Lightning (aka Claire Farron or Eclair Farron in the Japanese version) is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII as well as the narrator and a major character in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Her father died when she was very young and her mother died of an unknown sickness when she turned fifteen. With no other family to turn to, she became forced to raise her sister Serah by herself. At the start of the game, she is a member of the Guardian Corps, a branch of the Sanctum military, but renounces her position and rank when the Sanctum begins the purge so that she can rescue her sister.
In all of her voiced appearances, Lightning has been portrayed by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese and Ali Hillis in English.
Name, Pseudonym and Background
Lightning is a pseudonym that she adopted when she was about fourteen years old after her parents died in a car accident. She is often seen by others as cold and difficult to speak with. As a member of the Guardian Corps, she is dedicated to her work and prior to her resignation was in line for a promotion.
Lightning's real name is Claire Farron. In the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII, her name is Eclair Farron.
Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero- Promise
Lightning held disdain towards the young monster fighting group, NORA even after they rescued her from an ambush. Snow Villiers, the team's leader and Serah's boyfriend particularly annoyed Lightning and after an encounter with him, she swore she would no longer have anything more to do with him or Serah due to their relationship. During her upcoming twenty-first birthday, Lightning begins to feel guilty about ignoring Serah and starts to believe that Serah only got involved with Snow because she was feeling lonely.
While visiting the mall, Lightning overhears a conversation between Nora Estheim and her son Hope, which inspires her to go on a vacation to Bodhum to celebrate her birthday with Serah. After she leaves the mall, she comes across Fang and Vanille briefly before finding out that the Calvary are after Vanille. Rygdea asks Lightining to brief him on the area of Bodum that they would most likely visit but Lightning suspects that they had something to do with the Euride Gorge incident.
Lightning attends the firework festival a few days later in Bodum where she learns of the Vestige incident that was being kept a secret by the Sanctum. She warned by her captain, Amodar not to get involved with the incident as it would only lead to trouble. They next day, at Lightning's twenty-first birthday, Serah confesses her fate as a Pulse I'Cie as well as her engagement to Snow. Lighting refused to believe either claim and asks them to both leave.As Serah and Snow leave, Lightning hears a announcement by the Sanctum that a I'Cie is within the area and she realizes that Serah was indeed telling the truth. The Sanctum order a Purge of the city and Lighting learns that Serah is being held in the Vestige so she begins her journey to find her sister before it is too late.
Final Fantasy XIII
To save her sister, Lightning volunteers to become a Purgee and resigns as Lieutenant of the Guardian Corps. She boards the train to get to the Vestige, where Serah and another group of Purgees are being taken. While on the train, she meets Sazh Katzroy whom is also a volunteer Purgee and the two are forced to work together to take over the train leading to the Vestige. The two manage to fight through PSICOM soldiers while the remaining Purgees are rescued by NORA. Despite Sazh’s constant probing. Lightning keeps her true motives to herself and the two learn what the Puge actually is: a massacre of the city. Sazh and Lightning manage to infiltrate the Vestige where Lightning tells Sazh about Serah becoming an I’Cie.
While searching Anima’s Throne, they manage to find Serah within the building, but she is unconscious. Snow Villiers also infiltrated the Vestige to find Serah and arrives just in time as Serah awakens. She tells the group to save Cocoon before she crystallizes before their eyes due to her apparently completing her Focus. Snow tries to beg Anima to free Serah while Lightning decides to use force.
The attack causes Anima to awaken and he brands everyone present at the time an I’Cie before casting them below to Lake Bresha. Stranded at the bottom of the frozen lake, the group discuss what their Focus could be. They recognize the beast, Ragnarok in a vision and assume that their task is to destroy Cocoon. The team evade attacks from PSICOM soldiers nd come across Serah’s crystallized body within the lake.
Snow makes a promise to stay behind and protect Serah’s body where as Lightning is convinced that she is saying goodbye to her sister for good. Lightning leads the rest of the group onwards while Snow stays behind to protect Serah’s body. They come across some abandoned ruins where they find an airship that Sazh attempts to pilot. However, the group get pursued by enemies and the ship crashes into the Vile Peaks.At the Vile Peaks, the group separates once again with Hope following Lightning. However, Lightning gets annoyed at Hope’s weak attitude and leaves him behind as well to journey on her own.
