|“||Maybe Cocoon is past saving, but it's our home. And we'll protect it or die trying! We live to make the impossible possible! That is our Focus!||„|
Lightning, her original name being Claire Farron, is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII. She is the narrator and a temporary playable character in Final Fantasy XIII-2, and returns as the protagonist and sole permanently playable character in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
She was voiced by famous voice actress Ali Hillis.
Lightning is a young woman with wavy rose colored hair, and pale aqua eyes. Lightning's eye color has been officially noted to be blue, though in the FMVs and promotional art they often appear green due to green aspects around the pupil.
In Final Fantasy XIII, she wears a variation of the standard Guardian Corps uniform. The green metallic pauldron over her left shoulder bearing yellow stripes denotes her previous rank as a sergeant. She carries her gunblade in a black case which hangs off her belt, and wears a necklace with a lightning bolt pendant. Her l'Cie brand is located slightly above her left breast. She has a navel piercing, although it can be difficult to spot.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning wears a silver and gold Valkyrie-like suit of armor with a shield on her left arm (though in her CG render it appears on the right arm). She has a new gunblade more closely resembling a traditional doubled-edged sword, which has Etro script on it. She no longer has the navel piercing she did in Final Fantasy XIII.
During Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning has a number of different costumes. Her default outfit, Equilibrium, is similar to what she wore in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The Night Lotus shield on her left arm and the Crimson Blitz sword in her right hand, similar to Noel's Flame Fossil dual swords, are in homage to her Eidolon Odin. The game's logo appears on her outfit a number of times: on her chest, her sword and her shield.
Lightning is determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is cold and standoffish, distancing herself from her companions. She only looks out for herself and doesn't care if others are left behind. Much of her motivation is fueled from what she perceives as failing to protect Serah leading her to lash out at those she believes are responsible for that and her l'Cie fate: namely, the Sanctum, its fal'Cie and, to a point, Snow Villiers, due to his relationship with Serah and his failure to protect her as he promised. As she journeys with Hope Estheim and takes him under her wing, Lightning begins to show compassion and trust others, and sees the errors in her approach. Ultimately, she becomes the leader and, to a degree, protector of the other Pulse l'Cie as they journey to challenge their fate.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning has almost become a new woman due to the experiences and emotions she has endured. She has learned to trust others and ask them for help, and expresses her emotions rather than keeping them bottled up inside her. Her time in Valhalla and recognition of her past "sins" has made her more somber.
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is initially cold and distant, most of her emotions sapped from her, although her memories remain intact. Her wish to save Serah remains, and she still shows concern for her former allies. Lightning and Hope demonstrate trust and care for one another, Hope promising to be by her side, helping Lightning better maintain her humanity despite her situation. She resents Bhunivelze for robbing her of her emotions and his use of her situation to his advantage.
As her quest advances, Lightning begins to show compassion toward others because of her assigned task to save their souls. Straying from her cold-hearted personality, she begins to encourage those struggling implying Lightning unconsciously had given up her emotions, rather than Bhunivelze taking them with force, which is further suggested by Lumina. By the end of her quest, Lightning has come around from her self-imposed tough and emotionless warrior persona, as Serah and Lumina, along with all her experiences, help her realize that locking her heart away is how she threw away her happiness.
In the Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII: Epilogue, Lightning has matured to the point of becoming more at peace with herself, no longer being standoffish or having to be on guard.
Final Fantasy XIII
As the Purge train enters the Hanging Edge, Lightning attacks the PSICOM soldiers aboard and frees her fellow captives. PSICOM forces fire on the train and a Manasvin Warmech brings it to a halt. Lightning and Sazh fight through the PSICOM forces and arrive at the Vestige where they discover Serah outside the Pulse fal'Cie Anima's throne. Snow, Hope and Vanille arrive, and Serah asks Lightning to save Cocoon before entering crystal stasis, having fulfilled her Focus. Lightning and the group confront and destroy Anima, but are branded l'Cie before it perishes and the Vestige plummets to Lake Bresha, crystallizing it on impact.
Lightning and her new companions awaken in Lake Bresha realizing they are now l'Cie. and that upon being branded they shared a vision of the legendary beast Ragnarok. They discover Serah's crystal form fused to the crystallized lake. Deeming Serah is dead, Lightning reluctantly opts to continue onward to evade the army's closing net and so they leave behind Snow, who has chosen to dig Serah out. They find an airship in abandoned ruins at the lake's edge and use it to escape, but are attacked by pursuing PSICOM ships and crash in the Vile Peaks.
