Lightning, real name Claire Farron (Eclair Farron in the Japanese version), is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII as well as the narrator and a playable character in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
In Final Fantasy XIII, she tries to save her sister, Serah, only to be turned into a l'Cie like her. She fights to survive and see Serah come out of crystal stasis. In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning embarks on another journey to free Fang and Vanille from their fate, while serving as a knight protecting the Goddess Etro's shrine in Valhalla from her fated rival, Caius Ballad.
Lightning has the distinction of being one of only two female main protagonists of games in the mainstream Final Fantasy series, the other being Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI.
Lightning is a young woman with long, light pink hair and pale aqua-colored eyes. In Final Fantasy XIII, she wears a variation of the standard Guardian Corps uniform, consisting of a sleeveless white overcoat over a brown turtleneck shirt with green metallic pauldron over her left shoulder, the pauldron bearing yellow stripes symbolizing her rank as a sergeant. She wears a red cape attached to her uniform near her left shoulder blade, a long black sleeve over her left arm, knee-high leather boots, and a brown mini-skirt over high-topped black shorts. Her gunblade is carried behind her in a black case which hangs off her belt, along with a red pack that hangs from her waist and is strapped to her left leg. In addition, she also has a necklace with a lightning bolt pendant, two black bands around her right bicep, and a silver navel piercing. Her l'Cie brand is located slightly above her left breast.
Lightning is determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is a cold and standoffish person to others, often distancing herself from her companions; which stems primarily from her irritation over her refusal to believe her sister Serah's plight, as well as becoming a l'Cie just as Serah did. Much of her motivation is fueled from what she perceives as failing to properly protect Serah and wanting to make things right, which leads her to lash out at those she believes are responsible for that and the subsequent Purge: namely, the Sanctum, its fal'Cie and, to a point, Snow Villiers, due to his relationship with Serah and his own failure to protect her as he promised. Lightning's early solution to things that annoy or upset her is to distance herself from them, either emotionally or physically. Over time, however, Lightning does begin to show compassion and trust towards others, and see the errors in her approach.
Although she is annoyed with him at first, she eventually takes Hope Estheim under her wing, and shows him the ropes of battle. As she teaches him how to survive and look out for himself, she develops a bond with him as he becomes, in a way, a son for her; and possibly as a result of seeing a bit of herself in him, she comes to confide in him and realize the mistakes she had made with Serah. Then she slowly begins to accept Snow and ultimately forgives him when she realizes he, too, cares deeply for Serah. By the time Lightning meets Fang, her rage at those who are fal'Cie slaves has dissipated, and her anger, despite finding out the woman's unwilling involvement in the situation, is short-lived. In the end, she becomes the leader and, to some degree, protector of the other Pulse l'Cie as they challenge their fate.