Final Fantasy 8
Final Fantasy 8’s ending has been the subject of debate for a long time, most of it beginning with Squall being stabbed by Edea/Ultimecia. When Squall awakens next, he’s surprised that his wound is gone. From there, the game spirals into a mess of time traveling, aliens, possession, sorceresses from the future and whatnot. Apparently the six party members actually grew up together in an orphanage and using the Guardian Forces has effectively caused memory loss. Edea is the one who ran the orphanage during the whole Sorceress War and started Garden and SeeD with Cid to combat the Sorceresses. Unfortunately, she became possessed by Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who’s trying to compress time.
That’s all well and good but how does that explain the ending which features – among other creepy things – a faceless Squall? It’s proposed that Squall is actually passing through different time periods, eventually encountering Edea in the past and imparting the knowledge of SeeD and Garden to her. Ultimecia, who’s dying after the final battle, also shows up to give Edea her powers because time paradoxes and whatnot. Still, how does everything just tie up so neatly and why did the game suddenly take so many liberties with its plot? For instance, why did Irvine just suddenly remember that the party grew up in orphanage together? We’re not debating that he remembers at all, going by the Guardian Force-memory loss logic but the timing is kind of odd.
So a popular theory that’s been thrown around is that Squall is actually dying from the stab wound that Edea gave him. Everything that happens from then on is his dream while dying (think Mulholland Drive). While Square-Enix has never confirmed the same, the “death dream” theory is currently the best possible explanation. It explains why everything suddenly becomes more fantastical from that point on. Squall is essentially dreaming up something while he’s dying. The faceless Squall at the end is just him not knowing what is real or fake anymore, himself included, and reuniting with Rinoa under the moonlight is the happy ending he felt he deserved.
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