In a city drowning in the remnant of chaos, a peculiar structure stands quietly amidst the abandoned town. By the lifeless sea, crystals shine dimly in the sun. There is no sign of life in this city shrouded by a desolate sky.Online Description
Valhalla, also incorrectly identified as the unseen realm by humans in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, is a location in Final Fantasy XIII-2. It is a city located in an alternate dimension from Gran Pulse. Motomu Toriyama, the director of Final Fantasy XIII-2, has said that Valhalla is located in a gap between the unseen world and the real world and is heading for death. The death-bound nature of Valhalla manifests itself in distortions of the timeline and battles that take place in Valhalla are expected to go on eternally.
Daisuke Watanabe, the lead scenario writer for Final Fantasy XIII-2, has explained Valhalla as thus: "Valhalla exists on a different reality plane, one that lies between the real world and nothingness. Time doesn't flow in Valhalla because it is a timeless, lifeless place. With Etro fading from the real world, Valhalla is her only refuge: it is a 'middle world' where she waits until she dissolves completely".
Valhalla is an otherworldly dimension, also known as the unseen realm. According to Pulse legend, it is the final resting place of the souls of the dead, and the chaotic world where the goddess Etro makes her home. Some theories describe it as a city that exists beyond the flow of time, and others claim it is a future where time has come to a standstill.
The seeress of Paddra describes it thus: 'The entire span of time can be seen from Valhalla. But to exert power beyond its borders, one must first open Etro's gate.
- Tablet of Memory
Valhalla is a world that is connected to every age, every timeline. When the seeress of the Farseers gazes into the future, Valhalla is at the heart of the vision.
The seeress also has the power to send her inner voice through Valhalla and then to the time and place of her choosing. However, only those with great chaos in their hearts are able to hear the words of the seeress.
- —Crimson Crystal
- Tablet of Memory
In the heart of Valhalla stands Etro's temple. The throne that sits within, the throne of the goddess, is always empty.
No one can say how long the goddess's temple has stood in this place. In a world where time does not exist, such a question has little meaning. Some speculate, however, that the goddess built the temple with her own hands, as a prison for some long-forgotten enemy.
- —Azure Crystal
- Tablet of Memory
Valhalla, where the temple of the goddess stands, floats on the vast ocean of chaos into which all things must flow. There is no beginning or end to chaos. Those that fall into its waters are condemned to float for eternity in the rift between life and death.
The ocean of chaos has drowned the Pedestal of Time. There, on that holy of holies, did the goddess Etro first step into the unseen realm. But as her power waned, the sacred spot where her foot touched soil sank beneath the sullen waves.
- —Amber Crystal
Life and death lose all meaning under the rolling waves of chaos. Valhalla. The currents of time do not touch its shores.Lightning
This is a world that gives birth to infinite possibilities. But that's all they are, possibilities. There's no death here, but no real life, either.Noel Kreiss
The unseen realm was first introduced in a video shown at Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere event on January 18, 2011, which details that the unseen realm is the other half of the universe. The two sides of the universe must stay in balance, and if the balance between the two dimensions was to be broken, the whole universe would be in danger of collapsing. The unseen realm is filled with chaos, a dangerous substance that threatens the world balance if unbound.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Valhalla is called the unseen realm in the datalog, although development notes from the Ultimania guides call it the place between the visible world and the unseen realm. The legends state that those who die in the visible world pass through the Door of Souls, known as Etro's gate in Final Fantasy XIII-2, to Valhalla. A cycle is established where the souls of the deceased humans enter Valhalla and sink into the sea of chaos, eventually to be sent back and reborn in a new form. Many back in the visible world have tried to find the gate, most evidently many of the fal'Cie created by Pulse and Lindzei, and the fal'Cie's quest to find the gate to the unseen realm is the driving force behind the story in Final Fantasy XIII.
Etro is the goddess tasked with protecting the world balance. She operates the gate between the two worlds, and was the one to gift humans with their heart, by placing a small piece of chaos inside every human, keeping the level of chaos constant. This is why the ability to time travel derives from the goddess; those whom Etro has gifted with great amounts of chaos, will be able to travel through the time using the Historia Crux, control monsters, and see changes in the timeline.
The most prominent structure seen on Valhalla is that of the Temple of the Goddess. A crystal throne sits within the temple, one that is always empty. It is said in a fragment entry that some speculate that the goddess built the temple with her own hands, as a prison for a long-forgotten enemy.
Time does not exist in Valhalla, and it therefore has no past, nor any future. The entire span of time can be seen from Valhalla, letting its residents gain insight to every era and every different timeline. It is said that when the seeress of the Farseers gazes into the future, Valhalla is at the heart of the vision, and that the seeress has the power to send her inner voice through Valhalla and to the time and place of her choosing. This is how Lightning residing in Valhalla is able to communicate with Serah, Snow, Sazh, and Hope via dreams.
A number of beasts reside in this realm, as well as the Eidolons, Etro's servants. Valfodr is said to have once been the strongest knight in Valhalla. In the "Cuddly Chronicles" Fragment entry, it is said that Valhalla is a world where only the strongest survive and those who are born weak must hone their strength and skills in battle against more powerful foes.
The place where Etro's temple is located is surrounded by tall buildings, like an ancient metropolis, but the area is dead as it doesn't appear that the realm has any other sentient lifeforms apart from Etro, Lightning, and Caius Ballad; it has no civilization or culture to speak of, and Caius and Lightning appear to be the only humans inhabiting it.
