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Villains? Or End Bosses?

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Villains: Often have a unique battle theme and class, they appear much more frequently in cut-scenes and often times appear as a unit on a map in earlier chapters where they are unkillable, and usually the strongest enemy unit in the game without a gimmick (which is usually reserved for the end boss) and are often times the ones responsible for most if not all of the events. Villains would include, Gharnef, Jedah, Hardin, Alvis, Ledrick, Zephiel, Nergal, Lyon, The Black Knight, Sephiran (Though FE10 can kind of be debated), Validar? (Have only played awakening once and kind of skipped a lot of dialogue), and whatever FE14s happens to be.

End Boss: The last boss you fight, not seen too often until the very end though talked about. They are usually quite strong but often fall quickly to the game's plot-centric weapon. They are usually a dragon or god, or a human possessed/protected by them. End bosses would be Medeus, Duma, Julius, Veld, Idoun, Fire Dragon, Demon King, Ashnard, Ashera, Grima, and w/e FE14s is

 

Which do you prefer in general? And which is your favorite from each? For me I prefer villains over the end bosses almost all the time, and on an individual level Alvis is my favorite villain, with Medeus being my favorite end boss.

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Villains: Often have a unique battle theme and class, they appear much more frequently in cut-scenes and often times appear as a unit on a map in earlier chapters where they are unkillable, and usually the strongest enemy unit in the game without a gimmick (which is usually reserved for the end boss) and are often times the ones responsible for most if not all of the events. Villains would include, Gharnef, Jedah, Hardin, Alvis, Ledrick, Zephiel, Nergal, Lyon, The Black Knight, Sephiran (Though FE10 can kind of be debated), Validar? (Have only played awakening once and kind of skipped a lot of dialogue), and whatever FE14s happens to be.

End Boss: The last boss you fight, not seen too often until the very end though talked about. They are usually quite strong but often fall quickly to the game's plot-centric weapon. They are usually a dragon or god, or a human possessed/protected by them. End bosses would be Medeus, Duma, Julius, Veld, Idoun, Fire Dragon, Demon King, Ashnard, Ashera, Grima, and w/e FE14s is

 

Which do you prefer in general? And which is your favorite from each? For me I prefer villains over the end bosses almost all the time, and on an individual level Alvis is my favorite villain, with Medeus being my favorite end boss.

 

EDIT: Err idk why 2 posts came up, can this be deleted? I can't seem to delete it.

Edited by Drew Pickles

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Generally the villain is going to be more interesting by virtue of the fact that they have more screen time but really it depends entirely on the characters in questions. Some villains are rubbish while some end bosses are...well decent. Like I prefer Grima a lot more to Validar. Other final bosses are really interesting on paper but just generally fail to deliver anything of what's promised in action (yeah I'm mainly talking about Medeus there though Ananakos could have stood to be much better developed. The basic concept isn't terrible).

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FE1: Gharnef vs. Medeus - Both kind of suck, but Medeus' role is more interesting in the grand scheme of the dragon-centric FE games. 

FE2: Rudolf vs. Duma - Rudolf. 

FE3: Hardin vs. Medeus(Again) - Hardin. 

FE4: Rolls the "villain" and "final boss" role into one. You could break it down as Alvis vs. Julius/Loptyr, but IMO, Julius generally fits both roles a bit better, even if he has 0 presence in gen 1.

FE5: Raydrik vs. Veld - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters. 

FE6: Zephiel vs. Idunn - Zephiel by a country mile. 

FE7: Nergal vs. Generic fire dragon - Interestingly enough, the fire dra- I can't even make a joke argument for the fire dragon. 

FE8: Lyon vs. Fomortiis - Lyon, as much as I don't really care for FE8 or the protagonists, is a decent sympathetic villain. Certainly more interesting than gray Satan. 

FE9: Ashnard vs. Ashnard - Ashnard gives Ashnard a run for his money, but I'm gonna give it to Ashnard. 

FE10: Sephiran/The Senate/Zelgius vs. Ashera - Zelgius and Sephiran make for pretty good villains, and Sephiran gets browny points for being the only major villain in the franchise to join you in the main story. The Senate are laughably evil, but entertaining. Altogether, they beat out Ashera, who is a decent antagonist for setting up the final chunk of game, but not much else. 

Awakening: Validar vs. Grima - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters, but at least Grima doesn't make me want to be doing something other than play the game. Validar just makes me wish I was watching Aladdin. 

Fates: Garon vs. Anankos - *insert Seinfeld laughing and walking out of movie .gif here*

Villains: 6

Final bosses: 2

Edited by Slumber

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2 hours ago, Slumber said:

FE1: Gharnef vs. Medeus - Both kind of suck, but Medeus' role is more interesting in the grand scheme of the dragon-centric FE games. 

