Shared Burden

We can find individuals similar to Cyan in other games, TV shows, comics and books. We'll see how their personalities and characteristics are similar, and at what points they diverge.

Adelbert Steiner: Final Fantasy IX
After FFVI, the series began moving away from fantasy archetypes toward more realistic human characters. It's no surprise, then, that players don't encounter another "noble knight" until FFIX, a game that pays affectionate tribute to the older games. Steiner, like Cyan, has pledged his allegiance to a kingdom; in Steiner's case, Queen Brahne. He too faces a disruption in his routine life - Princess Garnet, whom he is sworn to protect, is kidnapped. Understanding why, and attempting to rescue her, forces Steiner to face change and new experiences. While Cyan's idyllic life is thrown out of balance by Kefka, it's clear that Steiner doesn't have a life apart from his duties. Becoming the Queen's pawn, he has forsaken his own hopes and dreams, of becoming a better knight, of finding love. Steiner is a more naive character than Cyan, but both provide comic relief at times, through their dour dispositions. In the end, Steiner finds the kind of purpose, love (with his once-rival, General Beatrix), and friendship that Cyan once knew and must rediscover.

Auron: Final Fantasy X
Skilled with katanas and in the martial arts, Auron is a man of few words, with a grim expression. He was originally sworn to protect Lord Braska, and dedicated himself to the teachings of Yuvon. While Cyan and Auron have two different reasons for fighting, it comes down to responsibility for both. Cyan feels like he's to blame because he couldn't save his family, and Auron has to fulfil a promise he made to Jecht (that he would watch over Tidus). Auron and Cyan share a feeling of shame. Cyan was supposed to protect his kingdom, but he couldn't even protect his own family. Auron fell short in a battle with Yunaleska while his partners gave their lives to Sin. Both men rebel against what they know - the Empire for Cyan, and Yevon for Auron - after being wronged. At 35, Auron is younger than Cyan. But as FF's leads get younger, it's good to know there are still brooding bad-asses keeping watch.
(Thanks to Todd for input on Auron.)

Duncan MacLeod: Highlander: The Series
Over one year, Cyan watches the love of his life die and must learn to move past the pain. Duncan MacLeod must do this many times, over decades and centuries. A member of an ancient race of immortals, he watched his first love Debra tumble off a cliff in 1618. Few of his relationships have ended much better. He's travelled the world on a quest to defeat evil, and find peace within - much like Cyan. There are many visual resemblances. Duncan too carries a katana and keeps his dark hair in a ponytail. Both men's style of combat combines the best of East and West. Still, Duncan is more socially at ease than Cyan, more playful, but hesitant to trust or open up. The most significant difference is that Cyan can stop hurting and find friends, while Duncan continues to suffer, condemned to kill Immortals till one (preferably he) remains. And then, he can only end up alone.

Bruce Wayne: Batman
Who better with whom compare Cyan than the original Dark Knight? The 1989 screen adaptation of Batman is most similar to Cyan's story. Bruce too loses his family to the cruel whims of an maniacal clown figure. (No doubt the FFVI team had the Joker in mind when creating Kefka.) This motivates Bruce to seek revenge and protect others from the same threat. Also, in Batman Begins, Bruce receives training in Japan from ninjas. Yet Bruce is a sleek, modern playboy by daylight, not a brawny swordsman pulled from the Middle Ages. His elaborate crime-fighting gadgetry would cause Cyan to quiver with newfound fear. Batman's strategies and detective work would not be for the up-and-at-'em Cyan. They are inwardly in similar places, though their outward actions differ.

Sturm Brightblade: Dragonlance
One of a party of "unlikely" heroes in the original Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy of novels, Sturm represents everything Cyan pokes fun at. As Cyan retains the memory of Doma, so Sturm wishes to restore honour to the Knights of Solamnia. He too has long, unruly hair (dark but greying), a thick moustache, and fine armour. He has lost his family (at a young age), remains a wandering outcast (the knights having fallen into disrepute), and has a fleeting love with an Elven princess and an affair with a female Dragon Highlord, Kitiara Uth-Matar. Fighting on the principle "my honour is my life," Sturm is utterly serious, predictable, and seems to have a death wish. Lo and behold, he is able to fulfill it, perishing on Kitiara's blade. His melodramatic death upset many readers. But fear not, he has a son called Steel Brightblade who surfaces in later novels, every bit as dull. If Cyan Garamonde, at any point, seems like a stereotype, check out the Brightblades to see what you're... missing.