“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” — Deng Ming-Dao
When I first began playing Genshin Impact, I only had my eyes set on eye-catching characters. For instance, there was Xingqiu, a rich juvenile with a moral disposition; Xiao, a tormented adeptus who slayed demons; or Mona, a foreign astrologist who could predict the future. With a plethora of wonderfully-constructed characters to admire, I felt that it was impossible to decide who was my favorite. However, after speaking to friends who also played the game, I heard some mention that they wished they had chosen the male Traveler, Aether, over the female one, Lumine. Really? I thought at that time, Why would the default character matter so much to some people? They continued on with their conversation, saying that the male Traveler looked much more appealing than “the bland girl in the white dress.” This prompted me to rethink my own decision: Was Lumine really as bad as she was made out to be? And before I knew it, this moment marked the start of my love for Lumine. (Written as of the 2.2 update and contains spoilers.)
Upon first glance, some may believe that Lumine’s design is very lacking in many ways: her haircut looks weird, her dress has an odd shape, and her color scheme just doesn’t match. But to me, I find everything about those “oddities” beautiful.
Starting from the top, the flowers and feather-like ornament in Lumine’s hair give off a very gentle and pure air. They are colored white and pale-blue, and in contrast to her platinum locks, all of these qualities easily blend together. This simple look only works to accentuate Lumine’s natural beauty. Moving on to her dress, I find that it resembles the shape of a bell-flower. It hugs around her waist and blooms outward, exuding a sense of freedom and independence. The scarf-like material around her neck only adds to that feeling, by flowing off of her back and following the movements of the wind. If Lumine’s charm was put into words, “Monotone” by Carl Sandburg would do it best: “A face I know is beautiful—/ With fire and gold of sky and sea,/ And the peace of long warm rain.”
Even with all her free-flowing clothes and adornments, not everything about Lumine’s design is airy and light; it also exhibits an undertone of strength. Unlike the grace of her dress and accessories, Lumine also wears winged boots, metal wristbands, and has golden details that decorate her outfit. Moreover, Lumine’s resting expression is filled with complexity. She shows a relaxed face to others, but there is an undeniable sense of power and firmness within her sun-like eyes. In combination with the metallic details, she bears resemblance to a gladiator, despite how different her dress and historical armor may be. The golden additions are a subtle yet smooth balance in the rest of her design, and they add multiple layers in defining Lumine as a character.
(Genshin Impact, 2021)
To the Core
As a starting character, some may see Lumine as “just the protagonist,” thus allowing her to do things that other characters can’t. I’ve heard others say that the Traveler is meant to cater to the audience, with choices that the player can pick. However, there is still only one route that the Traveler follows, and it is evident that the decisions that are made are ultimately up to herself. From the lore, Lumine displays that she is her own character with her own mind, and with an unyielding amount of compassion and determination.
It is mentioned repeatedly from the start of the game that the whole point of Lumine’s quest is for one reason: to find her twin brother to continue traveling, as Travelers do. However, with each nation she crosses, she uncovers major problems that have been crippling its designated gods, its citizens, or both. In the case of Liyue, the people had to witness the death of their own Archon. And as seen in the three nations that have currently been released, Lumine takes dilemmas like these upon herself, getting involved with even the smallest of quarrels to bring peace and stability upon the lands. In Mondstadt, she took down the dragon Dvalin and fought against the Fatui. In Liyue, Lumine defeated Childe and Osial, both of which threatened the longevity of the nation. In Inazuma, she worked as an outlander against the Vision Hunt Decree and their Archon to ensure that Inazuman citizens live full and meaningful lives. Lumine, of course, hesitates when asked to get involved in such complicated issues, and yet her compassion always gets the best of her.
(Genshin Impact, 2020)
Furthermore, what makes Lumine so fearsome is her uncanny ability to grow and rebound at a stunning pace. Yes, there are moments where she gets weakened. Yes, she can even get taken down. In the case of Inazuma, Ei, the Electro Archon, knocked Lumine unconscious in her Plane of Euthymia. If not for Thoma’s quick actions, Lumine would have certainly died at the hands of the Raiden Shogun.
