Fire Emblem: Three Houses |OT2| Greetings, Era! Nothing to Report!

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
Just got to the timeskip in my current playthrough and a dozen "It will take some time to strengthen their bond" supports popped all at once, half of them for the Ashen Wolves. And who are these Mean Girls who decided to just show up in Hapi/Constance's A support? Excuse me, ma'am, we're in the war phase now. You're both five years too late for high school drama tropes, lol.
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
Are Falcon Knights the scariest enemy type in Maddening? They always double, they're accurate and strong enough for that double to do life threatening damage. They're all but immune to magic and beefy enough that you're not going to kill them unless using a brave weapon. Even bows aren't a guaranteed kill. They're always in groups, either as reinforcement waves or positioned where you can't reach them until they decide to go on the attack. And they're much more common than Wyvern Lords, which is this game are largely limited to the Almyran forces.
 

Bovine

Member
Oct 29, 2017
180
Are Falcon Knights the scariest enemy type in Maddening? They always double, they're accurate and strong enough for that double to do life threatening damage. They're all but immune to magic and beefy enough that you're not going to kill them unless using a brave weapon. Even bows aren't a guaranteed kill. They're always in groups, either as reinforcement waves or positioned where you can't reach them until they decide to go on the attack. And they're much more common than Wyvern Lords, which is this game are largely limited to the Almyran forces.
Thinking back to the "fun" that was the SS final chapter on Maddening, you are probably right. I had Petra (who was luckily fast enough not to be doubled) waiting in the forest baiting them before swarming them on my turn. They were the hardest part of SS endgame minus the final boss themselves. The reinforcements on the Enbarr map were an absolute pain as well. Can't think of any enemy type even close to Falcon Knights in terms of making me sweat, maybe siege tome mages?
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
Are Falcon Knights the scariest enemy type in Maddening? They always double, they're accurate and strong enough for that double to do life threatening damage. They're all but immune to magic and beefy enough that you're not going to kill them unless using a brave weapon. Even bows aren't a guaranteed kill. They're always in groups, either as reinforcement waves or positioned where you can't reach them until they decide to go on the attack. And they're much more common than Wyvern Lords, which is this game are largely limited to the Almyran forces.
This is why you give everyone a Wo Dao+/Killer Axe+. Crits are the best and easiest source of damage in Maddening.
 

TurokTTZ

Member
Oct 25, 2017
479
Falcon Knights, any gremory with a long distance spell whether it's bolting or meteor, BOW KNIGHTS WITH DAT POISON STRIKE come into mind. I'd chalk them up as annoying on maddening.

Falcon Knights with in final chapter SS however...

Byleth was more or less stuck in that spot for 5-10 turns. Not shown but there was another falcon knight that was killed before this video was taken and the combined efforts of Rhea and friends nearly reduced Byleth's hp to single digits. Was quite exciting as I had every stat but magic ≥ 50 and the Falcon Knights needed two shots to finish them. Healing focus on Byleth is a must on a vanilla maddening run.

Hope a good amount of y'all checked that bit of an interview as that Tumblr account is no more.

I've already read the full interview so I'm not concerned. NintendoEverything will handle translating the full interview in due time (or Reddit). So I have no reason to TL the interview myself.

It's quite the interview the full one. Hope everyone gives it a read when it's out.

Edit: If I had one complaint, it would be that lore dumping in an interview instead of in-game is not ideal. Still, better than nothing I suppose.
 
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HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
I’ve often said I think Crimson Flower makes the most thematic sense by a fair margin. I’ll try to summarize here my thoughts on the matter.

(please note I’ll recall here a number of in-game events and I hope I don’t misremember any of them, not to mention the possibility of mistranslations)
Multiple things could be said about the other routes, like how Azure Moon is all about blinding following an actual madman because he’s the rightful heir to the throne, all while disregarding pretty much every other aspect of the world to tell the tale of poor boy Dimitri, or how Verdant Wind is written like a Saturday morning cartoon with a cool lord cracking jokes left and right and coming up with Pinky and the Brain level of schemes (when it’s not his lazy retainer coming up with them herself), two feelings which seem comforted by the recent fan-translated interviews about how it initially was all about Silver Snow and Crimson Flower (Silver Snow which in my opinion is the closest route to make the most thematic sense, playing the tragedy card very well despite a number of shortcomings).

But I’ll mostly talk here about Crimson Flower.

There are multiple key parts here but I think the reason I’m writing this all boils down to what Sothis says in an otherwise rather secondary cutscene, that she wishes for Byleth to carve their own path, choose their own destiny, something which obviously is only possible if you play Black Eagles.

That’s kind of the keyword here. Byleth was a rather ordinary baby (their unusual mother notwithstanding) which would have been born dead if Rhea wouldn’t have transplanted Sothis crest stone from their otherwise dying mother. From that point on pretty much everything is setup. Rhea while maybe not thinking about that on the moment (we’ll never know that much detail it seems), quickly realizes it’s another opportunity for her long standing “experiments” to continue. Obviously Byleth has no say on the matter and saving a baby can only be lauded, but what happens afterwards if what’s interesting. She never tells their father what happened. Why the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat. What she did so save them. She didn’t even have to divulge her “experiments”, she could simply have said she used a powerful crest stone to save them, problem solved, Jeralt never leaves the monastery. But she didn’t. From the get got the child had multiple choices stripped out from them, being an ordinary human being, and knowing the truth about their extraordinary birth conditions. Byleth never has a choice expect to make a woefully uninformed choice of choosing which class to teach, something which in two cases out of three means they will never have to make another choice again. They will fulfill the destiny Rhea envisioned for their mother, even if it won’t turn-out 100% like what Rhea planned (but we know she was doing rather blind experiments to being with, and wasn’t sure herself on how those would turn out).

