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!
Warning: Some discussions of rape.
It was 11:00 on my (third) wedding anniversary. Why was I starting the reedit of chapter 6? How far am I going to get? Who knows, but as I write this I see it took me three days to complete the reedit and the notes I have on 10/8 are barely a paragraph, and the ones on 10/9 are little more than a page so I’m going to be ambitious if I dare and try to combine three days into one blog post or at least type them up. It remains to be seen whether or not I’ll post them in one submission or not. I haven’t done that yet, but there’s a first time for everything…and a last time for everything. That’s the name of an episode of Aeon Flux,
That link did go to a site where you could watch all the episodes, but alas that is no longer the case. I should’ve left it up because the message that remained was quite amusing. Ah, I’m feeling magnanimous so here you go.
Also just a random tidbit, but “the aeons” are the Gnostic equivalent of the Sephiroth. Both are emanations from God, and in pop culture, they’re both the names of beautiful, leather clad killers of questionable morality. I don”t need to make these kinds of things. up.
I have all of the episodes on a PSP disk. Memories, my lovelies…memoria. Noli manere, manere in memoria Wtf…I’d apologize; that’s my usually go to in these situations, but I realize now that I’d just be apologizing for being myself, and I’m tired of doing that. My brain just works like that. It’s a brain; it’s supposed to work in connections. That’s what it’s made of; a series of connections, and I think in connections as the brain is made up of connections. I’m meta-brained.
*sigh* yes that, too. It’s all about connections, isn’t it? Speaking of which I haven’t watched a video from my favorite ASOIAF theorists in a while. Must remedy that tomorrow. I also must grind for FFII AND play Child of Light, which I talked about the other day. *sigh redux* There’s just not enough time.
I had to fix the first sentence. W…T…F. Really? Sleeping cat pic!
The best thing about this picture is that the exact same thing is happening right now as I edit this before posting. The cycle never ends.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned that the fat orange (and grumpy) one’s name is Kin-mei as I know I’ve talked about Cid.
Cid’s name origin is obviously (Final Fantasy, ya’ll). For Kin-mei’s you need a Bilingual Bonus. It’s Japanese for “gold eyes,” or so I’ve been told. I lack a Japanese Bilingual Bonus or a Bilingual Bonus in Japanese. How would you phrase that? What do you dear readers think sounds better? Either way when we got Kin-mei nearly twelve years ago, his eyes were a bit more gold instead of the greenish yellow they are now, so I asked my friend Doug who was currently studying Japanese for the translation of “gold eyes,” and Kin-mei became his name-o. He really lucked out…I was going to name him “Precious,” because he super was and I was super insipid as a grad student.. Cats eyes don’t glow by the way. Of course you knew that, but that’s often the language used. They technically reflect due to a structure behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum. So there’s your science lesson for today, and I got to write more Latin. That always makes me happy. Veni fili veni me fili hic veni da mihi mortem iterum. God damn it…
“’It could’ve sprung up as you walked by.’ Surprise followed in the wake of a smile. She consistently managed to pull that expression from his otherwise empty face. ’Will you pluck it, little one?’” How words can mean so much more than they say under the surface. Seph really isn’t meaning much by this. I’ve already mentioned many times that he in no way entertains thoughts that Aeris could ever be for him, but the connection between flowers, sex, and sadly rape in the subtext of the OS are undeniable. My favorite fanfiction Slumbering Mountains throws a glimmer of it into its very blurb.
“But a single flower, blooming despite the darkness, may just be enough to pull him from the brink of ruin, even if he plucked it for the wrong reasons.”
