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  • Abandon Shipping:
    • While pairing Byleth with Leonie was once fairly popular before the game's release due to her design and her history with Jeralt, the popularity of the ship faded after their B support had Leonie criticizing Byleth for not appreciating Jeralt enough. To make matters worse, said support event is locked until after Jeralt's death.
    • Some players reconsidered Byleth S-supporting Sothis when datamining listed her physical age as 9. Although as a dragon goddess, the avatar she appears before Byleth in isn't indicative of her actual age, and is probably something she can change at will, it still made many uncomfortable.
  • Accidental Innuendo: Edelgard's C-support, more specifically the noises she makes at the beginning, which sound less like her tossing and turning in her sleep and more like her, um... pleasuring herself.
  • Adorkable: There's quite a lot of it in this game.
    • Edelgard:
      • The juxtaposition between her overall demeanor as a future Emperor and her social awkwardness can be quite endearing. For example, in a few support chains, she briefly imitates Ferdinand and Hubert's voices just to explain her point further, and during the events in Chapter 12 that lead into the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard takes pride with coming up the name "Black Eagle Strike Force", and can even reveal it took her a whole night to do so, all while stating it with a straight face.
      • During Part II of her route, Byleth ends up discovering in front of her that she painted a portrait of them during the time skip due to how much she missed them. Edelgard becomes incredibly self-conscious when they point it out, and even starts to make out excuses just to kick them out of the room.
    • Dimitri:
      • He can be endearingly awkward in certain social situations. For example, in their C-support, Sylvain teases him about once giving a girl he liked a dagger as a gift instead of something like flowers. Then in their B-support, Dimitri confesses that he took Sylvain's advice about loosening up... by using Sylvain's pick-up lines, because he didn't know how else to ask girls out.
      • His support chain with Catherine is him practically squeeing over his admiration for his childhood hero. In their A and A+ supports, he stumbles over himself coming up with reasons for her to come back to Fhirdiad with him, just so he can be near her.
      • His S-support with Female Byleth starts off with him pausing for a moment, likely to work up the nerve to confess, then discussing the weather. When he gets around to the confession, it's in a cutely nervous way, and when he discovers his feelings are requited, he practically falls over in relief.
    • Claude:
      • His entire Annette support chain. He overhears Annette singing in the greenhouse and assumes there must be some deep meaning behind the lyrics. In their next conversation, he tells her he researched old rituals from the eastern regions of Faerghus to try to decipher the meaning of her song and thinks the song is about people who die with regret trying to dig their way out of the underworld. Annette tells him the song is just about seeds sprouting, and he admits he might have read too much into it. He then asks her to sing a cute song he wrote about her and has her try to decipher the meaning.
      • He gets easily flustered when Judith or Nardel/Nader teases him. Even Byleth can tease him depending on which dialogue options you pick.
    • Sothis' love confession absolutely reeks of this. She dearly adores Byleth, but goes over the top when confessing her love to them.
    • Petra's attempts to speak Fódlan's language tend to come off as this at times.
    • Ferdinand's earnestness and over-the-top enthusiasm place him squarely in this category, and he comes off bumbling and yet endearing in his supports.
    • Annette's support chain with Felix has her singing adorable songs about food and getting hilariously flustered when Felix overhears her. She also does the same thing in her supports with Claude.
    • Ashe:
      • He's uncomfortable with referring to Dimitri by name, stumbling over himself when Dimitri asks him not to be so formal.
      • In his supports with Marianne, he's shown to be superstitious, believing in ghosts and fumbling with his words while trying to assure her that she did nothing wrong when she spooked him.
    • While Flayn tries to come across as a mature woman, her sincerity in all things, Cloudcuckoolander mindset in certain things, and near-obsession with fish can make her come across as a dork sometimes. Of particular note is her C-support with Raphael, where at his insistence they practice her battle cry... which are far more adorable than anything remotely intimidating.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • For someone who's been friends with Dimitri since childhood, Sylvain doesn't seem too broken up when Dimitri is killed after the battle of Gronder Field in the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes. All of the other Blue Lions have something to say about the event in question, but Sylvain instead talks about the upcoming attack on Fort Merceus, making an analogy about winning a girl over.
    • In Cindered Shadows, both Byleth and Rhea appear pretty held together when Sitri's corpse is morphed into the Umbral Beast. Particularly jarring when you consider that Rhea's trauma stems from her loved one's remains being desecrated. Made worse after the battle when Rhea explains that she couldn't bear to put Sitri's body in the dirt, yet she acts resigned to the turn of events.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The second fight with Solon. Given that Byleth has just collected their Infinity +1 Sword, he has an unfortunate tendency to get beheaded in a single shot. No crits. No combat arts. No gambits. Just a single clean shot. Then again, this might be intentional...
    • The fight against Cornelia in the Azure Moon route has all the makings of a hard level and fight. However, if the player gets past the first selection of enemies with the middle group and has a unit with Warp, they can simply Warp a unit over the wall, allowing them to easily kill Cornelia in one turn. What's more, Dimitri can casually do this in one hit thanks to his Crest weapon. While not every unit has Warp, most players will probably have Lysithea because of how strong she is. Even if you don't have Warp, Ingrid as a Pegasus Knight can easily kill her thanks to her good Speed and Resistance. Once she's defeated, the level ends, making it potentially the shortest chapter in the game.
    • The Azure Moon final boss, Hegemon Edelgard, looks intimidating, with a demonic design, enormous range, and ability to attack twice, but the remaining soldiers prove to be a greater threat than the monster. The projectile attacks can hit across the entire map, but they have both a low hit rate and low attack power for any unit with halfway decent defense. After reaching a certain part of the map, the attacks will cease and the boss becomes a sitting duck. Because of the boss's single armor point, underwhelming defense, average health, low damage, and typical weaknesses associated with monster enemies, it's possible to beat them in a single turn. Additionally, while the final boss could be threatening if they just focused on one character with low defenses, like Lysithea or Flayn, they will only ever target the same person twice if no one else is in their range, which is exceedingly unlikely to be the case except for maybe the first turn. Furthermore, if Dimitri is within range of the final boss's attacks, the final boss will target him, despite him being easily the worst choice to target given his insane speed and defenses making the attacks more or less moot. The enemies themselves on the map are tough, but Myson, an otherwise generic unit mini-boss serving as the last leader among the Slitherer forces, is far more dangerous than the final boss, given he has a highly accurate tome that brings your HP to 1, has awesome range, and is surrounded by units who can pick you off. It's worth noting this only applies to both Normal and Hard difficulties. In Maddening, Hegemon Edelgard's stats are high enough to hit harder, be far more accurate, nab a Critical Hit against allies with low Luck, and trigger low-health abilities consistently.
    • The final boss of the Verdant Wind route, Nemesis, is just a beefy human with no break bars, no truly special attacks, and on Normal has very low Speed, allowing most of your units to double him. While he does have a dangerous class skill called Mighty King of Legend that gives him +3 to all stats for each member of the 10 Elites alive, given that you need to defeat them all to even fight him, this means that he loses the only part of his arsenal that is a threat. The hardest part about him is removing the barrier to even hit him, and the fact that he is on a tile that gives him some defense and avoid thanks to also having Heartseeker, but he can be baited off of the tile with a sturdy enough ranged unit and is still vulnerable to Gambits. It's possible to kill him in one hit with Byleth if they use the Sublime Creator Sword, or Lysithea if she uses Luna, something the other final bosses lack as a weakness because they are Monster type enemies and have at minimum three bars of HP. To add some insult to injury, Lysithea can do so without a crit even while all 10 elites are alive due to Luna ignoring the applicable Res buff. Similiar to Azure Moon's Final Boss, he is much harder on the higher difficulties (though he doesn't gain any HP, making it just as easy for Lysithea to delete him with Luna with the right setup), of course, but compared to the other final bosses, he's very straightforward.
    • The final boss of the Cindered Shadows DLC, Umbral Beast Aelfric, is a joke if you make good use of all your units and the tools they have at their disposal. First off, unlike most other Fire Emblem final bosses, they are fought in an enclosed room and will take your forces a maximum of two turns to get close enough to strike, even if you play defensively. Secondly, they may summon phantoms of who they were before they turned into a monster to steal HP from and harass you, but they can easily be ripped in half by the likes of Hilda and Balthus. Thirdly, a mixture of several high-Movement units on your side, several wide-hitting Battalions, and some good positioning makes it absurdly easy to inflict a total armor break on them in a single turn. Fourthly, Hapi’s personal Skill Monstrous Appeal effectively makes her a meat-shield for the rest of your army, provided that Linhardt keeps her health up. Play your cards right, and it’s extremely likely that Cindered Shadows’s finale won’t last for more than six turns.
  • Anti-Metagame Character: Bernadetta. In spite of having a bane in axes which makes it harder to get Death Blow for her, having a wonky personal skill which clashes with her Sacred Relic weapon, and being Overshadowed by Awesome by Leonie, she tends to shine in Chapter 14 of the Crimson Flower route. There's an absurd amount of Wyvern Lords that come in after the first turn, meaning that Byleth's army is likely to be overwhelmed unless they are taken care of, and Bernadetta is a good pick for that reason, enabling large damage on them.
  • Ass Pull:
    • At the end of the Crimson Flower route, right after Rhea's death, Sothis's Crest Stone suddenly disappears inside Byleth and they revert to a normal human being. Not only does it come out of nowhere, it makes no sense why No Onological Inertia would apply when Rhea didn't even create said Crest Stone. Even more perplexing is the fact that in spite of Rhea potentially dying on the Silver Snow route (unless you got her A- or S-support rank with her) and being heavily implied to die after the events of Verdant Wind, Byleth doesn't revert in such cases. And while this is handwaved via Edelgard considering the possibility that something could happen to Byleth due to sharing Rhea's bloodline, Byleth's solo ending mentioning they were wounded at some point during the fight, and Rhea's belief that both her and Byleth are destined to establish a divine bond of sorts, it still comes across as rather sloppy.
    • At the end of the Azure Moon route, Edelgard somehow transforms herself into a Hegemon Husk in one last attempt to defeat Dimitri and company. While this is a downplayed example overall given her transformation is foreshadowed at the end of Chapter 19, the mechanics involved that allow it to happen are never explained, thus it can be felt her One-Winged Angel form exists just so Azure Moon can have a climactic final boss rather than simply having Edelgard in her Emperor class like in other routes.
    • Nemesis' revival on the Verdant Wind route comes out of nowhere after the fight with Thales, with little explanation on how it was possible or why Nemesis was back after apparently being killed by Seiros. Several characters speculate that those who slither in the dark revived him, and Rhea later comments that she believes that Nemesis having the Crest of Flames allowed him to not fully die, and he awoke when the "Javelins of Light" struck their base, but nothing else is explained about it in-game beyond both parties merely speculating. Nemesis also only appears on the Verdant Wind route, which is jarring since all the other final bosses are explained or make sense with what is known setting-wise, while Nemesis' appearance relies on Unexplained Recovery logic thanks to nobody in-universe knowing how Sothis' powers work.
    • On the Silver Snow route's final chapter, all the Cardinals and Church of Seiros leaders go berserk along with Rhea due to a plot point that is only mentioned at the start of the battle with no foreshadowing: that leaders of the Church undergo a ritual where they are implanted with a fragment of Rhea's Crest Stone and blood. It's still never explained why this causes them to share Rhea's insanity and only seems to exist to justify the final chapter having Mooks to fight.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The game has mostly done away with Avatar-sexuals, characters who have no supports or connections to anyone besides the avatar characternote . Nearly every single character, even the adult characters you can recruit, have supports with multiple others and have multiple potential endings. On the other end of the scale, not everyone has endings with everyone within their house, much less with every single other unit, so the paired endings they do have tend to feel more personalized and less cookie cutter. And interestingly, not every male/female ending is even romantic. The only Avatar-sexual characters in the game are Rhea, a non-playable character (who thus can't get support points with other units) who's only available during the Silver Snow route, Sothis, for very obvious reasons, but just has an S support rank, and Jeritza, a post-launch DLC character only available on Crimson Flower whose only other support is with his sister Mercedes (and the 1.2.0 update even gave him more support partners with Bernadetta and Constance, thus he's no longer an Avatar-sexual). It's also worth noting that Anna, who previously was an Avatar-sexual in Awakening (barring a comical set of supports with Tiki) and Fates, doesn't have any supports after she was implemented and that any gift-giving or tea-partying don't actually increase relationship values, but rather restore her motivation or grant her stat bonuses.
    • Another major criticism of Fates was that its attempt at moral complexity is completely botched in favor of labeling Hoshido as good and Nohr as evil, with Nohr being ruled by an Obviously Evil king, and Hoshido always having the moral high ground, with anything morally ambiguous for the latter being either quickly glossed overnote  or hand-waved awaynote , even in Revelation. Three Houses has no good or evil side, everyone ends up doing morally ambiguous things at one point or another, and any villainous members don't reflect the faction as a whole. The only exception is "those who slither in the dark", a group that everyone hates, including the more morally-grey characters, and even then, Three Houses doesn't make any pretenses that they're meant to be sympathetic.
    • Awakening and Fates put a lot of emphasis on romance. Gameplay benefits tied to marriage, such as units and paralogues, effectively punish the audience for playing Robin or Corrin as gay or asexual. Gay options are perhaps less improved than they could be, but in any case, marriage in Three Houses has precisely no effect on gameplay: Byleth simply chooses a unit with A-rank support to S-rank before the final battle. You can easily choose to be with no one in the end, and even shut down flirting with your character in cutscenes (and said flirting only happens with characters who are at least 20, thankfully).
    • Quite a few critics and reviewers have noticed the high quantity of world-building in Three Houses, after the lack of setting lore was commonly cited as a weakness of the writing for Fates (one infamous example among fans is that Fates is the only game in the entire franchise to not have a full world map, and the only one in the main series to lack even a name for its world).
    • Jeritza a.k.a the Death Knight was initially a polarizing character, with fans being divided on whether he got enough screentime and his actions as the Death Knight being contradictory to Mercedes' insistence that he's still the sweet boy she remembers. The third wave of DLC not only makes him playable in Crimson Flower (instead of having him vanish from the plot), but it also finally explains his Freudian Excuse and justifies his contradictory actions by revealing that Jeritza and the Death Knight are literally different personalities, which explains why one wants to kill Mercedes and the other wants to protect her. It also helps differentiate him from the Black Knight, who he was previously accused of being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for. Additionally, unlike Peri from Fates, whose murderous tendencies were played for laughs and made it seem like wanton slaughter was totally acceptable so long as you had a sympathetic backstory and fought for the main character, Jeritza's murderous intentions are played for drama; he can't control himself, he frequently pushes people away to keep them safe, and is seen as a pitiable monster by most of the people around him, ostracized by the rest of the army in Crimson Flower. Even his benefactor, Edelgard, could only make the problem better, not fix it entirely, by pointing him at "those who slither in the dark". For people who don't feel that he can be redeemed, about half of his endings end with him disappearing anyway, likely to protect others, while the other half imply that his mental issues might heal, and he even allows himself to be imprisoned during his ending with Mercedes, possibly as punishment for his crimes.
    • For those that criticized the Azure Moon route for not addressing the fates of the remaining "those who slither in the dark" affiliates in the endings for the Blue Lions, Dimitri was given a support with Hapi that goes into detail about his past and an ending with her that addresses and alludes to dealing with them, which somewhat ties up loose ends in that aspect. Hapi's solo ending also provides a bit of closure regarding them regardless of route.
    • The base game Gay Options received some criticism on both the laziness and But Not Too Gay fronts for omitting Byleth from the S-support CGs. Meanwhile, the CG art for the two post-release Gay Options, Jeritza and Yuri, show Byleth clearly visible for either gender. In addition, Jeritza and Yuri are both male, helping to even off the significant imbalance in which Male Byleth only had one Gay Option to Female Byleth's five.
    • One complaint that some had was that paired endings are based on who has the highest support values. So for instance, if you want Ferdinand and Dorothea to be paired for the ending, but also get an A rank support between Ferdinand and Edelgard and for whatever reason Ferdinand and Edelgard end the game having a higher support value than Ferdinand and Dorothea (perhaps due to both frequently fighting together in the front lines, since both are naturally melee fighters while Dorothea is a long-ranged mage), you'll get the former pair's ending. This basically means that the only sure way on the initial release to confirm what endings you will get is to leave all other A rank supports that aren't with Byleth unfinished. With the release of Cindered Shadows, there is one character who lets you pair up characters as soul mates, essentially meaning that as long as they get their A rank support, they are guaranteed to end up together in the ending, allowing you to safely complete all other A rank supports.
  • Award Snub: Many people found it especially egregious that the game wasn't nominated for Game of the Year at the 2019 Game Awards despite near universal acclaim. While it got a nod for Best Strategy (a category that it handily won), it wasn't nominated for anything else despite elements like the voice acting and story being heavily praised by critics and fans, with many feeling like it should've been nominated over more divisive AAA nominees like Death Stranding or Control.note  The game did end up winning the Player's Voice Award (essentially a Viewer's Choice GOTY award, determined bracket-style over three rounds) by a 40% margin, leaving actual Game of the Year nominees like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the aforementioned Death Stranding in the dust. The fact that it won this award further underscores the fact that it should have been nominated for the actual GOTY award.
  • Awesome Art: In contrast to the varying quality of the majority of S-support CGs, Jeritza's S-support CG is brilliantly designed, featuring Byleth and Jeritza as they repel those who slither in the dark in Shambhala. The S-support CG for Constance from the Ashen Wolves is widely seen as being one of the best ones in the game as well.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page here.
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    B 
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Edelgard has enough fans and detractors to fill whole essays with their arguments. Her fans tend to see her as a Well-Intentioned Extremist Tragic Hero, and either argue she's completely right in her assessment of Rhea as a villain, or at least see her actions as understandable due to her exclusive knowledge of history portraying Seiros and the church in a more negative light, which only the imperial lineage has access to, and that she makes several valid points about the stagnation and problems in Fódlan and solutions. Her detractors, on the other hand, say that her overall methods (with the war that she kickstarts being the most stand-out example) makes her no better than those she opposes, and being allied with "those who slither in the dark" is unforgivable regardless of her end goal. In addition, her own route never reveals that Edelgard's version of history is missing key details and thus never reveals Seiros' true reasons for antagonizing Nemesis. Other routes also don't reveal her more sympathetic aspects nor the circumstances preventing her from ever learning the truth. Also, the possibility that Edelgard’s war may not have been entirely necessary to bring about change to Fódlan only further drives the rift between those who stand by Edelgard’s actions and those who loathe them. Due to how polarizing Edelgard is, she's more often than not the center of most heated discussions about the game, which leads to a lot of misinformation being spread around about the lore and aspects of her characterization, making her appear either more sympathetic or nastier in the process. The revelations added on the Abyssal Library only further muddle things for both sides, as it throws most things learned through the story into question, and the Nintendo Dream 2020 interview where Word of God confirmed that Edelgard has the Crest of Flames so she would serve as Byleth’s rival (but not the main villain, as Thales is presented as the bigger threat and outlives Edelgard on that route) for the Silver Snow route (which was the first path developed) threw the fanbase into debate in no time. Even long after the game released and the fandom mostly calmed down, she still is one of the most talked about characters in good and bad ways.
    • Rhea is in a similar boat as Edelgard’s. Her fans argue that she has kept Fódlan relatively peaceful for generations, and under her lead, the monastery is far more inclusive than the rest of Fódlan, showing that she’d like the continent to be more open and less Crest-focused. And while she can be ruthless, she’s normally not the aggressor. Further, they note that many of her actions were done to suppress war and chaos rather than for the sake of power. Meanwhile, her detractors see her as a deceptive zealot who has kept Fódlan's culture stagnant for too long (or at least doesn't do enough to promote societal reforms or directly oppose those stopping them), spreading isolation, racism, and crest superiority through Church tenets and is willing to be downright merciless to those opposing her violently, even if they have sympathetic reasons like Lonato. Not helping matters is some ambiguity surrounding Byleth’s status as Sothis’s vessel, such as whether Rhea thought Byleth’s and Sothis’s consciousness would fuse or whether Rhea intended for Sothis to completely take over Byleth. Like in Edelgard’s case, how she’s depicted varies from route to route; players who played Edelgard’s route first likely only know her as an insane monster, as Rhea’s past and reasoning is never explored there. On the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, however, she comes across as more tragic and sympathetic, as her past trauma regarding the death of her mother and kin is touched upon (explaining her behavior in the Holy Tomb), and does not undergo Sanity Slippage with the exception of Silver Snow’s endgame, where she can even be saved via an A- or S-rank support, allowing her to reflect on her actions, acknowledge her wrongdoing, and seek atonement. Just like Edelgard, the lore reveals of the Abyssal Library scramble things further from her side of the events. Specifically, Rhea's slowing the technological advancement of Fódlan's culture breaks the base further: On one side, it's considered bad by her detractors and an inexcusable thing to suppress it at the cost of mankind's betterment. On the other hand, it’s viewed by her supporters as necessary (though not necessarily good) as the last time the Nabateans allowed mankind (a.k.a. the Agarthans) to advance without restriction, they ended up being too prideful and went on to wage huge wars that eventually destroyed the continent and massacred her kinsmen.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • The Battle of the Eagle and Lion at Gronder Field. It's a Mêlée à Trois between the three houses, with your house coming in from the north and the other two on the southwest and southeast. One of the opposing houses has a hold of the ballista in the center, and the player's given several options to tackle the map: head down the west and engage the house there, head down the east and do the same, or head down the middle, capture the center, and engage both houses at once. It's a fun test of skill between the three houses. In some routes, this battle is revisited post-timeskip, but with the three factions now at war. The stakes are much higher, with some enemy units meeting their bitter end on this map (which can hurt if they weren't recruited). While the strategies are still the same, trying to take the ballista on the central hill this time results in it being set ablaze by Edelgard, no matter who's on it. But the objective is still just to defeat the bosses, so if you want some Videogame Caring Potential, you can challenge yourself to do a Pacifist Run. The song is a Dark Reprise of its pre-timeskip version, and is all the more intense for it.
    • For the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes, Stand Strong at Shambhala. Despite having so many things set up to make it That One Level (tough reinforcements, turrets you can't kill, forced split-up of the party, loads of locked doors and narrow hallways), it manages to shine out due to pure atmosphere. It looks nothing like any chapter you have ever seen before since Fates. The soundtrack sounds very out of place — giving it a very Eldritch Location feel.
    • Most of the final maps. They all feature big final bosses and several mini-bosses, have incredible music, and dramatic atmospheres, all making for fun but challenging final tests for the player. While some of the maps are recycled from other routes, those at least add a twist. Crimson Flower's final map takes place in Fhirdiad, just like a map from Azure Moon, but it's set on fire, meaning the terrain is hazardous, and the big boss of this map is a giant dragon, namely Rhea as the Immaculate One. The final map of Azure Moon is set in the imperial palace of Enbarr, which is visited in Verdant Wind and Silver Snow, except Edelgard is at her most desperate and assumes a giant, monstrous form known as Hegemon Edelgard, and she's also backed up by "those who slither in the dark". The pressure is mounted even more than those versions thanks to all the enemies with long range weapons, all ready to swarm you, and you also start a bit further back. Verdant Wind's final map is actually unique, and has you face off against Nemesis, plus the revived husks of the Ten Elites, and all of them are using dark versions of the Heroes Relics that you've been using. And considering that they power Nemesis up, that's eleven bosses to fight on this map.
    • The last map before the Time Skip, The Battle of Garreg Mach, is seen as a good one. However, special mention goes to the Crimson Flower version in which you swap places, so you are on the attacking side. On top of this? Much like other routes, the Death Knight appears... but he's on YOUR side this time.
    • The Battle of the Tailtean Plains, the penultimate battle on the Crimson Flower route and that route's counterpart to the Gronder Field battle, has possibly the most Shocking Moments of any map in the entire game. It starts simple enough, with an enemy army led by Dimitri, Dedue, and possibly Sylvain. But then several of the enemy soldiers start pulling out Crest Stones, willingly transforming themselves into Demonic Beasts in a desperate attempt to defeat you, immediately followed by a wave of enemy reinforcements possibly led by Mercedes. Then a second wave of reinforcements arrives, this one led by Rhea herself, having donned her Saint Seiros outfit from the intro cutscene and bringing several Golems along with her. And as if that wasn't enough, once you get close enough to him, Dedue himself transforms into a Demonic Beast. As the cherry on top, the chapter has a secret bonus objective where killing Dedue before he transforms unlocks a different death scene for him and Dimitri.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The first level post-timeskip on non-Crimson Flower routes involve fighting bandits, during which all the other students join the fight over time. On both Silver Snow and Azure Moon, Seteth and Dimitri want to fight them for reasons that make sense (reclaiming treasure from the Church for Seteth, and Dimitri being Ax-Crazy). On Verdant Winds, Claude's reason is a cheerful "lets go have some training!", which is jarringly out of character for him when you consider that Claude, while not afraid to fight, is more peace focused then the other Lords, especially post-timeskip. This can be traced to the fact that the three routes all start the same way, so Claude fighting them was bound to happen, but it's jarring still to see Claude just casually say they should go kill something.
    • The Death Knight's sole appearance in "Cindered Shadows" just straight comes from out of nowhere, especially notable as the entrance to Abyss is right inside Garreg Mach monastery and depending on when exactly "Cindered Shadows" takes place, Jeritza may have already fled the Monastery after Flayn was rescued. Making it more odd is that despite fellow Flame Emperor's goon Metodey working for the DLC route's Big Bad, the Flame Emperor proper has nothing to do with Abyss' situation, making the reason for his appearance even more perplexing. He can even end up fighting Edelgard, his employer, and she expresses extreme bemusement at him being there.
  • Breather Level:
    • Chapter 9 is only a battle against a few Demonic Beasts. It's possible for several of your units to never even need to act, since by that point, you're most likely used to fighting Demonic Beasts and Monsters. Not to mention Jeralt is also around to help, and can help fighting any monsters that get too close. Unfortunately, it is also one of the game's wham episodes.
    • Felix's paralogue, especially on Normal mode. You have a lot of allies with you, including Rodrigue, who is incredibly overpowered for this point of the game. On top of that, Rodrigue's soldiers are actually rather competent, unlike most NPC allies. The only thing that keeps you from being able to win by sitting on the sidelines is the fact that you have to save all the villagers to get the Aegis Shield, which requires some level of effort from the player and is considered That One Sidequest.
    • Ashe and Catherine's paralogue is also very easy — it's a defend-the-point map, only you don't have any luxuries of things like bottlenecks. Because of how your units are positioned, if they are powerful enough, you can win by sitting back and waiting it out.
    • Retribution, Ferdinand and Lysithea's paralogue available in non-Crimson Flower routes, is fairly easy in lower difficulties. While you need to save villagers here, you only need to reach the node of the map to rescue them rather than worry about having NPC allies. Additionally, you can reduce the number of enemies by taking out two of the generals in the south and east area of the map first before dealing with the enemies at the north.
    • In the Cindered Shadows DLC, after four chapters of battles with increasingly hard enemies and increasingly difficult gameplay conditions, Chapter Five is nothing more than a simple "Rout the Enemy" condition. As an added bonus, most of the enemies are too distracted by the monsters that spawn in to immediately engage the player.
  • Broken Base:
    • Outside of debates about Edelgard as a character, the fanbase cannot agree whether Edelgard’s war was truly necessary to remove/change the crest system and bring unity and equity to Fódlan. On one hand, it's stated that Edelgard’s war prompted the other regions to make reforms in all routes, as the ravaged state of the continent allowed change with little resistance, allowing the victorious faction to make positive progress by the end. On the other hand, it’s been pointed out by fans that some endings imply the opposite — particularly Sylvain’s solo ending should he survive, where it's stated that his oration alone helped create a new way of life for nobles in which crests and relics were unnecessary (granted, this occurs after Sylvain becomes a war hero and has the support of the winning lord). Further, the victor of the war is able to reform the entirety of the Continent, not just a single territory. Due to Edelgard never offering a peaceful alternative for unifying Fódlan, it's debatable whether the crest system could have been done away with using similar methods without war, or if the war was necessary to create reforms in the aftermath. Complicating this further, not only did the other lords also have plans to change the status quo through more peaceful means before the war began note , but many students (who are mostly future heirs of their respective territories) also discuss in their supports how awful the current system is and how they would wish to change it. Finally, Dimitri speculates in his route that one reason the crest system had endured for nearly a millennia is both its actual and metaphorical power to quell threats, ultimately leaving room to imagine just how effective and lengthy a peaceful reform would've been under different circumstances.
    • The Crimson Flower route is easily the most contentious path in the game (contrasted with Silver Snow, which is the least popular route). Setting aside the fact that it stars Edelgard and all the drama that entails, those on both sides of her argument are conflicted on various aspects of the route, such as its short length and overall rushed feel (it only has one animated cutscene, and Jeritza, one of its exclusive characters, had to be added in a later patch), along with debates over the quality of its writing (with several major moments, such as Randolph and Ladislava's deaths and fighting Those Who Slither In the Dark occurring offscreen) and whether Edelgard got enough Character Development. The conflicting perceptions it has spawned regarding whether if it shows the most black-and-white depiction of the conflict (either by stripping Rhea and the Church of all their sympathetic traits, or conversely, by forcing players to play the antagonist route where the guilt-tripping becomes unbearable as you help Edelgard take over Fódlan), or if it manages to remain grey overall and showcase that for once, the Empire isn't that bad after Edelgard reforms it, also contributes heavily to its status. Not to mention, people are also split on whether it makes sense to have The Immaculate One serve as the Final Boss of Edelgard's story instead of the Agarthans or not. Long story short, you have those who like Edelgard and think the route is perfect for her, those who like Edelgard but dislike the route and think she deserved better, those who dislike Edelgard and her route, and those who don't sympathize with Edelgard but still find her path fun to play and appreciate it being the most unique one.
    • Byleth being a Heroic Mime Player Character is a polarizing subject for players. It's either a welcome change to make them a silent protagonist after the previous games' uses of the Avatar system were polarizing for how disconnected some felt playing as what is supposed to be them, but the character has their own personality, or it's a worse version of the Avatar system that makes Byleth essentially a non-character who lacks any complexity and yet is placed in such a way that you are the most important person in the world. The fact that Byleth is an Experienced Protagonist yet is Locked Out of the Loop also creates a divide since it means some find it a good way of making Byleth fit into the setting naturally since it means the player can also fit into their shoes better to understand the setting, while others find it to be annoying that the game wants to make Byleth a badass mercenary, and yet doesn't know anything to justify why the player can be told things.
    • The Cindered Shadows DLC adding in the Abyssal Library, which provided even more world building for the history of Fódlan ended up dividing the fanbase further. Ultimately the Library showed that the version of history Edelgard pushed during her war speech for the Empire in Chapter 12 of non-Crimson Flower routes was just as false as the one Rhea propagated, while also revealing (and later confirming in a developer interview) that Rhea deliberately held back Fódlan's technological development in areas like warfare, printing and medical science (by at least for a time banning autopsies). This caused arguments over whether this new addition added even more nuance to the lore of the world, or if it ruined the Gray-and-Grey Morality by seemingly making Edelgard and Rhea come off as less sympathetic by consequence.

