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The Girl Who Chooses To Roll Again, One More Time. A Severa character analysis

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I’ve made it no secret as to my love of Severa on this site and for good reason. Severa is a character of duality and contrast. Her story is one of an emotionally traumatized girl that tries her best to rolling along despite all the failures and hardships she has faced.  This in a way truly exemplifies the tsundere archetype she so faithfully is a part of but I’m not here to simply dismiss her character on those grounds but rather use it as a lens to try and better understand her character as a whole.

 

Severa is a rather abrasive and sharp-tongued individual. She’s very quick to harshly criticize others as well as put them down. We see this in several of her supports most prominently in her C and B supports. Her supports with Cynthia and Owain start off with her acting like somewhat of an outright bully calling their chuunibyou antics childish and lame. She claims to be superior to them for not indulging in their “loser” hobbies and delusions. She criticizes both Yarne and Robin(both M and F) rather harshly for what she believes to be laziness and modesty on their part. The same is true of her supports with Kjelle albeit to a much lesser extent. All of these supports seem to paint Severa as an incredibly mean-spirited and harsh individual who cares little for the feelings of others in favor of her own selfish ego. However, this abrasiveness is not all there is to her as Severa can be rather kind and caring when she wants to be which is shown most prominently in her supports with Noire. The support starts off with Noire asking Severa to go to walk to the bathroom with her due to being afraid of going alone in the dark. As usual, Severa begins to criticize this behavior as she does with everyone. She tells Noire that she needs to learn to go by herself and grow up a little. Noire apologizes to which Severa responds with a ‘whatever’ and does it anyway. Noire thanks her and says “You’re always so nice to me” and the exchange that follows is rather interesting.

Severa: That must be a pretty low bar if I'm leaping over it. Why not bother someone else from time to time?

Noire: Oh, I'd be too embarrassed...

Severa: And you're not with me?

Noire: You don't tease me for it.

Severa: No, I suppose not. I'm only interested in taking self-important people down a peg. Teasing you would be like kicking a puppy. ...While it's asleep.

Noire: ...W-wait. Is that really the reason why?

Severa: Oh, what does it matter? At the end of the day, I'm still saddled with guarding you from the bogeyman.

Noire: ...Sorry?

Severa: Never mind. We're old friends. Imposing on me is just what you do. ...Er, that sounded less harsh in my head.

Noire: I think I know what you meant.

Severa’s first response seems to suggest that she’s self-aware of the fact that she can be rather harsh and critical at times. She knows how harsh she can be to others but for some reason isn’t that way towards Noire or at least not nearly to the degree as she is with others. The explanation given by Severa, herself, as to why that might be the case is by and large the most interesting part of this conversation. She states she’s only interested in knocking cocky and arrogant people down a peg. People who are always going on about how great they are which in a way is contradictory to how Severa, herself, acts. But is it really a contradiction? On the surface, it would appear so and she just doesn’t realize it though we just discussed that Severa is indeed aware of her own abrasiveness and arrogance so there must be more than what’s on the surface. So why don’t we dig a little deeper and ask ourselves why does Severa act so abrasively and harshly? Well, the answer isn’t very hard to find if we look at her supports with both Robins.

Her Male Robin support starts off with her criticizing him for his “dumb” battle plans in the practice drills they were doing earlier. Her words, as usual, are rather blunt and overly harsh. She calls him an idiot and accuses him of being arrogant for thinking he has all the answers. Robin then responds by prompting her to come up with a better solution to his proposed battle plans. Severa perceives this as somewhat of a trick thinking the reason he’s asking her this is to prove his superiority. He reassures her it isn’t but it doesn’t convince her. However, she takes the challenge anyway. In the B-support she confronts Robin and gives him her revised version of his original plan to which Robin begins to poke holes in it. Severa frantically tries to defend saying it’s the best way to minimize casualties. Robin, understandably, responds with that they aren’t trying for fewer casualties but rather zero casualties. He says her plan isn’t good enough for that to which Severa lashes out at him saying:

“Oh. My. Gawds. Are you serious?! You think you can win a war with pretty ideals and zero casualties? Wake up! You think the war fairy is gonna come flying over and sprinkle victory dust everywhere? ...This isn't about the plan at all, is it? You're just making fun of ME! Well, I'm sorry if I'm not as smart as my mother!”

Now there’s a lot to unpack here with these lines of dialogue but for now, I want to just focus on those last couple sentences where she says “This isn’t about the plan at all, is it? You’re just making fun of ME! Well, I’m sorry if I’m not as smart as my mother!” These lines of dialogue seem to suggest Severa has something against her mother, Cordelia. Or rather it seems to suggest that she automatically assumes any critique against her is a way of that person saying “You’re worthless compared to your mother”. A fact further clarified in her father support which I’ll get into later. Regardless, this line of thinking suggests that Severa has some kind of inferiority complex stemming from Cordelia, which is made all the more clear in her supports with female Robin.

