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Headscratchers is for post-viewing discussion and is thus Spoilers Off. Beware of unmarked spoilers.

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    Why are there armies now? 
  • Why do they have any army when back last few game it is just you and a few people.
    • The series has always implied, and in some cases shown, that the heroes have larger armies, but that your playable units make up the core of the army.
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    Claude in the Church of Seiros route 
  • In the Church of Seiros route, where is Claude? Byleth has to kill Edelgard onscreen and Dimitri is confirmed to have died offscreen, but did the game ever say what happened to Claude or do we just assume he died? He usually leaves Fódlan to avoid dying in the conflict.
    • It's stated that Claude goes missing after a major battle.
      • So does that mean Claude just went back home, since Claude is capable of escaping with little problem?

    The Crests of the Four Saints mechanics 
  • How do the Crests of the Four Saints work? Cichol and Cethleann were father and daughter, so does that mean that anyone descended from Cethleann has a chance of inheriting either Crest? Are any of the bearers of the Crests really descended from the Four Saints, since they're the survivors of genocide and, at best, wary of humans? Is Linhardt really descended from Cethleann, since Cethleann actually looks younger than him?
    • A bit of guesswork on my part, but it seems like each of the children of the goddess had their own unique Crest, regardless of parentage (think of it like a magical fingerprint), which is why Cichol and Cethleann have completely different ones. Then we get to the humans who bear Crests, who apparently received it from a Saint specifically, and so can only pass on the specific Crest they received through their bloodline. So, the descendants of the first human to receive Cethleann's Crest can't inherit Cichol's, and vice-versa.

     Cethleann's lack of descendants 
  • Speaking of Cethleann, how can anyone bear her crest considering that in her supports with Claude, Flayn (AKA Cethleann herself) claims that she never married or had any children (which seems believable considering her general innocence as well as Papa Wolf Seteth's protectiveness of her). Seteth/Cichol himself for that matter also doesn't seem to have had any children other than Flayn/Cethleann. How can people be their descendants, then?
    • Children of the Goddess can pass Crests through blood transfusion (and it seems to be a much more guaranteed thing than the experiments done to forcibly awaken a Crest in a human), as we get to see with Rhea passing on the Crest of Seiros to Jeralt. Presumably the same thing happened to the first Emperor, who also had the Crest of Seiros, as well as the supposed "descendants" of the Four Saints (or rather, three of them, we never see anyone bearing a Crest of Macuil). Though I've never seen them myself, I've read that Flayn's support with Linhardt (who bears a Crest of Cethleann) has her telling him that no, he isn't descended from the Saint at all.

     Byleth not using Divine Pulse 
  • In the Blue Lions route, why doesn't Byleth use a Divine Pulse to save Rodrigue's life when he jumps in the way of an assassin's blade to protect Dimitri? It's already been established in the plot that Byleth can use Divine Pulse to save their own life, and they attempted to use it to save Jeralt, which only failed due to Thales's interference.
    • It's possible they predicted Rodrigue's death was necessary for Dimitri to see what his obsession with revenge causes. Recall that Rodrigue entrusted Dimitri to them in a way that screamed "I may not be around to help him and I'm okay with that". Or, alternately, they decided it had to be done to save Dimitri's life — only moments before, he was declaring his intention to push on after Edelgard despite his injuries, which directly gets him killed in the Golden Deer route. If he's too shocked and grieving to chase her, it's sad, but better than him dying.

    "Those who slither in the dark" not destroying Enbarr 
  • At the end of the Black Eagles route, why don't "those who slither in the dark" just destroy Enbarr with their missiles? Edelgard doesn't make much of a secret that she hates them and plans to wipe them out after she overthrows the Church of Seiros, so isn't the logical course of action to let her take out their mutual enemy, then blow their moribund, rebellious minion off the face of whatever the planet they're on is called? Especially since by the end, she's their only potential rival in Fódlan?
    • Its possible that having destroyed one city already as a gesture of petty vengeance, they didn't have enough weapons at the ready to do so again so soon.
      • In the Golden Deer route, they deploy five more missiles shortly after that first one, so that doesn't seem to be the case.
      • If that's the case then it could be seen as simply extreme arrogance. As Hubert notes in a paralogue, they don't regard Edelgard and her companions as any real threat to them, and intend to keep using them as long as they can. Also we don't know exactly what they did or didn't do against Edelgard, as the route ends before the war with them commences.
    • One possibility I've heard is that Thales is the only one who knows how to use the missiles, and since he is currently watching the battle take place in Enbarr he doesn't have the time to go back and use the missiles. Course it was his decision to show up there, so the question still remains.
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     Why fight in the burning city at all? 
  • Toward the end of the Black Eagles Route why do we even have to go into the burning city to fight Rhea in the first place? Yes, setting the city on fire gives the Knights of Seiros an edge since Edelgard can't send in her full army, but the thing is they set fire to the city before Edelgard has actually entered it, so it doesn't serve well as a trap. I don't recall any explanation being given for why we can't just wait for the fire to burn out and then finish off whatever enemies in the city survived. If we were entering to save civilians it'd be one thing, but that's not given as a reason.
    • The whole burning of Enbarr basically happens for plot convience. Rhea goes from Well-Intentioned Extremist to Stupid Evil to give last-minute vindication to Edelgard conquering two other countries and destroying a religion she didn't like. There's no good in-story reason for anything that happens at that point.
    • The dialogue made it clear that Edelgard and the Black Eagles marched into the city to stop Rhea from doing even more damage. Besides, to Rhea it makes sense, it's a chance for her to kill Byleth.
    • Running into a burning city to fight there is a stupid idea. The reasonable thing to do would be to surround the city with your army, kill any enemy soldier who tried to flee, and wait until the fire has burned itself out. Running into the middle of a burning city to fight is a ludicrous case of Hollywood Tactics. Even saying they need to get Rhea doesn't make any sense; they note before the battle that Rhea only controls Fhirdiad, so where would she even go to? What could she accomplish even if she did run away if all of her allies and supporters are dead? And Rhea's decision not only doesn't make sense, as the initial post points out, to light your own position on fire before the enemy is there, but it's also a case of Character Derailment. Rhea's supposed to be a well-intentioned character, and uses force against people who threaten her but is protective of the people on her side and only uses force in retaliation. The end of Crimson Flower has her commit mass murder against her own people in a way that can only help her enemies, and the only justification given is that Rhea is now crazy and thus commits mass murder for no reason. And this means that Edelgard gets vindication for her Fantastic Racism against Nabateans, thus furthering Crimson Flower's theme of Edelgard never having to aknowledge, confront, suffer for, or grow past her character flaws.
    • Is this supposed to be an answer to someone's question of why the Black Eagles are going to fight in a burning city, or just a reason to rant about your least favorite route? Right, to keep this on topic, the entire holy kingdom of Faerghus is allied with Rhea, if the Black Eagles don't kill her now, Rhea could just fly over to another area of the kingdom, since she's in her dragon form and form a base there, Dimitri's uncle is most likely alive and will support her for example. It's made clear that Rhea will do anything to kill Byleth, and that according to NPC dialogue has lost herself to her own bloodlust, hence why many, including her own family are willing to flee, so to her, burning Fhirdiad makes sense, because she knows Byleth will come to her. Plus Rhea has no reason to care for anyone who isn't in her army. It's made clear Rhea's flaw is that she cannot truly connect with people, so she has no reason to care for civilians over her hatred for Byleth. Crimson Flower Rhea is obsessed with killing Byleth, she's not White Clouds Rhea, that's made clear in this route. Additionally Rhea doesn't burn the ones in her army, she keeps Cyril, Catherine alive and the Blue Lions alive and not horribly burned. So basically, to answer the OP's original question, i'm pretty sure the idea is that Edelgard and the Black Eagles charged into the burning city, despite the tactical disadvantage to stop Rhea from doing anymore damage to the Kingdom and the rest of Fódlan.

    The Flame Emperor and the bandits 
  • Why does the Flame Emperor hire the bandits at the start of the game? From what little we hear their only order was to kill a bunch of nobles, but given who the Flame Emperor is revealed to be the whole thing doesn't make much sense. Edelgard didn't want all nobles killed, let alone random students, she just wants useless nobles removed from power. That the heirs of the nations ended up getting targeted seemed coincidental, and moreover Edelgard herself would have ended up killed by a bandit she hired if Byleth hadn't intervened (unless she was just feigning vulnerability in that scene).
    • Because while the bandits didn't necessarily know that Claude or Dimitri were in the group, Edelgard most likely did. Or to put it this way; if one of the bandits ended up being captured and interrogated, which do you think would be more likely to blow Edelgard's cover? The prisoner revealing that they were hired to specifically kill the heirs to the Kingdom and the Alliance, or the prisoner only admitting that someone wanted them to kill a bunch of nobles regardless of affiliation?
    • I think the idea is that Edelgard planned to have Dimitri and Claude killed so that she would be able to achieve her later goals with much less bloodshed(After all leaderless countries, especially Alliance, would pretty much peacefully give itself to Empire without a leader), and without help from TWSITD(After all she only does start fully working with them only after the bandits fail the "Plan A"). That's why she made sure that herself and the two would be separated from other students at the moment, so that others aren't hurt. However, Claude ruined her plan by starting to suddenly run away(As revealed by both Dimitri and Edelgard being annoyed at him for it), which led to them meeting Byleth and whole situation getting a bit out of Edelgard's control(Which ended up in her almost getting killed herself).
    • Another theory is that the attack wasn't to kill any of them but humiliate the original professor that was there in the hopes that they'd be fired for cowardice (which happened) and get Jeritza who was part of their group to replace them as one of the house professors and presumably the Black Eagles. This would not only give Edelgard a useful spy but also mean she'd really be calling the shots as far as what their class did and went letting her manuever them as her plan needed. But Jeralt and Byleth showing up meant Byleth got the job instead.

    Why make them heroes? 
  • Near the end of Golden Deer, we learn that Nemesis and the Ten Elites were actually bandits who murdered Sothis and her manakete offspring in cold blood and even used their body parts to make weapons which would later become the Relics. The Church of Seiros hid the truth, instead lionizing them as heroes, in order to encourage the use of Crests and Relics among the population. But... why? How does this help Rhea in any way, except perhaps by promiting a vague notion of social stability (considering Miklan's case, it doesn't even do that)? More importantly, why would someone so dangerously unstable and revenge-obsessed as Seiros not only choose to hide the atrocities done to her and her people, but actually spread lies idealizing the perpetrators as great heroes? Wouldn't she rather see their names universally demonized, or even erased from history altogether? And how in the hell has she managed to live on perpetuating that lie for centuries, yet still fails to let go of the past?
    • I've only played through one route thus far, so others may be able to give more full answers. However, my impression is that Rhea's persona as the kind woman who seeks the prosperity and peace of Fódlan is just as genuine as her revenge-obsessed Seiros side, and that indeed she normally keeps her darker tendencies in check, only giving into those fierce urges when truly pressed and broken (her Seiros side is outright treated almost like a split personality). Seiros wanted to revive her mother, yes, but she also wanted to prevent another dangerous, technologically-advanced human civilization from developing and ravaging Fódlan with war. To do that, she needed some substantial ways to motivate people, so making the relics part of the goddess's blessings made them into physical things successive generations could look at as evidence of her power, and in turn those relics could be used to enforce the church's will. Likewise, making the elites the heroic progenitors of many of the crest bloodlines meant that crest powers would be seen more positively among the people, and would give the church more power to provide guidance on societal development. Remaking the origins of the relics also meant she could hide that humans were capable of creating such mighty weapons. Sure, she could have tried to destroy the weapons, but that may have been an abhorrent idea to her, as they are among the few things left of most of her kin.
    • Rhea/Seiros is not a total monster, unless she's pushed to her limits. She's absolutely ruthless to those who raise arms against her, but is also very quick to accept people who don't, even if they clearly don't buy into her crap (some people in the academy flat-out say they're atheists, and get no discrimination, which you would expect an authoritarian church to employ). The war against Nemesis took almost a century to come to its conclusion (the final battle was in the year 91, in a calendar where year 1 is the founding of the Empire, which happened after the Ten Elites already existed), so Rhea covering up the origins of the Crests probably saved the lives of many children and grandchildren of the Ten Elites, some of which probably never took arms against the Empire or the Church. Had she not done so, all of the Crest-bearers would probably have fates similar to that of Marianne (her Crest is considered a curse, and she was persecuted for it her whole life, making her suicidally depressed). It's also worth noting that, while we think of the Church as something that Seiros created, the religion around her formed on its own; she only had partial control over it as Archbishop (just look at all the different branches that were spawned from the Central Church). Had she not spread that lie, it would probably become religious dogma to hunt down those people like animals instead.
    • Rhea in either the Verdant Wind or Silver Snow Routes makes no mention of wanting to spare the descendants, if anything, it's more likely she wanted the crests to spread is because she wanted to have Sothis be revered as a goddess, and to have control over the nobility of Fódlan, which syncs up with her dialogue and actions.

    Kronya's plan 
  • Why did Kronya infiltrate the academy to begin with? She speaks of Jeralt interfering with her plans, but never says what those plans were. She didn't seriously think turning a few students into demonic beasts would be enough to take over the monastery, did she? And considering her replacing Monica was something that was at least a year in the planning, the results seem rather basic and without any clear goal. Even her fellow Those Who Slither in the Dark seem to think nothing of her infiltration attempt, only wanting to use her as fuel for a powerful spell.
    • Her goal was probably to keep turning students into beasts, until she had enough to actually take over the place. Her plan was cut short because she was found out, hence the "you ruined my plans" (honestly, she was pretty bad at infiltration in general, who didn't suspect her the moment they saw her utter her first words as "Monica"?). The plan to use her as bait seems to only have been made after she blew her cover, and gave Byleth a very good reason to want to hunt her down specifically. Basically, she had an OK plan (which she probably was ordered to do, and didn't come up with on her own), but was too much of a psycho to properly carry it out.
    • It's also possible that assuming the plan was ordered to her by someone else, the end result was the entire point all along. Of course a couple students turning into beasts wouldn't be enough to take the Monestary but Kronya was too stupid and crazy to realize this, instead leaping at the chance to torment and transform students, noble Jeralt would be the one leading the charge to the rescue Kronya would do the obvious and kill them and Byleth would hunt them down. The entire plan could have been for it to go fail so she'd become the bait for their real plan and be too crazy to realize it. And they clearly know what Byleth is and made plans to take them out, so it was all part of the set up. Hence why they save her and say she can't die yet, only to kill her themselves the next month.

    Solon's reveal 
  • Why did Solon reveal his true identity at Remire Village? It doesn't appear to have actually accomplished anything, and it seems like there wasn't really much point in going undercover in the first place.
    • He had Flayn's blood at that point, as well as whatever other knowledge he had wanted to access at the monastery, so his goal in being undercover had been accomplished. And having been spotted in the village in such incriminating circumstances there was little point in maintaining his disguise. Also, if Byleth confronts him, he remarks he had wanted to see what it was like to fight the "Fell Star" himself.
      • He could have simply not used the disguise while he was in Remire. Thales changes from his disguise to his real looks and back a lot of times, it's not an one-use-only thing. This way, he could have done the Remire experiment, fought the Fell Star himself, and still kept a key position inside his enemies' organisation, as well as not tipping them off to the possibility that they could even do something like that, the disguise takes Rhea and Seteth completely by surprise. There's just no reason to do something like that.
      • To the above, Solon kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. Ergo, traveling without a disguise may not be feasible, and it seems like he can't take whatever form he wants, only the form of whatever person he has replaced. So he'd be taking risks regardless. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if (having gotten everything he needed from the monastery) he planned to reveal himself and not go back into disguise anyway. He clearly despises regular humans and the Nabatea, having to live among them at the monastery must have been infuriating and he wanted to leave as soon as he could. As for revealing that such disguises are possible, that could have been intentional to sow potential discord among his enemies, creating doubt about who is really who they appear to be (this is discussed by a character in the monastery at one point).
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    Why leave Lysithea? 
  • After "those who slither in the dark" spent so much time implanting a second crest into Lysithea, why did they just abandon the result of their experiments?
    • Much like in Remire village, they didn't seem interested in using those they initially experimented on specifically as weapons or anything else, but rather were interested in proving that the experiment could work. They could then move onto their actual targets.
    • She says they left after they discovered that the second crest drastically shortened her lifespan, so we can presume that even with two crests, she won't live long enough to be useful to them.

