- “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 her 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 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 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 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' body may also release the power after a near-death experience, although such is a rarity. This happens in Final Fantasy VIII when Edea is defeated by the SeeDs and her sorceress powers transfer to Rinoa even though Edea survives the battle. 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' powers has never been stated. However, 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 is associated with the 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, which somewhat resembles 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 male companion who protects the sorceress. The Knight protects his sorceress both from external dangers and her own powers.
There are three definite knights seen in the game: Seifer Almasy for Edea/Ultimecia, Squall for Rinoa (who calls him an "apprentice knight"), and a fictional knight portrayed by Laguna Loire in a movie. It's possible Cid serves as Edea's knight, although this is not directly stated. The position of Sorceress Knight has been seen as a romantic or honorable role; Seifer claims his childhood dream is to be a Sorceress Knight and retains the sobriquet even after his defeat by the SeeDs causes Edea/Ultimecia to reject him, and 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 Edea/Ultimecia takes control of the country. If Cid was 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. 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 the orphanage.
Just as there has not been a mention of a male sorcerer, there are no known female knights.
- 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 distinct appearances.
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 human who causes harm to humans and animals via the means of witchcraft.
The sorceress is called Hexe 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' 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, who are (save one case) male, to protect them against physical assaults.
- In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Ultimecia's Brave attacks are named after knights, possibly alluding to Sorceress' 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 as the original Japanese profile does not say this.
- Sorceress' 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 a Sorceress' Knight.