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Why Final Fantasy VII is Complete

by Andrew Vestal 

Many have written me, concerned:

Aerith dies. You can't bring her back.

You ask that I start a petition--after all, my first one worked! Square rushed the game, you say, and released it before it was finished. Originally, you could bring her back! Make Square give us the TRUE Final Fantasy VII!

And I smile and politely go about my day's business. But, lately, I have received too many of these letters to ignore them, and I must I make my views known.

Some insist the game is unfinished, that I should start a petition to demand the game be "fixed." These people misunderstand the power of the petition.

The Final Fantasy VII Translation Petition asked for fair and equitable treatment. It asked that the game not be censored or cut; that it remain in its original form; that Americans receive, finally, a Final Fantasy game the way it was written. The petition was succesful, and I am proud to have supported it, because it asked for justice.

A petition to demand the insertion of Aerith's ressurection, however, would ask for preferencial treatment. It would selfishly demand more than others have already received. It would ask Square to retouch a finished product at gamers' whims. It would demand the artists tamper with a finished and coherent storyline. It would ask for these things out of greed, and I cannot support it.

Square offers you the Venus de Milo, and you would send it back because it has no arms.

There are rumors that an alternative, superior ending exists, unaccessible because of Aerith's permanent death. Those rumors are nothing but lies. The ending you see is the ending Square originally intended: the largest movie file on the third disc. The ending, as well, is perfectly satisfactory; there's nothing "lackluster" about it. A "better" ending (with Aerith ressurected) is an impossibility. Aerith knew her death was absolutely necessary. Do not presume to know more than she.

And most importantly . . . Aerith should stay dead.

A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and
there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist.
- Steward Alsop

Aerith's death is a tragedy. I truly do believe this. So was Tellah's. So was General Leo's. So was the death of every person who ever sacrificed themselves for a greater cause. But unlike deaths in previous Square games, Aerith's death carries long-lasting repercussions that echo long after her passing. For Aerith did not die senselessly. Aerith meant to die.

Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.
- Henry Van Dyke

Aerith knew her actions would mean her end. But she faced death anyway, aware that only in death could she avert the coming disaster and save her world. She gave her life intentionally, purposefully, and with full knowledge of the consequences. No one ever, EVER forgets that; the tragedy of her loss is what keeps the small party together.

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas

Even in death her presence is felt. Her memory guides and leads the party on its quest. Her spirit appears in silent reminder of her selfless act. Aerith died. She died! And she died honorably.

Dear, beauteous death, the jewel of the just!
- Henry Vaughan

If Prince Hamlet came back from the dead, would his indecision be meaningful? If King Lear recovered, would we learn from his folly? And if Aerith were disinterred mere hours after her death, would her sacrifice have any importance? Square should be honored that the death of a character brings about this outcry. It is touching testament to the games' power: the characters are truly loved. And grief is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one. As is denial. Now, Square fans must proceed to the next stage: acceptance.

Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sun on ripened grain. I am the soothing, gentle rain.
When you awake in morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.
- Anonymous

Aerith Gainsborough gave her life so that the world might live. May she rest in peace.

Aerith, Smiling
. . . she smiled, in the end.
- Cloud Strife

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