Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dragoons: A Legacy of Sorrow

(Spoilers of a major nature to FF7, FF2, and perhaps minor to 8 and 9, tiny spoilers to FF13)

Dragoon: A Legacy of Sorrow

When I say Dragoon, many things come to mind.  To some, THE Dragoon is Kain.  There are also others that are obviously Dragoons though they do not identify themselves as such; Fang and Cid(7) fit into this profile.  Some of you will think "jump attacks", and/or the use of a spear, and both of these do identify the Dragoon in a Final Fantasy.

With a wider focus of the series as a whole, to me the legacy of the Dragoon is that of loss and sorrow.

To Dragoons it is the devotion to duty and their loyalty that is tested and ultimately leads to their plight.  The original Dragoon, named Ricard(Gareth in some translations) was devoted to his dead best friend's wife and child, but ultimately his duty as the last Dragoon meant that he had to leave them in service to the greater good.  In Final Fantasy 4(IIUS) we have Kain, who has to work against his best friend and loved ones because of his devotion to duty, even when it is blatant that those he serves are evil.  Its still too early to talk much about Final Fantasy 13(more people need to finish it, IMO), but Fang's devotion to duty means(( the death of millions, while disobeying means the death of her best friend)) (highlight the white text  to see the spoiler)

Loss, though not through duty, is also exemplified in the Dragoon ranks.  In Final Fantasy 9, we meet Freya.  Her identity is so wrapped up and mingled with her beloved, that when he disappears her life does as well.  She searches for who she lost and is emotionally devoid without him.  Ward is the Dragoon of Final Fantasy 8, and it is through his actions that his best friend falls in love and then loses that love, and it is this devotion to his friend that causes him to lose his ability to speak.  Kimarhri of Final Fantasy X loses honor itself due to his broken horn and the scorn of his tribe for his small stature.  It is the loss of this honor which causes him to swear an oath of protection on Yuna, and this devotion that causes him to throw his tribal traditions aside, losing all of his family in the process.

There is one dragoon I have left out, and the reason I left him out is because he is special.  If you take all the years of Final Fantasy into consideration, Cid Highwind is the one that bucked the trend.  He was everything that makes a Dragoon sorrowful.  He worked as a test pilot for evil Shinra.  Many of the missiles, rockets and destructive aircraft you see through the whole game are around because Cid helped them develop them.  His team is responsible for a lot of hurt in the world, and Cid did not care because he got what he wanted.  Why is he special then?  Well we are told from the start that his "loss" is that of being the first man in space.  This is a lie.  (( Cid's true loss would be losing Shera.  Dragoons are characterized by giving up everything for a "duty" of some sort, and in the end it was Cid's willingness to not give up Shera that lead to everything else being cast aside.  Cid was the only Dragoon to choose the love of someone over his sworn goal, and for that he is rewarded by getting both in the end, and ending up the least tragic of all dragoons to date.) Highlight the white text for spoiler reveal.

So as you have read, many things make up a Dragoon, but the chief among them is loss, sorrow, honor and loyalty. This is the reason why many take the Dragoon of a series as their favorite characters in the series. They are complex, grey-scale characters with many motivations and a tortured conscience full of hard decisions.

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