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Three realms. Three houses. Your decision.
"Long ago, the divine Seiros received a revelation from the goddess. A gift, to help guide the lost. The goddess is always watching over Fódlan from her kingdom above. However, in ancient times, the goddess graced this world with her presence and offered salvation to the people here. She is the mother of all life, the arbiter of every soul."
Rhea
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Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Fire Emblem: Wind, Flower, Snow, Moon in Japan) is the sixteenth game of the Fire Emblem series of Strategy RPG games, co-developed by Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo Games and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch on July 26th, 2019.

Three Houses focuses on the continent of Fódlan, where the Church of Seiros has great power over its people. The story revolves around the protagonist, a mercenary named Byleth, who is offered a job teaching at the church's Officers Academy after awakening a mysterious power and saving three youths from said academy. The youths in question, Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude, happen to be the heirs to the three nations that make up Fódlan and heads of the academy's three houses. Alongside this, Byleth is sent strange dreams relating to a being named Sothis, who blesses Byleth with said mysterious power.

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The game's character design and portrait art style are the work of Kurahana Chinatsu, of Uta No Prince Sama fame.

New gameplay features include formations of troops supporting individual units on the battlefield with skills called Gambits that allow them to do various moves like attack or push an enemy back, a new calendar system where each chapter is set during a month, the ability to teach students skills and help educate them for battle with things like class changing and creating character-specific objectives to level them up, and a new weapon type called Gauntlets that focuses on multiple attacks. The Weapon Triangle, a series staple, has been removed, though high-skilled characters can gain abilities that act similarly.

Following the main release of the game on July 26th, downloadable content will be made available via a purchasable Expansion Pass, with the new content planned to be released in waves up to the end of April 2020.

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Preview trailers: E3 2018 Trailer, Feb 2019 Overview


Fire Emblem: Three Houses provides examples of:

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    Tropes A-D 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: A character's level caps at 99, when your party will be around level 40-45 at the end of a standard playthrough, and you will likely cap most stats long before this point. Also, due to the restraints on your time, it is nearly impossible to get anywhere near the cap unless you abuse the free maps on Normal difficulty, in which some auxiliary battles do not require you to spend activity points.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Lockpicking and regular keys work just fine on the ultra-modern metal sliding doors of Shambala.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Seteth has one in Chapter 6 when his younger sister Flayn goes missing. It gets even worse when you find out that she was abducted by Jeritza, a teacher at the academy and somebody Seteth and Flayn would have trusted.
    • For Jeralt, his wife dies in childbirth, and there seems to be something wrong with the baby that he cannot find an explanation for.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Among the four main characters, there's names like Byleth and Edelgard, but there's also more regular-sounding names like Claude and Dimitri. You've also got names like Dedue and Sylvain next to names like Hilda and Ashe.
    • Applies to the Hero's Relic weapons, as you have fancy names like Aymr, Areadbhar, and Failnaught alongside more regular-sounding names like Crusher, the Sword of the Creator, and the Lance of Ruin.
  • After the End: Picking the Golden Deer reveals that the continent of Fódlan went through this. Thousands of years ago, it was home to an extremely advanced and prosperous civilization called Agartha that was built with the help of Sothis and the Nabateans. However, after a series of wars among the Agarthans, they eventually turned their weapons on Sothis herself, and this led to an even bigger war that left much of Fódlan looking like the modern Valley of Torment and killed most of the humans on the continent. The destructiveness of the weapons used is why none of the ancient technology remains above ground. Sothis eventually restored the continent to a livable state, but it took an immensely long time, and when she was done, the exhausted goddess fell into a sleep she would never have the chance to wake up from while she was still alive.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • On the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard feels sorry for Dimitri after she kills him. She laments that her uncle's machinations twisted him into a person obsessed with revenge on her, as he believed that she was complicit in the Tragedy of Duscur.
    • On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, Edelgard's death is portrayed sympathetically: she talks about her regrets and how she had wished that Byleth had chosen the same path she did. She also asks her professor to kill her, since if she's left alive, the fighting and bloodshed will continue (and it's implied that thanks to her body bearing two Crests, she is not likely to live a long life regardless). Byleth wordlessly listens to her, spurred on from their hesitation by her words, and then swiftly kills her the moment she finishes.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Played with in the Crimson Flower storyline, as Garreg Mach was your base of operations during the school portion of the game, but upon siding with Edelgard in the Holy Tomb and making an enemy of Rhea and the Church of Seiros, the opening battle of the war is the Adrestian army seizing the monastery and forcing the Church to flee to Faerghus so it can be used as their base of operations. After the timeskip, the monastery is noticeably more run-down, and Edelgard can even admit that some areas are still unusable even five years after the battle. Also notable is that the statue of Seiros in the monastery chapel is pulled down (though chapel-related services like choir practice carry on as usual). The Knights of Seiros make an attempt to reclaim the monastery after the fall of Leicester, making this a straight example of the trope, but the Black Eagle Strike Force is able to hold them off.
  • Alternative Calendar: The game uses a variant of the real-life Gregorian Calendar, with the months being named after Moons, and the February equivalent month (Pegasus Moon) having 29 days instead of 28. In-story, the first day of spring and the first day of the year (April 1 in the real life equivalent) is the day the Adrestian Empire was founded.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Heroes’ Relics, weapons wielded by the 10 Elites during the conflict against Nemesis in the distant past. The weapons were passed down to their descendants, though only descendants bearing Crests can wield them safely, as otherwise, the person wielding it is harmed or even turned into a monster. Each of the main lords gains one during the story, as do a few of the other characters.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In Claude and Ingrid's C support, when Claude claims to get up at sunrise every day to meditate, Ingrid responds, "Uh-huh, sure. And I've decided to quit my pursuit of knighthood."
  • And I Must Scream: It’s implied that this happens to those who are transformed into Black Beasts by Crest Stones or misuse of Heroes' Relics. The process is incredibly painful and the transformation is said to be akin to being swallowed whole by the Crest Stone. With the exception of a select few, after being transformed, people lose their ability to speak, and all they can do is make inhuman screams. Furthermore, it’s implied that their human bodies are essentially trapped underneath the flesh of their beastly state, as whenever a Black Beast is killed, their monstrous form dissipates into ashes, leaving nothing but their human corpse. It's also shown in Marianne’s paralogue that those who are transformed into Black Beasts can end up wandering the world for over a thousand years trapped in their monstrous state.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: In Claude and Marianne's support chain, Marianne explains her low self-esteem and neuroticism by alluding to burdens she's had to bear since she was born. Claude responds by telling a story about a boy who was also born with burdens: his mother and father were from different nations whose people hated each other, and thus, no matter where he was, he was looked down upon. Claude doesn't outright tell Marianne that the story is about himself, but he tries to drop hints during the rest of the A support that he's the boy in the story.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: One of the things unlocked in New Game+ is alternate costumes/appearances for the three house leaders. Part of the Downloadable Content is also clothing: a Non-Uniform Uniform for Byleth and loungewear for all the students.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Divine Pulse allows the player to rewind actions up to three times per battle (though the amount is eventually increased to up to 13), even in the middle of the enemy phase, letting the player fix mistakes without starting the whole map over. This doesn't change the RNG, so you need to perform different actions so it can be used to rewind an unfortunate Critical Hit and hope for a different result. In addition, it automatically triggers if you enter a Game Over state while you have charges left (for example, if Byleth or the main lord bites it, or if you fail the mission objective).
    • Almost all of the social sim, time management, and character customization can be opted out of. Skipping ahead on the calendar will automate these aspects, and will spit out reasonably usable unit builds in the process provided you set your characters' goals at some point.
    • The marketplace is fully available from the battle preparation screen, so there's no need to withdraw through several loading screens because you forgot something. The marketplace is also available from the calendar menu, thus preventing the need to waste a free day Exploring just to access the basic shops. The market always restocks its weapons at the start of the month as well.
    • Quests, Lost Items, random items, and conversations found by exploring during free time update monthly, so the player isn't missing anything by using Sundays on other activities provided they Explore once a month.
    • Battalions cost a hefty price to hire, but they are generally very cheap to refill. This allows the player to refill their Battalions frequently if they desire.
    • After the timeskip, all of the gear your units were wearing pre-timeskip will be repaired to full durability, including all of your expensive to repair Relic weapons. On Normal mode, all of your units that are below level 20 will be boosted up to 20, though this does not occur on Hard mode.
    • The first mission with an allied NPC, Catherine, does not allow her to attack the boss (and if he attacks her, she won't be able to lower him below 1 health), meaning you can't lose experience from killing him. Although it is dropped in later missions, by that time, you either have sufficiently developed characters to easily kill the enemy on your own or the boss is hard enough that an ally's help is welcome.
    • If you're playing on Normal Mode, one repeatable Auxiliary battle costs no activity points each week, allowing for as much grinding as you like. You can't take promotion exams between battles, though, so use those wisely.
    • After using Divine Pulse, level-up gains aren't re-rolled, meaning that the soft reset of winding back time after a mistake won't come at the cost of a good level-up. (Though conversely, it also means you can't just keep resetting until a bad level-up turns good either.)
    • Each class has minimum stats to start with. If you have a character whose stats are poorer than the minimum stats for a class, upon taking that class, their stats will permanently be upgraded to that minimum. For an example, if you had particularly bad luck with Lysithea's level-ups and her Defense is about 6 when you upgrade her into a Warlock, she will automatically gain 6 points to Defense upon classing into warlock, as Warlock has 12 Defense minimum.
    • While characters do need to invest in the proficiency that the class uses, they don't need to have them at the exact grade; all that the grade requirement does is make the chance of passing the exam certain. As such, as long as a character is within striking distance, they can still take the exam and have a chance to pass, even if it's less than 50%.
    • Plot-relevant recruitable characters in your current house can be recruited again via Defeat Means Friendship to avoid getting them Killed Off for Real if you already have them before Part II. Ashe and Lorenz can be re-recruited to avoid them dying off.
    • New Game+ carries plenty of these. Among them, you're able to adjust Byleth's supports (to recruit your favourite characters you've invested time into easily on other routes), retain your professor level, retain class mastery and skill points, and will show you the skill ranks you need from the start, so you can more easily plan your character progression.
    • During the Red Wolf Moon ball before the timeskip, you can have a scene at the Goddess Tower with one of your possible romantic supports, using the one with the highest support level reached. If you have multiple possibilities, however, it's randomized amongst them. However, you can speak to the Gatekeeper on any free day that month and be given the option to choose who you want to appear at the tower on the night of the ball.
    • After the timeskip, Faculty Training is replaced with Advanced Drills, allowing you to learn from any unit with a higher skill level than you. This means you can't increase your skill if you don't have anyone stronger than you; however, the professors and knights can always train you in their specialized skills no matter how high your skill is, ensuring that you'll always be able to improve.
    • Enemy attack ranges will automatically update after you move but before you hit the "wait" button, allowing you to check to make sure you aren't exposing someone squishy to unwanted danger before you commit.
    • Flayn deserts you and Seteth won't join if you choose to side with Edelgard after choosing the Black Eagles in chapter 12. To offset that, their Paralogue's rewards are not exclusively tied to their own Crests, ensuring that you will be able to use them. And two characters native to Black Eagles, Linhardt and Ferdinand, have matching Crests to maximize their effectiveness.
    • When you view a support between two characters, the support log automatically records the support for all the routes you've played as well as options to view the support before or after the Time Skip if applicable. This means you don't have to farm every possible support for every character.
    • Right after Byleth first becomes a professor at Garreg Mach, you're immediately thrown into a mock battle against both of the houses you didn't choose. That may seem like too difficult a mission for the beginning of the story, but to make it easier, the other house leaders are scripted to make some unwise tactical decisions during this battle (like sending long-range fighters like Ashe or Dorothea to the front lines, or having a heavy hitter like Hilda start from behind a barricade).
    • Despite the fact that it makes no sense, you can still lockpick all the sliding doors in Shambhala using door keys and lockpicks. On the same stage, they will also drop a lot of door keys.
    • When you have to open a lot of doors or a lot of chests are on the stage, a lot of enemies will drop chest keys and door keys.
    • If a temporary ally (such as a guest for a Part I paralogue or someone you grabbed for mission assistance) kills an enemy with an item drop, the item is automatically sent to the convoy.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You are limited to between 10 and 12 units on the field, depending on the mission, and some missions have an even lower limit. However, up to 3 of those who aren't deployed can accompany deployed units as adjutants and earn experience and support points.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Annette's paralogue features several enemies that will only target her. If your units block access to Annette, the enemies will get as close as they can to her but won't try to kill anyone standing between them. Because of their short range, they can become target practice for anyone with ranged attacks.
    • Invoked on the Mock Battle on the second mandatory fight in the game — the opponents will make very bad decisions, from a single unit charging into your entire force alone, to fragile ranged-attacking characters running unguarded into melee. Averted during the second Mêlée à Trois battle, where they will make much smarter decisions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Petra's personal skill significantly increases her critical hit rate against enemies with less than half health. This is a powerful benefit, but in many cases, you're likely to kill any enemy that's weakened this much with a normal attack (with the exception of monsters, and there are special ways to inflict bonus damage on them).
    • Astra, the combat art gained by mastering the Swordmaster class. While it hits five times, each hit is very weak, which generally doesn't justify spending the extra durability to use it. By comparison, the Fates version of Astra was only reduced to half damage and randomly triggered, making it especially devastating in Ryoma's hands.
    • The "Defiant" abilities significantly buff one stat when the unit is below 25% of their health. The stat boost is nice, but not only is it difficult to get down that low without your unit being killed, but staying that low can be dangerous.
    • You can zoom the camera all the way in on your units so that you control them like you would in a regular third-person adventure game. This allows full 360-degree freedom within the character's movement range and lets you see their battalions moving along with them. While a neat and visually appealing feature, it offers almost no tactical benefit whatsoever since it significantly reduces your field of vision with the zoomed-in camera. A mini map is displayed to help alleviate this, but it is still much less useful than sticking to the traditional, zoomed-out camera angle of the grid.
  • Backstab Backfire: On the Azure Moon route, after Edelgard's defeat, when Dimitri tries to reconcile with her, she throws the dagger he had given her at his shoulder and is met with the end of his spear.
  • Badass Cape: The House Leaders, Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude, all bear a cape bearing their house's respective color.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In their B support interaction, Claude and Ingrid challenge each other to be more pleasant — less slovenly on Claude's end and more cheerful on Ingrid's end. What plays out in their next interaction is a forced, painfully polite conversation between the two. Claude is first to drop the act when Ingrid runs out of lines.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final battle of the Crimson Flower storyline, the Battle of Fhirdiad, is fought after Rhea orders the Knights of Seiros to set fire to the city simply to slow the Adrestian advance. The Black Eagles Strike Force faces off against the remnant of Faerghus' army, the Knights of Seiros, and Rhea in her full dragon form in the burning capital.
  • Battle in the Rain: The Battle of the Tailtean Plains against King Dimitri and the Church forces near the end of the Crimson Flower storyline is fought in the middle of the pouring rain. It adds to the somber tone of the battle.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One boss fight has the party go up against Miklan, Sylvain's brother, who has stolen the Lance of Ruin in hopes of being special and important like Sylvain is with his Crest of Gautier. Miklan does get to be important, but as a warning, as once he tries to use the Lance of Ruin without possessing the necessary Crest, he's turned into a Demonic Beast, the first such creature the player has to fight.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The story has multiple antagonist factions with goals that conflict with one another, and one faction takes center stage depending on the route:
    • Crimson Flower: Rhea, the Church of Seiros, and the Crests themselves
    • Azure Moon: Edelgard, the Flame Emperor, and the Adrestian Empire
    • Verdant Wind: Nemesis and "those who slither in the dark"
    • Silver Snow: "Those who slither in the dark" and Seiros' emotional baggage
  • Big Damn Heroes: If Byleth S supports Claude, Claude gives her a ring at the Goddess Tower and then leaves to take care of business in his homeland. Some months later, the Imperial Army and those who slither in the dark ally and invade Derdriu, and the new kingdom of Fódlan is unable to take them on. When defeat seems imminent, Claude, now King of Almyra, enters with Almyran forces and defeats the enemies easily.
  • Big First Choice: Early on, the protagonist has to decide which House they will personally teach. While the first half of the game is roughly the same for all three Houses, this changes after the Time Skip where the protagonist fights for the nation their students of the chosen House are from against the other nations, unless the Black Eagles house is picked, where there is a possibility of choosing to side with the Church instead of the Empire.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Many of the students, especially those from noble families, have more than a few family problems, from rivalries with their siblings over who gets to inherit the family to family members trying to marry them off for personal gain.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: While not exactly physically obvious birthmarks, Crests serve the same purpose as Holy Blood from the Jugdral games, said to be a gift from the Goddess, and specific Crests are represented by their own symbol. They come in a few categories: The Crests of the Divine, the Four Saints, the Ten Elites, and a few other Crests lost to history. Crests are also a deconstruction of the trope, as not only are Crests a bit more commonplace than the trope would normally indicate, Fódlan's nobility culture is built around them, such as the Book of Seiros declaring the Nobles who bear Crests have a "Noblesse Oblige" responsibility when wielding them, leading to all sorts of social dysfunction. Most Crest bearers are nobles and/or descended from one of the Ten Elites or Four Saints, but lineage isn't guaranteed to produce a Crest, and Crests can pop up in commoners as well. This can lead to situations such as commoners trying to marry Crest-bearing nobles in the hope of increasing their own social status, non-Crest bearing nobles trying to marry into families with Crests, or nobles adopting Crest-bearing commoners. Children of noble lineage born without Crests can lose their inheritance to a younger sibling with a Crest, potentially leading to violent internal power struggles. Noble children born with Crests don't have it much easier, either, as aside from being targets in the aforementioned power struggles, they have high expectations placed on them and are frequently subject to loveless arranged marriages for producing more Crests or political advantages for their House. There is also at least one Crest (the Crest of the Beast) that nobody wants due to the storied past of its first human bearer, and so their descendants have experienced persecution. In two known cases in recent times, the desire of a certain cult to get more power out of Crests led them to perform lethal experiments on children to give them two Crests (something conventionally considered impossible), and those who survived the experiments without being crippled or driven insane have a varyingly shortened lifespan. Also, the part about Crests originally being gifted by the Goddess is a historical revision made by Seiros and the Church to cover up the fact that they were stolen by humans, ingesting the blood of Nabateans like her family. Only the Crests of Seiros and the Saints were actually gifts shared to combat Nemesis; the rest were obtained by Nemesis and the Ten Elites (the latter getting a Historical Hero Upgrade as part of the cover-up) after killing Sothis and the other Nabateans in a massacre.
  • Bi the Way: Linhardt, Edelgard, Dorothea, Mercedes, Rhea, and Sothis can be romanced by a Byleth of either gender. Reaching A-rank support between certain characters of the same gender alludes to romance that can then be confirmed if you get the paired endings for those characters, with Petra and Dorothea explicitly falling in love despite Petra being unavailable for female Byleth. However, Alois and Gilbert are not romancable for a male Byleth despite both having S-rank supports, and in the former's paired ending, Byleth marries an unnamed woman.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Unlike Fates, there is no Golden Ending. No matter what you do, at least one of the Three Lords will die and Edelgard and Dimitri die in every path except their own. Also, none of the story paths completely resolves all the lurking problems or issues.
    • Out of the S Supports, Claude's is one of the more bittersweet ones. He decides to leave Fódlan to unite it with Almyra and Dagda into a new kingdom, though he fully intends to return and seals the promise with Byleth with a proposal ring. The epilogue reveals that the Almyran army, led by Claude, pulls a Big Damn Heroes when Fódlan is about to be defeated and the aftermath of the war brought a new age of unity, averting the trope gradually.
    • The only way to have Felix get a happy ending outside of the Blue Lions route is for Byleth to marry him herself. Otherwise, guilt will weigh on him for the rest of his life, even if he can find some small happiness in a spouse. His ending with Sylvain outside of the Blue Lions route even goes straight into a Downer Ending.
  • Blade Lock: Post-timeskip, when Byleth and Edelgard first meet again in Garreg Mach as enemies on the Silver Snow route, they briefly clash blades. Edelgard manages to lock her rapier with Byleth's Sword of the Creator, after which both attempt to strike each other's throats.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • What having a Crest can amount to. Congratulations, you’re descended from one of the great heroes of Fódlan's past. That gives you a special ability and possibly even physical abilities beyond that of normal people! It's also all many will ever care about in regards to you; you as a person are less valuable than the Crest you carry. Expect your family to marry you off into what is likely to be a loveless marriage, especially if you happen to have a particularly valuable Crest, or for people to try to use you simply so any children you might have with them will inherit your Crest and improve their standing. The tactics noble parents will sometimes use to ensure that you will be attractive for marriage may be abusive and downright cruel, especially for women. The worst part is, even experiencing all this themselves, people with Crests will simply continue the cycle with their own children rather than work to change it because of how valued Crests are in Fódlan culture and national defense.
    • While it is possible to forcibly implant a second Crest onto someone — like Edelgard and Lysithea — the procedure has a high risk of failure, resulting in crippling madness and/or death, which is precisely what happened with all of Edelgard's siblings. Even success will leave you permanently marked with white or silver hair, and your lifespan will be dramatically reduced as a result, as long as you carry the implanted Crest. This entire state of affairs (along with some misunderstandings about how Crests came about and what role the Church plays), and the torture she and her siblings went through, is what drives Edelgard to make war on the Church of Seiros so Fódlan can be remade into a meritocracy and the idea of Crests as a social construct can be done away with forever. This is only from an in-universe view, as units with Crests often tend to be very useful gameplay-wise.
    • The Crest of Maurice, also known as the Crest of the Beast. People who are born with such a Crest are believed to bring bad luck and turn into horrible monsters with the passing of time. It has such a bad reputation that Maurice himself was the only ally of Nemesis who did not receive an in-universe Historical Hero Upgrade.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This is the first game in the franchise with fully animated cutscenes to have blood, such as the opening cutscene.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Almyra is a warrior culture that instigate small skirmishes to enjoy the thrill of fighting. Despite putting themselves in a life-or-death situation, they use the battle to honor the dead, then head back home to enjoy big feasts and party after the battle, regardless of whether they win or lose.
    • Dimitri and Felix are also fond of battle, but the two have drifted apart over this, as even Felix finds the nightmarish glee Dimitri takes in slaughtering his foes unnerving.
  • Blue Blood: The Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance host several noble families, of which several characters are heirs, and many of which are descended from the 10 Elites and Four Saints of the distant past. The Leicester Alliance goes further, being a coalition of noble families who refuse to swear fealty to any royal.
  • Bond One-Liner: Every character has one of several lines to say after killing an enemy, usually complimenting themselves ("No one makes it past me!") or putting down their fallen enemy ("You are nothing").
