keep going, writer

As a young person who started dabbling in writing, I struggled with feeling inadequate pretty early on. My imagination was not very… imaginative. At best, I could play pretend with stories that are already out there (my first endeavor was a Pokémon fanfic when I was nine. I know I was nine because I was almost old enough to be a Pokémon trainer). But making my own? That was a skill I never possessed.

To make matters worse, I actually quite hated reading. I spoke two languages before I learned English, and the words on the pages always looked like a mess to me. I somehow made it into the gifted and talented class in primary school, probably because I studied well and was great on paper. I could rock a spelling and vocabulary test like no one’s business, and I did well in math, too. But I hated reading.

As I got a bit older, my middle and high school English courses made me hate reading even more. My imagination was still not very imaginative, so my reading was at face value. I couldn’t understand where people were getting all the symbolism they found, and I got more and more frustrated with each assignment.

Yet somehow, despite hating reading for nearly two decades of my life, I ended up graduating with an English degree in my undergrad. If that’s not character development, I don’t know what is.

My freshman English professor probably made the biggest difference. While I still struggled with reading, he was very patient and managed to make texts come alive. I only had one class with him before I left the school for three and a half years (saved some $$ in community college and attempted to stay home), but when I inevitably came back, I declared an English minor and took some more classes with him and the one other English professor we had in our small school. Still, reading was a bit difficult, but as we went into more text, it became more enjoyable. When English became a major, I stayed the extra year to complete the two extra classes I needed.

Somewhere in my second or third semester back at that school, I had begun to find joy in reading. It was still difficult, as my classmates would still find things I never considered when I was reading, but the weirdest thing happened: I would find things that none of them had considered either.

While wrestling through my love/hate relationship with reading, I began to fall in love with words and the act of arranging them. But I struggled with sounding natural, and I often drifted tenses, so I experimented with writing in the third person. Most of what I wrote were personal––things I learned through class readings, things I learned in counseling, etc––but I wrote them in the third person. I found that it helped me not only stay in the correct tense but also have a slightly more objective view of my situation. On top of that, I was able to describe it in ways that even touched my own cold, dead heart.

Still, while these short posts were “fictionalized” in a sense, they were still largely non-fiction. During my time as an English major, I realized what power fiction wielded: it had the ability to teach you things that you otherwise were too stubborn to learn. Fiction ninjas its way past your defenses and teaches you through story.

In my time as an English major, I learned to love fiction and stories. And I realized how much writing gave me life.

But now I feel behind.

Having an imagination that slumbered (and really, still slumbers), it’s hard for me to feel like I can really do this. Most of my friends had been writing since they were single digits, and all of them devoured books daily. They are all unbelievably creative and seem to be leagues ahead of me. Nothing I created sounded compelling or creative or original. I completed a first draft of a novella in 2014, and I hated it. I haven’t touched it again. I really didn’t understand the concept of worldbuilding and character development at the time. And I’m sure my POV changed constantly. It was a hot mess, and I felt discouraged about it for a bit, but looking back, that draft taught me a lot about the process. I still will probably never pick it up again, but it was an essential piece in my journey.

I started planning my current project late in 2017. Around Spring, I wrote the first words. And shortly after that, it was pointed out to me that I tell stories like I’m recalling a story someone else told me (it takes a village. Get yourself some writer friends and get out of that comfort zone). I touched on the major events, but you couldn’t discover or experience the story through their senses. It was then that I discovered a huge writing obstacle. And my lack of childhood imagination suddenly made sense as well.

These days, I struggle with feeling like a fraud. It takes everything for me to not just decide that nothing I create will ever be as good as what anything anyone else creates. I need so much help that I wonder if I’m really cut out for this.

But I’m trying to gather the courage to tell that voice to shut up.

Recently, I wrote a short piece for a story exchange with two of my writer friends, and… it dumbfounds me that I was able to write that.

This is the first piece I’ve ever been truly proud of. So while the negative voices still want to swarm, this little ten-page piece gives me hope that I can do much more.

I still had a lot of help with that piece. When I finished the first draft, it was about 1200 words. I knew my weakness, though. I knew things were described and told where they could’ve and should’ve been shown, so I recruited a friend to help me out. I ended at 4433 words, and I’ve never been so pleased with a piece I’ve written before.

So as someone who discovered and started chasing her dreams a bit late in the game, just know that, if you’re in the same boat, it’s not the end of the world. Maybe we have to work a little bit harder to build those muscles at our age, and maybe we’ll always be envious of and feel behind our friends who have been building those muscles from birth. Maybe writing won’t ever be second nature to us. Maybe we’ll never feel “successful.”

But do we really need to feel any of those things? There will always be new things to learn and work on. There will always be better writers. But we are absolutely successful. We are putting pen to paper and doing something about what we claim to love.

That’s a win.

Keep going. Whether or not we get published or get to do this full-time, it’s still worth it. If writing evokes wonder and heartache and grief and merriment in our hearts, it is still worth it.

It will always be worth it.

new year, new…?

As we came into the new year, Twitter came alive with new goals and ambitious projects. I considered what was around the corner and became a bit discouraged. And if I’m honest, afraid.

I felt like a fraud.

The start of this year meant I had two graduate level courses and also full-time work to juggle. How was I going to find time to write? What am I saying, I should make time to write! How can I call myself a writer if I can’t do that much?

In the end, I froze a bit. I was afraid to set a goal because I knew I couldn’t attain it. At best, I decided I would protect Saturday mornings exclusively for writing.

As the weeks went on, I realized how difficult that was. Not as much keeping to the time, but primarily, surviving the week without writing.

I’m constantly reading required texts and writing reflections, and two days out of the week, I am on campus for 14 hours (oh, the joys of working at a school!). I feel it in my bones. There is something debilitating about this lifestyle. It feels like all of those responsibilities chip away at my bones and my heart and soul little by little. And by the end of the week, not only do I want to sleep and laze and forget that protected time, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime without touching my work.

Last weekend, I decided to finally set my writing goal for 2019. Better late than never, right?

It’s an incredibly small goal. Nearly insignificant and easily overlooked.

I’m aiming for half a written page a day.

Insignificant. Tiny. Microscopic in the larger context of a novel.

But attainable. Most days, I can actually get more than that done. There’s been one or two where I’ve had to fight for that half page, and then a day later, I’d scrap it. But having something to scrap and build off of makes a world of difference.

And it does a heart good when one can check off this box for the day.

I’ve been able to do this consistently for five days. Today is day six, and I’m not planning to miss it, despite it also being a class night.

So we’ll see how this goes, but I’ve noticed, even though I’m still tired during the day, I also feel significantly more alive than I did just a week ago.

Please feel free to check in with me. I could always use the accountability. Especially when finals start edging near.

it’s finally over

*SPOILERS AHEAD* Although, yesterday was the 2nd Anniversary, so y’all should really be caught up by now.

So I think it’s fairly evident that I’m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy XV game. Considering the many posts I’ve written on the subject (from personality types to plot rants to debating people’s complaints), any doubt should be pretty much purged. In light of this, what I am about to say may seem jarring.

I am glad that Square Enix will stop working on this game.

I loved the original story they gave us. I love that Tabata weaved the lore and history of the world into the environment. I loved that this inspired theories and art and discussion. I loved what we could deduce about the characters and the world from the clues they left for us to find and pick up.

And then they changed everything.

Then they tried to tell us what the story was about based on fan reaction.

Tabata had once claimed that Pitioss told a story, but then he later denied it had a story at all. He said at a convention that the theory is cool, but really, it just came out of one of their designer’s random imagination (a random imagination that seems to be very specific and touches on several plot points in the main game). And he decided to give us an update that gave us “answers” to the lore and the Great War of Old, but it completely contradicted everything else they had set up. I still take that story as a lie that was told in order to preserve the gods’ place in the world. Were the truth to come out, the gods and the kings would lose everything. They needed Noctis compliant and trusting. Ardyn, however, had no need to lie. He was about to get everything he wanted and had nothing left to lose. The truth is also way more devastating than any lie he would’ve been able to come up with.

When Ardyn revealed his real name, he topped it with, “You’ll never guess whose name Izunia was.” In the new Chapter 14, Ardyn’s brother reveals that Izunia was their surname prior to claiming “Lucis Caelum” and becoming the kings of Lucis. Why would Ardyn throw such a boring nugget out at Noctis?

He wouldn’t. And he had no reason to lie and mislead Noctis into believing this detail was a bigger deal than it was (there are so many other things he could’ve lied about that would deal a bigger blow).

But Somnus would lie to keep his secret. The truth of his betrayal could ruin everything.

I still hold the belief that Izunia was Somnus’ name before he became the “Founder King.”

Here’s the thing: yes, I absolutely want SqEx to listen to their fans. But not to the degree where they will cave to pressure (which resulted in, among many things, releasing the game before they could complete it. I know it was 10 years in the making, but only about 3 of those were FFXV years. Seven of those were FF Versus XIII years, and FFXV needed to be treated as a separate project and deserved its own development time) and not to the degree where it compromises the integrity of the story they created and the characters they developed.

