Did Final Fantasy VII's opening cinematic took inspiration from the movie "Parking" (Jacques Demy) ?

What is the probability that this sequence was used as a reference for FF7's opening cinematic ?

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Dionysos

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It's good to see you here again. :)

I just noticed that the word Cetra is the latin for cithara, a kind of Lyre, the instrument of choice for Orpheus :-) !
This observation could reinforce the idea that this scene from the movie was not only used as a visual reference for the opening cinematic, but that the game may also have borrowed its symbolic and also its themes (those from the myth).
The Cetra people (the Lifestream) is perhaps the instrument used to allow the passage from one universe to another (to the master/god's final destination as well as the tool's promised land), assuming that the Cetra migrate from planet to planet and that the Lifestream is not the promised land .
You know, that connection with the name Cetra never occurred to me!

It would definitely fit with the Orphean symbolism and also the Lunar Harp (a Cetran artefact). When you look at the render of that item, it is a golden harp. Orpheus was sometimes imagined to have possessed a golden lyre. But the connection with the instrument itself is fascinating enough regardless of the material.

We’ve already discussed how the Lunar Harp is used to tame the Sleeping Forest to make it possible for a mortal to pass through, just like Orpheus did when he tamed the beasts and rulers of the Underworld with his musical prowess.

If we take the name 'Cetra' itself to refer to a cithara or similar instrument, then this particular association is indeed stronger.

We could also add something else to this. In some of the most popular versions of the Orpheus myth, he meets his end when he is torn to pieces by Thracian Maenads (crazed female followers of Dionysos). Following his death, his head is plopped into a river and floats out to sea while still singing songs in some accounts. His head is discovered (where it is discovered varies depending on individual accounts) and a shrine was built and an oracle established.

We might compare this with Aerith (sometimes considered the last Cetra) who is killed by a fanatical madman (or more accurately, an alien undead corpse which happens to be possessed and used by a madman). When Aerith dies and people say their goodbyes, she is promptly ‘buried’ in a pool of sorts where she sinks. That entire area almost becomes a shrine to her from then on. In a way, Aerith also leaves a legacy beyond her death, her ‘song’ in a sense still continuing, and prophesying certain outcomes and pulling the strings behind the scenes in the Lifestream to help the party.

Likewise the Cetra as the whole were decimated and forced into near-extinction by Jenova thousands of years ago, but their story and their warnings long outlived their mortal, physical bodies. Their familiarity with death, their close relationship with the Underworld/Lifestream, their harmony with nature and the ability to calm the natural world are all traits the Cetra shared with Orpheus. Adding a stringed instrument into the mix as an important Cetran symbol strengthens that thought.

I find it interesting though that we have found similarities to the Orpheus myth in many separate characters and locations within the game of FFVII. I don't think we can rightly pinpoint a singular 'Orpheus' and partner him up with a singular 'Eurydice'. I think the dance around the themes of death, loss, memory and so on is what draws us here time and time again. These themes are strong in the game.
 

Molosev

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It's good to see you here again. :)
Thank you, and it's always good to read back from you !

You know, that connection with the name Cetra never occurred to me!
A shame for Dionysos :p !
I think I had already discovered this relationship some time after seeing the scene from "Parking", but so much had to go through my head that I had not bothered to write it down and that I had finally forget it... Glad it came back !

I read from his tweeter account that Mr Nojima is a guitar player. Could he be this mysterious Orpheus? But then what would he seek to tame? the western audience? If so, looks like he succeeded ! (Please forgive my conspirational spirit...)

We could also add something else to this. In some of the most popular versions of the Orpheus myth, he meets his end when he is torn to pieces by Thracian Maenads (crazed female followers of Dionysos). Following his death, his head is plopped into a river and floats out to sea while still singing songs in some accounts. His head is discovered (where it is discovered varies depending on individual accounts) and a shrine was built and an oracle established.

We might compare this with Aerith (sometimes considered the last Cetra) who is killed by a fanatical madman (or more accurately, an alien undead corpse which happens to be possessed and used by a madman). When Aerith dies and people say their goodbyes, she is promptly ‘buried’ in a pool of sorts where she sinks. That entire area almost becomes a shrine to her from then on. In a way, Aerith also leaves a legacy beyond her death, her ‘song’ in a sense still continuing, and prophesying certain outcomes and pulling the strings behind the scenes in the Lifestream to help the party.

Likewise the Cetra as the whole were decimated and forced into near-extinction by Jenova thousands of years ago, but their story and their warnings long outlived their mortal, physical bodies. Their familiarity with death, their close relationship with the Underworld/Lifestream, their harmony with nature and the ability to calm the natural world are all traits the Cetra shared with Orpheus. Adding a stringed instrument into the mix as an important Cetran symbol strengthens that thought.

I find it interesting though that we have found similarities to the Orpheus myth in many separate characters and locations within the game of FFVII. I don't think we can rightly pinpoint a singular 'Orpheus' and partner him up with a singular 'Eurydice'. I think the dance around the themes of death, loss, memory and so on is what draws us here time and time again. These themes are strong in the game.
That's a very interesting view and you elegantly show how these references can amplify the message of the game (regarding the canon), but I still wonder why they would have taken so much attention to detail to engrave the symbolism of the myth so subtly and deeply. Because I honestly think that the link with the movie was not intended to be noticed and yet the two seem so strongly linked (I refer you to the list of similarities I noted on keikoku.com). And yet as you pointed out, there dosen't seem to be an evident Orpheus nor an Eurydice in the game.

The fact that the Cetra (Lifestream) can be seen as an instrument (a tool) pushes me to try to find its use (because the Lunar Harp* already has a use and you wouldn't want to use a Harp to enter/travel through a Harp). And I must say that it seems to work quite well (at least to me lol) in relation to my theory of a Lifestream (Cetra>Migration>Omega) which would serve as a ship (tool) to help travel through the cosmos (as Orpheus's Lyre would help him travel through Hades). But then yeah who is travelling and what destination would he be trying to reach... Maybe a god trying to reach his/her/its lover...

* I just observed that the Lunar Harp refers to the moon and that Vincent (that could be seen as part of Orpheus in some way) is often seen in front of a full moon.

Regarding the Act I from LOVELESS, Genesis tells us that he believes water means Lifestream (CC).
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky
Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.
Is it reasonable to assume that the "wandering soul" is the one responsible for the forming of ripples, much like a musician's fingers on a harp would create sound waves ?
If yes I find it quite poetic to see the hustle and bustle of life as a melody.
But then it would be easy for a god to modulate the melody in order to obtain certain results...

I found this article while searching "god" and "harp" keywords on google:
Psalm 68: Are There Really Harps And Clouds In Heaven?
the "Cloud" word in this title caught my attention.
 
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Dionysos

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A shame for Dionysos :p !
Ha ha. Well, I can’t spot everything all at once! :P


I read from his tweeter account that Mr Nojima is a guitar player. Could he be this mysterious Orpheus? But then what would he seek to tame? the western audience? If so, looks like he succeeded ! (Please forgive my conspirational spirit...)
That’s a very poetic sentiment, but there may be some truth to that, in a manner of speaking.

