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The Major Arcana and its application to Pokemon Black and White Part II

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Now I'll move on to the player character's journey in general, going up to the events at N's Castle. The Major Arcana can only be loosely applied to the storyline, as the writers probably weren't thinking about this concept (or were they?). So I'll just cover a few of the turning points of the story. Keep in mind that the player character's journey could possibly cover the entire span of Major Arcana, but it doesn't necessarily touch on every single arcana.

Like before, there are spoilers ahead.

Magician through Hierophant could be considered minor events, or they could simply represent the introduction of their respective characters. I've already covered Magician and Priestess, so that leaves Empress, Emperor, and Hierophant. Since none of the other characters are fleshed out enough, I'm unable to associate a certain character with each of these arcana. So we'll skip them for now and move on to The Lovers arcana.

As the name implies, it is most associated with romance, relationships, and passion. However, I'm not going to focus on these aspects, as it would devolve into a shallow discussion of what the canon relationship would be (which there are none). Instead, I'm going to focus on the alternative interpretation of The Lovers arcana. This arcana is a card of choice, in which The Fool gains awareness of the world around him and shifts his focus away from the basic human archetypes to more complex concepts and struggles. And so The Fool must reawaken his true purpose for beginning his journey in the first place. Simply put, it is a transitional card. As controversial as it will sound, I would place this arcana with the infamous ferris wheel scene. Up until now, the player character has continued on their journey, earning gym badges and filling up the Pokedex like anyone would on a typical Pokemon journey. Unfortunately, this is no ordinary journey for the player character. Their awareness of the unusual situation with Team Plasma will awaken in Nimbasa City, and their true struggle will begin. The Lovers arcana also symbolizes doubts, temptation, curiosity, and dilemma; something akin to opening Pandora's Box, if you will. Here in the Nimbasa City amusement park, the player character was presented with a choice; do I follow N or not? Do I satiate my curiosity and awaken to a new reason for my journey, or do I remain blissfully unaware of the danger Team Plasma presents and continue on my "ordinary" journey? Obviously the mechanics don't allow you to not follow N, but it is inevitably a decision made by the protagonist in this story. And, well, we all know how that went.

Moving right along, we have The Chariot arcana. This arcana can actually be applied to two consecutive events: apprehending Team Plasma in Driftveil City, and the encounter with N in Chargestone Cave. The Chariot arcana is quite a complex card, as The Fool has moved on to higher levels of awareness and thinking. It represents honor, conviction, and discipline. It also denotes a difficult but brief victory, which leads to frustration. After learning N's true identity, the player character is charged with the task of preventing Team Plasma from accomplishing their goals. However, they are alone in this endeavor. They must struggle against a seemingly limitless, omnipresent force. Although the player character and Cheren manage to successfully apprehend Team Plasma in Driftveil City's Cold Storage, they are soon confronted by Ghetsis, resulting in the offending Team Plasma members being set free and effectively undoing the player character's hard work. Pretty frustrating, right? This frustration is carried along into Chargestone Cave, where the player character is forced into yet another encounter with N by the Shadow Triad. But this frustration goes both ways here. After losing yet another battle with the player character, N's frustration reaches a boiling point, as he fails to understand why he cannot win against the player character. This ultimately leads to N lashing out at Professor Juniper, and storming off immediately afterwards. Here we have two opposing forces locked in a struggle. Both are unrivaled in their conviction, never resting until they achieve their victory. They pull in opposite directions, yet this union of opposites is what carries the story along its path, as well as The Fool along on his journey.

At this point, the story starts to speed up quite a bit, making it difficult to place the remaining events with arcana. There could even be multiple arcana for certain events. So I'm going to have to break the order of the arcana somewhat.

The next major turning point of the story begins after you reach the exit of Twist Mountain and continues on to after you earn your 7th badge in Iccirus City. Near the exit of Twist Mountain, you and Cheren encounter a couple of Team Plasma members who mention other members at "a tower" and claim that they've just obtained a power that will allow them to rule the world. Cheren disregards this troubling piece of information and opts to stay in the mountain a little longer. Of course, the tower they refer to is none other than Dragonspiral Tower. The player character can rush ahead to investigate the tower, but they'll find that it is sealed, with Team Plasma no where in sight. I believe that The Hanged Man arcana best fits the player character's situation. This arcana symbolizes passivity, surrender, and inability to take action. The Fool is prevented from moving ahead in his journey, and he cannot prepare for what lies ahead on his path, which is beginning to become quite obscured. This suspension of movement is continued on to after the 7th badge is earned, when the Shadow Triad appears in front of the player character, as well as Cheren, Bianca, and Brycen, and informs them that N awaits the player character at the top of Dragonspiral Tower. No matter how quickly the player character ascends the tower, they cannot prevent N from awakening and obtaining Zekrom/Reshiram. Now here, a few different arcana could apply. Obviously Hanged Man is still in effect, as they have little to no control over the rapid succession of new developments in this situation. There is the Death arcana, which is another transitional card. The player character must abandon any preconceived notions about how they would stop Team Plasma and adopt an entirely new cause; awakening Reshiram/Zekrom. This leads to a small hint about how to truly end this conflict, which is the Temperance arcana, or the balancing of opposites. The Tower arcana also takes effect here, as it represents potential catastrophe and failure, as well as the need to change one's approach to solving a problem.

