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    Three Houses

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  1. So the books on agricultural techniques were right there in the library for anybody to read? No attempt by the church to censor or suppress them? I think you're reading way too much into this situation. Maybe Rhea didn't feel it was her place to interfere in the internal management of a lord's estate, not without an invitation. Maybe none of the Galateas ever asked for help. Maybe it never even crossed Rhea's mind that the Galateas were simply ignorant of agricultural techniques openly available on the library shelves. Maybe Ingrid is the first Galatea to feel driven to do something about the situation. And hey - all she had to do was ask and "yeah, check the library, they've probably got some books on it there" was the simple answer. It is always a bad idea to let people starve as they become violent and unpredictable, and it is very easy to attribute new agricultural techniques to a revelation from the goddess.
  2. It makes zero sense that the church or anybody else would encourage starvation, which is what happens when you deliberately "withold agricultural techniques". On the other hand, it does make sense that the church would take credit for the land's fertility. It would make sense if the church unveiled these mysterious agricultural techniques and said, "Look, more gifts from the goddess". Starving desperate people will rise up and rebel. Nobody wants that. The mediaeval church banned autopsies because human beings are made in god's image and their bodies should be respected after death. I can't believe Rhea had the same reason. Honestly having the church of Seiros ban autopsies makes no sense either, especially since Hanneman has all these tools for reading people's crests and stuff. A lot of the rhetorical questions here are rather assuming that the church is malevolent and that human beings are rational creatures. It's a real stretch to blame the church for Galatea's lack of development. I mean, none of the other principalities in Faerghus have Galatea's problem - maybe the other Faerghus nobility are witholding the knowledge of the agricultural techniques from Galatea? Or maybe it was King Lambert? Or what about Daphnel, they're close to Galatea and they don't have problems with their farming. They must be keeping the secrets from those poor Galatean peasants. Because political leaders always have an eye to the main advantage. If they can overthrow Rhea and replace her with someone less effective, which means more power for them, they'll do it. It's funny how despite the fact that she's ruled Fodlan with a so-called iron fist for a millenium, the religious spirit really doesn't run very deep in many of the elite. It's because they're human beings and they care about power and status. I'm totally on board with any solid argument that can show Rhea is less than perfect. But these illogical arguments are unconvincing.
  3. That is undoubtedly true. Her problem was that their whole founding myth and doctrine was based on Crests and Hero's Relics being gifts bestowed by the goddess upon worthy individuals who merited the recognition. She probably could have backtracked on that myth, but it would have been extremely difficult. It's like the fait accompli of her enemies making the crests and weapons locked her into this situation. Nevertheless, as you say, 1,000 years is enough time to figure out a way to undermine the religion that you started.
  4. Maybe the best thing to do would be to wait for Crests to die out naturally? Of course I understand why Edelgard didn't feel able to do that. Re: channeling crest powers in positive ways... Human beings generally fall short of ideals. That's no reason not to try. These powerful Crest-holders existed and were passing their powers to their descendants. It wasn't possible to pretend they didn't exist, and in a world where political power is grounded, ultimately, in force, they were always destined to have the upper hand. I just don't know what better thing Rhea could have done. All of her options were imperfect ones. I'm actually not a Rhea apologist. She has plenty to atone for. But laying all the blame for a society dominated by Crest-obsessed nobles at her door alone seems unfair. It could never have happened if humans weren't hungry for power and status. Like I said, she didn't invent the Crest system; it was forced on her in an arms race by her enemies. The kind of change in atittude that Edelgard dreams of can never be enforced from the top down, unfortunately. I know the game says that she succeeds and I accept that, but if I were writing fanfiction, the outcome wouldn't be so neat and sweet.
