This post was originally in my queue, but since reading Vieralynn’s reposted Noah&Basch fic last night (this morning for me, but I fell asleep again after reading it, HOLIDAY YAY) I decided to bump it. I hope reposting is all right. I’ll put it in a ‘more’ in case it’s not.
I wish I could fall asleep right now. NOT HOLIDAY. :C
Instead, I’m having a cup of coffee. z__z
Back when I first started writing epic Basch fanfic, I quickly realized that Basch fails to make sense when Noah isn’t brought into the picture too. But, given how little the canon actually tells us about their backstory, my initial response was *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*. Once I got past that, the twins became muse fuel because their relationship, their family, their Landis-Archadian ties, and thirty-six long years became this enormous crater that begged to be filled.
It is interesting how the twins have a strong sense of presence in the game yet their motivations are only partly clear. If you don’t think too deeply about Basch and Gabranth, their on-screen roles are satisfying but, once you start asking why does Basch appear so duty-driven to protect the Dalmascan monarchy but, in actuality, there is something that always reads hollow about his sense of duty because his ties to his (foreign) family actually appear far more important to him than Dalmasca. And, why is Noah so inconsolably angry with his brother? That’s when the on screen narrative reveals itself as just the tip of a very large and mostly undefined iceberg.
You mentioned Basch’s loneliness.
Rather than just straight-up loneliness, Basch strikes me as deeply out of place. Did he feel out of place before Dalmasca’s government fell? Unknown. The scenes that take place in 704 O.V. don’t suggest anything beyond Basch appearing as a strong, confident military leader although his initial dialogue with Vossler right when you first gain control over Reks suggests that he and Vossler have radically different ideas about why someone is motivated to become a soldier/knight. Classism abounds in that initial dialogue and it suggests that Basch’s lived experience of being a refugee or escapee from a conquered nation gives him a different perspective from native born Dalmascan nobility.
After we spring Basch from prison in 706 O.V., he has this constant air of feeling separate from what is going on. Is he restoring Dalmasca because he was once the hero of the common people or is his real motivation righting a wrong that happened when he was 17 years old, living in Landis?
The second possibility seems very likely given how Basch interacts with Noah vs how he interacts with Ashe. Furthermore, during the party’s final visit to Balfonheim before going off to the story’s end, Basch hands over the hero of the people role to Vaan and Penelo. From there on in, his lines and his stage placement clearly show him divorced from his duty to Ashe/Dalmasca. From there on in, his battle is with his brother, whom he eventually becomes.
It’s really funny you mention the scene with Vossler, Basch and Reks, because I had asked for a third party input on that scene weeks ago, and had the answer today! It doesn’t really clear anything up, other than that they may have purposely chosen to use that moment to express how Basch is indeed a ‘protagonist who cares’, and that in the original, his dialogue is more about Reks being different than him and Voss than Basch and Reks being different to Voss. idk.
Without giving this too much though re: the parts I bolded - from what we learn in the game, my immediate response is to tie it back to helping Ashe. Basch (and Noah) might actually be very simple people. I know their intelligence need to be of a certain level as Basch was a Captain (General in JP version) (yeah why did they change that? curious) and Noah rose to be a Judge (rapidly, as you say - also, did he also get the job because someone saw him as easy to control?) and also Basch exercises a few clever moves re: realising Ondore is up to something (or maybe Noah was dumb enough to tell him?? lol) but… yeah back to Ashe. He expresses to her his shame of not defending his home (…I’m now confused to as whether he means Landis or Dalmasca, my guess is Landis) and that if he can protect one person from war’s horror, it will be worth it. Then, later, he tells Gabranth ‘I had someone to defend, and defend her I have’. Maybe his purpose is really as simple as picking a mission in which he may succeed, to restore his honour for himself even if his name is already disgraced (‘…yet never did I forget my knightly vows’), this person he’s protecting being the widow of the prince he failed to defend.
Okay that was way too much rant without proper research. Also this makes me want to track down these pieces of dialogue and run them through the Tres machine :D
Can’t check now but I remember that line between Basch and Ashe right before entering the Golmore Jungle being about his home in Landis, which makes a lot of sense.
Also, the Devs for FFXII said quite clearly that the game was about love of family and love of one’s nation/home rather than romantic love, which was the big theme with Tidus and Yuna in FFX.
Years ago, I did a very close read of FFXII’s script (Japanese and English) while writing Ronsentwin fic and the conclusion I came to was that Basch wanted to restore his own sense of self-worth by doing the right thing for Dalmasca as repayment for not being able to do whatever was needed in Landis. So, yes, restoring honor, but more at an internal level. Between Basch and himself (or the score-taker in the sky or karma or whatever). The fight becomes externalized because of Noah’s actions in 704, impersonating Basch. I remained inconclusive as to whether Basch would have done anything if Noah hadn’t been involved. That’s when I came to the conclusion that Basch just doesn’t make sense without Noah. The two of them have motivations that are far too intertwined to separate.