masking sorrow behind his face.” This is the parallel to him turning to face her while she was on his back.
“’Your hair’s moonlight, your skin darkens snow, but your eyelashes are full black. It’s incongruent, but…so lovely.’” Dem lashes tho…I probably talk about them way too much, but they lend his face such an odd, incongruent innocence.
Long lashes are both angelic and childlike, two concepts that are complicated for Sephiroth. He’s a fallen angel and a lost child. In the OS he’s obsessed with his “mother,” and…you know what, actually in this story he’s obsessed with her, too! He’s obsessed with finding his real one, so he’s obsessed in a “healthier” way, because he has the truth, and he wants to see it with his own eyes. He’s still stricken with the same idea he had in the OS, but not coupled with insanity/manipulation and with the added bonus of righting the wrongs the darkness led him to. Lost children yearn for their mothers.
Lighter and back to the lashes…in prior fanfics I wrote them as silver similar to his hair. I’m glad I was wrong in that hue. Black eyelashes are waaaaaaay better looking. Omg guys, random, but I have snoring kitties next to me. I’d try to record it, but it probably won’t come up. Oh lord, it’s adorable.
“’Just another part of my design, little flower, an arrangement of genes and cells.’” Sephiroth attributes nothing to himself inherently. It’s all “designed” or “arranged.” Aeris is loath to believe that since she knows too well the horrors that came out of that company, and he’s no horror (anymore).
“Though the words were sad, his smile was real. Talking to her was an undeserved joy. She was enthralled by the smallest of details and never held back her awe. Pain shot through his heart as he remembered again what he had stolen away.” He really doesn’t want to acknowledge the enjoyment he receives at just talking to her lest it be taken away from the undeserving.
Also Future Narcissist just noticed she used “stolen away,” which is again another reference to the disturbing metaphor created in how he killed her.
“The fingers on his cheek curled ever slightly and Sephiroth slid his gaze back to her. Below those long lashes that she had so praised, his pupils were thinner than thorn.” Despite his beauty and current goodness (ha), his eeriness is always there. He’s meant to carry this strangeness throughout, that uncanniness that dips into the valley. It’s important because it (hopefully) shows that it’s possible to be a heroic character with stereotypical villain or rather monstrous features. I think of it as eeriness with charm.
Maybe I could coin the phrase “strange charm” or “strangeness and charm,” though I do like “eeriness with charm.” I’m actually trying to think of heroic characters with strange, eerie, horrifying, and/or monstrous features. I guess Quasimodo from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame would fit that bill, but I’m wondering if there are any that are both eerie and beautiful like a fallen angel would be? I’ve bemoaned the fact that I have never read a story about a redeemed fallen angel (though it’s possible that the book I just received in the mail might remedy that), though according to the almighty Google in Catholicism, fallen angels cannot be redeemed 😦 I believe I discuss this more later (or maybe earlier) and possibly use it as one of my ending questions.
“‘I’m so glad you’re good now, Sephiroth,’ she whispered, her lips a hairsbreadth from his ear. He ran now along a deep defile, scanning for means to cross.
‘You believe I am?'” All I can think when I read this is the 12th Doctor asking Clara, “Am I a good man?” He really doesn’t know, nor does Clara have an answer for him. Aeris; however, has no doubts about Sephiroth now.
“Yes,’ she insisted, ‘you saved me in darkness and then brought me out to the light. I wish I had a fraction of your strength.’
‘You have all of my strength, little flower.’ He backed away from the edge. ‘For as long as you have need.’ The wind clawed at her braid as he tore through the air, leaping an impossible distance. ‘Being good does have its advantages though.’
She peered up as his boots scraped loose gravel. ‘Like what?’
‘Being able to hold you.’ Sephiroth smiled again, and Aeris sat up to press a kiss to his cheek.” Seph is utterly dumbfounded by this action. He has not even an iota of an expectation in regards to Aeris and…that, and by that, I mean all that that would entail. Any thoughts he has are instantly dismissed as less than a pipe dream. He believes he should be flayed alive for even letting the wrinklings of the them enter his head. He’s a monster; she’s an innocent, and he slaughtered her in their last life. Then he tried to become a god based on the manipulations of the alien abomination he thought was his mother to feed off the energy of the world. There’s no way in hell she’d ever think of him in that capacity.
