Cloud: …SOLDIER, First Class?
He shakes his head.
Cloud: …SOLDIER? When did I enter SOLDIER?
He clutches his head.
Cloud: How did I join SOLDIER?
He falls to his knees.
Cloud: Why… why can’t I remember? I’m… I’m…
He gets back to his feet.
Cloud: That’s right…..I didn’t have to worry about it, because I was…
pretending to be SOLDIER. But can anyone know what it’s like to be in SOLDIER?
Cloud: Hey, Zack, uh…
Cloud: Um… What’s it like to be SOLDIER?
Zack: I don’t quite get the question.
Zack: Well, once you join, you’ll know what it’s like.
Cloud: If I can join, that is…
We know Cloud never became SOLDIER. But he acts as if he does, only because he believes he is. Even Zack doesn’t really know what it’s like to be SOLDIER. But that’s because being SOLDIER isn’t the goal.
Lazard: By the way, what is your dream? “To become 1st”…is it?
Zack: To be a hero!
Lazard: Ah, good. Unattainable dreams are the best kind.
Unattainable huh? Kind of like Cloud joining SOLDIER. He’s essentially living his dream. But what was Cloud’s dream? It was much like Zack’s. Zack wasn’t the type of man who would have joined SOLDIER if he knew the full extent of their awfulness. But his dream of being a hero, someone who others could look up to, was his goal.
Angeal: Hold on to your dreams.
Angeal: If you want to be a hero you have to hold on to your dreams and also—your pride.
What was Cloud’s dream? It wasn’t to be a hero. It wasn’t to save the world. He didn’t care about the Planet. He just wanted to be strong. To have people notice him:
Cloud: I used to think… they were all stupid….I know. I’m the one that was stupid. I really wanted to play with everyone, but I was never allowed into the group. Then later… I began to think I was different… That I was different from those immature kids. That then… maybe… I was so prejudiced. And… weak. That was the first time I heard about Sephiroth. If I got strong like Sephiroth, then everyone might…If I could just get stronger…… Then even Tifa would have to notice me……
This is the real Cloud. A weak, insecure nobody who wanted to live. But by following his dreams, he became a hero. Fake it til you make it.
This was the ultimate point behind learning about Zack. We think we’re learning about Zack, but instead, we’re learning about who Cloud wants to be. Cloud wants to be strong, he wants someone to notice him. His dreams overlap with Zack. Through Zack, we learn what makes a hero. Being SOLDIER is just the means to being a hero. To be a SOLDIER, you have to follow your dreams. Whatever your dreams are, that’s what makes you a hero.
So then, if we save the world, do you believe we’ve become a hero?