(Genshin Impact, 2021)
In these moments, I thought to myself: Why doesn’t she give up, find her brother, and leave? This situation feels like much more trouble than it’s worth… Yet, never once did that thought reach Lumine’s mind. Being a person with so much conviction, Lumine understands what she has to do and what she wants to do, along with the consequences that come with her decisions. We can see this in the second battle in the Plane of Euthymia, where, with the aid of Yae Miko and lost friends, Lumine finally defeats Ei.
(Genshin Impact, 2021)
And if that wasn’t enough, the power that Lumine currently holds is only a fragment of what she originally had. It was only when landing in Teyvat that she lost most of her powers and lay dormant for centuries. Not only is she trying to find her brother, but she is also trying to recover her lost abilities. Players can see this in the way Lumine gains more elemental powers with each Statue of the Seven she touches. Thinking about this situation only makes me more amazed by Lumine’s persistence. Imagine waking up, only to find that the only person you have and the powers you have are gone. In Lumine’s case, she doesn’t ponder about what she used to have or could’ve had, but rather, thinks about what she has in the moment and does her best with it. The amount of resilience needed in order to work from scratch and get back up again is beyond my comprehension, only adding fuel to the respect I have for Lumine.
Lumine’s journey reminds me of the short film “Scavengers” by Joseph Bennett. In the video, two partners are stranded on a planet. They work together and follow complicated steps in order to achieve their goal of seeing a brighter vision. Likewise, Lumine and her companion, Paimon, find themselves entangled in the major issues on Teyvat in order to find Aether. I feel that the film captures the feeling of trying to live in a foreign world, the same way Lumine may feel. However, the scavengers and Lumine’s stories divert in the way that the scavengers have to hurt other creatures in order to achieve their goals; Lumine has to help out others in search of her twin brother.
Beyond the Screen
As you can already tell from my hyper-romantic and terribly intricate analysis of Lumine, I love everything about her (and I’ll tell you right now that that is an understatement.) She is not only a character I like to look at, but also someone I like to look up to. Lumine has already faced extraordinarily tough obstacles, and they will only become more difficult as she progresses through her adventure. This works the same way in real life: We’ll always find ourselves lost in unfamiliar worlds, and it’s up to us to figure out how to adapt to them. However, without giving up or feeling discouraged so often as I do, I want to face life and its challenges with the same standpoint that Lumine does; she is a gentle soul with a strong resolution and is, most of all, true to herself.
Through social media, I’m glad to have met others who share the same sentiments that I do. To see that so many fans have come together because of our shared admiration of one character never ceases to amaze me. I’ve come into contact with a massive community of artists, writers, animators, and so much more, along with making many new friends. Participating in fanmade events, late night conversations about Traveler theories, sharing low quality images of Lumine, all of these small interests contribute to a sense of home I’ve grown to feel throughout my own journey.
Recently, because of Lumine and her community of fans, I’ve reawakened my love for art. My appreciation of the creators of Genshin Impact and for the friends I’ve made along the way knows no bounds. Blair Sommerville, from his documentary “Lost & Found” once said, “Just… life’s inspiring. You know, you’ve got this chance to do stuff, to be creative, and—and experiment.” In an attempt to give back to those who bring me happiness, I want to continue drawing and provide something that sparks at least a fraction of the same joy that I’ve received. Still, I can’t say for sure how long this ride will last, but I know at least one thing: I’m forever grateful for the impact Lumine has made on my life.
(Just writing about art made me want to draw, so here’s a rough sketch I made of my two favorite girls:
4 thoughts on “Lumine: More Than a Protagonist”
Wow. I learned so much here, I don’t even play this game and yet it was a really cool read. Thanks.
I love how this piece of writing really shows your passion and love for the game! It was cool to see how much depth a character can have.
Honestly, what drew me into your post was your cover photo. I myself really enjoy playing Genshin Impact. I love the character Hu Tao, her character is just so quirky and her design is very pretty! I like how you describe Lumine, as it’s very descriptive and you add quotes for emphasis. Not only did you describe her features, you described her personality and how she came to be, which makes the reader much more invested! You are so talented! Your “quick sketch” is something I could never have drawn, and I applaud you!
lumineluvr, This is absolutely beautiful. I can feel your dedication and all the love you harbour for Lumine right through the screen. You definitely had a lot of fun writing this. Also, your art is simply amazing and I wish one day I could get to that level of expertise.With this, you single handedly made me love Lumie one-hundred times more than I already do. Major respect.