Aww, you can’t quote from spoiler tags, it won’t let me highlight, unfortunate. Oh well, it’s just a bit more work:
“A magical weapon of mass destruction called the Carronade that is powered by literally torturing an innocent person to death and is stronger the more the person cares about and loves the target.”
Wow, looks like at least one person at Capcom read those godawful Sword of Truth novels and was inspired by the good ideas.
So I already went off on a rant about Delita in Final Fantasy Tactics in the Final Fantasy thread and he remains one of the best antagonists I’ve ever seen and I adore him. But today I’m gonna talk about Ghaleon because I’m Jenner and talking about the Lunar series is my solemn duty (they’re good games, Brent.)
Ghaleon is somewhat a different kind of villain in Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and any Silver Star game that came after due to Kei Shigema not understanding that he accidentally made a compelling villain that he shat all over when he made him just like every other JRPG villain and so I’m gonna be specifically talking about Ghaleon as he is depicted in Lunar: The Silver Star (the original game) because it’s objectively the best.
I guess the spoiler tags start here:
[spoiler]The world of Lunar was created by the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Althena. Who breathed magic into the world and who is protected by her Guardians, the Four Dragons and the Dragonmaster. When you start the game, you play as Alex a young man from the sleepy town of Burg (the home town of the previous Dragonmaster, Dyne) who wants to go on an adventure like his hero Dyne. Over the course of the game the player is informed of the legendary Four Heroes (Dyne, Lemia, Mel and Ghaleon) who did all manner or heroics and are now all (with the exception of Dyne, who is dead) major players on the world stage. Lemia is the leader of the Magic Guild of Vane (a fucking cool floating city where magic is taught.) Mel is the Governor of Meribia (probably the biggest, richest, most thriving and most important city in all of Lunar.) And Ghaleon teaches magic in Vane.
Ghaleon is known as Sage Ghaleon as he originally started out as a priest of Althena, he was fairly devoted as he spent a lot of time involved in healing the very sick and ailing and seeing Althena’s miracles first hand (and being the deliverer of those miracles.) So he was more like a cleric then a sorcerer at the start. It was only upon going to Vane that he started using arcane magic, but he maintained his devotion to Althena. He encounters Dyne while Dyne is adventuring and they form a bromance and become BFFs. So when Dyne decides to do something about the earthquakes that are causing all kinds of grief Lemia didn’t even have to nudge him to encourage Ghaleon to sign up for the quest.
The investigation into the source of the earthquakes reveals the source as the Black Dragon (one of Althena’s Four Dragons) who had gone insane (there’s a good reason but explaining it is not talking about Ghaleon.) This meant the crew had to travel to the Frontier (a sad place where Althena’s light doesn’t reach. Althena angrily exiled a bunch of people who made her mad there like forever ago.) And it is here on the Frontier where the dichotomy between Dyne and Ghaleon shifted. Originally, Dyne had been devoted to Althena, he was her Dragonmaster after all, but he was more of an Easter Catholic then anything. Meanwhile, Ghaleon had been full of zeal. Now, Dyne remained steadfast in his faith while Ghaleon had a massive Crisis of Faith seeing all the suffering people in Lunar’s shadow and being unable to help them. (This also led to Ghaleon blaming himself, in a way, for helping Dyne travel down this path.) To Ghaleon, the fate of the People of the Frontier seemed so cruel and arbitrary of his Goddess as the ancestors of those original Exiled Sinners weren’t guilty of anything and were more like victims now.
Goddess of Love? More like Goddess of Spite.
The confrontation with the Black Dragon was incredibly challenging, and whatever the Four Heroes had to do to subdue the Black Dragon caused Dyne to die. The whole event was deeply traumatizing to Ghaleon and he actually fled.
When Alex takes Ghaleon with him back to Burg on his way to taking Ghaleon to see the White Dragon Ghaleon has some choice words to say at Dyne’s monument.