FE2: Rudolf vs. Duma - Rudolf. 

FE3: Hardin vs. Medeus(Again) - Hardin. 

FE4: Rolls the "villain" and "final boss" role into one. You could break it down as Alvis vs. Julius/Loptyr, but IMO, Julius generally fits both roles a bit better, even if he has 0 presence in gen 1.

FE5: Raydrik vs. Veld - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters. 

FE6: Zephiel vs. Idunn - Zephiel by a country mile. 

FE7: Nergal vs. Generic fire dragon - Interestingly enough, the fire dra- I can't even make a joke argument for the fire dragon. 

FE8: Lyon vs. Fomortiis - Lyon, as much as I don't really care for FE8 or the protagonists, is a decent sympathetic villain. Certainly more interesting than gray Satan. 

FE9: Ashnard vs. Ashnard - Ashnard gives Ashnard a run for his money, but I'm gonna give it to Ashnard. 

FE10: Sephiran/The Senate/Zelgius vs. Ashera - Zelgius and Sephiran make for pretty good villains, and Sephiran gets browny points for being the only major villain in the franchise to join you in the main story. The Senate are laughably evil, but entertaining. Altogether, they beat out Ashera, who is a decent antagonist for setting up the final chunk of game, but not much else. 

Awakening: Validar vs. Grima - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters, but at least Grima doesn't make me want to be doing something other than play the game. Validar just makes me wish I was watching Aladdin. 

Fates: Garon vs. Anankos - *insert Seinfeld laughing and walking out of movie .gif here*

Villains: 6

Final bosses: 2

Man. I want that line on my wall or something.

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2 hours ago, Slumber said:

FE1: Gharnef vs. Medeus - Both kind of suck, but Medeus' role is more interesting in the grand scheme of the dragon-centric FE games. 

FE2: Rudolf vs. Duma - Rudolf. 

FE3: Hardin vs. Medeus(Again) - Hardin. 

FE4: Rolls the "villain" and "final boss" role into one. You could break it down as Alvis vs. Julius/Loptyr, but IMO, Julius generally fits both roles a bit better, even if he has 0 presence in gen 1.

FE5: Raydrik vs. Veld - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters. 

FE6: Zephiel vs. Idunn - Zephiel by a country mile. 

FE7: Nergal vs. Generic fire dragon - Interestingly enough, the fire dra- I can't even make a joke argument for the fire dragon. 

FE8: Lyon vs. Fomortiis - Lyon, as much as I don't really care for FE8 or the protagonists, is a decent sympathetic villain. Certainly more interesting than gray Satan. 

FE9: Ashnard vs. Ashnard - Ashnard gives Ashnard a run for his money, but I'm gonna give it to Ashnard. 

FE10: Sephiran/The Senate/Zelgius vs. Ashera - Zelgius and Sephiran make for pretty good villains, and Sephiran gets browny points for being the only major villain in the franchise to join you in the main story. The Senate are laughably evil, but entertaining. Altogether, they beat out Ashera, who is a decent antagonist for setting up the final chunk of game, but not much else. 

Awakening: Validar vs. Grima - Both suck and are uninteresting as characters, but at least Grima doesn't make me want to be doing something other than play the game. Validar just makes me wish I was watching Aladdin. 

Fates: Garon vs. Anankos - *insert Seinfeld laughing and walking out of movie .gif here*

Villains: 6

Final bosses: 2

Man. I want that line on my wall or something.

 

Also I suppose you could have the Black Knight classed as the villain of Path of Radiance (as the OP listed). It is Ashnard's ambitions that are ultimately driving things but in terms of personal connection we see and interact a lot more with the Black Knight.

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2 hours ago, Slumber said:

FE4: Rolls the "villain" and "final boss" role into one. You could break it down as Alvis vs. Julius/Loptyr, but IMO, Julius generally fits both roles a bit better, even if he has 0 presence in gen 1.

wouldn't the villain of FE4 be manfroy? pretty much everything bad that happens is because of him, and you do fight him in the final chapter before the final boss

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8 hours ago, Jotari said:

Also I suppose you could have the Black Knight classed as the villain of Path of Radiance (as the OP listed). It is Ashnard's ambitions that are ultimately driving things but in terms of personal connection we see and interact a lot more with the Black Knight.

Yeah, you could make the argument for the BK. He and Ashnard are together like in like, 80% of the BK's scenes, but the other 20% of the BK's scenes are him antagonizing Ike directly, while Ashnard only shows up in person for the final chapter.

The BK plays more of the direct role that major villains typically play, but the game makes no effort to hide that he's working for Ashnard, which usually doesn't happen with main villains. Usually the main villains show up, appear to be hot shit, then for the last few chapters play as an underling to something bigger.

