Serah’s Focus as a l’Cie is one of the more ambiguous aspects of the story of Final Fantasy XIII. In fact, it’s never actually completely clarified within the game.

Snow: “Serah told us to “protect Cocoon”, right before she was transformed into a crystal.”

The first time we have any hint of Serah’s Focus is the moment when she is first found by Lightning, Snow, Vanille, Hope and Sazh in the Pulse Vestige. After telling Lightning and Snow to “save Cocoon”, she turns into crystal.

Hope: “L’Cie who fulfill their Focus are transformed into crystal and gain eternal life.”

This gives the implication of her Focus being for her to pass on this message as it is in accordance with the legend. This leads to Snow claiming for several chapters that her Focus was to tell them to save Cocoon.

2: Fal’Cie trickery

However, Serah’s Focus is ‘revealed’ to the group by Barthandelus at the end of Chapter 9.

After Snow tells Barthandelus that their Focus, their wish, was the same as Serah’s: to protect Cocoon, Barthandelus declared it to be untrue.

Barthandelus: “Let me tell you her real Focus. Her Focus was to gather all of you together. She was simply there to gather the tools for Cocoon’s destruction.”

There appears to be truth to his words. They are accurate concerning the events of the game and Snow, a true believer in Serah’s Focus to save Cocoon, appears to become disheartened giving weight to Barthandelus’ claims. Even Lightning’s words of encouragement do nothing to ease his doubt at first.

3: Human Focus

Another possibility of Serah’s Focus is revealed through Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero: Promise and a cutscene in Chapter 11 where Barthandelus is refuted by Snow and Vanille.

Vanille reveals that she had met Serah before seeing her at the Pulse Vestige. However, Vanille states that when they met, Serah mentioned seeing Ragnarok in her dream.

Vanille: So what Dysley said about Serah’s Focus was a lie. I’m sure she overcame her Focus.

This theory is supported by the presence of white brands where the mark of being a l’Cie turns white and stops progressing. To give examples:

Fang’s brand is the first one to be seen as a white brand. It is speculated that she overcame her Focus of becoming Ragnarok and gave herself her own Focus: to protect Vanille from any harm, something Fang was extremely resolute about during the game.

At the final confrontation with Orphan, the brands of all the main characters are shown to turn white when they challenge him, claiming that their Focus, their own human Focus, is to protect Cocoon.

Lightning: Even inside this Cocoon with little hope for the future, we live on and take care of each other. For this is our human Focus!

Note the light covering her brand

It is unknown if Serah’s brand turned white as it was covered in a bright light while she was entering her crystal stasis and cannot be seen otherwise during the cutscene.

However, it is possible that her brand never had the chance to turn white because of the lack of time between her giving herself the Focus and her carrying it out.

4: Direct effect

One last explanation is that Serah’s Focus was to become Ragnarok and destroy Cocoon. She went against this Focus by telling them to “save Cocoon”. However, her actions would ultimately result in the destruction of Cocoon anyway.

To explain:

If she became a Cie’th by going against the Focus, Lightning and Snow would have been consumed by anger and killed the fal’Cie. This anger might then extend to include any fal’Cie existing and ultimately result in the summoning of Ragnarok, the death of Orphan and the destruction of Cocoon, thereby fulfilling her Focus in that she made possible for it to happen.

If she became a crystal, then the events of the game are the end result. Barthandelus’ plan still pulls through and Orphan is destroyed. Cocoon could also be considered “destroyed” in that it was rendered uninhabitable and the people living on it were forced to find a new way of life on Gran Pulse, thereby still fulfilling Serah’s Focus.

If this is the case, what about the Cie’th in Gran Pulse? Why didn’t they go straight to becoming crystal if Lightning and company were going to help them with their Focus as they did with Serah?

In this, there are three possible answers.

  1. It’s a plot hole and can’t be explained.
  2. The theory is completely wrong.
  3. Lighting and company were not directly connected to the l’Cie on Gran Pulse who had already been in their state for several centuries. With Serah, she was able to pass on her Focus while she was still human and Lighting and company’s actions were a direct result of her choice.