I’ve done Zack’s Story. Now I’m going to do Ramza and Delita’s of The Fool’s Journey. Of the 78 cards, the 22 trumps (Major Arcana) illustrate scenes representing an archetypal, psychological and symbolic element. The Major Arcana tells us the story of our lives and the stages we go through.
The Fool: The Fool card is usually one of the beginnings. This card usually represents someone with a simple soul and an innocent faith. The story of Final Fantasy Tactics has two fools: Ramza and Delita. Both are neophytes, not only as cadets, but in the worldly sense. So far, each of them is unaware of the true worth of their rank in life. Both start roughly at the same place. Yet, each one will begin a path the other will think as simply…foolish. But Ramza and Delita aren’t the only fools in the War of the Lions. In fact, the whole war itself is foolish, ignited through a petty power struggle. Soldiers return from the war,
“with no jobs, little money and even less loyalty to the crown”,
the reward for their foolish service in a foolish war. Even more, fools have chosen their paths in certain factions. And more fools (such as Ramza and Delita) must stop them.
The Magician: This card usually represents a man or the masculine powers of the active conscious. Both Ramza and Delita will do what many will think as impossible. Delita pulls the grandest illusion in Ivalice’s history. But the real magician is Arazlam Durai, the historian who brings this story to us. Through his ability to craft an opposing narrative against the dominant power structure, he performs the greatest trick.
The High Priestess: A card usually represents a woman or the feminine power of the mysterious unconscious. Alma and Tietra both serve as the High Priestess of Ramza and Delita, respectively. Each one is female, and each one teaches the Fools something important about their class. Alma chooses to study at a monastery learning the hidden truths about the church. She befriends Prince Ovelia (who will soon learn about the hidden truth about herself). Despite being of a high social class, Alma also befriends Tietra. Meanwhile, poor Tietra, born of a lower class, hides her shame. Alma is actually the first to tell Ramza this hidden truth. He learns that sometimes the upper class can be cruel. Tietra’s murder relays the hidden truth of inequalities among the social classes to Delita. But whereas Ramza learns to get in touch with his feminine side, Delita abandons it.
The Empress: The Empress card represent a motherly figure, and the creative nature of the humanity and the environment. Ramza and Delita’s mothers are dead. In their place is the love, bond, respect and friendship they have for each other. Their respective sisters reciprocated their love. But when it comes to Ivalice, the only abundance is war and strife.
“Hear me, Ramza. For generations, we Beoulves have stood foremost of those who serve the Crown. Ours is the soul of a knight. Become a knight worthy of your name. Tolerate no injustice. Stray not from the true path. You will know the path you must walk. A Beoulve can…can walk no other…”
The Emperor card represents a father figure. This archetype represents many different characters throughout the series. The most prominent father figure is Barbaneth Beoulves, the gallant knight leading the Order of the Northern Sky. But the Emperor card also represents structure and authority. Through the Beoulve authority, Ramza learns of honor. Delita, however, isn’t from the house of Beoulves. No one expects Delita to act with honor, as he doesn’t share their Beoulve blood. Delita does end up acting as the epitome of an upperclassman in the worst way possible, as we shall see. Barbaneth sets a good example for his sons (Ramza who actually learns from it) to look beyond class. Barbaneth took in Ramza, born of a common woman. Ramza, in turn, befriends Delita. Still, he shows little mercy when dealing with ruffians (such as on the streets of Gariland). One wonders how Delita must feel, participating by the rules of nobles while going against the peasants. Other Emperors include:
- Thunder-god Cid (father to Orran)
- Grand Duke Gerrith Barrington (who exploits the orphans Rapha and Marach)
- Folmarv Tengille (abusive father to Isilud and Meliadoul)
The Hierophant: This card usually represents organization the Fool conforms to. In the world of Ivalice, the epitome of the organization is the church of Glabados. The church represents the divine teachings of Ajora, another Hierophant. Glabados is the dominant church in Ivalice at the time. The world more or less follows it. But the organization isn’t the only form of the Hierophant, as the card also represents the beliefs and traditions of culture. This is also nobility, represented in Argath. He seems to be honorable at first, but then shows his unfortunate side as a petty social climbing sycophant. Hierarchical structure brings out the worst of humanity sometimes. Ramza’s virtues (treating all people kindly regardless as their place in life) represents what nobility could be, but isn’t yet. Delita’s ambitions represent everything he hates about nobility, but he adheres the Machiavellian tradition in the end.
The Lovers: This card represents two new challenges ahead for the Fool(s). Usually, the challenge is between staying in a particular group or going your own way. In that case, Delita eventually forms a union with Princess Ovelia to advance his own goals. However, Tactics doesn’t have a defined love story. The real choice is between two paths in life: the right path and the wrong path. Ramza chooses the right path. Delita chooses the wrong path. The cruz came at the same crossroads: Ziekden Fortress. Argath becomes the catalyst for their respective departures.