8 hours ago, unique said:

wouldn't the villain of FE4 be manfroy? pretty much everything bad that happens is because of him, and you do fight him in the final chapter before the final boss

I mean, Manfroy is the one orchestrating everything, but he doesn't really play that out in the open, directly antagonistic role that we're using as "Main villain" for this thread. It's almost like the game would be setting him up as the end boss, but that role goes to Julius, who is also acting as the main villain throughout gen 2.

Edited by Slumber

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Medeus and Gharnef alike suffer from being in such an antiquated game, they're as stereotypical Evil Sorcerer and Dark Dragon as you can get. Both have backgrounds that are technically tragic, but the archaism prevents us from really feeling them to be tragic characters. 

Hardin is a real tragic character. Deeply in love with a woman who cannot truly reciprocate his feelings, he ends up being a victim of possession as a result.

Julius too is tragic, albeit maybe not quite as felt as Hardin, even if his situation is potentially worse. Manfroy gets points for being as successful as Kefka was in FFVI, and he actually has a lot more talent than Square's beloved Joker knockoff (don't get me wrong, I like Kefka too, heck I hate Valtome to no end for stealing Kefka's laugh). Arvis I wouldn't mind having an opera or two written about, he is a tragedy. Not wholly innocent in the bad things in his life, but nonetheless a tragic figure.

Like Arvis, Zephiel has daddy issues, and these are what drives him. He is a little too illogical with his wanting to eradicate humanity just because King Desmond tried to kill him. Yet FE7, by showing a snippet of the Prince's upbringing, and leads us to infer his father alone isn't to blame for his anti-humanism (Helene too is to blame, and who knows if there are others too?). And it also adds to the tragedy by revealing to us that he was once a hopeful, innocent prince whom much of Bern (insofar as Murdock, Vaida, and an NPC or two suggest) see as being the country's current pride and future hope. Idunn is tragic as well, but again, it isn't as felt (and she's Fane of Raman Tiki kicked up to 11).

Nergal is yet another tragedy, a simple case of Dark Magic corrupting the good. You have have to piece things together yourself, access a ridiculously tedious and difficult to get to gaiden chapter, and head online to read about a critical mistranslation, but overall Nergal is okay.

Formortiis looks cool and has some wicked attacks, but is terribly generic (only being not a dark dragon saves him from FE infamy). The two distinct portrayals Lyon gets- the weak and tragic victim of possession on Eirika's route; and the guy who thinks he's in charge of himself and acts coldly like he is, but really isn't on Ephraim; is interesting. Beyond this double take, Lyon isn't amazing, but he is the sorcerer who IS tries its hardest to portray as a tragic story, even if others main villains do it better.

Ashnard's sitting in Crimea strategy is stupid. There is a logic behind it, but he should've pushed Gallia harder faster. (If he had launched a great invasion of Gallia while Elincia was in Begnion seeking Sanaki's support, it could have thrown a wrench in Elincia's plans because she'd have to answer about Crimea's future Laguz policies, which anti-Laguz Senators might have rejected and thus have kept Sanaki from giving Elincia her full support.) Beyond this error, Ashnard is a decently done villain.

The Black Knight has issues stemming from his background as revealed in the Tower of Guidance, but is solid enough. 

13 hours ago, Slumber said:

Validar just makes me wish I was watching Aladdin.

This deserves to be immortalized.

Grima is bad, but Validar is even worse somehow. Aversa is a generic shadowy femme fatale with an interesting backstory... that turns out to be totally false! And Excellus, Mr. "How I do love inappropriate touching." is outrageously juvenile! Gangrel isn't much better than this, and Cervantes is a total joke with no pretenses seriousness like the rest. Only Walhart of all villains in Awakening could be called remotely well done. And even so, if Walhart's characterization were a piece of meat, he'd be as red and undercooked as his armor.

 

Ashera is emotionless and impersonal. She does do what she does out of a love for the world it is stated, but without the warmth of Yune, she is dull and unengaging, though a "Enter my embrace my children!" approach would have also been dull. Lekain and the other Senators are intentionally very annoying jokes, and Lekain gives Haar one of the best boss convos in FE history. Hetzel was a tad nuanced though.

Sephiran is so good though! They really build up the sympathy with him quite well over the course of the Tower of Guidance climb. He's weak, he's seen a lot of suffering, he was forced to disown his own child for the sake of the world's peace. He watched many Laguz suffer for centuries, doing nothing now for the sake of the world's future Dheginsea told him, but which he had a hard time believing. And just when his hopes about the future were bright, suddenly they're shot down as soon as he sees them and his people on top of that are annihilated. He just wants his pain and heartache to end, and has become desensitized to, but still able to see, the suffering he causes in trying to bring about the end.