  • Book-Ends:
    • On the Crimson Flower route:
      • The last king of Faerghus dies on the same plains where the first king of Faerghus forged the kingdom, and his defeat heralds the fall of the church and demigod who previously bested Nemesis on those very same plains to unite Fódlan under her guidance.
      • House Hresvelg's bloodline and claim to fame began by receiving the Crest of Seiros, and Seiros was responsible for setting in motion the Crest system as a part of Fódlan society. The last Hresvelg heir, Edelgard, is the one who wishes to eradicate said Crest system and may even end up killing Seiros herself.
      • The opening cinematic shows Seiros cradling the Sword of the Creator against her cheek, staining it with blood. At the end of the route, that same sword is one of two weapons that kills Seiros as the Immaculate One (the other being Edelgard's Relic axe, Aymr) by destroying her Crest Stone, causing it to leak massive amounts of green blood over her as she dies.
    • A couple on the Azure Moon route:
      • Edelgard is one of your first allies, and your last foe.
      • The second half of the Azure Moon route begins and ends with one person collapsed on the ground, another offering them a hand, and the first person rejecting it.
    • On the Verdant Wind route, the first and final boss is a leader of a group of bandits. Furthermore, this boss is one of the first characters who appears onscreen, Nemesis.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The fishing minigame. The game itself can be quite tedious in the long run, but it is a quick and easy way to improve your professor level, since it does not reduce your action points.
    • Training weapons lack the raw damage and crit chance of the other weapons, but they make up for it with low weapon weight, rank, and cost, plus they can be upgraded easily. The only real downside they have is their low attack means you have to rely on your unit's raw stats to compensate, but as enemies become harder to hit, the training weapons remain viable for just about the entire game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Once the routes diverge, if you've managed to poach a character that should appear as an enemy, they'll be replaced by a generic enemy with an equivalent loadout. For instance, if you recruit Shamir and/or Alois before going down the Black Eagles path, they'll be replaced by a generic Sniper and Warrior during the defence of Garreg Mach. In particular, not-Shamir retains her blatantly illegal skill combination which gives her ridiculous range. There are two signs that a Mook is a replacement. Firstly, their name states that they’re a general instead of a soldier, and secondly, they often have the commander's medal next to their health bar.
  • Breakable Weapons: Returns after being missing in Fates and Shadows of Valentia, with a similar system to the one in Genealogy. Instead of being gone for good, broken weapons are a detriment to the user due to their weakened state. However, weapons can be repaired at the forge. Weapon durability extends to those in enemy hands as well, which can help with grinding Support Bond points: tank an enemy with a strong character enough times to break their weapon, then have someone weaker tank the enemy while standing next to the people you want to bond with. Combat Arts give access to more damaging attacks with special perks, at the cost of damaging the weapon as much as several normal attacks.
  • Breather Episode:
    • The ball during the Red Wolf Moon is smack-dab between "Tomas" revealing himself to be a villain by forcing villagers to slaughter each other and burning down the town in the process and "Monica" stabbing Jeralt.
    • Following Flayn's abduction, Chapter 7 focuses primarily on the Battle of the Eagle and the Lion, and even features a fishing tournament. In many ways, it serves as the last moment of respite, as each of the following chapters features some sort of Wham Episode note  leading into the Time Skip.
  • Broken Pedestal: The Verdant Wind route reveals that the Ten Elites, supposedly the heroic founders of the continent's most prominent bloodlines, were actually vicious, murderous bandits.
  • Broken Smile: One of the NPC soldiers sports this in a cutscene upon witnessing what the "javelins of light" can do to a fortress.
  • Busman's Holiday: The optional side missions often go this way. The characters will be investigating something irrelevant to the main story, only for the situation to escalate into a full-scale battle for survival.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • In your first conversation with Sothis, the game will not allow you to proceed until you tell her you're a mortal.
    • At the beginning of the Golden Deer house's version of Chapter 10, the game will not allow you to proceed until you permit Claude to borrow Jeralt's diary.
    • Many dialogue options, especially in Byleth's supports, are almost identical to another, making them examples of the variant in which "there is no 'wrong' answer to choose." For example, after Raphael and Ignatz's Paralogue, you can say that Raphael's "a nice guy" or "a good man."
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Characters refer to ballistic missiles as "javelins of light", since they have no idea what those things are. Though as they are surrounded by glowing rings of light when deployed, they fit the description, as even the Children of the Goddess don't fully understand the technology ancient Agarthans had.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: This is why, on the Crimson Flower route, "those who slither in the dark" are fought after the war is ended, and why on the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, Hubert makes sure to leave a letter to Byleth and their faction telling them to go after "those who slither in the dark". Despite that they are Obviously Evil and have caused many of the game's conflicts in recent history, the Empire still uses them simply because they can't afford to waste resources on dealing with them until after their goal is accomplished.
  • Cast from Hit Points: In gameplay, whoever uses a Hero's Relic without the proper Crest or the Devil's Axe will suffer 10 damage after combat.
  • Casting Gag: Japanese-wise, Lysithea is voiced by Aoi Yuuki, a prodigy in her field (magic) who suffers a case of Your Days Are Numbered and will expire if she doesn't get a paired ending with certain characters. The voice actress also did work on Fire Emblem's rival game in the gacha department, Fate/Grand Order, as a prodigy in her own field (swordsmanship) and short-lived due to her own sickness history-wise, Okita Souji. Furthering the gag, Lysithea also has hidden talent in Swords, and changing her class into Mortal Savant evokes a close image of a Samurai/Oriental Swordsman like Okita.
  • Celibate Hero: Unlike previous games, with only a few exceptionsnote , every playable character is not actively looking for romance. Either they haven't had enough time to truly get to know someone for a romantic relationship (Part I) or they're in the middle of an active war and have no time to think about romance (Part II). It becomes subverted in various paired endings, though platonic paired endings also exist.
  • Central Theme: The four routes have a core theme they follow:
    • Crimson Flower: Challenging corrupt institutions and the cost of seeing one's ambitions and ideals realized.
    • Azure Moon: Finding light even in the darkness and learning and growing from tragedy.
    • Verdant Wind: Uncovering hidden mysteries kept secret from all.
    • Silver Snow: Confronting the past and learning who you truly are.
  • Chain of Deals: One sidequest has both Shamir and Catherine asking for a two-toned whetstone. In order to obtain said whetstone, you'll need to pick up the tone of Crestological Mysteries and give it to Hanneman, who will give you the Tome of Comely Saints, which Manuela needs. Several exchanges later, you get the whetstone.
  • Chekhov's Gift: When they were both little kids, Dimitri gave Edelgard a dagger as a parting gift — symbolic of cutting one's own path in life. While uncomfortable about the gesture at the time, she's kept the dagger. When the Flame Emperor leaves the dagger behind, this clues Dimitri in to who they are. On the Azure Moon route, Dimitri gifts her back the dagger after failing to reconcile with Edelgard before the assault on the imperial capital, only for her to try to kill him with the dagger after being defeated in her Hegemon form.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A relatively minor one. One innocuous quest in Chapter 4 has you looking for information on a band of thieves on Seteth's behalf, eventually learning that they are holed up on Conand Tower. Chapter 5's mission is to wipe out these bandits.
  • Childhood Friend Romance:
    • Dimitri reveals that while Edelgard and her uncle sought asylum in Faerghus, they became friends and she even taught him how to dance. However, Edelgard apparently doesn't remember this, though she does say that her first love was a nobleman, and Byleth can tease Dimitri over supposed romantic feelings for her, though he tends to laugh it off. Nothing of the romantic nature results (for both story reasonsnote  and gameplay reasonsnote ), much less of the platonic nature.
    • Ingrid, Dimitri, Sylvain, and Felix grew up together, and she can be paired up with any of them.
  • The Church: The Church of Seiros is one of the most powerful institutions on the continent of Fódlan, responsible for running the Officers Academy and keeping the peace between the three nations of the continent.
  • Colon Cancer: The narration of each chapter reads this way.
    Jeralt: Part I: White Clouds: Horsebow Moon: Rumors of a Reaper.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The three nations of Fódlan (and thus, the three houses) are associated with a color: red for the Adrestian Empire, blue for the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and yellow for the Leicester Alliance. The main color is present in the nations' banners and their soldiers' uniforms, and their future leaders are clad in that color. After the timeskip, the majority of former students of the Black Eagles and Blue Lions also have red and blue in their clothing, respectively.
  • Combat Stilettos: Every female character in their default costume wear high heels while in battle, be them students, teachers or knights. This also extends to most female class costumes, with a handful of aversions (notably Armored Knight / Fortress Knight).
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In Byleth and Flayn's S support, Flayn, intrigued that Sothis dwells within Byleth, asks if he considers himself male or female and if it's possible for a male goddess to exist. When he presents a ring to her, the proposal goes over her head. She finds it beautiful and remarks that Byleth walks around with a women's ring, which surely must mean he thinks himself female.
    • In Byleth and Cyril's S support, Byleth gives Cyril her mother's ring and asks him to try it on. He doesn't know its purpose, and when Byleth tells him, "There's no running away now", he assumes that means the ring is cursed and he cannot leave Garreg Mach.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Sometimes, enemy named characters will have skillsets player-controlled units can't access. For example, an enemy Shamir on the Crimson Flower route will have Bowrange+1 from being a Sniper as well as Bowrange+2, a skill usually only usable by Bow Knights and one that normally doesn't stack with Bowrange+1.
    • If Hilda is recruited on the Azure Moon route, she is replaced in Chapter 19 by a generic female War Master, a normally male-only class.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: In Petra and Bernadetta's Paralogue, the win condition is allegedly to get Petra to the goal in the southeast corner of the map or rout all enemy units. The game is lying. Approaching the highlighted goal point or routing all enemies currently on the map triggers a wave of enemy reinforcements, accompanied by Hubert (or Catherine in Crimson Flower), in the middle of your turn no less, and the win condition changes so that you're required to wipe out all of the enemy units before they reach the goal square.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Major enemy bosses have either the General skill (immune to instant death effects and half damage from enemy gambits) or the Commander skill (immune to instant death, movement effects, and status ailments, and severely reduced damage from enemy gambits). Major magic-wielding bosses also tend to have Unsealable Magic, which renders them immune to Silence. Finally, enemies who normally have weaknesses to effective damage often have the appropriate skills or shields to nullify said weaknesses, with the notable exception of the Death Knight.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In Byleth and Caspar's C-support scene, Caspar goes after a suspicious man with a scorpion tattoo, who kills himself when he sees Caspar approaching. A knight scolds Caspar for his rash behavior, since he may have been part of an underground group. After the timeskip, Caspar approaches Byleth, saying he was thinking about what happened five years ago, when he's interrupted by a knight (who also knows of Caspar's actions) informing them that knights on patrol were attacked by brigands, all wearing scorpion tattoos, and while the knights prevailed, there were casualties. Caspar remarks what a coincidence it is that he should mention the suspicious man and then receive news of his comrades' attack.
  • Corpsing: In their B support, Claude tells Lysithea about a graveyard that she should avoid due to her fear of ghosts. His voice actor cracks up toward the end of the line.
    See, there's a graveyard over here. Might run into some of those gho-o-osts you hate so mu-ha-ha-ha-ch.
  • Cosmetic Award: The reward for beating the game for the first time is New Game+ and a title screen showing Sothis sleeping on the throne. The reward for beating the game on Maddening difficulty without starting a New Game+ is a title screen showing Sothis sleeping on the throne, under yellow light.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Every enemy must have their health lowered to 0 to defeat them. However, for major bosses such as the ones at the end of the Verdant Wind, Azure Moon, and Crimson Flower routes, the defeat is followed by a movie where Byleth and/or the chosen faction leader deal the finishing blows.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The biggest drawback of using many of the teachers and knights. While very useful in their own class, they usually have a disadvantage getting a master class due to lacking any talent in a field not their own. Even after training them, characters usually have, at best, neutral proficiency or possibly even a negative to skills in the desired master class.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: When characters speak to each other, when someone is angered, a red cross-popping veins symbol will appear beside their head for a moment.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: What the Crimson Flower route basically amounts to. In the other routes, the other factions of Fódlan can only barely keep Adrestia at bay for five years until Byleth comes back and turns the tide against it. In the route where Byleth joins the Empire instead of opposing it, however, when they return, Edelgard is able to muster the full might of her forces and steamrolls the rest of Fódlan so badly that her route is the shortest by a good four maps. Even the occasional unforeseen hiccups like Claude summoning Almyran reinforcements to defend Deirdru or the Knights of Seiros launching a surprise assault on Garreg Mach are handled without much fuss and don't ultimately make a difference anyway.
  • Curtains Match The Windows: Around half of more of the cast have hair and eyes that are the exact same or very similar color.
  • Custom Uniform: Varies from character to character during the school half. You’ll have characters like Hubert or Dedue wearing the uniform as they should. But then you have characters like Raphael or Mercedes, who add personal touches to it.
  • Cycle of Revenge: This is a major theme in the game, particularly on the Azure Moon route. In the backstory, Sothis massacred the Agarthans for attacking her in their hubris. This caused "those who slither in the dark," the last vestiges of Agartha, to take their own revenge through Nemesis by having him kill Sothis in her sleep and using the remains of Sothis to forge the Sword of the Creator. They then massacre Seiros' brethren, which resulted in her going to war with them and killing Nemesis. "Those who slither in the dark" retreated but continued to plot their revenge against Seiros and her church. To this end, they forge weapons and Crests, and much later, they experiment on Edelgard with Crests and convince her to seek revenge on the Church for promoting the Crest system (though she also intends to take revenge on them afterwards for their experiments and she no longer needs them). Dimitri becomes obsessed with revenge against her for her involvement with the people who murdered his family as a part of that goal. Dimitri only breaks the cycle on the Azure Moon route when the sister of an imperial general who died fighting Dimitri's army ends up killing Rodrigue while trying to avenge her brother, prompting Dimitri's Heel Realization.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • Regardless of how many Crest bloodlines are in their ancestry, humans can only naturally be born with one Crest power active in their bodies. This seems to be for safety, as while it is possible to artificially implant a second Crest, the surgical process is traumatic and usually fails, killing the subject in horrifying ways. Even when it succeeds the subject will be left with a vastly shortened life expectancy in exchange for their heightened powers, the strain of two Crests being simply too much for the body to bear.
    • Those without Crests can use Crest stones to gain power, but always at the cost of their minds and bodies, transforming into raging deformed hybrids of man and reptile called Demonic Beasts. Simply holding a Crest stone for long enough will cause the transformation in anyone who doesn't have their own Crest.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Various elements including Grey and Gray Morality, Gambit Pile Up among various factions, dark backstories such as with Edelgard, Dimitri, Lysithea, and Bernadetta's, and bloodier cutscenes make for a very dark game, especially when comparing this to Awakening, Fates, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, and even the Tellius games. Put simply, this is very much the darkest Fire Emblem game since Genealogy of the Holy War, which is fitting since that game was the inspiration for Three Houses.
    • The game's particular brand of darkness avoids the gratuity and over-the-top nature of a typical Dark Fantasy setting, instead opting for a disturbingly grounded and subtle kind of darkness, rooted firmly in its love of Grey and Gray Morality and real-world subtext. Previous games such as Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn tackled themes like Fantastic Racism and religion, but in the end, much of the blame still lay firmly with Hate Sink characters such as the Begnion Senate. In Three Houses, almost all evil is man-made, with the entirely sympathetic main cast with its flaws, mistakes, and miscommunications to be held responsible. The existence of human-on-human racism and xenophobia is acknowledged in all routes and made one of the central themes of Golden Deer. The Crimson Flower and Silver Snow routes deal heavily with questions of religion, classism, and political extremism in a rather ambivalent way, avoiding one-dimensional Corrupt Church and Knight Templar stereotypes. Several characters, such as Dimitri and Bernadetta, suffer from realistic mental illnesses which are not magically cured through Epiphany Therapy, don’t turn them into cackling villains, and are not treated as a mere quirk for Comic Relief. The series's traditionally idealized depiction of aristocracy is scaled back; not only do many of the noble characters have the dysfunctional, troubled, and/or violent family backgrounds that historically were common among the nobility, but the very validity of a hereditary nobility is called into question, particularly on the Crimson Flower route. Even the one definitively evil group responsible for much of the conflict, "those who slither in the dark," are motivated by the same ideals, such as revenge and independence from the divine, that motivate the rest of the factions; their primary distinguishing quirk (aside from their Magitek) is their complete lack of ethical boundaries, empathy, or compunction — something the game doesn't even pretend to try to rationalize or make sympathetic.
    • At its core, the conflict between Edelgard and Dimitri is that of a warmongering emperor and the young noble who wants to stop them… except the emperor has suffered through devastating trauma and has very good reasons to want to upend the status quo, and the young noble has also suffered devastating trauma, takes the emperor's betrayal very personally, and almost completely snaps from the pressure to become a bloodthirsty butcher. Depending on which route you pick, one of them may lighten up and become more heroic, but only one.
  • Dark Reprise: "Blue Skies and a Battle", the theme that plays out during the mock three-way battle of Chapter 7, has a sweeping orchestra that permeates the scale of the fight, but is held in check with dubstep beats that mellow out the tone. Chapter 17 features a three-way battle similar to Chapter 7, but because it comes after a five-year timeskip in which the three playable factions have been locked into a war, there is no mock battle; every conflict is now real, and casualties are no longer excused by a retreat. "Between Heaven and Earth", which has a similar melody to "Blue Skies and a Battle", replaces the dubstep beats with a solemn chorus, making the overall song darker. Claude even makes a point of referencing the drastic drop in the mood, calling the "class reunion" the worst in history.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This game's paralogue missions put your regular units in the spotlight for one map and often have them handle personal issues.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: During the Guardian Moon, Jeralt tells Byleth that he has something important to share with them, but he's interrupted both times during their conversations. He's killed by Kronya before he has a chance to tell them, and they figure it out by reading his diary.
  • Dead Person Conversation: On the Silver Snow route, a few days after your army takes the Great Bridge of Myrddin and allows the Faerghus army to pass freely on their way into the Empire, Dimitri is reported to have died in battle at Gronder Field. That evening, he shows up at the monastery to speak with Byleth, who is incredulous that he's alive and senses something is amiss. Just as Dimitri appears to open up and say what's on his mind, Seteth wakes Byleth from sleep, and when they ask where the person they were talking to went, Seteth reports that he only saw Byleth asleep. Byleth tells him they were talking to someone, and Seteth remarks that it was probably someone who desired their guidance.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Three Houses' Darker and Edgier setting gives the opportunity to deconstruct a lot of the long-running archetypes present in the Fire Emblem series. See the character archetype pages for details.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • In several quests, Byleth's class is tasked with beating down a group of rebels, defectors, or bandits causing trouble. After the chapter's cleared, they'll be added to the player's available battalions with the explanation that the fight was enough to impress them into coming to work at the monastery. In other cases, it will be a training exercise against various military units to prove the worth of the player's house.
    • Certain characters post-timeskip will defect from the player's class even if they had been previously recruited, like Lorenz on the Azure Moon route, Ashe on the Verdant Wind route, or both on the Silver Snow route. If they're defeated with Byleth when they're encountered, they'll be able to rejoin Byleth and their allies.
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • Bernadetta, due to her low self-esteem and anxiety, is prone to making assumptions about someone without really registering what the other person has said to her until a few seconds later, leading her to stop herself and verbally backpedal.
    • In Ferdinand and Hubert's A+ support, both assume that the coffee beans/tea leaves each bought for the other is for someone else.
      Hubert: Is it a gift? Perhaps for someone you fancy?
      Ferdinand: A gift, yes. For you.
      Hubert: Hm. Who is the unlucky— Did you say for me?! This coffee is a gift for me? Have I heard you correctly?
      [...]
      Ferdinand: For me? Are you certain? I would hate to deprive the intended recipient of such a fine tea.
      Hubert: That would be difficult to do, since I bought it with you in mind.
      Ferdinand: Oh, in that case, thank— What? You were planning to give this to me all along?
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Group Tasks and meals together will often have unique interactions between characters, namely those with supports with each other. These can range from friends motivating each other, to some characters flat-out questioning why you would pair them up together (such as Edelgard and Ferdinand). As they go through support interactions, some of their lines change during mealtimes and group tasks to account for the support conversation. For example, after Annette and Mercedes's B-rank support, which ends with them arguing, if you eat a meal with them together, they are both uncomfortable in their dialogue. After their A support, though, they're back on good terms with each other.
    • Students poached from the other two houses in the first half will have unique dialogue after the timeskip to justify why they've remained with you, fighting against their country of birth, including their families and former friends, or in the case of the Crimson Flower path, why the more devout students like Mercedes or Marianne would turn against the Church of Seiros. They'll also comment on events in the storyline when talked to in the months between battles. Sometimes there will also be battle dialogue when they're forced to fight against a former friend or family member, like a Crimson Flower path Felix having to fight his father Rodrigue during the siege of Arianrhod, which wouldn't happen on a playthrough of their native house.
      • The game will even acknowledge several things you did, such as Dimitri calling out Felix for killing Rodrigue. This also extends to the knights and professors on Crimson Flower who may sometimes have choice words against each other, most notably Catherine and Shamir.
    • During the second to last fight of the Crimson Flower route, Dedue will turn himself into a Beast enemy once one of your units enters within movement space of him. However, if you manage to kill him in one of your units' attack turns, he will not transform into a Beast, and instead die. Doing so will result in different dialogue as he dies, and Dimitri having a different reaction.
    • Characters that reach level 99 will say a unique line upon leveling up. Typically, by the end of a playthrough, units will be around their mid-40s; 99 is impossible to reach unless one grinds on the auxiliary maps on Normal.
    • When doing Alois and Shamir's Paralogue, Sword and Shield of Seiros, the pirate will claim to be Almyran. Normally, Alois is the only one to comment on this fact, but if you are on a Golden Deer playthrough, Claude actually comments that while they are Almyran, they are still pirates. After you win, Claude will also comment that they aren't actually Almyran, something that doesn't appear in any other route save the Golden Deer.
    • Completing paralogues often changes dialogue when necessary. For example, if you complete the "Silver Maiden" paralogue, then at one point in the main plot, Dimitri will reference how you liberated Arianrhod. Additionally, completing Mercedes' paralogue on the Azure Moon route before the Death Knight's final defeat unlocks a route-specific cutscene of her cradling her dying brother's body.
    • Doing Catherine and Ashe's Paralogue has you executing the bishop of the Western Church. After, if you do Seteth's and Flayn's Paralogue, where the Western Church occupies a shrine to St. Cichol, Seteth comments that this group was separate from that Bishop. If you do them in the opposite order, Catherine will bring up the incident from Seteth and Flayn's paralogue.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard will reveal in her support her past and the fact she has two Crests. If the player does not have a high enough support with Edelgard to learn this fact, Hubert and Edelgard will reveal it to the player post-timeskip while discussing Edelgard's uncle. However, if you have already gotten her support that far, they will acknowledge that you are aware of it instead.
