Thanks to kevprime for the inspiration!
FFIV is my favorite game and I have played it on every system multiple times. I love the game. One thing I have never understood is people’s love for Kain. I don’t dislike Kain, I just don’t get the love for him.
The thing is I want to like Kain more. He is part of my favorite game. Explain to me why you like Kain so I can enjoy him better! Cheers!
What’s the appeal of Kain Highwind? I believe it was because he’s based on the Byronic hero.
A Byronic hero can be conceptualized as an extreme variation of the Romantic hero archetype…Romantic heroes are not idealized heroes, but imperfect and often flawed individuals who, despite their sometimes less than savory personalities, often behave in a heroic manner.
Byronic heroes are marked not only by their outright rejection of traditional heroic virtues and values but also their remarkable intelligence and cunning, strong feelings of affection and hatred, impulsiveness, strong sensual desires, moodiness, cynicism, dark humor, and morbid sensibilities.
To get an idea of the Byronic Hero, let’s read an excerpt…
That man of loneliness and mystery,
Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh
He knew himself a villain—but he deem’d
The rest no better than the thing he seem’d;
And scorn’d the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.
He knew himself detested, but he knew
The hearts that loath’d him, crouch’d and dreaded too.
Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt
Character’s include Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), and Rochester from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847). Kain joins their ranks in a Final Fantasy sense. But from the Byronic hero forms the anti-hero. What is an antihero?
An antihero, or antiheroine, is a protagonist who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, or morality. These individuals often possess dark personality traits such as disagreeableness, dishonesty, and aggressiveness. These characters are usually considered “conspicuously contrary to an archetypal hero”.
The bad boy image. Everyone seems to like an anti-hero. Why do we wonder at Batman, Wolverine, Solid Snake and other brooding bad boys with spiritual animals? We can relate to them because they’re not perfect. Their animal nature guides them. And we are animals, so we understand them better than we understand someone who’s good all the time (unfortunately). They seem more realistic to us in motivations and intentions. Their pragmatism, flaws, selfish motives and morally questionable actions captivate us. Kain’s animal is Dragon.
Other Final Fantasy characters became anti-heroes, partly because of a trend in the generation. These include Shadow, Cloud, Vincent, Squall, Auron, Basch and Lightning. Cloud is the mascot of Final Fantasy, rather than Vivi (the black mage) or Warrior of Light for this reason. He’s the most successful of the antiheroes, even following being mind controlled similarly to Kain. Final Fantasy antiheroes are pretty memorable, and Kain was the father to them all.