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15 hours ago, Slumber said:

Yeah, you could make the argument for the BK. He and Ashnard are together like in like, 80% of the BK's scenes, but the other 20% of the BK's scenes are him antagonizing Ike directly, while Ashnard only shows up in person for the final chapter.

The BK plays more of the direct role that major villains typically play, but the game makes no effort to hide that he's working for Ashnard, which usually doesn't happen with main villains. Usually the main villains show up, appear to be hot shit, then for the last few chapters play as an underling to something bigger.

The BK actually reminds me mechanically and in terms of his role of Gharnef. The game made no effort to hide Gharnef was technically Medeus's underling; albeit an underling later revealed to be planning to stab Medeus in the back at the first optimal chance, but an underling nonetheless. It said as much in the Prologue, and Gharnef fights under the Dolhrian Empire's standard much as King What's-His Face-Go-Die-For-Me-Camus-Then-I'll-Surrender-and-Cower-Like-a-Cuck and Michalis do.

Gharnef shows up halfway through the game completely invincible to quite literally chase your units around and terrorize you.

BK does much the same; he shows up halfway through the game, fully invincible, to chase your units to the boats and terrorize you.

You also need a hot shit weapon, Starlight and Ragnell respectively, to hurt them.

Hardin has some shades of this with the same invincibility gimmick, but it's not made obvious until later on that he's being manipulated by/working with Gharnef.

Similarly, And maybe somewhat humorously, Sephrain is said up front to be loyal to Ashera as most of Begnion is.

The twist isn't that he's loyal to ashera, but that Ashera is antagonistic at all- FE9 and most of FE10 build her up as Tellius's Naga or Mila, even going as far as to rename Goddess Statues to Ashera Statues, and then you end up having to shove a sword in her throat.

Fates also makes it pretty painfully obvious Garon is being controlled/manipulated by Anankos unless you're one of those mainstream people that did Birthright first.

 

So I think the Black Knight certainly counts as the "major villain" of FE9, and to a mild extent FE10 as well- at least from the Greil Mercenaries' POV

Edited by Hero of the Fire Emblems

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I prefer when it's the same person, like Ashnard. If not, I'd rather have the end boss being part of the villain's plan (FE6's would have been great if the final boss had been even remotely challenging; Zephiel was the mastermind, the main antagonist, and the last battles were still about preventing his plan to succeed; this applies to FE7's Dragon as well), rather than being the actual architect behind the whole mess.

Lyon, I like much better in Ephraim's road, because there it is clear he willingly lets himself get possessed by Fomortiis with a clear motive for doing so, thus feeling more like an actual main antagonist.

Validar is probably my least favourite villain in the series, having no motive at all beyond doing evil things for Grima, and being ultimately nothing but Grima's willing pawn. Gangrel and Walhart had much more potential than this jerk.

Garon is even more disappointing in that he actually had some potential. If he were anything like he is described as having been decades earlier, he could have been a multi-layered, compelling antagonist. That alone would have fixed much of Fates' story issues, making Xander much more believable without changing any of Xander's dialogue. If they really had to keep Anankos in, they could have made Garon's descent into madness more gradual and tragic, with him having bouts of lucidity and some genuine fatherly moments, possibly being aware of his inevitable mental decay... In the end, the only thing gray about him was his skin. I liked Xander in Birthright and Takumi in Conquest much better as actual villains, even though Takumi was also Anankos' pawn... Fuck Anankos, really! Fates is still awesome, though.

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FE1: Medeus, but I agree with Interdimensional Observer that both him and Gharnef suffer from the same problem: They exist in an outdated game that does little to flesh out their backstories and motivations. The only reason I'd personally put Medeus over Gharnef is that I find his backstory a bit more interesting and Xane's comment in New Mystery gives him a partial sympathizer from it, but it's still a long way from being anything in-depth and both would benefit from having their stories revisited down the road to be fleshed out in some way.  

FE2: Rudolf easily, his plan definitely has holes, but his motivations for said plan are actually understandable and his role is more memorable. Duma, while he does have a backstory and his motivations are one born from corruption rather then malice, I don't think the story is too successful in showcasing his contrast with Mila. Duma has a number of villains that show the corruption of pure power while Mila only has King Lima to showcase the corruption of her spoiling, so while both aren't portrayed as correct Duma ends up having more of his flaws showcased then his sister. His appearance as the final boss also just has him as another mad god, so he comes off as a bit bland in role as a result from that as well.

FE3: Hardin is probably the most memorable out of the Archanean villains. He loved Nyna genuinely, but since she couldn't return his feelings and he knew it he fell into despair and ended up being manipulated and possessed as a result. So as a result, it's easier to get into his tragedy and he stands out from the more generic crowd that's among him, so it's really no contest between him and Medeus whose tragedy is more limited.  

