Jump to content
Ottservia

To Peer Beyond the Water's Surface, A Fates Story Analysis

Recommended Posts

Fire Emblem Fates, what else needs to be said? This game’s story has been critically panned by virtually everyone in the fire emblem community. From its characters acting like idiots and out of character, to its lack of world building, to it’s very lackluster villains, and to its many plot holes. But is the story really that bad? Do the things people criticize this story for hold any weight? Well that’s what I’m here to answer. Is fates’s story good? Does this story explore the themes and ideas it wants to explore in a clear competent and nuanced manner without contradicting itself? Well, to that I’d say yes, it sort of does, and I’m here to explain why. Fates is a story about being able to look beyond the surface deception of black and white in order to find the truth in the gray hidden beneath.

 

A couple notes before we begin. In regards to lost in thoughts all alone I will be looking primarily at the official english Lyrics. I will, however, bring up the literal japanese translation and even Amanda Lee's version when relevant. Also for the sake of convenience, I will hereby be referring to Corrin as a ‘she’ throughout this analysis. Everything I say can also apply to Male Corrin. Also like my awakening analysis, this one will be broken into parts that I will update over the coming weeks because I need to finish playing through all three games. For now though here is my analysis of Birthright.

Prologue(chapters 1-6):

Spoiler

You are the ocean’s gray waves

Destined to seek

Life beyond the shore

Just out of reach

 

Yet the waters ever change

Flowing like time

To the path is yours to climb

 

 

The opening lyrics of the song describe the set up the first six chapters of this game perfectly especially when taking into account the original japanese translation which read as:

 

Swaying and being swayed

One’s thoughts flow like bubbles

Down the river stream

Those hands that will open up the path to tomorrow

 

It describes Corrin’s mindset within these chapters. The game opens in a dream as Corrin fights along her Hoshidian siblings to help defend Hoshido from Nohr. The scene itself gives off a very mystical and unreal aura as if floating in the sky and in a dream. Corrin, herself, has no dialogue during this section. Hinoka, Sakura, and Takumi keep going on about how they are your siblings and how they’re here to protect and support you no matter what. With them there, you have nothing to fear. This is supposed to breed a level of trust and comfort with them. You can trust them. You can believe them. They aren’t deceiving you as they are your family. This comfort and trust is immediately turned on its head in the very next scene when Corrin suddenly awakes in the nohrian fortress. One thing to take note of with this particular scene is how much it contrasts from the one in the dream. The dream took place in a bright, vibrant open field that was full of color and life. The reality you’ve awoken too is dark, dreary, and cramped in comparison. It makes Corrin, it makes you want to return to the false reality of a dream. You want to return to the lie. In that you are swayed into wanting to believe in the lie. However, you are forced to face this cold reality. Though, this reality may not be so bad. You meet with your nohrian siblings and while they’re tough, they are nice and they care. They encourage you to be strong and that you have strength. They care about you despite their initial roughness and will stand by your side through thick and thin. You can trust them. You can believe them. They aren’t deceiving you as they are your family.

 

However, once again this trust and comfort is turned on its head when you meet Garon. Once again the calm ocean is swayed with waves as you meet your supposed father. Garon is this strong and imposing figure. He towers above you and his presence demands fear and dominance. And unlike you’re siblings, there is absolutely nothing about him that appears redeemable. He is the very essence of darkness and evil as he orders Corrin to execute helpless prisoners in cold blood. It is this harsh contrast between Garon and her siblings that comes as somewhat jarring to Corrin. Something about this whole situation doesn’t seem right. Throughout her entire life, Corrin thought Nohr was a place of kindness and comfort thanks to her siblings but here she is forced to face reality and the truth behind their veil of lies. It’s supposed to put fractures in that fortitude of trust and comfort setup previously. This fog of distrust is further emphasized in the chapters to come. Throughout chapter 3, the story is constantly trying to show that there’s something not right about Garon. You hear weird laughter coming from him before you enter his room to apologize. When you are given your new assignment, he assigns a companion in Hans, a known criminal that Xander arrested himself. If your father truly believed in you, why would he be acting like this? All of this is to raise suspicion for Garon and Nohr. It is to create that sense that something isn’t right. That there’s something you can’t see. Something beneath the water’s surface. Corrin brushes these suspicions off for now but they still linger within the back of your mind. Later, on the mission Corrin learns that the information given to you by Garon about the fortress was incorrect. It is in fact occupied by hoshidian troops and is in hoshidian territory. It is also made somewhat clear that Garon is aware of this fact what with hoshidian’s mention of a border treaty. This, once again, is meant to breathe an air of suspicion and distrust towards Garon. Corrin’s trust in her siblings, however, is somewhat repaired when they come to save them from a hoshidian ambush. However as you are leaving, you and Gunter are ambushed by Hans. When Corrin fights back and demands an answer, Hans says he is just following Garon’s orders. Corrin, or course, denies it as a lie as her belief that her “father” would do such a thing is “wrong”. They refuse to believe the truth before their own eyes thanks to the lies they’ve been fed. They refuse to look beyond the surface of deception. However, the way she denies it is somewhat uncharacteristically angry as they lash out. This anger can be read as her somewhat acknowledging it as if deep she knows Hans is it right. However, it is in that initial refusal to see through the deception that Ganglari pulls them into her bottomless canyon. Ganglari is a representation of Garon’s deception. That it is to say, further denial in the truth will drag you down. Though then Corrin is saved by Lilith who is their true sibling(as we know from hidden truths). It’s a kinda hamfisted way of saying the truth will save you from deception.

 

After being saved by Lilith, Corrin is ambushed and taken captive by Rinkah and is quickly turned over to Hoshido. It is here that they learn of a new “truth” as it were. The Hoshidians, as foreshadowed by the dream in the prologue, are your real siblings and your nohrian siblings have been deceiving you all this time. Corrin, of course, wants to deny this. Her nohrian siblings is all she knew growing up. It was the only ‘truth’ she knew and accepted. To now be told it was all a deception, it shakes her up to say the least. Her head is a scramble as she doesn’t know what is the truth or what is a lie. She wants to deny the hoshidians, to deny the ‘truth’. However, with all the evidence laid bear, she simply can’t. At this moment, Corrin’s trust and beliefs are forced through an ever changing tide that sways her back and forth through the river of fate. It is then they meet Azura at the lake.

 

Everything in this scene is made to make Azura to be trustworthy yet mysterious. She and Corrin are very similar both princesses kidnapped from their respective kingdoms to be used as hostages. It is these similarities that breeds trust between them. For once, Corrin has found a kindred spirit and someone who she can truly trust. Someone who won’t deceive her. Someone who may reveal to her the answer and truth she so desperately seeks. Azura within this story is supposed to act as a kernel of truth within an ocean of lies and deception. Or at least everyone who is originally from Valla is supposed to which is further exemplified in a somewhat vague line of dialogue by Azura that reads:

 

“No. Given a choice, I would prefer to stay here in Hoshido. Queen Mikoto is a peace-loving ruler. King Garon is not.”

 

Which is to say that Mikoto is more trustworthy than Garon. This makes sense as Mikoto is also from Valla which we just established is composed of people Corrin can truly trust. Not only that but Mikoto has said nothing but the truth to Corrin upon their arrival and she cannot deny the queen’s words with all the evidence laid bare. This idea of Vallites(and Mikoto in particular) being representations of the truth is further exemplified in chapter 5 with Mikoto’s death. Before Corrin stated that she felt nothing when looking upon her mother’s face which again further added to the fog of confusion her mind was in at that time. At that point, Corrin was still in denial of the truth. In the beginning of this chapter she still kinda is though now her head is a bit more clear. It is only when she witnesses her mother die(at the hands of Vallite soldiers and Ganglari no less) right before her that dormant memories containing the truth come bursting to the surface. It’s a way of saying you can’t deny the truth and if you do it will cost you. These memories invoke intense emotions that call forth Corrin’s true form. Her dragon form that goes on a rampage. However, these animalistic tendencies are not Corrin’s true nature to which Azura reminds her of and is thereby able to calm down. It is in the aftermath that Corrin accepts(at least some of) the truth that she’s been deceived. It is with this acceptance that they are rewarded with the Yato blade. The hoshidians are quick to blame Nohr as they rush to go defend their border. Corrin, however, is still unsure and thinks there must be an answer other than blood shed. There has to be a different answer than what’s on the surface. There has to be more to this story Now we get to the most iconic scene of the game from chapter six.

