Master Gizamaluke

Dionysos

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Who was Master Gizamaluke?

This is a question which I remember asking myself when I first played FFIX, and I found myself asking it again when I was recently reminded of him.

When playing FFIX we only meet him as a boss and could be forgiven for being mistaken and writing him off entirely as a mindless monster. He does, after all, have the appearance of one.

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But it is revealed that Gizamaluke (to whom Burmecians tend to refer respectfully as ‘Master Gizamaluke’) is only being mind-controlled by the evil Zorn and Thorn, and that’s why he attacks the player. This is a once-sentient being who has gone mad.

In fact, the location of the ambush is ‘Gizamaluke’s Grotto’. It is his home and he is an ally, it seems, of the Burmecian race.

The grotto has architecture and art similar to the art of Burmecia itself, and there are beautifully sounding bells. There are waterways and tunnels for Gizamaluke to slide about within the grotto, but it’s not clear if he can also use the walkways which humanoid races can use as well.

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What is this guy’s story? What was his role in the grotto? He’s overlooked, and after killing him he’s swiftly forgotten about even though Freya and other Burmecians seem to know him.

Is there more to him? I’ve not yet seen any of the Ultimanias for this game so I don’t know if his backstory is explained anywhere outside of the game itself.

Would you have liked to have seen him sane and talking? Or do you think that he’s basically just a boss monster and they added an undeveloped backstory to introduce it?
 

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Honestly I almost saw him is one of the first "big bosses" you fight in a FF game and that is it. I believe that this was just to show how much trouble the Mist Continent was about to get in, for all that the players were use to was about to go inside out. the Mist Continent and the three/four nations (depending on how you see Burmecia and the Ceyra people.) Also remember that the Antlion boss in Ceyra was also a peaceful creature that went crazy... so this could just be a hint that slowly everyone will be controlled, which is hinted at by Kuja and even Beatrix talks about just being a puppet herself.
 

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As Shace said I think he is perhaps one of these "friendly" monsters and to the degree with the waterways was a creature that protected them around that area. He had to be some form of friendly maybe not benevolence or able to talk but a degree of sentience, hence why the people of Burmecia called him master. The master part to me speaks of a larger picture to a degree and that he was responsible for some sorts of a task there, why else also have all these bells in his grotto locking parts of it up? There must be some sort of importance for him if they have these locks in place. Now a lock could also be in place to seal something but then why add the "master" part to it? So with the mist coming in and how we seen Kuja and the rest do things, they most likely found some way to drive him mad into attacking the party.
 

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I've mentioned before that I've wondered if Gizamaluke & Gizamaluke's Grotto were of Terran Origins. I don't think it so far inconceivable that Gizamaluke was from Terra before/during the planet merge with Gaia. It could explain why the Burmecians viewed him more closer to that of a 'Master' (As they apparently call him) than a monster spawned from the mist. It could also help explain how he even got there to begin with since the ocean is quite the walk from the Grotto.

Honestly I think I'm more convinced the Grotto was made before than after the merge. To me the entire Grotto seems more Terran-esque than Burmecia itself. Well, kinda anyway. A quick run through and It's like 1/2 of Burmecia that we see is vastly different than the Grotto, but once you go through the door you open with a bell like you had to use at the Grotto) it starts interestingly getting more reminiscent of how the Grotto looks (in terms of architecture I suppose), especially the farther in you go. Here's a quick link to a non-commentary play-through of this area if you're not sure what I'm talking about.

So then I thought... well maybe the two locations were actually one location on Terra, split into two on Gaia, and the Burmecians decided to move in and add on to the city they began to populate. It could explain why half the city seems different than the other half, why the architecture is a bit all over the place, and why the Bell system isn't used anywhere else in the world besides those two places.

But also, assuming the above isn't true, why would the Burmecians even be in the Grotto? What's the point? The North Gate functions as a... well, a gate. There's really not much for Burmecia on the other side of the Grotto. So why are they there? What's the purpose of the Grotto for them other than Gizamaluke? If Gizamaluke was of a huge importance why didn't they build Burmecia into the Grotto, or at least closer?

The only thing that stumps me on the Terran theory is that there are statues everywhere of rats and/or Burmecians. I guess they could have been added on later, but it's hard to ignore.

