We all knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait and blog about this after Royal Edition’s release, so I’m going to go ahead and do it. I have no self-control and that’s 100% fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s not a secret among my friends that this is my #1 ship in the FFXV fandom. Wow, who would have thought? A sexy man who has his shit together? And a British accent and glasses? And the fact I’m Noctis? No, you know what? Let’s tell it how it is: Ignis fetish. I have an Ignis fetish. And because of that, who better to examine the relationship between these two than me?
I will say that I usually support the canon pairings. This has to be the first Final Fantasy game where I didn’t. No, it’s nothing against Luna. She’s badass in my opinion. But that is another topic for another day. Today’s topic is in regards to the romantic relationship and pairing of Ignis Scientia and Noctis Lucis Caellum. If this bothers you, please use the emergency exit on your browser. It’s that little arrow in the top left corner. For everyone else, keep reading! I’m giving away a Ignis/Noctis doujin at the end of this post!
Fair warning: I’m not going to detail every plot-point in this post. I’m going to focus on certain interactions that were key to me. I might explain some emotion behind them, but I do suggest watching Brotherhood to have a better grasp of their interactions so you can decide for yourself if I’m just a crazy fanboy or if my conspiracy theories are actually true.
This post contains spoilers for: FFXV: Brotherhood, Platinum Demo, & Episode Ignis.
Let’s all take a moment to go back, back to the beginning. Back to when the earth, the sun, the stars all aligned. Cause “Perfect” didn– I mean, perfect is the word I’d use to describe this particular ship, but I’m somewhat biased. Okay, I’m heavily biased. But have you seen how they interact together? Okay okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Why don’t we start off by talking about what we know of Noctis as a child? In Brotherhood, he has already suffered the attack which left him crippled at the time- though he has recovered or is recovering in most scenes. We are shown that he is stand-offish and quiet. While his encounter with Iris in the Gladiolus-centric episode shows that he has retained his good heart, he is certainly not going out of his way to make friends- even with Prompto who basically forces his love on Noctis. To be honest- same, though. If I had my legs busted open by a demon, I’d be pretty jaded and grumpy, too.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. It is stated that before the attack when he was eight (which left him seeking treatment in Tenebrae), he was a happy, outgoing, loving child. So why then are there are so few on screen moments that capture it? For the purpose of this “essay,” we are going to assume that there is some hidden symbolism. You know, just like your high-school English teacher and every pompous university film teacher would like you to believe. After all, it’s not as if we don’t see Noctis interacting with his other friends and bride-to-be Lunafreya. Yet, I can count the times I remember seeing his true smile as a child on my screen on one hand, and feel free to remind me of others if I missed any. The look of sheer joy can be seen once in E3 Trailer for FFXIII: Versus when he smiles at Regis over dinner, in the Platinum Demo with Carbuncle- particularly when they reach the Regalia which reminds him of his father, and again when he takes Ignis’s hand in the flashback during Episode Ignis. Clearly, two of the most important people in his life that illicit such a response are his father and Ignis (and Carbuncle. But who wouldn’t smile for Carbuncle?)
But since this is about Ignis and Noctis, it is Episode Ignis that I will be focusing on. When it comes to this simple interaction, the problem is the fact we do not have as much material to work with, but we do have a very special moment presented to us. We can’t analyze Ignis’s mannerisms and facial expressions at such a young age. I would like to refer you to the gif to the side (if you pronounce “gif” as “jif,” get out.) This is captured from a blissful moment where Ignis is seeing Noctis off to his doom in the “canon” route. (Well, I shouldn’t say “see.” Yikes. Word choice, much?) When our 30 year-old Noctis shares a private moment with Ignis at the campfire, he reaches out to take Ignis’s hand much like he did when they first met, smiling at him. And Ignis recalls back to when they first met, making this moment come full circle, ladies and gentlemen. It’s also present in the alternate route when he goes blind, and this memory is the last thing he sees. But, more on that in another post. Despite not seeing Ignis’s face, we are put inside his head. And it is the fact that this particular moment when he met Noctis is such an important memory to him that he recalls it in the face of death that makes it so important. It gives him strength. It makes him want to protect that which he loves- romantically or not. We don’t need to see Ignis’s mannerisms and become overly critical of them because we can see his thoughts, and his thoughts are of his first meeting with Noctis. Excuse me while I cry into my vodka. That’s true love right there. Essay done. We can all go home.