  5. It's probably not realistic to assume that Rhea is the only one standing in the way of tech. It's way more in the interests of the crested elites to prevent tech from supplanting them. But like I said, given that they are the elite, any technological progress in going to focus on enhancing their crest and increasing their edge over crest holders. First Rhea gets blamed for controlling everything and then she gets blamed for not keeping everyone under control! It seems to me that she established this system because she was presented with the Crests as a fait accompli; now she runs the church with the primary motive of reviving her mother and keeping her family safe, and pretty much lets the humans get on with it unless the Church is threatened. You seem to be overlooking my point that is it better to try to channel these powerful forces in the direction of chivalry, nobility, service etc... than to let the Crest-holding elite dominate humanity with a free-for-all of unrestrained self-seeking power. Sure, most of the nobles don't live up to that ideal, but that's not Rhea's fault. Or maybe she should interfere more? The rest of the world doesn't seem all that different. If they were, Dagda or Almyra could have annihilated technologically backwards Fodlan in one of their frequent wars, like the Europeans over-running pre-Colombian America. So clearly things are not so bad for Fodlan yet. There is Morfis, of course, but it is magically advanced, not technologically advanced. That is true enough. Everybody lies in this game. Rhea doesn't want the truth about Miklan to get out... Although IIRC correctly it's well known that handling a Hero's Relic when you don't have a crest will cause a fatal transformation. The whole of Catherine/Linhardt's support is about that. Edelgard, equally, doesn't want the truth about the Spears of Light to get out ("Yes, guys, our own allies massacred us in order to keep me in line"). Yes. And whatever grants power also grants status. I actually find this to be one of the most dangerous aspects of Edelgard's plan: she seems to be wilfully blind to the truth that crests will always be desireable, and just dreamily hopes that one day she can build a meritocracy and everybody will be unselfishly cool with that. Here's what would actually happen. 1. Crest nobility overthrown, replaced with elite chosen on merit 2. 1 generation passes. Meritocratic elite seek to pass on their status and power to their children. Dynasties form. 3. Meritocracy degenerates into oligarchy; children and grandchildren of meritocrats hold inherited positions but lack ability to rule prudently. 4. Crest-holders overthrow faltering meritocracy; nostalgic return to "good old days".
  6. No technology has been proposed which would equalise the powers of the crest-bearers and the crestless. The crest-bearers will always have that technology plus their crest powers, and since they are the elite, they will foster technological developments that enhance their crest abilities. If Rhea hadn't given the crests their holy significance and fostered a mind-set of crest-nobility (best exemplified by Ferdinand and Lorenz) what exactly do you think would have happened in this world, where a small number of people possess powers that allow them to easily dominate the masses by force? I just disagree that it's stagnant or falling apart at the seams. I see a world that is pretty typical of most human societies. "According to every ending, that's exactly what happens." Well, of course that's the aspect of this game that is complete fantasy! I disagree that Rhea has made humanity's impulses worse. I think she tried to make the best of a bad job, according to her lights, with very mixed results. Of course she had her own agenda, but that has never included causing unnecessary human suffering. People might just disagree with her, as they do with Edelgard, as to what kind of suffering counts as necessary. The crests are not just tools. They are tremendous status symbols, socially elevating, bestowers of power and rank. I would go so far as to say that very few people actually want crests because they want to have super-strength or extra magic ability. They want crests for the status they confer.
  7. "Worst, for all the boasting about chivalry, royal authority means nothing to these guys. Be it with ignoring Dimitri during Duscur, or Dedue's paralogue. And there is the fact that barring a Seiros Mode!Rhea and Knights of Seiros-seized miracle, Cornelia and the Mole Men can just kill the regent, accuse Dimitri, have him executed (even if that faield), seize half of the country to sell out, and no one are able to stop them until the deed is done. Heck, Cornelia can pay herself the luxury of telling the whole plot to a known enemy and get away with it. Talk about a country gone to the dogs." Dimitri isn't king yet; he has no authority. After Lambert's death the role of head of state falls to his brother Rufus, a wastrel who spends all his time chasing women, thus leaving a power vacumn for the Mole Men to fill with Cornelia. Presumably Rufus was their preferred candidate for this reason! Speaking as a history teacher, you're spot on in your analysis: the first sign of weakening from the central power leads to every petty power-holder trying to expand at the expense of his neighbours. That said, the royalty of Faerghus does command a degree of loyalty from the older generation that we don't see in Adrestia or Leicester. Rodrigue and Gilbert are both devoted to their king; Rodrigue puts the needs of the king above those of his own family, and Gilbert does the same, although he sometimes questions his choices. What we can't know, though, is whether these two are meant to be representatives of the older generation of Faerghus nobility, or whether they're just two individuals bucking the trend. No, I tell a lie. Judith, the Hero of House Daphnel, is extremely loyal to Claude in his role as leader of the Leicester alliance. There seems to be a subtle difference, in that Judith is accepting Claude's lead in the task of fighting for their continued freedom and independence, whereas Rodrigue and Gilbert are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Dimitri personally, because he is The King. But I might be reading too much into it. Like Sylvain says, war is always inevitable. There's always another war.
