Impressive Words

Written contributions and observations.  

The following was posted by Riddel on a forum, just after FF8's release. Her post gave me the initiative to add this section. It encourages fans to step back and look at the kind of love story that the game was trying to convey, rather than to take a straw man approach and criticize the game for what it is not. Unfortunately, many people have since plagiarized this section.

Symbolism & Fantasy

Rinoa is a character bombarded with a lot of controversy from many fronts. Some have called her "ditzy" others have called her a flirt and some call her a saint. There is no real "right" interpretation for Rinoa's character and I'm not going to sit here and tell you which way you should think. However, in the end, I do believe that Rinoa has been misunderstood.

Rinoa is young as I see it. Yes, she didn't act too upset when Seifer was supposedly "executed" however, she is a terrorist. However a better point would be to ask ourselves what Square was trying to achieve. Rinoa is the opposite of Squall and for her to be the complete opposite, she had to be cheerful and naive in the beginning to contrast with Squall's brooding cynicism. She could not mourn long and hard for Seifer's death because that would go against the extremes that Square was trying to convey. To me, Rinoa is not a person but a symbol just as Squall is one. To talk about Rinoa as though she was a ordinary teenager who forgot about her summer flame because she was just too immature to fall in love, is a very serious misunderstanding of the point Square was trying to make.

True, Rinoa is seventeen, she's about the age of the kids on Dawson's Creek. She's probably the age of someone would be reading YM or listening to the Backstreet Boys however, it would be wrong of us to think of her that way. Rinoa lives in a fantasy world. This is a place where the people are ageless. There is no such thing as being too young to fall in love because this is fantasy. In a world of fantasy there is True Love. In this world, the one whom you meet across the ballroom during the night of the falling stars, could really be the one that was meant for you. In reality we would scuff at such matters however this is not Final Reality, this is Final Fantasy. This is myth.

I don't think any of us would take out the Greek myths and ask questions as to how the Gods could live on a mountain or why Thetis would be so stupid as to forget to dunk Achilles' heel in the river of immortality. Those questions cannot be asked because these things are symbolic and not to be realistic. For Rinoa to dance with Squall across the ballroom and to leave him is not realism as in look Joey and Dawson are dancing, how cute. No, this is not a soap opera. This is myth, the modern myth.

As the game progressed, Rinoa became more dark and down to earth as Squall became lighter and more teenager like. This is the symmetry of the game displayed once again. When one studies art, the symmetry of the piece often denotes the fact that the object was used as a symbol or an object of worship. In Final Fantasy 8, the symmetry of Rinoa and Squall's relationship in its exchange of darkness and light in of itself is enough to prove to the viewer that Square meant for this to be True Love and not a Saturday night movie on teen angst.

If you would like to argue that Square did not mean for Rinoa and Squall to be in eternal love, how can you explain this undeniable symmetry? Perhaps as we look at Rinoa and Squall from a realistic eye, they cannot remain together. Rinoa is rather childish and uncultivated in the military arts as Squall is. Squall on the other hand appears to be morbid and masochistic. A pair like that cannot remain together in the modern world. However, symbolically, we see this all the time in the modern world.

In reality there is a call for moderation. One cannot be too dark or too light. One needs to find a balance in the middle. Perhaps that's the reason why SeeD's logo is so much like the yin and yang. When Squall and Rinoa fell in love that was not meant to denote that they fell in love as two organisms would to reproduce and pass on genes. What we see here is a marriage of darkness and light. Perhaps what Square was really trying to convey was the idea that one cannot be too much in either end of the spectrum, that in order to be happy one must be a little of both. Rinoa gave Squall his lightness and Squall to Rinoa his darkness. That exchange is the beauty of this love story because it is not a story about the merging of two people, but the unification of two qualities.

Just like Squall and Seifer, Rinoa and Squall represent the two different sides of one person. For you to separate Rinoa and Squall would be to advocate schizophrenia. Only when the two sides are in love do you have a healthy organism who is in balance. Rinoa and Squall are eternal and symbolic that's why they were always in love, even in the presence of Seifer and in the presence of Quistis.