 

The opening dialogue of this chapter is split between your two “Families” which the game has built up both as people Corrin can trust. However there is also a layer of deception and lies within each family. A level of distrust and discomfort. With everything that’s happened in mind, who do you choose to trust? Who do you think is telling the truth? Which path will lead you to the answer you seek? That is what this choice represents, it represents who to trust to help you find the truth. Each path will lead you closer to the truth in one way or another and will help you find what's at the bottom of the lake.

Part 1: Birthright

Spoiler

In the white light, a hand reaches through

A double-edged blade cuts your heart in two

Waking dreams fade away

Embrace the brand new day

 

Sing with me a song of Birthrights and love

The light scatters to the sky above

Dawn breaks through the gloom, white as a bone

Lost in thoughts all alone

 

From above, you look down at the water’s surface. You notice something glimmering from the dark depths of the bottom of the lake. However, through only viewing it from above the water’s surface, the image appears blurry and unclear. You don’t exactly know what’s there and you wanna find out. However, you refuse to trust that diving into the water is safe for it has deceived you before. You choose to trust in the light above that pulled you from those lies. From here, you can only trust in the sun’s light to guide you as you stick your hand below the surface to reach out towards that glimmering light beneath. Once again though through the water’s surface the image is distorted. The water deceives you into thinking you know what lies beneath when you really don’t. However, you are unable to fully see through this deception and only know that you’ve been deceived as you pull your empty hand out from the water.  That my friends describes what Birthright’s story is about. Birthright is a story about learning, and failing, to see through deception. In learning to not just blindly trust the distorted images that the white light reflects through the water’s surface. There is always something beneath the surface and you must truly reach beyond the surface of deception in order to learn the truth.

 

The birthright version of this chapter starts with Corrin demanding Xander to withdraw as she sides with Hoshido. The reason Corrin gives is that she believes Garon is evil based on the events of chapter five. There is something wrong with Garon. He is evil and needs to be stopped. She pleads with Xander to see the truth, to try and look from beyond the water’s surface to try and see the truth hidden underneath. However, Xander vehemently denies this almost uncharacteristically so. Corrin’s pleas fall on deaf ears because they have no proof to back up their words. However it is this uncharacteristic anger that lends to the idea that Xander does know the truth. He just refuses to acknowledge it. Xander refuses to look beyond the water’s surface where he lies. He just simply looks above it as is the same with the other Nohrian royals. However, it’s Xander’s lashing out at Corrin that lends credence to her words. Corrin in contrast looks at Xander and Nohr from outside or above the water’s surface. She refuses to return to the water for it has deceived her and decides to only look at what’s beyond it from the distorted surface. Garon and Nohr are the true enemy. It hurts to fight against Xander but it is the only way she believes she can uncover what’s beneath the water’s surface. She blindly trusts in Hoshido’s light to guide her towards the answer she seeks. What the game says about this line of thinking is that it’s wrong. Don’t blindly trust the distorted image that the light reveals through the water’s surface. It is this idea that permeates so strongly within every major conflict of the game.

 

At first, this blind trust may seem to have merit as it is through this trust Corrin is able to recruit Silas. Silas believes in them for they share a long time connection which in a way can be viewed as a contradiction in why Corrin chose to side with Hoshido. Though we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s move on to chapter eight. In this chapter Corrin and her army are ambushed by faceless along the eternal stairway. Kaze remarks that he is surprised they were not human as faceless are not this stealthy. These suspicions are brushed aside as they fight to defend themselves only for those very suspicions to be proven true. As it turns out, they were tricked and had just attacked innocent members of the wind tribe up ahead. A trick courtesy of Iago’s illusions. This failure to see through Iago’s deception gets them in trouble with the wind tribe who refuse to believe their pleas of being tricked. The wind tribe in this scenario also only looks at the surface and believes the distorted truth it presents. It is only the wise chieftain, Fuga, that is able to truly see beyond it and imparts some of that wisdom onto Corrin’s army as they move forward. In chapter nine they use this new found knowledge to see through Zola’s deception in trying to kill them by impersonating the emperor of Izumo. They saw through Zola’s deception and thereby are able to overcome this obstacle. Zola, after being attacked by Leo, begs to join them in hopes of staying alive. Corrin and the army agree but not without some suspicions. Suspicions that are somewhat quelled(but not fully) through Zola’s actions(or lack thereof) and words. In chapters 10 and 11 he does nothing to raise suspicion towards himself though the events that happen could be blamed on him. It is only after risking his life to save Takumi that he gains their full trust. This trust, however, is ultimately broken in chapter 12 when Zola rats them out to king Garon at Cyrkensia. It is revealed through this that Zola, as they anticipated before, was deceiving them the whole time. But in only looking at the surface of his actions without question, they failed to realize and are forced to flee. In failing to look beyond the surface of deception, they ruin their one good shot to end the war as soon as possible. This idea of failing to see through the surface of deception is exemplified most strongly with Flora and the Nohrian Royals.

 

As established with Xander in chapter 6, All the early encounters with the Nohrian siblings all have Corrin trying, but failing, to convince them of the deception lead by Garon’s lust for power. It is Corrin’s betrayal of Nohr that blinds them to the true madness of what King Garon is. They only glare up at Corrin from the water’s surface instead of looking towards the truth they know deep down. It is Corrin’s failure to convince her Nohrian siblings that brings to light the contradiction inherent to her choosing to side with Hoshido. In those early encounters Corrin pleads with them to believe her. She heavily relies on the years of trust built between them as a way to try and sway them. It is here where there is a contradiction, for Corrin betrayed the very trust she is trying to use. This contradiction is exemplified most strongly in Flora. Like before with Zola, Corrin fails to see through Flora’s deception and is thereby punished by being attacked by the ice tribe. In the aftermath of the skirmish, Flora reveals that she was threatened by Garon to kill them or have her whole tribe killed. Feeling she had no other choice, she took that deal. However, this deal would force her to betray the years of trust built between her, Corrin, Felicia, and Jakob. Deep down she knew it was wrong but she felt she had no choice so she did it anyway. In betraying that trust, her heart was sent spiraling into despair. She refused to trust in her true feelings and instead trusted in the distorted truth created by herself to relieve her of the guilt and grief she would inevitably upon killing the only people she truly cared for and trusted. It is for this reason that Flora decides to end her own life. She does not believe her betrayal can be forgiven(once again believing in the distorted truth she created) even when Corrin and her sister, Felicia, say otherwise. It is here that they failed to truly convince Flora that they could still be trusted because of the contradiction they held. She failed to trust those that she cared for most through the years they spent together just like Corrin with her nohrian siblings. Her nohrian siblings used the years spent together to get Corrin to trust them and side with Nohr. However, in siding with Hoshido, she betrays that trust but still uses it as a way to try and convince them that they are blind to the truth. It is because of this contradiction that her pleas don’t work and fall on deaf ears. How can they put faith in that trust when she, herself, has shown not to have any faith in that trust either.  It is only after proving through her actions that she still believes that trust that she is able to convince them. In chapter 13, she almost convinces Camilla the first time by sparing her life and proving she is still the same Corrin that Camilla once knew. However, she is interrupted by leo therefore it fails. However, later in chapter 19, she is once again confronted by Leo. Here, Corrin is given a second chance to prove herself. In defeating Leo and sharing her true feelings, she is able to finally regain the trust that she once tossed away. For this, she is rewarded by power from the rainbow sage thanks to Leo’s magical teleportation tome. She does the same with Camilla and Elise. She begins to mend the trust between them by showing that she still indeed believes in it. It is this trust that allows them to overpower Takumi’s possession at the hands of Iago(or is it Anankos?). Through trust is Corrin able to defeat Iago and get through to three of his nohrian siblings. However it is this very same trust that leads to Corrin’s ultimate failure to see through the deceptions that laid before her in the previous conflicts with the wind tribe, Zola, Flora, Iago, and now Xander. As stated previously, Xander knows the truth of king Garon deep down but, like the other nohrian siblings, he refuses to accept it. Blinded by Corrin’s betrayal in the trust they once held, he decides to kill Corrin for the good of Nohr. He, like the rest of his siblings, refuse to acknowledge what lies beneath the surface. It is only through Elise’s death that he begins to acknowledge it. However, by this point, it is already too late. Xander, stricken by grief, but unable to turn back decides to finish the duel with Corrin but this time under the guise that he is fighting full force. However, in his grief, he holds back and it is Corrin’s failure to see through this deception that he dies. Once again Corrin fails to see through deception and once again they are punished for it. In siding with Hoshido she failed to see through the true deception by Anankos. They only look at beneath the water’s surface from above it but the water’s surface often distorts the image of what is underneath. Note how every time Corrin is punished for failing to see through deception, they are quick to blame Garon. To an extent it is understandable, On the surface it would appear he was behind everything from Mikoto’s death to Xander’s. However, once again, that’s only looking at the surface. It is somewhat foreshadowed in these late chapters that Garon is not the same man he once was. A truth Corrin only realizes after fully killing Garon. For now though, Corrin, however, still chooses to ignore them and opts to instead look down at the truth from above the water’s surface. However, it is this line of thinking that the game says is wrong. In only looking at the water’s surface from the above, the truth of the true villain’s identity is distorted and unclear. However, in siding with Hoshido, they believe it anyway and through the white light they reach out towards it only to be left unsatisfied. She thought the light could guide them to be able to see the truth hidden underneath but that was wrong. She was wrong to betray the trust with her nohrian siblings. She was wrong to place trust in others based on the distorted truth and deception they let on. She was wrong in choosing Hoshido. The moment she chose to side with Hoshido was the moment that she truly failed to see through the deception laid out to them by Anankos. It was the moment they failed to see through to the real truth hidden beneath the water’s surface. It is in this failure to see through that deception that causes Azura(a physical representation of the truth) to disappear forever. The truth is no longer within Corrin’s reach.

