SeeDs and Their Gardens: All Characters in Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII key art

SeeDs and Their Gardens: All Characters in Final Fantasy VIII

In terms of its narrative, Final Fantasy VIII is an interesting outlier in the long-running JRPG series. There are aspects to its world and characters that continue the more sci-fi-leaning dystopian setting of its predecessor Final Fantasy VII, yet there’s also a heavy emphasis on magic, sorceresses, and a less-obvious backstory and history to the land. Final Fantasy VIII features plenty of lore available for players to dive into should they go looking for it, but otherwise the history and machinations of the game’s story are less obvious and not always explicitly stated by the characters.

However, when it comes to the characters themselves, each of the main players in However, when it comes to the characters themselves, each of the main players in Final Fantasy VIII’s cast brings a lot to the table. Whether examining the brooding protagonist Squall or the time-traveling sorceress-turned-deity Ultimecia and everyone in between, Final Fantasy VIII has an incredibly endearing cast with clear definitions of their personalities, motivations, and interpersonal relationships with one another. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of every single character in the game, these are the main characters that have the largest bearing on the story of Final Fantasy VIII. cast brings a lot to the table. Whether examining the brooding protagonist Squall or the time-traveling sorceress-turned-deity Ultimecia and everyone in between, Final Fantasy VIII has an incredibly endearing cast with a clear definition of their personalities, motivations, and interpersonal relationships with one another. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of every single character in the game, these are the main characters that have the largest bearing on the story of Final Fantasy VIII.

Squall Leonhart

Final Fantasy VIII protagonist

Squall Leonhart is the main character of Final Fantasy VIII and the hero of the story. He continues the “brooding protagonist” trend of Final Fantasy VII but has an inner monologue that gives players insight into how he feels despite him not being able to voice those feelings to his friends. An orphan, Squall conditions himself to be a loner, never relying on anyone for the fear that they will abandon him and end up hurting him if he lets his walls down. Meeting Rinoa changes this for Squall, as he’s intquigued by her ability to always stay positive and put the needs of others before herself to a fault. The more time Squall spends with Rinoa, the more he realizes that he is falling in love with her. It is that love and connection that will end up saving Squall and his companions.

Rinoa Heartilly

Final Fantasy VIII Rinoa

Rinoa is the enigmatic and charming foil to Squall’s dark demeanor, and the two have an immediate connection when she first appears at Balamb Garden to request help from SeeD. As a paramilitary organization, Rinoa needs SeeD’s help to kidnap the President of Galbadia and force him to restore the independence of the nation state of Timber. Soon after the mission, it’s revealed that Rinoa’s father is actually a high-ranking general in the Galbadian military, with her mother a former famous musician with connections to the mysteriously recurring Laguna Loire. When Rinoa inadvertently takes possession of the spirit of the Sorceress Adel, Squall stops at nothing to help her regain her sense of self while also reassuring her that her connections to the sorceress won’t change who she is at her core.

Zell Dincht

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Another of Squall’s companions and a fellow SeeD member following their entrance exam together, Zell Dincht is practically Squall’s polar opposite. Loud, brash, and full of energy, Zell is a martial arts expert and displays time and again that he is willing to do whatever it takes to look out for his friends. He departs Balamb Garden with Squall to help Rinoa on her mission and ends up saving Squall from torture and imprisonment at the hands of the Galbadian military following their failed assassination attempt on Sorceress Edea. In terms of the main adventuring party, Zell is Squall’s right-hand man. He doesn’t always succeed in the way that Squall may intend, but he has a knack for making quick decisions on-the-fly that end up saving his friends in the long run.

Selphie Tilmitt

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Selphie is a new transfer student to the SeeD program at Balamb Garden after initially being a student at Trabia Garden. Her interest in celebrations and seeing people happy leads her to take on the responsibility of heading up the planning committee for the upcoming Garden Festival, and in combat she is handy with a nunchaku. Along with Quistis, Selphie helps Squall come to terms with his feelings for Rinoa despite his internal block to allow himself any sort of vulnerability. When players later visit Trabia Garden after its destruction, some of Selphie’s strength shines through her ability to retain her composure despite searching through the graves of former friends and loved ones. She may have a delicate exterior, but inside Selphie is a strong and self-assured member of the party.

