Letters to Summer

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Hello Pen Pals! This is a bonus letter just for you, to thank you for supporting us on Patreon. In this one, we're talking about Fire Emblem Three Houses. We hope you like it!

Summer: Welcome to the Fire Emblem: Three Houses Chat

Jillian: yayyyy

we’ve each already talked about fe3h in this newsletter—you recommended it first, and then i wrote a follow-up about it more recently

since you played it first, why don’t you talk a little bit about how and why you got into fe3h

Summer: yeah!

So my brother has been into the Fire Emblem franchise for a while. we have the GBA one that was, I think? the first one available in the US

he hadn’t played any of the more recent ones, but after the nintendo direct with the three houses trailer we both thought it looked really really good. he got it right around when it came out but i was AFRAID because i had attempted to play the old old GBA one when i was a child, as well as some other jrpgs like golden sun, and i was bad at them.

because i was a child. like 6

but he said it was really fun and there was a lot of room for a beginner, he hadn’t bought me a birthday or graduation present lol and venmod me money for the game and the DLC. and then i played every day for 7 hours for like two weeks and here we are over a year later!

Jillian: and then you talked about it so much that i also bought it, basically

Summer: literally yes. i remember we were doing a video call and our other friends ghosted and i just talked about fire emblem for 40 minutes

Jillian: i was on the fence about it for a while because i had only ever played one jrpg before (which i won’t name) and i didn’t……love it? so i thought maybe i just wasn’t into that kind of game

Summer: same! i remember you talking about that game and was also like yeah i didn’t want to get it For That Reason

Jillian: and i was really worried that even though you loved this game so much i just wouldn’t, and i didn’t want to buy something and try it and not like it, especially after you talked it up so much

it also wasn’t just you—it kind of felt like everybody i knew was playing it for a while

so i was curious

and i wanted to know what the hype was about

and i was getting really antsy waiting for animal crossing to come out

Summer: oh my god you DID buy it like…beginning of march i remember this

Jillian: basically about a week or two before the new animal crossing game came out, i decided i needed a new game to distract me from the waiting, and i impulse-bought fire emblem three houses and that was that

i loved it pretty much right away, because you were right and it’s great

Summer: IT’S GREAT!!!

I’ve been trying to think about like…what’s so great about it?

Jillian: hold on i want to look at your original recommendation

Summer: yes! please

Jillian: “I described this game to my brother as an anime where the commercial breaks are chess, and honestly? It’s the best.”

this is so true and good lol

some of my favorite descriptions of fe3h, which i mentioned in my follow-up letter about it, are “horny magic war school” and “anime chess”

Summer: YES!

oh my god. yes that’s it

Jillian: but you also mention that the gameplay is very streamlined to your tastes, which i think is important!

Summer: our friend leyla’s discord has a channel for it, called “war crime dating sim” lmao which is so good

Jillian: my favorite discord channel tbh

Summer: SAME i lurk it makes me so happy

but yeah! i think what i’m realizing more and more is that it’s really important to me for games to be like….attempting to please different types of players

and by that i mean, not cynical towards people who don’t necessary like hard games?

Jillian: i do think that’s a lot of why fe3h was so successful

Summer: my boyfriend plays all video games on easy mode and loves when there are things like “story-mode” where you can just play through plot, but i noticed the way some of those games label their modes are really mean!!!

Jillian: i also love playing on easy mode

games with story mode are very important to me

Summer: yes!!! i think that’s why hades, similarly, is really popular right now

games with a really rich story but incredible replay value either because of small details OR ability to change up gameplay

i’m re-playing golden deer right now, and even though i know that story so intimately i’m playing on hard mode and it’s been really fun to seriously focus on battle mechanisms

Jillian: i have not played hades mostly because…again…it doesn’t really seem like my “type” of game and it looks kind of hard?

but saying that here sounds so silly

because that’s how i felt about fire emblem and now look at me

i love it so much

Summer: yes!!!! ok hades is really hard in the beginning but it gets easier as you play more. we can talk offline but yeah

and like not easier because you get better skill-wise but literally the game makes you stronger when you die lol!

Jillian: oh that brings me to another thing that i love about it which is: it’s very replayable! and in fact you should replay it! multiple times!

Summer: CRAZY that the devs didn’t plan for that!

Jillian: wait they didn’t PLAN that?

