August 4th, 2012

Fire Emblem - Minerva

FE11: Minerva is a tough nut to crack after all.

A little while ago, mark_asphodel wrote up her fanfic tier list for the Kaga-era FE games (1-5), and said something about Minerva that made me think. Bolding is mine:

"Minerva. A very clear character with some bizarre inconsistencies under the surface. Deceptively easy, in light of FE11. Rather difficult in light of FE3. Maybe fans, including me, want her to be “stronger” than she is and just flat-out don’t appreciate what the character actually is."

I think that might be true, in a way, but not because I fangirl Minerva; more, it's that the script sets me up with a pivotal moment for her - such as there are in spare stories like FE1/11 - that implies she IS a strong, compassionate, honorable, and maybe driven character, and with that moment in mind, the complete 180 she does later is jarring and seemingly OOC. But when I looked again at her conversations in FE11, I realized the seeds of that final decision are there, and I just didn't realize it because FE11's rewriting of FE1's characterization really does obscure the original intent-- in a good way, I think, but not in a way that's consistent with the apparent end goal for the characters.

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All said, even though FE12 is generally accepted as a cracktastic and awful interpretation of the original story, Minerva seems to be represented straightforwardly. If anything, this makes her choice at the end explainable, where before it came out of nowhere and seemed completely out of place. Minerva as she stands in FE11 seems like a strong character capable of grabbing Macedon by the scruff and shaking it until it obeys, and she didn't have enough dialogue in FE3 (in my opinion) to support the sudden change. By itself, her ending looked like an excuse by the designers to allow Marth to rule everything. But now, with her insecurities laid out clearly in her supports, her decision makes a lot more sense. If Michalis lives, leaving does save Macedon from more conflict, and she did just tell Palla that she'd do anything to save her country. 'Anything' apparently includes letting her brother pick up where he left off, regardless of her opinion on his ambitions. Her idolization of him explains the rest.

This might be a bit disappointing when she sounded like such a badass in FE11, but Michalis staying alive, however unwise and silly that seems when you think of storyline integrity, actually saves Minerva's character for me. I can at least imagine practical reasons she might choose to give up the throne, when in the other scenario there's nobody around to take up the reigns after her.