The support starts as you would expect(albeit slightly differently) with Severa harshly criticizing Robin for being lazy on her part for cooking instead of doing her duty as a tactician and drafting up strategies. Though this is after Severa compliments her on the hard work she must’ve put into making such a delicious looking stew, this makes the harsh contrast from complimentary to critical all the more jarring. The B-support builds off of this conflict where Robin gives her a counter-argument. In it, she says that it gives her a chance to build the bonds she has with others allowing for better morale and better performance on the battlefield. Severa characteristically shrugs off the argument with a ‘whatever’. Unsatisfied with that response, Robin prods further asking Severa why she got so angry at her just after complimenting her on her delicious stew to which the following exchange takes place:

Severa: Because we're just about the same age and you're so much SMARTER than me! You're better at tactics and strategy and battle techniques and...everything! Everyone already thought you were amazing, and then you go make this amazing soup! I was just... I dunno. Jealous, I guess.

Robin: Severa, first off, I'm not nearly so perfect as you seem to think I am. And I wouldn't be half what I am today if it wasn't for the help of all my friends.

Severa: Gawds, and you're MODEST, too! It's so totally annoying.

Robin: Severa, are you sure it's really ME who's making you angry? Or does my skill set perhaps remind you of someone else?

Severa: Wha—?! How'd you... I mean... No, you're wrong!

From the dialogue here, we can infer a couple of things. First, Severa doesn’t really like looking at people who are better than her in some way. She hates to see people working harder than she is because it just reminds herself of how inept she is in comparison. This causes her to project those feelings of inferiority onto others. In order to preserve her own sense of self-worth, she’ll try to put others down and try to act superior when in reality she’s jealous. Jealous of their confidence, their ambition, their hard work, and their natural talent. This idea is further compounded in the A support where the following exchange happens:

Severa: No, it's all right. I kind of do. I'm thinking you might understand. I mean, you probably know this already, but you reminded me of...my mother.

Robin: Yes, I see...

Severa: It's just that you're both so clever and smart and good at everything you do! And then there's little old me. I haven't done squat.

Robin: But you don't hate your mother, do you?

Severa: No! Of course not! ...It's just that whenever I see her, I can't help thinking how wretched I am. She's strong, noble, articulate, beautiful, and admired by everyone and their horse. Oh! Oh! AND she's kind and considerate and not in the slightest bit vain! Do you realize how hard it is being the daughter of Her Royal Perfectness? I guess I should just get used to being pathetic, huh?

Robin: You have your own virtues, Severa. For one, you have a kind heart.

Severa: Pffft. Yeah, right.

This exchange spells it out clear as day. Despite how arrogant and self-centered she may act that’s all it is an act. Deep down inside Severa sees herself as nothing but a pathetic loser who is incapable of doing anything right. She hates herself for all the things she cannot do. She acts that way to cover up the very weak and vulnerable girl underneath. This is a common thing for people who have an inferiority complex. Often times they’ll try to cover it up with a superiority complex. If no one else will compliment them, then they’ll just have to compliment themselves. They tend to celebrate every little victory and take every compliment or word of praise they get in stride. It’s one of the few ways they can feel like they’re worth something and not like total worthless garbage. However, those bouts of self-praise and confidence are ultimately hollow and don’t last very long which brings us to the second half of the support. After hearing Severa’s little self-deprecating speech, Robin begins to tell Severa that she has her own virtues. She tells Severa that she’s a good person as she points out that she withheld talking of her mother to spare Robin’s feelings. Severa, somewhat uncharacteristically, denies this. She feels the praise is hollow and not true or genuine. She has a similar reaction to praise in her Inigo support where he compliments her looks. This, again, is typical among those with an inferiority complex. People like Severa feel so insecure about their own self-worth that they tend to deny it when they are given genuine praise. They feel the praise received is hollow and isn’t genuine and thereby deny it. Regardless, these two supports make it very clear that Severa has an inferiority complex stemming from her mother. This makes her statement with Noire be contradictory but at the same time meaningful. She hates people who take their natural talents for granted because of her jealousy of them. Therefore, She feels she needs to put them in their place for not knowing what it’s like to suffer like her. This support touches on another aspect of her character which we’ll get to in a minute. For now, though, let’s examine the root cause of that inferiority complex.

