Now we are talking. This is my kind of FF.
St Ajora’s true history was buried under the tenfold corruption of the church (Think Catholic Empire during the Dark Ages). The Zodiac Stones were not good or evil. They were raw power. As can be seen in the scene when Malak has his scene with the stone, in comparison to, say what happens when Elmdor gets involved with a little Zodiac Stone.
Basically, as that the Church is already corrupt, Lucavi is using them and the power of the stones to attempt its own revival, because they don’t need too much more corrupting. The pure of heart can safely use the power of the stones, because they don’t let it get to their heads and go psycho.
Lucavi’s involvement with the stones is basically like a mosquito’s attraction to warmth. Mosquito’s are not intrinsicly tied to heat, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the warmer it is near you, the more skeeters will tend to notice you. So basically, Lucavi is thinking, “Damn those stones is mighty powerful, I can use their power.” But Lucavi is like some stereotypical Devil, and cannot force his will upon people. He can only possess them if they sell their soul to him, and then Lucavi uses them and the stone to become a heineous demon or two.
Why the stones though? Because Lucavi can’t break the barrier between reality and oblivion (or whereever Lucavi is trapped), only the stones can.
But what about Ajora? Well, Ajora got caught up in the whole Lucavi thing at death time. And whether Ajora was a good guy or a bad guy, a few centuries is long enough for the evil to corrupt anyones soul, and thus Ajora’s might became Lucavi’s.
The interesting thing about this game (and MANY other Final Fantasy games) is the very strong themes against organized, Western religion. This one is a more obvious one, but largely, since Final Fantasy games started coming out on playstation, there have been seriously harsh criticisms against the church imbedded in them.
Two of the more obvious examples are FF-10 and Tactics, in both of which, the church is a corrupt and obressive system of lies and power maintenance. Furthermore, in Tactics, if Ajora was a christlike figure, than isn’t it a harsh stab at it all to say that even a christ can become corrupt?
And in FF-7, too, the most Holy power in the game was not one that supported man, but one that obliterated all HUMAN life, leaving a pure and good world behind, full of life.
In FF-8, Squall’s holy symbol was not of any faith other than himself. Griever (or whatever it was called), was his own internal godhood and not some external force come to deliver him. The closest thing to divinity in FF-8 was Rhinoa’s angelic form, which was really just a manifestation of power in a good person, and not a celestial agent.
And though it is a bit of a stretch, think about the enemy in FF-9. An otherworldy force, attempting to absorb and convert the souls of all.
Though earlier FF games tend to have a very daoistic view of nature and balance and natural goodness, more recent games have stepped this up a notch to the point where the villain is no longer just some supreme darkness, but rather a dark mockery of the western church, or where the only true divinity is in the self (Zen and Shinto both agree to this) or will obliterate humans (try to convince a Southern Baptist of that one).
I realize that I have taken your topic and spun it, but I got kinda worked up about Tactics, and then got to thinking about the whole church = evil thing, and I ran with it.
Anyone have any thoughts about that theory? I personally love it half the time and think that its insulting to my heretical faith the other half.