These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
How to beat The Black Knight in Radiant Dawn: give Ike a damn Hammer. Wait two turns. Even without a hammer, he's still a fairly easy boss, especially when compared to Deghinsea, Sephiran, and Ashera. The hardest part of that fight is keeping him alive long enough for your other characters to get the Wishblade from Levail. No doubt as payback to the insanity of the first duel in Path of Radiance. It's entirely luck-based.
Oliver in Path of Radiance. He's actually far better as a player unit in Radiant Dawn.
If she can avoid being shot down by bows on the way across the map, Elincia can charge straight up to Ludveck and use her just-obtained Infinity+1 Sword to carve him up in one round. (On easy and normal mode, at least.) Haar can also slaughter him with a Hammer.
Shiharam, mainly because almost no one survives once Ike uses Aether.
Dragons can't do ranged attacks in PoR, which sucks for Ena as she can be easily pounded into the ground with Thunder magic.
Petrine's not actually that weak overall, but her Magic stat is low and she comes equipped with a Magic Lance that isn't all that good to begin with. It makes for a somewhat dissapointing boss fight. It's really too bad, since as shown here Petrine can actually be a fairly serious threat if properly equipped.
Awesome Music: Some of the best music in the Fire Emblem franchise comes from this game.
Both games start with great Opening Themes. Path of Radiance starts with a rather short one, but it sets the mood for game perfectly. Randiant Dawn on the other hand, is longer and more bombastic, which also fits the game's narrative to a T.
Makalov. The fans either love him for his jerkassery, his pink hair, and orange armor. Or hate him for his jerkassery, his pink hair, and orange armor.
Stat-wise: Edward. He's either one of the best characters in the game, or one of the worst. His usefulness gererally depends on what difficulty you're playing. (Part 1 on Hard Mode really isn't kind to Magikarp Power characters.)
Micaiah. This girl has some of the most dedicated haters in fandom, and the people who love her will rabidly defend her to the death. Then there's the less vocal third "we like her, but we can see why people have issues with her" group which is sadly drowned out by both the rabid haters and rabid defenders alike.
Breather Boss: Hetzel, who only uses staves in the first part of 4F.
Canon Sue: Averted with Micaiah. She possesses many characteristics of a Mary Sue, but she is not loved or respected by everyone in-universe (far from it, actually - although most of them with the exception of Soren eventually like her) and in fact commits several critical mistakes that Sothe does call her out for. It's played straight with Ike in Radiant Dawn however, given that he clearly doesn't struggle with any potential obstacles in the course of the plot and commands the respect of literally everyone not named Micaiah (at first) or any of the main villains. But due to the fandom's tendency to gauge a character's worth based on battle potential, Micaiah gets a lot more heat for this.
Complete Monster: Ashnard definitely qualifies. However, since lots of people don't really pay attention tohisgoals and assume he's a Generic Doomsday Villain, he's not really remembered as such. In Radiant Dawn, Lekain and Izuka are obvious examples.
Crosses the Line Twice: The boss of the Radiance chapter "Solo" is holding the unarmed population of a monastery hostage to gain leverage and some human shields. He is the most hilariously, unapologetically vile man your army has personally met thus far, and he seals it with his death quote:
Schaeffer:"...Gwaar... Haaaarr... Haaaaaa... Shoulda brought... more priests... Or some... babies... Dang..."
Double Standard: Naesala's severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is a result of Begnion holding power over him with a blood pact. He knows that betraying his allies is wrong, but does it all for the sake of his country. Micaiah is as much Necessary Evil and commits many mistakes for the same reasons as Naesala, but the "CANON SUE!!!111" and "BITCH" screams from the fans can be heard from miles away whenever she appears. Naesala of course is never criticized by the fandom for his actions.
The aforementioned comparison between Micaiah and Ike also qualifies. Both possess their fair share of Sue traits in Radiant Dawn, but Ike does not make any mistakes, struggle in any conflicts, or slide into graying morality territory (although the former two statements could not be said of him in Path of Radiance). Guess who gets a lot more criticism for being a Canon Sue.
Mia due to her personality and being a myrmidon (the fandom's favorite characters all seem to come from this class).
Heather in Radiant Dawn, due to being one of the few new characters with personality and Girl on Girl Is Hot.
Nephenee also has a significant following, due to her being a Shrinking Violet farm girl. She's also popular for being the first playable Soldier, as well as having extremely good growth rates that she'll mostly always ending up as a battle juggernaut that mows everything in her path and either dodges like crazy or No Sell any incoming attacks.
Speaking of Soldiers, in a non-character example, the Tellius incarnation of the Soldier class as a competent playable class and its promoted forms, Halberdier and Sentinel, seem largely beloved. Improving Soldiers and creating and inserting Halberdiers (of varying levels ofgraphical quality) has become a very common practice in the Game Mod community for the GBA trilogy, and the lack of this form of Soldier in Fire Emblem Awakening was much bemoaned.
And we can't forget 3-13 Archer. He's just a random Archer who (instead of just waiting to die like everyone else) jumps off his ballista to fight Laguz before he dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. He has quite the fandom because of this.