FFXV was the first time in a while that SqEx pulled the trigger and gave us a devastating ending, and I think they need to have the guts to stick it through. North American FF fans have gotten too used to getting a X-2 or a XIII-3 that further resolves the already resolved story, but lets the protagonist live.

The way the story was set up demanded Noctis’ life. He was the second Chosen King of Light behind Ardyn, and he had to die in order to defeat the Starscourge which had been bleeding out of the planet and of Ardyn for millennia. Noctis was tenderhearted. He rescued chocobos and their eggs, helped stranded travelers, found and healed lost and injured hunters, fed hungry cats, and the list goes on.

So when they gave us the “Extra Verse” ending in Episode Ignis, this betrayed who Noctis was in his core.

The only way to defeat the darkness was for Ardyn to die and for his soul to be destroyed. Noctis had to face him in the afterlife. Noctis had to die. That Noctis lived and sat on the throne of Lucis means that he did not fulfill his destiny or his duty. The planet would still be infected, and he settles in to the status quo just like every Lucian king before him despite everything he knew and learned on his journey.

My friend pointed out that this meant something far more sinister.

File:Ardyn in chains Episode Ardyn FFXV.png

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

The only way to subdue the darkness would be to subdue Ardyn just like Somnus/Izunia and/or the gods did years ago. The merciful Noctis would’ve had to agree to this. Since the lead-up to the end scene of “Extra Verse” showed all of them ascending to the throne room together, we can deduce that, in order to save Noctis’ life, his friends must have stopped him from summoning the Lucii and fulfilling his task. And he had to have agreed. Ardyn would be chained and imprisoned once more, suffering for eternity and never knowing rest or redemption since the darkness within him sustains his life.

When the dust settles, Noctis would never be able to live with himself after that decision.

In the video I linked earlier, Ardyn continued on to say that the only way he could know redemption is if Noctis faced him after he took on the power of the Crystal.

Ardyn was ready to die.

And in the original ending, Noctis offered him rest and peace.

I confess that I cried like a baby when this game was over. The ending was so incredibly heartbreaking but also bittersweet precisely because it was inevitable. Noctis stayed true to himself and sacrificed all for the world. There was no other way for it to have ended. There was no way to have a happy ending to this story that did not betray who Noctis and his friends were in their core.

So all of the subsequent updates that tried to change the plot from its original story do an incredible disservice to the fans. We get new plot points, but at what cost?

The new plot points contradict the original narrative, and integrity of the story is damaged.

We get a “happy ending” where Noctis lives, but at what cost?

At the cost of his dignity, his mercy, his sacrificial love, everything we came to know and love about him, and at the cost of every single life on Eos.

Trust me, I would love nothing more than to see that Bahamut doesn’t get what he wanted (the end of the lines of Oracles and Kings), but in this case, the bad guy has to win in order for the good guy to win.

I am still excited and happy to have Episode Ardyn, though I wonder what they are doing. Tabata once said that Ardyn’s story would not fit in a DLC but would require its own game.

I think we can see that Tabata says a lot of things.

This story is still important to me and will remain one of my top Final Fantasys for life. It was what helped me believe in myself as a writer.

I’d just really like its creators to treat it with a bit more respect.

Image Property of Square Enix http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:FFXV-Party.jpg

FFXV and MBTI

I was working on the MBTI for the characters in my novel yesterday, and, in classic writerly fashion, avoided my WIP by getting distracted and wondering what the types are for the cast of FFXV. When I looked them up, there were a lot of differing opinions, and I somehow managed to disagree with all of them.

I’m proposing a list that is entirely different from all the ones I’ve seen. Now, I am not an expert, nor have I done extensive research into MBTI, so I cannot break down all the details of every component of their types. I’m primarily judging based on what I’ve observed from each character in their interactions and individual backstories, and how they correlate to the descriptions of the types. I know there’s debate over whether or not the test at 16Personalities is accurate, but judging from the comments on the page (and also on their description of my type), it looks like the descriptions at least are. I’m going to get a lot of crap for these, but well, this is what I believe based on my own research and observations. Also, keep in mind that the types are starting points, and there are nuances to every one (like my crazy personality). Take it with a grain of sand.

**This post contains heavy spoilers for Final Fantasy XV**

Noctis: INFJ – The Advocate

INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.

File:Final Fantasy XV Noctis Red Eye With Unknown Power.jpg

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

Noctis starts off wanting his kingdom and their Crystal back. In order to obtain this, he has to collect the Royal Arms of past Lucian rulers and also forge covenants with the gods of Eos. As you go around, he rescues hunters and broken down travelers. He quells pests on hunts and rises to every occasion. In the Moogle Chocobo Festival, he goes around herding chocochicks for some irresponsible dude who keeps losing them, and warp strikes to rescue balloons out of midair so that children would smile again.

INFJs indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance.

I don’t think we can disagree that Noctis is both soft-spoken and opinionated, and he fought to the end to bring the light back to Eos. His friends––Gladio and Ignis especially––see him as someone they have to protect, but Noctis watches out for them as well. When he makes up his mind about something, he will see it through. Sometimes he lacks the courage to speak up, but when he realizes its importance, he does not stay silent. For example, even though it was a detour from their mission, Noctis asks to go to Tenebrae to mourn Luna. Despite having lost his kingdom and his father, he chose to push forward from the beginning.

To INFJs, the world is a place full of inequity – but it doesn’t have to be. No other personality type is better suited to create a movement to right a wrong, no matter how big or small. INFJs just need to remember that while they’re busy taking care of the world, they need to take care of themselves, too.

At the end of Episode Prompto, Noctis declared that he wanted to take down the wall and unite the countries. Unfortunately, the borders were indeed broken down but out of necessity for survival as the Long Night encroached. But talk about creating a movement to right a wrong. He was the only hope for Eos to see the dawn again. It was because of Noctis’ soft heart and firm regard that he was able to accomplish his goal. And he was indeed too busy taking care of the world to care for himself, giving his life so that the world may be free.

Gladiolus: ESFJ – The Consul

People who share the ESFJ personality type are, for lack of a better word, popular… In high school, ESFJs are the cheerleaders and the quarterbacks, setting the tone, taking the spotlight and leading their teams forward to victory and fame. Later in life, ESFJs continue to enjoy supporting their friends and loved ones, … doing their best to make sure everyone is happy.

File:Gladiolus-FFXV.jpg

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

The number of lists that put Gladio as an introvert were strangely high. That guy is the biggest extrovert in the game. They reference him as the group’s Casanova several times, and there is no question he is a ladies man. I imagine the introvert categorization has a lot to do with typing him as the “strong, silent type”… which he is not. Dude is loud and obnoxious and probably the weakest of the four brothers emotionally.

People also classified Gladio as a thinker, and we’ve seen enough of his emotions to know that guy is a major feeler. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Gladio is a passionate dude, which became problematic in the train scene and Cartanica in a later chapter. I theorize that people type him as a thinker because he’s a “man’s man,” and men’s men are stoic thinking men. But as early as in the Brotherhood series, you see Gladio’s passion come out. When Iris is lost, he does not really sort out his emotions and devise a plan––he panics and takes out his frustration on Noctis and just about everybody before even hearing the full story.

ESFJs are altruists, and they take seriously their responsibility to help and to do the right thing… people with the ESFJ personality type will base their moral compass on established traditions and laws, upholding authority and rules, rather than drawing their morality from philosophy or mysticism.

ESFJs love to be of service, enjoying any role that allows them to participate in a meaningful way, so long as they know that they are valued and appreciated.

As Gladio explained to Noctis at the Disc of Cauthess, the tradition of the Amicitia household was to protect the Kings of Lucis (sidenote: I know this scene was for the benefit of the player, but Noctis was the entirely wrong in-game audience to direct this to. Prompto would’ve been the perfect receiver.), and he takes pride in what he’s meant to do, including focusing for Noctis when Noctis can’t focus for himself.

ESFJ personalities respect hierarchy, and do their best to position themselves with some authority, at home and at work, which allows them to keep things clear, stable and organized for everyone.

Dude is Shield of the King and eventually becomes captain of the new Crownsguard.

It’s important for ESFJs to remember though, that people come from many backgrounds and perspectives, and what may seem right to them isn’t always an absolute truth.

Being pretty conflict-averse, ESFJs spend a lot of their energy establishing social order… it’s easy for ESFJs’ feelings to be hurt if their ideas are rejected, or if people just aren’t interested. Again, it’s important for ESFJs to remember that everyone is coming from a different place, and that disinterest isn’t a comment about them … – it’s just not their thing.

Back to the train scene, Noctis and Gladio were reading two entirely different books at this point. Gladio has not mourned the death of his father in a healthy way, choosing instead to focus on the task in front of him at the expense of his emotional health. Noctis is mourning yet another person he loved, and Gladio believes that Noctis should do as he has done and focus on the task instead. He yells at Noctis for moping when there are plenty of others in the world who have gone through worse (really, Gladio, this was the absolute stupidest and most insensitive thing to say to a grieving person). It was unfair to decide how Noctis should be handling a loss that Gladio could not fully grasp.