Summer: they really thought people would just play one route of their $60 game and put it down!

Jillian: WHAT

did they say this somewhere

Summer: NO LOL! the repetitiveness of the routes makes more sense, but they really didn’t think people would be out here playing church route AND golden deer

yeah, i can find the interview!

Jillian: oh wow please do


i’m sure there are plenty of people who only play it once but i just can’t imagine doing it that way

i finished golden deer and immediately started blue lions

and now i’m taking a short break, but i’m really excited to get back into it and play black eagles next

Summer: “We had thought that everybody would play around with one of the routes and then enjoy asking each other about their respective routes. It was surprising, though; more people ended up playing all of the routes than we had originally expected.” (source)

Jillian: that’s so funny

Summer: right?

Jillian: i love the way each of the routes has its own unique story

and how seeing the story again after you’ve already played it once can change the way you view it

Summer: so my brother started with blue lions, and i started with golden deer. he also watched a playthrough of black eagles—we had all pieces of the story, theoretically, but still played all of them after anyway

Jillian: you’ve said before that you don’t think it makes sense, in retrospect, to start with blue lions

Summer: exactly! i tell people to not start with blue lions because my brother was like “i have no idea what’s going on” and felt like he NEEDED to supplement his story with the others—i did blue lions third and i think it made it so much better

Jillian: i did golden deer first, which you told me to do, and i’m glad i did

i think it’s probably the best route to start with

Summer: yes!!!! claude is the best, but it’s just. the best story! it’s the most holistic

Jillian: BUT i have a friend who did black eagles first and i think it’s really really interesting to see how that colors her view of the other two routes after

yeah golden deer gives you a really good look at everything that’s happening overall

and blue lions is a little more contained to what’s happening specifically in The Kingdom, lol

which is also very fine and interesting, but i can see how that would be confusing for a first playthrough

Summer: absolutely

i know blue lions is sort of the more ~traditional~ fire emblem storyline

Jillian: i haven’t played black eagles yet so i can’t get into specifics on those, but i’ll just say i’m glad i didn’t start with it

i’m very excited to learn more about all of those characters now tho!

Summer: i would have hated starting with black eagles, I would have hated not knowing what i had to do in order to be on edelgard’s side

not that i wouldn’t talk to my lord every month anyway but imagine not getting the option to side with her!

Jillian: if the black eagles route automatically had you side with the church i would hate it

Summer: right!

people were really upset about not knowing some small things that happened in routes like that

like if you’re playing on classic, in blue lions, if you don’t save enough duscur soldiers in dedue’s paralogue he doesn’t come back after timeskip

Jillian: there are some plot details that are not just route-specific but that are tied to completing certain extra battles and it’s like…why

why would you hide that in there

it feels too important

Summer: right! especially if you didn’t think people wouldn’t dig SO DEEP

Jillian: but that’s also coming from someone who is kind of all about the plot and lore and everything, and i suppose there are people playing it who maybe could live without knowing all of that

but idk!

Summer: i need to know it all!!!!

i read all of the endings for everyone before finishing black eagles and blue lions because i NEEDED it

Jillian: i’m someone who buys the DLC to unlock a new area of the map and goes and reads all the books in the library in that new area so i can get extra lore

Summer: yes! and patiently awaits the fanfiction that will be written based off of it!

Jillian: oh i love reading all the endings

i also really love this datamine site that just has literally all the dialogue for every character

Summer: fe3h is one of the richest games i’ve ever played and i just love it so much

i dont even care that the animation is a joke

Jillian: the silly animation is endearing to me

Summer: ME TOO i love it like why are they so awkward

i love the way ferdinand’s hair floats when you change him int oa different outfit post-time skip because they didn’t account for the space between his hair and his default collar

Jillian: omg

ok i want to ask you a hard question: who is your favorite character in the game

Summer: UGH

Jillian: i think i know my answer but it’s really close

Summer: this is hard because i have a lot of little allegiances. claude is my instinct, he was my first favorite and i think he’s like…the best character in the game—super interesting, SUCH A GOOD UNIT (objectively has the best lord class), and is middle eastern-coded lol which i never really had in a game before! (besides the gerudo)

but i also love my stupid angry sword boy felix

Jillian: i love claude and felix so much

Summer: and then there’s dedue

Jillian: dedue is GREAT

very very good and important character imo

Summer: who is a fine unit and has a lot of weird stuff tinging his story but as a concept he’s just my favorite. i like….relate to him so much LMAO it’s such a bummer with the way they fail him