    C 
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • The true nature of Sothis and her identity as the Goddess was incredibly obvious to some players, given how she is the only dragon to appear for most of the game, and she draws heavy inspiration from Tiki, to the point of being pretty clearly divine in nature.
    • Seteth and Flayn are Really 700 Years Old, which isn't much of a surprise because Flayn is such a Bad Liar about it. You can even lampshade it by telling Seteth that you always suspected that Flayn was his daughter, not his sister (although they don't reveal their identities as Cichol and Cethleann) after their Paralogue, and he, embarrassed, says he thought he did a better job of hiding it.
    • The Heroes' Relics are not in any way holy. This is fairly obvious by Chapter 5, which had a Relic weapon called the Lance of Ruin, which has multiple twitching, bony protrusions for seemingly no reason but to look creepier, and turned Miklan into a monster in a rather disturbing fashion that was clearly unpleasant. In other words, everything about it indicated that it was an Evil Weapon. If the Lance of Ruin didn't convince you, some of the other Relics have such noble-sounding names as "Crusher", "Areadbhar"note , and "Blutgang"note . All of their unique Combat Arts also have Obviously Evil (or at least very painful-sounding) names like "Atrocity"note , "Fallen Star"note , "Raging Storm"note , or "Apocalyptic Flame".
    • The lead-up to The Reveal of the Flame Emperor's identity includes several scenes in which the leader of your chosen house makes an excuse to leave, or is otherwise conspicuously absent, just in time for one of the Emperor's appearances. Depending on which house you chose to align with first, this can make it extremely obvious who the Flame Emperor is well before the character is unmasked on-screen. One of the most jarring give-aways is in Fire Emblem Heroes: for some reason, Edelgard's Victorious Axe was given the same appearance as the Flame Emperor's axe in their artwork in Three Houses, which nearly outright gives away the fact that they are the same person.
    • In the Cindered Shadows DLC, the reveal that Aelfric was Evill All Along was fairly obvious to most players upon his initial portrait reveal. The red herrings pointing the church toward being responsible for the suffering of the Abyss people certainly didn’t knock many players off of his trail.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • The game is kind enough to let you exact revenge on Jeralt's killer very quickly. Watching Kronya squirm in her final moments is super satisfying. Doubly so if you land the final blow with a Gambit from Jeralt's Mercenaries. And even if Solon provides one himself later by being an Anti-Climax Boss, his betraying her might bring a smile to the player's face when he wipes that smug-ass grin and confidence off of Kronya's face permanently and reduces her into cravenly writhing and begging to be saved, to which most players would be thinking "Nope, serves you right."
    • If there's a recruit-able character that you heavily dislike: Not recruiting them and/or killing them in battle during the time-skip can be greatly satisfying for some.
    • After getting your hide handed to you three times over by the Death Knight, seeing him take the field as a green ally unit if you sided with Edelgard in the Black Eagles version of Chapter 12 is very, very satisfying. Goes double after the version 1.1.0 update, where he joins your team outright at the beginning of Part II. Alternatively, having Flayn or Manuela defeat him on other routes.
    • Anyone who doesn't condone the Flame Emperor or Rhea's actions will probably find them being the Big Bad and Final Boss of the Azure Moon and Crimson Flower routes, respectively, and getting to put them down in a climactic fashion very satisfying.
    • If you recruit Bernadetta outside of the Crimson Flower route, after defeating Edelgard, getting the option to exile her absolute shithead of a father will feel very satisfying, and even Bernadetta agrees. Hell, if you pair her with Ferdinand and Linhardt in Crimson Flower, Seteth in both Azure Moon and Verdant Wind, and Felix in Azure Moon routes, then her severing ties with her father is especially satisfying with the irony that her being the perfect wife he wanted her to be would bite him in the ass.
    • If you found Leonie's idolization of Jeralt to be annoying, then having Alois give Leonie, a girl who hates debt, all of Jeralt's unpaid tabs in their A support conversation, and then finding out that she ends up having to deal with debts for her whole career in their paired ending (especially in Crimson Flower) is both hilarious and an oddly fitting end for the girl.
    • Killing Miklan can be immensely satisfying after all the hell he put Sylvain through, including pushing Sylvain down a well and leaving him stranded on a mountainside in the middle of winter to die. For extra pleasure, you can either have Sylvain to the honors himself, strike him down as Byleth or let Dimitri, Felix and Ingrid take turns wailing on him.
  • Cliché Storm:
    • The Verdant Wind route, with the occasional bout of Narm Charm, is this. You end up aiding the Alliance to fight against the evil Empire. You fight the Emperor as a Climax Boss, but once they're defeated, they reveal that there is a man behind the man who has been trying to pull the strings and lead the land into war — those who slither in the dark. Despite defeating their boss, a powerful monster from antiquity (Nemesis) appears, with implications that he's with them as his army is made up of The Remnant of Those Who Slither in the Dark. What's more, he's even defeated with a power of friendship speech. If it is your first playthrough, it definitely feels like a rehash of all things Fire Emblem, though this is arguably to the route's strength. Fortunately, when viewed as a whole, plenty of the tropes are played with more than it appears.
    • The plot of Azure Moon is rather typical for a Fire Emblem game, as the plot focuses around a young noble saving his homeland from an invading power hellbent on overthrowing it. However, what sets it apart from other stories in the series is its protagonist, Dimitri, and his rather large character flaws and arc. The Blue Lions are also tied very intimately with the plot, making for a character-driven story that exemplifies why Tropes Are Tools. Due to this, Blue Lions is regarded as the best route in the game by many, though especially by veteran Fire Emblem players.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Byleth's age is ambiguous, but it's implied that they are in their early twenties, based on Jeralt's diary mentioning Byleth's birth as being in 1159, and the game beginning in 1180. Similarly, the characters do not marry as teenagers. Byleth proposes at the end of the war, when all of the romanceable characters are of age (the youngest, Cyril, is 19 after the Time Skip), and all other explicitly romantic couples wait at least that long, if not longer.
    • It's commonly believed that Edelgard's exclusive royal knowledge concerning the War of Heroes was at some point deliberately tampered with by "those who slither in the dark" in order to manipulate her. While it would be one reason as to why her version of history is drastically different from both the "official" version and the one that Rhea tells Byleth about in Verdant Wind and Silver Snow, nothing, not even the Abyssal Library added through the Cindered Shadows DLC, actually confirms this. Likewise, it's unknown what opinion Edelgard has of Nemesis himself, other than that he used to be "all-powerful".
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • From a gameplay perspective for picking a dancer, players usually pick either Flayn, Marianne, Dorothea, or Mercedes to train as a dancer due to each either having healing utility or sword skills that they can capitalize on. Flayn and Dorothea in particular are often suggested to be selected for the class because they can suffer from Can't Catch Up, and the Dancer class allows both to provide support without taking experience away from others note . Of course, this is only speaking if not recruiting from outside your starting house.
    • There are a handful of students that are considered among the best options to recruit for any playthrough due to their usefulness. In particular; Lysitheanote , Felixnote , Ingridnote , Petranote , and Linhardtnote . There are also some units who are recommended either because of their early game strengths, or for items obtained from paralogues. Namely; Sylvainnote , Lorenznote , Mercedesnote , and Leonienote .
    • Just about every player will push a character into the Brigand class specifically to get Death Blow, as a flat bonus to Strength when attacking is simply too good to pass, alongside being a major boon to Archers like Ashe and Leonie. The extra growths to Strength and Speed are also very desired for characters who are just under the average range as well. Similarly, the Mage (for magic users) and Pegasus Knight (for females) classes are also heavily pushed for Fiendish Blow (boosts Magic) and Darting Blow (boosts Attack Speed) respectively for the same reason.
    • For the first half of the game, the house leaders are often kept to one or two specific classlines that better suit them than going right to the Lord class. Edelgard is typically put in the Fighter/Brigand/Warrior class or is made a Wyvern Rider/Lord because of the offensive growths offered by the class lines and how both level her main weapon, axes (the latter is more often considered by some a much superior choice compared to her exclusive Armored Lord/Emperor classes, as it provides more movement and allows her to pull off hit-and-run tactics with Canto, thus maximizing the effectiveness of her exclusive Combat Art better). Dimitri is either put into the Cavalier class line or the Myrmidon class line to give him more utility and movement, or to give him extra speed. Claude is often put in the Archer/Sniper class, or made a Wyvern Rider in order to get his Flying proficiency high enough before the timeskip to make optimal use of his exclusive classes when they become available. Edelgard and Claude are also rarely put in the Lord class due to it lacking proficiency in their main weapon, and because they both perform better in other classes compared to Dimitri.
    • On a Maddening run, expect to see Ferdinand, Sylvain, and Leonie on a final team, due to learning combat arts that let them bypass speed checks and instantly double; Swift Strikes for Ferdinand and Sylvain, and Point-Blank Volley for Leonie. On Golden Deer/Blue Lions runs, Cyril is also a common pick, as he also learns Point-Blank Volley.
    • When it comes to Byleth's late game classes, Swordmaster and Wyvern Lord are consistently chosen over their unique class, Enlightened One. While the Enlightened One provides increases to all their proficiencies, it lacks the extra growths that make the other two classes as powerful, and turns Byleth into a Magic Knight despite their magic potential being very difficult to increase. Swordmaster is simply easier to use, gives a good buff to speed, and helps Byleth throw crits out consistently, while Wyvern Lord makes them a One-Man Army and capable of soloing many enemies thanks to its great growth rate buffs. Unless a player wants Byleth to have magical skills, Enlightened One can't compare to those two.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Thales is the chief member of "those who slither in the dark", and a ruthless schemer dedicated to achieving the power of the gods. Approving ghastly experiments on multitudes of innocents to destroy their minds, Thales initiated a massacre of nobles to blame an innocent land, resulting in the near-genocide of its people, while manipulating the war of the Flame Emperor in order to tear the country apart and destroy its people. Having his own forces kill those they can to revive the monstrous Nemesis and unleash him on the world, Thales even spitefully tries to blow up his own base and the last stronghold of his people to kill the heroes upon defeat.
    • Solon, Thales's Mad Scientist, is responsible for horrendous experiments on many innocent people, even children, to destroy them and twist them into monstrosities. Having murdered and replaced kind librarian Tomas to infiltrate the Church of Seiros, Solon helps to manipulate the war, and is responsible for driving the people of Remire Village insane to see them rip one another apart, just to see what would happen.
  • Crack Pairing: Some people ship Byleth with Rhea and Edelgard, and a handful ship Rhea with Edelgard. While Byleth is the Implied Love Interest for both on their respective routes, Rhea and Edelgard are arch-enemies in all routes.

