Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – VIII Strength

<–VII The Chariot                                                                                IX The Hermit–>

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!

VIII Strength

strength-squall

The lion for me was the dead give away, since that’s a major Squall symbol.  It’s one of the few “regular” animals in FFVIII’s fantasy/sci-fi world although it is referred to as a monster interestingly enough.

The lion is of course the king of the beasts and thus is a symbol of strength.  Rinoa comments numerous times on Squall’s fortitude and military prowess, which brings up some interesting questions.  As stated in my post about The Lovers’ card, Squall and Rinoa are probably my least favorite canon couple, but there’s no doubt that eventually she “tames” him insofar as reaching through Squall’s sullen ennui so fueled by abandonment issues (I could write a decent length article about Squall whom many fans seem to detest for his moody-broodiness, but his behavior and mien make perfect sense based on his past experiences.  I’ll leave that for when I review/analyze Final Fantasy VIII though); therefore she could be represented by the woman holding closed the lion’s mouth.  Untempered strength is a dangerous thing, and the very least I can say about their relationship is it does in part fulfill the unity of opposites motif.


Alternates: Red XIII (FFVII)

I didn’t even consider him until Lightning Night Nova made that her guess in the comments.  I was quite close in consideration, but he would more align with the lion tamed, which is more subdued strength.  Granted, I did just make the same argument above with Squall.  The strength of the card isn’t really the lion; it’s the one who tames him for her own purposes…


Mr. Panda guesses correctly again!  I’m still not sure what I’m going to do for an award, but I’ll definitely be tallying up how many each person guessed correctly and do a top three at the end of the 22 weeks!

Next week is IX The Hermit, a card by many other names, which is my poor excuse for a clue 🙂

Happy guessing!

<–VII The Chariot                                                                                IX The Hermit–>

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20 thoughts on “Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – VIII Strength

  1. Pingback: Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – VII The Chariot | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

    • Sure did! I instantly thought of Squall, but I was almost swayed by Lightning hehe. While I was looking for a good picture of him, I stumbled across some FFVIII/Squall theory shenanigans. I would’ve had the post up sooner, but I got sucked into it.

      I love Tellah’s glasses in that game. He’s pulling off the “cool old man” trope even before Auron who’s also got that other, er, problem. You also can’t beat his “spoony bard” accusation lobbed at Edward. Ugh, I can’t stand him. No rants about that yet though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my goodness… those Squall theories. If you’re talking about the ones I’m thinking about, they’re really something. They seem like excuses for the game’s writing though. (I’m not the biggest VIII fan, haha)

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was the Squall is dead theory lol, and YES it was attempting to explain some of the wonkier aspects of the game. I liked VIII, but I find it odd that there are a few people who think it’s the best Final Fantasy. While I obviously think to each their own, VIII has more egregious foibles than most of the others. Rinoa is far more of a plot device than a person, and quite a few critiquer has called out the convenient orphanage situation. The latter part didn’t bother me too much, but it did seem shoehorned in that the GF made them all forget about that until it became plot relevant. Surprisingly, Squall is one of the aspects of the game I like. His character makes perfect sense psychologically, which is a huge things for me. His moody-broodiness is in line with someone who has abandonment issues, but I wasn’t a fan of how they showed the progression of his and Rinoa’s relationship. All of a sudden he cared? Again that’s an issue with her just being a plot device/manic pixie dream girl.

          I think I like VIII for it’s neatness. I don’t know how to explain it, but I really like the game mechanics. If you set up your GF properly, have 100 of the right kind of magic, and level up properly, everything works out so well. I thought it was well organized especially since you can see the amount of points you need to get to the next level with abilities. I wish i could explain it better! Also Triple Triad is my favorite card game.

          The theorist did a good job laying the theory out and even gave the caveat that they didn’t entirely buy it themselves, but it was something to consider. I respect someone more if they realize that it’s an interpretation thing, and I try to make it clear in any of my VII ramblings that it’s just my opinion…granted I do go on the defensive if anyone attacks my darling Sephiroth, but I accepted that aspect of my insanity long ago :p

          Liked by 1 person

          • Exactly! Suddenly, they cared? I think the game managed to swindle a lot of people into thinking it was a real love story, when there was absolutely no logical in-character reason for Squall to suddenly care for Rinoa. I don’t believe their love in the slightest. Though that’s nothing compared to their orphanage plot twist that makes no sense. Like, I can’t even wrap my head around it… I don’t like the mechanics unfortunately, and maybe it’s because of how I play. I tend to grind and try to be as strong as I can be at any given moment. This meant drawing 100 of each magic as soon as I encountered it… Yes, I know you don’t have to do it, but how could I not for stats? But then I can’t use the magic that I junctioned or else I’d lose stats. Also, since enemies level up with you, the game can get harder if you level up too high. For later playthroughs, I just used the item to eliminate random encounters and had an easier time beating the game at level 26 than I ever did at level 60+. And that theory… that theory… I actually kind of like it, not that I necessarily agree with it. It just gives FFVIII a somewhat spookier vibe and tries to explain the ridiculousness of the plot. Like did discs 2-4 not make sense? Oh it’s because Squall’s dead. Hahaha. I think I’m done ranting about VIII.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I did the drawing 100 magic thing and NEVER used it lol. I would just junction magic attacks and defenses to weapons and go through battles like that. I remember when I first played, I had no idea what I was doing and I would rely on summoning GFs to get me through battles. That didn’t work out too well at all.