There’s a reference back to the OS in “plucked for the wrong reasons,” because he certainly did so if we follow the Bard’s supposition about sex equaling death and vice versa. Not that we would even need to do so just seeing the way Aeris was killed. I was going to bring up Shakespeare anyway, oddly enough, in terms of the movie Shakespeare in Love, which was one of my favorite films of the late 90s. What draws me to it now is a line spoken by Queen Elizabeth I when Viola (S’s fictional love interest) appears in court to receive the approval of the monarch to marry Lord Wessex. The queen looks her up and down and says quietly to Wessex, “She’s been plucked…and not by you. It takes a woman to know it.” I remember that line after all of these years and think of it often especially when it comes to “virginity” and whatnot. Yes, I used quotes. Not to get into it too much, but the whole concept of virginity is entirely a societal construction. I’ll let Laci Green explain:
But the concept of virginity is very, very real, and we now have terms like “deflower,” which makes me think of an absolutely terrible pun.
Women as flowers *which are the sex organs of plants) is nothing new conceptually. The very names Rose, Daisy, Lily, Petunia, Tansy, Pansy, Aster (which also means “star”), Fleur, Flora, Heather, Iris, Ivy, Jasmine, Violet, and I could go on. There’s Rue in the Hunger Games who incidentally is *spoiler* Katniss’s guilt just as Aeris is Cloud’s (Rue is the stand in for Katniss’s little sister Prim or Primrose, so another flower name), and Rue also died in a very rape symbolic way (impaled with a spear). *end spoiler* The flower rue was given out by Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet before she killed herself. I should also point out that the term rue is synonymous with despair, so Ophelia symbolically gave everyone despair before committing suicide and doing so literally 😦 Wow…now I have a sad. That really wasn’t a connection I expected to find tonight.
“’No.’ She decided standing up. ’It’s survived this long. It deserves a chance to bloom.’” She’s inadvertently and therefore unselfishly talking about herself.
I really need to make sure I watch how many times Aeris cries. I don’t want her to be weeping all the time. It loses its effect and meaning if she constantly has tears in her eyes. I’ll have to search the words “cries,” “weeps,” “sobs,” “tears,” and variations of the same. Just to make sure it’s an appropriate or significant place for it to occur.
“Sephiroth cast his gaze to the left before turning to pierce the right.
’The closest one to the south is two miles away and north is beyond the fence curve.’
’You can see that far?’
’Yes,’ he admitted.” Sephiroth’s cat eyes would be excellent for gauging distances, and I can’t help but titter at the fact that cats have a great deal of trouble seeing what’s right in front of their faces. Seriously, if you have a cat or cats have you ever noticed how they won’t be able to find a treat that’s right under their nose(s)? They actually can’t see in that spot. The not being able to see something right in front of your face is a great metaphor for him.
So the Past Narcissist was wrong about something. Cats do not have good visual acuity at least not in comparison to humans. They do have a broader visual field, but it’s blurrier, too per this article. This doesn’t change the way I portray Sephiroth’s vision. One, it’s my head canon; two, it’s a fantasy; and three, I don’t think it’s the pupils that cause the blurriness; it’s more likely the shape of the eye. I can’t imagine Seph having anything less than perfect (purrfect? Gods…I’m so sorry…) vision.
“’Do you trust me in this, little flower?’ The little maid had never once imagined that cat eyes could hold such grief.” I really want to know what the hell that would look like. To the Google!
Hm…really hard to find. All the ones they have the cats have dilated pupils and Sephiroth’s are always thin because he bears his own light. It’s really hard to imagine what that would look like, and I wish there was some sort of visual aid. Unfortunately, thin cat eyes always put me into the mind of evil or at the bare minimum mischief.
This is the best one I can find, and it’s quite popular as a meme/macro.
“’Aeris?’ he murmured with deeper concern. ’Are you alright, little flower?’
Ah, dear friend, the Cetra thought, it’s worse when he says my name. ‘Y-Yes, I’m fine,’ she answered in whisper, as the Planet laughed soft through her ears.
’I won’t let anything happen to you, Aeris,’ Sephiroth promised as he stood. ’Will you be able to hold on?’ He peered over his shoulder. Behind his lips his teeth clenched tight to bear the sight of her face so close.
’I-I think so.’
