Final Fantasy 8 Squall Leonhart Analysis

Final Fantasy 8’s Squall Leonhart received mixed responses from gamers due to his introverted and sullen personality. Despite this, there are some pretty complex ideas being explored with Squall that will herein be listed. Thus the symbolism and personality traits associated with Squall will be discussed.

Squall’s General Characteristics:

Squall is basically an isolationist and extreme introvert, thus he prefers to be alone and is someone detached from situations. As a result Squall generally shuns those that attempt to approach him in a friendly manner, for instance Quistis. While this introversion may seem a negative trait, it is also the source of some of Squall’s greatest strengths as his introversion allows him to remain detached and logical about situations where others react emotionally. He admires lions as a symbol of courage and wears a ring bearing such a symbol, which he later gives to Rinoa.

Squall and Seifer:

Squall essentially serves as a dark mirror image of Seifer, with this idea being used in a variety of different ways in the plot of Final Fantasy 8 in a similar manner to the distinction between Prince Myshkin and Rogozhin. Seifer is generally associated with brighter imagery, for example he has light-blonde hair and lighter clothing with his long tanned cloak. Squall has dark brown hair and wears dark clothing with a dark coat that falls short of meeting his waist. To add further to this, Seifer’s gun blade has a revolver gun aspect whereas Squall’s is an automatic. Furthermore, Squall’s is wielded with both hands while Seifer only uses one hand during the Final Fantasy 8 battle sequences.

The best example of Squall being Seifer’s dark mirror image is how he accidentally and more truthfully fulfils Seifer’s romantic dream. Seifer’s romantic dream basically has him cast as a sorceress’ knight and lover, whom he protects from outsiders. Seifer pursues this by becoming Edea’s knight, but it is a fake relationship based more on fantasy than reality. Squall truly fulfils Seifer’s romantic dream by becoming Rinoa’s knight out of an honest love for Rinoa.

Squall And Rinoa As Yin/Yang:

The interesting thing about Rinoa and Squall is that despite vastly different personalities they have both reached somewhat similar conclusions about the world, namely that they dislike something about it. Squall is actually associated with the dark side of the ying/yang symbolism in that he responds to his dislike of the world by detaching himself from it. It is this tendency that makes him introverted. In contrast, Rinoa represents the light side of the yin/yang spectrum and as such goes about trying to actively change the world through her rebel group and hiring SeeD. As such, they both have the same view of the world and are both attempting to do something about it in their own ways.

This yin/yang difference ultimately manifests at the end of Final Fantasy 8 where due to time compression we are able to see Squall’s world in something resmbling a symbolic time-lapse photography. Without Rinoa in his world, it becomes a desert void of completely of life due to Squall becoming increasingly introverted until he is alone. Rinoa is somewhat different in that her desire to change the world into something better, ala the field of flowers, becomes a storm that ultimately results in her becoming Ultimecia. This is ultimately resolved by Squall, who either kills Ultimecia or loves Rinoa and calms her to prevent it from happening. Thus, Final Fantasy 8 is ultimately a story about a balancing of yin/yang forces, introversion and extraversion.

Squall’s Mother Figure and Rinoa’s Father Figure:

It is of interest that the mother and father figure of the two characters has a likeness of a kind to the other. For example, Rinoa’s father is a general who is fairly introverted and detached, similar to Squall. Squall’s mother figure is a sorceress, and both he and Seifer end up being romantically attracted to sorceresses as a probable result.

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