              That theory does make the game a lot eerier almost on par with the creepiness of VII, which of course has it’s own eerie theories. Hm…Eerie Theories. I like that name. I’m going to have to use that someplace.

              This is why Cecil and Rosa are my favorite canon couple. There may be that trite “I’m dark, you’re light,” which is paralleled beautifully in the Aria de Mezzo Caraterre with the line “I’m the darkness, you’re the starlight,” but their love was totally true, uncontrived, and perfectly portrayed even with sprites. The more I think about it, the more the Squall is dead theory would explain away a lot of the issues with the game, but it could also just be the fan excuse explanation for poor execution.

              Bahaha nothing wrong with a good rant! What is your favorite FF? I can’t remember if you like IX or VI the best. Why am I thinking it’s IX?

              Liked by 1 person

              • You’re thinking it’s IX because that’s what it is. 😉 It’s a great blend of classic and modern at a time when it seemed like they wouldn’t go back to classic style Final Fantasy. It had excellent music, characters, and story. Best of all, it’s fun to play and feels like a fantasy. I must have had said something about loving IX before here, haha.

                Liked by 1 person

                • IX is my second favorite, and I get both vehemently angry and wildly confused when people bash it. I mean to each their own, but we’re talking about a game that literally explores what it means to be alive and have free will. I loved that it was the send off for the age of FF on PlayStation, and also how it was supposed to just be a mini Final Fantasy to so so. The actual IX was supposed to be X, but the IX we (thankfully) have now grew into the masterpiece we have today. Not that I know anything about expecting to make something short (10k words) and having it grow into something else (280k+ words…)

                  IX brought back the two moons we see in IV. It returned the crystal, and it was definitely fantasy all the way! I loved that VII made me appreciate sci-fi more (I actually didn’t want to play it initially because I thought it was TOO sci-fi) and now I love sci-fi/fantasy fusion, but there’s something about IX that makes me want to live in that world. Gah, I could babble about its virtues forever, but I could do that with most Final Fantasies 😀

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not a fan of Squall in the slightest. FFVIII is hands down my least favourite game in the series mostly because all of the characters in the game are unlikable! Especially Rinoa. I always saw Squall’s character as weak despite his tough exterior despite his previous experiences.

    Maybe I just need to play the game again. I need to snuff out some of the hatred!

    My guess for the Hermit is Quina from FFIX.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not alone in your dislike of Squall believe me! My one friend can’t stand him and his moody-broodiness…but he likes Jon Snow from Game of Thrones and they’re quite similar lol (something I just realized when I posted). My favorite character is probably Selphie since she’s the sweetest and reminds me a lot of Aeris, but Rinoa has little to no personality. I think Squall does the “show a tough impenetrable exterior to hide what’s really vulnerable inside” thing, which is common for people with abandonment issues. FFVIII was a definite deviation from prior games in terms of characters. They only really attempted to do development on Squall, which again leads me back to that weird theory I read about him being dead. All the other Final Fantasies had all of their characters learn and grow to some extent, but in VIII the only concentration is on Squall hm.

      I would give another try if I were you! There have been quite a few things I hated at first that I really like or love now. If you still don’t like it, then you still don’t like it and there’s nothing wrong with that!

      Oh Quina, that’s another character who gets some major hate. I thought they were great comic relief. I’m also a fan of the “I do what I want!” mentality.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel like FFVIII is so far in my distant memory at this point that I would really need to give it another try to make some solid decisions on whether or not I like it. I think it’ll be on my long, long list of things to play again. I made it most of the way through but never beat it and treated it like any other FF game and leveled up a ton. I also hate the card game, so that’s another reason I’ve avoided it. I totally skipped the card game when I played FFIX!

        I have never heard of the dead Squall theory. I feel like after I replay it, it’d feel more meaningful for me to delve into game theories.

        I loved Quina’s character. I can’t believe that anyone would ever leave them behind in a playthrough! There’s so much power there, and it makes trying to eat everything a fun experiment. It really forced me to start ballparking the HP of enemies!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s what I’d do. It was definitely different from the typical level up Final Fantasies, which they haven’t done since FFII. Now that I think about it, FFVIII was a bit of a variation of FFII since in the earlier game you had to use a weapon or spell 100 times in order to level it up. I guess this could be considered equivalent of drawing 100 of each magic. I think VIII was bit better (and far less time consuming) with it. With II using the weapon or spell 100 times only leveled up to one level. So. Tedious. There was a cheat, but still.

          Ah well if you hated the card game, I can see why you found nothing redeeming in the FFVIII! Many people dislike the game as a whole, but enjoyed Triple Triad. I loved the card game, once I got used to it. Tbh that’s really the key to VIII. It was different, not your run of the mill FF in terms of logistics and gameplay. Triple Triad was fun (for me) once I figured out what the hell was going on and I didn’t spread any crappy rules around. The reset button was my friend. I was okay with IX’s game Tetra Master, but there was more randomness in it, so I liked VIII’s better. So long as you had good rules and used a good strategy, you’d be okay.

          Ah here’s that Squall theory. It actually resolves a lot of peoples’ issues with the game, resolving the flat personalities of the characters, and explaining why everything went out it did. I don’t know if I prescribe to it, but it’s not that farfetched.

          http://squallsdead.com/

          Quina is so hated for reasons I just don’t understand. I thought they were an awesome character. I liked their abilities, and the comic relief gormand was perfect. It definitely made you pay attention to HP for strategy.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – IX The Hermit | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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