 “The path you walk on belongs to destiny, just let it flow

All of your joy and your pain will fall like the tide, let it flow

Life is not just filled with happiness, or sorrow

Even the thorn in your heart, in time it may become a rose

 

This isn’t to say that the path of Birthright was entirely meaningless nor was the reason as to why Corrin chose that path. In the end Corrin may not have discovered the full truth but they were at least able to feel it, to get a glimpse of it. This is shown in the endgame chapter where Corrin is pulled into a limbo-like dream after taking an almost killing blow from Garon’s “true form”. In the dream Corrin is back in the nohrian fortress with Lilith and Flora with Elise and Xander joining shortly after. In the dream the following exchange occurs:

Corrin: That's OK. As long as I have all of you with me, I'll always be happy. I don't mind staying here for the rest of my life.

Elise: Are you sure about that? Is that really what you want?

Corrin: What do you mean? Of course! And it's what Father wants for me, too.

Xander: Listen to me carefully, Corrin. What do you think Father's true intentions for you are?

Corrin: That's a weird question... I mean, he's my father! He gave me this castle and servants and raised me... Well, I mean, I guess you did most of the raising. But you know what I mean! He intends for me to follow in your footsteps, naturally! Remember? He gave me that special sword, and... And... NO!

Xander: ...

Corrin: Gods, I remember everything now... King Garon isn't my father! We...we were just battling in his throne room…

Xander: So you remember. What now?

Corrin: Am...am I dead?

Xander: No. You can still go back. But you must make a decision. You can choose to remain here, with us. Or you can go back...and fight with your allies.

Corrin: My allies...

Once again Corrin is stuck within a pleasant dream filled with people she has failed but ultimately trusts. Once again she is reverted back to the state of mind of believing in the lies and deception fed to her by Nohr. She still believes Garon to be her father. She wants to stay in that dream. She wants to stay within that veil of deception. However, after remembering Ganglari and the incident in chapter 5, Corrin is finally able to wipe away those deceptions. She is able to wipe away the waking dreams before her. She is finally able to see a glimpse of the truth that she once saw below the water’s surface. In doing so, she is finally able to wake up and defeat Garon for good. In Garon’s defeat, the water’s surface becomes more clear and she is better able to see the truth that lies beneath the water’s surface. It may not be much but it is more than what she could see before. It is this glimpse of the truth that prompts further investigation into the water’s dark surface. Through this journey, you learned of the deception of the water’s surface. That looking at it from above will only distort the truth hidden underneath. You learn to mend the trust and love you once had with the water’s surface. It is this trust that will help you further along your journey to see the bottom of the lake as you embrace the dark and walk into the surface of the water.

In the white light a hand reaches through the water's surface. Through the light of trust and love, you are able to wipe away some of the darkness and reveal a glimpse of the truth hidden beneath. However, the light scatters and the double edged blade cuts back at you. Through this journey you have gained much to ponder, you sit there lost in thoughts all alone.

Part 2: Conquest

Part 3: Building trust

Part 4: Trust and Betrayal

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another Ottservia story analysis? It really IS Christmas in July! Really fascinating take on Birthright, I can't wait to see what's to come in parts 2 and 3! :^_^:

Edited by PeaceRibbon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be honest, while this is a good job discussing the pursuit of trust and truth as Birthright handles it, I still think that it's not handled all that well. I mean, you've made a good case but I still can't help but look at how Birthright is written and sigh, similarly looking at it from the surface. I do still wonder how Azura in particular will fit into all of this when this comes to the other routes. This analysis still isn't finished for Fates overall, so I'll see what that provides. A question, is Heirs of Fate being considered?

Also, your point about Azura made me think of a similar person (999 spoilers. Just, so much) :

Spoiler

Azura seems to share a similar role with Akane. Akane's survival is linked to the truth underneath the surface as well, though in that case it's because her life is tied to that truth coming out and being saved in the past. Junpei is very much Corrin in all this, trying to figure out the truth of what's going on and in one ending he's lost and confused by the events that have transpired (in this being the revelation of one character having arranged the events that caused Akane's death and another character who'd been in the same situation as Akane taking vengeance on him for his sister) and left alone in the end trying to figure out what happened to (the now vanished) Akane, but he swears and has a psychic ability so it's not 1:1. Akane also tries to help Junpei to see the truth at times, though because of the game's structure she can't do this that often in the present and while she may try to from the past as well, this too seems limited.

Spoiler

Then again, with how Akane's linked to the whole premise of the game (being Zero and all), the parallel's not that close, otherwise Azura would have been using villainous methods to some degree- and I want that already.

Edited by Dayni

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Dayni said:

A question, is Heirs of Fate being considered?

Yes, Heirs of fate will be considered though I'll do it after revelations.

8 hours ago, Dayni said:

I do still wonder how Azura in particular will fit into all of this when this comes to the other routes.

Azura is an interesting case. Especially when you take into account some of the things that happen in conquest and revelations. I'll have to see how it turns out. I mean she works just fine in birthright though.

8 hours ago, Dayni said:

I'll be honest, while this is a good job discussing the pursuit of trust and truth as Birthright handles it, I still think that it's not handled all that well. I mean, you've made a good case but I still can't help but look at how Birthright is written and sigh, similarly looking at it from the surface.

To be honest I kind of don't blame you on that as fates has I'd say a somewhat hamfisted way of conveying it's themes and ideas. It's also kinda vague about it in some instances(like with Xander and Flora) but eh I still think its decent

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>to it’s very lackluster villains

Are you the kind of fool that thinks Garon is a bad character?

> From its characters acting like idiots

There is nothing wrong with characters making mistakes.

>and out of character

That's not true at all, what are you talking about?

>to its lack of world building

But there is tons, as long as you play the whole game and not just one route.

Edited by Nickdos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Nickdos said:

>to it’s very lackluster villains

Are you the kind of fool that thinks Garon is a bad character?

> From its characters acting like idiots

There is nothing wrong with characters making mistakes.

>and out of character

That's not true at all, what are you talking about?

>to its lack of world building

But there is tons, as long as you play the whole game and not just one route.

I was just listing things other people have criticized the story for not that I actually have said those things myself. In fact, aside from maybe the world building one, I say those critiques are wrong and my analysis sets out to prove that. You ought to read the whole thing before jumping to conclusions like that

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Ottservia said:

I was just listing things other people have criticized the story for not that I actually have said those things myself. In fact, aside from maybe the world building one, I say those critiques are wrong and my analysis sets out to prove that. You ought to read the whole thing before jumping to conclusions like that

But I did read the whole thing. Why exactly did you put it there if it contradicts everything that follows? To lure the obsessed and ignorant fanatics that hate the game into thinking you are going to say what they want to hear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Nickdos said:

But I did read the whole thing. Why exactly did you put it there if it contradicts everything that follows? To lure the obsessed and ignorant fanatics that hate the game into thinking you are going to say what they want to hear?