FE6: Zephiel, his downward spiral in sanity being owed to his parent(s) and upbringing was a much more interesting backstory then Idunn's.

FE7: Considering the Fire Dragon has no personality, Nergal.

FE8: I do like Formortiis' design (and as of now, he's one of the non-dragon final bosses and one of the fewer not related to them at all, so points for that), but he's still basically a generic eldritch abomination. Lyon is much more interesting for the dynamic between the two routes, watching his corruption, and his relationship with the twins.

FE10: Sephiran, Ashera by virtue of being a goddess who seeks an emotionless world is by consequence an emotionless being and hard to really care for outside of her story with Yune. Sephiran's backstory from his time among the four heroes to the Serenes Forest finally causing him to snap after witnessing years of suffering is much more fleshed out and easier to care about.

FE13: Walhart, if only because there's actually a good amount of thought put into his reflection of Alm through his interactions and motivations. Grima I'll give a point for SoV giving him a more memorable backstory, but his poor motivations and actions in the story of Awakening proper bog him down terribly.

FE14: Both are terrible, Garon for wasting any amount of potential he did have to be Anankos' slime minion, and Anankos for dumbing down a great thematic to 'the dragon did it'.

So my preference falls to the main villains, they definitely have their low points, but overall I feel they benefit from having their roles be more involved in the main story rather then being shoved into the background until the final battle comes around.

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On 1/6/2017 at 3:59 AM, Interdimensional Observer said:

Julius too is tragic, albeit maybe not quite as felt as Hardin, even if his situation is potentially worse. Manfroy gets points for being as successful as Kefka was in FFVI, and he actually has a lot more talent than Square's beloved Joker knockoff (don't get me wrong, I like Kefka too, heck I hate Valtome to no end for stealing Kefka's laugh). 

Like Arvis, Zephiel has daddy issues, and these are what drives him. He is a little too illogical with his wanting to eradicate humanity just because King Desmond tried to kill him. Yet FE7, by showing a snippet of the Prince's upbringing, and leads us to infer his father alone isn't to blame for his anti-humanism (Helene too is to blame, and who knows if there are others too?).

But at least Kefka wouldn't have been stupid enough to let live Julia, who we all remember to be the heir of naga's power and literally the only person that could kill Julius. That was such a dumb mistake that, honestly, It completely nullified all his precedents schemings

Regarding Hellene: yes, she was an asshole to Zephiel, but remember she changes and becomes a caring mother to Zephiel. To be honest, Zephiel became the man he is more because of the period where he was poisoned.

Anyway, regarding the topic, I prefer main villains due to more story presence, but I enjoy the final bosses as...well, bosses more because they are much more epic to fight.

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Has it ever been approached WHY fire emblem games have such a huge passion for EVERY game having a dragon as an endboss. The only game that I played in the fe series so far that DIDN'T have a dragon as an end boss was the sacred stones por and radiant dawn. Everything else that I've played was always a dragon, for an end boss. 

Edited by TheEmblem

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43 minutes ago, TheEmblem said:

Has it ever been approached WHY fire emblem games have such a huge passion for EVERY game having a dragon as an endboss. The only game that I played in the fe series so far that DIDN'T have a dragon as an end boss was the sacred stones por and radiant dawn. Everything else that I've played was always a dragon, for an end boss. 

People are, justifiably, complaining a lot about this now. FE1 is the oldest game and it's understandable it'd have one due to its age. FE2 didn't really explain what Doma and Mila were. FE3 is 1 and a sequel to 1, so it makes sense. FE4 reduced the dragon to the spirit of one possessing a human being without draconic form, so it's less upfront, but still present. FE5 doesn't have one due to its scope. FE6 is a throwback to 1+3, explaining why it is. FE7 had to have a dragon solely due to its buildup of the threat- it's the first game where having them wasn't really needed you could argue. SS's big bad isn't much better than a dragon but at least he certainly isn't one (until the SS remake that is). And FE9 only has a guy riding a wyvern, while FE10 doesn't have a dragon at all (and I will say the Dragon Laguz are better than Manaketes in several ways).

It's Awakening where the current degeneration of FE's villains into dragons begins, but by itself it isn't terrible- it's just a reference to FEs 1/3, 4, and 6. Fates had zero need for dragons, and the way they were included was in-your-face and ruined a possibly perfectly good human v. human grey conflict. SoV is just beating a dead idea into the ground at this point. Somebody better get to cremating all these geriatric scalies before they hijack another game!

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1 hour ago, TheEmblem said:

Has it ever been approached WHY fire emblem games have such a huge passion for EVERY game having a dragon as an endboss. The only game that I played in the fe series so far that DIDN'T have a dragon as an end boss was the sacred stones por and radiant dawn. Everything else that I've played was always a dragon, for an end boss. 

