Squall is Dead: An Analysis

Squall Leonhart with a dead no face in Final Fantasy VIII.
Final Fantasy Blog


2 thoughts on “Squall is Dead: An Analysis

  1. How would him being dead add depth to the narrative? I think it would have made the narrative worse because that would mean everything that happened after he died was pointless.

    1. Honestly, I half-believe this theory.

      That is, I believe Squall believes he is dead during Time Compression (there is an important distinction here, but I will get to that). But actually much sooner. He believes he died (wait for it) at the very beginning when Seifer slashed him through the face.

      So let’s show you some videos. First, we have the Time Compression, where we see alot of images, in particular, a feather, Rinoa’s face being blurry, the dry sandy area Squall is walking through. And the dance hall.


      Now, let’s look at the opening scene.


      As you’ll notice, the sequence is also a sort of Time Compression. These images are like a preview out of chronological sequence. Most importantly, they show Squall making a promise and several scenes that can be tied to various places. For example, the beach transformed into dry cracked land. You’ll recognize this terrain from the Time Compression. But where is it from? Well, if I had to guess, this is probably the Balamb highlands where Squall is fighting Seifer (without the rocks). So yes, the Time Compression sequence is basically a long sequence where Squall is unsure that in fact he has ever met Rinoa.

      So why does this add depth, you ask? Because it (1) shows Squall’s true character and (2) is vaguely reminiscent of Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna saves Tidus. It would make is a sort of Orpheus story, where someone goes to the underworld. Only here, the raising is largely symbolic. This also adds depth because think of some of the GFs. Quezacoatl and Shiva are your first GF, this is not a coincidence now. Shiva was the Hindu deity of death and rebirth. Quezacoatl sometimes comes back to life after burning himself to death as a flock of birds. There is also Doomtrain which recalls back to FF6 and its train trip to the underworld, and there is also Tonberry King which is often heavily associated w In essence, this is now a “love triumphs over death” story, which is kinda sweet actually.

      Let’s explain Squall’s personality, especially when we realize he’s basically cut from the same cloth as Laguna. He very much cannot fathom this kind of girl interested in him. So much so that he actually questions reality. That is, we have alot of really weird events (increasingly so, actually, starting from Ellone’s dream of Laguna, continuing through a giant floating Garden, all the way up through monsters on the moon, and ending with a freakish interdimensional castle where someone is sending herself into the past for some reason that doesn’t quite make sense) where it feels where much like a person cracking up because they are convinced they are crazy. Convinced they must be dead and imagining all of this, because “There’s no way someone like her could be interested in someone like me.” But the really cool part is that Rinoa is real, that’s the point of the ending where the video runs out of film before Squall is seen. Almost to say “maybe he isn’t alive.” But then they cut to show him actually a part of things with Rinoa. It’s romantic. In a very Vladimir Kush way.

      One added thing. The Waltz scene itself is mildly surreal. Not only is there an echo with Squall on the balcony again (this time with Rinoa), but we have her little finger thing she does in the ending. And then instead of watching the dance, watch the background. It’s somehow off, like the room doesn’t completely add up. They show this in the Time Compression where the background of the dance hall looks kinda like Galbadia gate, and somehow oddly creepy in general for a dance hall.


      So it’s sorta this weird goofy not-quite-real romance that is nonetheless adorable because it shows a guy who is very much like the “moron” he sees Laguna as, but in a different way.

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