To say Severa’s relationship with her mother is complicated would be an understatement. Cordelia is a smart and skillful knight and is often praised as a genius by her peers. With this in mind, it is only natural for those peers to look at her daughter and expect similar, if not, better results than her mother. It is due to this that Severa developed her inferiority complex. Typically, an inferiority complex develops when a person is constantly told how worthless they are or how they’re never good enough. These feelings, if left unchecked, will fester and eventually manifest themselves into a complex. Severa, understandably, hates her mother for this as well as the people who compare her with her mother. However, it’s not as black and white as it may seem. For as much as Severa says she dislikes her mother, she wants nothing more than to be like her mother as can be seen through various barracks dialogues. Cordelia to Severa is her role model, her light, the thing she strives to become. Severa loves her mother above all else if their supports are any indication. In the A-support of said support chain, it is revealed that the reason she acted all cold and distant was to minimize the pain she would experience if Cordelia were to die again. However, due to always being in her shadow, Severa doesn’t like to show that side of her. She doesn’t want to be compared to her mother so she hides her admiration for Cordelia whenever she can.

At the core of Severa’s character is the need to be recognized not from within her mother’s shadow but as herself. She wants nothing more than to feel loved and needed especially by the people she cares about the most. It is this need to feel recognized and loved that made her lash out at her mother before she died. She accused her mother of loving Chrom over her and that Cordelia didn’t understand or recognize her. To this day, that remains Severa’s greatest regret. After that moment, Severa thought Cordelia died for Chrom and left her stranded and alone. She felt abandoned and tossed aside by the one person she could truly trust. The one person in her life that would recognize her for who she was were just gone in an instant. They died for a man that would never love them back and not for Severa. She was truly alone and she couldn’t help but blame herself(well she says she blames Cordelia but I’d argue that’s just her projecting). It is this aspect of her character that permeates so strongly everywhere else in conjunction with her aforementioned inferiority complex. Severa’s abrasive nature, as discussed previously, is a shield. It’s the reason she’s so cold and distant. The reason she’s so overly critical of others. It’s all a barrier to keep others out and protect the very vulnerable and insecure girl underneath. She feels alone like there’s no one she can trust or talk to cause the last time she trusted two people with a promise, they broke that promise. This makes her feel that she can’t trust anyone. She has no one to turn to and she feels like there’s no one left that cares about her. No one that loves her. The support that exemplifies this the best(it’s also her best support) is her father support.

The support begins with Severa successfully manipulating her father into buying her stuff. She does this by guilt-tripping him and saying a father and daughter should hang out more. One interesting line in the C-support to take note of is when Severa says:

“Odd? Is there something wrong with that? Are you embarrassed to be seen with me?! You'd rather be with Mother, wouldn't you”

It’s an interesting line that will be relevant shortly. Anyway, the support continues to the B-support where her father turns the tables and refuses to spoil her unless she earns it by doing chores around the camp. Severa, of course, doesn’t take this very well and like a spoiled brat throws a little bit of a tantrum for it. However, in the end, she begrudgingly agrees to it anyway. It is the A-support where everything comes together. It starts with Severa failing utterly at sharpening a bunch of swords as her father walks in. They have the following exchange:

Father: Er, Severa? What are you doing?

Severa: I'm sharpening these stupid weapons that won't stay sharp! Gawds! You told me to help out, right? So I'm helping.

Father: ...And that pile of broken swords behind you?

Severa: It's not my fault they're defective! They all, like, fell apart and stuff! Sorry I'm not PERFECT at everything like Mother. Sorry I'm SO STUPID! I get it—I'm useless! You should just drown me in a sack...

Father: Severa, I think you're overreact—

Severa: I burn everything I try to cook... I just about beheaded a horse while chopping wood... I'm no help to anyone! I'm just a bunch of lame deadweight. You must've had high hopes, too, given Mother's history. I'm such a disappointment.

Father: ......

Severa: ...Well? If you have something to say, just say it!

Father: I'm not disappointed, Severa. I couldn't be happier that you came back to us.

Severa: Oh, please. Are you mocking me? Do you really think I'm that stupid? All my life, every time I mess something up, people compare me to Mother! And you're closer to her than anyone! I KNOW you think I don't measure up.

This exchange is interesting because it does an amazing job of blending together the two core aspects of Severa’s character. Her inferiority complex and her loneliness. The inferiority complex part is rather obvious to see as it spelled out plain as day. It’s how it blends her loneliness into it that is truly amazing. Note how when her father says he’s not disappointed, she vehemently denies it, almost instantaneously. She says this is to her own father no less. Her father, one of the two people she should feel comfortable confiding in. Someone, she should be able to trust but she denies his words immediately as disingenuous.This forces her father to push harder and tell her in complete and utter sincerity that he does indeed love and believe in her. It is only after that that her tough outer shell shatters and reveals the traumatized girl underneath bursting into tears.

Father: I love you, honey, and I'm behind you no matter what happens. So no more talk about being disappointed! It makes me feel like I failed you as a father.

Severa: What? No! Daddy, you didn't! *sniff* I'm sorry! I... I didn't... WAAAAAAAAAAH...

