• The Wonder of White Mages

    The White Mage: a staple of any Final Fantasy game, for where would our parties be if it were not for the healer of the group? I hope this piece will give you some insight into not only the White Mage as a character in battle, but outside of battle, and I’ll be looking into White Magic too!

    Possibly the most quintessential white mage spell is the ever-useful Cure and her two older sisters; Cura and Curaga. Whilst Cure is an apprentice, Cura is a Witch, and Curaga is a full-fledged Sorceress. Each spell is more effective than the other and very, very useful in difficult battles, especially when matched with the ‘Triple’ spell. It becomes so easy to heal the party with ease and confidence when you stack up an array of White Magic. You do see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

    It is actually quite difficult to determine what band of Magic spells like Triple – or shall I say- Dual-casting spells come under. In Final Fantasy VIII, Double and Triple are support spells which would automatically make you want to tie them in with White Magic, no? Well actually, it comes from the Red Mage’s ‘Dualcast’ which is an ability and not actually a spell. In Final Fantasy VII, the ‘All’ Materia is not a spell on its own, but an ability which allows the user to cast magic on all enemies or all party members.

    As far as a White Mage goes in terms of physical strength… well, it’s not their strength at all. They are very weak physically but have a very high magic stat, and like their Red and Black Mage cousins they usually have a very mystical looking Rod as their weapon of choice. Don’t let their lack of physical strength put you off though, the spell ‘Holy’ is one of the most powerful in the games, and it falls under the White Magic category – it’s a physical attack spell and can be really effective.

    It is notable that as characters the White Mages often have nurturing and supportive qualities. So as well as being able to heal and support the party in battle they also heal and support outside of battle too. Let’s take Yuna for example - she’s portrayed as being passive with a strong sense of duty but she has qualities of kindness and looks out for her guardians as much as they look out for her. As well as this, Yuna has an innocence about her which is not uncommon for women in Final Fantasy, but is most prevalent with the women who are White Mages. Something else which is worth noting about our female White Mages is the link to Virginity, and the symbolism of the colour white. White is said to symbolise purity, innocence, cleanliness, and is also the colour of uniforms worn by Doctors and Nurses. In Japan, it is common to refer to Nurses and Doctors as "Angels in White", there is a very distinct correlation to this in Final Fantasy.

    Despite the direction of this particular piece which seems to suggest that it is only women who wear the White Mage robes, there have been some notable male White Mages in Final Fantasy too, one of the most well-known being Final Fantasy II's Minwu. The reasoning for this probably comes down to some of the issues of female passivity and male activity. That women shouldn't fight, and should instead support and help out the male who attacks with physical strength. This is of course, a very tired archetype now, and whilst we see a lot of female characters being strong and beating enemies to a pulp, it's still rare to find a male character who is physically weak and just a healer....

    It isn’t just the playable party members that are handy White Mages, several of the game’s Summons use White Magic. Siren, Carbuncle, Cerberus, Alexander, and Phoenix are all Summons that are able to cast status ailments onto enemies and status changes to the party to assist in battle. Carbuncle is a firm fan favourite. He casts reflect on the party which is very handy if you’re up against a tough magic casting enemy but it does have its downfalls – mostly that any curative spells you cast will be reflected onto your enemy, but that’s what items are for!

    Another interesting Summon to consider is Phoenix, imbued with a ‘Rebirth Flame’, the purpose of Phoenix is to revive fallen party members, something that is pretty handy really. Phoenix also damages enemies with its flames, and deals out damage to foes as well as healing the party. In Final Fantasy VIII, Phoenix is summoned after a ‘Phoenix Pinion’ has been used in battle at least once, after that, it will appear randomly to assist the party in times of need. How lovely.

    Arguably one of the most famous White Mages in Final Fantasy history is Aeris Gainsborough of Final Fantasy VII. With her ‘Great Gospel’ limit break, Aeris could make the party practically unstoppable in battle, and she proved time and time again that whilst she may not possess the physical strength to take down a foe, she could strengthen the entire party in order for them to do it effortlessly.

    Aeris’s eventual death at the hands of Sephiroth is one of the most definitive moments of Final Fantasy history, and she is still mourned by fans even now. Aeris affected the players in a similar way that Yuna does, she has an air of innocence and a lot of spirit which many players connected with.

    The death of Aeris really cemented her role as the ultimate White Mage, whilst she didn’t ‘sacrifice’ herself literally, Aeris knew she was the last remaining Ancient, and the only one capable of summoning Holy – the magic needed to stop Meteor and the destruction of the planet. So she, like Yuna, had a duty and accepted it without fighting against it. In that sense, she is selfless. The characters of Final Fantasy VII were very affected by her death, and the tone of the game changed dramatically after it.

    During my research I went through some of my journals and found a lovely snippet of a ‘White Mage’ related article written by one of my very, very old relatives…

    Of course the times are changing and nowadays many White Mages are choosing to make their robes more of their own style, whereas in the past a White Mage would be dressed very traditionally, now we see a lot more variety (often very eclectic!) in the fashion of White Mage robes. The Gullwings of Final Fantasy X-2 chose to differentiate their White Mage robes, and each had a different style. Paine went for something very sexy and risqué, Yuna opted for the most traditional, and Rikku chose something cute and lively. Really though, the White Mage robes have pretty much been abandoned in the latest games, although Serah did have a White Mage-esque outfit available for download in Final Fantasy XIII-2.

    So now that we've established that White Mages are awesome, which means there must be some catch to White Magic right? Well, yes and no. Cure/Cura/Curaga all do the same job that a Potion or two will do, and a Phoenix Down is just as handy as whipping out a rod and casting Revive. Everyone in the party can use items, whereas usually only one party member is skilled enough at White Magic to use it – so if you’re in a really, really grueling battle and you need all the power you can get, you don’t want to drop a physically strong character for a White Mage who can’t deal out much damage.

    These aren’t exactly ‘weaknesses’ per say, more a preference for the player. Some choose to spend money over MP which can usually only be restored using Ether/Tent. I usually don’t rely too much on my White Mages until later in the game when my MP gauge is high and I have the points to throw around. You can’t deny that a White Mage is a massive asset to the party though, they have gotten me out of some very tricky situations and despite my lack of using them at times they’re one of my favourite classes.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this small introduction to White Mages and White Magic! Who knows what Class I’ll take a look at next, maybe you could leave a suggestion below! As for some discussion, let me know if you’re a fan of the White Mage, or if you prefer to hit hard with the brute strength of a Warrior!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Wonder of White Mages started by Locky View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Formalhaut's Avatar
      Formalhaut -
      I loved the article! I adore white mages in general. Especially the outfit.

      You could do thiefs next?
    1. The Summoner of Leviathan's Avatar
      The Summoner of Leviathan -
      White Mage for life.
    1. Night Fury's Avatar
      Night Fury -
      We had an article by LWL on the Thief class!

      I'd love to look at Beastmasters or Dancers next! Perhaps I'll hold a poll though!

      EDIT: Poll has been created, please vote here. Voting will close in 14 days!
    1. Dr. rydrum2112's Avatar
      Dr. rydrum2112 -
      Good read!
    1. LadyJuxtaposition's Avatar
      LadyJuxtaposition -
      Great informational article of the White Mages! Not only I learned much about them but also learned to appericate them.
      One of my OCs is a White Mage so this article will provide its usefulness in the near future. Once again, great article!
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