In reference to Christian symbolism, I'm most interested in who the "Judas" of the story is.
From what we know, it's pointing towards this "Izunia" individual.
If so, I do wonder will they make the betrayal scenario similar to the one in the bible?
I would be most interested in how the betrayal will be portrayed in FFXV.
Obviously Ardyn would be "Jesus" (or affectionately named "Trash Jesus" by the female fandom since he resembles a homeless hobo) what with him being a celebrated and revered healer, being crucified, and having the very people he helped turn on him.
Well, I don't think FFXV was trying to do a 1:1 recreation, so a Judas figure isn't strictly necessary. Even pure allegory has been known to skip out on that; the Judas figure in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe didn't betray Aslan directly so much as necessitate Aslan's death by being a traitor to his siblings. In that light, I'd suggest Ardyn himself as the Judas analogue -- he rejected what he was commanded to do and turned on the Astrals and Kings, and Noct has to die because of it.
Ardyn's concept is far too focused on disobedience for me to see him as a meaningful Christ analogue. I think the idea is that he's trying to make himself such,
but that it's more presumption than actual truth.
This may be reaching a bit (or maybe a lot lol) but I'm wondering will something like The Last Supper be used symbolically? With the disciples and even Mary Magdalene being referenced?
Well, you do get a last campfire where Noct talks to his friends about what's going to happen before walking off to his death. =(
He did seem to be a bit too gleeful in taking Noctis's beloved by him. So another motive for revenge which has not seen the light yet?
Ardyn seems generally gleeful in doing anything that could spite Noct or the Astrals, so I don't think he needs a specific motive for that. =/
(This is theoretical musings after all and could be total bs xD)
If we are thinking fully in terms of symbolism, perhaps Ardyn's apostles were the Kings who would be passing down the Royal Arms weapons to future generations?
Edit:scrap the last one. You can't have multiple kings in one generation.
I feel like, in terms of the compare and contrast the game itself provides between Ardyn and Noct, Ardyn being a loner is actually pretty important. There's that connection in Omen between Noct being alone and things going really wrong, for instance, and the fact that Noct has loved ones while Ardyn has no one is specifically pointed out right before Ardyn is defeated.
One could still argue that the Lucii serve as that sort of parallel, of course, but it'd be for Noct rather than Ardyn. (And in reference to Noct, the Lucii comprise twelve ancient kings and his father.)
He's very much his own being in... the Japanese version. It's the English version that gives him Biblical overtones (he's not "GOD" in Japanese but "the God of Light"). It's a classic localization clanger, like fudging the difference between "heart" and "soul", or by giving Bhuni his own voice actor removing the implication that Bhuni borrowed Hope's voice to talk with Lightning.
Example: In Japanese haughtily tells Lightning to consider his "love" for humanity an honour as he is condescending to use Hope's body as an avatar to rule over them as one of them and thus reducing himself to their pitiable level, while the English version he wants them to "rejoice in the light ect..." which is much more High Church. Then all his talk of "benediction" in the final battle in the English version is nowhere to be found, and instead he's declaring that this test will prove Lightning a fitting equal/partner/figurative spouse(?) for him.
I can't get over how bizarre that is. I mean, what exactly were they thinking? "Let's appeal more to Westerners by making the evil god that you have to kill more like the God they worship?" Bzuh?
Condescending to take a human form out of "love" for humanity still kind of seems like a mockery of the Christian God, to be honest. >_>; On the other hand, wanting to marry Lightning is just plain weird and strikes me as having more to do with the director seeing Lightning as a waifu than anything else. =P
, Hmm... While interesting and compelling, I must point something out. According to this bulletpoint article
, XV's revamped cosmology core is built from Japanese mythology with Western elements, so it could equally be placed within the Japanese Shinto tradition.
- While the Bibilical terminology is present in the English version at least (don't know about other versions) the Japanese version has terms that remind me more of Shinto/Buddhist/Taoist elements than Abrahamic lore.
- The concepts of sacrifice, passion and marriage are recurring motifs in Japanese history and folklore. It seems to be one of the reasons the late Sengoku period is such a favourite subject for media adaption.
- Forgiveness is also a recurring motif, as it is encourage to forgive and pity enemies so they may find respite.
- The royal family being tied to the divine directly correlates with the origin myth of the Japanese Imperial line being descended from Izanagi-no-Okami through his son Susano. The broken father-son dynamic can also parralel the broken relationship between Izanagi and Susano, including how Izanagi retreats beyond reach and Susano is left to fend for himself.
- The role of Susano could equally apply to Ardyn, as like Susano Ardyn was expelled from bliss in disgrace. His corruption and bitterness could also parallel the story of Izanami-no-Mikoto, who became Izanagi's bitter enemy due to a perceived/actual betrayal.
- The Oracle parralels elements of the role of Shinto Mikos.
- The Astrals fill the role of Kami (they are even called "Mutsugami"), while Daemons can be seen as Yokai (of which living corpses are a member if memory serves me right).
- Starscourge is equivalent to Kegare, a self-precipitating negative force that requires effort/sacrifice to purge. Within this, Pitioss makes more sense if you remember that Izanagi had to wash himself clean of Yomi's stain after fleeing Izanami's wrath, so he was made unclean - something that could well parallel Ifrit and the "protagonist" in the Pitioss narrative.