Laguz Royals in Radiant Dawn, Ike in both games, and most tier 3 characters in the sequel. To specify, there are now 60 levels to grow up, and each 20 levels you go up a "tier" (which the game calls a "class change"), and get preset stat bonuses (contrasting normal level ups, where it's random). In the other games, there were only two tiers. Now there are 3, and even though most of your units come in tier 2 anyway, their stats become so ridiculous that many people consider the Endgame the easiest part of the game.
Goddamned Boss: Sephiran's oddly low HP (50) for a late-game boss is to lull you into a false sense of security. Thanks to Mantle, he's healing 40 of that every turn, so essentially the only way to subdue him is to gang up everyone and take him out in one turn. You also need Nihil on those who will attack him if you don't want him to Corona-bomb someone to death. However, he's got another dirty trick that is almost literally cheating: those magic spirit mooks always standing adjacent to him? They have an unadvertised Guard skill that will start directing attacks away from Sephiran when his HP is low. You have to remove all four of them before you can finish the job. Do this too slowly, and he'll use Rewarp to move somewhere else. Rude and rather lame, but it makes sense in context; he's a Death Seeker. Another thing is up to this point, almost every enemy has very low amounts of luck; they might feel overpowered, but their hit and dodge aren't as good as advertised, and they won't get the critical hits with regular weapons that your units will. Sephiran has plenty of luck.
Harsher in Hindsight: Many lines in the first game are painfully ironic after playing the second. But since the game's data makes it obvious the developers already had the plot of the sequel in mind when they wrote the first game, this was probably intentional. Examples include:
Rhys: [In the epilogue] "Finally...it's finally over. At long last, we can return to a life without war. Praise the goddess." (Not only is an even worse war coming, but it's all caused by said Goddess! Or, at least, by a guy who'll stop at nothing to wake her up...)
On that note, the last words of Sephiran's Sequel Hook in the first game: "It appears your trials are just beginning, my gallant, young hero... May the goddess ride with you." end up sounding really dark when you realize said goddess is the final boss, and Sephiran knows this better than anyone. So in other words, it's not so much a 'good luck' as it is a death threat.)
Many of your party's interactions with Oliver and especially Naesala. Playing the first game alone gives you the impression Naesala is an utterly horrid man who eventually serves as an ally of convenience because you helped one of the few people he genuinely likes and justifies his serial puppy-punting with vague statements about how much his nation is relying on him. Once Blood Pacts are introduced, though, you realize this is far more literal than it sounds. Oliver is a bit more subtle, but note how he always talks about "protecting" Reyson after buying him as a slave. Just what he tells himself so he can sleep at night, right? Nope, he's totally sincere, and what's more it's implied he of all the Senators was left out of the loop on who really signed the Heron Clan's death warrant.
Micaiah: Right. Lord Ike, "hero" of the Crimean Liberation, leader of the Greil Mercenaries, and father of Sothe's children...
Hoist By Her Own Petard: Ashera. If you managed to get your hands on a Lehran with a blessed weapon, he becomes the best way to defeat her. Why? Because Lehran has Mantle: a skill which stops attacks by weapons not blessed by Yune. This skill represents Ashera's Blessing, which he received a thousand years ago. Now look at Ashera's inventory. See any weapons blessed by Yune?
I Knew It: The Black Knight's true identity of Zelgius, as well as Bertram being a Brainwashed and Crazy Renning. Thanks to the magic of hacking Radiance and examining unused files and dummy data, many saw these coming a mile away, although Ranulf spoils the former in Dawn for those who didn't.
It's Hard, so It Sucks: The GameSpot reviewer said that the game was insanely hard, even on Easy Mode, which contributed to the badly received low score. Up until then, every Fire Emblem was made easier for international release. This one wasn't, except for including some new weapons, and making promotion and forging weapons less of a hassle.
It really didn't help that the Japanese Normal, Hard, and Maniac modes were renamed Easy, Normal, and Hard in the localization. It's quite likely that many reviewers avoided playing Easy out of pride, not realising they were jumping straight into the Japanese Hard. (Likewise, the English Hard was actually a Harder Than Hard mode in the Jp. version, which explains why it's so brutal compared to the HM of earlier games.)
Jerkass Woobie: Soren combines this with Stoic Woobie. He's rude, harsh, brutally honest, and doesn't care for anyone, but he has a damn good reason to be this way.
Danved is certainly not Devdan. He also fights like ten men.
"Give them a sound thrashing!"
Moe: Mist, Ilyana, Astrid, Amy, Micaiah, and Sanaki. A lot of people think this of Rhys as well. Soren could be, but that might just be something else.