In a scenario interview with Toriyama and Watanabe in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, the creators reveal that Valhalla is a place between the unseen realm and the real world, where the flow of time has stopped and where people pass by on their way to the beyond. According to Watanabe, the buildings don't house people, so they do not need to have staircases or toilets.
The abandoned metropolitan area is surrounded by water. It is said that Valhalla floats on the vast ocean of chaos into which all things must flow and that there is no beginning or end to chaos. It is said that those who fall into its waters are condemned to float for eternity in the rift between life and death. It is implied in a fragment entry that Valhalla wasn't always sunken beneath the waves, but that the ocean rose due to the increased amount of chaos coinciding with the waning of Etro's powers.
That time was lost. Yet time continued onwards. Divine Etro. Go peacefully to your rest. I will stand guard over your legacy. This endless realm is awash with sadness. Life and death lose all meaning under the rolling waves of chaos. Valhalla. The currents of time do not touch its shores. In this world of lost moments, I begin my life anew.Lightning
Lightning was brought to Valhalla by the effects of a time paradox. When Etro saw how bravely Lightning and her fellow l'Cie fought to save Cocoon, the goddess took pity on them and released them from their crystal stasis and wiped their l'Cie brands. By doing this, however, Etro distorted the timeline and created a time paradox.
At the end of Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, some of the chaos of Valhalla spilled forth into Gran Pulse through a rift and dragged Lightning into it, erasing her from history and altering everyone but Serah's memories of her ever being on Pulse after Cocoon's fall. Etro sealed the dimensional gate and stopped the chaos from escaping, but was greatly weakened and entered a deep rest. Now a resident of Valhalla, Lightning was drawn to Etro's temple where she saw mankind's future and vowed to become Etro's knight and protect the dying goddess.
Valhalla's foremost structure is the temple to the goddess Etro, dominated by two towers with green spirals. The sleeping Etro rests within the temple with Lightning becoming her protector when she envisions Caius Ballad entering the unseen realm to kill the goddess. Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega hints that Lightning engages Caius in never-ending war that can only end if Lightning enters crystal stasis. During their duel Lightning spots Noel falling out of Etro's gate and saves him so he can meet up with Serah back in the mortal realm and guide her to Valhalla. After surviving a meteor Caius summoned to crush Etro's temple while Noel heads for a Time Gate, Lightning continues fighting Caius until she is knocked out while catching a glimpse of Serah dying in Noel's arms back in the mortal realm.
When Serah and Noel find Valhalla from 500 AF, they defeat Caius in battle. Though Noel refuses to kill him, and instead tries to talk sense into him, Caius impales his "Heart of Chaos" with Noel's sword to create the ultimate paradox: the death of Etro. With the goddess dead, nothing can restrain the chaos as it erupts into the mortal realm. Lightning comes to Etro's temple and watches Serah's soul being restrained by the spirits of seeress Yeul who intend to keep Serah with them and summon the resurrected Caius who has become one with chaos itself. After defeating Caius, Lightning demands Serah's return, but the Yeuls claim Lightning is to blame for guiding Serah to her death.
Lightning returns to Etro's temple to mourn for Serah whose spirit appears to Lightning and tells her not to blame herself, and assures they will meet again. Intent to keep her promise to always remember Serah, Lightning ascends Etro's throne and becomes a crystal epitaph to preserve the world along with Serah's memory, and her soul.
Centuries after the realms merged, Valhalla has been integrated in what has become the Wildlands of Nova Chrysalia. The only thing remaining of Valhalla is the ruined Etro's Temple, which has become Caius's abode where he resides alongside the many incarnations of Yeul. When Nova Chrysalia is destroyed in the Apocalypse, a new unseen realm is born and the Yeul incarnations—excluding the Yeul of 700 AF—take up Etro's role of maintaining the cycle of life with Caius remaining as their Guardian.
Valhalla is also seen as an apocalyptic vista in the trial known as the Altar of Birth in the Luxerion Cathedral.
- Chaos Bahamut (Boss)
- Caius Ballad (Boss)
- Jet Bahamut (Final Boss), Garnet Bahamut (Boss), Amber Bahamut (Boss)
"Warrior Goddess" plays during Lightning and Caius' first battle in Valhalla. "Divine Conflict" plays when Noel arrives at Valhalla. "Tears of the Goddess" plays when Lightning arrives and returns to Valhalla. "Heart of Chaos" plays during the boss battle against Caius on Valhalla's beach. "World of Hope" plays when Time Gates appear in Valhalla.
Valhalla reappears in the sequel to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. It features the beach and the cityscape in the Battle Music Sequences for "Heart of Chaos" and "Etro's Champion", respectively.
Behind the scenes
In the scenario interview in Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega, it was revealed Valhalla was at first envisioned to be the place in 999 AF that is also mentioned in Final Fantasy Type-0 and that would have tied the games together, but this idea was scrapped.
Valhalla (from Old Norse Valhöll "hall of the slain") is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. Chosen by Odin, half of those who die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death, led by valkyries, while the other half go to the goddess Freyja's field Fólkvangr. In Valhalla, the dead join the masses of those who have died in combat known as Einherjar, as well as various legendary Germanic heroes and kings, as they prepare to aid Odin during the events of Ragnarök.In Norse mythology,
- (2011, December 3). "Cuba’s Contribution To Final Fantasy XIII-2". From Siliconera. Archived from the original on 19th October 2020.
- (2012-06-21) Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega (in Japanese), 08-09, Tokyo: Studio Bentstuff.Invalid citation format.