Hey guys! I got the idea to do this post the other day and I’ve been excited about doing it ever since! Especially since I rarely talk about Fire Emblem, which is surprising since it’s one of my favorite game series.
Anyway, if there’s one thing that gets me excited it’s a character that goes through character development that is expertly done. Fire Emblem has no shortage of this, but I want to focus on one character in particular: Prince Dimitri from Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
By now I’m replaying this one for the third time (Blue Lions route for the second time). At first I didn’t care for Dimitri’s character, and as I was playing the Golden Deer route I was never around him that much. But, oh gosh, when I played the Blue Lions route for the first time I was more impressed than I had been in a long time with a character’s development. Dimitri’s story rattles the heart and chills the bones. We go from a kind, polite prince to a beastly nightmare of someone more or less human, and we end with a man haunted by war. I was blown away by the progression.
Pre-Time Jump Dimitri
At first glance, Prince Dimitri has nothing that warns of a troubled mind, though Byleth senses a darkness hidden beneath that polished exterior. The only hints we get of this are from his childhood friend Felix, who seems to have grown apart from him. He refuses to call the prince by his real name, and refers to him constantly as the “Boar Prince”. Of course, there is still nothing to proves Felix’s concerns.
Dimitri’s past is not one that could be easily stomached by just anyone. He’s the sole survivor of the Tragedy of Duscur, a massacre that took place when he was still very young. At fourteen years old, he watched his father beheaded and his friends and family die, including Felix’s older brother, Glenn. Since this is a historical event in the game, it is hard to avoid a conversation about it, but it never seems to bother Dimitri at first.
Dimitri quickly became my favorite character with his little quirks, cool and calm demeanor, and old fashioned chivalry. But boy did I have a thing coming with his story that would giving me more reasons to make him my favorite character!
After a devastating plot twist, Dimitri snaps. And he snaps hard. I won’t speak of the plot twist to prevent anyone from being majorly spoiled, (though if you are reading this…you’re really going to be spoiled anyway, aren’t you?) but let’s just say it directly impacts what happened at the Tragedy of Duscur. This scene where the truth is reveal to Dimitri rocks his world, and here marks the moment he lets his past come back to slowly drive him mad. In this moment, it is revealed what can happen when a monsterous rage is released.
From this moment onward, Dimitri is shown in a new light. He becomes obsessed with revenge and death. He is no longer the cool, collected prince Three Houses first introduced to us.
Post- Time Jump Dimitri
After a tragic battle at the Garreg Mach Monastery, the students scatter, your avatar, Byleth, goes missing, and the church falls to ruin. And five years later, things are as dreary as they come. Byleth wakes up from a five year long coma and finds what has become of the monastery.
Flash back to five years before, Byleth and her (I’ll be referring to Byleth as “her” only because I play as female Byleth) students promise to have a school reunion in five years time. Well, it turns out the day Byleth wakes up from her coma is the day they made that promise five years ago. So what do we do? We head back to the monastery of course! And to our surprise, Dimitri is there – though it is not for the reunion.
Prince Dimitri has been diminished to a monster; an emotionless, bloodlusting, killing machine. He is so haunted by ghosts from his past that he doesn’t recognize Byleth, and thinks she is only a ghost.
“I should’ve known…that one day…you would be haunting me as well.”
This scene is so very important to Dimitri’s story. We have Byleth, standing in the ray of light and reaching out her hand to help Dimitri, who is hidden by the shadows. This foreshadows how much Byleth impacted Dimitri’s life enough to lead him on a journey of redemption.
Dimitri becomes a character to be feared. He’s a beast in battle, and he becomes hot-tempered. He insists he hears the voices of his dead family members and that they wish for him to avenge them. Seeing him go from the prince we see at the beginning to the monster he turns into was a sad but interesting development in the story. Having played the Golden Deer route first, I was regretful that I didn’t start with the Blue Lions route.
How can a man so monstrous and plagued by ghosts from his past find redemption? Dimitri did, and I was blown away by his final arc. Slowly things began to change. Byleth served as a ray of light in his dark world, and without her, Dimitri would have died. Literally. In both the Golden Deer and the Black Eagles route, Dimitri is killed. But when Byleth is on Dimitri’s side, a change happens.
We see his struggles every step of the way. The voices in his head, the ghosts that he sees. Every time he lets his anger get the best of him. And Byleth is right there with him, doing her best to lead him to the light.
When he begins to find himself again, it is something all the characters notice. He soon ascends the throne and becomes the king of Faerghus.
“Do I really have the right to stand here? Will they accept me as their king? Bloodstained as I am… Am I fit to be king?”
The people rejoice when he becomes king, much to his surprise. Not only did it bring tears to my eyes, but to his as well.
After many battles, he finally gets to Edelgard, who caused most of his pain, face to face. He had spoken so much of killing her throughout the entire game that I expected him to waste no time in doing so, but instead this scene brought tears to my eyes. Much like Byleth reaching out her hand to him in the reunion scene, Dimitri extends his hand to Edelgard.
But Edelgard refused this chance of surrender, and in the end Dimitri was forced to kill her. And the scene that follows, as Dimitri and Byleth walk away, Dimitri turns back to look at Edelgard’s body. A shadow falls over him when he looks back, but Byleth, ever the ray of light, takes his hand and leads him out of the darkness.
Playing as female Byleth, I got the S-Support cutscene for Dimitri and it is sooooo adorable! It was the perfect ending to Dimitri’s story, knowing that he was able to have a happy ending! But there’s something that was very, very important to me about his ending. Can you guess what it is?
Yes, Dimitri was able to overcome his demons from the past and step into the light, but that doesn’t mean all was well with him. Scarred from all that he had seen and done, Dimitri admits that his mind will never be the same again. This was so important to me because all too often I see the mental health of characters who have been through a lot thrown to the side. But here, Dimitri’s Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome wasn’t something that was hidden away.
In fact, throughout the game it addresses the emotions the characters go through after the battles they fight. After their first battle, some of the more sensitive characters are shocked at the horrors of death in battle. In a early support conversation between Dimitri and Byleth, he confides in her about his sorrow at having to kill. This brought the game to such a deep level, making it even more of a joy to play.
Dimitri goes through one of the best character development arcs I’ve ever seen, and because of this he is my favorite Fire Emblem character. Who is another character that you’ve seen go through well thought out character development? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful rest of the week!
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