The group come together again by chance and Lightning makes a plan to go to Eden to destroy the fal’Cie there as she believes that it was the one that started the Purge to begin with. Hope once again is the only one to follow her as the others refuse to come with her. At first, Lightning refuses to have Hope come with her as she believes that he would only slow her down but he is forced to come with her when they get separated from the others for good. The two of them decide to travel to Hope’s home town so that he can find his father and they make their way through the Gapra Whitewood.
While traveling, Lightning gets annoyed with having to look after herself as well as Hope and her frustration causes her to summon Odin. Odin attacks Hope, but the two of them defeat him which causes Lightning to have a little faith in Hope’s abilities. The two travel onwards and lightning gives Hope her survival knife to toughen him up and boost his confidence. She also helps Hope devise Operation Nora after learning about Hope’s grudge against Snow, who he feels is responsible for the death of his mother. They manage to find Hope’s home in Palumpolum but the city is overrun by PSICOM soldiers so they are forced to travel underground.
After coming across the fal’Cie Carbuncle Lightning comes to the conclusion that she has been a pawn even before becoming an I’Cie and has resolved to endless fighting so she could avoid the reality. She realizes that she has dragged Hope into the same delusion and tells him to abandon Operation Nora as she feels guilty for getting Hope involved in a plan for revenge. The two manage to get back to the surface but are ambushed by Yaag Rosch whom intends to publicly execute them for being I’Cie. However, the two are rescued by Snow and Fang whom use gunfire and the Shiva Sisters to defeat the army.
Lighting escapes with Fang while Hope runs with Snow. Lightning communicates with Hope and Snow suing Fang’s wireless device and they agree to rendezvous in Felix Heights. While making their way to the others, Lightning learns that Fang is from Gran Pulse and that she and Vanille are partially responsible for Serah becoming an I’Cie. Angry, Lightning backhands Fang but says that her act of aggression did not change anything.After seeing PSICOM troops fly overhead, Lightning and Fang decide to try and find Hope and Snow before they get captured.
They manage to find them at Felix Heights but Snow is injured after suffering from a fall while trying to protect Hope. When they arrive at Hope’s home, Lightning helps tend to Snow’s injures and apologizes to him for her behaviour previously of which he accepts. However, their reconciliation is cut short as the group need to figure out what they need to do next. With the help of Hope’s father, they come up with a plan but are interrupted when the house is attacked by PSICOM troops led by Rosch. Things become chaotic, but the team are rescued by the Cavalry ship, the Lindblum.
Once aboard the ship, the team learn that Sazh and Vanille have are being held captive on the Palamecia by the Sanctum. Lightning manages to lead the team in rescuing Sazh and Vanille and decided to confront the Sanctum’s Primarch, Dysley. They confront Dysley whom reveals he is a fal’Cie called Barthandelus. He reveals to the group that their true Focus is actually to destroy Cocoon by summoning Ragnarok and killing Orphan. He also explains that Serah’s real Focus was to only bring the group together so they could fulfil that purpose.
The team are forced to travel through Eden after the Palamecia falls and crashes in the Fifth Ark. While there, the group ponder on what they should do next and Snow apologizes to Lightning for being stubborn about the Focus but Lightning insists that they honour Serah’s wish to save Cocoon anyway. While exploring the group’s I’Cie powers fully awaken and they eventually come across Cid Raines. Lightning attacks him by he manages to easily defeat her and reveals himself to be a Sanctum I’Cie. He explains that his Focus is to help aid them and that fal’Cie are planning to destroy Cocoon so that they can bring back the Maker.
However, Raines denies his Focus and attempt to kill Lightning and the others but they defeat him and he crystallizes. After Cid defile, most of the party member are inspired to do the same except for Fang whom claims she does not want to see her friends go Cie’th. Fang accidently summons the Eidolon, Bahamut but despite her rebellion, the team protect her and Lightning asks her to fight with them of which she agrees to do so. The group decide to go to Gran Pulse and take a portal there in hopes of finding some answers but when the arrive, they discover that there is no human life there and they begin to lose hope after days of searching.
