Hi, I’m SirNicee, I’m an amateur hacker and writer with no real projects under my belt but a general interest in the creative process behind this kind of stuff. I do have projects I am working on, but I figure writing about whatever ideas that come to my head will help me get through the creative process more smoothly. I may also put some of my splices in here too since I am slowly improving in that front.
Splices (All F2U/F2E)
Here’s a small assortment of splices for now, I’ll add more later. The second was a GAMERS submission, the seventh and ninth are my current project’s Lords. None are particularly amazing, but I admit that I’m fairly new, so I’ll likely improve as I go.
Keep in mind that a few use Lenh and Obisidian_Daddy’s FE6 blinking frames (the top 2 specifically). I don’t know how credit works for those since I didn’t even know those two were responsible until I compared their sheet to the one in the Repo without any names attached to it, but it’s something to note.
Made for Other Projects (SPOILERS FOR OTHER PROJECTS) (NOT F2U/F2E UNLESS HACK AUTHOR SPECIFIES)
Credit to Levin64/Levin Claude for much-needed touchups on the top left, plus Lenh and Obsidian_Daddy’s FE6 blinking frames for the rest sans the middle left.
Once again using the FE6 blinking frames seen above. Done as a trade with Goldblitzx, feel free to check her thread if you have the chance.
And here’s my first write-up. It’s about female Lords in Fire Emblem.
Female Lord Syndrome (WARNING: LONG AND SPOILER-Y)
You’re probably looking at that title and wondering, what is Female Lord Syndrome? It’s a phenomenon you mainly see with lords in the Fire Emblem series that’s claimed a good chunk of them. I’ll be referring to it as FLS for the remainder of the post, but in effect, it’s really simple, so I’ll go ahead and summarize it in one sentence:
Female Lords/main protagonists in Fire Emblem tend to be sidelined after the first arc so that a male Lord/main protagonist can take their place in the story.
It’s as simple as that. I’ll run through our examples real quick to hammer the point home.
Celica from Gaiden and Echoes is arguably the first example of this trope. Though Alm was the main character of Act 1, Celica took the reins for Act 2, and the pair were equally as important in Acts 3 and 4. It isn’t until Act 5 where Celica gets shafted and mind-controlled by Jedah, leaving Alm to rescue this damsel in distress and take the glory for slaying Duma at the end with the Falchion, with him becoming a legend and her becoming largely a footnote in history by the time of Awakening despite them being co-protagonists for most of Gaiden, along with being married.
Lyn from Blazing Blade is the lord of the tutorial arc. After said tutorial arc, she disappears for a few chapters, and upon her return her only real contribution is to occasionally chime in with a sentence or two while Eliwood and Hector carry the brunt of the important dialogue. She’s by far the least essential of any of these female leads, but also the one whose flaws cause the least amount of problems.
Eirika from Sacred Stones is someone who has the unfortunate duty of having to act as co-Lord to resident Gary Stu Ephraim, a character who can largely do no wrong in the eyes of the story. His primary flaw, his overconfidence, rarely results in any real problems or consequences, while Eirika’s kindness and trustworthiness leads to her giving up a Sacred Stone to the villain in the late-game. Ephraim’s maps tend to be more tightly designed, he’s the one who gets to kill both the enemy king and the Camus, and the game generally goes out of its way to make him the hero, while Eirika stands around being the supportive sister.
Micaiah is a unique case. Her replacement is another female lord, Elincia, who is barely a Lord because she’s only playable for two out of her part’s five chapters. The real replacement is returning Lord Ike, the Lord for most of Part 3. Though Micaiah is the Lord for a few chapters in the same part, the story goes out of its way to make it clear that Ike is the real hero, while Micaiah is a reluctant antagonist; Micaiah is loyal to a fault, while Ike is arguably faultless. She then spends much of Part 4 possessed by her pet bird. In the end, it’s Ike who once again takes lead Lord duty as he must land the finishing blow to the final boss.
There are two other female Lords who I’d like to bring up who don’t particularly fit this mold, those being Lucina and Edelgard. Lucina manages this by virtue of never being the main Lord, being secondary at best alongside Robin. Edelgard, meanwhile, suffers from having to share screentime with the self-insert Byleth, though then again, so do Dimitri and Claude, who are both male, and Byleth can be female anyway. It could be argued that she somewhat fits the bill in Silver Snow, since she quite literally leaves the party to become an antagonist, but again, it’s questionable. Still, these are the only two exceptions to the rule.