Quistis Trepe

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Whereas Selphie might have the assurance of who she is, Quistis is a character at a crossroads throughout the adventure of Final Fantasy VIII. She is the youngest instructor at Balamb Garden, a fact that both the students and other faculty regularly remind her of, and she feels a strong connection to Squall and instinct to protect him. Though she intially leads Squall on his first SeeD missions, she decides to leave her role as an instructor to instead become a regular SeeD member and serve under Squall as one of his companions. In terms of gameplay, Quistis is Final Fantasy VIII‘s resident blue mage, meaning she can utilize attacks normally reserved for enemies, leaning them from special items players will most likely acquire after playing Triple Triad. Her blue magic limit breaks help to make her one of the most powerful party members.

Irvine Kinneas

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Players meet Irvine as the last member of Squall’s party at a pivotal point during Disc 1 of Final Fantasy VIII. The resident sharpshooter of Galbadia Garden, Irvine is an arrogant ladies man who apparently thinks highly of himself. This proves to be a facade all for show when push comes to shove, as Irvine continually chokes when his abilities are most needed. Despite his hidden anxieties and lack of self-confidence in his abilities, Irvine is regularly one of the first members of the party to rush into danger, especially where it concerns rescuing or protecting Squall. Outside his fierce loyalty to his companions, Irvine has potential to be incredibly powerful in combat by combining his most powerful weapon and limit break with the right ammunition, potentially dealing over 100,000 in damage in a single turn.

Cid Kramer

Final Fantasy VIII gameplay

Final Fantasy VIII‘s version of the recurring Cid character is Cid Kramer, the headmaster of SeeD and de facto leader of Balamb Garden. Like other Cid characters in the series, Cid Kramer serves as a mentor and guiding force for Squall and his companions as well as assigning them to their duty that ends up being the initiating event for the bulk of the game’s plot. Unknown to the party is that the Sorceress Edea is actually Cid’s wife, and that the Garden facilities and the SeeD soldiers were both her idea. Cid works tirelessly to see her original vision of a force capable of stopping the sorceress come to fruition, all while having to couch his personal objections and worries over his wife.

Edea Kramer

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Edea acts as the original main antagonist of Final Fantasy VIII before critical story beats reveal her to be another victim of the true villain. The wife of Balamb Garden leader Cid Kramer, Edea is the former head of an orphanage where Squall and his companions (except Rinoa) all grew up as children. She is one of many women in the world of Final Fantasy VIII born into the role of sorceress, but this opens her up to possession from the future’s sorceress Ultimecia, who wishes to essentially become god by inheriting the power of all sorceresses past and future through a process known as Time Compression. Once Squall and his companions are able to expel Ultimecia from Edea, she once again becomes a valuable ally.

Siefer Almasy

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Siefer is the first character other than Squall that players will meet in Final Fantasy VIII, acting as Squall’s sometimes friend and rival. Both Siefer and Squall have scars on their face that they received from battling one another, showing that the two are evenly matched in their abilities and combat prowess. Despite this, Siefer feels he is superior to Squall, which enrages him when Squall passes the SeeD exam and he doesn’t. As a result of his failure as a SeeD, Siefer decides to chase after the romantic notion that all sorceresses need a knight to act in their service and joins up with Edea. Players battle Siefer several times throughout the game, but ultimately, he ends up renouncing his anger at Squall and becomes at peace with the world.

Laguna Loire

Final Fantasy VIII artwork

Though there’s never a moment in the game in which characters explicitly state it, Laguna Loire is Squall’s father and a former member of the Galbadian military. After a dangerous mission in which Laguna almost dies, he winds up in the care of a woman named Raine. Raine’s daughter, Ellone, has a mysterious power that makes her a target of the city of Esthar, causing Laguna and his former comrades Kiros and Ward to enter the city in search of her. Laguna eventually becomes the President of Esthar, all while Squall and his companions get to experience his past through Ellone’s time displacing abilities. Unlike Squall, Laguna is a lighthearted and carefree individual who throws caution to the wind with both his actions and his feelings.