  8. "You could just, you know, do what Crimson Flower does and just not entertain the idea that crest bearers are inherently superior to everyone and let Fodlan progress to the point technologically where they're not such a big deal any more lol" But human beings will never do that. Crest holders will simply have technology + a crest. They will invest in technological development that further advantages their crest. They will always have more power than other people. I never said Rhea's course of action resulted in a perfect society lol! Apart from anything else, that's beyond the capability of human beings. Of course a world dominated by the Church is torn by war and strife and filled with self-seeking, unprincipled individuals, because that's how it always is, no matter who's in charge. Edelgard's world will be the same. I'm saying Rhea had pretty limited options, and she chose the least worst. Fodlan isn't flourishing but it also isn't not-flourishing; it's just existing in what seems to be a pretty standard level for human history, with plenty of misery and strife and suffering side by side with love and adventure, art and literature, delicious food, kindness and charity. To imagine that Edelgard's world or Dimitri's world or Claude's world is going to be any better is just wishful thinking. It isn't Rhea who promotes racist attitudes, she welcomes and is kind to people from all over the world. Most of the problems in this world are not caused by Rhea, they are caused by human nature. The problem is the existence of crests. Sure, the real problem is people's attitude to crests, but good luck changing that as long as crests are both rare and obviously worth something. Human nature is immutable, and Rhea isn't responsible for that.
  9. I continue to read this thread with great interest. It seems to me, as someone who has played through all routes twice now (though not the DLC/Abyss), that this game is at least partly about what happens when people decide that the thing that drives them - their goal - must be achieved at all costs. Rhea's family was massacred and turned into weapons/crests. She fought back by getting humans on her side; she did this by giving them weapons and crests of their own. The destructive power of these weapons and crests is enormous, and they're all designed for war. Linhardt points out that a peaceful world wouldn't have much need for crest bearers. Remember, Rhea didn't initiate the crest system or the use of relic weapons. She was forced into it by a kind of arms race. Once the crest bearers and relic weapons were out in the world, it's hard to see what Rhea could have done about them. Kill all the Crest bearers and their lineage? For obvious reasons, she's not a fan of genocide. So she develops a mythology and a religion which serves two purposes: 1. keeps her family safe 2. creates a social structure in which the crest bearers have power and a positive purpose. It's no different from the Crusades and the age of chivalry: let's try to harness all the military might, and all that very human blood-lust and power-hunger, and channel it in a more constructive direction. Rhea has more than her fair share of failings, but she can hardly be held to blame for human nature. By making the crest-bearers a elite social class with shared values and a sense of mutual interests, they're less likely to be constantly turning on each in a struggle for power and dragging the whole world into one war after another. Fill the heads of their children with ideals of nobility: chivalry, service, self-sacrifice, duty. Thus, the terrible powers of the crest-holders are, at least to some extent, used to create a stable society in which art, literature and love can flourish. The player is encouraged to mock Ferdinand and Lorenz, but the truth is, these two chracters are the best kind of crest-holder. Even though they're vain about their nobility, they would never use their crest powers for selfish purposes. Of course, being human, many crest-bearers fall far short of the ideal. And of course, since humans are obsessed with status, crests themselves become highly desireable status symbols and some people will stop at nothing to get one. Hanneman's solution is the only one that really stands a chance of working. Give everybody a Crest! If everybody has a crest, crests won't mean anything special any more. if everybody has crest-bestowed powers, those powers will represent the level of the average human being. As long as a few people have crests and most people do not, and as long as those crests bestow very real advantages in the ongoing human struggle for power and dominance, Edelgard's reforms are doomed to failure. So basically, we have three solutions to the problem crests pose for their society: 1. Give everybody a crest (Hanneman) 2. Eliminate all crests and restore humanity to its factory settings. (genocide of all crest-bearing lineages) 3. If you can't do No. 1 and don't want to resort to No. 2, then structure your society in a way that gives crest-holders a positive purpose and rewards them for using their powers constructively
  10. I'm a bit late to this thread, but I really enjoyed your analysis of Dimitri. You summed up what it is about his character that makes him so interesting, to me. As far as I can tell, the game goes out of its way to avoid suggesting that one character is 'right' and another 'wrong'; they are all both right and wrong, and each chosen path brings both gains and losses. When you choose Edelgard's path, her choices are vindicated. if you don't choose it, all the sacrifices she forced upon herself and others were in vain. When you chose Dimitri's path, he finds salvation in this world and can be the king his people need. If you don't chose his path, then his obsessions inevitably lead to his death. I take my hat off to the writers of this game. While it may have its flaws, it's an incredible achievement.