    • When checking a character's profile, it will display the house or faction they belong to. Byleth's will default to the Church of Seiros, as they are an instructor, and will only change when you reach the timeskip. During the first level of the game, however, since Byleth and Jeralt are not part of any faction, their faction will instead say Mercenaries.
    • Seteth and Hanneman's C Support has Seteth mentioning how long Hanneman has been asking about his Crest. This changes from 16 to 21 years depending on if you view the support before or after the timeskip.
    • Some of the support conversations will have altered dialogue depending on if you got them pre- or post-timeskip, as well as the route. For instance, Linhardt pre-timeskip in his C Support with Caspar will have him wonder why their fathers hate each other so much, but if achieved post-timeskip, Linhardt will instead muse they are likely bickering in the Empire.
    • Several paired endings will be different depending on the route and who are being paired together. For example, a paired ending for Ingrid and Felix always states that they got married regardless of the route, but on the Azure Moon route, Felix gets injured protecting her and gives up fighting after, something that doesn't happen in the other routes. Byleth's S supports also are all different depending on the route; male Byleth romancing Lysithea, for example, will all be different due to each route having Byleth in different positions after the war.
    • During the White Heron Cup dancing competition, you pick a student to enter the competition and that student's Charm score is weighed against one student from each of the other two Houses you didn't pick. However, what if you recruit every single character into your house before the White Heron Cup? In that case, the opposing two dancers will be drawn from the pool of non-recruitable characters: Edelgard or Hubert from the Black Eagles, Dimitri or Dedue from the Blue Lions, and Claude or (in a Crimson Flower playthrough) Hilda from the Golden Deer.
    • On the night of the ball, the player can meet a prospective Love Interest at the Goddess Tower. On the Azure Moon route, there's a scene right before that where you and Dimitri talk privately; if you pick him, at the end of the scene, you'll walk to the tower together instead.
    • If a character is on low health and scores a Critical Hit, they will wince and look pained instead of looking triumphant like they do when critting on full health.
    • Several support conversations change context in accordance to which support was done before it. For example, in Ferdinand and Edelgard's A-Rank support, the support conversation opens with Ferdinand drinking and complimenting on the taste of the tea he drank, but if you open up Ferdinand and Hubert's A+ support beforehand, this opening changed to Ferdinand drinking coffee.
    • By completing paralogues, you can obtain certain antagonists' Weapons of Choice for your own use (Seteth's Spear of Assal and Flayn's Caduceus Staff on the Crimson Flower route and the Death Knight's Scythe of Sariel on all routes other than Crimson Flower). Doing so replaces their trademark weapons with generic weapons when they fight you.
    • Weapon animations will change to match the specific subtype of weapon you're wielding — for example, if you give a Crescent Sickle (considered a lance type of weapon) to someone, rather than stab with it, they will swing or chop with it.
    • In Dedue's paralogue, the player fights soldiers of Duscur. For the only time in the game, the enemy models have darker skin, appropriately reflecting their ethnicity.
    • The final map of Crimson Flower has Gilbert as an enemy. If his daughter Annette is not recruited, then she will also be on the map. Should you decide to kill Annette before Gilbert, the game will acknowledge that you have pushed them past the Despair Event Horizon and they will break AI patterns.
    • Several support conversations can change context or be unlocked differently in different routes. For example, Lysithea's A-Rank support with Byleth won't be opened Until the second battle of Gronder field is cleared in the Golden Deer route. And if you unlocked Seteth's A-Rank support late into the game in the Golden Deer route, specifically, after the opening of chapter 22, where Rhea told Claude and Byleth about Byleth's own origins, you have the option to mention that you have already known from Rhea.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: When Jeralt is killed by Kronya, Byleth turns back time using Divine Pulse so they could stop her. As they prepare to strike Kronya with the Sword of the Creator, Thales teleports right at that moment and blocks the attack, leading to Jeralt getting stabbed and killed again. Sothis remarks that if even Divine Pulse couldn't save Jeralt, his death must've been willed by fate.
  • Dirty Coward: Before Byleth became a professor at Garreg Mach, there was another professor who was just starting, but fled during the bandit attack, leaving Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude behind. Lampshaded when Alois remarks that they "Can't entrust students to someone who's abandoned them once before, huh?"
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • You can get the Lance of Ruin at the end of Chapter 5 if you have Sylvain in the party, and he's effortless to recruit if Byleth is female or the player chose the Blue Lions house. This thing has 22 might, 9 weight, and a unique combat art, and is pretty much the strongest weapon you're going to get until Thunderbrand (and you can't even get Thunderbrand on the Crimson Flower route until the very last mission).
    • The Knights of Seiros, who can be recruited when Byleth is around level 12, have Advanced classes (normally requiring a level 20 unit) and a A-level proficiency in their respective weapon class. Catherine in particular comes with Thunderbrand, which functions as a stronger Brave Sword before getting a normal Brave Sword. Once other units get their Advanced classes, the Knights remain on par.
    • Felix's personal skill gives him five extra damage when he's not equipped with a Battalion, while Annette's personal skill is basically Rally Strength, giving the affected person +4 strength. These skills make the two great early game, and can make the Early Game Hell of the Maddening difficulty easier to go through, especially if you're on the Blue Lions route, where you get both from the start.
  • Disease Bleach: The painful and inhumane experimentation that endows someone with another Crest has a high failure rate. In the rare instances where the procedure is successful, the strain of bearing two Crests, along with shortening one's life span, turns the person's hair white.
  • Double-Meaning Title: “Three Houses” could refer to the three classes at the Officers Academy, or to the three nations that rule Fódlan that each of the classes come from.
  • Downloadable Content:
    • The first "wave" of DLC launched alongside the game and added male and female Officers Academy outfits for protagonist Byleth. Wave 2 is scheduled to release by October 31, 2019 and will introduce new Auxiliary battle maps, as well as "helpful in-game support items" and some additional content. The third wave of DLC will follow by December 31 and will add new quests whilst making certain characters such as Jeritza playable; meanwhile the fourth is slated to arrive by April 30, 2020 and will focus on adding additional story content, introducing new playable characters and locations.
    • The "Amiibo Gazebo" gives minor item drops each in-game month once any amiibo is scanned. Previous Fire Emblem amiibo will include music tracks from their respective games, accessible in non-story battles.
    • In New Game+, having scanned a Fire Emblem amiibo lets one access the Holy Tomb. This gives better randomized items and a special ability called Sothis Shield that increases Resistance for three turns once per fight.
  • Dragon Rider: Some units can promote to Wyvern Rider and Wyvern Lord, and Wyvern Master and Barbarossa are exclusive to Claude. Like in most Fire Emblem games, a wyvern is a dragon with a pair of hind legs and wings where their arms would be, and as flying units, they have high movement and are immune to ground effects.
  • Dramatic Irony: During the Azure Moon route, at one point a young girl begs to join the army in some capacity, despite clearly not being a soldier. She says that she must join the army, as she wants revenge on the man who killed her brother. Dimitri, currently seeking his own revenge, seems to sympathize and says that she can do whatever she wants. The player already knows that this girl is the sister of a general the Kingdom army killed a few chapters ago. The man she wants revenge on is Dimitri.
  • Dramatic Unmask: The Flame Emperor's identity is revealed in the Holy Tomb in Chapter 11. On the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard is part of the party, so she simply tells everyone that she was the Flame Emperor. On the other two routes, her mask comes off during battle. Everyone is horrified to find out she was the one responsible for the attacks on the Church, not least of which is Dimitri, who goes Laughing Mad. This reveal is so dramatic that it represents the point where the routes all diverge.
  • Draw Aggro: Enemy attacks are now forecast during the player's turn, so they can know exactly who's at risk and shuffle units to protect anyone vulnerable. Hitting monsters with a Gambit forces them to target the perpetrator, which is particularly vital before their map attacks, as these aren't forecast otherwise.
  • Dub Name Change: Ashe and Lysithea's last names change from Duran to Ubert and Cordelia to Ordelia (to avoid a shared-name scenario with Cordelia from Awakening) respectively.
  • Dummied Out: There are full combat quotes for being selected, crit dialogue and leveling up for Jeralt, Rhea, and Sothis, despite the former two not being able to level up under normal circumstances and Sothis not being even usable in battle.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The three main lords have varying issues.
    • Edelgard became her father's heir, not because of her capabilities, but because all her siblings, both older and younger, died either from disease, insanity, or Crest experimentation. The results of this has plagued her with nightmares for as long as she can remember, along with a healthy dose of Survivor's Guilt, and it would lead her to attempt to kill Rhea and destroy the Church of Seiros, as well as backstabbing allies and murdering innocents to attain her goal of bringing true peace to Fódlan in order to tell herself their deaths weren't a waste.
    • Dimitri is the Sole Survivor of the tragedy of Duscur after a series of assassinations killed his father and other nobles. He suffers from Survivor's Guilt and can hear voices and hallucinations of those who died, asking why he hadn't avenged them yet. Post-timeskip, he is a Shell-Shocked Veteran with Sanity Slippage and is nothing but an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight wreck.
    • Claude is practically the most well adjusted out of the three lords, but even he had to survive through the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that is very common in his homeland. Only his pragmatic approach has kept him and his friends alive all this time.

    Tropes E-I 
  • Ear Worm: In Annette and Felix's A support, Felix seeks Annette to hear her sing, saying that her voice is in his mind while he's asleep and in battle, like he's her captive. Once she understands what he means, she's flustered.
  • Eldritch Location: Shambhala, the base of "those who slither in the dark," is treated as such. The characters find the Tron Lines-laden architecture, mechanical enemies, and atmosphere creepy, as they are totally unlike anything they've seen.
  • End of an Era: By the end of all the routes, Fódlan will be united at the cost of two major nations and even possibly the dominant religious organization. Even members of your own side will express remorse at wiping away centuries of history after annexing one of the enemy countries (Leicester in particular since the Alliance really has no stake in the conflict and is merely trying to survive being swallowed up by either Faerghus or Adrestia in their fight against each other). In every route, however, Byleth and their chosen lord create a more peaceful and egalitarian society.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After the timeskip, usually fighting a student with someone from their house that you recruited will lead to them cursing that character for their betrayal, though sometimes they will accept that war is war and try not to hold it against them. They tend to be more bitter when said students join the Adrestian Empire than the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus or the Leicester Alliance. Similarly, Leonie will call Byleth a traitor if they side with the Adrestian Empire, since Edelgard was partially responsible for Jeralt's death (unless, of course, she too has sided with them).
  • Evil Knock Off: In the last battle of Verdant Wind, the undead Ten Elites in Nemesis' army all carry "Dark" versions of their associated Relic weapons, along with Nemesis having a similar Sword of the Creator, which is shattered by Byleth's true version in their final fight. In addition to this, the description of Edelgard's Relic Axe Aymr says that it was constructed specifically for her during the timeskip and thus isn't a "true" Heroes Relic (though according to some official art it might have once been associated with the Crest of Maurice before it was modified to be compatible with Edelgard's Crests, due to that Crest being visible on its Crest Stone). Because of this, Aymr also relies on a different material-Agarthium-to be repaired rather than the Umbral Steel other Relic weapons require, and suggests that Aymr was built/modified for her by "those who slither in the dark". Of course, it's not like the real Hero's Relics are exactly as noble as Church dogma claims they are either...
  • Evolving Title Screen: Beat the game once, and the empty throne now has Sothis sleeping on it. It doesn't do anything, but it's cute.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: In the final fight of the Verdant Wind route, Claude fires an arrow upward, seemingly aiming at nothing, before rushing Nemesis and predictably getting knocked away. As Byleth and Nemesis clash blades, Claude gives a smirk right before the arrow comes down and pierces Nemesis's arm, throwing him off his guard and allowing Byleth to strike him down.
  • Extra Turn: The Dancer class can use their turn to give any other unit on the field another chance to move again.
  • Experience Booster: Each main protagonist has a skill that grants them additional experience gained after a round of combat. The Experience Gem is equippable by any unit to increase the amount of experience gained after battle, while the Knowledge Gem increases the Non Combat Exp gained when training a unit's skills.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Downplayed. After Byleth's house easily wins the first inter-house mock battle, Hanneman muses that a mercenary with real battlefield experience would naturally crush an equal Mêlée à Trois against two sides with theoretical experience alone.
  • Faction-Specific Endings: The game features a route for each chosen house plus the Silver Snow route for the Church of Seiros. While most of the events of Part 1 play out similarly for all routes, they diverge drastically from the Holy Tomb onward, leading to different stories and outcomes. The player's chosen faction is the winner.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: After the Adrestian Empire's assault on the monastery in chapter 12 of the game, events of the battle cause Byleth to be sent tumbling into an abyss, seemingly killed. The monastery falls, and all seems lost...but then Byleth wakes up in a nearby village after a five-year Time Skip, having survived after all.
  • Famous Last Words: Every named character, including minor villains and those with only a single appearance, has something to say when they fall in battle. They may be words of regret, anger directed at their enemies, encouragement to still-standing allies, philosophical statements, and so on.
  • Fantastic Nuke: "Those who slither in the dark" possess weapons that look and function like modern ballistic missiles, except they trail purple rings when deployed. Long ago, one such weapon struck Ailell, turning it into the Valley of Torment, which remains a fiery, inhospitable wasteland to this day. Depending on the route chosen, Arianrhod and Fort Merceus can also be targeted with "javelins of light," destroying them instantly.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • A large portion of the population of Faerghus despise people from Duscur, a peninsula in the north of the kingdom, due to their being blamed for the assassination of the king and the resulting violence before the game begins. Many consider them sneaky, savage, or otherwise distrustful.
    • In general, people from Fódlan have a dim view on all outsiders. This forms the basis of the supports between two such outsiders: Petra, who's from the island nation of Brigid, and Claude, who's half-Almyran. In a support with Byleth, Claude tells them his experiences in his homeland, and here, the people of Fódlan are viewed as cowards by Almyrans, and he, in turn, was treated badly because of his heritage. This viewpoint he disagreed with, and he came to Fódlan to find a new perspective, only to discover that people of Fódlan view any outsider "as a beast of sorts". Claude’s overarching motivation is to open up Fódlan to the outside world to help stop this.
    • The simple fact that Rhea and her family are not human, rather secretly dragons in human form, is one of the many reasons Edelgard and her supporters give for their revolution against the Church of Seiros, as they believe that the Nabateans are "lacking humanity" and the fact that they are controlling Fodlan behind the scenes. Some of the students will even admit that simply seeing Rhea's true form as a dragon was enough for them to agree with Edelgard (though that comes with the caveat of Rhea's transformation being done in a flurry of blind rage to try and murder Byleth, Edelgard, and Hubert).
    • "Those who slither in the dark" regard essentially every other being in Fódlan as either an inferior primitive or as a monster undeserving of life. Not that they seem to particularly like each other, either.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Brigid is clearly Ireland. It's named after a Celtic goddess and is a rural island nation to the west, which has been conquered, dominated, and oppressed by a large, powerful empire to its immediate east. Plus the one character from Brigid has a surname starting with Mac.
    • Almyra is based on Mongolia. Almyrans are a raucous, aggressive people whose military seems to consist entirely of moounted fighters, and they are held back from the more settled nations by a huge, fortified wall reminiscent of the Great Wall of China.
  • Fantasy Metals: Sometimes sold, sometimes appear at the end of stages, and drops from breaking the armor from multi-square size monsters:
    • Smithing Stone upgrades iron, steel and silver weapons.
    • Black Sand Steel repairs and upgrades "Killer" Equipment which, like in previous Fire Emblem games, have a Japanese bent. Katanas, Naginatas, etc. It's likely based on tamahagane, the type of iron used in traditional Japanese weapon smithing.
    • Wootz Steel repairs and upgrades Brave Weapons, a Fire Emblem staple of high-end equipment that usually lets one attack twice.
    • Umbral Steel is from Demonic Beasts and is used to repair Hero Relics.
    • Mythril comes from Giant Birds and Church Golems. It repairs Sacred Weapons; usually found from rare monster stages.
    • Agarthium comes from Giant Crawlers and Titanuses and upgrades and repairs evil weapons such as those with "demon" in the name or scythes, as well as Edelgard's post-timeskip Relic axe Aymr.
  • Fate Worse than Death: To get rid of Byleth, Solon casts a spell that sends them to a dark world, Zahras, to be trapped there forever. When Byleth's students demand to know what happened to their professor, Solon gloats, "There are worse things than death". Even Sothis admits to being terrified of the darkness when talking to Byleth. Byleth is freed from the trap by merging with Sothis and cutting their way out.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Almost anyone you don't recruit prior to the timeskip will likely become your enemy at one point or another based on the route, thanks to the continent-spanning war between the powers of Fódlan. If you really want to twist the knife, you can recruit members from other classes and then have them face off against their old friends.
    • The most tragic example of this is Dimitri and Edelgard, who were friends as children but separated not long after, and the latter doesn't seem to remember the former all that much. Events conspire in their respective routes that ensures they will eventually face off against each other, and there isn't a route where both survive.
  • Final Death: As per usual in the series, on Classic mode, any unit whose HP reaches zero will be permanently killed and cannot be deployed again, unless the chapter is one of the mock battle chapters. Averted in Casual mode, where downed units are not usable for the remainder of the map, but return after the chapter is cleared to be usable again.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: On the Verdant Wind route, Claude deliberately calls in the Almyran army to Fort Merceus to fight alongside Alliance forces, who need reinforcements, in an effort to diminish the mutual ill will that the two nations hold.
  • Fishing Minigame: Exploring Garreg Mach gives you the opportunity to fish. Bait can be found around the monastery and purchased from vendors. When a fish bites and you choose to reel it in, both you and the fish get a stamina bar, and a circle with rings closing in appears on-screen. Timing the hits well tires the fish more quickly, and getting all Excellents usually nets a more valuable fish.
  • Fog of War: Some missions feature maps covered in fog. Fog reduces movement and can hide traps and enemies. It can be dispelled within a larger radius of a character if they use a torch, but each use only lasts three turns and a torch has only three uses.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the opening cutscene, when Nemesis unleashes his Relic weapon, it glows with a red light. In the distance, you can see similar glows from what are implied to be his allies. It turns out the 10 Elites were Nemesis' allies, not enemies. After killing Nemesis, Seiros let the 10 Elites live and settle down around Fódlan in exchange for loyalty to her, so that their powerful Crests would be passed down throughout the ages in service of her plans. She then had history rewritten so that they were heroes all along so that Fódlan would embrace Crests.
    • During the tutorial battle, if you talk to the three Lords, Dimitri and Claude are clearly worried about the bandits trying to kill them. Edelgard, on the other hand, doesn't seem to really have any thoughts about them, being more interested with who you are. Because it turned out she was the one who hired them to assassinate Dimitri and Claude to make her eventual campaign to conquer Fódlan that much easier with the other two factions' eventual leaders out of the way.
    • If you have Edelgard fight Dimitri during the Battle of the Eagle and the Lion, she will muse about how things might go if their countries went to war. She's already planning for that to happen.
    • Taking tea with Seteth and examining his hair will have him comment that this combination of hair and eye colors (bright green) is very unusual. Indeed, everyone with hair and eyes of that shade are quite special: Seteth and Flayn are two of the Four Saints, Rhea is one of the Children of the Goddess, and Sothis is the Progenitor God.
    • During the defense of the Tomb, the Death Knight will have a unique line when Edelgard initiates combat. He is aware of her identity, and seems to find it quaint that she's fighting him. He also reacts in shock to seeing Mercedes attack him, since she's his sister.
    • Lord Lonato's chapter involves him leading a hopeless rebellion in revenge for his son who was executed by the Central Church, taking particular anger toward Catherine, his son's comrade who turned him in, leading him to his demise. But as Catherine's support with Ashe reveals, Christophe was actually executed over being involved in an assassination plot on Rhea set up by the Western Church, who also manipulated Lonato to rebel. Dimitri himself joined the academy to take revenge on the Flame Emperor who he believes was responsible for the Tragedy of Duscur. He pretty much snaps once the Flame Emperor is revealed to be Edelgard and swears to kill her at all costs, even though Edelgard was not involved in the event to begin with. Outside his route, Dimitri ends up dying because of his desire for revenge, ultimately not taking revenge on the ones truly responsible for the tragedy.
    • When the coffin of Saint Seiros is opened, there's no body there, but instead the Sword of the Creator. Not only is Seiros technically still around as Rhea, but the tomb is still serving its purpose: the Sword of the Creator is actually made from her mother Sothis' body.
    • Rhea states Flayn is like family to her after the latter is kidnapped. Flayn is in fact her niece.
    • Merely looking at any of the Relics gives clues to their true origins. Whereas most Fire Emblem legendary weapons have elegant and refined designs, the Relics are blatantly dragon bones roughly carved into weapons.
    • In Dorothea and Byleth's B support, Dorothea attempts to get a reaction out of Byleth by tickling them. When that doesn't work, Dorothea remarks that it's like their heart isn't even beating, and one of the possible responses is to say that it indeed it isn't. It may seem like a sarcastic response, but come Jeralt's death and Byleth discovering his journal, it turns out Byleth's heart really isn't beating.
    • In Ingrid and Ignatz' C-Support, Ingrid tries to get Ignatz to turn his drawing of Seiros into an edgier knightly woman. What Ignatz ends up getting is a Seiros that Ingrid describes as a maniacal demigod. Unbeknownst to them, Ingrid's words are an accurate description of Seiros aka Rhea (who is indeed a demigod) on the Crimson Flower route.
    • Many of Flayn's supports call attention to her odd traits. During their supports, Byleth repeatedly asks Flayn how old she is, and she repeatedly evades the question. And when Linhardt notices that there are a lot of similarities between the legendary Saint Cethleann and Flayn, Flayn is clearly nervous and tries to redirect the conversation. It turns out she is Saint Cethleann and is very long-lived due to her heritage. The first fish the player catches as part of a quest from Flayn which introduces the player to fishing is the Carassius, which the game describes as being connected to Saint Cethleann. Her birthday is 7/12, the same day Cethleann is celebrated. After Seteth names the other three saints, Flayn chimes in and eagerly adds Cethleann as the fourth.
    • On the subject of birthdays, Rhea's birthday (1/11) the same day as Saint Seiros Day and Seteth's (12/27) is the same day as Saint Cichols Day. ....They're not subtle.
    • When Rhea tries to calm down Seteth after Flayn goes missing, she hesitates before calling Flayn Seteth's sister. Rhea knows that Flayn is Seteth's daughter.
    • Shortly after you get Flayn back from her kidnapping, talking to Sothis in Byleth's room has her muse that something bothers her about the old man Tomas. She's very much correct, as Solon has replaced the real Tomas.