…Right. I need to actually provide more “proof”. We haven’t even gotten into post-attack (on Titan) Noctis, much less his high-school years. I know what you’re thinking: But this bitch just spent two paragraphs analyzing the importance of Noctis’s childhood smile. Well, my dear, frankly I don’t give a damn. It’s going to be that kind of post. Let’s keep going.
The next time on the canonical timeline that we see Ignis and Noctis interacting is in Prompto’s episode for Brotherhood. You know, where Prompto is under the impression he needs to become a good ol’ fashioned blonde-haired, blue-eyed, freckled twink to get the prince to be friends with him? Yeah, that one. There isn’t the same warmth between them that we see in the Episode Ignis flashback. It’s simply a prince and his advisor heading to do princely and advisorly things. If anything, it is about as much affection as Lunafreya and Noctis show each other in the canon game for all I got out of it. Basically, Ignis picks Noctis up to take him… somewhere. I can’t remember. I just re-watched the episode, too. It’s probably the vodka kicking in.
So besides the near-death experience, was there anything more to this personality change? Well, yes. Remember how I mentioned the other person he smiled for was his dad? The creator of Final Fantasy XV Tabata Hajime has said that Noctis admires his father and strives to emulate his confidence despite lacking it himself. Noctis is constantly in a state of not feeling good enough as well as worrying that he isn’t strong enough to protect those he loves. After not being able to save Lunafreya from the Empire when they took over Tenebrae, I get it. I mean, again, boy had some serious trauma when that daemon attacked the car and destroyed his legs and his handmaiden’s everything. It’s no wonder the he feels that, as a prince- his father’s son- he should have been able to do more. (Despite the fact, you know, at this point he wouldn’t have the power of the Lucii and shit.) But Noctis doesn’t realize that being emotionally cold isn’t actually emulating his father. If anything, Regis is shown to be incredibly loving towards his son, even if, as he ages, he bears more responsibility and can’t spend as much time with him. Because, you know, war does that to you. Also, there’s the fact that Regis is actively trying to give him a pampered childhood, knowing his son won’t grow up to be a ruler but to be a sacrificial lamb.
On one hand, Noctis is allowed to be lazy, childish, and spoiled. On the other hand, Ignis is going to a special school for scholarly things, keeping up with current affairs, joining the Crownsguard, and acting more like a king as a teenager than Noctis ever did– all while simultaneously keeping him company, picking up after his mess, and working as his own personal chef. I told one of my friends one time that the reason I love this ship so much is Ignis’s undying want to make Noctis happy. Out of the four friends, I believe the bond the two of them share is the strongest. Ignis lives for Noctis- his whole life has revolved around the Prince and ensuring his safety and happiness, and it’s a job he does with pride. There is not a moment of hesitation to go out of his way and potentially exhaust himself just for the chance to see Noctis smile. This is clearly a bond deeper than just an advisor.
And it’s also the little things he does for Noctis sometimes- from sewing a button onto his uniform to cleaning his apartment to making him dinner. Some fans have argued that he doesn’t know any better because he was raised for that role. I would like to point you to Final Fantasy XV Prologue: Parting Ways in which Ignis reminisces with Noctis about how they used to sneak out of the Citadel, and Ignis would take the blame should they get caught. Now, Ignis should know full-well that he’d be punished more harshly than his prince, but that’s how seriously devoted he is. Some fans have, instead, passed this off as Ignis taking on a motherly role to fulfill Noctis’s lack of one rather than a romantic inclining. Yes, I’m serious. I saw it on the wiki. I’ll let you in on a secret: Men can have affection for other men without being feminized. Is there anything wrong with feminization? Absolutely not. But assuming that he’s trying to be “motherly” to him is, personally, a bit reaching. I guess it’s more easily swallowed by the masses for a guy to be metrosexual than having feelings for a member of the same sex? They have a unique dynamic as Prince and Advisor/Personal Servant (seriously, Ignis seems to have taken up the second all on his own.) My mother isn’t my damn servant. What kind of house do you live in to be jumping to these kinds of conclusions?
Hell, he takes up cooking, something he doesn’t actually have a passion for (my mom didn’t have a passion for cooking, so she got good at getting take-out), and becomes amazing at it to make meals for Noctis. In fact, He spends most of the time in his episode trying to perfect a recipe for a certain sweet treat that Noctis had in Tenebrae only to be told “it’s not the same” time and time again.