My analysis proves those things do not matter to the story's quality. I proved that the characters are perfectly in character within this story. I also proved that the characters making dumb decisions makes sense within the context of the story and its narrative themes. Corrin is rightfully punished for making dumb decisions as deemed by the narrative. Like every single time she fails to see through any kind of deception well somebody pays for it. In failing to see through Iago's illusions, she gets in trouble with the wind tribe. In failing to see through Zola's lies, she fails to assassinate Garon. In failing to see through Flora's lies, she fails to save Flora from her grief and as a result Flora takes her own life. The same thing happens with Xander and Elise. In siding with Hoshido, she fails to see through the deception laid before her by Anankos. That is what birthright's story is about and executes that theme well. It's a good story just gotta look beyond the surface and read between the lines a little bit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

My analysis proves those things do not matter to the story's quality. I proved that the characters are perfectly in character within this story. I also proved that the characters making dumb decisions makes sense within the context of the story and its narrative themes. Corrin is rightfully punished for making dumb decisions as deemed by the narrative. Like every single time she fails to see through any kind of deception well somebody pays for it. In failing to see through Iago's illusions, she gets in trouble with the wind tribe. In failing to see through Zola's lies, she fails to assassinate Garon. In failing to see through Flora's lies, she fails to save Flora from her grief and as a result Flora takes her own life. The same thing happens with Xander and Elise. In siding with Hoshido, she fails to see through the deception laid before her by Anankos. That is what birthright's story is about and executes that theme well. It's a good story just gotta look beyond the surface and read between the lines a little bit

Very good summary actually, excuse my first comment but the way you worded the OP confused me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part 2: Conquest:

Ok this one was a tough one to write because conquest likes to exhibit it's themes in a very weird order so apologies if it's a little confusing to read but I think I was able to at least convey most of what I wanted to say with this one.

Spoiler

Part 2: Conquest

Embrace the dark

You call a home

Gaze upon an empty white throne

A legacy of lies

A familiar disguise

 

Sing with me a song of Conquest and fate

The black pillar cracks beneath its weight

Night breaks through the day hard as a stone

Lost in thoughts all alone

 

You gaze back at the shore where the light once shone upon you as you drift across the water’s surface. The water is cold and the current somewhat forceful. You turn around to look through the surface only to see nothing but darkness. There is nothing to see here except the black and empty void. You are told that this is all there is that this is the truth you were seeking. You begin to think that the light you once saw glimmering beneath the water’s surface was nothing but a lie. You begin to question if you saw anything at all. Is this truly all that exists beneath the water’s surface? A black empty and soulless void that consumes all light that it touches? Surely not but you can’t prove otherwise as without light, you cannot see anything beyond the darkness. The darkness is all you can see and believe in. You begin to give up and succumb to the despair caused by this revelation. However, just as you do, a glimmer of light shines ever so briefly through the darkness. It’s a light you’ve seen before. It is the light of truth that you were you seeking all this time. Excited, you frantically feel around in the darkness, desperately trying to grasp at the truth and using the tiniest bits of light scattered about to help guide your hands. However, these lights no matter how bright are not enough. You need a stronger light to help see through to the truth hidden within the darkness. A light you abandoned when you stepped into the water’s surface. A light you failed to truly foster and trust in favor of the darkness. Now all you can do is foster what little light you have left though it is not enough. Now that pretty much encapsulates what Conquest’s story is about.  Like Birthright, Conquest is a story about not believing in the surface level deceptions that hide the truth. It’s about trying to look beyond those deceptions and prove they are wrong. The truth is hidden within those deceptions but you just can’t see it through the disguise of darkness it wears.

 

While Conquest can work as a standalone story, I find it best to look at this story as an extension of the development Corrin went through in Birthright. As discussed before, In choosing to side with Hoshido Corrin only looks at the surface of what Nohr is and in doing so fails to see through the mask of deception that Anankos has put on Garon. It is only near the end of the story that she begins to question that line of thinking. She begins if there’s more to this story than what’s on the surface. When she looked at the surface from above, the truth was distorted. However, she never realized this til near the end when she learned what Nohr was truly like underneath the cold and desolate surface of its capital city. It is this realization that prompts the decision to join Nohr in chapter six of conquest. While on the surface, it may seem that Garon and Nohr were indeed responsible for the events in chapter 5. Corrin, despite that, chooses to trust her Nohrian siblings as well as Garon. One thing that does lend credence to that trust is that Xander has no knowledge of the plan that was executed in chapter 5 which perpetuates the idea that there is something more at work. Nohr is her home so she chooses to trust in them to help her find out the truth. She tries to plead her case to Ryoma who, understandably, rejects her pleas as nothing more than Corrin been brainwashed by Nohr’s deception. Remember, Ryoma and the rest of Hoshido only look at the surface of what Nohr is from above the water’s surface. He fails to understand how Corrin could fight for people who only know deception and brutality or so he believes. However, as Xander states, those are mere false accusations for Corrin chose this path of her own accord. She believes that trusting in the darkness she’s known for so long will lead her to the truth. She trusts in her nohrian family to tell her the truth. However, it is this blind trust in the water’s surface that she fails to see through to the truth hidden within the veil of darkness.

 

This is where Conquest’s story differs from Birthright. Birthright’s story is all about betrayal and mending the ties of trust that were once cut by Corrin’s decision to side with Hoshido. Conquest, in contrast, is a story about how one shouldn’t blindly trust in what you know and what you’re familiar with, for those very things can be nothing but an illusion to hide the truth underneath. A “familiar disguise” if you will. This idea of not blindly putting trust in the surface truth you think you know permeates throughout the entire story, starting with these early chapters. It is made relatively obvious from the first 3 chapters of the game that Garon isn’t a good person. However, in choosing to side with Nohr, Corrin places her trust in him to tell her the truth. At this point in the story, Corrin believes in Garon. She trusts Garon. In this trust, she believes in what he says and what he fights for so she carries out the mission assigned to her with the belief that he will accept her should she succeed. That is what she was told by Garon, after all. However, Garon’s words are nothing more than a lie. His ultimate goal is not to accept Corrin but to make her suffer. Corrin’s trust, however, blinds her to this truth and for that she is ambushed in the forest of forlorn. It is only with Xander’s distrust of Garon that she is able to receive aid with his help. Through Xander’s distrust of his own father, Corrin is able to succeed. However, she still believes in Garon. She still blindly trusts him. The game considers this line of thinking to be wrong. You shouldn’t trust Garon. He isn’t real. He is nothing but a liar that will ultimately deceive you for he already has.

 

Garon within both of these stories represents deception. Everything he does is in service to breeding distrust and perpetuating a lie. A lie everyone seems to believe. He is the one that has built up Nohr’s very infamous reputation. A nation full of corruption, deceit, lies, and brutality. A kingdom where people suffer and the king won’t hesitate to slaughter millions at the slightest hint of rebellion or insolence. The nation that knows no honor and will resort to any underhanded tactic to further their own sick and twisted ambition. This is the mask that Nohr wears. The mask Garon has crafted for himself and the nation. A mask no one can seem to see through. A mask no one questions either out of fear or just general ignorance. It is why there are so many rebellions within Nohr. They, like hoshido, believe that mask to be real. It is because of this belief that hoshidian soldiers kidnap Azura and keep her prisoner in fort dragonfall. It is this belief that Corrin’s hoshidian siblings can’t fathom why Corrin would choose to side with Nohr. Why would Corrin choose to trust people so despicable, instead of those who walk the path of light like themselves? They believe the mask Nohr wears to be all there is. However, Nohr is more than this. Nohr is more than just mindless brutality and control. Light does exist within Nohr. It’s just small and so very easily obscured by the distorted water’s surface. The Nohrian royals are proof enough of that. Corrin, in choosing to side with Nohr, understood this which is why she chose to place her trust in Nohr. She does not truly believe in the mask Nohr wears and she sets out to prove that to those who believe in it and distrust Nohr because of it.

 

In chapter 8, Corrin is able to quell the ice tribe rebellion without taking a single life and showing mercy. She shows to Kilma that there is more to Nohr than what is on the surface. In doing so, she gains his trust for both herself and Nohr. In fort dragonfall she chooses to trust Azura when the Hoshidian soldiers do not and therefore is able to gain an ally. She once again shows mercy to Hinoka and Takumi’s armies and again she proves that Nohr can be merciful. She shows the true nature of what is hidden beneath the mask that Nohr is forced to wear. She wants to show that Nohr isn’t what they believe it to be by being true to herself. It is in revealing these intentions that she is able to gain Kaze’s trust as an ally. She tries to build trust for Nohr within others who don’t trust Nohr by proving that Nohr is more than what’s on the surface. However, it is her initial trust in Garon that brings to light a small contradiction. How can she prove that Nohr is not what it appears to be when she willingly follows the ideals that mask represents? In choosing to trust in and follow Garon, she is forced to witness the slaughtering of dozens of innocent people at the hands of Hans in her name. It is only after these events that she begins to question whether or not her efforts are even worth it. Is that mask fake? Is this truly what Nohr stands for? Perhaps, Ryoma was right that Nohr is nothing but a despicable nation that should not and cannot be trusted. Maybe there is nothing beneath the surface. Maybe the truth is that Nohr is evil. It is here where Corrin begins to succumb to the darkness. She begins to believe in the distorted truth the water’s surface reflects. She begins to believe in the deception laid out by Garon and Anankos. However, just as she is about to give up, She spots Azura going to the lake and decides to follow.

