Final Fantasy Character Assessments: Squall Leonhart

Final Fantasy Character Assessments

<–Cecil Harvey                                                                                                                            Celes Chere–>

*Potential spoilers for everything involved with the topic character and their game.

Thanks to LightningEllen for making this character suggestion on Final Fantasy Friday: Light Motifs!

Name: Squall Leonhart
Game: Final Fantasy VIII
Job: Mercenary
Age: 17

Major Arcana: The Chariot – Squall is a character many of his classmates and teachers find difficult to understand, and The Chariot card is one of the more difficult ones to interpret.  It indicates a unity of opposites, though with an emphasis on such a paradigm helping you get what you want.  It also implies war, struggle, and ultimately a hard won victory over one’s enemies, and this fits Squall to a tee.  He has this cold and aloof exterior, but like the adage says, “Still waters run deep.”  His personal symbol is the lion and of course his last name “Leonhart” invokes the idea of being lionhearted i.e. courageous and strong.  It seems anathema that he has a fiery and more sun associated symbol due to his cool exterior, but this of course feeds into the unity of opposites motif.

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Final Fantasy Character Assessments: Cecil Harvey

Final Fantasy Character Assessments

Squall Leonhart–>

Name: Cecil Harvey
Game: Final Fantasy IV
Job: Dark Knight/Paladin
Age: 20

And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.
And where we had thought to slay another
we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.
-Joseph Campbell “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”

Major Arcana: Temperance – Cecil (whom I’ve written a full character analysis on before) is the perfect balance of two distinct worlds..  This revelation is foreshadowed in how he manages to reconcile his dark side and become a paladin even before he discovers the full truth of his origins.

Zodiac: Virgo with a Libra moon – Virgos are typically analytical, hardworking, kind, and practical.  They worry often, are shy, and don’t like being the center of attention.  They’re also modest, faithful, quiet, and persuasive with a good sense of reasoning and memory.

This sign seems to be the perfect fit for Cecil.  The eventual paladin is described as a quiet, young man of unsurpassed skill with the dark blade.  He never comes off as a braggart or someone who desires attention just for attention’s sake.  The opening FMV shows him in contemplation with Rosa, and we know from the game’s story that the Dark Knight feels unworthy of the White Mage’s love and worries he’ll never live up to what he thinks she deserves.  However, he’s utterly devoted to her, nor does he ever give up on Kain even when the dragoon knight turns against his best friend.  Cecil does break faith with the king of Baron, but only because he refuses to kill a child (Rydia of Mist) after (inadvertently) burning down her village and slaying her mother as the king’s pawn.  His reasoning remains sound to the point of overriding orders he finds morally repugnant.

The Libra moon adds another layer of rationality.  They tend to be peacemakers, and Cecil is literally the synthesis and the balance of two planets.  He’s the light side of the moon who remains steadfast even in the face of earth shattering revelations that could easily cause an existential crisis.

Alignment: Lawful Good – Up until the events of the game, particularly his mission to Mist, Cecil had no major issues following this path, though we do see him questioning the king on the opening flight back to Baron.  When his orders unequivocally demanded he kill a child, Cecil withstood the inner conflict to go against such an abhorrent act.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type: ISFJ (Introversion-Sensing-Feeling-Judging) – Cecil is definitely an introvert.  Final Fantasy has the distinctive trend of main characters that fit this trait, which is pretty awesome.  Since he’s captain of the Red Wing fleet, sensing seems more practical than intuition, and at one point he plans to go after the seven Crystals already stolen, while Golbez searches for the one he doesn’t yet have, a wholly sensible plan.

I went back and forth between F and T, but settled on the former, since Cecil’s first major decision was based on a personal value, the belief that killing children is wrong no matter what you’re ordered to do (take that “I was just following orders”).  He also adds the destruction of Mist and the death of Rydia’s mother to his growing cache of guilt.  His inability to give up on Kain showcases the trait of looking for the best in people, and he values forgiveness not only for his troubled adopted brother, but also seeks it himself.

Cecil isn’t wishy-washy, and being a captain/soldier, he’d have a sense of rules and deadlines with plans in place.  After Kain returns to his rightful self, the paladin forgives him immediately with no grudge left to hold.  This led me to pick judging for the final piece.

ISFJ is considered The Defender, which solidifies my decision to affix this personality type to Cecil .  People like this rarely sit idle while a worthy cause remains unfinished.  They don’t feel comfortable in the spotlight, but they’ll endure it to ensure what needs to be done is done.

