Snowe Vingerhut (スノウ・フィンガーフート, Sunō Fingāfūto) is a major character in Suikoden IV who also appears in Suikoden Tactics. Snowe is the spoilt but generally well-intentioned son of Vincent Vingerhut, lord of Razril.
Snowe serves as a foil to the hero as the two are ostensibly comrades and close friends but the difference in their personalities, social status and expectations placed upon them leads to a divide in their paths and interactions throughout the game.
As a trainee and Gaien Knight, he wore a silver breastplate and pauldrons over deep blue/purple underclothes and a red scarf. He also wore greaves and gauntlets to protect his legs and arms. Completing his outfit are a pair of tan shorts and a scabbard on his left side for his sword. After being appointed leader of the Gaien Knights, Snowe would wear a mint green long coat with white sleeves, collar and brown and gold trim over a brown vest and white shirt. Mint green shorts and brown boots would be worn over white tights.
As a pirate, he would wear a white and black sleeveless coat over a white low-cut t-shirt. He would also wear olive pants, with a tan stripe on the outer thigh as well as brown boots. He would also wear a belt-shaped choker around his neck. After being abandoned at sea and recovered, Snowe was wearing a tattered white t-shirt with brown arms and tattered brown pants with red hemming, tied around the waist by rope. Ordinary brown shoes and leather belt bracelets holding fabric in place around his wrists complete the look.
In Suikoden Tactics, as a child, Snowe wore oversized mint green shorts and a loose, puffy white nobles shirt over black tights and large brown and gold boots. As an adult, Snowe wears a brown, sleeveless, open coat over a tan vest and ruffled pink shirt, with a yellow sash tied around his waist. He also wears olive short pants and brown boots with gold piping and white toes over a pair of white leggings.
His Tactics outfit was designed to be a combination of formal and rough clothing styles. His ruffled pink shirt in particular was intended to feel like the last remnant of Snowe's aristocratic days.
As a child and adolescent, Snowe's noble upbringing left him an inflated sense of pride and accomplishment that occasionally clashed with his naturally timid nature and tendency to panic in times of crisis. Although he genuinely considered the hero his best friend, Snowe also tended to at least subtly assert his social dominance, due to a desire to play the "older brother", while also displaying occasional moments of jealousy towards his talents.
Following his graduation, Snowe would find himself increasingly in positions above his level of competence due to the influence of his father. This would lead to a cycle of Snowe's timid nature leading to defensive and overcompensating actions, marking him as foolhardy. As he would see the rise of his friend as leader of the Island Liberation Navy, he would become filled with resentment and unwilling to accept his friend's aid or forgiveness.
When Snowe finally lost all pretense of authority, he was able to admit his own weakness and rejoined his friend. It should be noted that events did not merely serve to destroy his confidence but also to remove him from the influence of his father's expectation and pride thus allowing him to grow as a person for the first time since childhood. Since that time, Snowe behaved in a much more humble and self-effacing way, trying to make amends and reestablish friendships although he still had a need to try and please and be complimented for his efforts.
Childhood and Knighthood
As a youth in Razril, Snowe would be gifted a sword by his father. While trying it out alongside his friend, he would spy a fishman before a chance encounter with Walter's group of travelers. He and his friend would guide Walter's groups through the streets of Razril before finding the fishman. Even at such a young age, Snowe showed his timid nature and jealousy towards his friend's talents.Knights of Gaien academy with his friends and was frequently assigned to leadership positions in training exercises, although Commander Glen would find his concentration and focus lacking. During their final training exercise, Snowe's lack of concentration allowed his ship to be boarded easily. He would nevertheless graduate peacefully enough alongside the rest of his peers.
Due to his status as the son of Lord Vingerhut, Snowe was chosen to lead the graduating Kindling Ritual, lighting the torches held by Razril citizens attending the festival. Feeling self-conscious he would pass on the duty to his friend. That same evening, the two would thwart the attempted kidnapping of a child. As a newly graduated knight, Snowe helped to complete several standard tasks with his comrades such as monster pacification and short-distance cargo delivery. Although Commander Glen questioned Snowe's leadership qualities, he would acquiesce to Lord Vingerhut's political power and assign him as captain of a vessel for his first real mission. Snowe's mishandling of this mission; escorting an Orark Maritime Trade ship to Iluya Island would have far-reaching consequences.Rune Cannon ammunition, not spices as was claimed. When the ship came under attack by the pirate Brandeau, Snowe would panic under the barrage and demand a full retreat, leaving the other ship to be captured. His fellow officers refused to abandon their duty, and led by Snowe's friend, would fight to ensure their charge's safe escape. Meanwhile, Snowe would abandon the ship and attempt to row to safety, despite previously indicating that his arm was seriously wounded. Picked up by Commander Glen, Snowe would be physically disciplined for abandoning ship before being brought back to the battle with Glen's ship. This led to Commander Glen inheriting the Rune of Punishment.
