The legend goes that the Great Hyne created people. The sorceresses were given a fragment of Hyne's power. It's hard to determine how many sorceresses exist today, for many keep their powers concealed. However, it is believed that they avoid spreading their power too thin.
Sorceresses (魔女, Majo?, lit. Witch) in the world of Final Fantasy VIII are humans who have received the sorceress power, a magical power said to have been given to humanity by the Great Hyne long ago.
A sorceress differs from normal humans as they can use magic naturally (i.e. without the use of Limit Breaks or Guardian Forces—see Para-Magic) until she must eventually pass her powers to another individual at the time of her death.
Calling a sorceress a "Descendant of Hyne" is a sign of great respect. The only known male sorcerer is the originator, Hyne.
The legends state that sorceresses originate from the god Hyne, who is said to have created humanity. According to legend, the sorceresses are people wielding the magic of Hyne.
The Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania states that after the people realized Hyne had tricked them, they vowed to destroy him, but could never find his other half. It has been said Hyne hid the powerful side of his body inside women, which was why he could never be found, and which is why only women can have the gift of magic.
Edea Kramer, Rinoa Heartilly, Sorceress Adel, and Sorceress Ultimecia are the sorceresses seen in Final Fantasy VIII. There may be more sorceresses in the world who are either unaware of their powers or hiding them from the world at large.
Although sorceresses are the game's primary villains not all past sorceresses were evil, as some were known to have used their powers to help people. On the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania guide, it is mentioned in a transcript of a SeeD lecture that there were three historically significant sorceresses: one stood up for the people of a small country when it collapsed, another caused the Sorceress War, and a third cooperated with the government to develop Para-Magic. While the second sorceress is obviously Adel, the identities of the other two sorceresses are not given, though there is speculation that the third is Edea; considering her ties to the Garden, which utilizes Para-Magic, and that the instructor in the transcript mentions that she is the one "most familiar to us".
Becoming a sorceressEdit
Sorceress power has been passed throughout history by the process of embodiment. Any person who has the capacity to embody the great sorceress power is a candidate.
Any woman with the potential to receive sorceress powers may become a sorceress. The process is dubbed the embodiment, wherein a dying sorceress passes on her powers to a chosen successor who is unable to reject the transfer of power. Once an individual becomes a sorceress she may still be used as a successor for the powers of another sorceress.
A sorceress must be free of her powers to die in peace. It is never explained what happens to a sorceress if they cannot relieve their powers to a successor, but the sorceress power may render a sorceress unable to die until they have found a successor. The sorceress's body may also release the power after a near-death experience, although such is a rarity. This happens when Edea is defeated by the SeeDs and her sorceress powers transfer to Rinoa even though Edea survives. Because normal humans are able to use magic during a Limit attack, or via a Guardian Force, Edea can still use Ice Strike as a Limit Break.
The specific profile of the successor to a sorceress's powers has never been stated. They may have supernatural characteristics other humans lack, such as the case with Ellone who was once chosen as the successor to Sorceress Adel's powers. Her hometown of Winhill was raided twice by Esthar soldiers in search of a successor, and the second raid specifically targeted her. Ellone can transfer one's consciousness into the past or communicate with others telepathically, and this may have prompted Esthar to seek her out.
A physical trait many sorceresses have is the appearance of wings or wing-like structures from their backs when they use their power. Rinoa's white wings appear during her Angel Wing Limit Break, and once in a vision experienced by Squall. Ultimecia has black demonic wings and Adel has dark, sharp wings. Edea doesn't have wings but wears a golden ornament that sits at her shoulders with two veils of gauze hanging down, which somewhat resemble wings.
A knight will present you with peace of mind. He will protect your spirit.
The term sorceress' knight (魔女の騎士, majo no kishi?) is applied to a male companion who protects the sorceress. The knight protects his sorceress both from external dangers and her own powers. Seifer Almasy serves Ultimecia, Squall serves Rinoa (who jovially calls him an "apprentice knight"), and a fictional knight is portrayed by Laguna Loire in a movie. It is implied that Cid serves as Edea's knight, as she refers to him as such during her conversation on the topic with Rinoa at the orphanage. The position of a sorceress' knight has been seen as a romantic or honorable; Seifer claims his childhood dream is to be a sorceress' knight and retains the sobriquet even after his defeat by the SeeDs causes Ultimecia to reject him. There are multiple works of fiction that portray the sorceress and knight relationship in a positive light.
Knights can take additional roles in the service of their sorceress. For instance, Seifer commands Galbadia's military forces when Ultimecia takes control of the country. With Cid as Edea's knight, he manages the SeeDs for her until Squall takes over the organization.
Every known knight has a bond to their respective sorceress. The nature of the bond varies with each pair. Squall and Rinoa have a romantic connection; similarly, Cid and Edea are married. In contrast, the bond between Seifer and Edea stems from Ultimecia brainwashing him through Edea, although the position is also Seifer's "romantic dream", implying a level of fascination and emotional attachment to his charge. Seifer's comments to the party later imply the bond is related to his filial connection with his "Matron" from recovered memories of his time living at Edea's Orphanage.
Just as there has not been a mention of a male sorcerer, there are no known female knights.
Rinoa is playable after becoming a sorceress. Her stats are not altered and she still cannot wield magic without the Magic command, but she gains a new Limit Break, the Angel Wing. Edea is playable briefly, but unknown to her is no longer a sorceress at this point. Edea can only use magic via junctioning like the rest of the party, and can still use her Limit Break Ice Strike.
Edea is fought as the boss at the ends of discs 1 and 2. The battle at the end of disc one is scripted and cannot end in a Game Over, but if the player fails to reduce Edea's HP to zero they miss out on the battle spoils.
Etymology and symbolismEdit
The Japanese term used in Final Fantasy VIII is "witch" rather than "sorceress". This is why the term "witch" appears in the "Succession of Witches" phrase that is an anagram from FITHOS LUSEC WECOS VINOSEC, the lyrics that open the game in "Liberi Fatali". The term refers to an old European folk belief of a person who causes harm to humans and animals via the means of witchcraft. In Dissidia Final Fantasy the term "witch" is used interchangeably with "sorceress".
The sorceress is called Hexe in German, Strega in Italian, and Bruja in Spanish.
The appearance of the sorceresses could be based on the conceived appearances of Buddhist demons known as asura. The most evident example of this is in their appearance as beautiful women with deformed hands and feet, as well as in the wings and horn-like protrusions.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Ultimecia's Brave attacks are named after knights, possibly alluding to Sorceress's Knights from Final Fantasy VIII.
- In Ultimecia's profile in the museum in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Ellone is stated to be a sorceress. This is a translation error as the original Japanese profile does not say this.
- Sorceress's Knights are mentioned in Final Fantasy XIII-2 as the answer to one of the possible questions in Captain Cryptic's Confounding Quiz. The question is: Which celebrated movie introduced the gunblade, a now-popular toy among kids? The answer is "The Sorceress's Knight". The movie itself is a Final Fantasy VIII allusion, alluding to the movie Zefer, in which Laguna Loire played the knight.