Aerith Gainsborough

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Name: Aerith Gainsborough
Occupation: Flower Lady
Relationships: Sora (friend), Leon ('colleague'), Cid (friend), Yuffie (friend), Donald (friend), Goofy (friend), Cloud (friend/love interest), Barret (friend), Tifa (friend/rival), Red XIII (friend), Cait Sith (friend), Vincent (friend), Sephiroth (enemy), Zack Fair (ex lover), Ifalna (biological mother), Myra (foster mother)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts
Other: Voiced by Mandy Moore
Aerith Gainsborough by Zolaida
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Aerith Gainsborough is a main character in the Square Enix video game Final Fantasy VII, and a supporting character in the Disney/Square Enix video game series Kingdom Hearts.


Aerith was the last surviving member of an ancient race known as the Cetra. Shinra Electric Power Company sought to capture Aerith for experimentation. Although they eventually succeeded, she was freed by Cloud, Tifa and Barrett. She joined their party but was ultimately killed by the game's primary antagonist, Sephiroth.

Aerith's death did not end her role in the narrative. As the last Cetra, Aerith was able to remain active in the afterlife and summoned the lifestream -- the collective souls of all beings -- to protect the planet from the meteor Sephiroth had summoned to destroy it.


Aeris Is... by KawaiiLilDevil (2006-12-20)

As a result of her feminine appearance, association with flowers, and the healer role she takes in combat, Aerith is often portrayed as gentle, soft-spoken and demure, but her canon personality is bold, assertive, and emotionally open. (This contrasts her with Tifa, the game's other primary female love interest, who has a tomboyish appearance and a "brawler" combat role but a much more reserved and gentle personality.)

A common fanon interpretation is that Aerith's canonical job as a "flower girl" is a euphemism for some form of sex work.


Aerith's death scene has been considered one of the most famous scenes in video game history. At the time, unavoidable major character deaths were extremely rare in games, and Aerith's death was a shocking twist. Understandably, it left the community divided, with many fans feeling the game began and ended with her, although others were glad to be rid of her. In 2007, GameSpy readers voted her death as the second most cinematic moment in gaming history.[1] As part of a fan campaign, fans submitted a petition to Yoshinori Kitase requesting her return.[2][3][4]. "Aeris Dies" may be considered a non-spoiler along the lines of "Luke, I am your father" or "Rosebud was his sled."

According to Nomura, "death should be something sudden and unexpected, and Aerith's death seemed more natural and realistic." He said: "When I reflect on Final Fantasy VII, the fact that fans were so offended by her sudden death probably means that we were successful with her character. If fans had simply accepted her death, that would have meant she wasn't an effective character."[5]

Brian Taylor, writing for Kill Screen, described a cottage industry of fan theories for how to return Aerith to life or prevent her death. He compared these efforts to the letter-writing campaign to convince Charles Dickens not to let Nell, the endearing protagonist of The Old Curiosity Shop, die at the end of the book. Taylor affirmed that the acts of discussing these fan theories and dissecting the game code to test them comprise a valid and important part of the experience of the game.[6][4]

Aeris Resurrection Fics have been popular in the FFVII fandom to the point of simply referred to as ARFs.[7][8] ARFs eventually fell out of style (perhaps due to the rise of Zack Fair and other characters in popularity), replaced with the wild popularity of Peggy Sue time travel fics that prevent Aerith's death and other characters' deaths.

Whatever side of the fence fans sit, there is little debate about its impact on the fandom. Many fanworks have featured alternate scenarios where Aerith didn't die. Variations include Aerith surviving the attack, not being attacked at all, or someone else being attacked instead.

Name dispute

There have been lengthy disputes over Aerith's name, due to the original English-language release of Final Fantasy VII' localizing her name as Aeris. While both are accepted, there is debate over which is her 'true' name.

Fans may refer to the character as Aeris for a number of reasons:

   1. Habitual use of the original translation
   2. Euphonic preference
   3. To specifically refer to Aeris as she appeared in the original game, referring to her as Aerith otherwise
   4. To indicate rejection of Aeris' characterization outside of what was established in the original game  
   5. To indicate rejection of the Compilation canon outside of what was established in the original game   


Aerith is canonically a possible love interest for Cloud, but she has been shipped with almost every available character in Final Fantasy VII. She also gets crossover shipped with characters from other Final Fantasy games.

Aerith's place in the general FFVII fandom cannot be extricated from her place in the fandom's infamous Love Triangle Debate. For many years, to be an Aerith or Cloud/Aerith (Clerith) fan meant being anti-Tifa, and being a Tifa or Cloud/Tifa (CloTi) fan meant being anti-Aerith. Fans of each pairing have engaged in character bashing of the other love interest, resulting in a trope of Aerith as an antagonist in CloTi fic and Tifa as an antagonist in Clerith fic. More recently, the Love Triangle Debate has come to be viewed as a source of wank; as a reaction against it, shipping Aerith/Tifa (AerTi) or just placing more emphasis on their friendship has become more popular.

Aerith's Kingdom Hearts character doesn't see much shipping, due to her relatively small impact on the storyline.

Common ships include:

Popular non-romantic relationships for her among the fandom include:

Archives and fannish Links












  1. ^ Kuo, Li C. (25 June 2007). "Readers' Choice Top 10 Most Cinematic Moments in Gaming". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  2. ^ of EDGE magazine, ed. (May 2003). The Making Of: Final Fantasy VII. Edge. Future plc. pp. 112–113. (abridged online edition)
  3. ^ gamesTM Staff (November 2007). "Hall Of Fame... Aerith". GamesTM (63). Imagine Publishing. pp. 150–151.
  4. ^ a b Wikipedia. Aerith Gainsborough. (Accessed Mar 2021.)
  5. ^ "Interview with Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura from Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue No. 196, October 2005". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Final Fantasy VII Citadel. October 2005. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2007.
  6. ^ Taylor, Brian (2011). "Save Aeris". Kill Screen. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. ^
  8. ^