I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere around here that Elincia's chapters bored me to death when I first played Radiant Dawn. Friends told me I would've liked them better if I had played Path of Radiance first, and playing PoR did add a bit to her situation; in general, the characters were likable enough in the prequel that I thought having memories of PoR in my head would make all the difference when approaching Crimea in RD, or even in fanfic.
Not so, as it turns out! And if you think about it, I liked the Greil Mercenaries just fine while playing RD, having never seen the first game - they stand on their own as a group and as characters even without the prequel. Elincia and her group were the only problem characters. The entire storyline was a problem, actually, because it's so generic, but it goes much deeper than that. When asked why I don't write or read fic about Crimea or the Greil Mercenaries very often, my response is usually: "Because they're boring," which makes it sound like I hate the characters, but that isn't it at all. They're boring unpacks into something much more complex.
Look at Crimea's story: they break off from Begnion (peacefully), have a few wars with Daein, and then-- nothing for a while, until Ashnard suddenly invades and murders the king and queen. Elincia is suddenly the quintessential Lost Heir or Dethroned Princess, whatever you want to call it, who has to gather allies and take back her throne while sighing over her hero. Yay. Exciting. About the only unexpected thing that happens (besides Ashnard's surprisingly interesting personality) is that Ike isn't interested in his princess.
Fast forward a few years, and now there are some nobles who are unhappy with how she's ruling, and they stage a rebellion. Predictably, she wins. Yay. You know what was less predictable? What was going to happen in Daein, which I really wanted to see, but instead got stuck watching Crimea for however many chapters.
In the interim, the Greil mercenaries save kittens from trees and fight the occasional bandit, sometimes for free! (What kind of mercenaries are these, again?) Ooooh, life on the edge.
There's nothing to do in Crimea. The only characters among the mercenaries with any depth are Soren and Greil, with the possible exception of Shinon - but only because you can come up with so many theories about why he sticks around when he's clearly not happy - and Oscar. Mist, Titania, even Rhys, don't yield much after a bit of gentle poking. And Greil is most interesting before he starts this group - Greil-fleeing-from-Daein, Greil-grieving-over-the-medallion-incide
I'm not trying to say that the mercenaries don't have stories or backgrounds. The three brothers have a surprisingly developed background, and we can piece Titania's past together pretty well also. They have substance. The problem is... well.
Oscar is three things: formerly a knight of Crimea, a cook, and a big brother. I suppose he might've had a hard time trying to raise the other two, and he probably regretted leaving the knighthood, but felt it was the only thing he could do. Right? That's cool. I like that. Sounds depressing! There's room to write about regret, and life decisions, and stuff - until he joins the damned knighthood again. Then what? I suppose there's still room to write something, but I don't know what, since nothing ever happens in Crimea unless you're Kieran.
Rhys? I like him, but... what would I write about? His parents, I guess? I don't know, not much emotional depth going on here.
(That last sentence up there goes 200% for Gallia.)
As for the Crimean court... well, Elincia has conniving nobles, but Begnion does that much better and provides a bigger cast of characters with which to do it. (See: almost all of Radiant Dawn, which is driven by the shit Begnion's senate is pulling, and has been pulling, for a very long time. Sanaki's relationship to her council is a strong parallel to Elincia's, right down to succession concerns.) Crimea has rebuilding and rebellion, but Daein does that better by virtue of being under hostile occupation and starting a real civil war, instead of just trying to. Crimea is divided on the matter of laguz, but so is everyone else - and the issue is much more dangerous in Daein, and more complex in Begnion.
Despite PoR being about retaking Crimea, and despite the fact Crimeans (or people who align themselves with the mercenaries) make up a huge chunk of the cast, we hardly spend any time there. It practically doesn't exist. It's a cardboard backdrop for the real play, which takes place in other countries.
That's why I don't like Crimea.
As for Gallia, well. I feel like it's there so we can have cat girls. Skrimir was pretty fun, I'll admit, but to be honest, all I envision when I think of Gallia is forests, forests, and more forests. And cats marking trees.
Look at this, even when I put Gallia in the subject line, I hardly talk about it at all. But what is there to talk about?