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Jotari

Edelgard would have been better without her backstory

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So it's a question basically anyone who's paid attention has asked upon getting far enough into Three Houses. Why is Edelgard allied with the people who murdered her family and tortured her? The general answer seems to be "She doesn't want to be, but she has to and will fight them eventually." Yet I've just finished Crimson Flower and the Agarthan (seriously why doesn't the game just call them that instead of that horrible descriptor) plot line is left even more open than in the other two routes I've played. You'd think that would be the route in which the player makes the biggest strides against them, but Edelgard really procrastinates on that defeating her real enemy motivation. Instead she focuses all her efforts on killing Rhea (why she left Rhea alive in the other routes I can't even recall) and ending the control of the Goddess and her children over Fodlan, which is basically exactly what the Agarthans want. It really makes me question why they even gave Edelgard this sob backstory. I'm referring to just what's revealed in her C support. I know she has some stuff with the Dimitri that plays into it somewhat but that's irrelevant to her actions in four fifths of the game. If you remove her sob backstory and make it so her intentions actually align with the Agarthans (as opposed to, they think they're using me but I'm really using them and they know I think that they think that they're using me but I'm really using them and they think that means they're using me, but I'm actually using them and oh look I've gone crosseyed). Crimson Flower is the closest we actually get to playing as the villains in any game in the series and it actually does a decent job of presenting an unreasonable war of aggression as reasonable from the villain's perspective. Just have the evil cult on side and you lose nothing of value from the route and make Edelgard that much less of a massive contradiction in character. What those who slither in the dark did to her influences nothing of her choices. She hates crests because she was tortured, so she decides to declare war on a completely different organisation who did nothing to her. Just have her gripes with the church be the legitimate gripes one might have when a dragon is secretly the pope.

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I agree. Personally I dislike how the Agarthans were included in 3H and it's the major sticking point of the game because they could be cut and I don't feel you'd lose much. They certainly make Edelgard a worse character by association and it's thanks to them that I have no intention of ever touching CF again.

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1 minute ago, Silver-Haired Maiden said:

I agree. Personally I dislike how the Agarthans were included in 3H and it's the major sticking point of the game because they could be cut and I don't feel you'd lose much. They certainly make Edelgard a worse character by association and it's thanks to them that I have no intention of ever touching CF again.

I reckon they're there because we need some sort of villain for part 1 and it'd be weird, or at least even weirder, if Edelgard repeatedly kept on killing her own soldiers when you play as her. Still, other options are definitely available. Like using that one guy who turns into the first monster you get. I don't think his little rebellion had much to do with Edelgard. Can't remember though. I skip the majority of cutscenes when playing part 1 now. I wish it was a lot shorter. It feels like a waste of time to have a game with four routes, but you have to play the exact same twelve or so chapters each time before experiencing a route change. They definitely could have varied it up a bit and has some unique chapters in each one.

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7 minutes ago, Jotari said:

I reckon they're there because we need some sort of villain for part 1 and it'd be weird, or at least even weirder, if Edelgard repeatedly kept on killing her own soldiers when you play as her. Still, other options are definitely available. Like using that one guy who turns into the first monster you get. I don't think his little rebellion had much to do with Edelgard. Can't remember though. I skip the majority of cutscenes when playing part 1 now. I wish it was a lot shorter. It feels like a waste of time to have a game with four routes, but you have to play the exact same twelve or so chapters each time before experiencing a route change. They definitely could have varied it up a bit and has some unique chapters in each one.

I think you are combining Lonato and Miklan, Miklan is the one who turns into a monster and is a bandit while Lonato is the one who tries to start a rebellion and had the death threat for Rhea. Since Miklan was Sylvain´s older brother and Lonato was Ashe´s adopted father yeah neither one will feel like a overarching villain especially if you play any route but Blue Lions.

Edited by Deathcon

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If I recall correctly, the only time where Edelgard explicitly talks about her backstory is with in their support with Byleth. Granted Edelgard did not just tell anyone else, yet she openly discuss it starting with the C support. At that point Byleth is still a new teacher that choose the Black Eagles to supervise. So why trust the new guy with the information?  While yes, on all routes Edelgard has a massive adoration Byleth. But is panderly at the same time.

