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Was a planned time motif scrapped?

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Hello chaps.

This thread will be full of spoilers, so please don't continue reading past this point if you haven't completed the game.

I think there are hints throughout Three Houses that Intelligent Systems had plans for plot lines that were later scrapped either due to time constraints or because they simply didn't pan out. The Death Knight's arc is strange to say the least, though this might be salvaged by the Jeritza DLC, and the assassination attempt in the very first map quickly gets forgotten about even though it really shouldn't for obvious reasons.

However, something that gets alluded to multiple times is the "flow of time". When Byleth enters the academy for the first tme, Rhea wonders if the flow of time brought them there. When Byleth merges with Sothis, she says only Byleth knows about "both sides of time", and hell even in Heroes Byleth says that that the flow of time brought them there. The very first cutscene, right before you meet Sothis, also very briefly shows several scenes of Fódlan's past. This, in addition to the Divine Pulse being a central mechanic, I can't help but wonder if we were supposed to have had a plot that more heavily delved into the concept of the flow of time.

I think this was all building up to something, but as to what is anyone's guess. Perhaps it was scrapped early on and we're only left with the fragments, perhaps I'm just thinking about this too much, but I like to believe the Divine Pulse was going to play a bigger role in the plot of at least one route.

What do you all think? 

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I think so too - and I'm so happy someone made this topic! I remember thinking time travel would be a major plot point (as in Awakening) when Rhea said that line at the beginning, but nothing came of it (I still get that sense whenever I view that scene). While I later rationalised Divine Pulse as simply being part of Sothis' power as a god, it's also odd that she has time controlling powers in the first place without anyone questioning this part of her repetoire.

So...yeah. Even when I finished my most recent run I got the sense that time travel was going to be a major plot point but was scrapped (like that theory of Byleth travelling back to before the time skip to prevent the war). Who knows if the DLC campaign will bring it back, but I think - if it wasn't included anywhere in this massive multi-part narrative - that ship has sailed. "Divine Pulse is simply being part of Sothis' power as a god" is probably the canonical explanation now, with nothing else to it.

I agree that Sothis saying "both sides of time are open to you now" is also telling when viewed through this lens. I was surprised to see that scene happen before the war started yet still wondered if it was foreshadowing the "go back in time" idea, but again I think the explanation now is just Sothis telling Byleth how much more powerful they're about to become.

Unless the DLC story is a time travel story and ends with Sothis' ability getting nerfed, of course.

Edited by DefyingFates

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Honestly on the other hand, I always felt those things were added to make the Divine Pulse seem more normal. The "flow of time" that Rhea says and Sothis says just seem to suggest Sothis has always been a "time" God in a sense, so I always felt it was an allusion to the fact that Rhea actually knew the true power of Sothis (which it turned out she did for many reasons).

The Divine Pulse was simply there because of Milla's Turntable it felt like, and so it didn't necessarily feel like they were trying to make it mean anything more than it was—a mechanic. Because there's no other mentions of it and it was a HUGE storytelling adventure, it always felt like throwaway lines to justify the mechanic returning in a different form.

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3 minutes ago, Kiran_ said:

The Divine Pulse was simply there because of Milla's Turntable it felt like, and so it didn't necessarily feel like they were trying to make it mean anything more than it was—a mechanic. Because there's no other mentions of it and it was a HUGE storytelling adventure, it always felt like throwaway lines to justify the mechanic returning in a different form.

This is true, but at least Divine Pulse factored into the plot (and was properly explained), whereas Alm and Celica somehow had the power to rewind time yet never thought to discuss or exploit it.

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Jeritza being free DLC is very telling that the death knight wasn't meant to be merely a one-dimensional black knight copycat. I also have hope that Anna somehow have connection to the 10 elites to get more development here, but I'm probably reaching too far.

As for Sothis talking about the 2 sides of time, I assumed she was being literal, as she is is known as "the beginning" while byleth is her end, in a sense.

The things that do make me think they had to scrap plot elements are the endings of SS and CF.

Spoiler

In CF, Rhea's death somehow make Byleth's crest disappear.

In SS, Rhea abruptly undergo some kind of degeneration and go mad.

There's absolutely nothing remotely hinting at either occurrences in the whole game.

