This is my current Final Fantasy Friday post where I’ll be discussing which characters I think exemplify each card of the Major Arcana. If this is your first time here, please head over to my Final Fantasy Tarot page for explanation. Now onto the next card!
***Spoilers for Final Fantasy IX***
I spent a great deal of time looking for the perfect picture, but the Empress for my Final Fantasy Tarot deck is none other than Final Fantasy IX’s Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII, a young woman of deep empathy, amazing courage, and striking beauty. She assumes the moniker of Dagger at the start of her adventures, but we eventually find out her real name is Sarah, and that she’s of the summoner tribe of Madain Sari.
I didn’t pick Garnet due to her royal nature, but because she personally exemplifies many aspects of the Empress. While not a mother herself in the game, Garnet acts with empathy and compassion towards her people, putting herself in danger even before she ascends the throne in order to thwart her own mother Queen Brahne’s increasingly erratic and dangerous behavior. Garnet as a teenager behaves more like a queen and protector than the current ruler whose behavior is largely precipitated by falling under Kuja’s sway. The Empress is meant to embody growth and the natural world, fertility, and what one knows or believes from the heart. Again while fertility really isn’t focused on in the mise en scene of the game, what Garnet does for Alexandria and how she helps save the very world lend credence to how she embodies the growth aspect.
I usually think of the Empress as an older and more mature female so Brahne was on my radar, but she would represent the negative or inverse aspect of the card. As fore mentioned, Garnet acts much more the queen than her mother, though the princess must of course go about it in a more roundabout way. Also since the Empress can represent the need to be receptive to change, this is another point in Garnet’s favor. She works towards positive change to combat a poisonous influence, and the fact that she’s defying not only the queen but her own mother shows the strength of character the princess has. The fact that she does all this within the realm of stereotypical feminine qualities reminds me a great deal of Sansa, and while I haven’t seen Garnet take nearly as much flak, there has been some derision but later apologetic articles written about her for that.
Last week’s High Priestess was more about the feminine divine where the Empress is more about the feminine mundane, and I use mundane by its “earthly” definition not the “tedious” one. Now Garnet is a summoner who had her horn removed so she’s not entirely bound by the rules of the typical world, but her summoner powers define her far less than Aeris’s Cetra blood. Aeris’s fate is intrinsically tied to her Ancient heritage whereas Garnet fully embraces the life of a ruler even after discovering her origins not for the glamour of it, but because it’s what she needs to do. This in no way means she rejects the summoner aspect of herself, as she feels momentous loss when she’s forcefully stripped of her eidolons (and I’ll have a lot to say about that scene when I eventually get to my review/analysis of FFIX), but the princess’s goals are less of the ethereal type despite her magical origin. Aeris started out with her hands in the dirt, but wound up as an all powerful psychic force. Garnet began as a princess (to her knowledge), discovered her origins, but this didn’t deter her from becoming what her world and country needed. They are both valid heroine journeys, and they both ended up in the places they needed to be, and both journeys are cyclical in respective mundane and spiritual fashion.
Alternates: Aeris (VII), Brahne (IX), Edea (VIII), Terra (VI), Celes (VI)
Lots of alternates this week! Initially I had Edea pegged for the Empress. She was Matron turned dark, but the more I looked into the card, the less she made sense. Like Brahne, Edea could be the inverse representation of the card. Terra and Celes were on my radar, too, and it’s funny that I just realized how they’re even more two sides of the same coin with their names! Terra (mundane) and Celes (celestial/heavenly). Terra is probably the closest one due the earthly nature of her name and where she finds herself in the World of Ruin. She’s the Empress against near insurmountable odds.
Mr. Panda totally hit it on the head with his guess of Garnet. So give a virtual (or real if you want) round of applause!
FYI your guesses and suggestions actually make re reexamine whom I may already have picked for the Major Arcana. This isn’t to say I’m going to change one that I’ve got set in stone, but since I consider everything a learning process, and I’m always trying to improve how I see/interpret things, it gives me the chance to think about it some more. So definitely keep them coming!
Next week is IV The Emperor. I know many of you may take the obvious route with this guess hehe, and I can’t/won’t say if this is a good plan or not. If you miss on the character but that person is in the game where my choice comes from , you’ll get credit, too.