    Edelgard's somewhat confusing motivations 
  • Just what were all of Edelgard's motivations for opposing the church? In the Black Eagles route, she claims she will be exposing the church's crimes, yet to my knowledge, she never actually names these crimes. Instead, the main reason given by her, Hubert, and others for their revolution to target the Nabateans is that Rhea and her family are not humans and because of this should not be in charge (never mind that it's not like they truly rule Fódlan, they more or less co-rule it, Rhea having no apparent desire to meddle in the lives of everyday people so long as they don't oppose the church with violence, and the church mostly acting as a mediator rather than a dictator), which seems like a rather closed-minded justification. This is actually sort of pointed out in one conversation with Hubert, where he claims the Nabateans are responsible for the failures of Fódlan society, Byleth can then point out that rulers make mistakes, and Hubert will argue back that long-lived non-human beings should be held to a different standard, which seems a bit hypocritical with how human the Nabateans can be. Indeed, most of Edelgard's reasons for her anger toward Crests and the way Fódlan society functions either are not condoned by the church or the church had nothing to do with them (indeed, her worst traumas were committed by Those Who Slither in the Dark, who are anything but allies of the Nabateans). After all, they show no partiality toward people with Crests when it comes to who they teach in the school, nor do their teachings seem to give any indication that people without Crests should be treated as lesser people (Rhea does rant about how Miklan was judged because he was unqualified, but her tone and the context seemed to be more one of frustration that such a meaningless death occurred). The worst that might be said in this area seems to be that the church doesn't try harder to make the various nations treat their people better, but that sort of thing comes with its own issues of them becoming more tyrannical. Even when it comes to them being questionably harsh on criminals, their punishments don't seem to be any worse than what is considered acceptable by Fódlan society at large (and Edelgard certainly is not above executions), and they don't even judge those outside their jurisdiction unless the relevant nation is unable to cast such judgment. Edelgard does have a point that the church distorted history, but that doesn't seem like grounds for revolution, and it doesn't help that her own understanding of the true history is incomplete and inaccurate (i.e. believing that Seiros and Nemesis went to war over a simple disagreement, when in actuality it was over Nemesis and his allies slaughtering her kin and violating their bodies). I realize that none of this keeps Edelgard from being sympathetic (and indeed my heart hurts at the prospect of killing her in the other routes), and her not being fully in the right is certainly intentional, but I can't help but think there must have been a few crimes the church committed that escaped my notice.
    • Yeah, this bugged me too. I love Edie and her route, but they could've worked on her motivation a bit more. As-is, the Church of Seiros is way too sympathetic for the whole Corrupt Church thing. The only suggestion I can offer is that it ultimately really is about the Crests. The Church encourages their perpetuation and predominance among the ruling houses. She wouldn't have been experimented on and lost her loved ones if people weren't raised to value them so much and to be so keenly aware of the power they can bring. Also, since she doesn't know the full story behind the conspiracy, she may not be aware that the Crests originated with Those Who Slither in the Dark rather than the Church, and even if she does, they're still at fault for allowing them to continue to exist like this. Of course, if we go with the answer to the question I asked above, it may be that Seiros did the whole thing to save the innocent descendents of the Ten Elites from persecution and/or death, so Rhea still seems justified, hell, even downright magnanimous.
    • The detail is that Edelgard doesn't know about Zanado. If Edelgard thinks that Seiros killed Nemesis in a simple dispute and then rewrite history as her as the moral victor, that gives a distinct set of optics — namely, one of Seiros wanting power and control, because Nemesis's title is 'King of Liberation'. The thing with Seiros is that she, unlike any of the three lords, probably wasn't raised to lead. She was the one to kill Nemesis by virtue of not dying in Zenado and that's it. But if you don't know that, you lose important context. It's the long term consequences of the Crest System that is biting in place. If you don't know that the reason you have Crest Stones — aka weapon keys to the uninformed — in the Holy Tomb is because to Rhea, they are corpses and she doesn't want them desecrated again, it looks like she's stockpiling weapons. And Rhea does not help her case because if you look at the events leading up the Holy Tomb, there's plenty that would not be helping Rhea's temper. Flayn being kidnapped for blood. Her mother's remains almost being stolen again. A Heroes' Relic being used — otherwise known as one of her people's corpses being desecrated. Without context, Rhea looks power-hungry and controlling over the relics, not like the survivor of a massacre killing the leader of the massacre and preferring the bodies being left in peace. And when Edelgard goes in for the Crests, in the Holy Tomb where Sothis was killed, she thinks she's dealing with a non-human that killed a human king that then began manipulating the entire continent while also taking back weapons humanity created, when she's dealing with a massacre survivor who — while with a lot of issues and responsibilities to current problems — is where her mother was killed and sees Edelgard as trying to steal her family's/people's corpses. Essentially the truth about Zanado utterly flips the script to the point that without it as shared context, two people are having different conversations upon near every matter related to it — and Rhea just proves all of Edelgard's preconceptions when she snaps in that route. Because without context, the information appears unmistakably damning.
      • The above makes a lot of sense, and also adds to the tragedy of it all. Edelgard and Seiros honestly have a fair bit in common as fellow victims of Those Who Slither in the Dark, and had Edelgard known the truth and been able to see the Nabateans as more than just inhuman creatures, could empathize with them, etc. then it's possible things could have gone differently. Rhea, of course, is to blame as well for keeping so many secrets for so long.
    • Basically, she hates the church because they established the crest system that caused her to suffer at the hands of the nobles, notice how she takes purges the nobles and Aegir, BEFORE she invades the monastery? It's likely that only the aid of Thales and his group allowed the purge to happen. The Church also rules Fódlan from the shadows which Edelgard also opposes, Edelgard really wouldn't care if Nemesis was a thief or not, she knows Seiros and Nemesis were at war, and knows the church distorts history.
    • One, Edelgard's suffering was the result of "those who have a stupidly awkward and cumbersome name", who don't give a damn what the church says about anything. Two, Edelgard didn't need their help to purge the nobility. All she needed was the backing of the empire's own military, which she has. Count Bergliz, who's in charge of the military, is one of her supporters and keeps his position after the purge. Three, how does the church rule Fódlan from the shadows? They seem to have a lot of overt power, but they aren't exactly overriding the actual rulers of countries, nor are they involved in any assassinations.
    • If the Church didn't prop up the Crests as the end all be all of potential and propagate them as gifts from the goddess despite knowing their true origin, Edelgard and her family wouldn't have been experimented on by the nobles, hell the Agarthans could only have experimented on her BECAUSE of the value of the crest system the church established, if Rhea removed the crests all those centuries ago, Those Who Slither would not have gained the foothold they had. But as she says herself after you deal with Miklan, she wants the people to believe in the Nobility and covers up Miklan's transformation. 2: Thales does have considerable influence as Arundel, so it stands to reason his support helped Edelgard clean house by arresting nobles with influence. 3: The Church does have considerable power over Fódlan, they helped establish the HOLY kingdom of Faerghus, with the explicit deal that Loog making the Church it's dominant religion, enforce isolationism in Fódlan, the aforementioned crest system, and their religion holds considerable say in the beliefs of the people, so one could make the argument that the Church is the real power behind Fódlan.
    • The Church did not prop Crests up as 'be all, end all'. They taught that they were blessings from the goddess, but that humans have misused them and twisted them to the point the goddess fled. If anything, they're saying "stop doing this guys, it's wrong". And as has been argued before, the only way Rhea could have removed all Crests would have been by mass genocide, wiping out every single bloodline that had Crests down to the last man, woman, and child (yes, Linhardt and Hanneman find a way to remove Crests, but the technology for that likely didn't exist back then). Furthermore, if Rhea had told the truth about Crests, it would have risked causing shunning or genocide a la what happened to the Loptous descendants. The Agarthans experimented on Edelgard to make her hate the Church/turn her into a weapon, if Crests hadn't existed they would have found some other way to make her their pawn. While Thales has considerable influence, Edelgard's power came from getting Linhardt's and Caspar's fathers on her side—essentially seizing control of the Empire's money and military. Whenever it's talked about how she took over, their fathers are who are mentioned, not Arundel, so if he helped it wasn't as much as them. Finally, the Church did not help Loog—they did establish close relationships with him, but he won the Kingdom's freedom on his own and left the Church no choice "but to recognize him". And enforcing isolationism and being a widespread belief is hardly enough to call them "a shadow power"—remember, most of the backstory conflict comes from the nobility's misuses of Crests and greed, and TWSITD's machinations.
    • If the Church is able to enforce an entire Continent's foreign policy despite said continent having three powers, that's certainly a powerful church, additionally they have significant sway over the leader selection process of at least the Empire and Kingdom, Edelgard mentions that an Emperor cannot be crowned without the presence of a member of the church which is partly why she invited Byleth, and the Kingdom is a theocracy, the church already has considerable influence in their policies. so if hypothetically speaking, the Church did not approve of an heir, they would not get the throne, Rufus was passed over the throne because he didn't receive the family crest. Additionally the church can rewrite history on such a scale that they could make out Nemesis and his 10 elites as heroes despite them committing genocide, and get all the powers in Fódlan to accept it, even one like the Alliance. Also on that point on Loog, yes he did win against the empire, but it was the Church recognizing his win and crowning him a king that gave the kingdom legitimacy. 2: The point about Rhea trying to spare the bloodlines of the Elites is pure speculation, in her scenes in the Golden Deer and Silver Snow routes, she never once mentions saving the bloodlines as a goal. And in Edelgard and Dimitri's endings they are able to establish a fairer system revolving around the crests, sure Rhea did not need to remove the crests, but by proclaiming them gifts of the goddess and hiding their true origins, she still ruined some of the lives of the bloodlines of the Elites, and if protecting the bloodlines of the Elites was part her goals, then why is Marianne prosecuted because of her crest? Rhea never tried to suppress information of Maurice's transformation, to protect the descendents of Maurice did she? Edelgard was tortured by the nobility and TWSITD but she does take care of the nobility before moving on the Church, which is number 2 on her list, as despite how dangerous the Agarthans are, they aren't a political power in Fódlan, and she can keep tabs on Arundel and his allies while warring against the church. Lastly the point about the church preaching against the misuse of Crests? That would make them worse in her eyes, the Church reaps the benefits of the crest system such as the heroes relics and strong soldiers but does nothing to stop the corruption or support people who have suffered under the crest system despite their preaching, like Bernadetta, Sylvain, Marianne, Mercedes and Miklan, who Rhea shows no pity on despite his life having been ruined by his lack of crest. To Edelgard their crime is one of hypocrisy, negligence, and maintaining Fódlan's corrupt status quo, Edelgard wants to ensure a world where none suffer like she did, and in her eyes, abolishing the Church is an integral part of that goal. Thales might have aimed Edelgard at the Church, but Edelgard wanted to do it on her terms, her goals are not revenge but revolution.
    • Marianne's family is persecuted because of what Maurice did after the war, things that plainly could not be kept secret, especially given he continued to wander the wilderness, giving something for people to see and use to perpetuate his story. Rhea was able to suppress the origins of the 10 Elites because they were dead and/or agreed to abide by her story, but she did not have that ability with Maurice. Maurice transformed into a monster and killed in plain public view, whereas Nemesis had done his deeds in relative isolation (and about a hundred years before the war ended). Rumors spread due to what had happened with Maurice, said rumors being that the same thing could happen to his descendants if they bore his Crest, but we are not told if the church had anything to do with the rumors or made any effort to stop them or not. Marianne certainly never acts like the church had anything to do with it as far as I know. As for the church doing nothing to stop abuse and misuse, that ignores that the monastery is designed to support equality and fair treatment regardless of Crest or class. And Rhea showed no pity toward Miklan because he was a murderous bandit who ruined his own life by his own choices. Not getting the firstborn inheritance is not a death sentence, its what literally everyone in every family who doesn't get that inheritance has to deal with. His own actions toward Sylvain and others got him disowned, and he chose to become a murderer and thief. As for Mercedes, the church took her and her mother in and took care of them when they were abandoned, that certainly counts as support I think. Bernadetta's mistreatment seems to have been kept secret, and Sylvain's issues are very much a personal thing rather than something the church could have done anything about.
    • But it was a merchant that adopted Mercedes after the church took her in was it not? To Edelgard, the Church created the problem that caused Mercedes to retreat to the church in the first place. Now this is not a post attacking the church, it is to explain but NOT justify Edelgard's perspective and her motivations, to her, Miklan was a waste of potential and was a victim of the Crest system, despite being a bandit. Also, wait, Nemesis did WAAAY more public stuff than Maurice, Seiros waged a war against him, and Nemesis was a king for quite some time and Nemesis was killed in front of an ENTIRE army, and people thought Maurice the beast were just other people with the crest transformed, no one thinks the beast is Maurice himself. But more to the point, Marianne's adopted dad had to BRIBE the church to keep her crest a secret according to her supports with Hanneman. As for the treatment point, it again, to Edelgard is just another sign of hypocrisy, the monastery would preach equality but support a caste system with crests. Again, in summary, Edelgard's motivations are clear, she considers the Church to be an obstacle to changing Fódlan, keeping up a corrupt status quo and wants to topple it to change the system. She wants revenge, but changing Fódlan is the priority. This is getting off topic, it's becoming a debate over the church, we'd better stop here, you can consider her in the wrong, if you wish, but her motivations are there.
    • Mercedes will reveal in her support with Ferdinand that her mother and herself were just treated poorly in general, to the point they left willingly. Taking in a soul victimized by callous individuals has always been Rhea's thing, which she's done for Cyril who was treated poorly by Almyran soldiers who brought him to a battlefield to engage in their regular idea of fun. Maurice becoming a Beast is well documented, but people believe the Crest itself was cursed and turns his descendants, as the idea he could live for 1000 years was ludicrous in their eyes. Likewise Marianne's father BEGGED them to not study her crest to prevent folks from learning what Crest she had, due to how people outside the Church would treat her if they knew and would affect her life outside of Garreg Mach. Nemesis crimes of genocide and the like are completely unknown to history. Even the fact he's called the King of Liberation, which Maurice reveals when he wonders if Byleth will "liberate" him, was a title he got by murdering the people he "liberated". Things neither Edelgard or history have access to.
    • Additionally, whether or not Edelgard is racist against the Nabateans the worst worst thing you can contend with if you're trying to change the status quo is a politically powerful individual who can literally hold his or her position forever. Imagine if George Washington, Fair For His Day though he may have been, was both immortal and President for Life. I shudder to think what the United States would look like today if it were still being run by somebody who developed his moral compass at a time when slavery was considered an acceptable practice, women were held to be inferior to men, homosexuality could be punished by death, swindling Native Americans out of their land was the national pastime, and people thought powdered wigs were fashionable.
      • That argument would hold more weight though if they presented Rhea and other Nabatea as being behind the times in terms of moral beliefs, opposed to measures to increase equality and reform systems, etc. when in actuality they are largely quite current (or even ahead of their time, given the monestary's inclusiveness is outright revolutionary to people like the Western Church). After all Rhea and Seteth lived through whatever cultural changes occurred over the last thousand years, and were doubtless themselves changed by it to some degree. Albeit, Flayn was asleep for most of that time and yet still has "modern" ethics, so perhaps it's part of the willing suspension of disbelief you have to have in Fire Emblem and other fantasy games where "good" characters will have pretty modern ethics regardless of how long ago they lived (not that there were not people in reality in ancient times that held surprisingly "modern" ethical beliefs, they just were usually not the norm). Heck, in different endings Seteth or even Rhea outright become leaders or helpers in Fodlan's reforms. Not to mention that rather than hold onto being leader of the church, Rhea is eager to give up her position to Byleth (i.e. she has no desire to be President for Life), though it's safe to say Edelgard was not aware of that. She should have been aware though that the forces that actually were actively stopping reforms were not the Nabatea but "those who slither in the dark" (i.e. by using their power and technology to support the nobles who opposed Emperor Ionius and King Lambert respectively). Compared to them the church's beliefs/actions seem like a minor obstacle rather than a major one, especially since Rhea is shown to be capable of realizing she is wrong and of being reasoned with (when she hasn't undergone Sanity Slippage).