Which is why making the choice to disobey Rhea is so meaningful. It the one thing Byleth can do that his truly their choice. Following Rhea as Black Eagles leader is simply following what Rhea more-or-less planned to begin with.

But there’s so much more to it than that.

I’ve seen numerous people argue about the timing of the choice, how it should have been “explained more”, or how it should have been put before Edelgard’s attack. But that’s misreading a lot of things this game tells us. It makes sense for Byleth to try to stop Edelgard at first under the shock of the event, if only in the hope they could capture and interrogate her. And it makes sense that this choice is available when she is defeated (even if she still has a get-out-of-jail card to play). Rhea is the one asking you to kill her, reminding you that while she may not be in the position to give orders, she sees herself as in a position to give orders. Rhea embodies once again the powers that be. “Don’t discuss orders, obey”. And it makes sense that Edelgard would not ask Byleth directly for their help beforehand. She doesn’t even ask for their help at that moment, because she’s emotionally unable to. Every conversation up until that point hints to the fact that she would love Byleth to support her to the very end, but expects otherwise and as such rather prefers to “go with the flow” (of Byleth following Rhea) than ask and be disappointed by the answer, a rejection she knows she would struggle with.

It’s also very interesting to note that a major, admittedly somewhat hidden theme of Crimson Flower is sparing enemies. In all of part one, you’re never sent to capture bandits/rebels/whatever. You’re the church literal death squads. And here Rhea asks to kill again. Without trial. Without even trying to interrogate what is basically her archenemies (or at the very least their allies) she can’t get rid of for over a millennia. So choosing to spare Edelgard here can easily be read as “stop with the mindless killing”.

It’s important to note at that point that Edelgard clearly speaks of only attacking those who oppose her, and will offer surrendering to (almost) all her enemies during the Crimson Flower route, reminding us that she feels empathy, most likely because no matter what she suffered, she’s still human.

And the game tells us how both enemies would react when driven back to their last stand. In Azure Moon, when Edelgard has utterly lost (or technically is about to), as TWISTED will not be dealt with by Dimitri and the Church will continue to be the dominant power on the continent, she performs unholy rituals upon herself, she turns herself into a daemonic monster in a last attempt to turn the tides, and when defeated commits suicide by Dimitri to avoid further bloodshed (knowing splinter cells would likely try to free her if she surrendered). In all routes but Crimson Flower (and also in CF actually, but it’s not shown), Rhea “defends” the monastery by going full dragon rampage and demolishing most of it while fighting the imperial army, because she doesn’t really care as long as she can lash out. And of course at the end of Crimson Flower, when she knows her very life or at the very least her dear religion built on lies is at stake, she burns an entire city because “why the fuck not”. Because ultimately, she doesn’t value human life, or maybe just doesn't value life for that matter, if only for the few of her kind left (she still sends them to fight though, so she likely only cares about her mother in the end).

Where I’m going there is that in all routes but Crimson Flower, it’s all about being a force-of-nature (by sheer luck, as Byleth did nothing special to “deserve” the power of the goddess) who tramples the church’s foes while offering little mercy opportunities, whereas in Crimson Flower it’s all about leading a blitz as quickly as possible to minimize to number of casualties (that’s one of the main point as to why this route is so short), all while allowing enemies to surrender/escape because you’re still human despite borrowing the power of the goddess (a power you relinquish during the final cutscene, something which obviously echoes Edelgard stepping down from power at the end of the story, either because her lifespan was shortened, or because she simply did not actually want to become a “supreme ruler” but simply wanted to make the world a better place by reforming a faulty system, church included).

But it doesn’t end there.

There are also meta-reasons as to why this route makes so much sense. It all boils down to the “every side is kind of right” theme and what IS woefully failed to achieve with Fates’ Conquest campaign, which is to write a proper “bad guy” route.

Yes, you’re technically siding with the Red Emperor (which should I remind you was almost always “right”, if only for the fact that they declared war, and, as we all know, declaring wars is bad). And yes many things are questionable in that route, like how some of Edelgard claims are incorrect and how you’re technically the aggressor and so the driving force behind the war horrors. But that’s also why one of the first dialogs Byleth has with Edelgard is how her hand is shaking as she’s starting a war and understands countless people will die as a result. That’s why the tone of that route is so bittersweet; you know you’re fighting for the right things but need to do horrible things to achieve such results. It’s “Conquest done right”. It makes you feel bad that you have to kill Rodrigue and Dimitri. It makes you feel bad that you have to crush Claude’s dreams and send him back where he comes from. It makes you feel bad to see Flayn so disheartened that you chose to fight Rhea. But that’s why it feels good. You’re no longer the goody-two-shoes who always have the luxury of keeping the moral high-ground by being the heroic reactionary force. You’re part of those who want to enact change and ready to suffer for it. You’re not into some all-too-common power-fantasy of literally becoming the new local divinity, but are just a human with god-like powers who actively acts to relinquish said powers. Because as a wise man said, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That’s why it all works so well, it’s what IS thrived (and failed) to achieve before, it’s all about giving a broken person the wildest dream she’s too afraid to ask, it’s all about keeping our humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity, and it’s all about breaking free from the shackles of fate. Remember why I started writing this? Something about Sothis asking you to choose a path that is truly your own? That’s something you can do in Crimson Flower, and in Crimson Flower alone.