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2 minutes ago, Modirufa6317 said:

The things that do make me think they had to scrap plot elements are the endings of SS and CF.

Regarding SS:

Spoiler

It's explained that Rhea goes mad as a result of her injuries making her unable to keep her dragon side in check.

It still comes out of nowhere though, I'll give you that.

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Just now, DefyingFates said:

This is true, but at least Divine Pulse factored into the plot (and was properly explained), whereas Alm and Celica somehow had the power to rewind time yet never thought to discuss or exploit it.

100% agree. I thought they integrated in Divine Pulse in a much more believable and succinct way. And they even used it outside the story when Jeralt's time had come, which I felt was a nice touch.

I do wonder though what did get scrapped. I mean we know about Felix/Annette as enemies possibly being scrapped. With how poorly the Death Knight was handled overall, and now DLC, I'm assuming that was definitely scrapped (but I'm super curious how they're gonna bring him back).

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I don't think there was a time dimension design actually, but it's translation issue here

My same reply to you on Reddit

 

"Flow of Time" is the theme of this game actually. It's hard to understand if you only played English version since the word " よすが " does not have a direct counterpart in English, it is based on Buddhism concept nidāna, often translated into Fate, Bond, or Destiny. It's used at least 10 times in this game(mostly in Black Eagle two paths) as far as I could count.

In Japanese version, it's the title Sothis gave to Byleth in the opening when she first used Divine Pulse

Quote

"では、ゆくぞ。炎をその身に宿せし者よ。 時のよすがを辿りて、己が答えを見出せ" "You who bears the flames within. Drift through the flow of time to find the answers that you seek"

 

She then repeats the line again just before the two merges (English translation here goes "Both sides of time")

Rhea also used this term multiple times, especially in her S support with Byleth. ('We are brought together by Flow of Time and bond by hands of fate") I am assuming Nabatean maybe was very fatalist culture.

 

Finally, in Silver Snow, Byleth took up this title when he ascended to the throne in the end as よすがを辿りし炎 (The Flame who seeks their destiny), but the English translation went for "Wandering Flame" completely missing the reference.

 

Here are some screenshots

2019072700454200-0DC6ECE91CF3F6F02BAFC00

maxresdefault.jpg

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2 hours ago, Kiran_ said:

And they even used it outside the story when Jeralt's time had come, which I felt was a nice touch.

Same, I loved that moment! It was so nice to see Divine Pulse actually used in the plot after its introduction!

2 hours ago, Timlugia said:

I don't think there was a time dimension design actually, but it's translation issue here

...huh, well that's a pretty anticlimactic answer xD

Seriously though, thanks for this! This explains a lot; I guess we just had another case of Bernie's Support, huh?

Edited by DefyingFates

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6 hours ago, DefyingFates said:

Same, I loved that moment! It was so nice to see Divine Pulse actually used in the plot after its introduction!

...huh, well that's a pretty anticlimactic answer xD

Seriously though, thanks for this! This explains a lot; I guess we just had another case of Bernie's Support, huh?

I don't blame them translating  よすが  flow of time since there isn't any direct word in English, my problem is that they were inconsistent in the translation, especially in the critical moments.

Like, why would they translated よすがを辿りし炎 to just "Wandering Flame" when everywhere else in the game use flow of time? When I first beat Silver Snow, I was like WTH is a Wandering Flame and what has it to do with the story? I only understood the meaning after I found out the original text and translation in other versions. (I also could read Chinese and Chinese version is verbatim to Japanese)

If they translated Byleth's title to something like "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" it would make much more sense

Edited by Timlugia

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16 minutes ago, Timlugia said:

I don't blame them translating  よすが  flow of time since there isn't any direct word in English, my problem is that they were inconsistent in the translation, especially in the critical moments.

Like, why would they translated よすがを辿りし炎 to just "Wandering Flame" when everywhere else in the game use flow of time? When I first beat Silver Snow, I was like WTH is a Wandering Flame and what has it to do with the story? I only understood the meaning after I found out the original text and translation in other versions. If they translated Byleth's title to something like "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" it would make much more sense

Huh. Fortunately the title is just text so it could always be edited via patch. Maybe 😛

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I would assume space limitations were the biggest factor. While a better translation, "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" is quite the mouthful, and wouldn't fit on the end card.