Final Fantasy has always factored in the West in some way. Even the original Final Fantasy was heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons. The West has influenced Final Fantasy, and Square Enix have also often considered Western tastes and culture when developing Final Fantasy. In recent decades this has included decisions such as using popular Western singers like Leona Lewis, Florence Welch and developing a more lasting partnership with Susan Calloway, or using the talents and likenesses of Western actors for their movies. These might be the most obvious ones, but consistently Square Enix have also dealt with the mythology and popular culture of the West.

FFVII is a particularly strong example on this aspect, considering ‘Western’ in its very broadest sense. Cloud and Tifa have vaguely Norse origins (hailing from Nibelheim). Barret has a Wild West backstory. Nanaki/Red XIII is 'Native American' so the story of his species serves as a parallel to the story of ‘Western’ man meeting with Native Americans. Cid is stylised as a mid-20th century Western adventure pilot. Vincent (as we discussed earlier) is inspired by Western horror tropes. Aerith resembles a prairie/pioneer girl to some people. Cait Sith certainly has been put through a heavy Japanese makeover but the mythical origins of the cat creature stem from folklore of the Scottish highlands. Yuffie may be the true exception in being entirely and absolutely Japanese/Asian inspired.

That’s just the main cast. We can go deeper and deeper when we think about the others. Sephiroth (relating to the Hebrew Kabbalah), Bugenhagen (named for the Protestant Reformation figure), Heidegger (named after the German philosopher), Mayor Domino (named after Domino’s Pizza), Don Corneo (named after Don Corleone in The Godfather with alterations to create a pun on the stem word 'corn' meaning horn and thus labelling him as 'Mr. Horny'), Biggs and Wedge (named after Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles in Star Wars), and so on.

It sometimes seems like finding a Japanese name or concept might actually be a rarer occurrence than finding a ‘Western’ one in a Final Fantasy game. They exist, as characters such as Hojo would attest, but they are more difficult to spot.


The fact that the Cetra (Lifestream) can be seen as an instrument (a tool) pushes me to try to find its use (because the Lunar Harp* already has a use and you wouldn't want to use a Harp to enter/travel through a Harp). And I must say that it seems to work quite well (at least to me lol) in relation to my theory of a Lifestream (Cetra>Migration>Omega) which would serve as a ship (tool) to help travel through the cosmos (as Orpheus's Lyre would help him travel through Hades). But then yeah who is travelling and what destination would he be trying to reach... Maybe a god trying to reach his/her/its lover...

* I just observed that the Lunar Harp refers to the moon and that Vincent (that could be seen as part of Orpheus in some way) is often seen in front of a full moon.
I’ve tried to refresh myself on whether there are any lunar associations with Orpheus himself. As far as I can ascertain, there aren’t many that are of any particular relevance. There is an Orphic hymn to the moon, but the Orphic hymns are really a separate thing entirely. They were composed some time in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and merely attributed to Orpheus and his followers in antiquity and have nothing to do with the Orpheus of myth. Also the hymn to the moon is only one of many 'Orphic' hymns (over 80) addressed to many entities. In short, not really relevant other than some form of imagined legacy of Orpheus.

However, we could think about it ourselves. The moon has long been associated with the night and darkness and with horror which naturally lends itself to a comparison with the underworld. This is why we think of Vincent here again.

In witchcraft (including during ancient Greece as early as Aristophanes' The Clouds in 423 BC - Strepsiades is speaking to the parody of Socrates in this scene) there persisted an idea (or maybe more of a meme where the comic poet Aristophanes is considered) that witches or users of magic could draw down the moon from the sky. We might fancifully compare this with Orpheus drawing animals to him through his music, but I very much doubt that this crossed the minds of Square Enix at all. Nor anyone else until this moment.

That said, the association of music with the harmony of the cosmos is something which had been considered in antiquity and persisted for a long time afterwards (see the wiki page here for a rough summary of the concept). As it is with Apollo and the Muses, so it is with Orpheus. A good song can keep the universe spinning correctly and the celestial objects in their correct places. So goes the belief.

That the Cetra of FFVII were cosmically aware beings doesn't need to be said but I'll say it anyway. They possessed the ability to summon a meteor via the Black Materia and they observed cosmic beings land on the Planet. They themselves may have originated from another Planet or have been aware of others joining them (for example: the Spira situation, depending on when that happened, if it did). So maybe there is an association here between music and celestial objects. Although the Lunar Harp’s function in the game being to tame the forest suggests that they haven’t fully committed to that. Maybe the harp was best played in moonlight? More potent, drawing on the power from the moon?

Or maybe the Cetra themselves are also the musical instruments (hence the name). Their voices resonate with the will of the Planet and they are in tune with nature, maybe also the stars.

Regarding the Act I from LOVELESS, Genesis tells us that he believes water means Lifestream (CC).

Is it reasonable to assume that the "wandering soul" is the one responsible for the forming of ripples, much like a musician's fingers on a harp would create sound waves ?
If yes I find it quite poetic to see the hustle and bustle of life as a melody.
But then it would be easy for a god to modulate the melody in order to obtain certain results...

I found this article while searching "god" and "harp" keywords on google:
Psalm 68: Are There Really Harps And Clouds In Heaven?
the "Cloud" word in this title caught my attention.
I'm not a huge fan of Genesis, but this is an aspect of Genesis that I think I like and can appreciate in terms of the themes explored. He is making commentary and looking into deep meanings in poetry much like we are with this video game. In Genesis' case he may be overthinking it and it does turn him into an extremist, much like Sephiroth when he reads Gast's research out of context. These are lessons in the dangers of overreading with a narrow view and being ignorant of a wider context. Much can be said about people who quote-mine religious texts and other texts in a similar manner, and then act upon it, speaking as if they have unlocked some sort of hidden truth and imploring that others live by it and that nothing else matters.

But on this Genesis might be correct. It would seem natural enough considering the mythos of FFVII for the water to refer to the Lifestream. Especially considering that a line about a soul follows it immediately. If we consider your theory, we might interpret that the souls are irritable on the Planet itself ‘knowing no rest’ until they go out to the cosmos and find a new place.

But the imagery of a musician's fingers creating ripples on the water akin to sound waves is also nice. Especially when coupled with the water = Lifestream interpretation. The wandering bard could be plucking on the Lifestream/underworld, creating ripples.

The website linked to the harps in heaven article hasn't worked for me. I think the general symbolism with harps being in heaven might relate in some form to the above association between musical harmony and cosmic harmony. Some variation of that idea which developed over time, perhaps. Heavenly beings have long been depicted playing instruments.
 
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Molosev

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It sometimes seems like finding a Japanese name or concept might actually be a rarer occurrence than finding a ‘Western’ one in a Final Fantasy game. They exist, as characters such as Hojo would attest, but they are more difficult to spot.
Now that you say it ! I guess there's not much japanese environments/architectures either in the whole FF franchise.