Jillian: agree

Summer: but i’ll never forget literally sobbing at his and ashe’s A support where they talk about keeping the memory of a place and people alive through cooking? like? ok thanks

Jillian: i think i cried at all of ashe’s supports

Summer: why is ashe like that….he’s just so soft…

Jillian: he’s such a sweet good boy

and he loves everyone he meets

ok so claude and felix are both up there for me for sure

and dimitri honestly

but the character i can never stop thinking about is sylvain lol

Summer: LMAO GOD

Jillian: he’s just……….he’s sylvain

i love him

Summer: he’s just so sad????? and horny??????? what a combo

Jillian: i feel like they didn’t expect anybody to really like sylvain this much but here i am

he’s objectively horrible to women and yet i would die for him


Summer: like

he’s so well written

why did they do it so good

i’ve never seen a misogynistic character and been like….ok i get it though

Jillian: on one hand YES i agree because he’s very complex

on the other hand sometimes i feel like they gave up a little bit

Summer: ooo say more

Jillian: ok so two things come to mind

first: his paired ending with felix in routes that aren’t blue lions, where felix runs off alone and sylvain just stays with house gautier by himself and that’s it. doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

he says in one of his supports somewhere that he would have run away from home when he was a kid if he could have! he was abused by his family! explain to me why he would choose to stay there when he could run off with felix!!!!


Summer: oh absolutely. that always drove me nuts

like first of all it’s so sad lol why

no one else has such a tragic paired ending

like dimitri dies in all of his paired endings and that’s sadder than all of them

Jillian: oh we can absolutely get into sylvix in a second

because yes

but second: i wish i had a really concrete example of this but post-timeskip especially anytime he’s in a cutscene with blue lions or you talk to him around the monastery, the funny little “haha i flirt with women and don’t have any real thoughts” quips from him get old really fast

because we know that he’s actually a smart and good person

and it would be really nice to uhhhhh get to see that more outside of random supports

Summer: ok so that’s super interesting because the disconnect between gareg mach dialogue and supports / etc is also there with a character like leonie

who is….exclusively nice to you during the activity point days

but in supports is just. a bitch. so mean? so mean!

Jillian: i’m kind of torn about it because on one hand it makes sense that you would only really get to know who a character is through their supports

because if you really care about the plot and the characters, of course you’re going to watch the supports

but it would be nice to see that reflected a little bit in the monastery dialogue etc.

Summer: yeah absolutely

there are so many small things and details that are nearly invisible, it would have been cool to have some that….weren’t?

one detail i love is the way dining hall conversations change btwn character based off of their support level

Jillian: oh!!!! yes!!!!

Summer: but then there are supports where like….if ingrid is dead when this conversation happens, joe brojie reads it a little differently

and it’s like hHOW WOULD ANYONE KNOW

Jillian: and the way certain pairings have special dialogue during meals or some tasks

(but also some pairings…don’t and it doesn’t make sense to me)

Summer: crazy that sylvain and felix don’t have dining hall dialogue

Jillian: i would pay so much money for a DLC that just adds dialogue

Summer: not to make everything about sylvix

oh my god me TOO

Jillian: not to make everything about sylvix but they have one of the best support chains and endings of any pairing in the game so idk

Summer: MORE SUPPORTS….MORE DINING HALL…more anything i’ll give em another $25 for a sylvix dining hall

Jillian: honestly!

Summer: my dream DLC pack includes an everyone lives route, sylvix dining hall convo, more queer S supports, and a sylvain/bernie ending where they open a bookshop

Jillian: oh yes

how does that ending not already exist

they have such funny supports

Summer: i love it SO much it’s so silly

Jillian: oh right it’s because sylvain only has like 5 possible paired endings and one of them is with felix, right right right

Summer: cool cool cool cool

Jillian: meanwhile everyone else can basically end up with whoever

Summer: felix has like 20 endings do you ever think about that

this prickly angry little man

Jillian: he’s soft really

Summer: i love him

Jillian: he’s a pisces

ok i don’t even know i have an answer to this but i’m curious: what’s your favorite……part…..of the game

could be an actual battle or plot point, could be just like….fishing or something

Summer: wow



i love maps that give you 12 people

Jillian: lol

that’s so specific but so true

let me use everyone

Summer: i love the quest where you have to keep finding items and trading them and ultimately decide if you want catherine or shamir to like you more

Jillian: lkhsdklgfhsdglksjdf YEAH

i think in blue lions i picked catherine bc i needed the support points

Summer: i LOVE TALKING TO BERNIE!!!!!!!!

through the door!!!!! the one time she lets you in her room!!!!!! the one time she’s out and about because she wants to give you her condolences!!!!