    D 
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Enemy Pegasus Knights in the early stages of the game, while mercifully rare, are usually fast enough to double most units, and can hit like a truck. Their only saving grace is their weakness to bows, but even then, their Defense is usually high enough to tank one hit, and their aforementioned Speed ensures that they will usually only take the one, forcing the player to use a second unit to eliminate them. And to top it off, as Pegasus Knights, due to their movement speed and flight, they will usually reach you before you reach them, allowing them the first attack. As an added kick in the teeth, the enemy Pegasus Knights are actually considered to be an advanced class, giving them access to Lancefaire and an additional point of movement over player-controlled Pegasus Knights.
    • Enemy Swordmasters and Assassins in the later stages of the game are incredibly fast, giving them high Avoid, and their Spd also lets them both avoid doubles and easily double your units. The latter can also use Vantage, which enables them to attack first at less than half health, even when you're attacking. Assassins also have no movement penalty through forest tiles, so underestimating how far they can move can lead to trouble, especially on Maddening, where they also have Pass to move through your units and go straight for the more fragile ones.
    • Enemies with Miracle can be a mix of this and Goddamned Bats, since if the ability triggers (which can be as high as a third of the time), you'll have to attack them again to defeat them, and the unit that would have killed them will be open to their counterattack.
    • War Masters have high HP and Strength, on top of solid Speed and Defense. While their low Resistance hypothetically means they can be easily picked off with mages, their HP allows them to just eat the attack, and due to their Speed, most mages will only get a single shot in. Their preferred weapons, axes and gauntlets, only add to this; the sheer Might of axes combines with their Strength to potentially one-round most units, and while they forgo pure-hit damage with gauntlets, their Speed and the lower weight of gauntlets means that, if initiating, they can realistically land quadruple attacks. On top of it, their class skills are Axefaire and Fistfaire, piling on even more damage; and Critical+20. A War Master with Killer Knuckles is practically guaranteed to score at least one critical hit on a unit not equipped with the Ochain Shield or Rafail Gem. They're even worse on Maddening; Grapplers and War Masters who use gauntlets have Tomebreaker, which, combined with the somewhat low dexterity of many mages, makes hitting War Masters with Gauntlets and Grapplers an utter crapshoot. In a mode where any wrong move can and will get a unit killed, having a unit live or die based on what can very well be a coin flip is terrifying.
    • Though they are only fought in a few chapters, Titanus are among the most dangerous "monster" enemies. On top of a huge HP pool, they wield strong, accurate ranged swords with a high crit rate, have the Strength to two-shot most units (and very few can survive a critical), and gain Swordfaire (+5 Might) on their final health bar. The ones in Chapter 18 of Azure Moon are even worse, as they start the fight with a large stat boost that can only be removed by flipping a very out-of-the-way switch.
    • Granted, pretty much anything on Maddening is a terrifying obstacle to overcome, but any Maddening run that isn't Blue Lions will hit a brick wall as early as the second chapter because of mere Bandits. In comparison to every other type of enemy in the game, Brigands and Thieves are a true menace in Maddening and Maddening only for two reasons. The first is Pass; every last member of Kostas' crew that isn't a healer seems to have the damn ability, making tanking nearly impossible, especially early in the map where you're constantly bottlenecked. The other issue is their speed. They can and will competently kill every unit in your squad due to how overpowered they are and how quick they are compared to your units. This wouldn't be so bad if this was restricted to only Chapter 2, since it could just be chalked up to Early Game Hell. Instead, they return with a vengeance in all non-Crimson Flower timeskip maps for Chapter 13, constantly menacing you and your units. They single-handedly teach you the importance of actual dedicated 'tank' units in Maddening, because without Petra (because she's the only possible person who won't get doubled), Raphael, or Dedue, you are almost certainly not making it through the second chapter with these monsters.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The final map of Silver Snow is considered to be quite frustrating compared to the final maps of the other paths. While it checks the boxes of having a big boss, great music, and dramatic atmosphere, it's unfortunately not as engaging or as fun as the other maps.
    • Gameplay wise, the enemies are all bothersome, with high stats all around, Brave weapons, and troublesome skills like Miracle, and a lot of them are capable of fully healing it to full at the start of their turnnote . The enemies also all surround you initially, giving you no room to breathe, and that's without mentioning how the Final Boss is a contender for being the hardest Final Boss of all four routes.
    • Location wise, the map is just the outer walls of Garreg Mach againnote , but without much of a twist aside from the kinds of enemies fought.
    • Lastly and story-wise, Rhea's sudden berserk dragon form also comes out of nowhere in the context of this routenote , unlike in Crimson Flower, where it's been set up since Chapter 12 if Byleth sides with Edelgard.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • All three house leaders get this treatment from some of their route's respective supporters who forego the Gray-and-Gray Morality approach and instead gloss over their negative traits and actions to make their side more appealing than the others. Such supporters may argue that their route is the true one, the "canon" route above all others, and the only one they'll play. Dimitri is a bit special in this regard because he's treated a lot better in fandom content than in the game, to the point where his character is romanticized even in fics that aren't related to his route.
    • While none of the main factions qualify due to the game's Grey-and-Grey Morality, the Western Church sometimes gets this treatment by fans opposed to Rhea and the Central Church, with it often argued that they were innocent victims who Rhea has massacred simply due to them not sharing her religious beliefs (despite it being made clear that despite the talk of "purging them", those killed are of their corrupt leadership or otherwise aggressors, not the entire church). Yet in the actual story, every time you end up fighting and killing members of the Western Church in-game, they always attack first, their head bishop is viewed as power-hungry and corrupt by nearly everyone in-universe, and Catherine and Ashe's supports reveal they used Christophe as an Unwitting Pawn in their schemes. Should Ashe confront one of their bishops during their paralogue, they rather openly admit that they also manipulated Lonato and took advantage of his grief (though painting it as "helping" him by giving him an outlet). Furthermore, their diversionary attack on the Goddess Tower during the Rite of Rebirth is stated by Manuela to have harmed a number of students and other innocents. While some people in-canon view their punishments as too harsh, no-one considers them innocent. It's also made clear they have serious racist tendencies, with an early quest having an informant on dissidents from the Western Church explain that they are opposed to how the Central Church monastery has accepted people from Dagda, Brigid, Duscur, and even Almyra within its walls. Despite all this, the Central Church, as stated by Seteth, continues to hope the Western Church will eventually "see reason".
    • After a developer interview confirmed that some Nabataeans held positions of power over humanity and the Agarthans initially sought to overthrow them, some fans have taken to painting the Agarthans as heroes, despite the same interview making it clear that, even if they started with good intentions, they were quickly corrupted by power, which led them to massacre the Nabataeans to make more weapons. In addition, it was never even mentioned whether or not the Nabataeans were ever cruel or even poor rulers.
    • Miklan has a surprisingly large fanbase that sees him as a tragic Anti-Villain who's only acting out due to being unfairly disinherited by his family, and will blame them entirely for his turn to villainy. While his family's treatment of him was unfair, it doesn't even come close to justifying the way he turned into a gleefully murderous madman, nor does it excuse his horrible treatment of his little brother well before that. It's notable that while the game's DLC added some extra nuance to various antagonistic characters, an effort was made to detail that Miklan actually was an even worse person than initially shown, with Yuri noting Miklan is infamous for abducting women (with all that implies).

    E 
  • Ending Fatigue: The Silver Snow and Verdant Wind routes suffer from this, since after the Disc-One Final Boss fight with Edelgard, there's another chapter in which the player's army invades Shambhala to defeat Those Who Slither In The Dark, and then another mission in which the player fights a resurrected Nemesis or a berserk Rhea. Notably, in the Silver Snow route, everyone in the monastery acts as though the war is over in the final month of the game, and the game does actually end with the Disc-One Final Boss on the Azure Moon route.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The game received high praise for its storytelling, particularly the depth of the worldbuilding, and a Grey-and-Gray Morality conflict in which no ending is completely happy, which some consider to be Fire Emblem Fates done right. The gameplay, while well-regarded, doesn't quite get the same amount of praise.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Barely a week after the game released, the Gatekeeper of the monastery became incredibly popular with fans for his enthusiastic personality and great voice acting courtesy of Kyle McCarley. His popularity is comparable to that of Tellius' 3-13 Archer. He is so popular that he actually got on the character polls, even beating a few playable characters to boot. Fans were also elated that he appeared on the Garreg Mach Monastery stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. When CYL 5 came around, the Gatekeeper placed 2nd in the Males division as of the interims, beating out Chrom, Byleth, Robin and others and beaten only by Marth. Players took this even further during the second half of the event, as the Gatekeeper ultimately beat Marth by a whopping 25,000 votes.
    • A nameless Green Unit Swordmaster that appears in chapter 12 if you recruited Catherine has gotten a fanbase due to having a high crit chance and even being able to deal a significant amount of damage to the boss of the chapter.
    • Despite playing minor roles in the story compared to the lords, each house’s supporting cast members have burst into popularity post-release, becoming mainstay faves for the fanbase:
    • A clothing variation, regarding the Lord's personal promotions for Part II: A sizable portion of the fandom actually prefers Claude's Barbarossa uniform to his default Wyvern Master one, with reasons being tied to both sex appeal and lore, as the class is named after a real-life Ottoman general. The badass-looking white wyvern that comes with the outfit also helps.
    • For a one-chapter villain whose existence is mainly to introduce Demonic Beasts, Sylvain's evil brother Miklan has a surprisingly big fanbase. While his rugged good looks are a factor, a lot of it also comes from his history with Sylvain as well as sympathy for him being screwed over by Fódlan's crest-based society, both of which make him an interesting foe despite his minor role in the grand scheme of things.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • For those who look at them in the context of routes where they are the antagonist, the Flame Emperor (and by proxy, their true identity) can be seen as this.
    • The Crimson Flower features a few cases:
      • For starters, this is arguably the entire point of the route. You get to side with the empire and wage glorious conquest against the rest of Fódlan's nations, defeating the scheming and backstabbing nobles of the Leicester Alliance, the Honor Before Reason Faerghus, the Church of Seiros stagnating the land and misguiding its people, and the sinister Agarthans (okay, that last one takes place post-game, but still). Emperor Edelgard can refresh herself repeatedly and finish maps in 1 turn, Hubert lets us control the evil mage advisor archetype, and the Death Knight himself is a playable unit exclusive to this route. It helps that this is the route where the 'noble' part of their Noble Demon characterization — and the 'Anti' part of the Anti-Villain — is emphasized.
      • Rhea (or rather Seiros) as the Big Bad is an excellent example. Cherami Leigh's performance as her and her chilling monologues are a highlight of the route, Rhea has more presence in this route compared to others, and those who dislike her actions in part 1 at least see her as a Love to Hate type of villain.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Kronya most certainly qualifies for this — she has a fairly impressive bust, Hartman Hips, and a Stripperiffic outfit. Really, the only thing that could even conceivably be considered to detract from her appearance is her chalk-white skin, and not everyone will even consider that a minus.
    • Cornelia wears a strapless dress with the side of the skirt slit all the way up to her hip and Absolute Cleavage that goes all the way down to the belt she apparently uses to keep it from falling apart (with no sign of her wearing anything at all underneath), and is quite shapely, to put it lightly.

    F 
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • Even though Sothis specifies that she can't rewind time too far, Byleth going back in time after the game's end to save everyone is rather common. Depending on the writer, this can be played completely straight to attain a Revelations-style Golden Ending where all three houses are unified against a common threat (Seiros, Nemesis, and those who slither in the dark being chief candidates) and nearly everyone survives and gets happy endings all around. note  There's also the idea of continuing the original game's trend of bittersweet endings in that some fics may have the houses unite, albeit not without drama that prevents a true Golden Ending.
    • Fanworks involving twin Byleths joining opposite houses and facing each other in war are growing abundant; the most common combination is one going Black Eagles and the other going Blue Lions, with whichever twin is on the losing side pulling a Together in Death out of love and loyalty for their chosen lord.
    • While fusing aspects of certain routes is a very common Fix Fic plot, Azure Moon and Verdant Wind tend to get fused the most often, with Claude and Dimitri actually working together rather than beating the tar out of each other at Gronder Field, causing one of them to leave or get Killed Offscreen respectively. The main reasoning for this in particular is likely that while their end goals differ, they compliment one another (Dimitri being primarily focused on Faerghus and the state of the downtrodden compared to Claude's more all-encompassing reforms and internationalist bent); Both men also desire to improve foreign relations, they seek to bring reforms to the Church to varying degrees without destroying it outright, and (during Part I and on Azure Moon, at least) are quite cordial to one another, whereas Edelgard doesn't usually extend the same courtesy and vice versa.
    • Shipping fan fiction set during the pre-timeskip section of the game will almost always make reference to — or outright be about — the ball, as it offers plenty of opportunities for relationship drama and development. It’s further made an attractive setting by the player not being there for a lot of the ball, leaving plenty of room for speculating what else might have been going on that night without having to contradict canon.
    • Another popular one is Byleth meeting any of the three lords, especially Dimitri and Claude, as a child due to their upbringing as a wandering mercenary.
    • Pick any popular pairing where children isn’t mentioned in their paired epilogue and you’ll find that fans have headcanons where they have kids after the war. This even applies to some same-sex pairs such as any of either Byleth’s Gay Options, Sylvain/Felix, as well as Dimitri/Any male character. In those cases, whether the child is stated be theirs biologically, delivered via Wyvern/Pegasus, created with some kind of magic, or simply just adopted is up to the writer and/or art.
    • The academic setting is rife with it, as original characters are created by fans to fill in the roster of other students in each class (discounting the playable characters).
    • Many interesting scenes and battles take place offscreen, leading to many options for this. A notable one would be how Rhea says she spoke with Sothis during her near death experience on the Silver Snow route if you S-rank her. Just what was this meeting like? Was Rhea given a classic Sothis tongue-lashing for her various mistakes and misguided excesses, only to end with Sothis lovingly imploring her to return to Fódlan and do better? Was it a simple heartfelt reunion between mother and daughter where little was said but much was communicated?
    • Due to the nature of Claude's origins as the product of a Maligned Mixed Marriage between Duke Riegan's daughter and the current King of Almyra, with him being a prince to boot, more and more stories surrounding said origins and his life both before and after the war have grown popular; it helps that unlike Dimitri and Edelgard, the game proper barely dips into Claude's childhood via his Supports, although his secretive nature justifies it somewhat. The fuel goes further in that if one makes some observations about Claude's hobbies and clothing, Almyra seems to draw heavily from Persian/Turkish/Iranian cultures and motifs.
    • There are many post-game fanfics dealing with Byleth and their respective house dealing with the aftermath of the war and finishing off "those who slither in the dark", especially for those who ship Byleth with Dimitri, Claude, or Edelgard. The ones with Dimileth also have a continuation of Dimitri handling his Survivor's Guilt and implied depression.
    • Quite a few of Sylvain’s supports only go to B with the speculated reason for this being that due to his untrusting nature, Sylvain is unable to make real connections with the girls he pursues (save for the ones whom he can actually end up marrying). However, it’s not uncommon for the more popular supports of his that end at B, particularly ones that many feel are left at a cliffhanger, to be followed up in the form of fan fiction or fan comics in place of the missing A support. A popular one to do this with is his support with Bernadetta, due to how it left off leaving many to complain that it should have gone up to A-support. It unfortunately makes a degree of sense though, due to how his upbringing has caused him to view all women as Gold Diggers who only want him for his Crest.
    • How did Dimitri lose his eye? Fans are allowed to come up with their own theories because the game never gives an answer. The common stories involve Dimitri being reckless and losing it during a battle, or Cornelia popping it out while Dimitri was imprisoned for the murder of his uncle.
    • Byleth is given very few opportunities to interact with their father, Jeralt, who is barely present in the story when he should be integral to Byleth's past. Many fans like to have him survive Monica's attack so he can continue being the story instead of being unceremoniously killed. Not to mention, getting to have Jeralt react to Byleth's potential love interest.
    • Annette and Felix bonding over their issues with their fathers is a common plot within Felix-Annette (Fellanie/Netteflix) shipping-centric fanworks, such as The Wanderer's Curse and the Witch of the Wind and A Song for Tomorrow.
  • Fanon: See the general Fire Emblem page here.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: See the general Fire Emblem page here.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Dimitri's "feelings" for Edelgard, especially in the Azure Moon route. Those feelings being hatred and vengeance. Bonus points because he had a crush on her when they were young and later in Azure Moon he grows considerably more conflicted about the idea of killing her, seemingly remembering some of those past affections, while still maintaining some of the hatred. Similarly, while Edelgard seems pretty apathetic towards Dimitri for the most part, she has a Trying Not to Cry moment after killing him in her route and it's implied that her seeming disregard of their shared past is partially because the experiments that were performed on her gave her memory problems.
    • Some boss dialogue between Edelgard and Claude veer into this, particularly on the Crimson Flower and Verdant Wind routes, where Claude states that Edelgard has grown lovelier as his first line, and Edelgard replies that he was not so unfortunate himself. Other boss dialogues have them note that they have similar beliefs before trying to kill each other.
    • Disturbingly, on the Crimson Flower route, Seiros keeps her terms of endearment towards Byleth, and calls them dear child, while describing how much she looks forward to plunging her sword in their chest. Not to mention her obsession with being the one to kill them is quite similar to Dimitri's feelings towards Edelgard.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Claude. From his personality, to being upside-down on the boxart and to being (pretty much) a neutral party, the fans have run with it, calling Claude the 'Chad' of Three Houses. His English voice actor, Joe Zieja, has embraced all of the Claude memes on his Twitter and Discord.
    • Dimitri has inspired more memes than any other character, from his eyepatch memes to his weed-eating memes, and of course "KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!"
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With the Shin Megami Tensei series. While there was already a case of this between the two franchises (which ironically enough caused a Friendly Hatedom for said entry), Three Houses has intensified this due to its darker plot that is dictated by numerous choices and alignments decided by the player in a manner highly reminiscent of a classic SMT game, with each house representing the traditional alignments. Blue Lions is Law, as Dimitri's ending has the status quo, the traditional nobility that keeps order in in Fódlan, and the crest system being upheld but reformed to be less harsh and Edelgard's radical attempts at challenging the status quo stopped (as well as Byleth's title in the route being "Guardian of Order"). Golden Deer is Neutral, as Claude's ending has him present a third choice to Edelgard and Dimitri's conflict, and both end up dead by the end of the game. Black Eagles is Chaos, as Edelgard's ending has her overthrowing the divine shadow ruler of Fódlan, tearing down the corrupt caste system of Fódlan, and giving people a chance to rise on their own merits. Blue Lions and Black Eagles being Law and Chaos is taken a step further, as the former is aligned with the Church, and the latter wants to overthrow the Church, mirroring YHVH and Lucifer's conflict in SMT. That said, Shin Megami Tensei has its alignments subvert what is typically expected of them as a major Plot Twist with Law actually being rather egalitarian with not even YHVH being above its own conditions, while the freedom of Chaos means there is a high risk of cunning tyrants exploiting a Lack of Empathy in a rather Darwinist meritocracy while Neutrality isn't above going Omnicidal Neutral to ensure neither side gets its way. Therefore, the alignments in Three Houses are actually three house leaders playing an SMT alignment straight or are in turn a subversion of an SMT alignment, with the chaotic Edelgard trying to combine freedom and egalitarianism, Dimitri still keeping the religiously sanctioned hierarchy in place and the neutral Claude trying to get both sides to have a little of their way.
    • Due to the prominent life sim elements as well as the greater variety of activities to build Relationship Values between your avatar and the other characters, fans of the Persona series have taken a shine to Three Houses, which has lead to cross-pollination from the Fire Emblem fandom looking to see where much of this game's inspiration came from. It's also noted that three of the paths share both Color Motifs and Central Themes with the three "modern" Persona games released at the time: the Azure Moon path shares Persona 3's blue motif and theme of moving past tragedy; the Verdant Wind path shares Persona 4's yellow motif and theme of seeking hidden truths; and the Crimson Flower path shares Persona 5's red motif and theme of challenging a comfortable, yet corrupt status quo. Finally, the crests are based on the Major Arcana, itself one of the central elements of the Persona series.
    • With the Harry Potter fandom. Due to the game taking place at a castle-like school divided into rival houses, along with having strong world building for the world-at-large beyond the school and a conflict partly driven by prejudice and discrimination surrounding magical power and lineage (or lack thereof), comparisons with Harry Potter were inevitable and led many members of the latter's enormous fandom to take interest in the game. Many fans have christened it the best Harry Potter video game we'll never get.
    • As they are developed by the same developer, the game is building up a friendly relationship with other KOEI Tecmo-made games' fandoms, particularly Dynasty Warriors franchise. It is confirmed by Instys and Nintendo directors as well that the game is partially made as a homage to the epic that inspired the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The whole plot point of the three opposing factions is the main cue.
    • There are quite a lot of Code Geass fans among the group due to the similarities between both stories. It's borderline unlikely you'll find a fan of both works that has yet to see the parallels between Lelouch and Edelgard.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Claude jokingly plays Shipper on Deck for Dimitri and Edelgard early in the game. Knowing how things to between the two of them later on...
    • If you have Claude fight Edelgard in Chapter 7, he has an amusing moment where he throws Edelgard's concentration off by tricking her into thinking there's a rat near her. Then you play the Crimson Flower route, where it's revealed that rats are a PTSD trigger for Edelgard, reminding her of her imprisonment and experimentation, and the scene becomes... significantly less amusing.
    • During the pre-battle cutscene for Chapter 7 on the Golden Deer route, Claude jokes about lighting the hill on fire as a strategy. Edelgard does exactly that when Gronder Field becomes the site of a real battle after the Time Skip.
    • In the same chapter, if Edelgard fights Dimitri, she jokes about how if the Kingdom and Empire go to war, they'll be able to fight as much as they please. This becomes a lot harsher once you know that Edelgard was already making preparations to go to war with the Kingdom.
    • Most of Bernadetta's early supports play her Nervous Wreck tendencies and lack of social skills for laughs. Later supports reveal that the reason she's so high-strung is because she grew up with an extremely abusive father, and her anxiety stems from PTSD and the reason she has no social skills is because he would barely let her interact with anyone until she came to the monastery.
    • Alois's fear of ghosts is usually played for laughs, especially in his and Mercedes's supports, but in his and Shamir's B support he reveals that this fear stems from the guilt he feels for killing so many people in the line of duty.
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    G 
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page here.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The game's Japanese name of 风花雪月 translates literally to "Wind, Flower, Snow, Moon" and is an idiom about appreciating nature. Funnily enough, there's a Chinese idiom of a similar name that is also about nature... but is instead a dig towards poetry about the topic, roughly translating into "trite and shallow writing."note 
    • In one Azure Moon chapter, Gilbert compares Ailell, the Valley of Torment, a hellish, volcanic location the characters are in to a place between life and death where sins are purged, from the doctrine of the Church of Seiros, but notes that such a place is not actually referenced within scripture itself. This is an elaborate reference to the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which developed in the Middle Ages and is generally rejected by the Protestant denomination due to its lack of direct scriptural basis.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Petra, Dorothea, Seteth, and the Gatekeeper are among the most beloved characters in the Western fandom, but none of them were able to crack the top 10 in the official Famitsu popularity poll for the game. The discrepancy is due to a combination of Memetic Mutation, effective woolseyisms, and a touch of Values Resonance with Dorothea.
    • While he’s not unpopular in eastern countries, Ashe’s fanbase is quite a bit larger in the west, being among fan favorites of each respective class.
    • Alois isn't hated, but he's not super popular in Japan, being voted as the least popular character in a Famitsu poll. In the west however, he's beloved by the community for his fatherly role he takes, his lighthearted and cheerful attitude, his puns, and his backstory with Jeralt.
    • While not unpopular with eastern Audiences, Edelgard is more popular with western audiences in comparison to Japan. This is most likely due to her actions and ideals on personal freedom, merit, and going against an unjust social order in her eyes resonating more with a western audiences than eastern ones.
    • Dedue is a largely forgotten member of Blue Lions in eastern fandoms, even sometimes being left out of Blue Lions group fan art altogether. This is much different in the west, as while he’s probably still the least popular Blue Lions member compared to everyone else, he’s still well loved and comparably more acknowledged, enough so that fans rally for other players to take an interest in him and express disappointment in the fact that his plot was Dimitri focused, rather than fleshing him out as a character. This is not helped by his very limited availability, even by the standards of route-locked characters.
  • Goddamn Bats:
    • Enemy Archers can hit from three squares away, and even with the reduced accuracy past two squares, have enough Dexterity to hit anyway. While unable to inflict serious damage to non-flying units, the damage can add up. This is more noticeable on Maddening, where all enemy archers gain Poison Strike, allowing the chip damage to further add up. They're especially annoying early on, as while enemies have access to Bowrange +1 from the beginning, you won't until Level 10, meaning they avoid counterattacks most of the time.
    • Some enemies with battalions will use their abilities, even if they won't inflict significant damage, thus resulting in the unit being immobilized and weakened if the gambit succeeds.
    • Golems aren't the most threatening of monster enemies, but their basic attacks have 1-3 range, which makes them annoying to bait or fight without risking counterattacks.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A glitch was discovered by FED that essentially allows you to get infinite money and Renown via a stack overflow bug if you have purchased the DLC pass. The Pagan Altar allows you to spend either items for Renown or vice versa. However, spending enough renown on a single item can result in the values being overflown and as a result, you essentially can potentially get 66 Killer Knuckles at a mere 464 Renown when it's supposed to cost around 66,000 Renown. Granted, it does require either a significant amount of items or potentially multiple New Game+ playthroughs, but once that is achieved, suddenly Maddening Mode becomes much easier to bear through.