But why is that? It could be that most Fire Emblem writers are men, they are better at writing men and thus tend to write stories that focus on men. It’s also historically been common that the man is the main character, the POV focus, while the woman is the secondary lead at best. It’s obviously not done out of sexism or malice typically, but out of habit. We’re used to the leads being men, so we write men. We’re used to women being supportive or secondary, so we write them as such. There is no denying that there likely is sexism at the root of why we expect these things, though it’s systemic in nature, arising from society and the media it produces, not a conscious decision. Recent media have taken more care with switching this around, and indeed, Fire Emblem hasn’t seen a case of FLS since Radiant Dawn (or Echoes, though it is a remake of a game from 1992).
Generally though, would it be nice if we had more female leads who weren’t just shoved aside whenever a male lead shows up? Absolutely. There have been zero Fire Emblem games where a woman is the primary focus throughout the whole game, and several where a man is the sole focus. And it would be nice to have fewer stories that start with a female lead resorting to FLS, especially when the man is a near-flawless paragon of heroism while the woman is more prone to mistakes.
What should the takeaway be? It’s always a good idea to be cognizant of what we write and why we write it. If you find yourself writing a story where this sort of thing happens, I don’t want you to feel guilty. Just try to think about why you’re writing the story the way you are, and possibly try to avoid the pitfalls that typically arise in stories with FLS (woman leads making mistakes that male leads have to fix, etc.). A more carefully written story is typically a better one, after all.
The Bechdel test asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.
I like to think of this as a bare minimum benchmark to pass. If media does not feature this, or if it’s difficult to find examples, then the story is likely problematic in some ways. A huge number of things fail this basic test
Yeah, a huge number of things really do fail this test (Disney Channel and various other sitcoms come to mind), but you can’t say that about Fire Emblem of all things.
Aside from maybe the Kaga games (1 through 5) and FE6 (and I say maybe because I can’t quite recall the writing there), I don’t see why anyone would need to bring this test up here.
I don’t recall Lyn, Serra, Eirika; Micaiah, Titania etc. ever discussing their attraction towards men with another female character.
This is something Fire Emblem’s never been great about, though supports have allowed conversations like this to happen regularly. Outside of optional supports though, the only f!Lord I can say generally fits the bill is Eirika, and even then only occasionally through conversations with L’Arachel. The others either don’t have many one-on-one conversations with women, or when they do they’re about the male Lord of the part or something else man-related.
*Of course, the Bechdel test is far from the only way from judging how well a story writes its women, but it’s a simple benchmark.
The Bechdel Test really isn’t about attraction to men so much as it is about men in general. Lyn talking to Florina about the latter’s fear of men, Eirika’s conversations with Tana about Ephraim or King Hayden, etc.
Yeah, you’re right. I was wrong about the correct definiton for the Bechdel test.
I just looked it up, it says that:
The usual criteria of the Bechdel Test are (1) that at least two women are featured (no problem there), (2) that these women talk to each other (although not as numerous as they could be, these conversations do indeed exist), and (3) that they discuss something other than a man.
I feel as though you are bending the rules here.
Lyn and Florina never talk about men during their supports. As much as it pains me to say this, their support is just a more endearing version of the Roy-Wolt support from FE6.
While Eirika and Tana do talk about Innes and Ephraim, most of their conversation revolves around Tana being insecure and wanting to be more like Eirika, kind of like Lyon wants to be more like Ephraim.
Look, your main point does make sense. Even though my fondness towards Lyn, Eirika, Micaiah and Celica has never taken a hit in spite of their diminished plot-relevance or decision-making abilities, I can still see how it would bother you. It’s totally fair of you to think that way.
It’s kind of like for me not having gay options or characters in older Fire Emblem titles (I’m still bitter about male Robin and Chrom not being able to canonically become a pair XD).
I just think that mentioning the Bechdel Test in this circumstance does your point no favors, because it’s inaccurate by definition.
I was primarily looking at their in-story dialogue as opposed to their supports, because like you say, their supports definitely do pass that test in a few areas. Again though, those are optional conversations that have little bearing on the story, and can entirely be skipped or even avoided without missing much.
But yeah, I admit, those do count, and the Bechdel test never mentioned anything about how important a conversation actually has to be to the story. It’s why it’s a good idea to look beyond just the Bechdel test and generally deeper at the text itself.
But even then, their in-story dialogue really does come through for me, most of the time.
The love Lyn and Micaiah have for their friends and their home countries, the naiveté Eirika, Corrin and Celica show, Robin’s sarcastic personality, they’re all relatable traits for me, and I love these characters precisely because almost none of the male characters ever showed these traits as well as they did.