Lightning plans to go to the capital city of Eden to destroy its namesake fal'Cie that controls the Sanctum, blaming it for the Purge and her current situation. After a disagreement on their Focus, which they believe to be destroying Cocoon, the group splits up: Lightning heads for Eden to take down the Sanctum, and Sazh and Vanille head for the opposite direction to run from their fate. Followed by Hope and unable to send him back, Lightning lets him accompany her. Her patience wears thin as Hope becomes a liability and Lightning threatens to leave him. Her frustration summons the Eidolon Odin to attack Hope. Lightning saves him and they defeat the Eidolon together, convincing her to let Hope travel with her and help him "toughen up".
At the Gapra Whitewood, Hope takes the lead and Lightning gives him her survival knife to boost his confidence. Hope intents to take revenge on Snow for his part in his mother's death during the Purge, and when Lightning tells him the Sanctum is to blame Hope resolves in making both Snow and the Sanctum pay for it. Lightning tries to dissuade Hope by suggesting they visit his father.
In Palumpolum, Hope leads Lightning into the underground Nutriculture Complex to avoid PSICOM. Upon hearing Hope speak of the fal'Cie treating humans like their pets, Lightning realizes that having lived under fal'Cie care since birth she had always been their pawn, and that her anger is over her protectors turning against her. Realizing she has dragged Hope into the same delusion of fighting blindly to make up for doubt and confusion, Lightning tells Hope their goals of vengeance are over and promises she will not abandon him. PSICOM soldiers led by Yaag Rosch ambush Lightning and Hope as they emerge in the Agora, but Snow and Oerba Yun Fang, who have teamed up with the Cavalry to overthrow Sanctum, intervene to save them. Lightning escapes with Fang while Snow takes Hope. With wireless communicators the pairs agree to meet up at Hope's house. Hope wants to go through with his revenge against her wishes, and when Lightning tries to reason with him her plea never reaches him.
Lightning learns Fang is not only a Pulse l'Cie like herself, but an actual Gran Pulse citizen from the land below the floating world of Cocoon. Fang and Vanille were crystallized centuries earlier after completing their Focus, but awoke in Cocoon without knowing how or why, and were indirectly responsible for Serah being made a l'Cie. Lightning and Fang realize Pulse and Cocoon are more similar than they initially thought in how both worlds fear and hate each other. Fang tells Lightning how a l'Cie's brand indicates the amount of time until one becomes a Cie'th—a crystalline monster a l'Cie who fails their Focus becomes—and reassures Serah will wake from crystal stasis one day.
Lightning and Fang locate Snow and Hope in time to help the latter battle an Ushumgal Subjugator. Hope has abandoned his plan for revenge and returns Lightning's knife, and they promise to protect each other before the group proceeds to Hope's home. Lightning tends to the injuries Snow sustained from protecting Hope and apologizes for her earlier behavior towards him, having gained appreciation for how Snow always stayed by Serah's side. PSICOM attacks the apartment but disguised Cavalry soldiers intervene. During the chaos Lightning has Hope tie up his dad to make him appear like an unwilling accomplice.
The party boards the Cavalry's airship, the Lindblum, and learns Sazh and Vanille are being held captive on the Palamecia. Primarch Galenth Dysley, the head of Sanctum government, is overseeing the transport. The four l'Cie infiltrate the Palamecia to rescue Sazh and Vanille, and once reunited, they confront Dysley on the bridge. He reveals himself as the fal'Cie Barthandelus, leader of the Cocoon fal'Cie, and explains the group's Focus is to destroy Cocoon by turning into Ragnarok and killing Orphan, the fal'Cie that sustains Cocoon. The party flees on a small airship, which autopilots them through Eden into the Fifth Arkhidden beneath the city.
The group's l'Cie powers are fully awoken and they encounter the leader of the Cavalry, Cid Raines. He reveals he is a Sanctum l'Cie branded by Barthandelus with the Focus of aiding them; Barthandelus desires for Cocoon's destruction so the deaths of its inhabitants would summon the Maker, the creator of fal'Cie and humans alike. Raines rebels against his Focus by attempting to kill them, and though defeated, transforms into crystal despite having defied his Focus. The group decides to follow his example and save Cocoon. Fang turns against them until Lightning and Vanille help her tame her Eidolon, Bahamut. The party finds an airship with a gate leading to Gran Pulse, and descends to the world below hoping to find aid in their quest.
After falling under attack by a wild wyvern, Lightning helps Fang summon Bahamut to save the party. They land and create a base camp in the Vallis Media, but after days of searching find Pulse devoid of human life. Hope wishes to be left behind and his Eidolon Alexander appears. Lightning and Fang help Hope tame the Eidolon, and with their resolve renewed, the party decides to head to Oerba, Vanille and Fang's hometown.