Because dragons are cool.

12 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

People are, justifiably, complaining a lot about this now. FE1 is the oldest game and it's understandable it'd have one due to its age. FE2 didn't really explain what Doma and Mila were. FE3 is 1 and a sequel to 1, so it makes sense. FE4 reduced the dragon to the spirit of one possessing a human being without draconic form, so it's less upfront, but still present. FE5 doesn't have one due to its scope. FE6 is a throwback to 1+3, explaining why it is. FE7 had to have a dragon solely due to its buildup of the threat- it's the first game where having them wasn't really needed you could argue. SS's big bad isn't much better than a dragon but at least he certainly isn't one (until the SS remake that is). And FE9 only has a guy riding a wyvern, while FE10 doesn't have a dragon at all (and I will say the Dragon Laguz are better than Manaketes in several ways).

It's Awakening where the current degeneration of FE's villains into dragons begins, but by itself it isn't terrible- it's just a reference to FEs 1/3, 4, and 6. Fates had zero need for dragons, and the way they were included was in-your-face and ruined a possibly perfectly good human v. human grey conflict. SoV is just beating a dead idea into the ground at this point. Somebody better get to cremating all these geriatric scalies before they hijack another game!

I don't think replacing them or removing them isn't going to magically fix any of the writing problems this series has seemingly developed. Birthright and Conquest as independent stories are heavily criticized for being boring and illogical respectively. That wouldn't change if you removed the very minor dragon appearance (which is just Garon in Birthright's final since Anankos' influence is only relevant in Revelations).

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5 hours ago, TheEmblem said:

Has it ever been approached WHY fire emblem games have such a huge passion for EVERY game having a dragon as an endboss. The only game that I played in the fe series so far that DIDN'T have a dragon as an end boss was the sacred stones por and radiant dawn. Everything else that I've played was always a dragon, for an end boss. 

Dragons are treated as Gods in a lot of ways. Especially in the Archanea-verse. For Medeus and Loptyr, they're both Earth dragons, which were the only dragon clan that was said to rival the Divine dragons(Heaven and Earth, basically. Big concepts in Eastern religions). Earth dragons were also the only clan established to have hated humans and waged war against all of the other dragon clans, with Medeus being the exception, while Loptyr was a major instigator and basically kept the war going on by himself after the other Earth dragons were sealed away. So with Duma and Mila succumbing to degredation(Especially Duma), you now also have Divine dragons going nuts. Then you find out that an alchemist was experimenting on dead dragons, and giving them Divine dragon blood, giving us Grima.

And then there's the Elibe games. FE6 was meant to be a throwback to Marth's story, so it ends with a big spooky dragon fight. FE7, then, needed to explain why exactly dragons were actually in Elibe, and you can likely come to the conclusion the dragons from Archanea made contact there(They could be from somewhere else, but the Archanea world is the only we know of that fits pretty well with the dragons that made it to Elibe). 

And then there's Fates, which just tried to have its fingers in too many pots, and we get Anankos, who is never properly explained, but can move from Fateslandia to Archanea world. 

So really only in games where dragons aren't the high-power do we deviate from the "Dragons are radical" explanation for end bosses. And this pretty much just amounts to FE8-10, which have actual Gods and demons, and aren't connected to the Archanea world in any ways. FE8-10 have dragons, but they're different from the Archanea dragons. 

FE5 also doesn't have dragons, but a dragon drives the plot indirectly, and the end boss of that game is a dragon worshipper. 

Edited by Slumber

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6 hours ago, Slumber said:

FE7, then, needed to explain why exactly dragons were actually in Elibe, and you can likely come to the conclusion the dragons from Archanea made contact there(They could be from somewhere else, but the Archanea world is the only we know of that fits pretty well with the dragons that made it to Elibe).

Um, what? The dragons went into the Dragon's Gate to escape the Scouring, they didn't suddenly enter the world through it. Now that I think about it, I don't actually think it is ever said when or why the Dragon's Gate was built, only that it was used to escape the Scouring (does anyone have any info on this?). The possibility that the world beyond the Gate is Archanea, presumably in the Golden Age of Dragons before the decline into Manaketes and civil war, I am willing to entertain, but I don't think we have any conclusive evidence of it unless we find Ninian's name inscribed in the Ice Dragon Temple.

 

And @Jotari I'm in agreement that getting rid of dragons won't magically solve FE's writing problems, no one simple fix could. Although I think you underplay Anankos a little bit. Yes, he isn't there upfront during Conquest or Birthright, but he and his degeneration to evil is essential to Conquest's and Birthright's plots. Without Anankos, Garon would be very different and we wouldn't have the Nohr-Hoshido war as we know it, nor crazed CQ Takumi, or even Corrin themselves. We could keep Anankos's influence and instead give Corrin a spine on CQ, or Ryoma a brain on BR, and better develop the world on both routes, but I've already admitted that there is no magic bullet.

