So this cave-dude I know recently called Prompto a ‘pussy’. Delightful, right? But then I’ve also noticed lately this weird tendency in fics to reduce Prompto to (and reinforce his character as) this emotionally weak, almost ‘frightened bunny’ trope, even bordering on actual childishness at times. Now, these are in fact two different issues in the end, yet the overlap is considerable, when you think about it. And I just…
While I recognise and absolutely support all fic writers and such in their right to do whatever the hell they want (Please do! You are valued, and our fandom needs you!), I just…maaaaan. Sometimes I just have to gently shake my head when it comes to some characterisations of our boy Prom.
Now I totally get that AU’s are a thing, as well as personal perspectives. Like, in my head, Prompto can have a pretty bad potty mouth, and regularly drops those f-bombs, and you can totally disagree with me, which is a beautiful thing. Also, if you follow this blog you have definitely seen me tag Prompto as a ‘smol cinnamon bun’, in need of protection ‘at all costs’ and blah blah blah (this is largely meme-based, because I subsist on Diet Coke and memes- I digress).
But it’s honestly the layered essence of what makes this character who he is, the many elements written into and played out in the canon, that make him so appealing to me, personally. To see him essentially reduced to a caricature of himself, a distilled version of everything he is that just sort of latches onto this ‘he’s the baby and the smallest, the most caring and therefore the weakest’ idea, just feels so off the mark. And it makes me kind of sad, you know?
Let it be known right off the bat that I’m obviously by no means claiming to be some sort of FINAL WORD ON PROMPTO or anything so ridiculous. Neither is this some sort of ‘call out’ on any particular writing or portrayal, at all. I can’t abide by that shit.
I just feel like talking about how I see Prompto, I guess?
In all honesty, the Prompto I experienced in the game, as well as in the anime, and audio drama, was anything but weak, and anything but childish. He was always, right from the start, very much the backbone of the Chocobros’ group, the one voicing what everyone was thinking, easing their tension and swallowing his self-doubt to strive to be the best he could be for his friends, like he’s always done.
He got this.
Prompto literally escaped/was rescued from/was vaguely aware of at least, a mysterious and probably terrifying early history, and then proceeded to face a lot of bullshit when he was growing up- at home, with frequently absent parents who left him often to his own devices, as well as at school, where he was closed off from and largely ignored by the other kids. This all could have resulted in a really timid, emotionally fragile or ‘weak’ character, but the fact is… it didn’t? He grew up independent and actually pretty capable of caring for himself, not to mention totally self-taught when it came to interacting with others (thank you for the vote of confidence, Luna). He also grew up with a compassionate streak a mile wide.
I won’t get too into my thoughts on this idea in particular because this post is already massive, and to discuss patriarchal conventions (the aforementioned use of the word ‘pussy’ in this context), not to mention strength vs. resilience on top of it would just get out of hand. I will say this: we can all stand to remember that compassion does not equal weakness.
Prompto was afraid a lot, sure- they all were, obviously- but he was also brave as fuck. If bravery means to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, then Prompto’s a master. He’s been practising his entire life, after all.
Prompto was always there, right? This ever present force for good, supporting his friends and their goals, to the bitter end. He was there, thinking and acting on the fly during the Leviathan ritual, which was obviously a horrific ordeal even before its conclusion. He was ever at the ready to see things from all sides, like when Ignis was injured and all hell broke loose between the less-capable, (emotionally-speaking) Gladio and Noct. He was even there, ready to offer a taste of his usual, cheery self when they were all together for the very last time, even if it was clearly breaking his heart.
And yeah he’d kid around, make silly jokes (interestingly, it seems, especially during situations of high tension or uncertainty on the part of his friends, like deep in the depths of some mind-boggling ruins or when facing the prospect of ‘hey, we are actually going to go to Altissia now- oh holy fuck!’). But he was also so very capable of adult conversation, especially when it came to his feelings, which we saw several times throughout the canon- a sure sign of real maturity if ever there was one, in my opinion.
The fact is, Prompto’s fear isn’t who he is, and neither is his small physical stature nor his big heart. Rather, his actions and choices in the face of all of that make up the person he is. (Like anyone, right?). He is no caricature for cute, nor for weak or timid or scared. And I for one want to see more about that guy, in all his multifaceted, achingly resilient, freckle-faced glory.
And don’t fucking call me ‘pussy’, dude.