Rat Daddy.jpg

That mustache though
Alternatively, and a bit more probable, It's possible it's just another plot line that was cut short. I explain in more detail here about how it seemed that Leviathan was to have more of an importance in this game than what he got, and we can't turn a blind eye to Daguerreo & it's water/dragon/Leviathan alter either. I really think this game had a possibility of being something completely different than what we got in the end result, but it would have been really cool to have a Final Fantasy game really focused around Leviathan in some way.



I realize there was a lot to cram into this game for story, but it's kinda sad they don't explain about Gizamaluke in the game. I realize the Burmecian King is a bit more of an importance in the moment but they act like it's a big deal that 'Master Gizamaluke' has gone rouge, but no big deal that they also basically killed him? The guy had an entire grotto named after him for crying out loud. There were carvings on the walls that I assume were of him?

The 'Master' part gets me too. So many questions :lew:
 
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Dionysos

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I've mentioned before that I've wondered if Gizamaluke & Gizamaluke's Grotto were of Terran Origins. I don't think it so far inconceivable that Gizamaluke was from Terra before/during the planet merge with Gaia. It could explain why the Burmecians viewed him more closer to that of a 'Master' (As they apparently call him) than a monster spawned from the mist. It could also help explain how he even got there to begin with since the ocean is quite the walk from the Grotto.

The only thing that stumps me on the Terran theory is that there are statues everywhere of rats and/or Burmecians. I guess they could have been added on later, but it's hard to ignore.

View attachment 9534
That mustache though

Burmecia (the region) in general does have a very unique architectural and artistic style. Gizamaluke’s Grotto, Burmecia itself, Cleyra and the Burmecian side of the North Gate all share similar aesthetics to a certain degree. There tends to be a lot of smooth shapes, archways, etc, with white plaster or stucco of some sort on the walls with (predominantly blue) pebbles and mosaic patterns pressed into them. And they are quite fond of contrasting that with rather rigid, imposing statues.

But in some ways (the fancy stairways and the use of colour, for example) this Burmecian style is not entirely unlike Terran. Maybe we could imagine some influences there.

I guess we should also bear in mind that Terra was an entire planet and probably not just a single culture. Differences between Terran locations should be expected. Oeilvert is more technical (giving me some creepy H.R. Giger/Alien vibes too and the external view of it reminds me of the Engineer’s crashed ship in the original Alien). Ipsen’s Castle is topsy-turvy and weird but shares some familiarity with the artistic style of the Desert Palace. The wall paintings in the Desert Palace mainly depicts angels. I'm getting a lot of Milton's Paradise Lost vibes with the ‘fallen angel’ symbolism (probably meant to be compared with Kuja’s character, I guess - the 'dark messenger'). This is probably also thematically related to Garland’s ‘Pandemonium’ which is the name of the capital of Hell in Paradise Lost – so they really are the lost, fallen souls of Terra which Garland is looking after.

Honestly I think I'm more convinced the Grotto was made before than after the merge. To me the entire Grotto seems more Terran-esque than Burmecia itself. Well, kinda anyway. A quick run through and It's like 1/2 of Burmecia that we see is vastly different than the Grotto, but once you go through the door you open with a bell like you had to use at the Grotto) it starts interestingly getting more reminiscent of how the Grotto looks (in terms of architecture I suppose), especially the farther in you go. Here's a quick link to a non-commentary play-through of this area if you're not sure what I'm talking about.

I think the main difference could be the transition between residential buildings (those before you get to bell gate) and the palatial sector (the king’s palace and places which appear to be of cultic significance – temples, etc). In the latter there are more statues of Burmecian deities or heroes or former rulers (although I think there are some in the ‘residential area’ too).

This sort of works with Master Gizamaluke being a respected authority figure too. Maybe they kept a fancier style of art and the most expensive and impressive statues for those places. Perhaps Master Gizamaluke held a ceremonial position and his grotto was also a sort of pilgrimage site for Burmecians.

The 'residential area' of Burmecia has some houses with roofs vaguely resembling some Viking architecture (fitting for Freya's hometown considering her namesake is the Norse goddess Freyja). So maybe these were built in the 'new bit' by the Burmecians if that is correct.

