Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Aeons

FFX__Dark_Aeon_Anima_by_BloodyMoogleContinuing on with this series, I am unfortunately not done talking about the religion in Final Fantasy X. I’ve already gone over what Yevon is, but I have not talked about what it entails. Or rather, I haven’t talked about its foundation in detail. And just as a warning, while my other posts have had spoilers in them, this one will have a lot more.

Anyway, if you want to continue reading, Yevon is centered on the aeons, which are essential in order for summoners to defeat Sin. Most simply, aeons are powerful creatures that summoners can summon and control at will, but it is more complicated than that. I’ve already gone over both the portrayal of religion and the dead, which are also essential to understanding what the aeons actually are. A dead person is comprised of pyreflies, which act as a soul, more or less. Sometimes dead people will become angry and turn into monsters, while other times, they’ll manifest as ghosts. And in keeping with the general theme of Final Fantasy X, aeons also come from the dead, though aeons themselves are not dead. More accurately, they’re the manifestation of dreams of the dead.

While some dead people become fiends and others become ghosts, a small few will become fayths. Fayths are people who died willingly and had their souls forever trapped inside stone statues. Every Yevon temple in Spira has at least one statue. When summoners travel to the different temples, they enter something called The Cloister of Trials. Once completing that task, a summoner may enter The Chamber of the Fayth, where he or she can pray to the fayth’s statue for a way to defeat Sin. If the fayth answers the summoner’s prayers, the fayth will then grant that summoner its aeon. Summoners must train by praying at temples and obtaining as many aeons as possible or they will never become strong enough to gain the power of the Final Aeon, which is the only aeon that can defeat Sin.

It is the aeons that are responsible for both destroying Sin and rebirthing it over and over again. Unfortunately, like every other good idea in this game, something has to ruin it. So besides Yevon using machina, what I’m about to talk about is the other incredibly large plot hole that could have very easily been fixed.

The events that set our plot in motion happened around one thousand years ago. Though nowadays Bevelle is the largest religious center in the world and regards Zanarkand as a holy place, way back in the past, that wasn’t the case. Bevelle and Zanarkand used to be at war with each other, and Bevelle used machina willingly and openly without hypocrisy involved, while Zanarkand used summoners. Unfortunately for Zanarkand, Bevelle was winning the war and Zanarkand looked to be on the brink of destruction.

Many people from Zanarkand died, and so Yu-Yevon, the current leader of Zanarkand, had all the surviving citizens become fayths. These fayths summoned a dream version of Zanarkand. Within this dream Zanarkand, the fayths created all the buildings and all the people who had lived in the real Zanarkand. This was meant as a way to preserve their home forever. And it is actually from this dream world that Tidus and his father, Jecht, come. Tidus and Jecht are technically both aeons. And the bridge between this dream world and the real world is Sin. Only Sin allows passage between them. And when Yu-Yevon turned all of his people into fayths, he created Sin. Sin is actually an armor surrounding the dream world of Zanarkand, if I understand what happened correctly, in order to protect it. And Sin was then tasked with murdering people in the real world and halting technological advancements so machina wars could never be waged again. In order to tame Sin, Yu-Yevon taught his daughter, Yunalesca, the secret of the Final Aeon. She then taught this secret to the people of Bevelle. Following this, Bevelle founded the Yevon faith, and has been sending summoners on pilgrimages to meet Yunalesca’s ghost in the real Zanarkand’s ruins for one-thousand years.

What summoners learn upon arriving in Zanarkand is that there is no fayth for the Final Aeon. The Final Aeon does not exist. Yunalesca greets summoners to tell them this, but she also tells them that she has a way to create a Final Aeon. Yunalesca has the ability to turn other people into fayths, and in order for a summoner to receive an aeon powerful enough to defeat a creature as strong as Sin, that summoner and the fayth in question need to have a close personal bond: a husband, friend, brother, etc.

Yunalesca was the very first summoner to kill Sin, and her Final Aeon came from her husband. Following Sin’s destruction, Yu-Yevon will possess the Final Aeon that killed Sin and spend the next so many years transforming it into a new Sin. Because Yunalesca’s connection to her Final Aeon was so strong, the possession of it killed her. Yunalesca’s ghost then remained in Zanarkand so she could turn the guardians of the summoners who succeeded in their pilgrimages into fayths, so the entire process would repeat over and over again.

