[Submitted Question] Kiseki and Lord of the Rings

This question was submitted by andi and touches on a favorite topic of mine, the way that Falcom weaves real-world references into the series. The question and response are below the cut.

Question by andi:

This is somewhere between a theory and a question – I’ve noted a too-large number of names directly or indirectly from Lord of the Rings turning up in Kiseki to consider a coincidence. In no particular order:

  • Giliath Osborne immediately puts me in mind of Osgiliath, the ancient capital of Gondor
  • Lechter Arundel’s last name is an alternative spelling of Earendil the Mariner.
  • In Trails in the Sky the 3rd, a minor character early in the game makes mention of having been a sailor in an area known as the Tirith Bay, from which the leap to Minas Tirith is not great.
  • The Erebonian Imperial House is Reise Anor, referencing the Sindarin word for the sun; this is, IIRC, also the name of the river running through Heimdallr, and part of the ancient name of Minas Tirith – Minas Anor
  • Looking at a map of Erebonia, I spot an Aragon Mountain RAnge and assiociated mining town, an Osgiliath Basin near Ymir and a Vala Canyon

I suppose it is possible all these names have simply been lifted from the Lord of the Rings without further thought, but the Kiseki series strikes me as too well researched for that. Which leaves me wondering whether I spotted anything here, and what it might be.

Response by Yotaka:

You’re not alone in noticing that there are a large number of Tolkien references in the series. For a couple more to have a (I think) complete list:

  • The mountain range in which Ymir and the Sachsen Mine are located is called the Eisengard Range. As written in Japanese this could have just as easily been rendered Isengard, as in the fortress from LotR. Both words mean the same thing.
  • Valimar’s name is a variant name of the city Valmar, in Valinor.
  • There is a pub in Heimdallr named Gamgee, taken from Sam’s family name.
  • The recurring resurrection item/spell Athelas, taken from the plant of the same name with healing properties.
  • Joshua and Fie both have weapons named Strider, Aragorn’s nickname.

I think it’s safe to say that someone at Falcom has read their Tolkien and is a fan, even if no deeper meaning is intended. This sort of mass referencing isn’t unique to his works;  For example Richard Wagner’s operas get at least half a dozen major references and Gnosticism gets a lot as well. The latter however is part of a very definite in-universe pattern so it’s possible that the Lord of the Rings references are similarly working up to something important. If so, it’s likely that it has something to do with Erebonia’s Sept-Terrion or is otherwise related to the Empire’s distant and ‘dark’ past but at this point we can’t say for certain one way or another.

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