In addition, she never remembers/recalls she time with Dimitri. Either A, the Agarthans in the crest experiments messes with her memory. Granted is it a popular theory among her fans to justify the gaps. But I find that explanation to be too convenient. Or B, she didn't care/ forgot about Dimitri which doesn't make her look good.

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12 minutes ago, Jingle Jangle said:

If I recall correctly, the only time where Edelgard explicitly talks about her backstory is with in their support with Byleth. Granted Edelgard did not just tell anyone else, yet she openly discuss it starting with the C support. At that point Byleth is still a new teacher that choose the Black Eagles to supervise. So why trust the new guy with the information?  While yes, on all routes Edelgard has a massive adoration Byleth. But is panderly at the same time.

In addition, she never remembers/recalls she time with Dimitri. Either A, the Agarthans in the crest experiments messes with her memory. Granted is it a popular theory among her fans to justify the gaps. But I find that explanation to be too convenient. Or B, she didn't care/ forgot about Dimitri which doesn't make her look good.

Some lines in Crimson Flower in the Dimitri map suggests she does remember him. She at least seems to feel more regret over killing him than Claude. I don't know exactly what their backstory is yet though, so I can't comment on how that contradicts or compliments his route.

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i highly disagree about not revealing her backstory. Her C support literally defines her as a person and gives you the player the reason to want to fight at her side. All the other small details aside it is the pivotal point for the player to decide if thats enough for you to side with her. 

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Edelgard's backstory imo is very well done, not insofar as it justifies why she behaves the way she behaves or makes her actions any less villainous (it doesn't). But insofar as it make her an actual fleshed-out villain, where you can get into her head and kinda-sorta understand what her motivation is and why she views the world the way she views it  (as opposed to villains like Hans and Iago, who were just cartoon villains for the sake of being cartoon villains). 

Her dealings with the Agarthans in particular showcase that she is extremely arrogant, and how that arrogance colors her judgment. 

Her thinking the entire time she's working with them is I'm not working with them. I'm just using them. I will punish them properly for what they have done and dispose of them when they are no longer of use to me.

...and it never even occurs to her that she doesn't have the control over that relationship that she thinks she has, or that they might be the ones using her....thats the arrogance...

_______


I do find TWSIND and their whole back story with Sothis to be the most glaringly underdeveloped part of the Three Houses setting.

And I hope that if we get that new campaign everyone's speculating we might be getting in DLC wave 4, the main focus of it will be on that conflict. And that we will really get some more details on what they did to her, what she did to them, and what they're little underground doomsday cult has been doing ever since. 

But thats more gripes i have with TWSIND in general, and not their dealings with Edelgard specifically  

 

Edited by Shoblongoo

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2 minutes ago, Zihark11 said:

i highly disagree about not revealing her backstory. Her C support literally defines her as a person and gives you the player the reason to want to fight at her side. All the other small details aside it is the pivotal point for the player to decide if thats enough for you to side with her. 

I tend to er on the side of "no your changes won't fix it, it'll be worse" because well one, I've read their fan fiction and two they need to first explain the role of the characters before making changes. Case in point, you don't need to make a villain realistic or have some tragic backstory explaining how they came to be. The Agarthans can be as cartoonsihly evil as they are shown to be, it isn't an issue. The problem the Agarthans have is they lack charisma, presence, and fanfare. If stolons spell caused the time skip and we didn't get to kill him until well into the second half of the game, suddenly they're a lot scarier. Instead they seem incompetent and trite, "oh how I was defeated by beasts." About a minute after we met them. We don't even get a new face for them besides Thales all the rest are generic portraits if they get a name. So slithers can work and the story as it stands does need them or the world breaks, they're just not all that charismatic as villains unlike Edelgard, who IS main villain of the story.

 

illnprobably post something a bit more coherent and detailed when I have the time. Currently phone posting.

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3 minutes ago, Zihark11 said:

i highly disagree about not revealing her backstory. Her C support literally defines her as a person and gives you the player the reason to want to fight at her side. All the other small details aside it is the pivotal point for the player to decide if thats enough for you to side with her. 