    H 
  • He Really Can Act: After Chris Hackney's previous Fire Emblem role as Boey, a fairly simple character, his voice-acting for Dimitri gained near-universal praise, especially on the Blue Lions/Azure Moon route. The transitions from a reluctant and adorkable Nice Guy, to a cynical and insane Red Baron with a vendetta, and then to a remorseful atoner who becomes The Good King to his people would not be as convincing as it is without such convincing voice chops. Many were peeved that Hackney wasn't even nominated for "Best Performance" at the 2019 Game Awards.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Byleth has a similar color scheme and backstory to Kamille, the Avatar of a Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade romhack known as Fire Emblem: Order of the Crimson Arm. One that was finalized almost exactly one month short of three years prior to the release date revealed for Three Houses in February 2019.
    • The constant jokes comparing Edelgard to Daenerys Targaryen, when she turns out to, again, be the most brutal of the three lords and starts a war and conquest like Daenerys herself does. The final battle of Edelgard's campaign even takes place in a burning city, although unlike Daenerys, Edelgard's enemies set the city on fire. She can even become a Dragon Rider like Daenerys if one makes her a Wyvern Rider/Lord class, and in fact many consider it to be her most powerful class.
    • The comparisons to The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel in the pre-release period, considering that in both this game and Cold Steel 1, the Wham Episode that leads to the Time Skip involves the masked antagonist you've been fighting being revealed as one of your classmates and kickstarting a civil war. Both masked characters are also motivated by the desire to take down a major authority figure they see as corrupt.
    • After all the memes about Marianne being Berkut and Rinea's daughter, it was revealed that she has a proficiency in horses and lances, making her a good fit for the paladin class, just like her "father".
    • Likewise, the memes about Linhardt being the child of Lyn and Reinhardt became that much funnier when it was shown that his best proficiencies are in magic, also much like his "father".
    • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE drew ire from fans of Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei for bearing minimal resemblance to either franchise. Between the time management systems, surprisingly dark story routes dealing with a conflict predicated on a decision to align with Law/Neutral/Chaos, and the abandonment of the weapons triangle, Three Houses feels more like an SMT crossover than the aforementioned game ever did.
    • When his post-timeskip design was revealed, a Fan Nickname for Dimitri was "Punished Dimitri". If you start a NG+, you can give him an alternate hairstyle that makes him even more strongly resemble Big Boss.
    • In Mannuela and Seteth's support, she observes at his devotion towards Saint Cethleann and teases him for being in love with a long-dead woman, while a flustered Seteth informs her that she's mistaken. Considering that Cethleann/Flayn is actually his daughter...
    • In Bernadetta and Seteth's support, Bernadetta draws Saint Cichol to look like Seteth, and says that she thought that the story of Saint Indech was told from Cichol's point of view, and imagined that she asked Saint Cichol about it. As you learn in Seteth and Flayn's support, Seteth is Saint Cichol. It's so funny that even Seteth starts laughing about it.
    • The antagonists of Seteth and Flayn's Paralogue are Western Church soldiers attempting to reclaim holy ground in the name of Saint Cichol. This becomes darkly hilarious when you find out Seteth, the "heretic" they're fighting, actually is Saint Cichol.
    • Due to the Crests' connection to the Major Arcana, Rhea's Crest of Seiros being tied to the High Priestess is this as her voice actor, Cherami Leigh, also voiced Makoto Niijima from Persona 5, who represents the Priestess Arcana.
    • One of the more popular model-swap hacks of the game is having teatime with the Death Knight just because of the activity contrasting with the Death Knight's image. Come the Wave 3 DLC, and it's revealed that the Death Knight, or more accurately, Emile, does indeed have a Sweet Tooth.
    • The casting of Tara Platt as Edelgard and her opposition to Dimitri, Rhea, and the Church becomes this when one remembers she previously voiced Zero from Drakengard 3, a character who is also on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and not only has a Dragon with a similar color scheme as Rhea's, but also is, by accident, the founder of a religious order, all things that Edelgard stands against.
    • Many people have compared Rhea to Palutena, in role, personality and mostly appearance. Come Byleth's inclusion as a downloadable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one of the spirit fights accompanying them is Rhea possessing a Palutena puppet fighter.
    • Byleth can dress up as Sothis thanks to DLC, and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they can do so again, even if it is just a Palette Swap as opposed to a full outfit.
    • Many Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown fans are rather tickled to find out that Full Band is up to his old tricks again, this time leading his own house as he ferrets out secrets and schemes. Thankfully, this time around, there's no AWACs Bandog to Make It Look Like an Accident.
    • A common Fanon idea was that Claude's name wasn't his actual name, and that he created a new one to hide his Alymran heritage. In an interview with Nintendo Dream, it was confirmed that Claude's birth name is Khalid.
    • One of the more popular memes in the community was taking characters who didn't have good physical skills and having them use Brawling weapons, with Marianne and Mercedes being two of the most popular examples. The Cindered Shadows DLC would later add a class for both genders that specialized in Brawling and Faith magic, meaning that now this meme idea actually has merit to it.
    • There are number of people who notice that Leopold, a villager from Animal Crossing strongly resembles Seteth. While this is likely due to both latest installments of both series being on the Switch, what makes this a tad funnier is that while Leopold's design predates Seteth's, his house interior in New Horizons is a classroom, and one of Seteth's quotes for reclassing is "I must set course for a new horizon".
    • The game set into a country being divided into three sections, each having tension with each other. The initial section of it is dedicated into fighting different minor threats, while trying to solve the mystery of the protagonists enigmatic past and the world around them. Eventually the story escalates into all out war between the three divided sections as one of the villains, a masked figure with ties of a villainous organization doing human experimentations turns out to be one of the allies the entire time. It's later revealed that the events in the game were more or less caused by a Greater-Scope Villain who was behind most if not all of the story's major events whether directly or indirectly. And the protagonist is related to essentially share the body/conscience with a major character who tried to stop and was murdered by said greater scope villain before they ultimately fuse with the protagonist. Doesn't this sound rather familiar?
  • Ho Yay: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise here.

    I 
  • Iron Woobie: Dimitri in the second half of the Azure Moon route. Despite the fact that his father and knights are dead, his stepmother may have been involved with it, his stepsister is a tyrannical warlord, and he's almost certainly going to be struggling through his traumas for the rest of his life, he refuses to let it all hold him down any more and instead focuses on reforming the world and cherishing what he still has.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: While the game is overall very well-liked, a large contingent of fans and reviewers have criticized the lack of difficulty compared to previous titles in the series. The hardest initial difficulty setting available on a first playthrough is less difficult than the hard modes present in Fire Emblem Fates or Fire Emblem Awakening. Features like the ability to micromanage your units and the Divine Pulse mechanic, while appealing in their own right, also hurt the challenge. More challenging difficulties can be unlocked upon beating the game once (and "Maddening" mode was added in a patch about two months after the game's release), but those who want a Nintendo Hard experience right away are out of luck.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: The Crimson Flower route has received some criticism for being a few chapters shorter than the others (it has 18 chapters, the other two houses have 22 and the Silver Snow route has 21). It doesn't help that the fact that the epilogue of said route states the Black Eagle Strike Force clashed with "those who slither in the dark" after the events of route and goes unseen despite having received buildup within the route itself, which could have easily have filled in that dearth of content.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Despite the different intra-house interactions, all three versions of White Clouds feature the same plot beats and monthly missions. It can be jarring how the shared pre-timeskip plot, which, for example, features battles against Ashe's adoptive father and Sylvain's disinherited elder brother, seems almost tailor-made for the Blue Lions and no one else. Of particular note is Chapter 11 in the Black Eagles route, as it forces Byleth and the other students to fight Edelgard regardless if the player has attended her coronation, sides with her ideals and intend to follow the Crimson Flower branch or not, which has led many players to wish that particular chapter played out differently depending on their choices, similar to how Chapter 12 does work on that route.
    • The Silver Snow route gets a lot of flak for being a variation of Verdant Wind but without Claude, with the exception of the removal of the fight on Gronder Field and the different final level. While this might have been the point, since both the Alliance and the Church of Seiros happen to be the factions that are the most neutral on the conflict, and the path is seen as an option for those who aren't willing to side with Edelgard after learning what she's done, it's still disappointing that said route turns out to be a rehash of another existing path, especially for those hoping that it would be a sort of Rhea route and feature more of her throughout than the other routes. Interestingly, one group of fans instead criticize Verdant Wind for being too similar to Silver Snow, reasoning that the cinematic with Edelgard's death makes more sense on that route, and speculate that Verdant Wind may actually be the rehash. Meanwhile, another group also criticizes Silver Snow for being a rehash of Claude's route, claiming that receiving reinforcements from Judith and the plan to infiltrate Fort Merceus make more sense on the context of Verdant Wind, and not helping matters is that some monastery dialogue shared between both routes seems to have been written with the Golden Deer route in mind rather than Silver Snow. In the end, though, Claude's route doesn't get a lot of flak because Silver Snow, unlike Verdant Wind, has some contention of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot and Disappointing Last Level for many players.
      • The arguments took on new meaning when it was revealed in an interview that Silver Snow was in fact the first route developed, and its worldbuilding was used as the basis for the other routes. That it came first proves that Verdant Wind's similar elements are indeed a rehash of sorts.
    • Even apart from Silver Snow, the first halves of the non-Crimson Flower routes are sometimes criticized for being highly similar to each other, featuring the battle to retake the monastery, the second battle of Garreg Mach, meeting reinforcements in Ailell, crossing the Great Bridge of Myrddin, and fighting in Gronder Field, although the Silver Snow route lacks the latter, as mentioned above.
  • It Was His Sled: While still spoiler tagged on this wiki, the fact that decisions you make on the Black Eagles route will change the route you are on, that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor and opposed to the church, and that Flayn, Seteth, and Rhea are using aliases to protect their real identities are common things that are known across the fandom.

    J 
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Lysithea acts bratty and is too prideful for her own good most of the time, especially when her berserk buttons are pressed. However, considering the hell she went through as an even younger child, and the result of it, it's a miracle she didn't turn out more like Edelgard. Thankfully, in certain paired endingsnote , her Crests are removed, restoring her lifespan.
    • Edelgard, for those who find her sympathetic due to her Dark and Troubled Past. While her actions throughout the game can’t be entirely justified to some, it’s hard not to sympathize with her a bit due to what she went through.
    • Sylvain may be a notorious womaniser and serial heartbreaker, and even admits to toying around with the feelings of women ("Playing around with girls is the most fun a guy can have."), but it's not like he's like this for no reason. Pretty much his whole life, he's felt his value was determined by something he had no control over (namely, his Crest), and it's not like such a concern is unfounded, since his Crest was the cause of his parents preferring him over Miklan, which resulted in the latter's abuse of him. Additionally, he feels the girls who want him don't want him, but the potential rewards of loving him, namely the privilege of bearing a child with a Crest.
    • Dimitri during the Verdant Wind route and the first half of the Azure Moon route. He's had an utterly miserable life; his father and entire retinue of knights were slaughtered in front of him, he is constantly tormented by hallucinations of his loved ones demanding vengeance, and the Wham Episode reveals his childhood friend/stepsister/former love interest Edelgard is an accomplice to it all. Then, during the timeskip, he is ousted from his kingdom in a coup, his best friend is presumed dead saving his life, and he is forced to become a vagrant for five years. Unsurprisingly, by the time Part II rolls around he's become a psychotic shell of a man who can only deal with his suffering by obsessively trying to get revenge on the one villain within his capacity to hurt.