    Rhea and Sothis 
  • Another one concerning Rhea: Several times on this wiki, I've seen her desire for reuniting with her mother blamed for the war, and I think she even says that herself in the Golden Deer and maybe Church of Seiros routes. But is it actually true? All she did in that area was implant Byleth with Sothis' Crest Stone. True, this seems to give them a semi-divine nature and definitely makes them a tie-breaker in the conflict. But as far as I remember, Byleth does not factor into the plans of Those Who Slither in the Dark as an Apocalypse Maiden or anything of the sort, and they would've begun their assault regardless of his/her presence. And Edelgard? As discussed just above, she starts the war over the Crests and the secrets kept by the Church. What does any of this have to do with Rhea's desire to see Sothis again? You could argue it was the base motivation behind all her actions, but I don't see what founding/growing a church necessarily has to do with magical research, or keeping one particular Crest Stone with perpetuating the entire Crest system.
    • It does seem certain users here may be overstating the role this played in things, perhaps due to not having played enough of the game, having incomplete or inaccurate information, etc. Much as how a number of entries on this wiki initially referred to Rhea as a reincarnation of Seiros, when in actuality it seems she is Seiros under the latest of what was likely a long series of assumed names and identities, as well as how some entries seem to overplay just how insane Seiros/Rhea is (when it looks like she only really went off the deep end in the Black Eagles route, being no more unhinged than any other grief-stricken character in the game otherwise) and just how much of what she did had anything to do with her obsession with her mother (quite honestly, reviving Sothis almost seems like it was a side project for her, with keeping Fódlan stable and peaceful being her priority).
    • It is strongly suggested Byleth is just the latest in a number of failed attempts to revive Sothis, and given the lack of exact details, most probably weren't ethical even by Fire Emblem standards. Also, her desire to keep the peace her mother created conflicted with her desire to keep humanity technologically stagnant. Her desire to see her mother blinds her to the suffering her own actions cause, and when violence results, she assumes it comes from humans getting a god complex again instead of the result of oppression. The fact that even Sothis's first instinct is to worry about how dangerous Rhea is shows she has been neither benevolent or just even by her own mother's standards.
    • A lot of that is blatantly untrue. Rhea is very militant and unhealthy, but Byleth's mother was one of the failed experiments, not Byleth themselves, and even then Rhea allowed her to live a happy life. There's nothing suggesting Rhea has been keeping humans technologically stagnant—she restricts outside contact, but doesn't try to stop, say, Hanneman from his research. The Church is also not responsible for oppression; they implemented the Crest system, but it's humans themselves who abuse it.
    • Also, it's an exaggeration to say Sothis worries about Rhea being "dangerous". The closest Sothis comes to that is simply saying she can't "read" Rhea at all, and being cautious about what Byleth reveals once she finds out her name is the same as the goddess. Also, while Rhea admits she knew deep in her heart that Byleth being successfully revived by implanting Sothis' Crest Stone made them the perfect vessel, she still did it because Byleth's mother begged her to.
    • Your last point contradicts your first. Byleth having the Crest stone implanted made them an experimental vessel, regardless of who asked it. Byleth's mother was also the 12th failed vessel so far as we know. The fact she lived a happy if short life does not invalidate the questionable nature of Rhea's efforts. After all, Lysinthea is able to lead a happy if short life, but no one denies what was done to her was wrong. On the technology point, humanity's advancement is directly blamed for them attacking the goddess, and Rhea makes the point of rewriting history to erase both the advanced technological societies and humanity's creation of the Crests and relics, specifically to prevent anyone from trying again. Dividing the 3 nations and establishing isolationist, conservative views in each further slowed progress. This was intentional, as we find out Garreg Mach was built while Fódlan was a single empire, yet conveniently ended up dead center of 3 divided nations. The fact she doesn't stop Hanneman means little, there's no evidence his intentions with that research are widely known, he only reveals the truth in B and above supports, most of which are private conversations. You might as well ask why she doesn't act sooner against TWSITD, since two students are direct experiments by them. As for the church being responsible for oppression, we are given more than enough context clues proving the system was inherently flawed, not just abused. All 4 endings involve a human leader taking over, and all 4 either fix the system or abolish it outright in relatively short order. Not to mention the empire, who is least influenced by the church since their branch dissolved, seems to have less social issues regarding crests, as evidence by having the only 2 crestless nobles, and all but 1 of the nobles in the house are not suffering from class pressure. Meanwhile, the kingdom is the most religious of the nations, and has no less than 3 crest bearers reduced to political pawns by their own families. The idea that the system Rhea created, and has had hundreds of years to perfect and refine, isn't working the way she meant for it to be is unreasonable. At best, she simply does not care about the problems she caused until they blew up in her face, and in all routes it takes her at least 5 years to realize her mistakes.
    • Some of your statements seem to be rather misleading. Rhea's creations are not implied to have been naturally short lived, and Lysithea's situation was completely different given they were torturous experiments on people to make them more powerful, while in contrast Rhea created completely new bodies much as her mother had done to create her. Questionable yes, but nowhere near comparable to the horrors done to Lysithea. And Rhea hid the origin of the relics and how Crests ended up in humans because they were so horrific, she did not want people to know there were beings out there they could hunt down, steal the blood of and take apart to turn into weapons. The Nabatea had tried living quietly in the open in Zanado, and it got them massacred, so naturally the few who remained wanted to find a way to hide their existence and what could be made from their bodies. I'm not sure if we can say the empire has less social issues regarding Crests either, given the excuse given for the experiments on Edelgard's family was that the next emperor should have a Major Crest instead of a Minor one, not to mention the way Hanneman's sister was treated and how it was acceptable enough that he couldn't put a stop to it. Also Miklan ruined his own life. He is the one who chose to take his frustration out on Sylvain rather than find a way to make a different life for himself, it was his actions and not a lack of a Crest that got him disowned (lack of a Crest only meant he would not get the usual firstborn inheritance and become the next head of house). He could have been like Caspar, who doesn't resent that he isn't getting an inheritance and doesn't have a Crest, merely noting it makes him like any other person who isn't able to benefit from those boons. Not to mention Miklan's family had a good reason for their rules (as Dimitri explains, such family systems have reasons that must be accounted for), and the church did not make those rules. Indeed its inaccurate to even call the Crest system a single system, as even within a given nation different families treat Crests in different ways, there is no unified system the church created or enforced. And to say the church does nothing about the problems ignores that the monastery is designed to promote equality among the classes and to not favor Crests, all while grooming the future leaders of Fódlan. But Rhea is not the leader of the other nations, she has limited ability to order them to do anything. What the countries needed was leaders who wanted and were able to change their culture and policies, and they would have gotten them whether Edelgard started a war or not. Of course the aftermath of the war made changes easier to happen.
    • There is no evidence Rhea's creations came out of nothing, if Rhea was created the same way and calls Sothis "mother" for it, that implies their existence was at least comparable. If none of them are alive now, then that can only be because something done to them cut their life short. Its doubtful all 12 just suffered random health problems that other Nabateans didn't. The only real difference between them and Lysthea is which side of the story we get to hear, the perpetrator versus the victim. Her hiding the true nature of the relics is understandable, but not when it extends to lying about who made them first, or why they exist, as well as hiding all forms of advanced technology from history. It went beyond simply trying to survive and falls into an authoritarian level of control. As for Miklan, what about him? That still leaves Ingrid, Sylvain, and Mercedes, the 3 I was referring to, as victims of the HOLY Kingdom. Adding to that, Seteth comments that what happens with Miklsn is not uncommon in the kingdom. He makes no such comment regarding the other 2 nations, implying by omission that it is only common there. Garreg mach does not promote equality among the classes. There would not be a house system and regular mock battles between them if that were the case. Each house tells you when you join that it is their own desire to be seen as equals, not the policy of the church itself. Also, imagining that because the 3 future leaders had noble intentions that a reformed future was guaranteed without a war is beyond naive. Not only do we see one of those nobles abandon his ideas very easily in favor of a comforting lie, but that implies that before now, there has never been any leader in the 3 nations to try and be better. As we see with the fathers of both Edelgard and Dimitri, good leaders don't accomplish much if they aren't willing to start a war. Fódlan's problems ran too deep to assume there was an easy or simple alternative. Finally, yes, the church does enforce one singular crest system: that the crests are gifts from the goddess and represent her will. For common folk, that presents a clear follow up point: to challenge the authority of crests is to challenge the will of the goddess. And we see across all routes that is not something Rhea responds to rationally or carefully.
      • Rhea made 12 creations over the course of a thousand years. Taking Byleth's mother out of the equation, they would've had perfectly normal lifespans.
      • Also, it's pretty explicitly noted a few times that the monastery does attempt to support equality among the social classes. It's the first thing Seteth tells Byleth after they leave their room for their first exploration of the dorms. Annette will likewise note in part 2 Azure Moon at least how she realized that trying to prevent conflict and help different kinds of people understand and get to know each other is why the monastery made the students associate with so many kinds of people that they normally would not have gone near.
      • And given that the Slithers were the unseen force causing much of Fódlan's instability (their part in assassinating the King of Faerghus for instance destabilizing the entire region and causing a genocide), it can be argued that the war with the Agarthans was the only truly "necessary" war, i.e. that reforms could have happened even if the nations remained separate. After all, once the Slithers are no longer a factor reforms get done much more easily after the game ends (albeit it still takes quite a few years for Fódlan's new government to stabilize).
    • This is all drifting away from the main point. The first question was what has Rhea done to feel responsible for the war, Many answers have been given. Whether or not anyone agrees with the degree of blame she should receive is endlessly debatable opinion.
    • After doing a little bit of reviewing and chatting with fellow Tropers, i've come to the conclusion that Sothis's revival wasn't the side-project, EVERYTHING ELSE WAS. Think about it, by keeping crests throughout the generations, rewriting them as gifts from goddess, keeping the Church powerful, spreading the lie that Sothis created humanity(Despite her immense power, Sothis didn't create humanity.) and maintaining the crest system and relics so that the commoners believe in the nobility and the nobility would rely on the Church for legitimacy, (this is established in the debriefing of Miklan's boss, and Lorenz's supports ETC.) Rhea influences the people of Fódlan into seeing Sothis as a savior and ruler above them, Rhea's goal isn't just to see her mother again, but to have Sothis rule over Fódlan to lead it to prosperity. But in attempting to influence Fódlan through the crest system and Church, she creates a socially unequal Fódlan, which is what Edelgard's motivation against the church, so to this extent, Rhea wanting to revive Sothis is what sets off the war.

    Units who are limited to B rank supports 
  • What exactly is the story reason for some units only being able to achieve B supports with others? Are they perhaps not as close friends as the units who can achieve A supports? And does the A+ support imply even closer friendship? (For context, in Fates, all units with support chains could go all the way up to A, along with one S support of the opposite sex, and one A+ support of the same sex, the latter of which was usually one of their best friends.)
    • Some level of incompatibility or lack of closeness, or other issues, do seem to be implied. Dorothea and Ingrid's supports end at B, for instance, with Ingrid adamantly stating Dorothea's teasing flirtations are not appreciated and will never be reciprocated, Petra's B support with Bernadetta ends badly with Bernie being chased by a rabbit, etc.

    Alois and Leonie's lack of knowledge about Jeralt 
  • In the Black Eagles route, Alois and Leonie call you out for your decision, saying that Jeralt wouldn't have approved of you going against the church, among other things. Do neither of them realize that Jeralt lost all respect for Rhea around the time he disappeared with you, and was unhappy about coming back to Garreg Mach?
    • The indications are very much that they don't know and Jeralt didn't want them to know. Even for Jeralt his loss of respect for Rhea was due to suspicions and Rhea's unwillingness to tell him the full truth, and he later admits to Byleth he may have been wrong to leave in the first place. He likely didn't want to shake others' trust in Rhea over what he saw as a personal issue that even he was undecided about.

    Possession? 
  • On these pages, I've seen repeated mentions of Seiros possessing Rhea, and have seen the idea used to justify the deleting or adding of certain tropes about her. Does the actual game include any indications that this happens? Everything I've seen has supported that Rhea and Seiros are the same person in every way. Seiros simply at some point in the past faked her death and adopted the new name to hide her identity (just as Seteth and Flayn did). If so, then Rhea succumbing to madness in the Black Eagles route is simply that, she's not getting possessed by some other being but rather suffering from madness and the intense rage that is a common problem for Fire Emblem dragons in general. Also, is there any evidence that Seiros' views on humans are lower than Rhea's?
    • Yeah, they're absolutely the same person. In the Church route, she goes mad out of nowhere, and takes on a more monstruous form than before, and some people are assuming this is "Seiros" taking over, even though she never takes that form in the Black Eagles route, where she fully goes back to identifying herself as Seiros. The game also never calls her Seiros in the Church route, even after going mad. It's just dragon madness, and Seiros is just a warrior persona Rhea takes on when she's willing to get her hands dirty (it's not her original name, either).

     Jeralt agreeing to come back 
  • At the start of the game, If Jeralt had suspicions about Rhea regarding what she may have done to Byleth and may have even had a hand in his wife's death, why does he so easily go back to the monastery when he knows full well it's likely Rhea would still be there? Why didn't he just refuse Alois' offer?
    • He says he has no choice, likely referring to how bad it would look to refuse to come after the way he faked his death and ran from his responsibilities as a captain. He doesn't want to end up the target of a manhunt now that the Knights of Seiros know he's alive and will seek him out for answers if he doesn't come willingly. It gets even harder when Rhea asks him to stay, as refusing her would be extremely rude, especially when she's willing to overlook how sketchy his disappearance was. Rhea also is perhaps the only one with the influence to stop others from demanding explanations for why he left, why he hasn't aged in 20 years, etc. Plus, other dialog suggests that his feelings regarding Rhea have softened over the decades, he certainly no longer seems to be afraid of her, nor does he hate her, he's only suspicious that she has secret motives. He outright says he is fine with Byleth settling into life at the monastery, just so long as they are aware Rhea may not be trustworthy. Later on, he even considers that he may have been wrong to leave Rhea and the monastery to begin with.
    • He also fled mostly to hide the fact that Byleth was still alive, and after coming across the Knights of Seiros, with a son/daughter following him around, the secret is kinda out of the bag. He still lies about it, saying Byleth was born after he left, but Rhea doesn't really buy that.

     Trying Divine Pulse another way 
  • I know this may sound stupid, but... If Byleth wanted to save their dad, Jeralt from getting shanked by a disguised Kronya, couldn't they just use Divine Pulse to rewind and, instead of using the Creator Sword, actually yell out, "Look out behind you!" This would've at least warn their dad and give him a chance to fight back, since Kronya's not even that strong.
    • There is a logic to that, but Sothis' claim was that if turning back time that one time was not enough to save him, then there was literally no way to save him (perhaps another dimension to what Sothis meant when she earlier said her time powers were not infinite, i.e. not only can they only be done a certain number of times, there are things they cannot change). Presumably if Byleth did call out, then something else would have happened to cause Jeralt to die.
    • Yelling that would be more likely to make him look towards Byleth than actually look behind him. Or he would look, and just see a harmless student.
    • To hell with that, why did they have to only rewind that little? The divine pulse lets you rewind time like half a dozen times on average, and you can go as far back as the beginning of the battle. Why didn't they rewind all the way to the beginning of the battle, take Jeralt aside, and warn them in advance about what Monica really is, either through admitting they can travel through time or by making something up about what they saw Monica do?
      • That's a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation. In gameplay, you can have many Divine Pulse charges and rewind to the beginning of battles that can last more than an hour. However, in the story, the very first time we see Sothis use Divine Pulse, she states she can't wind time back "too far" and in context makes it sound like undoing one decision is about the limit (similarly, both times we see Divine Pulse used in canon events, time is rewound only a matter of seconds). And as noted above, Sothis' claim later is it wouldn't have mattered how Byleth used Divine Pulse, Jeralt would still have died.
      • That's pretty bad writing, then, because literally the only times we see it used between stopping the axe to the back and trying to save Jeralt are in gameplay. We're given absolutely no indication that how it works in gameplay isn't how it works in cutscenes, nor is there any reason for the reader to believe so. Especially since you can get a paralogue well before this that has Sothis canonically acknowledge the power increase that lets her rewind time more, so there's no reason to believe that they'd only have the one shot.

