Girl at the End of the World

2 thoughts on “Girl at the End of the World”

  1. While I enjoyed the article, I think citing the Souls series as version of a Western apocalypse really undersells them in two big ways:

    1) They’re not actually Western, they’re created by the Japanese developer From Software (although they did make the most American game, Metal Wolf Chaos).

    2) The apocalypses portrayed in Dark Souls 1 & 2 aren’t conquests to re-enforce the status quo. Although by rekindling the first flame you can return the world to the Golden Age of Fire, the ruins of which, you’re exploring, it’s an inevitably doomed age that’s going to end in the same apocalyptic scenario because flame burns out.

    The other ending isn’t much better, either – you can abandon re-lighting the flame and leave the world in the state it is now, a husk of what it once was. The only inkling of hope in that ending is that it may eventually regrow given time, now that the destructive cycle has been broken.

    I think the point is that after an apocalypse, bringing things back to the status quo is just going to bring back the cause of the apocalypse in the first place, and it’s better to learn from the mistakes of your forebears and rebuild from the ashes.

    The underselling doesn’t detract from your point since it was an offhand mention at best, but I think the fiction presented in that series definitely fits in with the non-Western fiction you’ve provided and deserves due credit.

  2. I wanted to find a way to work in a passage from Aimé Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land since it’s another magical realist look at world ending/renewal in a context outside canonical and big-budget western fiction (Césaire, a Martinican poet, published Notebook in 1939). I couldn’t find a way to fit it in so I’ll put it here because I think it describes many of the things I was trying to talk about:

    But who misleads my voice? who grates my voice? Stuffing my throat with a thousand bamboo fangs. A thousand sea urchin stakes. It is you dirty end of the world. Dirty end of Daybreak. It is you weight of the insult and a hundred years of whip lashes. It is you one hundred years of my patience, one hundred years of my effort simply to stay alive.
    rooh oh
    we sing of venomous flowers flaring in fury-filled prairies; the skies of love cut with bloodclots; the epileptic mornings; the white blaze of abyssal sands, the sinking of flotsam in nights electrified with feline smells.

    What can I do?

    One must begin somewhere.

    Begin what?

    The only thing in the world worth beginning:

    The End of the world of course.

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