I’ve tried to refresh myself on whether there are any lunar associations with Orpheus himself. As far as I can ascertain, there aren’t many that are of any particular relevance. There is an Orphic hymn to the moon, but the Orphic hymns are really a separate thing entirely. They were composed some time in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and merely attributed to Orpheus and his followers in antiquity and have nothing to do with the Orpheus of myth. Also the hymn to the moon is only one of many 'Orphic' hymns (over 80) addressed to many entities. In short, not really relevant other than some form of imagined legacy of Orpheus.
Happy to know about that hymn !

In witchcraft (including during ancient Greece as early as Aristophanes' The Clouds in 423 BC - Strepsiades is speaking to the parody of Socrates in this scene) there persisted an idea (or maybe more of a meme where the comic poet Aristophanes is considered) that witches or users of magic could draw down the moon from the sky. We might fancifully compare this with Orpheus drawing animals to him through his music, but I very much doubt that this crossed the minds of Square Enix at all. Nor anyone else until this moment.
Your line about "Orpheus drawing animals to him through his music" reminds me of the story of the "Pied Piper of Hamelin", vaguely.

I'm not a huge fan of Genesis, but this is an aspect of Genesis that I think I like and can appreciate in terms of the themes explored. He is making commentary and looking into deep meanings in poetry much like we are with this video game. In Genesis' case he may be overthinking it and it does turn him into an extremist, much like Sephiroth when he reads Gast's research out of context. These are lessons in the dangers of overreading with a narrow view and being ignorant of a wider context. Much can be said about people who quote-mine religious texts and other texts in a similar manner, and then act upon it, speaking as if they have unlocked some sort of hidden truth and imploring that others live by it and that nothing else matters.
Here I am warned ;).

The website linked to the harps in heaven article hasn't worked for me. I think the general symbolism with harps being in heaven might relate in some form to the above association between musical harmony and cosmic harmony. Some variation of that idea which developed over time, perhaps. Heavenly beings have long been depicted playing instruments.
Yeah, it dosen't talk much to me either.
 
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Dionysos

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Now that you say it ! I guess there's not much japanese environments/architectures either in the whole FF franchise.
I've noticed that subtle references exist, but they are coated over with the environments and architecture of other cultures.

The exceptions tend to be obvious. Wutai in FFVII is screaming out its Japanese heritage (combined with other Eastern heritage), and the same can be said with Othard / Doma in FFXIV. These are themed areas which sometimes make some interesting statements about their view of themselves.

Your line about "Orpheus drawing animals to him through his music" reminds me of the story of the "Pied Piper of Hamelin", vaguely.
The abilities of the Pied Piper of Hamelin are similar on this point, yeah. Both could control nature with their music. Although the Pied Piper turned into more of a malicious, trickster character than Orpheus and ended up stealing the children out of petty revenge after he wasn't paid in full for dealing with the rats. Orpheus was tragically misguided and may have demonstrated hubris (his attempt to rescue Eurydice from the Underworld instead of killing himself to join her signalled to some that he was only vain and half-hearted in his attempts). You could point out that the Pied Piper taking the children into a cave could be a bit like Orpheus' descent into the Underworld, but their intentions are reversed (Orpheus goes to take someone out; the Pied Piper leads the children in).

Here I am warned ;).
Ha ha. I wasn’t meaning you! You haven’t caused any harm with any of your theorising. I meant people who march about and force others to accept their personalised truths and condemn those who think differently.

To Genesis and Sephiroth their own interpretations of the truth (both misguided) seemed more important to them than the lives of others on the Planet.

Whereas exploring themes and considering multiple viewpoints and looking into various sources, etc? That's completely fine and healthy!

Yeah, it dosen't talk much to me either.
I meant the link itself didn’t work. I clicked it and found a server IP error so I couldn’t read it.
 

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Orpheus was tragically misguided and may have demonstrated hubris (his attempt to rescue Eurydice from the Underworld instead of killing himself to join her signalled to some that he was only vain and half-hearted in his attempts).
That's a beautiful interpretation. I didn't thought of it that way.

You could point out that the Pied Piper taking the children into a cave could be a bit like Orpheus' descent into the Underworld, but their intentions are reversed (Orpheus goes to take someone out; the Pied Piper leads the children in).
Right. In my theory nobody tries to get someone out, there's just someone/thing that's trying to escape and continue his/its journey.
So there's nothing really strong/consistent in it that links to the Orpheus myth (except for the few details that we've pointed out)..

Edit:
Or maybe there is !
Considering that Jenova is the head of the Lifestream, one can imagine that the introductory scene (inspired by the Orpheus myth) where we see Aerith leaving the alley is a metaphor for the arrival of the Lifestream (of life, of love also perhaps) in hell (Midgar - the kingdom of men - hell on earth). Because humans/Shinra didn't wait the hypothetical arrival of Jenova to create hell.
But this arrival in hell would be much older in reality, it probably dates from the time when the Cetra began to settle down. Hell would then have grown as humans continued to consume spiritual energy.
Then Sephiroth comes to look for his mother Jenova (head of Lifestream) who may be seen in a certain way as a prisoner of the hell of men. Together they seek a way to escape and finally succeed on board the meteor (or fail and try again in Dirge and fail again).

One thing that makes me think that Sephiroth could be a part of Orpheus is that in the Northern Cave (just before the final battle) it is possible to meet the enemies Christopher and Gighee together. One famous theory is that this global enemy represents David Bowie, a guitar player (David Bowie had been approached for the role of Orpheus in the movie "Parking", but he refused).
I also noticed that Christopher is almost the anagram of Sephiroth if we remove the first and the last letters. Also Sephiroth is kind of a christic figure in the game.
Moreover Sephiroth is killed by one of his former admirers (Cloud) much like Orpheus which is killed by the maenads in the myth (a frustrated fan in the movie).

Ha ha. I wasn’t meaning you! You haven’t caused any harm with any of your theorising. I meant people who march about and force others to accept their personalised truths and condemn those who think differently.

To Genesis and Sephiroth their own interpretations of the truth (both misguided) seemed more important to them than the lives of others on the Planet.

Whereas exploring themes and considering multiple viewpoints and looking into various sources, etc? That's completely fine and healthy!
Damn, I thought I had finally managed to express my dark side! Fail... ;)

I meant the link itself didn’t work. I clicked it and found a server IP error so I couldn’t read it.
Doesn't work for me anymore either. I’ll have a hard time summarizing it now that the source is gone..
 
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Right. In my theory nobody tries to get someone out, there's just someone/thing that's trying to escape and continue his/its journey.
So there's nothing really strong/consistent in it that links to the Orpheus myth (except for the few details that we've pointed out)..
I’d argue that the act of ‘getting someone out’ may be a lesser element of the Orpheus myth on the whole. Orpheus was certainly not considered as a hero in this act. He was transgressing the natural order by attempting to subvert death. Then he demonstrated vain impatience by looking back at Eurydice instead of heeding the advice to wait until exiting. That myth demonstrated his fall from grace. A tragic end and some would have sympathy for him and others would not, but a heroic end it was not. Greek mythology has a habit of giving once awesome heroes sad and pathetic deaths... A sentiment popular back in ancient Greece was that it was better to die young and in glory rather than to live long enough to turn into a fool. People ruminated on examples of this from both myth and history during antiquity.
The focus on 'getting someone out' as we think of it tends to be seen in terms of a romantic gesture today, but this wasn't always seen that way and it wasn't the only prominent myth about Orpheus.