Thank you for reading.
I should also have added some tidbits about how it’s the only route where Dimitri has the chance to become what he always wanted to be, or more importantly how it’s the only route where Claude is actually clever and puts some impressive schemes, but I’ll leave it at that.
 

Morlas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
41,079
one thing that's always been kinda weird to me

People act like Dimitri is 'okay' on Crimson flower, and yes he isn't 'feral' Dimitri, but he's no better in Crimson Flower than he was at the end of part 1 Blue Lions which I'm sure everyone will agree is still pretty fucking bad. Crimson Flower Dimitri is still the 'boar' he just hasn't been living in isolation so his composure is better until he's defeated.
 

Rutger

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,820
Yes, Crimson Flower is the strongest thematically.
Which is why it's such a shame that TWSITD are dealt with off screen in the epilogue. We got to see Byleth choose their own path, and to some degree Edelgard as well, but she isn't fully free from those that decided what her path should be until both TWSITD and the nobility system the Church enforced are eliminated.

I almost wonder if earlier drafts of that route had her taking down TWSITD and possibly even Nemesis, but it was cut out to give Claude something.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
one thing that's always been kinda weird to me

People act like Dimitri is 'okay' on Crimson flower, and yes he isn't 'feral' Dimitri, but he's no better in Crimson Flower than he was at the end of part 1 Blue Lions which I'm sure everyone will agree is still pretty fucking bad. Crimson Flower Dimitri is still the 'boar' he just hasn't been living in isolation so his composure is better until he's defeated.
I dunno, he gets to fight for what he believes in, all in a rather straightforward way. I'm not sure if I'd go as far as to say he's okay, but as someone thinking is route is pretty effed up to begin with, that's still a better situation for him.

I mean ...
In VW & SS he dies off-screen (lol) a most horrible death, and in AM he's just overall fucked up and only becomes a decent leader thanks to Byleth's godhood. At least in CF he's a competent leader fighting for a just cause (or at least what he sees as a just cause). Plus his hidden ending with Dedue is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Edit:
Yes, Crimson Flower is the strongest thematically.
Which is why it's such a shame that TWSITD are dealt with off screen in the epilogue. We got to see Byleth choose their own path, and to some degree Edelgard as well, but she isn't fully free from those that decided what her path should be until both TWSITD and the nobility system the Church enforced are eliminated.

I almost wonder if earlier drafts of that route had her taking down TWSITD and possibly even Nemesis, but it was cut out to give Claude something.
I'm not sure about what plans they had, but I like how they handled this actually.

Oh man I won't relapse, but basically: they're poorly written overall and the least we see them, the better.
 

Tochtli79

Member
Jun 27, 2019
1,247
Mexico City
So one thing I'm wondering based on that interview where they state the original plan was to have SS and CF only is, would Byleth and Edelgard have been the only lords of the game, or would SS have had Dimitri and Claude joining forces or maybe Rhea or Seteth as a full fledged lord? I guess it depends on how far they got into development before deciding on giving each house leader their own route.

I also agree with the above post about CF, it's why I would like a sequel based on it more than other routes.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
Two things that came to mind when speaking about sparing enemies instead of killing them:
Edelgard's Paralogue is all about protecting an Alliance border/city (Alliance which was just defeated), not assaulting anything.

Hubert's Paralogue is about rescuing a few TWISTED mages. You could argue it's because, well, "Edelgard bad", but still, it's not about mindless slaughter.
 

Morlas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
41,079
it actually kind of makes me sad that we didn't get the version that was just SS/CF because that means they both would've been more fleshed out probably
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
it actually kind of makes me sad that we didn't get the version that was just SS/CF because that means they both would've been more fleshed out probably
I dunno I'm not sure they really didn't want to do AM/VW at first. Most likely they simply started with SS/CF (which is why they both make the most sense despite their flaws) and then elaborated two other routes which would end up less thematically adequate due to, well, lack of time etc.
 

The Adder

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,068
Translation of some of the contents of the May 2020 Nintendo Dream interview with the dev staff


Confirms that Silver Snow was the first route, Crimson Flower came later because members of the Dev team wanted a side with Edelgard route. Unlocking said route was originally much harder as well.

Also, as I have said, and seen disputed time and again

Kusakihara said:
That said, Seiros and co. meddled with history not in order to rule over humans, but to quell the flames of war and chaos as much as possible, and to also keep a steady balance about humanity. As the library underground points out, the speed of civilization advancement was way too fast and so they wanted to suppress that, eh.
 

hipsterpants

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,605
So the interview translation has them saying that's there's still "secrets" they're not sharing? Are the mad lads going to give us a full prequel?
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,605
So the interview translation has them saying that's there's still "secrets" they're not sharing? Are the mad lads going to give us a full prequel?
That's honestly kind of what it sounds like. They've said Cindered Shadows was the final DLC. So assuming that's true, there's only so many ways those secrets could be explored further...
 

