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Apr. 25th, 2006

Crossposted from my own journal!

This entry is inspired by a comment I wrote recently in auronlu's journal in response to this post. Because the comment was getting long and I have a habit of articulating myself more in comments than in my actual journal, I thought I would expand here.

Auron is one of the most popular characters in Final Fantasy X. Thus, the character inspires much fanwork. Due to this, he is also very often butchered in terms of character. Mind you, all the characters are, but I believe Auron is the most challenging to write (particularly dialogue) of all the beloved characters (Tidus, Yuna, Rikku and Auron from what I have encountered) and thus, falls victim more often.

Auron is guarded, doesn't speak much, and what he does is often careful and cryptic. And it goes deep. He spent his life (and afterlife!) fulfilling his duties to others. Even taking into account that he has turned his back on Yevon and his Zanarkand years are mostly unaccounted for, he obviously retains the seriousness and formality from his years as a warrior monk. The gruff exterior is no fragile snail-shell to be cracked easily by the right girl's charms, and there is no romantic comedy lead to be found within. Too many fics I have read suffer from the "But I can change him!" symptom. No, you can't, not without taking too many liberties at his character's expense. No matter how disarming your Rikku or whatnot is, Auron is Auron. The joke Auron cracks at Djose? Obviously out of character, they make that clear in the game with the reactions of the other characters. Not to say that one can't have fun with him, the game plays Rikku against him for some comedic effect.

Which brings me to Rikku, of course. Obviously, I don't see this as a successful romantic pairing (though I think "successful romantic pairing" with Auron is relative...) but I have read a few convincing Aurikkus. Those particular fics tend to focus on Rikku vainly crushing on Auron. This is completely believable --from what I know and remember, teen girls are quite subject to silly infatuations with older teacher-types. However, Rikku is also often abused with a shallow character treatment.

The girl joins the pilgrimage to protect her cousin after repeated kidnappings failed. She dreads the pilgrimage's progress --it means her cousin will die. Auron, however, is constantly pushing forward and with most of his exterior words and actions, he fully supports the spiral of death. With such a chasm in motives, I hardly see Rikku fancying him beyond a passing crush. She is part of a persecuted minority class and he is revered as a legendary guardian by the Yevonite majority. Yes, she is bubbly and emotive, but she is incredibly strong, smarter and more realistic than her girlish whining may indicate. She is also not likely to spend a great deal of time mourning the man, as some fics suggest. She has survived many losses in her young life and she moves on. The scars may stay with her, but I hardly think she is so weak to contemplate suicide and forfeit her future because Auron is gone. "Memories are nice, but that's all they are."

Opposites may attract and writers may be able to convince one of nearly anything, but I really believe that pairing these two in any normal and balanced romance requires a bit too much character adjustment to be believable and in character. No matter how cute the possibility might be, we like the characters for what they are, not for what they could be and it is much more enjoyable to read an in-character fic than it is a thinly-veiled wish fulfillment fic.

Hmm, I didn't really expect this to turn into an anti-Aurikku rant. I really have nothing against the pairing, (I'm actually part of the community as it attracts so many good writers/artists!) I just find it unbelievable in most stories. I think I'll stop for now, before I get into rants about all the other characters. Do I take fanfic too seriously? Yes, probably, being that I am foremost a writerly geek and am rediscovering words through this venue. And I realize people write fanfic for different reasons, but I still think my points are valid if you are bringing your fics into the world and exposing them to an audience.

Of course, please feel free to rant in response. :)

 

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
saharasnow
Apr. 26th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
These are just some of my personal views on this Auron/Rikku relationship, and am speaking from an Asian's POV (I'm assuming a lot of those fans are not Asians).

As the group is about to reach Zanarkand, Rikku actually tried one last time to stop Yuna from going on. She questioned if there is any other way that can save Spira and Yuna do not have to die. From my views here, Rikku has too much things on her mind and is desperate to save Yuna hence I don't really think she has much time and energy to allow herself to be distracted.

Auron is the most experienced Guardian among them, and Rikku could have asked him if he might have any ways to save Yuna, but we never really see her even trying. Other than the fact that Auron probably don't really bother about her, she don't seem to be the type who will fancy a man who seems to be too eager to drive her cousin to death.

My friend and I actually had this discussion yesterday, and both of us have agreed that Auron and Rikku can never develop into a loving couple. The reasons are not just their age barrier but their personalities that crash too much with each other to even form the possibility.

