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Old 10-19-2012, 11:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mysterious Fathers of Final Fantasy: Laguna Loire



There's not a whole lot that's awesome about being a human, but at the very least, we can blame many of our failings on the curse of heredity. Bad eyesight? It's because of dad's bum genes. Quick temper or a tendency to act before you think? It's totally mom's blood. Goat legs, pointed tail, and a taste for wine and women? That's from Uncle Tumnus's side.

But not everyone is lucky enough to be in touch with their roots. Take Squall Leonhart, for instance. Final Fantasy VIII's main protagonist was put into an orphanage as an infant, and it's ages before he knows exactly why and how he wound up there. On the upside, his journey to save time and the universe gave him a chance to chill and stop being mad at the entire planet for his predicament. This probably made it considerably safer for Laguna to tell Squall, 'You know how chocobos sometimes fall in love and make an egg? Well, a long time ago I met this chocob—er, this woman named Raine, and man, the craziest thing happened.'

The ethereal link between Squall and Laguna serves as the basis for one of Final Fantasy VIII's most notable gameplay mechanics. As you progress through the game, you experience interludes where you take a break from playing as Squall and his friends, and instead take up the reins as a soldier/aspiring journalist named Laguna. Laguna is cheerful and likeable, but also a bumbler, and is hopeless with both maps and women (as Squall famously observes after experiencing one of these dream sequences, 'I dreamt I was a moron').

Dreams are an admittedly cheap way to explore parallel narrative, but Final Fantasy VIII actually offers a solid reason for the fade-outs. Despite the game's emphasis on Squall's dreams, however, a number of people don't realize that among other things, said dreams are supposed to link Squall and Laguna as father and son. As is the case with the Relm/Shadow link in Final Fantasy VI, Square plays up the whole story point with a secret giggle behind a hand. Again, it's up to you to make the connection.

Final Fantasy VIII's main story is a bit of a brain-bender, so you can be excused for not caring to wade hip-deep into more muck just to find clues about what Squall and Laguna mean to each other. But if you deny yourself the opportunity, you'll miss out on some of Square-Enix's best (and most heart-breaking) character development.

Tetsuya Nomura gets a lot of flack for slinging as many belts on a character as possible, but when the designer commits himself he comes up with some admirable ideas. Maybe one of the reasons people miss out on the Squall-Laguna link is because Nomura explicitly set out to make the two characters polar opposites, which is not something that happens very often in role-playing games. In fact, RPGs are champions at bequeathing its main characters with parental legacies, heirlooms, and weapons. By contrast, Laguna and Squall have nothing in common. Laguna is cheerful, chatty, lives to help people, and holds back his emotional outbursts as effectively as a paper bag holds water. Squall is moody, introverted, and thinks emotions are for losers (at least at first).

Squall and Laguna even have very different fighting styles. Squall likes his gunblade; Laguna prefers guns, particularly his trademark machine gun. Finally, the father-son team don't look much alike, and towards the end of the game, Laguna's pals Kiros and Ward remark that Squall dodged a bullet by taking after his mother, Raine, instead of his father.

One of Final Fantasy VIII's running themes is love and friendship, which both Squall and Laguna suffer for. When Laguna is a Galbadian soldier, he falls in love with hotel pianist Julia Heartilly. She returns the affection and composes 'Eyes on Me,' the game's defining song, for him. The two agree to meet again, but unfortunately Laguna is given marching orders, takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and plummets off a cliff. He survives and winds up in the town of Winhill under the care of a woman named Raine and her adopted daughter, Ellone. Raine falls for Laguna, though it takes some time because (according to Raine) the former soldier snores, talks in his sleep, is crude, and generally conducts himself like a three-legged puppy with a brain tumor.

