NOTE: For the sake of this wiki, this page is mainly about the more antagonistic counterpart of Edelgard as her Flame Emperor persona and as the Empress of Adrestian in other routes aside from the Black Eagle route.
|“||They must be allowed to keep it, for now. I do not have enough information about the professor to act.||„|
|~ The Flame Emperor talking about Byleth.|
|“||Halt. You're having a bit too much fun.||„|
|~ The Flame Emperor's most famous quote.|
|“||People believe that Crests are blessings from the Goddess, that they're necessary to maintain order in Fodlan. But the people are wrong. Crests are to blame for this brutal, irrational world we live in.||„|
|~ Edelgard speaking with Byleth.|
|“||Must you continue to reconquer? Continue to kill in retaliation?||„|
|~ Edelgard rebuking Dimitri and his grudge against her, probably her most infamous quote.|
The Flame Emperor is one of the two secondary antagonists in Fire Emblem: Three Houses (alongside Seiros) and the mysterious leader of the Flame Emperor Army. They first appear as a mysterious figure who works reluctantly with Those Who Slither in the Dark against the Church of Seiros, but is shown to have their own agenda.
The Flame Empereor served as the central antagonist in the Acadamy Phase. In all the routes before the climax, the Flame Emperor is actually revealed to be Edelgard von Hresvelg, one of the main protagonists of Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the princess and future Empress of Adrestian Empire. There are two critical choices the player might make in the Black Eagles route that will decide her fate, either continuing the Black Eagles route or transferring to the Church of Seiros route automatically.
Post-timeskip in the War Phase, Edelgard becomes the Emperor of Adrestian Empire and becomes the deuteragonist in the Black Eagles route, a major antagonist in the Church and Golden Deer routes, and the main antagonist in the Blue Lions route. Only in the Black Eagles route does Edelgard survive and redeem herself from her extreme tendencies.
In the Japanese version, she is voiced by Ai Kakuma. In the English version, she was voiced by Cristina Vee in E3 2018 trailer and later by Tara Platt in the completed game.
Born in Imperial Year 1162, Edelgard is the fourth daughter of Emperor Ionius IX, mothered by Patricia von Arundel, who later became the Queen Consort of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus and the mother of Dimitri.
When she was 9 years old, Edelgard returned from the Holy Kingdom, but discovered her father was rendered a powerless figurehead. She was then subjected to painful Crest experiments by Those Who Slither in the Dark with the support of a cabal of corrupt Adrestian nobles, including her uncle, Volkhard von Arundel, who abducted her along with the rest of her siblings and forced her to undergo horrific experiments in order to implant a Crest, a token of draconic power passed down through one's bloodline.
Edelgard was the sole survivor of these experiments, with all of her ten siblings either died or driven mad by the ruthless atrocity, and as the result of the experiment, her hair was bleached white and her lifespan shortened. Traumatized forever by the events, she swore revenge on both Those Who Slither in the Dark, the ones who masterminded the experiments, and the Church of Seiros, who she blamed for propagating the worship of Crests in the first place.
To this end, she took up the secret identity of the Flame Emperor and began orchestrating attacks on the Church while beginning the process of seizing power in Adrestia. She also entered a reluctant alliance with Those Who Slither in the Dark to further her ambitions, using their technology to filter her voice and hide her own identity. However, she was greatly disgusted by how far Those Who Slither in the Dark would go and felt annoyed with their company, intending to dispose of them once her work was done.
In 1180, she arrived at Garreg Mach Monastery to complete her education, and was resolved to reclaim what her father had lost. Her admittance marked the first time in ages since a member of the Hresvelg family sent a member to the Officer's Academy, and she soon became the House Leader of the Black Eagles. Amongst her classmates, only Hubert knew Edelgard's identity as the Flame Emperor and chose to keep it as a secret.
Edelgard hires a group of bandits to attack Dimitri and Claude, likely intending to assassinate them both to make her conquest of Fodlan easier. However, the plan is foiled when Claude flees and stumbles upon a mercenary company led by the veteran knight Jeralt and his child Byleth, who drive off the bandits. Byleth is offered a teaching post at the Officer's Academy as a reward, and may choose one of the three houses to lead. Afterwards, Edelgard begins her education at Garreg Mach and continues her campaign against the Church as the Flame Emperor. If Byleth chooses the Black Eagles, she becomes their direct pupil and develops an attachment to them. She also acts against her own allies at times, either to protect her cover or to oppose them when they commit particularly heinous crimes.
