A Canon Nightmare (Updated 2/18/04)
Once again with another e-mail... this time it has to do with a popular debate... shipping, as the usual... Anyway... No nonsense today, here we go:
Hello once again, my friend! It's been awhile since I bugged you with a question, so I figured you were due one of my oh-so wonderful e-mails. Given your love of debate and the popularity of your "War of the Ships" topic, I think you'll even have some fun with this one. Don't disappoint me! ^^
Anyway, the point of contention I wish to bring up is about one of the most dreaded boils on the face of the GS fanfiction world. That's right--Imilshipping! For some reason that completely escapes me, people keep writing about this couple when it is made BLATANTLY obvious throughout both games that Mia hates Alex with a passion. I mean...I might buy it in a good AU fic, but certainly not in canon, which is where many of those Imilshippers set their stories. So...you think you could do me a favor and use your wonderful ranting powers to shoot down this pairing? Please? I'll even throw in a free cookie!
I've been waiting for this one a LONG time. I have gotten questions on Imilshipping in the past I've neglected to answer because of my own laziness. However, the cookie incentive was quite the good bribery, despite the obvious... *Coughs* bias *Coughs* in the e-mail.
All right, enough tomfoolery. Let's get down to another one of my infamous essays:
Imilshipping: A Canon Nightmare
To start out for those who do are not familar with the term "Imilshipping," it is slang for the Alex/Mia pairing. For awhile, and even today the pairing remains realtively common amongst fanfiction. It has nowhere near the presence of Mud, Flame, Vale, or other ships, but its presence seems more highly unlikely than the aforementioned pairings. Despite Midnight's obvious bias, she makes a fair point. This is why this essay was written; to make the point clear that Imilshipping post-Golden Sun or TLA is nearly impossible at best.
First of all, there is Alex's betrayal of the sacred charge of Imil's Mercury Adepts: Lighting the Mercury Elemental Lighthouse. This duty belonged primarily to Mia, who was the guardian of the Lighthouse, but as her apprentice, Alex must've known the importance of keeping the lighthouse beacon dim. As part of his training, he most undoubtedly was taught never to light the lighthouse, especially not without Mia's permission. Also, as stated before, the duty to protect the lighthouse was sacred. When Alex turned from Mia, he disappeared without warning until the beacon was fired. Now, imagine how Mia must feel: Her apprentice ran off on her over a year before to fend for herself. When he finally returns, he shuns her teachings, and helps Saturos and Menardi ignite the lighthouse. Basically, to any master or teacher of any sacred faith, this is a more than just a mere slap in the face. Alex defiled everything she stood for and every teaching she held dear by intentionally lighting the Mercury beacon. It was obvious by Mia's "I have failed" comments that she was badly hurt by this betrayal. This wrecked any trust she had in him. And after all, what good is love without trust?
What's more, is atop the Mercury Lighthouse, Alex made his appearance after the Adepts' defeat of Saturos. While it appeared he was trying to rationalize himself, it quickly became obvious that he was simply buying time for the defeated Mars Adept to muster enough strength to stand so they could make their escape. Mia's reaction then is to join up permenantly with Isaac and company. Whether the reason was to get answers or revenge, the move was maticulus and calculated. Mia, had she loved, let alone trusted Alex, she would've probably been more passive in her plans. However, this move was an obviously aggressive stance; while she made it her charge to protect the other lighthouses, she also clearly wanted to stop Alex.
One of the next times Alex remarks on Mia is when Felix encounters him in an inn; time has now passed a great deal. Alex refrences that Felix's kind and helpful nature reminded him somewhat of Mia. This means Alex full well knows Mia's emotions, who she is, and how she acts. He knows this fact clearly, and yet he still lit the lighthouse? Without telling her his plans, no less? One would think that if he really loved her, he'd be honest enough to go to Mia and rationally explain his quest and ask permission. If they had truly been in love, Mia probably would've listened intently and would've been more open-minded about the issue. Though whether or not she would agree to it, if Alex had taken the initiative to speak to her, it would show he actually cared about her emotions.
Speaking of caring about her, there is that scene in the Jupiter Lighthouse where if Alex is mind read, he is thinking about going to Mia's aid. There are two possibilities for this that work with his personality. Knowing Alex's track record, it wouldn't be hard to say that Alex wants her alive for manipulative purposes. It is also possible that he doesn't want Mia to die for his own reasons (not the least of which is the possiblity that he is stalking her). However, this does not change the fact that he did NOT go to her aid. If he was truly sincere about rushing to her aid, he would've. If he was in love with her, what would've stopped him? Frankly, Alex's lack of action goes to show that he may have had a ping of guilt for a moment, but if it really meant something, he would've acted on it. Did he? No. This may cause people to have some feelings for Alex, but people must remember; he is human. There is not a human alive who doesn't doubt what they do for at least a second.
Also consider, Alex is an Adept. He knows when he is being mind-read, as he made perfectly clear in the Madra inn. It is highly probable that he simply thought what Felix wanted to hear: Compassion. It would throw him off the trail, covering his own tracks as the mastermind behind the recent doings. By putting up a caring front, he is keeping Felix in the dark about his plans; and judging by all of his other actions, thinking fake thoughts wouldn't be that difficult for him. Simply pretending to care about Mia in his thoughts was probably such a convincing front that Felix let Alex escape unscathed; exactly what he had hoped for.