The Final Aeon being both a salvation for Spira and the source of its destruction is very interesting. Yevon presents it as though it is the ultimate hope, but in actuality, it continues the people’s despair, which is why it is so important that Yuna throws it away as a false tradition and defeats Sin without it. This is an awesome plot element that fits in with everything else going on in Spira. Final Fantasy X centers on death and despair, and the idea of Sin being eternal no matter how many summoners give their lives just enforces that. Yunalesca and the Maesters of Yevon believe that the Final Aeon is the only source of hope in an endless spiral of death, when in actuality, it’s keeping the spiral going.

But by making Tidus and Jecht aeons, the game ruins this.

After dreaming constantly for over one-thousand years, the fayths are a little tired of being asleep, and they want to wake up. But they cannot until Sin is destroyed. I’m not sure if this is because they’re physically unable to wake up—which I doubt—or if it’s because they feel as though they have an obligation to the people of Spira for helping to bring about such a monstrosity. The fayths’ plan in order to end Sin forever is to use Tidus, but first they used his father.

Jecht came to Spira from the dream Zanarkand ten years ago, and he accompanied Yuna’s father, Lord Braska, on his pilgrimage to defeat Sin. At the end of that pilgrimage, Jecht realized that he’d never make it home to Tidus and so he decided to become a fayth for Braska. Yu-Yevon then possessed Jecht and turned him into the current Sin. This is yet another reason compelling Tidus to help Yuna on her pilgrimage, because he needs to save his father.

Jecht being Sin would not be an issue for me if he and Tidus had actually been from the real Zanarkand one-thousand years ago and not from the dream Zanarkand. The fayth cannot wake up because then the world of Spira wouldn’t have aeons in order to fight Sin, and if they woke up whenever they felt like it, that wouldn’t mean Yu-Yevon would automatically make Sin disappear. Sin is Yu-Yevon’s summon, not theirs. At least, it was that way until Jecht became Sin.

Sin exists because Yu-Yevon can possess the souls and dreams of the fayth. Essentially, he possesses that fayth. So when a person becomes Sin, that person is stuck murdering people until another summoner comes along. But Jecht isn’t a real person like everyone else in Spira. He was born as an aeon. To put this into perspective, he is an aeon dreamed up by a fayth and then he himself became a fayth to give Braska the Final Aeon. He is now a dream within a dream. After Yu-Yevon possessed him, if the fayth who dreamed Jecht up originally just decided to be awake right then and there—which that fayth wants to be—Sin would stop existing, because Jecht would no longer exist in order to be Sin. And Yu-Yevon wouldn’t have another aeon to possess.

And then, because Yu-Yevon would no longer be surrounded by his epic-genocidal-Sin armor, the people of Spira could just kill him, or have a summoner send him to the Farplane. The problem would be solved.

So when the fayths say that they’re counting on Tidus to help Yuna kill his father, I don’t understand why they need either Tidus or Yuna. There shouldn’t be a problem anymore. All the fayths everywhere should just wake up. But let’s say they cannot wake up until Sin is defeated for good just for the sake of argument. If that’s the case, I don’t understand why they’d need Tidus regardless. The fayths brought Jecht to Spira, so he would become Sin, and so Tidus would be obligated to stop him. But never once do they tell Tidus and Yuna to defeat Sin without the Final Aeon. That’s just something Yuna decides on her own. She makes the decision to kill Sin without the Final Aeon by herself. There was nothing stopping Braska, Jecht, and Auron from making that choice ten years ago.

In fact, in the past one thousand years, nothing’s ever stopped any of the summoners from trying to kill Sin without the Final Aeon. As a matter of fact, that’s what some people have actually dedicated their lives to doing. The only thing giving Yuna and Tidus an advantage is their airship. I think that what I don’t understand here is why the fayths’ master plan to stop Sin forever didn’t end with Jecht. And the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off, so I’m done. I’m done with the religion in this game. I only have two more posts to go with this series, and neither of them is about religion. So next time, I’m going to talk about the characterization and the voice acting, and following that, I’m going to talk about sexism. Then I’m moving on to something else entirely!