  11. Can anyone explain to me why mages are so closely associated with the church? People with no crest and no particular religious belief are able to be mages. Literally anyone can be a mage (according to the game dynamics). Magic power doesn't appear to be in the gift of the church; it seems as if it's available to all. I am aware that the library in the Abyss records several instances of the Church standing in the way of scientific progress in order to protect the power of magic (though tbh if we look at our own world, maybe it was bad idea to get so reliant on fossil fuels?) but that just doesn't make any sense to me. Not all mages work for the church. Every single bandit troop has a couple of mages, so being a mage is clearly pretty common. And magic is so incredibly convenient. Why would anyone want or need technology if they had magic? Why would I need a gun if I can shoot Miasma from my fingers? Why would I want oil if I can Fire-ball my enemies?
  12. I agree with what you say about Edelgard, DarkMoon. I'd go further and say that even Thales and the Agarthans have some justified grievances. However, their chosen methods of seeking redress put them beyond the pale. If the Agarthans of Seiro's time had no problems with human experimentation and large scale sacrifice of lives for questionable ends, then it seems Seiros/Rhea were and are right to oppose them with everything she's got. Unfortunately, her methods turn out to be questionable too. If we judge them only by their motives and objectives, each lord's cause is a good one - except Dimitri while he's in insane mode. If we judge them by their methods, all of them are in the wrong to some extent. Do the ends justify the means? Kant would say no.
  13. Random peasants can still be intelligent and informed, have opinions, and choose courses of action. Lord Lenato's peasants fought for him as militia - in the Ambush in the Mist chapter all the students are distressed at having to fight ordinary people, fathers and sons, rather than professional soldiers. It's clear that they fought for him out of love, loyalty, and belief in the justice of his cause. We don't see a lot of ordinary Faerghus people aside from this militia, and Ashe, and all of them come across as extremely loyal to their lords, which suggests that the lords were on the whole decent rulers rather than oppressive. Unless you want to argue thayt Lenato is somehow an exception? The Faerghus nobility have a very strong ethic of chivalry, sacrifice and service, which might explain their popularity among the people. Nothing in the game suggests that the nobility were unpopular in Faerghus, and nothing suggests that people born into the nobility think of themselves as somehow a different order of being compared to the people they serve - unlike, say, Lorenz or Ferdinand.
  14. I thought the Church executed Christophe. Oh, Crysta, I see you got that covered. If the commoners and the nobles are of one mind, that suggests that the commoners don't feel oppressed by their nobles. On the whole, the people of Faerghus seem to love their king(s) and to be satisfied with their system of government. We might not be happy living under such a system, but that doesn't change how they feel. AFAIK, we don't know for sure that the Kingdom nobles masterminded the genocide in Duscur. If common people took part - and we don't know whether they did or they didn't - it could as easily have been because they loved their king as because they were forced by oppressive nobles. Thales and the Agarthans created and manipulated that whole situation. Ingrid clearly believes what she's told, which is understandable because of her grief at losing Glenn. Dimitri and Sylvain don't, however. I don't believe we're meant to assume that Dimitri and Sylvain are the only two nobles who saw through the lies. I think they are intended to be representative of a body of opinion in the Kingdom.
  15. I've never made a Fortress knight, or any heavily armoured class. Don't see the use for them'. Mages can annihilate them. Ferdinand is always my Holy Knight; for me it seems to fit his personality.
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