    • Rhea's Faculty Training teaches several skills you would expect from her, such as Faith and Authority... along with Brawling, which seems a little out-of-place not only for someone like her, but for a Bishop-like class in general. Considering Seiros' No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Nemesis in the opening movie, this serves as a hint that she and Rhea are one and the same.
    • The Enlightened One class's magic critical animation is identical to Rhea's. Datamining Sothis's critical reveals she also shares an identical animation, hinting all three have powers of similar origin. Additionally, the Enlightened One's skill proficiencies line up with three of the skills Rhea can teach via Faculty Training.
    • During monastery exploration in Chapter 8, Caspar mentions having seen Edelgard talking to his father, the Minister of Military Affairs, and that he's surprised, since he'd thought they didn't get along. As it turns out, not only is Edelgard planning for Adrestia to start a war, but Count Bergliez will be one of the Imperial nobles backing her, with him being neither stripped of his power nor executed.
    • When the Flame Emperor is talking to a stranger in the end of Chapter 5 (their identities are Edelgard and her uncle, Arundel), the Flame Emperor mentions that the Sword of the Creator is in the hands of Byleth. The stranger refers to the sword once wielded by that "thief," the King of Liberation. The Flame Emperor meanwhile seems puzzled by him referring to Nemesis as a thief. Considering that the next scene is Rhea and Seteth telling Byleth about who Nemesis was, there are two completely different stories that hints that history was already fabricated about who Nemesis was. In addition, Arundel seems to know more about Nemesis than most people know, which hints at Arundel's true identity as one of "those who slither in the dark" that manipulated Nemesis in the past by coercing him to murder Sothis and the Children of the Goddess.
    • In the period leading up to the encounter in the Holy Tomb, an NPC will remark on how a unusual number of merchants and other visitors have been showing up in town lately. These turn out to have been Empire soldiers in disguise, explaining how Edelgard was able to so quickly mobilize a decent-sized force to invade the Holy Tomb under everyone's noses.
  • Forever War: It eventually becomes clear in most routes that Fódlan is locked into one between the Children of the Goddess led by Seiros, who want to revive Sothis and preserve the status quo, and the descendants of Agartha, who want to exterminate all dragons to return their imperialistic, human-only civilization to dominance, currently in the shape of the Church of Seiros and "those who slither in the dark." The cycle is broken in all routes, but exactly how it is broken differs vastly from one route to another.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • In each route, your respective lord will muse that things would have turned out very differently for them had Byleth not lent them their support. Byleth's influence can shape whether their lord becomes a hero or tragic villain, and, ultimately, the fate of the war.
    • Whether or not Edelgard chooses to use the Crest Stones she takes from raiding the Holy Tomb to create Demonic Beasts to bolster the Adrestian army will determine whether or not Rhea escapes the invasion of Garreg Mach, and ultimately, the state of Faerghus post-timeskip. In Azure Moon, Verdant Wind, and Silver Snow she uses them and as a result when Rhea transforms into the Immaculate One, she is swarmed by the Demonic Beasts Edelgard was keeping in reserve and is captured and imprisoned in Enbarr. The Kingdom is then subverted from within by Cornelia, an agent of "those who slither in the dark" who imprisons and tries to execute Dimitri, and then submits to the Empire, creating the Faerghus Dukedom while the houses loyal to the royal line try to mount some resistance under Lord Rodrigue Fraldarius. In non-Azure Moon routes, it means the Kingdom effectively ceases to be even after the Empire is defeated and plays a very minimal role in the overall conflict. In the Crimson Flower route however, Byleth's defection to the Empire along with the rest of the Black Eagles convinces Edelgard not to use the Crest Stones and mount a conventional assault, as well as sidelining "those who slither in the dark". While the invasion succeeds, it also means when Rhea transforms Edelgard has no counter for it, allowing her to escape to Faerghus with the Knights of Seiros and Dimitri. This, along with the sidelining of the Agarthans means that Cornelia cannot affect her takeover of the Kingdom, leaving Faerghus united and strong and bolstered by the Knights of Seiros, unlike the Alliance, which remains fractured between its pro- and anti-Imperial factions as in the other routes.
  • Friendly Rivalry: The three houses have one. The house leaders aren't exactly friends, but they're on civil terms for the most part, and engage in somewhat friendly banter from time to time, while being determined to outdo each other in inter-house competitions. Naturally, this goes out the window just before the Time Skip; Dimitri is hell-bent on killing Edelgard, Edelgard is willing to kill the other two if necessary to achieve her ambitions, and while Dimitri does come to Claude's aid and gain the help of the Alliance in Azure Moon, the two don't become full-fledged allies.
  • Funny Foreigner: There's Petra from the Black Eagles class, as detailed in the character pages, and then there's the Eastern merchant, who in the Japanese version speaks with an exaggerated foreigner accent. He speaks normally in the English language, though.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: On the Azure Moon route, there's a paralogue called "Silver Maiden" where if you save the game while you're in the battle prep menu, it will hard-lock the game, forcing you to start over.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Played With, as there are small pros and cons to each gender:
    • Female player characters have a larger pool of potential romance options (particularly those looking for a Gay Option or wanting to romance the Lords), can recruit Sylvain into their house for free even if they didn't choose the Blue Lions, and have access to three-gender exclusive classes, including the Gremory master class, making it easier to level her Reason skill compared to males. While male characters do have three other gender-exclusive classes, obtaining the Seals to become two of the male-only classes, Dark Mage/Dark Bishop, is notoriously difficult, and the male-only Hero is considered inferior to Swordmaster, which is unisex.
    • Male player characters meanwhile have exclusive access to Brawler, Grappler, and War Master, meaning they have a significantly better time leveling their Brawling skill.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Support conversations take place in the academy, even if you are currently at Edelgard's temporary fortress before the end of Part 1.
    • It's clear that many of the C and B rank supports were written with the idea that the player would see them before the 5-year timeskip. For example, Dimitri's supports: After the timeskip, he talks in a much deeper and darker tone of voice that matches his new grizzled look, but if you do one of his C or B ranked supports after the timeskip, he will suddenly return to talking with his lighter and softer voice that he has pre-timeskip. A special mention goes to the Ignatz/Ingrid supports, where the poor guy will find himself enthusiastically sketching a pile of rubble as if it was a statue of Seiros.
    • The cutscene for Miklan's transformation shows the rest of his gang fleeing in terror from his monstrous new form. Despite this undefeated enemies will still be there and attack your units in the second part of his level.
    • Unlike in Awakening and Fates, class change don't affect non-CGI cutscenes. All characters have a default model in their school uniforms - On occasion, this makes sense as it's their outfits off of the battlefield, but many times it appears that they approach battle in their uniforms, switch into their combat gear for the battle itself, then switch back to their uniforms for the wrap-up.
    • The ideal class for Hubert is Dark Mage and Dark Bishop. The only way to get these is to beat the Death Knight for them to drop the Dark Seal, which is needed to access the Dark Mage and Dark Bishop classes. However, the Death Knight works for Hubert and Edelgard. Logically they should have access to these via other means.
    • In gameplay Divine Pulse has multiple charges and you can use it as many times in a row as that number of charges, trying different things each time (albeit RNG elements like level up gains and critical hits will remain set) and can rewind all the way to the start of a given battle if you wish. In the actual story, Divine Pulse is only ever used to rewind time a few seconds (Sothis warns that it is not an infinite power), and if using it fails to change an outcome once, then said outcome is stated by Sothis to be impossible to change.
    • If you choose to have a character specialize in a weapon other than their canon Weapon of Choice, they'll still use said weapon in cutscenes - Byleth, for instance, will always be depicted wielding the Sword of the Creator, even if they haven't raised their Sword skill at all.
    • The Crest Stones that can be given to units in New Game+ give no negative effects to those carrying them, despite the drawbacks of non-Crest-bearers attempting such a thing having pretty severe ramification story-wise.
    • In Felix and Dimitri’s B-support, Felix refuses to let Dimitri handle the Sword of Zoltan, a sword crafted by the finest blacksmith in all of Fódlan that Felix has purchased from a merchant, due to the prince’s history of snapping swords in half with his immense strength. After the scene, it goes to Byleth’s inventory by default, can be given to Dimitri, and Dimitri can use it in-game combat if he’s got at least an A-rank in swords, as can anyone else who meets the same requirement.
    • At the start of the game Byleth is already a well known figure in mercenary circles, feared and respected as "the Ashen Demon." However, in gameplay they start as a level 1 Commoner. Similarly, Jeralt is infamously known as "the Blade Breaker," yet in his guest appearance in the very first battle, he's a level 3 Paladin.
    • Take Your Time is in effect - everything happens within the last week of the month. Its often justified by being a scheduled event or a mission that takes weeks of preparation to mobilize for, but even when your characters are about to do something like march upon the Imperial Capital or take the Alliance's strongholds, or your job is to try and find where Flayn is, you'll still spend at least three weeks training in the monastery (although you can skip this for the latter if you choose to enter Jeritza's quarters, despite the warning that it'll skip to the end of the month). There is one notable exception: taking over Enbarr will immediately move onto the next map without returning to Garreg Mach.
    • It's quite doable to prevent the Flame Emperor's forces from escaping with any Crest Stones when they raid the Holy Tomb. Indeed the game rewards you for it. However, regardless of how you perform in the battle, Edelgard will still escape with enough Crest Stones to bolster her forces.
    • The second Battle of Gronder Field post-timeskip is always treated as a bloodbath in-story even if you completed it without killing any named characters, (which is difficult, but entirely possible). Especially on the Azure Moon route, where the Alliance's military strength is described as "crippled" afterwards even if you minimized casualties on their side.
    • This can actually be invoked by the player themselves - despite the characters clearly having biases towards certain classes that the story suggests, there is nothing stopping them (apart from common sense) from pursuing the exact opposite. For example, the supports will still say Mercedes is an absolute klutz with a sword, even if she has an "S" rank in swords.
    • While the Death Knight refuses the nameless wizard's orders to attack the enemy, and expresses his lack of interest in fighting "weaklings," he will pursue and attack the player's units on Maddening.
  • Gay Option: Male Byleth can achieve a romantic S-support with Linhardt, while Female Byleth can achieve a romantic S-support with Edelgard, Dorothea, Mercedes, Rhea, and Sothis. Subverted in that a male Byleth can S rank Gilbert or Alois, but this will be a platonic relationship due them already being married.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing:
    • With a few notable exceptions, dialogue and writing about Byleth is carefully constructed to avoid stating their name (which is customizable) and their gender. Other characters always refer to them by title or a nickname if they have to be specific (they'll on occassion note Byleth is a man or a woman when the context benefits a lot from it, and some interactions can be subtly different, such as Dorothea just outright saying her underwear is missing to female Byleth whereas she is indirect with telling male Byleth).
    • Byleth's guest during teatime is referred to as "they" in text boxes.
  • Geo Effects: Different types of terrain have different effects on your units: stairs hinder movement of those on horseback, sand hinders movement of all units except those who can fly, and so on.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Hilda and Caspar's A support has him asking if there's anything she needs help with. She "thought of something he can do for her" in her room, though Caspar thinks she just wants him to carry luggage. Hilda decides to humor that idea to get him to come with her.
    • The most expensive way to cultivate/fertilize what you plant in the greenhouse is to spread something the game calls "pegasus blessing." A quite literal case of getting crap past the radar.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe:
    • All gifts come with a description of who will like them, and most are not universally liked. Hence, you can gift someone an item they dislike, at the cost of not gaining support with them and the item itself.
    • When he was younger, Dimitri gave a girl he liked a dagger as a gift. She was confused and somewhat uncomfortable, but kept the dagger. Sylvain still teases Dimitri for it, while Dimitri doesn't really see the "gaffe," as he considers a weapon an uncommon but perfectly sensible gift.
    • For the past several years, Alois has been giving his daughter ancient coins for her birthday, which he notes she hasn't ever been excited about, and he doesn't understand why because they have historical value. Manuela gently tells him that such a gift is appropriate only for someone who's interested in old coins, and clearly, Alois's daughter isn't one of those people. Manuela offers to help Alois pick something his daughter will like.
  • Gladiator Subquest: There is a monthly tournament where Byleth can enter one of their students. Each round won awards a cash prize, with the final round awarding some semi-rare item (usually a high tier weapon or a seal for whatever chapter the game is in). Each tournament is based around a specific weapon or black magic. Ironically, because the rounds are automated rounds of combat and the participating character always is equipped with the lowest tier of weapon (typically a training one), a character's skill with the weapon in question barely matters. This makes characters of the Armored Knight / Fortress Knight class able to win any competition not using magic, as their enemies are often literally unable to harm them due to their high defense, even if the knight can barely use the weapon in question.
  • Going Through the Motions: Every character has a pool of actions they make during dialogue-heavy interactions: placing left hand lightly on forehead, putting both arms behind head, placing right hand on hip, leaning to the right with a head tilt, pumping both arms at once...
  • Golem: In this world, golems are giant automatons employed by the Church of Seiros with Lances of Light. Like Demonic Beasts, they have multiple lifebars and can be stunned.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The game opens with Jeralt waking Byleth up from a dream about Seiros, Nemesis, and Sothis.
  • Gratuitous Greek: All dark magic spells have letters of the Greek alphabet accompanying them.
  • Gray and Gray Morality:
    • Unlike many other entries in the series, there are almost no designated good guys and bad guys, and people from every faction have to dirty their hands to achieve their ends after the timeskip. There are villainous individuals, but they never reflect the faction as a whole. The sole exception to this is "those who slither in the dark," who have the pleasure of being the Hate Sink faction even the more morally-grey characters hate and barely tolerate.
    • The faction you choose to ally with will overall end up mitigating their role in this trope, while the opposing factions may become less gray and more antagonistic as a consequence. For instance, if you ally with Edelgard, she will not be as brutal or cold as she would be otherwise (and outright draws attention to how your support has kept her from falling into such behavior), while Dimitri and Rhea will become more unhinged and cruel due to the traumas of war and Byleth's change in allegiance, respectively.
    • Claude in general is an exception, as he doesn't really have much of a dark side, except for maybe being a bit of a trickster (which is never used for anything but heroics or harmless pranks) and for "only" taking a Heroic Neutral stance in the conflict rather than actively working as a peacemaker. He won't be any more antagonistic regardless of route. Since the major enemy of his route is the aforementioned Hate Sink, his route comes the closest to flat out Black and White Morality.
    • Despite blame being placed on the Crests themselves, ultimately the problems of Fódlan are the result of humans abusing them. The Book of Seiros even condemns the descendants who craved and abused said power. That said, the Church and the Archbishop do nothing to fix the problems that began when humanity craved the power beyond saying they were wrong, and so many problems arose from the Crest System humanity made that followed.
  • Gray Rain of Depression:
    • Byleth crying as Jeralt dies is accompanied by gray skies and a heavy downpour.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, when Edelgard cuts down Dimitri in the middle of the pouring rain, she finds herself Trying Not to Cry afterward.
    • On the Azure Moon route, when Dimitri heads out on what is implied to be a suicide mission, it's raining. Byleth stops him and questions his motives, after which he says he has nothing else to live for.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • You can temporarily recruit students from other houses to assist you in the coming mission. They won’t gain any experience while they are with you and will appear as an allied unit; unusually for this trope, they will still take commands from you and build supports with other units, which makes them easier to recruit permanently.
    • At the beginning of the game, all three lords are are playable as they work together to take down a group of bandits. Once a house is chosen in the following chapter, both leaders of the other two houses will never be playable again.
    • Certain paralogues will feature characters from different houses or characters who may not be recruited into Byleth's class assisting in the battle under the player's control. For example, one paralogue called "Rumored Nuptials," starring Ingrid from the Blue Lions, also features Dorothea from the Black Eagles as an allied character under the player's control (and Ingrid becomes this if you chose the Black Eagles and haven't recruited her).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Some students or academy faculty cannot be recruited on certain routes. Or in one case, it is simply more difficult; Hilda namely can only join the Black Eagles via raising her support level with dining, cooking and tea parties (you can't give her gifts or lost items), and even then she won't be available if you choose to ally with Edelgard and stay on the Crimson Flower route instead of switching to the Silver Snow route and ally with the Church of Seiros. The only way you'd find out someone can't be recruited is by talking to them at every opportunity and seeing what options you have, and as in Hilda's case even that can be unreliable.
    • Recruiting students from other houses generally requires having a high enough rank in a proficiency, and/or a high stat. The game doesn't explain what rank your proficiency need to be, nor how much of the given stat they require to recruit them. You can circumvent this by getting their support with Byleth to B rank, but this can still result in some students not being able to be recruited yet, either because your requirements are not enough, or because they simply do not want to. Typically you have to wait till they request to join your house at that point.
    • The support system uses the C-A system from the older games, but Byleth uses the S support system from Awakening and Fates. This can greatly confuse newer fans who think they need to S support two characters, when in reality they just need to get to A rank to have two characters get together romantically. Also, some supports only occur past certain points in the story, but the game doesn't clarify that and instead says the "bond needs more time to develop", which may lead players to think they just need more support points.
    • Some C-supports can only be seen pre-timeskip, but you wouldn't know it until it's Part II and you get a message saying "it's too late to deepen this bond." Granted, given how most of the C-supports involve the students or teachers during their academy days, it makes some sense, but it can also be frustrating to know too late that an entire chain of supports is locked out because of this and you have to play a new game to be able to get the proper supports.
    • Downplayed midway through the game after choosing the Black Eagles house, when you are given a choice between attending Edelgard's coronation or investigating a potential lead into the Flame Emperor's master plan. You absolutely have to choose the coronation if you want to transition to the Crimson Flower route; otherwise, Byleth will be unable to bring themselves to continue supporting Edelgard after the Wham Episode in the Holy Tomb reveals just how far she is willing to go in the name of her ideals, and you are automatically transitioned into the Silver Snow route. This choice is presented as a Wham Shot as the screen darkens, a Heartbeat Soundtrack starts playing, and the game directly tells you that this decision will drastically change the story, so the player at least knows something is up.
    • On the Azure Moon route, post-timeskip, Dedue, Dimitri’s retainer is lost forever to you if you missed a single, specific paralogue back in Part One. Dedue was going to be executed in Dimitri’s place, but if you played that paralogue, he is instead broken out of jail before that by the people of Duscur you saved in the paralogue. It takes a good thirty hours of playtime between the paralogue and the result, too, so even if you have a save file from before that moment, restarting is painful, to say the least. It does not help at all that this paralogue can be first accessed during Chapter 6, during which you are forced to Explore on the first week and it is entirely possible to skip the rest of the month if you follow the associated events all the way to their conclusion and start the monthly mission early as a result. A similar issue occurs at the end of the Silver Snow route with Rhea, wherein if you do not chose to romance her, she dies at the end, whereas if you do, she is saved. The game doesn't at all hint towards this, and it was discovered by players through chance.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, Leonie and Linhardt's post-timeskip paralogue, "Legend of the Lake," can suddenly become inaccessible after Chapter 15, even if you have recruited Leonie pre-timeskip and the expiration date hasn't passed. What the game doesn't tell you is that the paralogue only remains accessible after Chapter 15 if you spare Flayn and Seteth.
    • Post-timeskip, depending on the route, certain characters can be spared, such as Claude, and sometimes even recruited, such as Lysithia on the Crimson Flower route. You have to defeat them using either Byleth or the main Lord of the route. Nothing in the game tells you this and there is often no indication of who can be spared or recruited, either.
    • Mercedes and Caspar's paralogue is considered to be one of the best in the game, since completing it at the right time and on the right route will unlock an additional scene and flat out confirm the Death Knight's identity, as well as why he mentioned Mercedes. Except for one little problem: it's tied to Caspar. A character who does not have any ties with Mercedes nor can he support with her and he is not in her house meaning you must recruit him and him specifically. While the Death Knight's connection to Mercedes is foreshadowed within the first five chapters, Caspar's is not foreshadowed at all. The closest things you get to hints that maybe Caspar is required for this are the fact that on Verdant Wind and Azure Moon, he's on the map with the Death Knight if not recruited, and that Caspar recognises the Scythe of Sariel in Chapter 6 if you're a Black Eagle. The only way to know this for certain is to have Caspar recruited... in part one. Meaning by the time you might be able to figure out that Mercedes doesn't seem to have a Paralogue, you already missed out. Fortunately, you can get it for a New Game+, but many players instead just looked it up on YouTube.
    • Managing lost items is a never-ending mess. Each item only gives you a hint as to who it belongs to, and while some do manage to be specific enough (like "native to Brigid" or "interested in art") most are hilariously vague. Special mention to "someone who trains a lot"; variants of it show up on multiple items, and they all go to different characters. The game fortunately lets you Try Everything as much as you want, but it still makes the whole thing extremely time-consuming without checking a guide.
  • Harder Than Hard: Called "Maddening" in the English translation of the game. In addition to enemies having higher stats, there are a few new surprises like the Death Knight not being stationary and having an accessory that negates his weakness to anti-cavalry weapons.
  • He Knows Too Much: During the monster attack at the chapel, Jeralt starts figuring out what's going on and the connection it has to Remire Village, as a displeased Kronya watches from a distance. After the students are saved, Kronya, disguised as Monica, kills him when his back is turned.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The main player character’s name is customizable, though their Canon Name is Byleth.
  • Heroic Lineage: A large part of the setting involves Crests, special powers inherited by some of the descendants of the legendary 10 Elites and Four Saints of the distant past, who are hailed as heroes for defeating Nemesis, the King of Liberation. Fódlan’s social culture ends up being built around Crests. People’s social status is effectively decided by whether they or their children have a Crest, leading to cases such as commoners trying to marry nobles solely because they have a Crest and not their personal merits, people trying to have multiple children in the hopes that one of them is born with a Crest, nobles looking down on heirs that don't have Crests, or performing potentially lethal experiments on children to give them two Crests. One of Edelgard's motives for becoming Emperor is to eliminate Crest culture and turn Fódlan into a meritocracy.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Despite being hailed as heroes in the present day, The Ten Elites were actually allies of Nemesis in his fight against Seiros. After she won the war, she canonized them as heroes in order to encourage the people to use the power of the Crests. Nemesis himself was also given this treatment, with him simply being depicted as a Fallen Hero and not the bandit he and the Ten Elites originally were, and many of their atrocities, namely killing Sothis, pilfering her remains, and committing genocide against the Children of the Goddess, being obscured by Seiros.
  • History Repeats:
    • The battle at Gronder Field is a clash between Alliance, Empire, and Kingdom forces. Back when the house lords were students, they all fought on the same field, a fact that is not lost on any character as they comment on how this time, they're fighting for real. The movies at the beginning of the two chapters play out very similarly, too, from the opening shot of a hawk followed by a sweeping pan of a cliff and the field to each faction leader signaling their army to attack in the same order. Byleth is shown last, drawing the Sword of the Creator in preparation to fight.
