Note: This article contains spoilers. You have been warned.
There is a song written by Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon titled The Long and Winding Road, a melancholy ballad about loss and finding oneself, that appeared on the Beatles final album, Let It Be. It was also their last number one single in America, before their breakup in 1970. The reason I bring this up is because the subject matter of the song fits with the somber nature of Lost Odyssey. As we have seen with Kaim, Sarah, and Ming, each of the playable immortals has gone on a journey, has followed that Long and Winding Road, only to have the door shut on them due to Gongora’s manipulation.
But the final playable immortal, Seth Balmore, is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. True, she, like the rest of the party, has lost her memories by the hands on Gongora, but throughout Lost Odyssey she was perhaps the character least bothered by the memory loss. Her first scene of dialogue with Kaim shows her more outgoing personality, her willingness to both have fun with her murky past and live for the present to the best of her abilities. She is a confidant person, one who shows a free-spirit through her joyous resolve, allowing her to be more open and liberated when compared to her immortal counterparts.
That is not to say that Seth doesn’t has doubts about her past–at times she feels the weight of failure and sadness, mostly manifesting through her relationships with the two final mortal characters, Tolten and Sed. Tolten, a young prince who was essentially tricked by Gongora to grab power for his kingdom, and later made a martyr to start a war, becomes a surrogate son to Seth as she takes the wayward royal under her wing. Tolten’s arc is more about coming out of his shell as a gentle, unseasoned ruler to a more confident, battle-hardened king, to prove his worth by being strong and independent without his naive nature.
Sed, however is a different story. Sed is an elderly pirate captain who is captured by Gongora and is blamed for the death of the prince. A passionate character yet cautious because of his old age, Sed seems out of place amongst a cast of younger characters. But Sed also has a special connection to Seth, being her biological son. The reunion between mother and son is one of the more comical moments in Lost Odyssey, as she rescues Sed from Gongora’s clutches at the end of disk 3.
The relationship between Seth and Sed is somewhat unique. Unlike how Kaim and Sarah treat Mack and Cooke, Seth shows great compassion for her son through her more bubbly personality. Sed himself is a secret momma’s boy, literally crying “MOMMMA” every chance he can and doing what he can to impress her. But Sed also acts as surrogate father, of sorts, to Tolten as well, using his age to show both wisdom and passion to the young prince.
So, in some respects, Seth follows Kaim’s lead in finding a sort of family unit with her biological son, and with a “surrogate” son. This of course shows off Seth’s zest for life overall, her constant upbeat persona a stark contrast to the brooding, stoic outlooks of Kaim, Sarah, and to an extent, Ming. This separates Seth from the other immortals by being the least regrettable about her mysterious life. She doesn’t know what is going on with her past, but it doesn’t affect her as much as the rest, allowing her to be the perfect foil to the more somber nature of loss.
With this, the relationships are complete for each immortal as well. Every character in the party of Lost Odyssey is now connected with another, be it romantic, biological, or through mentor-ship. Through these bonds of blood and love the group finally is able to catch up with Gongora, but in the process they learn the truth about their existence as immortals. See, Gongora, like all megalomaniacs, wants to rule the world, and reveals that he and the other immortals are not from this world, but emissaries from a parallel universe who were sent to the unnamed planet of Lost Odyssey to find a way to prevent their world from dying.
As plot twists go, this one is pretty out there. But thankfully, it is justified through several notes left by Gongora. He discovers that a year’s time in their world is 1,000 years in Lost Odyssey, and uses his personal weapon, the Grand Staff, to align itself with a mysterious floating construct in the center of the Lost Odyssey map, the Tower of Mirrors. It turns out that the immortals came from these magic mirrors, and Gongora plans to use the energy emanating from the mirrors to fulfill his desires.
Of course, in the game’s climax, our heroes stop Gongora, who in the tradition of RPG final bosses, transforms into a dark beast with his newfound powers, preventing him from finishing his plan. However, amidst the chaos, the mirror’s energy fills the room, turning all of the immortals mortal once more, and effectively begin to kill the mortal members of the party. Despite the best efforts to put a barrier up to save themselves, the five mortal members become trapped in this magical barrier, which slowly becomes a death trap for them as the power of the mirrors begins to kill them.
The final moments in the Tower of Mirrors are ones of agony for the heroes. We see Kaim and Sarah desperately try to claw through the barrier, while their grandchildren attempt to save face for them, saying that they will be with their mother soon enough. We see Jansen profess his love to Ming, saying she made him redeem himself in his mind. We see Tolten try to keep Sed alive, but Sed, older and more frail, knows that he wouldn’t last long in this deathtrap, and is prepared to go before his mother does. All of their relationships are now tested and thrown to the brink of loss once more, and to top it off, we have Gongora, defiant to the end, taunting the heroes on how to save them all….
Until Seth steps in.
In a moment that shows true sacrifice for the relationships built throughout the game, Seth grabs Gongora and, with a final cry, pushes him back through the magical mirrors, herself included, to save the rest of the party. With a knowing smile to her son, Seth saves the day by giving up her life for theirs, and sealing the immortal world away for good in the process. It is a moment of true sadness for the characters, but one of understanding of the sacrifice Seth made. As to why she did it, one can only speculate that the losses she experienced as an immortal were not as heavy as Kaim, Sarah, or Ming. Knowing that the only way to protect her son, her friends, and their families is to end this once and for all, it seems like Seth “died” the way she lived, through exuberance and bravery, knowing that their lives would still be rich without her.
In many ways, Seth becomes emblematic of what all the immortals have done for their 1,000 year tenures in Lost Odyssey. Through the loss of memories, the loss of family, and even the threatened loss of loved ones, in the end, to be truly happy is to let go and not lose yourself. Seth never loses herself like Kaim, but that was because she knew to let go of her feelings in the end. And with a final cut-scene showing the jovial wedding of Jansen and Queen Ming, of Kaim and Sarah optimistic about the future, and the remainder of the cast enjoying the lives they have, Seth’s sacrifice to let go shows that loss and gain go hand in hand, that for every loss, there is life, love, compassion, and fulfillment of dreams. This is what Kaim and the rest of the Lost Odyssey cast come to terms with, finally achieving their moments of zen after 1,000 years of regrets, forgotten memories, and troubling dreams.
And that is the final coda on an epic journey about loss. Seth’s energy as a character, and fulfillment of her full life through the noble sacrifice to save those around her, makes her not only a character with character, but the emblem of what the characters around her can strive to be. And through that, this odyssey is no longer a parable about loss, but a long and winding road to discover what is most important to these characters: enjoying life and whatever it throws at you.
Thank you guys for putting up with four weeks of discussing Lost Odyssey. This was one of the ideas I had for a long time, due to the connections each character had with each other, and I am glad that I was able to find a semi-clever way to connect each article as a series this time around. Please, do read them in order as if it was one big article. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below or email me at Robert@blisteredthumbs.net, or send me something via twitter @LinksOcarina.