Anniversary @ 25/6] For the NicoNico live broadcast that aired the other
day, our illustrators gave us art to commemorate our 2nd anniversary!
These are illustrations from Mr. Daisuke Izuka, featuring Micaian and
the Black Knight (and Jarod)! Thank you very much! #FEcipher
The female lords in FE are a divisive group of characters. While they certainly have their fans, the female mains receive a lot more backlash compared to their male counterparts from the larger community. This is partly due to the way the writer’s handle them within the game’s plot.
Their choices in-game tend to be a lot more controversial (see: Micaiah opting for harsh tactics, Eirika handing over the sacred stone to Lyon, Celica agreeing to help Duma ect.) They all have to share the spotlight with another male lord, whose involvement in the plot often overshadows their own (see: Micaiah and Lyn in particular.) Furthermore, they often develop frightfully little in the core campaign, partly because of said shared spotlight (Lyn suffers the most from this but Celica gets it pretty bad here too.)
None of the four female lords are bad characters, at base. They have well developed flaws and goals. However, Fire Emblem plots have never been kind to them. The purpose of this post isn’t to hate on any character, but to criticise some of the writer’s choices in the handling of them.
Lyn doesn’t suffer from a character problem. Her arc during the tutorial paints her well as a well rounded character, with solid goals, issues and a decent backstory. Her plotline in the tutorial is very well done and it really helps to make her compelling to the gamer. I’d say she’s the most well-liked out of the FE female lords (compounded by her winning the female vote for Heroes.)
Lyn’s issue is that she’s overshadowed the moment Eliwood’s arc begins. I honestly don’t understand why the writers included her at all when she had such little to do, plot wise. They could have continued her arc about her becoming a ruler and her growing distaste with it. She could have acted as a good reflection of Hector’s fears of rulership once his brother dies. She could have helped more with the Black Fang. If her arc from the tutorial had continued, I feel she could have been one of the best FE lords but she’s never given a chance to shine.
Micaiah’s my favourite female Lord in FE. However, I do admit that she has the most issues as a character, massively due to her sharing a spotlight with Ike (who is my favourite Lord overall, but I’ll get back to that.)
Radiant Dawn suffers from pretty terrible character writing in places. Ike’s pretty much a head that talks for the game’s duration, who’s only redeemed by his PoR incarnation. The Dawn Brigade are largely empty shells as characters, including the prominent Sothe. Many characters with arcs (Pelleas, Skrimir) aren’t fleshed out much beyond their character plotline. Micaiah, too, is affected by these problems.
Micaiah mostly suffers from her motivations being told to the player, instead of shown. We know she adores the people of Daein, but we see very little of her actually interacting with the Daein people.
I feel Part 1 would have been a lot more appealing if it had been a story of Micaiah slowly deciding to devote herself to the common people, instead of that being her motivation from the beginning. She could have started out as a wandering traveller, joined the Dawn Brigade either because of self-interest or Sothe’s insistence and then taken back Daein after seeing how good the Daein people could be. It would have made her actions in Part 3 make a ton more sense.
Furthermore, I feel her power to tell future events could have been scrapped. It actually plays very little part in the plot. Micaiah knowing that something bad’s going to happen doesn’t really influence her actions in any meaningful way and it could be written out fairly easily. This should lessen the ‘Mary Sue’ complaints about her.
Okay, confession time. With the exception of Corrin, Eirika is actually my least favourite lord for the sole reason that I’m not a fan of naive characters. I don’t hate her and Ephraim ranks just above her on my dislike list, but I feel it should be noted.
Eirika’s problem is that she barely develops at all. The only thing that really changes with her is her view on the Lyon situation. Her stance on war doesn’t change. Her naivety doesn’t improve. Ephraim suffers from a similar issue in that he’s so confident in his tactics but he’s never knocked down a peg.
Her not developing leads to one of her most frustrating moments; when she hands Lyon the Sacred Stone. Although one could see why she does so, I maintain it shouldn’t have happened. I feel a scene where Lyon tries to persuade her to hand it over, she almost agrees, and then he does something which makes her suspicious would have been a great way to show her developing.
Eirika isn’t a stupid woman but she believes in the best of everyone. However, I feel the numerous times she’s been betrayed in the game up to that point should have had some pay-off.
I feel Celica’s issues as a character are the most fixable, as the main thing people complain about in regard to her is how she handles the whole Jedah situation.
Celica’s problem is that the writers were trying to keep to Gaiden’s core plotline, which involves her being captured for Alm to save. I’d say she has the most developed motivations and flaws out of all the female protagonists; her motivations are explained well, her flaws (her stubbornness, her need to do everything herself) are things which are used against her, which is pretty good character writing. Compared to Ike, whose flaws ‘almost’ get him into trouble but wind up helping him out, and Corrin, whose flaws are excused by almost everyone he meets, Celica’s pretty well written in that regard. Near Leif levels.
The issue is that her big mistake in trusting Jedah occurs so late, so there’s never a chance for her to truly learn. If it had happened sooner in the plot, then Celica could have had the chance to reflect and consider how she shouldn’t try to do everything on her own. It also would have helped if her friends had been the ones to save her and not Alm, which may have helped to take her out of the damsel-in-distress trope.
Furthermore, the addition of Conrad serves to weaken her character. Unlike with Clive and Alm (where Clive mostly serves to advise) Conrad saves Celica so many times it’s a little ridiculous, especially since those incidents could have easily been written around. When you consider that Celica seemed like the stronger character of the two in their past memory prism scene, Conrad suddenly being her knight in shining armour seems to come out of nowhere.
It occurred to me recently that Soren’s cynicism towards the rest of the world and his love and devotion for Ike is likely linked to the ability to read minds. It’s inferred in PoR that dragon Laguz may be able to mind read better than even the Herons and we know that Micaiah as a Heron Branded can read minds, at least to a degree, thereby as a Dragon Branded Soren may have the same ability to an even greater extent than Micaiah, he heard everything everyone thought about him as a despised child and it embittered him to the world, whereas Ike is completely honest and says exactly what he is thinking, so he knows if Ike says he values him, he means it.