    Dimitri's strength 
  • Why is Dimitri so strong?
    • Presumably an effect of his Crest (his notably in-game doubles his attack and doubles how much weapon durability gets used up for combat arts, referencing both his great strength and how he's known to quickly break his weapons), just one that is mentioned more explicitly than others. Edelgard mentions how Crests can give their bearers superhuman power, and in one support Ferdinand mentions how he heard Edelgard recently slew a demonic beast all on her own. That Edelgard willfully hides the abilities of her second Crest for much of part 1 also suggests that in-universe their activation is not as RNG-based as they are in actual gameplay, i.e. Dimitri can use his incredible strength at will.
    • He had difficulty controlling his strength snapping swords in half when he was a child, so it can't come from his crest; maybe some of it, but not all. It's probably that he inherited it from Blaiddyd, who was either naturally strong or gained it from experiments TWSITD did on him that he passed down to his direct descendants.
      • Why would that happening as a child mean it can't come from his Crest? People are born with their Crest (barring those who are given/implanted with them).
      • It doesn't just happen as a child, it happens in the game; his B support with Mercedes has him accidently breaking a bunch of sewing needles trying to thread them and even twisting a pair of scissors apart, and depending on when you do his second B support, it either takes him a couple of months to thread a needle without breaking it or over five years, even one of the questions in the advice box is him saying how he constantly breaks weapons even when he's trying to hold back. Hell, even one of his dislikes is fragile objects. As the first guy said, you can control the power of your Crest, so either his crest just activates randomly without his say or he's wrong and everyone's crest activates at random? His strength can't just come from his Crest, as even without it, he has superhuman strength. Besides, I didn't say that his strength didn't come from his Crest, only that some of it is due to his crest the rest is just his natural strength which every member of the royal family all have. His uncle Rudolf doesn't have a Crest and we never see him, but based on the fact that he says everyone in the royal family was born strong in his support with Raphael makes me think his uncle is superhuman too, even without a Crest.

    Dimitri's vision for Fódlan 
  • Does Dimitri have a concrete political agenda of his own if he becomes ruler of the continent? I feel we only get this vague notion of The Good King and wanting to please everybody for him. This would not be odd for Fire Emblem normally, but it sticks out in this particular game, since the other Lords and the Church of Seiros are all relatively clear in where their priorities for the future lie, complete with some real-world subtext. It's said in Dimitri's epilogue that he works towards a more egalitarian society, but I don't remember that being a particularly big concern of his in his storyline, so it seems more like he's trying to make Edelgard's dream come true in her stead out of guilt/nostalgia. He allies himself with the Church of Seiros, but doesn't strike me as especially religious personally. And I don't see any evidence of his stance regarding Claude's dream of ending isolation one way or the other.
    • Sure he does. Unlike Edelgard, who wants to tear the whole system down and start over, and Claude, who wants to end isolation, Dimitri wants to end oppression without tearing the system down. He states pre-timeskip that he believes that Crests shouldn't be emphasized at the expense of people the way they are, that Crest-bearers and non-Crest bearers should learn from each other's strengths, and that his ideal society would be one where everyone respects each other's beliefs/cultures/religions. He even has a conversation about it with Edelgard post-timeskip, where he states he doesn't believe in building a future at the cost of the present, building a society that emphasizes strength at the expense of the weak, or forcing decisions onto commoners. The Blue Lions epilogue specifies that he focuses on improving lives for orphans and reforming the system (especially with Sylvain and Hanneman alive), while Byleth takes charge of the Church and similarly reforms it.
      • It's a good summary, but I still have some problems there. Still seems like he doesn't have much that is unique to him, aside maybe from his rejection of extreme methods. People learning to respect one another for what they are is pretty much central to Claude's gimmick, he even integrates Almyra into the realm in his epilogue. As for class differences, it's not like Edelgard is going to murder everyone who has a Crest or forbid them from having children. Presumably, once a Crest-bearing noble has been stripped of their titles, they can get them back if they prove they've got what it takes via pure meritocracy. Provided Edelgard doesn't abolish the nobility altogether, in which case, just replace "nobility" with "bureaucracy". Wouldn't it be pretty much the same in Dimitri's system, minus the initial title stripping?
      • Most likely, Edelgard is going to implement Crest removal (since there are methods for it) en masse, whether people want their Crests removed or not. She's also stated she's going to abolish nobility altogether in her pursuit of a meritocracy, which is completely different from bureaucracy, so they can't really be compared. Ie, in Dimitri's world, nobles continue to protect commoners in exchange for taxes, whereas in Edelgard's, people earn their positions rather than be born into them (there are things that can go wrong with both: the nobility can become corrupt again, Edelgard's meritocracy can become a social Darwinist nightmare). Dimitri's 'thing' is that he's the most conservative of the three, because he doesn't want to implement grand changes at the expense of the common folk — he'd rather make them happen slowly and from within.
      • Right, that clears things up, thanks. I wasn't aware Crest removal was possible, and not sure whether Edelgard was just going to abolish the entire nobility, since she kept those loyal to her around. So basically, it's a choice between a radical "age of man" and a benevolent fantasy Medieval Stasis. Since Claude's goal is the most clearly and conventionally heroic of them all, I'm guessing his path would eventually have society progress in ways similar to our own, slower than Edelgard, but faster than Dimitri.
      • I think the idea the writers were going for is that despite the major differences in personalities and methods between our three main lords, their ends in many respects are Not So Different, which makes it all the more tragic when war breaks out. For instance, Edelgard's opinions on the future of Almyran-Fódlan relations in the "Insurmountable" paralogue are surprisingly similar in substance to Claude's, right down to the "respecting cultural differences" part, and while she certainly wants to create a meritocracy, she's probably not a social Darwinist, considering that part of her beef with the nobility seems to be precisely because she doesn't believe they're adequately carrying out their duties to the people (after all, provided he survives, she'll always appoint Ferdinand "noblesse oblige" von Aegir as prime minister, with his shared ending with Dorothea indicating that it's precisely his reforms benefiting the commonfolk that secure him the appointment). As for Claude, he also does not think particularly highly of the concept of Crests and nobility, and his "universal brotherhood of mankind" ideals certainly seems to cut across class as well as national/racial lines. Regarding Dimitri, he may not abolish the nobility or the Crest system outright, but he still radically undercuts their power by (as stated in his solo ending) implementing at least some aspects of democratic government, and like Claude, he becomes dedicated to improving foreign relations and ending Fódlan's xenophobia. Also, just as a side note, while Edelgard certainly makes no secret of her desire to eliminate Crests if at all possible, there's no indication that she actually goes through with a solution as radical as forcibly removing them from the whole population (after all, most of the Black Eagles have Crests themselves, but there's no talk even from Ferdinand about the prospect of forcible Crest removal); her endings seem to indicate that she uses primarily political means to end the "tyranny of Crests", and Linhardt's solo ending seems to imply that even after his passing, Crests still have enough presence for his research to still be of use/interest (and his paired ending with Edelgard has him dedicating the rest of his life to being the head of Imperial Crest research).
      • I've had that thought before too, but it carries its own problems. You could argue that if they all achieve basically the same thing, that actually makes Edelgard come off inferior by comparison, since her methods are the most violent and result in the highest body count. Arguably, she has to bring the most extreme societal changes, or else she's basically a worse version of the two guys. Ultimately, it's up to the audience to make their own judgment. Dimitri's system would rely on enforcing noblesse oblige across all aristocrats on the entire continent, and he'd have to find an heir who would do the same, who would in turn have to find an heir who does the same and so on. If the chain of good kings is broken at any point, the nobles might revert to their old ways. Many Fire Emblem games end with a solution akin to Dimitri's, but this is the first one where the plausibility of that solution can be seriously questioned based on in-universe evidence. As for Edelgard, so much is up for speculation. Is she going to implement Crest Removal or not? And does she plan on sticking to the Empire's authoritarian course in the long term? We know she's going to hand-pick her successor and it won't be a child of hers, but is the position of Emperor meant to stay that way forever, is it going to become a democratically elected office eventually, will it be abolished and the prime minister be made head of state instead? In the end, the difficult thing with Dimitri is that we know much more about the current Fódlan and its problems, which he is closest to, than we know about the futures envisioned by the other two.
      • Well, no government is perfect, even in real life. Edelgard's meritocracy relies on all her successors sharing her values; if a single one doesn't, the system could become social darwinistic. Claude's system could bring war to Fódlan if one of his successors decides the outside world is something to conquer instead of harmonize with. Dimitri's system has the possible problems you mentioned. Basically, it's hardly just his system that could potentially go south.
      • Basically, to summarize: Dimitri wants to reform the system to make it more equal and fair for all but it will take a long time and may revert back to it's old self once Dimitri passes away, Claude wants to open up Fódlan's borders, and while it may lead to better relations with other nations and Fódlan's culture and understanding of the outside world improving, it does nothing to actually fix internal problems like the Crest system, corrupt nobility, and general inequality. Edelgard wants to tear down the system by force, and install a meritocracy where people work and are rewarded fairly, the Church does not control Fódlan, people don't suffer under the Nobility, and the crest system abolished, but it could lead to massive levels of inequality once a disparity between the powerful and weak arise in a few years, with the only guarantee against it is laws against the strong actively oppressing the weak being passed, and the more opportunities given to commoners to rise to the top as discussed by Ferdinand and Edelgard in their supports. To reference Shin Megami Tensei, Dimitri is Law, Claude is Neutral, Edelgard is Chaos. Each plan comes with it's own ups and downs, and it is up to the player to decide which Lord has the best plan for Fódlan.
      • As an additional wrinkle, early in the Blue Lions route Dimitri discusses his philosophy a bit and explains one major issue with going too far with the "Crest don't matter" kind of thinking. That is through Fódlan history Crest powers and Relic Weapons have often proven helpful or even vital for repelling invasions from other nations. If Crests lost too much value in Fódlan culture then the bloodlines could be lost due to people not bothering to maintain them, and thus Fódlan would lose a great source of security. At the same time strength is strength even without a Crest, and not everyone with a Crest is strong or suitable for leading a house. Hence Dimitri hopes to reform the system so the two extremes can meet somewhere in the middle and appreciate each other's faults and virtues in a reasonable way.
      • To add to Dimitri's plans, since he is from the holy kingdom, he presumably wants religion to be part of the citizen's lives, not in a forceful way, but still prominent, unlike Claude and Edelgard who are more lax about this. In his ending, Byleth is given the title of archbishop and works closely with Dimitri, marriage or otherwise, thus under Dimitri, the people of Fódlan would receive guidance from the goddess since Byleth and Sothis are one and the same at the end of it, in contrast to Edelgard's ending where people are free to rise without the crests or Sothis to guide them. Claude by contrast, as part of his ambitions, would allow more religions and gods to be allowed into Fódlan, as he muses in his supports with Byleth, and Byleth there is in a less explicitly religious position and is working with Claude to form better relationships with outside nations like Almyra.

    Knowledge of Sylvain's Crest 
  • Sylvain makes it very clear he hates that women only want him for his Crest and that he'll never find himself a woman who will love him for him because of it, but how does every single woman he meets even know he has one? Nobody knew Byleth had a Crest for most of their life, and Sylvain tells you there's a test performed at birth to see if the baby has a Crest so it seems there's no obvious visual clue. We don't see any visual differences between people with Crests and people without, either. So why doesn't Sylvain keep the fact he has a Crest a secret? Why does he assume every woman he meets only sees his Crest? Is it just his self-loathing and hatred for his Crest talking? It can't be his misogyny, because his misogyny is born out of his hatred for his Crest.
    • He's a noble, from a family that makes such a huge deal of crests that they openly favored him over his brother. As soon as Sylvain was discovered to have a Crest, it's likely that word of it spread quickly through Gautier territory and the Kingdom. He couldn't keep it a secret because it's already out.
    • It is implied in his supports with F!Byleth that there may well be women who liked him for who he presented as, not caring about his crest, but his self-loathing and misogyny blinded him to it. The fact that he can't A-support most women in the cast, even the ones who have crests and titles of their own, shows his problems are as much a result of his head being stuck up his own ass as they are due to his birthright.
    • Sylvain is not misogynistic and does not have his head up his own ass for starters. Keep in mind that nobility in Fódlan are pretty well known for having a Crest, so it isn't hard to imagine people know because of his name.

    Lack of transformation 
  • Why did Rhea never turn into a dragon again the whole time she was being held captive by the Empire during the non-Black Eagles campaigns? She apparently spent up to 5 years imprisoned, only to be freed after Dimtri's, Claude's, or Byleth's army captures Enbar and destroys Edelgard's army. Alternatively, why did Edelgard hold Rhea captive all that time; why not execute her and be done with it? Edelgard has committed so many other ruthless actions, leaving Rhea as a loose end seemed unlike Edelgard.
    • It's likely Those Who Slither In The Dark were using her for experiments, as when confronted, Thales makes clear he plans on using every drop of Byleth's blood. Edelgard becomes completely reliant on them in the non-Black Eagles routes. This can potentially leave Rhea weak enough that transforming is a bad idea due to it being tied to her darker emotions. Blue Lions even has Edelgard turn herself into a unique demonic beast using research and having something implanted in herself.
    • On the Black Eagles route it's speculated by the Black Eagle Strike Force that Rhea's transformation must have some limits, as even though she is free and healthy in this route, she still doesn't use it for five years after using it twice in a short time before the time skip. They note that if she was able to use that form as much as she pleased, then it's likely she would have taken back the monastery during those five years.

    Crest Stone disappearing 
  • On the Black Eagles route, why do the crests and crest stones disappear at the end? It appears from the game that they disappear immediately after you kill Rhea/Seiros, but Rhea/Seiros dies on other routes (like church) and the crests don't disappear. Also, Seiros didn't even create the crests in the first place (though they were created from the hearts and blood of her siblings) so why would her death have anything to do with their existence?
    • That really annoys me as well, feels like a very contrived plot device made to avoid the consequences of Crests existing altogether. Maybe it has to do with all of the children of the goddess being dead, Rhea just being the last to die. That would require a few off-screen deaths, though, so it's still a bad explanation.
    • It could have been one last ditch effort for Rhea to try and take her moms heart back from Byleth. Another more symbolic reason is that Byleth turning on her was embracing their humanity and discarding their demigod status.
    • Or to take it further; being held in the arms of a crying Emperor, who's humanity we helped restore/preserve, is the one thing that makes our heart beat for the first time. Romantic implications aren't out of place considering how much the game guns for their implied love on this route
      • There is no indication that all crests vanish (indeed, certain character endings, like Linhardt's and especially Lysithea's, wouldn't make much sense if they did), just Byleth's. Mind you, it still doesn't really explain why Byleth's vanished, but hey, what can you do?
      • It makes sense considering Byleth's origins and Rhea's hand in them having a Crest at all.
      • That still doesn't make any sense. There's no magical circuit running from Rhea to feed Byleth's Crest. Killing her shouldn't make it disappear any more than killing an author would cause a book they wrote to disappear.
      • After giving it some thought, the moment honestly is meant to be a more symbolic one. Byleth rejects their godhood in this route and embraces their humanity. It would make sense that the one thing that is decidedly god-related vanishes. Plus, bonus symbolism and thematic points for canonically having their heart beat for the first time while being held in Edelgard's arms.
      • Byleth rejects their godhood, except for all the times they use Divine Pulse and the Sword of the Creator? Also, symbolism isn't necessarily inherent in everything; Edelgard's route certainly has a theme of humans standing on their own feet, but there's nothing that indicates Byleth themself agrees.
      • I feel this has been overly complicated. Despite fusing with Byleth, Sothis still exists. Crest Stones are the hearts of the murdered Dragons/Nabateans/Manaketes. Rhea is Sothis' daughter. When you murder her daughter, you literally break Sothis' heart. That might just be my interpretation, since I found the BE route absolutely gut-wrenching, but it seems to fit more than "Byleth rejected godhood."
      • Perhaps Sothis was so pissed off about Byleth going along with the Edelgard's "We don't need gods" spiel despite having needed Sothis to bail them out several times that she divested any sort of power from Byleth as a screw you to them.
      • But can't you S-support Sothis on Black Eagles Route? Why would she still be willing to be in a much closer relationship with Byleth if she was the one who took away the Crest Stone for that reason?
      • Besides, Sothis' Big Good tendencies extend so far that I could easily see her accepting the idea that the gods have screwed up and mankind is better off on its own, if presented to her earnestly by Byleth. As I recall, she never asked to be worshipped in the first place, people just kinda started to and she didn't want to let them down. Not to mention that the one thing she asks explicitly of Byleth is that they choose their own path and stick to it, no matter what.
      • Except the only demigod who screwed up was Rhea. The rest have either been leaving humans alone (Indech, Macuil) or helping them (Seteth, Flayn). Sothis herself has been actively helping Byleth; it's fair to say without her, they would have died in the prologue. And she knows this, given how often she chastises them for being reckless and says she'll take care of them. Deciding to leave them on their own is a complete one-eighty from her attitude. Heck, the last time mankind decided they didn't need gods, they tried to kill Sothis and destroyed the world, which led to this entire thing happening in the first place!
      • Black Eagles as a route flagrantly ships Byleth/Edelgard. Call it Sothis removing a complication from Byleth's love life. Or Byleth wanting it gone after all the mess it caused. It's hardly the oddest thing to happen in a final battle here.
      • Except Sothis removing it for Byleth's love life makes even less sense than anything? They can hook up with other people than Edelgard and the Crest still goes kaput... or other people on other routes, and the Crest Stone doesn't go kaput. And since when has wishing something gone ever worked in a Fire Emblem game? It's not just that it's an "odd" thing to happen, it's that it has no explanation or foreshadowing.
      • My best guess is stone disappears due to Rhea's magic keeping it there, and perhaps in her last moments she somehow managed to kinda attempt to kill Byleth by destroying it out of spite? Since she already had no hope of reviving Sothis anyway, and was about to die herself. Also Sothis doing this out of love makes no sense as she can still be S supported on that route, and all that changes is her saying that after their souls fused, the stone was little more than decoration anyway, so it matters not that it's gone. To be honest, we can't even be entirely sure if Byleth loses their crest, they probably lose power of progenitor god(So no more Divine Pulses I guess), and will live a life about as long as regular human, but solo epilogue seems to imply that Byleth can still use the Creator Sword, which means he/she still bears the Crest of Flames, even without the stone in the heart.
      • Byleth's S Support with Jeritza shows that them holding Seiro's Sword, so it looks like the Sword of the Creator can't be used anymore either.
      • But that contradicts the other endings where Byleth is stated to still be able to use the Sword of the Creator despite losing most of the powers of the progenitor god. Chances are that Byleth may still be able to use the sword of the creator, but they are using the Sword of Seiros in Jeritza's S-Support ending just to be safe from the potential adverse side effects of wielding a Hero relic for too long.

