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Open question!

Do you think that Light had a happy life, pre-series? This can be taken in a number of ways, I know -- was he happy with his life, versus were the situations of his life objectively happy, and so forth. Feel free to answer any of those. Note the pre-series bit -- I'm pretty much talking exclusively when he's not Kira, here.

Personally... I think the answer is both yes and no. As far as we see, the circumstances of his life were pretty darn good. Stable, loving parents, natural good looks and intelligence, upper-middle-class, presumably top-notch education, popular at school, etc. Mind you, sometimes I do give him, um, a dead relative, religious issues, whatever. Still, in terms of purely what we see in canon, the point remains.

The question "was Light happy with his life?" is, however, another matter. On the one hand, there's a resounding no. We see this, right? He's intensely bored and dissatisfied with the world. I -- well, I should take a moment here to say that I think a lot about what Light is like when he's not Kira, because I tend to play versions (mostly AUs to one degree of another) of Light which aren't Kira more often (I think the ratio is like... 5:1? ahaha OBVIOUSLY NOT ALL AT ONE TIME... just, games dying on me, private one-off RPs, and so on). What I've done to get my own interpretation of these Light is generally work backwards (what do I think a person in Light's situation would look like, and what do I think a person who would do what Light did have to look like?) and then I adjust a little bit to whatever AU elements I've thrown in, if any.

So. Anyway, getting back to the point, part of this personal reading of Light is that he's a very lonely, disconnected person, who is... This is where the "yes" bit of the "yes and no" to is he happy comes in, because he is undoubtedly an arrogant person who thinks he's pretty damn awesome. Generally such a person would be happy. But. There's a little paradox, insofar as -- he's arrogant, yes, but I also think he's kind of insecure. Not in the "I don't believe in myself, I can't do this" way, but in a... "what I'm doing is never enough, I should be doing more, I don't feel as perfect as they say I am because I'm not really achieving anything concrete" way. And those kind of nagging doubts are really, really horrible, and I play that as being part of the impulse which drove him to be Kira. Light is an obsessive perfectionist, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was constantly finding shortcomings and flaws in... not so much himself, but in the opportunities which the world was giving to him. "It's not enough, it's never enough," and so forth.

Furthermore... we know that Light is very intelligent, and also cares a lot about The State Of The World. (Now, this does raise an interesting question of, does he really care? Or is he just going through the motions, because that's what he has been taught to do, and is more shallow than deep? I tend to play him more towards having some degree of genuine understanding, but it is a mix, too, because to a certain degree he is just sheltered, egotistical and immature, acting on notions which he understands more as theory than true empathy for humanity.) I tend to see/play this as meaning that... well, my headcanon for him is that he had a lot of anxieties as a child. Because he was hyper-aware of all of the bad things and, being so precocious, didn't have the child's usual barrier of naivete/cluelessness/what have you.

I don't know. I don't tend to think that, as a character, he was happy pre-series. I play him as having had a good deal wrong with him -- because come on, the guy did become a mass-murderer. On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if I make Light too... mrr, I'm trying to figure out a way of saying this which doesn't make it seem like I'm Playing Him Better, or whatever -- the words my mind is gravitating to are "deep" and "complicated", but -- I don't mean my portrayal of him? I just mean him as a character. Oh, there we go, I've got a good way of putting it: sometimes I think that I give him too much credit, and maybe a portrayal of him as having, pre-series, been obliviously, contentedly arrogant is more accurate.

Um. Yeah. *shuts up* Thoughts?

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
nightfireblaze
Oct. 28th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
My Light is from the Yotsuba arc where he doesn't have memories so pre-series is something I find interesting to think about. Although I haven't thought about it as much as I maybe could because I don't want to decide on something and think it's off base later.

One thing that I have thought of (but haven't had a use for) is that Light was maybe a casual gamer. He's smart enough to know what a waste of time/money video games and such can be, but why would Ryuk ask Light to play Mario Golf in the second volume if Light never played? There is a game system in that house, and it would be most probable to assume that the system is Light's. Being popular in a public school means that he's had the chance for any fad that goes on. Like pokemon back in the day. Though, Light wouldn't have bought a ton of pokemon stuff, but rather just enough to defeat the other kids in battles, and then he'd get bored of the game and drop it.

By the time high school came around Light would be able to ignore things he knew were useless and/or consuming, but in elementary and middle school, that's when people are still getting to know you and you getting to know other people. Like how he quit playing on the tennis team when he entered high school. He already been there, done that, and won a national award in tennis, so he didn't need to keep playing around with it because he knew that he was the best, and nothing more was left to challenge him with it. Getting into sports is a totally normal and popular thing to do in middle school, but in high school Light didn't need it so he discarded it. What he needed was high scores and placements academically so he can be the best and go to university as the best to move onto the part of his life that he wanted, before he picked up the death note of course.

Erm, sorry that's a bit off topic there. As for my thoughts on if he was happy or not? He probably got bored with things quickly if he wasn't challenged enough, so while he may have been glad for his situation and praise, he probably wasn't too happy either.
norrowa
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Ooh, you know, that's very interesting. (The subject of Light's hobbies is actually worthy of a post of its very own, which I may make later...) I tend to give Light ~highbrow and intellectual~ extra-curricular pursuits (some difficult musical instrument, chess, teaching himself foreign languages, etc.). I had never thought of him as a gamer, because I would, before reading your comment, have characterized him as someone who looked down on that kind of stuff. However, your points about the Mario Golf thing and also that it makes sense for him to have played video games (because to a degree he does care a lot about fitting in and being well-liked). So yeah, thanks for pointing that out!
nightfireblaze
Oct. 29th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Oh, I've also thought about Light teaching himself foreign languages and chess, but I thought about video games also because of the Mario Golf evidence. It would be interesting to have a discussion on Light's hobbies.

Going back to the happy thing. I see Light more bored than either happy or sad.

High school already feels like a waste of time to normal people, but to Light it must feel even worse because he has to sit through classes that are directed so that anyone with enough intelligence can understand or get by with. And that wouldn't be enough for him even if Light goes to a top-notch school. When we see Light at school if he isn't doing homework, then he's withdrawing into his mind and listening only enough that if the teacher asks him something then he can answer it. He doesn't have to be at the classes because his intelligence is way above high school, but he feels that he needs to be there. Needs to be the best, be perfect, even if he isn't satisfied with the situation.

Early childhood was most likely a joyful time even if he progressed a little too fast to be completely happy with it. Because at a younger age everything is new and exciting. And when you get praised it's the best thing in the world, until you hear it so often that it means nothing but you still smile and nod to please them.
elisabell_angel
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
Personnally, I say not happy and not sad.

Since I see Light as the obvious favorite of the family, it seems pretty obvious that his mother will give him nearly everything he wants within reason... Light has always been a great achiever and he seems to do so naturally. He studies but he doesn't seem to try very hard or put much effort to anything until he recieves the Death Note. He gets used to his world, for any other child his situation is enviable, but Light is too used to it to appreciate it.... And so he becomes bored with his life.... *sorry. stupid ramble*
norrowa
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
Don't apologize! That makes sense to me. I was actually going to put a section in my post that, you know, saying somebody has been, throughout the course of his/her life, "happy" or "sad" is a bit silly because nobody's in a good state of mind all the time and nobody's in a bad state of mind all the time (although some people come very close. And except for, like, Zen masters).
elisabell_angel
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
Usually that is the case, but there are a few exeptions.... Though I wouldn't really know if that applies to DN... It's open for interperetation...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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