    L 
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Unsurprisingly, Byleth, due to the ability to pair them with nearly every character in the game and being the only character that's able to S-support. They’re even rarely paired with NPC characters.
    • Of the three lords, Dimitri is this the most. Outside of his ship with female Byleth being his most popular one, he has been shipped with male Byleth as well as almost every student including the other two lords but most popularly Claude. He also gets shipped with the Church of Seiros characters, Glenn, Rodrigue, as well as other NPCs.
  • Les Yay: Catherine has so much that it's surprising that she's not an S rank option for Female Byleth. She's devoted towards Rhea who is bisexual, and she gets flustered after Shamir suggests marriage in their A+ support (after a couple lines saying that they'll always be partners). That said, she explicitly mentions to Leonie that she has an interest in men.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Unsurprising, since the game has multiple canonical same-sex romance options, but Edelgard, Dorothea, Shamir, and Catherine in particular are immensely popular among lesbians and bi women. For gay and bisexual men, Claude, post-timeskip Dimitri, Linhardt, and Dedue are incredibly popular as well. Female Byleth, despite being the Player Character, seems to be popular among gay and bisexual women as well, as well as Male Byleth being so among gay and bisexual men. Timeskip Sylvain has also joined the ranks of being favored by the LGBT fanbase, and it's not uncommon to see Sylvain depicted as a bara in fan art due to this, especially in the eastern community.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Edelgard, depending on the player's perspective. Even to those who do not agree and/or sympathize with her reasons for her actions, some still consider her to be a very enjoyable anti-hero/villain depending on the route.
    • Rhea. Even amongst her detractors, she is also considered an interesting and tragic figure that in some ways adds to her antagonism. Special mention goes to her in the Crimson Flower route where she is actively present in the story during several chapters in Part II (even donning and fighting in her old garb as Seiros from the opening cutscene) and makes quite the terrifying antagonist as opposed to other routes where she is nothing more than an off-screen Damsel in Distress until near the end of the game, or spends the entirety of Part II offscreen (on Azure Moon).
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    M 
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Edelgard von Hresvelg is the leader of the Black Eagle house and heiress to the Adrestian Empire, as the sole surviving heir and successor to her father Ionius IX. Edelgard kickstarts the plot by acting as the Flame Emperor to have the heirs apparent of the other nations, Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd of Faerghus and Claude von Riegan of Leicester, assassinated by bandits. Edelgard's goal is to dismantle the Church of Seiros, which she views as corrupt and after preparing behind the scenes for a year, she declares war on the Church, forcing everyone's hand, as she marches towards her grand ambitions. On the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard sways the reincarnation of the goddess Sothis, Byleth Eisner, to her cause, executes or exiles Claude, slays Dimitri, kills Rhea, Archbishop of the Church and daughter of the goddess, and conquers the entire continent of Fódlan. On the other routes, after being bested, Edelgard demands to be executed so that the war can end. Despite Edelgard's cold and calculating demeanor and seeming perfectionist attitude, those who have earned her respect, such as Byleth, are treated to a much warmer side of her. In the end, Edelgard succeeds or almost succeeds in bringing Fódlan to its knees, her actions pave the way for the societal reforms she dreamed of, and she removes the corrupt influence of "those who slither in the dark".
    • Hubert von Vestra is the brilliant right hand of Edelgard, serving out of genuine love and loyalty toward her. Cloaking his intelligence in an Obviously Evil persona, Hubert proves a vital asset to the Adrestian Empire in their war against the Church of Seiros. Often opting for assassination and usually handling the dirty work of Edelgard's schemes, Hubert secures her rule by ordering the deaths of every noble in the Adrestian Empire when she rises to power and is even willing to stray from her orders to ensure her goals are achieved, no matter what he must do. Taking to the field often to face foes of the Empire, Hubert proves himself an excellent and analytical tactician who can deduce enemy plans and dispense valuable advice. If the Empire is successful, Hubert proves an effective advisor to Edelgard for years to come. If they fail, he valiantly engages in a final stand against the Empire's enemies. If given the opportunity, Hubert has a posthumous letter sent to the victors to ensure the defeat of "those who slither in the dark".
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Lysithea has gotten this treatment thanks how easy it is for her to kill the Death Knight (mostly due to her being equipped with anti-cavalry black magic). Some even jokingly stated that the Death Knight is scared of her.
    • In contrast to his Crimson Flower counterpart, Azure Moon's Dimitri is this. There are stories of players using him to clear entire maps, reactions to his big scene in the Holy Tomb, his quotable lines (most famously "Kill every last one of them!"), his insane stats, and the fact that he's able to match the popularity of veteran Nintendo characters in polls.
    • Edelgard's considered utterly broken as a unit. She can perform absurd feats thanks to her relic, ranging from — as an enemy — decimating half of the player's army in just one turn to — in her own route — being capable to solo entire maps on her own, and Crimson Flower allowing players to be a true anti-hero also contributes to her having this status. For those who agree with her ideals, this trope certainly applies, as Edelgard is the first lord to actively avert Villains Act, Heroes React.
    • Out of all the Lords, Claude has this status the most; being the first lord to ride a wyvern and use a bow does him wonders. There is also the fact that he's the first lord to have claim over TWO nations instead of one. His reputation is also helped by literally being a Memetic Badass and having a ton of memes created revolving around him.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Lorenz became a meme due to his goofy design and personality. Fans either view him as a loser or in a league above the other students. He's also sometimes characterized with a foot fetish, partially due to helping Mercedes back to her room after she twists her ankle. Fans also comment on the matter that he's sometimes only recruited in non-Golden Deer routes so that they can access his paralogue, then immediately give his Thyrsus staff to Lysithea, making him nothing more than fuel to Lysithea's destruction power.
    • Crimson Flower Dimitri has this reputation in some circles compared to Azure Moon Dimitri. This is due to not having his badass eyepatch, being just sad and broken compared to what a rage-fueled powerhouse Azure Moon Dimitri is, and that despite his toughness as a boss, he's overshadowed as a threat on the map by Stone Demonic Beast Dedue. There are also jokes about the fact that his and Rhea's grand plan to overwhelm the Black Eagle Strike force is foiled by rain of all things, and him giving shelter to Rhea only for her to torch the capital.
    • As a consequence of Lysithea's Memetic Badass status, several jokes were made at the Death Knight's expense, showing him being dominated (or even outright terrified) by a small sickly white-haired mage girl.
    • Hubert, due to being the only retainer not to appear on the Garreg Mach stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Leonie's devotion to her role model Jeralt has not gone unnoticed by the fans. She's often memed into an obsessed DILF hunter who's only an S-support for Male Byleth because he's Jeralt's spawn, or because she wants to wear Jeralt's wife's ring.
    • Certain elements of the fanbase have turned Rhea into a source of jokes involving sexual harassment in the workplace and/or her being a cradle-robber. This is thanks to Jeralt's Adult Fear-laden journal and warnings to watch out for her, her invasion of Byleth's personal space in their A-support, which they can call her out on, and the moment after chapter 10 where she watches over the barely conscious Byleth. The latter sounds comforting, but the execution, tone, and the sinister undertones in Rhea's dialogue make the scene creepy.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • All of the routes run on Gray-and-Gray Morality, with various plotlines being exclusive to one or more detailed in another, and many revelations are exclusive to one route. Due to this, and the habit of most players to default to one route as being "their Golden Ending", many fans will take their route's storyline as being the one that explains all of the game's story as fact, even when other routes throw suggestions that it's not the case. A person playing the Crimson Flower route, for example, might see Rhea as hating all of humanity, behind every single problem in Fódlan, and pure evil, due to Edelgard's biased assertions about her, missing the nuance of the Silver Snow route and the revelations of the Verdant Wind route, while someone on the other routes will see Edelgard as an Evil Overlord who caused the Tradegy of Duscur, and the game's Big Bad, causing them to miss her Dark and Troubled Past, her valid points about Fódlan's status, genuine desire to improve Fódlan, and reasons for her actions. The routes most guilty of this are the Crimson Flower and the Azure Moon route, because they are the ones most opposite with each other in terms of how they present all the players in the conflict, and present many views and revelations that are true, but only from a certain point of view. Even the Verdant Wind route, the route that reveals a lot of the world's history is not one-hundred percent the most accurate route, as many plotlines and reveals are missing pieces that the other routes explain.
    • The notion that the game operates on Gray-and-Gray Morality leads some fans to believe that this applies to every character, including unambiguously villainous characters like Miklan. Yes, Miklan has some understandable reasons to be upset, but the game very clearly points out that he more or less was responsible for his own failures, and that he was a pretty bad person to begin with.
    • Some fans hold evil/wrong actions a character takes on a single route against them on all routes, ignoring the efforts the game makes to depict each different route (and indeed even each particular playthrough) as being their own universe and having in a sense entirely different characters (i.e. with various characters talking about how differently they could have ended up as people if different choices had been made or events had played out differently). The characters most affected by this are Edelgard and Rhea; no matter what route you play, its common to see the worst of their traits used even when both have good and bad traits that depend on the route you chose to play as.
    • Speaking of the lack of Golden Ending, there's also some parts of the fandom that usually came from the positive side of the Broken Base surrounding Fire Emblem Fates that actually liked that there was a Golden Ending that allowed you to keep (almost) everyone alive and was frustrated that Three Houses deliberately had none due to the stated reasons above (or the fact that forcing on a Golden Ending caused a great mess back in Fates).
  • Moe: Every house, including the Church of Seiros, has at least one character that falls under this, with the Black Eagles having Bernadetta, the Blue Lions having pre-timeskip Annette, the Golden Deer having a double whammy in Lysithea and Marianne, the Church of Seiros having Flayn, and the Ashen Wolves having Hapi.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Miklan's gang of thieves crosses it in Dimitri's eyes when they wantonly raid several villages, apparently For the Evulz. To Dimitri, stealing to survive is wrong but understandable, but this goes beyond the pale, especially since the villagers they attacked probably won't be able to survive the winter. And according to Yuri in chapter 5, they also kidnap women.
    • Solon crosses it when he drives a bunch of innocent villagers murderously berserk using dark magic, motivated purely For Science!. Even the Flame Emperor is disturbed at that one, and they're not exactly a saint themselves.
    • Edelgard has several major contenders for the moment they cross the line, both in and out of universe:
      • Some people who dislike the character believe she crossed the line at the very beginning of the game, being the mastermind behind the bandit attack you fend off in the Prologue.
      • In-universe, their enemies believe she crosses it during her raid on the Holy Tomb in Chapter 11, which is also the point where she's revealed to be the Flame Emperor. Notably, Byleth can feel the same way and even consider her a lost cause, regardless of whether they attended her coronation on the Black Eagles route or not.
      • Post-timeskip, she potentially crosses it with ruthless tactics such as lighting a hill on fire to slow down the Kingdom/Alliance advance even though her classmate Bernadetta may still be on it.
      • In-universe on the Azure Moon path, Dimitri relents in his initial hatred for her and tries to reconcile despite her past actions, but nonetheless believes the moment she turns herself into Hegemon Edelgard, renouncing her humanity despite the entire basis of her war being putting Fódlan in humanity's hands, is when her ideals are rendered indefensible.
    • Lady Rhea has two noteworthy examples in which many believe the line of no return was crossed:
      • At the end of the Crimson Flower route, she orders Fhirdiad to be burned to the ground to kill the Black Eagle Strike Force, fully unwilling to let the innocent civilians evacuate and uncaring that they will be caught in the crossfire. And this is after Fhirdiad gave her shelter and their king just died to protect her.
      • With the release of Wave 4 DLC, some players lost all respect for her and, by extension, the Church of Seiros due to information found in the Abyssal Library, regardless of her reasons. If what the one of the books says is true, Rhea is responsible for banning certain inventions, specifically oil, the telescope and the printing press (as opposed to the woodblock printing that is accepted), as well as rendering autopsies taboo, in effect hindering Fódlan's ability to learn, or improve medical science. While there were some debates about whether the books in the library were real or not, Word of God has confirmed that they are in a Nintendo Dream Interview.
    • With the release of Wave 3 DLC came the full details of Jeritza's backstory. From it, many players believed that his father, Baron Bartels, crossed it when he decided to forcefully marry Mercedes, his step-daughter, in order to produce more Crest-bearing children. It's a small wonder that many were glad Jeritza offed him before he had the chance to do so.

    N 
  • Narm Charm:
    • Claude's "friendship speech", as first seen in the E3 trailer, is undoubtedly cheesy. But because of the actual context of the scene it takes place in, with him using it to distract Nemesis and set Byleth up for the kill, as well as Joe Zieja's fantastic delivery, you won't care.
    • Female Byleth's comically large bust is a sticking point for many, but it's turned into an honest to God charm point for the character. Multiple fans have poked fun at the idea of playing as a character with one of the largest busts in the game, with various fan comics and discussions centered around the unconventional absurdity of it.
    • Female Byleth's outfit, both the normal one and the Enlightened One regalia. Many people still hate both, especially the lace tights and midriff-baring, but a larger-than-expected contingent of fans love both costumes unironically. It helps that the base outfit has a lot more personality — with fans appreciating its goth/punk aesthetic with the added feminine trimming in the pink tassel — as opposed to Male Byleth's rather generic clothes.
    • Lysithea and Cyril's A+ support mostly consists of Lysithea reading a letter from Cyril full of spelling and grammar errors. It's still a big achievement for Cyril, who starts their supports illiterate, and Lysithea is delighted by it. The player may still find themselves feeling "bappy" after reading it.
    • One of the most common animations is the "Excited" one in which characters lean forward with their arms bent up and shaking. While perfectly in-character for characters like Flayn, even the more serious characters like Seteth and Hanneman will do it, too. And at the same time, it comes off as quite endearing — showing just how much they respect you. Even more, the characters won't do this until after you've spent several sessions tutoring them in private.
    • "Those who slither in the dark" is possibly the longest and most ridiculously overblown faction name ever, but given who they are and the nature of their tactics, it really fits. Especially when it's Hubert who introduces you to them on the Verdant Wind and Crimson Flower route.
    • The Mood Whiplash that is Dimitri during the White Heron Cup. He's still seething from the massacre at Remire Village, and sounds very bloodthirsty and vengeful. Then, seemingly goes back to his normal self by begging not be chosen for a dance competition, and gets very annoyed when he is. Chris Hackney somehow smoothes through the mood change like it's nothing, and makes it work.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Leonie and Cyril have a lot of traits that make them unique and have some well-developed supports with other characters. Unfortunately, because of Leonie's admittedly disliked support with Byleth and Cyril's aloof personality, they've been exaggerated by the fans to be utterly obsessed with Jeralt and Rhea respectively, basically ignoring any other traits or supports they have. Making things worse in Leonie's case is that her A-support with Byleth gives a Jerkass Realization and a genuine apology, but true to this trope, the fandom doesn't really acknowledge it because of how bad her first impression was to many (fans of hers argue that her B-support being locked until after Jeralt's death was the writers really screwing her over). Cyril has it even worse, considering his relative popularity compared to Leonie as he lacks the same amount of focus Leonie gets until late enough where people will have no reason to use him. In his case, it doesn't help that players who choose the Black Eagles will have less opportunity to see his better traits, as depending on your choice in Chapter 11 he's either unrecruitable and an enemy who will stand with Rhea even at her worst or joins with no fanfare in Chapter 12, giving the player little opportunity to use or build supports with him.
    • Some people can't get over Alois and Gilbert due to how their S-support ranks are misleading and blaming them for the game's dual-male options. Even though they are well-rounded characters and their supports with Byleth still are sweet even if they aren't romantic, since they offer Byleth their Undying Loyalty regardless of gender, they still get harsh treatment from some fans.
    • Rhea's infamous lap pillow scene with Byleth at the end of Chapter 10 due to its framing, atmosphere, execution, and creepy implications, has had many fans painting her as a Memetic Molester, also not helped by the fact that romancing her is also possibly romancing your grandma who is also your daughter.
    • Ingrid gets a lot of criticism for her xenophobia towards the people of Duscur, despite the fact that it only comes up in-game during her supports with Dedue, plus one monastery conversation, both of which are exclusive to Azure Moon (as that monastery conversation is replaced in the other routes by her praising the bountiful resources of Garreg Mach) — meaning that if you play any other route first and recruit her, it's still possible to miss it entirely. Additionally, those same supports see her coming to regret her hostility towards him and apologizing to Dedue for her behavior. It's made clear that Ingrid never had all of the information regarding the Tragedy of Duscur, she was younger and more impressionable when it happened, and it's only because her fiancé Glenn Fraldarius died in the Tragedy that she's facing constant pressure from her father to accept an arranged marriage that will support the Galatea family financially — but none of this matters to the fans who write her off derisively as a xenophobe. Ironically, this wasn't the first time that Intelligent Systems wrote a character that dealt with being a bigot; they previously did it with Jill, and she got over it enough to become a fan favorite, but she never (or at least just rarely) had a Never Live It Down phenomenon, unlike Ingrid.
    • Sylvain’s playboy antics. While it’s not particularly difficult to view him as a shallow philanderer due to the fact that it’s his most prominent character trait, he’s also another character that falls in line with there being more to him than that meets the eye. Looking deeper into his supports and his actions over the course of the game would reveal that his laid-back behavior is merely a front he puts on to mask his insecurities and to keep others from having high expectations of him. Not only is he shown to be one of the most intelligent and reflective characters in the story, he is also far more dark than he initially lets on.
  • No Yay: For some fans, the notion of a romance between Byleth and Rhea becomes this after it's revealed that Rhea was responsible for creating Byleth's mother, as well as the fact that for the first half of the game, Rhea believed Byleth could "become" Sothis through her implanted Crest Stone. They liken it to if a woman were to marry her own grandchild, who also happens to be her mother. The game does address a bit of this in their S-support where Rhea clarifies her romantic feelings developed toward Byleth's own identity, rather than anything to do with Sothis. The ambiguity of specifically how Byleth's mother was made and what she was in relation to Rhea remains, though.

    O 
  • Older Than They Think:
    • There was some surprise at the fact that the characters of Three Houses have surnames. While it is true that last names are a rarity in Fire Emblem, this game is far from the first to feature them, with the short list including Albein Alm Rudolf II, Anthiese Lima (aka Celica), Seliph Baldos Chalphy, Leif Faris Claus, the Reed family (Brendan and sons Lloyd & Linus), Elincia Ridell Crimea, Jill Fizzart (and her father Shiharam), and Sanaki Kirsch Altina. Even Marth had the family name "Lowell" in the dub of the OVA from 1996, though that isn't canon to the Japanese version, let alone the games' continuity.
    • Having Byleth have two potential paired platonic endings isn't that new in Fire Emblem. There have been several endings that are unambiguously nonromantic in previous Fire Emblem games, most notably Dozla and L'Arachel, where Dozla was happy at L'Arachel being married. While it is a first for a paired ending of an S support to be nonromantic in the original text, there were a few paired endings from the localized versions of Awakening and Fates that show no outward implications of romance (specifically, any potential Kissing Cousins couple having more of an ambiguous ending, and Soleil being changed to only have two possible romantic endings).
  • One True Threesome:
    • Dimitri/Byleth/Claude started to become this as several fanworks with the Fandom-Specific Plot of a fusion between the Verdant Wind and Azure Moon route grows common and have Byleth shipped with both Dimitri and Claude in the end.
    • The Japanese fanbase has taken to memetically shipping Ferdinand/Sylvain/Lorenz together and dubbing the trio “The Three Nobles”.
    • For the Black Eagles crowd, solving the Hubert/Ferdinand and Hubert/Edelgard issue is to ship all three together.
    • Owing to the fact they were childhood friends as well as meme that the Blue Lions house had an "Otome" cast, Ingrid having a harem of Sylvain/Felix/Dimitri has memetic and serious support.
    • Another variation of "The Three Nobles" has appeared in the form of Ferdinand/Constance/Lorenz, helped by the fact that Constance is revealed to be Ferdinand’s childhood friend and a noblewoman archetype akin to Ferdinand and Lorenz’s noblemen characterization. It’s even further evolved into being a quartet, featuring Sylvain along with them.

    P 
  • Player Punch:
    • Remember in Radiant Dawn, where the two protagonists (Ike and Micaiah) fought alongside their friends? There were no consequences there for defeating the opponent. Instead, Three Houses goes the Fates route. During the Mêlée à Trois chapter, along with many others, you can actually kill some of the former students. Not knock out, force to retreat, or wound. Kill. To make it worse, Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude will have words to say where they mourn their fallen comrades.
      • Worse still, some characters (namely, Ferdinand on Verdant Wind, Lorenz on Silver Snow, both on Azure Moon, and Felix, Ingrid, Mercedes, and Sylvain on Crimson Flower), are mandatory. The game will even throw salt in the wounds if you go and talk to recruited characters like Dorothea, who will be mourning their death.
    • In general, encountering characters you did not recruit after the Time Skip. More often than not, you're forced to kill them, and most of them are genuinely decent people. It hurts even more if you actively tried to recruit them and failed to do so.
    • As an extension of the above, having to kill, or at least being unable to prevent the deaths of, the Lord characters whose House you did not choose, especially if you've done their route before. The only exception is Claude in certain routes.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: note 
    • "Claudeth", "Claudeleth", or "Bylaude" for Claude/Byleth.
    • "Dimileth" for Dimitri/Byleth.
    • "Edeleth" for Edelgard/Byleth.
    • "Sylvix" and, less commonly, "Sylvelix" are both used for Sylvain/Felix. In the Japanese fanbase, the ship is called ”シルフェリ“ or "Shiruferi" due to how their names are pronounced in Japanese.
    • "Setleth" for Byleth/Seteth. Notable for being only one letter off from one of their names.
    • "Yurileth", for Byleth/Yuri.
    • "Dimilix" for Dimitri/Felix.
    • "Marileth" for Marianne/Byleth.
    • "Dimivain" for Dimitri/Sylvain.
    • "Felileth" for Felix/Byleth. Noticing a pattern here?
    • "Dimidue" for Dimitri/Dedue.
    • "Casphardt" or "Linspar" for Caspar/Linhardt.
    • "Doropetra" or "Petrathea" for Dorothea/Petra.
    • "Petrashe" for Petra/Ashe.
    • "Ferdibert" or "Aegestra" for Ferdinand/Hubert.
    • "Yuridetta" for Yuri/Bernadetta.
    • "Felannie" or "Netteflix" for Felix/Annette. The latter is a pun on Netflix.
    • "Cysithea" for Cyril/Lysithea.
    • "Hildamari" or "Marihilda" for Hilda/Marianne.
    • "Dorogrid" for Dorothea/Ingrid.
    • "Hapistance" for Hapi/Constance. Doubles as a Punny Name on "happenstance".