Julia, meantime, figures Laguna is lost as another casualty of war. She gets married to General Caraway of the Galbadian army and gives birth to Rinoa shortly thereafter. In Winhill, Laguna proposes to Raine (as depicted by the game's ending movie), then quickly chases after Sorceress Adel's forces after they kidnap Ellone in hopes of making her the Sorceress's successor. Apparently Laguna had time enough in between events to knock up Raine, as she gives birth to a baby boy in Laguna's absence and dies of complications. The baby is sent to Edea's Orphanage to brood.

So what confirmation do we have that Raine and Laguna's baby was actually Squall? Go back to Final Fantasy VIII's themes about love, and take 'Eyes on Me' into consideration. Julia composed the song for Laguna, but the two were ultimately unable to be together. Julia gives birth to Rinoa as a consolation prize. Rinoa and Squall gradually warm up to each other. Their closest moment occurs at the end of the game, with 'Eyes on Me' crooning in the background—the song Julia wrote for a relationship that seemingly died, but is actually made whole through Squall and Rinoa. Bam. Game logo.

(Sidenote: If you want to mess with your own head, go on and consider that maybe, just maybe Laguna and Julia slept together when they met in Julia's room that fateful night in Deling City. In other words, if you give your imagination a little slack, Rinoa and Squall actually wind up as half-siblings with the same father. There is zero chance that Square-Enix intends for such a controversial link to be canon, but oh, man. Depraved fanfic writers, start your engines!)

Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy for the PSP also showcases the relationship between Squall and Laguna, though 'Reports' that narrate the game explicitly state that the two are 'not aware of their relationship in another realm.' Nevertheless, the two have a private conversation wherein Laguna lectures Squall for his cold exterior, and goes as far as to imitate him—an act of mockery that makes Squall bristle.



Laguna then informs his son that it pays to absorb everything the world hands you, as there are no guarantees in life and the people you love will eventually be torn from you. Gee, what would you know about that, Laguna?

The Dissidia timeline states that Squall and Laguna don't understand how they're connected, but Final Fantasy VIII strongly hints that the two eventually catch up. Father and son meet towards the end of the game shortly before teaming up to defeat Ultimecia, and Laguna mentions in passing that Ellone has 'told him everything' and that the two of them 'have a lot to talk about.' The player doesn't get to sit in on that conversation, but we can hope Laguna started from the beginning and utilized a lot of machine gun imagery for metaphors about the birds and the bees.

Which, of course, would explain why the reunited couple are not seen together in Final Fantasy VIII's ending movie.

By the way: none of the above applies if Squall is actually dead.



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Old 10-19-2012, 11:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Mysterious Fathers of Final Fantasy: Laguna Loire

That "Squall is Dead" article was way more interesting (and less obvious) than this one.

I agree with the end of it; if the theory isn't true than the game's feature story really is a needless mess.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Mysterious Fathers of Final Fantasy: Laguna Loire

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkN View Post
That "Squall is Dead" article was way more interesting (and less obvious) than this one.

I agree with the end of it; if the theory isn't true than the game's feature story really is a needless mess.
Can you summarize with a tldr? I aint readin that.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Mysterious Fathers of Final Fantasy: Laguna Loire

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevencassidy13 View Post
Can you summarize with a tldr?
Basic Theory:

Disc 1 is kinda realistic, in a science fictiony way.

Something happens to Squall at the end of Disc 1 that makes you think he's dead.

They don't really explain why he isn't dead in Disc 2, but it's assumed he recovered from his injury.

Everything after Disc 1 feels really strange and almost dreamlike in comparison, and lots of things seem to occur by chance to fulfill the desires of Squall.

At the end of the game, there's this really trippy nightmare-like sequence in which he's slowly losing memory of what everything looks like, and a montage of short, alarming clips reaches a climax until it comes to an end.

Afterwards, all seems to be well.

Squall actually did die in Disc 1, and everything else was a dying dream where more fantasy like events spurred on by Squall's imagination could occur.

The weird bit at the end was like the pinnacle of the dream where, while Squall's body is in a panic, he finally kicks it. Everything that ensues is some sort of afterlife.

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  I didnt play the game, and don't care, but thatnks for taking the time.
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