Rutger

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,820
I've never thought Rhea was outright malicious in manipulating history, just that the end result lead to suffering that could have been avoided.
It didn't prevent war and chaos because multiple wars still happen and the nobility system allowed TWSITD a ton of freedom to do whatever they wanted, all while anyone born without a crest would be seen as worthless. She could have used that time to build a better world, but that status quo was more useful for her to try and revive her mother.

Plus
Kusakihara: From the human perspective/side, Nemesis and the Ten Elites were heroes. As a result, ruling above humans, she would be unable to completely fabricate points that would deny every aspect of their history, eh. As a result, she left them as heroes while changing other parts in order to suit her own needs. That said, Seiros and co. meddled with history not in order to rule over humans, but to quell the flames of war and chaos as much as possible, and to also keep a steady balance about humanity. As the library underground points out, the speed of civilization advancement was way too fast and so they wanted to suppress that, eh.
"Ruling above humans" "not on order to rule over humans"
That's a bit funny, haha.
But it spells out how I feel about Rhea pretty well. Even if she didn't want to rule over humans at first, she ended up doing so anyway and so she is responsible for the suffering caused either directly or indirectly by her negligence.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
I've never thought Rhea was outright malicious in manipulating history, just that the end result lead to suffering that could have been avoided.
It didn't prevent war and chaos because multiple wars still happen and the nobility system allowed TWSITD a ton of freedom to do whatever they wanted, all while anyone born without a crest would be seen as worthless. She could have used that time to build a better world, but that status quo was more useful for her to try and revive her mother.

Plus

"Ruling above humans" "not on order to rule over humans"
That's a bit funny, haha.
But it spells out how I feel about Rhea pretty well. Even if she didn't want to rule over humans at first, she ended up doing so anyway and so she is responsible for the suffering caused either directly or indirectly by her negligence.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
 
Oct 28, 2019
1,015
Feel like playing this again after hearing that slapping OST again. What route to pick my friends? I've only played Dimitri thus far. Is the DLC worth picking up?
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
Feel like playing this again after hearing that slapping OST again. What route to pick my friends? I've only played Dimitri thus far. Is the DLC worth picking up?
Cindered Shadows is worth it for the new side story and the DLC characters. I recommend going Crimson Flower because it pairs well with Azure Moon. Also I feel that the DLC characters lean more towards the empire.

Crimson Flower only has 1 completely new map and is really short. Verdant Wind has 2.
On the flip side, Crimson Flower remixes all of the reappearing maps while most of the maps VW shares with AM are exactly the same.
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
Cindered Shadows is worth it for the new side story and the DLC characters. I recommend going Crimson Flower because it pairs well with Azure Moon. Also I feel that the DLC characters lean more towards the empire.



On the flip side, Crimson Flower remixes all of the reappearing maps while most of the maps VW shares with AM are exactly the same.
1) Balthus would side with Edelgard but he has strong ties with Golden Deer.
2) Constance is made for Crimson Flower.
3) Hapi would never side with a person allied to the people who experimented on her.
4) Yuri absolutely hates your guts in CF.
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
1) Balthus would side with Edelgard but he has strong ties with Golden Deer.
2) Constance is made for Crimson Flower.
3) Hapi would never side with a person allied to the people who experimented on her.
4) Yuri absolutely hates your guts in CF.
Hapi hates the church with a passion and doesn't know Cornelia is with TWSitD. Plus, Edelgard goes out of her way to ice Cornelia.
Yuri hates you in CF?? I've gotten to the Bridge of Myrden in CF and so far CF he's going along with the flow.
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
Hapi hates the church with a passion and doesn't know Cornelia is with TWSitD. Plus, Edelgard goes out of her way to ice Cornelia.
Yuri hates you in CF?? I've gotten to the Bridge of Myrden in CF and so far CF he's going along with the flow.
Hapi hates the church for the corruption not for the values they stand up for. She would agree in reforming the Church but not completely destroy it like Edelgard wants.
Hate is the wrong word sorry. Yuri is definitely less friendly in CF compared to other routes because Edelgard want to kill Rhea who has done nothing but good to him.
He only sides with Byleth because he knows he is the one who is going to win the war but at the end he falls for him anyway. He is definitely not a good choice in CF all things considered.
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
Hapi hates the church for the corruption not for the values they stand up for. She would agree in reforming the Church but not completely destroy it like Edelgard wants.
Hate is the wrong word sorry. Yuri is definitely less friendly in CF compared to other routes because Edelgard want to kill Rhea who has done nothing but good to him.
He only sides with Byleth because he knows he is the one who is going to win the war but at the end he falls for him anyway. He is definitely not a good choice in CF all things considered.
Specifically what Hapi hates about the church is their hypocrisy, how they say they want to help people but really don't. Edelgard wishes to destroy the church's political power but keep it as a religious institution because that's the part of the church that actually helps people, as per her support chain with Manuela. So Edelgard and Hapi are pretty aligned when it comes to the church.

