When your characters die in Fire Emblem, that's it. They're dead, forever (unless you're playing on the new casual mode). The idea is that permanent death forces players to be mindful of their actions, the idea is that permadeath adds gravity to the situation. Idea is the key word there. Instead, permadeath adds tedium: why live with the consequences of your choices when you can endlessly replay the same level until you get through it perfectly?
It's a compulsion many of us might feel guilty about. Maybe we shouldn't, because even Intelligent Systems, the people behind Fire Emblem: Awakening, do the same thing according to a recent interview posted by Nintendo.
For reference, this segment of the interview involves 8-4 (localizers), Genki Yokota (director at Nintendo), Masahiro Higuchi (project manager at Intelligent Systems) and Kouhei Maeda (director at Intelligent Systems):
8-4: Speaking of veteran players, we know a lot of hardcore fans who go so far as to replay a battle if they lose even one unit...
Yokota: That's how I played before Awakening. (laughs)
Higuchi: That's how I play, yeah.
Maeda: In Classic Mode, definitely, I reset if lose someone.
Yokota: I even reset if I don't like how my [randomly generated] level-up stat gains go. (laughs)
It's kind of a relief to read that, to be honest...though it does make me wonder what the point of permanent death is if even the developers go out of their way to not experience it! Also, I can't feel bad about constantly resetting when I know there are folks out there that do it even when their randomly generated level-up stats aren't good. Now that's hardcore.