Why Are Lalafells Called Potatoes? (FFXIV)

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Final Fantasy XIV’s tiny Lalafell race are referred to as “potatoes” by some of the player base, and it’s done so playfully because, well, Lalafells are shaped like potatoes.

Life has many mysteries.

Why do we dream? What happens after death? Are there other civilizations out there beyond what we know of space and time?

All of these big mysteries pale in comparison to life’s big question: just why does everyone call Lalafells potatoes in this game?

Okay, so maybe it’s not as complicated as all that…

But we’ve got to have a little drama in our lives every now and then.

Love them or hate them, Lalafells are one of XIV’s staple races. And there’s more memes floating around the diminutive chaps than most. Chief among them, potato (or popoto, if you want to use the regional nomenclature).

There’s a few reasons why we refer to our little friends as potatoes, and the most obvious is their body shape.

I mean, just look at them:

Closeup of Lalafell / FFXIV Screenshot
© SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Lalafell character standing outside / FFXIV Screenshot
© SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

They’re small, round, and usually dressed in earthy tones.

It’s not that much of a stretch.

But let’s look a little bit deeper into the potato/popoto debate.


Lalafells and Potatoes

We never see a Lalafell child in FFXIV.

There’s plenty of other children scarpering around, but never a Lalafell youngster.

Could it be that Lalafell children are simply too young to see with the naked eye? Or is there a more… Botanical explanation?

If they look like potatoes, maybe they come from the ground.

Maybe if you plant a Lalafell, they simply turn into more Lalafell.

Just to clear things up before we go any further: this isn’t my mad head-canon or anything. This is a legit theory the fanbase has been passing around for a while now. Years, in fact.

With so much ambiguity around their mysterious origins, we’re left to draw our own conclusions.

And the conclusion this time around is such: looks like a potato, grows like a potato.

There’s another layer to this joke, though.

Out of all the races, Lalafells are the ones most commonly eaten by monsters due to their size.

As potatoes are a staple food in many countries, so too are Lalafells for hungry monsters.

If you’ve got any doubt about that, just check out the text on this in-game item that you can catch.

“Fisher legend has there was once a mighty liopleurodon who, unsatisfied with a diet of Namazu, is said to have set its sights on plumper prey─namely a portly Lalafellin regent with a penchant for skinny dipping in the warm waters near Hells’ Lid. However, the fish quickly learned the limits of its maw’s gape, and crestfallen, abandoned the king, a crown-shaped scar on its upper lip its only prize. But rather than sulk, this beast from the deep spent the rest of its life devouring creatures far larger than it, and now, five thousand summers later, the descendant of that legendary pioneer polishes off Plainsfolk like they were popotoes, proving once and for all…life truly does find a way.”

This has become such a commonly accepted concept that it’s been assimilated into the game itself!

Small, round, often found in gardens, impossible to get rid of.

Lalafells in general seem to be quite strongly associated with the land and agriculture.

The leader of the Botany guild is a Lala:

Fufucha Fucha Lalafell NPC Character / FFXIV Screenshot
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It might sound silly, but this is actually a pretty common convention in Western fantasy when it comes to the halfling/dwarf type races.

They’re quite commonly thought to somehow come from the earth without all that messy biological reproduction.

Smaller races tend to be more typically associated with the land’s natural energies. Think pixies, gnomes, and fae-folk.

Potatoes or not, most Lalafell we meet are pretty chilled out.

They’re mostly a kind, hardy bunch, if not a little shrewd when it comes to business and trade.

Of course, there are a few exceptionally bad apples (sorry, potatoes) but don’t let that spoil the bunch.


Why Do Players Hate Lalafells?

Honestly, I really doubt that many players genuinely hate Lalafells.

At this point it’s just another meme attached to the race, something new players pick up from old players without being sure as to why it really is.

Lalafells are little and kinda goofy looking, where most of the other races are hilariously large in comparison.

When you have a fantasy world full of cat boys, cat men (Hrothgar), lingerie-clad bunny people, and just absolute tanks (Roegadyn), obviously the tiny cutesy one is going to look a bit silly.

Personally, I wouldn’t play a Lalafell.

But I’ve always had an affinity for the little folk like dwarves, so I’m glad they’ve got some representation here.

Closeup Lalafell NPC / FFXIV Screenshot
© SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

If you want to play a Lalafell character, just go for it!

Yes, you may well hear the same joke time and time again.

But it’s never really mean-spirited. And you’ll usually be judged by your conduct more than your appearance.


But Why Potatoes? Don’t Lalafells Look More Like Onions?

If you think the Lalafells look more like onions than potatoes, I would encourage you to research the Tarutaru from Final Fantasy XI.

That’s an onion person, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I’d take a Lala over one of those freaky little bulb children any day.

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