Their brands continue to advance which causes Hope to summon Alexander accidently but Lightning and Snow manage to calm him down. After dealing with this, Lightning leads the team to Oerba so they can figure out a way to remove their brands completely. They journey through the plains in Gran Pulse to reach their destination and take a break in the Skyreach. While there, Lightning and Snow talk about Serah and for the first time. Lighting asks about Snow’s wedding plans and promises him they will see Serah together before shedding silent tears.
When they reach the Oerban village, the group are shocked to discover Serah there talking about Ragnarok. Lightning is immediately suspicious and demands her to stop before Serah taunts her and reveals Lightning’s real name. Serah reveals herself to be Dysley in disguise tring to manipulate the team and Lightning attacks him before he flees to Eden. The team quickly board an airship back to Cocoon so they can stop him before he causes chaos.The team manage to get to the Eden Grand Prix where Lightning uses Odin in Gestalt Mode to infiltrate the city safely.
The team find Barthandelus within the Narthex Throne where he summons Dajh and Serah and seemingly destroys them in front of their eyes. However, Lightning sees through the illusion and manages to defeat him completely. They manage to get to Orphan’s Cradle where Orphan attempts to force Vanille and Fang to become the beast, Ragnarok.While doing this, Lightning and the other are defeated and turn into Cie’th and are only able to turn back when they relive their previous experiences. The team manage to defeat Orphan and begin to crystallize as Cocoon falls and Lighting is crystallizes with the rest of the party at the foot of Cocoon.
The team manage to awaken briefly to see Vanille and Fang have fulfilled their Focus by destroy and saving Cocoon by crystallizing it. Serah and Dajh reunite with the party and have their moments with Snow and Sazh. Lighting comforts Hope regarding Vanille and Fang’s death then reunites with Serah. She apologizes to her for not listening to her and Snow reminds her that they have a wedding to plan. Snow tells Lightning that he will make Serah happy and Lightning says she knows he will and congratulates the two.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
After being released from her I’Cie curse, everything seemed to be resolved and the world was now at peace. However, Lightning eventually becomes trapped in a time paradox after being attacked by waves of unknown darkness. She sees her friends surrounded by enemies and before she could help them, Lightning gets swallowed into an abyss by chaos.
Lightning is removed from history and everyone believes that she had perished or had turned into crystal along with Fang and Vanille. Her sister, Serah is the only one to believe that Lightning is still alive. In truth, Lightning had fallen through the Historia Crux of which she ended up in Valhalla, the realm of death. She stands before Etro’s Shrine and offers herself to the goddess becoming Etro’s guardian.
As she stands upon a balcony, Lightning has visions of a young man falling through the Historia Crux before being attacked by Caius. He summons a number of monsters to attack her and the two of them battle. Lightning uses her gunblade and her Eidolon, Odin as well as various summoned monster to assault Caius until her summons a barrage of Comets. Lightning manages to avoid the attack and comes face-to-face with Caius.
The two ends up sword fighting until Caius transforms into Chaos Bahamut and pursues Lightning through Valhalla. Using Odin, Lightning leads Caius into the city and manages to gain the upper hand in the battle, burying Caius under a pile of debris. After the battle, Lightning witnesses Etro’s Gate opening and a young man falling out of it. Lightning recognises the man as Noel Kreiss as the man previously seen in her vision.
Lightning saves Noel from his fall and they defeat Caius yet again when he comes back to pursue them using Bahamut. The two land upon the shrine where Lightning explains that she cannot leave Valhalla unprotected. She asks Noel to help save Serah and shows him a time gate as well as giving him a moogle named Mog to assist him. She instructs Noel to find Serah and bring her to Valhalla before the shrine is crushed by a meteor summoned by Caius.