Prompto: INFP – The Mediator

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

File:Episode-Prompto-DLC-FFXV.png

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

Every list I’ve seen placed Prompto as an extrovert, and, if you look on the surface and only see him as the happy-go-lucky comic relief, it’s easy to make that assumption. While I do believe that he thrives with his brothers, he does not draw his energy from people. I think that people need Prompto more than Prompto needs people. But I also don’t think he totally gets drained by social interaction, so he could be an ambivert, really. It’s hard with Prompto because his significant childhood traumas play key roles in shaping him.

The description I quoted above seems to be a pretty accurate description for Prompto. He is always ready to believe in people and find the good in them. If memory serves me correctly, he was ready to accept Aranea before all others (and I don’t think it’s just because she’s pretty).

Unlike their Extraverted cousins though, INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix. This is a sad sight for INFPs’ friends, who will come to depend on their rosy outlook.

I think one main reason people type Prompto as an extrovert is his interaction with the guys. He is incredibly lively with them, but truly, we don’t see him *this* lively with anybody else. His energy is absolutely focused on his small circle of friends. Even in my case (where I am 92% Introvert), people mistake me for an extrovert. If I’m talking about something I’m actually interested in with people that I know, I’m just as lively as Prompto is with the guys. That doesn’t mean I won’t crawl into a cave afterward and sleep for twelve hours to replenish my energy. In Episode Prompto, when he is left alone, he actually thrives in a way that he doesn’t with others, but his attention was being overwhelmed by everything he was learning: he was a clone, manufactured in the very facility he was brought to; the last time he saw Noctis, Noctis attacked him and then tossed him off the train; the Empire was planning a dangerous new weapon that could change the course of everything in the world; his entire identity was being called into question. Dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world, indeed.

Luckily, like the flowers in spring, INFP’s affection, creativity, altruism and idealism will always come back, rewarding them and those they love perhaps not with logic and utility, but with a world view that inspires compassion, kindness and beauty wherever they go.

When he is reunited with his friends (in the chapter from hell), we see a stark change in him. Up till that point, he hadn’t revealed his deepest secret to them: that he is a son of Niflheim, the greatest enemy of Lucis (and all of Eos). I don’t know how much he knew about his origins (I mean, that barcode on his wrist had to have raised some questions, right?), but he at least knew that he wasn’t born a Lucian. In Episode Prompto, he felt he could not return to his friends after finding out who/what he was because he “exists to bring them pain.” After the emotional confession in Chapter 13 where he finally reveals the burdens of his heart, his friends immediately accept him. They have seen him truly; they did not misunderstand who he was in his heart. From here on, Prompto’s “performance” as the group’s comic relief is toned down significantly. He no longer has to pretend that everything is okay for everyone else’s sake or for him to be accepted in the group. The people who matter the most to him have accepted him fully. From here, he even speaks up and scolds Noctis a few times.

A friend found this description on a different site: “Often enough people with the INFP personality type will emerge from this time alone having come to some momentous decision that even their closest friends didn’t know was weighing on them, evading even the option of receiving the sort of support and advice they so readily give.” (*cough* Chapter 13 reveal *cough cough cough*)

Ignis: ISTJ – The Logistician

Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. People with the ISTJ personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, ISTJs hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.

File:Ignis-Katana-of-the-Warrior-FFXV.png

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

Every list I’ve seen typed Ignis as INTJ, and I can see how it happened: that conclusion relies heavily on INTJ stereotypes. Ignis does keep his emotions in check throughout the story, but he knows how to express them just fine––he just chooses to submit his emotions beneath his duty. There is no doubt Ignis is deeply bound by duty. He had been groomed from the time he was six to be Noctis’ righthand guy. His entire world literally revolves around Noctis, which is why I’ve stated concern for his mental well-being post game.

When ISTJs say they are going to get something done, they do it, meeting their obligations no matter the personal cost, and they are baffled by people who don’t hold their own word in the same respect. … Consequently, people with the ISTJ personality type often prefer to work alone, or at least have their authority clearly established by hierarchy, where they can set and achieve their goals without debate or worry over other’s reliability.

“Let me give the orders this time.” “Watch the enemy’s movements.” Nuff said? Also, several of his tech skills are support skills. He calls people together to heal up, powers up Noctis’ weapon with the right element to do damage, uses corresponding elemental magic on opponents for max damage. When you infiltrate bases, Ignis is the one that leads the charge. Noctis follows Ignis, who positions himself to be strategically out of sight but still able to see what’s going on, and advises Noctis on what needs to be done next.

This sense of personal integrity is core to ISTJs, and goes beyond their own minds – ISTJ personalities adhere to established rules and guidelines regardless of cost, reporting their own mistakes and telling the truth even when the consequences for doing so could be disastrous. To ISTJs, honesty is far more important than emotional considerations, and their blunt approach leaves others with the false impression that ISTJs are cold, or even robotic. People with this type may struggle to express emotion or affection outwardly, but the suggestion that they don’t feel, or worse have no personality at all, is deeply hurtful.

In his Brotherhood episode, he pushed Noctis toward his responsibilities as Lucis’ future king without fully realizing how that would affect Noctis emotionally. When he realized it, he apologized to Noctis immediately. The party has shown surprise when Ignis “acts human,” like when Prompto caught him humming the Chocobo theme and demanded to know who he was and what he did with the real Ignis. But we’ve seen many times where he has acted with passion and ferocity that is unmatched by anyone but Ardyn. The entirety of Episode Ignis showcased his submission of emotion beneath duty. Being fully aware of the consequences of using the Ring of the Lucii as someone who is not Lucian royalty, he saw that it was the only way for him to protect Noctis and the future of Eos, and he took on the burden without care of the consequences he’d have to pay. ISTJ is the duty-bound type, and Ignis most definitely falls in this category.

Ardyn: ISFJ – The Defender

The ISFJ personality type is quite unique, as many of their qualities defy the definition of their individual traits. Though possessing the Feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though Introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are a Judging (J) type, ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas. As with so many things, people with the ISFJ personality type are more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way they use these strengths that defines who they are.

File:Ardyn-Episode-Prompto-Ending-FFXV-DLC.png

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wiki

I know I’m going to have a lot of disagreements with this one. 😛 But hear me out. Ardyn can easily be typed as an extrovert because he is incredibly charismatic and vibrant, but as we see above, the ISFJ has great social skills. Ardyn is adept at both feeling and thinking, and he rolled with the punches as the world changed around him, learning to adapt and study everything and everyone he came across.

ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.

A weakness for ISFJs:

Overload Themselves – Their strong senses of duty and perfectionism combine with this aversion to emotional conflict to create a situation where it is far too easy for ISFJs to overload themselves – or to be overloaded by others – as they struggle silently to meet everyone’s expectations, especially their own.

We know that before he was betrayed, Ardyn was beloved by all of Lucis, heralded as a great hero and king. He traveled the land, offering healing to all who needed it at the expense of his own body. To heal others and take on their sickness, he absorbed the scourge into his own body, corrupting himself to the point where the Crystal that had chosen him to save the world could no longer accept him, because its holiness was in direct conflict with the darkness that now dwelled within him.

ISFJ personalities (especially Turbulent ones) are often meticulous to the point of perfectionism, and though they procrastinate, they can always be relied on to get the job done on time. ISFJs take their responsibilities personally, consistently going above and beyond, doing everything they can to exceed expectations.

When the Crystal could not accept him, the gods also cast him out, and his brother betrayed him and dragged his name and reputation through the mud. He then devised an incredibly detailed, thorough, and completely foolproof plan for his revenge, which gave him victory over the gods who shunned him and allowed him to take vengeance by ending the line of the family––his family––who betrayed him. And also finally fulfill his original purpose and calling from the Crystal: to rid the world of the scourge that plagued it.

When we see Ardyn, it was 2000 years removed from the time when he was chosen to be the King of Light and obviously 180º different from who he originally was, so I looked up what could happen to ISFJs who experience trauma. Psychology Junkie had this to say:

ISFJs may be more prone to developing depression, dependent personality disorder, and psychosomatic illness.

Part of his mental instability was the 2000 years of daemon juice in his body, but I imagine part of it was also being alive for 2000 years and marinating so long in all that hatred.

They have a tendency to underplay their accomplishments, and while their kindness is often respected, more cynical and selfish people are likely to take advantage of ISFJs’ dedication and humbleness by pushing work onto them and then taking the credit.

Ardyn was described as benevolent, selfless, and humble. He was loved and respected by all people, which caused jealousy to rise up in his brother (this is definitely a nod to Cain and Abel). Once Ardyn was ready to ascend, everything went south for him. The Crystal could no longer accept him because of his corruption, the gods abandoned him, and Ardyn’s brother took this as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the situation and take credit for establishing the line of Lucis as the “Founder King.”

