If you’re in this thread you already know there will be spoilers, so I won’t bother spoilering here. Also this got longer than I intended, sorry. For context the only other route I’ve played is Golden Deer.
I promised myself not to comment here again until after I finished Edelgards route. Even up until chapter 15, the bloodshed and Edelgard working with TWSITD made me wonder how anyone could align with her. It seems consistent, however, that those who did her route first could not imagine siding with the church either, so I pressed on, curious how such a route could cause such a massive difference of opinion in people who played the game.
Finally, I began to see some more characterization of both Rhea and Edelgard during the beginning of chapter 16, which I’m sure was fine if you played it the first time, but after playing a Golden Deer it felt like a long time of wondering “is all this worth it”?
By the end of chapter 16 Edelgard’s uncle made an appearance as the slippery snake he is. For the first time in the route, I felt that Hubert and Edelgard actually were working against TWSITD and started to feel a bit more compassionate towards their goals. Again, this is two chapters from the end, and if you’ve played a different route before, feels rather late.
Chapter 17 finally sees Rhea being unreasonable. But Dimitri is still not too bad, I really don’t understand Edeglard’s comment on him being obsessed with her. Chapter 18 opens with Edelgard and Arundel continuing the whole ‘I’m using you you know I’m using you I know you know etc.’ Getting kind of old. Edelgard confides in you, you’re the only person who understands her, etc. Also it’s funny seeing Rhea acting as Daenerys Targaryen after we accused Edelgard of that.
I also know I made some remarks about people playing Black Eagles to marry Edelgard, but I essentially did the same thing for Hubert, so maybe I’m no better....
So, did I finally find out why people who support Edelgard first are so fervent that she did nothing wrong(tm)? Well, the game does make her sympathetic - if that’s the only route you’ve played. Additionally, Rhea is not as obviously evil GD, feel like they kind of had to make her extreme in this route, but now I get why people who play Black Eagles think she’s 100% evil.
I’m curious to see how people who play Black Eagle then play Blue Lions feel - or vice versa. I can’t say for sure if I’d even give this route a chance had I played Blue Lions first.
In conclusion, If you dislike Edelgard and you are willing to play the whole story, I would recommend trying Black Eagles. But I do not think anyone who is convinced Edelgard is bad will be convinced otherwise, and will probably give up before the end of the story.
If you like Edelgard and don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t, or why anyone would support the church, please play literally any other route. It will make a great deal of sense.
Tl;dr: The route you play first will vastly influence your expectations of Edelgard. I gave Edelgard’s route a chance after playing Golden Deers. Her route is so vastly different from the others that you may not understand the game fully unless you play both her route and another. I believe she as a character is well written. I do not think her route or her decisions are any better than the other routes, though. Rhea only is evil in this route, in Golden Deer you have no indication she is evil.
Also bitch move locking the s support behind two chapters, IS. At least it was only one for GD. I’m also planning to replay the Golden Deer route again eventually, but I have no desire to play Black Eagle ever again, especially after that final map, Jesus. Also why was I able to refill my battalions before battle on the last two chapters in GD but not BE?