Newman’s Nook: Love and Parenthood

Before I step any further, I am warning my fair readers that I am about to jump head first into the plot of Pokemon Sun and Moon. If you have not finished the primary plot of the game and hate spoilers, then stop here. If you have? Read on.

The main plot of Pokemon Sun and Moon is great. I loved it. One of the most fascinating elements is the character of Lusamine. Lusamine is the seemingly benevolent leader of the Aether Foundation when you first meet her. She introduces you to the concept of Ultra Beasts early in the game upon first meeting her. She’s bubbly and giggling at Hau commenting on how young she looks. The next time you meet her, things are different.

You discover a few new things about Lusamine. She is Lillie and Gladion’s mother. She has been working with Team Skull, specifically Guzma the entire time. She has kidnapped a number of Pokemon, left them in a state of suspended animation, and is trying to open up a portal to another dimension. She wants to create an Ultra Wormhole and become one with the Ultra Beasts. She has fallen into madness.

Lusamine put her obsession, her career, her Pokemon above her children. Her singular focus on the Ultra Wormholes and the Ultra Beasts made her lose her humanity. She no longer cared about her children. She no longer cared about her friends. She no longer cared about the Aether Foundation that she created. She no longer cared about innocent Pokemon. She no longer cared about anything except for her focus and became blinded by her goal. Everything that mattered at one point was cast aside for her to achieve her ultimate goal. Madness has completely consumed her when we finally approach her after traveling through the Ultra Wormhole. It is through all this, we somehow see a shining example of grace. Not from Lusamine, but from her daughter Lillie.

Through all of this, Lillie never once doubted the humanity of her mother. She was concerned. She wanted to help her mother through the madness. She was angry, certainly, for what Lusamine did, but never once did she stop loving her mother. It is weird, in this Pokemon tale the roles are reversed and Lillie in many ways acts as the Father from the parable of the Prodigal Son.

In Luke 15:11-32, Christ tells us this tale. The prodigal son threw aside everything that mattered to seek what he wanted first and foremost. In the Biblical parable, that thing he wanted was earthly freedom, money, and lustful satisfaction. In the case of Lusamine, that thing she wanted was to be in the presence of the Ultra Beasts. Lillie then shows the love of a parent – forgiving, trying to help her through it, and unending love. Its this love that shines through the character of Lillie. When the game ends and she leaves Alola she does so selflessly for her mother, to save her mother. As a Christian, I know we have one who loves us like that – Jesus Christ.

We have a Lord who is ready to embrace us, who is ready to love us in spite of our past actions. Christ is there doing all the work, dwelling among us in the flesh and later sacrificing Himself on the cross to save us. Jesus did all this based on His undying love for us. His love is above all and pure as a parent’s is supposed to be. Lucky for Lusamine, despite her failings as a parent she has a daughter who loves her like that.

As a parent myself, I have to ask myself daily if I would turn into a madman or would I love my children. Would I give up my career for them? Would I give up my freedom for them? Would I give up that which makes me comfortable for them? I am called to do so by my example, the Lord. Lusamine fails each of those tests. I know I am imperfect too. I pray for the strength to become a better parent, to be more like my Father in Heaven.


8 thoughts on “Newman’s Nook: Love and Parenthood

  1. Great article! The story of Sun/Moon was definitely something I enjoyed, especially as it tied into themes of family.

    One interesting thing about this whole story is that Nihilego, the Ultra Beast that Lusamine primarily interacted with, is known to infect its host with a neurotoxin that lowers inhibitions–in other words, in some ways, Lusamine’s actions are very similar to that of an alcoholic. In a roundabout way, her story is basically that of an alcoholic parent and what her children go through because of it.

    But yes, Lillie is the real champ here.

    1. Huh. Never thought about it as an alcoholic metaphor, but that really works! 😮 Alcohol tends to, in large quantities, exaggerate and distort the worst qualities of the person who drinks it. And it’s a depressant, so that makes a lot of sense. I avoid the stuff like the plague for that reason— Instead of making me happy, it causes me to tear my own mind apart with anxiety and fear.

