The One Fire Emblem: Three Houses Paralogue I'm Glad I Didn't Miss

Illustration for article titled The One Fire Emblem: Three Houses Paralogue I'm Glad I Didn't Miss

It’s hard to decide which optional Paralogue battles to play and which to ignore in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I could look up which battles would give me the best weapons, but what I really want to know is which have the best storylines. The game doesn’t have a way to tell me that; I have to just try the battles and find out. I just so happened to select one battle, Rumored Nuptials, that had a surprisingly touching story. It’s all about Dorothea and Ingrid, two characters I had little previous emotional attachment towards but am now rooting for with all my heart.


Three Houses is divided into a calendar system that allows the protagonist to use one “free day” per week fighting an optional battle, taking a specialized seminar to level up certain skills, or wandering around and having conversations with all of the characters in the game. My favorite thing to do is that last option, but I still have to pick some battles sometimes, or else my students won’t get stronger. Also, some of these optional battles, which are called Paralogues, provide cool story beats that I otherwise would’ve missed.

I chose the Golden Deer house at the start of the game, which means my Paralogue battles feature characters who belong to that house. I also managed to recruit some characters from the other two houses, Black Eagles and Blue Lions, in the limited number of in-game weeks before Three Houses reaches its second big chapter, after which point everything in the game’s world changes.

The spoilers that happen in the run-up to this second chapter aren’t necessary to get into. All players need to know is that, after that point, they can no longer recruit characters to their army, and they can no longer play any of the optional Paralogue battles. Each Paralogue battle has a date in its description field that specifies when it will expire. Other than providing these mysterious expiration dates, Three Houses doesn’t warn you that you might miss out on certain things if you don’t do them in time.

As soon as the game introduced me to the concept of Paralogue battles, I got worried. How would I know which battles to choose? Would I have time to do them all? I was also dealing with my need to take specific seminars so that I could accrue points to recruit more characters to Golden Deer. But the more characters I recruited, the longer my list of Paralogue battles became, because almost all of the characters have their own themed Paralogue battle. And the weeks kept ticking down.

I managed to recruit both Dorothea and Ingrid, from Black Eagles and Blue Lions respectively, with just a few weeks remaining. I saw a Paralogue battle involving both of them pop up, and on a whim, I chose it. I’m so glad I did, because it ended up being my favorite Paralogue battle.

Before the battle starts, the characters involved always give Professor Byleth an explanation for why they need help to embark on whatever fight needs fighting. Ingrid starts this Paralogue by revealing that she is “worried” about a marriage proposal she has just received from a former merchant who has earned favor with nobles through some social machinations. Dorothea then reveals that this same man also tried to court her when she was working as a singer; she warns Ingrid: “Stay far, far away from this guy.” Ingrid admits that her family needs the money from the dowry the man is offering, and Dorothea gets increasingly insistent that the man’s money “is soaked in blood” and should be refused. When Ingrid still hesitates, Dorothea admits that most of what she’s heard is “rumors,” and that they should check the guy out. Then, the Paralogue battle starts, with a smash cut to all of our heroes suddenly in a volcano, which is where this guy apparently lives, because he’s a total super-villain.

Illustration for article titled The One Fire Emblem: Three Houses Paralogue I'm Glad I Didn't Miss

I won’t spoil the end of this battle, because it’s adorable and I’m glad I got to experience it without knowing what would happen. But it also has me wondering which Paralogue battles have the best stories. I’m probably going to play Fire Emblem a second time just so I can recruit different students, anyway. So, tell me in the comments about your favorite Paralogues. I don’t want to miss out.

Deputy Editor, Kotaku.



I’m personally more a fan of Bernadetta, but Dorothea is right up there at the top. There’s some definite romantic tension between Dorothea and Edelgard that gets ratcheted up the more you develop their bond—sort’ve the same way that Caspar and Linhardt eventually couple up if tightly bonded and left to their own devices (meaning the player doesn’t attempt to romance either of them).

It’s honestly kind of cool just how organically some of the bonding and relationships of the NPCs in this game fall out. I’ve seen too many kludge-fisted attempts at “look, look, we’re being inclusive” in the past, but Three Houses mostly gets it right (though it veers directly into “most characters are player-sexual” power fantasy territory very quickly).

Honestly, my only real complaint with this game, having finished the Black Eagles-Edelgard run, is...




...nothing is ever done with “those who slither in the shadows” past a certain point. The Death Knight and his cohorts were a significant narrative element for a long time (even going so far as to off the player character’s father in one of the most obvious “you done trusted the wrong girl, ya old coot” moments ever), and despite the ostensible leader of this group turning out to be a character the player is intimately familiar with, the rest of the group is still acting in accord with a plan that goes against both the Empire and the Church (and likely the Alliance, as well).

I mean, shit, they’re making monsters, and fucking about with the warp and weft of reality—and they just sort’ve get dropped after the player character goes Super Sothis Saiyan and are never really mentioned again except in the epilogue.

That feels incredibly weak to me, to have such a major force (and significant plot element) glossed over like that. It’s as if the writers realized that the final battle with Dragon Jesus Lady was coming up and thought to themselves, “Fuck, we have no idea how to land that other narrative line we’ve got going. Quick, bung a reference to the whole thing in the epilogue, and we’ll call it good.”

It was made all the more disappointing by the high quality of the content surrounding that gaping hole in the plot.

Ah well. I’ll play through it again, eventually—have a few other things on my plate at the moment.