Too long title, but I hope you understand what I want to convey about Squall, Rinoa, and theory between them in Final Fantasy VIII. First of, let’s start from Squall. Squall introduced as fearsome warrior in training with his unique weapon called Gunblade, which only he and Seifer as far as I know, can mastering it. Despite his greatness, Squall is lone wolf, often times detached to his friend or other colleague around him, supress his emotions to people and loyal to his own duty as SeeD. In simple way, Squall good at doing his job as SeeD but bad in building social relationship with other people, including his SeeD teammates. He even easily said things harshly to or detached himself from his friend because he didn’t want get involved to their personal problem or hate just being social like normal people.
Squall, the reluctant hero, didn’t become full cold person without any reason. In the game, you can see him doing internal monologue, conflicting himself that he know his cold attitude is wrong to people but he didn’t want to admit it. The reason is, he hate being lonely after separated with person he liked or loved that already happened in his childhood when he left out by his step-mother, Edea and his step-sister, Elone, so he choose to avoid any intimate relationship with his friend in the beginning rather than suffer the same loneliness later on. Most his friend (Quistis, Selphie, Zell, Irvine), even the headmaster himself, Cid, always give him friendly advice to express his emotion, but he reject it.
Then comes Rinoa, a cheerful, expressive, and spirited young woman who had any opposite personalities from Squall. It is fun to see when Rinoa always get agitated everytime Squall become full cold and closed person mode as he is. Their relationship developed when Squall saved Rinoa from Edea’s attempt to murder her. Rinoa know that Squall strong enough to protect her from the fear that always she hide from her heart when battle goes on.
Rinoa understand Squall problem of expressing his emotion so she always being pushy, and clingy sometimes, to help him, even Squall didn’t like it at first. Little by little, Squall starting open his heart to Rinoa and his friends, which made him emotionally stable when he appointed as new leader of Balamb Garden/SeeD. His emotions even ‘explode’ when Rinoa got into comatose, which I think is interesting moment because you can see Squall soft side in there. They both love each other in the end. The dramatization also start when Rinoa becoming sorceress after getting posessed by Ultimecia, which is the main target of SeeD, but Squall didn’t obey what SeeD destined to do and choose to protect Rinoa instead sealed her in Esthar.
Like I said, I enjoy their relationship and development, but I hate to say that I didn’t like the execution that made me always feel disconnected after the main plot strikes. Every Rinoa, and other Squall’s friend, attempt to open Squall’s heart, it is done with very ‘teenager way’, like ask him to prom-dance, watch the band, and love triangle thingy, which sometimes annoying. I mean, it breaking the immersion when your main character rolling on some romantic-comedy event while they are on their mission to save the world from evil sorceress. I believe it can be executed better without throwing the impact of the main plot, which thankfully happens before fight Adel.
Squall and Rinoa relationship almost take a lot of portion in game-story, although I feel the result of that many events somehow forced to impact indirectly the main plot and made Ultimecia role solely to ‘that evil sorceress who hate human just because’. There’s a interesting theory that Ultimecia is Rinoa and Griever is Squall. As crazy as it sounds, it can potentially right and can made FF VIII story and Ultimecia more depth, even though there’s some problem in that theory.
If FF VIII themes about love, the Ultimecia is Rinoa theory can be implemented like this in my perspective : Squall dead, either when he attempt to save Rinoa or passed away because age, left Rinoa into grieve and made her sorceress skill conquer her sanity. It is explained that Sorceress need her ‘knight’ to stabilize her emotion from the consequences of sorceress skill. Moving on, Squal Soul become GF, which is Griever and protect Rinoa who gradually become Ultimecia, the mad sorceress, in the future because her grieve and most human hate her in every generation. Ultimecia then travel back time by using machine that had same power like Elone in future to Edea and choose her as person who will she control. Edea and Cid make SeeD because they know the danger of Ultimecia, which is basically Ultimecia plan all along. Ultimecia plan to make Squall and other SeeD succeed in new universe so ‘Rinoa’ in that universe can survive defeating herself in her own castle later. After Ultimecia defeated, she transferring her power to Edea once again in past time to make sure her pre-destined lost will be repeated and ‘Rinoa’ in new universe still alive happily with Squall, her beloved. It become bitter sweet ending to this Ultimecia version. Atleast it is suceed make Ultimecia as sympathetic villain if you put convoluted and confusing time travel and alternation universe aside.