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20 January 2015 @ 10:51 pm
Elemental Affinities as Personality Types in Tellius  
I thought it would be interesting to look at characters’ affinities and see what it tells us about them and about the writers’ intention about them. While Affinities have a direct effect on gameplay via the support bonus and some of them are probably picked based on game balance (see the amount of Earth Affinity people in the Dawn’s Brigade), nevertheless the concept of Elements conveys a rich imagery which often seems at least partially relevant.

Note: In case of contradiction between FE 9 and 10, I go by Radiant Dawn canon.

Fire

Fire characters tend to be fierce and courageous (Reyson, Geoffrey, Skrimir), outgoing and expressive, and often fairly cheerful (Tormod, Heather, Aimee, Marcia) even exuberant (Oliver). They typically like competition and challenges (Mia, Ashnard, Boyd).
Some outlaiers that don’t work as well with those associations: Nealuchi, Danved, Rhys, Shiharam, Numida.

Water

Water characters tend to be very emotional and invested in their relationships with other characters. They can be wonderfully supportive and caring (Mist, Leanne, Sigrun, Brom), can also be prone to melancholy (Pelleas, Leonardo). They can be fairly reserved or quiet while still being helpful to others (Mordecai, Ulki). They may follow their strong relationships onto foolish choices (Levail, Kurthnaga, Hetzel).
No outliers.

(The Woobieness is strong in the Water Affinity!)

(Note: Fire seems to be the opposite of Thunder, rather than Water, in term of support bonuses at least)

Wind

Wind characters are often clever and witty (Ranulf, Bastian), and often good at thinking critically, especially regarding politics (Haar, Nephenee, Sothe) and are fairly independent minded (Volk). They very often have a taste for wandering (Nailah). They follow their own ideas, wherever that might lead them (Astrid, Rolf).
Outliers: Kieran, Largo (both being axe users, I wonder if it isn’t largely for the sake of the accuracy boost) Vika, Laura (I can’t really remember them having personality enough to assess how well they work).

Thunder

Thunder is much more difficult to define!

A lot of Thunder characters have, shall we say, a complicated relationship to loyalty. Not because they’re disloyal, necessarily, but many of them end up being the ones shifting sides often or in remarkably dramatic situations (Jill, Shinon, Tauroneo, Aran) but others really just are that shifty and disloyal (Izuka). A large amount of Thunder characters are fairly ambitious (Jarod, Petrine, Ludveck). I think motivations – or in some weird cases lack thereof (Makalov) – are very important to Thunder characters.
Some outliers: Lyre, Muarim, Gareth, Janaff.

Earth

I want to describe Earth characters as “people with a healthy sense of priorities”. They are not quick to resort to violence, but will go there if necessary (Cainaghis, Fiona), they are relatively practical minded about their sense of ethics and they often move first to prevent unnecessary loss of life (Ziharc, Nolan) – or if devoid of morals they just look out for n°1 (Lekain, Valtome) – but when they have engaged their loyalty to something they will lay down their life for it (Lucia, Renning, Ena, Bryce). They often have a fairly wry sense of humor (Volug, Oscar). And they can be quite abrupt and blunt in demeanor (Ike, Tanith).
No real outliers

Heaven

I find Heaven to be one of the most difficult Affinities to find a commonality in to be honest.

A fair amount of Heaven characters are remarkably high minded and idealist (Elincia, Tibarn), perhaps visionary (Stefan) and attached to a code of honor (Lethe, Greil). And, err, then there’s Rafiel and Meg (I guess Rafiel does have his own code of honor).

Heaven really is difficult to define!

Dark

Darkness characters are all about their secrets (Dheginsea). Many of them go as far as a whole constructed persona (Zelgius, Calill). They are capable of being ruthless (Micaiah, Soren) and they’re good at working in the shadows (Giffca, Naesala).
No outliers. Dark is a very consistent Affinity.

Light

Along with Heaven, I find Light the most difficult Affinity to pinpoint.

