Author Topic: Glenn's Age Speculation  (Read 270 times)

cymorg

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Glenn's Age Speculation
« on: May 20, 2020, 09:08:16 pm »
Hi everyone! A while back I started an art thread which prompted a discussion about Glenn's age and why I don't really believe that it's 40, purely based on evidence presented in the game. I'd prefer if my art thread remained focused on the art and didn't get clogged up with this debate, so I'm just going to start a separate thread purely meant to discuss this theory.

For starters, I'm going to be taking all of my information from the Chrono Trigger Steam edition, since it is the most recent official release of the game and reflects the most updated canon, if you will. Chrono Trigger itself will be my first party source, with all supplemental information being lower priority sources. I won't be operating off of the information provided in any supplemental material, I am solely looking at the information presented in the game, and then I'll compare the two at the end.


I: Establishing a Timeline

First things first, we need to pinpoint when major events occurred. Our main point of reference is that in 600 AD, when reflecting on the Masamune, Glenn states that he has been cursed for a decade. The information we can glean from this is that he was cursed in 590 AD. Exactly how old he was when this event occurred is up for debate, especially since his childhood flashback neglects to state a year. However, since Glenn mentions that his curse was placed on him in 590 AD, it can be presumed that the confrontation between Cyrus and Magus happened during this year. Considering that Cyrus and Glenn retain the same sprites as the year of the confrontation implies that the events with the Frog King also occur close by this time as well.

The next most important date we have to consider is Janus' appearance in the Middle Ages. This matters because it means that Glenn cannot possibly be older than Janus, as Janus rising to power as Magus is what prompts the events of 590 AD, and possibly reaches back further. I'll also get into sprite evidence that supports the idea that Magus is physically older than Glenn during their first confrontation later. But it's not unreasonable to consider that Magus was bolstering the might of the Mystics, turning the tides or perhaps even starting the war, which then leads to Cyrus announcing his intention to join the knights. Glenn mentions his fear about being "in a real battle", establishing that Guardia was most likely at war during the time of this conversation.

So, the timeline's looking like this:

5xx: Janus appears and is taken in by Ozzie.
5xx: Glenn, as a child, is bullied and rescued by Cyrus, who appears to be a teenager.
5xx: Glenn, now presumably a teenager, is approached by Cyrus and asked to join the army. Janus, now calling himself Magus, has risen to power and is the major figurehead in the Mystic war, potentially prompting Cyrus' decision.
~590: Glenn, still presumably a teenager, enlists and becomes Cyrus' squire. Cyrus defeats the Frog King and obtains the Hero's Medal and the Masamune, emboldening him to confront Magus and end the war.
590: Cyrus confronts Magus, resulting in his death. Glenn is cursed.
600: Now having been cursed for a decade, Glenn meets the rest of the party and the events of the game occur.



II: A Sprite's Worth a Thousand Words

A lot of this theory boils down to the presentation that the game gives to Glenn. Concrete ages in Chrono Trigger proper are nearly nonexistent, mostly chalking up the characters to assumed age ranges of young adult, adult, elder, child, etc. But Glenn is interesting in that he probably has the most range in his sprites - we see him as a child, a teenager, and finally an adult.

To start, let's look at the most clear demonstration of age progression via sprites in Chrono Trigger - when Lucca is explaining the lineage of Princess Nadia. In the scene, each queen begins as a child, shifts into a transitional young adult/teenager sprite, and then finally into the familiar queen sprite which represents her adulthood, as that's when she produces the next queen. That's 3 sprites, one for childhood, young adult, and adult proper. This perfectly matches the sprites that we have for Glenn, pictured here.


Child, teen, adult. Now, I'm going to cross-reference the sprites of the other major npcs that appear in Glenn's flashbacks and in the era. I went ahead and made a little chart to demonstrate the characters and what sprites they were using along with the known dates.


Maybe with this visual comparison it's a little easier to understand why I think Glenn was very clearly intended to be younger than both Cyrus and Magus at the time of the confrontation. He even appears to be younger than Leene, as she appears to be an adult as well. Glenn, however, seems to very firmly be in that transitional stage from child to proper adult. Considering that Magus' sprite doesn't change in the 10 years between the curse and the events of the game, I'm also quite certain that is a full adult. You could chalk this up to magic, perhaps, but Leene and the King's sprites also stay the same through this period - and they're ordinary but still important NPCs who never have access to potentially anti-aging magic.

I would even go so far as to say that Glenn was even a knight at the time of his curse. He was pretty clearly intended to be a squire to Cyrus, the established knight and hero. We see the uniforms of the fellow knights clamoring around Cyrus as he prepares to leave, and Glenn is not among them. He doesn't wear armor, a curious choice, but instead simple clothes, suggesting that he was not actually involved in the fighting and was instead mostly there to study Cyrus. The choice feels pretty deliberate, considering that a generic knight sprite would have all the same poses needed for his flashback. The way he hangs back during the fight with the Frog King would seem to suggest this as well. 

Squires were typically enlisted at 14-15, and while it's important to remember that Chrono Trigger is not at all based in reality, the clear inspiration from real-world history is perhaps most prevalent in the Middle Ages. This is tangential evidence, but it supports the conclusion that Glenn was a teenager - as evidenced by his sprites and his occupation at the time by drawing on a real-world parallel.

Another thing I would like to point out that it was seemingly a very deliberate choice to show Glenn as weak, young, and inexperienced when he was cursed. The fact that he has so many sprites for his various stages of life, when it would have been simple to reuse his post-curse human form, seems to be in favor of the idea that Glenn was still young at the time and has done significant aging since he was cursed, as now his sprite is completely different.

