Requiem

Bard

Edward is a bard, both in class, and in general sense of the word. What exactly is a bard, though, and how does that title apply to Edward?

Bards date back to medieval times, where people were hired by monarchs and noblemen to entertain and tell stories by way of poetry and songs. They were often skilled in multiple instruments, but are stereotyped for playing a harp or lyre. Bards often wrote their own material, focusing on their audience as a subject of inspiration. A bard might sing songs and tell poetry about a king's ancestors or actions, for example. I think the most famous bard ever to live would probably be William Shakespeare.

Bards have appeared in the Final Fantasy series since the first game. They are mostly seen wearing a tunic and a feathered cap, and carrying a harp. While bards are mostly male, and females are dancers in many games, bards can be female in some of the later games. Though bards generally start with a harp in the games, they can be equipped with light weapons like daggers and bows.

In battle, bards generally aren't damage dealers. Their attack and defense stats fall well below other characters. Because of this, many players will discard bards if other choices are available. Bards provide a more interesting and challenging way to play, though, and can be quite useful in battle. The bard ability Sing has the ability to give status effects to a target, granting effects like Haste or Reflect to a party member, or dealing effects like Confuse or Sleep to enemies. Another ability bards are known for in Final Fantasy is hide, which removes them from battle for several turns, but prevents them from being harmed. Bards often do this move automatically if they are low on health.

Edward is Final Fantasy's most famous bard, no doubt due to Tellah calling him a spoony bard. He has all of the qualities of a bard, in game, and in story. In game, he has the appearance of a bard, and equips tunics and feathered caps. His primary weapon is a harp. He's weak in attack and defense stats, and his blows deal status effects. Unfortunately, because he was terrible in the first release of the game, Edward has given bards a bad reputation. His stats and abilities were buffed up in later releases.

In story, Edward often ran away from his position as Prince to play music and see the world. He uses his harp to tell stories. Even after returning to his position as Prince, and taking his place as King of Damyan, kids run up to Edward and beg him to tell them a story.

In the PSP's Final Fantasy IV Collection, Edward's class is Prince. That actually annoyed me a little, because Edward has always and will always be a bard.

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