Edward Elric vs. his male role models
lmao spoiler warning; this is going off of Brotherhood, btw
I was thinking today how it’s really interesting how Edward’s relationship with his father and his feelings toward his father are reflected in the way he acts toward male figures of authority in the military, at least outwardly. See, look at these three main ones:
Roy Mustang: Ed acts very defiant and stubborn around him. He openly mocks him and defies him, even though he’s outranked. He does respect Mustang, but he rarely expresses this.
Alex Louis Armstrong: Ed rebuffs Armstrong’s enthusiasm and affection with apparent aggravation at being shown such sentiments. He often tells him to get out, or put his shirt back on. Like his feelings toward Mustang, he also respects the Major, but doesn’t tend to display it openly.
Maes Hughes: Ed was often frustrated and exasperated by Hughes’ obsession with his family. After his death though, Ed was genuinely rocked to his core, and it’s obvious that he had respected Hughes the whole time, but he hadn’t really ever shown it. (In Hughes he also saw a father devoted wholeheartedly to his family, quite unlike the father Ed knew.)
So it’s clear by the way he acts around these three that he does respect his male role models, but he just finds it incredibly difficult to actually express this. However, look at his change in attitude around female role models:
Riza Hawkeye: Ed shows a clear respect for her, talking to her civilly and seriously (look at the conversation the two have about Ishval). I can’t recall a time when he was rude or mocking to her.
Maria Ross: When he and Al sneaked away to the Fifth Laboratory, they were disobeying Armstrong, not Ross. But when Ed was slapped by Ross and she scolded him, he accepted it and knew that he deserved it. Not only that, but when Ross was accused of Hughes’ murder and “killed” by Mustang, Ed was furious, and actually attacked the Colonel on Ross’ behalf.
Olivier Mira Armstrong: Ed is cut down to size immediately by General Armstrong, but instead of lashing out like he would to Mustang, he is cowed and doesn’t attempt to fight back. He’s afraid of her and respects her.
Izumi Curtis: It’s true that she’s not a part of the military, but I would argue that Izumi is one of the most major role models that Ed has. He respects her values and opinions, which is why he was afraid to tell her that he and Al had committed a taboo. She’s his and Al’s number one teacher, and therefore number one role model.
So, judging by this, Ed has a problem outwardly showing respect to his male role models, whereas to female role models and figures of authority, he willingly expresses his respect for them. This seems to me like a direct reflection of his relationship with his parents.
His relationship with an absentee Hohenheim is full of resentment and bitterness, and his relationship with his mother is one of love and respect. I think it’s these core relationships that shape Edward’s relations with others in positions of power. I also think it’s really cool that something so psychological and subtle can be woven throughout this show.
Do let me know if I missed anything, or analyzed it wrong, or anything like that.