How so? Why does getting tortured by one organisation prompt her to ally with said organisation and try to bring down that organisation's enemy? The church had absolutely no hand in what happened to her and would mercilessly hunt down everyone involved if they could. The Crests' existence isn't even something the church invented in the first place. That was Nemesis and his gang who brought crests into the world (and they were working for the Agarathans too).

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The exact opposite for me.

If I had neither played Crimson Flower nor read her supports with Lysithea, I never would have sympathized with her.

She is my favorite lord simply because of her backstory and her target is just the logical reaction to it.

She is very well written imo and I feel for her backround.

Edited by Lysithea

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@Jotari

I agree with you so much. Edelgard's past is not for understanding her, it is just for making us feel bad for her. The way it is treated (she only tells this to us and the scenes make her seem vulnerable) says a lot about it. Like you explained, it doesn't affect the plot, because no matter what happened, she is still working with the people she hates. The worst thing is that the plot of CF doesn't even take TSWID seriously. 

It could be argued that the past explains her disdain for the nobles but...Well. We are more or less on the same situation, because she is still working, for example, with Lindhardt's father and Caspar's father (both of them took part in the insurrection), and she never comments anything about this.

Edited by Jena

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There's only one feature of Edelgard's backstory that I think is missing that explains everything. She was brainwashed to associate what the Agarthans did to her as something the Church and Crests did to her. Her militant atheism goes woefully unexplored, but in the paralogue where you fight against the Almyrans she's delighted at the idea of potentially forging an alliance with a country who has no connection to Seiros - not once considering Almyra is a nation that goes to war against the Alliance for fun and will probably continue to do that no matter who their neighbor is. 

Maybe the point of Edelgard thinking she can deal with the Agarthans after the war is the same arrogance or lack of planning ahead that lead her to think she could win a world war? I remember in the Spare Claude scene Edelgard expressed genuine surprise he had been planning for the eventuality of losing. That's alien to her. She had been catfished her entire life by the guys that gave her power and like somebody with an addiction believes "I can stop anytime". But that's not how the game frames these scenes. Edelgard is portrayed uncritically even when doing something as horrible as covering up for a nuclear strike on Empire territory. The war against the Kingdom wasn't going anywhere, they had the time to clean their closets and give us those missing four chapters.

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26 minutes ago, Jotari said:

How so? Why does getting tortured by one organisation prompt her to ally with said organisation and try to bring down that organisation's enemy? The church had absolutely no hand in what happened to her and would mercilessly hunt down everyone involved if they could. The Crests' existence isn't even something the church invented in the first place. That was Nemesis and his gang who brought crests into the world (and they were working for the Agarathans too).

I don't think Edelgard knows nearly as much about the crests, the relics, or Rhea's original form + the purpose of her church as she thinks she does. 

I don't think she knows that the crests weren't invented by the church.

I don't think she knows that the crests and the relics were created by the Agarthans, during their war against Sothis.

And I certainly don't think she knows that they were made from the blood and bones of the children of the goddess. (the biggest church secret she seemed to know was that Rhea's true form was 'an inhuman beast' I don't even think she fully understood that Rhea was Sothis's daughter or that her true form was that of the Brood of Sothis) 

______

I think Edelgard listened to ALOT of Agarthan propaganda about The Church. Without even realizing she was listening to Agarthan propaganda. And formed opinions + ideas about The Church based on the half-truths and misinformation they were feeding her.

Thinking (again--this is her arrogance) that she must have formed the greatest of all opinions because she was special; she was learning secrets about The Church that normal people didn't know.

And it never even occurred to her to think Who is telling me this and why?  Do they know something I don't know? Am I being used? 

Edited by Shoblongoo

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I suppose I could give my two cents on this. As a disclaimer, I have not played TH, I have watched multiple LPs of all routes and have not brushed up on my knowledge of it. So do forgive me/keep it in mind if I miss something. 