Ravus and Lunafreya: INTJ – The Architect

I’m probably going to get a lot of flack with these as well, but, again, hear me out. According to MBTIfiction:

In the case of one-time, or first-time traumatic experiences, INTJs meet a crossroads. Here, they either fall into a state of moral devolution or kickstart into an early state of emotional development.

Ravus falls into the former category, and Lunafreya falls into the latter.

The INTJ who deals poorly with trauma will not develop quickly in their lower functions, and may actually devolve into a state lacking moral standard and disregarding of other people’s feelings. Instead, they will focus on achieving their agenda regardless of moral cost.

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The Imperial siege of the manor at Tenebrae occurred when Ravus was in his early teens (Fi function for INTJs generally develop when they’re middle aged). Regis had taken Noctis there to aid in his recovery from the Marilith attack, which drew the Empire’s attention to the semi-autonomous region. The manor was attacked, the siblings’ mother was killed, and Ravus watched as Regis took Noctis and ran away. The siblings were then taken into Imperial custody as prisoners of war. The Empire was all that was left to him.

It’s also common… for INTJs in this state of mind to view themselves as a victim, and everyone else as constantly conspiring against them.

Ravus blamed Lucis and King Regis (and subsequently also Noctis) for his fate. He rose in the ranks of the Imperial Army in order to take vengeance on the king that he believed selfishly left his family to die. Luna, on the other hand, recognized that the Empire was responsible for the attack, not Lucis, not Regis, not Noctis.

Some unhealthy INTJs even go so far as to neglect not only their Fi function, but all of their functions. When this occurs, they lock into their shadow functions (ENTP) as is common to Gregory House (also one of the leading causes for him being mistyped as an ENTP).

Still other INTJs will fall into the grip of their lower functions, acting impulsively and neglecting their long term visions (which only ruins their lives more). They may lose track of reality as House does or lapse into depression.

I’m not sure how much Ravus does this, but I would agree that he acts impulsively and neglects his long term visions, and this definitely ruins his life. Ravus believes that he is worthy to take the mantle of Chosen King and puts on the Ring of the Lucii in Kingsglaive. Partly, I think he does this so that Luna does not have to sacrifice her body as she would with Noctis. This causes him to lose the arm that finger was attached to and be outfitted with a daemon prosthetic that would eventually possess and corrupt his body.

An INTJ who copes well with trauma will begin to develop the Introverted Feeling (Fi) function. In a regular INTJ, Fi development does not occur until middle age, but in traumatized INTJs it may start as early as age 8. In such a scenario, young INTJs often become extremely mature for their age, and this can readily be observed in Ender Wiggin, whose introspective and ethical reasoning well surpass that of his superiors.

An INTJ in the Fi development stage will become intensely focused on questions of morality. They may not focus as heavily on their agenda, but will constantly be asking ethical and introspective questions.

As a result of their moral focus, they will develop a firm set of principles from which they will not budge. Often, one of the first principles that INTJs will adopt is a strong adherence to individualism or non-conformity.

I posit that this is the case for Luna. Every list I’ve seen classed her as INFJ (which is a common mistype that can occur when an INTJ’s Fi function matures early), but from what we’ve seen in Kingsglaive and FFXV proper, Luna is a thinker. She saw the big picture from the very beginning. At only twelve years old, she informed Noctis (age eight) of his fate as the Chosen King of Light, who would expel the darkness and Starscourge from the world. In Kingsglaive, she fought Nyx and forced him to stay in the city and fight rather than get her to safety. She also very nearly put on the ring herself and was prepared to take on the burden. She even tricked Luche into putting on the ring when he’d backed her into a corner (which I’m sure crushed her heart and conscience to do). As soon as she left the city, she began awakening the astrals and forming covenants with them and healing others at the expense of her physical health, because this was what needed to be done, and she was the only one who could do it. Luna looks at her situation and figures out how to fix it before she considers how it makes her feel.

continuation of previous quotes from MBTIfiction:
Outwardly, this can make them seem stubborn or cowardly, merely because many people don’t see non-conformity as a moral principle.

I feel like this is likely why Luna is thought of so negatively by fans. She does not fight against her fate but readily accepts it for the good of the world.

16personalities:
INTJs are goal-oriented, with long-term ideas founded on sound logic. When something does cause an emotional reaction, good or bad, that energy can be used to further those goals, aiding rational and pre-determined plans.

She was extremely close to giving up when her body began to fail her, but at her brother’s encouragement and the duty on her shoulders, she carried on. I also imagine this was what gave her the strength to immediately do her duty by Noctis after experiencing firsthand the fall of Insomnia.

Iris: ENFP – The Campaigner

The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others.

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Iris traveled with the boys for a short time in the game. She proved herself to be formidable in battle, and her link strike with her brother is pretty epic. Iris interacts with each of the boys, asking them questions and being genuinely interested in their lives and hobbies. She and Prompto in particular bonded over photography and chocobos and the beautiful landscape. When they reach Caem, she was disappointed to part with the boys, stating that it had been a lot of fun traveling with them.

… if they’ve found a cause that sparks their imagination, ENFPs will bring an energy that oftentimes thrusts them into the spotlight, held up by their peers as a leader and a guru – but this isn’t always where independence-loving ENFPs want to be. Worse still if they find themselves beset by the administrative tasks and routine maintenance that can accompany a leadership position. ENFPs’ self-esteem is dependent on their ability to come up with original solutions, and they need to know that they have the freedom to be innovative – they can quickly lose patience or become dejected if they get trapped in a boring role.

… ENFPs will spend a lot of time exploring social relationships, feelings and ideas before they find something that really rings true. But when they finally do find their place in the world, their imagination, empathy and courage are likely to produce incredible results.

As they geared up for the Long Night, Iris was stationed in Lestallum and basically opened a thrift store during the events of Comrades (most of the items she sold belonged to Noctis). She comments that they all do their part, but she also voices dissatisfaction in what she’s doing. Iris wants to go out and do something about the daemons, but Cor and Gladio had forbidden her to do so as it was not safe. Obviously, as explained by Talcott in Chapter 14, she eventually convinced Cor to let her fight, and she was more than good at it, earning her the moniker, “Iris, the Daemon Slayer.”

Now if only Iris would see what a fine catch Prompto is and get over her doomed crush on Noctis…

Cindy: ESFP – The Entertainer

If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, it is the ESFP personality type. ESFPs get caught up in the excitement of the moment, and want everyone else to feel that way, too. No other personality type is as generous with their time and energy as ESFPs when it comes to encouraging others, and no other personality type does it with such irresistible style.

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Spend five seconds in Cindy’s company, and you’ll know this to be true. She gets completely caught up in what she loves to do, describing what she could upgrade in the Regalia to help the boys, and sending them on missions to recover items she’d need in order to do just that (without charging labor fees!). Prompto and Gladio both comment on that quality being cute. She has a huge heart and takes her time to assist others. Without her, the boys would never have been able to complete their duties.

Utterly social, ESFPs enjoy the simplest things, and there’s no greater joy for them than just having fun with a good group of friends. It’s not just talk either – ESFPs have the strongest aesthetic sense of any personality type. From grooming and outfits to a well-appointed home, ESFP personalities have an eye for fashion. Knowing what’s attractive the moment they see it, ESFPs aren’t afraid to change their surroundings to reflect their personal style. ESFPs are naturally curious, exploring new designs and styles with ease.

In Cindy’s case, it’s less about clothes and accessories and more about cars. She’s got great aesthetic sense when it comes to making the Regalia as beautiful as she is functional. Whenever the boys wreck the car, she softly (and Southernly) admonishes them but then immediately sets herself to task, making her beautiful for the road again.

Though it may not always seem like it, ESFPs know that it’s not all about them – they are observant, and very sensitive to others’ emotions. People with this personality type are often the first to help someone talk out a challenging problem, happily providing emotional support and practical advice.

Cindy is probably the most selfless character in the game. She constantly gives her time and skills and energy in order to give the party the best product to help them on their quest. You find out on her last sidequest for you that she wants to install upgrades like these to help people have a safer time on the road. As daemons began to appear more frequently, fewer cars drove on the road. She tells a story from her childhood of seeing a couple attacked by a daemon on the road outside Hammerhead (personally, I believe this is the story of how she lost her parents). Cindy can’t help but think that if their car had been outfitted with powerful headlights (the item she has you get down in Crestholm. The light is strong enough that daemons won’t appear on the road when you’re driving at night), perhaps the couple would have survived.

Cid: ISTP – The Virtuoso

ISTPs love to explore with their hands and their eyes, touching and examining the world around them with cool rationalism and spirited curiosity. People with this personality type are natural Makers, moving from project to project, building the useful and the superfluous for the fun of it, and learning from their environment as they go. Often mechanics and engineers, ISTPs find no greater joy than in getting their hands dirty pulling things apart and putting them back together, just a little bit better than they were before.

