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To inspire meaning, to foreshadow, to reveal: metaphors in a material form, both telling and elusive in their role as insinuators of spirit. The symbols that define Squall's character converge in the form of talismans he wears as jewelery about both neck and finger.

the lion

As Squall himself says, the lion is known for its great strength and pride. Squall yearns to attain these traits. He admires what the lion stands for, and in a way, almost looks up to this symbol as a child to his mentor. He adorns himself in its image: not only the necklace and ring he wears, but also the white mane of his coat and the engraving on his weapon, a weapon which is itself an extension of his body, a silver blade akin to the fang of his feline guide. Indeed, the lion is his idol.

the flame

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Fire is a symbol with binary connotations: it can be a scourge or a purifier, it can be contained and set to smoldering or it can lash out and destroy in great display. On either end of the spectrum, it is a powerful thing, one of the oldest technologies, a force which has endured over time.

The flame is woven into the lion's mane: it is the mane. Perhaps it is the source of the lion's strength, or at least visual proof of it. Fire also takes the shape of a weapon, both sword and ammunition; the fire is transmuted as the sharp edge of the gunblade and powers the bullets of the firearm.

Fire is one of the classical elements, and often paired off against water. Passionate and overbearing, will the fire be doused by the water or consume it in a reckless, Kamikaze move, leaving but traces of itself and its counterpart in the form of steam and in collaterals of clumpy soot? As the flame, Squall is both drawn to and repelled by the droplet that is Rinoa. As it were, he is captivated by her, and she by him, and as her protector his element of fire surrounds her element of water in a ring of impenetrable fire. A precarious dance of the elements is the journey of their relationship.

the cross

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Although commonly thought of as the iconic representation of the Christian faith, the cross is a symbol that reaches far back into human history. In Squall's case, the cross is part of a larger emblem comprised of the cross itself and the head of a lion that Squall carries on his person as both jewelery and badge. It has deep meaning for Squall, and embodies his character, role and connections to characters and themes in the story.

The cross can be said to be a spiritual compass, with each of its four points representing colours and elements. The head of the lion makes its home at the top of Squall's cross, thereby placing importance on that cardinal point: the north. Many cultures have accredited this interpretation of the cross, but given that the game is Asian in origin, I will focus on the interpretations developed in the Far East. Here, the northernmost point represents the darker spectrum of seasons and colour, associated with darkness and winter. This reflects Squalls outward appearance—the black leather and dark hair—as well as his disposition—aloof, critical and withdrawn. The lion caps off the cross's symbolism with its representative pride, a positive emotion that can carry a person to less than positive ends.

references

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epilogue
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