Day 2 – Your favourite character:
(Yes I know, I skipped a whole month!)
Its difficult to pick just one character as your favourite. When you have played so many games over many years, its hard to choose. I went and had a good think for this one, jotting down different characters and trying to decide. Personally I think my chosen person is right on the nose for me! Also this might contain spoilers, so you have been warned folks!
Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII
“Am I that untrusting…? Maybe I’m this way because I’m scared. Nothing lasts in this world. It feels great to have friends who believe in you, and adults you can rely on. That’s why it’s so dangerous, especially if you become used to it. Someday you’re bound to lose everything. Everyone around you will be gone. Then what are you left with? Nothing. Nobody… It’s so miserable. And it’s inevitable. It’s so hard to recover from something like that. I never ever want to deal with that again. I can’t. Even if it means being alone…”
Why Squall? Well, I first played Final Fantasy VIII when I was a young teenager. Yes I was grumpy, I had bad mood swings, lashed out at people who didn’t always deserve it, listened to loud rock music and did stupid stuff… Not much has changed then! Anyway, there were no characters from film or TV who I really connected with. I did have heroes, there was Lara Croft, Marty McFly, Chef Brody. But none my age. There was no one who made me sit up and say “Oh, I do that!” Not one. But then I encountered Squall Leonhart.
Here was a moody 17 year old character who didn’t care about anyone else. He was stubborn, selfish, cold, rude and also pretty cute. I loved him the moment I started playing the game. With his new bad ass scar (great opening FMV!), awesome leather jacket and epic hairstyle, I fell for the uncaring protagonist.
The character progression of Squall is, in my opinion, fantastic. He grows from a cold, angry young man into a caring, loving person and confident leader. From flashbacks in game, we see how Squall’s childhood was complicated and being abandoned at a young age can have a negative impact later on in life.
Squall pushes those close to him away because in his mind everyone leaves him in the end. So to avoid the hurt and sadness, Squall would rather others just leave him alone and let him stay a loner, becoming emotionally detached from others.
However, even with his anger, he still has people who are willing to stick by him. He can prove to be a challenging individual but he also has skills with his GunBlade and even becomes leader of not only his group, but also to the students of Balamb Garden midgame. This of course is difficult for Squall due to his nature of wanting to be isolated.
But his friends and love interest Rinoa manage to pull Squall out of his shell. He starts to open up more to his allies and eventually starts to care for and falls in love with Rinoa. This is also a big step as everyone Squall loved, left him. In opening up to others and learning to trust them, he becomes a more powerful leader in their fight against Ultimecia.
Some people have said Squall is one of the worst Final Fantasy lead characters due to his “jerk” like attitude and coldness towards others. That there is no connection between him and the player, making advancement in the game difficult. It really is down to the individual. For me Squall was someone who made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I always did look on the negative side of things because if I got my hopes up and they were dashed, what was the point? It was better to be negative because then your feelings don’t get hurt.
But like Squall, I had people who helped pull me out of my shell. I have a wonderful husband who tells me everyday that he loves me and helps ease my anxiety. I have incredible friends who help pull me out of every single bad mood with thoughtful words and actions. And I’m lucky to have a family who I know are always going to be there for me. I can imagine Squall, if he was a real person, now having a family too with close friends nearby, encouraging him to challenge and push himself.
So there you go. An unusual choice of favourite character, but also different. And I shall leave you with the adorable, yet slightly awkward first encounter with Squall and Rinoa. One of the best FMVs in Final Fantasy. Enjoy!