Warning: the following character analysis contains major spoilers for the Blue Lions path of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If you haven’t played that path or the game, then I’d recommend avoiding this for the time being. You have been warned.
Keeping the Three Houses train rolling! What, did you think I was kidding when I said that the characters in this game were all phenomenal? Hell no! I’ll take about every member of the cast if I have to before the review comes out!
On the surface, Dimitri seems like your typical Fire Emblem protagonist. He’s the closest thing to Marth or Chrom that we get in this game. He’s a goody-two-shoes type, the noble hero who fights with honor for the weak for no reason more than the fact that it’s the right thing to do. When I first started playing, my initial thoughts were “Okay, so Dimitri is the boring one, Edelgard is the murdery one, and Claude is the comic relief.”
I was only wrong about one of those three. Take a guess as to who.
Dimitri may be one of the darkest characters in this entire game (which is saying a lot, because most characters in this game have some pretty grim backstories). He may also be the one that develops the most! Sure, his character arc is mostly just a big circle. But it is a good arc nonetheless!
Allow me to explain.
The Wound/ The Want: The Tragedy of Duscur and Vengeance
Well… I wasn’t expecting that.
When Dimitri was a boy, his father and stepmother took him and traveled to the land of Duscur. Unfortunately, Dimitri would be the only one to come back. On their trip, their family was attacked. By the end of the attack, Dimitri was the only member of his family left alive. His parents, as well as their knights (including the elder brother of his friend Felix/ fiance to his friend Ingrid) were all completely slaughtered.
Despite appearances, Dimitri is tormented by this event. He shelters a burning hatred in his core for those responsible for the attack (thankfully, he’s at least smart enough to know that the people of Duscure weren’t responsible). When he goes to the Officer’s Academy, he doesn’t do so with the intent of becoming a great soldier or king. He does so to find those responsible for taking his family and friends and claim some good-ol’ fashioned revenge. He thirsted for it for years.
Unfortunately, that thirst would very well drive him insane.
The Lie: The Regrets of the Dead
Dimitri’s thirst for revenge isn’t entirely born out of pure hatred. Part of it is based on his heroic figure. He firmly believes that he, as the sole survivor of the Tragedy of Duscur, needs to quell the regrets of those who died. He believes that the dead, wherever they may be, firmly want to be avenged.
In the latter half of the story, this belief drives Dimitri practically insane. The voices of the dead fill his skull, telling him to avenge them. That he’s the only one who can satisfy their regrets. He’s so focused on these voices that he forgets about what he should be focusing on: becoming a fair, admirable king.
Explaining why this is a lie shouldn’t be necessary. The dead don’t demand that you satisfy your regrets. Everything that Dimitri believes was not presented to him by the dead; he came up with it all himself because of his survivor’s guilt.
Dimitri is a broken man. He’s been so ever since the Tragedy of Duscur. Luckily for him, what can be broken can be fixed.
Which is where the player comes in.
The Need: Look to the Future
Your character is much like Dimitri in many ways. But most importantly: your character understands what loss feels like. Towards the end of part one, you lose your father, assumedly to the same group behind the Tragedy of Duscur. For a time, your character, and the class they lead are driven to claim revenge.
But there is one major difference between your character and Dimitri. Your character moved past their hatred. They let go of their regrets. And they became stronger for it.
Dimitri needs a teacher. Someone who can guide him through his pain and help him move on from it. Without a guardian to light his way, Dimitri is doomed to be a wild boar. With the professor’s help, Dimitri can make the persona he hid beneath in the first half of the game into his true face.
Huh. It’s almost like teaching and guiding is a common theme in Three Houses.
Dimitri is a fantastic subversion of the typical Fire Emblem protagonist. You expect him to be a true hero, regardless of his past suffering. What you don’t expect is for his past traumas to drive him completely insane!
Is he my favorite character in the game? Nope. That’s still Dorothea. But he does one thing that no other character in this game does: he takes your expectations and turns them on their head in an interesting way! That alone is a symbol of how good the writing in this game is!
And with that, we’ve completed two-thirds of the main characters in FE Three Houses. The only one that we need to talk about now is Claude! Unfortunately… I still haven’t finished the Golden Deer route. So I sort of can’t do that.
Part of me hopes that he isn’t as dark and depressing as Edelgard and Dimitri. It would be a nice change of pace, given how gruesome these two have been.