Edelgard being a badass leader in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

A Beat-Em-Up Starring a Church-Destroying Lady Emperor Is Exactly What I Needed Today

My axe is on fire and I'm gonna burn this shit down.
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Welcome to America, the place where guns have more rights than women. Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has really, officially overturned Roe v. Wade today, eating away at or outright removing abortion rights across the country. Like you, dear reader, I’m struggling today (unless you’ve clicked this as a troll-read, in which case I ask you to kindly GTFO). I’m angry. I’m exhausted. I feel crushed. The only “bright side” I can find today is that it also happens to be when Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes releases—and not just so I can distract myself with gaming. As with its cousin Fire Emblem: Three Houses, one of the central characters of Three Hopes is Edelgard, an emperor who wages a war to destroy the hold an overly-powerful church has on people’s lives. Edelgard and her war have serious flaws, yes, but she is exactly the energy I need today.

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Many of us are now fashioning our villain eras as our institutions fail us again and again and again. So maybe we should burn it all to the ground. Luckily, in Three Hopes, Edelgard—who is often viewed as a villain herself—now wields an axe that is on fire. There’s even one attack where she tosses her flaming axe in a circle, cutting down everyone around her. This is it. This is The Vibe. I will imagine that Lord Arundel is Mitch McConnell and have myself some nice catharsis. Though, even in Fodlan, shit’s not that easy. Still, it’s fun to hit Arundel-McConnell over and over again. It’s like a digital punching bag. Feel my wrath! Granted, McConnell looks much more like Tomas, the withered old librarian, but I haven’t reached a point in Three Hopes where I can fight Tomas, if that point even exists, so I’ll settle for what I can get.

Supposedly, America was founded on a belief of the separation between Church and State. We’re seeing that boundary disintegrate before our very eyes. Unfortunately, that goes deeper than today’s decision, which was highly influenced by a niche group of evangelicals who don’t reflect the majority of Americans’ opinions. Earlier this very week, SCOTUS ruled that taxpayers should fund religious education. Bonafide shitbag Clarence Thomas opined that that today’s ruling could be applied to break down rulings about same-sex marriage and relationships, as well as contraception. Everywhere you look, the beliefs of extremist Christianity are entering mainstream American politics, where they either become law or are seriously debated. Yippee.

That brings me back to my best friend, Edelgard von Hresvelg. (That’s a lie, actually. My best friend is Bernadetta. But, in several ways, I kind of am Bernadetta, so I need the Edelgard fantasy.) Edelgard can spot a deceptive rat when she sees one. And she spots one in Fodlan’s Church of Seiros, which—she says—created the system of nobility to control the masses, has repeatedly lied to the public, is power-hungry, and just generally sucks. So, she mobilizes her imperial army to destroy it. Power to the people! Is the fact that this people-power is coming from an emperor a bit incongruous? Sure. Is waging war extreme? Yes. Does it fail as a one-to-one comparison to the real world? Absolutely, of course. Am I enjoying this cathartic destruction of didactic religious rule anyway? You bet your butt I am.

But perhaps the biggest cathartic fantasy of all is embodying a woman with power. Countries led by women are killing it right now. America is not one of those countries. And, to be brutally honest with you, I have my doubts we will ever be that country. Today’s SCOTUS ruling showed me once again that I live in a country whose very systems hate women, and anyone with a uterus—and, really, anyone who’s not a cisgender, straight white man—plain and simple. Reflect on how every presidential campaign for a female candidate has ever gone, and you know that the political system many are hoping will “save us” hates women, too.

I feel disenfranchised. Hell, I am disenfranchised. We’ve been fucked over. I don’t have hope or optimism for you. I can only offer you an outlet where a badass lady-emperor razes bullshit norms to the ground with a flaming axe. Originally, I was actually going to play as Claude, the only character whose route I did not play in Three Houses. But, given the vibe of the world, Edelgard became the obvious choice.

So, I’m glad Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes came out today. I’ll probably send the rest of my day playing it. I’m too exhausted to do anything else right now. And, for the record, it is a-okay—hell, it’s normal—to feel exhausted and burned out when confronted with deluge after deluge of shitstorms. Even Edelgard is only human.

(featured image: Koei Tecmo / Nintendo)

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.