Returning to Razril following the mission, Snowe found his actions heavily criticized by both superiors and comrades, leading him to resent his situation and the plaudits his friend had received for stepping up during Snowe's panic. He would attempt to compensate for this loss of face; first by purchasing medicine for the convalescing Glen and, more dangerously, by attempting to pursue a fleet of pirates who attacked Razril alone, necessitating his rescue and adding to his wounded pride when he was again physically reprimanded and his friend praised.
Following this, he would vent his frustrations before apologizing to his friend and leaving to prepare for further attacks from the pirates.
Collaborator, Brigand and CitizenKatarina's expulsion of the hero from Razril.
Following this, Lord Vingerhut ensured that Snowe would succeed Glen as commander of the knights, regardless of his inexperience. In an attempt to foster peace, he would swiftly surrender Razril to the Kooluk Empire and cooperate with Graham Cray's hunt for the Rune of Punishment. In return, he would be given command of Kooluk's pirate hunting task force. As part of Cray's machinations, Snowe was sent to attack a pirate band far outside Razril's waters (in actuality the Island Liberation Navy under the commander of his old friend).
With his position lost for good with the liberation of Razril by the Island Liberation Navy, Snowe turned to piracy himself and ended up leading an attack on his old friends in an attempt at revenge for the slights he felt he suffered. Easily defeated and captured, he would again refuse his friend's offer to join him and would be released on a small rowing vessel. His small measure of authority would not last long after his defeat and he was eventually abandoned at sea by his pirate associates.Headquarters Ship came across Snowe, adrift at sea and took him aboard. Finally humbled both by his experiences and his friends continued attempts to reach out to him, Snowe accepted their forgiveness and fought alongside his comrades once more for the remainder of the war. Following the war, having grown greatly as a person, he asked forgiveness from the people of Razril for his actions. Allowed to return, he would live in Razril not as an aristocrat but as a common citizen.
His experiences previously helped him to mature into a much more calm and humble adult, released from his father's expectations and pride. Wishing to be of use to the people of Razril following his actions in the Island Liberation War, Snowe would continue to work in Razril, in its alleys on Furball patrol. During a particularly heavy infestation, he would be aided by both his friend and Kyril. Following the battle, he would accompany his friend in Kyril's group on their mission to destroy Rune Cannons in Kooluk but he could not recall their childhood meeting. He would eventually reconnect with each of his childhood friends, whom his past actions led to a distancing with, during his journey.
Name and Weapon
Snowe's last name, Vingerhut, stems from the German word Fingerhut. It can either mean thimble or Digitalis, a genus of plants of which many are toxic. His first name is based on the word "Snow", which is precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice. Aptly, his rune affinity seems to lie with the Water Rune, which is his initial equipped rune and Rune Cannon element in Suikoden IV as well as his rune elemental affinity in Suikoden Tactics.
In Suikoden IV, his weapon, a one-handed sword given to him by his father, is named "Daddy Blade" (パパブレード, Papaburēdo), a reference to his dependence on his father's influence and expectations. When his weapon is sharpened to level 12 (normally only available after his redemption and return), the sword is renamed "Snowe Blade" (スノウブレード, Sunōburēdo) harkening to Snowe coming into his own as a more mature, independent person.
By Suikoden Tactics, Snowe's weapon is always named "Snowe Blade", regardless of level, save in his childhood flashback appearance where it is again named "Daddy Blade".
- Rhapsodia Official Guide Complete Edition (ISBN 4-86155-075-0), pages 100-1
- Rhapsodia Final Archive (ISBN 4-8402-3284-9), pages 15, 50
- Marugoto! Gensosuikoden Book (ISBN 978-4-7577-3673-3), page 60
- Gensosuikoden Kiwami Encyclopedia, pages 433, 529