So then I thought... well maybe the two locations were actually one location on Terra, split into two on Gaia, and the Burmecians decided to move in and add on to the city they began to populate. It could explain why half the city seems different than the other half, why the architecture is a bit all over the place, and why the Bell system isn't used anywhere else in the world besides those two places.

If we take your theory, it could be that the palace area of Burmecia was from Terra (albeit with Terrans living there originally) and that it once shared the same physical space as Gizamaluke’s Grotto which it was connected to. Then during the merger it got separated. The Burmecians of Gaia moved in and took style tips from Terran ruins and added their own statues and then built the residential area in the new land, etc. Maybe.

The stretching of continents thing isn’t too far-fetched, considering that the world merger idea is presumably inherited from FFV. The merged world of FFV rather imperfectly placed some locations on top of others and it looks a bit messy. After FFV's world merger, the desert surrounding the Pyramid of Moore appears in what had been the Great Forest of Moore on Galuf's world, for example.

In FFIX, maybe the entirety of the Cleyra desert had been layered on top of a completely different climate, and the land had been expanded, forcing the oldest parts of Burmecia from Gizamaluke’s Grotto. Maybe.

We are talking about 5,000 years ago though, so this is deep antiquity. All of Gaia was changed beyond recognition by the merger with Terra, so it could be difficult to truly say which locations 'belong' on Gaia 100%.


But also, assuming the above isn't true, why would the Burmecians even be in the Grotto? What's the point? The North Gate functions as a... well, a gate. There's really not much for Burmecia on the other side of the Grotto. So why are they there? What's the purpose of the Grotto for them other than Gizamaluke? If Gizamaluke was of a huge importance why didn't they build Burmecia into the Grotto, or at least closer?

The North Gate also accesses the region of Burmecia at a different location (east facing) and connects with Alexandria. Gizamaluke Grotto links with Lindblum to the south. It might also be more archaic. The Grotto (at least as it pertains to Burmecian use) is probably more ancient. It is probably kept open out of tradition. Burmecians appear to be quite protective of their traditions.

Btw about these gates… Ever notice how they all have some sort of sun with a face symbol? It’s either that or something resembling the Green Man. Or it could be apotropaic like the ancient Greek Gorgon symbol. I’d really love to see a clear view of that. It appears even on the Burmecian side of the North Gate. I believe it may be absent from Gizamaluke's Grotto, suggesting a different purpose than a simple passageway for regular people for that.

North Gate Alexandrian side:
NorthGateMeldaArchClear.png


North Gate Burmecian side:
NorthGateBurmeciaArch.png


South Gate on the world map:
FFIX_South_Gate_WM.png



Linblum's entrance to South Gate.
Bohden_Gate.png


Incidentally, it almost looks like the Gorgon-style Queen Brahne on an ancient Greek shield I created for FFF events some years back. :argor:
Brahne shield.png


Jokes aside, probably a significant symbol for gateways on the continent, but I need to brush up on my FFIX lore to see if it appears elsewhere. That's another topic!


Alternatively, and a bit more probable, It's possible it's just another plot line that was cut short. I explain in more detail here about how it seemed that Leviathan was to have more of an importance in this game than what he got, and we can't turn a blind eye to Daguerreo & it's water/dragon/Leviathan alter either. I really think this game had a possibility of being something completely different than what we got in the end result, but it would have been really cool to have a Final Fantasy game really focused around Leviathan in some way.

That's an interesting angle because of the prominence of water in Gizamaluke's Grotto. As you pointed out earlier, the 'grotto' is quite a distance from the sea. Do you suspect he was originally connected to Leviathan in some way in an early draft?

I realize there was a lot to cram into this game for story, but it's kinda sad they don't explain about Gizamaluke in the game. I realize the Burmecian King is a bit more of an importance in the moment but they act like it's a big deal that 'Master Gizamaluke' has gone rouge, but no big deal that they also basically killed him? The guy had an entire grotto named after him for crying out loud. There were carvings on the walls that I assume were of him?

The 'Master' part gets me too. So many questions :lew:

Yeah they complain that he has gone mad and kill him and 'nuff said'… no mourning. No horror. Quite sad really! This serpent has presumably been a friend of the Burmecians for generations, maybe even centuries, and he meets an ignoble end not of his own fault.

