Final Fantasy VIII ~ The “Squall’s Dead” Theory


As I have expressed many times in my blog before, I am a huge fan of Japanese RPGs. In particular the Final Fantasy series has always been my favorite. Final Fantasy VII was the first JRPG I ever played, and it totally pulled me in and got me hooked. So when Final Fantasy VIII came about, I was elated to see what Squaresoft could come up with next.

Oh, how disappointed I was.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Final Fantasy VIII, but it was…well…weird to say the least, even by JRPG standards. Not so much because of the gameplay (although the ‘drawing magic’ system was never used again, and probably for good reason), but because of the plot and the characters. Many of the twists and turns concerning the story came completely out of left field and left me wondering, ‘What sense does any of this make?’. Some of the things the game pulled were just illogical and made the game feel shaky, pulling you out of the depth of the story to wonder exactly what you had just seen and why they had to go there. For me, the answers to these questions went unanswered, until this morning.

While I was surfing around on the great wide Internet before work, I stumbled upon a website called “Squall’s Dead”. With a title like that, I couldn’t help but check it out, and what I found there amazed me and left an impression on me that few things ever have. Apparantly, Rahul Choudhury and Diedra Rater were also rather unsatisfied with the plot of Final Fantasy VIII, and wound up working together to come up with their own unique theory on what was really going on in this game.

While I urge you to check out the website for yourself, I will surmise what their theory is about for you here. Every one of us that played this game remembers the pivotal scene that closes out the first disc of the game where Squall and the gang attempt to assassinate Sorceress Edea and subsequently fail. As the climax to this scene, Edea creates a large shard of ice and hurls it at Squall, impaling him in the chest/shoulder and knocking him off of her parade float. When we see Squall again in disc 2, he is found in a jail cell and is quickly pulled out of there by Seifer, tied up, and tortured/interrogated via electric shocks. No mention is ever made of his injury or recovery throughout the rest of the game.

This is one of the more puzzling pieces of the Final Fantasy VIII story, but these two brilliant individuals came up with a theory for it. Their take on this is that Squall actually did die when Edea skewered him, and that the rest of the game is a dream mixed with Squall’s mind hallucinating, culminating in the degradation of his sanity as he sinks into his inevitable death.

This website takes every odd and seemingly out-of-place plot points such as NORG, Rinoa’s quickly disappearing ‘love’ for Seifer, and the main characters completely forgetting they grew up in the same orphanage together and breaks them down, using them to support their theory that the story from disc 2 on is just a feverish dream of a man slowly falling into death. The most incredible part of the article is towards the end, where they break down the final moments of the game scene-by-scene and show the significance of them in the psyche of a man who is seeing the last of his life flash before his eyes, and by God, it’s believable. It’s completely plausible, although the creators admit themselves that there are several holes in their theories (such as their section on where the hell Moombas ever came from and the fact that we get Laguna flashbacks before Squall gets impaled) and that the creators most likely didn’t intend for the story to be interpreted this way because, quite frankly, if it was meant to be a dream they probably would have been a bit more obvious about it.

But damnit, I love this theory, and reading it makes me excited about the game all over again. It’s almost like looking at a whole new story; it completely refreshes everything about the game. Its even more intriguing to think that they did mean for it to be a dream and they just let you experience the rest of the game as if it were reality because to Squall, it was reality whether it was a hallucination or not. It brings a whole new depth to the idea of Final Fantasy VIII and it’s even tempting me to play it over again to see if I agree with this theory.

Either way, you should definitely check out this amazing theory here and let me know what you think! Also feel free to leave a comment on their website as well and share your thoughts and opinions on this unique theory.

Now I’m going to crawl into a corner and cry because FACELESS!SQUALL GIVES ME NIGHTMARES!!


9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

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  2. 2

    Chrissy said,

    It fits perfectly, since all the explanations about the strangest of coinciences are written off as “fate” which is just terrible. Like everyone sans Rinoa growing up together in the orphanage….
    Too unreal. Plus, the first disk has a highly military feel until then…… and afterwards, it became completely different.