     Byleth's collapse 
  • Why did Byleth collapse at the start of the Red Wolf Moon? Sothis remarks that she has felt that way before, and reiterates later that it feels like an ancient memory (presumably the fatigue from healing Fódlan), but we don't seem to be given any indication that Byleth had just done something very tiring (this seems to have been long enough after the Battle of the Eagle and Lion for them to have rested), unlike later in the game where transforming into The Enlightened One causes them to pass out for a time, nor did it seem like anything had happened that could have triggered Sothis' memory. My only guess is that since we hear a heartbeat when it happens (and Byleth's heart doesn't normally beat) it could imply that it was simply some random strain from Byleth's emotions getting more active after Sothis had unintentionally suppressed them for so many years, but if so, then we lose the link to the ancient memory.
    • This is around the time Those Who Slither in the Dark were experimenting with crest stone shards and creating demonic beasts. So it’s possible that experiments were affecting Byleth due to their connection to Sothis and by extension the stones.

     Nemesis possible revival in the aftermath of the Blue Lions route? 
  • Next to the container/pod that held Nemesis are several others. Could there be other tools they've locked up in the hopes of using in the future? Since Nemesis seemed to awaken on his own, this means they too could awaken and threaten the land themselves...
    • Those pods are most likely the Ten Elites that aid Nemesis during the final boss fight on Verdant wind. Another fridge horror sets in as in the other routes, Nemesis is still unaccounted for. In the Crimson Flower route, most likely Those Who Slither In The Dark will unleash him on Byleth and Edelgard during the war between them and the Empire, while in the Blue Lions and Silver Snow, there is a possibility that he will haunt Dimitri during the post war rebuilding as Those Who Slither In The Dark have time to revive him, while in the Silver Snow, since Shambhala is destroyed in the same manner as in Verdant Wind but Seiros takes the role of the final boss in that route, it's a valid possibility that he was awakened and biding his time to attack Byleth when ready.
    • There was lack of a mention of Those Who Slither In The Dark in the Blue Lions route epilogues so even if the remaining members of Those Who Slither In The Dark knew about the coffins, it's also likely that none of them knew how to fully activate and bring back Nemesis and the Ten Elites. Plus, their leadership also took a hard blow with the death of Thales under his guise as Arundel in the Blue Lions route.
    • Even if the leadership is removed, there is still a significant amount of remaining Agarthans with the proper facilities and information. And it's stated that Seiros couldn't kill Nemesis because he had the power of Sothis, it's entirely possible that Nemesis wasn't revived by the Agarthans, but locked up as a LAST RESORT. Recall how no Agarthan explicitly mentions reviving him as a goal and that Nemesis wakes up on his own...
    • Nemesis seems to wake up from the force of the missiles striking Shambhala, rather than just on his own. Without that, he may well stay asleep.
    • In the final map, there is an Agarthan mage named Odesse supporting Nemesis. It's quite possible he revived Nemesis, and since he's not killed in the other routes, he's free to revive Nemesis on the Blue Lions and Church of Seiros routes.
    • Except Nemesis gets revived whether or not you kill Odesse, so Odesse can't have anything to do with it. Also, it would be pretty shoddy to leave the revival of the Final Boss up to a faceless NPC who has no lines of dialogue.
    • But Odesse makes his only appearance at the same time Nemesis does, in the last map of the Golden Deers route, he has no other appearances in other routes or maps in the Golden Deer before the last one. So it stands to reason, he must have some involvement in reviving Nemesis since he is aiding the fell king, and is active on the Blue Lion and Church routes. Additionally, the reveal of Nemesis is already kinda shoddy, it came from nowhere after all.
      • ...No, he does absolutely nothing in those routes. He's a glorified Mook with no lines, who can die without impacting Nemesis's revival.
      • He does have lines, but more to the point, he can only die AFTER Nemesis is revived. And since he doesn't do anything in the other routes, that means he's still alive and free in the other routes, since you don't fight him. Considering in the Silver Snow finale where it's mentioned that Demonic Beasts came from nowhere to attack the monastery, it's quite possible he sent them too.
      • The map is right here. Nemesis is only revived after you beat the map. The map ends when you kills Thales. You can kill Odesse before you kill Thales. Odesse is completely irrelevant to both the story and Nemesis. Him being alive and free on other routes means nothing when he's, again, a glorified Mook.
      • And here is the final Golden Deers map, Odesse is seen at the 4:27 mark, and he's clearly commanding the remnant of the Agarthans in the map. And he's clearly alive after Thales dies, and considering he's working with Nemesis it's entirely possible he set free or revived Nemesis. And he's not killed in the other routes...
      • That is a possibility but with their leadership gone, the rest of the Agarthans are likely panicking and scrambling to get order fixed. When people panic, they can't think clearly.
      • Or the next ranking Agarthan after Thales, Myson and Cornelia unites the surviving Agarthans. They both are equally possible scenarios. It's not like the Agarthans will suddenly decide to kill each other in a blind panic, when they still have the element of surprise, especially on the Blue Lion route where they still have their base and a significant amount of mooks and mechs. Hell the Golden Deer route's penultimate map in Shambhala reveals there are named mooks besides Odesse, that are most likely next in the chain of command. And they aren't killed in the Blue Lion route at all.
      • Having a name doesn't mean being high up on the chain of leadership. They could be the equivalent of a sergeant, fine for carrying out a squad, unsuited for commanding an entire nation/cult. Bad leadership can be just as damaging as no leadership. And even if they survive, what can they do? If they unleash Nemesis, Byleth will put him down just like in Golden Deer. The missiles? Thales seems to be the only one who can use them. Kill and Replace? Now that people know that's a favored method of theirs, they're gonna be on high alert for it. And you're assuming both BL and SS are unaware of TWSITD's existence, when they're not. BL even acknowledges TWSITD are the "mysterious group" behind the Tragedy, so presumably they're gonna start hunting them down after the story. It just doesn't happen on-screen for the same reason as Rhea's reunion—it's extraneous to the narrative.
      • Also, don't forget Hubert's letter. Even if he doesn't know the location of their base, he'd still probably impart all the information he knows. Either he, with all his spies, considers them neutered enough to not leave the letter, or he does and we don't see it happen on-screen (like Rhea's reunion). Anything else would be out-of-character. The best TWSITD can do is cause damage in their death throes, but they're finished.
      • It took Byleth and Claude at the same time to put down Nemesis after a long and exhausting fight. And in the Golden Deer route, it's stated that Nemesis's army had caused a massive amount of damage to Fódlan getting to the monastery, imagine how much damage he could do to either the Empire or the Kingdom when he has the full backing of the Agarthans? Granted, with Sothis's heart gone, Nemesis is most likely truly dead on the Black Eagle's route, while in the Blue Lions, he's free to fight Dimitri and Byleth while Fódlan is already weak post-war. (Which is going to be an offscreen moment of awesome when the two pull their own combination attack on Nemesis) Though the two will likely still have to handle Shambhala off screen too without the threat of missiles. So it seems, like the Black Eagles, The Blue Lions also have an off-screen post game war with the Agarthans.
      • In the Blue Lions route, since the Agarthans don't launch the missiles, Hubert has no way of detecting where their base is, and so can't tell Byleth and Dimitri where their base is.
      • Yes, I addressed that. He would still tell them what he knows of the Agarthans. They can hunt for the base on their own. It'll take longer, but there's no reason to think it can't be done.
      • It seems likely that they will investigate who the Agarthans are, considering the Blue Lions are aware that they are a threat, considering Myson showed up with demonic beasts during the final map, and they would want to investigate where Edelgard got her demonic powers from. Granted Hubert MIGHT be more spiteful this route considering how personal the conflict is between Edelgard and Dimitri is in this route(Granted, he would hate the Agarthans more than Dimitri at this point.) or he simply didn't have time to get a letter ready with how hectic the finale was. Though, while the Blue Lions are aware of the fact they exist, Nemesis and the Agarthans have the element of surprise in the sense that Dimitri and Byleth don't know where the base is.
      • In the other routes, Hubert writes he prepared the letter just in case Edelgard loses, even though he doesn't believe she will. He's not the type to let his personal feelings interfere with his duty. And if he had time over there, he'd have more time here, when the Blue Lions turned around and marched back to their capital instead of directly to Fort Merceus/Enbarr.

    Aymr Axe 
  • What is the Aymr Axe? It looks like one of the Heroes' Relics, and it has a unique combat art for the right Crest the way they do, but none of the Relics should be keyed to Seiros' Crest. The axe doesn't appear to have any connection with Seiros, either.
    • If you click on the weapon it says it was built specifically for Edelgard, and if I recall right it is basically a artificial Hero's Relic. The knowledge and resources of Thales and company probably enabled its creation, perhaps leftover dragon parts were involved (just as they also make another Sword of the Creator).