Kiros Seagill

Final Fantasy VIII gameplay

Kiros is a former squadmate of Laguna’s who ends up reconnecting with him after he recovers under the care of Raine. Both Kiros and Ward join Laguna in his search for Ellone after she is kidnapped for research into her unique time displacement abilities. He acts as the voice of reason to contrast Laguna’s hot head and brashness. After Ward loses the ability to speak, Kiros acts as his interpreter to the group, able to understand what he wants to say simply by looking at his facial expressions.

Ward Zabac

Final Fantasy VIII gameplay

The large, harpoon-wielding Ward is another former squadmate of Laguna’s who reconnects with him after the trio (which includes Laguna, Ward, and Kiros) all leave the Galbadian military. The final mission the three of them go on together causes Ward to lose his voice permanently, rendering him to be a silent giant. Thankfully, his best friend Kiros knows him well enough to be able to translate his facial expressions into speech, and the two of them are endlessly loyal to Laguna as their former commander. Like Kiros, Ward is a useful companion to Laguna by thinking over things critically and studying the scenario at-hand before making rash decisions.

Sorceress Adel

Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

During the time in which Final Fantasy VIII takes place, the role of the sorceress is one that is feared thanks to the actions of one sorceress in particular — Sorceress Adel. Following Adel’s reign of terror, the scientists at Esthar place them into suspended animation and seal them within a tomb orbiting the Lunar Base. In fact, the Lunar Base and the Lunar Gate catapult are established specifically to monitor Adel’s tomb and prevent further destruction from the Lunatic Pandora and monster population on the moon. In an effort to draw Ultimecia out into the present and make her vulnerable, Rinoa willingly merges with Adel before Ellone sends the evil sorceress back in time, triggering Time Compression.


Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Ultimecia is the antagonist of Final Fantasy VIII and the evil sorceress of the future. Using a machine that harnesses Ellone’s time displacement powers, Ultimecia is able to gather power throughout time from other sorceresses, but she desires more. This requires her to possess the bodies of sorceresses in the past in hopes of forcing Ellone to facilitate what Ultimecia calls Time Compression — merging past, present, and future. With Time Compression in place, Ultimecia can absorb all the power of every sorceress to ever exist, becoming a deity in the process. Laguna and Dr. Odine devise a plan to draw Ultimecia into the present and render her vulnerable, and thanks to Squall and Rinoa’s love for one another and their friends, the party survives and is able to stop her once and for all.


Final Fantasy VIII cutscene

Ellone is Squall’s step-sister and the only known being in the world of Final Fantasy VIII to have the power to send people’s minds back through time. After a kidnapping at an early age, Dr. Odine and other scientists at Esthar study her abilities, which eventually serves as the basis for a machine that Ultimecia uses in the very distant future. With her powers making her a target, Ellone is kept under tight security, though she does get to reconnect with Squall and help him save Rinoa after Ultimecia possesses her. Out of all the characters in Final Fantasy VIII, none has a greater bearing on the story than Ellone.

Dr. Odine

Final Fantasy VIII gameplay

Dr. Odine is a central character in the overall plot of Final Fantasy VIII thanks to his study of Ellone and her time-manipulation powers. Additionally, the strange doctor is a renowned inventor who is known for his understanding of the sorceress’ powers, as well as how to negate them. This knowledge helps to make Odine the principal scientific mind of the Esthar empire, and when he realizes the effect his research has on the future, he agrees to help Squall and his companions. Odine’s appearance is instantly recognizable thanks to the massive collar he wears, and his eccentric behavior and French accent in his dialogue only serve to make the character stand out more. Brilliant, but also slightly mad, Dr. Odine plays a pivotal role in the climax of Final Fantasy VIII.

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