STOP THE PRESSES GUYS I’ve figured out the answer to one of the GREAT FF MYSTERIES OF THE AGES
first off the game’s been out for fifteen years so we’re well past the spoiler statute of limitations on it, but even so, MAJOR SPOILERS FOR FFIX AHEAD because goddamn
you see that motherfucker in the top image? that’s Necron, aka The Darkness of Eternity, final boss of FFIX, who I’m sure we’re all aware has up until now made NO FUCKING SENSE?
Well this morning I was reading up on it in the Final Fantasy wikia, as one does occasionally, and something in the trivia section stood out to me: apparently, in the early concept art, Necron’s role was meant to be played by Hades. You can see him—which is to say, Hades—confronting the party on the Hill of Despair in the second image above.
HADES, as you may know, is a frequent customer in the Final Fantasy series. More specifically, contrary to his role in FFIX as bonus-boss-cum-shopkeeper, he’s typically a summon monster—an eidolon.
Eidolons are a HUGE PLOT POINT IN FFIX. Eiko’s arc culminates in the awakening of Madeen, her personal eidolon, who, if you go to inspect the eidolon wall, is revealed to have been deliberately created by Eiko’s family as an act of love in hopes of protecting their daughter. THIS ESTABLISHES that it’s possible for people who have the ability to summon to create Eidolons of their own will if their desire and belief is strong enough.
KUJA is a soulless Genome from Terra and should not be able to summon eidolons at all in the first place! As evidenced by how he spent the entire first half of the game manipulating people who were able to summon by themselves into summoning powerful eidolons so he could use his magical eyeball spaceplane to take control of them. However! In pursuit of his Plan B, achieving trance, he absorbed the soul of Queen Brahne, who had in life acquired the ability to summon Eidolons. THAT MEANS Kuja, by the end of the game, has the soul of a summoner, stolen though it may be. Furthermore, the endgame happens at the well of life itself: the planet Crystal, which, according to the Ultimania, is also the source of a planet’s eidolons.
IN SHORT, this gives Kuja both the motive and the means by the end of his battle to create an eidolon: NECRON. When Necron first appears, it says it was called forth by Kuja’s desire to end all life. Where Madeen was born of hope and love, Necron came from Kuja’s hatred and despair. Kuja’s strong will at the moment of his defeat and his summoner soul, now in close proximity to the birthplace of all Eidolons, provide the catalyst for Necron’s creation. Necron is neither a random interloper from nowhere nor an ideological symbol not intended to be taken literally: it’s a summoned eidolon, just like Ark or Alexander, a creature sustained and driven by a powerful mortal will, completely in line with the in-universe natural laws.
And now I’m going to go lie down and/or scream a little more.
Reblogging because FF9 is my favorite FF anyway and holy crap someone figured it out!
According to the 20th Anniversary Ultimania, Necron is “a being awakened by Kuja’s fear, despair, and hatred, which called out to it as he learned of his mortality, just as his ambitions were within reach.” If Kuja can summon an eidolon on his own (an eidolon takes form by being worshipped by creatures of Gaia, this is why Ozma is strangely formless) he is possibly the most powerful entity in the universe aside from Necron. Necron is from the Greek ‘nekros’ which just means death. He is an entity of death, a formless shade similar to The Cloud of Darkness or Exdeath, and existed in the crystal’s void.
I don’t believe he’s an eidolon just because they cannot exist without worship, otherwise they become strangely formless just like Ozma and Necron has retained his form and is a keeper over death. His Japanese name is actually ‘Darkness of Eternity’ symbolizing that he has always existed, and will always exist, so Kuja did not give him form, so he cannot be an eidolon.
See that’s why I brought up Madeen! If you go to inspect the Eidolon Wall late in the game—after Bran Bal I think but don’t quote me on that one—you can find this inscription:
“Eiko, You are a treasure born to a dying village. We are dying, and there is little we can do for you. We shall return to the stars with one wish in mind. If legends are not born of eidolons, and eidolons but born out of legends, let us leave this place with one wish: If we can give birth to a legend, it shall create an eidolon that is friend and protector of humans.”
Madeen was never worshiped as a god; rather, she was created deliberately. This provides a precedent within the narrative that it’s possible for a strictly limited number of mortal wills—in Madeen’s case, at most three summoners (Eiko’s mother, Eiko’s father, Eiko’s grandfather) and perhaps a handful of moogles—to give form to an entirely new eidolon. From here, we can infer that it’s also plausible that a single will could do the same. One of the criticisms frequently leveled against Necron’s presence in FFIX is that it was apparently completely unforeshadowed, which seems uncharacteristically sloppy for such an otherwise well-written game. But if I’m correct, then the details of Madeen’s origin were meant to foreshadow the birth of Necron.
As for Necron being an eternal force of nature—yes, I agree with that, in fact it asserts so itself… but I don’t see the contradiction. Ifrit is fire, Shiva is ice, Ramuh is thunder. Necron is the end of all things. But they are also symbols, personifications of natural forces, dreams given form by the minds of mortals: eidolons. By the time you fight him for the final time, Kuja thinks everything he’s worked towards is worthless because he’s going to die anyway. At that point, the only faith he has left is in the end of all things. Boss rush gameplay mechanics aside, I think this also explains from a narrative standpoint why Necron only appears once Kuja has been soundly defeated: that would have pushed his mental state however much further he needed to go for his conviction to draw the amorphous symbol that Necron represents from the depths of the crystal, and to give it form and consciousness.
Also Necron totally matches the decor of the Desert Palace, Kuja’s sense of aesthetics is so fucking gaudy oh my god
(can I also mention how excited I am that there’s still enough of FFIX fandom around for this to spark a discussion, I mean where have y’all been lately I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE STILL OUT THERE)
I just want to get it out of the way that it still bugs me to this day that it is ‘Madeen’ in FF IX when it should be Maduin. FF VI reference and an error on the translators part. But anyways.
Madeen is an interesting counterpoint because it’s the only example aside from Kuja that a single person can call forth a powerful entity. Mog was already Madeen, just in disguise, and Eiko’s desperation called her forth similar to the way Necron was called forth.
However, I still don’t think that Necron is an eidolon, but as it says in the game that it was called due to Kuja’s massive despair about immortality. A different entity. It just fits more with the flavor if Necron is a void entity like Exdeath or Cloud of Darkness. Necron fights on its own instead of being used as a power by the player, like Madeen. Ozma can seemingly do this because it is an entity of power far greater than any other Eidolon. It seems like if Necron was an Eidolon, as I said before, it would be formless like Ozma.