Oh ho ho, but you don’t really believe it’s just about the treat, do you? Symbolism. You see, throughout the episode, Ignis has been striving to get this just right for Noctis. He wants him to be happy. As I said, it is evident that by their teenage years, Noctis has withdrawn and is being a stereotypical emo teenager (AGAIN. FOR GOOD REASON.) But the way he rebuffs Ignis is always “No.” “Not quite.” “It’s too/It’s not…”Of course Noctis wants them done to perfection, but it’s evident by Prompto’s reaction in the episode that what Ignis has created is absolutely delicious. Even then, Noctis doesn’t even show a hint of a smile, instead telling him it’s still “not quite right” with that same deadpan look. And that, my friends, is how the episode ends. Hello? 911? I’d like to report a crime. This episode broke my heart.
I personally think it’s important to note that this sweet he craves is from Tenebrae. What else is from Tenebrae? Lunafreya is from Tenebrae. Noctis’s betrothed is Lunafreya. Does this mean Noctis loves Lunafreya? I’ve cracked the code. Secret’s out. Sorry, Square Enix.
Now, if I was in class and had to argue this point, I’d say that the pastry is just as symbolic as it is literal. It is reminiscent of the time he spent with Luna and grew to hold a deep fondness for her. He can recall a time when he was happy aka. when he was spending time with the girl he loves according to canon. How is Ignis supposed to recreate that romantic, warm, fuzzy feeling in him? Can he? Maybe not. But he tries. And in FFXV, he’s still trying. (**Spoiler: You can actually unlock it as a recipe- so I would say it is possible.**) He understands that the memory of Luna makes Noctis happy, and he wants to see Noctis happy. I put two and two together. Wow. At the same time, I would say that he wants Noctis’s affection and approval. Hell, taking it one step further, I would say that he wants Noctis to feel the same way about him as he does his betrothed. And after saying all of this, I can assume that some of you are sitting there with an eyebrow quirked, waiting for the juicy details where I explain how this pairing is actually canon.
I can’t do that. There is nothing in the game that makes this a canonical pairing. It’s mostly subtext- now I know. Some people can take subtext too far. I can hear it now: “But the pastry is just a pastry! It doesn’t mean anything about Luna other than he misses her!” Okay, fair point. I’m not saying the developers sat down in a room and said “Hey, you know what. We should make this cake-thing symbolic of Ignis’s love for Noctis.” But I am saying that directors make certain decisions for plot-devices which oftentimes highlight some feelings from the audience which may or may not have been intended. It’s the art of subtext, and what one person may see as a simple friendship, others may see as romantic feelings. That’s why ships exist, ladies and gentlemen.
From the material given to us in the backstory I would say it is actually safe to assume Ignis has romantic inclinations towards Noctis. Hell, even Adam Croasdell (Ignis’s English VA) believes that Ignis might be a LGBTQ+ character. This alone doesn’t make it canon, but this guy knows his character’s material. Check out the link, as it has the transcript and its own link to the actual panel. Whether non-shippers will read it that way is entirely up to them. To the fans who don’t ship these two together, they will see a very devoted friendship born of undying loyalty and circumstance. To me and other “Ignoct” shippers, however, it’s hard to believe that there are not romantic feelings, and I would argue that at the very least, canonly, Ignis’s feelings towards Noctis are one of a lover rather than comrade.
And so I will! See you in Part 2 on March 11 where we will take a closer look at instances with the main game of Final Fantasy XV to back up this point of view.
WHAT WAS THat ABOUT A GIVEAWAY?
Glad you remembered! I have 5 Ignis/Noctis doujin that I will be giving away. One per post. There are 5 to choose from, but only one each. This giveaway will run for 3 weeks.
I’m not going to make it overly complicated. Just leave a comment here answering the weekly question! If you share this article with another Ignoct friend/s, tell them your wordpress commenter name. You’ll both be enterred with 2 numbers into the drawing.
The drawing for this post will be March 11th. Be sure to use an e-mail I can contact you at in the userfield or check back on that date as I will comment on your reply announcing you win. If you leave an e-mail in the field, you will also be notified by e-mail.
Here is what you can choose from:
Please note: The top three are SFW and do not include smut of any kind.
The bottom two do feature smut and are R18. Should you win and want one of them, I will require an ID of some sort (just a name and birthdate that matches who I am sending the doujin to. Everything else can and should be blurred out.) This is just for legality sake. However, any age can enter for one of the top row!
As this is a giveaway, I will cover shipping costs internationally. Feel free to enter from anywhere!
Only one winner from this post will be chosen. You are more than welcome to enter on all 3 Ignoct posts. Each post will have a different question.