    • What King Dimitri hopes to do by engaging the Imperial Army in the Tailtean Plains, which was the site of the original battle that led to the splintering of Faerghus from Adrestia on the Crimson Flower path. The symbolism of the move does not escape the notice of either Edelgard or Hubert. He fails to replicate his ancestor King Loog's success and dies instead.
  • Holding Hands: A recurring theme on the Azure Moon route between Dimitri and Byleth. After the Time Skip, Byleth offers their hand to a slumped Dimitri, which he refuses. During his Redemption in the Rain, as Dimitri wonders what he has to live for, Byleth offers their hand again, and he accepts it, commenting how warm their hand is. After the final confrontation where he's forced to kill Edelgard, he nearly turns back before Byleth stops him by holding his hand. In the S support with a female Byleth, he holds her hand as he professes his love to her.
  • Home Base:
    • Garreg Mach Monastery, both pre- and post-timeskip is where the player will spend all their time when not in battle. Before the timeskip, it's the military academy where Byleth teaches as a professor. Post-timeskip, it's the center of the anti-Imperial resistance in the Azure Moon, Verdant Wind and Silver Snow paths, or the military headquarters of the Imperial army itself on the Crimson Flower path. In addition to being able to train their students' skills during class time it also has various activities that allow for support-building, as well as a market for outfitting students for battle. And you can fish in the pond.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, you temporarily take up residence at an Imperial military camp in Chapter 12 since you're about to invade Garreg Mach. You can give gifts, return lost items, and visit the marketplace, but most of the usual facilities are unavailable.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first three fights with the Death Knight aren't expected to be beaten. Doing so anyway gives the Dark Seal which opens up the Dark Mage and Dark Bishop classes.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When Jeralt is killed by Kronya, Byleth uses Divine Pulse to turn back time to right before it happened and then tries to stop it. Sadly, Thales warps in the second time and blocks them, making Jeralt's death inevitable as he is stabbed yet again.
    • During Chapter 12 if you didn't choose the Black Eagles house, Rhea attempts to turn back the invading army by turning into a dragon. It's initially effective and sends the enemy running, until Rhea's overwhelmed by demonic beasts.
    • The Azure Moon route twice teases the idea that Dimitri and Edelgard could come to an agreement and put the war behind themselves, but this also fails twice and ends with an extremely tragic scene and the latter's death.
  • A House Divided: After the Adrestian Empire declares war on the Church of Seiros and the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, the Alliance is split into two factions: those backing House Gloucester, which supports the Empire, and those backing House Riegan, which opposes it. Claude uses the internal struggle to maintain the appearance of neutrality.
  • HP to 1: Major bosses cannot be killed by allied units, preventing them from taking experience meant for your units. A killing blow by an ally drops the enemy's HP to 1, and any further blows deal no damage.
  • Humongous Mecha: On some routes, enemy units include giant automatons with a medieval vibe that nonetheless feel out of place in the medieval setting. They behave like Beast enemies, having Multiple Life Bars and armor and taking up multiple tiles on the field. They belong to "those who slither in the dark," the remnants of the Agarthan Empire, and they're encountered in Shambhala, their base, and in Faerghus, deployed by Cornelia.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: After the Adrestian Empire declares war, some noble houses in the Kingdom and Alliance capitulate solely because if they didn't, they would be crushed by the Empire's forces. Among them are House Dominic of the Kingdom and House Gloucester of the Alliance. Baron Dominic is reluctant to fight his family members, Annette and Gilbert, but he feels he must do so because he would be viewed with suspicion if he didn't try. After his defeat, he states he wants to see the Kingdom restored and gladly bestows Annette the Hero's Relic of House Dominic. House Gloucester sides with the Empire because of their territory's proximity to the Empire, and several other houses join them, resulting in turmoil in the Alliance. Once the Empire threat is eliminated via retaking the Great Bridge of Myrddin, House Gloucester changes sides and lends troops in support of the battle against the Empire, uniting the Alliance.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Some characters can have romantic paired endings (implied or otherwise) with other members of the same sex, but can only S rank with Byleth if they're the opposite gender, implying this situation.
  • In a Single Bound: Rhea, Claude, Byleth and Edelgard are all shown in various CG cutscenes to be able to leap several times their own height with apparent ease.
  • Informed Attribute: The Sword of the Creator is described as being even more powerful than the other Heroes' Relics. Its stats are barely better- or in some cases, actually worse- than a Steel Sword you can buy from the armory, and its only unique property is being able to attack at range. Its upgraded form, the Sublime Creator Sword, has much better stats that do make it one of the better swords in the game, but it's still not noticeably better than the other Relics.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Upon witnessing Kronya fatally stab Jeralt in the back, Byleth attempts to use Divine Pulse so they can go back and stop her, but is blocked by Thales. Sothis even calls it "the will of fate" that Jeralt dies.
  • Inexperienced Killer: Your units are fairly new students at a military academy who have (with a number of exceptions like Dimitri and Felix) never been in a real life and death battle before. They all have a special line of dialogue that pops up the first time they kill an opponent during the game.
  • Insult to Rocks: Sothis compares Byleth charging right into Solon's trap to a boulder rolling down a hill and then says no, even a boulder has more sense.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Door keys and chest keys work on any locked door or chest, and they can only be used once. You can pick up some keys from enemies in a village, travel halfway across Fódlan months later, and use those keys on doors and chests in a completely different location.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Both Jeralt and Jeritza cannot be interacted with the way other characters can (Tea Time, Dining Hall, Lost Items, etc). Jeralt can only train Byleth in some skills while Jeritza can only be spoken to; even Rhea can be given gifts. This very heavily gives away that they will not be around for long, something that is confirmed when Jeritza vanishes for the rest of the game in Chapter 6, and Jeralt dies several chapters later.
    • Flayn's status screen lists her age as "??", rather than whatever age she pretends to have in public, spoiling very early that she's no normal girl and is much older than she pretends to be.
    • A character with a Crest has it displayed on their status page, meaning it's possible to outright figure out some minor support twists simply by looking at them and either comparing them to other characters or looking at the name. One of the biggest interface spoilers that is nevertheless well-hidden is that Jeralt has the Major Crest of Seiros, which you can only catch in one of the three missions where he's an NPC. That being said, some Crests do remain hidden up to a certain point (Edelgard's Crest of Flames and Lysithea's Major Crest of Gloucester being two examples).
    • Paralogues show how long you have to do the paralogue. While most of them in Part 1 aren't indicative of what will happen after they become unavailable, Sothis's paralogue becomes unavailable a month before the other paralogues come to pass, giving a hint that something will happen to her. Meanwhile, some Part 2 paralogues' due dates spoil that a few chapters that were built up to be the final battle, aren't really the final chapter. Mercedes' paralogue, however, becomes unavailable at the end of the Great Tree Moon, and her paralogue involves the Death Knight...
  • Ironic Echo: Many playable characters do this to themselves in Part II, darkly echoing their previous Part I quotes as a sign of the war taking its toll on them.
    Dorothea: [Part I] All roses have thorns!
    Dorothea: [Part II] Only thorns left on this rose...
    Caspar: [Part I] Right Makes Might... right?
    Caspar: [Part II] Might Makes Right!
    Claude: [Part I] Don't hold this against me, okay?
    Claude: [Part II] Hold a grudge if you must!
  • Irony:
    • During Sylvain's childhood, Miklan treated his brother Sylvain like dirt because Miklan was envious that Sylvain had a Crest and Miklan didn't. So Miklan steals the Lance of Ruin in hopes of being as special as Sylvain is. In a meta sense, Miklan does get to be special, as attempting to use the lance (which can't be safely used without the Crest of Gautier that Sylvain has) results in him becoming the very first Demonic Beast the player fights. So in that sense, he does get to be special—a special introduction to Demonic Beasts.
    • One paralogue in Part II, Eternal Guardian, is available in all routes except Crimson Flower. It rewards you with the Seiros Shield, a shield that grants HP regeneration to bearers of the Crest of Seiros. The only playable character who naturally has the Crest of Seiros, Edelgard, is exclusive to Crimson Flower and can never get the Seiros Shield.
  • I Shall Taunt You: In every route but Crimson Flower, during the defense of Garreg Mach from Imperial forces, Claude (Verdant Wind), Gilbert (Azure Moon), and Seteth (Silver Snow) set up a fire trap for the enemy. When it's time to utilize it, they taunt Randolph: Claude and Gilbert by mocking his skill as a general and Seteth by demanding he repent for his sins. Randolph is so incensed that he sends his troops forward, and they march into an area of the battlefield that gets set on fire.
  • It Seemed Trivial: On the Azure Moon route, Arundel's dying words are to curse Dimitri and Edelgard to kill each other, as they are family. Once everyone regroups, Dimitri's classmates demand to know whether he and Edelgard really are related, and he realizes that he never told them. In fact, in an earlier monastery conversation, he'd asked Byleth not to tell the others about this.
  • It Was a Gift: During their childhood, Dimitri and Edelgard spent a year together, becoming best friends before Edelgard had to return to the Empire. As a parting present, Dimitri gave Edelgard a dagger to protect herself (something Sylvain gives him grief about, even years later). Edelgard eventually forgot about Dimitri, but kept the dagger with her even years later (you can see her draw it to protect herself in the cutscene after the tutorial mission). The fact that Dimitri finds it on the ground in a place the Flame Emperor had just left clues him in to who they really are. And after he returns it to her nearly six years later, she attempts to kill him with it as a final act of defiance after her army is totally destroyed.

    Tropes J-R 
  • Jigsaw Plot: Unlike other examples of this trope, playing the other routes isn't required to understanding a single greater plot - it helps shed light on certain character actions and the motivations of other factions (namely "Those who slither in the dark" and the Church of Seiros). Every route tells their own story, but knowing what happens on one route will allow the player to notice a lot more Foreshadowing.
  • Job System: The changes to the class system in Three Houses makes it more akin to this than prior games' Character Class System. In previous games, units were limited to predetermined weapon proficiencies, skills, and classes to promote to. In Three Houses, any unit, barring gender or special, character-related restrictions, can promote to any class and master any skill provided they reach the experience level and pass the certification exam. Weapons are not limited by class, so a unit can be an Archer while also using lances. The exceptions are Reason and Faith, which can only be used by a mage or cleric class. Using weapons or skills that correlate to the class gives the unit more experience in those areas, and certain classes may have abilities that benefit from the use of the preferred weapon (such as the Swordsmaster class having an ability that increases attack damage when using a sword).
  • Kill and Replace: There are several characters in the game whose backstories state that they were kind and heroic people until they suddenly changed in personality for no apparent reason. It is heavily implied, and outright theorized by Seteth, that they were secretly replaced by agents of "those who slither in the dark" who can use an unknown means to take on the appearance of at least one other person. The first notable example is Tomas, the church's kindly librarian of 40 years who retired 8 years ago but returned to work a year before the story begins. Eventually, he is revealed to have been Solon in disguise. The Black Eagles student Monica is revealed to have been Kronya infiltrating the school, and Edelgard's uncle Arundel presumably was replaced by Thales at the time records show Arundel ceased to support the church via donations. Lastly there is Cornelia. We never see if she has true form, but she is noted to have changed in personality at some point after saving the kingdom from a plague. She also didn't physically age much at all in the many years that passed after that (though this doesn't get attention beyond a remark from Sylvain who says he hasn't met her but expects her to be pretty old by now).
  • Lap Pillow: After Byleth fuses with Sothis to escape a trap and falls asleep from exhaustion, they're carried back to Garreg Mach. The following scene is of Byleth lying in Rhea's lap, as she sings for Sothis.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • If you get Bernadetta and Ferdinand's paired ending, Bernadetta does choose to marry a powerful noble, and Ferdinand is even the same noble that her father originally wanted to arrange a marriage to—except first, Bernadetta cuts ties with House Varley, so her father doesn't actually get anything out of it (no status boost, and no increased house wealth). So Bernadetta technically chooses the path her father wanted, but her father gets none of the benefits he hoped for out of it, making it a fitting ironic punishment for his abuse. What's more, Count Varley, who'd traumatized his daughter and caused her to become a shut-in, is forced into house arrest.
    • If Bernadetta gets a paired ending with Felix outside of the Azure Moon route, she convinces Felix to marry into House Varley rather than become a wandering mercenary like he planned. Felix, as the heir to House Fraldarius, would normally be considered a good catch - but given the dissolution of the kingdom, House Fraldarius is no more and therefore brings no real benefit to House Varley.
  • Last Minute Hookup:
    • Support conversations in this game works as a blend between the older pre-Awakening system (C, B, A), and the system introduced with Awakening (C, B, A, S). Only Byleth can actually S-Support, but it happens at the very end of the game, after the final boss in every route. Other characters can only achieve an A-Support, with any actual romance only being mentioned in their paired endings, if they even get past Maybe Ever After.
    • Exaggerated with Sothis. After being almost completely silent the entire game after fusing with Byleth in Part I, before the final battle when you ask yourself if there is anyone you love, there is a seemingly greyed out option that is just "???" though clearly with Sothis's portrait. If you select this option, she suddenly reappears during the ending and professes her love for you.
  • Last Stand: In the finale of the Crimson Flower route, Rhea boards herself up in Fhirdiad along with the remains of the Knights of Seiros and the Faerghus military to fight the Black Eagles Strike Force and the Adrestian Empire to the bitter end. Rhea's sanity by this point has left the building entirely and orders for the Knights to set Fhirdiad on fire out of spite, not only forcing a Battle Amongst the Flames but also condemning countless civilians to burn.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • Despite being protagonists of noble birth, there's nothing requiring your chosen lord to actually be a Lord. While the "Lord" class is unique to the three heads of house, the mission-critical protagonists including the avatar can follow a generic class-line without ever being a Lord. All the house leaders and the avatar have unique advanced classes that sub in for promoted Lord forms as well, but these too are not mandatory at any point.
    • This is the first installment where none of the main lords are primary sword users (though it is their secondary weapon) except for the avatar. It is also the first installment to have a lord who specializes in bows.
    • This is the only Fire Emblem game where Class Change is determined by weapon certification requirements (for example, Mercenaries needing a Sword level at C or higher). Also, units do not automatically change class if they pass the exam. For that matter, anyone can access any class that isn't gender or character restricted; the only deciding factor is the unit's level (for example, a unit needs to be at level 5 to access the Beginner Classes and level 30 to access the Master Classes).
    • All of your initial units (and Cyril) start out as the same class (essentially, students who are nobles are the noble class and students who aren't are the commoner class, but they are basically the same class) that doesn't specialize in anything but can use everything.
    • When changing class, barring certain restrictionsnote , usable weapon types do not change; rather, weapon experience will only increase very slowly unless a weapon the class is proficient with is equipped (like, say, an Archer equipping a bow).
    • There are no true class paths like Knight to General, meaning characters can jump to any class the player wants (aside from certain gender and character-locked classes) as long as they have the skill levels needed to qualify for that class. The only exception is Dark Bishop, which requires the unit to be certified as a Dark Mage in order to unlock it. Because of this you can make every single unit into whatever class you want them to be. If you want an army that's nothing but Pegasus Knights or Bishops, you can do just that (aside from the fact that your army wouldn't be very well balanced).
    • Three Houses lacks "true" character archetypes that are found throughout other installments (such as the Cain and Abel, two Cavaliers that join early on, or the Jagen, a Paladin who joins early on as a powerful Crutch Character but is not very useful later due to poor growths) due to the majority of units joining in the same time-window, under the same context, with the same beginner class, and being fully customizable. However based on personality, skills, weapon proficiency, and class if they're NPCs, some are clearly "inspired" by the archetypes.
    • Although magic does have set uses, it does not use weapon durability, meaning there are no need for Tomes. Instead, magic uses are restored for each battle. On that note, whilst characters have personalized lists of magic they learn like in Gaiden and its remake Shadows of Valentia, spells learned are tied to the Reason and Faith skill levels, and increasing those levels will also increase the number of times a spell can be cast.
    • Leveling up requires progressively higher amounts of experience, instead of the traditional "100 EXP per level with experience scaling" that's been around since the first game. Your characters also lack the traditional class system of each class having a set level cap; instead, each character has a set max level that can be reached regardless of class.
    • This is the first and so far only Fire Emblem game where support points can be gained based on choices you make during dialogue outside of battle. Similarly, you can lose support points with certain characters by making certain dialogue decisions, the first time in the series you can actually lose support points.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Played for laughs during Bernadetta and Sylvain's C support: Sylvain reads a manuscript that she had written and accidentally left in the library, and she's so horrified that she goes catatonic while Sylvain is praising her writing. After he leaves, Bernadetta briefly considers burning the manuscript, and Sylvain too.
  • Level Grinding: Some optional battles have a time cost of zero on Normal difficulty, meaning they can be repeated ad infinitum for all the experience the player cares to grind out. Averted on Hard, where every battle has a time cost of at least one, placing a hard cap on the amount of experience available.
  • Life Drain:
    • The Nosferatu spell is learned by a unit when their Faith skill is leveled, and heals the user for a portion of the damage dealt to the enemy.
    • Byleth’s Crest of Flames has a chance of healing them for a portion of the damage dealt with an attack when it activates.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: Each of the reunion scenes has light and shadow emphasized to show Byleth and anothers position in the story, the path they will walk, as well as later scenes that show a Light-Dark dynamic in the endings and deaths of characters.
    • On Crimson Flower, Byleth reunites with Edelgard. Though a CG is depicted instead of a full animated one, Edelgard and Byleth embrace under the light from a window, their bodies positioned to show the shadows cast by the light and give a blend of light/dark. Later during the CG of Dimitri's final moments have him under the dark rainclouds, part of him in the light of the still cloudy sky above Edelgard. Edelgard, basked in light around her head and Aymr, while her lower half is more and more consumed by shadow. Both shrouded in each as he curses her and she ends his life.
    • The Silver Snow path has Byleth reunite with Edelgard, now sworn enemies. The two clash under the dark of night as moonlight basks both as their blades clash. Their friendly, yet quick clash solidifies them as opponents, ending with Edelgard leaving into the dark, escaping the moonlight. After the final battle The Immaculate One flies as the light shined upon her casts her body in shadow, heading for the darkened hall of the monastery where she normally resides. Her dragon form vanishing in light as white feather like scales fall when Byleth catches the Rhea framed in darkness. Her face now half cloaked in both light and dark, smiling before passing away/falling asleep. The outside of Garreg Mach depicted in the sun's golden rays.
    • On Azure Moon, Byleth encounters Dimitri. Initially in the dark just like him, they enter the light as it covers their frame while he despairs on the other side, completely surrounded by the dark until light softly touches his face. Reaching out their hand for Dimitri, who continues to sulk in the darkness. The final battle with Hegemon Edelgard depicts the throne room shrouded in shadow, her monstrous visage disappearing as she looks up to see Dimitri holding out his hand, light pouring in as he attempts to welcome her. After failing to kill him with the dagger a moment later, the room becomes dark again, Edelgard and the bloody dagger left behind in the dark as Dimitri and Byleth exit the throne room, embracing the light outside.
    • Verdant Wind has Byleth surrounded by the dark, only to be welcomed by Claude who is gazing into the light of dawn that surrounds him. Welcoming them, the light of the sun grows greater as it shines on both. The final battle has the two face down Nemesis under the bright light of the sun, all three framed in light and dark. Both work together to take Nemesis down, the wounds that kill him releasing red and white light. The two take the others hand in friendship under the triumphant sun's rays after vanquishing the revived King of Liberation.
    • On Silver Snow and Verdant Wind, Edelgard is still in the darkened throne room, light sprinkling in from behind Byleth as she begs them to kill her. Their resolve strengthened, the light basks them from the windows as their front is covered in shadow, before silently striking Edelgard down and the screen turns completely black for a moment.
  • A Lighter Shade of Gray: The faction you choose will generally be the more sympathetic one after the Time Skip. Claude in general is also less morally ambiguous than the other two Lords.
  • Living with the Villain:
    • Gareg Mach denizens Monica and Tomas are actually members of "those who slither in the dark."
    • Edelgard and Jeritza are actually the Flame Emperor and the Death Knight, respectively. Likewise, Hubert, being Edelgard's retainer is a willing accomplice of the former.
  • Long-Lived: Humans who are initially endowed with Crests gain lives that can span centuries with little or no external aging past the point where they first received the Crest. It's unclear if subsequent generations who inherit the Crest gain any notable lifespan boost, but it's clearly not comparable at least to the first generation.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: All of the "Thunder" variants of the map themes are full re-arrangements of their respective "Rain" versions, but are only heard during battles, which rarely last more than half a minute. The Thunder version of Silver Snow's final map theme is a particularly notable case of this, as instead of Orchestral Bombing or heightened percussion it's a soft Lonely Piano Piece variant of its Rain version that could easily stand as a song in its own right.
  • Lord British Postulate:
    • The Death Knight is the most notable example of this - whenever he appears on the map, you're advised to avoid him by the characters onscreen. They're not wrong. Because of this, you don't actually need to defeat him - even in Chapter 6 (where his defeat is stated as a win condition), you can simply kill everyone but him. However it is possible to defeat him.
    • In the penultimate chapter of the Crimson Flower route, Dedue appears on the stage and will turn himself into a Demonic Beast to defeat you. If you manage to make it over to him and defeat him before it happens (or drop a couple of Meteors on his head from out of his range), he won't turn into a Demonic Beast and have different defeat quotes. Dimitri will even say different things, too.
  • Lost in Translation: In an interesting inversion, Three Houses was actually the game's original name in both Japanese and English. However, the name didn't have the same cultural connotations in Japanese, and attempts to translate it always got it as either literal houses, or clans, as Japan simply didn't have the practice of separating students into houses nor any similar system.
  • Lost Technology: An attempted invocation of the trope: the Agarthans were nearly wiped out after they advanced in technology and attempted to kill the Goddess and her Children. The technology was meant to be destroyed along with them, but the remnants of Agartha took what was left and fled underground, becoming "those who slither in the dark."
  • Love Confession: Nearly every romantic S support involves Byleth and their love interest meeting at the Goddess Tower and confessing their love for each other and proposing marriage. Depending on the character Byleth meets, the confessions range from hammy to tearful.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: While shields on classes such as Armored Knight and Hero have been cosmetic in previous games in the series, in Three Houses shields are equippable items that give stat bonuses to a unit's defense, while special shields give other bonuses. Felix in particular gains use of the Aegis Shield and Dark Aegis Shield, which when used by him has a chance to halve damage he takes.
  • MacGuffin Title: The Crest of Flames is apparently another variation of the "Fire Emblem" which has taken different forms in previous titles.
  • Magic Staff: Staves have appeared in other Fire Emblem titles as healing sources and status ailment inflicters, but in Three Houses, they're equippable by mages to either increase magic damage dealt with magic attacks, increase the range of magical attacks, or increase the amount of healing done with healing spells.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Some students (including all three House Leaders and Byleth) have Budding Talents, which are skills they are either neutral or outright bad at. However, if the player takes the time to invest in those skills, then they'll turn into a proficiency and even give the character a new ability or combat art. They even open up the character to new classes they might not have tried before.