At the end of the day, though, I agree with you. Personally, I would love to see a female main lead, whose relevance to the plot remains constant throughout the game, just as much as I would love to have a homosexual male lead even for one act of the story.
Thing is, I still really love this series, despite its flawed job in representation.
Still, I’m grateful to have run into your post and to have had the opportunity to discuss this, since it’s not something I usually think about, so thank you for that
Funny, Ephraim’s overconfidence did the same thing Eirika’s kindness did. Got the stone destroyed in his respective route, remember? He went charging after Lyon/Fomortiis alone, was beaten by a single spell, and the stone got destroyed.
Huh. I see no examples to your argument here. Also keep in mind that “fully developed” and “faultless” are two different things. Ike has had much more time to develop as a character. He’s had the entirety of Path of Radiance (in which he more than had his share of mistakes and close calls) to grow as a character. He’s already a legendary war hero who has felled the Mad King (someone previously believed untouchable). It makes sense that he should be the one of the party to be able to kill a god. It’s got nothing to do with gender.
Some could argue that Robin is technically the most important character in the game, despite not having as voice-heavy a role as Chrom. Chrom, after all, is the politician, so it would make sense that he’d do so much talking. Robin, on the other hand, is the key to all of Validar’s plans, the return of Grima, and also the key to stopping it. Not to mention the one who made every strategy that got them to that point. Also remember that Robin saved Chrom’s life. Chrom is the side item with a fancy sword and shield here.
There are those where they can be. Sacred Stones has Eirika’s route, in which she remains the sole focus. Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses all feature “My Unit” characters that can have their gender chosen by the player (and a great many, even among the male player base, choose female for many of these characters), and all three Robin, Corrin, and Byleth are arguably the foremost characters of their games. Byleth is even part goddess, male or female.
Regarding Ephraim: It’s arguable whether him charging at Lyon in that scene really changes anything. Nothing is stopping Lyon from freezing him and taking the stone regardless. With Eirika, she quite literally gives up the stone without a fight. And while yes, she does have her own route, even after the reunion Ephraim’s the one who’s made king and is presented as the more infallible character.
Regarding Micaiah: Her arc in Part 3 has her agreeing to join Begnion in fighting the Laguz Alliance despite this clearly morally being a terrible idea, all because she’s too focused on her loyalty to Daein and Pelleas. Loyalty to a fault is usually something that gets enemy bosses killed. Sure, she eventually switches to fighting to find a way to break the Blood Pact, but that’s not until later. She’s dragged into it because of her flaws as a person, while Ike’s flaws have been largely sanded off. Speaking of Ike…
Regarding Ike: And that’s precisely the problem. He’s had a whole game to grow and develop, he doesn’t need a second one to steal the spotlight. He can be a secondary protagonist in the second game and he’ll be just as complete a character.
Regarding Robin: Robin may be something of a POV character, but the story is really about Chrom. Chrom is the one who goes through major arcs, he’s the one who becomes king and wields the legendary blade to defeat the dragon at the end. In short, Chrom is Captain Ahab while Robin is Ishmael. Still, it’s the one point I’ll give you, that part is largely up to interpretation.
Avatars in General: The Avatars are generally not written with a gender in mind. They are custom units who can just as easily be made into men, so including them in the discussion of female lords is pointless.
Calling me a feminazi is not the gotcha you think it is.
Just wanted to chime in, and say that I agree wholeheartedly about Ike’s involvement in Radiant Dawn. While I do love his presence during Part 3, I find it unfair how he had to be the one to land the final blow on Ashera, since no other final boss in the series (or maybe I’m misremembering) requires the player to do so…
What I mean to say is: his presence in Part 3 felt on par with that of other important characters, like Ranulf, Skrimir, Elincia, Micaiah, etc., whereas Part 4 just put the emphasis on Ike just becuase Path of Radiance had made him such a lovable protagonist.
Prior to the charge you think me to be speaking of, he goes to confront Lyon without backup. Separated himself willingly from his army. That is the overconfidence which resulted in the loss of the stone.
Ephraim reluctantly takes the throne out of tradition. He wants nothing of it. If he could, he’d give it to Eirika (he even tries to persuade her to take it). Being made king does not make one infallible.
No, that’s precisely the point. If you make a continuation of the story of Path of Radiance, someone of that caliber will inevitably steal some spotlight. It’s not just about completeness of character, it’s about the overarching story. If he wasn’t so heavily involved, people would wonder where the mercenary who felled the Mad King was when it came to fighting Ashera. It only makes sense based on his character that he would get involved and lead the charge. Maybe dealing the final blow was excessive, but his involvement beyond that was not (at least as far as I can tell from a story and character perspective).