“’I was designed to be flawless.’
’You weren’t ‘designed,’ she huffed, pursing her lips, and he couldn’t hide his amusement. Her stubbornness was quite endearing. ’You were born like everyone else.’” She’s a tiny Taurus and that makes me worry a little about pulling a Mary Sue because I’m a Taurus and the stubbornness thing seems to be diluted in our blood, but then when I think about it, I’m way more like Seph than I am Aeris, sadly so.
Hello again from the future! Yeah…I don’t give a shit about the Mary Sue thing any more let me tell you. It’s not only a bullshit and completely arbitrary term, but double standards much? I also thought at the time of the initial writing that a Mary Sue was an author insert because that’s one of the definitions maybe? Yeah, see what I mean?
I just tend to relate to dark angel/gothic characters with mommy issues for some reason *rolls eyes* and she’s more tenacious in regards to her forgiving nature. I’m actually not super forgiving. I have no patience or tolerance for backstabbers (haha, I’m not really even trying to make a bad joke/pun or to even be ironic. It just happens). I used to be much nicer than what I seem to portray now, but I was treated like a doormat and I’m done with those days. Now in the case of Sephiroth, well…he is really beautiful and he’s also contrite, but I’d be a bit more wary than Aeris is in this story. I don’t think I’d completely trust him after only one day even if I was getting the thumbs up from the Planet to do so. Trusting people has gotten me bitten many, many times before, and one of my mottos is “If you let people know who you really are and what you really like, they’ll use it to hurt you.” This has been proven right so many times that no one can ever convince me otherwise. Maybe this is why I keep questioning if she trusts him too quickly, because despite his beauty and contrition, I sure as hell wouldn’t.
“’One truth doesn’t lead to the other, and you now know your mother’s name.’” Aaaaaand here’s one of those “I just got kicked in the gut” lines. I have these peppered throughout and mostly forgotten, and then they crop up and I’m like, “Yup, I needed that foot to the belly. Let me just curl up here and cry.” Aeris saying this proves his personhood. People have mothers and aren’t just created in a lab. The “mother” thing is also the Aeris’s trump card that she pulls out time and time again when Seph comes down too hard on himself. It’s a double edged sword though *groan* in that while it centers him back on the idea that he’s a person and not a monster, it also reminds him of his oldest obligation.
“When Aeris glared up, he shook his head amazed at her defiance. ‘And you’re not my murderer anymore either. You’re my protector now…’” No one (prior to insanity) has ever defied him. His word/orders were absolute (a discussion they have later), but this little Cetra does so at every turn, and ironically, he revels in it. He actually likes being defied, because it gives him the smallest hope that his darkest thoughts about himself might not be true.
I bid you farewell first edit. I loved you well. Dearest readers, it took me two days to complete this day’s entry (God I hope that makes sense…), and today was very…exhausting to say the least. I woke up at 6:30 to run my daily mile, and there was…bullshit to deal with. I don’t want to talk about it right now. Too tired and I’m kind of in a good place. I can’t even say if I’ll talk about it later, because I might be in a better place, and I won’t want to be dragged back down. Let’s suffice it to say that some people on the internet can not only be shitty and trollish with their comments but unobservant and idiotic as well. Facts we all know. If you don’t like something, don’t look at it. Why is there such a need to leave a derisive opinion that offers nothing to the discourse? That’s pretty much all I have to say to that. Tomorrow (or later in the morning) will be another day (?) with all of the things to do. Maybe I’ll finally start Chapter 8; maybe I’ll have time to read. Currently on TWO books now, oooooh I’m fancy, ughhhhhh, why did I say that?? Now that stupid Iggy Azalea song is stuck in my head. I feel bad saying I don’t like her, but I kind of don’t. I read the article about her on Wikipedia, and she just seems…I don’t know pretentious? I don’t want to talk poorly about someone without a good backing as why. I’m not fond of that song. It’s one of those catchy ear worms that you can’t help but get stuck in your head as you desperately try to claw it out..
Alright enough. Until later lovely peoples.