So between Constance, Hapi and even Balthus being on board, if I had to pick one route to put them on I'd say CF, even if Yuri isn't particularly enthused. Plus Constance only gets her support with Jeritza on CF, so its the route with the most exclusive supports.
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
Specifically what Hapi hates about the church is their hypocrisy, how they say they want to help people but really don't. Edelgard wishes to destroy the church's political power but keep it as a religious institution because that's the part of the church that actually helps people, as per her support chain with Manuela. So Edelgard and Hapi are pretty aligned when it comes to the church.

So between Constance, Hapi and even Balthus being on board, if I had to pick one route to put them on I'd say CF, even if Yuri isn't particularly enthused. Plus Constance only gets her support with Jeritza on CF, so its the route with the most exclusive supports.
Constance has supports with Edelgard, Hapi with Dimitri and Balthus with Claude so they should actually all go in different routes.
Yuri is of course made for Silver Snow as that's the only route left./SPOILER]
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
If you wanna know where people stand, a good place to start is to talk to them during that special month in CF.

Yuri for example clearly states he’s only there because he wants to be on the winning side.

I can’t recall exactly what the other three say, but I’m fairly sure Hapi is all for it.
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
If you wanna know where people stand, a good place to start is to talk to them during that special month in CF.

Yuri for example clearly states he’s only there because he wants to be on the winning side.

I can’t recall exactly what the other three say, but I’m fairly sure Hapi is all for it.
Hapi is for it, she's just nervous about what will happen to Abyss during the attack.
Constance pestered Edelgard into telling her the whole story
Balthus is on board because if the nobility goes away then this mother will be free of his stepmother's plotting.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
Hapi is for it, she's just nervous about what will happen to Abyss during the attack.
Constance pestered Edelgard into telling her the whole story
Balthus is on board because if the nobility goes away then this mother will be free of his stepmother's plotting.
Yeah that’s more or less what I recalled. But my old man’s memory is kinda fuzzy :p

Thanks.
 

PBalfredo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,185
I’ve often said I think Crimson Flower makes the most thematic sense by a fair margin. I’ll try to summarize here my thoughts on the matter.

(please note I’ll recall here a number of in-game events and I hope I don’t misremember any of them, not to mention the possibility of mistranslations)
Multiple things could be said about the other routes, like how Azure Moon is all about blinding following an actual madman because he’s the rightful heir to the throne, all while disregarding pretty much every other aspect of the world to tell the tale of poor boy Dimitri, or how Verdant Wind is written like a Saturday morning cartoon with a cool lord cracking jokes left and right and coming up with Pinky and the Brain level of schemes (when it’s not his lazy retainer coming up with them herself), two feelings which seem comforted by the recent fan-translated interviews about how it initially was all about Silver Snow and Crimson Flower (Silver Snow which in my opinion is the closest route to make the most thematic sense, playing the tragedy card very well despite a number of shortcomings).

But I’ll mostly talk here about Crimson Flower.

There are multiple key parts here but I think the reason I’m writing this all boils down to what Sothis says in an otherwise rather secondary cutscene, that she wishes for Byleth to carve their own path, choose their own destiny, something which obviously is only possible if you play Black Eagles.

That’s kind of the keyword here. Byleth was a rather ordinary baby (their unusual mother notwithstanding) which would have been born dead if Rhea wouldn’t have transplanted Sothis crest stone from their otherwise dying mother. From that point on pretty much everything is setup. Rhea while maybe not thinking about that on the moment (we’ll never know that much detail it seems), quickly realizes it’s another opportunity for her long standing “experiments” to continue. Obviously Byleth has no say on the matter and saving a baby can only be lauded, but what happens afterwards if what’s interesting. She never tells their father what happened. Why the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat. What she did so save them. She didn’t even have to divulge her “experiments”, she could simply have said she used a powerful crest stone to save them, problem solved, Jeralt never leaves the monastery. But she didn’t. From the get got the child had multiple choices stripped out from them, being an ordinary human being, and knowing the truth about their extraordinary birth conditions. Byleth never has a choice expect to make a woefully uninformed choice of choosing which class to teach, something which in two cases out of three means they will never have to make another choice again. They will fulfill the destiny Rhea envisioned for their mother, even if it won’t turn-out 100% like what Rhea planned (but we know she was doing rather blind experiments to being with, and wasn’t sure herself on how those would turn out).

Which is why making the choice to disobey Rhea is so meaningful. It the one thing Byleth can do that his truly their choice. Following Rhea as Black Eagles leader is simply following what Rhea more-or-less planned to begin with.

But there’s so much more to it than that.

I’ve seen numerous people argue about the timing of the choice, how it should have been “explained more”, or how it should have been put before Edelgard’s attack. But that’s misreading a lot of things this game tells us. It makes sense for Byleth to try to stop Edelgard at first under the shock of the event, if only in the hope they could capture and interrogate her. And it makes sense that this choice is available when she is defeated (even if she still has a get-out-of-jail card to play). Rhea is the one asking you to kill her, reminding you that while she may not be in the position to give orders, she sees herself as in a position to give orders. Rhea embodies once again the powers that be. “Don’t discuss orders, obey”. And it makes sense that Edelgard would not ask Byleth directly for their help beforehand. She doesn’t even ask for their help at that moment, because she’s emotionally unable to. Every conversation up until that point hints to the fact that she would love Byleth to support her to the very end, but expects otherwise and as such rather prefers to “go with the flow” (of Byleth following Rhea) than ask and be disappointed by the answer, a rejection she knows she would struggle with.