Falchion is not necessary to kill Grima. Robin can also do so. And Robin doing so puts Grima down for good. Chrom can only put him to sleep for another thousand years. And literally anyone could have been leading the Shepherds. Only Robin could have been their tactician and reached that point.
They can also easily be made into females (and Corrin in particular is frequently depicted as such). So defining them as males would (by this logic) be of equal pointlessness. Also you admitted yourself that Edelgard is a female lord who can remain throughout the entire game. To boot, her conquest defines her route, making her quite primary. The point still stands. There are games where, yes, a female character can remain the primary focus of the story. Their number is non-zero. It simply takes an optimistic approach.
Apologies. I was pointing out the nature of the political views I saw involved in the decisions presented, though in hindsight my choice of language in doing so was… coarse at best. I’ll choose my mannerisms and words more carefully in the future. (Or more likely, just not share them as mine appears to be the unpopular opinion in general here.)
Yeah, I admit I could have done a better job writing the conclusion. It was mostly a result of me writing it late at night about something that had been on my mind for a while. It was never meant to come across as condescending but honestly it does read as a bit condescending looking back, so I do apologize for that. I stand by many of my original points but could have stood to write them more eloquently and less bluntly.
I worry about how I come across while writing texts or even posts like this all the time. I just end up winging it most of the time, and how I come across will be a concern later. The important stuff is that I’ll have gotten this out of my head. XD (like you did with your post).
Even though this might not have started in the best of ways on both ends, I’m still happy to have partaken in this exchange.
I really often hear these discussions about gender, especially in fantasy spaces, where the whole anti-feminist crowd generally comes out to bat for the writers in ways that miss the point by, essentially, skipping over the root cause and pointing at the result instead. That is to say; instead of examining why the story puts the male character in positions of power and prestige that the female characters are generally not seen in, they point to the deeds that the male character has accomplished after having been placed in positions to do them by the author. “Of course Male Protagonist has more screen time, he’s the legendary wielder of the Super Sword and the son of Cool King the Third! Female Protagonist is cool and all, but she could never do the things Male Protagonist did if you actually think about the lore!”
It’s a perspective that posits that these story decisions were somehow borne of the world’s internal rules, and not that the world’s internal rules were tailored to accommodate this story and this protagonist. If you’ve ever seriously written something, you know that this is generally not how this plays out – the two halves of the equation here are codependent, but they always exist to serve the story first and foremost. The world exists to make the story possible, to give it texture and meaning, not to dictate its flow. There isn’t anything stopping a Fire Emblem story from making a protagonist that does all the same things that a character like Ike accomplishes, and indeed in newer games we’ve seen a glacial but visible push towards female characters with greater agency in the plot.
There’s also a tendency to view these kinds of observations as an attack, like the point of contention is that Male Protagonist doesn’t deserve to be the big hero. I think this is because everyone slept through their high school English class, or else maybe they only teach critical theory here in Canada. Thinkpieces like this are usually about recognizing a pattern in the way stories are told and examining why this pattern exists, positing the ways we could do better. I would describe it as extremely uncontroversial to say that Sacred Stones’s script is mostly of the opinion that Ephraim is a badass who does cool badass shit, unless he’s like your comfort character or something, and it isn’t a huge leap to then point out the fact that his sister, a protagonist of ostensibly equal importance to the story, isn’t afforded that same level of reverence in the plot, and then not a huge leap from there to wonder why Ephraim has stereotypically manly man character traits like Stubborn and Epic, while Eirika is the gentle, kind, naive one, who picks fights she can’t even win. It’s not a condemnation of Ephraim, or even of the script (although, to be clear, Ephraim sucks and is boring for reasons entirely unrelated to this, bc he’s never challenged in a meaningful way and what growth he has is basically just a pretend gesture to make it seem like something happened in the plot wasteland that is FE8) to say that Eirika’s role in the story is shafted in favour of Ephraim, and that this fits into a wider pattern of female protagonists in the franchise and in media as a whole.
This is a franchise with entire games focused on racism as a central theme, a franchise where churches manipulate the populace into supporting wars on foreign soil for the church’s benefit. Why is “I wish there was better female representation” making the franchise political? Fire Emblem has already made itself political, several times in the past, and female rep isn’t even a political issue unless you’re deeply mired in a pit of geek-culture-war channels.