    • Magic in general. At the start of the game, it's fairly weak and comes with very limited uses per map. However, as you level up and begin specializing in the magical classes, it starts to shine as they gain abilities that boost the damage it deals, and also double the number of uses they have, making a well raised caster unit an absolute damage monster.
  • Magitek: Technology that appears to run on a combination of magical and mechanical means is present in the setting, most notably the technology belonging to those who slither in the dark. What we see them use includes ballistic missiles that appear to use magic to pinpoint targets (the purple rings that mark each missile's path) and large automatons that slightly resemble fully armored knights that can fire beams as a ranged attack.
  • Mainlining the Monster: "Those who slither in the dark" are proficient at this. The Crests and Heroes' Relics? All of them are the result of taking the blood of the Children of the Goddess (Crests), their hearts (Crest Stone), and bones (Heroes' Relics) to produce them. None of them were gifted by the Goddess as the Church proclaimed in order to hide the dark truth of their origins. Averted with the Saints, such as Seiros gifting her blood to the first emperor and her most loyal knights. Only Macuil did not gift his blood to a human deemed worthy due to his dislike of humanity.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: On the Azure Moon route, after defeating Edelgard, Dimitri attempts to reconcile with her, only to get a dagger in the shoulder in a last act of defiance. He simply yanks the dagger out, drops it on the ground, and walks away.
  • Maybe Ever After: How a lot of the A supports work. The two characters will express romantic affection to one degree or another and a desire to spend their lives together, but often with the caveat that they should wait until after the war to really decide things. It's only if you get their paired endingnote  that the romance will occur, and even then, it will in some cases remain ambiguous, possibly because historians may not be aware of whether the two characters were a couple.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class:
    • The Dancer is the only class with the Dance ability and thus the only class that can give another unit another turn. More significantly, it is the only class available for non-Lords that cannot be attained through leveling up; it is only available for the unit who enters the dancing competition, and thus only one unit can be a Dancer. Also, none of the teachers (including Byleth) can attain this class.
    • The Dark Mage and Dark Bishop classes require a Dark Seal instead of an Intermediate and Advanced Seal like all the other classes in their respective tier. Dark Seals can only be obtained by defeating the Death Knight or stealing the item from him, which makes them incredibly rare. The Dark Bishop is also the only class that explicitly requires that the unit has access to the prior class in the line before they can clear the certification exam.
    • The Brawler, Grappler, War Master, Hero, and the aforementioned Dark Mage and Dark Bishop classes are exclusive to male units, while the Pegasus Knight, Falcon Knight, and Gremory classes are exclusive to female units.
    • Byleth and the Heads of the Houses gain exclusive and plot-based Advanced and Master classes, though they are not required to use them.
  • Medieval Stasis:
    • Zigzagged. The land of Fódlan largely resembles a medieval fantasy world typical of Fire Emblem, though the existence of opera as a core part of the world's entertainment precludes it from being completely medieval, as opera didn't appear until the Renaissance. The clothing is also very 19th century looking. Additionally, at least one country, Agartha (with the help of the Nabatea), was able to develop highly-advanced technology, including ballistic missiles, thousands of years in the past and their scientific prowess would one day lead to the creation of the Heroes' Relics. However, they came to believe themselves gods and challenged Sothis. They and their technology were destroyed, lost to history save for what the Agarthan's underground remnants "those who slither in the dark" were able to maintain or recover to continue to use in their Forever War against Fódlan. And in the past thousand years, technology in Fódlan seems to have changed very little (unless one counts things like the devices Hanneman has to analyze Crests).
    • On the Crimson Flower route, you also see how the Almyran warships that arrive to reinforce Claude have cannons and gunports, which were approximately 16th century inventions. With how wars on Fódlan are mostly fought using the same weapons and armor from a millenia ago with nary a firearm to be seen, Fódlan seems to be, technologically, strangely out of step with other nations. That said, we see no Fódlan warships to compare them with, and characters from outside of Fódlan never refer to the outside world as having more advanced technology.
  • Mêlée à Trois: At two points in the First Part, you engage in battles between the three houses that play like this. There is also one major fight between the three nations that occurs on the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes post-skip. Some random battles or paralogues also involve multiple enemy factions that will attack each other as well as the player's units.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted with the game's mooks. Generic enemies of any class that isn't gender-restricted can be either male or female.
  • Mercy Rewarded: On the Crimson Flower route, sparing Seteth and Flayn keeps access to Linhardt and Leonie's paralogues open if you haven't done them yet, even though the game shows a deadline of a couple of months past that point.
  • Military Academy: The Officers Academy, housed in the monastery of the Church of Seiros. It's where the main protagonist works as a professor. The youth of all three factions are trained in fighting skill and tactics, and charged with putting down bandits and other threats to the peace. When it is reopened a few years after the endings, it transitions into a school that teaches subjects in all forms, opening its doors to all folks regardless of class, wealth, or station.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Post-timeskip on the Azure Moon route, Dimitri initially assumes Byleth is dead and their ghost is here to haunt him. Once he's convinced that Byleth is alive and not a ghost, he immediately concludes that they must be an Imperial spy here to kill him.
  • Mistaken for Undead: Post-timeskip on the Azure Moon route, Byleth enters Garreg Mach and finds Dimitri slumped over there, and they slowly approach him and hold out a hand. Dimitri, having endured Sanity Slippage over the last five years, assumes Byleth is a ghost, here to haunt him because he let them die, and begs them to leave him alone.
  • Mook Chivalry: Battalion soldiers stay out of the way as the lead units fight each other. They only time they assault a unit head is if called upon for a Gambit.
  • Multiple Life Bars: "Beast"-type enemies have several health bars that must be depleted to kill/destroy them, with the number of bars indicated by the number of rhombuses. Each bar depleted grants experience.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members:
    • After a House is picked, students from the other houses can still be recruited, with the exception of the House leaders and any loyal vassals they might have: Hubert, Edelgard's adviser, cannot be recruited out of the Black Eagles, and Dedue, who swore to remain by Dimitri's side, cannot be recruited out of the Blue Lions. The Golden Deer is the only House who lacks any loyal students, as every student can be recruited. The sole exception being Hilda if you chose the Black Eagles and sidled with Edelgard. Should you choose to side with the Church at the halfway mark, however, she will become available for recruitment, though you'll have a very limited timeframe to do all her recruitment requirements before the time skip rolls over and makes her uncecruitable.
    • If you choose the Black Eagles, there is no way to have both Edelgard and Flayn after the Time Skip, as it is the natural result of having to choose between siding with the Empire or the Church after the Holy Tomb incident.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Played with once the timeskip occurs and the war starts. Various characters loyal to their houses or the church will stay with their side even if they have doubts about the decisions the sides make and even if they're the antagonists of the route. However, most characters recruited by Byleth will be willing to go against said nations out of their loyalty to Byleth should they decide to oppose them. "Most" in that, depending on the route, even some recruited characters will leave, loyalty to Byleth be damned.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: All factions save for the Golden Deer house have followers who are utterly loyal and would do anything for their leader:
    • Hubert of the Black Eagles will not abandon Edelgard under any circumstances, and while he does things behind her back sometimes, he believes they're for her good or the good of the Empire. On the Azure Moon route, when Edelgard intends to become "Hegemon Edelgard" using a Crest Stone in her final attempt to defeat Byleth and Dimitri, Hubert flatly states that he's against that decision but won't stop her.
    • Dedue of the Blue Lions states that he'll do anything Dimitri asks of him, even kill children if he must, since Dimitri saved him from being executed in the Tragedy of Duscur and treats him as a person while everyone else in the Kingdom looks down on the Duscur people for allegedly committing regicide. On the Crimson Flower route, during the Battle on the Tailteann Plains Dedue even goes so far as to give others and himself Crest Stones to turn themselves into Black Beasts without Dimitri's knowledge, viewing it as a necessary sacrifice to ensure Dimitri's victory.
    • Catherine and Cyril of the Church of Seiros are loyal to Rhea, Catherine because Rhea saved her when she was injured as a student and saved her again after she was forced to flee House Charon, and Cyril because Rhea took him in when he was orphaned by war and mistreated for being an Almyran. On the Crimson Flower route, an enraged Rhea, demanding that she be called Seiros now, commands Catherine to set Fhirdiad on fire merely to slow their enemies down, and she reluctantly obliges. If Byleth fights Catherine and Cyril in the ensuing battle, both still consider Byleth the evil one for going against Rhea.
    • Downplayed with Hilda, who's the closest as one can get to Claude's "second-in-command" in the Golden Deer house. She can be recruited in full if you pick the Blue Lions or the Church of Seiros, but her stat requirements are the most time-consuming and difficult to fulfill, especially on a first-time run. If you choose the Black Eagles and opt to side with Edelgard instead of Rhea, she will refuse to accompany you and ultimately become more devoted to both the Alliance and Claude's cause. This also applies to the active Church-goer Flayn, except in her case, she's a free unit you automatically get on all routes after Chapter 6, making her the only unit to turn heel in this fashion. Even then, if Hilda is recruited to the Blue Lions in particular, during the war phase, she's rather on the fence with her choice, being highly disturbed by Dimitri's behavior in particular.
    • Students from other houses and teachers recruited before the time skip will be completely loyal to Byleth and will fight against their original houses (and the Church of Seiros in case of the teachers) out of pure devotion for their professor. They will fight and kill even their former friends and relatives if ordered to (if reluctantly in many cases, and it's not like said friends and relatives pull any punches themselves for the perceived "betrayal").
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Quite a lot of the regional names within Fódlan are references to previous Fire Emblem games. Among them:
    • In reverse of the regional naming, you cannot spell the name 'Bernadetta' without spelling the militant region at Elibe, 'Bern'.
    • The prize for winning the White Heron Cup is granting the winner the ability to reclass into a Dancer. White herons are a species of laguz in the Tellius series that utilizes their Magic Music to make units move again, just like what dancers and their other variants do in Fire Emblem games.
    • A white owl can be seen flying around the monastery, and the feathers it drops are "favored" gifts by everyone.
    • This game's dragons are known as the Nabateans. In the Elibe duology, Arcadia, the last sanctuary of dragonkind on the continent, is located in the Nabata Desert.
    • Female infantry units' victory pose with lances is based on Cordelia's pose in her character art.
    • The relationship between Caspar and Linhardt is a throwback to the one between Ike and Soren. Both involve a Childhood Friendship between a blue-haired physical fighter with a sense of justice, and a green(ish)-haired anti-social mage. Post-timeskip, Caspar and Linhardt's appearances also possess more than a passing similarity to Ike and Soren. Both pairs of characters also happen to have a paired ending in which they Walk The Earth together.
  • Named Weapons: Several Legendary Weapons associated with Crests bear names, including the lance Lúin (Daphnel), the bow Failnaught (Riegan), and the staff Thyrsus (Gloucester).
  • Narrating the Obvious: In interactions, characters will often narrate something that has just happened or is currently happening, even though their observation should be plainly obvious. This is due to limitations on what their models can do and show; the audience won't otherwise know what they're doing.
  • Narrator: A narrator introduces each chapter with a summary of events of the story so far, in addition to the detailing the general ongoings of Fódlan during the time. After the timeskip, he also describes the movements of different factions' forces before the gameplay begins, if they are relevant to the chosen route.
  • Neck Snap: In a cutscene after choosing Blue Lions in Part I, after finding out that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor, Dimitri charges at her. When some soldiers step in to protect her, he beats them with his bare fists, including snapping a soldier's neck with just one hand.
  • Nerf:
    • Mages now only have 4 movement, with Gremory, the female-only class that doubles the uses of each spell a character has, only having 5 movement. Their limited use of magic is also a convenience and a frustration, since you don't have to buy equipment for your mages, but you can't have them spam their best spells in the same map. Their use of magic is still valuable for many situations, and they lean into Magikarp Power with their master classes and the spell Warp.
    • Horseback classes are now significantly slower, with all but Bow Knight having negative speed modifier unless they dismount, and all of them having negative speed growth.
    • The Wrath skill now only works when the enemy initiates combat, rather than any time the user's HP is below half.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers accurately showed that there would be an initial school phase with a strong focus on character bonding followed by a Time Skip with tragic Fighting Your Friend elements. However, they somewhat oversell the notion that the three main Lords would become True Companions before the timeskip. For instance, Edelgard's suggestion that everyone have a Class Reunion at the Millennium Festival appears to be directed at the other main characters, when in the game, it's specifically a house-internal thing. Similarly, Claude's Friendship Speech makes it seem like he's trying to be the Only Sane Man and heal the rift between the trio, but in the actual story, it's used to distract one of the Big Bads and refers more to his vision of opening Fódlan to the outside world, with the other two Lords having perished by that point. Ultimately, while the pre-timeskip plotline certainly involves a handful of mandatory bonding moments between the main trio and Byleth has the option to bond with the other house leaders, the Lords themselves are actually relatively indifferent to one another, only fighting side-by-side once in the prologue, each focused on their own house and their own vision for the future first and foremost, with the notable exception of Dimitri's fairly one-sided obsession with Edelgard.
    • One official Nintendo tweet before the game's release stated that the Church of Seiros would be a major enemy faction. This turned out to only be true for one of the game's four paths (Crimson Flower), though it does describe that one path very well.
  • New Game+: The first for the series. Remaining available Renown, hired battalions, shops, and Saint Statue levels are carried over. Renown points can also be spent on carrying over skill levels, learned abilities, and Professor Levels, and as well as buying new Crests to equip. You will also be able to change the house leaders hairstyles' post-timeskip, although it remains the same in cutscenes and portraits.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: On the Verdant Wind route and Silver Snow route, "those who slither in the dark" send "javelins of light" to strike Fort Merceus, in an attempt to kill the forces that just took over it. Not only do their targets escape unharmed, Hubert is able to use the javelins' trails to determine where they came from and therefore where their base of operations is.
  • No Hero Discount: Even during a war threatening all of Fódlan, merchants will not lower their prices for you. One tells you that because of the ongoing war, business has been slow, and so he must charge full price. In the final chapter of the Verdant Wind route, a merchant says that she was planning on having a sale, but has decided to put it off until the last battle is won, i.e. after the end of the game.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In the opening movie, Seiros and Nemesis fight one-on-one while their forces do battle. After getting disarmed, an enraged Seiros beats Nemesis with her bare fists before stabbing him to death.
  • Non Combat Exp:
    • Experience toward levels can only come from combat, but the lion's share of combat skill progression takes place in the classroom. Byleth can learn from other professors, and their house learns from their lessons.
    • In battle, undeployed units can be attached to deployed ones as adjutants and safely earn experience.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: In Dedue's Paralogue, any Duscur units that you defeat are convinced to flee the battle. The goal is to defeat as many units in this manner as possible, so as to minimize the death toll.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Several of the students have modified their uniforms to their tastes:
    • Dorothea leaves her jacket open, providing a Cleavage Window for her many would-be suitors.
    • Ashe and Bernadetta wear a hoodie underneath their uniform.
    • Sylvain leaves his jacket and the top of his dress shirt unbuttoned.
    • Raphael forgoes the jacket completely and just wears the dress shirt due to the fact the shirt alone can barely cover his rippling muscles.
    • Lorenz pins a rose to his lapel.
    • Mercedes wears a tan shawl over her uniform, and forgoes the pants underneath the skirt other female students wear.
    • Leonie wears an archery glove on her right hand, a fingerless glove on her left hand, what's essentially a compression sleeve on her left arm, and has an orange coat/jacket tied around her waist.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Old: All of the students (and Cyril) all look and sound older after the Time Skip, and they all get a redesign to boot. Everyone else on the other hand, which includes the faculty, the Church members, and Knights, all look the same before and after the Time Skip. They don't even change their hair or default outfit, which is even lampshaded by Manuela. Via Flayn, this is also a cue of the strange nature of green haired church members.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: In Caspar and Byleth's C support, Byleth quietly watches a suspicious man. Caspar, against their wishes, goes to confront him, since he's near an area of the church where there are children, and the man kills himself. A Knight of Seiros scolds Caspar, saying the man may have had allies that they now cannot learn about. After the timeskip, they learn that the man was part of a bandit group, and the group killed several knights in a surprise attack. Caspar feels that had he not acted so impulsively, those deaths may have been prevented.
  • No, You:
    • When Edelgard faces Dimitri at the Tailteann Plains, he questions her actions, and her response is to say his words back to him, though she does elaborate:
      Dimitri: Must you continue to conquer? Continue to kill?
      Edelgard: Must you continue to reconquer? Continue to kill in retaliation? I will not stop. There is nothing I would not sacrifice to cut a path to Fodlan's new dawn!
    • At the start of Seteth and Flayn's Paralogue, one of the Western Church members calls him and the army "heretics." Seteth replies "You are the heretics!" Which might be because the Western Church members are fighting him in the name of Saint Cichol... who Seteth is.
    • If you have Claude fight with Acheron in Lorenz's paralogue, Claude will remark that he'd heard that a "good-for-nothing" inherited the lands. Acheron, incensed, calls Claude the "good-for-nothing," apparently unaware that he's speaking to the future leader of the Alliance.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: On the Verdant Wind route, Claude becoming King of Almyra and bringing the Almyran army to Fódlan in a Big Damn Heroes moment is only mentioned in his epilogues.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • In the final battle of the Azure Moon route, Edelgard turns into Hegemon Edelgard, a red-eyed, grotesque humanoid, as part of her final attempt to kill Dimitri and Byleth.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, Dedue uses a Crest Stone to transform himself into a demonic beast in hopes of ensuring victory for Dimitri.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: On the Azure Moon route, after Fhirdiad is retaken by Kingdom forces, Mercedes will tell Byleth that her adoptive father had once groveled at Cornelia's feet but did a 180 and started courting the Kingdom. Byleth can either tell her people do what they can to survive or remark that his behavior is despicable, the latter of which nets Mercedes's approval.
  • Order Is Not Good: On the Crimson Flower route, Lady Rhea becomes the Big Bad of the route for trying to stick to the status quo and stagnating Fódlan for years. Even in the other routes where Rhea isn't the Big Bad, all of the characters end up agreeing that societal change needs to happen. Opinions about the status quo run the gamut from complete revolution and destruction of the old, oppressive ordernote  to more restrained internal reformation within the system itselfnote . In those routes, even Rhea admits that the status quo isn't entirely good, but she made the church that way to prevent even greater anarchy caused by mankind's inherent evil that led to the tragedy of Zanado, and at the end of the routes, after seeing how the Garreg Mach students have grown, she willingly allows her order to be reformed into a better order (and in certain routes, is okay with dying to make it happen).
  • Orphaned Punchline: The first line of dialogue in Catherine and Shamir's C support is Catherine ending a funny anecdote with, "And he said, 'I don't even have a horse!'"
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • In this game they are called the Nabatea. They can assume a largely human form at will (they all have green hair and pointed ears) and maintain it indefinitely, do not suffer from the commonplace dragon degeneration, live for over a thousand years with little aging, are different breeds of dragon, can interbreed with humans, their bodies do not decay and still live even upon their death, and can grant humans power and long lives through blood transfusions that can be passed down to their descendents for indefinite generations. Their remains can also be forged into powerful weapons, with Crest Stones (the rock like hearts of Nabatea) serving as the power source for the weapon. Humans corrupted by prolonged contact with Crest Stones (this can normally only happen if the human does not have a Crest) can also be mutated into dragons of a sort, though usually completely feral and bloodthirsty as the power overwhelms their minds. This can also happen to true Nabateans if they overuse their powers and are heavily injured at the same time (among other, unclear, requirements). Their bestial forms vary widely but are at least partially reptilian and are all weak to anti-dragon weapons. They are not to be confused with the giant wolves, worms, birds, etc. that are merely regular animals that have grown huge and powerful by consuming magic. In many aspects, the Nabatea are very similar to the traditional Fire Emblem manakete, particularly the divine dragons as depicted in multiple other games, for instance, Naga, Tiki, Nagi, Nowi, default artwork Nah Mila, and Duma all have green hair, the Holy Crusaders were created through "essence sharing" with divine dragons and legendary weapons like Falchion and Tyrfing were forged from dragon fangs. However, the Nabatea are still distinct in certain aspects (such as not requiring dragon stones to transform, and the stones they do have are their hearts). The rules and mechanics surrounding them are also more clear and central to the plot this time around.
    • Wyverns act as mounts for the wyvern-riding classes. Fódlan’s wyverns are the two-legged variants used most often in the series, rather than the four-legged wyverns seen in Tellius and Elibe. Male characters train their flying skill riding on wyverns, as Pegasus Knights are Always Female and Pegasi are traditionally averse to men riding them.
  • Painful Transformation: Transforming into a beast via Crest Stone is a painful and frightening experience. The first of such transformations occurs when Miklan tries to use the stolen Lance of Ruin, ignorant of what would happen to him, and everyone around watches in horror as he's engulfed in black tendrils and turned into a roaring Demonic Beast.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The few surviving Nabatea don't use any kind of real disguise in their human forms, perhaps because so few in the world even know anything about what Nabatea are. Their shades of green hair are noted to be rare, but not suspiciously so, and they use thin excuses for their lack of visible aging (at least until they decide to abandon their current identity and go into hiding until they are ready to make a new one). Their most distinguishing non-human features, their pointed ears, are somehow simply hidden at all times by their thick and long hair. Seteth and Flayn's ears are only seen in concept arts, while Rhea's are shown in the game but only when she is in poor health and disheveled after five years of imprisonment.
  • Paused Interrupt: In dialogue between two characters, a spoken line ending in a long dash signifies the speaker will get interrupted. Even with auto-scroll on, there's almost always too long a pause after the line before the interruption kicks in. Depending on the tone and contents of the dialogue, the speaker will sound as if they're waiting to be interrupted or sound like they're trailing off before the other person starts talking.
  • Pegasus: Pegasus Knights and Falcon Knights once again return, reverting back to being a female-only class. Training a female unit's flying skill also involves them riding on pegasi.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Battle at the Border auxiliary battle, which is located on the Fódlan's Throat map. A very convenient one-wide bridge located next to your team's start location is positioned perfectly to draw literally every enemy unit on the map towards this murderhole. Stick a unit with high defense in front and unequip their weapon so they don't counterattack, then let your casters and archers fire away in safety behind them as enemies plink off the tank's armor. Granted, it can backfire spectacularly, since you can actually outlevel the shop progression if you're not paying attention, and have most of your team ready for advanced or master classes before the seals even appear in the shop.
  • Personality Powers: It is speculated In-Universe, and in some cases strongly implied due to similarities, that Crests influence a person's personality. Amongst other things are a general love of sweets (excluding Felix, and potentially, the Crest of Fraldarius), Bernadetta's skills in crafts, social awkwardness, and archery that are like Indech's, or Flayn and Lindhardt's aversion to violence.
