Final Fantasy IX was, and remains to this day, one of my favourite games. Released between 2000 -2001 in various territories, back in the days when Square Enix was Squaresoft. It was also the last Final Fantasy game to be released on the original Playstation.
In standard Final Fantasy fashion the game consisted of an epic storyline, centralised around a thief who rescued a princess, stole her heart, defeated a great evil, and saved the world.
So why, out of the wide array of characters, did I choose to focus on Beatrix?
Back in February 2001 I was 13, and while I had been gaming since… god knows when, the FF series was one that seriously got me hooked on the RPG scene. I had played FFVIII, and while I had loved it, FFIX had a more medieval ‘times of yore’ feel to it. It drew me more into the storyline than FFVIII had. Before I promote a mob arguing about which FF is the best, let me get back to the question at hand.
Well she is as much an anti-hero as an unsung hero in my eyes. For much of the game she is portrayed as your adversary, there to hinder your efforts to stop the madness that is the reigning monarch, Queen Brahne, who herself is being manipulated by the main antagonist, Kuja.
Beatrix is allied, initially anyway, to the queen as she is the head of the army of Alexandria, an all female force, who are sworn to protect the monarchy.
Throughout the story Beatrix is there mostly to stop the hero’s efforts; it is only after the queen launches an attack on the settlement of Cleyra and later kidnaps her daughter Garnet that Beatrix chooses to aid the party during their rescues of Garnet, hoping to bring the queen to her senses.
Beatrix as a character is interesting as she has her own side story that is buried beneath the main plot. She struggles between her sense of duty and what she knows is right. While it is unclear whether she had questioned the queen’s actions before the attack and kidnapping, Beatrix does not turn on the queen entirely, instead hoping to bring her to her senses. In a sense she keeps her oath, as she works to preserve the monarchy, if in an unconventional way.
Personality wise, Beatrix is, for the most part, portrayed as rather cold and indifferent, showing little remorse when she easily defeats the party earlier in the game. Her true personality emerges after she aids the party, showing her loyalty and in a scene that is essentially a comedy of errors, that she is still human, resulting in an unlikely romance between her and the Captain of the Knights of Pluto, Adelbert Steiner.
Final Fantasy IX is not a game that is short of female figures, and in a way they each represent a different kind of woman, but for me personally, Beatrix stands out as one of the better female characters not only in FFIX, but in the series in general.
Want to suggest an unsung hero? It’s as easy as leaving a comment.