We’ll never get the plot of FFVII to fit with the Orpheus myth neatly on every point. Even direct and deliberate adaptations deviate in huge ways. Heck, the same can be said of each retelling of myth even in antiquity. If you break down the myth to its individual components then you can pick and choose from them to suit yourself. For example, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Harry and his friends put the three-headed guard dog Fluffy (basically Cerberus) to sleep by playing a flute. Unchallenged, they can then descend into a dark, hidden vault of Hogwarts comparable to the Underworld. This is one rather isolated reference to Orpheus and J.K. Rowling takes it little further than that but it remains a valid example of reception and reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus. You never need the whole story to count it.

Although there is a way we can make the ‘taking someone out of Hell’ part of the Orpheus myth work with your theory about Jenova.

It could be that by gathering the Lifestream ready for a final departure into the cosmos, this could be a bit like Orpheus leading Eurydice out of the Underworld. Here the souls of everyone on the Planet are to be led away from their 'Hell' to have a chance to begin life anew elsewhere. Those who are too emotionally attached to the Planet (those who 'look back') thwart this and keep the Lifestream in situ on a broken planet.

Or this:
Edit:
Or maybe there is !
Considering that Jenova is the head of the Lifestream, one can imagine that the introductory scene (inspired by the Orpheus myth) where we see Aerith leaving the alley is a metaphor for the arrival of the Lifestream (of life, of love also perhaps) in hell (Midgar - the kingdom of men - hell on earth). Because humans/Shinra didn't wait the hypothetical arrival of Jenova to create hell.
But this arrival in hell would be much older in reality, it probably dates from the time when the Cetra began to settle down. Hell would then have grown as humans continued to consume spiritual energy.
Then Sephiroth comes to look for his mother Jenova (head of Lifestream) who may be seen in a certain way as a prisoner of the hell of men. Together they seek a way to escape and finally succeed on board the meteor (or fail and try again in Dirge and fail again).
If you are considering Hell as the decline of humanity and the loss of innocence of the Cetra (comparable to Adam and Eve), it could mostly certainly be argued that the Planet had become a terrestrial Hell over the centuries which followed the Cetran schism. Many characters attentive to the words of Bugenhagen and the Elders of Cosmo Canyon would probably agree with such symbolism.

I still don't believe we need to take Jenova as the head or even an ally of the Lifestream for other aspects of your theory to still tie together, but if she was (or if she was an entity greater than her physical manifestation 2,000 years ago and merely sent an aspect of herself to the Planet to punish people and had been present in another form earlier) maybe we could hypothetically argue that what was set in motion was an attempt to effect her exodus from the Planet. Thus Sephiroth, the guy who dresses a bit like a rockstar (a modern day Orpheus, perhaps), tries to get her out. Also like Orpheus, perhaps, he is rather self-focused and only thinks he cares about Jenova and only parrots what his twisted mind has learned (misinformation about Jenova's rights), but ultimately it is all about himself and his feelings (if we compare it with the more cynical, harsher critiques of Orpheus).

One thing that makes me think that Sephiroth could be a part of Orpheus is that in the Northern Cave (just before the final battle) it is possible to meet the enemies Christopher and Gighee together. One famous theory is that this global enemy represents David Bowie, a guitar player (David Bowie had been approached for the role of Orpheus in the movie "Parking", but he refused).
I also noticed that Christopher is almost the anagram of Sephiroth if we remove the first and the last letters. Also Sephiroth is kind of a christic figure in the game.
Moreover Sephiroth is killed by one of his former admirers (Cloud) much like Orpheus which is killed by the maenads in the myth (a frustrated fan in the movie).
This is interesting. I've known about the Ziggy Stardust / Gighee reference before, but I always love reading about it.

Christopher is also a Greek name and can be translated as 'carrier of Christ' or, more literally, 'carrier of the anointed one'. This would connect with your ideas about Sephiroth as a Christ comparison (alongside the fact that he has 'clones' which we might argue resemble disciples in a loose, twisted form, and also the fact that Sephiroth technically dies and is reborn/transcends as a godlike figure).
I'd be cautious about connecting the random encounter enemy named Christopher with Sephiroth, but the location of these enemies in the northern continent is fascinating and welcomes a great headcanon.

Damn, I thought I had finally managed to express my dark side! Fail... ;)
:argor:

Or maybe we're both already on the dark side!
 

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We’ll never get the plot of FFVII to fit with the Orpheus myth neatly on every point. Even direct and deliberate adaptations deviate in huge ways. Heck, the same can be said of each retelling of myth even in antiquity. If you break down the myth to its individual components then you can pick and choose from them to suit yourself. For example, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Harry and his friends put the three-headed guard dog Fluffy (basically Cerberus) to sleep by playing a flute. Unchallenged, they can then descend into a dark, hidden vault of Hogwarts comparable to the Underworld. This is one rather isolated reference to Orpheus and J.K. Rowling takes it little further than that but it remains a valid example of reception and reinterpretation of the myth of Orpheus. You never need the whole story to count it.
I like your idea that the presence of all the elements of the myth are not mandatory for us to argue that the main plot of the game is maybe deeply based on it.

Although there is a way we can make the ‘taking someone out of Hell’ part of the Orpheus myth work with your theory about Jenova.

It could be that by gathering the Lifestream ready for a final departure into the cosmos, this could be a bit like Orpheus leading Eurydice out of the Underworld. Here the souls of everyone on the Planet are to be led away from their 'Hell' to have a chance to begin life anew elsewhere. Those who are too emotionally attached to the Planet (those who 'look back') thwart this and keep the Lifestream in situ on a broken planet.
This would be a great reason to explain a failure to flee while keeping a link to the myth.

If you are considering Hell as the decline of humanity and the loss of innocence of the Cetra (comparable to Adam and Eve), it could mostly certainly be argued that the Planet had become a terrestrial Hell over the centuries which followed the Cetran schism. Many characters attentive to the words of Bugenhagen and the Elders of Cosmo Canyon would probably agree with such symbolism.

