Elements of The Lord of the Rings in Final Fantasy VIII

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Elements of The Lord of the Rings in Final Fantasy VIII

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is arguably the most influential work of fantasy literature in modern times. Its epic tale of good against evil and its surreal world of magical and unusual characters and places have captured and enchanted readers since its publication half a century ago. The story of the struggle to destroy the One Ring still influences numerous tales of adventure in literature, film, and role-playing games. Since the advent of role-playing video games, the Final Fantasy series has endured in a genre where many other games seem to blend together. It marks a standard in the world of role-playing games in much the same way The Lord of the Rings marks a standard in fantasy literature. This essay shall examine these two epic adventures and show some of the ways in which Final Fantasy VIII draws upon elements from The Lord of the Rings.

At the center of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is the basic struggle between good and evil, manifested through the battle over the One Ring. The story draws upon traditional Christian theology and ideas about good and evil, right and wrong. Goodness in The Lord of the Rings is represented by selflessness and an interest in the good of all, with a willingness to give of oneself for the good of the whole. However, the border between good and evil is not always clear, and characters are not necessarily completely good or completely evil. Selfishness, greed, and hunger for individual power are destructive forces for evil within individual characters, and characters must use their own moral compass to choose whether to strive for good or give in to the temptation of evil. Even...

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...Merry and Pippin or Zell Dincht. Perhaps it is the vulnerability in characters like Frodo Baggins or Squall Leonheart; seemingly 'regular guys' who are thrust into extraordinary situations and who persevere for the forces of good in the world. Regardless, both The Lord of the Rings and the Final Fantasy series are works that have managed to grow beyond the narrow bounds of their genre, and both will likely remain influential standards by which other works are judged.


Final Fantasy VIII. SquareSoft/Electronic Arts. 1999.

Final Fantasy: Worlds Apart. Final Fantasy VIII home page. <http://www.ffnet.net/ff8/index.html>

Tolkein, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1954.

---. The Return of the King. New York: Ballantine Books, 1955.

---. The Two Towers. New York: Ballantine Books, 1954.

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