      Plus, alcoholism runs thick in the blood in my family. Both my Dad and Grandmother are/were alcoholics. Coffee seems to serve this purpose in me instead. Not sure that’s much better. : p

    2. Thanks and the comparison to alcoholism is a very good one. I had not thought about that when originally writing this piece. The more I investigate into these Ultra Beasts…the more fascinating they seem.

  2. I absolutely loved the plot of Pokemon Sun and Moon too (Particularly its newfound emphasis on the characters and their relationships, even if my character’s perpetual blank smiling stare honestly scares me XD). Lillie is absolutely the character who grows the most over the course of Pokemon Sun and Moon, and this is a great writeup of how that development culminates in honest love and almost paternal feeling. : ]

    On Lusamine, it’s…interesting. The game heavily implies if not states outright that the Ultra Beast Nihilego is what drives Lusamine utterly insane. The writers of the Bulpapedia indicate it’s a parasite of sorts which causes its victim to become utterly fixated on it….And the game seems to show this as well. So with that in mind, it’s possible that Lusamine wasn’t really culpable so much as phenomenally unlucky.

    “As a parent myself, I have to ask myself daily if I would turn into a madman or would I love my children. Would I give up my career for them? Would I give up my freedom for them? Would I give up that which makes me comfortable for them?”

    The relationships between parents and children are very complex. I’m not sure I can say anything here that hasn’t already been said, except this: Children are called upon to honor and obey their parents, but the Bible only appears to call upon parents to protect and love children and teach them well. And it is ironic, then, that so many parent-child relationships fall apart because the parent fails to honor their children in turn.

    Every parent sees their child making the same obvious mistakes they once made, and the child would be foolish not to heed the parent’s experience and wisdom. Children rush into both ideas and situations without thinking them through, bringing chaos upon their families. The parent is quick to anger, because of course they saw this coming a mile away and gave warning. But quick to forgiveness as well.

    Yet in my workplace and community, I am one of only a few who has a healthy relationship with my parents. And this is because the parents tried to turn their children into carbon copies of themselves, or make the child into something they cannot ever be. And the parents did this violence to their children, too, out of deep love and fear for the future of their children.

    I think, though, that you’re in for a bright future with yours. : ] <3

    1. Thanks for the insight too Luminas. I did focus a lot on Lusamine’s culpability in this whole thing, which I think is important, personally. Even if the creature overtook her in the end – she still began the research, she began the investigation, she let it consume her to start.

      I, as a Dad, am trying not to create little clones of myself. Mind you, they look a lot like me…but personality, I let them do what they want, get interested in what they want. Of course, I expose them to things I like or may have liked as a kid. But, I have kids who don’t like Star Wars for example. It happens. I just want well adjusted, healthy children who love the Lord. That’s my goal.

      1. It’s a great goal to have. :} Also….Don’t like Star Wars?! BLASPHEMY. XD Nah. ; ] It’s great that you’re having your kids branch out into a lot of different ideas. We need more like you.

        “I did focus a lot on Lusamine’s culpability in this whole thing, which I think is important, personally. Even if the creature overtook her in the end – she still began the research, she began the investigation, she let it consume her to start.”

        Well…hmm. Lusamine’s own statements in the first scene suggest she’s already insane, as there are indications that she’d “already met” Nihilego. This is further reinforced by Gladion’s statements about how bad it got after Lillie left, and the game’s opening itself. It seems like it’s very possible to interpret the woman as an initially completely sane (If a tad possessive and paternal) person who, after being exposed to Nihilego, went crazy and had all her worst traits dialed up to eleven. It’s hard to say a scientist is culpable for being curious about and investigating something foreign or fantastical, isn’t it?

        With that said, the lower half of the Aether Foundation’s base indicate that things had gone sour way before that, so there’s room for the possibility that she started going too far all on her own as well. Because Pokemon only tells so much and mostly shows, it’s possible to look at it in at least a couple different ways.

        But that’s what makes stories like this interesting, in my opinion. They leave a lot more unanswered questions and affect people a lot differently than the complicated kind.

        1. Also, can I just say that her dialogue occasionally reminds me of Hamilton’s King George? XD It’s possible to make the word “love” very sinister if used a certain way….

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