9 thoughts on “Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Aeons

  1. The main explanation I believe the game gives, is that Tidus and Jecht are not just dreams, but “dreams that have been touched by reality”, in such that they are now real, living people. It doesn’t explain why they’re not pure dreams, anymore, but pretty sure Bahamut’s fayth says that when Tidus is napping inbetween Mt. Gagazet and the mountain cave (where the fayth of Dream Zanarkand is). Also, I thought it was Yu-Yevon who is summoning DZ, and his whole rule is built on the fact that he is constantly dreaming and summoning. If he woke up, the whole of DZ goes down, and Sin was built to firstly destroy any places that may threaten to restart open war, or try and take it down, but also to protect DZ, as Yu-Yevon’s aim was to use the memories of all Zanarkand…ians (?) to create a perfect, indestructable Zanarkand. He wakes up or stops dreaming, it surely goes, as when they say ‘dream of the fayth’, someone has to summon that fayth, and that is Yu-Yevon.

    The other point is that DZ is not inside Sin, but is in fact far out in the sea of Spira, supposedly near to Baaj, but tbf, Sin took the party from Macalania to Bikanel with ease, so it could be much further out.

    I love the theorising with this tho, not trying to discredit, just making sure all facts are full facts, tho I could very well be wrong. The only problem is that if all the other fayth just wake up, everyone who’s been counting on Summoners, and don’t know the truth – that it is a fruitless method if you want to perma-kill Sin – would lose all hope, and anarchy would reign.

    The airship’s a huge bonus, but the main reason they can get inside Sin, as I understood it, was that they played the Hymn of the Fayth, which Jecht heard, and so Sin became more docile, and so easier to attack (hence the relatively okay attacks on the fins, and the attack on it’s head not being met with the force Sin used at Operation Mi’ihen).

    Sorry for any rambles/poorly worded bits.

    • Hey, thanks for commenting and sharing that with me. I’ve played this game at least have a dozen times and even going back through it and taking notes, the explanation about Tidus and Jecht was still really unclear to me, as well as exactly where or how DZ works. I actually had to have the wikia page open the whole time I was writing this article, because of how confused I was about it. I kind of wish the game did a better job explaining all that. I think it is the fayths on Gagazet that’s summoning DZ, though, and not Yu-Yevon, because otherwise, what would their purpose be? But you’re right, I may be wrong on a lot of this. Thanks again for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

      • The main reason I wanna say Yu-Yevon is summoning DZ is the fact that Fayth have never been shown to summon, but only be the summoned, and so them being part of the huge statue that is the gap between Gagazet’s mountain and cave made me think they were being summoned. Lulu even says “Who wields this much power, and what could they be calling?”, and from then on, we get hints that Yu-Yevon is immortal, and summons Sin, so he fits being all-powerful. So Yu-Yevon summons the Gagazet statue fayth, who create Dream Zanarkand, DZ being the Aeon effectively, made from the memories of the fayth – the dreams of the fayth, as the game puts it. The key scene is the dream sequence Tidus has there, talking to Bahamut’s fayth, just rewatching that whilst typing =P But he even says “all the buildings, all the people… you, your father, your mother, all dreams”. Follows up with showing if the fayth stop dreaming – i.e. stop being summoned, due to Yu-Yevon’s death – DZ disappears, if have understood those scenic shots right.

        Then has him saying “You (Tidus) and your father have been touched by Sin… you two are more than just dreams now”. The games progress is put into motion when Jecht is taken by Sin whilst training, and so his being touched by Sin puts him Spira, and makes him real… well more real. Again, there’s a supposed middle point which is never explained, whether he is now real, or still a dream, or between the two. But the fayth then make the plan, hoping Tidus and Yuna’s resolve, and Jecht’s wanting to not be Sin, and to take down Sin completely – to break the cycle – to actually let them stop dreaming, to break the spiral, and create the eternal Calm.

        That rambled a bit, was trying to keep up with the scene…

        The game doesn’t go over much in detail, which is both a shame, but kind of understandable, as nobody in Spira cept Yu-Yevon, Yunalesca and maybe Maechen (tho the last one is questionable, you’d think he’d bring it up in a ramble, I mean he was there supposedly) gets what’s going on, and you kill Yunalesca just before she starts spilling the beans.

