- "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."
- —FFVIII Info Corner
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 their death.
Calling a sorceress a "Descendant of Hyne" is a sign of great respect. The only known male sorcerer is the originator, Hyne.
- See also: Great Hyne.
The legends state that sorceresses originate from the god Hyne, who is said to have created humanity. According to legend, the sorceresses are in fact 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 that 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.
During the game, four sorceresses are revealed: Edea Kramer, Rinoa Heartilly, Sorceress Adel, and Sorceress Ultimecia. Whereas some sorceresses, are not even aware of their powers, others simply disguise them from the world.
In contrary, 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 before the events of the game: one sorceress stood up for the people of a small country when the country collapsed, another caused the Sorceress War, and a third that cooperated with the government to develop Para-Magic. While the second sorceress is obviously Adel, the exact identities of the other two sorceresses are not given.
Becoming a SorceressEdit
- Main article: Sorceress Power
- "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."
- —Sorceress Power & Embodiment - FFVIII Info Corner
Any person with the capacity is entitled to become a sorceress, although as it goes, this is limited to the female sex. This process is dubbed the embodiment, where a dying sorceress passes on her powers onto the chosen successor. The successor has no say in the matter, and thus people could well be given powers against their will. Once a person becomes a sorceress, she can still be given more powers from other sorceresses.
A sorceress must be free of all her powers to die in peace. It is never explained precisely what happens to a sorceress if they cannot find a candidate to pass their powers to. It is likely that the sorceress powers render a sorceress literally unable to die until they are free of their powers. The sorceress's body may also release the power at a near-death experience where the original sorceress does not, in fact, die, although this is rare. This can be seen in Final Fantasy VIII where Edea is defeated by the SeeDs and her sorceress powers transfer to Rinoa, even though Edea ends up surviving. Because normal humans are able to use magic during a Limit attack or with a GF, Edea is still able to use Ice Strike as a Limit.
The specific profile of the successor to a sorceress's powers has never been stated. However, they may have attributes and characteristics irregular to normal humans. For example, Ellone 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 is known to have the ability to transfer one's consciousness into the past, and this may have prompted Esthar to seek her out.
A notable physical trait that most sorceresses seem to have is, when utilizing their powers, the appearance of wings or wing-like structures from their backs. Rinoa is associated with white angelic wings that 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 on her back that sits at her shoulders, with two veils of gauze hanging down, somewhat representing the appearance of wings.
- "A knight will present you with peace of mind. He will protect your spirit."
- —Edea Kramer to Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII's Disc 3.
The term Sorceress Knight is applied to a sorceress's male companion whose supposedly ultimate objective is to protect the sorceress. As portrayed in the movie Laguna acted in, the Knight protects sorceresses from the dangers they face, although it is unconfirmed if this is their only purpose.
In the story, Seifer mentions that being a Sorceress's Knight is his childhood dream. When he was brainwashed into serving Sorceress Ultimecia, who was possessing Edea, Seifer believed his dream was fulfilled. Even after defeat, he insists upon retaining the sobriquet.
It can be surmised that Cid functions as Edea's Knight. After he and Edea explain the importance of the Sorceress Knight, Rinoa indicates Squall, stating that she has found an apprentice Knight.
Besides serving as a personal guard, the exact role of a Sorceress Knight is unknown. The Knight can also be seen as the commander of an army loyal to the sorceress, should the sorceress have access to one, similar to how Seifer commands Galbadia's military when Edea/Ultimecia takes control of the nation, and how Cid commands the SeeDs for the beginning part of the game. Edea mentions a Knight's role is also to safeguard a sorceress from herself and her powers.
Every known Knight has a bond to their respective sorceress. Bonds ranging from the more obvious, not unlike the inextricable affection between Cid and Edea, to the especially questionable, like Seifer and Ultimecia's. At first glance, Seifer would appear to have no distinct bond to Ultimecia beyond her brainwashing of him, yet Seifer's dedication could actually derive from his fervid rivalry with Squall.
Hence, Seifer would sensibly be the best candidate to protect Ultimecia, as Squall is the leader of the forces who would do harm to her, although this is merely supposition. Another possibility is that Seifer may unconsciously be acting on his connection to Edea, the surrogate mother of the orphanage where he spent his long-forgotten childhood, and that Ultimecia learned of this bond while possessing Edea.
Just as there has not been any mention of a male sorcerer, female knights have not been heard of.
- Main article: Sorceress (Final Fantasy VIII Enemy)
At the start of time compression, Squall and the party fight eleven incarnations of sorceresses from different time periods. Though there are eleven, they only have three different appearances.
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 human who causes harm to humans and animals via the means of witchcraft.
The sorceress is called Hexen in German, Strega in Italian, and Hechicera 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/horn-like protrusions.
- The notion of Sorceress's Knights is similar to that of the bonds between the Aes Sedai and their Warders in Robert Jordan's anthology, The Wheel of Time. Like the sorceresses, the female Aes Sedai take upon themselves Warders, which all (save one case) are males, to protect them against physical assaults.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy some of Ultimecia's Brave attacks are named after knights, possibly alluding to Sorceress's Knights from Final Fantasy VIII.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy the term "witch" is used interchangeably with "sorceress".
- In Ultimecia's profile in the museum in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Ellone is stated to be a sorceress. This is a translation error however, 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 also a Final Fantasy VIII allusion, alluding to the movie Zefer, in which Laguna Loire played a Sorceress's Knight.