Lightning re-appears later on in the game before Noel, Mog and Serah while they are in New Boduhum. Lightning explains that the group are in the year 700 AF, an alternative future that she failed to save. Lightning goes on to explain that after the defeat of Orphan and Fang and Vanille’s sacrifice to save Cocoon, a portal opened up to Valhalla. She explains that Etro closed the door to stop chaos coming to the word.
However, time had been altered and as a result Lightning was caught up in the darkness and removed from time. Lightning remained in Valhalla and could see all of time and saw the future of the world. Etro is being destroyed and if she vanishes completely, the world would be in loss which is why Lightning dedicated herself in protecting her. She tells Noel and Serah that Caius plans to kill Etro while she sleeps and unleash chaos onto the mortal world through a doorway.
Lightning goes on to say that to open the door wide enough, a large amount of people would have to be destroyed at the same time. After Serah says that the world will eventually become like Valhalla, Lightning realizes that Caius’s plan is to create a timeless world. Noel explains that Caius wants to create a timeless world to save Yeul from a cursed fate. Lightning reveals that she has been fighting Caius both in Valhalla as well as the real world and that the future will not change until they stop him.
Lightning tasks Noel and Serah to stop Caius in the real world while she deals with him within Valhalla. Serah asks Lightning if they will be together again and Lightning replies “One thing at a time” before heading back into the portal. Lightning visits the Vile Peaks and feels responsible for a paradox which caused an Academy team called Blitz Squadron to disappear. Lightning appears before Noel and Serah again before they fight he paradox of Odin, Twilight Odin.
After the two defeats Twilight Odin in 200 AF, Lightning is released from the burden of Odin’s shadow twin. Lightning them remembers when she fought alongside the men in the Blitz Squadron years ago and is happy that they remember her even through her disappearance. Later on, Mog comes across a image of Lightning and tells Serah that when Lightning was a I’Cie she thought that fighting was the only way forward until she realized that she was not alone.
Being alone in Valhalla, Lightning holds onto her memories of Serah and her friends and tells Serah that she prays for the day they can be reunited before she disappears. Serah and Noel fight Caius in Valhalla before they are consumed by darkness and set into an abyss. Lightning appears and saves the two and motivates them to stay alive before vanishing again. After defeating Caius, he tells them that he already killed Lightning before the battle began. After the chaos ends and Valhalla spills out and turns Gran Pulse into Valhalla, Lightning is shown sitting on Etro’s throne, crystallized.
Lightning serves as narrator and as a playable character during the game's prologue. DLC for the game also allows her to be fought in the colosseum as an optional opponent; if the player wins, she will become usable as a Ravager in the same manner as the game's monster allies, but this "playable" incarnation of Lightning is not considered the same as the real Lightning.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning, awoken from her crystal stasis after five hundred years, finds herself in a world that has been consumed by Chaos. With only a small part of Gran Pulse (now known as Nova Chrysalia) left inhabitable, the world is due to end in thirteen days. She is charged with a task by the almighty god Bhunivelze to save as many souls as she can so that they may be brought to the new world he will create as the current world ends. She has also been promised that, should she succeed in her mission, Bhunivelze will use his power to resurrect Serah in the new world.
In order to succeed in her mission, Lightning must gather Eradia, a sort of life energy, by bringing peace to the hearts of people she meets. At the end of each day, she must then return to the Ark, the home base of her mission Bhunivelze crafted from what was once Cocoon, and present the Eradia to the world tree Yggdrasil. The more Eradia she gathers, the more time she will be given to complete her mission, but no matter what, the world is destined to end in thirteen days. Lightning's only ally in her mission is Hope, who was taken from the world over a century and a half earlier and prepared by Bhunivelze for the coming task at hand.
As she journeys across Nova Chrysalia, Lightning encounters people she's fought with and against in the past, including old friends like Snow and adversaries like Caius. Each step along the way, she is able to help bring a sense of closure to those she meets in the world's waning days. However, not all is as it first seems.