Diagnosis: Cecil is pretty level headed, but it’s possible he’s dealing with some depression at the beginning of the game when he’s still a Dark Knight.  There are also some self-esteem issues, too, since he believes he doesn’t deserve Rosa, a White Mage, for this very same reason even though she obviously loves him.  He’s been forced to fit himself into the wrong role by his adopted father and king, and it’s causing a major identity crisis.  He’s not sure what he’s supposed to be, but he knows it’s not supposed to be that.  The majority of this is alleviated when he becomes a paladin and literally defeats his darker self.  However the identity crisis gains a new facet due the mirror’s light at the top of Mt. Ordeals calling him “son.”

Despite all of this, Cecil is still probably one of the most balanced characters and/or balanced main characters in Final Fantasy.  This could be due to the fact that he has an existential crisis to deal with from the get-go, so when the more prominent one occurs much later in the game, he’s better prepared.  His identity didn’t so much change from Dark Knight to Paladin as be revealed for the latter after the forced and false one was literally slain.

What do you think of my assessments of this character?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Would you pick another Major Arcana, astrological sign, alignment, MBTI, and/or diagnosis?  Let’s discuss in the comments and let me know whom you want me to do next!

Squall Leonhart–>









Final Fantasy Friday: Sidequests and Minigames

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

Sidequests and minigames are paramount for fleshing out and breaking up the main story of an RPG.  Not to say that a main story is monotonous if done well (a proper narrative will have its own breakups/reliefs from the often dramatic tale at hand), but SQs and MGs are a nice little diversion away from the mise en scene, and the latter could be considered meta-games as they’re games that take place within a game (or gameception if you will)..

I count a sidequest as anything that doesn’t have to be done in order to complete the game and/or something that isn’t necessary for the game’s narrative.  There’s definitely some grey ground here.  Not all of the weapons in FFVII need to be defeated, but there’s a great deal of narrative value to their inclusion and demise.

Without a doubt, my favorite minigame is Triple Triad, the card game from Final Fantasy VII.

No seriously…I fucking LOVE this game

I love the strategy.  I love that you have to plan where you’re going to place even your strongest cards, and I don’t mind the Same, Plus, or any of the Wall rules.  I do detest the Random rule with a passion, nor do I like any games that aren’t Open.  You can get around the Random rule (if that’s the region you’re in) by modding all of your weaker cards, so only the stronger ones remain, and if you’re stuck in a region with Closed, that’s a sound strategy for that as well.

For Trading rules, I abhor Direct, since it’s often a crap shoot as to when a player will play a rare card (though sometimes the computer will give you a break and throw the card right where you need it, though you might have to sacrifice the card you use to do so. Strategy!), and if they stick it into an appropriate corner, you’re SOL.

There’s a great deal of resetting when playing Triple Triad, and if you ever want to play, always make sure you save first, because you do not want to spread the Random or Direct rules anywhere.  All rules are in place on the moon, which is where you can win the rare Laguna card.  I don’t even want to talk about how long that took.  Ellone is an expert player.

I think the last time I played, i had nearly all of the rare cards, and even if you mod them, you can still see that you had them in your collection.  I wish I could play this game outside of FFVIII.  Not that I have a problem playing FFVIII, but Triple Triad has transcended its origins, and I’d love just spend hours playing it on its own.  There’s a site for doing so, but I don’t think it’s active anymore.

I know there’s a particularly literate mage who prefers FFIX’s card game Tetra Master, which I enjoy, too, but I’m not as big on the more random nature of that game.  Though he’ll see, I’m not going to leave IX out in the cold…

For sidequests (I should try to think of one), the one that comes to mind is the Stellazio gathering in Final Fantasy IX.  I have a fondness for astrology, though I do maintain some skepticism about the stars themselves influencing your personality/life (I have seen personality differences in people born at different times and similarities in those born under a particular sign, but one, this is anecdotal, and two, I think the differences that exist could be due to scientific factors e.g. the weather conditions while you were in utero).  I’d love to see some peer-reviewed research on this), but I’m 100% a Taurus.  I use the horns to hold up my halo :p

I like the snippets of story that each piece contains feeding into the whole, and I love that it’s a riddle leading you the mythic 13th Stellazio, which refers to the 13th sign Ophiuchus, the Serpent-bearer. I would not have known about the 13th sign were it not for FFIX, which joins the ranks of other Final Fantasies such as VI and VII in teaching this Narcissist a thing or two.

What’s your favorite sidequest and/or minigame?  Let’s discuss in the comments!