I still don't believe we need to take Jenova as the head or even an ally of the Lifestream for other aspects of your theory to still tie together, but if she was (or if she was an entity greater than her physical manifestation 2,000 years ago and merely sent an aspect of herself to the Planet to punish people and had been present in another form earlier) maybe we could hypothetically argue that what was set in motion was an attempt to effect her exodus from the Planet. Thus Sephiroth, the guy who dresses a bit like a rockstar (a modern day Orpheus, perhaps), tries to get her out. Also like Orpheus, perhaps, he is rather self-focused and only thinks he cares about Jenova and only parrots what his twisted mind has learned (misinformation about Jenova's rights), but ultimately it is all about himself and his feelings (if we compare it with the more cynical, harsher critiques of Orpheus).
This pretty much reflects what's in my head.
And yes I should stop saying that Jenova is head of Lifestream when in reality I think that she's the heroin of a fiction (myth) that's used to fool key characters. A reason to set things in motion. The real head should be seen as the Lifestream itself, the wandering soul or the semi-sentinent entity which could think/plot/influence but not act directly.
Also i like to believe that Sephiroth is dead for good during the Nibelheim Incident. He diluted into the Lifestream. He dosen't exist anymore except as a memory.
When we see him everywhere else in the game its the Lifestream that shows him to us in the form of this self-focused mad man.
As a now fictional character he keeps a strong potential to help the exodus as visions of him (spiritual energy) can be used to awake memories in Cloud/puppet's mind and so lead him to make (oriented) choices, (guided) actions.

What would be Jenova's role if you base your thinking on this new paradygm (the Lifestream is trying to leave) ?

:argor:

Or maybe we're both already on the dark side!
Ahah I feel that our new dogma is promised a bright future!
 
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Dionysos

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This pretty much reflects what's in my head.
And yes I should stop saying that Jenova is head of Lifestream when in reality I think that she's the heroin of a fiction (myth) that's used to fool key characters. A reason to set things in motion. The real head should be seen as the Lifestream itself, the wandering soul or the semi-sentinent entity which could think/plot/influence but not act directly.
Also i like to believe that Sephiroth is dead for good during the Nibelheim Incident. He diluted into the Lifestream. He dosen't exist anymore except as a memory.
When we see him everywhere else in the game its the Lifestream that shows him to us in the form of this self-focused mad man.
As a now fictional character he keeps a strong potential to help the exodus as visions of him (spiritual energy) can be used to awake memories in Cloud/puppet's mind and so lead him to make (oriented) choices, (guided) actions.
Yeah, Sephiroth is dead post-Nibelheim incident. At least physically speaking. His body is what the party encounters at the Northern Crater. He hadn't moved from this spot since he settled there after floating in the Lifestream following his surprise defeat by a young Cloud.

Sephiroth's spirit / soul endures, however. He figures out how to manipulate the cells of the corpse of Jenova in order to take his form and see that his will is done. He is certainly manipulating an already confused and traumatised Cloud in order to do his will too. If it wasn't for Tifa, I think Cloud could have lost himself entirely.

What would be Jenova's role if you base your thinking on this new paradygm (the Lifestream is trying to leave) ?
That's a tough question to me. For me Jenova is always to represent the mirror opposite of the Lifestream. Dark energy rather than light energy. Discord rather than harmony. Pollution rather that purity.

However, maybe this makes Jenova the other side of the same coin. Maybe elements of both could need to coexist in order to maintain balance. Too much light and the Planet with burn up. Too much darkness and the Planet will implode into a void. (So a bit similar to FFXIV's approach)

If we take this reinterpretation, maybe Sephiroth and Jenova were tilting the Planet too much towards the darkness. Then Aerith and Holy tilted the Planet too much towards the light. Geostigma could have been the result of a course correction until that too went too far, so the Planet provided a cure for the disease. That or Aerith manipulated the Lifestream from within in order to provide the cure and prevent the decline towards the dark (thus delaying the migration).

If so, maybe when one force (light or darkness) dominates the other and there is no going back, that is the moment when the Lifestream has to abandon the Planet and head off elsewhere.

Alternatively, the pull to darkness (Jenova, Sephiroth, Geostigma, etc) is set in motion when the Planet is considered unworthy and needs to be abandoned. At that point any actions of 'light' are merely delaying the inevitable.

But all of this speculation ignores the invasive, extraterrestrial origins of Jenova. It is true that we merely rely on the word of the Cetra for the origins of Jenova (as well as Shinra scientists when they examine the peculiar nature of Jenova's corpse), so it is possible that this is just a story. Alternatively, if the Cetra really were extraterrestrial themselves initially as discussed in this thread (the Spira theory and multiple migration theory), then the entire life cycle on the Planet could be from elsewhere.

I'm not sure where I would slot Jenova into this. I can loosely discuss the themes and how things might be represented and their mythological parallels, but to give Jenova a defined role in this theory would require saying that the story as related by the Cetra and those who researched it later is wrong or ill-informed. We can speculate on this, for sure, but we just need to remain aware that it'll be beyond the intended canonical interpretation of the game. But this is an alternative theory leading to an examination of the game in a different way, so speculation like this is fine.
 

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This pretty much reflects what's in my head.
And yes I should stop saying that Jenova is head of Lifestream when in reality I think that she's the heroin of a fiction (myth) that's used to fool key characters. A reason to set things in motion. The real head should be seen as the Lifestream itself, the wandering soul or the semi-sentinent entity which could think/plot/influence but not act directly.
Also i like to believe that Sephiroth is dead for good during the Nibelheim Incident. He diluted into the Lifestream. He dosen't exist anymore except as a memory.
When we see him everywhere else in the game its the Lifestream that shows him to us in the form of this self-focused mad man.
As a now fictional character he keeps a strong potential to help the exodus as visions of him (spiritual energy) can be used to awake memories in Cloud/puppet's mind and so lead him to make (oriented) choices, (guided) actions.
Yeah, Sephiroth is dead post-Nibelheim incident. At least physically speaking. His body is what the party encounters at the Northern Crater. He hadn't moved from this spot since he settled there after floating in the Lifestream following his surprise defeat by a young Cloud.

Sephiroth's spirit / soul endures, however. He figures out how to manipulate the cells of the corpse of Jenova in order to take his form and see that his will is done. He is certainly manipulating an already confused and traumatised Cloud in order to do his will too. If it wasn't for Tifa, I think Cloud could have lost himself entirely.

What would be Jenova's role if you base your thinking on this new paradygm (the Lifestream is trying to leave) ?
That's a tough question to me. For me Jenova is always to represent the mirror opposite of the Lifestream. Dark energy rather than light energy. Discord rather than harmony. Pollution rather that purity.

However, maybe this makes Jenova the other side of the same coin. Maybe elements of both could need to coexist in order to maintain balance. Too much light and the Planet with burn up. Too much darkness and the Planet will implode into a void. (So a bit similar to FFXIV's approach)

If we take this reinterpretation, maybe Sephiroth and Jenova were tilting the Planet too much towards the darkness. Then Aerith and Holy tilted the Planet too much towards the light. Geostigma could have been the result of a course correction until that too went too far, so the Planet provided a cure for the disease. That or Aerith manipulated the Lifestream from within in order to provide the cure and prevent the decline towards the dark (thus delaying the migration).

If so, maybe when one force (light or darkness) dominates the other and there is no going back, that is the moment when the Lifestream has to abandon the Planet and head off elsewhere.

Alternatively, the pull to darkness (Jenova, Sephiroth, Geostigma, etc) is set in motion when the Planet is considered unworthy and needs to be abandoned. At that point any actions of 'light' are merely delaying the inevitable.