  • Piñata Enemy: Any enemy that does not have a ranged weapon, cannot move, and is on a healing tile is a free target practice for ranged units. The second encounter with Kostas is one of the first such enemies.
  • Place of Protection: According to Rhea, Garreg Mach Monastery is protected by a power that repels evil. The source of the power is in the Holy Tomb, which was said to be built by the goddess herself to protect her children. That power is what has prevented "those who slither in the dark" from dropping "javelins of light" on Garreg Mach. When they attempted to do so in the past, the missile changed course and struck Ailell instead.
  • Plot Tunnel:
    • If you do anything other than side with Edelgard after choosing the Black Eagles, you're forced to play Chapters 12 and 13 consecutively, with no opportunity to visit Garreg Mach Monastery or even do battle preparations.
    • On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, you're forced to play the two Enbarr chapters back-to-back and cannot visit the monastery to grind.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Downplayed in Chapter 6. When you reach the entrance to Jeritza's room, going there will end the month, and the game will warn you if you try to do so, but you can still perform activities beforehand if you have not done so already.
    • In Chapter 11 if you chose the Black Eagles, when you talk to Edelgard and say you'll go with her to Enbarr, you’ll continue the game on the Crimson Flower storyline (and open the choice to either side with her at the Holy Tomb or stay with the Church), while not going will lock you into the Silver Snow route with no choice.
    • After chapter 12 of every route a time skip occurs. After this, you can no longer recruit students from other houses, and those you haven't recruited eventually become enemies.
    • In the final month of the Silver Snow route, speaking to Seteth and informing him you have decided whether to lead Fódlan will end the month.
    • On the Crimson Flower and Azure Moon routes, the penultimate chapter is the last time you can explore the monastery freely. You will not be able to do so on the next chapter, which is the final battle.
  • The Power of Friendship: Claude's dream is to break down walls and prejudices of people of Fódlan and those of other nations. The final fight on the Verdant Wind route demonstrates this philosophy: Nemesis refuses to see Claude and Byleth as worthy opponents because they won't fight him one-on-one. Claude brushes that aside and replies that they have the strength and courage to set aside their differences and work together, before he and Byleth work perfectly together to blindside and kill Nemesis.
  • Power Up Let Down: The bonus for mastering the Swordmaster class is the series-mainstay skill Astra, but circumstances make it substantially weaker in this game than in past entries. Since it's a Combat Art, it always attacks 5 times and cannot trigger follow-up attacks, unlike in past entries where it could trigger on follow-up attacks for a total of 10 hits (or 20 with Brave weapons) and each hit deals 30% damage instead of 50%, and it consumes 9 durability for those 5 strikes. You're usually better off using gauntlets or a Brave Sword, for a potential 4 attacks at full damage and less durability cost.
  • Precursor Heroes: The 10 Elites and Four Saints, who in Fódlan's distant past fought and defeated Nemesis, are legendary figures in Fódlan's present. They passed down their weapons and special powers in the form of Crests to their descendants, many of whom started noble bloodlines. Their Historical Hero Upgrade notwithstanding, some, like Cichol and Cethleann, are still around by the time the game begins, and some are brought Back from the Dead by "those who slither in the dark" on the Verdant Wind route.
  • Properly Paranoid: After Monica/Kronya kills Jeralt, a nameless student remarks that she'd always found the person in question suspicious. Said individual also expresses suspicion of Edelgard, who'd often been seen talking to "Monica", but drops the subject. Since Edelgard is the Flame Emperor, that makes it the second time the student's gut instinct was right.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Each route tends to depict its Lord more favourably than they would be on other routes due to Byleth's influence, with the possible exception of Dimitri on the Azure Moon route where he's arguably at his worst, but even then he manages to redeem himself. This also affects the depiction of Rhea: on the Crimson Flower route, where she's your Lord's main enemy, she's shown at her worst and is nearly completely insane. The Azure Moon route, where the Church is a major ally, depicts her more favourably but doesn't give her a major role in the post-timeskip story, while the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes give her a more grey portrayal. Additionally, on the Silver Snow route Edelgard's hatred of the Church, the Goddess, and her Fantastic Racism towards the Nabateans is much more pronounced, probably because you're siding with the Church and Seteth.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Can be said of both sides on the Crimson Flower route when the Knights of Seiros under Seteth attempt to retake Garreg Mach from the Black Eagle Strike Force while a larger force commanded by Rhea and Catherine takes on the Imperial Army in the field. The Garreg Mach invasion is repelled, at the cost of many knights (including potentially Alois if he was not recruited) and ends with Seteth and Flayn either dead as well or going into hiding, removing some of their best fighters, and further unbalancing Rhea. However, the Imperial Army takes a severe beating from Rhea and Catherine's forces, and veteran Imperial soldiers like Randolph and Ladislava are lost in the fight. In the end, Edelgard admits that while they can and will call it a victory, the Church will do just the same.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: This game presents a marked aversion for the series. There are four carefully grouped playable factions that host the majority of playable units, and your party will consist of one of the three houses you pick at the start of the game and whichever members of the Knights of Seiros you were able to recruit during the academy phase. Recruiting enemies and NP Cs during battle or elsewhere isn't featured at all in this game, and any instances of Defeat Equals Friendship that you can invoke during the war phase are very limited and typically involve one unit from another house; Lysithea can be recruited on the Crimson Flower route, Lorenz can be recruited on the Azure Moon and Silver Snow routes, respectively, and Ashe can be recruited on the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes. None of the Black Eagles students can be recruited this way. The few odds and ends of the Knights of Seiros include Dagdan mercenary Shamir and the former Almyran slave Cyril, but they are greatly outnumbered by regular folk like Alois and nobles like Catherine. The Golden Deer house does fit this image more compared to the other two houses, but the three commoners (Raphael, Ignatz, and Leonie) all have respectable upbringings and most of them are fairly united in protecting the Alliance come the war phase.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Evil is perhaps a stretch, but the Empire's colors are black and red. And they are a major antagonist in 3 out of 4 routes. And Edelgard, the Final Boss of one of the routes and a major boss in the other two, dresses in all red after the timeskip. Averted on the Black Eagle route where you side with the Empire and reign in Edelgard's worst impulses.
  • Red Herring: Byleth's Crest of Flames and their unique ability to wield the Sword of the Creator is brought to attention, as Nemesis, King of Liberation, was the original bearer of the Crest and could wield the sword as well. Arundel muses that Byleth carrying the King of Liberation's bloodline is impossible, as Nemesis died childless, unless there's more to the situation than is known. Then it's revealed that they both possess the Crest, and thus the ability to wield the sword, for different reasonsnote  and they're otherwise completely unrelated.
  • Relationship Values: The Support system is in place again, where characters who spend time with each other (such as through sharing meals, going to choir practice, and doing group tasks) and battle together (whether directly on the field or paired with an adjutant) can improve their relationship. Ranks go from C to B at the very least, while some characters can go to A and have paired endings in the epilogue. Byleth can reach S-Support with certain characters — choosing someone to give the ring to results in a scene at the end of the game where the two get married (in most cases).
  • Religion Is Magic: The faith skill is a measure of how argent a believer in the Church of Seiros a character is, with more devout characters having proficiency and higher growth in it. Leveling a unit’s faith skill and changing them to the monk, priest, or bishop classes grants, depending on the character, the ability to magically heal allies, temporarily increase an ally’s resistance, silence other magic users, teleport allies around the map, and cast Life Drain or a massive Pillar of Light for damage.
  • Required Party Member: On the majority of missions, Byleth and their chosen house leader must be deployed in battle. In paralogues, the characters who receive focus in those stories cannot be left out of the battle, either.
  • Revenge: Several characters seek revenge on someone. Those successful in their quest in the past have perpetuated a Cycle of Revenge spanning a thousand years. In-game:
    • Dimitri is driven in part by revenge on those responsible for murdering his family in the Tragedy of Duscur. Post-timeskip, he's an emotional wreck, and exacting revenge on his enemies, especially Edelgard, becomes his sole goal.
    • After Jeralt is killed by Kronya, a grieving Byleth swears revenge on her and her mysterious organization. Rhea and the Knights of Seiros are able to get a lead on Solon's location, but she tries to keep it a secret under the (correct) assumption that it's a trap and Byleth, spoiling for a fight, will fall for it.
    • On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, Dedue swears to kill Edelgard for having a hand in Dimitri's death.
    • On the Azure Moon route, Fleche's brother Randolph is killed by Dimitri's forces, and she seeks revenge on Dimitri for her brother's death.
    • Lonato, Ashe's adoptive father, raises an army in rebellion against the Central Church of Seiros for executing his son Christophe, though he targets Catherine specifically for being the one to detain Christophe.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • At the start of the first battle, you can have the three youths talk to Byleth, and while Dimitri and Claude express concern about the bandits and the threat to their lives, Edelgard is more interested in Byleth. This takes a darker tone later on, when it comes to light that Edelgard hired the bandits to help kickstart her ambitions by killing the other two, and thus has little reason to be worried about them.
    • When Sothis uses her powers to rewind time for the first time, you'll notice on repeat playthroughs that the sigil in the center of the magical runes that appear is the Crest of Flames, which is the Crest originally borne by the Goddess.
    • Any scene in the beginning involving the Flame Emperor becomes this once you know their true identity.
    • All of Rhea's interactions with Byleth pre-timeskip become this after The Reveal of the true circumstances of their birth. Especially the scene after Chapter 10, knowing Rhea sees Byleth as her mother reborn.
    • Playing Ashe's Paralogue and seeing his supports with Catherine sheds new light on Lonato's motivations. While his grievances over his son's execution are understandable, Christophe wasn't entirely innocent either, and the Western Church were the Greater-Scope Villain behind the whole ordeal.
  • Riddle for the Ages: A number of mysteries are left unclear by the story’s end, relating to the backstory.
    • What became of Patricia after the Tragedy of Duscur? Despite her disappearing from her faked death and the empire never having her show up on Black Eagles, it's left unclear what became of her and her desire to see her daughter again. And how did she really feel about Dimitri? He grew up thinking that she loved him as though he were her own blood son, but did she really leave him to die so cold-heartedly?
    • A question is asked by a student about the Goddess that Byleth can answer. Is Sothis an Ancient Astronaut from the Blue Sea Star? Due to the Schizo Tech, the Holy Tombs' workings being beyond her Childrens' understanding, Sothis' amnesia until she remembers who she is just before her sacrifice, and its ability to repel ICBMs, it's never made clear if she did come from said planet millions of years ago.
    • How did Sothis conceive the Children of the Goddess? It's said she used her blood, but it's left unclear if they were Artificial Dragons made in the same way Byleth's mom was created, or if she bestowed her blood to humans and their children were born dragons. Due to the knowledge of this process coming from her daughter Rhea, who didn't exist until after her mother did it, it's left unknown.
    • What type of dragon was Sothis? Her children are revealed through the Signs to all be different breeds of dragon, showing a bizarre case of LEGO Genetics, from earth and dark to light and shield dragons, yet her specific breed is left unknown.
  • Rightful King Returns: On the Azure Moon route, Dimitri is sentenced to death as part of a Frame-Up, but he manages to escape with the help of Dedue. He lives in exile for the next five years. Meanwhile, Cornelia takes control of the Kingdom of Faerghus and effectively surrenders the capital, Fhirdiad, to the Adrestrian Empire, and she renames the kingdom the "Faerghus Dukedom". Dimitri rallies enough allies and returns to Fhirdiad, where he kills Cornelia and her forces and retakes control. He is crowned king in front of a massive audience of citizens, delighted to see that he has returned.
  • Royalty Superpower: Certain members of the nobility possess a Crest that can grant them special bonuses in combat. It also grants them the right to wield one of the Heroes' Relics.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Sad Battle Music: The appropriately titled "A Funeral of Flowers" is a depressing piece. Unusually for the Fire Emblem series, it's a song used in a final battle, namely when Rhea goes out of control on the Silver Snow route and you're forced to put her down.
  • Sand Worm: You can encounter huge worm-like monsters called Giant Crawlers in the desert.
  • Schizo Tech: "Those who slither in the dark" have incredibly advanced technology stashed away in their hidden bases, which are just as advanced, having the likes of mechas and ICBMs to use against their foes if needed. Fittingly, their map and battle theme is dubstep. And yet, despite all the high-tech gizmos in their hideout, their troops still use the same old medieval era weapons your side does, leading to the jarring sight of men in plate armor with swords, spears, axes, and bows standing by laser cannons and robots.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The high-ranked supports with Byleth tweak the story to fit what the player wants and what S supports are available.
    • Even if you can S support with multiple characters, the one you choose prior to the final confrontation in the story will happen to be the only character who seeks you out once the war is over, hoping to propose to younote . In many cases, they're the ones who ask you to meet with them in the Goddess Tower.
    • When it comes to characters who can only S support a female or male Byleth, their A support interactions are much the same whichever gender you play, and their actions typically feature hints that they are falling for Byleth. If there's an S support option and you choose it, the character will allude to their earlier interaction and admit they were already thinking of Byleth as their romantic partner. If no S support option is available, any "hints" dropped are actually purely platonic. For example, in the A support with Lorenz, Lorenz lets slip that he finds Byleth "charismatic," then backpedals to say that was phrased incorrectly. If Byleth is female, in their S support, Lorenz will tell her that he truly thinks of her as such and wishes to marry her. If Byleth is male, Lorenz really didn't mean anything more than that.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • When an enemy unit is defeated in battle, their mook backup flees and disappears into the distance.
    • The player’s battalions flee if their lead unit takes enough damage to reduce the battalion health to zero, removing bonuses gained from them and making Gambit attacks unusable.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Most of the noble houses of the Leicester Alliance are named after characters from King Lear, with small spelling modifications.
  • Significant Birth Date: Rhea, Seteth, and Flayn's birthdays all fall on the in-universe holidays of Saint Seiros Day, Saint Cichol Day, and Saint Cethleann Day respectively. This is because they are one and the same.
  • Single Line of Descent: Crest bloodlines have been thinning recently, to the point where noble family lines descended from the 10 Elites or the Four Saints often have to try multiple times to get even a single Crest bearer per generation. Those bearers are treated as valuable commodities for their families for multiple reasons. Some families, like Ingrid's, have even had to deal with multiple generations failing to manifest a Crest (she being the first in her family to manifest one in two generations).
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The various teachers of the Officers Academy teach specific skills to their students. Their in-game stats and proficiencies reflect their teachings, with them being good at what they teach their students.
    • Dimitri is stated during many interactions to be very strong, having broken weapons by swinging them too hard, ruined two pairs of scissors by handling them, and lifted a cart all by himself. He has the highest maximum potential strength stat (87) and the highest personal strength growth (60%) among all units.
    • Claude distrusts the gods. Naturally, he has a lower Faith skill level than the other characters.
    • Lysithea has a shorter lifespan due to the Crest experimentation she experienced. This is reflected in her lower HP.
    • Ashe reveals in his supports that, before he was adopted, he was a thief and stole from people, shops, and even mansions to support his younger siblings. He comes with a Lockpick skill, which allows him to open doors and chests without keys.
    • In some of her supports, Annette reveals that she excelled in the school of sorcery because of hard work, not talent. She's one of the characters who lack a budding talent.
    • Post-timeskip, for the first four chapters of the Azure Moon route, Dimitri is Ax-Crazy and scorns anything except getting revenge. During this time, he's unable to deepen supports with people, doesn't attend war meetings and thus can't be instructed, and cannot be invited to bonding activities like teatime or meals. This is also reflected in his combat lines, where in the first four chapters, he sounds much more murderous towards opponents and angry at his teammates; once he calms down, his lines are noticeably less bloodthirsty, he goes back to thanking his teammates for healing him, and so on. He even loses his Creepy Shadowed Undereyes (present on both his portrait and his model) once he comes around.
    • Characters who deeply are devoted to the worship of Seiros, like Mercedes and Marianne, tend to have Faith magic as one of their talents or proficiencies.
    • One of the dislikes listed in Hubert's profile is heights. He also has low stat growths in Flying.
    • Several regarding Sylvain:
      • In Sylvain's supports, it's shown that despite appearing to just be a careless skirt chaser, he is actually rather intelligent and booksmart, being able to easily figure out a magical diagram that Annette, a black mage by default, is struggling with. Fittingly, he has a budding talent for Reason.
      • Sylvain is rather notorious for hitting on ladies. As such, he will join you automatically if you attempt to recruit him as female Byleth if either the Black Eagles or Golden Deer houses were chosen at the beginning of the game.
      • For a skirt chaser, Sylvain doesn't have very many A-supports with female characters, and that's because he holds the girls he flirts with in contempt because he knows a lot of them are interested in his Crest and nothing else. The few women that can reach A rank with him are those who see through his flirting and know him as a person: Mercedes bonds with him due to both having experienced misery for having a Crest, Dorothea is sympathetic as she also understands how it feels to have suitors only interested in surface-level traits and not the real person underneath, Ingrid has known him since childhood, and Byleth is willing to prod him about his behavior and eventually gets an explanation.
    • A couple regarding Cyril:
      • Cyril is illiterate, as a support with Lysithea reveals. As such, his notes to the advice box are drawings.
      • Cyril mentions he does a lot of wood chopping as part of his daily chores. His highest starting skill is in Axes. As an enemy unit, he is a Wyvern Rider pre-timeskip and Wyvern Lord post-timeskip, both being classes that are proficient with Axes.
    • With the exception of the Sword of the Creator (which is locked to Byleth), any unit can use any of the Hero Relics or Sacred Weapons. However, if those wielding Hero Relics do not possess the proper Crest, they will suffer stat reductions or HP loss like Miklan did while wielding the Lance of Ruin.
    • In Chapter 10, when Sothis, the Goddess of the Church of Seiros, merges her soul with Byleth’s and blesses Byleth with her powers, the latter unlocks the Sublime Creator Sword and the Enlightened One class.
    • When Flayn is kidnapped, Seteth is so distraught he will not be available to train Byleth's skills.
    • Taming wyverns is considered a rite of passage in Almyra. Cyril and Claude will mention this if they request to fine-tune skills to be Wyvern Riders. Claude's exclusive promotions also have him riding one.
    • Personal skills return a la Fire Emblem Fates and they are all related to the the personality, skills or backstory of the character they belong to.
    • In chapter 4, you're introduced to the Death Knight. Your characters tell you that you should not approach him. One look at his stats and you can see why.
    • Early on, it is revealed that Byleth and Edelgard carry a Crest that is not identified. Until it is, whenever it activates, it will say "Unknown Crest."
    • Characters you recruit, including faculty members, will actually remain with you in your chosen route, complete with reasons to do so... with one exception: if you choose the Black Eagles route, several members loyal to the Church of Seiros will leave and even turn against you. Catherine, Cyril, and Flayn will leave regardless of their support towards you. Shamir will happily join you on the Black Eagles route, specifically stating that she doesn't actually believe in the Church of Seiros. Thus it makes extra sense.
    • Marianne is not proud of her Crest, unlike several other members, and in her supports tries to hide its identity. Sure enough, when her Crest activates, it will say "Unknown Crest."
    • Thanks to cross-house recruitment, you can make characters get put at odds with their former comrades and even their family members after the timeskip. But unlike Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, they will not refuse to attack one another just because they were once friends or family - meaning it's fully possible to have Felix attack and kill his father, for example.
    • Dedue and Hubert, who have Undying Loyalty to their house masters, cannot be recruited into another House.
    • On the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard's ambition is to revolutionize Fódlan regardless of whoever is in the way. It is also the one with the least amount of recruitable characters and some can even leave.note  There's even a month less to recruit from other factions to boot.
    • On the Azure Moon, Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, the story is more typical Fire Emblem fare of facing an evil Empire. True to form, you can recruit the most characters in those routes.
    • Before the second battle at Gronder Field, your allies will remark that fog is rolling in, as a way to justify why the army of the Kingdom and Faerghus and the army of the Leicester Alliance (who both want to defeat Edelgard and the Adrestian Empire) would fight each other. However, the map itself is not a Fog of War.
    • In Dedue’s support with Annette, he ends up spooking a horse with his presence alone, and Dedue explains that animals don’t take kindly to him due to his intimidating appearance. In game, he’s got penalties to his chance of leveling his riding and flying skills.
    • Rhea, the kindly and delicate-looking archbishop, can train Byleth in brawling, of all things. Of course she can; after all, that's how she beat Nemesis after disarming him in the opening cutscene.
    • In practice battles, any units you lose won't die on Classic. However, you will still lose if Byleth or your Lord is defeated.
  • Skewed Priorities: During the introduction to Beast enemies, Byleth consults Sothis on what to do, and she provides information about the way they fight and how to defeat them. Each concept is selectable from a menu, and the last item is "How'd You Learn All This, Anyway?" Selecting it will make Sothis chide Byleth for dallying, and she orders them to go out and fight.
  • Snot Bubble: The little stream of snooze bubbles beside the faces of sleeping/drowsy characters during interactions evokes sleepy snot bubbles.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Take anything you still need off Edelgard and Hubert during the Black Eagles version of chapter 11 if you intend to side with the Church, as they take their stuff with them after they turn heel on that route. If you side with Edelgard, Flayn will leave your army and not come back. Hope you didn't make her your dancer like she requested.
  • Sound Test: From the extras menu, you can see a list of the music you've unlocked in the game and listen to each track. Those unavailable are marked with "???".
  • Spanner in the Works: A group of bandits were hired by the Flame Emperor to kill the house leaders sans Edelgard, to make her ambition of conquering Fódlan much easier later. That plot is foiled when Claude simply flees, causing Dimitri and Edelgard to follow. They meet a mercenary group led by Jeralt, who handily defeat the bandits.
  • Spiritual Successor: With the game's Calendar system, mixing day-to-day activities with a dramatic fantasy plot, school setting, and emphasis on Relationship Values, at least, in the first half, it has has drawn a lot of comparisons to modern Persona games.
  • Spoiler Title: The game's Japanese title, which translates to "Wind, Flower, Snow, Moon", subtly hints at there being four routes. Wind refers to the Verdant Wind route (Golden Deer), Flower refers to the Crimson Flower route (Black Eagles), Snow refers to the Silver Snow route (Branching from the Black Eagles storyline), and the Moon refers to the Azure Moon route (Blue Lions).
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: Some of the students in the various houses have similar character arcs and situations between them, and similar evolution to their plots.
    • Ferdinand and Lorenz are both sons of dukes, who take extreme pride in their status as noble but also see a huge responsibility in living up to the ideals. In both cases, their view on nobility can rub other students the wrong way. Both of them see themselves are rivals to their house leader, and come to learn and respect the house leader in question in their respective supports. In both cases, the house leader is rather dismissive of the rivalry, treating it more as an annoyance. Both of them have fathers who are much less honorable than them, and who undermine their faction headsnote . Both sons, while proud of their lineage, view their fathers' actions poorly and seek to do better. Lastly, both are tea aficionados. Interestingly, the game does indirectly acknowledge their similarities; while most students' support conversations with each other have them slowly come to learn, respect and understand each other, Ferdinand and Lorenz' involves them immediately hitting it off and getting along perfectly due to their shared views and interests and thus just enjoying each other's company. They also serve as a "rival" to their respective house leaders, often openly challenging Edelgard and Claude.