Edited by Sid Starkiller

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On 11/5/2019 at 4:27 PM, Sid Starkiller said:

I would assume space limitations were the biggest factor. While a better translation, "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" is quite the mouthful, and wouldn't fit on the end card.

They perhaps also thought that that maybe it didn't really sound like a title.

Looking back on things, most titles given to characters tend to be pretty short. Roy is "Young Lion", Ike is "Radiant Hero" and so on and so forth. "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" doesn't sound all that great, so I guess they settled on "Wandering Flame" in that regard. 

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I think Jeralt's death was meant to make Byleth understand that the flyer of time is a one way path, and some events can't be avoided.

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19 hours ago, Sentinel07 said:

They perhaps also thought that that maybe it didn't really sound like a title.

Looking back on things, most titles given to characters tend to be pretty short. Roy is "Young Lion", Ike is "Radiant Hero" and so on and so forth. "Flame who seeks through the Flow of Time" doesn't sound all that great, so I guess they settled on "Wandering Flame" in that regard. 

Yeah, but first rule in translation is faithful to the original source, how well it sounds is only the secondary concern.

It's not a good translation if readers don't get the meaning at all, just to fit into the space better, especially this is a critical ending title.

Edited by Timlugia

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11 minutes ago, Timlugia said:

Yeah, but first rule in translation is faithful to the original source, how well it sounds is only the secondary concern.

It's not a good translation if readers doesn't get the meaning at all, especially this is a critical ending line, just to fit into the space better.

Maybe a better title could’ve been something like “Time Seeking Flames” or “Flames That Flow Through Time” or “Time Wandering Flame”. I dunno something short and concise that gets across the same meaning.  

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3 hours ago, Timlugia said:

Yeah, but first rule in translation is faithful to the original source, how well it sounds is only the secondary concern.

It's not a good translation if readers don't get the meaning at all, just to fit into the space better, especially this is a critical ending title.

Whilst I sense the from glancing this discussion that meaning was lost in this particular instance, how well something sounds is more important than you give it credit for.

Yes, things can become normalized into sounding cool, but not always. Would you rather Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance comprise the Four Heavenly Rulers of Kanto in Pokemon? Or Gharnef be called a Demon Ruler when Archanea has no demons? 

 

"Seeking Flame" would be on par with "Radiant Hero" as a translation perhaps if Byleth's title were changed to that. Whether it'd be good enough, depends on how crucial one deems it that what is being sought be stated.

Ike is the "Hero of the Blue Flames" in Japanese, the English "Radiant Hero" leaves it open to interpretation what makes him radiant. It could be the chaotic flames of Lehran's Medallion, or it could be friendship, or it could be his shiny Ragnell, or an expressive upbeat outlook on life, or he sells lightbulbs like no else can. But, do the blue flames matter that much? Sure it ties him to Tellius's Fire Emblem, but I dunno, Ike doesn't need that close a clearly-stated association to it.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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The problem is that よすが in this game is far more important lorewise than blue flame with Ike, よすが  is literally the recurring theme in this game. It's like Force in Star Wars or the One Ring in LotR.

In the context of Silver Snow, it symbolized Byleth became the new Sothis as it's the title both Sothis and Rhea addressed Byleth multiple times (over 10 times actually)

The current translation completely gut this symbolism to the point that average player wouldn't even understand the reference, what has "Wandering Flame" has anything to do with Sothis, fate or time?

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It would've been cool in a NG+ that instead of having the same intro, it's Byleth undoing all the work they've done in the completed playthrough in order to find another way to avoid war.

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4 hours ago, Dandy Druid said:

It would've been cool in a NG+ that instead of having the same intro, it's Byleth undoing all the work they've done in the completed playthrough in order to find another way to avoid war.

Wouldn't that be terribly tragic though, since all paths lead to war? Unless players were fine with a character who could never find their ideal world. It sounds nominatively sad enough that it'd lead someone at KT or IS to pity Byleth and find a way to gild an ending.

Not necessarily a full 24k route, it could be something as simple as it being said/shown in the ending that "Byleth went back in time and did a myriad of things that eventually led to a Fodlan of purest peace, thereby preventing this world of strife they lived through from ever happening".