During the course of her mission, Lightning has numerous encounters with a girl named Lumina that both bears a resemblance to Serah and has strong ties with the Chaos consuming the world. Lumina prods at Lightning, at times seemingly trying to help her, while at other points actively impeding her. When Lightning awoke from her crystal stasis, she awoke with her emotions taken away and a hole in her heart. Lumina's ultimate goal is to make Lightning remember what was in that now empty space; her memories of Serah.
Ultimately, Lightning learns and comes to understand that Bhunivelze's promise of resurrecting Serah is a hollow one. Though he is almighty, he is incapable of seeing souls, and thus while he can create a being in the guise of Serah (and in fact does so, as a means to encourage Lightning in her task), he cannot resurrect Lightning's true sister. Lightning also comes to understand that Bhunivelze is not truly intent on saving humanity. Those faithful that Lightning saves would be allowed to be born into the new world, but all others would perish; their souls destroyed and all memory of their existence forgotten. And those humans born into the new world would ultimately be emotionless puppets made to conform to Bhunivelze's ideals.
However, Bhunivelze had remade Lightning into something no longer human. With Etro's death and the cycle of death and rebirth destroyed, he had used the mission as a test. A means to see if Lightning had the potential to take Etro's place as a new goddess of death, and to watch over the Chaos and the cycle of reincarnation. Lightning uses this power to confront Bhunivelze, and after striking him down intends to take such a role so that humanity could live on. However, the Chaos proves to be too much, and she learns, almost too late, that it wasn't Bhunivelze that had stolen her heart and her emotions, but that they had been sealed away by herself; upon entering crystal stasis, the portion of her heart in which she had kept her memories of Serah safe, and in which she hid her softer, more gentle side of Claire Farron, had split away and become the being Lumina.
Before all is lost, Lightning is able to cry out and reunite with Lumina, accepting the wholeness of her heart. Pulled from the Chaos by Hope, she reunites with the spirits of all of her friends, as well as Serah, and together, she and all the souls of humanity strike down a recovering Bhunivelze and defeat him once and for all.
As Caius and Yeul stay behind to watch over the Chaos and the cycle of death and rebirth, Lightning and the others travel with the sea of souls to a new world that they can call home. In this world, Lightning is reborn, and in the game's final scene, she embarks on a peaceful journey to reunite with her friends, free of all of the burdens that the gods and fal'Cie had placed on her.
Final Fantasy XIII
Lightning's weapon of choice is a gunblade that can transform between a sword for melee combat to a semi-automatic gun for ranged combat. Her three primary roles on the Crystarium are those of the Commando, Ravager, and Medic, and her Eidolon is Odin.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Still equipped with her gunblade, Lightning also wields a shield and is now adorned in armor that appears valkyrie-inspired, with feathers down her thighs. She also has command of new godlike powers granted with her new role as Etro's guardian. Odin remains at her side as her Eidolon.
Lightning is now able to wield a wide assortment of swords, gunblades, and other melee weapons, as well as shields. Her abilities are now based on schemata, which are dependent on specific outfits she can equip. These schemata both change her appearance and determine what abilities she can use in battle. She can equip up to three schemata at a time and swap between them on the fly, serving as a sort of variant on the job systems of previous Final Fantasy titles.
Lightning is a playable character in the PSP Final Fantasy crossover title Dissidia Duodecim: Final Fantasy. She had been intended for inclusion in the original Dissidia, but due to time constraints was dropped from the roster. She also appears as a playable character in Itadaki Street Mobile, as an avatar in Kingdom Hearts: Re: coded, and in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game. Most recently, she appears as a playable character in the 3DS rhythm game Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy. She appears again in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, and can be played in both her Final Fantasy XIII and Lightning Returns incarnations.
In The 3rd Birthday, a Lightning costume is included as an unlockable for Aya. Aya can also use her Blazefire Saber as a gunblade. In return, the game includes a voucher to unlock a special costume for Lightning in Dissidia Duodecim based on Aya's default costume in The 3rd Birthday.
- Lightning's weapon, Blazefire Saber, has inscriptions in Cocoon writing that read "Invoke my name - I am Spark"
- Lightning is the only l'Cie along with Cid Raines whose l'Cie brands are never revealed on-screen in Final Fantasy XIII.