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This might be a bit of a cop out with how obvious it is, but I think it’s accurate. Cid makes and fixes everything. The spear he wields in A King’s Tale looks like something he threw together with scrap metal. Most of the Imperial tech weapons you find are similar, and he tinkers with those to upgrade them for you as well. In Comrades, he puts together a machine that upgrades weapons. He and Weskham argue about the usefulness of the contraption––Wes thinks the machine wastes meteorite energy that could be used for more practical survival things; Cid thinks this is a valid use of energy since it helps keep people protected. Cindy finds schematics in the garage of designs and upgrades he planned for the Regalia (off road capability and flight). Cid and several others have commented that with Cindy taking over the operations of the garage, he doesn’t have much to do anymore. I think it bothers him, which is why he messes around and experiments with weapons and other machines.

While their mechanical tendencies can make them appear simple at a glance, ISTPs are actually quite enigmatic. Friendly but very private, calm but suddenly spontaneous, extremely curious but unable to stay focused on formal studies, ISTP personalities can be a challenge to predict, even by their friends and loved ones. ISTPs can seem very loyal and steady for a while, but they tend to build up a store of impulsive energy that explodes without warning, taking their interests in bold new directions.

ISTPs’ decisions stem from a sense of practical realism, and at their heart is a strong sense of direct fairness, a “do unto others” attitude, which really helps to explain many of ISTPs’ puzzling traits. Instead of being overly cautious though, avoiding stepping on toes in order to avoid having their toes stepped on, ISTPs are likely to go too far, accepting likewise retaliation, good or bad, as fair play.

Regis and Cid have a falling out some time after their journey, and they never saw each other again. While they did patch things up, Cid decided to live outside of the city while Regis took on his burden as king. Cid comes off as a simple guy, but he has a deep passion for others, and this is what opened the rift between he and Regis. Cid did not agree with the government’s stance on refugees (you can see in Kingsglaive that many felt they were secondhand citizens despite being the ones that risked their lives to protect Insomnia).

Nyx: ENFJ – The Protagonist

ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. … With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

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This one seems kind of obvious, too. You can’t say that Nyx is lacking in passion or charisma. This is probably why people found Nyx to be more “main character-like” than Noctis (I mean, when your type is literally called “the Protagonist,” you kind of have that in your favor already). His personality is louder and more dynamic than Noctis’ (personally, it makes me happy that we have a quiet, awkward, soft-hearted male protagonist).

People are drawn to strong personalities, and ENFJs radiate authenticity, concern and altruism, unafraid to stand up and speak when they feel something needs to be said. They find it natural and easy to communicate with others, especially in person, and their Intuitive (N) trait helps people with the ENFJ personality type to reach every mind, be it through facts and logic or raw emotion.

Truthfully, Luna was the one that maneuvered Nyx into a lot of what he ended up doing in Kingsglaive, but that’s not to say he’s not altruistic. When Libertus was pinned down, Nyx was the only one who went after him. When the moment of truth came, he took the ring from Luna and didn’t hesitate to give his life so others could see a brighter future.

The interest ENFJs have in others is genuine, almost to a fault – when they believe in someone, they can become too involved in the other person’s problems, place too much trust in them. Luckily, this trust tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as ENFJs’ altruism and authenticity inspire those they care about to become better themselves. But if they aren’t careful, they can overextend their optimism, sometimes pushing others further than they’re ready or willing to go.

Nyx is always encouraging Libertus, in particular, but you can see that Pelna and the others looked up to him, too. I think this is largely why Libertus was able to be such a strong leader later on. During the events of Kingsglaive, Nyx was the more bright-eyed and optimistic of the Glaives. He genuinely wanted to serve Regis because of what the king had done for him as a child, rescuing Nyx when his home town of Galahd was overtaken by Niflheim. He was more willing to accept the treaty to end the war than the other Glaives, who worried about their families outside the city.

Nyx’s selfless, brave, and sometimes reckless personality has earned him the nickname, “Hero.”

Regis: ESTJ – The Executive

ESTJs are representatives of tradition and order, utilizing their understanding of what is right, wrong and socially acceptable to bring families and communities together. Embracing the values of honesty, dedication and dignity, people with the ESTJ personality type are valued for their clear advice and guidance, and they happily lead the way on difficult paths.

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In the trip Regis took in his princely days, he set out to forge an alliance to fight against the Imperial army. His trip was less than successful, and he was recalled to the city. From that point on, Regis didn’t rock the boat all that much, but he did the best he could with what he had. The kings of Lucis were trapped as pawns in the gods’ games. While he showed compassion to his subjects and even interceded personally to rescue the Galahdians, his hands were tied when it came to what he could really do. He upheld the wall around Insomnia alone because that was all his body could handle (and even then, it made him frail), and I don’t think he left the city after being crowned king.

Strong believers in the rule of law and authority that must be earned, ESTJ personalities lead by example, demonstrating dedication and purposeful honesty, and an utter rejection of laziness and cheating, especially in work.

I like to think that Regis decided to go on the trip to Accordo himself, but even if he was assigned the task, he took it on willingly and tried to work on restoring the old alliance to fight against the Niflheim’s pursuit of total world domination.

However, ESTJs don’t work alone, and they expect their reliability and work ethic to be reciprocated – people with this personality type meet their promises, and if partners or subordinates jeopardize them through incompetence or laziness, or worse still, dishonesty, they do not hesitate to show their wrath. This can earn them a reputation for inflexibility, a trait shared by all Sentinels, but it’s not because ESTJs are arbitrarily stubborn, but because they truly believe that these values are what make society work.

I want to know how Cid and Regis’ argument went down. Cid, a born Crown citizen, disagreed with the strict policy in allowing refugees to live in the City, and the two had a falling out. I don’t think that Regis was a heartless man––he was highly regarded as a kind and benevolent king––but I don’t think he knew how to go against what was set before him.

ESTJs are classic images of the model citizen: they help their neighbors, uphold the law, and try to make sure that everyone participates in the communities and organizations they hold so dear. The main challenge for ESTJs is to recognize that not everyone follows the same path or contributes in the same way. A true leader recognizes the strength of the individual, as well as that of the group, and helps bring those individuals’ ideas to the table. That way, ESTJs really do have all the facts, and are able to lead the charge in directions that work for everyone.

Some of these traits also likely led to Regis’ decision to prioritize his son’s protection above his citizens. Should Noctis fall, the light would eventually disappear from Eos, and daemons would walk a barren planet with no one to fight against them or save the planet. For the sake of the planet, he saved his son, playing his losing hand as best as he could.

Aranea: ENTJ – The Commander

ENTJs are natural-born leaders. People with this personality type embody the gifts of charisma and confidence, and project authority in a way that draws crowds together behind a common goal. But unlike their Feeling (F) counterpart, ENTJs are characterized by an often ruthless level of rationality, using their drive, determination and sharp minds to achieve whatever end they’ve set for themselves.

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Aranea worked as a mercenary for the Empire when we first meet her. She had strict rules for herself, not working any more than she was paid to (a healthy work-life balance). She eventually decides to walk away from the Empire after discovering and questioning its tactics in using daemons as weapons in their war. Biggs and Wedge chose to leave with her because of the respect she showed them, which was reciprocated to her.

If there’s anything ENTJs love, it’s a good challenge, big or small, and they firmly believe that given enough time and resources, they can achieve any goal. This quality makes people with the ENTJ personality type brilliant entrepreneurs, and their ability to think strategically and hold a long-term focus while executing each step of their plans with determination and precision makes them powerful business leaders. This determination is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, as ENTJs push their goals through with sheer willpower where others might give up and move on, and their Extraverted (E) nature means they are likely to push everyone else right along with them, achieving spectacular results in the process.

Leaving the Empire, who’s gone mad with power and has been using daemons (and combining their essence with humans to form their army), was a pretty gutsy move. She undoubtedly knew the consequences and risks, but she stuck with her convictions, which were much stronger and deeper than we first perceived. Aranea eventually became beloved to Lucis, and even Biggs and Wedge became leaders assisting others during the Long Night.

Emotional expression isn’t the strong suit of any Analyst type, but because of their Extraverted (E) nature, ENTJs’ distance from their emotions is especially public, and felt directly by a much broader swath of people. Especially in a professional environment, ENTJs will simply crush the sensitivities of those they view as inefficient, incompetent or lazy.

During battle, if your HP gets a little too low and Aranea is nearby, she heals you by either stomping on your lumbar and kicking you or slapping you across your face. When you meet up with her in Tenebrae, she asked about where the 4th one was and if he was dead. When Noctis said he didn’t know if Prompto was dead or not, she responded by telling him to quit his moping. Biggs and Wedge knew her, understood her, and were willing to follow her, but it had to have taken a long while to build trust. I think it’s fair to say that Aranea does have deep emotions; otherwise, she would not have left the army and gone on to help the citizens of Lucis. She cooks for the Glaives in Comrades and pops up to help the boys in a fight. She’s got one of the best lines in the game: “You’ve got a hard path but don’t let anyone tell you how to walk it.”

Aranea is a pretty solid and tough character that conceals a big heart.

