Endwalker, an add-on for Final Fantasy XIV, is widely considered to be among the best of its kind. The voyage of the Scions came to a stunning finale, leaving players moved and anticipating the next adventure with bated breath. Despite the positive reception Endwalker’s tale has gotten, some players have expressed difficulty with the time-travel storyline, which they believe stems from an incoherent contradiction.
Players start to feel lost as they try to make sense of Endwalker and its ancestor, Shadowbringers, since they include seemingly contradictory claims. Hydaelyn’s recollections and Emet-account Selch’s of the sundering led the players to question the significance of the Warrior of Light’s visit to Elpis in their search for Meteion. Players may discern that there is no paradox, but rather a cleverly planned time loop, if they look at events spanning expansions and realize that the Warrior of Light’s trek to the past was predestined.
What is a paradox?
A temporal paradox is best understood as an incoherent repetition of past events. When reading a story involving time travel, if there are inconsistencies, the reader is led to feel that the story is flawed on its own merits, which may be quite distracting. When players go back to when Hydaelyn and Zodiark’s real natures were revealed, the alleged contradiction in Shadowbringers becomes obvious. After a major battle between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, Emet-Selch told the Scionians that the planet was shattered into 13 pieces by Hydaelyn’s last strike. Some have speculated that Hydaelyn’s godlike strength was an unintentional effect of her blow to Zodiark, causing the sundering.
In contrast, one of Hydaelyn’s recollections in Endwalker shows her pleading with humanity not to run away from their sadness and anguish. Hydaelyn decided to split the Earth in two when they flatly refused to cooperate. By breaking apart the ideal universe, humans lose their immortality and their ability to generate new forms of life. Instead, they would experience terrible things like death and anguish. Then, they’d be better equipped to deal with the Meteion menace, thanks to the resolve that can only come from facing death.
Because of these discrepancies, some players dismiss Endwalker as a complete enigma. In spite of the fact that Hydaelyn’s recollections demonstrate that she deliberately split the world in two, Emet-theory Selch’s suggests that Hydaelyn did it inadvertently. However, there is more than just a paradox here. Players often fail to realize that G’raha Tia’s interstellar trip drastically changed the course of history and altered the planet’s initial destiny.
Since the Warrior of Light was doomed to an early death because of the Black Rose, G’raha Tia travelled back in time to the First to save him. If everything had gone according to plan, the Warrior of Light wouldn’t have gone back in time to warn Venat and find out about Meteion’s plot to hasten the End of Days. After G’raha Tia opened the door to the Endwalker loop, a new cycle of events began in which Venat first learned of the danger from the Warrior of Light, then sundered the planet, tracked Meteion, created the moon, and finally gave the Warrior of Light the clue that led them back in time.
Because destiny is such a recurrent motif in Final Fantasy XIV, it’s not unreasonable to assume that G’raha Tia was always meant to alter the future. Hydaelyn had already built the moon backup and sent it into orbit even before occurrences of Endwalker, proving this. There is no paradox of time, but rather a single time loop that includes another time loop inside it, both of which were formed by a predetermined chain of events. Emet-biased Selch’s and incomplete recall lead to his conflicting recollection of the events. Given his lack of Meteion memory and his tempering by Zodiark, Emet-Selch had little choice but to see Hydaelyn as evil and to deduce her motivations for tearing the world apart.