Argath: And that blinds you from the truth! You’re a man grown, Ramza. It’s time you left the playthings of your boyhood behind. You are a son of House Beoulve, a birth high even among the highborn. Such company ill suits you. Your brothers see this, I am sure. Even if you choose not to.
Ramza has a choice: stay with the Beoulves or go his own way. He becomes a mercenary, free of class. Delita’s choice was a bit more personal. Should he stay vulnerable to the same forces who killed his sister? Or attempt to do the impossible: flow against the current and manipulate the stream? Both the Hierophant as a cruel teacher. Both broke away from their group. One distanced himself from it. The other wants to rise above to control it. Both set on a path of no return.
The Chariot: This card usually represents an accomplished adult. Both Ramza and Delita chose a new professional, and thus a new path in life. Ramza is now an accomplished mercenary under Gaffgarion, who considers himself to be a professional. He has a certain mastery over himself. But he’s corrupt and only willing to work if it serves his best interest. By fate Ramza, as Gaffgarion’s assistant, meets Delita. Delita’s plans are in motion. Soon he’ll move up the ranks from a simple squire to Holy Knight, to eventually king. Ramza, caught up in an international (and otherworldly) conflict will then obtain the courage to stop it. Both Fools will have to call upon their own discipline and mastery if they wish to accomplish their goals.
Strength: The Strength card shows a woman with the power to close or open a lion’s mouth. You might think that this is a direct correlation to Delita’s manipulation over the War of the Lions. And the two Lions are Duke Larg (The White Lion) and Duke Goltanna (The Black Lion). But the Strength card urges us to think in terms of all soft control over the faculties. Princess Ovelia is a good representative of the Strength card. Her quiet strength provides her mastery over her composure in demanding situations. Also, her presence could open the mouth of one lion (The White) and close the other (The Black). In relations to Ramza, he finds the soft control to forge on deeper into the plot.
The Hermit: This card displays an old solitary man, representing the pursuit of knowledge. Many scholars, such as Simon Penn-Lachish, have come to enlightenment. As head of the Orbonne Monastery, he lived a solitary life. He was also steward of Princess Ovelia, who also lived a solitary life. Upon reading the Germonique Scriptures, he sates the thirst for knowledge. However, this revelation ends up shaking his faith. Ramza also discovers his faith shaken through the truth, and wonders more so about Delita (what is he up to? Why is he doing this? For what end?) Delita’s path to the top is ultimately a lonely one…
The Wheel of Fortune: Here, the Fools start to see how the world connect. Delita, who was victim to the fate of others, now sees how the world works, and how everything connects. He must so that he can efficiently and effectively control the course of history. At this stage in his life, things are merely going to plan. Ramza thought he knew how the world worked. He doesn’t know all of the details. He doesn’t quite see how everything connects just yet. But his involvement is instrumental in directing the outcome of certain events. Many other party members end up joining your team. Gaffgarion betrays you, showing that the wheel turns both ways.
Justice: This card shows the consequences of one’s actions, and taking responsibility for them. The person depicted on the card is a female, which may harken to Agrias. Agrias feels personally responsible for Princess Ovelia. She eventually suffers the consequences of her actions once Delacriox betrays her. Ramza’s decision to save the Princess sets the stage for his personal responsibility. Delita’s actions are unto no one’s but himself.
The Hanged Man: Represents suspension of activity. When we first meet a pursued Mustadio. He’s keeping a secret and holds on to it. Even when Ramza helps him, Mustadio does not tell him the purpose of why he wants to see the Cardinal. By doing nothing, paradoxically something happens. Mustadio then joins your troops. But soon enough, Mustadio has to reveal his plans. He will also have no choice but to relinquish the auracite if he wants to save his father. Then again, he doesn’t. Caught in between two undesirable positions, and refusing both, can be the best way to find the third, desirable option. Ramza lets go of the auracite (i.e. power) to save a life. Delita, on the other hand, learns to let go of his harden exterior. I think ends up loving Princess Ovelia in the process.
Death: The death card represents an ending. In the case of Weigraf and Vormav, they die Lucavi demons inhabit their body. But death doesn’t always mean a physical ending. It’s usually a gradual change of some sort. Delita’s slow rise to power signals the gradual death kneel of the old ways. Also, the gradual change of the old order to the new. And along the way, many people do die by Delita’s hand. Fittingly, Ramza renounces (i.e. “kills”) his past at the Golgrand executioner’s site.
