Snow VilliersDid someone call for a hero? I think they did!
The hero in question is one Snow Villiers, Serahís fiance and soulmate. Theyíre actual sweethearts who indulge in spin hugs and logo inspired jewelry because who needs engagement rings. Snow has a thickheaded chivalry to him - heíll charge in guns blazing and somehow, everything works out - yet heís well deserving of his self proclaimed heroic title. Heís that selfless, warmhearted idiot with belief and optimism to spare, the kind that manage to worm their way into reluctant sister-in-lawís hearts, so Lightning at the very least tolerates him blundering from one objective to the next.
On first glance, it would be easy to identify Serah and Snow as opposites, and yes, opposites attract. But beneath that surface, the two of them are actually very much alike - itís those similar qualities that inspire the other on, that bring out the best of the rest. Serah and Snow are equally stubborn, equally selfless, and equally kind individuals... and Serah has done plenty of seemingly crazy, Snowesque things in her time. See: screaming at Hope about a Proto falíCie, charging down a killer flan without her weapon to defend her six-foot-something fiance who can (unlike her) punch things to death, walking into a totally-not-Pulsian Vestige and getting branded as a líCieÖ the list goes on.
Also, their love endures, no matter what. Their song is called ĎEternal Loveí for a reason.
Through the many countless hardships and the strain of time apart, Snowís connection to Serah, and vice versa, remains entirely unconditional. For Snow as well as Lightning, their motivation is always Serah - Serahís heart might be split between them, and focused more on Lightning because she is the person lost and the one sheís without - but for Snow, Serah is everything. Every action Snow takes is either for, or about, Serah. There isnít any inbetween.
And the difference between Snow and Lightning? Snow believes in Serah, without question, right from the start. His optimism stems from Serah, and when the rest of the party do come around to Snowís idealism, they begin to believe in her too.
When Serah tries to shut Snow out, tries to hurt him in order to protect him, Snow persists. He realises thereís something bigger going on, and theyíve come too far to simply quit - and with his acceptance, Serah reveals that sheís a líCie. Snow canít believe this because like the rest of his party heís been conditioned to see líCie as monsters, but his struggle is different. He starts off defeated, wondering how he feels about that - like Lightning prioritises - but wait.
What about Serah? How does Serah feel? Sheís alone, vulnerable, isolatedÖ and for Snow, Serahís happiness is the utmost importance. Snow constantly places himself beneath the rest of the cast because he compulsively needs to protect and save everyone, damn the consequences, damn himself. His effective family is extended this protection, and Serah gets it the most. He aligns himself to a líCie, and thatís a very, very big thing - and he makes sure she knows heís always by her, all the way, by asking her to marry him.
Itís always, always about Serah.
Itís not the last time he does it either. When Lightning seemingly disappears from time, Snow spends the next two years watching Serahís soul slowly die. All the evidence points towards Lightning being in the pillar, but just as before, Snow believes Serah anyway. He canít watch her suffer, so he goes to fix it. He has no plan, no direction, no means to achieve it, but no matter what, Snow intends to fix it. Someone has to do something, and Snow is often the first person to decide that itís going to be him.
The thing is, Snow leaving near kills Serah entirely. With Lightning missing, she takes priority. Serahís journey is about finding her sister. Her most important beats are in that journey she takes in XIII-2, and so much of it is Lightning centred - itís why Iím going to such great lengths to talk about Snow because while itís not her journey, Snow is a part of Serahís story, her world. Heís no less important to her: Snow merely takes a backseat because there is no conflict, no resolution, only the fact that she needs him because he has such unconditional faith in her, always. In Sunleth, Serah gets Snow back and then loses him straightaway and thatís a crippling blow to her heart, because Serah canít be happy with one missing and without either of them, she wilts with grief. She becomes almost comfortable with that terrible loneliness back in New Bodhum. Thatís what Noel recognises and where his accusation of thoughtlessness to consequences stems from - because Snowís left Serah behind without seemingly a care. As it is, Snow does know what he did and continues to do, but as with all hero types, heís incapable of stopping - and Serah can never truly be happy without Lightning. Leaving to find her was the lesser of two evils.
Heíll fix it and make it right. Itís what he does.
You canít not fight for the people you love. Itís a lesson Serah has learned from them both.
When Serah does get to journey through time, Snow is incredibly proud of her. When Serah makes up her mind to come and get him if theyíre apart for too long, he smiles. ĎThatís my girlí. Itís his belief, his trust, coming into play again - Serah will find a way to bring everyone together again, if that option is denied to him.
But she doesnít. Instead, Serah dies: and Snow, as the player knows him, is gone for good.
Serah haunts the entire cast but itís Snow that changes. For him, itís not a part of his world. Serah was his entire world and without her, it destroys him - itís awful and yet itís so masterfully done. Snowís character arc is the reverse of the rest of the cast - whereas they enter the saga incomplete, unhappy and closed off and at their lowest point, Snow doesnít. He stands resolute from day one with only flickering moments of doubt, but when Serah diesÖ Snow gives up.
Itís a slow destruction. Itís slow, because of course he tries. The man who was so adamant about completing a Focus and saving Cocoon? The man who never gave up, no matter the odds? Gone. This man wants to die so he can be with Serah. So he can forget. This one wants to become a cieíth so his torment can be ended. Snowís love for Serah never lessens; he never gets over Serah, and thatís what tortures his soul. Without her, Snow dies.
One of Lightningís few emotional points in Lightning Returns? When sheís trying to get through to a grief stricken Snow turned cíieth. Itís the first time since her awakening that sheís allowed herself to mourn. And she gets through to Snow. Thereís enough hope, enough love, left in him for one more shot in getting Serah back.
And they do. And Rems cried a lot, and is forever cynical about her lack of a wedding because dear lord do they deserve one in rural France surrounded by fifty children, most of them adopted.
I have a lot of feelings about Serah and Snow, as you might have noticed.