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18 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

Wouldn't that be terribly tragic though, since all paths lead to war? Unless players were fine with a character who could never find their ideal world. It sounds nominatively sad enough that it'd lead someone at KT or IS to pity Byleth and find a way to gild an ending.

Not necessarily a full 24k route, it could be something as simple as it being said/shown in the ending that "Byleth went back in time and did a myriad of things that eventually led to a Fodlan of purest peace, thereby preventing this world of strife they lived through from ever happening".

A terribly sad story. There could be a "golden" path, but perhaps each timeline's war has gradually made Byleth insane, resulting in them turning into a dragon and attacking the monastery with all of the students in it, leading them all to unite and take down Byleth. And then peace was assured in Fodlan.

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7 hours ago, Dandy Druid said:

A terribly sad story. There could be a "golden" path, but perhaps each timeline's war has gradually made Byleth insane, resulting in them turning into a dragon and attacking the monastery with all of the students in it, leading them all to unite and take down Byleth. And then peace was assured in Fodlan.

Realization on Failed Path 104:

Monastery = central to Fodlan's problems.

Therefore annihilate monastery = Fodlan's problems solved.

Friends in monastery? = does not compute, but I love them anyhow. -But I also hate HOW THEY MUST ALWAYS FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!

 

"-But, it is not enough that I that kill them, I must purge the continent of all its leaders, for they are destined to drag this realm into chaos. Therefore, I must have their gather into one place, one location where I can destroy them all with absolute certainty. How would I do that? To bring together the disparate factions of Fodlan, I must use someone to force it, yet I cannot use any of these nations themselves. What faith do I have that they would end their own blighted existences? Loyalty to the very end, I need this. Hmm...."

*Fast forward a few months*

*Pretend this old CG is Male Byleth^ looking at a nude standing woman*:

Spoiler

CG37.png

"The material wisdom of all the ancients, married to all the magic and alchemy in the world. This its fruit, a body so perfectly human in form, and yet so superior to it in strength and longevity, even greater than that of the Nabateans! I daresay I'm envious of what I have wrought. But I have grown well beyond what this newborn could achieve for a very long time to come, my power is enough to achieve my goals.

This is but a sculpture though. For all that has been instilled into it, it lacks a soul. Now, to provide that spark of life, a drop of my own being."

*Nude woman's eyes open upon receiving the spark of life*

"Welcome, Leraje. That is your name. You are my creation, my agent to be where I cannot. Having my essence within thee, I can see through your eyes, speak to you at any time, my knowledge I can flow directly into your mind. I need you to be the blinding light and the encompassing darkness, a Penumbra to force all the world to huddle together in cowardice at what it can do, let neither those who prance in the daylight or slither in the dark find refuge with thee.

I can tell you do not yet understand any of this. Worry not newborn, for now, I will help you learn to control your body. I will clothe you and teach you what life is. When you are acclimated to existence, we will depart for yesteryear together. Once we have reverted to an earlier time, we will go our separate ways. I will take up at the monastery, and you will assemble the Penumbra, you will press on Fodlan's inhabitants, and I will control their reactions to our benefit. We may fail to make them gather as one at first, they may still foolishly fight amongst each other, but eventually, for time is on our side, we shall prevail. Fodlan will never fight again."

*Fast-foward to the failure of the 105th path.* 

Byleth: I could not prevent conflict again. Dimitri slew Claude, and you were forced to kill Edelgard when she tried to curry favor with us- we cannot have that.

Leraje: I am sorry Master Byleth. I must not fail you. I await your punishment.

Byleth: It is not your fault Leraje, my folly was allowing any humans to join with you. That they were all commoners of the lowest order from across the realm was irrelevant. We must be thoroughly without others to succeed. Next time, you alone will be the Penumbra. We will return to the point we traveled to before.

 

*Fast-forward to the failure of the 106th path*

Byleth: *Sigh* I grow tired of this! *Starts to cry.*

Leraje: Master Byleth?!

Byleth: Do not call me "Master", you are of me and me I am in you. Though I be the elder and wiser in existence, we are equals, we are siblings, twins.

Leraje: Understood.

Byleth: All I've ever wanted is peace, peace for everyone! How can it be so evasive, is death alone the only universal tranquility?! Why why wh-*cough cough cough!* *collapses on their knees*

Leraje: Byleth! 

