Enthrallment, also known as mind control, possession, or brainwashing, is a recurring concept within the Final Fantasy series. It refers to the enslavement of a character, typically either an antagonist or playable character, by an evil power in order to do their bidding. With respect to the antagonists, it is typically not known to the player that they are actually puppets of another evil power until the story develops. The term does not refer to willing servants, but rather to an individual whose mind has been forfeited or has been otherwise strongly compelled to enter into servitude.
If the player visits Bafsk before they are sent to destroy the Dreadnought, the Dark Knight will be present and none of the townspeople will respond to Firion's party. When Firion's party is sent to destroy the Dreadnought, Borghen will have been put in charge of overseeing the construction of the Dreadnought and the townspeople will talk to Firion's party, along with several characters mentioning that they cannot recall anything from when the Dark Knight was present.
After the Emperor is slain by Firion's party, the Wild Rose Rebellion learns that the Dark Knight is in fact Leon, Maria's missing brother. Believing him to be under a spell of the Emperor, the party travels to Castle Palamecia to confront Leon. There, the Emperor returns from Hell, mocking Leon's attempt to take the throne. After the party escapes with Leon to Fynn, Maria convinces Leon to join the party, and he aids them in slaying the Emperor once and for all.
Bahamut is the last eidolon summoned by Rydia? after the first four eidolons are defeated. She tries to finish off the party with Bahamut, but the real Rydia appears and summons the Mist Dragon to knock some sense into Bahamut who dismisses himself from battle.
Exdeath is able to possess people after the crystals sealing him have weakened enough; even if his physical body remains trapped, Exdeath's mind is able to control the King of Tycoon and Queen Karnak. Based on a Walse warrior's comments when a Garula attempted to shatter the Water Crystal about it being controlled, Exdeath was also implied to have possessed the Garula as well.
All Sephiroth Clones, including Cloud Strife, are subject to the will of Sephiroth and Jenova, especially with regard to the Reunion. Cloud is temporarily subjected to servitude to Sephiroth twice—once at the Temple of the Ancients, and again at the Promised Land, in both cases being made to hand over the Black Materia.
In Part 2, it becomes evident that Edea's malevolent actions are not willful, nor do they comport with her kindly demeanor back when Squall and his friends were in her care as children. She reveals that as a sorceress, her powers and mind were subjected to the will of Ultimecia, who used Junction Machine Ellone to junction herself with sorceresses from the past. When aboard the Lunar Base, Rinoa comes out of a comatose state, only to be possessed by Ultimecia and free Adel from her tomb.
Any new high summoner must nominate a guardian to become the new Sin upon defeating the old one. Jecht, having volunteered to be the next Sin upon Braska's completion of the pilgrimage, is shown to be steadily losing touch with his humanity as he becomes Sin, a gargantuan beast who goes around destroying civilization under the command of Yu Yevon.
Shuyin, a wandering spirit, is able to possess people and take over their minds. This is seen in Den of Woe where Shuyin possesses the Crimson Squad candidates to kill each other, and later tries to do the same to the Gullwings who enter the cave. Shuyin possesses Nooj, a Crimson Squad survivor, to shoot his friends, and later possesses Baralai and uses him as a host to control Vegnagun.
The God of Light Bhunivelze possessed Hope Estheim some time prior to the events of the game, literally reducing his body into a puppet, after the latter journeyed into Cocoon after Lightning crystallized herself. His motives for doing so varied between the English and Japanese versions. In the Japanese version, he did so in order to attempt to gain a better understanding for how humans functioned so he could empathize with them better when he recreates the world. In the English version, he instead used Hope as a puppet so he'd literally rule over humanity among them and have them inhabit his collective soul. However, because he could not see, much less understand or create hearts, he was unaware that in the process of possessing Hope, he unintentionally also absorbed Hope's heart. This also resulted in his ultimate downfall largely due to Hope's influence forcing him to start experiencing emotions, which Lightning exploited to free Hope (the English version largely downplays this plot point).
On a similar note, the Japanese version had Hope and Bhunivelze sharing the same voice actor, due to Bhunivelze using Hope as a conduit for his own voice while possessing him to directly communicate with Lightning (as gods lacked the ability to speak in a manner humans understood). This was not made apparent in the English version due to Hope and Bhunivelze having two differing voice actors.