    • Bernadetta and Marianne both fill the role of the asocial, neurotic shut-in for their respective houses. Both have father issues, with Bernadetta having been abused by her father, while Marianne is adopted and not close to her adoptive father. In both cases, Byleth's support lets them come out of their shells.
  • Storming the Castle: In all routes where Edelgard is the enemy, your forces invade the Empire's capital, Enbarr, and you fight your way through the city and the castle before confronting Edelgard herself. On the Azure Moon route, she's the Final Boss.
  • Story Branching: Along with choosing one of the Three Houses, prior to the incident at the Holy Tomb, there is an opportunity after choosing the Black Eagles house to accompany Edelgard to her homeland to witness her father passing the crown to her. Thus, after she and the Empire invades the Holy Tomb, the protagonist can make a choice of siding with the Empire or the Church. Otherwise, the protagonist will automatically side with the Church.
  • Strange Salute: A gesture commonly used by people in Fódlan involves placing the left hand, balled into a fist, behind one's back and putting the right hand on one's chest, and bowing. The salute is done as a gesture of respect and can be seen used for greetings, goodbyes, thanks and apologies.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Played With during the second battle at Gronder Field on the Azure Moon route. It is noted that fog is rolling in and making it hard to distinguish individual armies, explaining why the Kingdom of Faerghus army might accidentally attack the Leicester Alliance army and vice versa. However, this wouldn't even be a problem if Claude hadn't made his army charge in anyway, forcing you to kill his units along with Edelgard's, when he could have just retreated. It's frustrating, not helped by the fact that he doesn't even mention the whole mess when you next meet him as an ally.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: In the first half of the game, the teachers and knights can offer seminars to the students and help Byleth train their skills. In the second half of the game, those same students are now capable of hosting said seminars and training alongside Byleth.
  • Sweet Tooth:
    • Many of the girls love sweets, particularly Edelgard, Lysithea, and Bernadetta. The former admits that she'd do nothing but stuff her face with cake if she weren't so busy, and the latter two take great pains to hide their cake-loving habits to avoid being judged by others around them.
    • Inverted with Felix. He hates sweets and refuses to eat the cake Lysithea gave to him as a bribe to keep quiet about stumbling upon her snack time. Outraged, Lysithea bakes him a cake and tells him to eat it to understand how wonderful cake is. Felix does eat it and is blown away by how good it was, to the point of wanting to try other sweets.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Utilized to great effect. Chances are, no matter which route you pick first, it's going to heavily color your impression of the rest, and events as a whole. For instance, players who started with the Crimson Flower route are likely to see Rhea as a stereotypical Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Big Bad who leads a Corrupt Church, while other routes reveal that the events of Crimson Flower are basically just her personal darkest moment, brought on by very specific circumstances, and she and the Church are otherwise much more affable and reasonable. Similarly, Edelgard's actions in all routes are about 75% identical, but because she is very aloof and undiplomatic and you can't look into her head, she comes across as a power-hungry dictator in routes other than her own, rather than the the guilt-ridden tragic revolutionary who just can't see any other option that she is in her own route.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: The Weapons Triangle (sword beats axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords) doesn't exist naturally as part of Three Houses gameplay, much like the games preceding Genealogy. Instead, a character becoming more proficient in one of those three weapons can learn an ability that enables that advantage for that weapon.note 
  • Take a Third Option: A fourth option, technically. Outside of Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude's story routes, there's a fourth story route you can pursue — the Silver Snow route, featuring the Church of Seiros, which ends up playing out as a variation of the Verdant Wind route. You can only pursue this path if you chose the Black Eagles at the beginning of the game, though. Furthermore, unlike many examples of this trope it does NOT lead to a Golden Ending or better overall outcome, it merely changes allegiance.
  • Take Our Word for It: In a post-timeskip paralogue after the fall of the Alliance, Hilda's brother Holst requests help after Almyran forces invade Fódlan's Locket. He is unable to defend it himself is because he's beset by a bad case of food poisoning. As Hubert relays, he's "emaciated and pale, and his skin exudes a mysterious vapor". Edelgard fears she'll catch the illness herself if she visits him to see what the ailment looks like, but she's also morbidly curious. The audience and characters can only believe what Holst reports, since he never makes a physical appearance.
  • Take Over the World: No matter what route you choose, one of the factions will end up taking over Fódlan from the others thanks to Byleth's help. If you pick the Silver Snow route, Byleth themself ends up ruling over a unified Fódlan since all the other leaders are dead or missing; likewise for the Verdant Wind route, except this is because Claude leaves to rule Almyra.
  • Take Your Time: In Chapter 6, Flayn goes missing, and Seteth is inconsolable. You must find some leads and figure out where she's gone. However, nothing is stopping you from first spending your time having tea, eating meals with people, and doing other mundane things.
  • Taking You with Me: On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, when you destroy/kill the enemies at Shambhala, Thales calls a missile strike upon the base. Rhea's interference saves you and your allies, and Thales is killed by the collapsing architecture.
  • Tarot Motifs: There are 22 crests based on the Major Arcana. The crest designs are vaguely based on them, and some demonic beasts show the exact Arcana that aligns with the crests on their foreheads. Others may have a vague appearance to astrology based symbols that are connected to specific arcana.
  • Theme Tune Cameo:
    • At the Battle of the Eagle and Lion, the knights behind Rhea mark the beginning of the battle by playing a couple of bars from "Life at Garreg Mach Monastery," the exploration music for the first part of the game.
    • The bells at the Monastery play the first few notes of the franchise's theme.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: After Byleth and Jeralt help Claude, Dimitri, and Edelgard fight off bandits, when Alois and the Knights of Seiros show up, Jeralt's disposition turns to resignation as he realizes that he is going to be pulled back to Garreg Mach after having successfully avoided it for more than 20 years.
  • Time Management Game: What gameplay at the Academy comes down to. During class, you only have so much time to give one-on-one instruction to your students. During free time, you have to choose between advancing Byleth's skills and bonding with students, and within that whether to butter up members of other houses you want to headhunt or improve your own pupils' motivation so they get more out of class time. Fortunately, time is measured in discreet per-action units, and walking around chatting, doing sidequests, shopping and inventory management, and other busywork is all free. Furthermore, higher Professor Levels means more actions can be done.
  • Time Skip: After the first part of the story, Byleth falls into a coma and wakes up five years later. Meanwhile, a war has been raging while they were asleep.
  • Together in Death:
    • On the Azure Moon route, if Felix and Sylvain have a paired ending, the epilogue states that they died on the same day, "as if conceding that one could not live without the other".
    • On the Crimson Flower route, if you manage to defeat Dedue before he becomes a Demonic Beast, you will unlock alternate dialog after defeating Dimitri. A critically-wounded Dedue will have held on long enough to share a few last lines of dialog with dying Dimitri, after which they die together.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: A gameplay mechanic. Similar to how characters have favorite gifts, they also have favorite tea blends during the Tea Party activity. Using their favorite will make gaining support points with them easier
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • This Nintendo UK Facebook post spoiled the fact that the Church of Seiros becomes an antagonistic faction at some point. What it didn't say that it would be dependent on the choices the player makes.
    • The E3 2019 trailer reveals a major plot detail: a five-year Time Skip occurs at some point in the story and that the three houses become enemies.
  • Transhuman: According to Fódlan’s mythology, Crests are the result of the goddess of the Church of Seiros blessing the 10 Elites and Four Saints with special powers in the distant past. In reality, the leader of the Elites, Nemesis, murdered Sothis, the goddess, and he and the 10 Elites magically infused themselves with her blood. The Four Saints, by contrast, were among the last of her children who survived the genocide of their kind. Humans descended from the heroes who inherit Crests or have Crests forcibly implanted into them gain special abilities those without don’t have, from life draining enemies, to dealing extra damage with attacks, to increasing healing done with healing spells, to negating an enemy’s counterattack.
  • Tron Lines: The architecture of Shambhala is smooth and geometric, with glowing cyan lines running along the walls, platforms, and ground.
  • Try Everything: The hints on lost items pointing to their owners often apply to more than one person. For example, one item is said to belong to someone who went to the Kingdom's school of sorcery, a school that Mercedes, Annette and Lorenz attended. Thankfully, there is no penalty for guessing incorrectly: the item remains in your inventory, and you don't lose support points with the other person. Hence, one can simply go through the entire list and present items to someone one-by-one.
  • Two-Teacher School: Hanneman explicitly states in his and Manuela's paralogue that they and Byleth are the only teachers. Jeritza is said to be a combat professor, but is actually the Death Knight, and disappears after Flayn and Monica are rescued.
  • Unable to Cry: Jeralt mentions that Byleth never cried as a baby, which furthered his suspicions of the Church in that they did something to Byleth. Ironically, Byleth cries for the first time when Jeralt dies.
  • Undignified Death:
    • Jeralt's death at the hands of Kronya happens with little fanfare. He's killed by a cheap shot from behind rather than in any way worthy of his reputation as the greatest knight in Fódlan.
    • On the Verdant Wind route, after the battle at Gronder Field, Dimitri attempts to pursue a retreating Edelgard and collapses from exhaustion. He dies by being impaled with her soldiers' spears.
  • Undying Loyalty: Students and professors who transfer houses express this towards Byleth to the point they'll even cut ties with their nations and their church to follow whatever faction Byleth chooses to side with.
  • Unknown Rival: On the Azure Moon route, "those who slither in the dark" lose many of their agents and their leaders without anyone even realizing that they're a faction who had been scheming for years. Their existence is hinted at during the mission in the Sealed Forest, but after the timeskip, the focus on this route is to end the war, and Thales is killed in his Arundel persona during the campaign without the main characters learning who he really was.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Depending on the route chosen, the characters that act as expositors differ. In many cases, the game presents what they say as true (or doesn't indicate that it isn't true), but choosing different routes allows the player to see that some of their information is a half-truth or they were misinformed.
    • After the Blue Lions version of chapter 8, Dimitri recounts his father's last words during the Tragedy of Duscur, begging Dimitri to "avenge us, those who killed us... tear them apart! Destroy them all!" Knowing what's revealed about Dimitri's mental state after the timeskip (namely, that Dimitri constantly hears the voices of the dead crying out for vengeance), it's likely these weren't really Lambert's last words.
    • In all versions of Chapter 12 other than the Black Eagles version where you defect to Edelgard's side, Seteth claims that Edelgard took the Adrestian throne from her father in a bloodless coup. However, attending Edelgard's coronation if you're a Black Eagle shows that she politely asks her very old and feeble father, and he readily agrees.
    • In Crimson Flower Chapter 14, Edelgard claims that the war between Nemesis and Seiros was motivated by nothing more than a disagreement about what type of being should rule over Fódlan, with Edelgard apparently being unaware that the real motivation was Seiros wanting revenge for Nemesis murdering her family and desecrating their bodies. Edelgard also seems unaware that most of the Relic weapons were made from the bodies of Seiros' massacred family, only stating with pride that they were made by human hands rather than being gifted by the goddess.
  • Vancian Magic: Unlike previous titles, magic in Three Houses works this way. You get a limited amount of uses of each spell every battle, and uses replenish themselves at the end of each battle.
  • Variable Mix: Battle music comes in two styles, one heard during most of combat and one with louder instrumentation and more percussion heard when any unit makes a move (called "Rain" and "Thunder", respectively, in the music menu).
  • Victory Pose: Whenever a unit kills another, they strike a victory pose and make a Bond One-Liner. What the pose looks like depends on the last attack the unit used and their class.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Since you can recruit students from other houses and even various professors/teachers, it's possible to recruit every single non-route-exclusive character in order to have them join your side and prevent their unnecessary deaths.
    • It's also possible to spare certain characters on various routes if you defeat them with Byleth, such as Lysithea, Claude, Flayn and Seteth on Crimson Flower, Lorenz on Azure Moon, and Ashe on Verdant Wind. Some of them can even be re-recruited if they were previously a part of your army (Lorenz and Ashe), or join up even if they were never successfully recruited (Lysithea).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Conversely, since you can recruit students from other houses, after the timeskip, it's perfectly plausible to have them fight and kill their friends from their former houses (like having Caspar kill Linhardt, Annette kill Mercedes, or Raphael killing Ignatz and vice versa) or their family members (such as Caspar killing his uncle). You Bastard!
    • Felix's situation on one route in particular has potential for this regardless of if you recruited him or not. On Crimson Flower, if Felix is recruited he can potentially kill his own father. If he isn't recruited, you can kill Felix right in front of his father (who already lost a son to war in the past).
    • You can make Seteth or Flayn wield the Heroes' Relics, which are made from their slain relatives.
  • Villainous Rescue: At Fort Merceus on the Verdant Wind route and Silver Snow route, after his defeat, the Death Knight, on a whim, issues a warning to the forces that just took over the fort to leave immediately if they want to live. They follow him outside, after which "javelins of light" strike and obliterate the fort.
  • The Von Trope Family: Many characters in the game are known as [Firstname] von [Lastname]. Two of the house lords have such names: Edelgard von Hresvelg and Claude von Riegan, and several students from all houses do as well. Every character with "von [Lastname]" is or was in the nobility.
  • War Is Hell: Is it ever. The game does not shy away from depicting how horrifying and emotionally draining war is, with your party members lamenting the constant fighting and possibly having to kill their former friends, NPCs talking about atrocities they've seen or people they've lost, and some very dark cutscenes.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • The demonic beasts are humans transformed by the Hero Relics into giant beasts. "Those who slither in the dark" have been performing experiments to bolster the forces of the empire for their plans against the Church of Seiros.
    • When Rhea goes berserk as her dark side takes control on the Silver Snow route, those who had the strongest levels of Rhea's blood in them transform into White Beasts, effectively becoming proper white scaled dragons.
  • Weapon of Choice: While you could theoretically get anyone to use anything, every character in the game has proficiencies that determine their ability to grow with that particular weapon type. For instance, Dimitri leans heavily towards swords and lances, but has poor proficiency with axes, discouraging him from classing into a Warrior.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: While most units can suffer Final Death and the game will continue as normal, if Byleth or the main lord of the route falls in battle in Classic mode, it results in a Game Over; paralogues extend this to any character or characters heavily involved in the plot of the chapter.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 5 starts off as a simple fight against Miklan, Sylvain's older brother who resented not having a Crest. You defeat him and the mission seems to be over. Then a cutscene plays, and Miklan is consumed by the Lance of Ruin, turned into a monster, starts killing his own men, and you have to fight your first Beast enemy. It's at that point things take a major change, as the darker undertones begin and the nature of Crests begins to be called into question.
    • Chapter 11 goes to hell quite quickly, especially if you chose the Black Eagles. Edelgard and Hubert pull a Face–Heel Turn after the reveal that the former is the Flame Emperor, and they proceed to order an attack on the Church. If you chose to witness Edelgard's coronation this chapter, this can be an even bigger one, as you are given the option to follow their lead.
    • The Second Battle of Gronder Field. Your faction meets the other two (or three, if on the Silver Snow route) for a Mêlée à Trois, and it quickly devolves into a chaotic, bloody massacre. You are forced to face several members of your rival Houses (if you didn't or couldn't recruit them beforehand), and with a handful of exceptions based on the route (such as Dedue and Hilda on the Crimson Flower route), those members will die when you defeat them.
    • Fleche's assassination attempt on Dimitri on the Azure Moon route in the aftermath of the above battle. Not only does it result in the death of Lord Rodrigue, one of Dimitri's main allies and his last remaining parental figure, but the entire event and its fallout finally makes Dimitri realize how far he's fallen in the name of his revenge against Edelgard, finally prompting him to cast aside the Ax-Crazy rage that had defined him since the Time Skip.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the aftermath of chapter 8 after choosing the Blue Lions, Dimitri apologizes to Byleth for his earlier behavior during the attack on Remire Village, in which he began calling for the immediate, bloody, and violent death of the attacking Solon's forces. He seems regretful of his actions as he explains the depths of his traumatic past, only to turn and end the conversation on this line:
      Dimitri: There's a reason that I came to the Officers Academy. Just one reason. I came here for revenge. And one day, I will have it.
    • After Chapter 8, Rhea gives you a normal early-month briefing. However, this time, she dismisses you with a simple line that turns your knowledge of Byleth's unique situation on its head:
      May the goddess Sothis protect you.
    • If you go talk to Edelgard after choosing the Black Eagles in Chapter 11, she will ask you to come to the capital. The game gives you a warning that only appears in one other place (the option to join her after Chapter 11's mission).
      "This decision will drastically change the story."
    • The Black Eagles version of Chapter 11's monthly battle upends the entire plot with five simple words from the last person you'd ever expect.
    • If you explore the monastery in Chapter 12 after the reveal that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor if you didn't choose to join her, you can find Dimitri, alone for once, standing solemnly in the cathedral. So far, the player's interactions with the prince have shown him to be a kind and honorable (if somewhat awkward) young man. Now he forgoes all pleasantries in his dialogue, choosing to silently glare at Byleth and say this to you. It's not a wham on his own route since his character arc has clearly been leading to this point.
      I'll have that girl's head. Just you wait.
    • In Seteth and Flayn's A Support, this exchange reveals a significant detail about them, with this being the only time that secret is explicitly spoken of.
      Flayn: I shall allow you to worry about me enough for yourself and mother both. But only that much and no more, my dear father, Cichol.
      Seteth: Thank you, Cethleann.
  • Wham Shot:
    • After fighting the Flame Emperor if the Blue Lions house was chosen, their mask falls off. Dimitri laughs madly in response, because the Flame Emperor is none other than Edelgard. If the Golden Deer house was chosen, their masked battle model is instead replaced with their unmasked one, which achieves the same effect.
    • On the Verdant Wind route and Silver Snow route, after you capture Fort Merceus, the Death Knight will tell you to run if you want to live and points to the sky, where freaking modern ballistic missiles proceed to blow up the fort you just conquered!!
    • Post-timeskip, the first time you defeat a unit that used to be an academy student. They get the same camera treatment, music, and tragic last words as losing one of your units in Classic mode, driving home how real the conflict it. Particularly sobering if you've been playing in Casual mode.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • After the time skip, Byleth will get called out by several students from opposing houses if engaged in battle with them. Particularly if they side with Edelgard they will get a vicious rebuke when facing Leonie, who points out that Byleth has sided with people who were involved with those who murdered Jeralt, and how it makes no sense to her. Annette will outright mournfully ask why Byleth would choose a path that involves invading her homeland.
    • Transferred students will be also scolded by non-recruited students or leaders after the time skip for deserting when engaging in battle. For instance, during the Crimson Flower campaign, Felix will tell an ally Ingrid that she has no right to call herself a knight, and a recruited Felix will get a rather brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Dimitri should he battle him.
  • What Year Is It?: Soon after Byleth wakes up after the Time Skip, a villager references the war that began five years ago. Byleth, having missed it all, can either ask him about it or ask what year it is, prompting the villager to wonder if they bumped their head or something.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: The look isn't used on character models, but the movies employ it. Two notable occurrences are Jeralt when he's stabbed in the back by Kronya, and Dimitri when he attacks Edelgard after the revelation that she's the Flame Emperor.
  • Will They or Won't They?: If Byleth of either gender S-Supports Edelgard in her route, it is mentioned that the two spend a lot of time together and share private moments with each other, but nothing is too publicly known. A similar description is given for Edelgard's other suitors if she gets S-Supports with them instead, except it's more blatant that they're romantically involved. The ending text, like in other Fire Emblem games, describes how historians view the unit, and omits anything that is not public knowledge. The actual S-support scene with Byleth will be blatantly romantic.
  • Winged Unicorn: The Falcon Knight pegasi have this sort of design. It's unclear if the horn is part of their armor rather than part of their body, but a character mentions a "pegasus horn," which implies that pegasi can indeed grow a horn when they reach their full strength, or that certain breeds have them. The horn has a similar golden color to the golden hue the mane and feathers of the Falcon Knight have. The horn's shape is not the typical spiral horn of a unicorn, but a large, smooth, almost lance-like spine.
  • Wizarding School: Fódlan has a school of sorcery in Fhirdiad, the capital of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus. The school itself is unseen, though a few characters, like Annette and Mercedes, once attended it and have talents in the Reason skill as a result.
  • World Building: The game develops its setting extensively, with many NPCs and bits of dialogue, especially during the monastery exploration segments, that give details about important places, figures, and happenings in the world. At the beginning of each chapter in part 1, there is narration detailing the usual events of the month and changes the world and its occupants go through for no other reason other than setting flavor.
  • Written by the Winners:
    • Post-timeskip on the Crimson Flower route, a monk in the Garreg Mach library notes that this is very much true and wonders just how much of the history in the library has been edited by those victors. Something similar happens on the Azure Moon route post-timeskip, where Sylvain muses that whichever side wins is the one who will go down in history as "right".
    • On the Verdant Wind route (and to some extent the Silver Snow route), you discover that he's exactly correct when it comes to the real histories of the Crests, the Ten Elites, and Nemesis.
  • Yes-Man: All leaders but Claude of Golden Deer have enablers: Hubert (Black Eagles) and Dedue (Blue Lions) are unwaveringly loyal to their respective house lords, and the Church staff outside of a few named individuals are blindly obedient to Rhea. Their tendency to only support their leaders allow the latter to follow their ambitions and ignore criticism. Without Byleth reining in Edelgard and Dimitri, both go off the deep end and become enemies in the routes that aren't their own.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite using their time-rewinding powers, Byleth fails to save Jeralt from dying to Kronya's surprise attack. Sothis explains that, should Divine Pulse be unable to change the outcome of an event, said event is fate, and unable to be altered.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue, green, red, pink, purple, silver, etc. As is usual for Fire Emblem, natural hair colors come in quite a rainbow and most of them are considered normal enough that they don't even get mentioned. That said, the shade of green found in the Nabateans is noted to be rare.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Despite being allied with them, Edelgard always intended to eliminate "those who slither in the dark" once she achieved her aim of abolishing the Church of Seiros, viewing them as far too dangerous and evil to let run free in her planned peaceful realm. Indeed, the Black Eagle route's epilogue states the two sides would battle each other after the unification of Fódlan in the years to come. On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, Hubert passes on the task to Byleth and their allies after his and Edelgard's deaths.
  • Zip Mode: During the exploration phase, once you've visited an area in Garreg Mach, you can "fast travel" straight to that area after unlocking that ability.

Here in cherished halls
In peaceful days
I fear the edge of dawn
Knowing time betrays

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