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46 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Um, what? The dragons went into the Dragon's Gate to escape the Scouring, they didn't suddenly enter the world through it. Now that I think about it, I don't actually think it is ever said when or why the Dragon's Gate was built, only that it was used to escape the Scouring (does anyone have any info on this?). The possibility that the world beyond the Gate is Archanea, presumably in the Golden Age of Dragons before the decline into Manaketes and civil war, I am willing to entertain, but I don't think we have any conclusive evidence of it unless we find Ninian's name inscribed in the Ice Dragon Temple.

 

And @Jotari I'm in agreement that getting rid of dragons won't magically solve FE's writing problems, no one simple fix could. Although I think you underplay Anankos a little bit. Yes, he isn't there upfront during Conquest or Birthright, but he and his degeneration to evil is essential to Conquest's and Birthright's plots. Without Anankos, Garon would be very different and we wouldn't have the Nohr-Hoshido war as we know it, nor crazed CQ Takumi, or even Corrin themselves. We could keep Anankos's influence and instead give Corrin a spine on CQ, or Ryoma a brain on BR, and better develop the world on both routes, but I've already admitted that there is no magic bullet.

Garon just needs to be a stupid crazy for the plots to work. Anankos being behind his stupid crazy evilness is only a relevant point in Revelations. He could be just plain stupid crazy on his own and nothing would change. Literally nothing would change in Birthright if Anankos didn't exist. Like if the game was released independently and the other two routes where never made, nobody would be saying there's significant dragon interference that is going unexplained (Garon would be criticized as a pretty flat villain but he gets that criticism even now with the excuse for his lunacy). His name isn't even mentioned in Birthright. Conquest I might have oversimplified a bit much since his presence does necessitated demon Takumi. But there's nothing really other than that. In hindsight you can say we wouldn't have the war or Corrin because Anankos was secretly behind all that but remove Anankos and those events can still happen. Stuff like Ananoks being Corrin's father isn't relevant to the plot of Birthright or Conquest. I suppose thinking about it Anankos is necessary for Goo Garon to make sense as a thing which does influence Corrin's decision for the latter half of Conquest but if there's a single plot line in the entirety of fiction I would wish was handled different, it would probably be how they handled Goo Garon.

 

All in all Dragons are an aesthetic. Medeus could be a powerful sorcerer, or even just a human from a presumed extinct bloodline that can rouse Doluna. The only thing that matters is that he's a powerful individual that incites reactions from other characters. Likewise Anankos could be a demon or a fairy or a leprechaun for all it matters to the fundamentals of the story.  This goes for most stories but especially the dragons in Fire Emblem as they spend most of their time in human form. Aside from their appearance, there is nothing necessarily draconic about them that is critical to the plot. I can see why people may have become weary of the aesthetic as dragons have featured a lot but personally I think dragons are like super cool so keep em coming.

Edited by Jotari

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1 minute ago, Jotari said:

All in all Dragons are an aesthetic. Medeus could be a powerful sorcerer, or even just a human from a presumed extinct bloodline that can rouse Doluna. The only thing that matters is that he's a powerful individual that incites reactions from other characters. Likewise Anankos could be a demon or a fairy or a leprechaun for all it matters to the fundamentals of the story.  This goes for most stories but especially the dragons in Fire Emblem as they spend most of their time in human form. Aside from their appearance, there is nothing necessarily draconic about them that is critical to the plot. I can see why people may have become weary of the aesthetic as dragons have featured a lot but personally I think dragons are like super cool so keep em coming.

True enough.

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4 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Um, what? The dragons went into the Dragon's Gate to escape the Scouring, they didn't suddenly enter the world through it. Now that I think about it, I don't actually think it is ever said when or why the Dragon's Gate was built, only that it was used to escape the Scouring (does anyone have any info on this?). The possibility that the world beyond the Gate is Archanea, presumably in the Golden Age of Dragons before the decline into Manaketes and civil war, I am willing to entertain, but I don't think we have any conclusive evidence of it unless we find Ninian's name inscribed in the Ice Dragon Temple.

 

And @Jotari I'm in agreement that getting rid of dragons won't magically solve FE's writing problems, no one simple fix could. Although I think you underplay Anankos a little bit. Yes, he isn't there upfront during Conquest or Birthright, but he and his degeneration to evil is essential to Conquest's and Birthright's plots. Without Anankos, Garon would be very different and we wouldn't have the Nohr-Hoshido war as we know it, nor crazed CQ Takumi, or even Corrin themselves. We could keep Anankos's influence and instead give Corrin a spine on CQ, or Ryoma a brain on BR, and better develop the world on both routes, but I've already admitted that there is no magic bullet.