Quite a few Light characters have a position of mentorship (Titania, Nasir) or associated with wisdom of a kind (Sanaki, Sephiran). Others seem to have a sort of happy-go-lucky thing going on (lllyana, Edward) or in other ways be at the whims of fate (Gatri). Also there’s Kyza? Maybe I should frame it as Light characters having sort of Wise or Fool dichotomy to them.

Besides what each affinity tends to say about each character; there are also some interesting interplays between some pairs of characters.

- Sanaki and Sephiran having the same Affinity.
- Micaiah and Soren having the same Affinity underlines some of the way they play foils for one another.
- Micaiah and Naesala’s similar Affinity and the way they relate to the Blood Pact.
- Titania and Soren as Ike’s advisers (especially in Path of Radiance) being of opposite Affinities
- Sephiran and Zelgius being of opposite Affinities as partners in crime
- Sanaki and Micaiah being of opposite Affinities as sisters
- Tibarn and Elincia having the same Affinity colors in an interesting ways how impressed he is by her during her pacifist play.
- Rhys’s probably not Mia’s fated rival, but them having the same Affinity makes it more interesting.
- Marcia and Makalov being of opposite Affinities as siblings
- Valtome as the senator who takes on Elincia being of her opposite Affinity
- Almedhea’s father and son are both Dark Affinity.
- Two of the characters Bastian cares for the most are Earth Affinity (Renning and Lucia)

Thoughts?

Also, the only other Fire Emblem game I’ve played was FE4 which did not have any elemental affinity, so if you want to comment or further this with examples from other games, please do although be careful not to put in spoilers (I’ll want to play those games eventually ^^)

comment count unavailable comments at the original post on Dreamwidth
 
 
 
Hitomishimizu_hitomi on January 23rd, 2015 12:48 am (UTC)
... And Tellius is the one universe I haven't played myself. XD (Other than Awakening)

I don't remember the elements very clearly in the other games other than one small note in... I think it was FE7? There's a very brief implication that the elements are related to the calendar (like Western horoscopes). But it's a throwaway line. (That and the fact that your choice of birthday affects the insert character's affinity)

On the other hand there's a different hint in FE6 that indicates it's related to the way magic works -- but that goes into worldbuilding stuff that has its roots in the Kaga-era games (FE1-5) which I'm not actually sure applies to the later games.
Anne-Elisaetrangere on January 23rd, 2015 01:06 am (UTC)
haha yeah I thought so (sadly I don't yet have any idea for any big FE4 meta posts).

Oh? Wikipedia led to believe there were elemental affinities in several games; but it could just happen not to be one you played with, or it overstated things.

picking birthdays for your characters sounds kinda fun in a completely superfluous detail way XD

Well it's obvious the different sorts of magic kinds are represented as elemental affinities (which makes you wonder why there's no Water, Earth or Heaven magics though).
Hitomishimizu_hitomi on January 23rd, 2015 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh, the affinities are there for all the post-Kaga games for sure. (I don't remember if it was FE5 or FE6 that introduced them, but probably FE6.) I don't think they had support bonuses back then though (except in FE7 when it was related to your self-insert XD and I think stat growth) -- or maybe I just never noticed. Supports worked very differently in the GBA era at any rate.

Yeah the magic types I think are a relic of older worldbuilding from Archanea that may or may not have gotten scrapped. The least spoilery way I can explain is that it has to do with the origin of magic. From your list it seems like Tellius added some elements though. Heaven at least doesn't seem familiar. And I think Water used to be Ice.
Anne-Elisaetrangere on January 28th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
Just started playing FE7 (and posting about it on tumblr) and all player characters do have elemental affinities so far, although the list of elements is slightly different. Not sure what they do gameplay wise, though it seems to have to do with support as well.
I_llbedammnedi_llbedammned on January 27th, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
I think the fact that you added in Heaven is an interesting choice because I don't see that too often with elemental affinities.
Anne-Elisaetrangere on January 27th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
Oh, it's not me who added "Heaven", the Elements of the affiliations are part of the game canon.