An interesting quirk of this is that Sanaki's "moe appeal" is in-universe, and gets invoked by Lekain as he explains just how Sanaki was used as a tool by the Senate. It ultimately ends up bordering on deconstruction, since her moe appeal has, without her even realizing it, made her life and the lives of many others hell:
Lekain: In an unprecedented move by the senators, we elevated Sephiran to prime minister, keeping him serving as close to you as possible. This plan, radical as it was, proved far more effective than we dared dream. A young, handsome prime minister and an adorable moppet of an apostle brought the people's support to incredible new heights. Apparently, the common citizenry is gullible enough to blindly follow any leaderwho is sufficiently attractive. Enamored as they were, no one ever seemed to care whether or not you could hear the voice of the goddess. With the new apostle and prime minister, the political landscape became unrecognizable. Even in the face of overtly unreasonable legislation, the two of you would stand on the balcony... a smile and a wave later, the people would cheer and go on with their happy lives.
In fact, because the Serenes Massacre is what caused Sephiran to cross the Despair Event Horizon, Lekain is pretty much indirectly responsible for everything.
Ashnard crossed it when he abandoned his lover, took his son hostage in order to lure in the boy's uncle whom he turned into a mount, and then abandoned his son after that.
Valtome does it twice, starting by ordering his men into the Kauku Caves (almost certain death) purely to "retrieve corpses" in 3-8. In 3-10, in case there was any doubt, ordering his soldiers (a hell of a lot of men) to attack the unarmed Queen Elincia, who has just managed to avert a major battle between Begnion and the Laguz Alliance.
Naesala seems to cross, and is indeed considered to have crossed in-universe, when he has all fighting-age males in Phoenicis executed. But it's a subversion; Naesala was under a Blood Pact, and we all know what that entails.
Some of the voiceovers in the scenes in Radiant Dawn's English version. Especially Deghinsea's. There was what was intended to be a very serious scene showcasing Lehran's plight, but Deghinsea's voice actor decided to play Large Ham and whatever was intended to be serious in the scene vanished in thin air.
Deghinsea: "Hold, hold I say!"
The voice acting on the whole is rather bad: with the emotion levels going up and down at random points (pretty much every cutscene Tibarn is in sounds forehead-slappingly stupid due to the unnecessarily large levels of ham andDull Surprise the actor injects into the performance). Only a few scenes, like the ending of Path of Radiance, manage to nail it and carry any sort of emotional weight.
Ilyana's death. "I'm dying...on an empty stomach."
The flashback with Ike as a child. Because whoever was doing his voice was not told that IKE WAS A FRICKEN CHILD. Hilarious to watch.
Nightmare Fuel: spoilers: The basement of Gritnea Tower. Or rather, a dungeon filled with Laguz corpses. The description alone is bad enough, but the CG image shown to accompany it...
Soren is the most obvious example, although admittedly he loses some of his stoicism in the scenes that make him the most Woobie-like. Except for his Path of Radiance B Support with Ike.
After making his promise that there shall be no great war, Dheginsea is not only forced to hide Lehran from the world and persecute the branded, but also sit idle as the Laguz are forced into slavery, since the Dragons interfering would cause said war. Then Ashnard has an affair with his daughter, uses their child to draw out and kill his eldest, and then warps a brigade of red dragons into Feral Ones. Dheg still remains neutral. Then a great war happens anyway, and his only remaining child Kurthnaga joins the war. He still remains neutral. By the end of Radiant Dawn, Dheg has lost a child, had the other two turn against him, the majority of his people killed, discoved that everything he did to prevent war was completely unnecessary in the first place, and his hundreds of years of neutrality torn down before his eyes, and all he could do to validate his actions was to continue to uphold his promise, even in the face of Armageddon and the objections of everyone around him.
If nothing else, Dheginsea is statistically fearsome: 100 HP, outrageous stats (six of them maxed out), a skill (Mantle) that stops your skills, renders him immune to non-blessed weapons, and heals him for 30 HP every turn; and to top it off, a mastery skill (Ire) that just plain kills you, period. The good news is, by this point you've had a chance to get three copies of Nihil, which you can simply slap on your three strongest units to even the odds. The bad news is, you're still having to fend off his countrymen in the meantime, and they are no slouches. Another strike against Dheginsea is that (like all the rest of the enemies) he will never retaliate against Kurthnaga or Ena. Not that this helps you anyway, since those two are lucky to damage him at all.
In Path of Radiance, defeating the Black Knight is more or less a matter of luck, unless you've gotten Mist leveled up reaaaaaal well. And even then you have to do it in just four turns, which is harder than it sounds.
The generic support conversations in Radiant Dawn were not very well-liked after four straight games of interesting, detailed ones. A fan project was started to create support conversations in the vein of those seen in previous games. Link here.
The loss of the mercenary and hero classes was also met with complaining, although Ike basically counts as one in all but name, especially in the sequel.
Astarte's status in the game could be viewed as this, but if anyone cared, it'd probably be for Sadly Mythtaken reasons. The translators renamed her Ashera, though, so unfortunate implications abound when she's used for the church stand in.
When you recruit Tauroneo, he asks Ike before fighting him if he has any brothers or sisters. Ike says he has one sister, so Tauroneo decides not to fight Ike because he wouldn't want Greil's skills to go to waste. Mist is a healer in the game, but it seems a weirdly sexist assumption for Tauroneo to make that she wouldn't know any sword techniques like Ike, especially since there are plenty of female units in the game.