This page contains spoilers for FFIV, FFVII, and FFVIII.
The first and easiest association to make with Luna is the moon. And, yes, it’s her name, but the moon actually has more subtle significance.
When you first start FFXV, one of the things you have to get used to is the day/night cycle. During the day you’re free to wander wherever you like, and while you may run into a few monsters that are above your level, the majority are manageable challenges. Night, however, is a different story: daemons reign supreme, and if you can’t make it to a haven or a motel in time, you’re in for a rude awakening.
At night, the moon offers the only natural light against the daemons, little as it is to hold them back. After the events in Altissia, the nights begin to grow longer, and as the events of the game progress, the moon disappears until there is nothing but darkness blanketing the world.
This reflects Luna’s role as the Oracle: she is the moon, the only thing holding back the eternal night. As the Oracle, she has the power to heal those afflicted with the Starscourge, the plague that causes daemons and extends the night. Yet she is but one person, and though she works tirelessly to heal all she can, it’s too far-reaching for her to destroy alone. Luna knows this, and her story centers around her journey to fulfill the destiny she shares with Noctis.
This isn’t the first time the moon has been used as a motif in the Final Fantasy series, and there are some interesting comparisons to draw with these other instances. The first instance is Final Fantasy IV, in which you fly to the moon in a whale. It doesn’t really make any more sense in context. (I actually haven’t played FFIV in close to a decade and remember very little from it.) What I actually want to talk about is the moon in Final Fantasy VIII.
In FFVIII, it’s revealed fairly late in the game that all of the monsters in this world originate from the moon. Specifically, there is an event called the Lunar Cry, in which monsters fall from the moon en masse, destroying massive stretches of land where they impact. This event normally occurs when monsters reach a saturation point on the moon. However, it can be induced when the Lunatic Pandora, an enormous monolith, is put into alignment with the moon.
I can’t help but draw parallels between FFVIII and FFXV in this regard. In FFXV daemons are not a naturally occurring phenomenon but rather a result of the Starscourge; they are quite different from the monsters that roam the lands. FFVIII, in contrast, is a rare RPG that actually takes the time to explain where all those monsters in the world come from and how they got there in the first place. In FFXV the daemons are strongly associated with the night and blot out the sky; while in FFVIII the monsters originate from the moon.
The other major symbol associated with Luna is the sylleblossom. Near as I can tell, this is a made-up flower, but they’re probably gentianas, given the name of Luna’s messenger.
Within the world of FFXV, the sylleblossom is a flower native to Tenebrae, Luna’s home. It becomes a point of connection between her and Noctis, and she shows it to him during the period he stays with her as a child, telling him of its significance.
Noctis: Nice flower.
Luna: It’s the same kind we sewed our crowns from.
Noctis: Oh yeah, “sylleblossoms.”
After Luna’s death, she appears to Noctis in a dream sequence, surrounded in a field of sylleblossoms. When Noctis eventually reaches Tenebrae himself, he finds the hills covered with the blossoms.
I’ll be honest: this is not a symbol I’m particularly fond of. I wasn’t happy with Luna’s death (obviously), but when I first saw the dream sequence I had no idea what was up with all the flowers. It was a stretch for me to remember that one cutscene earlier in the game where Luna told Noctis about them, and even that seemed fairly weak.
My real problem, though, was that this had already been done in the series before, and this felt a poor imitation. In Final Fantasy VII, the flower girl Aerith is tragically killed halfway through the story. Luna’s death had already reminded me very strongly of Aerith’s (and not in a good way), but this flower association seemed forced and over-the-top.
What’s more, it wasn’t giving Luna something unique; it was channeling something else in the series. My first thought upon seeing Luna and Noctis in the flower field was of the scene in Advent Children with Cloud and Aerith. Here’s a hint, Square: my first thought in your most emotional moment should not be that you’re ripping off your own series.
My thoughts on Luna’s death are discussed in more detail over here, but in summary: the thing about symbolism is that it works when you don’t actually beat your audience over the head with it. This seems the case with the moon symbolism, but if you take the time to think about it, there’s actually a decent bit of interesting stuff there. The flowers, not so much. Thanks Square.