    Rhea the Misanthrope? 
  • Some entries over time on various pages here have emphasized Rhea's hatred of humanity, that she had been insane and hated them to some degree ever since Nemesis. However, is there really any support for this? Thus far in what I've seen and read I don't see much of anything that could qualify Rhea/Seiros as having a "severe case of misanthropy" as one troper put it. She certainly bears a grudge against Nemesis, and that grudge comes to the forefront when she believes Byleth has become a new Nemesis, and in her insanity she disregards innocent humans. However, toward humanity in general I don't see any real hatred, only a lack of trust (and said lack of trust also extends to her own kind to a degree, and even herself as she thinks no one can guide Fódlan as well as Sothis did, hence one reason she seeks to bring Sothis back). As she puts it when fighting Byleth and Edelgard, it was humans who betrayed her, and she is presumably talking about how the Agarthans tried to kill Sothis with the very technology that they were only able to develop because of the knowledge and resources the Nabatea shared with them, and to how Nemesis paid back Sothis (after she had spent so much power healing Fódlan from the battle the Agarthans started) by cutting her apart in her sleep. There's no question she hates the Agarthans and Nemesis, however when it comes to humans in general she seems way too positive to be a misanthrope. One could claim that taking in orphans and refugees is simply for PR purposes, that things like saving Jeralt's life, nursing Catherine back to health, giving permission for Dimitri to help stop the Duscur rebels from being massacred, and so on were done in the hope of earning future favors or loyalty from them. However, other things are harder to argue with. Taking in Cyril hurt her image if anything, considering how most people in Fódlan feel toward Almyrans. The same could be said for having saved Shamir's life, considering Shamir makes no secret of how she has no loyalty to the Church and she is of a people who are enemies to Fódlan to boot. That her official policy in the officer's academy is to encourage equality regardless of rank or Crest outright runs counter to Fódlan culture at large. Even her treatment of the Western Church seems more pragmatic than hateful, considering from paralogues we learn her "purging" of them amounted to little more than replacing their archbishop and killing those who plainly were out to kill her (and even then leaving so many dissenters alive that a new radical group splits off from them). She gave the first emperor her blood and trusted him to help her get revenge on Nemesis, and seems to think positively of him to the present day (telling Edelgard her actions have humiliated her ancestors). To top it off, on non-Edelgard routes she enters battle to protect the monastery with the full intent of sacrificing herself if need be to save the lives of everyone there. In her own words she fears it becoming a repeat of the Red Canyon if she doesn't, which would mean she has come to see the people there as her family, despite almost all of them being humans. That is not the sort of thing a misanthrope would do, or am I missing something?
    • She's not a misanthrope. A lot of the initial entries about Rhea were based on misunderstandings about her character that overstate her negative qualities. It may stem from people who only played the Black Eagles route, which doesn't give a very good idea of her actual character. Or, possibly, many people were expecting her to be a bloodthirsty tyrant before the game came out.
    • She's not as much a misanthrope as seemingly tending to disregard value of any human lives that don't serve her purposes in any way. Visible with how quick and ruthless she is when it comes to killing anyone actively opposing her, even when they have just been manipulated into it, and could be more useful alive(As visible with Western Church people, and pretty obvious from everyone's descriptions of Christophe, son of Lord Lonato, who was instantly executed even though Catherine herself admits he was a legitimately good guy, but he just trusted people too easily. Even Cyril when you look how fanatically loyal he is to her, you can argue she did save him to have another unquestioningly loyal servant on her side, even if Almyrans aren't liked in Fódlan, no one's gonna question the Archbishop who can call for their deaths at slightest misstep anyway. Perhaps Rhea knows that saving someone's life is a good way to ensure their loyalty, and therefore she tries to do so. And sure enough, aside from Shamir, everyone whose lives she saved don't question her(Well Catherine asks about it... but then does it anyway) even as she has them burn Fhirdiad together with innocent civilians inside in the BE route. TL;DR I don't believe she is a misanthrope either, but she is extremely pragmatic when it comes to dealing with human lives, and saving lives of people like Catherine, Cyril or Shamir seems to stem from her just attempting to have more talented people fanatically loyal to herself by using the opportunities to save their lives.
      • Given how the Western Church radicals behave even when not manipulated by Arundel it seems unlikely they would be all that useful (they legitimately want to kill Rhea and anyone who opposes them, they were only manipulated by being told something else would be in the tomb). Arundel would not have told them anything useful (indeed its doubtful they even knew his identity), and Rhea already knows there are groups against her that keep themselves hidden (she notes she has been dealing with them a long time). And Christophe did more than just trust too easily, as Catherine states he outright went along with the plan, and given she also states if there was an option besides turning him in she would have taken it, it seems he was not willing to be dissuaded. That aside, I've yet to see any evidence Rhea ever killed or threatened to kill anyone for the "slightest misstep." She seems quite willing to forgive or ignore provided the person doesn't threaten violence against her or her followers or supports someone who does.
    • Also, even if you could argue that Rhea saved Cyril solely to groom a mindless servant (which seems like a stretch, considering he's the one who insists he has to repay a debt and she just lets him do his own thing), she still goes out of her way to use Garreg Mach as a shelter for orphans, none of whom hold the same blind loyalty. In Dimitri's A-support, he even says Rhea took in orphaned children of bandits, saying they shouldn't be blamed for their parents' crimes. She has no benefit from it and more risk, considering those same kids attacked Dimitri. Not exactly something a misanthrope would do.
    • It seems that Rhea's biggest flaw is that while she genuinely is compassionate and hoping to lead humanity to a peaceful order, her methods are quite flawed, and she lacks critical understanding of humanity rather than outright misanthropy, and lacks mercy. Two examples in the game show this, in the Blue Lions route, there are clearly students who are traumatized over having to kill a civilian militia and a grieving father with sympathetic motives, Dimitri and Ashe in particular, and while she does pick up on it, she merely states that students should learn not to hesitate to strike down sinners and that she hopes the experience will teach them not to rebel against the church. The other is Miklan turning into a beast, despite having his life ruined by the system that Rhea herself implanted, she shows no pity or compassion, and outright refers to his horrific transformation as divine punishment from the goddess and orders Byleth to keep the whole incident under wraps under a misguided notion of keeping order. Naturally, it's quite easy to mistake her lack of mercy to outright misanthropy, when remembering her actions on the Black Eagles route. Rhea also does have black and white insanity come to think of it.
      • Regarding Miklan, it should be pointed out Rhea was hoping to get the spear back before Miklan could be transformed by it. To me her anger seemed as much about how senseless the whole debacle was as anything else. Also, Sylvain makes it clear that his brother was not exactly a good person and that he deserved to be disowned. He lost his right to inherit the household due to lacking a Crest, but he ruined his own life and was disowned due to his own behavior (repeatedly trying to kill Sylvain for instance). Dimitri also explains that the way Miklan's family does things is not a regular part of the Crest system, but something that family in particular came up with and enforced themselves (and with a legitimate motivation, given their history and location on the continent). Crest bearers get preferential treatment in many families, but actually requiring a Crest to get the usual rights of the first born is not a requirement for most. And as for Rhea's words about the militia, they're mitigated slightly in that she specifies she is speaking of civilian sinners who would harm believers. In her mind the fact they were initially civilians doesn't change the fact they started a violent rebellion that put people loyal to the central church in danger.
      • Granted, Miklan only became what he was because he was disinherited,and even Sylvain who has every right to hate Miklan and rejoice at him dying more than Rhea feels pity towards him despite making it clear Miklan deserved it. And while the family's actions were not common, they only happened because of the crest system. Regarding the Civilian militia, while that is a valid point, but Rhea's reaction is that she recognizes that the Blue Lions are traumatized, but doesn't seem to particularly make helping them get through the trauma a priority. And there is the fact that Lonato has legitimate grievances and is a traumatized father, she paints him as a sinner instead of attempting to negotiate. There is also the matter of her actively sidestepping Byleth's questions of why Lonato is rebelling if asked, and mere states he's been showing hostility instead of elaborating why.
      • I question the idea that she recognizes they are traumatized (and for that matter its questionable if they even are traumatized, aside from Ashe of course, and as we see if he confronts Lonato there was no option to negotiate as at that point Lonato was even willing to kill him and refuses the idea of negotiating when Ashe implores him to talk things out), she only states that she is aware some of them had "misgivings." Nobody in the game treats it as something requiring treatment or counseling or anything like that, those students effected simply speak of fighting the militia as something they hated having to do.
      • Take a look at the dialogue and see for yourself. —> Dimitri Are you insane!? Those weren't Knights or Soliders, but fathers and sons! We... We shouldn't have killed them. We should have found another way. —> Ashe Everyone in the village was... so nice to me. And I...I killed them all. I killed them all! i had to, i know i had to... i know that! But still... What does that make me? Those two lines convey that at the very least Dimitri and Ashe are clearly traumatized over the incident, and Rhea downplaying this as misgivings '' is typical sugarcoating and demonstrates that she lacks understanding of humanity in certain regards. Hell, some students could barely handle killing bandits for the first time, you think they are going to handle killing civilian militia and a grieving father any better?
      • You can't say all the Lions are traumatized by the event—those two are the only ones who show signs of it. And of them, Dimitri is already traumatized and has strong opinions on killing, and Ashe is closely related to the whole event. Everyone was probably sad. But not traumatized. As an addendum, Fódlan as a whole seems to have poor resources for mental health—Dimitri deeply needed therapy and didn't get any. Therapy may not be widely-developed, or even recognized as a necessity.
      • To be fair, we only get to see those two's reactions, we don't get see any of the other Lion's reactions. But more to the point, Fódlan as a whole having poor mental health facilities is on Rhea. She had lived through trauma herself, had overseen the school for at least three generations, would have seen the trouble many students had gone through, and still doesn't establish anything better than an advice box. With her years of living and experience, and as the head of the church, she had the responsibility and the power to improve mental therapy at the very least for monastery students and even for herself. One even could make the argument that Rhea contributes to Dimitri's breakdown at the end of part 1, her lack of mercy and constant ordering of military expeditions despite being aware of student problems does not set a good example for the more troubled students and actively forces students to relive their trauma. Even Seteth demonstrates a better understanding than her, as demonstrated in his supports with Felix and Ingrid.
      • I don't think it's fair to blame Rhea for the There Are No Therapists trope being prevalent in a Fire Emblem game and fiction in general, or claim it is evidence for her not understanding humanity (given how she reacted to trauma in a plainly human way). And she doesn't call for "constant military expeditions," a number of times the students were either not expected to actually fight (as with Lonato), or were called in as a necessity because there were not enough knights available. Plus peacekeeping missions, the elimination of bandits, etc. are something the students are trained for and expected to partake in. Its also noted by NPCs that the amount of violence, bad things happening, etc. during the year we spend in part 1 was very unusual for the academy, unprecedented even. As Seteth notes at one point, students and faculty alike had to bend to avoid breaking.
      • As Hubert notes in his A support, Rhea has failed to properly govern Fódlan, despite having centuries of experience, and the fact that she did react to her trauma in a human way is proof that she should have recognized the signs of instability in any student. I think it's fair to blame her for this, because as the head of the church, she does have the responsibility to look after the well being of her flock and the power to implement mental health reforms and facilities. And yes Rhea does call for constant military expeditions, while the students were not ordered to kill Lonato, they were expected to clean up in the aftermath which would entail fighting, not to mention, she gives them a mission every month which are basically military expeditions.
      • Hubert was speaking of the Nabatea in general, not Rhea in particular (recall Edelgard is opposed to Rhea "and her family"), and he states that they should be held to a different standard from humans, as if living longer lives means they should be less fallible. And flawed as she was, Rhea did keep Fódlan peaceful and prosperous (its noted its literally been centuries since the last large scale war) and encouraged many good things through the church. The monastery is set up to be equal and accepting, so clearly she is trying to encourage that in Fódlan culture as a whole as the monastery is literally where most of the continent's leaders go for part of their schooling. I'm a bit perplexed by the idea that Rhea should somehow be able to see instability in "any student." That's too much to expect of anyone, let alone someone who has to spend most of her day dealing with affairs from across an entire continent. Rhea rarely even interacts with the students due to lack of time, and has trouble getting them to relax around her (though she notes via the advice box that she wants to get closer to them). That's why the monastery has teachers, advisers, etc. who are expected to get close to students, help them, get them to trust them enough to reveal problems, etc. And the NPC holding the advice box is literally called "counselor" which suggests that they do have a mental health facility. Unless you think that counselor doesn't have any job beyond giving notes to Byleth. But like in real life, one can assume many who need counseling refuse to get it. The advice box is even anonymous to encourage participation.
      • Hubert was still referring to Rhea in that conversation. And it is a valid point, Rhea has a lifespan that spans over centuries, thus she should be held to a different standard than regular human leaders. And yes, the Church has accomplished good things, and having the school contain students from all walks of life is a good decision, however this conversation is towards Rhea. Rhea has had centuries to get to learn to interact with social inferiors, that is part of what the monastery teaches after all, the monastery tries to treat all students equally, fights over dorms notwithstanding. But that fact that Rhea still can't connect with people, and initially sees Byleth as someone to be overtaken by Sothis, is part of her flaws. Even with her fellow dragons, she still hides secrets from them, and refusing to tell Jeralt what happened to Byleth is a low point for her. As for the point with Rhea seeing instability in students, let me put it this way, She's their principal and in a sense military instructor in addition to the other teachers, part of an effective military instructor is being able to tell if a soldier in training is not fit to be in duty, that's why Sargent Hartman from Full Metal Jacket is a terrible instructor as per his actor's words (not that the internet gets his point) As she has failed to properly empathize with students undergoing trauma, despite what Byleth and the others may tell her, and merely tells students to learn not to rebel against the church, this is a valid critic and flaw of her character. Additionally yes, Rhea has an entire continent to worry about, but she still involves herself with student missions, thus she is still partly to blame for assigning traumatized students missions. If she left this to Seteth, i would have no ground to stand on, but since she gives missions along with Seteth, she's culpable. Additionally, the Counselor is only used for trivial things, most military organizations have specialists for preparing soldiers to kill. If Rhea established a specialist in the monastery, do let me know.
      • I'll freely admit they don't establish they have a specialist, though as the saying goes "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" and I'll reiterate lack of explicitly mentioned specialist therapy seems to be the case for every Fire Emblem world so singling out Rhea seems unfair. Even in this game's world there are plenty of societal failings that we explicitly kbow Rhea had no influence over. Heck, according to Cyril, Almyra apparently doesn't even have facilities to care for orphans, despite their culture creating tons of them.
      • Almyra is a nation of Blood Knights, from their perspective they have no need for orphanages, and they have bordering blue and orange morality when it comes to loss. Regardless, had Rhea understood people better, a lot of problems in the game may have been avoided, and despite it being the norm, I still find it a failing that Rhea could keep a church running for centuries which is longer than most Empires and still not establish better mental health facilities. Rhea is not a misanthrope or a bloodthirsty tyrant, indeed even at her most insane in CF, she doesn't go on a speech about how mankind is evil that is standard for JRPG villains and Fire Emblem Dragons, but she seems to have difficulty understanding that not everyone shares her errr eagerness to punish sinners and Black and White insanity. You can see this in the CF where she instantly interprets Byleth not wanting to kill Edelgard as a betrayal, instead of realizing that maybe the guy/gal who has been teaching and connecting to said student might have a problem killing said student.
      • Just a point to add, but Seteth does point out that in the Kingdom, Miklan's situation is not uncommon.
      • To the above, I'm quite certain he was referring to losing the firstborn inheritance (a concept which itself can be argued is as unfair as only Crest bearers becoming heads of house), and as Dimitri explained, there is a good reason for the practice. Actually being disowned is a whole other matter and Miklan has only himself to blame for that.

    What is Sothis supposed to be? 
This was brought up in my WMG about Rhea and Sothis, where i brought up that Sothis initially refers to herself as the beginning and not the goddess:
  • It is worth noting that The Beginning is a term used for God in Christianity, which the Church of Seiros draws off, and in Heroes Sothis states her true form isn't something that can be seen. She probably is a goddess, just one who can tell (on the Black Eagles route) that Rhea/Seiros has degenerated and needs to be stopped.
    • In Fire Emblem, there is a difference between being a super powerful dragon and a god. Dragons in Fire Emblem tend to be worshiped as gods even if they aren't. Grima had worshipers and was revered as a god, but turned out to be an artificial dragon, similarly Naga does not see herself as a god despite having a church. It should be noted that Sothis was dead when the Church of Seiros was set up.
    • Except Sothis isn't a dragon. The Nabateans are, but she never turns into a dragon, not even in Heroes. And in fact, she explicitly refers to herself as deity.
      Sothis: The truth is I have always been with you. It is within you that I found my power again. The power of a goddess. The power of the progenitor god.
    • It's also not clear what "death" actually means for Sothis, considering she can still come back after her merge with Byleth. In fact, look at the other explicit deity in Fire Emblem, Ashunera. She comes back even after dying (as Ashera), created a race of dragons despite not turning into one, and had a church founded when she wasn't around for it. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? She and Sothis are both pretty clearly in a separate class than regular Fire Emblem dragons.
    • It should be noted that there were humans when Sothis came to Fódlan, so at the very least, progenitor god is inaccurate, unless Rhea referred to the dragons specifically, but that's not what Church Doctrine states. Thinking on it, Sothis's memory may still hazy even by the time she merged with Byleth, so she might believe she was a goddess instead of an ancient astronaut or whatever she actually is. (Which even the latter is a possibility brought up by an Ask box)
    • On the note of being the progenitor god, Rhea and Seteth speak of her as this even in private, and Rhea refers to her this way in her S-support after the truth about Fódlan history is out in the open. So it seems clear that at the very least the term "progenitor god" is used by the Nabatea specifically because Sothis is their progenitor. To them Sothis is both their family and their goddess. Indeed Seteth remarks on how Byleth could become their "brethren" if they become the goddess. This could imply that they consider Sothis to be a Nabatea in some sense as well, even if she lacks a dragon form. Plus she does have a Crest Stone just like the other Nabatea (just even more powerful). On another note though with the way the Sword of the Creator looks its feasible she does have some kind of monstrous form and Heroes simply didn't want to reveal it (or it isn't her "original" form but merely a form she took after she arrived in Fódlan). Its interesting to note that the Nabatea don't seem to regard their dragon form as any more "true" a form than their humanoid one, i.e. in her S support Rhea simply calls the Immaculate One her "other form." Claude even theorizes (when looking at an image of the Immaculate One) on how the physical matter that makes up a demonic beast may come from some kind of transformation the energy produced by a Crest Stone undergoes. Perhaps Sothis was originally some kind of energy being (or just a sapient Crest Stone that came from space) and gained multiple forms when she became flesh and blood.
    • The Book of Seiros does state that humans existsed before Sothis arrived in Fódlan.
      • You may have misread it then. The Book of Seiros, Part II states that the goddess alighted in Fódlan after a long journey and breathed life into all the creatures upon it, creating humans last.

    Why does Seteth even help support the crest system? 
  • Seteh is quite a reformist in the church, as seen in Ingrid's supports, he doesn't feel that crests should define a person by their entirety. And there is also the fact that he knows for a fact crests and the relics were made from the bones and hearts of his brethren. So why does he help the system propagate and not take a more active stance on reforming the system when he is in the perfect position to? It's already quite a leap of logic for Rhea to establish this, when she has her own mental issues, but Seteth is much more relatively adjusted, he has no reason to believe the crest system will help keep order and actively argues against it.
    • There's a few factors here: One, Seteth's job is managing the church's organization and finances. He's not involved in setting doctrine, and probably works primarily with other members of the church and seldom deals directly with the laity. It's a high position, but has limited ability to directly affect change. Two, he still remembers Rhea as the one who led himself and Flayn through the War of Heroes and isn't aware of Rhea's fragile mental state or her more questionable actions, so he tends to defer to her as a result. Three, the "Crest System" doesn't stem entirely from church doctrine: Crests grant their bearers outstanding talents and abilities on top of letting them use Relics, so they have a clear practical value independent of the church's stance on the matter.
    • Furthering the above, Seteth states his feelings are "mixed" on the matter of Crests and such. In other words as much as he dislikes certain aspects of it, he sees there is also value in the way the church does things, and perhaps at the time hasn't figured out enough of a better system to advocate for change with.