I do agree Edelgard would be better if her current backstory wasn't mentioned, to some extent, if not all. If it was revealed that all of her siblings were tortured/experimented on, and that Edelgard blamed the church for it, and NOTHING ELSE was revealed about it, then it would "justify" her starting a war against the church. 

If we're talking about adding/changing/pointing out missing points in her backstory, I would say this: 

Spoiler

TWSITD experimented on Edelgard and her siblings because they want revenge against Rhea/Seiros, AND they brainwashed Edelgard, their only successful experiment. Brainwashed Edelgard has this information that was "passed down from Emperor to Emperor in secret": Rhea is the Immaculate One, and lusts for power. She insists on ruling with an iron fist because of it, and is responsible for most/all of the problems in Fodlan because she wants to stay in power. This is also why Fodlan is not united, why the Leicester is divided, why Fodlan is separate from the outside world, and why there are so many problems in the Kingdom and Empire. Brainwashed Edelgard would also have false information that says Rhea was responsible for the tragedy of Duscur. 

TWSITD are never mentioned in CF. They are too hidden. All we know is what Edelgard tells us. 

 

Edited by Bhoop

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39 minutes ago, Shoblongoo said:

I think Edelgard listened to ALOT of Agarthan propaganda about The Church. Without even realizing she was listening to Agarthan propaganda. And formed opinions + ideas about The Church based on the half-truths and misinformation they were feeding her.

This would brings us back to the debate of her claim that her knowledge "was passed down in secret by the emperors"

Personally I think her secret knowledge was tainted by TWISTD, considering how previous emperors were friendly to the church, and her so called truth was contradicting to all other routes, especially in Silver Snow and Verdant Wind. Yet, several guys I read on Reddit feverishly rejected the idea that such secret could be influenced by TWISTD.

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A character's history usually instructs their actions in a story - or at least it should if it hopes to feel compelling or organic - and I think if they didn't try to show it in the story then we'd get even more people misunderstanding the general thrust of Edelgard's character and thinking she's just Stalin in a red armored dress.

I have not gotten deep into Crimson Flower, though, and admittedly a small part of me is dreading how they're going to show blushy, vulnerable Edelgard considering how poorly I think they did edgelord Dimitri. But from what I know so far, I think those bits are needed in the narrative.

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32 minutes ago, Timlugia said:

This would brings us back to the debate of her claim that her knowledge "was passed down in secret by the emperors"

Personally I think her secret knowledge was tainted by TWISTD, considering how previous emperors were friendly to the church, and her so called truth was contradicting to all other routes, especially in Silver Snow and Verdant Wind. Yet, several guys I read on Reddit feverishly rejected the idea that such secret could be influenced by TWISTD.

Something I've come to appreciate from the Horus Heresy novels in the W40k setting, and the way the most cunning and manipulative demons are portrayed as exerting their influence is:

The most convincing 'lie' is a sliver of truth.

Not a flat-out lie. Not a plain falsehood. lie. But a true (yet deceptively incomplete) statement of fact, which has the effect of making the listener believe they know the whole truth.

This appears to be the case with Edelgard, when you really delve into what she believes and what she had to have known (and not known) to believe this.

"Society suffers from a system where possessing a Crest determines your worth as a leader, and people will do anything to bear a Crest. Your Family suffered. You suffered. Why do we have a system where possessing a Crest determines your worth as a leader, and where people will do anything to bear a Crest? Because The Church of Seiros places value on Crests. Because the Church says they are holy. Because The Church says they are blessings from The Goddess. The Archbishop of the Church is a deceiver who conceals her true form. The Archbishop of the Church is lying about The Crests. But-for the influence of The Church and the lies of The Arch-Bishop, no one would believe that Crests are a blessing from The Goddess."

...none of that is wrong...

Its not hard to understand how if Edelgard was having this whispered in her ear and verifying that it was all true, TWSITD could have manipulated her into making The Church first among her enemies. Thereby accepting their 'aid' on a theory of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

All without speaking a single falsehood to her.  

Just--neglecting to tell her the bits about how THEY created the Crests, and about what Rhea  was truly trying to cover-up. 

No lies. No 'brainwashing.' Just a sliver of truth. 