Opposite attracts do not work on this pairing from what I see. Rikku annoys Auron too much to even get him to consider her as a potential lover/soulmate whatever. The girl might grow on him along the journey but it may just stops at the point where he might just like her as much as he like Tidus.

As you have mentioned, Rikku is certainly not the type of person who will dwell too much in the past. If she is, then it is even more unlikely she will fall for Auron, especially when there seems to be little bit of hints in X-2 that she might have shared a relationship with Gippal before she join Yuna.

Sometimes I think I take fanfictions too seriously, that's probably why there is only a handful of fanfictions out there that actually appeals to me.

Sorry for bad english... I'm really weak at this language =_=;;
muggy_mountain
Apr. 26th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
I didn't even address the age factor in this...as far as I know there are no taboos against this in Spira. It might actually make sense to live fast under the constant shadow of Sin. I also think the main clash is their personalities, though age is certainly a factor in the difference in Rikku's immaturity and Auron's experience-seasoned wisdom.

By the way, your command of this language is excellent, you are more articulate than many, many native English speakers from what I can tell. I would not have even guessed it wasn't your first langauge. :)
saharasnow
Apr. 26th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC)
The main clash is indeed their personality. This discussion has been made before back in the mailing list, I vaguely remember that someone mentioned that she has discussed with some other fans before, and they have used Squall/Rinoa to make the opposite attracts theory work on Auron/Rikku. Unfortunately it still doesn't make a strong enough reason to convince me. Or maybe it is just because it is too difficult to change my views on certain pairings.

Thank you ^_^ I'm never good in this language which is why currently I'm having a bit of difficulty in trying to translate the Aulu fanfic that I've been writing since last year. So currently while putting that story on a short hiatus before I can continue, I'm trying to get the hang of writing a story in english by writing short stories and drabbles on this pairing. I'm now editing one of the short stories and maybe I will post it after I'm satisfied with it =D

muggy_mountain
Apr. 26th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
I look forward to reading it/them. :)
auronlu
Apr. 26th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
The biggest thing for me, with Aurikku, is the age barrier feels prohibitive. I worry as it is, that Lulu is ten years younger. The difference is that she would probably understand Auron rather well, assuming he let on enough for her to see into that armor-plated brain of his.

"We like the characters for what they are, not for what they could be and it is much more enjoyable to read an in-character fic than it is a thinly-veiled wish fulfillment fic." I think every fanfic writer needs to recite that when they wake up in the morning. I know I do.

I believe that Auron is so committed to his one goal -- releasing Jecht, hopefully by putting an end to the spiral, but at the very least by bringing the calm -- that he's not got much time for anything else to distract him.
I believe that he isn't a romantic or sentimental person, for the most part. He's just too much a disciplined soldier. Flowers and puppydogs, walks in the park and candlelight dinners...nah. Give him a sword and let him whump something.

I believe that when he says he's tired (twice) and that he's fed up with playing at life, he is well and truly aching to be Sent. "It's been long enough." He's not going to let himself get too involved in anything when he's got one foot in the door.

I think those are parameters one can't budge, but can play around in, the way one has an established meter for a sonnet that you can't break.

However, Auron is more than just a man dedicated to a single mission. He's curiously complicated, and that gives us a little room to play around.

On the one hand, he is, indeed, existing for one reason only, to release Jecht. On the other hand, his reason for bringing Tidus to Spira really isn't Yuna's pilgrimage-- Auron can't know about it, since he's been gone ten years. It's simply (he says) to give Tidus a chance at real life. Auron was robbed of his, and I think he has come to realize that his sacrifice wasn't worth it. "In the end, I changed nothing. That is my story." Auron isn't too bitter about it -- he's too practical to mope -- but he knows that all his playing by the rules, honoring Yevon, honoring Braska, achieved precisely: nothing. Maybe he's a little fed up about that?

He tells Tidus to make mistakes, and is very willing to let the kids screw up and mess around and have fun, as long as they keep the pilgrimage as the goal. I'm toying with the idea that he might allow himself a little more leeway as well, as long as it doesn't get in the way of his promises to Jecht and Braska. If nothing else, it spites Yunalesca and all the lies that cheated him of his chance at life.
muggy_mountain
Apr. 26th, 2006 02:39 am (UTC)
On the one hand, he is, indeed, existing for one reason only, to release Jecht.