Sidenote: I am not including Aranea’s interactions with Prompto in Episode Prompto because it’s entirely possible that wasn’t Aranea at all but Ardyn using a stitch in time to take her likeness like he did Prompto’s in Chapter 11. We’ve seen that Ardyn is willing to help Noctis if it gets him what he wants. Aranea was significantly more powerful in the DLC than the main game (which could just be because it’s a DLC) and was never in the same frame as Ardyn (she also dresses and moves similarly to him). She mentioned as an encouragement to Prompto that Noctis told her to make sure Prompto was safe, but no such words were exchanged when the boys met up with her in Tenebrae. I don’t think it’s out of the question that she lied about that in order to comfort him and encourage him. I think that it’s completely within her character to do so. She does genuinely care about people deep (deep, deep, deep) down, but this could also get his head back in the game and focus on the mission at hand. So there’s not quite enough evidence to say Ardyn was definitely disguised as Aranea, but there’s enough to pose the question.

Libertus: I have no bloody clue.

I’ve been wracking my brain over Libertus’ personality, and I’m still stumped. Libertus in Kingsglaive is significantly different from Libertus in Comrades, which complicates things all the more. In Kingsglaive, Libertus tends to be relegated to Nyx’s sidekick. They are best friends and have been for a long time. He’s brash and makes decisions with his emotions (taking in Crowe, throwing his hand in with the rebellious Glaives because “Lucis killed Crowe” when the king abandoned the country by agreeing to the peace treaty). There’s no doubt he’s a feeler. I want to say I think he’s an extrovert, too? When he sees his error (and especially that the error has put everyone, including his best friend, in danger), he immediately rushed to rectify it, saving Nyx and Luna in the process. He’s mostly cheerful, but his emotions can be a bit erratic. KG Libertus also doesn’t seem to be very sure of himself and tends to get swept along.

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In Comrades, he is a leader and he is seeking redemption. His emotions are more level, and he is kind of like a mentor or guide. Just as dependable but more level-headed and approachable. He picks up wayward Glaives and helps them to safety and gives them purpose. Libertus gives them pep talks and encouragement, letting them know how things go, telling them not to take more than they need so that others who pass by can also pick up supplies and food. He helps the hunters collect meteor fragments to power up the outposts and make them safer places. In the end, he fights for his redemption on Angelgard and keeps daemons away from holy ground until Noctis finally reemerges from his ten year slumber from inside the Crystal. It’s implied that the Glaives were fighting a losing battle and were just trying to keep things going and keep as many people alive as possible until Noctis could come back and put an end to the Long Night. It’s also implied that the Glaives on Angelgard did not make it, so Libertus, like his best friend, paid the ultimate price for Lucis’ freedom.

I’m leaning toward ENFP for him as well, but I’m not entirely satisfied with that one, so I really don’t know. If anyone wants to venture a guess, I’m all ears.

Anywhoo, this is what I’ve got. I may not be right, but whether or not I have their personality types right, I feel that these characters were all written and portrayed so well by their actors that I know them. They are friends, family, and comrades in my life. I was able to see them interact with each other, read between the lines of what wasn’t said, and derive pieces of their personal history as well as the history of the world with what we were given.

These people were real people, and that is a beautiful thing.

a case for Final Fantasy XV

I’m going to come out and say it right now: I absolutely love Final Fantasy XV. It had a huge impact on me and the trajectory of my life. I’m getting back into the habit of avoiding the devil’s pit (aka comments sections of just about anywhere), but I’ve read some dumb ones regarding this game on many occasions. And you know what? They’re all the same. After nearly 2 years, the complaints don’t change, and every post is peppered with them like people have come to this “brand new” revelation about how this game sucks. It’s like players think they’re doing everyone a favor by complaining about this game they apparently hated because they were too simple to understand the basic plot and look deeper into what’s between the lines. For an aspiring writer, I’m actually pretty dense about the “between the lines” in stories, so I feel like if I can figure it out, anyone should be able to. (I’ve gotten better, but really, I don’t think it’s hard in FFXV.)

**Insert obligatory spoiler warning here.**

Seriously, guys, this post is loaded with spoilers.

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The story and plot are what I fell in love with, but somehow the plot and story are what many people find to be not cohesive. I’m not sure what’s hard to figure out about it. Noctis starts off on one journey, then his home is invaded, and he has to reclaim it, then he finds out it’s all bigger than he thinks it is, and *must* succeed in his new journey. And you discover who he is and how he relates to everyone along his journey. The bare bones is actually quite similar to Lunar: The Silver Star/Silver Star Story Complete. At the beginning, Alex and Ramus go on an adventure for the White Dragon’s diamond (which apparently is made from his poop cuz who doesn’t love a good poop joke!). As the story progresses, Alex must journey in order to save the girl he loves and the world. Lunar is a cult classic and beloved by many, myself included (it was my very first RPG and still one of my favorites). There were plot twists galore, but we tracked with them fine. I don’t see how the plot twists in XV were much more difficult.

The basic plot progression for FFXV is this:

  1. Lucis and Niflheim are negotiating peace. Lucis is betrayed, and Niflheim steals its Crystal and has taken over the last country in the way of total world domination.
  2. Noctis goes from needing to get to Altissia to get married for the peace treaty to needing to wake up the gods to help him get his crown and Crystal back. Meanwhile, daemons are causing havoc, and daylight is beginning to disappear, which makes things worse because daemons can only appear in the dark.
  3. It turns out Niflheim is actually a pawn, and Noctis has to defeat the source of the darkness to bring light back to the world.

It’s. Not. That. Hard.

Players also need to understand that we’re seeing everything from Noctis’ perspective, which means we are not seeing the full picture because he is not omniscient. They do a fantastic job showing you that he loves his friends dearly by having them banter during battle and also take care of each other. We see Gladiolus stepping in front of Noctis and often extending a hand back to protect him. We see Noctis catching Prompto after the recoil of his weapon. We see Ignis and Noctis bonding over food. We see Gladio posing for photos from Prompto. We see Ignis and Gladio disagree on Noctis’ care. We see Prompto care for Ignis and Ignis taking care of Prompto’s needs by asking him what he likes to eat. The brotherhood is easy to pick up on.

Image property of Square Enix via Rajman Gaming HD‘s youtube channel

But there are some nuances in there that people have picked up on, too. We see Noctis’ relationship with his father through the car. The Regalia was the car that Regis drove (and also wrecked) on his journey with his friends decades ago, and it symbolizes Regis being there with Noctis through his own journey. In Platinum Demo, Carbuncle tries to get Noctis to the place he feels safest in order to wake him from his coma, and we discover that it’s the Regalia because he can always be with his father when he’s in that car. When the Regalia finally kicks the bucket in Chapter 13, we are sorrowful because of what that symbolized. Noctis is now even farther from his late father than he was when he started his journey. They cut back to a scene from young Noctis’ perspective where he sees his father step out of the car and open his arms to receive Noctis’ full hug. I’m going to admit, I cried over a flipping car. HARD. The strange thing is that people see this nuance but still refuse to see that Noctis had feelings for Luna and vice versa.

I can understand the hesitation at the beginning. He and Luna were thrust into an arranged marriage for the sake of peace between the kingdoms, and Noctis always looked a bit unsure about it. The guy is 20 (almost 21), of course he’s unsure. But that doesn’t necessitate that he did not have feelings for her. Wouldn’t you be nervous if you were put into an arranged marriage with hazy ideas of how the other person (whom you’ve known most your life!) feels about you? Especially if you feel something pretty deep for them? But again, it’s in the details. (Ashe and Rasler were also arranged to be married in FFXII, but they fell in love, too. And we didn’t see much of that either since Rasler was killed early on. Man… I need to finish that one.)

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wikia

When Umbra first finds you at Longwythe, he brings the Lovers’ Notebook with a message from Luna. The Noct we see when he receives the notebook and when he goes to answer her message is a completely different Noct than the one that’d been running around the desert with his buddies. His features soften, he smiles gently, and he’s a bit clumsy when writing his response. His demeanor softens every time when it comes to Luna. As the story goes on, it’s evident that Noctis becomes more sure about his feelings. He wants Umbra to assure Luna that they’ll be together again soon. When the boys head to Altissia, he firmly declares that “Luna comes first.” The moment he and Luna shared when she gave her speech––the first time they’d seen each other in twelve years––was so powerful in its subtleness. He sees her standing strong, which empowers him to do the same. You don’t see a Noct like this any other time. He sheds a tear, moved by what she said. They share a short moment of eye contact and a nod. And it wasn’t enough for us as the player because we’d been rooting for them since Chapter 1, but it was a first step for them.

The boys also tease him mercilessly about Luna. When we reach Cauthess, Gladio reminds Noct that he can’t slack on his training or people will wonder why the Oracle even wants to be with the King. When NPCs are declaring their love for each other theatrically paralleling Noctis and Luna’s ship, the boys tease him about that. Friends do that when they know you like someone. At least my friends do.