’If you feel yourself slipping, let me know. I won’t let you fall, little flower.’
’I know you won’t, Sephiroth,’ she whispered. ’Just like I know you won’t hurt me again.”
He stared hard at her tight shut eyes as she trembled upon his back. ’Alright. I’m going to let your wrists go. I need both hands for climbing.’
’…okay.’” This part is so fucking sweet. He’s really concerned about her. I suppose some of you are thinking, “Why didn’t he just fly up the fence and make her close her eyes like he does on their way down?” Yup, I was thinking the same thing. The image of him climbing a fence with the flower maid on his back had been in my head long before I even started the story, and since I could picture it I knew I’d have to write it. Many times it happens like that, and then I need to justify to myself why I’m going about it a particular way or rather how I’ll explain it. So here it is.
Sephiroth hates himself and everything he is and has done. He hates the fact that he has that one black wing, because it’s just another reminder that he’s a monster, that he has alien corruption seething beneath his skin, living in his blood, that he’s “other” in a far more horrible way than Aeris is “other.” He doesn’t want her to ever be forced to witness him in that form and flying up the fence would give her ample opportunity if she disobeyed and opened her eyes. As for putting her into danger, he berates himself for it once they reach the top, and if something did happen and Aeris did slip, best believe he’d put the thoughts of his horror on the back-burner and break out the black wing to save her life. On the jump down, I’m sure you’ve all figured out that he free fell until the last minute when he beat the wind back so the wing was only out for maybe a few seconds, and Aeris still had her eyes closed. The concept of the climb is also so important to me even more so now that I know about Paradise Lost. A fallen angel is ascending with the innocent he killed on his back. If that’s not a metaphor for (aspiring) redemption, I don’t know what is.
This is where I stopped editing for that day, but I’m going to continue in this entry just for you 🙂
Welcome bac…oh wait a minute, no one went anywhere. We have two dates for the price of one entry. Aren’t you lucky, gentle readers? Deo, non fortuna. Ah well, there’s that.
“’You must promise me one thing, Aeris,’ he said. ’You must keep your eyes ever closed.’” I mentioned this in the long paragraph before. Sephiroth doesn’t want her to see his “horror” and his shame, but he doesn’t realize you don’t have to be what you “are;” you don’t have to be what they made you; he now has the option to be whatever the hell he wants. It’s all about choice and free will, something he’s never had before. Northern Lights is hopefully persuading you that if he’d had the choice, he wouldn’t have been what he became. I obviously believe that otherwise I wouldn’t have written this. It’s bad enough to go mad from revelation, but it’s far worse to go mad from false revelation. Not everything Sephiroth learned in Nibelheim was untrue, but half truths are worse than outright lies. If we only had a world of either liars or truth tellers and those roles were absolute, things would be simple. The liars could only lie and the truth tellers could only tell the truth. So if you asked someone what color the sky was on a clear day and they said brown, you’d know you have a liar in your presence, and everything they say will be false. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. Liars weave truth around the seams of their falsehoods and make you believe it all.
And that’s that for this day. Told you some of these entries were short.
Greetings and…ah whatever. I already did this stupid joke above. When I wrote this entry, I was hoping to finish the second edit that night. “Oh please, oh please!” I pleaded to the editing gods, but the word deities were silent.
“’Aeris?’ She turned and summer green widened to witness what light did to him. Even hidden by clouds the daylight paid service to white fire and paler skin. He’d banished the sword as the air shimmered around him, and she wondered if beauty could shine.” I love this description especially the last line, but there were waaaaaaay too many “eyes” going on in this section. I know I’m not the only writer guilty of this. Many emotions center around the eyes so it’s easy to fall into that trap.
Now too many “sees.” Why I didn’t…see this before *groans*
I initially had Seph take off his gloves when they got outside the city, but that really wouldn’t make any sense. Why would he do that in the middle of urban sprawl? The gloves…gloves are a great metaphor for concealment. Frozen does a fantastic job showing this. Elsa always wore gloves to control her abilities, but also as a visual for “conceal don’t feel.” She had them throughout childhood and only when her power was revealed did she finally “let it go,” casting off the bondage of her secret.