But all of this speculation ignores the invasive, extraterrestrial origins of Jenova. It is true that we merely rely on the word of the Cetra for the origins of Jenova (as well as Shinra scientists when they examine the peculiar nature of Jenova's corpse), so it is possible that this is just a story. Alternatively, if the Cetra really were extraterrestrial themselves initially as discussed in this thread (the Spira theory and multiple migration theory), then the entire life cycle on the Planet could be from elsewhere.

I'm not sure where I would slot Jenova into this. I can loosely discuss the themes and how things might be represented and their mythological parallels, but to give Jenova a defined role in this theory would require saying that the story as related by the Cetra and those who researched it later is wrong or ill-informed. We can speculate on this, for sure, but we just need to remain aware that it'll be beyond the intended canonical interpretation of the game. But this is an alternative theory leading to an examination of the game in a different way, so speculation like this is fine.
 

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That's a tough question to me. For me Jenova is always to represent the mirror opposite of the Lifestream. Dark energy rather than light energy. Discord rather than harmony. Pollution rather that purity.

However, maybe this makes Jenova the other side of the same coin. Maybe elements of both could need to coexist in order to maintain balance. Too much light and the Planet with burn up. Too much darkness and the Planet will implode into a void. (So a bit similar to FFXIV's approach)

If we take this reinterpretation, maybe Sephiroth and Jenova were tilting the Planet too much towards the darkness. Then Aerith and Holy tilted the Planet too much towards the light. Geostigma could have been the result of a course correction until that too went too far, so the Planet provided a cure for the disease. That or Aerith manipulated the Lifestream from within in order to provide the cure and prevent the decline towards the dark (thus delaying the migration).

If so, maybe when one force (light or darkness) dominates the other and there is no going back, that is the moment when the Lifestream has to abandon the Planet and head off elsewhere.

Alternatively, the pull to darkness (Jenova, Sephiroth, Geostigma, etc) is set in motion when the Planet is considered unworthy and needs to be abandoned. At that point any actions of 'light' are merely delaying the inevitable.
Thank you for the effort :)
This seems pretty consistent/coherent and makes me think of the Yin and Yang relation which is quite likely natural inspiration from a Japanese production team.
I understand that by proposing the Lifestream and Jenova are two sides of the same coin, you decide to explore a track in which Jenova's role would in fact be seen as kind of the Lifestream's or an ally (co-responsible manager for the migration).

I tried to explore other placements for Jenova:
What would seem logical to me from a macro point of view, regarding this question. Considering that at a high level in the hierarchy of events something is trying to flee and that Jenova has a role in relation to this axis (Jenova is high level in the hierarchy of important entities so this assumption could be felt pretty natural).
If Jenova is not the lifestream nor an ally I see two main possibilities :

A - Jenova wants to prevent the Lifestream to flee.
This idea seems very unlikely since, if we believe Jenova is an alien that arrived on a meteor that brutally crashed onto the planet. If we believe how much the planet suffered from this wound. If we believe that in case of really high danger the Lifestream is capable to assemble into Omega and lift off (DoC) - All assumptions that are quite "canon"- the simple arrival of Jenova on the planet would logically have led the Lifestream to flee.

B - it's not the Lifestream that's trying to flee but Jenova.
This seems to go pretty well with Sephiroth's idea to ride through the cosmos. Leaving but using the planet* as the vehicle :

I noticed two main axis for which the idea of travel is the foundation.
1 - the Cetra migration (which stopped).
2 - what Sephiroth understands as the destiny of his mother as a cosmic traveler (and which he intends to continue).

But if I go back to the discovery that revealed the presence of the myth of Orpheus in the game (the scene from the movie Parking), it is Aerith who plays the role of Eurydice. And Aerith naturally seems more linked to the Lifestream than to Jenova tending to say that it's the Lifestream that is trapped in hell wanting to flee... Unless Aerith is in reality 100% Jenova which is quite unlikely.

Neither of these two hypotheses seems convincing to me, but maybe there are others.

If the two faces of a coin idea can help apprehend Jenova and Lifestream behaviours then the most plausible relationship is maybe still
"Jenova and Lifestream are the same entity".

But all of this speculation ignores the invasive, extraterrestrial origins of Jenova. It is true that we merely rely on the word of the Cetra for the origins of Jenova (as well as Shinra scientists when they examine the peculiar nature of Jenova's corpse), so it is possible that this is just a story. Alternatively, if the Cetra really were extraterrestrial themselves initially as discussed in this thread (the Spira theory and multiple migration theory), then the entire life cycle on the Planet could be from elsewhere.

I'm not sure where I would slot Jenova into this. I can loosely discuss the themes and how things might be represented and their mythological parallels, but to give Jenova a defined role in this theory would require saying that the story as related by the Cetra and those who researched it later is wrong or ill-informed. We can speculate on this, for sure, but we just need to remain aware that it'll be beyond the intended canonical interpretation of the game. But this is an alternative theory leading to an examination of the game in a different way, so speculation like this is fine.
I totally agree with these conclusions

* Buggenhagen says that when we die we return to the planet but it would probably be more accurate to say that we return to the Lifestream. I think that the developers have actively sought to maintain the doubt as to the true relation between Planet (base/rock) and Lifestream (life) which would be interesting because yeah there're reasons to believe the Lifestream is an alien.
 
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A - Jenova wants to prevent the Lifestream to flee.
This idea seems very unlikely since, if we believe Jenova is an alien that arrived on a meteor that brutally crashed onto the planet. If we believe how much the planet suffered from this wound. If we believe that in case of really high danger the Lifestream is capable to assemble into Omega and lift off (DoC) - All assumptions that are quite "canon"- the simple arrival of Jenova on the planet would logically have led the Lifestream to flee.
By all accounts Omega was supposed to be the last resort. When Jenova arrived, the Planet did divert energy into attempting to heal the wound created by the intruder. The Knowlespole region (Northern continent) was sapped of its vegetation and became largely inhospitable and devoid of life. If Jenova had not been contained and the diverting of the Lifestream to heal the wound had continued and spread, the balance might have been irreparably broken and it may be possible that the logical next step would be to abandon ship and force the Lifestream into Omega for a hasty departure.

B - it's not the Lifestream that's trying to flee but Jenova.
This seems to go pretty well with Sephiroth's idea to ride through the cosmos. Leaving but using the planet* as the vehicle :

I noticed two main axis for which the idea of travel is the foundation.
1 - the Cetra migration (which stopped).
2 - what Sephiroth understands as the destiny of his mother as a cosmic traveler (and which he intends to continue).
This seems about right. Fleeing might not be the term that Sephiroth or Jenova might use as I don't believe that they are running away to escape something, but Sephiroth appears to interpret his and Jenova's destinies as cosmic wanderers, appropriating the souls and lifeforce of the Planet in order to travel the cosmos.