 

Azura, as discussed previously, is a representation of the truth. Cold and distant, she is unmoving and unwavering. She is there to guide Corrin along her chosen path and not to sway her one way or the other. The unmoving truth that is so close yet so distant. It is through following her Corrin briefly ends up in Valla. Through looking past the water’s surface, they are able to see a glimmer of the truth hidden underneath. Although more clear than from peering at it from above the water’s surface, it is still obscured by a veil of darkness and that glimmer fades just as soon as it appears. Though that Glimmer is enough to renew Corrin’s resolve as she learns the truth behind Garon’s disguise. In order to get closer to the truth she must build trust with Garon with her own mask while at the same time staying true to herself. In staying true to herself, she is able to build trust with others for herself and Nohr. In obscuring that truth, she is able to build trust with Garon to ultimately deceive and betray him. It is in building trust with others that she is able to succeed and prove that Nohr is not what it is on the surface. She is able to clear away the disguise and display Garon and Nohr for what they truly are. However, in trying to build trust with Garon for the sake of peace, she fails to account for the contradiction in her choosing Nohr and ultimately succumbs to disguise that she put on. It is this contradiction that ultimately gets Ryoma killed because of the trust she is forced to build with Garon. However, this contradiction is most clearly exemplified with Takumi. Throughout the majority of the story, Takumi is the only person Corrin fails to convince that Nohr is not as it seems. She fails to build that trust with him because she chose to side with Nohr. He blames her and Nohr for everything bad that’s happened. He chooses to only believe the distorted truth that the water reflects and as such is unwavering in that belief. It is this belief in a lie that ultimately has him drown in deception and despair and eventually succumb to it. In choosing to side with Nohr, Corrin failed to truly build that much needed trust with her Hoshidian siblings. How can they trust her? They barely know her now. It is the very same reason she chose not to side with Hoshido. How can she trust her hoshidian siblings? She barely knows them now. In failing to build that trust with her Hoshidian siblings, Takumi falls into despair and deception. Takumi would not have ended up like this had she been there for him. Had she chosen to be by his side and foster the light in his heart, maybe it wouldn’t have been overtaken by darkness. A darkness so seeped in hatred that it is almost impossible to stop. She was wrong to abandon Hoshido. She was wrong to trust in the darkness without first fostering the light she once basked in. In siding with Nohr, she truly failed to shine a light through the darkness of Hoshido. The darkness in Takumi. She may have been able to see a glimmer of the truth but like Takumi and Garon, that Glimmer was swallowed up by darkness once again. For that, Azura fades away. The truth, once again, out of Corrin’s reach.

 

The path you walk on belongs to destiny, just let it flow

All of your joy and your pain will fall like the tide, let it flow

 

Life is not just filled with happiness, or sorrow

Even the thorn in your heart, in time it may become a rose

 

Again, that isn’t to say that the path of Conquest was entirely pointless. Along this path, Corrin was able to recognize and prove that light can exist within darkness and that darkness can exist within light. She may have failed to build trust with her Hoshidian siblings but in showing them her true feelings, her true self she was able to reconcile and gain their trust. It is only after Takumi does the same within the dream that she is able to wake up. Takumi’s harsh rejection of Corrin was a result to hide the pain that resulted from him so desperately wanting to be with her again. He wasn’t being true to his feelings and couldn’t express that properly and thereby was consumed by the disguise he put on much like Garon. It is only after recognizing that, he is able to help Corrin repair the Yato. In recognizing the light within his heart as well as her own, Corrin is able to expel the darkness that remains within both of them.

 

You embraced the dark you once called home. Through a legacy of lies and a familiar disguise, the black pillar began to crack beneath the weight of its own ambition and despair. In doing so you were able to get a better glimpse of the truth hidden beneath the water’s surface. However, without light it is still hard to see through the veil of darkness. This journey has given you much to think about as you sit there lost in thoughts all alone.

 

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very nice analysis of theme. The trouble is, theme isn't the only part of story. In the case of Fates, the majority of criticism I've seen is about the plot, setting and characterisation, not theme. Your analysis barely touches on characterisation, and doesn't look at the plot or setting at all.

In particular, in order to convince me that the story overall isn't bad, you would need to address the following criticisms that I've seen brought up:

1) None of the characters are particularly deep, instead either being caricatures or behaving however the plot requires them to at any given time.

2) There are a couple of notable plot contrivances, such as Azura's crystal thing, that are significant enough to ruin suspension of disbelief for a large number of people.

3) The world doesn't feel like a world. Locations are picked up and discarded without ever being used as more than a cool-looking map.

4) Corrin is a giant Mary Sue who is prevented from having to learn from her mistakes by every other character, to the point that she's actively praised by other characters for being static.

I believe that last one is a big reason why so many people dislike the story of Fates. Corrin is presented as a representation of the player, so the narrative goes out of its way to make him/her seem good, but the player has no control over their actions or reactions, so anyone who would prefer that they take other actions is very quickly going to find themselves disconnected from the character that the narrative repeatedly glorifies. Someone thus disconnected is then far more likely to notice other, lesser flaws, and also to pick at anything even vaguely odd in the hopes of finding more to complain about.

Good stories get their themes across without alienating a large number of people who consume the story. Fates just doesn't come close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Seafarer said:

This is a very nice analysis of theme. The trouble is, theme isn't the only part of story. In the case of Fates, the majority of criticism I've seen is about the plot, setting and characterisation, not theme. Your analysis barely touches on characterisation, and doesn't look at the plot or setting at all.

In particular, in order to convince me that the story overall isn't bad, you would need to address the following criticisms that I've seen brought up:

1) None of the characters are particularly deep, instead either being caricatures or behaving however the plot requires them to at any given time.

2) There are a couple of notable plot contrivances, such as Azura's crystal thing, that are significant enough to ruin suspension of disbelief for a large number of people.

3) The world doesn't feel like a world. Locations are picked up and discarded without ever being used as more than a cool-looking map.

4) Corrin is a giant Mary Sue who is prevented from having to learn from her mistakes by every other character, to the point that she's actively praised by other characters for being static.

I believe that last one is a big reason why so many people dislike the story of Fates. Corrin is presented as a representation of the player, so the narrative goes out of its way to make him/her seem good, but the player has no control over their actions or reactions, so anyone who would prefer that they take other actions is very quickly going to find themselves disconnected from the character that the narrative repeatedly glorifies. Someone thus disconnected is then far more likely to notice other, lesser flaws, and also to pick at anything even vaguely odd in the hopes of finding more to complain about.

Good stories get their themes across without alienating a large number of people who consume the story. Fates just doesn't come close.

okay let me ask you this what makes a "good plot" necessarily? To me a good plot is one that serves the themes of it's story well. The plot is a vehicle for the story's themes. The two are not separate for the most part. They symbiotic by nature because you can't have one without the other. as for your other points.

1) What do you mean by that? Of course characters act in a way that is only serve the plot. That's kind of what characters are supposed to do. Serve a specific role within the story that's kind of their purpose. Now if their characters were inconsistent that'd be one thing but they're not(well except for maybe Azura in some instances). So your argument here is kind of moot. 

2) Suspension of disbelief is a subjective component so using it as an argument in regards to objective criticism is moot. Also stories are inherently contrived. Nothing in a story happens naturally or organically so to say a story is contrived is kind of not an argument as it is a statement of fact. that said however, chapter 15 of conquest is not that good because it is inconsistent with not only characterization but also the thematic role in what Azura represents within this story because she doesn't really give Corrin the whole truth in that moment which is what she would and should do but she doesn't and it's kind of weird. Though other than that what other major contrivances are there? I can't really think of many others besides maybe Leo's magical teleportation tome which I'm personally okay with cause it makes thematic sense.

3) this I will grant but overall the world building has very little impact on the narrative as a whole. It doesn't really take away from any of the story's core themes or characters and while more world building is nice overall it impacts very little.

4) First of all define mary sue because by my metric Corrin is not a mary sue. The story does not bend over backwards to the point of breaking it's own established rules to make Corrin seem cooler. Secondly, Yes Corrin is punished for their mistakes and naivete multiple times throughout the course of both stories or did you not pay attention to anything I wrote cause that's kind of the whole point of the story. In choosing to side with Hoshido or Nohr they contradict themselves in some key way and each story is meant to explore that contradiction and how Corrin must correct it. It is somewhat corrected over the course of the narrative but it's not fully corrected which is why Azura dies and the overall victory feels hollow. They didn't truly succeed in essence so while they did grow they still failed. That's the point of the story. That's what every single plot point is in service of.

