[Archive] Thoughts & Emotions

Final Fantasy VIII is unusual in the sense that its protagonist is far more reserved than he should be. However, his thoughts are exposed to the player in the form of semi-transparent text boxes, much like important dialogue. The game gives us the ability to delve into his mind; we can observe his cogitations, resonings, and in some cases, his past. For one thing, it gives a new meaning to the term "Role Playing Game". Like most games, you learn more about the character through their interactions with other character, or perhaps occasional narration, but Final Fantasy VIII doesn't necessarily work that way. Regardless of the fact that he says little to people in his surrounding enviorment, you come to learn more about him than anyone else.

On the surface, Squall's outright emotional response to just about any given situation is close to nothing, as noted by several criticisms from his peers and collegues. In actuality, he tries very hard not to let such responses bleed through; he believes it to be a sign of weakness, a false obervation he gained during his childhood period. However, unlike the rest of the characters, the player has the ability to know more about his cognitive content.

Just like any human being, his surfacing thoughts can appear to be coherent in casual situations, or broken in times of distress. It is this very humanistic quality that allows us to become attatched to the character, and in some respect, we can justify his actions. However, one thing remains: because of Squall's personality, he keeps the majority of his honest opinnions unvoiced. Thus, other characters often seem to misunderstand him. It is this same honesty that makes him appear too critical, portraying a rather uncaring individual. There were cases when Squall appears to be thinking too much, becoming oblivious to others around him. He makes the mistake of throughly analyzing situations too much and reflecting on them constantly to the point of becoming lost in thought; the agonies of insight are far form stranges. In this case, he looses his self-awareness because of repression and rationalization, which inevitably becomes dangerous to him.

Squall constantly chases his mind for answers, looking for some rational explaination to his behavior. He believed he could tactically figure out how to not let his emotions slip out by finding out the source of the problems, and then fixing it from there. Unfortunately, it doesn't take him until the end of the game to realize that sometimes there is no logic behind expressing feelings and emotions. He had to unlean and relearn everything because what he once thought true was only a facade.


About Antihero
Antihero is a fansite dedicated to Squall Leonhart, a fictional character from Final Fantasy 8. Started in August 2004, this site hosts a collection of analyrical essays and writings geared towards helping to understand the character on a critical level. All personal opinions are subject to debate. Also featured is an archive of images collected from various places over the years.
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To my brother, for allowing me to play this game on the console, otherwise I would not have. To all of my friends in the shrine community who have supported this dedication and up with its constant transformation. And to all of the visitors, old and new, who have come throughout the years: this site wouldn't be here without you.
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