Let me begin by saying that Prince Dimitri is a hard character to love. An outside perspective from the individual routes that aren’t the Dimitri routes reveals an individual who is obsessed and extreme. Dimitri either can’t contain himself or he chooses not to. Felix isn’t wrong to call Dimitri the boar prince, man on the outside and a wild beast on the inside. The inner rage that drives Dimitri and his desire for revenge make him a twisted individual. He is seemingly inconsolable as he goes from one chapter to the next as the story progresses on. In a pivotal moment when Flame Emperor attacks the Holy Tomb and is revealed to be Edelgard, Dimitri loses his grip on reality. His fixation on Edelgard being to blame for the evil that is going on the world is completely justified. Dimitri cackles an menacing laugh. We start to see that what may be inside Dimitri is truly monstrous and it is truly a terrifying moment of realization from the player perspective that Felix has had Dimitri pegged right the hole time, he is the boar prince. All this being said there is a reason to love Dimitri. Remember Dimitri is a victim of a terrible tragedy that forever altered his life and future. The reason to love Dimitri is for the fact that he is redeemable with the right support structure around him, the right circumstance to give him pause to think and the right words to him at a choice moment.
Redeeming Dimitri isn’t easy work as he has to overcome years of tragedy and self pity. There are many moments when your patience as a the playable character Byleth is tested. Giving up on Dimitri is in fact much easier to do then saving Dimitri. And there are plenty of reasons that Dimitri will give you to dislike him. Finding Dimitri post time skip we find Dimitri at his lowest; he is friendless and can’t tell fantasy from reality. In this moment Byleth appears as the light to the darkness that surrounds Dimitri. Dimitri can’t overcome his inner demons alone. It takes a colossal effort of bringing in personal friends, peers, mentors and Byleth himself to change Dimitri. Building a strong network of support for Dimitri is critical to redeeming him.
While building a solid foundation of support for Dimitri, we must accept that support alone isn’t going to be enough to get Dimitri to change. Dimitri must realize and accept that his actions are causing harm to others but more importantly he has to realize that his actions are causing him the most harm. Allowing Dimitri to continue to make further mistakes allows him to realize that the path he is treading is wrong. Dimitri foolishly tortures his captives and slaughters them for the sake of his own personal revenge. This of course breeds hostility towards the Prince from his enemies and the sister of one of his fallen foes attempts to kill Dimitri while his back is turned. It was completely deserved that Dimitri should die for his cruel actions. Instead a close friend and mentor to Dimitri takes the blow himself and dies in the Prince’s stead. This becomes a turning point in Dimitri’s thought processes.
After acknowledging his wrong Dimitri is forced to accept that his actions killed his friend and mentor. This causes him to question the path that he is taking. Its at this crucial moment in the Prince’s development that Byleth can finally talk some reason into the man. It still isn’t a pleasant conversation but it is a necessary one. Its one where Dimitri can come to accept his wrong and work on fixing the misdeeds he has done. Dimitri is smart, but being smart alone isn’t enough for him to overcome the years of self-pity and rage that he has held inside his heart. Dimitri needed this moment and the support of Byleth to overcome his inner demons. The right words struck his heart and in that moment redeemed him.
While the rest of the story involves wrapping up the war with Edelgard and her empire, Dimitri acts and behaves like a completely changed man. Overcoming the heartache, his own loss, realizing that his actions caused irreparable harm and intervention from Byleth help Dimitri become a better person. Even the rest of the crew is bewildered but excited for this positive development for Dimitri. He becomes a completely new person. Dimitri is a good show case for when reason becomes poisoned by poor emotional health it is impossible to overcome alone. It is only with the right support structure, the right moments and the right words that one in the depths of misery can elevate oneself. It is the choice to change that Dimitri has to make alone. Dimitri chooses to make right in a world of wrong despite being so hurt by the world. The reason to love Dimitri is not because of his flaws, his misdeeds, or his cruel worlds and actions. The reason to love Dimitri is to give him a chance to overcome himself and let him grow into a beautiful person. The question left to ask is: was it worth it to save Dimitri? For me the answer was yes.