Revival time!! I want to see if I can get a little discussion going...
Basically I've been/will be playing through the pre-PS FFs. One thing that interests me is the use of Tolkien in these games - although I was aware of it in FFVII - with "mythril" - I don't think I realised how prevelant it was in the older games. Well FFIV anyway - with the Sylvan Cave, the Dwarves, mythril again - and even the idea of higher beings watching over the developing world - and one going evil - which to me seems like the Ainur in LOTR and Sauron going evil. I'm sure there is a lot more as well. So anymore Tolkien fans out there wish to discuss the relation between Tolkien and FF? Or even Norse mythology as well as it ties in with Tolkien - and the Nordic influence is quite apparent as well.
I think I feel guilty as I seem to know less about the mythologies in my own country than I do about others so I've decided to try and learn more about mythologies from the UK. So I was watching a program the other night about the myth of Holy Grail being in Britain and the Arthurian legends. They started talking about the mythical place of Avalon and I realised that that name really rings a bell - is it in a FF? I think there may be a place called Elvaron isn't there? There are also some Arthurian influences in FF - like the sword Excalibur for example. And also some examples from Celtic mythologies - like "Cait Sith" being the king of the fairy cats. Anymore examples people can think of?
The Lunarians of FFIV do seem a bit like the Valar and Maiar of Tolkien. Melkor of the Valar and Sauron of the Maiar, just like Zemus of the Lunarians, fell from the path of light and into darkness. Don't forget the elves of FFI and FFII. They were very similar to the elves of Tolkien, and, yes, even the elf Link from the Zelda games.
Also in FFIV, there are silver apples and golden apples, items which raise your permanent HP. This is a bit like the golden apples of immortality of Greek, Norse, and Arthurian legends as well as the golden peaches of immortality in Chinese legends. Any idea what the "gyshal greens" might be? Other than a way of summoning the Fat Chocobo, I mean.
Like in the FF series, bards of ancient Britain and Ireland were said to have magical powers, even being able to lay a curse on someone. There may even have been a Twin Harp in Celtic legends. Actually, I think the god Dagda had a harp whose name meant "Harp of the Two Branches" or something, but I know for a fact that his harp could both put you to sleep or make you full of happiness and joy.
Thats what I thought. I think it's the guardian role the Lunarians seem to want to take - and their love for and desire to meet the people of the Blue planet. It's like the Ainur and the Children of Iluvatar.
And the elves of FF do seem to be more like the elves of Tolkien - though I haven't played FFII I have to say. I'm not sure about Link - if anything he would be like a Silvan elf I think - but I see him as being like the traditional perception of elves and general "fairy folk" - he has a Celtic look to him I think despite the word elf - he looks like the "piskies" of Cornwall.
I never thought of that with the apples - you're right they are prevelant in many mytholgies. I think fruit like apples and peaches are a worldwide symbol of fertility? Hence their importance in myth. I have no idea where Gysahl is from - but it sounds a bit Gaelic in origin to me.
Yeah - I think there are a few stories from Celtic mythology about bards - I know that hypnotic/powerful singing can be a common theme in myths - the most common one would be Orpheus I guess. From what I can remember songs concerning bards are often very sad - I guess Edward/Gilbert's character may be based on one of those sort of stories.
But my knowledge on Celtic myths is quite sparce - which is shameful really - I have a lot of blood from places like Cornwall and Ireland which are great for mythology! I always loved the Celtic fairy-tales growing up though. XD Hmm.. I'll have to get out of London for a bit and go visit those places I think.... except it always rains in Cornwall from what I remember =3
I might see if I can find out where "gysahl" could possibly be from...
On Link: In the first FF, a tombstone in a town graveyard says "Here Lies Link". Wonder if you caught that... I think he's a mix of the Tolkien elf and the "greencoatie" English elf. On the side, elf or aelfe is an Anglo-Saxon word, related to the Norse alf. Both mean "shining being". Which is what the Hebrew el or ael means. A strange coincidence or related languages? And if you ever head out to Cornwall, turn your coat inside out in case you ever get lost/confused. You might be pixy-led!
Bahamut as king or god of the dragons and living underground, as in the early FF games, is also a Celtic idea. Dragons were seem more as forces of nature that shaped the earth than as guardians of gold. You might be familiar with the story of Assipattle and the Maester Stoorworm.
Oh yeah I remember reading about the "Here lies Link" thing but I had completely forgotten about it. Quite a funny statement to put in a game they thought would be their last =3
I always think it is interesting when languages and myths seem to intertwine like that - as you say its hard to say if it is just coincidence or if there is a deeper connection there. I would say the latter is true.
XD well I've avoided being piskie-led before but I have visited the piskie gardens down there which are full of fairy-folk! (an attraction - not real obviously :p)
I think Bahamut is an Islamic myth - it's a giant fish or something? Though I heard Square actually took the name from a fighter plane of the same name. I didn't know that about dragons though - the only real dragon story I know is "St George and the Dragon" - a story I always thought strange to have connected to our patron saint - as dragons aren't a Christian idea.
btw did you study Celtic myth or is it just an interest??
Bahamut is the giant fish that is the first tier that supports the world, and he is so massive that he causes instant death (or... insanity, or something) if one were to behold him.
... although, in FF's case, he's taken from D&D, where he is the King of the Lawful dragons, to oppose Tiamat, who is the Queen of the Chaotic dragons. ^^;
A thinking out loud reaction:
The first Final Fantasy was heavily based on the early Ultima series, and both Final Fantasy and the early Ultima were heavily based on D&D. Which was heavily based on Tolkien.
Also, Nordic Mythology comes in unfiltered a lot, as does Germanic in general. As does Celtic a bit, and even Japanese.
I didn't know that - I haven't played Ultima but I think my Dad has quite a few early games from the series - maybe I'll check them out.
I think nearly all early Japanese RPG's are based on Dungeons and Dragons from what I have read - I think they aimed to recreate the game in some way digitally.
And I love mythology as well - but my main knowledge is with Greek mythology - which there isn't as much of in FF as other mythologies.
Btw, I love mythology in general and I study it (not as a profession or a major in university however). I've read through 95% of Greek mythology, now I'm more interested in Norse, Celtic, and Japanese.
The only real Greek mythology I can recall is in some of the monsters: Chimaera, Medusa, Lamia, Sphinx, etc. Chimaera is vastly different from original myth, as least in the PS/PS2 games. A couple of the airships are named after Greek characters I believe. The summon Siren is based more on the Roman/medieval interpretation than on the Greek one. The Greek siren is half-bird, while the later version is half-fish or all woman, like mermaids.
Yeah, I've read a large portion of Greek mythology myself. It was always my main interest within mythology when I was younger. I remember learning Norse, Celtic and Egyptian mythology at Primary School as a part of our history lessons - but not in depth obviously.
I've actually started reading Jung as a part of my Fine Art degree and he writes a lot about myth relating the the collective unconscious which is very interesting - he also writes a lot about fairy tales. If you are interested in the psychology of myth at all I'd definately recommend Jung - if you haven't already read his works - but it is a little heavy. I've just been reading it on the train and now my head hurts!!
i'm not going to bother reading over everyone's comments... but if you cats run into dead ends, send them my way, and i'll contribute in that way.
i specialize in norse myth and ffvii in particular.
i even have cait sith tatooed on my back, eat your hearts out