        Tis my pleasure, tis my favourite game, and am loving this analysis of it. I love breaking down the key themes, and so just wanna make sure tis as accurate as possible =)

        • No, you’re not rambling. You’re making valid points. I’m really enjoying talking about this with you. FFX is definitely one of my favorite games too. So, okay, let’s say that the original people of Zanarkand are the fayth and Yu-Yevon’s summoning DZ. Does that also apply to Sin as well? Are they the fayth for Sin? If they are, then if they stopped dreaming regardless, wouldn’t just Sin disappear along with DZ, because it has no more fayth? I know that Sin is comprised of pyreflies, but the same’s true of the aeons. Looking back, I think Bahamut mentions that they cannont wake up for some reason, and that doesn’t make much sense, even if someone’s in the middle of using their powers.

          • The way I understood it, the Gagazet fayth are being summoned to make DZ, whilst the fayth of the Final Aeon is shaped to become the next Sin. The only kinda support I have for that theory is that many times in the game, it is said that Yu-Yevon ‘merges with the aeon’, and that is what eventually becomes Sin. That’s why there is a Calm, that is the time where the Final Aeon is transformed from it’s original form to it’s Sin form. This I think is why Jecht “is Sin”. Jecht became Braska’s Final Aeon, defeated Sin, but then Yu-Yevon merged with it, and he killed Braska. The calm comes, Yu-Yevon crafts a new Sin from the final Aeon, and traps it, hence Jecht being in it. That tho is pure speculation, and I think might be making things up to fit what we’re given.

            Part of me remembers a reason they also cannot wake up, but I cannot remember what. If they don’t say that, the only solution I can think of is that the Tidus is a dream from the Fayth of the Yevon temples, not of Yu-Yevon’s DZ, and that fayth. The temple Fayth want the cycle to end, and so in their eternal dreaming, they set in motion the plan to the spiral. Jecht being described as a dream of the fayth, if he was a temple fayth’s dream too, then it works. They were created as a means to an end. The hatred Tidus has for Jecht being sculpted, Tidus himself made so that he and Yuna would fall for each other, and Jecht made to compliment Braska’s kindness, and love of the ironic situation that preceded his pilgrimage, and what his success would mean. However, this as a solution is incredibly dissatisfying: they beat Sin because they were designed to. It’s a nice tying together of ideas, but it requires a leap of fayth to say the Fayth dreamed Tidus and Jecht into being. The only thought I have around that is that it is not the fayth that are summoned by a summoner, but their dream, for example, Bahamut’s fayth dreams of Bahamut, and so when it is summoned, that is what appears. Again, dissatisfying, and most likely contradicts something ingame.

            If they do say that, then there is still the problem of Jecht and Tidus, and there being in existence. We can assume they are imperfect models made from real Zanarkand citizens, from Tidus’s resemblance to Shuyin in X-2. As a dream of the fayth, he may just be a misremembered dream, hence the slight changes in clothes, lack of love interest, etc. The idea I like therefore, starts out very dissatisfying, but sets the rest up quite well. Both Jecht and Tidus are dreams of the fayth being summoned from Gagazet, so not of Yu-Yevon’s design, but still summoned by him. Jecht is taken by Sin by chance, of the coast of Zanarkand (dissatisfying, I warned you =P but maybe made up for by the fact if Sin lays in wait far outside Spira, Yu-Yevon keeping an eye on his paradise that he made, the dream he cannot let go of). Jecht is taken to Spira, and the events of Braska’s pilgrimage take place. The calm comes, and Sin gets a tad stronger again. Whilst weak, Jecht, still being mostly in control, takes Auron via Sin to Zanarkand, where Yu-Yevon recrafts Sin’s armour from BFA (shaky ground is shaky). Auron looks after Tidus for Jecht, until 10 years pass, Sin is stronger, and Jecht, still with some control, takes Tidus and Auron to Spira. The events of Yuna’s pilgrimage occur, including operation Mi’ihen, where we Sin has gotten stronger, and kills to show Tidus that’s what Sin does, and sometimes Jecht has no control, that’s just what Sin’s programmed to do by Yu-Yevon. Tidus falls for Yuna and vice versa, and Yunalesca is killed, they find their way to kill Sin. Sin is now stronger still, but the Hymn of the Fayth soothes Jecht, and therefore Sin. THIS is where it was important that Jecht and Tidus were at least partially created for a purpose, because if Jecht wasn’t calmed by the song, he would blast the airship out the sky, game over. However, the troup take out Sin’s mouth, and can fly in and take out Yu-Yevon inside Sin. I would say here Auron was absorbed similar to how Seymour was, he was taken inside, waited to be dropped off. The rest of the game plays out, they defeat Jecht, and so now Yu-Yevon is on his last legs: Sin is now just a shell, and Yuna summons the Aeons, because they want rest. Yu-Yevon taking them, then having them defeated, means Yu-Yevon has nothing left to possess. Party kills him, job done. He stops dreaming, so DZ disappears, and so do all the people with it, and therefore, Tidus disappears, but his being touched by reality is what at least lets him stay on in the Farplane.

