Hello, friends, and welcome to the third Character Profile of the Gaming Inspirations series! “Gaming Inspirations” is a series of blog posts that puts into words how gaming has inspired me to shed my anxiety and its negative effects on my life. Final Fantasy IX has provided incredible amounts of inspiration (probably because it’s the greatest game of all time), so I’m creating a profile for each of the main characters. Each profile will examine their unique qualities and I will detail how, through physical action, I’m going to help myself lead the life I want to lead by incorporating those qualities. Today’s profile is about everyone’s favorite ginger dreadhead, Amarant Coral.
Like Steiner, when I first met Amarant in-game, I thought he was quite dickish indeed: some brooding guy, arms always crossed, and a chin I thought was his nose for years (this doesn’t make anybody dickish per se, but it kind of looks phallic, so I guess it counts?).
Note: Looking back on it, it’s so clear that it’s his chin. Like, “how could I possibly fuck that up” clear. But, I did. HD didn’t exist. I was ten. I’m over it.
Anyway, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with him, because my 10-year-old self soon found out that OH MY GOD HE FIGHTS WITH CLAWS. FUCKING WOLVERINE IN FFIX FORM. OH, AND HE CAN REPLENISH BOTH HP AND MP? JESUS HOW DOES THIS GUY RULE SO HARD
I digress. He does brood. He does have a weird dick-nose-chin-beard. And I love him. Here’s why:
Amarant: Hey, Zidane. I work alone. Always have, always will.
In case you hadn’t noticed (or if you haven’t played the game, in which case, why are you reading this?! Buy it. Now.), Amarant doesn’t tend to play well with others. When he does decide to team up, he’s not afraid to let them know when he disagrees with their methods: the scene in Madain Sari when he calls Lani a “scumbag” for taking a hostage comes to mind.
This is likely my favorite quality I’ve noticed in Amarant: even though he’s a loner and about as agreeable as a snapping turtle with a skin rash, he has an honor code, and he sticks with it. When he is defeated by Zidane, he joins the party, even though it’s something he may not normally have done; he doesn’t expect mercy, but when he receives it, he’s willing to repay that kindness.
Amarant: The only dependable thing about the future is uncertainty.
Amarant joins the party not only to repay the kindness of mercy that Zidane granted him, but also because he’s puzzled: how did this person who is so reliant on others beat an experienced loner like himself? Amarant’s whole worldview, one of self-reliance and of seeing dependence as weakness, is turned upside-down. He realizes that he still has more to learn about individuality, teamwork, and strength, and he follows Zidane to help him find the answers he seeks.
HOW TO INCORPORATE THESE QUALITIES INTO YOUR LIFE
Ever since a singularly horrific experience giving a presentation in college, I’ve had intense stage fright. Working in groups, speaking up during meetings at my job, etc. have proven to be a supreme challenge. I always feel like if I speak up, I’m going to get laughed at, shut down, or otherwise silenced in a humiliating fashion.
Now, I’m trying to use Amarant’s inspiration to help me get over that fear. I’ve got opinions; I’ve got values that I deem important and I try to adhere to; I’ve got unique thoughts and ideas that I think could be useful for others to know. I need to follow Amarant’s example, realize that these opinions, questions, and ideas are valid, and voice them.
At the end of the day, I’m inspired by Amarant due to his confidence in himself, and his unwavering ability to voice his opinions, no matter how unpopular they may be, even at the risk of ridicule. Honestly, most of the time, I think my ideas are pretty damn good, and it’d be helpful for myself and for those around me to voice them. Everyone’s gotta put their foot in their mouth at some point during their lives; don’t do it to yourself just because you’re afraid to speak.
Even if you’re not afraid of public speaking like I am, you can use Amarant’s inspiration in any situation where you feel silenced for an idea you have or a way you feel. Next time you’re afraid to voice an opinion, to let someone else know how you really feel… let them know. The result probably won’t be as bad as you fear it will be.
This “being confident in yourself and sticking to your guns” stuff is all well and good, but the critical element separating the strong, independent human and the stubborn, ignorant douchebag is a healthy dose of skepticism. Amarant was puzzled by his defeat at the hands of Zidane, and he joined the party to find out how this teamwork-oriented dude was able to defeat the power of his individualism. This is how we know that Amarant is a part of the “strong, independent human” camp: when something crops up that challenges his beliefs, he questions and examines it instead of denying it outright.
People think that “values” are immutable and eternal; they’re not. At the core of every healthy set of values is the ability to change them as circumstances change. So, while you’re out there being super-awesome-and-confident-in-yourself thanks to Amarant’s inspiration, remember that the person who changed him most was the one who made him question his beliefs.
Thanks for reading, everybody! The upcoming Thursday post is going to be a recap of what we’ve talked about so far, and how our internal FFIX party is shaping up! Plus, I’ll have a SUPER SPECIAL BONUS GAMING INSPIRATIONS POST out before then, so be on the lookout! 🙂