The party crosses the Archylte Steppe into the Mah'habara Subterra and the Sulyya Springs, where Lightning and Snow promise to see Serah together after saving Cocoon. They ascend Taejin's Tower and ride a capsule down to the outskirts of Oerba, but find it abandoned. The group is confronted by Serah, who refers to Lightning by her birthname and asks the group to destroy Orphan to summon the Maker and save the world from despair. Serah is Dysley in disguise, who announces he has resigned as Primarch and appointed a revived Raines in his place to incite a civil war, as the Cavalry would see him as a traitor. He has his familiar, Menrva, transform into an airship for the group to return to Cocoon, and they do so to try and stop Dysley's plans.
They crash the Eden Grand Prix and make their way to Orphan's Cradleamong the ensuing chaos. In the depths of the Narthex they find Dysley, who summons the crystallized Dajh Katzroy and Serah before the party and shatters them. Denouncing it as an illusion, the party fights Barthandelus and destroys him. His defeat awakens the sleeping Orphan, who wishes to be destroyed after centuries of not having a life, and attacks them.
Fang submits to Orphan's demands and agrees to become Ragnarok. After they try to stop her, Lightning and the others aside from Vanille are turned into Cie'th and attack Fang. Orphan tortures her to force her to transform but Fang's incomplete transformation is not strong enough to kill Orphan. The Cie'th party members relive the memories of their quest and are restored, believing their transformation was another fal'Cie illusion, and that they have seen something that resembled a new Focus. Lightning announces their new Focus is to save Cocoon and all of the party's l'Cie brands burn out.
Orphan's true form is vanquished and Cocoon begins to fall. Lightning and the others float away as Vanille and Fang transform into a complete Ragnarok, and stop Cocoon's descent by forming a crystal pillar to support it above Gran Pulse. Lightning and the others enter crystal stasis, but are restored and find they are no longer l'Cie. Lightning is reunited with Serah and begins apologizing to her, but is cut short when Snow reminds they "have a wedding to plan". Snow reassures Lightning he will make Serah happy, and Lightning congratulates them.
Skills and Abilities
Lightning is trained in battle from her time in the military and is an excellent combatant, as she was able to take out several members of the PSICOM soldiers with or without aid on different occasions. In Final Fantasy XIII-2 she became the goddess Etro's champion, and had fought Caius Ballad to a stalemate. In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, her physical parameters far exceed that of a normal human, in the finale, she had fought against the creator Bhuniveze himself, before recieving aid from her friends.
Her weapon called the Blazefire Saber: a Gunblade that she wields with superb precision in either form (effectively making her both a close and ranged-combatant). Her ultimate attack is the the Army of One.
In battle her primary roles are Commando, Ravager, and Medic. Her stats are balanced, provided her versatility and her greatest trait is her speed, since she attacks faster that the other characters. However Lightning has low HP gain compared to the other characters, and when her stats are maxed out, she has the second lowest health (behind Hope Estheim).
As a chosen l'Cie, Lightning has the ability to summon her personal Eidolon Odin, using the Eidolith. In Gestalt Mode he transforms into the horse of Slephnir, with her able to mount on top of him, and wield his two blades. Odin deals lightning elemental damage to enemies.
- In Final Fantasy XIII Lightning's real name: Claire/Eclair (depending on version) was revealed before their 2nd fight with Barthandelus in Oerba, who disguised himself as Serah. Interestingly Snow revealed her surname Farron early in the story.
- Lightning's was originally going to be a flirtatious character with more sex appeal, however the developers decided to make her more serious, with the original concept eventually making its way into Oerba Yun Fang's design.
- Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, reveals that Lightning is better at housework than Serah, but Serah is the better cook.
- Lightning is Toriyama's favorite character out of those he helped create, along with Yuna and Princess Yoyo from Bahamut Lagoon.
- Counting the crossovers and DLC, Lightning has the most costumes out any of the characters in the series, being over 90.
- The developers were originally going to have Lightning reunite with her friends in the epilogue, however they had a change of plans, stating the the story began with Lightning and that it was going to end with Lightning.
- She has the closest bond with her Eidolon:
- The director Motumo Toriyama included him (in the form of a White Chocobo nicknamed the "Angel of Valhalla") in Lightning Returns, stating that he was a "good friend", and that he was someone for Lightning to open her heart to (despite the gloomy setting of the game).
- When the Eidolons disappeared after the fight with Bhunivelze, he gives Lightning a silent kneel before departing.