Temperance: Represents a type of moderation and self-restraint. Both Ramza and Delita have self-restraint, to put aside temptation that would impede their goals. Also, consider Orran. Much later, after Ramza saves him from thieves, he recognizes Ramza as a heretic wanted by the church. Orran’s self-restraint keeps him from capturing Ramza and turning him in. Delita’s moderation takes shape in his long-term plans. Ramza’s self-restraint takes form in trying to avoid battle whenever he can.
The Devil: The devil stereotypically represents evil. The true evil in Ivalice is not just the church, Lucavi, Delita. The self-assuredness of the rightness of one’s position. The temptation towards the material plane. The ignorance of something higher. This binds one to hopelessness. The Lucavi binds the church. Ultima binds Ajora. And power binds all demons. Normally, the card’s a mirror representation of the Hierophant, as a reminder that the organization can sometimes bind you. Ramza finds himself in hard places at times but was able to get out. Only now, he’s a heretic of the powerful and corrupt church. Delita’s chose his path. He lies in order to keep up his illusion as a good person. He is a human demon, only because he felt trapped in a hopeless situation. Now, he’s hellbent on putting as many noblemen in his bondage as possible.
The Tower: The Tower stands for a sudden outburst in change. The change could be either a release, a revelation, or a destructive force. Sudden, just as when Tietra explodes in the Ziekden Fortress. Earlier, Princess learns of her true identity. Marach learns of the Truth between Grand Duke Berrington and his sister Rapha. Delita’s changes the power structure in political upheavals to those unkeen to his machinations. Ramza’s focus now shifts to save his kidnapped sister.
The Star: The Star represents hope, inspiration, and a serene calmness. After Marach Calthena lay dead on the Riovannes Castletop, his sister cries for him. The Scorpio hears her cries, and reacts by bringing him back to life without turning him into a Lucavi. Maybe the Lucavi have mercy after all? Maybe when one is truly hopeless, the Lucavi responds to the benefit of that person. Perhaps there is hope. Alma prays that her brother will find her. Ramza prays that he will find his sister. Delita hopes no one finds out.
The Moon: This card is about illusions and confusion. Many of the characters have confusion about just what is going on. Thundergod Cid has no idea why he’s under arrest. Meliadoul has no idea who killed her brother Isulid. She blames Ramza (until it becomes clear that it was her father Folmarv all along, in his rampage as Hashmal). But the once ignorant Meliadoul learns of the Lucavi plot. Her shock at Marquis Elmdore’s perverseness confuses her further. Ramza becomes bewildered once he learns that he must kill his half-brother Zalbaag. Duke Larg’s murder at the hands of Dycedarg horrifies Zalbaag. Zalbaag become enrage at Dycedarg once again, one he finds out that he killed their father by poisoning him. Even Dycedarg has no idea what’s happening, calling Zalbaag “mad”. And Princess Ovelia, now wife of Delita, sees yet another confusing side to him and suffers paranoia.
The Sun: There is finally a moment of clarity for the team. For Ramza, there’s no doubt what he must do to save Ivalice and his sister. For Meliadoul, she finally understands the plot of the Lucavi. Marach understands what happened to his sister. Thundergod Cid understands the plot as well. The entire team learns their purpose and what they must do to stop evil in their world. Delita finally understands what it means to be a nobleman. He also know of the Lucavi plot all along. Delita is more than happy to let Ramza (his former friend) and his friends destroy the Lucavi demons for him.
Judgement: The Judgement card represents two seemingly mutually opposing factors: rebirths and finality. Ultima, using Alma’s body as a vessel, is reborn on the Airship Graveyard. But this is the final battle, and will test Ramza’s mettle. If Ramza survives, he will be reborn to Ivalice. Ivalice will be free of the Lucavi. Delita, however, remains unrepented even reborn as a king. Could he even clear his conscience if he wanted to?
The World: The final trump card, where the Fool finally gain complete understanding. He accomplishes all he set out to do. Ramza saves his sister, and the world at large from Ultima’s resurrection. Ramza’s assumed to survive. But even if he hadn’t, he found out the most important thing in life, living as a good person. Ramza stuck to his noble principles. He sacrificed fame and wealth to accomplish great things at the end of the game. Delita also gets what he deserves in the end. As Oran states of Delita
“Delita married Ovelia. A commoner brings peace to a chaotic kingdom, marries the Princess, becoming King. Delita may be a good person as you said…”
Delita’s accomplished his main goal. He has attained everything a man desires, except for the true honour found in Ramza. His soul is corrupt, his friends are dead and no one can truly trust him. Not even Ovelia, who also became queen proper (and a symbol of Delita’s successful ambitions) can live easy. In the end, Delita’s world (Ovelia) comes crashing in on him. But he did not become integrated, as much as he sought to rise above it. He missed the most important thing in life. Feeling like a true fool, Delita looks towards the sky and wonders,
“Ramza…. What did you get? I………”