    Medieval Stasis? 
  • What evidence is there that the Church of Seiros is enforcing medieval stasis on Fódlan? I just finished Golden Deer and was surprised that I saw almost no evidence of it in events or dialog, despite it being mentioned a lot on these pages. Claude never speaks of the outside world being more technologically advanced. About the only sign of differences in technology is that Almyran ships have large guns, but given we never see any Fódlan ships this doesn't prove much. Claude's focus seemed to just be on ending Fódlan's isolationism, not raising their tech level, and its not clear if the church was responsible for the isolation, as Claude questions if the church is really for isolation when Lorenz claims it (and books on foreign lands are among the material allowed in the monastery library) and its not part of the book of Seiros or other teachings you read. Did I somehow miss some reference to enforced stasis or to the outside world having more technology?
    • It's not just you, I haven't seen any evidence that Rhea or the church enforce Medieval Stasis. It seems to be an Urban Legend of Zelda that spread from how they don't let Fódlan interact with other countries, which is fair...but there's nothing to indicate they're sabotaging technology. Heck, Rhea not only allows Hanneman to conduct his research, she's funding it (via paying him as a teacher).
    • I can't recall any direct evidence either, but I think the idea simply comes from the fact that the Agarthans have advanced technology and have had it for centuries, while the rest of Fódlan doesn't. I don't really remember if they ever said in the backstory whether they exclusively kept that tech to themselves, or if it was slowly spreading to the rest of the continent. But if the latter, the absence of it in the present would imply that Rhea put a stop to it. It is in any case notable that the tech wasn't assimilated into greater society to raise the general living standard once the Agarthans were defeated (if nothing else, I imagine those mechas would be useful in construction work), although the protagonists don't do that either, perhaps because they simply don't view the concept of "advanced technology" in the same way we do.
      • If so, that impression is due to misunderstanding the time span that those events involved. From how Rhea explains it, she wasn't actually around when the Agarthan civilization existed on the surface. She doesn't even know how the Holy Tomb's defenses work, or how Agarthan technology works. That is, its repeatedly mentioned that "those who slither in the dark" have been underground for "thousands" of years plural (so at least two thousand years), whereas Sothis being dissected and the massacre in Zanado happened "only" about a thousand years ago. Rhea notes it took a incredibly long time for Sothis to restore Fódlan to a healthy state after the war with the Agarthans (presumably much of Fódlan became like the Valley of Torment), and presumably Rhea was created toward the end of that time as the "last" of Sothis' creations (as she refers to herself as the last despite later explaining there were other surviving Nabatea after the War of Heroes). Rhea's only experience with the "javelins of light" seems to have been when the monastery was attacked (and the missiles deflected long) after all that happened. And while she knew Nemesis must have had help to create the Relic Weapons, it's only during the events in the game that she surmises that "those who slither in the dark" are the descendents of the Agarthans. She'd never been able to find them before that.
      • So in summary, the tech was widespread in Fódlan when the Agarthan civilization existed, widespread enough that Rhea notes different factions of them engaged in a number of destructive wars well before they tried to kill Sothis. The Nabatea also possessed technology, or at least knowledge for it, as Rhea notes they helped the Agarthans develop it. The aftermath of the war with Sothis was such that basically nothing was left of Agarthan technology on the surface and its implied that the land itself was basically a post apocalypse wasteland for centuries, "those who slither" hiding away underground with what little technology they could take with them, recreate or salvage. Rhea notes the Nabatea decided to "live quietly" in Zanado as it was close to the protection of the Holy Tomb, and perhaps they too lost much of the technology they had possessed before the war (hence Rhea's lack of knowledge, and how the Nabatea were slaughtered so completely when Nemesis attacked). Regardless, it means that at most Rhea hid the fact that such advanced technology once existed, she didn't prevent the development of new technology (and Hanneman states he will be organizing excavations at the recently ruined Shambala to see what can be learned about them). Why the world as a whole seems to be in Medieval Stasis isn't explained, but it can't be explained by the Church of Seiros as they have no influence outside Fódlan anyway.
      • However, in Crimson Flower there are several graphical elements showing Almyran warships with what look to be late 15th century cannons, indicating that at least outside of Fódlan technology has been developed around the early 1600s (though potentially only military). By contrast, the only real indicator of gunpowder in Fódlan is the barrels of the stuff used as improvised exposives in some of the formation attacks and in general Fódlan is still using the same arms they had a thousand years ago. Normally this could just be dismissed as yet another Fire Emblem thing like how Archanea and Ylisse are basically on tech parity, but in Three Houses the fact that technology can advance up to the level of Mechas and ICB Ms is a key part of the backstory meaning that it can't have the same easy "tech isn't relevant to the story, so it doesn't matter" excuse. This seems to show that the world outside of Fódlan isn't stuck in stasis, and given how the main distinguising political feature of Fódlan is the church, people assume that that must have had something, intentional (suppressing technology that could lead into Agarthans-lite) or not (Fódlan's general xenophobia cutting out intellectual trade), to do with it.

    How did Jeralt stay in hiding from the Church for so long? 

  • As stated in the game, Jeralt is a famous mercenary and in the backstory, famous as the strongest of knights, yet he doesn't bother to hide his name, like Greil, and people know where to hire him, so why didn't Rhea track him down like that? Or hire him using a proxy or fake name to get to him? Why did no one report that the former captain was a renowned Merc? How does one become a famous mercenary and avoid getting hired by one of the most powerful person or organization in the continent?
    • Pure theory here, but regarding Rhea specifically perhaps she did find out Jeralt was alive, but was wary of antagonizing him further. She clearly did value him as a friend to some degree, and knew her own secrecy had helped drive him away. This may not have been enough for her to tell him the truth, but it may have been enough for her to want to wait until he was more amicable. She could even have made efforts to keep the knights from hiring his band and thus make it harder to find out about him. For her a couple of decades wouldn't have been all that long a wait, and she knew Jeralt wouldn't be dying of old age any time soon either. The question then would be if she suspected Byleth was alive and if this factored into her actions as well. As for how Jeralt could have kept hidden in general, we don't know all he might have done to accomplish that. Perhaps he stuck to remote regions for the first decade or so, and then passed himself off as someone who used the name "Jeralt" out of admiration or something. It would certainly have been nice to get an explanation for why he used his real name so freely if he really intended to keep his survival a secret.
    • Watching the scene again, I noticed that Alois only refers to Jeralt as having "vanished," and upon reuniting with Rhea, Jeralt simply apologizes for his silence towards her all these years rather than apologizing for pretending to be dead or anything like that. So perhaps there is credence to Rhea knowing he was around, and perhaps when her attempts to reach out to him resulted in silence she decided to wait (as suggested above).

    Rhea's power level in the Silver Snow route? 
  • Given the game doesn't exactly explain it in detail, are there any theories as to the mechanics of what happened to Rhea to turn her not just berserk but more powerful at the end of Silver Snow? The game indicates it is due to her overusing her powers, perhaps compounded by her severe injuries and years of confinement. Even Jeralt's narration notes her going berserk is due to her power having limits. However, I can't help but see a certain disconnect/contradiction in the reasoning. That is why would being weakened and injured actually cause Rhea to become more powerful than before? Seteth outright notes after Rhea's initial Immaculate One form changes again that even he has never seen her reach such a form. Is the implication that its not Rhea's body that was weakened, but rather her mind's ability to control her inner power? Is it that there is some great distinction between the power of the humanoid body of a Nabatea and their dragon form, that is that they are in some sense two separate powers and the former acts as a control for the latter? Rhea even seems to treat her dragon form's power and emotions as something in a sense separate from her, given that when she starts to lose control she seems to realize what is happening and shouts "no!"
    • One theory that may at least partially explain things is that the javelins of light gave Rhea some kind of magical radiation sickness. Hence why her look as a boss in this route is notably different, glowing and outright sickly in her second state. On Golden Deer she simply eventually died from the "radiation", but in Silver Snow it instead causes her power to go out of control and undergo a sort of godzilla-style meltdown that can only be stopped by defeating her.

    Edelgard has more trouble with Byleth's help? 
  • In Crimson Flower, Edelgard is unable to capture Rhea during the fall of Garreg Mach, and Rhea's free until she's killed at the end of the game. In Azure Moon, and to my knowledge in Verdnant Wind and Silver Snow, Edelgard captures Rhea at the start of the war and keeps her imprisoned throughout the war. Why does this turn out so differently, when having the help of Byleth and her classmates on Crimson Flower should make capturing Rhea easier?
    • This is partly at least theory as we don't have Edelgard actually say she has stopped using them, but from what we see she seems to stop using demonic beasts at least in battles she participates in. And recall in the other routes the demonic beasts were the main reason the army was able to capture Rhea. Thales also doesn't appear to participate in the battle, and its implied with Byleth on her side Edelgard keeps "those who slither" further away from her than in the other routes (though its still stated she needs their power).

    Black Eagles switching sides. 
  • On Crimson Flower, the rest of the Black Eagles join Edelgard and Byleth when they flee the monastery after Chapter 11. On the AM and VW, they stay at Garreg Mach and are implied to fight with the rest of the students when the empire attacks, and can still be asked for assistance for the month. However, during the timeskip, they all go back and rejoin the empire. Why the apparent change of heart?

    • After the BE students saw the full might of the Imperial Army, they saw it pointless to resist, and took up general roles during the timeskip. Perhaps hoping to earn back their titles and land, like Ferdinand.

    Lonato's Convoluted Suicide by Cop/My Death is Just the Beginning? 
  • It's certainly the case that Lonato was manipulated by the western church, but I've been wondering if he knew more about their plans than we may think. Attention is drawn repeatedly in the story to how his uprising has no chance of success and that he should be well aware of this, and yet he does it anyway and behaves as if he is going to succeed. So could it be he knew about the note found on his body, and intended to be killed so that the central church would find the note? Dimitri is one character who indicates as much, stating "isn't it possible he (Lonato) he hoped to monopolize everyone's attention with this alleged plot... in order to distract from his true aim?" Of course this theory has multiple problems, namely that it makes more sense for Lonato to genuinely want to kill Rhea, not be a part of a scheme to steal Seiros' bones to make weapons/experiment with (or whatever it was they wanted her remains for). Further it means he would have had to have been okay with dying before he got any real revenge, and at the same time ok with taking a lot of innocents down with him all for a convoluted plot that didn't serve his main interests. If so then it makes the "he went crazy with grief and hatred and had no knowledge of the western church's actual intentions" interpretation make more sense.

    The Ten Elites fought with the Four Saints? 
  • Entries here claim that, according to the Church of Seiros, the War of the Heroes was Nemesis vs. the Ten Elites, the Four Saints, and Seiros. But during Flayn's B Support with Ignatz, she puts the Ten Elites on the same side as Nemesis. Ignatz notes to himself some inconsistancies between Flayn's version and most accounts, but he doesn't say anything about Flayn putting some of the major actors on the wrong side, even though the inconsistencies he does note are far less significant. Have we gotten something else about this game wrong?
    • Actually it's a major plot reveal in Golden Deer when Rhea states that the 10 Elites were on the side of Nemesis, they were fellow bandits who he gave the Relic weapons to after he had killed the Nabatea in Zanado. Flayn's support with Ignatz is basically a early spoiler of this reveal (as is the opening cut scene, where we see a bunch of red lights from Relics igniting across the battlefield, all on the side of Nemesis' forces), and another show of how Flayn is pretty bad at lying. Rhea apparently allowed the Elites to live after they lost the war, perhaps in exchange for supporting the revised history Rhea wanted to give to the Relics (to help spread the worship of Sothis and unify/stabilize Fódlan in those beliefs). Albeit, Seteth remarks to Ingrid in one of their supports that a number of the Elites ended up killing each other later in life over various power struggles (recall some of them lived for centuries), suggesting their pasts in a sense caught up with them.

    Mercedes being kicked out 
  • Why did Mercedes' adopted father kick her out? She has a Crest, which the rest of their society practically worships. Even if her father decided that Emile would be better suited as the heir as his biological son, she'd still have had value thanks to her Crest, which he could leverage by sayi wedding her off to someone else since that would make her a very valuable suiter.
    • It indeed could use a explanation, but if we are to speculate then perhaps it was a matter of ruthless practicality. Even some Noble houses are noted to struggle a bit to provide for themselves. Perhaps that family, given how ruthless they are implied to be (a Church NPC as I recall notes they have had a bad reputation for a long time), didn't want to "waste" food on Mercedes and her mother when it would be years before she'd be old enough to marry off for her Crest.
    • Keep in mind that Mercedes' stepfather did this after Emile was born, which means that not only did her stepfather have a son with a Crest, he now had two children, one biologically his, the other through marriage. Given he only married them for the sake of having a Crest, having a son means he got the best thing he could hope for: someone he can have someone else marry to continue his family line, this time with a crest. It isn't too hard to imagine why.
    • On another note, in her support with Ferdinand she claims she and her mother weren't actually "kicked out." Rather they were mistreated to the point that her mother decided to flee. Still leaves the ambiguity of why they didn't want to make use of two Crests instead of one. Especially considering how valuable Mercedes was to the man who would eventually force the church to let him adopt her.
    • Some light may be shed with Jeritza's supports on the DLC. The stepfather did want as many Crest babies as possible, given that he planned on marrying Mercedes herself once her mother was too old to get pregnant again. It's not too hard to imagine him being sexually abusive to his wife, explaining why she and Mercedes booked it.

    The Unknown Second Queen 
  • How did no one know Patricia wasn't the King's first wife or Dimitri's stepmother? While The Blue Lions kids make sense since they'd have probably been babies or toddlers at the time, wouldn't anyone else have noticed that the King had a different wife after his son was born? And considering Lambert was willing to take Patricia to Duscur on what he thought would be a peaceful diplomatic mission its clear she wasn't kept in the castle at all times and probably was seen by the public at some points.
    • It's mentioned at some point that her marriage to Lambert was kept secret. Presumably, the commoners thought she was just another noble in the king's court, and the nobles assumed she was a concubine. Cornelia was put in a position of authority by Lambert for saving Faerghus from a plague, so the nobles might have alternately assumed Patricia had done something similarly heroic in the past and been rewarded with power.

    Final Boss of the Golden Deer Spoilers 
  • People are saying Nemesis was revived by TWSITD, but while yeah that is hinted in game, does anyone have an explanation for how when nothing in the other routes has this occur?
    • The characters in the games themselves are unsure of how it occurred, so there may not be a true answer available to us. However, someone in the game (Rhea I think) speculates that the pillars of light falling on Shambala somehow woke up Nemesis, who had in some sense remained "alive" thanks to the power of Sothis' blood, and who the Slithers had been working for ages on restoring the body of and recently finished. This event with the pillars of light only happens in two routes, so that explains at least why Nemesis doesn't revive in the other routes during the time period of gameplay (he might have been awakened postgame, though the things the characters do on those routes may interfere with that). As for why he didn't awaken on the Silver Snow route, one theory I've heard is that its because the attack on Shambala happens one month sooner than on the Golden Deer, and thus the theory goes that the Slithers hadn't had quite enough time to finish restoring Nemesis before their base was destroyed, and thus the pillars of light didn't awaken him.

    Annette's fate in Golden Deer route 
  • Alright, so it says that Annette might be dead in the Golden Deer route, but her Blue Lions route exclusive paralogue says that the Dominic house is one of the noble houses that supported the empire, would there be a chance that Annette is placed under house-arrest by her uncle for her safety?

    Flayn and Byleth's support bonus. 
  • Certain supports in the game give a bonus to attack as well as accuracy and evasion. Generally, these represent characters with particularly close relationships like Dimitri and Dedue. Byleth has an attack bonus with Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude, which make sense because Byleth's relationship with them is a major part of each route's story. But Byleth also has an attack bonus with Flayn, even though their relationship doesn't seem to be outstandingly close. Why is that?
    • Flayn does speak of feeling a special connection to Byleth and knows that they are both a special existence. Perhaps its due to how they are both the products of human and Nabatean parentage (whether Byleth's mother counts as Nabatean is unclear, but between her, the Seiros Crest in Jeralt and Sothis' Crest Stone Byleth does become a mix of Nabatean and human).

    Solon's sacrifice/spell. 
  • Who is Zahras? Why is the spell forbidden? Presumably the latter is because it seems to require a sacrifice (Kronya), but considering that the Slithers like to Kill and Replace anyway, what's the big deal?
    • It could be the quality of the sacrifice. You may not be able to use any random innocent to open that black abyss. The higher-ups among Those Who Slither don't seem entirely human. And it's likely they aren't easy to "create", as it were.

