These are intended to be brief analysis of characters from some of my favorite narratives, but as you all should know by know I can be quite long-winded or rather long-worded so I cannot guarantee a short read. They will more than likely spoil whatever story/series they come from so be wary of that if you have not read, seen, or played whatever that might be.
Name: Cecil Harvey
Work(s): Final Fantasy IV, The Interlude, The After Years, Dissidia, Dissidia 012
Work Author/Creator: Hironobu Sakaguchi (Squaresoft/Square Enix)
Medium: Video Game
Cecil Harvey is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy IV, the fourth installation of the epic video game series. His father KluYa was of alien origin from a lost world that dwelled between Mars and Jupiter. KluYa, with the rest of his people, escaped their civilization’s collapse to create a second (and false) satellite of the Blue Planet.
During early forays there, KluYa met and fell in love with an earth woman Cecilia with whom he also fathered Cecil’s elder brother Theodore. Tragically, both Cecil’s parents met untimely deaths. His father was killed by the very villagers to whom he was attempted to teach the technology and magic of his home world, and Cecilia died in childbirth with Cecil. KluYa’s demise was more than likely a factor in the Lunarians’ decision to put themselves into stasis until the people of the Blue Planet were more advanced and ready to accept them.
Not long after he was born, a grief-stricken Theodore abandoned his baby brother in the Kingdom of Baron where the infant was taken in and raised as the king’s own. He excelled in swordsmanship and became the youngest captain of Baron’s elite airship fleet the Red Wings. The king encouraged Cecil to take up the dark sword and
become a Dark Knight. This gave Cecil a bit of a melancholy, but not brooding, nature, as later in his journey, it’s revealed he was ever destined for the paladin’s path. Defeating his dark side revealed both his true colors and physical appearance. Cecil is a stunningly beautiful young man with shoulder length silvery-white hair, violet eyes, and a bluish tinge to his lips. He’s mutually enamored of the equally gorgeous Rosa, a white mage of endless devotion and grace who is also the unrequited love of Kain Highwind, the dragoon knight who’s Cecil’s adopted brother and brother-in-arms.
Raised together by the king of Baron, Kain trained to become a dragoon like his birth father as Cecil eventually took up the mantle of paladin like his own. Unfortunately, like his blood brother, Cecil’s adopted
brother Kain betrays him under the latter’s influence as Theodore’s identity is hidden under the persona of Golbez who himself is being manipulated by Zemus, a Lunarian in the core of the moon who refused the others’ self-imposed stasis. Kidnapping Rosa is among one of their many crimes.
Cecil doesn’t discover the full truth of his origins until far later in his story when he journeys to the false moon and meets up with his uncle FuSoYa, the keeper of the Lunarians’ slumber and possibly the oldest character in the Final Fantasy franchise.
In this place of his (half) origin, the young knight discovers his antagonist is actually his blood brother and is forced to face the truth of that as he was forced to face his other brother’s betrayal.
Cecil rises to the occasion though despite misgivings. Throughout the entire story, he is a loyal friend and companion even to those he’s just met, forgiving Kain before the dragon knight can even ask for it, against the mistrust of other party members. The only time you see him hesitate is when the last battle is won and Golbez/Theodore and FuSoYa are preparing to depart presumably forever. The paladin struggles to think of the man who was his enemy for so long as his brother, but he eventually does gift Golbez with that blessed name, turning him back to Theodore once again.
Cecil questioning motifs is nothing new. The game begins with him doubting the mission he’s just returned from where he was ordered by Baron’s king to take the Mysidian’s Water Crystal. He challenged the highest authority in the land and was punished for it, but it immediately showed the player that this was a character who wasn’t afraid to speak up when something wasn’t right.
After the engineered disaster in Mist, Cecil takes in and cares for Rydia
even though she rightfully abhors him at first for not only killing her mother, but destroying her village.
When later events lead him to wash up in Mysidia, the locale of his first war crime, the (currently still) dark knight undertakes the hitherto impossible task of becoming a paladin at the summit of Mt. Ordeals. Despite the obstacles and enemies thrown in his way he succeeds, proving himself worthy of the mages’ trust in addition to fulfilling a destiny laid long ago that leads him from the center of his mother’s world to the center of his father’s and back again to take up his adopted father’s role of king.
Cecil’s story is one of origin and responsibility. He takes up the mantles he must, but even in his dark beginning, he neither strays nor corrupts the light path of his destiny. Narratives often give covered faces to both inconsequential enemies and Big Bads alike, so it is an interesting turn of trope that the main protagonist of Final Fantasy IV begins in such a way. His face isn’t revealed until a third of the way through the game, but his nature is plain from the start. Cecil may be forced to hide behind his armor, but he refuses to accept the role of faceless monster. The atoner’s path leads to the paladin’s light and eventual truth of his origins as a reward.
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