*SPOILERS* Power Play: Edelgard’s Route- Fire Emblem Three Houses

I have really enjoyed my playtime in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While I haven’t played all the routes for the game, nor unlocked all the highest relationship rankings with all the students, this piece focuses mostly on the limited information I have gathered from my first play through of Three Houses. That being said its difficult to analyze video game story telling especially when stories aren’t linear and diverge into different routes. Also perspectives of how characters are viewed can change depending on the depth of relationship formed between the character and Byleth. I chose the Black Eagle house my first play through. I liked the idea of working with Edelgard well enough, knew little about the story itself and could not foresee the consequences of actions to come. Had I known, perhaps I would have chose a different route altogether. Edelgard’s route is a twisted power play that dismantles nobility, sides with Lord Arundel, and crushes the Church of Seiros leading to an ultimate power shift solely for Edelgard.

Edelgard scapegoats all the problems in the world on the Church of Seiros. In Edelgard’s reasoning she holds the church responsible for the corrupt nobility and for the power of crests holding as much sway as they do. After holding the church responsible for everything wrong in the world, she justifies the reason for the destruction of the world order on the Church of Seiros. At every turn Edelgard finds some reason to be attacking the world, using the Church as the justification for her actions. Its a clever line of reasoning because the Church is in every corner of Fodlan. The reason to attack Claude is because he could side with the Church, Edelgard can’t have the possibility of two regional powerhouses uniting against her. She has to destroy Dimitri because he too sides with the Church of Seiros and is the greatest supporter of the Church after the Fall of Garreg Mach. And while she does ultimately achieve her aim of ridding Fodlan of the Church of Seiros, Edelgard also sweeps away any meaningful opposition leaving her uniquely as the most powerful figure in all of Fodlan. If you want to take Fodlan scapegoat the one thing that is found all over Fodlan and crush it, namely the Church of Seiros.

While Edelgard shows us her disdain for the Church of Seiros, which is arguably the biggest peace factor in Fodlan, she works alongside her uncle Lord Arundel. This is problematic for a number of reasons. While Edelgard may fault the Church of Seiros for the current world order, Lord Arundel is primarily responsible for Edelgard’s suffering the entire time. He is nobility and forces her to accept the power of a second crest. Her rage should be pointed really against him and his ilk who use power for their own good and well being. Taking it out on the Church is really misguided, and calls into question just how much power does Edelgard really need to defeat her uncle? Does she really need all of Fodlan? Perhaps she is trying to rid the world of any loose ends that could aid her uncle. If Lord Arundel is really the problem, why does she have to destroy a world order? While she feels justified in her actions, Edelgard takes a perverse route in getting what she wants total control of Fodlan.

After taking control of all Fodlan, Edelgard dismantles nobility and replaces it with meritocracy giving power to those who serve her needs best. Edelgard does not give up her position as Emperor, but as she did actually most of the work in the war then it makes sense that she should be the ruler of her meritocracy. And originally nobility was given in honor being bestowed by kings and rulers to those who did the most for them during wartime. Isn’t Edelgard recreating the world she hates in a way? This time I guess it’s without the Church of Seiros. Did she intend to let anyone else rule besides herself?  I suppose she is just recreating a Fodlan around her and her image. Her final move of dismantling nobility consolidates all power into her own hands.

By the end of the route Edelgard has shifted all power into her hands. The only one who still eludes her grasp her uncle the former Lord Arundel. He still has to be dealt with. But after working alongside him for so long, will she be able to bring herself to do it? Can Edelgard overcome the power of her uncle who has not only eluded justice for his ill deeds but also aided in the largest power grab in Fodlan history? Even with all the might of Fodlan behind Edelgard there are plenty of questions surrounding her rule and we do never actually witness the end of Lord Arundel. What is the worth of all of Fodlan if the one who has wronged you yet lives? We never get to see the final act of the Edelgard story by defeating Lord Arundel, nor see her actually overcome  her past. Edelgard destroys everything because of her past but she can never escape it.

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