It isn’t, really, at all. Having gone through a character arc and having character flaws are not mutually exclusive – hell, a lot of character arcs are about a character developing greater flaws. The writers could have found an angle to make Ike more than just an ultimate badass, but they didn’t really care to; that wasn’t the story they were telling, and it, again, has the unfortunate side effect of making it stand out when the other protagonist is deeply, deeply flawed. I will say, though, that though I’ve never beaten FE10, I didn’t find Micaiah particularly eyebrow raising at any point in the game that I’d gotten up to, and I generally liked her character. I think this is more an instance of “FE lords can often be kinda boring good boys that do good and are good,” but I’ve also never gotten to the endgame when I’ve heard Ike starts to really take over the plot and maybe that would change my opinion.
Can being an operative word here. Rather infamously, during development of one of the recent Assassin’s Creed games, developers really wanted to have a female protagonist, but the concept was shot down by higher ups and they were made to implement a choice between male and female protagonist at the start of the game instead, as the suits felt that a female only protagonist would hurt sales in a franchise with traditionally male protagonists.
In the case of Sacred Stones, Eirika route is kind of a mess; it’s a mostly tangential trip to Jehenna where you do very little, while Ephraim completely steamrolls Grado with basically 0 resistance along the way (it takes, what, two maps? three?) with generally more haphazard map design. In the case of the new games, I would argue that just because Robin is important to the third act of the game doesn’t mean that the plot mostly centres around Chrom for the first two acts. Even when Robin does start to take centre stage, Chrom still maintains a ton of importance, as does his daughter. That said, Robin is by far the most bearable and least boring of the MUs, going through something vaguely akin to an arc and having a defined and recognizable personality throughout. Corrin is genuinely awful as both a protagonist and a player avatar, regularly making really shitty decisions and generally feeling like a hindrance to the plot, and Byleth might as well be mute. Even if they were female by default and couldn’t be made male, they probably wouldn’t be viewed as being good representation by many people; in the case of 3H besides, the focus is firmly on the house leaders, not on Byleth. Importance in the world does not equal importance in the script; the emotional core of each route is the house leader, and Byleth is simply an avatar with which to experience and interact with their stories. Just because they’re part goddess doesn’t actually make them the most important figure, it just makes them powerful.
It really wasn’t that condescending, especially since clearly you managed to stir up the exact kind of people that you were seemingly trying to pacify with the “I’m not trying to make you feel guilty” comment. This might be vaguely rude to say, buuuut I wouldn’t advise losing any sleep over the opinions of somebody who calls you a “feminazi” in the first paragraph; for that language to even be in one’s vocabulary in the first place betrays a pretty significant bias coming into the conversation, and even if your point was substantially more well articulated, you weren’t going to ever please that crowd with this take. If you plan to do more of these write-ups, my advice would be instead go into the write-up with a more defined plan about what point you’re going to try to build to – in this piece, you identify a pattern in the franchise and for the most part correctly identify the problems that arise from this pattern, but in the end it’s kind of just left in the air, which invites a lot of this kind of discussion in the first place. If you were more purposeful with where and how you dissected these problems, you could land on a punchier and more conclusive final note than “I wish FE games didn’t do this and also romhackers should probably also not do this.” As is, you set up the pieces of the puzzle, and then leave it unassembled, letting other people assemble it for you into a configuration that suits them – in this case, the “stop making fire emblem political!” configuration, which was discontinued in 2015 and is no longer sold on store shelves
I’m not going to comment on the content of anything here, but opening with “femnazi” is not a good look, and I don’t want to see it or anything like it said again. It undermines your point and your argument by provoking a defensive reaction to a personal attack and adds nothing of substance (unless your entire point is to make a personal attack in the first place, which is, surprise, also ban-worthy).
Dancer already said something to the specific parties involved, but in case it wasn’t clear, it is not acceptable, regardless of whether the following conversation was “productive”.
Yeah, “productive” might not have been the best word there.
I apologize, it’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in a debate like this. I know where I stand in my mind, but it seems I can’t figure out how to accurately express it.
I am curious, though. I know that “femnazi” is a personal attack, and that defending it wasn’t my best move, but how can “anti-feminist” not also be considered a personal attack, since it implies that the other person is bad just because they don’t adhere to the ideology of feminism?
For example this is my own bias speaking again, but while I callously dismissed the usage of “femnazi”, I really got the impression that the opposing point was dismissed as simply being “anti-feminist” could also be interpreted as a personal attack, though not as direct/explicit.