 

Edit:Apologies if I came off as too blunt or hostile. I’m sorry I need to work on that. I really do appreciate the feedback and criticism. Once again I’m sorry if I came off as blunt or harsh

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

okay let me ask you this what makes a "good plot" necessarily? To me a good plot is one that serves the themes of it's story well. The plot is a vehicle for the story's themes. The two are not separate for the most part. They symbiotic by nature because you can't have one without the other. as for your other points.

1) What do you mean by that? Of course characters act in a way that is only serve the plot. That's kind of what characters are supposed to do. Serve a specific role within the story that's kind of their purpose. Now if their characters were inconsistent that'd be one thing but they're not(well except for maybe Azura in some instances). So your argument here is kind of moot. 

2) Suspension of disbelief is a subjective component so using it as an argument in regards to objective criticism is moot. Also stories are inherently contrived. Nothing in a story happens naturally or organically so to say a story is contrived is kind of not an argument as it is a statement of fact. that said however, chapter 15 of conquest is not that good because it is inconsistent with not only characterization but also the thematic role in what Azura represents within this story because she doesn't really give Corrin the whole truth in that moment which is what she would and should do but she doesn't and it's kind of weird. Though other than that what other major contrivances are there? I can't really think of many others besides maybe Leo's magical teleportation tome which I'm personally okay with cause it makes thematic sense.

3) this I will grant but overall the world building has very little impact on the narrative as a whole. It doesn't really take away from any of the story's core themes or characters and while more world building is nice overall it impacts very little.

4) First of all define mary sue because by my metric Corrin is not a mary sue. The story does not bend over backwards to the point of breaking it's own established rules to make Corrin seem cooler. Secondly, Yes Corrin is punished for their mistakes and naivete multiple times throughout the course of both stories or did you not pay attention to anything I wrote cause that's kind of the whole point of the story. In choosing to side with Hoshido or Nohr they contradict themselves in some key way and each story is meant to explore that contradiction and how Corrin must correct it. It is somewhat corrected over the course of the narrative but it's not fully corrected which is why Azura dies and the overall victory feels hollow. They didn't truly succeed in essence so while they did grow they still failed. That's the point of the story. That's what every single plot point is in service of.

...I have no idea how to break quotes up on this forum, so this is going to be tricky to organise.

A Mary Sue is a flat, static protagonist. Alternatively, a Mary Sue is a character who is served by the story, rather than the other way around. In the case of Corrin:

1) Their one piece of characterisation is that they're an all-loving hero. CQ!Corrin even trusts the guys who are clearly evil right up to the point that they're offered proof that the big boss is literally a pile of goo. There's nothing else there. They're flat.

2) They make one decision for themselves at the start of the game, then they do nothing but follow that decision to the end. Nothing that happens during BR or RV changes Corrin's limited characterisation. CQ is actually the least static Corrin, because at least they learn that it's maybe okay to do good things and lie about it to the evil people. Other than that, though? Static.

3) Tying in to the above, each time Corrin is faced with something that might lead to character growth, one or more of the other characters comes in to reassure them that they made the right choice and they have to keep going down their path because whatever they choose is correct. In other words, the "punishments" you refer to don't actually cause Corrin to change, because the other characters bend over to persuade them not to, or even prevent them from doing so. This stems from the avatar system - the developers want the player to feel content with their choice. What it does, however, is keep Corrin static and make the other characters exist largely to serve that aim. In other words, the characters serve Corrin. It's a similar story with Iago - he's obsessed with bringing pain to Corrin, with no obvious motivation for doing so other than he's evil. (On that note, Iago is probably the worst villain in Fates - Hans and Garon are still evil 4 teh lulz, but they both have believable reasons to be Corrin's antagonists.)

Re: stories being contrived - yes, I agree. However, good stories aren't obviously contrived. The fact that a large number of people look at parts of Fates's plot and say "this is obviously contrived" is a pretty big indication that something is wrong (same as with the suspension of disbelief thing - one person losing it? Not a problem. Tons of people complaining about it? Problem). What makes a plot good, in general, is the building of tension to a climax, followed by release and denouement. Fates does this fairly well, on the whole, with the only problems being the "obvious contrivances".

Characters serving the plot - this is about going against established characterisation to make the plot work. I haven't played Fates in a while, so I can't think of any examples right now, but this is one of the complaints that I found in my hasty search today that I remember broadly agreeing with back in the day, and I felt that addressing one or two common arguments on the subject would lend your analysis additional weight.

I'm glad that you at least acknowledge that CQ C15 is pretty bad. Your actual analysis glosses over it, which I think is doing your work a disservice. A thorough analysis highlights both things that work and things that don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Seafarer said:

A Mary Sue is a flat, static protagonist. Alternatively, a Mary Sue is a character who is served by the story, rather than the other way around. In the case of Corrin:

1) Their one piece of characterisation is that they're an all-loving hero. CQ!Corrin even trusts the guys who are clearly evil right up to the point that they're offered proof that the big boss is literally a pile of goo. There's nothing else there. They're flat.

2) They make one decision for themselves at the start of the game, then they do nothing but follow that decision to the end. Nothing that happens during BR or RV changes Corrin's limited characterisation. CQ is actually the least static Corrin, because at least they learn that it's maybe okay to do good things and lie about it to the evil people. Other than that, though? Static.

3) Tying in to the above, each time Corrin is faced with something that might lead to character growth, one or more of the other characters comes in to reassure them that they made the right choice and they have to keep going down their path because whatever they choose is correct. In other words, the "punishments" you refer to don't actually cause Corrin to change, because the other characters bend over to persuade them not to, or even prevent them from doing so. This stems from the avatar system - the developers want the player to feel content with their choice. What it does, however, is keep Corrin static and make the other characters exist largely to serve that aim. In other words, the characters serve Corrin. It's a similar story with Iago - he's obsessed with bringing pain to Corrin, with no obvious motivation for doing so other than he's evil. (On that note, Iago is probably the worst villain in Fates - Hans and Garon are still evil 4 teh lulz, but they both have believable reasons to be Corrin's antagonists.)

Defining a mary sue as a flat, static is imo far too broad and close minded because there are plenty of characters in fiction that are flat and static but are still great characters just look at Saitama, Luffy, Robin(technically), Joker, and Yu Narukami. All static characters yet they still work. A character does not need to grow or change over the course of the narrative to be well written. It's more about if the character in question fits the story you want to tell. Corrin imo works because of it for the most part.

1) Yes, Corrin is a flat character though only in conquest and revelations. She's a lot more dynamic in birthright but being a flat character is not a bad thing. Again, there are plenty of characters in fiction that don't change or grow over the course of their stories and those stories work just fine. Corrin isn't necessarily supposed to grow in conquest because their character takes a more "flat-arc" approach. In that the depth of their character doesn't come from how they grow and change throughout the story but rather how they incite change in other people. In this case Corrin must incite change within Nohr and her siblings both in Nohr and Hoshido. However, in siding with Nohr she contradicts herself in that regard so she ultimately fails. Her role in conquest is to change the perception of others who view nohr in a negative light. She doesn't need to change but she must incite change in others. That's how flat-arc characters work.

2) Here's where I'm gonna slightly agree with you. Honestly the avatar and self-insert aspects of Corrin's character are both her worst and best aspects because she can't change as drastically as she needs to over the course of the narrative. In conquest and revelations I don't find it to be too much of a problem because she's portrayed more as flat-arc character in those stories so it works but in birthright yeah it hinders their character somewhat. Cause BR!Corrin is more Dynamic than in CQ and REV and as such does indeed somewhat grow over the course of the story. What their growth should be is learning to rekindle that trust with Nohr that they once tossed aside and while the conflict her nohrian siblings portrays that idea brilliantly the same cannot be said for their perception of Nohr as a whole which is still relatively positive when compared to her hoshidian siblings.  I wouldn't say it's an outright contradiction of the theme nor does it take away a whole lot from the story as whole but it is a small issue that hinders the story a little bit. 