But if I go back to the discovery that revealed the presence of the myth of Orpheus in the game (the scene from the movie Parking), it is Aerith who plays the role of Eurydice. And Aerith naturally seems more linked to the Lifestream than to Jenova tending to say that it's the Lifestream that is trapped in hell wanting to flee... Unless Aerith is in reality 100% Jenova which is quite unlikely.

Neither of these two hypotheses seems convincing to me, but maybe there are others.

If the two faces of a coin idea can help apprehend Jenova and Lifestream behaviours then the most plausible relationship is maybe still
"Jenova and Lifestream are the same entity".
If we take Aerith as Eurydice and side her with the Lifestream, she could represent those who are bound to stay on the Planet (AKA Hell) and attempt to make things work. Jenova and Sephiroth, on the other hand, might be our Orpheus in the sense that they want to force the migration and get the souls out of there. Perhaps. Having said that, we cannot forget the role of Hojo and the Deepground soldiers in trying to force Omega to work earlier than was natural. Would they side with Sephiroth and Jenova's role as the dark side of the coin in this hypothesis?

* Buggenhagen says that when we die we return to the planet but it would probably be more accurate to say that we return to the Lifestream. I think that the developers have actively sought to maintain the doubt as to the true relation between Planet (base/rock) and Lifestream (life) which would be interesting because yeah there're reasons to believe the Lifestream is an alien.
Yeah. I believe that the Planet without the Lifestream would just be a lifeless rock. The Lifestream may be the space or 'star dust’ which instilled the Planet with its literal spirit and allowed life to form on it. Where it came from initially we’ll probably never know. Like the life on our own planet, the answer lies in the stars at some point.

I think the distinction between Planet and Lifestream is a fair one, and this is something that Bugenhagen or even the Cetra may not have considered. It seems to be a semantics issue only though. What we call the Lifestream is situated within the Planet and is the soul of all life on the Planet, so in that sense it is also the most important aspect of the Planet's identity when it comes to lifeforms. Hence we refer to the cries of the Planet, the will of the Planet, etc, and all appear to be tied to the Lifestream.
Yet remove the Lifestream from the Planet and it will still be the 'Planet', but may lose its voice, its soul and its behaviour as a semi-sentient or at least reactive organism.
 

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If we take Aerith as Eurydice and side her with the Lifestream, she could represent those who are bound to stay on the Planet (AKA Hell) and attempt to make things work.
Maybe Aerith has reasons to hold back the next migration.

But if we take the title of the LOVELESS play, a play whose content seems to mark a link with the Lifestream but not especially with Jenova (Genesis's guess), we can notice that the title gives the idea of a treatment without love. On several occasions the text LOVELESS is associated with Aerith (in the street where she meets Cloud (OG), on the panel which falls on Rude during a talk about "mother" (AC), an excerpt from the play, mentioned by Cid, seems to mark a link with Aerith and her relationship to Zack / Cloud (OG - CC) ). There is perhaps reasons to think Aerith falsly gives the impression that she is concerned with the misfortunes of humanity when in fact she pursues a goal at all cost, without emotions.

Nonetheless the lyrics of My Bloody Valentine's album "Loveless" seem to speak more of impossible/dreamed love than hidden disaffection.

What main feeling comes out of reading the LOVELESS play (the text in 6 paragraphs), love?

Jenova and Sephiroth, on the other hand, might be our Orpheus in the sense that they want to force the migration and get the souls out of there.
Possibly but we can't ignore that Jenova has strong Eurydice attributes. For instance she can be seen literally as a prisoner of the hell of men (that someone is coming to help escape), more than Aerith (assuming that we have never seen the movie). Sephiroth is certainly the most orphean of the two.
Perhaps, as you propose, the roles (the essence of the characters) of Orpheus and Eurydice have to be held sometimes in a kind way, sometimes in a cruel way in order to achieve what has to be done.

Yeah. I believe that the Planet without the Lifestream would just be a lifeless rock. The Lifestream may be the space or 'star dust’ which instilled the Planet with its literal spirit and allowed life to form on it. Where it came from initially we’ll probably never know. Like the life on our own planet, the answer lies in the stars at some point.

I think the distinction between Planet and Lifestream is a fair one, and this is something that Bugenhagen or even the Cetra may not have considered. It seems to be a semantics issue only though. What we call the Lifestream is situated within the Planet and is the soul of all life on the Planet, so in that sense it is also the most important aspect of the Planet's identity when it comes to lifeforms. Hence we refer to the cries of the Planet, the will of the Planet, etc, and all appear to be tied to the Lifestream.
Yet remove the Lifestream from the Planet and it will still be the 'Planet', but may lose its voice, its soul and its behaviour as a semi-sentient or at least reactive organism.
This Planet / Lifestream distinction is very important to help support the argument of a cosmic migration against a planetary one.
The distinction and the idea of a cosmic migration can perhaps finally help understand the title of Sephiroth's musical theme "Those chosen by the planet".
 
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Maybe Aerith has reasons to hold back the next migration.

But if we take the title of the LOVELESS play, a play whose content seems to mark a link with the Lifestream but not especially with Jenova (Genesis's guess), we can notice that the title gives the idea of a treatment without love. On several occasions the text LOVELESS is associated with Aerith (in the street where she meets Cloud (OG), on the panel which falls on Rude during a talk about "mother" (AC), an excerpt from the play, mentioned by Cid, seems to mark a link with Aerith and her relationship to Zack / Cloud (OG - CC) ). There is perhaps reasons to think Aerith falsly gives the impression that she is concerned with the misfortunes of humanity when in fact she pursues a goal at all cost, without emotions.

Nonetheless the lyrics of My Bloody Valentine's album "Loveless" seem to speak more of impossible/dreamed love than hidden disaffection.

What main feeling comes out of reading the LOVELESS play (the text in 6 paragraphs), love?
That’s interesting. I've not really considered where Loveless appears before. As you say, it appears to have close connections to Aerith. Her character would seem to be a neat parallel with the themes in the epic poem / play. It's interesting how that panel in Advent Children even looks a bit like Aerith, as if people might have cast someone who looks a bit like her as some sort of tribute in a later production.

Maybe the main exception to this connection would be Genesis who seeks the Goddess from the poem. At first I think he suspects Jenova to the be the Goddess (it has been a while so I'm not 100%) but eventually believes Minerva to be her. Minerva is something I have largely forgotten about but I believe it was speculated that she is another being which acts out the will of the Lifestream. In the traditional view of the story (and in the development of your theory where Jenova might be another part of the same coin) she might be the yang to Jenova's yin. The force of Light rather than the darkness of Jenova.

Maybe one does need to become ‘Loveless' in order to carry out the cosmic migration because it means ending physical life and moving the spiritual energy elsewhere to begin anew.

But Aerith seems to be preventing the migration. Maybe she was too attached to the present life rather than the long-term well-being of the spiritual energy of the Planet as a whole. Unwilling to let go. I wouldn't say that Aerith lacked emotions though, unless she was an excellent actress. If anything, the opposite was true and it might be that because she had too many emotions this is why she was resistant. She cared for the people of the Planet of the present, and was unwilling to leave the damaged Planet behind and find a healthier home. Then again, she settles in nicely in the Lifestream and understands how life persists after death in a loose form, so maybe she could also be content with all life returning to the Lifestream and going off elsewhere at the appropriate time.

