We’re all familiar with one of the most iconic death scenes in history:
In a temple underneath the city, Cloud and the party find Aeris praying on an altar. As Cloud approaches her, Sephiroth attempts to take control of him and kill her with the Buster Sword, but Cloud resists. As Aeris finishes praying, Sephiroth descends from the ceiling and impales her with the Masamune. Dying, Aeris collapses into Cloud’s arms as her hair ribbon unravels, the White Materia bouncing off the altar into the water below. Enraged, Cloud turns on Sephiroth, who turns out to be another disguised part of Jenova. Cloud and his allies fight Jenova∙LIFE, and after Jenova is dispatched, Cloud carries Aeris to the pool of water in the center of the city and lays her body to rest beneath the water.
But this theory suggest that someone else very close to Aerith actually finished her off.
Cloud actually killed Aerith. When Cloud carries Aeris to the pool of water in the center of the city and lays her body to rest beneath the water, fans believe that he unintentionally drowned her. This is because Aerith could have survived her mortal wound.
The Game Theorist has a very well-reasoned video on YouTube about this subject.
Yoshinori Kitase, writer and character creator of Final Fantasy VII, intended for Aerith to die by Sephiroth’s hand:
“In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much you feel this big empty space and think, ‘If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently.’ These are the feelings I wanted to arouse in the players with Aerith’s death relatively early in the game. Feelings of reality and not Hollywood.”
“death should be something sudden and unexpected, and Aerith’s death seemed more natural and realistic.”
These two quotes suggest that the “sudden and unexpected” death was by Sephiroth’s hand.
But death is not always peaceful. Consider that in the remake, the developers might want to emphasise the brutal nature of death. We could see a heart-wrenching twist, where Cloud gives Aerith a mercy killing by drowning her. This might be a little bit too rough. This might even garner Final Fantasy VII an ’M’ rating. But it would be in keeping with the same emotions.
The Importance of Aerith’s Death