Did the dragons in FE7 originate in Elibe, though? Ninian ends up dying an early death because the atmosphere in Elibe is toxic to dragons. And they never really explain this, if it's an effect of the Scouring, or if it's just something that's always been this way. And it's not a plot point at all in FE6, so... 

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2 hours ago, Slumber said:

Ninian ends up dying an early death because the atmosphere in Elibe is toxic to dragons. And they never really explain this, if it's an effect of the Scouring, or if it's just something that's always been this way. And it's not a plot point at all in FE6, so... 

Ah Ninian, if she had lived longer, she would've been alive in Binding Blade- and that's the part of the problem! We aren't shown Roy's mom in FE6, so they had to make sure they weren't alive in FE6. Simply saying "death by childbirth"- that classic problem of pre-contemporary motherhood, would have sufficed, and who knows? Maybe that is how Ninian's life ends, holding the newborn Roy in her gently with the fading strength in her arms, giving him his name before passing on. Any who, I think the death thing was also done for dramatic effect- making so Ninian's choice to stay behind with Eliwood instead of return to beyond the Gate had a price, which it wouldn't really be felt to have otherwise for the player (beyond Ninian separating from Nils).

Let us also look at the larger world of Elibe, beyond our first shy dancer. In Arcadia in FE6, all the dragons are dead (why?) except Fae (who seems to be totally fine). Athos's reminiscing in Sands of Time suggests however there were more dragons alive there just a few centuries ago- not dead like you'd expect if Ninian's fate was the norm. Actually Ninian is only half-dragon, so shouldn't this make her less frail? Why, Sophia is also Half-Dragon, yet she lacks dragon form, and has been alive for much more than 20 years given her appearance in a Ruin in Victory or Death. The only excuses are: Sophia is half-dragon, but doesn't have a purebred dragon parent (a bit contrived of an explanation); or being on the opposite side of the Dragon's Gate for so long gives Ninian shifting powers in Elibe, but renders her frail, and Sophia having spent her entire life in Elibe curtails shifting powers, but lets her live without any issues. 

In summary, could we call Ninian a "special snowflake"? FE7 is willing to seemingly contradict FE6 for the sake of Ninian.

 

And on a different note, let us return to the Ending Winter- the event that forces Manakete form onto the Dragons. Before this, nothing is said of biological problems among the dragons. Maybe they existed and played a role in causing the Scouring, but if so, it isn't at all stated. All we have suggests perfect harmony between dragons and humans that was suddenly interrupted, there is nothing else to go on. If the dragons came from Archanea, we have no records of it, and only FE6-7 remakes or some new official artbook or IS interview could "clarify" this.

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8 hours ago, Slumber said:

Did the dragons in FE7 originate in Elibe, though? Ninian ends up dying an early death because the atmosphere in Elibe is toxic to dragons. And they never really explain this, if it's an effect of the Scouring, or if it's just something that's always been this way. And it's not a plot point at all in FE6, so... 

If dragons were figuratively choking on the atmosphere then I doubt the Scouring would have lasted as long as it did. Remember, the humans got the edge because their birthrates were higher than the dragons. That suggests it lasted generations. Everything points to the ending winter which forced the dragons to become manaketes to conserve energy. Why does that effect Ninian even though she has a human form...*shrug*

Edited by Jotari

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10 minutes ago, Jotari said:

If dragons were figuratively choking on the atmosphere then I doubt the Scouring would have lasted as long as it did. Remember, the humans got the edge because their birthrates were higher than the dragons. That suggests it lasted generations. Everything points to the ending winter which forced the dragons to become manaketes to conserve energy. Why does that effect Ninian even though she has a human form...*shrug*

The whole toxic atmosphere thing just really throws me off, since Nils acts like it's common knowledge, and that Ninian was in grave danger staying with Eliwood. And if Eliwood and Ninian is more or less the "canon" pairing(I don't mean to rustle any feathers, but that's generally what's pushed), she dies in less than 20 years after making the choice to stay.

This, to me, always suggested that dragons were not native to Elibe, and that sometime waaaay before the Scouring, made it to Elibe through the Dragon's Gate. Then after generations OF the Scouring, left Elibe through the Dragon's Gate, and potentially during the time since the Scouring, dragons lost their ability to survive in Elibe's atmosphere.

If it's something else, then fine, but yeah. Plus, the way the dragons work in clans like in Archanea(Including Ice and Fire clans). The Manketes in FE8 aren't clan-based, and the Tellius dragons are sorted by color. It just seems weird to me.

Edited by Slumber

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