It’s pretty obvious Ghaleon loved Dyne (not romantically, calm down.) And he’s justifiably upset that his BFF was so callously sacrificed in the name of maintaining the status quo. To Althena, Dyne was little more than an assassin sent to clean up her mess. He was much more than that to Ghaleon.
Somebody’s mad at an unjust world.
The remaining Dragons are just kicking back and taking it easy while people are suffering and his best friend is dead. They had stolen the most important person in his life from him and for what? Barely anything changed! Lunar’s benevolent Goddess of Love and her Four Dragons ain’t doing shit about nothing. Everything was all their fault. Althena and her cohorts didn’t deserve to command this world anymore, Ghaleon would do better. He would be fairer, he would do right by the People of Lunar and Dyne’s sacrifice would not be in vain.
I’d vote for him.
While Alex was carrying his fat greedy friend Ramus through sewer levels and haggling with crazy old ladies who want to eat his flying cat friend, Ghaleon was reforging a new Magic Empire in the Frontier. (There was a Magic Emperor before him in the days of yore.) It’s easy to see why the Vile Tribe and the other Exiles of the Frontier would so willingly side with Ghaleon as they shared many of the same sentiments he did towards their distant Goddess. Even after Ghaleon went full Cruel Evil Overlord on them many still fully supported him, as he still promised a better alternative to their current way of life to them.
Others were simply too afraid to defy him.
The personal mission Ghaleon sent Alex on when Alex met him in Vane was to handle a guy who was claiming he was the Dragonmaster off on some island out in the middle of nowhere. If that crazy dude in a cave full of dinosaurs had actually been the real Dragonmaster, Ghaleon couldn’t have pulled off his scheme. By trouncing Zoc (the guy in the cave) Alex effectively helps Ghaleon by removing a potential threat. Secure in the knowledge that there is no current Dragonmaster Ghaleon needs only methodically kill every other dragon and find the human incarnation of Althena to become God-Emperor of Lunar. Ghaleon is always one step ahead of Alex, as each time Alex makes it to a dragon they are already dead until it comes time to go to the Black Dragon. You see, even after all these years and despite all his hatred, Ghaleon could not bear to face the Black Dragon again. And when Alex strides into the Black Dragon’s Lair he discovers exactly what the Four Heroes had to do to subdue it… which was either mercy killing it and it was just so damn full of rage and grief that it came back as a dracolich. Or making it an undead dracolich themselves so they could imprison it and seal it away. Either way, it’s now a dracolich and still quite upset so Alex has no choice but to kill it for good in a boss fight. Which is just what Ghaleon wanted, because now all the dragons are dead (thanks buddy) and there’s no way Alex can become the Dragonmaster if there are no dragons alive. A fact he smugly informs Alex of. Take a look:
With the path to becoming a Dragonmaster forever sealed to Alex by the deaths of the Four Dragons Ghaleon finishes it all off by taking out the only remaining threat to his power. He hops into his badass castle on tank treads (:iia:) charges up his enslaved and mind controlled Goddess (surprise, she was Alex’s girlfriend all along) and…
Oh those static images just won’t do at all. Here:
(Yeah, the castle on tank treads is called the Grindery and it’s fucking rad as hell.)
This dude, mad as all hell at God. Literally enslaves God and uses the hero as a tool to help him achieve his ends and it works. Ghaleon is one of the very few villains that actually succeeds and achieves his goals. By the time Alex and company faces off against him, he’s already conquered and actively ruling the world. He’s brought the Vile Tribe and the other Exiles back to the bright side of Lunar in his tank treaded wake. He is reigning as Magic Emperor Ghaleon and eat shit.
Dude fucking rules.
He comes back in the sequel, Lunar: Eternal Blue, having been revived by the Dark God Zophar and made the Dragonmaster is an ironic jab at the powers that be. Zophar deserves a post of his own because he rules too but Ghaleon turns out to be a secret good guy who sacrifices himself and betrays Zophar to give the heroes what they need to save the world. Good guy Ghaleon. Best villain.[/spoiler]