And then Edelgard (again--arrogance) did the rest. Leaping to conclusions, because she thought that she knew everything. 

Edited by Shoblongoo

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2 hours ago, Shoblongoo said:

Edelgard's backstory imo is very well done, not insofar as it justifies why she behaves the way she behaves or makes her actions any less villainous (it doesn't). But insofar as it make her an actual fleshed-out villain, where you can get into her head and kinda-sorta understand what her motivation is and why she views the world the way she views it  (as opposed to villains like Hans and Iago, who were just cartoon villains for the sake of being cartoon villains). 

Her dealings with the Agarthans in particular showcase that she is extremely arrogant, and how that arrogance colors her judgment. 

Her thinking the entire time she's working with them is I'm not working with them. I'm just using them. I will punish them properly for what they have done and dispose of them when they are no longer of use to me.

...and it never even occurs to her that she doesn't have the control over that relationship that she thinks she has, or that they might be the ones using her....thats the arrogance...

______
 

I want to point out that in the CF route her using them does work out. It's not very clear because of a mistranslation but Edelgard effectively manages to take out Cordelia and weaken the TWSITD. I mean sure they do strike back immediately but Cornelia's death quote implies that TWSITD were not ready for her betrayal and expected her to 100% focus on the church/Alliance/Kingdom in the same way they used Nemesis to fight Seiros.

See here:

 

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3 hours ago, Jingle Jangle said:

If I recall correctly, the only time where Edelgard explicitly talks about her backstory is with in their support with Byleth. Granted Edelgard did not just tell anyone else, yet she openly discuss it starting with the C support. At that point Byleth is still a new teacher that choose the Black Eagles to supervise. So why trust the new guy with the information?  While yes, on all routes Edelgard has a massive adoration Byleth. But is panderly at the same time.

i think it's because they needed something quick to make the player interested towards edelgard and not rhea (since if you just bought the game and you choose to side with black eagles, you're most likely doing it for edelgard) aside from her personality and her thighs i guess

Edited by Yexin

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3 hours ago, Jotari said:

Some lines in Crimson Flower in the Dimitri map suggests she does remember him. She at least seems to feel more regret over killing him than Claude. I don't know exactly what their backstory is yet though, so I can't comment on how that contradicts or compliments his route.

The way I viewed chapter 16 was that Edelgard was conflicted about killing Dimitri. Almost crying about the lost of him. I supposed that can be due of how she remembered him years ago during the time they lived together. Attributing his current mental state to her uncle's actions years ago.  Yet at the same time called him a unreasonable savage in her infamous "no u" exchange. It cancels out with each other?

58 minutes ago, Yexin said:

i think it's because they needed something quick to make the player interested towards edelgard and not rhea (since if you just bought the game and you choose to side with black eagles, you're most likely doing it for edelgard) aside from her personality and her thighs i guess

When you put it that way it makes more sense. The game needs a good reason to support Edelgard early on. Since she isn't invested for the monthly assignments.

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I wonder when the game gets older if people will stop questioning Edelgard actions and start asking if Edelgard is a poorly written character. The game is too young to start asking that question tho. 

Also it could be that the Agarthans are the worst thing about this game, because there the most "im evil" group in a very morally grey game And Edelgard being tied to them. That in my opinion ruins her character a lot. 

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Not necessarily. She would have been better if she was just more educated on the history of Fodlan and the reality of the fact that she is working with the people she should have prioritized taking down over Rhea, who she had little to no reason to target if she knew the truth~ 

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27 minutes ago, Landmaster said:

Not necessarily. She would have been better if she was just more educated on the history of Fodlan and the reality of the fact that she is working with the people she should have prioritized taking down over Rhea, who she had little to no reason to target if she knew the truth~ 

No she wouldn't. Villains should be allowed to have their flaws right alongside the heroes. (In this case, arrogance/ignorance)

It's not like Rhea is the most honest or forthcoming person ever, either.

 

Edited by Crysta

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I'm on the last two chapters of Edelgard's route and was wondering how it was going to resolve that plot.  Her route being the shortest also makes it a bit glaring that this never gets addressed.

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