  3. 4

    ShadowLinkX said,

    I Think this theory is BS IMO because why would Squall be at the end of the credits? I think its just stupid because Rinoa & Squall loved eachother but why in the world would they “pick” Squall 2 die -_-

    in other words that site is ******** bs

    • 5

      Well if you follow the theory, the ending is the last part of Squall’s consciousness as he finally dies, everything is all in his head, so it makes perfect sense that he’s there if you ask me, its his final dream of what he wanted his life to be before he died. However, you’re entitled to your own opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment! =D

  4. 6

    Sarah Bowman said,

    I really love this theory. It does make a lot of sense, which is nice because I remember really strange things happening in that game. But at the same time I’m sort of glad that it’s probably not true, because then I would be incredibly depressed. I loved Squall and Rinoa and their bizarre love story. So while I agree with many of the points, I also have to disagree just because…how depressing is that? The hero tries to save the world, fails, and dies. I would just rather go on believing that everything ended well for them.
    Their breakdown of the ending was quite chilling, however. I had never noticed that shot of Squall before when watching the end, but it does give me nightmares. The whole thing is just freaky.

  5. 7

    NJel said,

    You know what, I *never* thought about that! That definitely does add more depth to the story =)

    Come to think of it… reading the story like that, ACTUALLY makes me feel sorry for Squall’s character; I mean, Ultimecia ruined his whole world. Just thinking about it makes me cringe, because that’s like… Hell or something lol At least I’d think so. I’d go insane if it were me.

  6. 8

    NeoCrimson said,

    About the theory, in my opinion …
    Squall not dies in the game. (spoilers) If he die on Disk 1 everything that follows from disc 2 onwards would not make sense, we would not know the role of Edea, the connection with Laguna, Ellone, etc.

    Now, I want to mention the point “d) Just stay close to me.”

    There is a translation error in english version: “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be talking about it.” In the japanese version is: “If I did I couldn’t talk about it like this”, then she no longer likes Seifer.
    See: lokasenna(point)pe(point)kr/ardente/etc(point)/

    One more thing, the line:. “I wonder how he felt…?” if I am not mistaken in the Japanese version is: “I wonder what he thought of me”, indicating further that among them there was more friendship that anything else.

    Speaking as what is presented here, she does not see to Seifer on the dance floor (actually he was not there), but she see at the director Cid Kramer and talk with him. This is indicated in the “Rebellion Princess” page, a page that brought information of Ultimania and other sources.

    Also, Rinoa in the game NEVER says and ensures that Seifer was her boyfriend, then obviously they were not boyfriends. It is also important to say that she THOUGHT loved Seifer, NOT assures us even hinting several things: that she was confused with his feelings (for me the most reasonable choice), he was not interested, I had no desire to formalize a relationship with him, etc.. And to top Seifer did not know if some feelings / what he thought about her. I said, Is that a relationship? For me it definitely is not. where there is doubts, miscommunication (and precisely Seifer is not a silent type).

    They only had a relationship purely business, hence Seifer falls in the summer with the Owls of the Forest, and he has a dream to meet a child (Rinoa is not a witch when he met, so it makes sense that he are not interested in her), and apart is a revolutionary type, who loves battles, for he delighted to release Timber, and continue increasing their ego.
    If Seifer risked his life by Rinoa can not say, do not forget that he never says why, will not know your reason, but remember that Squall is also there, and he is his rival. Seifer fears that Squall and Rinoa are defeated for all the army of Galbadia majority and experience, and that’s why going to his aid.

    Squall does not die in disc 4 (spoilers) because the the video where Selphie and Irvine filmed the celebration after beating Ultimecia, everyone is happy, that means that everything went well (include Squall alive).
    Also, Kitase in the interview in the Ultimania says that in the game there is a happy ending.

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