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|“||When humanity stands strong and people reach out for each other... there's no need for gods.||„|
|~ Edelgard at the end of the Crimson Flower route|
Edelgard von Hresvelg is the heir of the Adrestian Empire and the house leader of the Black Eagles. She is one of the playable characters in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, serving as the deuteragonist in Black Eagle route and Crimson Flower chapter, the main antagonist in Azure Moon chapter, a major antagonist in both Verdant Wind and Silver Snow chapters, and one of the two overall secondary antagonists of the entire game (alongside Seiros) due to being the true identity of the Flame Emperor.
While she is one of the antagonists of the game in all routes other than Crimson Flower, this article primarily covers her Crimson Flower incarnation, who becomes more heroic thanks to the player's influence. More information about her villainous incarnations on the other routes can be found here.
In the Japanese version, she is voiced by Ai Kakuma who also voices Lenalee Lee, Rossweisse, Machi Kuragi and Rabirin. In the English version, she was initially voiced by Cristina Vee in E3 2018 trailer but was later replaced by Tara Platt in the completed game.
Edelgard was born as one of eleven children of Emperor Ionius IX of Adrestia. At an unknown point in her childhood, she was abducted by a cabal of corrupt Adrestian nobles along with the rest of her siblings and forced to undergo horrific experiments in order to implant a Crest, a token of draconic power passed down through one's bloodline. Edelgard was the sole survivor of these experiments, and swore revenge on both "those who slither in the dark", the ones who masterminded the experiments, and the Church of Seiros, who she blamed for propagating the worship of Crests in the first place. To this end, she took up the secret identity of the Flame Emperor and began orchestrating attacks on the Church while beginning the process of seizing power in Adrestia. She also entered a reluctant alliance with "those who slither in the dark" to further her ambitions, intending to dispose of them once she no longer needed them.
Edelgard is a slim young woman with pale skin, purple eyes, and long white hair with ties to the side. She wears a red cape, the color of her house, on the side of her uniform. In her Flame Emperor persona, she wears black armor, a black robed surplice, red-feathered shoulder pauldrons, a helmet with a large red plume, and a white and red mask that conceals her identity and distorts her voice. After the timeskip she puts her hair up in Odango buns and wears a red ballgown. As a child, her hair is brunette.
Edelgard has a dignified, high-minded, solemn air about her, and she coolly evaluates her surroundings and those around her before she acts. At the beginning of the game, Edelgard is willing to go to any lengths to achieve her goals of defeating the Church of Seiros and "those who slither in the dark", even betraying her friends and destroying her own happiness. Her character development hinges on whether Byleth sides with her or not. If Byleth does not aid her, she becomes even more ruthless, and outright murders her own classmates and warps her body in order to win her war. In contrast, if Byleth joins her, she becomes far more compassionate, is willing to offer mercy to her enemies such as Claude (successfully) and Rhea (unsuccessfully), and goes out of her way to minimize casualties on her quest. In private, Edelgard has a rather childish side, makes immature mockery of the voices of people who annoy her, and is easily flustered.
Edelgard comes to Garreg Mach Monastery to learn at the Officer's Academy and meets her stepbrother Dimitri, the scion of the Leicester Alliance Claude, and the mercenary Byleth. Byleth can choose to lead either Edelgard's Black Eagles, Dimitri's Blue Lions, or Claude's Golden Deer over the course of the next year. As the year progresses, Edelgard acts as a double agent within Garreg Mach and continues her campaign against the Church. Eventually, during a raid on the Holy Tomb within the monastery, Edelgard is unmasked as the Flame Emperor. If Byleth chose the Black Eagles, they can defect to Edelgard's side, leading to her fully becoming a hero; if they are not a Black Eagle or remain loyal to the Church, she descends into a full villain. In all cases, Edelgard takes the Adrestian throne and declares war on the Church. The opening battle results in an Adrestian victory and Byleth goes missing. The game's four routes diverge at this point based on what house Byleth picked and (if they chose the Black Eagles) whether they betrayed the Church.
On the Crimson Flower route, where Byleth chose the Black Eagles and sided with her, Edelgard's morality is positively influenced by Byleth's defection, and she marginalizes "those who slither in the dark"'s influence on the Empire. Five years after the battle of Garreg Mach, Byleth returns, and the two begin their campaign to unify Fodlan. They start by defeating Claude and the Alliance, and Claude can be spared or executed at the player's discretion. Afterwards, they launch an invasion of Faerghus, where Dimitri and Archbishop Rhea of the Church of Seiros await. Edelgard kills Dimitri, forcing Rhea to retreat to the Kingdom capital of Fhirdiad. Edelgard pursues Rhea and offers her a chance to surrender, but Rhea orders the city burned to the ground. With no other alternative, Edelgard leads the Empire in a final battle and slays Rhea. In the aftermath, Edelgard unites Fodlan under her progressive rule and begins her campaign to defeat "those who slither in the dark".
- Edelgard has a similar face shape to Ann Takamaki from Persona 5.
- During her childhood, she had similar hair colour to Isuzu Sento from Amagi Brilliant Park. Coincidentally she and Isuzu are both voiced by Ai Kakuma.
- In the Black Eagles route, Edelgard can be romanced by either gender of Byleth once they reach S-Support, making her one of the few bisexual playable characters in the game. Also she is the first house leader able to do so, the other being Yuri from Ashen Wolves.
- Initially in the English version, Edelgard was voiced by Cristina Vee in the original E3 2018 trailer for Three Houses, whom she shares with Tatiana from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, as well as the Fire Emblem Heroes appearances of Lachesis and Athena.
- Throughout the entire game, at least one of the duo of Edelgard and Dimitri will die if the chosen route is not their own. It is impossible to make both of them survive. This contradicts Claude, who can be spared and thus survive in all of the routes that are not his own.
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