Byleth: ...I am fine. This body is eternal, but the ravages of time can still bring it ephemeral harm. I must bathe in the vital essence to restore my form, but not now, in the next trial, for which we will leave shortly. I was wrong to force all the weight onto one person, it was foolishly unrealistic to expect espionage even by an individual as talented as you to succeed. Leraje, you need allies, but they mustn't be human. Perhaps *cough* automata. Leraje, on our next endeavor, when I arrive at that one day when Father and I were with my three dearest friends, begin constructing automata of all kinds immediately! Let them be our Penumbra. Steal from the Slitherers and Rhea alike, make them know we are not to be reasoned with. 

Leraje: Yes. Byleth...

 

*Fast-forward to the end of the failed 107th path*

Byleth: ...Automata lack the intellect we require. Their force is undeniable, but something about them went wrong.

Leraje: My apologies Byleth. I made their minds as sharp as I could, but they could do only so much.

Byleth: Nothing is ever your fault Leraje, all failures are mine and mine alone. But then, what must be done to refine the Penumbra?

Leraje: Byleth, is the Penumbra necessary perhaps we should-

Byleth: Questioning the necessity of the Penumbra? What has gotten into you Leraje? -No, don't say a word. I am delighted to see you think critically as your mentor, no longer need me to guide you through your every course of action. But, I will not give up on the Penumbra, not yet. Once, I went through dozens of scenarios arranging a mine collapse to injure the Eagle, Lion, and Deer, not to kill any of them, but to leave them all in the medical ward for months and months to come. Even when I succeeded that time, it did nothing to stop conflict's inevitability, but I tried.

Leraje: Then shall I spend some time in this timeline refining the automata to improve their functionality in the next?

Byleth: I would thank you for doing so, though you'd be wasting your time, you've given me the answer we need. Your brilliance Leraje, I need more of it. We need more of you.

Leraje: How would that be achieved Byleth?

Byleth: Simple. Can't you see? I will weave together more bodies like your own, and I will bestow each of them with my being. We will have younger siblings.

Leraje: Byleth, is your soul able to sacrifice so much? You already spawned me. Could I use mine in your place?

Byleth: My soul is a great soul Leraje, there is no end to it, I can create as many selves as I require. You are such a fragile creature Leraje, I do not want to see you, another me perish for lack of spirit.

*Fast-foward to the creation of four nudes, two male and two female*

Byleth: The final step, take my will!

*Eyes open on the four nudes*

Leraje: Our brother, our first self, has given you consciousness. You are Eligos, Zepar, Sitri, and Sallos, the first two of you are what are called "males", the latter two are called "females". We will teach you what this means, we will teach you everything.

Byleth: I will flex their limbs, Leraje, begin transferring our accumulated knowledge into their minds. 

Leraje: As you will Byleth. When will we place them in the armor I've forged? 

Byleth: Don't be so hasty. You were quick to learn, but now I've three to educate at once, it will take longer.

Leraje: Three? You mean four, Byleth?

Byleth: Ah yes, I'm a little tired from the soul splitting. Thank you for the armor. It will make them appear utterly inhuman, beyond any hope of allying with, the Death Knight will by comparison appear as though a carefree child. I commend the Slitherers for the idea.

Leraje: I will lead the Penumbra in my own armor, and our four siblings will be my regional commanders. Each will of us will lead legions of automata. We will carefully strike across of Fodlan, damage small, but the fear it will generate will be vast. That will bring all the worlds leaders to come together, and then we shall combine our forces and annihilate them. All killed, they will be unable to kill each other. Peace will be attained!

 

*Fast-foward to just before the great time rewind*

Byleth: Leraje, I suppose we swap our tasks in this next attempt.

Leraje: Our tasks?! What do you mean Byleth?

Byleth: I can tell already this leap backwards will make me very, very tired. I doubt I could as much as hold my Iron Sword on that treasured day long ago. 

Leraje: What is the matter Byleth? You've already done this so many times before. You've done it with me and I noticed no adverse consequences in your bodily conditions.