Next, in the final scenes of The Lost Age, when the Wise One confronts the heroes, he informs them that Alex had returned to Mount Aleph to claim the power of Alchemy itself. Shocked at this revelation, Mia makes one remark that cries foul to any possible Imilshipping after TLA. Mia says something along the lines of "I can't believe he was ever part of my clan! I feel sickened... disgusted." Now, if that doesn't send a boquet of dead flowers and a nice hate mail card to dear Alex, there probably isn't anything else that will get the point accross. By this point, it is openly obvious that Mia despises Alex; it has all become clear: He used her, betrayed her, and it was probable that he would come back to kill her once the power of Alchemy was his.
Moving on, far too many fanfiction authors paint Mia of weak character. Many authors portray Mia as quiet, soft-spoken, very forgiving, and kind. This is all quite accurate to her character, however, there is one trait Canon Imilshippers seem to add to her character: Naivety. Most post-TLA Imilshippers make Mia borderline stupid; they make Mia weak and easily duped, and far too forgiving. This usually means she ends up forgiving Alex for everything he has done: Deserting her, betraying her, decieving everyone, using the crew she joined with, using Felix and his crew, trying to take the power of Alchemy for himself, trying to destroy Vale with a storm, and his visions to take over the world using the siezed power. If the scene atop the Mars Lighthouse was any indication, Mia is not blind or stupid, so the odds of her forgiving Alex for these atrocities is approxamately zero.
Next, we move on to Alex himself as a character. Look at him; he's the a fine example of a villian, and he gives even most good villians a run for their money. Think about it: His intentions were mysterious at first, though they were likely bad based on Isaac's (and Mia's) encounters with him. Also, it can be argued that Alex had the events of both Golden Suns planned out from the beginning. He could've used his manipulative powers (which were probably tested on Mia) to win over Saturos, Menardi, and Felix. With some meat shields that shared a similar goal in lighting lighthouses, he could effectively take the power he needed with minimal effort. It is likely that he duped Saturos and Menardi into some of the evil acts they did, such as being more violent than necessary with some of the guards around the Venus Lighthouse. Then, after Saturos and Menardi were done away with, he simply cast the memory of them aside, as though they never existed. They were merely pawns in his little game. Then, he needed some new suckers. Felix and Company were perfect for this role at first... that is until Alex feared they would rebel against him or take far too long to light the lighthouses... or worse, meet up with Isaac and be defeated so he'd actually have to get his hands dirty. Enter his new converts... Karst and Agatio. Alex no doubt told Karst about Menardi's death, and probably stretched the truth a great deal. The now enraged Karst would be blind to revenge and would do as Alex said if it meant the chance to kill the one who defeated her sister. Agatio was probably convinced by both Alex and Karst together to follow along. Of course, Alex got a bonus: Babysitters for Felix, and better yet, a way to dispose of him once trouble reared its head. This meant Alex could sit from the sidelines, looking all the more innocent, while his goals were being accomplished by Felix, Karst, and later... even Isaac and Mia. With the pieces in place and the stage set, he returned to Mount Aleph to await his just reward. In the end, Alex had manipulated everyone. His list of victims did not stop at just Isaac, Mia, Garet, and Ivan. They stretched to pretty much every main character; he twisted every one of them to do his bidding, even if he didn't have to be present to give orders. He probably had orchestrated the whole thing long before Saturos and Menardi infiltrated the Sol Sanctum for the second time. The only thing he hadn't counted on was the intervention of the Wise One. Realistically, how can one plan for that sort of occasion? Every villian has his downfall, be it his own fault or the ever present Murphy's Law. It is clear that Alex is evil to the core by the end of Lost Age, so why would Mia, an obviously law-abiding healer, give her heart to someone so vile? Doubtful, as we've already gone to show that Mia isn't stupid.
There is just no clear way Imilshipping could ever happen in canon Golden Sun, at least during the games or after them. However, due to Alex's manipulative nature, it is very well possible that Mia and Alex could've had a romantic relationship in a pre-Golden Sun era. The wily Mercury Adept could've used Mia romantically to come closer to accomplishing his goals, or to just simply string her along during any training. However, given Alex's nature, if he was in a relationship of such a nature, he probably would not have taken any of it seriously, as it was all simply a ruse. Again, if there had been a meaningful realtionship, Alex would've used it to his advantage in his quest for power.
Keep in mind that all of the above applies only to canon Golden Sun. (This is to say, stories that are in the same timeline and world as Golden Sun.) Just about anything can happen in Alternate Universes (AUs), and the likelihood of Imilshipping in said universes is completely up to the author who writes said universe. As Midnight pointed out, very few Imilshipping stories take place outside of the canon universe; something that many players find completely out of place to the whole game. If Imilshipping was to exist in a more believable fashion, it would have to be in a very well written AU, one in which each of the characters were carefully fleshed out and well described. However, the Alternate Universes are not under scrutiny here. It remains as fact that during or post GS Imilshipping is so unlikely to the point of being ridiculous.
Any questions? Comments? Contact me one way or the other. Remember though, this essay applies solely to canon Imilshipping, not Imilshipping in AUs. AUs are free territory for authors to write and choose, so this essay is irrealavent to those stories. If you want to comment, send them to AskTriadOrion@yahoo.com.
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