Of course some elements are still "Western", but several of the points above can go both ways.
Well, it's worth pointing out that the mythos has clearly changed since that article was written:
- The article repeatedly mentions stuff about "Eidolons" (now Astrals) being involved in the creation of the world and the game explaining how the world was created, which does not appear in the final game (or its Ultimania, for that matter). FFXV is profoundly uninterested in anything taking place more than 2000 years prior to the start of the game.
- The woman in the logo is described as the most important goddess in FFXV's pantheon, which can no be longer true given that the woman is now Luna.
- It's mentioned that it was difficult to find a place for the classical FF monsters, which the final game found a very neat solution for in the Daemons.
Anyway, I do think that there's a sense that FFXV's mythos was designed to feel familiar to both
domestic and foreign audiences, at least initially. It's certainly not difficult to see how the Astrals could have been intended to remind the Japanese audience of Kami (even as Greek/Roman and Judeo-Christian elements are mixed in to get the Western audience on-board) and the Oracle was meant to seem like a Miko (even as design elements associated with Catholicism are also attributed to her). The decision to use familiar terms for each region could have been intentional, given that the localization director for the English version, Dan Inoue, was also one of the lead writers.
Beyond that, however, we're really just dealing with an issue of comparative religion. There are a lot
of topics and themes that appear frequently in religion and folklore -- they're usually things that loom large in the human psyche. So it's not surprising that things like sacrifice, passion, marriage, forgiveness, broken filial bonds, the divine right to rule, and self-precipitating forces of corruption can be found in Shinto/Buddhist/Taoist writings as well as Abrahamic ones.
But there's a difference between sharing motifs and using those motifs in the same way. And what's particularly striking about FFXV is the way in which it maintains many of the same connections between its motifs as Christianity does. Forgiveness, salvation, sacrifice, suffering, alienation from the father, death, obedience, marriage, and kingship are all part and parcel of each other. The willing sacrifice of the King of Kings is built into the very fabric of the universe, Noctis' sacrifice requires him to suffer immensely, and the game takes great pains to link Noct's marriage with Luna to their sacrificial deaths.
Each of those elements also includes specific details that tie them closer to the form they take in Christianity. Forgiveness is probably the most generic of them, but even there, it's specifically linked to salvation in a Christian sense (Noct says that it's up to him to save Ardyn from his own darkness).
Other elements' ties are more obvious. Noct's kingship, for instance, is a direct parallel to Christ insofar as he serves as both the fulfillment of an ancient line of kings from a chosen nation and the savior-King of the entire world (hence "King of Kings"). As far as I'm aware, Shinto doesn't do anything of the sort.
Likewise, the alienation that Noct feels from Regis is much more closely aligned with Christ's separation from his Father on the Cross than it is with any narrative that involves permanent alienation. It's clear that Noct and Regis never stop loving each other; Regis is a supportive voice from above in the post-credits scene. It's just that the nature of the sacrificial act demands a temporary severing of that bond as Regis must be complicit in the suffering of his son. That doesn't sound anything like the Izanagi-Suzanoo relationship as you describe it.
Ardyn is more open to interpretation, but I think it's important that an interpretation retain his status as foil to Noct if it is to hold water. His sin of disobedience can only be undone by Noct's obedience; his unwanted immortality can only be undone by Noct's willing death. And, of course, it's important that his corruption is
reversible, because that fits an Adam parallel far better than a Suzanoo or Izanami parallel.
As for the Starscourge... well, it's worth pointing out that there's very good reason to believe that it's of Nomura origin, and Nomura wears his interests on his sleeve. Most obviously, the Starscourge is linked to Geostigma (the names of the two are even more closely related in Japanese, FWIW), which was resolved in Advent Children by Cloud literally baptizing kids with holy water in a church. And, in terms of function, it's also closely tied to Kingdom Hearts' use of the Heartless, which started out being linked to the darkness in the human heart and is now explicitly linked to sin thanks to X [previously "chi," now "cross"]. Nomura's... very subtle
about this stuff. XD;
And in some ways, the Daemons throw even more explicit Christian references over the top of their Heartless-like elements. People disappear when their hearts are taken by Heartless; people who are infected by Daemons disappear as well, but their clothes remain behind in what seems rather like a pointed reference to a particular interpretation of the Rapture (see: Left Behind).
Beyond that, you've got explicit links between marriage, salvation, and death -- there's a lot of talk about the marriage between Noct and Luna as a symbol of peace, Luna's wedding dress vacillates between a memorial for her death and a celebration of her marriage, and the post-credits scene specifically portrays the two of them as being wed in (and through
) death. You've got salvation being brought through the humble obedience of a king who serves as willing sacrifice. You've got an unflinching focus on the cost borne by the savior, with the most painful part being the strain it puts on his filial bonds. FFXV doesn't just take an element or two here and there from Christianity. It links into this massive web of connections and simultaneously mimics as much of it as possible.
TL; DR, some things are probably just common in world religions in general, I agree. But whenever FFXV connects its motifs or provides specifics, it always hews much closer to Christian ways of conceptualizing things than any other alternative.