It’s also very interesting to note that a major, admittedly somewhat hidden theme of Crimson Flower is sparing enemies. In all of part one, you’re never sent to capture bandits/rebels/whatever. You’re the church literal death squads. And here Rhea asks to kill again. Without trial. Without even trying to interrogate what is basically her archenemies (or at the very least their allies) she can’t get rid of for over a millennia. So choosing to spare Edelgard here can easily be read as “stop with the mindless killing”.

It’s important to note at that point that Edelgard clearly speaks of only attacking those who oppose her, and will offer surrendering to (almost) all her enemies during the Crimson Flower route, reminding us that she feels empathy, most likely because no matter what she suffered, she’s still human.

And the game tells us how both enemies would react when driven back to their last stand. In Azure Moon, when Edelgard has utterly lost (or technically is about to), as TWISTED will not be dealt with by Dimitri and the Church will continue to be the dominant power on the continent, she performs unholy rituals upon herself, she turns herself into a daemonic monster in a last attempt to turn the tides, and when defeated commits suicide by Dimitri to avoid further bloodshed (knowing splinter cells would likely try to free her if she surrendered). In all routes but Crimson Flower (and also in CF actually, but it’s not shown), Rhea “defends” the monastery by going full dragon rampage and demolishing most of it while fighting the imperial army, because she doesn’t really care as long as she can lash out. And of course at the end of Crimson Flower, when she knows her very life or at the very least her dear religion built on lies is at stake, she burns an entire city because “why the fuck not”. Because ultimately, she doesn’t value human life, or maybe just doesn't value life for that matter, if only for the few of her kind left (she still sends them to fight though, so she likely only cares about her mother in the end).

Where I’m going there is that in all routes but Crimson Flower, it’s all about being a force-of-nature (by sheer luck, as Byleth did nothing special to “deserve” the power of the goddess) who tramples the church’s foes while offering little mercy opportunities, whereas in Crimson Flower it’s all about leading a blitz as quickly as possible to minimize to number of casualties (that’s one of the main point as to why this route is so short), all while allowing enemies to surrender/escape because you’re still human despite borrowing the power of the goddess (a power you relinquish during the final cutscene, something which obviously echoes Edelgard stepping down from power at the end of the story, either because her lifespan was shortened, or because she simply did not actually want to become a “supreme ruler” but simply wanted to make the world a better place by reforming a faulty system, church included).

But it doesn’t end there.

There are also meta-reasons as to why this route makes so much sense. It all boils down to the “every side is kind of right” theme and what IS woefully failed to achieve with Fates’ Conquest campaign, which is to write a proper “bad guy” route.

Yes, you’re technically siding with the Red Emperor (which should I remind you was almost always “right”, if only for the fact that they declared war, and, as we all know, declaring wars is bad). And yes many things are questionable in that route, like how some of Edelgard claims are incorrect and how you’re technically the aggressor and so the driving force behind the war horrors. But that’s also why one of the first dialogs Byleth has with Edelgard is how her hand is shaking as she’s starting a war and understands countless people will die as a result. That’s why the tone of that route is so bittersweet; you know you’re fighting for the right things but need to do horrible things to achieve such results. It’s “Conquest done right”. It makes you feel bad that you have to kill Rodrigue and Dimitri. It makes you feel bad that you have to crush Claude’s dreams and send him back where he comes from. It makes you feel bad to see Flayn so disheartened that you chose to fight Rhea. But that’s why it feels good. You’re no longer the goody-two-shoes who always have the luxury of keeping the moral high-ground by being the heroic reactionary force. You’re part of those who want to enact change and ready to suffer for it. You’re not into some all-too-common power-fantasy of literally becoming the new local divinity, but are just a human with god-like powers who actively acts to relinquish said powers. Because as a wise man said, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That’s why it all works so well, it’s what IS thrived (and failed) to achieve before, it’s all about giving a broken person the wildest dream she’s too afraid to ask, it’s all about keeping our humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity, and it’s all about breaking free from the shackles of fate. Remember why I started writing this? Something about Sothis asking you to choose a path that is truly your own? That’s something you can do in Crimson Flower, and in Crimson Flower alone.

Thank you for reading.
I should also have added some tidbits about how it’s the only route where Dimitri has the chance to become what he always wanted to be, or more importantly how it’s the only route where Claude is actually clever and puts some impressive schemes, but I’ll leave it at that.
I definitely agree that Crimson Flower is the strongest route thematically. It's a large part of why I find myself returning to that route on further playthroughs. I enjoy the characters from the other routes too, but CF clicks together in a way the other routes don't.

A large part of it is that it's the one route you opt into beyond just choosing which house you wish to teach. I'm more bought into what's going on than in the other routes where Byleth is just sort of along for the ride and is mostly there to just be an effective commander. Just the fact that Byleth chose to walk the same path as Edelgard is just as big, if not bigger, than their contribution as a military leader. The effect is immediately felt seeing all the Black Eagles stick together through the timeskip.

The mechanics of how the player opts into Crimson Flower, by growing Edelgard's support level and being mindful of her during the school year, is also significant. Three Houses enjoys subverting a lot of the long running traditions and tropes of the series. Most of these things it completely turns on its head: holy bloodlines, legendary weapons, heroes of old, displaced noble princes, serene holy women and bloodthirsty emperors.