Primals can enthrall, or temper, beings in a process that gradually erodes the affected's will until they become single-mindedly devoted to the primal, as worship is one of the means by which a primal can sustain itself in the physical realm. The Ascians who created the summoning ritual intentionally added this effect, which gives the summoned primal the fervent desire to forcibly convert others to their worship--starting with the summoner. While the term "tempering" only refers to the enthrallment of the primal Ifrit, in general it refers to the effect of all primals. As detailed in a report made by an Allagan scientist named Owen, labeled by his people as eikonic corruption, the 'tempering' process alters the victim's soul to the same element bias as the primal's. This causes an affinity with magick of that element, as well as other benefits, but the stagnation of the soul's aether results in a reduced sense of self and involuntary, single-minded devotion to their primal's will. Further, more intense exposure would result in physical mutations. Those with the power of Echo cannot be enthralled, due to Hydaelyn's Blessing being applied to all those who awaken to the power. A primal of sufficient power is able to temper other primals.
Before a cure was eventually devised, the process was considered irreversible and incurable, with the tempered being euthanized as the only way to weaken primals and prevent their reconstitution. It is also possible for a primal to relinquish its hold as Bahamut had observed to have done. Regardless of the method of being un-tempered, the former servant will have no recollection of their actions while tempered.
- Ifrit: Uses a blue flame for "tempering" prisoners. Due to Ifrit's proclivity for enthralling more often than many other primals, the term "tempering" expanded into a catch-all for primal enthrallment, regardless the source.
- Leviathan: Those enthralled to him are known as "drowned", usually being chiefly the Serpent Reavers.
- Odin: Mortals forced into Odin's servitude are tentatively called "sundered", and only one such sundered exists at a given time. As Odin's true form is the sword Zantetsuken, he uses the sundered victim as a "host" to carry him.
- Anima: Utters a blood-curdling scream, translated via radio as Varis zos Galvus's voice, to enthrall those within range of the primal or its spires.
Other primals are not as prone to enthralling: Titan and Ramuh use it chiefly as a defensive measure, while Ravana and Garuda prefer personally enacting their will. Garuda, however, is willing to temper someone if provoked.
The elder primal Bahamut had enthralled Nael van Darnus while she used Meteor to call down Dalamud, and Louisoix Leveilleur, whom he made into a protector within the Binding Coils of Bahamut. He relinquished his claim on both after their respective defeats in the Binding Coils.
The Ascians possess their own method of enthralling, using the power of the Dark Crystal to turn a mortal into a host body to act through. They were tempered upon summoning Zodiark to avert the Calamity besieging their world. Due to the Ascians having the Echo, the extent of their brainwashing is unknown, as each of the unsundered has his own motives for reviving the elder primal as well as a degree of free will.
Another form of enthrallment is depicted in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers: the sin eaters in the First resemble the tempered, as the infected have their souls altered by an aetheric shift and mutate while losing their sense of self. Lightwardens can control sin eaters much like primals can control those they temper, Vauthry using a temporary from of enthrallment to control the Eulmore citizens who have consumed meol. Alisaie Leveilleur, inspired by efforts to reverse the effects of sin eater transformation, finds a cure for tempering's effects on the soul with the aid of Garlond Ironworks, G'raha Tia, and Alphinaud Leveilleur. The cure's success is confirmed after treating Ga Bu's tempering before mass processing porxies to aid the Eorzean Alliance. Creating a primal from the corpse of Varis zos Galvus using the Garleans' faith, Fandaniel orchestrates a new form of tempering Eorzeans to become devoted to the Garlean Empire through spires that create primals that guard them.
Those who become infected by Starscourge become twisted and bloodthirsty, but also lose their humanity. Ardyn Izunia can turn others into daemons, and after he revives Ravus Nox Fleuret as a daemon, the latter begins to turn into a mindless monster and begs Noctis and his retinue to kill him. Ardyn has also turned Ifrit to serve the forces of the dark, leading to Shiva to ask Noctis to release him. Ardyn brainwashes three rulers of yore to submit to his darkness and pits them as obstacles on Noctis Lucis Caelum's path to the throne room (Windows and Royal Editions only).
Lara was taken by Dogra to the Southeast Cave, and Granny came to rescue her. Arthur persuades Granny to let them take care of Dogra. Arthur eventually find Lara within the cave, but she's been brainwashed and engages the party into a battle. Once she has been defeated, she returns to normal and joins the party.
Mind control (also known as brainwashing, reeducation, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought reform) is a theoretical indoctrination process which results in "an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of beliefs and affiliations. In this context, brainwashing refers to the involuntary reeducation of basic beliefs and values".