Flora: The Professor’s Eternal Agony

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Professor Layton and Luke are gentlemen to the highest degree. They shall never go outside without a hat, enjoy nothing better than a cup of tea and are always ready to offer assistance to anybody in need. Such upstanding individuals also know to always be polite to a lady. However we all have certain agonies in life, something we greatly wish to sweep under the rug and for the professor this agony is a certain individual under his care; Flora.

At the end of Professor Layton and the Curious Village Flora’s dreams come true and is on a Laytonmobile ride into the sunset. Such happy days await her under the protection of the great Professor Layton. No more playing the princess locked in the tower…

Only that, in Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box didn’t she have to follow Layton and his apprentice in disguise in order to simply be part of the adventure. Then in Professor Layton and the Lost Future didn’t she have to tail them to the future so she could be part of what’s going on as didn’t Layton and Luke give her the slip back in his office. Quite resourceful our young Flora, she is quite skilled in the art of forcing herself upon people. No leaving her behind!

Yet what’s particularly noticeable is the panic she seems to spark in her guardian. There is this pretence that these gentlemen our merely concerned for her safety but when the conversation can be summed up as [Flora] “I’ll go make some cucumber sandwiches” *leaves room* [Layton and Luke] “Quick we must leave while we can”… it seems more like the Professor is making excuses to lock her up back in that tower. It may be a blow to his gentleman’s honour but considering its Flora we’re dealing with something must be done! So flee Professor, fly Luke, lest you must tolerate her lesser mind and boring lunches out of your infallible politeness (oh professor you are a true Englishman).

One might feel bad for Flora, if only Level-5 didn’t go so out of the way to make her so unbearable and cringe worthy. We can’t feel the Professor is being unjust to Flora because she’s just portrayed so negatively. Her puzzle solving celebrations are infused with a hint of conceit, she is always oblivious to the peril of the situation which of course is highly grating and she is victim to the most evil of all female stereotypes, the damsel in distress. Oh look Flora has been kidnapped… again… *sigh*. Even then there’s little instances where Level-5 have decided to condemn her all the more with such a classical female failings, such as at the bookshop in future London where she wishes to know where the crime novels are kept, a trashy genre perfect for her inferior mind?… In this sense she becomes a sort of Dickensian tragic woman who needs redeeming but is too far gone to be saved. Christ she’s even being left alone in the hands of questionable men like Don Paolo and Future Luke all the time, being passed around like a loose woman. I mean there’s just no way of redeeming this girl.

It’s very disappointing, particularly in Professor Layton and the Lost Future, as Layton and Luke’s relationship with Flora seems so off-key when she first appears that we are sort of encouraged take it for granted that Flora is simply awful. Because of this it’s difficult not to judge her negatively; rarely has a protagonist been made so infamous directly off the bat. Flora’s character has been dug a premature grave and it’s hard to see her developing much more away from this negativity. One almost wonders why Level-5 put her under Layton’s care in the first place; she could have easily been given some other fate where her supposed awfulness could go unnoticed!

Layton 7 is however in development now and perhaps Flora shall be making a triumphant return in what may be a less demeaning guise. Then again judging by the treatment she’s received so far I wouldn’t be too surprised if she turns out to be the villain this time around, in an effort to destroy everyone because “why won’t you eat my cucumber sandwiches”! What this character will become is certainly unclear and I hope we’ll be seeing more Flora in the next instalment, even if she’s to provide the Professor with something to groan about.

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