After obtaining Zekrom/Reshiram, N tells the player character that they must "become a hero, as well," and find the Light/Dark Stone in order to be able to stop him. And so the search for the other stone begins. The player character first backtracks to Relic Castle as it is possible that the other stone is located there. Ironically, we're also backtracking in the Major Arcana from the Tower arcana to the Devil arcana. The search at Relic Castle turns out to be a dead end. And standing at that dead end is the Devil himself. Its not often that this arcana represents an actual person, but if it does, that person is usually one with money or power, as well someone who is persuasive, aggressive, and controlling. Yes, you guessed it, it is none other than Ghetsis, one of the seven sages of Team Plasma. You've encountered him a few times already, but it is at this point in the story where his antagonistic tendencies truly start to seep out. The Devil is usually indicative of someone with an inexhaustible source of energy. To submit to The Devil would be defeat of the ego, something N has unfortunately already experienced. The Fool must defeat The Devil in order to gain strength and move forward in his journey. Of course, for the player character, this defeat can only occur at the end of their journey. However, for N, such a defeat remains to be seen.

Upon exiting Relic Castle, the player character receives a frantic phone call from Professor Juniper, telling them to come to the Nacrene City Museum immediately. After arriving in front of the museum, the Light/Dark Stone's true location is revealed to be none other than inside the museum itself. And so the player character receives the Light/Dark Stone. From this point, The Star, The Moon, and The Sun arcana all follow the player character's preparations to face N at the Pokemon League. Although it is unknown exactly how Reshiram/Zekrom is awakened, the player character inevitably becomes a beacon of hope for everyone in Unova. Although the player character must remain optimistic, they inevitably have doubts about whether or not they can awaken Reshiram/Zekrom. Ghetsis' next confrontation with the player character on Tubeline Bridge is for the sole purpose of inspiring fear and anxiety, claiming that the player character could never hope to awaken Reshiram/Zekrom. As the player character earns their 8th and final gym badge and heads to the Pokemon League, they are nearing the end of their journey. Although the task before them seems insurmountable, they are not truly alone. Along with their Pokemon, who have been with them since the beginning of their journey, the player character has nothing to fear. Yes, The Fool is nearing the end of his journey. He sees the light of The Star, which gives him hope. But it is this light that make him vulnerable to the illusions of The Moon, which causes him to tread the path with doubt and anxiety. However, The Sun illuminates his conscious mind, renewing his optimism and allowing him to prevail over his fears.

And so we come to the final test of The Fool; the Judgement arcana. It is here that The Fool reflects on his journey. Judgement covers the Elite 4 battles, but more importantly, it applies to the final battle with N, as well as the battle with Ghetsis. Here the player character's strength is put to the test. The awakening of Reshiram/Zekrom can also be seen as a of judgement of the player character's determination and purity of the soul. Judgement also symbolizes forgiveness, salvation, and the end of repression. This final test is pivotal not only for the player character, but for N, as well, as it allows N to transcend his gilded cage and continue his journey. After all is said and done, the player character successfully protects Unova, their World, and the bonds between humans and Pokemon. And thus, they obtain The World arcana, which symbolizes fulfillment, accomplishments, and contentment. The Fool's journey is now complete, and he may even embark on a new journey.

Wow, what a great journey! If you've read all of this, then I give you a round of applause. I'm so glad I finally typed all of this out. Yes, I really did spend the last six hours typing all of this. If only I could be this disciplined when it comes to writing essays for school.


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Updated 22nd March 2012 at 08:49 PM by smalllady



  1. El_'s Avatar
    Wow this was an amazingly cool read. You really know alot about this kind of thing, and I learned alot with how everyone matched in their place in the Arcana, nearly perfectly too.

    Thanks so much for taking out the time to write both parts up, can't wait to see how Grey will eventually tie into this, but I imagine that Kyurem (representing zero like the fool) could represent something similar to the PC.
  2. smalllady's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by El_
    Wow this was an amazingly cool read. You really know alot about this kind of thing, and I learned alot with how everyone matched in their place in the Arcana, nearly perfectly too.

    Thanks so much for taking out the time to write both parts up, can't wait to see how Grey will eventually tie into this, but I imagine that Kyurem (representing zero like the fool) could represent something similar to the PC.
    Thank you!! I'm glad you liked it.


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