Eventually, after Byleth fully merges with the goddess Sothis and unlocks her full power, the Church's archbishop Rhea decides to take them to the Holy Tomb to receive a divine revelation. In the month leading up to the pilgrimage, Edelgard returns to Enbarr and convinces her father to formally abdicate the Adrestian throne to her. On the day of the trip to the Holy Tomb, on the Blue Lions and Golden Deer routes, Edelgard pursues them as the Flame Emperor and attempts to steal the Crest Stones within the Tomb, but is defeated, unmasked, and forced to withdraw. On the Black Eagles route, she directly admits she is the Flame Emperor and orders her soldiers to take the Crest Stones, but Byleth defeats her. After this battle, Byleth can either remain loyal to the Church or defect to her side. In all cases, Edelgard amasses a large army, formally declares war on the Church of Seiros, and besieges Garreg Mach. The battle ends in an Adrestian victory, and Byleth goes missing.
Church of Seiros and Golden Deer Routes
|“||It looks as though...my path...will end here. My teacher...claim your victory. Strike me down. You must! Even now... across this land, people are killing each other. If you do not act now, this conflict... will go on forever. Your path... lies across my grave. It is time for you to find the courage to walk it. If I must fall... let it be by your hand. I wanted... to walk with you...||„|
|~ Edelgard's last words as she accepted Byleth's execution|
In both the Church of Seiros route (Silver Snow) and the Golden Deer route (Verdant Wind), Edelgard's roles are relatively the same. In the first part, the Black Eagle route will switch into the Church of Seiros route in Part 2 if one of two conditions are made:
- Byleth chooses not to speak with Edelgard before her coronation, or rejects her offer to take part in her coronation.
- If Byleth chooses to speak with Edelgard and participate in her coronation, there will be an extra alternative choice in the Holy Tomb when Rhea orders the execution of Edelgard, now revealed to be the Flame Emperor. If Byleth chooses to try to execute Edelgard, Hubert will protect Edelgard and escape, and both leave Byleth's party permanently.
Five years later, Byleth and Edelgard meet in her palace for a reluctant final confrontation. After her defeat, Edelgard shows remorse over her actions and begs Byleth to execute her. In her last moment, Edelgard bemoans how she once wished to be side by side with her former mentor, before Byleth begrudgingly beheads her.
Blue Lions Route
|“||They are here... But my progress cannot be stopped, no matter how many people try. The war's end will spell destruction for one of us. There can only be one ruler of the world...||„|
|~ Edelgard, after she transformed into her Hegemon Husk form|
|“||To be changed beyond all recognition.. That is what lies at the end of the ideals you served so diligently. I have no pity for one such as you. If that is the future you hoped for, then you deserve no compassion.||„|
|~ Dimitri's bitter comments on what Edelgard had become|
In the Blue Lions route, Azure Moon, Edelgard becomes the primary antagonist. During Dimitri's campaign against the Adrestian Empire, he kills Lord Arundel during the latter's attack on the Alliance capital of Derdriu without becoming aware of his connection with Those who Slither in the Dark. He attempts to bring a peaceful end to the war, but Edelgard has become convinced that she alone can bring peace to Fodlan and refuses to cooperate.
Dimitri reluctantly invades the Imperial palace, and Edelgard transforms herself into a powerful demon form known as Hegemon Edelgard. In this form, Edelgard fights Dimitri and Byleth, but is defeated. Dimitri makes one last attempt to reconcile with her, but Edelgard throws a dagger into his shoulder. Dimitri stabs her in the heart with his lance, killing her instantly.
Black Eagles Route
See Edelgard on Heroes Wiki for her Black Eagles route counterpart.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Edelgard both appears as a background character in the Garreg Mach Monastery stage and as one of Byleth's DLC spirits. She starts out as a Advanced level spirit, under the Attack type. In her spirit battle, she is represented by a super-armored Byleth in their alt themed around her. She is fought on Castle Siege, with a lava hazard added. The Edelgard spirit is enhanceable to her timeskip design, a Ace level spirit with the Armor Knight effect.