Hans is the parallel for Elsa in the gloves department. When he casts them off though, he only does it for a short time to show his cruel, true nature and what he was hiding before his Face Heel Turn, dousing the fire, taking the warmth from the room to symbolize the self he’s been hiding all along. Elsa epitomizes the “cold hands, warm heart” adage whereas Hans with his gloves constantly on would be the exact opposite. We’re warned about this in the opening song Frozen Heart,
and the first thought is they’re singing about Elsa with the lyrics “Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold…” to align with the “ice” veneer, but it could just as easily be Hans. It’s a nice red herring, and I love when a narrative does that; I love when a story essentially tells you what’s going to happen in a way that you don’t realize until the second view. It’s a specific and clever type of foreshadowing.
In the OS Sephiroth always has gloves on except maybe for the very final fight between him and Cloud where the coat comes off. I don’t think he’s wearing gloves there, but any of you are more than welcome to correct me. It would make sense though. That fight is more between Cloud and his perception of the Sephiroth that was living in his head and making him think and want to do terrible things (the devil made me do it…but in meta-manipulation form). We’ve already been through the puppet strings theory so I won’t (re)bore you with it now, but Sephiroth not wearing gloves there would make perfect sense, because it would be the end all and unconcealed vision of what Cloud has to conquer in himself. And omfg I just had a revelation…
In Advent it’s not so much that Cloud is fighting Sephiroth, he’s more fighting the embodiment of his guilt for not saving Aeris. That’s what Sephiroth has become, and he was always presented as the other side of Cloud in the OS. Cloud was the “failure,” the false SOLDIER whereas Sephiroth was the epitome of creation; he was perfection, the most beautiful and the best, but Cloud, a lowly grunt and a nobody, beat him (in one aspect). That goes back to the whole idea of you don’t have to be what they make you to be. What they make you is not what you are.
In NL Seph wears his gloves when there’s a task to be fulfilled, and whether that task is killing or protection, it makes no never mind especially since one often needs to be done in order to fulfill the other. The killing especially is a part of the façade. It’s one of his faces because that’s what he was created to do. The protecting as well even though that wasn’t included in his design per se, he’s adopted it as part of his penance. It is another face though, because while initially he’s protecting Aeris out of obligation and to repay the horrors he wrought, he begins to realize that he’d protect her even without that gnawing at his past. With Aeris he doesn’t wear them because he doesn’t have to. One of the first things she asks him to do is take off his gloves and he instantly obeys. He can not only be himself with her, but can be nothing else. She can see through his glamour, but is the only person who (ironically?) won’t judge him. She, who could be the harshest judge of all. She, who could be his most vehement accuser…
“She opened her eyes and there he was masking sorrow behind his face.” A parallel to him looking at her before the ascent. I mentioned the ascent with her before, but needed to add that he ascends with her instead of falling against her, although he does “fall” with her in his arms, and I guess I have to be cheesy and say he “falls” for her. That means TWO things.
“…Aeris sat up to press a kiss to his cheek.” She takes the initiative as said before because he never can.
“’And you’re not my murderer anymore either. You’re my protector now…’ Because she names him thus, thus he has to be.
No cliffhanger ending for this chapter. I don’t think I’ve held to that for the last few. In fact I think only the first and maybe the second have had cliffhanger endings, but don’t you fret; there will be more, I promise.
Thank you for spending these “three days” of reedit with me. I feel more caught up, only a chapter behind between editing and edit blogging. I’d like to keep no more than that between. Sigh, honestly readers…or maybe I should call you followers, hehe, anyway, I didn’t realize what an undertaking this would be when I first began, but then again I thought Northern Lights would only have eleven chapters. Hahaha *cries*
Until next time my loyal followers *evil laughter abounds*