    R 
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: A non-romantic example with Byleth and any students not recruited on a route where you fight them. The game treats any time they meet and fight as a tragic Fighting Your Friend moment, which works in some cases if you spent time supporting with them before the timeskip but never recruited them, but in most cases it comes across as rather undeserved since, thanks to the recruitment system, the odds you'll have to fight a character are inversely proportional to how invested you are in them. In fact, some students may never have even interacted with Byleth pre-timeskip, yet claim they are conflicted and have trouble justifying doing so. For example, Ashe if not recruited will claim he is having trouble aiming at Byleth on a Crimson Flower route, even though he can potentially have not once spoken to them and has every reason to not feel conflicted. This is rather jarring for Edelgard as well, who always acts this way towards Byleth on every route except her own, while potentially interacting with Byleth only during mandatory moments. The only route that this is justified on is the Silver Snow route because of the branching paths that lead to that moment, but on every other route, it can come across as strange.
  • Rooting for the Empire: For those who agree with Edelgard's ideals and/or dislike the Church of Seiros for their immoral actions, this trope is actually possible if one chooses the Crimson Flower route, where, as a change of pace from the series' normal conventions, you get to actually side with the Empire who serves as a major if not the primary antagonist of all the other routes and wage war against the rest of the continent in all its glory; ironically, unlike what the trope could suggest, siding with the Empire this time isn't actually siding with evil; besides the "alliance" with the Agarthans.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Both Dimitri and Edelgard experience this from the more extreme detractors of their respective routes due to their insistence on who may have been more “in the right”. Rhea and the Church also don’t escape from this due to some fans of the Crimson Flower route adopting a black and white view on their actions and refusing to see them as more than just antagonists. Only Claude seems to avoid this treatment, with the most criticism of his character usually boiling down to claims that his story is “boring” compared to the conflict between the other two lords.

    S 
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Recruiting students from the other houses. To do so, your Byleth needs to have a high enough proficiency and stat that the student asks for, and their support rank will help too. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you the exact stat or proficiency level you need, and some proficiencies are difficult for Byleth to obtain. Additionally, recruited characters will be a little behind the player's house students since they're missing out on levels or instruction that those students got up to that point. In particular, any character who requires a Magic skill or movement based skill tend to suffer this, as Byleth has no way of naturally getting those without using Seminars and Faculty Training.
    • Supports in this game face a few issues:
      • The first is that you can't guarantee paired endings, since characters will pair up with whoever they have gained the most support points with among their A-ranks. The game doesn't tell you any of this, of course, so it either takes trial and error to get the paired endings you want, or you simply have to not achieve A-ranks but miss out on conversations. This is alleviated somewhat with the last wave of DLC adding the Wayseer, who lets you guarantee paired endings, but if you're either unwilling or unable to fork out the cash for it, you're stuck with the above two options.
      • The second is the matter of the S-ranks, which only Byleth can achieve. You can choose Byleth's S-rank partner only before the final maps of each route, meaning that to max them out for completion's sake, you have to go through all of those final maps over and over and over. Making this worse is that Crimson Flower and Azure Moon both have two-part maps.
      • Finally, the last point of contention is that some support levels in particular routes cannot be raised past a certain point in the story, and the only way the game lets you know is telling you after the fact that you missed your chance.
    • Some Paralogues are tied to multiple characters — and sometimes, they aren't even in the same house (or recruited to your party yet in the case of the Knights of Seiros). This is no problem in part one; if one character is part of your house, the second will join you temporarily. In part two, both need to be in the party, and they often have no obvious connection (Caspar and Mercedes? Lysithea and Ferdinand? Linhardt and Leonie?). Some paralogues are also route locked as well; Annette and Gilbert is exclusive to the Azure Moon route meaning Annette will only ever get to use Crusher on that route, while Caspar/Mercedes and Ferdinand/Lysithea are unavailable on Crimson Flower due to the Death Knight being your ally and Arundel having less power in the Empire and being unable to trigger the Hrym revolt respectively.
    • Hosting Tea Parties is rather obnoxious. You are made to pick topics of discussion from a list of three and try to figure out which topic is of most interest to your guest. Sometimes what not to pick is obvious (Edelgard probably won't be that interested in a discussion about the benefits of crests for instance), but sometimes the topics are vague enough that it's a crapshoot. Additionally, some topics you think a character will like is shown to be a negative (for example, Claude likes animals but he doesn't want to talk about cats to hide the fact he likes them). And if you manage to get all the topic choices correct, your guest will make a comment and you have to pick a reply they approve of. The answers you have are even more vague (with one instance being a choice between "commend", "nod", and "praise") and sometimes how they relate to what the person said is utterly cryptic, leading to them being mocked. And if you don't do well enough, you don't get the charm boost, making the tea time partially wasted effort. Luckily, a DLC sidequest made it so you get one redo if you pick a wrong option per tea time, but it still feels a bit too random.
    • Master classes often require more investment than they're worth. Long story short, expect most players to just stick with Wyvern Lord, or even Falcon Knight, whenever possible, as those two classes are more natural and direct upgrades for their predecessors (Wyvern Rider and Pegasus Knight, respectively).
      • They have limited variety—there are only nine compared to twelve advanced classes. Worse, most of them require a proficiency that the logical preceding advanced class has no use for, meaning you have to deliberately train at a proficiency that will be mostly useless until the certification. This is most obvious with the numerous mounted master classes, which require Fortress Knights, Snipers, Warlocks, and Bishops to suddenly learn how to ride.
      • What makes the variety issue even more annoying is that three of the nine classes—in other words, 1/3rd of the master classes—are gender-locked: the War Master for men and Falcon Knight + Gremory for women. Gender-locked classes really stand out in a game that went out of its way to give many same-gender S-supports for Byleth. As a result, the only master class with brawling support is male-exclusive.
      • Compounding with the lack of variety even further still is that a lot of master classes just aren't worth it due to terrible growths, bad skills, or both. Mortal Savant is the only master class specializing in swords and has a negative speed growth. The advanced sword classes, Swordmaster and Assassin, are very speed-heavy classes, so their only master class progression kneecaps one of their specialties. Gremory is pretty underwhelming due to lackluster growths and an approach to quantity vs. quality in magic in a game where you can beat the maps in a handful of turns. Great Knights have downgraded growths compared to their corresponding advanced classes, and their skills don't make up for it. Finally, Dark/Holy Knights are classes with mixed offensive potential, but have abilities and/or growths that lean more towards magic, leaving physical mounted units suboptimal master class picks.
    • The fact that dialogue choices can provide support points, which you miss if you skip the scene. This indirectly means the game punishes you, even if just a little, for skipping dialogue in a game that has a lot of dialogue, which can make replays particularly annoying, especially if the player wants to S-Rank Sothis at the end of the game, as it is the only way to earn support points with the character. The New Game+ mechanic mitigates this by allowing you to buy back attained support levels with an in-game currency, but there are more pressing in-battle advantages you may want to spend those points on instead.
    • The Side Story campaign of the Cindered Shadows DLC places pretty strict restrictions on character classes. Characters can level up and reclass, but can only reclass into the classes that were unlocked for them at the start of the campaign, and cannot increase their weapon skill levels in any way. All well and good for the Ashen Wolves themselves, as the campaign is more or less designed to show off the skills of their new classes, but it becomes very troubling if one has already become familiar with using the normal Garreg Mach students. Have you gotten used to using unorthodox skill sets like an Edelgard who uses Reason or a Lance wielding Ashe? Tough luck.
    • From an aesthetic standpoint, the inability to let the characters wear their cutscene outfits as mounted classes. While this is likely to avoid the character model clipping into the mounts (such as the case with characters wearing dresses), many of the students' default classes are mounted in the first place, yet are relegated to generic class outfits if changing into another mounted class. For example, Sylvain wears his default outfit as a Cavalier or Paladin, but loses it if he class changes into a Wyvern Lord or a Dark Knight.
    • Characters wanting to change their Goals during lectures is a minor but still annoying mechanic. During lectures, characters can approach Byleth and ask to change their Goals based on random reasons. Most of the time these seem to be based on what the current skill levels they have are, but sometimes they are extremely odd, such as having a Squishy Mage suddenly want to learn how to become a Swordmaster because they gained a level in their Sword skill. If you reject this, you can still apply them to the characters, but they're simply there so one can place characters between Goals they're likely to be taking anyways and some of these requests can even be asked when they're the exact same Goals they're already doing. While it can help players know which Goals the character could be good at, it can still be annoying and a time-waster for some.
  • Ship Mates:
    • People who ship Edelgard/Dimitri/Claude with Byleth seem to be the same people who ship Chrom with Robin from Awakening.
    • Dimitri/Byleth fans tend to get along well with Sylvain/Felix fans, with many interpreting the four characters as True Companions who go on double dates. This is especially true for the Yaoi version of Dimitri/Byleth
    • People who ship Edelgard/Dimitri (ironically, unironically, or both) also ship Claude/Byleth. Because of how different each outcome is, despite the similarity between all four characters.
    • If someone ships one of the Black Eagles' four main same-sex pairings (F!Byleth/Edelgard, Hubert/Ferdinand, Dorothea/Petra and Linhardt/Caspar), then chances are high that they also ship the other three — and probably some less popular combinations as well.
    • Hubert/Ferdinand shippers tend to have a special fondness for Dorothea/Ferdinand as a platonic ship, having them be best friends and confidants.
    • Dorothea/Ferdinand shippers tend to also be Hubert/Edelgard shippers, especially in depictions of them leading the Black Eagles Faction. Dorothea/Ferdinand shippers also get along with those who ship Felix and Sylvain either with each other or with Annette and Mercedes, given that those two Blue Lions guys are usually a popular choice for Dorothea as well.
    • Felix/Annette shippers and Sylvain/Mercedes or Sylvain/Ingrid shippers seem to go together hand in hand.
    • If Dorothea is paired with Felix, then it usually follows that Sylvain and Ferdinand are keeping Annette and Mercedes busy respectively. (Ferdinand cannot be romantically paired with Annette in-game).
    • Some Claude/Byleth shippers also end up shipping Cyril/Lysithea, as well as Hilda/Marianne.
    • Fans of twin Byleth AUs usually pair one with Dimitri and the other with Edelgard.
    • Some Edelgard/Byleth shippers also ship Hilda/Marianne. Unfortunately, since Hilda can't be recruited on Crimson Flower, it isn't possible to do both pairings in a single playthrough.
    • Many Caspar/Hilda fans are still fans of many of the ships involving the Black Eagles, including Hubert/Edelgard and Byleth/Edelgard, even though as noted above, you can't enjoy both at once due to Hilda not being able to join Crimson Flower.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night:
    • Some fans have taken to shipping Dimitri with Hilda. Neither of them can have a support conversation in-game, but this was originally fueled by the Fandom-Specific Plot of a fusion of the Verdant Wind and Azure Moon routes which usually has Dimitri saved either by Claude or Hilda herself, and the fans went from there.
    • There are also several of these with the supporting cast who have never interacted with each other but the fandom thinks they would be a great match if they had. For example, some think Sylvain/Claude despite never interacting would be a good pair due to their similar laidback personalities or at least the personality Sylvain puts on.
    • A lot of fans are disappointed that Sylvain doesn't even support with Petra, who would have provided an interesting contrast as a princess forced to be a hostage with the cynical, handsome Sylvain.
    • Sylvain/Bernadetta has gained some traction as it is a genuinely sweet support chain that ends disappointingly at the B-support. It's one of the few supports featuring Sylvain where his womanizing never makes an appearance, as he genuinely appreciates Bernadetta's writing and simply wants to read more.
    • Sylvain/Marianne is often lamented as wasted potential as they have a very cute B-support with Sylvain treating Marianne very gently and teaching her how to smile and Marianne opening up a bit to Sylvain, and both of them had their lives ruined by Crests, but they never discuss this and they can't even A-support.
    • Yuri/Ashe has gained some traction (despite the fact that the two cannot support) thanks to Ashe recognizing Yuri in the Ashen Wolves route as Count Rowe's ward and urging him to return home, while Yuri states if he faces Ashe in battle that he really doesn't want to kill him. Fans also like contrasting Yuri's cynicism with Ashe's idealistic personality.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Many conversations, including almost every support conversation, feature the characters' 3D models standing in front of a 2D panoramic backdrop. Unlike some other games that use similar techniques, such as Persona 5, it's far more obvious. This is mostly due to the camerawork in these scenes; as the camera moves around a lot and often leaves the ground in clear view, it's very easy to spot where the 2D image bends. Another dead giveaway is that any flames in these backgrounds remain completely static.
    • Speaking of supports, Byleth's C-support with Alois has him and Byleth having a conversation and as they are supposed to be fishing, their arms aren't even touching the fishing rods, and the textbox does a poor attempt to cover their hands. The fishing rods are just awkwardly floating in the air.
    • Every time you use a gambit that involves the battalion charging at your enemy, no matter what the gender makeup of your battalion is, the sound used is that of an obviously-masculine group shouting as they charge… even if you're using pegasus knights. Oops.
    • The clouds under the red canyon always face the same direction relative to you. If you change the camera angle, they'll immediately rotate in place to follow the camera.
    • Anytime Manuela raises her arms it shows a black void in her sleeves, making it look like her arms are hollow.
    • As part of the DLC and Free Updates, Rhea was made an option for Tea Times. However, its clear her model was not designed for this, as whenever she does anything like rest on the table or drink tea, her clothing cuts through her arm.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Many comparisons have been made between the game's main plotline and Code Geass. Both involve a member of the world's ruling power (Lelouch and Edelgard) suffering a horrific tragedy due to said ruling power's innate corruption and despotism, leading them to become utterly obsessed with exterminating the world power by the roots and replacing it with a more peaceful power. They are willing to go to whatever lengths is necessary in order to achieve their goals, and one major arc in both stories even involves them assuming a masked alter-ego who infiltrates a resistance movement against the corrupt power and quickly becomes its leader. Their main opponent (Suzaku and Dimitri) is an initial Wide-Eyed Idealist who gradually becomes more cynical as the plot progresses and who serves as a loyal enforcer of the world power. While this second individual recognizes the corruption within the world power and seeks to change it from within, he vehemently opposes the rebel leader's methods due to how ruthless and destructive they are. Eventually, they're forced to face their former friends in battle. Several times. Not to mention the giant mechs that you have to defeat at the end of some routes, as well as some cities essentially being completely obliterated in some routes as well. There's also the fact that a semi-neutral party consisting of a mystical green-haired girl (C.C. and Sothis) that are capable of passing down their power.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
    • The narrated chapter titles all have "Part I" or "Part II" included in them, depending on how far you are into the story. Obviously, any chapter still beginning with "Part I: White Clouds" is nowhere close to the end of the game.
    • Byleth is only allowed to choose a character to S-rank at a specific point of the story, during the final exploration month. On certain routes (Verdant Wind and Silver Snow, which seemingly conclude with the siege of Enbarr and the assault on Shambhala before the final battles), not being able to do this when the plot seems to be about to wrap up gives away the fact that the bad guy you're about to fight isn't the Final Boss, and there's still another chapter left.
  • Squick:
    • Once you find out what the Heroes' Relics are, you'll realize how disgusting they actually are: They are weapons forged from the remains of murdered Nabateans, including Sothis herself. The Sword of the Creator looks like an actual spine and promotional materials has Sothis holding the sword. In other words, she's literally holding her own spine.
    • For some players, an S-Support with Rhea becomes this after learning that Byleth's mother was created from Rhea's blood as a vessel for Sothis. As such, marrying Rhea is like marrying someone who's simultaneously their mother, grandmother, and daughter. This sentiment started getting worse after the Cindered Shadows sidestory DLC reveals that Byleth's mother saw Rhea as a Parental Substitute.
    • To some, the older characters Balthus, Hanneman and Manuela being able to romance the younger characters comes off as quite squicky due to the rather large age gaps between them, with Manuela/Ferdinand, Hanneman/Edelgard and Balthus/Lysithea being major points of contention. Some others dismiss this due to the characters all being of legal age by the time they’re able to settle down.
  • Superlative Dubbing: Overall, the English voice acting has been universally praised, with specific roles singled out below.
    • In general, while there are many experienced voice actors in the cast, many cast members are relatively new and only had bit parts to their name, many of them being characters in Fire Emblem Heroes. Many get an opportunity to play more fully realized characters, such as Joe Brogie (Sylvain), Joe Zieja (Claude), Allegra Clark (Dorothea and Shamir), Ben Lepley (Dedue), and Ratana (Leonie).
    • Chris Hackney's performance as Dimitri has been universally praised, with his voice acting perfectly capturing the emotional anguish the character goes through. Needless to say, many were disappointed he didn’t even get a nomination for his voice acting as Dimitri at the Game Awards in 2019.
    • Cherami Leigh's performance at Rhea has been widely praised for the range of emotions the character goes through on each route. Especially when she goes from serene and saintly to an Ax-Crazy womanchild.