Maybe Zidane, Vivi and Quina not mourning his passing would be understandable (they've only just met him), but Freya should surely have regretted it. Instead she just briefly wondered what happened to him and then moves on a sentence later. I guess the Burmecians had other things to worry about that day (this is, after all, during the middle of Alexandria's invasion).

And I do believe those carvings and statues are supposed to be representations of Gizamaluke sculpted by Burmecians. They appear to have showed him significant respect.

Poor guy. :sad2:
 
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I'm late to the party here folks but here's something to ponder:

The Moogle couple we meet in the Grotto mention that they'd just gotten married before "some scary clowns attacked [us]", and in the Temple in Burmecia's uptown area we save a soldier who cannot move. His wife mentions "the vows [they] made in front of Master Gizmaluke".

I think that given the Burmecian culture's reverance of dragons - such as their elite warriors being known as Dragon Knights, that we can draw some parrallels to Deist in FFII and the Wind Drakes. While we do not see any aerial units in Burmecia, it wouldn't be out of the question for a mountainous region - noting the proximity of the Grand Dragons close to the Grotto and that Leviathan is sometimes referred to the Dragon God (as opposed to Bahamut as the King of Dragons) - to house a populace of Dragons/Dragoons/Wind Drakes/Riders etc.

I think that if we base line of thought around why Burmecia and Cleyra separated, we can assume that the bell system is from when Burmecia used the art of dance to invoke magic (like Cleyra did at the start of the game which referenced their dances being older and more powerful than Burmecia's) but they separated due to Burmecia beginning to embrace more militaristic culture... maybe the worship of Dragons, of which Master Gizmaluke would be their Pope like figure? It would also suggest that he'd serve as some form of Guardian - Lindblum would be considered a far more fearsome opponent than Alexandria prior to this, since their airship fleet and the culture of them being founded by hunters would likely be more of a threat to Dragons and fledgling dragons, than Alexandria.
 

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I'm replaying 9 now so I've just passed Burmecia and Gizamaluke's Grotto. I'd never really put too much thought into who or what he really was to the Burmecians, but this has me wondering. I guess they see him as some sort of god? The whole thing about marriage vows definitely hints towards him holding some sort of religious significance to them anyway. That would tie together the Dragon Knights and so on.

I like the idea that he is some sort of remnant from when Gaia and Terra were one. Perhaps some ancient leftover, or another sort of guardian? I might end up coming up with a bit more of a theory when I get further into the game as it's been years now and I remember very little when it comes to the depth of the game.

The whole Burmecia storyline felt like it had huge amounts cut short - particularly the relationship with Cleyra and what happened between the two cities. Sir Fratley could also have definitely done with a whole lot more backstory. Who was he? Why did he leave Burmecia? Why can't he remember anything? Where did you come from Cotton-Eyed Joe?
 

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The Moogle couple we meet in the Grotto mention that they'd just gotten married before "some scary clowns attacked [us]", and in the Temple in Burmecia's uptown area we save a soldier who cannot move. His wife mentions "the vows [they] made in front of Master Gizmaluke".
I did not remember the references to wedding ceremonies! I think it is quite sweet to imagine Burmecian couples (and moogles) being married by a talking snake whilst the bells ring with sweet music.

I think that given the Burmecian culture's reverance of dragons - such as their elite warriors being known as Dragon Knights, that we can draw some parrallels to Deist in FFII and the Wind Drakes. While we do not see any aerial units in Burmecia, it wouldn't be out of the question for a mountainous region - noting the proximity of the Grand Dragons close to the Grotto and that Leviathan is sometimes referred to the Dragon God (as opposed to Bahamut as the King of Dragons) - to house a populace of Dragons/Dragoons/Wind Drakes/Riders etc.

The comparison with Deist is interesting. It does appear to be a predecessor of sorts for the concept of Burmecia, considering that it introduces the concept of Dragoons in the franchise and also explicitly connects them with dragons.

All of this would find full fruition in FFXIV’s Heavensward expansion too.

I wonder… Freya’s Kain’s Lance is often assumed to be a reference to FFIV’s Kain Highwind (and likely rightly so), but there was another Kain character in FFII in Deist.

