IN THIS POST THERE WILL BE ENORMOUS SPOILERS FOR THE LAST STORY.
I apologize–I hate writing spoilers. But this is a post about one of my dearest heroes, you see, and I can’t explain why he’s so influential without revealing hugely important parts of the story. If you’ve not yet played the game and plan to, you might want to stop reading here. If you’ve already played the game or have no desire to do so or have no idea what I’m talking about, feel free to keep on reading.
I finished playing The Last Story earlier this year and can confidently say, in my limited gaming experience, that it is the best game I’ve ever played. Not because of story or gameplay or setting–no, I love it so much because of the humour, characters, and emotions.
I spent the greater portion of the game unsure which character was my favourite. I felt so sorry for Yurick when I found out about his dad dying, loved Syrenne for her fierce attitude and undeniable toughness, and admired Dagran because he seemed like such a cool-headed leader (and looked pretty cool too). All three of them caught my attention early on in the game and so it was one of their names that I’d have answered if asked who was my favourite.
That is, until Lowell saved Yurick’s life.
When Yurick told the others about how Lowell took a nasty blow that was meant for him, it caught my attention. I mean, Lowell is such a playboy. He never seemed to be very serious, never seemed to care about others (women in particular), and didn’t seem to be the kind of guy who would take a hit meant for someone else. But once he did… my opinion of him changed.
Yeah, I turned into a bit of a fangirl. It happens.
Unfortunately, it was just as I had officially decided he was my favourite character that he went and got himself killed.
I can fall asleep during The Notebook because I find it boring. I can’t watch my favourite video game character die and not shed a tear or two. I expected to shed a tear or two. I didn’t expect to flood the basement.
It was so bad. I laugh to think of it now, and I’m very glad I was alone while I was playing, but boy did I sob. I surprised myself with how much I cried, but I couldn’t even handle the emotion raging through me when I watched Lowell’s death scene. I vaguely remember throwing away the Wii remote and covering my mouth with disbelief, and then Syrenne started crying and begging Lowell not to die, and then my heart was breaking into a thousand tiny pieces, and then I couldn’t see the screen for all the tears in my eyes and my shoulders were heaving and I was bawling like a baby.
Yeah, it was bad. I was a mess.
Call me sensitive ’cause I’m a girl or whatever you like, it doesn’t bother me. I just get so emotionally invested in video games–probably because I feel like I’m a part of the story, since I’m the one controlling the main character. So Lowell felt like my brother, and Syrenne like my best friend, and seeing my brother dead and my best friend overcome with grief–I couldn’t possibly have held in those tears. In that moment, I was completely separate from reality. I was absorbed into the game world and I had become just another mourning member of their team.
The words he said to Syrenne before he died still haunt me: “Couldn’t let any harm come to a beautiful girl like you.” They still make me tear up, and I’ve rewatched his death scene a thousand times since then. It was a perfect moment, even though it was so painful.
He did come back to life, nearer the end of the game, and I think I cried then too, heh. They were tears of joy that time, of course, but they were genuine. The rich emotion, the deep sorrow that Lowell made me feel… I’ve never encountered anything like it before.
And only today did I see the oh-so-missable scene in which he and Syrenne share their backstories. His death had been momentous to me even without knowing the curse that plagued him (that every woman he ever loved died), but now that I know how much it means to him, that he was the one who died and not Syrenne… it adds whole new layers of sadness and beauty and makes me wanna cry all over again.
So why is he my hero?
Well, I love every aspect of adventure. I love the excitement, the danger, the triumph, and even the tragic deaths that sometimes happen. I love the emotions that these things can evoke, the fullness of life that they provide. And if I could, I would love to experience all of them, in a big grand adventure of my own. Problem is: 1) I don’t have ready access to danger and adventures, and 2) I don’t want someone I love to die. As rich an emotion as sorrow is, I wouldn’t want to experience it so harshly at the expense of a loved one (after all, not everyone can be resurrected like Lowell was).
So Lowell put two precious gifts into my hands: he took me on an adventure, and he made me cry.
Sorrow is a difficult emotion, but some of the best stories are the sad ones. The ones that make you realize that you cared deeply about something or someone. The ones that make you realize your heart is full of love.
Lowell did just that. He filled my heart up with care and love, gave me reasons to get invested in the game and the adventure, and then shattered me when he died. And I cried a lot, but that was okay. He was showing me that I was a part of the team, a fellow adventurer, and a part of the emotional symphony that gives The Last Story its life and blood.
That’s why he’s my hero.
It’s a bit of a sappy story, I know, but it’s moments like these that make me fall in love with life and the act of living all over again. There really is beauty all around, if you look deep enough and in all the right places. You might be surprised where you find it, but not disappointed.
Have you ever cried at a fictional death?
May your sorrows be bright and your tears not be wasted.