    T 
  • That One Attack:
    • Raging Storm, the unique combat art of Edelgard's personal axe Aymr and a Game-Breaker in the player's hands on Crimson Flower, is extremely dangerous in Chapter 17 on Azure Moon and Verdant Wind. It allows her to deal 14 extra damage with 10 extra accuracy and receive another action at no penalty. Aymr has enough charges to allow her to use it five times in a row and get a sixth attack in with her backup weapon, and unlike most bosses she's capable of moving. You can expect Edelgard to butcher half of your team with it if you let her. Fortunately, it's not as dangerous when it comes back in Verdant Wind Chapter 20 since she's immobile this time.
    • Bohr X, a spell packed by Myson at the end of the Azure Moon route and an anonymous Gremory at the end of Verdant Wind on Maddening. Nothing quite like a HP to 1 attack with 10 range in a game where permadeath is considered standard. It's even worse on Azure Moon, since Myson has the skill Infinite Magic, unlike Thales and his Quake Σ.
  • That One Boss:
    • Catherine in Chapter 12 if Byleth chose to side with Edelgard after choosing the Black Eagles is an incredibly difficult boss, and is harder than the actual main target of the level, Rhea. They hit very hard, have high speed thus allowing them to double almost all your units, and Thunderbrand gives a Brave Sword like effect, meaning just about anyone dumb enough to get in their range will die in one round of combat. They also have a high crit chance, meaning even if your unit can survive the two hits, they might get killed anyway. To put into perspective how tough they are, your only real hope of winning is to use long range spells and bows, weaken them with gambits, or hope the Death Knight, who she can one-round regardless, can whittle them down for you.
    • Edelgard in chapter 17 of the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes. She has high defense and resistance, and she's surprisingly fast and hard to double. She has Counterattack, so nobody can attack her without retaliation. And she has 68 attack on the easiest difficulty, meaning she can potentially take out your squishier units in a single hit. Furthermore, she can use her Raging Storm combat art, which not only boosts her attack, but will likely give her another action, meaning she can potentially take out multiple units in a single turn.
    • If she is not recruited on the Azure Moon or Verdant Wind routes, you face Petra twice, once in chapter 17 of both, and again in chapter 21 of the former and chapter 20 of the latter. Both times can be immensely frustrating. On Normal, she has 40 Speed on her first appearance and 44 or 46 on her second, enough to double even the fastest of your units (and in higher difficulties she's even faster), and thanks to a combination of Sword Prowess, Alert Stance, Keen Intuition (an enemy-only skill that gives +30 Avoid when fighting an enemy at range), and her Avoid-boosting Brigid Hunters battalion, her Avoid can get boosted to the point that she's almost impossible to hit. She can also hit fairly hard, especially if she's going up against an already damaged unit as her personal skill, Hunter's Boon, boosts her crit when fighting an opponent with less than half HP - which is even worse on Verdant Wind chapter 20, as she uses a Wo Dao there instead of the Sword of Zoltan she uses in Azure Moon. Good luck defeating her without first rattling her with a gambit - which is hard enough to do in the first place.
    • At the very end of the Silver Snow route lies the berserk Immaculate One, the hardest boss Three Houses can offer. For starters, she's essentially a harder version of Crimson Flower's Immaculate One, with the difference she pulls a Bait-and-Switch Boss on herself after she has entered attack phase twice or has had her White Beast reinforcements blocked off. Besides the fact no damage dealt prior will be transferred to her true form, the true berserk Immaculate One boasts far higher stats than showed initially, carries a crest weapon with 8-range and gains an unique skill which allows her to trigger Staggering Blows without the need to recharge or even telegraph her attack, meaning she cannot be attacked back during enemy phase and is able to repair her barriers in just one turn. Her Staggering Blow also has an insane long range, is very hard to telegraph manually without drawing her attention with a gambit, and happens to bypass defenses entirely, so any unit with 28/35/46 HP or less (in Normal, Hard and Maddening difficulty respectively) will be OHKO'd (and that's assuming she doesn't activate her Crest of Seiros, otherwise she deals +5 more damage), while also being able to heal any ally that may happen to be caught in the fire. And as the cherry on top, she naturally has an ability which regenerates current her health bar completely during enemy phase when a White Beast happens to be 10 spaces near her, and gains Miracle after losing her first health bar.
    • The Umbral Beast in the "Cindered Shadows" DLC can be an absolute nightmare to deal with if you don't use your resources carefully. Like any beast final bosses, it has three life bars, and will frequently summon Aelfric Illusions to fight your units. However any clones not killed will have their life drained by the monster. It will also has an attack that rearranges its position, causing you to be separated from your other units. It can also damage any unlucky character in its path doing this. Good luck defeating it when your units are around level 30 range.
  • That One Level:
    • Chapter 5 is one of the few chapters in the game to have same turn reinforcements. It's also the first chapter to have a demonic beast, so if you didn't conserve your gambits, you will likely lose a unit.
    • Sothis' Paralogue can be incredibly difficult if you still didn't learn how to deal with Demonic Beasts, given that the game throws no less than 8 of them right from the start, with more spawning the more the level drags on. Even worse, the main character starts away from others in attack range of three beasts at once (though they do have a healing tile to help evasion). Even if you did learn how to deal with beasts, this paralogue can be problematic due to the sheer amount of beasts you have to fight.
    • Marianne's Paralogue is one of the few levels which requires adopting a completely different strategy. Marianne herself spawns away from the rest of the party next to the level boss and a bunch of monsters, each of which can kill her easily (and her death will cause the level to fail even on Casual) unless you reclass her into something that can cover her defenses (such as Fortress Knight). Between her and the rest of your party are additional monsters which make it difficult to get to her, which you can't see because it's also one of the few levels with fog. Once you reunite, you then have to beat the boss monster itself, which has 4 health bars.
    • Somewhat similarly, there's Manuela and Hanneman's Paralogue. Manuela starts off on the top of the mountain, fairly close to some enemies who can kill her, thereby causing you to fail. Flayn with Rescue is your best friend here, although it may take a couple turns to get Flayn in range.
    • Mercedes and Caspar's Paralogue. The good news is that you don't have to defeat the Death Knight. The bad news is that Mercedes and Caspar are on the other end of the map from your units, and it's entirely likely that the enemies near there will go over and kill them. Granted, you can just make them stay where they are and not move them anywhere, but you have to go through a horde of soldiers and Demonic Beasts to get towards Mercedes and Caspar's location, and the soldiers are already trying to get there anyway so your other units have to try catching up to them. Not only that, enemy reinforcements will come much later in the battle near towards Mercedes and Caspar (which is even worse in Maddening difficulty, as they will attack them on the same turn they spawn). It's especially rough in Verdant Wind, where you more than likely weren't leveling up either Mercedes or Caspar very highly, so they're still level ~23 units facing level 29/30/35~38 soldiers and potentially a Giant Wolf. If you do fight against the Death Knight in order to get the Scythe of Sariel, the Death Knight is still a very tough opponent to beat.
    • Linhardt and Leonie's Paralogue is no slouch either; on top of being a level with fog, the enemies on the level have enormous movement ranges, making it extremely easy for your units to be ambushed by two or three units out of nowhere. If you think your troubles are over once you've reached the boss, think again; on top of possessing a massive four health bars, the boss is nine units wide — meaning you need to break more than double the number of weak points to stun it till your next turn compared to a regular beast — and it's one of the only monsters in the game that does not get temporarily stunned by breaking its weak points. On top of that, it has a massive attack range, and once it's on its last health bar, it gets guaranteed double attacks whenever your units initiate combat, while also preventing them from double attacking in turn. Not helping matters is that on the Crimson Flower route, Edelgard and Hubert cannot be deployed on the map as a case of Gameplay and Story Integration, making things harder for the player as Dimitri, Dedue, Claude and Hilda face no such restrictions on their respective routes. Good luck!
    • Petra and Bernadetta's Paralogue, Foreign Land and Sky. For starters, the map is primarily forests, thereby limiting your movement significantly, while the majority of the enemy are armor units, who greatly benefit from the extra evade to Stone Wall your forces. But what really makes this chapter infamous is what happens halfway through. You see, the game tells you that you can win by either routing the enemy or making Petra arrive at the highlighted location. The game is lying to you. If you try to move Petra anywhere near that space, not only will you prompt a massive wave of reinforcements to just spontaneously appear all over the map in the middle of your turn (better hope you moved Petra first, because the game doesn't care how many available units you have left), but then it will change the win conditions to remove the condition you were just about to fulfill. Pick your poison as to which version of this map is worse. Side with the empire, and you'll have to fight against Catherine. Side with the church, however, and not only will you have to deal with Hubert having a shot of meteor that just might kill somebody with little chance to run away, but all of the reinforcements will also prioritize running deeper into enemy territory towards that square you were bringing Petra towards, which is now an instant lose condition if any of the reinforcements arrive there. Even worse, the reinforcements will also spawn if you kill all the enemies on the map without moving Petra near that space, and if that happens on the enemy's turn, the reinforcements will be able to act immediately.
    • The first post-timeskip mission on non-Crimson Flower routes: Reunion at Dawn. You start off with Byleth and Dimitri/Claude/Seteth facing down a large army of bandits. Your reinforcements come in very slowly, and at different corners of the map, making it significantly harder to launch a focused offensive. The map also surprises you after defeating the boss by turning the mission into an enemy escape map as said boss makes a break for it. This can be difficult to deal with if you didn't deal with the units stationed near his escape route. Furthermore, your reinforcements are strictly your starting house students, which can punish any player who trained a varied mix of students from other classes and/or neglected their default students, especially on Maddening difficulty. Special mention goes to the Silver Snow version of the chapter, where you get one reinforcement less compared to the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes, and Seteth, unlike Dimitri and Claude, doesn't automatically come equipped with a new battalion capable of stunning a massive horde of enemies.
    • The second post-timeskip story mission on the non-Crimson Flower routes, Protecting Garreg Mach, is also pretty tough. You have to prevent the enemy from reaching certain points on the map in an area chock full of twisting turns, with an enemy Onager that will pelt your forces from afar. Escorting your ally's unit to a specific point complicates things, but the big problem is the Falcon Knights who will generally make things hellish for you, especially on Maddening Mode. Once you set off the fire trap, things get considerably easier; surviving that long without losses is the big issue.
    • The invasion of Enbarr on the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes is significantly more difficult than its Azure Moon counterpart. In this map, you not only have to defeat Hubert, but also the Death Knight, and contend with more than a few enemy reinforcements near your position, forcing you to make a beeline for the bosses.
    • Chapter 4 of the Cindered Shadows DLC: A Harrowing Escape, is stressful. As the name implies, it's an escape map in which you have to flee from oncoming enemies. There's a time limit of ten turns to get past each gate to the next section, and you have no time to dawdle, because there's a giant enemy chasing you throughout the map, and said enemy has stats that are so massive that it'd be suicide to take it on. Enemies and reinforcements pour into the map constantly, but it's most egregious at the very end, where enemies spawn in for every unit you get past the final gate, turning into a Zerg Rush. There is also the fact that out of your available units, a good number of them either have low Movement (Edelgard as a Fortress Knight, Linhardt), pitiful defences (Linhardt again, Ashe, Hapi) or both, meaning it may take a while for them to catch up with the others to the gates and/or will be difficult for them to even survive the onslaught of enemies. To make matters worse, not even playing on Casual will save you as if any of your units are defeated, you automatically lose, making the chapter much harder than it should. Unless you properly use your Gambits, you're a goner.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Getting the three/four Dark Seals available in part one, since it's a process that involves dealing with the Death Knight. Even if you choose not to fight him, you still have to get a thief close enough to steal from him. On the third encounter, however, Jeralt is on the field with you — and he has a clear path to the boss and will go after him once the mission's original objective is complete. (It's worth noting that Jeralt falling is game over, whereas the boss's defeat ends the stage.) Even on Normal, you may have to rush past obstacles and exploit Warp (which you might not have available to you) to get to the Death Knight before Jeralt can be killed by the boss or use Rescue to bail him out of trouble. Even if you're willing to overlook the Death Knight's difficulty, the fact that he is the only source of Dark Seals in the game (and the game doesn't tell you this in advance) means you have a very limited number of opportunities to get them if you want at least one Dark Bishop on your team, especially if you chose the Black Eagles (the Crimson Flower branch in particular), and it does not help matters that Hubert, the only playable character that can get the full benefits of the class line, is a Mutually Exclusive Party Member to that route. While the other routes provide more opportunities to fight the Death Knight and get Dark Seals (and your characters will eventually be strong enough to reasonably challenge him), you only get the first three chances after choosing the Black Eagles and if you decide to take the Crimson Flower branch, since the Death Knight becomes one of your allies on what would normally be the fourth chance, and you're typically encouraged to avoid fighting him at that point in the game (although the level gap between him and your units is likely to shrink with every encounter, and on the third encounter, a nearby chest provides a Horseslayer in case you don't have Lysithea). The Crimson Flower issue is at least alleviated from version 1.1.0 onward since Jeritza (the Death Knight himself) comes with another Dark Seal in his inventory when he joins you, meaning you only need to defeat the Death Knight at least once in Part I if you want at least one Dark Bishop on your team.
    • While Felix's Paralogue is fairly easy, keeping all the villagers alive is extraordinarily difficult. They're scattered around the map, and generally far away from your starting point. While they have soldiers protecting them, their final destination is guarded by several enemy units, who will likely kill them before you can reach them. If they decide not to charge towards their goal, they'll instead run away from it, towards enemies, who will likely kill them before you can reach them. Physic can help heal the villagers, but if you don't beeline towards them right away with cavalry/fliers, saving them can be difficult.
    • Hubert's Paralogue. The point of the mission is to save ally mages from demonic beasts as quickly as possible. While the mages that you're trying to protect are initially smart enough to use Gambits on the Demonic Beasts and most of them are on a tile that gives them some extra defenses, once their Gambits run out, they'll attack the Demonic Beasts themselves, even if they'll certainly be killed in the counterattack. Since the mages aren't durable enough to survive two battles with the Demonic Beasts, you'll have to kill your enemies quickly if you want the reward for protecting the mages. Worse yet, if you let any of them die, in the cutscene after, Arundel mocks you for it despite it gameplay wise being nothing you could have prevented. On normal its possible to do this without losing any mages, but on any other difficulty, expect to lose the two to the far south because of how far away they are.
    • Getting all the stat boostersnote  in Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude's paralogues. The three missions share a gimmick where there are 3 enemies in the map holding stat boosters, which can be obtained only by stealing it through a speedy unit with the Steal skill equipped. The difficulty surrounding this task varies on the paralogue; in Edelgard's, two of the units carrying the items are in charge of constantly summoning reinforcements and are located at the far right of the map while the player starts on the far left, making the ordeal risky without backup; in Dimitri's, not only there are multiple mages abusing Meteor and Bolting around the map, one of the enemies carrying a booster is a War Master, which on harder difficulties will need to be stunned with a gambit so your unit can be fast enough to steal the item; lastly, in Claude's there are multiple Giant Crawlers around the map and, if the Wind Caller is attacked in harder difficulties, there can also be a constant swarm of enemy reinforcements, and this is without accounting how these enemies will be also targeting other enemies carrying items which, unlike them, do drop it by simply knocking them out before the enemy does, essentially adding one extra layer of difficulty if the player intends to get them all.
    • Getting Rhea's supports with Byleth for the support library. Rhea is an NPC during Part I and can't be invited to tea, or participate in group activities, so the only way to raise her Relationship Values is by Dialogue Tree choices, Faculty Training, or gifts (which can only be bought in limited amounts per chapter, and are best saved for recruitable students). In addition, both her C- and B-supports become Permanently Missable Content several chapters before the end of Part I, leaving you with a very tight time-frame to unlock them. And worse, her S-support is only available on the Silver Snow route. This was mitigated a bit after the 1.2.0 update, as it made possible to invite Rhea for tea after completing a certain quest and added a few lost items for her, thus giving the player more means to raise her support points.
    • Obtaining the "Opera Co. Volunteers" dancer battalion. In order to obtain it, you need to bring either Dorothea or Manuela into the invasion of Enbarr map in any route other than Crimson Flower, and have them reach a certain area in that same chapter. The problem is that the game gives no hints that you should bring either of the two units into the map to obtain the battalion, making it easy to miss when the chapter is over.
    • Recruiting Ferdinand without a New Game+. He has a combination of his B-support being locked behind the timeskip (which would not only lower his requirements but also give him a small chance to join for free) and wanting heavy armor (there are only two tutors, Alois and Gilbert, and both are unavailable during Chapter 10.). The most a player can do is get his support to C+, bringing his requirements down to D+ instead of C. note  To players that want to minimize the student death toll in Part II, Ferdinand is also a required recruit, since he will otherwise appear in chapter 16 as an enemy general who is required to be killed in order to progress, making this especially annoying.
    • Recruiting Hilda in the Black Eagles if Byleth sides with the Church. Unlike with Blue Lions, the game prevents the player from giving Hilda gifts, return her lost items, invite her to Tea Time outside her birthday, temporarily assist the party and even access the actual recruitment option up until two weeks before the end of Part I. This means the only reliable way of raising supports with her in the Black Eagles route beforehand is through sharing meals, which is necessary not only for lowering her requirements to an acceptable level (as in, having an Axe rank of D and 12 Charm with her B-Support), but also to potentially recruit her for free. Another option is farming gifts during most of Part I in advance for her short availability window, which in itself requires a ton of preparation and planning.
    • Balthus' request "Thieves at the Throat". It involves fighting a mission at Fódlan's Throat against Almyran troops, and when we mean troops, we mean eighteen Wyvern Riders and Lords. This means you have to fight a highly mobile unit of troops, who all have good enough physical stats that can kill your squishy units easily, and you spawn in the wooded area near where the fortress is. This creates a map where the enemy can just fly over and eliminate your team from all angles on the enemies' first turn if you don't check how far they can fly. It's one of the most difficult requests in the game, if not the most difficult.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The return of gender-restricted classes (after Fates removed most of those restrictions) wasn't received warmly by fans, especially the series mainstay Hero now being male-only. The flames were fanned by the fact that this version of Hero has Swordfaire and Vantage, which led most people to believe female characters were locked out of two skills associated with the female-friendly Myrmidon/Swordmaster class. Thankfully, it was confirmed in the July Famitsu issue that Swordfaire isn't Hero exclusive. However, the fact that the very big pain-in-the-ass-to-get Dark Mage (and Dark Bishop even more so) being a male exclusive class was not well appreciated, especially considering that it is a rather questionable design choice in a game where almost all of the magically-inclined characters are predominantly female; not only that, one (two, with DLC) of the female mages pretty much exclusively learns dark magic. Not helping matters is that Hubert, the one male mage who exclusively learns dark magic (and gains the most benefits from being a Dark Mage/Bishop, and is classed as such as an NPC) is exclusive to choosing the Black Eagles (the Crimson Flower branch in particular), which has the fewest opportunities to get the two Dark Seals needed to access the full class-line. Another unfortunate aspect is the fact that the Gremory, the only pure caster Master class, is female-only, meaning units like Linhardt are stuck being unable to promote to a higher class tier for an arbitrary reason. Players were hoping the new classes added in the Cindered Shadows DLC would fix this, but instead two of the new classes are female only, while the other two are available to everyone.
    • Making Byleth a Heroic Mime after Robin and Corrin, who had a lot more customization but did speak, is a somewhat contested change, especially since the stellar voice acting of the cast makes Byleth's Heroic Mime status stick out like a sore thumb. Byleth's fans also tend to be disappointed that Jeannie Tirado and Zach Aguilar, who at least did well with what they had, weren't given more to work with.
    • The September 2019 patch changed some of dialogue in the story, most notably changing a line in Bernadetta's B-support with Byleth, where she explained why she's reclusive. This one dialogue change was very disliked after it was discovered due to it not only removing some details, but lessening the impact of the abuse she experienced. It also doesn't transition into the line after and the rest of the conversation very well, which are otherwise unchanged from the original localization ("I tried hard to do as he asked").note 
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Classes:
      • The Armored Knight class line faces an interesting situation in this game. It's typically cited as the worst class progression in the game due to the design choices for the maps in combination with the limited movement of the class. Much like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the maps are quite big, and because many maps have extra objectives that are time-sensitive, you need to be quick to complete them, so armored units can’t keep up and often miss combat and experience because of it. Not to mention, the only character who consistently works well as one is Edelgard as an Armored Lord or Emperor due to the unique properties it gives her compared to the normal armored classes. The Armor/Fortress line inflicts negative modifiers to a character's Speed growth, making it difficult to justify using since the Speed stat is very important in every game in the series, governing if a unit is able to attack twice in combat and thus finish off an enemy faster. One of the innate skills of Fortress Knight, Weight -5, while it does reduce the combined weight of weapons and shields they equip, which—in theory—should alleviate their penalty to attack speednote , in practice, is largely meaningless considering the class' already abysmal speed. And the units who have proficiency with Armor work better in classes like the Fighter or Brawler class line, since those class options better use characters like Dedue, Hilda, and Raphael’s strengths. Despite all these flaws however, the class line still boasts specific niches worth looking into. For starters, besides providing higher Defense growths, pursuing these classes can boost a character's base defense substantially if it's below a certain threshold (up to 12 Defense with Armored Knight and 17 with Fortress Knight), which can prove quite useful to more squishy units that have no business staying in the class line. Second, by raising Armor work faster, it can helps units reach C-rank in Armor to unlock the skill Weight -3, which, unlike the skill attached to Fortress Knight, can be equipped to any class the player desires. And third, the tanking prowess the classes provide is more useful overall in Maddening difficulty as the increase in stats heavily limits the amount of units that can withstand physical damage.
      • The Great Knight generally gets avoided because of the impracticality of obtaining, especially compared to the other mounted classes which are much easier to progress into, and due to its mediocre boons. Armored classes do not get used often due to their low movement and poor speed, and so many players skip out leveling a character's Armor proficiency, but the requirement to unlock Great Knight means having high ranks in Axes, Riding, and Armor, the latter two being inherently conflicting proficiencies that few characters —such as Ferdinand, who needs prior investment to unlock his hidden talent to count, and Gilbert, who's exclusive to Part II of Blue Lions— can reasonably obtain ranks in. And even if you do manage to obtain it, you end up with a class that lacks both the superior movement of Paladin and the defensive prowess of Fortress Knight, and whose only real advantage over both is the combination of Lance and Axefaire.
      • Mortal Savant is not particularly liked either due to a combination of being infantry, being slow, having two requirements that few characters have at the same time (Sword and Reason), and generally being inferior to Dark Knight when it comes to hybrid weapon-and-magic classes. In addition, it's one of two Master Classes that requires a high rank in swords, a somewhat rare proficiency among the cast.note  Mortal Savant inflicts a 10 percent drop to speed growths, which is awful for the fragile sword-based classes that rely on dodging and doubling to kill enemies and survive battles. Only a few characters can pull off Mortal Savant, those being Felix or Ignatz, and even then, they are probably better off in Swordmaster and Assassin, respectively. It's also over done by the Trickster from the Cindered Shadows DLC, which has a similar role, but has better speed and provides utility support as well, albeit having their spell uses halved and no inherent Sword/Tomefaire to prevent them from being completely better than Mortal Savant.
      • The Holy Knight. The class is intended to be an offensive Faith caster with White Tomefaire. Unfortunately, offensive Faith magic suffers from its options having lower might on average than Reason spells, as well as being both heavynote  and inaccurate (aside from Abraxas, which is just heavy). In offensive spell options, Faith magic is far more limited than its Reason counterpart; most of the cast only learns the low-might Nosferatu for offensive White Magic, and only Lysithea has three offensive White Magic spells (and a weakness in lances, one of the requirement for certification as a Holy Knight; she would rather become Gremory for extra uses of Warp and her high level offensive spells). As such, every character that does well as a Holy Knight would rather go Dark Knight or Gremory. The only character who really shines as one is Marianne due to her proficiencies, and even then it's arguably better to go Gremory or stay a Bishop.
      • The Lord class Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude gain does offer some solid growth buffs, but beyond that the class does little to make it worth using for most players. The class is more of a support class by providing buffs to nearby allies, and acts as an easier way for the three lords to level up their Authority quicker, but it offers no skills worth using, and the extra proficiency it buffs are Sword and Lances, which means the class is not synergistic with any of the lords but Dimitri, as Edelgard and Claude’s main weapons are Axes and Bows, respectively. Not helping is the Mastered Skills, Subdue and Resistance +2, which are very lackluster compared to the other Intermediate Class' skills like Vantage, Death Blow, or Desperation. Additionally, all three main characters get handed two unique classes for free post-timeskip, and these have all the benefits of Lord and more. The only real use it has is to help grind up Dimitri's Authority so he can get the phenomenal Battalion Vantage/Wrath combo faster.
      • This game might as well be the lowest point for the Hero class. In this game, they are not only locked to male characters, but are also almost completely outclassed by Swordmaster (only having +2 HP mod, +5% HP Growth, and +1 Luck mod, compared to Swordmaster having +1 Dex mod, +2 Spd mod, and +10% Spd growth). Skill-wise, while both have Awesome, but Impractical Mastered Skills (Defiant Strength on Hero vs. Astra on Swordmaster) and both have Swordfaire, Swordmaster has a better second class skill in Sword Critical +10 compared to Hero's Vantage (which is even possible to learn earlier by mastering Mercenary, an Intermediate Class as opposed to Hero's Advanced Class, which is far easier to access and train in). One point Hero usually has over Swordmaster (axe usage, as opposed to Swordmaster normally being sword-only) is moot in this game, since every class can use every physical weapon. End result: the only reason to ever go Hero is if the character doesn't have the sword rank to go Swordmaster, since Hero only requires B-rank compared to Swordmaster's A, or if you're just a perfectionist or completionist who wants to master every class.
    • Units:
      • Gilbert, who can only be recruited on the Azure Moon route. Despite being an absolute beast of a physical tank, he's got all of the drawbacks of the Armored Knight line — that is, low movement meaning he tends to get left behind on the large maps unless the team moves at his pace (and considering the game's several bonus objectives are time-sensitive, it's an impractical notion), low speed that ensures that he's always doubled and can never double enemies in return, and being slowed heavily by terrain. Though he's nigh-invulnerable to physical weaponry even if he is attacked twice, mages (fairly common on maps, especially later in the route) will destroy him quickly. On top of this, he only joins after chapter 12, over halfway through the game — with very little development in any skill. He's a Convenient Replacement Character for Dedue if the bonus objective of Dedue's paralogue wasn't completed in Part I, leading to Dedue's death, or for the first few chapters of Azure Moon if it was and Dedue survived, but unlike Dedue, who can be classed into the much less slow and higher-movement, but still fairly tanky and hard-hitting Warrior class, Gilbert is already promoted into Fortress Knight upon recruitment, so he's stuck with the low movement and skills that do nothing for him. Even if Dedue is classed into the Armored Knight line, he'll overshadow Gilbert through better defense, including a personal skill that buffs his defense if Dedue chooses to wait on his turn, higher strength, and much more time to train skills and proficiencies.
      • Manuela and Hanneman, a White Mage and Black Mage respectively, stand out as two of the worst units in the game. They both suffer from low growths; Manuela only has a good Speed and Charm growth while her Magic is one of the lowest for a magically focused unit, while Hanneman has good Magic and Dexterity, but save an average Resistance, has very low Speed and Luck. All the other magically focused units are superior to them in all areas, ranging from better healing skills like Mercedes, or better offensive potential like Hubert. What hurts them most though is when they join, as they join during Chapter 8, a point in which your units will generally outperform them with ease. Unlike in the other games where advanced mages are decently skilled in both types of magic upon joining, they only specialize in one type while completely lacking at the other. As an added up-yours, their paralogue is considered one of the hardest ones due to Manuela being stuffed alone in a corner. Really, the best things they have going for them is they can help out in Maddening mode, but that also means they soak up experience, making them hard to even attempt to use. They both also awkwardly have proficiencies in areas that suggest they were designed to be a Magic Knight, but their physical stats are both awful. Between the two, Hanneman stands out as far worse due to lacking any specialization, as while Manuela is not very good still, she has a decent Faith spell list that can at least justify using her a bit (packing Silence, Ward and Warp among her Faith spells, and even Bolting if one manages to raise her Reason rank enough); Hanneman by contrast lacks a unique spell list save for Meteor.
      • The extent to which Cyril is this on other routes is up for debate, but on the Silver Snow route, Cyril is easily one of the worst units in the game, mostly due to how the the level-up system works for NPC/unrecruited units.note  Due to remaining as a Commoner during all of Part I, by the time he finally becomes available, his potentially amazing growths had been absolutely wasted on a class that offers no extra buffs nor skill increases, even leaving him unable to use any of the higher tier classes before the timeskip unless you seriously devote time into him. As an example, he starts off at level 21 with very poor stats for his levelnote , compared to the other routes where he is level 9 and has okay but workable stats note . On the other routes those twelve additional levels make him potentially a good unit in your hands. His low stats and inability to use higher class options make him quickly a unit you will have little reason to use, especially because he joins the same time as Seteth, who has superior stats in every way except for tiny bit less Luck, and is a Wyvern Rider, meaning he automatically is in Cyril's best potential role before he can actually use it. When you get him back after the timeskip, he'll barely improve unless you did manage to get him into a better class, but the students you have will already be more experienced than him and able to work better, meaning he doesn't get any chances to be used.