But the one Fire Emblem tradition that Three Houses plays completely straight is its emphasis on forging a bond between your characters, especially between the avatar and the house leaders. Forging that bond leads to the salvation of each of the house leaders in their respective routes. This is especially true for Edelgard and I think it means a lot that the requirement for going down the Crimson Flower path is to fully commit to the most enduring theme of Fire Emblem.

There is more to your post that I'd like to respond to but there is only so much I can type on my lunch break. Though you do raise an interesting point in how Rhea conspicuously doesn't tell Jeralt anything about how Byleth was born. She doesn't even give him the half-truth version that she gives at the end of Cindered Shadows. It goes to show how secretive she is. Rhea surrounds herself with people she has saved or are otherwise indebted to her, but she doesn't let any of them in, not even Seteth who is one of her kind. The only person she felt she owed an explaination to is Byleth at the end of Cindered Shadows, and even then it was a half-truth that left out a lot of her true intentions.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
I definitely agree that Crimson Flower is the strongest route thematically. It's a large part of why I find myself returning to that route on further playthroughs. I enjoy the characters from the other routes too, but CF clicks together in a way the other routes don't.

A large part of it is that it's the one route you opt into beyond just choosing which house you wish to teach. I'm more bought into what's going on than in the other routes where Byleth is just sort of along for the ride and is mostly there to just be an effective commander. Just the fact that Byleth chose to walk the same path as Edelgard is just as big, if not bigger, than their contribution as a military leader. The effect is immediately felt seeing all the Black Eagles stick together through the timeskip.

The mechanics of how the player opts into Crimson Flower, by growing Edelgard's support level and being mindful of her during the school year, is also significant. Three Houses enjoys subverting a lot of the long running traditions and tropes of the series. Most of these things it completely turns on its head: holy bloodlines, legendary weapons, heroes of old, displaced noble princes, serene holy women and bloodthirsty emperors.

But the one Fire Emblem tradition that Three Houses plays completely straight is its emphasis on forging a bond between your characters, especially between the avatar and the house leaders. Forging that bond leads to the salvation of each of the house leaders in their respective routes. This is especially true for Edelgard and I think it means a lot that the requirement for going down the Crimson Flower path is to fully commit to the most enduring theme of Fire Emblem.

There is more to your post that I'd like to respond to but there is only so much I can type on my lunch break. Though you do raise an interesting point in how Rhea conspicuously doesn't tell Jeralt anything about how Byleth was born. She doesn't even give him the half-truth version that she gives at the end of Cindered Shadows. It goes to show how secretive she is. Rhea surrounds herself with people she has saved or are otherwise indebted to her, but she doesn't let any of them in, not even Seteth who is one of her kind. The only person she felt she owed an explaination to is Byleth at the end of Cindered Shadows, and even then it was a half-truth that left out a lot of her true intentions.
I agree that Byleth more or less "goes with the flow" in other routes, but one thing I like about CF is how...
You’re not the leader, but the genius tactician.

In other routes you’re practically the leader. In AM because Dimitri is insane and you basically act in his stead. In VW because Claude doesn’t want to commit and bails out at the end the route. And in SS because, well, you’re the one one left 🤷‍♀️

But in CF, Edelgard is the leader. You may be her enabler but she’s the one leading the charge and you’re following her, much like some well known FE protagonists.

I dunno in other routes it just doesn’t feel right that you take command of the country just because that’s what Rhea wanted (even if it was happenstance that you ended up with Sothis crest stone in your heart).

It just makes so much more sense that someone like Byleth which for all we know only enjoys fighting would end up military counselor instead of supreme leader of the church.
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
I agree that Byleth more or less "goes with the flow" in other routes, but one thing I like about CF is how...
You’re not the leader, but the genius tactician.

In other routes you’re practically the leader. In AM because Dimitri is insane and you basically act in his stead. In VW because Claude doesn’t want to commit and bails out at the end the route. And in SS because, well, you’re the one one left 🤷‍♀️

But in CF, Edelgard is the leader. You may be her enabler but she’s the one leading the charge and you’re following her, much like some well known FE protagonists.

I dunno in other routes it just doesn’t feel right that you take command of the country just because that’s what Rhea wanted (even if it was happenstance that you ended up with Sothis crest stone in your heart).

It just makes so much more sense that someone like Byleth which for all we know only enjoys fighting would end up military counselor instead of supreme leader of the church.
Dimitri (even when crazy) is the one who decides what to do in Azure Moon, like Edelgard and Claude do in their own routes.
Byleth never decides anything in any route but Silver Snow.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
Dimitri (even when crazy) is the one who decides what to do in Azure Moon, like Edelgard and Claude do in their own routes.
Byleth never decides anything in any route but Silver Snow.
True but ...
IIRC Byleth is the reason Reunion at Dawn happens, you’re basically the one person holding the group together (even if Dimitri’s childhood friends follow him out of a sense of loyalty, etc). Byleth is much more of a driving force in those routes, whereas in CF beyond Edelgard waiting for Byleth return, the BE students all waged war on behalf of their Emperess with no need for Byleth (even if Byleth is kind of the reason students "switched sides" in the first place).
 

Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
True but ...
IIRC Byleth is the reason Reunion at Dawn happens, you’re basically the one person holding the group together (even if Dimitri’s childhood friends follow him out of a sense of loyalty, etc). Byleth is much more of a driving force in those routes, whereas in CF beyond Edelgard waiting for Byleth return, the BE students all waged war on behalf of their Emperess with no need for Byleth (even if Byleth is kind of the reason students "switched sides" in the first place).
Nah. They stay with Edelgard because the professor is there.
 
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HBK

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Oct 30, 2017
3,338

PBalfredo

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Oct 26, 2017
2,185
While some of them, like Caspar, flock to the Professor during the confusion of the Holy Tomb, they stay together with Edelgard over the five years.

I agree that Byleth more or less "goes with the flow" in other routes, but one thing I like about CF is how...
You’re not the leader, but the genius tactician.

In other routes you’re practically the leader. In AM because Dimitri is insane and you basically act in his stead. In VW because Claude doesn’t want to commit and bails out at the end the route. And in SS because, well, you’re the one one left 🤷‍♀️

But in CF, Edelgard is the leader. You may be her enabler but she’s the one leading the charge and you’re following her, much like some well known FE protagonists.

I dunno in other routes it just doesn’t feel right that you take command of the country just because that’s what Rhea wanted (even if it was happenstance that you ended up with Sothis crest stone in your heart).

It just makes so much more sense that someone like Byleth which for all we know only enjoys fighting would end up military counselor instead of supreme leader of the church.
I think this point is more true for the endings than it is for during the routes themselves. Dimitri ignores pretty much everything Byleth says while he's on the war path to Enbarr and Claude's plans are put into action even if he doesn't put himself in the spotlight.

Then the ending arrives and, guess what, you're the archbishop / supreme leader of Fodlan now! Which I always found weird and jarring. And seeing that play out in Claude's S support scene in VW left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

In the scene, he just surprises her with this, right before the coronation. That's a lot of responsibility to spring on someone without discussing it first. Understandably, her only response is "I can't be a ruler."

He smooths over that concern and then goes into his marriage proposal. During which he mentions how he saw her as someone whose power he could use for his advantage, but now that's different.

That's nice to say, but what he's doing right then - crowning her as the leader of Fodlan while he leaves to become king of Almyra, returning later to unite the two countries by marriage - that's still using her to accomplish his dreams.

I don't doubt he loves Byleth. But marriage is suppose to be a partnership and already it's all about what he wants and Byleth is just expected to go along with it. At no point does he ask her if any of this is okay.

It's quite a contrast to Edelgard, who asks Byleth constantly if this is the path they wish to take.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
While some of them, like Caspar, flock to the Professor during the confusion of the Holy Tomb, they stay together with Edelgard over the five years.



I think this point is more true for the endings than it is for during the routes themselves. Dimitri ignores pretty much everything Byleth says while he's on the war path to Enbarr and Claude's plans are put into action even if he doesn't put himself in the spotlight.

Then the ending arrives and, guess what, you're the archbishop / supreme leader of Fodlan now! Which I always found weird and jarring. And seeing that play out in Claude's S support scene in VW left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

In the scene, he just surprises her with this, right before the coronation. That's a lot of responsibility to spring on someone without discussing it first. Understandably, her only response is "I can't be a ruler."

He smooths over that concern and then goes into his marriage proposal. During which he mentions how he saw her as someone whose power he could use for his advantage, but now that's different.

That's nice to say, but what he's doing right then - crowning her as the leader of Fodlan while he leaves to become king of Almyra, returning later to unite the two countries by marriage - that's still using her to accomplish his dreams.

I don't doubt he loves Byleth. But marriage is suppose to be a partnership and already it's all about what he wants and Byleth is just expected to go along with it. At no point does he ask her if any of this is okay.

It's quite a contrast to Edelgard, who asks Byleth constantly if this is the path they wish to take.
I dunno the feeling I get is that Byleth is much more central to the stories of the other routes than in CF...
Which kind of makes sense as in these routes Byleth is technically next in line to be the new archbishop. whereas in CF they’re just a valuable counselor (and a powerful unit, but with little influence, even if technically no choice you can make matter, except choosing one of the four routes of course).
Edit:
Byleth is important to Edelgard before the timeskip. When she needs to realize she can hope beyond relying on TWISTED. But they’re important to the other lords after the timeskip, to Dimitri to save him from his madness, and to Claude to "unhinge" him (I can’t find the right words 🤷‍♀️).
 
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Redhead

Member
Aug 20, 2019
1,111
I dunno the feeling I get is that Byleth is much more central to the stories of the other routes than in CF...
Which kind of makes sense as in these routes Byleth is technically next in line to be the new archbishop. whereas in CF they’re just a valuable counselor (and a powerful unit, but with little influence, even if technically no choice you can make matter, except choosing one of the four routes of course).
Yeah but they become Archbishop at the end of the route, until then they're just a counselor.
The focus on Dimitri and Claude in their routes is the same as Edelgard's in CF.
Also you're reading too much into CF. The devs themselves said it's just a bonus route where you play as the villain.
 

HBK

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,338
Yeah but they become Archbishop at the end of the route, until then they're just a counselor.
The focus on Dimitri and Claude in their routes is the same as Edelgard's in CF.
Also you're reading too much into CF. The devs themselves said it's just a bonus route where you play as the villain.
Sorry for discussing the game 🤷‍♀️