Image Property of Square Enix via FFXV Wikia

I perfectly understand that it’s been twelve years, and he’s no longer an eight year-old boy, but that also doesn’t necessitate that he’s grown out of whatever crush he had when he was little. Noctis kept in touch through that notebook even through puberty and teenage angst. And when he grew up and learned her title and could pronounce her name properly, he did not create distance by calling her “Lady Lunafreya” like everyone does. He doesn’t even create a small distance by calling her “Lunafreya” like those who are her equals do. He continued to call her “Luna,” nodding to the intimate friendship they shared.

I’ve seen a lot of comments about how you can’t know someone well if you’re just writing notes back and forth, and well… these people obviously didn’t go to school in the early 2000s. We passed all the notes before texting was a thing (the fun part was the thrill of trying not to get caught while you wrote and fancily folded them in class). Besides, there’s something much more personal and intimate in a written note or letter than in a text message. But they take it further and say that if these two really cared about each other, they would’ve picked up the phone or at least sent a text message.

There’s a glaring issue with that.

Luna is a prisoner of war.

There is absolutely no way she would be given a phone that was unbugged. And phone calls and text messages to the enemy prince would be a pretty egregious red flag.

Still, the two of them kept up their contact through the years, despite the odds. (Big shout out to Umbra who traversed all sorts of terrain and obstacles to deliver it between them.)

I’ve also heard the comments that Luna is the weakest female character/general character in franchise history.

To which I respond, ARE YOU PAYING EVEN AN OUNCE OF ATTENTION?

Image Property of Square Enix via Rintendo’s 12/29/16 blog post

In the beginning of Kingsglaive, Regis was taking her to safety with Noctis. She chose to let go after looking back at her brother because she knew that he was not strong enough to survive the Empire without her. She let go to be his strength. Ironically, he sees her as weak throughout much of the story for the same reason everyone else does––because she’s soft––while she actually bates him into doing what she needs and what’s right. During Kingsglaive, she forced Nyx to do the right thing by trying to fly an airship herself and refusing to do pretty much anything he said that would lead to her safety. (Speaking of Nyx, it’s evident he showed interest in her, but nowhere in their interactions was Luna anything more than friendly and professional, so I don’t understand this ship. They had known each other for mere days and interacted even less.) At the end, she leaves the safety that Libertus offered and joined the masses in their exodus. She then immediately begins to make covenants with the astrals for Noctis’ sake. She arguably does more for Noctis than even his friends do. The covenants as well as healing those in need take a huge toll on her body. The frailness is evident in a later scene where she tells her brother she can’t continue and implored him to take the Ring of the Lucii to Noctis. She had been fighting since she was twelve, and her sense of duty is greater than just about anyone else’s in the game. For her to say that she couldn’t do it spoke volumes to the cost her body was physically paying for the sake of responsibility. He responded that it was her duty and encouraged her. She managed to sway his opinion because of her strength and determination.

And she did all of this in heels!

It’s also been alluded that in the original Versus XIII, Stella was a victim of rape and abuse. I’m hoping they did not pass this over to Luna, but considering she was a tween when she entered into Empire custody as a glorified prisoner, it’s hard to say for sure. I don’t have the confidence to say that her oracle status would’ve been enough to protect her from creepy old men and their grabby hands. In Episode Ignis, Ravus straight murders the guy that was supposed to be Stella’s abuser, so… it’s entirely possible that Luna did indeed inherit this backstory. But I’m still holding out hope that she was spared.

Just because a character is feminine and soft does not mean they are weak. Luna is absolutely the total package: strong and unapologetically female. Her strength is quiet, especially compared to someone like Gladio, but I find it far greater than his. Where Gladio is physically strong, Luna is emotionally and mentally strong (don’t discount her physically either… I’m sure she’s learned to wield that trident and has plenty of magic in her arsenal). Which honestly can’t also be said about Gladio, who responds to fear and anxiety with anger and does not grow whatsoever throughout the length of the game’s story (maybe there’s more stuff with the new Royal update… I haven’t gotten that far yet). Ignis seemed to receive comparable treatment and was not as favored for similar reason to Luna, and he is most definitely the fiercest of the four brothers. And his sense of duty is probably the strongest, to the point where I’ve felt concern for his mental state once the game ends. He had been protecting Noctis since he was a child himself, and with no Noctis to protect, I’ve actually worried about his mental health.

Image Property of Square Enix via FFXV Wikia

Noctis grieves her in a very different way than he grieved anyone else. In the case of his father and Jared, he chose to move forward to honor their memories. He also lashed out in anger in regards to his father for keeping something so important from him. With Luna’s passing, he shut down entirely to the point where the bonds of brotherhood even suffered. (Btw, I understand that Gladio was on edge, especially because of Ignis’ sacrifice for Noct, but he also had no right to force Noct to stop grieving. Noctis knew more than anyone that people he loved have suffered for his sake, and it was a burden that was slowly collapsing his shoulders. Had Noct taken on the ring like Gladio wanted and been found unworthy due to his hesitation, what then? The Chosen King would be dead, and the world would be eaten by daemons. That’s what then.) He wept for her and asked to visit her home to grieve her properly. What’s even more heartbreaking is that she planted a field of sylleblossoms for him, and he didn’t even get to see it because the Empire came through first and set it all on fire.

The story of this game happens in the details and between spoken lines, so you do have to do a bit of digging to see what the writers are trying to convey. You also have to make an effort to connect and feel the emotions of the scene and the characters. It does take work, which is not uncommon for JRPGs––especially Square Enix games, and really especially Final Fantasy games––so I legitimately do not understand why this game gets so much more hate.

I’m fairly convinced that people were so bad at catching things that the writers gave us the September 2017 update so that they can just stop having to explain themselves. The only problem is… those of us who actually have been paying attention can see how incomplete and contradictive that update was. They literally changed the lore in the middle of things, and it no longer connected with the main story, which weakened a strong plot and did the game a great disservice. That was a rant for another time, and you can go check it out whenever you feel the need. I still love the game, but I was disappointed with that update.

Image property of Square Enix via plumpto’s tumblr

Speaking of details and between spoken lines, I am confident that Prompto has a crush on Iris and somehow kept it subtle. That may seem like a contradiction to his character, but I honestly don’t think it is, and that goes back to details. He’s trained himself to specifically be the happy-go-lucky comic relief guy (which is necessary with a heavy game like this), but we’ve seen in his backstory in Brotherhood and Episode Prompto that this personality isn’t natural to him. He’s more quiet and meek, and he really had to work at becoming more outgoing in order to feel worthy to be the prince’s friend (even though the prince was ready to befriend him from the start). Anyhow, take a look at this scene in Prologue: Parting Ways (page 25-26):

GLADIO: My family and I are going out to eat. Hardly ever happens, so I figured I might as well go along.
PROMPTO: Nice! Take your time, and send Iris my regards.
GLADIO: Oh, yeah. She mentioned she saw you the other day.
PROMPTO: Huh? Where?
GLADIO: In the park, taking pictures.
PROMPTO: Sounds like me. Why didn’t she come over and say “hi” if she saw me?
GLADIO: Said she did.
PROMPTO H-hold up. Seriously? Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t notice.
Gladio assumes an earnest expression, but his voice betrays his amusement.
GLADIO: She was really worried about you.
PROMPTO: You should’ve told her not to worry!
Gladio laughs heartily

Prompto had no clue and was genuinely mortified that he missed Iris. Gladio was amused and teased him a bit, which makes me think he caught onto it. In the game itself, Prompto and Iris geek out over chocobos and make everyone stop for sightseeing. Their personalities are complimentary, and they would actually be SUPER CUTE together. He flirts with her about combat photography, and he was the one that didn’t want to drive at night for her safety. It was not the protective big brother or the group’s mom friend or the guy everyone wants to ship her with that suggested it. It came from Prompto. Everyone else suggests that they should wait till morning to travel, but Prompto was very emphatic and adamant that they can’t put Iris in danger.

(08.16.2018 edit: I just got to this part in New Game+, and dude. It’s totally obvious. When we leave Iris in Old Lestallum and drove down to the fortress, Prompto immediately asks if she’d be okay back there alone. Right after we take down the fortress and deal a blow to the Empire, the first thing Prompto says is “I’m still worried about Iris.” Every time I’ve rested and looked at photos, half the photos are of Iris. His voice inflection when she comments on his photo skills indicates that he’s embarrassed or bashful about being complimented by her, which is different from his reactions with the guys. Shortly after, we teamed with Aranea in Steyliff, and there was ONE photo of her, and it was in battle. Aside from the one quest and also the initial photo of a new person that he does with everyone, Prompto barely takes photos of Cindy whenever we’re in Hammerhead––and I’m in Hammerhead A LOT––despite her being the one everyone thinks he’s in love with. But five times I rested with Iris in the party between Lestallum and Caem, and five times, half the photos to review were of Iris.)

I feel like Prompto is the type that would feel better being teased about a girl he wasn’t as serious with than someone he was, which is largely where I think Cindy and Aranea fit. He knows neither of them are available (Cindy is married to her job, and Aranea’s ten years older than him), so they are safe bets. I just wish something happened between Prompto and Iris during that ten year span! But from a smidge I saw with the Royal update, Iris’ crush on Noctis is still going strong. Honestly, if that schoolgirl crush can survive twenty years when the other party is completely oblivious and un-reciprocative, don’t tell me that Noctis and Luna on equal footing couldn’t survive twelve.