    U 
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • While the artstyle is mostly praised by the fandom, the eye designs (particularly the dotted pupils, double-tiered irises that look like they have entire eyeballs surrounded by the sclera, and the flat and low saturated colors) are generally criticized for giving the characters rather soulless expressions.
    • Monica's portrait is noted to be rather… off. However, this may have been intentional, given that she's actually Kronya.
    • The CG artwork for Byleth's S-supports have rather variable levels of quality for both genders' options. Certain ones, like Petra, Dimitri, Claude, and Marianne are heartwarming and well-drawn; on the other side, Edelgard's gives the player a deer-in-the-headlights close-up of her face with an expression that makes her look like she is sucking in her cheeks. Some, like Leonie, Flayn, and Gilbert, look nearly completely different from their in-game art and designs, and a surprising number of them seem to pretend noses don't exist. Lastly, a few of them even depicted the characters with either missing or incorrect design details, which was thankfully addressed later with the version 1.0.2 update.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • As far as spending Free Time goes, when it comes to class optimization Seminars (where Byleth and their class learn from professors and knights to increase skills & motivation) drop in viability as time goes on, as Byleth cannot go to more than 1 Seminar no matter the Professor Levels. Seminars are generally overshadowed by Exploration (which not only motivate students with meals and increase Byleth skills from Faculty Training, but also provide quests, resource gathering from fishing & gardening, and improving supports) and Battle (the only way to improve character and battalion levels aside from missions). Seminars do gain more utility later into the game due to providing motivation and helping give extra proficiencies, but at that point, you might just be better off doing combat.
    • Adjutants theoretically have a role in battle, either attacking, blocking, or healing the lead unit, making picking them part of your strategy. The problem is that the activation rates for two of these benefits is abysmal, and the player will have to go through many battles to see any of them activate once, and it doesn't help that there is an oversight with Adjutants Follow-Up's activation ratenote  until it was fixed in 1.1.0. Adjutants are only really good for grinding Experience and Support points. That being said, the blocking adjutants are actually incredibly useful for anyone using armor units. Contrary to popular belief, armor units actually serve a niche in this game, as their defense with shields and battalions can get so high that not even boss characters can dent their HP bars. For the rare units that can, an armored adjutant paired up with an armored unit deflects up to half of the damage of a follow up attack, a trait that can be vital in keeping your tank alive.
    • The ability to talk to other units on the battlefield sees far less use than Awakening or Fates. While in those cases, it could be used to win units over to your side, especially in the Paralogues for the second generation units, there are fewer cases in which it has comparable impact (for example, talking with the Lords in the Prologue will just get a few lines of dialogue and some relationship points). It doesn't help that the icon indicating that a unit can be talked to is smaller and easier to miss.
    • Three-way battles appear for the first time in a mainline Fire Emblem game... and it's used all of once if you choose Edelgard, or twice with Claude or Dimitri (with a couple of more examples in Cindered Shadows, but that's paid DLC). Some auxiliary battles include monsters that fight both you and the enemy faction and a couple of maps throw some bandits into the mix as a third army, but they aren't quite the same as a true Mêlée à Trois.
  • Unfortunate Implications: While this Fire Emblem title has the most LGBT content to date, controversy arose over the lopsided amount of five female same-sex options to a single male same-sex option for Byleth upon the initial release (with two of the only examples in the series of S-supports not being romantic for a male Byleth, with one of these endings even specifically stating that Byleth later ended up marrying a woman on top of it). Compounded by some same-sex paired endings between characters besides Byleth having romance implied but not explicit, has made more than one media outlet accuse the game of expanding on LGBT content but only in a way that wouldn't offend a straight male audience. Intelligent Systems would take steps to rectify this post-release, with 2 out of 6 of the DLC characters being same sex options for male Bylethnote , bringing up the male to female same-sex option ratio to 3 vs 5. Adding to this, the DLCs add more S-support options for male Byleth overall, being able to S-support 4 out of 6 of the new characters. note 
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Leonie's support chain with Byleth has earned a decent amount of criticism due to Leonie's frustrations at Byleth's lack of knowledge about Jeralt's life. She acts very hostile, accusing them of taking their father Jeralt for granted, and when she attempts to apologize in the B-support, she loses her temper again in the end. The fact that this support can often happen after Jeralt dies comes across as extremely poor taste, as she makes the issue about herself and doesn't even remotely try to console Byleth. While Jeralt is an important mentor for Leonie, she comes across as very entitled about him, especially since she still has a living father. She also has the highly-irritating habit of attributing any skill Byleth has to be because of Jeralt and it takes a lot of prodding for her to acknowledge Byleth is skilled in their own right. She also acts quite abrasively to Marianne in their C-Support over Marianne not wanting to go to town with her and unlike Lysithea in her C-Support with her, she doesn't apologize for it until their B-Support.
    • Dorothea earned complaints of this due to her supports with several characters giving her what come across as a long list of hypocritical views that she is rarely called out for. While this may have been intentional, as she does drop these views post-timeskip, it can be jarring for two out of three supports with someone where she calls them out on something, only to do the exact same thing in another or the same support. A commonly cited example is how she calls out Lorenz for his refusal to marry a commoner, even though Lorenz makes it clear it primarily is because he has to be mindful of his status as a noble and must enrich his house however he can, but Dorothea herself is only interested in people who are well off and wants to marry someone who is richer so she can have a comfortable life. The fact she does this in most of her supports, making it a Once an Episode like plot line, makes it hard for some to enjoy her character.
    • Count Varley actually is already unsympathetic in the base game, mainly due to his harsh and abusive behavior towards his own daughter Bernadetta to make her a submissive wife, which shapes who Bernie is now. The Ashen Wolves DLC, however, tries to give him a more sympathetic light. In the DLC it is revealed that Yuri, one of the Ashen Wolves, is actually Bernadetta's Childhood Friend who was beaten badly by her dad. All this time, Bernadetta thought that he was beaten because he's a commoner and has no right to be her friend. Yuri turns out to be an assassin sent to kill Bernadetta, and their friendship was a façade. So basically, Count Varley beating Yuri is to prevent said assassination, and Yuri points out to her that her father still cares for her. However, the DLC apparently forgot that Count Varley still abused his daughter afterwards, and said protection only came from the will to preserve his family's heir, not from pure fatherly love.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Sylvain, in a nutshell. It’s made pretty clear in his supports that most characters are annoyed at his philandering and shenanigans though most of them warm up to him should the player move further up his support chain, once he begins to behave genuinely and most of his support chains end at B for one reason or another (including his Childhood Friend Dimitri). His reputation In-Universe is tarnished due to his suffering the consequences of his constant womanizing, with NPCs even going as far as to say he’s useless. Despite this, Sylvain has become one of the most popular characters in the Three House‘s player base due his design, Hidden Depths as well the way the womanizer trope is deconstructed with his character compared to previous incarnations of it in the Fire Emblem franchise, plus he's considered one of the funniest characters in the game.
    • Ferdinand. He's pretty much The Friend Nobody Likes in the Black Eagles, with most of his classmates treating him like a nuisance (especially Edelgard and Hubert), or avoiding/snarking at him and Dorothea outright tells him she hates him in their C-support (though they work things out by their A-support), with only Petra being consistently nice to him from the beginning. But he's adored by the fandom for being an Adorkable and earnestly well-intentioned goof with an incredibly meme-worthy Catchphrase, and being a pretty useful unit in battle.
  • The Un-Twist: The clues as to the Death Knight's true identity are super-obvious, and since we never get a Dramatic Unmask, it's very easy to dismiss them as red herrings. Nope, turns out he really is that person.

    V 
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Gilbert leaving Annette behind after failing in his duty suffers from this. In Japan, a father running away in shame is relatively normal and somewhat common, or at least was more common in the past. If the father failed in something great such as a job, he was seen as having shamed his family, and therefore did not deserve to have the comfort of loved ones as a failure. Thus, they would leave to ease the pain they caused (that said, Annette insists that she and her mother would have stood by him even if no one else did, and ultimately persuades Gilbert to return home). As a result, Gilbert is sympathetic from a Japanese perspective because his situation can hit home for many who suffered such a thing. In western society, however, this line of thinking and logic makes no sense and is frowned upon, with it being seen as immature, selfish, and socially wrong to abandon your family because of something like that. The result is that Gilbert is seen negatively for abandoning his daughter and not very popular among Western players.
    • Ingrid's hatred of the people of Duscur is often looked on more harshly in Western communities, where ethnic bigotry is often based on an unequal power dynamics, and especially where a light skinned blonde character hating on a race of dark skinned people has some unfortunate connotations. Within the narrative, her hatred is strictly based on trauma she and people close to her experienced as a result of the Tragedy of Duscur, which public knowledge holds the people of Duscur responsible for. This resonates more strongly for Eastern audiences, thanks to the cultural impact of bad histories between countries like Japan and South Korea.
    • Most people view Ingrid's father, Count Galatea, as a well-meaning father despite his actions. However, some Western fans view him in a rather negative light due to him giving his daughter arranged marriage proposals constantly. In Japan, arranged marriages are more commonplace to a degree, which makes Count Galatea more understandable there. In Western cultures, his arranged marriage proposals make him look more greedy than intended. Interestingly enough, the narrative proposes that this is necessary to ensure the well-being of the Galatea family and their people (even if he comes to regret marrying her off to the noble that becomes the villain of Ingrid's Paralogue), and in the past had set up a Perfectly Arranged Marriage for Ingrid with Glenn, while Mercedes' adoptive father marrying her off to improve his own social standing is unambiguously portrayed as a bad thing, and even Mercedes has little but contempt for her father.
    • Manuela being a Christmas Cake and being unsuccessful in finding a romantic partner is a bit more Downplayed compared to other examples. Being in her thirties at the start of the game and the stress she feels about her love life comes from Japanese traditional views of marriage; a woman is usually pushed to get married as early as they can (usually closer to their early twenties), so her still being single makes it look bad on her part. This doesn't make as much sense from a western perspective, where this kind of belief is not really present socially and has been slowly dying.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • There was some confusion among fans as to Linhardt's gender, since he has long hair and somewhat feminine features, especially before the timeskip, until he was stated to be a guy.
    • Many fans thought Yuri from the Ashen Wolves was a girl until it was stated that he was a guy. His name probably didn't help.

    W 
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • While there were a few detractors who weren't as fond of the designs as others, even they were won over with the reveal of the main trio's outfits post-timeskip. Especially Dimitri. This also extended to the timeskip designs of other characters, where they drop the generic school uniforms in favor of more personalized looks. Lorenz is especially well-liked.
    • The reveal of the timeskip and the story being much darker than it initially seemed also won people over who found the school segments bland, fearing the game would take a Persona-meets-Fire Emblem approach.
    • On the second day of Nintendo Threehouse E3 2019, it was confirmed that Three Houses will have romance options, however, it will only be possible after the timeskip. This calmed down a lot of fans because of the controversial possibility of Teacher/Student Romance.
    • After it was revealed that Fates would be split into 3 different games for each of its routes, the reaction to that was mixed-to-negative. Three Houses, by comparison, is a single game with multiple routes (albeit with the routes branching in the middle of the game, rather than after the first few chapters), which was greatly appreciated by the fanbase.
    • The female character designs have, on the whole, been toned down and made less overtly sexual than previous installments, pleasing fans who found Awakening and especially Fates to be excessive in the Fanservice department.
  • Woolseyism:
    • Petra's foreigner speech habit was originally handled in Japanese by having her take long pauses between words as she tried to find the correct term to use. This is difficult to convey in English because of word count limitations, and possible union issues with her voice actress being paid to essentially say nothing note . To get around this without losing an aspect of her character, the localization makes her a Strange-Syntax Speaker whose grammar is intelligible but slightly off (e.g., "I am having (x)"), especially in areas such as verb conjugation or idioms, similar to how Starfire speaks in Teen Titans or, to a lesser extent, Fawful from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. This allowed Petra's dialogue to convey her struggle as a non-native speaker without issue of text limitations, and made her more endearing of a character.
    • Bernadetta's B-support with Byleth reveals her father is the cause of her social issues and her shut-in nature by forcing her to practice being a "quiet and subservient wife". In Japanese, this type of logic is essentially her being groomed to be a Yamato Nadeshiko, a traditional belief in how a perfect wife is supposed to be; quiet, submissive, etc. This makes Bernadetta's social issues make sense from a Japanese perspective by showing how her father was so traditionalist that he ended up abusing her. However, the Yamato Nadeshiko trope and type doesn't make sense from a western perspective and for many would not explain why Bernadetta behaves the way she does. Thus when the game was localized, an extra line was added that stated her father tied her up to a chair and left her alone for hours, which makes her abuse and personality make more sense, while still framing her father as being out of touch. In fact, this change was so well-liked that when it was removed without explanation in the second DLC pack, players were furious.
    • In the Japanese version, Hubert's preferred hot beverage is called "teff" ("テフ"). It's treated as Fódlan's coffee-like alternative to tea, never mind that in Real Life, actual teff is a grain that's more akin to millet and is typically either cooked into dishes like injera (An Ethiopian dish that resembles a pancake) and stew, or fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Teff-based teas exist, but they're very uncommon and more akin to, well, regular tea. The localization simply has coffee be the beverage instead; One of the gifts that raises motivation was also switched to regular coffee beans. This also applies to Hapi and Constance's B-support.
    • Edelgard and Dorothea's C-support has the two speculating on what an opera about Edelgard's exploits would be like, leading to Dorothea reciting some lines from a hypothetical opera. In Japanese, she just talks overdramatically. In English, she actually sings, and her voice actress can sing incredibly well.
    • Sylvain and Ingrid's support chain originally mentions that Sylvain once mistakenly flirted with a man in drag. Such jokes have not aged well in the United States, so the English script instead has them refer to an incident where Sylvain made eyes at a scarecrow.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • With the exception of their Officer's Uniform, Byleth's character-specific outfits have been met with varying degrees of ridicule from the fanbase:
      • Male Byleth's default outfit is decent, if a tad generic. The female outfit, in comparison, is nothing short of overdesigned and impractical: short sleeves, short shorts, lace tights, stiletto boots, and a midriff top that also features a boob window. The only thing it has in common with the male design is the cape, color scheme, and overall silhouette. Fanartists have warmed up to it post-release, but usually nix the more questionable design elements like the tights and midriff.
      • The Sothis Regalia DLC outfit brought back the booty shorts... for male Byleth . Adding to the weirdness is a black bodysuit that makes all of the intricate stomach/chest cutouts pointless. The top reply to the official Twitter announcement questioned if the DLC images were from a parody account, with others chiming in to express their confusion.
      • Byleth's outfit for their unique class, Enlightened One, might be the worst of the lot. It's a garish mismatch of white and black robes, gold ornaments, a tiara, and a purple cape. (For added weirdness, the female version keeps the boob window, midriff, and lace tights.) The result is something that even the most fashion disaster-prone Final Fantasy villain would think twice about wearing.
    • Wyvern Lords of either gender have a metal half-skirt sticking up in the back. It's clearly there to provide extra protection while seated in a wyvern's saddle, but unfortunately it comes at the expense of looking ridiculous when not mounted, visually resembling the tail feathers of a turkey.
    • The DLC loungewear costumes look like something you'd expect from a soccer/football player to wear, and thus likely to kill any drama in dramatic scenes just for your units wearing them. That said, most people using them are already wearing them to pretend their class is a basketball team already for laughs, so it doesn't hurt as much as the other examples.
    • The DLC summer wear and the evening wear that came with the third wave of the expansion pass are pretty nice costumes. The maid and the butler costumes on the other hand, are pretty ridiculous. Like the loungewear mentioned above, it's likely to kill off any drama, but for those that came from Fire Emblem Fates, this doesn't come off as too much, especially considering that maids and butlers were playable classes in that game.

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