You could argue that this new sprite could be to represent his transformation into a hero. However, that would mean that his 590 sprite was an adult, when it has clearly been pretty consistently used to represent teenage/young adult characters, and means that Cyrus must be significantly older than Glenn if he was a full adult when Glenn was a child. It's... kinda weird for them to be friends if that's the case? So I doubt that was the intention. And this postulation is patchy at best because it doesn't account for the fact that Cyrus does change as he ages, and seemingly so does Glenn.



III: The "Canon" Ages

There was allegedly a magazine which published "canon" ages to the characters. This fact is so obscure that I've gone a decade without ever picking up on it, and when I first heard about it, I thought it was fabricated simply because of the inconsistencies it creates with Glenn as he's shown in the game.

If we assume that Glenn is 40 in 600 AD, this presents a pretty significant discrepancy with the Glenn we're shown in his flashbacks. If Glenn was 40 in 600 AD, it would mean that he was 30 when he was cursed. A 30 year old squire, not even actively participating in the fight and instead clinging to an older and more experienced mentor? That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to me. At the very least, it makes Glenn look like an incredibly inept squire to still be following Cyrus around and still heavily depending on him at 30. The average person at 30 is well past the age to significantly grow, so it also seems odd that Glenn would still be shown with another sprite and not simply shown as his final, post-game form if this was the intent.

However, assuming that Glenn was between 14-20 during his time as Cyrus' squire perfectly contextualizes his actions, his role in relation to him, and matches with the progression of age in the sprites. This would place his age in 600 near the age range that Cyrus was in 590, since Glenn always seems to be one major "sprite stage" behind Cyrus in terms of their age gap.

Another note I find interesting is the fact that Lucca, a young and seemingly fastidious girl, expresses very candid attraction to him. This seems to support that he's in his "prime" as well, and not nearing middle aged. She makes no such comment about Magus, who would likely be much closer to the 40's age range. (Though it's also possible he's just not her type so she wouldn't have commented anyway.) In fact, she doesn't speak about anyone in the game the way she talks about Glenn. Of course, men in their 40's are the subject of crushes from young women all the time - many male actors continue to be seen as attractive well past their prime. On it's own, I wouldn't really consider this of importance, but in conjunction with everything else I think it's worth considering.



IV: The TL;DR

Glenn being 40 is really strange to me considering a lot of his sprite presentation and what we know about him in the game. I feel like he was probably MUCH younger than 30 when he was cursed, if not half that. At most I would be willing to believe that he's 30 currently - and perhaps 25 at least. And I'm just more inclined to believe the content of the actual game over a third party source full of equally unverifiable information like weight and height that ultimately makes no difference in the game.

So, that's that! If we want to debate it, let's do it here. I ask that we be respectful and considerate of one another's opinions, and acknowledge that the vague nature of the actual ages in the game leaves room for speculation. Whether you believe in the idea that he's 40 or that he's younger, I respect that you feel that way. I simply hope to shed some light on my own opinions and thoughts about the topic, and that extends to the way I portray it in my art.

Whew, if you got through all that then you're a real trooper! Thanks for reading!  :lol:


Toreadore

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Re: Glenn's Age Speculation
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 11:39:34 am »
Nah, I agree with a lot of this. I was actually just going by the sprites and the age difference between Cyrus and Glenn, and didn't even consider the rank of squire. But that makes sense too -- Cyrus even says Glenn's better with a sword than he is, so I would hope at 30, he'd be at a much higher rank.

Acacia Sgt

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Re: Glenn's Age Speculation
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 02:30:12 pm »
One detail to keep in mind that squires don't necessarily have to stop being squires. Since the role is to be more of less the assistant of a knight, it's possible to still be a squire to someone else no matter your age or level of skill.

Which makes sense when you consider Glenn back then didn't had the courage and self-esteem he could gain as Frog. So it fits if he is deliberately holding himself back by refusing to advance beyond being Cyrus' squire.

Regarding the passage of time, one thing to consider just how long events took. In the scene on the bridge, when Glenn uses the young-man sprite, Cyrus looks like this:



The sprites on the right most column save the topmost one. How old was Cyrus there? Likely already mid twenties. We know that when Glenn used the little kid sprite, Cyrus had the teenager one. So the year difference between them is kinda big but not that big either. Around seven or eight years, I'd say. Consider Lucca uses the little girl sprite when she's nine (taking into account her canon age of 19 in 1000AD), which would be of similar age to the little boy sprite Glenn uses. Then if we consider that the teenage boy sprite is meant to be around Crono's age (17), maybe also covering a year or even two younger, then yeah, a difference from six to eight, maybe. Maybe it can be squeezed to just four or three, if the little boy sprite can also pass as 11 or 12.

I'd like to point that Glenn is using the young man sprite, instead of the teenage boy one, so it's very possible he's already at least 20 when Cyrus talks about joining the knights.

Now to speculate. Cyrus already made Commander of the knights when he departed from Guardia Castle. How long it took him to become Commander? Had to be at least a year or two. Then, how long it took him to find the Frog King? Obtain the Masamune?

Also, one final note. Frog's age isn't exactly 40. His age is actually given as "About 40". This could mean he might still be in his mid to late thirties. If we consider from the young man sprite, that Glenn was already in his twenties before he and Cyrus joined the knights, the time it took for Cyrus to become Commander, then the time it took from his departure to the day he died and Glenn was cursed, it's very possible Glenn was in his mid twenties. 25, maybe. Add the ten years, and you have a Frog in his mid to late thirties, which can might as well qualify as "About 40".
« Last Edit: May 21, 2020, 02:37:47 pm by Acacia Sgt »