            I think I’ve concluded just from that final set of sequences then that Tidus was part of the DZ fayth, but the being touched by Sin and the reality of Spira is what leads to the defeat of Sin, Jecht’s journey being much the same. Both pilgrimages are very much shaped by the temple Fayth. For Braska’s, they set up another man being sacrificed for nothing, and his Fayth being the man from another world (it took me much too long to understand why BFA’s battle theme was called Otherworld…), for Yuna’s, the girl with resolve much stronger, and love in her heart, and the son of the previous fayth, willing to doing anything to protect her. The fayth’s interjection in Gagazet shows they need Tidus to change the course of action, to stop the final summoning and find a separate way to defeat Sin, and therefore, they needed a long term plan, and that’s why they needed Jecht, because they can set-up a situation where they can calm Sin, and get inside to get to Yu-Yevon.

            It’s half past 2 in the morning, so this has wavered and gone on way too many tangents, I hope you found some sense in this rabble, I’ll see if I can tomorrow =P Part of me hopes with the HD version in the works (well, they said it is, but Square and reliability don’t go hand in hand), we may get some extra snippets of information possibly. Tis a slim chance, but tis there. I look forward to continuing this, and apologies refusely again for the madness I contribute.

            • Okay, take 2 =P I’ve found a fantastic page on the FF Wiki titled Fayth/Dialogue, where it goes thru what each fayth says. It supposedly foreshadows Tidus being able to come back, but there’s more to it within it. Two choice ones are…

              Ifrit: “Sin swam in the sea near Zanarkand. Perhaps the waking dream eased its suffering. Your father touched Sin and became real that night, foundering in the seas of Spira.”

              Yojimbo: “You are a fading dream, but one touched by reality.”

              There we have proof that Sin was near Zanarkand, and took Jecht, who had gone out to train, seen it, got curious, and got sucked in. It would make sense only he having ever done this, being a prestigious talent in Blitzball, and so able to hold his breath to get there. They also show that, even tho they are both still dreams of the fayth, that they became real, and so had the means to impact events in the real Spira, rather than just exist in the bubble DZ was.

              Also mentioned in the Ultimania (at least that’s the source on the wiki) is that Bahamut’s fayth is the one that orchestrates the events, which explains his appearance at the start of the game, slowly putting events together so that the spiral can finish. The fayth of Bahamut seems to act as a representative for all the fayth – not including Jecht, Zaon or Seymour’s mother – and so all the fayth pushing Yuna to end the cycle dictates they do not support the final summoning, but want “to go forward”, and end Sin.

              Just added info really I wanted to add once I was more conscious and less annoying =)

              • Hey, sorry it took me so long to respond.

                I don’t really think that Tidus and Jecht being touched by reality really affects things. For one, Tidus still disappears when the fayth wake up, and for another, all the other dreams, the aeons, don’t need to be touched by Sin in order to interact and make a difference in the events happening in Spira. I also kind of disagree that Jecht being calmed by the song of fayth is unique. Maybe it is while Jecht is Sin, but I’m pretty sure previous Sins would probably have had things that would have calmed them down, and the song of the fayth is everywhere in Spira. It probably calms a lot of people down. Hell, it calms me down when I listen to it. If calming Sin down and using an airship gave the party an advantage, then one-thousand years ago, when it was first roaming the world and there were lots of airships, anyone who had one and who understood the mechanics of the rebirthing cycle would have been able to achieve what Yuna and Tidus did. And my biggest concern, which I think you may have mentioned this anyway, is whether or not the fayth orchestrated Tidus’s and Jecht’s actions. If we say that because they’re dreams of the fayth that the fayth control them, it takes away their agency and makes their struggles moot. Because then they wouldn’t have done everything because they wanted to, but because they had no choice.

                And thanks again for continuing this conversation with me.

  2. Pingback: Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Characterization | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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