Jillian: she’s so cute

Summer: oh i love the absolute thrill of claude dancing with you at the ball

and realize it’s not route dependent

Jillian: ohhh yes

when i did that in blue lions i screamed

i didn’t realize

Summer: it’s so good!

i love the cut scenes

god i love this game

wait do you have any favorite moments

Jillian: i really love teaching! and deciding what classes i want everyone to be!

Summer: YES!

Jillian: for my second run i made a whole elaborate kanban board to plan out everyone’s classes and it was so fun

and also very very helpful

i also love everyone’s silly crit lines

especially sylvain

Summer: they are ridiculous god

I love the stupid athletic wear dlc outfits



i love dimitri’s new game+ hair

it’s very important to me

oh i love gardening

and the way you just never run out of seeds

wow i really want to play again right now

maybe i’ll start black eagles soon

Summer: Its very good! Shorter than the others

i do think edelgard was failed in some ways

Jillian: i have a lot of feelings about the church in fe3h that we honestly just don’t have time to get into

the tl;dr is i hate the church and i hate rhea, and i like that they show you a lot of skepticism about the church from certain players, and i think it’s kind of cool ultimately how there really is no perfect happy ending in any of the routes

Summer: definitely. war and ideology: messy! no one is perfect

it’s sad like that

Jillian: it’s like hey surprise you are still playing a game that’s ultimately about monarchy

Summer: basically everyone wants the same things? yeah

Jillian: they just want to protect their people really

and do the right thing, whatever that means to them

Summer: yeah! in that same interview i linked earlier, one of the reasons they didnt do like…an everyone lives route is because they didn’t want to imply there was a Correct route – every lord has their own idea of right.


Jillian: ohhhh that’s so smart

i love that

i can’t wait to read that interview

Summer: golden deer is so satisfying because it like…you address a Big problem, which is an organization that actively harms people because of crests, and take it down

Jillian: i wish that had been in blue lions too???????

Summer: the way that doesn’t happen in other routes, really – makes them feel unfinished, and like the goals can never be achieved of abolishing crest system

Jillian: like why not???

especially when you have sylvain!

Summer: one of the reasons i really love dimitri/dedue’s ending is because it feels like there’s a stronger commitment to change there

bc i think it mentions reparations for duscur

but otherwise: yes dimitri is a “good” person but it’s not in his interest to abolish the crest system

him just becoming king of FODLAN it’s like. OK AND????

Jillian: in a perfect world everyone would live and the three lords would each be in charge of making their territory better and the church would lose its power and everyone would love duscur and the crest system would be abolished! easy!

Summer: exactly!

sometimes i think about the way the aim of each route is to UNITE THE CONTINENT

and how we live in the US which is too big

Jillian: each route is like a triangle with potentially good endings where you only get to pick two

Summer: and i’m like bro that’s not the goal…..a bunch of self-sufficient communities and open borders is the way to go…

Jillian: exactly

Summer: yes, exactly. like i’m not looking to fe3h for radical politics or anything lol

so it’s really interesting to see the way people have kind of discussed the political reality of the game as if there’s an actual….Goodness in any of them

Jillian: sometimes i get way too deep into and i have to be like ok relax it’s a video game it’s fictional we all know this isn’t a utopian society

turns out you are allowed to enjoy a game with an interesting story and some fun battles without moralizing it

Summer: yeah!!! and it’s a video game based off of like. the era of conquest lmfao like come on guys!

Jillian: anyway, everyone should play fe3h

i love it

you love it

it’s good

Summer: it’s the best!

ok do u have any last thoughts

Jillian: i will always have lots of thoughts about fe3h, probably forever

Summer: ok same

Jillian: please play it and let it take over your mind

that’s all! lol