I have written rather a lot about Paine and Nooj, separately and together, over the years. My definitive word on the subject, if I have one, is probably the Paine/Nooj 'ship manifesto I published back in 2006. Of course, by the nature of that essay, it focuses more on the characters as a couple than it does either one of them individually, but I think it's still a good snapshot of my thoughts on them.
Nooj and his deathseeking ways are something I have thought about, certainly, although again more often in relation to how it affects Paine and their relationship than from his point of view. Given that it's one of the defining aspects of his character, especially in pre-game fic, it's impossible to avoid considering it. Other authors (particularly, in my experience, kunstarniki and rabbitprint) have delved deeply into the question of why Nooj sought death and come up with fantastic and creative answers, but my interpretation is rather more prosaic: he's suffering from PTSD and depression, stemming from his near-fatal battle with Sin and the difficulties of living with artificial limbs. Add in a healthy dose of survivor's guilt, and living in a culture that celebrates the ultimate sacrifice of the Summoners as the most important thing a person can do, and Nooj becoming a deathseeker is a logical result.
That last connection -- between Nooj and a summoner on pilgrimage -- is one I find particularly fascinating. There are a few indications in the game that people are uncomfortable with Nooj's suicidal impulses, and yet no one would even question those impulses in a summoner. I've often wondered if Braska took on his pilgrimage, at least in part, because of a death wish brought on by grief for his wife. Do people question summoners' reasons for going on pilgrimage? Or is it just assumed that the impulse is a noble one? Or is everyone so eager for a Calm that they don't really care why? Regardless, why laud a summoner and her guardians while looking askance at other fighters who chose to fight Sin to the death? It's a bit of a puzzle, and one I've never unraveled to my satisfaction.
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