Possibly but we can't ignore that Jenova has strong Eurydice attributes. For instance she can be seen literally as a prisoner of the hell of men (that someone is coming to help escape), more than Aerith (assuming that we have never seen the movie). Sephiroth is certainly the most orphean of the two.
Perhaps, as you propose, the roles (the essence of the characters) of Orpheus and Eurydice have to be held sometimes in a kind way, sometimes in a cruel way in order to achieve what has to be done.
Since we never really see Jenova at her prime and witness her own conscious will, there is a lot of room for interpretation there. She may have been a predator hoping to feed on the Planet or, as you say, she could have been trapped on the Planet and wanted to get off it. So in that way, yeah, she's a parallel to Eurydice and Sephiroth can be like an Orpheus with this way of thinking applied.

This Planet / Lifestream distinction is very important to help support the argument of a cosmic migration against a planetary one.
The distinction and the idea of a cosmic migration can perhaps finally help understand the title of Sephiroth's musical theme "Those chosen by the planet".
This is an interesting angle. I wonder if canonically we are to see this as part of Sephiroth’s delusions of grandeur as he might believe that he is chosen by the Planet. Alternatively, considering the plural ‘those’ maybe it refers to the player party and how they are chosen by the Planet to defeat Sephiroth. Rather than it being truly Sephiroth’s theme it might be the theme of the struggle against him.

But if we apply your theory then the theme could work in suggesting that Sephiroth has been chosen to enforce and lead the Lifestream migration.
 

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That’s interesting. I've not really considered where Loveless appears before. As you say, it appears to have close connections to Aerith. Her character would seem to be a neat parallel with the themes in the epic poem / play. It's interesting how that panel in Advent Children even looks a bit like Aerith, as if people might have cast someone who looks a bit like her as some sort of tribute in a later production.
I think I read somewhere that this picture of "Aerith" (we're not sure if it's her) is the same as a previously known picture of her like in a game menu or some officially printed material.
I like your interpretation of a director who would hire an actress resembling Aerith to play the lead role.

Maybe the main exception to this connection would be Genesis who seeks the Goddess from the poem. At first I think he suspects Jenova to the be the Goddess (it has been a while so I'm not 100%) but eventually believes Minerva to be her. Minerva is something I have largely forgotten about but I believe it was speculated that she is another being which acts out the will of the Lifestream. In the traditional view of the story (and in the development of your theory where Jenova might be another part of the same coin) she might be the yang to Jenova's yin. The force of Light rather than the darkness of Jenova.
Thank you for linking this thread about Minerva, I found both the question and the answers very interesting.
I wonder how The Witch knows the lifestream traveled through space to land on this planet, but I like the idea as well as the one that would suggest Minerva had been the captain.
What if the body of "Jenova" found in a stratum dating back 2000 years was the body of the goddess who guided the Lifestream (Omega) on this planet. The ship would have crashed (or maybe it's just its way of landing) on the northern continent. This is why the body would naturally have been found at the bottom of the northern crater. This landing would not be an accident and the goddess would have "sacrificed" to prolong / spread life. An ephemeral sacrifice since "nothing shall forestall her return". Maybe Aerith is a manifestation of the goddess, maybe she's the embodiment that will sacrifice herself on the next landing !

I wonder if Genesis's part is not just an act. If he really seeks something or if he's here to declare/accompany the prophecy in a form maybe more comprehensible to Zack/the player. Because he announces shortly before Zacks assasination that there shall be a sacrifice at world's end, that it's tragic Zack dosen't understand the beauty of these words, but that he will understand (CC). By saying that he seems to let us understand he knows in advance what 's going to happen (Zacks death). If he knows then I can easily see him as a member of the conspiracy (the inside job).
I think what most players understood form the death of Zack is that he sacrificed his life to save Cloud. But maybe he did not but rather has been sacrificed, like it was part of a plan.

Maybe Loveless is played in the real world and its interpretation (the inside job) is in fact the adventure the player is pushed through, like Crisis Core depicts the prophecy coming true.
I have already questioned the sincerity of Angeal in this thread (see post # 40 - but I started my intervention to this thread on post # 24).

Maybe one does need to become ‘Loveless' in order to carry out the cosmic migration because it means ending physical life and moving the spiritual energy elsewhere to begin anew.
Surely somebody has to be Loveless and I have to say a lot of evidences point to Aerith. Maybe Loveless can be seen as a role/name, like Hamlet is the name of a famous play as well as the name of the hero.
 
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Dionysos

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I got busy a while ago and the forgot to reply to this. Sorry!

I think I read somewhere that this picture of "Aerith" (we're not sure if it's her) is the same as a previously known picture of her like in a game menu or some officially printed material.
That’s interesting about the Aerith poster. If I’ve seen that anywhere else then I haven’t recognised it or connected the dots.


There's an automaton harp in the forgotten capital :)
Oh nice! It’s an automaton but I’m not sure if we can truly call that a harp (though it has some harp-like features in its appearance when the camera zooms out). It seems to me to be an original instrument which relies on the key striking hard crystal ‘strings’ as it rotates. The ‘strings’ are loose and don’t appear to be fixed at the top so it seems different, but it could be argued to be a quirky and fantastical form of a stringed instrument aesthetically speaking. I’d interpret it as being like a percussion instrument too in that it involves bars (the crystals) being struck by another object. Not a xylophone (which would be wood) or a glockenspiel (which would be metal) but some form of ‘crystallophone’ with crystals being struck to create a sound. I’m not sure. It seems to me to be an original instrument which blends the function of percussion with the appearance of a stringed instrument like a harp. Maybe someone knowledgeable about instruments could shed some light. Maybe there really are obscure instruments like this out there. If there can be a Ukrainian folk instrument consisting of a horse's tail sticking out of a barrel then I'm sure it isn't entirely implausible that something like this Cetran contraption might exist somewhere (minus the automation).

Regardless of the precise form of the instrument, the musical aspect here is no doubt interesting for considering the themes of Orpheus.

The automaton angle is also interesting. There existed a tradition of automata in ancient Greece, some scientific and real (including water powered automata such as moving statues and toys, particularly in the Hellenistic period) and others imagined in myth. Homer’s Hephaestus possessed moving tripods acting as his servants which could be interpreted as ‘robots’ of a sort). More relevant to our interests, Talos is a robot-like animated bronze statue who is yet another obstacle to Jason’s Argonauts while they sail by Crete (Orpheus, who is himself an Argonaut, is never far away from any of this, it seems!)

Automata appears to be fairly important to the culture of the Cetra as well. Some of their tech appears to be water powered, as well as requiring gears (or spindly sticks serving as gears/keys) and probably have their own unique fields of mechanics. It adds to the mystery of the civilisation and signals that they were a highly advanced culture.
 
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