Warning: the following contains major spoilers for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If you haven’t played through all four story paths in the game yet, proceed with caution. I hope you enjoy.
Rhea is, without a doubt, the most mysterious character in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Unlike Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude, you can’t get Rhea’s entire story through just one path of the game. If you want to truly understand her, you need to play through the entire game. But even then, whether you agree with her or oppose her is still entirely up to you! Which is a great testament to the quality of the game’s writing!
On the surface, Rhea seems to be an extremely gentle and caring soul. But as you play, more layers are added onto her character. While she is kind, she does have a cold and cruel side. And to the infuriation of the player, she always seems to know something that you don’t.
But it’s when you discover her backstory that Rhea truly comes into her own as a character. Let me explain.
The Wound: A Child Without a Mother
Buckle the fuck up, because this is where things get a bit complicated.
Long ago, when the goddess Sothis came to the land from far away (probably space), she came to bear children. Among these children was Seiros, a noble and powerful knight. Seiros greatly admired her mother, working hard to please her at every turn. So, when Sothis passed away, Seiros was understandably hurt.
Even more so when Nemisis raided Sothis’s tomb, turned her bones and heart into the Sword of the Creator, then slaughtered the overwhelming majority of the goddess’s children.
By the time Seiros had finally killed Nemisis and reclaimed her mother’s corpse, she had already lost everything. Most of her siblings were gone, leaving her alone. The days of joy she had with Sothis and her family were gone and dead.
But Seiros couldn’t accept that. So, taking the name Rhea, she took action to fix it.
The Want, The Lie, and The Need: Mother Can Fix This
This is where your character, Beyleth, comes into play. And where the story becomes a bit complicated.
See, in FE3H, there are special weapons called the Heroes Relics. These are superpowerful weapons with Crest Stones imbued in them which prevent anyone without that Crest from using it. In reality, these weapons are made from the bones of a child of Sothis, and the Crest Stones are their hearts.
Got it? Good. Now I hope you’re paying attention.
Rhea firmly believed that Sothis could make everything right. She could restore their family, undo the damage of Nemesis, and bring the days of joy back into Rhea’s life. So, when Beyleth was born, Rhea found opportunity knocking. She ripped the Crest Stone, Sothis’s heart, from the Sword of the Creator, then stuck it into your baby chest after you were born. Then she waited for Sothis to erase the human Beyleth and return to the world.
Years later, Rhea would be wildly disappointed. Rather than taking over Beyleth’s body, Sothis granted her power to them and disappeared. Rhea’s dreams of returning to the old days are dashed right before her eyes. Despite her best efforts, the world was not to return to what it once was.
What Rhea desperately needs is a reality check. To realize that her mother, even if she did return, wouldn’t have been able to bring the old days back. The old days are gone. All she can do is work to ensure the safety of the future.
Contrary to her appearance, Rhea may be one of the more morally gray characters in this game. Whether you believe her actions were ultimately aimed for the purpose of good or were based entirely on selfish intentions is entirely up to interpretation. Just like every main character in this game, it is up to the player to decide who is in the wrong or in the right. Another testament to the unusually high quality of the game’s story.
I can’t wait to discuss it tomorrow!
Rhea is far from the most interesting character in the game. Sure, she has depth and interesting motivations. Out of everyone, she is possibly the single most important character. But I still believe Edelgard, Dimitri, and even Claude, are all more interesting and enjoyable characters than the Archbishop. She serves her role and serves it well. But in a game with so many well-written characters, it’s hard to say she particularly stands out.
Aside from the fact that she’s so mysterious for the whole damn game! Fucking Christ! Led by a carrot on a stick for nearly two hundred hours…