Fire Emblem: Three Houses is set in the realm of Fódlan, a land divided even before the mid-game time skip. The three distinct countries which hold the majority of power in the land are still at odds with each other, even centuries after their founding. It’s for this reason the conflict in the game feels so authentic and is precisely why the time skip works so well.
Is Striving for Peace Futile?
Conflict is one of the central themes of Three Houses. During the beginning of the game, Byleth is conflicted about leaving their life as a mercenary behind for a professorial position. Even their father Jeralt faces conflict within himself, as he must return to a place he cast out of his life long ago. Jeralt even present’s the game’s first glimpse at external conflict when he warns Byleth to be wary of archpriestess Rhea’s motives.
The religious leader herself represents another recurring theme in hypocrisy; which itself is rooted in conflict as well. She sings the praises of the church for bringing peace to Fódlan all those years ago and reveres the church’s founder. Yet in spite of this, she is quick to strike down those who would oppose the church. On several occasions throughout the game’s story, Rhea is quick to brand foes as heretics, turning to anger as she is eager to strike them down.
Without diving too deeply into spoiler territory, these are the kinds of things Three Houses consistently brings to the forefront. As Jeralt’s words lurk in the back the player’s mind distrust sets in. Each time Rhea’s physiognomy shifts to callousness it’s only natural to second guess her.
Power, Hatred, and Scorn
As previously mentioned, the land of Fódlan is no stranger to conflict as well. Lords scheme against the church and other lords in attempts to jockey for power. Various relationships between students are even be strained on many occasions due to their familial ties. This is put firmly on display in Dedue’s interactions with his peers. The Blue Lions member is on the receiving end of a lot of malice in the early stages of the game; bearing the brunt of the vitriol aimed at the country he hails from. While Dedue does nothing to harm the people of Faerghus, whispers of the student from the wretched Duscur are still abound.
These are merely a few examples of the Three Houses’ prevailing theme. In every aspect of the game, conflict is present, seething into the hearts and minds of those at the academy. Even the player can be easily roped into the madness, proving the strength of the game’s writing.