     Rhea after the end of the Azure Moon route 
  • At the end of Azure Moon, Rhea is forced to resign as Archbishop because her imprisonment left her too weak to continue the job. Rhea is well over a millenium old and lived through at least a century of war, but five years in captivity left her physically broken when nothing else did. What kind of conditions was Edelgard keeping her in?
    • Assuming Rhea didn't take a missile to the face in Azure Moon, i thought Rhea retired because she basically achieved all her goals, her mother or rather, Byleth is in power again in Fódlan and has taken the seat of Archbishop, the Holy Kingdom of Farghus is the new power of Fódlan which means the Church will continue to play an important role in the politics of Fódlan, and the Slithers are crippled for now. Rhea has no reason to stay around so so retired. Or you could assume that Rhea will go into hibernation to recover from her injuries, and will return to power once Byleth and Dimitri have passed on, and continue the whole revive Sothis again. Wait a minute...
    • The latter seems unlikely. Since Catherine's solo ending in the Azure Moon route said that Rhea retired to Zanado and stayed there for the rest of the time after the war. And assuming that she had an off-screen Heel Realization that her attempts in keeping peace in Fódlan make things worse in the long run and led to the war, she probably decided to stay away from anything to do with ruling the land anymore.
    • Also, Silver Snow and Verdant Wind have Rhea explicitly stating she realized her rule was not good for Fódlan. So yeah, there's no reason she wouldn't have a Heel Realization and permanently step down from leadership.
    • I was mostly speculating that Rhea retreated into the Canyon to hibernate to heal from the injuries, i was sort of joking about the fact that after she awakens, she will most likely outlive Dimitri and Byleth in that ending. But now that you two have mentioned it, what would Rhea do in the event she outlives both Byleth and Dimitri? And come to think of it, Byleth's corpse most likely would have the crest stone of Sothis intact. Oh dear.
    • Unlikely, the non-Crimson Flower routes are the only routes where Rhea realizes that Byleth and Sothis are their own individuals. Even if the thought came up, Rhea wouldn't go through because she made things worse by piling lies upon lies for the sake of bringing Sothis back before which led to her retiring to Zanado in the first place. There's no way she wants a repeat of someone starting a war over the lies she created again. Besides, her retirement gives Rhea plenty of time to think and get over about everything that happened in the story.
    • She also realizes Byleth and Sothis are separate people in CF, though there that fueled her madness. But more to the point, Rhea had her heel realizations in Snow and Wind not Moon, so waiting for Byleth to die and retrieving the stone is not exactly out of character there. However I can see Seteth and Flayn objecting to her if Rhea tries to dig up Byleth's corpse to retrieve Sothis's stone. Assuming Rhea doesn't do this in secret. Plus I don't think hanging out at the location where her race was massacred is healthy for anyone's state of mind. Even worse when you realize she might outlive Catherine in those endings. It's easy to see her giving in to the urge to see her mother again without her revelations in GD and SS. Are we sure the Agarthans are all Byleth and Dimitri have to worry about?
    • This might depend on whether or not do you believe Byleth lives long due to their ambiguously Nabatean nature after being fused with Sothis or not. That wouldn't happen if Byleth lived longer, and if Byleth had a human lifespan, Byleth would have likely gotten their answers about their origin offscreen in both cases, but for the latter, they might have talked to Seteth and Flayn about how to cremate them should Rhea go through with trying to bring Sothis back again.
    • One; this was originally a post on Fridge Horror highlighting that Edelgard probably wasn't keeping Rhea in humane conditions, given Rhea's apparant weakness. It's not a big leap either, given Edelgard's ruthlessness and her hatred of the church and Nabateans. Two; the only reason given in-game for Rhea's retirement is being weak after her years in captivity, which was stated by the game's narrator. To say that Rhea really retired for one reason or another is purely speculation. And Rhea going off and living by herself for the rest of her life isn't exactly a happy ending. Three; Why is Rhea attempting to revive Sothis being treated as something monstrous? Rhea's attempts to do so amounted to her making a few homonculii and putting Sothis' Crest Stone into them, and once putting it into a stillborn baby at the behest of said baby's mother. It's not exactly hurting anybody. Byleth wouldn't even be alive if Rhea hadn't done it. Rhea's not an Axe-Crazy murderer who tries to rip the Crest Stone out of people's chest the femtosecond they don't act like Sothis, and she's not going to hunt down and murder Byleth post-game.
    • To answer your question on why Rhea reviving Sothis is treated as monstrous, first of all, even Rhea admits her desire to see her mother was a selfish wish, and it prevents her from moving on, which is partly why she is so lonely. 2, she's growing people who are alive and have their own will to be overtaken by her mother, take a look at Byleth's mother, she's clearly her own person as described by Jeralt, if Rhea had succeeded in using her as a vessel to revive Sothis, would she still be alive or the same person? 3, yes, Sothis's stone helped save Byleth's life, but Rhea also intended to make them Sothis's vessel so in a way, that would kill Byleth mentally, showing that Rhea has an ulterior motive to save Byleth's life. 4, she didn't have the decency to tell Jeralt, someone she knew for years, saved her life, and trusted her to help deliver the baby, (I'm assuming that's why Rhea was in the same room) the truth of why his baby wasn't crying or had no heartbeat, or why his wife died. Not even when Jeralt and Byleth came back to the monastery, despite Rhea being remorseful over the incident, because she really wanted to see Sothis again. That's why, in their s-support together, Rhea is so remorseful over what she did, and Byleth's influence, helped Rhea move on, see Byleth as their own person, and strive to be a better leader.
      • A few clarifications/notes of contention, the game is quite ambiguous on whether any "taking over" was intended by Rhea. She wanted to create a body for Sothis, that the bodies were their own people upon gaining life meant they were "failures" at that from the start and Rhea would just wait until they died to try again (and if the example of Byleth's mother is any indication, they apparently lived with some knowledge of what they were and were ok with it, at least enough to not flee from Rhea). And it's also inaccurate to say Rhea intended to make Byleth Sothis' vessel. She admits she knew their body was ideal to actually awaken Sothis' consciousness, but that they got the stone at all was not due to any plan of hers. And technically (in her mind at least) she did tell Jeralt the truth about his wife's death (just not the whole truth), as she notes that she told him Byleth's mother decided to save Byleth's life at the cost of her own, and that Jeralt refused to accept this. After this Rhea seemed to rationalize that Byleth was functionally both themselves and Sothis, and that if they regained Sothis' memories they would be "complete" and nothing would be lost. Even when Sothis' consciousness has already left Byleth she seems to think this is the case, though she does eventually realize the truth.
      • I feel that Rhea like you said didn't plan out the whole vessel for Byleth aspect. It was more of a lucky for her coincidence, like " welp, i saved the baby, wait a minute, this baby is quite a suitable vessel..." But on the point with Jeralt, no, a half truth, still isn't the truth in my opinion, and she left out the whole bit about her plans for Byleth and the exact circumstances of how his wife died or her true origins. That's pretty terrible for her, she should have come clean about the full story to him, during White Clouds, but didn't to ensure her plans would continue. But keeping on topic, yes, those points are why reviving Sothis is monstrous for Rhea, sure there are points of contention, like my good buddy Perentie notes, but it's still a low point for her. Also, i see her rationalizations as another form of sugar coating, and she knew what she was doing, as she keeps offering contradicting herself, and is a consummate liar, considering if she truly believed that, she would have talked to Jeralt over it, to try to convince him, but didn't. But that's not the point of this headscratcher. Maybe another time. The whole vessel aspect of Byleth does deserve it's own headscratcher post. But last point, whatever her rationalization is, that doesn't change the end goal, Rhea wants Sothis alive again, but to do that, Byleth must be sacrificed in some way, either being rendered a passenger in their own mind, or soul death, in order for it to happen. Remember, the fact that the vessels had minds meant that they were failures.
    • Now, I presume that since most dragons hibernate to heal from injuries, like Flayn, and Byleth for example that's why Rhea went to Zanado. I just speculated that Rhea would outlive Dimitri and Byleth, in the process. The possibility that Rhea might return to the role of archbishop is still there, or that she might dig up Byleth's corpse to retrieve her mother's stone is possible. Plus i assume that Rhea was kept in the same conditions as Verdant Wind, and Silver Snow, and she was fine enough despite her injuries there, she could take a missile to the face and still live long enough to either explain the plot, or to be the obligatory final boss.
      • Possible perhaps, but unlikely. Even on Azure Moon it seems likely Rhea reached the same conclusions that her actions had led to bad consequences for Fódlan. That she remains willing to give governance to Dimitri and Byleth and not oppose their various reforms points to this. Said reforms would also likely make it difficult for her to ever have the same power and influence she had as Archbishop again. And she probably realizes that since Sothis' spirit "vanished/disappeared" to another world that resurrecting her again went from unlikely to impossible (if S ranked ,Sothis will note the Crest Stone in Byleth is now little more than a decoration and she no longer exists in it). Plus, depending on the ending Rhea isn't alone in Zanado anymore, with Catherine, her potential husband and their potential descendants around. It seems just as likely she has moved on even in Azure Moon, hence her willingness to return to live in the place of her greatest personal tragedy, she is no longer trapped by her grief over the Red Canyon massacre.

     The books in the library contradict each other. 
  • So i reread the whole library, and one part really stood out to me, the history of Fódlan states Nemesis was wicked from the start and delighted in the chaos and suffering of the people, isn't this contradictory to what Seteth says that Nemesis was a hero until he was corrupted by dark gods and was put down by Seiros?
    • The first part of the history book doesn't state the year, but given the next part is 41 years before the Adrestian Empire was founded, one can assume that it takes place even before that, even before Rhea took on the name Seiros. The point being that the first part is vague enough to be seen as just a general record of what Nemesis and Fódlan was like at the time. It doesn't mention what happened before and what he may or may not have been then, which perhaps allowed for the story that he was a fallen hero to become accepted. Keep in mind that what Seteth says isn't meant to imply Nemesis was put down quickly, it's well known from the history books that the war with Nemesis lasted around a hundred years. Seteth is just giving a quick summation of the accepted version of events.

     The purpose of Rhea's imprisonment. 
  • Has any troper found evidence/dialog in the game that explains or hints at an explanation as to why Rhea was imprisoned for five years instead of killed in every route where she is captured? On Azure Moon I just came across an NPC who wonders much the same thing. They note that if Edelgard intended to use Rhea as a hostage then there was no reason to keep her being alive a secret from the rest of Fódlan, but they can offer no explanation as to just what Edelgard's intentions are. I think it is fair to say it wasn't mercy on Edelgard's part, we know that she will readily kill Rhea if she presents a threat (and that Hubert will kill those he deems a threat even if Edelgard tells him not to), not to mention how Rhea's poor health due to the imprisonment means she was likely at the very least kept in less than humane conditions. It's easy to assume that the Slithers were keeping her alive for blood experiments and such (perhaps in Azure Moon enabling Edelgard's transformation), but as far as I know this is never actually said or hinted at beyond connections the player can make to the vague statements about her being in poor health (the cause of said poor health not being elaborated on beyond saying her imprisonment was to blame). Plus it would make Edelgard even more complicit in the Slither's actions, given they'd be happening in her own home castle (whereas other things like Arundel and Cornelia's many war crimes at least happened away from where Edelgard was). One explanation I've read is the idea that Edelgard starved Rhea to keep her too weak to transform into the Immaculate One, but that wouldn't explain why she bothered to secretly keep her alive to begin with.
    • Pure speculation on my part, but the two reasons i assumed that Edelgard kept Rhea close to home, was 1, to keep Rhea as a bargaining chip against the Agarthans, 2: To interrogate her over Fódlan's history,and Edelgard and Seiros certainly have a connection through their crest, so it's likely Edelgard would want to know everything Seiros knew about Crests and Seiros's connection to her family. Now in Crimson Flower, Edelgard is willing to spare Seiros, there is even a class question, where you get the highest response if you tell Edelgard to spare Seiros, and in the finale, Edelgard gives Seiros a chance to surrender. From this, we can gather that since Seiros was a prisoner, Edelgard didn't see the need to execute her. Now here is pure conjecture on my part, but it's possible that Edelgard learned the full history of Fódlan and crests from Seiros, and that did convince Edelgard to spare her. Granted it's damning by faint praise but Edelgard clearly had enough standards not to hand over Seiros to Thales and the Agarthans where they would do MUCH worse to Seiros.
      • The trouble with that speculation is that Edelgard had retreated and Thales was the one present when Rhea was captured (all indications are she was beaten quickly after Byleth fell from the cliff, given that nobody on the defender's side caught more than a brief view of what happened). Edelgard would have had to swoop in quickly and very convincingly give a reason to not kill her if Thales actually wanted to kill her right away.
      • Edelgard gives no evidence that she's learned anything from Rhea. She doesn't appear to understand Fódlan's history on the non-CF routes any better than she does on CF, and given Edelgard's hatred of Nabateans, she likely doesn't consider Rhea an accurate source for information. Edelgard using her for experiments seems like the most likely answer. The last chapter of AM shows that there are plenty of Slitherers in Enbarr. Post-timeskip, the imperial army has started using new types of Demonic Beasts that might be the result of their experiments. Moreover, while the Slitherers hate the Nabateans, that doesn't mean they'll kill them at the first opportunity; They can potentially hold Flayn captive for up to a month and explicitly stole some of her blood, but she's still found alive.
      • I did wonder if Edelgard used Rhea's blood for the Crest monsters, but the crest beasts in the Time skip look different from the ones in SS's finale so that can't be it. Perhaps they came from the stones Edelgard already stole from the Holy Tomb? Now on that point of who captured Rhea, I recall Thales was the one who blasted Byleth into the abyss, so it's likely Thales wasted time trying to look for Byleth there, since he does explicitly state he want's Byleth's (or rather Sothis's) blood for the Agarthans, assuming this, this likely gave Edelgard or Hubert time to take Rhea for themselves. It's highly unlikely that Thales would take Rhea and not bring her to Shambhala, where he has allies and the tools to experiment on her. And Rhea certainly makes no mention of what Edelgard did to her muddying the issue. Hubert's letter also makes no mention of experiments, just that Rhea is in weak condition. I did assume that Edelgard's crest stone that she uses to transform to Hegemon Edelgard was from Seiros but the two forms look different. On that point about Flayn, as the fridge page notes, if Flayn was transported outside of the monastery, the Agarthans would subject her to more experiments that would be fatal or worse, but assuming Thales and the Agarthans had access to Seiros for 5 years, it's a miracle she has all her limbs and organs, that's sort of why i'm inclined to believe Edelgard kept Rhea as a bargaining chip to the Agarthans to keep them cooperating with her. Either Rhea's condition could be a result of experiments or mistreatment and malnourishment as a prisoner. Honestly, this whole plot point feels like a contrivance since Edelgard having Rhea captured is the key difference between CF and the other routes, to justify the difference between each Edelgard, she's either a conqueror or a rebel leader.
    • It's implied that that's just what Edelgard does to the "corrupt elements" she wants out of the picture. Look at what happened to Ferdinand's dad. El isn't bloodthirsty like Dimitri, she really has no reasons to kill Rhea, but she does want her removed from power. And Rhea outside of Crimson Flower is fairly sane. As for why her being alive was kept a secret, it was probably to demotivate her followers. With both Rhea and Byleth missing for years, there was a pretty decent chance of the church collapsing.

    The Holy Tomb raid in BE route 
  • Why doesn't Rhea attack the thieves alongside Byleth? She doesn't seem paralyzed by traumatic flashbacks or anything, and she's clearly more capable than the gaggle of children she orders to do it. Even if she didn't want to reveal her true power, she could easily hang out on the sidelines and throw spells.
    • It's possible she is fighting more of the soldiers offscreen, much as how she accompanies Byleth in order to help them fight the Agarthans, yet we don't actually see her do anything onscreen until Thales springs his trap.
    • Well in the two times Rhea is in combat during White Clouds, all she does is standby and be a target. Maybe Rhea enjoys being an Orcus on her throne? She could be rusty after centuries of being a pope.

     The Master Tactician 
  • Why is Claude called the Master Tactician? We don't actually see much supporting his status as one.
    • It's not entirely clear how he got the nickname, and on Verdant Wind we find he doesn't even like being called it. That said, my impression is a lot of his more impressive tactics were offscreen, namely how he somehow managed to keep the Alliance neutral for five years despite half of them thinking they should join Edelgard. He does display a lot of ability at reading people, like when he anticipates Dimitri's change of heart, though whether that counts as a example of masterful tactics I'm not sure.

    Caspar and Fleche 
  • So, what was stopping a Caspar who was recruited into the Blue Lions from walking up and going 'Oh hey Aunt Fleche' at any point?
    • As I recall he doesn't actually know them on any personal level, their branch of the family having split from the other some time ago. It takes two encounters for him to figure out who Randolph is, and given how much younger Fleche is than Randolph, Caspar probably wouldn't recognize her at all.

     Gronder Field Revisited 
  • What justification is there for the Alliance and the Kingdom to fight each other here? They both share the same enemy, the Empire. Dimitri is at least understandable, he's too far gone and is willing to strike down anyone in his way, even if they're not really against him. What about the rest of the Blue Lions? It's even more jarring in the Azure Moon version, where the player's in control of Dimitri and it's Claude and the Golden Deer that fight anyone in their way. Are we just lead to believe that the rest of the Blue Lions are just as bloodthirsty and as far gone as Dimitri? Maybe in Verdant Wind, but that wouldn't make much sense in Azure Moon. Are they just performing a Mercy Kill on any of the Golden Deer so that Dimitri doesn't brutally and violently get to them first?
    • There are various factors both explicit and implied that lead to the two groups fighting each other. First, on Azure Moon we learn the Kingdom sent a messenger to the Alliance to try to ally with them, but said messenger was mysteriously killed. This leads to the suspicion that the Alliance may have done so (though more likely the Empire did it in order to make them doubt each other), and that they are in fact enemies (one issues the other factions have with Claude is that while he is against the Empire, his own ambitions are mysterious). Then, while in actual gameplay there is no obscuring fog, in the story it is stated that Gronder Field is currently foggy and it will be difficult to tell which faction they are facing in battle. Thirdly, the first thing that happens in the fight is Edelgard having her dark mages launch a bunch of fire balls all over the battlefield to hit everyone, enraging Claude (it's subtle but he is clearly disturbed by it), having him become willing to fight anyone who isn't of the Alliance. It's implied more may have happened offscreen during the battle too, as Edelgard expressly says she is going to sow confusion and chaos in the battle to keep the Alliance and Kingdom from joining forces.
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