Father: Don't cry. You've been through a lot, I know, but it's all right now. I'm sorry for saying you need more hardship before. I know it's been hard... But I'll do all that I can to keep you from ever suffering again. And hey—you HAVE been doing your chores. So how about that reward now?

Severa: No. I don't need it. I don't need anything but you, Daddy! But if you die on me again, I'll never forgive you!

Father: I'm not going anywhere this time, honey. I promise.

It is that last line by Severa that intrigues me the most. She says all she needs is her father. She doesn’t need any expensive dresses or jewelry to be happy. She just wants to spend time with her father. It’s this interaction that truly showcases how worthless Severa truly sees herself to be. She’s been beaten down so much by the shit life has thrown at her to the point where she doesn’t feel loved by anyone, even her own parents. She feels no one cares about her that there is no one she can turn to for help. She feels the only way to spend time with her family is to manipulate them into doing so. Severa is a girl who’s suffering immense emotional pain due to the many hardships she’s been forced to endure. Anxiety, anger, sadness, grief, failure, and loss. All of these things are what make up the foundation for Severa’s character. These painful emotions that she feels she’s forced to deal with all by herself. She has to deal with alone without anyone to console her or tell her that ‘everything will be okay’. Despite that, though she still finds the strength to keep on rolling just one more time, to keep breathing and smiling through it all no matter what the future holds and no matter how much it hurts. And it is there that I personally relate to Severa the most. I know that feeling of wanting to be recognized, of wanting to succeed and be the best you can be. But no matter how hard I try and no matter how much I work, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s when I see her that I am reminded that I’m not alone. That there are people out there who are struggling just as I am and if she can pull through, then so can I. Sometimes you just gotta remember to keep on rolling along no matter what just one more time.

Edited by Ottservia

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Oh, that is both the most in-depth and revealing analysis I've seen of her so far.

 

It's actually interesting because iirc it's Severa's expanded upon in Fates- Revelation does it best out of all the routes actually.  Only if she's Caldori's mother though.

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53 minutes ago, TheSilentChloey said:

Oh, that is both the most in-depth and revealing analysis I've seen of her so far.

 

It's actually interesting because iirc it's Severa's expanded upon in Fates- Revelation does it best out of all the routes actually.  Only if she's Caldori's mother though.

thanks there's a reason I love this girl so much and I've only really scratched the surface of her character here. I only covered the important bits. There's so much to her character honestly that it's just insane. Also Yeah her Subaki and Caeldori supports are amazing

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I can agree fully with that.  I think Severa's Tsubaki support is her best out of both games tbh, and I do like her support with Caldori as well.

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Impressive. You didn't happen to put this together after listening to Ghaast's Support Science YouTube videos, did you? I got a similar vibe from this. I would recommend adding at least an exploration of the Selena-Caeldori Supports, as it directly relates to Severa's relationship with Cordelia, and you could also do Selena-Subaki for the same reason. Alternatively I can go through them for you and add it here as a comment if you've got other stuff you'd rather do.

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8 minutes ago, SoulWeaver said:

Impressive. You didn't happen to put this together after listening to Ghaast's Support Science YouTube videos, did you? I got a similar vibe from this. I would recommend adding at least an exploration of the Selena-Caeldori Supports, as it directly relates to Severa's relationship with Cordelia, and you could also do Selena-Subaki for the same reason. Alternatively I can go through them for you and add it here as a comment if you've got other stuff you'd rather do.

thank you, I had actually a couple of inspirations for the way I wrote this Ghast being only one of them(The other being an Anituber known as craftsdwarf). I just didn't know how else to structure it. I was gonna add a part about Caeldori and Subaki at some point but if you want to add it be my guest cause there's a ton to unpack there. Hell there are a lot of things I didn't even touch upon cause I couldn't figure out where to put it without interrupting the flow of the essay like how similar Severa and her mother really are cause as much as Severa would loathe to admit it they are very similar.  Maybe I'll do a part two to this and add it on retroactively.

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Well, I’m down to take a look into some of her stuff too, like the Hot- Spring and Harvest Scrambles and of course the connecting Supports in Fates between Selena and Odin, Lazlow, Subaki, and Caeldori. I already have the Subaki/Caeldori ones accessible since he’s the only one I ever marry her to in Revelations and I haven’t played Conquest in forever so it should just be a matter of digging them back up.

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Man that was quite the essay to read, well done!

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On 7/10/2019 at 7:36 PM, SoulWeaver said:

Well, I’m down to take a look into some of her stuff too, like the Hot- Spring and Harvest Scrambles and of course the connecting Supports in Fates between Selena and Odin, Lazlow, Subaki, and Caeldori. I already have the Subaki/Caeldori ones accessible since he’s the only one I ever marry her to in Revelations and I haven’t played Conquest in forever so it should just be a matter of digging them back up.

Like said do what you want I ain’t gonna stop ya

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