Major reveals for both Rinoa and Squall happen at the Caraway Mansion, so this is going to get its own entry. Squall has already begun to question both the absurdity of his orders (assassinate the Sorceress) and the situation (Gardens and Galbadian Military teaming up). He is becoming curious of the causes he is fighting for, a trait that’s very Rinoa-like, but he continues to push his doubts away. Remember, this is the same guy who just earlier in the day told Rinoa in Timber that SeeD will follow her orders without question, even if it means Rinoa ordering them to their deaths. While Rinoa offers to explain why she is ordering Squall to not leave her in General Caraway’s ‘house’, Squall resolves to not asking questions and says he will simply do as told, again. Not asking questions bites him in the butt soon enough!
A minor clue here is that Rinoa called Caraway’s Mansion a ‘house’. Ever notice how people tend to refer to a place (whether a mansion or a condo) as ‘house’ only when it’s their own or a friend’s? While the party is made to wait in Caraway’s decadent study - which resembles Rinoa’s (now destroyed!) decadent room in the Forest Owl Base - Rinoa gets annoyed and finally goes to complain. As an afterthought, she comes back to tell everyone that it’s her
While the pauses in and out of the room are a little too quick for realism, it seems Caraway had Rinoa kept out of the room and locked upstairs for the next bit. Much is revealed here: Caraway is Rinoa’s father, Rinoa and Caraway have not got along for years, the two are at odds politically, and Rinoa has not been trained for battle like the SeeDs. With his smooth segue onto More Important Things, it shows that Caraway doesn’t want anyone meddling in his family affairs. He also sees Squall’s team as children, much like he sees Rinoa… which, ironically, they still kinda are. While most the characters look like they’re already in their 20s, they are still, in actuality, child soldiers.
However, Squall’s team is still contracted to Rinoa and this presents a problem. Squall starts to think of how his orders are conflicting and now he cannot avoid acting without asking questions any longer. When he mentions this conflict to Caraway, the two men are suddenly at an impasse. Irvine attempts to cut the tension by reminding them of their current mission which cannot fail, the reason why he himself had joined the party. So they return to focusing on the assassination of the Sorceress and Caraway walks everyone through the plan. The name of the Sorceress, Edea, wakes something up in Squall’s memory but nothing more. Once back at Caraway’s mansion, two teams are formed. A gateway team (Quistis, Selphie and Zell) to trap the sorceress, and a sniper team (Squall and Irvine) to assassinate her.
As the sniper team leaves, Rinoa finally gets back into the study only to find the gateway team on their way out. She asks them if ‘that man’ said anything but they choose to leave her in the dark about their plans. Rinoa excitedly shows them that she pilfered an Odine Bangle from her father’s room and instantly comes up with the idea to suppress the sorceress instead of killing her. She expects to employ the SeeD’s help but Quistis - who was already shaking her head at this for some time - explodes. Quistis raises her voice and immediately puts Rinoa in her place, again, proving that Rinoa’s plan isn’t thought out. She adds that this isn’t a father-daughter fight or a game. The SeeD members have real
orders they must carry out and so Quistis leads her team out of the mansion. Rinoa sulks at this because although she put some thought into her plan, she knows it’s not that great and was hoping for their help. While the SeeDs were only recently deployed to follow orders, Rinoa has been involved with her causes for some time - so there’s no way in heck she would have seen this as simply a game in her father-daughter quarrel.
As Squall and Irvine make their way to position, Irvine (who isn’t SeeD) asks Squall a few interesting questions. He asks if it’s true that SeeDs don’t question their missions, and whether they care who their enemies are. This brings another barrage of thoughts from Squall, most of which have been brewing since Galbadia Garden. Squall refuses to answer or show that he cares, but one of his most defining thoughts are revealed here.(…An enemy that is pure evil?)(Right and wrong are not what separate us and our enemies. It’s our different standpoints, our perspectives that separate us.)(Both sides blame one another. There’s no good or bad side. Just two sides holding different views.)
I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but when I got to the last line, there was a screen fade and the song does a crescendo as if to emphasize it. To me, this line smacks of Tetsuya Nomura’s style, if what he’s planning with Noctis Lucis Caelum and Versus XIII
is any indication. This is probably the most character defining quote in the game for Squall and it’s repeated everywhere - but few bother to put it in the game’s context. It is very often that JRPGs give us ‘bad guys who aren’t really all that bad’, but to have character commentary on the morally gray situation was a pretty ambitious move and adds to the suspsense of what will happen next. Yet, ambitious as it was, it only served to show how Squall is a thoughtful antihero at the start of the game. In the end, there will
be bad guys who must be killed, and there is
such a thing as right and wrong, and he will
become a hero. So while this is an amazing character quote, it simply doesn’t match FF8’s world and it, like Squall’s antihero-ness, slowly fall off the wayside soon after Disk 1.
While all this is happening, Quistis’ duality strikes again. Feeling guilty for how she treated Rinoa, she feels the need to go back to Caraway Mansion and apologize. She thinks there is still time, and thus happens one of the bigger mistakes in judgement Quistis makes during the game. Keep in mind that Rinoa is oblivious to Quistis’ jealousy regarding Squall, making Quistis’ treatment of her all this time a bit mystifying. Before Quistis gets to the house, Caraway returns to remind Rinoa that it’s not safe for her outside. The realization that she’s about to get locked in at a most critical time, with both a knowledge of the city and a tool to suppress the sorceress at hand, and having been told she can’t do something by two people who constantly underestimate her, spurns Rinoa into action. And so, Quistis’ team gets locked inside the room instead of Rinoa.
Ah, being locked up as a teen. Many of us grew up like that. Seriously, I went to an all-girls Catholic college in the middle of the city (complete with the uniforms
and errthang) where nuns lived upstairs. On top of that, my parents were super strict; I wasn’t allowed to get a job, barely allowed to volunteer, and couldn’t even go to some teacher-supervised field trips. In fact, one field trip was to tour a television station
(lols, sup Timber) and I couldn’t even go to that. I eventually worked there and when my mother asked for a tour, let’s just say that she never got one because I was busy (legit was, but hey). Growing up meant sneaking out or running away to do things I felt I had a right to do, only to come back and be punished and locked up again. So yeah, while it seems Rinoa has a life of privilege, it has some real crappy parts like losing her mother and freedom. Even crappier that her father is a major military figure for a government that is imposing martial law on other countries.Timber
’s theme is named “Martial Law” and other than seeing the political undercurrents a bit during the beginning of the game, few of us remember or realize how bad it’s actually supposed to be because we experience it as outsiders, completely unaffected, and the graphic brutality is only read about - not seen. Squall himself tries not to be bothered by the fact that basic human rights and free speech are being denied due to Vinzer Deling’s ambition. The fact that Galbadia City was renamed to Deling City before the game’s time makes it even less obvious how bad things are.
When I played FF8, Timber’s situation
and the deployment of ‘child soldiers’ from Garden somewhat reminded me of what was (and still is) happening in Burma
. This is one of many causes that have fired me up my whole life, so I never hesitate to spread the word. The military government has squandered control of the country and enforced renaming Burma to Myanmar. Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi, who should be Burma’s Prime Minister, was constantly forced into house arrests. Her life was (and still is) under extreme watch by the military government who want to impede her democratic efforts. Now while Rinoa is no
Aung San Suu Kyi by far, the slight parallels just then were enough for me to always take the princess’ side in her rebelling.