This week, we wanted to take a look at another hero from Final Fantasy VII. This time, it’s Barret’s turn to shine. Barret, like every Final Fantasy VII character, offers a unique insight into what’s going on within the story of the game. Let’s take a look at what makes Barret so special.
Before Final Fantasy VII
Barret was born in the coal mining village of Corel. It was here that he grew up and met his wife, Myrna. Myrna suffered from some sort of disease, which led to Barret advocating for Shinra to build a Mako reactor close to his hometown. He had hoped that the building of the reactor would bring work to him and his town. It was with this work that he planned to afford medical care for Myrna.
His best friend Dyne was not a fan of this idea but ultimately decided to side with Barret when he persisted. However, this all got messy when Avalanche came in to seize control of the reactor. At this point in time, Barret did everything he could to prevent Avalanche from taking over the reactor, and although he eventually helped the Turks reclaim it, Shinra still punished the town.
Barret and Dyne watched as Shinra burned their hometown down because they believed they were working for Avalanche. They attempted to come back to the town, but were gunned down by Shinra. This led to Dyne falling off of a cliff and Barret catching him by his hand. Scarlet then shot their hands and Dyne fell into the ravine below. And just like that, Shinra made an extremely powerful enemy.
Believing Dyne had died that day, Barret tracked down his daughter Marlene and took her in as his own. Old man Sakaki crafted Barret a prosthetic adapter where his hand used to be that allowed him to attach weapons to it.
From Shinra Supporter To Avalanche Leader
The events at his home town no doubt shaped Barret into the headstrong Shinra hater we see in Final Fantasy VII. For him, this is what started his pursuit to bring Shinra to justice. It is always interesting to take a look at everyone’s background and pin point where they decided to fight back. For Barret, things were very personal.
He had put his faith in Shinra, even if it was in a moment of desperation. Not only that, but he convinced his town to follow his lead in that decision. He bares the weight of that aftermath each and every day which is exactly why he is so passionate to bring down Shinra.
As far as hatred for Shinra, Barret definitely harbors the most of it. At least, he is the most vocal about it. By the time the events of Final Fantasy began and he leads Cloud and Avalanche into the Mako Reactor, we see a fully realized Barret. He has no doubt about who he is or where his beliefs lie, and that energy is exactly what makes him an excellent leader.
An Unlikely Father
Barret’s fatherhood to Marlene is definitely a part of his character arc that instills a sense of compassion in him. His interactions with and pertaining to Marlene are all moments where we get to see more of his human side rather than his Shinra killing machine side.
Taking in Marlene changed Barret for the better. It taught him patience and forgiveness, and I believe it helped him cope with the events of his hometown in a way. Since he had believed Dyne to be dead, he had to make amends for the road he led the town of Corel down.
Later in the game when Barret sees that Dyne is still alive, he sees first hand at what the destruction of Corel did to his friend. Having believed he lost everything, Dyne no longer cares who or what he destroys. Attempting to calm Dyne down, Barret tells him that his daughter Marlene is still alive. This of course, sparks joy in Dyne, but that joy is soon replaced with the urge to kill Marlene to ease his wife, Eleanor’s, loneliness in the afterlife.
Here, Barret has to fight Dyne to protect Marlene and knock some sense into him. Not only did Barret have to think he lost his best friend, but he had to fight him to protect the daughter he took from him. After winning, Barret listens to Dyne talk about how he has killed too many people to ever get the privilege of holding his own daughter again. After giving Barret Eleanor’s pendant to give to Marlene, Dyne jumps off of a cliff to his death, this time for real.
If there’s one thing that Barret became more passionate about than taking down Shinra, it was taking care of Marlene. His growth into fatherhood really sculpted the man he became. I think Marlene truly made Barret a better person, and after everything he went through to protect her, I’d say that’s a good thing.
The Hunt For Sephiroth
Because Sephiroth is the main villain in Final Fantasy VII, there’s no denying that the pursuit for him tested each and every one of the main characters. For some like Tifa and Cloud, the pursuit was more personal. For Barret however, it really just came down to helping out his friends.
Naturally, Sephiroth’s urge to harm the planet was enough to inspire Barret to act but Tifa’s history with Sephiroth was certainly a contributing factor as well. Even as the story unfolds and Cloud’s mental faculties put the party and the planet in danger, Barret never gives up on them.
When Tifa worries about Cloud while he is missing, Barret supports her decision to go find him, despite not trusting where his headspace was. He knew Cloud was important to Tifa, and that was enough for him to support her. Underneath the passionate, anger-filled personality we normally see from Barret, lies a kind-hearted man who would be willing to do anything for those he loves.
I think the duality between Barret and Cloud helps shape Barret’s character, too. Barret, a natural-born leader, becomes a follower to Cloud as Cloud stumbles through his own issues with leadership. Not only is Cloud not all there but during the first half of the game, Cloud acts as if he could care less about any of this, especially when he and Barret first meet.
To watch Barret set that all aside for the good of the planet is truly extraordinary. It shows an incredible sense of duty and honor that speaks to just the kind of person Barret is. He is a passionate, kind-hearted individual that knows when to set his own issues aside for the good of the planet.
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