Really the reason the change doesn't necessarily feel like it's there is because it's not necessarily supposed to be there. The change in Corrin's character is more so supposed to be felt on a meta level if that makes sense. because of the way the path system is structured, Corrin kinda has to "reset" for every path so the lessons learned on each path is not really supposed to stick with Corrin as it is supposed to stick with the player who in turn project those lessons onto Corrin. This is the reason conquest as a story works better if you've played birthright before hand because the decision to side with Nohr after overcoming the contradictions present in siding with Hoshido become much more meaningful because Corrin does not betray that trust they had to repair in birthright. In universe this growth is for the most part meaningless because Corrin "reset" but on a meta and thematic level it carries weight because the player experienced those things and are encouraged to project those feelings onto Corrin because they're an avatar. It's certainly a weird dissonance between story and viewer but it comes with the territory. 

15 hours ago, Seafarer said:

Re: stories being contrived - yes, I agree. However, good stories aren't obviously contrived. The fact that a large number of people look at parts of Fates's plot and say "this is obviously contrived" is a pretty big indication that something is wrong (same as with the suspension of disbelief thing - one person losing it? Not a problem. Tons of people complaining about it? Problem). What makes a plot good, in general, is the building of tension to a climax, followed by release and denouement. Fates does this fairly well, on the whole, with the only problems being the "obvious contrivances".

I can see your point and to an extent I actually agree but personally I can overlook quite a bit for the sake of a story it's own themes but again that's just me. I'm not saying those feelings of contrived are invalid because they are valid it's really all a matter of how much you're willing to over look. As for your second point on plot there's actually something of cultural difference there. You're looking at the story through a more western style plot structure when fates has a more eastern style plot structure(it's more kenshotenketsu than it is your more traditional western plot diagram with a rising action and such). Cause Fates's story doesn't really have much of a central conflict well it does but it isn't necessarily the focus. The focus is more in exploring the internal contradictions inherent to Corrin's chosen path and how that effects them and the world at large rather than the central conflict between Nohr and Hoshido. The conflict between Nohr and Hoshido is definitely important and it is resolved through the course of the story but it's not the primary focus.

15 hours ago, Seafarer said:

Characters serving the plot - this is about going against established characterisation to make the plot work. I haven't played Fates in a while, so I can't think of any examples right now, but this is one of the complaints that I found in my hasty search today that I remember broadly agreeing with back in the day, and I felt that addressing one or two common arguments on the subject would lend your analysis additional weight.

as far as I can tell most characters aren't acting out of character within the story and if they do there's usually a reason behind it. While Xander's lashing out at Corrin in BR is somewhat OOC for him, it makes sense when you consider that he's in denial. Corrin in that scene is indeed speaking a level of truth and deep down Xander knows that but he refuses to admit it so he lashes out in uncharacteristic rage. It makes some kind of sense anyway. 

15 hours ago, Seafarer said:

I'm glad that you at least acknowledge that CQ C15 is pretty bad. Your actual analysis glosses over it, which I think is doing your work a disservice. A thorough analysis highlights both things that work and things that don't.

Yeah my conquest analysis is not as well thought out as I would like it to be and honestly I've been thinking about rewriting it so I can better acknowledge that thematic inconsistency cause it was something I did indeed notice I just couldn't figure out how to word it at the time. However, now that I've had time to think on it  I might do like do an addendum or something to acknowledge it at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, 0 Def Cleric said:

Otts. You should probably stop focusing so much on theme. It's taking away from your focus on other elements. 

Here's my thing regarding plot contrivance. think about it like this, in SoV there is a very similar plot contrivance/deus ex Machina near the end of the game where stabbing Celica with Falchion can somehow give her soul back from Duma which isn't explained for the most part. It's plot contrivance at it's finest however there is a thematic purpose to it. Alm and Celica are supposed to be two halves of a greater whole and the conflict between them is what drives the themes and plot forward. This moment is supposed to be sort of a resolution the argument they had at the end of act 2 where they didn't trust each other's ideals or methods. This conflict(at least it is supposed to) come to it's height at this moment where both characters have both faced the consequences of their actions in full and are now forced to fight against each other  as "punishment" it's only through trusting in the connection between them and Falchion that they are able to overcome this. It's those elements that bring to light the emotions present within that scene now does the contrivance take away from those emotions felt? for some yes. for most others, probably not and that's fine. The theme is(or should be) presented clearly and can be understood which helps invoke the desired emotion in the audience. So tell me which is more important? the contrivance or the theme behind it? Leo's magical teleportation tome is no different.

14 minutes ago, Flere210 said:

Saitama a static character lol. And a pretty big argument can be made for Luffy too.

I guess but I was thinking off the top of my head at that moment so maybe my examples could've been better. My main point in that argument still stands though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, 0 Def Cleric said:

Otts. You should probably stop focusing so much on theme. It's taking away from your focus on other elements. 

Such as?

If you're not going to offer any other suggestions, then keep comments like this to yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, eclipse said:

Such as?

If you're not going to offer any other suggestions, then keep comments like this to yourself.

Apologies. I've discussed this with them in the past, so I suppose I was a little flippant. 
Anyway, theme really isn't that important to the quality of a story, in my personal opinion, compared to it making sense within the universe it creates. You can't create a theme and call that a "good story"- with only a theme and no other qualities, it's essentially a PSA. Or just a summary of the author(s)'s views on existence.
I would argue that Fates doesn't even pull theme off well (it's inconsistent in what "finding the truth" amounts to) but that's pretty much irrelevant to what I'm saying, so I'll ignore that for now. 
Essentially, Fates is just a set of plot elements that exist solely to portray the author's views on what the world should be like, rather than a series of elements that portray the author's views on what the world should be like and also exist on their own. If we want to take a very basic example of storytelling that incorporates its theme rather than just is its theme, let's look at Mystery of the Emblem. 
Mystery's theme is pretty simple: All isn't fair in love and war, especially when you combine the two. The basic plot of the game contains this theme, as does the ending, in the plight of Hardin most prominently (political marriage; was already treading on thin ice before Hardin realized that Nyna was still in love with Camus) but in the endings, with Est and Abel, and in the final map, with two out of the four conversations that play "Theme of Love" existing only to hammer home a particular tragedy of the characters' bonds with each other being severed thanks to the events of the war.
Yet there is a massively developed world outside these events, and indeed the development of the world serves to make these events cut deeper. Had the War of Heroes never happened, Camus would never have been forced to turn his lance against Archanea, and Michalis's ambitions might not have been realized and deepened into what eventually leads to his death, thanks to Dolhr's expansion. The aristocratic view that commoners and nobles should not intermarry leads directly into part of the game's plot. The entire war of the dragons in the ages past has absolutely no relevance to the theme whatsoever, yet is an integral part of the world becoming the place that it currently is, politically and socially. Events happen that have are irrelevant to the theme, and yet they strengthen it, showing that it is true even in a world that doesn't revolve around it.

On the other hand, yes, Fates does portray its theme passably in showing that not looking at unusual events deeply enough can lead to tragedy. However, every event that has happened and will happen within the world of the game exists to serve that theme. Rather than being people, the characters are essentially a greek chorus, showing the audience the terrible things that could happen if they do not look deeper into their own world. Every plot piece exists to serve the clumsily delivered theme, instead of simply happening to portray it. Valla's curse does not simply exist because Valla is a kingdom of secrecy, or because Anankos does not wish for his kingdom to be found to exist (he shows essentially no resistance to its invasion besides attempting to kill Corrin, due to the fact that they wield the Dragon-Slaying Plot Weapon); it simply exists because how could one make the "two wrong routes and a golden route" structure work when someone could simply explain Valla's existence at any time? (Besides, you know, having people not believe that they're puppets under a dragon's sway, like decent writing would do; I mean, has anyone heard of the place before the game begins at all?) 
The Dragon-Slaying Plot Weapon itself has no reason to exist; why it is there is never explained, and why it can slay Anankos is never explained as well. Even within the same game, there are less plot-contrived weapons; the princes' weapons of Hoshido and Nohr are said to be blessings from the kingdoms' respective dragons. It is simply there to make Corrin the only one who can truly save the day, thus existing as a embodiment of Fates' discarding of plot for the theme that "you must find what is hidden", "you" being specifically the player. 
A story with good themes and a good story don't have to be mutually exclusive, but you'd certainly think that they are, given Fates' sorry excuse for a plot. 
September's effortposting quota has been met. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, 0 Def Cleric said:

On the other hand, yes, Fates does portray its theme passably in showing that not looking at unusual events deeply enough can lead to tragedy. However, every event that has happened and will happen within the world of the game exists to serve that theme. Rather than being people, the characters are essentially a greek chorus, showing the audience the terrible things that could happen if they do not look deeper into their own world. Every plot piece exists to serve the clumsily delivered theme, instead of simply happening to portray it.

and that's bad because.....why? So long as it's consistent I do not see an issue at all. I mean it conveys the idea it wants to without inconsistency so where's the problem. Like that's the point of a story. Everything in the story from it's world, characters, and plot structure serve the theme or idea it wants to explore. That's what art is at the end of the day. Everything is supposed to convey that theme to the audience that's kinda how stories work. Let me put it to you this way. Let's say I'm directing a death scene in a movie or whatever and I want the audience to feel sad. How do I do that? everything within that scene(camera angle, shot composition, editing, music, line delivery, etc.) are all meant to convey that feeling that emotion of loss and grief because that's the idea I want to get across. That's what makes stories compelling in the first place the ideas behind them. It's the reason we resonate with stories. It's because of their themes and ideas. Why do you care for a specific character? well because you understand what they're going through if only slightly. The plot is the vehicle for those themes. You're not asking "Why?" 