Byleth: I told you in the 105th effort that I cannot take others with me through the time's flow memories intact. I am not strong enough to do that. That I can bring you, who did not even exist back in time, is solely because you and I are one and the same. Eligor, Zepar, Sitri and Sallos are all us too, so they can come as well. And yet, I can feel they will weight us down.

Leraje: Are all four necessary? Should we leave some behind? Or perhaps I could assist you in the Grand Pulsation?

Byleth: No. They are are a burden I must bear. And when I make time's stream bend backwards, I already draw on your power, yet only I feel its entire aftereffects. 

Leraje: Allow me to share the burden, it's better if both of us are only partially exhausted than see you so depleted!

Byleth: I will not budge on this Leraje. When we return to that day of fate, I will find a hidden place to rest. As I do so, I will by transmission guide our brothers and sisters into forming the Penumbra, I can do that even with heavy body fatigue. When I can stand again, I will wear your armor and lead the Penumbra.

Leraje: Do our siblings approve?

Byleth: You know well they obey our every word without question. They are no different than you were at this point in your short existence. It will be a while before they start to think for themselves, let us elder siblings make it when there is true harmony in Fodlan.

Leraje: And let our great senior brother know endless serenity without war! What I am to do then Byleth, all I have known is the Penumbra, what am I to do now?

Byleth: Hahaha! I haven't laughed with sincerity in far too long Leraje, as much as I wish at could at every joke I've memorized. Leraje, you will be a professor and a friend. You wear the clothes of a student-turned professor at Garreg Mach. You will teach, you will fight under feigned allegiance to Rhea and whichever house you choose, I care not which as long as you can control them. Study the reams of memories I have of everybody from that monastery-academy. Study as support those memories you've formed as Penumbral adversary to those same people. I delay our return in time so you can devote a month or so to studying those memories. You must fit in and play them as I've tried to. 

Leraje: Just one question Byleth. I do not look like you, we are physically different, I am a woman, you are a man. How can possibly I take your place?

Byleth: I first considered the possibility of having you take my role quite some time ago, in a prior attempt to save Fodlan. I only recently came to a solution at last. For you and I are the same spiritually, our character is alike, that "aura of personality" being identical will calm the differences. I've know it isn't enough by itself, but if we strengthen that aura with the power of time, then we've just the answer. When someone who knows me approaches you, we will instantly rewrite their memories of ourself. They will think you to have always been a girl, and they will think nothing odd of it. Our very record of being, altered perfectly.

Leraje: That is incredible Byleth! Your have your limits, I would have thought that beyond them.

Byleth: All that must change is that one little detail, it will not be difficult to modify that. To go beyond that is something impossible presently. I suppose we could alter and suppress memories in individuals, but that would take devoted effort and time. This, is instantaneous, effortless conversion of memories to masses. And one last thing my most beloved self, change your name. You in the 108th trial will be Byleth, and I will as a matter of precaution, be Leraje.

Leraje: I will answer to Byleth, I will call myself Byleth. I will always be Leraje when I am conversing with you, but with your friends, I will be Byleth, I understand, Byleth.

 

*Fast-forward to the final battle in the 108th Path*

Leraje: Let's go everyone!

Edelgard: The automata are endless, the Empire won't last forever. The Slitherers won't either. Nobody can.

Dimitri: Which is why we're going to pierce the heart of our foe.

Claude: I can't still believe any of this. That THING is our Byleth? Are you sure you're not insane... Leraje was it?

Leraje: Call me Byleth if you want to, the mind control we forced on you was potent. I apologize for it.

Rhea: Idealism and selflessness give life meaning, but Byleth's striving and divine power have driven them to utter madness. For their sake, we must destroy them.

Sothis: If Byleth tries to manipulate time to stop us, I'll counter his moves. I'll deplete my very essence if I have to.

Edelgard: Don't Sothis, the old Byleth wanted you to live on. Everyone will live, everyone will stay together to the end.

Dimitri: If Byleth couldn't save the world as they wanted to in 107 attempts, what chances do they have of killing us now?

Claude: And I want to believe they still harbor good feelings for us deep down. Maybe they'll miss on purpose?

Leraje: United we stand, I draw on the Anti-Annihilator Sword of the Creator, light and darkness will not eradicate the other, they will become something new. The seasons will meld into one and vanquish the monstrosity that wants them to be no more!

^If Byleth is female, this nude is male.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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