Aloy is a remarkable character in a remarkable setting. One of her defining characteristics, the one that gives her an edge over other, is her mind. Sure, she’s a great shot with a bow, and a skilled melee combatant, but she achieves victory by using her brain more than anything else. Let’s take a look at some of her defining mental characteristics, and how her character has been shaped by the world around her.
Aloy is perpetually curious. Constantly wanting to learn about the world around her, Aloy doesn’t let fear, uncertainty, or even evident danger stop her desire to know and learn more about the world around her. Her trademark headstrong tendencies play a part here, but I think an overall thirst for knowledge drives her even more.
This is an easy trait to adapt to our own day-to-day lives, and one that has demonstrable value. Every single successful person (literally every single one,) credits at least part of their success to continuous acquisition of knowledge. For some, it’s reading a book every week (or day,) for others it’s observing and learning more about interpersonal relationships around them, and for others still it’s experimenting and trying new approaches to things. Bottom line: learning all the time is one of the best indicators of future success in ANY endeavor.
Aloy is perpetually ready to improvise and adapt in order to see her goals through. Part of this comes from her maker/hacker personality, which we talked about in our last post. But beyond just building things, Aloy also uses what’s around her, in its own natural state, to her advantage. Finding cover, getting altitude on a foe, finding a creative way around a barrier… Aloy does not see “stopping points,” only speed bumps.
Again, this is a simple and solid attitude to incorporate into day-to-day lie. Adaptation is key to survival for any species, and humans are no exception. Start turning your “no, I can’t do that,” into, “how can I get that accomplished?” See obstacles as challenges to your creativity, rather than barriers in your way. Look for the solution that no one else is looking for, and think laterally, rather than just banging your head against the wall.
This one goes hand-in-hand with Aloy’s resourcefulness. As we already touched on, Aloy is headstrong, stubborn, and strong willed. While it can make interpersonal relationships challenging sometimes, it’s a serious asset when it comes to saving the world. Aloy does not accept “no” as an answer, period. If something needs to be done, she keeps trying until she sees it done.
Tenacity is quite possibly the most important attribute one can possess for a happy and fulfilled life. The fact is, life isn’t always going to be perfect. Bumps in the road happen. Sometimes life punches you in the mouth or knocks you down, but to paraphrase Rocky, it’s about how hard you can get hit, and get back up again. We touch more on this in The Tenacity of Link as well, but the bottom line is, you need to seize your goal, and not let anyone dissuade you from seeing it through. Yes, this includes yourself.
The Life of an Outsider
Aloy spent most of her young life ostracized from her tribe. With the exception of Rost, she was almost always alone, and when she wasn’t alone, she was frequently the target of derision by her peers. I think this actually played a large part in developing the three traits we discussed above.
As someone who felt like an outcast growing up, I sympathize with Aloy on this one. I was never the kid who sat at the “cool kids” table. I was awkward, and socially stunted. I was into weird things, I acted in a weird way, and I just didn’t possess the social skills necessary at the time to interact with my peers in a healthy manner. As such, I got made fun of a lot, and felt very alone for a lot of my childhood.
Now, I’ve turned that around, but it was a long journey. Along the way, I discovered a few things, things that I think Aloy discovered as well.
It’s not fun being a loner.
As a coping mechanism, I used to take pride in being a “loner.” I told myself I was just an introvert, and it was okay, and I was happy being alone…but I was lying to myself. Sure, introversion is a thing, and introverts exist, but I was becoming a toxic, self-imposed hermit. Humans need interpersonal relationships to be healthy. If Aloy had not had Rost, she would not have become the person that she did. Similarly, over time, I started to develop a very small, but very necessary “inner circle” of people who could handle my “strangness,” so to speak. I mean, it probably helped that they were pretty weird, themselves!
Bottom line, though, is that I was happier once I shed the “loner” persona, and instead focused on, “eccentric dude with eccentric friends.” That was basically step one.
Social interaction is a two-way street.
It’s easy to look back at the kids that made fun of me when I was younger and write them off as bullies. The fact is, however, that social interactions go both ways. This doesn’t mean it was my fault that I was bullied, or that you should always give into peer pressure. However, having a healthy social relationship requires a little bit of give and take. Your peers become a bit more like you, and you become a bit more like your peers. Being open to healthy social influence is an important part of being part of a social group.
This is, of course, why it’s so important to pick your friends carefully. You don’t want to surround yourself with toxic influences, because then you’ll inevitably start to become toxic yourself. Don’t associate with unpleasant people just out of a desperation for social interaction. You deserve better than that. Aloy realizes this very quickly, and sets standards for those she associates with, expecting her peers to live up to that. Value yourself, and value those around you. This was step two, for me (and it was a looooong step.)
Giving is better than receiving.
Aloy saves humanity. The entirety of the human race is at risk in Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Aloy basically single-handedly stops a second apocalypse. The remarkable thing is that she did this even though she had no way of truly appreciating the scope of her actions. She didn’t know most of the people she was saving, and those she did know were openly hostile to her even in her own recent memory.
This is an important trait of Aloy, and an important trait of successful relationships anywhere. If you put in 55% of the work in a relationship, and try to be giving of yourself whenever you can, you’ll find this kindness and generosity usually repaid. Now, this is not always the case, and there’s a big difference between putting in 55% of the work and 90% of the work (that’s an unhealthy share of the burden,) but more often than not, putting in the effort is worth it in the end. Truly great relationships (romantic and otherwise) come out of all parties trying to outdo the other in kindness, generosity, and understanding.
Doing the right thing is always the right thing. This is step number three, from a reformed “outsider.”
Aloy saves the world. You can save the world around you, too. It all comes down to unleashing your own inner genius.
That’s it for our time with Aloy! It ended up spanning the better part of October AND November! We’ll have a short interlude with some non-character related posts (and a one-shot character workout for hitting our $50 a month goal on Patreon,) and then pick up a new character hopefully by the end of the month!
Thanks for reading! Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!