Just curious, is that your own interpretation or is that something I missed? I thought the promise he was still keeping was to watch over Tidus and that he got caught up in Yuna's pilgrimage along the way. It's very possibly I missed it, as I've only played through the game twice. Now that I think of it, Jecht does say "You're late, Auron.", so that would make a lot of sense, I just don't recall Jecht asking that of Auron.

The snowmobile ride is very revealing, indeed. You know, when I learned that there was an alternate Auron scene on my second play-through, I spent nearly an hour repeatedly healing Auron while attacking all the other characters, just so I could gain affection points with him. I kept getting Lulu in that scene otherwise. Hah.
auronlu
Apr. 26th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
Hm. I shouldn't have said the "one reason only", but I don't think Auron's promises to Braska and Jecht are the only things keeping him going.

Auron promised to look after Yuna and Tidus. If he'd wanted to do that, he should've stuck around until he'd convinced Yuna to give up on the pilgrimage (he's the only one who might've been able to), and encouraged her and Tidus to get together. Instead he constantly pushes them towards the showdown with Yunalesca, Jecht, and Yu Yevon, even though the risk is very real that Yuna will die and/or Tidus will die or become the next Sin.

On the Djose shore, Auron tells Tidus, "Jecht wants you to kill him". Tidus himself seems to sense that when he comes in contact with Sin. Apparently, Auron does too. I doubt Jecht asked him directly, but rather, in the same indirect way that he pleaded for Tidus' help.

So I see Auron as acting on three additional motives that have nothing to do with explicit promises: veangeance on Yunalesca for himself, Braska, and Jecht; release for Jecht; finding that "other way" that Braska didn't wait for, and defeat Sin once and for all.

As soon as Auron has succeeded in doing those three things, he asks to be Sent. He doesn't wait around to see Tidus to the end of his story, even though it's not going to be much longer. He doesn't stick around to help Yuna cope with the loss, although he's guessing that she'll be able to handle it. It looks to me like "it's been long enough" once Jecht is free and Yu Yevon is destroyed.
nidrig
Apr. 26th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
"He's curiously complicated, and that gives us a little room to play around. "

Actually, I'm not certain Auron is complicated but rather a mystery because we know little to nothing about him.

I do not imagine Auron would have been an easy man, specially to live with. In reality, I think he would have been far too moody. Yet, the main difficulty about writing plausible fanfictions about him is that we really don't know about Auron's interests. He was a warrior, a guardian, he is clearly an expert in all of the martial arts, and with weapons, especially swords, he was a true believer, and he had his faith stripped away violently, he is deeply loyal, but to very few people, he keeps his word, no matter what the cost. He has a dry, sardonic sense of humor, which he seldom exhibits. But what does he do for fun? That gives us some room ^^

Now there is the reason why I don't think the Auron and Lulu pairing could have worked: in the game, they are too much alike to ever have a real relationship, at least not for long. They make a good working partnership, and they would probably respect each other, but there's no spark, no warmth. They both have the potential for it, but they need someone else to bring it out of them, they can't bring it out of each other. Wakka does that for Lulu in the game. But very early in the game, Wakka says something about Lulu having a very short temper, so I just imagined that Lulu had a very bitchy reputation. Certainly most men would be wary of any woman who could set fire to their shorts whenever she got angry or upset. And during the game, Lulu very clearly has a very low opinion of people she thinks are fools, it's very subtle, but it's definitely there, a lot of shrugging and sighing. And she thinks a lot of people are fools. She's not patient.

Ok, that was my rant of the day. Sorry for the mistakes (no English speaker) and feel free to flame, toast and/or fry me.





auronlu
Apr. 26th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
I get the impression that Lulu thinks everybody except Kimahri is a fool, and loves Yuna in spite of it, and is fond of Wakka in spite of wanting to strangle him. I doubt however that Lulu thinks Auron a fool.

You're absolutely right about the game making Auron so much of a mystery that it's hard to write him. I have been skirting away from writing him too much, and since I understand Lulu fairly well (I think) and don't entirely understand him.

However, in writing a chapter I did not mean to write, which muggy_mountain gave me the idea for yesterday, I may have hit on something to help me understand Auron a little better. I'm still debating. I've been using hints and understatements and very light brush-strokes with him, because it's safer than trying to spell out what's going on behind those glasses.