Edelgard is a calm, dignified, high-minded and solemn person who coolly evaluates her surroundings and those around her before she acts. However, Edelgard will allow herself to let loose or act casually occasionally, and yet she will only reveal this side of herself to her most trusted friends.
Because of her childhood tragedy of losing family, Edelgard despises Crests and the Church of Seiros, thus becoming an extremist secretly planning to remove the system run by the church. She hates any idea of relying on the Crest's power to reach their goal. Once she is revealed to be none other than the Flame Emperor, Edelgard's secret side is revealed to be a ruthless person who will backstab and manipulate allies in order to reach her goal, even though she honestly tries to bring peace upon her land and end the corruption. She also shows great contempt for how far Those who Slither in the Dark would go, not afraid of voicing out all her disgust right in front of them.
The post-timeskip Edelgard's personality fully depends on the player's choice. In the Black Eagles route, because of Byleth's continuous support and teaching, Edelgard begins to see the error of her ways and becomes much less deranged than in other routes. She also manages to redeem herself from her villainous path, mourns the death of her sacrificed comrades, feels sorry for her former classmates (if they becomes enemies on the battlefield) and Dimitri, and tries to bring genuine goodness upon Fodlan that eventually results in a prosperous golden age.
In other three routes, without Byleth on her side to guide her, Edelgard eventually becomes a full-fledged tyrant, planning to conquer every enemy faction no matter what the cost. This reaches an extreme in the Blue Lions route, where she takes a more monstrous form to fight Dimitri, causing him to lament what she has become and scornfully call her pathetic.
In the other routes, however, Edelgard still shows some empathy in spite of becoming an unfettered extremist. In both the Church and Golden Deer routes, she laments not being able to stand side by side with Byleth. Her vassal Hubert also takes steps to ensure that Byleth can defeat Those who Slither in the Dark in case she is defeated, presumably on her orders.
In the Blue Lions route, it is speculated that Edelgard's failed stabbing of Dimitri is actually an act to goad him into killing her, since she knows she will die soon because of the Crest's side effect, making her death even more tragic. Another interpretation of this scene posits that she genuinely believed that Dimitri was worthy of leading Fodlan into a new golden age and considered her death necessary to ensure it could happen.
- Edelgarde is a female German name meaning Noble Protector. Hræsvelgr is a figure from Norse mythology who is a giant that takes the form of an eagle.
- The Japanese name of her Flame Emperor identity is called Entei. The Entei (炎帝), or Yándì, was an old title of emperor from Prehistoric China, who supposedly passed down his title of ruler of the tribes to other people long before the Dynastic era.
- Throughout the entire game, at least one of the duo of Edelgard and Dimitri will die if the chosen route is not their own. It is impossible to make both of them survive. This contradicts Claude, who can be spared and thus survive in all of the routes including those who are not his own.
- There are certain elements that foreshadow that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor. For example, both Edelgard and the Flame Emperor wear red, and Edelgard holds the title of the future Empress of Adrestian Empire. Edelgard is also absent when Byleth faces the Flame Emperor face to face, and appears once more as soon as the confrontation is over. In addition, Edelgard is skilled in using axes, and her axe used in Fire Emblem Heroes is the same axe used by the Flame Emperor.
- In the Black Eagles route, Edelgard can be romanced by either gender of Byleth once they reach S-Support, making her one of the few bisexual playable characters in the game.
- Initially in the English version, Edelgard was voiced by Cristina Vee in the original E3 2018 trailer for Three Houses, whom she shares with Tatiana from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, as well as the Fire Emblem Heroes appearances of Lachesis and Athena.
- In the Crimson Flower route only, Edelgard becomes the first playable character capable to earn an Emperor class in the main works of Fire Emblem series. Previous Emperor characters are all non-playable bosses in their originated works, including those who only make their playable debut in Fire Emblem Heroes, which is a spin-off.
- Edelgard, as the Adestrian Emperor post-timeskip, is also the first female character who fits the Rudolf Archetype (tyrannical emperor) of Fire Emblem villains, and is also the first (former) Martial Lord character who becomes this.
Fire Emblem Gaiden & Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Fire Emblem Awakening
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem Heroes
Fire Emblem Warriors
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE