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What are the odds, on a website this small, that two users would independently choose beloved princes that eventually become omnicidal kings from the Fire Emblem series as avatars? I think that's a lovely coincidence, and in between being snowed in and hopped up on a cocktail of cold medicine I can find no alternative but to make a thread about it.

To be fair, Fire Emblem villains have a tendency to be omnicidal, but in my view these are both some of the more interesting figures the series has had. Maybe in talking about them we'll learn something about ourselves (but probably not!)!

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On the one hand we have Prince Hardin. Hardin was the brother of the sickly king of Aurelis, who we first see defending his homeland from the invading Dolhr empire. There's some discussion as to who should lead the rebellion once Marth joins up with Hardin, but they come to a mutual agreement that Marth should be the figurehead, after which (iirc) Princess Nyna bestows upon Marth the Fire Emblem. This sets in motion the beginning of Hardin's resentment towards Marth.

Fast forward to the end of Shadow Dragon, and Nyna's advisor Boah gets the bright idea to marry her off to one of the victorious princes. When it becomes clear that Marth was interested in Caeda, and that Hardin already has a major thing for Nyna, her marriage to the newfound King of Aurelis is arranged.

We learn in the sequel, Mystery of the Emblem, that Nyna was never able to reciprocate Hardin's feelings, having found herself instead with a fondness for the not-quite-dead Black Knight Camus. Love triangles abound, and realizing his marriage is a sham Hardin falls into a despair from which the wizard Gharnef was able to manipulate him towards his own ends. Hardin trades his super stylish white turban ensemble for an evil emperor's red robes, and he claims for his own the Gradivus lance. Formerly wielded by the aforementioned Camus, Gradivus is so huge that I can't help but wonder if Hardin was using it to massively overcompensate for his perceived inadequacies in in relation to the various men he sees as rivals. After all, Nyna surrendered the Fire Emblem to Marth and her heart (among other things) to Camus.

Hardin's conflict with Marth is personal, and his animus for the young prince is a twisted distortion of reality, aided by the magic of Gharnef. When Hardin is killed the spell is broken, and while it remains clear that he traveled down that dark road willingly he nevertheless realizes the futility of his resentment before he dies.



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The biggest difference in how Zephiel's story is handled is that he was a villain first, and later games give us the opportunity to witness his downfall. Another difference is that Zephiel isn't motivated by jealousy or the machinations of evil sorcerers. No, instead he has serious daddy issues. It's all totally justified, of course, given that we get to see the depths of King Desmond's wickedness and Queen Helen's vanity. During the events of Blazing Sword we save Zephiel from the first attempt Desmond would make on his life. The second, some years later, would instead lead to Desmond's death and Zephiel's ascension as the King of Bern. He still wields a weapon that's as big as his body, but while an overcompensation angle might work here as well I'm more inclined to say that sometimes an oversized sword is just an oversized sword.

Zephiel, unlike Hardin, is clear headed and unrepentant. He wants dragons to rule over the scorched remains of human civilization and there just so happen to be a group of dragons that share this ambition. Zephiel does not apologize when he dies, and with his last breath he reinforces his disdain to humanity.

Zephiel also has a boy band haircut, which probably has something to do with Binding Blade being released in the early 2000s. I still like his design though. Purple is a good color on him.

...I don't have a good way to end this thread.





Zephiel has a much better battle theme.

“There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.” - John Locke
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Insert "we're not so different you and I" here

Ya I was going to do it sooner than I did actually but never got around to it. Zephiel as a character has grown on me a bit more as of late.

Also your ability to put FE characters and plot into words like this is pretty great. Usually I just experience it and then on occasion rant about things in FE I remember so fondly (mostly from Radiant Dawn but also others)

But ya Hardin's story was a bit more sad because (to me) it didn't feel like he had much of a choice in his descent towards evil. I could be wrong in how much influence Gharnef, and by extension whatever power comes from the darksphere but it's a bit more sad than anything else. A story of jealousy twisted into something more.

Zephiel's story gets me more because it was of his own choice as far as I know. His father was cruel to him, tried to kill him twice. No matter how Zephiel tried to trust him, he was betrayed. This carried on to shape his word-view as well, as he would see the darkness around every corner. Zephiel wanted a better world, and he was weary of this one. While I think he was misguided in thinking dragons would bring this (they wouldn't) his motivations are rather understandable to me.

It was incredible seeing an innocent boy wanting the best for everyone and wanting only to be loved by his father turn into what he becomes and even be the cause of death for one of the people who saved him. I think the fact that FE7 was released in America and thus I played it before FE6 made it even more compelling.

Edited December 10th, 2017 by KnokkelMillennium
KnokkelMillennium
Reply to: @Knux

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