Monday, March 27, 2006

Final Fantasy 6's Locke: Why I Don't Like Him

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm gonna get killed for this. But I honestly gotta say, I do not like Locke very much.

It's not because he's arguably the least useful character in the game. While there's only maybe 2 or 3 instances where his ability to steal is really useful before the game just becomes a race to see how long it takes you to teach everyone in the team Ultima, which makes it slightly annoying that the game so often forces you to take him along in place of someone whose talents are useful, like Edgar or Sabin or Gau or Cyan or Mog or Shadow, the game is thankfully created well enough that most of it is pretty balanced and seldom hard enough to be frustrating. No, my reason for disliking Locke is strictly character-based.

Now don't get me wrong. He has a lot of good traits. He's protective (even though you could perhaps, though not very well, argue that this is based SOLELY on his guilt for the past), he's devoted to correcting his past mistake with Rachel which wasn't even really his fault anyway, and he pretty clearly knows right from wrong and sticks by that knowledge. In fact, I have to admit I feel like I SHOULD like him overall.

But man oh man, did he ever fuck up something fierce in the Magitek factory.

Going under the assumption that you all know by now that spoilers abound in these rants, and also on the assumption that you may be familiar with a game a decade old by now anyway, I'm gonna say right here that this scene makes me HATE Locke a good deal. Celes, newest member of the Returners, is a general who is implied to have been raised from a fairly young age to be a leader for Gestahl and the Empire. It is a likely thing that following her orders and fighting for the Empire is the ONLY thing she has ever known in her life, her sole purpose in life. Yet, even though she's been raised to be a perfectly obedient soldier, she cannot find it in herself to serve an army that lets monsters like Kefka poison innocents with impunity, and she rebels and is sentenced to execution for it. Locke rescues her, protects her while she's still weak, and gives her a new purpose in life, a new cause to rally behind. He completely saves her, and helps her to start forming a new identity that she can actually call her own.

But this is a process that takes TIME, and until she can function as a true individual, it's obvious that a significant portion of her confidence in her new self, in her new life, is invested in the guidance and emotional support of the man who gave it to her.

Now that she's been given a way to be herself, Celes has been a completely loyal and fearless warrior for the Returners, putting her life on the line at every opportunity to stop the Empire. There is no rational reason to suspect her of anything devious, given the circumstances of how she was found and how she's fought. But the very instant that Kefka tells Locke that Celes is a spy, he, who knows BEST of her situation before he rescued her, doubts her. KEFKA, for fuck's sake. I mean, of all the villains in the world he's the LAST person you'd ever believe a word from! And it's not any minor doubt that Locke has, it's a serious and genuine mistrust that is immediately put in him. And it DESTROYS Celes that this man, who rescued her in so many ways, who said he'd protect her and trust her, who holds a very significant portion of her vulnerable growing individuality, apparently is so completely willing to doubt her.

Frankly, I'm of the opinion that Celes should never have forgiven him for it.

So there you have it. Locke turned against the person he'd sworn to protect in the very worst way, on the word of KEFKA for God's sake, and proved himself a gullible liar and jerk to me. When I think of him, and of the Celes-Locke pairing, which rarely addresses this issue, I just can't get past how incredibly stupid and rotten he was right then. That's why I frankly just don't like him. And he'll never, ever deserve her.

...also, now that I remember, I've always also found it stupid that he takes such exception to being called a thief by someone whom he's exactly 8 seconds from stealing the clothes off of.


  1. I've yet to meet many Locke fans who don't have problems with that incident. His portrayal is that of a rather unstable guy, even regarding his GOOD qualities, like the protectiveness you mentioned.

    "Frankly, I'm of the opinion that Celes should never have forgiven him for it."

    Now this would be a hell of a refreshing twist in an RPG romance between people who can't just disappear from each other's lives.

    "...also, now that I remember, I've always also found it stupid that he takes such exception to being called a thief by someone whom he's exactly 8 seconds from stealing the clothes off of. "

    That's a hyperactive localization moment. His original response was more of a casual "call me a treasure hunter, would ya?", which is self-aware of his thievery while still trying to establish himself as something more than a pocket-pincher. Not much better, but there you have it.

  2. You obviously don't undrestand his character. He's one of the most well developed characters in the series. FF6 as a whole is pretty much the crown jewel of the series.

    1. I have quite a clear understanding of his moderately well developed character. Its positives simply do not outweigh this one crucial moment of stupidity and utter emotional betrayal, to me.