I think that if we base line of thought around why Burmecia and Cleyra separated, we can assume that the bell system is from when Burmecia used the art of dance to invoke magic (like Cleyra did at the start of the game which referenced their dances being older and more powerful than Burmecia's) but they separated due to Burmecia beginning to embrace more militaristic culture... maybe the worship of Dragons, of which Master Gizmaluke would be their Pope like figure? It would also suggest that he'd serve as some form of Guardian - Lindblum would be considered a far more fearsome opponent than Alexandria prior to this, since their airship fleet and the culture of them being founded by hunters would likely be more of a threat to Dragons and fledgling dragons, than Alexandria.

Whether he serves as anything comparable to a Pope or not, I think there’s a chance he would serve some official religious function, or act as the recipient of offerings. The place is very much like a shrine, he is addressed with the honorific title ‘Master’, he presided over wedding ceremonies and, be there other important dragons in the region or not, the Burmecians have modelled their culture and fighting style around dragons.

We might also consider the Norse inspirations here. The Burmecia vs Cleyra dichotomy may loosely parallel Asgard and Vanaheim. Freya is named after the Norse love, war and magic goddess, a Vanir by birth who in some accounts married Odr (who some believe could be the same figure as Odin) to seal an alliance and end the war between the two tribes, and she then lived with the Aesir in Asgard. Hence FFIX's Freya lives in the militaristic Burmecia, and Cleyra is more interested in rituals and nature magic.

As for Lindblum… I’d need to look into the name of this town properly. If we’re looking for dragon connections, perhaps a portmanteau of Lindworm (serpents with forelimbs) and the German blum (‘flower’)? I know some sources cite the name as ‘Lindbulm’ though, but that is typically seen as an error.

I'm replaying 9 now so I've just passed Burmecia and Gizamaluke's Grotto. I'd never really put too much thought into who or what he really was to the Burmecians, but this has me wondering. I guess they see him as some sort of god? The whole thing about marriage vows definitely hints towards him holding some sort of religious significance to them anyway. That would tie together the Dragon Knights and so on.

I was curious and checked the Ultimania Archive (which I didn’t yet own when I made this thread). There are two short passages about Gizamaluke which don’t reveal a lot, but they do confirm this point at least.

Gizamaluke’s Grotto:
The cavern where Burmecia’s guardian beast Gizamaluke resides. A cave leads to the Lindblum area, but some of its doors are equipped with a Burmecian gimmick and won’t open unless the appropriate bell is rung.

and

Gizamaluke:
A dragon dwelling in Gizamaluke’s Grotto. The people of the Burmecia region worship it as a guardian deity, but Zorn and Thorn brainwash it into attacking the local warriors as well as Zidane’s group.

So the Burmecians do indeed treat Gizamaluke as a guardian deity, as people have suspected. Dragons and serpents have been tasked with guarding important locations in various real-world mythologies, and we might also think about Wutai’s reverence of Leviathan in FFVII as another comparison.

The term ‘grotto’ in the English localisation is also interesting here, as grottos cut into the rock are often associated with various supernatural beings and deities (nymphs, Pan, etc).

So... Erm... Guys? I think we slew God in the first act. :thehead:


The whole Burmecia storyline felt like it had huge amounts cut short - particularly the relationship with Cleyra and what happened between the two cities. Sir Fratley could also have definitely done with a whole lot more backstory. Who was he? Why did he leave Burmecia? Why can't he remember anything? Where did you come from Cotton-Eyed Joe?

Burmecia-Cleyra is fascinating as it is in the game, but I do also get the impression that they didn't make the most of it. In Norse mythology Freya's husband (Odr, which may or may not be the same as Odin) is absent and wandering, so Freya searches for him. Sounds a bit like Sir Fratley and his absence and FFIX's Freya's pining to me. Odin being summoned at Cleyra following the precise moment that Freya finds the Sir Fratley again is serendipitous, if not intentional, placement.

I don't think we ever discover how Sir Fratley became an amnesiac. Probably some accident while he was wandering the world. He was only meant to be gone for a few years and then return to be with his lover Freya. It didn't go to plan. I wish we could have seen more of him in flashbacks later in the game, or even more scenes in the present with Freya attempting to remind him of the things he had forgotten, and the awkwardness of him trying.
 
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