Like why do the events of a story happen? Why does one character lose a fight and the other win? The goal of thematic analysis is to answer those questions. Like why does this character go on this specific journey and why does he learn this specific lesson? what was the author intending for you to take away from this story? What emotions were you supposed to feel and why? How did the author convey those emotions? The answers to these questions are what makes a story. It's the one thing all stories share and strive to do. All stories have themes and ideas otherwise they wouldn't be compelling because how can one get invested in a story they don't understand. As for the rest of your post I'm just gonna leave this video here:

Spoiler

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My effortposting quota for the month has been met. 
But essentially: if a story can consistently portray its characters and world, and still get across its theme well, and it doesn't, I consider it poor. A theme is the basic white bread of the meal that is a story. You have to complement it with seasoning (worldbuilding) and meat (consistent plot and characterization) for it to be a "Good Story".

With only a theme, a work is only "a story." 

(Also I have no idea what relevance that video has to my post that was a piece of literary analysis, not deriding literary analysis.)

Edited by 0 Def Cleric

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, 0 Def Cleric said:

My effortposting quota for the month has been met. 
But essentially: if a story can consistently portray its characters and world, and still get across its theme well, and it doesn't, I consider it poor. A theme is the basic white bread of the meal that is a story. You have to complement it with seasoning (worldbuilding) and meat (consistent plot and characterization) for it to be a "Good Story".

With only a theme, a work is only "a story." 

that's exactly my point like I agree with what is said here 100% because that is true. My main point in regards to fates though is that it has all that so therefore I consider it a "good story". I can prove it has all that. It is an objective argumentative claim that I can prove with evidence from the text. I have yet to see any counter argument that disproves my claim and that's my point. Every counter-argument that I've come across is completely subjective so it doesn't matter. It does not disprove my claim and that's my point.

31 minutes ago, 0 Def Cleric said:

(Also I have no idea what relevance that video has to my post that was a piece of literary analysis, not deriding literary analysis.)

It's because you downplayed a lot of the elements that makes fates's story what it is. Is the Revelations just an excuse to give a golden ending for the game and nothing more? Possibly but I like to give the writers more credit than that. Why downplay an author's craft and boil it down to "It's just so players can have a golden ending"? because for one that is incredibly disrespectful to the author in question to not take their work seriously and downplay their ideas like that and second you can do that with anything. I can say 3H's story is just a bunch of whiny teenagers pining for their professor's attention. When that downplays a narrative about the horrors of war and begs the question of what is truly right for the world and what is necessary to make the world a better place. That is why I put that video there.

 

Edit: In summary you have yet to disprove my claim with sufficient evidence. You have not been able to provide sufficient evidence to prove my claim wrong. Any hole or contradiction in my argument has already been covered. My argument is sound as far as I can tell because you have yet to provide a sufficient enough counter claim but if you can I'm all ears. If you can prove me wrong I'd be happy to hear it but you haven't and that's my point.

Edited by Ottservia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ottservia said:

Defining a mary sue as a flat, static is imo far too broad and close minded because there are plenty of characters in fiction that are flat and static but are still great characters just look at Saitama, Luffy, Robin(technically), Joker, and Yu Narukami. All static characters yet they still work. A character does not need to grow or change over the course of the narrative to be well written. It's more about if the character in question fits the story you want to tell. Corrin imo works because of it for the most part.

1) Yes, Corrin is a flat character though only in conquest and revelations. She's a lot more dynamic in birthright but being a flat character is not a bad thing. Again, there are plenty of characters in fiction that don't change or grow over the course of their stories and those stories work just fine. Corrin isn't necessarily supposed to grow in conquest because their character takes a more "flat-arc" approach. In that the depth of their character doesn't come from how they grow and change throughout the story but rather how they incite change in other people. In this case Corrin must incite change within Nohr and her siblings both in Nohr and Hoshido. However, in siding with Nohr she contradicts herself in that regard so she ultimately fails. Her role in conquest is to change the perception of others who view nohr in a negative light. She doesn't need to change but she must incite change in others. That's how flat-arc characters work.

2) Here's where I'm gonna slightly agree with you. Honestly the avatar and self-insert aspects of Corrin's character are both her worst and best aspects because she can't change as drastically as she needs to over the course of the narrative. In conquest and revelations I don't find it to be too much of a problem because she's portrayed more as flat-arc character in those stories so it works but in birthright yeah it hinders their character somewhat. Cause BR!Corrin is more Dynamic than in CQ and REV and as such does indeed somewhat grow over the course of the story. What their growth should be is learning to rekindle that trust with Nohr that they once tossed aside and while the conflict her nohrian siblings portrays that idea brilliantly the same cannot be said for their perception of Nohr as a whole which is still relatively positive when compared to her hoshidian siblings.  I wouldn't say it's an outright contradiction of the theme nor does it take away a whole lot from the story as whole but it is a small issue that hinders the story a little bit.

Here's the thing: flat characters aren't necessarily bad. In general, minor characters don't need to be well-developed. Villains can be perfectly effective without being developed. A flat protagonist is a bit harder to justify.

Static characters also aren't necessarily bad. Even static protagonists can work, acting as mirrors of sorts for the development and growth of other characters.

Flat and static characters are common enough, though they're almost invariably minor characters or the type of villain that a lot of people love to complain about.

But a flat and static protagonist? The main character of a story needs to be interesting, or the story won't be engaging. If they're under-characterised, they're boring. If they don't grow, keeping in mind the exception above, they're boring. If they're both? They're not serving the story. The story's a vehicle for the author to talk about their pet.

I'm curious - what growth do you  see in BR!Corrin? As I mentioned, I see CQ!Corrin as the only one who actually undergoes growth.

(Note that, if we're going to talk about video game avatars, some of this doesn't necessarily apply. In a game with a high degree of expression-producing mechanics, the player is expected to provide some or all of the characterisation and growth for the player character, rather than the game itself doing it. This doesn't apply to Corrin; the player's only input into Corrin's characterisation is the  choice of BR, CQ or RV.)

As for kishōtenketsu, that seems to just be another way of expressing Freytag's pyramid. Shō, or development, is the rising action; ten, the twist, is the climax, and ketsu is the denouement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Seafarer said:

I'm curious - what growth do you  see in BR!Corrin? As I mentioned, I see CQ!Corrin as the only one who actually undergoes growth.

Corrin's growth in birthright is(well at least it's supposed to) going from someone relatively close minded to someone more open minded as shown through a majority of their characterization throughout the story. In this Corrin blames Garon for literally everything bad which the story considers to be wrong and punishes Corrin for doing so but they don't realize till the end when they almost die at the hands of dragon Garon. Like their growth in this story is examining the contradiction present inherent to them to side with Hoshido and trying to correct it which they do somewhat. As I said in my analysis Corrin does indeed contradict themselves in birthright because they keep trying to use the trust fostered between them and their siblings to sway them over to their side but it doesn't work they betrayed the very trust they trying to use. It's a contradiction plain and simple. It is only after acknowledging that contradiction and proving to their nohrian siblings that still cherish the trust they once had then they succeed. That's the growth and journey they go through. The only reason they are unable to fully correct is because they still blame Garon for everything when he's not the one to blame at all. That's the point of the narrative. That's the focus of the story. 

CQ!Corrin is weird in that they do indeed grow throughout the story but the focus more so is how Corrin effects the world around her which is more reminiscent of a flat arc protagonist. It's an interesting arc you could say.

15 hours ago, Seafarer said:

(Note that, if we're going to talk about video game avatars, some of this doesn't necessarily apply. In a game with a high degree of expression-producing mechanics, the player is expected to provide some or all of the characterisation and growth for the player character, rather than the game itself doing it. This doesn't apply to Corrin; the player's only input into Corrin's characterisation is the  choice of BR, CQ or RV.)

need I remind you that Corrin can be mute in the japanese version of the games so there's that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...