One of the greatest elements in the Final Fantasy series is story, and what story could be complete without a redemption arc. There are many times throughout the series when a character believed to have good intentions shifts to reveal themselves as a self-serving psychopath. The converse is true, as well. Sometimes a character starts out on the path of villainy, but the story leads them out of the darkness into the light of the heroic. In Final Fantasy IX, this is Beatrix’s story.
As leader of the Alexandrian all-female army, General Beatrix stands as the epitome of both respect and ruthlessness. A feared warrior on the field of battle, Beatrix boasts numerous kills, and she’s not modest about it. When she first confronts Zidane’s party in Burmecia, she mocks them, calling them insects before using her Seiken skills to knock them all out.
Beatrix is a capable and well-respected leader, as shown during the Alexandrian led attacks on Burmecia, Cleyra, and Lindblum. In a matter of days, the army of Alexandria manages to seize control of the entire Mist Continent, all under Beatrix’s leadership. It would seem her ruthlessness knows no bounds, however even the worst Final Fantasy villain can show another side.
While Beatrix shows allegiance to her Queen Brahne, the first seeds of doubt appear in her thinking following the catastrophic destruction at Cleyra. Beatrix begins to question the queen’s use of black mages and powerful Eidolons rather than her own well-trained army. When Queen Brahne threatens to hang Princess Garnet, an incomprehensible act in Beatrix’s eyes, all bets are off. Beatrix, seeing how far off the rails her queen has become, defies orders and defends Princess Garnet instead.
Garnet escapes Alexandria with Beatrix leading the charge away from her. The good general stays behind along with Freya and Steiner so her princess can escape, and for a time, Beatrix disappears from the story, her fate unknown.
After Queen Brahne dies as a result of Kuja’s summoning of Bahamut, Princess Garnet is crowned Queen back in Alexandria. Beatrix awaits her to resume her role as protector and general of the Alexandrian army, almost as if no doubt ever existed that she would fail. The ruthlessness she’s shown in the past is no longer a part of her personality, but she remains a cool, stalwart presence. She shows some remorse for her actions at Cleyra and Burmecia, and she seeks redemption again when Bahamut and Kuja come to Alexandria. Once again, Beatrix takes to arms and fights for her city.
By game’s end, Beatrix becomes no less of the leader she has been, but evidence of her redemption is obvious when she flies the Red Rose to the Iifa Tree in Zidane’s defense. She is the familiar, strong presence she’s always been, but without the cruelty. After the dust settles following the final battle, Queen Garnet returns to Alexandria, and while Beatrix goes with her, she doesn’t have any intention of staying. She relinquishes her sword, Save the Queen, and leaves the castle. Of course, Final Fantasy IX is a romance, and as such, Steiner awaits Beatrix as she leaves. He asks her to stay, and Beatrix agrees. Her story ends with her holding Save the Queen jointly with Steiner.
Very little is known about Beatrix and her past. According to Wikipedia, Beatrix came from a middle class family in Treno, however I cannot find where to confirm that in game. No matter, Beatrix’s actions speak for themselves. She begins as a true villain, a warrior to be feared for her power, and hated for her ruthless behavior. Unlike some Final Fantasy villains, Beatrix turns it around. Her power, once feared, turns into a beacon of hope for the story and players alike.
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