I just sat down and had a talk with the character and tried to find his own voice, the inner voice that doesn't come out. Yep, it's moody.

The keys to Auron for me:

~ Devotion and loyalty and keeping his word (above all)
~ Warrior Monk by training and inclination
~ Loss of faith, disgust with lies and Yevon, and frustration with Braska for not letting him try another way

Four rare and revealing interactions with Tidus.

1) Setting a hand on Tidus' shoulder after he breaks down at the docks in Luca, and saying gently, "It's all right." Without that glimmer of compassion I might not have been sure Auron still had a heart left.
2) Flashback to Tidus' childhood, with Auron's rather clumsy attempts at being an uncle. "If she died, I wouldn't know what to do." "She's not going to die!" "Sorry." Auron cares. He is stereotypically male in not knowing what to do about it when a sword won't take care of the problem.
3) Auron's conversation with Tidus about his feelings and Yuna's -- that Tidus might crack if he learned about Jecht at the wrong time, that Yuna's purpose might waver if she knew -- show that Auron is good at understanding and observing others, even if he doesn't reveal much of his own feelings.
4) The snowmobile ride. (Clip.

It's like a haiku of Auron's different moods.
"What?" Preoccupied, aloof.
"Hmph." Amused.
"Don't complicate matters." Practical and goal-driven.
"Make mistakes. That's what youth is for after all." Tolerant of letting rules be broken, tolerant enough to let Yuna go off and marry Seymour. It's why Auron brought Tidus to Spira, to let him live it up.

That last quote is the one I'm playing with right now. Can someone hit Auron with a brick and say, "Yo, you never let yourself BE young. Have at, 'old man.'"
muggy_mountain
Apr. 26th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
I really like your dissection of the snowmobile ride.

It sounds like you might be getting perilously close to my own plotbunnies, though I can't count how many fics I've read in which I've thought "But I was going to write that scene!." :)

That is what I get for playing the game four years after its release. Hah.
nidrig
Apr. 27th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
"That last quote is the one I'm playing with right now. Can someone hit Auron with a brick and say, "Yo, you never let yourself BE young. Have at, 'old man.'""

That's Auron's tradmark. Remember what he said to Mikka: "Let Spira to the living." Oh yeah, like you're alive.

Even if someone in the party had the wits and courage to tell him so, I think he/she would have to face a very upset Auron. He's not like to welcome lecture gladly. I guess he has a high opinion of his judgement and even if he may admit being wrong, he would never accept someone telling him so.
muggy_mountain
Apr. 26th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
I don't think Auron is so mysterious, really. Out of all the party, he is actually one of the most developed between all the Jecht spheres and flashbacks. Everyone knows him and many manage to reveal a little about him. I'm not sure if complicated is the word I'd use to describe him either, at least no more complicated than any other character.

I think what makes him so appealing is the fact that he protects and restrains his personal thoughts, speaking in such measured statements. And yet it is obvious that the man would have some serious ideas or insights due to his slowly-revealed history. This is why I think it is important to write him through an internal monologue. He doesn't talk much and doesn't impart much when he does. I personally find him easier to write, due to the lack of dialogue.

Now for mysterious to the point of being difficult to write, try Kimahri! I know I will eventually and I am dreading it.
auronlu
Apr. 26th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
I think that Kimahri is a big ol' softy who happens to be a Ronso, with such a kindly streak that a 7-year-old human girl with puppy eyes made him go goopy and stay ten years. Poor boof. He's supposed to be big and tough. It's a stereotype, but it's one I'm very fond of.

I only played the game 2 months before you, I think! I got it for Christmas, played it this February.

Apologies for the hivemind. Trekqueen and I are already having a bit of trouble -- we both wrote one identical line of dialogue in our stories, without consultation. :)
muggy_mountain
Apr. 27th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Actually, I first finished the game in September, but I didn't get fannish with it until...about late Feburary, when I replayed it. :)
saharasnow
Apr. 27th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
I remember playing the game back in 2003 when I bought my PS2 console, and later I was sort of forced to ditch gaming once and for all when my friend got my set and games stolen. (was too upset over the loss and the fact that I have yet to complete the game myself, plus I couldn't afford to buy another console set)

There are DVDs release for the game (both X and X-2) later that year and now I just depend on them to get in-game information.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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