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Epic Triad

The Epic triad is made of three parts:

  1. The Hero (Cloud Strife)
  2. The sage (Zack and Sephiroth)
  3. The Benign Force (SOLDIER/JENOVA experiment)

Cloud's triad is a bit tricky as I have his sage listed as the part of him that still remembers his true self. So I am going to encompass this as Zack, Cloud, and Sephiroth because they are the most prominent examples of the JENOVA experiment.

Zack works as a sort of sage in the way that most of Cloud's memories are in fact Zack's. Zack is the kind of guy who would go out of his way to help others. He even insisted on carrying Cloud back to Midgar where they could start working again. Sephiroth was the ideal of what every boy in the world wanted to be. He had strength and power. He was a "hero." Everything he did made Shinra look good and people admired and respected him. Cloud wanted that in his life so he joined SOLDIER. Unfortunately, Cloud was too weak to actually pass the trials and never made it officially into SOLDIER.

Later, after Nibelheim was burned to the ground Hojo experimented on Zack and Cloud. This gave Cloud Mako and Jenova cells, similar to the SOLDIER process. Cloud suffered extreme mako poisoning and was unable to walk much less talk or really think. He withdrew into himself but still heard those around him. Zack continued to talk to him, share stories, and support him. In this way, those stories became part of Cloud's life and he began to believe he was Zack after his mentor died. Perhaps rather than face the reality of it, it was easier to just be Zack.

The Jenova cells also allowed Sephiroth to call to him and bring him the Black Materia. Although the power was neither good nor evil (as often is the case) the same force was fighting to gain the upper hand. Even later, in Advent Children, Cloud is called on because of his SOLDIER strength for the benefit of the world.