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wikia

I can’t figure out why Noct keeps getting shipped with nearly everybody but Luna. The common argument is that their relationship isn’t believable because they don’t interact, which is another complaint that this game isn’t well-written. But I’ve already laid out a ton of details to show that you don’t actually need to physically see them interact to know something is there. (Plus, some of us awkward introverts will tell you, we are either totally mean to the person we secretly like or we completely ignore them.) If you can believe that Tidus and Yuna, and Zidane and Garnet met and fell in love during the course of their respective games, you can believe that these two people who knew each other for years before the start of this game’s story could also fall in love (like Cloud and Tifa. That’s right, I went there, too. Fight me. Fight this person, too). With every little update, I feel like the writers keep trying to make their relationship more explicit, and I still can’t figure out why Noct gets shipped elsewhere. The writers have established that at least three of the boys are straight (I’m fairly certain Ignis might be asexual), so getting shipped with each other doesn’t make a ton of sense (Ignis is also too fierce to be the submissive one, guys). And the body language when it comes to the other women in the game speaks volumes. Someone commented that Noctis had more chemistry with literally every female in the game except Luna. But from his body language and tone, it’s obvious that he sees Cindy as a friend and someone he respects, Aranea as “one of the guys,” and Iris as a little sister. Ray Chase uses his most bored voice to answer Iris during their Stroll for Two in Lestallum. You can try to tell me that Gladio ships them, but I disagree on that, too. He knows she has a crush on Noctis while Noctis blatantly has no clue and just gives her flowers at her brother’s behest. Gladio misguidedly believes that this would make her happy, and it might for a bit, but… he completely set her up to have hope where she can’t have any. Noctis’ heart was stolen when he was eight. This seems like a clumsy Gladio thing to do, though. More muscle than mettle indeed.

**End spoilers.**

I think…

This rant has turned into a bit of a ramble as well. I know a lot of people are probably thinking that I’m too invested in this game to be this concerned about it, but I can’t quite help it. This game was used to change my life after all. And I feel that the characters are so real that it was personal for me every time anything happened to them. As much as I know they’re fictional people, I spent like 200 hours getting to know them. And there were SOOOOO many details that I was excited to find them all. Like I said before, for an aspiring writer, I can be incredibly dense (woo, INTJ!). So the fact that I could see the little details makes me confused as to why it takes so much more effort. Speaking of details, check this out (spoilers!).

I LIED.

**More spoilers.**

Image property of Square Enix via FFXV Wikia

Guys, I love Ardyn. And it makes me so angry to love him because I HATE HIM SO MUCH. He’s such a good villain. It angers me that I can hate and love him equally like this. He’d been playing the long game for quite some time, and honestly, 2000 years of hatred is intense and exhausting. He drags three of the four boys through hell, kicking and screaming in the most personal ways. Like in the link I posted directly above the last spoiler warning, he chose Prompto specifically because it would wound both Noctis and Prompto the most. I don’t know how much Prompto knew about his origins, but he seemed to at least know he was from Niflheim, and he kept this secret his entire life. That kid fought to stay alive just to make sure that he and Noctis were okay because he literally didn’t speak to Noct again until the party finds him in Gralea. The last interaction he had with Noctis, Noctis was trying to kill him. Ardyn targeted Ignis’ intentional sense of duty and purpose, and Ignis lost himself for quite some time because he knew in his heart that he was a burden for the team and the reason it was fractured, but he eventually stands his ground, finds his voice again, and asked to stay with them. This was an incredible moment of vulnerability for a man who guards his emotions closely for the sake of Noctis. I’m also convinced that Ardyn would’ve been more than happy to kill Ignis right then and there. Ignis’ final boss fight against Ardyn in Episode Ignis was significantly different from Noctis’ final boss fight against Ardyn in the main game. We saw from the DLC that Ardyn had collected every single Royal Arm of the Lucian line, yet he only used the thirteen that Noctis possessed in his fight against Noctis. The whole battle, he seemed to just be toying with Noctis until he allowed Noctis to land the final blow. Ardyn didn’t need Ignis. He needed Noctis. Gladio, Ardyn more or less leaves alone aside from siccing Ravus on him. Like I said, Gladio really doesn’t change much from start to finish because he doesn’t really experience as much hardship as the others (which may have been a statement in itself from the writers. SqEx doesn’t just forget to develop a main character).

In regards to Noctis, Ardyn had been manipulating him from the start. He tossed a coin at him when they first meet at Galdin, which was basically a death threat, or in this case, a guarantee. This symbolized passage on the River Styx, which was why Gladio was so angry about this exchange. Ardyn maneuvered Noctis to get to Titan and Leviathan to quench his vendetta against the gods who spurned him. (I personally believe that the gods brought this on themselves and are just trying to hastily fix things. Some might be doing this out of compassion, but I believe that Bahamut and Shiva, at least, have placed the burden of fixing their mistake on humans and stay nearby to “guide” and “bless” them, allowing them to be seen as good and benevolent. I also believe those two are the real villains in this game, and I freaking hate their guts and hope that they will die a thousand deaths and rot for eternity in whatever version of hell they have on Eos. Especially Bahamut. But Shiva set Luna up and manipulated her, so her hands are not clean.)

Sidenote details about the gods and summoning them in battle: in the FF series, Ramuh has traditionally been the summon that is most compassionate toward humans, to the point where he sacrificed himself in VI to allow the heroes to gain his power. I believe he still is in this game, as he is the easiest to summon, despite not being the first astral you meet. Once a battle has gone on for some time, Ramuh becomes available as a summon. Titan requires your boys to have died a couple times before you can summon him, and Leviathan will only assist if Noctis falls into danger. Leviathan also is not ambiguous about her disdain for humans, so I at least respect her for that, and it would make sense why she only cares about Noctis (meaning she doesn’t; she’s just obligated because of the covenant). Shiva and Bahamut, however, are the rarest. To summon Shiva, ALL of the previous requirements for the other gods must be fulfilled: the battle had gone on for a long time, several people have died several times, and Noctis must fall into danger. For the astral that the game pushes as the compassionate one, she sure takes her time before she comes to help. I eye “truths” from the game’s history and lore with suspicion because, so many times, they’ve been proven false, even in the basic plot lines if we just pay attention. Noctis may not see it because he doesn’t get the full picture like we do. The victors write history, and in this case, the victor is Bahamut and the others. Bahamut will only be available as a summon in the fight against Ifrit, and it has more to do with wanting to kill Ifrit than helping Noctis and the boys.

The way Ardyn taunts Noctis during the final boss fight about playing around with his friends while his father was killed, how Noctis was powerless to do anything when Ardyn murdered Luna in front of his eyes… this guy is sick. But effective. And smart. And friggin perfect. That entire climactic showdown was effective exactly because you see how connected things are in this game. Ardyn watched and studied humanity for millennia and devised the foolproof plan––even if he died, he would get what he wanted. Killing Noctis meant he ended the line of Lucis, and the gods would have lost (and most of them felled) with Bahamut’s plan foiled. Being killed by Noctis meant he ended the line of Lucis because Noctis would need to destroy him completely, which meant killing his soul. Letting Noctis succeed also means Ardyn succeeded in his original calling as the first Chosen King and would also grant him rest from his cursed immortality. No matter what, Ardyn wins.

Also, for more Ardyn appreciation, check out this detail.

Image property of Square Enix via SUPERBANE2.0 1980‘s youtube channel

I think about this every so often, but… how must that have been like for the three to find Noct’s body pierced on the throne to rescue them and the world from damnation. I watched them grow up from the Brotherhood anime to the end of the game and all their DLCs. And the fact that none of them were prepared for what was going to happen, and almost all of them walk through hell, it’s… a lot to bear. It really breaks my heart that all of this happened to them. I’ve often wondered how it must feel to say goodbye to someone you’ve known almost your entire life in such a manner. It causes my heart to ache.

**END SPOILERS.**

For real this time.

There is no one alive who can convince me that these people and their friendship and adversity weren’t real. These guys, whom you cannot judge by their cover, were given souls by their writers and their voice actors, and this is what I hope to do in my own writing. I want to give you people you will root for, people you believe are real with every fiber of your being because they are. I want to introduce you to their families, relationships, hardships, and I want you to walk with them through it all.

I noticed a trend between my friends who loved this game and my friends who didn’t. All of my friends who loved FFXV were storyteller/writer types (novels, poetry, cinema). My friends who didn’t were not. I feel like this game was written for writers.

I find it incredibly clever the way God brought me back to writing by giving me a video game. When I was more excited about this story than the prospect of attending seminary, I knew that writing was my purpose and what I’m meant to pursue, and I hope to do this well and properly.

***

PREVIEW: After talking with a friend of mine extensively on the parallels we saw between FFXV and the Bible, I’d really like to write that one in the near future. It may take me a bit, but be on the lookout for good stuff. ^-^