<< Part One
Welcome to part two of my explanation of how I see Lazard, canonically, and why I play him differently on the claim of being more realistic.
You should probably take the link to part one if you haven’t read it, because it will be cited throughout this piece. Let me state again, however much I critique things here, that I love FFVII, and the compilation will always hold a special place in my heart.
That said, I think there were some issues that even hard core fans really do have to admit to if they’re being honest with themselves. For one, the original game, FFVII, was released first. Now, that’s rather understandable on the one hand, given everything centers around it.
It immediately boxed in all releases that were placed earlier in the timeline. Everything that occurred in Before Crisis and Crisis Core had to line up with the events of FFVII. That meant that any character that wasn’t seen in the original game had to die or disappear. Zack and Angeal are prime examples. It was also a foregone conclusion that Sephiroth had to lose his mind and destroy Nibelheim, setting him on the path to become the villain seen in the original game.
And all of that is their right, naturally, but you have to consider the wider range of effects that has. There is a story being told, and you have to stick with it, because canon has been set, and these projects have too many people and funds tied up in them to justify fussing over something as small as a side character’s motivations and how realistic they are.
But when I write and roleplay I’m not so restrained. I have the chance to write Lazard Deusericus as I believe, were there more of a nod to realism on his behalf, he would have been written.
There are core, indisputable traits to some characters that need to be taken into consideration if you’re going to claim any real relation to them. Biggest example no one can argue: Angeal’s honor fixation. Lazard has some of those traits, too, which I’ve taken care to consider.
- He was born a bastard child to President Shinra, and grew up in the Slums.
- He holds deep concern for the people - particularly children - in the Slums.
- He worked his way to being Director of SOLDIER very quickly, indicating high intelligence and competency.
- He didn’t know that he was President ShinRa’s son until he became the Director of SOLDIER.
- He always thanks the SOLDIERs in the mails he sends out, before saying anything else, something no one else does even in mass mails.
- He uses the word ‘we’ in reference to his department, indicating a sense of camaraderie.
- He is never shown losing his composure, always calm and reasonable, even portrayed as understanding and sympathetic.
All of this is solid fact for Lazard Deusericus, stated in canon and shown in his actions. They paint the picture of a man who grew up in the Slums and worked his ass off to climb the corporate ladder with his intelligence, competence and apparent skill with politics. Let me stress, he had no knowledge of being President Shinra’s son, prior to his final promotion to the executive position of Director of SOLDIER.
Regarding his position as Director, the image portrayed by his actions in Crisis Core show that he has a passion for his work - that he cares not only about the efficiency of SOLDIER, but about the SOLDIERs themselves, reinforced by his gentle demeanor when dealing with Zack, and the respect that Sephiroth seems to have for him.
The overall picture painted above of just who Lazard Deusericus is, I’d like to remind you, is one fully supported by canon. The facts are right there in bullets.
And yet, there is a huge disconnect between who this man is defined as, and how he acts in Crisis Core. Allow me, for a moment, to quote from part one of the role Lazard plays in canon, and the significance of that.
… Lazard was hardly the only one on a quest for vengeance. However, the man was in politics, and one would assume quite intelligent. There were many more ways - safer ways - to see to his father’s downfall, without having to betray the men who looked to him and trusted his orders. If one wants to say he was lumping SOLDIER in with the organization, and saw that as needing destroyed, I’d like to draw your attention to one more thing that Lazard should - and likely did - know.
ShinRa was more than a power company. They were, by Crisis Core, the most widely influencing political power. The entire eastern world had come to rely on ShinRa for mako power, for protection, for steady jobs and for a stabilizing influence on the economy. If ShinRa was destroyed before any sort of alternative was in place, there would, at best, be anarchy. Quite possibly a collapse of economy, and a lot of people would suddenly be out of work. ShinRa was corrupt, and did a lot of horrible things, but they were a necessary evil. Did they need replaced? Yes. But the key word is replaced.You can’t just take out something that so many people rely on in one swoop, with nothing to fall back on, and “hope for the best” because it’s not going to work out well.
In conclusion, I’d like to sum up my musings by restating that canonically, Lazard was either the biggest idiot by thinking it was a good idea to use mentally unstable SOLDIERs to destroy his father’s empire, creating an energy crisis and sudden anarchy with the loss of a key political power that also provided most of the world with mako power, technology, and military might - or he was the biggest villain because he didn’t care what happened to the rest of the world, or the people who had trusted him, so long as his father and his company was destroyed in the process.
The actions stated above do not add up with the person Lazard is said to be. You cannot have a compassionate, empathetic man who would do that. And, assuming that all of that is fake, that he really is that cruel, I’ll point you to the middle paragraph one more time and ask you how, exactly, someone as intelligent as Lazard seems to be, could or even would do that?
This is a man who supposedly managed to embezzle from ShinRa Company - and I assure you, if there is anything President Shinra pays attention to, it’s his wealth - without getting caught by the Turks until quite a bit later in the game. A man who apparently has the intelligence, cunning, willpower, and sheer audacity to plot with Hollander and Genesis while still staying within the company, and not only doesn’t get caught - he pulls it all off with no one the wiser.
At no point is there any indication given that Lazard has the sort of training to outwit Turks, who are trained to pick up on this sort of thing - and I’m sure they had a very close eye on the President’s bastard son once he gained such influential rank. And yet he defies the odds and does exactly that.
This doesn’t add up for me. I adore the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, but as I’ve said, it’s not without its flaws. Lazard Deusericus takes a backseat to everyone else, because he’s essentially a side character, with a dash of plot device. The story is centered around Zack and Sephiroth, and everyone else fills in the blanks, even people like Aerith and Tseng, who go on to play much bigger roles. Some of these characters you never hear of again come the original game, even in mention, which makes sense, because FFVII came first. But as far as seamless continuity, it’s leaves us hanging.
So, yes, I understand fully why Lazard was written as he was - makes sense enough, as long as no one delves too deeply into the “why” aspect - and he fills a necessary role. But as someone who wants to RP Lazard, I had to take a step back, really look at who he was in canon, compare it to his actions, and admit that they didn’t match up. I had to go back, take all the facts, everything that made Lazard who he was, and go from there, working in that bare bones framework, building from there to give you what you see today.
And from this is where my headcanons begin.